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RIAA Wants Songwriter Royalty Lowered

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the more-for-meeeeee dept.

Music 343

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Lest there be anyone left who believes the RIAA's propaganda that its litigation campaign is intended to benefit the 'creators' of the music, Hollywood Reporter reports that the RIAA is asking the Copyright Royalty Board to lower songwriter royalties on song file downloads, from the present rate of 9 cents per song — about 13% of the wholesale price — down to 8% of wholesale. Meanwhile, the big digital music companies, such as Apple, want the royalty rate lowered even more, to something like 4% of wholesale. So any representations by any of these companies that they are concerned for the 'creators' of the music must henceforth be taken with a boxcar-load of salt."

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You're assuming... (4, Funny)

NixieBunny (859050) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302124)

that anyone had any doubt that the RIAA were anything but money-grubbing middlemen.

Re:You're assuming... (5, Insightful)

macdaddy357 (582412) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302206)

RIAA: Recording Industrialists Against Artists.

Re:You're assuming... (5, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302304)

If they actually use the "Save the Artists" thing then maybe someone should sue them for _fraud_ just to publicise the issue and drop the case quietly before it goes to court ;).

Re:You're assuming... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22302342)

that anyone had any doubt that the RIAA were anything but money-grubbing middlemen.

Oh come one that's not fair ... they are obviously trying to lower royalties so that they can sell music to you, the customer, for less. ;)

Won't somebody think of the children? (0)

zotz (3951) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302776)

I mean really.

Free The Art (Sep 29/07)
Copyright 2007, drew Roberts

Free the Art and
Free the Artists
Let's break loose and
Let's get started

Change the world and
Make it better
There may be crying but
We'll cry together

Tired of waiting on
Promised changes
Come together and
Let's rearrange it

This work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons
Attribution-ShareAlike License V3.0 United States
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/legalcode [creativecommons.org]

hahahahaha (1)

SECProto (790283) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302126)

i think the subject really says enough about what i think...

Yipeeeeeee (0, Redundant)

giorgist (1208992) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302138)

Well you know there's less profit in downloaded music. (PS: They're paranoid about loosing the distribution channels They're paranoid about loosing the distribution channels They're paranoid about loosing the distribution channels

Re:Yipeeeeeee (1)

karthikkumar (814172) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302430)

they are paranoid about losing money.

Re:Yipeeeeeee (1)

UnderDark (869922) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302746)

their profits are a lie...

Why the RIAA? (4, Interesting)

Kelz (611260) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302160)

Why is the RIAA even able to set any sort of financial policy for its parent companies? I thought it was just a big bunch of lawyers! Should not each recording studio set compensation based on the contracts it signs with the artists?

Re:Why the RIAA? (5, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302526)

Why is the RIAA even able to set any sort of financial policy for its parent companies? I thought it was just a big bunch of lawyers! Should not each recording studio set compensation based on the contracts it signs with the artists?

I heard it was too complicated to do it that way. Maybe with modern computers it may be easier. It used to be that radio-stations etc. would simply[1] keep a list of each song they played and periodically handed that list over to the RIAA, who applied a set even percentage and collected corresponding fees to be distributed. It worked well for several decades. In fact, I think that patents should follow a similar technique so that you don't get slammed with surprise royalties.

[1] With random auditing.
   

Re:Why the RIAA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22302538)

I thought it was just a big bunch of lawyers!
Yeah, well, some of them are just lawyers, but most of them are people they picked up after Wolfram & Hart shut down, and you know where that leads...

Re:Why the RIAA? (4, Informative)

RalphBNumbers (655475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302654)

This isn't the RIAA setting any sort of internal payment policy for it's members.
This isn't even a matter of paying the artists at all.

This is a matter of the NMPA (an industry association of publishing companies representing composing artists), and the RIAA (an industry association of record labels representing performing artists) squabbling over which middle man ought to get a bigger cut of online sales.
How much either of them passes on to the artists they supposedly represent is a separate issue.

And, meanwhile, the DiMA (an industry association of online music sellers) is chiming in to suggest that they both keep their prices low to speed growth in online sales while CD sales tank.

Re:Why the RIAA? (4, Informative)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302710)

The RIAA is a trade group, and it wouldn't surprise me if they had some kind of power/influence written into all the contracts they administer to control where royalties are paid.

They do have some goals [wikipedia.org] , which are not *all* related to litigation.

  • (this one is litigation) to protect intellectual property rights worldwide and the First Amendment rights of artists;
  • (this one is self-preservation) to perform research about the music industry;
  • (this one is lobbying the nation) to monitor and review relevant laws, regulations and policies.

So you see, they do lots of things besides sue their customers.

Wither Lars? (5, Insightful)

GoodbyeBlueSky1 (176887) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302162)

I eagerly await the insightful words of Lars Ulrich, Dr. Dre, et al to explain to me why pissing off the people who were perfectly willing to pony up good money for concerts, T-shirts and, yes, full retail priced CDs was worth it in the end.

