[rumori] Re: pho: Imagine a World Without Songwriters

From: Don Joyce (djATwebbnet.com)
Date: Sat May 05 2001 - 19:14:07 PDT

I understand, it's a NOWNOW problem, and it's why patience for this to work
ITSELF out in some naturally human fashion appears impossible, and so it
all now lurches toward quick fix law making that is actually contrary to
the medium's strengths. But one question worth asking is HOW MUCH money
must it make you? If one of your songs is popular netside where you are not
paid for it, it does not necessarily mean you will not benefit from that
notice and popularity AT ALL. The song may end up on sombody's CD because
THEY noticed it too, whether it's old or new. That would be a case of LOST
income were it not for the pure advertising and free exchange of art and
information the World Wide Net best represents and pursues as a medium.
Essentially, THIS is the nature of it that attracts so much notice
(provided free) in the first place. You will NEVER be able to afford the
level and extent of ADVERTISING off line which the Net just naturally
provides to anyone for NOTHING. What's it worth?

Or how about this? Just because it (and you're work) is there, NEED you
expect to make a NEW bunch of income from it beyond what sufficed (or
didn't) before it existed? It might seem terribly unfortunate, but it may
be generally inevitable in the nature of this newnew medium (as it indeed
is at the moment.) My hope for you all is that unexpected realities will
force the forging of badly needed rethinking about our former compensation
schemes and assumptions, not the smothering of the unexpected realities so
obviously preferred by the masses.

I would be most happy to give you a few cents every month, whether I heard
your song or not, via my electric bill. Without it I can hear nothing. With
it I can hear everything. I don't believe the Net will ever be usefully
geared to fully supporting individual interests on its own, free copying
WILL rule, but it could possibly support the process of free supply it asks
us for that WILL SUFFICE to keep it going that way.

For our part, we have used the Internet to sell our own "songs" in CD
format, for which we are paid as the writers and publishers too, and I
assume you are paid as the writer when a label sells a CD with your song on
it on line or off. Am I wrong here? So we get everything we ever got from
sales before, perhaps a little more because the website makes them known
and available to more, and beyond that we get nor expect anything "new"
from everyone's ability to copy us ad infinitum. Sales appear to us to be
the same as ever regardless.

When we begin free downloads of all our work from our site soon, this may
cut into sales of our CDs on and off line, or it may increase them, but we
have decided the IMPORTANT thing the Net encourages is the GIFTING of
culture never before suggested or allowed in the history of human
civilization. It actually excites us more than money, as long as we still
have ENOUGH money, which we do (well, not really at all yet here we still
are!) We choose the blind faith in MORE FUN to ALSO fill our coffers with
gold and rubies, or at least NOT EMPTY THEM. Fools rush in as capitalism
runs out... When in doubt, trust your very best instincts, not your very
worst. Also, when it all runs out for you and you finally HAVE to give it
up and get a job, write one last song about THAT. The Net musicians will
love it, your fame will spread to all those who read the small print in the
downloads, and you're suddenly back on top and in demand! CD artists are
looking up your number. TV and Movie work will follow. The Hall of Fame

Show business is a frustrating joke on all of us who try it with or without
the Internet. Is it really going to MAKE THE DIFFERENCE between your
success or your failure? Or is it just something EXTRA, a glass half full
and half empty, to play with? And if this glass, itself, is FREE, how does
that change everyone's perception of and appreciation for it's
"insufficient" contents? I wonder...


