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Canadian Music Industry Drills Dentists 555

Posted by michael
from the double-root-canal dept.
hereisnowhy writes "CBC reports that the tranquil music that wafts through many dental offices to soothe patients and mask the sounds of the drill may soon be silenced. The music industry is putting the bite on dentists -- demanding that they pay for the right to play it. The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada would also like to extend this policy to 'coffee shops, clothing stores, lounges, elevators -- even radio tunes that people hear on the telephone while on hold.' Are any composers and authors actually in favour of this, or just the publishers?"
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Canadian Music Industry Drills Dentists

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  • by Dashing Leech (688077) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @10:09PM (#9797733)
    ...is that somebody might actually get paid for elevator music.
    • Muzak's been in that business for years.
      • Muzak's been in that business for years.

        in further evidence that nothing sacred is safe from perversion, i offer that muzak has gone seriously downhill since the glory days of the seventies and even early eighties.

        muzak used to be instantly recognizable as highly sanitized, soothing, mantovani-type music that could practically wipe your mind clean - almost physically unfocus your eyes and remove the expression from your face.

        now they've gone all "hip" and environmental and electronic. i like environm

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 25, 2004 @10:45PM (#9797963)
      ...is that somebody might actually get paid for elevator music.
      It's actually among the highest-paying gigs in music. Each session runs a few hours, and they want to maximize their time by recording a lot of music. That requires top-notch studio musicians -- because there's no such thing as rehearsal. You walk into the studio at 9AM and they plop a folder filled with sheet music in front of you. They call the first tune, the red light goes on, and you play.

      And let me tell you: You'd better get it right in one take. 'Cause like I say, it's a high-paying gig. If you can't hack it, there's a line of musicians out the door looking to take your seat.

    • by stilwebm (129567) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @11:01PM (#9798037)
      I could only be so lucky. My dentists' office plays The Biggest Country Hits [wsix.com].

      Unfortunately they do not use gas.
      • Luxury! My grocery market switched to playing a country station last week. I still haven't decided which is worse, starving to death or having to listen to that again.
  • by spacecadetglow (790516) <spacecadetglow&gmail,com> on Sunday July 25, 2004 @10:10PM (#9797738)
    Lets not forget the people with their car radio on and their windows rolled down. They are our number one priority man.
  • Uh oh. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Shky (703024) <shkyoleary@gmail ... inus threevowels> on Sunday July 25, 2004 @10:10PM (#9797739) Homepage Journal
    I sometimes play music loudly in my car with the windows down. I assume they'd be mad at me for that too.

    If so, I'm very, very sorry. Don't worry, it's not the kind of crappy music that you're worried about people hearing for free anyway. This music is good.
  • ASCAP & BMI... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by l810c (551591) * on Sunday July 25, 2004 @10:11PM (#9797744)
    ...have been doing this in the US for forever. I worked at a resturaunt in college 15 years ago and we had CD's playing. They sent someone arownd to every business in town and said to play CD's you had to pay their fee's. We switched to radio, which is legal.

    A couple of years later I ran a bar that had live music and we played CD's. We had to pay ASCAP and BMI nearly $3000 a year to cover CD's and the bands playing cover songs.

    • Re:ASCAP & BMI... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by acroyear (5882) <jws-slashdot@javaclientcookbook.net> on Sunday July 25, 2004 @10:34PM (#9797893) Homepage Journal
      ascap will sue your bar even if you only have artists playing their on (non-ascap) original material. its an extortion racket and everybody knows it. they certainly have the legal clout. they claim that 84% of their royalties go directly to the artists (mind you, much of it distributed based on radio airplay, regardless of the money's source).

      however, 16% of $1.6 BILLION pays for a LOT of lawyers.

      for example, if you only do public domain material, "trad arr." and all that, they'll still sue you because they can decide that your arraingment wasn't original, but based on an arraingment that is ASCAP protected. you can't win.

      and a restaurant DOES have to pay ASCAP licensing, even if they only play the radio. all stores do.

      yes, that means ASCAP gets paid 3 times over. 1) the radio station purchases the CD to play, at a higher rate than our retail version, and ASCAP gets their cut. 2) the radio station pays its broadcast license. 3) the restaurant or retail location pays a broadcast license based on the # of customers they have on average in the store at any time.

      nobody wins except ascap. period.
      • Re:ASCAP & BMI... (Score:5, Informative)

        by l810c (551591) * on Sunday July 25, 2004 @10:44PM (#9797953)
        I was pretty certain that we didn't have to pay anything for radio. I did a search and it depends on the situation [ascap.com].

