Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Music Media

Raising Barriers to Entry into the Music Business 272

An anonymous reader writes " has an interesting commentary, inspired it seems by the woes of the Webcasting community. Basically they are saying that the RIAA is less concerned about piracy and more about the low barrier of entry into the online music business. For example, most slashdotters right now can start their own radio streams or distribute music files for next to nothing, just download the appropriate freeware and go. Through lawsuits and the DMCA the entertainment conglomerates are trying to make such acts much more expensive. So expensive that it is no longer affordable for the "average Joe" to trade or broadcast. The article makes a good argument on how the Internet has empowered individuals and artists to affordably express themselves online, and how a threatened record industry wants to stop that." Update: 10/20 6:55pm EST by C : More news from the webcasting front can be found in the article...

Rusty reports: "Friday afternoon, the RIAA and SoundExchange announced a temporary payment plan and fee reprieve for small webcasters while congress considers legislation.. Basically, by Monday, Oct 21st, small webcasters will need to pay a $500 a year minimum fee ($2500 max). While this rate still may be a problem for hobbyist webcasters, it is lower than the $2500-$6500 minimum that HR5469 called out.

From the RIAA's SoundExchange site:

"Any webcaster that qualifies as an 'eligible small webcaster' under H.R. 5469 will not be required to pay on October 20 the per performance (.0762 cents) royalties otherwise due under the Librarian of Congress' decision of July 8, 2002.

Instead, by October 21st, these eligible small webcasters may instead pay only the $500 annual minimum fee set by the Librarian of Congress for each year or portion thereof they have been in operation since 1998 (a maximum of $2500) until this Congress has had the opportunity to act on the pending legislation."
This still provides no relief for Live365, although their appeal hasn't been heard yet."

Ann Gabriel writes the following in response to Rusty's report from our last article on webcasting:

It appears that the message being sent to me in the response by SOMA FM's Rusty is that since HR 5469 does not directly affect me, I should sit quietly by and watch this travesty play itself out without saying anything.

What happened with HR 5469 directly affects EVERYONE is the webcasting community and to pretend otherwise is a joke.

There is nothing wrong with the fact that a group of people set out to negotiate a private deal for themselves intending to save themselves from the retroactive royalties that will come due on October 20, 2002.

But there is something horribly wrong with the FACT that what began as a private negotiation ended up being turned into a piece of legislation forced as a yolk around the necks of people who had no say in the matter.

I am tired of being asked as a member of the webcasting industry to accept something so horribly wrong just because some people think this deal was "the best they could get."

To sit by and accept the events that led up to the negotiations and the formation of the actual bill language is something I cannot do.

To me it would be like being invited over to lunch and expecting to eat Chicken Salad - and then being served Chicken S**t. There might be a large portion of the webcasting community who can stomach that, but I can't.

The RIAA never had any intention of dealing fairly, honestly and respectfully with the webcasting industry. Those that sat down privately to negotiate a deal for themselves did so in their own best interest and for their own individual reasons. I don't believe there was anything wrong with that.

But when the self-serving agenda of a few becomes something that is foisted upon the community as a whole, then I cannot, must not and will not stand by and accept such an American Injustice.

It is patently clear to me that the IWA and the VOW are separate organizations. To that end if you read my open letter carefully you will see that I point out the deal was NOT negotiated on behalf of the IWA and it's members, of which I was one until last week.

Just because people are claiming right now that HR 5469 in its present form will not really hurt the industry does not mean that is the truth. The only entity that HR 5469 helps is the RIAA and it is a sad truth that they care nothing about the industry they are destroying.

Ann Gabriel
Gabriel Media Inc.
Brian Hurley of Detroit Industrial also had his response to Rusty's words from that article.

In case you haven't had a chance, here's the latest article from The Register on the state of HR5469 as it was introduced to the Senate, earlier this week. And as a bit of a wrap up to this roller coaster week, this Reuter's article serves to provide a nice summary of the situation so far.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Raising Barriers to Entry into the Music Business

Comments Filter:
  • RIAA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by King of Caffiene ( 517266 ) <(moc.loa) (ta) (ocaTrdmC)> on Sunday October 20, 2002 @02:40PM (#4490566) Homepage
    The RIAA only cares about its own music. They don't care about quality or doing anything new and creative. Most new music really isn't good. I don't see how they can claim that piracy costs them "billions of dollars" every year when music sales are still going up. The only thing that cause people not to buy music is $18 a CD and shitty music.
    • Re:RIAA (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Mahtar ( 324436 ) <> on Sunday October 20, 2002 @02:48PM (#4490602)
      I loathe the RIAA etc. as much as the next geek, but what hellhole do you people live in that CD's cost 18 dollars? Ok, Canada aside.

      Prices from local media play (shitty pop stuff, I know):

      Avril Lavigne - Let Go - 14 dollars
      Linkin Park - Reanimation - 14 dollars
      James Taylor - October Road - 14 dollars
      Santana - Shaman - 15 dollars

      Less popular, though better, stuff:

      Angel's Egg - Gong - 13 dollars
      Erpland - Ozric Tentacles - 13 dollars
      Close To The Edge - Yes - 13 dollars
      Leftoverture - Kansas - 11 dollars

      And so on and so forth. If you want to make a case against the RIAA, by all means, do so. But please stop artificially inflating CD prices. It just hurts ones credibility, in the end.

      • Re:RIAA (Score:5, Informative)

        by The J Kid ( 266953 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @03:12PM (#4490699) Homepage Journal
        11 to 14

        Here in holland it used to be 45 guilders and thus now 22 Euros...which in return is about 21,50 Dollars..

        And no, that's not because I live in some shitthole, but that's everywhere!
        • Re:RIAA (Score:2, Informative)

          by danimrich ( 584138 )
          Yes, and that's not even the worst: If you're not into mainstream, you can pay as much as 25 Euros per CD (Austria).
      • Re:RIAA (Score:5, Informative)

        by realgone ( 147744 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @03:19PM (#4490738)
        what hellhole do you people live in that CD's cost 18 dollars?
        New York City, baby -- hellhole to the stars.

        If I were to go to any of the major reatil outlets here and buy a regular CD (not on sale, not part of a specially reduced back catalog series), yes, it would cost me $17.99 or $18.99 pre-tax. Prices get a little better if you visit a more independently minded retailer [], but the selection sometimes suffers. (Stocked titles are often more ecletic, and if your idea of "eclectic" doesn't match the owner's idea of "eclectic", yer out of luck.)

        I wouldn't presume to say that the Big Apple is an accurate representation of the music market as a whole, but those prices the parent mentioned are indeed a reality for those of us in urban markets.

      • Whee - mid-tier pricing! Immediate 50% cut to the artists' royalties!
        • Re:RIAA (Score:3, Funny)

          by 0111 1110 ( 518466 )
          So the average CD would drop to $17.50 from $18.00.
          • Re:RIAA (Score:4, Informative)

            by rodgerd ( 402 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @05:58PM (#4491465) Homepage

            Allow me to recommend perusing some of Moses Avalon's [] books, which spell out the whole deal in detail on how royalties are computed.

            Notable details include: if it's on CD, royalties are 75% because CDs are "new media". If it sells for 80% of full retail ($18) or less, you lose 50% because it's mid-tier (if it sells in bargain bins, you get nothing per unit). If it sells over the Internet, there's a 25% levy for a wire cost.
            • Re:RIAA (Score:2, Interesting)

              by NortWind ( 575520 )
              "spell out the whole deal in detail on how royalties are computed."

              The parents parent was refering to "artists' royalties" which can be nothing (or less in some cases). A famouse example, the "Dixie Chicks" getting less than $1M on over $200M sales. That's less than a half-penny on the dollar.

