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Record Store Owners Blame RIAA For Destroying Music Industry

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the should-have-thought-ahead dept.

Businesses 586

techdirt writes "It's not like it hasn't been said many times before, but it's nice to see the NY Times running an opinion piece about the RIAA from a pair of record store owners which basically points out how at every opportunity, the RIAA has made the wrong move and made things worse: 'The major labels wanted to kill the single. Instead they killed the album. The association wanted to kill Napster. Instead it killed the compact disc. And today it's not just record stores that are in trouble, but the labels themselves, now belatedly embracing the Internet revolution without having quite figured out how to make it pay.' It's not every day that you see a NY Times piece use the word 'boneheadedness' to describe the strategy of an organization."

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Like the old saying goes: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18639595)

It's all over but the lawsuits.

Attn. Linux Users: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18639715)

Q: Why does 'Open Source' software suck so bad?
A: Because the programmers can't see the screen []


Typical Linux User. []

As a record store owner (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18639739)

My business faces ruin. CD sales have dropped through the floor. People aren't buying half as many CDs as they did just a year ago. Revenue is down and costs are up. My store has survived for years, but I now face the prospect of bankruptcy. Every day I ask myself why this is happening.

I bought the store about 12 years ago. It was one of those boutique record stores that sell obscure, independent releases that no-one listens to, not even the people that buy them. I decided that to grow the business I'd need to aim for a different demographic, the family market. My store specialised in family music - stuff that the whole family could listen to. I don't sell sick stuff like Marilyn Manson or cop-killer rap, and I'm proud to have one of the most extensive Christian rock sections that I know of.

The business strategy worked. People flocked to my store, knowing that they (and their children) could safely purchase records without profanity or violent lyrics. Over the years I expanded the business and took on more clean-cut and friendly employees. It took hard work and long hours but I had achieved my dream - owning a profitable business that I had built with my own hands, from the ground up. But now, this dream is turning into a nightmare.

Every day, fewer and fewer customers enter my store to buy fewer and fewer CDs. Why is no one buying CDs? Are people not interested in music? Do people prefer to watch TV, see films, read books? I don't know. But there is one, inescapable truth - Internet piracy is mostly to blame. The statistics speak for themselves - one in three discs world wide is a pirate. On The Internet, you can find and download hundreds of dollars worth of music in just minutes. It has the potential to destroy the music industry, from artists, to record companies to stores like my own. Before you point to the supposed "economic downturn", I'll note that the book store just across from my store is doing great business. Unlike CDs, it's harder to copy books over The Internet.

A week ago, an unpleasant experience with pirates gave me an idea. In my store, I overheard a teenage patron talking to his friend.

"Dude, I'm going to put this CD on the Internet right away."

"Yeah, dude, that's really lete [sic], you'll get lots of respect."

I was fuming. So they were out to destroy the record industry from right under my nose? Fat chance. When they came to the counter to make their purchase, I grabbed the little shit by his shirt. "'re going to copy this to your friends over The Internet, punk?" I asked him in my best Clint Eastwood/Dirty Harry voice.

"Uh y-yeh." He mumbled, shocked.

"That's it. What's your name? You're blacklisted. Now take yourself and your little bitch friend out of my store - and don't come back." I barked. Cravenly, they complied and scampered off.

So that's my idea - a national blacklist of pirates. If somebody cannot obey the basic rules of society, then they should be excluded from society. If pirates want to steal from the music industry, then the music industry should exclude them. It's that simple. One strike, and you're out - no reputable record store will allow you to buy another CD. If the pirates can't buy the CDS to begin with, then they won't be able to copy them over The Internet, will they? It's no different to doctors blacklisting drug dealers from buying prescription medicine.

I have just written a letter to the RIAA outlining my proposal. Suing pirates one by one isn't going far enough. Not to mention pirates use the fact that they're being sued to unfairly portray themselves as victims. A national register of pirates would make the problem far easier to deal with. People would be encouraged to give the names of suspected pirates to a hotline, similar to TIPS. Once we know the size of the problem, the police and other law enforcement agencies will be forced to take piracy seriously. They have fought the War on Drugs with skill, so why not the War on Piracy?

This evening, my daughters asked me. "Why do the other kids laugh at us?"

I wanted to tell them the truth - it's because they wear old clothes and have cheap haircuts. I can't afford anything better for them right now.

"It's because they are idiots, kids", I told them. "Don't listen to them."

When the kids went to bed, my wife asked me, "Will we be able to keep the house, David?"

I just shook my head, and tried to hold back the tears. "I don't know, Jenny. I don't know."

When my girls ask me questions like that, I feel like my heart is being wrenched out of my chest. But knowing that I'm doing the best I can to save my family and my business is some consolation.

Some people are offended by my blacklist system. I may have made my store less popular for pirates and sympathisers, but that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make to save my industry from destruction. I am inspired by artists such as Metallica that have taken a stand against the powerful pirate lobby. When everyone believes 2 + 2 = 5, to simply state the truth, that 2 + 2 = 4, is a courageous act.

Re:As a record store owner (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18639877)

Mods: GP Plaguerized. Parent links. (4, Informative)

Ahnteis (746045) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640363)

The parent notes that the grandparent ("I am a record store owner blah blah blah") is just a copy-n-paste job . Which I suppose is oddly appropriate given the subject.

(BTW, if original author is around, books are EASIER to transfer over the net -- but most people like the physical product because it offers added value over just the content.)

Re:As a record store owner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18639915)

Mod parent troll, or if you're generous, redundant...

Re:As a record store owner (1)

hobo sapiens (893427) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639965)

any way to mod parent -1 Hoax?

I mean, c'mon. I'll bet my bottom dollar this is just some stupid hoax. It reads just like one of those eMails your mom sends you telling you to avoid Pseudoephedrine and that you should send this to EVERYONE in your address book ASAP.

Gimme a break.

Re:As a record store owner (5, Insightful)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640013)

As another business owner, I think I know one big reason why your business is failing... You also forgot who your customer is... What right do you have to tell that kid what he can and cant do because of a major flaw your industries business model? This kid is only doing what makes sense to most logically minded individuals that just paid >= $15 for an album. If your industry charged $2 for that album, do you honestly think that anyone would bother the pain of burning it?

What your industry should have done is realised that the individual "value" of your product was going down and reduced your prices accordingly to compete. That is what the rest of us do. They didnt, because they (indluding you) forgot that you serve the customer music... You are not the gatekeeper of music.. Those days are over... The internet is not your competitor.

Also, do not pitty me with your "loose the house" crap. As another business owner, I completely understand this risk, and it is part of being a business owner. It is not societies responsability to prop up a failing industry that is committing suicide. It is dieing and either you change with it or go broke. Oh, and I have a little advice for you since you dont seem to have gotten it yet... Get the heck out of selling music CDs... Close the doors, lick your wounds, and move on. No move or lawsuit is going to save you...

..(but not a music businessman) (1, Interesting)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640027)

Very interesting post. I want to see posts from people who are directly affected by the topic under discussion.

