RIAA cleans house of unsold inventory to comply with anti-trust settlement.

Seems the RIAA has turned a loss into a win by complying with one of the terms of an anti-trust settlement that required them to give away free CDs to public schools and libraries around the country. The $143 million dollar anti-trust lawsuit was filed by various State Attorney Generals against the RIAA for setting artificially high prices on CDs and the free CD distribution was one of the terms agreed to in the settlement. The RIAA even agreed that these CDs “couldn’t be junk” and had to have been on “a Billboard chart for at least 26 weeks and had to peak in the top half of the chart” in order to fulfill the terms of the agreement.

As it turns out not only is it debatable if the RIAA has fully complied with the stipulation that the CDs not be junk, but it seems they should have added in a qualification that the CDs sent to public schools shouldn’t contain adult content:

CD trove is proving short on treasures

… 387 CDs containing explicit lyrics by the late Puerto Rican rapper Big Punisher, along with 356 copies of “Staying Power” by the late Barry White, weren’t high on the public schools’ wish list.

Raunchy music wasn’t what anyone in education or the Attorney General’s Office had in mind when they announced that a windfall of music was coming to public schools and libraries from last year’s $143 million anti-trust settlement with the recording industry. The industry was accused of setting artificially high prices.

Washington got 115,241 music CDs—which would retail at $1.5 million—out of the deal. Boxes of free music began hitting schools and libraries last week.

But some teachers are not sure what they will do with, for example, 114 copies of Meredith Brooks’ “Blurring the Edges,” which includes the Grammy-nominated song, “Bitch.”

“There were truly some gems in there,” said Karen Farley, a library media specialist for the Puget Sound Educational Service District. “It’s just that some of them, you’d look at and scratch your head.”

He said his office was unaware that schools had received titles featuring explicit lyrics, with albums clearly marked with the black-and-white parental advisory sticker.

In her announcement of the distribution two weeks ago, Gregoire said schools would not receive music with adult content.


The article goes on to list off some of what the various Washingon state public schools and libraries got in the way of CDs including:

  • 1,355 copies of Whitney Houston singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
  • 413 free copies of “Greatest Hits 1971”
  • 84 copies of an album by rhythm-and-blues artist Samantha Mumba
  • 69 CDs by Lenny Kravitz
  • 48 copies of “Scary Sounds for Halloween” from Martha Stewart
  • 27 copies of Madame Butterfly
  • 35 copies of the Bee Gees “This is Where I Came In.”
  • 310 copies of Will Smith, “Willenium”
  • 204 copies of Everclear, “Good Time for a Bad Attitude”
  • 104 copies of Wilson Pickett, “In the Midnight Hour”
  • Nine copies of Yanni, “In the Mirror”
  • One copy of “Chicken Soup for Little Souls”
  • “A lot of Gregorian Chants” and “an abundance of Christmas music”

The article does mention that there are some gems amongst all the crap, but it’s hardly the music windfall folks originally thought it would be. Other states should expect to see their free CDs arriving shortly and it’ll be interesting to see what kind of stuff they get.

Link via SlashDot.

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