The Band's Ex-Manager Accuses Reddit Of Profiting From Piracy In Debate With Co-Founder

from the um,-ok dept

Here’s an interesting one. Fast Company had professor Jonathan Taplin, director of the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab and the former tour manager for The Band debate Alexis Ohanian, cofounder of Reddit, Hipmunk* and Breadpig. The debate is definitely worth watching, but I’m disappointed with many of Taplin’s claims. He starts out by going for the emotional, talking about how The Band — whose drummer Levon Helm passed away the day after the debate — had members who were no longer making $150,000 to $200,000 per year, as they had been able to do up until about 2002. As Alexis notes in response, there are all sorts of useful business models to help them make money — and he’s even offered to help them make money. And, indeed, the story of Helm is quite tragic, but at the same time, most people when they are no longer working tend not to make as much money as they did in the past. Copyright was never supposed to be a pension for retired musicians, so it seems odd to argue that it isn’t doing that. That was never the intention.


Frankly, what bugs me most about Taplin’s argument is that he continually takes things totally out of context. For example, he cites the familiar numbers about the “music industry” going from $20 billion to $6 billion. Yet he ignores that the overall music industry grew because other parts of the industry grew at a much faster rate. More ridiculous? He claims (totally incorrectly) that Chris Anderson believes that “everything should be free.” Either he didn’t read Chris Anderson’s book, or he’s purposely distorting the book, which focuses nearly all of its attention on how to get paid for content. In fact, most of the book is about ways in which a “freemium” model works — where you have some stuff free, and other things paid. Why Taplin would then claim the book is that “everything should be free” is beyond me. To have a university professor so misrepresent Chris’s book is ridiculous. He owes a major apology to Anderson.

Bizarrely, Taplin then claims that Reddit makes money off of piracy. Say what?! At this point I think he’s just making things up.

He also completely misrepresents Google having to give the government $500 million concerning advertisements from unlicensed online pharmacies. Taplin calls them “phony drug ads,” which is also inaccurate. In many cases the drugs were legit — but the licensing of the pharmacies to deliver those drugs to the US was in question (some, in fact, appear to have been perfectly legit Canadian pharmacies). He then claims that if Google made $500 million on fake drugs ads they must be making more on “illegal pirate ads.” I’m curious: who exactly is buying “illegal pirate ads”?

From there, he tosses in the whole controversy over Backpage.com — which has nothing to do with copyright, and he falsely smears them as providing a service for pimping “young ladies” — leaving out the fact that (a) a court has already cleared the company and (b) this has nothing to do with copyright.

Taplin seems to be throwing together a bouillabaisse of arguments without understanding any of them, and thus misrepresenting nearly everything.

Alexis does a great job with his intro, first pointing out how movie box office revenue has increased, and then pointing out how innovation is the key here, and that industries can innovate their way forward, and points to Kickstarter’s success as an example of how that’s already beginning. Taplin, playing the old curmudgeon, insists this is all crazy. He mocks the movie stat because it ignores the collapse of DVDs. Of course if folks like Taplin had their way, there would be no home video market, because they tried to make it illegal back in the 1970s and 1980s (an inconvenient fact he seems to have forgotten). He also mocks Kickstarter because it won’t fund Martin Scorcese’s latest film. This is typical of someone who doesn’t seem to understand the the innovator’s dilemma. It’s kind of shocking, frankly, that someone in charge of a so-called innovation lab doesn’t understand how innovation works.


In the second part of the debate, Taplin goes full on elitist, mocking those people who use Kickstarter to fund a piddly $50,000 movie, because apparently, to him, those movies don’t count. And yes, earlier in the debate, he was talking about how he was really concerned about the up and comers. He also seems to think that the only movies that matter are the movies that score big distribution deals. He’s internally inconsistent and doesn’t even seem to realize it. He goes on to mock the idea that musicians can make money other than through record sales. Except, he assumes (incorrectly) that the only way to make money is concert sales, and then says that some acts just can’t get enough people to see them live. Um, duh. But that’s always been true. Most musicians never sold enough music to make a living either, but we don’t pass a law to change that. Taplin seems to be complaining that not all musicians or movie makers are rich. I didn’t realize that was an issue.

Taplin then comes up with his “solution.” It’s to have every ISP charge users $2 to $3/month which would go into a giant global pool that would be distributed to copyright holders. Immediately, someone in the comments points out that doesn’t fix bad contracts. It’s even worse than that. First, the entertainment industry would insist that $2 to $3 is way too low. Hell, most music services alone get $10 or so per month. And really what Taplin is doing is to create a giant bureaucracy that won’t effectively help small artists. He talks about ASCAP as the model for this. I wonder what he has to say about the fact that ASCAP takes money from up-and-coming artists and gives it to the largest acts.

Both videos are worth watching. The whole thing is only about 25 minutes, and I think Alexis more than holds his own, though it would have been nice if there was a little more time to hit back on many of Taplin’s claims.

* Corrected after learning that Alexis didn’t found Hipmunk — just joined pre-launch.

Filed Under: , , , ,
Companies: kickstarter, reddit

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “The Band's Ex-Manager Accuses Reddit Of Profiting From Piracy In Debate With Co-Founder”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
123 Comments
hothmonster says:

“The Band had members who were no longer making $150,000 to $200,000 per year, as they had been able to do up until about 2002.”

Last studio album was 1998, I don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t continue making 200k a year for 14 years after the release of their last album. I mean the Band is still relevant right? All the kids know about them. If only they were not pirating them they would be out buying their vinyl.