    By the way, I have a friend who is an excellent aucoustic blues guitar and dobro player. Can he come give a concert for a few hours some evening in your store?

    Oh, you don't allow music in your music store. You sell the packaged disks that come from the distributor. Music can only be played in a public forum like a bar. With special licenses and fees and union bullshit and dispensations from authorities and on and on.

    It's too bad that both my friend and you can't make any money in the 'music' business. He creates music and you sell music; we buy music. Again it's too bad that you both can't work together. You could both make money. But, that's not the way that the music business has been set up by those people who are destroying the entire business by refusing to be flexible to the 21st century.

    Oh well... Personally, I feel that I got a lifetime subscription to all music industry product when I spent most of my disposable income on music when I was a teenager. I don't 'buy' music product from music stores anymore. Oh, you disagree? Well, I'm just so sorry....Have a nice day!

Re:..(but not a music businessman) (1)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640061)

Wow.. I think you might have discovered a new business model... Patent it and then make millions on people how try to use it... :-(

Re:..(but not a music businessman) (2)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640203)

Uhhh...that's not a new business model, really. Book authors regularly go to book signings at bookstores because it gets people to buy books. Bands already sell CDs at their concerts. It's really just a marriage of the two.

Re:..(but not a music businessman) (2, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640371)

He was being sarcastic.

I propose a new mod : -0 Sarcastic Bait.

Re:As a record store owner (1)

IceD'Bear (829534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640323)

Sounds like a genuine RIAA strategy.

Duh (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18639603)

When the product you pay for is worse than the one you pirate you encourage people to pirate. The RIAA is getting what it deserves but alot of consumers and musicians were hurt in the process. Oh well, You have to kill Jews to for the greater good of society.

boneheadedness (1)

updog (608318) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639613)

It's not every day that you see a NY Times piece use the word 'boneheadedness' to describe the strategy of an organization.

Why are you suprised? It's an op-ed piece!

Re:boneheadedness (5, Insightful)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640001)

Almost all of the NY Times is an op-ed piece these days. They're just not all labeled as such.

That said, this particular piece was excellent. Although a bit sad, it makes me hopeful that the 12 or so great musicians/bands of the last 40 years that were actually pushed by the major labels will still find fans online, and that the thousands of artist who are just as good but I've never heard of will be able to make a living that way too.

And that I'll be able to find them much more easily.

I think the end result will be that this is the best thing that could have happened to popular music. If you're not a 13 year old girl, or a 45 year old girl with the same taste in music that you had since you were 13, the RIAA companies produced very little of value to you anyway.

Good riddance.

In other news (5, Funny)

Sneakernets (1026296) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639623)

The fat lady is practising her lines.

Re:In other news (1)

contextClouds (1037722) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640453)

And that's the real genius of the RIAA's heavy-handed tactics. The fat lady can't sing for fear of being sued, and can't afford the performance royalties.

a little anecdote... (5, Interesting)

Yold (473518) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639651)

I go to the second largest undergraduate university in the country. Within the last year, both record (CDs) stores near our campus have closed. The one that closed last week had a sign on the door that said

"to all the people that download music, if you think you are only hurting big companies you are wrong. There are two working people with families who no longer have jobs because of music piracy."

I don't know who is to blame for the major decline in CD sales, the RIAA's stupidly clutching to the old music business model, or the students with 3000+ stolen songs on their ipods. I admit that I have pirated music, but I just listen to SIRIUS now and don't even own an iPod.

Re:a little anecdote... (5, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639717)

Did they actually stock cds that weren't mainstream? Did they try to make that the thrust of their business? Myabe it's just me, but most record stores try to make the process of buying music(or hell, discovering new music) as bland as expensive as possible. If I want a bland environment with tons of mainstream music I can go to Best Buy and get better prices. If record store owners want to survive, they are going to have to move to where iTunes/Best Buy/WalMart doesn't tread because there is no WAY they can compete with them on price. They need to actively encourage local bands and make sure they have plenty of indie artists and staff who actually listen to the music and can talk enthusiastically about them. Otherwise, what is the point of paying the premium for the record store?

Re:a little anecdote... (2, Interesting)

Lane.exe (672783) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640069)

If the GP is talking about the University of Texas (my alma mater), then no, at least one of these CD stores was no different than your average record store. Same music, higher prices. It was actually cheaper to go to Best Buy to pick up the CDs you wanted, although the Tower Records was much closer. AFAIK, the actual "record store" stores in Austin are doing just fine. I buy most of my albums off iTunes these days, but that's only because I tend to do my music shopping late at night and from home.

Re:a little anecdote... (5, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640303)

Our local music store did exactly that. They had lots of indie bands that came through the city stop in for a lunchtime performance or a record signing. They were in a pretty centralized location that had a lot of walk-by traffic (at least at lunchtime.) The people who worked there were cool, they knew their bands. They always had some new disc from some band I'd never heard of playing in the store. If you wanted to hear a disc, they popped it right into a CD player (behind the counter) for you. They were within walking distance of some of the best local concert venues. They specialized in hard-to-find stuff, they carried vinyl, they catered to all the special interests they possibly could. They sold DJ equipment. They sold used equipment on consignment. They did everything you suggested above and far more. They even had prices competitive with the big box retailers.

They shut their doors a couple years ago.

What you're asking for sounds great -- on the web. The simple truth is it is no longer profitable.

Like it or not, those store owners were being truthful. Piracy is killing the music industry. Not that the RIAA labels don't need to be put down like the lampreys they are, but the days of the giants are waning fast.

The real problem is the industry was entirely constructed on what is no longer a valid premise; that recording and duplicating quality music was expensive. And the labels have tried to make their money in different ways, mostly at the expense of the stupid bands who sign their livelihoods away for half a million dollars up front (you try organizing a nationwide tour for half a million $$ and see what you have left at the end.) The recording industry will soon die, and eventually the only survivors will be the indie bands singing for the love of music. They'll end up as 21st century minstrels wandering from pub to pub, settling for a meager income and drinks on the house, regardless of their talent.

There will be no more profit in the music industry. It will die, and soon. The EMI anti-DRM move is a great attempt to capitalize on the huge anti-industry sentiment, but it's not going to change the behavior of people willing to climb over DRM to copy music anyway. And EMI won't have anything special once the other RIAA members see how profitable it is to not piss off their customer base.

The only question mark remaining is: how far away is the MPAA from this scenario? Movie theaters and HDTV may be their only saviors, in that it takes enormous (by current measure) amounts of bandwidth and storage to copy a quality movie. Music is quite compressible, and too many tin-eared fans are willing to settle for crappy-but-tiny MP3 recordings. But as long as people want to share the experience of a movie on the big screen, and as long as HDTV requires a relative firehose of a network connection for high quality, AND as long as they can convince people that quality matters, they'll be able to keep making money on TV and movies.

Re:a little anecdote... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18640397)

Still works in the right market. Try Berkeley or San Francisco.

