Posts Tagged ‘RIAA’

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The History of Music Media Postscript: The Future

April 8, 2010

 

Behold! The future of music! Um... keytars... I guess...

Senores y senoras: nosotros tenemos mas influencia.

The music industry is dead. After numerous attempts to kill the industry, it has finally happened.

It took turning music into an infinite good to finally do it. And while that may have cut it deeply, it was the self-inflicted wounds that finished it off.

The endless abuse of the very artists it was supposed to cultivate and protect. Locking musicians into expensive, constraining contracts. An intentionally faulty royalty scheme that keeps artists separated from their money. An entire amalgamation of inept management, vindictive legal battles, rent-seeking that serves to keep ASCAP, BMI, the PRS, the RIAA, etc. rolling in money and a perverse (and thoroughly broken) trickle-down effect that only benefits the top 5%.

As much as the record labels and their accompanying dollar-sniffing dogs would like to return to the rapacious days of the $19 CD and its money-printing ability, it’s just never going to happen. So they force it, suing 14-year-old kids and 80-year-old grandmothers. They send out bills to Mom & Pop stores, cop shops, charities, animal shelters, the Girl Scouts, etc. They browbeat or seduce your elected officials into legislating your rights away and otherwise throw all their energy into tipping the playing field back in the direction of their gaping and insatiable maw.

Perhaps it's too subtle...

Take a quick look at the “business plan” of the performance right groups. They send out bill after bill for bogus “public” performance fees (“public” meaning heard by more than one person). This is nothing more than mass mailing. Spam.

Their methodology is no different from the guy at the bar that asks each passing lady if the like anal sex. Yeah, he’ll take a lot of abuse but sooner or later, he’ll get lucky. And to him, it’s worth the damage to his reputation.

Same thing here. They’ll demand money from anybody and everybody, hoping for a 5% return or whatever. If the public can’t shame them in to stopping or the courts refuse to make them stop, they’ll keep hopping from patron to patron, hoping to get lucky.

They waste their time, money and effort on fighting a battle they have already lost, rather than finding new and better ways to help their artists promote themselves or work within the “constraints” of the digital age.

As long as music is an infinite good (and that’s for the rest of forever, folks), it is self-defeating to thrown your energy into clicking your heels and wishing for 1991.

There are thousands of bands giving away thousands of songs every day, having realized that it’s better to get their music in your ears and their name on your tongues than to bemoan every “lost” sale or play penny-ante royalty poker with the major labels and their legal friends.

Thanks Chain Music Store! I never would have found Dinowalrus without your invaluable flaunting of mainstream artists!

Despite what everyone may be hearing from spoiled rotten artists like Garth Brooks and Bono, there has never been a better time than now to be a musician. No matter how small you are, you can get heard.

In the old brick-and-mortar + mainstream radio world, would you or I ever heard of the bands like Dinowalrus, Micro Titanic, Grave Babies, Whitey, Human People, etc.? If they even made their way into the local Musicland, they likely would have been in and out within days, thanks to sales of $0.

Here’s a message for those who still doubt and fear to cast your pearls before thieving swine. A message for every musician out there who thinks that piracy will deprive them of a livelihood. A message for those who think that the only way to self-sufficiency is through the same routes that have been obliterated by a flood of new options.

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?

You can’t sell your music? Well, maybe your product is no good. Maybe you’re not spending enough time promoting it. Maybe you’ve self-imposed a premium on your time and effort that no small amount of money will satisfy.

How can you NOT get your product out?

Case in fucking point: I bought Whitey’s new album from Amazon at 4 am. It took about 5 minutes from beginning to end. By the time I left for work at 4:15, I had it cued up on my mp3 player. And you want to tell me that we should go back to plastic discs? That I should have to wait to whenever it’s convenient for the local music shoppe to open its doors and then, hopefully, have whatever it is I’m looking for?

Another person forgoes the crapshoot of a 9-to-5 for the steady paycheck of a musician.

Message #2:

LOSE YOUR INFLATED SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT.

Since when did becoming a musician become a path to financial freedom? Did your parents ever sit you down and implore you to form a band? “Drop out of college and form a band, son. You’ll be set for life.”

