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Radio Royalty Legislation Described As 'RIAA Bailout' 272

Posted by Soulskill
from the some-business-deserve-to-die dept.
An anonymous reader tips an article at TechDirt about draft legislation from Representative Jerry Nadler (D-NY) that would dramatically increase the music royalty fees for cable and satellite radio to put them at the same level as internet radio streaming. TechDirt calls this the 'RIAA Bailout Act of 2012' and says the RIAA has been pursuing similar legislation to increase royalty rates for terrestrial radio as well. "As it stands now, the rates are so damaging that Pandora — the top player in the space — has made it clear it may never be profitable. Yes, never. Nadler's bill would effectively make sure that no one else in that market would be profitable either. The end result? Many of these services don't exist or never get started. That would actually mean fewer services, fewer listeners and lower royalties. It's almost as if he has no concept of price elasticity. Lower prices can create higher total income. Also, the idea that any particular Congressional Rep. should be (effectively) determining what the "fair" price is for anything is, well, horrifying. "
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Radio Royalty Legislation Described As 'RIAA Bailout'

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  • Don't Understand (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rwise2112 (648849) on Friday August 24, 2012 @10:18AM (#41109017)
    Seems they (the RIAA) would rather take nothing, and blame it on piracy, than take something!
    • Re:Don't Understand (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Samalie (1016193) on Friday August 24, 2012 @10:26AM (#41109135)

      Actually, I'd say it is closer to...the RIAA would rather destroy the entire recording industry than modify their business model from that which made them all filthy rich until the last decade or so.

      They've fucking lost it. They have absolutly no comprehension or understanding that they don't mean shit anymore. Nobody NEEDS the RIAA or the major labels anymore. Anyone with a few thousand can create a damned good recording studio, cut an album, release it online independently (and to streaming sites), thereby cutting the RIAA entirely out of the equation.

      But at the heart, you are correct...the RIAA says a song has a value of x. The world says the same song has a value of x/50. THe RIAA has decided that if they can't get x, they don't want anything.

      • Clearance; promotion (Score:3, Interesting)

        by tepples (727027)

        Anyone with a few thousand can create a damned good recording studio, cut an album

        How should someone who writes and records an album verify that the songs he wrote don't accidentally infringe a third party's copyright?

        release it online independently (and to streaming sites)

        How should they promote it to listeners who aren't already streaming music in their vehicles? These listeners use FM radio because they don't already have a sufficiently expensive data plan or they aren't aware of the streaming sites.

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          How should someone who writes and records an album verify that the songs he wrote don't accidentally infringe a third party's copyright?

          Write original material?

          How should they promote it to listeners who aren't already streaming music in their vehicles? These listeners use FM radio because they don't already have a sufficiently expensive data plan or they aren't aware of the streaming sites.

          Or, you know, maybe they like radio. Some people actually do.

          • Write original material?

            Then let me rephrase: What should I do to verify that my material is in fact legally original?

            • by gstoddart (321705)

              Then let me rephrase: What should I do to verify that my material is in fact legally original?

              You know, I wanted to say something flippant, but it occurs to me that as people copyright songs, the brief snippets in them get copyrighted, and then you run out of unique combinations where someone won't then come along and say "Hey, I did a 'D A C G' note progression, you infringed on my copyright".

              You have made me sad. :-P

              I wonder how (or even if) the labels do this ... you can't compare every new song to every

              • by imamac (1083405)
                Chord progressions have been held to be non-copyrightable. Melodies on the other hand are a different story.
              • by sjames (1099)

                Alas, it apparently only takes 3 notes to offend.

            • Why should you have to do that?
          • by canajin56 (660655)

            Write original material?

