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Media Music The Almighty Buck

RIAA's Nasty Easter Egg 817

Posted by timothy
from the more-room-for-indies dept.
Bruha writes "It appears the RIAA is being very low key about the fact that the five major labels think that 99 cents per song is too cheap, and are discussing a price hike that would increase the tariff to $1.25 up to $2.99 per song. I was a huge fan of the 99c per song, but if they think that they can raise the price on me just because I don't buy full CDs anymore, they've got another thing coming. Suggestion: make good CDs, and maybe I'll buy the whole thing."
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RIAA's Nasty Easter Egg

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  • by Novanix (656269) * on Sunday April 11, 2004 @05:34PM (#8832679) Homepage
    That would put an eleven track cd at $33 depending on exactly how high they get the rate to be per song. As the article points out no online store is really make a profit as it is, if you increase the price of songs some stores will simply have to shutdown. By driving the price up I would bet they will make less money, as it will just make it more worthwhile for piracy. Someone might not mind paying $0.99 a song and have it instantly, but if you make it three times that many people will find other ways to get their music.
    • by crackshoe (751995) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @05:37PM (#8832701)
      well, the worst deal i've found on itunes has been .99 for a 4 second interlude track (janet jackson, i think). the RIAA needs to either make better music, save money by stop paying off radio stations, or die. well, it doesn't need to, but it would be nice.
    • by Naffer (720686) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @05:46PM (#8832795) Journal
      $.50 a track, 192kbit stereo is what it'll take to get me to buy my music. Until then I'll just drive around and listen to the dozen used CDs I bought five years ago. $1 a track is already too expensive for most of the music out there. In a perfect world we'd be able to pay a small subscription fee for access to all the music we want via audio on demand.
      Can you imagine how popular XM radio would be if you could go online and set up a playlist of ANY music you want (and none that you dont) and listen to it from you car?
      • $.50 a track

        Don't you think that's more than a little unrealistic? Fifty cents a track means a total cost of less than six dollars for most albums. You can pay more than that for a six-pack of decent beer, and it certainly won't last as long as a good album.

        I've never understood what people's problem is with paying $10-15 per CD. I have at least a hundred that I bought ten years ago that I still like. How many products in that price range deliver that kind of long-term value, besides film and music?

        If I
        • by Saeger (456549) <farrellj @ g mail.com> on Sunday April 11, 2004 @06:31PM (#8833161) Homepage
          If I were a professional musician, and my alleged "fans" would only pay fifty cents for their favourite track, I would pack up and quit because it would be so insulting.

          Good riddance. And you wouldn't be called a "professional musician" in that case, you'd be called a "recording artist" who depends on artificial-scarcity enforcement to make money as your first priority.

          A real musician would be playing for the love of it and building human relationships with actual fans who would have no problem paying for fresh and scarce concerts, scarce physical merchandise, and CDs-as-a-patronage-thankyou.

          You can't even buy a soda pop from a vending machine for that little anymore.

          And if you could make an exact molecular copy of a can of Coke for next to nothing (and you soon will), would you feel bad that CocaCola (and WalMart, and the rest) are now being "ripped off"? CocaCola would have to reinvent themselves by having to work again ... by continually coming up with new recipes. Of course, they'd never be a giant sugar-water-advertising-&-distribution company again (just like the RIAA is going to have to downsize).

          --

        • by StarKruzr (74642) on Monday April 12, 2004 @12:15AM (#8835382) Journal
          "How many products in that price range deliver that kind of long-term value, besides film and music?"

          Ever heard of a "book?"
    • by BrynM (217883) * on Sunday April 11, 2004 @05:51PM (#8832846) Homepage Journal
      if you increase the price of songs some stores will simply have to shutdown
      There's the finest point you make. The RIAA would like it if they could prove that online distribution "doesn't work" and could somehow move back to being the ones in charge of everything. They would like these companies to fail.

      On another tangent, they may be shooting for the first reverse discount I've ever heard of: Since online distribution is competition to CD sales (their traditional business), they need to make CDs appear to be a better bargain. By increasing the price per song online, they have given CDs a discounted rate without ever really discounting them.

    • by Bastian (66383) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @05:54PM (#8832865)
      Well, considering that the RIAA still hasn't figured out that the ridiculous prices CDs sell for is one of the major reasons why illegal filesharing became so popular in the first place, I'm somehow not surprised that they don't realize this point, either.

      I think maybe they've been milking so much money for so long that they don't realize how expensive their music is. How else could they not reason that if I'm not willing to pay $14-$20 for a CD, why would I be willing to pay something like $15-$40+ for electronic copies of the music where I have to worry about keeping it backed up incase of hard drive crashes and I don't get to have a copy of the jewel case, liner notes, etc.?

      At this point in time, I only have legal music on my computer. I've been trying to take the moral high ground and stick with golden ethics even if it means giving money to these shitheads. Granted, they're still shitheads so I try to stick to (truly) indie labels, used CD's, and $10 albums bands sell at their concerts. If they go through with this plan, though, I think I'll change my operating mantra from "turn the other cheek" to "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" and download a copy of every single filesharing program I can get my hands on.
      • A few points (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bonch (38532) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @06:24PM (#8833100)
        First off, the summary:

        Suggestion: make good CDs, and maybe I'll buy the whole thing.