Don’t look to us for sympathy if doing the thing you love has failed to put steaks in the freezer (or veggieburgers or whatever) and a late-model vehicle in the driveway. Many of us don’t even get the chance to do what we really want to. At least you’ll have a few albums or singles out and some gigs under your belt. You went out, got sweaty and drunk and played music for people. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Whatever artistic line you take, whether it’s music, painting, writing, stand-up, etc. is never guaranteed to repay your time and effort. If it does, you’re one of the truly blessed. If not, well, at least you spent some time doing what you loved.

Don’t go down that path. Don’t follow your predecessors in their jaundiced thinking. Their fever dreams of a few hit singles financing their retirements. That a copyright and 12 minutes of music should allow them to want for nothing. It’s sickening to think that your “art” should be used as leverage, as a weapon, against small businesses, charities, animal shelters, etc. If you’re currently riding this diseased gravy train, please, for everyone’s sake: get the fuck off.

Major Labels: It’s too late to adapt. If you hadn’t been so busy squeezing every cent out of music buyers for the last 40 years, you might still have some goodwill left. And it’s not just the fans you’ve been fucking. It’s also a majority of your artists.

The RIAA: If the only trick you have up your sleeve is “We’ll see you in court,” well… there’s just really no hope for you. You assholes don’t even pretend you want to adapt. Fuck you.

ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, the PRS, etc.: The only thing the digital age has done for you is given you the opportunity to attach yourself like remora to any passing revenue stream. Unfortunately, you tend to kill off every stream with your overenthusiastic sucking. You’re nothing but parasites. Spam generators. Aggressive panhandlers.

Good riddance to you all. Musicians don’t need you. Customers never did. You’re as essential and pleasant as a vestigial tail.

-CLT

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Sometimes a Half-Assed Notion

October 26, 2009
A rare woodcut of a blogging pioneer carefully drawing a blank.

A rare woodcut of a blogging pioneer carefully drawing a blank.

Sometimes a great idea will slap me upside the head, mostly unbeckoned. Other times, something will inspire me to track that fucker down and slap him around myself.

This collection of misfits fit into neither of those categories. These incomplete posts are the result of my brain deciding to toss out an idea and then head somewhere else for the next several hours, relegating it to a half-empty sheet of paper with no possible function.

I’ve been carrying these around in my notebook for a good six weeks+ at this point, so I’ve decided to dump them on the blog, if for no other reason than I can throw these sheets out and move on.

We’ll call it closure. You can call it whatever you like. Please hold your comments until the end of the post. Thank you. 

 

Two-thirds of the Jonas Brothers check on their relocated promise rings.

Two-thirds of the Jonas Brothers check on their relocated promise rings.

 

The Disney Channel’s Fall Season Update

  • The cast from High School Musical heads to college! Catch the all-new spin-offs: Devry School Musical and Safety School Musical!
  • In a 2-hour season premiere, the Jonas Brothers exchange promise rings for cock-rings!
  • Keep an eye on Miley Cyrus as her C-list celebrity dad shows up for a variety of “Special Guest” shots in small parts, including Miley Cyrus’ dad, the janitor, a steroid salesman and the sketchy dude who’s always hanging around the parking lot. 
 
 

And as you can see from slide #192, there are a hell of a lot of numbers on it...

And as you can see from slide #192, there are a hell of a lot of numbers on it...

Quarterly Productivity Report for Associated Electronics Mfg., Inc.

  • Staring blankly at productivity reports – +78%
  • Employee internet usage – +1,200%
  • Average employee BAC – 0.06
  • Red wires cut – 8,100
  • Blue wires cut – 11,005
  • Red wires cut at the last second, after nearly deciding to cut blue wire – 3,412
  • Number of failed team-building retreats – 4
  • Number of lives lost on said retreats – 2
  • Most common workplace injuries:
    Prolapsed rectum
    Misplaced fingers
    Slacker’s elbow
    Suicide attempt
    Toilet seat herpes
    “Attempted to use body as ground wire”
    “Something in my eye”
    “No, I mean something in my good, non-glass eye!”
     
 

I will be shopping the fuck out of this place.

I will be shopping the fuck out of this place.

 

My Post-Lottery Jackpot To Do List

  • Top hats, monocles and tuxes with tails. Massive facial reconstruction to achieve that ultimate sign of fuck-you money: looking like the Monopoly guy. Goodbye chin and healthy posture!
  • Related: hotel the fuck out of Park Place and Broadway.
  • Start series of seminars dealing with how to throw money around responsibly (including which seminars to blow your hard-earned cash on).
  • Pretend to read up on the capital gains tax; allow government to “break it off in me” every April.
  • Commission a Frank Gehry doghouse. Also, buy a dog.
  • Buy my way into the reference book racket so every time I make up a word, it’s now a perfectly legal word. (Hello, “cuntacular!”)
  • Build an extensive group of homeless/tax shelters. 
 

