Bono: We Should Use China's Censorship As An Example Of How To Stop Piracy

from the out-with-the-old... dept

It's no secret that Paul McGuinness, U2's longtime manager, has been making bizarre and easily refuted claims that everyone but the music industry is at fault for not making U2 even richer than it is. And that's because they're all conspiring to bring piracy to the world, which is destroying music revenue while pumping up the revenue of lots of other companies. Of course, none of that is true. Music-based revenues continue to climb quite nicely, and the revenue that ISPs and Google and others are making from "piracy" is barely worth mentioning. Does anyone really think that broadband would have noticeably fewer customers without music piracy going around?

Still, there had been some question about what U2's outspoken frontman, Bono, felt about these issues. Back in 2008, he did say that he mostly agreed with McGuinness that somehow ISPs were to blame for all of this. Then, in early 2009, there was an amusing interview where he basically said that piracy is bad, but he couldn't really speak out against it because he was too rich, and people would point that out.

Apparently he forgot that part.

As pretty much all of you are sending in, Bono has posted his regular NY Times column, about 10 big things that are important for the next 10 years and apparently, protecting his royalties... I mean... stomping out piracy makes it to number two on the list. It's the same McGuinness blather, of course. Apparently, piracy is really all the ISPs' fault:
A decade's worth of music file-sharing and swiping has made clear that the people it hurts are the creators -- in this case, the young, fledgling songwriters who can't live off ticket and T-shirt sales like the least sympathetic among us -- and the people this reverse Robin Hooding benefits are rich service providers, whose swollen profits perfectly mirror the lost receipts of the music business.
Hmm. So, apparently all the money that people used to spend on music, they now spend on internet connections? If only there were some evidence to back that up. But, as we noted, the music business has been growing, just not the sales of CDs. Considering how much U2 made on its last tour, you would think that Bono would be aware of this. As for his claim that the internet is harming the up-and-coming songwriters, again, all this shows is how incredibly out of touch Bono is. In the past, the "young, fledgling songwriter" couldn't live off ticket or t-shirt sales either. He had to hope that he got the lucky golden ticket from a record label and that they didn't then crush his spirit and originality before discarding him as an unrecouped has-been.

Today, however, the opportunities for the young, fledgling songwriter to build a following, build a business model and make a living have grown tremendously. Ask Jonathan Coulton. Or Corey Smith. Or Matthew Ebel. Or Moto Boy. Or any one of thousands of other songwriters who didn't go the major label route, but have figured out ways to make a living (or better) that simply would not have been possible just a few years ago.

So what's Bono's solution to this non-problem? Apparently it's for ISPs to spy on what everyone does and to fork over money they get to the musicians (well, he says musicians, but what he really means is the major record labels):
But we know from America's noble effort to stop child pornography, not to mention China's ignoble effort to suppress online dissent, that it's perfectly possible to track content.
Now, Bono is technically (beyond his role with U2) a venture partner at the venture capital firm Elevation Partners, and you would think that would require some basic level of technological knowhow. But, you get the feeling Elevation brought him on for his star power, rather than his keen technology insights, or he might realize that neither America's efforts to stop child pornography, nor China's efforts to suppress online dissent have worked very well. Neither has shown that it's "perfectly possible to track content." In fact, they've shown the reverse. They've shown that the more you try to track people, the further underground they go.

And is Bono really (really?) suggesting that we force ISPs to use the same tactics used to try to silence dissent in China to protect his royalties? Yikes.
Perhaps movie moguls will succeed where musicians and their moguls have failed so far, and rally America to defend the most creative economy in the world, where music, film, TV and video games help to account for nearly 4 percent of gross domestic product.
The problem here is that, again, Bono seems to equate file sharing with a loss of money or decrease in output from the wider creative industries. He's flat out wrong. The overall industries continue to grow. It's just a small group of the more powerful middlemen, who have refused to adapt and change with the times, who are stuck in the past. And it's because of their own unwillingness to adapt, that they may be losing some money. But the creative output, and the economic impact of those overall industries continue to grow, no matter how confused some rockstar on a crusade might be about them.

So if we're looking for big trends over the next ten years, how about we learn to stop listening to out of touch rockstars who insist they know stuff they are clearly uninformed about (or, rather, informed by a few biased and factually-challenged parties)?


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 9:36am

    Isn't it ironic?

    The biggest impediment to new talent is copyright laws that prevent people from reusing or remaking the culture they grew up with.

    E.g., fanfilms like Exeter or New Voyages (that exist only because they're non-profit, and the publicity for shutting them down outweighs the threat they currently pose.)

     

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    Richard (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 9:40am

    This is the same Bono

    who complains about climate change and then buys an airline seat for his favourite hat to be flown out to him..

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 9:46am

    "It's no secret that Paul McGuinness, U2's longtime manager, has been making bizarre and easily refuted claims ...Of course, none of that is true."

