The Rise And Fall Of The RIAA

from the predicting-the-end dept

We recently had a post questioning whether the RIAA's legal campaign was a success or not. It seemed like there was plenty of evidence that it has been an incredible failure. Separately, we had a post about Radiohead's Thom Yorke, suggesting that the major record labels were going out of business in a matter of months. While we felt that was a bit of an exaggeration, one of our commenters, Ccomp5950 compiled data on RIAA label sales, along with some helpful notes about what other factors were going on at the time:
Year: $ in Millions
1992: 9024
1993: 10046.6 (CD players started to get more affordable towards mid-year)
1994: 12068
1995: 12320.3
1996: 12533.8
1997: 12236.8
1998: 13723.4
1999: 14651 (Work made for hire controversy)
2000: 14404 (Napster sued into bankruptcy)
2001: 13700 (Ipod came out October 2001)
2002: 12,614.2 (Price Fixing lawsuit hits RIAA)
2003: 11,854.4 (Grokster lawsuit, "induced infringement" introduced) (Mass lawsuits by RIAA start(AKA: The education campaign))
2004: 12,345.0 [Revenue Physical / Digital] (BMG gets out of the music business, sold to Sony later on: Big 5 becomes Big 4 for RIAA)
2005: 12,296.9 [91%/9%]
2006: 11,758.2 [83.9%/16.1%]
2007: 10,370.0 [77%/23%]
2008: 8,768.4 [66%/34%] (RIAA declares it's going to stop mass lawsuits with member money problems and EMI almost bankrupt)
2009: 7,690.0 [59%/41%] (Massive layoffs hit RIAA around Febuary: Blames piracy)

Sources:
http://www.azoz.com/music/features/0008.html (statistics from 90's to 2001)
http://76.74.24.142/81128FFD-028F-282E-1CE5-FDBF16A46388.pdf (Statistics for 97 to 2007)
http://76.74.24.142/A200B8A7-6BBF-EF15-3038-582014919F78.pdf (2008-2009)
It's a great list, but I felt it could be even more powerful as a graph, so I just threw the following together, based on the info above:
And, that, right there, does a nice job painting a picture on the decline and fall of the RIAA and the major record labels. A few points are worth highlighting:
  • If you're not familiar with the "works for hire" scandal, you can read the full background here. Basically, a Congressional staffer by the name of Mitch Glazier snuck a tiny unnoticed amendment into a much larger bill in the middle of the night -- supposedly at the request of the RIAA -- without telling anyone. It effectively changed the definition of music recordings into "works made for hire," which was really important, because it meant the RIAA labels could hang onto musicians' copyrights for much longer, avoiding termination rights that let musicians reclaim their copyrights. Just a few months later, Glazier left his low-paying Congressional staffer job for a $500,000 job with the RIAA, which I believe he still holds ten years later. Thankfully, people quickly recognized what he had done and Congress had to go back and fix Glazier's sneaky wording. However, it is worth noting that the peak of this chart is right when Glazier inserted his infamous four words.
  • As we discussed last fall, now that musicians do have termination rights, they're lining up to use them and take their copyrights back from the labels. They can start getting the copyrights back in 2013. If you're looking for a date when the bottom totally falls out for the RIAA labels, that may be it. When the rights to their back catalog starts to drop out, this chart looks even worse. The RIAA won't give up easily, of course. The latest stunt they're trying to pull is to "re-record" albums, claiming that it creates a brand new copyright, that gives them another 35 years before termination rights are applicable. That is, of course, ridiculous, but the RIAA will likely try to fight it out in court for many years to extend that 2013 deadline by a few more years. Of course, all that money on legal fees could have gone to innovating, but that's just not the RIAA way.
  • Note that digital music sales is not even close to being a savior. The total is still dropping rapidly.
  • Of course, many have argued that the rise and fall may have a lot more to do with CD replacements of previous formats -- and this chart certainly suggests that could be an explanation. The big jump happened right when CDs became affordable, and people needed to go out and replace their vinyl and cassette (and 8-track!) collections. After a few years of that, it makes sense that the market should drop anyway.
  • Once again, it's important to point out that the chart above is not the entire music industry, but a limited segment of it: the RIAA record labels, mainly comprised of the big four record labels. It doesn't take into account all of the other aspects of the music business -- nearly every single one of which has been growing during this same period. It also doesn't take into account the vast success stories of independent artists and labels doing creative business models and routing around the legacy gatekeepers.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Mike C. (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 10:33am

    And how long until...