Re:a little anecdote... (5, Insightful)

(A)*(B)!0_- (888552) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639731)

""to all the people that download music, if you think you are only hurting big companies you are wrong. There are two working people with families who no longer have jobs because of music piracy."
Adapt or die. Even if piracy wasn't a problem at all and everyone was honest, digital distribution is the future - not cd sales.

Re:a little anecdote... (5, Insightful)

mumblestheclown (569987) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639895)

Fair enough, but the point was that they couldn't get into this business, even if it existed, because piracy (and I doubt that their claim is substantively false) intervened. It doesn't matter what you have for sale - if somebody is giving it away for free and there are no consequences, you will lose. I see nothing wrong with the subway going out of business because somebody invents a faster and more comfortable bus. I do see a giant problem with the subway going out of business because massive numbers of people decide that using fake tokens or jumping the turnstile is morally ok because the subway pollutes, is occasionally late, and is a giant impersonal organization that pays its drivers only a relatively small percentage of its total revenue.

Re:a little anecdote... (2)

splodus (655932) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640381)

Fair enough, but the point was that they couldn't get into this business, even if it existed, because piracy (and I doubt that their claim is substantively false) intervened. It doesn't matter what you have for sale - if somebody is giving it away for free and there are no consequences, you will lose.

I might have to start posting this on a regular basis.

The bottled water industry does very well indeed without needing legislation restricting the supply of drinking water from other sources. It adds value by providing a quality controlled, conveniently packaged product. If the water in the bottle was poor quality, or you needed special controls to get the bottle open, people would probably prefer the tap in the public conveniences; after all, the water there is free...

Apple? (1)

Ahnteis (746045) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640395)

>>Fair enough, but the point was that they couldn't get into this business, even if it existed, because piracy (and I doubt that their claim is substantively false) intervened.

Seems to me that the reason they couldn't get into it is that the RIAA wouldn't license their music for online distribution until WAY too late for the little guys.

>>It doesn't matter what you have for sale - if somebody is giving it away for free and there are no consequences, you will lose.

And yet, I hear of all these online, digital music stores.

Re:a little anecdote... (2, Insightful)

Jesselnz (866138) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639769)

If I lived by any record stores that had albums I like (semi-underground independent stuff), I would shop there all the time. Unfortunately, the only way to buy albums I like is through online mail order sites.

Re:a little anecdote... (5, Insightful)

Kawolski (939414) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639787)

"to all the people that download music, if you think you are only hurting big companies you are wrong. There are two working people with families who no longer have jobs because of music piracy."
$18-$19 CDs containing 1 good track and 10 other tracks of crap vs. a $.99 single at iTunes might also have something to do with it too. But, hey, must be the pirates...

Re:a little anecdote... (1)

Gonzo73 (703628) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639999)

I wish I had mod points... Everyone is so quick to blame the freeloaders and while that is definitely a part of the problem, I agree with one of the other posters to Adapt or Die.

Re:a little anecdote... (1)

Jazzer_Techie (800432) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640399)

Hey, apparently you didn't RTFA. (It's ok, this is /.)

In the late '90s, our business, and the music retail business in general, was booming. Enter Napster, the granddaddy of illegal download sites. How did the major record labels react? By continuing their campaign to eliminate the comparatively unprofitable CD single, raising list prices on album-length CDs to $18 or $19 and promoting artists like the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears -- whose strength was single songs, not albums. The result was a lot of unhappy customers, who blamed retailers like us for the dearth of singles and the high prices.

The guys in the article are fully aware that their demise wasn't just a format shift, nor a direct result of internet piracy.

Re:a little anecdote... (5, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639789)

I understand why the people who owned the store near your campus were bitter, but I think TFA provides a good counterargument. The downloaders didn't drive them out of business; the sickness in the music industry did, and a good portion of that sickness can be traced directly to the RIAA. If it hadn't been for the RIAA's stupidity, downloaded music and music bought on CD could have found a way to peacefully coexist. Now, it's too late.

A whole hell of a lot of working people with families, throughout the music industry, are going to lose their jobs over the next decade or two until this shakes out. The Recording Industry Association of America could have prevented this. Instead, they've done -- and continue to do -- their best to make it inevitable. Yeah, the store owners' anger is understandable, but it's aimed at the wrong target.

Re:a little anecdote... (4, Insightful)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640359)

If it hadn't been for the RIAA's stupidity, downloaded music and music bought on CD could have found a way to peacefully coexist.

I must disagree. Downloaded music is free. It is easily copyable without loss of quality between copys.

There is no way that the RIAA can or could compete with this new model. It has driven them insane and they are just thrashing away dangerously in their madness. Woe to the people arbitraily caught in one of sweeps. The RIAA is acting like a mad grizzly bear trying to claw every salmon fish passing by it on a stream in Alaska. But eventually the RIAA's madness will cause it to run out of energy and then just roll over and die.

    However, this pattern of behavior will manifest itself as industry by industry fails to adjust to the new conditions of the modern age. One by one they will go insane and try to take out as many people at random that they can as long as they have the resources to do so. Smart people will recognize the signs of an industry in the grips of a 'death dance' and avoid being sucked into the malestrom of its fury while it dies. More on this way of thought can be found at and other sites like this.

Bullshit. (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639825)

"to all the people that download music, if you think you are only hurting big companies you are wrong. There are two working people with families who no longer have jobs because of music piracy."


I do not own an iPod. I buy CD's. I rip the CD's and listen to them on my computer.

But I rarely buy any newer artists. And as was mentioned in the article, I don't buy ANOTHER "greatest hits" collection CD. If I buy something now, it is probably directly from the artist or at a used CD store.

There is too much crap and not enough substance coming from the RIAA now. They've done this to themselves. And it is the RIAA that is killing the smaller stores.

Re:Bullshit. (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640207)

ACtually, your complaint(in this matter) is with the labels, not the RIAA.

Nitpic, but it is important to remember the difference.

Re:a little anecdote... that's off the point (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18639839)

The store owner seems to think that all downloads are illegal - once music became available online, the brick&mortar record store was in trouble. The ability for the casual music shopper to find the songs they want without having to leave the house, and the limited draw of the store pales. For every store with helpful, cheerful employees, there are (were?) 2 with condescending indie-alternative snobs who were rude to people just looking for what they wanted.

The RIAA has shown that even if it squashed illegal downloads, it would not save the small stores - TFA mentions the deals with the big box stores that undercut the small stores wholesale costs. The RIAA would love to cut out every bit of the middle, and not lower prices one cent.

Re:a little anecdote... (4, Insightful)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639879)

Here's the problem with your assessment of this anecdote.

Technology has increased the efficiency of distributing information. Music is information too. Because the old model based on physical media transfer is being overtaken, there's less overhead. Of course, this means that there's less pie to go around. People and organizations by necessity need to leave the industry or to accept the fact that they're going to get a smaller share if they remain in. Or, like the RIAA, they can try to maintain their share at the expense of everyone else.

