INSIDER AUDIO WEB EXCLUSIVE

NAPSTER: A SONGWRITER'S VIEW

Mix magazine and I received numerous letters about my Oct. 2000 Insider Audio column, "Caught Napstering." Songwriter Wendy Waldman's response is, not surprisingly, the most articulate. Many other responses have followed, and they appear here as well.


From: Wendy Waldman
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 2000 06:06:14 EDT
To: mixonline@gis.net
Subject: Napster

Dear Paul,

I'm a songwriter and participant in the music business, and have been for thirty years. I've had some good years such as the when I co-wrote "Save the Best For Last" with Phil Galdston and John Lind for Vanessa Williams. I've had some modest years way back in the seventies as a cultish recording artist, and some interesting times as a female producer in Nashville in the eighties--I was even interviewed in this wonderful magazine. I've also had some stupendously hard times when nobody wanted anything I had to offer for any number of reasons. This business of music, or this path, if you like, certainly has its ups and downs.

My engineer Michael Boshears and I are both fans of your column and want to thank you for the excellent writing you offer in this magazine. I am distressed as I read your article on Napster in that there are some truly major omissions in your presentation, which I am certain are unintentional, but which reflect many people's tendency to overlook these most critical and least attended issues.

In general, the Napster argument has been framed as "us versus the big guys," and it's always about the record companies and the artists, signed or unsigned, who suffer at the hands of the labels. On this point I totally agree, and I work a great deal in the field of Americana music where the money is low but the creative freedom is marvelous, and it's the world you describe as you outline the way artists can make a better living working with the internet and going the independent route.

All that being said, I noted with alarm that you mentioned the word "SONGWRITER" only once in your entire article, and that was in reference to McGuinn. You made absolutely no mention of music publishing and no mention whatsoever of the concept of intellectual property.

People don't realize that the ones who truly stand to be hurt the most are in fact the songwriters--who aren't all necessarily artists. Nobody talks about the fact that there are many, many people who write songs for a living, day after day, and maybe get lucky enough to get a publishing deal, or a few songs recorded, and for whom the publishing and performance royalties are the only financial reward they will ever receive. Contrary to the myths about the glamorous lives of songwriters as you well know, most of them are in a low- to low-middle-income bracket, living constantly from publishing deal to publishing deal if they're lucky, and certainly not raking in the dough. Our industry leans with at least one leg on the unheralded work of songwriters, and has since the days of Irving Berlin and before.

While I applaud and want to participate in the liberation of artists from the yoke of the traditional labels, I fear greatly that Napster is educating a new generation of listeners to believe that music is free, and shouldn't be paid for at all. This will, without a doubt, put many songwriters out of business, and as songwriters, you and I don't need Hilary Rosen to demonstrate that for us. I've seen hundreds of files of my songs online for which I wasn't paid even a penny, and I stare at my rent and grocery bill every month, wondering if I can stay in the business of writing songs if I can't earn a living at it. The answer is of course that there's no way. And there are many more songwriters out there who aren't necessarily going to get in the van and hit the road as artists, because that's not what they do. They're writers. Americans already don't understand that writers have to eat, too, and that rather than manufacture tables or sell cars or own Internet companies, they deal in ideas--ideas are the only product writers have to offer, and slowly, our culture is turning to the notion that people don't need to be compensated if they deal in the world of ideas.

We make a few pennies when our tune is played on the radio. Those pennies are divided into the tiniest fractions between other writers, publishers, sometimes the artists themselves, sometimes managers—at any rate, we earn our living in pennies, hoping to come across some of the good years. We don't get paid until a year after the song has been on the radio. Most songwriters have families and have worked very hard to get to the point where people in the industry will even listen to their stuff. We make a few pennies when a CD is sold and those pennies are again split into fractions. Needless to say, with Napster, we get paid nothing. How interesting that you point out that Napster shows no income yet but all of its investors must be counting on making a lot of money once the question of intellectual property is out of the way. All I can say is, yeah, they won't have to pay the people who write the songs or produce the records, and that will save them a bundle, in their minds.

