Music Stand: Record label hypocrisy stoke LimeWire desire

By: Miranda Liming, Editor-in-Chief

I am a music addict. It’s true, and the first step is admitting you have a problem. This is my admission.

Every once in a great while I have the feeling that I’ve become stale in my music tastes, or I’ve listened to my collection to the point where, even when on random, I know what song will come up next.

These are the times when I log onto my LimeWire account and download more music to sooth the savage beast inside.

I recently went to go through this bi-annual process this week, only to find out that LimeWire has been shut down, supposedly temporarily, by a court order while charges and a case are pending. The Plaintiffs? Every major record label in America, including Atlantic, Elektra, Sony BMG and Warner Bros.

As surprised as I am not that LimeWire is shut down – again – I am surprised that the record labels were able to come together and actually get something done in the court system.

Mind you, these are the labels that have dictated what Americans have listened to for the past 60 years. These people are in charge of who’s hot and whose not are any given time in any given genre.

These are also the men who fight each other tooth and nail for 10-year contracts that destroy real artists by pushing them to create crap instead of stewing for a few years and releasing the best album since the Beatles dropped acid.

My problem isn’t the fact that I’m taking money from greedy record producers. In fact, by illegally downloading music, I think I’m doing a service to this world. People make music because they feel the music; it’s what they are meant to do. To them, the real artists, it’s their calling, their life, regardless of pay or fame.

Then you have the douche bags reminiscent of the Metallica versus Napster era. To them, they want to get famous, get drunk and eventually get laid.

But the problem with the Metallica scandal and the current LimeWire scandal is that everyone but the record executives understands that we have evolved from the age of CDs to the age of download.

MC Lars, a well-known pseudo-rapper, reminded everyone in 2006 about the new age of music with “Download This Song,” a perfect explanation of how artist, not just consumers, are looking toward the internet and downloading sites to get their music heard, not just sold.

“You’ve overcharged us for music for years, and now we’re just trying to find a fair balance,” writes Lars, sticking it to the personification of the “Music Man.”

NOFX, quite possibly one of the most influential, outspoken and enduring punk rock bands of our generation, hopped on the “screw the record companies” bandwagon before many of us knew it existed.

In their song “Dinosaurs Will Die” from their 2000 album release “Pump Up the Valuum,” NOFX made their feelings abundantly clear. “For all the piss broke bands on VH1, where did all, their money go?”

Where did it go? I think we can agree that a majority of their take-home went to hookers, liquor and drugs. But what percent did they receive for their works?

Many contracts – that of which I have been able to find – artists get 10 percent of album sales. So, if your band sells a million albums for $15 each, you just cashed out at $15 million. Not a bad chunk of change right?

Wrong. Don’t forget about adding in that fine print take-a-ways for free albums, promotional deals, merchandise manufacturing costs, etc. Now you and your four buddies get to share $250,000, roughly $50,000 a piece.

Still sound great? What happened to the other 90 percent of the album sales, roughly equaling $135 million?

Now, please remember dear readers, that I’m in no way associated with the music industry, nor have I worked in a professional music industry setting. I’m just a consumer with questions and wanting answers that I know will never come.

And I really just want my LimeWire back because, honestly, there is no way in hell that I will pay for music; not now, not ever.

Or at least until the government or Hollywood sends me a bill for all of my unpaid tunes, but I bet $130 million that’s never going to happen.

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