    ... we get another cut-and-paste hack job from an RIAA supporter saying "See! Even Techdirt has confirmed our massive losses due to piracy"

    /joking, but still think it could happen.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2010 @ 10:53am

    Good riddance to bad rubbish.

     

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    Paul (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:00am

    "It doesn't take into account all of the other aspects of the music business -- nearly every single one of which has been growing during this same period."

    While I agree with you completely here, it's a little odd to see a statement like this made without any kind of citation or link to more information/proof. I think a chart like the one you presented loses much of its power and context without another chart that shows the rest of the music industry. Numbers and data from the non-RIAA industry would make this post much more relevant to mainstream thought, which I'm hoping is your endgame.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:05am

    If you consider the digital part as a separate graph on top of the other one, you will see it is rising and will cross the other graph soon. Nothing in this graph points to it stopping its increase when both graphs cross.

     

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  5.  
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    harbingerofdoom (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:08am

    Re:

    then find the numbers and put it together

    i will appriciate your hard work and effort you have put into it and i expect to be seeing it soon?

     

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  6.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:11am

    "many have argued that the rise and fall may have a lot more to do with CD replacements of previous formats"

    What people also forget is that MTV became huge in the 80s. Before MTV people had to listen to very boring radio to be exposed to new music. Radio had very limited formats and didn't do a good job breaking new forms of music.

    MTV opened up tons of new genres for young kids to buy. Rap, black artists such as Michael Jackson, metal, hair bands, grunge, alternative, new wave, etc. Without MTV most of that music never would have found a wide audience.

     

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  7.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:13am

    Re:

    If you consider the digital part as a separate graph on top of the other one, you will see it is rising and will cross the other graph soon. Nothing in this graph points to it stopping its increase when both graphs cross.

    Actually, if you look, the rate of growth (in absolute terms) of digital is slowing (drastically for some of the labels. Suggesting that the growth won't get that much bigger...

     

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  8.  
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    Paul (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:13am

    Re: Re:

    I don't have a blog where I post content meant to "analyze and offer insight into news stories about changes in government policy, technology and legal issues that affect companies ability to innovate and grow".

    Mike Masnick does, though, which is why I thought this feedback might be useful to him. But thanks for the snark!

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:14am

    "The latest stunt they're trying to pull is to "re-record" albums, claiming that it creates a brand new copyright, that gives them another 35 years before termination rights are applicable."

    What are they going to do? Run all the albums through digital filters and say "its a new album".

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:17am

    Re:

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:18am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "I don't have a blog where I post content meant..."

    Neither does Ccomp5950, that didn't stop him (or her) from compiling this data.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:19am

    Re:

    While I agree with you completely here, it's a little odd to see a statement like this made without any kind of citation or link to more information/proof. I think a chart like the one you presented loses much of its power and context without another chart that shows the rest of the music industry. Numbers and data from the non-RIAA industry would make this post much more relevant to mainstream thought, which I'm hoping is your endgame.

    We've discussed those numbers elsewhere, and getting this post together was taking quite a while, but some of that info can be found:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20091114/1835036932.shtml
    http://www.techdirt.com/articl es/20090617/1138185267.shtml
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20091213/1648377324.shtml

    And we've also seen reports stating that musical *instrument* sales have been sky high lately as well...

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:20am

    Re:

    "you will see it is rising and will cross the other graph soon."

    According the RIAA or one of the labels (EMI???maybe) the growth of digital music sales has gone flat and is expected to decline as the younger generations age.

     

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  14.  
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    Jay (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:22am

    Hmmm...

    Now it makes sense why they want so much in Limewire... Pretty soon, they're going to have to file for bankruptcy and give up the "sue-em-all" strategy that kept them propped up.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re:

    Then they shot themselve in the foot by going after bluebeat.com for their psycho-acoustic simulation of the beatles.

     

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  16.  
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    Jon, Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:23am

    Digital Not The Saviour

    Personally, I won't buy digital music until I'm sure I can own it (i.e. legally move it between devices I own), and it's mostly laziness on my part that I haven't even bothered checking out DRM-free options. I don't even own a digital music player, as I don't know which ones will let me transfer music however I would like. It's lazy consumers like me who are bringing the industry to its knees.

