Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Sometimes, we send emails.

With Universal paying $12m to make Eliot Spitzer's payola investigation go away we did find ourselves wondering: who does this sort of crime hurt the most?

When Sony-BMG, Warners and Universal use their cash and influence to take unfair share of US radio time, sure, it's not much fun for the audience, and it's not much fun for the artists, but really, the key victims are the labels who don't have the money to offer foreign trips and cash to get their records onto the radio.

Now, these labels are members of organisations which exist, supposedly, to protect their interests. And one which isn't shy about standing up in public to attack criminal activity. Oddly, though, the RIAA has been strangely silent about this one - almost as if it's not really the industry-wide organisation it portrays itself as, and that it might just be a plaything of the larger members.

Likewise, the BPI seems to be strangely quiet on this one - with the UK government pouring our cash into initiatives to promote British music in the US, surely this sort of behaviour by BPI members works against that, doesn't it? And yet, again, the BPI hasn't managed to find its own voice.

Perhaps, though, we're being unfair - after all, we've been on holiday. So we've sent both the BPI and the RIAA a letter asking them where we can find their reaction to the Spitzer investigations. This is the RIAA one, the BPI one was similar but tweaked:


I've been searching the RIAA website to find some comments about the acceptance of payola accusations by three of your members - Sony BMG, Universal and Warners.

Since this behaviour is clearly against the interest of other, smaller members of the RIAA, I was expecting to see some sort of reaction - and censure - against these criminal activities on the part of a few of your members.

Could you direct me to the person who is dealing with this, or perhaps point me to a place on the site where the same sort of trenchant criticism levelled at "illegal downloaders" is dished out over these criminal acts?

Or does the RIAA only worry about crime when it feels its members are the victims?

Simon HB
No Rock & Roll Fun

We'll let you know when we get a reply - it's almost like a race, isn't it?

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