Musicians Wondering Why They're Not Seeing A Cut Of RIAA Settlements

from the hey,-wait,-isn't-that-our-money? dept

The RIAA and its associated organizations certainly have a rather long history of not sharing the windfall from various lawsuits and settlements with the artists the RIAA likes to claim it represents -- and now those musicians are getting angry. Torrent Freak points us to the news that various managers and lawyers representing some big name musicians are discussing filing a lawsuit against the record labels for keeping all of that money. The record labels claim either that they are distributing some amount (if required to contractually) or that they're still trying to figure out how to "split" the money. Of course, they're also giving the usual story about how "after legal fees" there really isn't that much left to give out. Remember, though, when it comes to talk to the press or politicians, they'll swear up and down that these lawsuits are all for the musicians.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    James, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 2:36pm

    This is amusing...

    ...considering they always say they are doing this to help the artists... sheez.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Sean, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 2:49pm

    One meaning of RIAA is

    Recording Industry Attorneys Association

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Patrick, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 2:51pm

    you got it wrong...

    They aren't doing it to get the money back for the income they would have received if the album was purchased legally. They sue these people to create a deterrent for those who are considering downloading illegally.

    Too bad it doesn't work.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 2:59pm

    Wow, I sure didn't see this unusual twist of events coming from 100 miles away!

    These scumbags need to be fined and made to repay all the people that they have extorted money from. These jerks have ruined peoples lives, for no good reason. I'd say they deserve the same in return.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    David Lieder, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 3:20pm

    Anti RIAA idiots

    The only reason there was artist development and widely known - highly trained bands in the 60s, 70s, and 80s and even early 90's was because the major labels paid for it. Now look at the garbage that is out there - most real bands struggle worse now than when you anti-RIAA idiots started stealing mp3s and talking your trash. The major labels are still the ones that fund the success of what few great bands there are out there, but even many of those like Cold Play take all the millions and then still insult the business model that created the success for them. All you starving musicians should get a grip on reality and stop blaming capitalism and the RIAA for your problems. The only thing that mass theft of music has done is to make it hard for all the rest of us honest artists, and I would love for a major label to toss me a development deal or anything for that matter. F#*&( idiots out there in the EMO zombie land.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    TriZz, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 3:20pm


    What about the children? And the children of the artists...?

    I can't wait for the music industry to implode. I mean, really, all the talent is in Indie labels these days anyway. Perhaps when the big 4 are done screwing themselves over, all that will remain will be the Indie bands and they'll finally get the exposure they deserve.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Robert, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 3:24pm

    RE : Anti RIAA idiots

    "...The only thing that mass theft of music has done..."

    Copyright infringement is NOT theft. You are worse than an idiot, you are a sellout corporate shill.

    True artists care about the art, not the money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Tack Furlo, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 3:35pm

    The "Same Old Same Old" can actually work

    Hack them. Constantly.

    I mean, the truth is that nobody is going to be able to beat the RIAA or MPAA or any other special interest (Big Oil, Cablecos, Telcos, etc) by doing anything legal. That's how our form of government (Beuracracy, not Democracy, though we're technically actually a represetitive republic, FYI) works, or for that matter, how capitalism works. The system is designed to keep those who are in power in power for as long as possible. It's kinda like trying to destroy religion. Sure, it's a great idea, but nobody will ever eradicate religion simply by telling everyone "religion is bad" because the system is designed specifically to handle that ("oh, we're bad huh? well you're a heathen and will burn in hell!") Just the same, capitalism and beuracracy is designed to allow the little man to compete, but not to allow the big man to lose to the little man. That,s how it works. So, the only way to beat the system is to destroy it using method that is above and beyond the system. You can't beat them at their game playing by their rules, because they wrote the rules to prevent that, so you simply must break the rules.