This is the same issue that the Luddites could not come to terms with. Greater efficiency means less work to be done. Less work necessitates fewer employees and/or smaller wages. Instead of coming to terms with the reality and exploring other lines of work, they decided to resort to destruction of property to maintain the status quo.

Re:a little anecdote... (4, Informative)

owlnation (858981) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639921)

"to all the people that download music, if you think you are only hurting big companies you are wrong. There are two working people with families who no longer have jobs because of music piracy."
That's actually very unfair, and not necessarily correct. While I think this is a great article and agree with their assertions about the RIAA, there are other factors that have had a massive affect on record shops - e.g. Amazon, and iTunes. Perfectly legal, but many record shops (and book shops, in Amazon's case) haven't adapted to face that challenge.

eBay is also a massive factor in the collector's market.

Re:a little anecdote... (3, Insightful)

qwijibo (101731) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639975)

A business who didn't know its market and felt they were entitled to a constant flow of profit went out of business. I have a hard time finding any more sympathy for a small business that doesn't understand its customer base than I do for the RIAA.

I occaisionally buy CD's, but I generally just cycle through the 300+ CD's my wife and I already have. If I find a new artist that I like, I want them to keep making good music, so I buy their stuff. There's any number of reasons for the declined in sales, but most of them come down to not catering to their audience. I don't buy music online because I don't like the idea of DRM. I can bypass the copy protection and make MP3's from the CDs I buy, so I have no problem putting stuff I want on my MP3 player. I haven't downloaded music as a mooch for many years. If I'm not willing to support an artist, why would I waste my time listening to their crap?

Better quality subscription based radio stations are probably also a notable contributor to this trend. If I cared enough about my commute noise to want something better than the 6 stations and 5 CD's in my car, I'd probably do the same as you.

Re:a little anecdote... (4, Insightful)

TheLinuxWarrior (240496) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639995)

"to all the people that download music, if you think you are only hurting big companies you are wrong. There are two working people with families who no longer have jobs because of music piracy."

It's not *just* music pirates responsible for the closure of stores such as this one.

People like me, who see no value in having a CD, but legally purchase their music from online sources contribute as well.

Why should I pay $13+ for a CD, when I can spend $10 and not have to waste gas going to the store, fight traffic and crowds, and risk the possibility that what I want may not be in stock anyway?

Re:a little anecdote... (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640009)

Two questions...

(1) What was the price they obtained CDs for?
(2) Were they required by the distributors to sell at any particular price?

Re:a little anecdote... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18640071)

ETA of record store troll: T minus one minute and counting. Look, we all want things as cheap as possible, even free, so we err on the side of any model that gives us that. That notwithstanding, there are reasons for the problems of record stores that have nothing to do with piracy: The music industry has been ignoring the technological development of the last 10 years. Not only that, they also don't understand their own product. Music has a strong social component. DRM, copy protection and a lack of devices which enable customers to share their music with friends (not necessarily by copying) make a product that people don't want, because it can't be used the way it is MEANT to be used. The CD store has as much to complain about to the record industry as it has to complain about piracy, but in any way it is an outdated business model, so it doesn't really matter if they're obsoleted by piracy or legitimate online distribution. I wonder if they would put up a sign thanking Apple for the loss of the CD store jobs if there were no piracy.

Re:a little anecdote... (2, Interesting)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640079)

That's sad. That is called evolution. You can blame piracy on it, you could also blame iTunes. The former is illegal, the latter is legal. Are both immoral ?

Re:a little anecdote... (1)

Chtulhu (1033546) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640143)

Sirius is a portuguese Symphonic Black Metal band.... is that whom you are referring?

Re:a little anecdote... (5, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640175)

Unfortunately it's not illegal downloads that killed that store. My reasons for not going to a music store:

  1. The prices are too high for what I want. Not much the store can do about that. But whatever the reasons are, whatever the store can or can't do about it, it simply isn't worth it to me to pay the price of a full CD when there's only 1 or 2 tracks on it that I actually like. I want to pay, but given the other demands on my wallet I can't justify paying that much per song.
  2. What I want isn't on the shelf. I want individual songs. All the store can get are albums. When again exactly was the customer expected to buy what they don't want just because the RIAA doesn't want to sell what the customer wants?
  3. What I want isn't available. I want my music in digital form, in a format where I can not have to worry about whether or not it'll play on all my equipment, where I won't have to worry about headaches moving it between places I've a legal right to use it.
  4. I can't take the risks legitimate stuff exposes me to. From incompatible DRM modules to Sony's flat-out rooting my machine and exposing it to every black-hat out there, too many legitimate CDs are an unacceptable risk to the stability and security of my computers for me to be able to risk putting them into my drive. And if I can't play the CD where I most often want to, why bother buying it?
That's more than enough reasons for me to not bother patronizing a music store anymore, and we haven't even gotten to the lack of variety in what many stores carry. Try finding KISS's original albums, let alone albums from the 40s and 50s.

Oh, excuse me, I don't seem to have mentioned piracy anywhere. Maybe that ought to be a hint?

Re:a little anecdote... (2, Insightful)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640177)

I don't know who is to blame for the major decline in CD sales, the RIAA's stupidly clutching to the old music business model, or the students with 3000+ stolen songs on their ipods.

Blame the RIAA. The people with 3000+ songs on their iPods are really librarians. They are creating vast banks and quasi-public reservoirs of the cultural products available from the "turn of the 21st century" era. They are ensuring that that music of their generation can not be arbirarily destroyed or removed from general circulation by a corporate decree. They are protecting your music for your grandchildren and for music historians that will study it hundreds of years in the future, not unlike the way people of this time study Gregorian chant.

    Don't believe any of this 'piracy' horseshit put out by the RIAA. They seem to be having the most difficult time understanding that they don't own the music anymore. They only were able to create this illusion for themselves because of the nature that music was distributed during the first era of audio recording technology that existed during the 20th century.

    But it is only an illusion. And fading more every day...

Re:a little anecdote... (1)

Kandenshi (832555) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640433)

The thought of some doctoral student in 200 years studying the collected works of Britney Spears is... disheartening.

Re:a little anecdote... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18640245)

I do not listen to "stolen" mp3's, and I don't own an ipod either. In fact, I buy plenty of CDs. But I either buy them used or get them from Amazon etc. because the local stores are consistently more expensive.

If they'd rather blame their poor business on "piracy" and close instead of figuring out how to change their own business and/or adapt to a changing market, well, it's harsh, but too bad.

What a crock of #$%& (1)

raehl (609729) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640317)

"to all the people that download music, if you think you are only hurting big companies you are wrong. There are two working people with families who no longer have jobs because of music piracy."

Music piracy has nothing to do with it. They don't have jobs anymore because record stores are a crappy way to distribute music when you have the internet. There is simply no reason to go to a physical place to buy a CD when you could download the same song from your house.

