RIAA stupidity

Posted by: on Jul 6, 2003 | No Comments

Last month, the RIAA announced it would go after individual file-traders on P2P networks. The result? An increase of 10% on Grokster and Morpheus. Villianizing casual computer users is not likely to endear anyone to the record labels or cause a stampede to the CD aisle, especially after they were just busted for years of CD overcharging and forced to give token refunds. However, if this current campaign sees any success, it will be short lived: the P2P landscape will simply change to work-around the RIAA. Believing it will stop is naive.

The labels themselves aren’t likely to stop all this non-sense any time soon and will continue to bleed red ink. Of course, no one will give a shit except those music execs who grew fat over the years of absolute control in the music biz. The reason is quite simple: in the current model, most of that $18 for a CD goes straight into the label’s pocket. Not only do you and I get screwed, but so does the artist — very little of that $18 gets to the artist. And here’s where the problem comes in: thanks to our digital world, artist no longer need most of the “services” provided by the label. You can produce and distribute music all from the PC in your home.
For the labels, the real threat has just started: viable online music services which offer the convenience of P2P with the quality of CDs. Armed with decent catalogs, intuitive interfaces and fair pricing, it’s obvious people are willing to pay. Sure, not everyone, but enough will. Even in this model, the labels are getting their share — for now. But in the future, artists are likely to cut out the middle man and work straight with the distributors. (Of course, there is the problem of current copyright law and distribution rights. The EFF offers some insight on those matters.)
For now, the war will continue, and the situation will probably get worse before it gets better.