The cost to produce music is at an all-time low.
The price of music is… well… schizophrenic. A single track can be simultaneously obtained for free on BitTorrent, or purchased on the iTunes store for $1.29. Or you can stream it for next-to-nothing on Spotify, or for a fraction of next-to-nothing on YouTube. And you can still buy the CD for $14.95 to get that one song you like, if you’re a masochist or retired.
The free music debate is often framed as an epic battle to save music itself. Proponents of stricter copyright enforcement claim that keeping these price points high is necessary to keep the quality of music high. Without the proper funding, musicians will make less music, or if not less, at least worse.
I think we can all agree that while the price of music is effectively (with streaming) or literally (with torrenting) free, the cost of producing music is anything but. There is real labor, real expense involved in producing an album.
On the one end of the spectrum, you have major labels paying over $1MM for a single. On the other, you have Nirvana’s Bleach, a multi-Platinum-selling album made for $606.17 in 1989.
What does it cost to produce music? Whatever you want to spend, or can afford. That’s the problem with putting the pricing debate in perspective — the costs to produce vary as wildly as the results. There have been plenty of multi-million dollar flops and home-recorded hits, so how can one ever put a definitive cost on music production? We can only assign a range of possibilities, but doing so does help illuminate the debate.
Before we talk production costs, there is something important to be said for the fact that costs vary wildly. It would suggest that pricing of music ought to vary wildly, at least somewhat in line with the cost to produce it. And yet, the basement DIY record and the multi-million dollar Rhianna album both retail for $1.29/track on iTunes. This is because the price of music is fixed by the big 3 record companies that control around three quarters of the global music industry. And yes, those same three major labels were the ones who negotiated how much artists get paid on streaming services — an amount that as we have seen is so paltry as to only be sustainable on a large, major-label market scale.
Point is, music should cost whatever the artist and their business team wants. This idea is often invoked by detractors of free access to music. “You can make your music available for free, that’s fine,” they say, “but I have the right to charge for mine.” Which is true, and copyright makes it so — artists enjoy a monopoly over the right to distribute copies of their music at the moment they record or write down a song. The intent of copyright is to create value around this right, so that production costs (both in labor and materials) can be covered, and the production of music can flourish. So it would stand to reason that the value created by copyright would not remain fixed as production costs fall.
Nope. The major labels have consistently fixed the value of music copyright by litigating and legislating against any force that threatens to devalue music access fees. They have extended copyright terms to draconian lengths. Any technology that is outside of their price-fixing controls is sued out of existence, and the law is changed if it does not suit their litigious needs. Forget free access to music, the powers that be don’t even want variably-priced music!
Major labels have enjoyed an effective monopoly over the monopoly that copyright grants artists. This happened because the value of copyright was not intrinsic, rather it was hitched to the ability of a business to exploit it. In the past, it was incredibly difficult for the artist to exploit their own copyright to create value — they had to sign their rights over to a label to be exploited. They didn’t have access to the apparatus of production, marketing and distribution like they do today. Thus, the value of music copyright was in the value of being exploited.
Over the last decade, we’ve seen a major shift in the value of copyright, due in no small part to the falling costs of production. The cost of recording technology dropped to a fraction of what it once was. You can still spend a few million dollars building a state-of-the-art studio, but more and more are recording for less and less. Modern recording technology also speeds up the recording process considerably, so there are fewer labor costs.
Music listening is becoming a more participatory process, and more music is being made (via remixes, covers and mashups) just for fun or expression, without commercial intent. You can still spend a year writing an album, but plenty of musicians are vastly reducing the labor involved in composing an album by using technology to demo as they write, with feedback and collaboration happening at a faster pace.
Marketing costs are at an all-time low thanks to social networks and the ability of bands to connect directly with fans. You can still spend millions on a national marketing campaign (or get a consumer electronics company to underwrite it), but it’s now possible to market an album guerilla-style, and catch on virally without spending a dime.
And don’t get me started on distribution. Since the Napster days, the cost to distribute digital music has been effectively free. The real expense that these streaming sites have is not server bandwidth (a point that would be largely mooted by peer-to-peer technology). The exorbitant expense is in the labor required to seek out rights holders, get them to sign a digital service license agreement, and the accounting behind tabulating and paying out their share of the streaming pie. And when you’re talking about having to negotiate with the big three majors, you better believe the expense is going to be as exorbitant as the top entertainment lawyers can manage.
