Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Life on the Row’ Category

A little history:

February 22, 1990: Pop sensations Fabrice Morvan and Rob Pilatus, a/k/a Milli Vanilli, who achieved international acclaim as a result of their Arista release, Girl You Know It’s True,  win the Grammy for “Best New Artist.”    Soon, the rumors began to swirl that Morvan and Pilatus were not actually singing on the records as had beeimage n reported in the press.  So intense were these rumors that on November 12 of that same year, Frank Farian, creator and producer of the Milli Vanilli project, confessed that Morvan and Pilatus did not actually sing on the records.  Four days later, Milli Vanilli’s Grammy was “withdrawn,” and Arista dropped them.  After the details emerged, the controversy spurned over 26 different lawsuits across the country under various consumer protection laws.

Early 1992: New Kids on the Block’s song If You Go Away peaks at #16 on Billboard as an associate producer on one of their earlier albums allege that the band lip-syncs to performances by Maurice Star, and that Star actually sang many of the parts on their albums.   As the story develops, the band cuts short a tour to appear on The Arsenio Hall Show to perform a medley of their hits.  During the subsequent interview, the band admits to using Star’s vocals as a backup track during their live performances, and admit that Star sang harmonies on some of their background vocals.   The band never recovered from the backlash, and their record sales steadily declined from that moment.

November 6, 2009: Hundreds of angry fans in Perth, Australia, walk out of Brittany Spears’ Circus concert when it becomes apparent that she is lip-syncing to her songs.

Fast forward to:

January 31, 2010: Taylor Swift wins four Grammys: Album of the Year and Best Country Album for Fearless, Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song for White Horse.  Swift, who is by all accounts an extremely talented songwriter, gave a stunningly weak vocal performance during her duet with Steve Nick’s that drew starkly negatives reviews from professionals and amateur press/bloggers alike.  For example, Bob Lefsetz described her image performance as “dreadful” and opined that she may have single-handedly imperiled her career with this one performance.  The general consensus is that her Grammy performance is not an isolated incident.  Truth is, most professionals in Music City are aware of Swift’s inferior vocal talents – almost every conversation about Swift in this city includes one or more references to “auto-tune” technology.

The query then is this: is there a significant difference between a digitally-created rendition of a vocal performance and using a superior vocal performance from an singer who is not marketable to front a more attractive and marketable duo, a/k/a Milli Vanilli or to using a backup track (even of your own vocal as in Spears’ case) to enhance your live performance.  Isn’t the former example simply a modern, technological replacement for the latter?  If so, then the question becomes why is today’s society not as outraged at Taylor Swift as past society was at Milli Vanilli, New Kids and Spears?

In his response to criticism of the Grammy performance, Scott Borchetta, president and CEO of Swift’s record label Big Machine Records, offers this explanation for this discrepancy:

Maybe she’s not the best technical singer, but she is the best emotional singer. Everybody gets up there and is technically perfect people don’t seem to want more of it. There’s not an artist in any other format that people want more of than they want of Taylor. I think (the critics) are missing the whole voice of a generation that is happening right in front of them. Maybe they are jealous or can’t understand that. . . .   No one is perfect on any given day. Maybe in that moment we didn’t have the best night, but in the same breath, maybe we did.

Borcetta gets no argument from almost anyone I know in the industry that perhaps Swift is not the best technical singer.  But I’m not sure the explanation that Swift is the “voice of a generation” does much to address the underlying issue: The Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance went to singer who, even her label head admits, is not the best technical singer!  Swift’s Fearless live performance tour is sold-out!  In her defense, Borchetta goes on to say “If you haven’t seen her live performance, you’re welcome to come out as my guest to a Taylor Swift show and experience the whole thing, because it’s amazing.”  But if the show’s audio is auto-tuned, how does this amazing experience differ from a Brittany Spears’ lip-synced performance, if at all?  Let’s not forget, in their days, the fans also “wanted more” of Milli Vanilli, New Kids on the Block and Brittany Spears.

Someone else once phrased it this way:

“It’s not about being authentic anymore, it’s about being entertaining.” 

Interestingly, this was a quote from Morvan of Milli Vanilli in a USA Today article in 2010.   Morvan goes on to say

“Twenty years later, what we were crucified for you see everywhere.”