    But that's precisely how the industry has poisoned the digital well. They were so scared of piracy, that they've taught us that digital music just won't work the way we want it to. It's hard to reeducate us, and it costs a lot of money.

    So, good job music industry. We -- and the music -- will be here long after you're gone.

     

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    Jay (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:31am

    Don't forget...

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:32am

    Re: Digital Not The Saviour

    " I don't even own a digital music player, as I don't know which ones will let me transfer music however I would like."

    If you own a cellphone you more than likely have a built in mp3 player. You need head phones and a USB cable for the phone to computer for transfering music.

    yw

     

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    Ccomp5950 (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    RIAA claims to be about ~94% of the recording industry. I put this together for another forum where we were talking about music downloads etc. It was easy to get these kinds of numbers because RIAA publishes them (the IP address with pdf files are actual RIAA websites linked from their main website).

    I'd look at the rest of the music industry but really it would be more tedious and probably reflect the same, I'd say the only difference would be the Indie labels, I'm curious about them now.

     

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    Jay (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:36am

    Re: Digital Not The Saviour

    You should have a higher opinion of yourself. :p

    The "laggards" of today are usually the first to consume technology after a generation.

    Source

     

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  21.  
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    Rob (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:38am

    iPod -> Digital sales gap

    What I find interesting is the three complete years between the iPod being released and the first discernible digital revenue. If you count from the Napster verdict you can add a few years for a total of at least 6 years! I'm guessing the gap between CD Player invention and CD Revenue was much shorter.

    Seems like the RIAA should have gotten their act together on digital a little faster before they lost a whole generation of potential sales.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:40am

    you dont think for a second that piracy has anything to do with this? it is just people not wanting label music? right.

     

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    Mike C. (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:43am

    Re: Re: Almost expected.

    Much like the boost from format conversion from tape/record/8-track to CD, digital sales got a boost in conversion from CD to MP3. The problem for the "big labels" is that instead of replacing entire albums, I suspect a lot of people were merely buying the 2-3 songs that made them buy the albums in the first place. I know I certainly have.

    Additionally, since CD's break, they need occasional replacement. MP3's, on the other hand, can be archived on backup media (external drives, flash drives, tape drives if you're that dedicated) and even if they do get lost, are far cheaper to replace.

    Personally, I think digital sales will max out very soon.

     

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  24.  
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    Aaron Martin-Colby (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:48am

    N'Sync

    An interesting point I think is that in 2000, N'Sync's "No Strings Attached" became the fastest selling album in history.

    How appropriate for a manufactured boy band to be the peak of the industry.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:50am

    Re:

    Doubt it.

     

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  26.  
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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:53am

    Re:

    And there it is. Right on cue. Of course you don't care that the other parts of the music business have grown. You're just concerned with your precious RIAA revenues. Maybe if they had innovated instead of litigated their revenues would look better. But they focused more on takeing away value to stop piracy (DRM) than giving customers what they want, which is what every business should be focused on.

    You just go ahead and keep throwing tantrums about "pirates" though. I'm sure that will put the genie back in the bottle. %-\

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:55am

    You know it just a personal perspective but I know if a new release CD cost say $8.99 or even $9.99 I'd be much more inclined to buy the physical copy then the digital copy. The state of the music industry has me downloading singles off itunes as I hear them. The last full album I purchased was Lady Gaga Fame Monster off Amazon which I paid something like 9 bucks for, when I looked at the CD at Best Buy they wanted something like $17.99. To me it just doesn’t make since that I can a BluRay for around $21.99 (sometimes) which I gladly am happy to pay for because I get 3 different formats in one package. I just can’t believe the music industry thinks they’re going to get their fan base to make up for lost revenue on their part by charging double what a CD should be worth and throwing DCM all over it, I really have to think the industry is bloated with out-of-touch old farts hanging on to a pipe dream of what used to be.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:55am

    Re: Re:

    Yeah, look at how piracy affected non-label music and its growth, oh wait, that doesn't count because . . . .

     

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    Laurel L. Russwurm (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:58am

    Buggy Whip Fever

    Piracy has nothing to do with it... except possibly as a boost to sales.

