The other day I was looking through Yahoo for the latest news from my area, and I found myself becoming increasingly irritated by one particular article. The article, Listen up: Restaurants pay high price to play copyrighted music on WRAL.com stated that a Raleigh Pizzeria has been ordered to pay thousands of dollars for not buying a license to play popular songs in its restaurant. Other restaurants have been sued as well. Licensing companies actually pay people to go in and make recordings of what a restaurant is playing in order to "collect songwriter’s royalties". Does this mean that if a restaurant owner purchases a CD, and plays it in their establishment, that they still have to buy a license? Has anyone ever heard of free advertising? Did it ever occur to anyone that if a restaurant owner plays a certain type of music that it might lead to their customers going out and purchasing a song, or album because they liked what they heard? I mean, come on…Really?
Honestly, I understand that musicians work hard and deserve to be paid. I'm all for capitalism. People who work hard deserve compensation for their efforts. The problem is that the vast majority of people who work the hardest get paid the least. The very people who put their lives on the line for everyone else don't make millions of dollars like those in the entertainment industry. Where is the line drawn between being fairly compensated for what you do, and greed?
I think that most of the frustration comes from those entertainers who flaunt their success in ways that border on the ridiculous. Does Billy Rockabilly really need a 23 bathroom mansion? Does he really need a diamond encrusted jet to get him around from place to place? This form of excess makes me sad for all the children in our country who don't have a roof over their heads, or a diamond jet.
Sure, all those people who are filthy rich give to charities all the time, and super mega stars even give free concerts on the “Today Show” to thank their fans for the $19.95 they spent on their last album. Do they stop to think about how many hours it took for that fan to earn that $19.95? How many milliseconds does it take a music mogul to earn $19.95? What about the expense it takes for a regular Joe to start a small business, and try to achieve his piece of the “American Dream” without having to pay thousands of dollars for a music license on top of it?
Who knows how many millions of dollars entertainers have donated to various causes. Maybe they don’t want anyone to know. Maybe, some problems are just so big (insert sarcasm here) that no matter how much money you throw at it there will always be: the mentally ill sleeping on the streets, children going hungry, or dying because they have cancer and their parents can't afford the treatment. There will also be those people losing their homes because our President gave all our money away, and those who benefited from it refuse to give up their 400% profit. Even if it did come from the very people they're kicking out on the street (Phew!!). I guess one person can’t make a difference.
If you're thinking that I'm angry, I'd say, "Damn right I'm angry!" The music industry is fast becoming the poster child for what is wrong with this country, and the people in it. WAKE UP!! Where does all that money really get you? Does it make you happy? When the end comes will you be able to say that you were the best person that you could have been?
Capitalism is great as long as you avoid the pitfalls of greed, and selfishness. Apparently, it seems that most people don’t, but that’s just my opinion.