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RIAA Boycott

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With the RIAA suing illegal filesharers (read: their customers) right and left, it has been also discussed how people should react to it. Boycott of RIAA products is the first idea that comes to mind, though you might think this would be hard to coordinate. Well, now’s your chance. You will never find out whether or not a boycott could have any effect or would even be noticed in sales if you don’t try it. now takes charge. A (growing) number of websites asks their users to boycott CDs from major labels for a weeks time beginning today. Instead, why not try out independents and explore new music?

On their press release they say:

The site will feature information about the lawsuits, a list of coalition members, places to buy used CDs online, and, most importantly, resources for finding the best independent music. “Independent labels give their musicians a much bigger cut of CD sales,” said Andrew Ross, who’s band’s site joined the coalition, “and they’re not hiring expensive lawyers to bully families with reckless and unwarranted lawsuits.” [via]

So far, 122 websites are on the support list. How about Blogcritics joining after all the interesting discussion we had on the RIAA subject?

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About Michelle Dittrich

  • Natalie Davis

    Oooh, this is great! Thank you for sharing this information.

  • BB

    Ok Michelle … count me in.

  • Pete Nelson


    Another thing we agree on!

    Although I cannot and don’t support theft of copyrighted materials (and as a professional software developer, it’s an issue close to my heart), the RIAA’s tactics don’t make any sense to me. Rather than wasting time and money terrorizing children and seniors with lawsuits, RIAA, artists and the public would be much better served if RIAA backed development of and promoted legal music download sites that enabled artists to get paid for their work and allowed listeners appropriate fair use of the music. The RIAA lawsuits are counterproductive.

  • Michelle

    I’m getting the impression that a boycott of major labels is way easier in the US. For instance – I bought the album “Some kind of strange” by Collide. The says their label “Noise Plus” is RIAA safe. Great, I think! But I’m sitting in Germany and have to buy the CD somewhere around here. But here the CD was released by EFA, which is a member of IFPI (the German equivalent of RIAA). So far, every CD I checked was released by an IFPI label. So here the boycott unfortunately has to be ultimate, which is sad. I hope the US boycott goes well. Perhaps the sales don’t matter that much if there’s only enough press coverage on this.

  • Eric Olsen

    My concern about a boycott is its effect on artists and innocent label employees, most of whom are underpaid hard-working stiffs like the rest of us. Universal just announced the layoff of hundreds more. A boycott would give labels an excuse to dump even more. However, I certainly support the cause behind the boycott, the RIAA’s campaign of fear and loathing against its customers. I will ponder this a bit more, thanks Michelle.

  • Tom Johnson

    This boycott is ridiculous. It isn’t going to hurt anyone but the artists – remember, people, the labels don’t care. If they aren’t making the money, like Eric says, the labels will just have an even better excuse to drop them.

    How about this? Instead of boycotting the RIAA (who I do agree is despicable,) how about people boycott file-sharing, which doesn’t help anyone, good or bad, in the industry? From what I’ve seen, the problem all along is that people have “boycotted the RIAA” by file-sharing in the first place. How well has this worked? Not so well, huh?

    Personally, I’ll be out today to buy the new Rush live CDs and DVD. I’m there to support the band – like I always do when I buy music.

  • Natalie Davis

    But mostly you’re supporting people other than the band, which doesn’t get most of the revenue.

    I understand what you’re syaing, and can agree to a point. Ultimately, though, when I boycott, it’s done for my own well-being and peace of mind. It offers me the assurance that I am not financing scoundrels.

  • Mark Saleski

    i don’t know if i can agree that file-sharing doesn’t help anyone in the industry.

    most reports in the mainstream media discount (read: completely leave out) the fact that people who download tend to buy more cd’s than those who don’t.

    also, there’s the case where somebody is looking for new music, samples some via mp3, and those goes on to buy more.

    this happened to me a lot back in the cassette tape days. remember those things…the industry said the same thing about them: that it was stealing music and hurting artists.

    well, i own about 450 cassettes…but i went on to buy well over a thousand lps and over two thousand cds.

    those cassette copies did nothing but help increase sales.

    the people who do nothing but download probably wouldn’t have bought the physical media in the first place.

