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Why the RIAA Really Hates Downloads

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the how-to-spell-irrelevant dept.

Music 289

wtansill recommends the saga of Jeff Price, who traveled from successful small record label owner to successful Internet-era music distributor. His piece describes clearly what the major record labels used to be good for and why they are now good for nothing but getting in the way. "Allowing all music creators 'in' is both exciting and frightening. Some argue that we need subjective gatekeepers as filters. No matter which way you feel about it, there are a few indisputable facts -- control has been taken away from the 'four major labels' and the traditional media outlets. We, the 'masses,' now have access to create, distribute, discover, promote, share and listen to any music. Hopefully access to all of this new music will inspire us, make us think and open doors and minds to new experiences we choose, not what a corporation or media outlet decides we should want."

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Hah! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22918386)

RIAA lurves teh_frust post!

Uhhh.... Duhhh..... What???? (1, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918392)

Honestly. It is not my habit to be common or sarcastic but the only word that comes to mind is: "DUH!"

If this were NOT what it has all been about, then I would be interested to hear any other intelligent suggestions.

Re:Uhhh.... Duhhh..... What???? (4, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918448)

> If this were NOT what it has all been about, then I would be interested to hear any other intelligent suggestions.

Uh.. perhaps it's about them losing money from people downloading music for free instead of paying for it? The record companies only deal in music which'll make them money. There are many more unsigned bands/acts which sell their own music at shows or play for free. If the mindset in the article were to be believed, the large companies would be blindly signing literally everybody who made music so it could control them. This isn't true - it's hard work to get signed, and then a fair amount of pressure is put upon you to produce airplay friendly tunes etc.

Re:Uhhh.... Duhhh..... What???? (5, Funny)

infonography (566403) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918872)

They are farmers, and the musicians are livestock.

Re:Uhhh.... Duhhh..... What???? (4, Insightful)

polar red (215081) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919154)

the large companies would be blindly signing literally everybody who made music so it could control them.
I think a major factor for the music industry is also the control the music played on radio stations. There are few independent bands in the charts because the industry keeps them out of the air waves --> No Competition --> high CD prices ! http://thekeyinfluencer.wordpress.com/2008/03/08/truth-about-the-music-industry/ [wordpress.com]

Re:Uhhh.... Duhhh..... What???? (5, Informative)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919520)

The control of media means more money for the record company.

When I ran the music department of an independent store, I learned first-hand just how much control they exercise over the music industry. I knew six months in advance what songs were going to make the charts, because those songs were the ones the labels pushed off on radio stations. The line from the salesman would sound something like this:

"This is the next album from Blonde Dance Clone #4. Tracks 5 and 8 are going to be all over the radio before it comes out, and 5 will probably be in the top 10. We plan to have five million copies distributed for release. We've got endcaps, freestanding displays, placards, hanging signs, and posters. Later we'll have a pile of promotional goodies."

What downloads do to that industry even with no impact on sales is they make demand less predictable, which means their margins are reduced. That's what scared them from the start...the loss of their ability to dictate our tastes in music and control the top 40 charts. Napster especially meant that they could no longer shove their choice of music down our throats via radio because radio was no longer a primary source of new music for millions of users.

A record label that sells hundreds of millions of albums a year doesn't care about someone who might move 10,000 or even 50,000. It's not even that an artist wouldn't make money that they don't sign them...it's that the artist wouldn't make *enough*

Re:Uhhh.... Duhhh..... What???? (4, Insightful)

johndmann (946896) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919570)

Uh.. perhaps it's about them losing money from people downloading music for free instead of paying for it?
I don't believe this for a second. There have been several studies done which will inform you that the people who are downloading music that they have not purchased, would never have bought the music to begin with. People who are willing to pay for their music do so, the rest pirate it. Several of my friends even choose to download pirated copies of their favorite bands before they are released, but purchase an actual copy of it when it comes up for sale, because they support those bands. Thus, the people selling the music are losing very little, if anything, from those who pirate.

Re:Uhhh.... Duhhh..... What???? (5, Informative)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919600)

If the mindset in the article were to be believed, the large companies would be blindly signing literally everybody who made music so it could control them.

If course, that's only true if signing a band or musician has zero overhead. If there's a cost to the label for each signing, then they have finite capacity, and will want to pick and choose.

There's also scarcity economics at work at this level as well. If every high school wannabe rock band had a contract with EMI or Sony BMG, then the perceived value of that contract would plummet. Similarly, if every museo you met had a contract, and was nevertheless practically penniless, then no one at all would sign up, since they'd be taking on obligations with no expectation of recompense.

Re:Uhhh.... Duhhh..... What???? (4, Insightful)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919030)

What it has all been about, is the exploitation of 'popular artists' by a bunch of scheissters who add no value apart from promotion.

There's no controlling of tastes, merely a promotion of fashion.

Now that there exists a means of subverting the business model of said scheissters, they are upset, and will tickle the tummies of their tame congresscritters with green until the law prevents the distribution of independent music.

It's the Jaffia, stupid!

Don't worry about it. (0, Troll)

Shturmovik (632314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919234)

Music is mostly for adolescents. Eventually you'll grow out of it, like the rest of us over-30s.

Re:Don't worry about it. (1)

baldass_newbie (136609) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919274)

Music is mostly for adolescents. Eventually you'll grow out of it, like the rest of us over-30s.

So sayeth the person who has yet to discover Mahler.

Re:Don't worry about it. (3, Insightful)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919380)

I'm 43, you insensitive clod.

Get off my lawn!

Music is for everyone - it's just that they don't make decent music anymore ;o)

RIAA doesn't hate downloads! (5, Funny)

FeldOfBuzztown (1262824) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918414)

Where do you get this misinformation? Rich Internet Applications Anonymous loves downloads. Can't get enough of them. http://riaa.buzztown.org/ [buzztown.org]

Re:RIAA doesn't hate downloads! (2, Insightful)

iNaya (1049686) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918492)

How is this a troll? It's not even trying to offend anyone. Actually it was slightly funny.

nothing new (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22918422)

nothing to see here.. move along

D'uh from these quarters too. (5, Interesting)

The Ancients (626689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918430)

I wrote a (very) short piece [mothership.co.nz] on this a while ago, in response to an article on El' Reg.

Again, looking at the list of 'discoveries' there, and at the reasons given here, it's hard to believe that the industry hasn't already fallen over in a big screaming heap. The only thing propping it up thus far are multi-album recording contracts, and their McDonald's inspired ability to foist very average fair on to the average user.

In the last couple of years with GarageBand etc providing the ability for anyone to make reasonable music at home, the iTunes Music Store and it's ilk providing the ability for almost anyone to publish their work, and social networking sites providing the marketing (often viral), it's time these commercial dinosaurs went the way of their reptilian cousins did millions of years ago.

Re:D'uh from these quarters too. (4, Funny)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918454)

From the tomes of Slashdot's quote at the bottom of the article on this one:

Your wise men don't know how it feels To be thick as a brick. -- Jethro Tull, "Thick As A Brick"

I thought it was quite accurate.

The recording industry are just a bunch of puffed out suits beating their own chests in response to the threat of something surpassing them. They'll get bored eventually.

Re:D'uh from these quarters too. (4, Funny)

Niten (201835) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918590)

it's time these commercial dinosaurs went the way of their reptilian cousins did millions of years ago.

I think you're missing the subtle distinction between "evolve and grow feathers" and "get tarred and feathered".

Re:D'uh from these quarters too. (4, Informative)

QuantumFTL (197300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918612)

The only thing propping it up thus far are multi-album recording contracts.
A friend of mine moved to LA and recently got his band signed to a record label. He contends that the major factor propping them up at the moment is ringtones, of all things.

Re:D'uh from these quarters too. (5, Insightful)

baboo_jackal (1021741) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918958)

The only thing propping it up thus far are multi-album recording contracts, and their McDonald's inspired ability to foist very average fair on to the average user. ... In the last couple of years with GarageBand etc providing the ability for anyone to make reasonable music at home

Sweet. I can't wait until my car radio has 10,000 stations and I have to wade through them all to try to find something that doesn't suck.

You know, I think that the increase of accessibility of both creators and consumers of music is a Good Thing. That the internet is providing the medium for this free exchange is also a Good Thing. I also think that the efforts of the "dinosaurs" to prevent everyone from figuring out the baseline reality of the music industry in it's current state (i.e., completely free exchange) is Pretty Stupid.

But... Dammit. Let's not get too overzealous in our condemnation of the value the Music Industry provides. They historically provided, out of economic necessity, whatever music was (subjectively) "the best."

