Where's the artist outcry over record labels?

Musicians are taking Apple to task for its call to reduce royalty rates. Maybe it's time they start pointing fingers at the record labels too.

Besides the fact that Apple's threat to possibly shut down the iTunes store if regulators approve a royalty hike for artists is utterly ridiculous , the news that artists are actually getting excited about making $0.15 per track instead of the $0.09 they're making now is laughable.

Of course, the musicians were quick to point out that Apple's (and the record labels' by the way, which they fail to cite) idea to change the fee structure from a set payment to a percentage isn't fair either. Apple and other retailers want to set the royalty rate to six percent or $0.048 per track, while the record labels are looking to put the rate at eight percent or $0.056 per $0.99 iTunes track.

Granted, Apple's idea is more than a little ludicrous considering the artists are already making almost twice that on each track and it's fine paying up to the record labels, but why haven't the musicians finally seen the light and spoken out against the labels too? They're trying to undercut the price as well and yet, the musicians have nothing to say to them?

What a joke.

Why do the record labels get a pass when Apple and the rest of the music services are being lambasted by musicians when the record labels are treating them just as poorly? I know, I know: it's all about who pays your bills. Fine. I can accept that. But don't you think that maybe (just maybe) some of these musicians would wise up and realize that their beloved employers are treating them like garbage and the vast majority aren't making nearly as much as they should on each sale on iTunes?

Logic is gone in the music industry. Musicians believe that Apple and you are to blame for all the world's woes, but in reality, musicians need only blame the record labels if they want to find someone to point fingers at.

For every $0.99 track sold on iTunes, musicians get $0.09 from the record labels, which receive $0.70 from Apple, which keeps $0.29. The musician is the person (or group) that actually creates the song and performs at the behest of the record labels. They do all the work. And yet, they're happy with the organizations that give them 11 percent of the revenue?

That doesn't make any sense.

In reality, the musicians should be deathly afraid of their record label overlords who continue to bring down the lion's share of the cash while forcing the artists to starve. The record labels are the organizations that are really taking artists to task, not us or even Apple.

And even though the more logical among us realize all that and understand that the record labels are taking just as much from musicians as the piracy cartels overseas, it seems they're unwilling to realize that themselves.

How many times must they blame us for piracy and losing money before they wake up and realize that the record labels are ensuring that if anyone loses out, it'll be the artists?

Wake up, musicians. You're fighting us and you're fighting Apple, but maybe it's time you start fighting that label you're so fond of.

Check out Don's Digital Home podcast, Twitter feed, and FriendFeed.

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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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