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

Don’t You Just Love What Copyright Has Become?

Remember the original intention of Copyright was to promote learning. It was conceived that if creators of works would have a 14 year monopoly on their creations (with the option to renew for another 14 years provided they were still alive), they had enough incentives to create new works and when the copyright expired on their older works, they would fall into the public domain so that others can use and build on these older works.

200 plus years later, we have a lot of stupidity around in the name of Copyright.

A German based association called, Total Wipes Music Group is using Google’s anti-piracy system to censor everything it doesn’t like. Read the article and be amazed at how Copyright is abused. In order to stop the infringement on an album they own the copyright  for,  Total Wipes Music Group tried to censor a legitimate article on how to download anonymously. Since then, they have targeted legitimate articles from the Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF), AVG, Dropbox and Opera, just to name a few. And guess what, not one of those sites listed contained any infringing links or even mentioned the music that Total Wipes Music Group administers or holds the copyrights to. What Total Wipes attempted to do was to censor legitimate articles that provided users with information on downloading and anonymous VPN’s under the disguise of Copyright.

And the laughable thing is that the Group is now claiming that it was a bug in their automated takedown system. Well, I guess that bug just keeps on resurfacing each year.

Don’t you just love what copyright has become?

Then you have a powerful organisation like the MPAA trying to censor a website called Open Culture. Open Culture offers Public Domain movies however according to a takedown notice that the MPAA sent to Google, Open Culture’s list of 700 free public domain movies contains copyright infringing material.

Remember that Copyright’s intent was to promote learning and this was done by ensuring that each country has a rich public domain. Well it looks like in the U.S, the rich wealthy copyright monopolies want to control that as well and put those works back under Copyright protection.

Don’t you just love what copyright has become?

Remember the good old days when the copyright monopolies lobbied hard against radio, television, the introduction of blank cassette tapes and those advertisements that “Home Taping Is Killing the Music Business”, then blank CD’s, then mp3’s and piracy sites. They did that all in the name of the artist. That same artist that they exploited and signed to a deal that was stacked in the favour of the record label.

It’s pretty easy to read between the lines and see that the record labels and their lobby groups did all of this lobbying to protect their business models and to ensure that their copyright monopoly remains in place. And this leads to more lobby groups that want to have a say.

Now we have the Grammy Creators Alliance. On the face of it, they proclaim that they are backed by artists like Steven Tyler and their intention is to lobby Spotify, so that Spotify pays them fairly for their works. However, the organisation is run by agents and managers whose only interest is securing a big pay-day for themselves. Hell, these types of people don’t even create anything of value that people consume, however they now have a voice on copyright disputes because they have money behind them to give them that voice.

For the record Spotify does pay fairly to the Copyright Holders of the works. So maybe this new Alliance should lobby their record label to pay them fairly.

Don’t you just love what copyright has become?

And then on certain occasions you have some excellent innovation that happens when people don’t allow Copyright to influence their creations. iFlix is another torrent client that streams any magnet link in an instant. It’s easy to use, it’s available on Android and it uses material that has been infringed on.

It’s created by a Romanian software engineer. Romania is one of the poorer countries in the EU and it also has the highest rates of software piracy. And from all of this piracy, you wouldn’t believe what happened. It made Romania a powerhouse in software development. Romania now has the most techies in Europe. Google and Microsoft employ a lot of IT workers from Romania. All of this was made possible by infringing on the rights of others.

And going back to iFlix, the ecosystem all came about because the developer was hired to offer a service to parents to watch their kindergarten kids on their mobile.

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

Copyright!! Whose Right Really Is It?

My Google Alert on Copyright has been in overdrive over the last three weeks over Copyright news items. While I was reading through some of the articles, a persistent theme was present throughout.

Who really owns the rights to songs when government granted monopolies have hijacked the very definition of what copyright is?

First off, we have an entity called Zenbu Magazines Inc. that has filed a whole suite of cases against Apple, Sony, Google and Rdio over their streaming services. The crux of the argument is the same as the Sirius XM Radio case, over pre-1972 recordings and the royalties attached to those recordings.

The cases filed by Zenbu Magazines Inc., states that all of the services mentioned have been making money off of pre-1972 music recordings without paying any royalties to the owners of the original recordings.

Let’s get one thing clear here first.