And they must be thrilled at the same time that so many people have fallen to the bait of the populist revolution this is supposed to represent. As long as the argument continues to rage about the bad record companies and no one really looks at the "real problem", which is of course whether our culture is going to honor the notion of intellectual property as it does all other kinds of business and personal property, these guys have everyone in their pockets. The kids are too young to get it, but you as a songwriter and musician should be able to see this for what it is. To use The Nation's definition of copyright as you did is ironic, considering The Nation is a great thought-provoking forum especially geared to the notion of ideas—and yet no mention of the protection of intellectual property exists in that definition. Copyright law is also there to protect the holder of the copyright from having his or her work taken without consent. You do a disservice to omit the fact for your readers that there are two copyrights in every work of art: the performance or recording itself, and the copyright belonging to the person who wrote the work. That person is going to be out of work very soon if Napster has its way and is able to co-opt intelligent, well-meaning but poorly-informed people.

On that topic, I want to say, finally, that the populist anti-Metallica rhetoric is not well thought-out, nor well-informed. What Lars Ulrich said very clearly was simply that he wasn't given a choice as to whether he wished to be posted on Napster. No one, including Metallica, argues the value of the Internet for artists, beginning and otherwise, who want to reach people in that way. However as he pointed out so eloquently, those artists elect to be on Napster. Metallica wasn't asked, and they have a right to not only be asked but to decline if they so desire. And that should be respected, without further judgment on Metallica's fitness for cultural icon-hood.

I also was not asked if I wanted my songs posted on the Internet, but there are hundreds of files of them out there, and I can assure you, I'm not only not being paid but I, along with every other writer in the business is being put in jeopardy because people don't understand the real issues. I think that Metallica's position is very courageous and very lonely and I applaud them for stepping up to the plate and defending intellectual property and the right to choose if one wants to be posted or not. This has nothing to do with their encouragement of taping at their shows as that was their choice. Anything short of that is theft. As Americans, we would never allow someone to steal our gear, our money, our homes—and yet, we are losing the notion that writers have the same rights with regard to that which they make, and by which they earn a living, as others do in this country.

Thank you for your patience with my long letter.

Yours truly,

Wendy Waldman

©2000 by Wendy Waldman

Editor's note: Wendy Waldman's extensive songwriting credits can be found at http://www.bryndle.com/site/ww-writer.html.


From: Bob Ketchum
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2000 12:28:14
To: mixonline@gis.net
Subject: Caught Napstering

Paul:

I read with great interest your recent article. I got a lot out of it and learned some things I had not considered. I also read Wendy's rebuttal and agree with much of her assessment.

It's a tough debate, but I must agree that as a writer/publisher it does not bode well for many of us in the industry. Having said that, I too am probably going to go ahead and post songs on the Internet (I already have at my own site) in the hopes of getting some attention and PR.

I may even decide to go the "Roger McGuinn" route and sign up with several of these sites. I'm already on MP3.com, IUMA, Riffage and several others, but have so far refrained from signing a distribution agreement with any of these organizations, mostly on advice from my attorney who has read all the legal mumbo-jumbo that each site declares. He can't see how I can maintain any control of product, all things considered.

God knows where this is all going, but I just can't sit here and let it all pass me by. I have my own indie label (HYPE) that I am trying so hard to get off the ground. I do not have the financial wherewithal to foot the "usual" bills associated with such a venture, so I don't see that I have much choice but to stay with the Internet, for better or for worse.

I can only hope that when the smoke clears there is still a reason to be a songwriter or music publisher.


From: Kent McNall
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2000 08:00:4
To: mixonline@gis.net
Subject: Wendy's Comments

I ready Wendy Waldman's comments about Napster with a lot of interest.

