Warner Music: why do you fund this crap?

I just saw a very disturbing report on 60 Minutes (an important TV news show in USA) about the music business that pushes a “no snitching” campaign. It impugned Warner Music. That’s the company that Ethan Kaplan works for (as head of technology). Now, admittedly, he’s a geek there, not directly involved in choosing the music strategies of Warner, but let’s start there.

Ethan: why do you guys fund this kind of crap?

You talk about “blowhard hacks” at Gnomedex.

What you are doing and funding (and supporting through your technology) is FAR worse for the human race than any arguing we’re doing at Gnomedex.

What do you say about this Ethan?

How can you write hypocritical posts like this one about Gnomedex and go to work for the company you work for who are spreading the kind of vile described by 60 Minutes?

178 thoughts on “Warner Music: why do you fund this crap?

  1. I was robbed at gunpoint once, in Bed-Stuy Brooklyn.

    I did not go to the police. I did not tell them a damn thing. I wasn’t about to have a bunch of white, asian, and latin police officers tearing through the ghetto harassing every black man on a bicycle they spotted, creating even more hatred.

    I only lost what amounts to two hour’s worth of wages. The fellow who robbed me will likely be trapped in that run down corner of Hell for the rest of his life.

    I heartily encourage *EVERYONE* to avoid working with the police, too. You’ll be much happier for it.

  2. I was robbed at gunpoint once, in Bed-Stuy Brooklyn.

    I did not go to the police. I did not tell them a damn thing. I wasn’t about to have a bunch of white, asian, and latin police officers tearing through the ghetto harassing every black man on a bicycle they spotted, creating even more hatred.

    I only lost what amounts to two hour’s worth of wages. The fellow who robbed me will likely be trapped in that run down corner of Hell for the rest of his life.

    I heartily encourage *EVERYONE* to avoid working with the police, too. You’ll be much happier for it.

  3. So many of you are such a buncha white-bread honkies that it would be amusing if it weren’t so pathetic. Much like 60 Minutes it’s easy to take a stance on this piece without acknowledging and understanding the culture complexities that drive this behaviour. As was mentioned before the relations between the police and those in poor neighborhoods is less than optimal. Unless Robert is going to lay out his street cred growing up in Compton then perhap he shouldn’t get so self-righteous about this. Of course if he did have that cred, he likely would be approaching this in a more reasonable manner.

    By the way Robert, snitching was one of the greatest tools of the Nazis since fear drove people to hand over others as a way to protect themselves.

  4. So many of you are such a buncha white-bread honkies that it would be amusing if it weren’t so pathetic. Much like 60 Minutes it’s easy to take a stance on this piece without acknowledging and understanding the culture complexities that drive this behaviour. As was mentioned before the relations between the police and those in poor neighborhoods is less than optimal. Unless Robert is going to lay out his street cred growing up in Compton then perhap he shouldn’t get so self-righteous about this. Of course if he did have that cred, he likely would be approaching this in a more reasonable manner.

    By the way Robert, snitching was one of the greatest tools of the Nazis since fear drove people to hand over others as a way to protect themselves.

  5. @82 “This is not evasion but it is an abuse of global systems.”

    By the letter of the law, agreed it is not “evasion”. But let’s be honest..by the spirit of what they are doing, they are indeed evading taxes.

  6. @82 “This is not evasion but it is an abuse of global systems.”

    By the letter of the law, agreed it is not “evasion”. But let’s be honest..by the spirit of what they are doing, they are indeed evading taxes.

  7. robert, it’s a shame to see your sharp eye applies only to the online world.

    what percentage of how many inmates are African American? Is it any surprise that their culture reflects an antagonism towards police?

    and yet you blame this serious social problem on Warner music? are video games responsible for columbine too?

  8. robert, it’s a shame to see your sharp eye applies only to the online world.

    what percentage of how many inmates are African American? Is it any surprise that their culture reflects an antagonism towards police?

    and yet you blame this serious social problem on Warner music? are video games responsible for columbine too?

  9. Robert, I typically read the Scobleizer, but this is one of the first times I have seen you deliberately antagonize for the sake of antagonizing and introducing a bunch of bs rhetoric in your responses. I found so many logic flaws in your responses to Ethan that I just didn’t know where to start. Maybe you need to go back and read this thread. No-one gains and I sure as heck didn’t learn anything from this interaction.

  10. Robert, I typically read the Scobleizer, but this is one of the first times I have seen you deliberately antagonize for the sake of antagonizing and introducing a bunch of bs rhetoric in your responses. I found so many logic flaws in your responses to Ethan that I just didn’t know where to start. Maybe you need to go back and read this thread. No-one gains and I sure as heck didn’t learn anything from this interaction.

  11. Reading through these exchanges, I actually forgot what the original argument was all about. It’s like a tribal war that continues for so many centuries no one can recall the original sin, which probably involved a goat from one tribe that ate some crop on the other tribe’s territory.

