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[P]
Should Record Companies Own Copyrights?

By bouncing in Op-Ed
Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 07:56:49 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

A long standing method for dealing with monopolistic, threatening, and racketeering businesses has been to ban certain companies from participating in vertical market integration. To combat the increasingly visible corruption and racketeering in the music industry, we should look to restructuring the industry similar to how the railroad industry was restructuring under FDR. I argue record companies should not own copyrights.


Vertical market integration is when a company takes over neighboring branches of a supply chain. For example, if a car manufacturer acquires a steel company, that is vertical market integration. Sometimes, this kind of behavior is regulated or banned because of egregious abuses of power. The music industry is already integrated vertically, but it doesn't have to be.

Banning record labels from owning copyrights and signing contracts granting them copyright-like power would have two effects if implemented properly. The first is, disgruntled artists, owning the copyrights to their own work, would be able at any time to simply stop doing business with offending companies. The second effect is an artist would be free to distribute her works through multiple record companies.

Consider this for a moment. If the music industry were restructured to limit record companies to simply distributing music, and not producing music or protecting the artists' intellectual property, artists would be free to decide what to allow and what to litigate on their own. It would open music to competition.

For example, your favorite band could release its latest album on four record companies, through distribution agreements and not copyright transfers. The artist could require $3 per CD from each distribution company. The actual CD prices would be determined by each distribution company, as they compete to undercut each other above the $3 royalty.

There are countless other examples of how artists rights would be restored, not destroyed, by copyrights. Artists could not be sued for posting their own music online, artists could not be compelled to change their names as Prince was. Consumers would have a choice of distribution companies to purchase the same music from.

Are those effects realistic? Can this be implemented? I think perhaps it can. Consider for a moment that the basic structure of the music industry is flawed, and it it were restructured, both artists and consumers would benefit.

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Should Record Companies Own Copyrights? | 149 comments (149 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Should Record Companies Own Copyrights? (2.44 / 9) (#1)
by RQuinn on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 05:47:16 PM EST

The sane answer: No.

The capitalist answer: Yes.

What? (3.50 / 4) (#6)
by rebelcool on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 05:52:05 PM EST

Take an economics class. There is nothing about copyrights that is essential to capitalism.

Stop spreading your ignorance.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

As many will tell you (5.00 / 2) (#44)
by jayhawk88 on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 11:56:14 PM EST

Economics class has little to do with economic theory in the real world.

If the record companies (or the people in charge of movies, tv, books, and software for that matter) can convince enough lawmakers and people of power that copyrights are essential to capitalism, then guess what? They become essential to cpitalism.

Why, then, should we grant government the Orwellian capability to listen at will and in real time to our communications across the Web? -- John Ashcroft
[ Parent ]
Should copyrights exist? (3.50 / 2) (#28)
by Mysidia on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 08:18:19 PM EST

The capitalist answer: No.

The sane answer: Yes, but should be heavily limited and have a very short lifetime.



-Mysidia the insane @k5+SN
[ Parent ]
mabie (2.00 / 7) (#2)
by nodsmasher on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 05:50:11 PM EST

they should be sued as monopolies to be broken up
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Most people don't realise just how funny cannibalism can actually be.
-Tatarigami
Copyright and Monopoly (4.00 / 1) (#69)
by dennis on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 08:41:48 AM EST

Lotta ones on the above comment. This hardly seems fair, because the Justice Department is, in fact, up investigating these companies for antitrust violations. And on Feb.22 of this year, Judge Patel made a Napster ruling that the labels must not only prove that they owned the copyrights in question, but that they did not used the copyrights to illegally suppress competition. If they did use their copyrights illegally, they will lose the right to enforce them.

[ Parent ]
Already the case in France (4.80 / 5) (#3)
by linca on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 05:50:20 PM EST

In France, Les Droits d'Auteurs, Author's right on his creation, are unalienable : When someone composes a song, it is not possible for anyone to buy that "right" on the work, which includes copying, plagiarising, and some amount of money each time it is sold. This exists not only on Music but also on books, and perhaps on movies. However, since that was installed a long time ago, it concerns the written version of the music, not the actual recording ; and record companies are quite powerful. (Ever heard of Vivendi Universal? It seems to own half of France's music).

Vivendi also own Blizzard.makers of Diablo (3.00 / 1) (#11)
by maroberts on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 06:09:28 PM EST

