Greed: RIAA Wants to Cut Artist Royalties to 9%, Apple Wants Them at 4%, Artists Just Want to Eat
Yes, the RIAA doesn’t think the record companies are making enough and that musicians are clearly making too much. I mean, they get 13% now. Like they deserve 13% for writing and creating the music that people are paying for. Hogwash! Someone had to, you know, encode it. That’s worth at least 40%. And hey, these shoes don’t shine themselves! So they’re pushing to get that rate cut down to a shameful 9%, giving artists even less of a slice of the pie than before.
Of course, Apple, Napster and other large online retailers make the RIAA look like a charity in comparison, with Apple pushing to cut the royalty rate down to an insulting 4%. Yes, Apple wants artists to get a 4% of wholesale royalty rate. Really looking out for those artists, aren’t you Steve?”
Insanity. Will the record companies even be necessary if we switch out of this CD store model, where you have to make, market, and sell physical items? I see no reason why they would be, and I’d imagine that model is the reason artists are generally so dependent on the record companies. We’re going in that direction, but we have yet to show signs of leaving the MTV age, where the public wants its music pre-selected and mass-produced. This gives us centralization in iTunes and the rest, which we clearly see is no better, but will the iTunes behemoth be so invulnerable to competing services (say even the LL were to expand, significantly of course!) if their tie to the all-powerful record companies is severed? I don’t think so, and I think soon enough artists will realize that they can and should try/create other digital media outlets. The lure of iTunes is centralization, that a user can get almost anything from it, so a series of unconnected LL-type sites is a less-than-ideal alternative, but if iTunes continues to screw over the artists and doesn’t have the record companies as insurance, the artists will all flock away.
It seems we’re on our way to eliminating the middleman; it may not be that long before artists finally have the means to open the music up to the market and let the listeners decide.