            The reference here was probably to Elastica getting sued by Wire over 5 notes. So, 5 notes, regardless of tempo or key change, leaves about 40,000 unique "song parts". And of course, a large portion of them sound terrible, so there are maybe a few thousand possible parts of songs, and each song will be made of many of them. Since there are a lot more than a few thousand songs, by Wire's logic, there are no unique songs left in the world. Of course, that was settled out of court

        • by Joce640k (829181) on Friday August 24, 2012 @10:45AM (#41109465) Homepage

          How should someone who writes and records an album verify that the songs he wrote don't accidentally infringe a third party's copyright?

          This word "write". I don't think it means what you think it means...

          • Please be more specific than a quotation from the film The Princess Bride. If I write a song, what steps should I take to ensure that I didn't accidentally write a song that is substantially similar to an existing song?
            • by Zerth (26112)

              Simple, just don't use these chords in whatever key you are playing in: I-IV-VI-IV

              Oh, and don't think you can rearrange it to VI-IV-I-V either. That's taken, too.

            • by Joce640k (829181)

              If I write a song, what steps should I take to ensure that I didn't accidentally write a song that is substantially similar to an existing song?

              No need to worry.... if you start out thinking like that you'll never write a song, ie. you won't have that problem!

        • How should someone who writes and records an album verify that the songs he wrote don't accidentally infringe a third party's copyright?

          Nobody verifies this under the present system, so an individual releasing stuff isn't any different.

          How should they promote it to listeners who aren't already streaming music in their vehicles? These listeners use FM radio because they don't already have a sufficiently expensive data plan or they aren't aware of the streaming sites.

          Believe it or not, people hear music in places other than their cars.

          Word of mouth, YouTube, free song downloads, send promo CDs to college and independent radio stations, set up accounts with the various social networks, opening for other bands... there are lots of ways to get your music in front of people. If you're good, you'll build a fan base and that fan base is the only thing you absolutely have to ha

          • by tepples (727027)

            Nobody verifies this under the present system, so an individual releasing stuff isn't any different.

            Still, what steps should an individual take to minimize liability?

            Believe it or not, people hear music in places other than their cars.

            Yeah, like restaurants and retail establishments, which play either the radio or a Muzak-like stream.

            In any case, people who listen to music on MP3 players are listening to music that they've bought because they've heard it elsewhere. Now what "elsewhere" are you talking about? I was under the impression that in order to listen to Internet radio without a cellular data plan, you had to be sitting in front of your computer. You mentioned "Y

            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward

              Nobody verifies this under the present system, so an individual releasing stuff isn't any different.

              Still, what steps should an individual take to minimize liability?

              Believe it or not, people hear music in places other than their cars.

              Yeah, like restaurants and retail establishments, which play either the radio or a Muzak-like stream.

              In any case, people who listen to music on MP3 players are listening to music that they've bought because they've heard it elsewhere. Now what "elsewhere" are you talking about? I was under the impression that in order to listen to Internet radio without a cellular data plan, you had to be sitting in front of your computer. You mentioned "YouTube, free song downloads", but in such cases, how do listeners become aware that a particular music video exists or particular free song downloads exist?"

              Want to minimize liability? Form an LLC. It takes $50 bucks and an application from the state of Delaware to do this. Release the song under the LLC. The worst you can be sued for is for your PROFITS under the LLC unless you knowingly did something illegal. The corporate veil is actually a useful thing here - it protects you from personal liability unless you were like "wow, that track is awesome...so I'll just copy it."

              As far as promotion...frankly, tough question. However, I'm certain that bands who

            • Nobody verifies this under the present system, so an individual releasing stuff isn't any different.

              Still, what steps should an individual take to minimize liability?

              IANAL, but my advice would be to talk to one. It seems like a better option than dealing with the RIAA anyway. A lawyer will work for you. Your relationship with a recording studio is the opposite of that.

        • by Shagg (99693)

          How should someone who writes and records an album verify that the songs he wrote don't accidentally infringe a third party's copyright?

          Hire more lawyers than the third party does.

        • How should someone who writes and records an album verify that the songs he wrote don't accidentally infringe a third party's copyright?

