There are very few things this writer loves about France, but here are two: government-subsidized healthcare, and, now, government-subsidized music. That’s right, the country of Debussy and Gainsbourg will now (partially) pay for its young citizens’ digital music.
As the BBC reports, the new program is aimed at encouraging French youth to get in the habit of actuallypaying for music. From now on, any French citizen between the ages of 12 and 25 will be able to enroll in a prepaid card program to help them save money on the music they probably never purchased anyway. Each card will have a face value of 50 euros (around $70), but will cost French youth only 25 euros ($35). The French government will pay the other half whenever the card is used to purchase music online. And, in order to control market prices, the government is requiring all paid download sites to cut the prices of their listed songs, extend subscriptions, and even help to market the program.
If subsidies don’t work, however, then perhaps the French government’s strict piracy laws will. French law, in fact, is among the world’s most severe when it comes to illegal file-sharing. Its recently passed Hatopi law, for instance, threatens suspension of all Internet services for any file-sharer who ignores three prior warnings. Who knows whether or not this new will actually encourage French youngsters to purchase music? And, honestly, who cares? France is paying for their music. Who could ever go on strike in protest of a government as benign as that?