A Rock and Roll Referendum — A look at the laws concerning the music industry we feel should be passed

By Ethan Smith
Updated November 08, 1996 at 05:00 AM EST

The citizens of our Alternative Nation are often as poorly served by their representatives in the recording industry as they are by their elected officials in Washington. In response to the growing disaffection among consumers, a grass-roots movement — the People for Rock Ethics, Marketing, and Packaging (PREMP) — has drawn up a series of initiatives designed to bring the industry into line with today’s ever-shifting rock needs.

Proposition 6 (Feet Under)
What do Nat King Cole, Hank Williams Sr., and John Lennon have in common? They’ve all made posthumous appearances on shameless releases by surviving band mates (in Lennon’s case, his fellow Beatles) and family (in Cole’s case, Natalie; in Williams’, Hank Jr.). Vote yes on Prop 6 (the Rock Death With Dignity Act) to ensure that entertainers maintain a modicum of respectability after they’ve passed on to the great jam session in the sky.

Proposition 16.99
In seemingly direct proportion to the rate at which manufacturing costs have plummeted, CD prices continue to soar. The Equitable Disc Pricing Measure aims to end the industry’s practice of passing along to consumers the costs of its pork-barrel promotion practices and bloated employee rosters, making music affordable to the American taxpayer once again.

Proposition 1959
The Lounge Music Reduction & Preservation Act aims to limit record labels to no more than one ”lounge” reissue per year, thereby leaving precious tape-vault resources available to future generations of retro-geeks and hipsters in search of novel sounds to market to each other.

Proposition 96 (Tears)
A message to Eddie Vedder and Adam Duritz: Whininess is not only unbecoming, it’s boring subject matter for ”art.” The rock constituency’s patience is sorely tested with each new complaint-filled paean to rock stars’ tortured psyches. Though some free-speech experts deem the 96 Tears Referendum constitutionally problematic, the societal benefits of limiting whiny speech to therapy sessions and other private settings are self-evident.

Proposition 2
The Merit Authentication Program would limit the number of CDs in a single package to two, unless a special joint session of Congress deems the artist in question truly worthy of a boxed set. America’s cardboard and plastic supplies will soon reach dangerously low levels unless steps are taken to reduce unnecessary, multi-disc retrospectives by one-disc-worthy artists like Connie Francis, Jim Croce, Bread, and Mickey Rooney.