Wendy's central contention was that songwriters are going to be hurt by Napster and similar "services". Ironically, she cites the hard-working, lower-middle class songwriter struggling from publishing deal to publishing deal (if they are lucky) as those who will get "hurt".

I think that Wendy and many others must wake up to the entire reality of the revolution that is happening with music: the fact that there won't be any "publishing deals". Songwriting, publishing, music production and distribution will change so rapidly and fundamentally over the coming years that the very context of Wendy's concerns won't exist any more.

We've all been distracted from what will really happen through the "Napster revolution" because these services are focused on already-existing music content, and treading on the work of established artists. The real focus should be on new work. In the future, songwriters won't have to have a "publishing deal" to become published.

In the future, it won't take a major recording studio to put together a polished, consumer-ready track. In the future, you won't have to be "lucky" to get shelf space at Camelot or any other retailer. Songwriters will be able to publish their work to millions - billions - of people in seconds. Home studios are and will continue to be producing finished musical product in a fraction of the time and cost that it is currently produced [in major studios] - and put it in front of millions of people in hours. Consumers will have so much to choose from - and will be able to purchase and download it immediately, at prices that have no middle-men taking their cut - that they'll be able to buy a lot more music from a lot more artists.

So who loses here? Not the songwriters or artists. Songwriters will have far more ability to get their work in front of artists who might record and the public who might buy. The real losers will be the existing infrastructure of major studios, publishing houses, distributors, and retailers who are totally invested in old paradigms and are struggling to keep things "the way they is". That approach never works. To quote Danny Devito, "I"m sure someone made a great living manufacturing buggy whips in this country, and wanted to outlaw the automobile".

Anyone invested in the current paradigms of music production and distribution is going to "lose". The many, many middle-men are going to "lose".

One other fundamental shift will occur that is worthy of note. We're going to find that far, far more people are capable of creating great music that we all want to listen to. As the availability of pro-quality recording and production gear is increased dramatically in the coming years, more and more everyday people - with no agents, moguls, or entourage behind them - are going to produce really nice music that we can all enjoy. And they will do so.


And now, a completely different perspective…

From: nymo
Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2000 17:39:49
To: mixonline@gis.net
Subject: Napster and Songwriting

As an artist, songwriter, and independent record company owner, I would like to quickly respond to the reply Wendy Waldman made.

As a forty-something (who has had a major deal with EMI in Australia) I can say that music trends have changed a lot. The major problem being that there are too many artists. To be heard in today's electronic society, one has to accept that kids today don't care who wrote the song or who even made it, they just want to download it and not pay for it. If that track is one of mine, to know that people are actually listening to my music is justification enough for me to forgo any I.P. issues.

Scanning the mp3.com electronic chart number 1, I was surprised to see that for the 35,000 downloads they are getting each week , they have only sold 70 CDs total!! That is a huge potential audience that could be buying their CDs (if they had a major deal) but because the *majors* are so tight, only people like mp3.com and the ilk are commited to exposing artists like this.

This demonstrates that people aren't interested in paying for the band's musi,c let alone any I.P. issues that the artist may think they have. There are simply too many artists and from my viewpoint I am happy to let people download my music and hopefully that will in turn lead to small CD sales. To be heard is more important than any I.P. issues in my opinion.

And at 50% royalty (before tax), I can't go wrong!


And another…

From: Frederick Moehn
Date: Fri, 06 Oct 2000
To: mixonline@gis.net
Subject: "Caught Napstering" & Other Concerns

Dear Mr. Lehrman,

I just read your "Caught Napstering" article in the print version of Mix and was very impressed with your insight into what I see as one of the most pressing concerns of our time. I spun off an approving letter to the editor. I then found Wendy Waldman's commentary on-line; she also makes some good points. I'm very happy that Mix provides a forum for such important discourse.

