Copyright, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Copyright Sickness

I haven’t done a copyright post for a while, but I haven’t stopped reading on the subject. Because once you have been exposed to the laws of copyright and how those laws are meant to protect the creator but all they do is protect the organisation who holds the rights, well, I just can’t look away. Because the creator never had a proper seat on the negotiation table. In order to get a chance to make music, they had to give away their rights to their music for a long time.

First up is a little snippet on how much an organisation makes by holding on to copyrights. The organisation her is Sony.

For a three month period, Sony was paid just over $654 million for streaming. Now I don’t know about you, but that’s some serious money.

How much of it went to the artists, well that is a different story? And because Sony has a publishing arm, that division also received $375 million. This is $375 million which is meant to go to songwriters.

Again, how much of this makes its way to the songwriters, is unknown?

And I’m not sure if people are aware, but Copyright laws do have a termination clause, which allows an artist to reclaim their copyrights after 35 years have expired.

But the labels like Sony are not letting go easily. So these cases are in the courts, because the labels know that if they don’t have an extensive copyright collection of songs, they have no income. Because at this point in time artists who released big selling albums in 1985 can reclaim their rights to those albums.

Next year, Jon Bon Jovi can reclaim the rights back for “Slippery When Wet” and then he will own his biggest selling album, with all streaming monies to go back to his organisation. The year after, in 2022, Guns’N’Roses, Whitesnake and Def Leppard can reclaim back the rights to “Appetite For Destruction”, “self-titled 87 album” and “Hysteria”.

Do you reckon the labels will allow that to happen so easily?

They will either throw some extra millions at the artist or off to the courts.

And here is another one on payments to musicians.

PRS For Music is an organisation in the UK which collects copyright payments on behalf of songwriters, composers and publishers. For the 2019 year it collected a record £810m. The amount involves a few different segments, like public performance, streaming, radio, TV and international. With public performances being put on hold because of COVID-19, streaming subscriptions are becoming popular.

But the streaming money pie is not distributed evenly. What the labels get and what they pay back to the artists is based on contracts and what monies have been given to the artist vs what needs to be paid back. And if the artist owns their own rights, then they are in position to negotiate better especially if they have had some success in the past. Metallica and Motley Crue come to mind, as artists who own their own rights.

The thing that streaming companies do wrong is that they treat it as a pool of money and then they work out what ratio each artist is entitled to, based on the streams played on the artists songs divided by the total streams for the service.

So even though fans of Metallica, Tool, Def Leppard, Motley Crue, etc, listen to those artists, their subscription monies are also distributed to Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande and all of the rest of those high streamers.

I know as a consumer, I want my subscription fee to go to the artists I actually listen to and not to a central pot, where the money is divided on a percentage basis against every single artist on Spotify. But the system is as fair as it could be right now.

And here is what happens when an IT organisation creates a streaming service to allow music to the spread to the masses because in reality, the labels were negligent in their duty of care to the artists to do it much earlier on.

So for Spotify it’s court case after court case. Because people who contribute nothing to culture and made some serious money because they hold the rights to other artists songs, still want that money train to continue.

There is this dude from the U.S called Jake Noch who has an independent label called Sosa Entertainment and he has his own collecting society called PRO Music Rights.

So Spotify removed his labels recordings from the service because Noch was manipulating the streaming count of his labels music.

This scam is common, where the teams behind artists, create enough streaming accounts to just stream the music of the artist so they get a bigger piece of the pool of monies distributed to the rights holders. Noch didn’t like how Spotify pulled his labels music and he sued. He accused Spotify of “unfair and deceptive practices” and Spotify called him a “fraudster”. And via his collection society PRO Music Rights, he has accused every other streaming service of copyright infringement.

It shows the amount of manipulation involved here by a record label, who hired a bot farmer to set up millions of streaming accounts (all of them on the free ad-supported tier) who would then listen to the songs on the service. 99% of the revenue for Sosa Entertainment came from the free-ad supported tier.