    I like both players, Ethan and Scoble, and I think they both help to make the world a better (more interesting, technologically advanced, communicative) place. Thanks, guys, and now I hope we can get back to doing what you do best.

  12. Reading through these exchanges, I actually forgot what the original argument was all about. It’s like a tribal war that continues for so many centuries no one can recall the original sin, which probably involved a goat from one tribe that ate some crop on the other tribe’s territory.

    I like both players, Ethan and Scoble, and I think they both help to make the world a better (more interesting, technologically advanced, communicative) place. Thanks, guys, and now I hope we can get back to doing what you do best.

  13. @Robert: Microsoft puts a significant proportion of its business through Ireland. The net effect last time I checked is a $400 million tax ‘saving’ each year. It is unclear whether they are manipulating what is known as the ‘transfer pricing’ rules in order to achieve this but either way, it doesn’t reflect the economic reality of how they do business. It is a common tactic employed by large international companies and is a significant drain on available tax resources for the countries in which they were originally located.

    People will argue the ‘goodness’ or otherwise of tax saving in this manner but the reality is that it creates economic distortions on a global scale. It is one of the most serious corporate abuses and contributes to what the US government already know represents a $300 billion ‘tax gap.’ In the UK, the tax gap is about $50 billion though I’m waiting for an update on the number.

    The tax gap is the difference between taxes that would normally apply on the basis of declared profit and the tax government is able to collect.

    This is not evasion but it is an abuse of global systems. Some of us think it has a significant effect on large parts of the world because it creates tax competition. That means poor countries, desperate to get inward investment will offer all sorts of crazy tax incentives. That happened in Ireland and has led to chronic house price inflation. The same is true in the Channel Islands.

    I can give you all sorts of theories as to why this is happening and the consequences but they boil down to one thing – governments have effectively passed over economic control to business which, while enjoying the benefits of being ‘human’ have no concept of monetary ethics. Their argument is always the same – anything goes when it comes to maximizing shareholder value.

    People like myself who talk about this are not popular but we don’t care. We see it as a race to the bottom that fosters inequality.

  14. @Robert: Microsoft puts a significant proportion of its business through Ireland. The net effect last time I checked is a $400 million tax ‘saving’ each year. It is unclear whether they are manipulating what is known as the ‘transfer pricing’ rules in order to achieve this but either way, it doesn’t reflect the economic reality of how they do business. It is a common tactic employed by large international companies and is a significant drain on available tax resources for the countries in which they were originally located.

    People will argue the ‘goodness’ or otherwise of tax saving in this manner but the reality is that it creates economic distortions on a global scale. It is one of the most serious corporate abuses and contributes to what the US government already know represents a $300 billion ‘tax gap.’ In the UK, the tax gap is about $50 billion though I’m waiting for an update on the number.

    The tax gap is the difference between taxes that would normally apply on the basis of declared profit and the tax government is able to collect.

    This is not evasion but it is an abuse of global systems. Some of us think it has a significant effect on large parts of the world because it creates tax competition. That means poor countries, desperate to get inward investment will offer all sorts of crazy tax incentives. That happened in Ireland and has led to chronic house price inflation. The same is true in the Channel Islands.

    I can give you all sorts of theories as to why this is happening and the consequences but they boil down to one thing – governments have effectively passed over economic control to business which, while enjoying the benefits of being ‘human’ have no concept of monetary ethics. Their argument is always the same – anything goes when it comes to maximizing shareholder value.

    People like myself who talk about this are not popular but we don’t care. We see it as a race to the bottom that fosters inequality.

  15. @78 Dude, again! Do so research before responding so you don’t look ill informed. Being incorporated in Nevada or Delaware doesn’t give you the same type of tax haven being incorporated in the Cayman’s does. Incorporating in those states for the most part saves companies on STATE corporate taxes, not FEDERAL. Seagate is ducking FEDERAL taxes. And generally it’s LLC’s that get most of the advantages.

    And being incorporated in Ireland doesn’t get you out of paying taxes; the tax rate is just lower. Whereas in the Caymans there is no income, corporation or capital gains tax and no estate duty, inheritance tax or gift tax.

    Nevertheless, I wasn’t talking about other corporations, I was talking about Seagate. What other corporations may or may not be doing is not relevant to the Seagate topic. You do understand how to debate a topic, right?

    Look, I congratulate Seagate on figuring out a way to avoid taxes. Good for them. Then again, unlike you, I don’t think the Fed Govt is responsible for creating federal charities, so the less money they get from us, the better. But because you think the Fed Govt should be our Mommy, I thought you might want to know Seagate is not contributing its fair share to the welfare state.

