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EMI May Cut Funding To RIAA, IFPI

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the return-on-investment dept.

Music 158

Teen Bainwolf notes a report that Big Four record label EMI, which is under new ownership, is considering a big cut in its funding for the IFPI and RIAA. Each of the labels reportedly contributed over $132 million per year to fund industry trade groups, and EMI apparently believes that money could be better spent elsewhere. "One of the chief activities of the RIAA is coordinating the Big Four labels' legal campaign, and those thousands of lawsuits have done nothing but generate ill will from record fans, while costing the labels millions of dollars and doing little (if anything) to actually reduce the amount of file-sharing going on."

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158 comments

Tag this (5, Insightful)

Mike89 (1006497) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517357)

Tag this 'commonsense'. Finally a record label who is starting to 'get it'.

Re:Tag this (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21517471)

Yeah, but the moment of truth will be when more effective TPCA / Vistaids backed DRM becomes feasible to widely deploy ... will they use it and shit all over consumer's fair use rights again? I suspect they will. They're waking up to the fact that their current tactics are counter-productive, not necessarily to the general idea that their consumers should be treated fairly.

Re:Tag this (5, Insightful)

dgr73 (1055610) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517921)

Exactly what he said :) Plus the fact that it's slowly but surely becoming an "in" thing to be seen to be on the consumer's side. Why fight a fight you can't win and ruin your reputation in the process. Why not make a big hoopla about cutting funding to RIAA and then cut it by 10%, which is invested into other counterpiracy measures. Not only will your company look good (compared to the other 3 major labels), but they may actually see slightly improved results.

Or it could be that the music industry is turning altruistic in it's old age and they wish to slash their profit margins by condoning free downloads. The next move in this vein will undoubtedly be a repeal of the "work for hire" clauses in all contracts, as well as a large hike in royalties.

Re:Tag this (3, Interesting)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21519175)

Or it could be that the music industry is turning altruistic in it's old age and they wish to slash their profit margins by condoning free downloads.

Advertising isn't altruistic. Giving out free samples isn't altruistic. These dumbasses need to realise that they are RECORD companies and start selling RECORDS again - physical media with full fidelity music on them. Give away the MP3s.

Of course, this will be the death knell of losers who put out a CD's worth of crap that has one decent single they play on the radio. But with some bands it's the opposite. By the time Aerosmith came out, I'd given up buying an album on the strength of a song on the radio, and I REALLY was unimpressed with the minor key whiney Aerosmith song they played on the radio, Dream On. It turned out that that was the only sucky song on the album! But if you had liked that song, you likely wouldn't have liked the rest of the album. I bought it after I heard the LP at a friend's house.

It it was today, and the songs were posted in the internet, I'd have bought it right away.

I always liked Santanna, and when Supernatural came out they weren't playing any of it on the radio here. So I went to CD NOW and listened to the 30 second clips of its songs, and was incredibly unimpressed. "When did they start sucking?" I asked.

Well, my daughter didn't know this but knew I liked Santanna, and bought tha CD for me for Christmas. It was a great CD! Had she not bought it, they would have lost a sale. But had she not bought it and they had posted full MP3s on the internet, I would have bought it.

Advertisers will tell you "sell the sizzle, not the steak". If brains were dynamite, record company execs wouldn't have enough to blow their noses. If they had any brains they would post MP3s and make sure everyone believed in MP3's inferiority to CDs.

That said, the RIAA labels have pissed me off to the point where I only buy indie; the last dozen CDs I've bought have been from bar bands.

-mcgrew [kuro5hin.org]

Re:Tag this (5, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517479)

Finally a BIG NAME record label who is starting to 'get it'.

There, fixed that for you. There's lots of smaller labels who have "got it" all along, but they're just smaller ones, and you don't hear their music on the radio, or on the TV. There's plenty of good music on the smaller labels, and if people actually had any convictions, the RIAA would have gone bust many years ago, and their member companies wouldn't have been able to sell any music. The point is that most people don't know or don't care about the RIAA tactics. My biggest question is what happens to EMI now if they do this? Will they still be able to get as much radio play their music on a regular basis? Will their bands still get invited on the talk shows? How far does the power of the RIAA really extend?

Re:Tag this (5, Interesting)

Calinous (985536) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517609)

RIAA is a puppet, paid by the big music companies. It doesn't have much power, and no power over what their masters allow it.
      RIAA's power will decrease after this.

      How about radio play, talk shows? I think it will be business as usual - if the other big music corporations will ignore this. If they will lobby the radio stations, it might be possible that EMI loses some air time.

Re:Tag this (2, Insightful)

DannyO152 (544940) | more than 6 years ago | (#21518373)

Promotional bookings. No change. Not one dollar to RIAA goes to artist development and support. Bookings relate to popularity, availability, and when all things are equal, if the program is a booking agency's package, then musical artists represented by that agency move to the front of the line.

Radio is a more complex question. Do the radio stations believe that digital music increases or decreases their listenership? How much radio programming is actually based on the artists the big labels sell? While the radio stations leverage the fact that they can make songs hits and there are more good records than airplay slots, they are constrained by having to do some amount of giving the listeners what they want. As they are also promoting local concerts (well, ClearChannel is), they can't afford to base every decision on back room deals and accommodations. I guess it comes down to how they felt the record companies suing grandmas helps or hinders their business and how significantly. I tend to believe radio will sit out this one: it's really hard for me to expect that the other record companies could make a compelling case as to why a radio station should stop playing Beatles music.

