Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Norah Jones Slashed in Half

"The decline of the music industry accelerated in the first quarter of 2007, as CD sales dropped twenty percent from the previous year."

That's the lead paragraph from Rolling Stone, a musician-friendly magazine that even reviews bootlegs and "leaked to the Internet" songs. The article continues: "In the first week of January, the Dreamgirls soundtrack topped the charts with just 66,000 sold - making it the lowest selling Number One album of the SoundScan era. Norah Jones' Not Too Late has sold just half of what her previous album sold in the same period...Already music stores like Virgin are cutting back on CDs and emphasizing DVDs and clothing. 'Music will gradually drop as a proportion of our pie,' says Simon right, CEO of Virgin Entertainment."

Bloomberg News adds: "U.S. album sales fell 17 percent in the first quarter, a faster pace than in all of last year, because of rising online piracy..."

Another report from Reuters adds "higher digital revenue failed to counter the decline in compact discs," which means that royalties for musicians are not only sinking lower all the time, but it's especially hurtful for those who aren't touring. Songwriters who depend on royalties entirely, and record stores struggling to stay in business, are also being hit hard. Several suicides have been linked directly to despair over business losses. When a 70 year-old songwriter who had a few hits finds himself unable to exist because he counted on his royalties to help him bridge the social security gap...there's no reason to stay alive. This, while some blogger posts his songs for free and gets a "thanks, you're doing a great job" in thatsall-important "comments" section.

People who don't feel compelled to protest high taxes, who don't go out and protest war, who don't go out and complain about the bureaucracy that raises prices on milk and postage, somehow think that their most radical and revolutionary activity is sitting on their bottoms and uploading music and blaming the RIAA.

It is clearly hurting musicians, record stores, and the music industry. No blogger has come up with a solution to the problem beyond "screw the RIAA" or "all musicians are rich."

It is clearly marked on all CDs, "all rights reserved" and concerts forbid people from bringing in recording equipment. The majority of musicians clearly want it this way.

Blogging by stealing whole albums is as far from the truth as it gets, and here's something more:

Illegal downloading is the opiate of the masses.

People who could really be doing something about corporate villainy, ecological disaster and fighting any cause from gun control to global warming, are spending their energy hiding links and re-upping files and acting like children.

You don't have enough music? There are children in the world who don't have enough to eat.

"I Wanted Someone In Jail"

When Pete Wentz discovered that his album had been leaked, he did not say "thanks for sharing."

This is what he said: "When I started to get text messages about that, I felt the color come out of my face. I freaked out. I wanted someone in jail."

The artists want people to hear their albums as they intended, and they want to be paid.

Universal Music Wins A Round

According to reporter Peter Lauria, "Universal Music Group won a key copyright decision against online community in a big win (for the music industry) part of the settlement, Bolt agreed to equip its Web site with filtering software," in what is considered a victory "against a user-generated content Web site. A month later, the label leveled similar charges against MySpace. The lawsuits accuse the Web sites of sharing, copying, reformatting, distributing and creating derivative versions of songs from Mariah Carey, The Killers, Bon Jovi and others."

The word "sharing" is prominent in this, because that's what so many thieves hide behind as an excuse. If it's done without permission, it's stealing.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


"Piracy is perhaps the most emotionally gut-wrenching problem facing artists. Artists like the idea of a new and better business model for the industry, but they cannot accept a business model that uses their music without authority or compensation. Suing kids is not what artists want, but many of them feel betrayed by fans who claim to love artists but still want their music free.

The music industry must also take a large amount of blame for this piracy. Not only did the industry not address the issue sooner, it provided the P2P users with a convenient scapegoat. Many kids rationalize their P2P habit by pointing out that only record labels are hurt -- that the labels don't pay the artists anyway. This is clearly wrong, because artists are at the bottom of the food chain. They are the ones hit hardest when sales take a nosedive and when the labels cut back on promotion, on signing new artists and on keeping artists with potential. Artists are clearly affected, yet because many perceive the music business as being dominated by rich multinational corporations, the pain felt by the artist has no public face."