from Rock & Rap Confidential/1999

These days Iím actually starting to see the positive side to piracy (as opposed to bootlegs). When Universal says that mid-line catalog CDs have been undervalued for years and raises list price to $15.98 (and new releases to $18.98-$19.98), we are seeing a situation where the working poor no longer have access to sanctioned releases.

Do the math: A CD is now four hours work at minimum wage when the electricity bill is overdue and a high-interest car loan for some ready-for-the-scrapyard piece of shit late-70s Ford is the only way to get transportation. The mother can only dream of living the religious rightís ideal of the stay-at-home parent, but she can go to a check-cashing agency to cash a post-dated check at another 13-25% so that she can feed her babies on THAT particular day.

So a little slice of enjoyment now and then must be bought in blood so David Geffen can make more money in a day than an average human spends in a lifetime? And Frank Creighton (top head-buster at the RIAA) has to feed Rolling Stone a story about piracy that doesnít mention any of this but states that the RIAA is going to have to beef up its piracy division and divert some attention back to the street (80% of their budget in í99 was focused on Internet investigations) because piracy is so rampant?

Thereís a reason that you can buy CD-R copies of the latest releases for $5 on the streets of Harlem or at the swap meets of Los Angeles-working class people can no longer afford to buy the legit item at Borders, Best Buy, or even Wal-Mart. Frank Creighton claims these pirates are making huge piles of money selling something for $5 that costs about $1.50 to make. So how obscene is it for Universal to charge $16 for a catalog CD that costs 30 cents to make and whose recording costs were paid for a decade or two ago?

--Bill Glahn

[from Rock & Rap Confidential/1999]

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