    Unfortunately the Masnick version of reality isn't particularly true either (just the usual Limbaugh type crap), so not much point in reading past the first paragraph

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 9:47am

    Re: This is the same Bono

    And also has as #1 most important thing for the next 10 years as making cars more sexy.

    This is also the guy who doesn't realize that movies and TV shows have been shared just as much if not more than music for years.

    How can the NY times degrade itself by publishing this?

     

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  5.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 9:52am

    Re:

    So you agree with Paul McGuinness that ISPs make most of their money off of piracy? You agree with him that Apple makes most of it's money off of piracy?

     

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    Sheri Candler, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 10:03am

    ISP tracking

    "And is Bono really (really?) suggesting that we force ISPs to use the same tactics used to try to silence dissent in China to protect his royalties? Yikes."

    That gave me a really chilled feeling. ISP's should track your every move online? Is he really suggesting that?

    As a person working with independent filmmakers and trying to understand the new economy of online distribution, I read this blog with great interest. Embracing the concept of making content to be distributed for free and making income in other ways is a tough one to swallow, but I am open to suggestions.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 10:07am

    Mike,

    "Jonathon Coulton" is misspelled.

     

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    Lucretious, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 10:09am

    Re: This is the same Bono

    are you shitting me? He actually did that?

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 10:10am

    "Why doesn't he release his music only in China then?"

    "Because he wants to limit your freedom, not his."

     

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  10.  
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    Richard (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 10:22am

    Doesn't he realise that

    "People Power and the Upside-Down Pyramid" number 7 of his top ten priorities is exactly the thing he is fighting against in his number two .....

     

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  11.  
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    Richard (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 10:23am

    Re: Re: This is the same Bono

    "are you shitting me? He actually did that?"

    Yup"! See

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article79141.ece

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 10:31am

    Elevation is the name of a U2 song. So thats probably why Bono is anywhere near that company.

     

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    Call me Al (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 10:32am

    This doesn't surprise me at all. Bono is the most self-righteous, sanctimonious prat in the music business. I used to really like U2's music (and bought it ;) ) but the rubbish he spouts means that I now get angry whenever I hear it. Its a shame because he has some decent songs.

    I wonder if there is a correlation between the decline in U2's music sales and the distance Bono's head is inserted up his own posterior.

    As an aside I read an amusing piece on him. He was in Glasgow and part way through the gig he stopped and started slowly clapping his hands together. He then proceeded to tell the crowd "Everytime I clap my hands, a child in Africa dies." To which one of the locals shouted "Well stopping clapping them then... you evil bastard."

    To the issue at hand, he's clearly a misinformed puppet spouting the company line. The problem is that due to his status many people actually listen to him and will think what he says is true.

     

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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 10:32am

    So if we're looking for big trends over the next ten years, how about we learn to stop listening to out of touch rockstars who insist they know stuff they are clearly uninformed about (or, rather, informed by a few biased and factually-challenged parties)?

    Yup, let's follow the words of uninvolved webblog writers and disconnected professors.

    Remember, those who can do, those who can't teach. :)

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 10:32am

    Ditto number 10. "People power, except when I think that may affect my bottom line". False ambientalists like Bono shouldn't have any sales at all. They profited too much from that lie, for too many years.

     

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  16.  
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    senshikaze (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 10:33am

    Re: Doesn't he realise that

    this is BONO.
    He isn't all that bright.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 10:33am

    Re:

    ""Jonathon Coulton" is misspelled."

    No it's not. It's Jonathan.

     

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  18.  
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    Matt N, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 10:35am

    Congratulations, Bono, you just convinced me to steal your music, simply on principle. It would be easier for me to buy the albums but since you already consider me a criminal I may as well act as one.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 10:37am

    while i agree with your later assessment, bono's first statement does ring true. file sharing does hurt the little guy more than the big guy.

    U2 makes a bazillion dollars when they tour, so if the album leaks, no big deal. but a smaller band might need those album dollars to afford to go on tour. otherwise they are working to, you know, pay for their rent and not touring.

    the rest, however, is not so hot of bono.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 10:40am

    Re:

    Hey look, it's someone being disagreeable for the sake of disagreement. Let's all not listen to those kinds of people, shall we?

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 10:49am

    Re:

    while i agree with your later assessment, bono's first statement does ring true. file sharing does hurt the little guy more than the big guy.

    No, what hurts the little guy is that no one knows who he is.

    I say Bono, you immediately picture a Irish guy in a zany outfit taking his own opinions very seriously, and occasionally making a big todo over caring for other people. You know who Bono is, and his name isn't even in the band.

    But if I say, B. L. Holder, you say who? File sharing can't hurt him, because no one is sharing his files. But if people started caring about him, then it might start mattering.

    And if you don't care about B. L. enough to listen for free, then you sure aren't going to pay $15 for his CD.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 10:52am

    Cutting off the nose to spite the face

    Bono and McGuinness apparently don't want to join their fans on the other side of the generational divide.

    As a consequence, the band's expectations for ongoing music revenue should be limited to the older (30+ crowd) as the music won't be seen as socially acceptable by younger audiences. Threatening a generation via political means to take away rights or liberties isn't a real perceptive way to grow record sales.

