Pianist Storms Off Stage, Claims Fans Filming His Performance Mean Record Labels Won't Give Him A Contract

from the can-we-have-a-little-reality,-please dept

We've seen some really nutty arguments from musicians claiming that YouTube is hurting them, even as we see much more evidence of musicians becoming successful entirely because of YouTube. But this latest argument may be the nuttiest yet.

Classical pianist Krystian Zimerman stormed off the stage after spotting someone in the audience holding up a mobile phone. It's not entirely clear how he knew they were recording video, rather than merely taking a photograph, but either way, he came back to insist that YouTube was somehow destroying his career:
On returning, he told the audience that he had lost many recording projects and contracts because music managers had told him: "We're sorry, that has already been on YouTube." "The destruction of music because of YouTube is enormous," he added.
Now, let's think about this for a second. This makes absolutely no sense. A shaky smartphone recording of a live performance of a song does little to nothing to take away from a recorded version of the song. The two are entirely different. Furthermore, such a video is actually much more likely to drive more interest in both the overall works of the musician and in going to see them perform live.

Now, I can understand why some musicians might find it generally distracting, and might even put in place general rules within the venue that require people not to film on their mobile phones. And, if such rules are in place, it seems completely fine for the venue to ask those who violate the rules to leave. But to argue that such actions are "destroying the music business" is simply not supportable in reality. And, frankly, if music managers have actually told him that he's lost a record contract because a performance is on YouTube, then it seems pretty clear that he's dealing with clueless music managers. If a music manager said that, my first reaction would be to find a reality-based music manager, rather than a completely clueless one, because the manager who reacts that way is clearly not going to be helpful for the rest of my career.

Unfortunately, others, including the person behind the festival took the bizarre complaints even further:
Franz Xaver Ohnesorg, the festival's director, said he felt a great deal of sympathy towards Zimerman, one of the star performers. "What happened is theft, pure and simple," he told German media.
Theft of what? And how? This goes beyond just the whole "it's not theft if nothing is missing" argument. This is not theft under any possible interpretation of "theft." This was just a fan wishing to create a digital memory of the experience, and possibly share that with others, such that others might look forward to more of Zimerman's music and performances.

Again, I recognize that some musicians might find it distracting, but the focus should be on that, rather than bogus claims about it being "theft" or laughable claims about recording contracts not granted because of fan videos.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2013 @ 12:22pm

    The real story here is whether the pianist learned to play by marking keys with letters and numbers signifying notes. We could be looking at a case of teaching techique infringement here. This is shocking.

     

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    RyanNerd (profile), Jun 14th, 2013 @ 12:25pm

    I still have my bootleg recording

    of a Rush concert back in '79. I still have it, but don't know where to find an 8 track player to turn it into an MP3. Oh well. I guess the damage is done. Rush will never be a sucessful band because of my illegal recording of them.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2013 @ 12:34pm

    Recording artists

    "The destruction of music because of YouTube is enormous."

    Says the guy giving concerts in front of an audience.

    Most musicians are not and have never been recording artists. Successful recording artists are even rarer.

     

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    Coogan (profile), Jun 14th, 2013 @ 12:35pm

    so hold on

    A concert-goer filmed (presumably) a pianist with a cell phone.

    The concert-goer (presumably) paid for a ticket.
    There was an audience, so many others paid for a ticket.
    The audience was at the Ruhr piano festival, noted in the article as "the largest worldwide gathering of the international pianist elite", so many, many others paid for tickets.

    Sounds like the concert on the whole is pretty successful. How again is Youtube destroying it? If this world-renowned pianist is struggling, maybe it's not due to Youtube, but it's because (again, as quoted in the article) of "the relatively few concerts he performs each season"

     

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  5. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Jun 14th, 2013 @ 12:35pm

    LOOK what your notions have DONE, Mike.

    Yet again, your technique of argument is to take the words of an eyewitness:
    "On returning, he told the audience that he had lost many recording projects and contracts because music managers had told him: "We're sorry, that has already been on YouTube." "The destruction of music because of YouTube is enormous," he added."

    Then run that through Mystical Mike's Omniscient Filter, and PRESTO! You just ASSERT the opposite without ANY counter evidence!

