"Let’s not be blockheads," writes Dina LaPolt of LaPolt Law, P.C.
One thing I’ve learned in my many years in the music business is that the music industry is afraid of technology. With every new technology, from digital radio to the mp3, the music industry has dug in its heels resisting change, often at its own expense.
In the early 2000s when digital music was in its infancy, instead of embracing this new frontier, the industry rejected it, instead leaving the door open for piracy to set down its roots. Then later, again instead of embracing and harnessing the power of the new technology that made rampant piracy possible, many major companies poured millions of dollars into shutting down pirates through the slow and costly legal system. Even today we blame big technology for the downturn in revenue we’ve seen since digital music has overtaken physical product.
Don’t get me wrong -- there is a HUGE DISPARITY between the royalty rates paid by tech companies and the royalty rates that music creators deserve. However, with technology growing faster than it ever has, it has become a requirement that we in turn do our part to adapt and stay educated. We just can’t afford to stay set in our old ways. It is easy to point the finger of blame at big technology companies that seemingly profit exponentially off the work of creators. Yes, these companies absolutely should pay more for the use of music, but we cannot ignore the fact that the technology community has some valid complaints. If those of us who represent music creators aren’t able to come together and find common ground with these companies, the only ones to blame for our ultimate failure will be ourselves.