Re:Tag this (1)

mr_resident (222932) | more than 6 years ago | (#21519871)

Puppet? Sure, I see your point, but do any of us really expecting this to change how record companies do business? Maybe they cut funding and maybe RIAA goes buh-bye, but what will replace them?

I expect the record companies to just start funding another organization or scheme which is even MORE intrusive and heavy-handed than the RIAA was.

Re:Tag this (3, Interesting)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517741)

I have to disagree that "most people don't know or don't care about the RIAA tactics." Everyone seems to know about kids getting sued, and everyone is pretty annoyed by the whole thing.

Try to think of one person you know that isn't aware of the RIAA's lawsuit campaign. Then ask them, and you'll probably be surprised.

Re:Tag this (2, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517795)

The point I was making was that they don't have any convictions. They may know about it, and say they care, and say they think it's terrible, but they keep on buying the music. That's very hypocritical. If you have such a big problem, stop buying the music. If you're still buying their music, you obviously don't care that much about their tactics.

Re:Tag this (2, Insightful)

FredDC (1048502) | more than 6 years ago | (#21518037)

The problem is that the RIAA would attribute the decrease in sales to piracy, not to the fact that people stop buying the music because they are against the RIAA's tactics.

I haven't bought any of the big labels' music in a long time, nor have I downloaded it. The rare occasion that I listen to the radio (usually in someone else's car), I realize I haven't missed much...

I wonder how much percentage of the drop in record sales is due to people who simply stop listening to the music these record companies produce. The RIAA is always shouting that it's because of piracy, but how much is due to other reasons? I doubt they've done any research about that.

Re:Tag this (2, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21519405)

The RIAA is always shouting that it's because of piracy, but how much is due to other reasons?

Actually, piracy is one of the biiggest reasons I stopped buying RIAA music - I'm boycotting the majors because of their suits against their "pirate" customers. Of course, since I don't like much of what's on the radio these days either that nmakes boycotting that much easier. I've found that the local bands and their CDs are hgeads and shoulders above the RIAA dreck, while 1/4 to 1/2 the price.

The indies are the "pirates" who are eating away at "their" profits.

-mcgrew

Re:Tag this (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#21519649)

The largest buyer of music has long been kids. Kids may have no convictions on this issue, but they sure aren't buying music like my generation did! I was just at Thanksgiving, and we were talking about music. The teenagers had comments like "no one buys music anymore". I think this is true for at least a large portion of kids, convictions or not.

Re:Tag this (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21519665)

The point I was making was that they don't have any convictions. They may know about it, and say they care, and say they think it's terrible, but they keep on buying the music. That's very hypocritical.


Sir, you're now welcome to my friends list!

Re:Tag this (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21519307)

I would have pointed to Confession of a college downloader's father, a Bill McLellan piece from the St Louis Post Dispatch that I submitted yesterday, but I can't find it in the Firehose (even though my user page says it's "pending").

He paid $4k to the record company for his son's downloading at college, even though he didn't even know what downloading was! He likens it to a $7k bill he had for fixing a broken sewer line. No clue why he's paying but was advised to do so by a lawyer.

-mcgrew

Re:Tag this (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 6 years ago | (#21519867)

There, fixed that for you. There's lots of smaller labels who have "got it" all along, but they're just smaller ones, and you don't hear their music on the radio, or on the TV.

This is a myth which is often driven by the amount of payola in the industry. If the RIAA lables owned the airwaves, there would be no need for payola. Payola is to get a larger percentage of RIAA label stuff played to displace other music.

Want proof. If you listen to the radio much lately, I'm sure you have heard most of the popular Christmas tunes. Just this morning I heard Carrol of the Bells by Mannheim Steamroller. They are on American Gramaphone records. According to riaaradar.com, the label is not an RIAA member.

It is true that there is a lot of RIAA label promotion in the media. I is not true that they are the only thing on the radio.

http://www.riaaradar.com/search.asp [riaaradar.com] Plug in Mannheim Steamroller.
Album info:
Artist: Chip Davis, Mannheim Steamroller, Olivia Newton-John, Johnny Mathis
Album: Mannheim Steamroller: Christmas Song
Year: 2007
Label: American Gramaphone
RIAA Radar result: SAFE
http://www.riaaradar.com/search.asp?searchtype=AsinSearch&keyword=B000TWTBMC [riaaradar.com]

Wrong Question (1)

rajafarian (49150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21518009)

I've said it before and I'll say it again: "These guys are asking themselves the wrong question. Instead of asking themselves "How can we make the most money out of each song?" they should be asking themselves, "How can we make the most money out of each person?"

I miss Allofmp3.com /sniffle

Re:Wrong Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21518201)

so use http://mp3sparks.com/ [mp3sparks.com]

you can use your allofmp3 account. no idea why the new domain.

Re:Tag this (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21518375)

130 million taken from lawyer pockets and ploughed into DRM and network technology research.

Hm...

That may actually work. If all labels do it the sharing as we know it will be dead in 3 years time.

