More RIAA Spin-Doctoring

from the let's-take-a-look-at-those-numbers dept

Found over at GMSV is this great “closer look” at statistics the music industry uses to explain their “piracy” numbers. Following on the post from earlier today about how the RIAA makes up numbers to support their theories, this shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. However, the stats in the article are very interesting. It seems that the music industry is releasing far fewer albums nowadays at much higher prices during a recession – which seems likely to create far fewer albums sold. The stats suggest that this has a far great impact on the sales numbers the RIAA reports rather than any sort of “online piracy”. The article also explains yet another reason why the “$4 billion lost to piracy” number is ridiculous. Of course, I can guess what the music industry would respond: they’ll say they’re releasing fewer albums because people aren’t buying any more. They’ll try to switch around the cause-and-effect on this story. In the end, though, it doesn’t matter what the cause is, the effect is still happening. If the music industry had any strategic thinking going on, they’d realize that they need to respond to this effect. People still want to listen to music, clearly. It’s too bad the “industry” can’t figure out a reasonable way to help people out. What’s going to happen, instead, is that other companies will figure it out and the old music industry will simply go away, spinning stories all the way down…

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Comments on “More RIAA Spin-Doctoring”

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dorpus says:

The Post-Music Era

If RIAA wins, we will have expensive, low-quality music that nobody wants, so music goes down the tubes. If RIAA is destroyed, we will be swamped in a sea of low-quality, amateurish music, so music goes down the tubes.

The mass infatuation with music may just be an historical abberation of the 19th and 20th centuries. Until the 19th century, Western music was largely performed as chamber music to entertain the upper classes. The rest of the populace lived fine without it, hearing music only once in a great while.

In the 19th century, composers invented larger, louder orchestras organized in military-like formations. These orchestras could be heard above the explosions of gunpowder to inspire peasant conscripts. Walt Whitman’s “Little Drummer Boy” describes the entertaining value of drummer boys in other terms.

The 20th century still had a carryover effect from previous centuries, where music was seen as a status symbol to show off one’s upper class status. Music became an arena of international competition during the Cold War, when every country showed off their musical prodigies. Education systems launched intensive propaganda lauding the effect of music on the soul. The Industrial age also gave rise to noisy machinery that permeated daily life; hence, the masses sought refuge in the more pleasant sounds of music. The late 20th century saw a plethora of Anglo-Saxon male rock stars donning a quasi-working-class persona, rebelling against the supposed oppression of industrial technology.

However, we are entering an era when there is better noise control technology. Cars, planes, helicopters are getting quieter; fewer people work noisy jobs. If anything, music is increasingly associated with tacky cell phones, shopping malls, and commercial advertisements. Music drains the productivity of military troops who should be focusing their attention on monitor readouts. Musical competitions between nations are mostly obsolete. Perhaps we will see the rise of a new esthetic called silence. Only the upper classes can afford to live in homes away from the noises and music of the rabble.

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