Stunning Revelation: Record Labels Screw Over Artists

CNET News has an analysis of a New York Post report about how music artists are wondering where all their money is, now that Napster and Kazaa were forced to pay the record labels in piracy settlements:

“The Post quoted two talent managers who said that artists have yet to see their cut of the Napster-Kazaa settlements. This isn’t pocket change we’re talking here. Napster paid $270 million to settle its copyright infringement case and Kazaa forked over $100 million. Some on the talent side suspect the top four record companies of foot dragging or playing ‘hide and seek’ with the cash.”

The article said that as CD sales continue to shrink, we should look for more squabbling between the two sides. For its part, Warner Music issued a denial, saying on Thursday that “WMG is sharing the Napster settlement with its recording artists and songwriters and at this stage nearly all settlement monies have been disbursed.” The other labels quickly issued similar statements.

In the end, “nobody [will] get rich,” and an unnamed source close to the negotiations said that after the lawyers get their cut, he fully expects the labels to say that legal costs ate up most of the proceeds. Here’s an idea for the record industry: finish dropping copy protection and watch some of these customers start to pay for MP3 files instead of stealing them.