“Wired” Blogger Not Afraid To Look Stupid

A funny thing about this brave new Internet world of ours is something I call the BoingBoing effect. A site that’s a very good aggregator can attract a large audience by posting frequently and picking great and unique things to link to. But if there’s a particular mindset to the site, it can get passed on to its audience incidentally, and be validated by the site’s own popularity and authority. In the case of BoingBoing, a self-proclaimed “directory of wonderful things,” it’s their particular philosophy on the “free” nature of information. As it applies to music, the idea is that the music industry is a criminal enterprise and that music would be much better for everyone if it was free, or at least “pay what you like.” Which is how we get Scott Thill, a music blogger for the biggest tech magazine in the world, saying crazy shit like this.

About EMI posting losses of $1.2 billion, he says:

But the horizon is coming into focus, and it’s clear that, at the least, EMI’s music group is in trouble. The losses of Radiohead, Macca, the Stones and others have left gaping holes where steady revenue streams used to be, and it is going to be hard to replace them. Throw in increasing threats to the licensing division from evolving tastes and increased downloading, illegal and otherwise, and it could be that EMI may be the first of the big four majors to be sent down to the minor leagues.

As is pointed out in the comments, of course, the money isn’t in future Paul McCartney records, but in past ones. And due to the onerous record company practices that BoingBoing and its ilk love to decry, EMI owns the catalogs of all those artists, which will continue to be profitable into the foreseeable future. In other words, the things about the record industry that online nerds constantly present as negatives are the only things keeping it afloat.

You don’t have to be able to recite every lineup of Kiss to qualify as a music blogger, but if you’re going to bitch about the music industry, you should at least know the basics of how it works.

EMI Badly Wounded, Bleeds Over a Billion [Listening Post]

  • Anonymous

    “…if you’re going to bitch about the music industry, you should at least know the basics of how it works.”

    It’s not so much how the music industry works as how it could work…as one of bOING bOING’s “ilk,” I agree with much of that blog’s stance on the biz.

    The industry’s slow, almost non-existent response to the growth in popularity of digital downloading; over 30,000 lawsuits against the label’s customers; its abandonment of “catalog artists” that can sustain a lengthy career in favor of quick-buck pop stars and carbon-copy modern rock artists…none of these moves have returned the industry back to its late-90s sales peaks.

    Back catalog sales have carried the major labels for the better part of two decades now, but that gravy train seems to have jumped the tracks. How many copies of Let It Be, OK Computer or Band On The Run are consumers going to buy before they have enough? Even digital sales aren’t going to prop up these old chestnuts for long.

    EMI and its ilk have pursued short-term profits and a blockbuster mentality to the point that their lack of vision has finally caught up with their dwindling sales. Instead of signing “Artists,” they’ve been recording celebrities, and the results can be seen on the bottom line.

    Why can’t an aging star like McCartney record a profitable album? Many other manufacturing industries (which, after all, is part of what the labels do) make money by selling less than a million of an individual product, why can’t EMI or Sony? The labels have badly fumbled their past, perhaps it’s time that they looked the future hard in the face.

    Yesterday’s artists can provide a necessary balance to tomorrow’s rock stars, and if the label execs are willing to keep costs down and get by on fewer unit sales, the industry could thrive once again.

  • King of Pants

    @Rev.Keith: You’re right, of course! And all this justifies the illegal downloading of all music, forever.

    See, that’s the thing: you can vomit forth a rationale that reads like talking points all you want, but the plain fact is that the entire collapse of the music industry is predicated on the distribution of copyrighted material in a manner which violates the current copyright law of the United States. I don’t care how much fucking bullshit you want to sling at the problem, because you never address the core issue that an industry has been gutted because people like free better than paying. That’s it. There is no high-minded philosophy behind it, and there never was: people like free shit, and will take it if it is easily available.

    And every disingenuous defense of file-sharing that I’ve read online ever since Napster came out, every BoingBoing-approved blowjob to their own sense of entitlement, every “copyleft”, give-it-away-for-free ramble that has no basis in reality, either current or possible, is just an elaborate rationalization to fuzz the simple, raw, elemental fact that people like free shit.

