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Soon To Be Relics

March 6, 2012

It seems like everyone is willing to speak ill of the old guard in the music industry but no one will outright declare what we all think: it’s time for them to die and their already bloated soon to be rotting corpses to act as the base for new growth. For clarity the old guard is any large industry business from the early beginnings to mid part of the 20th century with the worst of them, though only a small part of their group, being the major labels (Sony, EMI, Warner and Universal), the AFM and the RIAA. These companies need to finally pack it in for a few reasons but the main three being: they don’t understand how the industry currently works and have outdated mentalities, their death would create more creativity and change than the industry has known for decades and finally because they hate you, they hate your family and they hate anyone who doesn’t do everything exactly how they want.

Repeatedly these business’ show that they have no idea how the current music industry functions and sometimes how the world at large works. A most recent and glaring example of this can be the support that they gave to SOPA/PIPA; at a time when people are pushing for easier to access copyright materials and online use these giants of the industry pushed for more control and less access for people. As well these groups operate on business principles that no longer work, the AFM still has rules that state bands must have a leader who gets paid more, record labels losing millions of dollars a year because their sales are low, the RIAA having lower membership than ever. Constantly the old guard speaks out claiming the internet is to blame for their problems but this is a poor and completely wrong defense. The internet is what the people want, it represents and evolution and advancement in technology and society; if these people cannot adapt and grow into this new era and means of operating then they deserve to washed aside and have others grow in their place who can.

The old guard in the last 10-15 years has done almost nothing to help improve the music industry. Forward looking companies like Apple, Bandcamp and youtube have done more to help the average musician earn a living off their music than these companies ever did. While they focus on making things more restrictive and difficult for the fans smaller companies(at the time until they grew popular and became large) and organizations have filled in this gap and solved the problem. As a very clear and easy point not many musicians have gained any help from the old guard however in Canada the local MIAs(Music Industry Associations) and other organizations like Factor have helped out thousands of bands and artists.

The old guard is a hate filled and angry group that has lost what little kindness and focus on helping others it once had. Instead it focuses on taking this out on individuals and anyone who isn’t a part of their club. This come in a variety of forms from suing single low income parents for downloading a single song to taking down video online where you use 10 seconds of their song without permission in your high school art film. These people don’t care who you are they just want your money and to stop you from as they see it unjustly hurting them. Further proof of this can be seen by how the AFM has a near choke hold on international work visas for musicians. Trying to play abroad without being a member of the AFM is next to impossible and involves more paper work than is worth. The RIAA focuses on making copyright an overcomplicated legal system that only a handful would ever properly understand because it “helps” protect your intellectual property. The worst part of it is that these people have the gall to act like they are victims of something.

There was a time when the old guard was not only necessary but helpful and a solid foundation in the music industry. That time has now passed and they need to accept their inevitable end. There should be no apologies made to them for their lack of adapting to the times and treatment they get. When they started doing things like making average people out to be criminals they declared themselves the enemies of all and started a war they could never win.


One Comment leave one →
  1. sixnoises permalink
    March 6, 2012 6:38 PM

    Nice piece, Hassan. Can’t find a single thing to disagree with here. Here in New Zealand–where I’m from–the laws regarding internet usage have been recently changed at the behest of foreign corporates like the old guard. It’s somewhat depressing to think how much power they still have. But you make a good point, they have started something that will in all likelihood be the end of them, by refusing to adapt to fans desires they are well on the path to stagnation and entropy. At least I hope so.

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