Beck Re-Recording Other Classic Albums And Giving Them Away For Free

from the licensing? dept

Hypebot points out another fun experiment by a popular musician. Beck is apparently gathering random friends, and each week (with little or no rehearsal) they’re picking someone else’s classic album and re-recording it in its entirety and then giving away a free song from the session. This is the sorta thing that makes tons of sense (Hypebot calls it “a GOOD IDEA”) and is something that’s fun to do, and can help energize Beck’s fans, the fans of the other artists playing along and the fans of the original performers/songwriters, as well. But, of course, there’s always a cloud that hangs over any fun music project. Already in the discussion on Hypebot there are questions about royalties and who has to pay whom for what rights. When recording cover songs there are compulsory rates, but even then the matter isn’t entirely clear, apparently. And, of course, some people are complaining that this just shows that he’s “unoriginal.” Of course, that simply shows a near total misunderstanding of the history of music — which has always been about sharing and recreating the works of others.

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Comments on “Beck Re-Recording Other Classic Albums And Giving Them Away For Free”

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Your Mother says:

Re: Are you retarded?

Nearly everything album the guy’s released has, at the least, been critically acclaimed! Your “financial/biz model” opinion is noteworthy, but referring to his ONGOING success for more than a decade a “15 minutes of fame” is ridiculous. I’m a fan of music, generally speaking; from early roots to avant-guarde. In an ecclectic way, Beck mixes of all sorts of genres, many times within one song or album; and MAKES IT WORK. GENIUS! He’s got “rock’n roll hall of fame” written all over him. Trust me!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Do you seriously think he is that concerned about the return on this? Artists near the end of their careers stop recording ENTIRELY and resort to live shows at old folks homes and casinos… they do NOT start recording full albums of cover songs without practice… in garage band jam session style.

Get a grip.

Another Joe says:

They just don't get it

Listening to the many “legal” debates over music, and art, can be mind blowing. Truly creative people don’t “create” thinking about prior art, or licensing, or poses and lighting. They just create.

Hearing lawyers debate creative intent and strategy is laughable. It’s like an artist explaining why lawyers do what they do. The two are exact opposites and cannot honestly represent each other.

It’s a shame that lawyers are given the big stick in this relationship.

artistic lawyer says:

Re: They just don't get it

Well, according to your comment, we might say that Beck as a “truly creative” individual, while making his music is in fact engaged in the same type of activity as his granddad while shitting on the carpet. However, in order to determine whether or not this is the case and provided in your comment definition of “create” applies to both acts we must first consider whether or not granddad could be regarded as a “truly creative” individual. In that respect, in my opinion, it would not be unreasonable to consider aforementioned granddad as a remarkable and indeed “truly creative” person. Consequently, we might move on and consider whether or not he, while being creative on the carpet, was simultaneously engaged in thinking about “poses and lighting”. After detailed examination of available evidence, particularly taking into account mindless look on his face during the act in question and in the absence of any evidence to the contrary I am of an opinion that on balance of probabilities it is safe to assume that no such consideration as to “prior art”, “licensing” and “poses and lighting” took place during the act in question. Therefore, for the purpose of your comment we could reasonably consider that both, Beck and his granddad while being engaged in the acts of music-making and shitting on the carpet, respectively, were in fact engaging in the same type of activity to which from now on we might refer to as “creative”.
In other words, your reliance on broad and vague definitions of words makes your statement completely meaningless. For example, what do you mean by “just create”? Isn’t it rather obvious that “truly creative people” “create”? What is the difference between “truly creative people” and people that are just “creative”? How can we distinguish “truly” creative people from those “not so truly” creative? Is a “creation” still a “creation” if its creator who is “truly creative” had an intention to monetize on his creations? Would such intention make him somewhat less than “truly” creative? And so on.
In any case, I hope you do recognize the difference between “listening to” and “hearing”, on the one hand and “comprehend” on the other? And you do know that the former does not have to be followed by the latter. Nevertheless, you would probably agree with me that “understanding” is a prerequisite for any attempt to “explain” no matter how “laughable” it may seem. And with this in mind try to consider the following:
1.One cannot create something out of nothing; abstract terms, any process of creation could be expressed as “input-whatever-output”; where “input” and “output” are indicators of some form of interaction between creator and his environment.
3.While simple rules are inherent to even most basic forms of interaction, significantly more complex sets of rules are necessary for the development of more complex interactions.
4.“Legal” rules create a platform for large numbers of such interactions, which take place in every complex society.
In short, in my “input-whatever-output” model, “legal” rules and those who deal with them are concerned solely with “input/output” and do not give a shit about “whatever”.
Contrary to what you may think, any such attempts to “explain” “whatever” which in your opinion are so amusing, many lawyers would probably consider as inappropriate, if not quite dangerous.
As for the “big stick”, again you might be surprised to learn that individuals are very welcome to hold the stick by themselves, but most of them would probably hurt themselves with it. It seems very likely that you would.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

more like trademark?

Doesn’t it seem like copyright needs to function a bit more like trademark? As in only protecting you from the dilution of your creation, not granting you absolute rights?

What I mean by this is: if Beck records Dark Side or Sgt. Pepper’s or something, it’s not as if anything he could do could possibly devalue the originals… he could leave the names of the original bands out, and it wouldn’t matter, since everyone would know what they were hearing right away. And it would be very hard to argue that Pink Floyd or the Beatles were losing sales because customers who would have bought their albums were opting to buy Beck’s version instead, or that they were getting the two confused.

On the other hand, if Beck records an album nobody has ever heard of by an unrecognized artist, I’d be disappointed if he didn’t work hard to promote that artist alongside his own work. In that situation I can see the smaller artist deserving some sort of legal recourse to ensure he isn’t being muscled out of the picture by someone whose only advantage is their established following.

Of course, I’m sure Beck will be recording well-known albums AND giving full credit, so really there shouldn’t be any problem at all — but I’m sure someone will find one.

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