Copyright, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity

Graham Burke – A Puppet To The MPAA

In Australia, Channel 10 (one of our free to air channels) is bleeding money and it needs an investor to pay off its debt, otherwise it will cease to operate.

The first problem with channel 10 is that it doesn’t have a large sporting code on its books like Channel 9 and 7.

The second problem is it shows its news at 5pm. Seriously who is home by 5pm to watch. Most people are still at work and don’t get home by 6pm at the earliest. And if some people do finish earlier and they have kids, there is a very high chance they are with their kids at some sport and get home after 6pm. Even singles and couples will be doing something at 5pm.

The third problem is the majority of people don’t really care about its hit show “The Project” but the station believes people do as it’s got no idea how to really track its reach. Data is king these days and Channel 10 has none of its own.

The fourth problem is its own content. You cannot operate a business without your own content as it’s drawcard. Ask Netflix or even HBO.

The last problem and one that all free to air stations have is they all operate under old business models that used to work before.

There are many other problems and according to Village Roadshow boss Graham Burke, a puppet to the MPAA lobby group, piracy is the reason why Channel 10 is going under.

But wait, it gets better.

Burke links the piracy of movies his organization was responsible for back to Channel 10.

So let me get this straight. Movies that leaked on the internet many years before the movies got licensed to Channel 10 is the reason why the station is losing money.

Seriously what the….

Burke believes that an audience exists many years later for movies to be seen on free to air TV with ads.

Umm, no it doesn’t exist.

Did it ever occur to Burke that people have already seen these movies legally or maybe own a copy of the DVD or BluRay?

And Burke is meant to lead the movie business into the new age. By denying the new age exists and trying to get back the old age.

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My Stories

Broadband Incompetence In Australia

I have never had an issue with the internet providers or the service of the internet. This even goes back to the days of dial-up. But I have never come across the bureaucratic red tape incompetence and laziness the way I have right now with the NBN rollout in Australia.

It all started back in May.

Westnet (otherwise known as iiNet) came out to install the NBN box in my house on 8 May 2017. The technician took a reading at the NBN box outside the house and said the reading was too high and that remediation works need to happen from NBNco. So a “Network Shortfall” fault was raised and I was told by Westnet that on June 19, 2017, the outstanding works would be completed by NBNCo.

On May 18 2017, Westnet disconnected my phone number and my ADSL internet. When I called on May 19 2017 to find out what is going on, I was told the NBN Porting department within Westnet stuffed up and that they ignored the remediation works notice on my account and still moved me over to NBN. I asked for my ADSL and phone number to be reinstated ASAP. I was told that cannot happen and that I need to wait to June 19 for NBN works to be carried out and then I will have NBN.

I asked to speak to a Westnet Manager. She called me back and told me the same. I was not offered any solutions as to how I can have ongoing internet while the NBN remediation works took place. With no option to have internet I went shopping around.

In the meantime, I purchased a Wireless device from Telstra for $100 that can have 5 devices connect to it and put a 25GB pre paid plan on it for $90. So already I am out-of-pocket for $190.

On 19 May 2017, I called Dodo for an NBN order. On 20 May 2017, I was told my NBN Order has been placed on hold and they will call me back with an update. After no updates or call back within 2 weeks I followed it up. On 2 June 2017, I called to check on my progress and I was told that NBNco have advised Dodo that the planned remediation date for my service is 6 June 2017.

I called Dodo on 6 June (after 5pm) as no NBN technician came out. I was told there is nothing on my account and Dodo is waiting for NBN to update the notes. They will call me back once that happened. No call back has been received.

On 14 June, I have called three times to check with Dodo the status of my NBN order. Every time I put in my phone number linked to my account, I get a message that states, this department is shut and to call back the next business day. But I am calling at 10am. When does their business day start?

All of the above could have been avoided if NBNco carried out works with a duty of care that all other professions need to abide by. NBNco is responsible for me being out-of-pocket $370 so far with the super expensive 4G Telstra pre-paid service. Basically every 10 days I need to recharge another $90. The negligence of NBNco is costing me money and putting my life and the life of my family back in the dark ages.

I finally got a chance to speak to someone from Dodo and cancelled the order with them. Now I am trying to get it going through Optus. Let’s see how that goes.