Sorry Band I love you but maybe if your manager hadn’t been tilting windmills he would have made sure the new generation knew you were worth listening too.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Maybe he was more angry because his cut of what they were still earning went down as well.

This is the same thing we have seen time and time again.
Google ONLY makes money by stealing it.
Anything successful on the internet has to be stealing it.
The only way to do things is how we did them before.
Because someone had one hit song 20 years ago means they should be able to live on that money forever.

USC Annenberg Innovation Lab should immediately fire this man. To have his backwards views given as the outward face of something claiming to be innovation is a total screw up. The fact he can not and does not make a single relevant claim, instead deciding to understand the issue just assumes what it says shows he is not fit to hold any post to make decisions. If you want to innovate you first need to actually read the things your commenting on and not just the clif notes version of them provided by a source that isn’t bound by the idea of being factual or truthful.

We are tired of you screaming how we should get off your lawn.

kamereon (profile) says:

Let’s face it, The Band is music for old men.
But old men are not the ones to spend their money on music. It’s young folks who do that. But how many 20 year olds are there who listen to The Band?
Their music is just totally outdated. Which isn’t at all bad or even such a big deal. It’s actually quite normal. Going from playing stadiums in their golden days to playing run down bars 20 years later has happened to countless rock stars before.
Long before the Internet,even before home taping.

Anonymous Coward says:

Breaking News: A new law has passed in Congress this afternoon and will be signed by President Obama tomorrow. The new law strictly says that all music industry workers including musicians, must get a mandatory lifetime pension of 1/3 of their highest yearly profits. This will increase job employment by 1000% and creative Americans will make massive profits and add diversity to the industry market.

John Doe says:

Lets do the math on this one

It’s to have every ISP charge users $2 to $3/month which would go into a giant global pool that would be distributed to copyright holders.

So lets assume that this charge applies to home broadband connections as well as smartphone data plans. There are something like 80 million households so lets assume each one has a broadband connection (which they don’t). There are 320 million people, which includes children, so lets assume they all have smartphones (which they don’t). That is a total of 400 million broadband connections. Multiply that by $3 and you get $1.2 trillion to the content creators per month. That is $15 per month per household. That is less than most people spend on movies, books, and music. It is certainly less than my household spends. So I would be glad to take him up on the offer as I could have a virtually unlimited supply of content for a mere $180 per year.

Josef Anvil (profile) says:

1:51

Ok I had to stop listening to the vid and comment.

“…for many many years AFTER they stopped recording, they made a decent living $150,000 -$200,000 a year.”

Apparently that came to an end and Mr. Taplin feels that it’s wrong and it’s sad that the band members are broke.

I can’t figure out why this is wrong or why it’s sad that the band members are broke. If you make low 6 figure income for many many years and you don’t manage it, then why is that sad for the rest of us. If you stopped working and received 6 figure income for many many years for work you did in the past, shouldn’t you just be happy for what you had?

I guess I can try to suffer through the rest of Taplin’s bullshit now.

varagix says:

Lets do the math on this one

That’s assuming that they aren’t also expecting you to still pay for the content too. They already do the same thing to recordable CDs and DVDs; there’s a flat tax per disc that gets paid straight to the copyright industries, supposedly to ‘make up’ for all the bootlegs they get used to make.

I wish that was a joke.

Anonymous Coward says:

” And, indeed, the story of Helm is quite tragic, but at the same time, most people when they are no longer working tend not to make as much money as they did in the past.”

Possibly one of the largest misdirections coming from the anti-copyright crew on Techdirt.

Look, it’s pretty simple: If you make a product, and people continue to buy it, continue to consume it, and continue to use it as part of their business, then you get to continue to make money. The “you don’t make money” logic would only work if nobody was buying The Band’s music, if it wasn’t being used by radio stations to attract listeners to sell ads, etc.

By your logic, Techdirt should only have ads on posts that I have not read. If I have read a post, the ads should go away and never come back. Heck, once I have seen a page once (any page) all the ads should go away because most of that stuff is work you already did. Are you trying to make money by not working? Lazy bastards!

It’s concepts like this that keep Techdirt from being anywhere near connected to reality.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re:

Let’s also keep in mind that the only member of The Band still active is Robbie Robertson. And his solo stuff doesn’t sound anything like The Band.

I’ve seen young folks who have discovered The Band and just love them and others who shrug and go “so what?”. The Band was always an acquired taste, anyway, even in their big days. Always better live than in the studio, IMHO.

It’s so sad to see every dip in sales, every fall in band sales blamed on piracy rather than changes in popular taste or, in the case of rock, abandoning the danceable music it began as to an over abundance of sonic noodling about represented by the likes of Kansas.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

I don’t get why an artist is somehow special and should be paid forever for their work.

Every other profession in the world requires one to actually keep working to earn money, or to invest properly today for the day when they can’t work.

They always bring out the big artists to make the point as well. If huge star X made high 6 to 7 figure salaries for decades and has nothing left….tough luck. They should have been smarter. If it happened to anyone else, we’d say that.

If wall street exec makes $1 mil a year throughout the 80s and 90s and is broke now because they can’t make that much for whatever reason, nobody is going to feel sorry for them.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re:

I’m wondering where the direct attack on copyright is in the post other than, perhaps, to note that copyright is neither a welfare scheme for anyone holding it on something nor is it a pension scheme.

Thing is, it was NEVER intended to be that. At least until the Sonny Bono Act.

The Band was never big as an ad background for ads except, perhaps, for the opening chord sequence in Chest Fever. That and it’s been forever since I heard their music, except The Weight, even on goldie rock FM stations so royalties aren’t coming in like they used to.

