It’s inevitable: The recording industry will be dead
Well, the Recording Industry Association of America is into round two of lawsuits against people illegally downloading music via the Internet. Hilary Rosen, Cary Sherman, Matt Oppenheimer and the rest of them are pissed off and aren’t going to take it anymore.
They can’t have this, being ripped off to the tune, pun intended, of billions of dollars. But let’s take a look at how this all started and who’s to blame.
In the old days as kids, we listened to music on something called a record which we played on a device called a record player.
As the record spun round and round at 33-1/3 or 45 revolutions per minute, a stylus, or needle, as most of us called it, read the grooves carved into each record.
The stylus and record player converted these grooves into sound. I’m no Thomas Edison, but that’s basically how it worked.
Every time a record was played, the sound quality deteriorated and then there were scratches, causing records to repeat the same part over and over, until we nudged the stylus on to the next part of the song, causing more scratches.
The more you played an LP, as the record album was called, the worse it sounded. So you had to buy a new one. I had to buy at least four copies of the Eagle’s 1976 classic “Hotel California.”
In the mid-1980s came the compact disc (CD). I bought my first CD player in 1985, and my first CD was Triumph’s “Allied Forces.”
But the recording industry had figured something out that most would not for years.
The compact disc, when properly cared for, could theoretically last forever, since it used a laser beam to read what was on the disc, and there was no physical contact to the disc.
They knew that CDs would make having to buy multiple copies of the same record history. So they simply raised the price.
My first CD cost me $12.98. I had bought the same album four years earlier for $5.98, and tape cassettes and eight-track tapes cost the same.
CDs are much cheaper to produce than LPs and cassettes. So did the industry pass the savings on to us? Of course not. It raised prices because of what I pointed out above.
It was more interested in profits than what we had to pay for the music. Now, the (turn)table has been turned, and they aren’t happy, and with good reason.
Within five years, due to downloadable music, the record companies will be history. And who will win because of this? The important people.
First are the artists who make the music, since they won’t have to deal with these leeches trying to rip them off. The most important winner is the music-buying public, since these same leeches won’t be able to rip us off.
We’ll be able to buy the songs we want from the bands, not the record companies, and download them onto our computers. The technology is available now.
When this happens, the industry will, for the most part, cease to exist, and it knows it, which is why attorneys are filing all these lawsuits against downloaders.
The industry can read the writing on the wall. The artists and their fans will be the biggest winners, since a band could sell one song to me from its latest CD, and make more than if I bought the whole CD from the record company, which until now paid them a royalty.
Robert Cooper is part-time resident
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