Zenbu owns the copyrights to a lot of the songs in question. Sometime ago they would have paid a fee to the artists in question so that they could hold the rights. One of the songs in questions is a song called “Sin City” by the band  The Flying Burrito Brothers. The song came out in 1969 on their album “The Gilded Palace of Sin”.

The song is written by Gram Parsons (who died in 1973) and Chris Hillman (who is born in 1944 and still alive today). Now the consensus for pre-1972 recordings was this;

  • The songwriters get paid from sales and public performances of the song.
  • The performers however get paid only from sales.

The issue today is if the performers of the song have a right to be paid for the public performance of those sound recordings.

So why is this such a big issue right now and not in the past.

The pre-1972 rule wasn’t an issue because terrestrial radio broadcasters are exempt from paying performance royalties on all sound recordings, no matter when they those sound recordings are made. The viewpoint held is that the recording artists would receive a lot of exposure from airplay and that exposure would then translate into sales.

But people are just not buying pieces of vinyl and plastic anymore to hear music that they like and what we have is a lot of financially challenged business models of these government granted monopolies.

What copyright has actually done in this case is give power to an entity that has NOT CREATED anything and with that power they are shaking down companies who provide a service to music consumers. This is a far cry from copyrights explicit purpose of granting the creator of an original work exclusive rights to its use and distribution, usually for a limited time, with the intention of enabling the creator to receive compensation for their intellectual effort.

And if anyone is thinking that the streaming companies should just pay up extra royalties to the performers of the songs of pre_1972 recordings (keeping in mind that the songwriters are getting paid), due to the mess of copyright regarding pre-1972 sound recordings, each streaming company would have to individually work out a deal with each copyright owner.

The streaming companies are all about scale. They are all about the MACRO so I don’t expect them to get all down and dirty and into the micro.

Then there is another case that went to the federal courts. This one is about a recent song from 1993 called “Whoomp! (There It Is)” and boy is this one is interesting.

In 1993, Cecil Glenn and Steven James wrote and produced the song. They also entered into an agreement with Bellmark Records. At the time, Alvertis Isbell was the president of Bellmark Records. Bellmark Records primary business model is all about owning sound recordings. However by 1997, Bellmark Records filed for bankruptcy and all of its assets were purchased by DM Records for a fee.

The copyrights of the songs owed by Bellmark Recordings would be assumed to be part of the assets purchased by DM Records. So of course, DM Records went on to monetize the copyright of the song “Whoomp”. Meanwhile, the masters of the song are owned by the writers of the song, Cecil Glenn and Steven James.

Sound confusing. It sure is. But read on.

To understand how fucked up this is, you need to go back to 1977, when Isbell Alvert formed his own music publishing company called Alvert Music. It is that company, Alvert Music that then filed a copyright infringement case against DM Records in 2002 (5 years after Bellmark Records went bankrupt) to have the courts declare that Alvert Music, not DM Records is the rightful owner of Bellmark Records assets and also the rightful owner of the composition copyright for “Whoomp”.

When the case went to trial, Isbell mentioned that the agreement he had with the songwriters of the songs transferred 50% of the songs copyright to Alvert Music. DM Records argued that Bellmark Records was the only assignee as the agreement was made between Bellmark Records and the songwriters.

And in December 2014, the Courts agreed that Alvertis Isbell owned the copyright and that DM Records was liable for copyright infringement.

So what assets did DM Records actually buy in 1997 for that $160,000 it gave to Bellmark Records?

Anyway in this instance we have the actual SONGWRITERS signing away a large percentage to another ENTITY. That entity goes bust, however the owner of that entity also owned another entity and he used that other entity to sue the new owner (which we will call the NEW ENTITY) for Copyright Infringement. It sure sounds like a lot of ENTITIES at play in lieu of creators.

So I looked up the meaning of copyright again in the dictionary.

the exclusive and assignable legal right, given to the originator for a fixed number of years, to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material.

I would assume that the ORIGINATOR means the creator of the works.

Wikipedia has the following;

Copyright is a legal right created by the law of a country, that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights to its use and distribution, usually for a limited time, with the intention of enabling the creator to receive compensation for their intellectual effort.

There is that word again.

CREATOR.

So what the hell happened to COPYRIGHT to allow people who didn’t create anything the right to shakedown and sue others. What the hell happened to COPYRIGHT when the courts decided who has the right.

