Sometimes You Wonder If The Recording Industry Is Purposely Destroying Itself

from the no-more-pandora-in-the-UK dept

Back in May, we noted that the recording industry, in a shooting-itself-in-the-foot method, was demanding that music discovery site Pandora block all non-US listeners, over an argument concerning the exact licensing terms of the music that Pandora streams. The recording industry has been demanding that Pandora sign separate licensing agreements in every country, or it must block them. Now, for anyone who has actually used Pandora, it takes all of about three seconds to recognize that it’s the type of service that should be the recording industry’s best friend. You put in songs, musicians or even styles of music that you like, and Pandora finds you new music that it plays in a stream, like a personalized radio station. Pandora makes it incredibly easy to both discover and buy new music. If I worked for a record label, I’d be running around the world heavily promoting Pandora, and working with it to promote new artists. Yet, instead, in true RIAA fashion, it’s demanding a tithe instead. While Pandora has been blocked in many countries since back in July, it kept going in the UK, believing that it would work out a reasonable solution there. Apparently not. As countless UK-based Pandora fans have been submitting over and over again, Pandora is now shutting off access to UK listeners. What does this accomplish? As far as I can tell, all it does is take away a wonderful music discovery service that helped push people to actually buy music. Only in the minds of recording industry execs would a company doing free advertising for you be seen as something that needs to be shut down.

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Companies: pandora, riaa

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Comments on “Sometimes You Wonder If The Recording Industry Is Purposely Destroying Itself”

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Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

Mmm Pandora

I have used Pandora since way back when. I love it.
Although, it was better before they inserted ads into the streams. But I haven’t really used it in about the past year, so that might have changed.
That makes me think though.
I should go back and start using it more again. I did find tons of new music that I like from there.
Actually, I’m logging back on tonight when I get home.

Chronno S. Trigger says:

That's a good idea

Why didn’t the RIAA think of the customised radio station themselves? (probably why they’re mad) I didn’t know that they made a site like that. I’ll have to look and see if it’s blocked US access yet.

I’ve been thinking the recording industry has been trying to kill themselves since the Sony root-kit fiasco. Who would ever think that’s a good idea. But, I still fall back to the old adage. Don’t infer malice when ignorance so easily applies. I have no idea who said that.

James says:


More moronic news from/about the RIAA… jeez, these guys are so stupid. Hmm.. maybe they will eventually work it so that radio stations all over the US no longer play any other of their music EITHER.

When that happens, 90% of the folks who get hooked on a song (and buy that CD) will stop doing that. Finally, cutting most of their income off.

Hopefully at that point, there usefulness will have expired, and we can get some real music innovation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Not the only ones

>>Only in the minds of recording industry execs would a company doing free advertising for you be seen as something that needs to be shut down.

That isn’t true unfortunately. Major League Baseball comes to mind immediately, and there are probably a host of others. Too many companies let lawyers and near-sighted bean counters design their business plans.

bmac (profile) says:

Anyone remember?

Anyone remember, back in the good old days, when record companies distributed music to radio stations for free, and when they sent reps to large market stations to make sure the DJs were going to spin those records? Perhaps passing along nice gifts or cash as an extra incentive to play the music?

This assured playing time for their product, which allowed listeners to hear it, get hooked, and go out and purchase it. I’ve even heard the music industry managed to sell concert tickets and merchandise based on this type of marketing.

So now we’re in the digital age. What happens?

They charge licensing fees to radio stations, and rather than seek out more avenues to play the music and advertise, they seek every opportunity to charge a fee, and treat their best customers as criminals.

I haven’t purchased music in any medium for myself in about 15 years. CDs are overpriced (were supposed to bring the price down if I remember correctly, HA!) and I’m doing fine with my oldies and the radio in my car, truck, home, etc., which thankfully, doesn’t charge me $.99 every time I listen to a song, or worse, $20 for a CD with 1 or 2 decent tracks and 10 filler tunes. I guess that’ll be next, though. It’ll be like the UK, with the radio police driving around hunting for unauthorized FM radio signals, and arresting you if you haven’t paid your monthly RF license.

Hail Xenu!

Smertguy says:


I read about Pandora on here, had not heard of it previously.

Went and tried it, love it so far. Only complaint is you can’t skip a lot of crappy songs to get a better play list when you first start out on an account.

All I have to say is – Awesome, gives me all kinds of new music to torrent (FOR FREE) later.

If you are going to make a CD with 1-3 good songs and the rest of it is filler-crap then I don’t see why I need to buy your overpriced CD just for the 3 songs I want.

If I buy a song I want to be able to use it where I want – not conform to some DRM laden piece of s**t player.

Until the RIAA, record labels, and greedy lazy artists realize they are pooping where they eat, I –for one- will NEVER buy a song or CD for any reason from these scum bags.

