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Musicians Oppose Anti-Piracy Measures In the UK 150

Posted by kdawson
from the let-it-be dept.
BluePeppers writes "The Guardian has a story, primarily about a deal that allows YouTube to broadcast music videos again, but also covering a coalition of artist unions that are opposing new legislation in the UK that would punish file sharers more severely. From the article: 'A coalition of bodies representing a range of stars including Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John, and Damon Albarn attacks the proposals as expensive, illogical and "extraordinarily negative." The Featured Artists Coalition, the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, and the Music Producers Guild have joined forces to oppose the proposals to reintroduce the threat of disconnection for persistent file sharers, which was ruled out in the government's Digital Britain report in June.""
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Musicians Oppose Anti-Piracy Measures In the UK

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  • Good stuff... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Shrike82 (1471633) on Friday September 04, 2009 @04:35AM (#29308937)
    Perhaps if more big names come out in opposition of measures like this the PRS in Britain and the RIAA in the US won't be able to hide behind excuses like "we're doing this for the artists".
    • Re:Good stuff... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Spad (470073) <slashdot&spad,co,uk> on Friday September 04, 2009 @04:56AM (#29309021) Homepage

      PRS != RIAA

      PRS is the Performing Rights Society; the UK equivalent of the RIAA is the BPI. The PRS is more like ASCAP.

      • by Shrike82 (1471633)
        Thanks for the correction. Nonetheless I think you get the point I was trying to make.
      • by Jurily (900488) <jurily&gmail,com> on Friday September 04, 2009 @06:33AM (#29309427)

        PRS is the Performing Rights Society; the UK equivalent of the RIAA is the BPI. The PRS is more like ASCAP.

        Score: 5, Acronym Overload

        • by Zancarius (414244)

          PRS is the Performing Rights Society; the UK equivalent of the RIAA is the BPI. The PRS is more like ASCAP.

          Score: 5, Acronym Overload

          I think my Internets have had too many memes. I read that as:

          Score: 5, Acronym Overlord

      • by pbhj (607776)

        They're all groups dominated by [different branches of] the same big names: Sony, Warner, EMI, etc ..

        It appears at least that BPI and PRS (who changed their name to "PRS for Music" recently, which shows how much bullshit they're trying to fling) are both fronts for different parts of the interests of the same stakeholders/shareholders. They also have some artists/songwriters involved to various extents that they use to buy good PR.

      • Butt in the end, it's all a load of ASCRAP...

    • Re:Good stuff... (Score:5, Informative)

      by im just cannonfodder (1089055) on Friday September 04, 2009 @04:57AM (#29309027) Homepage

      lets not for get who is actually behind the MPAA - RIAA, these are the companies that need to be targeted and boycotted into changing their ways, purchase only 2nd hand media and do not purchase anything branded sony, why allow the fecktards to dictate hardware DRM anymore.

      Name and shame the companies as all the **AA trade group name is for is to protect the fucking capitalist corporate globalist wankers from bad press.


      RIAA, CRIA, SOUNDEXCHANGE, BPI, IFPI, Ect:

      # Sony BMG Music Entertainment
      # Warner Music Group
      # Universal Music Group
      # EMI

      MPAA, MPA, FACT, AFACT, Ect:

      # Sony Pictures
      # Warner Bros. (Time Warner)
      # Universal Studios (NBC Universal)
      # The Walt Disney Company
      # 20th Century Fox (News Corporation)
      # Paramount Pictures Viacom--(DreamWorks owners since February 2006)


      If sony payola (google it) wasn't bad enough to destroy indie competition you have this:

      Is it justified to steal from thieves? READ ON.

      RIAA Claims Ownership of All Artist Royalties For Internet Radio
      http://slashdot.org/articles/07/04/29/0335224.shtml [slashdot.org]

      "With the furor over the impending rate hike for Internet radio stations, wouldn't a good solution be for streaming internet stations to simply not play RIAA-affiliated labels' music and focus on independent artists? Sounds good, except that the RIAA's affiliate organization SoundExchange claims it has the right to collect royalties for any artist, no matter if they have signed with an RIAA label or not. 'SoundExchange (the RIAA) considers any digital performance of a song as falling under their compulsory license. If any artist records a song, SoundExchange has the right to collect royalties for its performance on Internet radio. Artists can offer to download their music for free, but they cannot offer their songs to Internet radio for free ... So how it works is that SoundExchange collects money through compulsory royalties from Webcasters and holds onto the money. If a label or artist wants their share of the money, they must become a member of SoundExchange and pay a fee to collect their royalties.'"

      http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/4/24/141326/870 [dailykos.com]
      • Re:Good stuff... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by RiotingPacifist (1228016) on Friday September 04, 2009 @05:45AM (#29309203)

        Not sure why this is marked troll, without a rebuttal?

