A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

The Labels Say Infringement Is The Issue. Maybe Not.

The labels still focus on infringement and see that as a big issue. Stream ripping sites are getting a lot of attention right now, especially in Australia.

But the shitty way the labels treat the artists who created valuable art “which is worth something” is not an issue to the labels.

Years ago, the labels went to court against artists like Eminem, David Coverdale and Don Henley concerning digital royalties. The labels always paid low royalties on sales of music CDs and vinyl. However, “licensing” music (once upon a time licensing was for movies or commercials only), offered a higher payout to the artist.

The question the artists wanted to know was how is iTunes treated?

The labels said iTunes is a “sale” like a CD sale and the artist is paid the lower royalty rate.

The artists countered that iTunes is a “license,” like for a commercial, as the labels need to license their music to the tech service for the tech service to sell it. This in turn means the artists are meant to be paid the higher royalty rate of up to to 50%.

In the U.S the labels won at the district court level, while the artists won at the appeals court level.

Now this “sales vs license” scenario was relevant up to about 2011 as newer contracts the labels drew up afterwards avoided this problem. Basically, everything is a sale to the labels even the streams from streaming service all so the labels could rip off artists a little bit more.

Not sure if anyone noticed, but Def Leppard was also caught up in this dispute for years with their label, hence the reason why their music wasn’t on any streaming or digital service for a long time. Def Leppard even refuses to let their label license their music until they sorted out the payment issue.

And the big issue here is that the record labels really owe a lot of money to artists but they still put out lies that infringement is the biggest challenge they face while they go to court against the artists. But they still put out the propaganda that when they ask for longer copyright terms, it’s for the artists, when they ask for stream ripping sites to be taken down, it’s also for the artists. Basically everything the labels do is for the artists, except payments.

Furthermore, all the labels know that their power in the market is based on the content they hold. In this case, it’s the songs they hold on behalf of artists.

So the Copyright Act in the U.S gives creators the right to terminate a copyright grant they have given to a corporation after a 35-year period.

And of course there are a lot of artists who created works which ended up becoming very valuable, who want to reclaim their copyrights.

Basically artists who released music up to 1984 have put in claims to get their works back.

Then it will be 1985 releases and before you know it, the 1990s artists will want to their rights back. And if you grew up in this period, you know that there are a lot of great songs that make a lot of money, which the labels don’t want to lose control of and the artists who want to get those songs back under their control.

But the labels will not let it happen without a fight in the courts.

Universal Music Group (UMG) are going to court to dismiss the termination notices served against it. Sony is also trying the same tactic.

And they are using their own interpretation of the law which could bog down the proceedings for years while lawyers argue words in the Act and how they can be interpreted.

And the big thing the labels are sticking with is the “works for hire” principle which worked a treat for the movie studios.

Basically if an employee creates something as a work for hire, it means the employer is the owner of the work and the work can not be terminated. So the labels are basically saying that the artists are employees, which we all know is bullshit, because I am sure the artists didn’t get monies added to a pension fund or holiday pay and what not.

Also when the artist wrote that hit song, it wasn’t because they were an employee of the label, it was because they had an idea, either at band practice, or at soundcheck, or in their hotel room or bedroom.

But hey, I guess power corrupts and always wins. It’s time all of the artists started terminating their rights with the corporations.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Piracy

Modern Day Rock Star

Game of Thrones was downloaded illegally 54 million times when the first episode from Season 8 came out.

Think about that for a second.

54 million illegal downloads for one episode. “Game Of Thrones” is the modern day definition of being a rock star.

In the same way fans waited for the release of a new album of music from their favorite artists, fans of the Game Of Thrones books and TV shows are eagerly awaiting the release of each episode of the final season plus the next novel installment.

How did it get like this?

How did a TV show and a book replace rock and roll in the public conversation?

By taking risks and nothing being off limits.

