RIAA Wins Worst Company In America 2007

The RIAA won The Consumerist’s “Worst Company In America 2007” reader poll.

We predicted an RIAA landlslide, but they only managed a 53.8% majority over Halliburton’s 46.2%

The message is clear. The internet cares deeply about being able to download music illegally.

Congrats to you, oh RIAA! Your lucky golden shit trophy will be arriving at your headquarters shortly.

Check out the BIG BOARD to see how the 15 other companies fared.

Here’s some RIAA phone numbers so you can call them up and offer your congratulations.

PREVIOUSLY: Worst Company In America 2007 thread.


Edit Your Comment

  1. i4ni says:

    Congrats RIAA! This is what you wanted all along.

    Fuck the lawsuits… They wanted their damn trophy!

  2. I don’t think it’s so much that the internet cares deeply about being able to download illegally, as they care about integrity, ethics, and corporate hypocrisy.

    The latest thing I heard about the RIAA is that they pressured the FCC not to enforce a recent ruling forcing radio stations to play more music from independent artists in the wake of the latest payola scandal.

    Since the RIAA is made up of the major labels that were doing the payola to keep a chokehold on the public airaves, it’s no suprise they would want to block access for artists not on their rosters.

    It does show very clearly, however, that they don’t care about the artists at all – only protecting the income of their labels, no matter what that does to musicians or the public.

  3. winnabago says:

    The message is clear. The internet cares deeply about being able to download music illegally.

    Wow. Talk about completely missing the point of the entire issue.

    Ok, if you said it in jest, I get it. But the root of 99% of the hatred for the RIAA is outside of illegal downloading. DRM, extortion of college students, refusing to share profits with artists, locking out download services like eMusic, trusted computing, killing services like slingbox, buying contracts for emerging artists and shelving their music to prevent competition, the “easy settlement webpage”, and the mindless drivel that many of their labels churn out.

    It’s not about downloading, get that out of your head. And Uhaul is evil because they don’t give away free trucks. Come on guys, you should know better!

  4. homerjay says:

    This method of voting worked very well. This seems to be spot on.
    Good call, all. :)

    Haliburton! You’ve got some work ahead of you if you want to regain your title!

  5. mantari says:

    I ask again… is the RIAA actually a *company* or an *organization* ?

  6. weave says:

    Er… “speak for yourself.”

    It’s not about wanting to download music illegally. It’s about their methods of dealing with it, suing innocent people, and exaggerating the impact of the crimes to prop up a failing business model.

    Copyrights should be respected.

  7. weave says:

    RIAA represents the major labels so I think it’s fair that they all come up on stage to accept the prize. This isn’t about an organization, it’s about the collective sins of all of the labels.

    As if they just all up and died that art would come to a halt in the world. Probably just the opposite. Best thing that could ever happen to “art.”

  8. dugn says:

    Horray! A well-deserved win for the RIAA and the record companies who hide behind this acronym!

    I hope this gets lots over coverage so the RIAA will get another message about how completely they suck. And perhaps this great consumerist.com site can get some visibility with some of the larger media outlets.

    Again – a well deserved win for the record companies and their stooge! We hate you more than Sony, Haliburton and Comcast!

  9. Bay State Darren says:

    I, for one, voted RIAA but barely. Starting a war and owning VPOTUS is unacceptable, but they did their damage before this year started while RIAA seems to be just getting started and really did their thing in 06/07 more than before. So Halliburton, if you’re reading, you’re still really, really evil. Don’t feel the need to have Cheney blow someone else up for you just to make yourselves feel better. (And hello to the NSA if they’re monitoring this “to keep America safe from terorists”.)

  10. Theseus says:

    Hate the be the broken record with a wet blanket on top, but still can’t see how murderous greed can lose to douchbag greed.

  11. Tallanvor says:

    @mantari: They’re a company and a trade group. The RIAA is a 501(c)(6) entity, which classifies it as a business league, chamber of commerce, or other similar organization.

    As far as I know, only a business can fall under 501(c) rules for tax exempt status. If you look into it, you’ll find that even churches are registered as businesses –this is what allows people to write off their donations. Unfortunately for the RIAA, however, donations to 501(c)(6) organizations are not deductible (I know, tears at your heart doesn’t it?)

  12. mantari says:

    @Tallanvor: Thanks for the information and the laugh.

  13. BadDolphin says:

    Simply calling it the RIAA hides the names of the real companies behind it, and so they really don’t care about how consumer-unfriendly the RIAA is perceived to be.

