Posted by: zycos | January 29, 2008


What follows affects us all, whether you’re a musician or a music lover. Proposals from the RIAA and DiMA will have a devastating effect on the quality and amount of music created in the future as well as allow it’s suporters, the record companies, to steal more of artist royalties. Royalties which are currently only 9 cents a song, the RIAA wants to cut to 6 cents for more record label profitability. Think about this the next time you pay $17.99 or more for an album of bland music. AOL, Yahoo and Real Audio Networks are involved also to the extent they support the RIAA and DiMA efforts.

Listen to the audio version here

Received this email yesterday from ASCAP, one of the agencies representing the interests of musicians and songwriters along with BMI, SESAC, etc.

Seems the RIAA (Recording Industry of America) wants to flex it’s self- imposed muscle again by proposing all recording and performance royalties be cut. Looks like the record labels aren’t happy with the lion’s share of profits from musicians work. No, they want even more and their consumer watchdog, the RIAA, wants to give it to them.

From the ASCAP member email:

“Today, the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) begins a hearing that will determine mechanical rates for every songwriter and music publisher in America. It will be critical because, in addition to setting rates for physical products, rates will be set for the first time ever for digital products such as digital downloads, subscription services and ringtones. Our friends at The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) will be representing the mechanical right interests of songwriters and music publishers in this hearing. They will be fighting vigorously to protect those mechanical right interests to ensure that musical compositions are compensated fairly. On the other side of this fight stands the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Digital Media Association (DiMA). Both the RIAA and DiMA have proposed significant reductions in mechanical royalty rates that would be disastrous for songwriters and music publishers. David Israelite, NMPA President and CEO tells us, “The current rate for physical phonorecords is 9.1 cents. The RIAA has proposed slashing the rate to approximately 6 cents a song – a cut of more than one-third the current rate! For permanent digital downloads, NMPA is proposing a rate of 15 cents per track because the costs involved are much less than for physical products. The RIAA has proposed the outrageous rate of approximately 5 – 5.5 cents per track, and DiMA is proposing even less. For interactive streaming services, which some analysts believe will be the future of the music industry, NMPA is proposing a rate of the greater of 12.5% of revenue, 27.5% of content costs, or a micro-penny calculation based on usage. The RIAA actually proposed that songwriters and music publishers should get the equivalent of .58% of revenue. (That’s little more than one half of 1%) And DiMA is taking the position that songwriters’ and music publishers’ mechanical rights should be zero, because DiMA does not believe we have any such rights!” Irwin Robinson, ASCAP Board member and Chairman of the NMPA added, “Our opponents in this hearing are proposing a rate structure which would have devastating consequences for songwriters, composers and music publishers trying to make a living, now or in the future.” The initial hearing will last four weeks, followed by a rebuttal hearing in May, and a final decision expected on October 2. Among the ASCAP writer members testifying at the hearing are Rick Carnes, Phil Galdston, and Board member Stephen Paulus. And while all this is going on, ASCAP has been leading the fight for fair performance right compensation in Federal Court against DiMA members AOL, Yahoo! and RealNetworks (RealAudio). Our case has been heard and we expect an outcome this summer. Clearly these are perilous times for those of us that create the music that generates profit for those that use our music. But remember this, there would be no profit without our musical compositions that they are fighting to use so freely! ”

Well said! Note that AOL, Yahoo and RealAudio (Networks) are all fighting against us in the fight for fair performance right compensation.

I say down with the RIAA and any other faction trying to limit or reduce (read, steal) more of the already miniscule profits earned by the people who create music. Without them there would be no RIAA, DiMA or record labels to begin with.


The technology is here, why not use it? Why not release an album and sell it at fair market value as opposed to a retail price set by the record companies to maximize their profits? Imagine, the price of an album or single being by the musicians themselves with eventual value, determined by the buying public.

Not only would some great music be available at reasonable cost but creative artists would be inspired, encouraged and motivated to writing the music their public wants, not what some label exec dictates. This would return all creative control to the artists and leave the labels crying in their own greed along with such overbearing organizations like the RIAA, DiMA, AOL (Time Warner) and the like.

The model for music sales and distribution needs to be rewritten and in fact, is long overdue thanks to the digital age.

Instead of passing laws (like DRM) that try and force new technologies to bend to the obsolete days of vinyl marketing, we have the means and the power to embrace a whole new mass marketing tool for ourselves, the internet.

All we have to do is do it.

I urge everyone reading this message, whether you’re a musician or not, to write and express your disapproval to this greedy grab for more profits from the mouths of the people who create music. Call or write RIAA, DiMA, AOL, Yahoo and Real Audio and let them know you won’t support their actions or buy/use their products and services until they stop representing the greedy corporate label interests and start supporting the artists who make the music.

Everyone, including the general public will suffer. Eeryone but the labels and their lobbyists, that is. The RIAA, DiMA, et al, is on a self-appointed power trip and needs to be stopped!



  1. attitude says : I absolutely agree with this !

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