        With the rest of your comment I definately agree.

        When opening your own business that are invariably unforseen costs. Imagine our surprise when we get a letter only a few weeks after getting our federal tax id. And the costs turn out to be $3000, that's a real drain when opening a business on a shoestring. I think they scan the SIC codes for new businesses and attack right away.

        • Re:ASCAP & BMI... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by halowolf (692775)
          In Australia, from what I vaguely recall, its accepted that you need to obtain a license to play music in public for your business. But from what little I understand its a flat yearly fee that I think is meant to be reasonably priced, though I have no idea what it is.

          Given all the stores that play music, I imagine this setup works quite well. Music producers get compensated for the musics use, business get to use it to attract/entertain customers in their stores.

          Every now and then a store does gets bust

          • yup, in Australia people are expected to pay to put customers on hold. [amra.org.au] The Australian music monopolists have decided that even a phone call deserves a usage tax.

            -AD

        • Re:ASCAP & BMI... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by clambake (37702)
          I was pretty certain that we didn't have to pay anything for radio. I did a search and it depends on the situation.

          So, I wonder if you had enough for lawyers if you could sue them for tranmitting radiowaves through your business and "tresspassing". What if you have an EULA on the airspace in your resturant that says anything played in any frequency in the electromagnetic spectrum in your resturant belongs to you and if you don't want to give away your music then don't send it through the building. Woul
      • by tentimestwenty (693290) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @10:55PM (#9798010)
        I'd hate to have to pay to play all those CDs I'm trying to sell on the record company's behalf...
    • Re:ASCAP & BMI... (Score:3, Interesting)

      A friend of mine is a Jazz musician who is not affiliated with ASCAP or BMI. Since ASCAP and BMI "meter-maids" were out in full force in the San Francisco Bay Area, many establishments there started playing my friend's CDs because it was one of the few decent options available that wouldn't lead to paying extortion money. Other musicians started to get kinda upset with my friend because his CDs seemed to be getting played EVERYWHERE for a while.
  • VANCOUVER - The tranquil music that wafts through many dental offices to soothe patients and mask the sounds of the drill may soon be silenced. The music industry is putting the bite on dentists - demanding that they pay for the right to play it.

    The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, which collects royalties for musicians, has targeted dental offices in its latest campaign. The group is asking them to cough up a yearly fee if they use copyrighted music to entertain patients.
  • non SECAM music? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lehk228 (705449) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @10:12PM (#9797750) Journal
    How about just get music which is licensed in a more open fashon such as Creative Commons?
  • Considering how the courts have handled the music industry in the past, I somehow doubt they will actually let this happen in Canada.
  • It's ok (Score:2, Interesting)

    by knightrdr (685033)
    If they do something about the sound of the drill, I'm all for it.
  • What happened... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oldosadmin (759103) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @10:12PM (#9797755) Homepage
    to playing music for the sheer artistry of it? I play music, and just the fact of someone WANTING to hear it would make me happy.
    • Re:What happened... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Skadet (528657)
      I can tell from experience that while (in the beginning) it's just awesome when someone simply "wants to hear the music" you've created, that appeal tends to wanes.

      Basically, wanting people "just to hear" your stuff is inversely correlated with "time and money invested".

      Believe me, after spending a solid week in a studio and dropping more than $7,000 on an album, you'd appreciate it if someone paid you the $5 for the CD you just pressed.

      Eventually, someone wanting to hear your music translates into
      • by Dizzle (781717)
        Then maybe it's time to consider another career. Just because someone does a job doesn't mean they have to be paid well for it, if at all. I'm tired of artists complaining about not making enough money. They could go out and train to become a music teacher or a sound engineer or something else that applies to their trade, but for the love of god stop saying that we "owe" you something.
  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Sunday July 25, 2004 @10:13PM (#9797766)
    There's a bit of an interesting situation here... the publishers are trying to assert themselves into what presently is a very murky space in copyright land.

