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RIAA Wants Songwriter Royalty Lowered 343

Posted by kdawson
from the more-for-meeeeee dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Lest there be anyone left who believes the RIAA's propaganda that its litigation campaign is intended to benefit the 'creators' of the music, Hollywood Reporter reports that the RIAA is asking the Copyright Royalty Board to lower songwriter royalties on song file downloads, from the present rate of 9 cents per song — about 13% of the wholesale price — down to 8% of wholesale. Meanwhile, the big digital music companies, such as Apple, want the royalty rate lowered even more, to something like 4% of wholesale. So any representations by any of these companies that they are concerned for the 'creators' of the music must henceforth be taken with a boxcar-load of salt."
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RIAA Wants Songwriter Royalty Lowered

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  • by NixieBunny (859050) on Monday February 04, 2008 @11:08PM (#22302124) Homepage
    that anyone had any doubt that the RIAA were anything but money-grubbing middlemen.
  • Why the RIAA? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kelz (611260) on Monday February 04, 2008 @11:12PM (#22302160)
    Why is the RIAA even able to set any sort of financial policy for its parent companies? I thought it was just a big bunch of lawyers! Should not each recording studio set compensation based on the contracts it signs with the artists?
    • Re:Why the RIAA? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Tablizer (95088) on Monday February 04, 2008 @11:51PM (#22302526) Homepage Journal
      Why is the RIAA even able to set any sort of financial policy for its parent companies? I thought it was just a big bunch of lawyers! Should not each recording studio set compensation based on the contracts it signs with the artists?

      I heard it was too complicated to do it that way. Maybe with modern computers it may be easier. It used to be that radio-stations etc. would simply[1] keep a list of each song they played and periodically handed that list over to the RIAA, who applied a set even percentage and collected corresponding fees to be distributed. It worked well for several decades. In fact, I think that patents should follow a similar technique so that you don't get slammed with surprise royalties.

      [1] With random auditing.
         
      • Re:Why the RIAA? (Score:5, Informative)

        by shark72 (702619) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @01:00AM (#22303008)

        "I heard it was too complicated to do it that way. Maybe with modern computers it may be easier. It used to be that radio-stations etc. would simply[1] keep a list of each song they played and periodically handed that list over to the RIAA, who applied a set even percentage and collected corresponding fees to be distributed. It worked well for several decades. In fact, I think that patents should follow a similar technique so that you don't get slammed with surprise royalties."

        Huh? The RIAA doesn't deal with terrestrial radio... that's ASCAP and BMI, who represent artists. That's the beauty of terrestrial radio royalties... it goes directly to the artists. The record companies don't see any of it.

        This is exactly why the RIAA wanted to get its paws on the royalties from streaming radio. They've missed 90 years of radio royalties; thus, they successfully got the rules changed. Thus was formed SoundExchange [wikipedia.org]. The artists still get much (or most) of the money, but now the record companies line up for their share, too.

    • Re:Why the RIAA? (Score:5, Informative)

      by RalphBNumbers (655475) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @12:11AM (#22302654)
      This isn't the RIAA setting any sort of internal payment policy for it's members.
      This isn't even a matter of paying the artists at all.

      This is a matter of the NMPA (an industry association of publishing companies representing composing artists), and the RIAA (an industry association of record labels representing performing artists) squabbling over which middle man ought to get a bigger cut of online sales.
      How much either of them passes on to the artists they supposedly represent is a separate issue.

      And, meanwhile, the DiMA (an industry association of online music sellers) is chiming in to suggest that they both keep their prices low to speed growth in online sales while CD sales tank.
    • Re:Why the RIAA? (Score:5, Informative)

      by RobBebop (947356) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @12:20AM (#22302710) Homepage Journal

      The RIAA is a trade group, and it wouldn't surprise me if they had some kind of power/influence written into all the contracts they administer to control where royalties are paid.

      They do have some goals [wikipedia.org], which are not *all* related to litigation.

      • (this one is litigation) to protect intellectual property rights worldwide and the First Amendment rights of artists;
      • (this one is self-preservation) to perform research about the music industry;
      • (this one is lobbying the nation) to monitor and review relevant laws, regulations and policies.

      So you see, they do lots of things besides sue their customers.