And this isn't something that just affects the music industry. I have always built my own computers from components. Back in the early 90's, I did that by going to a computer show and buying the components. Nowadays I order what I want from Newegg.

Why? Because it's BETTER. Does it suck that those computer fair operators have gone out of business? It does for them, but it doesn't suck for the rest of us who don't have to blow a Saturday driving to the fairgrounds to get parts that UPS will get us for the price of admission.

Even if nobody downloaded pirated music, the record companies STILL would have gone out of business, because $0.99 downloads are still better than $18 CDs or $3.99 singles.

Hell, the $13 CD I got on Amazon with free shipping is better than having to drive down to the record store. Record stores are closing because record stores just aren't needed anymore. Piracy has nothing to do with it.

Re:a little anecdote... (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640417)

I stopped buying music in local stores for two reasons:

(1) Those local music stored stopped carrying what I wanted.

(2) The internet became a more convenient place for me to shop for almost everything ... including music.

The RIAA's actions have been a factor as well, since I don't purchase as much new music now as I used to, but I'm also not into pirating or copying music for free. It's just that I've moved on to other legitimate sources for commercially-produced physical music media.

The truth about the RIAA (1)

Dobeln (853794) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640437)

In truth, people are laying the blame at the feet of the RIAA because they want to do a bit of blameshifting. Of course music piracy is killing record stores and bleeding the record companies. I haven't bought a record in years - and I am far from alone. The RIAA is mainly guilty of trying to fend off the (almost) inevitable.

This is not primarily becasue the RIAA has "failed to adapt their business model" as the mantra goes. There is no business model that can preserve the profitability of RIAA members.

Nor is it because customers are boycotting because of "RIAA tactics" or other silly debating feints. It is simple: Piracy provides the product of the RIAA members and record stores at virtually zero marginal cost, with similar or better quality with similar or better ease-of-aquisition. All other factors are merely fluff. The same goes for non-online PC games, a market that major players are slowly abandoning.

Online legal downloading (itunes) will stop some of the bleeding - but the music industry will either have to force through draconian anti-piracy measures real soon (before a popular majority have a private interest in free downloading, and it becomes politically impossible to stop it), or it will simply have to adapt to a much leaner budget. Personally, in the case of the music industry, I don't care much. The trend cycle might slow down a bit, while non-commercial music becomes a tad bigger. No huge loss. Piracy of computer programs is a far more serious problem.

Threatening to sue, huh? (5, Insightful)

the_wishbone (1018542) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639653)


"Meanwhile, the recording industry association continues to give the impression that it's doing something by occasionally threatening to sue college students who share their record collections online. But apart from scaring the dickens out of a few dozen kids, that's just an amusing sideshow."

Threatening to sue? Has the NY Times not noticed that they actually ARE suing a bunch of people? I think the amount of time and money that has been spent in courtrooms over actual lawsuits is a little more than "just an amusing sideshow."

I dislike the RIAA as much as the next guy, but I just couldn't help noticing that this article downplays the RIAA lawsuits quite a's not like they're not doing anything, they're just doing the WRONG things.

Hello, RIAA? (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639659)

Hi, I'm looking for a song. I think it's called Ozymandias.

Re:Hello, RIAA? (5, Interesting)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639807)

That's a great example. "Ozymandias", CD only bonus track on the single "Dominion" by the Sisters of Mercy, rights owned by RIAA member Warner brothers.

Not available on iTunes, the only way to get it is via a torrent, or by spending about $50 for the original 3" CD secondhand, $0 of that $50 goes to Warners, $0 to the artist.

Have a pat on the back for a job well done, Warner Brothers, I'm sure your shareholders are proud of you.

Re:Hello, RIAA? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640357)

I don't know about what you wrote, but the anonymous post following yours got the reference to Ozymandias aka Ramses II.

Mod the parent 'Funny' please (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18639853)

The parent refers to the poem Ozymandias. I leave it to you as an exercise to fill in the blanks.

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said -- "two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert ... near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lips, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings,
Look on my Works ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away." --

Re:Mod the parent 'Funny' please (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639869)

Spot on. Well done! (4, Insightful)

Sri Ramkrishna (1856) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639709)

I don't know. Websites like which not only can expose you to unknown music but it can also tell you when they are coming to town, let you meet up with other people also attending the concert. is what the record store used to be. Even though RIAA probably killed the industry, is showing how online music can be done and done correctly by keeping things open.

On that note, I hope they don't get bought out by some record label. I think it is important that they use their market power and grow themselves into a force for change in the record industry similar to what Apple has been doing with iTunes.

sri (2, Informative)

lys1123 (461567) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639943)

The problem is the RIAA is already trying to kill them too. They have convinced the Copyright Royalty Board to increase the royalties for entities that stream and/or distribute music online, they have removed the lower royalties that were available to small businesses. Worst of all they have imposed a $500 fee "per channel" for all broadcasters. So a service like which provides a different lineup of music to each user might have each individual user stream defined as a "Channel" and be forced to pay $500 per user based on this model.

Many people are calling this the end of Online Commercial Broadcasts.

You can read more about this here: radio-copyright-royalty-board-releases-decision-ra tes-are-going-up-significantly.html [] (2, Informative)

Sri Ramkrishna (1856) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640269) is located in the U.K. and is not affected by the streaming royalties. In any case, I believe that is being looked at again. Hopefully, we can get some sanity in that process. But sometimes we might have to sink to the bottom in order to get things better. Once they lose enough money and it is shown that they are attacking even legitimate businesses, they will deserve the death they so richly deserve. Businesses who can't evolve with the market deserve to die. I hope to God that the U.S. government doesn't interfere and recognize that entertainment will always be around. We've had it since the dawn of man; hell even monkeys know how to entertain themselves. :-)

sri (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18640017)

the problem is that all of my "neighbors" or people that have similar tastes in music as me, are all 17 year old girls from england. =(

doesn't lead to too much social interaction when you feel like a dirty man just looking at thier profile. (1)

Saige (53303) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640415) has got me more interested in music than I have ever been. The site is responsible for altering my music tastes and introducing me to a large number of artists that make music I love, artists that I would likely have never discovered through record stores and the radio because they're not mainstream. I spend more money on music than I ever have before, and I enjoy the fact that almost all of it is to non-RIAA artists and labels. And I buy CDs, not crappy sub-quality possibly DRM-laden tracks online.

The music industry itself isn't dying - I think it's more alive than ever because of digital distribution and mulitple methods of discovering artists via the web. Heck, even the casual music fan can easily find smaller artists that they'll love, with only a minimum of effort.

What's dying is crappy lowest-common-denominator music being pushed to everyone by huge record labels that aren't about finding new and interesting music but whatever they can make the quickest profit off of. RIAA labels are dying, and mainstream radio is dying.

NY Times (1, Interesting)

midnighttoadstool (703941) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639735)

The NY times are a bunch of bone-heads themselves, so it's a bit rich coming from them. And I'm not just referring to their recent major journalistic scandals. They aren't cold rationlistic businessmen, which is the lense they should use to analyse this situation, rather they have their rather-too-liberal agenda that they push pretty hard.