Re:Wither Lars? (5, Insightful)

Trogre (513942) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302318)

And Bono. Don't forget Bono.

On second thoughts, perhaps we should :)

Re:Wither Lars? (1)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302346)

Which is rather hypocritical, considering Dre got in trouble for using the THX sound on his last CD.

Is everything about the dough? (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302472)

Is it every worth it to stand up for the right thing, even if its going to cost you money? He wasn't wrong legally or morally just financially. Which one is more important to you?

Re:Wither Lars? (1)

piojo (995934) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302662)

I eagerly await the insightful words of Lars Ulrich, Dr. Dre, et al to explain to me why pissing off the people who were perfectly willing to pony up good money for concerts, T-shirts and, yes, full retail priced CDs was worth it in the end.
I know I'm being sort of anal, but this article isn't about the RIAA pissing off customers, it's about the RIAA pissing on artists. (Noth that I read the article...)

Yet another reason for artists to go it alone (3, Insightful)

_merlin (160982) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302172)

Stupid pigopolists. Aren't they supposed to be on the artists' side? This blatant money-grab is just one more nail in their coffin. More artists will find ways to sell directly to the public, or form their own collectives with their own interests at heart. Of course, that's how the RIAA started, but it is well past its usefulness and needs to be replaced.

Re:Yet another reason for artists to go it alone (5, Informative)

piltdownman84 (853358) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302210)

Aren't they supposed to be on the artists' side?

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade group that represents the U.S. recording industry.

Reducing costs is good for the Industry.

Re:Yet another reason for artists to go it alone (5, Insightful)

syzler (748241) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302292)

Aren't they supposed to be on the artists' side?

Yes, just not the artist you thought. They are really on the side of the con artists (I.E. the corp backers).

Re:Yet another reason for artists to go it alone (1)

Damocles the Elder (1133333) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302382)

This blatant money-grab is just one more nail in their coffin.
If I had a nail for every time I've heard this phrase in regards to the RIAA, I could make coffins enough for every greedy RIAA chairman that's pushing this type of crap, and have enough left over to start a hardware store. And yet the RIAA is still chugging along.

Face facts: despite all of these quote-unquote deal-breaking, money-grubbing, END OF THE MAFIAA deals and lawsuits that've been reported on /., they still have a long way to go before they're gone.

Re:Yet another reason for artists to go it alone (5, Insightful)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302398)

Stupid pigopolists.
Eh. That's too close for "capitalist" for my liking. What you've got is a cartel that's trying to keep itself alive. True Capitalism - I'm talking Ayn Rand style Capitalism - would laugh at this pathetic copy.

Aren't they supposed to be on the artists' side?
The RIAA? No.... It's the Recording Industry Association of America. Keyword is "Industry".

Trust me: the industry can find a thousand people to write crap like this [azlyrics.com] :

Oh baby, baby
Oh baby, baby
Oh baby, baby
How was I supposed to know
That something wasn't right here
Oh baby baby

This blatant money-grab is just one more nail in their coffin.
Yes, but you didn't kill the bastard before putting him in the coffin! Duh! He's banging and screaming and pissing & shitting himself senseless - because he knows, unless someone rescues him, he'll die soon. ;)

More artists will find ways to sell directly to the public,
Well, the ways already exist.... It's easy for a new artist to go this route, but for an established band with contracts and whatnot... notsomuch.

For the record, one of my all time fav artists does this. Ayria [ayria.com] . She's cute, too!

or form their own collectives with their own interests at heart.
ooh, goodie! How long until they become just as bad - or worse - than the RIAA? Seriously, this tendency of people to group themselves.. is boring... and annoying.

Of course, that's how the RIAA started,
Wait, hold on! You KNOW that has happened in the past and you want to repeat it?!

What?! Should we try Communism ONE MORE TIME because THIS TIME we'll "do it right"? Ha. Come on. ;)

but it is well past its usefulness and needs to be replaced.
Eh. The RIAA will continue to exist, in some form, for a long time. The fangs need to be removed, tho.

capitalism (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302732)

True Capitalism - I'm talking Ayn Rand style Capitalism

Is Randian Capitalism anything like Adam Smith's Capitalism?

Falcon

Re:Yet another reason for artists to go it alone (2, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302736)

Wait, hold on! You KNOW that has happened in the past and you want to repeat it?!

So do you support banning all legal fictions in business or do you believe that only one side should enjoy collective bargaining and the peons should eat cake?

In other words if it's fair enough for corporations to form and use the bargaining power that comes from vast resources beyond those of any individual worker, then you should also find it perfectly fair that the workers do the same.

Meanwhile, even if you DO believe that all legal fictions should be dissolved, you must acknowledge that it hasn't happened and shows no sign of happening. Unless or until it does, labor has little option besides organize, become the subjects of a new corporatocracy, or start chopping people's heads off. I would argue that option 2 leads inevitably to option 3 at some point.

