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  • Feb 15, 2014 @ 04:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Perhaps some fact might help.

    We'll here's a fact, pal ... I'm looking at my royalty statement... One of my songs has had over 1,250,000 plays on Pandora and my payment is $35.00. Pandora apparently thinks that's too much.

    I don't sing. I don't perform. I write songs. My business model is writing songs.

    Westergren has sold millions and millions of dollars worth of Pandora's stock and is stuffing money hand over fist into his personal bank account while I can't afford to take my family to McDonald's for dinner.

    On top of that, he's spent over $10 million in court and in Washington trying to reduce what I get paid.

    Tim has done nothing illegal, of course, but being dedicated to screwing over the people (songwriters) who make it possible for his business - and every other business - in the music industry to exist seems several step down from unconscionable.

  • Feb 14, 2014 @ 09:49pm

    Re: Re: Perhaps some fact might help.

    They recently made a handshake deal with ASCAP that increased the amount they would pay to songwriters. NOT TRUE. Therefore, the reason you give for the withdrawal of Universal and Sony has no basis in fact.

    Because there is a certain amount of choice with Pandora, Pandora and terrestrial radio are not the same product so their rates should not be equal.

    And, if you want to talk about shenanigans, Pandora bought a tiny terrestrial radio station in the middle of nowhere so it could claim that it's entire service should be treated like terrestrial radio. The judge threw the scam out in an instant.

    Who's zoomin' who?

  • Feb 14, 2014 @ 02:43pm

    Re: Perhaps some fact might help.

    John Fenderson: "I don't know enough about the industry to have an opinion ... "

    That's Mike Masnick's problem spiced up with a load of inflammatory speculation in order to whip the truly clueless into a torch and pitch fork frenzy - for what purpose is unclear.

    It's hard to believe that anyone could hate songwriters (co owners - with music publishers - of ASCAP) that much.

    Did you read the NY Times article? This is not about songwriters and record companies ... as Mike states in his flame throwing headline.

  • Feb 14, 2014 @ 08:16am

    Perhaps some fact might help.

    This is about songwriters and music publishers .... ASCAP deals with people who write songs --- not the people involved with the recordings of songs (record companies.) Two separate copyrights, two separated sets of issues.

    While the music publishing companies owned by record companies are involved, record companies receive 49 percent of Pandora's revenue while songwriters and their music publishers split 4% - 2% to songwriters and 2% to their publishers.

    Pandora wants to drive the songwriter's share down.

    Record companies are happy with their current share and don't want to see it diminished if songwriters are paid more. Remember salary bonuses are based on what a company's division makes, not on what the combination of divisions make. The heads of record companies don't mind keeping royalties paid to their publishing divisions and songwriters low as it means more in their personal pockets at the end of the year.

    Rather than formulating opinions based on Mike's totally inaccurate and twisted presentation, perhaps a few of you who actually give a damn about what is really going on might want to take a look at:

    Pandora Suit May Upend Century-Old Royalty Plan
    By Ben Sisario -- from the New York Times

    Songwriters are the basis for the entire music industry ... without them, there is no music industry ... Think about it, and think about fairness.

  • Oct 11, 2010 @ 04:27pm

    ASCAPlus Is A Unique Program

    Alex ...

    Your ancient rhetoric - wrong from the start - is especially out of date today...

    BMI's log driven survey (which, by the way, was a sample survey) was always ripe for gaming or laziness. Gaming, in the sense that jocks would take payoffs to list songs they never played ... and laziness, because jocks were prone to including the shorter titles when they were forced to do logs whether they played the songs or not. Just so you know ... every jock didn't do logs all the time ... The log procedure moved from one group of stations to another and the results were expanded to cover all stations.... like, you know, a 'sample survey.'

    ASCAP NEVER has had a direct interaction with disc jockies, station managers, music directors and anyone else who had the power to determine the outcome of their surveys.

    Today, ASCAP, electronically monitors every play on over 2500 stations in the US .. from college stations to major city stations ... Full census ... the other stations are taped and the tapes are reviewed. There is no broader survey in the world.

    Perhaps, something else you might find interesting about your beloved BMI ... they are owned by the people they license! Broadcasters!!

    Now I wonder if there might be a little conflict of interest there ... Broadcasters hate to pay songwriters ... or any other creator (like artists) that provide the music they play.

    BMI was established by broadcasters to create competition in the market place in order to drive down the cost of music ... They have been very effective ... For the most part broadcasters pay less for music in the US than anywhere else in the world.

    Now, as for PROs favoring the artists on major labels, that's pure nonsense ... All PROs pay based on the number of performances they survey ... They pay based on a percentage of the advertising revenues collected by the broadcasters. They pay more in big cities where advertising revenues are high and less in small cities and college campuses where advertising revenues are small ... they are agnostic with respect to the source of the music played (ie indie or major label.)