I am an ethnomusicologist finishing my Ph.D. at New York University on Brazilian popular music recording in Rio de Janeiro. My dissertation thesis looks at how ideologies of national identity are mediated by Brazilians in the recording process. I am currently looking for postdoctoral fellowships and/or teaching positions at major universities. I hope to expand my inquiry to include the important issues that you write about, concerning digital and Internet audio.

For example, you mention that smaller labels may get lost in the lawsuits against companies like Napster. In a parallel manner, we should be concerned about the uneven global distribution of music technologies. In Brazil, for example, the great majority cannot afford a computer, access to the Internet (or even a telephone line), or home recording systems. Their voices, consequently, are entirely outside of the debate, when considered more globally.


And back to the first…

From: "backhousep" Barry Mitchell
Date: Mon, 20 Nov 2000
To: mixonline@gis.net
Subject: Wendy Waldman's comments VS Paul Lehrman's.

Having read Ms. Waldman's comments regarding the issue of Napster, I found myself agreeing with her...that is until I read [Paul's] article, "Caught Napstering." Your article caused me to change my viewpoint. As a Composer/Project Studio Owner, trying to go around the major labels, I had come to believe that Napster and the Internet could only hurt the little guy who would lose whatever income he might make, to free downloading. Moreover, I felt that it would be impossible for someone with no notoriety to gain a presence on the Internet. That presence would go to the boys with the big bucks who could pay for high profile. It occurs to me now that the time spent chasing down a recording deal, which is years (11 for Dianne Warren), can be spent developing a presence and a following on the Net. I have some other thoughts that I would like to share with the record industry that were spurred by your article. (Being succinct is not my strong suit, but I will give it a go.)

First of all, what is the value of intellectual property? Surely Ms. Waldman has generated some millions for the record industry, but the value that is placed on her intellectual property is, as she says, "...pennies...divided into the tiniest fractions." Personally, I'd call that theft. My advice to Wendy would be to find an artist who will be her voice, and take advantage of her profile in the music business to garner Internet attention and sales. With all the low cost recording equipment and studios available, I don't think she'd have problems getting a project off the ground. Think of it Wend'... artistic control and most of the pennies.

Secondly, why do we have Napsters and Gnutellas? Basic human nature. If you steal from people, they will find a way to steal back from you. Sadly, and as usual, the wrong people are being punished (like Wendy Waldman). Napster is simply a logical answer to a music industry that seems to have nothing but contempt for both the buyers and the creators of their product. C'mon guys, violating anti-trust laws by forcing higher prices for a poor product, and now you want to be rewarded for bad behavior by stopping Napster? The people have spoken. Perhaps, (and this is just a suggestion which will undoubtedly fall on the same deaf ears that have brought us the uninspired pabulum that is today's music) you might want to LISTEN!!!

Sorry to be the one to break it to you, but as purveyors of music, it is your job to wade through all the crappy demos and bring us the good stuff. It is your job to find the Elvis's and Beatles of the 21st century. Maybe you don't know where to start? Try the following: Hire A&R reps that actually know something about music and its creation. Not some relative's kid who "...grew up listening to a lot of different styles of music." (Sadly, this quote is not my invention, and it implies that every kid who grew up with a radio in the last thirty years is also qualified to be an A&R rep.) Stop giving expert status in music to lawyers and accountants. There's a reason that they are lawyers and accountants. It has something to do with brain-hemisphere dominance and a self-realization of a lack of talent. (Or maybe just a lack of guts.) Hence the law or accounting degree. Unfortunately, as long as the music business remains the only business that can survive by selling one product per year successfully, and since there are no jobs in-between A&R VP and Waiter, I'm sure that several more Britney-Spice-Vanillis will be in store for us. By the way major labels, did you know that the most popular band amongst high school kids today, as it was in the 80's, is the Doors? You do the math.