 

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Copyright, Derivative Works, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit, Unsung Heroes

RANT ALERT: Copyright, Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame and The Walking Dead

BUSINESS MODEL PROTECTIONISM

It’s pretty pathetic how the entertainment industries need to get governments to pass laws and update laws every time there is a shift in technology. Remember, back in the Eighties, when the boss of the MPAA Jack Valenti proclaimed at a Senate Congressional Hearing that the VCR’s are to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone. Yep, that is right, the head of the MPAA said that in 1982.

Fast forward a decade later and VHS sales of movies proved to be a very very large income source for the movie industry. So if the MPAA had their way, this technological innovation would have been killed at the beginning. Sort of like how the music industry reacted when Napster exploded. And due to that poor reaction, they allowed piracy to grow and due to their unwillingness to license Spotify, they allowed YouTube to become the unofficial streaming king.

All of this innovation happened because of copyright infringement. If all of the innovators followed the law or asked permission from the Record Labels to go ahead, well, no innovation would have been possible, because hey, any innovation in the entertainment industry that is not controlled by the gatekeepers is like the Boston Strangler to their business profits.

Let’s get one thing straight. Copyrights have been infringed forever by consumers of music and it still hasn’t killed off the music business. The difference now is that the main holders of Copyright are large corporations called Record Labels, who have the cash to go all nuclear with lawyers on people that violate that copyright.

So when it comes to negotiating new laws for copyright, it is these large and cashed up business entities that are lobbying politicians.

So what we have is a disconnect. The copyright industries want the tech industries to introduce measures to reduce piracy. The copyright industries want ISP’s to introduce measures to reduce piracy. The copyright industries want Governments to introduce measures to reduce piracy. The copyright industries want Judges to introduce measures to reduce piracy. Basically, the copyright industries want everyone else to help them, however they choose to do nothing themselves in terms of innovation.

Call it the last screams of the ENTITLEMENT EXECUTIVES.

That is why take down requests from copyright holders are going through the stratosphere. The Entertainment Industries are abusing a law by trying to catch a site that is NON-COMPLIANT. If the site that is hammered with the robotic takedowns doesn’t comply then they could be held liable.

This is not what copyright is designed to do.

Copyright was always designed so that the creator of a piece of work is granted a certain monopoly on their works and by that grant they can then sell their right to copy their work to another entity in exchange for a fee. A quick search of Google for the definition of Copyright states that it is “the exclusive and assignable legal right, given to the originator for a fixed number of years, to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material.”

So now add “The Record Label” to the definition. The definition would read something like this;

“The exclusive and assignable legal right granted to the originator who then sells that right to a corporation for a fixed number of years (in some cases, for their whole life plus 70 years) so that the corporation can print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material.”

Burton C Bell from Fear Factory didn’t know how much his songs were worth when he signed his first contract with Roadrunner Records.

Imagine a young up and coming sports star who is signed to an NBA club for peanuts and then after a season or two, shows that they are really a star athlete. Two things would happen to that sports star. The NBA club that they are with will either up their contract to match their new-found stardom or a new NBA club will swoop in and make them an offer they cannot refuse.

Fear Factory showed Roadrunner that they are a star athlete. Instead of getting a better royalty deal they got the same rubbish for 20 years plus. Instead of being allowed to negotiate with other labels and getting a transfer to test their net worth, they got locked into a restrictive contract with terrible payment rates.

Copyright is too distorted and removed from what it was intended to do. It needs a rethink and a massive re-write. The kids of today, the ones that pirate, will one day step up into government and then, change will happen.

THE WALKING DEAD

It’s passed its prime.

The last half of Season 4 was by far the worst. It is a yawn fest of massive proportions. The only two episodes worth talking about so far is the Rick Grimes House episode. The house when the group that Daryl is with right now decided to crash it.

And the other one was the Carol episode with the two little sisters. However I still have issues with that episode, as I saw it just an episode put there to shock, instead of progressing the story line.

AMC is down two big shows in “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men”, so they are pumping all of their resources into milking TWD.

Seriously spin offs. It only dilutes the main brand. Think of “Law And Order” or “CSI”. They had so many spin offs it got to a point of silliness.

The main show runners in Frank Darabont and Glen Mazzara got booted for various reasons, with TWD comic creator Robert Kirkman being behind the Mazzara booting. One thing I can say is that comic book writers should stick to comic books. They are not TV show runners.

