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February 3, 2007 11:37 AM   Subscribe

The RIAA Says CD's Should Have Cost $33.86 in 1996 however, this news article says and shows how their math (and logic) is more than a little skewed.
posted by fenriq (105 comments total)

 
The RIAA is totally out of touch, story at 11.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:43 AM on February 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's interesting that just a few years ago the RIAA dropped the democrat Hillary Rosen as their president (and chief lobbyist) and hired a republican from Bill Frist's office to run it.

Bet that's looking like a real good move right now. Hah.
posted by delmoi at 11:44 AM on February 3, 2007


Also, that means they think a CD should have cost $41 in 2005.
posted by delmoi at 11:48 AM on February 3, 2007


This post reminded me of the Bill Gates Weath clock that everyone was linking too in like 1997 for some reason.
posted by delmoi at 11:52 AM on February 3, 2007


See? We're getting a great deal. Quit complaining and fork over $16 or more for a CD with one or two (or maybe three) good songs on it and alot of filler crap fluff.

I have this image of a bunch of dusty old dinosaurs sitting in a dimly lit boardroom wondering what the hell those horseless carriages are driving by the building.
posted by fenriq at 11:52 AM on February 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


cutting edge absurdity, that's what the riaa is there for. by the way, its outrageous how the riaa implies that the only revenue that offsets rising "production, recording, promotion and distribution costs" comes from cd unit sales. the riaa is a trade group that protects cd manufacturers, not labels, per se.
posted by phaedon at 12:00 PM on February 3, 2007


CDs are far cheaper than this on usenet! Wait... what?
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 12:03 PM on February 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


Local man drops jaw on floor, suggests RIAA take "flying fuck" at Moon.
posted by loquacious at 12:03 PM on February 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wasn't there recently a news article that said that iTunes was driving the price of physical CDs down to the $10 point, because "why would I buy it in the store if it costs more"?
posted by smackfu at 12:03 PM on February 3, 2007


You know, the major US record labels have all been convicted of collusion, setting their prices "artificially*" high.

It sure looks like the punishment meted out for that crime got the recording industry to change its ways.

* Artificially, assuming one believes in the dubious notion that a market can determine a non-artificial price for something. It's important to remember this is an issue of ethics and morality, not economics, when talking about things like this, so the economic arguments kind of bug me, but whatever.
posted by teece at 12:09 PM on February 3, 2007


For every album released in a given year, a marketing strategy was developed to make that album stand out among the other releases that hit the market that year.

Anyone else seeing a small problem with logic here? If every album is competing with every other album for attention, then won't this just create an advertising race that, like the arms race, leads to infinitely increasing expenditures until, I don't know, the universe breaks or something? I mean, how is any one album supposed to stand out when every album is trying to stand out? At the very least, we've got to concede that this is an incredibly inneffecient way of doing business. The RIAA itself concedes that advertising/promotion is the single most costly component of producing an album.

You know that model that's always being proposed as an alternative? The one where people pay a monthly rate for access to music? It would, if managed properly, greatly reduce the need for an advertising race.
posted by Clay201 at 12:21 PM on February 3, 2007


I agree. CD's should have cost $33.86. Than maybe CD's would've gone straight into obsolescence and we'd still be using vinyl which is superior anyway.

Anyhow, nowhere it that pile of steaming horseshit does it say that until very recently record Co's were paying artists half the royalties they would get for vinyl because Cd's came under the rubric of special digital technology..I forget the exact designation.. It was alright when they were a novelty but screwed over so many once the CD became the standard bearer..
posted by Skygazer at 12:22 PM on February 3, 2007


Although I rarely buy anything under their banner, I really need to stop buying anything remotely related to the RIAA at all. I have been careful for years now not to buy anything with any kind of weird copy protection and wouldn't buy anything from certain artists that seem supportive of more and more draconian copyright laws. But that simply isn't going far enough since I have still been sending a bit of money the RIAA's way every now and then.

Having said that, I think all of the few cds I have bought for myself (not counting any I received as gifts) were under ten dollars new. You can usually find cds for 9.99 or less if you shop around a bit or watch for sales. I still think that's still too much for a lot of stuff but in cases where I actually like everything on the album, it's not bad. Evanescence's The Open Door is the last major label CD I have bought that I actually liked start to finish though.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 12:23 PM on February 3, 2007


Oh man, I just realized that I owe the RIAA about $600 for the music I purchased in 1996.

*Hurries to fill out and mail check.*
posted by telstar at 12:23 PM on February 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Record companies price their goods like any other company, to get maximum profits. I guess it's hard for them to be honest about it because people are more emotionally attached to music than corn flakes.
posted by bhnyc at 12:25 PM on February 3, 2007


Then come marketing and promotion costs -- perhaps the most expensive part of the music business today. They include increasingly expensive video clips, public relations, tour support, marketing campaigns, and promotion to get the songs played on the radio.

So a CD costs so much because it costs money to convince me to buy it? Fuck that. No wait--let's play it their way and price CD's according to marketing costs. It really wouldn't bother me a bit if the latest stuff by Janet Jackson or some American Idol appointee cost twice as much, and the artists they hardly spend a dime on were dirt cheap. If the RIAA thinks that will work, by all means let them try it.
posted by hydrophonic at 12:27 PM on February 3, 2007 [4 favorites]


The RIAA is nothing but a punch of thugs.
posted by rougy at 12:27 PM on February 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


CDs.

It's not possessive, it's plural.
posted by jpburns at 12:30 PM on February 3, 2007 [3 favorites]


skygazer: "New Media".
posted by phaedon at 12:30 PM on February 3, 2007


If every album is competing with every other album for attention, then won't this just create an advertising race that, like the arms race, leads to infinitely increasing expenditures until, I don't know, the universe breaks or something? I mean, how is any one album supposed to stand out when every album is trying to stand out?

Ironically, this is the same problem they cause for themselves with dynamic range compression.
posted by ludwig_van at 12:31 PM on February 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


"Quit complaining and fork over $16 or more for a CD with one or two (or maybe three) good songs on it and alot of filler crap fluff."

Riiight. So, here's how it works:

0) CD comes out. No single is marketed heavily. You: "This CD sucks!"

1) Music industry heavily markets a track. You: "This CD has only one good song!"

2) Music industry heavily markets a track. You: "This CD has only two good tracks!"