    So please stop insulting my intelligence like this. Stop pretending that somehow the Internet, the portion of techno-libertarian cheerleaders that BoingBoing is Ground Zero for, is some sort of high-minded revolution or a radical market solution to a top-heavy industry. Just say the words: “I like free music.” You’d still be full of shit, but then you’d be like everyone else who just likes free music. Except that you wouldn’t feel nearly so self-important, and where’s the fun in that?

    In short: get fucked.

  • Maura Johnston

    The problem with the whole BoingBoing ethic is that it’s pretty much based on people being able to have a) a substantial amount of capital and b) a public profile that’s generally been achieved via traditional “old media” marketing methods before going the “free” route. Cory Doctorow? Sold a lot of books via traditional (albeit niche) publishing companies before becoming Mr. Free Ride. It’s a total tech-triumphalist attitude espoused by a lot of people who have never really been forced to think about the most basic underpinnings like “where will my next free meal come from if I devote my time to freely distributing my art.” That is what bugs the crap out of me about this particular attitude more than anything else.

  • Maura Johnston

    What’s more odious to me is Thill crowing over people losing their jobs. But then again I find pretty much everything he writes odious in a tech-triumphalist White Males Who Can Code Will Rule The Earth sort of way.

  • SomeSound-MostlyFury

    Any validity to their (the BoingBoingers) arguments is immediately negated by their love of steampunk.

  • so1omon

    @King of Pants: How the FUCK do you get “this justifies the illegal downloading of all music, forever.” out of that post?

    There’s no justification or rationalization to cover up people’s desire to score free music in that post. It has NOTHING to do with file-sharing in any way, shape or form.

    Stop projecting your agenda and preconceived notions onto others.

  • King of Pants

    @so1omon: Because this is exactly the same argument that has been offered over the last eight years, ever since Napster came along. It has all the freshness of a Republican campaign strategy at this point. I’ve quite literally seen this very same post thousands of times before. And it’s all the same thing: a complete rationalizing away of the fact that this entire edifice of suprious logic is founded because of both the ease of digitally sharing music and the fact that free always wins. This is what the argument has been over the last eight years, and it always fucking wins.

    And, in case you missed the point, the entire argument doesn’t mention anything about file-sharing or illegal downloading because IT’S A COMPLETE COP-OUT THAT CAN’T MENTION IT, BECAUSE THE WHOLE DAMN POINT IS TO IGNORE THE FUCKING ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM, DOUCHEBAG.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, I get it. It’s actually a boon to EMI that its marquis artists are leaving in droves. You’re right, Mike — the major labels will always exist in precisely the same state that they used to, just because you said so.

  • Anonymous

    This is actually the reason that Idolator is the only music blog I read: the writers seem to understand reality (not to mention poke fun at the comically smarmy, childish swoon of a million indie rock-loving, ironic mustache-wearing art students, but I digress). I’m going to bypass the discussion on the music business at the moment, because it is a mess, and I’ve always been the type who balks at the RIAA suing thousands of people, but still buys legal music. Because I *like* music, and I like getting it legally. I guess I’m an idiot. FYI, I also go to 20+ concerts a year and attempt to support bands I really like through a couple different avenues.

    The irony of the “music should be free” argument is that — in recent discussions I’ve read — the example tends to be Radiohead, who released their album for “free” as a PUBLICITY STUNT. If I’m not mistaken, the only way you can currently get In Rainbows is by — *gasp* — actually purchasing it. How revolutionary! No one mentions Nine Inch Nails, who are actually experimenting with “big band goes indie” ways to sell their albums and still be able to eat. I doubt Trent Reznor’s going to starve any time soon, but they don’t seem to have the elitist attitudes that a lot of “free music” evangelists have.

    Anyway, I read Boing Boing somewhat often, and usually skip over anything that looks like Doctorow, mainly after a flood of Little Brother advertisements. Personally, I couldn’t care less about Cory Doctorow or his blathering. He almost makes the blog unbearable sometimes. It’s nice to get it out.

    @eliotvb: Why is it that everyone on the internet is so arrogant when they don’t agree on something? The author didn’t mention “the major labels will always exist in precisely the same state that they used to,” he implied that, while it might not be booming business as usual at EMI, it doesn’t necessarily mean EMI will be the first large label to die. They have a large back catalog. They could probably limit costs and stop the bleeding for quite a while.

    It’s going to be an interesting time in the music industry in the next 15 years, to say the least.

