My represenatives know how I feel, but I'll go on the record here as stating that, IMHO, this move by the CRB was nothing short of a protection grab, a way for the big dogs of the music biz to further limit public venues for anything other than their own mass-produced product.
There were too many new artists slipping thru the safeguards they have built over the years to control music, and they had to find some way to stifle that!
There was a really good article in this month's Paste Magazine that quotes John Simson from SoundExchange as saying, "The attitude that really has to change is the idea that the people playing this music on the Web are somehow doing artists a favor" and, "Does having so many Web stations disperse the market so much that it hurts the artist?"
Both of these quotes just blow me away. I'm not saying that we are here to save the artists souls, but how would airplay hurt a musicians career? Do listeners say, "Gee, all of this variety, I really wish there were only a couple of choices, that would make me buy a lot more CDs"? This is the guy behind the CRB's decision. SoundExchange did their homework, they were much more prepared for this fight and so they took home the winning flag. Hopefully, the folks now representing pubcasters can make their case in an effective way. Who I really feel sorry for are the college stations that have lost their terrestrial outlets and now broadcast only online. They have no revenue, but this system does not take that into account - it's "spin" based.
My friend Phil Gallos from Saranac Lake, NY wholeheartedly agrees with you. This is what he wrote in a letter to me back in March:
“As I see it, this is not an issue of getting royalties to deserving artists. It is an issue of control -- the control of what the citizenry may hear by a relatively small number of powerful corporations and individuals, who have the most to gain through this fee schedule while almost everyone else loses. This kind control, while enriching those who hold it, impoverishes society and thwarts democracy."
Couldn't have said it any better.
I went briefly to SoundExchange's website today. Their spin on this makes me sick to my stomach. I listen to very little commercial radio (eschewing it for NPR for the most part), largely because the playlists are so narrow, and the DJs are so obnoxious. Any music I have bought (Vienna Teng, Eddie from Ohio to name a few) in the past year or so, I've bought because I heard them on Folk Alley. I can't see how killing internet radio would be good for the artists. It might not hurt Top 40 or Top 20 artists much, since they get so much airtime on traditional radio, but indie artists don't stand much of a chance of being heard on large corporate radio.
I see showers of confetti over the FOLK ALLEY placard/logo-sign on the main page... I'm excited - what are we celebrating!?
Although I see a few representives from my state on the list, I don't see mine. I will be contacting him.
I wrote to my rep, Betty McCollum
These people are not artist centred or even music centred they have the Great God dollar in their view. They have no interest in the artist, per se. This is the narrow minded and short termist view of the accountant. Do they they not see that dispertion of an artists tracks will encourage people to either download (payable) or buy the CD's (payable). As you can see from the spelling I'm from the UK, we don't have this problem as yet, maybe we have accountants with better long term vision. As we cannot write to our congressional representative or senator (we don't have them), is there anything listeners in the UK or anywhere else outside of the USA can do to help?
At the same time their could be a very natural backlash in the favor of indy musicians who own their own rights which the mainstream industry may not be expecting.
More music is being purchased only as singles through trends like Ipods. More asrtists are starting to records and release singles. The mainstream industry has already screwed the pooch in terms of unatainable tickets prices. They engage in all kinds of practices that this musicisn would not really want to be a part of. As the distribution mechanisms change, then one has to think of what happened with micro brews in this country. Perhaps stations like Fok alley would seek more independent musicians that are not encombered and who do not favor Association made royalty fees. Perhaps there is a new association to be made.
all the best
Folk Alley is very fond of independent artists, and those on smaller labels who seem genuinely interested in getting music to the people. However, SoundExchange does not distinguish - we will have to pay the same for artists that are connected with SoundExchange as for those that are not. SoundExchange says that they will hold the money in trust until the artists come forward to claim it, and after a certain amount of time, it will revert to the organization. In order for Folk Alley not to pay royalties, we would have to negotiate contracts with each artist individually and figure out a way to separate works from those artists from others, including musicians signed to major labels that it would be remiss for us to ignore. The entire situation is very bad regardless.
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