          If you think that artists get "help" from the RIAA scanning for copyright infringement I have a song I'd like to sell you...

        • by dkleinsc (563838)

          How should they promote it to listeners who aren't already streaming music in their vehicles?

          That's easy: Perform live. That's where the vast majority of musicians make their real money anyways.

          Most bands perform live for a couple of years at least before releasing an album. And the #1 way to sell albums when starting out as an independent musician is to bring them with you to your live gigs and sell them to people who are already enjoying hearing you perform (and often a little drunk and impulsive, which makes it easier). Now, you don't sell as many albums that way, but the math works out that you

      • by plover (150551) *

        But at the heart, you are correct...the RIAA says a song has a value of x. The world says the same song has a value of x/50. THe RIAA has decided that if they can't get x, they don't want anything.

        No, the RIAA has decided to settle for .02*x in the hopes that it might stay at .03x or long enough to snort a few more grams of coke.

    • Re:Don't Understand (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 24, 2012 @10:27AM (#41109145)

      Exactly. There's a lot of companies like that. The RIAA, MPAA, Harmony Gold, etc don't like customers, they just want to sue people. It helps that they plan on making laws to force you to pay anyway, regardless of whether or not you listen to music

    • by Joce640k (829181) on Friday August 24, 2012 @10:47AM (#41109511) Homepage

      FTA: Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) released a discussion draft of a bill Monday that would increase compensation for recording artists^W^W record company executives.

      FTFT.

    • Re:Don't Understand (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mellon (7048) on Friday August 24, 2012 @12:01PM (#41110709) Homepage

      Personally, I hope they get what they are asking for. The sooner they drive themselves out of business, the sooner we can actually fix the music industry.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Friday August 24, 2012 @10:21AM (#41109071) Journal

    Nadler's bill would effectively make sure that no one else in that market would be profitable either. The end result? Many of these services don't exist or never get started.

    I think that's quite the desired effect by the RIAA, to repress technologies and services. This is a deep rooted mentality that has been "proven" in their eyes by cassette tapes (remember when people were duping records and recording radio plays and that was destroying everything?) and Napster and Bittorrent -- all new technologies that they attribute with the decline of their iron grip on their "consumers." Internet radio is just the latest demon and, of course, if their profits slide it will be the new scapegoat. The article notices this as well:

    “Congressman Nadler’s discussion draft would only perpetuate this hypocrisy and worsen an already flawed legislative mistake that is discriminating against new technology and hampering innovation,"

    I do slightly object to this statement:

    t's almost as if he has no concept of price elasticity. Lower prices can create higher total income.

    No, I disagree with you there. I think services like Amazon and iTunes have shown them this and they reject that concept anyway. They built up their empires by reducing the diversity of music and creating a single song that everyone had to have. Radio jockeys play it 24/7, the Billboard Top 100 tells you what it is and it's basically slammed down your throat everywhere. This strategy payed off very well for them for quite some time. They wanted to reduce the amount of music you wanted or desired and price it out at $18 for the album. Everybody had to buy it and that's why you can pick up New Kids on the Block or Brittany Spears albums at your local thrift store for pennies now. And that's the best way the RIAA could have it since everyone got sick of that music, burned out on it and had to have the next $18 album that they were told to buy. Since everyone had to buy it that was $18 * tons of money.

    Now new technology comes along and offers a more diverse music repertoire and the possibility of buying that single song and *GASP* radio jockeys that aren't yoked into playing the same goddamn song over and over again. And this frightens the music executives. They know about price elasticity, they just don't want the profits they should be making and instead wish to return to a simpler time when they told you what to pay and everyone paid that because there was no other option and society was shoving it down their throats. Lower prices CAN create higher profits but the way the RIAA has been running the show means it probably will not.

    • Is it possible to set up an alternative RIAA? Trade group monopoly must be broken.
      • by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Friday August 24, 2012 @10:36AM (#41109315) Homepage Journal

        Is it possible to set up an alternative RIAA?

