Morrissey: Don't Buy My Music

from the no-royalties dept

We keep hearing from the big record labels and the RIAA how they’re doing everything they do “for the artists.” Yet, everywhere we turn, we see artists who are anything but happy by what’s being done to for them. The latest, sent in by Bryan Colley, is that the singer Morrissey is going on fan sites, warning fans not to buy the new box sets of his music that EMI is putting out, noting that not only did he have nothing whatsoever to do with them, he won’t see a penny in royalties from them. But it’s all for the artists, right? These days, when artists are finally learning to connect with fans directly, those fans want to know that when they choose to spend money on an artist, that money actually goes to the artist.

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Comments on “Morrissey: Don't Buy My Music”

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Anonymous Coward says:

these are the musicians that deserve our money, I hope more main stream, currenttly under the RIAA start coming out also against the RAPING of music by the fawking RIAA!

Richard Marx is another one

Fawk you too Mettalica,U2,PRINCE or whatever he calls himself these days,Garth Brooks and the rest that are right there with the RIAA

Dark Helmet (profile) says:


“noting that not only did he have nothing whatsoever to do with them, he won’t see a penny in royalties from them”

….Really? I mean, I tend to think of these big conglomerate multinationals as being as evil as….well….Dick Cheney, for instance, but usually, like Dick Cheney, they like to HIDE their evil from me a little bit, so that by the time I find it, I’m so tired from looking I’m too tired to be angry.

But…really? EMI can put out a compilation box set of an artist’s work and that artist won’t see a DIME from the box set in royalties? I mean, where’s the hiding? Don’t just come out and piss on my shoe, for Christ’s sake.

Ok, coffee time. I feel a good Tech Dirt post coming up soon that will REALLY piss me off and send me on one of those wonderful six paragraph rants that I like to go on. C’mon, Mikey, do me proud….

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Uh...

IIRC, EMI did the same thing to Radiohead with the boxset they put out after the In Rainbows hype. I might be wrong, but I don’t think Radiohead received anything (or not much if they did).

It’s down to the hideously one-sided contracts that major labels traditionally have. Artists who sign with them often sign away the rights to their music, and this includes royalty clauses that mean the artists rarely see much income past the initial “advance”.

Why did they sign such ridiculous contracts? They came up during a time when the majors held all the cards, and they were young/dumb enough for the wool to be pulled over their eyes. Now that the contracts are expiring and the majors are no longer necessary, expect to see more big names coming out against the majors like this over the next few years. Hopefully, this will start getting enough mainstream attention for the RIAA to stop the ridiculous “for the artists” crap.

HolaJohnny (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Uh...

I’m with you so far… I can’t even find a AC to ho-hum me. Maybe Patenthawk has recovered from his suck session to try and compete for patent whore of the year. Honestly if Oregon says I don’t know you. Who will have him? Yes patenthawk you are the new prison pussy of TD. If your good maybe we’ll call you Oregon…

deadzone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I fail to understand your logic at all. Could you please expound upon your opinion a little more so I can have a better understanding of it?

Right now, it almost seems as if you are taking the position of those that you fight so hard against. I thought you believed in the inherent right to protect that which is yours and to get paid for it indefinitely?

Does this not apply to the artist in question that created everything that is going to be sold? It only applies to the label that owns the copyrights?

Alan Gerow (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I think to the AC, the person who owns the copyright gets paid indefinitely, not the original creator. The original creator, in this case, essentially signed a work-for-hire contract wherein they were paid in full at the time of creation, and sold all rights to the label.

The creator received their full compensation for the work when they recorded their music, and probably received more money upfront than they would have under other contract situations. EMI took a larger financial chance and gained all copyrights in the process.

Perhaps Morrissey didn’t have other contracts offered to choose a better situation to create in where they retained at least some rights … or maybe they made a poor decision and took more upfront money at the expense of potential revenue later (i.e. they DIDN’T bet on themselves). Either way, Morrissey signed a bad contract, and are now throwing up a stink about it.

That, I believe, is a problem with the old system. To get their music heard, musicians felt they had to sign these bad contracts. Hopefully, more will learn they can create their music, and leverage the Internet & free music models to get heard & make money on their own without the need to sign away all rights to a label just to get an audience.

Alan Gerow (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

In use for promoting the works they have copyrights for, there is a good possibility that EMI does have rights to use his likeness. And even if they don’t have explicit rights, there are fair use rights that come into play, since it is his music & performance, that EMI has fair use rights to use his likeness in promoting it.

It’s just an example of the mess that is known as copyright. I say total destruction of the system, remove the government involvement, and let the market figure itself out.

ChimpBush McHitlerBurton says:

Re: Hello?

“Morrissey seems to want it both ways. At one time he was apparently pleased to take a label’s money for his work product, but now is urging people not to pay the label anything more.

It is difficult to reconcile these two positions.”

Hello?, “difficult to reconcile these two positions? Really?

Let’s break it down:

He was apparently pleased to take the label’s money for his work, and now, he’s *not pleased* to *not take* the label’s money for his work.

Yeah, that’s a brain scrambler…


Bubba Gump (profile) says:

Re: Re:

AC, you don’t see why an artist would say, “Don’t buy this product because it doesn’t make me any money.” ?????

Do you suppose he should just keep his mouth shut like a good little errand boy for EMI? Or, perhaps, does he have a right (if not an OBLIGATION) to let his fans know that the product they think is HIS (and possibly think some of their money for it might be going to reward him for his artisty) actually is NOT?

Please, if you don’t understand the article, ask someone for help reading it before you comment.


Re: Re:

If you view creativity as property, Morrisey’s position makes perfect sense. It also makes perfect sense under the “enlightened fan” approach as well.