The rest of the sequence is left as an exercise for the reader.
posted by effugas at 12:32 PM on February 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Another factor commonly overlooked in assessing CD prices is to assume that all CDs are equally profitable. In fact, the vast majority are never profitable... In the end, less than 10% are profitable, and in effect, it's these recordings that finance all the rest.
That sounds like a bad business model. They should look into that.

Also, is anyone else bothered by the borderline illiterate writing style? "Another factor commonly overlooked is to assume that...?" C'mon, nameless industry flunkie. Stop just stringing phrases together and learn to express a thought.

Am I picky? Should I not expect so much from shameless hucksters?
posted by verb at 12:34 PM on February 3, 2007


I remember that when they came out, CDs were more expensive than vinyl. They told us that eventually the costs of CDs would go down below that of vinyl. Ha.


Here's the problem for the RIAA--back in the day, you needed a factory to make records. Now you can make them on your own desktop. This radically lowers the value that the RIAA's members add to the product you purchase. Most of that cost goes into useless marketing and distribution networks. Even those costs are being reduced by the Internet, whose cost of entry these days is thankfully low. Indeed, almost all of the artists themselves make very little from the recordings and tour constantly to make money.

Essentially, you have the entrenched interests of a few dozen large corporations taking in far more of the money spent on music than necessary. They take on the front end from the artists and the back end from the purchasers. These companies owe their position and fortune to historical factors that mean very little today.

As their profits go down, and as they contribute less and less to the product in terms of manufacturing and marketing, they fall back on the last power they have, the copyright they own over the music. That power is hollow, because the companies add very little to the music and mean less and less to the artists, who really should be getting the lion's share of the profits.

Capitalism will spring into the void. Eventually, the big labels will break down as most content of all kinds shifts to an Internet-based distribution system. Then the banality of the record labels will no longer control the market. The banality of the listeners will.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:37 PM on February 3, 2007 [4 favorites]


The old model that the RIAA is protecting---that of people owning little iconic discs in order to listen to music---is a dying one. With iPods and other MP3 players, the "product" called CD is less important, and the music itself can potentially be what people focus on. If you just like one song by a certain group, why buy the whole CD when you can get it for $.99 online?

As the distribution system changes, it also allows a greater variety of music to reach the public. Artists that big music companies would never release anything by now have the opportunity to reach their fans directly, through web sites and music downloads.

It is not the art form of music that is threatened, but the distribution system of the music that the RIAA represents. As Frank Zappa said "Music consumers like to consume music . . . not specifically the vinyl [or plastic] artifact wrapped in cardboard [or plastic]." Before the internet existed, he suggested a method of delivering music directly to consumers via telephone line or television cable. He was, of course, ahead of his time, and the industry ignored him.

It's not like this is news to the RIAA. They fight to maintain control of something which is an anachonism, like LPs or cassettes, and they are losing.
posted by birdhaus at 12:37 PM on February 3, 2007


Forgive me if I'm getting this wrong but isn't one of the basic tenets of capitalism that something is only worth what people are willing to pay for it? No one would be willing to pay $33 for a CD so they could never sell them for that price.
posted by octothorpe at 12:42 PM on February 3, 2007


It's interesting that just a few years ago the RIAA dropped the democrat Hillary Rosen as their president (and chief lobbyist) and hired a republican from Bill Frist's office to run it.

Bet that's looking like a real good move right now. Hah.


You mean those democratic presidential candidates will reject the RIAA donations on principle? I'll believe that when global warming is reversed.
posted by srboisvert at 12:43 PM on February 3, 2007


Say, what is a typical retail CD price these days? (It's been half-a-decade since I needed to find out. And no, I didn't go deaf.)
posted by telstar at 12:45 PM on February 3, 2007


You mean those democratic presidential candidates will reject the RIAA donations on principle?

I don't think that's what he meant at all. Rather, the RIAA missed the change in the winds when it finally decided to suck up to Republicans. They did at exactly the wrong time. Now they have to go back to sucking up to Democrats.
posted by teece at 12:47 PM on February 3, 2007


Quote of the thread so far:

That sounds like a bad business model. They should look into that.

And to paraphrase Ironmouth, who's put it much more eloquently - the basic problem is, technology has rendered the individual song basically worthless.

This is the proverbial 600lb gorilla in the corner as far as the recording industry is concerned. Yes, it's wrong, ethically, to copy other people's work and pass it around. But there is no way to put a stop to that without seriously trampling civil rights or crippling the technology industry.

My favorite analogous example for the whole mess is the bottled water industry. If bottled water had been in use first, would Dasani, Naya, and Arrowhead be railing against the pirates ripping them off with that new-fangled technology, indoor plumbing?
posted by mmrtnt at 12:51 PM on February 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sometimes, when I'm feeling down, I walk into a music store and just walk around laughing.

If you'd told me twenty years ago that in 2007 I'd be able to get digital copies of records that I would likely never even have known about, let alone be able to find anywhere in a record store, and further, that these digital copies would cost me about fifty cents to put on a CD(R), and still further, that there would be blogs on the Internet that would distribute these incredibly rare records for *free* (along with often providing cover art, copious notes, updates on what band members are doing now, links to other such sites, etc.), well...let's just say I'm glad I didn't kill myself in high school.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:54 PM on February 3, 2007 [10 favorites]


Say, what is a typical retail CD price these days?

Major releases from proven artists (ahem, sellers) are generally priced at 18.99USD, with mega-major releases also receiving a LTD-ED treatment* that usually goes for 24.99 to 50.00. Major new releases are generally kept on sale at big retailers for months after release, dropping the price a couple of dollars.

Major label debut acts are generally cheaper, anywhere from 9.99 to 16.99. Non-major label releases tend to fall in this range as well.

Sounds ridiculous, but between promotional sales, patience, and the gray promotional CD market**, you can usually find what you want for around ten bucks.

* Fancy cardboard sleeve, DVD featuring a coupla music videos, 1 or 2 C-side tracks, and bloated liner notes.

** PROPERTY OF RECORD LABEL. You know, the ones with the sawed jewel cases and holes punched through the barcode.

posted by carsonb at 12:58 PM on February 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


The fundamental problem is that RIAA's model, as we've discussed before, is obsolete. They have the up-front costs of recording the tracks and doing the marketing, but their model is built around the idea of producing a physical good (CDs) for profit. Like a normal industry, they have an initial capital investment, and then a marginal cost of production; each additional CD costs them a certain amount to make. This model has been unchanged since the invention of records. CDs didn't change the model, they just let the RIAA artificially raise prices and never drop them again, despite promises to the contrary.

