Crowded House drummer dies By Patrick Donovan March 28, 2005
Paul Hester, a world-class drummer.
Former Crowded House and Split Enz drummer and TV personality Paul Hester committed suicide on Saturday after a long battle with depression.
A message, sent to Crowded House and Split Enz fan club email lists said: "Everyone, sitting here in the office trying to figure out what to write, we are a bit messed up at the moment. Last night, our mate, and Crowded House drummer Paul Hester, took his own life.
"Over the years Paul has swung the extremes of happiness and sadness, but none of us ever thought this would happen. He loved life too much ... "
Crowded House was one of Australia's most successful bands of the late 1980s and early '90s. Formed out of the ashes of New Zealand's Split Enz in 1985, it featured Hester on drums, Neil Finn on vocals and guitar, and Nick Seymour on bass.
Guitarist Kev Garant, who played with Hester in the Bay of Pigs, said: "He was considered an absolute world class drummer in the pop field."
As recently as two weeks ago, Hester, 46, was at the Espy in St Kilda to appear in the SBS music quiz show, RockWiz.
RockWiz's Brian Nankervis said: "He could be everything and anything in one go. He had a lightning wit, he could be wonderfully sensitive, clever and unpredictable."
-- Lawyer Johnnie Cochran, who famously defended actor O.J. Simpson, has died aged 67 at his home in Los Angeles, CNN confirms. Posts: 3332 | From: Independence, mo | Registered: Oct 2001
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Millioinaires fighting with multi-millionaires over more money...
Linkin Park Wants Out of Warner, Citing Lack of Confidence
By JEFF LEEDS Published: May 3, 2005
Days before an expected public stock offering from the Warner Music Group, the rap-rock band Linkin Park demanded yesterday to be released from its recording contract with the company, saying internal cost cuts may have left the music giant "unable to compete in today's global music marketplace."
The Los Angeles-based band, whose recordings have sold an estimated 35 million copies worldwide, said that it wanted to exit the company and had delayed production of its third album, which it had planned to release in spring 2006. "We feel a responsibility to get great music to our fans," a statement from the band said. "Unfortunately, we believe that we can't accomplish that effectively with the current Warner Music." Warner Music responded, "While Linkin Park's talent is without question, the band's management is using fictitious numbers and making baseless charges and inflammatory threats in what is clearly a negotiating tactic."
The move follows a recent stalemate in talks over the financial terms of Linkin Park's contract, which calls for it to deliver four more albums. Sources at Warner, who declined to speak publicly about internal label matters said the band in recent weeks had asked for $60 million in advances and to release its music through a joint venture with Warner Music in which it would receive a split of profits. Warner Music offered $15 million as an advance but agreed to share profits through such a venture, the sources said, adding that the company had already renegotiated with the band after the release of its first album, the wildly best-selling "Hybrid Theory" in 2000.
The spat comes as a team of private investors, who purchased Warner Music from Time Warner last year for $2.6 billion, is preparing for an initial offering of shares that is expected to raise $750 million and is expected to take place in mid-May. Since taking charge last year, the investment team - led by the former Seagram chief executive Edgar Bronfman Jr. - has restructured the company and cut about $250 million in costs through layoffs, cuts to the artist roster and consolidation of its international operations.
Last week the company notched perhaps its biggest chart success since Mr. Bronfman took over, landing two debuts in the top five on the nation's album sales chart with releases from the Matchbox Twenty singer Rob Thomas and the rapper Mike Jones.
But Linkin Park remains a major priority. The band's management company, The Firm, said the band accounted for about 10 percent of Warner Music's sales; the company said the figure is less than 3 percent, based on Nielsen SoundScan data. Still, Mr. Bronfman, speaking at an investment conference last year, described Linkin Park to analysts as "the biggest rock band in the world."
An ugly situation gets worse with more publicity. What was that about "money is the root...", yada, yada, yada... ?
From today's New York Times.
A Band Makes Its Case Against Record Label
By JEFF LEEDS Published: May 9, 2005
LOS ANGELES, May 8 - In six years together, the musicians in the rap-rock band Linkin Park have written song after song about angst, rage and self-reliance. So perhaps it is not hard to imagine their shock at being asked by the Warner Music Group, their record company, to play a gig at the New York Stock Exchange to celebrate Warner's planned $750 million initial public stock offering.
The request, members of the band say, galvanized their anger at the corporation, which has cut roughly $250 million in costs as part of a reorganization before its offering, mainly with layoffs and consolidation. The group says concerns that the public offering would reward investors while shortchanging the company and its artists led the band to ask to be released from its record contract last week.
The invitation to play at the stock exchange "just exemplifies how out of touch the ownership of the Warner Music Group is with our band," said Brad Delson, the group's guitarist and primary spokesman, in his first interview since the Grammy-winning band issued its demand in a written statement that criticized the company. "It doesn't make any sense to us why we would play a show at the New York Stock Exchange. I don't know what was going through their minds."
Linkin Park, which Edgar Bronfman Jr., the chairman of Warner Music, has described as "the biggest rock band in the world," says it is researching how it might legally sever its contract with Warner, which calls for the band to deliver four more albums.
The band has released two full-length albums and three additional recordings through Warner, selling an estimated 17.9 million copies in the United States alone, according to Nielsen SoundScan. But the musicians say cutbacks at Warner have hurt the company's ability to market future Linkin Park recordings.
