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

The Real Copyright Abusers Are The Major Record Labels

The major Record Labels own the majority of copyrights and don’t they love to overvalue their content. As soon as a product is seen making money or drawing an audience from music, the big copyright owners swoop in. And when they do swoop in a few things begin to happen;

The Product will get threatened. Think of Napster, Limewire, AudioGalaxy and MegaUpload. All gone. Pandora is constantly battling against rates of payments as they struggle to make a profit. Spotify, in order to trade in the U.S had to give the major labels a share of the company. It was either that or the labels would not license them. Google is always blamed for linking to pirated content.

The Product will get litigated into non-existenance. Mp3.com, hotfile, isohunt are three that come to mind.

The Product will move on to different areas of innovation.

The Product will get saturated with content from the copyright industries that a lot of the people who flocked to the product in the first place will just move on to another product.

Like MySpace.

MySpace was once a haven for finding out independent/underground music. The whole culture and market reach of MySpace was built around this premise. Of course MySpace got so popular that it was inevitable that the major legacy players would take notice. Eventually, MySpace was littered with content from the major players. Ads of major label artists popped up everywhere and all of the independent content that made MySpace popular got pushed further into the background, making it harder to find.

Eventually those people who made MySpace popular started to abandon the site in droves, moving onto other social media sites, like Facebook and YouTube.

Anyone heard this quote from Robert A. Heinlein.

“There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute nor common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back.”

Does it all sound eerily familiar? Does it sound like the attitude of the content industries for the last 40 years?

The MPAA and RIAA have never stopped lobbying the Government to pass laws that will protect their business models. Even Irving Azoff still blames technology for diminishing the music business profits instead of blaming the real devil, which is the GREED of the POWER PLAYERS. Someone like Azoff had a career on the backs of music that artists created.

The blame should be at the way the Record Labels/RIAA treated their artists and the fans of the artist.

The blame should be in the way the Labels creatively structured deals to ensure that most musicians never get paid a real dime.

Yes, back when the Record Labels controlled everything, artists are given advances, however the real term used should have been “loans on terrible repayment rates” in which the labels would add-on every expense that needs to be “paid back”.

Very few musicians ever “recouped” even after the labels made back many times what they actually gave the artists.

RATT sold 7.5 million albums in the U.S alone which meant total gross sales of $75 million. Even if the label gave them $1 million dollar advances for each album, that is $5 million the label would have spent on the band and in the process the Label made $70 million. I bet if the financials are made available, it would show Ratt as a band that still hasn’t recouped.

There is a post over at Techdirt that covers this in a bit more depth. The following comments are from Tim Quirk and how record label accounting relates to his band, Too Much Joy (TMJ):

A word here about that unrecouped balance, for those uninitiated in the complex mechanics of major label accounting. While our royalty statement shows Too Much Joy in the red with Warner Bros. (now by only $395,214.71 after that $62.47 digital windfall), this doesn’t mean Warner “lost” nearly $400,000 on the band. That’s how much they spent on us, and we don’t see any royalty checks until it’s paid back, but it doesn’t get paid back out of the full price of every album sold. It gets paid back out of the band’s share of every album sold, which is roughly 10% of the retail price. So, using round numbers to make the math as easy as possible to understand, let’s say Warner Bros. spent something like $450,000 total on TMJ. If Warner sold 15,000 copies of each of the three TMJ records they released at a wholesale price of $10 each, they would have earned back the $450,000. But if those records were retailing for $15, TMJ would have only paid back $67,500, and our statement would show an unrecouped balance of $382,500.

So going back to my Ratt example, it is a well-known fact that artist in the Eighties signed contracts that gave them a 5% cut of the album sold. Do the math? I am pretty sure it will come out that Ratt didn’t recoup.

As the Techdirt post pointed out;

“In other words, musicians don’t get paid anything in most cases, while the labels can earn a tidy profit for years and years, still insisting the band hasn’t recouped. It’s why a band can sell a million albums and still owe $500,000.”

The whole doctrine of “getting the government and the courts to guarantee profits in the future” is the reason why copyright trolls like Rightscorp have come into existence. It has also given rise to law enforcement working for the content industries as a pseudo “Copyright Police”, which in reality was always a civil matter, never a criminal matter.

In the end, the real copyright infringers and abusers are the actual Record Labels.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories

iPod Shuffle – Classic Songs To Be Discovered

When the iPod shuffle gets it right, it gets it right. Driving into work this morning, the shuffle made 6 random songs from different bands, sound like one fluent album sequence.

Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue)
By WASP, from The Crimson Idol (1991)

I have no excuse for not attending the WASP concert, when they came to Australia. The Crimson Idol album was going to be played in its entirety. I remember walking out of the Iron Maiden shows (I went to both of those shows) on the Caught Somewhere Back In Time tour, and people where handing out flyers for the WASP shows. I took one, spoke about it with the people I was with and then did nothing. Maybe I was just burnt out from the Maiden shows and wasn’t interested in going or maybe I was broke. I don’t even remember the reasons. The people I was with, have heard of WASP but never heard The Crimson Idol. I was amazed.

