Saturday, April 9, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
Thursday, April 7, 2011
In this unit, we're examining ways in which race, ethnicity, and class play out online, especially in social networks like Facebook and MySpace. In other words, we're looking at ways "real life" is reflected - or transformed - in online social networks, and how the web may not be such a democratizing force after all.
So, for this final blog post, I'm going to leave you to generate the question to answer. What question(s) do this week's readings raise in your mind? How would you answer those questions? Can you point to examples you've encountered online in your own social networks?
New ideas are gone. Creators, artists, etc. owe their creations to the past (and present) and the other[s] who made up that past. [They are] building upon creation, not stealing from it. copyright laws shouldn't impede creative progress. The RIAA is concentrating in safeguarding profits, not helping creation to evolve. The[y] need to spend less time fighting the future and start thinking of creative ways to adapt to our new society. The RIAA can absolutely [not] stop piracy from occurring. ("we can't stop this technology, we can just criminalize it.")
There is little doubt that the recording industry has lost money. It's harder for a lot of artists to maximize their profits from CD sales. In 2002, the RIAA reported that CD sales had fallen by 8.9 percent, from 882 million to 803 million units; revenues fell 6.7 percent (could be explained by any number of circumstances that don't include piracy, "it has long been the recording industry's practice to blame technology for any drop in sales.") Piracy has affected the music industry by losing revenue.
But does this mean that recording artists who are having their songs pirated in such a way run the risk of "going out of business"? [Piracy] has also offered an option for less investment and cheaper marketing,if someone hears an artist for the first time on an online file sharing software and ends up loving them, then they will [achieve] sales through concerts and the niceties that can be purchased at the shows (t-shirts, refreshments, souvenirs, etc.) A recording artist's career is multi-faceted and album sales have now become only a part of a much more diverse career.
First, let's get this out of the way, stealing something from another person is bad, plain and simple, and I think most reasonable people would agree with moral foundation of that claim. But the RIAA didn't fight it's piracy battle from a moral standpoint, they didn't try to press any offenders into criminal proceedings. They waged their war arguing the economics of their case; the ensuing legal battle raged coast to coast, and it's casualties included some real pirates, an internet company or two, and even a few grandmothers. But was their claim entirely correct, was piracy as economically devastating to them as they claimed? Based on the empirical evidence on this week's reading assignment, I'd have to say no, there is an element of loss, but i'd argue it is a very small one.
The RIAA's argument is that if a person has pirated an item for free, now they don't have to go to the store and pay for it, thus depriving the Artist of their rightful profit. This may sound reasonable, but it's not entirely logical. The underlying assumption is that the person doing the pirating was going to buy the pirated item in the first place. I would argue that most, not quite all, but most of the items being pirated weren't going to be purchased in the first place, thus negating their claim of loss on all pirated items.
Though we've had differing formats, file sharing software has been relatively easy to use. This created somewhat of a novelty effect, in that is was just as easy to download swarms of files as is was to download just one. Sure the pirate may have just wanted to steal one song, but clicked everything that was on the screen instead. Is there an element of theft involved? Sure, but a pirate having a massive number of songs that 1) they probably won't listen to, and 2) had no intention of buying in the first place, doesn't severely harm the RIAA. Which the statistics at the time of their lawsuits clearly show.
The following excerpt outlines the numbers:
In 2002, the RIAA reported that CD sales had fallen by 8.9 percent, from 882 million to 803 million units; revenues fell 6.7 percent
In the same period that the RIAA estimates that 803 million CDs were sold, the RIAA estimates that 2.1 billion CDs were downloaded for free.
The empirical claim is that the 2.1 billion CDs that were pirated caused a drop in sales by 8.9%, and a drop in revenue of 6.7%. So, just to clarify it further, a product was pirated at a the rate that was 260% more than its total annual sales, and revenues only dropped 6.7%. I think these numbers actually hurt the RIAA and their claim, and call into question whether piracy is a big issue for them, or is it a bigger issue for other industries.
The 6.7% drop in income could be explained by any number of circumstances that don't include piracy: economic downturn, increase in business costs, and even lack of consumer interest based on the quality of the product that year. I'm not saying that piracy had zero effect on the drop, but just how much above zero it contributed, is certainly up for debate.
"When you mix two things that haven't been mixed before, that's the future of music."
