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Napster Helps RIAA Again; RIAA Still Ungrateful (Updated)

jamie posted more than 13 years ago | from the radio-star-recovering-nicely dept.

Music 413

One year ago, we ran a story about the effects of Napster on the RIAA's 1999 profits, which Michael gave the great title: "Pirates Steal Negative $1,400,000,000 from Music Industry." It's a year later, the new numbers are out, and the RIAA is lying through their pointy little teeth about them. The AP wire story's second paragraph says "Sales of music compact discs fell by 39% last year," which they would have quickly seen was a blatant lie if they'd bothered to look at the numbers. Fortunately, Slashdot is here to bust up the spin. Keep reading, if you aren't afraid of numbers.

(Update one hour later by J : The story was on the AP wire, e.g. here, so it's not the BBC's fault. It was unfair of me to single out the Beeb when they just happened to be the source the submittor submitted this morning.)

The RIAA's figures were released last week, but the AP story was delayed until Monday, when the story would get the most exposure.

CD sales plummeted last year in the U.S. and record industry officials say the figures prove that Napster, the Internet music-sharing service, has harmed their business.

Sales of music compact discs fell by 39% last year according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

"Napster hurt record sales," said RIAA president Hilary Rosen.

This article reads like it might have been ghost-written by someone from the record industry. It isn't until paragraph ten that journalistic integrity kicks in enough for the AP to quietly mention what they're actually talking about:

Some experts say [sic] the drop of CD singles as being part of an industry-wide slump, due to economic factors and a weak year musically. (Emphasis mine.)

That's right, CD singles. Unit sales for the singles were down 39%, revenue down 36% (they raised prices, of course).

And CD singles account for how much of the RIAA's profits?

Not quite one percent.

Yes, that's right: they lost 36% of 1% of their profits.

And the news media is reporting it as a 39% loss.

The facts are that their "CD sales" are up this year, even over last year's stunning performance. The RIAA increased the average price of a full-length CD from $13.65 to $14.02, and still managed to sell 3,600,000 more of them.

Total profit increase on this, the core of their business, was 3.1%, or just shy of an extra $400,000,000.

But full-length CDs only account for 92% of the RIAA's revenue. They did have weak performance in the other 8%. CD singles, as already noted, dropped revenue by 36%. But the real casualty percentage-wise was cassingles, which lost over 90% of its revenue from last year.

Gee, why could that be? Maybe because nobody wants them?

In fact, the RIAA's only real money-losing format of any significance was cassettes, which, along with music videos, were the only format actually cut in price. Cassette revenue dropped $436 million.

Wait a minute, what am I saying? "Money-losing"? They aren't losing money on cassettes -- they're just not raking it in this year as fast as last year. And gee, why might that be? Again, because nobody wants them?

And it's not like the RIAA is struggling to get by on slim profits. The big picture is that, in the last nine years, they have tripled their annual income.

But they are desperate to spin this as a loss. The actual fact is that their total revenue is down 1.8% from 1999. Last year, they made $14,584,500,000. This year, they made $14,323,000,000.

But how could they blame Napster if they told the truth? What would they say? "Napster is killing us! Our income is down almost two whole percent! We are only pulling in $14,323,000,000 this year!"

That probably wouldn't fly.

Especially because in the three categories which Napster has precisely zero effect on -- cassettes, vinyl, and music videos -- their combined year-to-year loss was $579.5 million.

That's right. In the digital formats which Napster can trade, they are making more money: $318,500,000 more revenue. In the analog and video formats where Napster is irrelevant, they are making less money: $579,500,000 less revenue.

That's the real story here.

But don't trust the press to report this one fairly. Don't trust the RIAA's press release. Go read the RIAA's numbers yourself.

(Hell, don't even trust those numbers -- they don't add up. I was silly enough to type them into a spreadsheet, and someone over there has some problems doing simple arithmetic. Their 1998 total revenue includes the DVDs twice.)

The RIAA is desperately trying to spin this so that they won't look like greedy bastards for turning down Napster's offer of a billion dollars over the next five years.

If they just took that generous offer, then -- in a year that the AP wire suggests might be an "industry-wide slump, due to economic factors and a weak year musically," and in a year for which Bertlesmann admits "we didn't put that much good stuff out" -- their revenue would only be down $111,000,000 from last year. And that would have been $750,000,000 more than they made in 1998.

But that isn't enough for them.

Why would anyone think the RIAA is greedy? They just want what's coming to them.

(Update one hour later by J : Mea culpa. Three paragraphs up, I originally calculated the numbers as if the billion dollars was all applied in one year; that isn't so. The billion would have been applied equally over the next five years. Actually it probably wouldn't have been applied to year-2000 revenue at all, so it's more of a rhetorical point than anything. Thanks to dachshund for pointing out that it wasn't a lump-sum payment.)

(Update four hours later by J : The AP wire seems to have updated its story, now stating explicitly that it's CD singles, not "CDs," which dropped 39%. I see factually correct versions now at CNN, Salon, Yahoo, and wire.ap.org (search on Napster). The BBC version is still incorrect. In my opinion, the new versions are still misleading. Focusing on a large percentage drop within a subcategory which is a tiny percentage of the whole is a classic example of how to lie with statistics. But compare this to the RIAA's press release, claiming that CD singles had "flat growth in '98 and '99," though 1998 revenue actually dropped 22% -- that's just plain lying.)

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Cassingles? (2)

tartanboy (262669) | more than 13 years ago | (#401116)

Crap, I haven't seen a new one of these in years. You mean to say they've been making them all this time? Who the heck buys them anyways? I mean who doesn't own a cd player?

Let the RIAA piss off their customers (2)

NineNine (235196) | more than 13 years ago | (#401118)

I say let the RIAA piss off their customers. I was happily using Napster, or getting sample MP3s in other ways and buying CD's for a long time. Now, the RIAA has gone too far. I WILL NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES puchase another shrink-wrapped CD. Luckily, blank CD's are nice and cheap, now. There are probably lots of people who feel the same as I do. It may take a while, but the RIAA will figure out what they did wrong when it's too late.

heh (2)

waspleg (316038) | more than 13 years ago | (#401119)

unfortunately you're preaching to the choir here, the real trick would be to get this article on CNN ;)

Numbers to spin (3)

Christopher Bibbs (14) | more than 13 years ago | (#401201)

Of course, you also have to take inflation into account. If you don't grow by that rate then it is effectively a loss. Also, we're talking revenue, not profits. I don't care if they take in $100,000,000 US, if the costs are sufficiently high the revenue is moot.

Music Industry FUD (1)

litui (231192) | more than 13 years ago | (#401205)

Well, it is. The numbers speak for themselves. <a href="http://litui.net/music.php">My Rant On the Industry</a> for my opinion so I can be lazy and not bother repeating it.

