For those of you who read my friend Guy Forsyth’s post, “Sausage, Justice and the Music Industry“, you will appreciate the results of the vote of artist and songwriter creditors in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings regarding how the Texas Music Group has treated them. The Austin Chronicle sums up the ruling on Monday in the company’s Chapter 11 reorganization: “‘I’ve sat through a lot of hearings on this case,’ concluded [Bankruptcy] Judge Craig Gargotta. ‘I think management has been at fault for this…. It’s time for a new day; it’s time for new management; it’s time for new leadership.'” (See “Texas Top Hand“)
“[Guy] Forsyth, who released three albums with Antone’s Records – 1995’s Needlegun, 1999’s Can You Live Without and 2000’s Steak – has exhaustively fought for his unpaid royalties with help from a pro bono legal team he readily admits he could never afford otherwise. ‘This is the closest thing I’ve seen to justice in the music industry. I’d love to get the chance to actually work those records.'” (See “Into The Vault“.)
There may be a lesson here–perhaps the law should be that if a record company fails to pay mechanical royalties or artist royalties for years and years and years at some point the artists and songwriters should get to vote on whether the company should continue in business. A novel idea, I know, but worth giving further thought.
I had the great gift of having worked for Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss at A&M Records, two of the all-time great record men and humanitarians. Whenever I have to make a decision about what’s the right thing to do for an artist, I ask myself what would Herb and Jerry do. And that advice is never wrong.
See also Artist Rights Are Human Rights