Record industry practices revisionism about music recording

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59 Responses to “Record industry practices revisionism about music recording”

  1. minordian says:

    To the indie musos here: We took a different track in Jeopardy. We’ve released our songs for free download via our website, plus used youtube to host our vids. The website enabled us to add information, lyrics, links etc without any ‘editorial control’ or commercial constraints. Every band I’ve loved at some stage said they were artistically compromised by the record company, management, agents etc. Too many middle men/women, all looking for their cut. We’d love to make a living from our music but cant, so decided to put it up for free and let the universe take its course. It’s called disintermediation. Maybe the point of art is to share it and for it to be a medium of exchange of ideas and creativity between people – not a commodity of exchange with an economic value.
    Anyway, have a look and download at will (if you like them): http://www.jeopardy.com.au

  2. Kyle Armbruster says:

    #12: This has been my problem ever since all this MP3 business came out.

    Luckily, my favorite band, NIN, is no longer signed and it sounds like from now on I can just kick Trent a few bucks via PayPal when new stuff comes out (actually, I’ll probably buy the physical copy–I like having CDs) and he’ll make so much more than if I’d bought it at the store, and I’ll get it for so much less.

    I really think that what we’re waiting for is for a company or companies to spring up that rethink the label model. Bands just starting out really do need the infusion of venture capital the labels offered. The labels have a lot of risk, and that is mostly not shared by the band itself. If we had a system where a company offered financial services (loans) and distribution services, and PR services, all a la carte, I think we’d see the important benefits to artists that the label system provides minus the artist-and-customer-raping. Everyone makes money; no one gets rich.

    Fans of an artist are usually very happy to pay. It’s a democratic patronage system, like the patronage of old, but this time without the slavery aspect of having a single master.

    I really think this could work, and I wish I had more capital to start such a thing. I love music and musicians and think there’s tons of money to be made under the new paradigm in a way that is so much better, fairer, and diverse and exciting than ever before. We just need the infrastructure!

  3. sarenmithsarn says:

    If they could figure out how to charge us for each time we listen to each song, they would.

    Still all in all, an argument that has been going on for decades. The ability to put your record albums on a cassette tape scared them, too. deja vu.

  4. Crash says:

    #12, #31, et al: Maybe it’s time for us to reconsider what it means to make a living in music. If there’s something one can do that will pay better money than can be made performing live, then one should do that instead of being a musician.

  5. sabik says:

    And she can say whatever stupid thing she wants, but it doesn’t have the force of law unless she’s writing for the majority of the SCOTUS (or relevant jurisdictional court).

    Actually, it does have the force of law (well, equity) as far as her clients are concerned.

    If they say something is legal in a context where you’d expect them to mean it (say, in a court of law, or on their official website), they can’t then sue you for doing it.

    It’s called “estoppel”, which is French for “put a cork in it” :-)

    IANAL, though; and of course just because they can’t sue you doesn’t mean they won’t try…

  6. Skeeter Holler says:

    @ #18

    I see your point only too painfully for being a little late to see it.

    A little over a year ago I invested 5 grand to help a talented young artist produce a high-quality CD. I reasoned I’d easily get my money back from sales at a couple of heavily promoted release parties.

    The crowds were insanely enthusiastic and supportive, but not to the point of buying CDs. We sold less than 10 at two parties attended by hundreds.

    I did not know there was a sea change in thought among music consumers under 25. It came down to two things:

    First, few even own a dedicated CD player. CDs in their thinking are data transport media, and the only “players” they own are in their computers at the dorm. I was trying to sell 8-track tapes in a cassette deck room. Only different from that.

    Because, second, why buy at all? The buying choice, as they weighed it, was “I have 10 dollars. Should I buy CD music I’ll have free in a week, or two Jägerbombs? Hmm.” For college students at a release party, the decision is a no-brainer. Anyone trying to sell a CD is going to lose big.

    This sea change happened, unfortunately, while I was napping. I wish I had known. Of course that would mean there would have been no way I would have thrown money at a recording project.

    And that brings us to a very sad downside to all this. Gone are the days that people like me will fund projects for young artists, because there are no hard goods to recoup even a portion of the money. The days of wildcatting professional producers and record shops cutting demos for young Elvises and Carl Perkinses, knowing they’ll make a few bucks back on the hard goods, are over.

  7. Knobaroo says:

    What a bunch of crap! They treat everyone as a pirate.
    First off, what happened to the right to back up your data? If my CD gets scratched by my 2 year old, and it no longer playable, will they send me a new copy?
    I know, How about in Jan. NO ONE BUYS A CD. No downloads, no outlet stores. I mean ZILCH.
    Hey Music industry! CAN YA HEAR ME NOW?
    I know you are all on the fence on this one.
    You were going to bring in the new year by rushing out and picking up the new Kelly Clakerson CD, or what ever cookie cutter, lip sink band is the flavor of the week. Resist! Just for a month. Who knows, that band may still be popular in Feb. (It could happen)
    No music in Jan. They don’t hear us. Try Feb. You got nothing to loose.