Frank Darabont got the TV show up and running. It is the house that Darabont built in it’s tone, settings and style. Not Robert Kirkman.

Prior to the show exploding, The Walking Dead comics had a cult niche following. Now it has a popular culture following. And that is because of the TV show. Not because of the comics. The comics provided the story, however how original is the story when the whole Zombie genre is copyright free.

I actually went and purchased the comics recently for my Christmas Present. And that is because of the show.

ROCK’N’ROLL HALL OF FAME

They call themselves “leaders in the music industry” that joined together to establish the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation.

Joe Elliott from Def Leppard called it as it is. Elliot called them a “board room of faceless tuxedo-wearing morons” who decide such things based on their own determination of what’s cool. And with that, a final lyrical quote from the great James Hetfield

“Who made you God to say”

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

Copyright Innovation V7.0 – More Legal Crap and No Innovation

You know Copyright is all wrong, when you have a composer of several Motown hits combines copyright law with divorce law. Seriously, how much more distorted can copyright get.

Smokey Robinson is seeking a declatory judgement against his ex-wife. You see, Robinson is reclaiming the rights to his pre-1978 songs from Jobete Music Co. Robinson’s main problem is that his ex-wife (since 1985) believes she should be entitled to 50% of whatever income these songs generate and she has filed suit to ensure that happens.

It looks like to me that everyone tries to twist copyright law to suit themselves. It’s that whole ENTITLEMENT argument.

The labels claim that all pre-1978 songs are “works of hire”.

Smokey Robinson claims that his ex-wife isn’t entitled to his profits but his heirs are.

A judge ordered YouTube to take down a movie based on a copyright claim of the actor.

Rightscorp (a copyright troll) is ordering ISP’s to pass on fines to it’s customers like the “Thought Police” from 1984.

Or maybe your a Dutch collection society who just won a court decision to have a “pirate tax” on every storage device, because, hey, every storage device, smartphone, tablet and PC MUST be used to store media files. Talk about entitlement. And they had to balls to say that it is all in the name of “protecting artists.”

Like the three strikes policy that the lobby groups keep pushing. All in the name of “protecting artists”. Did you know that in Ireland, it has been in place for 4 years with one ISP and no pirates have been disconnected. In New Zealand the ISP’s are still arguing with the Entertainment industries over who should foot the bill. Since the Entertainment industry doesn’t want to foot the bill, nothing much is really happening.

It’s pretty obvious that these legislated policies do not work however they still come up in the public conversation. Australia is another country talking about a three strikes scheme.

And all of them are to “protect the artist”. However the artist doesn’t see an increase in their bank balance.

So there you have it, another solid week of copyright innovation from the entertainment industries.

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140308/08430726495/smokey-robinson-sues-ex-wife-to-prevent-her-claiming-50-his-recaptured-motown-hits.shtml

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140307/07424226477/dutch-supreme-court-agrees-to-let-rights-group-collect-back-you-must-be-pirate-taxes-mp3-players-hard-drives.shtml#comments

http://torrentfreak.com/three-strikes-isp-no-pirates-disconnected-in-four-years-140313/

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

Copyright In The Modern Day. It’s Not About Driving Innovation Anymore.

It’s all about stopping copyright infringement. It’s all about shaking down internet users. It’s all about a ridiculous and “out of touch with reality” penalty system. For example, if a user downloads one song, the RIAA have argued that the copyright holders are out of pocket between $20 to $10,000. It’s a huge mark-up from its iTunes price of $1US.

When discussions are had on Copyright, it’s all about the enforcement. It’s all about creating a monopoly. The ones that sit on the innovation fence are shouted down to from the ones that control/hold the Copyrights.

There is a great article over at The Conversation website. Go read it. Journalist David Glance has a lot of viewpoints that I agree with.

The thing is, people have been “copyright infringers” since day dot. Anyone that remembers cassette tapes, will tell you how they used to copy songs from recordings onto a cassette tape. James Hetfield used to copy Lars Ulrich’s record collection onto cassettes.

We used to copy songs from the radio onto cassettes. We used to copy movies from TV onto VHS cassettes. Then we got even more creative and hooked up two videos at once to make copies of the latest releases. With the advent of the CD and blank discs, we started making mixed CD’s. When Napster exploded, people flocked to it.