You are right - it is common sense. If you compare technology and R&D with the "Close Blast Doors, Activate Press Grid, Launch Lawyers" option it is definitely cheaper and better return on investment. Especially when you are dealing with your current and potential customers.

Re:Tag this (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 6 years ago | (#21518937)

130 million taken from lawyer pockets and ploughed into DRM and network technology research.

Hm...

That may actually work. If all labels do it the sharing as we know it will be dead in 3 years time.


Very, very unlikely. The common consensus in cryptography research is that DRM does not work and cannot work. For example music can easily be recorded in analog fashion. All current soundcards will happily record from analog outputs. Personalizing the music will not help. Watermarking is, at best, problematic and at worst very easy to remove. Also what about identity theft? Locking down devices has been tried time and again. Nobody wants them and by now the public has a clue that a "music player" may actually not play music, unless bought form a specific source. Face it: The old distribution model is dead. DRM will not work. Either the music-industry reinvents itself fast, or they are dead as well. Might be better for the musicians anyways.
 

Re:Tag this (1)

phoenixwade (997892) | more than 6 years ago | (#21518421)

Tag this 'commonsense'. Finally a record label who is starting to 'get it'.
I disagree, tag this "CYA" because there is a reasonable likelihood of a class action suit going through the RIAA to the Major lables that fund it. Backing off the funding of the RIAA now might be enough to separate them from that action.

I believe that the class action will be more intrusive in terms of public opinion than in dollars, eight now, it seems like the majority of Americans still see the RIAA suits as "justified punative measures against pirates".... Once the majority sees it as a "Shotgun, let's see who drops" public opinion will, I believe, shift much more quickly. I think the class action will do a lot towards changing that opinion.

Re:Tag this (2, Insightful)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 6 years ago | (#21518473)

Yes and no. Can you imagine how many bands they could sign and promote for 132 Million a fucking year? NO wonder these morons are losing their asses. If you cannot bring shit to market better than Brittany why would anyone buy your music?

Congrats to EMI for waking up, but it's too little too late. Their business model is dead.

Re:Tag this (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21518839)

Finally a record label who is starting to 'get it'.

The old (modified today by me) joke goes "what do you call a busload of RIAA lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? A good start."

They're only STARTING to get it. When they stop being members of the RIAA and IFPI then we'll have something. Cutting funding? How about NOT FUNDING AT ALL??

one down, three to go! (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517373)

It's hard to argue with EMI's logic there, file sharing certainly isn't stopping... perhaps DRM will go the way of prohibition.

Re:one down, three to go! (4, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517485)

It's hard to argue with EMI's logic there

Considering that EMI never said what was in the blurb and it was a blatant misrepresentation?

perhaps DRM will go the way of prohibition

The thing is that prohibition really didn't go away and the war on drugs is the remnants of prohibition. You were conned into thinking that we won some great victory when, in fact, we merely gained back the "right" to what they could tax.

Re:one down, three to go! (0)

Futile Rhetoric (1105323) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517599)

Yeah! Cocaine for everyone! Randians are pretty cute, sometimes.

Re:one down, three to go! (1, Interesting)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517755)

Which would you rather have: some dope smokers or kids with bullets in their backs because of gang activity? The gangs won't go away 100%, no, but what is driving them is largely the drug trade. This can not be denied and to deny it is to deny any potential solution the war on drugs may offer.

Maybe if these substances were free of their black market status they'd lose their allure.

Re:one down, three to go! (2, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 6 years ago | (#21519005)

Maybe if these substances were free of their black market status they'd lose their allure.

They still can be used to make a decent living, but it will be ordinary commerce because of much reduced profit margins. No shooting or gangs involved. But I guess this "war on drugs" is basically a PR thing, just as the "war on terror". Both do increase the problem while pretending to decrease it.

Re:one down, three to go! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21518447)

Sure, why not? If you're enough of a fuckwit to shove coke up your nose, or a syringe of heroin in your arm, why should I stop you? Just don't whine to me when you're dying in a gutter.

Although I agree with you about Randbots.

Re:one down, three to go! (1)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517765)

"the war on drugs is the remnants of prohibition"

No, not really. The "War on Drugs" was made up by some guy wanting more power. The whole idea was based on Cannabis, which they coined as "Marijuana" in the US because they thought it sounded more Mexican and therefore "bad."

Re:one down, three to go! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21517869)

Nixon figured out he could be anti-youth (pot) and anti-black (heroin) to appeal to the voting white population, without getting people too worked up.

Re:one down, three to go! (5, Insightful)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517489)

Actually, I don't think that's a bad analogy. Making liquor illegal only drove liquor production and distribution underground, brought about the rise of organized crime (remember Al Capone?), and probably increased the amount of alcoholism prevalent at the time. Face it -- if the liquor supply is limited, and you know where to get it, you're going to try and get as much of it as you can. Same thing is happening to music -- making file sharing and ripping illegal is simply driving the illegal file sharing economy, and it's costing the music industry far more money to try and stamp it out than it would be to embrace it and try to work with buyers.

Re:one down, three to go! (2, Interesting)

okvol (549849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517627)

The analogy goes much deeper. Prohibition also encouraged home-brew. The only federal agency at the time that had the manpower was the Internal Revenue Service, ergo the phrase Danged Revenuers, and charges of not paying federal tax were brought against moonshiners. Now, even if you make your music at home and sell it yourself, an agency of the RIAA has the right to collect royalties on your behalf, empowered by the federal government. If that agency can't find you, they get to keep the money. You can't find many moonshiners today. The media has changed. Marijuana is easier to grow.