Lars ego increased by only 12% last year (4)

SpanishInquisition (127269) | more than 13 years ago | (#401210)

an all time low.

If.. (1)

maddogsparky (202296) | more than 13 years ago | (#401214)

...someone could just make the mainstream journalists feel like the chumps they are, we'd probably see some new headlines. Keep it up /.

Actually, a simpler proof (2)

Enoch Root (57473) | more than 13 years ago | (#401227)

You know, what I wonder is this: if Napster is, as you claim, helping the RIAA make money, why are they fighting Napster tooth and nail? Money talks, and if indeed Napster was pushing CD sales up, like so many Napster defenders claim, then the RIAA would be shutting up.

And no, just saying they're dumb doesn't settle the case.

Are these "real" numbers a bit inflated? (2)

Spud the Ninja (174866) | more than 13 years ago | (#401231)

How big a cut do record stores and other middlemen take out of the price per CD. What, on average, is the profit on a CD? Just wondering...

Look, this is silly. (5)

Lazarus Short (248042) | more than 13 years ago | (#401235)

Hey, I'm as much of a fan of Napster as anybody, and I agree that the RIAA's claims are consistently whacked, but everyone repeat after me:

You cannot declare that X has affected Y to degree Z, unless you can observe Y in the absence of X.

In other words, unless someone can open an interdimensional portal to some alternate universe in which Napster doesn't exist, all of these claims of revenue being up or down in particular areas are meaningless. There are a countless number of other factors that could be influencing sales of CDs, cassettes, music videos, etc. Saying that Napster is solely responsible for any of it is absurd.

--

Re:Numbers to spin (1)

NecroPuppy (222648) | more than 13 years ago | (#401240)

Well, given that it takes less than 10 cents to actually press a CD, I think that their profit is pretty high...

great article (1)

jetgirl25 (261741) | more than 13 years ago | (#401246)

Thanks for the article! It's great when someone takes the time to debunk biased and inaccurate reporting. It's not surprising the RIAA is trying to create the image of lost revenues... the movie industry has been doing it for years (although they don't have a handy scapegoat like Napster to blame).

Great job!

Re:Cassingles? (2)

Christopher Bibbs (14) | more than 13 years ago | (#401248)

My mother for one. I don't have one in my car (that's got to count for something). Mind you, I haven't bought one since PM Dawn had a song in the top 20, but I'm just pointing out that some people still need those little buggers.

Did I mention I have Sgt. Pepper on 8-track?

From the Salon.com article on this (2)

joshamania (32599) | more than 13 years ago | (#401251)

"To be honest, it wasn't a great music year," said Andreas Schmidt, chief of the e-commerce group at Bertelsmann, which has a financial stake in Napster. "There were some isolated events, but we didn't put that much good stuff out."

I grabbed that little ditty from Salon.com [salon.com] .

Now I'm going to take a moment to pontificate on the economics of music and software piracy.

Music/Movie (and to a lesser extent, software) executives will tell you that for each pirated copy of "insert your IP product of choice here", the production company loses n dollars. Similar to Autodesk saying that if I (non-engineer in a non-engineering career) were to pirate AutoCAD, they effectively lose $1500 (or whatever).

The truth is, a significant percentage of pirated software/music/movies would never have been purchased in the first place, and the production company is out an insignificant zero.

Not fully true for music cartels, as college students may still be ignoring their $1000 stereo equipment because they can play free music on their $50 computer speakers, but hey, this is the 21st century, right?

Personally... (1)

Calamere (318591) | more than 13 years ago | (#401259)

I wish they'd take the billion dollars. Shawn Fanning put a lot into Napster and deserves to see it legally fly. I don't want to tell my kids about this great program that we used to have and how it was made illegal si they can't use it. I'd like to see Napster version 8.5. All your CD sales are belong to us.

Hilary Rosen's Personal Computer (1)

Vortran (253538) | more than 13 years ago | (#401262)

Somewhere in the back of my mind, this little voice is asking how many MP3's the plaintiffs and judges in this Napster case have on their personal hard drives? I'll bet Hilary has a PC that's connected to the Internet. Hrmmmm...

Napster's effect on buying habits (2)

Kook9 (69585) | more than 13 years ago | (#401266)

I can definitely see Napster eroding sales of cassingles -- if you can download that radio hit that's stuck in your head, why would you pay a few bucks for a poorly packaged tape version? But in my personal experience, Napster increases my consumption of CDs. Left to my own devices, I can go months without purchasing a CD. When I use Napster to sample new and unfamiliar stuff, my inclination to purchase music goes way up. Shit, my girlfriend installed Napster last week and has been running up her credit card on obscure Japanese imports ever since. Some people might use Napster to "rip off" the record companies, but I suspect the vast majority of music lovers are like me -- it only whets their appetite.

Kook9 out.

How funny. (2)

Vladinator (29743) | more than 13 years ago | (#401269)

Sure. Let's blame the RIAA. It's all their fault. Let's totally ignore the fact that Napster use DOES encourage people to not buy, or compensate the artist in any way what so ever. The only things I have purchased lately were the things I couldn't just steal on Napster. Face it: There is a moral, legal, and ethical question that you have to answer if you are a Napster user: Is what you are doing right? Would you like someone to take something you made without compensating you for it at all? Let's say it costs you $10 to make it. 100 people use it, and two of them pay $5 for it. Some might say this is okay, but if you don't make anything off of what you do, why continue to do it? I do tech support for a living - a nontangible product if there ever was one - and I guarentee you that if they didn't PAY ME to do this, I wouldn't. Now, if Napster gets what's coming to them, and can then use a business model that compensates all involved fairly, more power to them. The current setup isn't it.

Fawking Trolls! [geekizoid.com]

Are there any British out there? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#401273)

Will a British citizen please send a letter to the BBC and explain their mis-reporting? Also, it would be even cooler for a group of British citizens to get together and start a petition for the BBC to correct their article's mistake fully, publically, and for most exposure. I would surely join that campaign. It would probably only take about a week to get sufficient numbers. Then release a press release to the media explain the glaring mistake made in the Monday morning BBC article and explain the correct figures, then note how many people have signe dthe petition to have the mistake fully and publically corrected by the BCC, and then demand that the BBC correct its ghastly error.

Re:Actually, a simpler proof (2)

NecroPuppy (222648) | more than 13 years ago | (#401274)

You know, what I wonder is this: if Napster is, as you claim, helping the RIAA make money, why are they fighting Napster tooth and nail? Money talks, and if indeed Napster was pushing CD sales up, like so many Napster defenders claim, then the RIAA would be shutting up.

And no, just saying they're dumb doesn't settle the case.


