musicians to record industry: drop dead
I've always wanted to use that headline! Anyway, the Recording Artists' Coalition--which includes a number of prominent musicians, such as Bruce Springsteen, Sting, R.E.M., Bonnie Raitt, Madonna, Eric Clapton, Dave Matthews, Billy Joel, Elton John, Linkin Park, Aimee Mann, and No Doubt--have been challenging the record industry on a number of fronts. Among the record industry's complaints about most forms of digital music, from MP3s to Internet radio, are that they are unfair to musicians. Now prominent musicians are, in part, using their leverage over contract terms to challenge some of the industry's own practices. Among the group's complaints:
- Contract length--standard multi-album contracts bind performers to companies for excessive lengths of time, they say
- Better audit practices--musicians contend record companies short them on foyalty payments as a matter of course.
- Copyright reforms--record companies frequently own an artist's work in perpetuity and can repackage it at will, even when the costs of recording the music have been repaid
- Payola reforms--The practice is alive and well thanks to "independent promoters"
Industry sources countered that the vast majority of record contracts prove unprofitable and that most musicians have legal advicewhen signing a contract.