What?! Should we try Communism ONE MORE TIME because THIS TIME we'll "do it right"? Ha. Come on. ;)

That might be a lot more cutting if capitalism had a better track record.

I would suggest that all things considered, capitalism is the lesser of the two evils but is still evil. The right solution (whatever that may be) is none of the above.

Re:Yet another reason for artists to go it alone (5, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302938)

What?! Should we try Communism ONE MORE TIME because THIS TIME we'll "do it right"? Ha. Come on. ;)

You should be careful about such comments. One would think you were talking about "communism" the economic model since you are comparing it to capitalism, instead of "communism" the political ideology. This is important because "communism" the political ideology generally tries to apply extreme "socialism" as economic policy and has basically nothing to do with "communism" the economic model aside from the political parties that misleadingly stole the name. This is also important because "communism" the economic model is alive and well for those who apply it to small communist cell sizes. The most common example of this would be the family unit, which comprises a communist cell by buying and selling goods and services collectively (although these cell sizes are shrinking in the US). Other applications of communism that have stood the test of time are monasteries, co-op housing, co-op stores, credit unions, municipalities, etc.

Most Americans seem to have some messed up ideas about communism and socialism, both as political ideologies and as economic models. For example, public schools are an example of socialism, although those schools seem to have failed to educate their students as to that fact. Most people with an even cursory education in economics, however, will tell you that communism, socialism, and capitalism are all present in every economy in the world and what usually leads to disaster is when an economy becomes extremist and failing to balance these aspects. Extreme capitalism is just as unstable and disastrous as extreme socialism or extreme communism... that is the lesson we all should have learned from history.

Re:Yet another reason for artists to go it alone (1)

dcollins (135727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302946)

"True Capitalism - I'm talking Ayn Rand style Capitalism - would laugh at this pathetic copy."

He had a broad face and a round little belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly,
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself
- Clement Moore, "A Visit from St. Nicholas"

Re:Yet another reason for artists to go it alone (4, Insightful)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302404)

They are constantly beathing that drum, claiming to be looking out for the "artists, songwriters, [and] musicians" [riaa.org] but that's just propaganda. If they admitted they were just looking out for record company executives, it wouldn't go over as well. Here they have shown their true colors.

Re:Yet another reason for artists to go it alone (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302578)

What I do not understand is how they cannot see that making it LESS valuable for content creators to sign with their labels is going to result in LESS ARTISTS bothering to sign with their labels. There already has to be a certain breaking point that is leading the current boom in independent artists releasing their own content or finding alternate distribution methods. Further reducing the incentive will surely cause >0 others to do the same.

This results in less product diversity, therefore even less market penetration, therefore making them lose even further influence over the market. Thats not even to mention the reduced income and reduced relevance.

Hypocrisy yes, but even in the evil "Exxxcelllent" sense how does this make ANY sense in terms of a business decision except for the ultra short term? This seems more along the evil "ONE MILLLION DOLLARS!" side of things. Sounds like their people organizing strategy will be retiring soon and just expect the corpse to rot after they do. That or someone really IS that stupid.

Re:Yet another reason for artists to go it alone (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302802)

What I do not understand is how they cannot see that making it LESS valuable for content creators to sign with their labels is going to result in LESS ARTISTS bothering to sign with their labels. There already has to be a certain breaking point that is leading the current boom in independent artists releasing their own content or finding alternate distribution methods. Further reducing the incentive will surely cause >0 others to do the same.

Unfortunately too many artists don't know how to go it on their own. From some posts I've seen even some /.ers don't know how to market on the net, not that I'm an expert. The Greatful Dead [wikipedia.org] would have gotten it though.

Falcon

oh man (1)

mitch.swampman (1216614) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302180)

It's so fun to watch a cartel devour itself.

The RIAA has come a long way... (2, Insightful)

rizzo320 (911761) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302182)

The RIAA has come a long way since they were setup to regulate and maintain the technical standards on how vinyl records should be manufactured. Hopefully they will go the way of the vinyl record real soon...

vinyl records (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302896)

The RIAA has come a long way since they were setup to regulate and maintain the technical standards on how vinyl records should be manufactured. Hopefully they will go the way of the vinyl record real soon...

What, you want to RIAA to make revival? While CD sales are declining [npr.org] vinyl record sells [time.com] are increasing. More and more stores are starting to carry vinyl turntables [forbes.com] . Yes, I've noticed this as I'd like to get one myself.

Falcon

Re:The RIAA has come a long way... (2)

gbobeck (926553) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302898)

Hopefully they will go the way of the vinyl record real soon...

Actually, I hope they go the way of the square wheel, clear pepsi, and the dodo bird.

Is anyone surprised? (5, Interesting)

ISurfTooMuch (1010305) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302190)

Lest anyone be at all surprised, remember that RIAA stands for the Recording Industry Association of America. It represents the record companies, and that's all it represents. If these companies could find some legal way to hold a gun to a songwriter's or musician's head and take their work at gunpoint, they'd do it.

