I love this guy Elliot Spitzer! Now he's sniffing 'round the music industry.

Discussion in 'Music' started by Rachael B, Oct 22, 2004.

  1. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    I just heard on CNN that the in-famous Attourney General of the grate stayte of New York who's cracked down on a remarkable amount of corporate crime in these last few years is looking at how songs are picked to be on the wray-dio. All I can say is go man go! [​IMG]
     
  2. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Spitzer fan here, go get'em! [​IMG]

    --
    H
     
  3. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    What's the problem? I like the same 6 songs I can hear on every station in America! [​IMG]

    Go Get 'Em, Spitzer! [​IMG]
     
  4. Paul.S

    Paul.S Producer

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    Viscerally, of course the notion of Spitzer's investigation into radio's use of the public airwaves appeals to me, as have his other white collar crime investigations in recent years. But the kind of payola that Fredric Dannen wrote about in his seminal Hit Men has changed with the deregulation era rise of companies like Clear Channel.

    Although I think it's an overstatement, I quote the New York Times article I read on this: "One promoter, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Mr. Spitzer's investigators 'are not going to find anything; they're 20 years too late.'"

    -p
     
  5. Phil A

    Phil A Producer
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    Definitely not afraid to take anyone on. By the way, I think he is now going after people whose birthday is today too. Happy Birthday [​IMG]
     
  6. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Phil, he's not gonna catch me now, he's not gonna catch the midnight rider....[​IMG]

    Guyz, we're not sure exactly what he's looking for or his precise angle. The CNN story said he has ordered alot of material be turned over to him. He could very well have an angle that we are not aware of. He seems a very clever man. Antitrust is a viable avenue here or some sort of collusion...?

    BTW, Paul, my daddy gave me a copy of HIT MEN for Christmas, oh, about a decade ago...or more?
     
  7. Paul.S

    Paul.S Producer

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    It's a delicious book, Rachael--did you read it?

    BTW, I think this post-Enron, Sarbanes-Oxley antitrust emphasis is having some unintended bad consequences. Two examples: the ongoing screener issue in the movie business. Given the litigation last year, the studios have been advised to not communicate with each other about anti-piracy measures in connection with screeners, or announce what encryption schema they want to use. The studios ought to be having 'summit' meetings on the issue about solutions. Instead, just this past week we learned that Dolby subsidiary Cinea is not going to make their deadline in shipping encrypted DVD players to Academy members. It's basically November already, ya'll--the Oscars are a little more than two months away--and there's no solution in sight. So the issue is going to be almost as messy this year as last.

    Closer to topic, I speculate that the absence of communication between, much less consensus amongst, the record labels is why some record cos. DVD-A titles have encryption issues that necessitate player firmware upgrades and others do not (Seal IV DVD-A and the Pio 563A anyone?).

    Similarly, I think this issue may be at work in the (poor) roll out and marketing of DualDisc. Note from the DD Website that the labels had to create an LLC for format marketing purposes . . .

    It will be interesting to see if Spitzer turns up/announces anything. But, as much as we may dig the guy/his efforts, this will have a chilling effect on the industry that has the potential to continue to negatively impact consumers . . .

    -p
     
  8. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    ...is no match for Clear Channel.
     
  9. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Paul, I did read the Hit Men book. I can't find it now. I must of loaned it to somebody who never brought it back. I'd like to look at it again.

    I don't care if he turns the music industry upside down and I don't care if there might be some short-term loss of product for consumers. Damn, I might have to relisten to moldie oldies for a while, yeah, I got some good ones! There are likely a great many improper business arrangements to be found? He might trip over all kinds of things that weren't on the original scope?

    I'd like to know how the industry extracts these huge signing bonuses from the revenue streams. I so suspect they do so at other artists expense. It looks like crime. It smells like crime. There must be a crime hiding in that stench?

    Improper relationships between the labels, concert promoters, Clear Channel (thanks Henry[​IMG] ), Sirius, or more evidence of CD price-fixing are all very possible. Remember, what a prosecuter says he's looking for can be a smokescreen, and one stepping stone can lead to another.

    I think this is one industry that needs to be embarassed at the very, very least.[​IMG]
     
  10. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Anybody find any good articles about this over the weekend? There was a little piece in the business section of the local paper here. Warner has been served with a subpoena. Other labels might have but that's not yet confirmed.
     
  11. Tom Foley

    Tom Foley Stunt Coordinator

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    Here's a link on this:

    NY Times

    As much as I don't like this guy Spitzer, who seems more interested in grabbing headlines than actual criminals and comes off as always looking for a settlement rather than legally arguing his cases (because they're usually rather flimsy), this one here looks like a slamdunk for him. Yet another black eye the industry doesn't need but truly deserves. As if the Ashlee Simpson thing wasn't bad enough.

    I've seen how it works in the music industry today and the way songs get played on the radio is just disgusting. It's "legal" payola, that's all. The record company hands the money to the outside promoter, the outside promoter (usually a former label promo rep him/herself) hands it to the radio station, radio station plays the tune. Simple as that. Radio stations use all that money for big giveaways and whatever else crap they do. Promo guys for the labels also directly give non-cash gifts to the stations all the time, which are usually given away as be-the-100th-caller-type stuff (gift cards to Best Buy, etc.). But I've also seen expenses for sophisticated electronics that simply had to be equipment for the radio station. All that stuff goes through the station PDs and MDs, who have to be the most hooked-up guys on the planet. Talk about living high on the hog.

    As far as the music, it's got nothing to do with what the audience wants. The tail wags the dog. How's the audience gonna know what it wants if it hasn't heard it yet? That's why they do what they do. There's fierce competition to get those spins, especially with less and less of them available because of more and more advertising, and with the need to draw in the audience with songs that have already been played for the last six weeks. So it's tough to get the airtime the record companies need to sell those records.

    On a music industry webboard I visit, it's funny, they mentioned this inquiry, but strangely enough hardly ANYBODY commented on it. A lot of people know they have to keep their mouths shut.

    I hope this inquiry manages to do something. This current model is leading to nothing but mediocrity and cynicism. Quality of the music means absolutely nothing anymore. Sure, a musically great band or singer can get lots of spins on the radio - but the station can't cook without the dough, baby.

    I'm trying to imagine what the music business would be like if it were totally illegal for record companies to pay money to radio stations. Let's see - almost no more stupid giveaways for ratings, PD's and MD's getting kicked to the curb all over the country, A&Rs completely redirecting their attention (or getting fired, too), more varied playlists. I wouldn't expect in a year for every artist to be the next Zeppelin or Aretha, but certainly radio would be a lot less predictable.
     
  12. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Thanks for the link Tom! I do like Mr. Spitzer. I'm getting a settlement from my mutual fund thanks to him. He might as well be the national attourney general since the actual one, Ashcroft, is more intrested in singing his original songs than rooting out crime.
     
  13. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    I was just thinking about the economics of the industry and what if the promotional bribes were removed? What if this investigation beat that back? How different could the cost landscape look? Myself, I've no idea how to quess this...
     

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