  8. RealCatholicMen says:

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    Hr’s lnk t th lgl dcmnt tht sms t b csng ll th hbbb:
    < hrf="http://www.lrwb.cm/vwLRPDF.sp?flnm=tlntc_hwll_071207RSpplmntlBrf">Spplmntl Brf

    blv th ffndng pssg mst b th n n pg 15:
    “t s ndsptd tht Dfndnt pssssd nthrzd cps f Plntffs’ cpyrghtd snd rcrdngs n hs cmptr. … nc Dfndnt cnvrtd Plntffs’ rcrdng nt th cmprssd .mp3 frmt nd thy r n hs shrd fldr, thy r n lngr th thrzd cps dstrbtd by Plntffs.” (mphss mn)

    t sms t m tht th rsn th R s cllng thm “nthrzd” s bcs thy wr n th Kz shrd fldr s MP3s, nt bcs thy wr cnvrtd t MP3 frmt. (Prsmbly w cld ls rd t t mn tht f h hd thm n sm knd f prtctd WM frmt, tht wld hv ls bn ky. Th lgl dcmnt spcfs tht th ffns s tht t ws bth n MP3 nd n th Kz fldr. t’s n “ND” cndtn, nt n “R” cndtn.)

    h wll. Th trth s lwys lss ntrstng thn th hdlns. thnk ppl (ncldng nd prbbly strtng wth th lwyr fr th dfns) r ntntnlly msrdng t n rdr t cs frr. Dn’t gt m wrng, ‘m ll n thr wth y n th whl dwn wth th R bt, gt my wn trch nd ptchfrk nd vrythng, bt ths ltst prr sms t b fctn, t lst s fr s ths cs s cncrnd.

  9. Knobaroo says:

    “Ah well. The truth is always less interesting than the headlines. I think people (including and probably starting with the lawyer for the defense) are intentionally misreading it in order to cause a furor.”

    All the better. If what you say is true, then how cool would it be to have it backfire and cost them $$$.

    Come on. Just one month!

  10. larisa0001 says:

    Still, the revisionism is interesting. And technically (speaking as a law student – this is not actual legal advice yet), she is right. You only have the right to copy your own CD to mp3′s because the record labels are kind enough to let you. If they decide to stop letting you, they can – any kind of copying (even the copying of a file into RAM when you run it on your computer) is a violation of copyright law if it is unauthorized. So, what we see is that they’ve decided to stop letting us.

    As an indie musician, though, I am tickled pink. The RIAA has shot itself in the foot again. The more silly they get, and the more they scare off customers, the more customers indie musicians like me are going to get. My CD is Creative Commons licensed. Copy it all you like. Make copies for all your friends. Put it up on Kazaa or any other filesharing service. You’ve got my permission. I will be happy to give said permission in writing to anyone who wants my CD.

    As for angels wanting to fund projects for young artists – I don’t want your funding, and I don’t want your control over my music. I made my CD myself. I didn’t even go to a recording studio. I bought $500 worth of recording equipment, spent a month or so learning how to use it, set it up and recorded my music. I did not have to give up one iota of creative control – it’s all mine, even the cover art. I never had to beg a record producer to produce my music. I never had to send out unsolicited submissions to anyone. I never had to sign any kind of contract with anyone. And I don’t want to. I’m doing just fine, thank you very much.

  11. Skeeter Holler says:

    As for angels wanting to fund projects for young artists – I don’t want your funding, and I don’t want your control over my music. I made my CD myself. I didn’t even go to a recording studio. I bought $500 worth of recording equipment, spent a month or so learning how to use it, set it up and recorded my music.

    You may be a home recording phenom, but with $500 worth of gear and a month of learning I doubt many people can produce inspiring results.

    Which brings up another point. “Funding angels” aren’t the only loss. Without hard goods revenue, experienced, talented studio whiz producers aren’t going to stay in the business. No more George Martins, Phil Spectors, Mutt Langes and Tom Dowds. Quality is going to have to take a hit.

    And the only way musicians can eke out a living (except for the top tier few who can move a little product) will be on the road, or by taking in students. The days of wand’ring minstrels return.

    Instead of a new cultural golden age, technology and the death of hard goods may be ushering in a Brave New Middle Ages.

