Challenge To Graham Henderson: Please Point Out Who Believes Music Should Just Be A Hobby

from the we're-waiting... dept

There's been a bizarre shift lately in the recording industry's attempt to demonize people who believe in embracing new business models and new technologies in the music business. We just wrote about Universal Music's Jim Urie claiming that "copyleft" supporters don't care about art, and along those same lines, Zeropaid points us to Graham Henderson, the head of the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA -- which is almost entirely dominated by foreign companies) going to Washington DC to lobby in favor of more draconian copyright laws.

We had just caught Henderson falsely claiming that the reason streaming music services won't come to Canada is because of the "piracy," there -- even though the same article where he made those claims showed a bunch of streaming music companies who want to launch in Canada, but can't because of the ridiculous licensing demands of the recording industry. It seems Henderson just can't stop making statements that appear to have little basis in reality. In making this push, Henderson, too, has decided to make up a total strawman of an "enemy," in the blogosphere:
"There is a certain set of bloggers out there who think music is nothing more than a hobby, that it should be free. But I think Canadians as a whole are more open to supporting their creative industry and so we're finally at the point where Ottawa is going to act. I refuse to believe that this brand-new digital era is going to make beggars of creators and send them back to the 1800s."
So, here's my challenge to Henderson: prove it. Or, in the parlance of Wikipedia: [citation needed]. Where are these bloggers who "think music is nothing more than a hobby?" I read most of the blogs of the folks I'm pretty sure you're talking about, and I don't know any of them who think that music is nothing more than a hobby (with the possible exception of Suzanne Lainson who is hardly your typical "copyleft" blogger -- in fact, she keeps saying she doesn't pay attention to copyright issues and thinks it's a waste to even pay attention to copyright policy discussions). Most of us, however, have spent an awful lot of time and effort trying to highlight great new ways to make money for musicians, such that we're seeing that musicians are actually able to make more money than they did in the past -- and we celebrate whenever we such news.

Of course, we all know what's really going on. Part of the reason many of these musicians who are embracing new technologies and new business models are making more money than before is because those business models route around the gatekeepers that make up the RIAA and the CRIA. And those companies have a long history of keeping money away from musicians rather than helping them make a living. Most of the bloggers that Henderson is slamming love to see artists making money. They love to see creative new business models that are fan friendly and that allow fans to support artists. We don't believe that music is just a hobby. We think, in fact, that there are many more opportunities for musicians to make money. It's just that, quite frequently, those methods involve not filtering the money through Henderson's corporate masters, where they take an excessive cut.

But, as these industry folks continue to lie to politicians and the press, it's important to keep calling them out. I've still not heard any response on my open challenge to Jim Urie to talk about this publicly, so I'll issue the same challenge to Graham Henderson. Please, point out who these bloggers are, and show me how their reasons for being against your attempt to put forth unnecessary, damaging and ever more draconian copyright laws is because they think that "music is nothing more than a hobby." I'd be perfectly happy to discuss this publicly with Henderson, where we can discuss great new ways to help musicians make more money.

If Henderson can't do that, then it should be clear that he knows he's lying to the public, to the press and to politicians.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2010 @ 9:13am

    Again, it doesn't matter that you tell then entire world he doesn't have anything to back up his claims or that he's flat out wrong. He's the one the politicians will listen to down the line, because they live by the same fictional laws; and lobbyists are usually just good friends of politicians so... yeah, who cares really.

     

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  2.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Sep 27th, 2010 @ 9:21am

    They see the trends

    The trends that are happening to the record labels are ...

    1) Artists are leaving or not signing with the labels.
    2) More people are using CC and the like lisc.
    3) There is more to entertain us now (gaming, blogging, texting, etc)
    4) Everyone hates the record labels with a passion

    What they are doing is trying to use disinformation to kill the trends. In the past they had the ability to just ignore people who spoke out against the labels (one or two small voices). They no longer control what is being published or who views it. Now we are things are coming to a head and they can't control or stop what is happening or what is being said. They are trying though. The disinformation efforts against "copyleft" and labeling the CC, the efforts in canada against the "radicals" that want consumer protections in the copyright bill. What you are seeing is them using the tried and true old tactics in a world where those tactics no longer work.

     

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  3.  
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    The Rust Belt (profile), Sep 27th, 2010 @ 9:23am

    Re: They see the trends

    The question is how strong trends number 1 and 2 are.

     

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  4.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Sep 27th, 2010 @ 9:24am

    And so what?

    Why would music being a hobby be a bad thing? If they can deliver the same product in their spare time, just for grins, how does that hurt the consumer?

    Oh right. It's not really about them, is it?

    I'm appalled that I can't make a living scrapbooking. Something needs to be done!

