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May 22nd, 2007

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08:41 am - post of crank
Why, yes, I am feeling rather cranky today. One should not need anti-anxiety medicine just to run the gauntlet of FREE NEWSPAPER people. I encountered six this morning alone: Two at Davis, two in the South Station turnstile area, and two outside South Station next to the Fidelity building, positioned so you had to walk between the two of them. And every paper hawker operates with one goal in mind, and that is to make sure YOU have a copy of the paper THEY push into your hand. But let's do the math here!

People, we only have so many arms and so many eyes among us. How many papers a day are we each expected to accept from the FREE NEWSPAPER people so that their daily quotas are met and they get paid and can go home? By virtue of our need for transportation, is this responsibility of paper collecting ours? Of course not! Hogwash! Nonsense, balderdash, and outright poppycock is what it is! The only ones responsible are the paper giver-outers themselves, who should do the right thing with too many spare papers, and that is to dump them somewhere and tell the newspaper people that a big dog ran off with them or something.

Additionally, I'm going to close my eyes and cover my ears and try and pretend this whole RIAA demanding royalties from broadcast radio thing isn't happening. All I've got now is this mental image of a lumbering behemoth stomping its way down the lane leaving squashed turnips in its wake and not a drop of blood to be found anywhere. And the behemoth is occasionally raising its head to bellow indignantly:
"The creation of music is suffering because of declining sales," said RIAA Chief Executive Mitch Bainwol.
And you know what? He's right! The very act of musical creation is suffering horribly because CD sales are down! I know this first-hand because the other day I stood at a xylophone, mallets in hand, and I hit one note and it went beeeng and then I wondered which note to hit next, and... and I couldn't, I just couldn't, because all I could think of was the fact that Maroon 5's latest album hadn't gone gold yet and what I could do to help that, oh gawd it was terrible. None of us are physically capable of making music when the RIAA isn't getting all the money it wants!

There are some artists who are behind the move as well; Mary Wilson, one of the original Supremes, says the radio stations have "...gotten 50-some years of free play. Now maybe it's time to pay up." And fair enough, the RIAA has always quite nobly stated this is all about artist compensation, and every now and then they tend to bring some Honest Actual Musicians out to make statements saying as much. But honestly, and you'll have to forgive me for being blunt here, but I don't think Internet downloading, CD sales in the past 7 years and royalty-free radio airplay are the sole financial reasons behind Miss Wilson's current gig at the Potawatomi Bingo Casino in Milwaukee. Hey, I've seen enough E! True Hollywood Stories to know how this stuff goes down, people, and I am willing to bet this new payment plan won't exactly put her back in diamonds and caviar. However, compensation for one's work is always something worth fighting for, and more power to her, but I do not believe this solution is the One True Solution the RIAA wants people to believe it is.

Additionally, if indeed royalties are to be collected on every song broadcast radio plays, I wonder what the RIAA is going to do with the performance royalties collected for the independent artists who are not part of the behemoth and thus won't see a dime of the extra money generated. I sure would hate for them to think that it's apparently okay to make money off someone else's work without due compensation if you're the RIAA, because right there is one organization which has built its entire reputation on fair play, rational decisions and integrity, always integrity.

(9 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:May 22nd, 2007 02:29 pm (UTC)
That's a lot of free-newspaper people. Although I usually take any free newspaper I'm offered because they're useful for putting under the cat's food and water bowls.
[User Picture]
Date:May 22nd, 2007 02:31 pm (UTC)
i suspect that the free-newspaper distribution is now standard at all the stations -- there was a setup like that at davis this morning, too. keeping my head down and my headphones loud helped me; perhaps you could also take this approach?
[User Picture]
Date:May 22nd, 2007 03:00 pm (UTC)
It's ignoring them and the panhandlers in the same action. I dunno. I just hate walking by them and trying to ignore 'em without having to mumble a "no thank you."

I do get the Metro from the guy at Davis, but that's all I do.
[User Picture]
Date:May 22nd, 2007 04:03 pm (UTC)
There's a cool black lady at Park Street northbound who seems to recognize me and always hands me a BostonNOW with great flair. But otherwise, I pick the free papers up off stacks (or seats) if I bother with them at all.
[User Picture]
Date:May 22nd, 2007 05:29 pm (UTC)
You should take a paper from the paper pusher, then give it to the panhandler. "Here ya go. Something to read."

Also, if the RIAA wants to go after radio stations for playing RIAA-sponsored crap, for which there are laws so that the RIAA won't PAY said stations for playing their crap, I think we'll see a whole lot of Brad Sucks et. al. on radio stations in the near future. RIAA could be onomatopoeia in the right circumstances.
[User Picture]
Date:May 22nd, 2007 04:55 pm (UTC)
I hate having to avoid the newsies too. Everyday it is like a wierd little dance I do to avoid them. There are 3 at the Holland St. entrance. I feel guilty ignoring them and then bad if I take a paper because I think about all the dead trees.
[User Picture]
Date:May 22nd, 2007 05:18 pm (UTC)
Radio stations already DO pay royalties... just not to the RIAA. They pay them in a more artist-direct fashion via ASCAP/BMI/SECAM.

Of course, the RIAA has zero (or less) interest in musicians getting paid, but rather themselves getting paid.
[User Picture]
Date:May 22nd, 2007 05:27 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the labels get paid, which is good (but again, apparently another arena rife with exploitation, given Mary Wilson's feelings towards compensation.) The RIAA demanding money for itself, then, is just ... a lot worse.
[User Picture]
Date:May 23rd, 2007 02:50 pm (UTC)
Did you know that the RIAA is also trying to lobby the FCC to try to REDUCE the already miniscule royalties that they pay to artists? True story! It's even on their website. All about the artists my ass.

Personally though, my favourite is their Dr. Evil lawsuit against allofmp3.com. Allofmp3.com operates from Russia, a country which has an annual GDP of about 768 billion dollars. The RIAA wants to sue allofmp3.com for... 1.68 TRILLION DOLLARS.

After you guys finally impeach your president, why don't you see if there is some way to somehow impeach your music industry, too!

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