Digital distribution is what truly democratized the music industry, and the genie is never going back in the bottle no matter how much the RIAA continues quixotically to cram it in. I can distribute my music worldwide via any number of retail aggregators (CDBaby, OneRPM, TuneCore, DistroKid, etc.) for the cost of a magazine subscription. I can certainly distribute it worldwide absolutely free as well. The cost of digital distribution is near zero, and has been for quite some time.
So, there we have it. The labor involved in songwriting (to the extent you can call it ‘labor’) has been slightly decreased by technology. The time and cost of recording has been drastically reduced. Successful marketing can be achieved at a fraction of former costs. Distribution is nearly free.
The cost to produce music is much lower than it was just a decade ago. Shouldn’t the price of music adjust accordingly? Isn’t the pricing of streaming much closer to what’s fair for consumers? Doesn’t the declining cost of music production dictate that we charge less — even nothing — for access music? When you factor in new opportunities in direct fan patronage, a growing live music market and greater demand for licensed music, shouldn’t we continue to develop the intrinsic value of music as a service, and relax monopoly distribution rights on the music product in order to do so? This would be disadvantageous for the big three record labels, but a boon to most musicians and their fans, because a chance to be heard is a chance to be supported.
A small but growing number of formerly well-compensated musicians are rallying around a new empty catch phrase: “ad-sponsored piracy”.
As far as I can tell, this idea gestated in the bitter womb of The Trichordist, an echo chamber for musicians who are too scared of changes in technology to discuss solutions. Instead, they spew dangerous propaganda about the “new exploiters” of musicians, namely technology companies. Though they continually remind readers that they’re “fighting for the artist”, though there seems to be no sort of plan or strategy other than complaining.
Look, I think we can all agree all types of businesses exploit people on a fairly regular basis. But I believe I’ve made it clear that technology companies are more ethical that the business forces that dominated music in the past. They are far from perfect, but at least they’re trying to find solutions.
The Trichordist went way out on a limb, grabbing screenshots of ads from major corporations being displayed alongside free music downloads of popular artists. This shock-and-awe tactic is presumably to incite fans to petition the advertisers to pull their ads from these sites.
Unsurprisingly, this attempt has backfired horribly. When the Dead Kennedys and Lou Reed posted the aforementioned Trichordist posts on their Facebook pages, their fans were quick to point out how stupid the posts were, and how out of touch Trichordist and the artists (or more likely, their embittered management) were for posting them.
Eric Kennedy wrote on the Dead Kennedys page: “…that shit is from a year ago, and I can pretty much guarantee that site doled out more viruses than songs. Stick to reposting whatever Black Flag is posting on FB in the future.”
Jay Conner added: “It is utterly astounding that somebody directly involved in the industry on both the business and artistic sides could be this uneducated about how internet advertising works. Particularly since he, you know, runs a blog dedicated to the internet and its ethics.”
Here’s the problem with so-called “ad-sponsored piracy”: it’s a mythical threat. It’s a fake problem cooked up by butthurt musicians who saw their market share crumble when the music business model shifted away from charging for access to recorded music.
I don’t have to get long-winded to prove it. Anyone with a basic understanding of how Internet advertising works understands that these ads appearing on these sites does not equate to companies sponsoring the site or its contents. It’s doubtful they even know where 99% of their ads appear.
And even if they did, anyone with a basic understanding of copyright law and how the Digital Millennium Copyright Act works knows that any site that makes available copyright infringing material must remove it immediately at the request of the rights holders. Reed and the Kennedys can play the victim all they want, but if they feel their copyrights are being infringed, they do have legal recourse to deal with it. Instead they are just complaining, and their fans are totally turned off by it.
Furthermore, even if we assume these sites were committing copyright infringement, most people understand that copyright law — and much of society, really — has been hijacked by corporate interests. In reality, free access to music is a good thing for most musicians because a chance to be heard is a chance to be paid. Pre-Internet, very few artists were heard, a minority were paid, and a tiny minority were paid fairly.
In fact, I think Lou Reed and Dead Kennedys would actually benefit from having their music available as a free download, largely by tech-savvy young people. If you look at the artistic merit of both these artists, I think popular opinion would agree they’ve been on the decline creatively or at least nowhere near the work they’re widely known for. Let’s say nine out of ten kids might come along and download “Walk on the Wild Side” and they hate it, or they like it but not enough to be curious about discovering more Lou Reed tunes (purely hypothetical, because kids stream music these days). One out of ten is going to love it so much they’ll seek out more, and along the way there will be plenty of opportunities to pay the artist far more than what they would make selling the track on iTunes to ten kids. That’s the new business of music, and it’s a much more fair shake for musicians than one given by the labels, lawyers and lobbyists of the past.
As for the Dead Kennedys? I’m sorry, but they’re not the Dead Kennedys if Jello isn’t in the band. He’s on record calling the band a ‘cash scam’ and that’s what the band is purely about now: making money. The art is gone. Forget musicians, fans are being exploited.
So you see folks, the myth of “ad-sponsored piracy” is really just the product of desperate musicians at the end of their careers. The primary purpose of copyright law is to create a rich and thriving culture — economic compensation is a part of it, but not the whole. Why would we deny thousands of musicians the right to be heard and to be paid just so washed-up artists like Dead Kennedys and Lou Reed (more accurately, their buisiness teams and labels) can squeeze some more dollars out of a good run that happened decades ago.
If The Trichordist were serious about fighting against musician exploitation, they would be fighting against the corporate corruption of copyright and fighting for Internet freedom. By their rationale, even Spotify qualifies as ad-sponsored piracy because of its almost non-existent royalty payments in the face of hundreds of millions of dollars of ad and subscriber revenue. But Spotify pays 70% of revenue to artists, just like iTunes. Somehow one is morally bankrupt and the other perfectly legitimate. It’s absurd. I’m no great champion of Spotify, but put up against iTunes they look like Mother Theresa. And like I said, music downloads are approaching their high water mark and will be all but a memory as a new generation grows up on streaming, so the myth is already hopelessly outdated.
In the future, I would like to see The Trichordist discussing some actual solutions instead of throwing tantrums. Talk amongst yourselves. I’ll give you some topics:
• Building a culture of entrepreneurship among musicians
• Crowdfunding as a way to finance an album without signing an exploitative contract with a label
• Marketing as discovery, not as manufacturing popularity or generating music sales
• Music for music’s sake, not as a product but as a service
• How digital services for musicians democratize the industry
• How digital technology dramatically cuts the expense of music production and marketing
When you can’t sample something, you can’t discover you like it, and you won’t buy it.
That collaboration was not just how I discovered Run-D.M.C., it was how I discovered the whole genre of hip hop. 2 Live Crew, Beastie Boys, NWA, Public Enemy, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince and LL Cool J would soon follow, along with lots of awful hip-hop/teen pop crossovers I needn’t mention. For someone straight outta the Catskills, my hip hop roots run deep.
Was Run-D.M.C. showcasing its sound through Aerosmith’s composition? Or was Aerosmith showcasing its sound through Run-D.M.C.’s composition?
The answer, of course, is both. In this case, it was as much musical chemistry as calculated salesmanship. Both bands were rocking each other’s compositions as a platform for greater exposure. Run-D.M.C. appealed to fans of hair rock, and Aerosmith suddenly seemed relevant again, saving their music career. The whole thing was a marketing plot orchestrated by bearded studio magician Rick Rubin, who carefully arranged the profitable pairing in advance.
As any hip hop fan knows, creative appropriation of sound recordings — samples — are a fundamental building block of the genre. “Walk This Way” was staged, but most samples at the time were taken without permission. Hip hop had not yet begun to emerge as the commercial powerhouse it would soon become. It wasn’t until Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. Dimension Films that copyright law was brought down like a hammer against unauthorized sampling, and the practice suddenly became very expensive if not impossible.
Hip hop pre-Bridgeport was a revelation because it was a genre of music based on exposing people to other artists and genres of music through the actual composition. It wasn’t a composition as we traditionally thought of — sheet music with lyrics. Instead of notes, there were bits of sound recordings, with compositions contained within. Songs were transformed through sampling into new compositions that showcased artists and genres in a new context.
Hip hop wasn’t just a music genre, it was a music discovery platform.
The mashups, remixes and EDM of today are taking the mantle of genre-as-music-discovery vacated by hip hop after Bridgeport. I would argue that these genres are the natural progression hip hop would have taken had the creative act known as “sampling” not been stagnated by an unjust court ruling.
Today, you can discover several artists or genres in a single mashup. Like an audio scavenger hunt, listeners follow snippets of sound to their source, finding new favorite tracks and entire styles of music they didn’t know existed.
All of this is happening under the commercial radar right now because creating songs with unauthorized samples is technically copyright infringement. Girl Talk is the poster child for trying to make a career out of claiming such use is fair, using hundreds of uncleared samples and making lots of people scratch their heads as to how he gets away with it. There was a whole SXSW panel on it:
No one can argue there is a growing cultural awareness of Girl Talk-esque sampling as transformative, fair use among listeners and musicians. This contrasts with another widely held belief that there is a limit to sampling another’s work without payment. As they say in the video, “Puffy’s got to pay” when it comes to using the heart and soul of a song as the heart and soul of your new composition. In other words, any rational musician or listener can see there is a spectrum between fair use and copyright infringement when it comes to sampling. Unfortunately the law is generally absolutist about these things, and Girl Talk only avoids prosecution through conspicuousness. The fact is, anyone who samples any copyrighted song without permission is breaking the law and risking a lawsuit, and because of that, the professional mash-up musician is not allowed to be born.
Where does that leave music discovery via other people’s compositions? Will mashups/EDM atrophy without commercial support? Probably not. That’s the beauty of the illegal art form — it remains relatively un-compromised by commercial interests, and sustains a creative if chaotic scene. The uglier side — at least from a purely aesthetic perspective — is that the genre remains clogged with amateurs with no clear path toward a professional music career.
Much of the progressive talk in the music world around this issue centers on the concept of introducing a compulsory sampling license. Some serious thought and legal expertise has gone into developing this path toward copyright reform. The intent is to balance the welfare of the greater good and culture at large against what many perceive as too much power given to the individual — in this case, the copyright owner of the sample in question.
In the same way I can cover a song without permission so long as I compensate the original composer via a compulsory license, I could theoretically do the same for the composers (and sound recording rights owners) of my samples.
In practice, this is tricky for a number of reasons. For example, how do we set a compulsory sample licensing fee? Most people seem to think it should be based on what percentage of your composition the original sample represents, or what percentage of the original composition/sound recording you took. But how does one possibly determine that? Length of the sample? Whether it’s used in the chorus or the verse? Amount of sample transformation? The variables are endless. Calculating them in any standard format is flatly impractical — any attempt to do so would be fraught with compromise.
Then comes the personhood concerns — the idea that a person might not want their composition to appear in a particular context. For example, when Kanye West paid handsomely to use an Otis Redding sample on Watch the Throne, Otis Redding’s estate vetted every word in the song to ensure it matched Redding’s legacy. A compulsory sample license would allow me to use the same sample in a new composition called “Otis Redding Sucks” as long as I paid the requisite fee.
For those unfamiliar with music copyright, a song basically has two rights attached to it: the actual sequence and structure of the notes and lyrics as well as the actual recording. It’s another reason why sampling is trickier than cover songs — with a cover, you’re making a new recording, so you don’t have to pay or get permission to use the old one. With a sample, you’re dealing with two different sets of rights, which technically means two different licenses. Compositions are administered by performing arts organizations (ASCAP, BMI, SEASAC) on behalf of publishers and artists, licensing them is a fairly standard process. But many musicians transfer their song’s second right — the sound recording right — to a record label in exchange for financing the recording and marketing of their album. Thus, negotiations for sample use are not always entirely up to the artist, but their label as well. So in many cases, the composer would be cool with using the sample, but the record label that owns the sound recording would say no or hold out for more money.
For these and other reasons, it’s not likely that genres based on unauthorized sampling will reach any sort of widespread commercial viability any time soon. And that’s a real bummer, because we’re denying a generation of listeners one of the most vibrant music discovery platforms yet invented by humans — the composition-within-composition. Not to mention all the dough being left on the table.
Thankfully — as I always say — music finds a way. Bridgeport didn’t stop unauthorized sampling any more than Napster stopped unauthorized file sharing. In both cases, music discovery was driven underground.
We will continue to see the growth and evolution of compositions that make unauthorized use of other people’s compositions and sound recordings. I would urge all musicians to fight the good fight and protect their compositions and sound recordings with a Creative Commons license instead of relying on traditional copyright. With Creative Commons, you can protect your song against unauthorized commercial use while giving a wide berth to allow transformative uses of your song like sampling and remixing.
Sample culture will continue to thrive beneath the surface of the mainstream, waiting for a law to pass and unleash its bottled-up commercial potential. Until then, it will only get cooler and more creative, and samples will only gain more political power.