  12. sonny p fontaine says:

    Well gee skeeter, from the tone of your comment you certainly seem qualified to speak of the middle ages. whats wrong with taking it to the road. that is certainly how it worked before rock and roll. I know many several musicians that create beauty and quality with $500 worth of equipment and gobs of spirit. I also know arena rock dinosaur producers that are still locked in their cocaine haze daze who will never understand the problem they begot. the money still exists in different places. and another thing, maybe instead of decrying the state of the industry, it should instead be quantified to discover the american idol genres that the sales belong to. It seems to me that there has always been truth in the creation of sounds as well as crap.

  13. WassabiCracka says:

    Ripping CDs on to your computer is covered by the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992, and transitory copies (RAM) are excepted under the law as well. 17 U.S.C. Sec. 1008. Even without the AHRA ripping is easily qualifiable as Fair Use as long as it is for a non-commercial purpose. See Also RIAA v. Diamond Multimedia Systems, Inc. (C.D. Cal. 1998). I had to go to the deepest bowels of my basement to find my old Copyright Law textbook LOL.

  14. danegeld says:

    #35, #41, Skeeter, you need to adapt your model a bit, eg. to make money you need to be selling the tickets and staffing the bar + making live recordings from the shows if you’re recording at all.

  15. PaulT says:

    #35 – oh, how wrong you are…

    Yes, it’s true that there has been a sea change against physical media amongst the college-aged crowd. It’s a shame that you didn’t see this happening before getting the CDs pressed, but that shouldn’t be the end of the story:

    First, you’re assuming that the reason why people were not buying CDs was because they were just going to download for free later on. What if they were thinking “I don’t have enough cash tonight, I’ll get a couple of beers now, then buy the album from their website”? Was the album on the website to download, or at iTunes/Amazon/eMusic/Napster/etc…?

    If not, there’s the problem. You wasted some capital pressing physical media that your target audience weren’t interested in. However, it’s wrong to extend that into “nobody wants to buy music”. Look to the future, I suggest at least the following:

    You have a recording. use it. Forget the CDs – though you can offer the CDs for $5 on the band’s website (they do have a website, don’t they? Big problem if not…). More importantly, use the recording. Use a song as promotion through a free podcast (e.g. Indiefeed, KEXP, KCRW) or music blog, linking back to ways to pay for the rest of the album.

    Get the CD onto a retailer’s site – iTunes, Amazon and eMusic are the biggest right now, but try and get it onto others. Try Magnatune – where customers name their own price. If that doesn’t work, try the NIN/Radiohead model – many customers will pay something if you tell them to pay what they want. Yes, some of what’s suggested here involves giving something away for free, but that doesn’t mean you can’t recoup losses from the CDs – free promotion is promotion after all.

    In short, you made a bad investment by pushing money into a shrinking market (CD sales) among a demographic that has no interest in that market. True, you tried selling 8-tracks to a cassette market – why not move onto cassettes?

    If the band generated the buzz it did, giving up after not selling a few CDs rather than switching to digital downloads is suicide. To qualify a few of my statements – I am a massive fan of music, spending at least $60/month on music. It’s been at least 2 years since I’ve bought anything from the RIAA and I never buy CDs. I should be the prime demographic for that band – list their site and I’ll go there. Give me a way to listen to and buy their music that doesn’t involve going to a particular bar and buying CD, and I might do so.

  16. izzzzy says:

    Isyhere a t shirt of the image RIAA screwing artists and consumers scince 1952? There should be.

  17. nicheplayer says:

    Shouldn’t Jennifer be on some sort of professional hook as a lawyer for making statements like this? I mean, can you contradict the court record this way, or is it simply a matter of the RIAA changing its mind?

  18. Skeeter Holler says:

    @#42

    “Well gee skeeter, from the tone of your comment you certainly seem qualified to speak of the middle ages. “

    I have no idea what you’re talking about.

    Now you kids get out of my yard. And I’m keeping the soccer ball. If you want it back, you can tell your parents to come see me.

    @#45

    We did make the album available digitally, and did sell a few more that way. But only a few. Eventually we released it free as a way to help the artist make more per gig. (I get no cut of that, and didn’t and wouldn’t ask for a cut. I understand some record companies are starting to in new contracts.)

    Since music is freely and uncontrollably shared (and I have no problem with that), digital sales are the equivalent of an honor system. I’m not sure that’s realistic or workable today, even if we turned the world into a giant parochial school.

    It’s a whole new paradigm. The evergreen cliche “the genie’s out of the bottle” is true, and I accept it; everyone’s just going to have to adapt.

    Music itself won’t go away of course. Even if the radio airplay and chart system completely collapses, there will still be hit songs. There were “hits” even in the Middle Ages. I’m just not optimistic they’ll be revenue sources for anyone.

    It’ll be interesting how it all works out over the next few years.

  19. Jellytoes says:

    Face it…in the end it will either be “Play-Per-Pay”….or….the “Library System”.

