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Thursday, April 27, 2006

RIAA is RIP, Collective Sigh Ensues

(comic by Randall Munroe)

April 26th, 2006 will go down as a really tough day for our jolly mateys at the RIAA. With everyone from Avril Levign and Todd Rungren to the folks at CES, hurling stones at them, it couldnt have been a pleasant experience. From the soft money strewn halls of capitol hill to the porn filled halls of CES, April 26th may go down as the day everyone decided the RIAA needed to R.I.P.

It started with the Canuks early yesterday announcing the formation of the Canadian Music Creators Coalition. The group flooded the media in an attention-getting blitz never before seen by Canadian press outlets (so of course no one in the US noticed). Lest anyone mistake the good folks at the CMCC for a bunch of washed-up has been's, pandering for attention, it prominently lists a few of its members. Icy north A-listers include: USB rockers Barenaked Ladies, angst ridden Avril Lavigne, Lilith Fair helmer Sarah McLachlan and make-out music queen Chantal Kreviazuk. Their sparse site contains little more then the groups 3 talking points:
1) Suing fans is destructive and hypocritical
2) Digital locks are risky and counter productive
3) Cultural policy should support Canadian artist
With the exception of that last one these are all great points and probably aren't what the music industry wants artist to start spewing. Now all they need is their US counter parts of equal weight to do the same and the RIAA may actually start to get the message. Until then CMCC will continue to make trouble for the defanged CRIA.

The good folks at CEA, producers of the world famous geek-porn show CES, were next in line to take a swipe at the RIAA. Apparently they caught wind that RIAA, Prexy Mitch Bainwol, was under the impression that anyone with a computer, an Internet connection and a pair of ears was a music pirate. Ever the solutions oriented bunch they have produced an ad aimed at helping the RIAA distinguish between different varieties of pirates. They helpfully point out that the swashbuckling, patch-eyed pirate of yore is not the same as everyday people interested in creating playlist or recording TV programs. Derek Slater at the EFF, who first posted the ads, notes that they are slated to run in two DC politico journals, The Hill and Roll Call , in the coming weeks.

(link for full image)

Geriatric rocker and early digital music evangelist, Todd Rudgren, took the RIAA to task on Capitol Hill during the "Parity, Platforms and Protection" hearings convened by potential music industry shill, Arlen Specter. Using phrases like "mindless parasite", "abysmal quality", "hostile to... change" and a string of others, Todd painted a picture for the Senators of a greedy, inept industry milking hardworking musicians of their linden dollars. The hearing included other speakers,s like former rum runner Edgar Brofman, singer Anita Baker and even XM Chair, Gary Parsons taking a more conciliatory tone with the industry. This made Todd's rant seem like a Ted Nugget spiel, but the point was made.

The last few years have been tough for the RIAA, from waging a losing battle against fans to having the very industry to claim to protect turn on you, one cant help but feel a bit sorry for them. In the immortal words of the Acadamy Award winning vocal group, Three 6 Mafia, "Its Hard out here for a Pimp."


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