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ARSCLIST  June 2007

ARSCLIST June 2007

Subject:

Re: WAMU 88.5 to Join Webcasters in "Day of Silence" June 26

From:

"Steven C. Barr(x)" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 22 Jun 2007 21:33:59 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (127 lines)

see end...
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Karl Miller" <[log in to unmask]>
> > Bob Olhsson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:     ***Record labels used to tell
artists that they shouldn't receive royalties because of the free publicity too.

> It's the oldest scam in the music business.
>
> ***I'm saying that choice should be up to the artist because it's their music
and their livelihood. Webcasters always have the choice not to play artists they
can't reach an agreement with.
>
> Having left broadcasting a few years ago, I haven't kept up with this. All I
remember were the payments to the ASCAP, BMI, SESAC...to cover the broadcasting
of copyrighted music.
>
>   How are artists paid? Is the money paid to the label? If so, is it part of
the contract as to how much the label is paid versus how much the artist gets?
My label has never been paid a penny from an internet broadcaster, yet, I often
get emails from people telling me that they have heard our stuff being played
over the internet.
>
>   It all seems rather odd to me. I recall that some years ago, the musician's
union in England had some strict rules. It would limit the amount (percentage)
of recorded music that could be broadcast. Further, if you broadcast a live
performance of say some jazz band, you were limited as to the number of times
you could rebroadcast it, sometimes forcing the BBC to rerecord another live
performance. I know some of those rules still apply. Recently, the BBC had
Ginastera as composer of the week. Barbara Nissman, pianist on my  label, was
interviewed for the series and they used her recordings, all on my label. We
were never paid a penny. The BBC wanted to include the First Piano Concerto in
the series. I suggested they use a performance she had done years ago with one
of the BBC orchestras. They BBC said that they could not afford to use it as the
union would require a reuse fee of about $7,000 US. The BBC "owned" the tape,
but not the right to use it.
>
>   Also, I know that the reproducing piano roll transfers on our label have
been broadcast by the BBC and have been included in other European broadcasts.
We haven't seen a penny...but then I don't suppose one should have to pay
Bloomfield Zeisler...she has been dead for many years. Is the performance right
subject to the 50 years past death?
>
>   As to the artist being paid...I am reminded of how business models change.
Years ago, late 19th, early 20th centuries, a soloist would perform with an
orchestra for free. It was seen as a way to advertize for getting students and
would lead to solo recitals. Also, I like pointing out, that in the "old days"
(30s-50s) of the National Orchestral Association, some of the world's finest
musicians would do solo gigs with them for free...their contribution to the
educational process.
>
>   Then, I was reading in today's NY Times that cultural icon de jour, Paris
Hilton, was being offered about $800,000 for an interview. A quote from one of
the TV networks was "we never pay for inteviews." Most curious. It seems to me
that the media have created this "celebrity" and now they have to "feed" this
"celebrity" they have created. So, is it that once a musician gets famous, they
should be paid when their performance is broadcast? At what point is a broadcast
seen as free advertizing versus a means of acquiring higher ratings?
>
>   Then, consider downloads. 99 cents sounds reasonable? Let's say that the
piece is 60 minutes long, and in one movement, and still under copyright. The
mechanical rights would cost me about $1.05. That doesn't include the costs of
making the recording in the first place, or paying the musician anything. Ok,
that is an extreme example, but I am just trying to point out that one size does
not fit all.
>
>   Then, I wonder, if someone did send us a check for the broadcast of one of
our discs...well my wife has enough trouble keeping up with the books as it
is...if it gets much worse she might demand that I pay her something!
>
>   I do believe that the system follows the old saying, "the rich get rich and
poor get poorer." I don't like it and I believe it is not right. But I guess I
don't see how things are supposed to work differently.
>
>   When I was a teenager back in the 60s I got my first tape recorder. I
financed it in part by telling my parents that I wouldn't be bothering them for
money to buy records. I honestly thought that would be true. Well, I didn't
figure in the cost of the tape...and of course, it did not slow down my record
purchasing. And, of course, I never considered the legality of what I was doing.
Fortunately I did tape some wonderful live performances and in turn have shared
them with the performing organizations that never thought to save their own
concerts, or were prohibited from doing so by the union. Once I became aware of
the copyrights, I tried to limit my taping to live performances, still illegal,
but I could rationalize it...no other way to get the stuff. I also would allow
myself to tape those records that were "hard to find...out of print, etc." Would
I pay a few bucks for a better sounding copy of an old Boston Symphony
broadcast, sure, but the economics seem to make it
>  impossible for them to make them available.
>
>   Now I wonder, what must the perspective be for a kid these days when you can
get it for free, and in fairly decent sound.
>
>   And, by the way, I still record broadcasts of concert performances...and now
with the internet...I can't wait until I retire and have more time to record and
listen.
>
>   This whole thing seems crazy to me. I would really like to know what sort of
business model the new technology gives us and how one can make enough money to
survive. It seems like, as always, unless you are on the top of the heap, the
economies of scale make it impossible to put food on the table.
>
>   Karl (speaking from ignorance and very glad he incorporated as a non-profit
and was able to get 501 c 3 status for his company)
>
As I understand it (which may or may not be entirely correct...?!)...
any operation which derives even part of its profits through the
use of PRO-registered music MUST purchase a "license" for a given
fee in order to use that music. This applies to radio stations as
well as bars, clubs and similar venues which feature live musical
performances...and may, as well, apply to other XXI Jahrhundert
technology which uses music to make money (or, actually, TRY to
make money...whether or not a profit is actually made is immaterial!).

The proceeds thus obtained are then divided (I don't know if attempts
are made to establish WHOSE music is being used...?!) among all the
registered composers in the PRO's membership. Note that this does NOT
apply to publisher royalties; these are administerd in the US of A
by the Harry Fox Agency (HFA) as well as others...and up here in
Canada by CMRRA. If, for example, I wish to issue a CD of songs I
didn't write and publish myself, I have to pay a few hundreds bucks
in advance, which covers my first x-many copies pressed...! See the
web sites for details...!

Meanwhile, I must shamefacedly admit that, so far, I haven't registered
with SOCAN...!

Steven C. Barr

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