Still Some In The Music Business Who Believe The Impossible: Blur Manager Says 'Piracy' Can Be Stopped

from the good-luck dept

I had just been thinking that one of the nicer things about the Midem conference this year was that no one really seemed to still be complaining about "piracy" as a problem, and really seemed focused on more positive opportunities for going forward (more on that later). However, not everyone got the message, apparently. In a discussion on the "manager's role" in developing an artist in the digital era, Chris Morrison -- who manages Blur and the Gorillaz, among others -- waited until the end to start trashing "pirates." What was odd was that earlier in the panel he was talking about how much attention and free publicity the Gorillaz got when their latest single showed up on file sharing sites last week. He even seemed proud of all that free publicity, but then later in the panel, he declared that if he could find out who had put the file up first, he'd bring him into his office and have all of his colleagues "give him a good kicking." Then he went on the typical anti-unauthorized file sharing rant, saying, "I believe that piracy can be stopped and should be stopped."

Back on the first day of the event, legendary producer/musician Pharrell Williams had noted that file sharing is "like taste testing," in explaining that he wasn't worrying about it, noting that if people liked the "taste" they could then find something worth buying. But Morrison was having none of it: "It's not a taste. It's like giving them the whole bloody meal!" That's an interesting viewpoint for a manager to have, and one that makes me wonder. I can see how a record label -- who tends to really only own the recording -- could see things that way, but as a manager, he must realize that there's a lot more to sell out there than just the music itself. So, no, it's not the whole meal (bloody or not), but a taste of what the band itself has to offer. And many of the things bands have to offer are not easily copied and shared -- and any manager who wants to cope with today's digital market needs to understand that.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Ima Fish (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 1:02pm

    "piracy can be stopped..."

    It worked so well with the drug war.

     

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

  2.  
    icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 1:15pm

    Re: Drug War

    Hmmm... logically, "winning" the 'drug war' would put lots of government employees out of a job--their best bet would be a stalemate. Hooray for employment programs!

    I could see a 'government employment program' in which a new multi-billion dollar gov agency employs thousands of people to enact a 'war on piracy.' Given their history on these matters, that (allegedly) makes sense. (Despite numerous logical arguments concerning legalization and how it would MAKE money for the gov.)

     

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

  3.  
    icon
    Alan Gerow (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 1:18pm

    The problem is that Gorillaz and Blur are recording artists. They aren't musicians. Recording artists make their money recording a song once, and expecting to be paid for that single performance for the rest of their lives. A musician makes music and expects to be paid for playing their music each time, and uses recordings to market their live performances.

    Gorillaz is a cartoon band that doesn't even have a set group of members, but several artists that contribute to a character persona. And then perform behind screens with the characters getting projected in front of the performing band members. So, someone in the band early on won't be in the band later to make money off of performances, so the royalties for their contributions to the recordings are much more important to them.

    Blur? Well, what can you say for a band that released their One Hit Wonder without clearing all licensing and using a sample from a band that NEVER licenses their music (at least at the time). Well, their views of "piracy" and copyright are not to be trusted anyway, since they were on the receiving end of a harsh lesson in the ridiculous laws of music ownership. They've obviously been swayed by the dark side because the dark side walloped them a good one. If you can't beat 'em ...

     

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

  4.  
    icon
    Ima Fish (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 1:26pm

    Re:

    "Blur? Well, what can you say for a band that released their One Hit Wonder without clearing all licensing and using a sample from a band that NEVER licenses their music (at least at the time)."

    I think you're thinking about the Verve's hit Bitter Sweet Symphony.

     

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

  5.  
    icon
    Esahc (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 1:32pm

    Re:

    After seeing (unauthorized) concert footage, if the Gorillaz ever came to a near by city I would pay (more than I should) to see them live.

    If they don't want to tour and make money off of me, then they can rot.

     

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

  6.  
    icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 1:42pm

    Re:

    "So, someone in the band early on won't be in the band later to make money off of performances, so the royalties for their contributions to the recordings are much more important to them."

