Stopping the flow will only work for so long.

October 21st, 2002

Scott Andrew Lepera comments on the studio-artist-radio-advertising-consumer ecosystem, shedding some light that it’s more complex than it seems.

I also had a phone discussion with Paul (Chico) Fernandez from whom I understand more fully the complex relationships and pie slices – mechanical rights, royalties, radio play, performance, artists, composers, lyricists, artist musicians, session musicans.

Further, there are complete side issues like percentage-based slush funds fed from the RIAA revenue which apparently allow the union to pay artists for playing at free gigs in the park etc.

I can see that there is a lot of entrenched economic ecosystem at stake here.

A couple of things are still niggling at me though.

1) The more I look at it, the more I see that Artists (unless they are also composers) get the very least out of the recording industry pie. Why does the RIAA continue to trumpet that they’re working for the advancement of artists needs? Why does that have to be spun at us? Why not just say to us “hey, this whole huge ecosystem is in danger an could affect lots of money, people and families – let’s see what we can do to avoid that problem”. I might actually have some sympathy for that. I don’t have any sympathy for a cause that tries to tell me it’s something it’s not and runs around calling everybody crooks while at the same time grinding maximum advantage out of contract naifs.

2) I’m increasingly concerned about big money attempting to buy Congressional votes and using them to legislate artificial “solutions” which act as dikes against natural technology and market evolution. Surely the dikes are going to burst as the forces of advancement march on and cause far more disruption than if everyone were to plan to work with the changes. You might think the studios would remember the video issue or 20 years ago and how it turned out that once they were forced to deal with it rather than hide behind legislation, they managed to make it hugely successful.

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