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Music Media Your Rights Online

Pirates Steal Negative $1,400,000,000 from Music Industry 589

In exciting news this week, the RIAA announced that due to the massive piracy of digital music "ripped" from CD's and made available over the Internet, the music industry lost negative $1,400,000,000 in CD sales in 1999. In fact, the damage was so extreme that the industry shipped negative 90 million fewer CD's than the year before.

Oh, I can't keep up the fake news any more... In fact, the RIAA reports that the music industry - especially non-copy-protected CD's - is booming. Not only did the record industry sell 10.8% more CD's than last year, they raised their income on those disks by 12.3% - so not only are you buying more music, but you're paying more for each disk you buy. Income from CD's alone increased by 1.4 billion dollars last year. So where's the crippling damage from evil music pirates? If they're suffering so badly, why does their profit chart look like Microsoft's?

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Pirates Steal Negative $1,400,000,000 from Music Industry

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  • Let's pick up the pace - despite all of our efforts, the RIAA is still firmly in the black.
  • by Troed ( 102527 ) on Sunday February 27, 2000 @11:27AM (#1241930) Homepage Journal
    ... students on campus don't really buy CDs anymore, which I know many of you can confirm. That we don't like the actions of the RIAA doesn't mean we can't see objectively on the matter.

    We need music over the web, micropayable - I'm all for commercial solutions as long as they're not closed standards. If I could buy music for a reasonable amount of money I would - instead of downloading crap quality mp3s (yes, crap quality - people who don't know how to grab without getting click sounds, or mp3-compress with the wrong programs etc)

    In fact, I've _stopped_ listening to mp3s - I'm just waiting for the commercial music-over-the-net solutions .. please? Anyone?

  • Piracy is just pr. You want to demonize people,accuse them of being pirates or whatever. It's all about perception. As in everything else.

    Yeah it disgusts me, but...

    If you can't figure out how to mail me, don't.
  • by Trollok ( 144022 ) on Sunday February 27, 2000 @11:30AM (#1241932)
    I think that to be a record company executive you have to never grow out of that "No it's mine and you can't have it stage" of childhood developement. My parents taught me to share so I guess I'll never make the cut. I refuse to support the record industry, I'll never pay for their music and I hope that everyone else wakes up and gets tired of being spoon fed the mediocre overpriced crap that they are trying to push on us.
  • I'm glad to see that they are doing so well. I actually thought that there may be some impact from audio piracy, but I guess not.

    "DVD music video dollar value grew 442 percent from $12.2 million in 1998 to $66.3 million in 1999."

    Wow. Now that is great to see. I'm sure that this will mean that we will see more and more titles released for DVD. Looks like VHS sales dropped, I guess that market is moving to DVD.

    Gee, I guess that DeCSS didn't have the major impact on the market that it was supposed to have, and that Napster isn't the end of CD audio.
  • Hey, like the double negatives there...

    I think that the music industry is booming in part because of "pirated" music. Honestly, I've purchased a couple hundred dollars worth of CD's because I really like the MP3s that I've downloaded and I can say that a number of my friends have too.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2000 @11:33AM (#1241937)
    Yep, that's the only way to stop copying.
    Why should I pay Fl 44,95 (that's around $ 22 ) for a CD when I can buy it over the net for $ 11,95..
    The problem is, that nobody in the EC follows the law and do something against price fixing.
    The prices in all the shops are almost the same because the record industry don't allow competition (price fixing is against the law).
  • by Serf ( 11805 ) on Sunday February 27, 2000 @11:34AM (#1241938)
    1. How much more could this have been if there were no piracy?

    2. How much less could this have been if people hadn't bought CD's based on hearing pirated music that they liked?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2000 @11:39AM (#1241951)
    Just think what kind of income they would have made if the music industry produced more stuff worth listening to, instead of the usual crap they're cranking out.
    I'm convinced that the music industry watches the music pirates for valuable info on what kind of music people want. I've noticed several times that old out-of-print vinyl albums I've ripped to mp3 and posted to usenet are suddenly rereleased on CDs. The music pirates are providing free market research on what the studios should resurrect out of the old vaults.
  • by Shadow Knight ( 18694 ) on Sunday February 27, 2000 @11:39AM (#1241952) Homepage
    ... students on campus don't really buy CDs anymore, which I know many of you can confirm. That we don't like the actions of the RIAA doesn't mean we can't see objectively on the matter.

    As a student on campus, I can confirm that this is absolutely false! Students around here (Va Tech, where we have ethernet connected to the internet via five T1s and three T3s... it's fast) are buying more CD's than ever. They then rip the CD's for convenience's sake. They do not return them. They keep them. So, I don't know where you get that above statement from... at least at this major university, it simply isn't true.

    Supreme Lord High Commander of the Interstellar Task Force for the Eradication of Stupidity

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2000 @11:40AM (#1241954)
    And the sheer number of people completely missing the point of the double negative only proves it.
  • Why don't they start doing cool things like putting mpeg copies of the music videos on a separate cd or mail you a cd with the music videos for only the cost of shipping and handling when you buy the album? They need to make the album more than just music, it needs extra content like music videos on it. Eventually the 1.4 billion they announced they lost will look like chicken scratch because no one will buy the albums since they are so bloody expensive. Most of my ska, punk, swing, emo and metal records cost me only around $10-$14.... usually in the $12-$13 range for the more popular ones. However I shudder when I see the prices that people pay for popular rap and rock albums, around $16-$20. I am of the opinion that if they started USING the internet for distribution they could lower the price without lowering their profits. On a side note who does the RIAA think it is kidding by saying that it protects the rights of artists? It only protects the interests of the big labels it represents and their artists. I would be so surprised if they cracked down on a site giving away records from an independent label like epitaph, lookout or moon ska.
  • by kbonin ( 58917 ) on Sunday February 27, 2000 @11:44AM (#1241964) Homepage
    All the whining about MP3's is primarily an attempt to prepare the legal grounds for supression of the format later, when they can force hardware manufacturers to suspend MP3 playback capability in favor of SDMI and/or its latest flavor.

    The industry needs to make sure that when digital music is deployed (i.e. when _they_ deploy it), it goes out with the ability to be rented (which they prefer), instead of just bought. They also want the full suite of digital copy protections, such as tying it to the device its stored on so you can't share it. To do this they have to supress MP3.

    Since Goebbels was right about telling a big enough lie often enough will eventually make it believable, that is what is happening. The media in this country is pretty much controlled by the same corporations that own the music, so you'll hear numbers like this alot, no matter how absurd they are when you apply basic arithmetic to them.

    Essentially, the end of "fair use" as it's been known in copyright law for the last century or so is approaching - UCITA and DMCO are other aspects of this erosion of rights.
  • by overcode ( 103467 ) on Sunday February 27, 2000 @11:45AM (#1241969) Homepage
    I believe the RIAA should stop whining and fix the problem itself. I for one would pay a small fee for each MP3 that I have a copy of, if that were possible. I hate CD's (a hassle to play compared to MP3's), so I rarely buy them except to support groups I really like. I immediately rip CD's I own so I can play them on my Rio. If the RIAA would institute a fair and reasonably priced system of music vending, I would respect it. Is anyone else with me on this?
  • by vluther ( 5638 ) <vidNO@SPAMlinuxpowered.com> on Sunday February 27, 2000 @11:45AM (#1241970) Homepage Journal
    reduce the price of CD's.. why would anyone want to pay $18.99 for a new CD at Sam Goody's, when they know they can get the same quality for free or even if I pay $3.99 or whatever some of those new mp3 selling sites charge you. Most of the CD's I've bought over the past 5 years, I only like 4 out of 12 songs.. paying $18.99 or even $15.99 is a rip-off. These people need to realize that MP3 is their competition, and their enemy...fight it on it's merits or lack there of, not because it's costing you money.. thats like AT&T saying everyone who uses Sprint or MCI is a pirate because when the customers switched from AT&T to MCI AT&T lost money, so obviously they're bad.

    The RIAA could use all the money they spent on calculating how much they lost to MP3s on finding a format better than MP3 or in making the price of CD's a lot cheaper.. CD's still have their advantages right now.. but if I can find a song for free and download it and burn it on to my own CD, why should I even bother to go to a overpriced store ? This old mentality by the MPAA and the RIAA sickens me.. they are like little chidlren refusing to put on a sweater or wear warm clothes when it's -25 celsius outside, just because they liked the summer and hope they winter will go away because they don't like Winter, and because they want it that way.