        Not as long as the music publishers affiliated with the major record labels threaten to sue people who write their own songs for copyright infringement on the grounds that too much of a melody was accidentally copied. See, for example, Bright Tunes Music v. Harrisongs Music and Three Boys Music v. Michael Bolton.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        Is it possible to set up an alternative RIAA?

        Maybe not the entire RIAA, but there are record labels which aren't members.

        Fat Wreck Chords for example.

        Trade group monopoly must be broken.

        That would take a court ruling, legislation, or a freakin' miracle. These are the guys writing the current copyright laws (and exporting them via ACTA etc) ... which means they're 'greasing the wheels' an awful lot, so the lawmakers aren't going to cut them off.

        Somehow, an industry cartel is dictating terms to government a

      • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Friday August 24, 2012 @10:51AM (#41109583) Journal

        Is it possible to set up an alternative RIAA? Trade group monopoly must be broken.

        Well, I'm not in the business but used to gig. After seeing people that should have some minor record deal being signed to littler labels like Afternoon Records or Asthmatic Kitty, it's my opinion that the best replacement for the RIAA is no replacement at all. The RIAA is restricting their member labels and being destructive "in the interests of their members" ... sometimes this is helpful but in the instance of online radio, it's quite the opposite. Meanwhile a lot of the smaller labels affiliated with the RIAA suffer while the top executives make millions [techdirt.com]. The way I see it, by setting up an alternative RIAA, you'll inevitably fall prey to that sort of bullshit. Like the best capitalistic systems, the music industry would be healthier if the labels competed with each other and actually desired exposure (which they do) like online radio and no single entity was acting as a self-appointed policeman to how that system worked. Then and only then would you see.

        Here's an example, I just purchased Headlight's latest album on vinyl [polyvinylrecords.com] and minutes later I had downloaded the MP3s. I can list tons of non-RIAA labels that do this and you can go on Bandcamp and see a third party system doing this for labels and selfpublished artists (for example, here's the album I just bought [bandcamp.com]). Now, from the RIAA point of view this is super bad. I just got TWO copies of an album for one price and on top of that you can stream that album right there for free, possibly forever. Oh my god, copyright violations! Now, if you were the RIAA or a replacement for the RIAA you would find yourself in the position of making a decision about this sort of sales tactic. And that's bad whether you weigh in one way or another. Fine, let Metallica or whoever else I don't care about put up a picture of their album and ask for $20 from their fans for it before even hearing it. They can do what they want. But you'll find that if you throw your lot in with RIAA, you won't be able to upload live videos of your own concerts to YouTube, you might have ads on your music videos and you'll be restricted by this umbrella. Furthermore, no matter how forgiving you are of your fan's misdeeds, the RIAA is not. And I think a replacement is a bad thing.

        Frankly put the advent of the internet and digital distribution means that artists shouldn't have to depend on the RIAA or an RIAA replacement. They should exist in hundreds of different labels acting, innovating and competing on their own terms (diversity is a good thing).

        Right now it feels like an exacerbated Pareto Law inside the music industry and it doesn't have to be that way. Your attention, your ears, your money and your support should be spread around and free of restricted influence by some massive entity.

        Right now, there's music out there that you like that somebody somewhere is making. But if they're not on a label that's part of the RIAA, you're most likely never going to hear it. That's why internet radio stations are so important to upending the RIAA, self-published groups from Portland can be heard by Brooklynites and vice versa. That's why I think the RIAA is trying to impose arcane radio royalty fees.