    Right now the “musicians” are accustomed to making a great deal more than the Library model would ever provide. Yet the reality is that the Library model is the only one that really works – unless you call the current lawsuit-insanity “working”.

    If the musicians can accept a “living”, a very generous living the rest of us will never experience than we might come out of this with a viable system.

    But if the musicians demand a “coke-fed haze of Mercedes, hotels and bimbos” than we will continue to have this fight.

    As the population increases and the carrying capacity is breached the musicians will find their audience choosing heat and food for themselves – not supporting the “boozy-babe” parties.

    This will happen when the parents decide they owe they kids heat, food and education – but not CDs.

  20. z7q2 says:

    @#47

    It’s a whole new paradigm.

    Right! And you know one of the best ways to use it? Embrace it! Abandon the controlled environment of the album and go with immediate distribution of your work as a promotional device.

    Think of it as blogging. Bloggers are writers who write every day and publish immediately. As a musician you can do the same. The minute you write a song, put the demo on the web. As you work on it and revise it, keep putting the versions on the web. People will tune in and become part of the process. Don’t wait for an album’s worth of ‘worthy’ material to accumulate before you publish, publish every day, something, anything, like TMBG do with Dial-a-Song.

    Show your worth as a musician and an artist and make stuff continuously. Work hard, 10, 12 hours a day, and make something every day, and publish it. Feed your fans, they will do your promotional work for you.

    To make money, put a PayPal link on your site and ask people to give you money if they like your work. They will if you’re good. Sell T-Shirts and compilations right off your site. This is where the real money is. Do it all yourself, it’s part of your job. Stuff the envelopes and process the checks and go to the post office every day. Record every live show you do and sell those for cheap. Put videos of your shows on YouTube, it’s free. Put some live shows on archive.org. Use the paradigm for all it’s worth.

    Don’t be fussy, don’t be picky, and most important, don’t be a spoiled musician who thinks fame should be handed to them by the music industry. Go out and make it yourself.

  21. Scientyst says:

    Yeah, the fact that they’ve completely about-faced on this total bad faith?

  22. ukcannonfodder says:

    imo: riaa, mpaa its the same companies wanting the same goals “multiple licences”. they use piracy to scare monger ppl then make DRM, secuROM, xcp, ect and sell it to movie/game/cd makers and get paid from all sides and get fat while its the consumers that lose out as we are told we are pirates by sony for wanting to play our legally purchased cd’s on our ipods because sony want 1 licence per device per user to quadruple their profits from each household, kinda like the military industrial complex.

    funny look on copywrite:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJn_jC4FNDo

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKI_w_VBoTQ

    http://www.boingboing.net/2007/12/29/ste…rt.html

    The RIAA Soundexchange Are: SONY, UNIVERSAL, WARNER GROUP, EMI.

    The MPAA Are: SONY, UNIVERSAL, WARNER GROUP, DISNEY, PARAMOUNT, FOX.

  23. husayndas says:

    How long until the only way to listen to music legally will be from a personal CD player on inner-ear headphones, with noise canceling headphones on top of them to make sure that no hint of music escapes them to the outside world?

  24. belchy says:

    “Which brings up another point. “Funding angels” aren’t the only loss. Without hard goods revenue, experienced, talented studio whiz producers aren’t going to stay in the business. No more George Martins, Phil Spectors, Mutt Langes and Tom Dowds. Quality is going to have to take a hit.”

    Isn’t the existence of mp3s already testimony to this? Many people, myself included, are willing to sacrifice some quality in sound if it means they can carry every song they ever heard in their pockets.

  25. Purly says:

    That’s just silly. There’s no way it’s illegal to listen to music you already own in any format you want. Just look at the slingbox.

  26. PaulT says:

    @Skeeter (#45):

    “We did make the album available digitally, and did sell a few more that way. But only a few. Eventually we released it free as a way to help the artist make more per gig. (I get no cut of that, and didn’t and wouldn’t ask for a cut. I understand some record companies are starting to in new contracts.)”

    OK, glad to hear that you weren’t one of these guys who try once and then give up, and I know it’s frustrating if the band’s eventual success isn’t shared with you financially. Maybe if you had realised the market, your strategy would have differed and you’d be sitting on a nice profit now, it’s a damn shame you weren’t successful and spurred on to make similar investments.

    I do have a couple of small questions, though. First, I notice that you’ve made several posts without mentioning the band’s name or URL. Was this deliberate or an oversight? I’ve seen several posts on a number of blogs recently from people bemoaning their bands’ lack of success without ever thinking of promoting the band within their message. I don’t know if there’s areason why you haven’t mentioned who you helped promote, but if not why not plug them here?

    Do you get a cut of CDs sold at gigs now? Also, was your payment just for the CD pressing or the recording session. Do you get a cut of the sale if a non-CD recording were to be sold (see my next point)?