What the post does attack is the silly idea of a copyright “tax” on ISP connections to be magically distributed to musicians active or not. Not to mention the labels who would gain the most from the copyrights assigned to them by musicians.

I guess you didn’t see that part so you decided on the pro-copyright ad hom instead.

You DO realize that you do more harm that good to the cause of copyright when you do things like this don’t you?

Hmmmmm….on second thought keep the ad hom knee jerk responses coming. You make your side of the discussion sound even sillier than it often already is.

rubberpants says:

Re:

Look, it’s pretty simple: If you make a product, and people continue to buy it, continue to consume it, and continue to use it as part of their business, then you get to continue to make money.

If it was simple, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

You are free to try and make money, and you might make some if all of the following are true:

1. Someone finds value in what you do
2. Someone finds enough value in what you do that they are willing to pay you more that what it cost you to do it
3. You’re operating in an environment where you can effectively capture that payment
4. You keep doing it

If you’re trying to make money selling something you did 10 years ago in an environment where that something can be infinitely and perfectly reproduced and instantly transported anywhere in the world for zero cost – then I’m surprised that you’re surprised that it’s not working.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

“The “you don’t make money” logic would only work if nobody was buying The Band’s music, if it wasn’t being used by radio stations to attract listeners to sell ads, etc.”

But he didn’t say that. He said that people who stop working tend to make less money than they did in the past. It sounds more like people -are- buying less music and playing said music less in public, which makes sense. Eventually, all of a band’s fans will own their current music, meaning fewer sales. Fewer people will tune in to their songs on the radio, between new songs from other bands coming out and already owning all the band’s music.

Eventually all bands who stop making music will stop making (as much) money for those reasons. It doesn’t happen over night, but it does happen. And 14 years sounds like an awful long time to expect your work to still be popular and relevant.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

I’ve purchased a keyboard made by [company x], and I continue to “use it as part of [my] business,” yet I have on reason to continue to send [company x] money. I’d also like to point out that, as with my keyboard, no “consumption” of media (in this case, music) happens because nothing is “consumed,” lost, or otherwise “used up.”

Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile) says:

Re:

if it wasn’t being used by radio stations to attract listeners to sell ads, etc.

Too bad radio stations didn’t pay to play music…Payola…remember that? Not only was the music ad supported but the music itself was an ad for the bands played.

By your logic, Techdirt should only have ads on posts that I have not read. If I have read a post, the ads should go away and never come back.

Just to point you to the contradiction of your philosophy here, you claim that we pay to listen to The Band’s songs from the radio by listening to the advert. In fact, every time we hear their songs we listen to the ads which are sometimes the same or different. As The Band stopped creating relevant music, the radio station played them less and less and eventually is no longer ‘consumed’. The ad income decreases and sales drop for that particular song/album. Ads on a blog post probably get the most eyeballs the first few hours after posting but tend to fade off after a day and become nearly ignored after a week or two. But every time in the off chance that somebody is searching they check out the post and an ad shows up…just as if the radio station decided to play ‘a classic’. It is still ad supported.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

“. He said that people who stop working tend to make less money than they did in the past. “

The thing is, if the product is still being sold, then they are still “working”. That’s the magic here. Making “as much” money, well, they should be making about the same per unit as they were before, and that’s the concept. There is no reason they shouldn’t be making money still. Less? Perhaps – but the money made is not as a result of some crooked get rich welfare scheme, which is what this is all painted to be.

Dreddsnik says:

” Taplin then comes up with his “solution.” It’s to have every ISP charge users $2 to $3/month which would go into a giant global pool that would be distributed to copyright holders. “

-sigh- .. It always comes around to this. The industry has tried time and time again to convince people that this would work. It’s getting really really old. They tried to legislate it, they tried celebrity endorsements of it ( Lily Allen ), the tried trickery ( Focus group creation of the artificial organization ‘Featured Artists Coalition ‘ which was designed to convince people through mass celebrity endorsement that this was preferable to law suits), and none of it ever worked .. and it won’t work now.

Too many of us see the flaws, the largest one being …

Who the fuck gets to decide who gets he money in the big black box ?

I don’t want a single dime of my cash going to an artist I don’t support, yet it constantly gets glossed over .. the top ‘Featured’ artists get their cut, the rest, well, not so much. Perhaps that’s why the FAC can boast a membership of those most likely to get a cut of the black box.

@agalvan, in other words, you won’t get shit.

No one that’s not ‘Featured’ will get anything, and everyone knows it. Isn’t it about time the Old men in suits and even older men with guitars give up on this ? We’ll never agree .. ever.

Mark Murphy (profile) says:

Re:

Look, it’s pretty simple: if you make a product, and people continue to buy less of it, continue to consume less of it, and continue to use less of it as part of their business, then you get to continue to make less money.

You can argue that piracy is the primary cause. Others, like myself, can argue that The Band’s modest original popularity and increasing irrelevancy is the primary cause.

For example, you cite “being used by radio stations to attract listeners”, which is about as piracy-resistant of a business model as you’re going to get. Radio stations aren’t going to be downloading tracks from The Band off a torrent somewhere, as they don’t need to. Yet, I am willing to be that The Band’s royalties from such licensing is on the decline, because The Band is irrelevant to modern rock stations and is competing against an ever-growing collection of artists in the “classic rock” segment, as more artists age and become “classic rock”. That’s just natural given the passage of time.