     

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  30.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:59am

    Re: iPod -> Digital sales gap

    What I find interesting is the three complete years between the iPod being released and the first discernible digital revenue.

    That might not really be the case. I'm assuming that 2005 was just the first year the RIAA broke them out...

     

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  31.  
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    senshikaze (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:59am

    Re: And how long until...

    See! Even Techdirt has confirmed massive losses due to piracy!

     

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  32.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 12:01pm

    Re:

    you dont think for a second that piracy has anything to do with this? it is just people not wanting label music? right.

    Of course, no one claimed that piracy has "nothing" to do with this. What we claimed is that the impact of such actions is not necessarily the only thing impacting the market.

    And, more importantly, when you look at those who have figured out how to embrace file sharing, and note that they are almost all better off, it's hard to "blame" file sharing. Instead, the blame squarely lies on those who failed to adapt.

     

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    senshikaze (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 12:04pm

    Re: Digital Not The Saviour

    as far as i can tell, amazonmp3 are all drm-free. itunes is as well(kinda) but is nominally tied to iTunes (a problem for those of us who aren't on an Apple approved platform(Linux)).

    for cc music, check out jamendo.

     

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    Ccomp5950 (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 12:09pm

    Re: Re: iPod -> Digital sales gap

    If you look at the source documents, 2005 is the first year that RIAA actually started counting digital sales.

    These documents assume the RIAA is reporting the items correctly.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2010 @ 12:12pm

    Re: Re:

    I blame a campaign of stupid lawsuits against everyday people.

     

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    Richard (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Almost expected.

    Additionally, since CD's break, they need occasional replacement.

    but they are unencrypted so you can keep a backup if you want. The legality of this varies depending on where you live but even where it is technically illegal it is in practice accepted as OK by all but the most rabid IP maximalists.

     

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    gojomo (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 12:28pm

    Napster launched 1999, sued 2000

    Napster was launched in 1999, and sued in 2000. Not 1998.

    A minor point, perhaps, but on a pet issue like this I'd hope TechDirt could get the details right (from either recollection or by double-checking commenter-supplied factoids).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2010 @ 12:39pm

    Re:

    I wonder if this graph could be tied to MTV's decision to stop playing music in the late 90's?

     

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    Ccomp5950 (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 12:41pm

    Re: Napster launched 1999, sued 2000

    Ah, you are correct. I must have put that on the wrong line.

    Also they didn't declare bankruptcy until 2002.

     

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    Donald (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 12:44pm

    A different perspecitve on sales

    I used to buy a lot of CDs. Indeed, over the course of the past 25 years I have easily reached a thousand CDs. However, my buying habits changed in the late 90's because I felt that I was getting ripped off. I would go out, spend $20 on a CD and enjoy one or two songs. To be honest, the groups being promoted by the big record companies could not produce an entire album of good songs if their life, or the life of the RIAA, depended on it.

    Fast forward to the digital age and, until recently, this was still very much the case. iTunes made a fundamental change in the buying habits of consumers. Instead of purchasing an entire album for $10 the consumer now had the option of buying the two songs they wanted for $2. The fan is still getting what they want but at a fraction of the cost of what it was previously.

    Indeed, if you take this into account you see that the numbers the RIAA has painted are not that bleak after all. Let us "convert" digital sales into physical sales. If people only want two songs out of an album of ten, then to convert the digial sale to a physical sale you would multiply by five. Or, to put it another way, if digital sales were not available the music fan would need to spend $10 to get the two songs they want instead of $2. Using this metric (and a few minutes in Excel) you see that the "music industry" has continued to grow in recent years.

    People are still buying the songs they want, but they are buying less fluff and this is where the RIAA has a problem. They produced fluff to pad the good stuff. Now that digital downloads are available the fluff no longer sells.

    Perhaps the real failure, is the failure of the RIAA supported bands to produce an entire album of good music? I do know that of the last 10 albums I have purchased not a single one has a contract with a major record label and, in my mind, virtually ever song on every album is worth listening to and paying for. Have we reached the stage at which the consumer is able to make more decisions concerning what they need to purchase in order to enjoy a few songs?

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 12:49pm

    Re: Napster launched 1999, sued 2000

    Napster was launched in 1999, and sued in 2000. Not 1998.

