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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 James Perrett » Thu Jul 16, 2020 1:57 pm

Arpangel wrote:So that’s how I share my/our music, it’s a very small market, in fact, I wouldn’t call it a market at all, it’s more like a bunch of like minded individuals that listen to and share our own music, free-improv and abstract electronica aren’t going to make anyone rich, we do it because it gives us a kick.

Small, specialist music scenes seem to be a good way to go - they provide me with much of my work. The people who inhabit these scenes are very keen on buying music and supporting the artists and labels because things are personal - the labels know their customers and listen to what they want. Budgets may be small but they're steady (currently).
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Re: How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

Postby merlyn » Thu Jul 16, 2020 1:58 pm

blinddrew wrote:So we have a scarcity!

I find this argument essentially conservative (with a small 'c'). The conclusion your argument seems to be aiming for is that everything is fine and the financial ecosystem doesn't need changed. As George Bernard Shaw said "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man adapts the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

The relationship between scarcity and how much musicians get paid has not been established. 'Scarcity' is a fear inducing word, do you not think? It sounds like something from the economist's lexicon. For example a scarcity of drinking water = the end of the human race.

What is scarce? The Amur Leopard is scarce. There are around 85 left in the world and it will probably die out. Is that relevant to any market-based rhetoric?

The element Indium is scarce by one definition making up 0.21 parts per million of the Earth's crust, but by another definition is not scarce -- there's some in front of you in the touchscreen of your smartphone.

Taking Beyonce as an example of a musician who does make a lot of money -- she's really scarce, eh? So hard to find her on the internet, I just can't get the right search terms. :lol:
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Re: How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

Postby blinddrew » Thu Jul 16, 2020 2:17 pm

Just to be clear, i don't think everything is fine and dandy now, not by quite a long chalk. But i also don't think that trying to imagine the internet doesn't exist, or trying to expand ever further the rules that got us here, will make things better.

As to Beyonce's scarcity - try getting a ticket for her next live show...

At the very top of the food chain the old equation has reversed, the tour is no longer a break-even (or even loss-making) endeavour that promotes the record. The recorded music is now advertising for the tour, which makes money at $100 a ticket.
Other models are available including Kickstarter, Patreon, hyper-niche content, merchandising, sponsorship, partnerships, producing, session work, licensing, some-all-or-none-of-the-above, right down to busking.
If you want a career, you have to find a model that works for you. Hence that relationship between scarcity and money will never be resolved or confirmed, because it's unique to the fan-musician relationship; and it will constantly change over time anyway.
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Re: How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

Postby DC-Choppah » Thu Jul 16, 2020 9:52 pm

blinddrew wrote:And I'd be curious about exactly what laws you think were changed?
https://www.amazon.com/Move-Fast-Break- ... 0316275778

Basically, the business strategy was to distribute stolen property and claim that it was 'fair use'. Fair use was supposed to allow a snippet to be used as an example like in a news story or commentary, but fair use was supposed to protect the entire work from being used as is. The value of that work was protected. The copyright was protected.

A distributor has the responsibility to ensure that what they are distributing is not violating someone's copyright. That is a big expense. That is a business expense.

Suppose everything that was posted on the internet had to first be verified that it was not violating someone's copyright BEFORE it was distributed? Who would do that? Who would pay for that?

Pre-internet distribution systems (radio, music stores, venues, TV broadcasters, movies, theatres, etc) were NOT allowed to distribute material that violated a copyright. They would get hit with a big expenses to verify copyright, and penalties if they were caught doing it.


blinddrew wrote:Any metaphor that tries to talk about digital disruption but focuses on analogue products is fundamentally flawed and just distracts from the situation. It's 2020, we all understand the digital paradigm, we need to talk about the actual issue not a metaphor.