      • You forgot one... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by penix1 (722987) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @02:04AM (#22303460) Homepage
        Price fixing [boycott-riaa.com]

        That is the "settlement" that isn't worth a shit...So much for abiding by the law.
    • Re:Why the RIAA? (Score:4, Informative)

      by shark72 (702619) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @12:55AM (#22302980)

      "Why is the RIAA even able to set any sort of financial policy for its parent companies? I thought it was just a big bunch of lawyers! Should not each recording studio set compensation based on the contracts it signs with the artists?"

      Remember -- mechanical royalties are set by law. This isn't a contract issue. You're thinking of the royalties paid to the performers on the recording -- those are contractual.

      Since the songwriting royalties are set by law, it's in the best interest of the record industry to use their trade group to fight to get the law changed. And, that's what the RIAA is -- a trade group. They're much like the AMA is to doctors... it's the AMA which you see lobbying congress, not individual MDs.

  • Wither Lars? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GoodbyeBlueSky1 (176887) <{moc.liamtoh} {ta} {sknabXeoj}> on Monday February 04, 2008 @11:12PM (#22302162)
    I eagerly await the insightful words of Lars Ulrich, Dr. Dre, et al to explain to me why pissing off the people who were perfectly willing to pony up good money for concerts, T-shirts and, yes, full retail priced CDs was worth it in the end.
    • Re:Wither Lars? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Trogre (513942) on Monday February 04, 2008 @11:28PM (#22302318) Homepage
      And Bono. Don't forget Bono.

      On second thoughts, perhaps we should :)

    • Which is rather hypocritical, considering Dre got in trouble for using the THX sound on his last CD.
    • Is it every worth it to stand up for the right thing, even if its going to cost you money? He wasn't wrong legally or morally just financially. Which one is more important to you?
    • by piojo (995934)

      I eagerly await the insightful words of Lars Ulrich, Dr. Dre, et al to explain to me why pissing off the people who were perfectly willing to pony up good money for concerts, T-shirts and, yes, full retail priced CDs was worth it in the end.
      I know I'm being sort of anal, but this article isn't about the RIAA pissing off customers, it's about the RIAA pissing on artists. (Noth that I read the article...)
      • ...this article isn't about the RIAA pissing off customers, it's about the RIAA pissing on artists.

        It is - and that's actually much better. Let's hear Lars and Dre defend this.

        BTW, Lars...Dre....if by some bizarre chance you happen to read this: I Told You So. Nyah Nyah Nyah.

  • by _merlin (160982) on Monday February 04, 2008 @11:13PM (#22302172) Homepage Journal
    Stupid pigopolists. Aren't they supposed to be on the artists' side? This blatant money-grab is just one more nail in their coffin. More artists will find ways to sell directly to the public, or form their own collectives with their own interests at heart. Of course, that's how the RIAA started, but it is well past its usefulness and needs to be replaced.
    • by piltdownman84 (853358) <piltdownman84@mac. c o m> on Monday February 04, 2008 @11:18PM (#22302210)
      Aren't they supposed to be on the artists' side?

      The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade group that represents the U.S. recording industry.

      Reducing costs is good for the Industry.
    • by syzler (748241) <david AT syzdek DOT net> on Monday February 04, 2008 @11:25PM (#22302292)
      Aren't they supposed to be on the artists' side?

      Yes, just not the artist you thought. They are really on the side of the con artists (I.E. the corp backers).
    • by urcreepyneighbor (1171755) on Monday February 04, 2008 @11:36PM (#22302398)

      Stupid pigopolists.
      Eh. That's too close for "capitalist" for my liking. What you've got is a cartel that's trying to keep itself alive. True Capitalism - I'm talking Ayn Rand style Capitalism - would laugh at this pathetic copy.

      Aren't they supposed to be on the artists' side?
      The RIAA? No.... It's the Recording Industry Association of America. Keyword is "Industry".

      Trust me: the industry can find a thousand people to write crap like this [azlyrics.com]:

      Oh baby, baby
      Oh baby, baby
      Oh baby, baby
      How was I supposed to know
      That something wasn't right here
      Oh baby baby

      This blatant money-grab is just one more nail in their coffin.
      Yes, but you didn't kill the bastard before putting him in the coffin! Duh! He's banging and screaming and pissing & shitting himself senseless - because he knows, unless someone rescues him, he'll die soon. ;)

      More artists will find ways to sell directly to the public,
      Well, the ways already exist.... It's easy for a new artist to go this route, but for an established band with contracts and whatnot... notsomuch.

