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Music Media Businesses The Almighty Buck

Record Labels Unveil Greed 2.0 571

theodp writes "Unsatisfied with $2.49 ringtones and as much as 70 cents of each 99 cent iTunes download, Newsweek reports that record labels want a bigger cut of digital music profits. One example: If you type in 'Madonna' - a Warner act - at the Google Video site, and the results are accompanied by ads, Warner wants a share of those ad dollars." Even more ridiculous demands than those put forth in previous stories.
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Record Labels Unveil Greed 2.0

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  • no suprise (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ramdac ( 302865 ) <ramdac [at] ramdac.org> on Sunday October 09, 2005 @03:44PM (#13751803) Homepage Journal
    these pigs are always wanting more money.
    That's why all new music acts are nothing more than a 'formula'. everything's over-produced and is total crap.
    • Re:no suprise (Score:5, Interesting)

      by killdozer3k ( 779295 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @04:06PM (#13751975) Homepage
      The answer is simple: Delist Madonna and all the acts in question. Also de-wiki them untill they are paid to list them. Instead point all the references to Mary, the mother of Jesus. The only thing worse than not participating in the profits is to de-googled, de-yahooed, etc. Also close all their blogs. Google could ask for a list of all the names they would like to have stricken from the database. in fact this kind of counter poison should shock the hell out of the music buiz when the major search engines strike them from the internet record. The funniest thing about this is that PR people do everything they can to get people to talk about their star/product/act and then when they do they want to tax it. the reason there is a google is because of advertising.
      • Re:no suprise (Score:5, Insightful)

        by RLiegh ( 247921 ) * on Sunday October 09, 2005 @04:20PM (#13752057) Homepage Journal
        Indeed; and I can just imagine google -a publicly traded company with shareholders to answer to- is chomping at the bit to deny itself of the revenue that it would be throwing away by playing petty power games with the RIAA. Of course, Yahoo's record when it comes to standing up for what's right (particularly in china) is also exemplary.

        Wake me up when someone comes up with a good idea which is also practical and likely to occur.
        • by zogger ( 617870 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @04:56PM (#13752319) Homepage Journal
          And any shareholder can have an opinion on what is the best way to run a company. Some hold a very long term view, that by consistently "doing no evil", the company will last a long time and be even more profitable than doing everything they can to maximize profits in the "this quarter" mentality that so many other corporations have. In fact, perhaps more than a few people invested in google for that reason.

          There are many institutional and private investors that now consider ethics and politics in their investment decisions and it's completely legal and normal and they contend it's a long range logical view to take. If you as a potential investor read that google had such a "do no evil" policy and it lead to your decision to invest cash when they went public, then you could make a case where they violated that if they started "doing evil", and perhaps file a complaint.

          Funny story, friend of mine inherited a really nice portfolio. He divested all (to buy rental properties instead) except for enough shares in this or that company to go to the shareholder meetings and rail on issues about how the companies were run.

        • Re:no suprise (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @05:14PM (#13752402) Journal
          What google should do then is beat the RIAA at their own game.

          Start by charging people an extra "RIAA Advertisement Fee" to run an ad on "Madonna" or the like. This money goes into a big pool. Then, from that pool, make up a list of services and subtract out 90% of the money for things like "fiscal management" "trademark research" "artist contact costs" or anything else that sounds good but is total contractually-agreed-to bullshit.
        • I have a suggestion... what about artists each set up their own website (yes yes I know many have, bear with me), and offer simple MP3 downloads for a buck apiece, similar to itunes except they keep all save the bandwidth. Not going to work? If you think about it though, is a person who is going to pay for the music in the first place going to share the music on edonkey or klite? Probably not. But then you run into problems with people who swap their MP3 collections with their friends, friends who have no

    • Re:no suprise (Score:5, Informative)

      by TheWanderingHermit ( 513872 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @04:22PM (#13752074)
      Yes, you are right. And this is just one thing that is contributing to the mediocrity of popular music. But I'm actually glad to see this. The record companies keep claiming they are protecting royalties for artists, but I don't think there's anyone out there who believes that. Anybody who watches the music business knows artists are making money, but that the big guys are making more. Napster triggered a fear reaction, and now the RIAA is getting carried away with trying to overreact to everything and not just protect their revenue and old business models, but they've gotten so carried away they are overreaching.

      That's good. While it might cause higher prices for a while, the more they do this, the more their greed shows, and the closer they get to going too far and finally, through their own actions, forcing the entire industry to collapse -- leaving room for the real artists (not the sex symbols like Spears and such) to actually make a living on the work they create.
      • Re:no suprise (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Meagermanx ( 768421 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @04:38PM (#13752187)
        Even the 'real' artists depend on the record companies for advertising and marketing.
        The collapse of the music industry you anticipate would either
        a. cause people to look online for free, indie music, which I doubt would happen, because most people are quite content being told what they like, or
        b. cause a smaller record company to rise in ranks, which would then take the place of the larger companies.
        It's like government. If you knock one bully down, another pops up just as fast.
        Inevitably, he'll want his piece of the pie.
        • Re:no suprise (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Mnemia ( 218659 )
          So what? Then if the "replacements" get too greedy they will get knocked down themselves.

          Such "churn" is still a good thing, because it keeps the companies on their toes and forces them to adapt or die. It also weakens them for a time, meaning that things get better temporarily.

          Same thing with government. You could argue it doesn't matter if we have elections or revolutions, because whoever we elect will just be as abusive as the previous government. That's true, but it's still a good thing to force some tu
        • Re:no suprise (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Master of Transhuman ( 597628 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @07:32PM (#13753169) Homepage
          "Even the 'real' artists depend on the record companies for advertising and marketing."