I'm not going to insist that digital downloads are the future and that all artists should follow Radiohead's lead, but any artists who care at all about their future had damn well better examine every single alternative when figuring out how to produce and distribute their music. Things are changing, and you can be sure that the record companies are going to be looking out for their best interests. Artists had better do the same, or they're going to get screwed.

"Artists" should get real jobs (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22302348)

They are just making a bunch of noises and not producing anything real or useful. So they really shouldn't get any money for it, that should just be like a hobby for them. Their income should come from doing real work like the rest of us, instead of being a bunch of hippies or whatever thinking that we should worship them and throw money at them just for being famous for being able to put sounds together.

Re:Is anyone surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22302448)

If these companies could find some legal way to hold a gun to a songwriter's or musician's head and take their work at gunpoint, they'd do it.
No, if they could find a way to do this without being charged then they would do it. They don't care about legal, they care about profits. The Sony rootkit is evidence of this.

LAWL (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22302196)

This is too funny they want more money in compensation for each illegaly downloaded file yet want to give less to the artists that make it...

Royalty or Loyalty? (4, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302200)

...because they're going about the right way of lowering the loyalty rate of artists and customers alike.

Maybe Songwriter's Strike soon? (0)

l33tlamer (916010) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302202)

Considering the quality of "songs" being "sung" by pop "artists", not sure if this would work.

Re:Maybe Songwriter's Strike soon? (1)

Captain Vittles (1096015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302580)

It's not like a lot of "TV shows" and "movies" being "performed" by "actors" are that great, and yet their writers are all on strike over how they're getting screwed out of royalty money. And yet I'm sure it'll work for them, so why not for songwriters?

Re:Maybe Songwriter's Strike soon? (3, Informative)

novakyu (636495) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302768)

The only problem is, songwriters don't have a full control over their creative work. The mechanics of the system goes under various names, such as "compulsory license", "statutory license", or in TFA, "mechanical license". Lessig's Free Culture [free-culture.cc] gives a better account than I can, but the most songwriters can do is refuse to write more songs, not refuse to license their already-published work.

Given the usual release cycles of albums (probably the real difference between the music industry and TV shows), they will need to do be able to sustain their strike for one year or longer—how many strikes have you seen that lasted one whole year?

Wow. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22302204)

'"Fundamentally, this fragile marketplace is showing signs of promise, but it cannot be saddled with additional, excessive costs," DiMA wrote. "The board should be careful not to impose a royalty that kills the proverbial goose and deprives songwriters and publishers of their golden egg."'

A little nugget of FUD to mask the fact that digital downloads are going to render obsolete their entire middleman operation.

What if the royalty was negative? (3, Interesting)

victorvodka (597971) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302234)

Imagine if musicians had to pay out of pocket for every song that was distributed, say one cent per track. On the one hand, they'd be angry because it would mean that they would have to pay a lot if their songs reached a lot of people. But on the other, it would also be an indication of their popularity and the money to be made on concerts and schwag. This is analogous to what a web author has to deal with when his site hits the big time. And yet, web authors can usually figure out how to monetize the publicity and pay for the traffic. The fact that music could even make musicians money if they had to pay people to take their music sheds some light on the outdated nature of the industry.

Re:What if the royalty was negative? (5, Informative)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302502)

"Imagine if musicians had to pay out of pocket for every song that was distributed"

ROFL, oh but THEY DO!!!! the traditional RIAA contract has the artist paying for all the costs out of their royalties. essentially companys RIAA represent take an artist onboard and fund the album, making the artist pay it all out of their royalties at an inflated price as well as taking their cut of the profits, so if an artist is very lucky they might walk away not owing them money... studio's are a pit of snakes, make no mistake.

Re:What if the royalty was negative? (2, Informative)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302728)

Same thing with the games industry. You first have to pay back all that money the publisher gave you as well as the cost for advertising and distributing your game before you can have your 10% of the royalties.

I'm confused (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302524)

Are you actually recommending the music industry goes to an advertising supported model, or are you pointing out the fact that one industry figured out a business model proves that every other unrelated industry can too?

I have no Idea how the Nobel economic prise committee overlooked your work this year, the fools!

RIAA - The red herring? (5, Interesting)

Kovac.anar (650162) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302238)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the RIAA essentially a representative group formed with the intent of pushing forward goals and legal issues for the major record labels?
If so, then they are doing an admirable job of inspiring people to direct ire and hared towards the constructed organisation rather than to the parent companies.
It isn't often that I see people complaining about Sony or BMG (Comparatively speaking).
It always seems to come down to that nasty RIAA.

Well done indeed.

Re:RIAA - The red herring? (2, Informative)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302530)

It always seems to come down to that nasty RIAA.

The RIAA represents the big four [wikipedia.org] and many smaller [riaa.com] record companies. You shouldn't direct any special malice against Sony BMG... but identify songs by RIAA artists [riaaradar.com] and then use your own judgment.