...and have huge debts and losses for the last financial year.
~~~
The greatest trick the Devil pulled was to convince the world he didn't exist -- Verbil Kint, The Usual Suspects
[ Parent ]
Obviously the artists think so (3.66 / 6) (#4)
by PresJPolk on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 05:50:46 PM EST

Why don't you leave it to the artists to decide how to sell their work?

The ones who make it big get a pretty good bargain, so let the rest gamble. It's their work, not yours.

It can't be done (4.50 / 2) (#8)
by bouncing on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 06:01:46 PM EST

Few artists are willing to turn down a record deal. The chance for exposure by signing onto a major record label is simply too big to pass up. But the fact is, both artists and consumers are being exploited by the current system.

[ Parent ]
that's the trade-off (4.75 / 4) (#13)
by Delirium on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 06:15:57 PM EST

An unknown band, by signing to a major label, gets massively expensive publicity and advertising done for them completely out of proportion to how popular they are or what they would've been able to do on their own. In return, they agree to give a good part of their profits to the label in the unlikely event that they become popular (most of them don't become popular, and so the label gives them free advertising and gets nothing in return). If they are confident of being able to make it on their own, they don't have to sign to a major. Of course then they won't get the free advertising, but that's how it works -- if you want them to give you something (pay lots of money to advertising your product) then you have to expect to give them something in return (an exclusive license to your product should it happen to be successful).

[ Parent ]
Record companies are venture capitalists (4.75 / 4) (#25)
by leviramsey on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 07:36:09 PM EST

Think about it. Someone develops the prototype for a new widget (an artist is playing shows at small clubs). They go to the Venture Capitalist who, if they like the pitch (an A&R man hears a demo or goes to a show), give some money and hire a bunch of executives to make the company succeed (the record company hires a producer to see that the record gets made). In return, the record company gets exclusive distribution rights.

In the ideal world, this works perfectly. However, most startup workers have horror stories about the stupidity of the VC's and their executives. By the same token, the record execs and producers are, more often than not, total morons, who have no business sense whatsoever. Witness the inflation in studio costs. Witness the insane costs of promotional videos, even as MTV's viewership (especially of videos) declines. Yet, the record industry still insists that artists spend months in the studio (when a few weeks is more than sufficient) and spend a million bucks on the video. (Kinda like the VC's during the internet boom who would insist on buying 32-node Sun clusters with an OC-192 to the backbone and a $100 million ad campaign for a pet store (!), ain't it?)

[ Parent ]

yah yah yah (5.00 / 1) (#51)
by streetlawyer on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 02:39:36 AM EST

However, most startup workers have horror stories about the stupidity of the VC's and their executives.

You should hear the fucking stories we tell about you.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

scheduling a visit to Planet Earth? (5.00 / 2) (#52)
by streetlawyer on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 02:41:24 AM EST

Yet, the record industry still insists that artists spend months in the studio (when a few weeks is more than sufficient)

I'm guessing you're talking out of your ass here. The record industry would love it if a well-produced album could be knocked out in a couple of weeks. But it can't. End of. Ten times out of ten, when a band spends too long in the studio, it is because of artist laziness.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

heavy production (5.00 / 2) (#100)
by ucblockhead on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 01:50:18 PM EST

That's because it takes massive production facilities to mask the fact that the no-talent bimbos that they are selling to Pepsi can't sing.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
really? (5.00 / 1) (#114)
by streetlawyer on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 02:22:19 AM EST

Are you going to try to argue that Mariah Carey, for example, can't sing? In actual fact, the only real way to disguise the fact that your singer can't sing is to write songs in flat keys with a range of about four notes. Which a) can be done whatever style of production you use and b) is a tactic that I'm going to guess you won't be criticising, since you favourably mentioned Nirvana elsewhere.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
singing (none / 0) (#115)
by ucblockhead on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 02:29:32 AM EST

Mariah Carey can sing quite well. I was, of course, referring to Britney.

Anyway, you can get away with a lack of a singing ability if you can a) write your own songs, b) play an instrument and c) don't hide it with production.

(c) is really the important one...no one ever overproduced Nirvana in order to hide the failings of the artist. And yes, there's a lot more ways than songwriting to hide a crappy voice.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Alvays vith ze Britney, oy! (5.00 / 1) (#116)
by streetlawyer on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 03:21:15 AM EST

Two points)

1) I have no idea why you think Britney Spears cannot sing; the only way I think someone could sustain this idea would be a bizarre Milli Vanilli style conspiracy theory. She's clearly got range and volume, and probably does more live vocal performances in two or three months than Kurt Cobain did in his entire life.

2) Butch Vig is a very clever producer indeed, and certainly spent a lot of time producing the Nevermind album. The most technical task in production is getting a drum sound right, and you can hear the pains taken with respect to Nirvana. It's not possible to run the entire music industry on the basis that every town has someone of that calibre hanging round with a Portastudio waiting to record albums for six hundred dollars; Vig himself certainly doesn't work for that kind of money any more.

In related news, I have no idea what's motivating your obsession with writing your own songs and playing an instrument; I don't see why this should be a desirable moral quality and it's not a musical property at all.

If you want a coutnerexample that would actually make me think, then try dropping the insistence on singer/songwriter/guitarists and bring up the example of Motown, where fairly rough equipment gave a sound that's still acceptable today. Though even that basically depends on access slave labour in session musicians.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Hah! (none / 0) (#119)
by ucblockhead on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 10:33:15 AM EST

Someone so seemingly aware of how the music industry works should understand how much of most "live" preformances are prerecorded. And you certainly don't see her doing much a capella, do you?
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
Yes you do (5.00 / 1) (#124)
by streetlawyer on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 11:28:31 AM EST

I've regularly seen Britney singing a capella, and I'm only a casual viewer of MTV and kids' television. And I'm not aware of any accusations of miming having been made against her. In any case, it seems pretty unlikely that she'd ever have got into the Mickey Mouse Club if she hadn't been able to sing.

There are lots and lots of female starlets with no talent, but you've picked exactly the wrong name, and pretty much given away the fact that what you're really objecting to is that young women are more popular than old men.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

lip-synching (none / 0) (#130)
by ucblockhead on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 11:52:13 AM EST

Nearly every "pop" star lipsynchs, especially for televised performances. It's well known. It is only even considered scandalous when they do it to someone elses' voice, ala Milli Vanilli.

You might consider the unlikelihood of being able to sing adequately while doing aerobics. Only one or two singers can actually do that. (i.e. Madonna after she became an ashtonga yoga fanatic.)

And no, I've never had the "pleasure" of hearing Britney sing a cappella. And quite frankly, I do not believe you have, either.

Last year, working for a music dotcom, our main music news guy had a test for prospective music content people. One question was "Which of these two pop stars can sing, Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera?". So no, I don't object to young women. Just no-talent women. Hell, I already said that Mariah Carrey can sing...

It strike me that perhaps you are one of those old guys blinded, Dole-like, by her tits.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Flat keys? (none / 0) (#117)
by fn0rd on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 09:42:29 AM EST

What difference do flat keys make? Since the frequencies that make up a key are relative, and the designation of sharp or flat for a particular key is based solely on the arbitrary decision some person long ago made to call 440 Hz 'A', I wouldn't think the key should have anything to do with disguising a flawed voice. If Mariah transposes one her masterpieces from C to B flat, has she fundamentally altered the song for the worse? Or is there some other meaning of flat I'm not getting here?

--------------------------------------------------------------
This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
Death to the fidels!

[ Parent ]
Musicological tricknology (5.00 / 1) (#118)
by streetlawyer on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 09:52:11 AM EST

Basically, you're relying on the difference between the natural and even-tempered scales to help you out. In a flat key, the fifths and thirds of even-tempered instruments like pianos and synthesisers are a little bit flatter than they are in natural keys. Thus, since fifths and thirds are the intervals which come up most often in Western popular music, if your singer has a tendency to miss them by a few microtones, it won't sound as bad, because the listener is already acclimatised to the sound because the backing track is a little bit flat relative to natural.

You can pull a similar trick if you decide to write a lot of flat thirds, dominant sevenths and diminished fifths, but if every track on the record uses this technique, you end up with ... well, the Geri Halliwell album.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Neat... (none / 0) (#121)
by fn0rd on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 10:39:48 AM EST

I did not know this. I always thought that there was a simple exponential progression in frequency as one moved up the chromatic scale. Now I know why a C minor chord somehow sounds "sadder" than an E flat minor chord. Thanks.

--------------------------------------------------------------
This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
Death to the fidels!

[ Parent ]
Getting a music video done cheaply (none / 0) (#101)
by pin0cchio on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 01:55:46 PM EST

Witness the insane costs of promotional videos, even as MTV's viewership (especially of videos) declines.

Witness the affordable cost of having somebody like Neil Cicierga or Veloso do your video.



[ Parent ]
And it happens because... (none / 0) (#27)
by bgalehouse on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 08:07:54 PM EST

Major labels are monopolistic. For the artists to have so few options when signing contract speaks of a market failure.

[ Parent ]
but there's lots of options (5.00 / 2) (#36)
by Delirium on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 09:46:00 PM EST

There lots of smaller labels. The artists just go for the few biggest ones if they can because those labels are the richest and thus have the best chance of getting them on MTV (i.e. getting them rich). If they were willing to "settle" for a label that wasn't one of the five biggest in the world, they'd have plenty of choices.

[ Parent ]
So (none / 0) (#138)
by bgalehouse on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 01:44:58 PM EST

There are only 5 companys which can give artists something that they very much want. There are enough artists that the big companys don't have to negotiate much.

How is this not a market failure, or an effective monpoly?

[ Parent ]

No (none / 0) (#139)
by Delirium on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 03:04:13 PM EST

If you insist on going to the five biggest labels, then there's nothing the market can do about it. There can never be more than a few biggest labels, because if there were 100 "really big" labels, the artists would still always want to go to the 5 "really really really big" of those, because they'd be the ones with the best chance of getting them really rich.

So if you're so greedy that you insist on going to the biggest label, that's your problem, not mine.

[ Parent ]

Oligarchic (4.50 / 2) (#48)
by J'raxis on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 12:24:48 AM EST

By definition a monopoly is control by one entity. I think the term you meant was an oligarchy, control by a relatively few entities.

— The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

oligopoly (nt) (5.00 / 1) (#66)
by ajf on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 08:22:33 AM EST



"I have no idea if it is true or not, but given what you read on the Web, it seems to be a valid concern." -jjayson
[ Parent ]
or Cartel (nt) (none / 0) (#144)
by Happy Monkey on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 05:59:28 PM EST


___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Would this progress to other industries? (3.00 / 1) (#5)
by Torgos Pizza on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 05:51:09 PM EST

I would love for this to happen, but would this then go forward and affect similar industries? The book publishers or software publishers perhaps? Would the same benefits apply?

I intend to live forever, or die trying.
Shareware Marketing (4.00 / 1) (#7)
by bouncing on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 05:59:35 PM EST

In some cases regarding software, it's there. You can distribute a shareware program though multiple distribution companies in many cases. The truely unique thing about books and music is that the original works are usually thought of, developed, and performed by a small group of people. Movies are usually the original work of a production company. Of course, there are exceptions to this. Certain popular pop bands are the creation of production companies, and some movies are the creation of one person and his friends.

[ Parent ]
A free agent market? (none / 0) (#9)
by Torgos Pizza on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 06:06:42 PM EST

This would seem to lead to a free agent market for the music industry. The obvious benefit would be that instead of artists catering to the publishers, it would turn the situation around. It seems to be working for pro football but it is causing some problems for major league baseball. Would this cause artist contracts to skyrocket or would there need to be some sort of artificial salary cap? Or am I completely wrong on this?

I intend to live forever, or die trying.
[ Parent ]
I think you may be incorrect (none / 0) (#122)
by fn0rd on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 10:45:37 AM EST

In professional sports, there is a hard limit to the pool of available talent: the number of players allowed on a team * the number of teams. The only restriction on the number of musicians who can make a living in a free market for music would be market saturation.

--------------------------------------------------------------
This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
Death to the fidels!

[ Parent ]
Record company economics (4.33 / 3) (#12)
by daviddennis on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 06:14:52 PM EST

The problem is that the cost of studio time is generally prohibitive. The record company advances production costs, tour costs, video making costs, promotion costs and living expenses for the artist. The artist then has to perform.

Unfortunately, this cost structure is so bloated that few artists see any money beyond their first advance.

Desktop studios can help a lot with this, but there's still the cost of promotion, which is phenomenal.

As you can see, then, there's no way to contract with multiple record companies unless they put up their share of these costs. This, of course, won't happen without an exclusive contract with the record company.

D

amazing.com has amazing things.
[ Parent ]
Record Company Costs (4.00 / 2) (#14)
by bouncing on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 06:20:35 PM EST

I have two points. First, used the word "advances" to describe a record company fronting the initial costs of "launching" a band. This is very accurate, as record companies usually bill the artists for touring. Considering that touring and promotion is mostly to a record company's benefit in the current system, this is an example of how it is unfair.

Secondly, I explicitly stated that record companies would not produce the music -- that includes studio costs. Another company, or the artists themselves would do that.

Perhaps some symantic details need to be changed, but I think an overhaul of the industry structure is needed, and I don't think record companies should be allowed exclusive contracts.

[ Parent ]

I'm not entirely sure (5.00 / 12) (#10)
by Delirium on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 06:08:52 PM EST

While it seems like a good idea at first glance, the problem with limiting copyrights in this way is that it doesn't only hurt the record companies, but also hurts the artists by reducing the value of their copyright. Currently many artists either sign copyrights over to their labels or sign exclusive licenses with their labels; the labels demand this because they are taking a chance on them (the vast majority of artists signed to record labels actually lose money for the label, and only a very small number consistently make a significant profit). Thus the labels want to reap the rewards (or at least some of the rewards) if their gamble pays off. If on the other hand you prohibit copyright transfer and exclusive licensing, then the labels have no reason to take chances at all, since it's a lose-lose situation. Either the artist doesn't get popular (the usual case) and the label loses money on the release, or the artist does get immensely popular, and then re-releases the CD him/herself at a lower price, preventing the label from making any profits. So why would they sign anyone at all if they take all the risk and none of the benefits?

The publishing industry is similar. If you prohibited the same sorts of things there, there'd be no reason for any publisher to ever pay for my book to be published -- most likely it'll lose them money (over 95% of books lose money apparently) and if it happens to be one of the few money-makers I'll just either release it myself or re-license it to a bargain-basement printer to compete with the original publisher's books. So the publishing industry couldn't make any money under this scheme either, and would have no reason to exist.

In short, the reason for the publishing industrial (music and book) to exist is to bear both the risks and benefits of the publishing market. They bear the risks because most musicians and authors can't do so themselves (they don't have the capital to mount a marketing campaign or even print up their product on the off chance it might be successful), and then they take most of the profits to recoup their losses from the failed risks.

If you don't like this system, it's easy as an artist or author to opt out. Just come up with the money to publish and advertise your work yourself, and don't sign to a label or publisher. I'd favor changes to make this easier (for example limiting cooperation between record labels and radio stations), but I still think record labels serve an essential purpose, because most authors and musicians can't or won't self-release their works.

addendum (4.50 / 2) (#15)
by Delirium on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 06:20:58 PM EST

I would be in favor of some time limitations on exclusive licenses and copyright transfers though. Perhaps after 10 years the copyright should revert to the original artist. However, it'd be difficult to figure out how to do this while still both: 1) keeping record labels profitable; and 2) providing artists royalties within those 10 years. Currently a lot of the money labels get is from "legacy" sorts of copyrights -- for example, the Beatles still make tons of money for the various labels that hold the rights to their work. The labels use this money to invest in new artists. If they were denied this money, they'd have to take a larger share of the royalties from artists, which would be bad. But on the other hand artists eventually getting their copyrights back seems like a good idea. So it's a tough balancing act. The main problem is that modern production costs (studio time, printing, etc.) are so expensive that: 1) it's prohibitively expensive to produce your own work without either signing to a label or doing garage-quality production, and 2) the labels lose such an immense amount of money on every unsuccessful band they sign that they have to gouge the successful ones to make up for it.

[ Parent ]
The Beatles Don't Make That Much Money (4.75 / 4) (#23)
by leviramsey on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 07:13:51 PM EST

Michael Jackson does. In the '60s, the Beatles made a mistake and let the copyrights slip to other people. The owner of the copyrights put them up for auction in the 1980's and Michael Jackson outbid the surviving Beatles and Yoko Ono for the rights. Jackson now makes a few million $'s a year from the royalties.



[ Parent ]
Indeed (none / 0) (#63)
by Cloaked User on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 06:59:14 AM EST

I caught part of a Biography Channel bio on Michael Jackson a week or so ago (my girlfriend was watching it), and that was mentioned.

Apparently, at the time, Michael and Paul McCartney were pretty good friends, and Paul advised Michael to invest in back catalogues of songs when the copyright was put up for auction.

Following that advice, Michael bought the copyright to a large number of Beatles songs, as you say, outbidding Paul and Yoko Ono; ended the friendship, too.


Cheers,

Tim
--
"What the fuck do you mean 'Are you inspired to come to work'? Of course I'm not 'inspired'. It's a job for God's sake! The money's enough and the work's not so crap that I leave."
[ Parent ]
Perhaps a slight change? (5.00 / 2) (#17)
by Eater on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 06:22:38 PM EST

What if the artists were permitted to publish their work through several companies, but not permitted to withdraw the right to publish their work from a company once it is granted? That way, the company taking a risk would still get in on the profit should the risk pay off. They would still have to compete with other companies the artist may choose to sell his/her work to, but it's better than nothing.

[ Parent ]
still presents a problem (4.50 / 2) (#19)
by Delirium on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 06:24:03 PM EST

Of course they could still sell the work, but if they had no exclusive license, it's likely they wouldn't be able to sell it for a profit, which is not really any better than not selling it at all. An artist, once they're popular, can just go get the CDs printed up and then sell them at the cost of printing + $1 or something, and the record label would never be able to match that.

[ Parent ]
In that, case never mind (5.00 / 1) (#21)
by Eater on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 06:33:12 PM EST

I see what you mean.

[ Parent ]
Price of distribution and production (none / 0) (#72)
by bogado on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 08:49:06 AM EST

Distribution is very expensive and count big for the price of a CD, mainly if it is to be sold globaly. The record company has a much better chance to have this price very cheap, while the artist on his own is very likely to not be able to do it or only doing this for a higher price.

There is also the price of production, CD covers, video clips, mixing/recording, etc... Who would pay for that? The record company would not do it simply because it would have no exclusivity, the artist would probably don't have enougth money.

All in all, I do think it is a good idea, at least better then what we have now. the way it work now have tons of problems, both to the artist and to the consumer. This idea tends to reward better the artist and lower prices to the consumer, eating the greed of the record companies.


[]'s Victor bogado da Silva Lins

^[:wq
[ Parent ]

A-la-carte labels vs. full-service labels (4.50 / 2) (#96)
by pin0cchio on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 01:16:45 PM EST

Distribution is very expensive and count big for the price of a CD, mainly if it is to be sold globaly. The record company has a much better chance to have this price very cheap, while the artist on his own is very likely to not be able to do it or only doing this for a higher price.

In that case, I see an a-la-carte vs. full-service dichotomy popping up in the near future. A-la-carte record labels would take two CD-R discs (one Red Book or CD Extra with the music, and one with PDFs of the booklet, back cover insert, and docs), duplicate them, sell them on the web, and broadcast them on web radio stations, for a small fixed cost. (This is almost MP3.com's model, and cafepress is similar.) Added cost items would include access to song catalogs, placement on record store shelves, radio promotion on Clear Channel FM stations, use of recording studios, and professional cover art design. No hidden costs means more goodwill for the label.



[ Parent ]
How does an artist become popular? (none / 0) (#97)
by pin0cchio on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 01:16:51 PM EST

An artist, once they're popular, can just go get the CDs printed up and then sell them at the cost of printing + $1 or something

How does an artist get her foot in the door? You just can't get on U.S. radio without paying through the nose to the Clear Channel monopoly's "independent" promotion agencies.



[ Parent ]
Therer are examples... (4.33 / 3) (#24)
by leviramsey on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 07:27:13 PM EST

...of artists who work in ways similar to what you outlined.

For instance, Moby produces his own recordings. After he finishes an album, he auctions off US distribution rights. He can do this, however, because he does not depend on record sales. Commercial licensing (he gets six-figures from Nike or Nissan when he licenses them a song for a commercial) and performances cover all his expenses. Since he does not require a huge promotional budget and is already popular, the labels give him a large share of the royalties.

Similarly, Metallica formed a partnership with Elektra (E/M Ventures) which owns the copyrights to their recordings. This partnership gets massive royalties (reportedly in the $3+/CD range). Elektra agreed to this because it gives them a cut of the tour and merchandising revenues, which is a lower-risk game than the recordings.

This complicated structure is why Metallica sued Napster separately from the recording industry. Of course, Metallica's stance on Napster was, and still is, somewhat misunderstood, imho. Their desire was for Napster to ban their studio recordings from the network (most likely name filtering would have been acceptable). They were opposed to shutting the network down, as they respected the right of other artists to distribute (or allow to be distributed) their works as the artist sees fit.



[ Parent ]
Re: I'm not entirely sure (4.33 / 3) (#29)
by damien on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 08:20:13 PM EST

The book publishing industry does not require authors to assign copyright of their work to the publisher. Authors sign a publishing contract which gives a certain publisher the exclusive right to publish a work in a given geographic region for a limited amount of time. These contracts usually have a clause which reassigns publication rights to the author if the publisher does not keep the book in print for a certain amount of time.

[ Parent ]
I'd agree with that (none / 0) (#31)
by Delirium on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 08:59:06 PM EST

An exclusive license that lapses if the publisher doesn't keep the work in print is fine with me. I was mostly responding to the article's suggestion that record labels shouldn't be allowed to either own copyrights or have artists sign copyright-like contracts (i.e. exclusive licenses). So a model for music similar to the book industry that you described would be excellent.

[ Parent ]
Define "in print" (4.00 / 1) (#94)
by pin0cchio on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 01:01:20 PM EST

An exclusive license that lapses if the publisher doesn't keep the work in print is fine with me.

Publishers often use convoluted language to define "in print" in a counter-intuitive way, giving themselves a loophole by which to retain exclusive rights to a work.


lj65
[ Parent ]
Don't believe the hype (4.00 / 1) (#105)
by dachshund on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 03:02:24 PM EST

the vast majority of artists signed to record labels actually lose money for the label, and only a very small number consistently make a significant profit

According to the Music Industry's accountants, at least. Fact is, they make money, or at least break even, on a lot more of those than you'd imagine. And those are typically the ones that they put significant resources into. They also make money in foreign markets that doesn't make their balance sheet, etc.

There's also an entire art form that's grown up around pushing costs off onto the band, including production, marketing and incidentals. Some bands come can walk away from a few years of moderate sales actually owing the record company money.

[ Parent ]

What would happen (5.00 / 1) (#106)
by steveftoth on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 03:28:53 PM EST

Is that all of a sudden you would see the price of CD's fall through the floor. Since any company could publish a record, the lowest bidder would always win.
This would have the effect of completly changing the way in which all media worked. Publishers would not be making as much money, artists would make more ( per cd sold ). Radio stations would completly change the way they work, as of right now, they are PAID to play music during the 'normal' hours of operation ( not late at night, but during the day). Record labels would bleed money on all the bands that SUCK, that nobody buys their albums, and break even on the NSyncs of the world. Noway this will happen without some other change.

I think that the Internet may allow for this. Since it reduces the cost of publishing to next to nothing, regular people can put their works up for everyone in the world to see. People have been saying this for years, but only recently has their been close to a critical mass of people on the internet and the technology to let this happen. Think about a book, the problem with books is that you have to read a small section of it before you are really willing to buy it. That's why they don't seal 99% of the books in book stores. Authors that put their books online ( I'm thinking of mostly computer science books because I know of a few) still get people to buy their books. They might lose a few potential sales, but I think that they are gaining more then they lose.

Music is another deal, if artists were to offer shortened or low quality versions of their songs on the internet for free I think that many people would go and buy a cd of that music. Also I think that if Cd's were not 15 or more dollars then people would buy a lot more music. I know that I would buy 2 cds @ 10 bucks each every time I go to get music rather then buying just one @ 15 and waiting for the other. (but that's just me)

On another note of music, I think that it sucks that the consumer has no control over the music that we buy today. The labels only want to sell us music in one format, the full-length album. What if I've heard all the songs on my friend's copy and only want the 'really awesome' single that's on the radio all the time? What ever happened to singles with the song I want and then a remix of said song? Those were cool for the hardcore fans and cheap for the softcore fans.
But I digress...

[ Parent ]
Perhaps. But. (none / 0) (#136)
by haflinger on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 01:15:43 PM EST

Since any company could publish a record, the lowest bidder would always win.
This is not quite what the proposal entails.

In order to publish a record, a company would have to get licensed by the artist.

Admittedly, out there in the marketplace, if two record companies made it into the same store with the same record, the cheaper one would sell first.

However, if there's demand, the expensive one might sell before the cheaper one was restocked. Also, if the expensive one had a more efficient distributor, the cheaper one might not get to the store first.

It'd be interesting to see if these theories would pan out, though. Two things for sure:

  • Record companies would endeavour to turn a profit, and presumably some would, while others would not (like other businesses).
  • Record companies would be less powerful.


Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]
Plenty of problems (4.00 / 3) (#16)
by maroberts on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 06:21:20 PM EST

..with banning record companies from owning copyright. For one thing record companies (rightly or wrongly) take risks by marketing bands and many bands would never be heard of if it weren't for massive marketing by the companies. Now a record company with non-exclusive distribution rights is unlikely to do any of that high risk promotion.

On the other hand there should perhaps be severe restrictions on the type of contract a record company could form with artists, for the artists own good. In the UK financial services salesman have to jump through a lot of hoops to sell services and maybe record companies should be similarly regulated. A ban on any contracts for longer than 5 years would probably be a good start, as we are talking about a sort of employment contract between the company and the artist.

The other thing that needs looking at is the sheer length of copyright - in most countries now it is upwards of 70 years. I fail to see why a genius can patent an invention and the patent lasts 15-20 years, when an artist (and his 4th generation descendents) gets protection for such an obscene length of time.
~~~
The greatest trick the Devil pulled was to convince the world he didn't exist -- Verbil Kint, The Usual Suspects
Wow, you are an idiot! (4.00 / 9) (#26)
by gnovos on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 08:06:36 PM EST