    Using a broadcast radio station as the hold music on a phone system actually requires a copyright license from the station from which the artists/publishers should be seeking their payment. Of course, since it'd take a lot of work to observe all of the places this is going on, it's one of those bits of copyright law that more or less has been nullified by simple non-enforcement, and therefore slipped into that consumer-friendly category known as "fair use".

    Case law has more or less said in the past that if a radio station is being pumped through an amplifier system throughout a building, then whomever is doing that needs to pay because they're redistributing the station. However, if they set up a standalone radio in every room and tune them all to the same frequency, they get the same effective sounds throught the building but don't have to pay because they're not redistributing, but just letting the boom boxes do their thing. But again, that often ends up unnoticed and unenforced.

    Major sports venues have to pay for copyright licenses... but your local high school football venue likely uses the same music without paying for it.

    Seems like this is an RIAA crackdown just waiting to happen...
    • by rice_web (604109) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @10:53PM (#9797996)
      I'm a law student, and something stood out in one of my text books:

      In the section "Playing music in a store or business", it lists that a fee must be paid in restaurants and bars 3,750 square feet or under and retail outlets of 2,000 square feet or under. Or the establishment must not have any more than six speakers throughout, and not more than four per room.

      It's funny, my post probably just violated fair use, as I very nearly copied the sections without quotes. Fortunately, in my case, my intent is education not profit, and the base material is federal law, which isn't copyrighted. Though it'd still be worth an argument, as, both fortunately and unfortunately, fair use is subjective, and therefore victim to the interpretation of a judge of the week.
      • OK, I'll bite.... What happens to radio stations played in an audio equipment dealer's shop?

        Does the car stereo shop have to pay because they have more than 4 speakers in the listening booth? Or does this only apply to 4 SIMULTANIOUS speakers? What about the different listening rooms, there might be 3 or 4 seperate stations being played at the same time.

        Why does the space limitation apply to spaces UNDER the listed square footages and not bigger establishments?... That simply doesn't make sense.

        If th
    • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Sunday July 25, 2004 @10:55PM (#9798007) Homepage
      The record companies out to be PAYING THE DENTISTS. Let's face it, how many other places are there where you get a captive audience who can't get away? At a car dealer or something I can walk out the door. But when you're stuck in the dentist's chair with a pair of hands in your mouth, you can't avoid the music too easily.

      You go to bookstores and they have CDs up front of the music they are playing in the store, why aren't record companies doing the same thing at dentist's offices?

  • Radio time (Score:2, Informative)

    by pHZero (790342)
    Time for the dentists who haven't to switch over to using the radio. http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/music-royal ties7.htm [howstuffworks.com] The radio stations pay the royalties...
  • Fair use, anybody? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thewldisntenuff (778302) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @10:14PM (#9797768) Homepage
    I used to work at a grocery store (I believe the title was "courtesy clerk", but I likened it to being the "head b!tch....:) ), and I asked my boss one day about the music that was pumped into the store. He replied that they subscribed to a certain radio feed and that was paid through the grocery company I worked for. It was a special feed, and the store had a tuner for the specific frequency or other.....

    I would assume that most of these locations (stores, lounges, etc) follow the same sort of setup. My dentist played his own music, but I figure that would fall under fair-use, right? I mean, he's listening to it while he's working -

    No fair use you say? Oh.....
  • Teeth (Score:5, Funny)

    by paulfwilliams (410508) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @10:14PM (#9797770)
    Perhaps the RIAA members will change their tune when they go for their dental checkups, and instead of soothing music, the dentists play recorded tracks of drilling and pulling teeth.
  • Smart radio (Score:2, Interesting)

    by usefool (798755)
    Since playing radio is still legal, would it be possible to design a 'smart radio' which searches and switches to another station if the music is no longer playing (i.e. with advertisement or DJ talking).

    With such radio, dentists (or whoever) can preset a couple of like-taste stations and skip all the ads and talking, it'll be like a non-stop music album.
    • Re:Smart radio (Score:3, Interesting)

      by imkonen (580619)
      Well if my experience whenever I forget to bring a CD in the car is any indicator, the flaw in your idea is that all the stations with good music have ads at the same time.

      Call the above comment half joking, half tinfoil hat musings. I used to chock it up to bad luck, but I've wondered if there isn't any truth to it: it would be in the radio stations' interests to get together and agree to overlap ad time to minimize channel surfing, wouldn't it?

