The New Cost of Music
The Recording Industry’s Death Rattle
It would appear that the music industry is determined to disenfranchise and piss-off every single remaining customer they might have. Two very troubling announcements were made recently, both by the Canadian recording industry community, that are effective attempts to extort money from the only people they should ever try to be friends with: people who still buy music.
The first attempt is being made by The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN), who are going to begin charging hair salons an annual fee to play music in their establishments. SOCAN’s primary reason for existing (according to them) is to make sure the creators and publishers of music get paid when their music gets played. And, of course, they should get paid. That’s why CDs and concerts cost money. But while those are very literal representations of artists getting paid, SOCAN’s are far more abstract. For example, these guys pester us every year when we put on Music Waste to pay them money. They assume that because music is being performed in a public setting, copy-right protected music may be performed, and subsequently they deserve cash. But none of this money would go to the bands playing. It would go to established artists like Bryan Adams. So we just ignore them until they lay off.
It doesn’t look like salons will be as lucky. Even though proprietors are playing music that they have already paid for (and could hardly be accused of profiting from it) SOCAN is putting them, along with most other shops and businesses, in the same category as nightclubs where people pay money to dance to music. Their exact words are: “If you use music as part of your business or functions, you know that music sells.” What exactly does music sell in a hair salon? A haircut? Please. In fact, the process is the complete opposite. There is a higher likeliness to ask about a band overheard while getting a scalp massage than there is a customer loving that new Arcade Fire track so much they decided to stick around for a second dye-job. The logic SOCAN is exercising is bogus, and typifies an industry completely disconnected from the product it is supposed to be providing.
As does new regulation being pursued by the Canadian Private Copyright Collective (CPCC), affectionately being referred to as an “iPod tax.” This tax, which has already been approved by the Copyright Board of Canada, would be applied to all removable media and digital music players in the same way that a tax is already applied to blank CDs. Unlike the SOCAN business, which is happening in some form all over the world, this tax is uniquely Canadian. The reasoning behind it which is on a retarded level of far-fetchedness goes like this: iPods have the ability to store music that the owner hasn’t paid for, therefore, that must be their intended purpose so all owners must pay (up to $75!), even if every single song they own was purchased on iTunes.
It seems like the only thing the recording industry is good at anymore is discouraging music sales. From CDs that won’t play on computers to suing their customers to all this crap, the only reason to ever buy a CD again is if you’re convinced that you are somehow supporting the artist. But even that’s bullshit. If you want to support a band you like, see them when they come to town. The only reason to ever buy music again is if you want to support an industry that despises you.