Kevin Laws, a current VC who used to work in the music industry has been writing up a series of articles about the music industry, relating to the issues of digital music that take a different perspective than most such articles. His latest piece, suggests that the real problem isn't the RIAA, but the music retailers who have the labels over a barrel. He mentions that the labels wanted to try electronic distribution many years ago, but it was the retailers that blocked the efforts - saying they wouldn't sell the CDs of any distributor who supported the plans. So, while the industry claims that downloading is killing the music business, they're really afraid that the music retailers would flip out at any real effort to offer music online - and losing the support of retailers would kill record labels much faster than any downloaders would. He predicts that as online distribution grows through non-traditional means, eventually the quiet threats from retailers won't be as meaningful, and then the RIAA will become big supporters of the wonderful idea of distributing music online.
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