Richie Sambora was a guest host on “The Panel”, a TV Current Affairs/News show on Channel Ten in Australia. This happened last week. There was a segment on Spotify and how streaming has led a slump in music sales. One of the members of the panel asked Richie Sambora, how many records has he sold. Richie replied back with “about 130 to 140 million records”. Richie then further stated that piracy was big even in the days before the internet, as pirated Bon Jovi LPs, cassettes and CD’s sold like hotcakes in Asian, African and Eastern European countries.

So I did some research on this and I came across the Moscow Peace Festival. The Moscow Peace Festival took place in 1989. Hard Rock and Heavy Metal music was hard to get “legally” in Russia, however it didn’t stop over 100,000 people from attending the show to watch Skid Row, Ozzy Osbourne, Scorpions, Motley Crue and Bon Jovi perform.

All of those fans of music must have gotten their music from somewhere. Actually musical sales in the USSR at that point in time didn’t even exist. Hell, it wasn’t until 2010 that the National Federation of Phonograph Producers (NFPF) was established in Russia. And they don’t even have a website. All of this shows how serious the legal music business is treated in Russia.

All of this supports the argument that we are all copyright infringers. Governments need to look at how people adopt these laws and change them to suit. Instead the Governments look at who puts money in their pocket and add more bad laws to existing bad laws.

Australian Attorney-General George Brandis has got no idea what is happening in the real world or how the internet works. His comments show that he is just a puppet for the Movie Industry Lobby Machine. Check out some of his comments;

To pirate a video or a song without paying the fee for it through iTunes, and so on, is an act of theft, it’s pure and simple.

Um, no. To infringe on a copyright is not an act of theft, as the mp3 is still with iTunes. No one has stolen it. What has happened is that multiple copies of that mp3 are in circulation right now. People pirated Adele’s 21 album, however all of that piracy didn’t stop it from moving over 10 million units in the US because no one stole anything. They infringed on an artist’s copyright. Something that fans of music have been doing since day dot.

When people, pirate “Game Of Thrones”, they don’t steal the original master copy from HBO. What they do is download a copy that someone made from the actual legal broadcast.

The ISPs, in my view, do need to take some responsibility for this because they provide the facility which enables this to happen.

Um. No. ISP’s don’t need to take responsibility for bad business sense and business models designed on controlling distribution. To provide a few different analogies, should the gun manufacturers take responsibility for their guns killing people. Should car manufacturers be responsible when their cars kill other people due to high speeds. Should the knife manufacturers be responsible when knives are used for violence. Should gas bottle manufacturers be held responsible for when their gas bottles are used in drug laboratories. Should alcohol brewing companies be held responsible for all the alcohol fuelled violence.

It is easy to lay the blame on others. However it is the record labels that need to take responsibility. They still don’t get it. People want FREE music. Spotify provides a service that is free, however it is still seen as restrictive and people still go to other torrent sites to download content. And then the recording industry claims that these sites make so much money from running ads on their site. If that is the case, then why isn’t the recording industry offering the same service and make that same money.

They don’t want to, because that would mean that their margins will shrink a little bit more and that is all they think about. The NOW. What is the plan for the future? A small return today, could lead to a greater return in 5 year’s time.

The fact is that people don’t have a right to download pirate copies of songs or movies or television programs because the people who make those programs or other items have a right of property in them. The way artists earn their living is through royalties and that’s the way they are remunerated for what they do.

Um no, artists have never made a living from royalties. The record labels have. Artists previously made a living from touring, licensing, merchandise and large advance payments. In today’s world, the main revenue streams are disrupted, however other revenue streams have opened up.

http://theconversation.com/copyright-reform-will-drive-innovation-not-trying-to-stop-the-internet-pirates-23286

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140225/12341626346/australian-copyright-reform-goes-into-reverse-fair-use-out-three-strikes.shtml

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

Innovation V5.0 – It Just Keeps Getting Better from Liberation Music and Rightscorp

Each week, the technology industry and the sites that enable copyright infringing are innovating at a rapid rate to stay ahead of the curve.

YIFY is one of the more popular torrent sites out there. Instead of resting on their laurels they are innovation even more. Read this article. You will see all the development that YIFY carries out. These are the people who the recording industry need to employ, not shutdown. But when the entertainment industry only cares about dollars, sites like YIFY that facilitate sharing are seen as the bad guys.

