Music Industry Doles Out More Free Advertising For Sites It Hopes To Shut Down

from the pr-backfire dept

The entertainment industry's been making a lot of noise lately about getting BitTorrent tracker site The Pirate Bay shut down (briefly) last week, and has now renewed its jihad against Russian music site AllofMP3, maintaining that it's illegal instead of realizing it's successful because it gives people what they want. What's funny is that every time they make a statement about these sites and say they're evil and need to be shut down, the mainstream media dutifully plays along and relays the story -- in turn giving the sites a boatload of free advertising. In this case, readers of the article on BBC will now know that AllofMP3 charges users about 5 percent of what "legal" download stores charge for songs, despite the insistence of the BPI (the UK equivalent of the RIAA) that British users of the site are breaking the law. With smart moves like this, is it any wonder the entertainment business' so-called war on piracy isn't working? It's just the latest example of its failure to take notice of the Streisand Effect.


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  1.  
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    Simon, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 8:52am

    Too cheap...

    It's unfortunate that AllofMP3 is so cheap, it allows the RIAA and their patsies to spin this story to be about the price of the product rather than the lack of DRM, which is what really makes it so great.

     

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  2.  
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    Mike, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 8:55am

    and the encoding options

    Another great thing with allofmp3 is that you can choose your encoding options. For a little bit more, you can actually get FLAC Lossless, or you can get mp3's, or AAC's if i remember correctly.

    It's all about choice :)

     

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  3.  
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    Shohat, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 9:03am

    Ahem

    It isn't any different than hosting a AllOfMS.com site , and letting people DL OfficeXP and Windows for 10 cents a copy .
    I assure , people would want it too .

    I've agreed with you on many things , but this is just wrong on so many levels .

     

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  4.  
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    anonymous coward, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 9:24am

    shohat the asshat

    If the RIAA really had the interest of the industry and consumers at heart, wouldn't they negotiate a better rate with allofmp3.com instead of trying to shut them down? I'm actually quite suprised that the RIAA hasn't hired the Russian mob to simply kill off the execs of allofmp3.com and then announce in a press release that it wasn't murder because the execs promoted worldwide music piracy on an unprecedented level.

    oh, wait, that would put their army of attorneys and lobbyists out of work. nevermind. The RIAA must have an evil enemy to justify its existence and the music industry CEOs must have something on which to blame their poor performance.

    I would love to have a CEO position where my annual sales can precipitously decline year after year yet I cover my ass by blaming the decline on an external force that I cannot stop whose impact on my business I can exaggerate without limit with no substantial proof.

     

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  5.  
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    Reality Check, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 9:28am

    Re: Ahem

    Piracy of M$ is rampant yet Microsoft continues to grow its business and be incredibly successful and profitable.

    If piracy is so completely destructive, how can that be? How can Bill Gates be one of the richest men alive if I am literally stealing food out of his children's starving mouths every time I install that bootleg copy of XP on another machine?

     

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  6.  
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    m0rd3r, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 9:44am

    Re: Re: Ahem

    Thats what I've always tried to say. Piracy on the internet wether its software or music or video is not a big deal as they try to make it out to be. Its a waste of resources and engery trying to fight it. Companies have much bigger things to worry about like the quality of their products, their business model, and their public image (looking at you RIAA).

     

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  7.  
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    elle, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 10:05am

    How about a Techdirt Splog

    Carlo

    Techdirt music coverage is becoming a broken record - traditional music companies are stupid, though they've defended their business models successfully for 10 years, and sites that give away music are cool, even if they rip off musicians.

    That's irresponsible.

    What would you do if somebody set up a Techdirt splog, copying all your content, giving you no credit and tacking on their own ads?

    How about some responsible digital music coverage that respects the musicians that use traditional music licensing? By supporting pirate sites, you're saying it's okay to screw these musicians.

    For those of us that prefer free digital music, there are tens of thousands of musicians sharing their music legally over the Internet. There's no lack of good music to legally download for free.

     

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  8.  
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    Peet McKimmie (profile), Jun 6th, 2006 @ 10:10am

    AllOfMP3

    Personally, I found AllOfMP3 to be a Godsend for downloading tracks that I already own on vinyl without having to pay for them a second time. I could legally (here in the UK) rip them to my MP3 player, but at 10 cents a track I'd rather they did the work for me. :-)

     

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  9.  
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    Spinnerr, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 10:12am

    Good article on why Allofmps.com is legal

     

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  10.  
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    haywood, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 10:31am

    couldn't agree more

    When Napster was first attacked most people had never heard of downloading. Many looked into it, found it to their liking and promptly became addicted. Attacks on E-donkey sites had the same effect. People who had never heard of, or considered downloading became aware of how easy and rewarding it was. Now it is Bit-Torrent under attack, and a few million new down-loaders will be attracted to the pass-time, because of the news of the attacks. A closing thought; if they ever succeed in stopping downloading, who will the ISPs sell broadband connections to? I for one would have no further use for it, everything else I do could be done with dial-up.

     

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  11.  
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    James, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 10:39am

    No fan of DRM, but....

    ... it's easy to charge a fraction of what other people do when you don't have to worry about paying the people who actually own the rights to your product.

    People act like it's OK for sites to sell (steal) this stuff because they offer features and do it better than the record companies. Granted, the records companies need to pull their head out of their asses, but that doesn't excuse theft.

     

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  12.  
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    Mike (profile), Jun 6th, 2006 @ 10:41am

    Re: How about a Techdirt Splog

    Elle, I'll let Carlo respond for himself, but we've responded to this ridiculous argument in the past when others have brought it up.

    What would you do if somebody set up a Techdirt splog, copying all your content, giving you no credit and tacking on their own ads?

    Go take a look on Google. There are already a bunch of splogs that copy our content. If they link back to us and make it clear that the content is from us first, more power to them. For the ones that don't do that, and pretend the content is their own, we know that they won't live on very long, or if they do, most people will figure out pretty quickly where the content really is from.

    So, in other words, nothing much to worry about. If anything, it helps act as advertising for our site. Our only complaint would be a *trademark* one, not a copyright one, to avoid confusion. As we've said before, trademarks are not intellectual property, but consumer protection, so people aren't confused over who actually created the content.

    However, as we've seen the sites that copy our content don't tend to last very long, because most people are smart enough to know where to go. What benefit do they get going to some other site that lies about where the content is from?

    That's not the case with these music sites.

    However, I think you are reading our coverage wrong if you think we flat out support these sites. We don't support them doing anything illegal -- but it's an open question as to whether or not what they're doing is actually illegal. That's why we raise these questions.

    How about some responsible digital music coverage that respects the musicians that use traditional music licensing? By supporting pirate sites, you're saying it's okay to screw these musicians.

    Again, that's an extreme assumption. There seems to be increasing evidence that these types of sites don't screw musicians, but in many cases help to promote them. Again, we're not saying it's okay to break the law -- but simply recognizing that there's actually some solutions coming out of these sites that could actually HELP THE ARTISTS EVEN MORE.

    We're not talking about screwing the artists, or even the record labels. In fact, we're discussing the opposite. Looking at these sites that deliver what customers want to point out how they can help GROW the industry.

    Claiming that we want to screw the artists is a complete misreading of what we have written for many years.

    In the meantime, this particular article wasn't even about supporting "pirate sites" at all, but how the recording industry has once again put in place a strategy that HURTS themselves more than it helps.

    How could that possibly be about us supporting screwing the artists?!? It's the opposite: we're telling the industry how *THEY* are screwing the artists by hurting the overall industry.

     

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  13.  
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    WATYF, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 10:41am

    Re: How about a Techdirt Splog

    Carlo Techdirt music coverage is becoming a broken record - traditional music companies are stupid, though they've defended their business models successfully for 10 years, and sites that give away music are cool, even if they rip off musicians. That's irresponsible. What would you do if somebody set up a Techdirt splog, copying all your content, giving you no credit and tacking on their own ads? How about some responsible digital music coverage that respects the musicians that use traditional music licensing? By supporting pirate sites, you're saying it's okay to screw these musicians. For those of us that prefer free digital music, there are tens of thousands of musicians sharing their music legally over the Internet. There's no lack of good music to legally download for free.

    Wow... I couldn't agree with this more. It almost getting comical, the repetitive anti-"establishment", pro-"freedomfighters" stories we get day in and day out here. "Again.. they just don't get it."... "Another example of how they just don't get it."... "Yet another story about how they just don't get it." Does this pony do any other tricks?

    I can't stand the RIAA and they way they've built their markets into a restrictive monopoly and how little the artist usually gets out of the whole deal in the end... but that doesn't mean that anyone who's stealing from the RIAA is "OK" in my book. You're just diminishing what little compensation the artist would have gotten in the first place.

    As a software developer AND a musician, I have a real problem with the "piracy is justified because of how eeeevil the RIAA/MPAA/etc is" attitude that is so prevalent on the net. They may want people to think that they're standing up for some noble cause, but when it all boils down... it's all about people wanting crap for free.

    The early internet bred a new generation of people who were taught that anything online should naturally be "free". That mentality is very hard to shake... and big business knows this. I laugh every time I hear the argument that if the RIAA/MPAA/etc would just loosen up their restrictions that people would do the honorable thing and pay for what they use. HAHA... what a load of crap.

    The reason the RIAA is so blatantly idiotic about their business models is because they know what people online would do if they just opened the doors and said, "Well... OK... here's a cheap, open standard that you could duplicate for others as easily as sending an email... but we know you won't... because you're a good person." They're erring (waaay) on the side of caution to protect their asses. Is it working...? No. Does that mean we should steal the stuff instead? No.

    WATYF

     

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  14.  
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    Mike (profile), Jun 6th, 2006 @ 10:57am

    Re: Re: How about a Techdirt Splog

    WATYF,

    Like Elle, I'm afraid you're misreading our coverage, and I apologize if we're not clear about it.

    We DO NOT support piracy. I don't believe we've ever supported it. We DO, however, point out where the industry is doing things that we believe will do more HARM than good in the long run for the overall industry.

    Our position is very much the opposite of what you state. It is not about freedom fighting or screwing over the industry. It's about helping the industry find a solid foundation that is based on actually giving customers what they want instead of treating them like criminals.

    Nowhere have we ever said that because the industry is stupid people should go out and steal music. Do not put words like that in our mouths -- we do not believe that is true.

     

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  15.  
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    WATYF, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 11:03am

    Re: How about a Techdirt Splog

    Again, that's an extreme assumption. There seems to be increasing evidence that these types of sites don't screw musicians, but in many cases help to promote them. Again, we're not saying it's okay to break the law -- but simply recognizing that there's actually some solutions coming out of these sites that could actually HELP THE ARTISTS EVEN MORE.

    Man... that one just doesn't work. How does this help the artist? By getting them more exposure... so that more people can tell their friends to go to AllofMP3.com and download the song (for which the artist still gets no compensation)?? Do you actually think if these people already know they can get an unrestricted product for pennies that they're gonna tell their friends about the artist, but then mention that they should go to Best Buy and get the CD instead of illegally getting it online (just like they did)?

    "But what about live shows and merch?". Right... because the artists you're talking about are indie acts who more often then not don't do national (let alone international) tours and therefore will never be able to capitalize on the people in London or Toronto or even three states away who found out about them on AllofMP3.com. And if they're a major, signed act, they don't need AllofMP3 to help get their name out... they've already got Clear Channel and MTV doing that.

    We're not talking about screwing the artists, or even the record labels. In fact, we're discussing the opposite. Looking at these sites that deliver what customers want to point out how they can help GROW the industry.

    By idolizing a business model that can't support itself? How do you think AllofMP3 can offer songs for ~10 cents? Because they didn't have to MAKE the damn album, and pay for the studio time, and the session players, and the AEs, and the band/artist, and the royalties to whoever wrote the songs and the marketing/commercials/promotions/you name it. These sites deliver "what people want" for one reason, because they aren't responsible for producing the product. They have no overhead other than bandwidth charges. The idea that the RIAA can look at AllofMP3 and take notes and then go build the next best distribution model is ridiculous.

    WATYF

     

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  16.  
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    Carlo, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 11:05am

    Re: Re: How about a Techdirt Splog

    You're mistaken that I've advocated piracy or justified stealing, or ever said that everything should be free. That's hardly the case. My contention is that record labels are not only annoying consumers, but hurting themselves by employing such regressive, restrictive and ineffective digital music strategies. They're the ones with the most to gain by changing their business models.

     

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  17.  
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    WATYF, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 11:18am

    Re: How about a Techdirt Splog

    WATYF, Like Elle, I'm afraid you're misreading our coverage, and I apologize if we're not clear about it. We DO NOT support piracy. I don't believe we've ever supported it. We DO, however, point out where the industry is doing things that we believe will do more HARM than good in the long run for the overall industry. Our position is very much the opposite of what you state. It is not about freedom fighting or screwing over the industry. It's about helping the industry find a solid foundation that is based on actually giving customers what they want instead of treating them like criminals. Nowhere have we ever said that because the industry is stupid people should go out and steal music. Do not put words like that in our mouths -- we do not believe that is true.

    Right... I don't mean to imply that you specifically are saying, "Go steal crap." I'm mostly talking about the prevailing attitude on the net.

    And I fully agree with you about the Streisand effect. These guys are just making it worse for themselves (and breeding more pirates) by doing this type of stuff and by suing old ladies without computers and what not.

    The problem is... you have to treat people like criminals, because there's no way to distinguish between the guy who's gonna pay for your non-DRMed MP3 and just play it on his crap and the guy who's gonna pay for your non-DRMed MP3 and copy it to CDs and burn a hundred copies for all his friends or email it to everyone he know who likes that artist or whatever. Have you ever stopped at the exit to a department store and called the manager over to complain about the detectors you have to walk through just to get out of the store? Every single person who walks through that exit is treated like a criminal, and electronically "searched", and are not assumed to be a law abiding citizen until they make it through without setting off the alarm. And yet, we expect the RIAA to hand us a product that has no restrictions on it, and cry "stop treating us like criminals" when they do what every major store in the country does on a daily basis... assume you're a trief until you prove that you're not.

    The fact is, digital "property" is a very difficult business reality... and there is no "simple" solution. Looking at unviable models and telling the RIAA how dumb they are for not adopting similar practices doesn't get us any closer to the solution than suing dead people for illegal downloading does.

    WATYF

     

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  18.  
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    Dosquatch, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 11:20am

    Re: Re: How about a Techdirt Splog

    "Well... OK... here's a cheap, open standard that you could duplicate for others as easily as sending an email... but we know you won't... because you're a good person."

    Has not iTunes disproved this point? Every track for sale on iTunes is just as easily obtainable for free from BT or any number of other sources... yet people still fork over dollars by the millions. I know, you're shocked. I was, too. How dare the public go and destroy perfectly good PR boilerplate like that?

    Nevermind the fact that, in spite of all of the RIAA's bullshit, what they don't want (open standards) is still out there. They're trying to close the barn doors after the horses are already gone. What they should be doing is offering what the public has demonstrated a desire for. Make it legal. The money will come.

    I grow tired of this argument. I thought this dead horse was beaten enough when the labels were worried about all the money they'd lose on the cheap, open standard of audio cassettes that could duplicate their precious content as easily as pressing "record". Can we let it go already?

    They may want people to think that they're standing up for some noble cause, but when it all boils down... it's all about people wanting crap for free.

    So nice of you to make such assumptions about the people who posit this argument. You're right, I do want it all free. I leave it to you to reimburse me the $12,000 I have invested in shiny plastic discs. I'll be looking for the check ;-)

     

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  19.  
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    K, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 11:58am

    blah blah blah

    blah blah blah...
    yak yak yak yak...
    nag nag nag nag nag...
    whine whine whine whine...

    I can't wait for the day there is NO story about how the entertainment industry sucks and how nobody should buy CD's or DVD's anymore because the industry made it illegal to steal the contents of those CD's and DVD's...

    Hey, do you think it's OK to steal the contents of a bottle of good wine in the store? No? Then stop stealing the contents of CD's and DVD's. And don't come whining about how that is different.

    I am by no means a fan of RIAA/MPAA, but I agree with Elle and WATYF, 95% of people that post here are just pissed because the industry is looking into ways to make stealing harder... But I don't see you people protesting against anti theft devices in retail stores... or security guards...

     

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  20.  
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    Mike (profile), Jun 6th, 2006 @ 11:59am

    Re: Re: How about a Techdirt Splog

    The problem is... you have to treat people like criminals, because there's no way to distinguish between the guy who's gonna pay for your non-DRMed MP3 and just play it on his crap and the guy who's gonna pay for your non-DRMed MP3 and copy it to CDs and burn a hundred copies for all his friends or email it to everyone he know who likes that artist or whatever.

    Um. You have to treat your customers like criminals? That's the sign of an amazingly uncreative business mind.

    There are plenty of business models, many of which we've discussed here, that recognize how you can embrace what your customers want without treating them like criminals.

     

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  21.  
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    Mike (profile), Jun 6th, 2006 @ 12:17pm

    Re: blah blah blah

    Hey, do you think it's OK to steal the contents of a bottle of good wine in the store? No? Then stop stealing the contents of CD's and DVD's. And don't come whining about how that is different.

    Two points.

    1. No, we don't think it's ok to steal the contents of a bottle of wine. However, that's a very different situation. If you steal the contents of a bottle of wine, those contents are gone. That's not the case with music or movies.

    2. Even so, we do NOT advocate illegal copying. We have said this over and over and over again. No matter how many times you claim we do -- we have NEVER advocated breaking the law and copying songs or movies which you have no right to do. Our writeups are almost entirely focused on the industry, and how *they* could be much better off if they learned how to embrace this.

    I, personally, have never used any of these file sharing programs people talk about to download or share music. I don't do it, because it's illegal. I have never used AllofMp3, because it's not clear if it's legal or not. We do NOT advocate breaking the law.

    Our position is very much focused on the industry, and how they could be better off if they learned how to embrace these unstoppable trends.

     

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  22.  
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    WATYF, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 12:20pm

    Err....

    Has not iTunes disproved this point?

    Has it? Is iTunes' DRM an "open standard"? They "treat their customers like criminals" too. You can only make x copies. You can only burn x times. You can only play the digital file on an iPod. And at 99 cents a song, it comes out the same price you'd pay at Best Buy for a normal CD. I'm not seeing how it's a cheap, open standard.

    And the RIAA is in bed with Apple when it comes to iTunes, so if iTunes is such a great idea, then I don't see why people are still complaining about the RIAA's inability to adopt a reasonable distribution platform.

    Every track for sale on iTunes is just as easily obtainable for free from BT or any number of other sources...

    And the overwhelming popularity of BitTorrent should tell you something then.

    Nevermind the fact that, in spite of all of the RIAA's bullshit, what they don't want (open standards) is still out there.

    And millions of people are taking advantage of that.

    What they should be doing is offering what the public has demonstrated a desire for. Make it legal. The money will come.

    That's a pretty concrete business model you got there. I'm sure they just haven't thought about that yet.

    I grow tired of this argument. I thought this dead horse was beaten enough when the labels were worried about all the money they'd lose on the cheap, open standard of audio cassettes that could duplicate their precious content as easily as pressing "record". Can we let it go already?

    If it was the same argument... I guess we could. But a cassette (a physical object that costs time and money to replicate) is not the same as ones and zeros that can be copied ad neaseum without the slightest bit of time or effort (not to mention, no money). The problem (as we can see from BitTorrent, Kazaa, Napster, et al) is that the easier it is to get stuff you want for free... the more people are going to do it. This isn't about the fact that copies can be made (like with a cassette) but about how ridiculously easy (and free) it is to duplicate digital media and distribute it to, literally, the whole world.

    So nice of you to make such assumptions about the people who posit this argument. You're right, I do want it all free. I leave it to you to reimburse me the $12,000 I have invested in shiny plastic discs. I'll be looking for the check ;-)

    Obviously, I'm not saying everyone's a criminal, or that no one will purchase music legally. That's silly. This isn't about some black-and-white "all or nothing" argument. This is about whether or not there exists a business model that will make all these anti-RIAA complainers happy, while at the same time actually being able to support an industry.

    WATYF

     

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  23.  
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    James, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 12:30pm

    Re: Re: blah blah blah

    1. No, we don't think it's ok to steal the contents of a bottle of wine. However, that's a very different situation. If you steal the contents of a bottle of wine, those contents are gone. That's not the case with music or movies

    The music or movie isn't gone, but the potential customer, who may or may not have paid money for it is. The point is it doesn't belong to you.

     

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  24.  
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    WATYF, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: How about a Techdirt Splog

    Um. You have to treat your customers like criminals? That's the sign of an amazingly uncreative business mind.

    How is that true? Do you know of a single retail chain that doesn't take steps against all of their customers to weed out the few that are thieves? Cameras, detectors, security, RFID tags, etc. etc.

    Not to mention the fact that you would be stupid not to take those steps, because frankly, there are theives out there, and they will steal your crap, and if you take some utopian "people are inherently good" approach to it, you're going to lose money.

    When you get out of your car, do you lock your doors and turn the alarm on? Well, how dare you treat everyone who walks by your car like a criminal........ see how ridiculous that argument is? The RIAA has every right to take steps to secure their investment from illegal distribution, just like stores have a right to secure their inventory from theft and people have a right to secure their cars from being stolen. Calling it "treating people like criminals" is a very slanted, biased way of looking at what everyone does on a daily basis... try to protect their property.

    There are plenty of business models, many of which we've discussed here, that recognize how you can embrace what your customers want without treating them like criminals.

    Can you link me to some of these? I'd be very interested in seeing a proven business model for digital distribution that can support an industry (and no, I'm not being sarcastic).

    WATYF

     

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  25.  
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    Mike (profile), Jun 6th, 2006 @ 12:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: blah blah blah

    The music or movie isn't gone, but the potential customer, who may or may not have paid money for it is. The point is it doesn't belong to you.

    This is a bogus argument for two reasons.

    First, "the potential customer is lost" is not a reasonable argument. If I have a pizza place, and you open up a sandwich shop next door, then one of my regular customers decides to go try out your sandwich shop, you've made me lose the business of a potential customer.

    Is that a crime? Nope. So, the argument that a "lost customer" is wrong is no argument at all.

    Second, "the point is that it doesn't belong to you" is misleading as well. For traditional goods, anyone who buys it has the right of first sale, and can resell that good. That's not the case with entertainment goods in many cases. However, many people believe that they do own what they bought, and the industry is actually the one who no longer possesses what has been purchased.

    The point of all of this is that there are reasonable ways to look at this issue without turning it into the black and white of "stealing" or not. Again, we never advocate breaking the law. Our point is simply that the entire industry could be *much better off* if they actually learned to embrace new business models that don't involve treating their customers as criminals.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    K, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Re: blah blah blah

    Mike,

    For clarification purposes: I did not claim TechDirt is approving of piracy.

    No, we don't think it's ok to steal the contents of a bottle of wine. However, that's a very different situation. If you steal the contents of a bottle of wine, those contents are gone. That's not the case with music or movies.