The other thing that needs looking at is the sheer length of copyright - in most countries now it is upwards of 70 years. I fail to see why a genius can patent an invention and the patent lasts 15-20 years, when an artist (and his 4th generation descendents) gets protection for such an obscene length of time.

Geez, how supid can you be? Just imagine for ONE SECOND what would happen if we allowed copyrights to expire. Mickey Mouse would be public domain! Can you imagine the harm this would do to Disney? It would be disaterous! I'm so glad our laws are written by senators who understand the only possible way we can keep Disney strong is by by extending copyright and not by complete morons like yourself who can only think of the welfare of the public.

Next time you think of returning copyrights back to Constitution (stone age!) days, think about all the cultural good companies like Disney does. Do you think that the "public" could come up with such wonderful stores like Pinocchio, Cinderella, or Snow White without the help of visionaries like the guys over at Disney? I think NOT!

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]

What a rant! (none / 0) (#33)
by mcherm on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 09:19:23 PM EST

Wow, what a rant! Can I quote you?

-- Michael Chermside
[ Parent ]
Soitenly! (none / 0) (#39)
by gnovos on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 10:30:03 PM EST

Nyuk nyuk nyuk

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
IHBT, but it needs to be clarified (none / 0) (#93)
by pin0cchio on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 12:49:47 PM EST

Parent was a classic troll (provocative, not crapflooder); I saw the sarcasm tags from a kilometre away. But I'll pull a set of false teeth out of my pocket and bite anyway for the record's sake, especially because I was addressed by nick.

Just imagine for ONE SECOND what would happen if we allowed copyrights to expire. Mickey Mouse would be public domain!

Mickey Mouse would enter the public domain under copyright law, but if the name and likeness of MICKEY MOUSE® are still trademarked, DisneyCo retains the exclusive right to license MICKEY MOUSE® lunchboxes because trademarks can be renewed indefinitely as long as the mark remains distinctive.

Can you imagine the harm this would do to Disney?

Yes, but I can also imagine how DisneyCo would adapt to a shorter copyright term by creating more works and not sitting on its a^Hback catalog.

the only possible way we can keep Disney strong is by by extending copyright

Is the goal of society to "keep Disney strong"? No. According to the Constitution, the goal is "to promote the progress of science and useful arts."

Do you think that the "public" could come up with such wonderful stores like Pinocchio, Cinderella, or Snow White without the help of visionaries like the guys over at Disney?

It's common knowledge that DisneyCo writers wrote fewer than half the company's numbered animated features' stories as original stories. DisneyCo even steals from anime. But not all of them are "stolen" or borrowed from the public domain; in DVD region 2, DisneyCo still pays royalties to GOSH for Peter Pan.

[ Pinocchio | Cinderella | Snow White | Jack and the Beanstalk ]



[ Parent ]
It was sarcastic (none / 0) (#108)
by gnovos on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 04:42:54 PM EST

I didn't mean it to be taken seriously.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
The answer is no. (4.33 / 3) (#18)
by Mr. Piccolo on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 06:22:53 PM EST

The way I see it, a record company's job is to:

1. Make copies en masse of an artist's work
2. Distribute the artist's work
3. Market the artist

in that order. Note that the record company does not do any recording, but merely duplicates what an artist puts out. Recording is left up to the artist to choose his or her own method or recording, whether in the garage or a real recording studio.

To that end, the curent system of artists working for record companies is exactly backwards. What should be happening is that an artist hires a record company as a sort of marketing agency. Obviously, for many artists an up-front fee is out of the question, so the record company may get some percentage of sales. However, the artist must be free to fire the record company at any time.

This last point is why copyrights must remain with the artists. The artist becomes the record company's slave once the copyright changes ownership.

