This kills me… about artists, licensing, royalties, etc.
I have always been so curious about music as art, IE a personal compulsion that creates it vs desire to make money and be famous. Like the idea that you need copyright to encourage great music to be written, which I think is a way of commodifying the art into business… when I think of most art as music to be written through need / desire, etc… IE, the artist simply couldn’t help it. I am naive and romantic enough to think that great music is created in a sort of personal vacuum…. that’s the art. As I’ve seen with so many friends, when the art starts to become the business, you are influenced by that awareness, contractual obligations, etc. It changes the music, and that is fine. Some are skilled at conquering that, some bands are lost and eaten by it.
But, I do think about the idea of copyright is less about compelling great music as much as protecting it down the road, and protecting the people involved in making it… not just the actual artist. I almost look at the artist & creators of the music as the “creative and thoughtful type bullied in high school”; just doing what they’re doing and they can’t help it, and they’re bullied for it. They don’t realize they need someone to help them bully back, and that would be the copyright that comes to the rescue, protecting that artist.
But how can you make a living in a business that has such crazy swings in the value of art? This isn’t like the commodification of the painting art world, with booms and crashes in perceived value. Music can be reprinted… errr.. by the large guys. The margins of music on smaller artists and record labels means some of the most valuable and creative art *CANNOT BE REPRINTED* because they don’t have the money. So these mom and pop shops find real artists to produce real art, put it out in the world, and almost go bankrupt doing it… and often do. Then you have this art which such incredible value… because it was written as art, and not as commdity to make people rich and famous in a corporate label machine. So there’s equity in that, and the free market pushes up the original value. For Amon, in this case, it’s $15 to $95.
So these guys grind their lives into a nub, shed blood, sweat, tears…. go out of business or don’t have any money (this may be more harsh than reality for some, this may be not nearly as bad sounding as reality for others)… and then they see the Out of Print (OOP) market, on the outside looking in.
So, you produce something. The artist’s royalties are based off a $15 unit. 2 years later, the distributors that bought the units at $15 can mark it up THIS MUCH??? And that sin’t some small record store, or home seller… That is AMAZON. I can’t even figure out how they arrive at that value, or who it is???
If today’s price is the fair market value of the actual art that was produced, how is it that the free market can’t use those invisible hands to put the appropriate % of royalties back into the artist’s pocket?
Create art. Try to make a living. Get burnt. Fun rules that free market has.