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What would the world be like if you had to dredge up decent music for yourself?
Hell 0%
Hell in a handbasket 23%
I can't bear to think about it 5%
I lack the imagination to envision such a world 17%
Before I answer, I want two more points and a reworking of the rider 52%

Votes: 17

 Reexamining the Recording Industry

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Jan 06, 2002
In recent years, the Recording Industry has come under heavy critical fire from many quarters. We have heard that the quality of the product is in decline, that the prices for records are too high, that profits all too often end up in the wrong hands, and that the whole industry, as it stands, ought to be torn to bits and rebuilt from the ground up.

After a close examination of several of the issues that have been raised, one thing should become quite clear: the Recording Industry is probably the best thing that has ever happened, both to the professional musician and to the average music lover alike.

A series in three parts


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Part I
Distinguishing the Music Industry from the Recording Industry.

Let's take a close look at the music business without the Recording Industry. This is the world of live performance, and of self-produced recordings. This is an industry that you will not find in record stores or on the radio. This is the world of wedding bands. This is the world of crap punk rock played for naught but a few free drinks at your local tavern. Ten years ago, this was the world of shoddy demo tapes. Today, it is the world of shoddy CDRs. This world is a wasteland.

The musicians in this world are lucky to make two hundred American dollars a month from their musical efforts. They have other jobs by day, and so must sacrifice a considerable portion of their social life if they intend to put in the practice time that is necessary to play music of any quality, let alone write original music of any merit.

The music fan in this world is lucky to hear one decent performance each week. This fan is lucky to find three enjoyable CDR recordings in a year. The avid enthusiast in this world will spend more than one hundred American dollars in a month to gain admittance to "inexpensive" live performances of music of dubious quality by musicians with no contractual obligations to the Recording Industry.

Trust me, this is a world you don't want to live in. If you don't believe me, try going out to three shows by unsigned artists each week. Contact a record company, and ask them if they've got any unsolicited demo tapes you can take off their hands (the receptionist probably has a big box of them near her desk). Listen to those instead of records marketed by the Recording Industry. Instead of the radio, you may download and play unsigned music from See how long you last.

This ugly world is where the Recording Industry does half of its job, and it does it on your behalf. It watches and listens to an enormous amount of dreck, and sorts out the tolerable from the unbearable. This takes a lot of time. The other half of the job the Recording Industry does is done on behalf of the musician and composer. What the Recording Industry knows, and the public often forgets, is that music is not bought; it is sold. The Recording Industry goes to considerable effort to sell music. For starters, it calls up every radio station and record store in the nation, gets to know the staff, and makes a personal pitch, to everyone who might be interested, on behalf of each and every one of the artists on its roster. This, too, takes a lot of time. Time that has to be paid for. When you purchase a CD from the Recording Industry, you must realize that you are paying for much more than the cost of the physical object. The price of renting a studio full of equipment, hiring the services of someone who knows how to use the gear, commissioning some original artwork, and manufacturing the final product, is, at the end of the day, an inconsequential fraction of the expense that the Recording Industry incurs as it attempts to get music that you like into your hands, and a living wage into the hands of the artist.

The next time you or someone you know might consider stealing music from the Recording Industry, remember this: in a world without the Recording Industry, you could spend sixty American dollars to buy a ticket to a concert by a popular group like Radiohead*, and listen to two hours of music performed live. With the help of the Recording Industry, however, you can spend less than sixty American dollars to own every recording by Radiohead that has ever been released, and listen to all of them whenever you want to. Which is the better value?

In the next part of this series, we will examine the misunderstood history of technology in the Music Industry, and in the final installment, we will scrutinize a few examples often cited in the debate, including the cases of Ani DiFranco, The Grateful Dead, and Courtney Love.


* Radiohead is just an example here. This is not a debate about Radiohead. Please, for the love of all you hold dear, spare us your opinion of Radiohead.


excellent article (none / 0) (#2)
by motherfuckin spork on Sun Jan 6th, 2002 at 07:32:30 PM PST
however, I must say that the music industry that has not been embraced by the recording industry is not all, by default, crap. There is definitely a line that a band must cross that causes them to become attractive to a label. There are many excellent bands across different genres - what many of these bands lacks is that extra edge that can make them commercially successful. And lot of these bands are happy that they are not. It might seem a bit snobbish, but some of these bands feel that they are more true to their music by not being signed.

Also, one can make a more than decent living with music, particularly if they can teach and give lessons, or are arrangers. I know of at least two luthiers that also play professionally on the local scene.

But anyway, enought of my ramblings - you make some excellent points about the industry and their purpose. I look forward to your further installments to this series.

I am not who you think I am.

You're a bit off-topic. (5.00 / 1) (#3)
by RobotSlave on Sun Jan 6th, 2002 at 09:33:01 PM PST
Look, any long-haired pot-smoker can make a living fixing up the crummy guitars of teen-agers who want to be rock stars, and assume the title of a "Luthier."

We're not discussing the money to be made exploiting the day-dreams of would-be rock stars. Lessons, equipment sales, cd production in batches of 1000-- all that crap is valid business, and the people who do it are competent tradesmen. But they do not earn their living composing or performing good music, or getting decent recordings of that music into the hands of the average person.

As to bands that take pride in not making a living with their music-- well, if they can't make more than a penny or two, then they might as well pretend that that's what they intended all along, right? This notion of being "truer to their music" if the music fails to support itself just doesn't stand up to examination.

If a band is any good, then there is at least one Record Company out there that can find them, and find enough fans to make the music a commercial success.

© 2002, RobotSlave. You may not reproduce this material, in whole or in part, without written permission of the owner.

You're full of crap. (none / 0) (#12)
by Anonymous Reader on Mon Jan 7th, 2002 at 04:25:21 AM PST
You're full of crap to say that just because a band isn't signed with a commercial record label, that they are not good. To wit:

" is crap because it hasn't signed a deal with any of the major commercial news outlets."

no, the two luthiers I spoe of (none / 0) (#13)
by motherfuckin spork on Mon Jan 7th, 2002 at 06:40:25 AM PST
are slightly more than well regarded. One of them has a three year waiting list, and has been sought by the likes of Ravi Shankar, amongst many others. There is a big difference between a true luthier and a guitar technician, and I do not use the terms loosely.

And, again, commercial success is not what a lot of bands are looking for. To use that as the core basis of passing judgement on a band's music is lacking vision.

I am not who you think I am.

Remember (none / 0) (#4)
by Anonymous Reader on Sun Jan 6th, 2002 at 10:12:56 PM PST
It was the recording industry that force feeds you bands like Brittney Spears, N'Sync, and the other no talent groups. Why do I call them no talent, well lets take a look. Brittney can not write her own music, she lacks the skill. She sings through a synth., because she sounds like sh*t. She has a nice set of Silcon in her chest, so that qualifies her as one of the greatest things givenm to us by the R.I.
In addition, you most likely watch VH-1 and MTV, if you don't think that they choose your music for you, you are greatly mistaken. They choose who will make it and who will die. I myself can not play a note to save my life, but I respect those that can and do. Those that sacrifice for the love of THEIR music. Not something spit out on a convayer belt.

What have we ignored? (5.00 / 1) (#6)
by Robert Reginald Rodriguez on Sun Jan 6th, 2002 at 10:38:12 PM PST
Whether or not Britney writes her own music, or sings through a synthesizer is beside the point. People enjoy her work. Her work may be the product of the labours of a small army of producers, composers, and other technicians, but that doesn't invalidate its claim to quality. The efforts of Britney's production team are still a valid form of expression.

The idea that there is something unacceptable about heavily produced music is based in hypocrisy, and is evidence of an artificial (and somewhat suburban) elitism. The indie rock junkie, the heavy metal moron and the punk band psycho all claim that their music has more honesty, but few of these bands have shied away from the use of vocal effects to enhance the voice of an unimpressive singer, or studio techniques to overcome the failings of a band who can't play their instruments even half as well as a mediocre jazz band.

In the end, the proof lies in the product. So-called "real" rock music almost always sounds inferior. In my entire youth of alternative concert attendance, I heard as many as three bands that could play acceptably well on stage. Only one of these had attracted any noticable acclaim. The other two were almost completely ignored by an "alternative" music mainstream view that judged their sound to be insufficiently raw or punk or indie. I think the root of the problem was that they actually knew how to play their instruments.

I understand your point (none / 0) (#8)
by Anonymous Reader on Mon Jan 7th, 2002 at 01:28:56 AM PST
But you missed mine. The original article states that thr R.I. was the greatest thing to happen to music. I dis-agree. They control the major mediums - Video and Radio. They decide who is to make it. Plain and simple. It is convayer belt music no matter how you cut it. That is not to say that all Mass Produced music is bad. far from it. But to say it is the "Greatest" thing to happen is far from the truth too

Introductory economics (5.00 / 1) (#17)
by T Reginald Gibbons on Mon Jan 7th, 2002 at 02:35:06 PM PST
You don't seem to understand that television and radio are extremely limited resources. There simply isn't enough time to play every two bit garage band's demo or backyard music video. Someone has to judge what is worthy of airtime and what is not. That someone is the recording industry. The alternative is that radio stations will become unlistenable.

I think you really need to address a few inconsistencies in the way you address music. For one thing, you seem more interested in the image of the band than the music they play. You carp and whine about the lack of exposure for your favourite musicians, but should they ever achieve commercial success, I am certain you will be among the first to castigate them for "selling out".

In the meantime, you make blatantly false claims about the choices made by the recording industry. You seem to think that there is a agenda beyond simple entertainment. If you would only remove the blinkers from your eyes and actually examine what the recording industry is doing, you would realise that a tremendously wide variety of music is released by the major labels. Bruce Springsteen perhaps the most talented and original rock musician the US has ever produced, yet he continues to receive support from the industry, belying all your allegations.

regardless... (none / 0) (#16)
by peeps on Mon Jan 7th, 2002 at 01:55:12 PM PST
..of the genre in in question (I assumed this dialog was referring chiefly to mainstream formulas) for the art to have enduring quality beyond the point of sale, it simply must be "honest" in it's execution despite the tools/personelle used to create it. Nobody can assess the genuine nature of the music in the present, this assesment requires time to prove it's enduring qualities.

Quality rock music will always be available, you just need to keep your ear to the ground. It has long been easy to find a band that is relying too much on the many tools at thier disposal in the studio today, but only the wealthy few can afford to drag all of this stuff on stage.

A common misunderstanding. (5.00 / 1) (#7)
by RobotSlave on Sun Jan 6th, 2002 at 10:52:34 PM PST
You are experiencing what I term the Bourgeois Reaction to Bubblegum Pop. You are dissatisfied with the music on a surface level, yet you lack a deeper understanding of its medium (commercial radio) and therefore can not appreciate its artistic genius. Please bear with me; the relevant æesthetic will be explained at some length in Part II.

© 2002, RobotSlave. You may not reproduce this material, in whole or in part, without written permission of the owner.

To try and compare a live concert to a recording.. (5.00 / 1) (#5)
by Slobodan Milosevic on Sun Jan 6th, 2002 at 10:13:07 PM PST
Is like comparing apples to oranges. There are those that prefer sitting at home and listening to music. And there are those that mush prefer the experience of seeing their favourite artist perform live. I am a part of both groups. If I embrace the music of a certain group, then I also enjoy the opportunity to see what kind of value that they can add to their product by performing it live.

To try and compare the value that people get from a studio recording to the value that people get from a live performance is simply not possible. Simple economics my dear friend.

I'm afraid I don't understand. (none / 0) (#45)
by RobotSlave on Thu Jan 10th, 2002 at 04:07:22 PM PST
Why isn't it possible to compare the two? Are they not both ways to listen to a particular performer or piece of music? Do they not each have an associated price?

If you object to comparing "studio" recordings to live performance, then should we stick to a comparison between live performance and recordings of live performance? If so, where to you plan to draw the line between a "studio" recording and a "live" recording?

Does comparing live music to recorded music interfere with your world-view in some way? Why don't you want anyone to compare the two? And what, pray tell, violates "simple economics" when the two are compared?

I think the economic comparison that I have made between the two is a very interesting one. If you don't like it, then you're going to have to come up with a better argument than "you're not allowed to compare those things."

© 2002, RobotSlave. You may not reproduce this material, in whole or in part, without written permission of the owner.

Nicely Put (none / 0) (#9)
by Anonymous Reader on Mon Jan 7th, 2002 at 01:30:20 AM PST

It's all about, as it were, the Benjamins (4.00 / 5) (#10)
by Anonymous Reader on Mon Jan 7th, 2002 at 02:13:57 AM PST
The biggest achievement of the recording industry has been to alienate the general public from the production of music, promoting the concept of music as product to be generated by untouchable "stars" rather than actual everyday human beings. This industry replaces self-made music with objects: CD's, records, tapes, and associated paraphernalia, such as box sets, collectible limited editions, etc.

The effects if this alienating process are threefold. First, there is the disempowerment of the working class individual, who is demoted from producer of his own music to passive consumer of recorded product. Second, the fetishization of the recorded product as collectible item, reinforcing the role of commerce in society. Third, the incidental distancing of the consumer of music from the actual process of creation leads to a diminished understanding of musical theory and practice and a consequent inability to appreciate higher forms of art music. The effect of this distancing is thus a stagnation of culture.

All of which are of course good things. If American Capitalism is to remain the globally dominating force that it presently is, it is important that consumerism be valued over creativity, objects valued over experiences, and ephemeral, throwaway commodities valued over enduring works of art. As the globalization of media proceeds, the self-reinforcing cycle of disempowerment/consumerism/cultural breakdown should cement the dominance of American Capitalism over the nations of the world. I'll see you all at the big global hegemony party: I hear Bink 182 is going to play.