You have to read their stuff through a special de-warping lense. Take this article with a big pinch of salt.

Re:NY Times (0, Troll)

PriceIke (751512) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640231)

This is a troll HOW exactly? The NY Times ARE boneheads. It seems an amusing and interesting article--one I'm inclined to agree with, if the summary is accurate--but ANYthing that comes out of the NY Times should be suspect on its face, for no other reason but that the Times saw it "fit to print".

Even if you don't agree with this, it's a legitimate opinion, not some off-topic whacko BS someone's spewing for no reason. So regardless whether you think it's right or wrong, it's not a troll. Someone with mod points, please fix moderation on this.

It is time for them to die anyway... (2, Interesting)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639755)

This industry had to die. []

If the record stores are not controlling the market, and the radio is not the place where music is heard, then the artists win. If you find a new artist via MySpace, the artist wins.

The artists should stop signing slave labor (or worse, pay their employer for the privilege of working for them) contracts and sell their music directly; either online or they can burn a CD as easily as a record company can press one.

A band can play a small joint, record the show to a Notebook and burn a CD to sell to the patrons for $5. Profitable gig. DONE.

Yea, it won't sound like a studio job, but the music loving community doesn't really care that much.

time for the artists to take control back (2, Insightful)

swschrad (312009) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640185)

I've said it before, I'll say it again. the distributors of choice now are electronic on-demand outfits like iTunes and the rehabbed Napster.

if you're doing music, go to them. get a certificate of incorporation for "all legal businesses, including but not limited to music production and distribution," at most a couple thousand bucks in most states, see your lawyer. get on the books at the harry fox agency for licensing. then go to the online guys, get their sample contract, check it out, get your stuff up there. make some webnoise and start selling it yourself. don't do an exclusive contract with anybody, keep your own rights, sell your own CDs at your gigs. do something creative, at breaks have your CPFs put on yellow hats and orange vests and walk among the tables selling direct.

if you're good, and you have a place online to put 64k MP3 samples for folks to listen to, you'll get sales.

if not, at least you don't have the stench of record company weasels on you.

I think it's more to do with WalMart than the RIAA (1)

MaximvsG (611212) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639767)

Reading the article, it sounded more like another "mom and pop" type business going down to Walmart and the like and less with the RIAA. I will say though, I haven't purchased a CD since the RIAA took down Napster. I used to like sampling music. If I liked it, I would purchase the CD. I found some groups that way - music I wouldn't never listened to otherwise. I've purchased 1000s of CDs over the years but no more.

Re:I think it's more to do with WalMart than the R (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639875)

Exactly. There is always something that these stories leave out. The only thing that is critically certain is that the RIAA has killed their member's businesses, or is trying really *REALLY* hard to kill them.

Everyone in that business will get hurt in one way or another because the RIAA persecuted its customers. Way to go RIAA...

Aside from bashing them, I feel a bit sad because of the inevitable lull in available good music there will be between the death throws of the current music industry and when it reinvents itself, if it does.

Re:I think it's more to do with WalMart than the R (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640067)

Tastes changed. Young people don't listen so much to music anymore - they play WOW instead. There's a fixed number of hours in a year - if one activity grows, something else has to decline.

Just remember to consider the source... (1)

drukawski (1083675) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639795)

I'm all for bringing down the RIAA and all, but you could walk around downtown Manhattan handing out free bars of soild gold and it would still only be a matter of time before someone writes in to the Times to complain.

Re:Just remember to consider the source... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18639963)

Hello. I would like to return this bar of gold. It is soiled.

Re:Just remember to consider the source... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18640289)

Damn right - that's a good way to depress the price of gold.

Shouldn't we blame the consumers? (5, Funny)

RichPowers (998637) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639797)

After all, they're the ones who choose not to purchase music from record stores...

Re:Shouldn't we blame the consumers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18639889)

The article is saying that their death was as much to do with the RIAA destroying their ability to sell a competitive product
(by giving rediculous deals to WAL-MART and Best Buy) as it was to do with music piracy.

I personally think Napster killed the record stores, but RIAA spit on their graves by making deals like that.


JordanL (886154) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640011)


Are you sure? (4, Funny)

pb (1020) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639829)

It's not every day that you see a NY Times piece use the word 'boneheadedness' to describe the strategy of an organization

So you're saying that they don't write nearly enough about the Bush administration? Or Congress? Or the justice dept? (or government in general...)

Biggest RIAA mistake (1)

forgotmynameagain (1046572) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639849)

I think the biggest RIAA mistake was that they denied humans rights to superior technologies.

The fear did more damage than the theft (5, Insightful)

poliopteragriseoapte (973295) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639887)

I used to be a music lover - I still am, in a way. But 10 years ago, one of my standard weekend occupations was a trip to Tower Records. There, I would buy 5-6 CDs of classical music. I would listen to them all, return a couple of them or so (I often bought the same piece played by different interpreters / orchestras, returning interpretations I found less interesting), and get 5-6 more CDs, and so on and so forth, a visit every other weekend on average.

Then came mp3's and copying. But I didn't do it. I liked having the albums - for some classical music, the booklet is interesting - and more than that, I didn't have the kind of time required to copy all the CDs I wanted to have. It was beautifully simple - buy, listen, return a few and buy many more. Money was not a problem, as I worked and I didn't have kids at the time. I didn't (and don't) have a TV - what harm there was in spending $40 / week for something I loved? It was below my threshold of attention.

But then Tower started to decline returns. That very day, I stopped buying CDs, and in the intervening years, I must have bought 10 of them in total - mostly folkloristic music I bought while traveling. I simply could not put up with the idea of plunging $18 to try a new interpretation of a Missa by Bach - and not being able to return it if I didn't like it.

So I stopped buying music altogether. I don't copy it either, because I still don't have a lot of time. Rather, other hobbies - digital photography, then kids, then other things still - gradually replaced the space music had in my life.

It is sad, but I am still young, and who knows, perhaps I will live again through an era where I can easily browse through all the interpretations of the Zauberflute, listen to them, and buy them at top quality.

So in my case, the music industry lost a customer, due purely to their fear of piracy.

Re:The fear did more damage than the theft (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640047)

Actually, what happened is that you are now 10 years older and your priorities have shifted...

Re:The fear did more damage than the theft (5, Informative)

poliopteragriseoapte (973295) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640087)

Not really. Kids, and less time, came later. I stopped buying because I was offended by the presumption that I was returning CDs after copying them. And I stopped buying because, for classical music, there is no very good way of deciding whether you really like an interpretation, except by listening to it from beginnig to end carefully. I did not want to feed a lottery $18 at a time.

As much as I dislike the RIAA (2, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639927)

I have to say that I don't think we can really blame them for what happened.

Both the music store and the RIAA were SOLELY in the business of music promotion and distribution. They made their money off of distribution, but used their promotion as a client getter.