He right, is he not?  Let’s be honest.  In America, at least, pop music has almost always produced a certain amount of, shall we call it, “manufactured product” – performers who were either assembled, created or otherwise the entertainment value.  My first disillusionment with this came in the form of The Monkees when I discovered that they were a band “assembled” by Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider as an American “Beatles” alternative, i.e., as a means of capitalizing on the success of the Beatles.  As technologies become more and more sophisticated, this trend toward entertainment value over authenticity is naturally going to increase.  It used to be a little more difficult to go back and “overdub” a particular performance which was out of tune or offbeat, because the engineer had to physically rewind the tape, record the alternative part on a separate recording track, and then sync the new part into the old one.  A bit more time consuming.  Now, we have software which can independently correct not just the pitch, but an isolated note out of a chord which may be out of tune for one reason or another.  It’s a matter of moving the mouse over the note, highlighting it, and correcting it.  Wow!

I suppose the real question, then, is what do we want from our performing artists, whether it be a live performance or a recorded one?  For me, I think I prefer simple honesty.  Or, as Milli Vanilli ironically put it, “authenticity.”  I like to hear performers with technically superior skills performing the music they created.  I do agree with Borchetta that everyone is not perfect, and that many people prefer a live performance that has the feel of being non-technical.  After all, who can forget that off key guitar note at the end of the Allman Brother’s recording of Statesboro Blues (a note which they DO NOT replicate in a live performance), or some of John Bonham’s almost syncopated rhythms on Black Dog?   Those are authentic performances by persons with superior, technical skills. And this is precisely where I think where I differ from Borchetta:  I personally think most people do expect their celebrities to be technically superior, at least with regard to their perceived talents. 

Judging from prior examples such as Milli Vanilli and Brittany Spears, and the audiences’ reaction to those performers, people have an expectation that an artist will be able to actually perform the music that was marketed to them through the media.  In other words, most people expect their performers to be authentic.  Now, maybe Borchetta is correct, that Swift is, in fact, an authentic person who can communicate well through her gift of songwriting – again that’s not the real issue.  The real issue is that Swift is portrayed as more than a songwriter, she is portrayed as the performer with the “Best Female Country Vocal Performance.”   The fact is, Duane Allman, although he might hit an off key note once and awhile, was a technically superior guitarist.  John Bonham, even though that one performance might fade slightly off the beat for a brief moment, was a technically superior drummer.  However, no matter how many tours she sells out and no matter how many millions of CDs she sells, Taylor Swift, while an amazingly-talented songwriter,  will never be a technically superior vocalist.   Not to worry, though, she will most certainly always be the slightly off-key voice of a younger generation of admirers.  Or will she.  Time will tell I suppose.  But lest we put too much stock in past success as an indicator of future fan support, don’t forget, Milli Vanilli’s record was also multi-platinum.

Read Full Post »

beckettb Barry Beckett, renowned Nashville producer and longtime musician, passed away last evening, further dampening, in conjunction with heavy downpours, the opening day of the 2009 CMA Music Festival.

Beckett was a fellow Aquarian, born February 4, 1943 in Birmingham, Alabama.  He was a noted keyboardist and musician, perhaps best known as a member of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section which created the “Muscle Shoals Sound” as part of the recording sessions produced by Rick Hall in the Fame Recording Studio.   

Beckett can be heard on various hits from the famous Stax Records (e.g., the Staple Singers‘ "I’ll Take You There”) as well as playing kDylaneyboards on my favorite Paul Simon tune,  the 1973 pop hit "Kodachrome."   As a A&R rep for Warner Nashville in themid 80’s and later as a producer, Beckett touched the careers of many notable artists, including Hank Williams, Jr., John Prine, Mary MacGregor, Alabama, Kenny Chesney, Bob Dylan (“Slow Train Coming”), Neal McCoy,  Glen Frey, Bob Seger, Delbert McClinton, Joan Baez, Dire Straits, Joe Cocker, Lorrie Morgan, Confederate Railroad, Phish.  A partial discography can be found here and here.

He was inducted into the Alabama Musicians’ Hall of Fame in 1995.  Among other things, Barry enjoyed building model railroad track layouts when not producing hit records.  He, and the music he continued to produce, will be severely missed in the Music Row community and well beyond.

Read Full Post »

Once upon a time, there was a shinny new device called the iPhone that tried to climb up the mammoth hill that is the sole domain of the business smartphone.  “I think I can, I think I can,” said the iPhone, and it tried and it tried, but alas, it could only make it up about half way, and then it sputtered and. . . .   The end of this story cannot be written.