The funny thing in all of this, is that Napster showed the entertainment industries what people want 15 years ago. So why haven’t they listened. Spotify is trying to compete however it is failing because people still want to download a song for free and be able to do anything they want with it. And they want to do it easy and with no strings attached.

In relation to the entertainment industries, check out their “wonderful” innovation list.

This one has been going on for some time. Liberation Music sent a bogus take down notice to YouTube on a presentation that Larry Lessig posted back in June 2013. Now for those that don’t know, Larry Lessig is a famed professor and a copyright/fair use expert. So they picked the wrong guy to try to censor. Lessig then filed a counter-notice and Liberation threatened to sue for copyright infringement if Lessig didn’t retract his counter-notice.

So who is Liberation Music. Of course they have to be from the same country that I am from, good old Australian. So Liberation Music owns the Australian copyright for a song called “Lisztomania” by the band Phoenix. The Lessig presentation has a snippet of that music.

Let me get this straight. Liberation is an Australian label, who owns the copyright for a song in Australia only and then issues a bogus take down notice on an US presentation that has a tiny “fair use” snippet on it.

So in response, Lessig filed for declaratory judgment and sought damages for the bogus take down offer. Liberation finally came to its senses when it realised it was going to lose and agreed to settle the case with Lessig, paying him an undisclosed sum that Lessig then passed on to the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) who worked on the case.

Moving on to some innovative news, we have the latest internet troll Rightscorp at it again. This time they are trolling the torrent public trackers for IP addresses that are linked to the torrenting of songs that are on the Billboard 100. Nice business model if people actually get scared by the threats and pay. If they send out 10 million notices a year and 1 million pay the $20 infringement tax, then that is a cool $20 million.

Surely some of that money will go back to the artist, songwriter, producer or the performers. Innovation has ceased/never began for the Record Labels. All in the name of the guaranteed dollar.

http://torrentfreak.com/revealed-the-secrets-of-yify-torrents-network-140223/

http://torrentfreak.com/lawrence-lessig-wins-damages-for-bogus-youtube-takedown-140228/

http://torrentfreak.com/billboard-100-pirates-automated-fines-140227/

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

Chaos + Disruption = The Music Business

It’s a chaotic and disruptive time in the music business and with chaos comes opportunity.

On one side you have COPYRIGHT. And that can be broken down into a lot of other little chaotic categories like infringement, the length of copyright terms, copyright monopolies, the lack of works entering the public domain and so on.

The public domain is culture. Keith Richards once said, ‘you can’t copyright the blues.’

Culture is built and expanded by sharing stories and building on the works of others. Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and all of the sixties greats like Hendrix, Clapton and Beck used this concept. They built off the blues.

However copyright law and its real purpose got hijacked by corporations and everything changed. Instead of culture being built up in the works that the public creates and shares, the public is now faced with copyright corporations locking away works that should be in the public domain by now. These works that should be in the public domain do not benefit the original creators in any way, however they are beneficial for the few copyright monopoly gatekeepers.

For culture to thrive once again, it is important to respect the public domain.

Then on another side of the music business you have the RIAA who continually push lies out into the world, so that technology companies can do something to protect crap business models. Did you know that the global music industry sent it’s 100 million takedown notice to Google, to remove search links to certain sites. It looks like the RIAA doesn’t get it.

So if a person types in “free mp3” in Google Search what should Google return?

Sites that have free mp3’s or sites that the RIAA want Google to point to when that term is typed in. Maybe when that person types in free mp3, they want a free mp3 and have no interest in paying.

Then you have the ISP’s on another side that are caught up in the middle of all this as they offer the service that provides internet access to users. According to the RIAA and the record labels, the ISP’s allow “copyright infringement” to happen, therefore, they need to do something about it to help out the music industry. In Australia, this is heavily disputed, however in other parts of the world gradual response schemes are in place.

Then you have the technology companies trying to offer low cost services to fans of music. However, low cost to a fan means high costs to the RIAA and the record labels in licensing fees. This is before the new service is even allowed to trade. If the new service starts to trade without licensing in place, expect them to be litigated into submission.

Have you noticed that artists have not been mentioned anywhere as yet. That is how far the music business has come, where the actual music is only a small part of it, however it should be the major part of it. For the business to thrive, you need great music.

I was looking back to some of the releases in 2013 that I liked. Two of my favourites are “Protest The Hero” and “Coheed and Cambria”.

