Watching the Recording Industry Kill Itself Slowly… with maximum bloodletting…

The music industry is killing itself, and the idiots running the record companies are too brainless to understand why.

Jammie Thomas is on trial for downloading and sharing 1702 songs. According to "the recording industry," the copyright violations by this 30 year old mother of two are worth millions.

You see, Ms. Thomas is on trial because she refused to allow the RIAA to extort money from her, as they have thousands of others.

From: Music Download Trial Begins in Minn..

But Richard Gabriel, lead attorney for some of the nation’s largest record companies, sought to pick those ideas apart one by one by calling witnesses to document each step the record companies used to point the finger at Thomas.

What he will fail to point out is that this is happening to the recording industry, because they’re too greedy to be believed. They used to have the market cornered on the manufacture and distribution of music, and because of technology, they no longer have that.

You see, it doesn’t matter what he actually points out. See, she’s not on trial for downloading the music, exactly. She’s on trial for making the music on her computer available to others. I know that sounds odd, but these cowards know they can’t test the "fair use" provision of the copyright laws. So they portray these people as "distributors" because the music on their computer is available to others, while they look for songs to download themselves. It’s the 21st century equivalent of lending someone an album so he can make a tape of it, which probably happened a lot more than file sharing.

The Recording Industry Association of America, which is not a party to the lawsuit, says record companies have brought more than 26,000 actions against people alleging they shared files in violation of copyrights.

The action against Thomas is the first to get to trial because most defendants have settled by paying a few thousand dollars.

Jennifer Pariser, head of litigation and antipiracy at Sony BMG, portrayed the trial as a fight for survival.

"It is imperative for Sony BMG to combat this problem," Pariser testified Tuesday. "If we don’t, we have no business anymore."

See what I mean? These people are too stupid to realize that their time has passed. Their problem is not "illegal downloading," anymore than it was people being able to make cassettes of music from the radio or records in the past. In the past, it was quite common for 4-5 people to pitch in and buy some albums, and make a tape for each of them, yet the RIAA didn’t go after anyone then. They’re only concerned because it’s easier now. 

The recording industry model as it has existed for years is now dead, and they’re too stupid to know it. Now, it is very possible for a band to make a recording, make copies of the CDs themselves and sell them at their own shows, in local shops, on the Internet, or many other places. As time goes on, record companies will become more and more marginal, unless they embrace the online model.

Most music lovers don’t download from "filesharing" services very much. The quality of the music is spotty at best, and once in a while, some prankster attaches something to a song that messes with your computer. It is far more convenient for me to go to Rhapsody, pay them $10, and download and burn a CD-quality album, and rip it to my iPod. Then, when the iPod crashes, or I replace it, I can rip it again. I will eventually put all of my CDs on a large-capacity hard drive, because CDs are just too bulky to carry around. I, like most people, would rather pay for my music. But what record companies have to understand is, I will NOT pay $18-20 for a CD. And I especially will NOT pay that much for a CD I remember paying $5 for 25 years ago.

And here is another aspect of this that record companies have to understand. I can’t tell you how many albums I did NOT buy, because there were only a couple of songs that I even liked. I would never pay for an entire CD of music, if I only liked one song. Now, I have a choice. I can take a song or two from several different CDs and make my own. I can also download and listen to a few of the other songs on the CD, and decide if I want to buy it. 128 kbps is not a high quality recording, and most downloads come with that bit rate. So, if I listen to a song, and I like it, I will buy the higher quality recording of that song.

Cheapskates who download all of their music aren’t going to  buy CDs, record companies. And attacking this problem one mother of two with 1702 songs at a time is the functional equivalent of pissing in the ocean in Boston, and then flying to Europe to see the stream arrive on the other side.

The solution to this problem is to ditch the old model altogether. Trying to hang onto your "rights" to specific performances of music is the old model, and eventually won’t make you any money. The new model could even make you more money, if you play it right.

Make it about the music and the musicians. Instead of selling music as a commodity, how about using your marketing expertise, and using the music to sell the artists. Artists are increasingly making their own recordings, but they need distribution help. Instead of signing musicians to contracts that amount to indentured servitude, how about offering them your marketing expertise, and selling THAT to them.

Seriously… imagine your industry can make its goods without plants, manufacturing or distribution. can you even envision not being able to make money in that environment?

In response to a question from Toder about whether the industry was making millions off all the settlements, Pariser said the campaign has actually lost money.

Thomas, who works for the Department of Natural Resources of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, is at risk for a judgment of more than $1.2 million if jurors found against her for all 1,702 songs. The recording association is seeking damages set under federal law of $750 to $30,000 for each copyright violation.

Besides Sony BMG, the companies that sued Thomas are Arista Records LLC, Interscope Records, UMG Recordings Inc., Capitol Records Inc. and Warner Bros. Records Inc.

Why doesn’t this bother more people? Why isn’t Congress investigating the collusion here? Why are so many huge companies allowed to pool their resources and go after this young mother of two? They’re supposed to be competitors, yet it’s the RIAA that is going after these people and extorting "settlements" from them. At what point does RICO kick in, anyway?

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One comment

  1. I’m sure Congress is wary of investigating companies who donate money to their campaign war chests…not exactly a shocking revelation.
    This is probably one of most extreme cases of business trying to protect their profit model. This is exactly what the oil companies are up to with their funding of pseduo-science that criticizes global warming. Thankfully it’s impossible for oil companies to go after people who drive hybrid cars and use less oil in their lives.

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