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

Recording Industry Dumb and Dumber – The Sequel

So the Recording Industry in Australia is welcoming new anti-piracy legislation. High fives all around for site blocking laws. Add to those Recording Industry high fives, Movie industry high fives and any other legacy content owner.

The question I have is this;

  • With site blocking now becoming law, what does the Recording Industry believe would happen to their businesses profits?
  • Would people suddenly return to buying CD’s?
  • Would people suddenly buy an expensive Foxtel subscription to watch ten episodes of “Game of Thrones”?
  • Would people who normally don’t go to the movies, suddenly start going to the movies?
  • Would people suddenly go out and buy books, or e-books?

Site blocking laws are designed to stop people from accessing websites that film, TV and music companies say are hosting their content without permission. Surely, our government officials would have looked at the U.K before deciding if site-blocking was the right way forward.

In the UK, The Pirate Bay has been blocked since 2012 however people have found ways to get around that block. Even though site blocking laws exist in the U.K, sales of music are still declining. However, if the industry puts more emphasis into their streaming business, then some different results could appear. Lucky for the U.K, they have a lot of popular artists right now and these artists are really pushing the streaming side of their music.

So in return the U.K have more people streaming more music than ever before. By 2019, streaming is expected to account for 49 per cent of music revenue in the U.K, compared to 22 per cent in 2014.

Digital music downloading (both legal and illegal) is a thing of the past. It’s history. Why would we want to pay for an mp3, when the history of music is at our fingertips with streaming and we, the fans, like it.

It’s easy and uncomplicated.

So since streaming is king, can someone tell me why we need the Entertainment Industries going to the courts to block websites based on their own evidence?

I think the catch-cry put out by the government is “the laws will protect the viability and success of creative industries while restricting the profitability of sites that facilitate piracy.”

Yep, Mr Government, as long as you and your financiers know what that means, it’s okay, we believe the shit you say.

I would be interested to see the model they used to show how the laws would protect the creative industries especially since Australia is a huge market for DVD and Blu-ray sales.

How can the entertainment industries explain the HUGE profits they get from DVD/Blu-ray sales in Australia?

Let’s use Game Of Thrones.

The TV show is hidden behind an expensive Pay-tv paywall in Australia. The actual subscriber numbers for that Pay-tv provider are lower than the sale numbers of the DVD/Blu-ray season releases.

Where did all of these extra fans come from?

The content owners need to be talking about lowering their licensing fees so that the monthly streaming plans are cheaper and that all content is available in the one place.

I have a Netflix subscription and a Spotify subscription.

The content industries should be pushing more people to these services. In return, the money pie will get bigger. It’s simply economics. These industries cannot pretend anymore that the old business models are coming back.

Let’s use Game of Thrones for another example.

If HBO wants to stamp out piracy, ensure that the show is available to everyone globally from the one HBO source.

Not from a reseller.

HBO makes, it, so they should sell it, to the people who want to watch it, when they want to watch it. I cannot for the life of me understand why people need to pay another company who paid HBO a fee to re-broadcast it. It’s a business model that is doomed.

Why do you think Netflix started to make their own TV shows?

Hell, why do you think HBO started their own TV shows? Remember, HBO was once a Home Box Office re-broadcaster.

Because re-broadcasting is not a viable business models. Same deal for music streaming services.

Expect Spotify to start to sign bands and really shake up the streaming world.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy

P.S.T (Piracy, Streaming and Touring)

All the talk in the media from the old gatekeepers is that piracy is bad for the artists or that Spotify’s free music-tier is bad for artists.

So can someone tell me how Motley Crue is playing in Abu Dhabi?

If we lived in the world of the old gatekeepers, the record labels would be in control and Motley Crue would have sold hundreds of thousands of albums (on a consistent basis) in the UAE before it was even considered to tour there.

However, in the internet age, it is a much different world.

Motley Crue suddenly has an audience in the UAE.

Is this audience courtesy of piracy or legit sales or legit streams?

There is a strong indication that Motley Crue’s UAE audience is due to piracy.

Do you know the Middle East is a huge region when it comes to illegal P2P downloading?

The following statement found in the book “Introduction to Private Security” by John Dempsey sums it up perfectly;

In Europe, Middle East, and Australia, P2P traffic consumes anywhere between 49 percent and 89 percent of all Internet traffic in the day. At night, it can spike up to an astonishing 95 percent.