              • Indeed. One of Avalon's books spells out how easy it is for artists to end up in the negative - "earning" a loss on albums.
      • Re:RIAA (Score:3, Informative)

        by FattMattP ( 86246 )
        I loathe the RIAA etc. as much as the next geek, but what hellhole do you people live in that CD's cost 18 dollars?
        I guess a better question is where do you live that CDs are so cheap? The hellhole I live in is San Francisco and CDs are in the $16-$19 range. There are some small shops where you can get stuff cheaper. I've found the best thing to do is to buy used.
      • Re:RIAA (Score:3, Informative)

        by krinsh ( 94283 )
        Is that per artist at one store? Borders, or Wal-Mart? Walk into any FYE (or the stores formerly known as Disc Jockey, Camelot, etc. until they were all bought out by a giant media distribution conglomerate) and ALL the discs by new and popular artists range from $17 to $22. You used to be able to find discs at $9.99 to $11; now even those are all at least $13. I'm talking anything. Granted, cassettes are far far cheaper but the selection is not there and the store (at least all the ones I have visited and I live in WV, work in VA, get my kids from PA and shop sometimes in MD) WILL NOT order anything for you - or they'll claim they cannot find it in their system.
        • Re:RIAA (Score:2, Informative)

          by NortWind ( 575520 )
          I like to get Cd's from CD Connection []. I've been ordering from them for over a decade, online since 1990. The prices are still high compared to the old vinyl albums, but lower than the prices you quote.
      • Prices (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kidbro ( 80868 )
        what hellhole do you people live in that CD's cost 18 dollars?

        In Sweden and the UK (the only two nations in which I know the price situation) $18 is definately not much for a CD.

        Although RIAA is a US organization, their pricing affects the rest of the world too...
    • Re:RIAA (Score:4, Interesting)

      by macdaddy357 ( 582412 ) <> on Sunday October 20, 2002 @06:06PM (#4491495)
      "Is home taping killing the recording industry? Yes Yes Yes. Instead of making billions and billions of dollars, the music industry is only making billions of dollars." Check out the cartoon [] I am quoting from at [] Force the recording industry to change by boycotting their products until they do.
  • explains it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    this could be why, no matter how many studies say otherwise, the music industry is still very persistant on saying piracy hurts them...
    • Would I still have to pay fees for music I created myself? Is this bill saying that I have to pay to stream my own music that I created on my own keyboard to a net audience? If that is the case, that is totall insane!!

      I can understand (a little) if these fees are for paying the RIAA when you play THEIR music, but what about my own. Is this not a violation of free speech? Why should I have to pay to play my music? How is it any different then me playing my music to my friends in my living room, except in this case my friends are in another state thru an internet connection?
  • duh? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dermusikman ( 540176 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @02:44PM (#4490591) Homepage
    i thought this rather clear from the very beginning... or perhaps i assumed too much.

    i really came to understand just how much power we have (and how little they do) when my father suggested the industry was going to develop a new medium and that CDs would be obsolete, i rebutted: "well, the RIAA may make something new, maybe even better - but CDs won't die easily. anyone can publish their own music, now, at a nominal cost..."

    they have lost the power because they lost the monopoly. and they're scared as hell. that seems to be typical in many industries now...
    • Re:duh? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by treat ( 84622 )
      i thought this rather clear from the very beginning... or perhaps i assumed too much.

      This should be clear to everyone, but people forget quickly. Just as people consider it a new and shocking claim that the US's war in Iraq has something to do with oil.

  • Prevention? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Smidge204 ( 605297 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @02:45PM (#4490594) Journal
    I'm thinking, despite the RIAA doing everything possible to reinforce their crumbling kingdom, isn't it already too late?

    Maybe I'm overestimating the intelligence of the public, but if technology exists today that enables people to trade and distribute information freely (music, in this case), and such technology is in use literally everywhere you look, how can you really stop that? Even if you implement some new technology that enables you to stop the exchange, the old systems are still out there.

    I don't see how the RIAA can really stop Joe Musician from burning his own CDs and selling them through his webpage. The best they can hope for is to criminalize it, right? Wouldn't it just go 'underground' like software piracy at that point?
    • Re:Prevention? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jungle guy ( 567570 ) <brunolmailbox-ge ...> on Sunday October 20, 2002 @03:18PM (#4490736) Journal
      I live in Brazil, an and artist named "Lobao" has done just that. He was tired of being ripped off by record companies, that wouldn't pay him his copyright fees (as they control the retail channel and can underestimate the sellings), and started his own record company. His marketing strategy is based on his website, where you can buy his Cds, his shows and word-of-mouth - he was well-know before doing that.

      He is not interested in fighting Napster or Kazaa, as most of the songs you find there are MP3s in the 128 bitrate area - real fans aren't satisfied with them. To win the piracy, he simply sets the price of his records to a half or a third of other companies. As people see this as a fair price, they are willing to pay for it and support the artist.

      Now his label is promoting new artists, who wouldn't have a chance in the big, payola driven, record companies.

      • Re:Prevention? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Soko ( 17987 )
        Good for Lobao []! Wish I could read Portugese...

        This is what needs to happen elsewhere! This is where artists need to go - direct to thier listeners.

        If I had the business smarts/time/money, I think I'd start a company that did one thing only - helped artists go direct to the public like this guy did. Help them set up a web site that provided thier listeners with such services as:

        - buy pre-made CD
        - burn tracks direct
        - special recordings (my wife would flip if I got Creed to sing a song just for her - worth mucho $ to me)
        - lots of other cool stuff
        (Sorry - I have to...
        - ????
        - Profit!!!!)

        I'd also provide the promotion needed to get people to the site. You would then be certain that your money is going to the artist in question, not some (In My Humble Opinion)looney executive's [] pocket.

        There are other hurdles to clear - radio play being a major obstacle - but I bet it would work.

        • Sounds like you're looking for something like The Orchard [].


        • Re:Prevention? (Score:2, Insightful)

          Actually, keep the "Profit!!!" and remove the ???s.

          Maybe it'll not be as much huge monatry like the record companies make, but more like emotional profit. Both the artist and the people profit.
          The artist doesn't need to work too much to create an album and distribute it (except for the actual musical work, ofcourse)
          The customer gets to listen to many different artists at a reasonable price.

          Both not feeling ripped-off.
        • Re:Prevention? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Reziac ( 43301 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @06:45PM (#4491657) Homepage Journal
          Radio play is only relevant if you're signed by an Approved Label anyway -- try and get your garage band's single (no matter how good) commercial radio air time without going thru the RIAA machine to RIAA-approved radio outlets.

          But that's a related point: independent artists won't need RADIO anymore either. And if enough ears go elsewhere, that means radio won't draw the big advertising bucks anymore. This in turn will impact how much it's worth to buy air time for any given song. After a certain point, the entire current system could become untenable.

          There are a lot of layers of financial interests here, but they do all boil down to *controlling the distribution channels*, which in turn controls where the money flows. (Which I've been saying every time this topic rolls thru Slashdot. And now some news organ picks up the story? Obviously they've infringed my copyright! :)

      • If CD's cost $5... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 20, 2002 @04:26PM (#4491040)
        If the musicians would just bypass the record companies all together, they could sell their CD's for $5 each and still make WAY more profit per CD than they are now (at $15 a CD).

        And if you could buy the CD at full quality for $5, why would you bother downloading an mp3 with a much lower quality sound?

        The only way the record industry is going to survive is if they realize that they need to provide a BETTER SERVICE at a LOWER PRICE, instead of relying on LAWSUITS for their existence.

        Most people trading MP3's can afford the $1500 computer to do so - and they could also afford all the $5 CD's they could possibly want.

    • Re:Prevention? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Subcarrier ( 262294 )
      isn't it already too late?

