The Recording Industry in Numbers: A record label centered view of recorded music

The following is an academic essay that I wrote about the recording industry. Rather than publishing it through peer-review journals, I decided to release it to everyone. Please have a look and let me know what you think. It is particularly important because of the newly proposed copyright law. What it shows is that the trade organizations such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI) are very candid with regard to to the way they aim to change the industry. Please read and let’s start a conversation about the impact of the proposed copyright law. Continue reading

Grammy Alliance: Another Round of Piracy Panic Narrative

video blockedAfter 3 hours of music and a much needed public service announcement on domestic violence, the Recording Academy decided to end the show with a selfish lobbying effort to create tougher copyright laws. By starting the Creators’ Alliance (dubbed #GrammyAlliance for Twitter), the Recording Academy placed itself strongly on the side of major record labels against the recording artists who constitute the bulk of the Recording Academy members. Continue reading

Copyright Rewrite: In the name of Musicians, in the pocket of Big Business

As the US Copyright Office pushes forward with plans for the largest overhaul of copyright in decades, it is important not to fall back to the same patterns that have eviscerated musicians and other creative producers. These copyright rewrites always end-up making powerful copyright interests more powerful. Continue reading

Major Record Labels See Growth . . . But still say sales are in decline

As more data is released from 2014, we can see that major record labels celebrated a year of indisputable growth. Yet, they continue to include language that makes it sound as if the industry shrank.

“While the U.S. music industry suffered through its worst sales year since the advent of SoundScan (now Nielsen Music) in 1991, streaming was so strong last year that the industry nevertheless saw growth — yes, growth — in 2014, when new metrics to measure music revenue are taken into consideration.” Continue reading

Walkman Fades Away

After three decades of fighting, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is finally about to win a battle against a music reproduction technology: the tape cassette. Sony recently announced that it will no longer produce the once popular Sony Walkman. The Walkman became synonymous with portable personal music. While the cassette technology lost out to the CD Walkman long-ago, this is notable because of the impact that the cassette had on the recording industry as a whole. Continue reading

Cloud Computing for iTunes and the RIAA is interested?

Whenever some new use of the internet to download music comes along, the Recording Industry Association of America tries to shut the action down through litigation . . . unless of course the action was created by iTunes. This time around Apple is interested in cloud computing where iTunes users can access their music database via streaming technology from anywhere there’s the internet. Users would upload their (legally purchased) music onto an Apple server and always have access to their music. Sounds good, only this idea is not new nor has the RIAA been approving of this structure in the past. Continue reading

Musicians are Laborers

Previously, I mentioned that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) won its first lawsuit against people sharing music via the Internet. As long as there has been copyright legislation, there has been “piracy” – I’m sure that someone was bootlegging print copies of Beethoven’s symphonies. However, no one had been charged for pirating something where they were in turn not profiting from its sale. Sharing music online is not the same thing as selling illegally reproduced music. Furthermore, all of this is being done in the name of the musicians – the RIAA argues that when people download music on file-sharing programs, they are stealing from musicians. But where is the money going from the RIAA’s litigation? Typically the money from lawsuits (not just about file-sharing) goes back to the RIAA and the major record labels. What follows is a brief explanation of why the RIAA and the major record labels are more exploitative of musicians than file-sharers. Future blog posts will further elucidate the erroneous nature of the music industry’s arguments about file-sharing.

Continue reading

RIAA lands a lawsuit win

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has been filing lawsuits against “pirates” (aka music file-sharers) since 2003, but few people have tried to fight them. They sue users for an absurd amount of money for each song that they upload and these people usually have uploaded songs in the 1000s. In fact no case has gone to trial . . . until now. A jury “found Jammie Thomas-Rasset guilty of willfully violating copyright law” – cost: $1.92 million! You read that right, $1,920,000 or $80,000 per song and they convicted her of sharing 24 songs. Continue reading