Can't help but think he has a point somewhere in there. Rockband might not 'encourage kids not to learn', but it certainly doesn't do anything to encourage them to learn. By giving kids a shortcut to the thrill of playing a great song, perhaps it will have a negative effect on learning.
On the other hand, perhaps it will just lead to less rubbish guitar players bothering to learn in the first place.
If you look at the big collection body in the UK, the PRS (something Mike has covered in the past) then you get a similar picture.
To determine how to distribute royalties the body gets the major radio stations to submit full lists, but it only does random sampling of the playlist of the smaller regional stations, clubs, bars and licensed premisses.
These methods made sense in an analogue world where it was impractical to collect such comprehensive data, but not in a digital one.
The problem with random-sampling methods is that its not likely to pick up the one-off plays of smaller artists, and their share goes to the big artists instead. That makes it hard for a new artist to get much return from royalties even if he's getting some airplay.
In PRS's defence they do give a proportion of the cash to charities that support young artists, but it does seem like their methods could do with updating.
Not to get short with Mike, but is there really much of interest to this story?
That two parties that undertake a contract together want different things is part of a contracts purpose. That afterwards the two parties fight over how the resulting assets are split is hardly unusual.
A label and an artist having 'unaligned interests' should be obvious; so do many people who enter into contracts. It doesn't mean there is anything sinister or unusual to it.
I think your reasoning is flawed in the same way the capitalist thinking that got us into this mess is flawed; you believe that people will behave rationally.
In light of the bailouts it makes perfect sense that bankers will start to take huge risks with the assumption of a Government safety-net, but in reality the precise opposite of this is true.
In the current climate people are worried that a recovery will be delayed due to the risk-adverse culture that has been created in the business world as a result of the meltdown.
But back to the central issue...the immediate problem is one of restoring growth and stability to the economies of the world. For that I don't think too many Governments are going to regulate very heavily in the short-term, but rather focus on what can be done in the long term.
The danger is that a lot of people in the financial industries are desperate to return to how things were, and will fight desperately to resist the needed reforms that might increase regulation to prevent systematic problems.
I don't think its a case of them not knowing what their customers want, rather its a case of them knowing what they want but having no idea how to make money from it.
The problem isn't leveraging 'as much money as they can', rather getting as much money as they used to make with analogue sales. EMI was bought by a private equity firm; if they have to shrink the company significantly to return it to profitability they risk ever making a decent return on their investment.
Pandora is doing what it needs to do to survive. If the only route to that is to work with the system (and don't try and tell me they haven't pursued every other possibility), then so be it.
Mike's stance is hopelessly idealistic. Pandora are arguing for a level playing field on which to compete. Web radio is never going to be able to fight the RIAA alone, but if FM radio is forced into the same position we'll see a lot more lively discussion of the issues.
Re: I wonder about other aspects of the contract...
This has me suspicious too. People who just think labels are greedy and evil don't appreciate the very real costs involved in recording and promoting music.
It is good that a band will be getting more influence (an artist who signs away their copyright for life really has no leg to stand on in future dissagreements), but there isn't any such thing as a free lunch.
'50% share of profits' could mean any number of things; publishers are deviously clever with numbers when they need to be.
"However, sites like popurls, Digg, Slashdot and Metafilter regularly led me down very weird paths full of new learning and the best part is I can just bookmark it and come back to it later. I never have to return the link like a library book."
Indeed, but such sites are ultimately the product of their communities, and for voteup/votedown models (as Reddit and Digg use) the content that comes up to the top of the pile is what has the best general appeal for that community. It becomes this self-reinforcing loop where all descent is quickly voted out.
Indeed, Mike didn't cover that part of the article. But it was the message Bradbury was trying to get across.
"We live in a society that is driven by money. If libraries die its because they couldn't make money. Not because internet goons came over and burned all the books."
This isn't about those with money deciding what has value in society, as libraries are nearly always publicly funded services. Libraries exist to elevate those without any money as much as anything else.
I can't really follow your moral argument here Mike, are you saying its funny, so it doesn't matter?
What if the band in question wasn't one that most of the internet hates, and the group mocking them wasn't a baseball league but a rival records company (or band), could you still justify it in quite the same manner?
I don't mean to undermine the right of use of media in satire, but if the future of music artists is to turn themselves into brands (as Matt Mason suggests), won't it become even more crucial for bands to have a tight control over the way their creations are used?
The strangest thing about this entire story is that Garrett's company produces 'Spooks', which is broadcast by the BBC, a tax-funded organisation. How is anyone harmed by British people downloading such content? They have, after all, effectively already paid for it.
It also seems that British TV is getting hit so hard by the digital crunch its turning into the UK version of the American Newspaper industry.