    But ultimately the younger generation are the most important audiences who typically have expendable income. Bono and McGuinness remain very thought-provoking in their stratigization, but perhaps there is no strategy outside of their trade name.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 10:56am

    Re: Re:

    Yes, you are correct. It was originally "Jonathon Coulton" but some perceptive Techdirt editor has fixed it shortly after the comment at 10:07 (#7, I believe).

     

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  24.  
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    SeanG (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 10:57am

    Re:

    Your argument might be valid if smaller bands with industry-standard record deals actually made any money from album sales. Bands signed to major labels don't make any money on album sales until they get as big a U2. The labels are pissy because we're cutting into their legal piracy (doing everything they can to squeeze a band for every last dime and avoid paying out to the band).

    For the indie bands, we're either too small to get pirated or the exposure is worth a few lost sales anyway. In 11 years my band has never turned up on a torrent site except what I've put there myself. File sharing helps this little guy.

     

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  25.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 11:05am

    Re:

    As much as I don't want to feed the troll I have to say this.

    Mike is doing. He's not charging you for reading Techdirt or for posting. He practices what he teaches.

     

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  26.  
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    Ron, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 11:15am

    Re: Re:

    If your going to write stuff here, at least put the name of your band so we can check it out!!

     

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  27.  
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    Phil, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 11:19am

    What's this "we" stuff?

    Um, I wonder about this we stuff as Bono's citizenship states he is still a citizen of Ireland.

    If I don't get to have any input to MY government on our copyright and the "enforcement" efforts it's absolute BS for him, a NON Citizen to have ANY input.

     

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  28.  
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    BOY IS BONO STUPID, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 11:34am

    WOnder what BONO thinks of CRIA and the 6 billion they owe musicans and 600 mill we canucks paid in levies

    YEA BONO answer that one you dick had

     

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  29.  
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    senshikaze (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 11:43am

    Re: Re:

    and has kick ass shirts to boot! (RTB for those of you keeping score at home)

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 11:44am

    "This doesn't surprise me at all. Bono is the most self-righteous, sanctimonious prat in the music business. I used to really like U2's music (and bought it ;) ) but the rubbish he spouts means that I now get angry whenever I hear it. Its a shame because he has some decent songs.

    I wonder if there is a correlation between the decline in U2's music sales and the distance Bono's head is inserted up his own posterior."

    "No, what hurts the little guy is that no one knows who he is.

    I say Bono, you immediately picture a Irish guy in a zany outfit taking his own opinions very seriously, and occasionally making a big todo over caring for other people. You know who Bono is, and his name isn't even in the band.

    But if I say, B. L. Holder, you say who? File sharing can't hurt him, because no one is sharing his files. But if people started caring about him, then it might start mattering.

    And if you don't care about B. L. enough to listen for free, then you sure aren't going to pay $15 for his CD."


    So worth repeating. Well said.

     

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  31.  
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    chris (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 11:50am

    Re: Re:

    So you agree with Paul McGuinness that ISPs make most of their money off of piracy? You agree with him that Apple makes most of it's money off of piracy?

    it's true. every song you download is like a hundred dollars to comcast. that's why they are instituting usage caps, so you can download more and more music.

    downloading a movie as like a hojillion kabillion dollars. it's a fact. broadband supports piracy.

     

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  32.  
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    chris (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 11:52am

    Re:

    my mom says there's a lot of black people in china.

     

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  33.  
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    chris (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 11:54am

    Re: Re:

    Hey look, it's someone being disagreeable for the sake of disagreement. Let's all not listen to those kinds of people, shall we?

    no. u.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 11:58am

    Re: Re: Re:

    hint: check out his profile!

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 12:06pm

    Re: What's this "we" stuff?

    That is a very astute observation.

    It's conceivable that Bono sees himself as a sort of "citizen of the world" by his proxy involvement with numerous humanitarian causes.

    It's easy to imagine that they contribute to a lesser degree with matters relating to his country of citizenship (Ireland) than his undertakings in Africa. Perhaps he sees a bigger payoff in political and monetary capital gain...?

    It's possible that if he focused slightly more on connecting with fans, and less on his humanitarian causes, he and his manager wouldn't have to get worked up about re-writing a single nation's, or for that matter, international copyright law.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 12:08pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm not listening!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 12:14pm

    I want to run, I want to hide.. when he says that $h1t.

    I have been a fan of U2 for over 20 years and my interest in the band has been dropping ever so slightly... until now.
    One of the things that made the band appealing was their stance on social issues and standing up for injustice.
    Now the only injustice he sees is those wishing to take away his projected earnings. Guess what, I think there is a bigger threat to his bottom line by alienating fans (like me) and not encouraging younger generations to appreciate the bands music. There are lots of options and I sure as heck am going to make other choices now. Lady Gaga here I come!

