IFPI – Representing Themselves

In an interesting tidbit of musical news today, the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry), has been caught with its hand in the same virtual cookie jar as the RIAA found itself a few weeks ago when it turned out none of the legal proceeds from lawsuits was ever actually going to the artist. In an attempt at a lawsuit on the ubiquitous BitTorrent site Pirate Bay, the IFPI attempted to include the Swedish rapper Max Peezay as someone who had been cheated out of his rightful profits. The lawsuit sought financial compensation to Peezay for his “stolen” music. Sounds like a recording industry union going to bat for an artist they represent, right? Wrong.

Turns out, IFPI doesn’t own or have any hold over any the rights to Peezay’s music, and Peezay, whose lyrics often support file sharing, never wanted to be included in a lawsuit targeting a file sharing site. In fact, he was never approached, nor asked about his desire for involvement, and has informed the IFPI of such, effectively eliminating him and their claim for $19,000 in lost revenue for his music from their $2.5M lawsuit. The best questions are these: considering the IFPI never asked Peezay if he wanted to be included, how many other artists are in the lawsuit against their will? If they are involved unknowingly, how can they remove themselves? And finally…the most important question to me…if IFPI claims Peezay lost $19,000 on illegal file sharing, and actually succeeded in recovering this money through the suit, how much of it would Peezay have ever actually seen in his bank account?

Industry execs wonder why the music business is turning to mixmatch methods of distribution and artists are looking at ways to be profitable without the man in the suit sitting in the skyscraper. How can they possibly wonder? They treat their artists like cattle, herding them into slaughter houses of record deals and online distribution lawsuits claiming it’s for the good of their client. Then they pretend to be shocked that the artist is upset when, left with the bloody carcass and grisly remains of their music career, their creativity and earning power is turned into nothing but ground beef for the labels to sell at a profit. The greatest hoax perpetuated by the major labels is that they’re actually paying the cows.

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