Smells on Payola, it is Payola.

Finally, remember those MTV shows from the 80’s which actually had music videos and interviews. Well the Internet Archive uploaded heaps of em. It shows the early stages of MTV and the steps they took to become a cultural icon. All of the material is from a user’s own VHS tapes of MTV recordings.

But these have been taken down on copyright grounds. Basically an organisation which holds the rights to an artist has made a claim to censor a part of history. Or it could be the VJ themselves via an organisation. Whatever the reasons, history is being censored and locked up. Copyright was never intended to censor. From day one, back to the 1700’s it was to give a creator an incentive to create more works by giving them a monopoly to monetize their works for a certain period of time.

And it gets worse and will only get worse, because after the death of the creator an organisation holds on (in other words, locks up) the copyright for another 70 years after death and they are pushing for another 20 more to take it to 90 years.

P.S. Remember the British invasion in the 60’s and early 70s.

It happened because all of the blues and folk music created between the 1930 and 1940 had expired and become part of the public domain because they all had 28 year terms. Classical music was already in the public domain and a lot of jazz standards were as well.

And suddenly we had artists who pieced all of these styles together.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault – Black Veil Brides

Let’s talk about Jinxx and Jake Pitts.

Jinxx and Jake Pitts, are the guitarists in Black Veil Brides (from here on, known as BVB). Jinxx plays rhythm guitars and violins and Jake Pitts is the lead guitarist.

Jinxx (real name is Jeremy Ferguson) is also classically trained, but the first album, he ever owned was “And Justice For All” from Metallica. Great mix in my book. His influences are of course, Randy Rhoads, Metalica and the various classical composers that inspired Malmsteen.

Meanwhile Jake Pitts learnt music and harmony theory from his mum, who is also an accomplished classical pianist in her own right. And of course, his influences are people like Randy Rhoads, Paul Gilbert, EVH, Dimebag Darrel, the Schenker brothers, the various Dio guitarists and of course Metallica.

And these two dudes are very big reasons why I am a BVB fan. Plus Bob Rock produced their self-titled fourth album and what an album it is.

But let’s start at the beginning.

Courtesy of The Pirate Bay, I downloaded their first two albums. I liked em and I purchased them from Amazon U.S as it was cheaper to purchase from the U.S and pay for delivery than to buy them here in Australia. It’s insane how physical products are priced in Australia.

Even the Guitar World magazines. A subscription from the U.S would get me 12 issues for $70 Australian. That comes to $5.83 an issue. To buy that same issue from the newsstands, the cost was $15 an issue.

Anyway, back to BVB.

We Stich These Wounds

Released in 2010, it starts off with a scratchy vinyl record playing and a small talking piece called “The Outcasts (Call To Arms)”. And then the riff for the title track, “We Stich These Wounds” kicks off and I was hooked.

The guitar playing in BVB is exactly what I like. And the “outcasts” theme is what BVB would build their songs around. Metal and hard rock bands from the 80’s had these themes as well.

Vocalist Andy Biersack is not as confident on this album as he is on the albums which followed, but heavy metal music was never about perfect pitch. It’s about the rawness, the attitude, the melody and the aggression. Of course when bands got bigger, they actually got better as well.

Then again, for all of the vocal lessons that someone like James Hetflied had for the “Black” album because Bob Rock requested it, I still prefer his chainsaw like vocals from the first four albums.

In “Beautiful Remains” the guitar solo is a shred-a-licious.

“Children Surrender” has a fast paced intro, with an excellent melodic lead and a chorus with harmony guitars and lots of wohhhs. There is screaming in the pre-chorus which I’m not a fan off, but the music is enough to get me going. And before I forget, the drumming is metronomic precision by Christian “CC” Coma.

