Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Another nail in the coffin of music DRM

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  • Bob Munro,

    Here's something interesting.

    Howard Knopf, a Canadian lawyer is suggesting the torturers at Guantanamo Bay may have to pay royalties for the music they play to make people go mad.

    Babylon, the mild-mannered folk hit by David Gray, is allegedly one of the most popular torture songs at Guantánamo. Speaking to the BBC last week, Gray was incredulous. "That is torture," he said. "It doesn't matter what the music is - it could be Tchaikovsky's finest or it could be Barney the Dinosaur. It really doesn't matter, it's going to drive you completely nuts."

    Gray's fury aside, Knopf wondered on his influential copyright blog whether the singer-songwriter might be owed royalties by the US military. Performance rights associations demand that licenses be purchased if music is to be played in a public space.

    Christchurch • Since Aug 2007 • 418 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    Of course the improvement in technology was a major reason for CDs. And of course it was pushed by tech companies, the Sonys and Philips, who were dead keen to sell us another hi-fi system- yeah, better in some ways, but very pricey in 1982.
    The majors were not keen, in part because it involved a digital copy of the original which could be copied, bit for bit, by the nefarious. The fact that they could re-sell their back issue was a big factor in getting them to look past this.

    which begs the question. what option did the majors really have on moving to a new format. it seems to read to me that the new digital format was coming whether they liked it or not and it made them feel better about it when someone said you can sell some people an updated version of the same music they already own.
    its kind of a chicken and egg situation. Simon you're saying it was egg first in that majors decided to go for cds cos they got to sell the same product twice over to the same people, I'm saying it's just as likely that it was chicken first in that the new format was coming and majors consoled themselves that there was an additional benefit in a new format in that some people would re buy a product in a new format.

    Why does it matter which way it was? cos one implies negative motivations and perpetuates malice toward the industry and the other implies a lot less scheming, and hence less negative vibes.

    my question then is how would you see the format situation play out if majors decided they didn't want to get behind cds? did they really have a choice?

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    which begs the question. what option did the majors really have on moving to a new format. it seems to read to me that the new digital format was coming whether they liked it or not and it made them feel better about it when someone said you can sell some people an updated version of the same music they already own.
    its kind of a chicken and egg situation.

    Not really an argument..who was gonna sell this format it the majors, who owned about 90% of the market then, were not interested? Who was gonna stock it? Who was gonna pay for the plants and manufacture it? Pagan Records? Rough Trade?

    Simon you're saying it was egg first in that majors decided to go for cds cos they got to sell the same product twice over to the same people,

    No I didn't say that at all but labs produce multitudes of inventions every year and the tipping point on this was the fact that the clients that were vital to it's success knew from research that there was a resale value in the enforced obsolescence of the prior format.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    labs produce multitudes of inventions every year and the tipping point on this was the fact that the clients that were vital to it's success knew from research that there was a resale value in the enforced obsolescence of the prior format.

    acknowledged but not quite the same as "majors invented cds so they could sell you the same recording twice".

    that term enforced obsolescence is interesting too. any idea why they didn't enforce it as vinyl is still going some 20 years later?

    also to the "planned" aspect of it was there any talk of planning in the previous format shift? 78's to 33's/ 45's?

    I think its an important point cos terms like planned, and enforced fuel the whole resentment thing and if they're not accurate then the repercussions of their use are more on the people who use them than the supposed actions of those who they describe (hypothetically speaking)

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    another nail out of the cofffin of piracy and into the coffin privacy

    UK: tougher piracy laws, blacklists of pirates

    Six of the UK's biggest net providers have agreed a plan with the music industry to tackle piracy online.

    The deal, negotiated by the government, will see hundreds of thousands of letters sent to net users suspected of illegally sharing music.

    Hard core file-sharers could see their broadband connections slowed, under measures proposed by the UK government.

    BT, Virgin, Orange, Tiscali, BSkyB and Carphone Warehouse have all signed up.

    Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI, which represents the music industry, said: "All of the major ISPs in the UK now recognise they have a responsibility to deal with illegal file-sharers on their networks."