    @Maura Johnston: It’s always funny to me that the people who ARE huge evangelists are rarely professional artists from the start. It makes it much easier to release things freely when you don’t have to worry about a paycheck.

    P.S. By the way, I’ve never commented before (and holy crap am I wordy), but it was so nice to see some sanity in a music blogger that I had to mention something. Keep up the great work, Mike!

  • so1omon

    @King of Pants: Wow… did a file-sharer rape your grandmother or something? Please note that the only one who has resorted to any name-calling of any sort has been you.

    The post didn’t mention file-sharing because it didn’t NEED to. That’s the thing that you don’t seem to understand. When iTunes is the largest music retailer in the country, the old paradigm of business is no longer relevant. THAT’s the elephant in the room.

    Was file-sharing a part of that paradigm shift? Of course it was. I don’t think ANYONE will deny that file-sharing has had an impact on the music business. Why are you so fixated on it? Do you really think that your vitriolic, name-calling rants hold any sway over those who choose to download free music? It’s a non-issue. File-sharing is rampant, and nothing you say or do is going to make any difference. The BB’ers just take file-sharing as a given, and move on. There’s no file-sharing elephant in the room, because they’ve moved to the next room.

    No-one wants to see people lose their jobs… but the business has changed. The record labels don’t have any excuse to not be able to make money. They just can’t expect to be able to make money the same way they used to.

  • Anonymous

    Music is Free, if you want it.

  • tristax

    “But if there’s a particular mindset to the site, it can get passed on to its audience incidentally, and be validated by the site’s own popularity and authority.”

    Not exactly a new idea, I guess. For instance, Consumerist draws in proconsumer and anticorporate types, while Idolator is a magnet for snark :)

  • How do I say this … THROWDINI!

    @derek_the_dork: This is actually the reason that Idolator is the only music blog I read: the writers seem to understand reality … I’ve always been the type who balks at the RIAA suing thousands of people, but still buys legal music. Because I *like* music, and I like getting it legally. I guess I’m an idiot. FYI, I also go to 20+ concerts a year and attempt to support bands I really like through a couple different avenues.

    I generally find saying that you agree with a random internet comment silly, but here it goes — Amen!

    I don’t read BoingBoing so I’m a little lost in the battle going on above, but for me personally, its a very simple issue. People should be paid for their work, so I buy cds. Sure I download random singles from other blogs, but I do it for sampling purposes. If I like the music, I track down the album and pay for it. I don’t do my job for free, and I don’t expect others to do so either.

  • Maura Johnston

    @DudeAsInCool: One of the key snags of “The Boing Boing Effect” as Mike outlines it is that the maybe-good message tends to get diluted by the masses, who are not as altruistically minded. So sure, culture comes from sharing ideas. That’s an idea as old as Socrates. But that noble concept has turned into “culture comes from giving me everything for free so I can think about cherry-picking the best things but ultimately go back into the cul-de-sac of my personal tastes and my niche’s popular opinion.”

    (Not to mention that the whole “culture should be shared” idea has resulted in *way* too many inane “remix contests.” But I digress.)

  • Mike Barthel

    @derek_the_dork: Aw, thanks!

  • Mike Barthel

    @tristax: Not really what I’m talking about. Sure, people are drawn to sites that replicate their worldview. But what I’m arguing here is that some sites that might seem value-neutral, which often describes aggregators, draw people in with their ability to find links to cool stuff, and then get them reading all the other stuff. Over time, their ability to find cool stuff seems to reflect well on their intellect and kinda validate their arguments about other things. Anti-consumerist people go to Consumerist in order to find other people talking about the things they like to talk about. People go to BoingBoing in order to find pictures of potato guns made out of vintage tube equipment. They get all the other stuff incidentally.

  • tristax

    @Mike Barthel: Okay, I know what you mean. I overlooked/discounted the fact that it’s the superficially innocuous content that draws people in and (through establishing a web-brand of cool content) validates their ideological/political biases. Sorry I misread.

  • janine

    @so1omon: Doesn’t that mindset display the same kind of hubris that got the industry in trouble? “We are going to keep doing what we’re doing because we have the problem and this other group will have to adapt to us.” Clearly the industry has been (maybe fatally) slow to change their model. But “we’re never going to pay a fair price for any product is not an easily holdable position.” I don’t know what the logical conclusion is, but the goose does not have unlimited golden eggs. Maybe the patronage system will return, I don’t know.