More than that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21518687)

how much would they lose if they IGNORED P2P, compared to the cost of combating it?

Re:one down, three to go! (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21519621)

Making liquor illegal only drove liquor production and distribution underground, brought about the rise of organized crime (remember Al Capone?), and probably increased the amount of alcoholism prevalent at the time.

My late grandmother was born a few months before the Wright Brothers took off at Kitty Hawk, my grandfather was born in 1896 (the same year as Michelob beer) and they were young adults during prohibition. Grandpa had a beer making kit in his barn.

Grandma told me that before prohibition, the only people in the salloons were men and floozies. Drinking was a man's pastime, and the few women who drank did it secretly, at home. But during prohibition the salloon was replaced by the speakeasy, where both men and women drank.

Alcohol prohibition did indeed increase the prevalance of drinking.

-mcgrew

Re:one down, three to go! (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21519505)

perhaps DRM will go the way of prohibition

I hate to break it to you, but prohibition [drugfree.org] and all the damage it causes society, from the violence of the gangsters to the huge numbers of nonviolent offenders in prison, is still with us.

-mcgrew

PS- DRM on music can never work [kuro5hin.org]

Change (3, Insightful)

Jonny_eh (765306) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517409)

All that's needed for change is for the old generation to die out.

The first domino falls... (1)

tbg58 (942837) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517441)

An inexplicable attack of clarity from the Recording Industry! Sweet!

Re:Change (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517449)

That's the same thing the hippies said back in the 60s. Now that they're the ones with the reigns in their hands and what has changed?

Re:Change (4, Insightful)

SamP2 (1097897) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517541)

That's the same thing the hippies said back in the 60s. Now that they're the ones with the reigns in their hands and what has changed?
Them.

Re:Change (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21519469)

Um, no. Even at the height of the hippie movement, those who genuinely believed in liberty were by far the minority. Just as it's always been.

Much more likely is the simple fact that there are more people in this world who believe in employing coercion as a means (i.e. government) rather than voluntary association (i.e. freedom).

Fortunately for those in the business of government, the average individual finds it quicker and easier to just swallow the propaganda than actually spend the time educating himself.

Re:Change (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 6 years ago | (#21519559)

A few other things have changed.

There is now a prevailing attitude that everyone is entitled to happiness and it's the government's job to provide it. It's the pursuit of happiness, you gotta chase it and earn it, and even then you don't always get it.

Our education system got a bit worse and our kids got a bit dumber. The reason Johnny can't spell for shit is due to a shift from phonics to whole language, and you can thank the 60's generation for that.

Voter ignorance has exceeded voter apathy. I wish fewer, but better-informed, people voted, and I wish they paid attention to their other representatives as much as the President. But like the man said, wish in one hand and shit in the other, see which gets full first.

The 60s generation had the poorest understanding of human nature than any previous generation in the US. They had a lot of ideas that look great on paper but failed to take into account the human element.

Going back to TFA and an earlier post I saw, just as you can't fight consumers and must learn to work with their needs, you can't fight human nature and must learn to work within its constricts.

already been tried (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 6 years ago | (#21518287)

All that's needed for change is for the old generation to die out. The old generation always dies out, yet human nature remains unchanged. Funny how that works.

No Change (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#21518445)

Big Record Label cuts underperforming act. The RIAA has been defeated in court and in the court of public opinion, save heavily lobbied people over sixty. In short, they blew it and are getting hacked.

Where's the real change? Is there some online music store where I can finally just buy music in FLAC without restrictions and OS limitations? Have they repudiated MediaSentry and other attacks on competitors? Will they start selling to independent music stores? Will they replace their hoplessly outmoded "target market" method that's given us unbearable commercial radio for thirty years? Will they call for de-licensing of broadcast standards? These are things that would indicate EMI is on the road to becoming a music publisher rather than a racket. Firing flunkies is only a good sign if they don't just hire a new bunch that's even worse.

Deceptive Summary (5, Informative)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517419)

The summary makes it look like the blockquote is someone from EMI, when in reality it is editorializing by some dude at Ars.

-Peter

Re:Deceptive Summary (1)

poliopteragriseoapte (973295) | more than 6 years ago | (#21518711)

Indeed, nowhere in the article it says that EMI is considering cutting funding for the RIAA. The article author, who is unaffiliated with EMI and RIAA, is simply saying that it would not be illogical for EMI to do so.

Re:Deceptive Summary (2, Informative)

chipasd (1135399) | more than 6 years ago | (#21518721)

That's absolutely correct. The only real news is in the Reuters article which quotes an anonymous source at EMI as saying they are "looking" into cutting back funding to "trade groups". The rest of it is rampant speculation by Ars along with a ton of self links to similarly speculative articles. The celebrations need to wait for official statements confirming that this is related in any way to the RIAA.

"reportedly considering" (4, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517457)

Nothing to see here, move along.

Re:"reportedly considering" (4, Interesting)

leonbev (111395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517633)

I'm not sure why this was tagged funny, since it's true.