In the Internet age, once the CD is produced, the marginal cost of creating more copies is zero, or so close as to be indistinguishable. Once the bits exist, moving them around is free. This results in piracy; there's no need to buy a CD at $15 when you can download the whle thing for almost nothing.

What the RIAA needed to do was adapt to this model, embracing the zero cost of distribution. They can still charge for these digital files; they just can't charge $15. This shouldn't be any real problem to them, because distribution doesn't cost anything anymore. If they sell music at $5/CD, which I think most people would pay, they can still make tons of money because there's no cost of materials anymore. And the volume would go to stratospheric levels... I can't tell you how many CDs I'd have bought if they were $5 each.

This would require a hit over the short term, and it might require an overall shrinking of the industry, but it could certainly remain healthy and competitive, producing lots and lots of music.

Instead, we have this clusterfuck of DRM, where they try to make bits not copyable. (which, as Schneier has pointed out, is like trying to make water not wet.) They're trying to artificially enforce scarcity of something that is not scarce. And they're using the guns of the government to do so, by getting stupid laws passed.

This results in HDCP, which is causing all kinds of consumer pain... it very frequently doesn't work between devices, meaning that customers suddenly can't use their $2500 television. This results in things like Vista, which has DRM so deeply buried in the system that you are no longer the owner; Microsoft and Hollywood have the right to veto anything you try to do with your own hardware.

Instead of adapting to the market, they're trying to destroy the new tools. We need Congress to wake up and remember that one of the fundamental processes of capitalism is destruction of business models that don't work. Creative destruction is a key component of capitalism, and our government has refused to let any major player fail for the last twenty years or more.

Congress should be telling the RIAA, 'tough luck, adapt or die.'. Instead, the RIAA has gotten laws to put you in jail for violating their business model. And they've hijacked your computer operating system for their own benefit, turning it from a general purpose machine into a Mother May I device.

The way to stop it: don't buy DRM media. Ever. Under any circumstances. Don't buy or use Vista. Stick with regular CDs with the "Compact Disc Digital Audio" label; if they have that label, they are not copy protected and you can exercise your fair use rights. Ideally, buy used CDs so the RIAA doesn't get any money, and then find another way to support the artists you like, perhaps by buying t-shirts or the like. And write your Congresscritter; the RIAA suing grandmas is vile. Congress should remove their power to do so.

If you don't do these things, you are voluntarily putting the handcuffs on your own wrists. You can still have your music, free and clear, actually owning it* instead of renting it, just by buying used CDs. This isn't even difficult -- it's about two extra clicks at Amazon.

(*owning it = being able to use it privately how you want, as long as you want, on any device you choose. This doesn't include selling copies or otherwise infringing.)
posted by Malor at 1:01 PM on February 3, 2007 [24 favorites]


C.......


.........D?
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:01 PM on February 3, 2007


If bottled water had been in use first, would Dasani, Naya, and Arrowhead be railing against the pirates ripping them off with that new-fangled technology, indoor plumbing?

They would, if it turned out that the stuff running through the indoor plumbing was actually pulling its content from the Dasani filtration machines.

The RIAA vs. the Pirates thing is old news. The real battle now will be between the RIAA and Apple (and Microsoft, and Real, etc) over licensing fees and online placement. Apple is now nothing more than Tower Records with better selection and better service.

Come back in 10 years, and you'll find that the cost of a song on iTunes won't have changed at all either, despite falling server and bandwidth costs. And the RIAA will have another press release saying the real, adjusted price of a song should be five bucks.
posted by frogan at 1:10 PM on February 3, 2007


They would, if it turned out that the stuff running through the indoor plumbing was actually pulling its content from the Dasani filtration machines.

That's an excellent point.

I hadn't been using this analogy in the "possession" sense, but in the "competition" sense, in that the RIAA constantly complains about its inability to compete with "free". A claim that the bottled water industry (and the porn industry) has proven false.
posted by mmrtnt at 1:21 PM on February 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ya know, I get alot of my music online for free, but one thing makes me wonder if I really would pay for music online at say $3-$5 an album.

And that is that I find myself buying alot of TV shows from iTunes.

TV shows are normally free, yet I find myself buying them for 2 reasons:

1. Convenience

and

2. The feeling that I am "voting" for something that I like in some way, thus increasing the liklihood of more of them being produced.

Based on how many TV shows Ive bought, I think I would probably go for a low-cost download alternaive for music. But it would have to be lower than iTunes $10 a record. Which I still use, but not as much.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 1:25 PM on February 3, 2007


I can't tell you how many CDs I'd have bought if they were $5 each.

Amen!
posted by mmrtnt at 1:26 PM on February 3, 2007


I agree with Malor: when albums (if that concept even still exists a few years from now...let's say "12-15 songs") cost $5, and I know at least half of that is going directly to the artist(s), then I'll start paying for music again.
posted by gottabefunky at 1:27 PM on February 3, 2007


The RIAA is reaching a completely new level or irrelevance. Suing people for downloading music is weird enough in itself, but when they release a statement like this--or that one a few weeks ago that said you should have to buy CDs and MP3s separately--or when they force Youtube to take down teenagers' blogs--they actually seem to be putting themselves in willful opposition to happiness.

I fully expect some RIAA rep to show up at my birthday party, take notes, look at my friends accusatively, and say things like, "You should just be thankful that the recording industry is letting you do this."
posted by roll truck roll at 1:27 PM on February 3, 2007


So, they want government protection of their business model, prices to be set according to industry needs and not consumer demand, and they want to say when, where, and how you can use the product?

What next, a five-year plan on how to boost sales through nationalist propaganda?
posted by Saydur at 1:27 PM on February 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


the RIAA constantly complains about its inability to compete with "free". A claim that the bottled water industry (and the porn industry) has proven false.

Just curious, are you talking about internet porn, or sex?
posted by roll truck roll at 1:28 PM on February 3, 2007


Amen to that, stinkycheese. If the record industry had gotten in on the ground floor of the audioblog boom...well, enough speculatin'. I got sites to visit (and maintain).
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:29 PM on February 3, 2007


They would, if it turned out that the stuff running through the indoor plumbing was actually pulling its content from the Dasani filtration machines.

