Interesting Tim O'Reilly article.

From: Sean 'Captain Napalm' Conner <>
Date: Sat Dec 14 03:21:00 2002

It was thus said that the Great Wayne M. Smith once stated:
> > -BZZZTTTT- Wrong answer... the recording industry contracts state that
> > Yes, you can ahve your contract audited, but only with a list of 'approved'
> > auditors, as a matter of fact if you show your contract to ANYONE you are
> > in violation of the contract.
> I don't think that's right. There are restrictions that prevent hiring an
> auditor on a contingency fee basis, and using an auditor who is performing an
> audit of the same company on behalf of another artist at the same time. I have
> never heard of the "approved list" you mention.

  According to Steve Albini [1] a band who sells 250,000 albums (not that
bad a showing) will make $710,000 for the record company, and only $4,000
*per band member*. $4,000. Given that an audit can cost anywhere from
$10,000-$100,000 [2], even if the band in question *wanted* an audit, they
aren't going to very well afford one, are they? And there *are*
restrictions on what they can audit [3], but I've yet to find any
restrictions on who can do the auditing.

  There are also some horribly one-sided contracts being signed [4] (and you
have to read that to actually believe it---trust me, it's as if Satan
himself wrote it). Now, are the artists stupid for signing such contracts?
Perhaps, but when it's your only shot at being a recording star, and if you
decline, any number of other starving artists are willing to sign, well ...
where's that dotted line? The recording industry pretty much controls who
sells and who doesn't. And dead artists? They're the best [5] for they
don't bitch, and they don't attempt to audit the books [6] (really now,
sixteen albums for a dead man ... the money used could have been used to
promote how many live artists? Who knows ... ).

  But do you have *any* evidence that downloading MP3s hurts the recording
industry? With figures *not* supplied by the recording industry? All the
non-recording industry evidence I've seen has been to the counter---that it
has, if anything, *helped* spurr sales [7], but not of the industry backed acts
like Britney or N'Sync. And giving content away for free has helped other
industries [8] generate more sales, oddly enough.

  The machinations that the RIAA is forcing on us may have killed a major
company in another field [9] and is certainly keeping the smaller players
from doing innovative stuff [10] or even just conducting their normal
day-to-day business [11].

  There is nothing in our laws (yet) that say that these companies are
required to make money, but given their recent track record, they sure as
hell are trying to make sure they're legally mandated to make money at all

  And just for the heck of it, a few more links I found:

  Please do take the time to read all the articles mentioned here; it's
quite illuminating.

  -spc (Thank you)

Received on Sat Dec 14 2002 - 03:21:00 GMT

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