That is the myth. That somehow because it is 'digital' that it is different. I don't agree. 'Fair Use' now allows the massive distribution of copyrighted works in a mass distribution system. The internet IS a distribution system. Therefore the burden of making sure that materials are copyrighted BEFORE distributing them lies with the distributor. The laws were altered to require the copyright owner to issue a take-down - thus shifting the expense and burden to the copyright holders. This shift was needed to make the internet a big business.

You can't claim that just because it is digital you are NOT a distributor. That is the 'blind them with science' methods that were used to confuse the judges and legislators to change the laws to make the internet legally not be a distribution system. When of course it IS a very profitable distribution system. They say they are just a 'platform' and are therefore immune from any responsibility regarding the content.

Please let m know how millions of copyrighted songs being posted to Youtube is fair use?
Please let me know how this is fair use: **tps://bsj.fm/

Both of these distributors will brag about how many take-down notices they get. Flaunting the fact that the laws have been changed to protect their racket.
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Re: How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

Postby blinddrew » Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:24 am

Ok, I asked which laws, specifically, had been changed. You linked me to a book by someone embedded in the legacy content industry. An industry who have successfully lobbied for the constant expansion of copyright in both scope and duration for decades.

Fair Use is a narrowly tailored (and pretty sound in my eyes) set of exceptions that allow the use of copyright in specific areas and cases. It's never been a blanket defence against copyright infringement, and it's certainly not something that any of the major players rely on for their business model.
There is no way that content could be checked for violation before it is uploaded because there is no central and comprehensive record of copyrighted works - especially because copyright is still territorial and the internet isn't.
But that is still to fundamentally misunderstand the distributed nature of the internet. If you continue to think of 'the internet' as a set of central publishers then you cannot sensibly have this debate because that parallel is fundamentally flawed. Everyone who creates and shares content is a publisher. If you must use analogies, the internet is a car boot sale and we've all got a stall. Someone has provided the field. Some people have set up their stall with guides about who's selling what. Some people are walking round advertising what's on stalls. And some people are following you round looking over your shoulder and saying, 'if you like that you might like this...'

I'm really struggling to see how you can argue that digital content and analogue content are not fundamentally different things. One is instantly, perfectly, infinitely reproduce-able at zero cost. The other is none of those things. To pretend that they're the same is to deny this as reality. And I can't see how you logically square that away?

In your next paragraph I think you're confusing Fair Use with Section 230 and DMCA section 512. But you're pretty wrong on all of them. Fair Use allows use of specific bits of work for specific context - it doesn't allow blanket distribution of anything. Section 230 simply puts the liability for content on the producer of that content (and allows for moderation by platform providers). DMCA 512 is the Safe Harbours provision that requires the notice and take-down provision.

I'm not sure who you're claiming is a distributor (Youtube? Facebook? Google?), but it kind of doesn't matter as all the platform providers are subject to these rules (in the US at least). And where there is direct infringement, those providers have been prosecuted - Napster, LimeWire, Mega etc. (Even when the legal basis has been hugely dodgy).
Millions of songs on Youtube isn't Fair Use and no-one (apart from you) is claiming it is.
If your content is posted there without permission you can issue a takedown, and youtube have spent over $100m on ContentID to allow you to monetise that content as an alternative.
To give you an analogue example, if I'm caught speeding, that's my responsibility. It's not the responsibility of the car manufacturer who made a device capable of speeding. It's not the responsibility of the road builder who made a road smooth enough to speed on. It's not the responsibility of the sat nav maker for letting me know that I don't need to turn off the motorway for 10 miles.
Copyright infringement is the responsibility of the person who posted the content, and the person who chooses to download it. And that's what Section 230, DMCA512, and yes, Fair Use too, regulate.

When copyright was introduced it was for 14 years with an option to extend another 14 years. Right back at the time of the Statute of Anne, MPs warned that copyright is fundamentally a restriction on rights, and if it became too extreme then the public would not support it. Since then it has morphed far, far beyond its original form, and failed to adapt to the absolute, fundamental change that is digital distribution, and yes, it seems that a lot of the public no longer respect it.