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2010 @ 9:38am

    He's right

    I'd rather have music as a hobby than a product. A hobby is something you do for yourself; you create art as it's own reward or because you feel compelled to. Churning out a product to make some bucks or become famous doesn't benefit society.

     

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  6.  
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    Trails (profile), Sep 27th, 2010 @ 9:41am

    Re: And so what?

    It's not anyone complaining about music as a hobby, rather Graham Henderson is claiming some bloggers believe music should ONLY be a hobby. It is an absurd strawman.

     

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  7.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Sep 27th, 2010 @ 9:52am

    Re: Re: And so what?

    Right. My point is that if something that used to take a bajillion dollar industry can be done for grins and giggles, why would that be a problem?

    Unless you're dependent upon it being a bajillion dollar industry so you can suck your salary out of the revenue stream.

     

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  8.  
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    Hulser (profile), Sep 27th, 2010 @ 9:52am

    Re: Re: And so what?

    Graham Henderson is claiming some bloggers believe music should ONLY be a hobby.

    Right, but what CHT is saying is that even if this allegation were true, that there really were a bunch of bloggers out there saying that music should only be a hobby, would that really be such a bad thing?

    The problem of course isn't that the real opinion isn't that people shouldn't make money from music, just that there shouldn't be any expectation of a guarantee of making money from music. There's a huge distinction between these two ideas, but people like Graham Henderson like to conflate the two ideas in their attempt to remain relevant.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2010 @ 9:58am

    "There is a certain set of bloggers out there who think music is nothing more than a hobby, that it should be free"

    Right, and IBM makes open-source software and spends billions of dollars in open-source just for kicks. No way are they trying to run a business because, you know, it is impossible to make money by giving away software for free.

    It's impossible to, I dunno, sell services associated to software for example. Nope, can't be done. It's just a really expensive hobby.

    Hey Henderson, newsflash! Free software (or music) does not imply that there isn't a business model attached or that you cannot make a decent profit BASED ON (not FROM) intangible goods (music/software).

    Of course they already know that. They just can't stand it that people found a way to route around them and end up with even more money and more loyal fans than they could ever achieve by being stuck to a label.

     

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    Hulser (profile), Sep 27th, 2010 @ 9:59am

    No art before 1800's

    "There is a certain set of bloggers out there who think music is nothing more than a hobby, that it should be free. But I think Canadians as a whole are more open to supporting their creative industry and so we're finally at the point where Ottawa is going to act. I refuse to believe that this brand-new digital era is going to make beggars of creators and send them back to the 1800s."
    - Graham Henderson

    I guess I missed the day in history class where they went over the moment in the 1800s where humanity started to support the arts. All of that stuff in museums must not be nearly as old as they said they were.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Sep 27th, 2010 @ 10:34am

    Em...something wrong here

    "Graham Henderson, the head of the Canadian Recording Industry Association...going to Washington DC to lobby in favor of more draconian copyright laws."

    If I read that right, and Techdirt reported it correctly, this guy wants tougher copyright laws in Canada...by campaigning in the US.
    If I want a law passed here in Ireland, I don't campaign in Northern Ireland or the UK. I campaign IN THE COUNTRY I WANT THE LAW PASSED IN!

     

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  12.  
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    Karl (profile), Sep 27th, 2010 @ 11:09am

    Hobby = free?

    There is a certain set of bloggers out there who think music is nothing more than a hobby, that it should be free.

    The irony here is that those who create music as a "hobby" are more likely to actually make money than the majority of "professional" artists on a major label.

    This, I think, is his real target. Whenever I hear these types denigrate the "free" movement - and include people like Creative Commons - what I really hear is, "Hey artists! Don't listen to those pied pipers! Stick your fingers in your ears and go la la la I can't hear you!"

    It's all a calculated move to turn artists against the general public (i.e. their fans), so they'll continue to reach for the brass ring on the corporate merry-go-round. They point to storm clouds looming on the horizon, blame the "pirates" for the rain, and ask artists to ignore the cocks pissing on them from the penthouse windows.

    Sadly, it often works, and the recording industry gets famous stars to trumpet their cause as a celebrity endorsement. Even from artists who would normally view the industry as nothing more than scumbags and scammers - Don Henley springs to mind.

    But it's a desperate move from a desperate industry. It points to the fact that artists themselves are recognizing the labels' disappearing significance. And that, in general, is a good thing.

    Now, the question of how to fund "pro" art - that is, expensive art - is actually a good question. But it won't be answered by these dinosaurs.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Sep 27th, 2010 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re: They see the trends

    They are just a small part at this point but they are growing. Its a disruptive trend that will grow over time. Previously I mentioned the only thing the labels have left going for them is promotion. Once several big name artists start doing apprenticeship programs for new artists, start running online contests like american idol, or some other form of promotion for new artists happens, its all over for the labels and the Creative commons will be come the norm instead of the exception.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2010 @ 11:29am

    Henderson is out to lunch. I'm sure he and his wife (Cowboy Junkies) feel entitled to an endless revenue stream from CDR tarrifs/proposed I-Pod levies and the like. As an indie Canadian musician I'm telling you only the elite ever get or would get any of that money. His statements are an embarassment. I can't wait til he's out of a job. Arghh!

