The Coming Battle Over Song Rights
August 19, 2011
"Since their release in 1978, hit albums like Bruce Springsteen's "Darkness on the Edge of Town," Billy Joel's "52nd Street," the Doobie Brothers' "Minute by Minute," Kenny Rogers's "Gambler" and Funkadelic's "One Nation Under a Groove" have generated tens of millions of dollars for record companies. But thanks to a little-noted provision in United States copyright law, those artists - and thousands more - now have the right to reclaim ownership of their recordings, potentially leaving the labels out in the cold ... The provision also permits songwriters to reclaim ownership of qualifying songs. Bob Dylan has already filed to regain some of his compositions, as have other rock, pop and country performers like Tom Petty, Bryan Adams, Loretta Lynn, Kris Kristofferson, Tom Waits and Charlie Daniels, according to records on file at the United States Copyright Office."-- From the New York Times Article 'Record Industry Braces for Artists' Battles Over Song Rights' by Larry Rohter, August 15, 2011 (You can read the entire article here: http://tiny.cc/1zlc9)
Ah yes, the battle is looming. And it won't be won easily by either side.
Of course, it took no time at all for the RIAA to come out and respond. Steven Marks, general counsel for the RIAA said "We believe the termination right doesn't apply to most sound recordings." (Remember, reader, the RIAA is funded by the labels, and the RIAA spends most of their time in America's courtrooms suing people who have downloaded songs illegally, or lobbying our politicians in the nations' capitol)
As it says in the New York Times article, "As the record companies see it, the master recordings belong to them in perpetuity, rather than to the artists who wrote and recorded the songs, because, the labels argue, the records are "works for hire," compilations created not by independent performers but by musicians who are, in essence, their employees."
Don Henley says, "In terms of all those big acts you name, the recording industry has made a gazillion dollars on those masters, more than the artists have. So there's an issue of parity here, of fairness. This is a bone of contention, and it's going to get more contentious in the next couple of years."
While this new opportunity is very good news for artists, it is potentially catastrophic for the labels who still generate significant sales and revenue from catalog items that sell year after year.
Pat Benatar sang "Love Is A Battlefield" and War sang "Why Can't We Be Friends."
There will be no love on either side of this battlefield, and I doubt whether the labels will be friends with those artists seeking to regain ownership of their music.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
A MUST DOWNLOAD FOR ANYBODY WHO WANTS A GREAT REFERENCE PAPER ON THE MUSIC BIZ
Berkleemusic, the online division of the Berklee College of Music, has put together the Music Business Handbook Vol. 2, and it's yours as a free 31-page PDF file download.
It's an incredibly useful guide to help people navigate the music business waters and handbook topics include: Unpaid Royalties by David Kusek; CDs vs Downloads by Eric Beall; Sponsorship by John Czajkowski & Jeff Dorenfeld; Copyright Law by Allen Bargfrede; Releasing an Album by Jon Vanhala; Entrepreneurship by Peter Gotcher; Using Fan-Funding Techniques by Mike King.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
ONESHEET NOW OPEN TO ALL MUSICIANS & FANS
Onesheet has exited its private beta mode and is now open to the public.
More than 10,000 recording artists have already signed up to use the service, including major label artists like Paramore , Mat Kearny and Owl City, have used the service which makes it simple to create an attractive, functional website within a few minutes.
You can read about it and find the link to OneSheet here: http://tiny.cc/ioqqp
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
MUSIC VIDEOS DOMINATE YOU TUBE
Out of the millions of videos streamed on YouTube's site every day, music videos are by far the most popular.
According to ComScore, which will start publishing data on YouTube's channel partners tomorrow, 40% of YouTube's audience clicked over in July to watch music videos, more than any other category. Vevo accounted for 38% of YouTube's entire monthly viewers, easily the most-watched channel within the video-sharing site.
Read more and see the chart breakdown on AdAge here: http://tiny.cc/fvgt1
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
SHARING MUSIC ON SPOTIFY
CNET Senior Editor Donald Bell walks you through the process of sharing music on Spotify, including posting to Facebook or Twitter, copying direct links to songs, or putting your Spotify listening habits on Last.fm.
Read about it here: http://tiny.cc/b5975
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
GIGMAVEN GETS ACQUIRED BY REVERBNATION
GigMaven, a three-year-old startup that hooks starving artists up with concert venues, has been acquired by ReverbNation for an undisclosed amount.
ReverbNation provides marketing, promotion and social media tools for nearly 2 million music artists.
Read more here on Business Insider: http://tiny.cc/vb0ze
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
GOOGLE LAUNCHES MUSIC MAGNIFIED
Google has added a music discovery site, featuring original content and free songs, to the Music Beta cloud-based service the company launched three months ago.