“Perfect Weapon” and “Knives And Pens” have the best riffs on the album. On the Reddit forum’s it’s been mentioned that “Knives And Pens” is a rip off from an Avenged Sevenfold song. To me, the riff is from the NWOBHM, one of those derivative riffs that just can’t be copyrighted, so if people are looking for a well-known song, “Electric Eye” from Judas Priest comes to mind.

And the Chorus in both songs is worthy of attention.

The creepy title of “The Morticians Daughter” disguises an acoustic song which borders on the Lynyrd Skynyrd Southern Ballad Rock.

And the best solo on the album is on the song, “All Your Hate”. Listen to it and put the guitar back in the box. It reminds me of the solo in “Afterlife” by Synester Gates in A7X.

And all of the classical influences from Jinxx and Jake Pitts comes out in “Heaven’s Calling”. Crank it and enjoy it. It’s a song that deserves more attention. “Never Give In” also breaks out the classical references with a digital delay melodic riff. “Carolyn” is written by Jake Pitts dealing with his mother’s illness. Listen to it as it has so much beautiful guitar moments.

Basically, the debut has enough musical moments to get me interested. On to album number two.

Set The Word On Fire

Released in 2011.

The album kicks off with a monster in “New Religion”, full of double time riffage. It’s all an album without any song writing credits from Jinxx, however the two producers Josh Abraham and Lucien Walker get a few credits here and there, and Marti Frederiksen, who is well known for his song writing contributions to Aerosmith, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi and other artists of the hard rock genre.

It moves into “Set The World On Fire” with more excellent riffage and you know that by track 2, Andy Biersack has found his Mr Sparrow swagger. “Fallen Angels” is track 3 and it’s a three punch combo knockout. It also has 28.4 million streams on Spotify.

“Rebel Love Song” keeps the up-tempo vibe of the album going with more riffage and killer leads. Plus Choruses that are memorable. “The Legacy” is a thrash song crossed with a pop song chorus.

“Die For You” is probably my favourite. It’s the Chorus which seals the deal. Its written by Biersack, Pitts, bassist Ashely Purdy and Frederiksen. No surprise there that the co-writing credit Frederiksen has, delivers my favourite song on the album.

After the album was finished and recorded, the guys put Def Leppard’s “Hysteria” on and starting mixing the album with the “Hysteria” vibe. They are ticking all of the boxes in my book so far of paying homage to their roots or to the best-selling hard rock albums.

The Wretched and Divine

The concept album with the “Mad Max” and “Shout At The Devil” look was released in 2012. They even had a movie made that told the story of the “The Wretched And The Divine” uprising against F.E.A.R, the overlords who protect and watch over the citizens in this dystopian Mad Max wasteland.

“I Am Bulletproof” is a perfect opener and “Wretched and Divine” is a metal track, the way I know metal. It’s guitar heavy and I like it. The guitar solo is a guitar hero spotlight full of melody, and brought to life by fast alternative picking, sweep picking, bends and legato lines.

“We Don’t Belong” is the best Bon Jovi chorus that Jon Bon Jovi didn’t write, with its woohs and ohs. “Devils Choir” has another guitar hero spotlight solo while “Resurrect The Sun” moves between being a ballad and a rocker.

“Overture” is a violin instrumental and it showcases the impressive violin skills of guitarist Jinxx. He layers those violins and creates a symphony. “Shadows Die” is up next, with its very sounding Avenged Sevenfold arrangement. “Days Are Numbered” has got this up-tempo “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) inspired riff, which connects and gets me interested.

“Done For You” is just a laid back ballad and man, it reminds me of Coheed and Cambria. And the Chorus has a repeating line of “it’s all done for you” and the ohhh backing vocals. Its haunting and hopeful. The yin and the yang.

“Lost It All” has this piano intro which immediately connects. And Biersack sings with a bass-baritone voice, which is perfect for the melancholy that the first part of the song brings out. Then the band comes in, and man, this is a good song. That’s it. It’s a good song. The way Jinxx and Jake Pitts decorate the verses with their palm muted arpeggios and Jinxx is also wailing away on his violin. And then the violin takes centre stage from about the 3 minute mark, with female gospel like vocals.

