RIAA's Cary Sherman: We Really Just Want To Give Consumers What We, Er, They Want

from the help-us-help-you-help-us dept

Last week on his show Keen On, Andrew Keen wrapped up a series of music-industry-themed interviews (which included BitTorrent's Bram Cohen and Techdirt's new friend David Lowery) by talking to RIAA CEO Cary Sherman. The conversation is pretty tame, and Keen mostly just lets Sherman speak his piece, so I wanted to take a closer look at his answers and respond to some of his claims. This is not a complete transcript, but the first part of the interview is embedded below—in the next post I'll look at part two, in which Sherman answers some questions from Keen's viewers.

One thing is clear: Sherman has been following the public reaction to things like his diatribe in the New York Times, and he knows that everyone is sick of hearing him whine about infringement. He actually makes it through one-and-a-half semi-sincere answers before even using the word "piracy"—but after that it's virtually all he talks about. First, though, Keen simply asks him if he thinks the new ecosystem is better or worse for musicians. There are a lot of problems with his response:

It obviously depends on where you sit. For young, emerging artists they have more of an opportunity to get out in front of the public in ways that were never before imaginable. How much money they'll be able to make doing so is a serious question. Established artists are definitely doing worse than they used to be doing, and artists who are signed by labels are not getting the opportunities that they used to get when they were signed by a label: the marketing, the promotion, the exposure and of course sales.

So he apparently admits that the labels have failed at their job, and are now no longer even trying—and that artists will get more exposure going it alone since the labels provide no opportunities. I can't say I disagree. But the catch is the money, which he's sure isn't there:

So there are more income streams, but those income streams are much, much reduced. I think the Future of Music Coalition recently came out with a study showing that most artists are not benefiting substantially from these new revenue streams. And certainly if you look at the raw data from the industry, we're less than half the size that we were in 1999, we have way less than half the employment, fewer artists on the roster and so on and so forth.

Wait, does he mean the highly optimistic FMC study in which they concluded that "overall, digital technologies seem to be having a positive impact on musicians' earning capacity"? It's a shame Keen didn't push back on this point, because for Sherman to present that study as evidence that artists are worse off today is flagrantly dishonest. As for his "raw data", that says a lot about the failures of his corner of the industry (he's only talking about SoundScan sales and major label employment, glossing over the fact that the Big Six became the Big Three in that timespan) and very little about the overall situation for musicians. Next, Keen asks him why he thinks this is happening:

There are always a lot of factors involved in anything like that. There has obviously been a proliferation of new media and therefore competition from other media, but the fact is that more music is being consumed than ever before, just less and less of it is being paid for. I think we're now at a point where about 35% of music acquired is actually being paid for, so the rest is being taken for free.

I have no idea how Sherman arrived at that figure, but I'm a lot more than 35% sure it's bunk. I imagine the percentage of music that gets paid for is much, much lower—and always has been. With radio, television, music played in shops and in public spaces, free shows at bars, music played for friends, music played at parties, guitars strummed around a campfire and everything else in this music-saturated world, only a minuscule fraction of music consumed is actually paid for. Music is not, and never has been, a simple commodity. Sherman continues, paying lip service to all the market factors that have contributed to the decline in recorded music sales, and you can feel the tension building until he finally hits the p-word:

The fact is that piracy has had an enormous, really a devastating impact on the industry, because paying for music has become voluntary. It's a tip jar. If you don't want to pay for it you don't need to because you can always find online any of the music that you want. We're trying to come up with ways to offer the consumers the content that they want in ways that they want it, conveniently, reasonably priced, so that they will get it legitimately and compensate the creators. That is the number one anti-piracy strategy, which is basically offering consumers what they want.

That second part would be great, if the RIAA actually did any of that. Instead, time and time again we see them taking a sue-first, negotiate later strategy with new music services, and pushing legislation like SOPA/PIPA that puts a huge burden on innovators. Sherman then makes some comments about the businesses that profit from infringement, and Keen asks him to elaborate:

Megaupload is a great example. They were basically monetizing all the content that was stored in their lockers that they would distribute to people who would click on links all over the internet to get that content for free. Kim Dotcom was earning millions and the creators were earning nothing at all.

While it's possible, even likely, that Megaupload broke the law and some of the charges against them will stick, the assertion that creators were "earning nothing" is not quite true. Creators who embraced Megaupload were benefitting from it and were indeed earning money through its bounty payments for popular uploads. That's why we saw both well-established artists like Busta Rhymes and indie artists like Dan Bull take Megaupload's side after it was shut down.

Keen then asks if there are any legal businesses profiting by monetizing the content of artists, which elicits a bizarre answer from Sherman:

There's no question that all the companies that are providing access to music are benefiting in some way, legal companies, and that's entirely appropriate. ISPs have done very well by the availability of music online, because it has created greater demand for broadband access, and as a result they have now penetrated to the 66-67% level of US households, because they want access to the content that the entertainment industry offers. But that's perfectly fine.

Well, I suppose it's good to know that Sherman approves of broadband. As far as I know, the RIAA has never pushed the kind of "piracy tax" on ISPs that some organizations around the world have proposed. I guess they don't plan to start now. Of course, his answer also exposes the hubris of the legacy entertainment industry: he thinks their content is the only content anyone wants, and that they alone are responsible for broadband adoption.

