Is there a Double Agent at the RIAA?

Courtesy of Radley Balko, we learn that the RIAA is taking after a girl too sick and too poor to defend herself.  At this point, one wonders if there’s someone at the RIAA trying to take it down from the inside through bad publicity.

Going after sick people and children, it just leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths.  And, if I were a recording artist, I guess I’d want to know where the hell the big successes were.  After all, how many lectures have we had to sit through year after year during the Grammy Awards about what a big problem illegal downloading is and how it’s ruining the industry?

And the biggest villians they can come up with, year after year, seem to be children.

I know everyone knows the problem, but let me just reiterate it.  Whether or not it’s true, everyone assumes that record companies have artists trapped in unfair contracts in which the record companies get rich and only a very lucky few artists do.  Music piracy doesn’t feel like stealing; it feels like sticking it to the record companies.  After all, we are showing our solidarity to the artist, by listening to her music.

Having the record companies, or another big faceless entity like the RIAA, go after children doesn’t do much to show the general public that those attitudes are wrong.

The education is going to have to come at an artist level.

Look at the whole Amanda Palmer incident.  Her label acted like gigantic piggish assholes (“my favorite quote from that meeting: ‘i’m a guy, amanda. i understand what people like.'”), and people were rightly outraged.  They wanted to figure out how to support Palmer and show their disdain for her record company.  But how to do that?

Amanda Palmer’s people explain:

If you are new to Amanda’s music and you wish to listen/buy some of it, please do not punish her financially for her label’s sins by stealing it off the internet. Buying her music from her website will ensure that the largest % of profit goes to her.

Ta Da! It wasn’t the point of the whole thing, but now people who want to support Palmer know how to do so both in spirit and financially.

Why is that such a hard message for the RIAA to formulate and get out?

One thought on “Is there a Double Agent at the RIAA?

  1. The RIAA is evil. It makes me literally ill that I supported the industry as a whole as long as I did. They’ve shot themselves in the foot a thousand times over in the last few years with their ridiculousness. Rather than approach the perceived problems in a positive manner and do something possibly productive to staunch the bleeding of their profits, they have managed to piss off pretty much nearly all of the music buying public to the point where many now go out of their way NOT to buy music by traditional means.

    That’s not to say everyone’s doing it illegally. Plenty enough are doing just like I do – I will go out of my WAY to purchase music from artists directly and those that are making arrangements to sell their music semi-directly. And barring that availability, I just “rent” my music instead via one of the services. The majors may still be getting a little of my money, but I will be damned if I buy another traditionally marketed CD again (and frankly haven’t in years).

    One of the biggest MP3 releases and downloads of this year was from an artist who recorded the release in his basement one week, sent it to an indie distributor that weekend, and it was up for download on Amazon on Monday morning. The majority of the proceeds went to the artist, and a subsequent release the next week was priced with two options – 99 cents or $5-ish for the same release. I paid the higher option and was happy to do so.

    Another band I support is selling their old tracks directly from them on MySpace – all of their old tracks except the ones off one album, which was held hostage by their old label until earlier this year when they finally agreed to lease the rights to an independent distributor. But at least they are able to get nearly all the proceeds for the others themselves. And I will absolutely go out of my way to purchase music by those and similar means when I can, from anyone I’m interested in having their music.

    And this is coming from someone who supported the music industry for a long, long time – as a consumer who owns a collection bigger than most record stores, as someone whose done more unpaid promotion of music than most paid promoters, and as someone who worked in retail music – all three.

    The traditional industry and the RIAA deserves every bad and negative thing that’s coming to it after what they’ve done. They could have done something positive and productive to staunch the flow of the “bleeding” of profits long ago, and instead they have gone to war against their own people – the music buying public – tortured some of them with legal and financial disasters, and alienated most the rest of us to the point where we’ll have as little as possible to do with the traditional industry and go out of our way to do so. How stupid is that?

    For well over 35 years, nearly ALL of my truly disposable income went to buying music. I had literally thousands of records, tapes, CDs.

    I haven’t bought a new CD in at least five years. 90% of the music I’ve bought in that time has been from artists direct. And on purpose, because of stuff like what you wrote about here.

    The industry deserves everything it gets. Maybe someone will wake up before it’s bled totally to death.

    It’s just gotten out of hand, all of it’s so Big Brother-ish and insane. I just got hit with a copyright block by YouTube on two videos I had up with the permission, and basically at the request, of the artists that wrote and recorded the songs… and they were labeled as such. The copyright complaint’s not about the videos – it’s about the music – I could put them back up muted, sans music, and they’d let it alone. We’ll probably get them back up – their manager’s going to investigate what we need to do about a release and all that – but it’s just more ridiculousness when the artists that wrote and performed the song are basically going to have to fight to get their own music unblocked on YouTube. Sigh.

    OK, off my soapbox now, sorry – hit one of my most major nerves.

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