    Your chutzpah is truly awe-inspiring. You've refuted sworn testimony given in a court with no more authority than that it didn't fit your notions:
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110929/21453616141/another-ninjavideo-admin-pleads-guil ty-expect-rest-to-do-so-too.shtml#c81

     

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    cosmicrat (profile), Jun 14th, 2013 @ 12:36pm

    Over reaction anyone

    Some people just freak out at the drop of a hat. Most such people sort of get marginalized by society, but when they are talented artists they get indulged for it.

    It's unfortunate the chilling effect this sort of thing has. What if I want to take a photo of my daughter at her first concert to post on farcebook? Is security going to bum rush me and throw us out?

     

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    weneedhelp (profile), Jun 14th, 2013 @ 12:36pm

    On the way out

    "He continued to perform, but declined to return at the end of the concert for an encore, despite a rapturous response. He also cancelled a reception after the concert."
    -
    Now when his concert sales drop You Tube will get blamed no doubt. Not the fact he was an ass.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2013 @ 12:41pm

    sounds to me like Krystian Zimerman is just another really insecure person who needs his mommy! as for the videoing bit, we all know why the idiots that blamed that on a lost 'career chance'. to many artists are being screwed into the ground by labels. had the practice have been stopped when it should have decades ago and had the USA not been so keen and so easy to instigate the opportunistic copyright world we live in today, where even a persons crap can be copyrighted, perhaps there would be more sanity around

     

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jun 14th, 2013 @ 12:42pm

    I will agree that people filming live performances on their phone is annoying and distracting but he should have left it at that (even though I expect a professional musician to be able to get past the distraction). Going on to claim that Youtube is destroying music is just stupid, false and a very dangerous thing to say.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2013 @ 12:43pm

    Re: LOOK what your notions have DONE, Mike.

    With all the lack of respect due to OOTB... I do believe the underlying argument. It would not surprise me if this actually was the case... where labels turn an individual away because their content is 'otherwise available'.

    Labels are short sighted, arrogant and stubborn.

    That being said, someone of such enormous talent would be far better served, and far more successful, going without labels. Distribution has never been easier or cheaper, and videos or recordings would be great ways to drive live performance sales, which by the sounds of it this individual is familiar with.

     

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    weneedhelp (profile), Jun 14th, 2013 @ 12:46pm

    Re: LOOK what your notions have DONE, Mike.

    "We're sorry, that has already been on YouTube." - Ha ha ha the bullshit meter was off the chart when I read that one.
    Beee ber, Gangnam Style, nuff said.

     

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  12.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jun 14th, 2013 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Re: LOOK what your notions have DONE, Mike.

    I am sure it does happen but being turned away from a record label isn't the death knell for a musician that it used to be.

    There is an English musician called Chantel McGregor who was turned away with the line "great voice but girls don't play guitar like that". She went on to release her debut album which has received all kinds of acclaim from critics and she has even won British Blues awards.

    I would take it as a badge of honour to be turned away by the record labels.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2013 @ 12:48pm

    Re: LOOK what your notions have DONE, Mike.

    eh.. i think people have been sent to the gas chamber on even less evidence

     

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    Rapnel (profile), Jun 14th, 2013 @ 12:48pm

    I was going to be really crass and basically bid him good riddance as I'm sure others would be more than grateful to try and fill the void. But, then I got to this part ...Prior to that, he made headlines for non-musical reasons after his Steinway piano was confiscated at JFK airport by US authorities shortly after the 9/11 attacks, who objected to the smell of the glue with which it had been assembled. They went on to destroy it.
    and realized that not only does he probably have quite a bit of pent up frustration but there are clearly more dangerous idiots in the wild, let him have his tantrum.

     

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  15.  
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    Nick, Jun 14th, 2013 @ 12:49pm

    My First Impression

    was that if a shaky YouTube video means that he will lose some massive recording contract, all because we've seen him perform, it's likely because he's crap. Simple.

    Not because of the video itself. But because the video showed that he's crap.

     

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    Dr Evil, Jun 14th, 2013 @ 12:55pm

    no recording contract for you

    could it be because the recording labels he approached (assumed, because if they approached him, Youtube, et al, would not have been an issue) lied to him and for whatever reason (doesnt matter if personal tastes in music, bias against the man, or no real market for another version of this music, etc) and didn't want to reveal that to him? Possible solution: have the NSA turn over all of the producers email, phone recordings, etc and scan them for proof that its because og Youtube. Because Benzagi(sp?), the children, copyright, terrorism, scandals...