Eventually Sherman can't stall any longer and starts to talk about enforcement, which, it quickly becomes clear, is all he really cares about. He actually defends their past strategy of suing file-sharers, saying that it was successful in spreading awareness and curtailing the growth of peer-to-peer networks, but then quickly reverses and says that since P2P is growing once again, it necessitated the five- six-strike plan they recently negotiated with ISPs (and the government). It's amusing to watch Sherman try to describe a consumer-punishment plan in a way that sounds "consumer-friendly":

So we did a deal with ISPs under which ISPs would send notices that we send to the ISP that a user on their network is infringing, they will send a copyright alert to the user and there will be educational materials associated with it, FAQs, all the information about how we got the information, whether they should check whether they have a wireless router that's unsecured, all that sort of stuff. And after awhile if they continue to persist in this behavior, over four and five and six notices, there might be some mitigation measures imposed like throttling bandwidth or something like that, up to the individual ISP. But the idea is to, in a very consumer friendly way, educate the public about what copyright is all about, the consequences of violating copyright, and the long term importance of preserving the content that people want.

Thankfully, Keen pushes back a bit on this point and notes that most people don't consider the RIAA to be very consumer-friendly at all, especially not after they tried to push SOPA on everyone. He asks Sherman if he thinks they can convince people otherwise. It's the last question, and I'll leave you with Sherman's answer in full, because it's a doozie. He immediately jumps to the unrelated topic of counterfeiting, incorrectly calls boots and batteries "copyrighted products", and then, having said absolutely nothing about how SOPA would help musicians, claims that's who we needed it for. For some reason, he chooses to end the interview with the random assertion that aspiring musicians are giving up and becoming lawyers (which is funny because the first person who comes to mind is Bill Patry—no friend of the RIAA's cause). With that in mind, enjoy:

For one thing, just because we don't want to get back into SOPA, but SOPA was not just about copyrighted music or movies, it was about counterfeit products too. It was designed to protect American consumers from counterfeit products like pharmaceuticals, which are actually being sold to American consumers from fraudulent websites on the internet. There are every kind of copyrighted product, from boots to Rosetta Stone language materials to things that could actually endanger your lives like batteries that could blow up and so on. So this really was designed to protect consumers against counterfeit websites that were operating from overseas and selling into the US market. Did we lose some consumer trust? Absolutely. What happened with SOPA has created a lot of skepticism on the part of the online community that were interested in consumer welfare, but it all depends on how you look at consumer welfare. We think that consumer welfare is not getting a product for free, but getting the best possible product you can. And if our artists make music that people want, it's a win-win for everyone, and we think that the long-term consumer interest is in creating an ecosystem in which there is compensation for creators so that they can be paid for their craft to go on making music. I don't know how many would-be musicians have gone to law school instead because they've seen that their opportunities in the music industry have been disappearing with every new illegal downloading technology. But it's our job to somehow create an ecosystem that makes consumers happy, makes creators happy and works for everybody.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:38am

    they think "educating" people about copyright will make them go "oh gee wiz, I didn't know I was infringing, I'll never do it again after seeing this."?

    The truth is, seeing a copyright takedown makes a person go "damn meddling useless government" and more apt to either do it again or go find places that the RIAA/MPAA doesn't touch.

    Like 4Chan.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:39am

    "...I think we're now at a point where about 35% of music acquired is actually being paid for, so the rest is being taken for free."


    I have no idea how Sherman arrived at that figure, but I'm a lot more than 35% sure it's bunk. I imagine the percentage of music that gets paid for is much, much lower—and always has been. With radio, television, music played in shops and in public spaces, free shows at bars, music played for friends, music played at parties, guitars strummed around a campfire and everything else in this music-saturated world, only a minuscule fraction of music consumed is actually paid for.

    You should focus on what he wrote: "...music acquired...". Acquired is different than experienced. You don't acquire the elevator music.

    You then set about lumping his characterization of music acquired into the entire universe of music.

    This is why it is so hard to take you seriously. You deliberately misrepresent the statements of others, then characterize those statements as bunk.

     

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  3.  
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    hfbs (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:45am

    The RIAA lying through their teeth? I'm *SHOCKED*

     

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  4.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:46am

    Re:

    You then set about lumping his characterization of music acquired into the entire universe of music.

    Then perhaps Mr. Sherman should stop lumping the entire universe of music under his purview as head of a trade group representing nothing more than a few recording companies.

     

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  5.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:48am

    Re:

    I know, right?

    I mean, why would they do something like that?

    Aren't they a respectable business?

     

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  6.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:51am

    Re:

    You should focus on what he wrote

    Actually, Sherman didn't write this, he said it, and Mike copied from the transcript. Just wanted to point out that you are semantically incorrect...like you do when you don't have a good point.

    This is why it is so hard to take you seriously. You deliberately misrepresent the statements of others, then characterize those statements as bunk.

    Right back at ya!

     

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  7.  
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    Torg (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:53am

    Every time he said "consumer welfare", by brain replaced "welfare" with "warfare".

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:57am

    Re: Re:

    You mean Leigh. This wasn't Mike's article. :)

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:01am

    RIAA's Cary Sherman is a . . . .