In order to do that, they had to try to figure out what artists would appeal to the largest number of people in order to maximize their profits. It wasn't an Evil Conspiracy to prevent your buddy's shitty band from "making it big."

Imagine a world without Evil Corporations providing that service - listening to the radio in your car suddenly becomes like a Google search for not-crap, every time you try to use it. You can say all the mean things about people who actually *enjoy* top-40 radio you want, but that doesn't change the simple fact that more people would rather listen to Britney Spears than ObscureCollegeBand.

Now, while I may or may not prefer Britney Spears to ToePhunkGrooveMaster 3000, I definitely do *not* have the time or inclination to wade through the previous 2,999 iterations of their crap to find something I like. I want someone else to do that for me.

I mean, I compose music, myself. I know what I like. I have an extremely eclectic taste in music, and I appreciate the ability to pursue that taste. But sometimes I just like being able to turn on the radio without having to hope that Zach Braff will swoop down from the heavens and "change my life" by making me listen to The Shins. Sometimes, Britney will do. And so I think there's a place for those Subjective Gatekeepers in the world. (just as soon as they can give up the financial reins, and figure out what value it is they *actually* provide).

Re:D'uh from these quarters too. (5, Insightful)

nihongomanabu (1123631) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919050)

You're right in that a service was provided by these gatekeepers, but now that archaic corporate model needs to change. There will still be gatekeepers, but the new gatekeepers will be bloggers and other online communities that promote music they've heard and appreciate. People who then in turn like the music being promoted from one source, or "gatekeeper" will come back to them for further recommendations.

Some of my favorite bands have never been on the radio. I've heard about them through friends or through reading online. This new promotion style will more closely mirror this "organic" model of promotion.

Re:D'uh from these quarters too. (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919132)

Just like with jamendo perhaps?

Re:D'uh from these quarters too. (5, Interesting)

Jarik_Tentsu (1065748) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919430)

There will still be gatekeepers, but the new gatekeepers will be bloggers and other online communities that promote music they've heard and appreciate.
I think a good example is the trance DJ, Armin Van Buuren. He mixes the weekly 2-hour trance mixes called "A State of Trance" which has tens of thousands, more likely even hundreds of thousands of downloads.

It's played on proper radio stations, but is also available free online from many, many places at around 192kbps. He becomes the 'gatekeeper' almost - putting together good selections of recent music that the audience can be exposed to - some of it is obscure, some of it are big trance releases, but in either case, it's one source where the public can filter through all the crap and freely be given a good choice of music.

Could this be a potentially good model for other things as well? Podcasts and radio shows becoming the next big thing - played both on real radio and available online? A State of Trance is a model that really, really works well - I wonder if things like this can be expanded to other genres...though, obviously certain genres and types of music - like post-rock concept albums, or really unique Progressive Metal bands, might suffer from the inability to be juxtaposed with other music.

~Jarik

Re:D'uh from these quarters too. (2, Interesting)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919094)

Well, I'm sitting here right now listening to Youssou N'Dour's latest album - 'Rokku Mi Rokka', which hasn't been promoted at all in the UK (he's Senegalese, and spends what he doesn't need on various projects in Africa).

None of the Subjective Gatekeepers have led me to this music - it's my own choice to buy the CD and support the artist.

I don't personally mind having to have my own 'not crap' filter - I can tell within 10 seconds or so whether a piece of music is being played well, and my tastes run from Gregorian chant to rap - the style is less important than the execution.

Give me variety, and let me choose - and let the A&R men and the fat cigar smoking publishers starve.

Re:D'uh from these quarters too. (3, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919608)

If the subjective gatekeepers haven't led you to Youssou N'Dour, you just haven't been paying attention. He's the only West Africa musician highly promoted in the West, he's gone gimmicky crossover efforts with a number of Western musicians, and he's been signed to Western major labels.

Broadcasters are not publishers (3, Insightful)

Saint Fnordius (456567) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919102)

In fact, there has always been a sort of uneasy truce between those two groups. In the beginning of the relationship, the music publishers cried bloody murder about radio stations playing their songs for free, since there was no legal requirement then to cover a case like that. Then, once a royalty system was finally in place, some studios realised that "air time" had a positive effect on sales, and payola was born. Today, there exists an equilibrium due to cartels on the publishing side and on the broadcasting side, and companies like Clear Channel ruling over a publisher-friendly airwave monopoly.

That's why I prefer internet "radio" when at home, listening to streams that friends make for friends. I don't want a gatekeeper to keep me from being flooded, I prefer a guide to help me to navigate on my own. Making it all about gatekeepers twists the argument, hides the fact that the self-appointed gatekeepers want to control all traffic, and aspire to be not merely bouncers but also jailers.

But hey, if you want to defend your employers, go right ahead. Just don't denigrate the fact that I prefer to listen outside of the prison they have prepared for me.

Re:D'uh from these quarters too. (2, Interesting)

edumacator (910819) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919114)

I definitely do *not* have the time or inclination to wade through the previous 2,999 iterations of their crap to find something I like. I want someone else to do that for me.

I don't think this is really going to be a problem if the big labels go away. It would have been fifteen years ago, but the internet is set up to take their place as music taste sifters. I'm sure there would be plenty start ups to fill the void. I can imagine a thousand different services that would help filter the crap for you. In fact, since these services won't need to find music for the masses, they will be able to filter for niche markets. This could be a boon for everyone.

Re:D'uh from these quarters too. (2, Insightful)

pipatron (966506) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919152)

Then you tune in to the "super ultimate pop radio channel", what's to difficult with that? Most web radios are not obscure. I listen to a couple of different music styles, and there are great web radios for each and every one of them, obscure or not. It sounds like you have to dial a knob and pick up the frequencies. Naturally you just select what kind of music you currently want to listen to, and pick out one of the radio channels left from a menu.

Re:D'uh from these quarters too. (1)

zombie_monkey (1036404) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919184)

So instead of the industry deciding what all radios should play, every radio station will have pick the music to play themselves. And you'll have real choice. Those stations that aren't prepared to do that, too bad, others will be. Isn't this what radio stations are all about, anyway?

Re:D'uh from these quarters too. (1)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919270)

Last.fm, pandora, and the like can fill the gap of finding the "best" music, and they can fill it in a such a way that the best music is the music you seem to like, or that people who like the same music you like like. Your internet radio has 100,000 stations and IT wades through them all to find the ones that don't suck.

Re:D'uh from these quarters too. (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919298)

I can't wait until my car radio has 10,000 stations and I have to wade through them all to try to find something that doesn't suck.
As opposed to the current situation where there are fewer than 100 stations and they ALL suck?

Triple J Unearthed (1)

jaminJay (1198469) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919304)

I did read some good points in your post before I realised that you seem to be discussing a problem which has already been solved, 'though is not yet widespread.

If you were to investigate Triple J Unearthed [triplejunearthed.com] , you would find a myriad of songs by new artists. There, people who do have the time and inclination listen to the songs, rate and review them. Also, the station employs people to listed to every uploaded song to find the oats in the chaff: the best end up on the radio, win competitions and get exposure for possible signing.

The other thing to note, most of the people using this system listen to the associated station. I generally like the station because it mostly plays songs I have never heard before, and I would much rather hear a crap song once than the same three 'smashes' from the 'eighties played on repeat every time I get in the car. Not that I particularly dislike those songs, I just don't want to hear them all the time.

You seem to presume that the jobs of the labels won't be done when they're 'out of the picture', when truthfully, those jobs are already being done by multitudes more people with far wider spreads of opinion than some suit behind a 10' mahogany desk.

And then there's Jamendo and Magnatune, where you can generally listen by genre and get a good mix to suit your mood.

Disclosure: I do not work for the ABC, but I do contribute to their funding.

Re:D'uh from these quarters too. (1)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919360)

Sweet. I can't wait until my car radio has 10,000 stations and I have to wade through them all to try to find something that doesn't suck.

Well, for me that's currently a step up from dozens of stations I have to wade through and I still can't find anything but crap...

Luckily, my car radio has presets so after one wade through, I would be able to pick my favourite music stations and store them for later recall...

ain't technology marvellous ;-)

Re:D'uh from these quarters too. (2, Insightful)

maxm (20632) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919464)

Now, while I may or may not prefer Britney Spears to ToePhunkGrooveMaster 3000, I definitely do *not* have the time or inclination to wade through the previous 2,999 iterations of their crap to find something I like. I want someone else to do that for me.
You are right. It would be hard to imagine a future where anybody could just create content that anybody else can enjoy for free. It would be like if there was billions of web pages. You would have to navigate them all just to find the one you like. What would people do? Make search engines and rating sites? Surely that can never happen.

Re:D'uh from these quarters too. (1)

Eivind (15695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919510)

So ?

