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Comment Re:Here's an idea (Score 1) 193

The labels also invest in talent they hope will make it, spending huge sums on teaching them to play in sync, variations on playing styles, introducing them to different instruments and sounds, fitting songs to bands, practice studios, recording studios, sound engineers, etc etc etc etc. That too all costs money, and most recorded artists probably never make it really worth while, but without that support the real gems are even less likely to make it.

The problem is that from the anecdotal stories that I've heard about the music business, the RIAA and the major labels don't actually do any of that stuff. What I've heard is that most of that is done by the actual artists on their own time and their own dime. That doesn't mean that no label associated with the RIAA ever does that, it's just that none of the stories I've heard mention anything like that. In fact, most go into excruciating detail about how the labels are loathe to give anything at all away. The general story seems to be that they are billed by the music label for anything the label does for them and sometimes for anything the label could have done, even if it didn't. In particular, I remember one band complaining that they were charged a hefty fee because they didn't use the label's recording studio, and that was in addition to the fees they paid to the recording studio of their choice.

Maybe that's standard practice and I have just never heard anyone ever mention it, but I'd like some evidence that it's common for anything other than label organized boy bands.

Comment Re:Here's an idea (Score 2) 193

Labels affiliated with RIAA are already finding your "favorite" bands for you. If I go through your music collection, 99% of it will be music from RIAA affiliated labels (or whatever IFPI affiliated marketing/promotion entity is in your part of the planet).

I think the point was that, while most of our current favourite bands might have be found by the RIAA, we'd still have favourite bands if the RIAA and it's affiliated labels didn't exist. In fact, there are arguments that can be made that we might actually have better music if the RIAA affiliated labels weren't picking our favourite bands for us. They have been accused many times of producing cookie-cutter music and drowning out diversity with conservative musical picks.

Comment Re:Michael Flynn Jr believes it (Score 1) 769

The fact that Congress is so reviled yet stable indicates we're no longer a functioning democracy. We're a plutocracy, where elections are determined by overwhelming advantages in fundraising.

That's the wrong lesson. Most congressional elections are determined by gerrymandering. The point of gerrymandering is to generate certain victories and subvert the will of voters. If you want to control congress, you have to control the state legislatures.

Comment Re:We knew this going in (Score 2) 505

I beg to differ on Taiwan. My own belief is that Trump simply stepped in a pile of shit without malice of forethought or any forethought at all. When the shit hit the fan, his people realized he looked like a bull in a China shop (I should be shot for that reference). His people rummaged about, finally pulling out the Dole connection to make it look like he intentionally went to find the pile, walked up to it, and purposely stepped in it.

I don't believe his campaign intentionally did anything except as a shoot from hip sort of action. He saw what got their crowds excited, and like a true reality host, he just gave them more of that. He has the attention span of gnat, whatever he sees last is what he believes.

I don't think people elected him to solve certain problems. They projected on to him the anger they'd been taught is okay, then back-assward argued he'd fix "their problems". He will fix nothing because he has no firm policies nor any idea how to implement them. Think of him as blank slate that gets written to every day but erased again at night.

I don't think it bad that he kicked China in the shins over Taiwan, but I cannot believe it was thought out ahead of time.

Comment Re:Is malware like this proof of economic stagnati (Score 1) 186

I don't think the economy is broken, well, it might be but even if it were 100% healthy, we'd still have these people. Mostly, they are people who do not fit into companies working for someone else. They are freelancers. They do not have what it takes to start their own legitimate company. In the past, we'd call them pickpockets or snake oil salesmen or in some cases, politicians. The intertubes are just vehicles for them. If they weren't doing it there, they'd find some other form of criminal vice. Their lives are built around leeching. The medium is secondary.

Comment Re:Thanks, Trump! (Score 2) 171

Lick my balls, bro.

Buying "carbon credits" and the like don't mean that you're actually using sustainable energy. What happens when the wind plants and solar plants aren't producing? Covering average demand is ONLY covering average demand. Idiots.

Its an accounting trick. They are actually using energy produced by non-renewable generators much of the time. They are simply signing contracts and paying a bit more to say it comes from renewables. Meanwhile, every neighbor is using the exact same mix of power from the exact same generators. The only difference is the piece of paper..