    So in other words, when we're talking intellectual property, you say it's OK because the "contents" are not gone??? That just doesn't make sense to me, Mike. And I hope I am just misinterpreting your comment.

    The problem is that copy protection on any form of music or movie media has the side effect that people cannot take their purchased CD or DVD and copy it onto their computer. Inconvenient? Maybe. But a point to stress over for months at a crack? Heck no.

    The fact of the matter remains... when you buy a movie or a CD, you are buying the media with the right to listen to or view its content for as many times as you like. You are, however, NOT buying it with a copy license. So maybe the idea of having the rights and restrictions clearly displayed on the media you buy is not a bad idea... but that is a different discussion.

    So is this different than copying a CD to audio tape? Not really... That would be the same as copying a CD to your computer or your MP3 player for your own use. Do I think that it's wrong to do that? No. And I fully agree it would be nice if they can come up with a copy protection that allows you to copy your bought media onto your portable player for personal use, but restrict emailing, posting it on Web sites, etc. Is that possible on a technical level? More than likely, yes. But not until all portable audio players go to a uniform encoding and a uniform file system... but that is a whole new ball of wax...

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Moogle, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 12:45pm

    Re: Re: How about a Techdirt Splog

    "The problem is... you have to treat people like criminals, because there's no way to distinguish between the guy who's gonna pay for your non-DRMed MP3 and just play it on his crap and the guy who's gonna pay for your non-DRMed MP3 and copy it to CDs and burn a hundred copies for all his friends or email it to everyone he know who likes that artist or whatever."

    BINGO! False assumption! Do I get a prize?

    Here's the point that is generally made by everyone who argues against this: Why does anyone have to be treated like a criminal?

    It DOES NOT STOP the pirate. This should be obvious by this point. The people getting sued by the RIAA are not criminal masterminds, they're end users who got the content from someone else. They didn't rip stuff themselves because they got it off of kazaa or whatever. It sure as hell isn't stopping allofmp3.com either.

    It DOES lose the sales to the guy that wants to play it on something else. He can't use it if he buys it legitimately, so his best option is to buy it, and then download a copy of what he already owns. With all the hassle, he has to wonder why he's wasting his money, and from then on only downloads the songs he likes instead.

    The idea that people will go buy CDs if they're afraid to download them is a nice dream, but it's probably more true that people will just listen to the music they have and not buy. Not every piracy is a lost sale. The potential sales by word of mouth is pretty high in comparison.

     

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  28.  
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    Mike (profile), Jun 6th, 2006 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: blah blah blah

    So in other words, when we're talking intellectual property, you say it's OK because the "contents" are not gone??? That just doesn't make sense to me, Mike. And I hope I am just misinterpreting your comment.

    Yes, you are very much misinterpreting my comment.

    As I have said REPEATEDLY, we do not condone breaking the law. The point is not to say that copying digital goods is acceptable, but that it makes sense for the industry to learn to give away digital goods for free.

    It's a basic economics argument. The efficient market, which is what a market will move towards, will always *trend* towards pricing goods at marginal cost. In the case of digital goods, the marginal cost is going to be zero. Now, for those, like you, who freak out about this, it's because you're looking at it the wrong way. You need to stop thinking about it as a product to be sold, and recognize that it's a promotional good that's FREE.

    Suddenly, the fact that the price = zero is flipped and you recognize that it's a promotion whose *cost* is zero. That's a tremendous benefit. You've just save your advertising and promotions budget!

    You can say "what if companies don't want to do business that way" but that's not how the market works. The market is moving in that direction, because markets like to move towards efficiency.

    So, when we point out the economic properties of digital goods, it's NOT to say that copying them without permission is okay. We have NEVER advocated that, no matter how many times you repeat it. What we say is that the obvious trends over time is that's where it's going to move because it's efficient -- and that's a GOOD thing because it opens up tremendous new business models and opportunities for those who embrace it.

    You don't have to embrace it, but you'll be left behind when everyone else does.

     

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  29.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jun 6th, 2006 @ 1:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: How about a Techdirt Splog


    How is that true? Do you know of a single retail chain that doesn't take steps against all of their customers to weed out the few that are thieves? Cameras, detectors, security, RFID tags, etc. etc.

    Not to mention the fact that you would be stupid not to take those steps, because frankly, there are theives out there, and they will steal your crap, and if you take some utopian "people are inherently good" approach to it, you're going to lose money.


    This is false. There are plenty of examples, such as the famous Freakonomics bagel man. Where he learned that trusting your customers can have tremendous added benefits to your business model.

    Can you link me to some of these? I'd be very interested in seeing a proven business model for digital distribution that can support an industry (and no, I'm not being sarcastic).

    We've linked to them a ton. If you can't do the search yourself, I'm not sure why I should do the work for you.

    However, the trick is simply to recognize that the content itself acts as free promotions for services or tangible goods. Once you recognize that, it's not hard to figure out how to make a ton of money.

    For a perfect example, check out the situation in China, with Chinese musicians. In China its well known that most CDs are pirated, so the traditional business should be competely dead, according to you. In fact, it's thriving (okay, I'll dig up that one link for you: http://www.usatoday.com/tech/columnist/kevinmaney/2005-05-03-music-piracy-china_x.htm).

    What happened was that artists learned to embrace the fact that their music would be used as a promotion, even if against their wishes, and came up with plenty of other business models to support themselves.

    In that situation, everyone is happy. People get the music they want without restrictions. Musicians get more fans. And the musicians are still getting paid -- just in different ways than before.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    K, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 1:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: blah blah blah

    You need to stop thinking about it as a product to be sold, and recognize that it's a promotional good that's FREE.

    So if digital music is to be a free thing... who in the world would be buying records and how will artists make a living then?

    I see your point though, and I somewhat agree, as long as you can make sure the digital version does not get sold illegally.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    elle, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 1:14pm

    The BS Detector is Going Off

    Carlo/Mike

    It seems a little disingenious to suggest that you aren't supporting piracy, blurring the issue of what's right and wrong and disregarding the fact that anybody can already download as much music they want, legally, from artists that share their music on the Internet.

    In post after post, Techdirt mocks the music industry for fighting pirates or using DRM, and gives generous coverage to the various ways people can steal music. What's that doing to support musicians that have chosen traditional licensing?

    Techdirt also frequently blurs the line between what's legal and illegal, and what's right and wrong. Regarding the Russian pirate sites, you suggested that "it's an open question as to whether or not what they're doing is actually illegal."

    What's legal, right or admirable about selling musicians' work, without their permission, and giving them nothing in return?

    There's no justification for suggesting that this is OK. If you don't like the way the mainstream music industry works, support indie musicians instead of suggesting that it's OK to rip off mainstream ones.

    Bitch about their tactics, but the mainstream music industry is shrewd and tenacious, and it's amazing that it has maintained sales as well as it has over the last decade.

    There is so much good free music available on the Internet that Techdirt's constant "jihad" against the mainstream music industry seems a little bit like a delusional disorder. Legal downloadable MP3s have been around for ten years, and nobody's figured out a business model based on giving them away that generates a fraction of the revenue of the traditional music industry.

    Instead of pandering to the lowest-common-denominator with the music-should-be-free coverage, how about recognizing that musicians and companies that choose traditional licenses have a right to make a buck; people that want free, legal music have more options than ever; and that it's hard to make a buck giving away music.

    Both commercial and free digital music are thriving, providing an incredible wealth of options for both musicians and music fans. By failing to recognize this, Carlo and Mike, it gives the impression that you, rather than the music industry, are the ones with your heads in the sand.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 1:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: blah blah blah

    First, "the potential customer is lost" is not a reasonable argument. If I have a pizza place, and you open up a sandwich shop next door, then one of my regular customers decides to go try out your sandwich shop, you've made me lose the business of a potential customer. Is that a crime? Nope. So, the argument that a "lost customer" is wrong is no argument at all.

    What you are describing is competition. If the I steal your pizza's when you are not looking and then sell them in my sandwich shop, that's selling stolen property and is a more accurate analogy to what is happening with these sites.

    Second, "the point is that it doesn't belong to you" is misleading as well. For traditional goods, anyone who buys it has the right of first sale, and can resell that good. That's not the case with entertainment goods in many cases. However, many people believe that they do own what they bought, and the industry is actually the one who no longer possesses what has been purchased.

    Except that if you re-sell your old car, you can only do it once because you only paid for it once. These sites pay for the content once (maybe) and sell it over and over again.

    The point of all of this is that there are reasonable ways to look at this issue without turning it into the black and white of "stealing" or not. Again, we never advocate breaking the law. Our point is simply that the entire industry could be *much better off* if they actually learned to embrace new business models that don't involve treating their customers as criminals.

    But more often than not "embrace new business model" is just code words for "shut up and let people rob you" which is not right either. Again, I don't agree that the record companies have the right business model, but it's their product to sell and distribute however they see fit. If they want to "stupid" temselves out of business, that's their perogative! The reason they treat the people who run these sites as criminals is because let's be hoenest, they ususally are!

    People want to make it "record companies vs. technology" and I don't think that that would be the ideal way the record companies would like to deal with it. But, when the people who do this are usually anonymous or out of reach because they are in Russia or some other country where law enforcement is difficult, then I can understand their frustration and desire to limit the tools that these people use to distribute this stuff illegally.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    James, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: blah blah blah

    First, "the potential customer is lost" is not a reasonable argument. If I have a pizza place, and you open up a sandwich shop next door, then one of my regular customers decides to go try out your sandwich shop, you've made me lose the business of a potential customer. Is that a crime? Nope. So, the argument that a "lost customer" is wrong is no argument at all.

    What you are describing is competition. If the I steal your pizza's when you are not looking and then sell them in my sandwich shop, that's selling


    This was me, I just forgot to put my name in the response. :+)

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Carlo, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 1:42pm

    Re: The BS Detector is Going Off

    You're really not making any sense. Your argument seems to be that because some musicians are giving away music online (by their own choice), it's somehow wrong to think that the music industry would be better off by changing their business model? What's one have to do with the other?

    Bitch about their tactics, but the mainstream music industry is shrewd and tenacious, and it's amazing that it has maintained sales as well as it has over the last decade.

    Seriously? I'd agree with the tenacious part, if you're talking about how they try to cling to outdated business models. And the point we're making is that by changing how they approach digital music record labels could actually grow their businesses, rather than just maintain the status quo.

    There's no justification for suggesting that this is OK. If you don't like the way the mainstream music industry works, support indie musicians instead of suggesting that it's OK to rip off mainstream ones.

    Again, please illustrate where I've condoned piracy, stealing, or whatever you want to call it. I haven't. You appear to be under the grave misconception that disagreeing with how record labels choose to do business somehow equals advocating piracy -- this simply isn't true. And your contention that the availability of free music online makes comment on the record labels "delusional" is pretty nonsensical.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    K, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 2:34pm

    Enlighten me

    I agree you should be able to make a copy for personal use or you should be able to buy a CD and transfer the music onto your portable audio player. I do NOT agree these digital versions of the artist's blood, sweat and tears should be made available for free anywhere (on line or off line).

    How is an artist to make a buck if digital versions of their records are available for free?

    It just does not make sense!

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Just Another JOe, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 2:55pm

    I wonder if everyone if reading the links provided by Mike and Carlo before they write their opinions. I understand musicians want ti be rich famous and like is humungous homes with fifty two bedrooms and be featured on MTV nightly, but that is not the future.

    For years and years, musicians, top ones like Courtney Love, have decried the music industry and the money they do not make on their CDs, yet most people remain ignorant of how the industry actually operates.

