Saturday, October 06, 2007

Don't make me hate you

A generation of new consumers is learning to hate the recording industry.

Faced with declining music CD sales, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association or America) has been aggressively pursuing lawsuits against consumers that download unlicensed music. The result of this is that hundreds of thousands of college and high school students have found themselves being threatened with legal action.

Justified, or not, the long term result of this campaign is that kids are learning to despise the industry. Since the majority of music sales come from the young people, what is the long term effect? I suspect this is not a great business strategy.

Too damn expensive.

If CDs cost $3.95 instead of $12.99 sales wouldn't be declining. That's the real problem, not downloaded music. I'd rather rip music from my own CDs than mess with iTunes.

When asked about unlicenced downloads, prehistoric rocker Bob Dylan replied: "Well, why not? It ain't worth nothing anyway."

Musicians support the RIAA, right?

Well, musicians have hated the recording industry since Mr. Edison first produced his wax cylinders. Musicians have regularly been screwed by an industry that pressures them into signing unfavorable contracts. Even on a hit record, the artists only make a few pennies.

A few hits from the Recording Industry Legal Hall of Fame.

The Artist Formerly Known as Prince: When Warner Brothers trademarked the name "Prince", the artist named Prince Rogers Nelson found that he couldn't use his own name. In frustration, he changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol.

John Fogerty formerly of Creedence Clearwater Revival, was sued by Fantasy Records for plagiarizing himself. They claimed he sounded too much like his voice, which they owned. He refused to play any of his hit songs from CCR from 1974 until 2005 when Fantasy records was sold to a new owner.

The band Radiohead is releasing their current album entirely online. Customers can pay whatever they want, or download for free. Since the band only makes a few cents for each CD and iTunes sale, they figured anything they sold online would be pure profit.
© 2008 Raoul Rubin