          Two comments about that.

          First, it's obvious that people have NEVER paid for music - except when the only way to get it was via phonograph records and tape recorders hadn't been invented - and therefore every music buyer is basically paying for CONVENIENCE in obtaining music when they buy a CD. Also, it should be obvious that people are not paying for the MUSIC, but in fact are paying for the advertising and marketing. Certainly that's the way the labels see it, which is why we get crap music - they assume that the music doesn't matter, it's all about advertising and promotion. Which, to a large degree, as any indie artist will tell you, is true.

          Second, it should be obvious - but apparently isn't - to artists that, aside from the sports and entertainment industries - where agents are the norm - most industries don't hire themselves out to somebody else for advertising and marketing, and accept a fifteen percent cut of what's left after it's done. Instead, they produce their own content and then hire experts internally or externally to do the advertising and marketing. Just because artists don't know how to do it doesn't mean it can't be done by other people for a specified rate on contract.

          Artists need to stop selling their asses out as peons and take responsibility for their own success. They may make less money - but they will be more able to live with themselves by not realizing that they're basically whores working for pimps.
        • Re:no suprise (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mdielmann ( 514750 )
          Actually, thanks to Slashdot, I'm considering subscribing to Pandora [pandora.com] for a year. It costs $36/year (US currency, I presume), some of which no doubt goes to the RIAA groups. Here's a site that's maintained by music professionals, categorizing music based on far more criteria than I'm qualified to describe, yet selects music that I've heard and like as well as a lot of stuff that's brand new which I like. Now I can look at those new artists, identify which labels they're from (and if they're affiliated wit
      • That's good? (Score:3, Insightful)

        "...but they've gotten so carried away they are overreaching... That's good."

        Are you sure about that? I'd like to start by mentioning the industry collapsing won't be good for any artists, established or not. High prices and piracy or not, if there's no one to quickly turn performances into CDs in stores and songs on the radio, I don't think anyone's going to be happy.
        On another note, I don't think having their 'greed show' is going to stop them. It's been really clear for a long time that they'v
    • Re:no suprise (Score:5, Insightful)

      by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @04:39PM (#13752200) Homepage Journal
      That's why all new music acts are nothing more than a 'formula'. everything's over-produced and is total crap.
      It can't be total crap, otherwise people wouldn't pirate it, right?
      • Re:no suprise (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TheWanderingHermit ( 513872 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @04:54PM (#13752306)
        Nobody ever went broke underestimating the tastes of the American public.

        If quality were the yardstick for whether or not most people watched something, Star Trek would not have been moved to the 10:00 timeslot (but, after season 3 it would have been dropped), and shows like "The Paper Chase" would never have been axed because everyone was watching shows that had degenerated into inane crap like "Happy Days" and "Laverne and Shirley". If crap were always unpopular and people preferred something of quality instead, Shakespeare would still be outselling most bestsellers and Harlequin romances wouldn't exist.
        • Re:no suprise (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Asprin ( 545477 ) <gsarnold@@@yahoo...com> on Sunday October 09, 2005 @06:42PM (#13752911) Homepage Journal

          Ironic. Shakespear wasn't exactly known for being "highbrow" in his day. Some have speculated that if he were alive today, he'd be writing for professional wrestling.
          • Re:no suprise (Score:5, Informative)

            by TheWanderingHermit ( 513872 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @08:18PM (#13753345)
            You have a good point. I've always compared Shakespear to Hitchcock. Both knew how to create entertainment that rose to a high level, but appealed to people of all levels. Yes, Shakespeare did a lot with cruder themes (like the hilarious exchange about Hamlet lying with his head in Ophelia's lap), but he also created some fabulous poetry and absolutely amazing imagery. Hitchcock knew that as a director, he could do some advanced things, but he had to be sure the audience was entertained, as well. Both had a lot in common that way -- as opposed to, say, Orson Wells, who created a masterpiece in "Citizen Kane", but also made a film that draws on forever. As one film professor once said, he loves to teach CK, because there's so much in it, but that he doesn't like watching it because it is self indulgent in areas and just not entertaining.

            So, yes, I picked an example that wasn't the best, but I think the point still stands.
          • by zymurgy_cat ( 627260 ) on Monday October 10, 2005 @12:53AM (#13754401) Homepage
            Ironic. Shakespear wasn't exactly known for being "highbrow" in his day. Some have speculated that if he were alive today, he'd be writing for professional wrestling.

            Alas poor Hogan, I knew him well....
    • Re:no suprise (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cbreaker ( 561297 )
      Not everything is crap, but a lot of stuff is, I agree. Just because a band is signed to a big label doesn't mean they're automatically crap. If they were crap to begin with, they'd always be crap, but if they were good this wouldn't change that.

      The problem is that once a new type of musician becomes popular, the big labels all try to get a peice of the action which leaves us with a lot of very mediochre music.
      • Re:no suprise (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Master of Transhuman ( 597628 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @07:53PM (#13753250) Homepage

        Actually we get a lot of crap because the labels DO NOT CARE about the MUSIC. What they care about is advertising, promotion, marketing and distribution.

        To them, music is a COMMODITY to be hawked. The quality of that commodity is irrelevant to them. The people who run the labels are not musicians or even music lovers - they're businessmen and financiers. They love money, not music. Half of them probably don't even own a CD player or a stereo system. The peons under them have to have some clue, but not the guys running the companies who set the policies and make the decisions.

        I'm surprised we get as much good music as we do under the current system.

        Under this system, it doesn't matter whether a band is crap or not. The only issue is whether the label thinks they can be SOLD.

        Companies exist in all industries that sell crap products - the music industry is no different. Some people who get to run big companies think quality just doesn't matter compared to marketing and price. And there are enough consumers out there who either are forced to agree by not being able to afford quality, or who don't care about it either.