The clever thing is that we, the public, can do that too. We always where, offcourse, because the final arbitrator of what was the right and/or wrong choice for a record label or radio-station always was if people where buying the records, or listening to the station.

So, services like last.fm and pandora allow you to NOT wade trough gargantuan heaps of crap to find the stuff you like. By a mechanism not very different from "Customers who bougth this product also bougth ..." which should be well-known by now.

The theory is, if you really like music-piece X, Y and Z, and 95% of those that like those three and have also rated W, like W, then odds are very good that you will also like W.

Certainly the odds are MUCH better than "one-size-fits-all" which is what RIAA and major radio-stations deliver. They deliver music that the AVERAGE quite like, and are good at finding music which the maximum amount of people like. But that is a quite different task from finding music that YOU are likely to like.

Total cost to you ? Hit a button now-and-then to indicate "Really dig this track", or "hate this".

You can adjust your sense of adventure too. For example, I currently listen to 50% songs the computer "know" I like (because I've said so) 30% songs the computer thinks I'll very likely like, because the same people tend to like these and others that I like, 10% songs which the computer has no reason to think I like or dislike, but which are in general highly rated, 5% completely random songs and 5% songs which I've said before that I don't like, but that was a long time ago (more than 6 months)

Try doing -that- with one-size-fits-all.

Musicians prefer the old way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22919586)

The reality is internet distribution means lower profits to quality musicians overall.

The entire superstar way of living is linked to the way record companies can front large chunks of cash and work with their manager to keep them productive vs high all the time.

As a business model internet music is all good, but it has demanded lower prices and more disposable artists.

Overall, music today lacks much of the personal touch and wreaks of mass production and mass distribution.

All in all, this effort will, under capitalism consolidate the majority of wealth to fewer record companies making it harder for new artists with a lot of potential to get quick high paying deals.

At least while the market is in transition this means record companies will bank on their most profitable artists while taking fewer chances on new artists AND giving new artists less chances to be profitable.

It also put a lot of focus on just making singles and one hit wonder bands, more than we already had.

All in all, I don't see any real benefit to consumers. We will get cheaper music, sure, but we'll get less innovation and less new artists elevated to any reasonable media level to be found.

You can't simply be on iTunes or Myspace and get ANYWHERE near the attention you get on TV or through a decent record company. Thousands of bands live and die on the internet and it, SURE it's a cheap way to start out and it may even sustain you, but you're a dime a dozen on the internet. You'd be lucky if you'll ever sell your music for anything. You'll be trapped to playing gigs and mostly using your own money for tours and such.

In the end it's all about the money. Larger more wealthy companies can put your name out there faster, they have more connections and simply more spending power. That also spills over into your personal spending power.

It's all fun to allow every wannabe to publish their own books and music and pretend it's of professional quality, but rarely do we actually get the same quality. It's not about having good equipment, it's about having trained and experience people helping you every step of the way, so you can focus on your art.

Has mass distribution really helped music ? Do you think we have higher quality music today ?
Has the digital revolution really done anything but make music sound more the same than ever ? Even the hardware and sound settings today are simplistic, very overly produced sounding, very bass oriented for all types of music.

It's as if in 'upgrading' from analog systems all music has taken on a certain combination of synthetic perfection and always having the LOUD button turned on.

Look it up, many studio professionals are very turned off by the canned sound of todays music. It lacks much of the full warm tonal variety of music from the 60-70 and even some 80s. In some ways production sound better, but more so it's like a wall of frequencies spread on your ears. It's not always bad, but I think people will be able to pick out music made on with todays digital studios and note it has certain conforming sound characteristics.

Overall, I'd say the average listening is getting less able to hear individual tones and frequencies. They are bombarding themselves with random genres of music with little ability to tell the differences. It's nice to have the unimusic scene finally where people are open minded, but at the same time they are losing their ability to hear much of the details in their music.
I'm not exactly FOR categorizing music, but I do think we've overlooked the entire emotion state of the listener and that music and mood are very related. I think random top 40 appeals to a certain aspect of consumer music, but at the same time we've certainly lost something. I think music is more of a product and less of a means of expression and communication.

Even the 80s have more expression and diversity in music than today and that was mass marketed, but it wasn't all one hit wonders and cross marketing. To some degree we are overwhelming listeners and creating disposable music and musicians more than ever with the internet music scene. The move to cheaper digital equipment hasn't helped at all. It's more versatile, but it simply doesn't have the tone of analog in many cases your still need to run through a tube mic preamp or amp just to get SOME of that vintage sound back. There is more tonal variety in most tube guitar amps even these days.

Think about it..

When was the last time the consumer was actually right ? You people are just mass fed whatever the advertising companies want you to be, it MAKES LITTLE DIFFERENCE if the medium is TV or the Internet. Money still buys time and flashing ads and sensational reviews.

For the most part it's cheaper and easier to lie on the internet, making advertising that much easier. You can easily, on your own, run a grassroots campaign and pose as 'fans' to your own band, posting positive reviews and pics of hot girls. Just like TV really, but you don't need a camera crew.

In that sense you get what you pay for on the internet. At least TV has some more reasonable level of profit and accountability. You rarely get in trouble for lying on the internet. Look what that guy Jeff Gannon got away with, being a male prostitute/white house press agent. He used the internet to create fake credentials along with porn sites. Now TV bought it also, AND the internet called him out, BUT TV is still what told most people.

The music pirating movement is really whats behind all this. Record companies have no other plan but lower profits and mass distribute. It's pretty standard capitalism. They are going to have to add a new dimension to their market to get it back, but personally, so far, music has sucked balls since mp3.

The last big music movement was grunge and since then... it's been random top 40 and mash ups.

Those are signs of market stagnation and lack of innovation. Mash ups and DJ re-mixes means people are not finding a music that truly interest them.

On the internet everyone is a model or porn star, and everyone has a band and nobody really cares.
Very very few people are really listening to new music no the internet with any consistency. They might like you, but in all reality they probably won't remember you or come back to your site unless you do something SENSATIONAL to get their attention. Without TV your a static image or a slow download still and your loss in the masses even more on the internet.

Selling 'units' doesn't means you really have anything to say or that people will remember you. Your just a consumable in todays market. Someone has to be sold this month, IT COULD BE YOU !!

Just consider how much more like real people artists from the 60-70 looked. Obviously not based on todays fashion, but most of them were not models and porn stars. They were musicians you loved to play and jam with other musicians and create new forms of expression.

There really isn't anything like that going on today. Even the small bands have taken on more sensational selling methods to get attention, playing roles, creating hype, dressing up and mostly playing the same old shit with a new name. Normally thats reserved for people who are actually famous to some degree but I think the new artists has to stretch that much further to get noticed in the piles of mass produces songs. I think that more bands HAVE to be more focuses on marketing than ever before to sell and thats less time they have to write songs.

In most cases new artists have to do all this themselves and it's only been getting harder in recent times. It was already like 60% business 40% music before P2P and 99 cent singles.

You know how we thought making oil really and mass producing crappy cars was a good idea because it seemed that's what the market wanted. Well the market always wants cheap mass produced crap because we don't have consumer protection laws that matter anymore. If people didn't have to pay taxes, they wouldn't. They wouldn't pay for hospitals or police or any of that in socialized structure. They would horde their own money for their own purposes. LAWS prevent the average idiot from trying to run their own country from within our country and just say hey screw the laws and models of business that rewards the consumer.

Well, we are pushing music the same way. WE DEMAND low prices music. Ok, well, we'll get low priced music, but it's going suck more and more than high priced music and we are going to expose ourselves to tons of this made for the mass consumer music because that's supply and demand.

New kids want new music every year, so SOMETHING has to be sold. Honestly though exposing ourselves to lower quality TV and MUSIC with more and more sex and violence based songs likely has a larger cost that we are failing to factor in. Such as.. I dunno.. a public that is always happy to start wars or bring guns to school or just stop and observe their place in a society of mass produced art and disposable artists and realize we are all that much less connected in any real emotional way, but so much more connected, by the things we buy.

Even better (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22918442)

You can use something like RatioFaker [torrentcentral.net] to cheat your ratio on private torrent sites. Information wants to be free :)

once upon a time (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918444)

a few spaniards got on some boats, and with some fancy new technology, subdued entire noble ancient civilizations in central and south america

technological progress was not fair to the aztec and incan nobility. you wonder what they thought when they looked upon the gun, the horse, the metal armor, the smallpox. well, if you work for the riaa or a major label, you know more of what it is like to be on the losing side of technological progress like perhaps no other class of people in the western hemisphere right now

so here's to you, music label suit

heres to your vanishing jobs, to the jobs of blacksmiths, to the jobs of chimney sweeps, to the jobs of telegraph operators, to the jobs of steam ship engineer

to the dustbin of history with all of it

please no banging on your coffin while we nail it shut. thanks

Re:once upon a time (2, Funny)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918600)

Smallpox was a technological advance?