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2013 @ 1:06pm

    Apparently, he does this from time to time

    Just search for his name on Google (you hear that OOTB?)...apparently he doesn't have much of a problem with intermingling his political views during concerts.

    Maybe if he just shut the hell up and played the piano, he'd have a record deal of some kind. I dunno about the rest of you, but if I payed good money to see him play, I'd expect him to keep his political views to himself. You know that "time and a place for everything..."

     

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  18.  
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    sehlat (profile), Jun 14th, 2013 @ 1:06pm

    Re: On the way out

    Damn it! I would have paid good money to see a shaky-cam recording of his rant!

     

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  19.  
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    jackn, Jun 14th, 2013 @ 1:17pm

    Re: Recording artists

    exactly. Musicians don't create music, they play it. This guy could be a composer too, but it doesn't say.

     

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  20.  
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    jackn, Jun 14th, 2013 @ 1:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: LOOK what your notions have DONE, Mike.

    Even better, to turn down the labels. I have been preparing my son to turn them down. He's a little afraid, but I have a spreadsheet that is starting to convince him.

     

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  21.  
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    TheLastCzarnian (profile), Jun 14th, 2013 @ 1:37pm

    Re: so hold on

    I wouldn't hire him. He quits in the middle of a perfomance! Kinda lacking in professionalism.

     

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  22.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Jun 14th, 2013 @ 1:38pm

    It's interesting how much of the public domain music he plays has been recorded dozens of times by other artists before him, but that hasn't hurt the market for his work.

    There muse be more to this than meets the eye because it's just too ridiculous, but people recording on the phone while at a classical concert still seems like extremely bad taste.

     

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  23.  
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    The Real Michael, Jun 14th, 2013 @ 1:47pm

    Re: I still have my bootleg recording

    That was funny.

     

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  24.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Jun 14th, 2013 @ 1:53pm

    Re:

    There muse be more to this than meets the eye...


    Apparently he followed his muse right off the stage.

     

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  25.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jun 14th, 2013 @ 1:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: LOOK what your notions have DONE, Mike.

    It is a scary thing going it alone and not easy, but working hard and making a success of it will be far more rewarding than signing with any record label.

     

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  26.  
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    The Real Michael, Jun 14th, 2013 @ 1:55pm

    Re: Re: LOOK what your notions have DONE, Mike.

    Agreed. Music labels are unnecessary to being a successful musician in this day and age.

     

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  27.  
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    crade (profile), Jun 14th, 2013 @ 2:11pm

    "because music managers had told him: "We're sorry, that has already been on YouTube." "

    I think you misunderstood and they mean your music is nothing special because *other* people have posted a bunch of their own *very similar* to youtube...

    Either that or someone should tell Justin Beiber that his youtube videos will wreck his career.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2013 @ 2:12pm

    Re: LOOK what your notions have DONE, Mike.

    Yiddish? Hmm. Methinks I'm starting to get an idea who you really are.

     

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  29.  
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    Cowards Anonymous, Jun 14th, 2013 @ 2:12pm

    Record Label: We don't need you to sign over all rights to your music and profits in exchange for publishing and distributing your music to your audience, you've already been published and distributed for free on YouTube.

    The record labels were actually doing the pianist a favor by refusing to con him out of his copyrights because he doesn't need their "services" in the Internet Age. He should thank his audience for promoting his work for him so that he can sell more concert tickets and compose new music.

     

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  30.  
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    New Mexico Mark, Jun 14th, 2013 @ 2:17pm

    Definitely theft

    By taking any kind of photo, he stole that poor pianist's immortal soul. How dare you claim this isn't theft?

    Seriously though, if someone doesn't enjoy being recorded when they are performing they are probably in the wrong business. KZ should consider a career as a lighthouse keeper or doing long stints in a forestry fire tower. I think he would be much happier overall. I know we would.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2013 @ 2:19pm

    Re: Recording artists

    Adding that to my list of deprecated terms. "Recording Artist"


    When I'm old, and my grandkids ask me how the music industry finally imploded and all music became free, I'll tell them "Boy Band Reunions, kids."