      For the record, one of my all time fav artists does this. Ayria [ayria.com]. She's cute, too!

      or form their own collectives with their own interests at heart.
      ooh, goodie! How long until they become just as bad - or worse - than the RIAA? Seriously, this tendency of people to group themselves.. is boring... and annoying.

      Of course, that's how the RIAA started,
      Wait, hold on! You KNOW that has happened in the past and you want to repeat it?!

      What?! Should we try Communism ONE MORE TIME because THIS TIME we'll "do it right"? Ha. Come on. ;)

      but it is well past its usefulness and needs to be replaced.
      Eh. The RIAA will continue to exist, in some form, for a long time. The fangs need to be removed, tho.
      • True Capitalism - I'm talking Ayn Rand style Capitalism

        Is Randian Capitalism anything like Adam Smith's Capitalism?

        Falcon
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sjames (1099)

        Wait, hold on! You KNOW that has happened in the past and you want to repeat it?!

        So do you support banning all legal fictions in business or do you believe that only one side should enjoy collective bargaining and the peons should eat cake?

        In other words if it's fair enough for corporations to form and use the bargaining power that comes from vast resources beyond those of any individual worker, then you should also find it perfectly fair that the workers do the same.

        Meanwhile, even if you DO believ

      • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @12:48AM (#22302938)

        What?! Should we try Communism ONE MORE TIME because THIS TIME we'll "do it right"? Ha. Come on. ;)

        You should be careful about such comments. One would think you were talking about "communism" the economic model since you are comparing it to capitalism, instead of "communism" the political ideology. This is important because "communism" the political ideology generally tries to apply extreme "socialism" as economic policy and has basically nothing to do with "communism" the economic model aside from the political parties that misleadingly stole the name. This is also important because "communism" the economic model is alive and well for those who apply it to small communist cell sizes. The most common example of this would be the family unit, which comprises a communist cell by buying and selling goods and services collectively (although these cell sizes are shrinking in the US). Other applications of communism that have stood the test of time are monasteries, co-op housing, co-op stores, credit unions, municipalities, etc.

        Most Americans seem to have some messed up ideas about communism and socialism, both as political ideologies and as economic models. For example, public schools are an example of socialism, although those schools seem to have failed to educate their students as to that fact. Most people with an even cursory education in economics, however, will tell you that communism, socialism, and capitalism are all present in every economy in the world and what usually leads to disaster is when an economy becomes extremist and failing to balance these aspects. Extreme capitalism is just as unstable and disastrous as extreme socialism or extreme communism... that is the lesson we all should have learned from history.

        • by Eskarel (565631) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @02:30AM (#22303622)
          Communism according to Marx is the small town writ large. That's it. No magic, no huge government aparatus, no secret police, it's just the idea that as we evolve as a society we will find a way to interact economically with each other in a billion person city the way we did when we had a town of 20 and we knew everyone. It's basically ethics without observation.
      • by dcollins (135727)
        "True Capitalism - I'm talking Ayn Rand style Capitalism - would laugh at this pathetic copy."

        He had a broad face and a round little belly,
        That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly,
        He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
        And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself
        - Clement Moore, "A Visit from St. Nicholas"

      • Under the current situation it might make sense to make this move by the RIAA:
        1) In USA there are virtually no free media - everything is owned by one large corporation or the other
        - This include radio, TV, magazines and so on - tell me one TV station or national radio station - or even a one state radio station that is independent of big companies likes of NBC, Time Warner, Viacom, News Corp., and so on.
        2) The Internet is not yet established enough as a channel of new music
        3) In the current system you need
    • They are constantly beathing that drum, claiming to be looking out for the "artists, songwriters, [and] musicians" [riaa.org] but that's just propaganda. If they admitted they were just looking out for record company executives, it wouldn't go over as well. Here they have shown their true colors.
      • by Adambomb (118938)
        What I do not understand is how they cannot see that making it LESS valuable for content creators to sign with their labels is going to result in LESS ARTISTS bothering to sign with their labels. There already has to be a certain breaking point that is leading the current boom in independent artists releasing their own content or finding alternate distribution methods. Further reducing the incentive will surely cause >0 others to do the same.

        This results in less product diversity, therefore even less mar
  • by rizzo320 (911761) on Monday February 04, 2008 @11:15PM (#22302182)
    The RIAA has come a long way since they were setup to regulate and maintain the technical standards on how vinyl records should be manufactured. Hopefully they will go the way of the vinyl record real soon...
    • The RIAA has come a long way since they were setup to regulate and maintain the technical standards on how vinyl records should be manufactured. Hopefully they will go the way of the vinyl record real soon...

      What, you want to RIAA to make revival? While CD sales are declining [npr.org] vinyl record sells [time.com] are increasing. More and more stores are starting to carry vinyl turntables [forbes.com]. Yes, I've noticed this as I'd like to get one myself.

      Falcon

    • by gbobeck (926553)

      Hopefully they will go the way of the vinyl record real soon...

      Actually, I hope they go the way of the square wheel, clear pepsi, and the dodo bird.
  • Is anyone surprised? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ISurfTooMuch (1010305) on Monday February 04, 2008 @11:16PM (#22302190)

    Lest anyone be at all surprised, remember that RIAA stands for the Recording Industry Association of America. It represents the record companies, and that's all it represents. If these companies could find some legal way to hold a gun to a songwriter's or musician's head and take their work at gunpoint, they'd do it.

    I'm not going to insist that digital downloads are the future and that all artists should follow Radiohead's lead, but any artists who care at all about their future had damn well better examine every single alternative when figuring out how to produce and distribute their music. Things are changing, and you can be sure that the record companies are going to be looking out for their best interests. Artists had better do the same, or they're going to get screwed.

  • LAWL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 04, 2008 @11:16PM (#22302196)
    This is too funny they want more money in compensation for each illegaly downloaded file yet want to give less to the artists that make it...
  • by syousef (465911) on Monday February 04, 2008 @11:17PM (#22302200) Journal
    ...because they're going about the right way of lowering the loyalty rate of artists and customers alike.
  • Wow. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    '"Fundamentally, this fragile marketplace is showing signs of promise, but it cannot be saddled with additional, excessive costs," DiMA wrote. "The board should be careful not to impose a royalty that kills the proverbial goose and deprives songwriters and publishers of their golden egg."'

    A little nugget of FUD to mask the fact that digital downloads are going to render obsolete their entire middleman operation.
  • by victorvodka (597971) on Monday February 04, 2008 @11:20PM (#22302234) Homepage
    Imagine if musicians had to pay out of pocket for every song that was distributed, say one cent per track. On the one hand, they'd be angry because it would mean that they would have to pay a lot if their songs reached a lot of people. But on the other, it would also be an indication of their popularity and the money to be made on concerts and schwag. This is analogous to what a web author has to deal with when his site hits the big time. And yet, web authors can usually figure out how to monetize the publicity and pay for the traffic. The fact that music could even make musicians money if they had to pay people to take their music sheds some light on the outdated nature of the industry.
    • by timmarhy (659436) on Monday February 04, 2008 @11:49PM (#22302502)
      "Imagine if musicians had to pay out of pocket for every song that was distributed"

      ROFL, oh but THEY DO!!!! the traditional RIAA contract has the artist paying for all the costs out of their royalties. essentially companys RIAA represent take an artist onboard and fund the album, making the artist pay it all out of their royalties at an inflated price as well as taking their cut of the profits, so if an artist is very lucky they might walk away not owing them money... studio's are a pit of snakes, make no mistake.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by LingNoi (1066278)
        Same thing with the games industry. You first have to pay back all that money the publisher gave you as well as the cost for advertising and distributing your game before you can have your 10% of the royalties.
    • Are you actually recommending the music industry goes to an advertising supported model, or are you pointing out the fact that one industry figured out a business model proves that every other unrelated industry can too?

      I have no Idea how the Nobel economic prise committee overlooked your work this year, the fools!
    • Most large/popular websites can fall into 1 of 2 categories: 1) business ventures of some sort or 2) personal itches. I run one that falls into the second category and because I don't want my attempts at commoditization to take away from the project I foot the bill myself.

      But artists are not (strictly) business people.

      Gene Simmons excepted (but is that the future you'd suggest?).
  • by Kovac.anar (650162) on Monday February 04, 2008 @11:20PM (#22302238)
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the RIAA essentially a representative group formed with the intent of pushing forward goals and legal issues for the major record labels?
    If so, then they are doing an admirable job of inspiring people to direct ire and hared towards the constructed organisation rather than to the parent companies.
    It isn't often that I see people complaining about Sony or BMG (Comparatively speaking).
    It always seems to come down to that nasty RIAA.