  • Tom Johnson

    You’re right, Mark – there are people who use mp3s to sample new music. I’m one of them. However, I have never come across someone, in person, who actually does this – they may download to sample the artist, but they then keep those and buy nothing of theirs in compensation.

    Natalie: Ultimately, though, when I boycott, it’s done for my own well-being and peace of mind.

    That’s the problem – it’s only done for you. This boycott is meaningless in the long run, or even the short run. But it makes you feel like you’ve done something, even when you haven’t.

    Justify it all you want, but a one-week boycott isn’t going to affect the industry one bit. The only people who are doing it are ones who were likely to not buy many RIAA-supported CDs in the first place. The only people it will wind up hurting is the artists themselves. I can’t bring myself to be responsible for that.

    I think everyone should get out and buy music, period. If you care about music, buy it. Boycotting it doesn’t send the message that you care about the music.

    If you notice something, I rarely complain about the cost of music. $15 spent on something I will listen to countless times for countless years is not a badly invested $15. And I buy a LOT of music. I’d love to see lower prices – it means I can buy more with the amount I try to budget for every week.

    The argument that we’re mostly supporting people other than the band is meaningless. Find me a product in any store where that isn’t the case. We’ve seen the breakdown many times before on Blogcritics and elsewhere. The bands could always use more money, but everyone else involved also has to get paid. The band gets paid, the engineers get paid, the producer gets paid, the studio gets paid, suppliers for instruments/strings/etc. get paid, admins get paid, executives get paid, the pressing plants get paid (for all the supplies they must pay for,) graphic artists get paid, printers get paid, advertisers get paid . . . the list goes on and on. How low would you like the price to go if you were any one of those people? When it starts cutting into your pay, are you still comfortable demanding that it’s okay to boycott the musicians who bring in the money for your pay? Sure, there’s a lot of unfair things going on in the industry that need to be fixed, but boycotting the artists isn’t going to do a thing to help fix that.

    If you want to send a message, what you should be doing is buying CDs at the prices you think you should pay for them. I’ve got a flexible rule – I won’t pay more than $15.99 for a single domestically released CD (imports may cost more) – which means I will pay more than that for double and more CD sets. I will generally go out of my way to pay $12.99, even if the closer store has it for $13.99. The message I want to send is that I want to pay a low price. The only way to send that message is by DOING IT. If people would stop buying CDs at Sam Goody and other places known to gouge regularly, the message will trickle down to everyone – stores, artists, and labels.

  • BB

    Tom, the point of the boycott is to hurt the ‘major’ RIAA labels. The smaller independent labels pay their respective employees more and we are not targeting them. The RIAA has become too powerful and arrogant. That is why they formed an association in the first place. I myself have never participated in a boycott, and perhaps because I was once in the biz my beefs are all the more real and closer to home. It will take a long time before the trickle-down effect of a boycott reaches the employee at the bottom of the ladder. We need not worry because they will not wait until that point. Once they see the falling figures they won’t hesitate to change their policy. As always with big biz – it is the bottom line that dictates policy and they have to be hurt in the pocket book before they will take notice. It is time to break up the industry cartel and share the wealth.

  • andy

    Am I just not supposed to buy music? Do you expect me to just download? I don’t want to download(56K right here) plus tons of “indie” labels are distributed by major labels anyway. The ones who aren’t are probably shitty little hardcore/emo labels, and who cares about that crap? Even if I buy used CDs I’m still giving money to the RIAA in an indirect way. How can it possibly work? Like Eric said, the people it’ll hurt will be people who work at labels(no the execs, the ones who care about music), the artists, the retail stores, people who are under the RIAA not by choice. I’ll still buy my CDs at a good price at Circuit City. If you’re paying $18.98 for a CD, you’re a sucker. Why not boycott music chains like FYE instead?

  • Jessie

    No pain no gain.

  • Natalie Davis

    Indeed, no pain, no gain. I listen to radio and to what exists in my personal collection, including *legal* downloads. Down with the RIAA!

  • Natalie Davis

    Tom: “That’s the problem – it’s only done for you. This boycott is meaningless in the long run, or even the short run. But it makes you feel like you’ve done something, even when you haven’t.”

    It isn’t meaningless to me. The voices being raised, including this activist’s, will be heard by someone, in any event. And my boycott lasts until the situation is rectified.

