I've had a personal conversation with people from Techdirt and was willing to have my mind changed on the copyright issue. It made me instead be a bigger supporter of copyrights than before. The people I talked to were arrogant know-it-alls who don't give a shit about artists and were completely uninterested in any point of view but their own. They want all info to be free so that people will buy all the expensive tech gadgets with which to use the free content. Don't be fooled by their "information should be free" propaganda and don't be intimidated by their self-righteous, know-it-all attitude that calls anyone who disagrees with them backward and stupid. If uptopia is run by arrogant, uncompassionate people like this, count me out.
"People still think that music industry is dying, even as it's thriving (it's just the recording industry segment that's struggled)."
Wow. That's a pretty big "just." Recorded music is the backbone aspect of the music world (and a huge part of many other industries, including film, gaming, restaurants/clubs, etc.). Seems like the "new" music industry solutions always minimize the importance of recorded music and emphasize live playing and selling merch because their seem to be no solutions for respecting/monetizing the value of recorded music - even though recorded music is far more important to a much larger percentage of people than live performance or merch. If the majority of people were asked what they would choose to have if they could only have one aspect of music, they would choose recordings. Many people don't even go to see live music anymore, but everyone listens to and uses recorded music in their businesses constantly. Yet I've seen blogs where people who are trying to push this new model have actually said that playing live is more important that recorded music, which didn't exist until a few decades ago. As if recorded music was a fad. I guess they're saying this because they have no answer to the fact that people aren't paying for recorded music as much now because it's been monetarily devalued in the eyes of the public (because people have been sold the propaganda that it should be free - it's never free, the artist pays the cost if the listener doesn't). Seeing comments like that is upsetting to artists who devote their life to creating great musical recordings. Lose high quality recorded music and many industries would collapse (not to mention people would go crazy without their daily music in private and public). What's being done to protect/support good recording artists in the new music industry model?
The tradition of blues and jazz is different than, for instance, pop music, and every musician knows the reasons for
that - it has to do with the musical form and its uses.
Just because the copyright law is sometimes abused or sometimes seems to "stifle free speech" doesn't mean it should
be abolished. There are a lot of other laws for which that is true as well. And most of those laws are necessary and do far more good than harm - just like the copyright laws.
The tech industry only points out the downside of the law and the misuses. That is the very clear minority. Copyright laws enable many artist to make a living, myself included. We don't want to all be hawkers of merchandise. And I'm sorry, but when I spend my entire life developing my talent and honing my craft and work long, hard hours (more perspiration than inspiration, despite what some may think), what I create should not be "free" for anyone to use as they wish. Yes, it IS my work. And I'll decide how it's used. Just as an architect or tech designer or anyone else has the right to. And that's the way it should be until we live in a society where everyone's living expenses are taken care of and everything is free. We don't need to screw artists to get to that utopian society. And that's just what getting rid of copyrights now would do.
Yes, the copyright issue has been abused by certain entities. I agree with many of these ideas. But if I write a song, I'm creating some kind of anti-innovation environment to say it's my song? Seriously? I think something can be shared and built upon without taking away the rights of an artist to say that the song they wrote is their song which they wrote. I'm concerned with
this seemingly single-minded agenda to get rid of copyrights.
I'm wary anytime someone takes a single-minded view on issues
that are complex and multivalent. If you're single-minded,
you'll miss the truth and hurt people in the process.
I'm open to how this all pans out. I just want to make
sure people are respected in their artistic vocation (as most people
are in other vocations).
I see Techdirt question certain things that have been accepted,
perhaps unquestionably, in the past, yet also accepting unquestioningly
certain things that could be questioned. And the picking and choosing
seems to serve an agenda (I said "seems" I'm not saying you guys are bad people, and maybe the agenda is well-meaning). That concerns me. For example, I could
easily challenge the accepted view that "property" or "physical goods"
can belong to someone and have value, whereas intangibles are treated
differently. If you talk to most Native Americans (with the traditional
Native American view) they believe the idea of owning property,
or "part of the land" is preposterous and nonsensical. Yet the
assumption that something has value monetarily just because it's
a physical good is just that - an assumption. It's a created idea
that can be accepted or discarded, just like the idea of copyrights.