    PS: Sorry for the run-ons..
  • by Dast ( 10275 ) on Sunday February 27, 2000 @11:49AM (#1241976)
    I know my rate of cd purchase has almost gone to 0.00. CD's are just to expensive these days, and most of the stuff pushed on us by the record industry is crap.

    My school put these strange TV's everywhere that play nothing but the crappy music videos the industry thinks appeals to college students. As a result I've gotten so tired of hearing the same old crap that you couldn't *pay* me to buy a cd. I guess they had the reverse effect intended.
  • by nickm ( 1468 ) on Sunday February 27, 2000 @11:50AM (#1241978) Homepage
    Good grief! How are they supposed to be making money on CDs when people are playing this music for free on the radio!?
    I mean, this technology could ruin the recording industry, even if it does help the music industry!
    I noticed
  • Couldn't you guys just report things that happen rather than your opinions on them? Honestly, Michael, if you're going to comment on the article, do it in the thread rather than turning the headlines into a confusing sarcastic rant.
  • I think the music industry is ethically right in the assumption that the music is there and we shouldn't be trading mp3s. What ethically gets me is that the music industry doesnt seem to get is that it is charging exhorbiant prices for the good they offer, and they have a pseudo monopoly. for instance, if im out to buy a dave matthews cd I can only buy that cd from RCA/BMG. thats right, i could go buy another cd from another company but I want that dave matthews cd, and they are free to charge what they wish on the fans; that is what isnt fair and drives me to trade mp3s.
  • Of _course_ they are experiencing an increase of CD sales despite MP3. But consider what is fashionable in music nowadays: Boy Bands and teeny boppers. It has been said before, but fanatical teenaged girls spend more than any other group when it comes to music and movies. Because of the current music trends, there are more sales and higher prices. Fortunately for the music industry, the same group (teenaged girls) that is making all of these purchases know little or nothing about MP3.

    However, when these teeny boppers go out of style (as we all know they will), expect the music industry to get hit hard.
  • by kwsNI ( 133721 ) on Sunday February 27, 2000 @11:53AM (#1241985) Homepage
    I think also that it has something to do with the MPAA's lawsuit over DeCSS.

    The RIAA is screaming bloody hell over CD pirating. Then the MPAA comes in and says "hey, look at all the problems we've had over people ripping CD's. This is why we need to protect DVD's: So that we don't get the same problem". This is especially true since many of the companies have a vested intrest in both the RIAA and the MPAA (Like Sony).


  • by zeck ( 103790 ) on Sunday February 27, 2000 @11:54AM (#1241987)
    I realize you were being sarcastic to make a point, but nevertheless keep in mind that radio is not free (except for pirate radio). When you listen to the radio, you listen to advertisements. Advertisers pay radio stations to play their advertisements. And radio stations pay artists and record companies and organisations like ASCAP and BMI for the songs they play. With MP3, on the other hand, nobody gets paid.
  • It's the same reason that people pirate MS applications. They say "they can afford to lose me as a customer, look how big there are".

    It's justification, a silly excuse that helps people sleep at night. But the end is the same, whether its software piracy or music piracy, content producers lose out. I know I'm biased because I'm a software producer... but why shouldn't I expect that people pay for my products if they want to use them? It's my right to expect that in a free-market system such as ours. Oh damn, I'm ranting again aren't I? =)

    Last point -- if you can't afford something that you want, that doesn't mean you should steal it no matter how big or evil the company may be.

  • by Lucretius ( 110272 ) on Sunday February 27, 2000 @11:55AM (#1241989)
    For quite some time the RIAA has been telling us that mp3 is destroying its revenue base due to illegal pirating... this data could possibly throw a kink into that argument, but I'm not going to be so compulsive as to say that for sure (though I would like to).

    Now we must admit that this really does bring up some of the philosophical debates of .mp3's and piracy. I mean, if in an age where piracy is rampant and no user who has access to use an mp3 would ever go out and buy a CD (at least according to the worst rhetoric of the RIAA), then this data is apparently an anomoly and we should just ignore it.

    Personally, I think this is a great way to point out that mp3's do not actually stop the purchasing of CD's, but rather promote them in the sample-before-you-buy theory. Technically we could sit around in music shops, listening to each and every CD we can get our hands on (if you happen to have one of those nice CD shops around) to see what we like, or perhaps we can just go online in the comfort of our own home and check out some stuff that other people have recommended to us, or that we have found by happenstance (the same thing that we would do in the record shop, except we can do this at 2:00am, when insomnia rears its ugly head). While the record company will obviously lose some money from people having nothing but pirated music, the overall purchasing of the music could be stimulated by the existance of mp3s.

    There is, however, the other point to bring up. Music sales have increased because the economy is booming and people are just out there spending more money, most of whom have no idea what an mp3 actually is and wouldn't know how to operate a computer in order to use them in the first place.

    Then again, there is the thought that they are using Britany Spears to spread subliminal messages hidden in her artificial bustline to get more adolescent kids to buy stuff... ;-)

    But, back to the subject, I don't know what the numbers were from last year, at least I don't remember them being mentioned in the article), so I can't completely compare these ideas (and then again, how can someone truly proove an idea such as this.... but I digress). However, the data leads me to beleive that mp3 isn't the evil that the RIAA makes it out to be (NB - I didn't beleive them in the first place), or so the numbers would have us beleive...

  • by lexiconbt ( 53463 ) on Sunday February 27, 2000 @11:58AM (#1241995) Homepage
    so i'm sitting here, at work, relolading slashdot, when i see one of the best headlines in a long while. yeah, i laughed out loud in my office. then i read the article, then i read the comments.

    i might have guessed that maybe one id10t would post...... "um... i dont get the obvious joke embedded in this headline", but come on people, there are too many comments destroying my illusion that slashdot readers are a bit smater than the average person.

    how about we think before we get that first post. slashdot is about sharing knowledge and fun... not about having the most karma, or complaining over bad posts, or repeat posts, or pretending that were more important than posters, linus, or god.

    lets try to respect slashdot... and congrats michael for a great post.

    //end rant

  • I just thought I'd throw in some discussion not related to music distributors and publicists. What about the artists who we all so enjoy listening to? What happens if they cease to be payed for their efforts and no longer produce the music? While I realize and agree with the opposition to forking over hard-earned to big conglomerate corporations, it is those companies who provide artists with a label and a means by which to earn profit through notoriety.

    I don't think music should have to be stolen to prevent our money from getting to the conglomerates. However, the artists must still be payed to continue their great work. Devotion to the art is fine, but it doesn't pay the bills.

    With the inexpense of advertising on the internet, as well as the tremendous and diverse audience out there, doesn't it make sense that artists should begin to promote themselves and sell their own music? If artists could somehow distribute their own music via the internet at rates considerably lower than those of major labels, I would not be adverse to purchasing music. Just a thought.

  • That was the whole point of the article.

    The MPAA had a net Profit of $1,400,000,000.

    I thought that that was a clever but simple and straight forward joke on Micheal's part. It is interesting that so many people appeared to be misled by it.

  • I think that the obvious conclusion is that nearly everyone who could afford to buy cds did, along with downloading music they didn't buy. The argument that it's ok as long as we download something that we wouldn't buy anyway seems to have a financial proof to it now. I know that in the past I have never spent more than $30 a year on cds, even before I knew what an mp3 was, and that I have spent more than that now, that I listen to music that sounds interesting to me from Napster, then buy the cd because I like the songs on it.
  • Double negatives were neither necessary for impact, nor added to the readability of the story.

    The story should have read: "Pirates cause $1.4 billion gain in CD Sales. Also, 90 million more CDs are shipped.".

    Or, better yet, (but without the intended effect, yet more accurate):

    "Despite pirates, the RIAA sees a $1.4 billion gain in CD Sales with 90 million more CDs shipped".

    I wouldn't have posted this, but there are _way_ too many people bitching on slashdot, supporting the use of double negatives in english language for "impact" in this story. Readability adds impact, double negatives detract from it. That is why "Yo English teecha neva told ya's to use da sentence 'I ain't never gonna come back'". :-)

    Flame me on the fact that double negatives are wrong, and I'll /prove/ I'm right.