    The industry (RIAA, etc.) own the licenses for all music they produce and distribute, yet they fight for the artists rights? How do that add up? The RIAA et al are concerned only about their bottom line and they spin reality to make it look like they are protecting the little guys from the pirates of the world. If that's what the are doing, why are they suing a
    twelve year old, telling people to drop out of college to pay fines, and suing people without computers.

    I am all for paying an artist for their work and we all think piracy is wrong, immoral, or whatever else you want to call it, but the fact of the matter is piracy will never be eradicated. Computers are inherently designed to copy and manipute data in various forms, whether its 1's and 2's or MP3s and jpegs and DRM will never be an effective method of controling distribution because there will always be a way to break it, legal or not.

    The points that Mike, Carlo and the rest of the Techdirt crowd is trying to make are:

    1) Congress should not be involved in protecting a business model

    2) The recording industry should evolve into something useful and innovative (like China has done) instead of treating their customer like criminals

    3) Fair use exists with digital recording that consumers have legaly purchased, DRM inhibits this.


    Also,

    I can't stand the RIAA and they way they've built their markets into a restrictive monopoly and how little the artist usually gets out of the whole deal in the end... but that doesn't mean that anyone who's stealing from the RIAA is "OK" in my book. You're just diminishing what little compensation the artist would have gotten in the first place.

    As an artist I would think you would agree with Techdirt that music is simply a promotional thing. Post it in Myspace and drum up a local following, then book venues to make your money. If no one has ever heard your music and you don't fit the industry's mold, then you'll never make anything. As they say, adapt or die (or be broke)

    BTW, nice site.


    Mike, Carlo, et al.

    I hope I have stated some of what you guys belive correctly, and thanks for the site; I use it endlessly for my college coursework.

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    K, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 3:18pm

    Re:

    As an artist I would think you would agree with Techdirt that music is simply a promotional thing.

    I couldn't possibly disagree more!!! That would be like saying the Mona Lisa is only promotional material. C'mon, you can't possibly be serious!

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    elle, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 3:30pm

    Re: The BS Detector is Going Off

    Carlo

    I respectfully disagree with your suggestion that MY argument doesn't make any sense.

    You're saying that the mainstream music industry, by changing the way they approach digital music, would grow. Your support for this argument amounts to mocking music industry tactics, hyping pirate sites and services and highlighting the stories of musicians that manage to eke out a buck while giving away their music.

    Missing from Techdirt's argument are examples of companies actually making big bucks from giving away music.

    Carlo, we're 10 years down the road of digital music distribution. Dozens of companies have failed trying to make a buck selling DRM-free MP3s. Thousands of Internet music companies have come and gone. Millions of musicians have shared their music on the Internet, and they struggle to get by.

    The only big commercial success story of digital music in the last 10 years is traditionally-licensed music sold with DRM via iTunes.

    Sorry, Carlo, but unless Techdirt starts talking about real companies making real money with digital music, your "strategies" for reforming a successful, 11 billion dollar industry, can only be seen as uninformed, delusional or wishful thinking.

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Just Another Joe, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 3:33pm

    Let me rephase,

    As an artist who realizes you must sell all rights of your music to the industry in exchange for an advance that is spent recording your albumn and a chance at actually making a profit. I can't be that far off the rocker is so many other artists are doing it. The point is, there are alternate methods of making money, shirts, tickets, posters, endorsements, etc. not only CD sales. Do some research and you will find that artist make squat on their CD sales, which is the only revenue souce affected by piracy.

     

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  40.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jun 6th, 2006 @ 3:37pm

    Re: Enlighten me

    How is an artist to make a buck if digital versions of their records are available for free?

    Over the past five years, we've linked repeatedly to examples of many different ways to make money when the digital versions are given away for free. Even in this thread we've discussed examples. To then put the burden on us to prove something, after we've done so repeatedly speaks more to your reading comprehension skills than our ability to back up the argument.

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Carlo, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 3:39pm

    Re: Re: The BS Detector is Going Off

    Sorry, Carlo, but unless Techdirt starts talking about real companies making real money with digital music, your "strategies" for reforming a successful, 11 billion dollar industry, can only be seen as uninformed, delusional or wishful thinking.

    We have, plenty of times. When your "strategy" is to accept the status quo of the major labels and then say people that don't like it should listen only to music from artists that have chosen to make it freely available online, your argument is completely unconvincing.

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 3:41pm

    From: http://www.offspring.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects/Offspring.woa/wa/history

    Promotional value of piracy

    1998: An MP3 file of “Pretty Fly (for a White Guy),“ from the band‘s yet-to-be-released Americana album is downloaded a record 22 million times over a 10-week period, landing it the #1 spot on Rolling Stone‘s Top Pirated Internet Songs chart. When Americana is released in November, worldwide sales climb past the 10 million mark, thanks to the catchy single and MTV video. Other singles include “Why Don‘t You Get a Job?,“ “The Kids Aren‘t Alright“ and “She‘s Got Issues.“ The band‘s touring schedule takes them to Woodstock ‘99 for an acclaimed performance captured on film and the 1999 Reading/Leads Festivals in the U.K. “We love what we do,“ says Holland. “We want to make the best music we can and try to top what we did before.”

    2000: The group is hit with a cease-and-desist order from file-sharing service Napster after offering T-shirts sporting the company‘s famed logo for sale on the band‘s website. The band defends its actions, claiming they were simply “sharing“ the logo with fans.

    The band spawns more controversy when they decide to offer their new album Conspiracy Of One free of charge via the Internet prior to its initial November release date. Fans downloading the record were automatically registered in a contest to be awarded $1,000,000 directly from the band (live on MTV) on the day of the album‘s release. Fans who go on to buy the record are awarded membership in the Offspring Nation digital fan club, receiving exclusive downloads of unreleased material, advance ticket sales, guarded chats with the band and more. Sony Music doesn‘t agree and threatens a lawsuit. The band avoids the lawsuit by making individual singles available on their official website and MTV Online. “The reality is this album will end up on the Internet whether we want it to or not,“ Holland tells the L.A. Times. “So we thought, ‘Why don‘t we just do it ourselves?‘ We‘re not afraid of the Internet. We think it‘s a very cool way to reach our fans.”

     

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  43.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jun 6th, 2006 @ 3:45pm

    Re: Re: The BS Detector is Going Off

    Missing from Techdirt's argument are examples of companies actually making big bucks from giving away music.

    Again, it appears you have not been reading this site very long if you believe that's the case. We've pointed out numerous examples of companies going down this road.

    Dozens of companies have failed trying to make a buck selling DRM-free MP3s. Thousands of Internet music companies have come and gone.

    Who's the second largest seller of digital downloads? eMusic. What do they sell? DRM-free MP3s. Failed? I don't think so.

    Millions of musicians have shared their music on the Internet, and they struggle to get by.

    This is a false distinction. No one has EVER said that by sharing music online, artists automatically become huge. Who would even suggest such a thing. But the examples of artists who have successfully given away music, and used that to sell other things is tremendously large and only growing larger day by day. You have Maria Schneider, the jazz artist who won a grammy giving away her music. You have Pearl Jam, an artist who had already made it big, recognizing that giving away their music helped promote other things, such as CDs and concerts. You have the String Cheese Incident, who, of all things, recognized that getting people interested in their music allowed them to build a successful *travel agency* to help fans travel to concerts with them. You have the Arctic Monkeys, who gave away music to build a huge following. You have bands in China who are fine with conterfeiters pirating their music, because it helped them get a big enough following to get sponsorship deals. The list goes on and on.

    Each one of these artists a successful example of learning to embrace giving away music for free and letting it be a promotion for something else. Some were big before, some used this method to get big. The point is that it's a model that works -- and it does so without pissing off customers, often generating a much larger following with much more earning potential than could otherwise be done in the traditional route.

    So, sorry elle, unless you are willing to actually respond to our arguments and our examples, it's difficult to take you seriously.

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 3:46pm

    Re: Err....

    Has it? Is iTunes' DRM an "open standard"? They "treat their customers like criminals" too.

    Yeah - oops. That particular part of my response was intended to be in answer to another part of your post. Particularly, where you imply that people simply would not ever possibly consider paying for content when it was also available for free. Obviously, this is not true.

    As far as the failings of iTunes, (DRM, locked to a single player, etc.) you are absolutely correct. iTunes is not the holy grail, but its success in the market seems to indicate that it's at least a step in the right direction, no?

    And at 99 cents a song, it comes out the same price you'd pay at Best Buy for a normal CD.

    Yes, it does. I think this is very, very wrong on the industry's behalf - they get the same gross for less overhead, and the artist sees nothing extra. I fail to see what service the labels provide that entitles them to the lion's share of income. They get their cut off of the top, and then nickel and dime the artist's royalties to the point that many never see a dime... which makes every single "what about the poor artist" argument disingenuous at best, but that's a different rant.

    If it was the same argument... I guess we could. But a cassette (a physical object that costs time and money to replicate) is not the same as ones and zeros that can be copied ad neaseum without [snip]

    Yes, yes, I know. It doesn't matter. The industry's hissy fit was the same. The issues were the same. The legal questions were the same. The only difference is that the tools have made the job cheaper and more convenient. Considering that cassettes were coming in to take the place of reel-to-reel, even this difference is the same.

    Deceased equine. Whap, whap.

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    K, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 4:12pm

    Re:

    Just Another Joe:

    I see your point. And yes, there are other avenues of making a buck in the music industry. And I agree it is wrong that the artist needs to sell pretty much all rights to the music industry in an effort to make a little profit on the sales of records... But I do not agree artists should be giving away their music as promotional material. People should pay for music they want to listen to over and over again as a tribute to the artist. As an artist, I would find it insulting that people would only want my music if they can get it for free.

     

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  46.  
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    Mike (profile), Jun 6th, 2006 @ 4:20pm

    Re: Re:

    But I do not agree artists should be giving away their music as promotional material. People should pay for music they want to listen to over and over again as a tribute to the artist. As an artist, I would find it insulting that people would only want my music if they can get it for free.

    Ah, again, I think you're missing the crux of the argument.

    First, if you can keep convincing people to pay, more power to you. In fact, I'm quite certain CDs will continue to have value for some time, partly for the convenience factor and partly because many people *like* having the whole package. In that case, they're selling more than just the music, but the convenience and the package.

    However, as to your point that you would find it "insulting" if people only want your music if they can get it for free, welcome to the market economy. Creators don't set the prices, the market does. If the product is eventually valued at free, so be it.

    To be honest, though, as an artist you should be THRILLED if people can get your music for free. It helps you create a much larger audience, encouraging your fans to introduce more potential fans to the music, and opening up a much larger potential market for related products and services. You'll be able to charge more or fill bigger venues (or both!) for concerts. You'll be able to sign better sponsorship deals. You'll be able to sell more merchandise. You'll be able to sell other services -- such as a premium membership fan club, where fans get first dibs on tickets to shows, or a chance to meet the artist. Hell, you could raffle off a personal concert or something like that -- and the more fans you have, all enjoying the music for free, the more you're likely to make from all of that.

    In other words, it's a very small world view to focus only on selling the music itself. Step back, look at the big picture, and you could see a much bigger opportunity, where not only do you end up better off as the musician, but your fans (of which there are more) are treated better as well.

    Who loses in that situation?

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    K, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 4:21pm

    Re: Re: Enlighten me

    Mike,

    I resent the tone of your post. I do not appreciate how you chose to turn it into a personal attack. You might have had other threads in the past 5 years showing how artists can make money by giving away their music for free... this is the first time I am posting on TechDirt... and if this is how personally insulting the posts get, I really don't think this discussion board is worth my time any furhter.

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 4:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: How about a Techdirt Splog

    How is that true? Do you know of a single retail chain that doesn't take steps against all of their customers to weed out the few that are thieves? Cameras, detectors, security, RFID tags, etc. etc.

