Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Harvard Law Professor Counter-sues RIAA

Harvard law professor, Charles R. Nesson, filed a counter suit last Friday against the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) challenging the constitutionality of the RIAA’s efforts against those caught downloading music from file-sharing services. Charles Nessos will be defending Joel Tenenbaum, a Boston University graduate student charged in 2005 with downloading seven songs from a file-sharing network. Nesson claims that the RIAA's tactics are “an unconstitutional delegation by Congress of executive prosecutorial powers to private hands”. Though the RIAA did not comment on this specific case, they did say the make “every effort possible to be fair and reasonable”. For more information check out this article from the Harvard Crimson.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Warner to Require 360-deals from all Artists


"As record labels continue to struggle in the face of file sharing, free music and digital music sales, Warner chief exec Edgar Bronfman explained that all Warner-signed artists will now be required to join in so-called "360 deals." Under traditional labels, bands are primarily involved with record labels for recording and sales of their albums, but touring, licensing and merch revenues are completely separated from that relationship. Conversely, under the "360 deal," the label will receive a cut of all those different areas.

It is not completely without justification labels argue, as they are responsible for marketing and promotion of the bands and advertising can boost touring as well as CD sales revenue. Still, the move is particularly controversial since it ties the label and band together so tightly and bands with established touring careers (like Warner-signee Against Me!) may be giving up revenue that the label has not really earned, some argue."

No word whether this effects all Warner owned labels, like Sire and Reprise.

This is an unfortunate thing for bands on Warner who do not sell large amounts of records (i.e. over 300k copies) because those bands make their entire living off of touring and merchandise. At least this will give bands a reason to get out of their contracts, because the terms of their contract can't be changed without the band approval. It will be interesting to see if there will be a mass exodus of bands from Warner or if bands will go along with the 360-deal because they do not have better options. As the industry changes, record labels still remain in the business of finding every way possible to screw their bands and treat them like indentured servants. Hopefully the bands will learn that with the changing tides they have the power to take control of the industry and leave the record labels to die like the dinosaurs.