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RIAA Has Merit

Started by William Grim, 2003-08-15T10:09:18-05:00 (Friday)

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William Grim


I have added a "Politics in Computers" forum to the General CAOS Forums section, and I'd like this to be a place where users may comment on politics in computers and how it affects your life in the digital world.  Especially now that people are more aware of it because of the RIAA, DMCA, SCO, and others.

Okay, this will probably be a heated debate, but do you think the RIAA has any merit to their claims?

Personally, I despise the RIAA's business practices, but I do indeed think they have a point.  I think musician's rights should be protected and we should buy their music if we want to listen to it.  Unless, however, they give away their music.  Either way, the "licensing" set forth by musicians should be obeyed as long as it's in accordance with law.

However, while the RIAA serves to prove the valid points mentioned above, I think their business practices are shrude, to say the least.  From what I've read before (and I don't have the articles handy), the RIAA muscles out radio stations that play independent music or anything else that isn't RIAA approved.  Not only that, but have you heard stations that play RIAA's pop music?  It's all the same crap ..... crap.  None of the stations are unique; they have no originality.  Musicians are supposed to be unique and everything; so, why does the RIAA think it's up to them to ruin this by forcing out independent stations and replacing them with their own proprietary crap?  Money.

Also, I think the RIAA sues the wrong people.  They sue college kids who download illegal material and give it to friends.  They should go after people with more malicious intentions and actually do more damage.  While colleges as a whole probably "hurt" the RIAA quite a bit, I'm willing to place money on this not being the place to start suing.

What do you think?
William Grim
IT Associate, Morgan Stanley

Jason Vipond

The RIAA has been the block bully for far too long.  From an artists perspective, very little money is made from CD sales.  Most of the money they make is recouped for the recording costs anyway.  The truth of the matter is this:  struggling artists make their money gigging and selling merchandise.  Most people will not take a chance buying a $20 CD from an unknown band.  The only way to get better attendance at your shows is to get the music into more ears.  This will happen more likely if it's cheap or (better yet) free.  Gaining a fan base is priority number one.  The more tickets sold to your show, the better the kickback, the more merch sold, and the more shows you'll book as a result.
The RIAA is going the way of the dinosaur.  Good quality disks can be recorded on a home pc much cheaper than an expensive studio.  The RIAA is reeling and grasping.  They blame filesharers for loss of profit.  They should blame a weak economy and the homogenized artists they push.  The ship is sinking so they make a last ditch effort at revenue: sue the consumer!  What a terrible idea.  But not completely unheard of from an industry that brought the terms greed and monopoly to new lows.
So, do I have a solution?  Turn off the radio.  Boycott these untalented clones and check out some local music.  Often I hear that artists today have no spirit.  That is not true.  The artists you hear on the radio and on tv either have no spirit or it was broken long ago.  But good stuff is out there.  Check the riverfront times.  Take a chance on an interesting local band.  You might be surprised.


Unlike many people, I think the RIAA’s cause is just.  Intellectual property is a remarkably clever way for people with talent to receive compensation for sharing that talent with the world.  In the United States there is little public support for art and culture and if there was no way to fund the distribution of cultural materials to the public then, sadly, we would most likely just go without.  Tragically, there is a fine line between, receiving compensation for distributing cultural materials and exploiting the talents that produce them and many distributors may have crossed it.

The consolidation of the music(and movie) distributors has drastically reduced the variety of artistic works that are available to the public.  This is because these industries are searching for higher profits and it is cheaper to sell a million copies of one artist’s works then ten thousand copies of 100 artist’s works.  This is why in the last 50 years often mediocre artists have become media icons and it is also why most art is targeted at young people.  Young people will gladly spend money be more like their peers so it is easy for industry to get them all to buy copies of the same song, movie, etcâ€Ã,¦

     If you look at the timing it is easy to see where the tension between the public and the media distribution industries comes from.  The information age sprung upon the world with a jolt.  Most major industries think in terms of decades so as to avoid level out temporary economic disturbances.  Unfortunately, this often makes entrenched and invested companies vulnerable.  When better steal refining techniques came along US Steal died a sudden death because it was so invested in old refineries.  When the Internet came along as a media distribution means the entrenched physical media industries suffered a blow.  The internet is faster and easier then going to a music store and so impulse buyers suddenly became impulse pirates.  The music industries moved far too slowly and before they knew what hit them, their target audience (young people) deserted them.  This may yet happen with the movie industry, but it gets more time to save itself because movie downloads are still time consuming.