        Label bands are basically whores working for pimps. And everybody knows you get lousy sex from whores.
    • it's true, i know! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tehwebguy ( 860335 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @05:09PM (#13752386) Homepage
      the more i work with bands and record labels (labels that are meant to be indie) the more dirt i find out about this industry.

      so many bands nowadays are picked up or formed by majors (RIAA labels) secretly, then they are put on an "indie" label for their first cd. then once the indie/punk/insert_somewhat_underground_genre_here crowd loves them, they release the next album on the major.

      then when they are on mtv/radio, the people who just buy into whatever they hear love them, and so does the underground (or at least those who'd like to theink they are) crowd.

      it's ingenious, and disgusting.
      • "so many bands nowadays are picked up or formed by majors (RIAA labels) secretly, then they are put on an "indie" label for their first cd. then once the indie/punk/insert_somewhat_underground_genre_here crowd loves them, they release the next album on the major.

        then when they are on mtv/radio, the people who just buy into whatever they hear love them, and so does the underground (or at least those who'd like to theink they are) crowd. "

        If a group of people only like a band because it's on an indie label, i
        • If a group of people only like a band because it's on an indie label, it says they're a bunch of posers anyway.

          Which happens to comprise a huge number of Slashdot posters. Every time an article on the RIAA comes up, these immature little assholes pop out of the woodwork to eagerly proclaim how much superior they are to the 'sheep' because they only listen to "indie" stuff. Pathetic, really, but they somehow think that making nasty comments about popular music while extolling the virtues of some shitty no
    • Re:no suprise (Score:5, Insightful)

      by misleb ( 129952 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @05:48PM (#13752632)
      Was there ever a time when pop music was more than a formula? Look as far back as the 40's. Mostly trite, fomulaic crap. I think the reality is that the majority of people don't really *enjoy* music or have any real preferences. They mostly just listen to whatever is on the radio and whatever is in fashon. Hell, same thing with beer. 97% of the beer consumed in the US is cheap, mass produced, bland Bud, Miller, and Coors. Most people just don't appreciate quality beer or music. But they pay for it anyway. And that is where the big corps get their profits.

  • by bburton ( 778244 ) * on Sunday October 09, 2005 @03:45PM (#13751817)

    Artists don't even need labels anymore. It's now feasible for composers to do business directly with online music providers... it doesn't cost much to upload a few megabytes of info. After it's been on iTunes, Napster, or whatever; and has made some money, then produce the CD, using profit money from distributing online.

    The only reason the RIAA is useful to new artists is for advertising purposes, which is IMO isn't that great anyways. They are increasingly advertising the the artists they think can make the most money, not necessarily the artists that make the best music.

    The only thing they're really doing now is desperately holding on for their survival. If they persuade congress to pass enough laws in their favor maybe they'll stick around for a while...

    The RIAA today, is like the horse and buggy businesses when the automobile hit mainstream. They're obsolete.

    Go away RIAA, nobody likes you.

    • I don't think you can get far buy just signing a contract with Itunes to distribute your music... you won't have name recognition, there will be some who will download your music but it won't be a lot of ppl... You need to get your name known and without good budget or good connections you stuck with labels... and especially if all you have is nice body and little vocal talent...
    • by Propagandhi ( 570791 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @03:53PM (#13751874) Journal
      Studio time is expensive, man. The whole recording process (hiring a producer, studio musicians, whatever you need to get the sound you want) can be really expensive, so until that's no longer an issue there will still be labels around willing to front the cash in return for the potential profits a successful record can generate.

      Some day the major labels will be irrelevent, but today is not that day (maybe that's why they're so desperate to maximize their profits in the short term... they know the long term doesn't exist).
      • by ericdano ( 113424 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @04:00PM (#13751922) Homepage
        No true at all. There are a ton of small studios around that can and do produce some great sounding music. You can also invest $5K or so in your own equipment and get the sound that you want. People don't have to record to 96Khz+ using Nuemann mics. You can get great results using just Shure stuff. Hell, my favorite stuff from Evanescence [evanescence.com] was done using average stuff. Their engineered stuff sounds.....engineered, and not as good to me.

        So, studio time myth is busted. Marketing though is where the RIAA and Labels could help you....

        • by The_Rook ( 136658 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @04:46PM (#13752253)
          i would speculate that just like film production, record companies use their music groups as a captive market for their own recording studios, screen printers, media production, printing, etc. the acts then get charged inflated prices for these services which they pay out of their royalties.

          requiring musicians to use record company owned resources let's the recod companies control costs without having to pass on the savings to the musicians. i believe the record industry actively fights legislation that would require it to exercise fiduciary responsibility. that would end the party for the muisic companies.

          it's no wonder that once an act becomes even a little successful, it then goes on to equip its own recording studio. my guess is that musicians would love to gain control over how they are promoted and distributed, if only to keep the music companies from freely spending the musicians' money.
        • by arpk4n3 ( 919729 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @05:16PM (#13752414)
          As an indepedent recording artist, this is an exceptionally valid point. Mastering and mixing does more to make a mix rich than throwing in a $2000 microphone. A less than stellar musician recorded using the world's greatest mic will still sound less than stellar, just as a prodigy will sound like a prodigy recorded with a Shure SM-57. With modern digital technologies studio environments can be replicated in one's own home, or in my case, dorm room. I recorded my album using a $200 drum mic set from CAD and mastered it myself in Logic Express (and note, 96khz input through my Presonus Firepod--total cost of setup: $1200) and it came out sounding better than many studios available.
          • by varkatope ( 308450 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @08:04PM (#13753295) Homepage
            I completely agree that you can make great records with any gear. Hell, there are some records that I really like that were recorded on a 4-track portastudio. The thing is, great gear does not a great record make. I'll be damned if it doesn't help but people do get all wrapped up in it. The most important parts of the equation are the musicians and the engineers. Any jackass can throw up a Neumann U-87 and have it sound decent. A great engineer can throw up any (much cheaper) Audio Technica condenser mic and knock you on your ass. It all depends on what you're going after of course but the main reason to go to a pro studio is the engineer followed by the quality of the rooms, THEN the gear. Recording in your dorm room is just peachy but if you don't know much about engineering, your record's going to sound like it was recorded in a dorm room. Here's the point: Know your gear. If you don't, you need to pay someone that does and can make a great record with a pair of shit radio shack mics.

