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Rosen Reaches Out
By Jon Newton,
(more articles from this author)
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Music Industry News - as it happens
Source: MusicDish - July 8, 2002

Choice quotes from Hilary 'Reach Out' Rosen, "chairman" of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), in a speech to a New York City 'Plug-In' trade show on July 8 ...


How I, the RIAA and the Fulsome Five totally blew it, by Reach Out Rosen ...



... let's face it folks, the news has been pretty grim lately. The music industry is hurting and the technology business isn't looking so bright either.

... over the last few years too many of us have gone into our respective corners and not wanted to understand the view of the other side.

Even when we understand the other view, we have often ignored it, hoping that our own view would ultimately prevail.

We can no longer afford that kind of thinking. [Literally ; ]

There we were rockin' along ...

Yes the recording industry has made mistakes along the way. But most often this has been because of trial and error.

Record companies are unlike most other businesses. The business model of record companies has been to remain invisible.

On-line companies in the middle of the dot-com boom thought that they would be rich if only they could get those "dinosaur record companies" to give them their entire catalog to resell.

It is not as easy to create consumer demand as they thought. And now they are competing against KaZaa and urging the RIAA to increase enforcement so that they can survive.

Computer hardware companies benefit from the sale of products that are used by consumers for the unauthorized downloading and burning of music.

I don't begrudge you your products. But don't pretend that you are not making new sales largely because of consumers' interest in free music.

Every time an artist attacks a record company, it gives a music fan a rationale for stealing their music.

As a prominent artist lawyer friend of mine has said, if an artist client of his ever gets a royalty check, then he hasn't done his job. That would mean that the advance wasn't large enough to take all of the risk away.


So are successful artists focused enough about piracy to allow record companies to experiment with their catalog on-line? Too many are not - they don't want their songs on subscriptions services, they don't want to allow people to be able to download or burn them and they don't want their music on a compilation with other artists. In other words, all the things music fans want to do, record companies have had an extremely difficult time persuading their major artists to allow.

[See? It's all the artists' fault.]

Burning is increasingly a feature on all of the on-line services and the creativity of the offerings is really exciting.

I hear of companies looking to offer cheaper albums with fewer tracks and to find ways to get effectively back into the singles market.

If the government wants to subsidize webcasting, let it. We [the Fulsome Five] can't afford to.

Certainly more needs to be done by the record companies and I think everyone understands that.

Cross licensing among the multiple subscription services must move more quickly. Indeed all licensing must now move more quickly. Business models are being bet on. Now let's give them every chance to succeed - with all the content and with promotion and marketing worthy of this creative industry.

Current contractual relationships feel antiquated. Trust has to be nurtured and in some cases built anew.

Much dialog [with artists] has gone on behind the scenes that give me comfort that the relationships are much better than they are made out to be in the press by a disgruntled few.

I am excited by the determination that exists within the record companies today to make sure that their transition into new markets is successful.

Yes, the industry may contract some, but it will be stronger and more diverse when it emerges from the current downturn. ["Contract" some. heh. Who'll be the first to 'contract'?]

We tried to develop a voluntary industry standard for digital music with our SDMI initiative several years ago. Perhaps it was before its time, but now it seems unfair for the tech companies to complain about things like protected CD's - a unilateral protection system - when bi-lateral discussions keep failing.

We will not allow protection to come at the expense of our customers' enjoyment of their music.

[Cough, cough]

I am optimistic that if handled right and explained fully, consumers will support formats that give them flexibility and also help to stop piracy.

[SUE THEM !!!]

No one likes to be the cop, but the role must be fulfilled. Let's be real.

[SUE THEM !!!]

We must continue to enforce against those who are or service the most egregious infringers. And we must have your support in doing so. Everyone in this room should have an incentive to help. It serves no one to suggest that new highways of opportunity and offerings can be created without the traffic laws being enforced.


The recording industry's enforcement activities actually support all of your growing business interests.


Our chances of success are so much greater if we work together. Together we CAN succeed.


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