    Flame me for bad grammar, and you will be ignored.
  • by CFN ( 114345 ) on Sunday February 27, 2000 @12:10PM (#1242008)
    This is exactly why we need to support mp3 and other easy to produce formats, to eliminate the RI execs, A and R men, managers, and shiest lawyers from taking loads of profits.
    The recording companies take a tremendous cut of the profits, the artists are the ones being shafted. In addition record execs. seem to only want to produce crap Nsync and Britny Spears type shit.
    If artists could produce and distribute their work directly, more of them would be heard, and could reach their niche audiances. It would increase artistic diversity. Assuming the cost for this new media would be much cheaper then a current CS, if a system was in place so that the artists could earn the money directly, they would earn even more money then they do now, because no shiesty middle men would take a big cut.
    Internet music is a way to increase diversity, and to ensure that quality voices are not lost amongst the crap pop music. This is the real reason the RIAA is opposed to mp3 and the like, and the real reason we have to fight them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2000 @12:13PM (#1242011)
    You know, I always ignored those "I'm leaving Slashdot, I'm sick of all the stupid people / the trolls / etc." posts... but damn, it looks like almost all the intelligent, insightful people really have ditched Slashdot.

    I need my geek fix too frequently to give up on slashdot, but you miss so much reading at Score=2, and you see so much garbage reading any lower. And now that the trolls have figured out that they can get accounts just like anyone else for the +1 bonus, and they can post often enough to waste moderator points on marking them down rather than marking insightful stuff, so the Score=3 posts get scarcer and scarcer.

    Fuck, I probably need to post this anonymously, too, since the decay of Slashdot (and Western-fucking-Civilization) is "off topic", and will be marked down just like the dozens of legitimate "put software release 2.3.48ac4 in it's own section" complaints in other threads.

    Of course, we're stuck with clueless moderators, since the 33% of people who visit slashdot most often make themselves ineligible to become moderators; that way we get "the average reader". Yay, average people.
  • >Mp3's are illegal and wrong and bad

    No way man. Pirating music is "bad". MP3s aren't. :-)

    Sorry to point that out, but nowadays, EVERYBODY thinks MP3 == pirated music. 'Fraid it ain't so...

    1/2 my library of 60 Audio CDs are in MP3 format now, and counting. Much more convenient, to have 5 albums (compressed at something decent, like 192 kbps VBR) on a CD, rather than just one.

    I agree with the rest of your points though. The ability to pirate music off of the internet has allowed people to sample music from groups that would have never been considered in the Music Store. The internet and MP3 compression has really opened up the amout of quality music availiable to people, simply by making the "try before you by" scenario reasonably possible.
  • Personally, while I agree with you in that there should be more than just music on the cds, I really hate the current implementation of it. My fiancee just got a Natalie Imbruglia CD (Don't ask me which one, I'm not a fan), and wasn't able to view the contents of the CD because they had a video embedded into the contents. I picked up the newest Blink182 on a whim and had the same problem. There's a video on there, and while I was able to play the CD itself in Windows CD Player, I couldn't find anything even resembling the contents of the CD in its directory structure.

    I know, I know, why do I need to see the contents??? Well, I wanted to rip em into MP3 format. To pirate?? No. To play in my DVD player. I've got an Apex Digital DVD player(which I like very much), and it also plays MP3s. My current trend has been to take as many of my CDs as possible, and cram them (in MP3 format) onto an ISO9660 formatted CD so that I could listen to them on my DVD player. This saves me the time of changing CDs, and allows me to pick and choose the songs that I wanna listen to, and arrange them into 'moods' I might be in when I want to listen to them in. (One mood for cleaning, one mood for relaxing, etc...)

    Unfortunately, I'm not able to do this with at least two CDs currently, and I've heard about others (The only one I can recall is the newest Beastie Boys CD). Yes, this does prevent pirating (I guess, I see Beastie Boys and Blink182 MP3s all over the place), but it also makes me feel more restricted. While I believe that I could rip these things if I really wanted, I don't like Blink that much to take the time. (Haven't even tried it on my Linux box, anybody know?) However, I do feel like I've been forced into a specific path set by the creators of the CD. Almost feel like I somehow agreed to a Microsoftian license agreement without my knowledge, and I fear that the EULAs we are trying to get rid of will be adopted by the RIAA.

    And as far as my ska, punk, etc., I usually won't pay more than $10 for a CD. We've got a really good distributor here, and most of the stuff I like (Victim's Family, Kyuss, Guttermouth, Catch22), I can not only find anywhere else, but can't find as cheap.

    I'm rambling now... good bye.

  • I can't mention a sign of the "industry" losing any money at all in the link that was posted. In fact, as far as I can tell, they're reporting growth in cd/dvd product sales from the previous year. To quote:

    "According to the RIAA, manufacturers saw a 3.2 percent net unit increase in audio and video product shipped to domestic markets (from 1.12 billion units in 1998 to 1.16 billion units in 1999). The corresponding dollar value of those shipments at suggested list price increased 6.3 percent from $13.7 billion in 1998 to $14.6 billion last year. "

    Here's another paragraph

    "Despite the maturity of the format, in 1999 full-length CD shipments grew nearly 11 percent over the previous year. On the other hand, while shipments of CD singles remained flat at 56 million units, this was a significant improvement over 1998. Growth within the CD singles format is being driven by CD maxi singles, which increased from $35.7 million in 1998 to $65.3 million in 1999. Full-length CD unit shipments grew 10.8 percent from 847 million in 1998 to 939 million in 1999; full-length CD dollar value grew 12.3 percent from $11.4 billion in 1998 to $12.8 billion in 1999."

    In fact, the subtitle of this article itself clearly states

    "RIAA Reports Recorded Music Market Enjoyed Solid Growth In 1999 DVD Growth Explosive, CDs Solid, Cassettes And Music Videos In Decline"

    So I ask you again, does anyone actually read these articles, or do people merely read what other people CLAIM the article says and their OPINIONS on it, and then start a discussion based on that? I mean, if slashdot has degraded that far, thats fine and I'll shut up, but I wasn't aware we had descended that far at this point in time.
  • Really like the sarcasm, Michael, but doesn't it sound like the bullshit the RIAA is using in its own propaganda? "MP3s hurt music sales... we're selling more music! People place 'intrinsic value' in music!"

    What they've been spoon-feeding the media (it's kinda incestual in a way... they've been media-fucking their keepers; e.g., Time-Warner, etc. who have interests in music and news media) is exactly that: a huge contradiction. I'm going to assume that their sales statistics are based on fact. This means that their entire crusade against MP3s is based on non-existant evidence. The RIAA wants us to believe that MP3s are hurting music distribution, when in fact their monetary sales and unit sales are both substantially up? Doesn't make sense.

    Of course the few odd pirates will impact the bottom line, but I'm guessing there are a lot of people who get an MP3 from a friend, off the net, etc. and then go buy the album. A friend just turned me on to Neutral Milk Hotel via 200MBs of MP3s that she had up on restricted FTP server. Guess what CDs are going to be in my mail box on Monday? Two Neutral Milk Hotel albums.

  • "They lost negative $n." By losing a negative, you're actually gaining money. It's like saying, "Hey, I just lost -1 shoe! I had one shoe before, now I have two!" It's an easy enough mistake unless you read Michael's leader carefully, asking yourself what it is really saying.

  • I would have to agree with the statement

    >Of course the few odd pirates will impact the bottom line, but I'm guessing there are a lot of people who get an MP3 from a friend, off the net, etc. and then go buy the album.

    As I myself do actually find most of the cd's I want by downloading the mp3 first, and then deciding I like it so grab the cd.

    I'm a fairly big CD owner, just on 300 odd, and most have been chosen because of an mp3.

  • Quick question, but where does the price of a CD come from?

    I know the media is pretty cheap (anybody who has a CD burner knows that it's not the cost of the media... and that's commercial, even), but some of that $18.99 has to be justified somewhere down the line. Maybe I'm not cynical enough, but perhaps they aren't just pulling that price out of...

    Out of thin air. :)

  • So how many lawyers will $US1.4 billion buy for stomping on open source authors?
  • by xant ( 99438 )
    Why is this moderated "funny"? I think he should be taken literally. If we pirate 100% of their sales out from under them, they won't be able to pay their lawyers.
  • We need to filter out certian users like the account trolls - so why not make it so that you can filter posts by the user's krama rating?

    Then after 5 mark downs, they can't be seen.

    Also we could get /. crew to report abuse on the board to the ISPs. You can have the kids kicked off the net - that would be funny. =)
  • by Weezul ( 52464 ) on Sunday February 27, 2000 @12:43PM (#1242055)
    Let's pick up the pace - despite all of our efforts, the RIAA is still firmly in the black.

    Seriously, It would be really nice to think that we could hurt the RIAA by pirating lots of music, but the issue is a lot more complex. Piracy might have the potential to do a little harm to sales, but for the most part piracy is promotion and will only increase sales. We really do not know that piracy will hurt them in the long run. It will definitly change their buisness model and will remove the monopoly on promotion, but we would really like to hurt these companies which have abused their artists and consumers for so long.

