Copyright, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Universal Music Gets $1.5 Million for “We’re Not Gonna Take It”

The case between Clive Palmer and Universal Music (UM) is over, with the judge awarding damages of $1.5 million to UM.

For those that don’t know or don’t remember, Clive Palmer is an Australian businessman who decided to start up a political party called United Australia. He asked to use the song, heard that the licence fee was $150K for eight months use and decided to write a parody version of it called “Australia ain’t gonna cop it”.

Well, when Dee Snider and Jay Jay French heard about it, they got the lawyers involved. Dee has said on other occasions, that if someone agreed to pay the licence fee, it was still up to the writer to approve the use of the song and if the person/organization did not represent the message of the song to include all and give people a right to speak up and choose, he would have vetoed the use.

Palmer is not liked by the majority of Australian’s. He’s been found guilty of not paying workers properly, for creative accounting and when he doesn’t get things his way, he sues. Just recently he took the state of Western Australia to court because of their hard border closure. But he met his match with Dee Snider and Twisted Sister.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Treating Fans Like Shit

Copyright City

Eminem is going after everyone.

Eight Mile Style is Eminem’s publisher and it is going after Spotify first.

The case alleges that Spotify has no license to have the songs on its service, and while the songs have been streamed billions of times, “Spotify has not accounted to Eight Mile or paid Eight Mile for these streams but instead remitted random payments of some sort, which only purport to account for a fraction of those streams.”

A judge now has also cleared the way for Eight Mile to go after the Harry Fox Agency who acts as an intermediary between organizations who secures licenses.

And while Eminem is going legal to be paid monies which only the lawyers will gobble up, other Copyright organizations are buying out other Copyright organizations.

Concord last year spent over $200 million acquiring the Copyrights for songs. Now in April 2021, it’s estimated that Concord has acquired another 145,000 copyrights from Downtown in a deal worth $400 million.

The deal will take Concord’s catalogue of works over 600,000 songs. Included in the deal are works performed by Adele, Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, Carrie Underwood, David Bowie, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Sam Smith, Stevie Wonder, and The 1975.

How much of the sale would go back to the original artists and creators remains to be seen, as the artists would have probably gotten a payment from Downtown for their works in the first place.

So imagine the fear these organizations must get when they read about Google’s court case vs Oracle.

You see Google, ‘copied’ 11,000 lines of Oracles software code, and Oracle didn’t like it, so they sued. Google argued it was fair use and after going back and forth in the Courts, it was ruled in Google’s favour because the end use of what the code was used for, was very different for both organizations.

And now the Andy Warhol Foundation is trying to get the Courts to use the Google case verdict in their case against a photographer who took pictures of Prince, which Andy Warhol used to color differently like the Marilyn Monroe and Campbell Soup cans pictures.

This in turn has brought in other heavyweights like the movie, book and music industries as they want the Google verdict to remain within software only and not be brought over into music, movies and publishing.

Because Hollywood lobbyist and music lobbyist oppose everything that could benefit people.

Recently, the WHO got a waiver written into Copyright law which said that all drug manufacturers should share their research and formulas, so that COVID-19 could be defeated and that vaccines could be manufactured by others.

The MPAA and RIAA didn’t like it, but they never clarified what language bothered em.

Then again, when an organization like these have spent their whole life exploiting loopholes in Copyright Law to benefit them and turning black and white areas into grey, they are now afraid of others doing the same, like the thief who has Fort Knox like security on their house.

I guess Copyright City just keeps getting interesting. And nothing mentioned about how the actual creators benefit. And what about the fans.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music

Re-Recordings

Last week, there was a lot of discussion on Taylor Swift and her re-recordings. This week, crickets. Nothing. It’s amazing how fast news rises and dies. And I’m surprised at how many different views people have on it.

In the end it’s all about control.

In metal and rock circles, these kind of re-recordings have been happening from when I could remember.

Def Leppard created forgeries of a few of their songs in the last 10 years so they could be on streaming services as they were having a contractual dispute with the label over the payments they should be getting from digital services.

Any artist that ends up on Frontiers Records, ends up doing forgeries of their classic songs. Check out this Frontiers list of a whose who ofre-recorded classics.

Jeff Lynne re-recorded a lot of ELO songs and released them as a solo album with the title, “Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra.”

Stryper re-recorded their best off and called it “Second Coming” album.

Whitesnake had their biggest hit by re-recording an earlier song in 1987 which was on Geffen Records and as a Frontiers artist David Coverdale re-recorded his Deep Purple era and released it as a Whitesnake album.

