Saturday, June 23, 2012

My Two Cents in Response to: David's Lowery's Letter to Emily White at NPR All Songs Considered. | The Trichordist

This is a link to the great letter posted on on the subject of illegal downloading, copyrights, and artist royalties. Great letter. Everyone who loves art or consumes copyrighted content should-especially if you think stealing it is okay.
This is a subject near to my heart-and pocketbook.
My take follows after the brief quote below.

"Letter to Emily White at NPR All Songs Considered. | The Trichordist: "The Trichordist
Artists For An Ethical Internet

June 18, 2012
Letter to Emily White at NPR All Songs Considered.
Recently Emily White, an intern at NPR All Songs Considered and GM of what appears to be her college radio station, wrote a post on the NPR blog in which she acknowledged that while she had 11,000 songs in her music library, she’s only paid for 15 CDs in her life. Our intention is not to embarrass or shame her. We believe young people like Emily White who are fully engaged in the music scene are the artist’s biggest allies. We also believe–for reasons we’ll get into–that she has been been badly misinformed by the Free Culture movement. We only ask the opportunity to present a countervailing viewpoint."

    Okay, so here's my take:
As the owner of a royalties-paying Internets station I KNOW that any artist I play is not getting JACK for every spin. I PAY and yet can make NO direct revenue from my station. Soon I will be able to make a cut if someone buys a song via my station from Amazon. That means that the artist has made a sale as well.
That is ALL good.
One of the things Lowery left out (not because of anything bad, but just because the issue is SO complex) is this: In an effort to stem the tide of lost royalties, the laws have gotten SO onerous that it is extremely difficult for me (most other honest business people) to produce a business-model that makes me money and pays the artists a royalty on a level that they deserve.
I want both. And I am willing to share generously.
I am not a fan of Spotify or Pandora-but I am not bashing them here either. That is not a game I play without much due cause and in this case, I would be a hypocrite for implying they were being 'cheap'.

   If I had thousands to invest up-front, I could get licensed on roughly the same terms that a terrestrial station has-meaning a respectable royalty to the artist. BUT the financial outlay is too much for most Internets broadcasters to sustain until they can get profitable...that kills income-and dreams. For everyone.
The technology exists-and is CHEAP (in relative terms) for anyone who choses to run a completely legal, streaming music service Internets radio station whereby EVRYTHING is properly documented and EVERYONE gets paid. The problem is, that the corporate end of the media (ASCAP,BMI, etc.) has gone so far overboard protecting their artists (understandably), that it is utterly choking-off potential revenue streams... for everyone except those receiving salaries (-not meant as a slam, I am just pointing that out).
If all of my revenue comes in via the Web then ALL of it is traceable. If 'They' would just allow me to sign a simple contract and agree to a simple revenue sharing agreement I could be making money for EVERYONE. Instead I  pay for the privilege to advertise their artists (much of whom get little terrestrial airplay)at my own expense with money earned at my day-job with the hope that it will drive traffic to my website where I can make AS MUCH AS I WANT AND NOT HAVE TO SHARE A DIME.
Tell me how that makes sense?
My hope is, that the popularity of Lowery's article will help open this whole thing back up for discussion, debate, and sensible reform.
Maybe we Pirates, Scoundrels, Rock and Rollers, Heathens, and Noble Savages could even set an example for Congress..
Cheers! C.

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