    I feal that music pirates should feal morally obligated to try and hurt the music industry by (a) improving promotion for internet only bands and (b) helping people who really do not have the money to pirate get the songs for free.

    We can achive (a) by giving internet only bands who let us distribut their music space on our sites (and maybe even telling people to check them out). It would als be a good idea for people to run sites specilising in promotion, i.e. pirate sites submit upload instrustions, internet bands upload their own music, and the site uploads the song (maybe with advertising attached) to lots of pirate sites. Generally it would be a relly good idea to help these bands promot themselves.

    I do not really know much about (b) but I think that we should make an effort to recrute people in poor countries and high school kids into the pirate scene. People who learn to pirate because they lack the money to buy CDs *may* be less likely to switch to mindlss CD consumers in the future.

    We have a moral obligation as consumers to try and fix abusive industry.
  • by bludstone ( 103539 ) on Sunday February 27, 2000 @12:45PM (#1242058)
    When CDs first came out, they were a little more pricy then most people had hoped. The recording industry stated that the price jump was because the media format was so new, and they needed to up production before they could drop the price without losing money.

    Rather then drop the price like they had promised, they saw that people were willing to pay the inflated prices (due to the monopoly by the RIAA.) Hence, they never dropped the prices like they had said they would.

    If you look at the prices on mp3.com, thats the price a CD truly should be, $8.99 or so. I dont know about you, but if Music CDs only cost 8 bucks a peice, I would be buying them all the freaking time.

    As it is, I am a poor college student, and I pirate most all of my music. That combined with my bitterness towards the Media industry as a whole, I can justify myself.

    On a similar note, does anyone know how much the artist gets from a CD sale through the RIAA? I bet its under 1$ per CD. I truly belive that a real artist would prefer my appreciation of their music over my money. And with my complete lack of funds, mp3s have allowed me to appreciate a wide variety of different music.

    If i could send squarepusher a cheque for 15$, I would. That would probably be more money then he would get if i bought all of his CDs...

    I still dont understand why the RIAA is fighting mp3. They are going to lose.. thats all there is to it. Their best bet is to embrace the mp3 format and figure out a way to make money off of it.. I dont know about you guys, but I would gladly pay a monthly fee for access to an RIAA mp3 ftp with every peice of music ever released on it.

  • If we pirate 100% of their sales out from under them, they won't be able to pay their lawyers.

    "We" can pirate all we want, but that doesn't mean they won't sell anything. It just means we will have wasted all of our bandwidth.


  • I'd like to see a pirate attack on the RIAA offices, right out of Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life."


  • Maybe the RIAA should ... reduce the price of CD's

    Why? They're obviously making more profit that way; otherwise they would lower their prices. And, to kill two birds with one stone, they come out more evil and sinister that way :)


  • wow. I guess that big huge pile of CD's in my CAMPUS DORM drawer doesn't exist, as well as that Les Mis original cast recording set that's coming in the mail... (just like the large pile of DVD's that I'd like to play under linux doesn't exist either :) ). people buy CDs around here. people buy a LOT of CDs. you should take a look at the dorm mailrooms. or at the two very large music stores (Rasputin and Ameoba) that are a block away from each other, in the heart of student-land.

    number 2 -- you SHOULD NOT be downloading those crap quality MP3s. it's illegal, in general. complaining that your pirated MS software is crap is going to get you about the same amount of sympathy from me, or from anyone else. for some odd reason my MP3s sound fine, and I'm sure the ones you rip do too -- and since those are the only ones (besides some that you can buy at mp3.com, etc) you can legally listen to, you really don't have anything to complain about. ripping MP3s for yourself is fair use (anything to not have to crawl under my bed to change the CD!). taking advantage of it is only going to encourage things like SDMI-enabled players, which won't play my HHGTTG original-radio-show MP3s, or anything else I've ripped that the RIAA won't be offering.

    now, I do agree with you about micropayable music. these are likely to be high quality as well, even high quality MP3s, so that would take care of your other complaint.


    (oh, and if people know good rippers/encoders for linux... I haven't ripped anything since I switched over a year and some ago, and I've got a lot more stuff to throw on that extra hard drive that used to have windows on it...)
  • Last point -- if you can't afford something that you want, that doesn't mean you should steal it no matter how big or evil the company may be.

    If I cant afford a $500 program you're selling, then I won't buy it, so how does it hurt you if I warez a copy? I wouldnt buy it anyways cause I can't afford it. So in the end I get to use it, even though I can't afford it. No one is losing anything, I am just gaining.

    -- iCEBaLM
  • but more to the point. My friend and I had a discussion about this yesterday, it's easy to find all the new singles from different bands since thats what people hear on the radio and go download. What you don't find a good deal of is B-sides, smaller bands (even "big" punk bands), and the tracks from the middle of the CD. Look for a full album of Pink Floyd or The Addicts, they are HARD to find as mp3s. Maybe the piracy crap was just reverse psychology...
  • As a former poor college student myself, I highly recommend used record shops. Most CD's there are in the $3-$5 dollar range (although newer ones may run you more like $8-$9). And the newer CD's are there. Lots of kids with bigger bank accounts than I buy that brand new CD for one song then decide they don't want it and sell it. I pick it up a week after it's out for $9 and save myself nearly that much. Most larger college towns have at least one or two. Happy cheap CD buying.

  • something that Rob and crew have tried very hard to preserve is that you can see EVERY post -- even those modded down all the way. so losing their +1 bonus, yes. even having them start out at -1 (like the +2 bonus for high karma the other way around), yes. however, just erasing their posts seems to go against the intentions so far.

    and having them kicked off is inappropriate -- not to mention that no ISP would probably do it, except perhaps for NetZero, Frewwweb, etc... however, how would you report them? if you (for example) track IPs, then the whole /. crew (and Andover) open themselves up for all sorts of legal action. common carrier status is a precious thing.

    perhaps we could just slap em around a bit... :)


  • by quonsar ( 61695 ) on Sunday February 27, 2000 @01:02PM (#1242087) Homepage

    Which is more amazing.. that you people bitch and whine about the "corporate" music and the "spoon-fed" attitude, or the fact that you steal said music. Whether or not they're ethical is a personal decision. If they're really the bad bad people you say they are, why don't you 1) not BUY the music, and 2) not DOWNLOAD the music. Its pretty amazing you blasphemize these companies then justify stealing their goods because they're evil.. indeed...

    Well, y'all mostly missing the point.

    Go back to the beginning. The music industry IS evil - musicians basically sell thier souls (and all rights to thier works) for distribution. The industry is the largest legal pimping operation ever created. The whole thing is an upside down pyramid scheme with the creators of what drives it on the bottom rung.

    It could ONLY exist for as long as it has because distribution was expensive. All that vinyl to stamp, all that cardboard for jackets (age giveaway!), all those CD's to burn, all that plastic for cases, advertising, shipping, etc etc etc.

    Why do people keep claiming that the internet will change the world? Because the internet changes the fundamental paradigms underlying countless industries. Anybody can distribute anything digitally. Musicians (and all other creators of art) will find a way to self-distribute, or cooperatively distribute, thier works at a reasonable profit. Like water flowing downhill, the free market will see to it. Count on it.

    Remember, it's still early times. Once the internet is as ubiquitous as television, it is inevitable. It cannot be controlled.

    It is also inevitable that as this occurs, the entrenched and very rich interests in the current paradigm will literally flood the world with fear, propoganda, lobbying money, and outright lies. We've only just begun to see the types of inane laws and regulations that this will bring about. But in the end, it's just noise.

    The old paradigms are already dead. They aren't going to die quietly, but dead they are. Digital distribution isn't going away.

    "Rex unto my cleeb, and thou shalt have everlasting blort." - Zorp 3:16

  • by jetson123 ( 13128 ) on Sunday February 27, 2000 @01:04PM (#1242090)
    In addition, I think it's not just control over their own content that comes with SDMI or other proprietary formats. By controlling the format, the industry consortium also controls access to the market by other companies and not-for-profit efforts.

    And they control upgrade paths: every ten or so years, you will get a new, "enhanced" format that requires you to repurchase your entire collection of media.

    Contrast that with MP3. Because MP3 is open and media independent, it's archival: if you have paid for some piece of music once, you and your heirs can access it in perpetuity.

    Furthermore, with an open format like MP3, you'd get more and more free content, from people who perform music and theater for fun. Much of that isn't going to be very good, but some can be excellent. With the kind of format the RIAA is pushing for, they'd get their cut even from such productions, through license fees and inflated production costs.

    Technology promises to bring us, finally, the ability to share artistic content freely, and the established media companies are trying to thwart this. I think, ultimately, the RIAA and MPAA efforts are doomed to failure. But if we don't watch out, we may be in for a very unpleasant few decades where content remains unnecessarily expensive and limited.

  • It's possible that my post wasn't clear, but I was asking the same two questions, just in as unweighted a manner as I could. I realize that it's tough (if not impossible) to answer those questions in an objective, quantitative manner.

    But to respond to your response, and hopefully clarify my original post:

    1. I think my original question #2 is the same.

    2. The point of my original two questions was to ask if this has, overall, benefited the RIAA or cost it money.

    They've certainly made more money from me than they would have otherwise because of "piracy". I'm just curious if this holds up over the entire music-buying population.

    On the other hand, I haven't bought any CD's or listened to much pirated music at all over the past few months.....

    (And I happen to not like the RIAA's current actions myself, so, yes, I do agree with the spirit behind your post.)
  • The problems you are having are with multisession discs. You should still be able to rip any of the tracks though. Try cdparanoia on Linux.

    I bought a Leftfield CD with a video on it and the only problem I had was that I couldn't rip track 5 so I had to record it in analog.

    Personally I don't have a stereo system, so I rely on mp3s as a way to queue a large amount of music with instant access.

  • by nadador ( 3747 ) on Sunday February 27, 2000 @01:13PM (#1242104)

    the music still belongs to them. No matter how justified you are in doing whatever the hell you want in your mind, it still belongs to them.

    No matter how self-righteously indignant you can make yourself, its still belongs to them.

    How you justify the idea that pirating music really isn't pirating music, and that you somehow have a "right" to download it without ever making any pretense of purchasing it, is really amusing.

    Andrew Gardner
  • How many of you have made for, or recieved from, your friends tapes containing songs of bands you have not heard before, and as a result gone out and bought albums?

    This is surely of benefit to the music industry when radio stations will only play safe, conformist, boring, commercial music.

    Call me old-fashioned if you like...
  • I don't find that to be true at all. I buy CDs, although I've never really been a big cd buyer. Now that mp3's have come along, I'm actually buying more of them specificly so that I can rip them to my hard drive and use my computer as a juke box. Granted, many people use mp3's. Their usage however does not mean that they would actually _buy_ the cd for a certain song. All it means is that its increased the quantitiy of music at their disposal. Yes, the RIAA is losing some money. I'm extremely skeptical about that $1.4B estimate however. Its a bit hard to swallow.
  • That's what the recording studios consider radio for, plus there they have much more control over the music.

  • | I hate CD's (a hassle to play compared to
    | MP3's), so I rarely buy them except to support
    | groups I really like. I immediately rip CD's I
    | own so I can play them on my
    | Rio. If the RIAA would institute a fair and
    | reasonably priced system of music vending, I
    | would respect it. Is anyone else with me on
    | this?

    Only if it were in addition to CDs. For me, the opposite is true. CDs are more convenient that MP3s. I don't have a Rio and the computer's not in the same room with the good stereo equipment.

    Then there's the other issue of sound quality. We don't have cable modem or DSL service here. I'd hate to download an entire album's worth of CD-quality music (which most MP3s on the net aren't) over a 56K modem.

    I agree with some of the other posters - I'd be happy if CD prices were lower. I'd probably end up spending a good deal money overall on CDs if the price was lower. Guess I can stick to used in the meantime. :)
  • by Sadfsdaf ( 106536 ) on Sunday February 27, 2000 @01:32PM (#1242123)
    How silly, so you think that the ARTIST that MADE the music should get compensated? well me too! guess what, every CD you buy, a MINIMAL amount goes to them, sometimes they get screwed in their contract and they get BILLED money instead of getting paid for each CD sold. the music companies don't give a care about protecting the artists rights, they want to protect their cash cow.

    The artists are getting peanuts compared to what the record companies get, sometimes they get screwed too.

    Is pirating the lesser of two evils?
  • by KennyG ( 124138 ) on Sunday February 27, 2000 @01:34PM (#1242126)
    You know, just parading this fact about the growths of sales and profits doesn't strike me as the most thoughtful use of statistics I've ever seen.

    What's really important from the business mind of RIAA is, how does that growth compare to last year's growth? How did we compare to Wall Street's estimates? In fact, their rate of growth could be slowing, due to the expanding use of mp3's.

    So, this isolated fact really tells me nothing, and in the larger scheme of things, this fact could be used to boost the RIAA's case in court.

  • <i>Lots of kids with bigger bank accounts than I buy that brand new CD for one song then decide they don't want it and sell it</i>

    Sure, it's the rich kids supplying those stores. Even the Disc's that still have the shrink-wrap from the original store...
  • by Nagash ( 6945 ) on Sunday February 27, 2000 @01:48PM (#1242138) Homepage
    I took a music production/business course from Sept 1994 to April 1996, so hopefully my info is not too out of date.

    The cost of a producing a CD is cheap. This includes CD, jewel case, ink, paper, etc. Probably $1.50 US max. Unless the artist is a multi-million album seller, the artist makes very little in royalties from CD's (more on this later). My figures were about $1.00 US a sale. Maybe $1.50. We'll be generous - $2.00. If the artist is big, this can vary wildly, because the artist has real negotiating power when making up a recording contract.

    As for the rest (~$15.00 US), that's due to the record company and middlemen. Maybe you should ask record stores how much they pay for CD's from the manufacturer. From my music course days, the record company makes at least $5.00 a sale (more on this in a sec).

    Sounds pretty crappy huh? Well, get this...

    Say I'm a "starving artist" and a major record company wishes to sign me to their label. Cool. I'm in the big time. Let's even say you have your own studio. Now, what will the record company offer in a standard contract?

    • creation of masters (what all the CDs/tapes/albums) are stamped from
    • distribution of material

    You know what the best part is? They own your copyright. Thus, if you become successful, to have control of your songs, you have to buy them back from the record company. That basically sucks and is the same as the software industry. The difference is you are writing the music for yourself and others, whereas you write software for other people. It's similar, but much more personal with music...

    Anyway, sparing some gory contract details that I don't recall exactly, it breaks down to this: you pay back the record company out of your royalties. This is the part that really blows.

    Let's say I got a loan from the record company for $200,000 US to create and distribute my album that I recorded. I hand over the master recordings to them so they can make the CDs. I now no longer own copyright on them but I get $2 from each sale. After 100,000 CD sales I still have nothing in royalties because that $200,000 in royalty money goes back to pay the record company. I only get money after the 100,000th sale. I don't think it's hard to image that 100,000 sales is tough for a nobody artist and $200,000 is a low estimate on the creation/distribution of records. Note that the record company makes $7 a CD for the first 100,000 sales.

    It gets worse: standard contracts have you signed for a few albums - not one. So you can get really in debt if you aren't successful. Add in the cost of a producer, engineer, studio, incremental royalties and it just goes to shit.

    There are ways around this, but it's not real easy (hint: proven self-distribution). This is probably not all that far from reality now-a-days. Btw, the artists can make good money via live performances, I believe.

    Just a little FYI. (if this is way different now, please fill me/us in)

  • extensive pirating hasn't hurt the majors (small, decent indie labels tend not to be members of RIAA), for, as we all know, major labels suck (most of the time) [atlantic-satellite.com]. However, it is hardly surprising.

    99% of the population tend to view computers as scary grey boxes. Probably around 50% of the population listens to music. That means a large part of the music-buying audience is afraid of computers. These people probably do not stuff their harddisks with illegal MP3's. I don't know why the majors even bother to complain about MP3's at all. Probably just to open their mouth.

    Another reason why this isn't surprising is that CD's and records (food for the enlightened) tend to be seen more as collectible items than as carriers of music. Most people buy CD's/Records because they want something tangible, something they can cuddle and sniff, and something that has liner notes they can read. This also explains why Audio-CD pirating never took off that much (except in Russia and the Far East, where people simply can't afford to buy a CD at the official price). If you like a CD, you want to have an original. Cheap copies are not collectibles. If you just want to hear a certain song, you'll tape it from someone. Nowadays, you'll have someone copy the CD for you or you'll get an MP3 (if you're a member of the digerati). There is no indication, however, that there are more people now ripping and copying cd's than there were people taping records before. It's just that the MP3 "revolution" has made hometaping a little more visible. And just like hometaping never "killed music", MP3 will not either.