The BBC would like to apologise for the following comment.


hrm (none / 0) (#20)
by Delirium on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 06:28:19 PM EST

Obviously, for many artists an up-front fee is out of the question, so the record company may get some percentage of sales. However, the artist must be free to fire the record company at any time.
I don't see how these two sentences are reconcilable. If the artist cannot pay the up-front fee (recording studio costs, etc.), then the record company has to pay it, and to recoup their costs they have to get a percentage of sales. But that's essentially the current system -- the record company gets a cut of every album sold. The only significant difference is that the artist could sell through multiple labels; however, for it to be worth it for the initial label to pay the up-front fees, they'd have to get a percentage of all sales (otherwise the artist would just stop selling through them as soon as they got popular, and the label would never recoup its costs), which makes it functionally similar. Note that the labels actually have to make a significant amount of money on the successful bands, not just recoup their costs, to make up for the many artists who never sell enough copies to repay the up-front costs the label pays.

[ Parent ]
Missing the point (4.00 / 1) (#37)
by Mr. Piccolo on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 10:26:21 PM EST

<blockquote>I don't see how these two sentences are reconcilable. If the artist cannot pay the up-front fee (recording studio costs, etc.), then the record company has to pay it, and to recoup their costs they have to get a percentage of sales.</blockquote>

You missed it. The artist has a finished recording in my scheme. The record company exists only to duplicate the recording and promote the artist, and in return gets a percentage of the profits, or a monthly fee, or something.

The BBC would like to apologise for the following comment.


[ Parent ]
but how does the artist get a finished recording? (4.00 / 1) (#45)
by Delirium on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 11:57:10 PM EST

As you noted, most artists wouldn't be able to pay for the recording costs themselves, as good quality studios are prohibitively expensive. So either they don't record at all, or someone else has to put the money up front for them to do so. The only really plausible contender is the record label, and a record label isn't going to do so unless they have a way to get several times their money back (both to recoup their initial investment and to make up for the bands whose recording fees they paid but who never sold enough albums to repay the costs). The easiest way to do this is through exclusive contracts in which the record company is guaranteed a certain percentage of all future profits.

An alternate way of course would be to keep the record companies out of it entirely, and force artists to get loans to pay for their recording fees. But then the artists who don't make it commercially (i.e. most of them) would be much more screwed then they are now -- instead of the record company swallowing the loss, the artists would be stuck with debt.

[ Parent ]

The problem is (none / 0) (#47)
by Mr. Piccolo on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 12:11:00 AM EST

expensive recordings.

2 good microphones, a good room, and Pro Tools -- what else do you need?

The BBC would like to apologise for the following comment.


[ Parent ]
surprisingly expensive (none / 0) (#50)
by streetlawyer on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 02:37:32 AM EST

Even assuming you could record a half-decent drum sound with two microphones (clue, you couldn't), the answer to your question:

What more do you need?

is "Eighteen months off work to practice and write songs".

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Suprisingly Inexpensive (4.00 / 1) (#64)
by tekue on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 07:37:50 AM EST

You can record an album for less then $1,000 if you find a cheap studio and you can fit in a week or two (and you live in Poland, but if it's more expensive where you live, the work wages are better too). Two weeks in a studio is not long, but you _can_ record an album in this kind of time if you play together for a while. The months of practice and writing should be covered by live performances and other jobs. Do you honestly think that artists are some kind of different breed then other humans and they can't work for money? They can sell their music to use in some advertisement.

Basicly, I don't see why musicians should be treated differently from, say, painters. Painters can make a deal with an art gallery to distribute their paintings, gallery get's a cut from every painting they sell, but they certainly don't support the painter for weeks/months while he's painting another picture. It's he's problem, and I don't see the army of starving painters on the streets.

Artists have to work for money in more ways than one, but musicians would just like to have fun and make the music they like. It would be nice if it was possible, but it isn't (at least for beginers). Musicians were living off live performances for at least a couple of hundred of years and I don't see why it should be impossible today.
--
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. --Tom Robbins
[ Parent ]

$1000 (none / 0) (#65)
by streetlawyer on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 08:11:32 AM EST

Forget it. Not to put too fine a point on it, you *cannot* record an album on that kind of money which does not sound like a demo. Which is fine if you want that punk rock kinda sound, but not for almost any other style; certainly not for anything where the quality of sound recording makes a difference (I'd have an outside guess that a gifted synth programmer could record an album that sounded right for a couple of thousand, but even that, I doubt). Most genuinely popular forms of music take time and trouble (and money) to record, because these days people demand higher fidelity from their sound recordings.

It's he's problem, and I don't see the army of starving painters on the streets.

Either you're not looking very hard, or your country has extremely generous welfare.

Musicians were living off live performances for at least a couple of hundred of years and I don't see why it should be impossible today.

There is no modern equivalent of Emperor Franz Joseph. For the last four hundred years, the composers of music have either been church or state employees, or made the majority of their income from the sale of sheet music, protected under the law of copyright.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Yes, a $1,000 (4.00 / 1) (#70)
by tekue on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 08:46:31 AM EST

Forget it. Not to put too fine a point on it, you *cannot* record an album on that kind of money which does not sound like a demo. Which is fine if you want that punk rock kinda sound, but not for almost any other style; certainly not for anything where the quality of sound recording makes a difference (I'd have an outside guess that a gifted synth programmer could record an album that sounded right for a couple of thousand, but even that, I doubt). Most genuinely popular forms of music take time and trouble (and money) to record, because these days people demand higher fidelity from their sound recordings.
That's exactly what I don't think is the case. If people are demanding high fidelity, what's the explanation for _millions_ of people fetching 128kbps mp3's from Kazaa (Napster, Gnutella), burning them on any no-name blank CD-R and playing them in the car or with a $200 stereo? One can certainly take $1000 and record something which sounds way better than 128kbps mp3.
It's he's problem, and I don't see the army of starving painters on the streets.
Either you're not looking very hard, or your country has extremely generous welfare.
No, it's just that probably our painters are busy looking for a job. Like redecorating someone's house, or teaching arts, or creating designs for organised parties, or creating visual advertisements. There are a lot of opportunities for artists, most of them quite profitable.
Musicians were living off live performances for at least a couple of hundred of years and I don't see why it should be impossible today.
There is no modern equivalent of Emperor Franz Joseph. For the last four hundred years, the composers of music have either been church or state employees, or made the majority of their income from the sale of sheet music, protected under the law of copyright.
You are so wrong. Most of the musicians (note, I'm not talking about the greatest classical composers right now, but about composers/performers doing in the period's equivalent of "pop") were making money exactly like I've said, by performing. There were some (very few) people who were sponsored by someone, just as it is today (i.e. musical universities employ people who -- aside of teaching students -- create the avantgarde of today's classical music). The music scene would be no doubt different from what we see today, but 'different' doesn't mean 'worse'.
--
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. --Tom Robbins
[ Parent ]
sound quality (4.00 / 1) (#73)
by streetlawyer on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 09:11:20 AM EST

Sound quality has very little to do with bitrate. The fact is that a drum kit recorded with a single microphone, or a guitar recorded directly into the desk, or an acoustic instrument of any kind recorded without painstaking and careful microphone placement, is always going to sound like shit. A piano miked properly will sound like a piano at really quite low sampling rates; miked badly, it will sound like a set of milk bottles whatever you do.

note, I'm not talking about the greatest classical composers right now, but about composers/performers doing in the period's equivalent of "pop"

In other words, you are talking about the sellers of ballads, who made their money by printing and selling copyrighted music. Or, you're talking about gypsies and travelling buskers who had a life little better than beggars.

Also note that your model of the world doesn't have any place in it for gifted songwriters who aren't good performers, which is bad news for a lot of 20th century music.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

But it's not about sound quality (4.00 / 1) (#74)
by tekue on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 09:22:07 AM EST

Aside from obvious errors (like placing a microphone in such place as to create distortions making it sound like "a set of milk bottles"), that can be heard (and corrected, even if by trial and error) by the recording artist himself, most people don't care about quality of music recording. The only thing that is important, is that the artist should pay more attention to quality than he's listeners. The errors that can be heard by some people on some records (because it would be hard for me to tell if a trash-metal record was exaclty properly recorded) can be avoided by recording in a better studio, and if your listeners are ready to fork some more money for it, go ahead.

There are many, many bands that record their records in low quality studios, yet they are great bands. If they ever get rich[er], they would certainly like to record in a better studio, on better instruments, and so on. Today they can't afford it, so they record as good as they can.

And in the end it's not about quality of sound, but about quality of music and (in some cases) lyrics. Or do you disagree?
--
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. --Tom Robbins
[ Parent ]

A thousand apologies (4.50 / 2) (#76)
by streetlawyer on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 09:42:25 AM EST

that can be heard (and corrected, even if by trial and error) by the recording artist himself

I'm sorry, I thought you were using the term "the artist" generically. Clearly you are using it specifically to refer to Prince, who is about the only recording artist I can think of who has the necessary skill to produce himself without it sounding really amateurish. If you're going to try to work out mike placements with no training by "trial and error", you can forget about doing it in two weeks.

most people don't care about quality of music recording

The free market disagrees with you on this one.

because it would be hard for me to tell if a trash-metal record was exaclty properly recorded

Bollocks. I hate thrash metal too, but anyone can tell the difference between a drum kit and someone banging saucepans.

And in the end it's not about quality of sound, but about quality of music and (in some cases) lyrics. Or do you disagree?

If that's what you really think, why don't you try playing a Stevie Wonder album on a penny whistle?

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

free markets listen to anything (2.50 / 2) (#109)
by rantweasel on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 06:50:39 PM EST

most people don't care about quality of music recording
The free market disagrees with you on this one.

Britney Spears, nsync, the backstreet boys, car stereos so loud & bass-biased that everything sounds like mud, live albums, concert tapes, going to concerts - I think that the free market does agree with him. A quality recording is definitely preferable, and I think most people prefer a well executed studio album over a garage album, but there are any number of free market examples that suggest that there is more to people's preferences in record buying than just the quality of the album production, and more to the listening experience than the performance production.

mathias

[ Parent ]
oh give over (5.00 / 1) (#113)
by streetlawyer on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 02:18:48 AM EST

The fact that you seem to think that Britney Spears albums are not produced with care and attention that is nothing short of incredible has just pretty much discredited you as someone with serious opinions on music production.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Example: The Beatles (none / 0) (#83)
by pin0cchio on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 11:47:15 AM EST

There are many, many bands that record their records in low quality studios, yet they are great bands. If they ever get rich[er], they would certainly like to record in a better studio, on better instruments, and so on. Today they can't afford it, so they record as good as they can.

Example: The Beatles. They started out on low-fidelity equipment. As they got rich, they upgraded, and they began to add effects to their music that simply could not be reproduced live. Here's the kicker: Many fans find the early stuff more "real" and more enjoyable.

And then there were two.


lj65
[ Parent ]
Two words (5.00 / 2) (#91)
by streetlawyer on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 12:36:22 PM EST

George Martin.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Nope (none / 0) (#92)
by Woundweavr on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 12:49:22 PM EST

The Beatles worked with pros even for their earliest recordings. The sound quality did improve but that was because technology improved.

[ Parent ]
computer + tracker + creativity = music (5.00 / 1) (#84)
by pin0cchio on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 11:48:04 AM EST

you *cannot* record an album on that kind of money which does not sound like a demo. Which is fine if you want that punk rock kinda sound, but not for almost any other style

To make music in the electronic genres (trance, d'n'b, etc), you need only a computer, a tracker, a wave editor, some samples, and some creativity. To make pop music, you need the above, plus a couple decent microphones.