Similarly, the sales of CDs, vinyl, etc. for The Band will continue to decline, for much the same reason. Which means if they are not touring (and I have no idea if they are or not, though from other comments my guess is “not”), I fail to see how anyone would expect The Band’s income to remain steady, even if there were no piracy.

In fact, given that the percentage of The Band airtime on radio will decline in the face of increasing competition, and given the decline of “record stores” as a means of exposing people to different artists, it seems like pirate sites are a fairly likely place for people to find out about The Band’s music, given a lack of other options. Whether the conversion rate of pirates becoming paid buyers of The Band’s materials offsets those who avoid buying by downloading pirated The Band tracks is certainly up for debate, but that leads back into CwF/RtB and the general discussion of business models for musicians.

Dreddsnik says:

Sorry for the double post, but there’s one other thing that gets conveniently ignored .. the Snowball effect.

Do this for music and soon 2 or 3 dollars more for movies, 2 or 3 dollars for photographers, then for publishers etc .. the list can potentially be endless with the final result …

Internet is too costly for anyone.
What new musician or band could AFFORD to use the internet for distribution ? Well that’s easy .. ones who sign with a label, of course. We’ve managed to keep the labels in control and allowed them to extend their way of doing things to the internet, and it all sounded so ‘reasonable’ to begin with.

/end rant

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

“The thing is, if the product is still being sold, then they are still “working”.”

No, they are NOT working. However, the product they previously worked on and made is still being sold. However, assuming he signed over the rights to said “product” (a song or album), then the money would go to whoever the copyright holder is. Not him obviously. And as the album/songs have sold less and less, his cut gets smaller and smaller.

I know who The Band is. Without a doubt, their popularity is not growing at an exponential rate. As such, their “product” isn’t also selling at an exponential rate.

“That’s the magic here. Making “as much” money, well, they should be making about the same per unit as they were before, and that’s the concept.”

And no one is saying otherwise, you should make the same per “unit” as you did before.

“There is no reason they shouldn’t be making money still. Less? Perhaps – but the money made is not as a result of some crooked get rich welfare scheme, which is what this is all painted to be.”

There is no reason they shouldn’t be making money still. Less? MOST DEFINITELY! Their popularity has passed.

However, taxing broadband users nationwide to provide money for a fund to be doled out to certain artists over others is VERY MUCH a crooked get rich welfare scheme.

Not too mention that such systems/collections have a surprising amount of little to no oversight and history of screw ups and accounting “errors” (where the artists they’re meant for gets nothing).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

“but the money made is not as a result of some crooked get rich welfare scheme, which is what this is all painted to be.”

Which, again, isn’t what Mike said. He said that copyright isn’t meant to be -used- as some sort of retirement plan. He never said that the shouldn’t get paid for their previous work, nor that their work should be going for less per unit now as opposed to then. He said that it’s expected that after they stop recording, the money they make, as a whole, will go down.

Everything you said makes sense if, and only if, they are just as popular and selling just as much music and licensing deals now as they were when they stopped. And if that were the case, then they actually -would- be making as much money now as they were then, and we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

Anonymous Coward says:

"The Band"?

Very influential in their time. That’s the deal deal though, their time is past. Still great music but the world, on the whole, has moved on. I still enjoy their music, it conveys such emotion, but I also like Sonny Moore. Living in the real world is an exercise in constant flux, roll with the flow or get out of the way. Or grow old gracefully and realize that all good things must end.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re:

The internet isn’t a lawn, it is an amazing tool if you take the time to understand it.
There are people finding new ways to make money with it, and the legacy players spend so much time thinking for ways that new way might be used to cost them money and stop it.

Even this man who is soooo upset that an artist couldn’t make as much money as he used to, still wants to get a truckload of money and turn it over to the groups we know for a fact will do everything they can to keep it for themselves.

This isn’t about helping the artists, this is about helping all of the parasites riding their coattails. If you want to be taken seriously its time to demand that the labels finally come clean with their accounting practices. That they admit their contracts are based on the 1950s view of the world, where the internet didn’t exist.

Baldaur Regis (profile) says:

Re:

The guy on the left: entertainment industry = entitlement.

The guy on the right: tech industry = enhancement.

Does the entertainment industry have anybody who doesn’t come off as a whiny old man?

@crade: too true! He’ll be bitching about the good old days of crowdsourcing, but I suspect he won’t be saying the Kickstarter devs should be making as much money as when they were actually coding…

PaulT (profile) says:

Lets do the math on this one

“It’s to have every ISP charge users $2 to $3/month which would go into a giant global pool that would be distributed to major labels and other corporate copyright holders to pay to their most successful acts, while independent and other artists get nothing”

I assume that’s what he meant…

It also bears the hallmarks of not thinking things all the way through. Such a plan would probably increase piracy, not decrease it (you’re already paying for it, after all, or at least that would be the popular perception). I’m not sure what they pay in the US, but my Spotify subscription alone costs me ?10/month (approx. US$13), and these people are already whining about how that’s too low. But, who is going to subscribe to that kind of service and keep buying product when they’re already forced to pay an effective tax to pay for it?

Yet again, when faced with giving people what they actually want to pay for and something with disastrous unintended consequences, the latter is what’s demanded…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

When asked how they were going to fund such an initiative a represented reportedly responded, “We’re going to close some piracy and counterfeiting loopholes in the copyright and patent codes.” When pressed for details on what that would entail or how that would increase revenue enough to cover the new expense the representative threw an open bag of shredded records into the air and jump out a nearby window under the cover of the falling confetti.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re:

Ah, cherry-picked fantasies, my favourite…

“only work if nobody was buying The Band’s music”

I’ve never bought it. As far as I know, I’ve never heard a single song they ever recorded, and I only know of them because I did a film studies course that covered Martin Scorcese’s work (the film of The Band being one of the few we didn’t watch). I couldn’t tell you what any of their music sounds like, and I doubt they’re that insanely popular with people younger than me.

