A full version of This Week in News will be out on Friday, but here are a few highlights from last week.
Should musicians be paid by social network sites?
After AOL bought social networking site Bebo for $850 million, songwriter Billy Bragg wonders why artists don?t receive royalties. He reasons that musicians help attract users, and the sale of the website for such a staggering sum clearly indicates that these users have significant monetary value. New York Times, March 22ndread more
Recording Industry Should Brace for More Bad News
The exodus of big-ticket artists like Robbie Williams from EMI could be an indicator of things to come. The author argues that traditional labels are becoming obsolete as consumer habits change.
Author: Wayne Rosso CNET News, January 18, 2008 read more
Apple Supersizes iPod Capacities, Labels Unenthusiastic
Apple now offers its popular iPod with 80GB and 160GB capacities. However, labels worry that those who do fill their 160GB devices to capacity will be filling it with pirated video and audio rather than purchased content.
by Paul Reskinoff, DigitalMusicNews, September 5, 2007read more
Welcome to 2004. A big THANKYOU! to the FMC supporters who made a contribution
to the organization during our December donor drive. We appreciate your
support. And now we’ve hit the ground running in January, with event
organizing and research agendas in full swing. Here’s the latest news:
In the words of Phil Collins: "I can feel it coming in the air tonight…Hold On!"
Or better stated, in the words of Patti Smith: "The
people have the power."
A good friend of FMC — John Nichols — once said, “The
civil rights movement didn’t start in the 60s.” In other words,
there were good people in America fighting segregation and racism for
years and years and years before they finally reached the historic moment
when a national movement came together and change was possible. This change
didn’t happen by accident. It was the cumulative result of years of preparation,
education and organizing which finally came to full flower as a bus boycott
that captured the imagination of a country.
Good afternoon. Thank you very much for giving me some time to speak
to you. I want to lend my apologies to those of you who were expecting
T Bone Burnett. I am the minor star substitute in his place. My name is
Tift Merritt and I am a recording artist. You probably havent heard
of me because Im not on your radio. That being the case I need to
give you a little background. I am on Lost Highway records, home also
of Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson. My debut record, Bramble Rose
was released last June. Time Magazine named it the #6 best record of 2002;
Billboard called me a major new artist". CMT, the national
country music network, regularly played my video.
The Future of Music Coalition shares the contemplative spirit of this
holiday season and hopes that this period of reflection will inspire 2002
to be year of regrouping, education and collaboration between the legal,
artistic, academic, technical, and business communities.
As for a recap of last years highlights, even in the midst of economic
downturn and strife within the artistic, technology and business communities,
FMC managed several significant achievements for an organization that
was under-funded and barely a year old.
We’ve all heard the stories criticizing major record label contracts. Anecdotally we understand that many of the deals signed by artists are bad, but what does “bad” mean and just how bad are these deals? More importantly, how exactly are they bad? In this Major Label Contract Critique, FMC asked over a dozen major label and artist attorneys to identify which major label contract clauses and standard industry deductions are considered to be the most onerous. The document quotes ACTUAL contract language from ACTUAL record label contracts, with care taken to preserve the doublespeak that makes the documents so confusing. Finally, we translated these onerous and confusing contract clauses into PLAINENGLISH and paired them with easy-to-understand critiques in the hopes that even those who are completely unfamiliar with the music business can understand the implications that result from signing a standard major label deal. This is a first step in criticizing traditional record contract language. read more
In this 2001 letter to the California State Assembly, FMC argues that repealing the 1987 amendment to Labor Code Section 2855 would give many artists a chance to move past these imbalanced record label deals and to bring the value of their artist labor back into the marketplace. read more