very long, but if you are interested in what the working conditions are for musicians....



I got this via email, which gives a new picture of what Napster is.

>This is an unedited transcript of Courtney Love's
>speech to the Digital Hollywood online
>entertainment conference, given in New York on May 16.

>>- - - - - - - - - - - -
>- - - - - - - - - - - -
>Today I want to talk about piracy and music. What
>is piracy? Piracy is the act of stealing an
>artist's work without any intention of paying for
>it. I'm not talking about Napster-type software.
>I'm talking about major label recording contracts.
>I want to start with a story about rock bands and
>record companies, and do some recording-contract
>This story is about a bidding-war band that gets a
>huge deal with a 20 percent royalty rate and a
>million-dollar advance. (No bidding-war band ever
>got a 20
>percent royalty, but whatever.) This is my "funny"
>math based on some reality and I just want to
>qualify it by saying I'm positive it's better math
>than what
>Edgar Bronfman Jr. [the president and CEO of
>Seagram, which owns Polygram] would provide.
>What happens to that million dollars?
>They spend half a million to record their album.
>That leaves the band with $500,000. They pay
>$100,000 to their manager for 20 percent
>commission. They
>pay $25,000 each to their lawyer and business
>That leaves $350,000 for the four band members to
>split. After $170,000 in taxes, there's $180,000
>left. That comes out to $45,000 per person.
>That's $45,000 to live on for a year until the
>record gets released.
>The record is a big hit and sells a million
>copies. (How a bidding-war band sells a million
>copies of its debut record is another rant
>entirely, but it's based on
>any basic civics-class knowledge that any of us
>have about cartels. Put simply, the antitrust laws
>in this country are basically a joke, protecting
>us just enough
>to not have to re-name our park service the
>Phillip Morris National Park Service.)
>So, this band releases two singles and makes two
>videos. The two videos cost a million dollars to
>make and 50 percent of the video production costs are
>recouped out of the band's royalties.
>The band gets $200,000 in tour support, which is
>100 percent recoupable.
>The record company spends $300,000 on independent
>radio promotion. You have to pay independent
>promotion to get your song on the radio; independent
>promotion is a system where the record companies
>use middlemen so they can pretend not to know that
>radio stations -- the unified broadcast system -- are
>getting paid to play their records.
>All of those independent promotion costs are
>charged to the band.
>Since the original million-dollar advance is also
>recoupable, the band owes $2 million to the record
>If all of the million records are sold at full
>price with no discounts or record clubs, the band
>earns $2 million in royalties, since their 20
>percent royalty works
>out to $2 a record.
>Two million dollars in royalties minus $2 million
>in recoupable expenses equals ... zero!
>How much does the record company make?
>They grossed $11 million.
>It costs $500,000 to manufacture the CDs and they
>advanced the band $1 million. Plus there were $1
>million in video costs, $300,000 in radio
>promotion and
>$200,000 in tour support.
>The company also paid $750,000 in music publishing
>They spent $2.2 million on marketing. That's
>mostly retail advertising, but marketing also pays
>for those huge posters of Marilyn Manson in Times Square
>and the street scouts who drive around in vans
>handing out black Korn T-shirts and backwards
>baseball caps. Not to mention trips to Scores and
>cash for tips for
>all and sundry.
>Add it up and the record company has spent about
>$4.4 million.
>So their profit is $6.6 million; the band may as
>well be working at a 7-Eleven.
>Of course, they had fun. Hearing yourself on the
>radio, selling records, getting new fans and being
>on TV is great, but now the band doesn't have
>enough money
>to pay the rent and nobody has any credit.
>Worst of all, after all this, the band owns none
>of its work ... they can pay the mortgage forever
>but they'll never own the house. Like I said:
>Our media says, "Boo hoo, poor pop stars, they had
>a nice ride. @#!!! them for speaking up"; but I say
>this dialogue is imperative. And cynical media people,
>who are more fascinated with celebrity than most
>celebrities, need to reacquaint themselves with
>their value systems.
>When you look at the legal line on a CD, it says
>copyright 1976 Atlantic Records or copyright 1996