        I'm sick of pointing this out--kids today LOVE the music coming out. The fogies at Slashdot think that their niche opinion represent the majority. Today's computer users aren't downloading music because they don't like the whole albums--they're downloading because it's free and available.

        Well, considering that the RIAA still hasn't figured out that the ridiculous prices CDs sell for is one of the major reasons why illegal filesharing became so popular in the first place, I'm somehow not surprised that they don't realize this point, either.

        Same thing. Illegal piracy isn't popular because of "ridiculous prices." It's popular because it's convenient and everywhere, and it lets you rip off albums for free. They RAR up whole band discographies now and stick 'em up on eMule.

        Slashdot wants you to believe that piracy is justified because CDs are overpriced (they're $12.99 at my store...that money covers a lot more than the pressing of the CD), that the RIAA is somehow bad for going after copyright infringers (which is exactly what Slashdotters were saying they should do when Napster was being sued), and that they somehow rip off artists even though artists willingly sign their contracts, shit on gold toilets, and never asked you for your "help" in ripping them off.

        The anti-RIAA propoganda around this place is so annoying. Look at the headline--raising the price of downloads by a dollar is suddenly a "nasty easter egg." Slashdotters think their niche opinions represent the majority. You guys need to get off this site and see the rest of the world. ADMIT THE TRUTH--those millions of traders aren't using Kazaa to "sample" albums, they're not using it because they have some sort of righteous opposition to something called the "RIAA"--they're using Kazaa to download music without paying for it. People have yet to offer a valid legal or moral justification for ripping artists off.

        But go ahead and post another anti-RIAA article, then after that another anti-Microsoft article. Recycle, repeat.
        • Re:A few points (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Joey7F (307495) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @07:33PM (#8833634) Homepage Journal
          I'm sick of pointing this out--kids today LOVE the music coming out. The fogies at Slashdot think that their niche opinion represent the majority. Today's computer users aren't downloading music because they don't like the whole albums--they're downloading because it's free and available

          No we don't. We like certain songs. We just get sick of paying 15 dollars for a cd when we hear a good song radio. I have stopped doing this. For example, this week I am going to buy two cds. Ocean Avenue by YellowCard and Palm Trees and Powerlines by Sugar cult, the cds are 7.99 and 8.99 at Circuit City, respectively. Those seem like fair prices, I know I will like 3 songs total guaranteed (as I have already bought them off itunes) With those prices I am willing to chance the sample(s) were misleading (other than the ones I bought of course)

          I have/will purchase/d 5 cds in the last 12 months. but to say I am thrilled with music today is like saying I am thrilled with movies, because I liked Master and Commander and Lord of the Rings.

          --Joey
      • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @06:41PM (#8833227) Homepage Journal
        ``the ridiculous prices CDs sell for is one of the major reasons why illegal filesharing became so popular in the first place''

        For me, it's more a convenience argument. I don't have to go out to the store, browse the collection, discover that they don't have what I'm looking for, go to another store, repeat. Or order CDs online, several at a time so I won't add 100% to the price for shipping charges, which requires me to assemble a list of albums that I want, and typically doesn't enable to me to try before I buy. Or consider if it's worth it to buy the whole 10 track album just for those few really good tracks. And then rip and encode so I can just play it without having to swap CDs.

        Instead, I go to a site where I can listen to samples, then pay (if someone gives me something I like, I don't mind giving them something they like) and download the songs that I like, and start listening.
    • By driving the price up I would bet they will make less money

      Unfortunatly this is win win for them:

      sales go up = They make more money

      Sales go down = They blame P2P networks for decreased sales and launch more profitable lawsuits.

      Maybe, ya might just think, it is the sleasiness and questionable practices of these companies that drove people away from honest purchases? Somehow there is a lot less guilt when you steal from the theif. . . .
  • by eaglebtc (303754) * on Sunday April 11, 2004 @05:35PM (#8832685)
    This is ridiculous. At some point the RIAA's proverbial bubble is going to burst and the fat cow will collapse under its own weight.

    Just let them kill themselves. Something else fill in the vacuum created by their departure.
    • by bwy (726112) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @07:26PM (#8833580)
      I guess I may be dumb (probably not even up for discussion) but I have never really understood the need for the RIAA in the first place. Artist records music... record company produces CD... product is distributed... consumer purchases music. Why do we need a big monolithic organization involved that messes up everything for everybody?

      If it were impossible to do this stuff without the RIAA, there wouldn't be lots of "independent" deals where there is no RIAA to be found. Somehow artists and independent record companies found some way to accomplish all this stuff on their own.

      Anyway, somehow I think the term "Vaporware" now applies to music too. I mean, you've got idiots like Britney Spears all over everything and she's basically "vapor-ware"... prototyped, mocked up boobs, artifical, pre-recorded singing voice, and clearly just a glamorized screenshot- she's not even a functioning prototype. I think somehow the need for the RIAA has to do with having this Britney Vaporware in our faces 24x7 and in our ears at least once an hour on every radio station.
      • by jfengel (409917) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @09:50PM (#8834527) Homepage Journal
        Independent artists exist, many of them, but few are rich. It's hard to get really rich when you don't have a massive support organization making lots of money.

