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When Indies Go Bad

by George Ziemann

You’ve really got to be careful who you entrust your music to. There are a lot of services out there designed merely to feed you to the industrial strength pirates — RIAA labels.

Got a newsletter from BandRadio today, which seems to be related to Soundclick. Sadly, they have gone to the Dark Side.

It starts out promising. The e-mail subject line says, “Will the lawsuits stop?” Except for a link that demonstrates that the lawsuits are still continuing, the subject does not come up in the body of the newsletter.

But the RIAA does.

Win $50,000 Grand Prize worth of cash, cool music gear from Sony, Steinberg, Ibanez Guitars, Audio-Techica and more! Not to mention radio ariplay (sic) for winning songs. Judges include A&R from Universal, BMG, EMI, Warner and Sony Music.

Sounded good until they invited the vultures. Let’s see, the music business is tanking, in large part due to the poor taste of the A&R from Universal, BMG, EMI, Warner and Sony Music. That’s without taking into consideration the wholescale rape of artists that has been going on for 70 years and continues today (See French Elvis story).

These are the people who signed Ashlee Simpson and William Hung to recording contracts and tossed Van Morrison to the wayside. These “judges” are the last people you should seek an opinion from because they are obviously idiots.

AIRWAVES VOLUME I IS AVAILABLE!!! Featuring 16 fantastic unsigned bands distributed to a&r, publishers, radio, attorneys and more. BUY THE CD NOW!!! Support Indie Music!

We all know that the RIAA members use “starving” as a verb in the phrase “starving artists”. When “independent” sites are supporting Indie music by trying to push artists toward servitude for the cartel, does it really help anyone?

I’m really not trying to pick on BandRadio, but it does bring the question to mind of whether there is ANY market entry point (other than DMusic, of course) that is not controlled by the RIAA? These same questions could be asked of ASCAP or NARAS.

Are there any suggestions for market success that do NOT have a recording deal with a major label as the ultimate goal? Can you get a physical recording distributed or radio airplay without RIAA member labels getting their paws on it?

Where’s the real alternative to being owned for seven years to a foreign-owned mega-corporation that may very well decide that your work is not fit for public consumption because they “can’t hear a third single,” but you absolutely cannot have it back.

The RIAA members claim to “create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 90% of all legitimate sound recordings produced and sold in the United States.”

How much is too much? Do they have to merge into one huge conglomerate before the government decides to break the monopoly?

The most important question, of course, is how the other 10% managed to get in. Who are they and where is the road they took? But everyone wants to shove your stuff in front of RIAA A&R leeches.

There has to be a better choice, from both financial and moral viewpoints.

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