RIAA Resentment, SOPA, And Dave Grohl’s Fix For Music

TThe Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is ruffling feathers at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The background to this specific debate is the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which came into force in October 2011.

As can be expected, there seem to be a majority of opponents to SOPA at CES than there are supporters. With so many innovators and thinkers who benefit from the freedom (some might call it madness) of the internet, there could be only one way the scales were going to tip.

Unfailing support for SOPA comes right from the RIAA and, as is widely known, the RIAA definitely labels the internet as a place of madness.

In fact, the RIAA’s reported response to the whole debacle has been reported as typically hard-line, with one spokesperson reported as saying the following: “It sure seems like the deck is stacked to ensure no meaningful or balanced debate occurs on an issue that is very important to American jobs and our economy.”

Aside from the absurd implication that the vociferous RIAA doesn’t actually have much of a say in the debate, the RIAA, according to Mike Masnick, is perfectly right: there is no balance to the debate on SOPA.

Of course, Masnick, in a tetchy and wonderfully focused gush of vitriol, argues his case that the original debate prior to the passing of SOPA was debated on the RIAA’s terms. Infuriated, caustic and, most importantly of all, lucid, Masnick is more than convincing. It’s no accident his article has sparked so much debate since its publication.

But there’s seemingly one hint of bias to Masnick’s article that he surely needs to address in greater depth: his assumption that a majority opinion must be or, is in this case, right.

For although the majority opinion is seemingly one of a general wariness of SOPA, what’s to say that the RIAA is as bad as every torrent addict suggests?

But I think that Masnick’s point is far more powerful than that.

“The Judiciary Committee hearings? [T]he “one” against the bill was Google — who is Congress’ punching bag, and was put there so that Congressional reps could[…]pretend that only “evil Google” is against the bill. [T]he startup entrepreneurs and venture capitalists who create all this innovation offered to step up and meet about these bills — and we were denied.”

It’s the RIAA’s word against Google’s. And Dotted Music has before commented on the RIAA’s hounding of Google in the past. Search results are search results. There is a strong likelihood that searching for illegal digital content on Google will return positive results, but is that reason enough to censor the web?

Grohl's plan for the music industry's success can't be bettered.

In other music industry news, Dave Grohl has a novel idea as to how the music industry can guarantee success. His opinion is, as always, refreshing. Boldly and sagaciously, Grohl highlights the success of Adele’s 21, which has shifted in excess of 17 million copies worldwide. For Grohl, if all records were as good as Adele’s 21, all records would sell similar quantities.

The onus, for Grohl, is clearly on the artist to produce music that is worth hearing. That’s the most refreshing notion to come from within the music industry in quite some time. The consumer wins, but so does the newly successful artists who can sell millions of albums in virtue of their own improved work. But that’s part of what is so endearing about the Foo Fighters. Dave writes songs for consumption, and it has definitely worked out well for him.

Samuel Agini is the Editor of Andrew Apanov’s Dotted Music. You can reach him at sam.agini@dottedmusic.com .