But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Game of Thrones. It didn’t start off with huge numbers and viewership. Because of greed the show was behind paywalls, so it became popular among illegal downloaders. This was built with each season and each episode. As it grew in illegal downloads, it also grew in legal viewership. As a byproduct, the books sold even more which in turn led to more money in the long term and a bigger TV show and a bigger budget.

And for book writer George RR Martin this is bitter sweet, as he wrote stories (which got rejected) for decades before Game Of Thrones became a hit.

Meanwhile, Hollywood is complaining about their low box office returns, as they still go about doing things the old way with cinematic releases and Netflix does things the new way and is cleaning up with viewership.

Videogames outgross movies, Netflix does better than Hollywood and streaming services have put billions back into the recording industry but there’s still no respect to these services. Just ask legacy creator Steve Spielberg who wants Netflix movies banned from being considered for Oscars.

Netflix knows that views are more important than cash, and they also know fans of art have no problem paying to suit their convenience. Going to a cinema at a predetermined time for prices ranging between $13 and $18, paying top dollar for popcorn and drinks and enduring people’s chewing or wrapper noise or talking and all of the other bullshit, well that’s not convenient anymore and society has changed a lot from when going to cinemas was seen as a social hang.

Then again, I took the kids to watch “Avengers: End Game” and it felt like the past, with lots of people, no car spots available and a buzz about what was on offer.

But, like in music, the war is over and Netflix won.

But artists and songwriters are still complaining about the royalty payments they receive from their streaming service, which they seem to forget that the streaming service in most cases will pay their label or publisher, who will then pay them?

Did these artists forget how their label went to war against Napster and then refused to license Spotify to the point that YouTube (which pays less) got traction?

Did these artists forget the advance payment they got from the label and how the labels creative accounting arm is ensuring that the artists stays in the minus, while the label gets the larger share of the streaming payments?

And if you are a creator with dreams of reaching critical mass, well you are contending with streaming platforms churning out content, video games, smartphone makers, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat and the millions of other creators trying to make it, just like you.

Plus a TV show.

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A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault – Annihilator

It all started with my cousin, Mega (his nickname was short for Megadeth). He was one of those dudes that just stayed up and taped and taped and taped everything to do with metal and rock music doing the rounds on our local TV stations. One such clip he taped and played me was a song called “Alison Hell”. After he saw that I was interested in it, he told me he had the LP and if I want to copy it off him.

Lucky for me, I had a blank TDK tape handy, so it was a no brainer to get him to copy it.

Since it was a blank tape, I needed to fill up the B side and Mega had a lot of music which I didn’t have. As part of this day together, we also ended up watching the “Shocker” movie and of course, Mega also had the “Shocker” soundtrack on vinyl.

And yes, I was confused with the spelling. The album is called “Alice In Hell” so when I was writing down the track list, my cousin was reading it out to me from the album cover, so when he said “Alison Hell” for song 2, I heard “Alice In Hell” and was about to write that down.

The acoustic guitars of “Crystal-Ann” fills my headspace and the guitar playing technique is excellent and precise. I asked my cousin who the guitarist is and he reads out Jeff Waters from the liner notes. At that stage I’d never heard of him.

By the way, I wasn’t allowed to hold his album covers in case I wrecked em. Actually no one was allowed to touch Mega’s albums except Mega.

Then the evil sounding intro to “Alison Hell” kicks in and when the drums come, you know it’s desk breaking time. And it goes through so many changes and moods before the first verse even starts. To me, this is progressive music. It doesn’t have to be constant time changes, and 50 million notes per bar, which on some occasions is okay, but not all the time. Changes in mood will do the job, and it can all be done in a 4/4 time signature. 

When “Welcome To Your Death” comes in, you get the feeling that Jeff Waters is way ahead of his time in song writing . Not only does he merge the speed and aggression and technical progressive song writing of Megadeth with Slayer, Anthrax, Exodus and Metallica, he also brings in elements of Randy Rhoads and Michael Schenker influences into the mix.