Most genuinely popular forms of music take time and trouble (and money) to record, because these days people demand higher fidelity from their sound recordings.

Mass-market software can already handle 32-bit floating-point waveform processing. And as high-end audio hardware from Creative Labs continues to drop in price, the last barrier to CD quality recording of live sources begins to disappear. This worries the labels; watch for Son of CBDTPA to criminalize "practicing audio engineering without a license."

Either you're not looking very hard [for a way for painters to sustain themselves], or your country has extremely generous [handouts to the needy].

As tekue mentioned, ever heard of a decent-paying day job doing visual design for an ad firm? Heck, even a part-time job can sustain somebody.

There is no modern equivalent of Emperor Franz Joseph. For the last four hundred years, the composers of music have either been church or state employees

Why not employees of consumer product manufacturers? It doesn't take a genius to see that "Garbage - When I Grow Up" is a thinly veiled ad for "Baa baa baa baa baaa, the joy of Pepsi."


lj65
[ Parent ]
Way overoptimistic (4.00 / 1) (#85)
by streetlawyer on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 12:00:25 PM EST

To make music in the electronic genres (trance, d'n'b, etc), you need only a computer, a tracker, a wave editor, some samples, and some creativity

Two points 1) These are specialised genres and always will be 2) "Some samples" in this context means "a massive collection of recorded music produced by other people". I'm not slagging off electronica, just pointing out that it relies on there being other music to sample, and that it is not cheap to produce if you take into account the time spent.

To make pop music, you need the above, plus a couple decent microphones.

I don't understand how anyone who knows anything about music production would claim that introducing vocal recording into the process is anything other than a quantum leap in the time and trouble involved.

the last barrier to CD quality recording of live sources begins to disappear

The barrier to high quality recording is talent, and that is still in limited supply. All that 32-bit floating point arithmetic is going to do for the masses is tell them exactly how badly they fucked up the original recording. Higher fidelity makes the problem of home recording harder, not more difficult, because it makes it harder to disguise mistakes in the original recording. Look forward to loads of tracks swamped in mushy echoes in the future.

As tekue mentioned, ever heard of a decent-paying day job doing visual design for an ad firm? Heck, even a part-time job can sustain somebody

This is not the creative process as anyone I know experiences it. How much great art has been produced by people who were not full time artists? I can't name even one. Even Basquiat had to give up his day job to progress.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

entertainment, not art (5.00 / 1) (#110)
by rantweasel on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 07:00:51 PM EST

This is not the creative process as anyone I know experiences it. How much great art has been produced by people who were not full time artists? I can't name even one. Even Basquiat had to give up his day job to progress.

Little of what is recorded is great art. And great is so subjective - I might hate something you consider the greatest recording you've ever heard, and vice versa. Can you really call the corporate pop that dominates modern recording art? Manufactured bands recording formula songs for formula albums, targeted at a demographic before the first note is composed? Much of it is produced purely for entertainment value. If you're going to hold the recording studios to a standard of "great art", they would shut down. Most of my favorite recording artists either have day jobs or are not too far removed from that point, that doesn't make them any more or less artistic and it doesn't make me enjoy their work any more or less, it just means that they aren't making much money on their work.

mathias

[ Parent ]
heh (none / 0) (#99)
by ucblockhead on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 01:47:33 PM EST

Nirvana's Bleah was record for $600.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
Genuinely popular? (none / 0) (#123)
by fn0rd on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 11:15:10 AM EST

I don't know about that. I think most rap albums require no micing of drums at all (just a ~$1000 tr-909 recorded direct, or an akai sampler). To my ears, the recording quality of most hip-hop is not very high. Lotsa compression, scratchy samples, etc. Fat boy slim made an album that sold well and cost him next to nothing to make on his laptop. You don't need a $50,000 Neve console and 2" masters anymore, though for certain types of music it wouldn't hurt.

--------------------------------------------------------------
This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
Death to the fidels!

[ Parent ]
Good point (none / 0) (#126)
by streetlawyer on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 11:37:47 AM EST

Hip hop is certainly cheap music in terms of the equipment needed, but that just makes it more expensive in terms of time and personnel. It takes real, real talent to make that technology sing, and that talent does not come cheap. You save on recording acoustic instruments, but only by needing a producer who becomes basically a composer in his own right. Check out how much it costs to hire Dre or one of his engineers :) Hip hop production is not cheap.

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Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
True... (none / 0) (#127)
by fn0rd on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 11:41:31 AM EST

Unless you ARE Dr. Dre. :) In any case, I don't think there's any "magic" to what he does on the decks, the magic resides in who he is. You hire Dr. Dre, you buy his cachet. Sample and loop ;-)

--------------------------------------------------------------
This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
Death to the fidels!

[ Parent ]
hmm (none / 0) (#129)
by streetlawyer on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 11:48:48 AM EST

Of course, you can't actually hire Dre these days; if he wants you to work for him, he'll hire you. But the general point I'm making up and down this thread is that you can't run the music industry on the basis of the assumption that production is an easy job, and that there are loads of Dres and Butch Vigs and George Martins (in other words geniuses) just waiting around to produce the work of "artists" and get it sounding right. In fact, production is a very very skilled job, and the people who do it well do it in return for a very big up front fee (which "artists" can't afford to finance), or insist on having their contribution recognised by taking as large or larger a share of the revenues as the record company. Technology doesn't change that, and so it doesn't change the fact that records cost a lot of up-front money to make, which means that we will always need something which looks very like the Music Industry. Dreams of doing away with the record labels tend to be an uneasy coalition of crappy indie bands who can't get signed, plus a few greedy big name stars who don't realise that the single biggest drain on their royalties is the cost of supporting the crappy indie bands that did get signed.

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Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Are there any indie bands.. (none / 0) (#133)
by fn0rd on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 12:13:11 PM EST

...who aren't crappy, in your estimation? Is it possible that there are artists out there who haven't signed to a major not becasue they suck, but because they'd rather do it themselves? Stereolab and the Apples in Stereo come to mind for me, and there are plenty more that I could list, but, well, eh, what's the point? You think Britney Spears can sing. I don't have anything against her personally, but I find her voice to be completely devoid of character. It's like listening to a telephone voice menu to a generic casio beat. Mariah can sing (she sings garbage, but sings it extremely well).

--------------------------------------------------------------
This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
Death to the fidels!

[ Parent ]
oh "don't get me wrong" (c) RCA Records (none / 0) (#134)
by streetlawyer on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 12:44:02 PM EST

No I love indie music; it's what I listen to at home, and most of my knowledge of the industry comes from having helped a few people with the business side of indie labels. But when I invest money, I invest it on the basis of the world as it is rather than the world as I'd like it to be, and so does the industry. The phenomenon I'm talking about is even more pronounced in the indies; take the example of Oasis, who were often absolutely vocal about the fact that it was their success which allowed Alan McGee to sign so many vanity projects. Or Factory, where New Order paid the bills.

I'll be writing an article on the Mariah phenomenon for adequacy.org pretty soon; I always really liked her. I don't really like Britney Spears records in general, but you have to admire the workmanship.

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Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Depends on the label (none / 0) (#140)
by fn0rd on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 03:17:41 PM EST

I mean, K records certainly doesn't have any mega-stars or anything, but they seem to do OK. Same with Kill Rock Stars, Sympathy for the Record Industry (2 great names considering the topic), Thrill Jockey, and Quarterstick, to name a few. I don't know who's the biggest name on Matador's roster (JSBE? Guided By Voices?), but you don't hear any of 'em on mersh radio or see them on MTV (well maybe MTV2, but who watches that? All they can sell are psychic hotline and 80s compilation CD ads). These are all labels that apparently make money, and don't seem to be spending fortunes to do it. Well, GBV did have Ric Ocasek produce for them recently, so that probably cost 'em, but still, these are labels chock full of good bands that don't spend tons of dough on promotion, or engineering. I'm sure guys like Kramer, Steve Albini, and Bob Weston earn good money for what they do, and they rightly should, but I don't know that they're millionaires or anything.

--------------------------------------------------------------
This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
Death to the fidels!

[ Parent ]
hrrrm I remain sceptical (none / 0) (#147)
by streetlawyer on Fri Apr 26, 2002 at 03:24:06 AM EST

I'm not saying that indie labels can't prosper, but in my experience there are three things which mean that it's not practical to run the whole music industry this way:

1. Successful indie labels tend to be very focused on a single sound or image (Stiff, Motown, Def Jam, Music for Nations). Factory is the only indie label I can think of that had any real diversity in its artists.

2. They are usually dependent on a couple of dedicated individuals working for much less money than they could earn elsewhere, for the love of the game. This means that they are very vulnerable to marriage and childbirth on the part of these key individuals.

3. Sadly, they are usually undercapitalised, so they tend to go bust if they make two or three bad decisions.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

You also need a team of lobbyists (2.00 / 1) (#81)
by pin0cchio on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 11:25:58 AM EST

2 good microphones, a good room, and Pro Tools -- what else do you need?

A team of lobbyists to keep microphones from being available only to licensed and bonded professional audio engineers. (Compare the situation in "The Right to Read" by Richard Stallman.) Ten bucks says that after the Hollings privacy bill (which will most likely include the CBDTPA trusted-client bill as a rider), the RIAA will propose a new law prohibiting sale of professional audio equipment (here, the microphones, the sound-absorbing insulation, the professional sound card, and the editing software) to laypeople, along the lines of the laws that classify drugs as OTC, prescription, or prohibited.


lj65
[ Parent ]
Naw. (none / 0) (#30)
by dcodea on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 08:38:44 PM EST

Note that the record company does not do any recording, but merely duplicates what an artist puts out. Recording is left up to the artist to choose his or her own method or recording, whether in the garage or a real recording studio.
Artists almost never have the resources to do a recording suitable to be "put out." The money to do this has to come from somewhere. As others have pointed out, there's a large amount of risk entailed in releasing music, and in order to induce someone to pay for it, they have to be able to expect to reap some of the benefits.

This is the same issue as patents on drug development. Developing drugs is very expensive, and if the the scientists who develop it could peddle it to any drug company, drug companies wouldn't pay for R&D, and we'd all be worse off.

Who Dares Wins
[ Parent ]

Could that somewhere be... (none / 0) (#38)
by Mr. Piccolo on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 10:28:17 PM EST

the bank?

Anyway, there's no reason why recording has to be expensive to sound good.

The BBC would like to apologise for the following comment.


[ Parent ]
Okay, (5.00 / 1) (#77)
by dcodea on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 10:03:41 AM EST

now the bank will take on the risk of putting out this music. What do musicians have as collateral besides the possiblity of their success?

Who Dares Wins
[ Parent ]

Not really... (4.00 / 1) (#46)
by Danse on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 11:59:31 PM EST

You can create a high quality recording now with relatively cheap equipment, and it's getting cheaper all the time.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
heh... (4.00 / 1) (#111)
by rantweasel on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 07:10:51 PM EST

Take a look at the original album art for Black Sabbath's Paranoid, it's Ed Wood low budget. Or early Ramones or Talking Heads. Or change media and look at movies - Clerks had crap production values that the writing made up for. If it's good enough, and the artists involved belive, it can be done.


mathias

[ Parent ]
It's a grassroots issue (4.00 / 3) (#22)
by imrdkl on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 06:54:53 PM EST

I think the concept is sound. The artists themselves, however, may disagree. See this article (shameless plug) for a idea of what I mean. Artists just aren't yet willing to jump ship en masse. Until that happens, there's not much to talk about. The rich artists, those most successful, are not the only ones speaking out, as one might believe. I guess that's a good sign, but success as an artist is more than money, and more even than quality. For now, fame is owned by the recording companies. They give it, and they can take it away. But they dont give it unless the artists give it (copyright) up.