     On the plus side, just as we still have steal despite the collapse of US Steal, the Internet could prove to be an acceptable replacement for the distribution of art.  It may be prohibitively expensive for the current distributors of art to make the transition to the Internet, but there are new companies emerging to take their places.  I think one of the smartest things Apple Computers has done in the last ten years is to start their online music store.  

     The Internet might even provide hope for less popular artists who in the past have been ignored by the music industry as unprofitable.  Because an Internet copy of a works of art can be made much more cost effectively then a physical and can be made on demand.  It will no longer be necessary for distributors to be either speculators trying to guess what the public wants or manipulators trying to make the public want what they are selling.


I went to the RIAA's site to see if I could make a prediction about how long it will take them to die.  I figured they would have purchase data to bluster their case that teenagers everywhere were cheating them out of their hard earned billions.  Unfortunately, there was little actual data available.  There was quite a bit or rhetoric but instead of data the following appeared.

â€Ã...“Unfortunately, a significant portion of our consumer research is proprietary. What is available is contained within this Market Data section. In addition, we do not sell our research.â€Ã,

There was also an article about how much a CD costs.  I thought if I could see how much they spend per CD I could figure out how long it would take Internet song sales services to out perform them economically.  Tragically, I was again met with a lack of data.  The data was replaced with the following line.

â€Ã...“â€Ã,¦the RIAA does not collect information on the specific costs that make up the price of a CDâ€Ã,¦Ã¢â‚¬Ã,

However, we should be comforted by the fact that â€Ã...“â€Ã,¦the most important component of a CD is the artist’s effort in developing that musicâ€Ã,¦Ã¢â‚¬Ã, I am sure that many musicians will be happy to hear that despite the lack of profit-per-CD that ends up in their hands they are still the most important part of the industry.

Note: Just in case the DMCA has a direct-quotes-are-copyright-infringement provision I am posting this anonymously.

Chris Swingler

It's interesting to see these views posted.  I, for one, am quite appaled at the RIAAs practices--and their thoughts that teenage file-sharers are the only ones responsible.  Here are some other reasons that are most likely to blame:

1.  My dad has a HUGE vinyl collection.  He hates playing any of his records (for anyone who has any experience with LPs, you know that you damage the record simply by playing it).  So, he's slowly (over the last 20 years or so) been replacing it with CDs.  He's kept his vinyl, it's all in boxes happily under his turntable, where he'll pull out the occasional LP to play again (if he hasn't plunked down the money to buy it on CD yet, usually because the CD is pretty pricey (e. g. The Beatles white album)).  But now he has TWO copies of a good amount of his music.  He's bought the license to listen to it TWICE (and possibly three or four times, if he bought it also on cassette or 8-track).  If this was a software product (say, Windows or Office) he would have to do nothing more than show proof that he has a license--and possibly a small handling fee--to get his OfficeCD install switched to 3.5" floppies.  This is a problem for the consumer, but it is also one of the reasons that CD sales are tapering off.  My dad has had to purchase the same thing several times, and the RIAA has been making money off of baby-boomers and other vinyl-listeners upgrading their music collection.  But those days are over.  Anyone who was replacing their music collection is pretty much done now, so that is no longer a source of income.

2.  Filesharing is a very small problem for the RIAA.  They need to target the massive pirated-CD sales that go on every day in Asia.  Most statistics I have heard say that for every 1 CD sold legally, 5 are sold illegally.