Then the big one starts, “In The End” with 84.6 million streams on Spotify and counting. Plus it has a Gold certification from the RIAA, for over 500,000 sales in the U.S.

Black Veil Brides

The self-titled album came out in 2014.

Bob Rock is producing and man, this dude takes it to another level in the sonics and the sound. It’s perfect. If you are a fan of the 80’s music or grew up during the 80’s and want an introduction to Black Veil Brides, then let this album be it. I swear it’s like a different band, that’s how good Bob Rock is in capturing everything.

“Heart Of Fire” is the opening track and it plummets your brain with the sonics, the heaviness and its super catchy chorus. And on this album, there are a lot of outside songwriters. For example, this song is written by Andy Biersack, Jake Pitts and Jinxx, along with Justin Cordle and Mark Holman. Don’t know who these dudes are or their background, but who cares, as the song is doing the talking.

“Faithless” is a thrash metal piece in the intro. Listen to it. Metallica hasn’t written anything this heavy and this good in the 2000’s. The first 40 seconds is a circle mosh pit. This song has a song writing committee of Biersack, Pitts and Christian Coma from the band, along with Tommy English and Nick Long. Again, no idea who these extra song writing dudes are from.

From about 2.50 there is this military style snare beat, which sort of sets up the song for the interlude and solo section. Again, it’s a thrash metal mosh. Did I mention the guitar solo is another entry into the guitar hero spotlight?

“Devil In The Mirror” again brings out the heaviness. This one is written by Biersack, Pitts and Jinxx from the band, along with Tommy English and Josh Moran as the outside writers.

“Goodbye Agony” is my favourite. That clean tone intro riff reminds me of “Tears Of A Dragon” from Bruce Springsteen merged with “Nobody’s Fool” from Cinderella. It’s a good song.

“World Of Sacrifice” has this bridge section from about 2.20 which gets my head nodding and there is no guitar solo spotlight on this one. Because it didn’t need one, the riffage and all the guitar melodies over it was enough.

“Last Rites” is a head banging hard rock song.

“Walk Away” is written by Biersack, Pitts and Jinxx from the band, along with Marti Frederiksen and Mark Holman. It’s a ballad, but it’s not clichéd or boring or all mushie. Just listen to the last two minutes of this song. You will know what I mean.

“Drag Me To The Grave” has another head banging and foot stomping riff along with an arena rock chorus. “The Shattered God” has another bone crunching riff in the intro. And the album closers with “Crown Of Thorns” another rocker.

After this album, Andy Biersack released two solo albums which lived in the pop and acoustic domain, under the name of Andy Black.

Then “Vale” came out from Black Veil Brides in 2018, a prequel to “The Wretched And Divine” album. And a two song single called “The Night” came out towards the end of 2019. But the band became a bit different, with bassist, Ashley Purdy leaving in 2019, replaced by Lonny Eagleton.

I’m interested to hear what’s next.

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Copyright, movies, Music, My Stories

Bands

Bands, the way we have known them will be no more.

It will be the era of the songwriter. It might look like a band on the outside but really it will be the main person or two and the supporting musicians. Sort of like how it was in the 50s and 60s up to a certain point. Until The Beatles changed everything.

For example, like James Hetfield and The Metallica Band or like Jon Bon Jovi and The BJ Band or like David Lee Roth and The Van Halen Band or Rob Halford and The Judas Priest Band.

Maybe they will just use their name like Bryan Adams, Keith Urban, Don Henley, Neil Young or Ozzy Osbourne.

Even Alice Cooper started off as a band and morphed into a solo artist with musicians supporting the artist.

Maybe a return to the Crosby, Stills and Nash kind of names.