>RCA Records. When you look at a book, though,
>it'll say
>something like copyright 1999 Susan Faludi, or
>David Foster Wallace. Authors own their books and
>license them to publishers. When the contract runs out,
>writers gets their books back. But record
>companies own our copyrights forever.
>The system's set up so almost nobody gets paid.
>* The RIAA *
>Last November, a Congressional aide named Mitch
>Glazier, with the support of the RIAA, added a
>"technical amendment" to a bill that defined
>recorded music
>as "works for hire" under the 1978 Copyright Act.
>He did this after all the hearings on the bill
>were over. By the time artists found out about the
>change, it was too late. The bill was on its way
>to the White
>House for the president's signature.
>That subtle change in copyright law will add
>billions of dollars to record company bank
>accounts over the next few years -- billions of
>dollars that rightfully
>should have been paid to artists. A "work for
>hire" is now owned in perpetuity by the record
>Under the 1978 Copyright Act, artists could
>reclaim the copyrights on their work after 35
>years. If you wrote and recorded "Everybody
>Hurts," you at least got
>it back to as a family legacy after 35 years. But
>now, because of this corrupt little pisher,
>"Everybody Hurts" never gets returned to your
>family, and can now be
>sold to the highest bidder.
>Over the years record companies have tried to put
>"work for hire" provisions in their contracts, and
>Mr. Glazier claims that the "work for hire" only
>"codified" a
>standard industry practice. But copyright laws
>didn't identify sound recordings as being eligible
>to be called "works for hire," so those contracts
>didn't mean
>anything. Until now.
>Writing and recording "Hey Jude" is now the same
>thing as writing an English textbook, writing
>standardized tests, translating a novel from one
>language to
>another or making a map. These are the types of
>things addressed in the "work for hire" act. And
>writing a standardized test is a work for hire.
>Not making a
>So an assistant substantially altered a major law
>when he only had the authority to make spelling
>corrections. That's not what I learned about how government
>works in my high school civics class.
>Three months later, the RIAA hired Mr. Glazier to
>become its top lobbyist at a salary that was
>obviously much greater than the one he had as the spelling
>corrector guy.
>The RIAA tries to argue that this change was
>necessary because of a provision in the bill that
>musicians supported. That provision prevents
>anyone from
>registering a famous person's name as a Web
>address without that person's permission. That's
>great. I own my name, and should be able to do
>what I want with
>my name.
>But the bill also created an exception that allows
>a company to take a person's name for a Web
>address if they create a work for hire. Which
>means a record
>company would be allowed to own your Web site when
>you record your "work for hire" album. Like I
>said: Sharecropping.
>Although I've never met any one at a record
>company who "believed in the Internet," they've
>all been trying to cover their asses by securing
>everyone's digital
>rights. Not that they know what to do with them.
>Go to a major label-owned band site. Give me a
>dollar for every time you see an annoying "under
>construction" sign. I used to pester Geffen (when
>it was a label) to do a better job. I was totally
>ignored for two years, until I got my band name
>back. The Goo
>Goo Dolls are struggling to gain control of their
>domain name from Warner Bros., who claim they own
>the name because they set up a @#!!!ty promotional Web
>site for the band.
>Orrin Hatch, songwriter and Republican senator
>from Utah, seems to be the only person in
>Washington with a progressive view of copyright
>law. One lobbyist
>says that there's no one in the House with a
>similar view and that "this would have never
>happened if Sonny Bono was still alive."
>By the way, which bill do you think the recording
>industry used for this amendment?
>The Record Company Redefinition Act? No. The Music
>Copyright Act? No. The Work for Hire Authorship
>Act? No.
>How about the Satellite Home Viewing Act of 1999?
>Stealing our copyright reversions in the dead of
>night while no one was looking, and with no
>hearings held, is piracy.
>It's piracy when the RIAA lobbies to change the
>bankruptcy law to make it more difficult for
>musicians to declare bankruptcy. Some musicians
>have declared
>bankruptcy to free themselves from truly evil
>contracts. TLC declared bankruptcy after they
