by Mike Masnick
Fri, Feb 27th 2009 12:44pm
Details have been spilling out over the last few days that the RIAA has been making pretty massive cuts to staff. We already knew that EMI was cutting back on its support of the RIAA/IFPI, and it seems that with the rest of the RIAA's major label supporters also having economic troubles, the writing is on the wall that the RIAA is about to go through a major transformation. I'm sure some will somehow "blame piracy" for this turn of events, but it's hard to see how that's even remotely the issue. The real issue is that the RIAA has basically managed to run one of the dumbest, most self-defeating strategies over the last decade. Rather than helping major record labels adjust to the changing market, it continually, repeatedly and publicly destroyed its own reputation and the reputation of the labels -- each time shrinking their potential market by blaming the very people they should have been working to turn into customers. They may claim that they "had" to take this strategy because it's what the labels wanted (and, indeed, that was Hilary Rosen's excuse), but that's ridiculous. It was evident to pretty much anyone who took the time to understand the issues back in the mid- to late-90s, that the internet represented an opportunity to those who embraced it. The RIAA's decision to fight progress and its own customers at every turn has been nothing short of a complete disaster. That the group is now being gutted is the inevitable result of a poor strategy that could have easily been avoided.
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