“Protest The Hero” and “Coheed and Cambria” are working to the “Keep your fan base close” mantra. Both of the bands moved from major labels into a DIY independent mindset, realising that their fans are king.

Exceptional fan service is the key driving force behind a bands success. I expect “Coheed and Cambria” will get a lot more fans purchasing the next super deluxe package for the new album because they did such a great job with “The Afterman” releases.

“Protest The Hero” on the other hand have fallen into the fan funded conundrum where the perks always arrive later than expected for international fans. I live in Australia and I am still waiting for the perks to arrive. The band have been clear with their information, advising that it will take 6 to 8 weeks.

It’s good old business 101, “treat your customers right and they’ll stay with you forever”.

Then you have bands like Five Finger Death Punch, Avenged Sevenfold, Dream Theater, Stone Sour, Killswitch Engage, Trivium, Volbeat, Alter Bridge and TesserAct that have label deals.

Should those bands go independent like Protest The Hero or Coheed and Cambria. It all depends on a person’s definition of success and hard work. Going independent means that you need to build a team around you like any business start-up.

What are the benefits of going independent?

The lesson is simple. Selling your artistic freedom and independence as a “success” strategy can bring lucrative rewards. But it’s not always the best move for your career, as you are also selling off important data to the record label. The record label doesn’t want to know your fans or connect with them. They want you to do it, so that the label can make money of that relationship and then pay you a percentage of it.

Coheed and Cambria moved over 100,000 units of their deluxe “Afterman” editions. At $60 (I think it was $68, however I will use $60 for the example) an edition, that comes to $6 million in revenue. If the band was on the label model, what percentage would the band see from that $6 million.

The music market/business is filled with acts trying to make it. It is going to take a huge effort to stand out amongst the rest. Music is a lifer game. It is a slow and steady approach that builds careers.

Artists should be looking at development. With each song release, artists should never be afraid to try things out. Even try out new technologies that make it very easy for their fans to interact with them and their music. In a company, this is called research and development. Investing in your career is never a mistake.

The artists have the power to make the record labels redundant, purely to be used as a distribution arm if needed, however with the rise of streaming technologies, even this arm can be in danger of disappearing. Bands like Coheed and Cambria, Protest The Hero and Digital Summer have seen the recorded business side of things and have decided, hey we can do it better. That’s what great businesses are made of.

So in all of this chaos, who will rise and who will fall? Time will tell, however if you compare music to technology, you will see only a select few rise to the top. Smartphones and tablets is all Apple and Samsung. Amazon has online shopping cornered. Google is the king of search. Spotify will win the streaming war. Facebook rules social media. iTunes rules the mp3 and app market. Will the same fate happen in the music business?

2019 Crystal ball predictions;

Coheed and Cambria – will get bigger and bigger. Their style is unique, so expect them to keep to that style, sort of like how AC/DC releases music in the same style or Iron Maiden.

Protest The Hero – proved to themselves that they still matter. Will get bigger and more crazier. The future of progressive metal.

Machine Head – will still be bigger then what they are. Robb Flynn understands the internet and understands the change that is coming. He will make sure that Machine Head rides the wave all the way to the shoreline, while Adam Duce circles in the undercurrent, ready to litigate the band into submission.

TesseracT – will become the next Pink Floyd.

Digital Summer – are one of the hardest working rock bands around like Twisted Sister and Dream Theater. They will get bigger as they are lifers.

Avenged Sevenfold – will become the new Metallica.

Five Finger Death Punch – I have a feeling that they will break up after one more album.

Shinedown – will be bigger than what Aerosmith ever was.

Volbeat – will remain relevant in their niche genre.

Metallica – will still be relevant in the same way the Seventies act remained relevant.

Dream Theater – will still tour and do a lot of side projects, however they will be replaced by TesseracT and Protest The Hero.

Black Veil Brides – will take over the void left by Motley Crue and Guns N Roses.

Trivium – will deliver an astounding progressive technical metal album.

Killswitch Engage – will remain relevant in their niche genre.

Alter Bridge – The world needs Led Zeppelin to continue. Expect Alter Bridge to fill this void. They have one of the best vocalists of the modern era in Myles Kennedy. Marc Tremonti is a prolific writer. Call his Creed project, “The Yardbirds” and Alter Bridge as “Led Zeppelin.”

Bullet For My Valentine – will deliver their own version of “Master Of Puppets” and “The Blackening”.

Lets see how it pans out.

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