COPYRIGHT #5 – Created by and for publishers?

The debate on the existence of copyright focuses on whether the content creators need state enforcement to enable owners to gain returns, or whether the producers of the works respond significantly to financial incentives. [1]  If there is a way to prove that authors (a widely defined term) do not need the intellectual property concept of copyright to earn a living, then we can truly question ourselves if is it necessary to continue with this concept.  By looking into the history of copyright, we can see that copyright might not be needed in order for creativity to flourish. Copyright was introduced in England in the sixteenth-century as outgrowth of the privatization of government censorship. It thus helped the publishing industry to conveniently earn money through mass pressings with centralized distribution. This helped a few lucky works to be available to a wide audience providing the publishers a considerable profit. Publishers from most types of creative works have fought not only to preserve the business model, but to build a belief into people’s minds; the belief that using somebody else’s creation is stealing, and that those creators can only survive with the benefits of copyright. Regardless of the historic period, we talk about two different concepts that help us understand this belief. – I steal when I take something from you, and you don’t have it anymore – In terms of creation, I cannot steal something from you, if I take it and then, we both have it –. Returning to the beginning of copyright in New England for the writers, it started out as a censorship law.[2] With the world’s first arrival of the press, writers, if anything, were energetic to know about this new resource to get their work widely known. The English government was concerned about too many works being produced, and more specifically, about which works were distributed out there to the citizens. They had to control what creators wanted to communicate; this was achieved through a royal filter directly connected to the emerged publisher’s industry of that time. The method the government chose was to establish an association of private sector censors called the London Company of Stationers. They were granted a royal monopoly over all printing in England that could control unauthorized presses, books and basically publish only what they wanted. This way, the organization a private strategic profit maker that acted as a tax collector. All members that entered as Stationers had the right to copy and distribute a written work; This law was intended for publishers and sellers, not for authors. New books entered under a company’s member’s name, not the author’s member’s name. [3] The strategy behind this, is that authors do not have the means to distribute their own works, and thus they always need a publisher’s cooperation to make their work generally available.  

In 1710, the first recognizable modern form of copyright took effect in England. The Stationers persuaded the Parliament that authors were the first one to own the rights to copy and distribute their creation, knowing that they had little option but to give those rights to the publishers since they were entirely dependent on them to succeed. At first, this option seemed great for the Stationers until time passed by and the Parliament didn’t contribute anymore to the monopoly of printing and publishing. In this crucial period of history of copyright, was when the force of the copyright turned to the authors and the offer of printers and publishers suddenly increased. The Stationers had no more bargaining power and the authors now could decide were to publish they works. The creators now had the rights to authorize the copy with whomever they wanted. The overall record of the story of copyrights clearly states that it was created by and for publishers. Even though authors were benefited at that time and it can be seen as a fair model from author to publisher, the consequences of this design has lead us to what we have today. Publishers are the ones that have pushed the government to create and modernize the copyright law, while that is the core of their business. Surprisingly, this is not the core business of a creator.


[3] “An Unhurried View of Copyright”, Benjamin Kaplan Columbia University Press, 1967, pp. 4-5.

Why Twitter is Necessary in Today’s Music Industry

Twitter

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… a completely irrelevant thought that sounds like a diary entry!  Yes, that’s Twitter to the common eye.  Believe me, for the longest time I thought that Twitter was the one of the lamest things to ever hit the music industry.  I couldn’t wrap my head around it.  Why?

Well for one, I always thought that Facebook was a more varied version of it.  Why should you be limited to 140 characters to post, not have thumbnail displayed photo previews, why not have extra pages like downloads or band pages, and why not just freakin’ have some privacy?  I mean, what ever happened to the mysterious rock star?  The icon that was either so DIY or so busy that the only time you could see them and hear them talk was that magical hour and a half on stage?  That was a rock and roll icon to me.  They were a mystery until you had to go out to their live show.

Unfortunately, I got slapped in the face with reality when I found out that this is 2012, and the Backstreet Boys are way past the Backstreet Men phase, making me one old bastard for the times.  It came time that I had to embrace this fancy new technology of the youth, and I fumbled for a while until I figured out it’s pure gold in today’s industry

You could say I have no clue what the @#$% I'm doing.

You could say I have no clue what the @#$% I’m doing.

1)  Twitter maintains your relevance in every day.  We live in a generation of instant-gratification.  If you can’t appease your blood thirsty shirt-ripping music-pillaging hounds of fans, you can sure bet they’re going to go and feast on the next target they see since you’re clearly not putting out.  Before you know it, your fans forget about who you are just because you’re not updating them on a day to day basis.  You’d be surprised how true it is.