Ah, but where did Dasani get the water to put in their filtration machines?
posted by telstar at 1:31 PM on February 3, 2007


I agree with Malor: when albums (if that concept even still exists a few years from now...let's say "12-15 songs") cost $5, and I know at least half of that is going directly to the artist(s), then I'll start paying for music again.

Thirded. Preferably in lossless format like Flac.
posted by fleetmouse at 1:32 PM on February 3, 2007


I've never understood why the used CD market wasn't a big issue with them.
posted by davebush at 1:33 PM on February 3, 2007


One begins to wonder whether the recording industry will be better known for its draconian attitudes towards its customers, or for making songs.
posted by furiousthought at 1:37 PM on February 3, 2007


See? We're getting a great deal. Quit complaining and fork over $16 or more for a CD...

C'mon, not only is the price great, they throw in the rootkit for free.



Fuck 'em.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:38 PM on February 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


A lot of bands are figuring this out and telling the record labels to screw off entirely. Alas, this isn't really an option for Jay-Z or someone like that, but the young bands are increasingly releasing their own shit. This is the wave of the future, and this whole argument is going to become obsolete once the labels get cut out of the equation entirely.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 1:49 PM on February 3, 2007


smackfu: Wasn't there recently a news article that said that iTunes was driving the price of physical CDs down to the $10 point, because "why would I buy it in the store if it costs more"?

Indeed there was.

davebush: I've never understood why the used CD market wasn't a big issue with them.

If I recall correctly, the RIAA briefly contemplated an embargo against any record store that carried used CDs, but had to give it up as impractical.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 1:51 PM on February 3, 2007


Ah yes the RIAA. My spin.

= It is all Marketing.
= They do have a point, on people copying music. It cripples things.
= Although, "there is a change" coming, the point is - Artists have to be their own record companies.

= "if it truly" costs so much, to make 1 CD. When a CD is "very popular" is when to drastically mark up the price.
= But, looking at the Marketing. Quote: if you can't give it away - for free - at first? They ain't gonna care about buying it, for more later.

The never ending "rereleases" of Collected edition, Premium edition, Ultimate collection - and such DVDs on Movies are a perfect example of this.
posted by capitalsum at 1:58 PM on February 3, 2007


If I recall correctly, the RIAA briefly contemplated an embargo against any record store that carried used CDs, but had to give it up as impractical.

I seem to remember that chain stores, like Warehouse, Tower, Mr B's, etc, were not allowed to trade in used CDs if they wanted to get promotional money from record companies.

Sort of like PC manufacturers not getting discounts from Microsoft if they sell "naked" PCs or ones with Linux pre-installed.
posted by mmrtnt at 1:59 PM on February 3, 2007


Ah, but where did Dasani get the water to put in their filtration machines?

And your point is ... what exactly? Where did the Rolling Stones get the electricity to power their guitars and speakers?

Bottled water is filtered and flavored and put into neat and tidy packages. Music isn't pulled effortlessly from another dimension, and bottled water isn't effortless*, either -- after all, it has to get into the bottle somehow.

(* well, at least for the reputable companies, that is ... there are indeed some that simply tap a municipal well...)
posted by frogan at 2:06 PM on February 3, 2007


Then come marketing and promotion costs -- perhaps the most expensive part of the music business today. They include increasingly expensive video clips, public relations, tour support, marketing campaigns, and promotion to get the songs played on the radio.

after which there's no money left for the artist ... and meanwhile all the kids on indie labels or with desktop machines are eating your lunch because they don't bother with all the huge expenses that make it necessary to sell millions of units

so, it's not really the music business, is it? ... it's the promotion and entertainment business

yeah, yeah, a cd should cost 30 bucks or something today

that doesn't explain why it costs a million bucks to record an album
posted by pyramid termite at 2:07 PM on February 3, 2007


I fully expect some RIAA rep to show up at my birthday party, take notes, look at my friends accusatively, and say things like, "You should just be thankful that the recording industry is letting you do this."

You know why they don't sing "Happy Birthday" in restaurants? It's under copyright, and the RIAA wants a 'performance fee'.

These people sued the Boy Scouts for singing songs around the campfire.
posted by Malor at 2:09 PM on February 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


I hope the writing is on the wall for RIAA. Someone's bound to someday prove that RIAA is a mafiaso organization engaged in unethical and illegal activities. With any luck a bunch of rotten douchebags will be locked up in the federal pen for a good long time, and artists everywhere properly reimbursed the income RIAA has stolen from them.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:28 PM on February 3, 2007


I hope the writing is on the wall for RIAA. Someone's bound to someday prove that RIAA is a mafiaso organization engaged in unethical and illegal activities. With any luck a bunch of rotten douchebags will be locked up in the federal pen for a good long time, and artists everywhere properly reimbursed the income RIAA has stolen from them.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:28 PM on February 3, 2007


Seriously, I think a fair price for a CD is 12 bucks and a fair price for a full album download is 5, all things considered.
posted by davebush at 2:30 PM on February 3, 2007


Well then they should have charged $33.86 for them.

Am I to feel sorry for them, or something? That they sold their product for a third of what they think they should have?
posted by Flunkie at 2:58 PM on February 3, 2007


You know why they don't sing "Happy Birthday" in restaurants? It's under copyright, and the RIAA wants a 'performance fee'.

Well, let's be clear when we're heaping our scorn.

* "Happy Birthday" is indeed under copyright.
* Licensing the song brings in several million per year.
* Restaurant employees that sing it ARE performing it "professionally" (meaning, people go to restaurants and pay money and ask the employees to specifically perform something, and a restaurant like T.G.I. Friday's specifically markets their birthday shenanigans).
* It's not the RIAA asking for a fee, it's ASCAP/BMI/Harry Fox.
* Restaurants must pay those agencies fees to play Muzak, too.
* Movie and TV productions pay the same fees when any licensed song is featured in those productions.

And finally, most importantly...

* The copyright owner will LOSE their copyright if they knowingly, tacitly allow usage without defending the copyright and demanding licensing fees. This is why Kleenex would like you to stop referring to every tissue as a Kleenex. Same with Band-Aids, Aspirin, Rollerblades, etc, etc.

So, it's not ALL about just being a greedy fuck.
posted by frogan at 3:08 PM on February 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


Web browsers are supposed to cost money by now, but Gates fixed that.