            To the guy that replied to parent message saying something about it all coming down to EQs, there isn't a surer way to completely suck the life out of a recording than with over-equalization (besides over-compression that is). I think he was referring to Logic too. Digital EQ. ick.
        • by NoMaster ( 142776 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @05:19PM (#13752425) Homepage Journal
          "And who's gonna fly it, kid - you?"
          "You bet! Why, I -"
          "Recording music ain't like dusting crops, boy. Without precise calculations you'd bury yourself in the mix, or sound too close to a pop tartlet, and that would end your trip real quick, wouldn't it?"
          • "And who's gonna fly it, kid - you?"
            "You bet! Why, I -"
            "Recording music ain't like dusting crops, boy. Without precise calculations you'd bury yourself in the mix, or sound too close to a pop tartlet, and that would end your trip real quick, wouldn't it?"

            "And who's gonna advertise it, kid - you?"
            "You bet I could! I'm not such a bad... Wait, what was the question?"

      • by Matt Perry ( 793115 ) <perry.matt54NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Sunday October 09, 2005 @06:19PM (#13752791)
        Studio time is expensive, man.
        Only at big studios. The audio world is undergoing the same type of change the video world is undergoing. Fast computers and cheap software have removed most of the financial barriers for creative people. There's a lot of boutique studios that are cheap and have top notch audio engineers, most of them run by engineers who used to work for bigger studios.
        hiring a producer
        You be the producer. Don't you know your own music well enough to know what you want? If you are renting studio time, take advantage of the audio engineer's experience. That is, after all, a large part of what you are paying for when you rent studio time.
        studio musicians
        There are a lot of excellent musicians online that will record tracks for you in their home studio and send it to you via email. They cost a lot less than paying a session musician to travel to a studio (+ studio time). One person I correspond with on a mailing list used this technique with his last album. He recorded all of the songs using a drum machine. He sent the tracks to a drummer who listended to the songs, recorded new drum tracks, and then mailed the new drum tracks back on a CD. The guy imported the drum tracks and mixed them in. It didn't cost him an arm and a leg either.
        whatever you need to get the sound you want) can be really expensive
        I can be but it need not be. There's a lot of really great software available for mixing and audio processing. For example, I've been trying out Guitar Rig [native-instruments.com] after seeing it on a friends computer. He plays gigs with a laptop, a preamp, and a firewire audio interface. He uses a foot controller hooked to the MIDI input on his firewire interface to control Guitar Rig. No need for a ton of pedals. That's just the tip of the iceberg. Great software for everything from mixing, recording, virtual instruments, audio mastering, and more are out there and can be had for very little money.
      • The big music labels do not need to exist anymore, all the middleware functions they used to provide are being automated (i.e. production and distribution of media) or commoditized (i.e. digital studios) out of existence. The big labels *know* that this happeneing, and while there's still a lot of industry based on the old model, they are working towards legislating themselves an ongoing source of income before it is realised that they are irrelevant. It is important to call them up on this sort of shennani
    • by aztektum ( 170569 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @04:08PM (#13751992)
      The problem for todays new pop stars is that they really aren't musicians in the first place. They rely on the up front $$ that the record companies throw into marketing them, paying for talent coaches and producing the hell out of their music so their cd's sound good.

      That said, I agree that online distribution is a boon for independent musicians that are in fact actual artists.
  • Thats good news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by romka1 ( 891990 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @03:46PM (#13751822) Homepage
    The more of this claims the better... They will cross the line very soon and will be hit back with lots of lawsuites. Leaving them no money to sue regular people
  • Stop listening? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by toddbu ( 748790 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @03:47PM (#13751826)
    I have a serious question. If people are tired of the record companies, why don't they just stop listening for a while and find other forms of entertainment? Wouldn't the most effective way of sending the message that these guys are being jerks be to stop buying music? This isn't like gas, where a "boycott" means that you just delay your purchase a few days. Put enough economic pressure on the studios and artists and maybe things will change.
    • Because this is "below the radar" of most consumers who wouldn't seriously care anyway, because life is very complicated, and they have other things that they percieve as more important to care about. Seriously, the "average" person just shrugs and expects it as the normal course of things.
    • Re:Stop listening? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fredistheking ( 464407 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @03:53PM (#13751873)
      The problem with this strategy is that it relies on a relevent amount of listeners to quit listening. I doubt most people are informed or just don't care.
    • by eMartin ( 210973 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @03:55PM (#13751885)
      I won't be surprised when they start suing boycotters for causing a drop in CD sales.
      • Already have. If, say, 20%[1] of all customers stopped buying for a month, RIAA declares a 20% rise in piracy and a need for more legal power to protect their profits.

        [1]Number I pulled out of my ass.
    • Re:Stop listening? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ucklak ( 755284 )
      Because we're the nerds that know that this crap is going on. Regular Susan and Average Joe don't know about this nor do they care.
      If anyone is going to stand up to them and make a difference, it's the artist. Without the artist, they have no content.

