As the Rolling Stones began their tour while welching on the more than quarter of a million dollar deal they made with my Friend, I started this e-Blogazine journal to document some of my experience of the fallout, and to create a forum for discussion and resources to reform the Music Industry. May Artists, Musicians, and Free People everywhere find it useful.
Got Something to say? Are You a Musician, Artist, or Person with an opinion about the Music industry, music downloads, contracts or royalties? Are You concerned about the RIAA and other industries' assault on our cyber-Freedoms? Copyright and Intellectual Property law? Well?
In an Aug. 22 interview with Dawn C. Chmielewski at siliconvalley.com (SV), Musician Janis Ian (who wrote two of the "Articles of Note" linked from the box at the left of this page) spoke about file sharing, music downloading, and the events of the past few months.
In case You haven't a chance to visit the story, here's a bit of what it says.
"In a commentary originally published in Performing Songwriter magazine, and since posted on more than 1,000 Web sites and translated in nine languages, Ian flouts the industry orthodoxy that free file-sharing services like Napster, Morpheus or KaZaA hurt artists and sales."
``I don't pretend to be an expert on intellectual property law, but I do know one thing. If a music industry executive claims I should agree with their agenda because it will make me more money, I put my hand on my wallet -- and check it after they leave, just to make sure nothing's missing,''
SV: How can 1.8 billion songs -- downloaded every month for free -- be good for the industry and the artists?
IAN: First of all, you have to argue the 1.8 billion figure. I don't think there's a whole lot of evidence that shows 1.8 billion songs are being downloaded each month. There aren't enough T1 and T3 lines in the country to do that...a lot of the songs that are being downloaded -- I haven't seen a single study on this -- are songs that are currently out of print...separate out the amount of songs somebody had downloaded because they heard about an artist and wanted to see if they like it, you end up with a much smaller number.
You're not going to be able to stop downloading. You're not going to stop peer-to- peer. Why not work with it? To my mind, the RIAA's strategy is to take on a bunch of court cases that they know they can't win and drive enough fear into everyone and it will go away. They've sort of dug themselves too deep to remove themselves gracefully.
When challenged in her assertion that music file sharing is a boon for Artists like her, she said, "I know by my own Web site. I know by our sales. Our sales of merchandise jumped 300 percent when we put up free downloads."
SV: Why haven't more artists stepped forward to defend Internet file sharing? It seems the most outspoken artists -- such as Metallica's Lars Ulrich or the Eagles' Don Henley -- have openly endorsed the recording industry's crippling legal pursuit of Napster.
IAN: It's unfortunate that over the last 20 years a lot of the moves the upper-level record industry people have made have been based on personal vendettas. If you're an artist...with a relatively new career in the precarious position of trying to solidify that career, you'd be a fool to do anything to alienate your record company. It goes on down the line.
SV: If the RIAA isn't representing the interests of the artists in its lawsuits against Napster, KaZaA, Morpheus and AudioGalaxy, why is it spending millions to crack down on Internet downloading?
IAN: Because it's representing its own interests; who else is it going to represent? It's never represented the interests of the artist. That's just the press. There's not an artist or record industry person who doesn't know that. That was the original impetus for the article. I was so annoyed at that. For (former NARAS President) Michael Greene to dare to get up in front of the Grammy audience and accuse them of being thieves -- and then have the gall to say he's doing it at our behest is very annoying.
In reflecting on the popular reaction to "The Internet Debacle", Janis said, "It's amazing that it's actually getting as much praise as it's getting -- and I'm encouraged by that. At the end of the day, it has very little to do with me. It's not going to bring 200,000 people to my next tour. It is, however, making people think. Which is a really cool thing."
Check out the full Interview. Click the title link above.