Wednesday, September 17, 2003


Novelist Orson Scott Card weighs in with a treatise on why the RIAA and the Record Companies are NOT the victims they claim to be.

Check it out here.

He makes some interesting points:

1. Sales may be down because most consumers have already replaced all old vinyl and cassettes with CDs that outlive their owners. So all that windfall money is no longer flowing in.

2. Record companies have made some really lousy decisions as they tried to guess what consumers would want to buy. Additionally, they market to high school and college students -- who are most likely to be sharing MP3s over the internet.

3. The Record Industry is playing a tired old tune as they complained when radio first started broadcasting records instead of live performances, saying the practice was going to hurt sales! Turned out that radio didn't hurt record sales. Radio made record sales, because people wanted to own the records they heard on the radio. Radio let people hear musicians they might never have found otherwise.

Same thing with TV and Video which opened up a lucrative aftermarket that kept movies alive long after they would have stopped earning money. And in the case of video, it forced studios to stopped charging ninety bucks for a videotape - which showed that aftermarket sales are often bigger than the original theatrical release.

Card believes that the internet will be similar as Apple's iTunes Music Store and will prove out.

He also takes the movie and record industries to task because of their "creative accounting" which has cheated artists out of royalties for years - especially in the movie industry where movies NEVER make a profit!

There's also the case that every CDR sold pays the RIAA a royalty. Which begs the question, if the RIAA is profiting from all the mp3s which are then burned to CD, can they sue themselves as accomplises?


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