I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

A recent study by professors at Harvard and the University of California shows that illegal MP3 filesharing has not hurt the record industry. They said that “downloads have an effect on sales which is statistically indistinguishable from zero….” Of course the RIAA thinks this is completely untrue.

I suspect that filesharing probably does effect sales a bit, but I refuse to believe that it is the sole cause. I would love to see album sale statistics for last 15 years or so. When did the downward trend start? Was it the day that Napster was introduced to the world or did it start a few years before? How about looking at the number of bands that been created in the last ten years by a marketing team and not by musicianship? Now how many of those same bands get in the heavy rotation on radio stations? How about looking at the actual number of major record labels. I can drive down the street, just past NBC studios and see the building that is home to WEA (Warner / Elektra / Atlantic). Three different names, one actual label. Or how about we look at the number of über-corporations that own the majority of radio stations in this nation? Four companies? Five? Six? And how much of the market? Seventy percent? Eighty?

If the RIAA wants to get to the bottom of declining record sales, they should take a look at the record labels themselves and at the radio stations that play those albums. Steve Albini wrote an insiders look into just how much money a band makes on a major label.

The article is hosted on Negativland’s website, the poster child of the anti-establishment, anti-corporation movement. Who can forget their classic U2 album?

Negativland's U2 Album Cover

Oh yeah, it was pulled from the shelves after a lawsuit. Thankfully you can download some of the tracks from their site. You’ll never look at Casey Kasem the same way again.