Advice For The RIAA
Nicolas Thompson is a contributing editor for Washington Monthly and a busker. He regularly straps on his guitar, goes into the subway stations and platforms, and performs for the commuters passing through. It's given him a unique view of music consumers and he has some thoughtful advice for the Recording Industry Association of America in their fight against music consumers in his story, "Notes From the Underground."
The music industry functions like a cartel, and the public's preferences have always been limited by the choices they were given. Now that the market for music has changed, and CD sales are declining, the record industry is hiring lawyers and lobbyists to squelch the new technologies that are changing the music business. Over the last few months, the Recording Industry Association of America has issued hundreds of subpoenas to college kids who swap music over the Internet. Meanwhile, the industry's lobbyists have convinced Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), himself a songwriter, to float the idea of allowing companies to remotely slag computers whose owners used them to download movies and songs.I strongly encourage you to read the whole thing.
But the industry's efforts are counterproductive. About 60 million people in the United States have already swapped copyrighted material over the Internet, and that number isn't likely to shrink. The times are a changin', and record companies should learn to how to profit in this new environment.