Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Copying is stealing...

Something caught my eye the other day. A blurb regarding 'copying, music & theft' as if they were gateway drugs, with the big house in one's near future. 'Copying is stealing'. No it isn't.

Millions have made a career from copying. Your parents and grandparents PAID to see people copy. Every rock 'n' roll band in the world copied structure, chords and vocal styling from delta blues musicians. Most died penniless . Keith Richards smirks and crows "Aw, everyone steals from each other, that's music". His reps over at Polydor have a different take on that. Jagger copied Tina Turners moves, gestures and strut. Rich Little copied every famous personality of the past millennium. I copied my friends albums, they copied mine, ad infinitum.

Most of this would be a mute point save for the fact that music lovers around the globe have been accused, prosecuted, jailed, and had their parents jailed and fined in the name of 'justice'. Lives have been altered because a kid was doing what his friends do. As all this occurred, fraud and theft on the largest scale ever seen bankrupted or destroyed everything from your new mortgage, to the kids college fund to your grandparents retirement funds. Consider that facts and figures were provided to the SEC and NOTHING was done. Perhaps, the feds were preoccupied over at your local ISP, serving warrants.

So where does it all end? Thank god we have progressed to the point (almost) that will finally see the physical ownership/storage of music come to an end. Technology will dictate that every bit of data be ubiquitous. More readily available than your own autograph.

BTW, they won't confiscate your old vinyl. You'll get to keep it. After all, they have bigger fish to fry, right?

Monday, August 3, 2009

It was the Warriors...er, the Record Companies who did it...

The following is a reprint of a recent Slashdot post I made in response to a debate on the music industry. I have shamlessly done so due to a lack of focus on this blog. I apologize and will be more attentive in the future.

'Record Companies' are gone, along with 'records'. The magazines are history as well. Expect to see them disappear soon. 'Radio' will evaporate as well. As for promotion, that has already been moved from the old labels to the new kings -> concert promoters. Doubt it? Check and see who has signed to Live Nation recently.

Bands will be less inclined to care about record sales, than say the proceeds from tours and merch. Why? There are twice as many people in the world than when the Eagles recorded on vinyl. The gate and licensing will be all that matters. You'll merely have to fill the seats and bags of t-shirts et al. to rake in the $$$. Oh, and the bands dearly care about the money. Make no mistake about that. Ask U2 (moralists one and all), who has one company who has to pay the other (both owned by U2), to keep more of the loot.

This debate has lacked the element of distinguishing the phases of 'recorded music'. Wax cylinders, vinyl, tape, digital files stored on a disc. Each era has brought us closer to the day when music is no longer physically owned, stored on shelves, and fought over. This is why we have taken the technology to this level. Many other things that have traditionally been purchased in a store will no longer be practical to place in boxes and attics. Accept the new era, you have driven it!

BTW, artists have been getting duped by everyone (including themselves), not just the record companies over the years. It's not so much WHO makes the $$$. If that was the case, musicians would go to school before starting bands, and learn read contracts as well as music. Case in point, Grand Funk Railroad, one of the biggest bands of the late sixties. They fired their manager three weeks before his contract ran out. A clause in the contract stated he kept all the music rights if he was fired. There are many similar stories.

Pholks, we are in a new era. Wake up. You want the outlaw 'X', fine, crank up the generators and join the UFO misfit broadcasting in the desert.