Continuing with my inquiry into the work of independent music activists, I would like to call to your attention a pretty clever site promoting independent rock. Check out the RIAA Radar, which, according to its site, is “a tool that music consumers can use to easily and instantly distinguish whether an album was released by a member of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).” For example, contrast searches for Metallica and for NMWYH faves, The Shins. Further, RIAA Radar provides an ever-changing index of record label ownership, connections, and aliases. Another cool feature that this site offers is a list of the top 100 RIAA-free albums based on sales at Amazon.com. You can also compare the top 10 best selling RIAA and non-RIAA albums for a particular genre.
Responding to the question of why it is important to know whether or not an album was released by an RIAA member, the site answers:
[T]he RIAA’s practices involve price-fixing, blaming its poor financial state on unfounded digital piracy claims (and in turn, blaming and suing its own consumers), lobbying for changes that hinder technological innovation and change [in] copyright laws, underpaying the artists it represents, invading personal privacy to enforce copyrights, and dismantling entire computer networks just because of their ability (of their users) to share copyrighted files.
For more discussion of independent music activism — and independent music in general — visit No Matter What You Heard.