Tuesday, August 09, 2005

RIAA... you owe me money

Dear RIAA,

I have noticed the increased efforts you have been making to combat musical pirates from pilfering your coffers. I must applaud your determination. It isn't easy to keep up with all those 14-year-olds with their boundless energy and unfettered internet access. Maybe if more people understood the amount of energy required to sustain such an effort, they would join me in praising instead of vilifying you.

Well, after seeing how hard you've been working, I felt that it was my duty to join in and do my part.

Over the years, I have bought quite a bit of music. Some of it was good and some wasn't quite so excellent. (I fear we've all had our Debbie Gibson moments. Perhaps even you have had one.) Anyway, during the last several decades, I have bought a lot of music and have on occasion played it in my car (first in the form of cassettes and more recently - please bear with my justifiable boasting - in the form of Compact Discs. Yes, I have indeed availed myself of this wonderful technology and have greatly enjoyed the positive impact it has had on my life). I know this isn't unusual and even, I believe, falls under what has been called "fair use" but that isn't why I'm writing you.

Looking back, I remember that during many of these drives with music playing I was not always alone. That too would be fine - of course, you would know better than I the intricacies of the various laws - except that some of my passengers hadn't purchased the same Compact Discs. Thanks to your efforts, I now realize that since my passengers hadn't paid for much of this music we were essentially stealing food from the tables of our favorite artists. I can only plead ignorance and offer to make restitution.

I have spent hours trying to piece together a timeline of my music listening for the past 20 years and have come up with some figures. I have simplified them here for length, but you can give me a call if you want to see the more detailed breakdowns.

Between 1983 and 1986, I spent approximately 10 hours a week in my car with friends. The radio was on roughly two thirds of that time and most of the rest of the time was spent with cassette tapes playing. I've rounded that down to three hours per week since much of that time was spent switching tapes and fast forwarding through lame songs (I'm sure you remember those days). So, at about 15 songs per hour, I should owe you for 8640 songs for that period of time.

I could go on like this for hours, but the rough total of songs I believe I owe you for is a staggering 80,000 songs. I was going to try and collect from my friends (after all, they're really ones that benefited from all this unpaid for listening) but I realized that would be unreasonably difficult for me. Instead, I've decided to settle with you myself. Based on the going rate of $1 a song, I guess I need to pay you $80,000. So, whenever you're in the neighborhood, feel free to stop in, have a beer and pick up that 80 grand.

Your pal,



Dear RIAA,

I haven't heard back from you on that $80,000 yet. Is everything okay out there. I know you're really busy working with the FBI and everything (how do you get them to stop worrying about silly terrorists in order to focus on the very serious and real problem of musical pirates?) so I won't bug you too much.

Don't forget I've got a beer for you too.

Your buddy,



Dear RIAA,

Oh dear... this is rather embarrassing. I know that I promised to give you $80,000 for times that My friends listened to music in my car without paying for it, but there's a little snag.

As you can imagine, it's not very easy to keep $80,000 around and the cost of storing it can really add up. It's all very complex, but some of this money has been held by me for 20 years now and, unfortunately, I have to charge a storage and handling fee for holding onto it for you. You, of all people, should understand this...

Anyway, (this is where it gets embarrassing) the storage and handling fees have really added up and have far exceeded the amount of money I was saving for you. I'm sorry to say that with interest and late fees calculated in, you actually owe me an additional $17,503.87.

I don't want this to strain our friendship, but if you could just get that to me as soon as possible I would appreciate it. I would hate to have to go to court over this as it would surely detract from your efforts to catch musical pirates.




tshsmom said...

I'm sorry Shawn, but you don't owe them money for your friends listening to the music you bought. They owe YOU for play time for their songs. Music companies routinely pay and/or give radio stations music in exchange for play time.
Sorry, but you'll have to re-do your figures. ;)

PINKSandROSES said...

do you think that i could get money from the stores that i shop at. I mean i'm there almost every day, i'm sure i've stacked up some points or store credit or something

Shawn said...

No, I'm pretty sure I figured it right Tshsmom. I don't want to be taking money from the pockets of Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam and Flock of Seagulls... Okay, maybe I do... No, I must take the high ground...

Pink - I'm pretty sure you can't get any money from them, but I'm sure they wouldn't mind if you just took some merchandise. I think they would want you to stuff it in a big bag and then run out of the store. Oh, and don't let anyone see you either... they only give these rewards to very valuable customers and they wouldn't want just anyone suddenly wanting the same deal.

Personally, I'm glad you're out there doing your part to keep the economy afloat...

The Zombieslayer said...

Heh. Stupid RIAA. Those fools were the same fools who complained when casette tapes became popular. They'd say that with casettes, people would just tape friends' records and sales would plummet. What happened? More exposure and much higher sales.

Studies have shown that people who download music buy a lot more music than those who don't. As someone with literally hundreds of CDs, screw the RIAA.

You know who wrote the best article on the RIAA? Of all people, Courtney Love. She wrote an article called Courtney does the math and showed how the RIAA rips off the artists so they could have the money for themselves. Her best year, she made a whopping $30k. Luckily for her she's a millionaire actress though. Money goes to managers, businessmen, and lawyers, then gets trickled down to the artists. So many of artists go bankrupt it's not even funny.

By the way, it wasn't always like that. Music artists in the 70s and 80s made really good money. then the music industry became bigger and bigger thieves to the point that only the biggest artists make any money, while the industry gets filthy rich off of them.

Sassy said...

So, burning CDs is a bad thing? Oh Meeeeyan!!!!

HA! Love this post! My hubby is a "music guy" and well, I'm sure he owes the RIAA a bundle of cash as well. HA!!! Such lovely sarcastic wit you have.

Jason said...

I'd love to see this go to court!

Miranda said...

This is the best one yet. :)
Maybe they can throw in a couple
thousand more to repair my split sides.