No, there's a little more to it than that. The fact that they're paying more for renewable means that utilities can afford to invest in more renewable production. Buying renewable energy, even if it does get all mixed together with non-renewable in the grid, actually causes renewable energy production to be built out -- and eventually to replace non-renewable production.

Comment Re:No investment opportunities big enough (Score 1) 131

They can't pay it out as dividends without repatriating it, nor can they invest it in anything in the US.

So they bring it back and pay taxes on it, and pay the remainder as a dividend. Then they tell the shareholders they would have got more if not for those taxes and deflect the blame, easy peasy.

And their stock price would take a big hit as they reduced the assets on their balance sheet by a huge amount, to no benefit. Shareholders would be pissed, and the blame deflection would not work. At all.

Bottom line: the reason they have big piles of cash is because the US has the highest corporate income tax rate in the developed world.

No, it's because the US has a pathetic tax structure that makes it easy to dodge taxes.

You don't know what you're talking about. The taxes we're talking about here are taxes that companies in most countries wouldn't pay at all. The US is nearly unique in trying to tax overseas profits.

Comment Re:US tax policy is NOT the problem for Apple (Score 1) 131

They don't have to repatriate it to do useful things with it. Believe it or not you can actually do interesting things outside the USA. I know right? Who knew?

Lose the snark. They already do about as much as they can with their cash outside of the US. There are a lot of reasons they keep the bulk of their operations in the US, and in Silicon Valley.

Have you wondered why Apple has taken out loans in recent years despite having gobs of cash and no actual need for the money?

No, I haven't wondered because it's blindingly obvious, and it's not the reason you state. The reason they do it is because they can borrow against overseas capital and use it to obtain cash for operations and growth in the US. It's a way of partially working around exactly the problem I described.

Over 50% of Apple's business is outside the US.

Revenues, yes. Operations, no.

The effective tax rate in the US for corporations is actually below the world average.

Only because many corporations have big writeoffs available due to depreciation, losses, etc. Apple already uses all of those to reduce their tax liability for US revenues. They'd pay full rate on money they repatriated.

I won't bother rebutting the remainder point by point, because it's all predicated on your above errors.

Comment Re:Music industry != artists (Score 4, Interesting) 71

I think artists of the progressive rock genre are ones that suffer most from streaming

I think they are probably among those who suffer least.

Artists in most of the less mainstream forms of rock have basically never made any money from royalties. Their album sales have always served primarily to feed fan interest in their live shows, and they've made most of their their money from merchandising at the shows. I'd expect prog rock to be in this category. And for artists who make most of their money from touring, YouTube is a *good* thing because it does an even better job of feeding fan interest, enabling a lot more interaction with fans. YouTube does this so well it's enabled artists who would never have made it in the old world to make a decent living with their music. One of my favorite examples is Lindsay Stirling, the dancing pop violinist. She actually makes considerable money from YouTube streaming (because she doesn't go through a label), and sells out concerts in respectable venues worldwide.

The artists who in decades past made their money from royalties rather than touring are the ones who are most hurt by streaming, because their contracts generally pay them a pittance of streaming revenues. On the other hand, the artists in question, the ones to generate massive royalties on album sales, are the big pop acts who are rolling in cash in spite of being ripped off by their labels.

Please don't interpret this as a defense of the labels. I spent a while writing a royalty calculation system for a big label, and it's crazy how much crap they get away with and how badly they rip off the artists, with or without streaming. They suck, and I'm rooting for artists to exploit YouTube, iTMS, Google Play, etc., and social media to reach their fans directly and cut the bloodsucking leeches out completely.

Comment Re:Why air gaps? (Score 3, Insightful) 283

Double glazed windows have a vacuum (or sometimes a noble gas) between the panes.

Or dry air. There's no need to use anything other than air to avoid condensation. You just need to make sure the air is dry and the windows are sealed so humid air can't get in. I doubt many windows are vacuum-filled; that's just begging for trouble, and would also limit the size of panes. 15 pounds per square inch adds up to a lot of pressure very quickly.

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