Re:once upon a time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22918640)

= virus

Re:once upon a time (2, Informative)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918702)

The use of smallpox as a biological weapon was. While other diseases had been used as bioweapons before (catapulting corpses killed via the black death in seiges, for example) the absence of immunity to smallpox among native Americans made it very effective. Also, the natives hadn't used biological weaponry.

Re:once upon a time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22918786)

Technically no, but in this instance it serves as an excellent analogy for the script kiddies.

Re:once upon a time (2, Funny)

El Yanqui (1111145) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918982)

Smallpox was a technological advance?


It was more advanced than tinypox.

It wasn't the cannons man! (5, Interesting)

Cordath (581672) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918720)

The Spanish conquest of the Americas is often overly dramatized. In all instances I am aware of, it was *not* Spanish technology that carried the day.

Takes the Aztec's for example. Many story tellers will spin a glorious yarn about the siege of Tenochtitlan. Most of those will be glad to talk about how Moctezuma revered Cortés as a god. Most will also completely gloss over the fact that the Spaniards were only a small percentage of the force that laid siege to Tenochtitlan. The Aztec's were not very popular amongst their neighbors, so when Cortés marched on Tenochtitlan the Aztec's enemies came in droves to capitalize on a change to take them down. The Inca's were smack in the middle of a civil war over succession when the Spaniards arrived on the scene, and by pure luck, managed to kidnap the heir apparent. (They held him hostage for gold and then executed him.) Their timing was fortuitous, to say the least. However, the capture of Cuzco was the real fall of Peru, and by that time the Spanish had again picked up indigenous allies to fight for them.

Finally, there is the Mayans. If you watched Apocalypto then you probably got the impression that the Maya were living in big cities and making a mess of things when the Spaniards showed up and conqured/saved them. Nope. They had abandoned their cities centuries before. Even with their civilization an echo of its former glory, the Maya put up more resistance against the Europeans than, perhaps, any other indigenous people in the america's. Unlike the Aztec's and Incas, there was no single Mayan center which could be attacked and neutralized. The Maya were spread out in some of the densest, nastiest, most brutal jungle on Earth. The Spaniards would capture one town and move on to the next only to find that they had to recapture the previous town all over again the next time they went past it. It took centuries to subdue just a *portion* of the Mayan population.

Now, it would seem that we're way off topic, but we can draw some pretty interesting parallels actually. RIAA is a centralized body, much like the Inca or Aztecs. All it would take is for one major record label to withdraw their support to RIAA and that would be their end. Likewise, a change to copyright law could doom all the labels overnight. Music pirates, on the other hand, are by their very nature decentralized. You can squash as many individuals with lawsuits as you want, but the P2P network lives on. Finding those individuals and gathering enough evidence to bring a lawsuit that has a chance of winning if they don't cave and settle is also not an easy task. They are like the Maya. Hard to find, difficult to suppress, and resilient. If RIAA and the labels somehow managed to keep going as they are now, it would take centuries to bring piracy to and end at best.

Anyways, I'm at the point where I just want easy access to good music. If the labels brought back Oink in all it's glory at $30/month I'd be their first customer. If they insist that I have to spend $10 an album for lossy DRM'd tracks on iTunes or $15 for a CD, neither of which net the artist more than $0.15, then no deal.

The way I see it, there is an answer to music distribution. Say that somebody created a private torrent tracker site where the members paid a monthly access fee. Artists could seed their music on this torrent site and be paid a percentage of the gross according to how much their stuff is downloaded. No middlemen. No record companies. Just the artists and the torrent site. Potentially, artists could make a lot more money than they are now. However, there are problems. Perhaps the stickiest is that little issue of critical mass. If a handful of independents got together and did this, they'd fail miserably. Such a site would need a *massive* catalog to get off the ground. It would have to include a very large number of artists from day 1. Still, it is a beautiful dream.

Re:It wasn't the cannons man! (3, Insightful)

S3D (745318) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918890)

The Spanish conquest of the Americas is often overly dramatized. In all instances I am aware of, it was *not* Spanish technology that carried the day.
Arn't you forgetting something ? How Spaniards got into Americas in the first place ? Anyway I'd heartily recommend "Guns, Germs and Steel" by Jared Diamond to understand the situation better.

Re:It wasn't the cannons man! (3, Interesting)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919136)

I've read 'Guns, Germs and Steel', and found it interesting and insightful.

GP, however, gives a perspective on the campaign that wasn't addressed by Diamond - I'd hesitate to dismiss his post out of hand.

Yes, there were benefits from the posession of technology by the Spanish, but the indigenous people weren't rolled over quite as easily as popular history reports - indeed, there are still indigenous peoples in South America that are still resisting 'civilisation'.

Re:It wasn't the cannons man! (1)

Flambergius (55153) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919052)

In all instances I am aware of, it was *not* Spanish technology that carried the day.

Dude, you need to get your thinking process checked.

There are always several factors to any significant historic event. You can't let that cloud your mind so much that you become unable to recognize the real trends. If Cortes or Pizarro hadn't been successful then the next guy would have, or the next guy. Eventually Aztecs and Incas would have been conquered. The only theoretical alternative is that they too gain technology and fast enough to avoid being conquered, which is almost impossible.

There's of course no need to romanticize or dramatize conquests; over time history just is much less random than it may appear.

The Korean Answer for Legal P2P (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22919096)

Soribada. A P2P network you pay a few bucks a month for membership. Korea. Files authorized to be distributed by the program are tagged with a special code in the file and only files tagged as such will be recognized by the program. Except that, MP3s flow like water and most artists in Korea have signed on so the catalog is chock full of almost every major Korean artist... Most of it lossy (but high-quality) MP3 but some are FLAC and APE files...

Re:It wasn't the cannons man! (4, Insightful)

Mantaar (1139339) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919196)

The way I see it, there is an answer to music distribution. Say that somebody created a private torrent tracker site where the members paid a monthly access fee. Artists could seed their music on this torrent site and be paid a percentage of the gross according to how much their stuff is downloaded. No middlemen. No record companies. Just the artists and the torrent site. Potentially, artists could make a lot more money than they are now. However, there are problems. Perhaps the stickiest is that little issue of critical mass. If a handful of independents got together and did this, they'd fail miserably. Such a site would need a *massive* catalog to get off the ground. It would have to include a very large number of artists from day 1. Still, it is a beautiful dream.
First of all, let me tell you that I agree with you in almost all points regarding the recording industries and found your explanations about the indigenous people of America really interesting - however, there's a slight problem in your last paragraph, I highlighted it.

It's not that easy. I'm an artist myself - I'd love to create content just like that, seed it on The Pirate Bay, announce it on last.fm and thus get people to listen to my music (since I'm major in a CS-related subject, I don't even care that much about the money - I'll have job some day... hopefully). But boy is it hard.

When you have a deal with record company it's not just the money you - as an artist - get out of them. Friends of mine have a really successful band - one of their singles peeked the German charts at 4 - and I'm really jealous... not about the publicity they're getting, but about their possibilities. See, to make a record it's not like the only thing you need is a guitar. You need a place to rehearse with your band. You need a good studio to record what you have rehearsed over the past weeks/months/years. The studio's not empty: you need a professional sound engineer, you need someone to master you records, mix everything... You also need a producer - or at least, it's better if you have one. Let's make a comparison: when you write a novel, the publishing house - before publishing - hire an editor to proof read what you've written. Because you missed out on some stuff, for sure. It's just goddamn impossible to be perfect (sic!). You need someone objective, and who's closer to the audience. That's what the producer is good for. He'll have totally new ideas, he'll have suggestions and most of all: he's likely to have a lot more experience than you have. You'll need that.
My friends have all that, because they have a record deal. I don't have that, so I have to stick with my NI external sound card, my laptop, my (bass) guitar, microphones, and the hydrogen drum computer. I've not recorded anything in months, because it takes at least a day to prepare all this, nevermind making a good recording. And then mixing it! Don't tell me you can do that by yourself in Audacity or Ardour. You can't. Mixing a record is a hard job and it really takes quite some experience to do it properly.

Now, I see record labels as some sort of governments: you (the artist/the people) pay them (your share of your copyrights/taxes) and you're getting the infrastructure in return (studios, sound engineers, whatnot/streets, police, judicial system). You're also getting PR out of the record labels. So they are useful to the artists, even in their current form. Not every band can have a genius among them, or several ones, to assume the different roles of the guys the label will provide you with. And who the fuck wants all musicians to be singer-songwriters, because that's the only music that's easy to just do all by yourself?? We'd have a whole cult of Jack Johnsons! What a nightmare...

