Online Guitar Tablature Finally Going Legit

from the it's-all-1-4-5 dept

Among the more ridiculous campaigns waged by music publishers in their bid to control every aspect of their copyrights, has been their war on guitar tablature. Tablature is a simple notation system that helps people write down and learn how to play songs. For many years, there were a number of sites devoted to organizing all the tablature on the web, much of which was posted originally on message boards and fan sites, with these sites serving as popular destinations for amateur guitar players looking to learn their favorite songs. Although you'd think the music industry would be thrilled by the prospect of people learning to play popular songs so that they'd maintain an interest in the material, the big sites have all been basically shut down. Needless to say, all the tablature is still available elsewhere on the web, but if you want to find it, you just have to search a little bit harder. Now, the industry has worked out a deal to legitimize online tablature. One of the sites that had been shut down will reopen and its advertising revenue will be shared with music publishers, which will then supposedly share it with the artist. This is a positive development for guitar players, but it's still not clear why the industry went down this road in the first place. These companies admit that they don't derive any significant revenue from selling published tablature, so it's not as though the presence of it online was hurting its sales. It's the same thing as when the industry went after people posted videos of themselves dancing to certain songs on YouTube. Instead of appreciating the fact that fans were expressing interest in their music, and figuring out a way to take advantage of it, their first inclination is to treat their most avid fans like criminals.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Jayrad, Apr 2nd, 2007 @ 2:00pm

    *sigh*

    Absolutely ridiculous.

    But unfortunately, things like "interest" aren't directly funneled into the industry's bottom line, so that content is instantly considered infringement simply because it references their product in some way and they feel they're missing out.

    At least, that's certainly the impression that I get. But hey, I also get the impression they'd love to sit outside my window and charge me note by note for the songs I play on my guitar.

    www.olga.net, please come back. T.T

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2007 @ 2:09pm

    Their plan backfired

    To show you how idiotic they are.

    I love Olga...I used to browse it and find old songs I absolutley love. I'd copy the tablature, sit down and try to learn the song. ONLY THEN, I would run out and buy the album so I could play along.

    Those idiots hurt themselves and don't realize it. Am I going to run out and purchase any more music after seeing how greedy they are? Nope...I'll run down to the local library, borrow one from a friend or somehow find the album and copy it. But I WON'T pay commercial prices for music anymore.

    I'll bet I'm not alone!

     

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  3.  
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    Wifezilla, Apr 2nd, 2007 @ 2:10pm

    Jayrad is right

    And if book publishers could figure out how to make a book disintegrate immediately after I read it, they would do that too.

     

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  4.  
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    Andrew D, Apr 2nd, 2007 @ 2:13pm

    So true!

    Every song I've ever bought online (through iTunes) was so I could learn how to play it from some tablature I found for free. Considering that most of the tab online is derived from someone sitting there and figuring out how to play it, it's kind of nuts that this is a problem... penny wise, pound foolish - that's the way the operate.

    Hopefully this is a good sign of better days.

     

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  5.  
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    The Dukeman (profile), Apr 2nd, 2007 @ 2:22pm

    And now the lyrics...

    It is just as absurd that the lyrics sites have been taken down. I'm sure there are many more people singing along with the radio, etc, than the hordes of folks that are playing instruments to these songs. The lyrics sites are as much fair use as are people singing in their cars. Not that the copyright mongers care. Music users unite!

     

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  6.  
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    erinol0, Apr 2nd, 2007 @ 2:25pm

    Glad to see this turn around. It was ridiculous.

    It'd be like a bookstore telling me to leave because I was browsing. The more time I spend perusing the merchandise, the better chance I'll buy something. That's what Walmart does: maximize the time you spend in the store to increase the chance that you'll buy something (and the total amount spent).

     

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  7.  
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    miccolo, Apr 2nd, 2007 @ 2:37pm

    This one time, in band camp, I was sued!

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2007 @ 2:40pm

    At the top of my tablature page. Never had a complaint.

