Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Using Our Influences

From the 50’s onwards, the Copyright industry morphed into large corporate entities. These corporations got laws passed which gave them a powerful monopoly instead of the artist. Laws which changed when copyright expires had the intention to purely to benefit the record labels and no one else. But in order to hide what the true intent of the law was, the labels sold it as a benefit for the heirs of the artist.

So what we have happening right now are lawsuits orchestrated by the heirs of the artists along with their serpent eyed lawyers. And then we have judges and juries deciding how music is created. And suddenly, the music of the departed artist is showcased as being so original and without influence that anything which came after had copied the departed artists’ music.

However, one thing cannot be disputed, all music is a sum of our influences. There is not a single musician alive who creates music without hearing any music whatsoever before. But in 2016, to be influenced by what you have heard in the past is reclassified as “plagiarism”.

Led Zeppelin built a career on copying blues and folk standards while Metallica built their career by copying their NWOBM influences and many others. Oasis built a career on copying from “The Beatles”. The Beatles built a career on copying from blues and rock standards that by the 60’s had become copyright free.

Bon Jovi built a career because Desmond Child re-used songs he already wrote for Bonnie Tyler and others. Then when Jovi had hits, they went to town, re-writing their hits. Seriously, if you look at their catalogue, “Living On A Prayer” has been rewritten for every album that came after “Slippery When Wet.” “New Jersey” had “Born To Be My Baby”. “Keep The Faith” had the title track. “Crush” had “It’s My Life”. “Have A Nice Day” had the title track. “Bounce” had the title track. “The Circle” had “We Weren’t Born To Follow”.

Five Finger Death Punch – “Lift Me Up” has a vocal melody in the verses similar to “The Ultimate Sin” from Ozzy Osbourne. A lot of people call it theft, I call it influence. Imitation is a form of flattery. The song is getting the plays. People are paying attention and that is what artists want. It is not about sales anymore, it is about listening. Are people listening to your music?

Megadeth paid homage to Black Sabbath’s, “Children of the Grave” in their new song “Kingmaker”. Alter Bridge also paid homage to Black Sabbath’s “Children Of The Grave” and Ozzy Osbourne’s “Revelation Mother Earth” in their song “Fortress”. Continuing on with Alter Bridge, the song “The Uninvited” has a strong resemblance to Tool’s “Schism”. And all of Tool’s songs have similarities in groove and feel to King Crimson. Motley Crue borrowed from Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen” and Stevie Wright’s “Eve” for their song “S3”.

Do these odes to their influences make them unoriginal?

The history of metal and rock music occurred because of some serious copying. My favourite saying is that all “progress is derivative.” What I mean by this term, is that all the music we love is an amalgamation of music that has come before. In a lot of the cases, this amalgamation involved some serious copying.

It is a shame that we have a generation of people who have grown up with a belief that music is created in a vacuum and they decide that legal threats is the best way forward.

Songs are not created in vacuums. The fun and games for the listener is in pointing out the resemblance.

Standard
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.

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

COPYRIGHT = Powerful Organisations Fighting Over Who Gets The Biggest Slice Of The Pie

The artists have the power. They are the ones that create the works, the songs. But it is the rights holders of the artist’s work (otherwise known as the Copyright Holders, aka, Record Labels) that are trying to organise deals with ISP’s, the Courts, technology start-ups, streaming services and the Government. They are the gatekeepers in the middle and they are more richer than they have ever been.

They are flush with cash. The internet was supposed to level the playing field against the major labels but it only made them stronger.

Why?

Because they are using their massive catalogs as leverage against streaming services and other technological start-ups. Much in the same they used their power against artists. And all of this because the artists sold away their power so that they could be given the chance to record and be a star. Like today, companies like Spotify are selling their shares to the record labels so that they could operate.

In Australia, the Attorney General’s Department is trying to make the ISP’s the RIAA Surveillance Force.

If anyone should be organising these deals it should be the ARTISTS/PERFORMERS with the USERS/CONSUMERS. No Corporations in the middle should be involved.

But that is not the case.

Because the Record Labels have benefited greatly from this Government created monopoly. Even in the U.S, the House of Representatives judiciary subcommittee will be meeting to discuss music licensing. The RIAA will be there, streaming services like Spotify and Pandora will be there and the music licensing groups will be there.

But why are they all there?

They are all there to ensure they get as large a slice as they can from the Copyright pie. Hell, YouTube is starting a streaming service and they are negotiating for lower rates than their competitors

Bad form.

As usual, missing in all of these Copyright discussions is the PUBLIC and the ARTISTS.

Copyright was created to promote progress in science and useful arts. It was never created to be a social welfare tool and it was definitely not created to enrich corporations and turn them into powerful monopolies.

Copyright laws need changing but that will never happen as the ones (RIAA, Record Labels) that control the money, will stand to lose a lot of it. That is why these corporations are NOT looking at ways to make Copyright better. They are just looking at ways to get the biggest slice of the current pie when it comes to Copyright.

