I’ve long thought that the current music ownership and distribution has rapidly become dated and unnecessary and that the first company to put forth a workable business model based on fair use and easy digital availablity would stand to make a killing and also nail shut the coffins of the monolithic dinosaurs of the record industry. I think that day may be getting closer. Robert Cringely has an idea that I’m sure is entirely insane, but may well be one of the best to date. Sure it’s got problems. I don’t quite buy the numbers, and while I’d like to think its legal, it’s questionable enough that with the kind of money the RIAA spends on lobbying I wouldn’t be surprised if any loophole that allowed this is quickly closed. Our legislative branch seems fond of enacting legislation to protect existing business models in the face of needed change. Aside from those issues though, I’m not sure that this would necessarily be beneficial for artists as it stands, but perhaps a variant of it might be.
Meanwhile, a quick scan through a good number of titles in my record collection using the RIAA Radar confirms the expected: the RIAA is largely irrelevant in my day to day music listening. So why are they still here?