    Not the same. These are non-intrusive (passive) forms of security that end once the transaction with the store is complete. That is, Wal*Mart does not retain the authority to say when you may or may not wear your t-shirt that you have purchased.

    If the security attached to the clothing purchased at Wal*Mart prevented you from frequenting other retail establishments while you were wearing them, would you continue to buy clothing at Wal*Mart? Or if, say, a pair of shoes from Target "rootkitted" your closet and made all of your other shoes unusable, even if they were purchased somewhere else? (Yes, this is a ridiculous argument, but is a more accurate comparison)


    The problem isn't DRM, it is the mindset of the labels that makes them believe DRM is their right. No, I do not have the right of distribution of their copyrighted material, but neither do they have the right to dictate when and how I use the content I have purchased.

    I can wear my t-shirt where I please. I can wear it with whatever other clothing I please. Heck, I can use it as a flag if I want to. By the same token, I should be able to move my songs from a shiny disc to an MP3 player if I please, unencumbered by nagging, invasive, after-the-fact security.

     

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  49.  
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    E.T., Jun 6th, 2006 @ 4:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How about a Techdirt Splog

    No, I do not have the right of distribution of their copyrighted material, but neither do they have the right to dictate when and how I use the content I have purchased.

    I can wear my t-shirt where I please. I can wear it with whatever other clothing I please. Heck, I can use it as a flag if I want to. By the same token, I should be able to move my songs from a shiny disc to an MP3 player if I please, unencumbered by nagging, invasive, after-the-fact security.


    Now that ^ I totally agree with!

     

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  50.  
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    Just Another Joe, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 8:03pm

    Re: Re: K

    K:

    At least we are roughly on the same page. Like Mike said, markets determine the price of products sold, not creators. That might not sound like it makes a lot of sense, but think about it. If Company A made a ton of "Bite Me" t-shirts and tried to sell them for $60 each, how many people would buy them? A few at best. Lower the price to say $15 and a whole bunch of people would probably buy them. It's market economics at it's most basic.

    That said, you as a content creator, have a right to price your product at whatever you want, be it $100 or $15. The challenge is finding the point between $0 and x dollars that consumers are willing to pay for your music.

    Personally I don't care what you sell you music at, or what any other band sells their music at. If I like the music I will buy a CD, I am old school and still like the shiny stuff on my shelf. At least in today's digital age, I can preview the rest of the CD and find out it is complete crap before I spend $15 or whatever on something I wouldn't listen too.

     

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  51.  
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    MrCrispy, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 9:12pm

    I hate the music industry

    You know what? I have bought so many fucking CD's, so many fucking tapes (back in the day :)), so much fucking vinyl and yes I do download AND unpload mp3 files "illegally". I actually have had my ENTIRE music library of compact discs (over 500 cds) stolen from me. 500 X 15 bucks a cd = $7500 and this is just in cds. I have now stopped buying CD's from any label which is in any way, shape, or form associated with the RIAA. How could they not have guessed that treating their customers like criminals would spark retaliation?

     

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  52.  
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    skezer65134, Jun 6th, 2006 @ 10:35pm

    Reminds me of Napster

    I know back in the day, college to be exact, when I had a T1 at hand, I didn't do much else besides play with Linux and a little gaming (Quake 3 mostly). Anyway, all of a sudden there was a wisper among students to use Napster to get any MP3 you wanted. But, it wasn't until I heard about it being "bad" and the industry trying to shut it down that I got interested. From them on, I haven't looked back, and my collection is 60GB strong, up about 59.9GB from before Napster made the news.

    Anyway, any time I hear about things like Napster, I think "awesome, I guess it's somthing I should be checking out!" I'm pretty sure that 99% of the people the hear about things like AllofMP3 for example think "that's cool, I should be checking that out!" The article only points out what I always though. Personally, I didn't find anything I liked on the site and I'm sticking with Soulseek, but it's good to see people blatantly defying the **AA in any way..... my hats off to them and The Pirate Bay!

     

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  53.  
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    Mike (profile), Jun 6th, 2006 @ 10:56pm

    Re: The BS Detector is Going Off

    Techdirt also frequently blurs the line between what's legal and illegal, and what's right and wrong. Regarding the Russian pirate sites, you suggested that "it's an open question as to whether or not what they're doing is actually illegal."

    What's legal, right or admirable about selling musicians' work, without their permission, and giving them nothing in return?


    Funny, AllofMP3 today is explaining why they're legal. It includes the fact that they *are* paying musicians and they *are* in compliance with Russian law.

    So, yes, I think it's a fair assessment to point out that these sites may be legal -- and for you to tell us we're somehow blurring the lines for raising the legal issues is a bit silly. We're not "blurring" anything, but pointing out the issues raised.

    As we both have said, we are not encouraging copyright infringement at all. We are focused on convincing the industry that they're better off not worrying about this, better off not attacking their customers and better off learning to embrace the unstoppable trends.

    How that makes us supporters of illegal activities doesn't make sense to me. We're actually doing the reverse. Trying to help the industry no longer have a problem with illegal activities.

     

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  54.  
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    Louis, Jun 7th, 2006 @ 7:12am

    For the Artists.

    Man, reading some of these posts that support the RIAA's litigation streak... I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

    1. The RIAA does not care about "the artists" its mafia like tactics should be all the convincing one needs of this fact. It cares about money, and it is resistant to change. In the adapt or die scenario is has chosen to die and its trying to pull as many people along with it.

    2. 99 cents per song is horribly overpriced. No matter how you look at it. If AllOfMp3 can be pulled down then the RIAA can force everyone to go to the more expensive alternative. Which leads back to the RIAA`s overpowering greed.

    3. I don't believe any of this "stealing from the mouths of the artist's children" bullshit. As long as 50 cent can brag in every one of his songs about how many women he can have at once, I won't be paying him a dime so he can have a few more.

    4. We (by we I include the writers of Techdirt) are NOT Pirates or advocates of Piracy. I'm tired of being accused of Piracy everytime an objection is raised against the Status Quo. Its just like a few years ago when anyone who raised questions regarding the Bush's administration was immediately accused of being a Terrorist.

    We are the consumers, we are your (the artists') clients. And because of the fear tactics that the RIAA has enforced I am not sharing any of your products with other potential clients, because I don't like being labeled a criminal and because I still believe in the old adage "The client is always right" I am refusing to buy anymore of your products. From now on, its just public broadcast media for me. I don't need a copy of your song on mp3 or on CD, I hear it enough on my Car Radio.

    I don't need you to survive, you need me.

     

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  55.  
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    elle, Jun 7th, 2006 @ 9:01am

    Re: The BS Detector is Going Off

    Mike

    Sorry, but you haven't really made a lucid argument to respond to.

    I read Techdirt semi-regularly, because the snarky take on tech issues is usually fun. Techdirt's take on the music industry, though, comes across as delusional, because the industry strategy of controlling distribution that you rail against has proven to be very effective, while the alternative approaches you advocate have not.

    If the best example you can think of a company actually making big bucks following any of the strategies you advocate is eMusic, then people will understand why your viewpoint is hard to take seriously. Last I read, eMusic had distributed around 60 million unrestricted MP3 files, which is miniscule compared to the approx 1.5 billion DRM'd mainstream music industry tracks sold through iTunes. Is eMusic actually even making any money?

    The other thing that diminishes the credibility of your views is your argument that the handful of artists that manage to make a buck giving away music are reason for the music industry to change its ways.

    There have always been indie successes; the Internet hasn't changed that. These successes are not, and have never been, businesses that threaten the mainstream music industry model.

    The fact is, millions of people have tried to use Internet digital music distribution to make money for 10 years, and after all this time, nobody has come up with anything that is anywhere as successful as what the mainstream music industry is doing. We may not like their tactics; we may want to fight their tactics; but it would be foolish not to recognize that their tactics have been effective.

    If you want your coverage to be taken seriously, you can't ignore that the music industry has been successful dealing with the threat of the Internet, that they've been successful at making money off of digital downloads, and that after a decade, nobody has come up with anything that works better.

     

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  56.  
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    Carlo, Jun 7th, 2006 @ 10:04am

    elle, your reading comprehension skills are as ineffective as your argument is pointless.

    Basically because you say "nobody has come up with anything that works better" the music industry shouldn't try to improve their businesses? That's the point we've repeated again and again and again here to you -- that the music industry actually stands to gain and make their businesses more successful by changing how they operate, rather than simply maintaining their current revenues by maintaining the status quo. I'm not sure how to make that any simpler for you to understand.

    Additionally, if the industry's digital strategy has been as effective as you seem to think, why do they continue to complain about the impact of piracy on their businesses?

    It's very hard to take you seriously at all when you call us delusional, but then make the ridiculous argument that things are great because "nobody" (in your words) can figure out a better way -- something that's patently false.

     

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  57.  
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    Mike (profile), Jun 7th, 2006 @ 10:11am

    Re: Re: The BS Detector is Going Off

    Techdirt's take on the music industry, though, comes across as delusional, because the industry strategy of controlling distribution that you rail against has proven to be very effective, while the alternative approaches you advocate have not.

    Rome wasn't built in a day. We follow the trends. The trends speak loudly. You may disagree. We'll see who's right in the future, but I'm pretty comfortable with my position.

    Again, you seem to have set pretty bizarre definition of "success." The traditional industry certainly has a huge head start, but if you notice, all they do is whine about how much money they've been losing. While the other side keeps growing. Which would I put my money on? The one that's growing.

    You seem to be judging success on absolutes. I'd recommend judging success by the deltas. It generally works out to be a much more effective strategy for figuring out where things were going. Did you know, in the early years, buggy whip makers kept making an awful lot of buggy whips while the automobile market proved to be quite small? But anyone who looked would recognize the directions the two markets were going in.

    The other thing that diminishes the credibility of your views is your argument that the handful of artists that manage to make a buck giving away music are reason for the music industry to change its ways.

    Are you purposely misunderstanding what we wrote, or is it that we haven't explained it clearly? I'll take the blame and say perhaps we haven't explained it clearly.

    We do not say BECAUSE these artists have done well, everyone should follow. Not at all.

    We say that artists should follow because it expands their markets, opens up new opportunities, and does it all while treating their customers right. Historically, that's a recipe for much greater success. Going against your customers' wishes is as recipe for disaster.

    The *reason* we point to those artists is because people like you insist that there are NO business models in such a world. That's an absolute argument that we're disproving by showing there are plenty of business models -- many of which seem to allow the artists to make a lot more money. We're not saying that anyone needs to follow any particular business model, but just to prove that your assertion that there are no good business models is absolutely false.

    The reason we're doing so is to show that as the traditional method keeps running into trouble, there are additional options that will help grow the business, rather than eat away at it.

    The fact is, millions of people have tried to use Internet digital music distribution to make money for 10 years, and after all this time, nobody has come up with anything that is anywhere as successful as what the mainstream music industry is doing

    Again, this is about trends, not absolutes (think buggy whips). The traditional distribution method is starting from a high point, and getting eaten away. We're trying to help them get ready for the future. I'd rather be on the side that's growing.

    If you want your coverage to be taken seriously, you can't ignore that the music industry has been successful dealing with the threat of the Internet, that they've been successful at making money off of digital downloads, and that after a decade, nobody has come up with anything that works better.

    Wow. Talk about revisionist history. The industry's "successes" have all been fought, kicking and screaming, as people like us have to keep pointing out the way for them to go.

     

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  58.  
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    Xanthir, Jun 7th, 2006 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: blah blah blah

    To answer your question, I will point to an area of the internet where people are already making money while giving away the entirety of their creative works for absolutely free - webcomics.