Warner, whose roster of artists includes Green Day, matchbox twenty and Metallica, said in a statement that while it respected Linkin Park, the band's statements "are in contradiction to those of their representatives, whose demands for unreasonably large sums of money have also been accompanied by threats to disparage the company publicly." It added that, "while Warner Music regrets these unfortunate negotiating tactics," it continues to support Linkin Park's career growth.
Mr. Delson, in a telephone interview on Friday, characterized Linkin Park's stand as one of principle, not profit. The soon-to-be publicly traded company "is bad news and that's why we don't want to stick around and see what happens," Mr. Delson said. "There is no negotiation taking place," he added. "We want off the Warner Music Group."
Asked if a large advance from the company might diminish his concerns, Mr. Delson said, "unfortunately, we're past that point."
It is unclear whether the band has any workable legal strategies for exiting the company. In previous public showdowns, artists like Beck, the Dixie Chicks and Luther Vandross have sued to end their contracts only to back down in exchange for multimillion-dollar advances.
The Linkin Park dispute has boiled over at a sensitive moment for the company. Warner, the smallest of the world's four major music conglomerates, is expected to sell shares as early as this week and hopes to raise $750 million or more. The band has said this would generate a "windfall" for Warner's owners, who have earmarked only $7 million of the proceeds for the company's general operations.
Mr. Bronfman led a team of private-equity firms, including Thomas H. Lee Partners, to buy Warner Music from Time Warner last year for about $2.6 billion. The new management reorganized the company to lift profits, and along the way trimmed salaries and laid off more than 1,000 employees.
When the stock offering is complete, Warner Music's public-offering documents say, the company plans to pay Mr. Bronfman and the other owners - who have already recouped their initial cash investment - a total of about $200 million in management fees and special dividends.
"Listen, Warner Music Group obviously doesn't want anyone to focus on the fact that they've cut and they've cut," Mr. Delson said. He added that he believes the company has tried to "disparage" the band as greedy stars, even as the investors are "sucking out the cash and putting it into their own pockets."
Warner Music insiders still argue that the band's statements are window dressing for a hard-nosed negotiation devised by the Firm, the band's management company. That company's principal, Jeff Kwatinetz, had been advising the Lee firm with an eye toward buying Warner Music before Mr. Bronfman stepped in. (The Lee investment company now holds a minority stake in the Firm.)
Mr. Delson would not discuss details of the band's contract talks with Warner, and he denied any connection between his band's protest and the management company's relationships. "Warner Music Group's problem isn't with the Firm, it's with Linkin Park," he said. "These concerns are ours."
Warner Music executives countered that the band had never before raised worries about its marketing and promotion. They added that the band had not asked Warner to halt a planned solo album from the Linkin Park rapper Mike Shinoda.
Nevertheless, the feud brewed rapidly after the band's legal team sent Warner a letter a month ago in which Linkin Park appeared to express interest in receiving a cut of the proceeds of the anticipated stock offering, according to sources involved in both sides of the talks. While top executives batted around the concept of paying the band in stock - a radical departure from the industry's usual compensation - Warner ultimately decided it would be too awkward and rejected the idea, said someone on Warner's side of the table.
In response, the band's representatives said the musicians did not want a piece of the stock offering after all, but had become increasingly anxious that the company's cost reductions would prevent Warner from matching the marketing muscle it had put behind the band's previous albums. They said that the band deserved an upgraded contract, and asked for $60 million in advances and half of the profits on their new recordings.
Warner Music executives responded by offering a $15 million advance against 50 percent of the profits, and asked the band to extend its deal to five more albums instead of four.
That offer was poorly received. People involved in the talks said that the band's representatives sent another letter, this time accompanied by a draft of the biting press release they said the band would release within days. A Warner executive who request anonymity to avoid personally inflaming the dispute, described the letter as a "blackmail" tactic.
A band representative said: "It wasn't, 'Send us a check or we're going public.' It was more like, 'Address these concerns about the IPO, the future of this company.' "
Regardless, the parties then all but cut off communication, and several days later the band issued its statement. The band members said at the time that while not recording, it might rely more on touring and endorsement deals. Mr. Delson did not say how long the group would be willing to hold back from releasing new music.
"We're 100 percent committed to making sure that Linkin Park continues to be successful and we continue to have the relationship that we have with our fans," he said. "We have a voice and we intend to use it."
Maybe, if the whiny little snots in Linkin Park get poor enough they'll license their music for karaoke again. I mean after all, how long can you expect someone to go with out caviar?
Posts: 902 | From: Joliet,IL.USA | Registered: Oct 2001
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Boy, I miss the old days when the artists were really looking out for the fans, like Tom Petty whose "Damn The Torpedoes" album was going to sell for $8.98 instead of $7.98 because the record companies wanted to raise the price of vinyl a buck. Petty said if they raise the price, he would name his album $7.98.
And Linkin Park says the record company won't be able to market them properly? They're Linkin Park, I don't own any of their lps, but I will still know when one comes out. This from one of the biggest rock groups in the world. And if they wanted marketing, why don't they support the karaoke market, and do some sales and marketing there?
I think that they should put their money where their big mouths are... and do it themselves. Oh wait, that's TOO much responsibility.
It always amazes me when I see people who really don't know the industry think that they can dictate terms.
They signed a contract. That means that both L.P. and Warner must abide by that contract. It does NOT mean that Warner can't try to clean up it's own house and get rid of some dead wood along in the process.
L.P. may be a great rock band, but they don't know squat about the business. And to sit there and put down the people that made them is just sad.
I agree, if the shoe were on the other foot I wonder how they'd feel. Like if they had a personnel change in the band and Warner Bros. told them it was a breech of contract because they weren't the "original" product that was signed and wanted to void there contract.
