Record Store Owners Blame RIAA For Destroying The Music Industry

from the nice-work dept

It's not like it hasn't been said many times before, but it's nice to see the NY Times running an opinion piece about the RIAA from a pair of record store owners which basically points out how at every opportunity, the RIAA has made the wrong move and made things worse:
The major labels wanted to kill the single. Instead they killed the album. The association wanted to kill Napster. Instead it killed the compact disc. And today it's not just record stores that are in trouble, but the labels themselves, now belatedly embracing the Internet revolution without having quite figured out how to make it pay.
Also, it's not every day that you see a NY Times piece use the word "boneheadedness" to describe the strategy of an organization. At this point, this story has been so obvious for so long, it's worth asking why anyone (well, mainly policy makers in DC) still bother listening to the RIAA. If you could have scripted out the worst possible strategy to damage your own industry, I don't think you could have planned anything worse than what the RIAA has actually done.

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  1. identicon
    squik, 6 Apr 2007 @ 2:52pm


    Twenty-five years ago if you wanted to buy music, you went to the record store and browsed. You listened to tracks and albums. The stores I went to would open up any vinyl and let you listen before you bought. You could spend hours browsing the bins looking for something new and interesting. You went there with your friends and talked about music and shared the store experience. In sum, the record store provided a social space and a form of entertainment, not just a place to buy.

    People no longer need record stores for social or entertainment activities. It has been replaced by a myriad of different options: cable television, interactive media, online social spaces, mmorpgs, etc. People no longer need to browse the bins or look up release dates in the catalogues. A search at Amazon or Google solves that problem.

    Online stores, downloads, and big-box stores have made obtaining music a cheap economic transaction. There's no more excitement, rushing to the store to get the latest release, when you've pre-ordered it to appear on your doorstep a day before the official release.

    Record stores went away because of these changes, which were external to the music industry. If the industry had made moves to protect the record store as consumers' preferred distributor of music, then no doubt we would be reading here about how terrible the RIAA was for doing that.

    Not every move the RIAA makes is good. And not every bad move is made because they want to make the move. But every move they make will be seen as bad in someone's perspective.

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