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Copyright in Performance of a Note?

Here’s an innovation that makes Justin Hughes’s scholarship on “microworks” all the more relevant:

[Conductors can now use a] computerized baton [to]. . .  lead an “orchestra” with no musicians — the product of a computer program designed by a former Vienna Philharmonic cellist and comprised of over a million recorded notes played by top musicians.

Aspiring composers who couldn’t otherwise afford to have their creations performed by an orchestra can now commission a high-quality computer-generated recording for a fraction of the price. For communities facing the loss of their orchestra, it could be a way to keep performances in town — even if it means a computer stands in for half the players.

This reminds me of an old economics article by Baumol on the “cost-disease” in the arts, and services generally: whereas a pin factory can make a pin-maker 10,000 times more productive than he would be working alone, a string quartet required the same amount of labor in 1970 as it did in 1870.  But perhaps not after innovations like these take hold….

To take this in a speculative direction: what is to keep us from thinking of producers or the recording industry as being all that different from the musicians displaced by a program like the one above?  Perhaps in a remix culture, pop songs themselves are as fundamental as notes.  Perhaps the only thing separating the note-contributors in the program above from today’s cartelized songmongers is the latter’s market power.