    A minor point, perhaps, but on a pet issue like this I'd hope TechDirt could get the details right (from either recollection or by double-checking commenter-supplied factoids).


    You're correct. I've updated the post and the chart...

    Good catch.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 1:08pm

    Re: Buggy Whip Fever

    That's kinda what I was thinking. Look at how the sales increased during and even after Napster. Piracy was around before that, but didn't start getting big until Napster. After Napster, downloading music was huge, yet sales continue to go up. They don't start dropping off until the RIAA gets fully into the swing of screwing their clients.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2010 @ 1:29pm

    Re: A different perspecitve on sales

    Actually, there is a flip side to your argument. I was generally too cheap to buy an entire album just because I liked a song or two on it. I find myself now consuming a whole lot more music because I can buy the songs individually rather than as part of a larger CD.

    Anything less than a dollar is basically an impulse buy. I can easily buy three or four songs a week. This compares to one or two CD's a year in the old days. A $15 CD is not an impulse purchase in my case.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2010 @ 1:33pm

    "They can start getting the copyrights back in 2013."

    So that's what's going to cause the end of the world. Without the RIAA everyone will stop creating art and music and mass boredom will lead to pandemic outrage which will cause the rise of the antichrist who will take over the world.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2010 @ 1:39pm

    Re:

    WITH ROCK AND ROLL!!!

     

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    Karl (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 2:47pm

    Re: Don't forget...

    Ha, the Bluebeat quote is amazing. Stripped of technobabble, all the guy did was make an MP3 of the CD, and run it through Cakewalk SoundStage. (I'll bet money it was a cracked version, too.)

    If the labels try this, they're screwed.

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 2:48pm

    Re: Re:

    Think about all the genres of music from the 80s until MTV stopped playing music in the 90s. After that we can corporate crap. Boy bands. Underage blonde teen singers. Bad urban music such as Kayne. Derivative crap such as the Black Eyed Peas. There has not been a successful and innovative new genre since about the mid 90s.

     

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    Technopolitical (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 3:11pm

    whole thread and post : So What?

    no one likes big record copmanies --Esp musicans !! and it is our living.

    The Music Market , will adjust , and copyright laws will help it adjust properly through new economic models that respect copy rights.

    Is that so hard to understand. It is history repeating.
    Radio killed newspapers. TV killed radio. Internet is killing TV.

    Interesting thing is , We still buy some newspapers:: still the best thing for a subway ride.

    Still do some radio:: traffic and weather on the "eights".

    And with big braking news , TV is still king,, and will be for a while. ( though I watch CNN online only, I own no TV)

     

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    Technopolitical (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 3:21pm

    And, more importantly, when you look at those who have figured out how to embrace file sharing, and note that they are almost all better of

    As long as it is legal file sharing ,, you are right.

    You got to remember ,, a lot of Artist and Writers , know & care nothing about copyright. their problem.

    But most Artists do -- by far. It is how we eat.

    It is a big world, and you can find "any sub-group" to support "any crazy point" you make here Mike on copyrights.

    "Good Public Policy" is about the "greater good" , based on "immutable principles".

    Problem is politicians write laws.

    but
    1] "We the people" vote ,
    and ,
    2} the courts keep congress in check.
    ====================================
    Run for office Mike on anti-copyright platform.
    See how you do.

    Rand Paul would poll higher than you.

     

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

  50.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 5:02pm

    Re: And, more importantly, when you look at those who have figured out how to embrace file sharing, and note that they are almost all better of

    You got to remember ,, a lot of Artist and Writers , know & care nothing about copyright. their problem.

    But most Artists do -- by far. It is how we eat.


    Artists do not eat because of their copyright. They eat because of a good business model, and fail if they have a bad one. Many of them -- yourself included, apparently -- rely on copyright as a crutch as if it is necessary for any business model.

    You are incorrect.

     

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

  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2010 @ 5:03pm

    Re: whole thread and post : So What?

    I think the most successful new economic models will rape copy rights.

     

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

  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2010 @ 5:03pm

    Re: Re: And, more importantly, when you look at those who have figured out how to embrace file sharing, and note that they are almost all better of

    You spelled rape wrong.

     

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

  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2010 @ 5:10pm

    Comparison graphs...

    The graph and info in this story tells a lot, but what would be even MORE interesting would be some comparative graphs showing the growth of video games and DVD/Blu-Ray during this same period of time.

