This is the final straw for me. I'm sure others of the big 4 have and continue to do this but WMG is the one that always hits the artist that I happen to listen to.
I was just schlepping around on the internet last week and someone had mentioned that I should watch the music video Good Girls Go Bad with Cobra Starship and Leighton Meester. Now, I only watched it because of Meester but was a bit distracted and figured I'd watch it on my rig at home. It was great quality so I wanted to listen to it on the appropriate hardware.
Fast forward to yesterday. The song is stuck in my head and I figure I should watch it to get it out. I liked what I saw the first time around so I go to open the video and to my surprise(not really) the video "Is no longer available due to a copyright claim by WMG".
What's wrong with these people?! I'm forced to watch it either recorded off someones tv which is abysmal quality at best or on the MTV website which is even worse because their servers can't keep up and the player doesn't even work when the servers can keep up. Normally this stuff doesn't really bother me but WTF? It's a music video. Yeah, I suppose someone could rip the audio off the video stream after extracting it from youtube or whatever but if someone is going through that trouble they aren't going to pay for the song no matter what you do.
You would think that this company would have their own user name on youtube and upload all the music videos they had to it. It's free advertising! With everyone talking about social networking sites being the new place to make big bucks it just sounds like a stupid waste of time. The charts get made up by how much a song is requested or downloaded. If you put a video up on youtube(the video was a couple weeks old and had 350k+ views) and someone likes the song they can dart over to itunes and download the song!
The "big 4" are about the dumbest companies in existence. They can't see the forest for the trees. They can't even read their own profit reports!
I remember back when Napster started. As it got more popular, the record companies kept releasing statements about new higher profits than ever before. Then they shut down Napster and started chasing similar services and suing individuals. After they did that for a while, their revenues and profits started diving badly.
Whatever anyone wants to say about the laws and what's most proper, the reality is that it's a symbiotic relationship between the record companies and the consumers. They bit the hand that feeds them and cut off their nose to spite their face (hooray for cliches!). The reality is that when people get busy pirating music, music becomes a much more interesting thing for them, it becomes a pastime and they are willing to spend money on it.
I know, because back then I was an early adopter of Napster. I was happily downloading all kinds of stuff, and it made me want to go out and buy music. I bought a lot of music because I was excited about music. Now I'm a homeowner with a lot to lose and they're suing everyone. I can't afford to take the chance, so I don't. Since collecting and listening to music isn't a big part of my leisure time anymore it's not on my mind much, and I don't buy music.
I observed those things before I developed my opinion on this issue. I didn't choose to stop buying music because I wasn't downloading it anymore (though I did choose to stop buying music specifically from companies that sue their customers).
They had (may still have) an 800 number you can call to ask for advice if they're coming after you; one of their common pieces of advice to college kids was to quite school and use their tuition money to pay them off. Seriously! Yes, that's a great idea, make sure that your customers won't be able to afford your product in the future.
Record companies are now an unnecessary evil. Since so little of the profits from music sales actually go to the artists, once the labels are out of the loop prices can drop substantially (greatly discouraging piracy) and the artists can still be much better rewarded. Need better recommendation systems, though. I haven't found one I'm entirely happy with yet.
: a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin) ; broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another
I'll gladly buy music and I do it a lot because of what I like to do. My primary hobby is building speakers, amplifiers, and digital decoders and the best way to make sure my digital source is of quality is to buy the CD or download a lossless format.
Now, I can download music in lossless for free but those are usually full albums and it takes way too much storage to keep large files like that in any quantity. I just hop on the net and buy a single a couple times a week.