Paying Music Artists What They Deserve

Plenty of electrons have been spilled about this already. I’ll limit my comments to a single point. In light of news like this, how should music listeners respond? The RIAA would have us respond by purchasing more CDs of their artists’ music. While I have no problem with those who do that, I think there is a much better response.

Stop buying music that is distributed through the traditional channel altogether. If you perceive that the traditional recording labels insist upon imposing unacceptable restrictions upon the sharing of their music (a practice beginning long before the digital age), then don’t support them with your patronage. Don’t give another dime to that branch of the industry, unless you have a very clear need to have some of the music that can only be obtained that way. Usually, we don’t have such a need.

Instead, encourage alternative channels of music distribution like Magnatune, which can give a dramatically higher percentage of sales proceeds to the artists themselves. At the same time, Magnatune allows its customers to sample the music of its artists as much as the customer would like, and pay (within reasonable limits) whatever they think it is worth, when it comes time to purchase.

Yes there are better alternatives for your music needs. I suggest that the best response to news like this is to use them in preference to the alternatives that poorly serve both customers and artists.

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