The record labels just never seem to give up. Time and again, they have thrown their weight around to suck as much money out of their customers as they can, completely disregarding anything that resembles decency and ethics.
RIAA’s Earned Reputation
I can think of no other industry that holds its consumers in such general contempt as the recording industry (except, perhaps, the oil industry whose executives hold our very planet in contempt).
In fact, let’s take a stroll down memory lane:
- Ars Technica: RIAA says CD ripping, backups not fair use
- Arts Techica: RIAA defendent argues damages are excessive
- Ars Technica: RIAA lawyers bully witnesses into perjury
- WinInfo: Microsoft caves to Universal in music deal (I might also mention that this Internet Nexus post claims Micrsosft has had to enter into similar agreements with the other music labels.)
This is but a small sampling of the RIAA and music labels stepping on others’ feet, and all but one of these links is from this year! Again, the only explanation is that they hold their customers in absolute contempt.
The Latest Offense
Now, record executives aren’t just being disrespectful to their source of income (read: you and me). They are now claiming too much profit is making its way to the hands of recording artists trough new avenues of distribution such as iTunes, the Zune Marketplace, and cell phone ring-tones.
The IGN article states it well:
“At best the RIAA is kicking artists when they’re down via this action, and at worst has fully revealed that despite repeated claims that artists need to be protected from piracy, the organization is very much the tool of the major labels and publishers who have famously never really cared about the artists in the first place.”
Middlemen – that is all the record labels are. They are to music what Dunder Mifflin is to paper. They take stuff others created, package it up, overcharge for it, and then take the lion’s share of profit for themselves. Again, except for the oil industry, can you think of another industry so willing to alienate all around them for the sake of profits?
Unfortunately, the record labels are slowly becoming irrelevant, and they know it. However, instead of evolving with the times and redefining their roles in the marketplace, the big labels are merely throwing their collective weight around, trying to cash in on as much as they can before the axe falls.
What would be great is if major online music retailers like Yahoo! Music, iTunes, Urge, and Zune Marketplace would allow artists to submit tracks and albums directly, bypassing the publishers entirely. The problem with this, of course, is that the artists still rely on the music labels to provide studios and equipment to record with. Also, the studios often own the copyright to an artists work rather than the artist him-/herself, and there may be no quick solution for these issue.
Regardless, the RIAA has become a dinosaur that has become both carnivorous and cannibalistic in its attempts to maintain a stranglehold on its profits. These executive don’t care about the artists they represent, nor do they care about the consumers that purchase their product. If the record labels and the RIAA continue their reign of terror, it won’t be long until artists and consumers start looking for ways to eliminate them from the equation entirely.