Now, I'm not telling you "respect the record companies, they help the artists". Not at all. They're bitches, most of them. They are capitalists, most of them. And thus we artists hate them, for being capitalists and capitalizing on our music. I'm just telling you: don't be so quick to establish that direct distributor <-> artist link. There needs to be more than that! And before we smash the record state and fall into the anarchy of netlabels (I'd love to see that), let's first think about how to support those artists. Independent producers with their own studios are not quite like it, because there won't be enough of them - and not enough good ones. Buying a studio is fucking expensive. Like at least 100 grand. Only rich sons-of-bitches would become producers - and your average producer is already too much of an asshole the way it is now.
This whole thing needs to be well thought-out, and currently, I'm lacking ideas... sure stuff like TPB and last.fm and the blogosphere can handle publicity alright. That's fine, PR is not my concern. My concern is the technical aspect in all of this.

Re:It wasn't the cannons man! (1)

nevali (942731) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919432)

The record companies are basically acting as banks, only without the rules and regulations about being upfront and clear about payment plans and (if you think about it) bizarre exclusivity contracts.

I'm actually surprised there isn't a financial market in existence already dedicated to the trading of "music industry bonds" (as they would no doubt be termed). Maybe it needs some VC firm to kickstart the whole thing, I don't know.

Re:once upon a time (2, Informative)

simontek2 (523795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918788)

to the jobs of blacksmiths, to the jobs of chimney sweeps, to the jobs of telegraph operators, to the jobs of steam ship engineer

Umm those jobs still exist. I know a lot of blacksmiths, know a few Chimney sweeps. well no telegraph, but I do know atleast 2 steam ship operators.

Re:once upon a time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22918854)

TFA is very upbeat and proclaims iTunes like it was a new Utopia. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you're an independent musician you'll know, you can't just get your work listed on iTunes. They don't deal with individuals or small companies. Just like the story yesterday about Amazon closing the gates on small publishers the battle for free independent distibution has only just begun. The RIAA and the old guard are far from dead. They are jumping ship, infesting the new distribution channels, exerting undue influence on any means of commodity dissemination. Ask yourself, why does Google not list mp3 files? Like a spiteful retreating army they poisoned the wells on the way out, buying new laws, inhibiting ISPs, destroying everything they could not control.

I wish what you say were true. I wish the bastards were all dead. But as long as there is money to made from exploiting art and culture there will be seedy grey middle-men leeching off the system. iTunes is just more of the same. Who do you suppose works for them? Record company execs who had the forsight to move first. And they took their ugly attitudes with them. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

The RIAA may be on the back foot, but the war is not won. Those people are still out there, scheming how to control and exploit other peoples creativity.

Reports of the labels' death have been greatly... (2, Funny)

patio11 (857072) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918944)

exaggerated.

Yeah yeah, I know, we've all by now heard a one-hit wonder who was NOT signed by a label. (Like the "Chocolate Rain" guy, who probably will go down for the most overplayed 3 notes in history. Choc-late Raaaaaain...) The thing is, when we buy (or listen to, ya dirty scallywags) music, who do we overwhelmingly choose? The same old Britstreet Boy , the same old Sir 50 Snoopenem, the same-old Avrilguilera. For every play, download, or purchase that the long tail Code Monkey type songs get, the #1 (and, for that number, the #40) pick up tens of thousands. That is taken *in aggregate*.

The labels didn't just get a lock on the market because they control distribution. They've got a lock because they realize that music is an experience people want to share, music is a status symbol, and thus people want to listen to the music that other people are listening to. This has the same network effects that a Facebook or AIM or Microsoft Office does. The core music consumer is a high school or college student, and God forbid you listen to something nobody else in your circle of friends does at that age.

(Look at the P2P networks, too -- people are not downloading the Collected Traditional Swahili Spirituals Remixed To The Tune of "Waterworks" Compilation. The top downloads almost invariably track, in lockstep, the top selling songs/movies/games which appeal to teenage males.)

Uhhh...news? (1)

Slimee (1246598) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918464)

Everyone's been saying this since the RIAA STARTED suing people way back in the Napster days...this is something I'd expect to see in a NEWSPAPER [slashdot.org] ...whoops mixing up my articles here.

I think the REAL reason (1)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918470)

is that the record companies can't find a decent license to distribute music for free...

Or maybe it is their desire to eat 2 square meals a day... with some caviar ... and maybe wine...

Cheers!

Dear RIAA, (3, Funny)

Ethan Allison (904983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918478)

We win. You lose. Hugs and kisses, Everyone

there not out yet... (1)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918602)

while file sharing is doing a great deal of harm to the RIAA, they do still act as a filter, keeping some of the crap down, and marketing what is less crappy.

once there is a system set up that lets users filter content that is as effective as the lables, then they will be really screwed.

imagine an i-slashdot-tunes music service where everyone submits their tunes, people listen, rank and rate them.

i would love to rate songs as being '+1: inspiring' or "-1: disco"

Re:there not out yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22918614)

while file sharing is doing a great deal of harm to the RIAA, they do still act as a filter, keeping some of the crap down, and marketing what is less crappy.
You just think that because like the rest of us, you are probably stuck in the 80s or 90s. The major labels are pumping out non-stop formula bullshit at breakneck pace. I would argue that getting rid of the RIAA would increase the quality of music on the market.

Re:there not out yet... (3, Insightful)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918622)

once there is a system set up that lets users filter content that is as effective as the lables, then they will be really screwed.

One already exists in the format of a moderation system. Take a look at slashdot for a reasonable approximation of how such a system might work. Applying it to music should be no big leap.

Like iRATE Radio? It's Free as in Freedom! (1)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918848)

I wrote about it in 2003 [goingware.com] . It downloads tracks from websites like mine, where artists have placed free and legal music downloads. You rate the tracks, then it compares your ratings to those of the other users, and as time progresses becomes more and more successful at automatically picking out tracks that you'll like.

Re:there not out yet... (1)

dave1791 (315728) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919236)

there ya go...

Write up a ten slide marketing spin, grab the VC and get yourself bought out by Google while Web 2.0 is still the meme du jour!

Reminds me... (5, Interesting)

_Hellfire_ (170113) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918604)

"...not what a corporation or media outlet decides we should want."

I never thought one could get pithy one-liners from a video game, but I think the GTA writers had the nail hit on the head with one of the radio station's advertisements (I think it was from Liberty City):

"We tell you what's good! Then play it 'till you like it!"

I think that sums up the Label's business methods quite succinctly.

Re:Reminds me... (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918754)

Seems to sum up the content industry as a whole quite succinctly.

Go ahead and throw most over-marketed software in that analogy as well.

Re:Reminds me... (2, Insightful)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918762)

I think that sums up the Label's business methods quite succinctly.

But on the basis that that method of music playing actually works, it also says a lot about the sheep-like mentality of the listenership.

No matter how much something is hyped, no-one forces you to buy it.

Re:Reminds me... (1)

catxk (1086945) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919124)

it also says a lot about the sheep-like mentality of the listenership
Well hello there, welcome to the world of the masses. If it wasn't for sheep-like mentality, advertising spending wouldn't go into the hundreds and hundreds of billions.

Re:Reminds me... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22918968)

A lot of people miss the fact that a majority of the American music-buying population wants someone to tell them what is good. They want to turn on the radio and think that's a cross-section of the best music of the day or of yesteryear. That's even what most people who rail against the major labels want, except they turn to a different part of the dial (e.g., KEXP, which is IMO severely overrated by the indie-kid set) or go to a website that uses data conglomeration sites of users' music listening patterns to serve automated recommendations or playlists for them. Most people simply are not interested in spending time actively searching out music - reading through biographies, reviews, listening to sample after sample after sample, trying out random shit in a genre they don't know - just to find one more band or album they might like. Many people who say they love music even claim that there aren't any albums made that are worth buying, which I think is a tragic mindset and one I think tends to stem more from lack of curiosity than the realities of our day.

You know... (3, Insightful)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918658)

I originally thought that the whole reason the RIAA hated P2P was not because of money but because of a lack of control. Namely, the lack of an ability to measure success and popularity. Because the systems are inherently decentralized, they could no longer figure out what the latest "trends" were in music and so they no longer had any way to know what artists to sign and what music was profitable.

But then I found out about Big Champagne, and that much more reasonable rationale for their fight against the Internet went right out the window.

