Glorious Noise bids a tearful farewell to Hilary Rosen, former CEO of the RIAA.
It was supposed to be a routine assignment. All I had to do was get a quote from former RIAA CEO Hilary Rosen about why she stepped down from her position as head of the most hated organization in the world. Easy right? A quick phone call and that’s it. But the old gal was still up to her old tricks and gave us a little trouble.
I didn’t have my Rolodex handy—I was actually on vacation but when Jake Brown calls, you hop to!—so I didn’t have the RIAA D.C. office contact info on me. Believe it or not, I didn’t keep their number on my speed dial, something I have since remedied. No problem, I thought. They’re a very tech savvy organization what with all the hullabaloo about downloading and piracy, they must have their finger on the pulse of the Web.
I went to the RIAA website. I was on a 56.6 dial-up connection—quick to the punch with technology we are here at GLONO—and waited, and waited, and waited, and then got an error message.
“Egad!” I exclaimed. “They’ve hacked the site again.”
Hacking the RIAA site has become a bit of a sport in the cyber world. You have to admit, it’s fun to go on the webpages of diabolical organizations and drop the online equivalent of keying their car. But usually the hackers are funny. They make up funny press releases or Photoshop media photos of RIAA board members. This was just boring. It was just down.
Refresh. Wait. Wait. Wait. Take a leak. Grab a fresh beer. Wait.
Ah, there it is. It’s just a painfully slow site. Perhaps there’s a lot of traffic with well-wishers logging on to wish Frau Rosin a bon voyage. Now at least I can track down the phone number and get this story in the can.
Where do you think you’d find the contact info for an organization who claims to be there for the artists? It’s surely easy to find, no? What if I’m Lars Ulrich and I want help suing greasy Metallica fans who steal my precious music online!? Or, what if I’m a University President and I want to turn in some of the sex crazed tan young men who are downloading countless vulgar 50 Cent songs onto my pristine university’s server!? I need to get in touch with the only organization who is there for us!
I can’t find that fucking number anywhere. I looked in the Press Room, after all, I am a member of the Press! I looked in About Us, where most organizations store their contact info. I did a search of the site. It ain’t there folks. They don’t want us calling them.
Not to be beaten, I took a nap and then got up and called a lawyer friend who owed me some favors. This chick loves the Elephant Six but lives in B.F.E. and has no access to any Neutral Milk Hotel or Oliva Tremor Control (can you imagine???). I burn her disks when she’s a good girl and gives me info I want or harasses little GLONO wannabe sites with official looking letterhead and tough legal language. She did some calling around and got back to me with the digits.
“Thank you for calling the Recording Industry Association of America,” came the dulcet tones of the automated phone service. “If you know your party’s extension, enter it now or press one for a staff directory.”
I press one and listen to the asinine instructions of finding a God damned extension. I enter the first three digits of the person’s last name, as directed: 7-6-7 (R-O-S) and am directed to Gene Rophney, some hack in their I.T. department. After running him down for 45 minutes about what a shit site the RIAA have, I ask him to transfer me to Miss Hilary.
I am on hold for 15 minutes.
“Hello,” a puzzled voice on the other end finally chimes.
“Yes, this is Derek Phillips from Glorious Noise and I’d like to ask Miss Rosen a few questions about her departure from the RIAA.”
“Hilary Rosen, please. She was your CEO until just recently.”
“No, I know who she is. Who are you?”
Ah, cheeky. They know damn well who I am. I clog their fax machines with phony dirty pictures of Mandy Moore and scientific reports disputing the RIAA’s claims that P-2-P file sharing is the cause of dropping record sales every day!
“It’s me God damn it, A.C., er, I mean Derek Phillips. Now put her on the phone right now!” I bellowed.
Damn it, on hold again! All this run around was starting to drive me nuts and I was sure it was just a ruse to get me off the story. Former Bush White House spokesman Ari Fleischer is a master of this tactic. He just runs around and around the questions until the reporters fall over with dizziness or move on to questions about “the Twins.”
Ah, but I watch Hardball with Chris Mathews and know how to hang tough on these sorts of things. The key is maintaining your buzz. If your level of drunkenness is just right you can run around the same argument with the best political spinner out there. That’s why reporters in the 70s were so on their game and health conscious reporters of today are sheep willfully heading to slaughter.
But I digress…
I waited on hold for several more minutes, refreshing my beer every six. “Maintain the buzz,” I chanted. You don’t want to go too far and fall asleep on the phone. Finally, the little twit cam back on the line.
“Miss Rosen is no longer with us,” she mumbled.
What? Hilary Rosen was dead!? Could it be that all those drunken ramblings around the GLONO HQ had stirred some wicked spirits who then smote poor Hilary with extreme prejudice? Was Jesus behind this?
“She is still a consultant with us though,” our helper continued. “Would you like her agency’s number?”
By God, YES I want that number! What did she think this was all about?
After a similar scene with Rosen’s receptionist, I finally got through to Her.
“Hello, Miss Rosen,” I slurred. Seems I was getting ahead of myself in maintaining my buzz. “Derek Phillips here from Glorious Noise.”
Hilary Rosen: Who?
GLONO: Don’t play that game with me, Hil. You know who I am.
Rosen: I’m sorry, I don’t.
GLONO: Ask Ryan Adams. I have a few questions for you about your leaving the RIAA.
Rosen: Well, technically, I am staying on for one year as a consultant.
GLONO: Whatever. Did you leave because you realized that you are more hated than the Matrix?
Rosen: I’m sorry?
GLONO: Skip that one. Don’t you think this racket about file sharing is just a lot of hot air and a way for you to justify a six-figure salary?
Rosen: I am proud of the industry’s accomplishments in the last several years, particularly as it has dealt with the challenges of the digital age.
GLONO: Is that so? Well, then what about the fact that record sales from major labels have dropped because of the shitty music they keep dishing out? I mean, have you actually listened to Staind?
Rosen: I have every hope and expectation that the business plans being implemented by our member companies as well as the multiple anti-piracy strategies being employed by RIAA and the industry will bring the music business to new heights.
GLONO: Ms. Rosen, are you drunk? That has nothing to do with what I asked you.
Rosen: This has been an extraordinary and wonderful experience, one that is hard to leave, but I am looking forward to spending quality time with my family.
GLONO: Come again? What about the fact that the R.I.A.A., an organization you molded into the music industry equivalent of the Death Star, is being handed over to a guy with a girl’s name?
Rosen: The organization could not be in better hands with Cary Sherman remaining with RIAA and handling the transition.
GLONO: Sounds like a sissy.
Rosen: He is absolutely first rate.
GLONO: Yeah, anyway. Thanks for your time and I hope you sleep well knowing your organization is forcing college kids to add legal fees to their student loans.
Rosen: You have a nice day.
Hilary Rosen’s replies taken from her press release. She wouldn’t talk to us if we promised never to download Nelly again.