If you've ever silently wished death upon the Recording Industry Association of America, your prayers may be poised to come true. The anti-piracy giant that went after torrenters with bared teeth might just crash and burn long before filesharing does. Tax records show that the RIAA has seen a 50% drop in profits over the past two years.
That's a steep fall--from $51.35 million to $29.1 million, to be precise. The reason? The association is seeing a lot less cashflow from membership dues as major music labels consolidate. Fewer majors in the world means a lot less money for the entity that's supposed to safeguard them from intellectual property theft.
And while the RIAA continues to lobby the government steadily, it's been spending less on legal fees as it's stopped hunting down individual file sharers. Taking down the Pirate Bay or Megaupload is more efficient than screwing teens out of a few grand apiece, apparently. But the association's legal strategy doesn't seem to be doing them much good; cases like the one against Limewire, whom the RIAA says owes $75 trillion in damages, are so ridiculous that judges have been throwing them out.
While the RIAA's funds may be running dry, its top executives are, in the true American spirit, still seeing absurd payouts. CEO Cary Sherman came out with $1.37 million last year, while senior executive vice president Mitch Bainwol scored a mean $1.75 million. Although it has just 72 employees, the RIAA paid them a total of $12.7 million last year.
We've known for a while that the RIAA's attempts at protecting intellectual property have been outrageous, even borderline evil at points. Looks like the music world's finally ready to usher this old enemy out.