      Oh, yes. Pandora's box is already open and the winds of change are blowing. No matter how big an ass RIAA has (is?), it's too late to sit on this.

      What I really hate is the amount of consumers' money that is being expended to postpone the inevitable. I would like to see tech companies dreaming up cool new things, rather than concentrating on complicated DRM technologies will be DOA. I definately don't want to pay a tax that goes to support a dying industry.
  • Well, DUH! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Verteiron ( 224042 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @02:46PM (#4490595) Homepage
    Anyone who's watched the actions of the RIAA over the past few years can see this. Everything they've done to "squash piracy" has also, incidentally, made it more difficult to distribute music. We've yet to see a single sign that they might be trying to adapt to a changing world; every move has been to stomp, stomp, STOMP out new distribution methods and technologies.

    The only good thing to come out of all this is that if they continue their currect practises, they'll render themselves irrelevant...

  • by Em Emalb ( 452530 ) <ememalb@ g m a i> on Sunday October 20, 2002 @02:47PM (#4490598) Homepage Journal
    Of course they are trying to do this.

    Good grief. It's obvious to me, if you have a business model based on total control, and something comes along to challenge that control, you do one of three things:


    Squelch competition in any manner necessary


    Of course, it causes much pain and suffering on the parts of the musicians, the djs, and last but not least, Mr Average Pete. (Joe gets too much credit)

  • Raising barriers. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bl968 ( 190792 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @02:47PM (#4490600) Journal
    Most companies want to make it harder to compete with them in their business sphere of influence. It's little surprise that the recording industries want to do the same. What the recording industries will end up facing is the fact that consumers are getting fed up with their tactics and this will eventually turn around and bite them in their ass hard. I personally will no longer go out and buy music. Not because I am pirating their content but because I got very tired very quickly of their assuming I was a thief. When enough people come to this decision then the recording industries influence will lessen and the balance can tip back towards the consumers.
  • by JKConsult ( 598845 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @02:49PM (#4490607)
    Really? I mean, for all the posturing and evil acts they've committed over the past few years, I had no earthly idea that the RIAA was trying to make it more expensive (via penalties, subscription costs, or whatever they're shooting for these days) for me to trade music.

    However, I disagree with the first thesis of the article on face. The RIAA could not give two shits less where their fees come from. I promise you, if Satan himself (the real one, not Hillary Rosen) were to bring them a business plan, they'd jump on it. So, why do they care about the startup costs of traditional, "terrestrial" radio stations? They don't. They just want to receive money whenever "their" music is played. They don't care if it's net stream, radio, or on TV commercials. Say what you want about the RIAA (and you can start by saying they're rat-bastard pieces of shit), but one thing they're not about is caring who it is that gives them money.

    This whole article reads like it was written for the back of a cereal box.

    • by WeaponOfChoice ( 615003 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @03:35PM (#4490786) Homepage
      The difference for the RIAA is one of scale I believe. It is far easier for them to extract royalties from a single corporate entity (lets say ClearChannel for arguements sake) with large revenues than from 1600 smaller concerns who are much more frugal with their money as their operating profits are smaller (or nil).
      Executives in the RIAA know how to make the former type of deal. What they are not dealing with well is the idea of having to deal with thousands of companies (perhaps even tens or hundreds of thousands) all of whom are going to want their personal perspectives considered when it comes time to pay up.
      The article states that: " and easy distribution of media devalues the obsolete distribution methods they make their fortunes on." and this applies equally well to the royalty collection practice. If the RIAA cannot take advantage of the economies of scale offered by large scale distributers (radio/retail et al.) they risk being sucked into a system that may cost them as much to administer as they stand to make from it.
      • Having helped developed the world's premiere publishing and mechanical royalties accounting system (tm), I can tell you that even now - without the 'hundreds of thousands' of extra publishers - it's a nightmare. Royalty statements for even small publishers or labels run into thousands and tens of thousands of lines sometimes. The whole system of royalty collection is very very complicated, messy and time-consuming. There's no way that the systems - both computer and the societal, legal systems - could cope with such an expansion. It's just not feasible.
    • It's not that they want people to pay for songs; it's that they want people to pay them for songs. If legit internet distribution ever took off, people would be making money, sure, but it wouldn't be the record companies; they'd just be some more shmucks in a crowded field. Anyone with five bucks could set up a music distribution company, and the ones that are currently massive, powerful organizations who can dictate contracts to artists and prices to consumers would be reduced to dime-and penny operations struggling to break even. We want that to happen. Eliminating the market power of the record labels would mean more money for artists, lower prices for consumers, and more efficent music distribution. This is the way capitalism is supposed to work. That's just basic Econ 101.
    • I don't agree, because RIAA's attitude has always been "We want all the money", not "We want more money". That's why RIAA has always tried to control. Comprehensive control of the whole chain, up to the point where the music they sell you can not be copied for backup! There is a software company with exaclty the same attitude, a software company not anymore happy with selling you software, they want to control where you install that software; and more than that, they now want to rent you software so that you have to pay for it on an ongoing basis. Guess who they are? Hint: it's Microsoft.

      And as we are happily chitt-chatting, RIAA is coming up with schemes where they can rent music in digital form, which expires or just can't be played on unauthorized equipment. RIAA is coming up with ways to rent you music, where your freedom will be even more controlled.
  • "Curbing piracy" and "conrolling alternate means of distribution" mean the same thing when the alternate means are (like it or not) illegal.

    If some new means of distributing content would hurt the bottom line of the RIAA and may not be legal, in our adversarial capitalist world it's the RIAA's job to try to squash the new means, the new mean's job to fight back, and for the courts to decide where the line should be drawn given the ultimate goal of the granted-not-natural right of copyright to encourage the creation of useful arts for generations to come.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Ok. So this could be the "small business argument", if it is a decent way to make money, then it should be presented to the NFIB [], America's most powerful small business lobbying organization.
  • by MBCook ( 132727 ) <> on Sunday October 20, 2002 @02:55PM (#4490633) Homepage
    Well it's really too bad, because the internet is a great way for bands to find audiences. I can think of quite a few bands whose CDs I've bought who I never would have found if it wasn't for Napster/KaZaA/etc. Bands like Moxy Fruvous (a canadian group) I had never heard of. I think I MIGHT have heard one of their songs once. But really they get no radio play (at least that's what it seems like to me). I found them because of Napster, and now own every CD they've made because of it. A large chunk of my music collection came this way; because as it's been said, I can't afford to drop $20+ on a CD from a band I've never heard of. But if I go online, download a few of their songs, I can find out if it's worth it. If it is, I buy the CDs. If not, I ditch the files. It seems to me that more and more artists will start to hate the RIAA and come out against them. Prince (?) did this a little while ago, but hopefully the next artists to come out won't use "i sp34k no CAPS im srt-hnd for u and r smart at what 'dey speak." I don't know how many good points he made in what he came out with, I couldn't read past the 1st line without a major headache and thinking he was an idiot. I'm sure that's not true, I've seen interviews with him on TV, but anyone who types like that instantly looks like an idiot to me. I guess I'm really ramblin' here. So in summary: RIAA bad, internet good, trading good, l33t im srt-hnd bad.
    • There are bands that distribute their songs for free either from their website (Wilco being the most famous example and the most successful- after giving away free mp3's that album broke the top 10 its first week. The only advertisement was newspapers saying "hey, this band gave away their music!") or from

      good example are the Ex-Models and SICK FM. (NJ's own!)

      While googling "The Idea of North" (a dope shellac track, I wanted to find out what it was about) I found the Ex-Models "The idea of Peter North"- dl'd all their stuff from, and loved it. THrough them I found out about Sick FM.