Read more about it here: http://tiny.cc/utbn2
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
THE VIDEO CONSUMER AND STATE OF MEDIA: A NEW REPORT
According to the Nielsen Cross Media Report, Americans are spending more time watching video content on traditional TVs, mobile devices and via the Internet than ever. Overall TV viewership increased 22 minutes per month per person over last year, demonstrating moderate growth and remaining the dominant source of video content for all demographics. Even the lowest-fifth quintile of TV viewers still averages an hour of TV consumption per day, with the highest quintile tuning in for nearly 10 hours per day.
Mobile video viewing continues to see marked gains, with the number of Americans watching video on their mobile devices increasing 41% over last year and more than 100% since 2009. Time shifted TV continues to grow, both in the penetration of DVR devices in the home and the time spent. Internet video streaming also saw increases in time spent; this behavior is the highest among a younger and diverse subset of the population.
Over the past year, satellite and telephone company-delivered TV subscriptions increased while subscriptions to wired cable decreased slightly. Broadcast-only households remained stagnant. Two-thirds of TV homes now have an HDTV, an increase of more than 20% over last year. Slightly less than half have a video game console or a DVR, 45% and 40%, respectively.
You can download the entire report in PDF format here: http://tiny.cc/10r4h
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 9
THE iPAD DOMINATION
The tablet market continues to be summed up like this: the iPad and everything else. And everything else doesn't amount to much.
That's according to a recent survey conducted by Robert W. Baird. The study found that out of more than 1,100 potential tablet purchasers, an overwhelming 94.5% cited the iPad as a device of interest.
Read the rest here on CNET: http://tiny.cc/jp8d3
A PERSONAL NOTE...
This week Rich Fitzgerald, the longtime head of Reprise promotion who later became a label Vice President, lost his battle with cancer. Rich was 64.
Rich's resume was filled with his years of experience at Capitol Records, RSO Records, Network Records, Geffen, Warners, and Reprise.
In recent years, Rich had been semi-retired, devoting his time to his family, friends and his golf game, though he continued to work as a consultant to Clapton. In 2007's "Clapton: The Autobiography," the author wrote, "Over the years, [he] has become a good friend, and in an industry that abounds with hustlers and faceless corporate entities, he stands out as a decent, honest man who has a passion for music. I wish there were more like him."
I never "hung out" with Rich during my two decades in the industry working in Los Angeles, but we were friends and often spent time together at industry conventions and functions talking about the MUSIC more than the music business. His passion for music and the artists he promoted was apparent to anyone who ever met Rich, and I never met a single person at a label or a radio station that didn't think the world of him.
In the past two years Rich and I had talked on the phone on several occasions and I learned that he was considering moving here to Las Vegas. He and Mary had even looked at a home in the community I live in, and I told Rich I looked forward to the possibility of having him as a neighbor. He told me later the plans for relocating were put in hold for a bunch of reasons, but we kept communicating frequently on Facebook, chatting with each other late at night.
I'll miss Rich and he will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
Rich is survived by Mary, his wife of 24 years; Hunter, his 22 year-old son; and daughter, Sloane, aged 20.
SCOTTY COMING IN OCTOBER:
Scotty McCreery, the winner of the 10th season of "American Idol," has announced that his debut album Clear as Day will hit stores on October 4th.
IT WAS 42 YEARS AGO:
Back on August 15th, 1969 the Woodstock Festival, an indelible moment in American pop culture, was held in Bethel, New York.
BREAKING BAD DOWN TO 16 EPISODES:
Weeks of "behind-the-scenes squabbling" between AMC and Sony have ended with the news that there will be 16 more episodes of the Sony-produced "Breaking Bad," culminating with the series finale, writes Lacey Rose. Production for the fifth and final season will begin in early 2012.
JACKO TRIBUTE CONCERT LINEUP TAKES SHAPE:
Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera have been confirmed to appear at a Michael Jackson tribute concert to be held in Wales later this year. The show, which is scheduled for October 8th at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, will also include performances by Smokey Robinson, Leona Lewis, Craig David and Alien Ant Farm, who scored a hit with a rocked-up version of Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" in 2001.
KATY TIES JACKO:
Katy Perry is now the second artist in the 53-year-history of the Billboard Hot 100 chart to produce five chart-topping singles off the same album. She ties Michael Jackson, who did it with his "Bad" album in 1987-88.
NO APPEAL FOR SPECTOR:
The California Supreme Court has turned down an appeal filed by Phil Spector's attorneys requesting a review of the legendary producer's 2009 murder conviction.
LATEST iPHONE RUMOR:
The latest rumors floating about the next version of Apple's smartphone say that it will hit the streets on October 7th, with preorders to begin September 30th.
U2 GIVES BACK:
U2 will be providing five million euros -- roughly $7.2 million dollars -- through 2015 to fund music schooling for Irish children. The donation will mainly be put toward musical equipment and salaries for music teachers. An additional two million euros ($2.9 million) will be given to Ireland Funds, another charitable group supported by people of Irish ancestry around the globe.
SUGARLAND GIVES BACK:
Sugarland have announced plans to hold a memorial service in honor of those who died in the stage collapse at their show at the Indiana State Fair over the weekend. Five people died in the accident, and 45 others were hospitalized with critical injuries.
