Darren alerts us to an interesting writeup by a performance artist who can't do a certain performance because of licensing issues
. It's not that the musicians don't want their work used by the artist. In fact, they've spoken and they would love for their music to be used. But, of course, they don't own the copyrights on their own music, so the performer needs to work through all the licensing issues, which is simply too much of a pain -- so the whole performance gets dropped:
The thing is, I've spent a lot of time learning how to make art. I have spent no time learning how to negotiate the licensing of music. These are very different skills! It's bizarre that in order to share my art, I need to have the latter skill set, or hire someone who does. The lack of that skill set results in my work being kept secret.
It's really backward. I would love to talk to artists directly, and negotiate something that's mutually beneficial. Right? My work calls attention to their work. I'm a big fan of their work. I want to support their art and their livelihood. I want everyone to know about and support their work. It's such a natural alliance, but it's perverted by this system we have now.
Of course, what's really amusing here is that it's the same people who berate us for suggesting that artists need to either become musical entrepreneurs
or hire someone
who understands the business side of things, who will say that there's absolutely nothing wrong with these same artists having to become experts in the byzantine world of music licensing -- a world in which even many lawyers remain very confused.