While trying to think of a title for this one, I had a tough time. I think they could also be likened to Chicken Little because we all know the sky is not falling or a herd of sterile elephants breeding because they are making a whole bunch of noise, the ground shakes, tempers flare and it shall result in nothing. I also thought Morse Code might work but who would get that?

I was over at Slashdot and got word of this angry rant that was sent to PCMag. The letter is signed by what one could call a “who’s who” of the music industry. They are best described, in my opinion, as “lobbyist.” The the subject is two articles the magazine published. I read the letter and man are they upset, I mean like someone peed in their cereal upset. In it they say:

“Both articles are nothing more than a roadmap for continued music piracy.”

They also wanted the articles to be retracted… so much so, that they actually repeated the sentence!

We hope you will consider retracting the article and stating your strong support of only legal methods of obtaining music.

We hope you will consider retracting the article and stating your strong support of only legal methods of obtaining music.

Now, I totally suck a proofreading and spulling but honestly, they claim to be professionals diligently representing the rights of artists. Isn’t there a proofreader working for these industry giants?

Forgive me as I step up on my soap box. First question I have is why do we need a roadmap? They speak as if the article reveals secret hidden corners of the webverse. Wasn’t LimeWire a replacement for Gnapster?

I read the rest of the letter, thought it pretty much typical RIAA-like rhetoric, and thought I should also read the two articles. More or less, something is always killing the industry, now it is PCMag. The full text of the letter is available at Billboard.

The first article mentioned in the angry rant was, LimeWire is Dead: What Are the Alternatives? The letter feels that it encourages piracy. Arg maties, PCMag did, in fact, publish this article. Should we set up the olde plank and make them walk it and join Davey Jones at the bottom of the sea? The very first comment on the article seems to think so, while I didn’t read all of the comments, only two others liked the comment from ras_smith. I bounced about the comment pages and randomly used page up and down. I happened on no other points similar to ras_smith.

So, on to the second article titled LimeWire is Quietly Resurrected: It’s Baaack! and it is Keystone Cops time. As Mike Masnick of TechDirt points out, that story was published a PCWorld. (Start funny Keystone Cops music in the background now, uh wait, is it Podsafe? Never mind.)

They are however, chasing things in a most comic way. They are, more or less, chasing ghosts and false ideas.

PCMag did issue a response letter and Billboard updated the post to include it. I wonder when they will update it to note that they mentioned an article PCMag didn’t publish?

Now, you all know my take on piracy; I am an indie music geek who believes the best thing to do is just let the current industry starve by attrition and support independent musicians. I do not advocate or participate in piracy. I gave up my Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, and even The Beatles for Jonathan Coulton, Paul and Storm, 100 Year Picnic, and many other indie artists over a decade ago.

The reality is technology has killed the old model of media distribution and those that had established a stranglehold on the obsolete method of distribution feel that it would be easier to legislate, lobby, litigate and intimidate the technology into extinction rather than change with the times. The reality is, it is the old model of distribution that is actually on the verge of extinction and not the technology.

“The Music Industry” is being replaced by what I like to call “The New Media Order.” Musicians no longer need the old middle man model, nor do film producers or writers. Why should I pay a middle man too much for a CD when I can go to Jonathan Coulton’s Web site and buy a thumb drive, signed by him even, with everything he ever did on it?

The reality is that there are more musicians earning a living today than ever before. There is no real evidence that P2P has had a negative impact on the amount of money made by or spent on music. What is changing is how it is split up. It upsets them that I can buy a thumb drive from Jonathan Coulton and simply hand him the money. If I bought the album from a RIAA (Racketeering Idiots Association of Absurdity) label, JoCo might see 2 or 3 percent of it.

History is simply repeating itself. The Pony Express vanished as telegraph lines moved west. I am certain that the Pony Express riders were not too keen on Western Union. It took their jobs.

Western Union was the middle man for a long, long time. They cornered the market and you simply could not do it with out this middle man. You needed someone to tap out the Morse Code so you had to pay them to do it.