SWIFT SONG TO BE FEATURED ON HBO'S TRUE BLOOD THIS SUNDAY:
True Blood music supervisor Gary Calamar confirms to Rolling Stone that this Sunday's episode will feature Taylor Swift's "Haunted."
JAY-Z & KANYE SET NEW iTUNES RECORD:
Jay-Z and Kanye West's collaborative album, "Watch the Throne," broke a record set by Coldplay for the best-ever first week sales for a new album in the iTunes store. Watch the Throne, which was available exclusively as a download in the iTunes store for most of its first week of release, sold over 290,000 copies.
METRO & RHAPSODY:
MetroPCS Communications Inc. and Rhapsody have signed an agreement that puts Rhapsody's streaming music service on compatible MetroPCS' Android phones. As with all MetroPCS services, no long-term contracts are required. MetroPCS has nine million customers, many of whom find its prepaid service convenient since it does not require a credit card.
WRITE YOUR OWN PUNCHLINE:
A recent report in a medical journal suggests that the radio-frequency energy emitted by cell phones may adversely affect sperm health in humans and animals.
ANOTHER FACTOID ABOUT TECH MOBILITY:
As electronic devices increasingly become a major part of everyday life, they also are growing in importance to the automotive industry. A new report forecasts this market will be worth $17.4 billion in 2015. This figure does not include anything needed to actually run a car.
Former Warrant frontman Jani Lane was found dead last week in Woodland Hills. Lane, 47, was pronounced dead by Fire Department personnel who responded to a call. The cause of death was unknown
The Music Industry Past, Present & Future, And The Internet I answer questions on EconTalk
I did an interview about the industry and the Internet at EconTalk with host Russ Roberts. Russ is also a professor of economics at George Mason University, blogs at Cafe Hayek, and has written three novels that teach economics. He's also the co-creator of the Keynes-Hayek rap video. (And if your understanding of the economic meltdown that occurred needs to be enlightened, this video will do it)
In the interview we talk about the evolution of the music industry, the impact of the digital revolution, and I give my reasons for believing in the virtues and potential of the Internet in enhancing the music industry. I point out, as I have many times here in the newsletter, that the internet allows numerous artists to make money from their music and it can enhance revenues from live performances by expanding an artist's base. We also discuss the challenges facing record companies and I suggest that the full potential of the Internet as a distribution channel has yet to be fully exploited. There's a lot of ground covered, but based on the comments already posted of those who have tuned in, they've enjoyed it.
Read more about it by clicking here.
Quotes of the week
"It's like owning a dog and the dog will only sit next to its master."
-- Simon Cowell, on the comforts of reuniting with former American Idol co-judge Paula Abdul on The X Factor, to PEOPLE
"Not only did Ashton Kutcher pose for the cover of Details' September issue, he also edited a special "online only" version, out today. Turns out Hollywood's prettiest boytoy is one compromised whore of a magazine editor, directing most of his recommendations and profiles to tech companies he's invested in, with nary a word of disclosure. It's shameless even by Condé Nast standards."
-- From the article 'Ashton Kutcher Is A Massive Whore' on Gawker.com (You can read the article here: http://tiny.cc/f4mlf )
"Great PR stunts of our time, No. 4,876 in a series: Abercrombie & Fitch, the clothing company, is offering 'substantial payment' to Mike (The Situation) Sorrentino, of the show Jersey Shore, if he will stop wearing A&F attire 'on the air.'"
-- Doug Camilli of the Montreal Gazette, writing about Abercrombie & Fitch's announcement this week
"Yeah, man, I've hung out with him and Ronnie Wood a couple of times. One time in particular just absolutely blew my mind, when Mötley Crüe was opening for the Stones. The Stones guys sent their tour manager in to come and grab me, 'cause I wanted to say hello to the guys. This is literally five minutes before they're about to go onstage. I walk in and Ronnie and Keith Richards are fucking wasted. I've played many shows wasted, but I'm talking about, these guys could barely walk, and they were about to go on. And I'm just sitting there going, 'There's no fucking way these guys are gonna be able to play. They can't even find the stage, never mind playing the right notes.' And, dude, I was so blown away. What true professionals. Somehow they made it to the stage, and as soon as the house lights went off, it was just flawless. I was like, "I cannot believe what I just saw."
-- Motley Crue's Tommy Lee talking to Rolling Stone
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Eric Clapton To Release New Album Inspired By Blues Music
LOS ANGELES -- Musician Eric Clapton announced Wednesday that his next album, "Eric Clapton Plays The Blues," would be a collection of songs primarily influenced by blues music, a genre the 66-year-old guitarist said he enjoys very much.
Read the rest here and laugh: Click Here.
The BlogsCheck out Jerry Del Colliano's (the founder of INSIDE RADIO) daily blog, by clicking here: http://www.insidemusicmedia.blogspot.com
Check out attorney Ray Beckerman's website at: http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com where he prints news about the RIAA's ongoing activities
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