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Riot! Revolt! Freedom! Respect!
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 9:18 am    Post subject: Riot! Revolt! Freedom! Respect! Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

We have dicussed this before. Now Don Henley has written an article which has spread like.. whatever.. all over the net the last few days. I picked this out of an email I got yesterday. This was originally published at the Washington Post. --Elektro80

Killing the Music
By Don Henley


When I started in the music business, music was important and vital to our
culture. Artists connected with their fans. Record labels signed
cutting-edge artists, and FM radio offered an incredible variety of music.
Music touched fans in a unique and personal way. Our culture was enriched
and the music business was healthy and strong.

That's all changed.

Today the music business is in crisis. Sales have decreased between 20 and
30 percent over the past three years. Record labels are suing children for
using unauthorized peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing systems. Only a few
artists ever hear their music on the radio, yet radio networks are battling
Congress over ownership restrictions. Independent music stores are closing
at an unprecedented pace. And the artists seem to be at odds with just about
everyone -- even the fans.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, the root problem is not the artists, the
fans or even new Internet technology. The problem is the music industry
itself. It's systemic. The industry, which was once composed of hundreds of
big and small record labels, is now controlled by just a handful of
unregulated, multinational corporations determined to continue their mad
rush toward further consolidation and merger. Sony and BMG announced their
agreement to merge in November, and EMI and Time Warner may not be far
behind. The industry may soon be dominated by only three multinational
corporations.

The executives who run these corporations believe that music is solely a
commodity. Unlike their predecessors, they fail to recognize that music is
as much a vital art form and social barometer as it is a way to make a
profit. At one time artists actually developed meaningful, even if strained,
relationships with their record labels. This was possible because labels
were relatively small and accessible, and they had an incentive to join with
the artists in marketing their music. Today such a relationship is
practically impossible for most artists.

Labels no longer take risks by signing unique and important new artists, nor
do they become partners with artists in the creation and promotion of the
music. After the music is created, the artist's connection with it is
minimized and in some instances is nonexistent. In their world, music is
generic. A major record label president confirmed this recently when he
referred to artists as "content providers." Would a major label sign Johnny
Cash today? I doubt it.

Radio stations used to be local and diverse. Deejays programmed their own
shows and developed close relationships with artists. Today radio stations
are centrally programmed by their corporate owners, and airplay is
essentially bought rather than earned. The floodgates have opened for
corporations to buy an almost unlimited number of radio stations, as well as
concert venues and agencies. The delicate balance between artists and radio
networks has been dramatically altered; networks can now, and often do,
exert unprecedented pressure on artists. Whatever connection the artists had
with their music on the airwaves is almost totally gone.

Music stores used to be magical places offering wide variety. Today the
three largest music retailers are Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Target. In those
stores shelf space is limited, making it harder for new artists to emerge.
Even established artists are troubled by stores using music as a loss
leader. Smaller, more personalized record stores are closing all over the
country -- some because of rampant P2P piracy but many others because of
competition from department stores that traditionally have no connection
whatsoever with artists.

Piracy is perhaps the most emotionally gut-wrenching problem facing artists.
Artists like the idea of a new and better business model for the industry,
but they cannot accept a business model that uses their music without
authority or compensation. Suing kids is not what artists want, but many of
them feel betrayed by fans who claim to love artists but still want their
music free.

The music industry must also take a large amount of blame for this piracy.
Not only did the industry not address the issue sooner, it provided the P2P
users with a convenient scapegoat. Many kids rationalize their P2P habit by
pointing out that only record labels are hurt -- that the labels don't pay
the artists anyway. This is clearly wrong, because artists are at the bottom
of the food chain. They are the ones hit hardest when sales take a nosedive
and when the labels cut back on promotion, on signing new artists and on
keeping artists with potential. Artists are clearly affected, yet because
many perceive the music business as being dominated by rich multinational
corporations, the pain felt by the artist has no public face.

Artists are finally realizing their predicament is no different from that of
any other group with common economic and political interests. They can no
longer just hope for change; they must fight for it. Washington is where
artists must go to plead their case and find answers.

So whether they are fighting against media and radio consolidation, fighting
for fair recording contracts and corporate responsibility, or demanding that
labels treat artists as partners and not as employees, the core message is
the same: The artist must be allowed to join with the labels and must be
treated in a fair and respectful manner. If the labels are not willing to
voluntarily implement these changes, then the artists have no choice but to
seek legislative and judicial solutions. Simply put, artists must regain
control, as much as possible, over their music.

