Someone (the internet credits both Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein) once said that "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again -- and expecting different results." At some point, can we simply declare the RIAA insane and be done with it? At the very least, they're causing me
to bang my head against the wall. For years
we've been pointing out business models involving free music that don't need require the RIAA to sue everyone. For years, we've been highlighting the very basic economics
for why these business models will almost certainly take over the industry. And, now that we're starting to see some serious traction
among bands adopting these models (without RIAA help), we've even explained why the RIAA should still have an important place
within this model. Even when the RIAA scores a minor courtroom victory
(after many, many losses), and the result is that more people are feeling sorry for the woman found guilty, due to the insanely high fees the court put on her. In other words, nearly everything the industry has done has backfired and made things worse. And how does the RIAA respond? By saying it needs to keep doing the same thing over and over again
. The spokesman for the RIAA calls their activities "tough love" but hasn't anyone pointed out to them that what they're doing has not worked
and has only made the situation worse? For all of their suing activities, more file sharing than ever is going on... and more and more musicians are opting out of the RIAA mill to craft much more consumer friendly business models. Yet, the RIAA insists that suing people, creating more sympathetic martyrs, and pissing off legitimate customers left and right is the strategy they need
to take? It's insanity.
But... wait. Just as I was finishing this post, reader Eric Samson
writes in to let us know that EMI's new bosses may finally be adding some sanity back to the process. EMI was bought out by a private equity firm recently, and the CEO of that firm apparently took the Radiohead story as a reason to email the folks at EMI and tell them to pay attention
. Specifically, he said that it's "a wake-up call which we should all welcome and respond to with creativity and energy" and that the industry "has for too long been dependent on how many CDs can be sold" and finally, that the industry has screwed up: "rather than embracing digitalisation and the opportunities it brings for promotion of product and distribution through multiple channels, the industry has stuck its head in the sand." Amazing. It only took someone from totally outside the industry to buy
one of the major labels and tell its executives the obvious for them to hear it. Now, let's see if EMI can convince the RIAA, who supposedly represents EMI (among many others) that perhaps suing everyone and fighting the inevitable tide isn't such a great idea.