Journey re-recorded the majority of their classics with Arnel Pineda and released these re-recorded songs with an album of new material as a bonus disc.

Pretty Maids did the same with “Louder Than Ever” in which they left the “sacred” albums of “Future World” and “Jump The Gun” alone but took songs from the others.

Trixter did it with a few songs on each of their Frontiers albums.

Kid Rock said in 2012 that he will re-recording his 12x Platinum smash, “Devil without a Cause” so that he will own the rights to the new versions.

Styx re-recorded some of their classics plus a couple of Damn Yankees songs with the “Regeneration: Volume I and II” releases.

Dokken (the version with Don Dokken on vocals, Jon Levin on guitars, Barry Sparks on bass and Mick Brown on drums) re-recorded the classics from the 80’s and released those versions as a “Greatest Hits” package in 2010. Maybe the title of the album should have been “Greatest Re-Recorded Hits”

KISS also re-recorded their classic songs with current members Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer and released em as a bonus disc with “Sonic Boom”.

Arch Enemy went down this route to re-record classic songs from their first three albums with their new singer. Fans who liked the original albums didn’t like the forgeries while people who discovered the band during the Angela Gossow period, didn’t care.

Any person who purchased a “Guitar Hero” or “Rock Band” game, most likely supported an artist who had re-recorded their song because the master went missing, or something was wrong with the master or because they wanted to have control of the higher license payment for the songs that appeared on the games.

And let’s not forget what the Osbourne camp did with “Blizzard Of Ozz” and “Diary Of A Madman” by taking out Kerslake and Daisley from the recordings and getting their parts re-done by the current members at the time in Mike Bordin and Rob Trujilo. Bordin expressed regret at doing it many years later.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories

AI Riffs And Lyrics

AI created music is always talked about when it comes to Copyright.

Who actually has a right to it?

Especially when you start to get AI-generated songs that sound like copyrighted bands and it starts to become a bit more complicated.

In the case of AC/DC and Metallica, the AI Bot scraped all the lyrics the bands wrote and wrote new lyric passages. But a human still needed to discern which lines to use. And for these songs, the music and vocals are performed by a person.

For the AI Jimi Hendrix song called “You’re Gonna Kill Me” and the AI Nirvana song called “Drowned In The Sun“, the organisation behind these songs had AI algorithms created to listen to hooks, rhythms, riffs, chord structures, solos, melodies and lyrics of the artists and then the AI learns how to generate a new string of ideas that could be used for songs. And the same AI used to create the AC/DC and Metallica lyrics was used to create the lyrics for these songs.

The AI would create about five minutes of new riffs, which only 10% was usable. So humans would then take out the stuff they thought was good and discard the rest and then press the create button again for a new 5 minute sample of music. And the process will repeat, until there are enough new ideas to create a song. So while the music is computer generated, it’s still a laborious task to put it all together by a human.

Also the vocals that the AI produces are just mumbles and hums that outline a melody, which you sort of get to hear on the Hendrix track, but for the Nirvana song, the vocals are handled by a Nirvana tribute singer, so it actually sounds like a Nirvana song.

Finally the “The Lost Tapes of the 27 Club” project was created to highlight mental health, but it also reminds us that there is still a lot of human involvement and decision making to create a song based on musical ideas generated by a computer.

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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – March 22 to March 28

4 Years Ago (2017)

I always like to highlight some of the bullshit that Copyright spews up. For a law that’s meant to protect the artist, it’s a instantly abused so that Corporations benefit. And pretty soon, expect to see laws change that benefit investment funds.

I wrote about how the RIAA/MPAA are large perpetrators of fake news in the world. When billions of dollars are involved, these industries employ some of the most creative writers in the business to basically creating fictional works of fakery. Does anyone remember these ones.

  • Home Taping Is Killing Music And It’s Illegal
  • Copy a CD and get a criminal record
  • Piracy: It’s a crime
  • Piracy kills artists.

And I wrote about artists who made up by sharing their files with fans as unsigned artists and how some bands couldn’t include a song on an album because they couldn’t track down the original writer because of bad record keeping by the same organizations who claim to protect the artists.

Artists were also taking their labels to court for digital payments as Spotify was making inroads in the US market and these artists on deals pre tech were still getting paid on that old sale royalty deal.

The Spotify Release Radar was that good that I need to write about the artists and songs that appeared like “Midnight Flyer” by The Night Flight Orchestra.

My favourite Swedish supergroup of metal heads was back, playing the classic rock music I love. This time around, it’s about a galactic space opera, where the human race is pitted against female space commanders with pearl necklaces. It’s a brilliant James Bind script.

