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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – May 10 to May 16

4 Years Ago (2017)

Barry McKay was at war with Steve Harris over “Hallowed Be Thy Name” and “The Nomad”.

I posted my viewpoint and McKay posted his replies and we had a bit of a back and forth.

I did my 7th post on the the year 1983. It included the bands Slayer, Queensryche, UFO, Motörhead, Heavy Pettin, Saxon and Choirboys.

And I was questioning how many of the social media followers artists have are actually fans or invested in what the artists has to say.

And it’s okay to be influenced. For example, Poison – “Unskinny Bop” (1991).

The song has over 7 million streams on Spotify. The guitar riff is influenced by the intro guitar riff in Billy Squier – “Powerhouse” from 1986.

The bass lines are very similar to the bass line from 45 seconds onwards in Great White – “Mista Bone” from 1989. Then again, that running bass line is pretty common in most songs. You hear it in “Disturb The Priest” from Black Gillian’s album “Born Again”.

And “Unskinny Bop” still sounds original.

8 Years Ago (2013)

I was discussing the prices of tickets for Bon Jovi’s Australian tour.

If a Bon Jovi fan wanted to sit in Row 1 and purchase a Diamond VIP package, the price of one ticket is $1975 + $10 booking fee.

If a Bon Jovi fan wanted to sit in Rows 2 to 5 and purchase an Emerald VIP package, the price of one ticket is $1475 + $10 booking fee.

If a Bon Jovi fan wanted to sit in Rows 6 to 13 and purchase a Sapphire VIP package, the price of one ticket is $975 + $10 booking fee.

And for the Sydney show, these VIP tickets had been sold out. And after the JBJ website sale, the next stage of the sales was the Telstra pre-sales, the Showbiz pre-sales, then the Ticketek VISA pre-sales and the general pre-sales and finally the public release.

What a collusive, exploitive and unregulated process.

And the Telstra presales were a disaster. The website went down and people couldn’t get tickets but eBay had tickets on sale for triple the price.

In other words the band was scalping its own tickets.

And the “What About Now” album continued its free fall, sitting at 133.

And I was always trying to tie together various threads from different artists. This post was called “The Crazy Lifestyles of the Rockers and Metallers”.

All our heroes are flawed and far from normal.

I was spinning the “Operation Mindcrime” album and wrote about the title track, “I Don’t Believe In Love” and “Eyes Of A Stranger”.

Continuing my Queensryche kick, I wrote about “Bridge”.

And “Silent Lucidity”.

And how good is the Vince Neil – Exposed album?

Standard
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.

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

AFM Records And International Orders

It’s great how the label gets the money when I click buy on the item, as they put up money for the album to be made, but as a fan I still don’t have the physical album.

Let me explain.

Evergrey is one of my favorite acts. They will always be a favorite, regardless of the crap service of their label.

When I saw they had a few different release packages set up for the new album “Escape Of The Phoenix”, I was interested to get one.

The album release date was set as 26 February, 2021.

So on 23 December, 2020, I clicked buy on the EVERGREY – Escape Of The Phoenix – Ltd. Artbook (incl.CD + 7″-Picture-Vinyl). The only place that had it was the AFM store and all the items come from Germany.

The price for the item was €43.86 EUR.

As i was going through with the purchase, I get hit with a €23.99 EUR shipping and handling fee. And I’m thinking, it’s half of the cost of the item. And with most items during the pandemic coming via sea you would think that the shipping would be less.

Anyway the total price came to €67.85 EUR and the Exchange rate at the time was 1 AUD = 0.588771 EUR.

So the final price of the album for me came to $115.24 AUD. I thought fuck it, I’m a fan and it’s coming up to Christmas. Plus I was a few bottles of wine in.

So I clicked buy.

On 19 February, 2021, I got an email that the item had shipped.

You would think AFM would post it a bit earlier for international orders but hey labels have never been customer centric or very smart in that regard, treating their customers as potential pirates, but their whole business model is based on customers.

Hell, I became an Evergrey fan because of piracy.

Since 20 February, 2021, the tracking number tells me that the item is still in Frankfurt, Germany.

Seriously.

On 26 February, 2021, the album hits streaming services and I crank it.

On April 1, 2021, I sent AFM an email and told em, nice April Fools joke as I don’t think I’m ever going to receive this item as it’s still in Germany.

