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How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

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Re: How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

Postby CS70 » Fri Jul 17, 2020 11:03 pm

DC-Choppah wrote:It is not a fingerprinting problem. You can id the song correctly, but you can't correctly establish its copyright protection status.

The reason it is impossible, is because the creator has the power to determine the copyright and the technology can't read his mind.

Good point - the algorithm can take (as it does) the most conservative approach - that unless a license is explicitly given in some form available to it, the creator needs to be contacted. Given publishing databases, already today it could be possible to even forward an automatic request automatically. Already today - as a publisher - you can automate license granting if you so wish. Every publisher (or artist if it's publishing himself) takes that decision and can change at will.

The MLC will improve this situation for those that want to give a production the right to use their work. https://www.themlc.com/

This is the new US copyright system that will go into effect soon. Everyone should be registering their music with the MLC. This will solve the current problem where productions are asking us to hold professional insurance in case someone claims that our music is theirs. Again, the productions currently have no way to insure that your music has a valid copyright for them to use. So they push the liability down to you. So we have to have professional insurance (many are asking for that). The MLC should reduce that need at least, and it is a modern digital system. I hope it works out. It should allow you to prove that you own the copyright to the music you give to the production. It should help those who WANT to give someone the copyright.

Cool initiative, I'll have to read! Dont know much about it. Thanks!

But the problem will remain with music that is not on the MLC. There is no way for the software to determine the intent of the artist. Therefore, it must be assumed that the material cannot be copied. No valid copyright, you can' t copy. No more excuses. No more just checking a little box that says 'it's mine' on the way in.

I'm not sure I fully understand of the concrete cases you're thinking of here?
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Re: How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

Postby CS70 » Fri Jul 17, 2020 11:08 pm

blinddrew wrote:As I understand it, the False Endorsement in the Beastie Boys case relates to the use of their name and imagery rather than the music. The music is a straightforward (Ha!) licensing issue.
The settlement side is interesting and, in my view, just shows the cost of trying to defend a court action. From the opening page of that paper, "As the American system of
copyright law only protects economic rights of musicians, the fair compensation of an artist for use of their work, rather than moral rights, the objection by an artist to the particular use of a work, copyright law is unable to provide the remedies artists seek when their works are used by political campaigns. "

Indeed - should the Trump campaign decide to (legally) use my music, I would be upset not for the money, but because I would not want my name any place near that moron. It's the kind of "moral" upset (not a "monetary" claim) that I understood DC was talking about. It's not covered by copyright law but it can still be defended.

Many settlements are an indication that there is a working point there.
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Re: How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

Postby blinddrew » Fri Jul 17, 2020 11:09 pm

DC-Choppah wrote:The reason it is impossible, is because the creator has the power to determine the copyright and the technology can't read his mind.

The MLC will improve this situation for those that want to give a production the right to use their work. https://www.themlc.com/
Interesting link, and if successful it will definitely help fix some of the huge problems in the current rights and remuneration networks. But it's still doing blanket licensing so I don't see how it will fix the issue you talk about where you only want to license certain use?

Anyhow, we're going round in circles on this topic again, and I'm pretty certain I'm not adding anything to the debate.
For what it's worth, I don't think you can create a fairer environment for creators without a wholesale reform of copyright.
So if we want to talk about that, great. Otherwise we're just tinkering around the edges.
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Re: How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

Postby blinddrew » Fri Jul 17, 2020 11:10 pm

CS70 wrote:Indeed - should the Trump campaign decide to (legally) use my music, I would be upset not for the money, but because I would not want my name any place near that moron. It's the kind of "moral" upset (not a "monetary" claim) that I understood DC was talking about. It's not covered by copyright law but it can still be defended.

Many settlements are an indication that there is a working point there.
Or that defending yourself in the legal system is just too damn expensive! :)
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Re: How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

Postby CS70 » Fri Jul 17, 2020 11:12 pm

MOF wrote:In the real world though it’s not the case that massive physical or internet distribution will lower the value of your tracks.

Technically they do - but if you divide a very small number by any factor, it makes not much difference as it was a small number in the first place.

Most track have no (or negative) economic value because they haven't yet created scarcity - there's less demand than supply.
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Re: How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

Postby CS70 » Fri Jul 17, 2020 11:13 pm

blinddrew wrote:
CS70 wrote:Many settlements are an indication that there is a working point there.
Or that defending yourself in the legal system is just too damn expensive! :)

Perhaps, but politicians being what they are, if it were just that they will go on anyways.
Mostly it's bad publicity I guess.
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Re: How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

Postby blinddrew » Fri Jul 17, 2020 11:17 pm

CS70 wrote:
blinddrew wrote:
CS70 wrote:Many settlements are an indication that there is a working point there.
Or that defending yourself in the legal system is just too damn expensive! :)

Perhaps, but politicians being what they are, if it were just that they will go on anyways.
Mostly it's bad publicity I guess.
Paying people to shut up and go away has always been a business model. :)
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Re: How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

Postby DC-Choppah » Sat Jul 18, 2020 12:18 am

MOF wrote:In the real world though it’s not the case that massive physical or internet distribution will lower the value of your tracks.