On a positive note the internet has the potential to provide a distribution channel that is more democratic, and less stifling and criminal. I've read diaries from one of our resident musicians however, which gripes even about this medium. The key, I think, will eventually be in the artists being able to make their own CD-quality recordings, as technology for doing so improves and becomes less expensive. The studio, and ownership of the master tapes, gives the recording company most of its power.

The equipment is out there. (4.00 / 1) (#40)
by Mr. Piccolo on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 10:31:27 PM EST

Pro Tools Free has plenty of tracks (8, though you only need 2) for a nice album. And your local music store has the microphones.

What's the problem?

The BBC would like to apologise for the following comment.


[ Parent ]
All right (4.00 / 1) (#49)
by imrdkl on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 02:17:00 AM EST

so I am a bit naive. For those that can however, and have the talent to do the mixing, I think it's a perfectly legitimate option. Theres a minority of artists who've had their own studios for years. These same artists, whether releasing under their own label, or providing the mixed tracks to the majors for reselling, have always seemed to be more independent.

[ Parent ]
Practicing audio engineering without a license (4.00 / 1) (#80)
by pin0cchio on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 10:41:41 AM EST

[It's easy to obtain hardware and software to record an album]. What's the problem?

Son of CBDTPA. Sen. Hollings (D-Disney) is pushing a privacy bill, to which the CBDTPA (the artist formerly known as SSSCA) will probably be added as a rider. I'm afraid that the government's plan for legislation after CBDTPA would include criminalizing possession of high-end audio equipment as "practicing audio engineering without a license," and that licenses would be issued only to major labels.


lj65
[ Parent ]
Proof? Links? (none / 0) (#86)
by Dolohov on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 12:02:38 PM EST

It's not that I don't believe you, but I've never heard this before, and can't find a link describing any kind of proposed penalty for owning high-end recording equipment. Since that hits a bit close to home (Above and to the left, to be precise -- where my brother runs a home studio) I'd really like more information in order to protest it.

[ Parent ]
"The Right to Read" by RMS (5.00 / 1) (#104)
by pin0cchio on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 02:48:09 PM EST

It's not that I don't believe you, but I've never heard this before, and can't find a link describing any kind of proposed penalty for owning high-end recording equipment.

There's not a movement about this yet, but Richard Stallman predicted an analogous situation for computer software, where it becomes illegal to own a compiler unless you're a licensed, bonded software engineer.


lj65
[ Parent ]
Good idea ... (3.00 / 1) (#32)
by Kalani on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 09:05:28 PM EST

... because it worked great for the railroad.

-----
"Nothing says 'final boss' like a giant brain in a tube."
-- Udderdude on flipcode.com
Really now (1.25 / 4) (#34)
by StephenGilbert on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 09:37:23 PM EST

You must try harder than that.

--------------------------------
Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia

One problem (4.00 / 3) (#35)
by Woundweavr on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 09:41:55 PM EST

The second effect is an artist would be free to distribute her works through multiple record companies. Here's where you have a problem. The holder of the copyright controls distrubution rights. However, these rights can be effectively sold for a period of time. In fact, without these rights, there is little incentive for a company to sell CDs or promote a band. The profit potential is massively reduced. Without multiple exclusive album deals, it just isn't prudent for the companies to try and distribute and sell CDs, at least not at current price and/or royalty rights. While I agree that music copyrights should not be transfered to the distrubution/promotion corporations, I don't believe that would create an enviroment that would allow no/low commitment distribution agreements or that such an enviroment would be beneficial to the artist or consumer.

Great way to destroy the current music industry. (4.00 / 5) (#41)
by GhostfacedFiddlah on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 10:33:40 PM EST

Now. I'm not saying that destroying it is such a bad thing. Whatever came up to replace it would in all likelihood be better for both artists and consumers alike. Except for those few artists that are making it big now : Britney, NSync, etc,etc,etc.

The point is that record companies make the majority of their money off the big bands that they promote. Large investments, huge returns. If you take away the ability to promote the bands (by ensuring that that promotion will be spread to all your competitors) then you will effectively destroy the industry as we know it.

i think that's the idea (nt) (none / 0) (#103)
by eudas on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 02:26:03 PM EST


"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]
Who's the Artist? (4.33 / 6) (#42)
by Uhlek on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 11:00:34 PM EST

The problem with assigning copyright to a particular individual instead of the record company is simply identifying who deserves to have the full rights to the music.

Music today is such a collaborative process that assigning a particular individual (a performer) or small group of individuals (band) the full rights to a work isn't fair.

To use an extreme example, look at acts like N'Sync or Britney Spears. None of them do anything other than sing what's already been written. The music is funded, written, and produced by other individuals. In all fairness, they have no more right to a piece of music than Sheryl Crow has the Michael Jackson songs she sang backup on.

Even with garage bands that get picked up and perform their own songs, all they have done is written and performed it. It's still produced, mixed, and (most importantly) funded by the record company. Why should the band be entitled to all of the profits from the endeavour?

Lets say you decide to build a house. You hire an architect to design it, and a contractor to build it. In the end, is it your house, or is it the architect's? Wouldn't you be a little pissed if one of the construction workers showed up expecting to be put up for the night?

Same princple applies. Despite heavy-handed pronouncements that it's "art", modern music is business. These rights of the artists that are so often flaunted about belonged to the artist in the first place, they had every right to take their song and record it and put it online and do whatever they wanted with it. They voluntarily gave up those rights for money and the chance to make it big, and they knew it when they signed the contract.

What needs to be understood... (4.50 / 2) (#43)
by Danse on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 11:54:39 PM EST

While modern music requires massive amounts of money to produce, a very large percentage of that money goes to the marketing aspect. If you write and perform your own music, then you can pay someone to mix it, clean it up, and make it sound professional. It's not even all that expensive, at least not relative to the kinds of cash that goes into promoting Britney's latest album. The promotion is where the real money goes. Getting the album prominent placement in stores, hyping it on the radio and Mtv, etc. In most cases that money comes out of the artists' cut. They don't see a dime of royalties until the costs are paid off. When that is considered, letting the artists have their creations doesn't seem so unfair. Unfortunately, most artists get screwed regardless of the outcome. If their album sells, then the label gets paid back, plus it still controls the copyright. If it doesn't sell, then the artist still gets nothing, and they still don't own their creations. Only if an album becomes a major hit does the artist really get anything out of the deal. Kinda sucks for them.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
What's to understand? (none / 0) (#90)
by streetlawyer on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 12:15:51 PM EST

The promotion is where the real money goes. Getting the album prominent placement in stores, hyping it on the radio and Mtv, etc. In most cases that money comes out of the artists' cut. They don't see a dime of royalties until the costs are paid off.

So what? This is normal business; you don't get a return until you've covered your costs.

Or are you telling me that the most common complaint artists have about record companies is that they spend too much time and effort promoting that artist's work? Right. Artists actually get a very good deal as they are only charged for the direct costs of promotion. If they took it into their own hands, they'd have to cover a lot of costs which are currently absorbed by the labels as overhead.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

books (4.00 / 2) (#98)
by ucblockhead on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 01:43:40 PM EST

The interesting thing to note is that book publishers seem to be able to make a profit selling books even though the authors get a return for every books sold.

Hell, authors poorly selling books often get more per book, as advances on published books don't have to be returned. If an author gets a $5,000 advance for a book, and the publisher only manages to sell 200 of them, it is the publisher that eats the loss. The book companies take all this into account when setting advances and royalty rates, of course, which is why they can make a profit.

So what is "normal" for one industry isn't for a very similar one.

It should be obvious that if the book industry can do this, the record industry could do it as well.
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

This is not a difference (none / 0) (#112)
by streetlawyer on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 02:14:45 AM EST

Recording artists get a royalty on every copy sold too. It's just that advances in the record industry are typically much larger and have to cover much larger start-up costs; it's much more plausiable to suppose that an author like JK Rowling could write a best-selling book without a publisher's advance than to assume anyone could make a record without serious investment. Your point only seems to show what a comparatively good deal recording artists get; many fewer records ever earn out their advances.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
The difference (none / 0) (#120)
by ucblockhead on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 10:37:24 AM EST

Authors don't pay to promote their own books.
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
Nor do bands (none / 0) (#125)
by streetlawyer on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 11:33:51 AM EST

Promotional expenses are deducted from advances, but that's not the same thing by any means. Music industry promotion is more expensive than publishing industry promotion -- in fact, authors do pay for their promotion in a lot of cases, since the most common way that publishers pay promotion is with cheap books (every publishing contract I've ever signed has expected me to take some of the pain of this). The difference between deducting marketing expense from an advance and "paying for it yourself" is all the difference in the world, particularly given the number of turkey albums where the record company ends up wearing the loss.

And as I say above, this is clearly a red herring. Have you ever heard of a band complaining that the record company spent *too much* in promoting their album? Quite the opposite.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

the difference (none / 0) (#128)
by ucblockhead on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 11:42:04 AM EST

Promotion expenses are not deducted from book advances.

And in my experience, authors pay for promotion only in the sense that book publishers offer royalty rates that allow them to promote and still make a profit.
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

So what? (none / 0) (#131)
by streetlawyer on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 11:52:22 AM EST

I'm sorry; I really don't see the point you're trying to make here. I agree that in general, promotion expenses are not charged against book advances (in fact, the majority of promotion expenses are not charged against record advances, because they do not charge for the indirect costs of the label's own staff). But I don't see why this is an important point. It's purely a result of the fact that music industry promotion is a more significant part of the overall cost base than book industry promotion. Which is itself a result of the dominance of the pluggers -- if you want to rail against that, go ahead -- but I really don't see what important consequence flow from the fact that promotional costs don't come out of book advances. What change to the music industry are you saying would be possible because of this?

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
points (none / 0) (#132)
by ucblockhead on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 12:03:11 PM EST

It is an important point because it shows that the record companies clearly could work out royalty rates that spread promotion costs over the whole run, rather than frontloading them. It's not a matter of magnitude, it's a matter of accounting. Record companies should know what their promotion expense over all albums they will put out in a year would be. They should be able to estimate total sales for all albums. Given these two numbers, they can easily spread promotional expenses over all albums. That's what book publishers do.

Neither the magnitude of promotional expenses nor the relative chance of album failure makes any difference in being able to do this.

Where it makes a difference is that frontloading the costs discourages risk-taking, which is why there is so much derivative pap out there.
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

That would be massively inequitable (none / 0) (#135)
by streetlawyer on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 12:49:27 PM EST

But if record companies worked in that way, they'd have the incentive to do what book companies actually do with their promotional budgets; to concentrate them massively on the one or two offerings where they can be absolutely sure of getting it all back. The number one complaint among authors who aren't JK Rowling is that their publisher does nothing for them in terms of promotion.

You've got the economics back to front; charging the costs to the advance rewards risk-taking, not vice versa. If you're a label manager thinking about whether to spend a dollar promoting the Flaming Arses record, you can always comfort yourself with the knowledge that it's possibly the band's money that you're playing with. If it's money that you know is going to come out of your P&L, you're only going to spend the money on George Michael, where you know you'll get a return on it.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

tradeoffs (none / 0) (#137)
by ucblockhead on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 01:25:18 PM EST

Well, it certainly is a tradeoff. The book industry seems designed so that there's little risk to the author to produce the book and little incentive for the publisher to promote a "risky" book. On the other hand, the record industry is more high-risk for the artist. The result is that in the book industry, you've got less conformist pressure on the artist, but lots of books languishing unpromoted. Breaking in is a less risky business. Becoming a "star" is harder.