Speaking now mainly as a project studio owner and producer, I am constantly infuriated by the people who come to me believing that they are worthy of╩recording careers, who, aside from only wanting to pay one hundred dollars a song for a professional recording, expect that I will write and perform their music for them when all they bring me is a "melody that just came into their head." (In most cases, it's not hard to imagine the anatomical route it took to get there.) I attribute this directly to the record labels, who, for years have been signing no-talents and using the technology of the studio to make embarrassing performances sound acceptable. In the years that I have been buying recording equipment, I've begun to notice that editing capability has become a main thrust of digital technology, and musically, both the ends and the means. William Wittman says he won't make a record without the Antares Auto-tune. He shouldn't have to make all of them with it. David Foster, a long time hero of mine, was excited about the new Roland Variphase Sampler as a means of making singers sound great without them having to sing. I understand that he has to make what the labels bring him sound good, and maintain his own standards of excellence, but hell Dave, maybe they shouldn't be produced if they can't sing. Conversely, I wonder what we'd be hearing from the available technology if a young Jimi Hendrix were around today. (Assuming he could get signed.)

Anyway, Thanks for a great article. (Guess I blew the succinct bit.)


From: Fritz Lim, Singapore
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2000
To: mixonline@gis.net
Subject: The Napster Issue

Being a musician, I am taking my first shot at home recording and have read these articles with keen interest. Being also an undergraduate in electrical and electronic engineering, I understand the other camp's concerns that by shutting down Napster, we are losing a file-sharing technology that has created a (somewhat infamous!) breakthrough in the Internet world.

I believe the problem cannot be solved by dealing with file-sharing technologies like Napster alone. Besides poorly-informed consumers and media hype, the compression format itself, i.e. Mp3, must be faulted for not having copy-protection, of which no one is to blame actually, for how could their creators have foreseen this current state of affairs? As long as Mp3 technology is around in its current unsecure form, this problem of pirate recordings floating around on the Internet will continue forever. I thus applaud the industry efforts on the Secure Digital Music Initiative, though even that standard has recognized that this Mp3 problem cannot be completely eradicated, by making SDMI players able to play Mp3 files as well. The key may not necessarily lie in eradicating every file-sharing technology that pops up, but rather in finding ways to secure music for transfer over electronic media such as the Internet.

As I read Wendy Waldman's comments, it struck me that it may be possible for Napster to find its niche in the Internet world and yet coexist happily with the record industry: Producers/creators of works could opt to authorize Napster (and any other file-sharing technologies) to allow searching of their unprotected works for downloads. In this way, labels and other entities who do not want Napster to have a hand in the download of pirated music can block users from doing so - Napster simply does not allow searches for that entity's music if its online existence is unsecure. As Wendy has mentioned, the choice must be left to copyright holders as to whether they wish to control the download of their music, especially if it's in a pirated form. Napster is not entirely to blame for the online pirated music problem, but in this way it could take some of the responsibility for protecting copyrighted works.

Another point I was pondering is related to the audio quality of Mp3, i.e. I do notice a loss in quality as compared to CD audio, and I would gladly go out and buy the CD version of a song/album because of this reason alone. But, I wonder how many other people out there are content with the audio quality they are getting from file-compression. How many of these people do go out to buy the CD in the end to enjoy the fuller aural experience a CD recording can provide? For, if consumers are content with Mp3's sound quality, then we really do have things to worry about with regards to CD sales. However, if statistics can show that people are hungry for "CD-quality" sound instead of "near CD-quality", then half of our industry's worries of greatly diminished CD sales may very well be unfounded, and file-compression will serve its original purpose as merely a file-transport technology.

Maybe the solution lies in seeking not to snuff out a certain this and that, but rather to improve upon existing technologies to find a way for a coexistence between creators and consumers. Thanks for a listening ear.


