19 June, 2002

Jerk-ass

BenderTo misquote Bender: the RIAA can bite my shiny, metal ass.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, lobbyists for the recording industry are making noises about charging royalties on the sales of used CDs. Used CDs!

I started buying used CDs 10 years ago, when I found a nice, un-assuming little store called The Record Exchange in Hampton, VA. I immediately fell in love (and no, it wasn't just the cute girl behind the counter). All of these CDs! So many different kinds of music. Imports! And they were cheap! I went in their at least once a week (usually two or three times) and I easily dropped $50-60 for a whole stack of CDs to listen to. I remember thinking, "there's no way I could do this at a regular music store. I'd never have any money." (Okay, I never did have any money. But I had a ton of CDs to show for it.)

Since then, I've certainly purchased my fair share of new CDs. Albeit that the band/artist had to have been really good to be worth the money. And more often than not, I would pre-order my music from a place like Amazon or buy.com so I could get a discount. But still, I would say at least 85% of my collection was bought used. And I'm perfectly fine with that. The cases are often cracked, and the booklets tend to be a bit frayed at the edges. But so what?! I listen to the music, not read the book.

But the other thing I've always enjoyed about the used CD shops is that they tend to be fairly small and locally owned (or at least regional, in the case of The Record Exchange). So I can actually take the time to talk to the store's owner, find out what kind of music comes in, how often it comes in, and even make requests to hold certain CDs for me. Not the sort of treatment I've experienced at places like Tower, Camelot, Mother's or any other number of corporate stores. (I don't even know which of the stores of my youth still exist, to be honest).

So it really pisses me off when a group like the RIAA pleads poverty and attempts to screw over the little guy in an effort to make a couple more greenbacks. "We're not squeezing every possible (and often non-existant) cent out of our product! Won't somebody help us recitfy this situation?" Oh, boo-frickin'-hoo. Guess what guys? You already sold the CD. Your participation in the product's life cycle is basically at an end, barring any defects in the media itself. (Sadly, there doesn't seem to be any mechanism for returning a CD due to defects in the music itself). Don't go trying to re-write the rules at this point to say that we, the consumers, are only renting the CD. That, my friends, a big old load of bullshit. There was a time when a company would learn how to survive without seeking these pathetic, state-sponsored handouts. If you weren't making enough money selling your product, you either changed your selling tactics, stopped selling the product, or went under. The market economy at work!

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