[This message has been edited by flameslayer (edited May 10, 2005).]
[This message has been edited by flameslayer (edited May 10, 2005).]
Not that many will even know him or the music, but David Wayne - original singer of Metal Church has died:
May 10, 2005
On behalf of David Wayne’s Metal Church, we would like to express our deepest sorrow in the passing of our Metal Brother, David Wayne. This is not only a loss for us as a band and his family, but also millions of “Metal Heads” throughout the world. David died due to complications from injuries he sustained in a head-on automobile accident several months ago.
David Wayne was the patented scratchy vocals of several Metal Church albums and was in the process of returning to the metal scene with his new band lineup. His goal was to return to the sounds of Metal Church’s albums released in 1984 and 1986. We will always remember the burning words and vocals in “Gods of Wrath,” “Watch the Children Pray,” and “Start the Fire.” David and his current band had just completed several new songs and were ready to head to the recording studio after their European tour dates this summer.
A small overview of Podcasting for anyone interested from an article originally published in last Thursday's New York Times.
I'm sure, someday, someone will start a karaoke podcast - maybe it can be the web arm of the Karaoke Channel.
Now, Audio Blogs for Those Who Aspire to Be D.J.'s
By JOHN R. QUAIN Published: May 12, 2005
What do the pope and Paris Hilton have in common? They're both podcasters - and you can be one too.
Ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, podcasts are essentially do-it-yourself recorded radio programs posted online. Anyone can download them free, and, using special software, listeners can subscribe to favorite shows and even have them automatically downloaded to a portable digital music player.
Despite what the name suggests, podcasts can be played not just on iPods but on any device that has an MP3 player program, including PC's and laptops.
Podcasts are the natural technological offspring of Web logs or blogs, those endlessly meandering personal Web musings that now seem to be everywhere online. Similarly, many podcasters have a diaristic bent, ranging from Mr. X, in upstate New York (ifthensoftware.blogspot.com), who has recorded his ruminations while driving to work, to Dan Klass, an underemployed actor in California whose podcast, "The Bitterest Pill" (www.thebitterestpill.com), has been known to feature invectives against Elmo. There are celebrity podcasts like Paris Hilton's (houseofwaxmovie .warnerbros.com), intended to promote movies. Another, more high-minded site, Catholic Insider (www.catholicinsider.com), links to podcasts of Pope Benedict XVI from Vatican Radio.
Many radio stations are embracing the technology. WGBH in Boston, Q107 in Toronto and BBC Radio are already offering regular podcasts. Tomorrow, Sirius Satellite Radio will begin broadcasting a best-of-podcasting program with the podfather of podcasting, Adam Curry, formerly of MTV, as host.
Taking the experiment a step further, Infinity Broadcasting plans to restart its San Francisco talk station KYCY-AM (1550) with an all-podcasting format beginning Monday. KYCY's broadcasts will feature amateur programs from around the Web, but because of Federal Communications Commission regulations, each will be screened in advance.
Record companies are also beginning to use podcasts to fish for fans. "We think podcasts are a great way to form a relationship with our fans," said Damian Kulash, the lead singer of the rock band OK Go, which has an album coming out this summer on Capitol Records. When the band is on tour, OK Go phones in its podcasts (www.okgo.net).
Finding and Listening
For those wanting to find a podcast, there are online directories that list thousands of them, including Podcast.net (www.podcast.net), Podcasting News (podcastingnews.com), Podcast Alley (www.podcastalley.com) and iPodder.org (www.ipodder.org).
Several free software programs - like Doppler (www.dopplerradio.net) and iPodder (www.ipodder.org) - help users subscribe to and download podcasts. IPodder comes in Windows and Mac versions. The program includes a directory of podcasts available for subscribing on a scheduled basis or for downloading at will. The Web address of a podcast that is not listed can be cut and pasted into iPodder to add it to a user's roster of subscriptions.
Podcasts are usually indicated by an orange logo with the initials RSS (for really simple syndication) or XML (for extensible markup language), standing for the technologies that make such subscriptions possible.
IPod enthusiasts and Mac owners might also consider iPodderX (www.ipodderx.com), a $19.95 program that not only downloads programs but also puts them directly into the iTunes manager so that they can be automatically copied to a connected iPod player.
Unencumbered by professional standards or government broadcast rules, podcasts can devolve into fits of uncontrollable giggling and include more than their share of expletives. (Family Friendly Podcasts, at www.familyfriendlypodcasts.com, has some suggestions for those who prefer tamer shows.) Still, it is the freedom that has inspired many homegrown podcast producers. "The whole beauty of it is that I don't have to censor myself," says Jason Evangelho, host of "Insomnia Radio," which showcases independent radio (hardcoreinsomniaradio.blogspot.com). "And I can say 'um.' "
Programs dedicated to music still dominate the podcast universe. Many offer an eclectic mix of underground music, but there are also classical music shows like "Your Daily Opera." While most get only a handful of listeners, some programs have developed a devoted fan base.
"I'm averaging about 10,000 to 11,000 listeners per show," says Brian Ibbott, whose "Coverville" (www.coverville.com) originates from his basement outside Denver. Mr. Ibbott's podcasts feature rare and unusual cover songs. He has a sponsor to offset the $30 to $40 a month he says he pays his hosting service for the extra traffic that his listeners create downloading his shows.
Making and Distributing
In addition to the chance to be heard by millions of Internet users, the relative ease of producing a show has driven the popularity of podcasting. A group of college friends unable to get their film careers off the ground, for example, decided to tell their stories, which are a cross between Firesign Theater and Hunter S. Thompson, in a podcast at the Peanut Gallery (www.thepeanutgallery.info). Those looking for a similar creative outlet needs only a computer with a connected microphone and Web access.
