Stream-Ripping By, Bob Lefsetz

Posted on September 13, 2016 by

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“IFPI Makes Stream-Ripping Latest Front In YouTube Row”: goo.gl/UHbACg

The CD killed home taping. Did you really want to spend all that time making an inferior copy when the original sounded so much better?

Of course not. Never mind that CDs were vastly overpriced, didn’t compensate creators for said increase and singles were cut from the catalog, forcing you to buy a whole album to get the one good song you wanted.

In other words, the music industry fought the battle of the past by entering the future.

In case you’ve been on a news blackout, the story du jour is stream-ripping, apps that allow you to turn YouTube streams into files. It’s killing the industry according to IFPI and the RIAA. But the truth is it’s killing the credibility of those organizations, which refuse to give up any fight that might make them look like the petulant crybabies they truly are.

Let’s go back to the beginning, how we got into this crisis. Confronted with new technology that allowed one to just get the songs one wanted, for free, via Napster, the recording industry ultimately lost 60% of its revenues. It played whac-a-mole with file-trading sites, bitched about the dismemberment of the album on iTunes and is now carping about the free tier on Spotify. You’d think the end was coming…

But it’s not. Recorded music revenues have stabilized. Streaming share has gone up dramatically. Everything’s heading in the right direction. But greedy old people who don’t know LTE from 3G are still fighting the last war.

Have you seen a dial telephone recently? How about a phone booth?

The dial telephone disappeared because push buttons were much more efficient, faster, and the public paid for them. But the music industry would rather bitch about people reproducing the workings of a dial telephone as opposed to selling them the future.

YouTube sounds horrible. We learned that quality is a feature, that’s how the CD killed the cassette. Those stream-ripping will never pay. And they go against the storage wars. That’s right, storage is decreasing, the old iPods had much more capacity than the average iPhone. BECAUSE WE LIVE IN AN ON DEMAND CULTURE!

Instant.

On demand.

Those are the watchwords of today. When you rip it isn’t instant, you have to expend energy. The history of the universe is reducing the workload of the proletariat but IFPI and the RIAA believe that more work is the future. Amazing!

Ignore these stream-rippers! Going after them is akin to Disney over-enforcing its licenses re cartoon characters. Your goal is to get people interested in overspending in Orlando, not making it so they can’t get involved to begin with.

That’s right, the fact that someone steals the music is a good sign, shows they’re interested in a world where gaining traction for your product is nearly impossible. I’m not condoning it, just pointing out the silver lining.

We’ve done a lousy job of selling streaming services. People don’t know how they work, they don’t get the value proposition, they don’t know they can synch files for offline use and exclusives are reducing the incentive to sign up. If every retail outlet sold a different brand of cassette deck, what were the odds home taping would have burgeoned? Especially if everybody used a different brand of tape. But you could buy Maxell and TDK everywhere, they were the standard!

Major labels feel screwed.

Artists feel screwed.

The public feels screwed.

And this has caused gridlock.

The industry can’t stop bitching it doesn’t make as much as it used to. Forgetting that CDs were a bubble built upon catalog replacement. And once AOL started flooding us with free disks we realized the CD was overpriced.

Artists can’t get over the fact that label signings have decreased in volume and compensation and in a world where everybody plays it’s hard to get attention and compensation. Streaming pays quite well, if you’ve got double digit million plays, if you’ve got a reasonable deal. But artists would rather sit on the sidelines instead of agitating for better deals. Bitch that no one is listening instead of making something people want to hear.

And the public has no trust for the infrastructure. It hates the labels and believes they’re out to rip them off. Which the IFPI and RIAA actions reinforce.

We want people to give us their money. Imagine if Tesla complained you were using your car for Uber, shuttling more passengers in the car than just yourself. Hell, Uber doesn’t charge you more if you fill up the car, they’re just glad you use the service.

I hate to tell you, but recorded music revenues are gonna go up. They’ve already stabilized, subscriptions keep climbing. More people are jumping into the pool. So what are the labels gonna say when there’s more money? THAT THEY STILL WANT MORE AND THE PUBLIC IS SCREWING THEM! Ditto on the acts.

That’s insane.

Forget about stream-ripping. It’s a zit on the ass of the business. Don’t these execs have something better to do? Like release a manifesto telling how streaming services really work, a how-to with FAQs, and having artists testify about these cash cows instead of decrying them?

Every day we hear that Spotify is going out of business. Do you want to buy a concert ticket to a show that might not happen?

Enough with the naysaying. Enough with the disinformation.

The public loves the future and is willing to pay for it. It might take a while to figure out the business model, but in a world where World Of Warcraft earns ten plus billion dollars in revenue selling a virtual experience, a universe in which people cough up for virtual Pokemon goods, do you really want to focus on selling physical objects, complaining that some people would rather sew at home than buy pre-made clothes?

I’m not sure what the right price point is. Maybe ten bucks a month is too much. Most people never spent the equivalent of $!20 per year on music.

I’m not sure whether Apple Music has improved, only those paying can find out, which is crazy in a world where you can check out everything on an extended free tier.

And speaking of free… YouTube is great for music. It single-handedly brought back music video. It built stars. And it’s on its way to being eclipsed.

The future always realigns those who win and those who lose. The game is to adjust your offerings so you can succeed in the new world. The majors are part owners of Spotify. But those sitting at home making badly sung rock music think it’s 1972 and they’re about to triumph.

INSANE!

Stream-ripping is not the future. Because files are not the future. I never even launch iTunes anymore, because I never listen to files. And Apple fought the future with one hand behind its back by integrating files and streams in one product. I don’t even listen to the files I’ve got on my iPhone, it’s just too damn hard.

I just stream.

Jump in with both feet.

And know you can fight the battles of the past, you can enrage those who are not your customers to begin with, or you can focus on those with dough in their wallets who are just waiting for someone to extract it.

We want to spend.

But we don’t when we feel cornered, but when we feel ENTICED!

Buff up streaming, make it attractive to those who’ve yet to subscribe. Don’t demonize people for living in the past.