Illegal downloading has turned the music industry on its head in recent years. Artists and record labels have desperately tried to monetise their music again, deemed by many a file-sharer to be worth nothing more than the price of a high-speed internet connection. Now, new start-up SongVest has thrown another spanner into the works by offering fans the chance to own the rights to songs by the likes of Bon Jovi, Aerosmith and The Monkees.
Starting next month, SongVest will auction a percentage of the rights to a number of tracks submitted by hard-up songwriters. After the sale, SongVest acts as the middle man by collecting royalties for the winning bidder - taking a cut of 25%-40% of the sale price for itself, of course.
The company's co-founder David Prohaska calls the opportunity "the ultimate [in] memorabilia" rather than a money-making investment. It's not clear what percentage of the rights a successful bidder would own, all we know is that the song's publisher still controls how the track is used for TV adverts, radio play etc.
It's certainly a nice idea, and a quick look through the list of available songs shows they're not all b-side filler, either. The (Theme From) The Monkees and Two Story Town from Bon Jovi's Crush will surely have die-hard fans re-mortgaging at the thought. And re-mortgaging is no exaggeration; some titles are expected to fetch more than $250,000 according to The Wall Street Journal.
Now, if only Daniel Powter's Bad Day was on the list...
Songs for sale
(Theme From) The Monkees - The Monkees
Two Story Town - Bon Jovi
Gotta Love It - Aerosmith
Denial - Ozzy Osbourne
Never Without You - Ringo Starr
My Song (Too Far Gone) - Cher
Friends in Low Places - Garth Brooks
I Ain't in Checotah Anymore - Carrie Underwood
I Got it Bad - LeAnn Rimes
Someone Else's Dream/ You Can't Loose Me - Faith Hill
Look Heart No Hands/ Whisper My Name - Randy Travis
(Theme From) Days of our Lives - Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart
I Swear - John Michael Montgomery and All-4-One
You and I - Eddie Rabbitt, Crystal Gayle, and Hit Crew
I'll Be True to You - Oak Ridge Boys
Wild Eyed Dream - Ricky Van Shelton