      Oh, RE: prince's last announcement- someone de-133t'd it on slashdot- (they just s/3133t/elite/g for every annoying word) it was a little over blown but held some interesting points that no one can disagree with: Creativity := good; -- yes I can code in ada!
      Big_Corporations := bad;
  • non-RIAA music (Score:5, Interesting)

    by r5t8i6y3 ( 574628 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @02:56PM (#4490640)
    there a quite a few Internet radio stations that don't broadcast RIAA music.

    what i'm interested in is what RIAA could due to make this impossible, because this is something that will weaken RIAA in the long run.

    put another way, what can RIAA do to prevent non-RIAA music from becoming more and more popular?
    • Re:non-RIAA music (Score:3, Informative)

      by bwt ( 68845 )
      there a quite a few Internet radio stations that don't broadcast RIAA music.

      Please, name some.

      Somebody below posted which plays non-RIAA industrial.
  • by rotwhylr ( 618309 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @02:57PM (#4490644)
    If you are fed up with the RIAA and their backdoor legal manuvers, boycott RIAA artists and the stations that play their music. Find and support local and/or web-based artists and the broadcasters who support them.

    Creating your own music or 'net radio station hasn't gotten any harder. This is simply new incentive to dump mass-produced drivel right where it belongs.

    (crinkle, crinkle, STUFF)
    • A Couple Problems with that Idea, 1. Teens would still "Have to have" the latest copy of the latest "Cookie Cutter Band of the year", and 2, the RIAA would just blame it on Piracy and pass new laws to elimin^h^h^h^h^h^h curb Piracy, as the old saying goes, "He Who Pays The Piper Calls The Tune".

      If CON is the opposite of PRO, Shoudn't that
      make CONgress the opposite of PROgress?
  • by bwt ( 68845 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @03:00PM (#4490656) Homepage
    The ball really is in our court. The barrier to entry IS lower IF you are publishing music that grants the right to play it. The RIAA controls huge amounts of music that will never be legal to stream for free, but that doesn't mean that if I go out and make my own music that I can't make it "free music" as in "free software". This situation is NO different than the battle against proprietary software. Instead of trying to get RIAA music for free, we need to promote all new music.

    I really don't see why it would be so hard to set up a net radio station and say "send us your music under a licence that allows it and we'll play it". Frankly, if somebody could post a link of a net station doing that right now, I'd be listening too it.

    People out there need to stop whining about how evil the RIAA is, that is old news. Just make, play, and listen to free music. That's all it takes.
    • by namespan ( 225296 ) <namespan@el[ ] ['ite' in gap]> on Sunday October 20, 2002 @03:13PM (#4490708) Journal
      I really don't see why it would be so hard to set up a net radio station and say "send us your music under a licence that allows it and we'll play it".

      I'd like to get this straight. I've been told a number of contradicting things here. Some folks say that they CAN hit you for webcasting fees, whether or not you have permission from the copyright holders. Some folks say they can't do it justly, but they can harass you.

      This has come up a fair bit in the context of a discussion inside of a non-profit musician's organization I work with. We actually get booking at a chain of bookstores (Border's) because our members do original music... presto, no ASCAP dues! But we're not certain we're on totally solid ground...

      • Of course you can publish for free if you have the permission of the copyright holder. Since every original thing you say is copyrighted, to suppose otherwise would say you have to pay fees to talk.

        In fact, the fees are proportional to the number of ASCAP song listenings, so if that number is zero, then the fees are zero. If they hassle you, send them a check for $0.
        • I don't remember the precise details, but this is pretty close.

          A person's credit card was charged for 0$. Since it's 0$ he didn't "pay" it.
          A month later, he recieves a warning "pay or we take measures".
          Again, he thought it's BS. A month later they limited his account.
          He got pissed and did what they asked. He wrote them a cheque (or was it a bank transfer?) of 0$...
          A few days later they called him, furious, and said that sending 0$ made them system crash and caused major problems to their database :)

          So sending 0$ might actually prove useful!
    • (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Perianwyr Stormcrow ( 157913 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @03:51PM (#4490850) Homepage
      RantRadio does this- and in fact it's managed to get licenses to play its music from the labels representing artists it plays.

      And they are always looking for new things.
      • Thanks. This is the first really usefull reply to this article. MOD IT UP!!

        I'm listening to it right now in XMMS. We need **"MORE LIKE THIS"**. (Anybody got other ones?) I love their slogan ... something like "Just by listening, you are resisting".

        Folks, this is the path. Stop trying to coexist with the RIAA and start ignoring them. Build a system that works the way we want.
  • stream offshore? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by f64 ( 590009 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @03:02PM (#4490665) Homepage
    i know it's not addressing the issue of legislature in the US, but isn't it possible to just stream whatever audio through a foreign server (assuming such a server would be outside US jurisdiction)? : f64 : piracy - the lazy revolution
  • Dinosaurs Will Die (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ralphus ( 577885 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @03:04PM (#4490670)
    NOFX [], indie punk band says it best:

    Sit back watch it crumble, see the drowning watch the fall
    I feel just terrible about it, that's sarcasm, let it burn
    I'm gonna make at toast when it falls apart
    I'm gonna raise my glass above my heart
    Then someone shouts that's what they get!
    For all the years of hit and run for all the piss broke bands on VH one
    Where did all their money go? Don't we all know?
    Parasitic music industry as it destroys itself
    We'll show them how it's supposed to be

    Music written from devotion not ambition, not for fame
    Zero people are exploited there are no tricks up our sleeve
    Were gonna fight against the mass appeal
    Were gonna kill the seven record deal
    Make records that have more then one good song
    The dinosaurs will slowly die and I do believe no one will cry
    I'm just fucking glad I'm gonna be there to watch the fall
    Prehistoric music industry three feet in la brea tar
    Extinction never felt so good

    If you think anyone will feel badly you are sadly mistaken
    The time has come for evolution, fuck collusion, kill the big five
    What ever happened to the handshake?
    whatever happened to deals no one would break?
    whatever happened to integrity?
    It's still there, it always was for playing music just because
    A million reasons why all dinosaurs must (will) die !!!!

  • by erik_fredricks ( 446470 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @03:05PM (#4490673)
    ...and this sounds like the same behavior Uncled Sam attacked Microsoft over. When the majors smell competition from an indie label (such as Matador), the simply buy and appropriate it. When that fails, they do their best to make it utterly impossible for someone to get started in the business without their "help."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 20, 2002 @03:06PM (#4490675)
    Sharing = communism

    Freedom of Expression = sharing of ideas

    Therefore, freedom of expression = evil
    Patriotic Americans should oppose evil.
    Therefore, go RIAA!
  • by fortinbras47 ( 457756 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @03:07PM (#4490680)
    That opinion piece left me hanging in terms of what the bill ACTUALLY does. I think this link here [] provides a bit more clarity and has links to other sites. The bill in the house was HR.5469

    Just glancing at stuff, a very disturbing aspect of the bill is that for an individual webcaster, it defines as "gross revenues" to include any revenue from media, entertainment, Internet or wireless business where the individual owns more than %5. I don't really know, if this is how it works, but if Joe Blow owns a computer consulting company doing wireless installs, (or hell has 5% of it), and he streams mp3s somewhere, does he have to pay licensing and royalty fees on the revenues of his business?!?!?!?

    Looks like Gephardt and some other Democrats opposed [] it.

  • by szyzyg ( 7313 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @03:09PM (#4490686)
    At least in the UK, it was all about rebellion and doing it yourself, destroying that crappy prog-rock that had taken over the world. Studio production costs were the barrier, and everyone was producing albums with choirs and orchestras. Anyone remember King Arthur & The Holy Grail.... On Ice?