        For the money the RIAA spends on one artist, we could fund 1,000 independent artists who would almost certianly make better music. And each of them would make 1/1,000th the total profit.

        In fact, those artists are out there, and you've never heard of them. Yeah, you've probably heard of the ones local to your house, but you've never heard this great band in Minneapolis who... the point is, we're talking about the RIAA because you've heard of the RIAA, and the artists the RIAA supports.

        There are some resources that are scarce. Not the artists, who are essentially free (if it's not your band it'll be any of ten thousand other bands) but the TV and radio airtime (for both ads and for the music itself), for billboards, for promotional tours. Even the front page of iTunes is a limited commodity. The commodities are limited and they help sell records. Which means that who spends the money, makes the money. That's the RIAA. Those things allow a few bands to get really rich, and a few executives to get really rich.

        Who wants to hear it? Well, a lot of people, apparently. Not me, and not you, but an awful, awful lot of other people. So many, in fact, that the RIAA simply doesn't give a rat's ass what you want from music.

        Nor do they care much about the independent artists. Let 'em produce, and let them collectively make 1% of the total money spent on music. If you don't think to look for them on iTunes, you don't buy their music. Simple as that.
      • by bonch (38532) on Monday April 12, 2004 @01:56AM (#8835793)
        I guess I may be dumb (probably not even up for discussion) but I have never really understood the need for the RIAA in the first place. Artist records music... record company produces CD... product is distributed... consumer purchases music. Why do we need a big monolithic organization involved that messes up everything for everybody?

        The RIAA is just a lobbying group for a collection of major record labels. As for why an artist would need a record label to succeed--go out and try to be as successful as, say, Metallica without a record label promoting and advertising you and making you available.

        Contrary to Slashdot's niche opinions, the Internet hasn't made it easy to promote yourself as an artist. People don't like net ads, remember? People like tangibles like posters and singles and so forth.
  • $3? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eliza_effect (715148) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @05:35PM (#8832686)
    Are there only four songs on the album? I'll pay $.99. I won't pay $3. Listen up, RIAA.
  • Surprised? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Vargasan (610063) <swhisken@roge[ ]com ['rs.' in gap]> on Sunday April 11, 2004 @05:35PM (#8832689) Homepage
    Of course this was going to happen.
    If you thought it would last, you're either really stupid, really naive, or really really optomistic.
    RIAA was fined for price fixing to make more money. They are all about money, not music or entertainment.
    • Re:Surprised? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by eaglebtc (303754) * on Sunday April 11, 2004 @05:46PM (#8832794)
      Here's the fundamental problem, IMHO: Music has become a utility.

      The art of music is not a leisurely pastime nor an avid pursuit. The common folk just want some nice sounds to "fill the void." Hence Top-40 bubble gum was born. As for it being a utility, the people think they need music to carry on with their lives. Truth is, we don't "need" music to survive. On the day the music dies, our brains will still be churning away and the heart will still pump blood to our vital organs.

      When something becomes a utility, it means that both the rich and the poor can have access to it. The poor can afford a little bit, the rich can afford a lot. But everyone needs it. The price for the utility must also be justified; if it is too high the people will complain, but because they "need" it they will continue to pay the money and hope that the government will control its price.

      Remember the difference between a want and a need: you NEED food, clothing, and shelter. You want electricity, phone service and music because they are convenient, entertaining, or whatever. But you can still survive without these things. True, your life will be drastically different, but your basic functions are still operating.

      George Orwell was not too far off in his predictions for our society.
  • by MrIrwin (761231) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @05:36PM (#8832694) Journal
    When you buy a CD you get perhaps 3 or 4 good tracks and perhaps some not so good ones.

    When you download you just get the tracks you like.

    I think the music industry is afraid thier "bundling" days are over!

    • by CylanR77 (532552) <christopher.wallace+slashdot@gmail.com> on Sunday April 11, 2004 @06:03PM (#8832944)
      What bands are you listening to?

      I'll never understand this. Why do people listen to songs from a band that can only turn out "3 or 4 good tracks", when you could buy an alblum from a good band and get an entire CDs worth of good music? Is it really that important to you that you get those three tracks, or can you live without those few songs that will end up never being listened to after year? Must you stay current with whatever's popular?

      I really am tired of hearing about how a CD will only contain a single good song or two. Bands that are creative and sound good through an entire alblum do exist, people. Maybe you should try looking at sources other than MTV for what you want to listen to.
    • I think the music industry is afraid thier "bundling" days are over!
      Actually, this article [azcentral.com] mentions that our RIAA fr^Hiends are considering bundling download tracks for that extra-spendy goodness.
  • Record company execs: A bunch of greedy fucking bastards who were among the first against the wall when the revolution came.
  • by ShooterNeo (555040) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @05:36PM (#8832700)
    Trying to generate an unbiased opinion : without name-calling, there are a couple of huge issues here. It only costs a tiny fraction of the money record companies receive to make good music (even with groupies and band buses and the works it is still a pitiful few million compared to the billions groups that get all this take in).

