They're making the same point using a similar argument but that's very different to plagiarism.
I have a friend who is a producer / musician who has been in a successful (top 10 singles) band. He'll tell tales of spending a day in the studio sampling a snare drum sound. One day, one snare drum sound. Given the cost of studio time that's just obscene.
Now maybe that's what the highest production standards demand, but I think we need to view the $500,000 album and the $500,000 video as a luxury, not the norm. If those costs come down (and that's perfectly realistic) then the maths potentially looks very different.
The issue here is (surprise surprise) most likely with the record company. After all the better the production the more likely the record is to sell (arguable but it's probably not going to hurt) and the record company don't care whether the money goes to the band or to the studio / producer.
But bands do need to take some responsibility for how THEIR money is spent. In the scenario outlined there is meant to be a scramble for this band. If that's the case then bands need to argue for more control rather than just more money as money seems to be pointless without it.
Makes me think about the contract the Wedding Present signed when they moved to a major label. They gave up a load of cash to have complete control over studio, producer, artwork and so on and if the label didn't like the resulting record, to be able to take it to someone else. More bands need to think in those terms.
So, although 500K sounds like a lot, I think the studio wants to rightfully allow the artist enough freedom to track, experiment, and mix without worrying about hitting their budget ceiling.
Oh, shameless link to our CD:
I'm not saying that bands have to produce an album in three days but you could have had maybe six times the time you spent (which I'm guessing would have removed plenty of pressure and allowed a little time to experiment) and still be coming in at under a quarter of half million dollar figure which seems to be seen as reasonable. I'm guessing that If someone had said to you your budget is $100,000 you'd have been absolutely convinced you could do something that did the music justice.
The question isn't about what would be nice, we're talking about commercial realities so it's about it's about what is feasible. From the band's perspective (and it's ultimately them paying) the figures Albini and Love put forward suggest that $500,000 is a long way from it.
As an indie musician this is frustrating. I've actually produced a pretty good record. It's available as a free download on my site:
Like many musicians I'm driven by love, if I could figure out how to make money with it that would be swell; as it is I just want people to listen:)
I would guess similar tensions must exist in the tech/VC space where a few hits got to cover the costs of the losers for the VCs. I would expect a similar disproportion in the way the individual deals would appear weighted in favor of VC against the companies they invest in. Im not familiar with how the investments are structured though.
If you can record an album yourself and afford to give it away free, it would seem to suggest that it's possible to do it cheaper than half a million dollars (though what do I know, you could be a .com millionaire...).
The thing is... The musicians allow this. They sign the contracts, even with these articles all over the internet. They knowingly step into this.
I think it's as sleezy as the next guy does, but until the musicians stop agreeing to it so freaking readily, there's not much the rest of us can do for them.
Labels will rarely front that much money for recording costs unless justified by past success. The days of million dollar videos are over (in just the last 5 years), and the 360 deal racket is the last great hope of recorded music labels.
The biggest problem with recorded music isn't the label, its the corporate parent. Labels are trying to make good on the promise of 360 by staffing for 360. They can't do so because of resource constraints and resource consolidation at the very top.
Also, blaming labels is one easy thing for artists to do. They should also blame themselves and their managers and lawyers for signing crappy deals to begin with.
I've been at many contract signings (in fact, one artist did the photo-op in my office because of the computer screens), and I never saw a gun held to a hand as they signed what I think everyone knows was an inevitable small disaster, and the small potential for success.
As for Ms. Love: the last 12 years she's been bailed out a lot by people that played in the system she abhors. I personally like Courtney. I've met her many times, and we share common friends, but a 12 year old article does little to comment on today's climate, and in situ it wasn't even that great either.
I'd much rather see what Troy Carter, Scooter Braun, Ken Hertz, Peter Mensch, etc, or producers like Dr. Luke would write about recorded music as a business today. It'd be a lot more interesting.
A few other points:
The RIAA should not be a metonym for recorded music.
Labels are rarely to blame for the problems they are blamed for, their corporate parents usually are.
Artists have the power as a creator which is much stronger than a representative body in 2012. Use it.
"I don’t know if an artist can last by meeting the current public taste, the taste from the last quarterly report. I don’t think you can last by following demographics and carefully meeting expectations. I don’t know many lasting works of art that are condescending or deliberately stupid or were created as content.
Don’t tell me I’m a brand. I’m famous and people recognize me, but I can’t look in the mirror and see my brand identity.
Keep talking about brands and you know what you’ll get? Bad clothes. Bad hair. Bad books. Bad movies. And bad records. And bankrupt businesses. Rides that were fun for a year with no employee loyalty but everyone got rich fucking you. Who wants that? The answer is purity. We can afford it. Let’s go find it again while we can."
"Why aren’t record companies embracing this great opportunity? Why aren’t they trying to talk to the kids passing compilations around to learn what they like? Why is the RIAA suing the companies that are stimulating this new demand? What’s the point of going after people swapping cruddy-sounding MP3s? Cash! Cash they have no intention of passing onto us, the writers of their profits."
Even those recording companies with selfish motivations should be able to recognize the amount of profit that could be gained from this change so that they are able to prepare and adapt to this new environment if they want a good chance in becoming forerunners in their market.
Scratch your old business models and start doing market research.
To whomever can revolutionize the music/media industry with stewardship for the arts you deserve these profits for your work.
At the time of writing, Napster was still very much in consciousness, so, if you've become famous for something negative, get known for something people care about. She should have hammered at this drum a little louder and for a lot longer.
Could you put a  in the title, please?
"It’s piracy when the RIAA lobbies to change the bankruptcy law to make it more difficult for musicians to declare bankruptcy."
Fortunately musicians are starting to (finally) get a few more options to escape The Cartel.
Much like Universal attacked MegaUpload regarding their self produced YouTube video, I have to wonder how much effort would be directed at killing new independent digital publishing venues via bogus claims using SOPA / PIPA style laws. The answer is probably: a lot.
But it's too late. It's game over for these jerks. Whether it takes 5 or 15 years, they're on the downward slope in terms of control.