Stay-at-home disc jockeys can record tracks using the basic recording software included with the Mac and Windows operating systems. Free software like EasyPodcast (www.easypodcast.com) can help upload efforts to a Web site. Services like Liberated Syndication (www.libsyn.com) will provide Web hosting for as little as $5 a month.
Many podcasters end up creating digital studios, using more expensive microphones, mixers and audio editing software, like Adobe Audition ($299, www.adobe.com). Audition lets a podcaster carefully edit voiceovers, mix up to 128 stereo sound tracks and even correct the pitch of a recording. Unfortunately, Audition does not include the tools for uploading to the Web. Consequently, a new class of software designed for podcasters is beginning to emerge. Two noteworthy examples are Propaganda ($49.95, www.makepropaganda.com) and iPodcast Producer ($149.95, www.industrialaudiosoftware.com). Both Windows applications enable producers to record, mix multiple tracks and automatically post shows to the Web.
Of course, unlike a live radio broadcast or streaming music online, podcasts are downloaded and stored in their entirety. So the programs have the potential to generate thousands of copies of songs, raising legal issues. "Podcasters, like the users of any other sound recordings, must obtain the appropriate licenses from the copyright owners, or their designees," the Recording Industry Association of America said.
At "Insomnia Radio," Mr. Evangelho plays only independent bands that own the rights to their own songs, and gets permission directly from the artists to play their music. At "Coverville," to satisfy the royalties owed to songwriters and composers, Mr. Ibbott pays annual licensing fees totaling about $500 to Ascap and B.M.I. The R.I.A.A. has not specified if or how podcasters should pay the labels.
The programs are stored in the MP3 file format, and companies that use MP3 compression must pay a licensing fee to Thomson, a co-creator of the technology. But according to Rocky Caldwell at Thomson's licensing unit, fees are not applicable unless users make at least $100,000 a year from their podcasts. Now that's the kind of problem many podcasters wish they had.
quote: Podcasters -- must obtain the appropriate licenses from the copyright owners, or their designees.
O.K. I get that, if you use somebody else's IP you pay for it, whether you're altering, copying or distributing or ...
quote:Mr. Ibbott pays annual licensing fees totaling about $500 to Ascap and B.M.I. The R.I.A.A. has not specified if or how podcasters should pay the labels.
Is Shatner gonna get any of the money? How can anybody track what is played and who gets paid? What if I use a web-hosting service based in Cayman Islands, or wherever? Who has jurisdiction? Sometimes, it seems to me, the RIAA (and the rest of the alphabet soup) will spend $10 to collect 50¢. I'm all for paying for somebody else's creativity, but I'm starting to wonder what percentage of fees collected go to the artists and how much stay with the agencies to fund the next power grab?
(Hard to believe there are still licensing problems for a show of the magnitude of American Idol, and that writers (artists) wouldn't want their songs performed on international television for 65 million people. Even if a performer butchers the song, it still promotes it, by having the orignal retain all it's 'original' glory.)
'IDOL' COVERS PAYING OFF FOR Gavin DeGraw, Los Lonely Boys
Artists whose songs are performed on TV are seeing dramatic sales increases.
by Corey Moss
"American Idol" pays artists to let contestants sing their songs on the show, but it seems maybe the artists should be paying "Idol." As recent charts show, artists whose songs are performed on the singing competition see dramatic sales increases following the broadcast.
Two weeks ago, after Bo Bice sang Gavin DeGraw's "I Don't Want to Be," DeGraw's Chariot Stripped soared from #146 to #92 on Billboard's albums chart with a 61 percent sales boost (see "Springsteen's Latest Leaves Mariah, Rob Thomas In The Dust"). Meanwhile, online sales of the track itself, through Web sites like iTunes, rose a massive 94 percent.
Bice proved a powerful sales force again last week after singing Los Lonely Boys' "Heaven." The following week, Los Lonely Boys' self-titled debut, which includes the track, surged from #121 to #81 on a 77 percent sales increase.
And it's not just Bo. Rascal Flatts' Feels Like Today climbed from #27 to #22 with a 43 percent sales bump after Carrie Underwood sang "Bless the Broken Road," while Brian McKnight's Gemini jumped from #191 to #147 with a 46 percent sales boost following Scott Savol's rendition of "Everytime You Go Away" (see "Nine Inch Nails' With Teeth Devours Chart Competition").
Also last week, single sales jumped for Backstreet Boys' "Incomplete" and the "American Idol" season four finalists' rendition of Diana Ross' "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" after Anthony Federov and Vonzell Solomon sang those songs, respectively. (The Backstreet Boys and "Idol" albums have yet to be released.)
Certainly these figures are no coincidence.
"We've been scratching our heads, and there doesn't seem to be anything else that would cause those particular albums [to rise]," Billboard Director of Charts Geoff Mayfield said Wednesday. "It's not like there were big promotions or pricing changes. Our belief is the 'Idol' performances drew interest."
Though "Idol" is nearing the end of its fourth season, the show's influence on sales of recently released albums is a new phenomenon, as this is the first season the show has featured themes that allow contestants to sing contemporary music. Mayfield, however, has been tracking the show's impact on the catalog charts since "Idol" began four years ago.
"We noticed early on that the Bee Gees and Lionel Richie and other vintage artists who had been featured on the show, either as judges or when their music was performed, saw some pretty significant spikes," Mayfield said. "So it would make sense that would happen for current music."
