Saturday, May 03, 2003

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

This was from yesterday, but I only now got around to reading it: Orin Kerr quotes Terry Fisher as saying that record companies only make $0.19 per $20.00 CD sold, to which I thought "well, that's crap." My reply was this (sent via e-mail, since they don't have comments on their blog):
I apologize for the lateness of my response, but I only today read your posting on The Volokh Conspiracy about CD prices. I'm not in the music industry, so perhaps I'm missing some important facts from elsewhere. Allow me to question one aspect of your posting: the $1.50 per CD for manufacturing. I can go to Best Buy, Media Play, or Circuit City and buy 100 CD-Rs for $10 nearly anytime. With only a slight bit of preparation (buying the Sunday paper for a week or two), I can find a coupon/rebate combo that results in CD-Rs being free after all the paperwork is filed.

CD-Rs: between $0.00 and $0.10 per
CDs: $1.50

Hmmm ... my "Hollywood accounting" detector is ringing madly. I suspect that most of the cost (beyond what the retail store gets) is inflated tremendously. As I said before, I'm no industry maven, but I can certainly question the accounting practices that cause Toni Braxton to file bankruptcy simultaneous with having a multi-platinum selling CD, the Dixie Chicks telling Dan Rather that their 17-million-selling CD didn't make them millionaires in spite of that representing $200M in revenue, and Courtney Love does the math for us.

All in all, I think somebody's leg is (or legs are) being pulled quite mightily.

Professor Hatch already responded; he said to read the paper because he's just repeating the numbers. I read the paper, and it did absolutely nothing to dispell my unease. I also suspect that these numbers might very well be correct at exactly the same time that Courtney Love's numbers are correct. It's all about where you decide to put the numbers in which column, and where you are when you put them there. I still believe that the record companies are playing fast-n-loose here, although I can't prove it.

And another thing ... if these CDs are created as works-for-hire (which the music industry claims is the case), how come the artist has to bear the cost of the creation? Am I to understand that "40 Grit" gets to pay to create the music, gets to pay for the producer, gets to pay for the studio time, gets to pay for the marketing, gets to pay for damned near everything related to the generation of the content, but the record company owns the result? The record company gets the profits? How exactly do you explain that away without terms like "indentured servitude"?
Holy effing crap. I may have to buy a Honda, just to reward the people that make adverts like this. And amazingly enough, it all really happened exactly that way in real-time ... no Photoshoppery involved, although it did run to 606 takes to get it all right start to finish.
Peter Oborne asks "Is Blair just an empty, vainglorious, narcissistic creep?" Come on, Peter! Tell us how you really feel about it all!

A quick excerpt:
The government now faces two distinct challenges. The first, of course, is the reconstruction of Iraq, while the second remains the reconstruction of Britain. Labour swept to power six years ago with a series of promises to rebuild public services. They have all been broken. As far as Tony Blair is concerned, the central paradox of six years in office is stark: the levers of power respond with alacrity in defence and foreign affairs, and yet government is all but powerless in the domestic arena.

It is worth pondering this contradiction, made sharper by the military victory in Iraq. It raises two fascinating questions. Why do British armed forces, with their meagre £25 billion budget, always deliver? But why do the NHS and the education system, though in receipt of unlimited amounts of public money, continue to fail? To put the problem in another way: how come the simple British squaddie — though underpaid, overworked and forced to carry out his or her duties in conditions of appalling danger — always rises to any challenge? But how come so many British schoolteachers, rather better paid, with far shorter hours and long holidays, endlessly whinge and — as the teachers’ union conference demonstrated yet again — block even quite sensible reforms?

Monday, April 28, 2003

Once again, Bill Whittle has penned a truly wonderful essay, "Victory", which everyone should go read right away. As always, it's moving, forceful, and really just about the best use that those electrons could have been put to.

I keep putting "BIll Whittle" into Amazon's search page. Sooner or later a book's going to show up, and I'll be having one thank you very much.