You can do some further reading on countries where P2P piracy is very high at the following link.

Even though it is from 2011, the data tells us a few things.

Eastern/Central Europe, South America, Asia, Australia and the Middle East have high rates of P2P piracy as regions.

When you break it up to countries, China, Colombia, India, Russia, Malaysia, Turkey, Taiwan, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Italy lead the way.

So let’s look at some of the recent tours bands have undertaken.

Metallica in 2011 did the “2011 Vacation Tour” that focused on Europe, South America, Asia and for the first time ever, they took in India.

In 2012, Metallica undertook the “European Black Album Tour” that focused solely on Europe.

In 2013, Metallica undertook the “Summer Tour 2013” which took in again Asia, Europe, South America along with North America.

In 2014, Metallica did the “Metallica by Request” tour which again took in Europe and South America.

Is it coincidence or shrewd planning that Metallica has taken in those markets. Hell, India is known as a nation of P2P downloaders, however it hasn’t stopped Metallica or Iron Maiden touring there.

Iron Maiden’s “The Final Frontier” tour (2010/11)  took in Eastern Europe, along with Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, South Korea, Japan, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Puerto Rico.

The “Maiden England World Tour” (2013), took in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile and Eastern Europe again.

The “Somewhere Back In Time” tour  (2008/09) took in (apart from the North American and European markets) India, Australia, Japan, Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Puerto Rico. Then on the second leg it took in Dubai (UAE), New Zealand, India (again), Mexico (again), Costa Rica (again), Venezuela, Colombia (again), Ecuador, Brazil (again), Chile (again), Peru, Argentina (again).

The Bon Jovi “Because We Can” tour from 2013 took in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Mexico, Japan, Australia, China, Malaysia, Singapore, China (again), Abu Dhabi (UAE) and Israel.

This was on top of the normal European and North American markets.

The “Bon Jovi Live” tour set to kick off in September 2015, takes in China, Malaysia, Singapore, Macau, Abu Dhabi (UAE) and Israel.

Five Finger Death Punch haven’t been around as long as Metallica, Iron Maiden or Bon Jovi, however it still hasn’t stopped them from hitting Japan, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand on their recent “Wrong Side Of Heaven” tour.

Avenged Sevenfold’s “Far and Middle East Tour” from 2012, took in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia and UAE.

Their “Hail To The King” from 2014 took in Brazil, Australia, Mexico, Chile and Argentina on top of the normal European and North American markets.

Their “Asian Tour 2015” will cover China, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Indonesia and Hong Kong.

Again the question must be asked, is it coincidence or shrewd planning. Streaming services can tell the bands which countries or even cities are streaming their songs and at what rates. Other firms out there like Music Metrics can tell bands, which countries or even cities are illegally downloading their music.

All of this data, once in the hands of a person that knows what to do with it, is a marketers dream.

Articles always point out that “pirates” are the biggest spenders and after seeing large bands hit markets with high piracy rates and still sell out shows, I would agree with that assertion.

Piracy, Streaming and Touring go hand in hand.

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

The Costs Of Entertainment Today

Last Tuesday, January 13, I took the family to watch Australia’s game vs Oman at the Asian Cup. To do anything family related is a hit on the budget.

The tickets cost me in total  $171.50 which is broken down by $98 ($49 per adult) and $73.50 ($24.50 for a child).

Apparel at the game cost me $140 for 2 kids T Shirts and 1 female T-shirt.

The parking at the venue cost me $25.00.

Mt Franklin Water cost me $33.60 for 7 bottles at $4.80 each.

Coke Zero cost me $5.60 for a can.

Hot Chips cost me $30 for 5 little round boxes sold at $6 each.

A Chicko Roll costed $5.50.

A Stadium Hot Dog costed $6.20.

A pack of Kettle Chips costed $6.00.

A pack of Honey Soy Chips costed $5.50.

All up the whole day with the tickets came up to about $430.

10 days prior on January 3rd, I also took the family to watch a local A-League football game between Sydney FC and Newcastle Jets. Tickets for that event cost me $61.33 for the family. Parking was at zero cost (on the street with a 20 minute walk) and food/drink costs me $50 in total.