I actually prefer searching for songs that are distributed under Creative Commons-style licenses [jamendo.com] , as these are often pretty high quality and always free-and-clear of all litigation worries.

Re:RIAA - The red herring? (1)

piojo (995934) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302738)

The RIAA represents the big four [wikipedia.org] and many smaller [riaa.com] record companies.
Just so you know, that list includes record companies that are not part of the RIAA. For example, Fat Wreck Chords (hates the RIAA) is on the list because one of their distributors is part of the RIAA, but that is quite different from being a member themselves.

This is why we have what we do (1)

daddyrief (910385) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302248)

Put nothing in, get nothing out. Don't expect results without incentive. This is why crap pop music will be propagated until the eventual demise of the RIAA. ...Although given the chance, most unknown artists these days would still sign with a label, despite their extortion-based methodology. By lowering the already measly writer/composer rates, the RIAA only shoots themselves in the foot. Lowering royalties only nudges artists towards self-distribution. I've heard CDBaby and other similar sites make it easy to do.

In this age of digital distribution and cheap widespread publishing, can the RIAA really afford to scare off and offend songwriters?

Seen same with H1B issue (5, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302290)

The H1B issue is the same way: lobbyists squirm and wiggle to bend statistics and magnify (or make up) anecdotes to sell the idea that there are not enough citizen programmers or not good enough citizen programmers and therefore the industry needs H1B's in order to prevent an economic collapse. It is all just a ploy to get cheaper labor. This is what happens when business lobbyists have more power over legislators than voters. It's that simple.

So, anyone else with me? (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302294)

I feel rather lonely here in my boycott of the RIAA. Is RIAA-brand pop music really that deeply ingrained into our culture that people aren't willing to live without it?

Apparently so. Magnatune doesn't seem to be growing much. And Big Labels are still raking in millions.

Re:So, anyone else with me? (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302356)

For what it's worth, I've paid for several albums off of Magnatune. It's a great site, and I've recommended it to others. (And I didn't pay the $5 cheap-o price, either. :-)

Re:So, anyone else with me? (1)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302444)

I'm with you dude - I haven't purchased ant RIAA garbage for a long time now. Not planning to either. There's enough good original live music where I come from that I don't need to. I just go see gigs and buy their home made CDs.

bypass the RIAA (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22302306)

It would be great if there was a central site where artists could register to receive donations/payments that their fans wanted to give them in exchange for getting their music from an unofficial source, or just as a sign of appreciation.

Say if you wanted Artist X's new album, but your preferred music store doesn't have it - you could just download it from any P2P site, then donate the recommended amount to them through this site.

Re:bypass the RIAA (2, Funny)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302750)

It would be great if there was a central site where artists could register to receive donations/payments that their fans wanted to give them in exchange for getting their music from an unofficial source, or just as a sign of appreciation

There is. In Melbourne, it's called "Bourke St. Mall". Best not to set up too close to the tram tracks though.

Record Companies Victimized (4, Funny)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302330)

music publisher catalogs have increased in value due to steadily rising mechanical royalty rates and alternative revenue streams made possible, but not enjoyed, by record companies.
Those dastardly songwriters have too long been taking unfair advantage of the RIAA's clients. They take a whopping 8% of royalties just for creating the product!

Now the record companies, who created the internet and invented downloading music and streaming audio, have seen their take of the pie stay the same, whilst freeloading music creators are actually making more.

I shall write to Orrin Hatch about this...

If the artists were to just give it away... (1)

karthikkumar (814172) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302360)

or put it up on their site for 15 cents a song, they'd earn way more than they do now. I mean, as of now, is RIAA of any value to the society at all?

Re:If the artists were to just give it away... (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302636)

Yes sadly. They remain a warning to all of the dangers of when the evil and greedy also become stupid...and also a reminder of what groups like this actually represent.

Hopefully the overall response won't be the realization by the evil and greedy that they need an evil and smart person in tow at all times whilst everyone else moves on.

A Karl Rove for every opportunist...not a world i want to see.

You get what you pay for... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302364)

And boy are we in for some great tunes if these "ideas" become reality.

I mean... it sure is funny to see life imitating art, but life imitating Stallone [imdb.com] SF action movies?
Cause if this takes hold, how long till the radio jingles become a more popular form of entertainment then "popular" music?

Oblig (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302690)

Cause if this takes hold, how long till the radio jingles become a more popular form of entertainment then "popular" music?
Do you folks like coffee!

REAALL COFFEEEE

From columbia....

The Duncan Hills will wake you.
From a thousand depths.
A cup of blackened blood.
(Die, die)
You're dying for a cup. [wikipedia.org]

(Thanks Mr. Small and Mr. Blancha [adultswim.com] )

But no lower prices (2, Insightful)

Slisochies (1183131) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302366)

I bet that the prices for the songs won't be lowered as a result...