     

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  38.  
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    blindingly fast sherman & the osteopathy, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 12:17pm

    music, movies, news - it's all content, ya dumba$$es

    bono's been nuts since the 80's - anyone who's seen U2 live knows that. and, as someone commented, so listening to loony people isn't that adviseable.

    not so funny, but this is a simple issue about distributing product & creatives have no experience doing that - Carolco did it for the music indus for years.

    seems if music & movies (and news for that matter) wanted to learn how to use free samples to build audience, they'd all talk to some street-level drug dealers or maybe even the Cracker Barrel guys at the mall.

    How much free cheese does CB give away & they're not suing people to get it back. in fact, they keep makin more money - and that's just with cheese. (& same goes with the drug dealers, too, just not cheese, well, that depends on your slang)

     

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    Chucklebutte, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 12:33pm

    lol

    Hey Bono fuck you! Mr faggot dancing around selling iPods but bitching about people downloading MP3's??? Wanna make it like China? Lets kill all of your kids except your first born and lets hope its not a girl! Bono go die already please, you are worse than a wart on my ass.

     

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    mstratton (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 12:37pm

    This is the same Bono that . . .

    . . . under cover of his lawyers sued SST Records and Negativeland for copyright infringement, not recognizing for a second that U2's Zoo Tour was enriching U2 from the efforts of others.

     

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  41.  
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    Sneeje (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 12:39pm

    Re:

    Riiiight, so we should listen to folks like you that simply tell us what to think without any analysis, facts, or basis for your reasoning.

    Sold! Please let me know what my other opinions should be for the rest of the day... I have room for opinions at 4, 4:30, and 6:10.

     

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  42.  
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    mstratton (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 12:51pm

    Sneeje

    Was that misguided sarcasm directed to me? From one declarative statment, you assume quite a lot.

     

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    The Sarcastic-Mike, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 1:11pm

    Re: This is the same Bono that . . .

    Negativland? You mean that "band" that steals the precious intellectual property from real musicians and "creates" audio collages? Those guys?

    Sarcasm aside, I love Negativland. As an artist. Great stuff.

     

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    ChimpBush McHitlerBurton, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 1:14pm

    Re: Re: Doesn't he realise that

    Has anyone noticed that if you take the "N" in "BONO" and kick it on its side, you get "BOZO"?

    Coincidence? I think not.

    CBMHB

     

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  45.  
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    Jonathan Lackman, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 1:14pm

    Out of touch hypocrite telling us what to do

    Yeah, U2 and Bono specifically have long been on my list of crap to not listen to. It's not hard to believe, considering his history. Maybe he would make more money by not alienating his customer base with his egotistical eccentricities and act more like a normal person. I can't spend $1,000 to fly a hat around. Then he preaches to me about footing the bill for global warming. If I didn't hate U2 so much I'd go download it all just out of spite.

    idiot

     

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    Farrell McGovern (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 1:14pm

    DOH!

    It's the old "if you can't innovate, then litigate!" business plan, but for musicians. U2 hasn't been innovative in a decode or so...so, they are probably do the let's look at suing everything we can to continue to make money! At least, that is what their rhetoric seems to be saying.

    Is it time to add U2 to the list of "People/Companies that don't get it?", in the "proud" company of Metallica and SCO? We have only to wait and see...

    ttyl
    Farrell

     

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  47.  
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    Jonathan, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 1:15pm

    egotistical hyprocrite = Bono

    Yeah, U2 and Bono specifically have long been on my list of crap to not listen to. It's not hard to believe, considering his history. Maybe he would make more money by not alienating his customer base with his egotistical eccentricities and act more like a normal person. I can't spend $1,000 to fly a hat around. Then he preaches to me about footing the bill for global warming.

    idiot

     

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  48.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 1:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Doesn't he realise that

    I'm almost ashamed to be amused by that. But, amused I am!

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 1:23pm

    Re:

    HOW ABOUT THIS...

    LET'S ALL CREATE COMPILATION CDS OF THE U2 DISCOGRAPHY IN MP3. THEN MAKE ABOUT 20 COPIES AND HAND OUT TO FRIENDS. INVITE THOSE FRIENDS TO MAKE 20 COPIES AND INVITE THEIR FRIENDS TO DO THE SAME, AND SO ON, AND SO ON...

    THIS CAN ALL BE DONE WITHOUT USING THE INTERNET AT ALL. YOU COULD EVEN HAND OUT THE CDS WITH THE WORDS "COPY ME" WRITTEN ON THEM AND HAND THEM OUT AT U2 CONCERTS.

    DO THE SAME FOR METALLICA'S DISCOGRAPHY.

    (I know this will be repugnant to many of you, as these two bands have about as much worth as dookie-in-a-bag, but consider it an exercise in political activism.)

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 1:29pm

    Re: What's this "we" stuff?

    I keep hearing that he has some sort of tax dodge going. Is being Irish considered a tax dodge? I'm pretty sure Blighty is closer to Ireland than New York is. Maybe Jeremy Clarkson beat him to the punch for the overexposed celebrity newspaper column at home.

