The Rock and Roll Vote
Friday, November 07, 2003
burn, hollywood, burn

Music Firms Turn to Each Other to Survive

so sony and bmg are merging, emi is going to buy warner music, etc. etc. if these mergers are approved, there will soon be only 3 major labels.

here's the conclusion of the article, by the LA Times' Jeff Leeds:

Some artist representatives predicted the two deals would mean more trouble for aspiring artists. Simon Renshaw, co-head of the music division of artist management powerhouse the Firm, said with fewer labels, musicians could be pressured to sign contracts that give the companies a piece of their merchandise and sponsorship income, areas that have traditionally belonged solely to the artists.

"You'll have the control of the development and marketing channels in the hands of four or possibly three people," Renshaw said. "This is bad news for artists."

i have to disagree, at least in the long run. what i see here is the last gasp of a dying major label system. and while in the short term this will likely lead to a greater number of major label artists getting screwed, that's not too much of a change from the way things have been in the past. what this will do is open the door a little wider for independent labels and artists who release their own music. as content providers (mtv, radio, etc.) have more channels/stations/time to fill, and as the major labels' rosters shrink, and if the corruption abates a bit, there'll be a demand for more content than the majors can provide.

you don't need a major label to make a video that looks great these days.

you don't need a huge, expensive, studio to record music that sounds compelling.

and, if you don't have to buy a Bently for the executive vice president of Universal and a Geo each for two people in the marketing department before you start making a profit on your record, you don't need to sell millions of copies of a record to live comfortably. if you do, it's all gravy.

but you knew all that already, and what does this have to do with politics? a distribution system, different from the one we have now, or at least coexistant with the one we have now, is coming. That's what all this internet music nastiness is about.

It will eventually get here. remember those commercials where someone walks into a motel, and asks about watching a movie, and is told that that hotel has every movie, ever? that is not too far away. at all.

right now, if you know what you are doing, you can get almost any movie ever made onto your computer within 2 days. if there isn't a house party tonight, I'm going to go over to a friend's house and watch the matrix revolutions in his living room. and the same is true with music. remember the big lebowski?

dude: "what about the new Strokes album, walter?"
walter: "forget the album, dude... you want the new strokes album?" looks at watch. "what time is it?" (mumbled)"Shit, i can get you the new strokes album by 3:00! with covers!"

so the demand is there, and those people criminilized by the MPAA/RIAA are not downloading because they want to steal, or because they hate musicians or movie makers, but because downloading is the fastest and in some cases the only way to access what they want to see or hear. an

I guarantee you that if there was a way to get anything you want, reasonably instantaneously, people would glady pay. it just has to be better than what's already out there for free.

and what it might take to make that happen is a re-thinking of US copyright law towards more compulsory liscencing, and less rigid controls over use. basically a reshaping of the DMCA that is forward thinking and seeks to protect and serve the artists who make the music and films and the consumers who watch and listen to them, rather than the companies who take advantage of both. politicians will have to do that, and they could be guided by the next president of the united states.
Wednesday, November 05, 2003
radio stations, i question their blackness, they call themselves black but we'll see if they play this

FCC Commisioner seeks payola probe

Ever wonder why broadcast radio sucks? Why college radio is one of the only venues for emerging artists? One reason is the consolidation of station ownership. This is the other:

In its current form, there are two payolalike practices. One refers to the fact that radio stations enter exclusive arrangements with independent promoters who guarantee the station a fixed monthly or annual payment. In return, songs "suggested" by such an independent promoter are the most likely to be added to playlists. The second de facto payola practice occurs when many legitimate independent promoters hired by the labels then use the label's money to pay for airplay.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003
it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing - '04 Dems hope to 'Rock the Vote' - Nov. 4, 2003:

Voters' political leanings fall roughly in line with their musical tastes, the poll suggests. Hip-hop fans are mostly Democrats, country-and-pop music fans are mostly Republicans, and rock music fans are predominantly swing voters (not swing music, of course, just more independent).

we are the swing voters of one of the most important voting blocks in the country. let's get this right.

watch the CNN special. i expect it'll be a lot of amusing pandering that could end up being important a few months from now (see "i didn't inhale" from the Clinton MTV special).

candidate rock and roll profiles will be coming soon. first up will be John Kerry, since he was in a garage band in high school.
Monday, November 03, 2003
you're only funky as your last cut....

general wesley clark weighs in on the OutKast controversy in a TV spot to air during tomorrow night's rock the vote CNN campaign event. take that kucinich!

with this unassuming link i officially announce my entry into the world of campaign coverage/blogging with the introduction of The Rock and Roll Vote, dedicated to providing information and perspective for those of you out there who are both rock and roll mofos and participants in our proud democracy.

coming first will be rock and roll profiles of the candidates, interspersed with relevant news bits (see above) as they break.

soon after that i might start capitalizing certain words.

then in january, our team is headed to new hampshire for a 3 day look at the primaries.

and that's about as far as the plan goes, at this point. after all, how rock and roll is it to plan a year in advance?

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