Morrisey as the rightful owner of the relevant works should get paid for their commercial exploitation.

Morrisey as the fellow you want to encourage gains nothing by you throwing money at EMI.

I would love getting advice from my favorite artists regarding which products yield the most “encouragement” to the talent. Will you get any royalties if I buy X?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

the RIAA doesn’t strip rights. PLEASE! Show me where the RIAA specifically strips anyone rights. Answer, you can’t.

Perhaps MOrrissey signs a contract that paid him over well to start with, perhaps he made his millions up front. Perhaps he sold his authorship rights for a bottle of whiskey. Perhaps he isn’t listed as a writer in any of the songs.

Like I said, there is more to the story we aren’t see here.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Hence stripped of his rights, thank you for reiterating and giving us examples of how he was stripped. Sold his land for a bottle of whiskey and now all he can do is whimper at his fan’s doorsteps to stop the record company form making more money from his work. Everything perfectly legal just underhanded.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It’s simple.

Morrissey isn’t getting paid for his work, presumably as a result of a one-sided contract he signed when he was trying to get his career started. Maybe he was tricked, maybe he was too young to know any better, maybe he didn’t think this far ahead. Whatever.

So what’s wrong now? Here we are, over 15 years later, and EMI are still going to make a profit from his work while he makes nothing. In the mean time, the company is involved in lawsuits against his (and others’) fans, citing artists’ welfare as the reason.

It’s pure hypocrisy, and Morrissey has decided to point this out rather than stay silent. He’s probably not taking legal action because what the label is doing is technically legal, but that doesn’t excuse the hypocrisy or make it morally correct.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

So what? He can make whatever comments he wants about products with his name on them, especially if he’s not involved or being paid. Whether or not he’s “agreeable” about it is fairly irrelevant, especially if his statements are helping to expose blatant hypocrisy and profiteering.

Just because you don’t like him, that doesn’t mean his words are not true.

diabolic (profile) says:

First, I do not support the RIAA, not even a little bit. I’m starting get the feeling that the ‘for the artists’ line does not mean ‘for artists that are already signed’ but it means ‘for the next artists to get raked over the coals’. The RIAA needs to keep bringing in cash so they can provide a tiny bit of cash up front to the next ‘artist’ they are going to screw over. Once that artist has signed over all their rights the RIAA moves on to the next sucker. ‘For the artists’ means a bit ‘for the next sucker’. I think history has shown that you can fool some of the people all of the time.

Second, I do not have any sympathy for artists like Morrisey that signed bad contracts and now want to complain about – the money was good enough at the time, quit whining. Anyone that cares already downloaded all of Morrisey’s music and won’t buy the box set anyway.

This same thing happens with folks that create patentable work for a corporation, the corporation owns the patent. If the company I work for makes tons of money from a patent I worked on I do not get any ‘extra’ pay. You do not hear me bitching about it and telling the world to boycott the product.

Anonymous Coward says:

The funniest part of all of this?

Morrissey is performing a number of concerts coming up. Now, in the CwF world, a new box set (even if he never makes a penny) should be promoting him and making his concerts bigger sellers.

After all, what is the difference to the artist between EMI selling a box set and people “infringing” the music on a torrent? NOTHING – they still get absolutely f-all for their work.

Seems like he is a Masnick Winner, he just doesn’t know it

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“The funniest part of all of this?”

Oooh, tell me, I love to laugh!!!

“Morrissey is performing a number of concerts coming up. Now, in the CwF world, a new box set (even if he never makes a penny) should be promoting him and making his concerts bigger sellers.”

Wait a minute, you said it was going to be funny. That’s not funny, that’s just you being an ass. Why? Well, because I have yet to hear Morrissey say anything along the lines of DON’T download his music for free. Sounds like he’s pissed at his label and is trying to make sure that they aren’t profitting off of his music when he isn’t. More to the point, EMI putting out an expensive box set is NOT CwF. However, Morrisey reaching out to his fans and speaking directly to them about how this whole box set thing works AND encouraging them NOT to spend their money IS CwF, particularly in that this connection is generating news that ultimately resulted in YOU filling us in on his upcoming concerts. Thanks for the help!

“After all, what is the difference to the artist between EMI selling a box set and people “infringing” the music on a torrent? NOTHING – they still get absolutely f-all for their work.”

On one a ginormous corporation makes money when the artists does not for what is essentially rehashed work by an artist, on the other fans get the music for free (meaning there is no chance for buyer resentment at the product) while still retaining its promotional value. See the difference, you very, very Wierd Coward?

“Seems like he is a Masnick Winner, he just doesn’t know it.”

I added a period, since you’re clearly on yours. But seriously, all odd mis-capitalization aside, I love the way you punctuate your idiotic comments with nonsensical soundbyte-ish sentences, you Anonymous Harold.

Seriously, do you have any idea how easily identifiable you are simply by your writing style and vocabulary?

SomeGuy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Fan X has $50 to spend, and wants to support Morrissey.
Fax X knows the box set is coming out for the example-frendly price of $50.
Fan X also knows that Morrissey will be playing the next town over, and costs to see the concert are conveniently also $50.

All else being equal, the box set would provide repeatable enjoyment and seeing the show would have the added cost of time spent driving/watching the show/etc. The Box Set looks like a marginal winner. Fan X buys the box set and doesn’t see the show. Unbeknownst to Fan X, he loses his $50 without getting a dime to Morissey.

Contrast this with free music which could potentially have the same or more promotional value as the box set, but will not deprive Fan X of his $50. Fan X can not get the music AND see the show, and Morrissey gets paid.

See? Box Set != Free Music.

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