Wednesday, July 30, 2003

MEET THE NEW FACE OF THE US RECORD INDUSTRY Face not shown: The replacement for Hilary Rosen has been named; from September first, the RIAA will be headed up by Mitch Bainwol. Mitch's connection with the music industry is, um, totally non-existent. He was Bill Frist's chief of staff, which will obviously mean he has great understanding and insight into the ways of the music world.

Its his political connections that have got him the job - the Washington Post observes that Rosen's Democratic ties were of limited use in the current US political climate; in Wired, Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyer Fred Von Lohman expresses hope that Bainwol will lead the music industry in a 'productive' direction, but wonders a little at the choice; his old boss Frist wasn't a major character in the copyright struggles playing out right now which suggests that Bainwol has little to bring to the table other than the telephone numbers of some senators and skills in shaking hands.

It's interesting that Bainwol wasn't even interviewed in the first round of Rosen-replacement-seeking; more interesting still that part of the trouble the RIAA had was that nobody really wanted to do the job, despite the handy million bucks a year that goes with the office. That few wanted to wield the sledgehammer of power suggests that there isn't very much support throughout the industry for the RIAA's tactics at the moment, especially amongst those who actually understand music, and music fans in particular.

We're sure that the many gays, lesbians and bisexuals working in the music industry will be delighted that the top job has gone to a man whose previous major role in public life was supporting Frist, especially when good ole' Bill has worked so tirelessly to try and make gay marriages unconstitutional. You can find a list of the organisations that have hired Bainwol here; mostly insurance companies looking to weasel out of industrial injuries compensation claims as far as we can see.

If you Google on "Mitch Bainwol" music, you don't get any results that actually show Bainwol taking an interest in music at all. Which we guess shouldn't surprise us in the head of the Record Company Cartel. We're guessing his secretary is currently off buying him some of those CDs, so that he can give an interview to the New York Times saying how much he loved the Paul and Simon when he was in college, and, hey, his kids love Raidingohead.

There's more - much, much more - over on Slashdot.

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