June 26, 2003

Whines of the Real Freeloaders

Chris Kathman's sharp article The peasants are acting like emperors! highlights the persistant obnoxiousness of recording industry executives as they launched their latest phase in their no-win war against file sharing.The position of these Class A Hypocrites is that getting music for nothing from friends, associates, acquaintences or people promoting their taste in music is "stealing." Perhaps it is, but since these record company bozos haven't shelled out a penny for their grossly overpriced products since the dawn of time, how would they know? Kathman, once an insider, lays out their heaping sack of dirty laundry when he writes:

For the last few years, top executives from all the major record companies have been giving interviews in which they criticize consumers for doing exactly what the execs have been doing for years - getting music for free. I was in the loop for a couple years, when I was writing about music for a free weekly, as well as a major daily newspaper, in Los Angeles, many years ago. And I can tell you none of these characters paid for anything, ever.The bookcases in their offices and their homes were (and are) filled with product that they receive for free as a matter of course. They would not dream of ever paying for recorded music, themselves, with very few exceptions. But now that the average consumer can download a ripped file from the Internet, you'd think it was the end of Western Civilization, from the way they talk.The false piousness of their pronouncements on this subject really offends me. I assure you, back in the day, if somebody at Record Company A wanted a copy of the new LP by so-and-so and the such-and-suches, they would shout at the secretary to call their good friend at Record Company B and have it messengered over, with the fee for the messenger charged to the artist signed to Company B! Maybe it took a little longer than getting an mp3 off the web now, but my point is that they did not go down to their local record store and pay list price to nobly support the artist who they claimed to be interested in.
The truth is broader than that. Freebies throughout the media are as deep as the ocean. Many people in the music, book, film, and television industries have been battening off freebies for decades.

Those that doubt this and are in New York City are invited to take a visit to the Strand Bookstore and note how many "review copies" grace the shelves in the basement. From the publisher to the "reviewer" to the Strand -- sometimes within 24 hours and always with a little cash in hand to the 'reviewer."

Posted by Vanderleun at June 26, 2003 2:25 PM
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