  • so1omon

    @Halfwit: I really don’t think he IS right. I’m in FULL agreement with you that 99.9999999999 percent of file-sharers out there aren’t in it to “stick it to the man”. No one here has even remotely tried to make that argument. King of Pants, and now you, have tried to force that argument upon me.

    File-sharing is NOT the issue. The music industry has lost that war. It’s as simple as that.

    Now it’s time to move on, and think of the future. The labels now have to figure out how to make money in a culture that doesn’t want to buy the product that they have traditionally offered.

    Why is this so difficult to understand? And why does everyone keep trying to tell me that they know what I’m trying to say much better than I do?

  • Mike Barthel

    @DudeAsInCool: your comment is actually a great example of the problem here, so thanks! No one outside of RIAA lawyers is seriously arguing that copyright extensions and onerous royalty practices are good things, but at this point they’re far from the most important issues facing music. But it’s all that BB people want to talk about! You bring up music bloggers, which is great–I’m a music blogger too! (Though I don’t post MP3s, I actually, you know, write about things and produce my own content, but whatever! Breaking bands is like painting a beautiful picture, or at least one that consists of a blank canvas with ROTHKO RULES! scrawled across it in black sharpie, right?) But having a bunch of music bloggers is not going to replace the loss of capital and support if the music industry fails. The precipitous decline in sales (which represents, though this is something BBers don’t like to hear, a declining interest in music from the public at large) is a problem for anyone making music, because not all music can be made for free. That’s not to say that the major-label model is the only one that can provide that support, but it seems like BoingBoing is standing on the deck of the Titanic, cheering as it goes down, and when someone suggests that we may need to find something to replace it, they point to a dinghy with oars. We have to be able to have an honest conversation about this, not just a gloat-fest.

  • manyjars

    A few words in defense of Wired’s music blog: I think Scott and Eliot are both good writers, with great taste in music. I like the fact that “Listening Post” features not just musicians and the industry, but also the applications we use to enjoy music: portable devices, software, websites, etc.

    Maura, you need to revisit “Listening Post” today, because they’ve responded to your criticisms. It’s an all-out blogwar!

  • cassidy2099

    @manyjars: The Listening Post response doesn’t really say anything that hasn’t already been said on this thread, besides shifting the focus to Idolator itself and basically calling this whole post a grab for page views. Heaven forbid a site wants people to read its content.

    And then they give a little dry hump to Boing Boing. Shocker.

  • Halfwit

    @so1omon: I don’t think I’m trying to tell you that I know what you’re trying to say. I’m just saying that I believe that it’s a false start to discuss the decline of the music industry while ignoring the central effect of piracy. The issue isn’t that people don’t want to buy the product (I believe that you’re referring to “purchase”; I’m referring to “consume”), it’s that they don’t want to pay for it.

    If it were a situation where people, en masse, were rejecting popular music, then I would totally agree with you that the music industry needs to find new models to make money in the modern economy. The problem is that they’re embracing music (and movies) more than ever, but just have a greater expectation that they shouldn’t have to pay for it.

    Again, if people wanted to protest unfair prices and unfair models (1 hit, 11 filler tracks), then they can and should boycott the labels and the industry. My problem is that people seem to want to have it both ways.

  • Maura Johnston

    @cassidy2099: Let the record show that this is not just a pageview-ginning beef; I really do think Scott Thill is a terrible writer.

  • Halfwit

    File-sharing is NOT the issue. The music industry has lost that war. It’s as simple as that.

    Now it’s time to move on, and think of the future.

    I just want to point out that it took a LOT of effort to not make a political analogy here.

  • TheContrarian

    Listening Post and Idolator are basically the only two music blogs I read these days. I feel like a little kid watching Mommy and Daddy argue.

    Guess I’ll just go to my room and play with my Shogun Warriors now.

  • so1omon

    @Halfwit: I’m not ignoring the central effect of piracy. I’m doing the exact opposite, and accepting it as a given. That’s what I’ve been saying all along. There’s no justification or rationalization involved. People don’t have any interest in buying what they can get for free. In and of itself it’s a non-issue. There’s nothing that anyone can do that is going to change that fact… so why are we still talking about it?

    We have to move on, and figure out “what comes next?”. You posit that the the music industry doesn’t need to change their since the demand for consumption (not purchase) of their products is higher than ever… but this is EXACTLY why their model needs to change. Even with an abundance of demand, they’re bleeding money. Their current model clearly is not working.