Curious - don't flame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22302378)

Is the songwriter the only artist who is compensated for the download? Is the performing artist or band also compensated, and if so by how much? As much as I don't like the RIAA, I also want to understand the surrounding context. I guess the real question this begs is exactly where does all the money go?

Re:Curious - don't flame (1)

shark72 (702619) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302952)

"Is the songwriter the only artist who is compensated for the download? Is the performing artist or band also compensated, and if so by how much? As much as I don't like the RIAA, I also want to understand the surrounding context. I guess the real question this begs is exactly where does all the money go?"

The composer, lyricist and performer each get royalties. The royalties for composers and lyricists are set by law (hence the news whenever the record labels want to change it), while the performer's royalties are contractual. I believe the law allows for lowering royalties for the composer/lyricist if they're also the performer. The royalties for the composer and lyricist typically don't go directly to the composer and lyricist, but to a publishing company, which keeps a cut in exchange for tracking payments. Often the publishing company is a one-person company set up by the composer or lyricist. In a few cases, the publishing company is actually owned by a record company.

This page [howstuffworks.com] is a bit out-dated, but it covers the basics of how royalties are paid for CD sales. Downloads, as we've seen, are a bit different.

What it boils down to is that the royalties are often the biggest slice of the pie. The rest of the money goes toward paying the salaries of various other people at the record company. The popular perception that the record company gets the rest (in the sense of hoarding it some Gringotts-style bank) isn't true too much nowadays with the prevailing health of the industry -- Warner Brothers lost money last year, so they're spending money faster than they're making it.

Salt (1)

jediknil (1090345) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302380)

Isn't the whole point of "take it with a grain of salt" that a grain of salt is basically worthless? A more emphatic version should be something like "take it with a nanogram of salt" or something.

Re:Salt (1)

karthikkumar (814172) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302408)

maybe 'take it as a truckload of crap', perhaps? :-)

Re:Salt (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302520)

It makes even less sense, though because it supposedly references a time when salt was actually a particularly valuable commodity.

Re:Salt (1)

prockcore (543967) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302926)

Not really. It meant that there wasn't much truth to swallow.. you'd only need a grain of salt to season it. Still applicable today.

RIAA bad, Apple... (4, Funny)

martinX (672498) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302392)

Now the RIAA is a bunch of money grubbing pricks, but I can't believe Apple would have anything to do with ... HEY LOOK! OMG! New AirBooks are OUT!!!

This is good news... (0, Offtopic)

shark72 (702619) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302414)

...if you've ever found yourself saying (or typing) something like:

  • "The record companies don't get it. I pirate because music costs too much."
  • "The secret to reducing piracy is charging a fair and reasonable price. $0.99 a track isn't."
  • "I'll stop pirating when tracks are $0.25 each. Anything more is robbery, plain and simple."
  • "When will the record companies listen? Reduce prices... don't try to sue pirates."
  • "Why should I pay money to support some millionaire musician's lifestyle? They have enough money."

Even if you've never written the above, you've probably read it here on /., on a daily basis.

Well, there you have it. Maybe the pirates are right, and music does have to be $0.25 a track. And (statistics aside), perhaps artists do make too much. Either way, right or wrong... the pirates have spoken: music costs too much. Artists are overpaid. So sayeth the pirates, and they're a mighty force.

The pro-piracy crowd has been one of the biggest opponents of DRM. And the record labels are listening... DRM is becoming less restrictive and going away. The pro-piracy crowd has bemoaned the lack of selection on the legal stores vs. what's available on P2P. Apple listened... their catalog is now in the tens of millions.

Perhaps retailers like Apple, and the record labels are listening to the pirates yet again. Along with feeling the heat from Amazon, they're capitulating to demands that music prices be lowered. I don't think we'll see $0.25 in our lifetimes (so, many people will opt to continue to pirate), but cutting costs will make it easier to sustain $0.79.

And if you're one of the folks who pirate because your perception of artists is that they are overpaid millionaires... then this may be good news to you even if it doesn't result in lower prices.

Re:This is good news... (1)

David Gould (4938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302658)

The pro-piracy crowd has been one of the biggest opponents of DRM.
Not pro-piracy. Anti-anti-piracy. It's really not the same thing.

Re:This is good news... (1)

shark72 (702619) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302842)

No worries, David... I wasn't meaning to include you in the pro-piracy crowd (in fact, we haven't met until now). Thanks for speaking up for the anti-anti-piracy crowd. Does anybody want to chime in to represent the anti-anti-anti-piracy crowd?

No matter what crowd you're in: the mods, the rockers, the mockers, the greasers, the bloods, the crips, the AARP, the "time cube" guy, people who are still coding in Simula 67, the sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, waistoids, dweebies, dickheads -- you're probably against DRM, too, and you probably agree that Ferris Bueller is a righteous dude. But my point remains that the pro-piracy crowd is one of its biggest opponents.

This is right (2, Funny)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302422)

They should write songs because they love it, not because they get paid. SONGS WANT TO BE FREE! FREE THE SONGS!