    Which is a shame, though, because the only "music" MP3 would kill would be major label music (try to find illegal Pan Sonic MP3's. You can't. It's all Britney Spears). And, as we all know, the majors are evil [atlantic-satellite.com].

  • That sounds similar to the way that I have little to no interest in buying the music that I hear over and over and over on the radio...
  • Maybe the record companies should consider two things. Instead of trying to watermark or secure a CD, why not make a compelling reason to buy one? How about good cover art, neat inserts and reasonable priced CD's?

    $12.99 - $16.99 is an unreasonable price to pay considering a DVD is not much more. As well tapes and other media have plunged in price but stamped CD's seem to be the only thing that goes up in price as quantity increases.

    MP3 has caught on like crazy. There is nothing record companies can do about this. All they can try to do is offer the music legally on MP3 if a legal buyer desires it.

    If record companies want to curb piracy, make music affordable, the liner notes worth getting and offer the music in multiple formats.
  • That practice is illegal in some countries though... Implemented to stem the tide of frivolous lawsuits.

    Heh! There are governments that attempt to reduce the number of lawsuits? That's an extremely alien concept to Americans. What would we do with all our time if we weren't kept busy suing one another?


  • This is my first post in ages, but this is an issue most people fell pretty strongly about.

    Pirating CD's is not the answer.

    The villans of the music world are, as stated, the record giants. They have more money than any artist, and have the marketing budgets similar to the GDP of a small nation. They have the power to buy their way up the chart for a "number one" single.

    And where do they advertise their wares? On free to air radio. Let's face it, without FTA radio, no artist would ever get anywhere. You have to want the music to go and buy it. To promote the MP3, or net only, scene, we need - MP3 radio.

    Australia's youth network, Triple J [http] has an MP3 of the week section where artists can send their tracks and hopefully score some free airplay.

    If we had a radio station that operated soley on this, there would be a number of pros and cons.

    + There would be no licensing issues
    + There would be no CD library, just a data vault
    + Songs are able to be called from the library without leaving the chair
    + The songs (or samples of) could me made available to the listeners

    - You would haave to pay for some real bandwidth
    - Someone would have to go through the deluge of crap to find the gems.
    - You have to get people to listen...
    - ...and to do that you need $

    So when someone starts a MP3 broadcast radio station, that'll be the day the RIAA will actually take out more than a piracy legal suit, and the masses will rejoice.
  • That isn't correct - the original analogy holds.

    The radio station pays a fee to play that song, and income from advertisers covers their costs, but when they broadcast they do *not* pay for each person who hears it. We can listen for free, and are (technologically, not legally - this is important to note for the mp3 issue) completely free to record that broadcast. Once I record it, I have no need to purchase the CD.

    While the recording industry gets a nominal reward for each time the music is broadcast, the real motivation for them - the reason why they send hookers and drugs to the hotel rooms of DJ's - is to promote the music and sell more CD's, even though theoretically the broadcast should cost them sales, according to the logic with which they are attacking mp3s.

  • Like I said, here [slashdot.org]
  • (I hate giving plugs to websites, but if you must have the music, this is the cheapest solution I've been able to find for new cd's.)

    Back when I was buying more cd's, the best place to check was http://www.finditnow.8m.com/ for discounts.

    They have links to all kinds of "coupons" at CDNOW. Go for the ones that are $10 off purchases of $14.99 or more (for any cd).

    Be careful, some of them are marked for first time customers only, and a lot of them are $10 off purchases of $19.99 or more.

    But you can just keep using the $10 off $14.99 until they expire. Use them over and over (last I checked anyway, which was quite a while ago). That drops the price of a cd down to $4.99. So with about $4 for shipping, that is $8.99, and it is delivered to your door.

    Hope that helps some.

    Or you can do like I do. Don't buy any. :)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I am not an employee of Nettwerk, but I run a family law firm (I don't do entertainment law or intellectual property, in other words), hence I am indeed a lawyer.

    For nearly seven years, Nettwerk in Vancouver kept Sarah McLachlin afloat, taking her from a teenager who'd never written an album to profitability and an international market. She had the benefit of their money, Canadian Content regulations and a corporation that believed in her. A few years after she turned the corner and started making more money than if she'd taught music in an elementary school, she was able to use her marketing credibility to start up Lilith Fair. Regardless of whether you like her music or not ( I do, but I believe people should develop their own tastes ), Sarah McLachlin would never have been able to go on to such success without Nettwerk backing her, and she's said so again and again. As far as I'm concerned, they both took the risk and so she's entitled to the money, and so is Nettwerk. Don't pirate what someone else has developed privately: you have no right to steal.
    Piracy is theft, pure and simple.

    If you object to some scumbag trying to circumvent the GPL, you should definately object to piracy.

    On the other hand, this DeCSS fiasco is morally repugnant: if I've paid for the damned DVD, fair use allows me to play it on Linux, BeOS and any other damned box I can get it to run on. Someone needs to sue the Norwegian government for malicious prosecution and hit Jack Valenti with a clue stick.
  • Just a survey, if you are given the option to buy a song for lets say $0.30 to $0.50 range in digital format, would you rather 1) Pirate it Digitally 2) Buy it Digitally 3) Buy the CD Slashdot, why not make this a survey?
  • I personally use LAME (well, not LAME technically, but rather the sample MP3 implimentation with LAME's patch applied); It's slower than most others, but the quality's good (and it supports VBR). And until this whole legal fuss got started, I did indeed buy the CDs corresponding to my MP3s. Probably still would, but I don't like feeding lawyers.
  • "When you listen to the radio, you listen to advertisements"

    See, that's where your wrong. Some station do not advertise. Take for example government funded ABC (that's AUSTRALIAN broadcasting corp.) and their youth network, Triple J. No ads, great music. They pay a play license to the record label but to you or me, it's free to air.
  • It may be obvious, but companies like the RIAA are in effect huge megalithic middle men. They know this. They have a monopoly to blackmail the artist into accepting their manufacturing / pressing / advertising contracts. They realise that artists can now record their music at CD quality, make their own CDs at budget prices. They can advertise for free on the internet. They can give away samples of their albums to a fan base. They can give chatroom interviews, all of this sickens the RIAA, it's cutting out the middle man, ie, them. Even though they are gaining sales, they are trying to stamp this fledgling threat to their entire existance before it really catches on. Just imagine it, they'd be out of a job if everyone did it that way.

    And, no, I rarely pirate mp3s, I have a lot, but they're almost all mine. I buy the CD of the ones I listen to the most. That's the way it should be.

    IMHO, anyway. :o)


  • Lets put some math in use. If 1.4 billion is divided by 90 million, the average profit/loss for each CD is $15.44

    Are they admitting that they are making about 90% to 110% (???) of the CDs at counter price? As in the real CD's production actually cost is actually 10% to -10% (???)

    This is assuming they never produced the CD the did not ship. On the other hand if they claim the loss is due to CDs produced which is not sold, then they are admitting each CD cost them $15.44 to produce. Think, if you are really making all the money from factory to storefront, anyone is gonna distribute their products for $15.00 - $18.00 ? What I am suggesting is RIAA really is loosing only about 20-30% if the stated $1.4 billion (if the amount of CDs not shipped is true in any sense which I really doubt).

    Either way, the figures seem too extreme and I believe it is a lousy lie exgerated.

  • by CokeBear ( 16811 ) on Sunday February 27, 2000 @03:15PM (#1242200) Journal
    i still want that physical representation of the music with the little booklet and the lyrics and all that stuff

    Regardless of where the industry goes, the physical booklet with lyrics will eventually make way for artist's web sites, which can hold infinitely more information than the little booklet. A good example of this is Moxy Fruvous [fruvous.com]

    They have the lyrics to all the songs they ever recorded at their web site, as well as tour dates, fan info, and tons of other stuff. If we are still buying physical media (CDs or their descendents) in 10 years, the enclosed booklet will simply contain a URL, with all the info, including lyrics, at the web site.

    (BTW, any other Fruvous fans out there? Former Fruvous fans?)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2000 @03:32PM (#1242202)
    No matter how evil the slaveowners are, the slaves still belong to them. No matter how justified you are in trying to free them, they still belong to the slaveowners.

    No matter how self-righteously indignant you can make yourself, the slaves still belong to them.

    How you justify the idea that freeing slaves isn't really stealing, and that they somehow have "rights" without purchasing their freedom from their owners, is really amusing.