The internet is pretty much the best means of distributing information.

Just like the Horse and Buggy, the RIAA and the music stores were pretty much doomed the second that the internet was created, it just took some time for it to happen.

The only shame is they won't admit it what business they are in, trying to convince themselves and the rest of the world that they are in the production business, when they simply don't do that.

Re:As much as I dislike the RIAA (1)

mumblestheclown (569987) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640199)

Just like the Horse and Buggy, the RIAA and the music stores were pretty much doomed the second that the internet was created, it just took some time for it to happen.

Your argument rests on the notion that the RIAA is not currently doing the best job at promoting new acts. This is clearly bullshiat. Look at any possible list of 'top N singles' or 'top N albums' and you will see that they are by far acts that are promoted by traditional means - be that by getting them played on Mp3, inserted into movies, plugged with carefully choreographed publicity events, constructed by bringing together 2 artists in order to generate a marketing-based product (Shakira vs Beyonce, etc), targeted and shaped as products by people with MBAs, etc. As much as you and I may find such things distasteful, the reality is that while the internet certainly has great potential, NO significant artist has yet has managed to do a significant end-run around the RIAA and its marketing machine. Put another way, the market still very much the RIAA, even though mano-a-mano we may not like it, just like you and I may not like that Coca-cola is a global-billionaire-company marketing megalith, we have all been fairly well conditioned and will not think twice about recognizing that coca-cola is superior to generic store band cola. The numbers dont lie - marketing and the other things that the RIAA has definite value, even if your conscious brain doesnt like to own up to the fact.

Yes, a few artists have struck out on their own to try to direct sell via the interent or whatever. so far, the unknown bands have achieved at absolute best very very modest success (in fact, i suspect that few if any musicians have gotten anywhwere near the fan base or sales of, say, Strong Bad) and a few well known acts have gone online but are really just coasting from their mainstram RIAA promotion. That is to say, if Madonna suddenly went online right now to direct sell and dumped all her RIAA contracts, we wouldn't be surprised if she still sold a few million albums (and the novelty of such a big star doing it online would also get her free press), but it would be ridiculous to assume that the proto-start-up madonna is going to come today from the internet and thrive without RIAA support. it just ain't happening. maybe you as a slashdot reader in a retro f the riaa thinkgeek t-shirt and a redhat sticker slapped on the side of your PC case will discover some band on the internet that will hold your attention long enough so that you can write some slashdot piece claimning how the riaa is dead, but you are by far the exception.

things sold on are overwhelmingly RIAA acts (well, except for the russian stuff). this is because people know the RIAA stuff because of RIAA promotion.

things sold on itunes are overwhelmingly RIAA acts. this is because people know the RIAA stuff because of RIAA promotion.

music pirated on emule and similar networks is overwhelmingly RIAA. same logic.

the internet MAY WELL SOMEDAY provide superior marketing and distribution mechanisms, and the various small fanbase building websites and services that we are seeing mentioned in other posts here may well be eventually quite important for this. but as any serious analysis will show, they are as yet a relatively tiny spec on the whole scene. getting your music played on the local fm radio station in any major city will still bring you far more fans than any website or service. sooner or later, there will doubtlessly be a breakout act or two who defy this, but as yet this is by far still the exception.


Radio killed the record industry (3, Insightful)

Marrow (195242) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639933)

Radio stations were so bad for so long that people stopped
listening to the -primary- venue for new groups and songs and
just listened to the old stuff. People stopped getting excited
about new groups and new alblums and stopped buying.

And now Radio cant come back because the quality is so bad
compared with what they are used to listening to now.

Re:Radio killed the record industry (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640153)

you sound like my mother in the 70's
Todays music sucks, only the stuff from my youth is any good.

Re:Radio killed the record industry (1)

Winckle (870180) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640385)

I agree with him, and i'm 17

radio HYPED the record industry, sir. (4, Interesting)

swschrad (312009) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640315)

back in the 20s and 30s, most labels would NOT license for broadcast, leading radio to set up their own studios, orchestras, and put out better stuff than the labels did.

the record industry wised up, and started getting all cuddly with radio. which became its jukebox and top promoter. you know, "Now on The Big Zero, 86th caller wins free tickets to Screaming Babies in concert at the Echobowl, 86th caller, GO! With! The! ZERO!! -- here's Pap and the Droolers -- get Nulled!"

here's a hint. those weren't row EE tickets bought that morning, no sir. they were front 5 row tickets the record companies reserved from sale for promotion purposes. you play enough Screaming Babies, you get the tickets and a box of free albums. give 'em out on air and at public events, push WZRO and the record, climb on the spiral and ride to the top of the charts....

then the top 40 of the week on WZRO 860 became the top 20, and then the top 15, and another wave of "kill the payola" went through the bizz, and now it's all hate talkers on either end of the political spectrum spitting on the station down on the other end of the dial. "them silly Internets things" came along, and radio and physical records became almost irrelevant overnight.

and this morning, there weren't any dinosaurs outside my door when I got up....

Re:Radio killed the record industry (1)

waxcrash (604628) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640445)

It wasn't the radio that killed the record industry, it was MTV.

David Crosby (The Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young) gets it right. He said, "It [MTV] changed it from being about the music to being about what you look like. And that was a terrible blow to music, because now you've got all these people who look great and can't write, sing, or play."

Once MTV hit, the record labels learned that they could make easy money by signing artists that looked good, whether they could really sing or play an instrument. The labels hired image consultants for their artists to tell them how to look/act so they sell. This business model led to less talented artists being signed, which explains why there is so much crappy music today, which is why people buy less music.

Isn't this true for _all_ public traded companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18639977)

"It's tempting for us to gloat. By worrying more about quarterly profits than the bigger picture, by protecting their short-term interests without thinking about how to survive and prosper in the long run, record-industry bigwigs have got what was coming to them. It's a disaster they brought upon themselves."

Isn't this true for _all_ public traded companies in the US. Just look at GM, FORD and the like.

It's not entirely the RIAA's fault (1, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639993)

You have to blame it on the entitlement mentality of many Americans. "I WANT IT RIGHT NOW, I DON'T LIKE YOUR PRICE, SO I'LL JUST TAKE IT!!"

What is going to happen to our economy if we get to the point where you can build devices and even vehicles using some sort of nano replicator? Will we just tell the companies that make the designs to go fuck themselves, if they thing they should get any return on the design of a new ferrari, space ship, media player, etc.?

The simple fact of the matter is that music is not a necessity. You will not in any way, shape or form be harmed by it being priced outside of a range that you can afford or are willing to pay for. There is no argument for it being a "human right" except in the most perverse, materialistic, greedy sort of way.

Stop downloading it. If it is good enough for you to download off of a file sharing network, it is good enough for you to buy and actually, God forbid, support the musician that made it. I'm sick of the sophists who say "well, I'm just hurting the music label." Oh really, you bloody fucktard? What if it's an independent band? How good is their reach? How likely is your "free advertising" to get them a good gig anywhere near you and your "free advertisement?" Huh? Speak up. That's the golden question. All of this "free advertisement" that comes from basically stealing their music and giving away, how much is it actually getting bands good gigs?