        Personally i look at free [jamendo.com] music [libre.fm] for my paid downloads, I don't mind buying actual CDs from indies either (but it is a bit tricky to know your buying from an indie and not a front, of a front, of a major record label)

        I'm confused by magnatune [magnatune.com] they advertise that they give 50% to artists, but taking a 50% cut for hosting & selling music seams excessive (AFAIK they don't do brick and mortar sales)

        • Re:Good stuff... (Score:5, Informative)

          by Jaysyn (203771) <jaysyn+slashdot&gmail,com> on Friday September 04, 2009 @05:54AM (#29309267) Homepage Journal
          www.riaaradar.com will help you in finding real indie acts.

        • by Enleth (947766)

          Magnatune is OK, in my opinion. First, their terms are simple and clearly stated, you know where the money goes and the artist knows that, too - that's really important. Second, as far as I know, 50% of the reatil price going directly to the artist is something unheard of in the "regular" recording industry - I did not bookmark them, but there were several quite informative Slashdot comments about this in the past, presumably written by people who know the matter first-hand, stating that the artist royaltie

        • Re:Good stuff... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday September 04, 2009 @07:44AM (#29309815) Homepage Journal

          Not sure why this is marked troll

          Sony has a lot of employees, and a lot of them come here, and some get mod points. Any time I mention Sony's XCP rootkit I get modded troll or flamebait. But notice the system worked -- the Sony shill was out modded by better mods, and it's a 5 informative now.

          I'm confused by magnatune they advertise that they give 50% to artists, but taking a 50% cut for hosting & selling music seams excessive

          Everybody and their dog rips musicians off, and it's a damned shame. The record lables rip of their artists, the bars rip off your local guys who play live, etc. It's disgusting. "But Harry doesn't mind if he doesn't make the scene; he's got a full time job, he's doin' all right." (Sultans of Swing). Most musicians, no matter how talented, are either poor or working at some other job. I know a lot of musicians here in Springfield, and only a few are doing OK without a non-musical job. Many of them majored in music in college.

          • by syousef (465911)

            Sony has a lot of employees, and a lot of them come here, and some get mod points. Any time I mention Sony's XCP rootkit I get modded troll or flamebait. But notice the system worked -- the Sony shill was out modded by better mods, and it's a 5 informative now.

            Only trouble is the Sony employees can come back 6 days later when no one else is modding. Plenty of times I've mentioned an issue with an Apple product or service and have been reamed days later.

            Everybody and their dog rips musicians off, and it's a

            • Sony has a lot of employees, and a lot of them come here, and some get mod points. Any time I mention Sony's XCP rootkit I get modded troll or flamebait. But notice the system worked -- the Sony shill was out modded by better mods, and it's a 5 informative now.

              Only trouble is the Sony employees can come back 6 days later when no one else is modding. Plenty of times I've mentioned an issue with an Apple product or service and have been reamed days later.

              That could easily be fixed - is there any point allowing moderation more than about 48 (or even 24) hours after a story has been posted?

          • Many of them majored in music in college.

            They probably should have majored in marketing. That's the critical skill for making money from your music.

        • by Draek (916851)

          I'm confused by magnatune they advertise that they give 50% to artists, but taking a 50% cut for hosting & selling music seams excessive (AFAIK they don't do brick and mortar sales)

          It's not excessive when you take into account that:

          a) people can pay as little as $5 per album, and the credit card company gets their cut as well,
          b) they have free streaming for all their music,
          c) downloads are unlimited, and
          d) they not only make OGGs and MP3s available but also FLACs and uncompressed WAVs.

          Don't underestimate the importance of the last point, most of their customers are classical fans so you can bet they're taking advantage of it, and 600 MBs is a lot of bandwidth to pay for.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        do not purchase anything branded sony

        Why haven't RIAA lawsuits triggered a major boycott campaign, outside of music?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          because the companies hide behind their trade body names & are very active at promoting themselves to be just and right.
        • Re:Good stuff... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Animaether (411575) on Friday September 04, 2009 @07:44AM (#29309821) Journal

          Consider the idea of boycotting all of SONY - by which I mean SONY Corporation - because SONY BMG screwed up.