The music mafia (RIAA) cannot allow Napster to continue because people might realize exactly how cheap it is to produce music. They wish to maintain their stranglehold on the industry by controlling all methods of distrabution.

They can't admit that Napster is helping them, because they don't control Napster.

My sig says it all. (2)

Odinson (4523) | more than 13 years ago | (#401276)

Try matching dollar for dollar money spent on RIAA and MPAA products in donations to the EFF [eff.org] .

Fighting an evil empire is rather fun and the EFF hats look cool.

SINGLES, Yes.. CDs, No. (2)

citizenc (60589) | more than 13 years ago | (#401280)

I have never, EVER purchased a CD single before. Why should I pay $10 or more for a bunch of remixes of the same song? If I want remixes, I go to Napster or a similar service..

BUT, I hardly ever download any full albums from Napster -- in fact, yesterday I went out and bought two Pink Floyd CDs, PLUS both Radiohead CDs, simply because I had downloaded a few songs off Napster, said "Hey, this is great!" and felt obligated to follow up.

------------
CitizenC

The Missing Star Trek (TOS) Episode... (2)

jd (1658) | more than 13 years ago | (#401282)

Captain Kirk: You mean, the Federation have been lying all this time? They're actually in league with these... furr-balls from RIAA II?

Spock: It would be illogical to assume that they are lying, merely because they are deliberately telling an untruth.

Captain Kirk: Are you feeling OK, Spock?

Spock: My feelings are irrelevent, Captain. Since my brain was bought by the RIAA, on e-bay, my human side has spontaneously combusted.

Nothing new about this tactic (1)

Tosta Dojen (165691) | more than 13 years ago | (#401300)

There is really nothing new about skewing the numbers to put your position in the best light possible. It has been done thousands of times over, and it will continue to be done. Only mathematicians will ever know the whole truth, and even with them I have my doubts.

The really tricky part about numbers is that they can be technically correct without giving the whole picture. A labor union reports their average wages as $46,000, while the corporation they work for reports the average salary paid to be $72,000. The lower number is the median, while the higher number is the mean, which is higher due to the fact that a few executives have much higher salaries.
The corporation's number is technically correct, but fails to provide the scope of its meaning.

Very few are knowledgeable enough to know the difference, let alone the significance of that difference.

Re:Numbers to spin (2)

Christopher Bibbs (14) | more than 13 years ago | (#401304)

..and then there are the marketing droids to upkeep (jawas don't work for free ya know).

Oh, sound engineers too, they like money. Gotta pay them. Seems like there a bunch of people in the recording process that need money. Who else? Suppose the Teamsters need to get paid to drive those trucks from manufacturing to the stores.

Do you think the stores collect a portion of that revenue? Maybe a little off the top, say 5-10%?

Re:Let the RIAA piss off their customers (1)

PicassoJones (315767) | more than 13 years ago | (#401309)

Of course don't forget that the RIAA gets a share of all profits made from selling blank CDs and blank tapes!

Go buy a Rio or something... besides, they're really cool.

This is not a unique case in history... (2)

Mossfoot (310128) | more than 13 years ago | (#401311)

Where have we seen this before? We have a system that works just find (music industry, CDs, ect), and someone invents something superior in some fundamental way (in this case, more convenient), and we act surprised when pressure comes to try and squash it.

This isn't the first time this has happened.

Big Oil has, up until recently, been against alternative power sources. Only now that it's becomming abundantly clear that the oil supply isn't going to last another 50-80 years do we see their tunes change. Now we find companies like BP having an increasing interest in developing solar power technology. Why? They know their number is up and are changing to fit with the times so they can survive.

Look at the Industrial Revolution. It challenged a working, established system that worked just fine, because it was more efficent and cheaper. People didn't take this lying down, though. Anyone who's seen Star Trek 6 remembers the analogy made by that hot vulcan chick: "They threw their wooden shoes, or sabo, into the machinery. Thus: sabotage."

Sorry for the Trek reference, but it's true, and it gets my point across here. This is just a number crunching form of sabotage. Of course the industry is going to put whatever spin and outright lies it can get away with in order to keep their jobs and keep themselves out of trouble. It's human nature.

Just ask Bill Clinton: "I did NOT have sexual relations, with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky." :)

Re:Let the RIAA piss off their customers (1)

Calamere (318591) | more than 13 years ago | (#401313)

I say we start a small movement with friends and family and co-workers to never buy a CD from the big 4 ever again. That's my plan...

Re:Numbers to spin (1)

atrowe (209484) | more than 13 years ago | (#401316)

I'm sure their legal team costs quite a bit.

media exposure? (1)

hexdef6 (141919) | more than 13 years ago | (#401319)

What are the chances that a media group other than Slashdot will report on this. If NBC, or another major network reported on this, this would have a HUGE impact on the public opinion of the RIAA. Let's get this information out, folks.

Jaeger
www.JohnQHacker.com
GodHatesCalvinists.com

Re:Look, this is silly. (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 13 years ago | (#401335)

absa-posa-lutely! I am in complete agreement.
The decrease *AND* increase of the music industry cannot be attributed to Napster unless we compare it with the same data at the same time period without Napster's influence.
I'm really sick of these reports, even if they are pro-Napster. Its just bad analysis. If you are going to use statistical analysis, USE IT CORRECTLY!

--

Re:Actually, a simpler proof (5)

Lazarus Short (248042) | more than 13 years ago | (#401338)

Why are they fighting Napser, even as their profits increase?

It's simple. They're control freaks.

More to the point, they recognize Napster as a long-term threat. They know that as long as they control the mainstream distribution channels, they can continue to make obscene profits. But Napster

  1. Provides people access to independant artists and groups, who as they become more well known, become poised to seriously compete with the groups that RIAA memebers control. And as the armchair economists are all so happy to point out, more competition leads to slimmer profits.
  2. Makes people seriously think twice before popping down $15 for a CD. Now, as long as bandwidth, mp3 quality, and hard drive space are issues, they're still going to buy the CD, which is why the RIAA's profits haven't been hurt yet. But those things are techincal issues which are becoming less and less of a problem every day. Soon enough, people will stop buying as many CD's, and the RIAA's sales will plummet.
So, in short, the RIAA's claims about lost revenue are FUD, but they know that if Napster survives long enough, they won't be.

--

to be fair... (1)

yali (209015) | more than 13 years ago | (#401341)

...it does make sense that CD and cassette singles could be hurt by Napster. After all, one of the big Napster advantages is that you shouldn't be forced to buy all the crappy *N'Sync songs that nobody listens to, only the crappy *N'Sync songs that are big on the radio.

