Discussing The Music Industry Comically Speaking, With Mimi & Eunice

from the sorry,-recording-industry dept

Mike's recent post about OK Go is just crying out for some Mimi & Eunice cartoons. Rather than make him go back and edit it, I'll just illustrate it here:

Killing Music

Principles

Actually this miniseries began with this strip, which sums up an argument used by many copyright advocates:

Stealing Labor

There are lots more new Intellectual Pooperty cartoons to see - please copy them freely.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Yogi, Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 3:01am

    Excellent

    If only congressmen were intelligent enough to understand cartoons.

     

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  2.  
    icon
    Blatant Coward (profile), Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 3:34am

    I liked the one:
    Facts are so rarely cited, but the same lies get told over and over again. Misinformation wants to be free!!!

     

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  3.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 3:44am

    There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest.

    This strange doctrine is not supported by statute or common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back.


    -Robert Heinlein, Life-Line (1939)

     

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  4.  
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    Dan (profile), Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 5:01am

    C-32

    If you ever get a chance, I'd like to hear your opinion on Canada's C-32 Bill or the new Digital Copyright Bill in Canada. As a Canadian myself, it seems like I've only just stumbled across it and yet it's dangerously close to becoming law. There are some pretty interesting and game changing amendments in there, but almost no-one knows about it. Once again it seems like our conservative government is siding with corporations behind closed doors while the average Canadian has given up caring about politics altogether.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 6:12am

    Your cartoons are funny only because they show how much you miss the point.

     

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  6.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 6:16am

    Re:

    So what's the point?

     

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  7.  
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    Christopher (profile), Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 6:33am

    The first and second one are the best here, and they hit the points squarely on the head, to be blunt.

    The fact is that if these music people would go to distributing their music themselves online through various services, they would make MORE money in the long run.

    Personally, I like to try songs (use Rhapsody Unlimited to do that) then I buy online the ones that I like.... UNLESS an album is under 10 dollars for 20-25 songs.

    Then, I am willing to pony up the cash to pay for the whole album.

     

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  8.  
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    Christopher (profile), Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 6:34am

    Re:

    The only one who misses the point is you, Anonymous Coward. They actually hit all the point squarely on the head when it comes down to the brass tacks.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 6:42am

    Re: Re:

    In all cases, the same mistake is made: it assumes that there was no investment, that the "big faceless corporation" is just taking money and putting nothing on the table, no skin in the game.

    So pretty much they all follow the same error, assuming there is no investment, just taking.

    The final one is just dishonest. Nobody does that. It is just pure rhetoric, a piece of BS used to kiss up to the "give it to me free" generation.

     

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  10.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 6:58am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The big faceless corporation doesn't usually put anything on the table, or any skin in the game. In general, these people end up owing tons of money to the labels, with no way to pay it back.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 7:30am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Oh no! Culture is changing!

     

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  12.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 7:31am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Just because an investment is made does not guarantee you income. Deal with it.

    The market directs things to be one way. If you do not deliver what the market wants, you don't get paid. Just because you make an investment does not mean that the market needs to change to match what you or anyone else is offering. These companies need to change to the changing market. They are long overdue.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 7:33am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You are just angry because people don't want to buy what you are selling and who could blame them, seeing how you probably treat your "costumers".

     

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  14.  
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    Christopher Gizzi (profile), Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 7:38am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'll take the bait and try to explain to Anon what's obvious to others.

    The first cartoon talks about how fans want to reward the artist - and only the artist - for their work. Huge corporations are usually the "enemy" of the youth where as music one way to rebel against the establishment. When denied the ability to choose between supporting the artist or the evil corporation, they choose the artist. But if the only choice is the corporation or nothing, nothing is the lesser of the evil here.

    In second cartoon, the she's talking about the hypocrisy of the generalized artist and record label proponent. The fan wants to give a small fee as a token of appreciation - a direct contribution to the artist. But that token of appreciation is rejected and the performer asks that they buy a CD instead even though they earn less money that way. This, of course, costs more than the fan is willing to give. In that situation everyone loses. The fan doesn't support the artist. And the artist earns nothing.

    And lastly, my favorite of the three showcased here (but there are many more good ones at her website), cuts at the heart of the establishment society that seems pervasive in the content industries. The gall in the assumption that you're automatically owed something is confusing at best and simply arrogant at worst. If I never asked you to record a song, that means I don't want it. And why should I be forced to pay for it? Everyone understands some people get into the music business to make money - no one is saying they shouldn't earn a fantastic living. But the assumption that you're automatically owed money for a piece of work is preposterous - especially since some people didn't want that in the first place. And to call someone a thief for not paying is just crazy - which is what people are called when they choose not to pay for something they didn't want in the first place. Its not rhetoric at all.