          That Bravia TV? Don't buy it.
          That PS3? Don't buy it.
          That Blu-Ray player from, say, JVC? Don't buy it - JVC pays SONY
          That CD - any artist, even if it's you? Don't buy it - every CD and CD-R made at this point nets SONY a tiny amount of dosh.
          Spiderman movie? Don't buy it.
          Tom & Jerry on TV? Don't watch it (Tom & Jerry = MGM+Turner. MGM = 20% owned by SONY. Your watching it makes it more attractive for advertisers to put their ads around the show for good sums of money, a slice of which goes to.. voila).
          That laptop you're buying? Double-check it doesn't use a SONY panel.
          That digital camera you're buying? Make sure it doesn't use a SONY sensor (e.g. Nikon has SONY sensors in many models). .. and so forth and so on.

          Let's face it - unless you want to be bordering on paranoia whenever you buy something, there's absolutely no good way to boycott a megacorp like SONY even if the idea that long-term boycotting SONY for the short-term actions of a - all things considered - tiny part of the conglomerate wasn't preposterous to begin with. Let me restate that.. I'm not saying that a boycott should be easy - of course it shouldn't, if we could all be lazy in boycotts then a boycott wouldn't work either. What I am saying is, it is nigh-on impossible to boycott a megacorp 100%. Even if -you- decide to no longer buy any product that has a SONY logo on it - a boycott that -is- quite doable, they'll still be getting money from you through the multitude of other channels they have, and through their main channels from the people who don't go along with your boycott.

          SONY's bottom line, and that of any other truly big company (let alone the likes of Unilever, Procter & Gamble and the like), is hardly ever hurt by a (call for a) boycott (see e.g. the Nestlé boycott, going on since the 70's, and check out the financial charts for Nestlé.. could they have made an even bigger profit if it weren't for the boycott? sure. Are they in dire straits because of the boycott? Don't be silly.) They're typically more hurt by their own ineptitude and/or loss of appeal for their products/business in general (e.g. Circuit City, sadly), and bad press in specific.

          Perhaps this is just a pessimistic view, but it's based on what I see around me. A small baker had to close shop because people boycotted him for selling factory-created pastries - simply because his two children buggered off and he had no time to do that in addition to the fresh breads, cakes, pies, etc. So now people have to buy factory-created breads at the local supermarket as well. The same supermarket (Albert Heijn) that has been 'boycotted' time and again for a multitude of things.. but is still going strong and opening up new stores left and right.

          These days, a 'public outcry' is far more efficient than a boycott; the public outcry and subsequent bad press over the SONY BMG rootkit, from people who were still actively buying SONY products -and- people who had no intention of buying SONY products anyway alike, was enough to have them remove any plans to add it to any new CDs, and even lead to them pulling the existing CDs in some areas, while no formal boycott ever materialized and people are still buying SONY products; just like people are still buying Volgswagens and drool over Bugatti Veyrons.

          • by Krneki (1192201)
            Don't buy anything from Sony that requires their software to run.

            Sony hardware is ok, Sony software is pure Evil.
          • by steelfood (895457)

            I boycott Sony by not purchasing their products.

            I don't listen to music or watch movies put out by Sony (if I have to see it, there's always the internet). I don't have a PS3 or a Blu-ray player. I don't care for anything more than DVD quality anyway.

            In fact, I boycott all music companies. This is made easier by me not liking what they put out anyway. I go to concerts for my music fix. And when I'm commuting, I play my CD's that I had bought years before the RIAA lawsuits began, listen to NPR or live concer

            • That's very laudable, and I salute you, but it would have more effect - on PR if not their bottom line - if it was a coordinated campaign.

            • I have to agree here.. I've done some due dilligence to avoid the Sony brand, and for the most part their media companies. The fact is, they lost more money on the non-sale of hardware than they ever would have gained from me buying their media. I spend a fair amount on AV hardware every decade, and relatively little on media. When Napster (v1) was around, I was purchasing 3-4 CDs a week from music discovered via that service, I've maybe bought 10 in the past 8 years since the lawsuits began.

              If even half

          • by fyoder (857358)

            Good points, but the primary reason for boycotting Sony in all its forms (at least the conspicuous ones) is personal. It has to do with being congruent with one's own values. If a lot of people do it and it has some effect, great, but even if it doesn't, be true to your own espoused values, or else admit that they're just espoused and not actual.