"Considering" cutting RIAA funding is nothing more than a slick PR move. Until they actually reduce their contributions, they're just as guilty as any of the other big players in the music biz.

just give it time (3, Insightful)

walshy007 (906710) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517461)

In other words, it's causing too much bad public relations AND not working, require new methods to screw the consumer with having them actually enjoy it this time. after they come up with something new, business as usual.

Re:just give it time (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21519675)

screw the consumer with having them actually enjoy it

Perhaps they should take lessons from prostitutes?

"considering" (2, Insightful)

torkus (1133985) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517491)

Considering does not mean they're actuallg going to do it.

You know "Mr. Overpaid Exec #1" at RIAA will call "Mr. Way-Overpaid Exec #2" at EMI and say something like 'Hey Bill, we'll try to fuck you guys up a little less next year. Promise. Besides, I my kid's going to for her degree in basket weaving and I need to make sure I get my raise to pay for that and the new ferrari'

So instead EMI coughs up extra cash this year for the MAFIAA to "change tactics" whereby they sue...everyone!

Re:"considering" (1)

badasscat (563442) | more than 6 years ago | (#21518645)

Considering does not mean they're actuallg going to do it.

No, but then who really expected EMI to drop DRM either?

EMI is a wounded animal prone to doing all sorts of things that other people in the industry would consider crazy, but that the rest of the world has been saying record labels need to do to stay viable. They're losing money, their market share is sinking, and they need to do whatever they can to both tighten their belts and get some good PR.

I'd give this about a 50/50 chance of actually happening.

Re:"considering" (1)

bishiraver (707931) | more than 6 years ago | (#21519629)

No, it's "Mr. Way-Overpaid Exec #2 at Private Equity Fund that owns EMI."

The only thing he cares about is getting a decent return on his investment into EMI. And seeing EMI dump millions of dollars down the money pit of litigation is making him upset.

Think of it like downsizing. Company spending too much on x, so cut x out of the picture. Hey, look! More profits.

Learning disablity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21517503)

Kinda slow learners aren't they?

Okay, time to 'fess up... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21517511)

...who of you replaced the key decision makers at EMI with androids under your control? Come on, out with it!

Re:Okay, time to 'fess up... (2, Funny)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517661)

...who of you replaced the key decision makers at EMI with androids under your control? Come on, out with it!

Damned straight, we owe that guy many many MANY beers.

Amazing (2, Insightful)

sircastor (1051070) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517543)

Somebody actually gets it... I'm very pleased to see that a record label recognizes this and acknowledges it publicly. It shows they're not all buffoons.

Don't start patting ourselves on the back yet. (3, Interesting)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517603)

I don't see the RIAA keeling over any time soon, instead I imagine it shrivel up into something like one of those debt collection agencies out of Buffalo NY. It will act as a "free agent" for (mostly fake or bought out) music publishers and survive on constant lawsuits on those who will be only more than happy to pay $800 to keep from getting sued for $15K.

Never underestimate the tenacity of unemployed lawyers.

Re:Don't start patting ourselves on the back yet. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21517989)

Never underestimate the power of RICO. The RIAA is in violation of a plethora of RICO predicates. The music companies contract the RIAA for their specified purposes. This means the music industry executives are subject to possible imprisonment and civil forfeiture penalties. And they sure as hell do not want to open up their accounting books under the now passed Sarbanes-Oxley, which they may end up having to do when they file suit.

And with the stock prices of music industry companies collapsing, they might finally be fearing bankruptcy.

It's amazing how in a relatively short period of time such a mundane area of law like copyright has become a grass roots internet cause celebre.

Re:Don't start patting ourselves on the back yet. (1)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 6 years ago | (#21518577)

And with the stock prices of music industry companies collapsing, they might finally be fearing bankruptcy.

Could you please explain how this would work? How can stock price drive bankruptcy?

Re:Don't start patting ourselves on the back yet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21519031)

Could you please explain how this would work? How can stock price drive bankruptcy?
It means the company is weak. It's means their assets are being massively devalued. Lots of bank loans and financing can be tagged to the health of the company as measured by it's stock price; making them recallable immediately. Warner shares have dropped 70% in a year. Now imagine the value of your house dropped 70% in a year. If are paying a mortgage on a house that once was valued more than three times the value it is today (100 divided by 30, since it's down 70%), you could possibly be better off defaulting and seeking bankruptcy protection. Or many businesses might have financing that would make payment of a $1,000,000 loan on a $1M house now worth $300k repayable immediately. That means sell the house and come up with the $700k difference by the end of the month.

Now these music companies might not currently have any debt, but if one was appraising the value of the companies, one might want to consider potential liabilities from forthcoming lawsuits, shareholder, 30,000 settlement letters class action, RICO US federal government, Enron-esque accounting irregularities under Sarbanes-Oxley, etc.

When their profit is a paltry 5 million in a quarter, that doesn't bode well for being able to afford attorneys for offensive RIAA lawsuits, let alone defensive legal expenses. That would suggest the music companies would have to borrow money to defend themselves or sell off assets (which have been devalued by 70%).

A weak stock price means you have less room for error. You are closer to bankruptcy if you make market mistakes or commit legal liability transgressions.

Note: This is not investment advice and I am not aware of the actual financial structure of Warner Music or EMI. I don't know if the privatization of EMI is entangled in bank financing or was a private equity cash purchase.