    Finally, is there a way to pay the band for the album if I were to download it and like it? There’s a trick missing if not. Case in point: I listen to a lot of independent music but can’t make it to local gigs because I currently live in the south of Spain, 800 miles from Barcelona (the closest that most international acts make it to me). Clearly, I can’t support the band via gigs and CDs would be inconvenient to have delivered. So, if I were to stumble across the band and wished to support them, is there a donation or digital purchase option? If not, you may well be missing an interesting revenue stream.

  27. Chevan says:

    It’s worth noting that the problem in the Jeffrey Howell case, which opens the Washington Post article, was that he placed his ripped files into a KaZaA shared folder, not just that he ripped them.

    Still, that doesn’t mean Sony’s litigation head isn’t being ridiculous. Ripping for personal use has a long history of “legal” rulings.

  28. Hans says:

    How long until the only way to listen to music legally will be from a personal CD player on inner-ear headphones, with noise canceling headphones on top of them to make sure that no hint of music escapes them to the outside world?

    I checked. That’s slated for a week from Tuesday.

  29. hpavc says:

    The quote of hers ‘I suppose we can say’ seems to give her a lot of wiggle room. When asked questions often you will make hypotheticals and keeping context is important. A lengthier and richer quote would have been nice.

    Not that I am pro industry.

  30. MacBastard says:

    We just need to make sure we protect ourselves from a legal standpoint long enough for the major labels to die. It’s going to happen sooner than we think.

    I just read an article saying that CD sales during the holiday shopping period were down 20% over last year’s numbers. The biggest selling CD right now is frickin’ Josh Groban, and it’s his Xmas album.

    One could hope the labels become desperate enough to start selling DRM-free tracks directly to people online if it keeps going like this. Realistically, I expect them to fall on their sword and die before they release anything completely DRM-free.

  31. MacBastard says:

    Actually, I should have said Sony/BMG where I wrote “major labels”. As all of you smart cookies out there (smarter than me, anyway) already know, 3 of the big labels do distribute DRM-free tracks on a limited basis.

    I still think it’s too little, too late for them all, though.

  32. OneHandedBandit says:

    This is exactly the sort of thing I studied in college. I was a music industry major and the view that I was taught as the legal stance of indiviual duplication for personal use and not disribution is the RIAA’s previous statement. This new one is absurd. The Home Recording Act of 1992 supports that once you purchase a CD it is your property to do with as you see fit, barring mass distribution, sampling etc. It is LEGAL to resell it if you don’t like it at a garage sale, rip it to your computer, burn a copy for your car and even a couple of friends a copy. The reason online sites got nailed was people cause people sharing the music had no tangible relationship. They didn’t know each other. If your mom wants a copy, its within your rights to give her one, or just a couple songs. If this woman is correct, then I wasted a lot of money on college.

  33. Skeeter Holler says:

    @ Pault #51

    I do have a couple of small questions, though. First, I notice that you’ve made several posts without mentioning the band’s name or URL. Was this deliberate or an oversight?

    Deliberate in the sense of not knowing if BoingBoing’s PTBs frown on links, and wanting to stay anonymous myself. But, here it is. You can download the whole thing here:

    http://www.explo-sound.com

    The artist’s name is Chris Bartlett. Habersham Hall, a veteran commercial radio and audio producer, engineered and produced. Most was done in Hall’s own home studio. All the strings, drums, bass, and keyboards are done with soft synth products. Hall “humanized” all the tracks to avoid sterile programmed sounds. (Can you tell I have a lot of interest in the tech side?) It’s a big sound for a fairly modest production. Chris wrote everything and played all guitar tracks.

    I wonder if the big classic sound didn’t put some people off, who have come to expect garage band sounds from Indie labels now.

    Do you get a cut of CDs sold at gigs now? Also, was your payment just for the CD pressing or the recording session. Do you get a cut of the sale if a non-CD recording were to be sold (see my next point)?

    Chris gets all profits from his live show sales now. I get a cut of online and retail, including digital sales, if any. I paid session expenses and CD pressing, plus art.

    Finally, is there a way to pay the band for the album if I were to download it and like it?

    Yes, there are links on the aforementioned site.

    I listen to a lot of independent music but can’t make it to local gigs

    That’s too bad; Chris is really engaging live, very dynamic and fun. Most of his shows now are done solo acoustic, which has a lot of advantages for a wand’ring minstrel (ahem, excuse the callback)–toss the gig bag in the trunk, along with a modest PA system, and off he goes. He mostly plays around Georgia (his home state) and the southeast USA. I think he’s working full time too, or was planning to the last time we spoke.

  34. mysedentarylife says:

    I’m always torn when it comes to this issue. As a music fan, I’m all for music becoming less expensive and easier to share. And if I pay for it once, it should be mine to put on my computer.