  • Andy

    I’m sorry. I love music too much to stop buying it.

  • Craig Lyndall

    I am with you Andy, the smell of the booklet on a new cd is like crack to me. I will not be able to stop buying cd’s even when I can legally download entire albums on the internet. I am too much of a collector.

  • JR

    Wow, I thought I was bad.

    Like my mom always says, “Can’t you just listen to the music you already have?”

  • Andy

    yeah for maybe a week or 2. Then what? Some of us need new blood constantly. We’re like musical vampires.

  • Craig Lyndall

    Hey JR, set your mom straight. An addict is an addict. The music you already have is the past. Ask her if she would like to spend her life living in the past. :-)

    I am truly sick, and I know it.

  • BB

    hmmmm, I love the smell of shrink-wrap in the morning. Smells like …

  • The Theory

    hmm. I like the Vampire annalogy. tasty.

  • Michelle

    I like the vampire annology, too. I’m a vampire freak, anyway. And I’m a bookworm. I couldn’t say whether I could stand to not buy books for given period of time. But music, though I like it, – I can live with what I have for some time. I haven’t bought a new cds in months which is for personal problems I had with the German RIAA. Like the quoted women in another article said: If she has to pay 2000$ to the RIAA – that’s money she can’t invest in music anymore.

  • Natalie Davis

    I have never gotten into CDs like that. Now, vinyl albums… they are my crack.

  • Andy

    I definately buy more vinyl than discs, either way I crave new tunes for my ears.

  • Michelle

    I’m a bit too young to by a vinyl crack. I only bought five or so LPs myself. The CDs came into being pretty soon after I became interested in music.

  • Tom Johnson

    What gets me about this boycott is that they’re pushing indie labels. You know, there are people out there that hate that type of music. I’m not one of them – I like all kinds of stuff. Let’s take my Rush example from earlier, for example. What would I do if I want to buy the new Rush, but I’m supporting this boycott? I’m not going to find any Rush on an indie label. It’s like I won’t find anything that suits my definition of even “remotely like Rush” on an indie label. You guys have depersonalized music to the point where it almost seems like it doesn’t even matter who the band is – you just draw the line at “corporate,” whatever that really means. This isn’t like brands of water – you can switch from one to another without making a major sacrifice. But tell me that if I want to support this boycott I can’t buy the new Rush because they’re on Atlantic and I’m going laugh in your face. I support bands who care about music – whether it’s on a major or indie label. If everyone out there did the same thing it would send a loud-and-clear message to these big labels. But it’s easy for you to ban major labels from your shopping list – if you can go weeks or months without buying new music, you don’t *really* care about music – it’s just something to listen to, isn’t it? Because it’s NOT for me – music is my hobby and my life pretty much revolves around music. New music, old music, major-label music, “indie” music – I love it all. Every new thing I buy puts something else I own in a new perspective – that’s why new music is exciting.

    Try this analogy on for size: Let’s say your hobby is knitting and the yarn companies are getting greedy, so a bunch of knitters create a boycott of all yarn companies who make a lot of brightly colored yarn. You like to make a big splash with your knitting, so you use a lot of those bright colors. At the same time, you know that yarn costs too much, but it’s worth it because you love your hobby enough to justify it. Do you support the boycott and stop knitting altogether? Can you “make do” with the yarn you don’t like so much? Or are you so into it that you can’t imagine excluding *any* colors from your creations?

  • TDavid

    Name some boycotts that actually worked.

  • BB

    Iraq? Ouch! … Hey, I was just kidding πŸ˜‰

  • Natalie Davis

    Re: #24

    That’s why, in addition to listening to the music I already have, I listen to radio and legal downloads. And it helps to be a musician — I can always write and play my own new stuff.

  • Andy

    Yeah, on a whole though I hate the radio. The local classic rock station is pretty good though. As I said, downloading’s a pain cause of my 56K…were it not for that I’d be on I-Tunes or something of the sort all the time(probably spending way too much money).

    I’m in a band, but I just can’t keep myself entertained by playing our music. I LOVE playing, but, it’s no replacement for good bands;)

  • Jeff

    I’ve been trying to get support behind a boycott to take place on a specific day.