tautology: needless repetition of an idea, especially in words other than those of the immediate context, without imparting additional force or clearness, as in “widow woman.”
Imagine you are trying to get a club promoter to book your band somewhere outside of your home base, perhaps somewhere you have never performed before. Remember–the promoter isn’t calling you, rather you are calling the promoter, club owner, talent buyer, whoever makes the booking decision in the venue you’ve never been to before.
Since the assumption is that you’ve never been to the club before, indulge my fantasy another step–you are able to get the promoter to take your call or respond to your email. A big fantasy, I know, but let’s go with it. Those who toil in this particular vineyard will know that what’s far more likely is that (A) if they’ve never heard of you, then (B) they don’t care about you in that ontological sense that only club promoters truly understand. But indulge me. (And be sure you also indulge the various streaming services such as Pandora that are selling this “data” snake oil.)
And indulge me one step further–assume that the real value of your “data”–i.e., the consumer behavioral data relating to your fans that you drive to the streaming services by promoting your record–is not more valuable to the streaming service in the aggregate than it will ever be to you individually. Thanks for that indulgence because that is a really big assumption.
Now imagine telling the club owner that the reason she should give a slot to you on her stage–and pay you for it–is because Pandora says that 50, or 500, or 5,000, or 50,000 users in the town streamed your tracks.
If the club owner takes pity on your mortal soul, she won’t just hang up on you right there. And if she doesn’t just hang up on you, what do you think she might say next?
She will probably be looking for some kind of real world confirmation that those streams mean anything. What might that be? A verifiable data point like you scanned x number of records in her town. Or that your offer of work is conditioned upon your pre selling y number of tickets–more likely that your ability to get paid anything will depend on you selling those tickets. Or that a local band that does well in the venue is willing to have you support them in their own show in the venue.
But do you really think that any club owner–and I’m not talking about house concerts here, I mean someone with a a liquor license and overhead, you know, a nightclub–would risk their own capital or opportunity cost because some company they didn’t know said that you got a few streams or views in the town? More likely in the zip code if they can even pin it down that far down the verifiable data chain?
Speaking of verify, how do you know that this information is correct? Because Pandora says so? Because Spotify says so? Absent any of these conversion factors like sales of tracks verified by an independent third party, presales or a local guarantor, why would the club owner take a chance?
And if they require these conversion factors in order to take a chance, why would they need the Pandora “data”?
If you deal in the physical world of vinyl or CD sales at retail or what’s left of it–like if you are a record company for example–substitute the club owner for the inventory manager or buyer for a local record store. You know how you would get shelf space, price and positioning in their store in the same circumstances? Because Pandora said so?
Not so much. You’d get into the store by reducing their inventory risk which almost always means adjusting the price for the vinyl or CDs to zero or near zero, or salting the full price wholesale inventory with free goods. For example, you could offer the store 5 or 10 CDs for free if they promised to put them on listening posts.
If you had a local street team, you might be able to wriggle past this standoff point by swarming the club owner or record store. In the case of the club owner that is probably going to require a bunch of street teamers who are old enough to get into the club, etc., but it could be done in theory.
Again–you can do that without the streaming data if you manage your fan communications.
We have some real questions about how clean this data is, how granular it is, and how it is derived.
Here’s where I think it ends up: What Pandora’s “data”–based on how much your tracks are being streamed on Pandora–tells you is how much your tracks are being streamed on Pandora.
Absent something that provides that conversion factor, those additional real world acts that involve more effort than just letting Pandora create a channel for you based on some other artist, this is just more Internet snake oil.
If this data is so valuable, what is Pandora doing with all the data it currently collects? Well, let’s see. Who handles all of Pandora’s advertising now? Pandora uses Google’s Doubleclick affiliate for its advertising sales. That would be the same Google that is a member of DiMA, the CCIA, the Internet Association and the Consumer Electronics Association and is actively screwing indie labels through it’s YouTube affiliate. That Google.
Pandora acknowledges to its investors that its agreement with Doubleclick exerts considerable influence on Pandora’s business. “We rely upon an agreement with DoubleClick, which is owned by Google, for delivering and monitoring our ads. Failure to renew the agreement on favorable terms, or termination of the agreement, could adversely affect our business.” I’d be very interested to know who gets that data now–is it already sold or bartered to Google through Doubleclick?
I’d love to be wrong about this, but I’m still waiting to hear exactly how this data is collected and collated to understand why it is not just another tautology from another Internet company that does not understand how to sell records, put butts in seats, or as we say around here, has no one who has ever humped a trap case.
What is far more likely than this mystery “data” being valuable to you, is that it is valuable to them–particularly in the aggregate. And since collecting this data is nowhere permitted in the terms of the compulsory license available to Pandora, it’s unclear who has the right to the data much less who has the right to sell it back to the artist who created it in the first place. Unlike compulsory licenses, interactive licenses have an entire negotiation about who owns the consumer data and it should be owned by the label or copyright owner doing the licensing at no additional cost.