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 1:34pm

    Re: music, movies, news - it's all content, ya dumba$$es

    I don't mind 'creatives', or anyone else, giving their opinion on pretty much any issue that might concern them. What annoys me is when they don't bother getting the other side of the story and still get published despite what amounts to spouting rhetoric. The only place that sort of speech has in a newspaper is in under the title 'advertisement'.

     

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  52.  
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    nasch (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Doesn't he realise that

    Or add another "bo" to the end and you get "Bonobo", or a kind of chimpanzee. Just sayin.

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Re:

    "LET'S ALL CREATE COMPILATION CDS OF THE U2 DISCOGRAPHY IN MP3."


    Hmmm. This is a exceptional thought. However, it may be preferable to obtain rights via the Harry Fox Agency, and then create a mix of said artists a-la "William Hung-style"

    If it's foul enough, and legal, I would certainly buy it to "support" the artists, and I don't think anyone could stop you.

     

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  54.  
    icon
    Nastybutler77 (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 2:56pm

    More Crap

    Watch the South Park episode titled, "More Crap." Matt and Trey call it like they see it, and they seem to think Bono is a walking, talking piece of crap.

     

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  55.  
    icon
    Craig (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 3:08pm

    RE:How About This

    I think that's a damn good idea.

     

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  56.  
    icon
    Craig (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 3:09pm

    Re: This is the same Bono

    Could someone provide a credible link for this? I'm drowning in the hypocrisy and would like to share the experience.

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 4:46pm

    Mike as someone who follows the music industry so closely, I would think you'd understand the distinction between a performer and a songwriter. I think Bono's point around the fledgeling songwriter is that they can't sell tickets and t-shirts because the DO NOT PERFORM THE SONGS THEY WRITE. Those markets are closed to them. So while the industry may be growing in a macro sense, this category of artist is among the hardest hit. Their areas of income are derived from sale or public performance of the songs they write. These areas aren't seeing growth, with the exception of synch licensing.

    While I understand and generally agree with your broader points, it's disingenuous to say that the solution for every artist is to "get out there and build a following." Songwriting is a "B2B" craft. It would be like telling the director of photography on a film that he should be building a fan base.

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 5:37pm

    Re:

    What's to stop them from getting another job where they can still utilize their talents and write songs.

    Wait, that's dumb, we should probably force everyone to have their internet connection monitored.

    Problem solved!

    Or we could wait because in a couple of years creatively programmed AI will be writing songs for us.

     

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  59.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 5:42pm

    Re:

    While I understand and generally agree with your broader points, it's disingenuous to say that the solution for every artist is to "get out there and build a following." Songwriting is a "B2B" craft. It would be like telling the director of photography on a film that he should be building a fan base.

    A few points on this:

    1. All of the examples I used were also songwriters.

    2. Yes, even "B2B" folks can build a following, including directors of photography (there are a few that I do like, in fact). Songwriters as well. I still think Isaac Hayes was a much better songwriter than singer.

    3. If the macro economy is growing then there will still be business models for the B2B players like songwriters. After all, the musicians still need songs, right?

    4. The old model wasn't all that kind to pure songwriters anyway.

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 6:12pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Wow, look at all the dittoheads /s

     

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  61.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 7:41pm

    Re: Re:

    1. They are not songwriters as a profession, rather songwriting is something they do for free to have material to play live. Without the live aspect, they couldn't afford to be songwriters.

    2. Singwriters like Isaac Hayes wouldn't exist in a "get out there and play" system, as their strength isn't in performing, but in writing.

    3. If there is no system in place to reward songwriters, they would have to charge significant fees up front to write songs. The current system is functional because the songwriter, performer, and others are joined together in a common goal to put out music people love. It is a "common good" system. When songwriters are paid piecework style for their work, the system becomes more adversarial, where songwriters and performers have different goals (and it isn't all focused on the fans).

    4. Pure songwriters are the quiet and unsung heroes of the music business, and just like the top performers, the top songwriters make out very well. Songwriting is often a more reliable source of long term income, as royalties come in for a long time. Most performers cannot afford to pay up front what royalties would pay in the long run. Further, as I mentioned before, the royalty system joins songwriters, artists, producers, and management in a common goal that results in a positive product.

    The current system tends to work well because everyone has a common goal. When you suggest to give music away and to make other changes to the structure, you have to look at how that would change the motivations and rewards systems for each player in the chain. If their goal stops being "making the music that people want to hear / enjoy / buy", then you end with an adversarial rather than "common good" system.

     

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  62.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 7:54pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    If the current system works so well then why are sales of shiny plastic discs falling?

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    Lucretious, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 8:04pm

    Re: egotistical hyprocrite = Bono

    "Limousine liberal" is the term I beleive.....

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 8:51pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Who cares

     

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  65.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jan 5th, 2010 @ 3:46am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "the songwriter, performer, and others are joined together in a common goal to put out music people love. It is a "common good" system."

    If this were true, why charge? Wouldn't the most good come from getting great music to the masses with as few roadblocks as possible?


