"I think Viacom is doing the right thing. It's their stuff."
If you really think about it logically and morally, almighty Corporations wield much more power on esthetic parts of our lives than anything on Earth should ever have a right to.
Good lord, we even take it for granted that the fruits of our creative endeavors can be "owned," in full or in part, by a company rather than the artiste.
I've always felt a wrongness in that.
And I have come to believe that the wonderful world community created by the internet is, thankfully, on the verge of spelling the death of Corporate ownership of the arts. It couldn't come too soon for me.
Read below ~~
FRIDAY, MARCH 2, 2007
From James Addison, London, UK
Hi Simon. I got my monthly copy of Record Collector this month and found an excerpt – a huge excerpt, more than a 100 pages – from your book Black Vinyl White Powder. I can’t think why I never bought it before. It's SO good. I whizzed through the 100 pages they gave in the magazine then whizzed down to Waterstones to buy the real thing.
One thing I want to ask. In the last chapter you forecast (quite correctly it seems) that everything will go electronic and digital and records will die out, but that drugs will stick around. The phrase you use is – “Black vinyl may have gone. White powder seems here to stay.” Do you still stand by that?
In both Britain and America CD sales this year are down 20% on last year which was 25% down on the year before which was 18% down on the year before that. In Britain HM Customs & Excise estimated cocaine usage to have doubled in the last year with an eight-fold increase in the number of cocaine related deaths. In the USA the figures are similar. So there you are… prophet Napier-Bell.
Next thing will be the complete demise and obliteration of all the major record companies. Wonderful! The great things that happen in one’s lifetime!!
SATURDAY, MARCH 3, 2007
From Aidan Elliot, London, UK
Hi Simon. Seems from yesterday’s posting you still hate record companies. What on earth is it about them that gets you so upset? Surely every success you’ve had in your career has been through forging a good relationship with one or another of them and getting promotion from them to make your act a success. Can’t you even credit them with that?
Not really! I still stand by what I said in 1982 when I wrote You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me..........
“Whether you’re a record producer or an artist or a manager, record companies are the enemy. They’re the voice of gloom.
A barrier between enthusiastic creativity and the waiting public.
Record companies always play safe, lose faith, change their minds and hesitate. They’re rest homes for the mentally sluggish.
They’re over-staffed. They’re out to lunch. They’re in a meeting. Beating about the bush. Avoiding decisions, and deadlines, and phone calls.
Ninety-thousand-a-year executives asking the messenger boy his opinion because, after all, it’s the kids in the street who buy the records, isn’t it?”
All the major record companies are still the same, even in this download age. Still stealing money from everyone in the industry who is creative. See Tom Robinson’s great piece in the Guardian today.
But soon they’ll be gone.
Like the end of segregation in America’s southern states, like the end of apartheid in South Africa, like the peace settlement in Northern Ireland, like marriage rights for gays – another of the great things that will have happened during my lifetime.
No more record companies!”
SUNDAY, MARCH 4, 2007
From Shaun Deedes, Manchester, UK
Hi Simon. I read Tom Robinson's piece about the amount record companies are taking from their artists for downloaded singles. It does seem high but surely it's in line with the proportion of the total income that they've always taken? Anyway, you must admit its a big improvement that the Top Fifty can now include legal downloads.
The Top 50 will never mean anything while it's just a tool of the record companies. It should stop being the Top 50 best-selling songs and become the Top 50 most popular songs.
At the moment, if a singer puts a track on his website that can be downloaded free, and it becomes the most popular song in the world bar none, it won't be listed in the Top 50 unless he agrees to make people pay for it.
'Legal downloads' doesn't really mean what it says, it simply means all downloads commercially approved by those who run the record business, the BPI (the British Phonograph Industry). The same people who for fifty years have made a killing selling vinyl at distorted prices now want to control downloads.
It's like oil companies being given a monopoly on selling electricity for electric cars.
The eppylover will take Simon one step further. Besides the ownership of creative sounds (i.e., music), Corporate ownership of images is also on the way out. After that will be films. You just wait. For all the immense power of corporations, the free public power of the internet is well on its way to destroying these greedy-man-created "rights" of ownership of creative endeavors.
They'll never stop people from file-sharing; all they'll succeed in doing is trying to suppress and smash our freedoms. And the definition of individual freedoms is constantly changing and morphing with the technologies and the times.
Viacom would be smart to find a way to evolve likewise, instead of throwing lawsuits around like a spoiled child throwing tantrums.
Don't worry about the artistes. They'll do fine. Hell, they'll even do better.