I’m waiting a response.

Now for the album, it’s excellent. And I’ve already reviewed it.

Thank god for streaming and pirates and everyone else who allows access to the music. It allows the fans to crank it.

But the labels don’t realize that the people who buy physical editions are collectors and we can’t wait until we get the item in our hands.

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

Are Bands Disappearing?

Did Adam Levine just say crap without thinking or did he have a point?

The Twitteratti went into meltdown to prove that bands exist.

A look at some of the bands, shows that they do exist in their niche. Which is a good place to be, as that niche audience will sustain you for a long time, while the popular music consumers move on to the next hit and the next hit and the next hit.

Even the Guardian went into bat for him with this article, about young people not being excited by bands.

Meanwhile, Levine clarified that he meant to say that bands don’t exist on the popular charts.

There’s no doubt that popular music has moved towards the solo artist. It’s easier to make a deal with one person than many others. Then again, in most bands, there is always one person who writes the majority of material and who really gets the record deal.

It’s easier for the labels to deal with a solo artist than a band, as band members seem to come and go these days. And this pisses the labels off. Especially when a member leaving could be the person they want to stay. Having a shared vision amongst members is much harder these days then the days of old. Then again even it was hard. Musical differences anyone.

It’s easier for a solo artist to start creating, as our culture is shaped by technology and a recording studio is available at their fingertips, in their own bedroom.

Meanwhile, starting a band, means putting in some time to jam, playing shows and each member owning at least $5K worth of equipment. It’s expensive and time consuming to be in a band. Apart from owning equipment, you need to pay for rehearsal spaces, travelling expenses and studio time to record. And the venues available to you are spread far and wide, whereas once upon a time the venues were clustered around each other.

Social media also makes it hard for bands because it lends itself to “the one”. The band is never the influencer. It’s the person in the band, provided they control their account and not a PR person.

I guess I’m an old school rocker who still gets excited by bands.

In the last ten years a lot of bands have impressed me enough to buy.

From memory, and this isn’t a definitive list, they are The Night Flight Orchestra, Volbeat, Corroded, Rise Against, I Am Giant, Revolution Saints, Art Of Anarchy, King King, Audrey Horne, TesseracT, Tremonti, Parkway Drive, King Company, Halestorm, Kingcrow, Dynazty, Days Of Jupiter, Royal Bliss, Reach, Rival Sons, Gathering Of Kings, Art Of Dying, Free Spirits Rising, Blacktop Mojo, Bad Wolves, Work Of Art, Cyhra, Leprous, H.E.A.T, Long Distance Calling, Night Demon, Tokyo Motor Fist, Michael Grant And The Assassins, Haken, In Flames, Storm Force, Adelitas Way, Seether and Jorn.

And then I have the usual suspects like Trivium, Evergrey, Vanishing Point, Bush, Black Label Society, Shinedown, Alter Bridge, Thirty Seconds To Mars, Godsmack, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Dee Snider, Michael Sweet (projects), George Lynch (projects), Mike Portnoy (projects), Whitesnake, Coheed and Cambria, Slash, Megadeth, Soilwork, Papa Roach, Tesla, Machine Head, Jimmy Barnes, Killswitch Engage, Tool, A Perfect Circle, Harem Scarem, Red, In This Moment, Protest The Hero, 10 Years, Vandenberg and Stryper.

They don’t break the Top 20 streaming charts but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a career.

Standard
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.

Standard
Copyright, My Stories, Stupidity

Takedowns – Copyright Style

It’s all happening in Australia.

Our government wants companies like Google and Facebook to pay news creators for having their articles appear in search results or when they are shared on a social media feed.

Google is negotiating with them while Facebook said “fuck you” and blocked or restricted all news content on the platform.

The thing is, these news outlets have never adapted to the changing marketplace that the World Wide Web brings.

They put content behind paywalls and it’s not working as good as the news content providers hoped it would do. Physical sales are down.

They have articles on the site with a lot of ads running on the side. Most of the article’s that generate money from ads are click bait stories and not the proper well researched long form articles.

So if you’re a serious journalist, there is a very high chance that your well written story that takes 15 minutes to read will be ignored because click bait short stories end up rising to the top.

And it’s all in the name of copyright.

Copyright allows the news creators to say to Google or Facebook that these companies are using copyrighted material without permission or proper compensation on their services.