Obviously, you probably figured out by now that I have fallen victim to the allure driven by the site all of my business associates who were sporting shiny black and white, Zen-like devices which colorful icons.  Yes, I bought an iPhone.  And while this article may be a bit off topic for my music business oriented blog, anyone who knows me knows that I am a techie through and through and enjoy new gadgets and technologies more than most.  Many of my friends call me the guru for good reason.  So, here goes.

As a long time fan of Palm, you might wonder why I did not wait for the premier of the Palm Pre.  The simple reason is that Sprint service does not reach to my residential area.  That was also the reason that, in recent years, I migrated to Windows Mobile, which I grew to love almost as much as the Palm OS.  However, finally I was convinced to switch to the dark side and try it with Apple.

My relationship with my iPhone is what I describe as a “love hate” relationship.  Yes, there are many many things I really love about the iPhone.  I love the way it feels in your hand, almost like a smooth pebble plucked from a lake in the mountains of Japan.  As I said in the story above, very “Zen-like.”  After all, that is the Apple way isn’t it?

apple-iphone-keyboard At first I thought the soft keyboard would drive me crazy.  Surprisingly, I’m getting used to it and pretty efficient, although I still maintain that a hardware keyboard is much more efficient – something the Palm Pre does beautifully. 

For the most part, on the positive side, I really love the web browsing experience.  The websites that actually work (more on this later) come up beautifully and quickly.  And, as a tech person, I really like the fact that there are scores of programmers written countless applications for the iPhone.  For the most part, the marketing is true, “there is an app for that.”  That’s sort of where the “hate” part of the relationship begins, in that area between the “for the most part” and the remaining part of 100%!

Recently, Apple has been pushing the idea that the iPhone is the ideal phone for business.  There are several flaws with the iPhone which, until remedied, will prevent its widespread infiltration into the lockhold that BlackBerry, Palm and Windows Mobile have on that sector of the market. 

So, what I’d like to address in this article is not the scores of more obvious deficiencies that have already been pointed out in the blogs and articles – no native voice dial, lack of full support for Bluetooth, no memory expansion, no cut and paste, no MMS, etc. – but the less obvious and definitely serious deficiencies that relate more specifically to a business person’s daily use of a smartphone.

First and foremost, and this has certainly be recognized by others, is  the lack of support for Javascript and Flash plug-ins in the built-in Safari browser.  If your websites relies on either of these, and my www.musicattorney.biz does, then what the iPhone visitor will see is a blue Lego-style brick with a question mark in the middle.  See the illustration.  What the hell is javathat?  Unforgiveable.  There’s no other word for it.  And all simple because Apple doesn’t like to play nice with its competitors, particularly Adobe.

Secondly, and this has always been one of my major beefs with Apple, the proprietary, i.e. closed, operating system.  Apple’s SDK, as one developer put it, “has more restrictions than Guantanamo.”  Developers require a certain level of integration with the OS in order to develop business-class applications to work around the inherent deficiencies in the native software.  One perfect example of this is the calendar.  For some unknown reason, there is NO WEEK VIEW in the calendar.  No week view.  I don’t know about most business people, but for me, the week view is the go-to view.  Yes, I know, there is a “list” view – not the same thing.  To witness the difference for yourself, download the iPhone version of Pocket Informant and look at the week view.  Ah, problem solved you might think.  Just use the App.  Not so quick.  Pocket Informant only syncs with Google calendar.  Why, you ask?  That’s right, because Apple will not allow them to access the base-level calendar on the iPhone and therefore the information in the iPhone’s calendar CANNOT be displayed in beautiful week view of Pocket Informant.  Yes, the week view is a touchy subject for me.

phone While we’re on the subject of little annoyances, what’s up with dialing the damn iPhone?  There is no quick way to get to the dial pad.  Duh!@!!  It is, first and foremost, supposed to be a phone.  Give a quick way to access my dial pad.  When you press the pretty green telephone icon, you land on whatever button you happened to be on when you opened the program before, whether it be the voicemail or recent contacts.  You MIGHT get lucky and land on the dial pad.  But there’s a one in four shot that you have to press yet another icon to get to the dial pad to, dare I say it, actually make a phone call. 

Since we’re on the subject, looking up contacts is probably a breeze for someone with 25-50 contacts in their address book.  You swipe down the list and it flows beautifully.  I, like many other business people, have close to 2000 contacts in my database.  Not such a “weeeee” experience with the scrolling thing!  There is simply no good way, on the native applications, to search for a contact and quickly dial them.  Fortunately, in this instance, there is an app for that.

Now, getting back to the primary focus, the third annoyance that restricts the iPhone from being a major contender in the business market is the lack of multi-tasking.  That’s right, multi-tasking.  The Palm Pre recognizes and addresses this need beautifully, as does the Blackberry Storm.  With the iPhone, you must always return to the icon screen, which is, again, designed for the casual user.  The icon concept works great if you have only a few applications, but if you start to actually utilize the “there’s an app for that” concept, you quickly find that it’s difficult to find the app you’re look for.  YouIcons also will find, by the way, that you are limited to the number of applications you install on the iPhone – nine screens +4 only!  Apple has some smart programmers, why not throw in some “categories” or “tabs” or some intelligent organizational method!  No file or icon management whatsoever.  I don’t ask for much. 

While we’re on the wish list, why not allow me to have a “back” button, to return to my previous program.  But no, if I want to look up someone’s phone number or address to include in a calendar event, I have to hit the home key, thereby exiting the calendar, go find the contacts icon, press it, scroll through scores of contacts until I find the right one, then select that contact, memorize the information, exit the contacts program, find the calendar icon, press the calendar icon – OH MY FREEEEEKING *#*#*#!!!!!!  Isn’t Apple supposed to be the king of simplicity?  Somebody surely missed the boat on this one didn’t they?  It is a simple concept – multitasking.  Apple didn’t get it.

So, you might be wondering, why do I still have and use the iPhone.  Well, actually as I said there are many apps that do service many of my needs.  I utilize Freshbooks for invoicing, SugarSync for file backup and access, Jott for quick notes to myself, Google for directions, eReader for my literary needs, Transactions to get myself paid, Pandora to listen to music, Upvise for my shopping list needs, ReQall for my localized to do list, MyCast for weather, Banking online, etc. etc. You get the picture. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I could do ALL of these things on my old Samsung Blackjack with Windows Mobile.  But certainly the iPhone is, after all, the most recent iconic symbol of high technology.   I just hope that Apple has their act together enough to realize that their market is expanding, and in order to expand fully into the business sector, it might have to let go of some of its old methods of doing things.  Let the programmers in.  Let them design fixes to these flaws.  Let them develop an app for that!  Until then, in my opinion, the Blackberry Storms and Samsung Jacks of the world will continue to have a foothold in that precious business market that every smartphone desires to dominate.  Until then, Apple, repeat after me:  “I think I can, I think I can . . . .”

Read Full Post »

For the last several weeks, I have enjoyMalcolmed being a guest host on Malcolm West’s live radio program, Race Night.  It’s a weekly show that airs on WSM 650 AM from 7-9 p.m CST.  The show is broadcasted into over 37 states and, as Malcolm quips, two outhouses!  It reaches over 150,000 listeners. 

The show is very unique:  it consists primarily of Malcolm’s commentary and responses to callers regarding the evening’s NASCAR race.  However, interspersed in the NASCAR theme are musical elements, including special featured guests who are prominent songwriters, entertainers and music industry veterans.   I was introduced to the show by my good friend and banker, Lisa Harless of Regions Bank.SDC11109

Malcolm asked that I participate in the music industry portion of the evening to give an entertainment attorney’s perspective.  I’ve had the pleasure of participating in live interviews with Malcolm’s musical guests Jessica Miller, Buffalo Rome, Harold Bradley, Ray Walker and Karen Staley.  That’s Malcolm on the right in the photograph, together with Ray Walker, myself, and Kevin Anderson, the engineer and producer.

I can’t wait to see who will be on next week!  Join me and Malcolm for a fun evening of family entertainment next Sunday evening!

Read Full Post »

Rep. John Conyers, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee brought the Performance Rights Act (HR 848) up for markup this morniJohn Conyersng. 

HR 848 created no small amount of disagreement among radio broadcasters, minority broadcasters, trade unions and civil rights groups.  However, a group  of minority artists, including Duke Fakir of the Four Tops, Dionne Farris and Jon Secada, recently sent a letter indicating support for Rep. Conyers and this legislation.  The letters stated in part: 

As minority artists, we support a strong and vibrant local radio industry. We know that minority broadcasters play a vital role in our communities. And we support efforts to create accommodations in the legislation for small, minority-owned stations. But the creation of a fair performance right cannot be delayed further. We have already waited far too long. “Not now” is not an acceptable answer.

