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Recording Industry Extinction Predicted RSN 493

nautical9 writes "There's an interesting commentary from Wired's Charles Mann, speaking of the imminent death of the recording industry as we know it. Nothing really ground-breaking here, but it is a good summary and somewhat fair treatment of the RIAA's current state-of-affairs, and offers a little insight into what the world of music may be like without them (hint: perhaps better off)."
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Recording Industry Extinction Predicted RSN

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  • Umm.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Gentoo Fan ( 643403 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:03PM (#5143847) Homepage

    "from the imminent-death-predictions-getting-boring dept"

    Then why post it?

    • We love watching things squirm and die like that.

      Ironically, it will be interesting to see how the method for music revenue changes.

      Remember, the music industry is loosely associated with the war industry [].
      • Re:Umm.. (Score:3, Funny)

        by rot26 ( 240034 )
        Remember, the music industry is loosely associated with the war industry.

        So noted.

        Now tell me what the significance of that is? Should I worry about them dropping unsold CD's on my house?
        • Re:Umm.. (Score:3, Insightful)

          Does it matter to you, a consumer, whether or not Nike has toxic sweat shops, or the music industry is related to bomb making?

          The only significance seems to be whether you want to be lead blindly, or free your mind (lame matrix reference).
        • Should I worry about them dropping unsold CD's on my house?

          Not realy, judging by the musical preferences of people these days, if it remains unsold it must be good.

      • Re:Umm.. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cperciva ( 102828 )
        Remember, the music industry is loosely associated with the war industry

        Indeed. Very loosely.

        Most computer hardware companies have links to the US nuclear weapons programme. Should we boycott them as well?
      • Re:Umm.. (Score:4, Funny)

        by lucabrasi999 ( 585141 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @03:29PM (#5145094) Journal
        the music industry is loosely associated with the war industry

        Let's analyze a "snip" from your web-site:


        AOL Time-Warner is one of the remaining major label record companies and owns Atlantic, Elektra/Sire, Asylum, Reprise, Warner, American, Maverick, and others. It also owns AOL, which is involved in a co-venture with Hughes Electronics Corp called DirecTV. Hughes is owned 100% by General Motors. Hughes merged with Raytheon to form Hughes subsidiary Raytheon Industries. Raytheon Industries makes bombs.


        And Raytheon starred in "Footloose" with Kevin Bacon! YOU WIN!!!
    • Re:Umm.. (Score:5, Funny)

      by slothdog ( 3329 ) <slothdog@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:30PM (#5144069) Homepage
      Then why post it?

      So they'll have stories to choose from for tomorrow's news, silly.
    • Hmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Peterus7 ( 607982 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:41PM (#5144164) Homepage Journal
      You gotta wonder, if the RIAA goes down, what will return in it's place? I mean, when they killed napster (the bastards) many many more P2P services sprung up in it's place. Will it be the same with the RIAA? If a bunch of mini RIAAs pop up, there won't be much of a an anti P2P problem, because they'll probably be too busy fighting eachother.

      Still, you gotta wonder about musicians: If someday all music were free, what would they do? Would they still make music, just getting money off of concerts and stuff? I know some bands would, but some of the other more popular bands, I dunno...

      • Re:Hmm... (Score:3, Informative)

        by budgenator ( 254554 )
        Would they still make music, just getting money off of concerts and stuff?

        I don't think that most bands realy make money from sales anyways, the lables make sure that overhead expenses eat up most of the profits. What we hear now is the stuff that's almost guarenteed to be popular or the cookie-cutter crap that we hear. I heard about a band that sold a quarter of a million albums and ended up oweing the record company $28,000.00 in promotional expenses.
      • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Melantha_Bacchae ( 232402 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @03:44PM (#5145185)
        The RIAA is just the lobbying body of the big five labels. They are the ones going down, and when they do, the RIAA will just be disbanded or go back to being a standards organization like it used to be.

        As for the big labels, they are a bunch of old (and very greedy) dinosaurs that are still trying to use a business model from the 1940's. Technology has moved on, and what used to be exclusive to them: studio equipment, distribution channels, and promotion contacts, are no longer exclusive. Studio equipment is cheap enough now for a well-off college student or a small business to afford. Distribution can be handled by ecommerce, and possibly a fulfillment center if one is selling a lot of CDs, something a musician just getting started wouldn't need to worry about. Promotion can be handled via P2P (already proven to work for indie artists), internet radio, the web, and word of mouth.

        All that is dying is a bunch of greedy companies and a way of doing business that deserves to die. Music will live on in a new industry that is already waiting in the wings. Only instead of mega labels that "manufacture" a select few pop stars (that can't half sing), this will be an industry of indie artists, basement studios, and small indie labels, where the artists are in charge, prices are low, and variety is endless because there are no barriers to entry. Anybody who can carry a tune and get an mp3 made of the event will be able to be an artist. Run that mp3 up on your favorite P2P network and see if anyone salutes. If they do, make more and you are on your way to a fun hobby or even a career if you can find enough people interested in buying your mp3s and CD albums. If your first mp3 isn't noticed, either try again, perhaps with a different sound or style, or else don't and do something else with your life.

        Want to hurry the death of the big labels along? Go here:

        This is a list of the members of the RIAA, including all the subsidiary labels of the big five. Boycott them. Also boycott anybody foolish enough to copy protect disks. Take your hard earned money and enthusiastically support indie artists. Find some you like and tell all your friends about them. This way, you may give the RIAA some ammo to complain about piracy in the short term (don't worry, they would make up something to complain about even if you were their best customer), but in the long term you will have built up a better future for both the artists and your fellow music lovers.

        "Mothra's attack is working."
        Shouta, "Mothra 3: King Ghidora Attacks"
    • Re:Umm.. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sakeneko ( 447402 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @02:52PM (#5144809) Homepage Journal
      "from the imminent-death-predictions-getting-boring dept"
      Then why post it?

      To gloat? <wry grin>

      The RIAA has made enemies here, and not many friends anywhere. To quote the inimitable Molly Ivins, "My mother may have raised a mean child, but she didn't raise no hypocrites." I'm not an expert, but from where I sit, it looks like the recording industry has jacked up prices unconscionably, reduced the range and variety of music available to the rest of us, and driven independent distributors out of business. I think the recording industry as a whole has become a bunch of parasites, and (worse) parasites that are killing the host.

      The wierdest part of this is that I've never downloaded a single illegal song, never did Napster, never installed any version of Kazaa, don't even copy my own CDs. I don't think it's right to steal -- even from thieves. I certainly don't think it's right to steal from artists who create the work I love to listen to.

      So I listen mostly to my old CDs these days. I don't think I've bought a dozen CDs in the last three years, and most of those have been from small, independent artists who produce their own stuff.

      It is frustrating to have no alternative, though, to being ripped off myself, doing without, or starving out the artists and other good guys along with the parasites. I just picked the least objectionable of those alternatives. :/

      So I admit it's nice to hear that the parasites are in trouble. :>

  • by 3waygeek ( 58990 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:05PM (#5143868)
    That's why she chose now to resign [] her position as head of the RIAA. She doesn't want to preside over a sinking ship.
    • by Kierthos ( 225954 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:22PM (#5144007) Homepage
      According to the article, it's already sinking. And the mega-companies that own the Big 5 aren't helping any either.

      It's eerie how spot on that article is. I mean, when I was growing up, I would buy a copy of every single album I could find of certain artists, like ZZ Top or Queen. But nowadays, there just aren't any artists who can seem to pull that kind of longevity off, because the labels don't seem to be inclined to let them.

      We've got boy-bands that almost certainly won't be around in 3 years, much less 5. We've got "teen stars" who will almost certainly lose any fan base they have in a few years as well... I mean, it just seems outright unlikely that any artists that start today (or for that matter, started in the last couple of years), will have anything near the amazing amounts of success of the bands of 'yesteryear'.

      Sure, there are some bands who seem to buck those trends, but when you're looking at the real longevity of bands like Aerosmith, versus the possible (and tenuous) longevity of artists like Britney Spears... well, you know what? I think in ten or fifteen years, there will still be people listen to old Aerosmith tunes, but Britney Spears will be all but forgotten.

      • by rot26 ( 240034 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:30PM (#5144066) Homepage Journal
        It's eerie how spot on that article is. I mean, when I was growing up, I would buy a copy of every single album I could find of certain artists, like ZZ Top or Queen. But nowadays, there just aren't any artists who can seem to pull that kind of longevity off, because the labels don't seem to be inclined to let them.