     

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  32.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Jun 14th, 2013 @ 2:22pm

    Re:

    Which is why a former major label classical artist like Gil Shaham has started his own labels to release music and is enjoying a fine career.

    It doesn't take a lot of money to record and release solo piano music.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2013 @ 2:22pm

    WTF ! What a loser this guy is.
    Bwaaaaaaah.......shaky Cam Video destroys Art.
    Not in my Book.....many have come out with their little Cams and my Art loves it.Always fun knowing my fans love me enough to spread the cause.

     

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  34.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Jun 14th, 2013 @ 2:26pm

    Re: Re: Recording artists

    I love how everyone's commenting like this guy is some hack.

    Zimerman has been a major, successful recording artist for over thirty years, and his concerts are a big deal. He's not a composer, but he champions contemporary composers.

     

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  35.  
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    Bergman (profile), Jun 14th, 2013 @ 2:48pm

    Re: so hold on

    What I'm wondering is... Does the "damage" done to the man by that low quality recording exceed the damage done by having to refund tickets because he refused to perform?

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2013 @ 2:49pm

    It's not entirely clear how he knew they were recording video, rather than merely taking a photograph


    My guess is the fact it doesn't take more than a few seconds to take a picture with your phone. If you're holding the phone up for more than 2 mins, you're probably shooting video.

     

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  37.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 14th, 2013 @ 2:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Recording artists

    He should get a YouTube channel.

     

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  38.  
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    JMT (profile), Jun 14th, 2013 @ 3:30pm

    Re: On the way out

    Pretentious wankers like this probably don't even realise that these sorts of actions can leave a very sour taste in fans' mouths, and are probably far more damaging than YouTube could ever be.

     

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    jupiterkansas (profile), Jun 14th, 2013 @ 4:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Recording artists

    Yes, he definitely should.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous, Jun 14th, 2013 @ 5:17pm

    Maybe he's got a bad case of pianist envy.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2013 @ 6:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: LOOK what your notions have DONE, Mike.

    Hell, a certain foursome of Britons was once told "Sorry, guys, but guitar groups are on the way out."

    I guess The Beatles never amounted to anything. Record labels always have the wisest, final say...

     

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  42.  
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    Arioch (profile), Jun 14th, 2013 @ 8:07pm

    Re: Piano

    O I how sympathise
    The times I have tried to take a "Grand Piano" on board as hand luggage and been refused
    My offer of a sterling in flight "sing-a-long" to bolster the morale of the passengers, has always somehow received a somewhat cold reception

    Gomez Addams

     

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  43.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 14th, 2013 @ 9:05pm

    Pianist demands to remain obscure.
    Rants against more people being able to see his work and decide a video of a cat in a box should get more upvotes.

    The internet, its all cat pictures... he stands no chance.

     

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  44.  
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    techflaws (profile), Jun 14th, 2013 @ 10:59pm

    "then it seems pretty clear that he's dealing with clueless music managers."

    There's no such thing. Exhibit A: the Internet.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2013 @ 11:42pm

    Re: I still have my bootleg recording

    Can you uploa.. I mean mail me a copy?

     

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  46.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Jun 15th, 2013 @ 1:52am

    Re:

    The guy's been a world famous pianist for over 25 years.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2013 @ 3:28am

    It's destroying his career?

    Good. Stupid people like this don't deserve to have careers. I hope he fails, goes bankrupt, and starves to death in a gutter. This would remove one more idiot from the planet, incrementally improving things for those of us who are superior.

     

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  48.  
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    Aaron Wolf (profile), Jun 15th, 2013 @ 7:15am

    The problem is competition

    YouTube is hurting music careers because there is MORE music. It's better business to provide something really scarce. The problem is that good music isn't scarce now. This pianist wants most music recordings and videos destroyed because then he would be more in demand.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2013 @ 8:00am

    Re: Re:

    What world is that, cause I sure never heard of him.

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2013 @ 8:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Recording artists

    He be trashed by the piano cat.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2013 @ 9:20am

    If it's the same Krystian Zimerman on youtube ,it seems he makes a living playing others music rather than his own maybe that's why he's getting no deal.

     

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  52.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 15th, 2013 @ 11:01am

    Re: Re:

    And can't manage to swing a deal if someone shaky cams him and puts it on YouTube.

