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

The Artists Live Forever

The artists have the power. They are the ones who write and record the songs and provide something of value.

So why are the rights holders of the artist’s works (otherwise known as the Copyright Holders, aka, the Labels and Publishers) organizing deals with ISP’s, the Courts, the techies and the Government. These bodies would not have any power if the artists never sold away their power in the first place.

If anyone should be organising deals it should be the ARTISTS/PERFORMERS with the USERS/CONSUMERS first and then with all of the other organizations who make money from their music.

But a lot of artists go about it without a plan.

Or it’s a plan with drama, telling the fan or borderline fan, how hard they worked on the newest album, the cost to them emotionally and financially and all the blood, sweat and tears that went into their newest work. It’s like they want to guilt the consumer into paying for their product.

Or some do it effortlessly, without drama. Both systems work, as it depends on the consumer, how they react or the surplus of funds they have left to spend on entertainment.

And it’s a choice, artists need to make.

And because of money, you start to get artist’s giving their fans what they believe the fans want, so that they don’t lose them. But they seem to forget that the fans came into their lives when they wrote songs when they had no fans. Those songs written meant something personal. Songs written with money as the motive or with the aim of critical mass public acceptance don’t end up getting there. “We’re Not Gonna Take It” was written when Dee Snider was still struggling to make it.

Hit songs/albums are not made by label marketing or an artist telling the world it is their best work. They are made by cultures of people that connect with the song and then share their love of that music with others.

I remember “Pornograffiti” from Extreme got no press in Australia and it sold. The follow up “III Sides To Every Story” had a scorched earth marketing policy and while I dig the album, it did nothing in the land of Oz.

Geffen promoted Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Guns N Roses, Roxy Blue and Galactic Cowboys heavily in 1991/92. It was a simple scorched earth marketing policy. Spend money and see what sticks.

But who cares who ran Geffen or worked in AOR. Will people remember Whitesnake or John Kalodner or Dave Geffen?

We know that Metallica released the Black album. Would people care on what label it was on?

We sing along together at a Bon Jovi concert. Do we care or know that it was Polygram who released “Slippery When Wet”?

So while record label people come and go, artists remain, as their music lives forever. But the label heads want to be ones that live forever and all because artists give away their rights and power to them.

And artists need to be creating. These stupid perpetual Copyright laws made artists lazy especially artists who made some dough, during the era when the record labels controlled the distribution.

If you don’t believe me, how many albums of new music did Jimmy Page do after Led Zeppelin disbanded?

From memory, two albums with The Firm, one solo album, a Coverdale Page album and one Page Plant album as the other album was Led Zep songs reworked in acoustics. A total of 5 albums in almost forty years.

The artists are in charge. They need to know that. They can post their tunes to streaming services and make coin, provided they care about making connections with fans.

And it’s exciting.

Standard
Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Burn

We got a blackout. My kids haven’t been through one before. Actually my kids don’t know how good they’ve really had it, because everything works without fail.

As a kid growing up, blackouts happened a lot and then the infrastructure became stable and they stopped. But the storm passing through was crazy and the infrastructure is now old, unable to cope with the demand of a growing population.

And man, our weather in Australia has been even crazier. We get hot, humid days and then a crazy storm in the afternoon. Sometimes hail and cyclonic winds. We used to get these kinds of days before, sporadically, but these days, it’s every fucking day.

We’ve basically become a tropical climate across all parts of Australia, but hey, according to the the politicians who do the bidding for the corporations, our world is fine. All of the damage the Industrial Age has done to our environment is nothing because their bottom lines look great.

At the moment we are sweltering through another extreme heat wave. The last heatwave a few weeks ago brought a dust storm with it and so did the one a few weeks before that.

And I’m thinking of a city ablaze, a town on fire and how the woman who foretold it, we called her a liar.

Time for some Deep Purple.

Standard
Copyright, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

The Hard Reality When You Rely On Others To Build Your Dream

You are in a band and yet get signed. The record label isn’t really known for promoting heavy metal music, but hey, a recording contract is a recording contract and without it, you cannot move forward in your quest for global stardom.

Other bands who play a similar style have already released their albums and are starting to make headway. Meanwhile, the label keeps you in the studio, writing and recording demos before they give the green light for an album to be made.

Those “competing” bands are now onto album number 2 and 3 and your label is watching those other bands with interest, while telling you to write more songs that sound like this band and that band.

They are grooming you to be the labels competition to a band who is selling and making coin on the live circuit.

Then when you are ready to launch your assault, the label is sold to another label and you are dropped from their roster because you are unproven.