“Sinking Ship” by Harem Scarem and that funky groovy foot stomping Intro riff was on the list.

How good is Pete Lesperance on guitar?

Along with Harry Hess they have navigated 30 plus years of Harem Scarem, plus their solo work and side projects.

Other tracks that appeared are “Snakes In Paradise” by Crazy Lixx, “Never Was A Forever” by Honeymoon Suite, “Light Me Up” by Doom Unit, “Straight To The Top” by Creye, “Underneath” by Blacktop Mojo and “Big Sky Country” by KXM.

8 Years Ago (2013)

I was still on a Bon Jovi and White Lion deep dive into their catalogue. Here is a post of “We Got It Going On”. It’s the best song on the “Lost Highway” album.

I did a week 2 update on Bon Jovi’s “What About Now” album as it slipped from Number 1 to Number 7. In week one they had 101K unit sales to 29K units in week 2.

At the time, Mumford and Sons who after 26 weeks on the chart, was still moving 27,000 units of their album “Babel” and in total, “Babel” had sold 2,122,000 copies.

7 years later, the “What About Now” album still doesn’t have any certification.

Where does a band fit who where promoted as pretty hair boys in tight leathers but played a brand of hard rock that was technical and who also wrote about serious themes.

Thats the predicament White Lion found themselves in. “El Salvador” appeared on “Fight To Survive”, the anti war ballad “When The Children Cry” appeared on “Pride” and on Big Game, the band was singing about apartheid in “Cry For Freedom”, religion in “If My Mind Is Evil”, Greenpeace and the Rainbow Warrior in “Little Fighter” and violence in the family “Broken Home”.

Here is my review of the “Big Game” album.

And here was Part 2 of a Guitar World interview with Vito Bratta discussing the album.

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

Sales vs Streams

Ryan Downey over at Stream N Destroy goes to some lengths to track what is hot and cold in the world of rock and metal and all the different sub genres that fall within.

The below Zombie and Queen stats are from his latest email blast, which can be read online here.

Rob Zombie, The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy
24,700 Album Units (Nuclear Blast Records)
Released: March 12, 2021
20.6k Album Sales, 2400 Song Sales
2.5M Song Streams this week

Queen, Queen
18,800 Album Units (Hollywood Records)
Released: July 13, 1973
54 Album Sales, 8k Song Sales
23.2M Song Streams this week

Check out the anemic album sales from Queen versus the song streams. 54 physical album sales vs 23.2 million song streams. This is why music and the catalogues of artists are becoming so valuable. People and especially investors have real data as to who is listening to what. Get people listening on streaming services and it will pay forever. And if you ain’t getting a slice of those payments, we’ll your deal needs to be renegotiated.

Once upon a time, when streaming started to be taken seriously, the record labels and Billboard had no idea what was hot or number 1. The Billboard charts didn’t correlate to what was played the most on streaming service. In other words the labels and Billboard were out of touch. So Billboard decided they had to bring streaming into the Charts equation and made their charts more like a mathematic assignment.

But at least the charts are now taking streams into account by using 1,500 streams as an album sale or unit. I still think it’s wrong to try a fit something new into an old metric, but hey what do we fans know.

Song sales also add up to album sales. 10 songs equal an album.

In Queen’s case, there is enough activity for those 23.2 million streams and 8K song downloads plus 54 album sales to equal 18,800 units.

Compare Queen’s numbers to Rob Zombie’s first week numbers.

There are 20,600 physical album sales from RZ versus 54 for an album released in 1973. While record sales will give people an instant quick payday and some bragging rights about charting, it’s streaming that will show if anybody is listening after the hype of the album release.

You would expect based on evidence right now, that RZ fans will be listening to his music in 40 years’ time. But will he keep replenishing his fan base enough to keep the streaming numbers. Because replenishing the fan base is the key to long term survival.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy

So…. You Want A Record Deal

“Contracts are a bitch, and we’ve signed some raw ones. And we need to start trying to make some money off of our catalog, which is 10 albums deep, plus all the side stuff. We haven’t made any money from record sales, album sales. It’s all gone to the major labels. A lot of people make money off of us; we just don’t make money the way the deals are structured. We just aren’t excited to get back into any kind of contract. So if we find a new home at a new label, wherever it is, it’s gotta be a special deal where you get something for your hard work.

Vocalist/Guitarist Pete Loeffler from Chevelle

Music sells because artists create. As much as the labels would like to believe it’s about them, it isn’t. They are faceless nobodies to the majority of music consumers.