        • +1 for that. The only reason I can think of for setting up the alternative is so there is representation. The alternative will do not a lot really, just be a way for stating you're not RIAA.
  • Never is a long time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Friday August 24, 2012 @10:28AM (#41109177)
    This isn't about the money, it's about control. If they can get a law that makes default royalities so high no-one can enter the business, they'd be overjoyed. Then, when everyone else is locked out of the business, they can buy up the failed businesses, and run their own monopoly services. They might not be extracting every last cent out of the music, but they, and only they would control it. (Artists and Listeners can take a hike)
  • The more star systems will slip through your fingers. Or to put it in more terrestrial terms, no company, when hit with arbitrary regulation, will simply take it up the a$$. The newly regulated company will A) pass the cost on to the customer, B) lay people off, or C) go out of business. This is the same unintended consequence that stalks Net Neutrality. If you think a phone company like AT&T (which btw, has only a 3.67% profit margin) will simply continue to increase available bandwidth and quality

  • by characterZer0 (138196) on Friday August 24, 2012 @10:32AM (#41109243)

    Can somebody explain why the government is involved in this at all? Why are royalty fees simply negotiated between the licensor and licensee?

    This is not like utilities, food, or health care where we need to prevent an oligarchy from profiteering by withholding necessities. If you do not agree to the fees, do not license the content.

    • Can somebody explain why the government is involved in this at all? Why are royalty fees simply negotiated between the licensor and licensee?

      There are two copyrights involved: copyright in the underlying musical work and copyright in the sound recording. Three different cover versions of "Yesterday" by three different recording artists, for example, are three different sound recordings of one musical work by one songwriter. As of right now, only the musical work is subject to royalties in all broadcast mediums, and these are already negotiated with BMI and ASCAP. The difference is that unlike webcasters, cable and satellite radio systems current

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It would take an act of Congress to make cable and satellite radio systems subject to royalties in the first place.

        Wrong [cornell.edu]. See also 9.2, the "3 step test".

        • I don't see how the page you linked applies, for two reasons. First, I thought use by a U.S. resident of a work of a U.S. author was subject to U.S. law, not international treaties. Second, I thought sound recordings, as opposed to the underlying musical works, were not covered by the Berne Convention and thus needed a separate "phonogram treaty", especially in light of article 13 of the treaty you mentioned [cornell.edu].
      • That does not explain why the broadcasters cannot negotiate fees with the rights holders (or, more conveniently, the representatives of a large group of rights holders (BMI, ASCAP)) instead of having Congress get involved.

    • This is not like utilities, food, or health care where we need to prevent an oligarchy from profiteering by withholding necessities. If you do not agree to the fees, do not license the content.

      The government does not care what industry it is invading. This is the problem: once you allow the government to violate the governing documents, you invalidate everything in the document, not just the one thing, and it becomes a government run by special interests./p?

      • by GeoGreg (631708)
        Well, regardless of whether your argument is correct about the validity of governing documents, the power to grant exclusive rights to authors is in fact given to Congress in the US Constitution in Article 1, Section 8. I guess one could argue about whether a sound recording is a "Writing" per the terms of that clause. But if you accept that the protection of sound recordings falls under the jurisdiction of Congress, then the terms of that protection would also seem to be up to Congress. This is a different
    • by Shagg (99693)

      Can somebody explain why the government is involved in this at all?

      Because they're owned by the RIAA.

  • by alexander_686 (957440) on Friday August 24, 2012 @10:32AM (#41109247)

    Lower prices can create higher total income.

    This is true when the lower price generates more sales. This is not happening in the music world.

    People are buying single tracks or tuning into Pandora instead of building up a collection of CDs. This benefits the consumer because it is much more efficient to listen to music this way.

    i.e. the new cost structure of the internet means that the consumer reap most of the rewards of improved efficiency. I am not a friend of the RIAA but I do recognize that they have left the land of honey and milk for a barren desert.

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      You make it sound like singles and radio are a new thing.

      Nothing could be further from the truth.

      • by GeoGreg (631708)
        No, but what is new is the ability to instantly listen to practically any song on demand without purchasing the song either as a track on an album or as a single. I think this is the biggest issue. Whether it's through a service like Spotify, which pays very low license fees, or the various infringing ways of obtaining music, I can now obtain a song at decent quality whenever I want at a much lower cost (free or almost free) than I could previously.
    • left the land of honey and milk for a barren desert.

