Are you a music entrepreneur? Here’s food for thought. I’m delighted with my situation for buying music these days. In the days when I had to pay $12 for a CD to get the two songs I wanted, that bugged me. Now that iTunes and its imitators let me buy a specific song for less than $1, I buy them.

Lately I’m buying them from when it has what I want, because I like Amazon’s system better. It gives me an MP3 file I can use on any of my multiple computers and devices.

Today’s New York Times includes a piece by Saul Hansell on what he calls Nokia and Universal’s Proposed Music Tax:

The idea is that some cellphones will be bundled with the right to download an unlimited number of songs for a year. The big flaw is that right now, only songs from Universal Music Group, the biggest record label, are offered.

Nokia isn’t saying yet which phones the service will be offered on, how much extra they will cost, and so on. It did say that the service will allow people to download songs and play them on their computers as well, and that it hopes to bring in other labels before it introduces the service in the second half of 2008.

They’re not going to get me with that one, but it’s an interesting angle and I like Saul’s take on it:

There are all sorts of things wrong with this idea: If the tax is linked to something general, like Internet service or a computer, it makes people who don’t listen to much music pay as much as music addicts. And it requires copy protection software to control what devices can play songs and to prevent them from being played if a user doesn’t renew the music service after the initial free period.

But there are lots of things wrong with every other business model for music.

Music entrepreneurs: food for thought and, I hope, ideas for business.

Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.