The RIAA could charge whatever they want. It won't affect me. I avoid spending money on anything with the stench of their feces on it. This means I'm out of touch with modern music. Ask me if I care. Generations from now, students will be able to tell their teachers that the rise and fall of the RIAA happened some time after the invention of the wheel, but may not know if it was before or after the first world war. Flarrr darrr deble farrr flarrr.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:22 PM on February 3, 2007


You know what CDs are good for?

Gift's.

Just seems kinda lame giving someone a burnt CD, or an iTunes gift card for Christmas. Hell, why would I want to give them an iTunes gift card; if they use it, the music is DRM-infected, and it would make a pretty shitty gift.
posted by Jimbob at 3:35 PM on February 3, 2007


(By which I mean I guess I'm willing to pay a premium so someone I know can have something "nice" and "real" and "tangible". Fuck paying that much for myself.)
posted by Jimbob at 3:37 PM on February 3, 2007


The copyright owner will LOSE their copyright if they knowingly, tacitly allow usage without defending the copyright and demanding licensing fees. This is why Kleenex would like you to stop referring to every tissue as a Kleenex. Same with Band-Aids, Aspirin, Rollerblades, etc, etc.

No they won't. You're thinking of a Trademark. Copyrights have a certain length that they last, and they're good that entire time, no matter what. However, that length of time just keeps expanding. WHich means that songs that would have been in the Public Domain now ain't.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:46 PM on February 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Astro--

That's mostly because we haven't found a model that allows Mickey to stay protected.

Mickey Mouse will never, ever, ever be public domain. We have failed the public domain, in that we tried to put one particular thing into it.
posted by effugas at 4:35 PM on February 3, 2007


I can get an hour of music on a CD for $20, or I can get 24/7 of music for a month for the same price from various services (XM radio, Napster, even Microsoft)... why the disconnect? Well maybe there isn't one, since if I were to buy a season of tv shows it would cost me $50 but I can get them for free on TV, and that's the root of the problem, if you pay for over priced products, you let the RIIA win, but if you don't buy CDs, well they'll kick and scream and if we all just wait a bit longer they'll start to gasp, then turn blue, then die. Just a little longer folks...just a little longer.

P.S. Stop buying CDs.
posted by furtive at 4:40 PM on February 3, 2007


Screw'em. Go to a bar, buy six beers, maybe a shot or two of vodka, and enjoy live musicians. Hey, tip the musicians to play your tune...
posted by zaelic at 5:07 PM on February 3, 2007


So I completely agree with the hive about the state of recorded music. RIAA is, as I said above, becoming a little more pathetic and desperate every day. The most interesting and relevant artists today are operating far outside of any RIAA-sanctioned model.

But why, pray tell, does this translate into hating on the album as a unit of music? Good musicians think in songs, but also in longer collections. A good album has an arc to it, and every piece of the puzzle serves a purpose. XM Radio and iTunes downloads are not a replacement for well-crafted albums.

If you're frequently saying (about musicians you like), "Why spend fifteen bucks on an album when there are only one or two good songs on it," it's time for an intervention. For more information, call your music snob friend immediately.
posted by roll truck roll at 5:41 PM on February 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Malor, I agree with your essential economic analysis of what enabled music industry and what is now menacing part of its profits, namely the apparent incapacity to adapt to a new business model in which many consumer realize TRANSFERING music really cost _nothing_.

Piracy ? Just a minor annoyance, it is a good advertising method and is also a convenient excuse "teh pirates!". The fact that copying a file cost almost zero is now so popular and entrenched in knowledge of many, that nobody would accept paying for JUST copying a goddamn file, even if over the internet.

That realization is , imho, what really is sending the shockwave in the industry : consumer are realizing paying $20 for copying file is not justified by the distribution process, they don't buy that concept anymore. On top of this, many no longer want CDs. The "poor artist" bullshit is also less convincing then ever as they are either filthy rich or filthy poor, clearly showing only few really make money out of cd sales.

Instead, we have this clusterfuck of DRM, where they try to make bits not copyable.

I think they are not really after making copying "impossible" , what they are more after is making copying more expensive, time consuming, frustrating.

Imagine having to change DRM from Ipod to Zune to Whatever...pain in the ass. Complications, crippled computing, tele-owned machines...what a royal pain in the ass. If it is not DRM signed, it will no play. MORE pain ! More expense ! Clearly going back to buy memory cards (instead of CD, but same shit) or just using one single DRM (Windows DRM anybody?) is a lot more convenient and less expensive..which justifies getting an "approved" copy at $15 instead of a single track that may work or not work and whatnot.

Or worst-case-scenario ? $3 a track , digitally signed and approved for YOUR machine..only $0.5 per additional machine or if you subscribe even less !

The way to stop it: don't buy DRM media. Ever. Under any circumstances. Don't buy or use Vista.

That's an excellent start, but the emphasis and constant repetition should be on how Vista is crippled from the start, how the control on what the machine can play or not play is NO LONGER in the hands on the owner, but it really is in MS control and it is being done ONLY because they still want the same 100000% profit margin. It's not lack of will to adapt, it's lack of will to reduce the _profit_ on a copy, it is will to COMMAND _entirely_ your ability to make a copy.

Certainly they will blame the pirates, but what is really happening is trying to secure a _constant profit_ without doing much at all, negating progress. Just look at the cd levy (tax) on CD-R, DVD-R, HD sales (effective in europe and I guess also Canada) it is absolutely obscene and an insult to all users, it's presuming that a person buying a CD or DVD-R is GUILTY of copyright violation.

Blame pirates , of course ! How convenient.
posted by elpapacito at 6:08 PM on February 3, 2007


Anyone who actually believes that crap the RIAA is spewing has no grasp of economics (specifically, of input costs).

maybe CD's would've gone straight into obsolescence and we'd still be using vinyl which is superior anyway.

Vinyl is not superior—it's far larger, the sound quality is lower (dispute this all you want, but you'll still be wrong), and playing it slowly destroys it.

Aspirin

Not a trademark in this jurisdiction.
posted by oaf at 6:08 PM on February 3, 2007


what they are more after is making copying more expensive, time consuming, frustrating.