      Smart move, a different ordering of those words would have put you in court with Capitol Records for copyright infringement [wikipedia.org].

      Unfortunately there were sentiments in your post that might have mirrored lyrics in Lynyrd Skynyrd's song "Workin' for MCA" off their double platinum album Second Helping. Warner Bros would also like to examine your use of the phrase "barren desert" and compare it to a song by the band America.

      Your summons is in the mail.

    • Ummm think again, selling individual songs has generated enormous profits for the recording industry. Even at 99 cents a song, they are making tons of money.
  • Experiment (Score:5, Interesting)

    by carrier lost (222597) on Friday August 24, 2012 @10:33AM (#41109253) Homepage

    It would be fascinating if someone were to start an IndieGoGo fundraiser to "Buy a Senator"

    Buy a senator and have him introduce a bill - something good, like forcing the cablecos to share their lines with competitors at cost, or legalizing marijuana for adults.

    How much money would it take? $5 million? $10M, $20M before a senator publicly announces, "Okay, I'll do it. What law do you want introduced and give the cash to my campaign manager so he can get to work on spinning this"

    • "Hey boys! Here's a big pile of money!" Someone will bite.

      This might work if such a public fund were set up with complete transparency and controlled by a PAC or lobby. The money couldn't go directly to a senator but could be used to run political advertising that endorses the candidate.

    • Actually, a lot less than that. If you watch Sicko, the healthcare industry contributions to politicians are all a lot lower than that - even for the President it was less than $1M ; and this is for an industry with a lot more money and power than the RIAA.

      For $5M you could probably get yourself a whole committee.

    • Okay, maybe not "Buy a Senator".

      How about, "Buy a Bill"?

  • It sounds to me like the music industry is bent on self-destruction, and this is something we should encourage. Let them price themselves out of existence. Once they're gone, maybe we can have some good music again.

  • by JWW (79176) on Friday August 24, 2012 @10:33AM (#41109279)

    The entitlement mentality of the RIAA is astounding.

    Radio has for decades played their songs as advertising. In the past record companies have gotten in trouble for paying radio stations to play certain music.

    Now they want to have their cake and eat it too.

    There is NO DIFFERENCE between the radio playing the song and a streaming service playing the song. It is still advertising for the record company. I have bought many songs after hearing them on a streaming service. I also already own many songs that play on streaming services I listen to. The record company being paid per play by streaming services is obnoxious crap.

    I always smile when I think of how badly Apple and Amazon screwed over the record companies in providing access to digital versions of their music. They had the ability to build their own stores and they were idiotic enough to fail and it the process hand over billions to companies that laid the digital groundwork for them. True, record companies make money from Amazon and Apple, but Amazon and Apple make money off the record companies too _and_ they completely control the ecosystem.

    I'm anxiously waiting for Apple, Amazon, and Google to start getting into the business of distributing artists songs just like they do for app developers. They could also use their promotional capabilities to drive sales for these artists. Sales where they make more money than selling what the record companies give them. When this happens the writing will be on the wall and the record companies will finally die the death they so deserve.

    • I'm anxiously waiting for Apple, Amazon, and Google to start getting into the business of distributing artists songs just like they do for app developers.

      From your lips to God's ears...not so much that I care one way or the other who gets rich from the artists (and it will likely not be the artists...), but at least if those groups started mucking around in the RIAA's affairs more, the lawyers on BOTH sides would be well funded, instead of just one side.

      OK I think I just figured out who would get rich from the artists in that scenario...but still, IMO if it's not the RIAA, I'm fine with it.

  • by Agent0013 (828350) on Friday August 24, 2012 @10:34AM (#41109285) Journal

    Nadler's bill would effectively make sure that no one else in that market would be profitable either. The end result? Many of these services don't exist or never get started. That would actually mean fewer services, fewer listeners and lower royalties. It's almost as if he has no concept of price elasticity. Lower prices can create higher total income.