    Well done indeed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by RobBebop (947356)

      It always seems to come down to that nasty RIAA.

      The RIAA represents the big four [wikipedia.org] and many smaller [riaa.com] record companies. You shouldn't direct any special malice against Sony BMG... but identify songs by RIAA artists [riaaradar.com] and then use your own judgment.

      I actually prefer searching for songs that are distributed under Creative Commons-style licenses [jamendo.com], as these are often pretty high quality and always free-and-clear of all litigation worries.

      • by piojo (995934)

        The RIAA represents the big four [wikipedia.org] and many smaller [riaa.com] record companies.

        Just so you know, that list includes record companies that are not part of the RIAA. For example, Fat Wreck Chords (hates the RIAA) is on the list because one of their distributors is part of the RIAA, but that is quite different from being a member themselves.

  • by Tablizer (95088) on Monday February 04, 2008 @11:25PM (#22302290) Homepage Journal
    The H1B issue is the same way: lobbyists squirm and wiggle to bend statistics and magnify (or make up) anecdotes to sell the idea that there are not enough citizen programmers or not good enough citizen programmers and therefore the industry needs H1B's in order to prevent an economic collapse. It is all just a ploy to get cheaper labor. This is what happens when business lobbyists have more power over legislators than voters. It's that simple.
  • I feel rather lonely here in my boycott of the RIAA. Is RIAA-brand pop music really that deeply ingrained into our culture that people aren't willing to live without it?

    Apparently so. Magnatune doesn't seem to be growing much. And Big Labels are still raking in millions.

    • For what it's worth, I've paid for several albums off of Magnatune. It's a great site, and I've recommended it to others. (And I didn't pay the $5 cheap-o price, either. :-)

    • I'm with you dude - I haven't purchased ant RIAA garbage for a long time now. Not planning to either. There's enough good original live music where I come from that I don't need to. I just go see gigs and buy their home made CDs.
  • by flaming error (1041742) on Monday February 04, 2008 @11:29PM (#22302330) Journal

    music publisher catalogs have increased in value due to steadily rising mechanical royalty rates and alternative revenue streams made possible, but not enjoyed, by record companies.
    Those dastardly songwriters have too long been taking unfair advantage of the RIAA's clients. They take a whopping 8% of royalties just for creating the product!

    Now the record companies, who created the internet and invented downloading music and streaming audio, have seen their take of the pie stay the same, whilst freeloading music creators are actually making more.

    I shall write to Orrin Hatch about this...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Repossessed (1117929)
      Y'know, mentioning Hatch in this context makes me think of something. He gets about 40 grand a year in royalties for his music, is it at all possible for us to find out exactly what percentage he gets? if it's substantally larger than the 13% other songwriters get, or if he lacks the standard loss of production cost (and since his music is orchestral, his production cost must be extreme). Would it be enough to force an ethics investigation if the resulting onformation had enough of a sivk to it? I'm sur
  • by Slisochies (1183131)
    I bet that the prices for the songs won't be lowered as a result...
  • by martinX (672498) on Monday February 04, 2008 @11:35PM (#22302392)
    Now the RIAA is a bunch of money grubbing pricks, but I can't believe Apple would have anything to do with ... HEY LOOK! OMG! New AirBooks are OUT!!!
  • by SpacePunk (17960) on Monday February 04, 2008 @11:39PM (#22302422) Homepage
    They should write songs because they love it, not because they get paid. SONGS WANT TO BE FREE! FREE THE SONGS!

  • I'm just curious, because as long as I diligently download my 40 songs per month, I pay $.25 per song. How is that quarter carved up, or are they actually losing money on me?
    • $0.25 is split thusly. $0.01 to apple, $0.000001 goes tot he artists and $0.239999 goes to the record company.
      • by dr2chase (653338)
        That's useless. EMusic is not Apple, and they have reached some sort of agreement with quite a few smaller labels/artists. I'm genuinely curious how both the values and the shares of the various royalties compare.
  • by lancejjj (924211) on Monday February 04, 2008 @11:41PM (#22302440) Homepage

    Meanwhile, the big digital music companies, such as Apple, want the royalty rate lowered even more, to something like 4% of wholesale. So any representations by any of these companies that they are concerned for the 'creators' of the music must henceforth be taken with a boxcar-load of salt."
    This 4% proposal is for Internet Radio, not for Digital Music Sales. From the article:

    "New-media companies want the rate to go even lower, contending that it should disappear when music is digitally streamed
    To me, this means that some "non-label" companies think that Internet Radio should take on the common terrestrial radio songwriter royalty plan, instead of being treated substantially differently merely because the transport is the internet instead of the airwaves.