    R.I.A.A. Real Ignorant Asshole of America

     

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  10.  
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    Designerfx (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:05am

    that wasn't even an apology

    That wasn't even an acknowledgement *or* apology.

    that was a "please don't pay attention to my lobbying away your rights and denying facts or doublespin". Pretty much what you'd expect from any lobbyist or politician for microsoft or any other unethical organization.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:06am

    Educate

    Implication, we have no brains or right to have a difference of an opinion, to decide for ourselves how WE feel about a given subject,

    its they're way or the highway,

    Educate in this instance sounds a lot like dictatorship

     

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  12.  
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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:09am

    Re: Re:

    ...like you do when you don't have a good point

    That and picking some tangential, usually tiny and out of context part of the article to rave about while carefully missing/avoiding the point as well as ignoring any calls for factual evidence of whatever it being raved about.

    Actually the style is so similar to the quoted inserts of the piece I'd be somewhat tempted to wonder if they are the same person.

     

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  13.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:12am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Well, the AC was probably thinking 'Mike' as he wrote his rebuttal. 35%* of them actually check the actual author before they make comments. Regardless, they think all the Techdirt writers are really just Mike using a different name.

    *Basis of statistic is because I say so.

     

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  14.  
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    Jeremy Lyman (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:13am

    Re:

    Yes, please educate consumers about Copyright. Tell them that Copyright is fundamentally about withholding a work from Public ownership for a limited time. Tell them about how many works have been stolen from the Public through retroactive modifications to the original Copyright agreement.

    Tell them how many works are slated to skirt Public ownership for decades to come based on unilateral back-room deals that expand Copyright duration and penalty with virtually no concern for the rights of the Public.

    Get consumers good and pissed-off about how much money big labels have made by stealing from the Public and scamming contracted artists. Then point them in the direction of the morons who have the audacity to publicly gripe to their bought-and-paid-for Congressperson because they are slowly realizing that the world doesn't actually need gate-keeping middlemen any more.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:15am

    My question is...

    When is he going to learn that by speaking publicly he isn't helping the RIAA or their position at all, so he should just keep his mouth shut. Oh wait this is the RIAA we are talking about. I almost forgot. Their arrogance and over-inflated sense of self worth means that they can't help but shoot themselves in the foot.

     

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    weneedhelp (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:23am

    He says it all right here

    "ISPs have done very well by the availability of music online, because it has created greater demand for broadband access, and as a result they have now penetrated to the 66-67% level of US households, because they want access to the content that the entertainment industry offers."

    Yes, the universe and everything created in it was because of the music industry.


    Talk about entitlement issues.

     

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  17.  
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    Richard (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:26am

    Re:

    You should focus on what he wrote: "...music acquired...". Acquired is different than experienced. You don't acquire the elevator music.


    I don't think you - or he know what acquiring music actually means. Would that be because it doesn't actually mean anything at all? Or would it be that it is a word that you can say - and then twist afterwards if you are called out - like you just did.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I wasn't being critical of you. I was just pointing it out as an observation. It's an easy mistake to make - on par with a typo that has absolutely no bearing on whether your point was valid or not.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:35am

    " glossing over the fact that the Big Six became the Big Three in that timespan"

    Actually, he doesn't gloss over it at all. What you are missing is that the reduction in the number of major label companies is in direct relation to a loss of business. You know the idea Mike, you studied it in your first year classes. When there isn't enough money for all of the players in a market to be profitable, some of them will go out of business or get merged into larger, profitable entities.

    I would say more than your wax and polish cherry picking of numbers pretty much glosses over reality. But hey, it's just an opinion, no better than yours.

     

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  20.  
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    Herr ZahnbürsteSchnurrbart, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:38am

    We really just want to help Jews the way we, er, they want.

     

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  21.  
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    Josef Anvil (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:38am

    Wow

    "So this really was designed to protect consumers against counterfeit websites that were operating from overseas and selling into the US market."

    OMG yes. Thank you, thank you. We need protection from counterfeit websites. I hate it when I end up on google1.com or facebooks.com. I only want real websites on my interwebs.

     

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  22.  
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    Machin Shin (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:38am

    This is one of the big problems I see with the way our government operates. Most people don't really want any now laws. They look around and there might be one or two things that bothers them but general they don't care about getting a new law about anything. As a result they just kick back and don't do anything.

    It makes perfect sense after all, if you don't really want a new law then you don't need to get active and do anything. The problem comes that you then get these guys up there in Washington shouting how we need new laws. The idiots in charge of course then only hear those yelling for more laws because those who think things are fine how they are have staid home.

     

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  23.  
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    Josef Anvil (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:41am

    Musicians quitting

    Of course the musicians are going to law school. They want to represent Intellectual Ventures and cash in on a software patent settlement.

    Sue for millions then relax and make music. It's the new music business model.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:43am

    Quote:
    It obviously depends on where you sit. For young, emerging artists they have more of an opportunity to get out in front of the public in ways that were never before imaginable. How much money they'll be able to make doing so is a serious question. Established artists are definitely doing worse than they used to be doing, and artists who are signed by labels are not getting the opportunities that they used to get when they were signed by a label: the marketing, the promotion, the exposure and of course sales.

    Translation: Thousands of others musicians now have a way of collecting money from the same pool of money as we did, since that happened despite the growth in absolute reveneues for the entire ecosystem of music the margins for everybody got lower because there is more competition for the same money.

    Quote:
    So there are more income streams, but those income streams are much, much reduced.

    Translation: We don't know how to collect from thousands of little places, we only know how to collect from a few places, we are not capable of doing what platforms like Google, Apple, Amazon do.

