Op-Ed: Where are the Record Companies Lobbyists?

lobbyists.jpgAnyone who has paid attention to cable news constantly hears how lobbyists affect every one of our civic leaders’ decisions. We hear about donor influence everyday: the fears of Bill Cinton’s Global Inititave donors swaying Hill’s new job, Saxby Chambliss’s abuses of power with sugar factories, and how important it was to John Podesta to keep lobbyists far from Obama during the transition of power. Lobbyists are blamed for so many things that are not for the greater good of the people, and instead for the good of corporate interests. If this is the case, why has one of the largest corporate entities in America, the music/film industry, never flexed their muscle to stop file sharing?


It’s not like the music industry isn’t politically connected: David Geffen is famously one of Barack Obama’s earliest supporters and credited as one of the first people to say he was going to be President. Jon Bon Jovi has raised countless dollars for Hillary Clinton to recoup her debt for her failed presidential run. Former CEO of Def Jam Records, Jay-Z a one time label President is quoted by our President and plays private parties for his staff alongside Arcade Fire.

With all of this influence, why hasn’t the record industry used it’s close ties to influence some legislation against file sharing? Where you stand on the issue of file sharing doesn’t matter, since
obviously the record companies do not enjoy the decrease in revenues file sharing brings. With the Democrats having large majorities in all three branches of government shouldn’t all these ties get a back scratched?  They have the money, power and influence that should equal any of their wishes being granted.

One hypothesis is the Democrats are not influenced by their corporate ties. This is easily disproved by anyone who has researched Joe Biden’s recrord of voting against consumers and for credit card companies whose influence looms hard in his home state (and about a million other cases). Another possibility is the lobbyists who the industry has hired are much like the hacks they hire to run the record companies themselves: incompetent and without vision.

With a importance on job loss and retaining economic growth, it will be no surprise if the music industry is able to plead it’s case to get government assistance in staying afloat in the coming years. In the coming days New York City (one of the hearts of the industry), will see a near 9% unemployment rate. Since a bailout is not likely (since no one sympathizes with a rockstar when they aren’t singing), it seems as if trying to halt file sharing is much more likely an answer for the industry to turn to. If they don’t it will be a very odd move for a dying industry to wave a white flag when there will be immense pressure to improve our economy by any means necessary. If the industry does not exercise its muscle, how will Michelle Malkin cry “Corruptocrat” every week in her delusional blog?

I am curious if anyone has an insight on this issue? Is something in the works I am not aware of? Is there really no law for our politicians to bend as usual? Have they seen the inevitability of the future landscape of music with file sharing being ever present?

Jesse Cannon is the editor of Musformation. He produces records at his studio Cannon Found Soundation. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseCannonMusF. For more info please visit his website.