Friday, December 15, 2006

Shouldn’t the Record Companies love iPods???

Why are record company executives such morons? I mean, seriously.

They sit in their corner offices and espouse all this hatred toward music lovers; specifically, music lovers to take their music with them on portable music players.

Universal CEO David Morris is quoted as saying: "These devices are repositories for stolen music, and they all know it. So it's time to get paid for it." These executives are suggesting that a surcharge be added to every iPod, Zune, Sansa and every other portable music player sold. Microsoft has already caved, sending $1.00 for every Zune sold to the record companies. Are you kidding me???

The problem with the music industry isn't stolen music. Check most iPods. They aren't filled with stolen tracks. They are filled with music ripped from the user's personal CD collection (perfectly legal). They are filled with songs purchased from iTunes for 99 cents. iTunes has sold over a billion songs. And the record companies got their cut.

No, the problem isn't this so-called stolen music.

The record companies still can't get over their early rage about Napster and it's free music file sharing. They still assume every music lover is a thief and are trying to make them pay for their indiscretions.

Maybe the record companies should be thankful that music lovers care enough about their music to go through the hassle of ripping their CD's. The record companies should embrace these new technologies and make it easier for music lovers to get a hold of the music they love. iTunes (and other online music stores) are a great start, but there are still problems with Digital Rights Management and competing file formats. Most music lovers would like to think that once they purchase a song, they can do anything they want with it. Purchased a song on iTunes and want to load it onto your new Zune? Too bad.

Microsoft is trying to make it easier for music lovers to find new music. Their Zune digital media player has a cool new feature that allows users to send songs to one another wirelessly. It's a great idea, and the record companies should be thrilled in this innovative new way to spread their product around. If a friend was to send me a song and I liked it, my next logical step is to purchase more of their songs or their CD. But the record companies are so paranoid about this music sharing that they forced Microsoft to put restrictions on this sharing technology – so much so that the feature is essentially useless. I had a band a few (okay many) years ago. We never signed a recording contract, but if I wanted to send my music to my friends, I would be met with the same restrictions as a Jay-Z song. How can that be?

Instead of investing all of their time, money and energy in fighting these so-called music thieves, the record companies should invest in finding quality artists who can produce quality music. With the "music" they are producing these days, even 99 cents for a song feels like a rip-off.

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