    If you purchase any products from any of these companies, you are funding the RIAA:

    Universal Music Group
    Warner Music Group

    (there are others, but the RIAA primarily works for the interests of those three companies)

  14. BadDolphin says:

    Oh, and regarding Halliburton, I don’t think they’re an American company (they’re based in United Arab Emirites, as best I recall). Given that they’ve acted in opposition to the US during wartime, they shouldn’t EVER be referred to as an American company.

  15. nerdsavant says:

    Wow, really? No one has died because of the RIAA, last I checked. I hate them as much as anyone, honestly I do, but they’re worse than Exxon and Halliburton? I just don’t see it.

  16. TPIRman says:

    I’m looking forward to next year when the candidates are limited to companies you can directly buy something from. Hooray, the RIAA sucks. I’m glad that the Consumerist could express a sentiment already pounded into the ground by about a trillion blogs and Slashdot threads.

    I don’t disagree that the two finalists are terrible organizations that have a negative effect on our lives, but there’s kind of a disconnect since most consumers will never have a direct interaction with either of them — which is typically what this site is about, the direct interactions. When we include these larger-than-life conglomerates, the contest turns into a rout, and a boring one at that. (Case in point: The humorless commenters in this thread re-re-re-reciting the litany of RIAA offenses because they can’t take Ben’s “illegal downloading” crack.)

    Granted, it’s the “Worst Company in America” contest, but it’s supposed to be fun. The trophy is a golden shit, after all.

  17. Trai_Dep says:

    I humbly suggest that Consumerist open a topic addressing the parameters of the next Worst Company vote.

    There are so many ways that companies screw consumers that transcend the simple, “can I buy their product at retail” litmus test, so I feel we need to include malefactors like Monsanto, RIAA, Haliburton, etc. Corporate evil has matasticized beyond such simple boundaries. Of course, companies that we have direct experience also need to be covered too.

    * Retail
    * Governmental
    * Global food supply threatening, polar bear killing, kitten-strangling, continent-straddling conglomerates
    * Most shameless performance by an Executive (PR or CEO)

    Not sure of these categories, but more as a launch point for discussion. I’m sure others have even better things to say…

  18. TPIRman says:

    @trai_dep: Good thinking, trai_dep. I agree that the contest might benefit from splitting it up a bit. I believe that idea might have been tossed around in some earlier contest threads, too.

    I guess I’d only (respectfully) differ on the point that there is a “need” for the Consumerist to address the huge societal offenders. As I noted (with sarcasm) above, these enormous cases of corporate malfeasance are already being decried in countless other sources. I just don’t see how awarding the RIAA the golden-shit trophy is going to make any difference on top of countless high-profile screeds, petitions, protest websites, etc., that are already online.

    The Consumerist has set itself apart by bringing attention to a more granular level of justice, trying to make corporations act responsibly in their everyday interactions with Joe Customer. That is this site’s bread and butter. If we put together a contest such that we could say to the winner, “Thousands of Consumerist readers agree that you treat your paying customers the shittiest of any company in the nation,” I think that would be some bad PR that could have some impact.

    It would be truer to the general spirit of the Consumerist, too. Just because there are a number of different ways that companies screw customers doesn’t mean we have to give an award out for every one. Focus on what has made the site so great.

  19. Bay State Darren says:

    Will RIAA start wars now, too?

  20. jgw says:

    The RIAA isn’t evil, they’re just stupid. When it comes down to a business standpoint, they, at the behest of their members, are protecting their investments, a right that is guaranteed and upheld by US law. Whether or not you believe that downloading music for free constitutes copyright infringement, the RIAA exists to protect the value of contracts in music development, publishing, and distribution. This is indisputable. They did not form the organization so they could sue random consumers for evil fun. Granted, some of their methods are extremely distasteful. (I personally do not believe suing your customers is a long-run Pareto efficient strategy.) But again, this is not evil, it’s just dumb business.

    Halliburton, on the other hand, is directly profiting from a “conflict.” I’m not entirely sure what conditions need to be met to be guilty of war profiteering, but serving and then over reporting expired meal rations to American soldiers is absolutely despicable. That being said, Halliburton did not start the war in Iraq, they are, however, taking advantage of the closest thing to an arbitrage opportunity in the oil world: the US government wants someone to get the oil out, the US government will protect and pay that someone, so why wouldn’t Halliburton move in?

    As for Halliburton moving their HQ to Dubai, that’s just smart business. Halliburton is an OIL company. They are still incorporated in Delaware, but it makes perfect sense for them to move their operations HQ to where their revenue is literally spurting from the ground. Lots of companies do this, just look at the big financial institutions: incorporated in Delaware, HQ’d in NYC. If you’re not incorporated in Delaware for the corporate tax breaks, you’re pretty much losing money unnecessarily.