The writer is a singer and drummer with The Eagles and a founding member of the Recording Artists' Coalition.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

This one is interesting:

Germany: Record Industry Threatens Existence Of Composers And Lyricists
http://www.mi2n.com/press.php3?press_nb=62863


GEMA Chief Executive Officer and President Prof. Dr. Reinhold Kreile comments on the press information released by the Phono Associations on February 3, 2004 ("Changes to licensing conditions needed")

"The attempt by the German record industry to reduce the current royalty rate for licensing audio carriers from 9.009 % of the Published Price for Dealers (PPD) to 5.6 % is outrageous. The reasons now being cited by the General Manager of the German Phono Associations, Gerd Gebhardt, to justify this rate cutting at the expense of the creative composers and lyricists are deceiving the public.

Gebhardt accuses the music authors of living remote from reality "on a safe island in the middle of a stormy sea", merely because they are demanding a reasonable share of the proceeds from audio-carrier sales. In actual fact though, the music authors have already for years been suffering from the effects of the drastic slump in sales in the audio-carrier market because their share is tied to these sales; now the record industry intends to aggravate this difficult situation of the music authors even more and pass on its sales losses of the past four years to the backs of the creative authors by cutting their remuneration by 40 %: that is - quite deliberately - threatening their very existence.

In a situation, where the phonographic industry should be focusing all its entrepreneurial intelligence on seeking forward-looking solutions to overcome the crisis in the audio carrier market, it comes up with the bright idea of depriving the creative composers and lyricists of their fair reward, in order to compensate for its own sales losses of past years.

The music authors, whose creativity forms the very basis for commercial success in the music market, expect the representatives of the music industry to think up solutions for the future like the speedy implementation of sustainable business models in the online sector, but not strategies for reducing the remuneration of the creative authors and minimising the industry's costs that trample on the copyrights.

The composers, lyricists and music publishers united in GEMA will not allow group strategies planned for years ahead to destroy the commercial existence of the music authors and so too the diversity of our country's music culture that is promoted so well by small and medium-sized music enterprises."

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 11:36 am    Post subject: Re: Riot! Revolt! Freedom! Respect! Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The Henley article is right on. Except for the conclusion:

elektro80 wrote:

Artists are finally realizing their predicament is no different from that of
any other group with common economic and political interests. They can no longer just hope for change; they must fight for it. Washington is where
artists must go to plead their case and find answers.

...If the labels are not willing to
voluntarily implement these changes, then the artists have no choice but to
seek legislative and judicial solutions. Simply put, artists must regain
control, as much as possible, over their music.


Artists are not going to find help from legislators in Washington. They are just as corrupt as the music industry, if not more. Artists must seek out and support alternative paradigms for music distribution.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I actually agree with Henley. Content creators should demand rights and protection from the legislators. The situation in Germany shows this is 100% called for. Alternatives channels is of course an option but this is not the solution to the very problem. Henley states that musicians and composers are on the bottom of the food chain. He is too right about that one.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
I actually agree with Henley. Content creators should demand rights and protection from the legislators. The situation in Germany shows this is 100% called for. Alternatives channels is of course an option but this is not the solution to the very problem. Henley states that musicians and composers are on the bottom of the food chain. He is too right about that one.


Demanding rights and protection is a very different matter than getting them, and I suspect that such is an already lost battle. They move way, way too slow and too much in step with corporate interests, not ours.

The raw deal is that we are essentially on our own, unfortunately.

Cyx

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Cyxeris wrote:
Demanding rights and protection is a very different matter than getting them, and I suspect that such is an already lost battle. They move way, way too slow and too much in step with corporate interests, not ours.


If this is something we all more or less agree on, why should we NOT stand up and make ourselves visible? We should at least support Henley and broadcast the fact that we agree with his analysis and his opinions. An article on the front page of this site could state: "Yes, we agree with Henley!" And we sign the statement.. Not? Afraid of black helicopters? Very Happy

Henley has actually written this short article and it is too bad if people who are agreeing with him will not support him. Shame on us.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
Afraid of black helicopters? Very Happy


Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

No, not at all, I just dont like seeing us prioritize incorrectly. I dont think that, currently, there is any valid recourse in congress. So then, perhaps the priority should be to make that a reality.

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

Why should they listen to us? Why should they care? I dont have an answer by default (that holds any water, that is), but I certainly would like to see this a reality.

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

Cyx

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

This is not just about forcing congress into granting privs to the starving slaves of the music biz. This is also about teaming up and creating a new reality. A creation of a meme. OK, so congess is not ready. So what. Is congress ever ready? I suggest supporting Henley is a very smart move.

