Singer At New Media Conference Turns Off Audience Member Cameras

from the new-media,-huh? dept

You would think that someone who had “embraced” new media would understand the value of viral content, but that’s not always the case. Derek Coward writes in to let us know of a bizarre incident involving a cover song singer who goes by the name Richard Cheese, who apparently sings “cheesy” loungey versions of hard rock songs. There’s a podcast called Coverville that (not surprisingly) focuses on cover versions of songs. For his 500th episode, the host, Brian Ibbott, put together a concert at a new media trade show. He found some musicians who specifically allow their music to be used in podcasts without royalties (i.e., those who recognize the value of free promotion) and had them play a concert — and Cheese was one of the headliners.

At a new media trade show full of podcasters and bloggers, one thing you should expect is that they’ll have cameras, and they’ll be taking photos and video. That’s what they do. But, apparently this upset Cheese greatly, and he started walking around, grabbing people’s cameras and turning them off. He later spit on someone who continued to film his concert, and yelled at the guy to turn his camera off. Considering that this guy’s entire act is based on building on the works of others, and he understands the promotional benefits of having his music in podcasts, it does seem rather odd that he would be so upset about some folks videotaping him that he would then take their cameras, turn them off and even spit on people. Compare this to the other musician (who actually does write his own music) we mentioned recently who was taking fan made videos of his performances and stitching them together into a virtual concert.

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Comments on “Singer At New Media Conference Turns Off Audience Member Cameras”

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Daniel Rudd (user link) says:

Cover Songs Pod-Safe?

Does anyone have a legal explanation on how an artist can give synchronization rights on a cover song? I thought compulsory rights only covered mechanical, not synchronization or performance.

So if he’s making the music freely available for reproduction on podcasts, how does he satisfy the requirements of the compulsory rights (isn’t it $.08 a copy or something)? And how does he provide synchronization rights, when the original composition is not his to offer?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: And, for the uninitiated,

Go and read the linked article. Someone claiming to be Cheese (no real attribution on teh Intarwebs) comments about how everyone was in violation of his rights and how people were told repeatedly not to video tape. Apparently there was a clause in his contract that said no video taping, and he’s threatening legal action against people involved. This isn’t an act, this is Cheese being a dick.

Josh says:


Why is this story not also accompanied by a story about this guy being arrested for what appear to be multiple counts of assault and robbery? If this guy didn’t want to be filmed then he could have refused to play, complained to the people running the show, or done any other of a number of things that don’t involve what he did. How the hell did no-one call the cops on this guy?

Anonymous Coward says:

This sounds more like part of the guys act then anything else. Once again prove that Mike is clueless to the reality of the entertainment industry. Now, I know all of you who worship Mike will probably get upset and attack me, but I don’t care. You can’t learn the entertainment indsutry from blogs or wikipedia. Thanks for trying though.

SteveD says:

Re: Mike is clueless?

Heh, read the comments from Cheese & Cheese’s lawyer in that blogs comments why don’t you. 😉

In all fairness Cheese did have a point; recording live performances without permission is much the same as taking a camcorder into a cinema. It was his behaviour that made him deserve all the flak he’s now taking; utterly disgraceful and completely unprofessional.

He then follows it up by sending legal threats and takedown notices to people who’ve hosted video of his actions rather then his performance, something that clearly falls under fair use and newsworthy content.

The funniest part of the whole mess has to be when his manager claims Richard’s ‘privacy’ was violated during his ‘public’ performance.

This guy is a says:


What a tool. If I was a band who wrote music he “covered” I’d make em stop. What a piece of stinky, moldy, dried up cheese.

Probably was a publicity stunt. I mean there has been worse, bands pissing on the crowd. Not to justify the tool in any way. The guy is living in fantasy land to think, people really care about him and his covers.

Kaeles says:

Maybe its just me, but I would have punched the guy in the face if he tried to turn my camera off or take it from me. If he had spit in my face, he would have a broken arm.

I made my living as a musician for 3 years, before I decided to head back to college and make real money and this type of behavior is ridiculous. Without the fans, I would have been stuck eating ramen noodles and pizza.

I just don’t understand how people like this can be such assholes.

Trails (profile) says:

Richard Cheese responded

He’s got a hilariously worded reply in the comments of the geeknewscentral article. Love to see techdirt break that down.

Further, it seems a video someone posted in the comments has been taken down, possible misuse of DMCA takedown here?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Richard Cheese responded

The appropriate course of action would have been to step out of character and explain to the audience that there were legal and contractual reasons he did not want his performance filmed, and to then refuse to perform if his request was not respected and take his grievances up with the convesntion managment if need be. Assaulting the audience is not an appropriate response. Someone should sue him.