>Interesting thoughts all, but in fact, despite the "NEWNEW" of digital
>whatever, there are only a handful of companies that are making money. And
>I admit, though I am hoping to see something positive from the internet
>and such, until the business model pports profits, songwriters (including
>myself) must rely on processes you deem old and outdated. Don't get me
>wrong, I've read many of your post, and your complete anarchy (can I say
>that) is amusing and sometimes provocative. I understand the power of the
>internet as a marketing tool. I understand it significantly increases your
>audience. I understand that you can touch many more lives through this
>medium. Those things, as well as a thousand other arguments for adoption
>and changing of attitudes *don't* change the fact that I must put food on
>the table, etc.
>DJ-Like many great thinkers before you, you are ahead of your time. Have
>faith, the world (and songwriters) may catch up to you, but not until you
>and others in the technological relhm devise a way to MAKE MONEY.
>Paul King
>songwriter (for money)-writing in the capital of music
>On Fri, 4 May 2001 17:53:34 -0800 Don Joyce <djATwebbnet.com> wrote:
>>For all the touting of creativity and noble thoughts expressed by
>>songwriters below, I notice they are all decidedly UNCREATIVE in
>>confronting new situations, situations that actually more dramitically
>>promote the spread of their songs and access to them by all than we've ever
>>known before. I read "We need to get paid just like we always have so don't
>>you dare change ANYTHING." Well, the fact is things HAVE changed already,
>>and unarguably deserving songwriters ought to try to get their due in NEW
>>ways accordingly.
>>Sure it's a problem, but a NECESSARY problem given the new nature of the
>>modern technology which is CARRYING your songs to everyone as no other ever
>>could. Now songs are being REMOVED from access because none of you or your
>>agents can figure out how to make time stand still in these new contexts.
>>But there WILL be ways to get paid for your craft, and I would like to see
>>more heads out of the sand and working on THAT without your only knee-jerk
>>reaction being kill the context and the very mechanisms that make it
>>popular and desirable with your audience. This new technology is a MUCH
>>fatter golden goose than the one we're leaving behind ever dreamed of
>>being, if only you can withdraw your heads from the outdated idea of being
>>payed per play in a digital context.
>>If I had the answer, I'd give it to you, but isn't it also just a little
>>bit up to you?
>>>"Imagine a world without songwriters, and then imagine a world without
>>>Dottie Moore, Songwriter
>>>Steve Hazel responded to a statement made by Steve Winogradsky on Pho.
>>>I was so taken aback by the Hazel response that I decided to forward
>>>both the statement and the response (below) to a group of my
>>>professional songwriter friends with a request the they send replies to
>>>Mr. Hazel to me so I could post them on Pho.
>>>As you might expect, my e-mail box quickly filled. To keep this post
>>>from dragging on �til September, here are just a few representative
>>>STATEMENT (Steve Winogradsky):
>>>And before we get into the whole discussion about superstar artists and
>>>the $$ they make, let's remember all the artists and writers who DON'T
>>>make that kind of money. ASCAP collects money for writers, not artists,
>>>and writers have only one way of making money - the legal exploitation
>>>of their songs. They don't tour, they don't sell T-shirts, they write
>>>music. If that music is able to be used without compensation, why would
>>>anyone write for a living?
>>>RESPONSE: (Steven Hazel)
>>>First of all, do we need people to write music for a living? There are
>>>a tremendous number of people who want to write music, and a lot of them
>>>probably would still do it even if they weren't paid for the job. In
>>>fact, many very good songwriters basically don't get paid for what they
>>>do at all.
>>>And would it be so bad if all you had to do to get paid writing songs
>>>was also play bass in the band?
>>>It wasn't so many years ago that this statement was made almost verbatim
>>>in front of the assembled RIAA by a certain sitting president. Ignoring
>>>for a moment the asinine presumption and gross peurile naivite' of this
>>>blather on its face, the correspondent seems to suggest that if someone
>>>WANTS to do a certain job then society is relieved of the responsibility
>>>of compensation. Little Johnny wants to grow up and be a doctor--too bad
>>>we're not going to be able to pay him for that. Young Freddy who lives
>>>across the street and is being FORCED into the medical profession by an
>>>overbearing mother----him we'll have to pay! The theory that thorny
>>>intellectual property issues would disappear if only all these pesky
>>>songwriters would learn to play an instrument and join a band might have
>>>some merit. With the same stroke why don't we stop paying all the
>>>attorneys who haven't yet made partner in a firm --- it might be a
>>>Jimmy Webb (ASCAP)
>>>By the Time I Get to Phoenix, Didn't We, Galveston, Mac Arthur Park,
>>>Wichita Lineman
>>>Unusual Songwriter ?
>>>Many people think songwriters have lots of ways to make money such as
>>>performing in clubs, making and selling their own cd's, playing in
>>>bands, etc. This is not true. There are many songwriters, like myself,
>>>who are lyricists or who do not play or sing well enough to fall in the
>>>above categories.
>>>The only way we have to earn a living is through the legitimate use of
>>>our songs. When the law allows illegal use, we do not make any income
>>>for something we worked hard to create. That's right, I said, "worked
>>>Over the years I have had the opportunity to write with many great
>>>writers such as Carl Perkins, Norro Wilson, and Buddy Cannon. Very
>>>rarely, does a song just drop out of the air. It takes work to take an
>>>idea and craft a song.
>>>It is fair to say that whatever job you do, you expect to be paid for
>>>it. As a society, we expect to pay for products we purchase, and we
>>>expect to be paid for producing those products.
>>>Songwriting is no different. It is a profession just as important as any
>>>other profession to our society. Our country stands for doing the right
>>>thing to the rest of the world. Compensating songwriters for the work
>>>they have performed in the creation of their songs is the right thing to
>>>Imagine a world without songwriters, and then imagine a world without
