Suicide Watch: Music Industry Threatens Musicians

The ongoing saga of the music industries attempts at self-immolation, highlight what happens when luddite industries go digital. Everyone involved on the traditional side of the music industry seems to have become resistant to all forms of criticism, commentary and common sense. As the music industry continues its death march into irrelevance, it seems determined to antagonize every group it can, while it publicly implodes. The NY Times Puts it this way:

Now the industry is squaring off against a surprising new opponent: musicians.

According to this article in todays NY Times, several labels along with the music publishers union have been turned started to threaten sites that post, link to or allow users to post “guitar tabs”, info on where to put your fingers to play a certain song.

The battle shares many similarities with the war between Napster and the music recording industry, but this time it involves free sites like, and and even discussion
boards on the Google Groups service like and, where amateur musicians trade
“tabs” — music notation especially for guitar — for songs they have
figured out or have copied from music books.

Lets ignore the incorrect suggestion that Napster wasnt free and focus on the fact that someone in the music industry thinks its a good idea to harass musicians (“amateurs” but thats were your future lies), that are discussing how to play music. Music that they probably purchased in some other form and care enough about to want to learn. Talk about a violation of the moral economy. The article highlights the fact there is a lack of case law to support the publishers position and in all likely hood they dont have a legal leg to stand on. But most of the sites dont have the money or willingness to try their luck in court. But wait the best line follows:

A small handful of sheet music sites now sell guitar tablature. Mr. Keiser, of the Music Publishers’ Association, estimated that,
including overhead costs, tablature could cost about $800 per song to
produce, license and format for downloading.

Produce? Overhead? Format for downloading? He’s talking about a text file with numbers and letters. What production, what formatting? What overhead? These guys are nuts.


3 Responses to Suicide Watch: Music Industry Threatens Musicians

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