What do you do?

Do you pack up, head home and get a job or do you stick to it and restart again?

Not all members have the same drive and hard work ethic to try again, so they leave, replaced by other members with ambition that hasn’t been crushed by a record label.

“We were on MCA (record label) for three records and they were grooming us to be their version of the metal thing in the scene (like Metallica) and we got to a certain point where they’re ready to launch us on the world and then they got bought out by a bigger corporation and all the bands that they had never heard of before they just got rid of. We were one of those bands.

They were grooming us to be something big, [and] then we just got dumped for no reason at the last minute. That was kind of a big, emotional hit for us, I think. It knocked us back down to earth and we had to decide whether we were doing this for the love of music or if we were doing this for the wrong reasons.”

Flotsam and Jetson frontman Eric A. Knutson

And even when you released albums with a major label, it doesn’t mean that you got paid millions.

“After certain amount of time on a major label like Elektra, you find out how the business works, which in our particular case it was not working in our favour, you learn the definition of the word recoup.

And then you realize there is no way you can make any money unless you break big like Metallica but until then you are operating in Debt and you will never break out. Everybody gets paid first and the band gets paid last. I have the publishing which are not much money but no other royalties.

We are still in debt on the first few albums. Not only that but it’s tough to find out how much debt or profit after all these years. They send statements that you can’t read unless you are a lawyer, so I just wrote it off.

Your in debt for tour support, your in debt for videos, your in debt for everything and those are the reasons why I really like the new music business, there is more good about the new music business than there is bad. It’s more direct artists to fans and us old guys can still have a career.”

Metal Church guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof

In a game that has Corporations acting as gatekeepers, the decks are stacked against the artist unless for some reason a band connects on so many levels that they have the power to demand a better deal.

And when gatekeepers control everything, they also control the legislation which gets passed, filling the pockets of politicians to protect their business models with basically perpetual copyright terms and what not.

But artists are fighting back. Bryan Adams is pushing for Copyright reform in Canada.

He wants a better copyright arrangement that benefits the artists. He argues against longer copyright terms, as they only benefit and make money for the record labels and the collection agencies and not the artists.

Adams wants a shorter reversion term so after a period of time, the artist should have their copyrights returned to them. Adams also states that long copyright terms have no benefit to the creators.

As I’ve said many times on this blog, basically, no one decides to start creating because copyright terms are not long enough. They create because they need to create.

And Adams lays it out that it’s the record labels and publishing houses who lobby hard for longer copyright terms, not the artists.

He even mentioned how Government committees set up to assist artists have a committee made up of record label and publishing people and no artists.

Van Morrison said that when his third album “Moondance” was released, he was paid $100 a week to survive and he earned no money from the album, because the people he trusted signed away his rights for the first three albums to Warner Bros, pocketed the money and Van Morrison got a weekly wage in the process.

And to top it off, for Morrison to get a higher wage, he had to join a Union for session players. So imagine that, Van Morrison had to be a session singer on his own fucking album. He got paid as a session singer instead of an artist. And in order to get paid he had to submit a shitload of forms and then wait for payment.

But he learned from it, has more control and is 40 albums deep into his career.

And you know what he said, when the interviewer asked what drives him to create.

He replied back with “It’s what I do.”

He didn’t mention it’s because copyright terms last 70 years after his death.

It’s because there is a need inside him to create and that is what drives him. Having an audience or the chance of an potential audience who cares, motivates him. Not copyright.

Standard
Copyright, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Who Owns What

Should this be in the courts. Should a painting on a guitar body be protected by Copyright?

What about the other million guitar designs and paintings that happened on guitars of musicians who didn’t make it?

Who owns what there?

Of course, Copyright doesn’t matter or care when no money is involved. Copyright only goes to the courts if there is money involved. Copyright is only important and needs stricter enforcement when there is money to be gained or lost.

And the estate of Dimebag really shouldn’t have control over this design anyway. Dimebag didn’t even own the copyright to the artwork himself, (it was owned by his friend who painted the design) so how can it fall into the hands of his estate.

People will argue that he played a guitar made by Dean with that design on it and made it popular. Yes, that’s correct, but he still didn’t own the copyright on the guitar to pass it on to his estate after death.

Also the lightning design is pretty generic and it looks like the lightning on the “Ride The Lightning” cover and there is nothing really distinctive about it. As far as I’m concerned, the Estate or the Guitar maker should not have a Copyright over this design.

People and Corporations who offer no value to culture, make money from people who did offer value and change culture after death. This is basic hijacking of what Copyright was designed to do and it shouldn’t exist.

And as I mentioned before, what about the millions of other artists who tried to impact culture and didn’t. There was always copyright infringement happening.

The “Sunset Strip” sound in the early 80s was pretty much the same across the bands. And for the bands who made it like Motley Crue and Ratt, thousands of other bands who had similar/same songs didn’t make it, however they influenced the bands who made it to a certain extent.

How come they don’t make the news?

CC DeVille took a riff another person wrote in his previous band and used it for “Talk Dirty To Me”, without any credit to the writer. James Hetfield took a riff another person wrote and used it for “Hit The Lights” without any credit.

Copyright allows Corporations to amass power from art created by others. These Corporations keep this power long after the artist has passed away. This is wrong and against the interest of the public.

When one small artist who has a low status has an issue, it is irrelevant to everyone however when a bigger artist has an issue it is relevant.

And people wonder why small low worth artists are suing high net worth artists?

Instead of creating incentives to create, copyright is creating incentives to sue.

Standard
My Stories, Stupidity

Searching

It’s a fucking good movie about our behaviors online and the digital footprint we leave. It’s shown entirely from a computer screen and the story is wrapped around the search for a missing person.

Spoilers alert.

In the movie intro, we see the first 14 years play out in 10 minutes with home videos and photos, saved in perfectly titled folders like 1st piano lesson or 1st day in Year 1, search items for certain illnesses, calendars and emails.

But when the daughter of the family goes missing and the father starts looking into her Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat and YouCast accounts, he starts to realize that he didn’t really know his daughter.

He even thought his brother was having an affair with his daughter based on text messages he read that said “please don’t tell my dad, he will kill us.”

But what that text messages didn’t say was how she was buying weed from her uncle. Without context, a lot of bad decisions can be made.

And the father has no idea with whom his daughter is communicating with.

Is that social media person communicating with your child real or an avatar for a sicko hiding behind a fake photo and fake profile?

And when he makes contact with her Facebook friends to see if they know where she is, they all tell him they didn’t really know her, have never hung out with her and wouldn’t have a clue about her whereabouts, but when her disappearance made TV news, guess what, all of these Facebook friends suddenly had posts up that said stuff like “she’s my best friend”, “we did everything together” and other crap like that, so their online social status increases.

Sort of like that Black Mirror episode about people having social media scores which gave them access to better things like applying for higher paid jobs or apartments. When their score reached a certain level, suddenly people with similar scores will contact them so they could all hang out and press like to their posts and increase their scores. Because the higher score like carries more weight than a lower score like.

And the Chinese Government thought this was a good idea and adopted this score system.

It’s a scary world when the great enabler the Internet is meant to be is used against you to determine what you are worth.

Standard
Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

The Way The World Works

Corporations lobby the Government to have their taxes lowered while banking titans rort the system, say sorry at a Royal Commission and all is forgiven.

Welcome to Australia or any democratic country for that matter which has become a plutocracy.

Read this Guardian article about donations from a lobby group called Village Roadshow to Australian political parties.

Put enough coin in the pockets of politicians and watch them vote YES for the laws the corporation wants even though said law is bad for the people who voted the politicians in.

In this case the laws are all around Copyright legislation and site blocking powers. Plus Village Roadshow is allowed along with other entertainment lobbyists to direct search engines to remove links to sites they don’t like and there is no due diligence done.

Village Roadshow is basically allowed to become an internet police force as they tell ISPs to take down sites at their choosing.

You can imagine the heads of Village Roadshow agreeing to take some losses now financially and reap the benefits later. No different to the drug cartels who will allow a shipment to be lost while many more slip through and millions come flooding in.

We will know in February 2019, how much Village Roadshow donated to the parties for the most recent legislation. And for those people who still don’t know what I’m talking about, this is basically a rich corporation trying to influence the passing of legislation to benefit their business model.

In saying all of the above, the public will also find out how much the internet providers and companies like Google would have donated to politicians for them to stop the legislation.

Again this is for their own business models to succeed. Once again the people who matter the most, the consumers of entertainment are nowhere in the conversation. Remember, if there is no connection between a consumer and art, there is no money.

What Village Roadshow and the entertainment industries want is a return to their business model which more or less began 100 years ago. Seriously if you want to look at organizations resistant to change, look no further than Village Roadshow.

And Politicians should be embarrassed as they failed the people who voted them in, for a selfie with the rich and famous.