These are just examples of using artists that I know. The new artist could use just their name or their name with a backing band or a group name but the reality will be that the group is really just the artist with other musicians supporting the artist.

If you look at bands right now and in the past, most of their songs are written by one main member. Sometimes two or three members, especially when bands had artists who paid their dues and had experiences before joining.

Ignore pop songs for the moment who seem to have 10 writers to start with, and if the songs are a hit, there is a writ and more songwriters are added to the list.

Yeah I know what your saying, U2, Def Leppard, Black Sabbath and Van Halen just to name a few, have albums saying that the songs are written by all the members.

But the truth is, what is in print for us to see on the lyric sheet or album, is not always the truth. Songs are complicated beasts when it comes to a band setting. It didn’t used to be that way but it is that way now. Especially when there is money involved.

For example ASCAP is a music publisher in the US, had total revenues of $1.226 billion dollars in 2018. They paid $1.109 million in royalties back to artists. And they kept $117 million in administration costs. Basically money for nothing and the chicks for free to the publishing company.

That’s just one of many in the US. Then there is BMI who had total revenues of $1.283 billion and paid out $1.196 billion to artists by 30 June 2019. And they kept $87 million for administration costs.

And each country has multiple publishing companies. And each country has record labels. And everyone is making multi millions from music for nothing.

The actual copyright registration and the splits associated with the song plus the band agreement which also has percentage splits determine who is entitled to what. Van Halen even took Michael Anthony off the songwriting credits when they renegotiated a multi million dollar publishing deal in the early 2000’s.

COVID-19 has changed the game.

A normal band makes their money on the road.

Some bands might have streams in the billions and own their own copyrights, but if they are that level, they will have a team of people in their organization like managers, legal, accountants and other employees who do fan club and website.

Right now, no one can tour and they don’t know when they can start touring again because having so many people in a room, theatre, arena or stadium is a problem when it comes to social distancing. And even if concerts are allowed, will people just go back to life as normal or be cautious. Maybe concerts will resume with a cap of 500 people max.

And no one gets into bands or starts writing songs to get paid. They do it because they love it and there is a need within them to create. But with any artist that starts to become popular, money is a byproduct of creating something which resonates.

And then it becomes about the revenue streams and how is the artist going to make money.

Streams will pay and the artist will get more if they own their rights. And the person who wrote the song will get two bites of that revenue. One from the streaming service to the Copyright owners account and another from the Rights Organization which administers their catalogue. This always causes resentment between members because one person has more than others.

Especially when the band agreement in place favors one over the other. And the other member feels like their songs should be considered but they are not up to standard.

Remember when Kirk Hammet told everyone he lost his phone with riffs and that’s why he had no song writing contributions on the “Hardwired” album but James set the record straight when he said that Kirk’s riffs just weren’t there, meaning they weren’t good enough to James and Lars to consider.

We wait to see what live music will look like post COVID-19.

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

Streaming in COVID-19

It’s strange how things work out.

In reality, most artists and the labels wanted a return to the old sales model for recorded music.

This meant that the labels acted as gatekeepers and they decided who got a chance to come into the walled gardens of a record deal.

As we know, then came Napster and everything changed. iTunes, torrents, YouTube, Pandora, Spotify and other streaming services all came.

The recording labels hated digital services, in the same way the book business and the movie business, and they all did everything in their power to stifle or kill the digital book and streaming services.

All because it meant they had lost control.

The record labels kept arguing about rising prices on monthly steaming rates and then they kept running stories everywhere about limited edition vinyl and record stores and the tradition of seeking out a vinyl and dropping the needle.

And now, COVID-19 is everywhere and suddenly physical sales are non existent and even online orders will not be delivered.

But this is when people can listen the most or read the most. And if you are championing physical, the problem is you can’t really buy anything as all of the stores are closed.

Suddenly streaming services are a source of income. In some cases the main source of income since all postal services are prioritizing essential deliveries over non essential. Somehow physical albums don’t matter when life and death is at stake.