If you'll just give me a moment to speak with my advisor...

If you'll just give me a moment to speak with my advisor...

 

Predictions for the Next Decade

  • RIAA, ASCAP and the MPAA assume every person is stealing music and movies; move forward with Congress-approved plan to garnish wages from 150 million employed Americans.

Ah. That’s refreshing! I should totally do this again sometime, except without all the wasted effort.

Here’s one last thought: I love the NFL but never discuss it within the hallowed Fancy Plans pages for one simple reason: the possibility of having to use the words “nickel back” in a positive fashion.

-CLT

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The Stabbing Knife Vol. 2 – Garth Brooks

October 17, 2009
Roberto prepares for Daylight Savings Time with several stabbing and thrusting exercises.

Roberto prepares for Daylight Savings Time with several stabbing and thrusting exercises.

Garth Brooks is back. Ending eight years of self-imposed retirement to start an open-ended run of shows at the Wynn in Las Vegas, Brooks has dusted off his hat, boots and false sense of entitlement.

Picking up where he left off in 1993, Garth is moaning about how he’s getting fucked by all his freeloading fans. Granted, he does mention other “artists” (of course, none by name) and breaks out his gold-plated hanky for a good old bitchfest.

Brooks prepares for his rigorous Wynn shows by "tripling-up" at their famous buffet.

Brooks prepares for his rigorous Wynn shows by "tripling-up" at their famous buffet.

Our government’s not doing anything about piracy. Until we can hear what a day of radio is like with no music, until this place sits silent because the music creators and the artists and copyright (holders) are not happy because they’re not being protected like everyone else is, then, yeah, I would like that power myself.”

First of all, what the fucking fuck? The government’s not doing anything about piracy? Where in the hell did he get that idea? Did he spend the last 8 years living in a tin-foil coated basement somewhere in Montana?

The government is spending a great deal of time bedding down with ASCAP and the RIAA to make sure that copyright protection continues its steady march to perpetuity. Just last week the House Judiciary Committee approved the hilariously named “Performance Rights Act” which will ensure that radio stations get to pay even more for the privilege of advertising the major labels’ artists.

On top of that ASCAP and BMI are pushing their respective legislators to increase the performance royalty fees that radio stations already pay.

So first the RIAA tags the stations for playing the sound recording and then ASCAP reams them again for royalties due to the musicians playing on the recording. A nice double-dip with all the subtlety of a revolving-door gangbang.

So, obviously Brooks is ill-informed or just genuinely stupid. Let’s flashback to his original enemy: used CDs.

Garth used his considerable weight to blackmail Capitol into blocking shipments of his latest album to stores that sold used CDs. This came back to bite him right in his label’s ass thanks to some anti-trust activity. Despite his best efforts to piss everyone off, In Pieces went on to sell 10 million copies in the U.S. alone.

The end result of 6 months of "cheek sucking" workouts.

The end result of 6 months of "cheek sucking" workouts.

Not content to rest on his huge piles of money, Garth continued to bitch and moan about his hard knock life until he was tossed under the wheels of pop culture with his ridiculous Chris Gaines “concept album,” which touted the soul-patched pop-country  pre=”pop-country “>chubster as a “conflicted artist” who was all angsted-up by life in the public eye.

So what is Garth Brooks’ problem?

Tough to say. According to the RIAA, he’s the best-selling solo artist of all time.

Brooks has sold more than 128 million albums in the U.S., according to the Recoding Industry Assn. of America, second only to the Beatles’ 170 million albums. Brooks has outsold the Fab Four — more than 68 million to the Beatles’ 58 million — in the 18 years since Nielsen SoundScan began monitoring retail sales in 1991, two years after Brooks released his first single.”

Couple that with his lucrative concert tours and the man has to have more money than Oprah Winfrey (or possibly U2).

So why can’t he shut the fuck up and enjoy his success?

Garth appears to be one of those (highly-stabbable) “sore winners” whose life revolves around concerns that his boatloads of millions may be leaking nickels and dimes somewhere. Apparently all the time off allowed him to mellow into a fat, bitter shit who wants everyone to pay for everything, like they used to in the good old days before people could decide what they wanted to do with their purchased property (CDs) or had any choice in how they got their music delivered (single-song mp3 downloads or *gasp* piracy).