    Here's a quick shortlist of what you can do that will actually impact the RIAA:

    1. Find the IP addresses of media sentry and the other PI firms they use and DDoS them. Constantly. 24 hours a day, every day, 365 days a year. Make their boxes work until they fry.
    2. Same for their lawyers.
    3. Same for their executives. If the system on the desk of the CEO of Sony starts to smoke it will actually get his attention. A couple million bucks won't.
    4. Release exploits specifically targeting Sony and Toshiba, both big players in media. Make sure they don't effect Dell or HP, because Dell supports Linux and HP includes built in TV Tuners and DVR software.
    5. Find a flaw in windows that you can exploit that will give you access to the hosts file. Make redirect to the pirate bay. Distribute this bug en masse.
    6. Find another flaw and change the DVD region on everyone's DVD player the maximum number of times, ending in some random region code like Africa. If people can't play DVDs they won't buy them.
    7. Find and exploit a flaw in windows that would make audio CDs unable to be read. Standard data CDs should be uneffected so people can still distribute MP3 CDs.
    8. Get everyone you know on facebook or twitter or myspace hooked on some random indie music group. Get them drunk if needed first. Make sure the group supports the idea of starting a fund for people wanting to sue the RIAA. If you have a LOT of friends and the indie group becomes popular enough you will have both created serious competition for the RIAA and destroyed their key legal strategy - i.e. throw money at lawyers until it settles - and basically screwed them double.

    I could go on, but from there on for the other 80 methods or so the list gets too intricate. Anyhow, this is how you do it. Playing within the system - lobbying congress, boycotting artists, refusing to buy their CDs - is exactly what they want you to do. These methods for dealing with them are built into the system as easy ways to oppose the RIAA so that you would never even consider the other, alternate ways you could do much more damage. We are all drones for the RIAA and MPAA - we all have DVD and CD players and buy those discs. Even those of us who quit a long time ago have a few. The only way this will end is if those discs become worthless, and both CD and DVD technology have clear, obvious weaknesses that can easily be exploited to render them unusable, and when that happens, people will have no choice but to download the music they want. Sure, some will continue funding the RIAA and MPAA through the likes of Amazon and iTunes, but when the average user who spent $19 per CD is told their CDs are all now worthless, I assure you, most of them will be too pissed off to even consider paying for them again. That, or too broke and just tired of playing their little game.

    But heck, what do I know. Maybe we're not living inside the RIAA matrix after and and it was just a dream...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Robert, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 3:40pm

    Re: RE : Anti RIAA idiots

    That being said however, since the RIAA is suing people in the name of the artists at least 51% of any recovered proceeds should be going to the artists.

    If they aren't going to pay more than half the money to the artists, then they should stop claiming to be acting on their behalf.

    They should state the real reason behind the lawsuits, which is of course "Because we're bored, greedy, rich bastards and we have nothing better to do."

    Recording Industry Association of America
    "Who do you want to screw today ?"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    krsd, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 3:53pm

    Re: The "Same Old Same Old" can actually work

    "6. Find another flaw and change the DVD region on everyone's DVD player the maximum number of times, ending in some random region code like Africa. If people can't play DVDs they won't buy them."

    Why not instead build and publicize a free app that makes everyones DVD region Free? Also create a listing of where to get DVD's from overseas that will now play in said players?

    But then I will always favor informing people instead of forcing them into a battle unknown.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Aaron Kafton, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 4:02pm

    Re: Anti RIAA idiots

    Look, while you may still have pipe dreams about what a record deal could do for you, but I've seen to many of my friends get deals and then get screwed over. One of my friends got a deal, and now the label is pretty much just sitting on it. They won't send out any more cd's for them to sell at shows. They'll never see a dime from the cds the label itself has sold because "they're still recovering their cost" but not making any effort to promote.. No money, nothing. They pretty much just signed them so no one else could have them.. This is very common in the industry. So it seems to me that whats making it hard for the honest artist is the label itself. The bands out there making the big bucks from the label are the mass marketed bland 40 forty bullcrap artist that couldn't write themselves out of a paper bag. Its a dieing system

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Brian, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 4:08pm

    Support Unsigned Artists

    I'm glad major label (lazy) artists are not getting a dime! Keep downloading major label artist’s music! Make sure the greedy FuCs don't make get dime off their music sales! It's their own (lazy) fault; they made the decision to go with a major record label to get major label (quick) money. Their greedy a$$e$ deserve it!

