RIAA applauds Pepsi’s music giveaway ad for Apple’s iTunes Music Store

“Downloading music online from rogue file-sharing networks got 14-year-old Annie Leith sued for thousands of dollars. Now it’s landed her a leading spot on a national ad (view ad via QuickTime here) debuting during the Super Bowl,” Alex Veiga reports for The Associated Press. “Leith, and her 17-year-old sister, Maggie, downloaded 960 songs over a three-year period using the popular Kazaa program. But the free music binge got Leith ensnared in the legal dragnet cast by the Recording Industry Association of America in September.”

“‘We didn’t know it was illegal,’ the high school freshman from New York City’s borough of Staten Island said Friday. The lawsuit was ultimately settled for $3,000. But Leith couldn’t pass up a chance to appear in a nationally televised commercial that put a twist on her costly experience,” Veiga reports. The ad promotes a digital music giveaway offer from Pepsi-Cola and Apple Computer Co.’s iTunes Music Store. Beginning Feb. 1., 100 million bottle caps on a variety of Pepsi soft drinks will include a code for a free song download on iTunes.”

“The RIAA applauded the ad, even though it may serve to remind some of the trade group’s legal campaign, which many music fans thought went too far,” Veiga reports. “‘This ad shows how everything has changed,’ said RIAA chief executive Mitch Bainwol. ‘The debate is not digital versus plastic, it’s legitimate versus illegitimate.'”

Full article here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Tech TV presents ‘the making of Pepsi, Apple iTunes ad’ story today – January 30, 2004
Pepsi’s iTunes Super Bowl commercial available here via QuickTime – January 30, 2004
Analyst: Pepsi iTunes campaign will generate sales of ‘5-10 million songs per week by summer, or 200 million for the year’ – January 29, 2004
Somebody’s selling a whole lot of sugared water on Apple.com – January 28, 2004
Pepsi ad for Apple iTunes giveaway likely to appear in Super Bowl’s first quarter – January 21, 2003


  1. No… The debate really is…

    Why the music industry isn’t reducing prices for albums that cost the same amount they did about 20 years ago, when the technology to produce them has gone down by almost 3/4.

    Yeah, I understand making a profit. But why is it I can buy a movie for less than a music cd these days? Oh I get it, they’ve had it so good for such a long time that the lawyers and execs don’t want to give up their Malibu homes. I see.

    How about this, take that money your spending on this anti-piracy thing and use that to reduce the cd prices. You could even use it to try to nurture a band instead of churning outthe crap we’ve been hearing for the past 5 years.

    (Sorry for the rant, but these guys really piss me off)

  2. Humm the RIAA is happy Pepsi bought 100 Million Songs, from their over paid lawyers, execs and musicians…….if they made 50 cents per song thats 50 million in there pocket. I would be happy too.

    If the people that sell these songs can’t make money at it how long does the RIAA think they will keep trying. Thats why apple is more worried about the ipod than the music store. When you make a deal with the devil expect to get burned.

  3. What?!

    “If the people that sell these songs can’t make money at it how long does the RIAA think they will keep trying.”

    Well, given this business model has been around in the recording industry for quite a long time, I’d guess the answer is “quite a long time”. Sure, the RIAA may be ripping artists off, but I’d wager most artists on major labels are doing all right. Apple’s support of independent labels and of artists “publishing” direct to the iTMS is going to do more for wrecking the RIAA’s standard business practices than Kazaa ever will, since it is providing a means for the artists to make money that does not require them to work through the RIAA’s stooges.

    As for “getting burned” — read the latest financial statements out of Apple. I only wish I could get burned that bad….

  4. I buy from the iTMS to support Apple and the musicians (though they both don’t get as much as they should for it), if it weren’t for them, I’d download the music illegally just to screw over the RIAA. JadisOne is right, it’s wrong that sometimes we have to pay more for a music CD then for a Movie DVD.

  5. Is it just me or am I the only person who ISN’T going to be buying downloadable songs from iTunes or any other music site?