Check out his “I showed them” take on his meeting with iTunes:

“Sweet guys. They’ve allowed me to come into their building several times and pretty much tell them how much I didn’t like the system. They listen. But iTunes won’t do what (it) needs to until (musicians) find a way to join together, and show them what an iPod sounds like with no music. … They truly think that they’re saving music. I looked at them right across the table with all the love in the world and told them they were killing it. Until we get variable pricing, until we get album-only (downloads), then they are not a true retailer for my stuff, and you won’t see my stuff on there.”

I cannot fathom how this must sound to him when it comes out of his mouth. I’m sure he feels he’s coming down from Mt. Sinai with the tablets but to anyone else who has actually seen how the real world (and music industry) work now, it must sound like the disjointed ravings of bitter retiree who’s sure the world would be better if we could just go back to the good old days of poodle skirts, lead paint, asbestos and the labels raping you out of $17.99 for a couple of good tracks and 50 minutes of filler.

“Album-only downloads?” I’m sure Garth is invested heavily in Time Machines of America if he thinks he can get a majority of Americans to welcome his “Buy One, Buy ‘Em All” plan. That shit went out with Discmans and Fen-phen.

Garth displays his vestigial opposable thumbs.

Garth displays his vestigial opposable thumbs.

But he’s not through yet. Garth’s mouth has unlimited foot space (possibly due to elective surgery). Here’s his contradictory and pure evil plan for getting back what’s his:

“I’d love to see us get it together, and that’s one of the things for the next five years is to try and figure out how. Athletics has it — anti-trust. That’s the only way these guys get the attention of the leagues they work for. Until we can unionize, until we can bond together, we have no power.”

Pause for breath and some oxygen to the brain. He likes anti-trust but wants to unionize into one group that would oversee the entire record industry, presumably with the power to set prices regardless of market demand and constrict delivery methods. Sounds like a monopoly to me.

Back to King Garth, RIAA mouthpiece and jackass supreme:

“I want us to be able to come together and represent as a whole to tell the nation. … It has to be placed in the right hands, so it can’t be one person, but a board that represents music, its creators and its content owners. I think that’d be more than fair to stand up and say, ‘Look, you’ve ignored us, because there’s 50,000 of us and 300 million voters. You’ve ignored us, and now to show you, we would like to just simply stop for a day,’ and see how dry this world gets.”

Wow.

Garth is no longer just interested in the music-buying public. He now wants 300 million voters to take it in the ass because starving artists like himself are outnumbered and outgunned by Joe Public and his considerable lobbying power.

Hey, public. Meet dictator-for-life Garth Brooks. He’d like to welcome you with a hearty “fuck you” in appreciation for your purchase of 128 million albums during the course of his career.

There is a silver lining to this colossal bullshitstorm: Garth is offering to swing his massive, platinum-encrusted weight around until he gets his way, even if that means pulling all major label music off the radio for an entire day, just to show us stupid “little people” what’s the motherfucking what.

To raise awareness for "totally screwed" multi-platinum artists like himself, Garth Brooks will eat all major label music for one day.

To raise awareness for "totally screwed" multi-platinum artists like himself, Garth Brooks will eat all major label music for one day.

I say let him.

I haven’t listened to the radio in years and there are millions of hours of independent music just dying to fill the void. It would be better for the radio stations, the indie artists and the world in general.

So please please please. Pull that shit off the air. Teach us a lesson, Garth, you spoiled 47-year-old brat. Smack us around with your superiority. Kick us right in our deserving asses with your size 3 jack-boots of cowboy justice (+1). Show your loyal customers that you made them, not the other way around.

Or better yet, SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Go home and count your money, you fat bastard. Pile it all into huge stacks, knock ’em over and start again. Go wander your mansion or take one of your several cars (or horses… whatever) out for a spin. Go get a botched tonsillectomy and a good case of tetanus. Whatever shuts you up.

Go Roberto. Get him. Fuck you, Garth.

Sincerely,
Joe Fucking Public
300 Million Strong

-CLT

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America’s Most Overlooked Tourist Attractions

August 21, 2009

Sure, we’ve all heard about Mt. Rushmore, Disneyland, the Amityville Horror house, birthplace of Sinbad, etc. but what about those great attractions right under our noses? (Note: if you are currently doing blow off someone’s ass, please ignore the following and continue on,  good sir or madam. You obviously need no advice on how to have fun.)

