17 May 2004

Follow the Money

…into someone else's pocket. That's what recording artists get to do. USAToday's story is almost inexcusably glib, but at least it demonstrates some of the ridiculous accounting practices in the recording industry. For example:
  • How many professional athletes get "charged back" for a pro-rate share of the team's marketing expenses? Or, if we're concerned about that team aspect, individuals (like golfers and tennis players)?
  • How many professional athletes, artists, etc. get charged by the distributor for practice facilities, or stadium and gallery construction, or above-market rental on completely sunk-cost locker rooms and open-air studios?
  • How many recording-industry executives get a portion of their salaries (and expense accounts) docked for their "costumes," their transportation and equipment expenses, or their recreational substances? Or, worse yet, for so-called genius Simon's hairdo?
  • How many businesspeople voluntarily reduce their income 15% from their best market, just because their costs used to be higher in that market?

Don't smirk too much, authors. Authors' royalties are just as bad, if not worse—because the charges to you don't get unbundled. Perhaps I'll go over this at some time in the near future… as I'm expecting a confidentiality order to be lifted by the end of the month. I won't name the publisher, because it wouldn't make any difference. Neither will I name the authors.