No, it's all about the division of labor. (5.00 / 4) (#26)
by RobotSlave on Tue Jan 8th, 2002 at 04:09:48 PM PST
It's been a while since I read Marx, so I may be misunderstanding some of your screed, but what little I can make out seems to be very strange, indeed.

I sounds as though you want to abolish not only the Recording Industry, but recording itself, and performance for an audience, to boot. Do you seriously want to only listen to the music that you play yourself, on you own instruments? Or maybe you're not that extreme. Maybe you only want to abolish recording, not performance. If that's the case, do you want to do away with the printing press, as well?

Shall we force everyone to write their own novels, in order to reverse your percieved "stagnation of culture?" Shall we outlaw the manufacture of more than one print of a film, or just go back to live theater? Shall we do away with reproductions of art, and learn to paint for ourselves? Shall we burn the negatives after we've made a single print of a photograph? If we take the time necessary to become proficient in all of the arts, where will we find time to grow our own food, or build our own homes?

This "alienation" you decry is entirely your own. The Recording Industry allows the average person to be much more intimate with music than would otherwise be the case, and to experience a variety of music vastly greater than that which might be availble in the form of local live performance.

The "fetishization of the commodity" that you cite (without crediting Marx, I might add) is a fault of your "working class individual" rather than something manufactured by the Owner Of The Means Of Production. The Recording industry might cater to this sort of abnormal behavior once in a while, and even profit from it on occasion, but to pretend that the Owners Of The Means Of Production can create a particular psychological condition in the mind of the Working Class Individual is ridiculous.

Furthermore, to assume the the Working Class Individual (or "other," as your professor might say) is susceptible to this sort of manipulation, whereas you yourself are somehow immune to it, or at least possessed of sufficient intellectual superiority to percieve it where "they" can not, is repugnantly arrogant.

I've heard a hell of a lot of buzz about this World Hegemony Party that you speak of, but I won't believe it's actually on until I get an invite with a firm date on it. Frankly, I think Blink 182 will be in nursing homes long before that happens.

© 2002, RobotSlave. You may not reproduce this material, in whole or in part, without written permission of the owner.

To the recording industry haters: (none / 0) (#11)
by marko on Mon Jan 7th, 2002 at 02:48:57 AM PST
No-one is beholden to the recording industry, unless they signed a contract. The musicians traded their rights for fame and fortune. You, dear oppressed, had nothing to do with this transaction. You have nothing to do but enjoy the crumbs from the table of this financial consummation.

I wish people would stop bitching about the music industry. What do you want? Nothing but the music YOU like? For free? Is that your right?

Stick it up your arse, go on the dole, and buy CD's. That's the cheapest way you are going to do it legally. But don't be surprised if people don't like you for being a thief of other people's hard earned dollars. Like you deserve the fruit of other peoples' labour. Now you are talking like the industry you hate.

You're one of a kind, but you're not alone.

hell yea (none / 0) (#54)
by Anonymous Reader on Fri Jan 11th, 2002 at 06:22:27 PM PST
god damn right!

Definitely uneducated about the industry... (none / 0) (#14)
by coeus on Mon Jan 7th, 2002 at 07:39:44 AM PST
You sound like a software-industry illiterate republican politician defending Microsoft (or osm on a good day). "MS is the innocent! They only innovate! They're the innocent party in all of this mahem!"

Your process analysis of how music makes it from musician to consumer is a bit flawed. You missed the part about "payola" and the hundreds of attorneys that represent artists while on corporate payroll...

However, not to worry. Before you write part II in your series, you have a chance to read a book by someone who really understands the industry, and then redeem yourself. Please read this and then let us know about how much work the recording industry actually puts into each and every album, and how delicately the industry treats its signed artists.

The author recounts the stories of Columbia and Warner Bros. during the era of Pink Floyd, Boston, and Fleetwood Mac to name only a few. This book is a bit dated, but many of the tricks of the past are still in use today.

And, not to be completely off topic. You are correct - just because we disapprove of the industry's practices, doesn't give anyone the right to steal. I won't attempt to justify that act. However, shining a altruistic on the recording industry is a bit much...

I'm afraid you're the ignorant one here. (none / 0) (#44)
by RobotSlave on Thu Jan 10th, 2002 at 02:27:19 PM PST
Look, I've read most of the diatribes out there that rail against the media conglomerates, including Hit Men. I'm well aware of the stories that failed artists, both major and minor, tell about the "abuses" of the Recording Industry. But to say that all of these stories constitute a valid rationale for tearing down the entire Industry is specious.

There's a lot more to the Recording Industry than you're going to find in the books about it that the Publishing Industry produces with an eye toward separating disaffected suburban American teenagers (or those of a similar mindset) from their hard-inherited money. The reality is and always has been that the vast majority of Record Companies don't look anything like the straw Goliath that you find so abhorrent.

I don't know where you live, but I'm sure there are at least two small record companies in your town. Do yourself a favor. Call one up and offer to do some volunteer intern work. They can always use help with mailings and whatnot. Once you've got some first-hand experience with the Recording Industry, come on back, and we'll compare the real world to the selective alarmist vision painted by your favorite Record Company "exposé."

Your ignorance is forgivable, because it seems fairly innocent. After all, how many copies do you think you could sell of a book titled, "The Recording Industry is mostly OK? How about Artists Who Have Been Pretty Well Served by the Recording Industry?

This article is probably the first serious defense of the Recording Industry that you've encountered, and I don't blame you for falling back on what you've been told rather than carefully considering the argument being presented, and starting to question the anti-Recording Industry chant that you've heard repeated so many times that it ought to have started sounding like propaganda by now.

© 2002, RobotSlave. You may not reproduce this material, in whole or in part, without written permission of the owner.

but wait, there's more... (none / 0) (#15)
by peeps on Mon Jan 7th, 2002 at 01:30:46 PM PST
I find it ironic considering the subject matter here that none of your references to the Recording Industry pointed to what many who would share your tastes would refer to as "the majors". The majors are the companies that have made a science of supply for the lowest common denominator music fan's demand. The labels you've placed as examples (in my humble opinion) represent some of the most goundbreaking, inovative bands of our generation. At least a couple of the labels you've got in here (subpop, lookout, etc...) started in the mid-to-late 80's as "indie" labels whose primary goal was to make music fans who thirst for innovation aware of bands who quench that thirst. They've done pretty well to survive all this time, and we all know and appreciate that there have been hefty bills to pay. You've left out a very important example , but that's ok. Whether you perceive music as an important element of culture or commerce, it's scope and influence will always be much larger than most individuals perceptions.

As a money making machine, the music industry is going to have to adjust to the changes in technology, just as it always has. Mp3 trading will only further challenge the majors in thier quest for profit, while it is beneficial to many of our more creative and exciting "fringe" bands. I'd like to challenge you to find more than 20% of the complete discography of any of the bands' in the ranks of the labels you've referred to on any file sharing source, you'll have difficulty. I have approximately 2500 music files on my computer. For the bands that are most appealing and worthy of owning I know I am better off making a trip to the local independant retailer. Many files that I seek out are simply not available via retail (out of print, live, etc.), which is quite beneficial to the hopeless fanatics like myself.

What I like about the challenges placed on aspiring musicians (like myself) by the idea that it is more difficult than ever to be a "wealthy rock star" is that the goal of said musician now simply must be to do what we love for love's sake, not for the love of money.

Indeed, there is. (none / 0) (#46)
by RobotSlave on Thu Jan 10th, 2002 at 04:51:45 PM PST
So you find the omission of five particular Record Companies "ironic," do you? I see you didn't put much thought into why they might have been omitted. Perhaps because they are not purely Record Companies, a problem shared by the Knitting Factory, which is perhaps better known as a live music venue in NYC? Hmm? Perhaps becuase they are so greatly outnumbered by their smaller counterparts? Perhaps because nobody stops to think about anything other than the big five in this debate?

No, all you could do was note the existence of "irony." Sure, you get a couple of points for noticing the omission, but instead of thinking about it, you spin off onto a tangent on mp3, in which you directly contradict yourself, and then you impose a dire sentence on your fellow musicians.

You say that mp3 trading is more beneficial to "fringe" artists, and then immediately bemoan the fact that you can not find thier "complete catalogs" on your illegal "file-trading" networks. Well? Which is it? Are they benefitting through exposure? If so, then don't "non-fringe" artists benefit even more, through greater exposure? Or are you saying that "fringe" artists are at an advantage precisely because their material is unavailable on these black networks, thereby forcing would-be thieves to purchase legitimate recordings? As an admitted thief, you are in a unique position to shed light on this issue, and I would be fascinated to hear your views, if you can present them without contradictions.

Your regressive notion that composers and musicians should slave away at their art simply for "love" is barbaric. Why shouldn't musicians earn a living through music? Would you suggest that the semi-autistic goblins who enjoy writing software or tinkering with hardware ought to do it for love, in their spare time, rather than enjoy the benefits of a market for their peculiar interests? Why should musicians, who are widely appreciated, be subject to your degenerate form of communism (it lacks "to each according to his needs"), when even such unsavory characters as poets and philosophers have a small but comfortable place in this economy?

As an aspiring musician, you may feel a certain virtue in claiming no motivation other than a love of music, but in imposing this standard on every other musician, you are doing a great disservice to society. Musicians and composers ought to be able to earn a living through music, and people ought to have access to music for a reasonable price. The Recording Industry is the best means that we, as a society, have of achieving those twin goals.

© 2002, RobotSlave. You may not reproduce this material, in whole or in part, without written permission of the owner.

what?! (none / 0) (#47)
by nathan on Thu Jan 10th, 2002 at 05:25:23 PM PST
the goal of [a] musician now simply must be to do what we love for love's sake, not for the love of money.

I seem to remember you writing elsewhere that you already make a living with some sort of ordinary job or business. In other words, you are a musical amateur. So far, great. BUT! I am a professional musician. It's how I put bread on my table and a roof over my head. I chose to become a professional musician out of love, but I can't eat love. If you steal my music, you are stealing from me. Me, personally. People will steal if it's easy enough, but that excuses no one for actual habitual theft. Professional musicians find it a lot harder to make good music when they're poor, harassed by creditors, and persecuted by the ignorant.

Believe me, I'm not at all wealthy. I live very marginally (for instance, I've had to put off buying new strings for two months.) Musicians already have more than enough love. Give me some cold hard cash.

Li'l Sis: Yo, that's a real grey area. Even by my lax standards.

I disagree (none / 0) (#18)
by Anonymous Reader on Mon Jan 7th, 2002 at 07:10:29 PM PST
The record industry is a stagnant obese fossil who feeds off artists.
They do not do a good job of introducing new music or new artists for that matter.
They promote crappy "commercialized" pop music that everyone loves to hate (briteny,nsync,most pop rap,etc)
There time has came and passed, mp3s and the internet are the way of the future you like it or not.

P.S Dont give me shit about mp3s = piracy, music is suppost to be free, and mp3s do a excellent job of introducing new artists and helping people buy new music they actually like.

Uh-huh (5.00 / 1) (#21)
by hauntedattics on Tue Jan 8th, 2002 at 05:52:18 AM PST
"Music is suppost [sic] to be free"?

Gee, you know, funny you should say that, Skippy. I can't think of a professional musician or composer, from Monteverdi to Beethoven to Irving Berlin to Lennon/McCartney to any of today's best acts, who would agree with you.

In your world, it follows that I should give away my consulting services for free. Or even create some software and give that away.What part of "intellectual property" don't you understand?

I think perhaps he was confused (none / 0) (#23)
by motherfuckin spork on Tue Jan 8th, 2002 at 06:30:24 AM PST
It is true that music is meant to be heard, but that does not, by default, make it free.

I like the intellectual property bit - as a songwriter, that can be often overlooked.

I am not who you think I am.

You are right (5.00 / 1) (#24)
by hauntedattics on Tue Jan 8th, 2002 at 11:14:08 AM PST
Perhaps that was what Mr. AR meant. I can't think of many instances of when music is heard and is free, unless it's someone playing guitar in your living room or on a street corner. And even then in the latter case, the person hopes you'll put a buck or two in the instrument case.

Intellectual property is a thorny issue and has been for years. My consulting contract with my firm isn't too much different from a record deal, in that whatever IP I generate is the property of the firm who pays my salary. But that's where the comparison ends - you can't really compare my (relatively small) consulting firm to Warner Bros. Records as regards size, scope or influence.

What kind of songs do you write? They probably enhance life on this planet more than my methodologies do...

I write a pretty wide range of songs (none / 0) (#28)
by motherfuckin spork on Tue Jan 8th, 2002 at 07:57:07 PM PST
I look back and realized that I've been writing songs, or at least bits and pieces of songs, since some time in high school. I played a lot of jazz through college, which really honed my writing (which has gone back to crap lately, as I've not had too much time to work on anything with a kid and #2 on the way).

However, I've written a 4-part suite for clarinet, oboe, and baritone sax, which would fall under (for lack of a better term) neo-classical. The first movement is actually a rag, the second and third are ballads, and the fourth is a twisted rehashing of the 1st. I discovered that it is incredibly difficult to play.

I've written a good number of jazz tunes, most of them being a little more fusion oriented. Two of them in particular sounded like Jay Beckstein from Spyro Gyra together with the Brecker Brothers getting really pissed off. Both were pretty dark, but driven songs. Another one I wrote started out as a swing, 12-bar blues piece, and ended up dirty 70's funk (the progression of how that happened was really funny at the time).

I have material for a plethora of unfinished rock songs, as well as bits and pieces of mostly completed works, some being instrumental, others being rock, and a few more that fall under that weird modern chamber music classification.

Yet, despite all this, I though I'd go and become a chemist like a moron.