  • It ain't got a fancy Creative Commons license, but the kid is alright.

    Linky [narbotic.com].

    I particularly recommend "I couldn't find her heart" and "Alarm in the graduate school".

    What about the rest of slashdotters? Non-RIAA independently released music you thoroughly enjoy?
  • ... because the greedier the Music Industry gets, the more demand there'll be for a more repsonsible ogranization to replace them. The more you tighten your grip, and all...

  • I know here in the US, if you play music on "non-commercial equipment" (IE A small boombox from Target, etc) or don't charge a fee, you don't have to pay the fees. But the minute you upgrade to pro equipment or make it pay-to-play, you do.

    I found this out whilst doing research for opening a bar, a long term life goal I've had for quite some time.
    Overall, even with the fee, it's not THAT much money - especially if you put in a jukebox. I know when I finally open up a place, I'll be more then happy to pay the money - at least until I do more research and find out the artists don't get a cent of it, then I'll be screaming hehe
    • The artist gets paid only if he/she was the songwriter. Performance royalties are paid for the song only, not for the recording (two seperate copyrights), so the record company doesn't see a dime either. The only people who get paid are the songwriter and the publisher (at worst a 50/50 split, if the songwriter runs his/her own publishing, and many do, the songwriter gets it all)
  • by foidulus (743482) * on Sunday July 25, 2004 @10:19PM (#9797799)
    but my dentist is probably the last person on earth I would want to piss off. Maybe the Canadian music execs are secretly dental masochists....
  • This is interesting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cluge (114877) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @10:19PM (#9797802) Homepage
    So if you have a radio plugged into your music on hold PBX port and the radio station already pays to play music, wouldn't that be "double dipping"? Isn't that illegal in Canada?

    Whats funny is that the article states ""The distinction is that the music is not their property," he said. "And if it's being used in a public fashion or any kind of commercial fashion, then [musicians] deserve to be compensated for its use."

    Considering the horrible track-record the recording industry has for paying musicians what is owed them, does anyone think that the musicians will see a dime if such monies are collected. What isn't mentioned is that this may make it illegal for DJ's to play at weddings and bar mitzvahs without paying some sort of fee. How many times do you have to pay for music before you can really enjoy it?

    cluge
    AngryPeopleRule
  • by dbIII (701233) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @10:19PM (#9797804)
    Back in the late 1980's in Australia, a group called the Australian Performing Rights Association started charging fees for each broadcast of every Australian recording. The consequence was radio stations stopped playing as much local content, people wouldn't buy what they didn't hear, no-one else declared what was being played, what was collected vanished into administration fees for APRA, the cut for artists was reduced in anticipation of broadcast fees and local performers continued to be screwed.

    Why should government be a debt collector for the music industry anyway? Why should the music industry get paid several times for one product?

  • by TyrranzzX (617713) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @10:20PM (#9797807) Journal
    I buy a CD, I'm buying the ability to use that disk, which means reproducing the sound of that music. I don't care what these assclowns say, but if I buy their music, I can play that music, weither I hear it or I and 500 people hear it.

    This just shows how much this really isn't about lost profits or dwindling sales, but about control. They want control over the industry, which is going away. But the harder they squeeze, the harder we fall through their fist. Already another industry of alternative music is rising up, and if that kind of legislation goes down, they'll completly lose to the alternative industry who doesn't charge gobs of money for their music.

    And since I'm up here, I might as well plug Tales from the afternow ( www.theafternow.com , free download on the site, 24 and 128kbps). If you listen to that, from beginning to end, you'll know how they're going to try to implement the control.
  • by Fortress (763470) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @10:25PM (#9797836) Homepage
    I read all kinds of stories on Slashdot like this about someone being upset that someone else is enjoying some form of art without paying for the privilege. It always makes me wonder about the goals of the artists.

    It seems to me that a true artist would want as many people as possible to enjoy their creation. The internet and file-sharing should be a great enabler for this, as anyone anywhere with internet access can see, hear or read their art. It is truly liberating and democratizing, making art available to all instead of only those who can afford it.

    Whenever I hear an artist complain that too many people are enjoying their work without paying, I smell a rat. If you are creating art to get rich, you're not really an artist, at least by my admittedly narrow definition. Art should be its own reward. A true artist would create and distribute their work even if there was no compensation for it and they had to work a day job to make ends meet. There are countless examples of this. The passion for their craft drives them, not a desire for monetary gain (though this sometimes is a byproduct).

