Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Overshearing The Sheep

Mar 19, 2007

Leave it to NPR, the often parodied and dismissed non-profit organization of U.S. public radio stations, to take a stand against the bloated and greedy members of the RIAA. Recently, our fine government has decided to increase the fees that internet radio stations must pay the record labels for playing songs. Not only have the fees almost tripled, but they are retroactive. This ludicrous action means that many great online music sources face bills they simply can't pay. Pandora, a fantastic site we have covered before in our show, is just one small company that can't hope to survive the revised licensing costs but by no means does this action affect only small companies. This fee hike is hitting all online music broadcasters, including National Public Radio. NPR has decided to draw a line over this, and rightly so as they are now being asked to pay a vastly superior amount of royalty money for their online music use as opposed to their traditional radio cost, and for an audience that is a fraction of their radio count. This article on Medialoper has the full story. If you listen to NPR, Pandora, or anything else online than write to your Congressional representative and protest this action. Without hearing from us, our elected officials will no doubt let this go without any intervention or scrutiny.

In relation to this story, I recently listened to an episode of This Week in Media, a fantastic podcast that often covers areas of copyright and new media. In it, they talked about the fact that the RIAA is in name a misnomer: there is not "one" RIAA, it is a conglomerate of large record companies. By calling it the RIAA, we take away the accountability of the companies that make it up. For example, most people would probably recognize that the RIAA sues people, but those same folks would probably not attribute those suits to, say, Warner Music Group, even though the company is a member of the RIAA. On that TWiM episode, they joked it would be a good idea to create a poster that made people aware that the RIAA is in fact the following companies: Warner Music Group, Sony BMG Music Group, EMI Group and Universal Music Group. I think it's a very important idea, and over the next week I'm going to try to hammer out a design for that very poster. In the meantime, the always great Consumerist has posted the names and contact info for the members of the RIAA. Make your displeasure known, folks, that's the only avenue of fighting these behemoths of greed.