    There is no assumption by anyone in this audience that a previous investment wasn't made. But there is no way to force a fan to behave to the limited business model of yesteryear. And there is no reasonable justification for forcing someone to pay for something they simply didn't ask for. It sounds like extortion if you put it that way.

    But since you didn't rebuff the cartoons with specifics, I can't see your side of the story. Come back with logical observation before you blindly and cowardly assume everyone is just "taking."

     

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  15.  
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    Joe Nits, Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 8:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    ... no one is saying they shouldn't earn a fantastic living.

    Maybe I'm slicing your statement too fine, but I AM saying that they shouldn't earn a fantastic living.

    I am saying that everyone deserves a chance at earning a fantastic living. Again, I'll freely take any comments arguing that I'm being a little too semantic about it, but I think there's an important distinction there.

    The best markets offer people opportunities to succeed, and that implies more than just effort, because sometimes even the best efforts fail. It would be great if that wasn't the case, but it's a reality to acknowledge.

     

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  16.  
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    Christopher Gizzi (profile), Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 8:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That's one hell of a knife you have there. :-)

    I probably should have said "can" or "have the chance to" make a fantastic living.

    But where I was going with it was, in an ideal world, everyone should be making a fantastic living - "fantastic" being a relative figure that suggests more than average without being obscene. But "should" doesn't mean "will" or "obliged." Something I could have been better at explaining.

    But my intent wasn't to ignore the fact that not everyone can or will earn a fantastic living from creating and I'm you pointed out that distinction because its something the entitlement society we discuss here feels differently about.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Joe Nits, Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 8:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    All is good :)

    I was pretty sure we were coming from the same place, I just wanted to clarify the point in my own words.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 8:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    First cartoon again is meaningless. The "faceless corporation" is a strawman in this. The artist could sell their CDs on the spot, produced by the "faceless corporation" and nobody would know the difference. There is no restriction. It is pure bunk.

    Second, well, again - They band might make less money on theory, but in reality, out of that 25 cents they probably spent $1 to get there if they self produced and self-manage and self distribute. Is there really any more money?

    Third again is a strawman, because is shows only the "you are stealing" as the only alternative. The real alternative is that you aren't willing to be a consumer of something commercial, you shouldn't also expect to get the rights to it.

    Each one of the toons is a nice exaggeration that plays well to a certain group, but just as certainly only reflects reality in narrow cases.

     

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  19.  
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    Ron Rezendes (profile), Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 9:50am

    Double handed face palm

    Reading your posts are an exercise in futility and frustration!

    I'll simplify for the sake of convenience and generalize broadly since specific facts in the real world around you seem difficult to grasp.

    Apparently, here in the Jetsons-like modern age of business your are stuck in the yester-world of the Flintstones.

    You are so myopic! I wonder, if you were to wear glasses, do you think you might only need a single lens since your eyes would almost have to share the same socket to have such a narrow view of everything?

    I hereby dub thee..."AC Cyclops"

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Doug, Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 9:54am

    Usually they don't even get the dime

    Cartoon #2 is funny, but the real irony is that musicians usually don't get ANY money from CD sales. In a standard recording contract all expenses are deducted from the musician's royalties before any actual cash is paid out. This includes production, manufacturing, packaging, shipping, warehousing, advertising, promo tour expenses, accounting -- you name it -- which adds up to a lot more than a dime per CD. Even the most popular musicians seldom get any royalty money from CD sales unless they manage to negotiate a better contract. The real benefit of releasing CDs is exposure, which leads to more fans, bigger gigs and higher performance fees, which is where musicians actually make their income -- just like they have for thousands of years, record companies or no record companies.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Doug, Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 10:22am

    Re: Anonymous blatherer

    The artist could sell their CDs on the spot, produced by the "faceless corporation" and nobody would know the difference. -- The difference would be that the artist would still control the rights to the music on the CDs. With a record contract, a musician can never again perform any of those songs in any venue that's being recorded (such as on a TV show), unless the record company grants permission and gets paid a fee. Second, well, again - They band might make less money on theory, but in reality, out of that 25 cents they probably spent $1 to get there if they self produced and self-manage and self distribute. Is there really any more money? -- As per my other comment, bands don't tend to make significant money from CD sales, either self-produced or record-company-produced. From a money standpoint CDs are just a marketing tool (unless you're a record company). Third again is a strawman, because is shows only the "you are stealing" as the only alternative. The real alternative is that you aren't willing to be a consumer of something commercial, you shouldn't also expect to get the rights to it. -- "Should" is a funny word. It can mean morally, logically, legally or some other thing. "Should" someone expect to pay money to be a consumer of advertising? Probably not. "Should" someone get permanent control over the rights to something because they sell copies of it for a while? In my opinion, no.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 10:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Culture hard!

