F*ck you very much, RIAA
In their ever-increasing goal on complete music homogenization and greed, the RIAA-sponsored SoundExchange Royalty Program has strong-armed a new ruling through the United States Copyright Royalty Board that basically starts charging all webcasts of music a fee for doing so, on a per-listener, per-song basis. Read the article above to get the lowlights, but basically this ruling means the end of streaming radio as we know it – if they can even afford to survive, internet radio would have to be saddled with so many ads it would become … well, broadcast radio. Similarly, to generate income, they would have to rely on being fed that same shitty, boring and ‘artist of the moment’ crap that most stations play over the airwaves now.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought the purpose of the federal government was to:
a) provide a national defense
b) mediate in intra-state disputes
c) guarantee the civil rights of it’s citizens
d) regulate interstate commerce
Even in the broadest definition of (d), cow towing to an industry group that has been PROVEN TO PRICE FIX (with their own settlement being further bullshit), as well as lie about the money it collects, doesn’t seem to be in their charter. And yet, here they are – giving them royalties for playing music, retroactive to 2006! It’s sickening, and it might just be enough for me to never buy an RIAA-sanctioned artist’s music again. I’m sick of this greedy, little cabal getting their hands into everything, and threatening to litigate at the slightest hint of music theft; if they were any good at what they are doing, wouldn’t they have figured out how to distribute the music and make money with a model that works? iTunes did it, but every method that the RIAA puts out there fails miserably – because they are monopolistic, greedy and oft-horribly designed ideas that only make sense to the penny-pinchers and lawyers.
In response, a vast number of webcasters went silent yesterday to protest the ruling. I doubt it will do any good, unfortunately, but I liked seeing it even if it meant that I was cut off of many of my streams of music. I think we have just seen the end of streamed music as we know it – and the only thing that will come out of it is another crappy RIAA-sponsored idea that strangles the market with lame, label-forced music that no one ones to hear, forcing out what we want – in other words, why we turned to streamed music in the first place.
My only hope is that there are enough independent artists out there to create their own version that bypasses the RIAA completely. If they do, sign me up.