So where does EMusic fit in all this? (1)

dr2chase (653338) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302432)

I'm just curious, because as long as I diligently download my 40 songs per month, I pay $.25 per song. How is that quarter carved up, or are they actually losing money on me?

Re:So where does EMusic fit in all this? (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302866)

$0.25 is split thusly. $0.01 to apple, $0.000001 goes tot he artists and $0.239999 goes to the record company.

Re:So where does EMusic fit in all this? (1)

dr2chase (653338) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302932)

That's useless. EMusic is not Apple, and they have reached some sort of agreement with quite a few smaller labels/artists. I'm genuinely curious how both the values and the shares of the various royalties compare.

Poor conclusion regarding Internet Radio (3, Informative)

lancejjj (924211) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302440)

Meanwhile, the big digital music companies, such as Apple, want the royalty rate lowered even more, to something like 4% of wholesale. So any representations by any of these companies that they are concerned for the 'creators' of the music must henceforth be taken with a boxcar-load of salt."
This 4% proposal is for Internet Radio, not for Digital Music Sales. From the article:

"New-media companies want the rate to go even lower, contending that it should disappear when music is digitally streamed
To me, this means that some "non-label" companies think that Internet Radio should take on the common terrestrial radio songwriter royalty plan, instead of being treated substantially differently merely because the transport is the internet instead of the airwaves.

Of course, streaming internet radio is quite different than music sales.

Wrong. (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302666)

This 4% proposal is for Internet Radio, not for Digital Music Sales. From the article:

Incorrect. Apple doesn't want to pay anything For streaming music. The 4% is for permanent digital downloads. Greedy Assholes.

Have a read of this article [audiogeekzine.com] for more:

For permanent digital downloads, NMPA is proposing a rate of 15 cents per track because the costs involved are much less than for physical products. The RIAA has proposed the outrageous rate of approximately 5 - 5.5 cents per track, and DiMA is proposing even less.
I know you think Apple can do no wrong, but they're a company & by definition, quite ammoral.

Going the Way of Nine Inch Nails? (4, Informative)

webword (82711) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302454)

Nails frontman [Trent Reznor] urges fans to steal music [yourguide.com.au]

"Steal it. Steal away. Steal, steal and steal some more and give it to all your friends and keep on stealing," Reznor, who has been dubbed the Ralph Nader of the music industry, said.

Steal NIN music too? He steals he says. Read that article. Interesting.

Re:Going the Way of Nine Inch Nails? (1)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302836)

Meh. Who'd want to steal anything of Trent's these days? Has-been looking for publicity again.

That's it... (4, Insightful)

Fuji Kitakyusho (847520) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302456)

From now on, I'm pirating everything, and I'll mail some money to the band.

The digital shift. (2, Insightful)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302464)

Remember, the RIAA consider the "artists" to be "content providers", and their music as a simple commodity. Everything must go at the same low, low price. The vendors can cover their costs and acceptable profit margins using the economies of scale. Everyone and anything else is of no consequence.

I'm sure the RIAA and MPAA would be quite happy if the "artists" would do as they're told, the "consumers" would buy whatever's being sold at the price offered, the internet would go away and everyone would simply shut the hell.

I'm sure they would enjoy their huge salaries and bonuses much more without all the whining.

Not greedy enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22302492)

Just when one thought the RIAA couldn't be any more greedy it proves us wrong. As if it wasent bad enough they make 95% of the profit from cds when they cost like 20 cents to make and sell for 10-20 bucks. Clearly they have to rob the artists from their work even when they have to do little to nothing for internet downloads.... A band is most likely better off bypassing the BS like radiohead did, so they can see a reasonable share of the profit made by their work.

the people who suffer most. (1)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302500)

Wow. God really hates poor Britney.

Apple and Yahoo not talking about sales (3, Informative)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302504)

They want the 4% royalty rate for STREAMING... IE internet radio, which right now is treated much different than terrestrial radio where the songwriter gets practically nothing for. They are saying that they shoudlnt be treating internet radio as if it is somehow different than normal over the air.

8/13 = 62% (4, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302510)

Cutting 13% down to 8% is a 38% reduction.

So everyone else's cut is going up, even though the songwriter's costs and work are the same. But the rest of the "value" chain to the consumer (which now is composed mostly of the consumer, recommending and trying to share the content) is drastically reduced in cost and increased in availability of inventory (which was typically paid off according to plan many years ago).

Re:8/13 = 62% (1)

Arceliar (895609) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302900)

You know, the 38% reduction is a drop in the ocean if you ask me. Selling songs online via file download has, compared to media on a disc, virtually no cost of distribution. So, the industry wants artists to get 4% of the song's cost. The gov't gets about a third. And the industry takes what's left (still probably over 60%). Why, exactly, does the industry feel it deserves (in my rough estimate) 15x the profit the artist gets when all they do, aside from take your money, is point you to a download?