Hey, pretty pretty
With the sweet sweet eyes
Order me up another slice of your pie

– “Slice Of Your Pie” – Motley Crue

Standard
Music, My Stories

Haunted By Its Melody, Music It Will Set You Free

Metal music has its fair share of musicians that are worth talking about. Put it down to the place that metal music holds in society. From Lars Ulrich turning his back on his fans and going into bed with the record labels, to Dave Mustaine’s views on everything American, to Robb Flynn’s blog posts and the hundreds of comments he gets to them.

That is why I love Robb Flynn. He’s real. He’s honest. He’d say shit and people will either go “WTF” or “Yeah, man he’s spot on.” Whether it was saying “that selling CD’s is non-existent” to “feeling depressed in Beneath The Silt post” to “asking fans if they have sex to any Machine Head song or any other metal band for that matter” to his most recent post on “the music business and how much has changed since the Seventies (basically the danger has been taken out and it is all safe”.

Love him or hate him, Robb Flynn has an edge over other musicians and he is using that edge to get people talking about music again. Obviously Robb Flynn is known to people in the niche that Machine Head plays in and when I mention his name to other people that like classic rock bands for example, they look back at me with blank stares.

His latest blog post is all about how music and the artists drove culture. It was about a time when artists had the control to do what they want, how they want and when they want.

Now..?

What do we have?

We have the people that sell it, complaining that their profits are sinking, while at the same time they feed the coffers of the RIAA to get favourable legislation passed to protect their business models. Then you get all these reports about how much money streaming is bringing in to the labels and artist screaming up and down that they don’t get a decent portion of it.

What about the construction company that had to call it a day, because the builders they contracted work to, went under. By going under, those builders failed to pay the construction company the work they did and by default, they also went under.

But, hey, that’s okay and no protectionist laws are needed because that is the nature of the building game. However the record labels lose money because they failed to innovate and they scream up and down for new laws. The stain that SOPA/PIPA left on the MPAA and the RIAA will never go away. People will remember it.

Music doesn’t need new laws. It needs a new breed of executives. You see, Music is in a transition. A transition from the old to the new. The people currently in charge still don’t get it. The new breed is slowly rising and in time it will filter into the corridors of power. Those kids that pirated their whole music collection, will be in charge of Copyright Law in the not too distant future. Those same kids will be in charge of the music labels. They will have their coding mates in jobs next to them, innovating away.

So what about the old breed?

Metallica previewed a new demo of a song called “The Lords of Summer” and everyone said “What the hell is that?”. You see Metallica just don’t get it. People go to their shows to hear the classics. No one wants new music from them. If they did, the fans would have voted for the new songs at the recent Bogota show.

Look at the set list (I added the year of the album the song was featured on in brackets);

Blackened (1988)
Master of Puppets (1986)
Welcome Home (Sanitarium) (1986)
Fuel (1997)
The Unforgiven (1991)
Lords of Summer (New song / World premiere)
…And Justice for All (1988)
Sad But True (1991)
Fade to Black (1984)
Orion (1986)
One (1988)
For Whom the Bell Tolls (1984)
Battery (1986)
Nothing Else Matters (1991)
Enter Sandman (1991)

Encore:
Creeping Death (1984)
Ride the Lightning (1984)
Seek & Destroy (1983)

See any songs from the last two Metallica albums in the list. Hell, there is only 1 song since 1991. Enough said. They’re an oldies act. The fans had a chance to vote for the set list and they voted for the classics. No one wanted to hear the newer stuff and that includes “The Lords of Summer”.

The only band who are aware of that are Twisted Sister. Apart from the song “30” and the obligatory, Christmas album, they have refused to make new music for decades, because no one wants it. And they know it. Dee Snider has said it, Jay Jay French has said it and Mark Mendoza has said it.

The thing is when bands go in to write new albums, they need to realise that we don’t want the generic song that they think will sell millions. We want the song that the creator needs to write, because if they don’t write it, the apocalypse will come into their world.

This is contrary to Rick Rubin’s methods were he more or less gets bands to rewrite their earlier stuff.

Our lives today are surrounded by great TV shows and technology like Game Of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Grimm, Revolution, Arrow, iPhones, iPads, Tablets, Spotify, YouTube, Facebook, Intenet and so on. Music needs to compete on this playing field. It needs to be just as good and it needs to innovate.

Volbeat is a good example of innovation. Their sound is unique. Look at all the elements in their songs. There is no one else quite like em in 2014. Sort of like the Twisted Sister song, “What You Dont Know (Can Sure Hurt You). They fuse a lot of styles into their songs, however they still stay loyal to the hard rock/metal sound.

Don’t write a song with the Top 10 in mind.

Write a song because your life depends on it. Write a song because if you don’t get those melodies and chords out, you will cease to exist.

That is the true essence of music to me. That raw, primal, spontaneous explosion.

As Robb Flynn once said;

So pray to music build a shrine
Worship in these desperate times
Fill your heart with every note
Cherish it and cast afloat

Cause God is in these clef and tones
Salvation is found alone
Haunted by its melody
Music it will set you free

Let it set you free

Standard