We're still trying to jam 18th century legislation over 21st century technology. Personally, I don't think you can have a sensible discussion about copyright enforcement without having a discussion about copyright reform.

And to get right back to the head of this thread, I don't think you can have a proper discussion about creating a fairer environment without having a discussion about copyright reform either.
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Re: How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

Postby ManFromGlass » Fri Jul 17, 2020 1:30 pm

And if by chance copyright is reformed to any degree - who will enforce it? Those with the most to lose also have the deepest pockets for lawyers, lobbying etc. Which countries version of reform would apply to specific pieces of music?
If somebody listens to less than xx seconds of a piece of music is it Fair Use and no royalties should be paid? Many details to sort out on the macro and micro scale.
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Re: How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

Postby blinddrew » Fri Jul 17, 2020 2:14 pm

Oh yes, it's no easy task by any means. For one thing you're going to have to have a really interesting conversation about why we have copyright in the first place. The law now has shifted so far from the original purpose that it needs to be completely re-examined. And in doing so we need to look at the tools that are now available.
But none of those lobbying from positions of interest (on either side of the fence) want to have those discussions because, despite all the hand-wringing, the people at the top of the chain are doing ok.
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Re: How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

Postby DC-Choppah » Fri Jul 17, 2020 3:00 pm

ManFromGlass wrote:And if by chance copyright is reformed to any degree - who will enforce it?

The EU Copyright Directive, article 13 makes it clear that if websites are being run for profit, and they make available to users any works, even if those works posted by users, then the website is responsible for ensuring that the material does not infringe on someone else's copyright. And there are penalties. This makes it clear that you can't just claim to be a 'mere conduit' or a 'platform'. If you are making money because you make things available, then you are responsible for managing the copyrights of everything on your site.

Google has lobbied hard against this. But lost.
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Re: How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

Postby blinddrew » Fri Jul 17, 2020 3:43 pm

Yeah, and personally I think the result will be terrible for most musicians and for anyone trying to build a better ecosystem.
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Re: How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

Postby DC-Choppah » Fri Jul 17, 2020 4:56 pm

It has been one year since it was adopted. There is no way for the internet companies to comply. They say that there simply is no technical solution that will filter out copyrighted material. They have not complied.

Their entire business model is therefore invalid.


I have had my music used in plays, in movies, played in venues, and played on the radio. In each case there was a human being who I met and we agreed on the use of the music. A human to human interaction happened. Agreements were made between people. They knew I was the copyright owner. I gave them my music and they agreed not to use it beyond what we had agreed to.

Copyrights are gravely misunderstood often. A main point is to protect someone from using your music in a way that you don't agree with. It is not always about the money.
If I thought the topic of the play was offensive, I would not allow my music to be attached to that production.

If someone on Youtube makes an offensive video and uses my music as a background, that violates the copyright rules. And if Youtube is making money (selling ads) based on that then they have a responsibility to make sure that they are using valid material. Just like the play production meets the person and secures the rights to use that work of art in their production from the owner of it.

It is about respecting the art of music and the creators, and musicians should be in favor of that.

Just because the technology makes it possible to freely copy everything at a massive level does not relive the benefactor (the one making profit) from the burden of respecting the copyright. In fact, due to the massive power of the technology to infringe, he has an even greater responsibility.
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Re: How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

Postby ManFromGlass » Fri Jul 17, 2020 6:10 pm

Yes, but in the end if the penalties outweigh the profits, then there might be some compliance. So it’s back to the money, even though the issues of respect etc rate high in my book.
Drew - how does google losing make things tougher for musicians? Don’t you see google as one of the “bad” guys?
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Re: How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

