The Jurassic Park film series gave dinosaurs a time in the limelight, even a few moments where they could be heroes. But in the Jurassic Park world of digital music, there are very real perils for the consumers running about.
Until late in the 20th century, music was primarily enjoyed live, and often only by individuals of high financial prestige. The wide and ready accessibility of commercial popular music is a fairly recent phenomenon in human history. The development of digital methods of disseminating music-- compact discs, satellite radio and computer media formats-- have accelerated this trend.
Immediately prior to the onslaught of digital music methodologies, a select few companies were beneficiaries of the initial public hunger for accessibility. A number of these companies banded together to create a firm that represented their supposed intellectual and artistic interests-- the RIAA.
The RIAA, has, since the inception of computer media delivery formats for music, taken aggressive steps to curb its distribution-- in many cases well beyond limits most individuals would find reasonable, including the well-publicized case of a
suit being filed against a 12-year old child.
Who are the RIAA working for? A consortium of large music recording firms-- some of which are backed by large multimedia conglomerates. Are these companies in need of protection? A look at the assets and balance sheets for these firms would seem to indicate otherwise.
The RIAA's constituents claim that their businesses are being hurt-- that their earnings ability is being compromised by the downloading of music. One look at the prices of CDs in stores would indicate otherwise-- that possibly the ability of consumers to purchase music is being compromised by the purchase price for CDs.
Why would the RIAA's member companies continue to push CDs at high prices and pursue downloaders? The fact that many of these companies have large staffs, expensive office properties and highly paid executives provides clues.
While technology has permitted other industries to reduce staff counts and operate more efficiently, it would seem that the same momentum has yet to take hold in the music industry. So rather than use technology to the benefit of their business, these firms elect to pursue other users of it.
The RIAA and its constituents need to be cognizant of the business environment around them, and start adapting rather than terrifying music enthusiasists. Without careful thought as to how to best coexist, these dinosaur companies may find consumers will make them extinct.