You did read that post about what is happening in Germany right now?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
This is not just about forcing congress into granting privs to the starving slaves of the music biz. This is also about teaming up and creating a new reality. A creation of a meme. OK, so congess is not ready. So what. Is congress ever ready? I suggest supporting Henley is a very smart move.

You did read that post about what is happening in Germany right now?


You know... I'm 26. I'm old enough to run for a seat in the US house of representatives.

Can you imagine...?

Cyx

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Right! Go on! Kick ass!

Very Happy Very Happy

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
Right! Go on! Kick ass!

Very Happy Very Happy


That way we would have someone on the inside, to get in there and start causing a ruckus from whithin. After all, you're talking about making artists like us a special interest. The next logical step is to get someone on the inside.

Without being branded a terrorist for doing so.

Cyx

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Sure! But actually recognizing the problem now is important too.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

This article just got published here too: http://www.boycott-riaa.com/article/10466
and they have a thread of comments there too. I recommend you check out those comments.

It seems like the original source of the article is The Washington Post ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A46669-2004Feb16.html )

Typical comments are like:
Quote:
"Suing kids is not what artists want, but many of them feel betrayed by fans who claim to love artists but still want their music free. "

Oh yeah? Well many of us music fans feel betrayed by our Artists. Why??

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Another one:

Quote:
0Hz  

Date: February 18, 2004 @ 12:29 PM
Henleys remarks are as outdated as his music, culebra I appluad the fact that your running a small indie if thats what your doing but sorry mate times have changed and the dinosuar of the music industry is slowly dyeing, Wake up man the music industry like every industry has to change in order to survive coz now people don't need expensive studios or leeching record execs to get there stuff out to the world. If your doing good stuff that the kids want they'll support you if there hearing your stuff on P2P be thankful of the publicity, if it stale and outdated nobody will want to pay for it just like everything else in the world, why should the music biz be any different, the golden days are gone for good, long live music. bring on the indies.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Common Dreams just published it too right now:
http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0217-01.htm


Background:
http://www.starpolish.com/news/article.asp?ID=75

Congressional Hearings, Online Music Deals
James K. Willcox — Thursday, April 12, 2001

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
Sure! But actually reconizing the problem now is important too.


This seems to come up from time to time around here. Wink

Cyx

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yeah yeah... I know.. well.. Wink
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

When challenged to make the case for our rights before any representative body, our response can not be: "Artists are not going to find help from legislators in Washington", or "Why should they listen to us? Why should they care?"

These are just stories made up to justify our own impotence. I don't believe these stories; they project an attitude of no responsibility. They blame other people for our lot. If we are oppressed, we have to take responsibility for that and take appropriate action for defending our own rights.

Unfortunately, we, as musicians, have yet to articulate a position that is compelling. We haven't got a sensible proposal for legislation. It seems to me that we complain a lot. This isn't going to make people want to support us with political support, and maybe it even has something to do with why our music isn't popular. Shocked
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Or maybe our music not being popular has something to do with it. I'm not saying be a talkshop, that's what the Monty Python images were about. The PFJ. I just dont think that the climate in congress right now is such that we are a priority. There truely are more pressing, and less dynamic, issues facing them.

Eventually copyright law will come to a head, and they will have to deal with copyright legislation in a real manner. Then the issue will be a priority, and if we are prepared for this opportunity when it arrives, we will be able to seize it. I just dont think that time is right now.

Soon, I hope.

Cyx

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

egw wrote...

Quote:
Artists must seek out and support alternative paradigms for music distribution.


this alternative is probably the 'net... sites like this


but i think a lot of us hoped this revolution would happen sooner than it appears to be

i think patience is needed and not worry about the micro details

it'll all shake out as most of us know it will..eventually

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2004 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

sudden wrote:
egw wrote...

Quote:
Artists must seek out and support alternative paradigms for music distribution.


this alternative is probably the 'net... sites like this


but i think a lot of us hoped this revolution would happen sooner than it appears to be

i think patience is needed and not worry about the micro details

it'll all shake out as most of us know it will..eventually


Patience? None for me, thanks. I'll have patience once I've gotten the ball rolling on an "alternative paradigm". We are the artists, people. No one else cares about this as much as we do.

I think we have an opportunity right now to direct what this new paradigm is going to be. Take action. No one else is going to. It's not going to just "shake out" if everyone sits on their butts while the RIAA sets precedent for legal extortion.

We gotta create as many alternatives to the RIAA as possible and see which ones work and which don't.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2004 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

noiseusse wrote:
We gotta create as many alternatives to the RIAA as possible and see which ones work and which don't.


