Friday, July 13, 2007

New Methods of Revenue Generation for the Record Industry.

When the original Napster lawsuits began happening over filesharing, they seemed like a publicity stunt, or at least they felt sort of temporary. Maybe it was the novelty of it, but it felt like the internet died a little bit when that mentality began to creep into the next 5+ years.
As a child, I grew up with the internet. As such, the internet feels like something we helped create to a lot of people my age. I painstakingly dug through manuals and documentation to assemble, install, and fix the early computers of my house when computers were a much more annoying and complex ordeal. (Younger users can't imagine having to assign their own IRQ or DMA channel to hardware) The internet was a new domain for the transmission of information, it was like an enormous library of information. It helped peel back the layers of whitewashing from the history of popular culture. Popular, commercial culture in America thrives on the relentless fad machine. The possibility of now digging through unseen commercials, out of print records, and media that was later censored and removed from the public eye has helped a very large portion of internet users like myself come to a better understanding of recent history.
So when the potential of the internet gets damaged a little bit like it has by the RIAA, I feel very strong, personal feelings about it. That ever vigilant hand of corporate media, angry at the loss of their king maker status and their new inability to control the fad machine, has been in constant pursuit of the destruction of everything that makes the internet great. The great shift in money making methods for the record industry in this decade has not been from the sales of CDs to the sales of MP3, as it should have been, but in the shift from the sales of anything to the wholesale creation of profit generating lawsuits. And the worst part is, the US Government is on their side!
The real problem seems to be that the codgers in Congress and the Senate have NO idea what they are even fighting for. Observe the following, now legendary quote by Ted Stevens of AK on the topic of Net Neutrality.

The definition should be imminently clear to any literate person who read the net neutrality link above. And yet, it's not clear to the Senate. Because they didn't read up on it.
Because they don't understand why the internet is important.

Also, notice how I had to include only a video with the audio of Ted Steven's brilliant speech? Thats because I couldn't post the actual C-SPAN footage of his speech, as C-SPAN has copyright protected all video of senate and congressional hearings and sent nasty-grams to Youtube to remove these videos.

Copyright law is so unprepared for the internet, and it will be 50 years before we have enough senators or congressmen young enough to do anything about it!

Only just this week SoundExchange, a royalty tracker of (in my opinion) dubious non-profit status, threatened to begin charging royalty payments to internet radio stations. The originally proposed scheme meant the end of internet radio, a friend of mine who DJs at an internet radio station cited his bill at "somewhere near $50,000" or, about 50 times his annual budget.
I once had the unique displeasure of having an ASCAP executive come and speak to my "Math for Liberal Arts" class at MTSU. He completely hijacked the discussion into a discussion about how "wrong" filesharing was. (and it was a badly cliched discussion- even once resorting to the "loaf of bread" talking points) He also discussed the recent creation of a process of listening to audio on radio and calculating royalties- and how the early tests of it showed so many royalties owed that ASCAP and BMI would be out of business if they actually paid them. But when I pushed him further, he admitted that most large volume musicians have to file suit to collect the royalties they were promised.

So, I'll be giving my record away and trying to work out a live show to make a few bucks with. When you play some sort of psychedelic electronic country niche, you should just take your listeners where you can get them.

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