The lyrics and the vocal melodies are not as strong as the artists who had more sales and while people still like to go mental at break neck riffs, their needs to be a message in the words which they can relate to and connect with. 

“Wicked Mystic” is another speed a thon with head banging open string riffs and fast palm muted lines. And that solo, feels like “Over The Mountain” got merged with “Master of Puppets”.

The rest of the album is not as strong as it became too repetitive in the riffs department, with the only light being some cool lead breaks here and there in the songs.

In Australia, we got our music late compared to the rest of the world because of gated releases. I basically heard “Alice In Hell” and the second album, “Never Neverland” in the same year of 1990. However on this day when I was at Mega’s house, I only had one tape with me and it had music on it. On Side 1, was my own Walkman edition of “Somewhere In Time” from Iron Maiden with Side 2 first, and then Side 1. On the second side, I had a mix of Maiden from “The Number of The Beast”, “Piece of Mind” and “Powerslave”. And that was the side which was sacrificed to record “Never, Neverland”.

The difference in production is the first thing you hear. While “Alison Hell” sounded like it was recorded in a garage, “Never, Neverland” had better sonics and a different vocalist. The debut album had Randy Rampage and the second had an unknown called Coburn Pharr, who sounded better. And the reason why Randy Rampage quit the band was to keep his senior role at the shipping docks in North Vancouver.

You see, even back in the 80s/90s artists had to work two jobs to make a living in music, hoping that they will become the 1% of artists which breaks through. A label deal never guaranteed riches. All it did was give an artist an opportunity to participate in the recording business, provided the A&R rep was satisfied with the end output. But it also meant, an artist would have to give up their most valuable asset to the labels to exploit forever.

Another upgrade with this album was the influence of grooves, which Pantera would build a career on and all song writing being done by Jeff Waters, which involved lyrics a person could connect with. 

“The Fun Palace” has a lead break of about 2 minutes which is guitar hero status. And those riffs.

“Road To Ruin” has an interlude, lead section, which blows me away. On the road to ruin with alcoholic speed alright and the song ends with tyres screeching before a smash.

“Sixes And Sevens” has this interlude progressive bit, which hooks me in and when the lead break comes in, Jeff Waters delivers on all levels.

“Stonewall” is another great song, with killer riffs and great lyrics.

“Never, Neverland” has a pretty cool 90 second intro before the verses kick in. And sonically it’s a different song, moving between clean and distorted tones.

The other three albums I have on CD are not available on Spotify Australia which is wrong, but hey, they are all on different labels, like SPV and Music For Nations, so since those companies own the rights, they can do whatever they want with the music.

In saying that, I got “Refresh The Demon” to see what the  band was up to since “Never, Neverland” and I don’t remember a song from it, but it must have been okay, because I purchased “Remains” and was vomiting all over the place when I heard electronic programmed drums and an industrial sound. However in 2002, I gave them another shot with “Waking The Fury” (because the album title reminded me of Yngwie Malmsteen) and I can’t really remember a track from that album either and I haven’t really gone back to the band, except for the first two albums.

And who remembers the CD holder teeth breaking? I only pushed down once and bang they all went.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

In The Court Of The Copyright King

The original intent of Copyright was to give the creator of the work a 14 year monopoly to monetise their work, without it being copied. In turn this would give the creator an incentive to create more works, especially if a work proved to be valuable. Once the term expired (the creator did have the option to renew for another 14 years), the work would fall into the public domain and people would be free to build on it and use it. It’s how Rock and Roll came to be, by reusing blues music in the public domain.

But not all works are valuable. Right now, there are over 30 million songs on streaming services that have no commercial value nor have they being heard. There are millions of books written which hold no commercial value whatsoever and films/tv shows made which no one cares about.