Why are you demanding that I pay for their pensions, again?

“If it wasn’t being used by radio stations to attract listeners to sell ads”

Is it? I wouldn’t know… The last radio station I listened to used mostly music from the last decade to promote its ads, and even that’s been replaced with podcasts and Spotify now in my listening habits.

“Are you trying to make money by not working?”

If you manage to read the article without loading a page from his servers, using his bandwidth, using his storage space to leave your inane drivel, etc., then I suppose you are…

PaulT (profile) says:

Re:

” they should be making about the same per unit as they were before”

Define “unit”. A major part of the recording industry’s problems stem from the fact that people often don’t buy the album “unit” any longer and prefer to pay for the single “unit”. No, they should not be getting the same for one song as they did for 12, and this unbundling effect is one of things that tends to get forgotten in all the whining about piracy… I can easily pay less than I would have done 20 years ago for the same music, because I’m not forced to buy a more expensive product to obtain it.

“the money made is not as a result of some crooked get rich welfare scheme”

Yes, it is. Much of the music would be in the public domain (or close to it) if the welfare schemes pushed by Sonny Bono and his predecessors was not passed.

They would still be paid if it were in the public domain, of course, but they’d have to work again to get it.

DOlz says:

Re:

My apologies for not being clearer. By “us” I meant the public and society as a whole. I was also thought you were using the “lawn” symbolically to mean the internet and our cultural heritage.

I agree with your points, I think we just had a semantic hiccup. Of course this shows just how hard it is to have a conversation with people who are deliberately misusing the language and being obtuse.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

1:51

Apparently that came to an end and Mr. Taplin feels that it’s wrong and it’s sad that the band members are broke

Hookers and blow ain’t cheap.

If you stopped working and received 6 figure income for many many years for work you did in the past, shouldn’t you just be happy for what you had?

I hope when I retire, I can have a high 5 figure income for many years, but it is important to note that I only am able to do so because I am putting a part of my paycheck away each time I get paid for that purpose. So many people I know don’t do that, expecting that the government will take care of them after they retire. I am sure Social Security will be bankrupt by the time I call to collect.

I think a lot of people live in the moment, not caring about the future. That tends to be part of the problem.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re:

“Making “as much” money, well, they should be making about the same per unit as they were before, and that’s the concept.”

Indeed that’s the concept but if the “product” moves fewer units with each passing year then the income becomes less and less. Nothing at all to do with piracy, real or imagined, which is the RIAA’s problem is that almost all the “costs” of piracy are imagined.

As for managers.
“And we’ll tell you the name of the game, boy;
We call it riding the gravy train!”

apauld (profile) says:

Re:

“they should be making about the same per unit as they were before, and that’s the concept.”

Who said they aren’t making the same per unit? If they aren’t, then they’d be in a good position to sue the heck out of their record label.

“There is no reason they shouldn’t be making money still. Less? Perhaps”

Their 1993 album, Jericho, peaked on the billboard charts at #166, and their last two didn’t even chart; so that is the most likely culprit in them making less money, ie. they just aren’t that popular any more.

– but the money made is not as a result of some crooked get rich welfare scheme, which is what this is all painted to be.

You are correct, the money made is not some crooked welfare scheme; but what Taplin is proposing would be a crooked welfare scheme so that a group that hasn’t had a top ten hit since 1975 would earn the same amount of money each year as they did at their peak of popularity.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re:

Hurm I think the hiccup might have been 2 fold.
I was not taking issue with you and I apologize if you thought I was. There would have been a much snarkier comment if I had taken issue with you. ๐Ÿ™‚

I think our hiccup really sets the tone of the entire problem though.

They are a bunch of old men who have no clue what the internet is, and refuse to learn anything for themselves. All they have are the ancient texts passed down telling them the internet will never be anything more than a mechanism to steal money from them. They are so devout in those beliefs that they ignore the truth, and when you show them the real truth they cling tighter to the ‘truth’ of the ancient scrolls.

They are an out of touch old man screaming at kids walking to close to his lawn. They screamed at those who stepped on it before, and now they scream at anyone getting close to it even if they don’t actually touch it. They spend their time looking for ways that those damn kids MIGHT harm their lawn and buying laws to stop it.

We’ll stay off their lawn, if they get the hell off of our internet.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Indeed! The only thing they’re victims of is corrupt corporations and retarded managers with their own interests reigning first. The figures they try to force down everyone’s throat are very fucked up. They almost never take in account ONLINE DIGITAL SALES which is on a huge rise and has been since the technology and internet boom.

That EX manager needs the shit smacked out of him for the EXtreme amounts of shit spraying out of his cock sucker.

They should go after the people supposedly protecting them but instead giving them the ol 1 2 when it comes to profits they make on digital sales.

It’s their fault these bands are going broke. Big companies make far more profit on digital sales since the regulations on them are shit. It’s actually ingenious when you break it down. A loophole that allows them to rip them off and make the bands think we’re the ones at fault instead of them.

Yup I guess we’re the ones to blame and not the corporations shoving a cactus up their asses. Mmmmm ouch OH! mmmm ooooohh yeah. After strong consideration and 30 hours pulling cactus needles out of my ass I agree KILL THE PIRATES.