    We need to listen and support unsigned artist more than we support signed artist. This will force the industry realize that there isn’t money going with a major record label; thus, further impacting the RIAA. If artist wants to make money off their music/performance then they need to get off their a$$ and perform, or sell their music to someone that is willing to perform for them! I know many unsigned artist which are personal friends of mine and they make very good money being unsigned, but they’re working hard for their money, and they would rather be unsigned… If you download their music you are free from any RIAA lawsuits. The RIAA does not care to protect these artists because they don't own these artists. Unsigned artist are not going to spend the time and effort to take you to court. They're already busy crating new music, collaborating with other artist, selling their music (beats, samples, and lyrics) to other artists, and performing.

    This is a new era where society needs instant gratification and no one believes in hard work anymore. I for one use iTunes a lot and I usually buy the music I really enjoy, music that touches me on a personal level, and music I can relate to. I download trendy crap! I also do not have the room to store and organize hundreds/thousands of CDs and I haven’t bought a CD in years, and I doubt I will ever buy another. CDs are dead to me!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 4:12pm

    Re: Anti RIAA idiots

    It doesn't take money to make good music, that should be obvious by now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    bob, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 4:12pm


    But don't forget those they extorted money from Stole something. Is too much taken yes but are these innocent people they take from not usually.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 4:20pm

    Re: Anti RIAA idiots

    Welcome to the Interweb.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Brian, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 4:56pm

    Anti RIAA idiots

    The RIAA hasn't extorted anything!
    Does the RIAA have the right to do what they are doing? YES, they have earned it! They have created the system that entitles them to their rights.
    Do I think it's fair and adequate? NO.
    What am I going to do about it? Nothing more than what I said in my previous post. I don't care for the “artist’s bad decision” to go with a major record label and the “stupid a$$” that downloaded the track in a fashion that got him in trouble. I have no pity for their ignorance. They need to learn by it.

    We need to consider the RIAA as PIMPS! Pimping out the artists like Hoes. If a Major label signs an artist it's because the record label thinks it will make their money back 10 fold. The artist should buy a lottery ticket while he's feeling so lucky, He'll need it...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 5:50pm

    Re: Anti RIAA idiots

    Ahh, yes, your perspective sounds a lot less idiotic. Pimps vs. Hoes.


    Go back to watching MTV now little billy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    zcat, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 6:03pm

    "Release exploits specifically targeting Sony and Toshiba"
    You mean something like put a rootkit on everyone's sysyem if they play a sony CD?

    Yeah, that'll work...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    zcat, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 6:15pm


    Just in case you're sarcasm-impaired.

    Your ideas in #4 and #7; Sony already tried them..
    4; Sony caused a bunch of their own customers to get infected with the most vicious and difficult to remove class of malware that currently exists, a 'rootkit'.

    7; Then entire purpose of Sony's rootkit was to interfere with the normal operation of CDROM drives so that they couldn't be used to copy music.

    The backlash was HUGE.. at least a couple of dozen geeks were hugely upset. And after action from some state attorneys, Sony had to return some tiny fraction of the profit they made selling these CD's.

    Now, go ask 100 people completely at random (off the street, not amongst your geek friends) if they've heard about the Sony rootkit incident or have any idea what a rootkit is. I'm betting there one be a single person who has any idea what you're talking about.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 7:02pm

    Re: Re: Anti RIAA idiots by Aaron Kafton

    Now that is an interesting point that I've never heard mentioned before. I wonder how many artists are being screwed by the very label that is suppose to promote them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Musician With Taste, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 7:05pm

    Re: Anti RIAA idiots


    Maybe if your music wasn't whiney crap, you could make a buck on it.


