record labels secretly love mix tapes because they equate to free promotion. but the major labels can't openly endorse mix tapes because that would expose their hypocrisy regarding intellectual property. the going rate for a sample clearance is in the four-to-six-digit range, which means that releasing a mix tape according to the "rules" could potentially cost millions. obviously, djs aren't paying these fees, which makes mix tapes "illegal" in the eyes of the RIAA.
alan berry has an opinion piece in today's new york times:
POLICE officers in Norfolk, Va., raided a record store called Dappa Don Clothing Company last month, confiscating several thousand dollars' worth of mixtapes and charging the store's owner with illegally "selling certain recorded devices."
The raid was the latest in a nationwide crackdown on retailers who sell mixtapes — collections of hip-hop songs that D.J.'s remix to create new tracks — and it comes less than a year after New York police officers seized hundreds of mixtapes and arrested five employees at an East Village record store, Mondo Kim's.
After the Mondo Kim's raid, Brad Buckles, a Recording Industry Association of America executive, declared, "Retailers who are making money on the backs of musicians and record companies by selling pirated CD's should know that this is absolutely no way to conduct a business."
That sounds reasonable enough. Illegal products should not be sold. But it's disingenuous for the recording industry to compare hip-hop mixtapes to a bootleg recording of, say, a Dave Matthews Band concert. After all, mixes aren't bootlegs at all— they're advertisements.
it's worth a read.¶