Interesting way of conceptualizing the search for a way for everyone to pay for music. In a “blanket licensing” scheme, everyone pays some money to their ISP which is then distributed to labels/artists. I think there is a sense that micropayments just aren’t going to work any time soon, so maybe this is a good alternative.
The BBC is funded by a compulsory Television Licence, which according to wikipedia is a kind of "hypothecation tax" (Note to self: use hypothecation to win at Scrabble some time) which seems to work, though it requires some level of enforcement.
Ultimately, the argument that
No civilized society, [Warner music consultant Jim Griffin] adds, can endure "purely voluntary payment for art, knowledge, and culture."
Amen to that. We as a society are so litigious that we only deal in the extremes, it appears. We've got the pirates vs. the record companies, with the the companies unable as a practical matter to recover from damages from every person with an "infringing use." The strategy this far has been to sue anyone they can find "making available" files on a files-sharing network.
In reality, if everyone paid a little, we might have a much better policy than no one (or a minority) paying "some."
Read the story, reported from the PFF's Aspen event, here "Functionally voluntary" music may lead to blanket licenses.