They will win back at least one customer. (1)

Sinkael (1089531) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517647)

If EMI cuts a significant amount of funding to the RIAA then I will go back to buying CD's from them. Lately I have been getting my music from independent artists and any mainstream stuff I want to listen to (mainly 90's Alternative) from sites like Pandora or streamed through Winamp Shoutcast radio, all so I didn't support the molestation of individual rights. When I say significant I mean like 60%+ cut.

Re:They will win back at least one customer. (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517939)

If EMI cuts a significant amount of funding to the RIAA then I will go back to buying CD's from them.

Step on up, folks! There is a sucker born every minute and we have one right here for your amusement!

It seems that you really don't understand the RIAA's role in this game do you? The RIAA could not have sued on the label's behalf without the blessing of the label! Are you really going to be one of those rubes who thinks that EMI was misrepresented by the RIAA? The RIAA is EMI's customer, not the other way around!

EMI is doing this only to gain goodwill on the sucker's, err... I mean, the customer's part hoping that the customer will continue to point the finger at the RIAA when the fact is that EMI is even more to blame and could have called off it's dogs years ago.

And this isn't to say that I don't support the industry's right to protect it's own product. I really do. I think the "free trade" of music is going to do more damage in the long run and I would rather see music bought. But I'm certainly not going to be a stooge to EMI thinking that the RIAA went around for years sueing people and that EMI has finally caught on to the RIAA's evil ways.

Hell, I wouldn't be surprise if EMI or one of their ilk wasn't the ones to suggest lawsuits to the RIAA.

Re:They will win back at least one customer. (1)

Sinkael (1089531) | more than 6 years ago | (#21518175)

Putting your insults aside, I will reply to the "meat" of your post. I am quite aware that EMI has just as much to blame for the actions of the RIAA as the organization itself, however, I also believe in rewarding those that learn from their mistakes and not continuing to punish someone or something even after they have changed their practices. It is like training a dog, you give him a treat when he does what he is told and you don't when he doesn't do what he is told. Eventually the dog learns if he wants a treat, he has to obey me, training the Music Industry is no different. (ok I lied, I will stoop to your level) If this concept is too difficult for you to grasp, may I recommend a "Dog Training for Dummies book".

Re:They will win back at least one customer. (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21518235)

Wow, you must think you're witty but again, you're rewarding someone for deceiving you, lying about the deception and repaying them with ill-gained loyalty. If that's your idea of how things should work I guess it will work out fine for you.

Re:They will win back at least one customer. (1)

Sinkael (1089531) | more than 6 years ago | (#21518571)

Wow, you are a bitter bloak aren't you? Apparently unlike you, I don't take this personal. I didn't stop buying EMI records (or any other big label) because they kicked my puppy or slapped a baby or anything, I have no "hate" towards the label or any of it's employees. It was a simple case of not approving of their business tactics and not buying their merchandise. If you want to "hate" a company, thats your business, but it is bad form to bash on someone just because they don't share your opinion.

Re:They will win back at least one customer. (1)

Steve001 (955086) | more than 6 years ago | (#21519087)

Although EMI's actions appear to be a good move, for me it is far too late. Because of the actions the record labels have taken (either directly or via their agents) I've drastically reduced the amount of music that I buy, and I tend to choose music that is not on a major label.

I think the major reason for the drop in record sales is that the days of people rebuying their existing collection in the CD format are long over. Now most music sales have to be generated from good new music that give people a reason to buy it. Consider this: In 2000 the Beatles had a #1 album (1) consisting of a collection of tracks originally released more than 25 years ago, and have already been released on CD.

It's not common sense, it's lack of money (3, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517709)

Guy Hands aims to snuff out excesses that cost EMI £100m a year

Guy Hands, chairman of EMI, has told potential investors the group's former management squandered around 100 million pounds on corporate excesses. Terra Firma, Hands' private equity firm, is expected to make major changes to senior management and transform the culture of a company considered to be stuck in the glory days of the music business. Industry observers say Hands will try to blame previous management for the firm's woes because he has paid over the odds for a business struggling to cope with a dwindling market.

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/media/article2963629.ece [timesonline.co.uk]
http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/27/in-winning-emi-is-guy-hands-losing-out-on-other-deals/ [nytimes.com]
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2007/10/08/cnemi108.xml [telegraph.co.uk]

Actually I think EMI may have gotten it! (5, Informative)

RaigetheFury (1000827) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517717)

Wasn't EMI the one who started letting Itunes sell NON-DRM versions of their music selection? Maybe they're trying to be the front runner and testing the waters. Maybe they have someone who is able to explain to the big guys just how fruitless it is to try and stop illegal file sharing. Do your part in reminding people it's illegal, but don't go the path the RIAA has.

I also think EMI has realized that they no longer need the RIAA because of the power of the internet. It's good business to rid yourself of a marketing company who does nothing but put your company in the bad light. Publicly decry them, and embrace the way people want things.

Right now that is GOLD. People are starting to look for Non-DRM (and I mean the average consumer, not you and me). The average person buying their music is buying it for an Ipod and noticing how much of a pain in the ass it is to rip it just to get it on there.

Maybe EMI, is realizing that the people who are stealing weren't going to buy it anyway and that there's a tremendous opportunity for the first major record label who steps forward and waves off DRM laden music. Cost of doing business in the digital world is that people will always steal your product. Microsoft learned this by trying to lockdown windows and that failed. People just manually downloaded the patches around the "automatic update".

