Propaganda for Music Lovers


Tonite’s Grammy Awards will feature a propaganda commercial for “” If you check out the site, you’ll see an embarrassingly cloying attempt at “agitprop” by the music industry. There’s a FAQ and “artists buzz” and a few other sections which try to look edgy (but fail).

As you would expect from a propaganda site, none of the tough or embarrassing questions facing the industry get answered:

• Why are CDs so expensive?
• How much money from each sale of a CD do the artist who makes them get?
• What is the difference between free music on the radio, MTV and P2P?
• Why can’t I share my mixed tapes with my friends?
• Why do CDs often cost more than DVDs ?
• Why are the soundtracks (CDs) to some movies MORE expensive than the DVDs of the film?
• Explain what the “Minimum Advertised Price” agreement is?
• Why is there no real competition amongst retailers for CDs on price?
• Why are record contracts so onerous to artists?
• Why did the industry engage in illegal price fixing agreements ?
• What were the non-public terms of the settlement of that case ?
• Why do different stores all have the same CDs on sale each week?
• Why are radio station playlists so small? Where can independent artsts get heard?
• What is “Pay for Play?”
• What are your long term plans for copyright?
• In the future, will I always own the music I buy, or will I merely license it and pay annual fees?
• Why did the music industry oppose legal online distribution plans like Apple’s iTunes for so long?
• Why does the music industry always seem to fear new technologies?

You get the idea . . . feel free to add additional questions for the industry in the comments section below.

Industry Propaganda site

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  1. nyc99 commented on Feb 8

    Music, Copyright, Ownership, & What’s Right?

    At The Big Picture Barry Ritholtz asks the questions that aren’t addressed on the music industries’ new propaganda site What’s The Download. As you would expect form a propaganda site, none of the tough or embarrassing questions facing the industry…

  2. Anthony Anzalone commented on Feb 9

    I couldn’t help but notice Tower Records filing for bankruptcy and the Aussie offices of Kazzaa were raided this weekend. So, with the free time I had from opting-out of last nights self aggrandizing Grammy awards, I decided to try to put my own perspective on the P2P situation which you’ve covered exceptionally well.
    What was that line about buggy whips played by Danny DeVito as “Larry the liquidator” in Other Peoples Money? “You know, at one time there must’ve been dozens of companies making buggy whips. And I’ll bet the last company around was the one that made the best god damn buggy whip you ever saw.” Maybe its time to gracefully adapt a new business model with new technology instead of suing more 9 year old girls while clinging to an antiquated business plan with a death grip?
    It’s kind of like trading a stock against the trend. “Don’t fight the tape!” Like the nervous investor, frazzled by a plummeting stock, whenever I see news about the RIAA I think, these guys just don’t get it.
    Tower Records is just a casualty on the fringe but like the RIAA they failed to, as Steven Jobs heeded “think different”. Who’s next?
    I am positive suing P2P file sharers is not the answer.
    I should mention prejudice here. I’ve been a practicing musician for more than a decade and began and continue to play for one reason; the music. Somehow I think the greats of are time (pick your favorite artist) did so as well. Nobody decides to go into the art field because of the money. So it’s no surprise, the law suits (sans metallica et al) are generated by the major label record companies. Shouldn’t those supposedly harmed most directly aka. the artists be the ones supremely concerned about waging litigation?
    It seems the record bizz has been fragmented by the advancement of technologies that enable artists to render the services of major record labels obsolete. The recent alliance by Peter Gabriel and Brian Eno which essentially enables musicians to bypass record labels by selling music directly online is deafening evidence. The record labels should be shaken to the core over this news.
    Is it any coincidence the Yiddish word for pig is “kazaa”?

    Keep up the great work, Anthony

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