Why the RIAA needs to be put down.

21 Sep

I agree heavy downloaders and especially uploaders of copyrighted content should be punished. I agree drastic measures need to happen. But the RIAA, with the wonderful aid of the majors, got us in to this mess with no evident progressive steps since.

Its an old governing dog incapable of learning any new tricks. RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) is that stereotypical Chinese mother smacking her child round the head every time a hand goes in to that cookie jar. There is one way of educating and one way only. Punishment.

I understand why they have to do this. Music is dependent on money from its intellectual property. Artists need to eat. Royalties put food (and often coke) on the table. It’s how the music industry has always functioned. And it always will be – surely?

It’s true that old habits die hard. But like it or not those days are GONE. It is completely ludicrous to even think that by some miracle everyone will stop obtaining music through illegal channels. And it is just as stupid to carry on suing illegal downloaders six figure sums.

Over the past 15 years we have seen the foundations of a musical empire crumble beneath us. Of course, as technology develops at rapid speeds and society continues to fragment, the way music gets distributed and is consumed will change.

If you can’t beat them, JOIN THEM!

Lets rewind to the advent of Napster. Out of no where, music was being obtained through illegal file sharing. This was the opportunity for the music majors to embrace a change in music culture. A chance of acknowledging what was taking place and working with Shawn Fanning to monetize from the new ways of consumption. So what did RIAA do? Prosecute. Imagine if we worked with this new era instead of against it? The money was certainly there to invest in the technologies that power the digitalized industry. We could of invested in creating music store owned by the labels which would see all profits come back to them for reinvestment in future talent. Instead, Apple, the synergy gurus, reap the fruits of music’s misery.

Punishing and suing has always been the case. A few years back a tirade of law suits bulls-eyed at music lovers left a trail of hate and anger with many unjustified victims including, absurdly,  a deceased grandparent.

According to the RIAA, this was a success with drastic drops in illegal downloading over the coming 6 months. But in my eyes this isn’t a success. All that time and resources invested in such an insignificant short time period is typical. A quick fix does not work. I am happily looking forward to the day when this industry wakes up to this.

Use the money, human resources and time to educate the next generation because, in short, our generation is a war not worth trying to win over.

Find new revenue streams. Doesn’t have to be direct. ISPs need to take responsibility for contributing and profiting from its users consuming illegal content. On the topoic of content – what is the value of content anyway?

We need long-term planning and urgently. Lets go with the tide. If we want to see a sustainable and exciting music industry, lets work together on creating a plan through listening, understanding and being ahead of the game. I believe Sony can be an important future player with its soon-to-launch cloud-based music platform. Streaming will be the way forward. Let’s get on top of it before Google and Apple obtain another first mover advantage win.


10 Responses to “Why the RIAA needs to be put down.”

  1. Matt Agnew September 21, 2010 at 8:28 pm #

    good post.
    as pete once said the industry would have benefited more from hiring people like shawn fanning than suing them.

    i still blame apple for the state of the music industry tho!!

    • Shea Warnes September 21, 2010 at 9:24 pm #

      Same, but if Apple didn’t latch on someone else would!

  2. JC September 21, 2010 at 9:24 pm #

    Great post – agree with a lot of your points!

  3. Alex September 22, 2010 at 9:23 am #

    Interesting article, though I disagree about ISPs having to take responsibility for the actions of their users.

    In response to Matt Agnew, how do you feel Apple are to, ‘blame,’ for the state of the music industry? Surely provding a service in which artists get paid for music is a good thing?

    • Matt Agnew September 22, 2010 at 4:30 pm #

      @alex bit of a long debate but its due to compatibility issues with legal music purchased on sites other than itunes. Basically when the iPod was launched it quickly became the market leader, i think it was around 70%-80% of all digital music players after a year or two. Major Labels had given iTunes along with all other music stores permission to sell their music on the condition that the files contained some form of copy protection (aka DRM). The flaw in this was that Apple had developed their own version of DRM and Windows also had their own, and apple made sure that the windows drm files wasn’t compatible on the iPod and that no other music store could sell their version of DRM. Therefore if you bought a song from 7digital, it wouldn’t work on iPod and through this protection iTunes were able to control around 70% of all digital music sales. Through this control the competition couldn’t compete and slowed down the growth of digital music sales, by the time the labels decided to get rid of DRM, apple were too much infront for others to compete. Basically, through creating a good product in the iPod, they were allowed to control the digital sales market, personally i dont think this should have been allowed. The labels were as much at fault as apple for being stupid and not ensuring there was a universal version of DRM but steve jobs made a good pr stunt by asking for DRM to be removed. I believe iTunes would still be the market leader regardless, but there probably would have been better competition.

      • Shea Warnes September 22, 2010 at 6:09 pm #

        In short. Technology is king?

    • Shea Warnes September 22, 2010 at 6:05 pm #

      There needs to be some course of action different to what is happening time and again. I am sure monitoring data is a realistic possibility for the ISPs.

      There are flaws, but I think this would provoked a stronger and more sensible message about obtaining music than illegal file sharing. Besides, with cloud-based platforms from Sony and Google illegal traffic will probably subside.


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