Well if I had some evil fucker raping me with a cactus I’d probably go along with them as well. No sir I believe you no need to for me to come visit you in Arizona sir!

The Band needs to tell their masters to “go and SOPA PIPA their ACTA and roll over and TPP die” Unless we want all our future chats to be censored in similar ways.

illuminaut (profile) says:

1:51

I also like his objection to touring: Aretha Franklin shouldn’t have to drag her 78 years old butt on stage. Well yeah, he’s right. Just like everybody else has retired by that age. It’s called planning ahead and managing your finances. The sense of entitlement these guys display is just mind-boggling and, frankly, insulting to anybody working normal jobs.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Actual theft

Taplin then comes up with his “solution.” It’s to have every ISP charge users $2 to $3/month which would go into a giant global pool that would be distributed to copyright holders.

So, his solution is to force me to pay 2-3 dollars per month against my will for something that I don’t, and won’t ever use? In other words, for nothing whatsoever?

With so many people so quick to call infringement “theft,” I’m a little surprised that they don’t recognize the real, actual theft this would be.

DanZee (profile) says:

Make Things Up

Well, when you take an indefensible stand you do tend to make things up to prove your point.

As for the members of The Band, who told them to retire? There’s lots of things they could have been doing to make money, such as owning their own recording studios, mentoring young musicians and bands, producing other artists, writing new songs, and selling their stuff online.

Also, I hope they saved some of their money when they were making $200,000 a year. I make less than half of that and I manage to put away some money for retirement. Are rock ‘n’ rollers immune from having to save money for their retirement?

Watchit (profile) says:

Re:

Another problem with the “$2 to $3 a month” plan is that it assumes that everyone who uses the internet either pirate content or use content from the major “copyright holders”, this would clearly punish perfectly innocent users or those who don’t use content from the major copyright holders. Why should I pay for something I don’t use or gain benefit from?

Anonymous Coward says:

I think the word ‘free’ just like the word ‘pirate’ needs a new definition, especially when certain aspects of internet services are concerned.

Technological pirates of the caribean my ass!

Free for consumer? Yes
Creators get paid? Yes

I know its a radical concept for some people, dont mean it aint a reality right now.
How suscessfull it becomes will depend on when people stop fighting it, which the cynic in me says never.

But even so, only as long as privacy and confidential data is on a system that is articially incapable of STORING, CIPHERING OR MONITORING said data, then ad based, or low monthly ‘ALL you can eat’ subscription, is more then capable of providing an income for creators, ESPECIALLY, if you offer a service that is SOoo good that the entirety of the internet considers you’re service part and parcel of the internet itself
SOooooo good infact, that manufacturers accross the board, will put your app/program on their internet capable devices by default, because it would be a given, common knowledge even, that whoever buys their product, will most certainly be using your service

Is it feasible?
The internet folks seem to think so
Is it easy?
FCK NO

There’s the rub i guess, its possible, just no bloody easy, but if you get it right, oh my….the possiblities

but even for me, for someone who would like to see this happen, i would turn my back in a heartbeat if the downside is that peoples rights are shat upon, by the results and consequences of greed and nanny spy governments

Moral of the story, dont do something your consumers/ voters wouldnt want you doing, things that would directly affect them
Stop telling us what we should do, and ask us as a whole, what WE would like to do

Full of radical concepts me, sitting here on my pile of radioactive isotopes, smoking my cuban cigars, twisting my pointy moustache, while listening to my abba mp3’s………..shhhhhhhh……. i didnt pay for them………a…..certain…….government, we’re just, giving them away, well, not exactly, there was sumthing about backing a fishNet bill and looking out for pie thieves or sumthing……….(shrugs)………who cares, ISOTOPEs ftw

Anonymous Coward says:

quote:
“the story of Helm is quite tragic, but at the same time, most people when they are no longer working tend not to make as much money as they did in the past.”

What is Techdirt on about?
Helm was working last year. I spoke with people who saw him in concert.
At least try to get SOME facts right before passing judgement.

hurricane head says:

Not that I would expect the faithful fan b0is to care, but the CCIA tech sponsored propaganda (sky thing)is hopelessly flawed. I’ll take my news from The New York Times and CNN.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/05/opinion/sunday/perpetual-war-digital-pirates-and-creators.html

http://money.cnn.com/2010/02/02/news/companies/napster_music_industry/

The conversation is about the sales and revenue of record music. However, of course if you add in all the chocolate bars that have been sold during the same time, I’m sure the numbers will look different, LOL. It’s just so funny how hard you have to cook the numbers (well, how hard CCIA has to cook them) to try and get any traction. It’s a great work of fiction.

Anonymous Coward says:

Lets do the math on this one

Than start now, because if you bought a blank CD/DVD/Bluray you already have been charged, if you ever ate at a restaurant and there was music you paid for, if you go to the gym and there is music you are paying for it, if you have an HDD you pay a levy in the US and most of the world, if you bought a printer you paid a levy in Europe, if you have a thumbdrive in many places you have already paid the levy.

I don’t think people realizes how deep this copyright BS goes.

hurricane head says:

Re:

actually karl, the numbers are cooked from the CCIA… using selective stats like “transactions” instead of sales measuring only digital sales starting at a baseline of zero versus the aggregate of all sales for 1999 – 2009.

at best it’s just intellectually dishonest, and at worst it’s really just outright lies. recorded music revenues are down by 50% over ten years, and that’s a fact. it’s also a fact NOT reported by the CCIA because the truth is a lot harder to sell than fiction.

Josef Anvil (profile) says:

Well ended

I have to say that the final question and final answer in the debate were spot on.

