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My first post to this list after lurking for a while - this is a little off-topic but there is a fascinating article about Solomon Linda, the South African composer of Mbube, which was recorded in this country first as Whimaway, and then (with new english words) as The Lion Sleeps Tonight at http://www.3rdearmusic.com/forum/mbube2.html

The song made millions of dollars for many people, Linda got a Guiness out of it.  There are many examples of similar exploitation of artists who lived in this country - didn't some of our most beloved folklorists claim writing credit for materials they gathered?

I suppose that big recording artists like Crosby and Sinatra were successful at protecting their interests. Isn't it similar now?  Less established artists may believe they are getting a fair cut of the pie, but they find after they have paid for studio time, touring, artwork for packaging, etc. they still owe their souls to the company stores.

It would be fascinating to see a breakdown of how the industry worked then and now... to see what is different, what is the same, and what is supposed to be different but ends up working out about the same.

"Steven C. Barr" wrote:
Well, with 78's, the record companies were under NO obligation to pay the
artists anything more that the fee they got for participating in the
recording session (until 1944, when the AFM strike was settled). Since
78's sold for well over the cost of their manufacture, most firms sold
the players at cost or less on the assumption the purchaser would
then buy the records, which were the high-profit items.
...stevenc