     

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  25.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:44am

    A well constructed assembly of verbiage amounting to just about nothing from Mr Sherman in response to a collection of slo-pitch questions.

    It's not that I expected anything better (or worse) but, really, he said nothing of any consequence. Not all P2P activity on the Internet is "infringing" on music. Lots, if not most of it, is perfectly legal and legitimate between individuals, companies and individuals and between companies. (Not to mention government departments and all of that stuff.)

    By the end I was starting to feel that I was in the spin-dry cycle of a washing machine.

    And let's be clear here. There are numbers like 35% grabbed out of thing air, that established artists are doing worse than they used to be (couldn't be because of changes of taste or that some or most of these established artists are releasing crap these days) and, finally, for a moment, the acknowledgement that new and emerging artists can and do gain exposure and promotion from the Web and download sites that they couldn't get any other way. Particularly as RIAA companies stopped doing any real promotion work back in the days when "classic rock" got adopted.

    Always someone else's fault not the RIAA's. But, then again, if like the RIAA and MPAA you keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results you're insane.

    Nice fella though. Wouldn't trust him near my wallet but I'd invite him to a BBQ. As long as he didn't say a word on this topic!

     

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  26.  
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    gorehound (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:45am

    RIAA Go Away !!!
    I will support the INDIE and I will never buy anything from the RIAA Artists/Labels.
    FOREVER !!!

     

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  27.  
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    DannyB (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:46am

    Re: 35%

    It seems to me that 100% of the music I acquire from Amazon is paid for. (Sorry, don't use iTunes because its incompatible with Android.)

    100% of the streaming content I watch on Netflix is paid for.

    Oh, wait. What about the commercials I skip on my TiVo. (*gasp*) I should be ashamed of myself.

     

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  28.  
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    DannyB (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:49am

    Re: He says it all right here

    The Internet had existed for a long time. It had grown and grown. It was literally exploding PRIOR to the start of Napster. Yet somehow, it is their precious content that is responsible for the internet.

     

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  29.  
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    DannyB (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:52am

    Re:

    So the shrinking of the dinosaurs that refuse to embrace the future is a bad thing how again?

    Meanwhile the music industry is thriving.

    At the same time the dinosaurs will continue and consolidate three major labels into zero major labels -- that should be really profitable!

     

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  30.  
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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:53am

    Re: He says it all right here

    Yes, the universe and everything created in it was because of the music industry.
    Clearly the man has never seen Avenue Q, which has what is probably a rather more accurate take on the growth of the internet......

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:56am

    Re:

    It is called consolidation and it is not directly related to "loss" of anything it has many causes.

    Now expending by consumers are soft for plastic discs that is the market that shrunk and will continue to do so it will fallow the same bell curve that any other obsolete technology fallowed. Vinyl too was reduced to nothing, I didn't see those people complaining then.

    The real problem appears to be that "labels" don't know how to be Apple's or Facebook's, they don't have the infra-structure or know-how to be anything else and so they are mighty close to being reunited with the Dodo. But that is nobody's problem and should not be nobody else responsibility.

    What do kids learn in school these days?

     

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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:59am

    Re:

    You know the idea Mike
    You do know that when you rant against Mike when he didn't even write the article you look even more clueless than usual, right?

     

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  33.  
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    Jay (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 12:00pm

    Re:

    Less demand for *labels* does not represent less demand for *artists*

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 12:03pm

    Re:

    "There are numbers like 35% grabbed out of thing air, that established artists are doing worse than they used to be..."

    Now now, they probably do know the artists they control are doing 35% worse... since they are screwing them over for the extra 35%.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 12:10pm

    Re: Re:

    Good job avoiding the point entirely.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 12:14pm

    Re: Re:

    It's a "Mike alike"... same difference, the point is significant. This is first year stuff for any business school. How he doesn't get it (and how Mike doesn't correct it) is beyond me - except that it's a slam on the hated **aa's, so they let it slide.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Re:

    Again, you go to the issue of whether I the proper term should have been "said" instead of "wrote" instead of addressing the issue. Sherman said 35% of acquired music and the writer improperly includes the entire universe of music to debunk the statement. WTF? Respond to that instead of your petty semantic issues, jerkoff.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Re: 35%

    Read what he wrote:

    "I have no idea how Sherman arrived at that figure, but I'm a lot more than 35% sure it's bunk. I imagine the percentage of music that gets paid for is much, much lower—and always has been. With radio, television, music played in shops and in public spaces, free shows at bars, music played for friends, music played at parties, guitars strummed around a campfire and everything else in this music-saturated world, only a minuscule fraction of music consumed is actually paid for."

    Are you acquiring music in any of those examples above? You can pay to experience content, like your Netflix example or attending a concert. But acquiring means a-c-q-u-i-r-i-n-g. You look like an even bigger dips hit than the author..... if that's possible.

     

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  39.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 12:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: 35%

    Well, two seconds before saying "acquired", Sherman said "consumed" instead. And frankly I don't see how you can either acquire or consume music. These shortsighted attempts to look at music as a simple commodity are exactly the problem.

     

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  40.  
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    Torg (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 12:28pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Your original statement is correct. When there isn't enough money going to particular players in a market for them to be profitable, those players tend to fail. Mergers and bankrupcy do not mean that the whole market is doomed, though. I remember T-Mobile merging with AT&T. That didn't mean the cell phone industry had started its downhill slide, it meant nothing more or less than T-Mobile being acquired. I see restaurants fail all the time, despite that people remain willing to pay for food. Is there something about the Big Six consolidating that I'm unaware of that would be evidence for the failure of music and movies as a whole?