The Remix Manifesto was fantastic. But it also blew my mind. Just a couple weeks ago we were learning about fair use and copyright laws. Based on the articles and rules that we read, I'm sure we all found dozens of ways to support certain remixed and mash-up videos and say that they use fair use. In my second research project, I went on the defense for Evolution of Dance, which is a mash-up of popular songs with very recognizable dance moves. The 'star' of the video doesn't change the songs in any way and he uses lengthier clips of music to demonstrate his point, quite the opposite of Girl Talk, the 'star' of the Remix Manifesto.
What got me the most was hearing the lawyer say that everything Girl Talk did was illegal. HOW?!? He uses samples of music that are fractions of a second, mixes them with other fractions from other songs (that haven't already been mixed) and creates something fun and new to listen to. Yet that's somehow still illegal, when other people have clearly ripped of entire melodies from other songs?
The lawyer also goes on to say that it really just depends on how upset the original artist and/or their record companies are. In some of the cases (like a mother being sued for infringement because she downloaded 24 songs), I think they take it way too far. I'm sure that mom isn't making any money off of those songs!
That being said, I could understand why they would be upset if Girl Talk were to suddenly (and inevitably) make millions off of his remixes. But this whole situation is parallel to many others. People are just reluctant to change. They don't want to give up their safety net, being able to control the music industry and who can use what. They think that because they created it, it's theirs and no one can use it. What many don't realize, however, is that they "stole" the idea from someone else, as is clearly demonstrated in the video.
I like the four rules laid out in the video, about being able to learn from the past, be influenced by the past, but not being controlled by the past. I think that at this point, a large majority of brand new ideas are gone. But we can take what's already been created, remix it with something else, and have an entirely new work of art that celebrates where it originally came from.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Since it was released they have sold over 40,000 copies. All while there has been a free version available to anyone with an Internet connection (which would be all of their customers as its only available online).I know, that's not the music industry. Those are books, they're different. Are they? Maybe not.
Radiohead released their 2007 album In Rainbows under the “pay-what-you-will” model and saw 40% of downloads get paid for, bringing in nearly $3 million. The unintentional star of RIP: A Remix Manifesto, Girl Talk is selling his music under a similar model. While this model is not for every artist and every medium, I believe it is proof that other business models exist.
There is little doubt that the recording industry has lost money due to piracy, a shitload of money. And the lawsuits and “consumer educational” and government lobbying are attempts to regain control over a market and consumer the industry thought it had mastered. These grasps at life will not stop until someone, someone big fails. Then those left standing may wise up and get creative about reinventing their business.
I stand by my earlier statement on copyright laws that creation is contextualized in a particular sociocultural environment. As such, creators, artists, etc. owe part of their creations to the past (and present) and the other who made up that past. Hence, copyright laws must not impede public interests in creating based on previous works. Copyright laws can protect creators to a certain extent but must not de-evolve society so a few powerful companies have absolute power on how creations are used.
In the case of the music industry piracy has had goods and bads. On the negative, it decreased revenues from hard copies of music material and remove control on distribution (Ham and Atkinson, 2000). Artists were not benefiting "enough" from selling CD's, and, as Carnes argues, online piracy has killed "recording artists." In essence, it removed the incentive of recording music as a means of exclusive revenue and stripped artists and corporations from dictating terms of distribution. However, piracy has also offered a momentum of evolution to the music industry by forcing them to adapt to the new digital environment. Music could now be made with less investment, such as, according to Ham and Atkinson, in CD's and music stores. Music could now be delivered to fans faster and cheaper. After all isn't in the artists' best interests to meet the needs of their audience?! On the positive side, piracy enabled fans to enjoy their favorite artists' music. According to Free Culture, this wrong and illegal since they aren't paying the people who made the music. Nonetheless, piracy allowed people to enjoy more music and potentially become fans of artists and bands, and buy their concert tickets and other profit paraphernalia. It helped market music to larger audiences. In short, piracy has affected the music industry by losing revenue but it has also offered an option for less investment and cheaper marketing.
Moreover, piracy has opened a door for more creation to be developed. As an example, Girl Talk is building upon creation, not stealing from it. People get bored with the same tunes over and over. The artists themselves may push for more creation in remixes and the like, but it is the public at large the one who can actually put the passion and context into new delicious rhythms. The Brazilian kareoke dj's mixes were amazing. I was blown away by how he combined American music with Brazilian rhythms. I hadn't heard such amazing mixes before. This wouldn't have come out of a California recording studio...sorry. Of course, I'm talking from a Caribbean musical perspective where Brazilian music and rhythms are appreciated. Some people in the states may not like those remixes, and this is the issue with reinventing music. It must fit the local context where it is consumed. Artists should not infringe on the contextualized reinvention of their music because they may lose market. Their music can be successfully introduced into new areas through these types of remixes. Curbing efforts to reinvent music can hurt music markets instead of saving them.
