Monday, March 06, 2006

The RIAA Throws In The Towel: A Chink In The Armour?

Chink in the armour indeed! But is this only wishful thinking? its possible, however, I hope for the best.

For a long time I have known that there is an underlying problem in the upper echalons of the businesss world. It is that they are completely disconnected with the advances in technology. They are not technophobes by any means. Their power and positions have enabled them to simply bypass it. They have "left the details" to others for so long they no longer know what "the details"are.

Steve Jobs (read the interview in Rolling Stone)had to explain this in detail to them, to get them to understand that the word "burn" in conjunction wiht making a CD meant to write data to the blank media and not to steal or hurt someone else. The lack of basic technical understanding on the part of someone they call a Vice President was truly alarming. He knew less than a highschool computer technologies student would be expected to know. I would have recomended a basic computer literacy program for hiim.

Since before the dawm of the age of Personal Computing this has been evident. If they have any expertise at all it may be in accounting or legal issues. If the other cases are based on this kind of flimsy evidence this whole case could come tumbing down under them. It is a house of cards.

The reason they cling to their outmoded business model is that they cannot see that it is dead and gone. The keep on showing a basic lack of understanding of their own product. The value of what they do isn't in the so called Intelecual Property at all. It is in their packaging for it. People buy music on CD because it is convenient. It is packaged attractively and in the case of classical music and jazz, the packaging includes interesting details on the music, the musicians, the recording methods etc. This fact has escaped them.

The reason that print publishing can still publish public domain works like those of Bach and Beethoven certaily isn't in the Intelectual Property, but in the typesetting, the professional printing and the binding of the works. A Pianist or Piano student doesn't often photo copy a Beethoven Piano Sonata primarily because photocopies are not as good as a printed one, photocopies come as loose pages. Having a bound, easy to read copy which they can put their own editorial markings in has value.

So, the packaging and mass marketing of music has the same kind of value to the consumer. Downloading, purchasing blank media and writing that to CD, then making what ever container you want takes time and costs money. I, for one, do not want to do this. I can, but I would much rather buy a copy from my local retailer. If they started to do things that promoted this kind of value added philosophy they wouldn't be so scared of what has happened since the first CD's were produced.

The popularity of CDs in North America took the industry completely off guard. I expected it. It was obvious that everyone in North America wanted someething like this. Poor vinyl quality here primed that market. In Europe, where the quality of vinyl was much higher, CD sales took nearly a decade to replace LP's where this change in North Ameria took barely 5 years. EMI nearly missed it completely -- being late to pick up on a new tehcology -- just like they were last to start producing vinyl LP's.

One feels like a parent trying to take a childs favorite old thread-bare blanket from the child and encountering screams of dissmay over the loss of something that has lost its usefullness and the uttter frustration in trying to communicate the the blanket is being replaced by something better than the old thread bare one. For reasons which escape the parent, the child stil clings to the old thread bare one, even though it no longer keeps the child warm. Most children eventualy give up the old one and accept the new, if this isn't the case a parent is worried about the child's mental health --- and justly so. We should be worried aobut the music industries mental health, very worried.

1 comment:

Bruno said...

hear hear! well said :-)