by Mike Masnick
Thu, May 19th 2011 12:18pm
by Glyn Moody
Thu, May 19th 2011 7:15am
from the but-think-about-the-artists dept
The fact that the vast majority of creators earn most money soon after producing their work, and relatively little years later, means that taking copyright back to the original 14-year term specified in the Statute of Anne would have minimal effect on them, but it's an undeniably clever pitch.
In reality, the copyright industry couldn't give two hoots about the artists it feeds off, as the following makes clear:
RIAA spokesman Jonathan Lamy previously told TorrentFreak that the ‘damages’ accrued from piracy-related lawsuits will not go to any of the artists, but towards funding more anti-piracy campaigns. “Any funds recouped are re-invested into our ongoing education and anti-piracy programs,” he said.
If the copyright industry *really* cared about the artists, this money would go straight into their deserving pockets.
Moreover, this "re-investment" in anti-piracy programmes makes such actions self-fueling: the money supposedly gained for those poor, starving wretches is actually used to fund the next action, which funds the next action, and so on.
This means that the copyright organisations have a real incentive to choose a strategy that privileges heavy-handed enforcement over new business models. The latter might result in creators getting paid more, while the former ensures that the fat-cats running the enforcement machine continue to lap up the cream....
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Cross posted from Open....
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Oct 7th 2010 12:51pm
ASCAP Tells Artists It's Cutting Their Payments As It Brags To The Press How Much More Money It's Collecting
from the whose-interests? dept
ASCAP cut payments to some members of it's ASCAPlus program by 20-30%. "Unfortunately, because of the fiscal climate, less money was available this year for the award program," ASCAP said in a letter to those receiving checks.Ah, right. The tough economic climate. We do know about that. But... wait. Here's an ASCAP press release from just five months ago, claiming it was bringing in more money than ever:
"Music is performed more often, in more places, in more ways by more businesses than ever before. That expanded music use, combined with dramatic ASCAP Membership growth, market share increases and effective strategic management have led to stunning revenue and distribution growth for 2009."Okay, so ASCAP is collecting more money and distributing more money, but it's cutting the amount given to ASCAPlus members by a huge amount. What's ASCAPlus? Ah, right, the smaller artists who can't make a big stink about this:
"writer members of any genre whose performances are primarily in venues not surveyed; and/or writer members whose catalogs have prestige value for which they would not otherwise be compensated."In other words, ASCAP appears to be taking more money away from small artists, and giving it to their biggest artists. No wonder ASCAP's Paul Williams refuses to debate Larry Lessig, claiming he'd rather focus on "fair compensation to music creators." Unless you're a smaller, less well known artist. Then ASCAP wants your share to be a little less fair. Actually, quite a bit less fair. Like 20 to 30%.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Mar 18th 2010 10:06pm
from the there-are-strategies dept
Then there's an interview of Dan Bull, known around these parts for his musically brilliant open letters to Lily Allen and Peter Mandelson. In the interview, he discusses his views on the music business and things like file sharing. He notes that he's mainly "against... enforcing backwards laws in order to cling onto an obsolete business model."
Next up, is an interview with Matt Stockman who is starting up a new record label, called Sharabang, which plans to give away its music for free to "open up other revenue streams."
No matter what industry you're in, to thrive you must firstly listen to your customers. For Sharabang Music it's about listening to music lovers, how music is now consumed and adapting to this to offer genuine choices. What we're actually doing by offering music fans a choice is trying to put the value back into recorded music by diversifying the product range and offering far more than can simply be sent over the internet.The whole interview is interesting, as Sharabang is working hard to come up with interesting scarcities. One cool idea is that every concert of a band on the label will be filmed with audience participation encouraged. And there will also be limited edition t-shirts that are tied to a specific event or group, to encourage people to buy more and "wear them with pride." We keep hearing more and more about companies stepping up to help artists embrace new business models, so it's great to hear of one more that appears to understand the best way to face the modern era.
There are some other parts to the discussion as well -- some I agree with and others I disagree with, but overall there are some great viewpoints and thoughts on this general issue of how musicians can adapt to a changing world. Perhaps none of it's really all that different from what we usually discuss around here, but it's still great to see how different people are expressing their opinions on the issue.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jan 7th 2010 9:35pm
from the which-one-is-better-for-creativity? dept
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.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.