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 12:32pm

    Re:

    Never confuse education with indoctrination...

     

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  42.  
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    Josef Anvil (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 12:33pm

    Re:

    "You know the idea Mike, you studied it in your first year classes. When there isn't enough money for all of the players in a market to be profitable, some of them will go out of business or get merged into larger, profitable entities."

    You have got to be fucking kidding? There are billions of dollars in the music industry and the industry is growing, not shrinking. Profitable is completely subjective. If you take 7 figure salaries of execs and turn them into low 6 figure salaries, you might find there is a lot more profit than anyone imagined.

    What happened to the Big Six is more like a "bubble effect". When you artificially inflate the market, eventually the bubble pops.

     

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  43.  
    icon
    Josef Anvil (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 12:33pm

    Re:

    "You know the idea Mike, you studied it in your first year classes. When there isn't enough money for all of the players in a market to be profitable, some of them will go out of business or get merged into larger, profitable entities."

    You have got to be fucking kidding? There are billions of dollars in the music industry and the industry is growing, not shrinking. Profitable is completely subjective. If you take 7 figure salaries of execs and turn them into low 6 figure salaries, you might find there is a lot more profit than anyone imagined.

    What happened to the Big Six is more like a "bubble effect". When you artificially inflate the market, eventually the bubble pops.

     

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  44.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Re:

    The RIAA has taught me a lot about copyright. They taught me that copyright law has robbed the world of a public domain and locked up our culture in corporate holdings and turned art into "property" that can only be protected with legislation and ultimately only profits lawyers and accountants.

    It's thanks to the RIAA that I follow Techdirt and Lawrence Lessig and the EFF and Public Knowledge and all the other organizations that have mobilized to reform copyright and make the public aware of all the damage the copyright reliant industries have caused.

    It's thanks to the RIAA that I seek out creative and independent musicians who are NOT a member of their organization, and actually give them money to see them perform or buy new music directly from them.

    It's thanks to the RIAA that I contacted my senators to tell them to not support SOPA.

    It's thanks to the RIAA that I have to pirate their member's music that isn't available for sale in my country because... for no good reason.

    Oh, and the MPAA too.

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 12:42pm

    Re: Re:

    it's Marcus who is now, apparently a Techdirt "team member" whatever that means. Anyway, for all intents and purpose it's Jerry Mahoney.

     

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  46.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 12:44pm

    Re:

    I actually agree with you on this point, but that doesn't debunk everything else that was written.

    I'll add that long before the internet was around, less than 35% of the music I acquired was paid for. Most of it was copied from friends and public libraries, and what I did pay for was almost always used. This is not a new thing.

     

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  47.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 12:46pm

    Re: Re: He says it all right here

    Hey, porn has music too.

     

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  48.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    who is now, apparently a Techdirt "team member" whatever that means

    It means I work here, and am not concerned with titles

     

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  49.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 12:53pm

    Re:

    What you are missing is that the reduction in the number of major label companies is in direct relation to a loss of business. You know the idea Mike, you studied it in your first year classes. When there isn't enough money for all of the players in a market to be profitable, some of them will go out of business or get merged into larger, profitable entities.

    Funny, then, that nearly all of the consolidation happened before music sales declined, huh?

    Sorta shows that you're... what's the word for it...? Oh yeah. Wrong.

    Did you study "right" and "wrong" in kindergarten?

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 12:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: 35%

    Lawyers talking about the arts. Economists talking about the law. Artists talking about the economy.

    Copyright sure makes sense!

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 1:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Wow. I knew things were bad there after the Insight Community and Step 2 flops, but this is really pitiful. Masnick's reduced to hiring Marcus??? BTW Marcus, "team member" is what companies call employees when they don't want to pay them shit. But I guess it's better than being an unemployed ladies underwear ad designer.

     

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  52.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You can call me Executive Vice President of Sending Trolls On Hilarious Angry Rants if you prefer.

     

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  53.  
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    Cowardly Anonymous, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 1:08pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Acquired music includes everything in the public domain, so the percentage is meaningless as is. The only percentage that would have any meaning to the discussion needs two qualifiers. One, that it is copyrighted music. Two, that it is acquired legally, which, in some cases, might not require that it was paid for.

    That must then be compared to some base-line to demonstrate the change that has taken place. Otherwise "down to" has no meaning.

    But the percentage change so produced, even if we had it and it was supported by any evidence is still not telling us the full story.

    A lot has changed with the advent of the internet and distributive norms have not yet emerged that account for the new market in that market's terms. As such, the baseline we would be comparing with would not reflect the new market and could easily mislead us in our conclusions.

    Rather, we must look closely at many other details and rebuild our metrics. What all of this means is that the conclusion that Mike arrived at is correct, despite the amount of logical steps that are bypassed in his arriving there.

    The number is an unsupported meaningless statistic included for shock value.

     

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  54.  
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    Richard (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: 35%

    'Sherlock Holmes: Game Of Shadows 1080 HD'


    Acquiring music as opposed to acquiring a copy would only mean acquiring the copyright.

    Since the RIAA is the major player in acquiring copyrights I guess their figure is accurate - so they admit to stealing 65% of the copyrights that they acquire from artists - yeah - seems about right..