>received less than 2 percent of the $175 million
>earned by their CD
>sales. That was about 40 times less than the
>profit that was divided among their management,
>production and record companies.
>Toni Braxton also declared bankruptcy in 1998. She
>sold $188 million worth of CDs, but she was broke
>because of a terrible recording contract that paid her
>less than 35 cents per album. Bankruptcy can be an
>artist's only defense against a truly horrible
>deal and the RIAA wants to take it away.
>Artists want to believe that we can make lots of
>money if we're successful. But there are hundreds
>of stories about artists in their 60s and 70s who
>are broke
>because they never made a dime from their hit
>records. And real success is still a long shot for
>a new artist today. Of the 32,000 new releases
>each year, only
>250 sell more than 10,000 copies. And less than 30
>go platinum.
>The four major record corporations fund the RIAA.
>These companies are rich and obviously
>well-represented. Recording artists and musicians
>don't really have
>the money to compete. The 273,000 working
>musicians in America make about $30,000 a year.
>Only 15 percent of American Federation of Musicians
>members work steadily in music.
>But the music industry is a $40 billion-a-year
>business. One-third of that revenue comes from the
>United States. The annual sales of cassettes, CDs
>and video
>are larger than the gross national product of 80
>countries. Americans have more CD players, radios
>and VCRs than we have bathtubs.
>Story after story gets told about artists -- some
>of them in their 60s and 70s, some of them authors
>of huge successful songs that we all enjoy, use
>and sing --
>living in total poverty, never having been paid
>anything. Not even having access to a union or to
>basic health care. Artists who have generated
>billions of
>dollars for an industry die broke and un-cared
>And they're not actors or participators. They're
>the rightful owners, originators and performers of
>original compositions.
>This is piracy.
>* Technology is not piracy *
>This opinion is one I really haven't formed yet,
>so as I speak about Napster now, please understand
>that I'm not totally informed. I will be the first
>in line to
>file a class action suit to protect my copyrights
>if Napster or even the far more advanced Gnutella
>doesn't work with us to protect us. I'm on [Metallica
>drummer] Lars Ulrich's side, in other words, and I
>feel really badly for him that he doesn't know how
>to condense his case down to a sound-bite that sounds
>more reasonable than the one I saw today.
>I also think Metallica is being given too much
>grief. It's anti-artist, for one thing. An artist
>speaks up and the artist gets squashed:
>Sharecropping. Don't get
>above your station, kid. It's not piracy when kids
>swap music over the Internet using Napster or
>Gnutella or Freenet or iMesh or beaming their CDs
>into a
> or music locker. It's piracy
>when those guys that run those companies make side
>deals with the cartel lawyers and label heads so
>that they can be "the labels' friend," and not the
>Recording artists have essentially been giving
>their music away for free under the old system, so
>new technology that exposes our music to a larger audience
>can only be a good thing. Why aren't these
>companies working with us to create some peace?
>There were a billion music downloads last year,
>but music sales are up. Where's the evidence that
>downloads hurt business? Downloads are creating more
>Why aren't record companies embracing this great
>opportunity? Why aren't they trying to talk to the
>kids passing compilations around to learn what
>they like?
>Why is the RIAA suing the companies that are
>stimulating this new demand? What's the point of
>going after people swapping cruddy-sounding MP3s? Cash!
>Cash they have no intention of passing onto us,
>the writers of their profits.
>At this point the "record collector" geniuses who
>use Napster don't have the coolest most arcane
>selection anyway, unless you're into techno.
>Hardly any
>pre-1982 REM fans, no '60s punk, even the Alan
>Parsons Project was underrepresented when I tried
>to find some Napster buddies. For the most part,
>it was
>college boy rawk without a lot of imagination.
>Maybe that's the demographic that cares -- and in
>that case, My Bloody Valentine and Bert Jansch
>aren't going to
>get screwed just yet. There's still time to
>* Destroying traditional access *
>Somewhere along the way, record companies figured
>out that it's a lot more profitable to control the
>distribution system than it is to nurture artists.
>And since