Unfortunately, the money needed to do something of real consequence remains to be seen. I, myself, am working on, at least, an intermediary paradigm or two to assist in stemming the lack of a "home base" for storing our music (us here on e-m.com, that is). Once can burn out one's engine aiming only for quick and lofty solutions, or one can cut one's teeth and make some progress by selectively conquering one problem at a time, and eventually be where we want to. Unless the money majickally appears from out of nowhere, we are relegated to relying on time an innovation to solve our problems. That's the approach I am taking with some of this, and hope to yield some bennefits in coming months. We'll see.

Cyx

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2004 1:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Cyxeris wrote:
noiseusse wrote:
We gotta create as many alternatives to the RIAA as possible and see which ones work and which don't.


Unfortunately, the money needed to do something of real consequence remains to be seen.


I agree that money is a problem, a systemic one.

Quote:

I, myself, am working on, at least, an intermediary paradigm or two to assist in stemming the lack of a "home base" for storing our music (us here on e-m.com, that is). Once can burn out one's engine aiming only for quick and lofty solutions, or one can cut one's teeth and make some progress by selectively conquering one problem at a time, and eventually be where we want to. Unless the money majickally appears from out of nowhere, we are relegated to relying on time an innovation to solve our problems. That's the approach I am taking with some of this, and hope to yield some bennefits in coming months. We'll see.
Cyx


word. can't wait to see what you come up with.

"home base". I don't think there needs to be one. centralization leads to delegation which leads to frustration and, eventually, stagnation. We have ourselves a perfect example of that (well, more than one).

Decentralization leads to diversity which creates growth and innovation. Observe nature.

it doesn't take a lot of money to do something different. i did a little searching yesterday and found a hosting service that provides 5GB of space, SSL and unlimited transfer, among other things, for $40 a month. Now I can create a music outlet that allows downloads of whole albums in mp3 with hi-res art for the cost of a license which gives the user the legal right to distribute as many copies of the album as they want as long as they're not selling it. that's cheap and priceless.

"quick and lofty solutions", "burn out" - yeah, if you don't gauge your abilities and/or inclinations accurately. i am one of those strange and delusional people that believes every human is capable of genius, we all have unlimited potential which is bounded only by our conception of self. Amazing things never happen unless we make them happen and so to not shoot for lofty goals is a travesty, imho. "quick"? perhaps not ::)
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2004 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Artists have always been fucked when it comes to rights and royalties. I suspect the actual model the music biz used when handling this is more or less adopted from the dark ages. This is a problem. The content creator is seen as a slave, not as the golden source of all things beatiful. We have seen that the artist can be turned into a lifestyle commodity, but this happens on the terms set by the industry.

I suspect one of the clearly bad trends in the industry is how the global market was handled. The most effective approach was probably selling the same product in the same way in different markets. This means that the music industry is actually selling a "western mass market consumer product" using and communicating various extreme "western ideas" at the same time. Take a look at how a lot of rap music is sold all over the world. Sex, crime, drugs and whatnot is seen as tittilating aspects of the music product. So, is pop music communicating true "western" ideals? Probably not.. or.. hopefully not. To me this makes very little sense.

Quote:
Decentralization leads to diversity which creates growth and innovation.

True, but I would add that diversity was the natural state of music not long ago. Decentralization represents serious problems for the industry. In such a scenario one would have to find good products for various segments and regions and distribution is the key word here. In essence the industry has moved away from this years ago. One might argue that the internet can be used as a channel that solves this. This is true, but the music industry has not yet truly seen this. The industry is still hoping to sell more music by the global stars using the net.. not reinventing a better business model which involves diverse products and better distribution.

In my opinion, what we need is a better handling of rights and such.. like moving the content creators up on the foodchain. We also need decentralization, diversification and a new distribution model. The new distribution model should be able to handle both physical products and files. All this cannot happen when the mid section of the industry is leeching the major part of the resources. This leaves nothing for the artists and nothing for the distribution/retailer sections of business.

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Joined: Mar 25, 2003
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Audio files: 14

PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2004 5:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:


Unfortunately, we, as musicians, have yet to articulate a position that is compelling. We haven't got a sensible proposal for legislation. It seems to me that we complain a lot. This isn't going to make people want to support us with political support, and maybe it even has something to do with why our music isn't popular. Shocked


I fully agree with you, Howard. This is too true. We should be able to come up with clear ideas to communicate about the state of the business.
It seems to me that the current trend is complaining and also sticking our collective head into the sand. The alternative to the current state of the music industry might involve the death of global pop music and the promise of "if I ever get signed I will be rich". We might even dislike the idea that a record deal will not any longer involve the slim chance of fame and money. Of course this is not how it has ever worked.. but I guess we are victims of the myths of the industry too.

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