Archive for September, 2009

court orders civilization to shut down!

September 27, 2009

The heirs to the estates of Da Vinci, Galileo, Copernicus, Shakespeare, Newton and countless others have filed a class action seking retroactive imposition of patent, copyright  and trademark laws on their ancestors’ works.  They are seeking that all persona and busines entities who have stood and are continuing to stand on the shoulders of their family members need to stop doing that immdiately.  They also sought $100 quadrillion in damages past present and future from the governments of all countries of the world,. 

As such, the judge ordered that civilization be enjoined from continuing and cease and desist operations forthwith.


The difference between a pro and a hobbyist

September 19, 2009

 can you tell if you’re really a profesional or just an amateur hobbyist.

Some rules first:  an individual cannot qualify as a non-profit or charitable organization.

A professional must be in it for-profit.


The IRS will infer you are in it for-profit and allow you to deduct as ordinary business expenses your expenses but only if, in the last 5 yax years, you made a profit in 3 of those years.

If not, yours is just a hobby and you’re not in business.  Only BUSINESS EXPENSES can be deducted, not hobby expenses.


If indeed, you are a professional (musician, writing, etc.) aren’t you tired of all the hobbyists posting their non-qualified comments about business?


September 17, 2009

Just go to any of these:

You might learn something.

comments about performance rights orgs

September 12, 2009


It’s no secret that most of the traditional “recording industry” really is structured almost entirely to help the big name acts, but whenever we write about the collections organizations like ASCAP and BMI we get angry people sending in emails and comments insisting that it’s unfair to lump those two in with the RIAA, since they’re really out to help the actual musicians, even the small guys. Uh huh. Of course, we’ve already shown how ASCAP and BMI and their overly aggressive attempts to collect royalties from just about everywhere actually have been known to harm up-and-coming singers, such as by destroying the ability for many venues to host open mic nights. ASCAP has been particularly aggressive lately in making bizarre claims about how embedding YouTube videos requires a license (despite the fact YouTube already pays ASCAP — so it wants to double count) and how ringtones represent a public performance. These are pure money grabs that make it that much more difficult for anyone to help promote up-and-coming musicians and songwriters. Is it any wonder, in the meantime, that the organization is spending time setting up efforts to try to push back against people who support open culture and content sharing? It apparently would prefer that the songwriters they “represent” not know about these efforts that actually do quite a bit to harm the vast majority of songwriters out there.

But, back to the original point. ASCAP, BMI and their supporters insist that they’re not as bad as the big, mean RIAA, and that they’re especially focused on providing important royalties to less well known artists. Except… even that may be questionable, at least when it comes to live performance royalties (admittedly, a smaller segment of overall royalties). Reader btr1701 sent in some email exchanges from a mailing list, which I won’t share directly since I don’t have approval, concerning a jazz musician trying to find out why she doesn’t receive any live performance royalties, despite knowing that these organizations collect them, supposedly on her behalf. In response, she’s told that ASCAP and BMI only distribute that royalty money to “the top 200 grossing US tours of the year.” If you’re smaller than that? Too bad. Except… they do have one minor exception. If you play “serious music” (no joke), then they’ll pay you your royalties. So, the musician asks what is “serious music” and is told it’s “generally considered to be classical music.”

The musician tried re-registering her own (jazz) compositions as “serious music” but it “does not appear to have made any difference whatsoever” and she notes that she is “yet to receive a single penny… for any US performance or radio broadcast of any kind” despite the fact that her music has been performed in the US for almost ten years, and “the vast majority of performances of my music take place in the US.”

I went looking for some more details, and it appears that, indeed, ASCAP and BMI have a policy in place to only provide performance royalties to the top 200 grossing tours in the US. If you’re a “smaller” act, the only way to get paid is to be an opening act on such a tour. Otherwise? Too bad, you’re on your own. Aren’t you glad you signed with ASCAP or BMI? Update Good clarifications in the comments on this. Despite what the musician was told originally, it appears that it’s not that ASCAP and BMI only pay the top 200 tours, but that they only monitor them (it’s not explained how they know ahead of time which are the top 200) in order to figure out who to pay. The end result, of course, is functionally quite similar. If they’re only monitoring the top 200 grossing tours, then the likelihood of them finding out about songs from less well known composers is close to nil. But those big names? They get more than their fair share.

ask yourself these questions about why no one is buying your music

September 6, 2009

Too many music creators think they deserve to be paid for their music; as though consumers were at their beck and call.

Ask yourself these questions (from Techdirt) about your lack of sales:

  • Does anyone know?
  • Is your music up to scratch?
  • Are you giving your fans options?
  • Are you giving your fans a reason to buy?
  • Are your prices reasonable?
  • even Michael Jackson despised the biz bullshit

    September 6, 2009
    Jackson: Time for Artists to Stand Against Labels

    Although he didn’t know it at the time, one of Michael Jackson’s last acts was to lash out at record labels. In a video interview recorded by director Brett Ratner, when asked about the greatest lesson he’s learned, Jackson replied, “Not to trust everybody in the [record] industry. There’s a lot of sharks and record companies steal. They cheat. I have to audit them. And it’s time for artists to take a stand against them.”

    The interview aired on ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America” and surfaces at a time when record labels are asking members of Congress to levy royalties on radio for local airplay of music aired free to listeners.

    The new licensing fee would direct 50 percent of the collected money to the song’s copyright holder, which RIAA Chairman Mitch Bainwol has told a Congressional committee is “typically, but not always, a label.” (09-04-09)