    And second, how can they compete with free? The threat of a lawsuit is almost insignificant compared to the ease with which one can grab pretty much anything they like.

    So how is this going to play out?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 11, 2004 @05:37PM (#8832702)

    Well, the RIAA, like every other cartel, just wants to charge what they think the market will bear. People don't pay $20 odd per CD anymore, or at least, they perceive the price to be too high.

    So, after the initial offering, they'll try to gouge more money out from the consumers of online stores. Why don't you think that for some, $1.25 is still going to be worth the price ? If you don't like it, vote with your wallets and don't buy it.

    What, you don't think CDs started at $20 a pop, did you ?

  • These guys... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SuperMo0 (730560) <supermo0@NosPaM.gmail.com> on Sunday April 11, 2004 @05:37PM (#8832704)
    don't know when a good thing is staring them in the face. Why not force their artists to sell ALL their songs ONLY for 99 cents a song? (Won't happen, but still.) Raising the prices of these songs will simply provide a similar reason to the original exodus to Kazaa/Napster. They're winning people away from filesharing, and if they go through with this they're sending them back.
    • Perhaps their bussiness plan is this:

      1)Announce possible big price increase.
      2)People quickly buy more music before the increase.
      3)profit!
      4)Occasionaly remind people of possible price increase.
      5)goto 2
  • by RyanFenton (230700) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @05:38PM (#8832713)

    Get together, purchase the tools or access to the tools to create music directly, make CDs, and together, negotiate to sell them to stores.

    You don't need any RIAA "representation" - your music is yours to do what you want with. This is your life, and the lives of countless other artists - so work with other artists to cut these brain-dead suits out of the picture finally!

    Ryan Fenton
    • Short-term pain (Score:3, Interesting)

      Sadly, this is hard because the RIAA was designed to crush people who try to sell their own music. They can wait out the independents forever, they have vast resources, and the indies have bills to pay, a van to gas up and another grungy bar to play while they try to get Sunrise Records to stock their CD... Thank god enough people demand records by non-RIAA bands (and the retailers are themselves large enough corps) that the RIAA can't intimidate retailers into complete lock-in...
    • by black mariah (654971) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @06:01PM (#8832926)
      What you and too many others here don't understand or realize is that it is NOT that easy.

      Let's figure up the average for recording a full-length CD. If you get a deal cut for the studio time you might get 3 days at $1200, which would be $50 an hour. We'll assume that mixing is thrown into that figure to simplify matters. Toss in $500 or so for mastering, and it's time for artwork.

      You could do it yourself, but more than likely you want to get someone to do it for you. For a quality CD layout with a multi-page booklet you're probably looking at $300, maybe more. We're up to $2000 and haven't even started duplication...

      Which we'll do now. Printed CD, not stickers. Multi-page color booklet. Standard jewel cases. Figure $1200 total for 500 CD's (including extras. I got this figure from oasiscd.com).

      $3200. That's a fucking FORTUNE to most people, let alone guys that spend 18 hours a day in a van moving from gig to gig hoping that the manager of the club they're playing tonight doesn't fuck them out of their money so they can eat and gas up the van.

      It's not as easy as 'Just do it yourself' all the time. Most artists HAVE to have a label to forward them cash to produce recordings. End of story.
      • by blincoln (592401) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @06:29PM (#8833140) Homepage Journal
        $3200. That's a fucking FORTUNE to most people, let alone guys that spend 18 hours a day in a van moving from gig to gig hoping that the manager of the club they're playing tonight doesn't fuck them out of their money so they can eat and gas up the van.

        Mod parent up.

        Most independent musicians I know are lucky to make about $100 playing a show. When a couple of them went on tour a few years ago, they actually *lost* money the whole time, because it was so expensive to tour up and down the west coast. This wasn't living the rockstar lifestyle, either. They were throwing down sleeping bags on the side of the road at night because motels would have been too expensive.

        Like it or not, being a major label band has its benefits. You don't see Evanescence getting kicked offstage after four songs because the club's sound guy is an asshole, or having to threaten physical violence to get more than 50% of the payment for the show they were "guaranteed."
    • by BrynM (217883) * on Sunday April 11, 2004 @06:06PM (#8832965) Homepage Journal
      Get together, purchase the tools or access to the tools to create music directly, make CDs, and together, negotiate to sell them to stores.
      It's happening here in Sacramento, where Tower Records first Started. We have a couple of Music Stores here in town (Dimple Records [dimple.com], The Beat) that will sell CDs that don't belong to any label - usually for $10 a CD. I've know a couple of people that have self-produced CDs and then sold them at the local stores. The people actually end up making money if they do some self promotion as well. I have a feeling that we're a step away from some of our local musicians trying out a co-op style label as I've heard it mentioned a couple of times. Yeah, this is a small scale, local movement but the point is that it started. I plan on putting my $$ and audio skills into making it gain momentum if I can.
  • Deja Vu? (Score:3, Informative)

    by ikewillis (586793) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @05:39PM (#8832727) Homepage
    Seems like a dupe [slashdot.org] to me...
  • by MongooseCN (139203) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @05:39PM (#8832731) Homepage
    This is a capitalist country! If you don't like one company's price, go to another company and buy their product instead! So if you don't like the RIAA's prices then go to... uh... hmmm... fuck.
  • Piracy (Score:5, Informative)

    by LordK2002 (672528) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @05:42PM (#8832758)
    And this is going to stop piracy...how?

