For true “artists,” by your definition of the term, who actually write and perform their own music, their copyrights and royalties are not protected by the RIAA. The Recording Industry Association of America is an association to protect the Recording Industry, not the musicians. Taken directly from their own website, they state the following: “The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade group that represents the U.S. recording industry…Its members are the record companies that comprise the most vibrant national music industry in the world.” This states clearly that, in their own words, there are no musicians in the RIAA, only labels. By saying that CD sales are down, and thus musicians are not receiving their rightful money, they are sadly and blatantly attempting to appeal to consumers’ sympathies by standing behind artists and using them as an excuse to complain about their drop in sales.
One such artist, Moby, states on his website: “how can a 14 year old who has an allowance of $5 a week feel bad about downloading music produced by multi-millionaire musicians and greedy record companies?” Moby himself is on V2 Records, which appear to be members of the RIAA, but his views obviously differ from that of his record company’s association. Other artists such as John McCrea from Cake and Deborah Harry of Blondie have made similar comments. The labels are even attempting to keep their musicians on short leashes, and according to the New York Times: “In interviews, some musicians and their representatives said that their labels had asked them not to talk. And in a dozen cases, record labels did not grant interviews with musicians on the subject.” The fact that artists are not even allowed to speak their minds because of their contracts is a frightening concept in itself.
Because of these policies some artists are trying to break away from the major record labels, such as the rock band Ween, who departed from their former Elektra label to release their albums independently. They support downloading, encouraging fans to record their live shows and share the music with one another.
Because the RIAA does not represent musicians but rather their record companies, they are keeping the interests of the companies, not those of the artists, in mind. The relationships between those same companies and their artists is also not that stable, and because the RIAA is allegedly stealing so much from artists, how are we to truly know that ending P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing would assure the artists receive their lawful due? By defending the RIAA, one defends the record companies and their despicable practices, not the musicians’ rights to their music.
Therefore, the argument that file sharing directly hurts artists is erroneous. There is a complicated web of legalities, royalty rates, and middlemen between the downloading of a song and the performer’s paycheck. To see the direct implication of piracy on a monthly salary is either impossible, or can only be measured in 100th’s of a cent.
Click here for page 3