    As a indie musician, however, it’s scary to think that the value of recorded material is being reduced to zero very quickly. Sure, most musicians don’t make music just for the money, but it’s difficult to continue making music for a living if no one is buying it. How can I get someone to buy my cd if most people think paying for it is a silly idea and they can rip it instantaneously from friends?

  35. larisa0001 says:

    Skeeter – no, of course it’s not professional-quality quite yet. But it’s not bad. People are willing to pay good money for it – I’ve sold enough of these discs to recoup my costs and then some. I’ve even had it featured on a radio station. Listen to my recording at http://www.cdbaby.com/migachyov . As a professional, you’ll probably be able to find numerous flaws in the recording; but for all that, it’s not bad for a $500 investment.

    A lot of my friends are also making home recordings, or going to recording studios themselves and producing their own discs. Ragtime musicians, especially, cannot get the record industry interested in their music even if they wanted to (who listens to ragtime these days?). Most of them go to recording studios, pay for studio time, and make recordings which they then sell at ragtime festivals across the country. To my semi-educated ear, all of them sound quite good. Another friend of mine is a folk musician; she recorded her own CD in her living room. That also sounds really good.

    Sure, if you’ve got something hideously complicated to record – a full orchestra and a 200-member choir – you need to call in the professionals. But for a little solo piano recording? Nonsense.

  36. Lee S says:

    I’m just going to stop buying CD’s and DVD’s
    (unless purchased directly from the artist)
    until this RIAA corporate insanity runs its course.
    I make my living a musician and I gave up dealing with and believing in record companies after getting screwed by Warner Bros.

    Let the boycott begin

  37. Halloween Jack says:

    It’s like Sony has a corporate anthem titled “How Can I Be Stupid Today?”, and everyone has to sing it first thing in the morning.

  38. Riblets says:

    “How long until the only way to listen to music legally will be from a personal CD player on inner-ear headphones, with noise canceling headphones on top of them to make sure that no hint of music escapes them to the outside world?”

    Don’t forget Pay per play.

  39. Xopher says:

    Death to big fat record labels. They’ve lied, cheated, stolen, and gouged for their entire existance, which I deeply hope is drawing to a close. I just hope they don’t succeed in forcing the low-level employees to buy all the stock just before it tanks.

    And she can say whatever stupid thing she wants, but it doesn’t have the force of law unless she’s writing for the majority of the SCOTUS (or relevant jurisdictional court).

    I wonder if she even meant that the way it sounded. Is she really claiming that I should have to buy a separate copy of all my music for each device I own? Is she saying I have to repurchase everything when I upgrade my iPod? Even for an RIAA lawyer, that’s a stretch.

    OTOH, if she did mean it, we’ve just acquired an example of the difference between absurd (their previous stance) and patently absurd (their current one).

  40. Svein Olav Nyberg says:

    Skeeter Holler has good points, though they are uncomfortable. Music as a total will quite probably bring in less revenue in the future, and much music will no longer be. A fair chunk of it will be “good riddance” stuff, but some of it will be music some of us cherish – or would have cherished. True, some new music will bloom, but I think the net total will be a minus. Just one man’s uneducated guess based on his own stingyness vis-a-vis shareware he uses …

    But none the less, music is not all that is good in life. Freedom and privacy matters more.

    As an aside, I am trying to keep track of downloadable music both commercial and non-commercial:

    http://www.poeten.no/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=67645

    Email me tips at apeiron8 swingyalpha gmail period com.

  41. Foxhearstherabbit says:

    What if you buy a cd and then learn one of the songs and play it on your piano to yourself. Youve changed the format of the song (in a way not logically dissimilar to that ripping an MP3 file from a plastic disk) and then reproduced its content.

    How might the RIAA respond to that? By sending an officer to confiscate my piano and bill me $700?

  42. dannysland says:

    How can I get someone to buy my cd if most people think paying for it is a silly idea and they can rip it instantaneously from friends?

    I feel for you, but that ship has sailed. While you weren’t looking, CDs changed from being products to promotional tools for your music career. What you’re asking is: “Why should I make business cards if people can just scan them and get them from friends?” People sharing your business cards is good for business. If you want to continue to sell product, you can sell CDs and t-shirts at your live shows.

    Or you can continue to make horseshoes until this whole horseless carriage fad blows over.

  43. Crash says:

    #54 (Svein): In a sense what you are describing is analogous to the historical displacement of hand craftsmanship by mass production in the Industrial Revolution. A lot of artisans were thrown out of work, but consumer goods became cheaper for everyone else, ending in a net benefit for society.

