The RIAA (the recording industry association of America) those cheerful folks who have sued junior high school girls for thousands of bucks for downloading music over the internet have set their sites on a different problem these days. CD pirates.
In a dozen cities across this great land of RIAA is storming up the gang planks of flea markets and small record stores in an effort to stop a loss they say is about a billion bucks a year. It seems it’s working out for the music police. Last year they grabbed more than 5 million CD’s and arrested more than three thousand of the people selling the purloined discs.
The pirates come in two types. There are those who run off cheap copies with painfully bad artwork on what amounts to home computers. Then there are those who use high quality commercial press equipment that turn out copies that are so good it takes and expert eye to tell the difference.
Why do people make these CD’s ? Because it’s extremely cheap and because they are pirates so they don’t pay anything to the artists or the record companies. Why do people buy these unauthorized discs? Some just don’t know any better but mostly they are purchased because they are cheap.
And contained there is probably the solution to the problem. Now I know many musicians and from talking with them I know they don’t all make a whole lot of money selling CDs. Even the big stars tell me that the real money is in touring and selling t-shirts. So where does all that money go when you plunk down $15 bucks for a CD?
The manufacturing process for CD’s especially in big quantities is amazingly cheap. CD’s at that level cost about 30 cents. The groups generally make 5 bucks or so, give or take a buck or two.
So someone is making around ten bucks. The record companies, managers and the RIAA are the most likely suspects.
So what if the cost was brought down? Would people buy honest copies and the RIAA could stay home on the weekends?
The music industry is in a shambles. Between the money lost before they figured out that people were going to download music and would pay for it and the Billion they say is flying out the door due to these pirates, things aren’t going so good.
The automobile industry is not having a great time either .But you see them fighting back with all sorts of advertising about rebates and low cost financing. When was the last time you saw an ad for a reduced price CD?
Or any CD?
Maybe if the greed quotient was turned down just a little, then everyone could make a little less but at least make something.