So I had an interesting discussion about music and it got me to thinking about the current musical state of affairs.

It really is a sorry mess in many ways. However, I think that the above discussion touches only on one of the many issues. I quite agree that a lot of the acts out there are somewhat reality-challenged; lip-synching a song comes down to having a good choreographer. Hell, I could entertain like that with the right kind of preparation. What I can’t do – currently – is go out and perform a song with a guitar and my voice. I’m working on both of those though. Frankly, for every band that has the right stuff to perform well live, there are 20 vacuous groups that think standing on stage and looking pretty makes them good musicians. Now at the moment I’m not a true musician so I’ll refrain from further commenting on this issue and refer you to the link above.

However, I will talk about the RIAA for a short while. These folk are the morally-bankrupt bastards who sue people who have never used a computer for ‘illegally sharing music’. Anyone who follows what they do knows what I’m saying is not hyperbole; they knowingly sue people who they know are innocent.

These guys have lobbied Washington to have Russia prevented from joining the WTO unless allofmp3.com is shut down. Never mind that allofmp3 is legit in Russia. They are also currently suing allofmp3 in the state of New York for lost revenues, even though they won’t accept the royalties from their Russian counterparts. Pretty petty, it would seem, although it makes more sense if you consider that they are trying to discredit the low pricing of digital music.

These are the people that are desperately trying to foist DRM on us. Listen up: people just want to be free to listen to what they have bought. They don’t want to buy a CD then find they can’t rip the files to listen to on their iPod (or Zen, or whatever). They don’t want to have to connect to the internet to verify that they have a ‘license’ to listen to that song more than ten fucking times. They want to have a copy on their home desktop, and one on their laptop to listen to wherever. Hell, people don’t even expect to be able to copy a CD as a backup (in case on copy gets scratched, say). Have we really regressed that far?

And also, stop charging us the same to download music as it costs to buy a CD. A CD needs to be manufactured and distributed. It costs nothing to duplicate a set of bytes. You could make a killing (well, an even bigger killing) if you made tracks as cheap as allofmp3 did.

And finally, stop with all the “downloading music leads to starving artists” bullshit. Firstly, you don’t even fucking represent the artists. How’s that for starters? No, they already signed their soul to you; sold into debt in the form of advances until they sell X hundred million units. You lot merely represent the recording industry. If you are going to go for sympathy, at least do it in the form of “starving sound engineers”, because that is at least somewhat true.

Secondly, these flagship artists you parade (I’m looking at you Metallica, Meat Loaf, Cliff Richard, et al) are anything but starving. Maybe if they earned less on digital distribution of their works, they would actually get off their collective arses and tour. Y’know, perform live. Remember that? Hell, with the right management and – more importantly – talent you could give most of the songs away and charge folk to come and experience the gigs. What I want to know is why we have to pay fifty quid to see the latest artiste du jour, and then they have the gall to complain about their fans downloading their music?! Here’s a free clue: THEY CAN’T AFFORD TO GO SEE YOU. Sheesh.

Unfortunately, while people aren’t willing to challenge the RIAA over… anything we are only going to see this behaviour of extorting people through frivolous lawsuits continue. And if they think they can get away with that then they certainly aren’t going to get their act together over DRM or talentless lip-synching ‘artists’. Shame really, that.

“What a long, strange trip it’s been.” Cheers, Grateful Dead, it fits like a glove. Also, I apologise for the language in the above post, but sometimes you really have to say it with swears. Sorry folks, rant over.