Mark Cuban vs the RIAA

Here’s an interesting post from Mark Cuban (whose blog I have just started reading regularly.) He wants to compile statistics on how file-sharing has affected industries to test the RIAA’s claims that it has hurt their business. He points out that DVDs, photographs and video games have all seen their sales go way up. He then points out:

The RIAA claims that sales of the top 100 CDs sold 195mm units in 1999, materially above the 154mm units sold in 2004. Which leads to a question. Are sales down due to filesharing, or have RIAA members just lost marketshare ?

I contend RIAA sales are down because they lost marketshare. There are more CDs being self published or released by non RIAA members than ever before. Sales from websites, concerts and car trunks are taking away sales from traditional labels. Access and awareness of that music has exploded through webradio, websites, p2p, satellite radio and tours

Right on Mark Cuban! What kind of knucklehead uses those stats anyway – the top 100 CDs have seen their sales go down? That is indistinguishable from just changing the mix away from blockbuster sellers. These folks are book-cooking, number-fudging, disingenuous bastards with their math, and no statistic they trot out should ever be taken at face value. If they tell me that the day is 24 hours long, I want to see the raw data before I’ll believe it.

Cuban is right when he says they are incorrect to claim that the RIAA is the music business. They have no way of knowing how many CDs were sold, just how many they sold through Soundscan. All those CDs that Michelle Malone and Michelle Shocked sell through their websites, those don’t get added in. All the CDs I’m selling for the Gentle Readers, they don’t know about that. All the sales happening in ways other than reporting retailers, those are off the radar. Don’t believe them when they say it is raining, that’s just them pissing away their business.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father. Member of the Podcast Hall of Fame class of 2022.

One thought on “Mark Cuban vs the RIAA”

  1. Shannon says:

    For another market for CDs and downloads, see There are literally thousands of CDs available there: independantly produced, home-grown, non-RIAA, non-fattening. They will report your sale to SoundScan if your CD has a UPC code, but many, many don’t. (For full disclosure purposes: my wife has a couple CDs available on CDBaby – look for Duelin’ Sopranos.) -sln

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