    They make *very* good money offering comics for free. The comics are what they put all their creative energy into, and they make zero money off of them. They actually have to *spend* money to give them to people, since they have to maintain servers (as opposed to music piracy, which is largely done in P2P and thus doesn't cost the artist anything).

    And yet, these authors survive. Thrive, even. Penny Arcade donates generously to charity, hosts their own yearly charity, in addition to a yearly gaming event which is rivalling E3 after only two years. How? Donations and merch.

    PA is the 800-lb gorilla, of course, but tons of much smaller artists work on their comics full-time and survive just fine as well. Music can work the same way.

    If they pour all their energy into making the best damn songs that they can, then they'll be able to make money off of donations and merch. If they're good, it'll be enough to quit their day job. If not, they'll make some nice pocket money. If they still can't survive, it's because they're simply business/music failures, and that's not the internet's fault. ^_^

     

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  59.  
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    elle, Jun 7th, 2006 @ 3:09pm

    Re:

    Carlo

    It's disappointing that you feel it's necessary to substitute crassness for wit.

    Instead of mocking my reading comprehension skills, Carlo, review my comments and let me know where you think I made "the ridiculous argument that things are great because nobody can figure out a better way."

    What I have said is that the music industry's tactics have been very effective, and that given 10 years of Internet time, neither you or anybody else has yet demonstrated that they've come up with an digital music strategy that is more effective.

    It would be great, Carlo, if Techdirt really had an alternative business model for the music industry. People would love getting all their music for free, and I'm sure musicians would love all the money that you'd be giving them while you were getting rich. That would be great.

    The point you purport that Techdirt is trying to make, "that the music industry actually stands to gain and make their businesses more successful by changing how they operate, rather than simply maintaining their current revenues by maintaining the status quo", is so vague as to be meaningless.

    The point that you actually do continually try to make, that the music industry would be better off if it stopped trying to control the distribution of music using DRM and other methods, you never support with anything concrete, such as a businesses actually making real money.

    You tossed out eMusic, a gnat on iTunes' behind, but you don't seem to know if they are actually even making money. If that is the best case you can make, is it that surprising that readers would call you on it?

    You asked why the industry keeps complaining about the impact of piracy.

    You know why - it's an effective public relations tool to help the music industry manipulate the government to get what they want. You and I may not like that, but it has worked well for them.

    Techdirt's theme of mocking of the mainstream industry may play to the crowd, but, because it disregards reality, is starting to detract from your credibility and even become tiresome. That's why it's accurate to call your view delusional or, more charitably, uninformed.

    Yes - it would be cool if all music was free; but a lot of musicians have made other choices. We should respect their decision; understand that the music industry has proven itself to be tenacious and shrewd; recognize that we have to fight to protect our rights; and realize that it's a lot easier for armchair quarterbacks to come up with utopian ideas for the music industry than it is to build a real music business.

     

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  60.  
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    Carlo, Jun 7th, 2006 @ 3:32pm

    Re: Re:

    There's really little point in arguing with you further -- you simply don't seem to understand the points we keep repeating for your benefit. It's been pointed out to you more than a few times where your argument breaks down and why, so I don't feel the need to do so again, either.

    Again, as has been explained several times here, we've highlighted plenty of artists that have gained from not following a completely anachronistic, locked-down strategy, which you continue to ignore., preferring to go on and on about how successful record labels are, blissfully ignorant to the fact that, yes, they could actually grow their businesses.

    What I have said is that the music industry's tactics have been very effective, and that given 10 years of Internet time, neither you or anybody else has yet demonstrated that they've come up with an digital music strategy that is more effective.

    Your circular logic is useless. You're arguing that because no major label has decided to take a different path, that none needs to or should. And you shouldn't rely on iTunes (the invention of which, really, had little to do with the record labels) as the crux of your argument, considering it's selling music at a loss, and represents just a small part of the six percent of record label revenues that come from digital music.

    Furthermore, I've never set out to "build a real music business". However, that certainly doesn't preclude me from commenting on where other music businesses are screwing up. According to your reasoning, assuming you've never built a site like Techdirt, you shouldn't bother with pointing out what you think we're doing wrong. Hey -- maybe you're on to something.

     

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  61.  
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    elle, Jun 7th, 2006 @ 3:51pm

    Re: The BS Detector is Going Off

    Again, you seem to have set pretty bizarre definition of "success." The traditional industry certainly has a huge head start, but if you notice, all they do is whine about how much money they've been losing. While the other side keeps growing. Which would I put my money on? The one that's growing.

    You seem to be judging success on absolutes. I'd recommend judging success by the deltas.


    Mike

    You realize that industry posturing is an effective tool for the music industry to get their way with the government, right? With both Carlo and you bringing this up, you are making it look like you don't understand how effective this "whining" has been at helping the music industry shape legislation.

    By suggesting that the success of music industry businesses be judged by deltas, you seem to be acquiescing the fact that no major businesses have emerged in the last 10 years that would support Techdirt's view that music companies will benefit by removing controls on distribution of their product.

    But Mike, the deltas don't support Techdirt views either. Five years ago, nobody was making money from digital music downloads. Now it's a billion dollar industry, and all the money is going to RIAA members. That's a big delta.

    Meanwhile, you threw out eMusic, but don't seem to know if they are making any money. We'll say that's a very tiny delta.

    If you look at the music industry big picture, sales are up; music companies are destroying less merchandise because of more effective supply-chain management; they dominate digital music sales; they're making big bucks from new formats like ring-tones - it goes on and on.

    On the other hand, the big picture for DRM-free music businesses? Well - there's Magnatune.

    Don't take everything the music industry says at face value - every statement and report they make is being used to push their agenda, and they do it very well.

    Seriously, if you want Techdirt to be taken seriously when you comment about the music industry, you need to look dig a little deeper.

     

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  62.  
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    Mike (profile), Jun 7th, 2006 @ 4:25pm

    Re: Re: The BS Detector is Going Off

    You realize that industry posturing is an effective tool for the music industry to get their way with the government, right?

    Wow. You really just refuse to understand what we're saying don't you?

    It's been EFFECTIVE? It's been effective in helping them get legislation that has LIMITED their market and pissed off an awful lot of their customers.

    If that's what you think is a success, more power to you.

    By suggesting that the success of music industry businesses be judged by deltas, you seem to be acquiescing the fact that no major businesses have emerged in the last 10 years that would support Techdirt's view that music companies will benefit by removing controls on distribution of their product.

    Again, you keep harping on this point which has nothing to do with the discussion. By your logic, the buggy makers were a huge success because automobiles took some time to catch on. Have fun hanging out with the buggy whip makers.

    Five years ago, nobody was making money from digital music downloads. Now it's a billion dollar industry, and all the money is going to RIAA members. That's a big delta.

    Well, first, it's still a tiny part of the industry. Second, this is in no part due to the RIAA or DRM. The RIAA needed to be dragged kicking and screaming to support iTunes. So, it's hard to see how you can say this represents a success for the industry's viewpoint. If anything, it's a success for our viewpoint, because it was a move that dragged them closer to what we see as the real potential -- just not all the way there yet. What you describe as a success is still small, and could be MUCH, MUCH bigger if they actually embraced what consumers want.

    And, don't tell us there's no proof of this. We've pointed out plenty of examples in this thread alone of bands who are making much more money and have a larger fan base due to this.

    Meanwhile, you threw out eMusic, but don't seem to know if they are making any money. We'll say that's a very tiny delta.

    Very tiny delta? It's the second largest online music store. If you're going to claim iTunes is a huge success, you can't do that without admitting eMusic is also something of a success.

    If you look at the music industry big picture, sales are up; music companies are destroying less merchandise because of more effective supply-chain management; they dominate digital music sales; they're making big bucks from new formats like ring-tones - it goes on and on.

    Funny how you pick and choose which parts of "the big picture" you want to look at...


    Seriously, if you want Techdirt to be taken seriously when you comment about the music industry, you need to look dig a little deeper.


    I could say the same for you.

     

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  63.  
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    Carlo, Jun 7th, 2006 @ 4:33pm

    Re: Re: The BS Detector is Going Off

    Seriously, if you want Techdirt to be taken seriously when you comment about the music industry, you need to look dig a little deeper.

    There you go again, unwilling (or unable) to apply your own standards to your own comments.

    You keep belaboring the point that in 10 years blah blah nobody has created a successful business blah blah. We understand that you believe this, you can stop repeating it. Again, you're apparently completely unable to understand that even if this were true, it's absolutely stupid.

    You say that "Five years ago, nobody was making money from digital music downloads. Now it's a billion dollar industry..." Five years ago, was your argument that record labels were making plenty of money from their existing businesses, so they had no need to get into digital music at all? After all, no major businesses had emerged in the last 10 years that would support the idea that they should.

    Seriously, if you want Techdirt to be taken seriously when you comment about the music industry, you need to look dig a little deeper.

    Lectures about what we need to do to be taken seriously and what we have to do to be credible are pretty laughable, particularly coming from somebody who can't do more to defend their argument beyond misreading what we write, misrepresenting what we say and calling us delusional, irresponsible and disingenous.

     

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  64.  
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    Mike (profile), Jun 7th, 2006 @ 5:32pm

    Re: Re: The BS Detector is Going Off

    Elle,

    Something in your continued posts kept bothering me and I finally figured out what it is. You basically are saying that iTunes was a success *because* of DRM. There's nothing to support that. iTunes succeed in *spite* of DRM, not because of it.

    Our argument is that it could be a much bigger success without DRM.

    There's NOTHING to indicate that DRM has helped iTunes at all.

     

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  65.  
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    Just Another Joe, Jun 7th, 2006 @ 9:35pm

    BS and the Ipod

    I don't know if I would attribute the iTunes' success to DRM or lack of it. Honestly, I think iTunes' success is based more on the success of the iPod than anything else. Considering probably 80% of all end users probably install any software included with their hardware purchase based on the assumption if they don’t it won’t work (call it MS brainwashing or whatever), and this makes a bit of sense. One of Apple's core strengths has been to market the iPod as THE music player and the one that is COOL to have. Combine that and the fact iTunes is easy to use and give consumers access to exactly what they want at a price they are willing to pay, and you have a winning combination.

     

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  66.  
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    Louis, Jun 8th, 2006 @ 7:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: blah blah blah by Xanthir

    More obvious examples of projects/products that work, not necessarily because of (although I believe its a big factor) and not necessarily in spite of, free distribution or free use:

    The Eclipse project (www.eclipse.org), the Java programming language, not to mention numerous C/C++ compilers such as gcc or mingw, the Linux distros, OpenOffice and numerous other Open projects, many of which have brought knowledge long hoarded by a select few to the general public; such as the opengis consortium, (www.opengeospatial.org), or the OpenGL board, or the OpenMP standard or the OpenAL project, The Information transferance protocols we take for granted in our browsers, Bittorrent, Web Search Engines, News and information sites (such as Techdirt), the list just goes on and on.

    In fact, if you sit down and think about it, if not for generosity and knowledge sharing, freely given away by so many good people, the Internet would not hold the appeal that it has, and it would not have been such an astounding success. The Internet itself is an example of free distribution of information.

    I am not an music artist, but I have written many software applications, and for me that is artistry in itself. As an artist I appreciate other artists' contributions to my own art, if not for them I would not be able to achieve it, and not be able to make a living from it, therefore I donate to projects that have helped me to achieve my goals, I promote them to other developers, and whenever I see somebody using my software, I feel pride in my work.

    If you as an artist, feel the opposite, instead you feel that you somehow need to be compensated EVERY time your artistry is viewed/heard/used by another, then please, don`t distribute it. Keep it to yourself, mankind can do without it and you.