      I think I may be serious that one day, you won't be able to hum or sing a tune without paying a fee.
      I mean look at 'Happy Birthday to You'. Royalties have to be paid if it is broadcasted or distributed in any fashion.
    • Re:Stop listening? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @03:59PM (#13751915)
      Because the people are stupid and weak. I know that sounds harsh but it's true. The corporations know how to make you want things, they know how to manipulate you down to the last detail. They don't spend billions of dollars in advertising and research for nothing.

      Just go ahead and try to get people to boycott anything, I dare you. All a corporation has to do is to pay some TV or radio personality to call you a communist, cancer, zealot, hippie or a radical and boom they have taken care of the situation.

      Look at slashdot, look at how often the shills call people who use linux or program in open source zealots and hippies? It happens every day. Your average joe does not want to go through life being called a zealot or a communist, he has been tought to reflexivey hate zealots and communists even though he probably could not define communist if his life depended on it.
    • Re:Stop listening? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RLiegh ( 247921 ) *
      Because with one or two exceptions, boycotts never fucking work; that's why.

      Particularly in this case; the people who need to join the boycott (jane and joe six pack, the artists) either don't give half a rats' ass or have damned good reasons not to.
    • Re:Stop listening? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by syukton ( 256348 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @06:23PM (#13752812)
      Put enough economic pressure on the studios and artists and maybe things will change.

      Yeah, maybe things will change, but not in the way you intended.

      When album sales decline, what does the RIAA say? You know the drill: "Illegal filesharing has severely impacted our Nth quarter sales. We must take action against these pirates!"

      If you stop buying albums, the RIAA will use that as another reason to sue some more file sharers. "Voting with our dollars" as it were, will only make the problem worse.

      I'm sorry, but the only way to stand up to the RIAA now is the same way they're trying to walk all over us: the courts.
  • 2.0? (Score:5, Funny)

    by BravoFourEcho ( 581460 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @03:47PM (#13751828)
    They're only at 2.0? That's news.
  • Wow... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by doormat ( 63648 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @03:47PM (#13751829) Homepage Journal
    I cant believe this. Its absurd. Are they going to be demanding money when I whistle a tune in my local supermarket while I'm shopping for groceries?

    Whats even worse is that some dumbass company is going to capitulate and then they'll all be forced to cave.
  • Why not? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ericdano ( 113424 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @03:49PM (#13751837) Homepage
    Why not? Why shouldn't they? Wait, then maybe every little click ad revenue here on Slashdot should go to whatever company is advertising, regardless if someone spends the money on the actual product. Yeah, that makes sense. NOT.

    I think the record labels need to get a grip. Their product is music. If someone BUYS music, they should get some profit. If a commerical company uses the music in something (Ad, radio), they should get some profit. If someone uses the music in a remix, they should get some profits. If someone puts it on a Blog or Webpage, and makes money off it, they should get some of the profits.

    But to say that if someone types in Madonna, or Backdoor Boys, and they get some of the ad revenue is insane. I suppose FORD motor company would want the same thing. Or Nike, or Coke, or....everyone.

  • stunned (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kayen_telva ( 676872 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @03:51PM (#13751851)
    i now I shouldnt be, but I am stunned
    I was about to go out and buy most of Sade's discography.
    I wish to hell we could just pay the artist directly.
  • Desperation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by overshoot ( 39700 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @03:52PM (#13751859)
    Hardly surprising -- the record labels are, basically, distributors. They're staring at the fact that their distribution role is going away and so they're grabbing at every conceivable revenue source.

    Soft of like the definition of a fanatic: they're redoubling their efforts as they lose sight of their purpose.

  • Wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mr2cents ( 323101 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @03:52PM (#13751862)
    I wasn't looking for the pop singer, I was looking for Ze Fallen Madonna With Ze Big Boobies. There are group names with different meanings outside the music empire, how are they going to differentiate?

    I'm disgusted once more.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 09, 2005 @03:55PM (#13751884)
    The reason why the RIAA/MPAA are able to get away with this (and with draconian copyright laws) is because people rely too much on TV for information. Al Gore this week did a speech [algore-08.com] explaining that Americans watch television, on average, 4 hours and 28 minutes every day--90 minutes more than the world average. Americans base their opinions on what they see on TV--not what they hear on the internet, not what they read in the newspaper (since they generally don't read the newspaper).

    The people in charge of TV are not about to describe accurately what the new copyright laws are doing to the American people, or the extent of greed that the media conglomerates have. When people are spoon fed information on TV, they get information from a biased source.

    My suggestion: Get rid of your TV. Get your friends to get rid of their TVs. Go outside or go on the internet to get information.
  • by ausoleil ( 322752 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @03:57PM (#13751904) Homepage
    Records companies are often called greedy, and that's probably true. However, they do have a responsibility to the sharehoders to get everything that they can get in order to return maximum profits. Basically, that boils down to what they will charge whatever the market will bear.

    If you sold your car, you'd probably choose to sell it to whoever would pay you the most money. Same with your house.

    But at the end of the day, consumers have a choice. Music is a product that you really do not need, and it is a luxury. The way to get the music companies to charge less is to buy less, and let the marketplace force them to charge a price that consumers find more reasonable. That's also part of the equation of 'what the marketplace will bear.'

    • by sl3xd ( 111641 ) * on Sunday October 09, 2005 @07:00PM (#13753020) Journal
      The way to get the music companies to charge less is to buy less, and let the marketplace force them to charge a price that consumers find more reasonable.

      People have found music prices unbearable. They bought less music. Much less music. So much less music that the recording industry has spent millions to reinforce their own delusions. (Perhaps you've heard of a few?)