Yet you guys assume it's valid (judging from past remarks), because it serves your argument.
If everything was free, I'd be totally fine with getting rid of
copyrights, etc. But we don't' live in that society, and why
should artists be asked to make a sacrifice before everyone
else (giving up a certain right - and whatever you say, it
is a sacrifice and people would suffer. As much as you guys
like to use Trent Reznor as an example, he said in his blog,
concerning free downloading, "This sucks for artists." I don't
see you quoting him on that much.)?
Call it Socialism
or whatever you want, but if you pay me enough to take care
of my living costs and to fund my future projects, then
sure, everyone can have my songs and enjoy them, remix,
whatever for free. But you guys are pushing the whole marketplace
driven ideology (along with some kind of utopian-seeming
information should be free idea - which R.U. Sirius,
one of the first proponents of that, now says he was
WRONG about) while trying to take away one of the things
that helps artists to protect their market commodities (yes,
you say that the Constitution wasn't meant to protect artists,
then we should amend it so it does).
I see some clear contradictions. And when that
happens, it's partly because the issue is complex,
and partly because everything is being driven by
an agenda, or ideology. Danger Will Robinson!!!
Amidst all the noise over the marketing techniques, your comment is one of the most important, yet not commented upon. At the end of the day, at the end of our lives, in the perspective of history, what is important?
I see so many musicians spending so much time on figuring out how to be good businessmen that they must be neglecting their art. In the end, a great work, whether music or book, etc. will be recognized. That's what we as artists should focus on. Of course we want people to hear what we've created, but that will be so much easier if the work is actually honest, true and has had the time, imagination, energy, creativity and passion invested in it that is actually required to create something of worth. So much music I hear is not even ready for public exposure, yet bands are far more interested in how to market themselves than in whether they actually need to spend another month on that song before it's up to the level of excellence that should be required before it is taken seriously.
After that, yes, try all these different approaches. Trust me, I'm concerned over the marketing challenges as much as anyone. But if the music is THERE, it probably won't be quite as hard as you think it is to actually get people's attention (I didn't become profitable and have real success until my last album, which I made after giving up on the industry and decided to make the album I wanted to make and didn't care if anyone listened. Despite sending out only 5 unsolicited CDs, I've made profit five times over cost and am getting my music in major TV shows, movie trailers, etc, as well as just being nominated for best rock song of 2009 in the largest song award in the world - I'm giving these credentials only to prove the point of focusing on the art and contributing). It may take time, you may not get rich, but not many artists are interested in being Coca Cola. Most are interested in making enough money to fund their project and live comfortably so they can have a happy life contributing their talent to the world - which is the most important thing in the end.
Okay, okay, I'm done. On with the marketing debate...
"The idea that webcasters/broadcasters should need to pay artists for the right to promote them to fans just seems bizarre and borderline incomprehensible in the first place."
Amazing. This is the same kind of argument used by clubs, radio stations, etc. as an excuse to not compensate artists for their work. Any other profession is paid for what they do. But you're an artist? Then you should be glad we're playing your music. No matter that that music is the reason people are listening to the station which attracts big money adverstisers so the station can be profitable.
Entities like tech dirt constantly pretend to be standing up against the "big evil companies" that are trying to charge people for music and standing up for the artists (supposedly) as well. (And everyone jumps on the bandwagon attacking admittedly shady organizations like the RIAA. Some of the arguments are valid, but most of it is a red herring).
Nonsense. Tech dirt and other similar entities are intent on eliminating copyrights completely so that the big tech companies can have free content with which to fill their expensive tech toys that are making the tech companies filthy rich.
As an artist who has been playing hundreds of thousands of times on Pandora and received about $5 in royalties for that amount of play, and has had no significant sales because of that "airplay", I can say that such stations are
not the main way an artist gets exposure and makes a living. I think it's great that they exist, and I agree that if an artist wants to give his stuff away or have it played royalty free, that they should be able to do so.
But tech dirt isn't concerned with that in my opinion. Lobbyists for the tech industry want to eliminate copyrights (for the above stated reason).
Want to eliminate copyrights? Fine. Let's eliminate PATENTS too. How would the tech companies feel about that? Free iphones, free everything.
NO? Well, till then, copyrights for artists so their life's work can be protected.