It means the songs will be cheaper! (1)

BRSloth (578824) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302542)

Come on, guys! If they would pay last royalties, this means the songs will be cheaper, right?
</sarcasm>

Totally misleading summary (1)

Orig_Club_Soda (983823) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302560)

Who wrote this crap? Its "songwriters and publishers" not just song writers. The whole pennies analogy is completely misrepresented because publishers get a sizable share too.

If the story is worthwhile, you dont have to exaggerate.

An Explanation of The Issues (5, Insightful)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302614)

At issue is the so-called "mechanical royalty" -- payments made for copies of sound recordings, including those made by digital means, to songwriters and publishers.
Basically, the problem is, when you're speaking DIGITALLY, there is no difference between "copying a recording" (ie download for the purposes of saving a file) and "performing a recording" (download eg streaming, for the purposes of audio playback in the physical world).

For This Reason, New Media Players (Apple, Yahoo, Napster, etc) argue that the "mechanical royalty for copyright" should be lowered significantly on digital downloads (specifically, to 4%).

RIAA etc argue the fee should be dropped only slightly (specifically, only to 8%).

RIAA are arguing to maintain profits for their (arguably, exceedingly dinosaur-like) "distribution model".

"While record companies have been forced to drastically cut costs and employees, music publisher catalogs have increased in value due to ...... alternative revenue streams made possible, but not enjoyed, by record companies."
ie "we see you've worked out new ways to make profits, so pay us (even more) money even though we have not contributed anything new to the equation".

The New Media crew are arguing the way of sanity and intelligence. (ie trying to push the 'downloads are effectively performances, because there's no way to differentiate' argument)

New-media companies want the rate to go even lower, contending that it should disappear when music is digitally streamed.

Every time you hear something new from the RIAA it boils down to "someone needs to shovel more money into our bank accounts, without any additional effort or contribution on our part. Our business model dictates an infinitely increasing profit margin, for infinitely decreasing effort, ad-infinitum."

And the same can be said of those ISPs who intend to violate the concept of "net-neutrality". ("someone's making money , and the bits cross our network. Ignore the fact we already billed someone for those bits, I want to directly bill BOTH the producer AND the consumer of those bits, even though they have NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with me").

That's not a business-model, that's a fantasy.

Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22302686)

The wholesale price on an album is about $8.31, for an average 12 tracks per album then?

Am I the only one that thinks that's outrageous? It certainly shows how far too expensive downloadable much is. I mean, considering the RIAA attempted to convince consumers that CDs cost about $5 more than tapes to manufacture several years ago (when CDs cost this much more than tapes), and that CDs haven't really decreased in price, that means that the RIAA would need to sell the equivalent real album at about $14 wholesale. If that's how much distributors pay for CDs (not record stores) then how does anyone make any profit selling a CD? Most retail items demand at least 25% or so profit, usually a lot more for lower cost items like these!

Or, just maybe, the RIAA actually makes less money on selling the equivalent digital download as a CD? If so... ugh! But not a surprise, considering we know that the $5 "extra" they were charging difference between CDs and Tapes was BS at the time as well.

*sigh*...

strike (2, Interesting)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302696)

If only the artists would go on strike like the writers. Maybe we could thin out some of the crap on the radio these days. I hate that most new music makes me love the songs my dad sung to in the car (oldies) and that it makes me not even want to look for the few artists who have really great music.

It should also be noted that (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302780)

any representations by copyright law in general that it is concerned for the 'creators' of the music must always be taken with a boxcar-load of salt. It never has been about the 'creators'. It is and always will be about the business. If you want the hammering to stop, you just got to say "when".

from the we-all-work-for-the-middle-man dept. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22302808)

so long as greed, fear & ego are the driving forces, there'll be no fair day's pay for most of us. better days ahead. see you there? let yOUR conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071229/ap_on_sc/ye_climate_records;_ylt=A0WTcVgednZHP2gB9wms0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/ts_alt_afp/ushealthfrancemortality;_ylt=A9G_RngbRIVHsYAAfCas0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A [nytimes.com]

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying [google.com]

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html [cnn.com]

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html [cnn.com]

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html [cnn.com]

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece [timesonline.co.uk]
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

Dear Musicians: (1)

MattW (97290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302854)

Bandwidth is cheap. Sell your own music, and keep 100%.

Here's how it works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22302880)

1.The RIAA does the bidding of the industry.

2. The Industry needs a constant supply of money and steps on everybody to get it.

3. People keep buying music, which generates what the Industry needs most.

4. People also keep stealing music, which gives the RIAA the air of legitimacy.

There. If you whining little jerks can't figure this out you don't deserve help.

Obligatory ?? Profit (1)

EEPROMS (889169) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302884)

1. Setup Industry Body to promote and regulate music 2. Piss off your consumer base. 3. Shaft the people who create music. 4. ?? 5. Profit I don't know of any other industry that intentionally tries to shaft both its consumer and supply base like the RIAA do.
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