And if you are in doubt as to how much power copyright has, look no further than the Beverley Hills Police Officers.

The officers are playing copyrighted music at each arrest and stop, so if they are filmed and that video is shared, they are using copyrights take down tool to remove the videos on copyright grounds.

Remember that the intention of copyright is to give the creator a short term monopoly on their art so they could make money from it.

And then once that term expired, the art enters the public domain so future generations can use it to create.

Add enforcement to it.

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

Crooks Continued

The “playing live” income stream is non-existent at the moment. But it’s not just artists who are losing out.

Venues also make money by having live music and collection agencies also make money by charging venues a license fee which allows the venues to have live music.

But the collection agencies feel they should be making more money in a pandemic from live performances.

PRS is an organisation in the UK which collects and distributes artists’ royalties. And they thought it was a great idea (a lot of sarcasm here) to introduce a new fee for livestreams because “hey how could they miss out and not get a slice of the pie”.

As the Vice article states;

Livestreams with a revenue below £250 will need to pay a flat rate of £22.50 for this licence, which doubles to £45 for revenues between £251 and £500. This means that for those hosting an online event with a revenue of £250 or less, a minimum of 9 percent will go to PRS.

So do you reckon the independent artists are happy about this cash grab from PRS.

And what makes it worse, artists need to wait at best, six months before they receive any royalties less admin fee from these collection agencies.

And the new tax is basically a punishment to the grassroots artists who would have a small turnover.

Standard
Music, Stupidity

Stupid

On one of the email’s I subscribe to “Stream N Destroy”, it mentioned that Morgan Wallen was the most streamed artist last week (Feb 5 2021 – Feb 11 2021), with 92.3M steams. To compare, Queen was mentioned as the most streamed artist from rock bands and they had 12.1M streams in total.

So I went to Spotify to check him out and it’s country. It’s a double album and a quite a few songs sounded cool, so I added them to my 2021 playlist. I checked out some reviews and it was all negative.

This morning I was over at Vice, which is becoming my go to site for news on a lot of different subjects and there is Morgan Wallen again.

But the article isn’t signing his praises. Instead a drunk and staggering Wallen was caught on video calling a drunk friend, the n-word.

Wallen went into damage control and apologised.

But it was too late.

His label suspended him, his songs were removed from some platforms like iHeart Radio and if any of his songs appeared on official playlists on Spotify or Apple Music, well, they got removed from those playlists as well. And in the space of a few days, he was also removed from being the most streamed artist.

Which goes to show how quickly you can fall, regardless of how long it took to rise to the top of the pile. He appeared on “The Voice” but he didn’t win. A lot of people in the industry didn’t believe he would make it. He did make it and is doing his best to prove the critics right.

And I don’t get it.

He’s obviously mates with a black person, he’s gone out drinking with him and they both got pretty smashed. I guess it’s all a charade.

Wallen might play country music, but his lifestyle is decadent. He’s been arrested for public intoxication before and got into trouble for breaking COVID-19 protocols and making out with coeds. But the Country music promotion machine was behind him, and they used his boozing, hard parting ways to push him as the next big star.

As the Vice article states, there are a lot of other country artists who are of different colour and deserve the same promotional push that Wallen got, but they seem to be bypassed in favour of a white skinned artist.

Maybe the lyrics to “Outlaw” from his new album act as a foretelling.

“I never thought I’d get caught
Yeah, at least that’s what I thought”

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

Theater Of Copyright

It looks like the “Stairway To Heaven” case going to die?

For those that don’t know, Michael Skidmore (from here on in, known as “The Trustee”), is the trustee for the Randy Craig Wolfe Trust, which has the rights to the songs written by Randy Wolfe and his time in the rock band Spirit. The song in question here is “Taurus” and the similar feel and structure that both songs have.

My view on this is easy, a dead artist cannot hold a copyright and the law which changed copyright terms to last the life of the artist plus 70 years after death is a stupid one.

Because this is the rubbish you get. But Jimmy Page didn’t win because of the silliness of dead people holding copyrights.

Jimmy Page won because the sheet music is different. But “The Trustee” believes that the court should have been able to hear the sound recordings. But that rule allowing sound recordings came into place in the mid 70’s and the songs in dispute here are under old laws.

Anyway, the case got booted.

