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Ethical Dilemmas in the Music Industry

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by

Brittany Barker

on 4 November 2015

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Transcript of Ethical Dilemmas in the Music Industry

The ability to record music on cassette tapes did not significantly impact the music business. But the rise of CDs certainly did. When Napster was launched in 1999, consumers were downloading their music directly onto their computers. With Napster's help, a database of music was developed so individuals could upload and exchange music in seconds.
Piracy
XCP Software
Record Labels &
Radio Stations

Consumer and Artist Bliss
Start
Music consumers love music, and they love sharing it even more.
With piracy putting a huge dent in revenue, Sony-BMG decided to put a copy protection technology called XCP on their CDs prohibiting consumers from sharing their music. Sounds ethical until you consider...
Independent Promoters
Consumers wanted easily to obtain, budget friendly music. Artists wanted to earn a living selling their recorded songs. Napster served the consumer and neglected the artists. Music labels served the artists to a degree, but were highly motivated by personal profits. iTunes helped to resolve this tension by providing easy access to cheap songs vastly reducing the rate of pirated downloads. Likewise, record labels, radio stations, and music-share software has been heavily regulated to ensure that the music industry is operated ethically.
Music Industry: Ethical Dilemas
Artists & Consumers -
Is it possible for them to win?

Unfortunately everyone wanted it for free...
Napster: The Father of Piracy
Sony Fires Back
Radio Station Demands
It's the thought that counts, right??
Now that consumers understand how to behave ethically and the lawsuits against Sony-BMG are settled, artists will finally get what they deserve...
Free Music = Stealing
So what's the big ethical dilemma?

well, a lot.....
*consumers had no idea they were installing this technology onto their computers and it was nearly impossible to remove.
*the XCP software was constructed in such a way that computers were left highly susceptible to hackers, but as a "ghost" software, the computers would be incapable of detecting the activity.
Should it matter that Sony-BMG was just attempting to protect themselves from piracy?
No.
Their lack of transparency and willingness to commit "fraud, false advertising, trespassing, and [violate] state and federal laws that ban malware and computer tampering" cost them approximately
Artists only receive mechanical royalties from albums sold. However, when music is shared via systems like Napster, it is essentially stolen and no one receives the profit for their work. Record and publishing companies rely on sales and royalties associated with successful songs to recoup costs.
$100,000,000
Lesson Learned: Unethical behavior does not trump unethical behavior.
or will they?
With profits down and lawsuits costing a pretty million, labels hire independent promoters to push songs to radio stations. If songs are played and gain popularity, albums sales go up, and profit is generated.
Radio stations begin demanding--and receiving--gifts to play songs owned by record labels. Gifts span from cash and lavish parties to electronics and cocaine.
Results
Labels complained that
paying to have your songs played became too expensive. Smaller labels couldn't compete and therefore their songs would never be heard. In the end, everyone lost. Radio stations and record labels alike were sued and millions were once again lost.
Lesson Learned: A consensual unethical relationship is still unethical.
Record labels were repeatedly sued for inaccurate royalty payments to artists. In May 2004, a settlement suit totaled $50 million in unpaid royalites awarded to shortchanged artists. Because labels manage their own bookkeeping, the burden of proof lies with the artist. Labels were also inproperly charging artists for the overhead in relation to manufacturing and distributing albums--even though they were digital downloads.
Royalty Abuse
FRAMEWORKS
Neither the teleological framework, nor the deontological framework would be suited for the music industry. It is evident that no universal ethical decision making process exits and the positives do not outweigh the negatives when individuals self-serve. Instead, the global business standards codex framework would have resulted in a substantially different outcome.
Obstacle 1 | Piracy: Resolved through the property principle which revolves around respecting the rights of owners of said property.
Obstacle 2 | Unregulated Antipiracy Efforts: Resolved through the transparency principle which focuses on integrity and ensures that consumers would not be mislead or deceived.
Obstacle 3 | Shady Deals: Resolved through the reliability, fairness and fudiciary principles by keeping promises made to artists, fairly promoting songs to radio stations, and following all legal mandates.
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