    Punk bands were recording tracks onto 2 track tape in their bedrooms and pressing up a few hundred 7"s to sell. The costs were low and there was a huge explosion in musical diversity. Then.... it all kinda went away for a bit, suddenly synth bands were everything and synths cost a load of money, production values went up again and the music business regained some control over what was getting released. But... the computer technology that was so expensive in the early 80's obeyed Moore's law and the gear came down in price quickly. By '86 we start to see the first house records coming out of chicago. Artists would create reel to rell versions of their latest productions to try out live, then they'd tweak it until it was time to press up some vinyl.

    Then it crossed the atlantic and the UK rave scene suddenly grew up out of bedroom acts. Orbital talk about producing 'Chime' for the cost of a high quality blank tape. Anyone doing electronic music could sidestept eh expensive recording studios, press up a few hundred 12" records and have an underground hit. As time went on the electronic tools got better and better, and the producers got better too, expanding the range of music coming out of their bedroom studios.

    Then we have the advent of the recordable CD and variable pitch CD players, now you didn;t even need to press up 12"s or carry around tapes which had a habit of getting chewed up (the first acid house record famously got destroyed by the tape machine - 'Acid Trax' originally had a vocal, but that version was lost). About the same time the internet really got going and people began sharing mp2's on download sites so people could get hot tracks without waiting for them to be released. Later mp3 came along with better sound quality and smaller file sizes.

    The music industry of course ignored all this, except for the occasional crossover electronic track used in commercials.

    In november '97 I released mp3serv - the first live microcasting radio system, it was a bitch to setup, but a few people used it to do live radio from PC's. A year later Shoutcast brought the concept to windows PC's. Then web services like myplay made radio possible using nothing more than a web browser.

    Barriers to entry are always getting knocked down, technology is really good at solving some types of problem.

    • I just hope that you realize that punk started in the USA with The Velvet Underground, the New York Dolls, Television, and Iggy and the Stooges...then Malcom ripped off Richard Hell, created Sid Vicious/The Sex Pistols, and thus began the commercial success of "punk", a bastardized version of what started in New York in the late 60's/early 70's.

  • Art (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DrugCheese ( 266151 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @03:11PM (#4490691)
    I agree that artists need to be paid.
    But art needs to be public in my opinion.

    If something like the RIAA existed 1000 years ago think of where music would be now.

    Art is inspired by art.

    I say this with a grain of salt as I like to call myself an artists of several mediums. But the only truely original artist was that caveman who first smeared his shit on the wall, or the first to beat the ground with a bone in a rythm. The rest of us have all been inspired by some form of art whether we admit it or not.

    My point is that the more art is stifled the less art evolves.

    Just my opinion

  • indy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dirvish ( 574948 ) <dirvish@f o u n d n> on Sunday October 20, 2002 @03:13PM (#4490703) Homepage Journal
    It is time to start flooding the market with independent record labels and sites like IUMA []. The people need to reclaim their music from the coorporations.
  • I was going to do a research paper on something similar, but I couldn't find enough scholarly writings on the topic. My paper was going to go through how the music industry and technology interface, and how the technology and contract laws give them large ownership of music, and how if they moved to a digital distribution model (which they could) it would violate their previous business model based on artificial scarcity and monopolistic competition. (my research paper now deals with drug advertising and what it really costs, as wel as patents etc)

    What it all boils down to is that the recording and movie industries are reaping the benefits of digital technologies (ease of duplication, ease of manipulation, ease of distribution, fidelity of media) and then working their hardest to deny those benefits to everyone else (ease of storage, duplication, reproduction, transport esp. networked transport, etc).

    I won't even go into their 'right to virus' and 'p2p hax0rama' efforts...
    • I was going to do a research paper on something similar, but I couldn't find enough scholarly writings on the topic. My paper was going to go through how the music industry and technology interface, and how the technology and contract laws give them large ownership of music, and how if they moved to a digital distribution model (which they could) it would violate their previous business model based on artificial scarcity and monopolistic competition.

      I don't know what books you have read but I urge you to read the following two books. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading them and I plan to re-read them as soon as my friends return my copies back to me:

      • Lawrence Lessig [], The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World (ISBN 0375505784 and 0375726446)
      • Siva Vaidhyanathan [], Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How It Threatens Creativity (ISBN 0814788068)

      Around February 2003 you should be able to find Vaidhyanathan's new book The Anarchist in the Library (ISBN 0465089844) in hardcover. Given how approachable and clearly written Copyrights and Copywrongs is, I fully expect Anarchist in the Library to be worth everyone's while.

      Lessig's book is the more scholarly of the two, but that takes away nothing from Vaidhyanathan's excellent book. I would not hesitate to cite, quote, and paraphrase from both of them in any research paper.

      In case you're not familiar with Vaidhyanathan and Lessig check out Siva Vaidhyanathan's brief interview [] on Slashdot a while back. Lawrence Lessig's name might be more familiar as the lawyer who argued Eldred v. Ashcroft [] before the US Supreme Court on the side of Eric Eldred. Lessig has also done a Slashdot interview [].

  • Simple... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Gruneun ( 261463 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @03:15PM (#4490712)
    So expensive that it is no longer affordable for the "average Joe" to trade or broadcast.

    No, it makes it more difficult from someone to trade or broadcast material that is controlled by the RIAA. It doesn't hinder "average Joe" from broadcasting material of his own creation, nor material created by other that "average Joe" has been given permission to distribute.

    If "average Joe" wants to broadcast my music, he can damn well pay me for it. If he doesn't want to pay the prices, according to the value I put on my music, he should make his own or find cheaper content.
    • Re:Simple... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Gizzmonic ( 412910 )
      I don't know about radio, but in the video/film industry there is a huge, artificial gap between "consumer" and "pro" equipment. For example, there are consumer DV cameras for $300 that have an integrated DV VTR. If you want a standalone DV deck, they start at $1200. Why is a standalone deck (without lens, CCDs, or any camera components) 4 times as much? Because the decks can convert from analog to digital...

      Even with things like microphones, the price seems to increase by 4x between the highest grade "consumer" item and the lowest grade "pro" item (sometimes the consumer item is actually HIGHER quality). The effect, whether intentional or not, is lifting the barrier of entry.

    • Actually, CRAP imposes onerous record-keeping requirements on all webcasters, even ones who do not use RIAA-controlled material. Additionally, all webcasters are required to pay a minimum of $500 (US) per year, even if they use only their own material.
      I believe that if I were to webcast only myself talking into a microphone I would have to pay $500 per year to the RIAA and keep records of who listened for how long. This does seriously hinder the distribution of material outside the control of the RIAA, even when done with the permission of the creator.
  • Really nothing new (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nick Arnett ( 39349 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @03:16PM (#4490723) Homepage
    These are companies who have been accustomed for decades to domination of the industry through their control of distribution. They have consistently rejected new technology that would threaten that control, even when it was clear that consumers wanted it.

    IIRC, in 1985, I wrote a piece for Rolling Stone about a company, Personics, that had a system that would allow people to make custom audio cassettes at high quality and speed in music stores. People loved it because it was what they were doing ANYWAY -- making tapes of their favorite songs in the order they wanted. But the record companies used their control of music copyrights to deny Personics access to popular music. And this was in spite of the fact that it partially solved the enormous cost of returns from music stores (50 percent) and the lost sales when sudden hits weren't in stock (and most hits are sudden hits).

    Here we are 17 years later and they're still abusing copyright to control distribution of music. Personic's founder had a good idea -- create a compulsory license for music distribution, similar to the one that exists for music performance.

  • I have long held the opinion that computers, due to their nature, will deflate music prices dramatically and destroy the current media distribution cartels. Due to file trading, the service of providing music has decreased in value, and music cartels will be forced to lower their prices in order to sell music over the internet. If they lower their prices I would expect that more than a few asses will be canned in order to trim the cruft. On the other hand, should the RIAA open up 'RIAA ONLINE!' (RIAOL) us geeks can expect to gain some jobs.