    People only have so much cash to spend on entertainment. The costs of it keep going up... wages are not. Add to this the fact that we're in a global recession giving people even less money to throw around loosely.

    The RIAA only sees things in black and white (their own accounting figures), but if you add all the other colors of the spectrum into the picture, it changes the appearance of the picture completely.

     

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

  54.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Jun 11th, 2010 @ 5:56pm

    Re: whole thread and post : So What?

    Newspapers are not dead
    Radio is not dead
    TV is not dead

    Maybe you are just exaggerating.

     

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

  55.  
    identicon
    Jefrystube, Jun 11th, 2010 @ 5:56pm

    Everyone overlooks one important fact. The RIAA members wanted to eliminate the single. Why? Because singles sales were a true measure of what songs were hits with the public. The RIAA members wished to control what constituted a hit so they could unleash crap like Britney Spears. It's always been about CONTROL.
    The single was nearly gone, all that was left were CD singles that cost nearly as much as the full album. Then along came the Internet and the MP3 file format. The first response from the RIAA was that the MP3 file format itself was illegal. This is the mentality we've been enduring and will continue to be subjected to because the RIAA members aren't going anywhere. Bank on that.

     

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

  56.  
    identicon
    Jefrystube, Jun 11th, 2010 @ 6:25pm

    Re:

    BTW, try overlaying the state of the economy on the chart. You'll notice that most of the drops in sales coincide with drops in the economy. The RIAA members somehow feel that they should be immune to market fluctuations.

     

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

  57.  
    icon
    Karl (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 6:25pm

    Re: Comparison graphs...

    I was just wondering the same thing. Then, I wandered across this handy chart, courtesy of Digital Entertainment Group. (Hopefully the formatting holds up...)

    YEAR VHS/UMD DVD BR/HD Total
    1999 12.5 0.8 0 13.3
    2000 11.8 2.5 0 14.3
    2001 11.1 6.8 0 17.9
    2002 9.1 11.6 0 20.7
    2003 6.1 16.1 0 22.2
    2004 3.7 21.2 0 24.9
    2005 1.6 22.8 0 24.4
    2006 0.4 24.1 0 24.5
    2007 0.1 23.3 0.27 23.7
    2008 0 21.6 0.75 22.4

     

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

  58.  
    icon
    Karl (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 6:33pm

    Re: Re: Comparison graphs...

    Nope, it didn't. Sorry 'bout that. Here's DVD sales by year:

    1999 - DVD: $0.8 Total: $13.3
    2000 - DVD: $2.5 Total: $14.3
    2001 - DVD: $6.8 Total: $17.9
    2002 - DVD: $11.6 Total: $20.7
    2003 - DVD: $16.1 Total: $22.2
    2004 - DVD: $21.2 Total: $24.9
    2005 - DVD: $22.8 Total: $24.4
    2006 - DVD: $24.1 Total: $24.5
    2007 - DVD: $23.3 Total: $23.7
    2008 - DVD: $21.6 Total: $22.4

     

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

  59.  
    icon
    Karl (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 6:41pm

    Re: Re: Comparison graphs...

    One interesting factoid: If you overlay CD sales vs. VHS sales in the years 1999-2004, they follow a roughly parallel curve.

    What this tells you: Part of the reason sales declined, is that CD's are becoming as obsolete as VHS tapes, and MP3's are like DVD's.

    Imagine if the MPAA had refused to release DVD's, but the rest of the world did release them. Could the loss of VHS sales be attributed to "piracy?"

     

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

  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2010 @ 7:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Comparison graphs...

    Great find Karl!
    Trying to find some gaming industry numbers covering the same time period, I've so far only found this...

    http://img808.imageshack.us/img808/1007/gameindustry.jpg
    http://img820.imageshack.us/img 820/3381/gameindustry2.jpg

    ... from this Page:
    http://www.slideshare.net/lindja2/wandamelonidfc

    Their numbers in 2008 more than doubled the CD and DVD numbers combined.

    Nobody is getting "raped" by piracy, the entertainment dollars are just being spent elsewhere. People are just making simple choices as to where they feel they get the most value for their hard earned money. People are still spending a fortune on entertainment. I'd be willing to bet if we had total concert revenue numbers for the same period it would be explosive as well.