And this was probably by far more information than you intended to receive.

But let me conclude by saying that the entire music/IP/copyright/artists rights/consumers rights issue (set of issues) is really terribly complex, and the majority of the arguments I've seen around the internet still fail to grasp the entire picture. I love music. I love playing songs. I love listening to songs. I want other people to share that, be it songs I've written, played, or discovered from someone else. It is unfortunate that society and economy have made a mess of something that many, including myself, find rather spiritual in nature.

I am not who you think I am.

Wow. (none / 0) (#30)
by hauntedattics on Wed Jan 9th, 2002 at 06:26:16 AM PST
You've really written a lot of stuff - that's pretty incredible. Since my creative powers are limited to subtle refinements of obvious business platitudes and the occasional horrendous dance improv in my living room, I'm always impressed with others who come up with interesting works that enhance life on this planet.

When you say chemist, do you mean a research chemist or the jolly Brit people get their prescription drugs from? Either way, it doesn't seem like a bad way to make a living. If you were a professional musician you'd spend as much time dealing with all this publishing and IP crap as composing and playing. Maybe Nathan is right and amateur musician status is the ideal.

amateurism... (none / 0) (#33)
by nathan on Wed Jan 9th, 2002 at 08:04:20 AM PST
If every chemist cared that much about the arts, imagine how great things would be. Likewise of course for lawyers, doctors, scientists, and all other professionals.

It honestly brings a tear to my eye.

Li'l Sis: Yo, that's a real grey area. Even by my lax standards.

IP and music (5.00 / 1) (#25)
by nathan on Tue Jan 8th, 2002 at 11:36:08 AM PST
While I agree that musical IP ought to be a protected form of IP, the protection is tough to enforce. I think it would do all of us musicians good to encourage arts education among the common people so as to rejuvenate the musical amateur; the more people love music, the more will buy sheet music, take lessons, and attend live concerts. This would help us to hang on to our IP rights.

The contrast with superproduced, inaccessible professional pop barely even needs to be made explicit here. The only way the average person can participate in that is to steal it.

Li'l Sis: Yo, that's a real grey area. Even by my lax standards.

Eerie... (none / 0) (#31)
by hauntedattics on Wed Jan 9th, 2002 at 06:30:59 AM PST
You and my husband should get together for a mutual admiration fest. Arts education and appreciation are really the holy grails of his professional life. If he can seed a couple of generations of symphony goers and classical music listeners among his students, I think he'll die happy.

And most of that inaccessible professional pop isn't even worth stealing. Unfortunately.

I disagree (none / 0) (#19)
by Anonymous Reader on Mon Jan 7th, 2002 at 07:12:00 PM PST
The record industry is a stagnant obese fossil who feeds off artists.
They do not do a good job of introducing new music or new artists for that matter.
They promote crappy "commercialized" pop music that everyone loves to hate (briteny,nsync,most pop rap,etc)
There time has came and passed, mp3s and the internet are the way of the future you like it or not.

P.S Dont give me shit about mp3s=piracy, music is suppost to be free, and mp3s do a excellent job of introducing new artists and helping people buy new music they actually like.

mp3? (none / 0) (#20)
by nathan on Mon Jan 7th, 2002 at 07:41:56 PM PST
Mp3 is an extremely poor, lossy format; it's barely superior to pirate cassettes. No, aficionados will continue to listen to music recorded in the finest formats available. The only people who are hurt by the easy dissemination of mp3s are performers whose fans don't care about recording quality, and while pop-music acts in general will be hurt by it, it doesn't affect anything else in any significant degree.

Can you imagine an opera fan sitting down in front of his iMac and cranking Götterdämmerung in mp3? Not bloody likely.

Li'l Sis: Yo, that's a real grey area. Even by my lax standards.

Snob (none / 0) (#29)
by because it isnt on Tue Jan 8th, 2002 at 08:19:30 PM PST
When I can afford a 4000 stereo, a real house for it to go in, and the luxury of time to do nothing but sit and listen to music, then I'll start worrying about audio fidelity. -- because it isn't

what makes me a snob? (none / 0) (#32)
by nathan on Wed Jan 9th, 2002 at 07:58:48 AM PST
News flash - being an opera fan (which I'm not especially) does not make you rich. I was trying to point out that people who care at all about sound quality probably won't listen to MP3s.

I don't know why you assumed me to be rich. I probably have less money than you do. I don't even own a CD player (or computer for that matter.)

Sorry if CDs aren't democratic enough for you.

Li'l Sis: Yo, that's a real grey area. Even by my lax standards.

idiot (none / 0) (#55)
by Anonymous Reader on Fri Jan 11th, 2002 at 06:27:07 PM PST
i am gonna give you shit about mp3s=piracy you moron. where do you think MP3s come from??? tthey come from a CD! and who makes the CD??? The record industry!! Napster was shut down and Morpheus/Kazaa will soon be shut down too, and all of the other P2P programs and websites too, if you do not believe me, email me at and ill prove you are a stupid ass hole

bah (none / 0) (#22)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Jan 8th, 2002 at 05:53:32 AM PST
Some mp3s sound better than others, it all depends on the birate of the mp3.
Anyway my point is that the record industry is absolete and no one needs them anymore since they got a reliable and widespread media in order to distribute and advertise music to the masses (mp3 or any other audio format)

your wrong as hell (none / 0) (#53)
by Anonymous Reader on Fri Jan 11th, 2002 at 06:20:02 PM PST
do you know what a record deal is???? the record industry isn't obsolete u crack addict. when a band gets signed, the record company will pay for all expenses as long as the band makes money, and the profits are higher than the espenses. so if you think that there is no need for the record industry anymore, you arent going to have any new bands comeout because they cant afford the expenses that are usually payed by the record company. if you still think you are right, email me at and ill prove that your wrong, a-hole

The "Recording industry" ignores a lot o (none / 0) (#27)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Jan 8th, 2002 at 07:23:10 PM PST
The Recording Industry (RI) ignores a lot of music. To see that you just have to step outside the popular crap that's played on MTV and most radio station.

I'm a big jazz fan. How many jazz musicians do you think have been able to live of their album sales?

Jazz musicians make a living by playing live, maybe teaching and occasionally recording. Jazz is best when experienced live anyways. How many of you heard of some of my favorites: Jim Hall, Pat Martino, Emily Remler? These people are fantastic musicians.

The same can be said about many other kinds of music.

The problem with RI is that the emphasis is put on "Industry" - mass production of the same item to make lots of money, rather than on promoting music.

RI will die, since the internet will replace it's distribution function, and something else will take over the promotion and marketing of music...


How many madrigal singers live off album sales? (5.00 / 1) (#35)
by Adam Rightmann on Wed Jan 9th, 2002 at 08:35:53 AM PST
Dear richie.