The massive internet distribution is done to everyone's tracks. The total amount of music easy available is astronomical. That lowers it value for everybody. That is exactly what already occurred.

30 years ago, how much music did you have access to with say 1 days effort and $20 in your pocket?

Now, how much music do you have access too? Of that massive pool of free music, how much of it had a valid copyright to be multiplied to that extent?

See what I mean?

The technology has, through massive distribution made the product value-less.

It is not just one artists tracks, it's the whole ecosystem.

I knew some of the folks at the early stages of the internet - the folks that formed some of the first businesses. They were always pitching their business model as giving access to free content that everyone wants. The business model needed 'free authors' to be successful.
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Re: How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

Postby DC-Choppah » Sat Jul 18, 2020 12:29 am

blinddrew wrote:
DC-Choppah wrote:The reason it is impossible, is because the creator has the power to determine the copyright and the technology can't read his mind.

The MLC will improve this situation for those that want to give a production the right to use their work. https://www.themlc.com/
Interesting link, and if successful it will definitely help fix some of the huge problems in the current rights and remuneration networks. But it's still doing blanket licensing so I don't see how it will fix the issue you talk about where you only want to license certain use?

No the MLC is not a blanket license. It's a database that allows you to prove that you are the copyright owner. This simplifies the business of granting someone a license since they don't have to deal with the fractional owners and tracking down everybody who has a claim. You are allready registered, and you the artists take care of all the splits.

You are still free to make any contract for the license itself.

The MLC solves the problems that happens today when you try to legitimately license your work to a production and they don't want to spend a huge effort making sure the person they are dealing with really is the owner. It's a royal pain to track down everybody and make sure the license is clear. This prevents productions from being willing to accept music today because there is no system in place.

With MLC I can tell the producer that here is my music, and here is the validation that I own it. Pay the royalties as indicated by the MLC and you are covered. Don't worry about the splits. They will love to deal with you now. This is what musicians need! We shouldn't need professional insurance anymore either.
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Re: How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

Postby MOF » Sat Jul 18, 2020 2:11 am

The massive internet distribution is done to everyone's tracks. The total amount of music easy available is astronomical. That lowers it value for everybody. That is exactly what already occurred.

30 years ago, how much music did you have access to with say 1 days effort and $20 in your pocket?

Now, how much music do you have access too? Of that massive pool of free music, how much of it had a valid copyright to be multiplied to that extent?

See what I mean?

The technology has, through massive distribution made the product value-less.

It is not just one artists tracks, it's the whole ecosystem.

I knew some of the folks at the early stages of the internet - the folks that formed some of the first businesses. They were always pitching their business model as giving access to free content that everyone wants. The business model needed 'free authors' to be successful.

If an artist wants to “give away” their tracks then unless they’ve agreed to some alternative form of reward such as advertising revenue or a share in that company then yes their songs have no value.
Thirty years ago the gatekeepers (record companies) decided who was invited to the party, now artists can BE the record company, and given the small upfront production costs and fixed percentage distribution costs they can make a living and also hold on to the rights of recorded materials and publishing. Not so in the good old days.
The vast majority of artists then didn’t make good money, how many groups broke up over ‘musical differences’? Nothing to do with differences, it was nearly always over money or the lack of it.
The ease of entry however creates the increased volume of content, but what each track realises monetarily is down to the price the artist sets it at and the number of times it’s downloaded. Streaming is still proportionally rewarded i.e. one stream doesn’t equal a paid for download but nevertheless it’s an agreed rate. I would argue there are more artists doing well (not super rich) from streaming in all its forms, Spotify, YouTube etc, than in the pre-internet days, but then again most artists back then weren’t super rich either.
The price point has also been impacted by competition from other related markets such Games and Films.
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Re: How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

Postby blinddrew » Sat Jul 18, 2020 9:10 am

DC-Choppah wrote:
blinddrew wrote:
DC-Choppah wrote:The reason it is impossible, is because the creator has the power to determine the copyright and the technology can't read his mind.

The MLC will improve this situation for those that want to give a production the right to use their work. https://www.themlc.com/
Interesting link, and if successful it will definitely help fix some of the huge problems in the current rights and remuneration networks. But it's still doing blanket licensing so I don't see how it will fix the issue you talk about where you only want to license certain use?

No the MLC is not a blanket license. It's a database that allows you to prove that you are the copyright owner. This simplifies the business of granting someone a license since they don't have to deal with the fractional owners and tracking down everybody who has a claim. You are allready registered, and you the artists take care of all the splits.

You are still free to make any contract for the license itself.

The MLC solves the problems that happens today when you try to legitimately license your work to a production and they don't want to spend a huge effort making sure the person they are dealing with really is the owner. It's a royal pain to track down everybody and make sure the license is clear. This prevents productions from being willing to accept music today because there is no system in place.

