RIAA Vs. Radiohead

There couldn’t be a more ironic meeting of industry stories this week: Minnesota and Radiohead.

It seems the RIAA is still attacking the little man–or woman in this case–for file-sharing. Over $200k in damages, in fact. It’s hard to believe that these people actually listen to music or have record collections. But it is the response from the public that is the interesting thing here. On the NYTimes blog, most everyone responded with a similar idea: If the RIAA and big labels keep doing what they are doing how they are doing it, we will continue to not pay them.

It’s words like this that alienate appreciators:

“When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song.” Making “a copy” of a purchased song is just “a nice way of saying ‘steals just one copy’,” she [RIAA lawyer] said.

Response around the Greenleaf office:

If this kind of thing doesn’t make you want to run as fast as you can in the opposite direction of anything having to do with “established” record business types, I don’t know what would.

This comes the same week as Radiohead releases their new record via download for $name-your-own.price. This is what we need more of. Obviously Radiohead, an uber-successful band with very little money woe, can gamble a bit with this. But it raises a question: How much will people give them for their album? How much would you give–that is, if you don’t buy the $80 Discpak? Most people that I have asked have answered with nothing lower than $5.00 which isnt too bad considering it is going to the artist more directly than a label release since they are self-releasing it. Now, how much would you pay for major label release like the new Puddle Of Mudd album knowing what you know about the major label’s legal battles? Maybe that’s too much of an orange for the aforementioned apple, but still. The point is that good music from good artists will be respected. And this respect for Radiohead, at least, is in bold-face, 48-point font on every blog this past week.

Also, how many of those freebie records on Kazaa and bit torrent systems will be nullified by this strategy? I would argue a lot more than people would think. They have put the music into the hands of the customer. Maybe it is a guilt trip. A way of saying, OK, we all know that you CAN get this for free, but why not give us something… anything.

Radiohead are now painted as the liberators, and the majors and the RIAA are the oppressors.

Support your artists!

Music appreciators of the world, Unite!