  • Mike Barthel

    @Maura Johnston: though apparently he has really hilarious IM conversations!

  • Anonymous

    “You’d still be full of shit, but then you’d be like everyone else who just likes free music. Except that you wouldn’t feel nearly so self-important, and where’s the fun in that?

    In short: get fucked.”

    Whew…King of Pants, really, why all the venom? Are you actually Ryan Adams in disguise (see http://www.ryanadamssucks.com to get the joke).

    First of all, I didn’t justify illegal downloading in any way, mostly because it’s a lost cause…the industry blew its chances to make something of the digital revolution back when they kneecapped Napster in ’99 (which, BTW, for those of you keeping score, was also the year that the music biz sold the most CDs in history). I have ALWAYS supported the artists that make the music, and the label’s agonizingly slow response to downloading is just another way that the companies that sell us the music have failed those who actually create the music….

    As for your allegations that I’m just another bloviating asshole that talks shit about the RIAA while downloading the new Fleet Foxes CD illegally (well, the asshole part is probably true), I’ll put my music budget on the line against anybody. I’ve spent over $2k annually on new and used CDs for better than 10 years now, as well as traded promos that I get as a writer for more new music. Whenever possible, I buy music directly from the artist, so blow me chuckles. I’ve paid my dues and I don’t feel that I owe the music industry a dime in sympathy.

    Unlike most music-loving blog types, I’ve been in the inner sanctums of the major labels. I’ve had execs bitch and moan to my face about receiving bonuses of “only $80,000″ and I’ve seen tens of thousands of artist’s royalty dollars spent on booze and blow by label publicity departments. I’ve seen promo albums sold out the back door by underpaid mailroom workers (and sometimes publicists) and I’ve witnessed the corruption and ignorance of the industry firsthand.

    Until the music biz figures out where it’s going, I’ll bitch about their lack of vision; and until they begin paying artists the money they’ve earned, I’ll bloviate about RIAA lawsuits and excessive exec pay. If that makes me a self-important shithead, so be it. I’ve been editorializing about the music industry for over 35 years, and don’t really need your approval to justify the words I’ve spent on tilting at windmills.

    Love the artist/hate the industry.

  • Maura Johnston

    @Rev.Keith: Thanks for this — I would love to hear more of your stories. Do you think the practices are similar at non-major outlets, in a sort of “absolute power” way? Do you think anything within the music business is salvageable at all at this point? What would you try to save first?

  • DudeAsInCool

    The problem is KingofPants is that the music industry needs to change it’s business model and adapt to the digital age, which they have resisted in favor of the old way of doing business. If the music goliaths fails, it won’t be because of filesharing – it will be because they’re living in the past and not adapting to the present, let alone the future.

  • DudeAsInCool

    @Maura Johnston: While I have worked for Old Media in prominent positions, I agree with the BoingBoing ethic that culture comes from sharing ideas. Corporate interests have expanded copyright lengths to their benefit, but at the expense of emerging artists, who in the past could have benefited from previous work in this century, not the next. Ever tried to collect money for an artist from one of these corporate goliaths, Maura? They attack filesharing, but when it comes to sharing profits with the artists that are rightfully due, that sharing notion goes out the window.

    The notion that people who think like the guys at Boing Bong a) have a substantial amount of capital, and b) a public profile, and c) used traditional “old media” marketing methods before going the “free” route, is ludicrous. Visit a hundred music bloggers who do what they do for free, and they would certainly beg to differ. They do what they do because they love music and want to break new bands – they don’t pay much attention to the pop junk or the industry’s old repertoire. Last but not least, I don’t know what Free Ride you’re talking about – there is no such thing in the entertainment business, online or offline.