    I don’t even have any DVD’s (sold them all), I want total freedom, music cd’s offer that and I only buy them when they hit a reasonable price point anyway.

  6. Some things are bigger RIAA and aren’t we glad for that. Maybe in 5 years people will be asking, “RIA-what?. Are they still around?”

    My family would buy produce from road side stands every summer and fall. Fresh food straight from the grower. Gee, if only we could buy music this way.

  7. I find it amazing that people are completely clueless about the RIAA. They’re not “ripping artists off”. They are an organization funded by the record companies (you know the people that pay hundreds and millions of dollars to artists for recording expenses, promotion, touring and otherwise keep the performers, at least the top ones, in the mone) to make sure that they, the aforementioned artists and songwriters don’t get ripped off by illegal downloaders. If you download a song and don’t pay for it YOU ARE RIPPING OFF THE ARTISTS. Artists get less money from iTMS because iTMS is getting less per song or album compared to what one pays for a CD in a record store. Apple is not “ripping off artists”. Sure, the RIAA has done a poor job of attacking the problem. But the problem and mindset still rears its ugly head when kids think that they are entitled to music free. When these kids grow up and have to work I’m sure they’ll understand that it is important to be paid for ones labors. The artists deserve the same consideration.

  8. “Is it just me or am I the only person who ISN’T going to be buying downloadable songs from iTunes or any other music site?” – CrackedButter

    It’s only you.

    “…but I’d wager most artists on major labels are doing all right.” – finelinebob

    I guess that depends on your definition of ‘doing all right.’ If you mean healthy and managing a living for the time being, then sure. If you mean that they’re wealthy, then I’d take that wager. The reality is that the majority of major label artists are not that successful.

  9. I agree with pkradd’s post. The demonizing of the RIAA is ridiculous! I can’t understand the sense of entitlement to stolen material that exists today. It’s embarrassing, and the railing against the RIAA by many posters is even worse. The artists are employed by the labels. The RIAA is an industry group that consists of the labels and it’s charter is to protect the interest of the labels and the artists. Attacking the RIAA and promoting music stealing is an attack on the very artists who produce the music being stolen. When will people learn? Would these people steal software from Apple? (I guess some people would.) Talk about biting the hand that feeds.

    And on the topic of the cost of albums that Bob mentions, they have become less expensive over the years! The price of albums hasn’t even come close to keeping up with the pace of inflation. To compare the cost of an album to that of a DVD is absurd. Far fewer movies are released each year than albums, and the volume on rentals and sales of each DVD title dwarfs that of each album title, therefore keeping the price much lower (relatively speaking). Duh.

  10. pkradd:
    Well, no matter how you slice it, someone is getting ripped off, namely the consumer. Why is it that a movie costs millions and millions of dollars to make and costs only $17 dollars in a dvd (the same as a cd), with more features and extras than a cd has.

    You might tell me that movies make up some revenue from theatrical releases, but remember that most don’t even turn a profit until they’re released on video.

    It costs no where near as much to make an album. Sure, you’ve got money to ‘make a video’ but you know what? I buy a cd because of the music, not because they also have some video that’s played on a cable station. They can make thier videos all they like, but should I have to pay for it?

    Do you want to know how I support the artists? By attending concerts. If the musicians don’t get off thier fat asses and come somewhere near me (heck, I’ll travel to the next state, even) I don’t see how they deserve much of my money.

    And if you think that the RIAA cares more about the artists they represent than thier own purses, you’re sadley mistaken.

    And when I download music, I don’t think it’s free: it’s compensation for the price fixing that the record lables have been found guilty of.

    Congress, at the whim of the record companies, has extended copyright far past the drafters of the constitution’s intent. If you want to talk about ripping off, read the sonny bono copyright extension act. If you want to talk about ripping off, see the clause in the standard recording contract that labels the artists own work as a ‘work for hire.’

    Owning ideas isn’t as simple as ‘it’s stealing.’

    ” If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it.”– Thomas Jefferson

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