It's been nearly 7 years since the media was predicting that post-Napster, and after broadband became accessible to most Americans, that an alternative marketplace would develop, exploiting the Internet. In another 7 years, we'll probably be no better off, either.

PLease (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640119)

""I WANT IT RIGHT NOW, I DON'T LIKE YOUR PRICE, SO I'LL uhh Just buy it from a cheaper and more convienant outlet"

That is far more accurate statement.

hahaha.. like buying it supports a muscian any more.

The majority of down loaders and 'pirates' are not in America.

"What is going to happen to our economy if we get to the point where you can build devices and even vehicles using some sort of nano replicator?"

People will pay someone to design something off the grid, or relize that when they get it to fill there need, it will be available to everyone.

Of course your analogy doesn't even deserve the rating of 'Fuck Twit' because in that case you would still need material.

I would also like to point out that until 1976 music wasn't covered yet some great musicians managed to make a lot of money.

By the way, copyright is the privledge in the US, not a right. With one act, it could go away.

Re:It's not entirely the RIAA's fault (4, Insightful)

rhakka (224319) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640321)

well, if there is no artificial scarcity, does that not, in effect, make us all 'richer'?

for instance, if you could create food out of thin air, sure, you'd put farmers and grocery stores out of business. But, we could all eat, including those people who lost their farming jobs. so are we as a society richer or poorer then?

Perhaps the only people making the designs would be people who care enough to do it whether they are paid or not. but if they can still eat and be sheltered and enjoy what they do... so what?

RIAA is on par with the US government (1)

wmeyer (17620) | more than 7 years ago | (#18639997)

I see that the RIAA achieves the opposite of their stated intentions. That's exactly what our elected representatives do, as well. Every bill obtains the opposite to the claimed effect. So the folks at the RIAA have reached an equal level of incompetence. Gotta love it.

albums? CDs? (1)

PMuse (320639) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640099)

If the CD and the album are dying, it's the technology platform that killed them: individual songs delivered as electronic files. RIAA deserves relatively little credit for those kills -- like rain drops in the ocean.

This IS the NY Times were are talking about here (1)

SengirV (203400) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640141)

It's not every day that you see a NY Times piece use the word 'boneheadedness' to describe the strategy of an organization.

Unless that organization is the GOP, then it's not limited to the op-ed section.

how to save the music industry (3, Interesting)

mrtexe (1032978) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640173)

As problematic as the obsession with DRM is, the biggest problem with the music industry is that profit per unit is not high enough to sustain continued investment, because capital can easily be invested elsewhere for higher ROI. This goes for both record producers and music stores.

The solution is to increase profit per unit. That is done by increasing unit price, to about $50 per album.

How do you get a consumers to buy music albums for $50 a piece? Take a page from the boxed set and extend the concept.

  1. Make sure the entire content has quality music. You want consumers to be able to derive hours and hours of non-stop enjoyment from the product. No more manufactured bands and no more "song and dance acts."
  2. HD formats without the DRM
  3. Remaster to support surround sound
  4. Include full-length video material on DVD, including the music videos
  5. album art, posters, copious liner notes with photos, lyrics, sheet music, guitar tabs, WMP/Winamp/whatver visualizations unique for the artist. Mini-biographies of the artists. Fun, unique little narratives for the consumer to read.
  6. unique items that make the consumer use of the product into an "experience"
  7. No DRM and you don't need DRM because no one can make a digital copy of an "experience" anyway.

Ok, now that I've saved you, please cut me in on the action. No, really!

Piracy? (4, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640253)

When I hear people talk about piracy, I think about one thing from long ago. When MP3s were brand spanking new, you could find tons of pirate FTP sites and Usenet newsgroups carrying illegal rips of music. And then there was one site,, that had a different policy: you could download songs only if you could prove you physically had a copy of the CD at hand (by providing a hash of actual data off the CD). Now, if you're trying to drive out piracy, which do you target: the tons of completely-illegal sites, or the one site trying to insure it doesn't hand out illegal copies?

The RIAA threw all it's resources into driving out of business, putting almost nothing into tracking down and eliminating the completely pirate sites.

And.... (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640271)

Sure, the RIAA certainly pisses where it lives, but the one thing is...we've been a music drought for some time now. What the industry is pushing is pure crap - everyone knows it. That's why sales are off, etc. Once the cycle bottoms and turns up, look out Jethro :)

the artist is who matters (1)

razpones (1077227) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640335)

the music industry has controlled the products they sell for ever. Artists have to change their music, clothings, personal style and even the things they say, to satisfy the corporations. On top of giving most of the money their creations make to the industry that gave them the chance to become famous if thet ever did, since a lot of music just gets stored with out seeing the light of day. It's time to take the middle man out of it and give full control to the people that make the music. True that they willingly signed the contract. And a lot of them made millions of it. Usually the most fake ones. So am happy to see this kind of industry vanish. they have leached too long off gifted people. Internet and technology in general have a liberating effect that give us the consumer more venues than the ones the industry has controlled.

I know a very little something (2, Interesting)

Tiger Smile (78220) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640377)

I knew some people here and there who were in the music business and allot that wanted to be. I'll be honest, not all were good. But surprisingly some were great, well beyond anything you hear on the radio. It's hard to get heard, played on the radio, and hit the right ear to get the record contract. I only know a handful that did that. Even then there are problems. Some ended up being pawns in the scheme to bilk money out of a large label. One band was hardly promoted at all, after recording great album. In fact the ONLY place I heard them played was at big name gym chain.

Problems to beyond that. In one case a friend's band was to open for a well known band since they both had the same agent. It was a done deal, but at the last minute the big name band didn't want them to open. It appears to be out of fear that the opening act might be too good.

I also know people who have made it and done well, but they are the exception. To date it's only 1 person out of the many many many people I met in the LA, San Francisco, and Boston music scene.

Some bands I think people would enjoy.

Tsar (fist Album if my favorite)
Calendar Girls
Lee Press-on
Ken Layne (

This is a cluster phuck (5, Insightful)

TheGeneration (228855) | more than 7 years ago | (#18640403)

That's what this whole situation is. It's all about greed.

You have the RIAA releasing TERRIBLE full length albums while abandoning the single. You have radio operators like Clear Channel only providing space for 2 or 3 new songs on their national playlists, and demanding that those 2 or 3 new songs be songs that appeal to the target advertiser's say are the most important (13-25 year olds.) 13-25 year olds, not having a lot of money, opt to pirate the ONE song they like rather than pay $20 for a CD full of terrible music. And the circle is complete!

And let's not even get to how the music, radio, and retailers are failing people over the age of 25. When the hell is the RIAA going to realize that if 13-25 year olds aren't going to BUY the music, they should start making music for the people who will shell out the money (ie, people over 25.)????
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