Hence, the RIAA is concentrating in safeguarding profits, not helping creation to evolve. On their statement, they claim to educate people to halt piracy instead of prompting the industry to evolve to meet the digital age. I don't buy albums because most of the time I only like a song or two. Thus, it is in the best interest of the industry to meet the new digital citizens needs, which are faster deliver and being able to choose products more cheaply. Through digitalized music markets artists can create a broader audience base which can prompt more concerts and sales from profit paraphernalia. I'm not against them making profit. After all, I'm an online entrepreneur. Nonetheless, the music industry must evolve to create new avenues for profit whilst maintaining a happy fan base.
Concluding, creation is part of a sociocultural context in which ideas are born out of particular contexts (as in the case of Disney). Artists, scientists, and creators learn to think and acquire skills through social networks. This shapes their ideas and inventions. This isn't to say that they can't be innovators and not have protections over their ideas. But, copyright laws shouldn't impede creative progress in science and the arts because artists and companies (more furiously the latter) want to have sole control over creations. Nor should it impede affordable access to healthcare as in the case of the AIDS/HIV medicine in Brazil, by the way. In the case of the RIAA, they must strive to meet audience needs by delivering cheaper and faster products, which in the end may curb initial investment and bring more fans and creation by transforming consumption ideas in concerts, products, etc. Creation is born out of necessity. This is a great time for the music industry and artists to create.
It seems the industry just up and got greedy. If customers are paying $1 per song on iTunes, how on Earth is it possible for the RIAA to sue for $250,000 per song? That's completely insane. After watching Remix Manifesto, I learned the artists don't even see that money, only the record company. Isn't the whole fuss over the intellectual property of the artists? Shouldn't they be the ones who benefit? It is just a way for a higher power to benefit for themselves instead of the general public. It is the same way with the medical industry. These companies are holding onto copyrights over plants and medicines that could provide cures for the general public. However, they too are only thinking of themselves.
As far as where I stand on the issue of ripping music to create new things, I think it should be allowed. It makes no sense that we are only allowed to use written sources to prove a point or create something new for free. Any other form requires us to pay someone off even if we have attribution. If everything builds on the past, at some point the music industry will have to wake up and realize they need to allow things under Fair Use. Through all the remixing, the artists may even get new fans. Personally, I love hearing sampled music in songs. It makes me go back to hear the original song. Piracy just seems to be the wrong word. I call it creation. Until we have newer generations in charge of copyrights, older generations will continue to not see how much times have changed. They need to adapt to the change if they want to curb "piracy."
I’m going to focus on the question “Do you see benefits to artists as the result of piracy?”
That’s not to say they aren’t disadvantaging from it as well. But there are definitely benefits. Our readings stated (more or less) that artists are finding ways around the lack of album sales through concerts and t-shirt sales. So let’s say we steal music online but fall in love with the artist, we probably would want to go rock with the artist at their concert where they’ll profit from us. True they could’ve profited more if we bought their album then went and spent more money at their concert, but hey you’re getting one thing for free… we love free. (wow this makes me sound like the ultimate piracy thief haha – i'm really not though guys) But seriously, perhaps that music we stole was the only exposure we’ve ever gotten to the artist, otherwise the artists wouldn’t have gotten any kind of profit from us. The free culture chapter called it the “addiction strategy”.
I definitely think that in the entertainment it is more about having fame, being on the A-list, than anything else. Because, let’s be honest, if you are not insanely famous, you wont be profiting that much to begin with. That doesn’t mean we have the right to steal the little you do have. But if we did get a hold of your music through piracy and loved you, you will only gain more publicity/fame and benefit due to high demands of more music/concerts/etc. You would’ve created a strong fan base by then who will legitimately support your music.
“Still, the argument is not terribly persuasive. We don't give the alcoholic a defense when he steals his first beer, merely because that will make it more likely that he will buy the next three. Instead, we ordinarily allow businesses to decide for themselves when it is best to give their product away. “
These days’ artists are selling packages with their albums when they drop. For example, Lupe Fiasco. He was presaling VIP album packages that included t-shirts, stickers, and additional tracks that sold like hotcakes. Anyway, Lupe has a very strong fan base, and after his album dropped, a couple weeks later, due to popular demand, he tweeted a new song not listed in his album to download for free! Even before his album dropped, he was releasing songs on iTunes everyday before the actual drop date. It makes you wonder how he can do that? These are marketing efforts. His concerts are typically sold out and his notion of LASERS – WINNING! People love the products that have that symbol on it.
