Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The More Things Change

One way or another I came across this ancient - well, 1983 - Usenet post about the then raging debate over the cassette tax levied, meant to offset the cost of piracy. It's so eerily prescient it's like traveling back in time yet arriving in the present.

hao!woods Feb 20, 1983 4:59 am

The problem with a "tape tax" is simply that there are a lot of other

uses for blank recording tape besides copying copyrighted material. Musicians

use it to record themselves, people actually even record things besides music

(God forbid!). It isn't really fair to ask everyone to pay for those who

use the tapes to copy records.

The best solution to sagging record sales is to make the price reasonable.

I stopped buying albums when the price passed $7 apiece. I think it's

outrageous. Concert tickets average around $15 these days as well. Maybe all

the superstars will have to switch from Rolls Royces to Cadillacs for a while

(breaks my heart :-) ). I realize that the non-superstar artists suffer more

than the superstars. I think what we are seeing here is more people want to

be musicians than the market will support, which accounts for the troubles

of the "non-mainstream" artists a lot more than taping records, and the

superstars are WAY overpaid. I love the Stones, but $20 to see Mick Jagger

prance around for maybe 90 minutes is a blatant rip-off. Those of you who have

sent me mail asking why I like the Dead so much, here's one reason. They usually

play for 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Most bands, however, don't even give you 2 hours for

your twenty bucks. Cut down on the number of artists and lower the price of

records. I'd much rather have the album with cover and associated artistry

than a blank cassette with my handwriting on the outside any day, but my

principles take over when the price is up around $8.50 to $12 a record,

I'll buy a blank tape for $2.50 (or even $3 if they imposed a tape tax!) over

paying a ridiculous price for a record.



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