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.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Dec 7th 2009 7:22am
from the entitlement-culture dept
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Dec 3rd 2009 2:55am
from the down-under-confusion dept
Of course, that's not true. In reality, if those earlier works are so valuable, so are many newer works as well -- which the artist can create and sell for much more than ever before. Meanwhile, the problem with an artist resale right is it actually decreases the incentive for anyone to buy the original artwork, knowing that they'll have to sell it for that much more before they can actually make a profit -- since they'll have to kick back fees to the artists. It adds an unnecessary tax that acts as friction in the art market. The Australian plan tries to limit at least some of this issue by only having the resale tax kick in after the second resale. But, of course, this just moves the unnecessary friction up a level, and doesn't change the thought process that goes into the buying decision. With any other product, once you sell it, you've sold it. It makes no sense to allow the original creator to retain a cut of any later sale. Imagine if that were the case with cars or houses as well? Who would ever think that was reasonable?
by Michael Ho
Mon, Sep 28th 2009 11:54pm
from the symbiotic-content dept
The details of this deal are a bit unclear to me, but it sounds like Scher gets free publicity for his work -- and the New York Times gets some interesting content that might help promote its own reputation (and reason to buy). Also, according to Rosefelt, Scher retains ownership of his artwork, but the NYT has an exclusive license to show his work for the first month that it's on the NYT site. While that detail may appear to be a shrewd clause for NYT to help it gain audience, it shouldn't rely too heavily on that exclusivity. The NYT needs to focus on providing interesting and unique content all the time -- and the month-long time limit suggests that someone in the deal might understand that fact. But in any case, this is yet another example of how providing digital content for free can create a viable business for an artist.
In the bigger picture, though, this promotion alone obviously won't budge the NYT's bottomline. However, this deal highlights one of the NYT's strengths: that it can help artists (not just journalists) to connect with a large community -- and an expanded business could be built around that strength. There's an opportunity here for newspapers to reach broader audiences with content (beyond news) that is not a commodity. Experiments like this could point to more newspapers turning to curating unique content and providing more useful services to readers -- services that can't easily be copied.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jul 17th 2009 6:47pm
from the protecting-designs-makes-no-sense dept
"They believe that each time they create something, it is not they who worked, but it is God who worked through their human body and soul," Gunawan said. "Being grateful [to God] is sufficient for them."What's funny, then, is to see the politicians fret about this, worrying how people in Malaysia might copyright the design first and "there is little that we can do." Except... if the designers don't care, what needs to be done? If someone else profits from it, so what? How does that harm the original designer?
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jun 9th 2009 8:23am
from the get-it-straight dept
The music business is about relationship. And now it's the artist's turn to have one.But, today, that equation has changed, and artists need to learn how to have very different types of relationships -- and it's difficult for some:
Success in the music business once hinged on only a handful of relationships: a publicist and a magazine, a salesman and a bookstore, a radio promoter and a radio station, a booking guy and a promoter, an artist and a manager, a writer and a publisher. If all these relationships were working, if all parties' interests were respected and pursued, if no personalities collided to the point of impeding progress, then the project or artist they were tied to would succeed (from a business standpoint.)
Technologies can foster relationships. But not without a lot of personal investment and intentionality from an artist.I know that whenever we write stories about artists successfully connecting with fans, we get angry messages from music industry folks about "what if artists don't want to connect with fans." What Shaun is suggesting here is that if they don't, then they're not going to have the type of relationships necessary in the modern music world. In some ways, saying "what if musicians don't want to interact with fans" is the equivalent of saying "and what if Widget Co.'s employees don't want to interact with customers." That's fine... but then they can't complain when their widgets don't sell. Shaun concludes by stating:
This is a big shift in thinking for artists, especially at the top levels of this industry. Artists aren't accustomed to being so accessible, accountable and out of control. Artists are accustomed to being in front of audiences that care about what they do, audiences they know are fans and they keep in the seats for a couple hours by charging a ticket price. But on-line, where spending time with an artist is free, anybody can wander into the crowd, boo, change the subject, or walk out. And they will.
Also, artists are used to hiring people to handle their relationships for them. That's at least 90% of what a manager does. Labels congratulate and critique through a manager, for instance, who adds his own diplomatic spin to every word so the artist's feelings aren't hurt and the relationship is preserved. Not so on-line. Someone can be hired to hit the "publish" button on a blog post that gets e-mailed over, invite people to a Facebook event and even write to people for an artist and signed their name (it happens), but no one can convincingly be the artist every day in post after post or interact with commenters regularly. Artists can't hire anyone to be them 24/7 and the internet demands those kind of hours.
If the music industry dies it won't be because everything changed. It will be because artists didn't. Artists today have to - no, we get to - do what the rest of the industry and human race has been doing for eons: We get to be real human beings spending time with other real human beings. There's no shortcut for that.This is a fantastic point. In my MidemNet presentation about how Trent Reznor connected with fans and gave them a reason to buy, one point I raised briefly (which got a laugh from the audience) was the crazy idea that some of Reznor's actions made him "seem human," and how rare that was in the music industry. It's a point that bares repeating, so I'm glad Shaun called it out (and that Mark alerted me to it). Nearly every success story we've discussed has had that in common: it's about making the artists seem human -- and that helps people feel like they want to help the artists out and they want to pay for things, rather than feeling pressured or coerced into paying.