Sales for so-called vintage artists have also been impacted this season. After Constantine Maroulis sang Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," a highlight of the season (see " 'American Idol' Recap: Constantine Now Rocker Of Choice, Nadia Like 'Wallpaper' "), the song suddenly appeared high on the downloads chart, Mayfield said.
In those cases, it's assumed that younger music fans are being turned on to veteran artists through "Idol." But shouldn't those same viewers already be familiar with DeGraw, Los Lonely Boys and the Backstreet Boys — artists who currently have top 40 radio singles?
"With the nature of radio being what it is, sometimes the consumer doesn't have a chance to put a name with a song until they see it performed on television," Mayfield explained. "Even if it's not the original artist [singing it], if the singer says, 'I'm doing a song by Gavin DeGraw,' the viewer says, 'Oh, I like that song, I'm going to get that album.' It's connecting dots."
Interestingly, Maroulis said it was more challenging to get newer songs cleared than older ones, despite the "Idol" producers' willingness to pay up to $6,000 for the rights.
"They don't necessarily want some kid on TV playing their song and maybe messing it up, so I'm sympathetic to that," said Maroulis, who was eliminated after singing Nickelback's "How You Remind Me," a song he selected after the artist behind his first choice refused to clear it (Maroulis wouldn't name names).
With the recent sales figures, however, clearing new songs should become easier. "Clearing songs, in general, gets easier each year as the show's popularity grows," Co-Executive Producer Ken Warwick said.
Maybe even someday — like with "The Apprentice," where companies pay big bucks to have their products be part of the competition — artists and their record labels will start writing checks instead of cashing them.
My last custom disc I recently ordered contained 2 songs done by Bo Bice. "Spinning Wheels" and "Vehicle". Heard them on Idol, and now there in my book. Both excellent versions by SC.
Posts: 650 | From: Massillon, Ohio USA | Registered: Jan 2001
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I don't think some of these artist who are saying no, knows what an impact seing thier songs performed could be.
I remember a few years ago while out singing karaoke before KJ'ing. Some girls were singing Shania Twain before that night I never even heard of Shania as I never listened to country (I think she is more like pop country anyways) Well after that and seeing the video on CMT You're Still The One from Her I have every Shania Twain put out and quite a few karaoke songs from her.
I have to quit watching CMT I just seen Shania's video for I Ain't No Quitter last week and I ordered SoundChoices Version (CDG)which should be here Thursday (I hope)
I was influenced by that video. The power of t.v. lol
I certainly hope someday some of these artist who are saying no karaoke will change their mind.
I know some of them don't like to think of singers screwing up their song but maybe they are afraid somebody will do it better.
I only heard this once while I was out with somebody and Adam sang a Tim McGraw song and this guy told him that he sung it better.
I wonder how many KJ's ever thought one of their singers sang a song better than the Artist who recorded that song?
PLEASANT GROVE, Utah (May16, 2005) – When karaoke first appeared in the U.S., some believed it was nothing more than a passing fad. Twenty years later, it’s still going strong, but finds itself battling an unlikely foe. The karaoke industry is under attack from the big music publishers and many legitimate karaoke labels may not be able to survive the onslaught.
“Under the guise of fighting piracy and copyright infringement, music publishers are strong-arming unfair fees from licensed and royalty-paying karaoke companies to the tune of millions of dollars,” said Rick Priddis, president of Priddis Music, Inc. “I’ve been in the karaoke business for more than 20 years, and all of a sudden I am looking at the prospect of losing my company because of the publishers’ overly aggressive practices – and I’m not alone.”
Unlike Napster, companies such as Priddis Music have been paying royalties under existing copyright laws. Although the music publishers have accepted those payments for years, Priddis Music and other karaoke companies are now finding themselves under the Napster-esque label of “willful infringers.”
When Priddis started his business, he used cassettes with the song lyrics printed on paper. Mechanical or compulsory licenses were acquired for the recordings and reprint licenses for the lyrics. Priddis Music based its entire business tenure on the terms of the Compulsory License Act and similar mechanical licensing through the publishers’ agent, the Harry Fox Agency. When technology changed from cassette to CD, Priddis and other karaoke producers changed the lyrics from paper to a TV screen, with no background images or movies, to display the lyrics.
“The copyright law provides for compulsory licensing of sound recordings,” said Priddis. “The publishers don’t seem to like the Compulsory License Act because it limits their control and regulates what they can charge. With new technology for distributing music, the publishers have found a loophole in the outdated compulsory statutes and are using it like a sword. They are evading the ‘pay-as-you-go’ terms of compulsory licensing and are demanding synchronization fees because they claim the lyrics on the TV screen are “synched up” with the music. Now we are being told that we have to re-license all of our songs under synchronization licenses – with one-time up-front fees of up to $1,000 a song – or face litigation. In our business, we have to keep as many songs as possible in our catalogues, whether or not they sell well. With the prospect of re-licensing thousands of songs at a cost of millions of dollars, I don’t know too many legitimate karaoke companies who can pay that kind of money and keep their doors open.”
Priddis pointed out that the publishers are not above using force. He had been doing business with Hal Leonard Publishing, Warner Brothers Publications and the Harry Fox Agency since Priddis Music began. Under intense pressure from the publishers forcing the synchronization license issue, these companies simultaneously shut Priddis Music off from further reprint and mechanical licensing.