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Sep 27th, 2010 @ 11:37am

    Re: Re: Re: And so what?

    "Right. My point is that if something that used to take a bajillion dollar industry can be done for grins and giggles, why would that be a problem?"

    Its not a problem. What this is, is a part of a concerted effort to discredit anything non-label.

    Mike first line says it all - "There's been a bizarre shift lately in the recording industry's attempt to demonize people who believe in embracing new business models and new technologies in the music business."

    Things like ...

    Creative Commons is described as "the CopyLeft" ...
    Canadian Defenders of consumer rights are described as "Radicals" ...
    People wanting different business models see "music is nothing more than a hobby," and "that it should be free." ...

    These are becoming common for everything non-label or non-collection society. These phrases are targeted at artists and politicians. Its a rallying cry, and an attempt to maintain control. It smacks of fear, anger, and child like name calling.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2010 @ 12:07pm

    Re: He's right

    Ars Gratia Artis OR Art for Art's Sake

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2010 @ 12:28pm

    Hobby revenue

    If the performing and composition of music became just a hobby there would be even more revenue for those teaching people to sing, play the guitar, piano etc.

    In fact the majority of professional musicians have always made their main living by teaching. More hobby music means more revenue.

    As for going back to the 1800s - well I would love to see another Beethoven or Schubert - funnily enough the really great musicians seem to have died out just around about the time the current copyright regime took hold.

     

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  18.  
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    VancouverDave, Sep 27th, 2010 @ 12:59pm

    Re: And so what?

    To fit this model, you'd have to be appalled that you can't make a living from someone else's scrapbooking!

     

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  19.  
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    Chris, Sep 27th, 2010 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Em...something wrong here

    Unfortunately, it seems that the new copyright laws in Canada are being drafted, proposed, and driven by the US Trade Rep here - there has been overwhelming public rejection of the proposed bill (C-32), but the (spineless) Minister of Culture is saying that the because US is demanding it, we have no choice but to implement it. So, yes, lobbying in Washington IS the right place to get things changed in Canada.

    sigh.

     

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  20.  
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    NAMELESS ONE, Sep 27th, 2010 @ 2:08pm

    And here's my legal warning

    Just open your mouth and call me a pirate
    GO FOR IT MISTER FANCY PANTS
    it would be the nicest Christmas present any american could every have given me. Why? Because i pay a levy to that stupid organization that apparently isn't paying to the artists what it should.

    So slander and defamation of character just soooooooo comes to mind here. I wonder if what he is saying could be construed as such?

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2010 @ 2:36pm

    Is funny he thinks he can coerce me to part with my money telling me I'm a thief and have no rights.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2010 @ 5:32pm

    Re: He's right

    u

     

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  23.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Sep 27th, 2010 @ 5:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: And so what?

    "Its not a problem. What this is, is a part of a concerted effort to discredit anything non-label. "

    Yeah. I got that. My point was the generic response that anyone should have to that. "So what?"

     

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  24.  
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    Theranos, Sep 28th, 2010 @ 9:08am

    Shouldn't it be just a hobby though?

    Eh, actually there are a ton of us that believe that... Why should you get paid money just to produce sound? It's culture, not a business object, just like we shouldn't be making money off of our everyday conversations, why should someone else make money off doing so in a creative and artistic way? If they love their damn music so much, they should do it for free.

     

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  25.  
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    Bob Jonkman (profile), Sep 28th, 2010 @ 1:09pm

    Making money by giving away music for free

    This summer there was a free concert in our town. We really liked the band that played (Gavin Knight and the Rhythm Resurgence), and stopped to talk to them after the show; asked about websites and concert calendars and so on. Gavin Knight himself GAVE us a copy of the band's CD.

    We went to see them at The Boathouse a few weeks ago. And we'll be going to see them again next month.

    Now, these guys may be playing for a hobby; maybe they all have day jobs -- I don't know. But by giving away their music the first time, we're now paying for cover charges and restaurant meals so we can listen to the music we enjoy. There's lots of money to be made, not directly from selling the music, but from all the peripheral businesses that rely on the music industry.

    Graham Henderson is full of horse puckey, and can't prove a thing.

    --Bob.

     

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  26.  
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    Drew Wilson, Sep 28th, 2010 @ 1:57pm

    Thanks

    Thanks for posting this Mike. :)

    -Drew

     

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