      The music industry chose to believe that the quality and price of current music isn't the problem, rather choosing the belief that the fault lie not with the prices and product the industry produced.

      The music industry chose to believe that the problem lie with the consumers, and with 'piracy'.

      Apple computer comes along, and begins selling music online -- in an easy to use, relatively fair system. The music industry sings Apple's praises, temporarily dropping their obsession with 'subscription' based online music. Then they start their own music services; Napster, for example, is owned by the recording industry; Sony/BMG IIRC, but that was a while ago.

      And the recording industry starts to try to hike up the prices and force a 'subscription' service on its customers. People leave Napster and join the Apple camp, and the Apple store dominates the industry. In spite of the massive amount of profits that iTunes generates for the recording industry (which is pure profit -- it costs them nothing to let Apple do all the work for them), they attack their 'savior', deciding that Apple's current prices are 'too low.'

      All the while ignoring these simple facts:
      iTunes sells music:
            * For a substantially lower cost than the recording industry.
            * Music is $5-8 less per album.
            * Customers aren't forced to buy an entire album for one song.

      Essentially what the music industry wants to do is raise the price of buying music on iTunes to the price point that a CD has: $15-18 per album.

      iTunes success isn't about the iPod. Most of the iTunes users I know of don't even have an iPod. They bought their music from iTunes because they got the music at a fair price, and could even burn the music to a CD (and re-rip it to another format) should they choose to. (Interestingly enough, the iPod did just fine before the iTunes Music Store; I'm convinced it would still dominate the industry even if the iTunes store never existed).

      iTunes success stems from the fact that Apple offered the product for a price and condition consumers deemed was acceptable; something that is not true of buying CD's from a music store, or from the non-industry owned music services. (ie. Napster)

      The music industry just wants to raise prices, and then blame everybody but themselves when consumers (literally) don't buy it. They persist in blaming everybody but themselves, their prices, their policies.

      For its faults, the Motion Picture industry has at least admitted ticket sales have been sluggish recently because their product wasn't worth what they were charging for it. (Not that they think they were charging too much -- rather than their product sucked).

      So no, the music industry does want more than they can get; when they don't get what they want, they come up with scapegoats and call their lawyers. They try to shut down everybody who disagrees with them. Which is silly, considering the entire American music industry is smaller than some of the companies they are offending (ie. Microsoft, Apple)
  • absurd (Score:5, Insightful)

    by belmolis ( 702863 ) <billposer@a l u m . m it.edu> on Sunday October 09, 2005 @03:57PM (#13751907) Homepage

    By Warner's logic, publishers should be paid everytime one of their books comes up in a search on Google, or Amazon.com, or even in a library catalog. That's ridiculous. The publishers aren't providing the service here. In fact, they're the ones who benefit - they're getting free advertising. This is more than trying to get the most profit from what you own - now they're demanding handouts from their benefactors and customers.

  • by Buzz_Litebeer ( 539463 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @04:00PM (#13751927) Journal
    Shouldnt the labels be paying google for the advertising, not google paying them to advertise? Google doesnt make any money, intrinsicly, by advertising. They get money from those that they advertise FOR.

    SO, if the labels wanted money from the adds, then Google could just drop the adverts that were music related.

    Some wierd logic there.
  • by HoneyBunchesOfGoats ( 619017 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @04:01PM (#13751929)
    Madonna! Madonna madonna madonna madonnamadonna madonna madonna. Madonnamadonnamadonna! Madonna, madonna madonna. Madonna madonna madonna... Madonna madonna; madonna madonna madonna madonna. "Madonna? Madonnamadonna Madonna madonna madonna." (Madonna madonna madonna: madonna madonna.)

    Lameness filter encountered. Your comment violated the "postercomment" compression filter. Try less whitespace and/or less repetition. Comment aborted.
  • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @04:02PM (#13751937) Homepage
    And the record companies surely are giving that additional profits from sales and ad revenue generated by the videos back to the artists who pay for their production from their cut of album sales... right? Otherwise such a thing would be horribly immoral, the equivalent of selling something you don't own... right?

    This will go great with all of the checks the RIAA must be sending to artists from the illegal download lawsuit revenues.

    Truly, this is a wonderful time to be a musician.
  • by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @04:04PM (#13751957) Homepage Journal
    This story seems to have less to do with digital music as with the industry trying to claim that the artist is a brand, whose very name is valuable. As such it continues a line from the guys who have sued Google in the past trying to keep them from selling Ad Words to competitors. And if this works for the music industry it may spread to other people-brands: movie stars, NASCAR drivers, etc.

    The RIAA's business is making people famous. Anybody can make,produce, and distribute music, but it takes a major corporation to sell a gold record's worth of music. Even after carefully selecting the artists that they think will be worth the investment they fail much more often than they succeed, so they feel compelled to milk those artists who do succeed. Not for their music per se, but for the fame of their brand, which is the one thing that they've added to the mix.

    It sounds like the RIAA is trying to buy themselves a Supreme Court fight on the subject of fair use. Not about the usual question of whether you can make backups or play it in on your Linux box, but at what point a tiny fragment of a brand (like a name in a search engine) becomes usable by the public without charge. That decision will end up affecting a lot more than the music industry. There are other people-as-brands, as well as more classic product brands. I'm sure other industries will be watching this closely.

    Incidentally, that's why they're so zealous in trying to eliminate music sharing. They feel that the reason you want that music is precisely because they created you wanting it. That is, there's lots and lots and lots of music available, but you want the RIAA's music because they spent a buttload of money coaxing you into wanting it: getting it onto radio stations, putting posters in music stores, TV ads, etc.

