The RIAA's Playbook: No New Business Models Without RIAA Ownership

from the it's-that-simple dept

Mathew Ingram covers the details of Muxtape’s run-in with the RIAA. As you may recall, last month the rather useful site that let people create online “mix tapes” that could be streamed to others was shut down thanks to the RIAA. The site’s founder has now admitted that he tried negotiating with the RIAA, but that it was nearly impossible. The RIAA’s representatives started the “negotiation” by saying they were about to shut the site down, and then complained to Amazon (whose S3 service hosted the files) to get access to the files blocked. Now, that concerns me for a few reasons. I had created a Muxtape when it first launched, but it had no RIAA label music on it. So, why would Amazon block access to it?

However, the real point of the post is just to highlight how the RIAA views these things. As has been discussed, the RIAA wants to shut down these types of sites. By now, we’ve seen the pattern over and over again. The RIAA has always been unable to actually innovate with its own online offerings — in large part because the record labels still think about how to control the music and how to limit what consumers can do with it. So, instead of learning what’s innovative, the RIAA has simply decided on a two pronged strategy: (1) get every new and innovative site shut down and (2) offer them one way to return: if they hand over a big chunk of equity.

Very few people seem to be talking about this, but most of the “agreements” that the big labels have reached with various new and innovative sites have involved handing over equity. Basically, the record labels are using a protection racket system: give us some equity, or we’ll shut you down. Of course, all this is really doing is slowing down much needed innovation in the music marketplace. Instead, we get bells and whistles like MySpace Music (owned, in part, by the major record labels), rather than something truly useful and innovative.

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Companies: muxtape, riaa

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Comments on “The RIAA's Playbook: No New Business Models Without RIAA Ownership”

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Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

Why can't

a site just get away with doing these sorts of things, have completely have NO RIAA music on there in any way at all.
Have a system that checks if it belongs to an RIAA member. If it does, block the song.
Then when the RIAA comes a knockin, just tell them to go f**k themselves, as they have no say what-so-ever.
If they try something, sue them for “felony interference with a business model”. lol
No but seriously, they shouldn’t be able to do anything then, right?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Why can't

This is the best way to win. The more artists see the popularity of the sites they will say

Artist: “Hey agent guy, why aren’t we on that site, i want free exposure to my demographic”

Agent Guy “Sorry dude, your protective organized crime protection racket that is all about exploiting you for money and owning you, isn’t allowed on this site”.

Artist: “Ok i want out of the RIAA, they suck and take my money while simultaneously making it harder for me to sell music and survive as an artist”.

phil (user link) says:

Re: Why can't

It does exist. I started my company about a year ago to promote Indie bands/artists. I do not deal at all w/ RIAA/IFPA and any other similar organization. If they happened to get signed, they are removed from the site. We are still in our infancy, but we are growing – worldwide.

It is this type of thing that piss off the Majors, and scares them. The only thing the labels are good for any more is distribution, which is still difficult on the net, but getting easier – they don’t like that.

Anonymous Coward says:

The RIAA has been suing Americans left and right in hopes of deterring piracy that has become increasingly simple during the digital age. There is a way to fight against the RIAA:

Stop giving them your dollars and stop supporting their artists.

My beef with the RIAA isn’t that it is fighting for “justice”, because to a certain extent, they are just trying to stop “theft”. However, they are acting as a bully and essentially resorting to fear tactics to control Americans. Artists aren’t even benefiting from the RIAA bullying, it’s the recording industry and big-name labels that increase their bottom line and therein likes the problem.

I’m not a big fan of corporations that operate entirely on their greed and power. With the rise of fascism in America and the danger of lost liberties. I’d also rather not support organizations that are dedicated to screwing consumers (and artists) in order to help the corporations increase profits.

Below is a link to a website that will help you know what artists are associated with the RIAA and I’d advise everyone to stop supporting them PERMANENTLY. This is not just a Christmas thing, not just a “one day boycott”. I am telling you that in order to hurt them and make them stop acting like bullies, you need to fight back.

Eliot says:

RIAA's purpose...

I never looked up what the RIAA’s stated purpose was, but, have read it, I think that everything they do has made sense:

Its mission is to foster a business and legal climate that supports and promotes our members’ creative and financial vitality.

I don’t know about others, but I think the RIAA is doing precisely what it promised to do, because, to me, this pretty much translates into “sue everybody.”

snowburn14 says:

Re: Re: Equity for Distributors?

It isn’t backwards… P&G makes the stuff, as do the artists the RIAA claims to represent, and Walmart and MySpace distribute said stuff. Where’s the backwards piece?
However, P&G seems a poor choice. With the number of brand names those guys offer, they don’t beg anyone. Half the shelves at Walmart would be empty if they didn’t do business with P&G, at least among the groceries. While they might not be able to get a deal with Walmart, they could probably intimidate more local chains into something like the Myspace deal if they really wanted to.
And to #4: “Sounds very similar to tactics used by the mafia. Anyone else see the correlation?”
Um, yeah, when Mike calls it a protection racket, I’d say it’s safe to assume he saw the correlation.

Anonymous Coward with Teeth says:


Seriously, if federal law enforcement would just check, then look at the chastizing given to RIAA in serveral cases, and by just simple observation, they would find that RIAA needs to be drug into court for violations (several) of this act.

1. Bribery. (lobbists and gifts)

2. Extortion. (offering amnesty for $$$ to avoid criminal prosecution)

3. Dealing in obscene matter. (ask Tipper Gore, or just buy any 2live crew album (I have!))

4. Embezzlement of union funds. (They claim to be a collective bargaining authority for the artists, but someone please show me where all the bankrupt artists they keep babbling about have received benefits?)

5. Racketeering. (See #2)

6. (possible) Obstruction of justice. (I believe this has been cited by judges in a couple of cases.)

There may be more, but that’s up to the DOJ to decide that.

Yes, piracy is a crime, but committing several crimes to extort money, instead of jail time, from those guilty of it, sure smells criminal too.

Now damnit, would the Feds please turn their attention for a moment on RIAA itself (and maybe the MPAA too), and see the big bust they could have. Rather than arresting grandmothers, who never had internet service, but had someone use their name for bad purposes. Something smells bad and it’s got **AA written all over it. RICO was passed by congress to protect the citizens from groups like this, but why is it not being used, even for the sake of investigation to see if there is a case?

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