The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) is ruining music. Using gestapo-like tactics, baseless threats, lawsuits too great to number, and demanding ill-conceived and poorly deployed DRM (digital rights management) schemes, the RIAA is driving people away from legitimate purchases of their music.
Who is the RIAA?
The RIAA is an association of the major recording labels which operates as the strong-arm of the law. They have pressed for the passage of numerous new copyright laws that erode your fair use of copyrighted materials and established rediculous restrictions of use of encrypted items.
History, emotion, and facts aside, is now seen as an iconic demon of the recording industry. And if the RIAA is the devil, all artists represented by them are burning in the fires of hell. Some are happy with being there, others wish they could escape but they have signed contracts prohibiting them from leaving.
Why would anyone make this comparison?
If I go the the store and buy a CD, presently I can (in most cases) rip that CD to my Media Server at home. From there I can play that song, any other songs by that artist, any other songs from that genre, or a playlist of similar songs from the TV in my livingroom, my laptop or pocket pc anywhere within WiFi distance from my home, from an extender in another room in the house, an MP3 player, or even on any internet connected device via a personal streaming service (such as Orb). I no longer have to have the physical CD in my hands to play that particular song.
Except the RIAA doesn’t want you to be able to do this. They want to force you to purchase the CD for playback on your stereo, they want you to purchase a DRM protected version of the album to playback on your computer (and, if you’re lucky, one MP3 player), they want to charge you again if you want to make it a ringtone on your phone. They want to charge you another fee to be able to listen to the song at work via an online music provide (URGE, Rhapsody, iTunes, etc.), and they want to be able to revoke, recind, or withdraw these “priveledges” whenever they want to. Oh, and when you get a new computer or MP3 player, they want you to have to purchase the music all over again.
Really nice guys, right?
I refuse to let the RIAA determine how, where, and when I can listen to the music that I have purchased. If they’re not happy with that they can buy back all the CDs and cassettes in my collection for original purchase price.
Set the music free
You’ve heard of the major artists out there (to name a few from my day: Metallica, Depeche Mode, Peal Jam, The Art of Noise, Kraftwerk, etc.), but you may not have heard of B! Machine, Regina Spektor, Sweet Haven, and other independant music artists.
In my opinion, these artists make music that is every bit as good as their contracted (read: RIAA enslaved) counterparts, but most have a refreshing prespective on their message, they’re not the canned agenda spewed from the propaganda machine of the RIAA, they’re original, they’re unique… and they’re beautiful.
Next time you buy
So the next time you buy music, spend a few minutes, search out an independant artist who has a similar sound. Chances are you’ll enjoy them every bit as much as the cookie-cutter artist, you’ll be helping an artist, and, more importantly, you’ll be helping to liberate the music.