    The laws on the books aren't the definitave guide as to what is right and wrong. There are many people who believe that the music industry is using laws to corrupt, rather than noble, ends, and that by encouraging things like MP3 is a fight to break their monopoly on distributed music.
  • I am getting more than just a little pissed off at the music racket. And it's not much better than that, I wouldn't dignify it with the term "industry."

    First they make 15 billion in revenue by overcharging 3 or 4 times for a CD. But thats not good enough. They also have to screw the musicians out of royalties. You would think that would be evil enough for one institution, but no, these guys also want to enact and enforce repressive copyright law internationally, and are big forces behind UCITA and the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.

    Now on top of this they want to whine that someone *else* is stealing from their patch? Hoo boy, the higher they are the harder they fall, and the music industry is really asking for one...
  • This is the problem with Holland schools -- nobody teaches critical thinking.

    It is logically fallacious to assume that because record sales increased that therefore the record industry is not harmed by pirating.

    Suppose I swiped SlashDot pages and put them up on my site attracing 20 or 30 page views a month. At the end of the month Slashdot lawyers contact me and ask me to cease and desist. I point out that Slashdot page views actually increased over the month, so therefore Slashdot suffered no losses.

    Yeah, I bet that would get far (if unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted works is so great, how about removing all of the "© 1997-2000 Andover.Net." message at the bottom of each screen.)
  • just make sure all your friends do the same and we'll have nothing to worry about. Every time I wear my anti-dvd shirt I talk to another person. Markets follow a certain pattern (and the adoption of new technology follows this curve) with the first people to use something being the "early adopters", that's us for MP3, and a bunch of other stuff. This crowd then helps refine the product which eventually moves on to the mass market. I'm sure many of you have taken some marketing classes (unless you avoided them for religious reasons) and know most of this so I'll skip the details.

    My point is that as early adopters, we get to define, or at least help guide, what products come out for the mass market (and get mass marketing budgets). Knowing this, make your opinion known, especially to those that make these decisions. Vote with your wallet, express your fears to your peers, write poems about it, whatever. Bitching' about it is fun on /., but when talking about it "at large" try and keep the sarcasm and cynicism to a low level and the facts (your version of them will do fine) as the main points.

  • If the MPAA's (so far massively successful) campaign against DeCSS is anything to go by, unprotected systems such as MP3 could be in for a major battle. As soon as anything like SDMI is in place, the RIAA will probably sue makers of unprotected players/encoders for violations of the DMCA and the like. Given recent interpretations of copyright as an absolute zero-sum property right, they could well win and MP3 could be outlawed.

    As for the menace of unprotected CDs, DVD-Audio will remedy that, and introduce geographic zoning and other nasties. All they'd need to do once it's on the horizon is start manufacturing their ordinary CDs to deteriorate in a few years, all the while shipping them with a voucher redeemable for a new "enhanced" DVD Audio version. It would make them look generous and aggressively forward-looking and help phase out the fundamentally insecure CD format.
  • Why should I care, I've got my Rio, I've got my mpg123. 'They' cannot 'suppress' anything.
    What about when they start releasing music in a secure format? One where you have to buy their special player? And where every copy of the music has its own individual signature hidden in the sound, so they can track piracy? And where they make you "pay per listen"? And where you no longer have the right to be an anonymous listener, because their special player uploads your listening details along with your credit card details? What about if they start charging heavy listeners increasingly more per listen? And this would all be perfectly legal under DCMA and UCITA, or whatever European equivalents we fail to lobby against hard enough.
    That's just what my twisted little mind could cook up in five minutes. Imagine what the music industry can cook up in a decade.
  • Just think what kind of income they would have made if the music industry produced more stuff worth listening to, instead of the usual crap they're cranking out.

    A much smaller one, I'd say.

    You and I and a few others may be into "stuff worth listening to" (though I've no idea how you would define it), but 90% of the public wants Garth Brooks and Britney Spears.

    Releasing only high-quality music doesn't scale well beyond the size of a niche label such as, say, 4AD or Mute; a behemoth like Universal or Warner couldn't afford to be so fussy and elitist.
  • by Mister Attack ( 95347 ) on Sunday February 27, 2000 @04:02PM (#1242218) Journal
    You could still see all posts, just drop the filter...

    But I agree, a different solution is needed. More mod points, for example. There aren't enough to go around right now.

    And I don't see how this would be any different than USENET abuse, in terms of ISPs' AUPs. Most ISPs prohibit spamming, and trolling == spamming. That way, at least the logged in users will be held accountable for their actions. And the AC's can stay at 0, where they don't bother anyone. Good AC posts will be modded up, as always, and bad AC posts can be safely ignored or modded down. I really don't see why the /. crew shouldn't report abuse of /....

  • That works for CDs, but won't work for DVD Audio. And as soon as they can, they will phase out CDs as a medium in favour of DVDs, much as they did with vinyl. And DVD Audio will be unrippable. (And playing it in through your soundcard doesn't count; for one, the quality on consumer gear is crap.)
  • Now look. If I board a ship, kill and mame people, deprive them of their stuff then you may call it piracy. Otherwise call it what it is. Copying!!!! OK Get it. PS. what makes you so sure that copyrights are a basic right anyhow??
  • The CD. The MP3. Crappy computer speakers. "Good" component computer speakers for $50. It's sad that an entire generation is missing out on the rich sound that a good set of speakers can give you. Yes, I believe in the magic of vinyl - laugh if you must. I would pay good money for brand new vinyl records. Perhaps there are enough people like me for the music industry to tap to counter their loss (if indeed it exists) due to mp3 piracy. Until then, I'll continue to download mp3s, but I'll feel bad about it, and I'll covet Magneplanar speakers, and hope that the college students of today, be they fans of Korn, or Mozart, or the Meaty Cheesy Boys, do likewise.
  • Hmmm, that's a nicely self-serving argument, wouldn't you say? All you have to do is declare that "you can't afford" X, and poof! it's now legal for you to steal X. So $500 is too much? How about $20 for a CD? is that still too much? $6.00 for a paperback? Nope, sorry, "can't afford it", I'll just photocopy it and return the original. Hmmm, now that I think about it, maybe somebody else "can't afford" that book either, I guess I should post the text to my web site, for those poor, unfortunate souls.

    You're taking it a bit far, a $6 paperback is a little different then a $500 collection of bits and bytes on $2 media. Lets be realistic here, software is way overpriced, as is music. Books aren't overpriced at all because they know they have to keep the price down or else consumers just wont buy it. Software companies KNOW their software is going to get pirated, so they price for businesses, except for gaming companies, who charge upwards of $70 canadian for titles, which is rediculous as most of them are so damn buggy. And as for music, well, there's no shortage of teenage girls in the world to keep that industry going, even at its more then double inflated prices.

    I say, if they don't want their "intellectual property" pirated, lower the prices to what it should be.

    -- iCEBaLM
  • That's right. But there *are* laws against monopolies, price fixing collusion, etc., etc. And CDs are most definitely above market value because there's no source of fair competition.

    Think gas prices are a little high lately? Well, that's because not enough oil was produced. I wonder why anyone would want to control production like that, since we're all using roughly the same fixed amount...

    Of course, no matter how evil OPEC is, it's still *their* oil, so they can shaft^H^H^H^H^Hcharge whatever they like for it and whatnot... :P

    Basically, what I'm saying is that people have a right to any good or service at a fair, market value price. And that price isn't $20 for CDs, and it isn't $1.60 for gas (in the US).

    Only paying what you're willing to pay and the other party is willing to accept is what this is based on. Well, the other party obviously isn't listening. Let's take a look at a typical bargaining session between me and the record industry.

    Me:Wow, that CD has two songs I like on it. I'm willing to pay $3 for it.

    Record Industry:How about $20? We worked really hard to make this CD, and you might pirate it.

    Me:Well, I don't know how hard you had to work. Don't you make tons of those? How about $5.

    Record Industry:Sorry, it costs $20.

    Me:Okay. $8. But I don't want to go much higher than that, for just two songs! That's $4/song!

    Record Indsustry:$12 more and we might even sell you a CD!


    See the problem yet?
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [].
  • Five years ago, U2 was the artist with the best record deal: they received $2.50 per CD while most signed artists received $1 or less per CD. Today, Ani DiFranco makes the most money per album: about $7. She is in this position because she runs her own record label. Any artist who's ever tried to run a label knows it's a lot of work and takes a lot of time away from actually producing art.

    I am surprised that CD sales are continuing to grow despite the fact that artists receive progressively smaller percentages of the price tag consumers pay (which is typically about $14 these days--an amount I consider outrageous given how little of that money goes to the artists).