     

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  67.  
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    WATYF, Jun 8th, 2006 @ 9:46am

    blah blah blah...

    Man... apparently there's a lot to say about this. :o)

    Well, I don't have time to go through all that... but I wanted to touch on a couple of things.

    BINGO! False assumption! Do I get a prize?

    Here's the point that is generally made by everyone who argues against this: Why does anyone have to be treated like a criminal?

    It DOES NOT STOP the pirate. This should be obvious by this point. The people getting sued by the RIAA are not criminal masterminds, they're end users who got the content from someone else. They didn't rip stuff themselves because they got it off of kazaa or whatever. It sure as hell isn't stopping allofmp3.com either.

    It DOES lose the sales to the guy that wants to play it on something else. He can't use it if he buys it legitimately, so his best option is to buy it, and then download a copy of what he already owns. With all the hassle, he has to wonder why he's wasting his money, and from then on only downloads the songs he likes instead.

    The idea that people will go buy CDs if they're afraid to download them is a nice dream, but it's probably more true that people will just listen to the music they have and not buy. Not every piracy is a lost sale. The potential sales by word of mouth is pretty high in comparison.


    First off... that wasn't a false assumption (it's what goes on every day in the retail world)... and secondly, I agree with a lot of what you said.

    For the record, I'm am NOT saying that I think the RIAA's business model is a good idea, or that piracy can be "stopped" or think that my content and usage should be limited. I know every time someone disagrees with the "pirate" defenders, they are seen as being on the RIAA's "side", but that's a very ignorant, black-and-white way to view things. Just because I don't agree with Techdirts coverage of these "pirate" sites, doesn't mean I think the current model is great or that it doesn't have a whole bunch of flaws in it.

    But I do disagree with this: Not every piracy is a lost sale. The potential sales by word of mouth is pretty high in comparison. The potential sales of what? I'm talking about music (not T-shirts and concert tickets)... and when it comes to that, being able to get the song for ten cents (with no compensation for the artist) and then telling your friend to get the song for ten cents (again, with no compensation for the artist) doesn't really help the artist much. And you said it yourself, the current model sucks so bad that people have to buy the stuff, then go pirate it just so they can use it how they want (which is a lot of trouble). Well that means that less people are gonna want to do that... so word of mouth will more than likely lead to more pirating, not more legitimate sales.


    This is false. There are plenty of examples, such as the famous Freakonomics bagel man. Where he learned that trusting your customers can have tremendous added benefits to your business model.

    Apples to Oranges, man.... you're talking about a small, on-location delivery system... with digital media, we're talking about a global, completely untraceable system. For every one idiot that doesn't pay for his bagel, that translates to thousands and thousands who don't pay for the music (and the anonymity increases that amount... as we can see from modern day usage of pirated materials).

    We've linked to them a ton. If you can't do the search yourself, I'm not sure why I should do the work for you.

    I'm not exactly sure what keywords I should use to find "non-DRM delivery systems that were successful on a large scale" (oddly enough, that particular search didn't turn up any results). It's not exactly a one word topic. I figured since you write for the site, you'd have a better idea off the top of your head where I could find one.

    However, the trick is simply to recognize that the content itself acts as free promotions for services or tangible goods. Once you recognize that, it's not hard to figure out how to make a ton of money.

    For a perfect example, check out the situation in China, with Chinese musicians. In China its well known that most CDs are pirated, so the traditional business should be competely dead, according to you. In fact, it's thriving (okay, I'll dig up that one link for you: http://www.usatoday.com/tech/columnist/kevinmaney/2005-05-03-music-piracy-china_x.htm).

    What happened was that artists learned to embrace the fact that their music would be used as a promotion, even if against their wishes, and came up with plenty of other business models to support themselves.


    So... I should accept the fact that a product that I spent a very large amount of time and money on is going to be stolen, and just try to make up for it by selling t-shirts and concert tickets? That's a really odd way to look at things. Especially considering there are plenty of studio musicians (of which, I am one) and bands who do much, much more work on CD's then they'll ever do on live gigs (if any). Hell, most of the bands you hear on the radio were backed up (or completely replaced) by session players in the studio.

    And appearing in commercials isn't a viable model to support an industry. Commercials are done by the very top 1% of people in any given entertainment industry... it can't be used as a broad method to support all levels of musicians.

    It's not that the traditional business model is dead... it's that there is no respect for the law in China (I know this because I have friends in the industry that travel there regularly), so bands HAVE to do something drastic and different in order to get by at all. And again... drastic, different tactics do not support an entire industry... there will always be exceptions for a couple bands that are able to game the system and get buzz generated because they're doing something "different", but that's not gonna hold up the whole ball of wax (especially if everyone else was doing it and it wasn't "different" anymore).

    I know you think the business model just needs to "change". But this "change" is not being promoted because a better technology was invented (as is usually the case when a legacy industry goes the way of the horse and carriage). Yes, digital media being invented made this change possible, but the change itself is being promoted solely by theft, and the attitude that we should just accept that people are gonna steal all of our music and try a different business model instead. That's a pretty dangerous precedent to be setting.


    However, as to your point that you would find it "insulting" if people only want your music if they can get it for free, welcome to the market economy. Creators don't set the prices, the market does. If the product is eventually valued at free, so be it.
    I thought peope didn't want it for free? I thought, if the RIAA would just trust everyone, that people would pay for the music like good little boys and girls?

    We can't have it both ways... either we admit that people have gotten the mindset that they should get music for free (which gives the distributors of it the right, and need, to do something to limit it's distribution), or we believe that people are gonna pay for it and that the RIAA is being an idiot for using DRM.

    Again, this goes to the danger of the "welcome to the new world" argument... if the new world was formed by thieves and setup in a way that it takes away an entire revenue stream from an industry just because people got so used to stealing it, then is it really a new world that we want to be promoting?


    And I do understand what you people are saying... I know you think they just need to adopt a new business model to adapt to the inevitable changes in the market... this, of the surface, makes sense (because that's how the market has always worked)... but when you dig down to the details, it just doesn't add up. You're telling an industry that has already already saturated every form of promotional income (t-shirts, concerts, commercials, posters, you name it) that they should just give up one of their main revenue streams and focus on all that other stuff (that they've already saturated) because people are gonna steal the music anyway. That's not exactly a convincing business argument. A loss leader makes sense... paying a small portion of your overhead on keychains or product samples or free t-shirts to garner more sales makes sense... but taking a major share of your company's income (which accounts for a large portion of your expenses) and accepting that you have to give it away for free just doesn't make much sense. It makes even less sense when you translate it to movies. 200 million sure ain't gonna be made back by t-shirt sales.


    WATYF


    (dang... are we still talking about this? :oP)

     

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  68.  
    identicon
    WATYF, Jun 8th, 2006 @ 10:03am

    wow...

    If you as an artist, feel the opposite, instead you feel that you somehow need to be compensated EVERY time your artistry is viewed/heard/used by another, then please, don`t distribute it. Keep it to yourself, mankind can do without it and you.

    Wow... what an incredibly arrogant statement... thanks for speaking on behalf of all mankind, btw.

    Unfortunately, code is different than CDs... I know because I write it too, and it doesn't cost me a penny. I do it in my spare time (which is when most open source writers do it as well..seeing how they need a real job so they can eat and put a roof over their heads), and distribution is as simple as putting a file on my webhost (which costs about 7 bucks a month).

    A professional CD, on the other hand, costs a huge amount of money to make. Even my own home studio costs thousands and thousands of dollars to build up and maintain.

    Remember... apples to apples here folks. You can't compare underground, independent, side-job, coding (which has no overhead) to a professional product that costs a lot to make.


    Btw... I charge a ridiculously small amount of money for my software because I feel it's actually worth something and that all the time and effort I put into it was worth at least a little bit of money to someone. If you don't feel the same way... that's fine, but don't tell me mankind can do without me because I disagree with you... that's downright idiotic. And just so you know, I put my software out for a looooong time using the "donate" method, and I got a LOT of users... but oddly enough... go figure... I didn't get one donation. Now, I have a fair amount of users AND fair compensation for all the work I put into it.

    It's quite assinine that we've gotten to the point that, in certain industries, if you even try to make money off of your work, you're seen as a "sell-out" or a "greedy bastard". How sad that so much work and talent should now go unrewarded.

    WATYF

     

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  69.  
    identicon
    elle, Jun 8th, 2006 @ 11:47am

    WATYF - interesting discussion.

    Mike/Carlo - when your readers ask you to put up, you might consider actually putting up, instead of just chanting your mantra that uncontrolled music distribution is the best strategy for the music industry.

    When you've been challenged to come up with a company that is building a significant business based on the tactics you advocate, you've responded with squat.

    When it's pointed out that the most successful digital music business, by far, is based on DRM'd music from the mainstream music industry, you act like it's a fluke.

    When you change the subject to "deltas", and it's pointed out that the growing digital download market is dominated by the mainstream music industry, the best you've come up with is eMusic - and you don't know if they are even making any money!

    Then you resort to saying that your view is supported by a handful of bands that are promoting themselves successfully by giving away music. That's nice (nothing new, though) but where are the successful business based on this?

    Finally, when you realize that you haven't backed up your views with anything of substance, you try suggesting that I think DRM is "great", mocking my reading comprehension skills, and BS like that. That's pretty sad, and demeans your discourse.

    You guys don't appear to have any facts to support your vision for a music business utopia. You have to explain away the successes of the companies making money with digital music by saying that it's in spite of DRM and other "stupid" tactics.

    I'd like to see Techdirt provide intelligent, balanced coverage of what's happening in the area of digital music. But your coverage seems to boil down to hyping pirate sites, mocking the music industry for trying to shut them down and suggesting that cool bands that let you download some of their songs make a new music industry.

    This may play to people that just want to get all their music for free, but it doesn't qualify as thoughtful technology analysis.

     

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  70.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jun 8th, 2006 @ 12:39pm

    Re:

    elle,

    The reason we may have questioned your reading comprehension is because the points you claim we didn't respond to with substance, we did. It's all right above in the thread...

    We'll let the other readers decide for themselves who is providing substantive answers.

     

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  71.  
    identicon
    Dosquatch, Jun 8th, 2006 @ 12:58pm

    Re: blah blah blah...

    So... I should accept the fact that a product that I spent a very large amount of time and money on is going to be stolen, and just try to make up for it by selling t-shirts and concert tickets? That's a really odd way to look at things.

    You miss where he says "advertising". How, precisely, do you expect to sell t-shirts and concert tickets if nobody has ever heard you, heard of you, or has any clue who you are? You think I'm grabbing merchandise blindfolded just hoping that the artist it supports isn't a suck-ass or a whack job?

    How do you think Metallica became a big name? I forgive you if you don't know, they certainly seem to have forgotten themselves. Underground trading made them. Do you think they made any money on all of those tapes circulating? The correct answer here is "Yes", in that increased listeners, regardless of the "legality" of their copy, directly translated into increased ticket sales.

    Especially considering there are plenty of studio musicians (of which, I am one) and bands who do much, much more work on CD's then they'll ever do on live gigs (if any).

    And, as a session musician, the Big Name for whom you are backing pays you for your time and talent. You've been paid, what's the gripe? You have been compensated, at Artist's expense, to basically be anonymous. The glory (or derision) are his, as are the benefits or damages of piracy (depending on a person's POV).

    there will always be exceptions for a couple bands that are able to game the system and get buzz generated because they're doing something "different", but that's not gonna hold up the whole ball of wax

    So? The problem is? Who lied to you and told you that you were guaranteed to become a celebrity and make millions just because you can play a 6-string? There are millions of actors at all levels - local theatre, broadway, commercials - but only a handful that get paid like a Jim Carey or a Sandra Bullock. There are millions of people playing football in their backyard every chance they get, but only a handful of Joe Montanas. You are not Metallica, you are not Garth Brooks, You are not the Beatles.