    "If there is no system in place to reward songwriters, they would have to charge significant fees up front to write songs."

    Creative songwriters (or middlemen) can come up with different models. If you write a song and want to license it to someone so they pay you for their live performances, you can get some money from the concerts. The music industry is growing. People still want new music. If a great performer cannot write great music, a market for great songwriters is going to be there - they just have to come up with a way to make money off of it. It is understandable that you and others like you are frightened by a market shift like this, but it is not the market's responsibility to cater to you, as a businessman, you have to figure out how to cater to the market.

    Jumping up and down yelling "I should get paid!" is not a business model. Coming up with a reason for customers to give you their money is.

     

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  66.  
    identicon
    Jim, Jan 5th, 2010 @ 5:04am

    Re:

    That story is a myth. Same with the 1st class seat for his hat. Both complete horseshit. I'm not saying he's not being a dick with some of his comments but it tiring reading these little anti-Bono stories over and over again that are completely untrue.

     

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  67.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2010 @ 5:45am

    Re: Re:

    I think it's "reverse Masnick Law". When Mike points out successful models by big bands, only big bands may benefit. When he points out models by small bands, only small bands may benefit. Now that big and small bands are using free content models successfully, the new law is "if I'm big, piracy will affect the small guy (I already make tons of money) and I care for him" and "if I'm small, piracy will affect the big guy (nobody knows me) and I think it may affect me if I ever make it". And the reason for that, IMHO, is that piracy is not (negatively) affecting anyone, so they can't speak of their personal experience.

     

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  68.  
    icon
    Laurel L. Russwurm (profile), Jan 5th, 2010 @ 6:17am

    Re: those who can do, those who can't teach.

    @ Anti-Mike

    This bit of folksy wisdom has always made me angry because it is such BS. In the first place it presupposes that people can only do well at one thing, which is in itself preposterous.
    "Specialization is for insects."
    -- Lazarus Long

    Perhaps you are only capable of doing one thing well, but many other people can do more than one job. Nowadays it has actually become routine for people to have more than one career during the course of a lifetime.

    Scroll through IMDB sometime and check out how many hyphenates are listed.

    Being good at anything requires a certain skill set.

    Being a good teacher requires its own skill set. As far as I'm concerned teaching is one of the most important jobs in the world. I am also so damn sick of people bashing teachers.

    Sure there are bad teachers, like there are bad cops, doctors and rock stars. But I am inclined to think that there are more good teachers than bad, and even the middling teachers are generally doing it because they care. Teachers DESERVE a lot more respect.

    I defy anyone who thinks teachers are underworked and overpaid to spend a day in charge of a class. (No, I am not nor have I ever been a teacher... except insofar as I've been a mom... no way am I tough enough to be a teacher.)

    I would never accept someone as teacher who taught only because they were incompetent in their chosen field. That is another absurd premise.

    And yes, I do realize that you really only said that as a facile attempt to cleverly diss Michael Geist for daring to have opinions (much less a following) outside acadamia... hey, you're not really Barry Sookman, are you?

    The views of a copyright law professor on copyright law in the real world are somewhat more compelling than the views of a has been rock star who clearly has difficulty getting past his own self interest, not to mention the difficulty he has with technical issues.

    But then what do I know, I'm just an uninvolved weblog writer.

     

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  69.  
    identicon
    the Samhain Kid, Jan 5th, 2010 @ 6:24am

    Bono's hydrocephalic head

    i agree with #49. excellent strategy.
    so Bono is basically going the same route that Metallica went years back. isn't not suing your fans or intimidating them a rule somewhere? maybe they wouhe make more money if they didn't have the biggest concert sets in history. how big does one's stage have to be just to pose like a douche anyway? this whole deal makes me so happy that all the U2 albums i have were bought second-hand in a mom & pop record store or a flea market. eat a bag of dicks Bono.

     

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  70.  
    icon
    Laurel L. Russwurm (profile), Jan 5th, 2010 @ 6:40am

    Re: Re:

    2. Isaac Hayes was a good actor too... He was great on the Rockford Files.

    3. Any creative effort benefits from branding assuming you're looking for an audience.

    4. The old model wasn't kind to any creatives short of the superstar level.

     

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  71.  
    identicon
    RD, Jan 5th, 2010 @ 7:45am

    Exactly!

    "Jumping up and down yelling "I should get paid!" is not a business model. Coming up with a reason for customers to give you their money is."

    This should be tattooed permanently on every "artist", big media CEO, naysayer, and shill, until they GET IT.

    You do not

    DESERVE

    to be paid just because you created an artistic work. You can TRY to get paid, and give people a REASON to buy what you have to sell, but you DO NOT DESERVE IT.

    Deserves got nothing to do with it.

    WORK at it, TRY new things, GIVE people a REASON to buy.

    IF you are not doing these things, YOU DONT GET TO WHINE LIKE A BABY ABOUT IT.