Blackie covers the recording business in this song. Chainsaw Charlie is the “the president of showbiz” who is just looking for the next raw talent that he can exploit. Back in 1991, you never really got to hear stories about the labels and how they treated artists. The bottom line was that if an artist wanted to be heard, they needed a label behind them.

“Sign right here on the dotted line, it’s the one you’ve waited for all of your life”

That is how it was. Artists worked hard to get a record deal. In The Crimson Idol story Charlie (the record label honcho) is saying that to Jonathon (the wannabe Idol).

“We’ll sell ya wholesale, we’ll sell your soul
Strap on your six string and feed our machine”

It’s basically the hidden fine print in the deal. The labels owned the artist. They owned their image. They owned the music. They would do whatever it takes to make as much money from the artist as they could. As our access to information has become greater with the rise of the internet, we are now seeing more and more people talk about the creative accounting of the labels.

Def Leppard are doing forgeries of their own songs, in order to circumvent a blockade put up by their label due to a breakdown in the negotiations to the digital rights of the back catalogue.

Eminem took his label to court and won, over the way iTunes payments are treated compared to album physical sales.

Don Henley is going to Court against his old label, to reclaim the Copyrights to his songs due to a clause that the labels are trying to remove, that states after 35 years, the Copyrights of songs are transferred back to the original creator.

California Morning
By The Night Flight Orchestra, from Internal Affairs (2012)

I love this song. It’s got that Deuce feel from Kiss, which was a Rolling Stone bass riff played backwards, so you can say it has that Rolling Stones feel as well. I really like what The Night Flight Orchestra did with their 2012 release. Bringing back the seventies style of music into the NOW.

It’s that slide guitar at the end, that makes me feel like I am catching a wave on a hot summers day. It reminds of Fox On The Run by Sweet and Do Ya from Electric Light Orchestra. It comes in after the lyric line, “I left my heart in L.A.

Even the name The Night Flight Orchestra is a combination of a Led Zeppelin song called Night Flight and the Electric Light Orchestra band name.

The retro style vibe captured by modern recording technology fitted in perfectly as song number 2 behind Chainsaw Charlie from WASP.

We never said a word about it
We knew it wasn’t meant to be

Crazy Train
By Ozzy Osbourne, from Blizzard Of Ozz (1980) – Remastered Version

I’ve listened to preachers
I’ve listened to fools
I’ve watched all the dropouts
Who make their own rules

Randy Rhoads wrote my bible. The Tribute tab book that I purchased was my bible. I learned every note, every lick and every riff. It’s impact was monumental to my guitar playing. It’s funny how history has been rewritten to show this as an Ozzy Osbourne solo album. However, the guys in the band at the time, always believed that it was a band called Blizzard of Ozz.

I grew up listening to people tell me what I need to do. Teachers, instructors, parents, friends or brothers, always leading me onto a path that they want me on. It was a push and shove society. That is why I fell into rock and metal music in general. They wrote the anthems that I could relate to. We’re Not Gonna Take It and I Wanna Rock from Twisted Sister are two songs that come to mind immediately.

Then as time goes by I see all the drop kicks, the ones that everyone said would be unemployed, working for themselves. Some went into the entertainment business and began changing the world with the music/movies they create. And here I am, woodshedding 24/7 to become a guitar god on a music style that killed itself.

Caught In The Middle
By Stryper, from Against The Law (1990)

You’ve been working hard
Trying to make your life appealing

Two simple sentences. That is why we are slaves to the system. We believe that by working hard, we will get richer, we will get promoted and that we will have a better life. What a load of B.S.? My father worked his whole life at the steel mill, and he worked hard. The job was enough to pay the mortgage, pay the bills and keep the wheels turning in everyday life. So my father worked a second job, so that he can make his life appealing. Then when it came to retirement, he was forced into it, by his loving employer.

Cardiff
By Stone Sour, from Come What(ever) May (2006)

This fluid feels like pain
This stoic mood is all in vain
I reach into the dark
I tear the sun and me apart
How many years ago
How many deaths I can’t let go
My flesh is temporary, my God extraordinary

Corey Taylor had a past that involved alcoholism and drug overdoses. These lyrics are depressing as hell. In the end, we are all our own worst enemies. We put so much pressure on ourselves, it’s no wonder that we all break down and end up overdosing on something. How biblical is the last line, the flesh is temporary but our legacy will live on forever in the people that speak it.

Caustic Are The Ties That Bind
By Trivium, from In Waves (2011)

Can you help me find my way
I’ve been lost for so long
I don’t even know where it went wrong

When I first heard Caustic, I saw it as a cut down version of Shogun. It is a Trivium classic and a song that will be part of their set list for a long time to come. I woke up one morning, and I was in a place where I should never be. It was in a hospital room, with a busted eye and a shattered foot. Where did it all go wrong? Was I lost for that long, that I lost my way in life. It’s very easy to do, especially when you don’t believe that nothing is wrong. It’s a lesson learnt. What doesn’t kill me can only make me stronger.

How fitting that this song is like the album closer of this morning drive.

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