        First-record deals are notoriously BAD for the artist. If the first turns out to be successful, they then try to renegotiate the contract for more money. The record companies are neatly sidestepping this process by simply abandoning the band after one (or maybe two) successes and finding a soundalike clone and publishing THEIR music under another bad-first-record deal.
        • by Thud457 ( 234763 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @02:23PM (#5144547) Homepage Journal
          Yay Capitalism! The market decides! The good drives out the bad! Ayn Rand is my copilot!
      • Sure, there are some bands who seem to buck those trends, but when you're looking at the real longevity of bands like Aerosmith, versus the possible (and tenuous) longevity of artists like Britney Spears... well, you know what? I think in ten or fifteen years, there will still be people listen to old Aerosmith tunes, but Britney Spears will be all but forgotten.
        Note, however, that you'd likely have said the same thing about Madonna back in the "Holiday" or (hell, that other song that was a hit off her first album, circa 1986) era. I'm certainly not going to say that she's artistically valid, but you can't deny her longevity. I've thought about it a bit, and it appears to me that people just flat out get tired of the stars we're talking about, especially the teenyboppers. Just look at what happened to Radiohead. For two YEARS, they were everywhere. Lately, they've disappeared. Plus, don't ignore the fact that the industry isn't geared towards producing quality music. In country, for example, are you better off promoting Hank Williams, Sr., or Garth Brooks? Sure, Hank's recordings are already in the can, but Garth can produce totally forgettable country tunes that you can promote the hell out of, sell a bunch of copies of, and then move on to the next shooting star. Disgusting, but that's what that industry's business model is currently geared for.
        • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @02:50PM (#5144796) Homepage Journal
          [shrug] Madonna is the exception, obviously. There were plenty of other singers with a similar schtick who have now sunk into obscurity. In fact, the key to Madonna's longevity is that she keeps reinventing herself. If she were still trying to do the "Like A Virgin" thing ("Holiday" was later, IIRC) she'd be in the same position as other washed-up 80's stars, playing small venues to scratch out a living and/or working a regular job because nobody cares any more.

          Partly this is the fault of the music industry, yes, for pushing crap. Partly it's the fault of musicians themselves, who are more interested in being Rock Stars(tm) than in making actual music. Partly it's the fault of the buying public who listen to whatever crap is hot this week. Say what you will about Madonna's music (personally I think most of it is mediocre and some is pretty good) but you can't deny that she's a lot smarter than most of her contemporaries when it comes to keeping her career going.
    • Whoever modded this as a troll is retarded.

      I suspect more than likely she's been asked to resign by other rats who wants will pin some blame on her later, but that's still pretty much the same idea.
      • Yup. And the rats are going to replace her with a sharp-toothed, feces-smothered, flea-ridden, plague-carrying, baby-eating monster that is going to make her look like a cupcake. that doesn't mean history will look kindly on her: she might be conducting the band as the ship goes down, but her replacement is going to be ramming the iceberg repeatedly trying to sink it.
  • Paying customers? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Alcohol Fueled ( 603402 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:05PM (#5143869) Homepage
    "The industry rightly believes that if it can make file-swapping more difficult, and legitimate online services easier and less expensive, it can turn the kids on Kazaa into paying customers."

    Umm.. They just mention Kazaa. I imagine that if Kazaa became pay only, people would just get their music elsewhere.

    • by guido1 ( 108876 )
      "The industry rightly believes that if it can make file-swapping more difficult, and legitimate online services easier and less expensive, it can turn the kids on Kazaa into paying customers."

      Umm.. They just mention Kazaa. I imagine that if Kazaa became pay only, people would just get their music elsewhere.

      Read less literally. The writer isn't saying that everyone will have to pay to use Kazaa, he's saying that if the music industry can get its act together and figure out its own legitimate distribution system, without DRM blocks, that users will move to that.

      He's saying that all of the "elsewhere" will become "legitimate online services."
    • by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:15PM (#5143959) Journal
      They don't want to make Kazaa pay only, they want to make Kazaa disappear, and all services like it, so they can replace it with their own 'music download' service.

      Except their idea of an 'online service' is really just an online version of a retail store, without the added cost of producing the CDs and liner notes.

      And they want to make sure that it's illegal for anyone else to license the songs and offer a competing service, much like they dont want stores selling used CDs, which offer a competing service to the handful of 'retail outlets' they have in their pockets.

      The recording industry wont die, but it will evolve into something different. The "we must control everything from the artist's mouth to the consumer's walkman" business model simply cannot work in todays world.
    • Re:Paying customers? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by valisk ( 622262 )
      I suspect that if Kazaa charged $5 per month per user, with unlimited downloads and people knew they couldn't be prosecuted for downloading and burning .mp3s then people would stay in droves.

      The recordcos could even sell higher quality versions of the files for the true audiophiles out there.

    • What they plan to do is, flood Kazaa with tons of bogus files and data and try to make it worthless, then people will have to use their pay services if they want music. Lots of people pirate music, but even more people are willing to pay for music.

      I actually got a CD this summer when I couldn't find it on the depleted campus LAN.
  • Why is this news (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Achmed Swaribabu ( 642441 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:06PM (#5143874) Homepage
    It's my understanding that in Americia you run with a free market which means that the public at large decides who will success and who will fail. If an orgainzation is bad or not efficient then they should fail by using your system.

    This show to me that the music industry makes big money up to this point so most people are buying from them and it's only a small percentage of people who read slashdot who have problem.

    Slashdot community little fish in big pond.

    • the music industry makes big money up to this point so most people are buying from them

      Your information's a little outdated. The music industry's sales figures fell by 3% in 2001, and an additional 11% in the first half of 2002 (according to the fine article). So it seems the market is deciding that the record companies are failing. That was sort of the whole point of the article.
    • by parliboy ( 233658 )
      I just realized that your domain doesn't exist and you're a troll. But I spent too long typing this not to go ahead and submit.

      America doesn't run as a pure capitalist market. This is probably a good thing, as it would fail just as surely as a pure anything, since no matter what the anything is, it's inflexible.

      It's important for you to understand that the music industry in America is a cartel. Just like a South American drug cartel, it consists of a group of companies that compete fiercely against each other, but band together to take on common opposition, and are led by a public face you can think of as a ringleader.

      The RIAA cartel does not simply aggressively compete for your dollars against other music choices. They control the entire system, from radio payoffs to music video airtime, to ensure that their acts are the ones the public sees. Therefore the public is left to choose from a fast-food Chinese menu where every meal is a different combination of the same foods ("I'll have the U2 and some wonton soup.")

      This is further enhanced by massive contributions to our Congress which are designed to persuade it to pass laws to further restrict our choices (See Bono, Sonny.) Most of believe that there is an equal representation system in Washington only in the sense that every dollar gets an equal voice.

      Most of us over here believe in the idea that the best product should succeed. We're willing to make allowances for superior marketing and other quirks of the system that might influence that natural selection. We're not willing to accept the outright mutation of that order.
  • Recording industry -> Music -> Girls -> Clubs -> Hot, horny girls -> Sex

    Nope, not gonna happen.
  • by ( 637314 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:07PM (#5143895) Homepage Journal
    even since the dawn of mp3s, I think we've all had that little feeling in our stomachs that the days of CD sales are limited. It wouldn't ruin the industry.. there'd still be concerts, music videos, and merchandising.

    But what would be the main delivery of the art [music] to the public?

    It is certainly difficult to say.. 20 dollars for a CD with 12 songs, of which 2-3 are usually "good". (poor generalization) Is it web radio or some other streaming service? Possibly.

    Maybe 'albums' need to get bigger, like DVDs that include music videos. Traditional CDs are sold more like singles - very cheaply.
    • If you're paying $20 for the regular run of the mill CD's then you're getting ripped off. Big time.
    • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:22PM (#5144003) Homepage

      Interesting idea. How about a DVD and a (Red Book) CD sold together? The DVD has all the audio tracks, plus the bouncing titties videos, plus the "making of" the bouncing titties videos. The CD just has the music so that you can play it in your car, or if (gasp) you haven't got a DVD player (yet).

      Seems to me that you've got a good point there. Much of the cost of selling an audio CD is in making the singles videos to promote it. It's strange that the music business hasn't thought about trying to sell them as content.

