Radio Unfree USA

The RIAA and their various associates (musicFIRST? whatever…) would have us believe AM-FM radio is piracy. This quote from the post on Wired’s blog sums it up nicely:

“The argument boils down to this: Radio is making billions off the backs of recording artists and their labels; and the recording artists gain invaluable exposure because they’re on the radio, so royalties should not have to be paid.”

Been awhile since I was in a biology class, but I’m pretty sure that’s close to the definition of symbiosis.

A note on radio station ownership in the US for those not aware. I don’t know the exact stats but something like 4 companies control most of the stations in the country (ever noticed on long drives that there’s always a “MIX”, “X” and some station with a one syllable dude’s name? The fruits of too few owners of media outlets, my friends). And in case you haven’t noticed, that’s done a lot in terms of limited genres and artists now heard over the airwaves (Thank God for The Current here in MSP, though I do still pine for REV105 on occassion and still drop in online to good ol’ KGSR down in Austin, TX).

So we’re talking about whether or not the relatively limited number of artists – and the labels that represent them – that receive the majority of airplay on commercial radio are compensated enough for their music. What do you think?

Separate but related – just finished a book called “The Pirate’s Dilemma: How Youth Culture is Reinventing Capitalism.” It’s an interesting look at how “punk capitalism” and “the hip hop generation” are making major corporations (and industry groups for that matter) determine if piracy empowered by digital technology is just a new form of competition. Good and fast read.

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Filed under books, digital distribution, entertainment industry, monetizing media, RIAA

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