Then came this thing called the telephone, you could just pick it up and talk on it. I am sure that Western Union did not like that. Despite that, the huge established telegraph industry stuck around till 2006. Entrenched industries die slowly.

The RIAA built itself, originally, on the fact that the engineering, recording, and distribution of music were not within the reach of many musicians. Techniques they developed in recording were actually required or else, in cases, the bass would bounce your needle out of the groove. Musicians could not record themselves, they needed engineers. They could not distribute their own material. They needed a middle man.

There were very few Les Pauls out there. Home studios were rare. With today’s technology, I can produce an album in my living room, toss it online and see a lot more than 2 or 3 percent of the money. Why wouldn’t I? Well, in my case, likely a lack of any musical talent but that has not stopped others. So far the only ones I see complaining are the entrenched individuals and those that they own. Those liberated by newer tech seem pretty happy with it. I deal with musicians all of the time, yes they want me to buy their music, and I often do, but they also want me to tell others about it and, even share it.

For you youngin’s who might think this all started with the Internet, let me give away my age. I remember 8-tracks and owned reel to reel recorders. I recorded on patch cord Moogs. Only uber geeks, audiophiles, and musicians had reel to reels. Only musicians on the level of Pink Floyd, wealthy geeks, and universities had Moogs. They were expensive and a niche market. No real threat there. We were under the radar so to speak.

It was, however, the beginning of a time when musicians could start to actually self produce. They just didn’t see it as a threat yet.

I also remember when cassette tape was cutting edge. It was cheaper and pretty much anyone could afford it. So much for being under the radar, it was going to destroy the industry. Simultaneously, ancient machines, like the Tascam 464 emerged and musicians could actually do, by today’s standard, primitive recordings on their own,

In the same time period, there were these evil vile radio stations doing album oriented rock and they were going to destroy the industry. The argument was that people would record it and never buy the album. Sue me, I did it. But, no shock really , I also bought the albums after I decide I liked them, on cassette they were not that expensive. When CDs came out I repeated the process for many.

That same station also started doing “Coffee Break Concerts,” broadcast of live concerts, which they produced into albums. This station was not a big national broadcasting company. This type of thing was pretty new, the technology just wasn’t cheap enough before.

Next came the CD. Originally, you couldn’t copy them. Therefore, the industry rather liked it. The consumers did too, once the price of the players came down… enter the CD burner and that was going to destroy the industry. Then came MIDI and software like Cakewalk. (Did I just hear a shriek that the sky is falling?)

I have been following the “sue ’em all” and the industry for years now. I have not seen any evidence that CD sales are declining because of piracy and/or file sharing. It is much more simple than that, cars stereos are available without CD players. Could the CD just be dead? has been a question people have been asking for at very least a few years.

Last time I listened to a CD was in June of this year. The only reason being is that the car I rented did not have a USB port on the stereo. I had to dust them off to take them to the car. I was rather shocked that a nice shinny new Prius didn’t have any way to play mp3s other than off a CD. The reality is that the consumer wants files and not CDs. No different than when we wanted CDs over cassettes. The only real difference is that the musicians can now make their own files, CDs if they want as well.

Artist like Jonathan Coulton believe that:

“I know it’s completely counterintuitive to say that when people get your music for free it helps you, but I honestly believe it. To paraphrase Tim O’Reilly, piracy is not your enemy, obscurity is.”


I would have never heard of JoCo, if it were not for his free downloads. When I saw him live, along with Paul and Storm, I felt bad that I only had about 100 bucks to spend. It is not piracy. It is publicity.

I also believe that there is a legitimate demand for P2P clients. Personally, I don’t have any need for them and don’t use them. I also live in a land where one is innocent until proven guilty. Until I use P2P illegally, STFU. The current industry leaders just don’t seem to get it, perhaps we should type it out for them in Morse Code? Something like … — …

Thanks for reading….

Thanks for reading….P: