[Editor Charlie sez: Must read interview with a true artist rights advocate, Linda Bloss-Baum.]
Music has come a long way since the age of vinyl records and cassette tapes. It wasn’t that long ago when the only way to listen to music was either attending a live performance, tune in to your favorite radio station, or purchase hard copies from your local music store. Now with the ability to stream music from the internet, listening to our favorite artist is readily at our finger tips. Anyone with a laptop or smart phone can access almost any artist and song.
It also became increasingly harder for music artists to get paid for their creations.
This is where companies like SoundExchange come into play, working at the center of digital music to develop business solutions that benefit the entire music industry. As the Senior Director of Industry and Artist Relations, Linda Bloss-Buam ensure that artists and rights owners are aware of all the services that SoundExchange has to offer.
Below, Linda shares with us how she applies her experience and training in music policies and practices, and what she is doing to increase awareness of women in the music industry.
Read the interview on the Women’s International Music Network
On the surface, at least, the “Transparency in Music Licensing Ownership Act,” introduced in the House of Representatives on July 20 by Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), seems like a copyright bill that could help untangle the online music business. At a time when accurately identifying rightsholders has become an important issue — and an expensive one — the bill would direct the U.S. Copyright Office to create a database to make the process easy. Who could be against transparency? Or an easy way to identify rightsholders? Or, in a business where information is hoarded for strategic advantage, a comprehensive database run by a neutral organization?
Well, the devil is in the details.
Read the post on Billboard
A Guest Post By Alan Graham of OCL. Two years ago, this month, I wrote an article here called “Understanding Music and Blockchain Without The Hype“. As with any nascent technology that shows a great deal of promise, there’s generally a tremendous amount of hyperbole as to what’s possible. A lot can happen in two years.
There’s this perception that blockchain companies provide cheaper solutions, but we’re talking fractional cost savings. These savings may eventually cost more, not less over time. Building world class technology and then running it costs money. If your royalties vanish in a hack, you’ll want to be able to call someone, not talk to a bot.
Read the post on The Trichordist
After the money, one of the most important parts of a recording artist negotiation is the “marketing restrictions”. These are restrictions on what the record company or music publisher can do with your work–what type of licenses they can, or more frequently cannot, grant to third parties, for example. Essentially, whatever is not prohibited is permitted.
Marketing restrictions also have a temporal element–during or after the term, recouped or not recouped. There are some restrictions that are acknowledged to be verboten and are usually easy and unrestricted concessions. An example of these would be licensing for certain types of commercials such as tobacco, firearms, grooming or hygiene products and alcohol.
Stewart Dredge has an excellent article this week in the Guardian which brings to mind Laura Kobylecky‘s post on MusicTechPolicy drawing comparisons between Spotify’s “fake artist” problem and “The Next Rembrandt” with echoes of the fictional “versificator” operated by Big Brother’s “Music Department” in 1984. According to Stewart, there are dozens of AI music startups getting funded that all essentially do the same thing. Using a library of recordings (sometimes called a “corpus”), the algorithms “create” new recordings based on the songs and recordings in the corpus. Google is, of course, a leader in the space (not that different from how they used Google Books to train their translation algorithm, a process called “corpus machine translation”–the librarians will be next).
Those recordings can then be sold or licensed at a very low price which, as Laura and others have noted, can be used to drive down the royalties payable to all other artists on digital music services.
This is, of course, not dissimilar to Silicon Valley companies hiring lower paid foreign workers and ordering the employees who they are to replace participate in training their replacements. The difference is, of course, that those recordings have to come from somewhere.
It’s time to start adding to the list of marketing restrictions that the song or recording cannot be licensed for AI purposes of any kind.
Laura Kobylecky draws striking parallels from the fictional machine-made music in Orwell’s “1984” to Spotify’s fake artist scandal and “The Next Rembrandt”–art created from human works by machine algorithm.
via Guest Post: Making Fake Art: “1984”, The New Rembrandt, and The “Fake Artist” — MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY
[Editor Charlie sez: No database helps services that don’t use it–like Spotify.]
….Systems of this kind can’t help to revive memories of the doomed Global Repertoire Database (GRD) project, an attempted collaboration between SACEM and fellow collecting societies ASCAP, SOCAN, PRS for Music, SIEA and SGAE. It fell apart in 2014 after £8m of investment.
Why did it fail? “There were many reasons,” [Jean-Noël Tronc, CEO of French authors’ rights society SACEM] says, citing the involvement of too many cooks as one of them.
“Another reason was the technological choices being made – where we were creating a unique centralised database – was just not the proper way to address the issue,” he continues.
“Documentation is, by definition, dynamic. Every minute thousands of new works are being created every day. That is across tens of thousands of different databases. Some relate to publishers, some relate to CMOs; and so the idea that we could create a unique and centralised database with the project whose budget was tens of millions of dollars was maybe too ambitious a vision. And maybe not from a technology point of view tackling the issue from the right angle.”
Read the post on Music Ally