    These labels just don't "get it". Maybe people will abandon pirated downloads if they can get the legitimate version for a reasonable price, but not if the price is just stupid ($2.49 for a 3-minute song?).

    The RIAA obviously has a severely inflated view of its own importance. Reality is going to catch up with them, whether they like it or not.

    K

  • by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @05:44PM (#8832777)
    umm....didn't the RIAA just have to fess up a zillion $13 checks because they were found guilty of price fixing?

    How is this different? (except that they have the balls to tell beforehand)
  • as well as being a quite possibly miserable business decision, if the alternative for the consumer is piracy. However, looking at any other industry, setting prices per song should be 3 or 4 times as expensive as the individual songs would be on a CD.

    It makes no sense to sell a $15 or $20 CD's songs, of which there are between 10 and 20, for 99c each, simply because in that case, there is no incentive to buy the CD. Volume discounting makes perfect sense, andhaving a cheaper alternative if you buy per song is bad business for them, as much as you want to complain about it.

    There is altogether too much whining about the RIAA deciding that it has a legitamite, legal rights to profits they generate through their research, promotion, and effort. While they may be robber barons, or jerks, they do have a right to protect themselves from the market that wants to pay nothing.

    The Information may want to be free, but it also wants to be expensive, and it is clear that although the paradigm the RIAA works with is unfair, and failing, the fact that they are attempting to re-work it to be usable with technology is not a bad thing.

    OK, now that I've said it, you can mod this post to hell. I have the Karma to burn. And no, I don't work for the RIAA, but I decided that I can live without illegal music, rather than steal it, or help out the RIAA.
    • You're forgetting that when you buy a full CD you are getting more than the music. You get the physical cd with full quality audio, the liner notes, the case, and maybe one of those god foresaken "Enhanced CD" interfaces to play the disc. Downloaded music is bare-bones, its like an audio version of a Dodge Neon. It should be cheaper by design and purpose.

      If you want value-added extras like liner-notes and leather seats, you pay extra for it per song by buying a cd. Thats the incentive for paying extra
  • the easy solution (Score:4, Informative)

    by iamthelung (762174) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @05:47PM (#8832796)
    its called mute [sourceforge.net]
  • Price fixing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eyeball (17206) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @05:47PM (#8832800) Journal
    Can someone (that doesn't work for the RIAA) please explain to me how this isn't price fixing and at all legal?

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @05:48PM (#8832809) Homepage Journal
    I bet there are a bunch of Indian artists who will sell me music tracks for .50 a track. Stick THAT in your crack pipe and smoke it, RIAA!
  • What idiots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bralkein (685733) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @05:48PM (#8832813)
    Ok, I think this story was posted before, but I want my rant so I am posting anyway...

    Can anybody tell me exactly how this ISN'T price fixing? Eh? As far as I know, the whole iTunes thing is doing pretty well, and $0.99/song seems like a pretty fair price to me, considering how you just get a DRM'd file, no CD case or nice insert/booklet thing or whatever. This move just looks like the RIAA is some kind of cartel or something, who just try to keep prices as high as they can get away with because they have a stranglehold on the market... oh, oh, hang on, is that EXACTLY WHAT IT FRICKING WELL IS?

    I'm truly sorry if there is some reason apart from lust for coinage that means they have to raise the price, like bandwidth has suddenly become more expensive, or the money generated does not leave the artist with enough money to live or something like that, but to this customer, it almost looks criminal.

    Bastards, I'll laugh when you're dead, RIAA, and I'll never pay you a penny again.
  • by G4from128k (686170) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @05:52PM (#8832854)
    Why not make the prices fully variable and a function of the rate of downloading. All music would start at 0.99 per song. If the rate of downloading is high, the price would creep upwards until the rate of downloading slows. If the rate of downloading is low, the price would subside. Maybe the good songs are worth 2.99, maybe the sucky one are worth only 0.25 -- let the rate of downloading set the price.

    And if you really want to use a market mechanism, then let people put in bids. When the price of the song drops to the bid price, the bidder gets the song. If the bidder wants the song sooner, then they will have to up their bid.
  • by HDlife (714246) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @05:53PM (#8832860)
    The full story is that the industry wants to get away from the flat-rate price. They want, for example, to charge $3 for a new mega-hit (especially from a band who's other songs suck). Perhaps this would encourage people to look at other, non-TRL music?

    I was amazed that they ever used the flat-rate-pricing. Who would pay the same price for Picasso as some amatuer work (regardless of merit). Or in young lingo, the same price for a T-shirt by Abercromie or by K-Mart.

