Don't kid yourself -- the RIAA doesn't care about the artists

Even though the RIAA tries to tell you it cares about artists, Don Reisinger thinks it couldn't care less.

Every few years, a different organization makes some progress in the tech industry and for one reason or another, the vast majority of the people following the business simply don't like it.

And while some people's distaste for organizations isn't warranted, the RIAA is not one of them. In fact, I would venture to say that distaste for this organization is not only warranted, it's probably the most sound response anyone can have.

Why you ask? It's simple. Under the veil of "holding the artists' best interests in mind", the RIAA has single-handedly destroyed the music industry and created an environment where the artists are left out in the cold.

Let's examine a bit further.

In a report filed yesterday, the RIAA and the National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA) squared off in front of the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) to decide just how much the artists should be getting paid for their hard work.

According to the report, the RIAA and digital media companies (DiMA) believe the 9 cents they currently pay for each physical copy sold or digital media file that's downloaded is much too high. And as the music industry loses revenue, the RIAA and DiMA believe the artists should "accept less money in order to keep the whole industry alive."

On the other side of things, the NMPA's chief, David Israelite, believes artists should make more per downloaded copy because digital media costs far less than CDs and there's more profit to be shared.

Israelite went so far as to call the current hearing "the most important rate hearing in the history of the music industry."

So just how different are these two theories? According to ArsTechnica, the NMPA wants 15 cents per track for the songwriters. On the other hand, the RIAA only wants to pay 5 cents or 6 cents per track, which is substantially lower than the current rate of 13 cents.

"For streaming music, the NMPA suggests that 12.5 percent of total revenue would be a fair payment, while the RIAA thinks that 0.58 percent would be appropriate."

Am I missing something here? If nothing else, this is downright disgusting. Not only is the RIAA and DiMA trying to destroy any opportunity for the artists to make money, the organizations are single-handedly destroying the recording industry.

Why would any artist want to sign up with a major record label knowing they would make just 0.58 percent on digital media download revenue and 5 cents on downloaded tracks? Even if they sell 1 million songs, they should only expect $50,000? Please.

The RIAA is one of the worst organizations in the world. Whether it tries to force young children into a deposition, says college students have yet to reach "full development" or flat-out takes food out of an artists mouth, what's to like here?

The RIAA couldn't care less about the artists. If it did, it would fight for increased royalties and stop pandering to the record labels that have created this monster.

But if anyone actually believes this organization actually has the best interests of the artists in mind, I'd like to hear that rationale. How? The way I see it, the RIAA is simply trying to line the pockets of its masters to ensure its longevity without any regard for those people that make this business work -- the artists.

This sets a dangerous precedent. And if the CRB accepts the RIAA's argument when it makes its decision in October, I will guarantee the immediate downfall of the recording industry.

Enough is enough. The RIAA is a terrible organization that seemingly wants to make the fat cats fatter and the actual talent starve. What kind of organization does that to its own people?

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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