    "These files are the work of the respective authors and represents their interpretation
    of the song. You may only use these files for private study, scholarship, or research."

     

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  9.  
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    Alex, Apr 2nd, 2007 @ 3:05pm

    Tablature goes legit?

    I've gotten so disgusted with the music industry that I no longer buy CDs. I was one of the few who actually purchased legit downloads, but after watching the way these greedy bastards operate, I now just go to local music clubs and buy demo CDs from local artists.
    In a way, the greed of the industry has helped the local and regional artists to gain a larger audience. The commercially produced acts all sound alike, and they'r not worth the time or the money.

     

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  10.  
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    Alex, Apr 2nd, 2007 @ 3:07pm

    Tablature goes legit?

    I've gotten so disgusted with the music industry that I no longer buy CDs. I was one of the few who actually purchased legit downloads, but after watching the way these greedy bastards operate, I now just go to local music clubs and buy demo CDs from local artists.
    In a way, the greed of the industry has helped the local and regional artists to gain a larger audience. The commercially produced acts all sound alike, and they'r not worth the time or the money.

     

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  11.  
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    Clay, Apr 2nd, 2007 @ 3:11pm

    Tabs suck anyways

    Most of the ones out there are wrong, they don't have written out rythym, some of them aren't complete, half are hardly legible...

    Take the time and figure it out yourself, after a while you can learn the songs without depending on "guitar by numbers". That will make you a good guitar player, and almost respectable outside of highschool. I left tabs behind a few years ago and it's probably the biggest improvement I could have done to my playing.

     

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  12.  
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    Kamran, Apr 2nd, 2007 @ 3:22pm

    This is so dumb

    This is pretty retarded. Anyway, 911tabs.com is the best, and Guitar Pro is also the greatest software ever. I have over 22,000 tabs (package) and it's the only way I learn music now.

     

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  13.  
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    Roland, Apr 2nd, 2007 @ 3:30pm

    Re: *sigh*

    Perhaps at one time, Music Industry leaders felt that their was too much competition among artists.

    So they felt the best way, to reduce the number of competitors, was to legally retrain the the ability to limit trade educational materials to the next generation.

    More than likely though it was just a "jump on it with a patent/Trade mark/Copy Right" before the competition,

    Then they made the association that Ownership implies competition, and didn't want to fight other proprietary formats competing against theirs for a limited market.

    Or maybe it's just been a long day and my distrust is up...

     

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  14.  
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    Gunnar (Kithkin), Apr 2nd, 2007 @ 3:40pm

    Well

    I'm a moderator for the forums associated with the tab site that's coming back.

    I'm not terribly happy to see the tabs come back. At least, not in this way.

    By requiring copyright holders consent, it restricts the users ability to tab and upload songs by acts on smaller labels or no label at all.

    The way they're coming back is a boon to the majors and a slap to the independents, who never wanted to see the tabs go in the first place.

    The music publishers only ever published a tiny portion what is available to listen to. When they forced the shut down of mxtabs, for every Greenday or Blink 182 tab they took a dozen songs that had never been published.

    Viacom is being sued for doing the same thing to youtube.

    But the guy who used to own mxtabs was a college student. So instead of hiring lawyers to file suit, he shut down mxtabs, opened sputnikmusic and eventually sold the tab library and domain to Music Notes.

    As for tabs being inaccurate, yeah... some are. But on Mxtabs we used ratings and 5 star tabs were usually perfect. We had moderators for a lot of the sections who removed inaccurate tabs.

    Besides, they're for learning. An inaccurate tab still gives a kid a place to start and forces him/her to figure the rest out. Nobody can figure a song out by ear when they start. But they can figure out the rythm.

     

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  15.  
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    Raptor85, Apr 2nd, 2007 @ 3:50pm

    SWEET!

    Finally, i can learn more new songs... when the tab sites went down i was so ticked off, most of what i like to learn to play is impossible/very hard to find. I browse bookstores for tab/sheet music (tab wasnt all that was taken down) from time to time, generally cant find anything current, or anything im intersted in learning. Luckily i had archived good portions of the categories i liked on Olga before it went down, so i did have a little.

    the music industry needs to play a little catch-up with technology, it's the 21st century, their outdated tactics may keep the stranglehold on people who dont know better, but it WILL catch up with them.