Is this when streaming really takes over the world?

Because if there is a winner here, it’s the record labels, as they hold the majority of the copyrights, so they will keep getting paid forever. Yeah, I still see articles from the labels RIAA about people still obtaining music illegally, but hey, those people will never pay for recorded music in the first place.

And I haven’t heard of any label executive taking a pay cut during these unprecedented times.

But I have heard of artists doing it tough. And now we are getting artists dying as well from COVID complications.

And the labels are doing nothing to help their artists or even their former artists, the ones they still hold the copyrights for.

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Alternate Reality, movies, My Stories

Catching Up

It’s strange.

Is it right to even say I am using this free time I have at night to catch up. Everything is just strange. The new normal in a strange land.

I’ve watched movies like this, then walked away from the movie, talking about the movie and then going on to live life again. And movies like “Outbreak” and “Contagion”, it feels like we are living in the script. As Morpheus said to Neo, in a construct.

And COVID-19 is keeping me home. I have been working from home for two weeks and now it is indefinite. So has my wife and I’ve kept my kids home from school since Thursday last week.

And the rules the government is applying are confusing. One person per 4 squared metres, social distancing but school with 30 kids in a class room is still on.

And all of my sporting commitments are on hold as every sport is either postponed or suspended to a date. So I’ve done what everyone else seems to be doing. Catch up on my Netflix and Amazon Prime shows.

All Or Nothing – Brazil National Football Team
There is a quote in this movie from the coach Tite, about courage.

How you need to have the courage to try things, do something new, the courage to help a teammate in need and if you fail, the courage to rise back up and try again.

And we need courage today more than ever to survive the madness around us. Life as we know it, is changing.

Very fast.

Things that we took for granted are just not the same anymore. And it never will be.

Altered Carbon – Season 2
I really like the concept of this show. It covers a lot of technology and science concepts, plus it uses our history.

In the show, Earth humans travelled decades to occupy a new world which had extra-terrestrial lifeforms on it, but the humans didn’t tell planet Earth about it, so they went about cleansing the world of “The Elders” as the original inhabitants are known. The occupation of a lot of lands in the world happened like this by the British, French and Spanish

Then there is the concept of immortality and cloning.

Memories/life experiences are saved on stacks, which are then backed up and if the sleeve (the body) dies, a new one is “spun up”. Of course, this is if you have money. The poor don’t have this luxury. And what I mean by “spun up” is that they already have a cloned body ready, on ice, waiting to have the memories downloaded into it, and its business as usual.

And the scientist who came up with the technology saw how it could it was used for evil and decided to destroy it and became a terrorist.

Then there is the concept of AI helpers and virtual constructs.

The First Purge – Movie

The NFFA (New Founding Fathers of America), had to come up with a creative way to get their economy and unemployment back on track.

So they designed a 12 hour event, called “The Purge” where all forms of murder are legal. And they did a social experiment in a suburb full of housing projects and derelict buildings, which was also populated by dark skin residents. Of course the NFFA have only white skin in their ranks.

But when the people of the area, didn’t really start killing each other, the NFFA brought in mercenaries with machine guns and rocket launchers to increase the body count and make the night a success, so the day could become a yearly event.

All in the name to get rid of the old, the homeless, the sick and the poor. And today, we have a virus doing the exact same thing. Except this virus takes the wealthy as well.

It doesn’t discriminate.

John Wick 3 – Parabelum – Movie

I like the John Wick movies. The first one is brilliant and they haven’t topped that, but this one is cool as well.

And the concept of “living under the high table” is mentioned a lot here. We have our society and our governments and the laws which come from that.

Then you have a secret society which has its own set of rules. But it still retains a hierarchy structure and even the High Table has an Elder who sits above the table.

And the question the movie asks is; what kind of life do you want to live and be remembered by?