    In the 50's and early 60's when independent record labels controlled 60 - 70% of the market the writers of the songs on the indie labels got paid as much as the writers of the songs on the major labels ... and that's the way is remains today ... only now the majors rule.

    If, as an indie, you could get your song on major stations, you'd get paid the same as everyone else. PROs have NO input on what gets played on radio ... or anywhere else ... that's not their function.

    As for open mic nights ... For every club that says it's shutting down because of PRO fees, there are hundreds of clubs across the US that stay open and have no problem with the fees ... Reality is that club owners, for the most part, pay about the cost of a glass of beer a night for their music licenses. If a club owner can't make a profit on top of fees like that, I'm sure they are looking to get out of the open mic business and have a convenient scape goat in the PROs to blame.

    Although the PROs - and especially ASCAP - offer all kinds of workshops, benefits, industry advise, protection, collection and legislative wherewithal, they are not designed to be your mama ... It's up to you to find your own way to success ...

  • Oct 08, 2010 @ 08:42am

    ASCAPlus Is A Unique Program

    I think it is important to know that no other PRO in the entire world has such a program.

    No other society pays songwriters (music publishers do not receive payments from ASCAPlus) for unsurveyed performances - for example performances of their own songs at 'open mic nights' in local bars, etc..

    If payments from this program are reduced by a small factor to reflect the realities of our economic downturn and the impact of the move into the digital world, a songwriter still earns 100% more than he or she would from any other society because no other society offers anything like this unique program.

    ASCAP, in fact, does more than any other society in the world to support emerging songwriters. The ASCAPlus program is a small part of that support.

    You know a visit to the ASCAP website would give you a pretty good idea of what it offers all of its members irrespective of their current stature in the music business.

    I know you find great joy in blasting away at ASCAP -- just what is it you hate about songwriters, who, by the way, along with music publishers, own ASCAP - no other PRO in the US can make that statement.

  • Aug 25, 2010 @ 09:36am

    Other Rights To Consider

    1. These are not orphan works ... they are bootlegs, made, apparently without the knowledge of the participants. Issues other than copyright issues are involved - not the least of which is the contractual relationship between the artists and their labels. Most label deals prevent the artist from recording for commercial release by any other entity during the term of the recording agreement. Unless a waiver was secured from the record companies before recording, the tracks cannot be released without label approval. Congress is unlikely to take a position on contractual relationships.

    2. There are also union issues. Royalties, pension, welfare and health care issues might come into play here... and, seeing as the National Jazz Museum has done such a wonderful job of tracking down all the participants, these issues can easily be dealt with.

    3. And let's not forget about the songwriters. If these recordings are to be sold ... licensed must be secured. Congress is unlikely to touch that issue with a 10 foot pole when the owners of 98% of the music can be easily found. Streaming, too, requires a license from a performing rights organization ... easy to get.

    There are 100 tracks involved ... clearing will be somewhat difficult but not impossible. We've got enough problems in this country that Congress can't seem to handle ... This would be a complete waist of time on their part ... and the part of out nation's well being.

  • Jul 21, 2010 @ 10:37pm

    Re: Re: Business Models That Work Great Without Copyright

    Mike: The songwriters you've helped are?

  • Jul 18, 2010 @ 09:37am

    Business Models That Work Great Without Copyright

    Mikey writes: "We've discussed tons of business models that work great without copyright..."

    You've NEVER discussed a SINGLE model on this list that works without copyright.

    Copyright is the legal (and moral) foundation that grants creators the right to do whatever THEY want with their creations... including giving them away for free if THEY so chose.

    What you have suggested over, and over, and over, and over again is that creators be FORCED to give up their rights.

    You want copyright decimated so creators are defenseless. You don't want them to be able to fight back against the NEW middlemen (i.e. the builders of new technologies) who have proven time and time again that they are willing to rape creators to make billions... You know, the Googles, Pirate Bays, and Limewires of the world...

    People like you, Larry Lessig, the EFF, Public Knowledge and the Marxist professors at Stanford and Harvard are using the smoke screen of the 'evil corporate middlemen' to achieve your goals of destroying creator's rights ... and, quite frankly, you are very effective... but, those you will screw - more than the professional creators you obviously despise - are consumers - who, after sucking the last 100 years of spectacular entertainment into their computers without paying, will wake up one morning to discover that there is very little new that really interests them because those that would have produced it will have been forced to chose careers other than being creative to feed their families ...

    Keep supporting the NEW evil middlemen, Mikey, and let mediocrity reign.

  • Jul 16, 2010 @ 08:57am

    Copyright Serves Creators

    Copyright is all about choice for creators ... Under the law creators own their copyrights from the moment they create them and can do anything they please with them.