From: Polar Levine
To: mixonline@gis.net
Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2000 18:45:26 -0500
Subject: Caught Napstering re: Wendy Waldman

As a musician/composer, I too am concerned about copyright holders receiving no royalties on their intellectual property. But Wendy Waldman and so many others aren't getting that the Napster situation is a clumsy but necessary first step toward the creation of a sensible and humane approach to the distribution of music. Every revolution begins with a period of chaos and anarchy. Right now the mob is looting the store, largely out of revenge against overpriced and overly corporatized audio product, distributed with little regard for anything but profit-making. I download too. I love depriving record companies of easy revenue generated off the backs of creative people who receive little for their work whether or not you buy the CD. But, actually, I'm looking foward to the day when I'll be paying a reasonable monthly subscription for the privilege.

If we suddenly had to pay a dollar or two for each download I'm sure that the volume of music that is currently explored would be cut back drastically so that only the better known artists and writers (who are already well paid) would get paid more and we'd be back to status quo.

What I've noticed about the Napster community that's incredibly exciting is that almost every personal hard drive I explore has a huge variety of music on it. I regularly see a person who is listening to Eminem, John Cage, Eric Dolphy, Bobby Darin, Duke Ellington, Radiohead, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, P Funk, Bob Marley, and every imaginable genre and sub-genre. This diversified listening is impossible with what we're exposed to with corporate-contrived playlists and videogenic-only popstars. After developing the habit of surfing and trying on every type of music we can get our hands on. we won't be going back to Lite FM because of a $10 a month fee. We're tasting the work of a gigantic community of artists both famous and obscure. Soon artists and writers will be paid, probably more than before, and consumers will have the the music we want for a reasonable price. If the record companies find themselves irrelevant down the line, who is to blame? They've alienated artists and consumers alike.

Presently Napster claims around 40 million members which will probably grow exponentially over the next five years. If it stays at 40 million people who pay a low end figure of $5/month you're talking about $2.4 billion a year in revenue being generated for the music industry above and beyond what's existed before Internet downloading. If 100 million people are paying $10 or $20 a month, it's still a reasonable price for the consumer and the money generated is awesome.

I came close to purchasing Wendy Waldman's music one day but put the disc back in the rack because I didn't feel like betting $20 that I'd like it enough. I'll wait until the subscription policy comes through before downloading her work.


From: Teri Rivas
Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2001
To: mixonline@gis.net
Subject: "Caught Napstering" debate

Congratulations on your great articulation on the "Caught Napstering" article, as well as to all the debators.

I agree that there is a unique opportunity, with the new and upcoming technology,╩to change the way copyright owners are compensated for their works without the lying, theiving Public Performance Organizations, 'Big Labels', etc... but what are the chances? You're damned right the little guy will never have the legal muscle that these large companies have -- and, yes, they damned sure have a lot of "friends in Congress"! (Did ya' know that Orrin Hatch is a songwriter? Keep an eye out on this cat's effect on politics/music.) These organizations will be out to get their "gram" (though it's a hell of a lot more!) of flesh every time a song is heard. They've been doing it for years and accumulated lotsa moolah in the process, a grip they are not going to easily relinquish. Let's get real here. They WILL buy out the companies to put them outta business or get exclusive rights to the technology (a home someone else hammered out, that they simply move into!). The cost is negligible compared to what they'd lose and what they have to gain!

... "a little civil war?"╩Hell NO! The little guy won't win this HUGE battle because they're the same folks who RUN to these organizations in hopes of "being discovered and given a million dollars" by these same organizations...the dream of a lifetime come true...the PIPE DREAM. Hey, I live in Nashville and I'm saddened to see this behavior among grown men and women alike. It's amazing: these folks are PAYING THE VENUE TO PLAY!!! Boy, to own a bar in Nashville: free entertainment with booze-buying entourages.... It's really sad. The Publishers in town "hire" the songwriters--only it's not a wage...IT'S A DAMNED LOAN!!! against a hefty undisclosed CHARGE-BACK!...and they get to keep ALL the writer's work ("for hire" material)...often for a LIFETIME!... but the masses run to them after saying their heartfelt prayers in hopes of "being discovered". But wait, the writers are collaborating to write a song (two or three writers) to "shop" to the Major Artists. Now the artists/publishers receive the bill: Musicians: $1332.30 (mostly their own musicians), Vocals: $ 333.20 (mostly their own guy), Studio: $800.00 (their own studio), Engineer: $800.00 (their in-house engineer), Tape: $30.00, Cartage: $165.00, Misc: $you name it, AFTRA dues: $13.20, Interface audio: $75.00, AFM-EP Fund: $102.65, Drum Paradise: $150.00....

