An anonymous reader writes: Richard Menta makes a strong case on MP3 Newswire that bad public relations stirred by the open conflict between the record industry and the consumer is a heavy contributor to the crumbling fortunes of the major labels. In his analysis he contrasts how the NFL and Major League baseball tread gingerly with the Michael Vick and steroids scandals respectively to avoid further raising the ire of sports fans, while the major labels and the RIAA openly antagonize music fans who dare embrace new technologies they don't have full control of. From the article" Today the major record labels don't have a positive brand image and the very public actions they have taken to control the rise of digital media and the Internet over the last several years is at the very heart of their fall from grace. To some the big labels are an anachronism. To others they are anti-consumer. The erosion of their image is dramatic..." Menta then lays out 17 public events that have chipped away at the image of the recording industry including those that show them as bullies (RIAA sues little girls), as incompetent (RIAA sues the dead), as oppressors of the artist (Courtney Love, Janis Ian, and Grey Tuesday), as greedy (that's what Steve Jobs called them), and as practitioners of unauthorized access (Sony rootkit scandal). Consumer perception can be a bitch and the end result here is that many consumers probably don't feel as good about buying a CD anymore.