    With all of the new technologies creators can easily avoid middlemen if they so choose and assume all of the responsibilities and take advantage of all of the opportunities traditionally handled by middlemen.

    The copyright law was written to set forth creator's rights and give them optimum choice. It should not be changed now that they can more easily exercise their choices.

    What needs to happen is that those that love what creators create need to understand and respect creator's rights so creators can thrive and consumers can continue to enjoy the fruits of their creations.

    What the public also needs to understand going forward is that a partnership between creators and consumers is how the world has to work if our culture and humanity is to continue to expand.

  • Jan 09, 2010 @ 08:52am

    Re: Re: Copyright Gives Creators Have Every Option Imaginable

    Anonymouse says: "So's the recording industry."

    Which I'm guessing is in response to my comment:

    "Oh, and did you hear, Jamendo, a community of free, legal music published with Creative Commons licenses is in financial trouble and looking to sell?"

    And I say, so what? The record industry's problems are the record industry's problems ... if they aren't cleaver enough to find a way to make a profit by promoting artists ... then they should die.

    My point is this ... the great free society people thought the Creative Commons was going to bring us ... ain't happening either. Nobody give a crap about music nobody give a crap about... the artists who contribute to the Creative Commons obviously don't give a crap about their music... so who will?

    Copyright provides a path for independent artists... they have yet to find that path ... The power in now in their hands to do so. I wish them God's speed. And, you should support them by not stealing from them.

    As stated by Chris Castle: ...contrary to the popular cant, there is not a market failure online. You cannot have a market failure if you have no market, and you cannot have a market without enforceable property rights.

    Everyone artist needs to fight for their right to make - and get paid for their music.

    Everyone should support the artists efforts to find their own way.

  • Jan 08, 2010 @ 09:13am

    Copyright Gives Creators Have Every Option Imaginable

    Here's how the law works: The moment you create something you own it lock, stock and barrel. It's your property. You have exclusive rights to everything!

    Now, it's up to you to determine what YOU want to do with YOUR property. Like any other piece of property you can say 'yes' or 'no' to whatever opportunity comes along. You determine if you want to turn your rights over to someone else, and, if so, how many or few of the rights you own and for how long.

    Like any other negotiation, the determining factor usually has to do with what those who wish to acquire your rights promise in return.

    Therefore, the most important thing a creator can do is understand what rights he or she owns at the date of creation - and what the consequences and opportunities might be if he or she decides to assign those rights to others.

    If creators want to go it on their own ... today's world gives them every opportunity to do so ... until they sign on the dotted line.

    Oh, and did you hear, Jamendo, a community of free, legal music published with Creative Commons licenses is in financial trouble and looking to sell?

  • Dec 03, 2009 @ 07:38am

    Re: So Joe

    Anonymous Coward writes:
    "If songwritiers are not related to the RIAA then how is downloading RIAA-related material relevant?"

    70% of the songs used on recordings distributed by RIAA member record companies are not written by the artists who perform them. Songwriters are paid by the piece ... so, they don't get paid when a song is illegally downloaded. Those songwriters who don't perform, therefore, are shit out of luck when it comes to getting paid for their work.

    Is is a crime against humanity for songwriters to have their songs recorded by artists whose music is distributed by an RIAA member company? Should they say, "I refuse to have my songs recorded by any artist whose label is related to the RIAA?

    Stand along songwriters are thrilled when ANYBODY cuts one of their songs... it happens so infrequently. They don't deserved to be raped as a result of your vendetta against the RIAA.

  • Dec 02, 2009 @ 02:39pm

    Auditrix - Thank You

    Nice to hear the voice of experience on this list ... she's exactly right when she describes how the business works ...

    Oh, and speaking of business ... Tim's band is (was) a business. Tim and his band owned all their rights before entering into an agreement with Warner Bros in return for certain good and valuable considerations including the payment of royalties.

    Entering into an agreement with Warner Bros did not relieve him of his responsibility as the proprietor of a business. He is not a child and should stop whining like a child and act like an adult.

    If he is not happy with his statements, as a business person he should first question the record company ... If not satisfied with the answers, hire an auditor (although I don't know her, I would feel comfortable with Auditrix just because of her responses here). If the auditor finds discrepancies that record company won't correct, he should hire an attorney ... We're big boys, we're business people, we should act like big boys and business people.

    Remember this is show BUSINESS.

    I do have one question for Tim ... did he ever walk down the hall and ask Rhapsody's royalty department how much they paid Warner Bros ...? I'll bet it's near zip. In general long tail acts aren't generating perceivable income from download streaming or sales ...