It's all about one word -- control (1)

christian.einfeldt (874074) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918730)

And it's the same with software. Microsoft, in particular, is very annoyed that it will lose control over the desktop market, because, like the RIAA and the RIAA's constituent members, control assures profit. So Microsoft, like the people in the record labels, are going to need to learn a new way to make money. Free Open Source Software will not mean the end of Microsoft and Magnatune will not mean the end of the RIAA; but in both cases, Microsoft and the RIAA will lose their strangeholds on those respective markets. Which is appropriate.

Please stop & think a moment (4, Interesting)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918742)

I am in no way defending the RIAA or the major record companies but, looking at this purely from the perspective of a music enthusiast, I personally have no problem with the way things currently are with music distribution. I have more than enough good music to listen to and to go buy in the future, so please take this post as an observation rather than any gripes I might have with the music industry.

Firstly, I'm pretty happy with the price of CDs. Because I research my music well and, yes, I do use BitTorrent and Usenet to preview any albums I intend to buy that I cannot hear otherwise, I always buy a CD that I know will be good before I buy it. And then I source it online as cheaply as possible, usually below £10. That means I'm never disappointed by any CD and, before anyone accuses me of doing anything wrong, I own over 1200 of them.

Secondly, I do listen to some modern music but generally I listen to (mainly British) hard rock, rock, psychedelia and blues from the late sixties to the present day. Currently, a lot of this stuff is enjoying a resurgence - not only are existing popular albums being expanded & remastered (for example the back catalogues of Jethro Tull, Yes, Black Sabbath, etc.) but also a lot of very obscure albums from the late sixties and early seventies are being released onto CD for the first time. Currently, I am totally spoilt for choice as to what to buy next and I think the record companies a doing a pretty good job with this.

Thirdly, I'm sure there are a lot of good independent artists out there but, in my mind, whether the big four record companies are there or not won't change a thing for them. Okay, so the record companies are too narrow-minded and money-orientated to give these artists recording contracts but either way, they are still faced with the problem of self-promotion and getting people to their web sites to buy their music. And in my own view, I'm more than happy to listen to some of these artists and buy a CD of theirs - but there's no way, I'm afraid, that I am going to pay for downloadable music. The fact is, I like my music in the best quality I can afford on a reasonable hifi and compressed downnloads don't do it for me.

Fourthly, the younger generation may have a hankering for downloadable music but please do not confuse this with them having a discerning music taste. The fact is that they are the "now" generation with short attention spans and a complete lack of interest in putting any effort into anything. The fact that the charts are filled with plastic manufactured music shows that the majority will buy anything that is put in front of them purely because it is deemed fashionable and is easy to obtain. Anyone who believes these same people will go searching the the Internet for new independent artists rather than just going to iTunes for the latest fad music has no understanding of the way marketing and hype works on the minds of the younger generation.

Yes, the major record labels are killing their own industry because they're not interested in anything new but the latest Leona Lewis clone. Personally, I don't care, there's a huge back catalogue of older stuff to go out and listen to which I suggest the "discerning youth" should also go and explore a little rather than whining about modern music.

But downloadable music is also contributing to that death because it's turning music into a disposable commodity - don't like it any more? Then just wipe your iPod's hard drive and start again...

Re:Please stop & think a moment (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918814)

Fourthly, the younger generation may have a hankering for downloadable music but please do not confuse this with them having a discerning music taste. The fact is that they are the "now" generation with short attention spans and a complete lack of interest in putting any effort into anything. The fact that the charts are filled with plastic manufactured music shows that the majority will buy anything that is put in front of them purely because it is deemed fashionable and is easy to obtain. Anyone who believes these same people will go searching the the Internet for new independent artists rather than just going to iTunes for the latest fad music has no understanding of the way marketing and hype works on the minds of the younger generation.
Very true. Even today I can't bring myself to search around for new music out of fear that it will suck and because I'm used to it always being brought to me, yet I don't think twice when I fire up a Google search to find answers to, well, almost everything.

Yes, the major record labels are killing their own industry because they're not interested in anything new but the latest Leona Lewis clone. Personally, I don't care, there's a huge back catalogue of older stuff to go out and listen to which I suggest the "discerning youth" should also go and explore a little rather than whining about modern music.
I can assure you that these youth have filled their computers with a vast array of music. I haven't bothered to do so, but I know many "discerning youth" who have libraries both thick and diverse.

But downloadable music is also contributing to that death because it's turning music into a disposable commodity - don't like it any more? Then just wipe your iPod's hard drive and start again...
Music has always been marketed as a "disposable commodity." Don't believe me? Search back through the last few decades of music that was popular at the time and you'll find, among the stuff that had lasting value through the ages, a lot of crap that still sold really well. It seems your real concern is that those who purchase downloads have no way of recouping their investment because they sold away their right of first sale.

Re:Please stop & think a moment (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918932)

Very true. Even today I can't bring myself to search around for new music out of fear that it will suck and because I'm used to it always being brought to me, yet I don't think twice when I fire up a Google search to find answers to, well, almost everything.

You yourself may well be an exception to the rule - but then if what I am saying is not the case, then how come the charts are filled with turgid crap? We're constantly being told that the 18-25s buy most of the music after all...

I can assure you that these youth have filled their computers with a vast array of music. I haven't bothered to do so, but I know many "discerning youth" who have libraries both thick and diverse.

Sorry, please explain how filling your computer with a vast array of (presumably illegally downloaded) music makes you in any way discerning? It's more likely to show you as a hoarder purely out to impress your peers with the size of your collection.

Music has always been marketed as a "disposable commodity." Don't believe me?

That's right, I don't believe you. I'm still listening to albums like Led Zeppelin IV and Sgt. Peppers that were released 35 and 40 years ago respectively that I will probably continue listening to until the day I die.

Re:Please stop & think a moment (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919186)

Note: to attempt to head off comments like a vast array of (presumably illegally downloaded) music I will note that so far as I can recall the only time I have ever used a P2P service was for the purpose of fetching legal install CDs for open source software. The core of my digital music collection is ripped from my own tapes and CDs, supplemented with purchases from eMusic and iTunes, and samples from artist's websites via MP3 blogs.

how come the charts are filled with turgid crap? We're constantly being told that the 18-25s buy most of the music after all...

"Bah, Humbug, kids today listen to such trash. There hasn't been any good music since Joplin died.

"Scott Joplin, that is."

I don't know how old you are, but there were older folks saying exactly the same thing about your beloved Beatles and Led Zeppelin, and *their* parents and grandparents were decrying that terrible stuff they were listening to in the 30s and 40s. Further back, there was a riot at the opening of Stravinski's Rite of Spring in 1913, but by 1940 Disney was using it in Fantasia.

Oh, and Scott Joplin died in 1817. So I guess Stravinski made the cut.

I'm still listening to albums like Led Zeppelin IV and Sgt. Peppers that were released 35 and 40 years ago respectively that I will probably continue listening to until the day I die.

How much music released 35 and 40 years ago is still available today?

How much old music is only available now because it's so cheap to distribute it online?

Re:Please stop & think a moment (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919244)

The core of my digital music collection is ripped from my own tapes and CDs, supplemented with purchases from eMusic and iTunes, and samples from artist's websites via MP3 blogs.

Likewise my digital music collection is ripped from my own CDs, I have no reason to doubt yours isn't either. But then you're an exception to the rule as a lot of people are out there getting their music for free. How does that make you feel knowing you pay for all yours legally, just as I do?

"Bah, Humbug, kids today listen to such trash. There hasn't been any good music since Joplin died.

Okay, let me put it another way since you are missing my point entirely. Just about everyone on Slashdot has an interest in technology so it's fair to say we're all a pretty savvy bunch here. I doubt anyone on Slashdot is going to admit that they buy the mass-produced plastic music that is in the charts. In which case, neither you or I can state that we are representative of the general music-buying public who put that stuff into the charts in the first place - so you are defending something that you yourself are not a part of. Why?

How much music released 35 and 40 years ago is still available today?

Like I said in the OP, absolutely loads of it. Plus it's all being remastered with additional tracks. In 35 years of buying music, I've never had so much choice.

How much old music is only available now because it's so cheap to distribute it online?

I don't think the two are related. If anything, I could argue that's it cheaper to get a few sound engineers to remaster from old master tapes than it is to get a band to record a new album in a studio. I'd say rereleasing is easy money for the record labels.

Re:Please stop & think a moment (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919334)

How does that make you feel knowing you pay for all yours legally, just as I do?

How I feel about it has nothing to do with the quality or disposability of the music.

I doubt anyone on Slashdot is going to admit that they buy the mass-produced plastic music that is in the charts.

I'll admit it. I've bought popular music, many times. I've even bought music by boy bands. Some popular music is popular because it's, well, actually good!

so you are defending something that you yourself are not a part of. Why?

