(Please note: This newsletter is from Bill Curtis, and is reprinted with his permission,)
Private Deals Hurt The Artist
Hey guys! I hope your summer was as great as mine! As I review my summer, my granddaughter was married off and so was my God-granddaughter. I visited my old stomping ground, St. Albans, NY and hung out with some of my old musicians friends.
I sailed on Royal Caribbean’s “Allure” to the Caribbean for seven days. If you never cruise before, I highly recommend it! Just make sure you sail on a ship not older than four years old! In my opinion, they don’t keep the maintenance up as well on the older ships. Oh yea! The music was great on the ship with lots of live music. I was surprised at the caliber of musicians they had on board, they could play. I came back and started working on some new music.
Have any of you noticed where the internet is going and moving very fast. I know it’s just me, but to me, it seem to be slowly pushing the indies (Independent’s) off the internet. This was supposed to be the platform that was going to level the playing field so you could have control of your work. But now, they set it in a way where you can only make enough to keep from starving yourself to death but they tell you, you have to look at it from a long term perspective.
Some time ago in one of my Newsletter’s I told you that the new gatekeeper was more vicious than old one. At least the old made sure you could eat and had a car. For years I been writing about how important it is to build your own community of followers and create your own niche so you could sell them your product. What I see happening now is the new gatekeepers are joining old gatekeepers because the old keepers have what they don’t have…the Infrastructure. Distribution is the key that the old keepers control.
Now I know most of you guys out there don’t know about the payola years but few you older guys do. To make a long story short…that was when the records companies were paying Dj’s large sums of money to play their records. Well some of the big Dj’s got busted! It’s against the law to take money to play records! Heh, they would play the hell out of it. The label controlled what you heard and what you didn’t hear over the years and they built up such a powerful network and now it’s more powerful than ever.
The old gatekeepers knows all the tricks, how to break the laws and how to cheat the artists. Now listen to this, one of the largest music companies in the world is making a private deal with one of the most powerful broadcasters, Online or offline. the company will feed the broadcaster there artists music directly. He will have exclusive…they will share in the revenue, is this reverse payola? Something isn’t right! Now this company is going to feed all their music to one of the powerful broadcasters to play across their multi-platform. That means new and upcoming artists will get their music played right away on one of the most powerful broadcasters in the USA and internet. The Company is saying they are saving money by making these private deals, true, but they are taking money from the artist, songwriters and musicians.
What they are doing is cutting out the Statutory license rate, Sound Exchange and Bypassing the copyright laws…all which was set up to protect the artist. The Statutory License pays you direct and so does Sound Exchange. With those private deals direct with the Broadcasters, all the monies go to record company and if you have any un-recouped funds you’ll get nothing. Now under the statutory law, that money can’t be touched. Anytime monies goes through the label hands, believe me, you’re not getting your correct figures. The only ones that are benefiting from those deals are the Broadcasters and labels. Statutory License and Sound exchange was put place to protect artist so labels wouldn’t cheat them out their cut. Oh yea, you get your music heard, you’ll get great promotion but what a price you have paid. And if you’re a small indie company, with private deals with the big sharks coming in the picture, with all their big acts you be ate up, because they can only play so many a day. Something has got to be done and I hope it won’t take as long as it did at the event of radio. I think it took about 30 years to come up with laws to protect the artist.