      • How about a DVD and a (Red Book) CD sold together?

        The Canadian DVD version of Trainspotting is a DVD on one side, and an audio CD on the other. In this case, the audio CD doesn't contain anything interesting (ambient train sounds?!?), but the idea is sound.

      • It is quite true that videos get copied around a lot in Japan. So how does Anime sell at all in Japan? Well one of the tricks is that they load the offical releases with goodies beyond the actual video material. Their philosophy: You can't beat the rampant copying so why bother?

        And that is the trick. The video or CD itself can be worth as much work as you are willing to put into copying it. However getting posters, thick supplimental reading material, figurines, extra CDs, wooden cases with the show's logo on it can't be copied. Of course they don't sell releases in giantic volumes companies in the US are used to on mainstream releases but if done right they can make money.
    • Totally agree. I mean look at DVD sales. People can grab movies off the internet just as easily as they can music (granted it does take longer) but look at the huge amount of people buying DVD's and DVD players. or look at the success TV shows have had selling Season DVD's, nothing is cooler than watching your favorite show at 720p resoultion.

      Why can't artists do the same? Of course you could point out that producing something like a 'music-dvd' would cost alot more than a pure vanilla music cd but the potentional for profit has to be higher.

      Why can't the music industry sell us cool packaged deals like dvd's with all sorts of little 'extras'? I might actually pay for my music then... as it is now I see no point in buying a 20$ CD - not to mention I own most of the CD's I would ever want to own, I find very little new music now adays that I would consider spending money for.
    • by Sylver Dragon ( 445237 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @02:29PM (#5144615) Journal
      But what would be the main delivery of the art [music] to the public?

      I think we will probably see a shift to some sort of enhanced CD, or a DVD. Some sort of format what will offer extras above and beyond the music itself. As it is, one of the main reasons I am willing to buy a CD is the lyric sheet that is often put in the cover booklet. In a way, I fell ripped off if the lyrics aren't in there. And even then, I'm not up for paying $20 for a CD. A two disc set maybe (if its got a lot of songs I like on it), but never for a single disc, I can wait for it to hit the discount rack.
      Also, I think we will see a rise in legal mp3/oog/[insert format here] sites which sell songs. I would expect that there will be a bit of a price war for a while, but it will probably settle at something below $1 a song. Unless, of course, the labels get their way and the labels control the online distribution. Though, wasn't this type of control the one of the things that landed Microsoft in hot water? But I digress.
      I think that the death of the major labels could be a boon for the small performer. First and foremost, this may help to end radio payola. (Ok, so technically they go through a middleman, so it isn't payola, but its still a way to buy airtime.) It would be nice if the practice of buying airtime died. I for one am really damn tired of hearing the same 10 or so songs repeated ad nauseium, thoughout the day. Sadly, the only radio station in my area, which even closely matches my tastes is owned by Clear Channel, so all I get are loads of commercials interspersed with the same 10 songs. And with a 30 minute commute each way, I'm lucky to hear more than one song each way. The rest is commercials or the DJ's that don't shut-up.
      More than the RIAA, I think that radio payola and the Clear[ly a trust] Channel, are the biggest problems with the music industry. If we could re-instate the pre-Telecommunications Act rules about station ownership, and make third-party payola illegal, we might see an improvement in music. At the very least, it might make it harder for the labels to foist the newest pop band, "he/she's a superstar because his/her fans all want to have sex with him/her" on the masses. We might also get some sort of veriety in radio. But this is probably just a dream.

  • Quote... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dietlein ( 191439 ) <(dietlein) (at) (> on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:08PM (#5143898)
    And the electronics industry's attitude toward the labels is summed up by an Apple slogan: Rip. Mix. Burn. Which, a music executive once told me, translates into "Fuck you, record labels."

    Funny, I don't agree that the "electronic industry's" attitude can be summed up by Apple's slogan. Apple is one of the few that dares to encourage people to Rip/Mix/Burn.

    (Thinking Sony, etc.)
    • Re:Quote... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dr Caleb ( 121505 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:26PM (#5144040) Homepage Journal
      I don't see what's wrong with Rip/Mix/Burn. The record companies have weasled the gubmint into levies on CDR/DVD-R media, MP3 Players etc.; so I pay for the right to R/M/B even if I don't often excersize that right.

      I say to the Record Gorillas: If you want to collect the levies on media, shut the hell up if I decide that I'm going to use what I've already paid for.

      • Re:Quote... (Score:5, Informative)

        by autopr0n ( 534291 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @02:02PM (#5144340) Homepage Journal
        I don't see what's wrong with Rip/Mix/Burn. The record companies have weasled the gubmint into levies on CDR/DVD-R media, MP3 Players etc.; so I pay for the right to R/M/B even if I don't often excursive that right.

        Do you live in Canada? If you are in the united states, only "Music" CD-Rs are taxed. "Data" CD-Rs are not, even though you can record music to a data CD-R and play it back on anything. The only difference between the two is that the Music CD-R costs more and it can be burned by special, expensive stereo components, which in turn cost more then whole computers with burners.

        In other words, for all practical purposes there are not levies on data storage systems in the US (CDs, memory sticks, DVDs, etc) only on audio systems (audio tape, DAT, crippled CDs for component recording).
      • Re: Quote... (Score:3, Informative)

        by pjrc ( 134994 )
        At least in the US, you have that right to rip/mix/burn as long as you paid for the CDs legitimately. It's called "fair use". No additional levy on blank media or recording devices is necessary to obtain the "fair use" right to rip/mix/burn.
      • Re:Quote... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @02:38PM (#5144692) Homepage
        NOTHING is wrong with the phrase: Rip, Mix Burn.

        If the RIAA thinks that this phrase is the equivalent of Apple Corp giving them "the bird", then it is the RIAA that has the problem. They're simply out of touch with reality and their genuine contempt for their customer is shining through.

        Consider this: The "Rip" part of the Apple slogan requires to have the ACTUAL ORIGINAL. All Apple is doing is to encourage inventive use of what you already PAID for.

        There is nothing particularly subversive about such an idea.
        • You know what? If Rip/Mix/Burn is the equivalent of "Fuck you, record companies," then I'm all for it. A couple weeks ago I sat in front of my computer with the lead singer of Dandy Warhols, whom I had just met. I didn't know much about their music, but he wanted me to hear their popular song. So we went to his band's website. Then we went to the record company's website. Then we went to Then we tried altavista's mp3 search. Finally we found a crappy copy on gnutella but only got 3/4 of the song. If RIAA had its way we wouldn't have even found that. Now, this is a band with a hit song and a major label contract. Their stuff is played on KROQ and MTV (at no cost to listeners, I might add). There seems to be something supremely ironic - and patently absurd - about the lead singer not even being able to download his own music to play for a friend. It was pretty clear that he didn't think that I was ripping him off, or that if it were easier to find his music on the web he would be less popular. It was also clear that as the artist he had little control over (and perhaps little interest in controlling) the way his music is distributed.
    • Sony have the MEX-HD1, a device which you can put in a CD, and it burns the cd to the internal HD. Sony also have portables such as the MZN-505, which convert mp3's into the minidisc format, or the memorystick walkman, which does the same into the memorystick format. This to me says that Sony electronics has the same basic attitude as Apple - electronic music files sells hardware.
    • Re:Quote... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hackstraw ( 262471 )
      How is "Rip/Mix/Burn" saying fuck you to the record labels? Rip implies that you already have the cd.

      Again, for the umteenth time, why doesn't the record labels give the customers what they want? Why is it that dvd's and cd's are close to the same price, but dvd's have much much more content on them. Why can't they include an iso9660 disk with the mp3's already on it along with the music cd?
    • Re:Quote... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by snitty ( 308387 )
      Funny, I don't agree that the "electronic industry's" attitude can be summed up by Apple's slogan. Apple is one of the few that dares to encourage people to Rip/Mix/Burn.

      The differance is Rip/Mix/Burn is legal, while Download/Mix/Burn isn't.

      Apple even put's "Don't Steal Music" on their iPods.

      The point of Apple's ad campaign was to allow people to make mixes of their own music and listen to them on CD's that they burned on their iMacs. Now that they have the iPod that slogan dosen't exist. The point is moot.
  • I doubt it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kickstart70 ( 531316 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:08PM (#5143904) Homepage
    Unless we advance some form of public ownership, and tear down the structure of corporate business, we will always have corporations. As long as we have corporate record companies, they will seek an organization where they can band together for self-protection.