    I don't want to sound like I am defending Warner Bros... Auditrix is right when she says their equipment and staffs aren't up to the task of handling royalties appropriately ... Much of that has to do with complicated and varied artist royalty provisions in the original recording agreements exacerbated by the overlaying of even more complex royally requirements set up by royalty boards and the courts.

    That's why if you want to be in the business of making music ... you have to get your head our of la la land and become a business man yourself - or hire competent, tax deductible, help.

    Come on... artists are talking about their own lives here ... they have to realize that life in the music business isn't just making music with your friends ...

  • Nov 20, 2009 @ 08:36am


    Don't think you were thinking at all, Daemon_ZOGG ... a common state when one subscribes to the precept that ignorance is bliss.

  • Nov 19, 2009 @ 04:01pm

    How true it is

    All performing rights societies have specific rules for resigning membership ... The real question to ask is, "how long are you committed to the relationship." At ASCAP you can resign at the end of every year ... at BMI you must commit for 5 years. If you miss the resignation requirement to get out at the end of 5 years, you are automatically committed to another 5 years ... and so on and so on and so on.

    Both organizations are not for profit and strive to keep expenses as low as possible ... ASCAP's overhead is among the lowest in the world for PROs. The most important thing for me is that ASCAP is owned by its members - writers and publishers and run by a board of directors democratically elected from its membership by its membership. BMI, on the other hand is owned by broadcasters, with a board of directors made up of broadcasters. BMI's members (affiliates, actually) have no say whatsoever in the running of BMI ...

    What strikes in my mind as being important about the governance of each organization is that the primary source of income for all PROs is BROADCASTERS!

    Knowing what you know now, which organization would you think has the best interest of writers and publisher in mind ... one run by writers and publishers or one run by broadcasters who, with their broadcaster hats on, spend millions of dollars a year in legal fees trying to reduce the amount of money they have to pay to ... writers and publishers!

  • Nov 19, 2009 @ 01:11pm

    Setting the record straight ... again.

    At ASCAP you don't have to write a hit to get paid if your songs are performed in venues Masnick addresses in this blog. In fact, just today there is an article describing a program unique to ASCAP that makes such payments. All writers have to do is apply. No other PRO offers a program like this. Gee, Mr. Masnick, perhaps a little research on your part rather than making things up as you go would have been useful. But, of course, getting at the truth has never been your M.O..

    ASCAP Distributes $2.7 Million In ASCAPlus Cash Awards
    Approximately $2.7 million in cash awards for 2009 - 2010 has been made to writer members of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) by the Society's ASCAPlus Awards Panels. The purpose of these special awards is to reward writers whose works have a unique prestige value for which adequate compensation would not otherwise be received, and to compensate those writers whose works are performed substantially in media not surveyed by ASCAP.

  • Nov 17, 2009 @ 09:45am

    Re: Re: Re: The Old Apples and Oranges Game Again

    From a non performing songwriter's point of view it's not a trade off ... it's a disaster. Songwriters get paid per unit sold .. they aren't on salary and generally don't get paid big advances ... Therefore, tanking CD sales that aren't being replaced by increasing digital sales have a dramatic negative effects on the bottom line of their royalty statements.

    Most songwriters aren't performing artists ... most performing artists aren't songwriters.

  • Nov 17, 2009 @ 07:26am

    The Old Apples and Oranges Game Again

    PRS is about songwriters and music publishers not about recording artists and record companies... two separate rights, two separate issues ...

    PRS's income is rising because they have started to aggressively license businesses (including bars, grills and restaurants and general business users) that play music to enhance their profits. The money goes to songwriters and music publisher 70% of whom are not performers.

    If you look closely at the chart you will see a tiny increase in live income for artists offset by a drop in their income from recorded revenue.

    For those artists assuming all the back end costs of bringing their product to market, it would appear they are losing ground ... not gaining it ... something the mainstream press really ought to take a look at.

  • Jul 05, 2009 @ 06:19pm

    It's The Expression of an Idea That Counts

    "I spent a ton of my time *working with* content creators helping them improve their business models and (b) many of the posts here show content creators how to earn MORE MONEY doing what they love to do the most."...Mike

    And, that's your problem, Mike, you are narrowly focused on performing artists - and only those who are self contained.

    You chose to ignore the fact that well over 80% of the music that fills our lives is created, produced and made available by people that aren't featured artists and/or don't perform live and/or don't perform at all - as is the case with 60-70% of the songwriters who write songs for artists who can't write.

    Now as for my *** List of bizarre nonsensical statements about barring profit (which you) deleted *** please explain why anyone should be allowed to profit if those who create music are precluded from doing so - and please don't come back at me with the "Four Haircuts can make a decent living playing shit holes for the rest of their lives" routine.

    Being an artist, I can tell you that that crap gets real old real fast... especially when you grow up and real life kicks in.

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