RIAA Has A Blog? And They Use It To Read My Mind!
from the fascinating! dept
Well, well, well. Just a few months ago we noted that EMI had just created what was being called the first major record label blog, which seemed a bit late to the game. However, someone just informed me that the RIAA actually has its own “Music Notes” blog, which I hadn’t known existed before. But in checking it out, I discovered that it had an entire post claiming to read my mind. Wow! I’m honored, guys, really. But, like your business strategy, your mind reader is a bit off.
First off, they call me a “reliable RIAA critic,” which is not really accurate at all. I only criticize dumb strategies, such as the ones that have driven your most faithful customers to talk of boycotts and swear never to buy products you’re associated with. That’s not criticism of the organization. That’s trying to help you stop screwing up so badly. I’m criticizing consistently bad decision making, not the organization itself, which was, at one time, well poised to embrace a wonderful opportunity online, but screwed it all up in the most spectacular fashion imaginable.
But, from there they get deep into my mind, and claim that I “like to throw in “RIAA” or “Recording Industry” in headlines to generate clicks.” Don’t flatter yourself, folks. It’s got nothing to do with clicks. If I wanted clicks, I’d write about the latest iPhone or celebrities. Stuff about you guys doesn’t generate nearly as many clicks as you might think. Most people wrote off the RIAA long ago. Besides, our business model has nothing to do with “clicks.” But, I guess, considering your inability to figure out your own business model problems, it’s no surprise that you wouldn’t understand our business model. But, for your information, I write about the RIAA because I find it fascinating that one organization could make so many ridiculously bad mistakes over and over again, taking itself from a massive position of opportunity, to one where it’s become hated by nearly everyone from artists to customers alike. It’s a stunning real-time case study in destroying your own industry.
I also write so much about the industry because what’s happening in the recording industry is what’s about to happen in a bunch of other industries — from newspapers to healthcare to energy to financial services to consumer packaged goods. And I’m hoping that with enough evidence we can warn off organizations in those industries from making the same mistakes you’ve made and continue to make. You’re a warning sign and a live case study that hopefully others will see in time.
Oh, as for the specific charges in the blog post? Amusingly, they pin language that’s not mine on me — my post was talking about Jesse Walker’s Reason article and quoted extensively from that — and then don’t actually respond to it. Instead they respond to totally different charges with selective “cherry-picking” of facts and a nice out of context quote (exactly what they accuse me of doing). Even better, they argue against a total strawman, claiming that the reason I’m against the Performance Rights Act is because I think the money will just go to the labels rather than artists. That’s not the case (even if a significant portion does go to the labels no matter what). My complaint is that they’re double and triple charging via a tax on those who promote their music, rather than having to actually do any work to give anyone a reason to buy. Update: Even better, as was pointed out in the comments, one of the “poster boys” used by the RIAA in that blog post about someone who “didn’t get paid” from his music being on radio is Jack Ely from the Kingsmen, who wrote the song “Louie Louie.” Only problem? Jack Ely has said that music should be given away for free and money should be made on performing live. Ooooooops.
So, I’m honored — really — that the RIAA thinks I’m a critic and worthy of a personal attack on its blog. But rather than assuming I’m here to attack you, maybe (just maybe) stop and look at what I’ve actually said. I suggested suing Napster was dumb and shutting it down would be a massive mistake leading to widespread file sharing programs that were harder to stop and track. Check. I’ve suggested that suing file sharers wouldn’t slow down the pace of file sharing and would create massive backlash against the RIAA. Check. I’ve suggested that smart artists can embrace file sharing and new technologies to their own advantage to make more money. Check. Perhaps you should have turned your mind reading powers to that part of my brain. Or, you know, you could have just given us a call. I would have been more than happy to stop by and explain this all to you in 1998. Could have saved you a lot of trouble, heartache and lawyer fees.