        • by Knara (9377)
          Because outside of a very small number of musicphiles and geeks, the whargarbl about the "evils" of the RIAA and MPAA don't matter to the overwhelming majority of folks.
        • Why haven't RIAA lawsuits triggered a major boycott campaign, outside of music?

          Because 1) most non-geeks aren't aware of the scale of the lawsuits, or of how biased they are against the defendant as far as penalties go, and 2) of those non-geeks who do know, most don't actually consider it a wrong thing, because they understand that copyright infringement is a crime, and believe that being sued for breaking law is kinda normal.

    • by alexo (9335)

      Perhaps if more big names come out in opposition of measures like this the PRS in Britain and the RIAA in the US won't be able to hide behind excuses like "we're doing this for the artists".

      It was never about the artists.
      From the beginning of copyright it was about the publishers.

  • Advertising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by imakemusic (1164993) on Friday September 04, 2009 @04:47AM (#29308985)
    Aren't music videos supposed to be promotional material? Kind of like adverts for the albums/singles? Why would anyone NOT want people to see them?
    • Re:Advertising (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Joce640k (829181) on Friday September 04, 2009 @04:55AM (#29309015) Homepage

      It's about control. They want you to see them alongside *their* adverts, they want MTV to pay them for the rights to broadcast them, etc.

    • by Spad (470073)

      They want you to see them, but only when *they* say so, not whenever you feel like it.

      It's the same reason they'll (illegally) pay broadcast radio stations to play their new songs, but charge money for on-demand streaming services to do the same thing - Control.

      • Re:Advertising (Score:5, Interesting)

        by zwei2stein (782480) on Friday September 04, 2009 @06:00AM (#29309289) Homepage

        Yes, see ... if you WANT to see video again or listen to song again, your option should not be to 'download it and freely listen it forever for free', it should be 'buy it or wait till we toss you another freebie'

        It is attempt to create both artificial rarity and cash on the fact that people actually might be pressed to buy their products if they like it.

        It is not about control - that is just tool. It is about ensuring consumer demand.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anarchduke (1551707)
          Yess....forcing consumers to listen to their music their way, and purchasing music their way.

          One might even say they are trying to control things.
    • Re:Advertising (Score:5, Insightful)

      by slim (1652) <john AT hartnup DOT net> on Friday September 04, 2009 @05:24AM (#29309127) Homepage

      Aren't music videos supposed to be promotional material? Kind of like adverts for the albums/singles? Why would anyone NOT want people to see them?

      Not quite, not any more.

      There are dozens of video jukebox channels on the TV, supported by ads and premium rate phone calls (for making requests). Many people leave a channel like that on all day, rather than buy music or listen to the radio. Here, the music video is the consumer product, not a promotional item for some other product.

      Having access to any video for free online, undermines that business model.

      • Re:Advertising (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday September 04, 2009 @08:32AM (#29310247) Homepage Journal

        Having access to any video for free online, undermines that business model.

        The problem with that is the business model itself. No artist ever went broke from piracy, but many have gone broke from obscurity. You can't compete with free, but you can use free to sell. Cory Doctorow realizes this (and explains it well in the intro to Little Brother better than I can). You can check his books out for free at the public library, download them for free from his website, or buy them at a bookstore. He didn't make the NYT best seller list despite "free", he made the list in part because of free.

        Trying to sell bits is like trying to sell air. If you want to sell air, you have to put a baloon or a scuba tank around it and sell that. The same goes for bits.

        • by mpe (36238)
          The problem with that is the business model itself. No artist ever went broke from piracy, but many have gone broke from obscurity.

          Also quite a few of the most popular (and highly commercially sucessfull) ones had a hard time getting to market.

          Trying to sell bits is like trying to sell air. If you want to sell air, you have to put a baloon or a scuba tank around it and sell that. The same goes for bits.

          An interesting analogy
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by BorgDrone (64343)

      If that is so, why not turn it around and beat them at their own game ?

      If you want to play your commercial on the TV or radio you have to pay for the air time. Let all radio stations and TV channels stop broadcasting music from RIAA artists and then charge the RIAA for every time they want to have one of their songs played on the radio at the same rate other companies have to pay for advertising time. Maybe give them a wholesale discount if they buy in bulk.

