Monday, November 21, 2005

Record Companies Don't Get It

The pointless battle against music piracy continues to get more pointless and annoying. Media giant Sony BMG recently implemented software on some of their albums that attempted to limit the number of times that an individual CD could be copied. Sounds simple enough, except that the "security" software in question leaves huge security holes in users' computers and can be circumvented with a piece of scotch tape. Lawsuits and general internet pandemonium ensue.

The people that run the major record companies in the US are not exactly known for creative, forward-thinking solutions to the problems they face. All the truly innovative technological advances in how we obtain and listen to music have come from companies outside the music industry, such as Apple and Napster. Record companies continue to beat a dead horse, by sticking to the same technology (CDs) and delivery model (you go to store to pay $15 for a new CD, most of which completely sucks).

This model has been incredibly profitable for record companies, which is why they've been so slow to abandon it. Record companies and their trade association, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), continue to cling to the same 1984 delivery model, while people are swapping music, ripping CDs, and podcasting all around them. Despite the public relations nightmare that is Sony BMG's latest attempt to preserve elderly technology, the RIAA released a statement in support of Sony BMG's efforts, nevermind the fact that Sony BMG's technology compromised the security of thousands of people's personal computers.

RIAA has been quick to blame consumers and technology, but it's not the responsibility of the consumer to stand by and wait for the recording industry to accept that they've been left behind. I shouldn't make blanket statements about the recording industry, as many within that umbrella continue to develop cutting edge products and ways to market their music with new technology. However, this recent development sends a clear message to companies that think they will be able to control their product with a nearly 30 year-old delivery model: RIP motherfuckers.

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