    This is too simplistic of a view. By limiting the number of stations that can play music you licence, you will make less money on the licencing, sure. But you also will have more control over what plays on the airwaves (or satallite waves, etc). By playing king-maker for what's hot and what's not you end up making far more money in the long run. The music industry has to compete with it's back catalog, all the way back to when music was first recorded. They need some way to get people to buy current music over the greatest of the past. They do this by controlling what becomes popular.

    • By what's being played on the radio? Wow welcome to the '80s....
    • I'm wondering if this is effectively trolling the RIAA through legislation. Many bills get introduced in to committee with no chance of passing in hopes that they can cause a specific group or industry to look horrible by supporting them.

      This bill seems to do that as well. My impression is that it calls attention to the much higher rate paid by internet streaming and by suggesting that other groups pay the same price, we'll get to see who exactly complains and their reasoning.

      I could be wrong though.

      Ahh, an

  • purpose? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by amoeba1911 (978485) on Friday August 24, 2012 @10:34AM (#41109291) Homepage
    I'm still not sure, what is RIAA's purpose? The artists compose and perform the music, the distributors (radio stations, iTunes, Google Play, Pandora and P2P etc) distribute that music to the masses. What is RIAA's role in this ecosystem? Where does RIAA fit?
    • Promotion (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Friday August 24, 2012 @10:48AM (#41109525) Homepage Journal

      The artists compose and perform the music, the distributors (radio stations, iTunes, Google Play, Pandora and P2P etc) distribute that music to the masses. What is RIAA's role in this ecosystem?

      Originally, the RIAA was formed to establish the "New Orthophonic" emphasis curve for vinyl records. Now, it boils down to promoting the music.

    • by whoever57 (658626)

      I'm still not sure, what is RIAA's purpose? The artists compose and perform the music, the distributors (radio stations, iTunes, Google Play, Pandora and P2P etc) distribute that music to the masses. What is RIAA's role in this ecosystem? Where does RIAA fit?

      Keeping the names of the large music publishers out of the news. For example, this story should really be:
      EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner push for increased royalty rates
      and other stories should be:
      EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner sue poor student ov

      • It could also read: the employers of Skrillex are suing a college student for sharing his music. The system protects the artists as well.
    • by plover (150551) *

      They exist because they continually emit copious gobs of cash.

      They started out to establish technical standards for vinyl recordings. They became a trade organization who now organize the record labels under a common set of goals and provide direction as well as represent that common direction via lobbyists. Those common goals are mostly about IP rights protection, ensuring record labels are defending their "property".

      Imagine if Cisco and HP and Huwaie and DLink and Dell and Hawking and everyone else char

  • Was there not some kind of law already about the Governments ability to set the "market" price for goods and services? Something about free market or other.

  • I honestly believe that they'd rather that the music just died, than live with the thought that somewhere out there, Alice might be passing Bob her iPod and saying "Hey, listen to this".

    When the only music left is appropriately sub-licensed in commercials, TV and movies, they might stop. Maybe. But the concept of plain old music, that can be played right out there in the open and insinuate itself into just anyone's ears without them being forced to pay first? That makes them beat their hookers with hor

  • by mike449 (238450) on Friday August 24, 2012 @10:41AM (#41109403)

    When RIAA music becomes prohibitively expensive for radio stations, non-RIAA music will get more airplay and exposure.

    • by whoever57 (658626)

      When RIAA music becomes prohibitively expensive for radio stations, non-RIAA music will get more airplay and exposure.

      Remember that these are default rates. My expectation is that the RIAA member companies will offer reduced rates to the stations that play music that they want promoted. It's payola in another form.

