Remember the days of going into a restaurant or a pub/bar and hearing live music. Depending on the venue and what they offered, in most of the cases the bands would play cover songs. Well those venues are drying up faster today than the lands starved of rain.
You see when you have a law that gives power to organisations that contribute nothing creatively to the arts, however their whole business model is based around the arts, you get some nasty juju going down.
The music licensing agencies are financially challenged. Their whole business model was based on radio plays and sales. So when the Record Labels controlled the gates, the music licensing agencies smiled all the way to the bank. However, when that gate was blown open by Napster, then P2P, then the iTunes store and now streaming, the monies coming in to these agencies started to dry up.
So these agencies decided to diversify (and I use that world with a lot of sarcasm). Their diversification efforts involved shaking down venues that provided a live music service to the community and getting them to pay extortion like amounts if the bands played cover songs.
It has been happening for the last five years.
Does anyone think that the monies that BMI (one of the music licensing agencies involved in these shakedowns) collects from these venues would end up going back to the artists that had their songs supposedly “infringed on”.
Or what about the monies that Universal is aiming to collect from companies that offer care packages for prisoners. For those that don’t know, Universal Music has filed a complaint against companies selling “care packages which contain mix tapes” for families to send to prisoners.
Is it another shakedown attempt to extort money from companies or a sincere attempt to compensate their artists?
Asking an owner of an establishment to pay three sets of license fees just to allow local bands to perform is always going to end with the owner ending live music at their venue. Especially the smaller venues.
It’s simply bully tactics by an agency and Copyright Laws allow it to be a bully. Of course those Copyright Laws got re-written by the large associations like the RIAA and the MPAA over the last 60 years to ensure that laws kept the balance of power on their side.
BMI says that it’s songwriters and composers deserve compensation for their creative works.
So they view the collection of licensing fees from venues that are of zero risk to the music industry as crucial. But what they are actually doing is harming the music industry.
Does anyone seriously believe that Diamond Head was compensated when Metallica performed their songs at venues prior to being signed? I have bootlegs of shows from Motley Crue, Poison and Ratt before they were signed. A decent amount of cover songs are performed at the gigs and there is no way that the songwriters got compensated back then for these performances. The licensing agencies didn’t give a shit about venues at that point in time.
But now they do and the law allows them to do what they do. Just because it is law it doesn’t mean the practice is acceptable. Copyright Law is stacked in favour of the monopolies. Hell, they had a big hand in ensuring that it was re-written to keep that power in tact. So what we have are a bunch of government granted monopolies that contribute nothing to the arts, but have a large say in the arts.
That is why organisations like Rightscorp come to be. Again they contribute nothing to the arts. They are copyright trolls sent in to shakedown people. There is no other word to describe their business models.
But we still get the same bullshit from these agencies and associations that the world needs stronger copyright.
What the world needs is sensible copyright.