To address the concerns of minority broadcasters, Conyers offered the following amendments at today’s markup:

Affordable payment for small, rural, nonprofit, minority, religious and educational broadcasters

· Any station that makes less than $100,000 annually will pay only $500 annually for unlimited use of music

· Any station that makes less than $500,000 but more than $100,000 annually will pay only $2500 (half of the amount in introduced bill) annually for unlimited use of music

· Any station that makes less than $1,250,000 but more than $500,000 annually will pay only $5000 (the amount in introduced bill) annually for unlimited use of music

Relief for current economic situation

· No payment for 2 years by any station that makes less than $5,000,000 annually

· No payment for 1 year by any station that makes more than $5,000,000 annually

Parity for all radio services

· Establishes a “placeholder” standard to determine a fair rate for all radio services that will encourage negotiations between the stakeholders

Cannot hurt local communities

· Assures that this legislation cannot affect broadcasters public interest obligations to serve the local community

Assures consideration of relevant evidence

· Evidence relevant to small, noncommercial, minority, and religious broadcasters and religious and minority royalty recipients must be considered by the Copyright Royalty Judges

Other minority and civil rights groups that sent letters expressing support for the act included the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, Rhythm and Blues Foundation and the A. Phillip Randolph Institute.

The executive director of the musicFIRST Coalition, Jennifer Bendall, supported the committee’s decision:

“We applaud Chairman Conyers and Committee members for their work on the Performance Rights Act and for supporting artists, musicians and rights holders in their fight for fair compensation when their music is used by AM and FM radio stations.

The Performance Rights Act will bring fairness to artists, musicians and rights holders and one that’s fair to radio and its counterparts. It also includes accommodations for small and minority-owned broadcasters. musicFIRST looks forward to the next chapter and to Congress to ensure that U.S. artists and musicians receive the performance right they deserve.”

Now that HR 848 has cleared the committee, it will be brought in front of the entire House for debate and vote. 

Read Full Post »

Starting in June, the author of this blog, Music Row Law  – 20-year entertainment attorney veteran Barry Neil Shrum – will be taking the show on the road!  On June 5, 2009, Mr. Shrum will conduct the first of a series of national seminars called MBA, Music Business Academy. 

Mr. Shrum initiated this series of seminars to address a perceived need in the industry: that a growing number of artists, entertainers and songwriters who might benefit from the expertise of an entertainment attorney, could not afford to retain an attorney and get the help they need due to upfront fees and retainers.  To this end, the mission statement for MBA is “music business education for the do-it-yourself generation!”  This unique series of one-day sessions will provide the upcoming and established mid-tier artist, musician, MBA Logo 48ox25o songwriter and other music industry professionals with a cost-effective method of obtaining an essential legal foundation for day-to-day music industry survival. 

The goal of the seminar is to create a sense of being in the client chair, Mr. Shrum will unravel the essential provisions of various industry-specific agreements  – bringing clarity to the legalese and identifying red flags in the “small print.”  Some specific agreements covered in the MBA session are:

*    the exclusive recording agreement (and the new 360 deal)
*    the exclusive songwriting agreement
*    the personal management agreement

For the do-it-yourself generation, Mr. Shrum will also explain the details and implications of guerilla marketing on the web.  He will explore the typical iTunes deal as well as other online distribution issues relevant to today’s guerilla marketers.

When asked about the seminar, Riq Lazarus, of Lazarus Management Group, said:

"Barry Shrum gets it!  The music business is undergoing radical change.  It is absolutely essential that today’s artists have an understanding of the legal issues facing them in this new era of "do-it-yourself" broadcasting.  And because he has the heart of a teacher, Barry’s immense knowledge and experience enables him to empower you with the understanding you need to protect your creations."

It is Mr. Shrum’s goal that attendees walk away from the seminar with a functional understanding of basic copyright, trademark and contract law — a virtual “MBA” in the music business!  Attendees will also receive specialized written materials as a continuing reference and valuable resource and are given the opportunity to purchase reduced rate legal services from Mr. Shrum.