The problems their "DRM" did by checking new installs of windows if you reformatted and had to deal with the hassle of speaking to an indian who couldn't speak english... you get the idea... it just wasn't worth it financially. It hurt them.

Maybe they realize that the power is no longer in their hands once they release a product. Perhaps they realize it's better to encourage people to buy it, who WANT their music.

If I was a record label I'd offer the music in several different formats. Typically CD quality download, mp3 (slightly cheaper), HD (for the audio connoisseur, and then on physical media still. Some people love their physical media.

That's what people want. Make it available like that, without some DRM scheme. You'll win in the end because the people who are stealing your product, weren't going to buy it in the first place. You need to target the people who are willing. Because... you know? The people who are stealing it... will always find a way. It only takes 1 copy to hit the internet... and you can't stop that from happening, no matter what you do.

Don't want to give 'em ideas, but... (1)

Grokko (193875) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517761)

I predict that the RIAA will use the fact that they got less money from them in a the next case they bring up against a deaf priest who only possesses an abacus. They will say, "Look, the RIAA is now getting less revenue due to the nasty press we receive. We're just trying to collect money on the artist's behalf, that we have no intention of actually paying them. We ask the court to award treble damages."

I know there were a few lawsuits but this? (5, Interesting)

guruevi (827432) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517767)

According to the article:
including the close to 30,000 file-sharing lawsuits filed by the record labels in the US alone.

I mean, this is way worse than what I thought it was. I thought it was a handful, you know the ones you hear about in the news. But 30,000 means a lot and a whole lot of work for the legal system (this means that 1 in every 500 lawsuits in the US or 0,2% comes directly from the RIAA). This could be used for other cases we are already overloaded with like drugs, robberies, fraud (identity theft for example), money laundering and other crimes that affect more people than a few copied cd's.

Re:I know there were a few lawsuits but this? (1)

Paktu (1103861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21519545)

They filed 30,000 suits, but how many of those actually went to trial? You can't use this figure for comparison with the actual number of court cases unless you want to include every parking ticket etc.

I'm considering buying an AirBus A380 (2, Funny)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517823)

And I'm also thinking of buying a Castle in Scotland, a Ferrari Enzo, and a gold plated swimming pool.

Doesn't mean I can or will do any of it, though.

Tag this noshitsherlock.... (0, Redundant)

8127972 (73495) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517873)

... But before anybody declares victory, let me point out that things could change in a heartbeat as this decision (if you can call it that as they are only considering it) could change if the RIAA exerts some mob like pressure on EMI. Also, the fact that they went public with this makes me think it's a PR shell game rather than something material in nature. Still, these are the guys who hopped onto the DRM free bandwagon first, so maybe there's something to it?

It has had an effect (1, Interesting)

fwarren (579763) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517883)

The RIAA's campaign has had an effect. The people who get caught, are sharing LOTS of files. So if you don't share lots of files, you are much more likely to go "under the radar". Many folks who used to share large catalogs of mp3's no longer do so. Try downloading something by Olivia Newton John for instance. Unless the song was a top ten hit, must music from the 50's through the 90's is no longer out there.

The new stuff the RIAA is worried about still gets pirated like mad. The older stuff just is not shared any more.

Re:It has had an effect (1)

tomee (792877) | more than 6 years ago | (#21518277)

Re:It has had an effect (1)

fwarren (579763) | more than 6 years ago | (#21519339)

That was just an example. Not everyones discography is online via torrent. In addition to that, there are a lot of crazy little songs that air on Dr. Demento that are not available now. They were in 1999 or 2000 but now they are gone. But thanks for the ONJ link

They "may" cut funding? (4, Insightful)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517943)

They "may" cut funding? Let me know when they *DO* cut funding. Until then, this should be dismissed as PR theater. Perhaps EMI wants to manipulate the RIAA in some way ... maybe reduce their share of the funding, or gain more power within the organization, or something.

So far it's just talk. And talk is cheap.

Agree:Talk is cheap, EMI! (2, Interesting)

KWTm (808824) | more than 6 years ago | (#21519431)

They "may" cut funding? Let me know when they *DO* cut funding.
Exactly! This reminds me of a joke, apparently about a maintenance repair request form filled out by an Air Force pilot. These forms have a spaces under the headings "Request" (filled out by the pilot) and "Action Taken" (filled out by the mechanic). This particular one reads:

REQUEST: Left tire on landing gear almost needs replacement.

ACTION TAKEN: Left tire on landing gear almost replaced.

Wake me up when EMI actually does something.

Voice your support. (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517979)

If you support this sort of action, please take the time to contact EMI with your opinion:

EMI Group Limited
27 Wrights Lane
London
W8 5SW
Tel: +44 (0)20 7795 7000

Ethically responding to RIAA companies. (1)

Chris Tucker (302549) | more than 6 years ago | (#21517999)

In my opinion, that is.

First off, stop buying NEW CDs. Wait a few weeks and buy them used at your local used CD joint. You get get music in an ethical and legal manner that both screws the RIAA companies out of more money and at a discount for you.