He noted that karaoke licensing is very different in the United Kingdom, where MCPS (the UK Harry Fox equivalent) is karaoke-friendly, not only offering fairly-priced mechanical licenses that include on-screen lyrics, but discounted pricing in order to encourage the karaoke market there. While U.S. publishers have agreed to the UK terms for UK karaoke companies, they are preventing hard-pressed U.S. karaoke companies from taking advantage of that program. U.S. agents require import licenses in order to stop anyone that has not paid their exorbitant fees.
“When I started my business,” Priddis said, “I thought the Compulsory License Act was there to protect companies like mine that wanted to legitimately compete in the music marketplace, without coercion from publishers who try to squeeze out the ‘little guys.’ Now I’ve learned that the publishers will stop at nothing to make an extra buck. Remember, these are the people who went after the Girl Scouts some years ago for “singing around the campfire” and gave the world unhappybirthday.com, where you are asked to turn in people who sing Happy Birthday without paying fees.
“The great irony in all of this is that the publishers, while claiming their actions are trying to root out pirates and willful infringers, are making sure that only the pirates will survive,” Priddis said. “The true infringers have never paid fees and never will. If this continues, those of us who have paid fees and royalties all along will be forced out of business, and then everybody loses.”
Same battles many US karaoke manufacturers - Pocket, Pop Hits Monthly, Priddis, and Sound Choice amongst them - have been fighting for years (create your own innuendo, here).
The change from mechanical/compulsory licensing to the synchronization license was a killer - denied songs and doubled licensing costs.
With the addition of piracy/counterfeiting at the end of the century, the karaoke industry went from a fun business to a junkyard dogfight.
And the casualties keep coming. Today, we heard that a major, longtime karaoke producer based in California closed their doors yesterday. Less competition for the rest of us, but unsettling news because they were forced out by market conditions somewhat beyond their control.
Just a guess, but the only "major" player out of CA would be the same initials of a popular candy coated chocolate candy. Or the conductor of an orchestra.
Posts: 234 | From: Seattle, WA, USA | Registered: Dec 2001
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That wouldn't hurt my selection process at all, if that's who it was. I haven't bought one of those discs in probably 10 years.
Posts: 1845 | From: Tacoma, WA, USA | Registered: Nov 1999
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well, as with all things, the very artists, attourneys and their managers that want the best for the artists... are KILLING a choice and legitimate income stream: karaoke manufacturers.
Great! What's going to happen is the number of songs that can and will be produced will dramatically dwindle, you'll see more and more pirate organizations start up, produce something and gone in a flash. Probably download only to make it harder for the investigation folks to find them...
And when they stop getting royalties thataway, their karaoke fans will dwindle... it'll now become the fad everyone prophecied it would become... because we can't stay on top of the market anymore. No more new releases, or at least, not enough to keep it alive!
Then their fans will also dwindle on purchasing their original music... they thought they had issues before with Napster and other P2P networks??!! What happens when more and more folks wake up to the reality of what the real music business is becoming?
You're looking at the deathknell of commercialized music success... all due to greed.
Matt Do ya think the fad is starting to wear down?
I ask this because I was discussing this with my dad this morning as my x-husband wants me to buy him out and pretty damn cheap too. (He can't be in bars as he is an alcoholic) anyways I always consult with my dad first before spending that kind of money and he seems to think its a passing fad. So what'ch ya think? I also know with the smoking ban going into effect this kind of business will be hurting here.
This is off the music side and a couple weeks old but is making quite a stir in Appleton. Some bar owners on the outer city limits have actually made signs saying smoking is allowed. Thre is quite a controversay going on in town right now.
Appleton's Smoking Ban Causing Confusion, Court Challenges, Changes by Bob Lowe May 9, 2005
Appleton’s smoking ban does not go into effect until July 1, but it already is causing a great deal of confusion, court challenges and changes as business owners and citizens prepare for the precedent-setting ordinance.
On April 5, by a margin of 9,726 votes to 7,551 votes, Appleton voters approved a binding referendum to prohibit smoking in all workplaces, including all bars and restaurants.
When it goes into effect in less than two months, it will be the most restrictive anti-smoking ordinance in the state. Madison, the only other Wisconsin city with a comprehensive work place smoking ban, allows smoking in private clubs. The Appleton ordinance makes no such exceptions.
Proponents of the measure, including Community Action for Tobacco Free Living, said the medical evidence was overwhelming that second-hand smoke poses health danger to non-smokers as well as employees in establishments that allow smoking.
Opponents, particularly bar and restaurant owners fearing a loss of business, have hired a law firm to challenge the impending ban in court.
The issue is further complicated because some opponents of the smoking ban claim the referendum question itself was illegal.
Meanwhile, some smoking patrons mistakenly believe the ban is already in effect and have been acting accordingly. One downtown Appleton bar owner, pointing to the scarcity of customers on a recent night, said the referendum ¨is already having an effect because the majority of the people don´t know it does not go into effect until July 1.
Some non-smoking customers have been telling bar owners that ¨other customers are violating the ordinance.” Connie Olson, executive director of the Community Action for Tobacco Free Living, said the three-month transition period between the referendum and its date of effect is intended to help businesses concerned with the loss of revenue to changes to accommodate to the new ordinance.
Other residents believe – again mistakenly -- that the police will come swarming into bars and restaurants to cite smokers found to be in violation.
Appleton Police Chief Richard Meyers has stated that his officers will not be conducting any such patrols. He said enforcement will be on a “complaint basis,” such as if a patron fails to observe the restriction or a customer reports that a particular establishment is not complying with the law.