So in total I have spent about $540 on football/soccer related events for the month of January so far. To add to that expense, when I purchased the tickets for Australia’s group match against Oman, I also purchased tickets for the Semi Final and the Final. So those events are coming up on the horizon and thanks to some dumb and arrogant decisions from coach Ange Postecoglou, Australia didn’t finish top of their group, so instead of “hopefully” watching a semi final match with Australia playing, they now end up on the other side of the draw and play at different stadiums.

January is also the month when we gear up for the start of school, plus the registrations for all the winter sports (and gear purchases). So from a family point of view, the costs are adding up, plus we are coming off the Christmas craziness of credit card debt that we still need to contend with.

However, the recording industry and entitled artists are so out of touch that they don’t understand that society in general feels a lot of pain when it comes to money.

We also have a lot of other outlets when it comes to entertainment and events. The more that the recording industry bitches about piracy and lobbies so that ISP’s send copyright notices and track our online behaviour, the more the fans of music just give their money elsewhere.

Normally this time each year, I am purchasing tickets to Soundwave Side shows. That has been the norm every year for the last 5 years. I don’t go to a festival because I see it as a waste of time and a real uncomfortable experience to watch only a few bands that I might like.

However, this year, I don’t really like any of the bands that much to go and watch them. So that money that I used for the music industry is instead going to football.

One last thing about all of the arguments about free music and competing with free.

Water is a natural product and it ends up coming out of our sinks for next to no cost at all. However, the water companies like Mt Franklin have found a way to make us pay a premium for bottled water.

One day an artists with a progressive thinking record label will find their own unique way to make the same happen for music.

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Music, My Stories

Life Is OK

My ADSL went down on Thursday night.

The internet today is like the lights in the house. When we click on that switch we expect the lights to work. And we have the same expectations with the Internet. And when it doesn’t work we don’t like it. My wife and kids were going to lynch me, like it was my fault that it was down. I called my ISP and I was told that the ADSL channels are being upgraded and that service will resume by 5pm, Monday, 24 November.

“How can you go to a concert, when the Internet is down?” was thrown at me on Friday afternoon as I was preparing to leave to go and watch Trivium and In Flames in concert at the UNSW Roundhouse.

I told them that there is nothing I can do about it. Upgrades are upgrades and they need to happen as I departed to go to the show.

A very sunburnt “In Flames” appeared on stage (guess they must have underestimated the Australian sun) and opened up their set with “The Quiet Place” from “Soundtrack to Your Escape” released in 2004. There was nothing quiet with that opener. We then got treated to a super tight grooving set from the Swedesters. It was also good to see that every album from 2000’s “Clayman” was represented in their sixteen song set.

Then came Trivium.

The first 7 songs, “Strife”, “Black”, “Throes Of Perdition”, “Through Blood And Dirt And Bone”, “Brave This Storm”, “Watch The World Burn” and “Down From The Sky” set the knock out punches, however “Like Light To The Flies” and “Villainy Thrives” really let the set down in intensity. In my view they have way better songs that could have replaced these two songs.

Then it just got weirder. “Into The Mouth Of Hell” was played so fast, that the person standing next to me came up with the quote of the night “it’s like mash potato, no definition whatsoever”.

“Dying In Your Arms” was another song that didn’t belong in the set list while they finished strong with “Built To Fall”.

The encore was “Anthem (We Are Fire)” and “In Waves”. Both songs are favourites of mine and I was saddened when Trivium kicked off these songs on Turbo and they sounded really messy.

Like Mash Potato, there was no definition in the riffs.

After the gig I spoke about the set list with others and we all came to the conclusion that it was a safe set. There was no “Shogun”, no “Shattering The Skies Above”, no “Vengeance Falls” and no “Pulling Harder” or “A Gunshot To The Head”.

We all saw it as a trade-off to accommodate a new drummer and Matt’s throat problems. Kudos to Corey for doing a stellar job on the growling vocals for each song. He dead set killed it. And while the new Trivium drummer Mat Madiro is very competent, he should take a leaf out from the experienced Daniel Svensson from “In Flames” about keeping a tight time and groove.

The trip home took in two beef yeeros’s from “The Souvlaki Bar” at Brighton Le-Sands. For the uninitiated think of real beef (not processed meat like the normal Doner Kebabs), fried a bit extra on the hot plate after it was cut from the roasting roller. They also put the pita bread on the hot plate to soften and when it is all put together with shredded cheese, lettuce, tzatziki, tomatoes and red onion it is just delicious.