The corporations that control 75% of the world’s music would be keen to pay attention and change their strategy. Picture this: Girl Talk takes the stage with Aerosmith and Run-D.M.C. at the 2014 Grammy Awards and they infringe 60 years of music in 5 minutes. Watch that mashup single become the new “Gangnam Style” overnight.
Copyright is good at protecting creative work… too good. Traditional copyright prevents people from sharing and remixing your work. But with a Creative Commons license, your fans are free to copy, share, distribute, remix or build upon your music or other creative work. It has safeguards built in to prevent others from failing to attribute you, or from commercially exploiting your work without your permission.
A scant two months in, 2013 has already been a sobering year for the copyright reform movement. The suicide of one of our leaders, Aaron Swartz, shocked and outraged us. It brought old icons back into the fray and incited a growing legal and political thrust to action that is playing out as we speak.
One of the key players is Derek Khanna, the tip of the spear in a new copyright reform advocacy group called Fix Copyright. Khanna is the GOP “rising star” who was fired for a controversial copyright memo that I wrote about back in November of last year.
For the crime of pointing out a new way forward through Republican opposition to the casual granting of market monopolies (makes a lot of ideological sense), Khanna was unceremoniously fired from his post at the Republican Study committee. We’re pretty sure he’s not sweating that situation anymore, seeing as he just authored a White House petition signed by 114,000 U.S. citizens — the first to qualify for the new rules of consideration (the threshold is 100,000 votes).
The proposition? Mobile phone users should be free to unlock their cell phones. Simple enough, right? But a recent decision by the Library of Congress — perhaps under lobbying pressure — made the practice essentially illegal.
Once the petition reached critical mass, the Obama administration agreed with Khanna and the 114,000+ citizens who cried out against the possibility they could go to jail for unlocking their cell phone.
The exciting thing is that this is just the beginning. Khanna has already pledged to take the fight further.
Khanna is a unique figure in the endeavor to transform intellectual property policy into a force for the greater good. His up-and-coming political stature is a rare commodity within the oft-geeky, insular culture of copyright reform. This is an exciting time for those optimistic for a rethinking of copyright that values cultural and social welfare concerns over a strictly labor- and personality-based view of intellectual property’s purpose.
This morning, the Web is abuzz debating copyright, and the comments coming from both sides continue to be snarky, obstinate, and most importantly, worlds apart.
Clearly, it’s better to have this acrimony than not. The copyright debate has been stifled by industry leaders and government officials for too long. Case in point is what caused the recent copyright kerfuffle — the Republican think thank that recently released a report touting copyright reform, then retracted it due to pressure from Big Content…. well, they fired the guy responsible. Conversation over.
Yes, the political and industrial elite are still trying to ensure we don’t even have this discussion. We may be a bunch of people screaming at each other in a room, but at least our voices are being heard.
But why does there seem to be no middle ground between those who believe copyright is critical, and those who believe culture should be free?
Or, to put it another way: Why can’t copyright supporters realize their policies are killing our culture, and why can’t free culture advocates realize without copyright, culture would fall apart?
What we have here is a complete contradiction in positions, so the violent clash comes as no surprise. Each side believes the other is killing culture, and will fight to the death to protect it.
So who’s right?
The problem with the debate is that both sides think they’re fighting over the same culture — and in a way, they’re right. Culture by definition is something we all share, an invisible but interconnected web of expression and communication.
But that’s not the way the debate should be framed for one big reason that virtually everyone is ignoring:
We are trying to kill each other’s culture, trying to stop each other from sharing the way they want to share. And it’s got to stop.
There are no absolutes in human culture. Some folks want to be Steven Spielberg (Star Wars and Jaws), others are happy being like Harmony Korine (Gummo, Kids, Trash Humpers). Both represent the apexes of their respective cultures — the biggest difference is that Spielberg’s culture is about pleasing the greatest amount of people and making the most amount of money, while Korine’s culture is pleasing only himself and his small niche audience, worrying about money only as far as it allows him to sustain his art.
The world is full of Korines wanting to become Spielbergs. At some point along the way, the transformation from Korine to Spielberg requires being exploited and making compromises. This is precisely where art crosses over to business. How quickly the Spielbergs forget their humble beginnings, and how quickly the Korines resent their success and judge them for it.
We all need to support the Korines, but over time the copyright system has transformed from something to protect the Korines, to something that protects the Spielbergs. That should come as no surprise to those who understand copyright has always been meant to protect business, not art.