    While it may not always be CALLED the RIAA, it will always BE the RIAA.


    • On the topic of corporate structure, would you believe that business wise the music industry tied to the war industry? []
    • Re:I doubt it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rary ( 566291 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:20PM (#5143990)
      ...we will always have corporations. As long as we have corporate record companies...

      Your logic doesn't quite flow. Just because we will always have corporations, does not necessarily mean we will always have corporate record companies. The need for record companies is rapidly disappearing. When the service provided by a service company becomes obsolete, that company becomes obsolete. It doesn't remain just because corporations still remain and it's a corporation.

      I don't know if record companies, and subsequently the RIAA, will cease to exist. I do know that if they don't start to actually adapt to the changes that have occurred in the market right before their bewildered -- and apparently non-functional -- eyes, it's highly unlikely they will remain profitable.

  • McDonald's (Score:2, Interesting)

    by GQuon ( 643387 )
    From the article:
    labels' new legitimate online music services attracted fewer paying customers than the McDonald's in Times Square.

    We can be sure to see the visits to that burger joint to drop as well. I mean, when this [] becomes commonplace.
  • by abcxyz ( 142455 )
    Hillary Rosen announced her resignation from the group today to spend more time with her family.

    Washington Post Story []
  • But what does RSN mean when they say their death is predicted RSN?

    Does it mean Really SooN?
  • Litmus test (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Em Emalb ( 452530 )
    for companies.

    Make a boatload of money doing one thing and doing it well. (In this case, it's screwing everyone related to the music--buyers, musicians, etc)

    Now, the test comes in when something causes a decrease in sales, or your business model becomes obsoleted by new technology.

    Why is it so hard for companies to adapt? They are obviously in it for the money, why not change your business model to accomodate new things?

    If the RIAA was a small company, nothing like this would occur, since they'd either adapt or die--in a hurry.

    It's just taken a really long time for RIAA to realize they need to change, and if they don't, well, I look forward to cheaper cds.
  • So, they will die (Score:4, Interesting)

    by inerte ( 452992 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:13PM (#5143937) Homepage Journal
    But what really worries me is the possibility that the companies that build what we love, eletronic devices and gadgets, take RIAA's place.

    RIAA is trying to protect its business model, where they control everything on the mainstream music chain. Technology can break a link of this chain, the distribution of an artist material.

    But! The laws and the mentallity that RIAA is leaving is the most dangerous thing. Tech industries may (or will?) have control on distribution.

    RIAA is showing them that this IS possible, and that consumers aren't doing much besides complain. No changes on the institutional power and the supplu of money is coming steady.

    The recent agreement between the tech industry and the RIAA shows exactly this. Most of the RIAA associates are, in one way or another, connected to the tech industry. It was a PR move to soften its images with the public.

    What I really think is that we are becoming less political involved with a lot of issues, but that's a subject for another post!
  • What do they do? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LoudMusic ( 199347 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:13PM (#5143940)
    What do the recording agencies do? Record, remaster, produce, manufacture and market musicians.

    Nearly as I can tell computers and the Internet have pretty much taken over those roles. As far as getting paid for their hard work, I guess musicians are left to concert money and merchandise. Most listeners aren't going to be paying for an album that they can download for free, either legally or illegally.

    Maybe the recording studios will be replaced by concert halls. Maybe the future is a movie theator with a band stage. Hey that'd be cool.
    • Most listeners aren't going to be paying for an album that they can download for free, either legally or illegally.

      that is flat out not true, most customers LIKE having a physical medium, even though more mp3 players are becoming available, people still like to have the liner note, they like something tangeble.
    • by Slightly Askew ( 638918 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:54PM (#5144265) Journal

      What do the recording agencies do? Record, remaster, produce, manufacture and market musicians.

      Nearly as I can tell computers and the Internet have pretty much taken over those roles.

      Let's see:

      24-track digital multi-track recorder($3,500) ; 40-channel mixer/sound board($6,000) ; studio musicians ($???/hour) ; booth construction (ca. $10,000) ; sundries such as cables, media, beer, etc. ($1,000)

      This is just to record. Now each artist has to remaster their own music (a very technically difficult job for which people study years). Then they have to shop around for a place to stamp CDs for them. These artists now have over $30,000 wrapped up in their album, which they have to recoup from concerts, because everyone knows you don't make squat for profit on CD sales. So you book a music hall, hire ticket printers, take out an insurance policy, and suddenly add another $50,000 to your bill. I sure hope your /. buddies bring their friends.

      Taking care of these "business" tasks are the major perks of studios -- and the reason why artists are willing to give up 85% of their sales to them. Exactly where did a computer take over these roles? Destroy the recording agencies, and I can guarantee you will destroy quality music. How good do you think that Pink Floyd album of yours would have sounded if it had been recorded in a garage using bicycle spokes and wooden spoons for the synthesized sound? Do you think U2 could charge $75 a ticket if their only exposure had been to the geek music community?

      In your blind hatred of the recording industry, you are failing to see what positive qualities they do have. Don't destroy them, change them. Help change the copyright laws. Buy from independent recording labels who don't have a history of persecuting file sharers. Support the artists. Quit whining.

      "...I'd rather have my appendix removed by baboons weilding unsterilized tuna can lids..." -- Dave Barry

      • by CharlieO ( 572028 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @03:51PM (#5145219)
        This comment is VERY misleading.

        The big 5 record companies DO NOT RUN ALL the Recording Services that artists use.

        First point - most good musicians end up having a home studio anyway. A lot of people I listen to (Will Kimbrough, Ani DiFranco, Slaid Cleeves to name a few) are hard working live and session artists and have invested in thier own gear - they are craft workers that want to have control of the final product.

        Second point - Each artist does not have to master thier own music - the same mastering services will be available as there are now that the record companies use. Mastering CD's is not a technically difficult job at all - but properly producing a good album is and needs a good team to do it. (I have done this for come college bands so they can send decent demos to promoters and such - I'm no proffesional but the tools available mean I can cut a pretty acceptable live album.) Most of those people are contractors of a kind either independant or attached to a studio like Abbey Road. These people right now are being requested by artists that care about thier music, and will still be if record companies disappear in the morning.

        Point Three - you don't make squat from CD sales NOW because so many people take a cut. Yes artists give up 85% of sales, but many of them end up being charged for all the costs out of THIER 15%. If an artist can pay for the album to be produced and the CDs to be created once they have broken even everything is pure profit. Most of these guys make thier break in the live circuit and selling signed cds for 10 bucks at the end is a great way to meet fans, make money and spread the word of your music for those people who didnt make your gig. This is where I get most of my CDs now because its cheaper and the artist I respect gets a bigger cut of the money.

        Point Four - Promoters hire and organise concerts, these people will also not disappear. The difference will be the artists will have to have a bit more financial backing to put the capital up, but will get more of the returns. Without a slush fund from the Record Companies in the future you will find promoters being more flexible becasue they themselves will want to evolve and adapt and stay in buisness. I can, and have, see the artists I mentioned above for 10UKP a time in the Borderline in London - that MUST be profitable otherwise it wouldn't happen and I can tell you for certain that no Record Company is involved. I've run band nights myself and we ALL made profits for far less outlay than you suggest.

        Point 5 - Yamaha/Korg/Roland arent going to go out of buisness. Big News - artist have thier own instruments these days, even session musicians. Cubase and other such programs can generate very very reasonable sound on commodity PC hardware. Even college bands can afford good mid range equipment these days.

        Point 6 - artists are willing to give up 85% of thier sales because if they want to break out of the niche live and touring circuit and bring thier music to a wider audience they need airplay. Try getting that in the US without playing ball with an A&R man. Thankfully in the UK we have more choice with guys like Bob Harris who actually care about the music they play and don't have a playlist and a script.

        Point 7 - a lot of independant artists manage themselves or are managed RIGHT NOW by management groups without any affiliation with the Big 5.

        Point 8 - the attitude of 'those poor dumb artists don't want to be bothered with buisness' is condescending and insulting. ALL of the craftspeople in the industry from writers to session musicians to producers to sound engineers generally take pride in thier work. Thats why so many of them set up thier own record labels and studios so they can keep control of thier work. A lot of 'real' unmanufactured music is pretty much only distributed by the Big 5, everything else is done by the people themselves. Its not economics, its an issue of control.

        Point 9 - computers have brought cheap good quality synthesisation and sequenceing into the homes of college students and teenagers. This in turn has brought down the price of higher level kit. Good studios are now available for hire. We no longer need the massive outlay of money to set up a studio that required a Record Company to do it - indeed these days a large number of studios are set up by existing artist who hire them out to make it profitable. What computers have done is bring down the costs and made good music production available to many many more people. The internet has now offered a distribution channel that was previously only available to a large buisness. Thats the point.

        Point 10 - nothing in your post is about supporting the artist. Its about supporting the status quo. I support artists by supporting efforts to limit the massive lobbying for control of thier livelhood that is going on, by going to thier gigs, by buying directly from them.

        My hatred of the Recording Companies (NOT the recording industry itself) is not hatred, and nor is it blind. They are just as relevant to the task of getting music from the artist into my hifi as coal mining is to fueling railway trains - namely redundant as things have moved on.
  • Songs vs. Albums (Score:3, Insightful)

    by laetus ( 45131 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:16PM (#5143967)
    Customers don't "listen" to an album. They listen to songs; individual tracks. And until the music industry understands that, they'll continue sinking.

    This excludes of course, classic albums like Rumours, Dark Side of the Moon, etc. But those are few and far between.
  • An Economic Analysis (Score:3, Informative)

    by swm ( 171547 ) <> on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:18PM (#5143976) Homepage
  • by gosand ( 234100 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:18PM (#5143978)
    In the past two decades, every big label has been swept up into one of five major groups: Universal, Warner, Sony, BMG, and EMI, which together control about 75 percent of global recorded-music sales.

    I more or less knew about this, but it was nice to see it put so well. Of course, they are blaming everything under the sun except themselves. I can't think of one conglomerate that didn't just suck the life out of everything it touched. The music industry is supposed to be about the art of music, but it has just turned into another lifeless business.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:19PM (#5143986)
    If you threaten jailtime to your customers then your customers will go away.

    A very expensive lesson for them to learn
  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:21PM (#5143994) Homepage
    ... killed off by FM. And then all radio died, killed off by television. And then both the movies and television were killed off by people home-taping movies on their VCR's. And then books died, killed off by eBooks and photocopiers.

    Oh, wait, none of that happened, did it?

    The existing recording industry power structure may be in for a rough time, and the Deccas and Polygrams and Capitols may join the likes of Studebaker and Eastern Airlines and Crossley, but people will be recording CD's and selling them to other people for quite some time.
  • by blake213 ( 575924 ) <blake DOT reary AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:23PM (#5144011) Homepage
    I believe we will soon be entering the age of independent records. I've been preparing to record my solo debut record independently, and I will be distributing/promoting it myself. If in fact the record industry does collapse soon, I believe many artists are going to have to turn to independent labels and/or producing records themselves. Of course, with this route, one gets much less exposure than if a big league label was to be in charge. But I think that there can be ways around this.
    If a new artist makes a CD, and begins promoting it, and selling online, eventually the word will get out. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but it's rather difficult to find and download independent music off of major file-sharing apps like Kazaa and Gnutella. So, in turn, this is a measure of the artists popularity. So if an independent artist can become popular enough for people to start downloading his music online, then this creates the potential to tour and perform live. And perhaps that's the ticket -- live performances could possibly make up for money lost on file sharing. As popularity grows, more money can be made off of live shows, and thus more albums can be produced, etc.
    I'm sure I am leaving a lot of out of this theory, but it seems that there still may be some hope for the music business, in the form of independent labels and records.
    • If a new artist makes a CD, and begins promoting it, and selling online, eventually the word will get out.

      Right, and then one person rips it, posts it, and it's all over. The reason you don't see much of this right now it because locally produced CDs sell a handful of copies.
  • by Badgerman ( 19207 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:24PM (#5144024)
    Ultimately, Timothy suggested to me that night, the industry as we know it could vanish not so much because of technology but because few people over the age of 30 would care if it did.

    This is very true. In some cases, I know people in their mid 20's who wouldn't care.

    Being in my mid-30's, most of the industry does nothing for me, does not interest me, and when its not ignoring me, its insulting my intelligence or calling me a theif. Meanwhile it churns out lame, uninteresting, repetitive music. Good riddance I say.

    All of these models would produce fewer global superstars and more locally successful musicians. We might not see another Michael Jackson circa 1982, but we also wouldn't see another Michael Jackson circa 2002. Not a bad tradeoff.

    There's already a lot of good work going on on city, state, and geographic-area levels. Bands working on these levels seem to have a whole different mindset and be more in touch with their listeners.

    And yeah, I'll give up any future Michael Jacksons to avoid . . . any future Michael Jacksons.

    Good article

  • by arudloff ( 564805 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:25PM (#5144029) Homepage
    The need for the label isn't disappearing, it's changing. We'll see the majors start contracting instead of expanding just like every other industry affected by technology. More outsourcing specific tasks (a&r for example). The label will take on a more management style role, and will become more of a "branding" issue. (Think punk scene: you know what a fat records band is going to sound like before you even press play). We'll also see labels start providing health insurance and accounting assistance to aid future MC Hammers. Ahhh, the possible return of the career artist

    People love entertainment, people love music. It'll always be around, and there will always be money in it. It's just going to take some restructuring, even if it costs a whole lot of people their jobs.

    Just a thought..
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:27PM (#5144045) Homepage Journal
    Sure their market will be reduced, and morph. But if they learn to adapt, they will survive.

    Besides, the *industry* will do fine, its just the companies that have a stranglehold over it that are in trouble and must adapt, or die.

  • by Vinnster ( 572111 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:28PM (#5144056)
    Ask anyone where the money they pay for their CDs goes, and they'll tell you: 5% to the artists, 95% to the executives. No one feels like they are actually supporting the artists when they buy a CD! If we wanted to support the artists, we should buy Concert tickets! sell the CD for $5 (most of the CDs out there are only worth $5) and sell the concert tickets for $10 more! Much more of the profits from concert tickets goes into the pockets of the artists! The record labels are an obsolete marketing model. Radio play and file sharing works. The word spreads. When you hear something your friend burned onto his/her last CD, and you like it, you also want to know what it is! If something is of good quality, the people will buy it, period. Not everyone will pay for 100% of the music they burn, but they will pay for enough to keep the artists living the life, but only those who deserve it, and entertain us enough.

    Oh, and by the way, Britney can whine all she wants, but for every $1 she's whining about, the execs are out 15! She's just the puppet in "her" anti-piracy campaign.
  • We had a lock in last night, about six of us rainging from 60 years old to about 22(all left wing)

    Anyhow, the 60 year old was saying how the record industry was dead, you can get anything over the internet, who needs CD's.
    One of my friends, 26, Never buy's CD's any more, she only ever downloads music off of kazaa.

    The Juke box in the pub kept skipping, they have about 400CD's in the juke box, and are replacing it with, music downloaded off of the internet and stored on a PC.

    And I only ever get music from sites like besonic(I don't like stealing).

    So, that's 4/6 indepentend people saying that the record industry and the Stars they create are dead, and will have to start playing pubs and bars again, like 'real' musicians.

    The End.

  • The tech companies should just buy the media companies outright and give everything away for free. Treat music the way we treat movies. A release from a major artist would be good for a month or two and as soon as his music became available online his profits would start to decline.

    On the other hand, a full third of all CDs I currently own I bought because I downloaded a song from Napster or Kazaa that I liked.

    The music industry is going to go broke because the big money is being spent on people who look good, not on people who sound good. It's as simple as that.
  • Webcasting Issue (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Steve B ( 42864 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:30PM (#5144071)
    That sympathy is in short supply. Rightly or wrongly, record companies are detested by... webcasters (for demanding royalties).

    The problem isn't the demand for royalties per se -- it's the demand for royalties over and above what over-the-air stations pay.

  • Just a thought . . . (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Badgerman ( 19207 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:30PM (#5144074)
    Is Rosen's departure from the RIAA the first rat leaving a sinking ship?

    Just something for us to consider. If the article is correct, then we should look for signs of the inevitable downturn.