Paraphasing:
Q. What if it wasn’t music? What if the piracy problem were encountered in food production and farmers were losing money?

A. You mean if I could copy a carrot infinitely and feed the world? Yeah, that’s a great idea!

Alexis just illustrated that if you have an infinite supply of anything, then yes it’s going to be difficult to make money on it, but not impossible, even though it may be questionable morally. When I was a kid, tap water was free, now it’s about $1 per bottle. Maybe the music industry could learn from the water industry how to deal with free.

PaulT (profile) says:

Well ended

“When I was a kid, tap water was free, now it’s about $1 per bottle.”

Actually it’s still free. It’s also inexpensive. It’s also expensive…

That is to say, you can still get free drinking water in many public places. Tap water is not expensive and can usually be fit for any purpose you wish, up to and including drinking. If you prefer higher quality than that, you can buy filters or bottled water. The choice is up to you – nobody berates a man for drinking free water, or insists that drinking water can only be obtained from pre-approved bottlers or retailers. Somehow, all companies involved with these processes manage to stay in business despite competition at every price point.

“Maybe the music industry could learn from the water industry how to deal with free.”

Indeed. Although, given the fact that radio and other free promotions have played such a huge part in their history, you’d have hoped that they wouldn’t need outside help.

Karl (profile) says:

Re:

using selective stats like “transactions” instead of sales

“Transactions” are sales. If you’re talking about the decline in profits, it makes complete sense to talk about the decrease in revenue per transaction. That’s the case with music: in the 1990’s, if a consumer liked a song on the radio, she had to pay $18 and buy the entire CD. That same consumer can now pay $1 and buy only the song she likes.

That has nothing to do with piracy, yet piracy is touted as the reason for the labels’ loss in profits. If anyone here is “cooking the books,” it’s the RIAA.

Anonymous Coward says:

Well ended

and as usual techdirt misses the point completely and get’s it entirely wrong again! why do you guys hate musicians so much? this great and insightful piece by musician / thinker gavin castleton explains the fallacy in the argument that music is like water, it’s not.

http://musictechpolicy.wordpress.com/2012/03/15/guest-post-the-fallacy-of-music-like-water-by-gavin-castleton/

Anonymous Coward says:

revisionist history as usual–aside from the fact that creators big and small are entitled to royalties for the life of their copyrights, even if you knew nothing else about “intentions” of copyright, why have copyright laws for well over 100 years had extensive discussions of the author’s heirs? Hmmm? Wanna guess?

Historically, that is, before 2000, artists like The Band could have expected average royalties for a catalog of that magnitude. The reason that they aren’t getting those average royalties is not for the reasons given in the CCIA lobbyist’s cheat sheet, it’s because of theft. They aren’t kidding that you hate musicians.

Who sells ads that benefit pirates? Read the Megavideo indictment for a start (Adsense, Adbright, Partygaming), then watch Ellen Siedler’s video “Who Profits from Piracy” on http://www.popuppirates.com It’s all there.

Anonymous Coward says:

"The Band"?

“Robertson suggests that during their time with Dylan everyone just referred to them as “the band” and it stuck. Initially, they disliked the moniker, but eventually grew to like it, thinking it both humble and presumptuous. Rolling Stone referred to them as “The band from Big Pink.”[28]”

From Wiki directly and The Last Waltz (their Scorsese documentary) indirectly

Anonymous Coward says:

"The Band"?

Sorry dropped off the first paragraph of that somehow.

The traveled with Dylan as his stage band for awhile after splitting with the namesake of their previous band. The were also the band on his album Blond on Blond. They were also the band with Dylan when he had his controversial electric tour, arguably some of his best concerts.

PaulT (profile) says:

Well ended

“you are going to have to learn how to adapt and evolve without illegally exploiting the work of others. “

If only you weren’t such an asshole, you’d notice the many times over the last few years that I’ve said (and proven, though you ignore the proof) that I don’t pirate and that I pay for my music, both directly and indirectly. Yet, you’re still incapable of doing anything other that attacking paying customers.

The only people who hate musicians are the morons like you who support getting in between them and my money. In my case, DRM, regional restrictions and licencing issues have done far more to lose money than any piracy, yet you blindly support every one of these like the fool you are.

Karl (profile) says:

Re:

here’s how pirates profit from adwords

This is a site by the person who produced “And Then Came Lola”, and who does not even remotely understand how the web works. It’s a rabid anti-internet, and specifically anti-Google, rant site. For example, she suggests all of Google’s profits come from AdWords profits from pirate sites. Seriously.

Citing this site as “evidence” against piracy is like citing the Turner Diaries as “evidence” of a government conspiracy.

(As a side note, I had to Google who put up the site, because there’s no “About” page on that site at all. Not really a sign of confidence when the owner of the site is afraid to identify themselves.)

In the meantime, a search on The Pirate Bay for the movie revealed a grand total of four torrents, with 19 seeders and 7 leechers combined.

And IMDB users rated the movie 3.5 (out of 10), with the first user review calling it “one of the worst re-workings of a foreign film I’ve seen.”

So, yeah, not really convinced piracy is the problem.

Anonymous Coward says:

Well ended

name calling, well that the sign of lost argument. if what you were saying had any shred of truth to it, we would not be having this conversation.

oh, and by the way, welcome to the copyright alert system coming to an isp near you this summer. not that I care. I don’t even care if you download illegally.

I care about the tech companies making millions by illegally exploiting the work of artists without compensation or consent. I am advocating for an Ethical Internet where artists work is not lining the pockets of unethical greedy tech companies.