    Labels, for the service of distribution and promotion, typically get about half of the price tag you pay in the store. The retail stores mark up music about 100%. On-line music retail companies like CD Now, Music Boulevard, Amazon, etc. are no better in this regard, charging prices similar to or at best pennies less than "traditional" retail music outlets.

    The MP3 phenomenon makes a loud statement: something is fundamentally wrong with the manner in which the music industry conducts business. Hopefully some reform to the system will eventually come forth.

    Traditional economic analysis is not entirely applicable here because CD's are not indistinguishable and art is not a commodity. But when the music industry gets the message that sales of CD's keep increasing, they will interpret that to mean the industry can and should continue to charge more for CD's.

    Is there any doubt that if this system is allowed to continue further the average artist will continue to receive progressively less than 7% of the gross price of the retail price of a CD for doing the great majority of the work?
  • if i worked for riaa/mpaa/whatever. their palace is crumbling around them.

    they might be kicking ass this year, and for a few more, but unless something drastic happens sales will start to drop radically as average bandwidth-to-consumer increases.

    when it gets as easy (and fast) to send entire songs or videos as it does to attach a jpeg, they're completely screwed.

    i maintained a small sheet music archive for a choir for a short time, and one of my responsibilities was maintaining 75 legal copies of sheet music for the chorale.

    It was just a little paperwork -- find the publisher, call them, get the cost, get the check cut/signed and send it in.

    While waiting for the order to come in, we did rehearsals with photocopies. Of course, this was a legit org that did things the "right way". I bet a lot of sheet music gets copied all over the place, with no fees paid whatsoever.

    Realistally, in the future, i don't see a lot of people paying $1.25 or whatever per song, regardless of format or distribution vehicle. There's a fat ghost in the machine that's getting ready to drop on the music industry.

    maybe artists will make their money off touring, or merchandise? dunno. but i think mutimedia (audio/video/whatever) will eventually be free. i don't see a way to stop it.

    Maybe they can sell the things through industry websites. $1.00 a song or whatever, and be harsh with unauthorized servers. That seems realistic. They can use the same search tools, and nab the piraters/illegal napsters. Friends sharing mp3's quietly will be something they have to live with.

    after all, when the last time you saw a site allowing public downloads of win95, that is easily found by the average surfer?
  • by cameldrv ( 53081 ) on Sunday February 27, 2000 @06:07PM (#1242271)
    The fundamental problem here is that now that Slashdot is owned by a major corporation, its purpose is to generate advertising impressions. To do that, you must dumb down the content. Slashdot used to (like 2 years ago or so) be aimed at somewhere near the 95th percentile. Now, however it's around 75 or 80. People who like to see more thought provoking material, and more informative material are a smaller audience than those who want to see a Linux version of News.com, which is what Slashdot has essentally become. Slashdot (and Linux) has degenerated into mindless dogma and herd mentality, each person desparately wanting to belong to this movement that all logic and temperance disappears in favor of spouting idiotic platitudes.

    Listen to people like John Katz talk about how geek culture is defined by pop culture, and Eric Raymond say that all geeks are libertarians, and you see the kernel of truth. Although many geeks think that they're rebels and free-thinkers, most of them are really just subscribers to a set of dogma that is already laid out before them ready for them to hitch a ride onto.

    You are no better than anyone else for subscribing to this ideology. You still can't think for yourself any more than "mainstream" people do. You are just parroting what a different segment of society thinks. Just because you read Slashdot or use Linux doesn't mean that you are smarter than anyone else.

    This will be my last transmission.
  • by rm -rf /etc/* ( 20237 ) on Sunday February 27, 2000 @06:36PM (#1242284) Homepage

    Slaves: basic human rights violation
    CD's: you don't want to pay a corporation who has every right to charge what they see fit.

    Are you not capable of seeing the difference here? I am so sick of whiners who justify their actions by some higher moral crusade. You may not like they way they do business, but that does not mean you can do something illegal. Rather than pirate the music, start lobbying for labels to sell individual mp3's. Do something useful other than just bitch about how you're the victim. I mean hey, if I don't like the way car dealers operate, does that make it ok to go steal a car? Of course not. If I don't like the way record companies operate, does that make it ok to pirate their music. Of course not.

    Unless, of course, you have some special reason why you get to choose which laws to obey.
  • by jellicle ( 29746 ) on Sunday February 27, 2000 @06:40PM (#1242286) Homepage
    Personally, I don't think there's a lot of bias in pointing out that, on the one hand, Ms. Rosen, is claiming the record industry loses billions of dollars per year to "piracy", and, on the other hand, that they have posted record profits and sales for the last several years running. That's not bias - it's called opening your eyes. Most news sources will not present those two facts side by side, because they don't see them side by side - one journalist writes a story about music piracy, a story where 90% of the wording came from the RIAA's press department, and then a week later another journalist from the same organization gets a press release from the RIAA about their record profits, and that gets published nearly verbatim, and no connection is ever made. That sort of "journalism" is a kind of doublethink, holding two contradictory ideas in one's head simultaneously. I'm trying to pierce that. If you don't like it, by all means enjoy your diet of press releases.
    Michael Sims-michael at slashdot.org
  • by Pope ( 17780 ) on Sunday February 27, 2000 @06:47PM (#1242293)
    I highly resent... the fact that I'm forced to buy a CD that has songs I don't even like on it.
    Why do people keep saying that, as if this argument holds water? Just get the damn single and screw the whole album then. I like getting all the songs that aren't singles, there are many hidden gems to be found. And how do you know you don't like all the songs unless you buy the whole album?
    Oh, right, you get the whole thing on MP3 then go buy a CD full of songs you don't like, which you then throw away because you can't take care of them. You are an idiot then.

  • by Nagash ( 6945 ) on Sunday February 27, 2000 @09:27PM (#1242353) Homepage
    From the brief description of the contracts, it seems that an artist would have to be a moron to actually sign with a major record company.

    Yes and no. (love those kinda answers, huh? :)

    It is pretty crazy to agree to such terms as we outlined (they are really awful if you read the whole contract). However, the Catch-22 here is that it is almost impossible to effectively distribute an album without a major label. The only semi-effective way to do it is to sell CDs at your live shows yourself (after printing them yourself). If you can sell something like 10,000 CDs from playing relatively small venues, you might be able to bring some bargining power to the table with a record company.

    Again, I could go on forever here. I think you can see where this is headed (hint: monopoly...).

    This is why I think mp3's kick ass. All out distribution without a record company (or even a record company website). Why do you think record companies are mad when their artists release mp3's? It's no wonder they want to stop/control mp3's - loss of distribution stranglehold.

  • by greggman ( 102198 ) on Sunday February 27, 2000 @11:40PM (#1242372) Homepage
    Think about what you just said before you pass so much judgement. In your example the record company spent $200,000. What did you spend? As far as they are concerned you spent $0. That is why you sign over the rights and it is also why you have to pay them back. You had to risk nothing. If your CD doesn't sell you haven't lost a penny. They on the otherhand they are out $200,000.

    The truth is that MOST CD's LOSE MONEY! From the publisher's point of view, until you have a hit (most CD's don't) you are a huge risk. They are risking $200,000 on you. Turn it around, if you had $200,000 in the bank would you be willing to risk it all on the next band that asked you for it?

    Sure, the industry as a whole posted record profits and I'm NOT arguing that CD's aren't too expensive. They are. The point is those profits were generated by a few big hit CDs. Garth Brooks, Backstreet Boys, etc.

    The same is true in the PC game industry. Everybody sees companies like Id with John Carmack in his Ferrari from which people belive there's lots of money to be made and they assume that all publishers are evil and stealing from the developers since developers tell the same stories as above (repaying advances against royalies, signing over rights etc.) The truth is that most developers are stealing from the publishers. The publisher risks $500,000 to $2 million on development and the developer either fails to actually make a product or the product doesn't sell. In this case it's even worse for the publisher. Devleoper loses nothing. In fact they got a $500,000 to $2 million advances. The publisher lost all the money.

    The problem is, is that every music artist assumes their CD is going to be a huge hit just as every game developer assumes they are going to write the next Quake or next Half Life or next C&C. From that point of view, it appears that you are getting ripped off. The problem is more likely than not your product/CD is not going to be a hit in which case only the publisher lost money. Only about 10 development groups manage to make huge hits a year. Another 20 make games that just barely make their money back and the other 4000 lose the publisher's money.

    Note: 4000 is not an exaggeration. Entertainment titles shipped in 97 were around 5000. I'm going to guess that they are the same or more this year.


"I've seen it. It's rubbish." -- Marvin the Paranoid Android