    Why should a performing artist get payed if they didn't perform? If, as you say, the person behind the cartoon can change from concert to concert, why should one be payed when another is doing the work?

     

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

  7.  
    icon
    Alan Gerow (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 1:51pm

    Re: Re:

    Ah ha! Touche. I got Blur "Song 2" confused with The Verve's "Bitter Sweet Symphony". You are most definitely correct there. That is a "my bad".

     

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

  8.  
    icon
    Alan Gerow (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 1:58pm

    Re: Re:

    That's the thing, I'm saying they don't view themselves as "performing artists". They're "recording artists". They feel they should get paid for recording a song for perpetuity.

    The RIAA (RECORDING Industry Association of America) and its members are not in the business of making music, but in the business of making recordings. They don't sell music, they sell recordings. They don't make money off of music, they make money off of recordings. Their stable of "artists" are "recording artists" not "musicians"/"performing artists".

    That's the cornerstone of the problem between the people and the industry. We want music, they want us to buy recordings.

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    idea?, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 2:05pm

    I have the real way to make piracy completely a thing of the past

    In order to completely put an end to all piracy, legalize all of it. So if someone buys a CD, rips it, then gives the ripped files to hundreds of ppl, just say "ok, that's cool"...then it's not piracy.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    McBeese, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 2:11pm

    Re:

    Yes, and abstinence is an effective form of birth control also.

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 2:17pm

    "That's the thing, I'm saying they don't view themselves as "performing artists". They're "recording artists". They feel they should get paid for recording a song for perpetuity.

    The RIAA (RECORDING Industry Association of America) and its members are not in the business of making music, but in the business of making recordings. They don't sell music, they sell recordings. They don't make money off of music, they make money off of recordings. Their stable of "artists" are "recording artists" not "musicians"/"performing artists".

    That's the cornerstone of the problem between the people and the industry. We want music, they want us to buy recordings."


    You sir, are a fucking genius!

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 3:03pm

    "I believe that piracy can be stopped and should be stopped."

    It can't be stopped of course, but I'm sure this little fact won't prevent him and those further up the food chain taking to the internet with an iron bar and ruining it for everyone, pirate or no.

     

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

  13.  
    icon
    mrharrysan (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 3:05pm

    Re:

    Are you mixing up Blur with the Verve? The Verve famously used a Rolling Stones sample on their hit "Bittersweet Symphony" and got bit.

     

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

  14.  
    icon
    fogbugzd (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 3:12pm

    Why are the small artists on labels concerned about piracy?

    It seems odd to me that artists with recording contracts are concerned at all about piracy. The way labels handle recording contracts, it is unlikely that the artists will ever get paid anything beyond their advances.

    The artists themselves should embrace file sharing because it helps them become well known. As long as they don't have a "360" contract, that means more money from touring and other revenue streams.

    The one reason that the artists might object is that the labels are probably telling them that their advances are smaller because so many sales are being lost to piracy.

     

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

  15.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 3:15pm

    King Cnut

    "I believe the tides can be stopped and should be stopped."

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 3:20pm

    Re: Re:

    So are birth control pills. And condoms. And homosexuality.

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 3:22pm

    It's obvious that the internet needs more Spanish warships.

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    TheOldFart, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 3:57pm

    But but but...

    ...it has worked so well in Somalia. They can't stop groups of uneducated hicks from zooming around in boats and stealing a tanker the size of a small city for ransom.

    And as others pointed out it has worked so well in the war on drugs. Well there has been a casualty or to but no one was bothered when Common Sense and Logical Thought were gunned down in a drive-by cleansing campaign.

    Obviously though it'll be so much easier to stop one of the billions of IPV6 addresses from sharing a file via a proxy based in China. I mean, it's not like there's a lot of other internet traffic out there to interfere with their plan to stop it.

    Like taking candy from a baby where the baby is in a locked steel crib balanced on top of an antenna on top of a 1,500 high office tower in a high wind and your hands are asleep and there is a bit of grease on your shoes. Not a problem for American Ingenuity. We'll just blow up the tower.

