Jonathan Margulies alerts us to an article in Fortune that discusses the insane lengths the major record labels in the US go to in the process of trying to pick which songs to promote -- while trying to keep the songs from leaking. Basically, they burn all sorts of CDs for label execs -- each with unique watermarks, to try to keep anyone from leaking the song (and to be able to track it back to them, if the song leaks). The article suggests that the mistake here is in burning CDs, rather than distributing the same content digitally... but as Margulies points out in his submission, the bigger issue is even going through that whole watermarking process in the first place. What does it do? Stop a song from getting leaked a week earlier? Meanwhile bands that are smart and don't want to waste a ton of money are leaking their own music, recognizing that it builds up buzz. The old record labels aren't struggling because of piracy. They're struggling because they're wasting tons of money on useless things like stamping out specially watermarked CDs for execs within their own company.
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