Hilary Rosen wrote a short piece for Biz2.0 on why the Recording Industry loves technology. Let's count the ways:
"I'm every bit as passionate about music as you are.... The reason we do what we do is not a love of litigation but rather a love of music... the record industry is poised to rebound. And what will the vehicle for this rebound be? Technology. Yes, technology.
The RIAA believes in innovation. And we believe that consumers in the marketplace, not the government, should decide which technological innovations will thrive.
Today there are several legitimate online services...thanks to electronic distribution through multiple types of networks with varied business models... consumers can buy digital music à la carte or sign up for subscription services offering unlimited downloads, and they can take their tunes with them wherever they go.
Since portability is a compelling feature for music fans, these new ways of distributing music can bring added value to all sorts of new consumer electronics. As I prepare to leave my post this year, I'm proud that part of my legacy will be the role I played in championing new technologies. But the financial incentive required to keep music fresh and popular must be a shared commitment between the music industry and the technology community. Continued investment in and development of the legitimate online music marketplace, along with appropriate antipiracy enforcement, is the ultimate pro-technology strategy for both creators and consumers."
Where to begin? If the old-style Recording Industry rebounds, it will probably because of the lawsuits and the super-DMCA and DMCA laws, and her lobbying efforts to keeps the incumbents intact. Rosen writes as if the RIAA et al invented streaming, downloading, and might possibly embrace the rip, mix, burn philosophy. And she says they've spent hundreds of millions developing new modes of distribution. It seems to me the RIAA only loves technology when they have complete control over it. They have been more instrumental in developing anti-theft technologies like DRM that prevents music from playing, spoofing and automated mailer systems than ones that would deliver music to customers via the internet and other new digital modes of distribution.
The RIAA has done everything possible to prevent the napsterization of their industry, which she characterizes as one that used to deliver "soft drinks" in "64 ounce bottles" to one offering six-packs and cans, with "...electronic distribution through multiple types of networks with varied business models." But the RIAA has only done this grudgingly, with lots of difficulty, and I don't think anyone really believes her when she also talks about self help in terms of Martin Luther King and her organization supports the jailing of students who download music. I'm all for the RIAA getting reasonable after their extreme position in the past few years, but when she makes the contradictory arguments above, and is continuing the lawsuits, lawsuits, lawsuits tactic, I just don't buy it.Posted by Mary Hodder at May 15, 2003 08:44 AM | TrackBack