Jezsik says:

Yup, a real dick

They guy is really talented and I love what he does with some of my favorite songs (check out his version of Rock the Casbah). I’ve turned a lot of people on to his music because I knew he wouldn’t get any airplay on any radio station near me. Well Dick, I wouldn’t want to upset you by promoting you, so I won’t tell anyone about your act.

tracker1 (user link) says:


maybe because the suggestion is that people will go see bands live, if they are relaxed about sharing the audio.. and having video going around will detract from seeing the band live… since you can see (not just hear) the band… never mind the experience of a live performance being more than just seeing the band, but being able to look around, not stuck in the blinders of a cameraman’s view.

I think it is a perception issue, just like the riaa, but with video… he kind of gets it, but not completely.

Dan says:

Doesn't sound like he belonged there in the first place..

This guy sounds 180 degrees out of phase with what new media is about. When he started doing this crap they should have cut the power to his mic and told him to leave.

There’s no reason I could ever see myself trying to film a clown like that, but if I did and he tried to touch my camera or worse yet, spit on me, he’d better be flanked by at least 2 bouncers or he would be hitting the floor hard.

Paul says:

Re: Re:

The performance may or may not have been free. i dunno. Richard Cheese didn’t organize the event. he probably was paid to attend and thats that. Money has nothing to do with this argument beyond that. If someone is recording and its not allowed, you refuse to perform until he’s removed. You do not assault somebody. Maybe he’s right in saying he shouldn’t be videotaped, but beyond that everything he did was wrong.

Paul says:

Trent Reznor

Has it right. He allows his concerts to be recorded (unless the location itself has rules otherwise). Not only that, he is in the business of selling images from his concert. Even though he does this, he doesn’t tell the audience to stop recording or else it might hurt his sales. He just sells much better pictures than what the audience probably takes. The pictures are usually frame-worthy.

Scote (profile) says:

//In all fairness Cheese did have a point; recording live performances without permission is much the same as taking a camcorder into a cinema.//

Er, at which point the theater ushers would attack and spit on the perpetrator?

No, this was not like a cinema. This was a live event at a New Media conference. A crappy recording of a live event isn’t a substitute for the event, it is a memory of the event.

Brian Ibbott (user link) says:

Let's clear this up

I’m Brian Ibbott, and I was the organizer of the concert. It was a tie-in to the New Media Expo, and a show to celebrate the 500th episode of my all-cover song podcast, Coverville.

The performer list included Jonathan Coulton, Natalie Gelman, Chance & The Choir, Dr. Floyd and Richard Cheese. All of the other performers were fine with being recorded (and actually encouraged it), and Richard Cheese’s contract stated that I couldn’t record his performance and air it in my podcast. That’s completely fine, and is a preference per artist. Because we weren’t dealing with physical tickets for the show, Richard had flyers that we posted around which included that people couldn’t record the performance.

Richard was the final performer of the night, and some people easily may have missed the flyers, and continued having their cameraphones out. Richard made a few comments as he came out about turning off video cameras, but some people may have taken it in a joking way. I don’t agree with the practice of grabbing phones out of people’s hands, and especially not throwing it at them. I would have asked that he handle it differently. I paid for security to be at the show, I could have easily asked them to get involved had I been notified of what was going on.

Let me clear up the spitting situation. I’ve seen Richard Cheese perform at the Hard Rock Hotel before. You get the whole lounge act, which is more than the music. The “character” of Richard Cheese is a surly, arrogant lounge singer, and there is a behavior that goes along with it. When you hear “spitting” you tend to think Sid-Vicious-style gobs on the audience. During his act, which he did at the Hard Rock as well, he’ll grab a mouthful of water from his martini glass, and then spit a small stream of water through his closed teeth at the front row of the audience. An offensive move for someone who hasn’t seen the show before and doesn’t know what to expect, and even more shocking when it is described and not seen.

Looking back, unleashing Richard on an audience that wasn’t expecting him may have been a bad choice for the show. His music is obviously compatible with my podcast, but the live performance may not have been compatible with the attendees who had come to expect performances similar to the prior artists.

Jim Williams says:

In this day and age of Aids and other infectious diseases. Any performer and especially a musician spraying anything whether it be water or booze out of his mouth onto the crowd makes me cringe. Imagine that spray getting in someones eye or even more crazy in there mouth.

I would run for the bathroom and then proceed to a emergency room and demand a hepatitis and aids test of the performer. Spraying anything from ones mouth onto ones audience is like wow.

Also taking anyone’s personal property from them without there permission or even the act of trying to take it away is the poorest of poor form.

He should have just stopped and asked the audience to put their cameras away.

Pinky Floyd says:

How did he get away with not getting an assault charge??

Putting your hands on anyone or personal property they are holding could be construed as ‘assault with intent to do bodily harm’..He’s lucky someone didn’t file charges (someone should have..) That’s what hired security is for. There is no excuse for what he did..None whatsoever.

Let him try to take my camera from me…I might get arrested, but I can assure you he will be pulling beer bottle glass out of his temple..(along with my shoe from his a$$ and my fist from his face..)

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