>>>Dottie Moore (BMI)
>>>OK let's take it a step further I played drums in bands for years (while
>>>I wrote songs) I got paid for it, but I would've done it for free. As
>>>I'm sure the bass player would've done it for free! For that matter the
>>>guy that built my drums, I bet he loved music, maybe he would've done it
>>>for free or the light man, sound man, bus driver, they all loved music.
>>>I mean as long as our wives have good jobs why do we really need to make
>>>money from music? Trust me this world does not want tens of thousands
>>>of songwriters, many who know no other trade, wandering the streets or
>>>sucking on the tit of un-employment.
>>>Tim Buppert (ASCAP)
>>>#1 hit for Kevin Sharp " She's Sure Taking It Well"
>>>Yankee Grey " Another Nine Minutes"
>>>The Wiggins " If A Train Left For Memphis"
>>>Do we NEED people to write songs? No more than we need people to sing
>>>them. No more than we need music itself. I've heard the argument that
>>>professional songwriters are not "real" artists - that "real" artists
>>>write their own songs. The fact is that songwriting is an art, just
>>>like sculpting or poetry or painting. Without the professional
>>>songwriter we never would have heard "Over The Rainbow", "By The Time I
>>>Get to Phoenix", "Night and Day", "Suzanne", "I Fall To Pieces", and
>>>thousands of other classic songs which are now a part of our culture.
>>>To say that the professional songwriter is not an artist is to deny the
>>>artistry of Cole Porter, Jimmy Webb, Leonard Cohen, Harlan Howard,
>>>Carole King and thousands of other brilliant songwriters who did what
>>>all artists do: make evident our grief, our joy, our pain, our humor
>>>and our humanity in tangible form.
>>>Gretchen Peters (ASCAP)
>>>singer/songwriter and writer of
>>>"Independence Day" (Martina McBride)
>>>"On A Bus To St. Cloud" (Trisha Yearwood)
>>>"The Secret of Life" (Faith Hill)
>>>Steve, I guess it comes down to how important music is to the
>>>cultivation of your soul, and if you are willing to turn that over to
>>>amateurs. If you are, then there is no need for anyone to write music
>>>for a living, or paint, or write books, or poetry, or plays, or movie
>>>scripts... But then, there is a difference between living and merely
>>>existing and that difference is MEANING... some creative people have a
>>>talent for increasing the level of MEANING in life... to me, those
>>>people are worth their weight in gold. ... I'm sorry you don't
>>>understand that fact. Hopefully some day you will. In the meantime
>>>please don't ruin it for the rest of us!
>>>Rick Carnes (ASCAP)
>>>composer of songs for Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Alabama, Dean Martin
>>>In response to the question, "Do we need people to write music for a
>>>living?", the answer is obviously no for people who don't need music.
>>>But the question is beside the point. The fact is that a good many
>>>people do write music for a living and even though it's not always
>>>evident in our entertainment strata today, they're generally much better
>>>at it than the countless thousands who "still do it even if they aren't
>>>paid for the job".
>>>The cream will generally rise to the top in any artistic pursuit.
>>>Sure, our ancestors were perfectly happy to sit on the front porch and
>>>pick their own guitar and maybe attend the local barn dance on the
>>>weekend where their fellow farmers provided the entertainment. But the
>>>inventions of recorded music and the radio caught on pretty darn quick!
>>>The artistic and commercial aspects of these new technologies grew hand
>>>in hand. Good songs were hard to find and so we saw the rise of the
>>>professional songwriter. We also had the rise of professional
>>>screenwriting in movies, as I guess there just weren't enough good books
>>>or plays to fill the bill.
>>>Along with all this new art/commerce progress we adopted new copyright
>>>laws to make sure that the folks who poured their heart, soul, and sweat
>>>into entertaining us were remunerated for their time and talent. You
>>>see, those "many very good songwriters who basically don't get paid for
>>>what they do at all" aren't actually that good at it. If they are and
>>>they persist in their endeavors they will eventually get paid for it.
>>>All you have to do is turn on the radio (any format will do) to realize
>>>that good, much less great songs, are not that common.
>>>Good songwriters pull emotions and melodies from their heads, their
>>>hearts, and out of thin air. They can make us cry, laugh, or just want
>>>to dance, and all they start out with is a blank sheet of paper.
>>>In closing just let me say that whether we need them or not, we have
>>>people who write music for a living and their work is supposedly
>>>protected by law. Their songs are their property. And the only
>>>difference in stealing their property off the internet and burglaring
>>>their house in the middle of the night is you don't get shot in the
>>>Chuck Jones
>>>P.S. (As a simple point of logic, the guy who only has to play bass in
>>>the band to get paid for writing songs should actually get paid for
>>>playing bass. Where I come from bass players don't work for free.)
>>>Chuck's credits include:
>>>Your Love Amazes Me - John Berry, Tanya Tucker, Michael English, etc.(
>>>#1 Country, top 10 AC), Love A Little Stronger - Diamond Rio (#1
>>>Country), Count Me In - Deana Carter (#2 Country), Faithfully - Peter
>>>Cetera (top 10 AC), It's What I Do - Billy Dean (#1 Country) Only The
>>>Wind - Billy Dean (#3 Country), You And Only You - John Berry (#2
>>>Country) Twist Of The Knife - Fabulous Thunderbirds (top 10 AOR),
>>>Absence Of The Heart - Deana Carter
>>> ______________________________________________
>>>I've stopped mentioning that I'm a music publisher because everybody has
>>>a tape, or a friend, or relative who �writes songs.' And, those songs,
>>>in their opinion, are always "better than anything they hear on the
>>>The fact is very few have the gift, desire, commitment or drive needed
>>>to be a professional songwriter.
>>>Professional creators are unique individuals with a perspective on life
>>>and a way of thinking most of us are incapable of experiencing. To put
>>>it in visual terms, the great talents are the musical versions of
>>>Picasso, Renoir, Van Gogh. They should be cherished and nurtured, and,
>>>above all, PAID!
>>>Dean Kay
>>>Music Publisher/Songwriter
>>>That's Life - Frank Sinatra
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