With MLC I can tell the producer that here is my music, and here is the validation that I own it. Pay the royalties as indicated by the MLC and you are covered. Don't worry about the splits. They will love to deal with you now. This is what musicians need! We shouldn't need professional insurance anymore either.
I get that having a decent database is essential, so if everyone signs up that's grand, but here's the wording from the top of the 'how it works' page:
"Starting in January 2021, The MLC will issue and administer blanket mechanical licenses for eligible streaming and download services (digital service providers or DSPs) in the United States. The MLC will then collect the royalties due under those licenses from the DSPs and pay songwriters, composers, lyricists, and music publishers. The MLC is committed to performing this important responsibility effectively and transparently. The slides below provide an overview of how The MLC process will work."
That suggests to me that you're not going to get that granular control you're after - unless you're just using it to register your work but are not allowing any streaming at all?
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Re: How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

Postby merlyn » Sat Jul 18, 2020 1:30 pm

CS70 wrote:Nobody gives a f**k about the Amur leopard. Or maybe some do, but not enough. Hence its economic value is very low.

Thanks for the health report on the market. It has some severe health problems. Our relationship with nature has consequences, like Covid-19, maybe you've heard of it? An extinction that would have serious consequences is the extinction of bees. If all that stands between bees dying out is whether or not a profit can be extracted from preserving them, then that is pretty unhealthy.

CS70 wrote:As a musician, should you want to build a business out of your talent (which you certainly have, as a shitload of other people), you need to focus on creating scarcity: which is done by branding and marketing

'Creating scarcity' is an oxymoron. Although oxymorons can be used as a literary device like the metaphor 'a living death' they don't apply to reality. We can, if you want, talk about 'creating branding'. 'Creating branding' makes sense. 'Creating scarcity' doesn't.
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Re: How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

Postby DC-Choppah » Sat Jul 18, 2020 3:26 pm

Copyrights create scarcity.

My wife likes to read kindle books from the library. A book she wants has a wait list 25 deep because the library has only so many copies and they are all out.

So, she goes online and buys a copy instead.

If there was no limit to the number of copies, one library could make millions of kindle copies to download and the book would be instantly worthless.


Another example, the medical community regulates the number of doctors that are licensed each year. This keeps the value of doctors high in a market that would otherwise like to bring the value of doctors down to zero.


This is exactly what happened to music. We now have an infinite free supply. It is worthless.

Of course new music can be protected if musicians would realize that they need to not allow music to be openly distributed freely. They need to create scarcity through copyrights to maintain the value of the product.
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Re: How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

Postby MOF » Sat Jul 18, 2020 4:07 pm

My wife likes to read kindle books from the library. A book she wants has a wait list 25 deep because the library has only so many copies and they are all out.

So, she goes online and buys a copy instead.

If there was no limit to the number of copies, one library could make millions of kindle copies to download and the book would be instantly worthless.

But there is a limit, your wife and other people pay actual money, so how has the internet taken the value of that book down to zero?

This is exactly what happened to music. We now have an infinite free supply. It is worthless.
You didn’t reply to my earlier post and insist on saying music is valueless, so tell me where I can legally get music for free and retain that copy, so that excludes libraries?

Another example, the medical community regulates the number of doctors that are licensed each year. This keeps the value of doctors high in a market that would otherwise like to bring the value of doctors down to zero.
If the number of doctors were to flood the market then many students would ask themselves is it worth seven years of study and associated costs, no doubt numbers would drop and some sort of balance would emerge. It’s not a good comparison though because students are real and can’t be cloned.
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Re: How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

Postby DC-Choppah » Sat Jul 18, 2020 4:13 pm

blinddrew wrote:I get that having a decent database is essential, so if everyone signs up that's grand, but here's the wording from the top of the 'how it works' page:
"Starting in January 2021, The MLC will issue and administer blanket mechanical licenses for eligible streaming and download services (digital service providers or DSPs) in the United States. The MLC will then collect the royalties due under those licenses from the DSPs and pay songwriters, composers, lyricists, and music publishers. The MLC is committed to performing this important responsibility effectively and transparently. The slides below provide an overview of how The MLC process will work."
That suggests to me that you're not going to get that granular control you're after - unless you're just using it to register your work but are not allowing any streaming at all?


The MLC is a new single point where specific individual works can be identified by the music itself, along with a unique identifier ISRC (International Standard Recording Code), and the splits down to the information on who the individual owners are, and where to send the royalties. When you fill out the information for the work, you are simply registering. This is what the copyright office used to do (and will still do for a little while) to register works. Bu that system was not digital and is outdated. That is what is being updated for the digital world. None of that registering process grants anyone a license.

Now, when you choose to deal with someone who wants to license your music, you can make your own agreement. The MLC does not make the agreement for you. Every digital service is different. It is up to you to give the license to the song. The MLC also does the monitoring and collecting, but it does it like a super-PRO. It does it for all of them. Makes them obsolete. And remember that the existence of a single service is required by the new copyright law. The MLC is a non profit that fills that required role. If it fails, we will have to get another one.

Musicians now need to realize that when engaging in business you do not have to accept the Terms and Conditions presented to you first. You write your own terms, send them to the other side and see if they agree. You do not have to give someone a license to use your music with terms you don't agree with.

If you feel that you have to agree to whatever terms they give you, and you just want to have your music available online, and don't care how much you get, then go ahead and devalue your music that way. That has been the problem all along with why things are the way they are now.
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