A life under the control of someone and doing their deeds for them or a life that you see as free to make your own choice.

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

How Much Should Streaming Services Pay?

A lot of people hate Corey Taylor, but I’m not one of em. I enjoy the music he creates, more with Stone Sour than Slipknot and he has a point of view, a stance, which he shares with the world.

In an interview with the Irish Times which Blabbermouth grabbed and ran with a few months ago, Taylor was asked if SLIPKNOT could live just on royalties from listens.

He said, no they couldn’t survive at the current rates but if the streaming services paid the same publishing rate as radio stations than they could.

In Australia that equates to about $6 per song (for the main cities), as regional cities have a lower fee and then there are separate fees paid for when the song is played, like prime time hours or graveyard hours. In some cases the artists pay to get themselves played and they don’t even know it as it’s charged back to them by the label via miscellaneous expenses.

Also the $6 fee is paid just to the songwriters not the recording act. Since Taylor writes his own songs, he is okay in that department as he would get the payment.

But streaming services charge us $9.99 per month to access a catalogue of music. The math doesn’t work and suddenly piracy looks more appealing of that fee goes up.

Taylor doesn’t have a problem with streaming services for what they are trying to do, but he has a problem with them, when they spend millions of dollars on buildings and then more millions on decking out those buildings for offices and then more millions on flying private and more millions on wages while the artists who bring people to their service are not experiencing the same share of those millions.

But hang on a second, the label he’s signed deals with also spend millions of dollars meant for the artists on the same thing.

Steve Miller said something similar about the recording industry and the RNR Hall Of Fame people at his RNR HoF induction, how they take so much money from the artists and they don’t compensate the artist fairly.

The problem that I have as a fan of music is this;

Artists on a label sell their masters to the record labels for a fee. They are compensated at that point in time. Some for a lot more if they are successful and others for peanuts because they didn’t know any better.

The labels are aware of this power they have and since they are offering the cash, they want a return on investment. So the label benefits in this streaming era because they hold the masters.

Get your masters back like Motley and Metallica and suddenly you will benefit as well.

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

Getting Paid

I’m seeing news articles that Spotify’s payment rate is declining.

But there never was a set payment rate per stream. It was always based on your streams in a pool of streams and what percentage you take in the pool of streams based on countries and the pool of money of available to be paid out and your percentage stake in those monies.

Yep it sounds simple, but it’s creative accounting at its best and the music industry is well known for it.

However there is an argument that with Spotify’s subscribers growing, the payments to artists for the same amount of streams they had in previous years is lower. A normal person would assume that a growing membership, would mean more money in the pool and that would mean a higher payment for the same amount of streams.

As much as I am a fan of Spotify and streaming services in general, all of these organizations also deal in the murky world of creative accounting like the labels.

And Spotify should be worried.

Their business model is based on licensing agreements. Like Netflix’s original business model. But Netflix started doing original content over 10 years ago. Spotify hasn’t.

Because Netflix knew that the companies they license content from, will form their own streaming service one day. In this case, Disney created Disney TV. And I reckon the labels are watching this with interest. If it works out okay for Disney TV, and the costs are low to host a steaming service, then the labels will consider their own streaming service. It’s just a matter of time.

So imagine a world with Universal deciding to do the same as Disney.

Because the labels never cared that people accessed the music of their artists illegally. They used that as part of their PR, to show that they cared about their artists and to get politicians to pass laws to protect their businesses.

What the labels really cared about was losing control of the distribution and the gatekeeper monopoly they had for so long.

So if the labels go into their own streaming offering, they will get back control of the distribution and a sort of monopoly again. And the only way for Spotify to exist if this happens, is to become a label themselves and pay people to generate content instead of paying organizations to access content.

Spotify might not pay artists what they think they should be paid but at least they are getting paid because Spotify has to pay based on the agreements they have with the labels and the legislation in place around royalty rates. If the label and the publishers keep the monies, then the artist has to negotiate a better deal when they sign up for that initial advance payment.