But the A&R reps and CEO’s of these labels fly private, while the artists that make them millions tour via vans. Which in the last 12 months, hasn’t been much, as all touring has ceased.

So the artists do what they normally do when they have downtime. They create more art for release.

CHEVELLE just finished their recording contract with EPIC. A deal signed in 2001, when there was no streaming, no iPhones and no YouTube.

With each label release, the advance they got for the album was bigger than the last advance, which for the label, would have been small change.

“We’ve sold six million albums for Epic Records, and they’ve made 50 million dollars. It’s lopsided.”

Vocalist/Guitarist Pete Loeffler from Chevelle

Their first album, released in 1999, was produced by Steve Albini and released on an independent label. Albini was always warning bands about signing to major labels back in the very early 90’s.

It was their second album, “Wonder What’s Next” that was the catalyst to make me a fan and many others as well. It was released on Epic.

But I got it a few years after it came out.

The first time I heard their music was when I picked up the “Music As A Weapon II” CD, a live collection from the Disturbed run of shows in which the opening bands all got a song or two featured on the CD. And that was when I heard “The Red”. It was like Tool learned how to write concise groove rock songs and I was all in.

“The fact of the matter is when you sign a record deal with a major, they own it for, like, 20-something years. We said, ‘We’d re-sign with you if you just sent some of it through the pipeline to us.’ All the profits, they’re keeping everything. And if they just send a little bit through, maybe we can talk about this, continuing on.”

Vocalist/Guitarist Pete Loeffler from Chevelle

Once upon a time, a major label deal was an opportunity to participate in the music business. 99% of the bands made zero money off the deal.

With the turn of the century, every label claimed that piracy killed the recording business. But acts still moved units.

Chevelle are not the first nor will they be the last who had been ripped off on the pay as Bon Scott would put it. Thirty Seconds To Mars and EMI went to war over a similar unfair contract after “A Beautiful Lie” blew up everywhere.

Maybe we need to look at the labels in the same we see businesses. There are laws which prevent businesses from merging because of the large market monopoly they would hold. There is a great story over at WIRED.COM called “Big Music Needs to Be Broken Up to Save the Industry”.

The article talks about how bad government policy in the U.S over a long period of time left mergers unchecked and this led to the creation of three major labels financing 70% of the music consumed. In other words the release less than other labels but because of their market power dominance it’s consumed more.

And the new recent proposed laws to rein in Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook will also affect Sony, Universal and Warner. Because as streaming gets bigger so do the labels.

The article mentions research conducted in 2019 on streaming payments and the three major labels get $1 million an hour from streaming payments combined.

Think about that $1 million per hour. And this was 2 years ago. It will be more right now as streaming grew exponentially last year.

Streams are cheap for the labels. They don’t have to ship streams or store streams and there’s no breakage of streams like physical. All of the cost of the infrastructure is on the streaming service.

Labels are making money. And the artists….

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

No Fucking Regrets Episode 77: Brian Tatler from Diamond Head

Here is the link.

Legendary New Wave Of British Heavy Metal guitarist Brian Tatler sat down with Robb Flynn from Machine Head for an in-depth chat.

The first 20 minutes, Flynn talks about his friendship with vocalist LG Petrov, the frontman for Swedish metal bands Entombed, Entombed A.D. and Firespawn who had just passed away. LG was diagnosed with bile duct cancer and doctors couldn’t remove it. They tried to treat it with “chemotherapy” to prolong his life.

Flynn mentions how he got turned on to Diamond Head by Metallica covering their songs. Before Metallica got signed, people even thought the Diamond Head covers were Metallica originals.

Their debut album in 1980 was called “Lightning To The Nations”. There are seven songs on the album and Metallica covered five of em, throughout their career.

Diamond Head re-recorded their debut album a few years ago and in a great twist, covered a Metallica track, “No Remorse” for the album as it had “DH qualities” according to Tatler.

There is an awesome cover of “Sinner” from Judas Priest as well and Tatler talks about how Priest was a band they looked up to, how Priest influenced em and how he’s “pretty sure” he nicked bits from “Sinner” and “Victims Of Changes” for Diamond Head songs.

He stole the name from a Roxy Music album called “Diamond Head”. Funny how Robb Flynn also took the name “Machine Head” from Deep Purple.

For one weeks studio time, they signed away 15 years of publishing. They were young and they had no idea what publishing was. So when Metallica covered their songs, the publishing was going elsewhere and finally in the late 80’s Tatler went all legal, to get the publishing back.