    Now is the time when we should be paying close scrutiny to the RIAA however, since instead of bowing to market (consumer) pressures, they are hellbent on strongarming everything that comes in between them and their fiefdom.

    I look forward to the day when all of the media cartels have fallen, and the sham that is hollywood swirls (counterclockwise) into the shitter.

  • by FreeLinux ( 555387 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @03:22PM (#4490747)
    I'll get moderated to hell for this, but.....

    There is an glimmer of truth to the article's line of argument but, the low cost and ease of publishing by the internet has long been touted as one of its major advantages. To an extent it certainly is true, the internet does empower the "little man". But, there is much more to it and Slashdotters seem unwilling to acknowledge this.

    The fact is that publishers of art, specifically musicians need more than an inexpensive distribution channel. They need two other things, talent and, more so, marketing.

    I'm sure that there are numerous extremely talented musicians out there that we will never hear of and it has nothing to do with the RIAA controlling streaming. Their obscurity will be because they lack a powerful marketing arm promoting their work. This marketing power is what the RIAA members or recording labels provide. Without the marketing power of the labels almost all musicians will fade into obscurity regardless of what distribution channels are available to them.

    Regardless of anyone's willingness to accept this fact it is clearly born out today. For the past 5 to 10 years musicians have had the ability to publish and distribute their productions at a very low cost. Yet, there has yet to be a single artist who has achieved wide-spread popularity or fame through these channels.

    Conversely, there are countless "artists", that are household names today, who haven't even a smidgen of talent. There are dozens of Top 10 performers that would still be growing corn in Kansas or washing cars in London if it weren't for the powerful marketing of the big labels.

    Now be honest, could the Spice Girls have sold any significant number of albums had they gone it on their own and distributed through the internet? Would Brittney be flashing her belly button for Pepsi or, would she be doing Country & Western in some sleazy dive in Ohio for $8 an hour?
    • I'm sure that there are numerous extremely talented musicians out there that we will never hear of and it has nothing to do with the RIAA controlling streaming.

      I dunno. Try some of those sites for unsigned musicians. Most of them suck.

    • It all depends on your goal. If your goal is to be rich, powerful, famous, and popular as long as possible, then yes, you need marketing ala RIAA.

      If your goal is to enrich people, to get your art around to people, to enjoy yourself and to further your internal development, then no, as an artist you need no marketing.

      Thats the question. I listen to a very small amount of music. I've bought exactly two CDs in my life, one of which was used and was subseqently given as a gift.

      I will not support terrorist organizations like the RIAA.

      Now, if you are an artist of some sort, there are plenty of ways to distribute your art for free or with low cost. And sometimes you can even scratch out a bit of living doing it. Are you going to be famous? Probably not.
    • by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @04:21PM (#4491015) Homepage Journal

      Yet, there has yet to be a single artist who has achieved wide-spread popularity or fame through these channels.

      Counterexample: Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of South Park []. Their fame was earned by a single, badly-digitized QuickTime movie called The Spirit of Christmas that got copied all over the Internet. In the span of a few months, Comedy Central offered them a deal.

      It's probably also worth pointing out that Parker and Stone didn't digitize or upload the QuickTime file themselves. One of the recipients of their original VHS tape did it. So Parker and Stone's wild success proceeded from a massive case of unsanctioned copying (or, to use the misleading slang term, "piracy").


    • Do you know how many good musicians there are? I personally KNOW three very talented musicians: a punk rocker, a broadway singer, and a folk singer. None of them are famous, and only one of them actually sells his work. Yet all of them are about as talented as those in the industry today. (And as a sound tech myself, I have an educated opinion on the subject).

      The truth is that we don't NEED to all be listening to the same people. I really enjoy listening to my friends do their things. And I enjoy singing with them. Can you say that you've sung with your favorite artists?

      Perhaps the problem is that you equate fame with musicianship. I don't think we should have famous singers at all - at least not because of marketing. There are a few singers who worked their way to the top by playing and clubs and bars first (Jewel comes to mind).

      There is one thing that should remain, I think: famous songwriters - it takes a lot more talent to write a song than it does to sing/play it, and the average minstrel can't pull it off.

      There a plenty of songs that have found their way into the mainstream over the centuries without any known channel of distribution. I won't cite incredibly modern examples, because recently we have a lot more advertising, but here are few one hit wonders that have run their course on word of mouth alone: the Kookaburra Song (Austrialian folk song, now popular worldwide), Danny Boy (American song set to Irish tune).
  • by intrico ( 100334 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @03:30PM (#4490776) Homepage
    Keep in mind that this only applies to music that the RIAA companies own. There's lots of good music on the net from "up and coming" musicians that have not signed contracts yet with greedy record levels. Bands such as these can broadcast over the internet all they want without repercussion, since they are not copyrighted by RIAA member companies. This would be good healthy competition.
  • by SN74S181 ( 581549 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @03:30PM (#4490778)
    There are some contradictions in the arguement being made here. There is no 'barrier to entry' for musicians. You record your music and you find an independent Net Radio program to broadcast it for you.

    The 'barrier' seems to be in place when people want to put up Web broadcasting sites and use the mass marketed pabulum music. Which is NOT the music made by the independent musicians.

    It always seems to revolve around a 'gimmie gimme' attitude that people seem to think they have the right to broadcast music made by artists whose permission they do not have, nor do they care if they have.

    If you're going to build your alternative music industry, stop trying to play Brittney on it. It's really that simple.
  • Funny tidbits... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Crasoum ( 618885 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @03:33PM (#4490784) Journal
    For all the suing the RIAA is doing for "music", as Courtney Love published a great article [] on file sharing napster and what it does for an artist.

    There were a billion music downloads last year, but music sales are up. Where's the evidence that downloads hurt business? Downloads are creating more demand. Why aren't record companies embracing this great opportunity? Why aren't they trying to talk to the kids passing compilations around to learn what they like? Why is the RIAA suing the companies that are stimulating this new demand? What's the point of going after people swapping cruddy-sounding MP3s? Cash! Cash they have no intention of passing onto us, the writers of their profits.

    There is also another quote by her that went something like 'When am I getting my check from napster?' but I can't find where I read it...

  • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @03:44PM (#4490822) Homepage
    The RIAA's draconian tactics play same role of pesticides or antibiotics in the Internet "ecosystem". Their laws and lawyers are able to destroy 99% of the "pests", but the remaining 1% which are resistant to their attacks then have a clear playing field to play in.

    The death of Napster-style centralized p2p lead to the dominance of Kazaa-style distributed p2p, and the death of traditional streaming will lead to the dominance of distributed p2p streaming [].

    Please take some time to write the RIAA and thank them for their support in advancing the state of the art in free content distribution. :^)

  • by Gray ( 5042 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @03:46PM (#4490828)
    I run a indie record label and I've got nothing to do with the RIAA.

    If you'd like to broadcast releases to which I own the rights, more power to you.

    If you run a broadcaster and the RIAA is all up in your face, I encourage you to just stop playing releases from RIAA member labels.

    The cost of entry to the music business is in fact lower then ever. Todays home studio is able to do what 10 years ago was the stuff of wet dreams. Plus CD reproduction costs are lower then ever. You can start an record label for less then $5k these days, I'm living proof.
    • by fini ( 571717 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @08:35PM (#4492145)
      Great, but that won't prevent the RIAA of harassing small webcasters playing your music unless you explicitly waive in written the CARP fees and the publisher royalties (aka "mechanical" fees) in a way which is easy to administer for the webcasters. Call that an anti-RIAA license. If they can point to these licenses, that will help the webcasters to defend themselves when the jackbooted RIAA lawyers come crashing at the door.