    -The World

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 7:19pm

    Re: Re: Anti RIAA idiots

    I second that statement.

    -The Universe

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 9:33pm

    Re: Anti RIAA idiots

    Oh, yeah, 'cause I really stopped buying CDs BEFORE the music they churned out sucked. Right.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2008 @ 9:35pm

    Re: Anti RIAA idiots

    You're comparing Cold Play to the great bands of the 70s? Oh please spare me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. icon
    PaulT (profile), Feb 29th, 2008 @ 12:25am

    Re: sorry...

    @zcat #19: I know you were being sarcastic there but maybe the backlash from the "geeks" didn't hurt Sony in any major way financially. It did, however, make many people think twice about buying Sony products and many people (myself included) are boycotting Sony-produced albums.

    However, to concentrate on the money is missing the point. The rootkit fiasco and the way it was dealt with (the Sony CEO claiming that all the security issues didn't matter if the average Joe didn't know what they were) helped push through the major backlash against DRM. A couple of years ago, Sony and their cronies were trying to change the CD format to force us to do even less with our purchases. Now, all the major labels have some kind of DRM-free download service available. It's a major change, and for the better for everyone.

    @the anonymous idiots above trying to defend the RIAA again: The entire point of this article is about how the labels - who have been using "think of the artists!" as their reason for the lawsuits - are not paying the artists. As ever, the profits from their actions go to lawyers, accountants, marketing men and other stuffed suits. The artists are much better off without them. The old business model is dead. Real artists aren't in it for the money anyway, but if they're clever they'll leave the sinking ship or not board it in the first place.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Enrico Suarve, Feb 29th, 2008 @ 1:55am

    Re: Anti RIAA idiots

    "The only reason there was artist development and widely known - highly trained bands in the 60s, 70s, and 80s and even early 90's was because the major labels paid for it."

    Sorry but from someone who used to work in the industry - what a crock of shit

    Sure the nice old A&R men found bands who couldn't play and funded lessons and instruments and day trip and sweets an...

    Crap - they did then what they have always done, search for bands who already excelled, already met their formula and who played a type of music they knew they could sell. The only thing they have ever really done is help bands with their image and advertising, artistic contributions from labels towards bands nearly always fall into the "try and sound more like the other top selling bands..." category

    Over the decades they have got so good at this that the music people are exposed to has become less and less varied, leading to less sources of inspiration for young talent and inevitably to more same old same old music

    Turn on your telly - watch a few episodes of pop idol or any other similar format telly, understand that this IS A&R men gone wild - this IS what they do - this IS how THEY produce the crap you are complaining about and that their reasoning is always based on what sells (easily). If anything Simon Cowell and his cringe-worthy mates devote way more time to training and loveliness than usual since it makes for better telly (note: still not GOOD telly though)

    The only thing the major labels have ever really done is band promotion but that’s basically just advertising, they don't do this for the good of the bands, they do it since it makes them more money. They don't even run much risk - the ARTIST very often pays for the advertising, recording and production out of their share first before they make any money

    Read up on collateralization and cross collateralization in the music industry -

    Collateralization is basically the above "we make profit from your album from the first sale, you make profit once all the costs are paid off"

    Cross collateralization the same thing but if your first album makes you a million and your second album dives, they'll be coming for that first album money back to pay for the second thanks very much. There are loads of cases where labels get greedy with the second album, produce far more CDs than they will ever realistically sell and the artist picks up the bill, or where a label just fails to advertise the second album.....

    The RIAA PRS and a whole host of other acronyms work almost exclusively for their corporate masters, as an artist you have to be HUGE before you get any real say in splits of the readies (Madonna huge).