More so, our readings mention that artists are working more on building a brand that will last instead of focusing all on their music. Just like Lupe with Lasers, and Whiz with the Taylor Gang, and etc… At the end of the day a strong legitimate brand = more money.
Nonetheless, piracy is wrong. It does cause a lot of loss but artists are finding ways around it. The music industry will never die. Without it there is no way a single artist will stick out. Music draws us in to the artist, but it’s not the only thing that keeps us interested.
One last note- (didn’t mean for my blog to be this long, story of my life…) but I think RIAA’s efforts to curb illegal downloading are commendable. They take on other awareness approaches before any legal action takes place. We need to be educated about this to understand, otherwise, you can’t blame me for something I wasn’t aware of because it wasn’t brought to the forefront.
K, i'm done, GOOD DAY!
First off, I would like to say that this video from this week’s unit was quite interesting and has cleared up a lot of foggy information about copyright for me. I have a new understanding and a new grasp on how this whole thing works now. This unit has greatly extended my knowledge and understanding of copyright and also changes the views that I had previously in the semester.
These units first made me realize that copyright issues and piracy laws are in great need in society. Before I always thought that the copyright was to protect the artist from others copying their works, which is true, but people who take their works are usually using it only to share their information, not copy their work. These readings and also the movie have changed the way I think about copyright law.
Lots of artists before use to make their money though just selling their records. Now they have many different means to make money through clothing lines, shoe lines and much more. So there is a definite need for copyright laws to protect these artists’ ideas from being taken.
Although I do see benefits to artist as the result of piracy. Many artists make money through music by selling other merchandise and not solely relying on albums to sell. Because people are always downloading music and sharing their friends and family, this is how artist get recognized. This allows the future sellings of their work. Basically, I think that sharing music is a good thing.
I do think that there is some downfalls that the music industry will be experience through privacy to a certain degree. Because it is so easy to obtain so much music illegally, many people don’t like to pay $1 for a song when they can download it though sites like Napster and Limewire for free. This causes major losses for companies like iTunes.
The music industry has been highly affected by piracy and its laws and of course the most frequent users that are at risk are the younger generation college students. So is there a balance of what or how much can be downloaded without charge? As Lessig stated, “This will require changes in the law, at least in the interim. These changes should be designed to balance the protection of the law against the strong public interest that innovation continue.
Here is an interesting link regarding the RiAA.
I remember when I got Nirvana's Nevermind on tape from my older brother . I was in the 6th grade and by then I had heard the album but to have the tape in my hand to listen to it whenever I wanted was cool. Song for song I loved that tape. I wore it out.
About a year later I got Green Day's Dookie and again another tape track for track I loved it. Then I got Candlebox's Lucy album. It was awful. I bought it at Dearborn Music and felt like I wasted 10.99.
What Rick Carnes said is dead on to me. The recording artist's days are over. Oh, there is a few and working and running the college radio station on campus, there are artists we get and their free cds we run to play on air that are way better than what is on the radio. I do not blame people for wanting music for free. Why? Cause I blame the record companies for quality. It is what sells not what is good. Bands are like gypies in the night. They are camped out putting on a show and by morning they are gone. Have you heard the newest from Fall out Boy? Did not think so.
"Today's music artist is focused on image and brand development because the money is made on ticket sales for live shows. Album sales are an after thought since music piracy has obliterated the ability to support an act through recorded music sales alone. Recorded music is given away as a promotional loss-leader, sold as an adjunct to a new tech device, or as an impulse buy at big discount stores. Gone are the record stores of old."
I love that quote. Bands are built for singles and piracy has taken away from the recording artist to come out to produce a track for track album that is good. What is the incentive? Well, none. They can rest on that hit single and boom they will be okay. But really that format has not changed since the 50's when singles were printed on 45's. The Monkeys outsold the Beatles the last part of their careers based on singles that were catchy and easy to listen to.
The recording artist is now exposed. I have downloaded music for free for years. Even here at WUMD we get music for free way before the general public gets a hold of it. It is our job to pass the music on to the masses and I understand that.I feel on both sides of the fence about this. I like the music I get for free I cant afford yet I miss the days of where a album changed my life about music and my thought process. Albums like Nevermind and the Replacements " Let it Be." I enjoy the lower prices and the fact I can get whatever I want in a quick snap of my fingers. Record companies are still making a ton of music and because of " losses" they can support less artists. Unless a artist is a slam dunk, they will not sign them because of " we cant afford it based off piracy". Hmm. So really in all reality, both sides are using the piracy argument to their advantage. I personality think music will never go back to the days of Best Buy's having cd shelves 100 rows out or your record shop having everything. Instead, things will continue as they are where music is special ordered and songs on Itunes will replace the Billboard Chart.
