Thursday, September 26, 2002

The Rant du Jour: There's something odd in this story from the BBC about online music piracy -- I mean, aside from the assertion that the drop in CD sales (down seven whole percent!) is due to online piracy. Apparently, a new ad campaign against the practice features Britney Spears, among other recording industry cash cows. The odd part is this quote from the article:

"We want to hit fans with the message that downloading music illegally is, as Britney Spears explains, the same as going into a CD store and stealing the CD," said Hilary Rosen of the Recording Industry Association Of America (RIAA).

And now, here to explain the subtleties of international copyright law and intellectual property, is Britney Spears. Do you get the impression that it was Britney who uncovered the whole nefarious plot, while leafing through dusty law volumes in her leisure time?

Sorry if I just can't take this whole music piracy issue seriously. Music companies are among the sleaziest in show business, let alone any other industry, and that's saying something. They think nothing of exploiting their artists, whose creativity makes the music industry possible, and then balk when internet surfers start swapping homemade copies of "Who Let The Dogs Out?" These days recording artists go on concert tours mainly because it's the only way they can work without having to give up most of the proceeds to the record companies. And now this new ad campaign will make it sound like those same companies are sticking up for their poor beleagured artists.

There's plenty of reason to believe that CD sales are suffering because most of the new music sucks more than the law of averages predicts. That would also explain the popularity of older music in the form of CD reissues and greatest hits collections. Let's face it, the record companies are doing a crummy job of entertaining us these days.


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