Want to bridge the polemical gap? Let’s start with the truth: we need each other to succeed. The Korines need the Spielbergs to keep the market going, the the Spielbergs need the Korines to keep the art going. Without the Big Content megastructure, there wouldn’t be as much business opportunity for the indies, but without the indies, Big Content dies.
We should celebrate our passions, whether they be business, art, or a mix of both. But we have to be cognizant that while we may be at opposite ends of the media ecosystem, there’s room for both of us to thrive if we can foster mutual respect. Only then will we get the kind of copyright reform we need, or else both our cultures may die.
If you believe that the purpose of copyright is to compensate the creator of the content, that copyright is free market capitalism at work, or that the current copyright legal regime leads to the greatest innovation and productivity, there’s a recently released report you need to read.
Notice the letterhead? Yeah, that memo came from the Republican Study Committee, which helps set policy for congressional Republican leaders. Keep in mind that even Democrats, most of whom at least half-heartedly support net neutrality, have never come this close to the outright rejection of the current copyright paradigm. The document at hand represents the most forward-thinking copyright policy ever presented at this upper echelon of government.
You can guess what happened next. Once the RIAA and MPAA got wind of the brief, they hit the phones hard and browbeat Republicans into issuing a full retraction of the too-sensible-to-be-true copyright policy memo. The Republican organization claims that this retraction was due to poor oversight, which is hard to believe since it wouldn’t have been released without plenty of oversight. We can plainly see the exact reason for the retraction is because the report is the antithesis of the RIAA and MPAA’s corrupt stance on copyright, and they went ballistic. It must be stressful working at an organizations that survives by perpetuating the kind of copyright myths that are so clearly debunked in the Republican Study Committee’s report. In that sense, the RIAA (and MPAA, but we’ll focus on the former) are mythical beasts that need to be slain for the greater good. Specifically:
1) The RIAA hides behind the myth that copyright is meant to compensate the artist, playing to our natural desire to compensate the creators for their works. Their #1 claim when protecting obscene exploitation of artists is hypocritically that they’re protecting the artist’s ability to make money. Never mind the wealth generated by these works is concentrated in corporate coffers, not the pockets of musicians whom they ruthlessly exploit, turning copyright around to victimize rather than enable artists. Modern music fans know that they’re not usually supporting the artist when they pay for access to music, because musicians are not the gatekeepers of access. Of course, musicians want to be heard more passionately than they want to be paid, and would prefer to keep their own gates, thank you. Fortunately, technology is changing in favor of the greater good, and one day not to far from now, the RIAA will be revealed for its true nature: As antiquated as the KKK.
2) As the report points out, “Copyright violates nearly every tenet of laissez faire capitalism” by entitling content producers “to a guaranteed, government instituted, government subsided content-monopoly.” Now, that wouldn’t be half as bad if that entitlement was actually due to musicians — of course, that is not so. Nearly every musician who has made a living recording music first had to sign over their entitled rights to be exploited by a third party. When you see that copyright protects corporate interests much like other questionable government subsidies that were originally meant to protect the average Joe, you see copyright needs to go, along with the RIAA.
3) The third myth in the report relates to the stifling of innovation by copyright, which was well-documented earlier this year in the research paper Copyright and Innovation: The Untold Story. In it, Michael A. Carrier of Rutgers University School of Law presents his findings from numerous in-depth interviews with business leaders from the past decade of digital music. His damning critique confirms what anyone in the digital music business knows anecdotally: the RIAA and its cronies, wielding copyright, have all but scorched the earth of innovation in the digital music industry. The RSC’s redacted copyright report supports Carrier’s conclusion, noting that our current corrupt copyright laws “Retarded the creation of a robust DJ/Remix industry” of the kind you see in many other countries — ever more depressing when you realize the US is used to being on the cutting edge of many new music movements.
It’s crystal clear to anyone studying the state of music that the RIAA has had a net negative effect on nearly every aspect — one might expect them to ruin music’s expressiveness and aesthetics in pursuit of profit, but they’ve really ruined the business they’re sworn to protect as well. I hope that folks working in cahoots with RIAA read this blog post and take this RSC report as a sliver of light shining through the exit door. Are you the head of a hydra hell-bent on destroying music, the biotechnology of group formation? Do you really think perpetuating copyright myths is helping musicians?
We can either face the truth and change for the better, or repeat the past and risk damaging music’s cultural, social and personal significants even further. Music will survive the crushing limitations of copyright, but those at the RIAA who are betting their gatekeeper position is sustainable have another thing coming.