  21. orig_club_soda says:

    This is a joke. I wager that 98% of the people who answered this poll can’t tell you exactly what Halliburton does. Its just Bush-hate.

  22. @Bay State Darren: “Will RIAA start wars now, too?”

    As I have stated in previous posts, they are getting pretty close to starting wars with foreign governments. With the pressure that they have exerted on other countries it is only a matter of time before a differently opinioned country starts fighting back.

  23. youngatheart says:

    Very dumb result –who givs a shit about Halliburton.
    With everything written about Verizon plus Kim and myself –they are the real winner !!!!

  24. Americana says:

    “Starting a war and owning VPOTUS is unacceptable”

    Head…hurts…from the rampant…stupidity…

    I really wish the world was as simple as people on the internet think it is.

    “This is a joke. I wager that 98% of the people who answered this poll can’t tell you exactly what Halliburton does. Its just Bush-hate.”

    Bingo. And I say that as someone who dislikes Dubya a good deal.

    “Halliburton, on the other hand, is directly profiting from a “conflict.” “

    Their net income was negative last year.

  25. Trai_Dep says:

    Johnny –

    Keep in mind that if we give a separate category for the unholy sociopolitical malfactors (RIAA, Monsanto…) then it clears up the other categories. Thus Haliburton/RIAA (who, IMO ARE evil as f*ck) won’t steamroll over the more human-scale categories. Everyone can have fun, vent and then move on to the other categories. Best Buy – next year your bases belong to us!

    Clever, huh? :D

  26. Bay State Darren says:

    Their net income was negative last year.
    Yeah, the Iraq war kinda isn’t going as smoothly as hoped for.
    BTW, on the whole owning Cheney thing, having the White House administration where your company’s former exec is veep give you great no-bid contracts in a war started for bullshit reasons (WMD’s, anyone?) does point to a slight conflict of interest.

  27. Gunslingergregi says:

    Halliburton pays good wages to people on the oil side of the house. What’s the problem? The oil business pays well to people at the bottom even. Get your heads out of your third point of contact and realize it is a global economic war and we better come out on top or we will be the ones making 100 dollars a month. It is way better than working for slave wages at Walmart. Would you rather just pay Indians, Pakistani, Chinese, Phillipino, Bangladeshi, Napalese, Japenese, Bosnian, Macedonian, Venezualen, Brazillians, Mexicans, and Russians to get your oil for you.

  28. v103.net says:

    The RIAA isn’t just going after music downloader’s, they are now attacking Web Casters and there licensed internet radio stations.

    The Copyright Royalty Board’s (CRB) March 2nd decision to substantially increase royalty rates for webcasters will require webcasters to pay for each song streamed to each user, and will increase yearly according to these figures: 2006: $0.08 to stream one song to one listener, 2007: $0.11, 2008: $0.14, 2009: $0.18, 2010: $0.19. SoundExchange, the royalty collecting division of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), will also seek to retroactively charge webcasters for streaming content delivered throughout 2006 to users, a decision that could cost a minimum of $500.00 per month (depending on listener counts and hours) which will send the webcasters packing for good.

    We as webcasters have sent letters to our local Congressman for help and their support on this issue with very little return in support. Thousands of webcasters have came together to start sites like http://www.savenetradio.org/ (listener awareness site and petition site), http://webcastersunite.net (webcaster community), and other sites to protest against this March 2nd decision. We are looking for support from all over to help overturn this outrageous decision.


  29. TampaShooters says:

    If the record companies actually started signing artists with talent instead of one hit wonders, synthesized superstars, and hit song remakers, they would actually sell whole albums again.. People aren’t downloading music because they are thieves, people are downloading music because the record labels are thieves. Send out a quality product, and you will regain the respect of the people. Nobody wants a crap album for $15, when there is only 1 decent song on it. ATTENTION RIAA: I DO NOT STEAL MUSIC OR DOWNLOAD MUSIC.

  30. Trackback says:

    Call it the new Wal-Mart Effect.  The one in which both Wal-Mart and their suppliers get hurt because of a rapidly changing and democratizing marketplace.  Major record labels in the Recording Industry Associate of America – and the artists on these labels – valued Wal-Mart and other…

  31. techforumz says:

    @BadDolphin: 4 not 3, there are 4 biggies, not 3. And BTW: they always try to claim that other indie labels are part of them so people will hate those. Look it up on Wikipedia.

  32. Matt Lowery says:

    RIAA sucks serious balls – did you all hear that they have:
    sued a dead person
    sued a 60 something year old who is paralysed in his left side
    sued a 10 year old
    sued a 12 year old
    bullied ISP’s
    Not payed the artists the money they should get from these lawsuits.

    Well done RIAA, you deserve it you piece of shit!