  • by porky_pig_jr ( 129948 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:31PM (#5144077)
    I remember recent discussion regarding the role of producers and publisher and the article stating that the function of producers is 'filtering of all the crap they are getting and presenting the consumer with the best staff'. I wish it were true. In reality, producers invent the product they believe consumers would like, and since the product is rather vacuous, that is, has no contents, they put the excessive amount of efforts on packaging and advertising (junk food, anyone?) The sooner the present system goes the better. Doesn't look like anyone (except producers) will loose anything.
  • by burgburgburg ( 574866 ) <.splisken06. .at.> on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:31PM (#5144087)
    and do eventually think there will be a major reorganization of the recording industry, I don't remotely believe that it is imminent.

    More importantly, two of the foundation elements of this article are misleading and/or potentially wrong. First, the 11% decline of sales this year can be attributed to

    a) the 25% decline in output by the labels
    b) the economy
    c) the generally boring content

    My vote is on a and b. c never seems to have an effect.

    Also, the usage of P2P services does not necessarily bode ill for the recording industry. As has been advanced here before, P2P services often drive sales (they have for me and quite a few others). Just because the Suits don't believe it doesn't mean it isn't true.

  • by tcc ( 140386 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:36PM (#5144126) Homepage Journal
    MP3 was out, it still took long enough before it actually ended being the de-facto choice for encoding music to send off the net.

    If the RIAA would have been smart, they would have a guy somewhere appointed to "new technologies" and he or his team would have seen it coming, they didn't. Mistake number 1.

    Now even when they DID miss that coming, they (as opposed to most startups that would have died for such a blattant mistake) had the resources to still built either something BETTER or USE that technology to good ends, rethink a buisness model to adapt to this new technology, and heck, still make money in the process.

    How? well, a lot of ideas have been given out here and throughout the last years, and it's not like they didn't have the ressources to hire somebody with a brain or a decent marketting agency to come out with something, instead, they've invested all of their ressources in Lawyers and fences and exploding bridges and disinformation. It's their choices, but usually this is the choice of dying .COMs, not healthy companies, so in that respect I probably am missing something but again, usually, common sense is not something so common with the 6 digits salary, and inexistant in the 7+ digits.

    It's a shame, when you think about it, artists didn't win anything with all that money spent in their "crusade against MP3", RIAA didn't win anything either in that investment, technology didn't win either (imagine all that money being put to audio R&D, we probably would have had something a lot better than Ogg today).... only lawyers won something, why don't corporations get a clue? haven't they seen that NO ONE won with such a tactic up to now?

  • by grundie ( 220908 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:50PM (#5144224)
    I think the music companies are largely responsible for their own problems. In the UK 1988 was the year more singles were sold than in every other year, since then there has been a gradual decline in sales. Around the same time, the record comapanies started pushing CD singles as a replacement for vinyl single with an artifically inflated price as well.

    I also remember this was around the time the labels started to pick some new artist (talent not important) and promoting them to the hilt to turn them in to a cash cow. In the UK there was Jason Donovan, Bros and to a certain extent Kylie Minouge, in the USA there was New Kids on the Block. Although this wasn't a new concept, the capitalist 80's had encouraged record companies to promote an artist with a new ruthless zeal, where anything that could carry the artitsts name was sold as merchandise and young fans were encouarged to cover their bedrooms with anything carrying the artists name. The labels knew they could do this as targetting young fans meant that their parents would splash the cash to keep them happy.

    This relentless promotion of teen-idols alienated a lot of proper artists and people who liked good music. I don't think its no accident that the rave and acid house scenes of the late 80's and early 90's came about by accident, it was a reaction to the cr*p that was being splurted out by the labels.

    As the labels tried to rely on the teen-idol model to make money, decent artists were negelcted. This is a fact check the chart stats for the past 10 years, you will see that the teen-idol market sells more than the decent music market. Problem is that this sort of market makes money in the sort term only and the audience is finite. By focusing on the teen market too much, mostly only the teens were buying singles. People who liked good music were buying their favourite artists albums and nothing else. But albums don't make the labels much money, they need accompanying singles sales as well, plus merchandising and concert profits. A lot of the labels seem to now realise that all the time and effort they put in to Bros, the Spice Girls, NKOTB etc was wasted, this sort of music does not make money in the long term. When was the last time you heard any of these artists music on the radio, hearing a Spice Girls song is a rariity these days despite them only splitting up a few years ago. Compare with late 80s/early 90s artists like the Housemartins and the Happy Mondays who still pop up on the radio and on VH1 and must be making some money for the labels.

    The labels got greedy in the late 80s and have aliented a lot of people. The internet merely speeded up the alienation process. I for one would buy more CD's if they were cheaper, £16.99 for a new release is a silly money I can fill my cars tanks for cheaper. £10-£11 would be a realistic price for a CD in my opinion. They need to price CD's within the "spare money" range so that people feel happier buying a CD and not thinking "thats expensive".

    The labels refuse to accept that people and artists do not like the way they have behaved for the last 10 years, they want to get back to the high profit days of the late 80's and early 90's. That is why they are trying to exert more control and send the crack lawyers out on everyone, left, right and centre. Just look at the explosion of reality talent shows such as Pap Idol and Lame Academy which whip teenagers in to a frenzy and makes them rush out and buy all the associated merchandise. A quick buck for the labels and very happy TV executives. This is a sign of desperation, it will not last. They need to realise there is a new business model in operation, they are hiding their heads in the sand. Artisits will no longer accept the labels owning all their work, the punters will just refuse to pay £17 for a CD with only 10 songs on it. In my opinion, the records companies need to become distributors and service providers (studios, technical services etc) rather than controllers of music. If they try to keep control of music, the music creators will simply walk away from them and the labels will simply vanish.
  • by Dolemite_the_Wiz ( 618862 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:50PM (#5144226) Journal
    Timothy White is right on about the music industry collapsing within 5 or so years.

    Here's why:

    1) In the 90's The List Price for CD's have steadily gone up in price from 10-12 dollars to roughly 18-20 dollars. Most of the money goes to the execs and to the record stores. The artists sees very little of the money made from an average CD sale. Artists make their money on live shows, not CD's. I remember when CD prices were reasonable I would see numerous people in CD stores buying stacks of 10 or more CD's in an average visit. Heck, I used to do the same.

    2) Crap Music=No Sales. With the amount of crap music that is on the market (thanks in part to MTV and other media that had been promoting bubble gum pop), not many people are willing to make the investment on a CD that may hold only one or two good songs. I don't know how many times I've been pissed off by artist that have a really good song or two, but the rest of their CD sucks ass. The RIAA needs to put out quality artists and hire artistic minded people to find these artists. Cive Davis (who was fired from one of the companies that make up the RIAA for being too old) is a master of finding talent. He is the man behind signing Carlos Santana in the 60's, and orchestrated his comeback with 'Supernatural'. He is also the man who is credited with discovering Alicia Keys. I will always buy CD's based on the people he backs.

    4)Marketing. The RIAA needs to get on the ball in marketing all artists. Not just the to 2% of popular artists.

    5)Information age. Plain and simple, the RIAA needs a new business model for the information age. Their industrial age business models are no longer working for them and their profits are going down the tubes. The longer the RIAA holds on to this archaic business model, the longer their collective companies will go down the tubes.

    6)Going after KaZaa's or Napsters will not stop piracy. This is a very reactive and costly approach to the issue. If you notice, KaZaa (IMO) seems to have been designed from the mistakes and loopholes of Napsters ashes. People will still keep creating mechanisms for swapping songs. The RIAA needs to come up with a Proactive approach to piracy.

    IMO, the piracy in this day and age is a revolt against the RIAA for trying to make the average person pay an astronomical sum of money for CD's and crap artists they are trying to shove down our throats.

    Once the RIAA addresses these issues and put out better music the piracy will slow to a trickle or stop.

  • by Snork Asaurus ( 595692 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:51PM (#5144233) Journal
    The article's title "The Year The Music Dies" is misleading, but the rest of the article seems pretty accurate, if redundant. The member labels of the current music industry Cartel may die and that is a good thing, but music lives and will continue to live as long as there is human spirit and that is also a good thing.

    As the article points out, the Cartel has a well-deserved reputation of screwing everyone and I think that in their passing, we will all benefit provided what replaces them isn't a smaller stronger Cartel or effective monopoly (like Microsoft Music or something). And that possibility is truly frightening since monopolization is the way of business and the governments that they sponsor.