Myspace lost over 50 million songs when it accidently wiped or threw away (depending on who you believe) their servers which held the songs and they had no back up. No one even cared at this cultural loss except archivists.

The issues we have happening today in Copyright are all due to the movie studios, record labels and book publishers. Up until 1998, they had gotten so many laws passed in the name of protecting creators, but in reality, it was to protect their business models. They knew that if they didn’t hold the works of others, they would be challenged to survive.

During this time, they also sold the story that an idea is like real property (aka, intellectual property) and that if someone else comes up with a similar idea, they have stolen your property. So they kept pushing this line and they kept on saying that copyright needs stricter enforcement and longer terms.

And people believed it. But back then when these organisations held the power and creators were still alive, it was all good. But suddenly, creators started dying and their copyrights got passed on to their heirs and suddenly the labels are getting sued.

And now, these organisations are ignoring the law and have no interest in retuning the copyrights back to the creators, because in the recording business, the labels know that the more valuable copyrights they hold, the more power they have at the bargaining table.

A member from The New York Dolls’, Southside Johnny and Paul Collins are taking Sony Music to court, while John Waite and Joe Ely are taking UMG to court, all because the labels are not doing what the law says they should do.

After 35 years, creators have the right to take back their copyrights, as long as they serve the labels with a Notice Of Termination. In these cases, the creators have done everything right, but the labels are still saying NO.

Sony has alleged that the music created by “The New York Dolls” was under a “work for hire” agreement, which the band has challenged.

One thing is certain here, the labels don’t want a precedent set, in case they lose, so they will settle out of court, in the same way they settled out of court for Don Henley, Tom Scholz, David Coverdale, Eminem and many others before that.

And then they will repeat the “works made for hire” cycle again, when another artist who has created valuable art wants to reclaim their copyrights. And off to court they will go, just to settle out of court. Ridiculous, isn’t it.

Creators should have the same rage at cases like these as they do about Spotify’s appeal to the Copyright Royalty Board’s rates increase.

Here is a Billboard article, outlining the rage of songwriters against Spotify, but nothing against the labels for not returning the rights of songs to the creators.

In the letter, the following is mentioned;

“Our fight is for all songwriters: those struggling to build their career, those in the middle class and those few who have reached your Secret Genius level.”

 Umm, sorry, but you guys don’t fight for all songwriters. And you don’t fight for me. A letter written by a marketing person from the Publishers or Labels is proof of that.

The majority of songwriters who are struggling to build their career haven’t made any coin, although they wished they did. So this class of songwriters wouldn’t benefit in any way from the royalty rate increase. And their works will not suddenly become huge, just because the royalty pool was increased.

The middle class if they own their copyrights would see some dollars come their way however the majority of monies would still go to the organisations who hold the copyrights and the artists they hold who represent the 1% of the recording business and have value in their works. And the songwriters will still get pennies because of their shitty deals with the labels and publishers.

And what about the takedown mess happening in the name of Copyright. YouTube cops the blame, however the blame also lives with the organisations sending down takedown requests without doing their investigations to see if the takedown is legit.

Lionsgate took issue with YouTuber AngryJoeShow giving “Hellboy” a bad review, so they took down his video by making a copyright claim (claiming that they own the video). This also means that Lionsgate will receive all the revenue earned by the video. It sounds like Copyright as Censorship for me.

Previously, a YouTuber called “The FatRat” went to war against a Colombian music company after the company claimed a tune which TheFatRat created as theirs. The FatRat issues were solved when YouTube decided to investigate and saw it as a bunch of B.S and removed the claim.

There are issues from YouTube’s side of things as well, as they just take the copyright claims from others as being true, and then when the YouTuber appeals, the organisation which sent the copyright claim has the power to decide whether to grant the appeal of the claim it originally made. To me, this is all B.S. and putting power in the hands of organizations without any due process.

