July 31, 2003 7:32 AM   Subscribe

Music labels charged with price-fixing ... again While their organization is fighting hard to picture potential consumers as de-facto delinquents, the FTC has issued a rulign prohibitng them from agreeing with competitors to fix the prices or restrict the advertising of products they produced independently . The labels deny any wrongdoing, as they did with earlier FTC charges of a much larger price-fixing scandal that cost consumers an estimated $480 million (and was settled by paying 41 suing states $67.4 million in cash and offering $75.7 million in CDs.). Here is an idea: the main culprits of the labels losses, by far, are the rapidly receding sales of ... cassette, LP and vinyl products. Who'd have thought of that?
posted by magullo (12 comments total)
But they labels have acted. It used to be that people complained because CDs were more expensive than cassettes even though they cost the same to produce. Now they cost the same and people are still whining.
posted by biffa at 7:58 AM on July 31, 2003

biffa: people aren't whining, they're p2ping
posted by signal at 8:06 AM on July 31, 2003

Gracious me, I haven't been this surprised since I read the thread below this one saying the Vatican is opposed to gay marriage. I hope no-one posts something about a security flaw in Windows, or my paradigms are gonna be rocking so much, only a Guinness or 2 can save my sanity.
posted by Pericles at 8:07 AM on July 31, 2003

I'm no fan of the record labels, but it seems this anti-trust nastiness is so easy to avoid:

1) Set your price lower than your competitors and you're guilty of "dumping."

2) Set your price higher than your competitors and you're guilty of "exploiting your monopoly power."

3) Set your price the same as your competitors and you're guilty of "collusion."

Choose wisely, now...
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:32 AM on July 31, 2003

Biffa, people still complain about schemes to fix prizes. Go figure.
posted by magullo at 8:35 AM on July 31, 2003

I think the thing is that the people running these labels don't see themselves as producing a product in a market economy. They see themselves as the upper class in an aristocracy, rulers in a media empire. It's their "mighty wurlitzer", if you will.

(But perhaps like the CIA in the vietnam era, they'll find that at times the public can be very difficult to lead arouond... )
posted by weston at 8:44 AM on July 31, 2003

"I want my two dollars!"
posted by eatitlive at 8:54 AM on July 31, 2003

Did anybody end up getting paid in that class-action settlement last year? Or did the sign-ups blow through the ceiling?
posted by me3dia at 9:35 AM on July 31, 2003

This thread is obviously slander and defamation. The music companies are just trying to help artists get their work out there. They don't even care about money. You guys are just paranoid.
posted by zekinskia at 9:58 AM on July 31, 2003

Looks like the checks for the class-action settlement will be mailed late-summer or early-fall 2003. Let's see... $67,375,000 divided by 3.5 million claims (pdf). Should come to about $20 -- going right into my P2P legal defense fund.
posted by eatitlive at 11:53 AM on July 31, 2003

the main culprits of the labels losses, by far, are the rapidly receding sales of ... cassette, LP and vinyl products.

I wish the article proved that. Unfortunately, the PDF they pointed to only listed percentage losses. It's impossible to tell what that means in terms of dollars lost.
posted by Twang at 3:27 PM on July 31, 2003

Twang, the RIAA chart shows actual figures for unit shipments and dollar value (in millions).
posted by rory at 2:40 AM on August 1, 2003

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