  • Halfwit
  • DudeAsInCool

    @Mike Barthel: The reason that the music industry is failing is it’s lost it’s soul. It used to be a cottage industry that cared about music and its fans. Today it’s more concerned with the bottom line. The tack of suing everone and trying to hang on to an old business model that no longer works, is only setting them backwards. Ironically, music is more is more popular than ever – old, new, in between, the kids listen to, and want everything. If the industry wants to save itself, it needs to become technologically savvy and consumer friendly. Give the fans more of what they want; the movie industry’s dvd model worked because they gave you more than just the movie. The industry needs to offer more music for less. It needs to rewrite the copyright rules. It needs to work with consumers who want to create new media from the old. It needs to support new artists and learn how to make money from less, instead of creating faux groups and trying to create blockbusters. ASCAP and BMI need to work with the small mom and pop clubs and restaurants instead of pricing them out of the market before they begin. The concert business needs to make tickets available at affordable prices, and help support the next generation of artists. The entire industry needs to recognize the artists as the creators and reward them properly, as opposed to living off their efforts. Frankly, I’m not opposed to seeing the conglomerates broken up, along with the radio industry – is it any wonder that no one listens to commercial radio anymore when all you get is pre-programmed homogenized crap and djs with no heart or soul. Blaming people who want to listen to music that’s freely available on the web, just like people used to do with radio, is not going to fix the industry. In short, the industry needs to embrace the artists and consumers, instead of working for their own best interests.

  • kityglitr

    Oh my… I think you people are seriously confused about Cory Doctorow and his stance on “free” culture. He isn’t saying you shouldn’t be able to charge what you want for your goods or service, or art… He’s saying that there is more than one competent business model. There are MANY avenues to accomplishing your goal. Hell, I just bought his latest book for something like $15 in a regular old book store.

  • AL

    b-b-but… i’m a freegan!

  • Halfwit

    @so1omon: King of Pants is right… unreasonably angry, but right.

    I can go on about rationale, but I don’t think that I REALLY need to explain to you that the guys with Limewire accounts and 1 TB external hard drives are doing it because of the RIAA’s unfair legal practices. They’re doing it because they don’t want to pay for music or movies. A couple of leaders who (I assume) are sincere in their beliefs of the “new model” do not make up for the fact that the vast majority of people just want free stuff.

    I kinda supported these ideals, until I heard someone state (and be supported) that he wouldn’t pay for music until he was able to get an album, in lossless audio, for $.50. At that point, I realized that, however the market shifts, nothing’s going to be good enough.

    I bought a mediocre muffin and a coffee for $4 this morning. I think Dunkin Donuts ripped me off, but that doesn’t give me the right to take their donuts. If you wanna boycott the RIAA (which I’m not opposed to), then you do without. Trying to have it both ways is hypocrisy.

    @How do I say this … THROWDINI!: I actually stopped reading BoingBoing because I couldn’t take any more of Cory Doctorow’s willful ignorance of the realities of piracy (calling it “file sharing” is nothing but marketing)

  • Mike Barthel

    @DudeAsInCool: what music industry are you talking about? The one that was founded by the mob? The one that ripped off black artists for decades? The one that expensed hookers and blow? The major-label system has never been worth defending. The music they produced is.

  • Mike Barthel

    @kityglitr: Cory’s stance on publishing is at least slightly reasonable, since he actually has some experience with it. But his stance on music is entirely different. Check out BB’s posts just about music, and that attitude comes through loud and clear.

  • DudeAsInCool

    @Mike Barthel: You make it sound as if I was supporting the record industry, when in fact, I stated that I was in favor of breaking it up. I was simply responding to the general board topic of how they could redeem themselves (but never will). Read closer.

  • Mike Barthel

    @DudeAsInCool: “The reason that the music industry is failing is it’s lost it’s soul. It used to be a cottage industry that cared about music and its fans.”

    When was this magical golden age?

  • janine

    @DudeAsInCool: Yeah, the tiny Mom & Pop record companies of that era, CBS, Warner Brothers, RCA Victor, Capitol-EMI, PolyGram and MCA, were all about the little guy.

    What you’re mistaking for halcyon goodness in that period is actually the decadent ability to set cash on fire if they felt like it.

    People have money, and we just can’t keep them from throwing it at us,” quipped NAMM president Jack Wainger of American Music Stores, Detroit, in 1967, succinctly capturing the tenor of the music industry in the 1960s.

    Besides, you can’t compare the two eras; file sharing as we know it was not possible. To share a one hour album with 20 of your friends would take nearly a day. We can look at their reaction to cassettes. In the late 1970s the record companies did everything they could to curb home taping until congress gave the labels a portion of every blank tape sale.

    So, not surprisingly, you’re ignoring the facts.

  • DudeAsInCool

    @Mike Barthel: In the mid-sixties to the early seventies – before the major’s music began to suck.