And suddenly it was Saturday, and the harassment from my family about the internet started again.

“How can you be playing your guitar when the Internet is down?” was thrown at me over a hundred times over the weekend. Even when I explained to them that there is nothing I can do until the upgrade is fixed. A lynch mob was forming in my household.

Swimming for my almost three-year old came and went, then Summer Soccer for the elder two kids came and went.

And the internet was still down.

We packed a truck full of rubbish  and the internet was still down.

I called my ISP again and was told the same story.

I played the guitar for over 2 hours and when I checked, the internet was still down.

I had a shower, walked past my study room and the red flashing ADSL light was now GREEN.

The internet was back up.

Happy family equals happy life. And the weekend finished with my kids helping me blow out the candles on my birthday cake.

Life is okay again that the internet is back up.

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

The Changing Times and The Record Label Business Model of STEALING From The Artist.

I remember waiting in line for an in store appearance of the band Sepultura at Utopia Records back when Utopia Records were situated on Clarence Street, Sydney. It was the early nineties and the in-store had the classic Sepultura line up. My cousin at that time (who was a drummer) had a real bashed in snare skin for Igor to sign, I had a couple of CD’s and a poster and the others all had various forms of music (LP’s or CD’s or drumsticks or guitar cases and so forth).

Sepultura was cult like popular then. They sat in an area that satisfied a few different markets. You had the “betrayed” original Metallica fans. You had fans of the original “thrash” movement. You had fans of the “Death Metal” market. You had fans of the “Extreme Metal Market”. And you had fans of the new “Groove Metal” market. Shredders appreciated them.

I remember asking one of the Utopia guys who was doing line management outside the building, why so many people came to Utopia on a daily basis just for chit-chat. He replied that they come to buy CD’s and I disagreed with him. I told him that nobody wakes up in the morning and says to themselves I need to spend $30 on a CD. We wake up in the morning and we say to ourselves, we want to hear the new Sepultura album, the new Motley Crue album and we want to hear it right now. And in order to hear that song, we HAD to buy a CD or an LP. Because radio sure wouldn’t play it.

So a bit of talking goes back and forth and the Utopia dude goes on to tell me I have no idea what I am talking about as Utopia sell hundreds of thousands CD’s a year.

The recording industry failed to realize that it existed not to sell records or CDs but simply to find the fastest, easiest way to let fans hear the song we wanted to hear. If they realised that, then they would have invented the iPod and iTunes. Instead history shows that a company not even in the music industry, did that instead. And now Apple makes billions of dollars selling music. So going back to my Utopia example, they are nowhere near the force it was back in the early to mid nineties and I wouldn’t be surprised if it shuts its doors eventually (which I hope never happens \:::/).

Apple has been selling tracks at the iTunes store since 2003. Apps, books, movies and TV shows came after. Yet, no one complained about the accounting and to my knowledge no one has sued Apple for unpaid royalties. Artists may complain about Apple taking a 30% cut, however that was the deal.

YouTube and Spotify have been streaming songs from about 2006 and 2008 respectively. Of course there are others on the market as well that offer streaming services like Pandora, Google, Deezer and so on. However, one thing these companies have done is they pay. They honour their deal. Which is the reverse of what the record labels did.

You know, those record labels that got sued by artists for their accounting practices, claiming they’ve been screwed over by the label. You know those record labels famous for paying late or paying at all. You know those record labels for never honouring a deal. You know those record labels that threatened to derail your career and you end up settling for less than you deserve.

What pisses me off is that while people complain about Spotify stream payments and YouTube stream payments and Pandora royalties,  at least these techies are honest in their deals at this point in time. It just seems that the record labels who are the majority rights holders are not passing on the monies.

Because a deal is never a simple deal to the recording business. The labels don’t want simple. The labels don’t want royalties to be computerised because that would mean there is transparency and with transparency, profits would disappear. The major label business model is based on STEALING from the artist. That is why you have artists like Eminem, Dave Coverdale and others suing their labels for unpaid iTunes royalties. That is why you have artists suing their labels for unpaid monies due to creative accounting practices.

Believe me, if an CEO’s pay packet was suddenly short, he’d drop everything and do his best to get it right if the problem wasn’t immediately rectified. But if it’s the artist?

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