LimeWire agreed last week to pay the RIAA and 13 major record companies—including Sony, Warner, Atlantic and others—$105 million, bringing an end to the five-year battle against the file-sharing site over copyright infringement. The out-of-court mea culpa took place about two weeks after the start of the damages trial-by-jury in New York.
Following the announcement of the settlement, a lively game of telephone began when TorrentFreak ran an article suggesting that the artists whose work was illegally distributed on LimeWire would not receive any of the settlement money. This assertion was based on a comment from the RIAA’s Jonathan Lamy, who “previously told TorrentFreak that the ‘damages’ accrued from piracy-related lawsuits will not go to any of the artists but towards funding more anti-piracy campaigns.” The direct quote from Lamy was that “Any funds recouped are re-invested into our ongoing education and anti-piracy programs,” which supported TorrentFreak‘s assertion—and made it plausible to other media outlets.
The TorrentFreak piece, titled “LimeWire Pays RIAA $105 Million, Artists Get Nothing,” was then referenced by DailyTech in its lawsuit article, titled “RIAA Scores $105M USD from Limewire, May Give Nothing to Artists.” Then the Wall Street Journal, going off of DailyTech, ran “Artists To Get Nothing Of LimeWire Fine,” Huffington Post went with the TorrentFreak bit in its “Limewire Settlement: RIAA, Record Labels Win $105M, But Artists May Not Benefit,” and Paste threw back to HuffPo as its source in the story “Artists Likely Won’t Get a Cut of the RIAA-LimeWire Settlement.”
But then came the news that the RIAA TorrentFreak quote was an oldie and did not reflect the RIAA’s intentions with the recent lawsuit money. Oops.
As reported by DailyTech, Lamy stated that “Far too much credence was given to the TorrentFreak ‘report,’” a quote Lamy made “years ago in reference to the end-user litigation program, which did not generate any revenue for the record companies.” Lamy goes on to say that the RIAA has not yet released any official statement on how the recently acquired funds will be divided. WSJ has since amended its post (though the original story title still stands in the URL), as did Huffington Post.
The outdated quote may allow the RIAA and the labels to be spared the role of villain in this round, though they should keep their Green Goblin costumes on standby in case it turns out that the artists, as TorrentFreak suggested, really don’t see any money from this deal.
In other news…
• Digital Music News has reported that, according to Nielsen, vinyl sales could see a growth of 25 percent in 2011. This equates to 3.6 million records being sold this year, which could benefit the three remaining record-pressing plants on the East Coast. Vinyl’s potential has been hyped before, but as digital sales rise and more people get nostalgic and look for an “authentic” way to listen to music, old (semi-)reliable vinyl could be primed for a legitimate comeback.
• Apple’s cloud music service is still pending, but Business Insider reports that when the company does debut its tune-streaming project, it will be one that wastes no time loading users’ tracks. Patently Apple revealed that Apple’s cloud will store small bits of songs on listeners’ iPhones or iPads, allowing users to start streaming music immediately while the remainder of the song loads. Apparently Apple is too cool for buffering—and we’re all right with that.
• The Oxford American has partnered with NPR to bring you Southword, a video and radio platform used to cover breaking stories in the Southern United States. The joint project of the Arkansas-based magazine and the public radio institution aired its first video episode today, covering life in Holmes County, MS, the most obese county in the state.
• Independent publishing company the Royalty Network has launched a record label. The New York-based Krian Music Group will offer A&R, digital and traditional marketing, PR, radio promotion and physical distribution by Universal/Fontana, and already has plans with artists like the Ettes, VHS Or BETA, Buck$ and Richie Loop.
Industry Wrap is a weekly CMJ column covering industry-related music news. Send tips to Christine Werthman at firstname.lastname@example.org.