The conversation is about ethical business practices. So if you buy all your music, great. I’m not concerned about you one way or the other. But business that profit on the backs of musicians and artists need to be held accountable.

PaulT (profile) says:

Well ended

“name calling, well that the sign of lost argument.”

Well, at the risk of going down you usual kindergarten route, you started it. I don’t particularly appreciate the falsehoods you accuse me of without evidence, just because you can’t accept the opinions of others. Please, continue your personal attacks, but don’t pretend you’re not doing far worse than I.

“I care about the tech companies making millions by illegally exploiting the work of artists without compensation or consent.”

But, apparently not that the same companies make much more money from facilitating independent artists, true creativity and thousands of other things that have nothing to do with corporate profit for your chosen industry. You would happily kill freedoms and profits for every other individual and company so long as your chosen few get paid, even as you refuse to adapt to stop piracy without needing these measures. Interesting, isn’t it?

“The conversation is about ethical business practices”

Then the last people you should be defending are the entertainment industry’s major corporations.

“I’m not concerned about you one way or the other.”

Clearly. Nor do I care about you, and your profit if you’re the “but I’m a musician! I won’t prove it but this means my opinion matters” AC.

I do however care about the killing of rights, the destruction of alternative business models and the attempted subjugation of both artists and consumers alike just because a few dinosaurs in charge of frivolous industries refuse to adapt to the realities in front of them. That you defend them so vehemently and refuse to take opposing points of view into account (topped with personal insults and accusations, a classy touch) is your failure.

Anonymous Coward says:

Well ended

quoteI do however care about the killing of rights, the destruction of alternative business models and the attempted subjugation of both artists and consumers alike just because a few dinosaurs in charge of frivolous industries refuse to adapt to the realities in front of them.

This is just a nonsense, or parroting propaganda – either way it flies in the face of reality.
I’m a musician. I’m using cheap recording software. I can publish my music on soundcloud, or free from my own website, or via some 3rd party distribution like Reverbnation or CDbaby. Pleeeease tell me how I’m stopped from employing any alternative business model I choose by the rest of the music industry (‘the dinosaurs’)?
It’s all about freedom of choice isn’t it?
As an artist I can choose to give my work away, and i can choose from a huge number of different distribution methods and business models. NO ONE is stopping me.
But if people download my music against my wishes, my choices are taken away.

PaulT (profile) says:

Well ended

“But if people download my music against my wishes, my choices are taken away.”

In exactly the same way as if somebody copied a CD, lent the CD to a friend, listened to a radio station from another country that played your track, taped the song off the radio, and hundreds of other things you have never had control over.

I’m sorry that you’re such a control freak and fool that you have to have absolute control over how everything used after you sold it, but I have news for you: you have never and will never have full control. Stop trying to destroy both the choices of other artists (shutting down MegaUpload because you don’t like it when they choose is as their distribution method) and of consumers (DRM, regional restrictions, etc) in the process of chasing that unachievable dream.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

>why have copyright laws for well over 100 years had extensive discussions of the author’s heirs? Hmmm? Wanna guess?

So… what? Are you saying that because certain individuals aren’t as rich as they’d like to be they get to deny the public domain for forever minus a day?

Wow, and to think you’ve got the guts to claim that Techdirt readers are complaining for “having their binky taken away”. No, you’re the one who’s unhappy that more people are realising that life plus a random number is bull.

Anonymous Coward says:

Well ended

You have no idea what you are talking about. Why are you so against musicians being able to make an honest living?

** “You would happily kill freedoms and profits for every other individual and company so long as your chosen few get paid, even as you refuse to adapt to stop piracy without needing these measures. Interesting, isn’t it?” **

What few? You mean the entirety of all the content producers globally? Uh yeah – it’s a great business to not have to actually pay for the labor huh…

And you kidding me? What freedoms? Who’s freedoms? You are already killing my freedoms and profits so that Google, and others can make billions more? Why do you think they’re spending so much on lobbyists this year?

How does supporting an unethical business like the pirate bay, and other illegal sites benefit any of the “independent artists”… of course you are not talking about musicians I take it.

Why do you find your economic model is so desperately reliant upon the illegal and unethical practice of exploiting artists labor without consent or compensation?

Probably because that’s how you make your money… funny, huh.

PaulT (profile) says:

Well ended

“Why are you so against musicians being able to make an honest living? “

Please, read my actual words, the return when your only criticism isn’t a pathetic, threadbare strawman. Lying about me and my position won’t work when the actual position in black-and-white in front of you.

“Why do you find your economic model is so desperately reliant upon the illegal and unethical practice of exploiting artists labor without consent or compensation? “

“My business model”? Which one’s that? I don’t remember ever having one. Perhaps you can link to it?

If you bothered reading my actual posts over the years, you’ll find I’m just as much in support of current business models if they actual treated artists & consumers fairly and adapted to the modern world. That they don’t, and wish to destroy freedom and competition rather than adapt is not my fault.

“Probably because that’s how you make your money… funny, huh.”

I make my money by working as a sys admin in a field unrelated to music and movies, so I don’t know what you think you’re talking about here. It’s the legal options I’m given to spend my hard-earned cash on that I criticise, and do so with a view to be able to access the options I wish to spend it on (I’m often currently blocked by the industry’s own idiocy).

Begone, fool, you’re clearly either so far up your own arse you can’t even read the posts of people you’re attacking, or you’re so starved of intelligent pastimes that you find pointless trolling to be a fulfilling enterprise.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop ยป

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...