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A Friendly Note to the RIAA & the Record Companies it Represents

Hi! Remember me?

Of course you don't. I'm not on your radar screen at this moment because I don't share or download music files. Believe me - it's not because I'm scared of YOU. It's just not something I'm into and never have been, really. I like high fidelity and honestly, I think musicians ought to get something for their effort. Not that you necessarily care about artists or me. You care about the record companies - the companies that once upon a time made a little bit of money from me. No more.

Let these words ring in your ears: "Stealing our copyright reversions in the dead of night while no one was looking, and with no hearings held, is piracy." - Courtney Love "Courtney Does the Math" Oh and see also what Steve Albini has to say right here in "The Problem with Music" It seems to me, given these facts and figures, you guys are the last people on earth an artist would ever want to meet!

Why I once used to buy a lot of music CDs but now I don't.

The main theme is that I'm just not going to buy overpriced crap any more. That's what most CDs are: one good song and a great big load of crumby noise. I think the last super heavily hyped CD I actually bought was Len "Steal My Sunshine." I think I paid $19 for ONE cool song (the title track). The rest: garbage. That was piracy. The next thing that happened was the Len CD automatically loaded some crappy software onto my PC without even so much as "By my leave.." And I spent hours and hours repairing my system to remove and repair that uninvited totally unwanted program that caused Blue Screen of Death. That was piracy too.

From the size of my musical collection I'd guess record companies made about $5,000 off me in direct retail sales since I was a tiny shaver. You'll not get another dime. You've screwed with my favorite artists time and again over contracts. Niel Young, Aimee Mann, to name just two. You screwed us consumers around with crappy unplayable low-quality vinyl records in the 80s - I suspect in an attempt to force us to go digital. The costs of CD production have constantly dropped over the years, while the price of recorded CDs constantly went up and up and up, as the quality of the content went down and down into new depths of doggerel. You've grown fat and rich while the artists we thought we were supporting with our purchases starve.

You started losing me a long long time ago - even as a teenager wondering why in the world records cost so much money - back when $3 was quite a huge chunk of change for a poor working kid. I thought alot of that hard-earned money was going to the artists. Nope: they're mostly broke.

The last straw is your perfectly legal and obviously insane current crusade to hunt down teenagers who share music files and take them to court and mebbe to jail. Who is in charge of your Public Relations department, anyway?

The short-sighted RIAA and the recording industry at large has finally begun to see the end of the line. Your gravy train has derailed. Your monopoly is being destroyed - a self-inflicted wound, in my opinion, because rampant greed and maltreatment of consumers and artists alike leaves you without any friends in the world except a few congressmen and - of course - your many lawyers.

My crystal ball appears: I see a new music distribution model emerging. Artists will give away digital content, and make their living by live performances. It's hard work and for some artists - the ones who actually hate their fans - it will prove impossible. However for the remaining artists they will discover they really don't need record companies and crazy "lose-everything-forever" recording contracts. They certainly won't need the RIAA joyfully hunting down and prosecuting their customers - people who love their music so much they risk punishment to share it freely with the world.

So in a word: To RIAA, Time Warner, Sony, and all 'yall the RIAA represents: I hope you had fun. I know you made a lot of money. You'll have to learn how to earn it again. Please note that spying on people and bullying teenage downloaders and their parents with lawsuits is legal but it isn't nice. You have no one to blame but yourselves for your current predicament and predictable future demise. Now good bye and good riddance!



Ruhamah.com © Copyright 2003 and far beyond by David M. Pickens