That's just ONE SONG! To╩"shop" it to the big boys and probably NEVER GET A "CUT"!╩╩I understand the necessity of charging for a service you provide, sure, but they're living off of these poverty-struck songwriters. Now I'm quoting off the last invoice that was recieved/billed Jan.12,2001. This is not made up. I can see that this very famous music corporation really need NEVER get a╩song placed and still do pretty well. What do you think the╩players, vocals, engineer, cartage guys, etc. ACTUALLY earned for this one song over on Music Row that day? Now, granted, this╩expense is split between the three songwriters (only one of whom is actually with this corporation). Imagine what his CHARGEBACK is going to be? These are writers with Montgomery Gentry hits, Faith Hill cuts on her huge album, etc. This company is able to get the CREAM OF THE CROP writers in╩as staff writers because the crowds of writers are breaking their doors down begging to get these SCAM publishing "deals".╩One can hold on to one's own publishing and prepare to face the cost...but at least NO CHARGEBACK...as long as you can afford it, anyway. My best friends are jumping with joy with this new "deal" and trying to recruit those of us to do the same. He can finally╩afford to buy the home he's been lease/purchasing for years! In truth though, now he's in the hole the entirety of his mortgage and the entirety of his wages -- because THEY'RE NOT REALLY╩WAGES... they're a loan, too!... and at a CHARGEBACK rate that he'll wish he'd paid 50% interest on a loan instead. Then when the money does come in....what happened to all the money? Faith's album is selling like hotcakes!╩ ╩"Let's take him aside and explain Chargeback", they'll tell him then.

And that's just the songwriters! What's wrong with this picture?!!! And they dare think they could ever overthrow the majors...as they race to sit on the majors' laps...if they are ONE OF THE LUCKY ONES! The majors have long benefited from the ignorance that they have perpetuated throughout the industry. It saves them on "artists' shelving contracts", no better investment to insure their real investments, plus there are no insurance policies available to protect their types of╩investments -- of course besides ignorance, which is FREE to them. All they had to do was perpetuate this dream that grown people will believe:╩I'm so lucky to be in this business, for I am free from having to follow a traditional business model (unlike EVERY OTHER BUSINESS where you actually have to put an investment into your business to make money), but rather someone is going to "discover" me, pay all the bills, and give me all the money...

Now you see where the problem is. It's an idiot mentality that will assure the "majors'" success against these ignoramuses. It's MUCH harder taking candy from babies.╩

I do know of the solution to this problem, and it does not involve allowing the artist's product to be vulnerable to piracy, as the lack of technology╩currently allows on the net. Hell, the net is too small a market anyway. Even if the Internet had 50% penetration into every household in the world...which, in the best case scenario,╩will take decades...copyright owners need money NOW, or SOON. No matter how kickin' the song, the production, the packaging, etc.... You need VIABLE COMMERCIAL RADIO AIRPLAY. The money is not in the MECHANICALS -- it's in the "SUPER VENUES"/LIVE PERFORMANCES! How do you get the "Super Venues"? VIABLE COMMERCIAL RADIO AIRPLAY!!! There's so much great product out there (average 35,000 songs being played worldwide at any given moment). Do you know how many musical works copyrights are being obtained from the US Copyright Office every month? Staggering...then there's still the ones which aren't copyrighted yet, but out there... ZILLIONS! There's still a way to get Radio Airplay --even for newcomers -- that few know about, though. Maybe I'll take out an ad and tell some of them. They'd be hard pressed to give up their pipe dreams, though, and few would "get it".


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