  44. Bottlekid says:

    Here’s an amazing story about how one record label (Victory) treated it’s artists:

    http://thetrc.net/victory.html

  45. pahool says:

    It’s still on their website if you know where to look:

    http://www.riaa.org/faq.php11. How is downloading music different from copying a personal CD?

    Record companies have never objected to someone making a copy of a CD for their own personal use. We want fans to enjoy the music they bought legally. But both copying CDs to give to friends and downloading music illegally rob the people who created that music of compensation for their work. When record companies are deprived of critical revenue, they are forced to lay off employees, drop artists from their rosters, and sign fewer bands. That’s bad news for the music industry, but ultimately bad news for fans as well. We all benefit from a vibrant music industry committed to nurturing the next generation of talent.

  46. mullingitover says:

    I fully support the torches-and-pitchforks approach to the RIAA, but isn’t this quote being taken out of context?

    I was under the impression that what happened was the copies were made, legally, but they became illegal when they were shared online? Can you guys be a bit more thorough with the background research before you start forming a lynch mob?

  47. anthropomorphictoast says:

    DRM will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes. *shakes fist*

  48. Skeeter Holler says:

    @ #52 Larisa

    Listen to my recording at http://www.cdbaby.com/migachyov . As a professional, you’ll probably be able to find numerous flaws in the recording; but for all that, it’s not bad for a $500 investment.

    That’s quite good! With a genre like that you have a niche you can market it to, and that’s a plus.

    I wouldn’t critique the quality–the sound is actually a good match for the music. If it were too polished or slickly mastered it might lose charm. If you hadn’t told me, I might even guess you did it on purpose for the ambience.

    By the way, you had me at “Heliotrope Bouquet.” I wish you much success.

  49. danegeld says:

    Ten or fifteen years ago, CDs were a commodity since it wasn’t practical to copy music at home. The record companies did actually perform a useful job in duplicating high quality sound recordings in a way people couldn’t do for themselves. Now we’ve all got the ability to duplicate audio at our fingertips the record companies are redundant. That’s just simple economics and a pattern that repeats throughout history.
    Prosecuting people for ripping music to computer is not a million miles away from the practice in the middle ages of prosecuting the people who translated the Bible from Latin to English … the middle men never like being cut out of the loop.

  50. ponzo says:

    RIAA statements like this show that it is obvious that the music industry feels that they are now in a position both to dictate and interpret the law, and the scary thing is that they might not be wrong, given the unwillingness of our “representatives” in Congress to protect our rights over the music executives’ greed.

    For a while now, I’ve been trying to buy only indie music. This morning, after being outraged by this story, I found a great tool to help determine if an artist is affiliated with the RIAA: RIAA Radar. It’s basically a database of labels and bands, and whether or not they are members of the RIAA; it will even look up releases by UPC. I’m going to run every potential purchase through it from now on.

    (I might be late in finding this, and everyone already knows about it, but it’s worth sharing anyway.)

  51. Matthew Miller says:

    How can I get someone to buy my cd if most people think paying for it is a silly idea and they can rip it instantaneously from friends?

    Those people were going to do that anyway — and 90% of them would never have heard of you otherwise. Now you have the chance to make new fans who might go to one of your shows or buy a CD to show support.

  52. larisa0001 says:

    Music as a total will quite probably bring in less revenue in the future, and much music will no longer be. A fair chunk of it will be “good riddance” stuff, but some of it will be music some of us cherish – or would have cherished. True, some new music will bloom, but I think the net total will be a minus. Just one man’s uneducated guess based on his own stingyness vis-a-vis shareware he uses …

    I think the gain outweighs the loss, and that the net result will be more music being produced. Music may bring in less revenue, but it also now costs a lot less to produce it. It is now entirely possible to record a near-professional-quality CD in one’s own living room, and not worry too much about making one’s entire living from it. Musicians who can’t get the major studios interested in their music can now make their own CD’s. The result will be more variety, more individuality, more diversity in the types of music being produced. Compare the offerings on CDBaby with the offerings by Sony or any other RIAA-affiliated company. CDBaby is a lot more eclectic and, quite frankly, a lot more interesting.

  53. ripley says:

    Larisa (being a law student myself, I can only ask), are we sure that technically we only have the right to personal copies because the companies let us?

    Didn’t the supreme court affirm the right to make personal copies in SONY v. Betamax? Doesn’t that overrule the wishes of the companies involved?

    But even beyond that, in physical property, once you allow people to trespass, over time it can become an easement, whereby the “trespassers” come to rely on the access they have been granted. After some amount of time, property law affirms this right of non-owners to use/access/trespass, even when it is not explicit in a license or deed. So could that be the case here?

  54. gitaiba says:

    How can I get someone to buy my cd if most people think paying for it is a silly idea and they can rip it instantaneously from friends?