    Bottom line?
    The industries crying the loudest are killing themselves. If you remove file-sharing from the equation and bring a 100% end to it... people's money is already spent elsewhere anyway so their revenue will not rise any, but new emerging artists who rely on it will be significantly hurt.

    If you are in the business of selling discs, overcharging for downloads that can be infinitely supplied at little to no cost... your business is doomed.

     

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

  61.  
    identicon
    Ruggy, Jun 11th, 2010 @ 10:02pm

    The rise and fall of a cartel

    These companies built their success more on domination of the market than on innovation. Their parent companies own the radio stations which advertise the products of their own record labels.

    Today, we depend far less on these corporate radio stations for exposure to new music. We can sample music from independent labels and unsigned or small bands very easily now on the internet.

    The RIAA cartel has lost its iron grip on the retail music market, and this is a very positive development both for musicians and listeners.

    Other factors were certainly significant, such as the heavy-handed legal campaign of the RIAA, which I would nominate as one of the worst Public Relations disasters of all time.

     

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

  62.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 10:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: iPod -> Digital sales gap

    "These documents assume the RIAA is reporting the items correctly."

    My view is that they are reporting all of them below what is actually going on to substantiate their claims of piracy. Until I have proff of this I will use their numbers for forcasts.

     

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

  63.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 10:30pm

    Re: And, more importantly, when you look at those who have figured out how to embrace file sharing, and note that they are almost all better of

    "Run for office Mike on anti-copyright platform.
    See how you do."

    Why run for office when the weaknesses are so obvious and easy to attack. Not that you really need to. The media industries keep repeating the same mistake. I fel like I am repeating my self, maybe I should just post when its something new.

    David

     

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

  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:01pm

    all of this, and miek never looks at his good friend chris anderson for the real answer: the long tail. the rise in music sales appears to have more to do with the availability of shiny discs (and back catalog on them in digital quality) than anything else. looking at it another way, the sales today are similar to where they were before the cd hit the market. perhaps that is the more natural level of the music industry?

     

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

  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2010 @ 11:18pm

    Re:

    Recording industry, we're discussing the recording industry and not the music industry. Rookie mistake!

     

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

  66.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jun 12th, 2010 @ 1:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Almost expected.

    I'd actually say that replacing track is not the reason most people are buying digital. Most will either rip the CD or (shock, horror!) download a copy of the CD they rightfully own and would never buy a 99c/track replacement.

    You are right about people buying less tracks though. Less albums are being sold, because most albums are full of filler and people only want the good stuff.

     

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

  67.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jun 12th, 2010 @ 1:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Almost expected.

    I'd actually say that replacing track is not the reason most people are buying digital. Most will either rip the CD or (shock, horror!) download a copy of the CD they rightfully own and would never buy a 99c/track replacement.

    You are right about people buying less tracks though. Less albums are being sold, because most albums are full of filler and people only want the good stuff.

     

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

  68.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jun 12th, 2010 @ 1:23am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "There has not been a successful and innovative new genre since about the mid 90s."

    Amusingly enough I'd agree with you about that for mainstream American music. Outside of the US, in places like the UK (where BBC radio is contractually obliged to play a certain percentage of new and different music)? New genres are still appearing all the time.

     

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

  69.  
    identicon
    Lew Siffer, Jun 12th, 2010 @ 8:19am

    the knowledge in your brain is copyrighted! time for a lobotomy!

    See! Even Techdirt has confirmed our massive losses due to piracy

     

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

  70.  
    identicon
    Mr. Logic, Jun 12th, 2010 @ 8:33am

    Forgot the glut of remastered CDs!

    Another demographic shift is that most back catalogue bands have had TWO (or more) rounds of remastered CDs. This soaked a little more money out of the fans for the RIAA member companies, but created a glut of used CDs as people sold off their old versions of classic albums. This, along with the format shift to CD from LP/cassette/etc has got to explain the implosion of CDs. (After all, if you haven't replaced an LP or cassette by 2005, you're probably not going to.) People born since 1980 probably have never bought music in any other format besides CD, so the artificial sales boost form format shifting is gone.

    Right now, there's no shortage of used CDs from the remaster glut of the 90s and 00s.