Postby blinddrew » Fri Jul 17, 2020 6:27 pm

ManFromGlass wrote:Yes, but in the end if the penalties outweigh the profits, then there might be some compliance. So it’s back to the money, even though the issues of respect etc rate high in my book.
Drew - how does google losing make things tougher for musicians? Don’t you see google as one of the “bad” guys?
I'll tackle this one first because it's easier.
Firstly, the requirement for an automated pre-filter only benefits the big encumbents because they're the only ones who can a) afford to develop it, and b) afford the risk of providing the service in the first place. The least-worst content filter around at the moment is ContentID, that's cost over $100m so far to develop. That's the kind of thing that would lock out companies like SoundCloud or Bandcamp.
As to whether Google are bad guys? I don't see them that way, they've provided me far more tools to share, create and sell my music than copyright ever has. And I've never paid them a penny.
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Re: How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

Postby CS70 » Fri Jul 17, 2020 6:38 pm

merlyn wrote:
blinddrew wrote:So we have a scarcity!

I find this argument essentially conservative (with a small 'c'). The conclusion your argument seems to be aiming for is that everything is fine and the financial ecosystem doesn't need changed. As George Bernard Shaw said "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man adapts the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

The relationship between scarcity and how much musicians get paid has not been established. 'Scarcity' is a fear inducing word, do you not think? It sounds like something from the economist's lexicon. For example a scarcity of drinking water = the end of the human race.

What is scarce? The Amur Leopard is scarce. There are around 85 left in the world and it will probably die out. Is that relevant to any market-based rhetoric?


Once again, "scarcity" in economics is not that there's little something, but there's more people wanting it than there is. It's another name for the ratio of supply and demand.

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

But if you managed to put money at work to seed a campaign about the fate of the Amur leopard you could (both working hard and with a little luck) create a "brand" of it - i.e. get enough people interested in its survival that they'd be willing to pay something for it.

I don't get while people seem to be afraid of these ideas. It's like denying the way that a compressor works because one doesn't like the world "threshold" and "release".

Economic value is what it is, and it's got not necessarily much to do with personal value.
There's lots of stuff (most, actually) in anyone's life that has zero economic value but is priceless and invaluable to us.

Nobody in their sane mind would ever question that.

But when it comes to people buying stuff, economic value is what matters. If nobody wants it, it's not (economically) valuable, and that's like saying that a compressor will start compressing when the signal goes over the threshold. It's the basis for pricing (and therefore for financial rewards for artists).

The ecosystem now is at least better than it used to be: the artists got shafted all ways in the old times. Just to mention the one, music business was the only field where the artists was paying for the production of everything and in the end he didn't own the final product. At least with a mortgage at the end you own the house.

The element Indium is scarce by one definition making up 0.21 parts per million of the Earth's crust, but by another definition is not scarce -- there's some in front of you in the touchscreen of your smartphone.

Exactly. There's enough with respect to the demand. For the average artist production, there's more than the demand. Any unique item not in demand is not scarce.

Taking Beyonce as an example of a musician who does make a lot of money -- she's really scarce, eh? So hard to find her on the internet, I just can't get the right search terms. :lol:

She bloody is. There's way more people that want a piece of her than there is of her - no matter how many internet videos there are. That's exactly why she (or better Parkwood) makes a lot of money.
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Re: How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

Postby blinddrew » Fri Jul 17, 2020 6:47 pm

DC-Choppah wrote:It has been one year since it was adopted. There is no way for the internet companies to comply. They say that there simply is no technical solution that will filter out copyrighted material. They have not complied.

Their entire business model is therefore invalid.
Their business model is far, far larger than music. If every music video disappeared from their platforms they would still have businesses.

DC-Choppah wrote:I have had my music used in plays, in movies, played in venues, and played on the radio. In each case there was a human being who I met and we agreed on the use of the music. A human to human interaction happened. Agreements were made between people. They knew I was the copyright owner. I gave them my music and they agreed not to use it beyond what we had agreed to.
This may be how you've managed your music, but it's not standard by any means. Generally you license your work with a PRS of some kind and after that you have no control of how your music is used as long as it's within the licensing terms. This why you get these nonsense stories every election cycle where artists demand that politicians stop using their songs in campaign rallies. They generally have no such right to do that.