    There are plenty of people who don't like the blandness of the lowest-common denominator music that the RIAA promotes, and in theory the RIAA has no argument with those people sharing the non-label music, except they get caught up in the general sweep of things. I suspect (but don't have any numbers) that most of the P2P-shared music is RIAA-produced music precisely because the RIAA labels have put so much effort into promoting it. Tiny local bands would be thrilled to think that you knew enough about their music to go to the effort of downloading it.
  • by Cerdic ( 904049 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @04:08PM (#13751989)
    It's no secret that corporations are greedy and will do anything they can to increase their wealth. Them charging more for music is minor compared to the grand scheme of things.

    The wealth has to come from somewhere. That somewhere is the poor below. They talk of trickle economics for the the poor getting money from the wealthy, but it's quite the reverse. Wealth, often in the form of labor, flows from the bottom up. If not, they wouldn't be so rich.

    To back this stance, it is worth nothing that the wealthiest wealthy grew wealthier between 2003 and 2004, partially thanks to tax cuts. The poor, however, became poorer. During that time period the number of Americans living in poverty grew by 1.4 million. Source: this CNN article [cnn.com].

    I'm not an advocate of pure communism, but what we have today isn't really capitalism, it's a crappy corporate welfare system that intentionally pisses on the poor.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 09, 2005 @05:23PM (#13752450)
      ...but what we have today isn't really capitalism...

      Sorry, but what you have really is capitalism. What you don't have is the government doing its job. One of the most important jobs of the government is protecting the interests of the ones that are unable to look out for themselves, because they don't have the power or simply lack the knowledge to stand up to the capitalists on their own.

      You see, capitalists are somewhat useful to society because they may generate wealth, but on no account should they be trusted. So, if they propose new laws, the task of the government of a country is to look at the proposal long and hard and with prejudice. Because capitalists don't have the same interests as the people, or the 'publick', depending on the where and when.

      That's basically "wealth of nations" stuff (the unread chapters, that is)
  • by Biomechanical ( 829805 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @04:09PM (#13751997) Homepage

    Which I'd love to tell the music company executives, and all those that might admire them. It's a simple word, at first inoffensive if you don't know the meaning, and can be shouted in anger without losing the basic sound of the word.

    The word is "Garn".

    It means "Go and get fucked.", from "go and" being said shortly to "go'an", then altered via the australian accent into the word "garn".

    The long of it is "garn get fucked", and the shorthand "garn" can used when you just need to say something snappy without being misheard, or offending little old ladies.

    So, to the RIAA, and all those affiliated,

    "I'm never paying you fuckers a single cent from now on. Those two Ministry albums - Animositisomina, and Houses of the Mole' - I just bought were IT, the end of the line. I am going to download any music I want to listen to, and I'm going to send the purchase price, or import price, directly to the artist via a money order."

    "Garn. Garn! GARN! Sideways! With walnuts!"

  • by bokmann ( 323771 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @04:10PM (#13752001) Homepage

    And what if I'm searching for paintings of the Madonna? [euroweb.hu] How are they going to differentiate?

    This greed is fucking rediculous... If I am searching for their Madonna, well, they will probably make a cut of whatever I find that I might buy from that search. Hell - if I'm searching for that Madonna, I am probably already interested enough in her to own a CD or two, so they already have some of my money in their pockets. Am I going to have to pay them if I mention Madonna in my blog? Isn't that fair use? Why should I pay for any mismatches that might come up? Whats next? Should I pay for the privilege of looking at billboards when I drive along the interstate?

  • Fantastic (Score:4, Funny)

    by korea ( 615587 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @04:12PM (#13752018)
    I suppose it is a great time to agree to sign with Warner; wait until you start searching for my band, 'The'.
  • by calhawk ( 921611 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @04:22PM (#13752069)
    As a musician this topic always interests me. I for one have heard almost nothing good about the "industry," and I personally have no interest in taking part in its creativity-killing machinations. In today's corporate environment creating unique and excellent music is nearly impossible. Artists from all genres are all saying the same thing: the industry is a perennially negative influence on the creation of great music. Even Bono recently stated that he didn't think U2 would exist if they had started up in the last few years, as opposed to 20 years ago. The fundamental concept that salesmen and business executives don't understand is that, in the long run, it's in everyone's financial interests to move music in new, creative directions. However, being the good bottom-line minded people they are, the tend to look towards short term gains. Of course they have a very successful formula for the short term, based mainly on leveraging the market using their significant financial resources. A poster earlier mentioned that the RIAA is irrelevant. This is entirely true. No musician, short of perhaps a symphony orchestra, needs a $500/hour studio, needs an army of producers and engineers, needs a multi-national advertising firm. Thanks mostly to computers and increasingly cheap technology, each and every musician can achieve the same recording results, the same packaging and the same press materials as a record label can. It's not rocket science. Of course one has to have the desire to do this stuff, but once you've got that it's smooth sailing and the results that can be achieved are truly remarkable. I would encourage everyone here to explore non-corporate-sanctioned means of getting music directly from the artists. In the coming years we will see a flood of musicians from all genres offering the same products as the major labels, but without the middleman. Forget iTunes and go the artist's site and use their download service - I have one on my site. Order a CD straight from the source. This is best for the artists and you know that your purchase will go directly to supporting the music and musicians that you love and admire.
  • by popo ( 107611 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @04:25PM (#13752094) Homepage

    The notion that record labels should share in advertising revenue from keyword searches is to confuse the ownership of intellectual property with the concept of "adjacent space".

    Adjacent space is frequently sold at a premium in multiple mediums, from supermarket shelf-space, to tradeshow booth-placement, to partial-page magazine advertising. Wherever a premium brand is located, the neighboring advertising- or product-space increases in value. If a record store puts Sarah Q. Smith's album on a shelf next to Madonna's new album, the record store is effectively using Madonna to promote the sale of Sara Q. Smith. But this is very different from capitalizing on Madonna's intellectual property. This is capitalizing on *Madonna's market*, which is something Madonna does not own, control or have rights to.