Some smokers also are worried that police will issue people smoking outdoors tickets for tossing cigarette butts on the ground. Myers said the new ordinance does not change any existing ordinance that prohibits littering on the streets, sidewalks, parks or waterways. Under the ordinance, smokers will not be allowed to congregate within the immediate entrance of a building and must be at least 20 feet of entrances to city buildings, according to City Atty. James Walsh.
According to the ordinance, smoking restrictions not only apply to buildings but city-owned buses or leased vehicles. Any one found in violation could be fined “no more than” $125 for a first offense and “no more than” $500 for the second and subsequent offenses.
A number of business owners said patronage has declined since April 5 but not all were certain that the proposed ordinance is responsible. There have been hints that some conventions might cancel or not book reservations because of the smoking ban. But officials of the Fox Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau said there have been no official cancellations as a result of the ban so far.
Among the general public, reactions have ranged from those who believe the ban is a long overdue measure to promote a pollution-free working environment to others who contend that it is another intrusion of government into their private lives.
Some bar patrons threaten to go to neighboring municipalities like Neenah, Menasha and Grand Chute, that still allow smoking in bars and restaurants -- or simply stay home. Opponents of the ban said if it continues to be applied to selected cities, it would create a hodge-podge of different local regulations that would be confusing to residents. A few state legislators have introduced laws that would impose a consistent statewide ban on smoking in all municipalities. Action is still pending on these proposals.
Everyone threatened all that stuff here in California; but who cares now. We have outdoor smoking areas, even patios, where they host the karaoke on the patio; which is sort of enclosed. A funny thing over New Year's when I was in Las Vegas, a friend of mine who is a smoker was with me and always put his cigerette out before he entered a casino. They allowed smoking in the casino, it was that he was just used to not smoking inside in California, and it came natural to put it out before entering. Maybe there will be a little fall out, but people will get used to it, except for those that smoke cigarette right after cigarette, chain-smokers. People will realize that a cigarette break ain't all that bad, especially if you have a William Hung type at your karaoke bar.
Posts: 2246 | From: Palmdale, CA, USA | Registered: Oct 2001
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DETROIT (Reuters) - A disc jockey whose severe allergy to a colleague's perfume ultimately led to her being fired by a country music radio station has been awarded $10.6 million by a jury.
Infinity Broadcasting Corp.-owned WYCD-FM in Southfield, Michigan, discriminated against Erin Weber, the station's top-rated midday disc jockey, the federal jury declared in its verdict delivered on Monday in U.S. District Court.
Weber's suit claimed her violent reaction to "toxic chemicals" which had been spilled in the radio station's studio in 1999 caused her to suffer chemical burns in her airways, vocal chord swelling, difficulty breathing and laryngitis.
The toxic chemicals also had the effect of increasing Weber's sensitivity to her colleague's perfume.
Her doctors warned of her severe allergy to the perfume worn by an afternoon disc jockey, saying further exposure could risk "the possibility of death."
Weber's suit also said she faced retaliation after she filed a discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
She argued the station did not accommodate her health issues and she missed work, which contributed to her 2001 firing.
i heard some talk that the late-lamented music maestro was being sued by polygram for lack of permission to produce karaoke versions of their catalogue. anyone else hear about this? is it true, and did it contribute to mm's demise?
Posts: 355 | From: Oakland, CA USA | Registered: Feb 2000
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new attempt by the record companies to copy-protect discs. from the san jose mercury news (www.mercurynews.com):
Music industry eyes `casual piracy'
MAJOR LABELS TO COPY-PROTECT ALL CDS SOLD IN THE U.S.
By Dawn C. Chmielewski Mercury News
The record labels are in pursuit of a new class of music pirates -- not the millions who download bootlegged songs over the Internet but those who copy music CDs for their friends.
The music industry considers the seemingly innocuous act of duplicating a music CD for someone else ``casual piracy,'' a practice that surpasses Internet file-sharing as the single largest source of unauthorized music distribution. After fits and starts, the industry's largest players are taking measures to place curbs on copying.
Sony BMG Music Entertainment, home to some of the music industry's biggest acts, including Bruce Springsteen, System of a Down and Shakira, plans to copy-protect all music CDs sold in the United States by the end of the year. Another major label, EMI, whose artist roster includes Coldplay and Norah Jones, will introduce copy-protected CDs in its two largest markets -- the United States and the United Kingdom -- in the coming weeks.
For consumers, it signals an abrupt change to the rip, mix, burn mania embodied by the 2001 Apple Computer ad campaign promoting the first iMac computer with a CD burner and software for creating custom music CDs. These new copy-protected discs limit the number of times people can create copies of music CDs or add individual songs to music mixes.
``You can do with the CD you bought what you do with it if you're within the realm of personal use,'' said Thomas Hesse, Sony BMG's president of global digital business. ``You can burn a copy that you play in your car or a copy that your son plays in his bedroom or make a personal mix. That's fine. That's the way people listen to music these days. If you attempt to burn 20 copies and distribute them to the kids who come to your son's birthday party, that's not possible.''
IPods an issue
Copy protection raises an even bigger problem for the millions of people who own Apple's iPod digital music player and use its iTunes software to organize their music and create custom CDs. Apple has refused to license its FairPlay rights-management software -- even to the labels. That means certain copy-protected CDs won't work with iTunes or the iPod without employing time-consuming work-arounds.
``They do not play on iPods simply because Apple has this proprietary approach,'' said Hesse of Sony BMG's copy-protected CDs. ``We would be willing and able to put'' FairPlay ``on CDs in an instant if Steve Jobs would flick the switch and allow us to do that.''
Apple refused to comment. However, well-placed sources within the music industry said the computer maker is still in active discussions with the labels to find a solution.