  • Tired of it... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordOfYourPants (145342) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @06:04PM (#8832945)
    When I hear stories of the RIAA talking about music sales going down due to file sharing, I get really tired about the other side of the story not being discussed.

    I own nearly 200 CDs and have bought 4 in the last year or so. Why has my purchase rate dropped by 2/3 or so?

    1) I'm already happy with what I have.

    2) Changing perception of how much music is really worth to me -- not in terms of "because I can get it for free" but just in terms of its price relative to other things I want to do in my life. Looking through my already-existing collection I can look at each CD and go "Was that really worth $20?" I honestly feel like maybe 20% of it was worth it. Maybe that makes me a dumber buyer than most.

    3) Second thoughts every time I'm in a CD shop and think about how the RIAA treats file traders. I understand that what's being done is illegal, but I don't agree with assuming that they've caused $90,000 in damage by sharing one song with 14 downloads in the last month.

    4) Access to Internet radio which gives me far more of an opportunity to listen to the genres of music I enjoy with far, far, far less ads.

    I understand that the popularity of Internet radio might change the ad ratio in the future, but while my choice in the FM radio is limited, my choices online are not.

    5) Using my local library for movies, books, and music. I understand that some people don't live in a large city and can't take advantage of this, but those who are might want to give it a try. The city I live in allows me to reserve an item from any library in the greater metropolitain area and have it sent to the library closest to where I live. Returns work the same way.

    The library might not have the CD of a random indie group you heard at a bar/club/rave last night, and some of the waits for a reservation can be long (think in terms of half a year for some items -- this is balanced out by the fact that you can book 50 things at a time) but they can help with some needs :)

    --

    I was considering buying music online but the sound quality and the idea that I didn't really have much more than an ephemeral/virtual "proof of purchase" were those that stopped me (with a CD, you can consider ownership of the physical item a proof of purchase in a sense). Adding a ludicrous price to the equation doesn't help.

    Anyway, the market will sort itself out. It should be an interesting decade for music :)
  • by Moderation abuser (184013) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @06:08PM (#8832974)
    And isn't this monopolistic behavior?

  • by Rick Zeman (15628) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @06:12PM (#8833005)
    "99 cents a song is a pricing model designed to protect CD sales, and not one designed to move people into a new digital music marketplace," senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation Fred Lohmann told us recently. "If an iPod has room for 4,000, does Apple think people are getting to spend $4,000 filling it with music?"

    Why is the EFF even asking a question like that? That's economics....that's business....that's marketing. That has nothing to do with My Rights Online.

    (Yes, I'm an EFF contributor, but they shouldn't be worrying about how much a music track should cost...)
  • by The Master Control P (655590) <ejkeever.nerdshack@com> on Sunday April 11, 2004 @06:12PM (#8833008)
    The RIAA just does not 'get it'. The whole reason people buy from iTMS and co is because the price is reasonable! For somewhat less than the price of a normal CD, they can get a full CD's worth of music that has only tracks they want!

    The question is, What can we do about it? I've got a list of starting suggestions:

    • Do not share RIAA-0wn3d music on P2P networks. First of all, if it's all such bad music (as is endlessly stated to be the reason for falling CD sales), why are you sharing it? Second, even though you may have legitimate reasons for sharing it, doing so plays straight into the hands of the RIAA. If the amount of traffic on P2P networks suddenly plunges for a prolonged period of time and CD sales continue to slip, that's a pretty solid piece of evidence that P2P is not the problem. If people chant that they sell worthless pap and then go get it anyway, that sends a message that we DO want their music, we just don't want to pay. Listen to indie music and radio stations instead.
    • Don't listen to ClearChannel because they broadcast the same music found on CD's, and increased viewership will again send the message that we DO want their music, we just don't want to pay; Wrong message :(.
    • Tell your friends and family! Saying this here is just preaching to the choir. Ranting and raving to Slashdot about what a bunch of anal raping bastards the RIAA and their congressional cronies are does not help.
    The point here is that the RIAA is claiming that falling CD sales are caused by rampant, unpaid sharing of their music on the Internet. As long as the sharing continues, judges and congresspersons will continue to believe them. If the sharing stops and sales keep dropping, at least some officials will have to see through their argument.

    On a lighter note, This [happytreefriends.com] is what their easter egg makes me think of.
  • Missing the point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Crashmarik (635988) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @06:27PM (#8833125)
    The people posting about killing online music sales or proposing that the labels produce higher quality music are completely missing the point. The whole aregument is based on the lie that the record labels are about the production of music.

    The record industry is about controlling how music and what music is able to make it to your ears. The fact that they want to raise the price so online music is a marginal service aimed only at the overmoneyed is an expression of this desire to control. Itunes, Napster, MusicMatch are now effectively record labels. The next step is for them to cut deals with the artists directly.

    The last thing record companies want is anyone to interfere with their indenture of recording artists. For most musicians record contracts are proof that slavery was not abolished by lincoln. The latest gem from the record companies is just an acknowledgement that they are deaply worried that digital technologies are disrupting their traditional tactics of ripping off the consumer and artist alike.