They didn’t know about the other young bands in the UK at the time like Def Lep, Saxon, Maiden, Angelwitch until Sounds started writing about em. And then so many other bands started coming out, all looking for a record deal.

Geoff Barton from Kerrang was a massive fan of the band and he did a massive write up in Kerrang. They saw that Maiden, Leppard, Saxon and Angelwitch got signed and people wondered why no one signed Diamond Head. So they went the independent route.

Sean Harris (their singer) mom managed the band, which ended up being a bad idea.

Diamond Head never toured the US in the 80s and Robb mentioned how he just presumed that Diamond Head was super huge and that they toured relentlessly in the US.

They finally got a deal with MCA, did two albums, did one tour of Europe and got dropped.

He talks about writing a pop rock song for their first MCA album “Borrowed Time” called “Call Me” because of label pressure, so they could get on to “Top Of The Pops” and they’ll sell a lot of records because of it. But they didn’t. And MCA was not the label for metal bands to be on.

They started touring the US in the 2000s and it was Dave Mustaine from Megadeth that made it happen. Mustaine offered them his crew to help em with set up, sound checks and everything else.

Because Tatler mentioned that DH doesn’t have the pulling power to get crew and buses, so they do their own set up, pack up and their own driving in a van.

He talks about how a 17 year old Lars Ulrich heard “It’s Electric” from a magazine sampler and he then wrote to the fan club, and he said he’s coming over to the UK to watch em play live. And Lars Ulrich ended up sleeping on Tatler’s floor in a sleeping bag in Tatler’s parents house. Lars slept for a week at the Tatler’s and three weeks at vocalist Sean Harris’s parents place.

And my favorite quote from Tatler is “Not everyone gets to make it.”

But he’s okay with it and where he’s at. He’s still doing what he loves. Playing guitar in a band.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Copyright This And Copyright That

Ahh yes, Copyright abuse is rife these days. The RIAA, the record labels standover organization, just keeps sending takedown notices to Google on legitimate content.

To show how silly the RIAA really is, their notices are targeting Spotify and Apple. There is a chance that your music might be taken down by a bogus takedown from an organization that keeps telling people they are the good guys and have the artists best interest at heart.

Um yeah. Sure.

Because if the labels did care for the artists they wouldn’t be fighting them when the artists try and reclaim their Copyrights, which the law allows them to, after 35 years.

Here you have a Soul icon asking her fans to not stream or buy her music while she fights for her rights and for her songs Masters to be returned to her.

But the labels won’t return anything without a fight as they want to be the ones doing deals with Investment Managers. And these kind of companies are popping up everywhere. Barometer Capital Management Inc. is launching a new investment fund called the “Barometer Global Music Royalty Fund LP.”

And the main investments will be the Copyrights to songs with a strong track record of earnings. Expect to read about more and more artists making big deals.

Remember back in the day when the biggest Copyright killer was the cassette. It allowed people to copy their vinyl records onto the format. The labels took out huge campaigns to tell the world that home taping is killing the recording business. Instead it made more money for it because it led to more innovations which led to music being more portable.

The creator of the cassette, Lou Ottens, passed away recently at the age of 94 and I would like to thank him for allowing me to create mix tapes, record jam sessions and most importantly to tape my vinyl collection onto it so I could listen anywhere. And become a pirate in the process.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, Unsung Heroes

To Do What You Love For A Living

The story goes something like this.

A band forms and they play the LA scene. They can’t get a US deal but they end up getting a deal to release albums in the Japanese market. They do two albums on the Japanese deal and then their guitarist leaves to join another project which is just kick starting.

The band calls it quits only to reappear a few years later on a US label “Pasha”, with only the singer left from the original band.

In order to participate in this new scene, the singer signs a deal with the label which gave the bulk of the publishing and royalty payments to the label.

Because when you have nothing, you will sign anything just to have a chance to do what you love for a living. And he wasn’t the only one. Many artists signed deals that benefited the labels a lot more than the artists. And today, these kind of “bad” artist deals still exist.

To everyone’s surprise, the album goes to Number 1, on the back of a cover song, which wasn’t really a hit for the original artist who wrote it, but suddenly, its huge. And all the monies went to the label and the producer and the original song writers. Despite selling millions of physical product throughout the years, the singer died with huge debts and was almost broke.

But as he said once upon a time, “when push comes to shove, I get to do what I love for a living”.

And that my friends, is the brief, short story of Kevin DuBrow. He got to do what he loved and others got wealthy.

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