This all comes down to the same thing: If streaming services can prove they are driving the sale of another good, that will be great. What we do know is that streaming appears to be a substitute for and is not driving record sales. Does streaming drive some aspect of the t-shirt economy? It’s hard to see how these services even do that much.
Thank you @jannarden: AMP Radio hears artist voices, does the right thing and drops the QuickHitz format! #irespectmusic
MTP readers will recall Jann Arden and the many artists who stood up to the challenge to artist rights from the “QuickHitz” radio format at a Calgary radio station. “QuickHitz” advertises itself as broadcasting “Twice the Music”–and gets over the space-time continuum by cutting in half the already short singles edits of popular music. (Full disclosure: I got to know and respect Jann Arden when I worked at A&M Records in Hollywood back in the day. Jann’s a real treasure and makes compelling records.)
That’s right–AMP plays more music by playing less. Dare I say it: Less is More. But let’s not rub it in–the station has seen the light after Canadian and American artists rallied behind Jann Arden to make their voices heard. It’s important to understand just how much chutzpa this takes–the stick that broadcasters have held over artists challenging radio for decades has been that silent threat to stop playing your music which helps to explain why U.S. radio doesn’t pay artists for radio play and why Pandora can routinely stiff pre-72 artists for even the statutory royalty that is paid.
So for Jann Arden, Ladies of the Canyon and many others in Canada to raise their voices as well as Blake Morgan, David Lowery, The Trichordist and many others in the U.S. to back their fellow artists does take real courage. And before you start complaining about artists whining (and yes, Bill, you know who you are), understand that this time it had nothing to do with money.
After a couple weeks of this, I saw this tweet appear:
What an inspiration @jannarden ! Stood up to big bad wolf & won'AMP gets rid of short format' ow.ly/Avn6a http://t.co/9gr3ly72RC—
Lindsay Dunn (@LindsayDunnCTV) August 19, 2014
According to the station’s management:
“It just came to a point where we said it isn’t worth risking the relationships with all of our content providers, the various artists that we play, at our radio station.”
It’s important to note that risking relationships with content providers is not something that seems to bother Pandora, Sirius or their friends at the National Association of Broadcasters, the Digital Media Association, the Consumer Electronics Association or the Computer and Communications Industry Association. Not surprising when you consider that the fluctuations in the stock float of the members of all these lobbying groups on a brisk trading day probably exceeds the market valuation of the entire worldwide music industry.
But the really great news is that AMP Radio heard the concerns of artists and did the right thing–they dropped the problematic QuickHitz format. AMP is to be commended for changing formats–one should not underestimate the costliness of this move by AMP. Rebranding a radio station is a costly enterprise and it really shows good faith on the part of AMP that they would be willing to make the move.
Great news indeed and AMP Radio is to be commended.
But the real lesson of this encounter is that the artists united will never be defeated and we have Jann Arden to thank for that teachable moment.
how much longer before YouTube stops the jihadi recruitment videos? This ones’s been up on YouTube for 2 years.
Originally posted on MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY:
YouTube once again demonstrates its recruiting power for the jihad with this video entitled “Equip a Fighter This Ramadan”. There’s some season’s greetings for you, eh? Because as the video advises, “whoever prepares a fighter has participated in the fight.” Mustafa Abi Al-Yazeed was the head of al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
What Happened to the Bundle of Rights?
It is axiomatic that under the 1976 Copyright Act, copyright is a bundle of rights. Copyright owners are largely free to exploit their rights or subdivisions of copyright in whole or in part. This is arguably the fundamental reason why PROs exist—to administer the performance right subdivision of the bundle.
Methods of monetizing songs have evolved with technology as the marketplace identifies new methods of exploitation. Generally speaking, promoting licensing of these new methods seems to be the broad policy goal of the consent decrees. The government has also determined that promoting licensing is so important that it effectively trumps the songwriter’s right to say “no,” a provision of the consent decrees that the regulated PROs were required to agree.
After the last Pandora decision in the ASCAP rate court, it appears that the consent decree is being interpreted to require that copyright owners withdraw from ASCAP altogether in order to enjoy the right to license a subdivision of their bundle of exclusive rights, replacing the songwriter’s decision with the Court’s own interpretation of the government’s requirements. (The same applies to BMI.)
Respectfully, I fail to see the logic, utility or authority for the government establishing an arbitrary bright line limit on how far the copyright bundle can be subdivided.
If the government permits copyright owners to license all of the performance right through regulated PROs, why should the government take a songwriter’s right to license a subdivision of the performance right outside of the consent decree? This is particularly true of digital performance rights that were barely commercialized or did not exist at all at the time of the last modifications of the respective consent decrees.
I understand why the music users would like us to believe that the government intended to regulate uses that did not exist at the time of the modifications, but I hope you can empathize with songwriters who find this rather stunning logic and take a contrary view.
