December 11, 2003

Mediapost On Music, Gets It Wrong In Multiple Ways

Yesterday I got an email from Mediapost with this article: The Record Industry Continues To Crush the Life Out Of the Fans By Cory Treffiletti. I read it, and was interested in seeing the SFGate article (the backup) and in replying to the author.

The article itself is on the ASCAP lawsuits filed against an SF tavern owner (Skip's Tavern, on Cortland Avenue, Bernal Heights), who hired bands to play there, and ONLY bands who play original music where they did not have to pay the licensing fees. ASCAP sued, not once but twice, but because they hired a private investigator, who says the bands played covers, though the bands deny it, and specifically have said that they don't even like the cover music ASCAP claims they played. The Mediapost article gets this whole thing completely wrong, and by not linking to the article, makes it hard for readers to get back to the SFGate article, which is the source, to figure this out.

In fact, the real controversy is that the Skip's Tavern doesn't want to keep fighting with ASCAP to have original music playing bands play on their stage, even though ASCAP has no business here, because the music is ORIGINAL, not covers. And the other controversy here is that Mediapost got it wrong, and wouldn't link to the article that sets the record straight.

Treffiletti/Mediapost also assert that the reason the music industry is losing money is that the quality of music has declined, and live performances are good marketing toward this end. The second part is true, but the first is questionable: I'd say there are five or six factors that have all in part caused the decline of the music biz: instead of releasing 38.9k separate titles (like in 2000) the RIAA now releases around 27k per year so there is simply less product (see George Ziemann, owner of Azoz and MacWizards Music, who has analyzed RIAA statistics on music sales), people are done replacing old records with CD's so the intense buying for that reason in the 90's has dropped off, the recession the past three years, piracy on things like KaZaa, general hatred of the RIAA, and the expense until recently of CD's at around $18.99 meant people would by less. These are in addition to the lowered quality of music.

Treffiletti/Mediapost are playing like old media, where they assert things, and then make it hard, or technically impossible, to comment as my multiple attempts to use their comment/forum system show, as well as giving no author email, so that my email reply attempt to the original email, which was never responded to and since it was sent from Mediapost's general email address, probably went to spam hell.

Nice conversing with you, guys! How 'bout some new media conversing, where the audience has both eyes and ears, as well as a mouth.

In a related note, see this BuzzMachine post on comments useage in blogs. He, and Fred Wilson, are all for the conversation that is open, and involves the writer, and the audience and lets the links from one writer to the next happen to create the conversation.

THE EMAIL EXCERPT:

Wednesday, December 10, 2003
The Record Industry Continues To Crush the Life Out Of the Fans
By Cory Treffiletti
This is indeed MediaPost's Online Spin, but since I sometimes use this space to critique the music industry (positively and negatively), I wanted to make you all aware of something that recently made the pursuit of illegal downloads look like pre-school behavior.

Have you ever patronized a bar to see a local band consisting of your friends and colleagues? How many times have you sat and listened to a relative unknown sing covers of your favorite songs, with a sprinkling of some originals? Well, it looks like those days may be on the way out if the record industry has their say.

Over the last three years we have all heard repeatedly about the steps the music industry has taken to curb illegal music downloads, but it seems their greed knows no boundaries. In a recent article from the San Francisco Chronicle, a tavern owner was forced to stop featuring live music due to lawsuits filed by ASCAP. The lawsuits held the tavern owner responsible for unauthorized covers of ASCAP copyrighted music by local musicians who were playing in the bar. These bands obviously played the music in homage to their favorite artists, and to showcase their own musical talents, but "spies" from record companies and ASCAP were placed in the crowd and subsequently filed two lawsuits against the owner of the tavern in less than a year. Rather than dealing with these lawsuits, the bar was forced to retire the live music in favor of a jukebox or silence....

...

What are your thoughts?

To respond now, enter your comments below and click 'Post Reply.'

>>>And then there was a "box" to post my reply, which I tried three times, and it never appeared here: "see what others are saying."

Posted by Mary Hodder at December 11, 2003 07:19 AM | TrackBack
Comments

I'm interested in the condition of whole music industry, that you wrote in this article.
I know that, free music downloading is sometimes illegal, but I hope that record companies would enable us to download "some" music tunes for free.

Posted by: music posters at January 21, 2004 04:59 AM

I'm interested in the condition of whole music industry, that you wrote in this article.

I know that, free music downloading is sometimes illegal, but I hope that record companies would enable us to download "some" music tunes for free.

Posted by: music posters at January 21, 2004 04:59 AM