Damn, I go home for a weekend and Monday morning WHAM!!!
There have been quite a few threads on this topic in many different forms. I'm upset with copyright laws and confused about licensing. This argument seems to be a buy or not buy argument. Greed of musicians? If we musicians were greedy, we'd be something else. Gene Simmons says that the only reason one becomes a musician is to get laid. I have always said that if you are running a restaurant and someone is stealing money, the person who comes to you (the manager) privately everyday with new information on who may be responsible for the disappearance is your thief. In other words, those who accuse are the ones who are guilty. There is a lot of finger pointing here, please, lets tone it down.
Here's my take on the issue.......
We make music, we own the copyright. No one can take that away from us, but we can sell it. We can sell the copyright off to a record company, giant or inde, and they can sell of the liscense to anyone who pays. If I write a little tune and Miller want's to use it for a beer commercial and gives me enough to make a house payment, cool. If I write a boss hit bound single which is sung by the latest winner on the American Idolatry show, there is a vast number of options for the royalties to be received. It's how you write the contract.
Take a step back to our world. We are not making music here that sells millions. Some of us work quite hard at organizing and establishing an independent label that will provide our own music as well as the music of others to the public. If it makes grocery money for that slow month at work, or provides a bit of money to buy a bike for the kid a Christmas, I personally cannot define this as "greed". The point is that I think makes this a heated issue is based on the idea that if the pop music industry can make millions producing the same crap year after year, why shouldn't we make $25 producing a work of art? That's what I felt when I started the Oenyaw, LLC kingdom in cyberspace, and that's how I still feel even after slitting the throat of Oenyaw and throwing the kingdom in a vat of sulfuric acid. Basically, if the money's there, I'd like a slice of the pie and would be happy with the crumbs.
The reality facing us in the 21st century is that the technology of music availability is changing constantly. Once upon a time, musicians made records for record companies, the records were played on the radio and sold in stores. The investment and risk was on the shoulders of the record company. Then came cds, and the record companies cashed in big time on selling the same records over again but now in a different format. Then came the ability for the public to burn their own cds, as well as the ability to download music for free off of the internet, and the shit hit the fan. There is a huge difference between sitting in your room with a portable radio and cassette player, waiting for your favorite song to come on so that you can record it without buying it for $1. Now you can find the song, download it in a few seconds, and then burn it on to a cd with close to the same quality as buying it in the store for $20.
My problem with the present situation is that the copyright, royalty, licensing laws are more and more apparant to be written and enforced on the side of the companies, and that the notion that they are "protecting the artist" is ludicrous. Furthermore, the balance is on the sides of the biggest companies. The attitude of the big three is no longer "here's a record you kids will really dig"; it's become "hand me the pliers and pry that little bastard out of his corner cyberspace and crucify him!" The record companies have never been on the side of the buyer, no company is. But in recent years, they've become zombies eating the flesh of anyone that gets in the way. Sadly, this doesn't only apply to the big three, but to many of the indes as well.
The whole notion has arisen that the music can be free (notice, I didn't say should be). Humor me on this one before you rise in defense. Let's say I start a website that offers the music as free downloads. All 80 hours of it. Each work as a Non-derivative Creative Commons license. This translates to I "I let others copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work, not derivative works based upon it". It becomes "some rights reserved" instead of "all rights reserved". My music is there for free download, only stipulation is that they register on my site and provide me with their e-mail address. If someone wants to hear it for free, let them. They are going to find a way anyway. (I had a piece released on a free compilation disc that accompanied a magazine in Italy. There were torrents for pirated downloads of the disc on the internet before I received my copy.) I make hard copies of the discs available for sale. One of the things I am considering is the "make your own disc" option. Send me a list of the tracks you want, send me a picture, and a title and you'll get a custom cd. Hell, I may sell two or three of those! Other options, send my your Ipod and I'll fill it up for you. Just a couple of ideas I plan on offering. If I make enough money to cover the cost of the website, I'll be doing better than Oenyaw, LLC did. If not, so what. I plan on getting a cheaper site anyway. Just my idea on a different way of doing it. Two things I don't want on my "products" are UPC bar codes and FBI warnings.