      The biggest problem is getting every station to co

  • Stick and Carrot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hasney (980180) on Friday September 04, 2009 @04:49AM (#29308993) Journal

    So these artists are saying that now the stick is far larger than the carrot. What carrot? When have we ever been giving an incentive to pay for the music rather than download it, other than guilt?

    I think at this point the stick is just getting larger and pointier and this carrot they may have used at one point has just rotted in the corner.

    • Re:Stick and Carrot (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Friday September 04, 2009 @05:29AM (#29309141)

      Oh, there's been an incentive to buy music instead of just downloading it. First, you got a good looking CD, with cover, maybe an artbook, lyrics and some other nifty things. People like putting a printed CD into the player and know that it's the "real stuff" instead of slipping a bland, white (or bland shiny) CD in, knowing that it's just one of many thousands they have. There's also that it is/used to be hassle free. Take the CD out of the case, place it in the player, play. No downloading, checking whether the song is ok or whether it's the right one altogether, burn it, check that burning worked out and the cheap CDR didn't crap out on you halfway... And finally the alleged better CD quality, though my dumb ears can't hear any difference anyway.

      What's the incentive today when you get basically the same MP3s? Or CDs that may or may not contain crap that make them unusable in the player of your choice? Not to mention that artbooks or other goodies virtually vanished, replaced by a single sheet of paper so you at least know what CD you actually have in your hands. Which contains maybe 30 minutes of music, if that. All that and less for only 15 bucks.

      • Re:Stick and Carrot (Score:4, Informative)

        by Zoxed (676559) on Friday September 04, 2009 @05:34AM (#29309171) Homepage

        > ...First, you got a good looking CD,...

        Lots of good points, and here is an additional one: (at least in theory) a bought (i.e. pressed) CD should last much longer than a home made (i.e. burnt) one.

        • Well, considering that you have the data stored in other ways as well in the case of burned CDs, this may actually be a point in their favor, especially when you take into account that it's often not really an option to make copies of the pressed original, especially when we're talking about software.

        • by houghi (78078)

          CDs are sooo last century. I have ripped all my CDs. My PC is my player and with Amarok I not only get the lyrics and the cover image. I get links to wiki from where I can get a ton of other information not available on the printed CD.

          When I want to listen elsewhere I put them on a microSD that fits in my phone and am able to put the microSD in a SD adapter so I can put it in my car radio.

          So why would I use CDs again? Selfmade or bought is the same. 46 CD set [amazon.com] or 1 SD card with plenty of room to add other th

      • Re:Stick and Carrot (Score:4, Informative)

        by AdamInParadise (257888) on Friday September 04, 2009 @06:27AM (#29309395) Homepage

        I bought only two "mainstream" CDs last year: in both cases the CD came in a flimsy paper case with a one-page booklet. I'm talking about a new album here, from a famous artist, not a single and not a re-re-re-release. So the "an album is a piece of art" argument is getting past its prime. Especially when the cover is not all that hot.

        On the other hand, the price of the actual CD on Amazon is usually competitive with the price on iTunes (or even cheaper sometimes), so I will keep on buying actual CDs even if I only uses them once, when I rip them as FLAC files. My last "standalone" CD player broke at one point between 2002 and 2008 and I never replaced it. Between that and my favorite radio streaming at 128k, a computer and a decent pair of amplified speakers is all I will ever need.

        Reselling those CDs is an option, but with the current prices spiralling down toward 7 or 8 euros per album, with shipping you're only going to make one or two euros on the sale. It is not always worth the shot.

        • by dangitman (862676)

          I bought only two "mainstream" CDs last year: in both cases the CD came in a flimsy paper case with a one-page booklet.

          How can a "booklet" have only one page? For something to resemble a book, even a little one, it needs to have multiple pages.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        And finally the alleged better CD quality, though my dumb ears can't hear any difference anyway.

        If you have good speakers (not speakers with a five inch "woofer" but speakers with real woofers and real tweeters and real squawkers) and rip an MP3 from that CD, then listen to both the CD and MP3 versions, you WILL hear the difference. With ear buds or a cheap boom box it won't matter how good your ears are, as the cheap speakers won't reproduce the full range of frequencies.

    • by Knara (9377)

      When have we ever been giving an incentive to pay for the music rather than download it, other than guilt?

      I guess you'd fall into the "get shit for free" camp, not the "i want to support artists but the record companies are evil" camp, then?

  • by MosesJones (55544) on Friday September 04, 2009 @04:57AM (#29309025) Homepage

    I can see the Today Programme interview with the PRS (UK RIAA) now

    John Humphries (you have NOTHING like him in the US): So you want people kicked off the internet for downloading copyrighted material. Why?

    PRS: Because copyright theft is simply theft and its illegal and people should be punished accordingly

    JH: But the government says that broadband access is becoming an essential tool in modern society, aren't your punishments a bit draconian?

    PRS: John, These people are stealing literally billions from artists, its a massive industry in the UK that makes a lot of money for this country and these people are ruining it

    JH: So this is about the artists? Not the publishing companies?

    PRS: Absolutely John, these downloaders are just stealing from artists and if this continues there will be no more artists

    JH: If that is the case why do three of the most successful artists in this country's history oppose your plans?

    PRS: Errrr

    JH: I mean if it really was about the artists then surely these people would be all for it. Or is it just about publishing companies that can't be bothered to handle a changing world and just want to dig their heels in and get fat from the restrictive contracts and stifling processes that have got them into this mess?

    PRS: Errrr

    JH: Lets face it you don't care about the artists, you just care about the money and more importantly you care about making money without having to change the way you work. Lots of companies have led the way in legal digital music but the publishing companies have not been amongst them. Isn't this just about old fashioned companies who can't change moaning about new technology and asking the government to bail them out

    PRS: Errrr

    JH: And now for the weather

     

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Hasney (980180)
      No, PRS will probably say that they are already successful artists with lots of money and they are looking out for the small guy.

      Utter bullshit, mind you, but that's the position they'll probably take.
      • So quote figures of how much small artists signed to big labels make.

        My anecdote-ometer says that it's close to, if not absolutely, zero.
        • Hmm.

          carrot to stick function

          ((SmallArtistCost+Profit)-(SmallArtistCost))
          ------------
          (SmallArtistCost)

          As SmallArtistCost Approaches Zero

          Sounds suspiciously like Calculus.

          (Misc text to get rid of filter error. Are they going

    • by digitig (1056110)
      A pretty good impersonation of JH's style, for what it's worth. Are you sure you're not him?
    • by DaveGod (703167)

      I can see the Today Programme interview with the PRS (UK RIAA) now

      I really can't see the PRS agreeing to be quizzed by a real journalist. That's part of what is so annoying, the lies are told and repeated and nobody really asks questions or holds them to account.

      ps. the PRS is more like ASCAP, the BPI would then be the RIAA. RPS does take the lion's share of the hate though, because of the youtube thing and because every shop basically has to pay the PRS their protection money if they so much as have a radi

  • ... to "The soon-to-be-ousted-middlemen continue to look for new ways to make money in the digital age" and the article is put in it's proper perspective.
    • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday September 04, 2009 @05:48AM (#29309223)

      Dinosaurs didn't want to die either, but nature doesn't like obsolete designs. And neither does free market, at least usually. Unless such obsolete designs are artificially propped up by legal means.

      The studios were a necessity until about 15 or maybe 20 years ago. First, they were the only ones that could afford the insanely expensive studio equipment. Until the 80s, no "garage band" could afford equipment that allowed them to create even a sensible demo tape. The advance in computers made this no problem anymore. Anyone can today get affordable equipment that allows him to enjoy the same or at least nearly the same level of quality any big studio could offer, provided he has the skill to use it. So what was left after that was their function as the distribution way. No single artist could afford the distribution system a large music corporation can offer. In came the internet, with instant distribution and an easy way to collect payment.

      So, what's currently left is the music studio's edge in PR and marketing. Every other aspect they ever had has been stripped from them and superseded by cheaper means. They may offer it to artists and some artists may opt for it, simply because the studios still have the expertise and often also the better trained personnell, simply by experience, but an artist now has the option to record and publish himselves without having to resort to studios.

      Once marketing is somehow taken from their grasp, they have become utterly useless to the music business.

      • by db32 (862117)

        You mean like how social networking has changed the whole marketing game? They are in their death bed screaming. The trouble is they have stockpiles of cash that they can use to purchase government. Government doesn't exist in a land of market failure, so they just tax more, punish more, and insist that it isn't the broken laws, it is that people just refuse to behave.