    What? What about the baby? I don't know, jeeze, I wasn't expecting an Inquisition or anything!

    (cue dramatic entrance...)

     

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

  19.  
    icon
    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 4:05pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Actually, the labels are the ones who buy/produce/finance recordings. What they want you to buy are copies. Millions of copies that cost next to nothing to make or distribute.

    The last thing the labels want a musician's fans to buy is the recording, because that then blows the other half of the label's raison d'etre out of the water (along with distribution of copies). When fans buy the artist's recording as well as promotign the artist, freely distributing copies of their work, the artist gets paid and the fans get the music.

    The problem is not between the artists and their fans, but between the artist and their label, and the label and the artist's fans.

    Cut out the middleman, start a revolution.

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    Benjamin Wade Inman, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 5:38pm

    Complex Issues

    Piracy is a very complex topic. I have been in the music industry for over 10 years, primarily in marketing. within various labels prior to founding ZONG Music Partners LLC in Orlando, FL and Nashville, TN. I can see both the benefit and the detriment in piracy.

    For an Independent artist they should be happy to get their music in the hands of as many pople as possible as a way of driving traffic to thier social networking sites with the hopes of converting some into loyal fans that wil purchase future recording, merch, attend shows, etc. As for major artists, well that's where it becomes complex. I certainly understand wanting to be paid for your creativity, however if you get creative enough you can find ways to monetize other aspects of your brand rather than only selling music.

    I agree with the post above that says recordings are a way to help promote an artist's shows and tour. However, I do believe that artist should be paid for their recordings. How they get paid, well that's another topic in itself. That's what our company is about. We help position artists and labels in a revenue stream that is both solid and rewarding to them and consumers alike. Consumers get music for free and yet the artists and labls still get paid.

    Regards,
    ZONG Music Partners LLC
    Nashville, TN
    info@zongmusic.com
    http://www.zongmusic.com

     

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

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 7:36pm

    People have been "pirating" for as long as other people have been creating... long before it was ever called that. I think, to stop piracy, you would have to change something very fundamental to human nature. It is by all measures utterly inconceivable that any sort of technological proposal could actually solve this problem... at most, it might dam up the currently most noteworthy avenues, but countless others would remain, and the same creativity that allows new works to come into existence will assure the continual creation of new ones, and in the end, the action would solve absolutely nothing remotely resembling the original intention.

     

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

  22.  
    icon
    The Buzz Saw (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 7:55pm

    Piracy can be stopped.

    Piracy can be stopped. Release the music for free. BOOM! No more piracy!

     

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

  23.  
    icon
    Chargone (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 8:01pm

    Re: Re:

    This particular statement always bugs me.

    Technically, it is the ONLY 100% effective method.

    The problem is that people don't DO it.

    It's always presented in such a way as to make it look like it's saying a woman can get pregnant without having sex :S


    (not that this has much to do with anything at all, nor did i read the whole conversation to figure out if you were being sarcastic or not. but whatever)

     

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

  24.  
    identicon
    McBeese, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 8:20pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Technically, it is the ONLY 100% effective method.

    The problem is that people don't DO it.


    Yes, that's the sarcastic point. The same exact point applies to abstaining from illegal file sharing. And abstinence is just as likely to happen in both contexts.

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    McBeese, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 8:25pm

    Re: Piracy can be stopped.

    Shoplifting can be stopped. Give everything in the store away for free. BOOM! No more shoplifters!

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 9:01pm

    Re: Re: Piracy can be stopped.

    As soon as Star Trek replicators come into being, then yes.

     

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

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 9:10pm

    Re: Re: Piracy can be stopped.

    Actually, it's entirely technologically possible to stop shoplifting... it's just not terribly practical in a lot of cases. It involves locking everything up, and giving customers what they want to take only after they have paid.

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 9:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Piracy can be stopped.

