There's been a discussion among various podcast radio shows recently about whether to play RIAA music or not. If you don't know, the RIAA is the PR and lobbying group that works on behalf of the large music labels. They've also appointed themselves as the guardians of the old way of forcing music down people's throats selling music instead of embracing anything new (iTunes doesn't count, the RIAA still gets 65% of the price of all music and they've extended all the same crappy deals and arm-twisting into that store the same as any regular old store). Recently a label gave a bunch of podcasts some songs by one of their bands to play. It was a small label and smaller folks are usually more on the ball about new things so it's not surprising that people would latch onto podcasting eventually. The discussion started when it was revealed that the label, however indie and forward-thinking they might appear, was also RIAA affiliated.

The crux of the discussion amongst podcasters is whether or not RIAA labels "need" the push and support that podcasts can give. I think that's missing the point. There's plenty of small artists that could use all the support they can get. I'd argue that big label artists might need more support because of the draconian contracts they get into. Only 1 out of 100 artists on the big labels make anything resembling a large paycheck at the end of the day. They might spend their big first check on a house to show off on MTV Cribs but they're in debt up to their tonsils to the label for years afterward. No, the point to me is that these podcasts shouldn't play RIAA music because the RIAA has been in the business of screwing listeners and artists for years and even if an artist isn't directly complicit in that screwage, they're enabling the process. Most of the cost of a CD at BestBuy goes to the label and they appear to love to use that money to pay lawyers to sue people. Supporting artists on RIAA labels is supporting the RIAA. Sorry to any small RIAA labels or bands that might need the exposure but you're collaborating with the enemy as far as I'm concerned.

It's a longshot but maybe if enough podcasts get big enough and refuse to play RIAA music, it'll start to be a benefit to non-evil labels that they aren't RIAA affiliated. The artists need to realize that they have a choice in labels and if an important venue is shut off to them if they choose a RIAA label, maybe they'll choose somebody else.