    Of course, streaming internet radio is quite different than music sales.
    • This 4% proposal is for Internet Radio, not for Digital Music Sales. From the article:

      Incorrect. Apple doesn't want to pay anything For streaming music. The 4% is for permanent digital downloads. Greedy Assholes.

      Have a read of this article [audiogeekzine.com] for more:

      For permanent digital downloads, NMPA is proposing a rate of 15 cents per track because the costs involved are much less than for physical products. The RIAA has proposed the outrageous rate of approximately 5 - 5.5 cents per track, and DiMA is proposing even le

  • by webword (82711) on Monday February 04, 2008 @11:42PM (#22302454) Homepage
    Nails frontman [Trent Reznor] urges fans to steal music [yourguide.com.au]

    "Steal it. Steal away. Steal, steal and steal some more and give it to all your friends and keep on stealing," Reznor, who has been dubbed the Ralph Nader of the music industry, said.

    Steal NIN music too? He steals he says. Read that article. Interesting.
  • That's it... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Fuji Kitakyusho (847520) on Monday February 04, 2008 @11:42PM (#22302456)
    From now on, I'm pirating everything, and I'll mail some money to the band.
  • The digital shift. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Monday February 04, 2008 @11:43PM (#22302464)
    Remember, the RIAA consider the "artists" to be "content providers", and their music as a simple commodity. Everything must go at the same low, low price. The vendors can cover their costs and acceptable profit margins using the economies of scale. Everyone and anything else is of no consequence.

    I'm sure the RIAA and MPAA would be quite happy if the "artists" would do as they're told, the "consumers" would buy whatever's being sold at the price offered, the internet would go away and everyone would simply shut the hell.

    I'm sure they would enjoy their huge salaries and bonuses much more without all the whining.

  • by falcon5768 (629591) <Falcon5768 AT comcast DOT net> on Monday February 04, 2008 @11:49PM (#22302504) Journal
    They want the 4% royalty rate for STREAMING... IE internet radio, which right now is treated much different than terrestrial radio where the songwriter gets practically nothing for. They are saying that they shoudlnt be treating internet radio as if it is somehow different than normal over the air.
  • 8/13 = 62% (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday February 04, 2008 @11:50PM (#22302510) Homepage Journal
    Cutting 13% down to 8% is a 38% reduction.

    So everyone else's cut is going up, even though the songwriter's costs and work are the same. But the rest of the "value" chain to the consumer (which now is composed mostly of the consumer, recommending and trying to share the content) is drastically reduced in cost and increased in availability of inventory (which was typically paid off according to plan many years ago).
  • Come on, guys! If they would pay last royalties, this means the songs will be cheaper, right?
    </sarcasm>
  • by Crypto Gnome (651401) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @12:07AM (#22302614) Homepage Journal

    At issue is the so-called "mechanical royalty" -- payments made for copies of sound recordings, including those made by digital means, to songwriters and publishers.
    Basically, the problem is, when you're speaking DIGITALLY, there is no difference between "copying a recording" (ie download for the purposes of saving a file) and "performing a recording" (download eg streaming, for the purposes of audio playback in the physical world).

    For This Reason, New Media Players (Apple, Yahoo, Napster, etc) argue that the "mechanical royalty for copyright" should be lowered significantly on digital downloads (specifically, to 4%).

    RIAA etc argue the fee should be dropped only slightly (specifically, only to 8%).

    RIAA are arguing to maintain profits for their (arguably, exceedingly dinosaur-like) "distribution model".

    "While record companies have been forced to drastically cut costs and employees, music publisher catalogs have increased in value due to ...... alternative revenue streams made possible, but not enjoyed, by record companies."
    ie "we see you've worked out new ways to make profits, so pay us (even more) money even though we have not contributed anything new to the equation".

    The New Media crew are arguing the way of sanity and intelligence. (ie trying to push the 'downloads are effectively performances, because there's no way to differentiate' argument)

    New-media companies want the rate to go even lower, contending that it should disappear when music is digitally streamed.

    Every time you hear something new from the RIAA it boils down to "someone needs to shovel more money into our bank accounts, without any additional effort or contribution on our part. Our business model dictates an infinitely increasing profit margin, for infinitely decreasing effort, ad-infinitum."