    Charging shoplifters with fines that exceed millions of dollars might help as well. Also, if you accuse someone of shoplifting three times then they get kicked out of attempting to enter the shop, well, any shop.

    Problem solved!

     

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

  29.  
    icon
    Esahc (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 10:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Piracy can be stopped.

    Let us cut off the offenders hands too /sarcasm

     

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

  30.  
    icon
    markryder (profile), Jan 26th, 2010 @ 12:09am

    excuses the lot of you

    if you steal then you are a thief thats it!

    steal = thief

    do you steal ? then you are a thief

    how many way can it be said don't make excuses for stealing and don't try and make out its a good thing next you will be mugging a granny and explaining how it helps keep the police in business..


    one again

    You steal then you are a thief .. the evolution is not positive its negative

    have you got it yet
    you steal a music work then that is stolen and if you did it then you are a thief!

    wake up your only fooling yourselves with your rubbish excuses

     

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

  31.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jan 26th, 2010 @ 12:21am

    Re:

    Wow... I rarely disagree with a person's taste in music (it's all subjective after all), but I at least expect a person to deal in facts.

    "A musician makes music and expects to be paid for playing their music each time, and uses recordings to market their live performances."

    Erm, you say that as if they don't...

    Gorillaz Live DVD: http://www.amazon.com/Demon-Days-Live-At-Manchester/dp/B000EQ5PS2/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&q id=1264493683&sr=1-5

    Blur's website (currently pushing their live DVD): http://www.blur.co.uk/

    "Well, what can you say for a band that released their One Hit Wonder without clearing all licensing and using a sample from a band that NEVER licenses their music (at least at the time)."

    WTF are you on about? Maybe it's because I'm English, but Blur have had many hits. They have had 5 #1 albums in the UK, and have had hit singles stretching from their breakthrough "There's No Other Way" in 1991 to their last top 10 hit "Out Of Time" in 2003. There are definitely one hit wonder bands, but Blur is categorically not one of them.

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2010 @ 12:33am

    Re: excuses the lot of you

    Yes! We're stealing all the precious art! All of it! We can't stop, nothing can stop us from so much thieving! Not the law, not the artists and especially not you! In fact, I've stolen you! Spirited away in the middle of the night! You've been stolen! Everything is being stolen! Why won't anyone stop us? So much is being stolen and no one is creating art or music or anything thanks to us!

    We are raising a generation of thieves! A society of stealers!

    I once murdered a copy of Shakespeare's greatest works.

    No one can stop us.

    Welcome to Techdirt. Enjoy your stay.

     

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

  33.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jan 26th, 2010 @ 12:40am

    Re: excuses the lot of you

    When you can give a logic explanation as to how IP infringement is stealing, then maybe we'll listen to you.

    In the mean time, we'll just keep suggesting real business models that make IP infringement irrelevant while you and your RIAA cronies keep panicking about non-existent theft and ignoring real solutions to your problems.

     

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

  34.  
    icon
    Idobek (profile), Jan 26th, 2010 @ 5:00am

    Blur and The Verve are One Hit Wonders?

    On what planet?

     

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

  35.  
    icon
    chris (profile), Jan 26th, 2010 @ 8:21am

    Re: I have the real way to make piracy completely a thing of the past

    In order to completely put an end to all piracy...

    go house to house and shoot people, all over the world. it's the only thing that will work.

     

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

  36.  
    icon
    mrharrysan (profile), Jan 26th, 2010 @ 1:53pm

    Re: Blur and The Verve are One Hit Wonders?

    America...

     

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

  37.  
    icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 26th, 2010 @ 4:43pm

    Re: Re:

    good point! I assume you are talking about their holograms:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRViE4N-u5Y

    If I had never seen those, it would never even cross my mind to see Gorillaz live. But now I will almost certainly be there if they play near me.

     

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

  38.  
    icon
    The Buzz Saw (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 1:20pm

    Re: excuses the lot of you

    For the love, piracy is not theft! How many times must we explain this?

     

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This