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Archive for April, 2015

Breaking: Pandora’s IRFA Lobbyists Return for the Astroturf Reheat in NPR Alliance Against Artist Rights

April 30, 2015 Comments off

Will @NPR still #IRESPECTMUSIC and @allsongs After Joining Dark Side Coalition?

April 29, 2015 Comments off

The Trichordist

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Gee this wasn’t coordinated at all. Two new Astroturf (squared) organizations in two days (with possibly the same web designer?) The day after the announcement of the the new ReCreateCoalition, an AstroTurf organizationcomposed almost exclusively of Google connected Astroturf organizations, some of the same companies plus The National Association of Broadcaster, I Heart Media (Clear Channel) Pandora and NPR have announced the creation of the MIC-Coalition in order to lobby AGAINST fair digital royalties to artists; AGAINST terrestrial royalty for performers, and to keep songwriters under the oppressive and unconstitutional DOJ consent decrees. Read the website it’s unbelievable. Why the hell did NPR join?

Does NPR really want to have this fight with artists? Cause we are ready.

NPR: Do you think it’s fair that the US is one of the only industrialized nations to not pay performers for terrestrial broadcast?

NPR: Do you think it’s fair that ASCAP…

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Live From YouTubeistan: Google Still Providing Material Support for ISIS

April 28, 2015 Comments off

Long War Journal reports:

The Islamic State has released a new video showcasing recent battles in the Al Sufiyah area of eastern Ramadi.  Approximately 30 Iraqi police have been killed and around 100 more have been injured in recent days in the western provincial capital.

The video (embedded above) documents fierce firefights taking place with Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). The footage starts with a dawn raid followed by showing Islamic State fighters firing on Iraqi positions and clearing buildings. Several scenes show Iraqi aircraft flying overhead while jihadist insurgents utilize rocket-propelled grenades (RPG’s) and other small arms to kill several Iraqi troops. At least one suicide bomber driving a captured Humvee is shown in the video.

And who would help distribute this jihadi propaganda video to the world?  Who else–Google through its YouTubeistan subsidiary.

When Long War Journal posted the video, they included this statement:

Warning: Some scenes are graphicWarning: Some scenes are graphic

Why would LWJ put that notice on the video?  Because they watched it and they decided to post it because it was consistent with their editorial policy.

When YouTube posted the same video, one might say that perhaps it “slipped through” like the 180,000,000 videos YouTube took down last year.  That might be true, except that YouTube posted the video behind this screen–so they decided to distribute the video, just behind an age screen.  Axis Sally, Lord Haw-Haw, Hanoi Hannah and Tokyo Rose are dancing a jig.

LWJ Video

#irespectmusic Hits the Road: Blake Morgan Campus Talks on the #irespectmusic Movement and Artist Pay for Radio Play

April 26, 2015 1 comment

Blake Morgan has taken the #irespectmusic message out on the road–the way we all know how to sell ourselves and our records.  Blake’s going to finish his Spring 2015 East Coast college tour in Toronto at Canadian Music Week on what is sure to be a noteworthy panel on May 8 with Blake, Zoë Keating and author and columnist Scott Timberg (author of Culture Crash).

It’s important to remember that only a few years ago, there may well have been some hesitancy to host anyone who was pro-artist rights on many U.S. campuses.  If this was due to anything, the genesis of this strategy can be traced back the Napster litigation PR strategy to encourage the mob to savage Lars Ulrich and Metallica.  Thanks to many artists standing up for the inherent value of artistic innovation, those days are clearly gone.  I would suggest that this is in no small part due to the #irespectmusic movement but it really has everything to do with you standing up together and rejecting the bad old days.

That reaction is inspiring but even more inspiring for me is the reaction of the students that support the #irespectmusic movement and artist pay for radio play.

I asked Blake about his reception by these students:
Regardless of the city each of these #IRespectMusic talks has been in, or the university that’s invited me, there’s been a clear and wonderful constant. Everywhere I’ve gone, the students are brimming with energy, excitement, engagement, and righteous outrage at the current landscape for American music makers. And they’re either already involved in the #IRespectMusic movement, or pumped and eager to be, following the presentation. They’re handing out fliers, holding concerts, putting stickers on their guitar cases, posting photos, contacting their representatives. Any and everything they can do.
Sometimes they’re young music makers themselves, hoping to explore and succeed in their own musical lives. Sometimes they’re law students, humorously “face palming” at the embarrassing behavior of big companies towards American music makers. These are emotional trips, emotional talks, and powerful to be a part of. These students will not be stopped. They’re so inspiring. And they’re standing up for their piece of the American dream.

Blake’s recent campus talks include Temple University, Syracuse University, NYU, American University and Georgetown.  Don’t forget to sign the petition!

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Temple University

11060109_10152829526058870_6417907474794313242_oBlake and legendary producer and Phil Nicolo at Phil’s Temple University class

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Syracuse University

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Georgetown University

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NYU Clive Davis School

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American University

World Watch: Author John Degen’s Seriously Must Read Post “5 Seriously Dumb Myths About Copyright”

April 26, 2015 Comments off

Canadian author John Degen (@jkdegen) wrote a funny and informative post that I recommend to anyone interested in artist rights and copyright, “5 Seriously Dumb Myths About Copyright.”  And this means you, journalists–especially you journalists who uncritically write to the press release from the Electronic Frontier Foundation or the sainted Creative Commons.