If a hobbyist, like a jazz musician, wants to play and perform in a moribund artform, like jazz, they should not expect to get rich at it. Madrigal singers know that they will have to be content with a few odd fans buying a few albums, with most of their fans clamoring for their renditions of old chestnuts, and little interest in new works, since the genre is practically dead. This also applies to jazz, an artform which was killed off by bebop and fusion, and now consists of artists reinterpreting old classics (Joshue Redman) or creating fluffy elevator music (Najee, Kenny G).

The book on jazz is filled up, there are no new chapters to write, to expect the market tp pay handsomely for dubious rereadings of an old book is ridiculous.

A. Rightmann

only half right, mann (none / 0) (#39)
by peeps on Wed Jan 9th, 2002 at 01:56:35 PM PST
No, we don't expect to get rich at it. Musicians who play popular music are the one's who strive for wealth.

And it's due to the overwhelming drive of the soul of the honest jazz musician that will cause the genre that defies definition to survive, and thrive.

Only in the very narrow scope of the previous century could someone conclude that jazz (circa 1900-2000) is dead. Certain "chestnuts" will always be cherished, others will be thrown in the blender (thus, fusion). From there the results are limitless.

Jazz has the capability to be almost anything to anyone, and it has most certainly always been far beyond the understanding of those who see music as a commodity rather than that intangible food for the soul.

Jazz was here before there was a word for it, and it will exist long after anyone can remember what it used to mean.

jazz musicians (none / 0) (#37)
by nathan on Wed Jan 9th, 2002 at 11:55:55 AM PST
...usually do about as well as anybody else. Pop acts that don't make it big tend to have a thin time of it.

RI will die, since the internet will replace it's [sic] distribution function


something else will take over the promotion and marketing of music

Contradiction left as exercise for the reader.
Li'l Sis: Yo, that's a real grey area. Even by my lax standards.

profits (none / 0) (#34)
by Nobody on Wed Jan 9th, 2002 at 08:07:15 AM PST
In the main, I agree with the article. However I still feel "that profits all too often end up in the wrong hands".

It feels intuitively wrong that a record company should make significantly more money than the artist when, at the end of the day, it is the artist's product that people are buying. The company would be *nothing* without that product.

ummm... (none / 0) (#36)
by derek3000 on Wed Jan 9th, 2002 at 09:14:23 AM PST
The artist agrees with the contract, what's the problem? Also, do you know how much studio time costs at a professional place? Try anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000--a day. You'd better be sure I'm collecting that shit before they get dime one.

Besides, this only applies to big corporate music designed to make money. There's nothing wrong with that; if people want it, they want it. The solution to the problem is already out there, in thriving indie labels like Matador, Thrill Jockey, Kranky, etc. Do some research, stop relying on MTV for all of your music. Problem solved.

"Feel me when I bring it!" --Gay Jamie

indies (none / 0) (#48)
by Nobody on Fri Jan 11th, 2002 at 01:51:09 AM PST
I wasn't just talking about big record companies. Even with small independent labels, the artist typically gets a cut of about 16% of sales. The label makes MUCH more money, plus they typically have much lower overheads. Why do you think so many artists, once they get moderately big, set up their own labels?

"The artist agrees with the contract, what's the problem?"

This is a very shallow comment. It's like the old Microsoft monopoly thing: "x billion people buy Windows, so what's the problem?" The problem is there is no realistic alternative.

The real solution for a musician, if you have the resources and cash, is to start up your own independent label.

"Also, do you know how much studio time costs at a professional place?"

You know you don't HAVE to spend 20 grand on studio time! For that much money you could build a perfectly reasonable studio yourself.

"Besides, this only applies to big corporate music designed to make money."

Are you implying that smaller outfits are NOT designed to make money? How else would they function?

Have you been paying any attention at all here? (none / 0) (#49)
by RobotSlave on Fri Jan 11th, 2002 at 03:35:22 AM PST
Where on earth do you get the notion that the label has a "much lower overhead" than the artist? Do you have any idea of how much "overhead" it takes to run a Record Company? Go figure out how much cash the indies are "rolling in," if you can, and then come back here to whine about your "mistreated" artists. Do you honestly think that the artists are the only people in the Recording Industry that have to work another job to pay the bills? Wake up.

You complain that "there is no realistic alternative" for an artist, other than signing a contract, and then in the next breath you tell us that the "real solution," which, we must infer, is different from a "realistic alternative," is for the artists to start their own independent labels. Well, which is it? Is the Recording Industry, in fact, the best option that the artist has, or is your "real" solution, which you imply is only available to the wealthy, a better option? Hmm?

Did it ever occur to you that one of the reasons that successful artists choose to start their own labels is because they can finally afford to, due entirely to profits they have made made through contracts with the Recording Industry?

Furthermore, did it ever occur to you that starting a Record Company might be bad decision on the part of the artist? Have you ever heard of Grand Royal? Hmm? What leads you to believe that the skills that make a successful artist automatically make for a successful career within the Recording Industry?

On to your next point. No, you don't have to spend 20 grand per diem for a studio and an audio engineer. In fact, most of the independent labels pay a lot less. And there will always be those artists who insist on doing their own recording, which is generally cheaper.


As I went to some length to explain in the article, studio costs, at the end of the day, pale in comparison to the costs that the Recording Industry incurs in selling and distributing an artist. The money spent capturing music, and reproducing copies for sale, is a small fraction of the money that the Recording Industry spends in its attempt to help an artist earn a living through music. While you are pondering this, please keep in mind the fact that when an artist is not earning money through a contract, then you can be sure the the Recording Industry is losing money through that very same contract.

In your parting shot, you imply that the independent labels are just as bad as the majors, because they are "designed to make money." Um, what would you have them be? Some sort of subsistence-farming collectives? Gangs of slave laborers working in camps to produce music for you? Strictly regulated non-profit entities? Government agencies?

Of course they're hoping to make a living from their labor. Aren't you? Or are you answering tech-support calls, or taking exams, or whatever, simply to help your fellow humans, with no expectation of any compensation or reward for your efforts? How on earth do you expect the people who work very hard, either to make music, or to further the noble goals of the Recording Industry, to eat?

I don't like to toss around accusations lightly, but your arguments bear all the hallmarks of a person who has not yet come to grips with the meaning of Independence in our society, or in our economy.

© 2002, RobotSlave. You may not reproduce this material, in whole or in part, without written permission of the owner.

LOL! (none / 0) (#57)
by Nobody on Tue Jan 15th, 2002 at 10:22:55 AM PST
"Where on earth do you get the notion that the label has a "much lower overhead" than the artist?"

What I meant was that small indie labels have lower overheads than the majors. Apologies for the ambiguity.

Yes, I was indeed implying that artists typically start their own labels because they can afford to, as you said.

Is that your "solution," then? (none / 0) (#58)
by RobotSlave on Tue Jan 15th, 2002 at 12:37:21 PM PST
Do you want each and every artist to have an associated self-run independent Record Company?

Think about it for a minute.