They're unfortunately infringing on fair use rights (yours and mine) when they do this, because there are perfectly legitimate reasons to copy things.
posted by oaf at 6:11 PM on February 3, 2007


About the RIAA and its stance on used CDs, you might be interested in this kerfuffle, in which Garth Brooks first refused to sell his new CDs to stores selling used CDs, and his label found itself facing several anti-trust lawsuits (in which it was rightly pointed out that people can make use of the extremely well-established right of first sale, which has a long history in the resale of books) and so the label realized they were most likely to lose and should change their habits.

Why the record industry as a whole hasn't realized that again, when it's quite clear that their old business model doesn't work anymore, is something of a mystery. Instead they seem to have confused lawsuits for time machines.
posted by Tuwa at 6:11 PM on February 3, 2007


They're unfortunately infringing on fair use rights (yours and mine) when they do this, because there are perfectly legitimate reasons to copy things.

I don't think there is a right to be facilitated in copying some content : nobody forbids you to take a recorder, record the song, copy it on PC and then quote whatever is accepted by doctrine as belonging to "fair use".

Can't cut and paste off your copy ? Well too bad, you can for just $1 more for this additional service, or you can copy it with your own methods.
posted by elpapacito at 6:23 PM on February 3, 2007


frogan writes "Come back in 10 years, and you'll find that the cost of a song on iTunes won't have changed at all either, despite falling server and bandwidth costs."

If a song remains at 99 cents for 10 years the real cost will have declined because of inflation.
posted by Mitheral at 8:11 PM on February 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Begin the day with a friendly voice
A companion, unobtrusive
Plays that song thats so elusive
And the magic music makes your morning mood

Off on your way, hit the open road
There is magic at your fingers
For the spirit ever lingers
Undemanding contact in your happy solitude

Invisible airwaves
Crackle with life
Bright antennae bristle
With the energy
Emotional feedback
On a timeless wavelength
Bearing a gift beyond price ---
Almost free...

All this machinery making modern music can still be open-hearted
If not so coldly charted-- it's really just a question of your honesty

One likes to believe in the freedom of music
But glittering prizes and endless compromises
Shatter the illusion of integrity...
"


-n. peart, "The Spirit of Radio," 1980
posted by koeselitz at 9:05 PM on February 3, 2007


Mickey Mouse will never, ever, ever be public domain. We have failed the public domain, in that we tried to put one particular thing into it.

Mickey Mouse, or rather steam boat willie, was created at a time when the copyright deal was such that he'd enter the public domain in 2004.
Disney broke that bargain (with help) by getting copyright extended. Public Domain didn't fail us; a soulless, corrupt, manipulative company failed on it's bargain, and legislators failed us too by implementing it, and the public failed themselves by letting them all get away with it.

However, why should we be surprised? The corporations who decide what we see on TV and read in newspapers have the same corporate parents that bankroll films and entertainment. Politicians don't dare oppose people like Rupert Murdoch, or his fellow media moguls, because he can sway so many people who believe what they see on TV, he can virtually decide whether they get elected or not.

Ironically, the 'free press' is one of the main reasons the DRM in your computer, CD player and TV is hardly ever talked about, why copyright extensions are spun as benefits to the 'starving artists'. We're sold, packaged and wrapped to advertisers. We're not free thinking customers; we are product.
posted by ArkhanJG at 2:33 AM on February 4, 2007


If a song remains at 99 cents for 10 years the real cost will have declined because of inflation.

You are forgetting the cost of obtaining 99 cents, it's two functions.
posted by elpapacito at 3:12 AM on February 4, 2007


frogan: "* The copyright owner will LOSE their copyright if they knowingly, tacitly allow usage without defending the copyright and demanding licensing fees. This is why Kleenex would like you to stop referring to every tissue as a Kleenex. Same with Band-Aids, Aspirin, Rollerblades, etc, etc.

So, it's not ALL about just being a greedy fuck.
"


No, no, NO!
You're either a shill for the "intellectual property" lobby or you're so woefully underinformed that you should refrain from attempting to "explain" stuff you obviously don't know jack about.

A trademark has to be entered into a registry and has to be defended if other parties try to dilute it; a copyright is something the creator of an original work is granted implicitly and automatically every time. Even if you're not registering it anywhere, you're still the "owner" and have control over its distribution. You cannot "lose" your copyright, you can only transfer those rights to other parties on your behalf - and (at least in theory) everything covered by copyright will fall into the public domain after a set amount of time, to benefit the general populace.

These are completely separate terms with completely separate laws governing them. Please don't confuse them or try to get other people to believe that there is even a remote connection, apart from the fact that both are often conflated under "intellectual property".
posted by PontifexPrimus at 3:58 AM on February 4, 2007


RE

I don't know about you, but I don't really miss the lofty concept album. Sometimes an album really does only have two songs I like. Does that make me defective?

Keep in mind I'm not one of those pop-culture addicts who hears a singleon the radio and immediately heads for limewire to download it... I usually listen to full albums but sometimes, artists I like will release a full album with only a few tracks which I enjoy. Were I purchasing the music legally, I'd be left with 80% unwanted content, and expensive content at that. So, I think there's some weight behind the "hating on the album" deal. Artists should really make up their mind: make several separate tracks which stand on their own, or make one 60-minute-long track that must be experienced as a whole. Don't make 30 minutes filler to flesh out your album about space trolls.
posted by tehloki at 7:17 AM on February 4, 2007


Mickey Mouse, or rather steam boat willie, was created at a time when the copyright deal was such that he'd enter the public domain in 2004.

No it wasn't. Mickey Mouse was created at a time (1928) when the Steamboat Willie short would have entered the public domain twenty-eight years later (1956). The copyright laws have gotten that perverted since then, that now Steamboat Willie MIGHT enter the public domain in 2023. But that will happen if and only if Disney doesn't lobby for yet more copyright extensions, which is about as likely to happen as Pinocchio 2: Revenge of the Donkeys.
posted by Tuwa at 8:28 AM on February 4, 2007


zaelic: Screw'em. Go to a bar, buy six beers, maybe a shot or two of vodka, and enjoy live musicians. Hey, tip the musicians to play your tune...