John’s post has been widely distributed (was the #2 most read post on Medium), but if you haven’t read it, please take a few minutes.

We’ve known John for years, but in case you don’t know his background:

John Degen is a novelist and poet. He is Executive Director of The Writers’ Union of Canada, an organization representing more than 2000 professional authors. He is also Chair of the International Authors Forum, which currently represents close to half a million professional authors worldwide.

Attention Bands and Bloggers: Link to Your Local Indie Retailers and Be Good to Them When It’s NOT Record Store Day

April 25, 2015 1 comment

There’s an inclination on the part of bands and bloggers to use links to Amazon or Apple for fans to buy your records.  Here’s a thought:  Try linking to someone who gives a shit whether you suck air and who doesn’t spend tens of millions of dollars trying to fuck you in Washington?  Think that might be a better idea long term?  (And as we’re seeing play out in Canada, not just Washington, but Ottawa, London, Brussels and indeed around the world.)

I link it to Waterloo Records, my local indie record store which has a good online ordering operation.  I bet you have an indie record store, too.  Why don’t you link to them on your website?  When was the last time you did an in-store at Amazon?

And if you don’t have an indie store in your area, feel free to use Waterloo.  Texas wants you anyway.  But you don’t have to give into the inclination to link everything to Amazon.  Your indie record store offering online sales is perfectly capable of drop shipping CDs or vinyl to your fans or downloading you an mp3, and they will appreciate the business.  It’s better for your local economy, too.  There’s plenty of data on the multiplier effect of buying local.

An added plus:  They answer the phone and they know WTF they are doing.

Just a thought.

#linklocalbuylocal

You Say Registrar I Say Register: Truth in the Land of Plenty

April 24, 2015 3 comments

A quick update on the Canadian copyright extension for sound recordings:  The magisterium of the professoriate in Canada is equivocating yet again on the difference between artists who write songs and artists who don’t and misleading the public in the process.

I know that’s a shocker.  While you recover, a quick detour on the difference between a songwriter and an recording artist.  Yes, at a certain level of generality, both are called “artists”.  But in these discussions, the two are treated quite differently.

In Canada, songwriters get a term of copyright measured by their life plus an additional 50 years.  If you consider an average life expectancy of 80 years, that’s 130 year copyright term.  For all you Statute of Ann fans out there, I realize that’s a good long time and that you would prefer a copyright term of the life expectancy of the average indoor tabby.  Newsflash: That ship has sailed.

Sound recordings in Canada, on the other hand, have a fixed term essentially measured from release date for conversational purposes.  That term was 50 years and soon will be 70.  Not 130.  Roughly half.

Songwriters typically retain at least 50% of their songs’ income as the writer’s share and often get more if they have a co-publishing agreement and even more if they have only an administration agreement.

Artists, on the other hand, get a royalty of something between 1/8 to 1/4 of a number that you can think of as the wholesale price.  There are a bunch of lawsuits right now about digital–those lawsuits seek 50% for digital and are being settled.

Unbelievably, I’m reading a bunch of attacks on Canadian artists like Leonard Cohen and Randy Bachman, even Buffy St. Marie (seriously).  As more and more artists come out in support of the 70 year copyright term, the Canadian professoriate have an increasing number of targets to sling mud at.

But here’s the difference–in case they haven’t noticed, the professoriate needs to check their calendars.  It’s not 1999 anymore.  Artists are sick and tired of being told how stupid and greedy they are by academics who get a paycheck every week and who have the brass to tell them that they should be happy with their songwriter royalty–even the ones who aren’t songwriters.

These are the same kind of people who mock songwriters and want them to sell more t-shirts and who have very little daylight between them and Big Tech.  The consistent part is that when it profits them to do so, they bash the artists on the sound recording issues and then bash the songwriters on the musical composition issues.  And in between they want the government to regulate every breath we take.

The first time I met Gordon Lightfoot and Leonard Cohen was with the late Jesse Winchester at Montreux many years ago.  Many years after that, I worked with David Anderle to release “Tower of Song” on A&M, which is still one of the great albums.  I realize that these artists could care less what Michael Geist thinks of them, but it pains me to see them get bashed gratuitously by the self-appointed professoriate in their own country to further an agenda that is as close to Google’s as one is to two.

The comfort though is that it’s not 1999 anymore and as dozens of Canada’s great artists speak out, they give us all a lesson in courage.  I’m sure that their truth will prevail.

Like the man said, may the lights in the land of plenty shine on the truth some day.

PS to bloggers:  See what I did there with the link to buy “Tower of Song”?  I linked it to Waterloo Records, my local indie record store.  I bet you have an indie record store, too.  And if you don’t, use Waterloo.  Texas wants you anyway.  But you don’t have to give into the inclination to link everything to Amazon.  Your indie record store offering online sales is perfectly capable of drop shipping CDs to you, and they will appreciate the business.  An added plus:  They answer the phone and they know WTF they are doing.

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