    Likewise Google's use of adjacent space, ie: space neighboring Madonna's relevant links, is Google's own affair. It is Google's effort to target Madonna's market -- which is as old a phenomenon as the outdoor marketplace.

    The entertainment industry needs to get a reality check on the scope and limits of IP.

  • by stevemm81 ( 203868 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @04:52PM (#13752299) Homepage
    This seems to be a far too common occurence here: the article summary is misleading and the commenters don't even read the 300 word article. The article says nothing about companies wanting money for things people type into a search engine.

    Apparently the record companies used to allow portals like Yahoo to show their videos for free, since they considered it free advertising for their music. Then, they realized that Yahoo was making lots of money off
    the deal through advertising, so they asked for a cut. Yahoo refused, but saw their hits go down, so they negotiated a deal. Basically, an exec at Universal realized what they considered advertising was more like giving away free product. This makes sense: people weren't discovering new music on Yahoo. Most of the time, they came there to see videos and songs they already knew.

    I suppose you could say the record companies are being greedy, but they're not doing anything suspect. They realized other companies were making money off their products, and decided to charge for the privilege. Similarly, they're trying to renegotiate with Apple, and we'll see who wins there. They may harm their own market more than they expect by raising the prices, or the market may be happy to pay $1.30 for new hits. We'll just see. They're also renegotiating with satellite radio, now that that industry is pulling in lots of money, again with the RIAA's products.

    There's no talk in the article of charging anyone for search engine keywords.
  • by Slashdiddly ( 917720 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @05:35PM (#13752543)
    Consider an analogy. Alice and Bob each has a fruit stand selling apples. Both are selling identical apples for $1 a piece. They've been doing it for a while, until Alice decided to hire Carol, a marketing exec, to increase sales. Carol immediately gets to work: she installs a loud boombox, girls in skimpy outfits and a blimp hovering overhead - all advertizing Alice's apples. Crowd gathers around Alice's stand and sales go through the roof. Even after paying Carol marketing fees, there is still handsome profit left - more than she ever had before.

    Where did the profits come from? Was there any new value created? Well, the apples didn't change, but the demand did. The demand was created exclusively by Carol.

    Bob in the meantime kept his costs low and did not hire any marketers. He did notice something interesting, however - because of all the increased interest in the apples next door, demand for his apples started to pick up as well. Marketing effort paid for by Alice has began to increase Bob's revenues.

    Question: does Bob owe anything to Alice?

    In the physical world, generally, yes. It's called "location, location, location". Bob can setup a fruit stand out in the middle of nowhere and pay nobody for the privilege. Or he can open a stand in a downtown mall, which will cost him.

    Back to RIAA.

    Without heavy and expensive promotion by RIAA, the value of, say, 50 Cent would be hovering just above zero (some would argue below). RIAA effectively created the artificial demand for his product, which, supported by copyright laws, fuels a vast ecosystem of businesses. Why shouldn't those benefitting from selling, reselling or otherwise commercially benefitting from 50 Cent's music own portion of profits to RIAA who created majority of the value in the first place?

    Disclaimer: I think that RIAA should die and music should be free, but that would be preaching to the choir and, therefore, boring.
    • Ah, but it's a false analogy. In your case, Alice and Bob (presumably; I'm inferring here) had independant orchards. In ours, Bob has to buy his apples from Alice; there's no other source for the apples that Alice and Bob are selling. So Bob's increased sales also lead to more revenue for Alice. (Bob might be sell a few bananas too-- they were grown independantly-- but Alice was only advertising the apples.)

      But here's another thing: the RIAA doesn't sell anything to consumers. Alice isn't even selling

  • by Khashishi ( 775369 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @05:39PM (#13752560) Journal
    It makes no sense. How can the RIAA possibly expect search engines to pay them for something that they have no valid claim on. I can say that Google owes me a gazillion dollars, but that doesn't make it so.
  • by Proudrooster ( 580120 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @06:24PM (#13752817) Homepage
    If Google capitulates to this request it could destroy them as a company. Assume Google pays the record companies a percentage of ad revenue based on product keyword searches. What is to stop everyone with search content in google from making the same demand? This would make Google much less profitable and we would soon be back to the days of "hit or click inflation" to try and generate more revenue. I could even imagine the RIAA contracting with nefarious programmers to create worms with the sole purpose of generating hits on Google.

    Google must reject this request and let the RIAA take them to court and subsequently lose. The stakes on this are quite high for all search engine companies. I agree with previous posters who said that Google should delete all RIAA content and have them pay for to get into Google's search database. The result of this would hurt the RIAA worse than it would hurt Google.
  • by 8127972 ( 73495 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @08:27PM (#13753387)
    With all of the stunts they've pulled lately, I thought they were up to version 8 or 9 by now?
  • by skingers6894 ( 816110 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @09:05PM (#13753537)
    The RIAA today announced that they will be demanding royalties from every RIAA related story appearing on slashdot.

    An RIAA spokesman today announced "These slashdot stories are related to us and we should have a cut and anyway you could be buying CDs instead of reading this story so you owe me $13.99 and if you don't pay that then I'll take you to court and sue for 20 Million dollars and if you don't pay that then I'll sue your kids and your dog too."

  • by otterpop378 ( 254386 ) on Monday October 10, 2005 @12:36AM (#13754357)
    just keep it up. gimmie gimmie gimmie. I don't know about you guys, but I will just stop buying from a label who acts like this. But just keep it up and make sure -everyone- hates you.

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev