If the readers here did, I suspect musicians and record labels would be richer, not poorer, music would be spread further around the planet, and policy might actually make sense. If you haven’t yet read comments on last week’s analysis of an industry push for DRM on radio, do it now.

On second though, as many artists start their own labels or self-publish, we may not be far from a world in which the artists really do run the record industry. Imagine an industry that’s actually smart and has a sense of humor. Fascinating.

AudioLemon, author of one of the best music tech blogs around (a newer arrival), says quotes the following from the fury over DAT recording (some things never change):

A coalition consisting of PEN, the Writers Guild of America, and other organizations representing writers filed a class-action suit today against major pencil manufacturers for copyright infringement. Defendents in the suit include Eberhard Faber, Riviera, Skilcraft, Cascade, Empire Pencil Co., and Dixon Ticonderoga.

The writers claim that with modern pencil technology, purchasers of books magazines, newspapers and other printed matter will be able to make exact reproductions of copyrighted material. The suit charges that royalties will be lost when people write out copies of books for friends.

Check comments for the full item and lots more:
Comments: Record Industry Now Completely Bonkers, Wants DRM on All Radio

  • bobby

    as someone who runs a small independent label, I would generally say that most artists have no business running a label, and many simply don't have any interest in it. they like some of the ickier business related aspects being left up to someone else. when i am making music, i don't want to be thinking about profit margins, distributors, promotion or anything else. i want to be thinking about music and ideas. i leave the music-making to the artists. it's what they do; it's what they excel at. i don't tell them to write hot singles. i tell them to make a work of art. that's their job. my job is to get their masterpieces into the ears of every human on earth.

    in addition, as many of them are "true artists" in every tongue-in-cheek sense of the word, they don't have what it takes. there's a general lack of math skills, organizational skills, not freaking out when things get tough skills, getting out of bed skills, not blowing up at a business partner skills, etc.

    the majority of my artists love the fact that they can push everything on me and that i'll take care of it. i love doing it for them as well. there's not exactly a ton of money to be made, and in most cases it's next to impossible to get out of debt on any release, but it sure is a blast trying.

    if there is a place for artists to make money, it's out on the road touring. people love buying records directly from artists (in addition to shirts, stickers, and the cost of getting into the show), but are much less likely to purchase from a store in a lot of cases.

    i most certainly agree that the industry is changing, and it'll be interesting to see how it all shakes out. but i think the idea of artist as label are the exception and not the rule. imagine if mc hammer had been running the label too….YIKES!

  • Hi Bobby,

    I think I was misunderstood. In fact, a number of readers here have been involved in the music business or, like you, run a record label, and not just as artists, but with a genuine background in the business. I agree that many artists have no business running a label. But I think it's also safe to say the folks running the RIAA's lobbying efforts aren't exactly succeeding in leadership. I also think some of the decisions by the majors have been questionable at best; perhaps not entirely their fault, but a result of the dominant business model and structure.

    My point would, in fact, be that the current lobbying regime runs counter to the business interests of label owners and artists alike. (Not that I'm likely to get a whole lot of argument there!)

    In short: I wish the folks in comments, like you, were in charge of the rest of the industry.


  • AudioLemon

    Oh Jaysus… I'm in a social prediciment. I didn't actually pen that. It was a 20 year old response to a suit being brought against Sony for introducing DAT into America. I thought it was clear it was written 20 years ago and not by me. I guess my cut&paste culture is showing 🙂

    The only way forward I see are:

  • NoDRMGuy

    I've been lurking away chuckling to myself at these latest DRM stories. We tried to warn you, and you laughed and called us names. Suffer.

  • @NoDRMGuy: Warn who, me?

    Assuming that comment came from a real person, I'm lost. I know I'm a big pro-DRM advocate and all, but… 😉

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