The RIAA Radar is an easy way of checking if any of the music you own, share or download is RIAA-released or not. And why do you want to know this? To quote the RIAA Radar site:
“That’s possibly a fairly long answer, but just the highlights of the RIAA’s practices involve price-fixing, blaming its poor financial state on unfounded digital piracy claims (and in turn, blaming and suing its own consumers), lobbying for changes that hinder technological innovation and change copyright laws, underpaying the artists it represents, invading personal privacy to enforce copyrights, and dismantling entire computer networks just because of their ability (of their users) to share copyrighted files.
In order to successfully and efficiently support who you like (or not support who you don’t like), you need to have information immediately available to know who is who. The RIAA Radar works in two ways: if you’re looking to stop buying RIAA releases, it will help tell you what albums to avoid (or purchase secondhand); if you are looking for new music or new alternatives, it works to promote non-RIAA releases by providing similar RIAA-free albums to almost any RIAA release, and RIAA-free popularity charts for several genres in order to showcase viable alternatives.”
Out of curiosity (okay, and extreme boredom), I checked some of the stuff on my iPod against the radar and was quite pleasantly surprised with the results.
A Silver Mount Zion
Black Heart Procession
Boards Of Canada
Bonnie Prince Billy
DM + Jemini
Explosions In The Sky
Iron And Wine
Jacques Lu Cont
Low (most albums OK except Long Division)
Magnetic Fields (most albums OK except i)
Meanwhile Back In Communist Russia
Ming + FS
Neutral Milk Hotel
Pedro The Lion
Telefon Tel Aviv
The Arcade Fire
Third Eye Foundation
TV On The Radio
Yo La Tengo
My Bloody Valentine
Of course, it should be noted that there is a whole lot of RIAA music that would be on my iPod if I could be arsed to rip more of my CDs eg. Radiohead, Velvet Underground, Kanye West, Bob Dylan, Joy Division, Orbital etc. But in general, I think the main point that has become obvious from this exercise is that there is a lot of bloody excellent music around which won’t get you in trouble with the RIAA.
Having said this, I personally believe that if you like what you hear, you should buy the music. This is why I am continually broke.