>the companies didn't have any real competition,
>artists had no other place to go. Record companies
>controlled the promotion and marketing; only they
>had the
>ability to get lots of radio play, and get records
>into all the big chain store. That power put them
>above both the artists and the audience. They own the
>Being the gatekeeper was the most profitable place
>to be, but now we're in a world half without
>gates. The Internet allows artists to communicate
>directly with
>their audiences; we don't have to depend solely on
>an inefficient system where the record company
>promotes our records to radio, press or retail and
>then sits
>back and hopes fans find out about our music.
>Record companies don't understand the intimacy
>between artists and their fans. They put records
>on the radio and buy some advertising and hope for
>the best.
>Digital distribution gives everyone worldwide,
>instant access to music.
>And filters are replacing gatekeepers. In a world
>where we can get anything we want, whenever we
>want it, how does a company create value? By
>filtering. In a
>world without friction, the only friction people
>value is editing. A filter is valuable when it
>understands the needs of both artists and the
>public. New companies
>should be conduits between musicians and their
>Right now the only way you can get music is by
>shelling out $17. In a world where music costs a
>nickel, an artist can "sell" 100 million copies
>instead of just
>a million.
>The present system keeps artists from finding an
>audience because it has too many artificial
>scarcities: limited radio promotion, limited bin
>space in stores and a
>limited number of spots on the record company
>The digital world has no scarcities. There are
>countless ways to reach an audience. Radio is no
>longer the only place to hear a new song. And tiny
>mall record
>stores aren't the only place to buy a new CD.
>* I'm leaving *
>Now artists have options. We don't have to work
>with major labels anymore, because the digital
>economy is creating new ways to distribute and
>market music.
>And the free ones amongst us aren't going to. That
>means the slave class, which I represent, has to
>find ways to get out ofg enough to know that any alliance
>where I'm an owned service is going to be doomed.
>When I agreed to allow a large cola company to
>promote a live show, I couldn't have been more
>miserable. They screwed up every single thing
>imaginable. The
>venue was empty but sold out. There were thousands
>of people outside who wanted to be there, trying
>to get tickets. And there were the empty seats the
>company had purchased for a lump sum and failed to
>market because they were clueless about music.
>It was really dumb. You had to buy the cola. You
>had to dial a number. You had to press a bunch of
>buttons. You had to do all this crap that nobody
>wanted to
>do. Why not just bring a can to the door?
>On top of all this, I felt embarrassed to be an
>advertising agent for a product that I'd never let
>my daughter use. Plus they were a condescending
>bunch of little
>guys. They treated me like I was an ungrateful
>little bitch who should be groveling for the
>experience to play for their damn soda.
>I ended up playing without my shirt on and
>ordering a six-pack of the rival cola onstage.
>Also lots of unwholesome cursing and nudity
>occurred. This way I
>knew that no matter how tempting the cash was,
>they'd never do business with me again.
>If you want some little obedient slave content
>provider, then fine. But I think most musicians
>don't want to be responsible for your clean-cut, wholesome,
>all-American, sugar corrosive cancer-causing, all
>white people, no women allowed sodapop images.
>Nor, on the converse, do we want to be responsible
>for your vice-inducing, liver-rotting,
>child-labor-law-violating, all white people,
>no-women-allowed booze
>So as a defiant moody artist worth my salt, I've
>got to think of something else. Tampax, maybe.
>* Money *
>As a user, I love Napster. It carries some risk. I
>hear idealistic business people talk about how
>people that are musicians would be musicians no
>matter what
>and that we're already doing it for free, so what
>about copyright?
>Please. It's incredibly easy not to be a musician.
>It's always a struggle and a dangerous career
>choice. We are motivated by passion and by money.
>That's not a dirty little secret. It's a fact.
>Take away the incentive for major or minor
>financial reward and you dilute the pool of
>musicians. I am not saying that
>only pure artists will survive. Like a few of the
>more utopian people who discuss this, I don't want