     

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  55.  
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    Cowardly Anonymous, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 1:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And you've even got me doing it. Leigh, not Mike.

     

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  56.  
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    Chargone (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 1:17pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    the above comment gains a 'funny' vote.

    possibly for irony, but I'm never sure about that one. (and no, it does not taste metallic.)

     

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  57.  
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    Chargone (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 1:20pm

    Re: Re:

    ...
    ...
    ...

    there are not sufficient words in the English language for me to make the appropriate response to that question.

     

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  58.  
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    Richard (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 1:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: 35%

    Whoops dodgy paste buffer - should have previewed - quoted text should read

    But acquiring means a-c-q-u-i-r-i-n-g.

     

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  59.  
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    Chargone (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'd like to point out that 'same difference' does not actually mean Anything unless you have two pairs of objects, and in each pair there is a difference between the two objects is identical.

    what you Meant to say was 'same thing', or in this case, 'they're the same person'.

    which would be Wrong, but at least your Grammar would be correct.

    as is you're failing at both.

     

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  60.  
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    Chargone (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 1:25pm

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

    does the title come with an awesome hat?

     

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  61.  
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    DannyB (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 1:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 35%

    Dinosaurs talking about how Internet technology can be made to work.

     

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  62.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 1:44pm

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

    does the title come with an awesome hat?

    no it comes with loooooooooots of t-shirts :)

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 1:50pm

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

    You should use Shapeways to print an award with a troll under a bridge, inside a snow globe and send one to him.

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 1:53pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Good job missing the point entirely.

     

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  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 1:57pm

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

    Marcus, if anything you were hired as a court jester and because Masnick felt sorry for you due to the loss of your ad circular design job and extremely grim financial future as a "creator". Let's face it, you've always played Jerry Mahoney to Masnick's Edgar Bergan. That's never going to change no matter how many meaningless titles you're bestowed (instead of money).

     

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  66.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 2:09pm

    Established artists are definitely doing worse than they used to be doing, and artists who are signed by labels are not getting the opportunities that they used to get when they were signed by a label


    It's because artists are getting so screwed that even signed bands are telling their fans to download because they aren't getting paid.

    Here

    So there are more income streams, but those income streams are much, much reduced. I think the Future of Music Coalition recently came out with a study showing that most artists are not benefiting substantially from these new revenue streams.


    They're not profitting from the old revenue streams either.

    Here

    It's a tip jar.


    I only tip for good service. The RIAA has become one of the most hated organizations in existance. Earning that ranking does not earn a tip.

    Megaupload is a great example.


    What was a great example is how you go about killing a business and the competition in one shot.

    ...over four and five and six notices, there might be some mitigation measures imposed like throttling bandwidth or something like that, up to the individual ISP.


    Since all this rests on the accusation of copyright holders, do you really believe that those who get their internet fooled with are going to go run buy after that? You really gotta be kidding me.

     

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  67.  
    identicon
    Jim Mooney, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 2:15pm

    The real voice of the RIAA

    RIAA -"We want to destroy the Internet, the last chance for American freedom and prosperity, for our rotten greed and failure to innovate. And corrupt Congress-connected bribe-takers like Chris Dodd and Lamar Smith will help us. We wouldn't do any more to you than the Gestapo would."

    Seriously, a friend who worked in the recording industry told me they're crookeder than boxing promoters. You pay twenty bucks for a plastic disk and the artist gets three cents, if that. It's another massive con where the middleman takes all, and the actual creator gets the shaft.

     

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  68.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 2:27pm

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

    Oh how little you understand... But I don't feel like arguing about it - cheer up, grumpy :)

     

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  69.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 2:35pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Why don't you just admit you were wrong?

    BTW thanks for helping me continue to troll you.

     

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  70.  
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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 2:37pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah sorry making sweeping claims without any logic or facts behind doesn't do it for me either. If you can offer evidence of a direct corellation between the "declining market" for music and all or most companies in the music industry shrinking, merging or failing then I might buy it. Otherwise it's like a telecoms company bitching that there's a "declining market for phones" just because they only make analogue phone systems and more people buy IP-based systems these days.

     

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  71.  
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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 2:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: He says it all right here

    But you never see the soundtracks released as CDs, and surely that's just a missed opportunity.

     

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  72.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 4:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Wow. I knew things were bad there....

    Wow. I know that you're bitter after we ran circles around you and made you and your buddies look like amateur hour on capitol hill in the SOPA/PIPA fight -- and I realize just how much that burns your ass... but, seriously, trying to spin the fact that we've been growing and hiring more people into evidence that "things are bad"? Hilarious.

    Anyway, please overreach in an attempt to pass a bad law again. I'd love to see our traffic double again because of one of your stupid decisions.

     

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  73.  
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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 4:19pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Good job avoiding the point entirely.
    The point was Sherman's bad english in either using the verb "aquired" for something intangible like music, or alternatively mis-defining the noun "music" to be "a recording media capable of holding sound data", right?
    I suppose he could have been using "aquire" in the sense of "learn or develop the skill of making music", but then it still wouldn't have made sense now would it?

     

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  74.  
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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 4:59pm

    Re:

    You should focus on what he wrote: "...music acquired...".

    Let's try that and just for the hell of it let's use the entire sentence instead of just focussing on 2 words:
    I think we're now at a point where about 35% of music acquired is actually being paid for, so the rest is being taken for free.

