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Posts Tagged ‘record industry’

“He who rejects change is the architect of decay”.
Harold Wilson

Ever heard of Joel Tenenbaum? Well I hadn’t really paid any attention to that name until today, and more precisely until I read this article from The Guardian – “How it feels to be sued for $4.5m“. I have always known thousands in the states had been sued for absurd sums for sharing music, everyone’s aware of the RIAA’s sissy-fits, but to read such a testimonial set me aback some. Do read it: it was written by Joel himself, and weather you’re with him or against him, it won’t leave you indifferent to his cause.

I don’t want to go into the details of his story because  it is all written marvelously well in that article. What I’ll say is this: Joel is one of the tens of thousands of people who have got their lives crushed just for sharing music. Joel is not the compulsive file-sharer type who detains tera bytes upon tera bytes of music storages on dozens of 7200 rpm, RAID intertwined hard-drives, he’s just one in 50 million file-sharers who unluckily won the RIAA lottery. His battle started off small, just in for a couple of thousand of dollars. Now he is in for millions because he fought back.

joel tenebaum riaa trialHe finally made it to the trial which started yesterday (most people cave in before reaching that point). Joel’s story struck a chord in many music lovers’ hearts, and he is now backed-up by thousands from all over the world. He has got his proper “Joel Fights Back” twitter account (@joelfightsback), twitter feed (#jfb) and website.

The Guardian’s article holds ten pages full of comments, but the very first one made my day. It was written by a nut who hammers Joel by invoking the “you just shouldn’t steal from people more creative than you. You deserve what’s coming at you” speech. I can take a step back like any other and realize there are laws for a reason, that these laws must be reinforced to maintain order. I am not defending Joel 100% just because it’s easy and comforting to be on the martyr’s side, engaging resistance against corporate fat cats, I’m on Joel’s side because if we succumb to absurdity, we are headed straight for a brick wall, the likes of which mankind has a tendency to bang its head against over and over again.

For such trials to be enacted in this day and age is absurd for the simple reason that there is no balance whatsoever between technological advancements and copyright law anymore. The later has, since its most primitive founding, been intimately linked to the former. They both go hand in hand, and when one changes, the other follows briefly after. The recording industry caved in on many accounts in the past because of ever-evolving music distribution mediums, yet now, the RIAA still won’t accept the change p2p brought to their consumers’ consumption habits. And why are they so aggressive? Because of scalability. Never have the paper-rolls, the radio, the cassette-tapes and so on scaled such a gap between consumers and content owners. So members of the RIAA have litterally been shittin’ their pants these two past decades. Their solution: to frantically sue customers at random for completely absurd sums of money for no reason other than fathering fear and making up for decreasing profits.  I would like to repeat myself here: it is only to engender fear and make money that the RIAA is suing. There is no long-tail humanitarian purpose here, there is no will whatsoever to educate the masses, there is no greater master-plan behind all this grief – just fear and money.

We don’t burn people on stakes anymore just because they refuse to believe in the virgin Mary. Same should apply to file sharing and music in 2009. But apparently, that is still far from being the case.

Accepting change is the key to healthy evolution. The first step would be for major labels to admit their wrongs in terms of serving musical garbage to us all these past 10 years. Economic instability, growing gaming industry, DVDs and Internet- related-entertainment didn’t help them one bit in getting back that entrepreneurial spirit they lost so long ago. Add to that p2p networks, and it all seems so logical that the RIAA affiliates are going down the drain, taking 15% decreasing market blows every year or so.

That is just the ways things have changed, and those who go against what has changed, although it is completely beyond their power to do anything about that change, are fools, plain and simple.

Good Luck Joel. You have my total support.

Mruff

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Found this mash-up video of a few famous musicians giving their point of view on the record industry’s rotten mechanisms. At the risk of presenting some re-hashed content, I always find these interviews refreshing.

I know we already posted that Zappa clip a couple of times, and the Dick Dale one too, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to hear them again.

All these clips were editited by Without a Face. Check out his Youtube channel, Myspace profile and Facebook page (he does a very nice “Satisfied Mind” cover!)

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music20logos_smallHere’s a blog post I encountered on the MySpace profile of a very talented folk/americana musician called Hang Jones. He goes on to express his feelings about the music 2.0 phenomenon and how it has affected his career as an artist who has been active on the DIY front these past years.

I really appreciated his simple, sober and truthful approach about this topic, so I sent him a mail and asked if I could post it to Gigbloggy. He humbly agreed.

While you’re reading it, I encourage you to listen to his tracks. Beautiful songwriting:

Hang Jones

There is a lot of hub bub out about the web replacing the traditional music label.  This news has been heralded by many indie artists (myself included) as the savior of our kind.  The web has leveled the playing
field between artist and corporation, empowering us indie musicians to make our own destiny within the music business by connecting directly with our fans.  While this is true, and I am a huge fan of the tools
the web has to offer, I want to stress something to my indie colleagues – the web, while it offers us a way around the traditional record contract, is no more of a savior than that elusive record deal ever was.

Many of us artsy types aren’t so good at the business stuff (or refuse to embrace the mindset as we view it to be too “corporate” or some self-defeating bullshit like that).  We think if we are the best at our craft, and stay true to our artistic vision, some suit will swoop down and rescue us from obscurity.  We know we will eventually have to fight the corporate machine for our creative freedom, but in that model, the worst case scenario is we come out a martyr for our art, which fits nicely within the narrow confounds of our suffering
artist self image.

What I am stressing here is this: do not allow a web marketing strategy to become the new savior of your music career. While a web presence is a crucial element, it is just that, ONE element.  Endlessly adding friends on myspace does not mean these people will show up at your gig.  Spamming every media contacts inbox with press releases ain’t gonna do much but piss people off (and so on and so on).  See, I write today’s little rant because I found myself expecting the same thing from my web strategy as I had of a record deal some years back.  I had a great concept album and a cool viral strategy for the video series, time to start printing the tour tshirts.  While I am proud of how far things have come over the last year, there is a lot of ground to cover, and I know now I was avoiding some fairly tough decisions (as I had in the past) waiting for my digital ship to come in. Life would be a whole lot easier if we could just be more honest
with ourselves from the get go.  Stupid brain.

Reminds me of a Langhorne Slim song:

I’ve always been waiting for something
someone to come pull me through
now I see that it’s all up to me
there ain’t nothin’ no one else can do

Thanks Hang!

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A couple of months back we posted a topic on FanCorps.com, an online street team management service. Here is a 10 minute interview with G.I. Sanders, co-owner of Fancorps.com who also takes care of client relations and marketing. He basically explains what the site is about and the reasons behind the needs of such a service hinting the lessons about entrepreneurship he learned while founding the company. Some interesting insights on the current state of affairs keeping in mind this is a co-owners and PR person of an up-and-coming online music promotional service surfing on the wave of the declining record industry. Having managed bands and street teams, he knows what he’s talking about. Check it out.

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