    The single truly annoying thing about this is how our elected officials from both parties have done absolutely nothing but protect the Labels right to be stupid.
  • I think it's time... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FlyingOrca (747207) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @06:35PM (#8833184) Journal
    ...to get me an Audiotron (check it out at ThinkGeek if you don't know what it is).

    Then I'm gonna get me a good-sized USB hard drive and rip all my CDs. Then I'll add all my dad's MP3s (he went Napster-crazy back in the good old days). And then I'll ship them to my brother.

    He's already ripped all his CDs, and a bunch of his buddies are doing theirs. We're talking about folks with good taste in music and larger collections than mine, and I have somewhere around 500 albums. Even with dupes, there's gotta be a lot of good material in there. Varied, too; I'm into folk, my brother's heavily into blues, another guy has a huge classical collection...

    Then we put them all together on a server and point our Audiotrons at the server. Bingo, instant online music library. I'm really looking forward to this.

    It's a good thing these people are all friends, 'cause here in Canada, we can share music with our friends. As my GF would say, "That's... just... great." Anyone else thinking of setting up something similar?

    Cheers!
  • contradiction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rnd() (118781) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @06:35PM (#8833189) Homepage
    Uh, the incease in prices is precisely consistent with the argument that many Slashdotters make, which is that an $18 CD contains only a few good tracks.

    Some songs should cost $3 or $4, while others (the much-maligned filler tracks) should cost $0.30. The songs are not all of the same quality and are not demanded equally, and so the prices should not all be identical.
  • by beforewisdom (729725) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @07:24PM (#8833569)
    After price downloading music is popular because you get just the songs you want.

    Sometimes the "other songs" on an "album" are not just filler, but actually good songs that are more artistic and show a little more of the muscian's talent.

    Often these songs don't have a "pop enough sound" to make it onto the radio and sell themselves.

    What happens to these songs or other "less then pop" songs that people may learn to being bundled together on CD's if the download model replaces buying full CD's?

    Will the record companies only shell out to produce the most popish, top 40 friendly songs?

    Ick.

    Steve
  • by Enonu (129798) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @07:25PM (#8833574)
    Some music store out there needs to implement an algorithm that changes the price of a song based on demand in realtime in order to *maximize* profit. Hell, if I ran any e-shop of any type, I would do this. The business is happy because they are raking in as much dough as possible and the populace is happy because they are effectively setting the price. I'll be able to get all the old music I like for something like .10 a track while the common pop addict will pay $4 for the lastest Timberlake single.
  • by nnet (20306) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @07:32PM (#8833617) Homepage Journal
    Let your money speak for you. Buy music from independant, non-RIAA affiliated labels. Hurt the RIAA where it most counts, their labels bottom lines. Also, don't download pirated RIAA labelled music, then they have no choice BUT to rethink their greed, and change their treatment of their customer base, thats you, the customer, speaking with your dollars.
  • cartels (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hxnwix (652290) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @07:35PM (#8833651) Journal
    So multiple providers of the same product are colluding to increase prices?

    These companies are not untouchable like OPEC. They do NOT control a resource that, if withheld, will ruin our nation within the week.

    Send Mr. Ashcroft a complaint. Inform him that you would like the DOJ to look into this matter... what these corporations are doing is overtly criminal. Hell, tell your Congressman and Senators, your Mayor, Governor and the President. Get every level of every branch of your government on this fucker.

    If you don't, it means you are too lazy, too disenfranchised or too apathetic to even alert the bureaucracy that _you_ pay for, that is charged with aggressively prosecuting such flagrantly abusive violations of Federal law. If you are indeed that stone-helpless, you have only yourself to blame and you _will_ continue to spend your life complaining about the saddle on your back.
  • by Awptimus Prime (695459) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @10:38PM (#8834863)
    Suggestion: make good CDs, and maybe I'll buy the whole thing.

    Bruha needs to get off his little soap box and realize the world isn't all about him. If you don't like the prices, don't buy. That does not give you license to steal the property of others.

    I know, I know.. It's so unpopular on /. to suggest actually following the law. The admins see some inciteful dribble from some psycho flannel wearing nerdboy and post it as a headline like it's some late breaking issue; followed by 1000 posts from dumb people who either can't think for themselves or are trolling to get karma. What gets accomplished? Not much except a few geeks get a warm feeling down there while justifying piracy.

    Just because it's popular, does not make it cool. For example: Brittany Spears

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 11, 2004 @10:50PM (#8834929)
    "It appears the RIAA is being very low key about the fact that the five major labels think that 99 cents per song is too cheap, and are discussing a price hike that would increase the tariff to $1.25 up to $2.99 per song. I was a huge fan of the 99c per song, but if they think that they can raise the price on me just because I don't buy full CDs anymore, they've got another thing coming. Suggestion: make good CDs, and maybe I'll buy the whole thing."

    Okay. These points have been beaten over and over on Slashdot "I don't buy full CDs anymore" "make good CDs and maybe I'll buy the whole thing". This angers me very much.

    THE MUSIC IS THE ARTISTS. It is their's. They, and who they create it for (record companies) and those who represent them (RIAA) have the right to set -any- price even if its $1000 a track. If its a $10,000 album that is the price. Don't try to negotiate, don't try to justify what is "right" and "wrong", what is "too much" because its totally subjective and it is -their- property.