    Also, someone above said dont use tab, learn on your own. While that's great and most guitar players can do that given time, that's about akin to rewriting openal for your game, the tab may not be 100% correct but it can help you figure it out far faster than if you started completely from scratch. Personally ill make modifications to the tab i download as i play it more, and im sure im not alone with that.

     

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  16.  
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    desmo, Apr 2nd, 2007 @ 4:33pm

    FOOLS

    Record companies will eventually stupid themsevles out of business. The technology available will gradually make the artist and the consumer have a direct relationship and cut these prostitutes completely out of the equation.

    What value do they actually add except as greedy middlemen. Cant wait to see them in their gold chains, cigars and unemployment queues.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    desmo, Apr 2nd, 2007 @ 4:33pm

    FOOLS

    Record companies will eventually stupid themsevles out of business. The technology available will gradually make the artist and the consumer have a direct relationship and cut these prostitutes completely out of the equation.

    What value do they actually add except as greedy middlemen. Cant wait to see them in their gold chains, cigars and unemployment queues.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    desmo, Apr 2nd, 2007 @ 4:34pm

    FOOLS

    Record companies will eventually stupid themsevles out of business. The technology available will gradually make the artist and the consumer have a direct relationship and cut these prostitutes completely out of the equation.

    What value do they actually add except as greedy middlemen. Cant wait to see them in their gold chains, cigars and unemployment queues.

     

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  19.  
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    Earl, Apr 2nd, 2007 @ 5:21pm

    stupid

    Leave it to greedy bastards to think of how to screw something simple and useful up.

     

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  20.  
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    Charles Griswold, Apr 2nd, 2007 @ 8:19pm

    Re: *sigh*

    unfortunately, things like "interest" aren't directly funneled into the industry's bottom line

    I would say that interest is vital to the industry's bottom line. Not many people buy things that they aren't interested in, and pissing off the customers is not a very good way to get (or keep) them interested in your product.

     

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  21.  
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    oldandincompetent, Apr 3rd, 2007 @ 12:00pm

    They're not the same.

    Composers and performers get paid differently. Buy a Beatles CD, and one set of people get paid. Perform a Beatles song at a bar, and another set of people get paid.

    The big recording companies have nothing to do with killing the independent tab sites.

     

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  22.  
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    Jayrad, Apr 4th, 2007 @ 4:37am

    Re: Re: *sigh*

    Right you are. But what I meant here is that it's indirect in the case of guitar tablature, and that's not good enough for them. Here's what I mean:

    Kid hears song on radio. Kid downloads guitar tab, plays song. Appreciates song more. Buys album. Gets tabs for other songs on the album. Tells friends. Friends buy album.

    The only two portions the industry cares about is the ones where there's a direct purchase being made. The rest is "interest", which, by and large, they're trying their best to eliminate. Why? Because it's not a direct purchase, it's "interest", and it involves their product, but does not increase their bottom line.

    They have blinders on to the fact that this kind of interest does indeed increase sales.

     

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  23.  
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    brendan, May 3rd, 2007 @ 5:37am

    the problem here is...

    This is MPA shooting themselves in the foot. We have/had (ultimate-guitar is down as I write :( ) an online tabulature community that promoted bands and music that otherwise is very unaccessible in current mainstream media. The fact that a lot of these bands AREN'T mainstream means that the publishers won't invest in publishing the sheet music themselves. So who is losing out? EVERYONE!!!

    The problem is the pop-schlock that makes the publishers money in hard-copy music doesn't require much in the way of musical ability to work out. Many metal/ alternative/ progressive bands really do well from this exposure. Let's face it. These bands that HAVE to have day jobs aren't costing these publishers anything. This is all lawyer talk...

    Where is it going to end - you pay a tax for every song you INTERPRET at a karaoke bar!!! Farq

     

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