SXSW Interview: Hilary Rosen

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SXSW Interview: Hilary Rosen

Austin Convention Center, Thursday 14 According to Recording Industry Association of America president Hilary Rosen, a recent RIAA-commissioned survey found that 34% of heavy music buyers were buying less because they found what they wanted online for free. Another 24% reported not being able to find what they wanted to buy. Accordingly, the prime moral argument justifying illegal file sharing is the music industry's perceived malfeasance toward customers and artists alike. In this largely soft-pedaled interview with Hollywood Reporter Music Editor Tamara Conniff, Rosen acknowledged that the industry's current troubles were of its own making. Not that this warrants government investigation into Big Five business practices. "One of the biggest mistakes record companies have made is not making changes to their business model," she said. "But just because you're a slow dinosaur doesn't mean you're operating illegally." At the same time, Rosen voiced support for government intervention on behalf of record labels in the arena of costly independent radio promoters. "What I've discovered is that most people really don't have a sense of how entrenched independent promotion has become at radio," she said. "Consolidation has only exacerbated it." The sweet irony is that this current variation on payola is largely a creation of the labels themselves. Instead of evidentiary hearings that might actually uncover misdeeds on both sides, Rosen would rather just have the FCC regulate it. "We decided it wasn't productive to concentrate on the legality or illegality of it," she said. It would have been nice to have someone like Salon.com's Eric Boehlert as interviewer to probe a bit deeper. As it was, Rosen's interview was more akin to a state of the union address with no response from the opposing party.

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