Andy posted this in a comment yesterday, but quite frankly it’s too awful to not highlight:
The Copyright Royalty Board is hearing arguments from the RIAA, new media groups (such as Apple, who have something at stake with iTunes), and music publishing groups to discuss a rate change for Internet music transactions. One issue is streaming music, which currently has to pay both a mechanical and a publishing royalty. Seeing as terrestrial radio only has to pay the publishing royalty, I see no reason why internet radio should get the double dip. Especially in light of how onerous the current rates are for streaming IR. So dropping the mechanical royalty for streaming media is a good thing.
But, (and there’s always a but), the RIAA is arguing that songwriters and publishers (you know, the people who actually CREATE the music) are getting paid too much with internet downloads (currently at 12%), and so the RIAA is arguing the existing rate should be slashed down to 8% (leaving a whopping 6 cents royalty per song). That’s not exactly a shock, as we’re all well aware that the RIAA is staffed entirely by, let’s face it, some truly evil bastards. What is a shock is that Apple (along with Yahoo and Napster) is leading the charge to reduce the rate to 4%, because apparently Steve Jobs is running low on black turtlenecks or something.
Let’s recap this: So the RIAA (arguing on behalf of the major labels) claims that a contracting market means artists shouldn’t get paid a whopping 12% royalty rate for the music they created. Obviously they should take a cut so that the RIAA can put that money to good use. Ie, suing the hell out of every one. 8 cents on the dollar is pretty good for some scruffy musicians, right?
Well, obviously not. Apple, Yahoo, Napster, and the digital download providers apparently think that what customers are paying for is the DRM, lack of portability, and experience, not say the music itself. That’s just crazy talk. So 4 cents seems WAY more fair.
If ever an industry deserved the slow suicide of self-implosion, it’s the music industry. But to hear that the new media companies are adopting the same attitudes is just disgusting.