Thursday, March 1, 2007

Do Boycotts Work Anymore?

So no one ever comments, and that's cool and all, so I'll just toss this question out as a "somethin ta think aboot".

Tech blogs are declaring March a "Boycott RIAA" month, basically, just don't buy (OR PIRATE!!) anything made by an RIAA label. "Vote with your wallet" is the battle cry. The RIAA has a staggering amount of power and influence. They are shaping (for the worst) the future of policy, technology, ownership/user rights, and in the most bullish way possible, are probably their own worst enemy when it comes to the protection of the music industry's profits. Their most recent practice of bullying ISP's to give up user information, so that they may "settle disputes" with users directly, thereby circumventing the courts, is at best unconstitutional and at worst extortion and the destruction of privacy and "fair use".
I agree that a message needs to be sent to the RIAA (somehow) that the continuation of their current practices will eventually lead to a breaking of the music industry as we know it today, to the detriment of musicians and fans alike (those always most likely to be hurt by the practices of the RIAA).

But a boycott?
At best only a small fraction of people who buy music will participate. Even if the boycott makes a noticeable impact on the sales of March, will a "message" be sent? I find it more likely that RIAA will claim even more "losses" to piracy, further ENCOURAGING their semi-illegal lawsuits and privacy destroying practices.

If you like music, I encourage you to check out Gizmodo's proposed boycott here:


And, while you ponder the above and Gizmodo's plan, I leave you with the chillingly visionary lyrics to "MTV Get Off The Air" by The Dead Kennedy's.


"M.T.V.-Get Off The Air"

Fun Fun Fun in the fluffy chair
Flame up the herb
Woof down the beer
I'm your video DJ
I always talk like I'm wigged out on quaaludes
I wear a satin baseball jacket everywhere I go

My job is to help destroy
What's left of your imagination
By feeding you endless doses
Of sugar-coated mindless garbage

So don't create
Be sedate
Be a vegetable at home
And thwack on that dial
If we have our way even you will believe
This is the future of rock and roll

How far will you go
How low will you stoop
To tranquilize our minds with your sugar-coated swill

You've turned rock and roll rebellion
Into Pat Boone sedation
Making sure nothing's left to the imagination

M.T.V. Get off the
M.T.V. Get off the
M.T.V. Get off the air
Get off the air

See the latest rejects from the muppet show
Wag their tits and their dicks
As they lip-synch on screen
There's something I don't like
About a band who always smiles
Another tax write-off
For some schmuck who doesn't care

M.T.V. Get off the air
And so it was
Our beloved corporate gods
Claimed they created rock video
Allowing it to sink as low in one year
As commercial TV has in 25
"It's the new frontier," they say
It's wide open, anything can happen
But you've got a lot of nerve
To call yourself a pioneer
When you're too god-damn conservative
To take real chances.

Graph-paper brained accountants
Instead of music fans
Call all the shots at giant record companies now

The lowest common denominator rules
Forget honesty
Forget creativity
The dumbest buy the mostest
That's the name of the game

But sales are slumping
And no one will say why
Could it be they put out one too many lousy records?!?

M.T.V.-Get off the air!

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