@theblakemorgan: #irespectmusic Rally at Cal State Chico Courtesy of SOTA Productions — Artist Rights Watch
Friends Don’t Let Friends Get LRFA’d: Tell Congress Not to Get Suckered into the Local Radio Freedom Act
Once again we’ve started a new session of Congress with really old news–the National Association of Broadcasters is yet again circulating the reactionary Local Radio Freedom Act (or the grammatically challenged “LRFA”) that’s been warmed over and served up again from the last Congress.
Remember that Spotify is continually carping about how much they have to pay for their one product–music–and how they can’t seem to turn a profit? According to World Property Journal:
Spotify, a digital music service provider, has signed a deal to acquire 387,243 sq. ft. of Class A office on lease at 4 World Trade Center. The agreement is of 15 years with the building owner Silverstein Properties, reported by a real estate consultant JLL.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced during a press conference on Wednesday streamed via Facebook Live as well as via a series of tweets that the digital music company is moving into Four World Trade Center. Spotify will soon be neighbors to other big brands in the building, such as the Lower Manhattan outpost of Chef Mario Batali’s Italian food emporium Eataly.
Headquartered in Stockholm with offices scattered around the world, Spotify already occupies considerable real estate in Manhattan’s Flatiron District. But it doesn’t look like Spotify is moving as Cuomo said Spotify will be create 1,000 jobs at the new floorspace.
Cuomo closed out his announcement with his own official Spotify playlist [no doubt the handiwork of Spotify’s in-house politico, Jonathan Prince].
“I hope Spotify’s expansion sends a clear signal to the tech community that New York is open for business,” said Horacio Gutierrez, Spotify’s general counsel, according to Cuomo’s tweet.
Right–because the tech community was so in doubt about whether New York was “open for business.” I wonder how much it costs for a governor to promote a playlist? No plug-ola here, though, it’s not radio.
So how much does 387,243 square feet of office space in 4 World Trade Center cost Spotify? We don’t know yet, but probably will if they file for an IPO. Just as a reference, a co-working space in One World Trade Center (nice but not as nice as 4 World Trade Center evidently) costs $750 a month per cubbyhole (or did). So that’s what you pay for a desk and a phone.
Here’s what 4 World Trade Center looks like.
You have to ask yourself why it is that Spotify need to be in the poshest digs in Manhattan while they are poor mouthing about royalty rates? I’d be happier if they just paid their rent deposit into TJ Martell Foundation and bought a building in Poughkeepsie. At least they’d have a tax deduction and an appreciating asset.
But I’m just a country lawyer and I’m not as smart as these city fellers.
When I was a teenager, I used to rehearse with two other drummers both of whom were R&B players or what my friend Benny Valerio called “soul musicians”. I had a big drum kit and was very much a rock player, or at least I wanted to be. I suffered from what we called BS, or the “busy syndrome”.
The first time we rehearsed together, the other two guys let me bang away and then one of them walked up to my kit while I was playing. Without saying a word he began to dismantle my drum set until all that was left was bass drum, high hat and snare. I stopped playing and asked him what in the world he thought he was doing. He said, “If you can’t do it with bass drum, high hat and snare, then you are nowhere.”
Truer words never spoken and that was probably the best lesson I ever took. We spent many hours working on James Brown grooves laid down by Clyde Stubblefield. Fast forward about eight years and I got to open for Mr. Brown for a few dates which was a real thrill (Maceo, Sweet Charles, Fred Wesley and General Patton).
RIP Clyde Stubblefield, one of the most influential drummers of all time. He certainly was for me.
What do Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Deadmau5, Sam & Dave and The Beatles Have in Common with Hotel California? Facebook is Selling Their Names as Keywords
MTP readers will recall that there is a long history of Internet advertising companies selling keywords under dodgy circumstances. We have some documentation of this practice–starting in 2003ish an affidavit from the “DownloadPlace” litigation documents that Google suggested artist names as Google Adwords. In the Google drugs non prosecution agreement case, Google representatives sold drug-related keywords in an FBI sting operation that resulted in a multi-year grand jury investigation and Google paying a $500,000,000 forfeiture.
But there’s a new bad boy on the block–Facebook. Not only has Facebook refused to get music licenses, Facebook is actually selling artist names as keywords. You can determine this yourself by “boosting” any post and setting the “Create Audience” filter to include artist names or song titles under “Interests”.
Here’s a few examples–my bet is that none of these are protected by any safe harbor (DMCA or CDA) as the selling of the artist names and song titles is likely not avoidable that way. Also–it’s important to note that all these artists and songwriters no doubt have heavily negotiated restrictions on the use of their names for advertising purposes so it’s not like they didn’t think about it.
Sam & Dave
The U.S. Copyright Office has invited the public to comment on potential reforms of the DMCA “safe harbors” and the incomparable T-Bone Burnett delivered this video version of his insightful comments on DMCA abuse. (See also Billboard article on T-Bone’s comment and my 2006 post on MTP, The DMCA is Not An Alibi.)
It is important to make the distinction that T-Bone makes and that Beggars Group Chairman Martin Mills made in his Canadian Music Week keynote–the problem with the DMCA safe harbors is not so much with ISPs like AT&T and Verizon that take respecting copyright seriously (both were in the Copyright Alert System). The problem is with companies like Google that don’t respect copyright as T-Bone makes clear.
It is important for Congress to keep this in mind–and any failure to do so will call into question Google’s massive lobbying power.
@chriswillman: @WriteGirlLA Teams Pro Songwriters With Local Youth to Create Original Music — Artist Rights Watch
The Saturday afternoon event is an annual highlight for WriteGirl, a charitable organization that puts on monthly mentoring workshops to help teen girls who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and underserved communities find their voices.