----- Original Message -----
From: "Karl Miller" <[log in to unmask]>
> > Whereas the CNN story, from the first, wants us to feel sorry
> > that Mick Jagger will be losing his royalties for recordings due to
> > the new law. But that won't happen for at least seven years, as
> > Mick didn't make records until 1963. And it's not as though he
> > has no other avenues for revenue (are you kidding?) or that
> > revenue from what he recorded in 1963 would generate
> > much income anyway. Mick still gets the revenue for the
> > songwriting, so what's the big deal?
> I believe it is all about the record companies and not the musicians, yet the
record companies and the media...perhaps because the media are part of the same
organizations that own the record companies...or because it makes for a human
interest story...carefully position the argument as a case for the musicians.
For me, the main point in all of this is that the musicians gain nothing unless
the record company decides to make the recording available. Hence, the recording
is available only if the COMPANY, usually a major label, with high overhead,
thinks it can make money.
> Obviously it makes more sense to present the situation as being supportive
of the musician as it personalizes it, and therefore offers the option of making
an emotional argument, versus presenting it as supporting big business and
therefore having no emotional appeal.
> Having read that report, it would seem that there is a reasonable argument
to suggest that the limited term of ownership is indeed good for the business of
the major labels, a possibility which I had never really considered.
> Then there would be the problem that to take advantage of that potential
will require some readjustment of the infrastructure of the major labels as it
may well be that they have developed A & R departments less geared to developing
younger musicians...or, in the vernacular of the biz...not younger musicians,
but "new product."...and speaking of dehumanization...
Okeh...I'll don my "musician's hat" for a moment here...and speak
to their example!
Jagger and the Rolling Stones are regularly among the top-grossing
musical acts in the western world each year...and I seriously doubt
that whateven tiny portion of that comes from royalties on their
original recordings is any more than a tiny fraction of that income!
Somehow, I find it a bit difficult to feel any sympathy for a man
with a predictable multi-million dollar income guaranteed as long
as he can have his aged body wheeled onto the stage...unless he
manages to outlive all his fans, of course(?!)...especially when
I spent most of the past couple of months trying to get my heat
turned back on before I, Ecru the cat and the pipes all froze...!
Now, on to the general idea...
Musicians ONLY receive royalties on recordings which are still in
print in some form and thus generating income from sales...and,
further, were made under contracts that provided artist royalties
in the first place (rare before c. 1950)!! Note that in some
cases reissue operations do this out of generosity, even though
they are in no way obliged to...
Further, if that were the problem, it would be simple to enact
legislation that required any reissue of a sound recording to
include royaties to the artist at, say, the standard AFM rate.
Second, the reference to a CNN story...well, sadly, most US-based
media are far from arms-length there...for many, especially when
the goverment and/or "Dubya" are concerned. CNN isn't quite as
biased as Fox News, but it's still a cheerleader for all things
neo-con...just a little more quietly. And most of that group are
quite happy with the quasi-eternal copyright term for sound
recordings in the good ol' USA that keeps our recorded history
firmly locked away until at least 2067 (subject to extension
Currently, virtually all of our sonic history is in that same
manger with that same dog! Where there are identifiable owners
of copyrights (the vast majority of cases, thanks to national
and international merge-mania...) they can simply say, "Well,
we won't reissue it, because it doesn't guarantee adequate
profit...and you CAN'T reissue it as long as our copyright
is valid...!) This, of course, means that royalties on those
recordings also go unpaid, since they depend on sales...so
the poor musicians STILL are making SFA on their back
Finally, the recording industry is currently "lost in space"
about what to sell or how to sell it! The "good old days,"
when there was one genre and a comparative handful of "hit
artists" which appealed to virtually all of the younger
demographic (i.e. "jazz," swing, rock'n'roll, rock,...)
and a minimal number of other genres to appeal to the
rest of the public(s) (i.e. classical, race, hillbilly,
various ethnic groups and "standard" music) no longer
exist...and no one is sure exactly what might work next!
Perhaps, since multi-terabyte storage arrays are just around
the corner (if they don't already exist?)...recording companies
can simply set up a multi-owner operation to provide digital
access to every sound recording that still exists in any form,
at a reasonable per-copy price...with the income made thereby
to be divided up among the partcipating recording owners
according to their recordings having been accessed...?!
Steven C. Barr