    Mr Taylor said it had taken years to persuade ISPs to adopt this view.

    full article here

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    And when you consider This
    and think about who is up Googles chuff and who has got a chunk of Yahoo.................it all starts to either make sense or looks like a vast conspiracy (it's ok, I have my foil hat on)

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    what a bunch of cocks.
    someone should take em to court. its a simple mater of consumer law. you bought something, it should work as advertised, you have certain rights, simple as that.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    But it's not true to say that the internet is uncontrollable. The difficulty is that, until now, nothing has been done about the problem.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/radiohead-sales-show-fans-loyalty-to-illegal-sites-884239.htmlthe independent uk article

    the nothing done about it yet might refer to internet providers being required to police content.

    guess the honest box model ain't going to catch on.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    a article on the futility of flogging music

    excerpt

    People can download virtually any music for free these days, arguing that it’s OK, bands can make money by touring, instead. Which is like casually suggesting to the owner of an off license, after he’s spotted you nicking a bottle of wine, that he can sell a few crisps to make up for it. And anyway, The Rolling Stones might well gross millions on a world tour, but nearly all bands lose money hand over fist while on the road.

    People might come out with stats about live music revenues being on a gradual incline, but believe me – having been in bands known and unknown, and done tour budgets for countless others – touring represents a black hole of disappearing cash for musicians. Sound engineers might get paid, promoters ensure that they get their cut, but precious little filters down to the musicians, unless they’re lucky enough to get tour support from the record company. Which is actually an advance. Which means that, er, it’s their money in the first place.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Now that's a brilliant article. I'm only a thrid of the way through, and I'm laughing like a choking turkey.
    And true.

    There's a choice: play gigs, experience that peculiar bonding you get with fellow band members, feel that curious mixture of love and antipathy you get from an audience – and make no money. Or obsess about selling mp3s – and make no money. My children, and my children's children, certainly won't want to hear about my tedious marketing efforts to secure a song that I wrote 250,000 views on YouTube. (Note that I sold barely 100 MP3s as a result of this colossal and unexpected exposure – which certainly made it an interesting experiment, but also a fairly solitary and unfulfilling one.) What would have made a better story would have been to wangle a gig in a Parisian squat where the electrics are dodgy, suffer a massive electric shock off a mike stand, get carried from the building while everyone cheers loudly, be left rubbing your head while slumped against the side of your van, the promoter takes advantage of the confusion by running off with the mixing desk which he's holding ransom because he claims that the PA company owe him money, at which point you realise that you're not going to get paid, and you look at your fellow band members, and then you start to cry. That's the story I'd rather tell, and frankly it's the story I'd rather hear. Music's biggest function, from time immemorial, has never been its capacity to make money. It's its powerful social glue. Without wishing to get all Oprah on your ass, it may be an expensive hobby, but it brings people together in an utterly unique fashion.

    There really isn't any money in the biz, and there never has been much- except for a very few. But there's something powerful.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    Just saw a music managers forum talk given by peter jenner who managed pink floyd, the clash and billy bragg at various points in their career.
    it started of a bit boring with all he talk of the good old days and blagging your way through situations but he finished up with a really interesting insight into where income is going to come from for music in the future. he was very much of the mind that it isn't the people downloading music that are stealing from copyright holders but isp's. They're the ones that charge more than it costs to deliver the service they are based on the content provided through that service without paying anything through to the people who's content they are supplying. He said ISP's know this and are doing nothing about it for as long as they can, until something makes them such as govt intervening as is the case to a degree in the UK

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    oh and simon if you're still there, peter hated the 4 majors as much as you. one interesting detail he bought out re that is the youtube deal where the majors took 50 million each for the use of music content on youtube. Essentially money not to sue youtube.
    Theoretically that money is for use od artists music but not one cent went back to the artists (how would they divide it anyway)
    None of that money went to indie labels either. Essentially the major label share holders pocketed it as straight profit.

    He mentioned similar deals for other things where the majors bypass their acts.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    oh and simon if you're still there, peter hated the 4 majors as much as you.

    hold on Rob...I've never said that and it's a huge misrepresentation. But I'm realistic about what they are and how they work. And much of that is not pretty but it's part of their core business, which is maximising shareholder profit.

    And he's right about the YouTube thing..but I'm pretty sure I mentioned it before here.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    I stand corrected, not hates, but ......... views them with a similar.... hard to put into words really, do what ever they can get away with kinda thing,
    he bought up the mafia connections of I think it was warners who were bought up by a funeral home or some such story. inferred that's where they got a lot of their business practices from ie the mob.
    it was entertaining if nothing else.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    he bought up the mafia connections of I think it was warners who were bought up by a funeral home or some such story.

    Steve Ross..Kinney..mafia, carparks and funeral homes. They bought Warner / 7Arts in about 68 and then gobbled up Atlantic and Elektra.

    Universal has mob links in it's past too, via MCA and Seagrams (who also have current links to Warner Music).

    Lots of reading out there [I'm too lazy to find links but they are all in print I think]..Stiffed is a great book as is Mansion on The Hill, or Walter Yetnikoff's book (former Sony head..try the accounting practices pages)

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

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