    If you don't want to buy a CD then don't. Thats great. Go listen to the music on the radio for free (and legal) like I do. But don't try to somehow justify copyright infringement (I'm civil and won't call it theft cause its not) by saying "too much" or "filler" in your sentences because thats an opinion not a fact.

    Music is an art and like all arts there is no "good" or "bad". No "crap" no "great" because it is all opinion. So while you may think 10 out of 12 tracks on a CD are filler, the artist might have spent much more time working on those "fillers" than on the big radio hit that you wanted and downloaded from kazaa.

    This "now they are charging too much" is just another excuse in the copyright infringement chest. Before it was "I want a company with a more realistic business model". So they put music online to compete with lost business through Napster et all. Then it became "I don't want to buy a whole album, I want to pick and choose" so after awhile things like iTunes became available where you could be selective. Now it is "oh...well....you can't decide the price for tracks, its uh...not fair!". The tactic is ever-changing and its annoying as hell. At least stand your ground and live up to your word. Artists are going farther and farther out of their way to accept the new technologies and you just keep making more excuses.

    Believe it or not the music industry has bent over backwards to consumer demands more than any other industry has in recent decades. Look at the movie industry. No one demands the same crap from them. "I downloaded Matrix Revolutions because...uh well I didn't fully enjoy the filler in Matrix Reloaded so it is owed to me!"

    PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: YOU AREN'T OWED A GODDAMN THING SO PLEASE STOP THINKING THAT. You have no right to music. You have no right to demand how it exists, the quality, how it is distributed or the costs or means of it.
  • Funny (Score:4, Interesting)

    by falcon5768 (629591) <Falcon5768NO@SPAMcomcast.net> on Sunday April 11, 2004 @11:08PM (#8835020) Journal
    I posted this la\st week and got rejected... two other websites post it and all of a sudden its /. worthy... whatever anyway my take on this is that this isnt even close to being new.... A Perfect Circle's first album wasn't posted as a full album up until recently.... when it was posted as a full album for 11.00... 2 dollars over the 9.99 original album minimum.. there are 13.99 dollar albums out there now... Its a joke Why we still pussyfoot around and dont file a anti-trust lawsuit for the obvious theft of money from consumers.
  • by Mean_Nishka (543399) on Monday April 12, 2004 @12:16AM (#8835391) Homepage Journal
    Just when you thought things were settling down with the RIAA [riaa.org], the fools are at it again! The Motley Fool and other publications report [fool.com] that the RIAA thinks .99 cents per song online is not enough. They are actively researching ways to charge more for their music.

    I'm a huge fan of the iTunes [itunes.com] music store.. So huge, in fact, that I'm actually PURCHASING music through this outstanding service and bought myself a 20 gig ipod [apple.com]. My inclination is hardly to convince the world to pay for their music vs. downloading them ilegally; rather it's because I happen to like paying only $10 for an album. I'm a bargain hunter.

    It was bad enough that the RIAA shunned legal digital downloads long enough for the pirates to take over the industry. Add to that their decision to continually fight a customer-driven demand for a more flexible (and cheaper) medium of distribution.. Now just when something out there is working, they want to jack the price up to a level that will send all of those wouldbe legal customers back to the P2P world using anonymous [sourceforge.net]networks.

    The RIAA needs to wake up and recognize their issues here.. Their customers want a more flexible delivery mechanism, they want to pay less, and need the flexibility they currently have with a CD. Apple accomplished much of this with their product, which the RIAA will subsequently destroy with their greedy price increases.

    Let's face it - in business customers drive the industry. When Americans stopped buying domestics, the industry responded with better products that met customer needs. When New Coke flopped, Coca Cola wisely switched back to the old formula.

    The RIAA and its member companies had an opportunity in 1997 when illegal MP3's first surfaced to nip this problem. The early adopters were trading heavily on the IRC [mirc.com] network, which led the rise of Napster and later Kazaa. These networks suceeded because it was just so darn tough for file traders to find the songs they were looking for. Had the RIAA member companies set up a site at any point between 1997 and 2000 (even without digital rights management [webopedia.com]), they could have easily circumvented the rise of these illegal networks. CD's themselves were insecure enough to create this massive proliferation in the first place!!

    Fight them. Write to them [mailto] and tell them what a stupid decision this is.

  • Do they care? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) on Monday April 12, 2004 @01:24AM (#8835669)
    The real question is whether media companies care one little bit about online sales. I don't think they do. And if iTunes and the rest fail miserably they will be overjoyed, because then we'll have to go back to $15 a pop for CDs. Nor are they above giving the online music distribution folks a little push, to help them over the cliff. I mean, do you really think they LIKE having a company like Apple distributing their content for them? The pocket change iTunes generates for them is secondary to these people: they want to return the the days of absolute, unquestioned, iron-fisted control of distribution, and they won't rest until they get it back.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 12, 2004 @02:48AM (#8835958)
    I recently received a check for $13 from RIAA, as settlement for their CD price fixing.

    I guess I will be able to expect a much higher check in the future.

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