I'm with you, and happily, so are most people. Over two decades of going to see indie bands in NYC, I have never known there to be so many venues and so many sold out shows. It used to be, unless it was some fabulously hot band, you could walk up the night of the show, and get a ticket. This is no longer the case. These days you need to get yourself down to the box office double quick (Ticketmaster is a necessary evil sometimes, those crooks..). Regretfully, I've hesitated sometimes in the last few years and missed some good shows. On the up side, I'm glad the bands are doing well with it and live music is thriving. (And the RIAA gets ZERO money from it. except those rat bastids at Clear Channel sometimes do, But I'll save that rant for another time....)
posted by Skygazer at 9:39 AM on February 4, 2007


So, I think there's some weight behind the "hating on the album" deal. Artists should really make up their mind: make several separate tracks which stand on their own, or make one 60-minute-long track that must be experienced as a whole. Don't make 30 minutes filler to flesh out your album about space trolls.

That's a problem with the musician. It has nothing to do with the album as a format, which is doing just fine. I only purchase and listen to albums, and I have never been able to relate to this "a couple of good songs and a bunch of filler" griping.
posted by ludwig_van at 11:18 AM on February 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


And more concept albums is exactly what the world needs. It doesn't take any kind of genius to write a 3 minute song.
posted by ludwig_van at 11:19 AM on February 4, 2007


If an artist you think you like only makes two songs out of ten you like, you don't really like that artist. Perhaps you like what they did, but you don't like what they're doing. Two out of ten is twenty percent. The ship has sailed.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:53 AM on February 4, 2007


Although I rarely buy anything under their banner, I really need to stop buying anything remotely related to the RIAA at all.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 3:23 PM EST on February 3

This sounds like a policy I'd like to embrace as well. How can I tell what artists to avoid?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:20 PM on February 4, 2007


I cite as an example, Meat Loaf with Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf without Jim Steinman. If you like Midnight at the Lost and Found, you're a fan of Meat Loaf. If you think he's never been as good as he was when he did Bat Out of Hell, you're a fan of Jim Steinman.

If you like Michael Jackson even today, despite how everyone says he's crazy and scary now, you're a true fan of MJ. If you thought Thriller and Off the Wall were good but he's done nothing of value since, you're a fan of Quincy Jones, and you never really liked Michael Jackson, even if you think you did at one time.

I used to think I liked Natalie Merchant until after she left 10,000 Maniacs. I can't stand anything she's done solo, but Love Among the Ruins was the best album that band ever made, and it was after Merchant left them. Unfortunately, most of the world's never heard that album, which is a damned shame.

I think the real reason I can't bring myself to consciously support the corporate monoliths of the music industry as it exists today is because there is no justice for music or artistry under its rule. Great talent is shafted, and mediocre or worse talent is praised.

Fool me once. Shame on me. Fool me twice. Still shame on me. You can be fooled again. I refuse to continue giving the RIAA opportunities to shame me.

P.S. Stop buying RIAA supported artists' CDs. If you catch yourself thinking "well it's different this time cuz..." you're letting them fool you again. The sooner we stop feeding the beast, the sooner it will starve.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:35 PM on February 4, 2007


I submit this, in reference to the debate about 'concept albums' :

"It was a beautiful song
but it ran too long
If you're gonna have a hit
you gotta make it fit
So they cut it down to 3:05 "

- Billy Joel, The Entertainer
posted by ZachsMind at 12:46 PM on February 4, 2007


Ok, let's look at this rationally.

CDs aren't competing with 1983. They are competing with 2007's entertainment choices. Without even discussing digital downloads that lack an associated physical object, let's look at 2007's entertainment choices:

Joe Consumer can go to the store and buy a shiny 5" disc with data on it. There are now lots of different kinds of shiny 5" discs.

On one side of the store, the discs hold 3- or 4.5G of data, and cost $20 for new releases, $5-10 for back catalog.

Joe Consumer looks at the other side of the store, and sees shiny 5" discs that hold 500-800M of data, and cost $19 for a new release, and $7-10 for back catalog.

If Joe is at all rational, he buys the DVD. If Joe possesses less money than he has 'needs', he never throws his entertainment budget away on a bad investment like CDs.

He would be happy to buy a CD, but only if it cost proportionally as much as the information he can buy on DVD: say, $2 for back catalog, and $4 for new releases.

Instead, today, he has a choice of buying a full two-hour new movie for $15 . . . or, he can buy just the 80-minute audio soundtrack to the very same movie. . . for $18.
That's just crazy. (Literally crazy - if he loves the soundtrack enough, he could make his own audio CD from the cheaper DVD. For less money than the audio alone would cost.)

Using the RIAA's "CDs are worth $34" logic, then a DVD of a movie must be worth at least $150.

Joe Consumer has proven himself perfectly content to fork over his hard-earned money for DVDs. And he'd buy plenty of CDs, too, but only IF they were priced rationally.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 12:56 PM on February 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


The concept of the public domain is that unused resources stop being trapped by copyright, and become available for all to share.

It's a general rule that, after a number of years, a resource becomes untapped by its traditional holder.

Mickey is an exception. It's a powerful exception. It's so powerful, that *everything* is being kept out of the public domain so that Mickey never enters it.

Listen. Ask a hundred people if something from 1928 should be public domain, they'll say sure. Ask them if Mickey should be public domain, they'll say no way. If we ever want to expand the public domain, we need to give up on Mickey.
posted by effugas at 1:24 PM on February 4, 2007


Sure. Which is why there are now proposals for the orphaning of copyrights -- that is, copyrights must regularly be renewed, and, failing that, the unrenewed piece goes into the public domain.

So Elvis stays out of the public domain, but tens of thousands of pieces created at the same timethat have no owner enter it. Sounds fair to me.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:36 PM on February 4, 2007


The sooner we stop feeding the beast, the sooner it will starve.

Or the sooner it will legislate its way into our wallets.
posted by oaf at 1:40 PM on February 4, 2007


Like in Canada, where the beast now picks our pockets every time we purchase an MP3 player, cassette tape, or even a data CD-R.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:51 PM on February 4, 2007


"Ask a hundred people if something from 1928 should be public domain, they'll say sure. Ask them if Mickey should be public domain, they'll say no way. If we ever want to expand the public domain, we need to give up on Mickey."

Or do the rational thing and stop using time as a measurement as to whether or not something belongs in the public domain. That's stupid anyway. It's like using gallons to measure how far to travel by train.

We already have a much more common sense approach to possession of capital. It's called right of ownership but to do it properly, things like public domain and copyright would become outmoded and eventually without value. Something wouldn't stay in the public domain long. First time someone picked up something that was in 'the public domain' and used it, they'd own it. Possession is nine tenths.