    • Once "non-RIAA music ... get[s] more airplay and exposure", what stops music publishers affiliated with RIAA labels from suing non-RIAA artists on trumped-up charges of accidental copyright infringement?
    • I didn't understand how this worked until SomaFM went through their big fight several years ago. The rates are the same for everyone, regardless of the distributor. This is a non-market blocking strategy.
  • "pirates are being pirates? ok, let's punish the people who play by the rules even more" (thereby creating more pirates)

    it's just like all that crap before you get to the actual movie on a dvd. who wants to sit through that? but i pirate the movie on the web, i don't get that bullshit

    hey RIAA: your legislation and your controlling ways simply makes piracy more attractive

    if instead of legislating how about you eat some humble pie by admitting that the fucking Internet happened, therefore meaning you need to

  • that's right! You heard me! POSSIBLY NOT AT ALL
  • If Pandora is really that big (I don't use it) why don't they just give the Recording industry the finger and be an outlet for Indies or Albums not under contract with the RIAA. They wouldn't have to pay the RIAA protection racket and probably work out a really reasonable revenue model for Indies and their groupies. I think I've heard enough Metallica and Nickelback to last me for a lifetime anyway. If I never hear their stuff again I won't miss it. Lots of Indie stuff is just as good if not better. Actuall

  • The end result? Many of these services don't exist or never get started.

    Yes, that's the whole point. The RIAA will gladly give up royalties if they can eliminate competition.

    If they had their way (which they are), the only music you could hear would be from RIAA owned artists and the only way you could hear it was from RIAA owned distribution channels.

  • by FudRucker (866063) on Friday August 24, 2012 @11:32AM (#41110227)
    viva pirate radio! make little 1 watt transmitters that runs on 12 volt DC to turn any mp3 player in a car in to a tiny pirate radio capable of covering several city blocks, and just as easily be run from an AC outlet with a wallwart transformer, murder the RIAA with millions of tiny cuts
  • This is why... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by decoy256 (1335427) on Friday August 24, 2012 @11:55AM (#41110607)

    You do all realize that this is precisely the argument used to lower taxes in general, right? And specifically, to lower taxes on businesses. If we replace "royalty" with "tax" and "Pandora" with "every small business in America", then you have the exact argument that Republicans use to support tax breaks.

    Just thought I'd point that out. So, in order to be intellectually consistent, should we also support Republicans on the tax breaks? Should we slash taxes to encourage economic growth?

  • by zuki (845560) on Friday August 24, 2012 @12:14PM (#41110935) Journal
    I think that in this case the 800-pound gorilla in the room is the fact that US terrestrial radio has been able to successfully keep extending an exemption from paying royalties to the owners of the sound recordings that Congress has granted them since 1934 or so; at the time the exemption was given in order for them to build their FM networks... wait! they're still building them. That's what it must be ... or else it would imply that radio and the NAB who represents them were just a bunch of greedbags.. clearly, this can't be!

    we're not talking about the publishing side, only sound recordings, which is totally different

    Keep in mind that every other radio station in the entire world is paying this sound recording royalty for the use of music on their stations.

    Made sense to give US radio a break when records were selling by the bucketload, but now that they don't anymore, what's the reason for those stations to keep making bushels of money off advertisers by broadcasting that music for free, only paying the songwriters but not those who own the recordings?

    The kicker is that because of reciprocity laws, no US owner of sound recordings gets paid from radio stations in the rest of the world for those same royalties which go to black box and gets shared by foreign companies since the royalties are not paid to foreign copyright owners by US terrestrial radio.

    Of course, on the other hand Internet and Satellite radios have to pay... lovely... >:(
  • by brit74 (831798) on Friday August 24, 2012 @01:31PM (#41112079)
    Your summary includes the quote: "As it stands now, the rates are so damaging that Pandora — the top player in the space — has made it clear it may never be profitable [thehill.com]. Yes, never." The link you included talks about Pandora's founder supporting a bill and opposing another one, but in that article he never says anything like "the rates are so damaging that Pandora — the top player in the space — has made it clear it may never be profitable". That quote does come from the TechDirt article without a source.

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