Fancy Plans would like to take this opportunity to point out a few of the many scattered vacation spots that are criminally underrated. (Again: not you, coke fiend and “special friend.” Your experience, while definitely criminal could never be considered underrated.)

Detroit: cornering the market on "ramshackle"

Detroit: cornering the market on "ramshackle"

Highland Park, MI Ghost Town
Enjoy the thrill of touring an abandoned town without all the intrusive history lessons or costumed tour guides making the most of their failed acting careers by pretending it isn’t 2009.

See $1 homes! View rusting Motor City relics! Enjoy a “vintage” 8-Mile rap battle! Watch Jack White assault various members of the Von Bondies! Man the light switch during a thrilling reenactment of the “Detroit Rock City Exodus!”

Note: Although the tour is free, the tour guide may, at some point, ask for a donation of your wallet, camera, jewelry or other valuables, often at gunpoint.

Hell yeah! Nothing but American cars and flags as far as the eye can see (20 feet - glaucoma)

Hell yeah! Nothing but American cars and flags as far as the eye can see (20 feet - glaucoma)

Codgerville, USA
Centrally located in Kansas (less than 8 hours by bus to Branson, MO!), Codgerville USA provides a pitch perfect representation of America: the way it used to be. Although great care has been taken to include the things you love (Beechman’s Gum, asbestos, doctors recommending cigarettes), Codgerville, USA is really more about what it doesn’t contain.

A short list of what you won’t find:

  • Multiple races
  • Foreign vehicles
  • Multiplexes
  • Art that my 3-year old grandchild could make
  • Excessive swearing
  • Black presidents
  • Back sass
  • Hats at the dinner table
  • An effective polio vaccination

Enjoy the pride of Codgerville, USA: a moving sidewalk which travels in the opposite direction of your gait, thus allowing you (and whatever descendants you’re torturing) to walk uphill in both directions to any attraction!

Note: microwaves in use.

Another historical haul for Gary's museum

Another historical haul for Gary's museum

Harrison County Reservoir Museum
Located in Gary Stuckett’s garage and outlying sheds, this museum boasts America’s largest collection of items retrieved from the drainage gates of any American dam or other water retention system.

Some highlights include:

  • 1,700+ beer cans in 38 different varieties (“mainly Natty Light“)
  • 1,250+ soda cans and bottles (“mainly RC and Diet Coke“)
  • 440+ empty chip bags (“split between Ruffles and generics“)
  • 128 diapers (“if you need to change your kid, just toss it on the pile“)
  • 2 sofas (“not in that bad a shape, believe it or not“)
  • 94 tires (“not a single complete set, dang it“)
  • 3 dead bodies (“fortunately, I’ve also come across nearly 300 pine tree air fresheners“)

Gary’s guided museum tour is normally available from 8am – 6pm weekdays and Saturdays (“Sunday’s for Gary“), which is full of delightful personal notes (“about half of those Natural Light cans are mine“) and horrifying details (“just couldn’t keep that body from floating once it swole up from the heat“).

Those fortunate enough to catch Gary in a sober moment will enjoy the added bonuses of their tour guide being both fully dressed (“normally the summer months will find me going “commando” under the bathrobe“) and less prone to rant about his many unanswered letters to the Guinness Book of World Records (“hell, I even drank their damn beer!“).

Hanna-Barbera Studios: picturesque as fuck

Hanna-Barbera Studios: picturesque as fuck

Hanna-Barbera Studios
Located in sunny Studio City, CA, the Hanna-Barbera Studios are the perfect vacation for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of places like Disneyland or Detroit. Lots to see and do here including these favorites:

  • See how over 70 different cartoons were made using only one background and three frames of animation
  • Get the real story behind the bizarre “now you hear, now you don’t” Scooby-Doo laugh track
  • Get the real story behind what the hell they were laughing at, because the show never really had any punchlines to speak of
  • Enjoy the William H. Hanna Library of Erotic Betty and Wilma Fan Fiction
  • Examine the Jetsons and their dystopian future that never was
  • Watch Captain Caveman hit on your wife/girlfriend
  • Get away with it if it wasn’t for those meddling kids
The RIAA Stables: no musical enjoyment allowed

The RIAA Stables: no musical enjoyment allowed

RIAA Lawyer Farms – Ashland, KY
Enjoy the rolling hills of Ashland, KY, home of the world famous RIAA stables. The RIAA’s amazing breed of free-range lawyers are allowed to roam the countryside, feeding on the tears and confusion of senior citizens and preteens.