    I suggest if you are seriously trying to get into the business that you read up on recording contracts, pay special attention to George Michael's and Bros's and get yourself a manager who has spent years in the music industry (your mum really isn’t going to cut it)

    The major label business model IS broken and no amount of whinging is going to fix it (mind you they came out with the same arguments they are currently using when sheet music was first released, tapes came out, CDs came out....). Personally I hope that this time it really is dead and never recovers - I think artists finding new ways of making money with progressive labels and other avenues, and the creativity this will involve may be the only way of getting some culture and diversity back in pop

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    SomeGuy, Feb 29th, 2008 @ 5:05am


    I'm unconvinced by that, actually. There's A LOT of controversy around the way the RIAA is running their litigation -- the way they file claims, the way they determine who the guilty party is, all of it. And I submit that people "roll over" and pay up more often because they can't afford the time and money a legal battle costs, not because they've necessarily done something wrong and can't (if they had the resources) defend themselves.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. identicon
    AJ, Feb 29th, 2008 @ 8:51am

    Isn't there a blank media 'tax' put on the sales of all blank CDs and DVDs in the US? Has even a PENNY of that been distributed to the artists? Where is the outrage on that? Where are the lawsuits??

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. identicon
    Brian, Feb 29th, 2008 @ 8:53am

    Roll over!

    Because our legal system is so fuCed, in most cases it costs more to defend yourself in trial then to settle before trial. Most people will settle for $15-$20k in fines rather then spending $100k plus in legal fees (not including the fines if loose) trying to prove their innocence.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. identicon
    AJ, Feb 29th, 2008 @ 8:59am

    Re: Anti RIAA idiots

    Gee, did you ever read about what your precious Labels do to the artists? How much money actually goes to them rather than the amount that gets sucked out paying for their huge unbridled bureaucracy? The major labels have done nothing but lie to the consumer market for YEARS. I remember when the first CDs were released in the 80s. They were about two times the price of tapes. We were told by the labels that they would drop in price to much less than a cassette after they ramp up production. Well, 25 years later, I'm STILL waiting for them to make good on THAT promise. Do yourself a favor and ready some books (Courtney Love's book comes to mind) on just how fair and ethical those are with whom you so desperatly want to share your bed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, Feb 29th, 2008 @ 1:59pm

    Re: Anti RIAA idiots

    Did I miss something, David? Theft of music? Starving musicians? Hard for the rest of you honest artists?

    News flash for you: You give your music away for free.

    I just looked at your page. All of your songs are easily obtainable by MP3 download.

    I was going to comment on me seeing potential in your music but reading that sentence makes me want to puke. You know, after reading that I hope you do get a record label to sign you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    G, Feb 29th, 2008 @ 3:27pm

    Re: Anti RIAA idiots

    You lost my attention after you used the words "Cold Play" in a sentence that did not also contain the words "least talented British musicians ever". I hope you didn't say anything smart after that or i missed it.

    Pretty much everyone can agree the RIAA hasn't helped musicians in this "time of trouble" so that must mean they've hurt them. Instead of trying to stop internet piracy for the last ten years they should have tried using the same medium to promote/sell music. I would gladly pay $5 - $6 an album to get a high quality(256kbs) digital format. No CD, no plastic case, no DRM, no checkout lines... just music. I'm sure you are saving at least $4 a piece not having to produce the physical CD.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. identicon
    zcat, Mar 1st, 2008 @ 6:04pm

    Re: Re: sorry...

    "maybe the backlash from the "geeks" didn't hurt Sony in any major way financially. It did, however, make many people think twice about buying Sony products"

    Which people? as soon as I get outside of my circle of geek friends, I cannot find a single person who has even heard about the whole sony rootkit thing or gives the slightest damn about it. And even most of my geek friends continue to buy CDs because even if they do contain copy-protection malware, my geek friends are smart enough to turn autorun off or be using an operating system other than Windows; sony's malware never bothered them in the first place.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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