>just pure artists to survive.
>Where would we all be without the trash? We need
>the trash to cover up our national depression. The
>utopians also say that because in their minds
>"pure" artists
>are all Ani DiFranco and don't demand a lot of
>money. Why are the utopians all entertainment
>lawyers and major label workers anyway? I demand a
>lot of
>money if I do a big huge worthwhile job and
>millions of people like it, don't kid yourself. In
>economic terms, you've got an industry that's
>loathsome and
>outmoded, but when it works it creates some
>incentive and some efficiency even though
>absolutely no one gets paid.
>We suffer as a society and a culture when we don't
>pay the true value of goods and services
>delivered. We create a lack of production. Less
>good music is
>recorded if we remove the incentive to create it.
>Music is intellectual property with full cash and
>opportunity costs required to create, polish and
>record a finished product. If I invest money and
>time into my
>business, I should be reasonably protected from
>the theft of my goods and services. When the
>judgment came against, the RIAA sought
>damages of
>$150,000 for each major-label-"owned" musical
>track in MP3's database. Multiply by 80,000 CDs,
>and could owe the gatekeepers $120
>But what about the Plimsouls? Why can't
>pay each artist a fixed amount based on the number
>of their downloads? Why on earth should
>pay $120 billion to four distribution companies,
>who in most cases won't have to pay a nickel to
>the artists whose copyrights they've stolen
>through their
>system of organized theft?
>It's a ridiculous judgment. I believe if evidence
>had been entered that ultimately it's just
>shuffling big cash around two or three
>corporations, I can only pray that
>the judge in the case would have seen the
>RIAA's case for the joke that it was.
>I'd rather work out a deal with myself,
>and force them to be artist-friendly, instead of
>being laughed at and having my money hidden by a
>major label
>as they sell my records out the back door, behind
>everyone's back.
>How dare they behave in such a horrified manner in
>regards to copyright law when their entire
>industry is based on piracy? When Mister Label
>Head Guy, whom
>my lawyer yelled at me not to name, got caught
>last year selling millions of "cleans" out the
>back door. "Cleans" being the records that aren't
>for marketing but
>are to be sold. Who the @#!!! is this guy? He wants
>to save a little cash so he @#!!!s the artist and
>goes home? Do they fire him? Does Chuck Phillips
>of the LA
>Times say anything? No way! This guy's a source!
>He throws awesome dinner parties! Why @#!!! with
>the status quo? Let's pick on Lars Ulrich instead because
>he brought up an interesting point!
>* Conclusion *
>I'm looking for people to help connect me to more
>fans, because I believe fans will leave a tip
>based on the enjoyment and service I provide. I'm
>not scared of
>them getting a preview. It really is going to be a
>global village where a billion people have access
>to one artist and a billion people can leave a tip
>if they want
>It's a radical democratization. Every artist has
>access to every fan and every fan has access to
>every artist, and the people who direct fans to
>those artists. People
>that give advice and technical value are the
>people we need. People crowding the distribution
>pipe and trying to ignore fans and artists have no
>value. This is a
>perfect system.
>If you're going to start a company that deals with
>musicians, please do it because you like music.
>Offer some control and equity to the artists and
>try to give us
>some creative guidance. If music and art and
>passion are important to you, there are hundreds
>of artists who are ready to rewrite the rules.
>In the last few years, business pulled our culture
>away from the idea that music is important and
>emotional and sacred. But new technology has
>brought a real
>opportunity for change; we can break down the old
>system and give musicians real freedom and choice.
>A great writer named Neal Stephenson said that
>America does four things better than any other
>country in the world: rock music, movies, software and
>high-speed pizza delivery. All of these are sacred
>American art forms. Let's return to our purity and
>our idealism while we have this shot.
>Warren Beatty once said: "The greatest gift God
>gives us is to enjoy the sound of our own voice.
>And the second greatest gift is to get somebody to
>listen to
>And for that, I humbly thank you.
>- - - - - - - - - - - - - Courtney Love
>Lev "Ljova" Zhurbin