On balance, the facts presented here seem less FUDdy than the facts presented in the BBC article. But they're certainly not FUD-free. Part of the problem is that no information presented by either side takes into account the possibility that things other than Napster could be affecting RIAA profits. Who's to say that the RIAA wouldn't have seen an even bigger increase in profits without Napster? That wouldn't be good PR, but logically it would still support their case.

so boycott Napster (2)

gimp999 (234460) | more than 13 years ago | (#401342)

After all, they're just making the RIAA even richer and more powerful.

All your cassingles are belong to us. (2)

Qwerty4 (153204) | more than 13 years ago | (#401344)

Someone set us up the Napster!!

Re:Actually, a simpler proof (1)

Mr. Adequate (138862) | more than 13 years ago | (#401346)

Actually, I think the RIAA is fighting Napster purely as a gut-level reaction - the equation of "X downloads == X lost sales" is just so seductively intuitive that they probably didn't do a lot of research and charged right in. However, if it could be shown that Napster increased sales, then the component companies of the RIAA might be open to lawsuits by their stockholders on grounds of fiduciary responsibility.

Perhaps it's time for the EFF to buy Disney stocks...

Re:lol (1)

dedair (238106) | more than 13 years ago | (#401347)

The real issue is that the U.S Government decides who and when they go after. I am sure that they got sick and tired of Micro$hit not kicking back enough money, or there was too much public pressure not to just let it go. If you want to talk about about a monopoly, you can jump right in to the Record Industry.

Re:Let the RIAA piss off their customers (1)

jarodkf (240087) | more than 13 years ago | (#401349)

but... don't most packages of blank cd's come shrink-wrapped??

RIAA and $ (1)

big_groo (237634) | more than 13 years ago | (#401350)

Yeah, yeah. We've heard it ALL. Does this really surprise anyone?

I'm pissed that Napster is going down the tubes. I've bought more CD's since I've started using Napster than I have in the last 5 years combined. Why is that? Because there's nothing like coming home, opening that damn trickey plastic wrap on the cd...smelling the case...(ahhh), pulling the tightly placed cd off the holder and placing it in my cd tray. I sit and listen to the cd, while browsing the cover art...I read the credits...dissect the whole thing. I ENJOY this. Y'know what happens to 90% of the songs I download from Napster? I delete 'em.

The only artists that Napster could possibly hurt are the "One Hit Wonders". Why should I go out and buy a whole cd for one song? Quality music doesn't suffer from file sharing....Crap does. It's just too damn bad RIAA has their panties in a bunch because they think they're losing money.

News flash: They'll NEVER stop file sharing. Finger in the damn anyone? Good luck RIAA.

PS. Fuck you guys. I'm not buying any CD's for a year. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Re:Actually, a simpler proof (1)

geomon (78680) | more than 13 years ago | (#401351)

Well, no the RIAA wouldn't be shutting up if Napster was increasing CD sales. The issue isn't about CD revenues at all, per se, but about control.

The RIAA has failed miserably to produce their own online music distribution service, so they attack the only one that was producing results. If they thought they couldn't make money on Napster via pay-per-download, then why are they proposing their own version of the same service?

The fact is, they want Napster down because it isn't OWNED by them.

In short, they view Napster as a *competitive* threat, not an IP threat. They could always license the recordings for sale on Napster, but then they couldn't hold Napster to their *price targets* (look for CY2000 articles where RIAA members agreed to discontinue predatory pricing via advertising kick-backs).

The RIAA will kill Napster, then quietly buy the Napster code, and then reintroduce the service in their own image.

Reverse spinning (2)

Fervent (178271) | more than 13 years ago | (#401364)

Unfortunately, all you're effectively doing is spinning the numbers the other way, and a spin is still a spin.

Point one: from a cursory scan of the original post (and, if I'm in any way wrong, feel free to shoot me down) he at one point designates the CD singles base as "1%", then later recognizes it as "8%". Which is it?

Point two: single sales have to be viewed in light of the artist. Sure, a band like Metallica with a million-and-one compilation albums isn't affected by a drop in single CD sales. But what about (*shivvers*) Britney Spears? Little 12-year old girls are probably going out and buying that one song they really like (and is played over the radio constantly), instead of full albums of songs they haven't be clandestinely programmed into about. That is, they *were* doing this, until their older brothers came around and downloaded Napster for the family machine.

I'm not saying to endorse the RIAA. Hell, I use Napster all the time. But you have to be careful in spinning numbers one way and countering it with a spin the next. A spin is still a spin, and people are apt and wary about this.

Re:Actually, a simpler proof (1)

nitemayr (309702) | more than 13 years ago | (#401368)

Simple, BusinessMan Robert Someone over there is performing a service what I want to perform, and they are doing it for free (As in Sex). I want to make money from that service, so I need a way to become "the guy/gal that offers that service." So I can do a few things:

Do it better and add perks

Do it the same, but offer brand recognition, Now with Nike!

Offer a slightly different service

(If you have more money and resources:) Force the free service out of business by claiming their service infringes upon your service
Phone company A does not like that Bob in apartment 101 lets Frank from Apartment 2 use his phone line, even though Bob always pays his bills on time and tips EVERY phone tech that comes by, even if he is seeing them socially


Robert Chooses The Latter

Essentailly, the RIAA wants to make money from it's product, but doesn't need/want the goodwill that comes from offering free product to us pleebs.

Re:Numbers to spin (1)

humphrm (18130) | more than 13 years ago | (#401369)

>Of course, you also have to take inflation into
>account.

Um, not really... when they raise their product's price (as the article pointed out that they did) you change the elasticity of demand, and thus bring revenue changes upon yourself regardless of outside forces such as inflation. Adjust the numbers for price increases, then take into account for inflation, and then maybe you've got something. Even then, inflation has really only been active (in the U.S. anyway) in energy, housing and food. Two of three of those categories wouldn't even apply to record manufacturers, and I'm sure these numbers beat them handily.

> Also, we're talking revenue, not profits

Maybe, if you're thinking about buying stock in an entity. However, when you're gaging the impact a competitor on your business, your costs have no bearing since you (not your competitor) control your own costs. So, what would you suggest -- that if RIAA members went on a hiring spree they could claim that the lower profits were Napster's fault? No, when comparing two competitors the only factor is revenue.

Re:Actually, a simpler proof (3)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 13 years ago | (#401373)

Why would RIAA want Napster to make them billions when they can make N*billions themselves by knocking Napster out of the picture?

I think it was Mark Twain who said... (2)

dboyles (65512) | more than 13 years ago | (#401374)

"There are lies, damn lies, and statistics."

I can find statistics that imply CowboyNeal has sex with folding chairs. Statistics don't mean a damn thing unless they are given in full context. There are almost always hidden variables that have contributed to the statistics.

Nobody with a lick of thinking skills will take a statistic like "Record sales dropped by x%" and conclude that Napster is the cause. A cause, maybe. The cause? No way.