    For a start "music aquired" actually doesn't mean anything and therefore could mean anything from "music learnt" (heard?) through "rights to music obtained" to "all recorded media of any kind changing hands". Of course the implication he's making is "recorded media that should be purchased and isn't".

    Which brings us onto the start of the sentence where he says "I think we're....". "I think" strongly suggests "I don't actually know and I just made this number up because it sounds scary" especially when no-one, least of all the labels, seems to have any solid figures of how much "piracy" actually takes place that isn't based on conjecture and shaky data like how many torrents exist in the world and or a guessed percentage of internet traffic. For all I know he could be lucky and right, but a number pulled out of thin air is still a number pulled from thin air. Given the arrogance usually displayed in other statements from this organisation I'd lay a wager that if he'd even had some sort of internal report on which to base the number the sentence would have started "Figures show that..." or similar. You know what they say; 98.682% of statistics are made up on the spot.

    Of course the reference at the end of the sentence to "taken for free" in a way that suggests he meant "stolen" does make me wonder if his definition of "music" is "Stuff that the oranisations I represent record and nothing else counts" since much recorded music can be quite legally "taken for free" and would therefore distort the validity (such as it is) of the 35% claim anyway. That kinda leaves the claim a/ likely imaginary and b/ either sumpremely arrogant or deliberately misleading.

    Yes, you were right, it was a good idea to focus on what he wrote....

     

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  75.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 5:07pm

    Give the fans what they want? Buy a DVD ($) - then take it to a store to have an authorized digital version made ($) ... yup, that's their plan.
    http://www.publicknowledge.org/blog/warner-bros-embarrasses-self-everyone-new-%E2%80%9Cdi

     

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  76.  
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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 5:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: 35%

    But acquiring means a-c-q-u-i-r-i-n-g.
    Yes it does
    acquired
    past participle, past tense of ac·quire (Verb)
    1.Buy or obtain (an asset or object) for oneself.
    2.Learn or develop (a skill, habit, or quality).

    and
    mu·sic/ˈmyo͞ozik/
    Noun:
    1.The art or science of combining vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion.
    2.The vocal or instrumental sound produced in this way.

    Since the only combination of those 2 definitions that makes any sense is "Learning the art/science of music" and it's clear that's not what he meant, let's just accept that he was using implication and innuendo rather than clear meaning shall we?

     

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  77.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 5:44pm

    Re: Re:

    Well, true. But actually they're screwing them over for an additional 70% just because it makes them feel better. ;-)

     

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  78.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 5:50pm

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

    How embarrassing of you to come to the rescue of the new intern. You seem to think that the quintessential battle has been won. Look at the state of copyright and more importantly, enforcement. How's that working for you Chubby? The screws are still tightening. Just ask Queen Phara, Richard O'Dwyer and Kim Dotcom. (An aside, you're about two donuts and a crewcut away from being a dead ringer)

    There won't be any more legislation. So I hope this doesn't mean Marcus is getting laid off and will have to rely on his income as a ......snicker...... performer.

    BTW, congrats on your trophy hire.

     

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  79.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 6:00pm

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

     

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  80.  
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    Torg (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 6:23pm

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

    There won't be any more legislation? What do you call ACTA and the TPP? It'd be nice if you were the policymaker at the RIAA, but unfortunately they seem to disagree with you.

    It's nice that you can name three people that've been caught. And it only took you seven years to arrest Dotcom. That would be very impressive, if there were only five pirates in the world and a similar number of programmers. Unfortunately, there's a lot more. Copyright enforcement is up against anyone with a compiler and DSL. You're tightening those screws into a sand dune.

     

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  81.  
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    Idwal (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 6:42pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I recommend profanity. Lots of it.

     

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  82.  
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    Idwal (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 6:45pm

    Re: Re: He says it all right here

    Man... Al Gore is going to tear them apart.

     

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  83.  
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    Idwal (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 6:48pm

    Re: Re:

    Actually... using that napkinmath, it should be infinitely profitable.

     

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  84.  
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    Idwal (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 6:59pm

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

    "The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers." ―Princess Leia to Grand Moff Tarkin

    This whole conversation is hilarious.

     

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  85.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 7:01pm

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

    There won't be any more legislation? What do you call ACTA and the TPP?

    Treaties.

    That there won't be any more legislation is my opinion only.

     

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  86.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 7:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: 35%

    let's just accept that he was using implication and innuendo rather than clear meaning shall we?

    No let's just accept that Marcus shit himself (again) on his first assignment by deliberately twisting words to make a point and got called on it...... again.

     

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  87.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 8:18pm

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

    But your opinion sucks.

     

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  88.  
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    Tom Landry (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 9:08pm

    NO ONE, bands or management are guaranteed the amount of money they "used to" get. get over it. The spiritual value of music is as much as its ever been, the monetary value is near zero....sorry! You can either NOT release your product or you can play by the rules of the people who consume it.

    Doesn't it suck to be at the mercy of a large group of individuals who are acting in their own self-interest? Enjoy, because it's YOUR turn now.

     

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  89.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:13pm

    I find it increasingly difficult to muddle my way through anything Cary Sherman has to say. I am not sure if I've ever come across a bigger habitual liar. If they ever formed a Liars Anonymous, he'd be at the top of the list for admittance.

     

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  90.  
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    toyotabedzrock (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:45pm

    Where is Anonymous When You Need Them

    Anonymous why didn't you hack the stream or send an electric shock to lobotomize Cary Sherman.

