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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

An Open Letter to the RIAA

Posted by on Wed, Sep 26, 2012 at 11:33 AM

Dear perpetuators of the Recording Industry Association of America,

You represent a dying model. Technology has rendered you irrelevant. Musicians today can achieve worldwide exposure with little more time than it takes to order a cheeseburger and fries. Your A&R man has a real nasty hangover, but he really doesn't want to tell you why he's been getting so shit-faced for the last couple years. Here's the reason: With an internet connection and a hint of ambition, any artist, band, or circus sideshow can achieve the same results you'll charge them thousands, or if they're big enough, millions, for. There's no mystery anymore to what you do, and with little else than a Facebook, Soundcloud, Bandcamp—or, hell—even a (roll over Beethoven) relaunched Myspace account—your next big mover is soon to be your last missed-opportunity. What's more, smaller labels give their people real love, and that idea will give your accountant an ulcer.


The Internet


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Posted by itsneverthateasy on September 26, 2012 at 11:56 AM · Report this
merry 2
Posted by merry on September 26, 2012 at 12:37 PM · Report this
Except you're going up against an industry that has people writing books like "Free Ride: How Digital Parasites are Destroying the Culture Business, and How the Culture Business can Fight Back". By Robert Levine.

The horses have left the barn which has been smouldering ashes for at least a decade and these schmucks are showing up with hammers and saws wondering how to fix things.
Posted by Chris B on September 26, 2012 at 1:01 PM · Report this
yelahneb 4
Get 'em
Posted by yelahneb on September 26, 2012 at 1:06 PM · Report this
true for everything but the oldest and still most reliable form of pounding shit music into people's heads: radio.

the RIAA still dictates what makes it on the radio. and people buy what they hear on the radio. that may soon go away, but as long as terrestrial (or corporate satellite) radio is still the medium in which you beat your message into people's heads, the RIAA will still have their money (just not as much), and hold their sway (again, just not as much).
Posted by deepconcentration on September 26, 2012 at 1:20 PM · Report this
It's true: with the Internet you can reach a global audience of people who'll download your music without paying you. Artists WIN!
Posted by tiktok on September 26, 2012 at 1:41 PM · Report this
"...achieve worldwide exposure..."

Which, of course, has nothing to do with actually making money.
Posted by bigyaz on September 26, 2012 at 1:51 PM · Report this
Dougsf 8
Why get a home loan from the bank when you can just get the money yourself?

I'm no friend of the RIAA, but you're underestimating the investment labels sometimes make in their artists. To make an awful example: Justin Beiber isn't a household name because he got a bunch of YouTube hits.
Posted by Dougsf on September 26, 2012 at 2:05 PM · Report this
Grant Brissey, Emeritus 9
I talked no smack of labels, only the RIAA.
Posted by Grant Brissey, Emeritus on September 26, 2012 at 2:59 PM · Report this
I think you're mixing up the RIAA and the labels they "support". The RIAA doesn't promote bands or music at all. They're just a trade association that protects the interest of those labels. It is indeed the major labels that you should be directing this letter to.
Posted by bob goldwig on September 26, 2012 at 3:21 PM · Report this
Dougsf 11
You mentioned A&R and distribution, commonly the domain of the record label, not the RIAA. Hence my confusion.

To your basic point though, the RIAA can suck it. "It" being a thing that's bad.
Posted by Dougsf on September 26, 2012 at 3:29 PM · Report this
Josh Bis 12
Can you think of examples of bands that have really achieved these same results and earned a living wage all by their lonesome?
Posted by Josh Bis on September 26, 2012 at 3:37 PM · Report this
EricD 13
The RIAA is a dinosaur today, I'll agree. Your post made me start wondering: with regards to music, what will the dinosaurs of tomorrow be?

I think print media is already on the way out. Radio is going to be around for longer than most expect, but it isn't growing or even staying stable as more people listen to the internet or their ipod instead. I'd also argue that recommendation engines like Pandora are starting to replace sites like Pitchfork, and there will never again be "tastemaker"(or whatever you want to call it) with the power that MTV used to wield.

Everything seems to be getting really decentralized. Does anyone know if concert venues have been seeing a slump in attendance over the past decade? Not huge social music festivals, but the raw attraction of live music in places like The Comet or Tractor. That would really make me sad :(
Posted by EricD on September 26, 2012 at 3:38 PM · Report this
Larry Mizell, Jr. 14
dinosaurs of tomorrow: music writers?

no shots, breh.
Posted by Larry Mizell, Jr. on September 26, 2012 at 7:27 PM · Report this
"We are not seats or eyeballs or end users or consumers. We are human beings and our reach exceeds your grasp. Deal with it."
Posted by Mr. Flippant on September 26, 2012 at 10:10 PM · Report this
I call this one "Letters from 2008".
Posted by Casual_Observer on September 27, 2012 at 10:23 PM · Report this

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