Be sure and stop by the RIAA Cafe, where the whole family can enjoy a delightful meal at a not-at-all outlandish or ridiculous price.

Note: all diners subject to pre-meal strip search. All orders are 1-to-a-plate. No sharing. Soda refills – $0.99-$1.29/ea. An automatic 20% gratuity has been added to your bill for lobbying fees. Parties over 1 subject to additional fees from ASCAP.

Thorogood models a pair of Limited Edition Snakeskin Zubaz

Thorogood models a pair of Limited Edition Snakeskin Zubaz

George Thorogood’s Birthplace, Wilmington, DE
Many, many things to see and do here, preferably while on a Jack Daniels bender, shouting “WOOOOOOO!!! ROCK AND FUCKIN’ ROLLLLLLLL!!!!” the whole time. Become as “bad to the bone” as is humanly possible while 45 and balding during these tour highlights:

  • See 47 miles of barbed wire!
  • Buy a cobra-snake necktie! Just $99.99 at our gift shop!
  • See our fancy new roadside digs, done up in faux-rattlesnake skin!
  • Thrill to our “human skull” chimney, which stands over our brick pizza oven!
  • Don’t forget to pick up a rattlesnake whip! ($179.99)

Note: please do not answer George’s drunken and somewhat rhetorical questions about where your affections lie. Also, please keep in mind that we will not tolerate any attitude or mouthiness from visitors, so take it easy.

Pre-production look at "The Nelson Family Visits Niagara Falls"

Pre-production look at "The Nelson Family Visits Niagara Falls"

Roadside Attraction Land
Why run all over the country looking for that perfect photo opportunity? Come to our studios, located safely inside the city limits. Out “vacationeers” have a variety of costumes and props to make your visit to any non-licensed tourist destination (sorry folks, no Disneyland) look and feel authentic.

Put yourself and your loved ones into any of these classic vacation hot spots with our almost-cutting edge green screen technology:

  • A redwood forest
  • The St. Louis Arch
  • Birthplace of Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • A Kansas wheat field
  • A waterfall
  • Austin, MN’s Spam Museum
  • Enron Field
  • Tijuana “donkey show”
  • The Mall of America (three backdrops: Gap Main Floor, Gap 2nd Floor, Spencer’s 3rd Floor)
  • Main Street, USA
  • Main Street, New Delhi
  • Super 8 Motels, Omaha, NE
  • The Grassy Knoll
  • Las Vegas (non-Strip attractions)
  • Downtown Los Angeles (Toronto)
  • Downtown Chicago (Vancouver)
  • That “Field of Dreams” field
  • Somali pirate ship
  • Grayline Tour Bus
  • Penelope Ann Spheeris’ backyard

So make your vacation a restful “staycation” and put those bitch, ungrateful kids in their place. An average session lasts two hours, leaving your free to spend your remaining vacation doing the things you really want to, like mowing the lawn, tracking down that smell in the basement or wandering the office in your shorts.

For other vacation news, in particular the Branson, MO metroplex, click here:
2009 Calendar of Events for Branson, MO

-CLT

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The Stabbing Knife Vol. 1 – ASCAP

July 21, 2009

Roberto_jpg

Time to unpack the stabbing knife. Kids: don’t read any further than this unless a.) you really want to, or b.) no one’s stopping you.

Pity the poor music industry. Or don’t. Any group that claims to speak out for “poor artists” at press conferences while sending packs of lawyers out the back door doesn’t deserve your pity. Contempt, perhaps. But not pity.

Having long ago run out of sane ideas on how to maintain their wealth, ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Performers) has decided that everyone, everywhere should be forced to pay in perpetuity for listening to music. It’s just not enough to buy the album these days.

First, a little rundown on their targets. A rogue’s gallery of copyright violators and pirates of every shade. Here’s who ASCAP is billing now:

Anyone who embeds video on their website.
So pretty much everyone at every blog site and everyone everywhere else. Specifically, this goes after YouTube, which is a bit of a stretch, especially considering YouTube has already agreed to pay them $1.6 million for hosting the videos. Now ASCAP would like to collect again. And again. And again.

The town of New Milford, CT.
ASCAP would like $280 because the town center “sometimes has music playing.” The city council voted to ignore the billing, tabling it indefinitely. BMI and SESAC responded by increasing the amount of their claims to $3,000 and $1,500.

Everyone who owns a cellphone.
Well, maybe not everybody. Not if you’ve never purchased a ringtone featuring a popular artist. ASCAP is claiming that your cellphone, while doing its job of alerting you to an incoming call, is performing publicly and thus subject to royalty charges. Better put that phone on vibrate. Those easily excited can just set it to mute.

Hosts of open mic nights.
ASCAP and BMI have hit owners of small coffeeshops and bars with bills ranging from $350 to $6000 to cover “performance royalties.” Some have had to shut the open mic nights down, thus cutting off several fledgling artists from finding a venue in which to perform. Others have tried to get their acts to sign waivers stating that they will only perform original material. ASCAP has ignored these.

Here’s an incredibly arrogant and ignorant quote on the subject:

Vince Candilora, ASCAP’s vice president for licensing, says the fees are set at a “very good rate,” adding, “What gives anyone the right to use someone else’s property, even though they’re not making money on it? I can guarantee you the phone company’s going to charge you whether you’re making money or not.”

So… a band playing a cover song is like the phone service? Always on? Multiple lines? Phone companies bill for services provided. You’re charging the bar owner for what exactly? The music played? The instruments provided? The soundsystem? What exactly are you providing in exchange for this money?

Related: a nightclub owner in Vail, CO paid $40,000 to ASCAP because a band played 10 cover songs during its appearance. A real bargain, considering ASCAP originally wanted $30,000 per song.

Anybody who sings Happy Birthday.
Over 1% of the total money collected by ASCAP comes from this one song, arguably the most popular song ever. And that copyright claim they collect on may be completely bogus. But who needs facts and research when threats and intimidation will accomplish more in less time?

Bitches better have my money...

Bitches better have my money...

The Girl Scouts of America.
We can debate the propriety and taste of teaching the little cookie-pushers the Macarena, but really… threatening the Girl Scouts? A bunch of 8-year old girls who are now afraid to dance and sing… I hope you’re happy. Perhaps the lawyers will stop by and kill their pets while they’re away at camp.

In all fairness, ASCAP dropped the campaign to wring money out of a beloved American institution. But only after the public shaming. And what the fuck? Who greenlighted this action? If anything highlights the antagonistic entitlement these jackasses feel, this does.

And that just covers some recent stupidity from America. Here’s a very brief rundown on what’s going on in the rest of the world:

These actions mark performance rights groups as true bullies, never willing to go head-to-head with a comparable foe, but rather beat up on charities, small businesses and little girls.

You’d think that an industry so strained for cash would want to have as many people as possible exposed to their product. Apparently it would be easier for them if one person paid royalties over and over again via this business model:

  • Buy CD. ($10-15)
  • Play CD at work. (Pay public performance royalties.)
  • Play CD on car ride home with windows down and stereo up. (Performance royalties.)
  • Throw a little house party. Get new CD pumpin’. (More performance royalties.)
  • Sing a little of the CD in the shower the next morning. Whoops. Left the door open. (Performance royalties.)
  • Etc.

ASCAP continues its push, getting into bed with Congress (although, let’s face it, our representatives have all the self-restraint and self-respect as any “Girl Gone Wild”) in an effort to collect additional performance fees anytime a song gets played on the radio. This hypocritical gouging is covered in a delightful ironic sauce, as ASCAP and the RIAA have both been in hot water for paying the radio stations to play their music.

Awwww... a rescue shelter! Look at that dog with three legs! He's trying to jump. Awww... Anyway. Pay the fuck up.

Awwww... a rescue shelter! Look at that dog with three legs! He's trying to jump! Adorable... Anyway. Pay the fuck up.

Now the shoe is on the other litigious foot, and their favorite promotional vehicle has now become a sacrificial cash cow.

All that ASCAP will do is ensure that they and their lawyers get paid. Some of the top 5% of their stable of artists will get some trickledown (think U2, Rolling Stones, etc.) Those slightly below this threshold may see some tiny residuals. And everyone else gets jackshit. Nothing but fewer places to play and promote their music.

