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Eclectopia Blog

Quote for Thought

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By Jim Lange
 · March 27, 2013

"Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to never was there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it."

~Flannery O'Connor

Don't Expect Royalties

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By Jim Lange
 · January 31, 2013

royalties
Record companies not paying artists royalties? That's never happened, has it?

Disclaimer: it's not for me to determine whether Mr. Fripp's allegations against EG and BMI are true or not true. I'm only trying to point out one of many pitfalls of being in the music industry as I see it from the many articles I've read and the artists I've interviewed.

 

From my own perspective, I have known club owners who were clearly not paying us (a band) what would have been a fair sum considering the crowd (consumers of alcohol) we brought in: i.e. the club was making $9,000 a weekend night and were were getting $350.

 

Or when we would play only for the money taken at the door and realize that perhaps the doorman was pocketing some of it.

 

My own ongoing source of disappointment is my only published work. The man who operates this Canadian publishing company has been openly hostile to any kind of communication regarding royalties and in one email accused me of thinking about sending legions of lawyers his direction. I have never considered this action, although no checks nor any explanation has been forthcoming for years. Maybe it's a strategy on his part to his own benefit or perhaps he is just a nasty man. I don't know.

 

The other bummer: transferring from Canadian to American dollars-there is a fee both ways because the company does not have a bank in the US.

 

But this is all small change compared to guitarist Robert Fripp's "endless grief."

 

From the RF diary:

 

"In one of the seemingly endless series of industry disputes, often revolving around royalties and their non- and under-payment, on the occasion about-to-be-reported the disputation was with BMG Publishing. BMG Publishing bought the EG Music publishing catalogue in 1991 (although they were asked by Mr. Fenwick to refer to this as a licensing deal, to maintain the fiction that EG were continuing as an industry player).

Some ten years later, c. 2001, it became apparent to us that BMG had underpaid publishing revenue by c. £100,000. David Singleton and myself went to BMG UK HQ on Putney Bridge for a meeting, and I suggested that to expedite a settlement, we agree the royalties owed were £100,00. Faces fell around the room. The figure BMG had in mind was £50,000. Detailed auditing later, the owed sum was shown to be £110,000 (173,612.64 USD apx.).

Mr. Power Possessor @ BMG UK Publishing called DGM HQ for David Singleton, who had just gone home, and spoke to myself. We had a short conversation before Mr. PP called David at home and asked: How much would Robert settle for? Ie what discount can BMG get on the royalties we owe him, and agree is the amount we owe him, if we actually pay him something?

David Singleton’s reply: I think Robert would like to be paid the amount he is owed."

More Brian Eno

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By Jim Lange
 · January 25, 2013

You've got to love the BBC. Any broadcasting system that shines a light on their native composers and artists has got to be commended. America's public television has done this as well, but you don't seem to see this anymore. I'm not sure why, but I find myself going to YouTube much more these days in search of musical nourishment than my TV.

This documentary refers to Eno as an "intellectual guru." I would take slight issue with the word intellectual in the pejorative sense. If you mean he's a fascinating man who thinks (dreams) about new ways to make music and art then I agree. But Eno's process doesn't end with his mind-he listens and trusts his instincts.

 

To be honest, the best composers have always done this.

 

Brian Eno is one of the most interesting and thought-provoking composers of our time.

The Idiot-net

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By Jim Lange
 · December 31, 2012

the brain
Where does the power of reason go when people voice their opinion on the web?

 

  
The internet is a wonderful, world-changing place where it seems almost anything is possible. 
It is also akin to a virtual back-alley where shady characters spew poison and ill-considered opinions. Not a nice place. 
  
Here two "gentlemen" cast their erudite opinions: 
From the Robert Fripp diary:  

 
"you know this s**** on the internet for free right?

if you wanna support robert fripp just buy a t-shirt

i wish these old **** would tour

Retirement from live performance. He still does a bit of studio recording. In other words, he's mostly retired.


wow how lame

kinda pissed, i mean how hard is it to sit down on a stool for a few hours…"


Robert's response:


If the last gentlemen were in the audience, perhaps very hard indeed. If the first gentlemen were also in that audience, impossibly hard." 

Being in radio, I have gotten my share of opinions which have been on the knuckle-dragging side of human intelligence. Being a musician, I have suffered through the tedious and uninformed opinions of the loud bar patron who just wants to bend the ear of one of the band members. Both add up to unnecessary and harmful noise which I no longer have the patience to endure. My personal choice and oath to myself is not to engage with comments of this nature. I avoid the poison.

 

I mean, how hard is it to just sit behind an microphone and talk?

 

If you only knew sometimes. If you only knew.

 

Eno Rolls Out New App - Scape

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By Jim Lange
 · December 5, 2012

ENo portrait
Michiko Nakao
“I might retire, now I’ve found a way to make myself redundant," says Brian Eno.

Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers roll out Scape - a new app currently available for iPad only. This brings the concept of generative music into the hands of musicians and non musicians alike.

 

Read about it here.

Financial Fun (?)

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By Jim Lange
 · September 13, 2012

food chain
Musicians: guess which fish you are?

Fripp reads the Financial Times and now he's done an interview for them. This may answer your question about whether to enter into music as a career. 

 

Fripp has been in dispute with UMG for some time now. 

 

Here's an excerpt from his diary: "Mr. Most Useless Of Smiths in the UMG Business Affairs Department. 

 

This is the man who famously made the comment to Declan Panegyric: You cannot expect a company the size of UMG to read or apply the details of every contract of every catalogue it acquires.

 
Err. Um. Well. Alright. Actually, very much not - alright.

 
So, UMG accepts liability for those details in any contract it didn’t read, didn’t honour?

 
Err. Um. Well. No. Rather than acknowledging error and addressing it, promptly and reasonably, better to use the UMG in-house lawyer to block and deflect for three years. Then, when that has failed to drive us away, employ an expensive top London-lawyer to block and deflect with greater authority than Mr. Useless can summon from his common presence.

 

From everything I have read, the music industry is a really shady place. I have only been a local musician, but even my experience tells me that people come along who want to hussle you for their own purposes (read: money). 

 

I cannot imagine the smiling, hand shaking, music industry snakes and sharks that come out of the woodwork to offer a deal that ends up with the artist losing all rights to their own music, never receiving any royalties, and ending up owing the record company more money than they could earn in a lifetime.

 

And that's what happened to the lucky ones.

The Stones at 50

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By Jim Lange
 · July 13, 2012

Stones at 50
Who could have imagined that a band could last this long?

Rock 'n' roll is still considered to be an ephemeral art form. Here today and long forgotten tomorrow.

 

So, how did five lads from the UK start a band some 50 years ago and are still planning to play? There's no way to answer that question. The Stones story is epic, chaotic, messy, but has a swagger all its own.

 

The Rolling Stones have been reinventing themselves and staying relevant for audiences in a business notorious for churning them out, chewing them up and spitting them out. Record companies are sometimes little more than loan sharks and thieves, offering new bands Mephistopheles-like contracts that are unfair and unethical. And, fame, says Keith Richards, is "the most dangerous drug of all." 

 

What, then, gentle readers, does this all add up to?

 

Enter (It's free) to win an e-copy of this book. Here's what to do:

email feedback@wvpubcast.org with this in the subject line "The Stones at 50"

 

Be sure to include contact info.

 

That's all.

 

P.S. I can't say how many winners there will be, just enter, dummy.


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