DC-Choppah wrote:Copyrights are gravely misunderstood often. A main point is to protect someone from using your music in a way that you don't agree with. It is not always about the money.
If I thought the topic of the play was offensive, I would not allow my music to be attached to that production.
I'd be interested if you could find the legislation or the congressional record that points to that being a reason for copyright. It's certainly not what it was originally designed for.
Should it be? Well that's a good discussion to have if you want to reform it.

DC-Choppah wrote:If someone on Youtube makes an offensive video and uses my music as a background, that violates the copyright rules. And if Youtube is making money (selling ads) based on that then they have a responsibility to make sure that they are using valid material. Just like the play production meets the person and secures the rights to use that work of art in their production from the owner of it.
If someone is using your music without a licence then you can send a DMCA and Youtube will take it down. Alternatively, if it's a non-offensive video, you could just claim any income from it.

DC-Choppah wrote:It is about respecting the art of music and the creators, and musicians should be in favor of that.
I do and I am. But I don't think the current copyright regime is the right mechanism for it.

DC-Choppah wrote:Just because the technology makes it possible to freely copy everything at a massive level does not relive the benefactor (the one making profit) from the burden of respecting the copyright. In fact, due to the massive power of the technology to infringe, he has an even greater responsibility.
Agreed, but legislation has to move with technology. We don't still require people walking in front of cars with red flags for safety, we've moved on. Copyright needs to do the same if it is to still be relevant - otherwise it will continue to lose respect, and a law that is not respected is not followed.

I might seem anti-copyright, but I'm not. I think it's a useful tool for a limited job. But it needs to be part of a solution not the only hammer to hit anything that looks like a nail.
Obviously this is only my opinion and should be treated with the contempt that it deserves. :)
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Re: How do we create a healthier music ecosystem that empowers musicians financially?

Postby CS70 » Fri Jul 17, 2020 8:50 pm

DC-Choppah wrote:It has been one year since it was adopted. There is no way for the internet companies to comply. They say that there simply is no technical solution that will filter out copyrighted material.

Laughing.. that's total BS. Of course companies drag their feet and kick and scream and resist. The fingerprinting tech exists. We can recognize individual faces among billions, does anyone think it's harder to recognize sequences of PCM samples?

Enforce it and solutions will magically arise - at least solutions that cover the most egregious infringement cases, that is the lifting of material exactly as is.

The reason because companies do not comply is because they can get away with it, and they can get away with it because it's not a problem which has much political focus either in the US or in Europe (to say nothing of the rest of the world).

I have had my music used in plays....

It is about respecting the art of music and the creators, and musicians should be in favor of that.

Completely agree. We had some automatic sync licensing and it worked just as well.

As a side point, money is often fundamental because, unless the infringement is a "perfect copy", time and money are needed to prove the claim and obtain satisfaction, at a degree of risk. Lots of time and money. So unless one is flooded with cash, it's hard to enter a litigation unless there's a realistic chance to recoup it.

It doesn't make it right but explains why money is often the trigger for copyright cases, as opposite of "just" being upset by a specific use. Of course, flush musicians can - and do - raise claim for reasons like you mention (most recently for example against Trump's campaign), and it's a good thing.

Just because the technology makes it possible to freely copy everything at a massive level does not relive the benefactor (the one making profit) from the burden of respecting the copyright. In fact, due to the massive power of the technology to infringe, he has an even greater responsibility.

Indeed. Besides, pirating is nothing new. When I was a kid and had no money, some 95% of my cassettes were copies. Back then like now, that was not, I think, the big issue: these copies were made for free by friends on the cassette tapes I bought myself. The big issue was - and still is - people making tons of pirate copies and making a profit of them, in some form. That includes, obviously, the facilitation of the distribution of these copies.

Should that being enforced (for example, addressing the internet providers which offer connectivity to the miscreants) all that would be left would be friends copying from friends and, of course, the dark internet - which is not something that most people have even an idea of, to say nothing on how to actually access it.
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