2) You can create a short statement swift to the point that’ll be immediately received by all.  While 140 characters seems constricting, it actually aids you, the reader, or your fans.  How often will your fans stop what they’re doing to read that giant Shakespearean essay you posted on Facebook?  Most likely, they’ll just skip through it; in fact they probably won’t even see it.  Twitter guarantees your tweets will appear in the streams of your followers (Unless they’re following an insane amount of tweeters), whereas Facebook posts actually have never reached more than an average of 15% of their fans.

Don't worry, we're not "liking" your photo of breakfast because we hate you, we just don't give a shit about you enough to show up in our feed.

Don’t worry, it’s not that we’re not “liking” your photo of breakfast because we hate you, we just don’t give a shit about you enough to have you show up in our feed.

3)  Searching buzzes on Twitter is more effective than using Google.  Please re-read that so you don’t assume I just said Twitter is better than Google for information.  I said searching for buzzes: do you know how many people tweet about the silliest things you can’t find on Google?  When Facebook was down, Google wasn’t telling me anything.  But all I had to do was search “Facebook” on Twitter; and I’ll tell you, Twitter exploded about it.  It’s not that Google fails or anything of the sort, it’s just that the way the search engine is configured, Twitter sifts through much less  and more relevant information to produce its Tweet results as opposed to Google.

4) In addition to #3, you can create the buzz yourself.  Trends and re-tweets are very helpful in that the fans do some of the promotion for you.  Let’s say you’ve got 900 followers, and one of them re-tweets your post to their 300 separate followers.  You’ve opened your chances of getting seen from 1/3 more of your own followers, and from one fan.  It’s extremely helpful, not to mention if your fan base is loyal enough, you can even trend your product locally for everyone to see on their home page.  Remember, this is ALL free.

So, to wrap this up, I found that Twitter isn’t the enemy.  It’s helped me keep up very closely with the DIY bands that I really like without having to go through an intense effort to get updates from them.  At the same time, it’s helped me stay in contact with a lot of people.  Of course there’s people on Twitter that tweet 100% bull-shit or re-tweet philosophy because they think they’re the next Confucious to their 2 followers.  Stuff like that exists on every platform: there’s really no escaping that one person eventually, but hey, you can always un-follow them.  Personal Twitters can be great when you want to establish that artist-to-fan relationship.

Oh dang!  Eric had eggs for breakfast again! BIG @#!$#ING SURPRISE.

Oh dang! Eric had eggs for breakfast again! BIG @#!$#ING SURPRISE.

So start now: You don’t even need to start tweeting or anything of the sort.  It’s just very helpful to get your domain set so that you can use it any time in the future.  Just remember that it just could be that helpful edge you get down the road.  And hey, as far as that mysterious rockstar thing goes, most professional Twitters of the big stars aren’t even running their Twitters: it’s usually just a social media promotions guy taking control of it.

If you haven’t noticed yet, I’ve always signed off with my name, so don’t think this is some advertising, it’s just habitual.  Til next time

– @NishadGeorge

Streaming Rates: Get the Facts, Get My Opinion

I don't even understand how you don't already

I don’t even understand how you don’t already…

Let’s face it, in today’s music industry going digital and with the existence of genius and authorized sources of information (Like this blog… right??) I see a lot of people arguing over important topics but none of them seem to have their facts right.  More importantly, it seems like people are just missing the point.  So, I’ll address both in this post.

I found a neat article off Digital Music News that took the sales of individual artists and did the math themselves based on the royalties the artist received.  The averages rounded out to the numbers in this post.  Please tell me you already knew most of these don’t make more than a third of a cent, or you’ve got Jackie Chan up at the top of this post to give you my response to that…

SPOTIFY:  $0.005 Per Play

RHAPSODY:  $0.013 Per Play

NAPSTER (It still exists… Sorry Lars Ulrich):  $0.016 Per Play

ZUNE (Microsoft):  $0.028 Per Play

So, if you were to use some common math there, you’d find out that Spotify is actually one of the digital streaming service providers that provides the least.  And, if you weren’t surprised that Napster even still existed despite the Rhapsody buyout, it’s actually making more money than Rhapsody.  To drive that one deeper, Zune, the online service you totally knew existed, makes an artist the most revenue per play.

 But wait! This means we all have GOT to hop on the Zune now right?  If we all hop onto the streaming service that pays out the most, then we’ll provide better support to the artist and then we can fix the industry, right?!  Well… my facial expression would be:

You had to irritate me enough to pull out CARTOON Jackie on your ass.

You had to irritate me enough bring CARTOON Jackie into this.

It’s not a question of what is the “better” streaming service.  For too long I’ve scoured these online blogs and sites and seen people jabbing back and forth about which streaming service is going to save the music industry, or that streaming altogether is the cure to the industry situation.  It’s really not.  It’s the industry’s last stand.  If shelling out tons of cash on a vinyl didn’t work, we advanced with technology to make $10 CD’s to appease the solution.  When $10 CDs were too much, we hopped onto iTunes for digital downloads.  When music going on digital meant we wanted it all free, we gave them streaming.  Streaming is a compromise, NOT a solution.  The music industry has only been piggy backing on the innovations and evolutions of technology.

You can disagree with me as much as we want, but the numbers don’t lie.  The future of the industry lie in VIP packages and live shows, not streaming.  And even then, we have to play the live music game very carefully; something I’ll cover later on.

Take it from Lady Gaga, integrating her fans into one website online, combining the online social instant gratitude into a unified fan base that share interest into her.  Of course I’m not the biggest Lady Gaga fan around, but I know a damn good idea when I see one and she’s laughing herself to the bank

Only an obscene amount of cocaine could front an idea like that.

Only an obscene amount of cocaine could front an idea like that.

Again I’ll say it again, you don’t have to agree with me, but let’s face the facts.  Instead of arguing over what streaming service works better, or what are the current flaws in the streaming model, we gotta get on thinking on alternatives.  For too long the music industry has been riding on technology’s progress.

– @NishadGeorge

Optimism for the Music Industry

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“The practice of art isn’t to make a living. It’s to make your soul grow.” – Kurt Vonnegut

I know what you’re thinking. “It’s not too late to sell my guitar and my amp, or my drums, or my stupid ass kahon and invest in some lemons, some sugar, and some plywood.”

At 5 cents a cup, you’d probably be making a heck of a lot more selling lemonade to your friendly neighborhood folk… Well I suppose this is where I should insert the disclaimer.

Warning: You are about to read some radical bullshit that is most likely outside the range of rational possibility for our species to come to terms with on a global scale. Don’t get too excited.

Fuck selling lemonade, music is too righteous. It is time we stopped giving a shit about money and started caring about passion. We are trained to commodify our art and our music but we forget that creating it with “money on our minds” bastardizes it and turns it into nothing more than auditory vandalism.

Leave the corruption to us “business people” to live with. Our hearts are made of thick mud, we can handle it.

So with that in mind, and as a last hurrah in my contributions to “No Bullshit Management”, here are 4 optimistic outlooks on the music industry that can hopefully make you want to stick around in it a little longer, regardless of its slow and painful expiry.

1.) Being in the music industry gets you laid. Especially if you play instruments. (Fuck ‘wonderwall’, try learning a Chopin ‘Nocturne’.)

2.) Music makes you happy as hell doesn’t it? What else do you want?

3.) The more the music industry becomes a place where people can’t make shit for money, the more all the scumbags will leave. *See the ever so malignant Ark Music Factory.

4.)  Once again, the more the music industry becomes a place where people can’t make shit for money, the more the all the virtuous music with dignity will emerge. You see, people will always make music, but the ones who keep doing it even though they know they will starve and die? – Those are the people we need as our artists, and then maybe one day Jack Kerouac can once again be correct in saying “The only truth is music.”

Phillip Richard

NYC VENUES WRAP-UP

cbgb_times_square

The main theme of my posts was to expose different venues in and around NYC that have/had a little something special that help them differentiate for other venues.

From special drinks to art galleries to darkrooms to catwalks each of the venues that I mention brought a little something special to the table.  It is more that just a place to go to see music, it is a creative experience, it is art, and it is exciting.

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I’ve mentioned some of my favorites, but there are still more worth learning about, mostly ones that died out in the early/mid 80’s. Below are a few of the forgotten venues that I did not get to blog about that are long gone, but still deserve the recognition:

TRAXX, GREAT GILDERSLEEVES, ONE’s, NOISE MUSIC, HEAT, NURSERY, LAIGHT STREET, WETLANDS, HURRAHS, LONE STAR CAFE, and BOTTOM LINE just to mention a few.

The great Pandit Ravi Shankar!!

Last but not the least,I would like to talk about one of the greatest musicians of all times. I am deliberately not using ‘one of the greatest Indian musicians’ because he was a world musician. He was the one who presented Indian classical on the world scene. Its because of him that Indian classical is so popular in the West. I would like to quote what other people had to say about him. George Harrison called him ”the godfather if World Music.” Harrison learned sitar from the maestro. Ravi Shankar even collaborated with the great violinist Yehudi Menuhin. Menuhin compared his genius to the likes of Mozart. Musicians of such a high level are rarely born and he was one of them. I am posting one of his videos where he explains about Indian classical music. He passed away a couple of days back at the age of 92 and the whole musical world will bear his loss. There is another video which gives tribute to the great master. 

THE SECRETS BEHIND CROWDFUNDING

I’ve been involved for the first time in a project for a crowdfunding platform and felt really excited about it. However what will be the next step? How to persuade investors? It’s worth to consider some tips that should be the guideline for everyone who starts this business . Firstly be aware of fake investors. Second, raising capital should be a step step process, avoiding to do it fully in one time. The strategy would be to have a small investment at the beginning based on crowdfunding and retaining more ownership thank’s to raising money when there is a real need. The main advantage is that there are a lot of equity owners  and it’s easy to attract consensus, however it’s hard to manage the human and emotional side. As result of it, in some situations investors with few rights can be converted in majorites and In addition, It’s really important to look at the relationship between financial implications and future rounds. Some tips may considered regarding crowdfunding and incude analysing if the main platforms (Kickstarter, Indiegogo), have a rating system for crowd investors. Moreover, other important thing is to determine their rights and finally  it’s necessary to build a transparent and accurate communication ’cause it would add the business more value and more effictiveness The Jobs Act (Jump start our business start up) provides a legislation that recognizes the rights of fair use for crowdfunding investors, while facilitating the formation of capital between them. In addition, people with lower income are included as potential investors and the final goal would be to increase of employment opportunities. Many law firms, especially in America have becoming to support the these new technololgy  in terms of sponsorship. Not everyone will succeed in this business but a few minds will and the secret will be to have a deep look at the intellectual property rights (Patents, Trademarks, Copyright, Trade Secrets) before disclosing an original project.

robertson/crowdfunding-jobs-act-what-to-know-before-you-raise-money.html

An Album of Sheet Music: Beck’s Latest Collaboration

“Art begins in imitation and ends in innovation.”- Mason Cooley

Back in the day, people used to buy music.  Waaaay back.  Sheet music.  If I told you that an artist sold 54 million copies of a single song in 1937, would you believe me?  Well, this is a real thing, and it puts the notion of success and popularity into perspective.

There was a time when music was conceived, then notated, then interpreteted, then performed, and if it was really worth it, then recorded.  Bing Crosby wrote a song called “Sweet Leilani” in  ‘37, and everyone heard it.  Because half the nation owned it on paper.  They bought it, they went home and learned it, and when it was ready, they shared it.

The word ‘share’ has a different definition in this century.  It implies a certain dichotomy between autonomy and community; that an individual has made or discovered something that he feels compelled to ‘share’ with the world, or strangers, or his friends.  Back then, it happened in a living room.  Not impulsively, but after consideration, dedication and finally presentation.

Beck has done something pretty cool.  Instead of releasing an album, he went back to the basics.  This summer, his newest music became available.  As sheet music.  No interpretation, no recordings, no cheating.  This summer, it was announced that Beck’s new project Song Reader would be released in December 2012, featuring twenty songs as sheet music only, with full-color art for each song, in a hardcover carrying case.  On www.songreader.net you can find the tunes performed by normal people, real musicians, and Mac Miller.  YouTube is full of them, too.

beck image

The genius here is way more than a gimmicky retro homage to get people to create and be inspired.  He has somehow given birth to a viral situation that will only generate more material and interpretation.  It is a different kind of innovation; he is appealing to the new crop of consumers.  In his ‘Loser’ heyday, people actually bought CDs.  Now, he has still done most of the work, but he has invited the community to record the tunes themselves, which is appealing to this new user generated generation.

On the days of sheet music and it’s purpose of generating performance, Beck said, “That time is long gone, but the idea of it makes one wonder where that impulse went. As for these songs, they’re here to be brought to life—or at least to remind us that, not so long ago, a song was only a piece of paper until it was played by someone. Anyone. Even you.”

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COPYRIGHT #4: Intellectual disobedience in the internet

Take a look at this video where Nina Parley talks to us about the future of copyright in the internet. “Intelectual disobedience is Civil disobedience plus intelectual property”. So in today’s world, a lot of people infringe copyright.

It’ s a beautiful thing that people share culture with each other. There are risks but people maybe just don’t care about. Laws in the future might not be too relevant in the future, and even if we need a copyright reform, it might not happen.

All the movement we have today in the internet has great things coming up for everyone even dough it is a threat for many “content creators”. So we’ll have to adapt to that.

Listen to this interview which I find really useful for anyone who is creating content out there!