At least one politician raised the concern or maybe he was paid by Google to raise the concern;
“As lawmakers, just because we might get a selfie with Richard Roxburgh — I love Rake as much as anyone else — or a political party gets a donation from a rights holder, does not mean that we should stop looking at how to make the types of reforms that balance the needs of creatives and the needs of producers versus the needs of consumers.”
Ed Husic – Labor MP

It’s hard work to balance the needs of creatives and producers versus the needs of consumers and no one right now likes hard work, so people go down the simple route of serving the needs of creatives and producers and screwing consumers.

Standard
Copyright, Music, My Stories, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

The Copyright Empire

I have a Google Alert set up for Copyright and everyday there are ten or more stories on Copyright issues, ranging from Ed Sheeran settling with artists over a copyright suit to a song of his which has become super popular, to Led Zep asking a judge to throw away the Stairway appeal, to local restaurants playing music and asked to pay for a Copyright licence, to parents breaking the Copyright law when they film their kids dance to music, to ISPs being asked to block websites, to Google being told to remove search links to certain sites, to people being charged with piracy and to whatever else the Copyright Industry wants.

If the above doesn’t tell you who copyright benefits, then reread it again.

You see when Governments get involved and pass laws around copyright, there will always be an entity or corporation that contributes no music to the public that will benefit from this monopoly.

The new emperor in town is the Music Modernization Act (MMA). If it will deliver more streaming revenue to music publishers and songwriters as stated, remains to be seen, however for it to happen their has to be a price contraction somewhere else in the recording business market or a price increase passed on to the customer.

As the Billboard article states;

Apple Music has already negotiated to pay a smaller share of its revenue to labels in order to offset undetermined increases to publishers, targeting a rate of 55 percent to labels.

So in this case, Apple will pay less to the labels and more to the publishers.

As the article further states;

Publishers, which have been getting 12 percent of Apple Music’s revenue, could therefore see their slice of Apple’s streaming revenue grow to 15 percent.

But …..

Those three big publishers are owned by the three largest record labels. So for those publishers to get more in their profit and loss means their owners will get less. It’s all the fucking same, isn’t it. The money is still within the creative accounting teams.

So how much more will songwriters really get?

It’s still a great mystery.

And these amounts the publishers get could be greater in the future because hey, judges are allowed to decide the rate regardless of the economic market. So lobby hard and get the rates you need.

Remember folks, Spotify is yet to make a profit and somehow they have higher rates to contend with. So Spotify has two options, keep their monthly prices the same and negotiate with the labels for a reduction in their rate (like Apple) or increase their monthly prices to cover these extra costs but risk losing customers.

But art is a relationship between artist and fan. And somehow these two parties cease to exist when corporations control the copyright monopoly. If the artist has no fans, there is no money to be made.

Another thing the Billboard article states is;

The MMA also mandates that unmatched royalties be divvied up after three years to publishers according to their market share, which could produce close to $100 million in new annual revenue.

Are you fucking serious?

This is revenue earned by the corporate copyright holder because they cannot find the original writers due to death, bad book keeping on behalf of the label and publisher and what not.

So instead of these songs being in the public domain as they should be, corporations are forming new income streams. All in the name of Copyright. All in the name of intellectual property.

What a fucking joke.

If you want to read about why we should stop using the term “intellectual property” around Copyright, then give this story from Aeon a read.

Because the recording and movie industries have tricked everyone into believing that artistic expression of an idea is like real property.

Remember how these industries linked downloading a song or a movie to stealing a car. It never was the same thing, but people fell for it. Even artists fell for the “stealing” part.

The article further states about how the limited copyright terms have sort of become forever terms;

Copyrights, intended to be temporally limited, have grown nearly without limit. Congress drastically increased copyright terms in 1976, and again in 1998. The latter piece of legislation was the infamous Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, passed thanks in no small measure to the Disney Corporation lobbying to retain exclusive hold over its ‘property’, Mickey Mouse, and not to allow it to pass into the public domain. Elsewhere, users of ‘intellectual property’ suggest that protections be passed on to a so-called heir: so that the notion of inheritance has been carried over from real estate and now, ‘copyright trusts’ battle for the intellectual property rights of the long-dead original holder, placing onerous restrictions on those who would seek to make derivative works based on material that should long ago have passed into the public domain. But if that rights-holder is not present, then the original motivation for that legal protection – the encouragement of the further production of artistic works by the artist – is clearly not met.

Damn right.

If the artist is not around then their creations should be in the public domain like the way it was up until 1976.

Basically there should be no Copyright transfer to the heirs as Copyright was created to encourage an artist to produce more works for a limited time monopoly. Not for heirs to sue other artists and use it as a pension fund.

I guess their building, empire, empire.

Standard