``We're working with all the major digital portable music players out there and our goal this year is to make them 100 percent compatible, so that when you put your disc into your computer, what opens up is your standard portable player interface,'' said Peter Jacobs, president and chief executive of SunnComm International, whose technology protects Sony BMG discs.
The music labels have been experimenting with various forms of copy protection since 2001. But early attempts yielded embarrassing results: The CDs didn't play in all stereos or computers.
The labels say such technical glitches are a thing of the past. EMI has distributed more than 127 million copy-protected discs in 48 countries with few customer complaints.
``The technologies we're testing have matured to the point where consumers can play, rip, burn and in some cases share their music with others while still protecting the intellectual property of EMI's artists,'' wrote Richard Cottrell, the label's head of anti-piracy in an instant message.
First CDs a success
The industry has been emboldened by Sony BMG's success with the first copy-protected release from a major act. Velvet Revolver's June 2004 release of ``Contraband'' topped the Billboard charts and ended up selling more than 7 million copies worldwide. It suggested consumers were willing to accept copying curbs that mirrored those of the digital download stores.
Now, half of Sony BMG's new releases -- including the Dave Matthews Band's million-selling ``Stand Up'' -- are protected. All new CDs will be copy-protected by year's end.
EMI will test various copy-protection technologies in different parts of the world, starting with trials in the U.K. that began this week.
The copy protection technologies from SunnComm, Macrovision and Sony DADC differ in subtle ways. There are, however, some similarities. Many come with two sets of recorded music -- songs in the unprotected format that plays whenever the disc is inserted into a CD or DVD player, and a separate ``session'' of compressed, copy-protected files that open when the disc is inserted into a computer.
SunnComm's newest technology doesn't require two recording sessions on a disc. It adds the copy protection to the music on the fly, in whatever format the labels choose: Windows Media or Sony's ATRAC. SunnComm discs will also play on Macs. That's not true for the Macrovision technology behind EMI's copy protection.
On the PC, a message appears that asks the buyer for permission to install a piece of software on the desktop. Answer no, and the disc is ejected. It won't play. Once installed, the software regulates how often people can rip a full copy of the CD to the computer, burn individual tracks or make full copies of each album. EMI, for example, will permit the consumer to upload an album once per computer, burn individual tracks seven times and make up to three full copies of each CD.
A challenge for Apple
This not only prevents people from making endless dubs of CDs for friends, it potentially dries up the leading source of unprotected MP3 music files that feed the Internet file-sharing networks.
The move to embrace copy protection could boost Apple's online music rivals, such as Napster or Yahoo Music, which are based on Microsoft's technology, according to Paul-Jon McNealy, an analyst with American Technology Research in San Francisco.
Apple has three choices: do nothing and gamble that consumers will be so annoyed with copy protection, they'll stop buying music CDs; license its FairPlay technology; or embrace the technology of its longstanding rival, Microsoft, said McNealy.
Michael McGuire, research director for GartnerG2 in San Jose, said it's too soon to predict how copy protection will impact consumers who use iPod and iTunes. But it could prompt some consumers to stop buying CDs and go online for their music purchases.
``Are these people likely to write angry letters to the editor or to Sir Howard, registering disgust?'' said McGuire, referring to Sony's new chief executive, Howard Stringer. ``No. They'll find it somewhere else.''
How the protections work (copy-protection technologies listed in above article)
Sony BMG and EMI use different technologies to copy-protect music CDs.
ON A WINDOWS PC
1) Insert the CD into the computer. You'll be asked for permission to install a small software application that unlocks access to bonus features -- such as lyrics or photo galleries -- but also prevents you from ``ripping'' the songs in as unprotected MP3 music files.
2) An on-screen menu presents you with a list of options, including copying music tracks onto the computer. Click this icon to make a copy.
3) Sony BMG's technology, from SunnComm, uses Windows Media protection. You'll need the Windows Media 9 or more current version to listen to or copy the songs.
4) Once the Media Player launches on the PC, you can import the tracks from the copy-protected Sony disc onto the computer using the ``album import function.''
Macrovision refused to discuss its deal with EMI or provide details about the technologies it uses to copy-protect CDs.
Windows users who own iPods will have to employ familiar work-arounds to move music off a copy-protected CD and onto the device. For EMI's releases, that involves burning individual tracks onto a CD and importing them one by one into the iTunes music software. For Sony's tracks, that means burning the songs to a CD and then importing them into the iTunes music management application.
ON A MACINTOSH
Apple Computer refuses to license its proprietary copy-protection technology to the labels. That means Mac users will encounter problems with some copy-protected discs. Sony BMG's tracks will be directly imported into the iTunes music management software, just like any other CD. But EMI releases will have to be burned, one track at a time, onto a CD, then imported into iTunes.
That's a step in the right direction, however, it won't work in the grand scheme of things. There are ways to rip music 1 as simple as hooking a cd player up to the computer & playing the music while recording as a wav file. It isn't as quick as a 52x rip, but just as effective none the less. The industry needs to re-evaluate itself & figure out a way to "authorize" digital copies. True pirates will never stop, they are now just trying to target the "casual" user (as they put it) that may make a copy for a friend - something that has been done in every format to tape (reel, 8 track, cassette) in the history of music mind you - the casual use won't stop. It's funny that Sony was a big part of the cd technology - including the development of burners, now they are trying to stop us using the technology they helped develop. I guess they figure they can't go after the true pirates so they will try to stop the average user from making copies.
Posts: 1845 | From: Tacoma, WA, USA | Registered: Nov 1999
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