3.  Modern music is crap.  Pure crap.  There is no innovation.  I used to listen to Alternative Rock--until it hit me.  You're either a "lovey-dovey-happy sellout-punk or -emo band" (e. g. the Ataris, Sum41, Blink182, American HiFi), a "we'll-scream-into-the-microphone-until-you-like-us-and-add-techo-crap-just-to-annoy-you" band (Linkin Park, Disturbed, Godsmack), or a "we're-lofi-and-sound-old-and-therfore-cool" band (The Strokes, The White Stripes).  There is some good stuff out there, original, or just with a good message (System of a Down, NoFX, Bad Religion) or just using an old formula that still works (Jane's Addiction).  But its so few and far between, listening to the radio is just a good way to go crazy.  Here, I listen to WSIE exclusively, and at home, I listen to WDRV.  And yes, my tastes in music are damned weird.  (Now Playing: Fragile by Yes)

Alright, enough ranting for now.  If I think of anything else, I shall post it.
Christopher Swingler
CAOS Web Administrator


It seems the author of the â€Ã...“deathâ€Ã, post used steal everywhere that steel should have been.  Could this be because they have a spell checker but not a grammar checker or just because they have theft on the brain?


I think the RIAA has a conspiracy going. They sit around thinking of ways to screw people, and it all starts with releasing crappy music. That’s right; they release bad music on purpose, so they can get people to stop buying the CDs. Now they can blame the poor record sales on a few individuals, namely those that share music, and sue them for a lot of money. They will make more money on suing people than selling CDs to all those that have the music illegally.  They need to give part of the CD sales to the artists, but since they are suing someone for illegally having music, they don’t need to give any part of that money to the artists. They are suing these few people for a lot of money. When you add things up, it does come out to be more than they would make from CD sales. This conspiracy needs to end



I think paying for music is not a bad thing. The RIAA just charges way to much. $20 for 12 song and only one or two are good songs is crimanal. I would stop downloading music if they charged based on what it costs to make not what feel people will pay. Also I agree that file-sharing is a scape-goat for them to blame bad sales on. I still can't not believe people might go to jail for file-sharing.

Josh Cunningham
"I am a hunter of peace..."--Vash, Trigun......

Geoff Schreiber

Quotecollapse of US Steel

When did US Steel collapse anyways? National Steel collapsed, US Steel bought them out and are the top steel company in North America now? (They just took over the Granite City plant)
Geoff Schreiber
Project Engineer
FASTechnology Group


Maija, you are my hero. :beer::flowers::bow::punk::surf:

there were at least 18 points in that post that were absolute truth

Geoff Schreiber

I've heard Jimbo's band play, and have supported a few other local bands while they've been around, or even after they combine with another band for a new project...  Local bands have so much more to listen to than you can find on the radio anymore, check out www.gtp-inc.com or http://www.stl-music.com/locband.html for area bands/shows. Pop's, Creepy Crawl, Hi-Pointe, Mississippi nights all usually feature local artists weekly...
Geoff Schreiber
Project Engineer
FASTechnology Group


They fight new technologies that appear to threaten their 4th Bentley.  

Now if all the money went to the artist, I would have no problem buying CDs.  CDs would be much cheaper, too, if this were the case.  But instead, the price is inflated to grease the pockets of the RIAA heavyweights.

Instead the RIAA gets their fingers in the pot of music money, and gives the artists enough to get by.  The only ones that live large are the big names.  They do really well.

The RIAA fights new technologies.  Of course they will not admit that they are fighting it, they will probably say they are trying to control it.  I'm sure no one at the RIAA would shed a tear if the mp3 format suddenly disappeared.  Every new advance that they fight, makes them more money than they ever thought possible.  They fought the radio, because it threatened their hold on people needing to buy their records to listen to music, they fought the tape, because people could record music off of the radio, and they'll fight the mp3 until the realize that it (or similar formats) is the future and that they are the past.

Retired CAOS Officer/Overachiever
SIUE Alumni Class of 2005