The date of June 5, 2009 has been set for Chattanooga – the day before the Riverbend Festival – and plans are in the works for seminars in Denver, Colorado and Charlotte, West Virginia.   Other cities under consideration are Austin, Texas, Baltimore, Maryland, Boston, Massachusetts, Atlanta, Georgia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  To see if your city is being considered, or to vote for your city, take the online poll.

General information about the seminars can be found here.  A detailed agenda of the Chattanooga seminar can be found at the event website:  www.musicbusinessacademy.info

 

Read Full Post »

The House Judiciary Committee will hold hearings on H.R. 848 (this year’s version of HR 4789) tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m.  Although the Committee’s website does not identify any witnesses at this time, I am informed by musicFIRST that Smashing Pumpkins’ founder Billy Corgan and Mitch Bainwol, chairman and CEO of the RIAA will be speaking on their behalf at the hearing.

Billy Corgan H.R. 848 was introduced to the 111th Congress by Rep. John Conyers on February 4, 2009 then referred to committee on the same day.  It was co-sponsored by Tennessee representative, Marsha Blackburn.  If passed, HR 848 would amend The Copyright Act (specifically Title 17) to provide “parity in radio performance rights” under the Copyright Act.  In other words, the Bill would grant a performance rights in sound recordings performed over terrestrial broadcasts (i.e., traditional radio broadcasts, not satellite).   S. 379 is the Senate’s complimentary bill, introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy.

The act has certain provisions to accommodate concerns by the broadcast industry, such as the provision which establishes a flat annual fee in lieu of payment of royalties for individual terrestrial broadcast stations with gross revenues of less than $1.25 million and for non-commercial, public broadcast stations; the provision which grants an exemption from royalty payments for broadcasts of religious services and for incidental uses of musical sound recordings; and the provision which grants terrestrial broadcast stations that make limited feature uses of sound recordings the option to obtain per program licenses. 

The Act specifically states that it will not adversely affect the public performance rights or royalties payable to songwriters or copyright owners of musical works.   In particular, the Act prohibits taking into account the rates established by the Copyright Royalty Judges in any proceeding to reduce or adversely affect the license fees payable for public performances by terrestrial broadcast stations. Requires that such license fees for the public performance of musical works be independent of license fees paid for the public performance of sound recordings.

The full text of the bill can be found at govtrack.us.

One provision I found interesting was Section 6, (1)(A), regarding payment of certain royalties, that states, in full:

A featured recording artist who performs on a sound recording that has been licensed for public performance by means of a digital audio transmission shall be entitled to receive payments from the copyright owner of the sound recording in accordance with the terms of the artist’s contract.

Emphasis added.  This last clause intrigues me.  What I find interesting about it is that under the current structure, the record labels own most, if not all, of the commercial sound recording masters, i.e., they are the “copyright owner of the sound recording.”  This clause entitles the “featured recording artist,” e.g., Madonna, Michael Jackson, etc., to receive payments from the owner “in accordance with the terms of the artist’s contract.” 

In most artists’ contracts, payments are based on a percentage of the gross revenues from sales of physical units – current artist contracts do not have provision for payment of performance royalties on the sound recording.  It would seem that under the Act as written, there is silence as to what happens in this instance where these specific payments of performance royalties are not addressed in the artist’s contract.  One possible remedy would be for the legislators to draft language that would apply, such as what they have done with regard to the “non-featured artists in subsection (B) of the same Section 6.   This Section 6 is not found in the Senate’s version of the legislation.

All of this makes me curious about what will happen to performance royalties that are paid under this Act to the owners of the sound recording copyrights, i.e. the record labels if there is no language in the artists’ recording agreements to specify as to what percentage the artist is entitled?  One thing is certain:  an artist who is not recouped under his artist recording agreement will never see any of these performance royalties under such time as his balance is recouped.

One proposal you might suggest to your representatives is that they consider a payment structure similar to that of the current performance rights organizations that collect and pay performance royalties for musical compositions, wherein one half of the royalties go directly to the songwriter and the other half directly to the publisher.  If this were the case under the new Act, half of the royalty payments would filter directly to the artist and the other half would go to the record labels.  If there truly is a concern about the recording artists not getting paid for his or her performances, this is the only method that would assure this happens.

If you are a recording artist whose performances are being playing on local FM and AM radios, you should investigate the impact this legislation will have on you.  Call you Senators and Representatives and ask them to keep you updated.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »