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Responsible Shopping and the RIAA Radar

riaaradar_2riaaradar_1Responsible Shopping and the RIAA Radar

I’m the sort of guy who really likes to fight those uphill battles. I try to fill up at privately owned gas stations in an effort to drive prices down. I recycle, I don’t leave my television on standby, and I never buy major label CD’s. OK, so every time I go on a long trip I have to fill up with one of the major chains. The garbage men tend to mistakenly pick up our recycling bags, and I often fall asleep in front of the television forgetting to turn it off. But one thing I’m really adamant about is buying indie.

Purchasing CD’s has become a form of charity. You can easily get your favorite albums online in MP3 form. My car is MP3 equipped, as well as my computer, my living room’s stereo and pretty much any other place I might find myself listening to music. In fact, whenever I buy a CD, I immediately rip it to MP3 and put it on the shelf to gather dust. So why do I buy CD’s? I guess it’s a way to own a piece of the music. By the time an album hits the stores, I am likely to have already listened to it. If I like a certain band, I want to support them and own a piece of their art.
This is where the RIAA Radar always comes through for me. The RIAA Radar is a site that helps consumers distinguish between “safe” and “unsafe” album releases. If you’re not happy with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) or their associates suing little children and unsuspecting parents, this is the site for you. A simple search will instantly brand a release with a “Safe” or “Warning” icon letting you know who you’re supporting when purchasing a certain album.

Moreover, The RIAA Radar has various tools that make your shopping experience more fun. There’s a browser bookmarklet that will warn you whenever you visit Amazon and try to purchase a major label CD. There’s the Indie Top 100, which will display the the latest and safest album releases. There’s also the Amazon Top 100 list with all sorts of warnings (Let’s face it, not all of your favorite albums are “safe”). There are charts and even a mobile option which I haven’t figured out yet.
So I learned that buying the latest Regina Spektor album is a crime against humanity. The new John Mellencamp album is surprisingly safe. You can buy Bloc Party, The Shins and even The Raconteurs. Even without the red warning icon, I can assure you that purchasing a Snow Patrol or a Keane album is a major mistake.

Q. What if I still want to own Beck’s wonderful album The Information?
A. Buy it used!

Support your favorite artists. Buy music responsibly. Practice safe shopping…and really, don’t buy anything by Keane.


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