A company representing Disney, made a claim on a Darth Vader video put up by a YouTube channel called “StarWarsTheory”. The channel created a fan film about Darth Vader with all the necessary approvals from Lucasfilm to do it and monetise it. Eventually the claim was lifted by Lucasfilm themselves, who told Disney, this isn’t cool. Even Warner Music Group via their publishing arm Warner/Chappell, put in a claim over the music in the fan film, which they said has notes similar to “The Imperial March”.

And the problem is not just YouTube’s problem. Instagram took down a video by will.i.am because someone sent a copyright claim on it.

“We’ve removed the video you posted at 9:55 am on January 26, 2019 because it included the following content: VIBRATIONS pt. 1 pt.2 by The Black Eye Peas,” reads the alleged Instagram email.”

But hang on a second, will.i.am formed The Black Eye Peas and wrote the song.

Who knows if it was a phishing scam or the corporate copyright holder sending takedown notices via bots. Just goes to show the ridiculousness of the world we live in.

And we still have the stupid legal fight between Twisted Sister/Universal Music and Australian politician Clive Palmer which is going to the courts in June.

We all know that Palmer’s “Australia Aint Gonna Cop It” is a rip off from “We’re Not Gonna Take It”. And we all know that Palmer enquired about using the music of Twisted Sister but when he heard the price, decided to do his own derivative version of the song.

And of course, Clive being the business man that refuses to pay for anything, including the wages of his workers, is saying that his melody is based on “O Come, All Ye Faithful”, a song which is out of copyright.

Jack White is also a Eurovision winner, without even writing a song for Eurovision. What he did do is write a song called “Seven Nation Army” and since the winning song “Toy” had sections which sounded similar to “Seven Nation Army”, Jack White has been added as a co-writer because his label took the writers of “Toy” to court.

Again, these kind of cases puts the idea out there that the notes order of “Seven Nation Army” are so original that only Jack White wrote a progression like that, free from influence.

AND FINALLY for all those people who still believe that the entertainment industry is getting killed by piracy, here is what you should read, The Sky Is Rising, which details how much new content is coming out.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Change Happens

Change happens. It isn’t easy but the earliest you understand it and accept it, the quicker you’ll be able to move on and make a living in the post-change world. 

There is still too much focus from artists on things they cant control, instead of focusing on things they can control, like creating art, connecting with people, using data from streaming listens to organise tours and merchandise deals in those areas that have super fans.

Super fans according to Spotify are people who have streamed the music of the artist for 45 days in a row. Spotify then targets these fans with updates and pre-sales and turns this data over to the artist for free.

If you have noticed, when you go to your favourite artists account and you see the number of listeners on their account, well, a percentage of those listeners fall into the super fan bucket.

But it takes work to do all these extra things, and there are people feeding your ear with how unfair it is that Spotify is taking the Copyright Royalty Board to court because the Board increased the royalty base fee that these services need to pay.

In my view, the board should not have this power at all, because it is not the fault of the streaming service for the low payouts to the artists.

The record label and the artist did sign an agreement once upon a time which explains in great detail how these payments will be divided, once the monies the label spent on the artists have been recouped.

In the process, the songwriters also signed deals with labels and publishers once upon a time, and in most cases, they also pocketed millions in advance payments in lieu of future earnings, and now suddenly, the fault lays with the streaming services.

Has anyone seen Spotify’s financials to check how much of an expense Royalties are to their business?

They are not avoiding paying.

Music like any other form of economic business needs to operate in the economic world. That means the price and value of art will fluctuate based on market demand. If it has a government institution setting a royalty fee, then the whole business model is in trouble, because the government is over inflating the real value of the art, by setting prices which are out of touch with market demand.

But the oldsters in charge of the RIAA and the labels and their politician friends are all colluding, so the Government props up and shields a business that refuses to operate in the real economic world.

Let me tell you a story about Leo Feist and Harry Von Tilzer. If you don’t know who they are, it’s okay, and if you do, great. Remember how once upon a time there was a booming sheet music business. Well these two guys were influential in this business.

