There’s a big, contentious battle brewing in Washington and you might not even know about it. But you should, especially if you like music.
Congress is looking at a complete overhaul of U.S. copyright law, and the most divisive issue involves money and music. The Justice Department also announced in June that it is revisiting a 70-year-old consent decree with the two organizations that collect and distribute songwriting royalties: ASCAP and BMI.
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is taking lots of flak for its net neutrality proposals, with critics arguing against its proposals to allow ISPs to charge digital media companies for smooth access to their customers. Now more musicians are engaging with the debate, in an open letter to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler signed by OK Go, Michael Stipe, Eddie Vedder, Roger Waters, Jello Biafra, Neko Case, Fugazi, David Lowery, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, the Black Crowes’ Rich Robinson and other artists. “The open Internet’s impact on the creative community cannot be overstated. The Internet has enabled artists to connect directly with each other and with audiences. It has eliminated the barriers of geography and taken collaborations to new levels.
In most ways, the landscape of last summer’s Fort Reno shows was pretty typical: beaten-up stage; scattered picnic blankets and toddlers; D.C. flag tattoos; Ian MacKaye. The only thing that felt amiss was the presence, at nearly every show, of a U.S. Park Police cruiser, usually resting on a hill, up a walkway from the stage and the cozy, placid crowd.
For discreet promotional relationships, one need not look further in the music industry than payola. The practice of labels paying DJs to play their music ran rampant in the 50s, with one Chicago DJ paid $22,000 to play a record. A Congressional investigation led to USC 317, which prohibits radio stations from playing for pay.
Failure is a part of every entrepreneur’s journey, and Cody DeLong experienced his share early.
At 16, he began booking and promoting local heavy metal and punk concerts where he grew up in Fremont, New Hampshire. He walked into school one morning after pocketing $1,000 from a successful concert the night before, thinking he had a pretty sweet gig. But it didn’t always turn out so well. At 18, he found himself several thousand dollars in the hole after a show he booked in Exeter, New Hampshire, bombed. He borrowed the $3,000 from his mom to make up the difference.
WASHINGTON, June 17, 2014 – Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Calif., on Tuesday introduced a bill, the Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act, that would grant the Federal Communications Commission the authority to bar so-called “paid prioritization” agreements between internet service providers and content providers over the last-mile of a broadband connection.
Whether it’s as simple as a band recording a new album, raising funds for musicians to head overseas to tour, or simply a great music-related initiative, the likes of Kickstarter, Pozible, Pledge Music, IndieGoGo and their online brethren are helping to realise the previously unattainable dreams of musicians the world over. Here, we’ve once again handpicked a few of the latest to cross our paths that we think you should totally consider supporting.
Today, Representatives George Holding (R-NC) and John Conyers (D-MI), will introduce the RESPECT act, a bill meant to create a limited performance right for the use of sound recordings by satellite and Internet radio companies.
A pair of legislators this week introduced a bill that would require online music services to pay copyright fees for pre-1972 recordings.
The Future of Music Coalition said it was pleased Congress at least was recognizing the importance of compensating artists, but said that, unfortunately, the bill “doesn’t offer performers the full suite of rights afforded to artists who made recordings after February 15, 1972.” The group called the bill a step in the right direction, but added that “adding scaffolding to an already unwieldy structure may not be the best way to ensure artist compensation across the board.”
When you’re listening to vintage recordings on digital radio services, it makes a huge difference to the people who played on them whether they were made before or after February 15, 1972. If Pandora or SiriusXM play a track from, say, Lou Reed’s Transformer, which he recorded that summer, his estate and the performers will get a modest royalty. But when Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” beams soulful grit across the digital ether, the Reverend gets a check only for his share of the songwriting. Clearly, he should’ve waited to cut the record until after Valentine’s Day.