Wednesday, May 03, 2006

How Much is a Single Track Worth?

I see by The Recording Industry vs. the People blog that some of the defendants are asking the RIAA to justify the request for damages in the amount of $750.00 per track the defendants are alleged to have downloaded. I knew that the Recording Industry was wanting and increase in what iTunes charged for downloaded music but REALLY this is ridiculous! If you think I'm jesting, you're only partially correct, because the Recording Industry has always had an exaggeratedly high idea of what their product is worth. They would think nothing of seeing retail prices of $35.00 to $50.00 per CD. Some locations in around the globe have had or do have pricing like this. The same CD is priced drastically differently in different locales. That is even taking into account the difference in currency and perhaps some duties (if any). Think stock transfer within a company!

I know this because I was told point blank in the mid-80's that the price of a CD should be the same as the price of a concert ticket. At one time, when prices were much more reasonable that may have been true. But you cannot tell me that the experience of going to a live concert is the same as listening to a CD. It just isn't. They are completely different mediums meant for completely different set of circumstances.

Of course the RIAA demand in the current lawsuits are meant to be punitive. I believe that they base the $750.00 per track on a first offer of settlement which was for $7.50 per track. This number is what I am guessing that the whole album is worth wholesale in US dollars. In Canadian dollars, it would be somewhere between $6.00 and $12.00 to the retailer before any contra and advertising special discounts. (those numbers are guess-tamates at best)

They will also base it on the belief that it is new catalogue, for which there would be production costs. For something like a Bessy Smith track, where there would be no production costs or very few, their number becomes even more outrageous.

There's more! Didn't I just see mention that the Allman Bros. and others were suing the RIAA for back royalties on downloaded music. The Distribution companies charge *the artists* a percentage fee for packaging, shipping and another one for breakage.

So you can see that neither the consumer nor the artis are getting value for money or prerfomace!.

As well they are claiming that the deals with Apple iTunes and others amount to distribution deals which is not part of the artists contract with the recording and distribution companies.

Something else just struck me. The RIAA should be asked to show the true cost of those songs, not just the royalties they are conractualy obligated to show anyway. That would indeed be forcing the industry to reveal things is would rather not have exposed.

Surely if you are being sued for the value of some merchandise you are entitled to know its true value!

Slowly, layer by layer more and more of the deceit and duplicity is being pealed away. The general public and the artists are not so gullable after all!

So the true *cost* of a song isn't what it looks like. Not by a long shot!