This would probably change society as we know it. I'd imagine it'd be like the last scene in Fight Club. Boom.

Perhaps it's best we leave Mickey alone.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:27 PM on February 4, 2007


Howzabout basing it on income: if the property is generating more than 1% gross revenue for its owner, it remains copyrighted. If less, it becomes public doman as "abandoned property."

IOW, use it or lose it.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:39 PM on February 4, 2007


AsYouKnow Bob:
If Joe is at all rational, he buys the DVD. If Joe possesses less money than he has 'needs', he never throws his entertainment budget away on a bad investment like CDs.

No, no, no. I think I agree with your thinking in general, but bit-count does not equal value (happiness with the product, in this case) for the purchasers of a CD or DVD at all.

That's just silly, and it's this kind of shoe-horning of complicated and difficult to quantify phenomenon into silly models that gets economists in trouble.

You buy what you think* will make you the most happy (that's the only concern with regards to entertainment). What makes you the most happy has, at best, an extremely weak correlation with the number of bits on the media.

I think there is a damn good argument to say that DVDs or console games are a much better entertainment value for many people. The number of bits involved has precious little to do with that.

* And we're actually demonstrably poor at both knowing what will actually make us happy, and doing those things we think will make us happy, but that is another story.
posted by teece at 6:10 PM on February 4, 2007


What if you're using the property for something other than just generating income? Would labors of love become illegal under a 'based on income' system, or would they just be the prey?

I think the current system is supposed to protect people who come up with cool things but don't have the resources to immediately make money off of it. Corporate interests would buy up a 'sure thing' or just mass produce something similar and weed out the originator. I'm reminded of the Monopoly controversy. Darrow didn't have the resources to produce enough to profit from it. That's why he sold the idea to Monopoly, and now historians are discovering he didn't technically have a right to sell it, because the idea wasn't his.

We need a simpler system. We need a system that doesn't differentiate between honest mistakes and deliberate theft. We need a system that doesn't punish anyone, but does completely and instrinsically protect the originator of an intellectual property.

And if anyone tells me that without punishment and enforcement you can't have copyright protection - is it honestly working right now? I say no. What we have now stifled creativity. It doesn't celebrate it. It doesn't protect it.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:15 PM on February 4, 2007


Zachsmind
Or do the rational thing and stop using time as a measurement as to whether or not something belongs in the public domain. That's stupid anyway.

No it's not. It's a straightforward incentive. Government granted monopoly for a limited time in exchange for sharing your idea. (Copyright is not all that different, in essence, from the "monopoly" the government helps you enforce over tangible property, but the nature of intangible property is very different; so the two should and must be treated very differently).

Your alternative idea is completely incoherent. The existing model is OK, it just isn't tweaked correctly for value to society vs. value to monopoly holder, currently.

What needs to be "fixed" is the idea that copyright should last in perpetuity. It's long past time for people to realize that copyright and patents exist to benefit society first and foremost. They do not exist to make people rich.

My take on the fix is simple: no copyright except for individuals (sorry Disney, Corp. and Microsoft, you're shit out of luck -- immortal entities like corporations can't be granted a life-limited copyright). Copyright expires the day the author dies. Period. No exceptions. Corporations could perhaps hold copyright only if those copyrights were treated more like patents (so, 10-20 years of copyright, no right of extension).

The public domain is as essential to society as the incentive that copyright grants. We need it back.
posted by teece at 6:21 PM on February 4, 2007


What if you're using the property for something other than just generating income? Would labors of love become illegal under a 'based on income' system, or would they just be the prey?

I'm unsure how copying the work denies you anything, if you're not getting income from it.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:53 PM on February 4, 2007


It doesn't take any kind of genius to write a 3 minute song.

But it does take genius (or some mad, godstruck kind of luck) to write a 3 minute song that stays alive in people's minds and hearts for decades.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:38 PM on February 4, 2007


After not buying much music at all for a long time because of the high price of CDs, I recently went to AllOfMP3 and dropped $20 on 5 albums. If CDs cost $3-4 each, I'd be buying a lot more of them. I can't justify $17-20 for an album that I'll listen to 3 times/year, but they could get more than that much money from me by selling me cheap music online.
posted by Kickstart70 at 10:04 PM on February 4, 2007


Like in Canada, where the beast now picks our pockets every time we purchase an MP3 player, cassette tape, or even a data CD-R.

MP3 players have not been subject to the levy for more than two years. The other stuff is dumb, though, but at least you're allowed to copy CDs that a friend has lent you.
posted by oaf at 11:19 PM on February 4, 2007


Hey The Card Cheat, your blog has some great stuff there, thanks. And that comp you featured in your latest post? I was in one of the bands on it (I think we were the only band with two songs). Small world.
posted by stinkycheese at 3:11 PM on February 5, 2007


If a song remains at 99 cents for 10 years the real cost will have declined because of inflation.

If a song remains at 99 cents for 10 years, won't you wonder why it isn't going for a nickel, when the costs of delivery fall through the floor?

If a digitally delivered song remains at 99 cents for 10 years, the profit margin on it goes UP, not down.
posted by frogan at 7:02 PM on February 5, 2007


How much the seller makes doesn't have any bearing on whether the cost has gone down.
posted by Mitheral at 8:19 PM on February 5, 2007


It doesn't take any kind of genius to write a 3 minute song.

Ha. Try it. Write a three minute song that millions of people will love. It's not anywhere near as easy as you think.

If a digitally delivered song remains at 99 cents for 10 years, the profit margin on it goes UP, not down.

So, um, you can predict the future? This depends entirely upon whether broadband delivery costs go down faster than inflation goes up.

Either could end up being the case. I'm betting on inflation winning. But in any event, you can't make any kind of unequivocal statement on the issue, unless you're God or you have a time machine.
posted by teece at 9:47 PM on February 5, 2007


Ha. Try it. Write a three minute song that millions of people will love.

I've written plenty of three-minute songs, thanks, and some six minute ones, too. I didn't say anything about millions of people loving it - that can't always be accounted for by the quality of the tune, anyway.

The point was that it takes a lot more skill and dedication to create a longer piece of music that's coherent and effective, and that we should expect more from artists. Instead of knocking the album format and awaiting its death, we should be asking why musicians aren't utilizing it more effectively.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:05 AM on February 6, 2007


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