But for how long will “artists of the now” be taken to court over copying claims from the trustees or heirs of dead artists. Institutions cannot charge fees to the dead, so how can the dead claim a copyright and be paid for it and whoever passed a rule to allow copyright to be transferred to others has committed a wrong to the public domain.

Did you see that Universal Music Group announced a $1.2B Hotel, Performance Venue and Casino in Mississippi? It’s also going to do a similar venture in Atlanta and Orlando.

You see, this is what happens when artists give away all of their rights to the labels. It gave the labels power. They used that power to lock up culture for the life of the artist plus 70 years after the death.

But David Crosby still tells everyone streaming is the enemy. Gene Simmons as well. The enemy to an artist is ignorance and a fixed mindset. There is a lot of money in recorded music. As long as you hold the copyright to the recorded music.

Otherwise why would companies spend a lot of money buying the copyrights to popular songs. The return on these songs because of streaming payments is always going up, while stocks on Wall Street go down.

And look no further than Frontiers Records from Italy. They are releasing a lot of product compared to other labels because their President knows that music scales and will keep paying forever.

And the Labels, they are pieces of work. It’s a power play. You know how artists are trying to reclaim their copyrights back from the labels after 35 years, which is legislated in Copyright Law, but the labels are fighting hard to keep the rights. So while those court cases are ongoing, the labels are now counter suing the artists for selling their own albums on their websites or for using the album art on their websites.

So the artist make the labels rich and somehow the artists are the problem.

And Copyright keeps getting very ugly because artists sue each other.

You see an idea is an idea. I could have an idea for a song here in Australia, and there is a very high probability that other people would have a similar idea, somewhere else in the world. And when one song becomes a hit, then expect a writ, because even though ideas are not copyrightable, there is also someone who believes they are.

But.

And there is always a but when it comes to Copyright.

If there isn’t a court case for similar ideas, then there are cases over licensing, samples and whatever else lawyers can fit into the grey world which is Copyright.

Not sure if you have seen the stories about Tracy Chapman suing Nicki Minaj over a sample from Chapman’s song “Baby Can I Hold You” which appears on an unreleased track from Minaj called “Sorry”.

The song “Sorry” was pulled from the album’s release because the label couldn’t get clearance to use the sample. Minaj even begged Chapman over Twitter to approve it, but Chapman is anti-samples.

And even though the song was pulled, it still didn’t stop the song from getting played on radio stations and once the song was aired, the fans quickly ripped it from the broadcast and sent it out onto the worldwide web.

Hence the court case. Chapman wants payments and Minaj says there are none.

And the arguments have all gone off track and no one really knows what the hell they are arguing and counter arguing over. Anyway, Minaj won the case.

And labels just keep doing wrong on behalf of the artists. Here you have a label called Trax Records who specialise in dance and house recordings being accused of fraudently filing sound recordings to the U.S Copyright Office of other artists and claiming the recordings as their own.

Sony Music is also doing everything it can to keep as much money from old artists in the Sony bank account. Sony paid $12.7 million to settle a case and is allowed to deny any wrongdoing. It’s amazing what $12 million buys. The fact that these old songs are still under copyright, long after the artist has passed away is an issue for me.

I guess Copyright just lives on and on and on and the courts are kept busy with cases and the labels keep ripping creators off, while they invest in start-ups, make billions and then build casinos.

All in the name of Copyright.

Standard
Copyright, Music, Stupidity

Clive Palmer and Dee Snider

Dee Snider and Jay Jay French along with Universal are still waiting on an outcome of their copyright infringement suit against Clive Palmer for using the melody of “Were Not Gonna Take It” for his political ad of “Australia’s Not Gonna Cop It”.

Good luck guys.

In case you are not aware, this is the same Clive Palmer who sued the state of Western Australia (WA) for $30 billion dollars over an iron ore mine dispute.

He lost that one after the WA government passed a retroactive law stopping suits like this.

He then took the same state to court again, but this time to challenge their border closure. For those who don’t know, WA closed their borders to the rest of Australia and so far they have gone 100 plus days with no Covid-19 cases.

He lost that one as well.

Now he’s talking the WA Premier to court for defamation because the comments made by the Premier “injured Palmers feelings”.

This one is still pending.

And somehow amidst all this there is that copyright case from Dee Snider.

And amidst all of this is Palmer donating to certain political parties so he gets his way.

Good luck Dee.

Standard