For the consumer, I think the book industry model is better. It means more variety.

I also find it very, very amusing that you chose Ms. Rowling as your example, given that the first run of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" got no promotion and become a best-seller almost entirely by word of mouth. It goes to show how clueless the people doing the promoting are. After all, spending lots of money to promote a Stephen King book is utter idiocy, given the number of copies that would sell just by putting the damn thing in the bookstore.
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

No (5.00 / 1) (#141)
by streetlawyer on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 04:00:31 PM EST

After all, spending lots of money to promote a Stephen King book is utter idiocy, given the number of copies that would sell just by putting the damn thing in the bookstore.

With respect (and I mean that sincerely; you're one of the more thoughtful posters here), the above post shows how little you know. You can't call someone "utterly clueless" because they didn't guess what a phenomenon Harry Potter would become from day one; that's an impossible request. And there is every point in the world promoting the hell out of Stephen King, because the kind of readers who buy Stephen King books don't hang around in bookshops. That's the measure of King's success; his audience is so huge that if you just "put the damn thing in the bookstore", half of his public would never even know he had a new book out.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

oh really? (none / 0) (#142)
by ucblockhead on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 04:13:00 PM EST

That's certainly not my experience with readers of such authors like Rice, King, Clancy, etc.

The thing is that this sort of promotion is a self-fulfilling prophecy for the marketting types, and the authors certainly don't mind the promotion.

I was listening to an interview with Terry Pratchett just the other day where he talks about the book buying habits of the average Tom Clancy fan. Shows up in the bookstore once a year, like clockwork, to pick up the latest.
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

you seem to be making my point for me (none / 0) (#146)
by streetlawyer on Fri Apr 26, 2002 at 02:14:25 AM EST

Shows up in the bookstore once a year, like clockwork, to pick up the latest.

Well exactly. How do you think they know when to show up?

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

cycles of nature (none / 0) (#148)
by ucblockhead on Fri Apr 26, 2002 at 11:16:05 AM EST

While I suppose you share my low opinion of Clancy fans, you've got to admit that they can probably use a calendar.
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
True, but (4.00 / 1) (#53)
by bugmaster on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 02:46:26 AM EST

What you say is 99% true. I say "99%" because, presumably, there is still that 1% of people who treat music as art, not as business. These people should be able to refuse to deal with the RIAA and distribute their music in whatever way they see fit. Even though they are currently commercially nonviable, it may be possible that their music will find wider acceptance, and make us all a bit happier (and richer, too).

However, as far as I understand, the monopolistic nature of RIAA currently makes this impossible. In other words, RIAA is acting just like MSFT and other big monopolies: they are squeezing the little guy out of the market before he can become a threat. That is the behavior that needs to stop; not paying money for music distribution.
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]

For goodness sake, read a dictionary or something. (4.00 / 1) (#58)
by Tezcatlipoca on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 04:08:32 AM EST

Perfomer and composer creators are not the same. How do you managed to get confussed wuth that?

Music may be a collaborative effort, but still a piece of music comes form one or two persons only that claim authorship, and it is they who own the copyright to the music.

Recording, sampling, arrangements dont contribute a iota to the original music and of course theydon;t alter who holds the initial copyright.
---
_._ .....
... .._ _._. _._ ...
._.. ._ _ . ._.. _.__

[ Parent ]
Recouping costs; Son of CBDTPA (5.00 / 1) (#78)
by pin0cchio on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 10:21:38 AM EST

It's still produced, mixed, and (most importantly) funded by the record company.

It's not funded by the record company. It's funded by the artist. If the record fails to completely recoup the costs of recording, the artist gets jack.

Lets say you decide to build a house. You hire an architect to design it, and a contractor to build it. In the end, is it your house, or is it the architect's?

But unlike recording artists, architects and construction workers are paid either by the job or by the hour, and they don't have to "recoup" anything.

they had every right to take their song and record it

Not if Son of CBDTPA passes, criminalizing ownership of professional audio equipment as "practicing audio engineering without a license."

and put it online and do whatever they wanted with it.

The biggest thing hurting the visibility of online recording artists (such as those on Vivendi's MP3.com) is the fact that Clear Channel and its affiliated "independent" payo^H^H^H^H promotion agencies exercise monopoly power over what gets played on commercial radio. In fact, there's a antitrust lawsuit in the works.


lj65
[ Parent ]
get real (none / 0) (#89)
by streetlawyer on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 12:13:00 PM EST

It's not funded by the record company. It's funded by the artist. If the record fails to completely recoup the costs of recording, the artist gets jack

Get real. Maybe one album in every ten makes a profit. Most of them lose a load, and the artists never have to pay a penny for the expensive studio time they consumed and their living expenses while they were living off the record company teat. Or do you think Oasis wrote a check for the costs of that bomb "Be Here Now"?

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Ah (none / 0) (#143)
by Happy Monkey on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 05:30:15 PM EST

It's not funded by the record company. It's funded by the artist. If the record fails to completely recoup the costs of recording, the artist gets jack
Get real. Maybe one album in every ten makes a profit. Most of them lose a load, and the artists never have to pay a penny for the expensive studio time they consumed and their living expenses while they were living off the record company teat. Or do you think Oasis wrote a check for the costs of that bomb "Be Here Now"?



So the popular successful music isn't funded by the record company, but crappy failures are?

___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
your analogy (4.00 / 1) (#82)
by janra on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 11:31:56 AM EST

I think your analogy with the house is completely off-base. If you wanted to compare them, a house that you decided to have built would only be comparable to a 'work for hire', and already the copyright for those works belong to the person who commissioned them and not the person who actually produced them.

The closest possible analogy between music and homes would be between a song that the band wrote and a 'spec home' (speculative, not specification, that is) that was built (ie, built without a buyer already lined up from the beginning). In those cases, when you buy the spec home, the architect still retains whatever rights to the plans he had before you bought the house, and can build another identical home, and you can't do anything about it. You are buying a 'copy' of the home, not the original plans. Oh, and you can renovate and alter your home, and the original architect can't say anything, because you bought that copy and it's yours.

The record company, in construction terms, would be like a company that contracts workers to build a condo complex - they have to pay up-front for the site and to start construction, and they have no guarantee that they'll sell all of the units and recoup their costs. (There's a condo complex a few blocks from where I used to live that sold so poorly they reduced the price per unit to under $90,000 (Canadian) and finally had to put them up for auction. Even then, they didn't all sell to people who wanted to live in them; some were sold to companies that turned around and tried to re-sell them.) The difference comes in with the house plans, or in musical terms, the copyright on the song. For a condo complex, the architect can still sell the same plans to another company to build another condo complex, while the record company gets exclusive rights to the music and the artist (architect) is SOL and can't sell it to another company.


--
Discuss the art and craft of writing
That's the problem with world domination... Nobody is willing to wait for it anymore, work slowly towards it, drink more and enjoy the ride more.
[ Parent ]
This is a false proposition. (none / 0) (#149)
by haflinger on Fri Apr 26, 2002 at 08:44:48 PM EST

Copyright lawyers have to deal with collaborative works all the time.

The simple rule that would solve this whole problem is:

You can only transfer copyright to a fellow author.

Also, not all musicians are funded by record companies. Usually that's the case for first signings; they get paid an advance, and then the company sends somebody to listen to them work and make sure they're producing good product. Often, however, the advance doesn't cover the costs of recording and/or touring and/or video making. A famous example of this principle was MC Hammer, who went bankrupt after his second album went bust. (So did TLC, and a host of other pop acts from the early '90s.) But a lot of bands, when they escape from their first contracts, change their ways pretty radically. Some get signed to insane long-term contracts: the most extreme example I can think of was the Scorpions, who signed a 15-album (I think) contract. Ironically, their biggest commercial success was the album they made after their contract expired, and they kicked the reins.

There are also exceptions. A famous one was The Police, who funded all their own records and tours; they signed a deal with A&M to just do the distribution. A&M made a ton of money off them, eventually; odds are if they'd been a Normal Band they would've been kicked before they ever released Ghost in the Machine or Zenyatta Mondatta.

Garage bands, BTW, of the genuine sort, usually don't get funded. Nirvana just got a royalty agreement from Sub Pop for Bleach, for instance.

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]

ever heard of OSL? (4.25 / 4) (#54)
by KiTaSuMbA on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 02:51:42 AM EST

Open Sound License. Think of it, as a copyleft of music, i.e. you will be recognised for your work but other ppl can redistribute it and have fun with it (sampling, etc.) without those multi-k lawyers hunting them as long as they give you credit. However, most artists are still for the current scheme of things prefering those really *thin* odds they make it to majors (odds getting even thinner if you hope to still make the kind of music you really love to, no compromises) and going big-time fans streaming and stuff rather than simply enjoying doing it... I guess this underlies under the basic class of "money talks, BS walks" thing.

Now, were was that link... dammit! google it people!
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
Magnificent (3.45 / 11) (#55)
by streetlawyer on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 02:51:58 AM EST

Magnificent. Te Salutam, Kuro5hin. Fifty comments, including this one, on the subject of a Front Page Story entitled "Should Record Companies Own Copyrights?", and nary a single mention of what might be thought to be a germane fact:

Record companies don't own copyrights.

Take a look at the back of an album you own. I'll bet you a dollar to a vinyl doughnut that it does not say "Copyright BMG Records". Copyrights in pieces of music are owned in the first instance by the composer (this is what is going on when the (c) disclosure says "Copyright Metallica" or some such. Typically, because the composer is not interested with the day to day business of defending those rights, he assigns them to a music publisher (hence "Copyright Northern Songs" on a Beatles album). There are also usually tax advantages associated with selling your rights to a publishing company.

It is often the case that the publishing company which buys the rights is owned by the recording company which contracts to record the music, but this is not universal or even particularly common. The fact that the author did not bother to look up this basic piece of music industry economics is disappointing, as is the fact that nobody except me has picked them up on it.

The current arrangements regarding copyright have grown up because they allow the music industry to stay in business in a very volatile, difficult and capital-intensive industry (despite what posters say below, you cannot make a decent album with "two microphones"), while solving a lot of problems for the artists.

One final point; at the very least, the string "'s management company" should be appended after most mentions of "artist" above; given the fact that artists are artists rather than full-time businessmen or women, this complicated scheme of negotiations looks like nothing so much as a means of transferring profits from unscrupulous record companies to unscrupulous managers.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever

Eh... (3.66 / 3) (#56)
by Dr Device on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 03:30:55 AM EST

Take a look at the back of an album you own. I'll bet you a dollar to a vinyl doughnut that it does not say "Copyright BMG Records".

Actually, looking at the first CD case of mine that I found, I see "Copyright 1991 sony music entertainment". Looking at another, I see "Copyright 1997 Matador Records". A third one, an independent label, has nothing on it.

[ Parent ]

Sort of. (4.33 / 3) (#57)
by Herring on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 04:02:35 AM EST

Just dug out the first three CDs I could lay my hands on.
  • Murder Ballads, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Copyright Mute Records
  • Suede - Copyright Suede Ltd.
  • JS Bach, St Mathew Passion (von Karajan) - Copyright Intermusic SA (odd - Bach's long dead)


  • Aside from proving my distinctly eclectic taste in music, this seems to show that it varies.


    Say lol what again motherfucker, say lol what again, I dare you, no I double dare you
    [ Parent ]
    the third is the key (4.50 / 2) (#62)
    by streetlawyer on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 05:20:56 AM EST

    Obviously, Bach's music is out of copyright. But the copyright on that particular recording is owned by the people who made it.

