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RIAA At The Tipping Point?

A good friend, Melissa Miles, posted a great letter to the RIAA yesterday. Allow me to quote it here

Dear RIAA,

I purchase my music from record stores. Occasionally I'll pick up a CD at Best Buy or Target, and I absolutely love the legal downloading sites like iTunes or eMusic. The few tracks I have via unpaid means were either from mix CDs that my friends make for me (and let it be said that a good mix CD often introduces me to new artists, which always leads to me shelling out $$ to hear more of their music), or solicited from friends because said tracks just weren't available for purchase. I've never done anything with Napster or KaZaa, or any other file-sharing service. So far this year I've spent nearly 20% of my income on straight music, concerts, and music-related books, movies and magazines. I even went to protest an anti-DRM protest earlier this year.

All that to say that I'm a peach of a consumer for you. I'm a good gir...Oops. I mean, I'm a respectable female, fond of my maternal unit, holds in esteem the Son of God and the USA as well.

But yesterday I went to my favorite tab site to find some tablature sheets so that I could revel a little more in the music that I love by trying to learn how to play it on my guitar. Alone. In a dark apartment, with the blinds shut, and doors locked. But my dear sirs! There was a note saying that the site was having legal issues and was down until further notice! Need I remind you that the tabs posted on such sites were plucked out by amateur musicians, and often suffered from grievous errors? Is that really such a threat?

I did a little research and found that this action was actually initiated by your buddies the National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA) and the creatively named Music Publishers' Association (MPA) rather than you directly, but as the overarching leader over the march against all things illegal, I thought you should know something:

Surface tension. It's what makes water form a bubble instead of splashing over the edge when a glass is overfull. One more drop and... Let's hope the bartender remembered to give you a napkin. At the moment sirs, the cease-and-desist on tab sites has pushed me to one drop shy of splashing.

I want you to have everything you're due. I want the artists, publishers, record labels, distributors, janitors, marketing departments and executives to get what they have worked for. Honest. But I'm getting oh-so-very tired of the words "you can't..." Every revolution ever started was driven by this exact same exhaustion. You know better than I do the size of your customer pool. You also know that an exponentially growing number of us are reaching the tipping point.

Please reconsider your actions.


Melissa R. Miles

I'd definitely agree with Melissa. The RIAA has the best artists under their umbrella, but they're locked down so tight we can't do anything anymore. I'd love to promote these artists via a podcast, but that's not possible because the RIAA considers that illegal copying of music. Hopefully, someday, we can promote the 95% of inReview artists more fully. Until then, I guess, we'll just have to promote the lucky 5%: independent artists.

If they pass the tipping point (which they're well on their way to right now), then I guess all the best artists are either going to go down with the ship or organize a mutiny. Oh yes, mutiny. Believe me, RIAA. I haven't heard rumors of mutiny yet, but I've heard about lots of artists jumping off the sinking ship.