    Fuck them, I've moved on. They haven't gotten a penny of my music budget in 10+ years - it goes to independent artists and labels. I've had to work a little harder to find it, but what I've found far exceeds in quality anything the Cartel has to offer. It's been 10 years of pure listening pleasure for me.

  • by autopr0n ( 534291 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:52PM (#5144244) Homepage Journal
    The music industry won't die. They may be dinosaurs, but there are lots of people who will be happy to take over and make it into something else. Rather then some grandiose claims, what will happen is the following: Hillary Rosen will resign, along with several top record execs (we already know this is happening) the price of CDs will come down to a reasonable level ($6-$8 I'd guess), and a reasonably priced online service will be launched with some sort of DRM, the service may or may not succeed, depending on customer adoption of DRM software. Considering what people are willing to put up with in order to get music (tons of spy ware from Kazaa, and by the way you'd be surprised at how many use windows media player to listen to MP3s)

    I predict that eventually there will be some service where you pay $20-$50/mo for all the music you want, downloaded to your computer/pda/walkman. You'll 'own' the files even after the service expires. The money will be distributed to the parent companies based on their percentage of the downloads.

    That will be it, that will be the "death". No grandiose flameouts, no seeing Kid-rock getting a job at K-mart, no Britney as a porn star (sorry), etc. The music industry will continue as long as people are willing to pay for music. There will be a change from viewing music as a product to viewing it as a service, but it will still exist, and will be controlled by mostly the same people.
  • This Sums It Up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zentec ( 204030 ) <> on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:55PM (#5144281)
    "For years, the safest path to success in the music business has been to hunt the teen market. But by ignoring career artists at the expense of the latest trends, the labels have lost touch with wide swaths of society. Ultimately, Timothy suggested to me that night, the industry as we know it could vanish not so much because of technology but because few people over the age of 30 would care if it did."

    Well written.

    I'm 34 years old, and the only CD I've purchased in the last 18 months was for a gift. I am no longer able to stomach most new music that the labels promote. I do not like rap, I do not like teen pop, older bands are ignored and anything that is new and fresh is immediately duped and run into the ground as the latest profit mill. Meanwhile, good local bands are ignored and routinely GIVE away their music online.

    I purchased an insane amount of CDs between 1986 (my first CD player) and 1996. I had a nice amount of disposable income and thought nothing of dropping $40 on CDs on a weekly shopping trip. No longer, there's nothing worthy of my hard earned dollar.

    If the record companies want to make a quick buck, all they need to do is simply create a web site that offers ALL their out of print music in their entire collection and allow me to download it and burn it for $2 per song. I can fit 10 songs per CD, and the weekly revenue stream magically re-appears.

    Alas, they are too stupid to see how profitable it is to satiate a demand in the market. They are too arrogant to admit that they need to make an adjustment. And they are too greedy to do anything about their problem but to buy legislation and call their customers criminals.

    It's sad, really.
    • Re:This Sums It Up (Score:3, Insightful)

      by megaduck ( 250895 )

      I'm 34 years old, and the only CD I've purchased in the last 18 months was for a gift.

      Agreed. What's amazing to me is how common this story is nowadays. I'm 24 and I haven't bought music in about a year and a half. All my friends are in their mid-twenties and they say the same thing. It's like somewhere in the middle of 2001, everybody just.... lost interest.

      I look at the billboard charts today and I see a lot of familiar faces. Nelly, Eminem, Christina Aguilera, Kid Rock, Jennifer Lopez. All squarely targeted at the teen market. Even stalwarts like the Dave Matthews' Band and U2 lack most of the vibrancy that made them great in the past. We just acquired a great new radio station in San Diego that plays "Music that doesn't suck." They play a wide variety of fantastic music, none of it younger than two years old.

      What's really frustrating to me is that I know that somewhere, great music is being made. Groups like Thievery Corporation, Ozomatli, and Los Lobos are still out there making great music. But where am I supposed to find out about it? FM Radio? MTV? Internet Radio? Napster? Every channel I used to find new music is either dying under the weight of RIAA legal action or playing the same five songs.

      Especially sad is the fact that this is an old rant, heard a million times from a million different people. Zentec is right. There's a huge demand out there, but it's being totally ignored. I hope the article's right. We're due for a change.

      All right, off the soapbox. I feel better.

  • by Junks Jerzey ( 54586 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @01:56PM (#5144285)
    This is an interesting discussion, but I think much of it is being driven by personal agendas and people seeing what they want to see. I find many of them hard to agree with. First, I never think of the recording industry "labels" much at all. I don't even know who makes any of the CDs I own. I buy music from bands I like. I don't walk into a store and see "evil"; I see music.

    I also don't see all music in stores as crap. Yeah, there's Mariah and so on, but there's alot a whole lot of it that I really like, both new and old. Saying that music publishers deserve to die because they're foisting unlistenable garbage on the world is a narrow view. If you hate all the music you find in the average, say, Borders, then I'm sorry, but You Just Don't Like Music.

    All of the things that can be said about the Big Music Corporations can just as easily be said about smaller labels and music from local bands. They're trying to get you to pay for plastic CDs just like the big guys, and they're charging more than the fifty cents for materials. If you're arguing for the death of big music, you're arguing for the death of small music too.

    I also find it hypocritcal that many people won't touch music in stores--calling it crap--but then will download it and enjoy it. Either you don't like it or you don't. These arguments come across as those from poor students trying to justify their lack of funds.

    It's also not clear that CDs are really being killed by online music. I live near a CD store by a college campus, and it's always busy. The industry being down 11% is meaningless. No business grows forever and ever. So they're down 11% after growing 200% in the last decade. Does that matter? Look at how much the entire stock market has dropped in the last few years! And now they're only making _billions_ of dollars instead of billions + 11%. Hmmm. I'd take that.

    The only real issue is that MP3s are more convenient sometimes, especially if you only want one song, and sure, that makes people buy fewer CDs (but it's arguable that people wouldn't buy those "for just one song" CDs anyway). But this has nothing to do with record companies being evil and so on. If you think music publishers are evil, then you should think video game and movie publishers are too. It's more that they're being branded as evil because people like the dodges that downloading music give them.
  • Amen! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MImeKillEr ( 445828 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @02:01PM (#5144323) Homepage Journal
    From the article:

    • "..the industry as we know it could vanish not so much because of technology but because few people over the age of 30 would care if it did. "

    Being over 30, I can agree with this statement.

    If only the fools in charge of the major players would realize that their simply cutting their own throats by keep CD prices so high and that this will ultimately be their own doom...

    What they need to do is slash prices as well as their profit margin per disc (as opposed to cutting into artist profits). Only when a decent CD (if one can be found in the era of The Backside Boys and Christina Whore-uleria) costs about $10 will they win people back.

    Sure, their profits will go down -- but at least they'll still be making money. The tech industry got hit hard, its damned hard to find a decent IT-related job and nearly impossible to find one paying what it did 2 years ago. Maybe the music industry needs to trim the fat and let some people go from their payrolls to recoup the losses involved with keeping their customers otherwise they'll simply cease to exist.

    Just my $.02.
  • Long Time Coming (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wazzzup ( 172351 ) <astromac.fastmail@fm> on Thursday January 23, 2003 @02:40PM (#5144706)
    As I sit here in Dayton, OH, I ponder why I don't have a radio in my cube and the answer comes to me rather quickly - because truly and honestly isn't a radio station around worth listening to. I could listen to any number of classic rock or 80's radio stations if I wanted to hear the same songs over and over again every day...forever. Or I could listen to the country music stations that play the same crap over and over again (never once have I heard truly talented country artists like Dwight Yoakam or Steve Earle get air time). I could flip on the local "alternative" station but, good God all the songs they ever play are what I call "white boy rage rock" - the sound never changes. It sucks and it's because the record industry essentially feeds them their playlists. There is one great station that's close but I can't get it (WOXY 97X in Cincinatti) here and it's an exception to the rule.