But once the distribution goes back under the labels control, good luck in getting paid because the labels will get all creative and will work out that the artist owes them money instead. And if the labels do work out that there are payments due to the artists, then those payments are based on the contract artists sign with the label.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

My Streaming Decade

So Spotify has collated all of my data since I joined in 2013 and here it is.

In 2013, my favourite artist was KISS and the song I listened to most was “A Day In My Life” from Five Finger Death Punch.

In 2014, my favourite artist was Black Label Society and the song I listened to most was “Angel Of Mercy” from Black Label Society.

In 2015, my favourite artist was Trivium and the song I listened to most was “Down From The Sky” from Trivium.

In 2016, my favourite artist was Kingdom Come and the song my 5 year old listened to most was “The Mighty Eagle Song” from The Angry Birds Movie. And this was the reason why I went to a Spotify Family Account.

In 2017, my favourite artist was The Night Flight Orchestra and the song I listened to most was “Gemini”.

In 2018, my favourite artist was Def Leppard, which is no surprise as their catalogue was finally issued on digital services, but the song I listened to most was “A Love Unreal” from Black Label Society.

Finally, in 2019, Free Spirits Rising is listed as my favourite artist and “We Are Here” from Free Spirits Rising is the top song.

Overall, my top five artists for 2019 are, Free Spirits Rising, Everygrey, Whitesnake, Aerosmith and Tool.

But my favourite stat is the time spent listening to music on the service.

  • In 2016, it was 37,977 minutes.
  • In 2017, it was 77,234 minutes.
  • In 2018, it was 52,316 minutes.
  • In 2019, it was 64,753 minutes.

Let’s put some of these numbers into context.

A 38 hour working week equates to 2,280 minutes.

So 64,753 minutes divided by 2,280 minutes equates to 29 working weeks of listening. Over half a working week year of listening to music and somehow working at the same time.

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

Listening Habits

It’s a tough crazy world.

Artists spend their blood, sweat and tears into their new product and no one seems to be paying attention.

How can they, with all the music coming out.

For 2019, I listened to 5,783 different songs on Spotify. To put that number into context that is roughly 16 different songs, each day, for 365 days. In the old vinyl LP days of 8 songs each, this would be two albums every day of different artists.

Streaming allows this diverse listening experience and for the fan, this is a good thing.

It’s also a good solution compared to peer to peer downloading. But people complain about the payments they receive, however there is no denying that streaming services have put some serious money back into the recording industry.

Prior to Spotify, the recording labels got nothing. And it’s a shame that those same labels don’t funnel those monies back to their artists. Because if wasn’t for the artists, the recording labels would not be in the position of power to negotiate anything. And if it wasn’t for the artists forming connections with people, then the labels would have no business model.

If you take streaming services out of the industry, people will not start buying CD’s again en masse.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Fans

Fans maketh the artist and the fans taketh the artist.

For all artists, the need to create music is enough of a reason to start. Then some artists will have acceptance of their music. And suddenly artists have a thousand plus hard core fans.

Artists are normally happy to sell out the limited run of super deluxe editions of albums.

For the medium to larger acts, this is about 20,000 copies of an album between the prices of $50 to $200 each, and you can see a cool gross income between $1 million and $4 million. If the artists own their rights and are in control of their masters, then the deluxe editions if done right, can be a nice little supplement.

And streaming also gives the artist control of where their fans are, in which cities they live and which songs these fans are listening to. If the artists have the resources, then they can tour these places. Scorpions and Whitesnake are coming to Australia and I am pretty sure it’s on the back of some impressive streaming numbers, because it wouldn’t be on sales.

More so than ever, the fans decide how they want to commit to their relationship with the artist. And a lot of fans of music are also pretty content to listen to music at home, without feeling the need to go out and watch an artist live.

It’s part of the new world.

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