Artists with more money to begin with would be able to spend more on promotion, generating more sales, which would in turn widen the gap between richer and poorer artist-labels. Artists too poor to rent some studio time, get some graphics done, and press a few thousand CDs would be left out of the system entirely. Artists without good business sense would find their labels bankrupt, and their music would go unheard.

If you are in fact proposing that all artists should have their own labels, you are not only advocating a plutocracy, but suggesting that all music fans ought to be limited to the output of that plutocracy. The Recording Industry, at present, gives you the opportunity to listen to music by artists who are not independently wealthy. Do you want to give that up?

© 2002, RobotSlave. You may not reproduce this material, in whole or in part, without written permission of the owner.

RobotSlaves comment covers it, (none / 0) (#50)
by derek3000 on Fri Jan 11th, 2002 at 06:42:57 AM PST
but I want to get my two cents in.

"The artist agrees with the contract, what's the problem?"

This is a very shallow comment. It's like the old Microsoft monopoly thing: "x billion people buy Windows, so what's the problem?" The problem is there is no realistic alternative.

You are comparing apples to oranges, and it won't work here. People are far too smart. The fact is that a contract, by definition, is something both sides agree on. If you are a good band, then you get courted by a couple of labels. If you sign a contract, knowing that it is a bad one, don't you get exactly what you deserve? The problem with you is that you trust people to tie their shoes, and that's it. "X Billion people buy Windows, so what's the problem?" Are you fucking serious? There is no problem. They choose to buy it. I don't, but they do. Are you going to make them buy something else? Would you make some kid buy Britney Spears' new CD along with the new Built To Spill, or vice versa? Please think before you start writing here.

Think about this for a second: "The labels are nothing without the artists." So why do artists try to get signed? You need fucking distribution and marketing--which aren't bad things. These are the things that bring good (or bad) music to people--how did I know to even check out Godspeed, Labradford, Mogwai, etc.? First of all, some posters in indie rock record stores helped. Do you think that they are made for free?

And about this whole "making money" thing--If you want to give your music away, go ahead--but by the same token, you can decide to make money off of it. It doesn't make it immoral, it just makes it something else. Not necessarily bad, just different. The best movie reviewers judge action movies in regard to other action movies--they don't compare Jackie Chan to Vincent Gallo.

Would you really be happy if everyone loved indie stuff? At least I can admit that, for me, part of the attraction is the obscurity of the music--I can appreciate much more when I have to seek it out. Understand the yin and yang, bitch. Tortoise is Tortoise because Christian Aguilera is Christina Aguilera.

"Feel me when I bring it!" --Gay Jamie

The Record Industry is not Hegemonic ENOUGH: (4.00 / 2) (#38)
by your desired username on Wed Jan 9th, 2002 at 12:28:03 PM PST
A quick glance by any educated person at the history of civilization will show that the role of art and music as 'entertainment' or 'spiritual expression' is but a minor sidenote to its real purpose: to provide a common cultural base.

IN other words, for those who may not immediately grasp this simple point, it's role is to provide a common vocabulary of experience and aesthetic, shared by all members of a given culture. NOT to encourage individualism, NOT to provide an 'outlet', and NOT to promote 'creativity'. It is SUPPOSED to be homogeneous, monolithic, and centralized, so that everyone can take part in and understand it.

Consider the fact that the most important and advanced music came from the Cathedrals and Churches. This provided a common experience that formed the basis of a strong and vibrant cultural heritage shared by all. Or the universal appeal of geniuses like Elvis or Kenny G. - this is music that everyone appreciates, and it's value is in that fact - you can discuss it with your friends and coworkers, and they will not be confused, intimidated, or in any way upset by your references.

Given this simple truth, we see that what is wrong with the present state of things is the very emphasis on a 'independant' or 'DIY' ethic and the pursuit of aesthetic departures from the mainstream. 'Boutique' record companies pursue esoteric styles enjoyed only by an elitist few, rather than seeking a 'Greatest Common Denominator' enjoyed by all. This ego-driven, selfish tendency thus reflects the universal decay of our once-great society into a fragmented muddle of narcissistic Special Interest Groups, squabbling among the ruins for the scraps that remain.

Those of us who choose to 'Rage, rage against the dying of the light' must thus do our best to support those who seek to forge a new commonality. Support those artists who seek to appeal to all, not just the Snobs and Hipsters: Kenny G, Brittny Speares, P.Diddy: these are both the Shining Stars and the Light at the End of the Tunnel - support their valiant quest to bring us together. And give your money to the largest record companies you can - these are the ones most likely to create the universal culture we so desperately need. I don't think I need to even mention the evils of a underground, sub-culture-creating practive like the trading of mp3s.

is this some kind of sick joke..? (none / 0) (#40)
by peeps on Wed Jan 9th, 2002 at 03:40:17 PM PST
Supposing your serious...

A "quick glance" at the history of civilization is exactly what can cause this sort of warped perception of what music means to human beings.

I don't imagine in your world that music should even be enjoyed, much less granted any amount of importance to the listeners.

First, civilization should probably include the entire world...NOT just certain parts of Europe and thier early-American offspring. A common cultural base that crosses the current cultural boundries is rightfully desirable, but as most people who take a quick glance at history (educated or not) will notice that is very difficult. By continuing to pioneer blended styles and influence, musicians and artists hold within thier abilities the nearest chance humanity may have to cross cultural boundries.

But, given the strikingly anglo/western angle of your veiwpoint I can understand how you could consider Elvis, P-Diddy, Britt., etc. "...geniuses...Shining Stars...".

Sound in motion (rythym) is probably the closest thing we have to common cultural base (the enjoyment of dancing). And before you remind me that everyone in the world can hear and dance and relate to the sounds of your champions to "commonality", has anyone noticed how these folks have achieved this status? Through generations and generations of influence from many musicians that had no choice but to work independantly and do it themselves. Due to luck and/or lack of timing and popular aesthetics there is nobody handing them huge stacks of money.

But, I suppose huge stacks of money is what this once-great society you speak of shall be built upon. And, sadly, your dreams are closer and closer to coming true.

confused (none / 0) (#41)
by nathan on Wed Jan 9th, 2002 at 03:49:17 PM PST
But, I suppose huge stacks of money is what this once-great society you speak of shall be built upon. And, sadly, your dreams are closer and closer to coming true.

What exactly is wrong with a money-based society?

Li'l Sis: Yo, that's a real grey area. Even by my lax standards.

Indeed. (4.00 / 1) (#43)
by tkatchev on Thu Jan 10th, 2002 at 10:50:05 AM PST
It would be better than a sex- or violence-based society.

Peace and much love...

We agree but use different terms I think. (5.00 / 1) (#42)
by your desired username on Wed Jan 9th, 2002 at 04:32:46 PM PST
I don't imagine in your world that music should even be enjoyed, much less granted any amount of importance to the listeners.

Perhaps we have different definitions of what is enjoyable - isn't that allowed under the Pluralistic Anything-Goes philosophy you clearly subscribe to? To me, nothing could be more enjoyable than all the people of the Earth sharing a common musical language - not restricting this to the "Western/Anglo" group you've profiled me into. Oops, trying to include others from outside this group isn't allowed - they're to be kept out for their own good, so you can feel good about preserving their culture.

By continuing to pioneer blended styles and influence, musicians and artists hold within thier abilities the nearest chance humanity may have to cross cultural boundries.

I agree completely - 'blended' styles are indeed a step in the right direction, inasmuch as they represent the merging of seperate styles. If this is allowed to continue, we can hope to achieve a 'Universal Style' that everyone can enjoy. But profit-driven 'alternative' record companies hinder this by promoting 'pure' styles and 'authentic' music which is defined by not being blended.

My point was simply that it is these 'blended' styles and mass-market musicians that present 'the nearest chance humanity may have to cross cultural boundries'. The more we support them, and hence a reduced number of musical subcultures, the more we Tear Down the Boundaries of Cultural Difference.

I think we do agree on this last and most important point, and I apologize for the combative tone of my response above. I probably over-reacted - it's so common to get accused of cultural chauvinism when you're just trying to point out at that everyone deserves access to the fruits of our civilization, not just those lucky enough to be born into it. Thanks for helping me see that we do have common ground!

You're missing the point (none / 0) (#51)
by Anonymous Reader on Fri Jan 11th, 2002 at 07:33:03 AM PST
My only problem is with record stores (not record industry per se), and the high price i have to pay for a cd... As much as $20 most of the time here in holland. YET: when i look at a .se online cd store or go out to Turkey and buy the same cd i only pay $10!!

So long live the record industy and fuck artificial high cd prices...

Which apparently have nothing to do with the record industry whatsoever


this guy is right (none / 0) (#52)
by Anonymous Reader on Fri Jan 11th, 2002 at 06:14:18 PM PST
I know that is usually crap, but this is a good article. this man is right, without the record industry, most likely, the exact thing that he said is going to happen. any one who thinks this article is crap i want to hae words with and see your view, but your probably full of crap to, so email me if u think this article is crap, and ill have words with you, at, ok? please do, i would really like to prove my point to people.

Fallacy (none / 0) (#56)
by Anonymous Reader on Sat Jan 12th, 2002 at 05:41:39 AM PST
<i>The next time you or someone you know might consider stealing music from the Recording Industry, remember this: in a world without the Recording Industry, you could spend sixty American dollars to buy a ticket to a concert by a popular group like Radiohead*, and listen to two hours of music performed live. With the help of the Recording Industry, however, you can spend less than sixty American dollars to own every recording by Radiohead that has ever been released, and listen to all of them whenever you want to. Which is the better value?

<p>I'll take the concert over the cds every time. A concert is an <b>experience</b>, one that i'm afraid you'll never be able to appreciate if you ever think like that.

More ignorant rantings from nihilistic youth (none / 0) (#59)
by Kuujjuaq on Wed Jan 16th, 2002 at 04:31:18 PM PST
This is exactly the pathetic, depressed outlook that has been infecting our nations youth for the past decade or more. You claim to seek an "experience", a single event, spanning no more than the few hours between 9 and 11 o'clock on a Friday night, allowing you precious little sleep before you wake up to go open up the McDonald's you work at.

The Recording Industry is trying to help you turn your life around into something where you can be joyful with your popular music whenever you want! While you wait months on end for a single "experience", millions of people across the world have "experiences" whenever they want, due to the deep generosity of the Recording Industry. Moreover, they are willing to produce music that caters to spoiled, unappreciative slobs like yourself. They don't hold your nihilistic, destructive viewpoint against you! They offer you the opportunity to turn your life around at any convenient music seller, for the low low price of only $17.95! But do you take advantage of this wonderful opportunity presented to you? Do you thank the Recording Industry for its benevolence? No, of course not.

However, the most distasteful aspect of this kind of thinking is the fact that you see your precious appreciation of "experiences" as a positive thing. While you resign yourself to a dull, fruitless life spotted with the occasional "experience", the rest of us take initiative and go and actually do something. The rest of us actually *live*, whereas you make no effort, you simply slack. Your callous, irresponsible attitude is a drain on society, and you should correct it immediately.

Re: More ignorant rantings from nihilistic youth (none / 0) (#60)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Jan 22nd, 2002 at 01:14:27 PM PST
Am I right in assuming that your post is a joke? You can't possibly believe what you said. The Recording Industry is trying to help you!? My dear, unenlighted friend, the recording industry doesn't give two bits about you. They care about your money, not you. What bothers me is not that they make money selling something they didn't make, most of our culture is based on that. What bothers me is the percentage of the sales that goes to the RI execs and how little goes to the actual artists. On average, an artist or group recieves about 5% of the profits from CD sales. If I was paying $17.95 for a CD and I knew that the artist was reaping the greatest benefit, then I would most certainly buy it. I want to support the artists not the giant music marketing mononopoly known as the RI.

Oh, and what exactly do you mean by "the rest of us actually *live*"? Do you mean that you go to the store and buy your CD's so that you can listen to them in your house by yourself or in your car, again by yourself? Because thats not living, not in the least.

On that note, be prepared to start buying a copy of the CD's you like for each place you like to listen to them, because if the RIAA has their way, you won't be able to rip new CD's to your computer, or play them in "unaproved" CD players, etc. Much like DVD's region encoding.

My .02 or rather .05 (none / 0) (#61)
by Anonymous Reader on Fri Jan 25th, 2002 at 10:33:17 PM PST
Scott McCloud, a longtime professional comics artist pointed out in an article for micropayments (very small currency transactions over the net) a good way to stop online music piracy. Set up a direct way for a listener to pay an artist 5 cents, not bucks, CENTS to download an MP3 from his site, or the record company's site. (small preview sample free, of course)

It would do two things:
1. No one's going to waste the TIME to pirate a 5 cent song, regardless of the legal risk.
2. The artist recieves much more than they do from a SINGLE, $16+ CD sale.

I think #2 alone is reason that something is wrong with the music industry. I actually LIKE some of those "Local acts" and there isn't too much of a "Scene" in my small town.

Scott McCloud? (none / 0) (#62)
by RobotSlave on Sat Jan 26th, 2002 at 04:38:05 PM PST
Look, he's a nice guy and all, but he reached his peak with Zot #17, and ever since he finished the series, he's been a bit of a blowhard, rehashing Eisner for kids too young to know any better.

He's a storyteller, and a student of comics as propaganda. He's not an economist, and I notice he hasn't even bothered to attempt his crackpot micropayment scheme with his own artwork-- what does that tell you?

I do think the guy has moments of sheer genius. The invention of the 24-hour comic was one of them. Five Card Nancy is neat, too. Zot was wonderful from #11 until it ended at #36.

I really wish he hadn't tried to change ships in midstream. He's about ten years behind the the pack of internet pundits, and he's not contributing a thing to the debate.

© 2002, RobotSlave. You may not reproduce this material, in whole or in part, without written permission of the owner.


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