        • C'mon, social networking vs. a hype machinery made up of TV and radio shows? Be sensible! How many people could even the most well connected, well known net "music guru" reach? Compare that to the few millions every week watching some hypemetodeath music show and realize how petty the whole "social networking" thing is. Yes, people might multiply the information, but essentially you're still talking about a few thousand people here who did follow the music anyway. If you're into rap, do you follow someone's

      • that's actually their future

        there's money to be made in hyping and packaging and promoting the hell out of a pop act, and reaping financial rewards from that in terms of ancillary revenue flows like concerts, endorsements, etc (no $ from recorded tracks, not anymore)

        think about the career of someone like tiger woods: he is fabulously rich, but think about how he makes his money. there isn't some army of lawyers preventing you from getting the next tiger woods video. they watch him for free on tv. the golf v

        • I do strongly agree with this, and this is also where I see their future function, but that would require a paradigm change and a very painful change in control. They would have to turn from claiming to be the be-all, end-all thingamajig to music and become PR and marketing services for musicians. Unfortunately, that isn't what they want. They want control, and being just a service instead of the controlling instance of music, this would take that control away from them.

      • by dangitman (862676)

        And neither does free market, at least usually. Unless such obsolete designs are artificially propped up by legal means.

        What makes the legal system "artificial" but the free market not? They are both human creations, of equal artifice.

  • Public facade? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by syousef (465911) on Friday September 04, 2009 @05:30AM (#29309147) Journal

    Forgive me but some of the richest artists are putting up token opposition just doesn't impress me. Fo rall I know behind closed doors they're patting the record execs on the back for pushing this legislation through. These are after all people who make their living as much by promoting themselves as celebrities as by making music. Forgive me if I am therefore skeptical.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mrrudge (1120279)
      Two men who have been given the countries highest honour ( and Damon Albarn, meh ) speak out against their governments plans and use their position and reputation to ensures that this side of the argument is communicated to the same general public barraged with copyright infringement = theft propaganda and you interpret this action as being indicative of them secretly being in collusion and believing the opposite of what they say ?

      Critical > Skeptical > Paranoid.
      • Two men who have been given the countries highest honour ....

        Just a nit-pick, but Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire isn't even close to 'the countries highest [wikipedia.org] honour'. [wikipedia.org]

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by 16K Ram Pack (690082)

      I came here to say this.

      Wake me up when one of these guys puts up their personal money to fund a campaign against these laws, or to defend someone who is being prosecuted, or to quit record companies who will do these things

  • The rights of thousands of artists vs. more profit for a handfull of record companies. Guess who's going to win this one. (hint; one of these two is rich)

    • by ledow (319597)

      Unfortunately, one depends exclusively on the other in order to *be* rich. Whereas the other can make money just by slapping a few MP3's on a website and adding a Paypal donate button (there are some *BIG* name examples of this happening). One side also has knighted-persons who gained their knighthood through services to the music industry. One side also has the popular opinion and public vote. One side also will get on the news / Slashdot just by *saying* something like this and will encourage other pe

    • Yeah, but the other holds popular opinion. If Sir Elton, Sir Paul, and that other guy all state publicly, very publicly, that they oppose these measures, highlight the reasons why, and tell people to stop buying music until this proposed legislation is dead and gone, the music industry will cry like little girls to Sith Lord Mandy to shut-the-merry-hell up.

      Imagine if MJ's last wish had been "Screw the record companies." MILLIONS of fans, of all ages, would just stop going to the record stores.

      Now multiply
  • by Max Romantschuk (132276) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Friday September 04, 2009 @05:47AM (#29309219) Homepage

    I've made quite a few tracks for fun... And lately, I've been looking at the possibility to get them on on iTunes, Spotify, etc.

    Here comes the great part: I don't need a label on anything these days. There are already several services that will publish independent music direct to major stores and streaming services without going through a bunch of extra layers.

    So if I ever decide to publish my stuff I can just ignore the (Finnish equivalent of the) RIAA. I'd rather miss out on any money I could get that route than help rob everyone of any more rights.

    Gotta love progress.

    • The problem is there are lots of artists that want the money. Until they decide to stop feeding the trolls (to use an internet-ism), the big labels will continue to hold a lot of power. Hopefully, as time passes, the financial difference between "signed to a label" and "released independently using the various tools available to indie artists" will shrink sufficiently that more and more artists will decide it's not worth selling their souls to make some music exec rich. Once that happens, I believe we'll en
    • by Jaysyn (203771)
      But you still have to become a member of SoundExchange if you want to make any money via Internet Radio play.
    • From one Finn to the other: what do you suggest as the most practical service/independent "labels" (or whatever shall we call them) for a small time, no-lawyer musician?

