ARCHIVE - Why the record labels are losing the fight against P2P

Archive: Fri Dec 4 14:58:56 2009
Title: Why the record labels are losing the fight against P2P
Mood: annoyed
Music: Trance Tuesday #017 - track 2 - (2/5)
I rarely if ever buy music these days. Mostly because I don't listen to much music, but also because I don't think that any money spent on CDs or tracks actually goes to either the artists or to produce better music. I think the industry is corrupt in general, abusive to artists, and it refuses to change with the times and provide services that people want.

Two good articles came to my attention this week illustration why I don't believe that most labels have the artist's interests in mind.

The first is a piece by Steve Albini breaking down what it means for an artist to sign with the label and how big a hole it puts them in. The industry preys on eager young artists desperate to "make it big".

The article has a nice tally sheet showing the questionable accounting the labels do and how a "$450,000 payday" for the band actually will net the band members only $4,000 and leave them in the hole for $450,000 while the label pulls in close to a million and still claims "the band didn't break even".

The second article is from Tim Quirk, the lead singer for one of my favorite early 90's bands Too Much Joy. His article My Hilarious Warner Bros. Royalty Statement is a perfect follow up to the above article. In it, Tim details just how ridiculous it is that Warner "credited" his account $62.27 for digital royalties and details exactly how unfair the accounting tricks done by major labels are. (article mirrored at Gizmodo)

The final thing I want to point out is just how badly the labels are refusing to embrace the new times.

I'm a big fan of Weird Al Yankovic. He is one of the very few artists I will consistently buy music for.

He has a new album "The Essential "Weird Al" Yankovic". When it was initially released, I followed the link on his home page, intending to buy the digital copy of the album, when I ran into this bit of ridiculousness from Sony Music.

How is it possible that electronic downloads cost more than a physical disc??? The physical disc represents a huge investment and overhead compared to the tiny amount of hard drive space the digital copies "cost".

There is no justification to charge more for digital. In fact, they could charge significantly less for digital distribution and still come out ahead. The fact that they don't charge less only leads people like me to conclude that the labels act only out of greed... and I don't want to support bald faced greed...


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