I haven’t sent one out for awhile but I think the time has come:

Fuck you, ASCAP. Fuck your ignorance, your false sense of entitlement and your abusive tactics. Fuck you just like you’re fucking 95% of the artists on your roster.

Stick it to the man. Play your music loud. Invite your friends over and play all the music you can. Promote your favorite bands. Embed their videos everywhere. Support your local cover band. Donate to your favorite charities. Buy Girl Scout cookies.

-CLT

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RIAA, Jack Ely Team Up to Deprive Themselves of Last Remaining Promotional Tool

May 5, 2009
Jack Ely shows off guitar, false sense of entitlement

Jack Ely shows off guitar, false sense of entitlement

It must be another day ending in “y” if the RIAA is on the attack again. Once again, they’re headed after the radio stations. The same radio stations that the labels got in trouble for paying to get their records played. Apparently, their only remaining means of promotion isn’t good enough.

Things used to be great for the recording industry. They donned their sandpaper dildo and proceeded to fuck each and every artist and fan out there. Then things changed. Used CD stores opened. P2P took off. Artists defected.

Now the sandpaper is in the other anus and the RIAA is feeling the “love” that they have worked so hard to create. So they have responded the only way they know how. By pressing the “Release the Lawyers” button. Now this will all come to a head as two lobbying groups and their lawyers meet in Washington D.C., the ultimate Pyrrhic battlefield.

And who have the RIAA trotted out to tug at the heartstrings of the uninformed? None other than Jack Ely, whose claim to 15 minutes was being the frontmouth of the Kingsmen’s 1963 hit, Louie Louie. Jack’s complaining that he’s not receiving any money from repeated airplay of the hit single.

First things fucking last: He didn’t write the song. Richard Berry did and he owns the rights. By Ely’s logic, the guitarist, drummer, bassist, sound engineer, producer, internist and studio janitor should all be getting a piece of the action. After all, they all were present during the recording.

2. Jack was paid $5000 for his work on this song. I get paid hourly wages at my job, working on a patented tarp system. Just because I am an integral part of the whole assembly team doesn’t mean that I should be picking up residuals from every sale, especially 44 years after working there.

Jack, if you didn’t like what you were being paid, the time to bitch about it would have been 40+ years ago, at the time of payment. Get your fucking head out of the “I’m retired, give me free money,” mindset.

3. Jack’s bitching because he and his wife have to live on $30,000 a year and they “have a mortgage to pay off.” A mobile home mortgage, to be exact.

Fuck you, buddy. I have a family of five to support and will gross a little over $40,000 this year. I have a mortgage to pay off. On a house with no wheels. Keep in mind that I’m still working and providing you with free social security money.

Yeah, your life sucks, former Kingsmen vocalist.

4. You didn’t write the song. You. Did. Not. Write. The. Song. It’s not “your” song. You were simply a tool used to assemble a novelty hit. If you hadn’t done it, someone else would have. It couldn’t have been that tough, seeing as it is one of the most covered songs in rock history. And most cover bands aren’t looking for songs with steep learning curves.

Jack Ely (center), former Kingsmen vocalist, know for his adequate singing talent and incessant "life isn't fair" whining

Jack Ely (center), former Kingsmen vocalist, know for his adequate singing and "life isn't fair" attitude

If you’re not happy with the hired gun money you made, go fuck yourself. You had your chance. I fail to see how it’s the radio station’s fault that you have the negotiating skills of a Ritalin-addled six year old.

Sure, the RIAA is primed for a “multi-year battle,” no doubt urged on by the hourly-billing lawyers. Maybe once they’re done crippling the radio stations and further destroying their already limited future, they’ll head after any marching band who’s done a blaring, atonal rendition of “Louie, Louie.” (For those keeping score at home, that would be every single marching band ever.)

The RIAA has already proved they’re not above dragging 10-year old kids and octogenarians into court, so I’m sure they’ll have no qualms about beating up schoolkids for their lunch money. And once they’re done fucking everyone else out of their money, they’ll resume fucking every artist they represent out of their share.

Postscript: while searching for more info, I came across this interesting post from Jack Ely at mog.com. And by interesting, I mean hypocritical.

And I quote:

The solution is to give the world all the free music it wants, but to give the recording entity, whether it be a record company or a producer, or whomever, a cut of every live performance.

He’s dead on about live performances picking up the revenue slack of file-sharing, but when did he decide that a 44-year-old recording was supposed to finance his golden years?

-CLT