This arbitrary limitation on the statutory right to subdivision essentially dares copyright owners to disassociate themselves from the regulated PROs, a course that I fully believe they will eventually follow. If enough copyright owners are effectively forced to withdraw from the regulated PROs in order to enjoy an actual free market for subdivisions of their rights permitted by the Copyright Act, both ASCAP and BMI surely will be diminished to the great disadvantage of songwriters.
I suggest that the market should be trusted to do a better job of creating licensing opportunities as likely would occur if copyright owners were free to decide how to license their property. The rate courts’ position seems at odds with the elegance of the bundle of rights solution that underpins our private property traditions of personal liberty.
 See 17 U.S.C. Sec. 106.
 See 17 U.S.C. Sec. 201(d)(2) (“…Any of the exclusive rights comprised in a copyright, including any subdivision of any of the rights specified by section 106, may be transferred…and owned separately”(emphasis added)); see also New York Times Co. v. Tasini, 533 U.S. 483 (2001) (“The 1976 [Copyright] Act recast the copyright as a bundle of discrete ‘exclusive rights,’ § 106, each of which ‘may be transferred…and owned separately….’ § 201(d)(2),” at 484.)
 See 17 U.S.C. Sec. 106(4) (“[T]he owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights
to do and to authorize…in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly”.)
 In re Petition of Pandora Media Inc., 12-cv-08035, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan)
 “[A] private property right includes the right to delegate, rent, or sell any portion of the rights by exchange or gift at whatever price the owner determines.” Armen A. Alchian, Property Rights available at http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/PropertyRights.html (emphasis added).
Google recently filed a tentative settlement with its stockholders over the $500,000,000 of the company’s money that Google’s executive team authorized be spent to keep from being indicted by a Rhode Island grand jury. (I invite you to read the sordid history in the settlement and also the story of the Google sting operation in the Nonprosecution Agreement between Google and the United States,)
The settlement is full of the kind of stuff you’d expect to see in a settlement of this kind: Google refuses to admit liability, but agrees to spend even more of the stockholder’s money to stop itself before it sins again. But then out of the blue comes this section:
2.7 Criminal Activity Reporting
Google’s General Counsel shall be responsible for reviewing every situation in which a Google employee is convicted of a felony under U.S. federal or state criminal statutes in connection with his employment by Google and for reporting to the Board (or an appropriate committee of the Board) with respect to that violation. Presumptively, any employee convicted of a felony under a U.S. federal or state criminal statute in connection with his employment by Google shall be terminated for cause and receive no severance payments in connection with the termination. If the General Counsel determines that such termination is not warranted, he shall so recommend to the Board (or an appropriate committee of the Board), which will act upon his recommendation in its discretion.
Notice that there’s not one word in this section dealing with drugs, drug advertising or the like.
Why would this language need to appear in what will eventually be a court order requiring Google to essentially deny a severance package to Google employees who are terminated for being convicted of a felony under either a federal or state statute. When would a publicly traded company ever pay a severance package to an employee terminated for cause? (And being convicted of a felony is almost invariably grounds for termination for cause whether or not it relates to your employment.)
Note that this language appears to be preventative and forward looking in nature as is the rest of the proposed settlement (assuming that all of the settlement has been made public, a big assumption when it comes to Google). So it appears that during their discovery the shareholders found some information that led them to think this provision of their settlement agreement would have been required.
That would lead me to think that the behavior being proscribed had occurred. Meaning that somebody was convicted of a felony, was fired, but was given a severance package.
I would also venture a guess that this wasn’t something like two weeks salary–that wouldn’t rise to the level of a court order applying to all Google employees and Google’s most senior management. What would rise to the level of a court order would be something like a two or three year salary payout, accelerated vesting of stock options, a flat payment of at least six or seven figures, or some combination. And if you are talking about accelerated vesting of Google stock options, you can get into the million dollar range very quickly.
Now what might motivate a company like Google to make such a payment–given that corporate lawyers are often looking for a basis for termination for cause for the very purpose of getting out of any payout for a termination without cause that can trigger all of the above. Also known as a “golden parachute.”
Remember–this paragraph deals with employees who have actually been convicted of felony violations of U.S. law, and it might be stretched to include employees who were convicted in other countries of what would have been a felony under U.S. state or federal law.
There’s another reason a public company like Google might give severance payments of a size to warrant this type of response: Hush money.
Whatever it is, this paragraph didn’t come out of nowhere.
Which leads one to think that there is something putrefying in Mountain View. Shareholders have a right to know what it is.
Originally posted on The Trichordist:
Thank you readers. You all rock!
When a government agency like The Copyright Office or The Department of Justice asks for comments, they usually generate a few dozen. And the vast majority of these are from lobbyists, trade groups and law firms engaged in policy fights.
So this week the Capitol has been buzzing about the surprising number of comments that INDIVIDUALS submitted to the DOJ on the consent decree that governs songwriters. There were over 180 comments from individuals submitted! And we recognize that many of these comments are from fellow songwriters and readers. We have made our voices heard.
So let’s keep it going. Tweet the link to your DOJ comment at us and we will retweet it! @thetrichordist