First they came for the Communists,
- but I was not a communist so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists,
- but I was neither, so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Jews,
- but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out.
And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.

-- Pastor Martin Niemöller


The RIAA aren't the Nazis, but on the other hand I'm only defending modern music from criticism, not smuggling people out of concentration camps.

Like I said in the OP, absolutely loads of [old music is available today]

Really? Tell me where I can get a remastered copy of Minus 10 and Counting, or any of the other tapes I bought over the decades that have (apparently) been lost. If 5% of the music released the same month as Led Zeppelin IV is still available, I'll eat your hat (not mine, I don't like how my conditioner tastes).

If 1% of the music being released today is available in 40 years that'll still leave more tracks for your grandchildren to select from when they're crotchety old fogeys bemoaning the mass-produced plastic music of 2058 than you've got available now, because there's so much more mass-produced plastic music ... sorry, I mean classics ... to choose from.

And it won't *need* to be remastered, digital music doesn't degrade.

Re:Please stop & think a moment (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919426)

How I feel about it has nothing to do with the quality or disposability of the music.

But you're the one that said in an earlier comment that you have friends with huge downloaded music collections and that you yourself pay for your music.

And I'm sure you'll agree that illegal music downloading is rife today, and if you ask anyone why they download music illegally, they'll invariably respond with a statement that says "I'm not buying a whole CD with just one or two good tracks on it".

I, on the other hand, research my music well before buying it and therefore buy albums that are enjoyable all the way through. And since that music is invariably older stuff, then it suggests to me that the quality of modern music is generally lower than older stuff.

I'll admit it. I've bought popular music, many times. I've even bought music by boy bands. Some popular music is popular because it's, well, actually good!

But even then you're basically saying "I do buy some popular music but most of the time I don't". If anything, you've demonstrated discerning taste, even if, opinion-wise, we may not agree on what we both like and dislike.

The RIAA aren't the Nazis, but on the other hand I'm only defending modern music from criticism, not smuggling people out of concentration camps.

I'm not attacking all modern music, I like some of it myself, Radiohead for example. But I can look through a chart CD rack and just see endless black female singer clone artists (none of whom have ever come close to singing with the quality of, say, Aretha Franklin) and find absolutely nothing that remotely interests me in wanting to explore further or buy.

Really? Tell me where I can get a remastered copy of Minus 10 and Counting, or any of the other tapes I bought over the decades that have (apparently) been lost. If 5% of the music released the same month as Led Zeppelin IV is still available, I'll eat your hat (not mine, I don't like how my conditioner tastes).

We can all think of something obscure that is no longer available - if the original tapes have been lost then that's the end of it anyway. But there really is a lot more out there than you believe there is, take it from me.

If 1% of the music being released today is available in 40 years that'll still leave more tracks for your grandchildren to select from when they're crotchety old fogeys bemoaning the mass-produced plastic music of 2058 than you've got available now, because there's so much more mass-produced plastic music ... sorry, I mean classics ... to choose from.

Yes, but by virtue of the same, I'd also hope that 75 year old classics like Led Zeppelin IV or 80 year old classics like Sgt. Peppers would also be available.

And it won't *need* to be remastered, digital music doesn't degrade.

Again, you're missing the point of remastering. You can copy something from a degrading medium to a non-degrading one and it sounds the same. Remastering is about using modern technology to improve the sound quality of the original. I'm not saying all remasters are necessarily better than the original but in my experiences most sound better.

Re:Please stop & think a moment (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919472)

I doubt anyone on Slashdot is going to admit that they buy the mass-produced plastic music that is in the charts
I've done it before. I'm not sure if I'd to it again, but I have bought a few in the past. This isn't a sign of music getting worse, it's a sign of music changing relative to my tastes. How do I know? Because music appreciation is subjective. If you disagree, provide me with a hard formula for discerning good music from bad music, provide an empirical proof that your formula is not just erroneous opinion, and demonstrate why people's own judgements are impaired. Otherwise, just accept that the "plastic" genre of music is for some people, just not for you.

Re:Please stop & think a moment (2, Interesting)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919530)

You're missing my point entirely.

One of the arguments that is used as a "plus" for legal digital downloads of music is that it allows for independent artists to get in on the act, free themselves of the shackles of the mega record companies and just do their own thing, right from making their music in the first place down to distributing it (presumably) via their own web site.

Therefore, what the people that buy digital downloads are saying is that the music they want to buy is not available via the traditional music distribution process (i.e. CDs) because the big record companies do not cater for what they want.

By assumption, therefore, the music in the charts is not representative of the music most people like to listen to which therefore suggests that it is easy-to-manufacture, maximum-profit product.

Think about it for a minute - how many of the chart artists out there actually write their own songs now? Yet an independent artist is probably not going to have enough money to buy the rights to cover someone else's songs so therefore has to write their own stuff anyway.

But the fact is that digital downloads do not solve the indie artist issue alone. When you've got thousands upon thousands of (possibly very talented) artists distributing their music via a web site, how can they compete with the mega record corps who have millions of marketing budget and are, by virtue of the above, quite capable of shifting vast amounts of music which is not representative of what people want?

Re:Please stop & think a moment (1)

janrinok (846318) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919338)

Oh, and Scott Joplin died in 1817

Nope, try 1917..... I suspect that was a typo.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Joplin [wikipedia.org]

Re:Please stop & think a moment (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918858)

And then I source it online as cheaply as possible, usually below £10.

In case you guys don't believe it: yes, we pay $20 for a music CD, and think it's cheap. Amazing, isn't it?

Re:Please stop & think a moment (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918952)

In case you guys don't believe it: yes, we pay $20 for a music CD, and think it's cheap. Amazing, isn't it?

Don't get me wrong, it's entirely a matter of perspective - with an average price of around £14, there are very few films I would buy on DVD simply because I'd play them once and never watch them again. On the other hand, a film buff buddy of mine is happy to pay that amount because he will watch and re-watch movies.

For me, a good CD is well worth £10 because I'd play it over and over again.

Re:Please stop & think a moment (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919232)

I am in no way defending the RIAA or the major record companies but, looking at this purely from the perspective of a music enthusiast, I personally have no problem with the way things currently are with music distribution. I have more than enough good music to listen to and to go buy in the future, so please take this post as an observation rather than any gripes I might have with the music industry.


Firstly, I'm pretty happy with the price of CDs. Because I research my music well and, yes, I do use BitTorrent and Usenet to preview any albums I intend to buy that I cannot hear otherwise, I always buy a CD that I know will be good before I buy it. And then I source it online as cheaply as possible, usually below £10. That means I'm never disappointed by any CD and, before anyone accuses me of doing anything wrong, I own over 1200 of them.

That doesn't mean anything the RIAA would still sue you if you use bittorrent to sample albums.
Its been seen time and time again that the RIAA don't care who they sue, much less whether they are innocent.

~Dan

Re:Please stop & think a moment (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919278)

That doesn't mean anything the RIAA would still sue you if you use bittorrent to sample albums.

Well, I'm in the UK so they have bugger all say in what I do anyway! :-)

But even if was the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) doing it, I pretty much doubt they'd bother with someone like me anyway - they're more likely to get a result from someone who can't demonstrate that they buy a lot of music.

I'm not defending the RIAA's practice, I think its despicable that they can go after teenagers for downloading a few MP3s. But at the same time, if you copy something because you're not prepared to pay for it, then that gives the justification to the mega-corps to put all manner of copy protection on stuff meaning that I, as an honest user, has to suffer.

seems pretty simple to me (2, Insightful)

Arglebarf (1107929) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918770)

There's two clear reasons the RIAA hates the internet:
1. Digital forms of storage mean that they can't recharge for the same product on a different media every fifteen years - the revolving door business model of vinyl to tape to CD etc.

2. People can create without them. The labels have cooked up a good racket making themselves a necessary part of the distribution process. Online, anyone can get their work out to an unlimited number of people.

The only thing that will bring the RIAA into the late 20th century, much less the 21st is for the current crop of CEOs, weaned on 1950s business practices, to get old an die, allowing the younger generation to take over (but they might just be dickheads too).

Re:seems pretty simple to me (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919120)

1. Digital forms of storage mean that they can't recharge for the same product on a different media every fifteen years - the revolving door business model of vinyl to tape to CD etc.

Why do you believe that with digital downloads that it will be any different? There is no way that long term the music industry is going to put up with non-DRMed digital downloads. Sure, Amazon is doing it currently but then why are people then still using DRM-ed iTunes formats? Face it, with digital downloads will come product expiry (in a lot less than fifteen years) and a rental model for your music.