I realize that I'm preaching to the choir here, so it's a valid question to wonder why I'm even bothering. But the truth is there are thousands of people who will read a headline like the one we're referring to, and won't take a split second to reason it out.

NYTimes take on this. (2)

C. E. Sum (1065) | more than 13 years ago | (#401375)

The New York Times had a little article on this. They do point out the single-only aspect of it, but do not talk much about the supposedly small percentage single sales make up. http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/business/AP-Napste r-CD-Sales.html [nytimes.com] .

There is even an obligatory quote from a BMG exec about not being able to pin down what the problem is.

Re:Are there any British out there? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#401376)

The only mis-reporting is by jamie. He edited the BBC report to get the effect he wanted.

The report clearly states 'according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).'
For some reason jamie didn't feel that part was important enough to include in his intro (he does gloss over it in the body text).

Re:How funny. (1)

Vortran (253538) | more than 13 years ago | (#401388)

If I make something that can be copied, how many times should I be paid for it? After the millionth person pays $10 for what cost me $100 to make (originally), should I continue to lie on my laurels and have an income even tho I haven't done anything now for quite some time? Shouldn't I get paid today for what I do today, and tomorrow for what I do tomorrow.

Re:Cassingles? (1)

mph (7675) | more than 13 years ago | (#401392)

It looks like you haven't been reading America's Finest News Source [theonion.com] .

Re:Let the RIAA piss off their customers (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 13 years ago | (#401395)

True, but $0.25 per CD is a lot better than $15.00. I still need CDs for my car.

Re:Actually, a simpler proof (1)

PicassoJones (315767) | more than 13 years ago | (#401397)

It all amounts to greed.

Sure, Napster has not negatively affected the record industry as the RIAA has claimed. But, they see the opportunity to profit out of this.

It is their legal property which is being freely distributed, and so they want a say in it. I doubt this whole mess will be over until the RIAA is just as involved in the corporate workings of Napster as anyone else

Re:Napster's effect on buying habits (1)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 13 years ago | (#401400)

Along a similar vein, I find that while I don't plan on purchasing many new CD's with Napster on hand, my interest in music has gone way up, and I definitely plan on attending more concerts this year (which is where the artists make their money, anway). Screw the RIAA - they're nothing more than a modern equivalent of the Horse & Buggy industry before Henry Ford came along.

Brave journalists (sarcasm) (2)

sleight (22003) | more than 13 years ago | (#401401)

Originally, my subject was going to read "Great! Now go lambast the reporter directly!" Then I combed the story, and the reference to the story on Yahoo, and realized that the author is indeed a truely brave man -- because he thinks that this audience will believe his story when he fails to sign his name on it!

Where's the journalistic integrity in releasing a story and not being accountable for its accuracy?!

RIAA (1)

Fluxcore (261827) | more than 13 years ago | (#401403)

Is the RIAA a branch of M$ ?

Nice to see such enormous profits (1)

Archanagor (303653) | more than 13 years ago | (#401404)

Wow.. with all the billions of dollars they make. You think they could cut customers, and merchants a bit of slack and lower the price of CD's a bit. Geez ...

Really, how much does it take to make a living? I'd be quite comfortable at 100k a year.

---

Re:Actually, a simpler proof (5)

joshamania (32599) | more than 13 years ago | (#401406)

The RIAA and the record cartels want to completely control the distribution methods of their products. Before, they could threaten manufacturers not to make DAT tapes, and not support Mini Discs, but now, they can't do shite about MP3's.

They can no longer control the price of their "product", and that threatens their ridiculously high margins.

Why should an industry that is worth $40 billion USD only be provided with product by, oh, let's say, less than 50,000 musicians. And let us also say that less than 1,000 of those musicians make more than $1,000,000 USD per year.

Where does the rest of that money go?

Another question I'd like to ask:

You musicians out there, do you feel it is your right to be able to live for the rest of your life off of a few hours of work (songwriting/recording)? And don't bullshit me that it's not a few hours of work, because it is. Programming is the same thing. Sure it make take me years to improve my skills, but the chances of me ever getting paid $20,000,000 USD for one song/program are next to zero, while no-talent boy-bands (that's right N-Sync, Backdoor boys, I'm talking about your dumb asses) rake in the dough because the cartels control the distribution of nearly all music. Do you like the fact that your industry is more akin to a lottery than to art?

and big bosses (1)

alprazolam (71653) | more than 13 years ago | (#401407)

lets find out what are good friend hillary pulls down a year eh?

Re:Reverse spinning (1)

Dg93 (10261) | more than 13 years ago | (#401408)

Read again:

  • But full-length CDs only account for 92% of the RIAA's revenue. They did have weak performance in the other 8%. CD singles, as laready noted, dropped revenue by 36%. But the real casualty percentage-wise was cassingles, which lost over 90% of its revenue from last year.

He never recognizes CD singles as 8%. He recognizes 'non full-length CD sales' as 8%. That 8% includes cassettes, cassingles, single cds, etc... etc... etc...

Speaking about The Onion..... (2)

verbot (215901) | more than 13 years ago | (#401409)


Kid Rock Starves To Death! MP3 Piracy Blamed! [theonion.com]

Or, for the goatse.cx weary:

http://theonion.com/onion3618/kid_rock_starves.h tm l

Libelous claims? (1)

ThePolack (66673) | more than 13 years ago | (#401410)

The RIAA is accusing Napster of A) breaking the law, and B) directly and intnetionally attacking the RIAA's business thru unethical means. The first claim is kind of sketchy, but the second claim is obviously a lie. Isn't that slander? How about libel? Can't Napster take legal action against such claims? Especially when there is so much evidence to prove them false?

I think there should be a counter-suit.

Unbelievable (2)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 13 years ago | (#401411)

This BBC article is a joke. How can they make the statement, "Sales of music compact discs fell by 39% last year according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)", and not bother to qualify that statement (CD-singles dropped that much) whatsoever. To my eyes, this borders on unethical journalism. I've always considered the BBC to be a good news organization: how could they let something like this slip by?

As for the RIAA: screw em. I haven't bought a CD in over a year, and right now I don't have plans to buy another one ever again. Napster or no Napster, it doesn't matter to me. There'll be other programs I'll try, or I'll just have to do without the latest music for a while. No big loss.

Truth is artificial... (1)

drnomad (99183) | more than 13 years ago | (#401412)

Whether you are in favour or against Napster.

But what are we doing here? The music industry is lying through their teeth? And what now? Will this save Napster?

How many tons of dynamite do we actually need?

... (1)

jmccay (70985) | more than 13 years ago | (#401424)

They obvoiusly read that book on how to lie with charts. There are just greedy cry babies!!!