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 11:14am

    Re: Re: Anonymous blatherer

    The difference would be that the artist would still control the rights to the music on the CDs.

    That is right, if they self recorded, self published, self printed, and self distributed it. But for most artists, they cannot afford the time or money required to produce a high end recording, and so the question would be "something or nothing" for many of them.

    The question always is: Without the risk capital to make it happen, would it ever happen?

     

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  24.  
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    RadialSkid (profile), Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 12:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    First cartoon again is meaningless. The "faceless corporation" is a strawman in this. The artist could sell their CDs on the spot, produced by the "faceless corporation" and nobody would know the difference. There is no restriction.

    Apart from the fact that the "faceless corporation" would still take all of the money from the CD sold and still leave the artist with 10 cents...only, of course, after they sold about 800,000 copies or so. Prior to that, that same "faceless corporation" gets ALL of it.

    Second, well, again - They band might make less money on theory, but in reality, out of that 25 cents they probably spent $1 to get there if they self produced and self-manage and self distribute.

    Then they need to learn how to budget more effectively. We live in the era of high-quality home recording equipment and internet distribution. ANYONE can cut a great-sounding album for peanuts today...hell, all I ever listen to is self-released music through Jamendo, and it sounds a hell of a lot better than the commercial rubbish that some producer gets about $80,000 to "engineer" on a gigantic studio console that was probably built 30 years ago.

    The real alternative is that you aren't willing to be a consumer of something commercial, you shouldn't also expect to get the rights to it.

    If only it were so simple. As I've said, I only listen to Creative Commons licensed music I get from Jamendo. Yet the record labels, "performance rights" organizations, and trade groups have launched an assault recently on Creative Commons, claiming that musicians shouldn't be allowed to release digital music for free, on the grounds that it "devalues" their own commercial content.

    In other words, it wasn't enough for them to torture the concept of "copyright" to the ridiculous lengths that they have, now they also want take real alternatives away from the musicians who don't have entitlement complexes.

     

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  25.  
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    J.J. (profile), Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 12:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Anonymous blatherer

    "The question always is: Without the risk capital to make it happen, would it ever happen?"

    Sure it would, it does all the time, it's called Indie bands and Indie labels.

     

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  26.  
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    J.J. (profile), Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 1:02pm

    Re: Usually they don't even get the dime

    Well no, for starters the label doesn't front any money, it's a LOAN to the band, and royalties etc will only be paid after that loan is paid off. look at it as the SMS loan industry for musicians, a rare few are stupid enough to disregard the interest rates, the irony is that those are the ones the 'industry' is touting as examples.

     

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  27.  
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    J.J. (profile), Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 1:04pm

    Off Topic.
    Welcome Nina! *grovels in her presence*

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    McBeese, Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 8:12pm

    @Christoper Gizzi

    This is a joke, right?

    "The first cartoon talks about how fans want to reward the artist - and only the artist - for their work. Huge corporations are usually the "enemy" of the youth where as music one way to rebel against the establishment. When denied the ability to choose between supporting the artist or the evil corporation, they choose the artist. But if the only choice is the corporation or nothing, nothing is the lesser of the evil here."

    First of all, bands are not forced to sign with a label. Every band has the option to follow the indie path if they choose. If you like the artist, you should recognize that they have chosen the path that they are on and you should support the band by supporting their choice.

    Second, the choice you describe is NOT support or not-support, it is support or HURT by taking for free without the right to do so.


    "In second cartoon, the she's talking about the hypocrisy of the generalized artist and record label proponent. The fan wants to give a small fee as a token of appreciation - a direct contribution to the artist. But that token of appreciation is rejected and the performer asks that they buy a CD instead even though they earn less money that way. This, of course, costs more than the fan is willing to give. In that situation everyone loses. The fan doesn't support the artist. And the artist earns nothing."

    ...and the douche bag fan then decides to torrent the material for free. That is not a fan, that is a douche-bag. Buy it or don't buy it that is your choice. Don't be a douche-bag file-sharer.

    "And lastly, my favorite of the three showcased here (but there are many more good ones at her website), cuts at the heart of the establishment society that seems pervasive in the content industries. The gall in the assumption that you're automatically owed something is confusing at best and simply arrogant at worst. If I never asked you to record a song, that means I don't want it. And why should I be forced to pay for it? Everyone understands some people get into the music business to make money - no one is saying they shouldn't earn a fantastic living. But the assumption that you're automatically owed money for a piece of work is preposterous - especially since some people didn't want that in the first place. And to call someone a thief for not paying is just crazy - which is what people are called when they choose not to pay for something they didn't want in the first place. Its not rhetoric at all."