An Klestar

Re: new poll?

> I got this via email, which gives a new picture of what Napster
> is.

Thank you, Suzanne. It confirms what everyone suspected?

I'll be more than willing to subscribe to a site, pay an annual fee, in order to get unlimited access to mp3s - knowing that by paying, I not only directly support artists (whomever they are), but also small companies whom I can ask to burn a collection of mp3s for me on a cd, and have it shipped it right away. (I don't want to live with a pc forever!).

Variations on the same theme are allowed. I'll be looking forward.

And Suzanne, thanks again!


this is not very long, but if you're interested in the working conditions of the common man...

get up, curse work and whatever fool decided on a standard 40 hour work week(which is short for some) go to work, do something that's not quite satisfying or rewarding, go home and do it all over again the next day...and all this for a measly 20k a year...ahh well, at least i've got Morrissey.

Half a Shoplifter

i had seen this on hole's website and you explained it to me before, but i still don't understand why moz or anyone else would want to sign to a major, unless he/she can negotiate some grand mysterious fabulous contract w/extremely high royalty rate. record cos. are like huge machines that eat art and regurgitate it as money.

Auntie T.

> i had seen this on hole's website and you explained it to me
> before, but i still don't understand why moz or anyone else
> would want to sign to a major, unless he/she can negotiate some
> grand mysterious fabulous contract w/extremely high royalty
> rate. record cos. are like huge machines that eat art and
> regurgitate it as money.

Because many artists live for the acceptance of others... and by signing with a record company they can reach a larger audience. Also when the contract says the artist will receive royalties and front money... many artists don't do the math to figure the expenses against the front money. They are surprised...(at least the first time) ... when they find out they've been snookered.


Re: Oh my!

> record cos. are like huge machines that eat art and
> regurgitate it as money.

Do they sell these machines in the shops, because I've got quite a lot of pictures but I'd really rather have the cash!

Half a Shoplifter

Re: Oh my!

> Do they sell these machines in the shops, because I've got quite
> a lot of pictures but I'd really rather have the cash!

not yet, but i'm about to order one from sony, i'll feed it a copy of peepholism and see how much it spits out, probably a billion pounds


Re: this is not very long, but if you're interested in the working conditions of the common man...

> get up, curse work and whatever fool decided on a standard 40
> hour work week(which is short for some) go to work, do something
> that's not quite satisfying or rewarding, go home and do it all
> over again the next day...and all this for a measly 20k a
> year...ahh well, at least i've got Morrissey.

can't argue that point, but think:

Joe Bob Band has been playing in dives for years. They've spent tons of money on equipment, tours, and sending their demos out to record companies. They worked long, hard hours writing their own material and enduring the pains of being an opening band.

Here comes a record label when they smell a "hit". They give them just enough money to live on if they pay it back. How many of your dumb day jobs force you to pay your employer back for the privalege of letting you be there?

The record tanks. They decide to chop their heads right before their 2nd release is to come out. Do they give it back to you and let you go on your merry way? No. Perfectly good songs are sitting in a vault somewhere. Possibly Earth shattering and as important as OK Computer, but they don't dare risk releasing it, and since Joe Bob Band doesn't "own" the record, they can't have it to release on their own and justify why they've been on the road and in the studio for the past several years. Some of the label's artists aren't doing too well and the stock owners are selling their shares right and left and they won't be stopped unless the company produces a guaranteed hit very quickly.

So the label acts like they are "doing something" about the downward trend. They let go of the bands that tanked and promise to rescue everyone involved with brand new miracle bands that can sell 5 billion copies world wide. They sound just like the other bands that sold 2 billion copies, but they are better and can sell more.
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