SmellyG says:

Ahh, the good times

I used to use pandora, and im from the uk. To be fair to Pandora, they knew that the licenses didnt stretch out of the US, and made you give a US zip code before you could listen.
Naturally, i found a US company’s address and typed in their zip code in to Pandora.
So really, it wasn’t an amazing attempt at stopping non-US listeners, and i expect that Pandora knew this but simply believed (rightly) that it did little harm allowing them. Its as effective as the systems in place to stop under 18’s looking at porn sites [enter your date of birth].

And i also expect Pandora tried to hold on to the UK because there was a large listener base here. It would be interesting to see how the itunes and amazon artist sales stats differ (if only by a small amount) by the shutting off of these countries.

Its a great site, that does what people want, and advertises not-so-well-known bands and artists. Sucks i cant enjoy it anymore. You know what? To compensate from the loss, i mite illegally download some albums…

Anonymous Coward says:

At this rate, radio station broadcasts will be 90% advertisements and only 10% music (if even that much) in order to be able to afford the ridiculous royalty fees imposed by the RIAA. Or else they’ll have to beg their listeners for money. That, of course, will make people stop listening to the radio and start pirating music even more.

wherethemusic says:

They will never learn

Why is it that the recording industry is trying to put itself out of business? Don’t they realize that the age of musicians becoming there own label is coming closer and closer? It is too bad when useful tools like Pandora are closed off to consumers, when it and programs like it are an amazing tool.

Maybe with DRM falling apart they will realize they cannot control it.

me says:


Had 2,340 songs from itunes store. Hardrive crash; lost them all… all of them are on the ipod and now i cannot add new songs, because it thinks that im on a different computer… cant donwload them to the computer either…. 2,000$ on music went to nothing… from then on p2p all the way! never again will i buy music.

Anyone down to create a normal record company with me ??? lol

Steve says:

The RIAA is America, this is UK...

Remember that this is the UK, not the US.

Its the ‘Mechanical Copyright Protection Society / Performance Right Society Alliance’ (dumb name I know) and ‘Phonographic Performance Limited’ that Pandora have failed to come to an agreement with, not the RIAA. Both are royalty collection groups; the UK’s RIAA equivalent.

Unfortunately, being royalty collection groups they don’t seem to care about music or the industry, only rates. It was one of these groups that tried to sue a Kwik-Fit garage a while back because the car mechanics had the radio on so loud the customers could hear it, hence it counted as a ‘performance’ and the group demanded royalties.

This really is a dam shame. I’m a massive fan of Pandora, and have used it religiously since it first started. Now I can’t.

The tragedy is that Pandora should be the poster-child of what can be accomplished through new business models on the net; they bent over backwards to fairly compensate artists and provide an excellent service to the public. They even went outside the mainstream and started adding masses of classical music to the mix.

What a dam shame.

periphera says:

What is their real goal?

The article says that the RIAA should see Pandora as a friend, since it’s helping people find new music. If helping people discover the music they like is the RIAA’s goal, then their actions are patently stupid. But I don’t think that’s what they’re after at all.

The RIAA (and major labels it represents) don’t want to help you find artists you like, they want to *tell* you which artists you will like. A world where everyone has a different stable of favorite artists requires the RIAA to change their business models to compete in a long tail world. They would rather live in a world where they can tell you that their next pre-fab pop princess is the one to buy and everyone runs out to get her next album.

If you look at their actions in this light, they all start making sense. Pandora, internet radio in general, and even P2P sharing all must die, not because they violate copyrights, but purely because they let people discover new artists. If music discovery stays within MTV and Clear Channel, the RIAA has only a few large corporations to convince to promote their next star. If people find new music through 1001 different sources, it makes it very difficult for the RIAA to funnel publicity to their new star-in-the-making.

Rekrul says:

Use a proxy...

Anyone outside the US wishing to use Pandora, just do the following;

Go to Google and search for “public proxy servers”. Click on the first result (or any of the dozens of other matches), go to one of the lists on the left, then look for a proxy in the United States. Copy the IP address and note the port number. Go your browser’s connection configuration, enable the Proxy option, paste in the IP address and put in the port number.

Not every proxy on such lists works, but many do. If one doesn’t work, try the next.

Damien says:

Thanks for the Pandora plug Mike, hadn’t heard of it before. From what I can tell it’s a bloody good service; I’ll be using it constantly from now on.

The American music industry deserves to die for trying to force restrictions on services like this… I know for a fact that I’ll end up spending money on artists I find on Pandora. I’ve been listening for a half hour and found two new albums I want already… You can’t buy that kind of publicity.

Someone should let the RIAA know you can’t charge for it either…

KC says:

I listen to Pandora pretty regularly. On Pandora I was introduced to a band called Anberlin. I liked what I heard of them enough that I went to the band’s website and downloaded the tracks they had available. I liked those alot and not long after I purchased 2 of their CDs and listen to them on a daily basis.

Without Pandora I would have never even known about Anberlin.

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