  16. @78 Dude, again! Do so research before responding so you don’t look ill informed. Being incorporated in Nevada or Delaware doesn’t give you the same type of tax haven being incorporated in the Cayman’s does. Incorporating in those states for the most part saves companies on STATE corporate taxes, not FEDERAL. Seagate is ducking FEDERAL taxes. And generally it’s LLC’s that get most of the advantages.

    And being incorporated in Ireland doesn’t get you out of paying taxes; the tax rate is just lower. Whereas in the Caymans there is no income, corporation or capital gains tax and no estate duty, inheritance tax or gift tax.

    Nevertheless, I wasn’t talking about other corporations, I was talking about Seagate. What other corporations may or may not be doing is not relevant to the Seagate topic. You do understand how to debate a topic, right?

    Look, I congratulate Seagate on figuring out a way to avoid taxes. Good for them. Then again, unlike you, I don’t think the Fed Govt is responsible for creating federal charities, so the less money they get from us, the better. But because you think the Fed Govt should be our Mommy, I thought you might want to know Seagate is not contributing its fair share to the welfare state.

  17. @27 billsayzthis

    “But wouldn’t other, less ethically questionable companies jump at the chance to hire someone of his talent and experience?”

    Haven’t you been around long enough to know that NEARLY EVERY LARGE COMPANY IS AMORAL? It is their nature. There aren’t enough mom & pop businesses around for everyone to leave their corporate jobs.

    Even so, if you have qualms about what your employer is doing, look for a replacement job. It does not mean that you’ll find a suitable replacement job in a more moral or ethical company, but you should still be looking. It may take you years to break free, but keep looking.

  18. @27 billsayzthis

    “But wouldn’t other, less ethically questionable companies jump at the chance to hire someone of his talent and experience?”

    Haven’t you been around long enough to know that NEARLY EVERY LARGE COMPANY IS AMORAL? It is their nature. There aren’t enough mom & pop businesses around for everyone to leave their corporate jobs.

    Even so, if you have qualms about what your employer is doing, look for a replacement job. It does not mean that you’ll find a suitable replacement job in a more moral or ethical company, but you should still be looking. It may take you years to break free, but keep looking.

  19. LayZ: look into why hundreds of companies are incorporated in Nevada or Ireland.

    But I didn’t even know about it until you mentioned it. I’ll do some research and see if it’s something I will comment on more.

  20. LayZ: look into why hundreds of companies are incorporated in Nevada or Ireland.

    But I didn’t even know about it until you mentioned it. I’ll do some research and see if it’s something I will comment on more.

  21. Robert,

    Here’s the problem– working for the music industry has always been about taking the hypocritical path. It’s accepted as part of the job, and people move on. From the Sony machinations in the mid 90s, to nearly every single desktop in the cubes of Warner Music Group running Napster, to the inability of Universal to sell music online at a time when it really would have revolutionized the industry, the technical/online arms of the industry have always been an exercise in bailing out a sinking ship with a thimble.

    You need to get to the core of what Ethan is saying. It is a paycheck, pure and simple. Now, why someone in the online department is attempting to speak for the company is beyond me– only a few short years ago he would have been crucified for that, but who knows, maybe the business really is getting better. (Or it’s even worse than we thought.)

    Keep this in mind, though. Ethan has about as much connection to that 60 Minutes story as you have to the direction of the War in Iraq. Asking him why he works for a corporate behemoth that behaves like that is like asking you why you’re still a US citizen. In his role he has the ability to decide what software WBR runs, but not a whole lot more. You didn’t have influence over Microsoft’s OEM deals, why would you take him to task for this?

  22. Robert,

    Here’s the problem– working for the music industry has always been about taking the hypocritical path. It’s accepted as part of the job, and people move on. From the Sony machinations in the mid 90s, to nearly every single desktop in the cubes of Warner Music Group running Napster, to the inability of Universal to sell music online at a time when it really would have revolutionized the industry, the technical/online arms of the industry have always been an exercise in bailing out a sinking ship with a thimble.

    You need to get to the core of what Ethan is saying. It is a paycheck, pure and simple. Now, why someone in the online department is attempting to speak for the company is beyond me– only a few short years ago he would have been crucified for that, but who knows, maybe the business really is getting better. (Or it’s even worse than we thought.)

    Keep this in mind, though. Ethan has about as much connection to that 60 Minutes story as you have to the direction of the War in Iraq. Asking him why he works for a corporate behemoth that behaves like that is like asking you why you’re still a US citizen. In his role he has the ability to decide what software WBR runs, but not a whole lot more. You didn’t have influence over Microsoft’s OEM deals, why would you take him to task for this?

  23. And since you are in the self-righteous mood, Scoble, how do you feel about Seagate being reincorporated in the Cayman Islands for tax haven purposes? How long will you remain silent on that issue? As long as they are your sponsor, I’m assuming? For someone with the social beliefs you have I would think you would outraged being associated with a company that is not paying its fair share of corporate taxes.

Comments are closed.