The Music Industry Makes Me Laugh

So let’s get this straight:

Album sales hit a new record low last week, when less than 5,000,000 albums were sold. It’s only the second time that’s happened since SoundScan started tracking music sales in 1991. The other time it happened was, of course, earlier this year.

But don’t worry! The RIAA and the radio industry have your back! They have solutions! This is not a problem.

First, they want Congress to mandate that FM radio tuners are put into all mobile devices. Because, you know, Congress has nothing better to do. This, they assume, will broaden their audience, who will happily pass up all the pre-recorded music on their mobile device — which the RIAA will shortly be suing them for, as we all know it’s mostly pirated — to listen to ads on the local radio stations with bad transmission signals.

By the way, this isn’t something they’re trying to sneak through Congress. It’s not like this is couched in anti-terrorism wording or anything. It’s a naked, shameless, desperate appeal for government intervention in the free market.

While they’re at it, they’re demanding that net neutrality (or the lack thereof) includes anti-piracy measures. No, one has absolutely nothing to do with the other, but has there ever been a hot topic the RIAA hasn’t attempted to press for its own advantage? Wait, this one gets better. They’re pairing up anti-piracy efforts with child pornography. That’s right: The RIAA wants any net neutrality legislation to be sure to include exceptions for piracy and child porn. because, you know, they’re of equal measures.

If it wasn’t so painfully tacky, it would almost be funny.

The RIAA will be needing a fundraiser for all this lobbying. If I were you, I’d be expecting a knock on the door from one of their lawyers. You need to be sued for file sharing. (You have an MP3 paying device, right? They think that’s filled with pirated materials.) Doesn’t matter if you did it or not. They can always extort money from you just to get them to go away.

The only hitch is that the lawyers usually make more. Earlier this year it was reported that the RIAA lawyers made $16,000,000 suing music lovers to recoup $391,000 for “lost sales” from piracy.

I don’t listen to much music anymore, to be honest. I’m past the age of 30, so my tastes have solidified. My music days are behind me. I listen to podcasts, or iTunes or Amazon MP3 Store-purchased songs on my iPhone or computer when I need some background music. The RIAA can do whatever they want and it won’t affect me directly.

But, darn, they’re fun to watch trip over their own shoes.