You can then rip the CD at your leisure and stash the CD in a box somewhere. Preferably with the receipt in the jewel case, just in case you need to prove that you indeed DO own the source CD for all those tracks on your iPod. (Who knows how insane the RIAA will get in the in the coming years. Considering they've sued people who don't even own a computer, what's the next step, suing people who own iPods or other MP3 players? Suing people who have iTunes or WinAmp installed on their computers?)

Obviously, using iTunes or other legit online retailers will save you even more money by buying the one or two good tunes on a CD. Yes, it does funnel money back to the RIAA companies, resulting in a pittance in the hands of the actual artist who made the music.

Personally, I'd like to see the Radiohead model become widespread as more and more bands opt out of the current RIAA company business model. I do think that directly selling to the public is likely to be far more profitable to a band.

Great, now back them up with some economic force. (1)

Lethyos (408045) | more than 6 years ago | (#21518293)

We can all get warm fuzzy feelings over this, but that will do little good to encourage these sort of decisions. Vote with your dollars and buy music from EMI if they end up cutting back their cartel involvement.

Warner Music profit falls; industry in slump (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21518303)

Thursday November 29, 8:04 am ET

http://biz.yahoo.com/rb/071129/warnermusic_results.html?.v=1 [yahoo.com]

Warner's net profit fell to $5 million, or 3 cents a share in its fiscal fourth quarter, from $12 million, or 8 cents a share, a year ago.
That's probably less profit than Radiohead alone made.

U.S. album sales are down 14 percent year on year, according to data from Nielsen SoundScan, as more fans choose to buy music as individual songs through online stores such as Apple Inc's (NasdaqGS:AAPL - News) iTunes, or resort to using free file-sharing services to get music.

Warner Music stock is down nearly 70 percent since the start of the year as evidence of a faster-than-expected deterioration in music sales has become more clear to investors.

That puts an upper limit on their intelligence. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#21518363)

Quote: "... those thousands of lawsuits have done nothing but generate ill will from record fans, while costing the labels millions of dollars and doing little (if anything) to actually reduce the amount of file-sharing going on."

Translation: Record executives are sometimes really, really dumb.

LOL.

EMI + Advertising Supported Music (1)

illectro (697914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21518607)

EMI is also one of the companies that instead of suing imeem.com [imeem.com] for letting people share mp3's decided it was better to cut a deal with the company and let people share their music - like a youtube for mp3's - presumably in exchange for a cut of the advertising revenue that their music is making the site. The music business is finally catching up to the changes that started a decade ago, EMI seems to be making some of the biggest moves in public.

I'm guessing this is all about (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 6 years ago | (#21518955)

the amount of money record companies are not getting back from the RIAA from collected fines

I bet the record companies actually expected, or were even told by the RIAA, that there would be a long-term profitable return from collected fines in return for their relatively small support payments. This has turned out to not be the case both because the RIAA is run by total incompetents and that they are finding out that more people than they expected just won't be bullied so they actually have to work for their money in the courts.

On that basis the record companies wouldn't actually want the RIAA to be an effective method of completely eliminating piracy otherwise that would be an end to their fine-collecting income, so I don't think EMI's decision is directly based on the RIAA's effectiveness against limiting file-sharing.

Redirection of funds. (1)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 6 years ago | (#21519435)

Each of the labels reportedly contributed over $132 million per year to fund industry trade groups, and EMI apparently believes that money could be better spent elsewhere.

Like on increased royalties for the artists, right?

Guys? Right?

long pause

wankers

Not bad guys (1)

scubamage (727538) | more than 6 years ago | (#21519463)

I think a common misconception on /. is the idea that the recording industry is explicitly trying to attack "us." They're not. They are legal entities who are trying to defend themselves, and their profit margins. They aren't bad guys, they're just trying to get themselves the best deal they can - and they have money, time, and power to fight for it much more than most Americans do. However, we're the consumers. Ultimately, they can't survive without us. So instead of viewing them as an opponent, view them as a seperate group of people with whom we need to reach an accord. The fact is, the amount of money being made from the lawsuits is paltry compared to the amount of money spent pursuing file sharers, not to mention the almost weekly egg on their faces for charging the deceased, 5 year olds, and little old grandmothers. I honestly don't see this as a card they're playing, I think they're realizing that if you piss off your consumers, your company is gone. Acting like the gestapo is a surefire way to NOT win loyalty. Not to mention the whole RIAA thing has basically made a ton of consumers start rejecting mainstream media. Outside Philadelphia we now have an Indie radio station which is completely fan run, and its growing in leaps and bounds because they allow local colleges to share their airwaves. I don't think this is a trick, I see it as good business on their part. Ultimately, their big concern is their bottom line, not eliminating your rights. Hopefully the other labels start realizing this fact, and then we can all get back to living our lives again.

Re:Not bad guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21519841)

BULLSHIT!

They stopped having the right to call themselves the 'good guys' once they started suing their own customers.. i mean come on. thats just fucking STUPID.

if they win. they have no more customers and they lose.

if they lose they still lose.

the braindead moron ever came up with the plan to sue their own customers should be fired. out of a cannon.

Personally i will NOT buy ANY music until the music industry as we have known it is DEAD!

And then i will laugh. Alot.

They wanted a 'war'. Well guess what. The consumers have the power. They NEED us. We however... Don't NEED them.

Given enough time we will win this 'war'.

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