      The webcasters will in any case be burdened by the obligation of keeping an exact log of anything they broadcast. Not easy as it sounds. Think about a live webcast from a club when the DJ himself has no idea where the f**k half the tunes in his mix are coming from. There is an urgent need for a system to track and propagate anti-RIAA licenses embedded in the music files.

      But more important, the legal system on copyright is now based on a presumption of guilt. And that, my friend, is wrong, plain wrong.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The RIAA is close to extinction and they know it. Think of these measures as the flailing paws of a drowning dog.

    And for those of you that like to throw this "artists must be paid" mantra around....DEFINE Artist for us all before you start slinging around ill conceived opinions.

    I would argue that PERFORMERS should be paid, the product at issue with the RIAA vs. internet users is information, we're not even talking about a nicely printed album inserta with lyrics and snazzy cover art, which in it's own right deserves a few pennies.

    Information control will only become more difficult as technology progresses, the RIAA would be better off adapting rather than resisting, but this is one dog that just isn't learning any new tricks. I'm still AMAZED that they have not yet jumped on the biggest internet bus of all - that of MISinformation. I could digress, but maybe I shouldn't hand them the control they want without a price;)
  • by carpe_noctem ( 457178 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @03:59PM (#4490888) Homepage Journal
    I've got a friend of mine that has been an intern at Microsoft for the last two consecutive summers, and will probably be recuruited by them when he graduates from college. I'm no big fan of MS (especially Windows programming, but whatever, he seems to like it), but I am always interested to hear his perspectives on working there.
    Anyways, I asked him once what he thought of the whole palladium issue, and he said that the best way to tell anything that Microsoft is going to do is simply to see what could earn them the most money. Just follow the trail, and you can pretty much figure out exactly what business strategy they're going to take.
    As obvious as that is, people tend to classify big market forces such as the RIAA and Microsoft as giant evil entities set on destroying all competition, crushing the human spirit of independence, and so forth. All the RIAA really wants is just to net its investors as much money as possible. Making it harder for webcasters to startup is a two edged sword; this will give the RIAA et al the power to control the future of internet radio, and thus, the type of music that people will be able to readily hear on the internet. It's all about market control, and it seems to me that the RIAA just wants to clear out the battlefield before they get involved in this particular arena.
  • How on earth is the RIAA getting away with this? It's not their music that's being broadcasted, how do they have any right at all to charge independant artists for sharing it with other people? Something's EXTREMELY wrong with the system if they can get by with this.
  • My guru and I were having a chat about the RIAA and new technology about 3 months ago. What it boils down to is that the RIAA is going to have to master the art of cat herding if it wants to survive. Quoth my guru: "And anybody knows you don't herd cats by cracking your whips and releasing the hounds. Any body with a brain knows if you want to herd cats, you fire up the can opener and they come running." Ladies and Germs, the RIAA -- too stupid to fire up the can opener and now they're mewling and puking about the fact that the cats have run off in all directions and climbed a 1000 different trees. EEEDIOTS! They're such incredible EEEDIOTS! ---
  • The "hundreds of thousands of dollars" versus "thirteen year old's allowance" comparison is bordering on an outright lie.

    I'm no expert, but I'm sure the biggest piece of the radio station cost would be the "staff, management, DJs, and [...] sales personnel". You could theoretically try and run a radio station without all these people. But it would show in the quality of your product.

    Similarly, if you ran an internet radio station all by yourself, the quality of your product would suffer in just the same way as for a conventional radio station. But the article implies that you could do it just as well.

    Finally, unless he's suggesting that all internet radio stations should borrow equipment from their parents, the cost of a computer alone would probably take it outside the realm of a "thirteen year old's allowance."

  • My music is here (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @05:07PM (#4491222) Homepage
    Well, my music is here []. It's not very good, and it's not professional quality by a long shot as most of it was done ten years ago. But if you want it, download it and listen to it.

    Not a thing the RIAA can do about it. And that's the answer - you don't want them to control it? Easy - don't use music that they control.


  • by onallama ( 515297 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @05:50PM (#4491432)
    I'm not defending the RIAA here, but what the author of this article completely fails to recognize (or, more likely, recognizes but chooses to sweep under the carpet) is that neither webcasters nor users of file-sharing networks have the right to distribute someone else's copyrighted work. Putting Britney's latest single up on Napster, Morpheus, Kazaa, etc is not a way of "breaking into the music business" -- it's giving away something that doesn't belong to you. Period.

    If you want to break into the music business, then create something of your own. Want to give that away? Go for it -- it's your right to do so if you choose, and the world will be a slightly better place for it. Share your work via P2P networks; set up your own Net radio stream so people can hear your work. That is legitimately "breaking into the music business", and do you want to know something? The RIAA can't do a thing to stop you.

  • by NewtonsLaw ( 409638 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @05:58PM (#4491462)
    Hell, what's all the bitching about?

    The RIAA charges a broadcaster for the right to distribute their music by RF, IP or whatever -- so when it arrives on my TV, radio or computer then it's already been paid for.

    Bearing this in mind, I simply capture and record the music I want onto CDR (MPEG-1 is fine) and also rip the audio tracks to MP3 format.

    My library of music is not as large as some -- but it contains all of the chart-music I like and it has only cost me a few $ for CDRs.

    If the RIAA or whoever, doesn't want me recording this stuff then don't broadcast it.

    Hell, I've got a great collection of stuff in MPEG and MP3 format -- and I've never ever used Napster, Kazza or any of the other P2P networks -- it all just arrives by RF, delivered by broadcasters who have paid the royalties.

    If the RIAA demand their right to earn money from broadcasts but still condemn my recording activities then they should sanction those in their own ranks (such as Sony) who aid and abet people like myself by selling us mini-Disk players/media, audio cassette players/media, VCRs/media, CD burners, etc.

    Perhaps the bottom line is that the recording industry is trying to make a huge fortune from a product that is really only worth a small one. Of course to do that, you must have a monopoly, charge more than the product is really worth, and preferably -- charge multiple times for the same service/product.

    The current situation (regarding broadcast and bitching about piracy) is somewhat akin to handing a child some candy and then slapping them upside the head for eating it.

    It seems that the RIAA wants its cake, eat it, and then eat it again -- all at our expense.

    • Sure, I buy music. For example, last night I went to a relatively new bar/music place in Baltimore called The Talking Head. My friend Matt Dahl was playing, as well as a band called Soltero who had been recommended to me by another band I like (The Beatings, when I saw them about 2 weeks ago, also at The Talking Head).

      Anyway, I liked Soltero, and bought their CD for $10. I don't buy so very much music, since I'm constantly under a flood of music to review for the radio station, but when I do buy music, it's always like this: from bands that are going out there, writing great songs, and driving around in their own cars to play them for small crowds in strange cities. They obviously care about what they're doing, and it shows in the music. They get all of my $10, and they deserve it.

  • R.I.P. icecast (Score:2, Informative)

    by jodo ( 209027 )
    Last week before the new netbroadcast rules took effect there were easily >100 netcast choices at icecast. [] There are now, as I look, 3 streams and 32 listeners.
    The little guys are knocked off.
  • I listen to bands that are recording their own stuff and SELLING it over the web and using it to attract and communicate to/with their fans.

    The RIAA is screwed because the artists have come up with a better business model. One that puts money in THEIR pockets not the RIAAs and the managers and producers and other parasites sucking the life out of the artists.

    Many million record seling artists are still perfoming not because they want to but because they HAVE to.

  • Considering they have a majority of the market ( i do think they are it in the music industry ) and are using their position to manipulate the market, ( price fixing for starters ) drive out competition, attack customers, ( and musicians ) and questionably related industries ( p2p )...

    Their very ( admitted ? ? ) foundation is to have total control, in the disguise as 'for the musicians'.

    Would this qualify them as a predatory monopoly and be subect to governmental intervention?