    If you don't want it, then don't buy it and nobody will call you a thief. I DON'T SEE THE PROBLEM! BUT if you don't want it and you TAKE IT anyway without paying for it, what's up with that? I THOUGHT YOU DIDN'T WANT IT? If you take it without paying for it and then likely torrent it to others I will absolutely call you a thief and a douche bag because that's what you are! Yes, yes, I know... Mike will squeal that it isn't theft... it's infringement... but you're still a thief and a douche bag at heart if you take something that you have no right to take, in my opinion.

     

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  29.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), Dec 23rd, 2010 @ 3:42am

    Re: @Christoper Gizzi

    I THOUGHT YOU DIDN'T WANT IT?

    Cool down on the caps and think again. People may want it but probably not at the price you want. Tough luck.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Alexander, Dec 23rd, 2010 @ 3:48am

    @McBeese and various others

    I love how people can go "down to brass tacks" and just forget 90% of the rest of the problem in the process, way to find the roots man!

    McBeese.. just..no *hits you with a newspaper* bad dog, very bad.

    And all the others who support this cartoon.. no.. just..no *hits with a newspaper*

    *sighs*

    The system we have right now works. Bands sign up to record labels, get produced, get music videos, get known, get mainstream and thus provide entertainment for ALL people: those who support mainstream and those who have an inate need to be against mainstream, thus seeking out alternative bands. If the whole world were made out of indie bands we'd have nothing to listen to but our local bed'n'breakfast comic relief band.
    People download music and that is a GOOD thing. If you think it's a bad thing you aren't "down to brass tacks" you're down to the slightly silver ones, a world where everyone is an honest joe and nice and everything.
    Copying music will ALWAYS prevail. Hell even LPs were getting copied.

    Downloading gets the name out even to the people who'd never even think about buying the PC or listening to the band in the first place.

    The free advertisement and the avaibility of modern music has been a blessing to everyone concerned. Sure the "faceless, evil coorperations" lost some money in the process but as it is quite evident: they still make WAY enough of it. Even in a big recession.

    We summise:
    Evil coorperations: goooood, bring the name of the band out, make music videos, give bands money to produce more music.

    Downloading: gooood, brings publicity to even those who wouldn't buy it in the first place (which by my rough estimate is 99.999999% of the downloaders, 15 for a CD that's crap is not worth it).

    What we have when we "get down to brass tacks" is that the current system BLEEDING WORKS. Changing anything in it in a big way would just upset everyone involved (see DRM)

     

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  31.  
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    RadialSkid (profile), Dec 23rd, 2010 @ 9:05am

    Re: @Christoper Gizzi

    I love how shills equate any criticism of the industry with an apologia for piracy.

    "You're either with us or against us! And if you have any problem with the music industry's heavy-handed, dishonest tactics, it must mean you're a pirate!"

    I don't buy commercial music, nor do I download it for free. If you produce commercial music, that should make me every bit as bad, if not worse, than those who do download it for free...since you're ENTITLED to make a living at it, and all...

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    monkyyy, Dec 23rd, 2010 @ 5:16pm

    Re:

    that man was before his time hopefully only by 100 or 2 years and not a 1000 or 2

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    really, Dec 23rd, 2010 @ 6:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Agreed with Anonymous Coward. Most musicians have no money and there are very few self recorded self produced records that are very good at all. When musicians sign with a label this is usually what they fork out.

    recording- $25000.00 for 10 tracks
    Mastering- $5000.00
    Publicist- $15000.00
    Online Marketing and Licensing agent- $5000.00
    Pressing the Cd's- $1500.00 per 1000.00
    Radio Campaign-$4000.00-$7500.00

    Total 59000.00 without even touring. because whats the point in touring if no one knows who you are. It's a misconception that bands can tour nonstop not making any money and make it. The real travesty is that bands and musicians have turned into the customer. There are so many scams out there trying to "help" indie bands. It's a farce. There is only a couple legitimate indie outlets that aren't all about making money off the bands.


    I don't care what any of you say. You like what the faceless corporation feeds you. If they didn't put the money into the bands you would have never heard of them period. I don't think anyone has the answer. Let's face it music is dying. Until someone can come up with a way to sort through the crap bands and get them paid it will continue to be steady decline.

     

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  34.  
    icon
    RadialSkid (profile), Dec 24th, 2010 @ 11:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I don't care what any of you say.

    Then why should anybody pay any attention to your post? Especially considering all of your arguments were addressed in my post directly above yours.

    Music is thriving...it's the recording industry that's dying. Good riddance.

     

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


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