And they gainfully employed musicians to demonstrate playing the sheet music songs to people, as a way to sell amateur musicians on the idea to purchase the sheets of music. Music stores then started to employ these kind of musicians as well, and suddenly you had a new industry of musicians earning a weekly wage, playing other peoples songs to people.

But like all great things, change is around the corner. They had a feeling that these new technologies called the phonograph and radio would change the game and they also knew that songs would go from local cities to state wide to country wide faster than ever before and to more people than ever before.

In due time, the musicians employed by the sheet music corporations didn’t have a job and the music business model these two men built and profited from began to fall apart.

But benefits also came about from the new technologies as more artists and bands suddenly becoming popular.

Change happens.

And the way you used to make money is not the same anymore. It’s the same for every business. Apple makes its money very differently in 2019 to how it did in 1985.

You might not have the global dominance of artists from the MTV era, but more and more smaller artists are building a career, with a small cult audience which sustains them.

As artists, be open minded, embrace change and look for creative ways to monetize instead of being angry. And in the end, enjoy the highs and lows the process brings with it.

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A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault – Arcade

EMI really wanted this album to work.

Stephen Pearcy’s previous band RATT splintered. Some say it was due to dwindling sales (500K units in the US is not a small amount for their “Detonator” album, but then again the labels reckon it was, especially after moving 3 million units for their previous albums) and others say it was due to Grunge.

Regardless, Pearcy didn’t wait around and he hooked up with Fred Coury from Cinderella on drums, Johnny Angel played guitar originally and wrote songs for the debut, but was dropped and in came Frankie Wilsex and Donny Syracuse, while Michael Andrews is on bass.

EMI even paired up Pearcy to write with Jim Vallance of Bryan Adams and Aerosmith fame, and they also got producer Dave Prater, who at this point in time had some serious chart success with Firehouse and Dream Theater.

But it didn’t work, and nobody really knows why. Good music is good music and it should find an audience. But it didn’t. Well it didn’t like how the label wanted it to.

So what happened to all of those rock and metal fans from 1984 to 1990?

Why didn’t they lap up this album?

Well, the base wasn’t as big as people thought. The bulk of the fans shifted between rock and pop and metal, so when it came to 1993, it was no surprise that some fans had shifted their allegiance to other styles. Maybe they just thought that Stephen Pearcy was done and dusted or he’s a one hit wonder or because fans became hip now, into more mellow music, like how Mark Wahlberg cut his hair in Rock Star, it wasn’t cool to like rock music anymore. I knew a few people like that, and if they existed in my circle, I am sure they existed in other circles as well.

I purchased the CD but I can’t remember from where. But I do remember the “Cry No More” single which I purchased via a second hand store, complete with ONE song. Yep, you read that right, one SONG on a CD which can hold 70 minutes of music.

And the album is not on Spotify, which is a shame. A real shame.

Calm Before The Storm

It has a wicked open string riff as good as any metal like riff at the time. It’s credited to Vallance, Angel, Pearcy and Coury.

But I dream of rising light
A sign it’s time to be reborn

And a Pearcy was reborn but ignored.

Cry No More

It’s written by Johnny Angel, Fred Coury and Stephen Pearcy.

And man, when a guitarist spends time being the main songwriter and then doesn’t get to play on the album or plays on the album and is fired before the tour, I see that as a low act by said band mates and management.

When I was young my daddy always taught me
To speak the truth and never tell lies
Now that I’m old and no one ever told me
The life you live, the truth you can disguise

We are living it everyday, trying to make out what is real and fake.

Down and out, I need a friend
Who’ll be there until the end

You don’t know who will be there at the end. And it scares people.

Messed Up World

A sign of the times we live in.