    I am beginning to rediscover the joy of music again through digital cable music channels and swapping MP3's. My friend and I have set up FTP servers on our computers and upload interesting music (which we almost always buy) for each other to listen to. We've also swapped songs from vinyl albums or CD's bought in our youth that aren't physically playable anymore. It's not like we we're going to buy that particular CD again but it was nice that one of us had a digital copy of it so we could continue to enjoy it. Both of us like to buy CD's still but if the industry collapses I suppose we'll adapt. Really though, we're doing nothing that we weren't already doing for years - making mix tapes from albums and CD's and swapping them. It's just now we a a higher-quality medium to achieve the same thing. I don't get how Rip-Mix-Burn says "Fuck You Record Industry". Twenty years ago it was Cue-Mix-Tape and we never heard them complain.

    In my case, technology is not to blame for my change in listening habits. Technology has been the savior in reviving my passion for music. It has allowed me to listen to what I like. The RIAA almost killed that part of my life because I found nothing worth listening to anymore that was easily accessible. The RIAA and its unchecked greed and totalitarian control tactics is really the culprit for the death of the music industry. At least for those of us that are too old to find Britney Spears appealing or talented.
  • by da_Den_man ( 466270 ) <> on Thursday January 23, 2003 @03:12PM (#5144957) Homepage
    "The Greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing mankind that he did not exist"

    or that he had died

    Pure & simple...the lion goes too quietly and too soon. They will be back with their lawsuits and their outdated methods. Only this time they will have the Industry behind them with machines built encoded with DRM tech. Inherent to the machine at the lowest levels, there will be no way to run your own system without authorization from all of the MFR's and in turn the RIAA, MPAA, and the KMAAYLC (Kiss my ass association you lousy consumer!).

    Time to pick up a guitar and make my own...
  • by karlandtanya ( 601084 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @03:15PM (#5144977)
    The article discusses the gyrations the industry is going through in order to prop up itself, but does not sufficiently emphasize the basic economics of the situation:

    What do they contribute to the process today?

    At one time, it was very difficult to record and distribute music. Letting the listeners know the music was available was a problem, too. All of this costa lotta dollah! An industry was born, they provided those services, and they charged a fee. I don't forget that industry has abused and defrauded both the artists and the listeners; I'm keeping this basic, here.

    Anyhow, the services are simply not as precious as they once were. The most difficult part of getting a recorded piece of music onto media is to create the art itself. Today, anybody with a few grand can put together a decent recording studio. More and more, when the band's in the studio the most expensive collection of hardware in the room is their instruments.

    Editing and mixing a decent track from the audio your engineer has just captured? Again, the limiting factor is talent, not capital.

    Marketing and Distribution? I don't think we need help with that.

    The RIAA is doomed because they have no product. They may hang onto some "talent" through old contracts, but I can't forsee the majority of new artists waiting to be "discovered" when they can do it themselves.

    Torque, Torque--the Beast needs more Torque.

  • by reallocate ( 142797 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @03:29PM (#5145097)
    The Wired piece correctly points to the changing music preferences of people who aren't teenagers. One thing they discover is that music is not bounded by the "popular bands' that many Slashdor readers seem to think equate with all music.

    I'm over 30, and buy fewer than a dozen CD's per year. I stopped feeling a "gotta have that CD" compulsion a long timer ago. (Hence, the hundreds of CD's sitting in boxesx in my closets.)

    I haven't paid to hear a musician play in anything larger than a neighborhood bar for years. And, when I think of a "band" it's more likely to be a bunch of jazz players found on a Bluenote reissue.

    I've played with the p2p networks, found them rather chaotic, and, more importantly, found little music that I'd bother to listen to, on any medium.

    I care about audio quality, so I don't listen to music on my PC.

    I don't know if my experience mirrors that of others (I suspect it does), but the same thing is likely to happen to the big demographic currently targeted by the music industry.

    My criteria for a music distribution system that succeeds the current system includes: distribution of music I like; sufficient revenue back to the musicians I like to keep them in the business; simple and convenient way to locate and acquire music I like; simple means to transfer the music files to a format acceptable to my playback method of choice.

    Cost? Less is better than more expensive, but it isn't a primary factor.
  • by cc_pirate ( 82470 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @03:35PM (#5145132)
    She's WON!

    The way I see the "radical change" in the direction of the RIAA is as follows.
    It is not so radical. The RIAA has gotten absolutely everything it wants.

    Every large CPU chip maker (Intel, AMD, & Transmeta) have recently (in the last quarter) unveiled DRM enabling technologies. Inevitably touted as "security" or "trustworthy computing" features, they generally support the TCPA (Trusted Computing Platform Alliance), which in turn can be used to prevent users' access to portions of their computer and to the files on their computer (i.e. DRM).

    With the CPU & chipset taken care of via these companies, all that is left to get on board are the BIOS makers, since any DRM technology is dead in the water if the BIOS doesn't enforce certain rules about what can run at boottime (not to mention run HASH checks, key checks, etc). The support that BIOS makers such as American Megatrends, Inc., have recently annouced for TCPA puts all the pieces for effective hardware DRM in place. Of course, the other portion of the pie that is necessary for DRM is a DRM enforcing OS, but Microsoft is working on that with Palladium.

    With all the above, the Hollings bill becomes irrelevant. No GOVERNMENT mandated DRM technologies are needed, because the chip makers are implementing the exact DRM "features" the RIAA has always wanted. Control of individual PC users data will now be wrested away from them and given to the content owners. The RIAA has been given exactly what they wanted and they didn't have to go to the government to get it; in effect, the computer industry caved.

    From what I know firsthand, it is clear that a trade has been made. The computer industry will supply the DRM framework if the RIAA (and eventually the MPAA) will provide the content that keeps the PC platform as a viable alternative to set top boxes (i.e. get people using "media PCs").

    The other thing that makes this an absolute coup for the RIAA is the announcement that the computer industry will no longer fight the DMCA or support users fair use rights. This may effectively kill Rep. Boucher's attempt to reform the DMCA through the Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act (the "DMCRA"). DRM with the DMCA still in effect is almost too horrible for me to contemplate.

    There is room for disagreement perhaps, but it seems that the computer companies have sold out the American consumer for a cut of the "content" pie.
  • by intermodal ( 534361 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @05:17PM (#5146028) Homepage Journal
    but the recording 'industry' is not the RIAA. The Recording Industry is also CDs sold out of the back of a punk band's van. the RIAA is a collection of nothing but labels. death of labels is different from killing off a whole industry.
  • Learn from history (Score:3, Interesting)

    by inkswamp ( 233692 ) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @05:56PM (#5146344)
    This reminds me of when the Web first started to become popular and a lot of big corporations ignored it and didn't bother securing their domain names. The most famous example of this was the incident where the guy bought and later ended up selling it back to McDonalds for a donation to charity to make a point.

    The point is that corporations tend to move at a glacial pace and tend to ignore technology and change, often at their own peril. Those that make this behavior a bad habit, go extinct or end up having to donate to charity just to get their domain name back.

    The recording industry has wasted the last 3+ years fighting file sharing when they should have been figuring out how to embrace it and adapt themselves to the changing environment.

    My feelings were that they should have tried to one-up the technology (i.e., offer music albums on DVD which would include lots of low-cost filler material that fans love--interviews with the band, live performances, commentary, videos, etc.) That would make the store-bought medium far more desireable to the consumer and the mp3 downloading experience would pale by comparison. In having done that, they could have relegated Napter and all its offspring to the status of free advertising. Instead, the recording industry chose (like McDonalds) to ignore the inevitable.

    Even if they choose to change their ways now, I doubt they could make up for the lost time. Good riddance to them. I hope they can't. I'd like to see one good, hard-to-ignore example of technology roadkill for other industries to contemplate. Hopefully the corporate world will pass by the recording industry's dead body and learn a lesson from it.

    Probably not, but I'm an optimist.

  • One Word (Score:4, Insightful)

    by serutan ( 259622 ) <`moc.nozakeeg' `ta' `guodpoons'> on Thursday January 23, 2003 @06:26PM (#5146550) Homepage

    It may be a little early to crack open the champagne, but I'm ready to celebrate evolution in action. Record companies served a purpose when the technology to make copies of records was expensive. This service is no longer necessary, or even beneficial, to musicians or the public. The promotional services that record companies still legitimately provice could be replaced by a promotion industry. Hopefully one that's based on sane business agreements, rather than the take-it-or-leave-it usury model which the record industry chose to follow, and which is finally biting it in its big ugly ass.

    What I really hope happens is not just the extinction of record companies, but that other businesses will take this as proof that the path to long-term survival lies in serving a purpose, not in forcing the public to support your business model.

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