     

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  71.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2010 @ 12:46pm

    Re: Re:

    idiot. if that is all you can contribute, mike is overpaying you. replace music industry with recorded music industry and get back on point. oh wait, you are trying to shut down a very logical explanation. you techdirt people are frigging transparent.

     

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

  72.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2010 @ 2:39pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Poor little baby. Did I upset you?

     

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

  73.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2010 @ 4:09pm

    But Carly will soon be a Senator! Yay progress??

     

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

  74.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2010 @ 6:20pm

    Intellectual Property is theft

    Intellectual Property is a false reality concept that exists only at the tip of a government gun pointed at everyone's heads. It amazes and sickens me to know end that these filthy THIEVES who depend upon government weaponry to enforce their business models turn around and accuse US - the true victims - of being the perpetrators of a non-existent crime.

    To understand intellectual property you have to go back to when it was first founded: by the royalty of old to raise money (extort money) from the populace without having to raise taxes. Instead of raising taxes to steal from the population, the royalty would grant a monopoly to a particular favored person who would then give kick-backs to the royalty as part of the deal.

    Intellectual property was never about encouraging innovation, that is simply the petty rationalization that came afterward. It was always about stealing from the population in a roundabout manner that the humble minds making up the majority of the population could be easily fooled by.

    Well now is your opportunity to educate thyself and be fooled no longer.

    Read Stephan Kinsella's Against Intellectual Property (for free, I might add):

    http://mises.org/books/against.pdf

    Watch Copying Is Not Theft:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9CK-vwYOwU

    Visit Question Copyright:

    http://questioncopyright.org/

    And if you really want to get educated then read some Frederic Bastiat:

    That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen

    http://bastiat.org/en/twisatwins.html

    The Law

    http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html

     

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

  75.  
    icon
    Technopolitical (profile), Jun 12th, 2010 @ 7:32pm

    Re: Re: And, more importantly, when you look at those who have figured out how to embrace file sharing, and note that they are almost all better of

    They eat because of a good business model, that has its basis in copyright protection.

    If they have a bad biz model despite that , they should hire better management.

    I wish Brain Epstein was here.

     

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

  76.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2010 @ 4:34pm

    Re: Intellectual Property is theft

    "To understand intellectual property you have to go back to when it was first founded: by the royalty of old to raise money (extort money) from the populace without having to raise taxes. Instead of raising taxes to steal from the population, the royalty would grant a monopoly to a particular favored person who would then give kick-backs to the royalty as part of the deal.

    Intellectual property was never about encouraging innovation, that is simply the petty rationalization that came afterward. "

    Sounds realistic, but I would like to read more. Do you have sources indicating this?

     

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

  77.  
    icon
    Technopolitical (profile), Jun 13th, 2010 @ 5:18pm

    Why run for office when the weaknesses are so obvious and easy to attack.

    YOU:Why run for office when the weaknesses are so obvious and easy to attack.

    Me : that is a patently ( pun) ridiculous statement. If you are so right , you should win easy,

    but you are wrong , So you will only get fringe votes , and be a laughing stock politically, if you run for any office AGAINST copyright LAW, and working or weaken and /or abolish it .

    On a Patent reform platform , you might have a chance -- as patent law ( but not is constitutional root ) needs serious reform----., but the gravity of the big $$ interests would crush all reasonable debate into the black holes of "crazy congressional committees"
    =========================

     

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

  78.  
    icon
    Technopolitical (profile), Jun 13th, 2010 @ 5:35pm

    Re: Re: whole thread and post : So What?

    Where they ever alive ?

    It is all a dream, reality is fleeting, and our lives "just wisps" of "warps in space-time".

     

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

  79.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2010 @ 7:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: whole thread and post : So What?

    So why would you want copyright to last for 1000 years?

     

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

  80.  
    icon
    Technopolitical (profile), Jun 13th, 2010 @ 7:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: whole thread and post : So What?

    Priciple

     

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

  81.  
    identicon
    Susie Johnson, Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 9:24am

    The Rise and Fall of the RIAA

    More of the same dissemination of misinformation and baseless scare tactics. This is unfortunately the way our society operates - gloom and doom. They count on people not reading and doing the research for themselves. Just like the misinformation that digital sales have passed physical sales in the industry - digital sales only accounted for 27% of music sales in the US in 2009 - this too will be proven without foundation. Just another person "talking out the side of their neck".

     

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


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