  • Thinking it over, it seems that given a long struggle against copyrights and patents, piracy will benefit that struggle, but only to the extent it is openly recognized, looked at, reviewed, accepted, and of course practiced. If for example many influential people would start preaching 'piracy is ok', 'piracy is good', establishing that as a moral guideline first, that becomes a building point for proposing and approving new laws. New economic and legal models will follow what is being practiced already. I
    • Why don't you sing a few verses of Kumbaya while you're at it?
      • by h00manist (800926)
        http://www.clarin.com/diario/2009/08/03/elmundo/i-01970785.htm [clarin.com] -- "RaÃl Castro: 'No fui elegido para restaurar el capitalismo' " -- "Elegido", in Spanish, doesn't mean "elected". It means "selected", or "chosen". Any other question you would need to discuss today, besides difficulties in dealing with ignorance, arrogance, and poor manners? We do have quite a list already. ------- Raul Castro told the truth when he said he wasn't elected to restore capitalism; he wasn't elected - period. --
    • A more effective way to combat the "anti-priacy" forces of the RIAA and its counterparts around the world is to avoid their products all together. If people would spend the effort they expend to obtain music (whether that is money or time and effort) on obtaining solely non-RIAA music, a successful alternative to the RIAA distribution model would arise.
      There have been several studies suggesting that pirating RIAA music inhibits the development of alternative business models. The idea being that by piratin
      • by h00manist (800926)
        Using copyleft or open source stuff promotes those concepts, models, _and_ boycotts copyrighted materials. It however has limitations, mainly that a whole new work has to be created, when it has already been done, however under a different contract. Pirating (or as some say, 'liberating') the copyrighted material doesn't boycott completely, indeed, as people are using controlled property. Pirating while acknowledging and communicating it, however, also erodes property owner's legal status. Piracy also doe
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          You are right that pirating copyrighted material weakens organizations like the RIAA, the problem is that it does not promote the growth of alternatives. As a matter of fact, it inhibits the growth of alternatives. As long as the RIAA model is the strongest model for the distribution of copyrighted material they will maintain their control of the music industry.
          • by h00manist (800926)
            speaking of which, I never found much in the way of non-copyrighted music downloads.. I expected to find much more by now. Found any good source for that?
            • No, I just don't listen to much music. The RIAA long ago made it too much work to find music I like. Some time back a major act that I like released a new album. The label pushed one of the songs as a single. That was the only song that got airplay on the radio. It was a cover of a song that I loved, which suggests that people with my musical tastes were their target audience. I found the cover uninteresting. A friend of mine illegally downloaded the entire album and played it for me. I loved every other so
  • It used to be simple:
    Record companies want music offline, want more money, want no sharing.
    Nerds and geeks want music online, all for free, share with everybody.

    And there were no other parties. Now there are geeks in 10 different categories (ranging from small groups of geeks at the pirate bay to huge companies such as Google that owns youtube).
    And it seems that the music industry are now themselves hijacked by the lawyers, media, ISP's, electronics manufacturers and whatever else there is in all the posts

  • Seven million Britons face having their internet connection cut off and fines of up to GBP50,000 [today.com] as Digital Britain is implemented.

    Lord Carter, the report's author, has now left the Government for consultancies unknown. Lord Mandelson, who has taken over responsibility for digital policy, has been persuaded of the need for a tougher approach after entreaties from starving music mogul David Geffen, who was introduced to him by the Rothschild family. "He warned me in 2001 that these 'MP3 players' would lead

  • The labels are always judged by their previous performances, they all have their hall of fame, with sales and profits from a different era, an era when they were the gate keepers of both access to publicity and distribution as well as high quality production facilities. Those times are will over but they are still living in that era. Sales wise the days of Queen, Elton John, The Beatles etc are long over, they will NEVER return.

    No artist or band now will ever achieve those profit levels but the carrot the l
    • Sorry, another point....

      The only thing the labels have to offer is access to the mainstream TV and radio stations to get airplay, which is not a guaranteed way to sales, as some have pointed out; a lot of people leave a channel like MTV on all day rather than listen to CDs.
  • by boristdog (133725) on Friday September 04, 2009 @09:03AM (#29310565)

    Why does that list of people sound like the old Star Trek Triple?

    "Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John, and Damon Albarn"

    sounds like:

    "Jefferson, Lincoln, Alzaroth of Seti Alpha 6"

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.

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