     

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  72.  
    identicon
    A moron in a hurry (aka known coward), Jan 5th, 2010 @ 7:55am

    i thought

    SONNY BONO IS DEAD. How does he make these comments from the grave. I would take the dead people way more seriosuly than you all are. He may be getting this direct from G-d. Maybe G-d. wants copywrite protection for all?

    ps. someone should tell cher.

     

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  73.  
    icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), Jan 5th, 2010 @ 10:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Phase 1: Copy random quote from post.
    Phase 2: Add any old "Masnick don't know crap" paragraph from the shill database.
    Phase 3: ???
    Phase 4: Call everyone a dittohead.

     

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  74.  
    icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), Jan 5th, 2010 @ 10:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Phase 5: Miss the sarcasm tag.

    Oh well, that only applies to Phase 4. Still works, tho.

     

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  75.  
    identicon
    Sean, Jan 5th, 2010 @ 10:33am

    He really wants cars to be more like they used to? Consuming more fuel, weighing more, being more dangerous? This guy is insufferable, I can't help but feel bad for someone so disconnected from reality.

     

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  76.  
    icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), Jan 5th, 2010 @ 12:16pm

    Re:

    Those who can, do. Those who can't, shit on their comment forms.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  77.  
    icon
    Henry Emrich (profile), Jan 5th, 2010 @ 6:26pm

    Yeah....Bono's a "humanitarian":

    http://www.coastdigital.co.uk/whats-new/blog/2010/1/4/Why-should-Bono-benefit-from-totalitarian-web- technology

    You gotta love the mentality here:

    "The most grotesque bit, though, is the phrase 'reverse Robin Hoods'. This is coming from a man who benefited from an Irish tax loophole that meant U2 paid no tax on royalties until 2006. And, when it looked as though they would have to, they moved their tax affairs to the Netherlands to pay a much lower rate of tax than the stupidly low 12.5% they would have had to pay in Ireland."

    Hmm....kind of like "rights-holders" whimpering about how they "need" longer copyright-terms whenever they might have to actually honor THEIR side of the copyright "bargain".
    Brilliant, Bono, you've now destroyed ANY pretense at being "in touch" that you might have once cherished.

     

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  78.  
    identicon
    Fast Money in Ireland, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 2:22am

    http://fastmoneyinireland.com/

    Anybody that is currently involved in earning some money from online paid survey companies knows that people who are in the US enjoy both a wider range of surveys to take and also a higher payout rate. At times it almost seems unfair that non-US based survey participant’s work just as hard to provide their opinions however are never as relevant as US resident’s opinions. It’s quite unfair isn’t it?

     

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  79.  
    icon
    zipdrivedaddy (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 3:17pm

    BONO`S NEW NAME

    SHALL NOW BE BOBO THE INTERNET CLOWN

     

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  80.  
    identicon
    Billy Bob Blowjob, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 5:51pm

    I love the taste of....

    ... SEMEN!

    Oh, and Bono is out of touch.

     

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  81.  
    icon
    RickMan (profile), Jan 7th, 2010 @ 11:54am

    Bono is truely misinformed

    I must say after ready his article he truly is clueless. Even his last statement about the World Cup, 'Starting the New Decade in Africa'. Except that a decade is 10 years. this is the last year of the first decade of the 21st Century. Most people unfortunately don't seem to understand that this is the 21st century because the last year of the 21st century is 2100, which is not a leap year. Most people also believe that year 1 marked the end of the first year but was actually the beginning of the new calendar, there was no year 0.

    So not to harp just on the decade issue, I want to point out that like many of the other comments he makes in his top 10 list (polution, physics, isps, etc.) he is just pushing up the common line from people who a.)invented strawman arguements to push their version of the truth or b.) push a popular but incorrect belief without presenting proof. The other point is that mistakes or proven misconceptions put forth as fact, can destroy or minimize the credability of your whole arguement or all 10 points you try to make, especially if the mistakes are well known and due to the fact that you are too lazy to verify said facts and be able to support them with proof.

     

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  82.  
    identicon
    zvz, Jan 7th, 2010 @ 1:21pm

    oh hey bono, we do use china's filtering system, or should i see, china uses ours: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20100105/us-tec-filtering-software-china/

     

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  83.  
    identicon
    Mykl, Jan 7th, 2010 @ 2:45pm

    New Business Models

    It seems to me (and mind you I am a Graphic Designer not a Musician) that Trent Reznor's recent efforts to adapt to the changing music industry in the face of file sharing have been successful to a point. Bono shows once again that he is part of (and a mascot too) of an old crumbling industry that is not willing to change. Yes, I do believe that music, movies, television shows and etc. should be able to be protected and sold with little risk of piracy. I don't pretend to know the solution for the industries but what I do know is until new models are made and things adapt I believe this is how it will be for a while.

     

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  84.  
    icon
    SeanG (profile), Jan 7th, 2010 @ 5:18pm

    Re: music

    Right! Good hint. I updated my profile with links. I don't think it's good etiquette to dump them in the comment thread, but they're in my profile.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  85.  
    icon
    SeanG (profile), Jan 7th, 2010 @ 5:21pm

    Re: Re: What's this "we" stuff?