2. People can create without them. The labels have cooked up a good racket making themselves a necessary part of the distribution process. Online, anyone can get their work out to an unlimited number of people.

People have always been able to create without them. It has nothing to do with creation but everything to do about publicity and marketing. There are not hoards of musicians out there who want to give their music away freely, quite rightly they want to make a living from it and in order to do that they need people to buy the music from their web-sites. With the Internet, self-promotion is much easier these days but promotion and marketing is what record companies are very good at, whatever their failings.

And if we are in the middle of a music revolution instigated by today's youth (who we are told buy most of the music), then how come the majority of music these days is plasticized, turgid crap?

Re:seems pretty simple to me (1)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919218)

There are not hoards of musicians out there who want to give their music away freely, quite rightly they want to make a living from it

Yes, and they can go back to the model that served well 60 years ago - hop in the bus and go on the road.

People will still pay money to see live music, so if you're any good, that's the way to earn a living.

Even if you're a talentless sampler, nightclubs will still give you a gig if you're hip enough.

If you want to make a living, it only seems fair that you have to work for that living.

P.S. Regarding your sig - I fucking hate the noise that vacuum cleaners make, but then again I am an animal ;P

Re:seems pretty simple to me (1)

Saint Fnordius (456567) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919362)

Digital music formats are gravitating to DRM-free formats, for the simple reason that newer acts are using DRM-free formats to distribute their work. Consider it digital busking. The kicker, though, is that once those files are in the wild, fans will expect future releases to be consistent, in the same format. The band will want to keep the fans happy, so the wishes of their distributor will have to meet their desires.

Note that I did not say the recording studio. Due to the plummet in the cost of quality recoding technology, the recording studio will become even more of a flat fee service, and no longer royalties-driven. The role that the recording studios filled will be splintered, with bands relying more on agents to guide them through choosing recording studios, distributors, merchandising manufacturers and concert organisers. Some studios may survive, repositioning themselves as one-stop shops, and others will splinter as their conflicting interests cause them to be broken apart into individual companies.

Re:seems pretty simple to me (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919458)

Digital music formats are gravitating to DRM-free formats, for the simple reason that newer acts are using DRM-free formats to distribute their work.

I disagree. Sure, Amazon, for example, are distributing DRM-free music but I'm sure you'll agree that there has so far been no mass-migration of downloadable music buyers from iTunes to it - presumably price and size of catalogue has much to do with it.

I'm playing "devil's advocate" here because from the type and way I personally enjoy music, the record companies give me more than enough good value products for me to enjoy and happily spend my money on. If the artist's are getting ripped off by the record companies then that's their problem, in much the same way as I wouldn't expect the members of Iron Maiden to care about what pay scale I'm on in my job.

But the whole point to my argument is that a musician who signs up with a record company gets advertising and marketing of what they do at a much more vast scale than they can hope to do independently on their own web site.

And as I happen to be a discerning music fan, if I fancy something new to listen to I'll naturally gravitate to places where I've found good music before - in my case, I go to Amazon, read a lot of reviews and trawl through peoples' lists of stuff and maybe try to find a sample on BitTorrent or Usenet before committing to buy.

I really don't care if an artist is on a big label or independent - if I get to hear the music and like it enough I'll buy it. And it may be that one day I might decide to spend a half day on Google trawling indie artists web sites but, for the moment, there's far too much older music being rereleased for me to not even need to do that.

I Am The RIAA's Worst Enemy (4, Interesting)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918794)

They're not afraid so much of losing CD sales to downloaders - they're afraid of being cut out of the business entirely.

I'm working on changing careers into music. But I'm not trying to get signed with a label; I've got my own damn label [oggfrog.com] , thank you. I've got a business license, resale license, fictitious business name statement, checking account and everything for Ogg Frog.

For a few hundred dollars - a grand tops - a solo artist can purchase digital recording gear that puts the best of what the Beatles had back in the 60's to shame.

Any Slashdotter here who wants a free CD [geometricvisions.com] of my album - autographed! - just email your postal address to support@oggfrog.com [mailto] My first batch goes out in the mail Thursday.

I've given away almost two thousand so far. my manifesto [geometricvisions.com] explains why I'm doing this.

You could really help me out if you shared my music over the Internet.

Re:I Am The RIAA's Worst Enemy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22918924)

Do you WANT the Slashdot effect on your postal box?! ARE YOU INSANE?!

In fact I am, but that's not why. (0, Redundant)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918972)

I have a mental illness called schizoaffective disorder [geometricvisions.com] . It's just like being manic depressive and schizophrenic at the same time.

I'm doing well these days, thanks to the heroic efforts of my pshrinks and the pharmaceutical industry, but I'm quite eccentric: someone at Kuro5hin said "You're mad as a cut snake, but at least you're an independent thinker".

My aim is to build brand-name recognition for my stage name - Michael David Crawford - and my album - Geometric Visions.

A problem I've got is that there's a famous British actor also named Michael Crawford. He starred in the London Phantom of the Opera, and he's been popular since the sixties. He's therefore got a lot of Google juice. My aim is to make my site rank ahead of all of his fan and theatre industry sites in a search for our name.

It's not required, but I figure that many of those who get my free CD will return the favor by linking my site from their own websites, weblogs or from message boards.

Re:I Am The RIAA's Worst Enemy (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22918970)

No thanks - I may decide to buy your CD in my own time but the fact that you've used Slashdot to shamelessly plug your own music has turned me right off any idea of doing so.

Re:I Am The RIAA's Worst Enemy (1)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919316)

Unfair - just download it and listen to it.

If you like it (I'm still making up my mind), then support the guy.

It's a bit Glass, a bit Satie - and if you visit his site, you'll see he's bipolar and schizoid, so don't beat up on him for a little self promotion.

Re:I Am The RIAA's Worst Enemy (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919484)

Right. And if every independent (or "dependent") artist chose to plug their music on Slashdot, then it would be swamped with advertisements.

I appreciate the guy has health issues but then I'd lost both my parents by the age of 20 - yep, you can feel sorry for the both of us but it's not relevant to what's being discussed here.

Re:I Am The RIAA's Worst Enemy (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919400)

ooh, indie music. Nice one, Michael :) I'll be sure and tell my friends at Kemet [kemetradio.com] about you, and hopefully before long have them a CD to pipe over the airwaves...

Why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22918808)

...does everyone care so much about how music is produced and distributed? Any time the subject of copyright and digital distribution comes up, it's music this, music that. Personally, I don't give a flying fig about music or edgy new content models, nor am I "excited" about the possibility of create, edit, and share my own music.

It's all well and good for people who like that sort of thing, but maybe we just shouldn't pay that much attention to the recording industry to begin with. As far as I'm concerned, the revolution has already happened, and I don't understand why people are still talking about it. All we're waiting for is for the other shoe to drop. How about we talk about some aspect of digital distribution which is actually novel and interesting? Like, say, social influences on content propagation?

Just 2 notes. (2, Interesting)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919160)

1. "Some argue that we need subjective gatekeepers as filters. "

We ourselves are our own filters. Some simple statistics about what others are enjoying would be enough to get a "big" picture. This argument shows no support for Record Labels, or any other "filters for hire".

2. "Hopefully access to all of this new music will inspire us, make us think and open doors and minds to new experiences we choose, not what a corporation or media outlet decides we should want."

You should be doing this already. Record Labels may decide what to sell, but you still have to buy it. You are free to pay the guy on the street an extra 20 bucks for his home made album if you like his music that much. You are also free to offer to become his agent and charge him the going rate if you think he is worth 10 million dollars.

I know this is knit-picking but I thought these angles deserved some light.

FUD, FUD, and, wait for it, more FUD. (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919396)

We, the 'masses,' now have access to create, distribute, discover, promote, share and listen to any music. Hopefully access to all of this new music will inspire us, make us think and open doors and minds to new experiences we choose, not what a corporation or media outlet decides we should want.
The RIAA has absolutely no business or reason to dictate to us what we like. It's not exactly difficult to buy music that people want. Why would they even bother trying to prescribe tastes, when they can just cater for the most lucrative markets? This just smells of irrational anti-RIAA FUD.

His piece describes clearly what the major record labels used to be good for and why they are now good for nothing but getting in the way.
I dunno. I still buy some RIAA music every now and again. I don't get the impression that the shareholders are compelling it to simply get in one guy's way, even if his ego is a little inflated.

Charles Manson (1)

BassZlat (17788) | more than 6 years ago | (#22919560)

They are afraid of him. The guy has some really good songs that they never wanted to see the light of day.

YUO) FAIl IT (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22919572)

interest in having fac7 there won't 7000 users of for trolls'
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