    Or am i just dreaming.. considering they are that the point where they are excempt. ( like other larger coporations we know )
  • by curunir ( 98273 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @09:07PM (#4492279) Homepage Journal
    The responses to Rusty's letter all seem to be shortsighted, bitter and overly idealistic. They entirely miss the reality of the situation. Namely, it is: Come October 20th, the DMCA mandated fees decided by CARP will be due and no one but the largest webcasters (yahoo et al) will be able to afford it.

    Killing HR5469 won't mean that both sides go back to the bargaining table to negociate a new deal. The RIAA had little reason to negociate HR5469 in the first place. They only did it because they saw it as a PR win due to the negative publicity stirred up by webcasters like SomaFM. Since webcasters came to the table with very little to offer the RIAA, HR5469 basically represents what the RIAA was willing to give up. If that means the smallest webcasters are SOL, then there was basically no posibility that they wouldn't be. Opposing the bill is basically just sour grapes that those large enough to be helped by HR5469 will be able to continue to operate legally.

    Let me respond point by point to the letter posted above:

    "What happened with HR 5469 directly affects EVERYONE is the webcasting community and to pretend otherwise is a joke."

    This is true. While small webcasters will not be directly affected by HR5469, if the bill isn't passed, the mid-level webcasters without pockets deep enough to pay CARP fees will go away. Then who will be left to oppose the RIAA and fight for the small webcasters? No one. The RIAA will have no one left who is organized enough to lobby against them. Small webcasters like to make it seem like HR5469 is exactly what medium-sized webcasters wanted. This is completely false. There is specific language in HR5469 that says that that the agreement is *not* voluntary and has been forced upon them by the RIAA. HR5469 is a first step, but there might not be any further steps if it doesn't pass.

    "But there is something horribly wrong with the FACT that what began as a private negotiation ended up being turned into a piece of legislation forced as a yolk around the necks of people who had no say in the matter."

    On the contrary, the yoke you're feeling is the DMCA. You're free to ignore HR5469 completely if you so choose. The only difference HR5469 has is that it gives you the option of paying $500/year instead of the outlandish per listener charges imposed by CARP.

    "I am tired of being asked as a member of the webcasting industry to accept something so horribly wrong just because some people think this deal was "the best they could get."

    Ok, so you try getting something better from the RIAA. You hire a lawyer/lobbiest to negociate a deal. Saying that this isn't the best deal that could be gotten is disingenuous and assumes that there was good faith on the part of the RIAA to find a solution that would be acceptable to small webcasters. I think most of /. would agree that the RIAA has no interest in lowering the barrier to entry in this arena (or any arena where they are involved).

    "To me it would be like being invited over to lunch and expecting to eat Chicken Salad - and then being served Chicken S**t. There might be a large portion of the webcasting community who can stomach that, but I can't."

    On the contrary, you were told that you can eat the leftovers if you so choose. You're getting free's entirely your choice whether to eat it or not. So you're hungry...but that isn't the fault of the people who gave you the leftovers.

    "The RIAA never had any intention of dealing fairly, honestly and respectfully with the webcasting industry. Those that sat down privately to negotiate a deal for themselves did so in their own best interest and for their own individual reasons. I don't believe there was anything wrong with that."

    Exactly. The RIAA has never intended to make it possible for very small webcasters to operate legally. The fact that the mid-level webcasters sat down and hammered out a deal with the RIAA that would allow them to continue to broadcast can only be seen as a good thing. For the most part, these webcasters are not faceless corporations who only care about their own existance. They are labors of love who will continue to fight for the rights of the smaller webcasters. To silence them will mean that there will be no one left to negociate with the RIAA.

    "But when the self-serving agenda of a few becomes something that is foisted upon the community as a whole, then I cannot, must not and will not stand by and accept such an American Injustice."

    Again, I challenge you to show that anything has or will be "foisted upon" you by HR 5469. You're free to go by the CARP regulations if you so choose. Please show how the agenda of the webcasters who negotiated this deal has hurt your situation (and you might try using an actual argument instead of just spouting rhetoric.)

    "Just because people are claiming right now that HR 5469 in its present form will not really hurt the industry does not mean that is the truth. The only entity that HR 5469 helps is the RIAA and it is a sad truth that they care nothing about the industry they are destroying."

    Fact: if HR 5469 does not pass, any webcaster that has any voice in Washington will stop broadcasting (aside from the large corporations unaffected by HR 5469.) You're right that the RIAA doesn't care. But shutting down the only people with a voice loud enough to make the RIAA take notice is misguided, short-sighted and foolish.

    This whole "rift" in the webcasting community only helps the RIAA. Webcasters should be happy and support any measure that benefits any member of their community. To do otherwise only ensures the RIAA will get their way.
  • by Lonath ( 249354 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @10:27PM (#4492585)
    I've been saying this for months.

    You need to stop giving money to the copyright industry forever.

    It isn't about copying or piracy, it's about competition.

    The tools you use to steal their content are the same tools you can use to COMPETE with their content.

    They are lying when they talk about piracy. Don't talk about piracy, because if you do, then you're being reeled in by their lies. Make sure that you tell people that it's about competition, not stealing.

    It's about using copyrights to hinder the progress of the sciences and useful arts by trying to take away the machines that people could use to promote the progress of the sciences and the useful arts. They can't allow these machines to exist or else they'll make less money as people become able to compete with them on an even playing field, but with much less money.

    It's about giant corporations using lies to subvert the Constitution to destroy freedom because they think that they'll make more money.

    So, please don't give money to the copyright industry ever again. They won't ever stop, and they will wait as long as needed between laws, and they're willing to take steps as small as needed to get toward their goal of preventing the existence of machines that will let people compete with them.
  • by mrBoB ( 63135 ) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @11:47PM (#4492941)
    This is quite an interesting angle. One that now I think about it makes complete sense. I never really put the online proliferation of music into quite that context. RIAA surely has the intent to stop unsigned artitsts from reaching mass market. The DMCA pretty much gives them carte-blance in protecting their monopoly.


    An allegation against you, Joe Webcaster, that your site streams copyrighted material. Even though you stream music that is 100% free (or otherwise requested to be mass-distributed by whatever means), the mere allegation and C&D almost requires you to stop streaming until you can be proven innocent (I don't beleive the DMCA actually follows innocent till proven guilty). Meanwhile you are "off-the-air" until it is cleared. An obvious win for the labels, regardless of the outcome in the trial.

    It would be nice to know if whether it would be considered libel for an organization to claim copyright infringement when in fact there is none... Of course, this would require that such webcasters be 100% legit, because we do know the lengths to which the RIAA will go to put someone down.

    Anyway, thats my 0.02.


  • by vanyel ( 28049 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:52AM (#4493373) Journal
    RIAA doesn't have any hold over independent artists. If you get the agreement from an artist who hasn't already signed away rights to their music elsewhere, you can webcast it to your heart's content.

    Conversely, if you want to webcast music they have got their mits on, well, there's no reason you should be any different than any other radio station that has to pay royalties on it. The main difference is they advertise or hold beg-a-thons so they can pay the royalties (and for other minor things like salaries and equipment). Granted, the royalties should be scaled to the audience size, but if the rates are unreasonable, I find it really hard to believe that artists that have signed away all rights to their works to RIAA are the only ones making good music.

    Webcasters need to tell RIAA to stick it, and come up with a working model that works well for good new independents looking for exposure, and by working, I mean keeps working after they're exposed so they can actually make a living from it (which I think should be easy to do if RIAA/studios are taking so much off the top). When webcasting then takes off with good new unaffiliated talent but won't air the "mainstream" artists because of the restrictive rules/pricing, I think you'll see a lot of major squawking and rewritten contracts and rules.

Saliva causes cancer, but only if swallowed in small amounts over a long period of time. -- George Carlin