     

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  53.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Jun 15th, 2013 @ 12:58pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Not his fault - it's the fault of idiots at the record labels.

    But obviously there more context to this whole incident than what's been reported.

     

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  54.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Jun 15th, 2013 @ 1:02pm

    Re:

    Seriously? Every classical pianist since the dawn of recordings has made a living playing other people's music - some of them very fine livings.

     

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  55.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Jun 15th, 2013 @ 1:03pm

    Re: It's destroying his career?

    I'm curious - in what way are you superior?

     

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  56.  
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    Atkray (profile), Jun 15th, 2013 @ 6:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: LOOK what your notions have DONE, Mike.

    Agreed. Music labels are unnecessary

    FTFY ;)

     

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  57.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 15th, 2013 @ 7:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Then maybe he needs to look for someone who isn't stupid at a label, or go out on his own.

    Instead he threw his hands up, walked away and gave all of these reasons it shouldn't be allowed which when looked at boil down to: it is not worth my effort to find someone who cares enough about me and my music and wants to put it out there.

    This newfangled YouTube thing is just a fad and its destroying music!!! Except for those people who are gaining fame with nothing more than a YouTube channel of their own. The world has evolved if the labels like it or not, and you can sit and wait for the labels to maybe catch up or manage to outlaw the new tech... or you can push them to embrace it. I checked, most record label staff aren't preforming and making money, they are not the talent. Maybe if more artists pushed back when they were being stupid they would listen.

     

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  58.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jun 16th, 2013 @ 9:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Recording artists

    Well, if people are assuming he's a hack, that's probably because his niche is not something that makes him famous outside of a specific fanbase. Nothing wrong with that, but it's not hard to think "someone I've never heard of" + "stupid lashing out" + "ridiculous claims blaming others for failure" = "hack". If you're not a classical fan, you probably won't have heard of the guy and so people jump to conclusions. Unfair, perhaps, but people who blame new technology for their woes are usually those who failed elsewhere, or whose talent isn't able to stand up on its own.

    The irony is that the technology he's attacking is the one that can solve his problems. If his major problem is short-sightedness by his management or labels, he can now bypass them through the use of many online resources - including YouTube. Unfortunately, all he appears to have done here is annoy everyone who paid for his concert while doing nothing to salvage a recording career.

     

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  59.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Jun 16th, 2013 @ 1:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Recording artists

    I can agree to all that. I can't imagine how Youtube can do anything but enhance his career.

    One of his videos has over 3 million views and is from 1987. I guess if anything, it might keep people from buying the DVD, but I doubt he gets much from a 25 year old DVD anyway. He'd get a lot more money from a free Youtube video that makes people want to see him in concert.

    This incident seems more like diva behavior than anything.

     

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  60.  
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    Niall (profile), Jun 20th, 2013 @ 2:39am

    Re: Re: I still have my bootleg recording

    If he can't find an 8-track player, how is he then going to copy it?

     

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  61.  
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    bunch of bastards, Oct 25th, 2013 @ 7:32pm

    I suppose most of you know enough about what being a pianist is, and how things are hard for the classical genre as usually the "superior" masses would rather pay for a justin bieber piece of shit ( is he a musician lol)...
    Most of you are a bunch of morons that don' t possess enough intelligence to grasp that classical music ( even if you are a world renown pianist) has harder times than pop, rock or latin because of a reason that's nothing to do with bad taste or being a lesser artist.

    So, for instance, you think lindsay lohan would be more of a " winner" or more talented, or more skillful just because she' s everywhere , and anyone' d know who she is???

    Come on, go back to your talentless , dull lives, and your dreaded jobs and fuck off with your ideas of musicians not having a right to make their money out of their " professions" yes! This is a career, a profession that you actually pursue since childhood and college...and for the rest of your life...

    ( i would't ever consider YOUR ignorance a bliss btw ) kiss ;)

     

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

  62.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Nov 5th, 2013 @ 2:48am

    Re:

    Why is it that the self-proclaimed defenders of these people not only have to lie and depend on incredibly flimsy assumptions, but also display the maturity and debate skills of an angry 5 year old?

    Seriously, could someone on the industry's "side" just once address facts like a grown adult?

     

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


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