     

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  91.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 6th, 2012 @ 2:01am

    Re:

    "You deliberately misrepresent the statements of others, then characterize those statements as bunk."

    ...and that's your job goddammit! Funny how you start to examine the words people actually said so closely when it's from the head of the RIAA. if only you did that when addressing the arguments of others here instead of your usual fantasy world misrepresentations and lies.

     

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  92.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 6th, 2012 @ 2:07am

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

    Why is it that as soon as someone proves you wrong, you revert to kindergarten level? Does it not embarrass you to be going "ner ner you're fat" in a business discussion? Do you have so little shame that you don't realise how stupid you look?

     

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  93.  
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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Mar 6th, 2012 @ 3:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 35%

    Well, I'm curious what "again" has to do with a "first" assignment but we'll gloss over that one because I'm far more curious how you can NOT "twist" words that (likely deliberately) don't have an obvious meaning in the first place. Any interpretation of the sentence including yours is "twisting the words" since the literal interpretation makes zero sense in context.

    It must be nice to have a semantic point you can argue rather than addressing the point of the article which was the vague but scary-sounding claims and innuendo blatently apparent in the actual transcript quotes.

     

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  94.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Mar 6th, 2012 @ 4:38am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Was your sarcasm detector broken?

    Cuz I was really sarcastic.

     

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  95.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2012 @ 4:39am

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

    That's funny, right up above you made it sound like a fact. In fact, that's the way all your comments come off as sounding. As if you are stating facts, when they are nothing but your opinion. And when called out on that, you resort to insults. Like "chubby". Which come on, what are you 5? If "chubby" or "freetard" is the best you have, you'd be better off giving up and just trying to stick with the "facts" you have.

    You are aware that any one of us here could pummel your "facts" into the ground with almost no effort. But we find your comments to be "cute". It's like "aww, there's that mentally handicapped troll trying to put the square pegs into round holes... shhh, guys let him be... it's sad but it's too cute to tell him he's doing it wrong".

    See, that's how you insult someone. And before you think of calling me "chubby", I should point out I'm 6'1'' and weight about 175 lbs. I'm tall and skinny. Wanna call me a "freetard"? I DO NOT download a thing, that isn't freely offered by the artists who make it. Well, not true, I do download stuff I pay for, but that kinda puts a damp on the whole "free" part of "freetard".

     

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  96.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2012 @ 5:46am

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

    That's funny, right up above you made it sound like a fact.

    For you to infer that no 'legislation will be forthcoming' as a statement of fact, must mean you somehow think I am able to see into the future. Are you really that dopey? Do I actually need to walk you through it?

    BTW, Masnick just hired another toady so I doubt this embarrassing display will land you a job any time soon.

     

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

  97.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Mar 6th, 2012 @ 6:10am

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

    So, you can't defend your childish behaviour or present anything that actually resembles a real fact to justify your own comments? Figures.

     

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

  98.  
    identicon
    JarHead, Mar 6th, 2012 @ 7:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: He says it all right here

    +1 for missed opportunity. Been searching frantically for at least 1 myself (for post 2k pr0n). Sadly, even the "pirates" missed this.

     

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

  99.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2012 @ 8:59am

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

    Aww, see, that's cute. You did it again. Rather than admit that you misrepresent YOUR OPINIONS as facts, you go straight for the insult.

    You said what you did and made it sound very much as if you were stating a fact. You could've easily said "I think no legislation will be forthcoming". But you didn't. You said and I quote, "There won't be any more legislation." That is a declarative statement. There is no room for debate in what you said, well there is... but not in the manner in which you stated it.

    If you could see into the future, that'd be interesting. I'm sure if we went back in time and could trace your comments accurately, we'd see you might be one of the same ACs who definitively said SOPA would pass without fail. Which, if we could do this, we'd easily determine, that obviously you CANNOT see into the future.

    Am I really that dopey? Hmm. You mean, am I correct in stating that you constantly present "facts" with no tangible proof/evidence to back them up, or better said you state your opinions and expect them to be taken at face value as facts? Then yes, I am correct and apparently "dopey". See, this is how you walk someone "through it".

    Oh, as for a job, I'm not a Masnick toady. I just call BS when I see it. Like I did to your comment. I have a full time job and it isn't flipping burgers or bagging groceries. It's in engineering.

    But bravo good troll. You certainly told me with that witty parting remark. How ever will I make it through my day with such a clever and hard biting insult as that nagging at me? /s

    To quote Walter (John Goodman) from The Big Lebowski, "Donny, you're out of your element."

     

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

  100.  
    identicon
    hunterbone, Mar 6th, 2012 @ 2:46pm

    response

    Who knows exactly what the future of recording and distribution of music will look like but much of the existing content is owned by the record companies and both the companies and artists are entitled to proper compensation. I think there should be more respect for the producers of the conent we all love. To quote Jay-Z, “what’s a couple dollas to me.” We should all heed his wisdom.

     

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

  101.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Mar 6th, 2012 @ 8:38pm

    Re: response

    In response to that, maybe but the RIAA needs to stop trying to game the system in their favour. I don't particularly like Jay-Z, but his record company is trying to get the system altered so he gets money while new acts and those who have been let down by the same labels get nothing. Nope, they're not entitled to anything in this scenario, sorry, not at the expense of others who deserve it equally.

     

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


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