    What gets me is that you just about make this point yourself, that a new business model could only support a lucky few. That's all that have ever been supported. That's all that ever will be supported. A. Lucky. Few. Anyone assuming differently is setting themselves up for some major disappointment.

    We can't have it both ways... either we admit that people have gotten the mindset that they should get music for free (which gives the distributors of it the right, and need, to do something to limit it's distribution), or we believe that people are gonna pay for it and that the RIAA is being an idiot for using DRM.

    [sigh]

    OK, listen very, very closely - this precious revenue stream of which you speak, of which the RIAA is so very protective, this so-called "legacy" business model? Bogus. All of it.

    Why, you ask? Well, good sir, allow me to tell you! The very concept of selling musical recordings is very, very recent. Even more recent than the automobile and the airplane. Edison didn't invent the phonograph until 1877, and it was nothing more than a county fair novelty for nearly 3 decades after that. The whole concept of selling musical recordings as a "business model" was totally inconcievable until sometime after the great depression, and totally impossible prior to 1877 because humans did not have the ability to record audio for playback. At all. In any capacity.

    And yet, you'll be happy to note, there were musicians prior to this happily making their livings completely unaware that it was utterly impossible to do so without an RIAA around to sell their recordings. Perhaps you've heard of a few of them, like Sousa, Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart, Vivaldi?

    Do you think anybody will remember the names of the Spice Girls 400 years from now?

    Shall I kill a new horse? The old dead one's kinda worn to a nub.

     

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  72.  
    identicon
    Dosquatch, Jun 8th, 2006 @ 1:41pm

    Re:

    Elle:

    When you've been challenged to come up with a company that is building a significant business based on the tactics you advocate, you've responded with squat.

    Google. Does not charge for web searches, web mail, Picassa, desktop search, DOZENS of products really, and has made a fortune. Ditto Yahoo. You think servers, bandwidth, and dozens of employees are cheap?

    Mainstream radio - when was the last time you were charged to listen to FUZZ one-oh-whatever, or ninety-something The ROXX?

    Mainstream television. See above.

    Pick one of over a dozen tech rags that I receive from ZDNet & brethren, not a one do I pay a cent for.

    When it's pointed out that the most successful digital music business, by far, is based on DRM'd music from the mainstream music industry, you act like it's a fluke.

    No, you misinterpret the answer. iTunes is FAR outstripped by other, legally-questionable services. iTunes is simply the most successful industry acknowledged source, not nearly the most successful overall. Then, you act like iTunes is the industry's grand idea. It is not. iTunes was fought by the RIAA tooth, nail, and lawyer before finally giving in - and if you pay attention to the news, they still aren't crazy about the whole thing. And then you act like the the second-largest industry acknowledged online music store is a fluke and disregard it out of hand. Play by your own rules.

    When you change the subject to "deltas", and it's pointed out that the growing digital download market is dominated by the mainstream music industry,

    No, the digital market is dominated by BitTorrent currently. And the "delta" to which Mike refers is... but let me back up. Do you even know what a delta is?

    A delta is a change over time. If the temperature increases from 85 to 90, that is a delta of +5.

    The deltas to which Mike refers are the dramatic increase in consumer desire for digital music ("automobiles") vs. the ever declining consumer desire for traditional product ("buggy whips"). Nevermind that sales of buggy whips are currently higher - the trend is that automobile sales are INCREASING, and buggy whip sales are DECREASING, and the RIAA (flying in the face of "evolve or die") is seeking to legislate this trend away ("prop up sagging buggy whip sales") rather than take advantage of the knowledge.

    This may play to people that just want to get all their music for free, but it doesn't qualify as thoughtful technology analysis.

    Listen, not everybody who thinks the RIAA are thuggish morons is on this train in the name of free music and movies, and for you to continually suggest otherwise is fucking insulting. I have THOUSANDS invested in my music, and thousands more invested in movies. At least a new car's worth. And not a crappy car either, I'm talking at least an entry level BMW here.

    I have more than paid for my right to throw stones. I'll thank you to watch your assumptions.

     

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  73.  
    identicon
    elle, Jun 9th, 2006 @ 2:33pm

    Dogsquatch

    Google, Yahoo, broadcasters, ZDnet, blah blah blah.

    Hmmmmm. We were talking about the music industry, remember?

    And Techdirt was trying to come up with examples of businesses that were challenging the brutish methods of the mainstream music industry. Digital music businesses that were making money following the tactics you advocate. And you were coming up with squat.

    iTunes is FAR outstripped by other, legally-questionable services. iTunes is simply the most successful industry acknowledged source, not nearly the most successful overall.

    Again, we were talking about the music BUSINESS. And iTunes is the digital music download service that's successful in terms of actually MAKING MONEY. And most of that money goes to RIAA MEMBERS.

    And the services you refer to as being more successful overall than iTunes, without actually naming? I have to assume that you think that they are successful in terms of distributing music illegally, getting sued, and never making any money.

    You might as well give up blabbing about eMusic, if you want to talk music business, unless they actually make some money.

    And you can stop with the horse and buggy comparisons, though you seem pretty enamored by that talk about "whips".

    You seem to think that the RIAA wants to fight progress. They don't.

    They want to control what you do.

    And they do control what you do.

    They want to put your nads in a vice and squeeze them until you're willing to cough up more money.

    And you seem to think, because you paid handsomely for this pleasure, that you're clever enough to be giving them advice.

     

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  74.  
    identicon
    Dosquatch, Jun 9th, 2006 @ 8:13pm

    Re:

    Hmmmmm. We were talking about the music industry, remember?

    What's your point? A successful business model is a successful business model. A particular industry's failure to engage in that business model does not make it any less successful, but may very well make them so. Any suggestion you make otherwise is a strawman, and will be ignored as such.

    And the services you refer to as being more successful overall than iTunes, without actually naming?

    Hmm?

    I have to assume that you think that they are successful in terms of distributing music illegally, getting sued, and never making any money.

    Successful in terms of getting a desired product into the hands of a desiring audience. The industry's abject refusal to deliver said product left open the door for others to do so, albeit in a less than legal manner. Their deigning to allow iTunes is weak appeasement at best, and not the brilliant business move you seem to believe. Not their brilliant business move, anyway, as they would still rather iTunes not exist.

    I do not support copyright infringement, but I will happily point to it in this case as evidence of the industry's failure to meet its customer's desires.

    And, in case you hadn't noticed, the founder of Napster is doing quite well.

    You might as well give up blabbing about eMusic, if you want to talk music business, unless they actually make some money.

    Then you start talking about an online music business that actually makes money. iTunes sells at a loss. The RIAA charges Apple more per track than Apple charges their customers. The RIAA does not bear the cost of customer service, servers, or bandwidth. Their reproduction cost in this case is ZERO. Every penny they pull from Apple is pure, unadulterated profit. The artist's royalty cut is the same as a CD, which is LESS than his royalty cut for LP or cassette, which is itself nickel and dimed so much that most artists see nothing.

    If you don't recognize greed run amok at this extreme, then I can't help you.

    And you can stop with the horse and buggy comparisons, though you seem pretty enamored by that talk about "whips".

    Grow up. Get a clue. If you don't get the point, ask for clarification. If you just refuse to get the point, the least you could do is not be childish about it. This just detracts from the merit your argument would otherwise have.

    You seem to think that the RIAA wants to fight progress. They don't.

    But they do. Fight, that is, which seems to indicate that to be what they want to do... or that they are totally inept, which doesn't otherwise seem to be the case. Assuming a desire to fight is the most charitable way to read their actions.

    They want to control what you do.

    So it seems. See "fight", above.

    And they do control what you do.

    Not in your dreams, sister.

    They want to put your nads in a vice and squeeze them until you're willing to cough up more money.

    Been there, done that, have the collection to prove it. Your point?

    And you seem to think, because you paid handsomely for this pleasure, that you're clever enough to be giving them advice.

    It's the golden rule of business - make the customer happy. Every industry that has a desire to thrive works to do this. Ignoring customer concerns and complaints is a recipe for business problems. Jumping completely to the dark side and actively abusing customers is a recipe for business demise.

    You're damned right my purchases make my opinion valid, and not because of the quantity - this would be true had I purchased but a single CD ever in my life.

    You think I'm longing for the fall of the RIAA? Not even close. I like my music collection. I would not have invested in it what I have otherwise. I want there to continue to be albums to collect.

    But here's the thing - the RIAA are nothing but glorified middlemen. Any belief otherwise is misguided. They do not make what the customers desire, the artists do. They do not feed the revenue stream, the customers do. The RIAA is actively abusing both ends of their lifeline with royalty skimming on one end and lawsuits and price fixing on the other, and if you think this is healthy behavior then you are as deluded as they.

     

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  75.  
    identicon
    Dosquatch, Jun 10th, 2006 @ 3:25pm

    Re:

    Elle:

    And you seem to think, because you paid handsomely for this pleasure, that you're clever enough to be giving them advice.

    As it seems that my opinion rings hollow and self-serving to you, allow me to direct you to the opinions of another:

    "But for the record, I do share a concern that the lawsuits have outlived most of their usefulness and that the record companies need to work harder to implemnt a strategy that legitimizes more p2p sites and expands the download and subscription pool by working harder with the tech community to get devices and music services to work better together. That is how their business will expand most quickly. The iPod is still too small a part of the overall potential of the market and its propietary DRM just bugs me. Speaking of DRM, it is time to rethink that strategy as well......... At some point, I will write more comprehensively about those years and these issues....then again, maybe not."

    The radical wingnut spouting such obviously anti-industry rhetoric? Hilary Rosen, former CEO of the RIAA. Or is she too a misinformed outsider with an overinflated notion of her own opinion?

     

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  76.  
    identicon
    KaNDii KiLL, Jul 4th, 2006 @ 12:59pm

    Re:

    our band site

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  77.  
    identicon
    Arcay, Sep 30th, 2006 @ 2:27pm

    FREE INTERNET BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY!
    NO FEE! FREE WEB SITE!!
    START YOUR OWN BUSINESS AND BE
    FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT!
    For More Info Visit Web Site:

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  78.  
    identicon
    Arcay, Sep 30th, 2006 @ 2:27pm

    FREE INTERNET BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY!

    FREE INTERNET BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY!
    NO FEE! FREE WEB SITE!!
    START YOUR OWN BUSINESS AND BE
    FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT!
    For More Info Visit Web Site:

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  79.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 6:26pm

    fuck register.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  80.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 6:28pm

    fuck fuckidy fuck fuck fuck

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  81.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 6:29pm

    oh yeah and your mom

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  82.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 6:30pm

    coward is the bomb diggidy, oh yeah and I heard he tea bagged your mom .... haha

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  83.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 6:34pm

    coward is right tea bagging your mom was the best way to get back at the money grubbing russian whores that run the site etomipro and register.com, fuck them ... fuck them in thier big nosed poor ass cock sucking mouth. And you can take that to the bank.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  84.  
    identicon
    collette, Jul 21st, 2007 @ 4:18am

    music

    was reading ur comment bout music we are an up n coming radio station on the net where will we find reasonable advertising cheaply or even free if poss why not tune in u may find a dj whose tastes equal urs hope so

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  85.  
    identicon
    Jake, Mar 2nd, 2009 @ 10:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Enlighten me

    Mike did not personally attack you, K.
    Not once.
    It's called a debate, he attacked your argument and not you.
    So unless you can provide a quote of him personally attacking YOU that I somehow missed, I call bullshit on that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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