On a similar note (was: Re:Look, this is silly.) (2)

mat catastrophe (105256) | more than 13 years ago | (#401426)

The RIAA may be playing with numbers a bit, but in a way that everyone who does finances plays with numbers.

Fer instance, when the gov't announces that they are cutting spending to something (let's say, *cough* the military), what they are really doing is cutting back on what the projected increase was supposed to be. So, instead of a 10 billion dollar increase, they get only 8 billion, and the press reports this as a 2 billion cutback.

RIAA uses it the same way, I'd wager. "Well, he lost 2 billion dollars..." No, you just didn't clear the goals you set for yourself, and as Lazarus noted, you can't prove Napster had anything to do with it.....

Oh, and by the way, Fuck You Very Much, RIAA.

Re:Cassingles? (1)

Shitsack Comments (256887) | more than 13 years ago | (#401429)

Marketing and Wal-Mart? That's what we call a two-time loser.

Re:Are these "real" numbers a bit inflated? (1)

jetgirl25 (261741) | more than 13 years ago | (#401430)

I think music stores base their profit on their markups on cd's. The RIAA base price of $14 gets marked up by varying degrees by music stores. I worked at a music store last year (A&B Sound in Vancouver) where they sold the cd's for very little over last year's base price of $13, so you could buy cd's for an avg. $13-$15 CDN per cd. This year, since the RIAA price raise, you can get them for $14-$17 a cd there. Now, since the west coast of Canada is reputably the cheapest place in the world to buy music cd's (largely because of the A&B Sound [absound.ca] chain based here), we have it a bit better than other places (e.g. $30 in Australia, $20 in America, $18 in eastern Canada). That might give you an idea how much different music stores make on their cd sales.

I don't know, however, what the RIAA breakdown is. Does anyone know how the base $14 price gets split up? What's the artist's cut? What's the RIAA's cut? What's the promotional and manufacturing costs?

cheap media + crappy content + high price (2)

AX.25 (310140) | more than 13 years ago | (#401431)

= NO SALE. Cheap media + great content + resonable price = SALE. Think about it RIAA.

Re:Music Industry FUD (1)

dedair (238106) | more than 13 years ago | (#401432)

before you post you should try learning HTML

up $739,000,000... (5)

dachshund (300733) | more than 13 years ago | (#401433)

their revenue would be up $739,000,000 over last year. And up $1,600,000,000 from 1998.

Well, not exactly. The Napster settlement was actually 1 billion over several years, totalling $150 million/year divided out amongst the big 5 and indie labels. It would have made a dent in those numbers, but not as big as you say.

I'm not defending the RIAA, just trying to explain why they rejected the offer. $30 million per label per year isn't a lot of money, compared to what they're afraid they'll lose to Napster. Of course they're going to lose a lot more due to bad decision making, but they are a fairly short-sighted profit-driven industry.

Re:heh (1)

hayz (160976) | more than 13 years ago | (#401434)

...or get the information from the /. article published on the BBC site.

I may be missing something, but does the BBC article have a byline? Or was it thoroughly researched and written by the evil twin sister of Anonymous Coward?

Re:How funny. (1)

Vladinator (29743) | more than 13 years ago | (#401435)

Hey, that's fine if you don't beleave in the American Dream and the American way of life. Why don't you move to China or Cuba, if you feel that way?

Fawking Trolls! [geekizoid.com]

Re:Actually, a simpler proof (1)

GlassUser (190787) | more than 13 years ago | (#401436)

Remeber, the RIAA embodies total greed. They realize they can make more money off the idea if they destroy Napster as it is now, then innovate [everything2.com] a new, pay-per-some-mundane-criteria-like-clicking scheme.

Re:Are there any British out there? (1)

jamiemccarthy (4847) | more than 13 years ago | (#401437)

The report clearly states 'according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).' For some reason jamie didn't feel that part was important enough to include in his intro (he does gloss over it in the body text).

Yes, and the BBC would quickly have seen that this "fact" was a blatant lie if they'd bothered to look at the numbers.

As I wrote:

The BBC story's second paragraph says "Sales of music compact discs fell by 39% last year," which they would have quickly seen was a blatant lie if they'd bothered to look at the numbers.

If you write a story whose primary basis is one "fact," you really owe it to your readers to check that fact. If I wrote a story about how great the DEA was, and its second paragraph was "the DEA stops 99% of all drugs coming into this country, according to the head of the DEA," I would expect y'all to come down on me just as hard. Especially if the real numbers were available from their website, two clicks off their homepage.

Jamie McCarthy

Re:Actually, a simpler proof (2)

Baba Abhui (246789) | more than 13 years ago | (#401438)

And no, just saying they're dumb doesn't settle the case.

Why on Earth not? History is littered with the fatal folly of the stupid - from individual stupidity right on up to national stupidity. It's everywhere. It's the truth behind so much.

Re:Reverse spinning (2)

dachshund (300733) | more than 13 years ago | (#401439)

But what about (*shivvers*) Britney Spears? Little 12-year old girls are probably going out and buying that one song they really like (and is played over the radio constantly), instead of full albums of songs...

The record industry's business model relies heavily on those little 12-year old girls buying the whole album. There is little benefit to the industry in selling a (less than $10) single vs. a $17.99 album. If they can sell both, they're happy; but this is rare, and apparently singles are going the way of the dodo as far as the industry's marketing people are concerned:

From the AP [salon.com] : "Singles, a mainstay of the industry in the 1950s and 60s, have fallen out of favor as a tool to inflate sales figures and influence radio programming, said Roy Lott, president of EMI Group's Capitol label."

Re:Are these "real" numbers a bit inflated? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#401440)

Musicians are usually given a contract that allows them to collect 7% of the take on a CD. I don't know what the retailer pays for it, but just get wild and guess that it's marked up 25%. So picture your $20 CD (I'm doing this with whole numbers because I suck at math). Your record company took $15 home. They gave $1.05 to the musician who recorded it. It cost them probably $0.10 to print it. It cost them probably $0.10 to ship it to the record store. The rest is marketing and gravy.

Now -- the other part of the story is that the musician is also typically responsible for paying back, out of the $1.05, the cost for recording the CD, the cost for producing it, and the cost for marketing it. I know for a fact that a CD can be made without the record company's assistance for about four grand -- this is I think three grand for studio time and an additional thousand for cutting a thousand CD's. This was eight years ago, so CD prices have plummeted, obviously. I can cut me a thousand CD's for a hundred bucks, nowadays.

But studio time in some rinky-dink basement studio with no producer is different than studio time with some big-ass producer and a $600-an-hour recording engineer. Even so, the album is cut in a whirlwind of a couple of days, the producer pockets whatever he wants to out of the advance, and the band is screwed. Don't forget that, because it's the fundamental feature of the record industry. The band is always the last to recieve the cash, and it's whittled down to almost nothing by the time it gets there.

Re:How funny. (2)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 13 years ago | (#401441)

True enough. Napster is quite clearly out to break the law and not compensate the musicians for it.

On the other hand, the RIAA is out to uphold the law outrageously, and STILL not compensate the musicians for it. This is better how?

The best part of Napster in my mind (and similar technologies of course--Gnutella, etc.), is that it's turning the entire recording industry into swiss cheese. Rampant theft via Napster, etc. is eventually going to drive musicians away from the RIAA if they can't make a living there, and then things will start to get interesting.

Here's the thing: Local musicians can make a passable living through performing and selling CDs at their gigs. People will continue to buy those CDs (or recordings in whatever form) as a means of supporting the musicians, and keeping their music alive. In 5 years, we might see the end of megastars, but the small scale musicians will probably be _better_ off by selling a small amount of music online that they never would have had a market for before.

Napster is illegal, and arguably unethical. However, it's the thin edge of an inevitable revolution which will most likely be good for >90% of the professional musicians out there. Do the ends justify the means in this case? I dunno.

Re:Hilary Rosen's Personal Computer (2)

jhughes (85890) | more than 13 years ago | (#401447)

I'm sensing a new use for that ShareSniffer program...;)

Re:Let the RIAA piss off their customers (1)

ncc74656 (45571) | more than 13 years ago | (#401449)

Of course don't forget that the RIAA gets a share of all profits made from selling blank CDs and blank tapes!

Doesn't that only apply to the (expen$ive) "audio CD-Rs" that are the only type that work in audio CD-burner decks? The (much cheaper) regular CD-Rs that you use with your computer have no "RIAA tax" associated with them as they have other, unrelated uses.

The only lie here is the title. (2)

MushMouth (5650) | more than 13 years ago | (#401452)

This article displays absolutely no where that Napster HELPS the RIAA sell records.

Revenue not profit? (2)

morthraneous (255691) | more than 13 years ago | (#401454)

I was unsure of the RIAA link posted... are we talking about strictly revenue here, and not profit?

We need John Stossel (1)

angry_android (320134) | more than 13 years ago | (#401455)

Give me a f***ing break!

So let BBC know what you think... (5)

StRobinson (175747) | more than 13 years ago | (#401457)

The BBC site has feedback forms [bbc.co.uk] which seem ideally suited to this sort of crap.

I would argue that this article constitutes a "factual error" [bbc.co.uk] , but you could also just send a good, old-fashioned complaint [bbc.co.uk] .

Or, maybe a "suggestion" [bbc.co.uk] about where they can stick their doctored statistics.

Give 'em hell. A few thousand complaints should show them that we won't let propaganda like this proliferate.
- BMO

Vinyl sales not affected ny Napster ?? (1)

opencode (28152) | more than 13 years ago | (#401459)

Especially because in the three categories which Napster has precisely zero effect on -- cassettes, vinyl, and music video -- their combined year-to-year loss was $579.5 million.

I disagree. I have "shared" my share of jazz tracks not [yet] available on CD's (or are only available on out-of-print/Ebay-"Friendly" CD's).

Granted, not many of these ... but several hundred of 'em nonetheles ....

Re:Look, this is silly. (1)

ZikZak (153813) | more than 13 years ago | (#401460)


Fat chance of that happening. This is slashdot, where the staff and readers frequently bash the RIAA for using faulty statistical data analysis, then go and do the same thing themselves.

Once again, it's called hypocrisy. Look at it this way:
The RIAA is distorting numbers in order to make more money by selling more product.
Slashdot and its readers are doing the same to make themselves feel justified about stealing music.

Now seriously, which of those two is a greater wrong? You know the truth, but I'll still get flamed and/or modded to oblivion for suggesting that all these thieves have something other than noble motives for their actions.

How come we are still paying more? (1)

mesach (191869) | more than 13 years ago | (#401461)

any one ever remember this post?

http://slashdot.org/articles/00/05/11/1322231.shtm l [slashdot.org]

I thought we were sposed to be getting a break on the cost of cd's instead I think they are going up!!!!

Stoners help the cigarette rolling paper industry (1)

-=OmegaMan=- (151970) | more than 13 years ago | (#401462)

Are they bitching about not receiving recognition?

;-)

Re:Napster is like broadcast radio (2)

monkeydo (173558) | more than 13 years ago | (#401463)

Napster is not like broadcast radio. Radio stations and anyone else that wants to play copyrighted music in public pays licensing fees!

The comments that the licensing groups should have accepted Napster's offer for 1.5 Billion dollars are ludicrous as well. The licensing groups know that Napster won't be around in 5 years and in any case will never have $1 billion. Napster's plan was to get that money from subscription fees.

How many of you slashdotters would be signing up for Napster if you knew your monthly fee was going to the RIAA?

Re:Numbers to spin (2)

Christopher Bibbs (14) | more than 13 years ago | (#401464)

A business that brings in $X in year 1 and $X in year 2 is generally considered to have lost revenue. Not just my thinking, check the financial papers.

As for inflation only effecting housing, energy, and food, you've already pointed out an increase in CD costs. That would seem to imply certain consumer goods went up too. Oh, and salary's were up in '98 and '99 so you can guess what happened in '00. That's inflation and it'll affect the bottom line.

Re:Look, this is silly. (1)

Fifty Squid (263888) | more than 13 years ago | (#401465)

Um.. Y in the absence of X = the 1999 numbers. More or less.

Re:How funny. (3)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 13 years ago | (#401466)

Is what you are doing right? Would you like someone to take something you made without compensating you for it at all?

You are reading - "taking" - my words right now.

You are not compensating me one bit. Oh, I am wounded!

Seriously...if someone got a hold of one of the minidisc recordings of my band's practice sessions and found it so intriguing that they made copys for their friends, or put it up on Napster, I'd have no problem with that at all. (Providing that it was properly credited as our work.)

Some might say this is okay, but if you don't make anything off of what you do, why continue to do it?

Do you make any money for making love to your SO? Why continue to do it, then?

Come to think of it, my dogs aren't making me any money. Hell, they cost me hundreds of dollars in vet bills a year. Guess I ought to sell their furry butts.

Tom Swiss | the infamous tms | http://www.infamous.net/

Litigation fosters competition (5)

joemaller (37695) | more than 13 years ago | (#401467)

The slashdot community should know better than anyone that what matters most is information. Not inconsequentials like truth and accuracy. The RIAA is winning the war of information. My mother mentioned this report to me before it was posted here. False stories get headlines, retractions and corrections get small paragraphs at the bottom of page 3.

Most likely Napster is dead already. But this isn't completely a cause to mourn.

Most recent revolutions in digital media that have solid-media business shitting themselves have come from bored or curious teenagers and college students. CSS was cracked by a 16 year old. Hotline was created by a teenager. Napster (a conceptually modified Hotline, though no one mentions it) was set up by Sean Fanning when he was 20 or 21. Even Netscape was lead by Marc Andreesen before he graduated college. (please be gentle with slight factual errors, that was recounted from memory)

How long will it take before the uncontrollable throng of adolescent geniuses that big business hates and fears comes up with something better than Napster? About three months probably. Maybe less.

The RIAA has introduced a new market force. The capitalist mantra has always been "competition fosters innovation". This is the beginning of litigation fostering innovation. I'm sure this isn't what the RIAA and MPAA really want. Napster basically had a monopoly on peer-to-peer MP3 sharing. If that is monopoly is shut down, the marketplace will be thrown open to innovation, however a pure copy will not work. The RIAA lawsuits have established a clear technological baseline. Every spawn of Napster will have to start that much higher. And they will.

Media Spin will always work for copyright holders (4)

Masem (1171) | more than 13 years ago | (#401468)

I heard about this number yesterday, and you know they're going to argue it left and right (Mind you, I do believe Napster as it was was in the wrong, but not to the extent RIAA wants us to believe). There was another article in today's Chicago Tribune (but carried by AP, so probably in everyone's major paper somehow) that talked about the creator of DeCSS, and out of 4 1/2-page columns, only one sentence mentioned the purpose of DeCSS (linux dvd viewing), and most of the rest on how DeCSS can be used to copy movies left and right.

Even if the media outlet is not owned by any subsidary or company of RIAA or MPAA, they are going to be biased because they have a strong urge to make sure copyright controls stay as 'strong' as they are. If, say, the Napster or DeCSS case overthrew strong copyright protections, then a site like NYTimes could easily watch as a free outlet scoops up all the articles for the day and posts them themselves; the work done by NYTimes writers, but benefits reaped in by another. Of course, I do believe that a significant fraction of media outlets do respect fair use issues, which is why DeCSS in general gets a more favorable light by some of these compared to Napster, since the media themselves rely heavily on fair use for publishing.

But again, this all boils down to statistics and how well you can spin them. I agree with others that there is no control case here: you need to compare the change of sales in a situation with and without Napster with all other conditions being the same, which is practically impossible. So we can spin them to say they're invalid, or RIAA can spin them to say they lost 1/3rd of their profits. The only somewhat justifiable comparison is to show the change in sales over the last twenty years on a year by year basis, incorporating the number of potental buyers (weighted age-group averages) and number of CDs available (again, weighted interest averages). I would suspect that the trend is higher, and if not only that, mimics the general trend in the GNP or other consumer price levels, such that you'd see the dip from Reagen-omics and the increase from the latest improved economy.

Which all means that CD sales haven't been affected at all by Napster, much less any other factor more-so than the economic levels.

Re:How funny. (1)

SlippyToad (240532) | more than 13 years ago | (#401469)

I would just like to point out that what the musician has, that the RIAA doesn't, is their talent to go out and perform the material. Their physical presence cannot be pirated. That's why not a lot of real musicians are jumping all over Napster (sure some real dorks are joining Artists Against Piracy but I don't see anyone I respect as a musician on there). They know they can survive it. Record companies, not being able to actually own people as slaves, are unable to force musicians to perform for them.

Re:Look, this is silly. (1)

rfsayre (255559) | more than 13 years ago | (#401470)

...unless someone can open an interdimensional portal to some alternate universe in which Napster doesn't exist, all of these claims of revenue being up or down in particular areas are meaningless...
Napster isn't much fun unless you have a broadband internet connection. Computer users with broadband internet connections are probably a fairly small subset of the music buying population.

How about an interdimensional portal to the alternate universe of being poor, black, and going to an underfunded public school?

fed up (short, kinda off topic rant) (2)

MillMan (85400) | more than 13 years ago | (#401471)

I don't know about you, but frankly I'm sick of our "free and democratic" mass media passing along whatever Big Corporation Guy says like a puppet.

And people wonder where most of our society's problems come from. Read stories like this, with lies I can hardly believe, and the answer seems a bit clearer. How did greed ever reach such levels? I feel damn near helpless to stop crap like this.

Re:How funny. SHUT THE FUCK UP! (1)

atrowe (209484) | more than 13 years ago | (#401482)

That's where you're wrong, kind sir. Album sales are up precisely BECAUSE of mainstream artists. You can twist and skew the numbers so much that it would make a politician proud, but when it comes down to FACTS, Napster has nothing to do with increased album sales. Talented, original artists lik N'Sync, Backstreet Boys, and Britney Spears are the reason for the dramatic increase in sales, and as long as we continue to see beautiful musical creations such as these, album sales will continue to increase.

Re:Actually, a simpler proof (1)

Arkus (15103) | more than 13 years ago | (#401484)

For the RIAA it's a matter of not being left out of the loop for they have always controlled the distribution of music on a large scale. If online trading of music becomes the primary way music is traded and they are not part of that equation (i.e. controlling it completely) then it will spell doom for them in the long run.

Most of us here on slashdot are well ahead of the general technology curve when looking at the population in its entirety. Perhaps, Napster making music easily available has generated additional revenue for the music industry, but at the moment there is no solid data to prove that one way or the other. As the article stated on the numbers we do have, the sale of CD's (not singles) is still growing and how the RIAA best makes use of that money is their decision to make.

No doubt, the RIAA will continue to use every legal trick possible to maintain their control over the delivery and distribution of music. Until the courts finally realize that (for the moment) trading of MP3s online has yet to cause real damage to the recording industry, the legal battles will continue.

Singles? SINGLES!? (2)

Artemis3 (85734) | more than 13 years ago | (#401486)

Do you even know about singles in the United States? The small 8cm discs that are so popular in Japan, that usually hold 2 to 4 songs and sell very cheap? What? Is there a possibilty of buying the song you want instead of a full CD full of songs you dont want? I bet some *organization* will never allow this. Selling just what the poeple wants and not a lot else to have an excuse to ask them to pay full 14$ instead of 4$ or something? Of course not! Producing singles can cost about the same .5 cents to press per cd, yet they will profit a lot less than `full sized` (usually just half hour :) discs... Surely you do not think about reducing profits for the sake of consumers, even if this could mean selling a lot more, but, what? selling a lot more cheap than a few expensive? Going back to work for real, instead of relax behind lawly aquired cartel status? You are kidding right?

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Re:All your cassingles are belong to us. (1)

HydroCarbon10 (40784) | more than 13 years ago | (#401489)

Ok, it's old now. It's no longer funny unless I see it on a sign over the highway or at a sports event (which would be quite cool :).

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