A post over on Spiritual Tramp about the impending doom of Pandora, an internet radio site, got me thinking. The Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA, aka the major labels) fear and loathing of digital music has often been predicted to be it’s downfall. I agree. Below is my prediction of how it will happen.
SoundExchange is a nonprofit spin-off of the RIAA dedicated to collecting royalty fees for member artists. That seems fine on the surface, but their Congressional mandated power is being abused in order to kill internet radio. Radio pays no fees for playing artists and satellite radio pays nominal fees. Internet radio pays exorbitant fees by comparison. That is why Pandora is in trouble.
Continued actions like these will only make organizations like SoundExchange obsolete. Internet radio sites will slowly replace SoundExchange artists with independents that don’t require, or require less fees. They’ll do this to cut costs and stay alive.
At the same time, an entire generation of kids who have shared every creative impulse freely over the internet will become of an age where they will be creating the music we, their peers, and most of all, their juniors will be listening to online. They won’t join SoundExchange and will offer up plenty of quality material for internet radio and little or no cost. Instead of full copyrights, they will use alternatives. They will make their money from touring, merchandising, and from ownership enthusiasts such as myself.
This synergy will result in the merger of the independent music movement and the internet radio movement and will finally be the death stake in RIAA and their bastard child, SoundExchange. Even their very name is an Orwellian misnomer since they are dedicated to hindering the exchange of music.