    --
    Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
    [ Parent ]
    um research before you post. (3.66 / 3) (#59)
    by techwolf on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 04:53:46 AM EST

    The first one i pulled out:

    Gravity Kills, perversion
    copyright 1998 TVT records. Manufactured and distributed by TVT records, 23 east 4th street NY, NY

    Rave til' Dawn
    copyright 1993 SBK records, 1290 Avenue of the americas Ny, NY 10104
    Manufactured by capital records Inc, subsidary of Capital - EMI Music Inc.

    Almost all songs have a copyright held by the record company. and i think that this idea is the best I have heard of to date, but the record companies would NEVER allow this to happen. they would throw as much money as it took to kill any kind of law that tries to impliment this.


    "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
    [ Parent ]
    nononono (4.50 / 2) (#61)
    by streetlawyer on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 05:19:56 AM EST

    Sorry; looking back at my post, I wasn't all that clear and the first reply makes it much clearer. The recordings are copyright the record company (which makes sense; the record company made it), but the songs are not, and there will usually be a separate notice giving publishing details on the songs.

    --
    Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
    [ Parent ]
    I see, well then thats different. (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by techwolf on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 12:05:52 PM EST

    that is "Composer Fees" the records companies pay the writer a fee based on factors that I am at this time unaware of. However as I undersdtand it those are One time Fees not like royalties for a copyright holder.


    "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
    [ Parent ]
    Performance/recording copyright vs. composition (4.00 / 2) (#60)
    by DavisImp on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 04:55:56 AM EST

    If I recall correctly, we're dealing with two different copyrights here -- one is the copyright on the song itself, and the other is on the performance. A musician will usually either copyright the songs to him or herself as he/she writes them, or copyright them to an organization he or she has legal right to (the Smashing Pumpkins used Cinderful Music; the eels would copyright stuff to Sexy Grandpa Music).

    The actual album tracks are another matter entirely. The copyright on the peformances of the songs is usually owned by whoever paid for them -- in most cases, the record companies. (This, btw, explains why bach can be copyrighted -- it's not the piece itself, but the actually symphonic presentation.) This is why when artists switch labels they can't just re-release their old albums on the new label. When the author of this article talks about removing copyright power from the companies, I'm assuming he means the ability of companies to hold exclusive copyright to any performance of an individual piece.

    [ Parent ]

    Record Labels DO Own Copyrights (5.00 / 2) (#107)
    by IPLawyer on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 04:11:32 PM EST

    Just to ensure the debate is based on fact, I want to point out that Record Companies DO own copyrights. There are two different copyrights on your typical CD -- there is the copyright in the song itself, the so called "Musical Work." This is the copyright that is being talked about in this post. But there is also a copyright in the particular performance of the song, as embodied in the "phonorecord" (a defined term in the Copyright Act), or the CD (in English), which is called the "Sound Recording" copyright. The Record Companies generally own the Sound Recording copyright, and the Publishers generally own the Musical Works copyright. When an artist gets a major label deal, he or she usually signs away claims to the Sound Recording copyright in exchange for studio time, etc. (also, engineers and back up musicians would have a piece of the SR copyright, except they sign it away too). If you look at a CD, you generally see not only a C-in-a-circle symbol, but also a P-in-a-circle symbol. That Circle-P is the symbol for identifying the sound recording copyright owner (the P stands for phonorecord) and is almost always a record label.
    IPLawyer
    [ Parent ]
    This is simple, really. (4.50 / 6) (#67)
    by tekue on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 08:25:18 AM EST

    0. Preface: copyright is something we've created as a abstract to help artists sell their creations, as we've figured that being able to profit better from music (and other arts, but I will limit the scope of this text to music), promotes creation. Until very recently there was nothing like copyright and for at least a couple of centuries the system worked without it. More so, artists are still able to profit on things that were profitable then (live performances, tunes ordered by rich people for their own pleasure, et al.) and the advances in technology and such created additional opportunities -- advertising is the most obvious one, but also movie music, radio jingles, and such. Therefore the system can most probably be reverted to abadon copyright, or to limit it, and musicians would still be able to make money.

    1. Copyright was established to promote arts and creativity, and companies should only own copyrights if it serves this purporse. Do MDCs (Music Distribution Companies) owning copyrights promote arts and creativity?

    2. Current system emphasises the division between "big artists" who signed with (or were created by) big MDCs, and "small artists" who signed with small, "independent" MDCs or didn't sign at all. The former are usually rich, the latter are usually not (I'm assuming succesfull artists, unsuccesfull artists are poor by definition). It is of course subject to a discussion if equality is good, but if we assume it is, current system promotes unequality.

    3. If MDC are cut down to doing what they were supposed to do (music distribution, for a fee), it promotes equality of opportunity, because it's the artist's choice if he want's to promote himself or not, and in what ways. Artists would not be made to change their creations by some marketing "specialists" (although some of the artists would change their music to appeal to common taste to sell more records, as it is today).

    4. There's no problem with MDCs not being able to profit above the promotional (and other) expenses, as the costs of promotion would be paid for by artists (or their sponsors, or investors).

    5. Artists would be able to try and find an investor, who -- for a portion of the profits from the album -- could pay for the studio, touring bus, et al. They (artists) would also be able to look for a sponsor, who would pay for the expenses in exchange for a song written in their name, or for a banner visible on every live performance of the artist, or just for the sake of it.

    6. The focus (and wealth) could be pushed from hugely popular "stars" created by MDCs, to "middle-class" musicians, promoting equality within them.

    7. It is very possible, that more music would be created and distributed, as it would be easier for an artist to promote his creations, without having to go thru the MDC's filter, which kills-off most of the avantgarde and original music.

    8. Creativity is not promoted by making musicians do the same things over and over. Creativity is also not promoted by distributing huge ammounts of money between 10-20 most popular bands. Creativity is promoted by making it able for more and more people to live off creating music, that is, if more and more people create new music, creativity is promoted.

    9. Big MDCs will always try to create a situation where the least ammount of bans create the most of revenue, because the economy of scale proves this situation more profitable for the MDC. Therefore they promote the situation where less and less people are able to live off creating music, therefore they don't promote creativity.

    10. As mentioned in [1], copyright was established to promote arts and creativity. As MDC owning copyright doesn't promote creativity, they should not own copyright.
    --
    Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. --Tom Robbins

    Public Domain (5.00 / 3) (#102)
    by Matrix on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 02:12:48 PM EST

    copyright is something we've created as a abstract to help artists sell their creations, as we've figured that being able to profit better from music (and other arts, but I will limit the scope of this text to music), promotes creation.

    To be technical, that's not entirely right from an American point of view. I believe there was one faction in your early government that believed this, yes. But the faction that actually wrote the laws believed something different.

    They wanted copyright to encourage authors to publish works, in return for a temporary monopoly on reproduction of that work. Most authors would find this an easy way to get money for their works, and be rewarded for the creation of that work. However, the main benefit of copyright comes in after the copyright has expired.

    Once the copyright has expired (yes, they can do that, despite what the recording industry wants you to think), the author no longer has their monopoly on reproduction of the work. Not only that, but anyone can derive new works from it freely. And even while the work is under copyright, its out there as a resource for other authors to learn from and build on.

    So by encouraging authors to publish, copyright creates a body of works that can, to borrow a phrase from a certant legal document, "promote the progress of science and the useful arts". (Err... I'm fairly sure that's from the "copyright" section) Of course, under modern legal doctrine, this is virtually impossible. Not only do copyrights not expire, but a copyrighted work is property. And by using it to learn from, studying it, and using elements of it, you're stealing from the poor starving authors, you bastard!

    Of course, no-one seems to want to ask the rich publishing companies why the artists/authors are poor and starving. Or why proprietary software gets copyright protections despite not contributing anything to this body of knowledge we programmers are to use to learn from. But that seems to be beside the point.


    Matrix
    "...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
    - Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
    [ Parent ]

    The Federales are not the right answer! (2.66 / 3) (#68)
    by hbolling on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 08:29:45 AM EST

    Repeat after me -- the United States is not the World. the United States is not the world. Regulation and legislation are solutions (bad ones IMHO) for local or national problems. The Net is global. The free market will prevail in the case of music -- monopolists will be disintermediated by 'natural' market forces like Napster and its children. Who is John Galt?

    Yes, but... (none / 0) (#71)
    by RadiantMatrix on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 08:47:27 AM EST

    the United States is not the World.
    Perhaps not, but many countries look to the US as an example (for better or worse), and many international trade agreements require member countries to uphold US intellectual property law.

    So, anything the US does regarding IP (including copyright) affects world trade. To expect that limiting the power of recording companies in the US would benefit only the US is naive at best.

    --
    $w="q\$x";for($w){s/q/\:/;s/\$/-/;s/x/\)\n/;}print($w)
    [ Parent ]

    Problem (3.00 / 1) (#79)
    by vinay on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 10:39:10 AM EST

    Where is napster now though?

    Who is John Galt, indeed. The problem with Atlas Shrugged is that all the characters were one-sided. The good guys were good, and hardworking, and really just wanted to get their work done. The bad guys were bad and wanted to freeload, and legislate rights away, etc. But what happens when the "good" guys start legislating rights away(does that make them "bad" guys)?


    -\/


    [ Parent ]
    Reread Rand (3.00 / 1) (#87)
    by streetlawyer on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 12:04:58 PM EST

    If you think that wanting somebody else's music gives you the right to steal it, you really need to reread Atlas Shrugged. Rand, and indeed, John Galt, are very clear in saying that a creator has the inalienable right to withdraw their creation. They also have the right to sell this right for money. Rand can only be read as supporting a very hard version of copyright law.

    --
    Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
    [ Parent ]
    don't think that would have the effect you desire (3.66 / 3) (#75)
    by garbanzo on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 09:28:15 AM EST

    Regardless of the intent of any law, once it exists some people will position themselves to benefit from it. This is why I think it is futile to try to achieve the original aims of any law. The law of unintended consequences is still (and always) in effect.

    So what does copyright do for musicians? Basically, it enables them to sell the rights to songs, lyrics, arrangements, and recordings of songs. They could do the production and distribution themselves (ani difranco and righteous babe records is one example. IIRC Minor Threat (later: Fugazi) created Dischord for the same reason.)

    Okay, so the web is here, you can burn your own disks cheaply or you can distribute on MP3. Self-published music exists, there are people who have done it. Why don't more people do it?

    Possibly because they are too busy writing, playing, and touring and don't want the !#?!@ bother of being a business man who deals with all the niggling details of music distro.

    So we restrict a business of copyright owners and distro guys to being just distro guys. What happens? A business of copyright buyers emerges. Because musicians will still want to sell copyright and those distro guys still need product. Guess who'd form those copyright businesses the day your law passed? Sony, Disney, etc. They already have the expertise and they definitely have the cash.

    Trying to create freedom with more laws is like trying to cool a kettle by putting it on the fire.



    sure, it's all fun and games--until someone puts an eye out

    Copyright is kind of a name (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by clion999 on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 01:11:56 PM EST

    Several publishers have told me that I'm free to keep the copyright for myself-- but they better get an exclusive contract if they want to publish the book. In essence, they just rewrite the rules. Technically I would own the copyright, but the publisher would own all of the rights. Or at least all fo the rights that mattered.

    [ Parent ]
    sure they should (none / 0) (#145)
    by gps on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 06:37:34 PM EST

    they commissioned the work, they have the right to the material. copyrights need to expire in a reasonable timeframe as they were originally intended rather than the infinite-disney version we are faced with now.

    Should Record Companies Own Copyrights? | 149 comments (149 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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