    I’ve got news for you. Under the old system, you couldn’t have made money on your first two or three CDs anyhow, as you’d still be paying back the advance that the record company gave you, starting with the approximately $300,000 cost of recording. That’s assuming that you reached the sales necessary for the record company to agree to record your second and third albums, of course, and as they view you as a commodity, selling fewer than 100,000 copies, even if you’re critically acclaimed, would mean they’d drop you like a hooker with leprosy.

    Instead, you have to do this on your own. You play a lot of shows, finance your own recording (you can remaster later, after you’re successful), manage your website well, tour when you can, sell t-shirts, and really, CDs are sold pretty much only on tour. If you’ve got really good live shows, you record, burn, and sell CDs of each concert at that show (there are bands already doing this), and that helps make future shows more popular, and earns you a fat profit margin on each unit, even if it’s only $10/CD. Hell, maybe you’re even smarter, and you just sell a code that can be used later that night to download a recording.

    So, now CDs won’t be your main revenue source, even in digitally distributed forms. The stats show that your dedicated fans will buy your music because they love you, and casual listeners will steal it. In the meantime, whatever drives them to buy your t-shirts, play your songs on internet radio, and show up at concerts is good for you, even if it’s a loss leader.

  55. paulinadrum says:

    How can I get someone to buy my cd if most people think paying for it is a silly idea and they can rip it instantaneously from friends?

    Those people were going to do that anyway — and 90% of them would never have heard of you otherwise. Now you have the chance to make new fans who might go to one of your shows or buy a CD to show support.

    This has been my realization as an indie (unsigned/broke) musician. There’s no way to stop people, and it’s far more valuable at this point to get the music out there. Eventually, if someone really loves it they will buy it. I’ve found so much great music this way and was able to buy it myself because I didn’t waste it on bad purchases.

  56. Captaintripps says:

    Y’know, I understand why we have a trade association. It even brings some non-intellectual property benefits to the table. But years of lawsuits and moronic statements and actions like this make anything good member labels try to do look bad. They just do.

  57. akbrit says:

    So, if I buy MP3′s from Itunes, or where ever, and then do a full backup of my computer, thus making a copy am I to be frowned on by the RIAA for that as well? The music industry needs to get with the times. If I buy music then I should be able to do whatever I want with it. There is no EULA when I buy it. Go after the real pirates not the end users. Jeez. Why is it that the bug businesses around creative arts are still in the 60s. They need to pay the writters for TV shown online too.

  58. Svein Olav Nyberg says:

    @54 Crash and @57 Larisa: It will depend on the music. I tried listing some favourite bands of mine, and tried guessing what would happen if revenues dropped out as if a plug was pulled out at the bottom of a bucket.

    Rock&Blues: I think rock will do just about like now. Boys and guitars will find each other and compete in guitar mastery regardless of future revenue. But some bands may be lost, like Metallica. Studio quality will probably go down, as Skeeter indicated, and pricier equipment will probably never make up for the difference.

    Classical: Tends to be expensive to set up, with orchestras and all. But then again, it’s universally subsidized, and classical listeners seem to be the kind of people who would like to pay. I fear we’ll be stuck with Mediaeval Babes, though.

    Alternative: The big winner, probably, since it doesn’t live on revenue anyway.

    Pop: The big loser. Though pop is generally derided among intellectuals for being easy listening, there actually is a fair bit of worthwhile pop. Which would get lost. We wouldn’t get Pet Shop Boys, actually, which would be a loss in my eyes … ears. The grey zone between pop and rock will also suffer, since it has many willing listeners but not all that many willing payers.

    Relax: Relax tapes and CDs are damn easy to make, according to a friend of mine who’s made some, and used to be easy money when people paid full and ordinary CD price for them.

    In a few years, we’ll probably have statistics. I solemnly promise to eat a pound of chocolate cake if my predictions are wrong. Heck, I’ll even double that! And I won’t get off the couch to turn off the movie marathon I now also promise to watch while eating the chocolate cake — until the two pounds of chocolate cake are eaten. Excemption for toilet breaks, though.

  59. WassabiCracka says:

    Out of curiosity, how am I supposed to get my CD collection onto my MP3 player? Do they want consumers to choose between buying CDs and MP3s? I don’t think that’s going to work out for them. Time-shifting is supported by case-precedent. I believe the DMCA allows an individual to make a digital backup. If I was sued because they somehow figured out I had ripped my CDs onto my harddrive (presumably by snooping, otherwise they wouldn’t know until my hard-drive was mirrored for trial) I would enjoin MICROSOFT because they are the primary purveyors of the technology which enabled me to ‘rip’ the music (every windows machine comes pre-installed with Microsoft Media Player). Microsoft certainly has more money to fight these silly claims than I do. This is the slippery slope feared by Justice Brandeis.

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