    And the same can be said of those ISPs who intend to violate the concept of "net-neutrality". ("someone's making money , and the bits cross our network. Ignore the fact we already billed someone for those bits, I want to directly bill BOTH the producer AND the consumer of those bits, even though they have NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with me").

    That's not a business-model, that's a fantasy.
  • strike (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Loconut1389 (455297)
    If only the artists would go on strike like the writers. Maybe we could thin out some of the crap on the radio these days. I hate that most new music makes me love the songs my dad sung to in the car (oldies) and that it makes me not even want to look for the few artists who have really great music.
  • Bandwidth is cheap. Sell your own music, and keep 100%.
  • It makes no sense to sign a contract with a record label and only get 10%, let alone 4%. Pressing CD's is cheap, less than a $1 a piece. Digital downloads are even cheaper still. Credit card rates can be had in the single digits.

    If there was a need for any FOSS project, it would be a project that lets artists sell their music online, and simply so, so much so that ISPs could bundle it in like the way they bundle forum software or Apache.

    Signing with a real label seems madness.
  • For awhile there, with the OOXML, and other things, I was afraid that the big bad wolf had fallen in 'friends' with the little pigs. I thought and thought about that, and just could not get my head around it. If there is no monopoly to fight, or evildoers to rail against, life is just too surreal to contemplate. What, with people working together and profitability made second class citizen to cooperation and interoperability. Just when I was beginning to think that consistency was vanishing from the face of
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @02:12AM (#22303526)
    This post was on the front page of a torrent site:

    The Flashbulb wrote: Hello listener...downloader...pirate...pseudo-criminal... If you can read this, then you've more than likely downloaded this album from a peer to peer network or torrent. You probably expect the rest of this message to tell you that you're hurting musicians and breaking just about every copyright law in the book. Well, it won't tell you that. What I would like to tell you is that my record label understands that a large portion of people pirate music because it is easier than buying it. CDs scratch easily, most pay-per-download sites have poor quality and ****ty DRM protection, and vinyl is near impossible to find or ship without hassle. In many cases I wonder why people buy CDs at all anymore. A few like the tangible artwork, some haven't adapted to MP3s yet, but most do it because they have a profound love for music and want to support the artists making it. Kind of restores your faith in humanity for a moment eh? So, now what? Like the album? About to go "support the artist" on iTunes? Well, don't. Alphabasic is currently in a legal battle against Apple because NONE of our material (Sublight Records included) receives a dime of royalty from the vast amount of sales iTunes has generated using our material. Want to buy a CD just to show your support? If you don't particularly like CDs, don't bother. Retailers like Best Buy and Amazon spike the price so high that their cut is often 8 times higher than the artist's. Besides, most CDs are made out of unrecyclable plastic and leave a nasty footprint in your environment. If you do particularly like CDs, buy them from the label (in our case, alphabasic.com). After manufacturing costs are recuperated, our artists usually receive over 90% of the actual money coming out of your wallet. In addition, all of our physical products are made out of 100% recycled material. Want to show your support? Go here and browse our library of lossless, DRM-free downloads. Already have that? Then feel free to donate whatever you want to your favorite artist. 100% will go directly to them. Hell, you can even donate a penny just to thank the artist. If you really like 'The Flashbulb - Soundtrack To A Vacant Life' and want to show your support without it going to greedy retailers, distributors, and coked-up label reps, then click the button below. http://www.alphabasic.com/index2.htm [alphabasic.com] If you send us your mailing address, Alphabasic may occasionally send you various goodies (overstocks, stickers, even rare CDs) in appreciation and encouragement for your support. Thanks for reading. Who knows if my little business plan here will work to fund new releases, but even failure is better than the crappy label/distributor/retailer system musicians have suffered from for over 50 years. We hope you enjoy the music as much as we do releasing it. Finally, if you plan on sharing this release, please include this file. The only reason it is here is to show the listener where he can support his favorite artists! Benn Jordan CEO - Alphabasic Records
    Even more interesting: it was on the site as a "free leech", meaning it did not count toward your download ratio. There were about 2700 seeds. even if 0nly a tiny percentage send a little donation, the artist will be doing better than through the normal distribution channels, with the added bonus of getting it out to more people, which is what I believe true artists are in it for.

Money will say more in one moment than the most eloquent lover can in years.

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