Piracy?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Sep 26 11:36:30 MDT 2002


NY Times, Sept. 26, 2002
ADVERTISING
Artists Fight Music File-Sharing
By LAURA M. HOLSON

WHEN it comes to musical styles, Britney Spears, Luciano Pavarotti and Sean 
Combs, lately known as P. Diddy, do not appear to have much in common. But 
in a series of advertisements that begin running today 
(http://www.musicunited.org), they are joining with 86 other recording 
artists to speak out against unauthorized music file-sharing, claiming it 
threatens the livelihood of everyone from recording artists and writers to 
sound engineers and record-store clerks.

"Would you go into a CD store and steal a CD?" asks Ms. Spears in one 
commercial to be shown in coming weeks. "It's the exact same thing, so why 
do it?"

In a print ad, Shakira, the hip-swiveling Latin pop star, urges the public 
to just "Say no to piracy." And Mr. Combs — in a statement released by the 
Recording Industry Association of America, which is largely financing the 
multimillion-dollar campaign — pleads with consumers to "Put yourself in 
our shoes!"

The new campaign, which officially runs under the auspices of a coalition 
of music professionals called Music United for Strong Internet Copyright, 
was developed by Amster Yard, a division of the IPG Sports and 
Entertainment Group, which also represents the Recording Industry 
Association of America. It comes at a difficult time for the recording 
industry. Sales of CD's fell nearly 7 percent during the first half of this 
year, largely, the industry claims, because of Internet piracy and 
file-sharing.

The campaign breaks the same day as the House of Representatives 
Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property begins 
hearings on piracy and the Internet. The recording industry has long been 
criticized for failing to assuage disillusioned consumers who want cheaper 
and more accessible music over the Internet. The Department of Justice, 
meanwhile, is investigating whether the paid on-line music sites developed 
by the record labels violate antitrust provisions by hampering smaller 
competitors.

The recording industry, too, has been criticized by artist rights groups, 
who complain that the industry's accounting rules favor the labels and that 
the standard seven-year recording contract is akin to indentured servitude. 
On Tuesday, in fact, representatives of the Recording Artists Coalition, 
which include the former Eagles singer Don Henley who is not included in 
the new campaign, were at a California State Senate hearing testifying 
about the industry's accounting practices. But mutual interests have 
brought them together for this campaign against file-swapping.

What will be interesting to watch, industry executives say, is whether 
consumers are alienated by a campaign that speaks of the travails of 
wealthy artists like Mr. Combs, who has some fans who are hard pressed to 
afford not only his shoes but also the suits and jackets he sells under his 
Sean John clothing line.

"This is not a campaign created to engender sympathy," said Hilary Rosen, 
chief executive of the Recording Industry Association of America. "We are 
saying there is a significant problem and it is affecting us and it is 
illegal."

David Munns, the vice chairman of EMI Recorded Music, added, "There is a 
whole generation of people that don't know illegally swapping files is 
stealing."

Not everyone agrees that the most pressing problem facing the industry is 
theft. In a study released yesterday by KPMG, the tax and financial 
accounting firm, media companies were chided for spending too much time 
combating pirates instead of tackling the more difficult issue of finding 
new ways to profit by distributing music and movies online. And other 
critics say that the industry's poor performance in finding new artists 
that appeal to consumers is more responsible for the malaise than any 
threat from the Internet.

===

salon.com 6/14/2000

Courtney Love does the math
The controversial singer takes on record label profits, Napster and "sucka 
VCs."

Editor's note: This is an unedited transcript of Courtney Love's speech to 
the Digital Hollywood online entertainment conference, given in New York on 
May 16.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Courtney Love

June 14, 2000 | Today I want to talk about piracy and music. What is 
piracy? Piracy is the act of stealing an artist's work without any 
intention of paying for it. I'm not talking about Napster-type software.

I'm talking about major label recording contracts.

I want to start with a story about rock bands and record companies, and do 
some recording-contract math:

This story is about a bidding-war band that gets a huge deal with a 20 
percent royalty rate and a million-dollar advance. (No bidding-war band 
ever got a 20 percent royalty, but whatever.) This is my "funny" math based 
on some reality and I just want to qualify it by saying I'm positive it's 
better math than what Edgar Bronfman Jr. [the president and CEO of Seagram, 
which owns Polygram] would provide.

What happens to that million dollars?

They spend half a million to record their album. That leaves the band with 
$500,000. They pay $100,000 to their manager for 20 percent commission. 
They pay $25,000 each to their lawyer and business manager.

That leaves $350,000 for the four band members to split. After $170,000 in 
taxes, there's $180,000 left. That comes out to $45,000 per person.

That's $45,000 to live on for a year until the record gets released.

full: http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2000/06/14/love/


Louis Proyect
www.marxmail.org



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