Greedy little fingers
Dirty little lies
Diggin’ themselves in deeper
Wearing their disguise
Crooked preachers sell religion
Underhanded politicians

Artists have written about corruption from when I can remember and it’s still happening without any end in sight.

And I ask myself why?

Maybe Geoff Tate was right all along, the holy dollar rules everybody’s lives and everyone has got to make a million, it doesn’t matter who dies.

I don’t wanna believe what they tell me
I ain’t gonna buy what they sell me
I ain’t gonna take what they’re givin’
It’s a messed up world that we’re livin’ in

Damn right and it is only going to get worse, because if you have school children who can’t vote, striking from school for climate change, imagine the changes coming when they can vote. The current powers that be will fight tooth and nail to keep the world messed up.

World peace and religion
Well you know that’s what they teach
But their arms hold up their halos
They never practice what they preach

Wearing masks is the name of the game. It’s all messed up, but that’s how we survive.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

More File Sharing Equals More Music…

One of the main points of organisations or people who support stronger copyright laws and enforcement is the lies that stronger copyright laws act as an incentive for people to be creative or to make art. About 10 years ago, these lies appeared everywhere. What the public didn’t know, was that these organisations had a seat in the Government Policy room, to negotiate a range of bills in secret.

SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) got introduced in 2011 in the US Senate for discussion. In January, 2012, people held protests in the streets and online about these bills which would put too much control of the internet into the hands of corporations and governments. Eventually, these bills didn’t pass. TPP was written in secret with the corporations, and it got passed without discussion, only for Trump to squash it and come out with another act, even better for the Corporations.

One thing throughout it all that hasn’t dropped off, is the creative output of people. There is so much more content being produced and created right now than ever before. And the consumers have choice, and a lot of it.

Multiple studies have shown that even though there was a massive increase in infringement once upon a time, at the same time there was also a large increase in creative output as well.

And of course, people will associate output versus money made. Like the way Gene Simmons did when he said “Rock is dead”. Some people create art purely for money. Others create art because they want to create or have a need to create. Money will come, merely as a by-product of creating art.

When the record labels acted as gatekeepers, they could put money behind artists and develop them. It used to happen and some labels did it better than others. But that boom in the 80’s, is not because the labels developed artists, it’s because those artists developed themselves outside the sphere of the record labels.

No one can say that a record label developed Twisted Sister, Motley Crue or even Quiet Riot. Even Metallica did their first album independently and had a cult live following before Elektra came in to sign them for “Ride The Lightning”.

For artists that had break out success in 1986, like Bon Jovi and Europe, I would say, yes, they got developed by the label and got the green light for a make or break third album.

Economist Joel Waldfogelm, did some research a while back.

He wanted to see if the rise in sharing had any drop off on the new music being produced. And the research said, no, as new music was being created continuously. However, the record labels claimed otherwise, a claim not based on evidence.

in my opinion, the study also debunked what Gene Simmons said, about “rock being dead”. Gene’s comments circled around how file sharing and streaming meant that no new acts are being developed and able to grow and release quality albums. In fact, the study finds no support for that claim.

The study looked at the best of lists on popular websites for each decade from the 80’s and found on average, about half of the best-of albums since Napster are from artists whose recording debut occurred since Napster.

The study even went further to check how many albums in the 80’s are from artists from the 70’s and how many are from artists who had their debut in the 80’s. And guess, what, the numbers match the post Napster numbers.

How can that be if no artist is being developed?

Basically, there is no evidence that new artists are no longer being developed or are not creating high quality, successful music. Then again, the great artists didn’t need an A&R rep to develop them. They had their own drive and their own motivations.

But the labels have great PR writers and they sure know how to spin a story, along with the publishers and the movie studios. But their theories are not backed by independent research evidence.

The big difference between pre and post Napster is that most of the new musicians are coming from independent DIY artists, rather than the majors. And the labels don’t like this. And they are taking money away from the legacy artists when it comes to recorded music but the legacy artists still make coin on the live circuit.

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