    Ireland has some very favorable tax laws for artists and musicians. And racecar drivers, for some reason, according to my Irish ex-inlaws.

     

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  86.  
    icon
    SeanG (profile), Jan 7th, 2010 @ 5:25pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I have to second point number 4 there. Whether a songwriter or performer under the old system you'd only make good, consistent money when you get to be a superstar. Or, luck/break into something steady like commercial jingles.

     

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  87.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 8th, 2010 @ 10:04am

    Re: Re:

    how true

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  88.  
    icon
    michelemichele (profile), Jan 10th, 2010 @ 10:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: This is the same Bono

    Meh. That's a Murdoch paper, I wouldn't trust it.

     

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  89.  
    identicon
    Kevin Carson, Jan 23rd, 2010 @ 9:58am

    Poster idea

    I had a great idea for a poster. Bono driving a tank on Tiananmen Square, running a guy down with TPB logo on his back.

     

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  90.  
    identicon
    Kevin Carter, Jan 24th, 2010 @ 11:34pm

    Bono, take the plank out of your own eye...

    Just a few short years ago Bono was telling our government to forgive billions in debt owed by poor countries. That amounted to trying to convince a few people to give away monies belonging to all US citizens. The argument was that we didn't need it as much as they did. Apparently, Bono's spirit of charity only extends to other people's money.
    Is this conclusion a stretch based on Bono wanting to stamp out piracy? Please consider what how that money affects creativity. First we have pay-for-play, radio stations see the wealth collected by U2 and want a cut since radio more then any other media drives record and ticket sales. This calculus is well appreciated by people like Paul McGuinness and record companies who will gladly pay the media outlets to ensure billion dollar sales. OILA we have triple and quadruple play. The same song being played 3 to 4 times an hour every hour leaving only 35 or 40 minutes (if there isn't another triple or quadruple play song in rotation) for other music to get air time. The rest of the air time is filled in by the popular hits that drive ratings which in turn drives advertising sales bringing in more income and the on-air commercials eat up the rest of the airtime. Love for the artist not making a living from record and t-shirt sales isn't factored into that at all. $150 tickets for the nosebleed section at a mega concert leave how much in the average budget for searching out new sounds in locals clubs and music halls? No love there either.
    I choose not to participate:
    Bono hasn't made a cent off me since 1989. I don't even feel the urge to steal U2.
    After 2 straight weeks of "Beautiful Day" on quadruple play I turned off WHFS and the next time I turned it back on it was El Sol. Guess some other people felt the same way.
    Who made the most money off me in 2009? State Radio. I ear-hustled the band from the guy in the next cube, literally stole his burned cd of downloaded mp3s and grabbed two more songs, then went out and bought three of their cds and went to a live show.
    I'll take the freedom that the internet gives me and I'll keep investing time and money in the tech that makes me too expensive and time consuming for the RIAA to catch. That way my support and the rest of my money can go to the people worth listening to. I'll still spend less then the average concert-going U2 fan.

     

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  91.  
    identicon
    montyone, Jan 31st, 2010 @ 9:42pm

    Bono, and what I thought about matters at hand,The very QueenOfEngland

    ...SWIM ( or me, for that matter ) should start sporting some brandnew U2 shirt every other week.
    At least once..a night out in the city + semi-proud/confident straightfaced U2-shirt party & drinking with a few good natured friends who find Bono unbelievably funny and quite..Odd, if U will.
    Such a Rockstar - the last genuine WorldStar, one could ask? A Rebel mother theresa that likes GWBUSH - knows the former president,yes, understands him - they both praised and repraised themselves and their ( retarded/arrogant/devastating ) views and brainfarts/killingmoves regarding Africa + it's people.

    Bono and Geldof not only give huge amazingly helpfull + worldsaving concerts together, no they sometimes even give massages to the very Queen of England - many hours of non-stop intense 4-handed kneading and grabbing - sounds
    disgusting to some who didn't know the delicate SexPower spiderwebs behind that ungodly freakish "MMF-Old"- World-Agenda.
    Unfortunately as an engaged internet surfer i came around far worse shit, but what those cranky Sirs&Dames engage in must be allout considered to be disgusting, no questions asked!

    Hope that is all clear so far?! And what is very funny
    i find imho is how many versions of their newest album they put on market.
    ( LOL..U2-AnotheR album?!..whotf listens to such "corporate-globalization-reekin-pseudo-music..SonyBMG lol UPDATE!!..Nobody pays one fucking dollar 4 that tedious garbage peddled by soulless "entitys" U ARE OBSOLET NO MORE FUNDING!)

    - "I WANT MUSIC THAT FUCKING ROCKS" - Bill Hicks R.I.P

    - Bono poesie cracked me
    the fuck up! hands down the unintentionally worst piece of embarrassingly shitty poem any person could screw out of an
    onesided delusion of immence importance..wow those poems really really suck.

    but i digress..anyway GL GG ..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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