After reading the articles on piracy, the one that enlightened me the most was Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig. In particular, his dissection of the different forms of piracy and description of the 4 kinds of p2p file sharing. The most harmful of the 4 is type "A" which essentially comes down to downloading music instead of purchasing it. This is the type that the music industry claims is creating the biggest dent in their pockets. While Lessig believes that all forms of piracy are illegal, he thinks that the industry is off base in its argument. He states that while an estimated 2.1 billion CDs were downloaded for free, revenues from CD sales had fallen only 6.7% in 2002. He also takes issue with the argument that stealing a CD and downloading a song is the same offense. This is not the case because stealing a CD means stealing a physical entity, leaving the store with one less to sell, therefore it is a lost sale. If every downloaded CD was the same as a stolen CD, there would've been a 100% sales drop. Since revenues only dropped 6.7%, Lessig argues there is a huge difference between stealing a CD and downloading a CD.
The remaining 3 types of p2p sharing are, according to Lessig, are the following:
B. Sharing music to give someone else a sample of something they haven't heard of,
C. Sharing music that is no longer commercially available, and
D. Getting access to content which is not copyrighted or the copyright owner is offering to the public.
These 3 types are essentially harmless in the grander scheme of things, but are nonetheless illegal (with the exception of D). So really, how much damage does piracy cause? Overall, according to the data Lessig provides, not that much.
In Rick Carnes article Has Piracy Killed the 'Recording Artist', he talks about an interview with OK Go's Damian Kulash in which he says the focus of the band is not on selling records, but performing, licensing, and sponsorship opportunities. I fully support his method of making money off of his music. The best part of being a fan of music is hearing live performances. Shelling out $50+ (at a minimum) to see an artist should justify their music being downloadable to the masses. Many artists just getting their start give out their music for free anyways to build hype and rely on performances to gain popularity. Once artists make it big, they sell out shows in every city they visit. A good number of the people in attendance buy T-shirts and other goodies that the artists offer, putting even more money in their pocket. I'm not saying they're greedy by charging for the concert and swag in addition to their CDs, that's just the nature of the business. But, if millions of people enjoy their music and attend their shows, wouldn't it be nice to enjoy it for free?
Certainly the music industry has been hit hard by piracy. From the college student downloading off bittorrent, to the Chinese and Eastern European copy-shops, piracy is at an all time high. Damian Kulash of OK Go said "We're just moving out of the brief period -- a flash in history's pan -- when an artist could expect to make a living selling records alone." The RIAA reported $4.6 billion in lost revenue due to piracy. Artists now have to depend on ticket sales and merchandise to make a living through music.
My view on piracy has not changed much since our first discussion about it. I knew it was bad since the beginning. However I did not realize the "Mashups" I enjoy were considered copyright infringement. I mean every DJ that I've heard on the radio does a little bit of a mashup and they don't get into trouble. I suppose the difference is that they have the rights to play the songs to begin with?
I for one have never downloaded a "Pirated" song. I may have been given a CD from a friend that could possibly have been pirated music. I'm one of those suckers who has probably spent over five hundred dollars for music on iTunes.
People make a big deal about "Peer to Peer" music sites. My question is, what's the difference between those websites and you loaning a CD to your friend and they "rip" it into their music library. I have iTunes and I know that you have the option to copy the CD into the computer to then put on your MP3 player. Isn't that the same thing? I've copied an entire music library from one of my friends. That means I didn't pay for the music, it's the same thing as a Peer to Peer site would be. The difference is that it's not happening over the web, it's happening in your homes.
The music industry could actually benefit from this, in a way. Like in an earlier example I read that one of Taylor Swift's songs was leaked onto the internet. Her and the publishers thought this would be catastrophic, when actually it helped. People liked the song so it made them want to get the entire CD.
The music industry could also suffer from this. In my opinion though as long as theirs music people will find ways to enjoy it without having to buy it. For example, cassettes, people would insert a blank cassette and then record the music off the radio. When they were the new thing in car electronics people could then listen to the cassette they recorded on in their car. They had music they liked and didn't have to pay for it. It will continue to happen, just with different devices.