Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) chairman/CEO Hilary Rosen told lawmakers yesterday (Oct. 1) that the industry’s parental-advisory labeling program is being undermined by massive downloading of unauthorized music files from peer-to-peer networks. Speaking at a House hearing reviewing music marketing and the labeling program, Rosen said that since downloads carry no stickers, the industry’s efforts to “make the advisory program better are being diluted by peer-to-peer (P2P) networks.”
Rosen quoted recent studies showing that 70% of 12- to 18-year-olds use P2P services, and that age group is 3.5 times more likely to go to a P2P site than to a record store. Rosen also pointed out new concerns for parents, saying that when youngsters search for a track by a popular artist such as Britney Spears, porn files are often among the offerings. She called on lawmakers to “ask the [Federal Trade Commission] to investigate those sites as much as they did the legitimate industry.”
Rosen and Russell Simmons, co-founder of Def Jam and chairman of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, expressed opposition to age- and content-related stickers, saying such labeling would not work with music as it does with video games and movies. Simmons said regulators should look “beyond words to meaning. There’s a cultural divide out there; there’s a different meaning [to lyrics], depending on who’s listening and their experiences.”
BMG was lauded by lawmakers for its decision last June to include more content-specific language below the warning sticker.