    As to record companies and other copyright holding entities, I understand that for their business to survive, they must try to protect their assets. I just happen to think that their business model is hopelessly outdated in the midst of the digital revolution.

    We are at a turning point of the information age. Will information become truly free or will access to it be controlled by "information barons"?
  • by OS24Ever (245667) * <trekkie@nomorestars.com> on Sunday July 25, 2004 @10:29PM (#9797864) Homepage Journal
    For a few years we stuck an old am/fm radio with a headphone jack plug into our phone system. It'd play the radio on the hold music.

    Someone reported us / they figured out we'd been doing it and sued the employer. They 'offered' to settle if they were contracted to write up a commercial type thing. That was part of the legal 'settlement'. Complete gang rape RIAA style in the early 90s.
  • by Slashcrunch (626325) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @10:30PM (#9797871) Homepage
    I'm going to hum a tune, and you can pay for the pleasure of hearing it. Then again, maybe its no longer even legal for me to hum the tune to start with, unless I bought the album, and its being hummed on an approved playback/humming device....?

    This is just plain greedy.

    I think we already have this kind of thing here in Australia?
  • by jlanthripp (244362) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @10:36PM (#9797903) Journal
    and to have one of these scumbags sitting in my chair for a root canal...

    "Oops, sorry, thought I'd given you the anesthetic....too late now, let me turn on some soothing music to take your mind off the pain....oh, wait, sorry, can't do that anymore"

  • Boy Scouts (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kenshin (43036) <kenshin AT lunarworks DOT ca> on Sunday July 25, 2004 @10:42PM (#9797946) Homepage
    I once read that the Boy Scouts in the US have a list of copyrighted campfire songs they are forbidden from singing because ASCAP took them to court over it.

    THAT is scraping the bottom of the litigious barrel. Seriously.

    TOO MANY LAWYERS.
    • Re:Boy Scouts (Score:3, Informative)

      by rnturn (11092)

      Actually, I think that was the Girls Scouts. Doesn't make ASCAP any less scummy. Maybe even scummier.

  • by blix5 (679908) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @10:44PM (#9797954)
    <sarcasm>Yeah, I would *love* for my bands' music to forever be associated with dentist drilling and pain.</sarcasm>

    If you look at it that way, the music industry should be paying the dentists to not plays their music.
  • by sillivalley (411349) <(sillivalley) (at) (comcast.net)> on Sunday July 25, 2004 @10:46PM (#9797966)
    This is a standard shake-down in the U.S. Entertainment and IP lawyers get calls all the time from business owners asking "Can they do that? Do I have to pay these bastards money for playing my fsking radio?"

    The answer is usually, yes. The exceptions are very narrow.

    (Ever wonder why restaurant chains sing hokey made-up songs instead of the nominal "happy birthday?" Licensing fees -- money -- that's why.)

    One exception, in the U.S. at least, is to play only material that is in the public domain, not subject to (ascap/bmi) licensing. As an example, Fry's in Sunnyvale plays classical piano music which is free of licensing. In the U.S., there are collections of CDs full of such material.

    Of course when a business takes such an approach, the licensing authorities (sic) will make the assumption that you are a crook, and they will watch carefully and wait for you to screw up -- and then sue your ass (arse, in Canada).

    Consult an attorney familiar with these rackets. I imagine that there exists or will soon exist a standard set of recommendations for Canadian businesses who wish to remain free of licensing fees (and don't expect that guidance to come from the licensing societies).
  • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Sunday July 25, 2004 @10:47PM (#9797970) Homepage
    A spokesman was (not) quoted as saying...

    "We will also be attacking auto shops,
    billing some breakfast nooks,
    complaining about co-ops,
    demanding at doctor's offices,
    enjuncting eateries,
    freaking out flyers,
    grabbing from greenhouses,
    holding up hotels,
    infringing on rights at investment offices,
    jostling Jeep dealers,
    kneedling some knitting stores,
    leavying against lawyers' offices,
    meddling at muesems,
    nosing around news stands,
    offending offices,
    prodding price-clubs,
    questioning Quick Stops,
    requesting of restrants,
    shaking-down a few sugar shacks,
    troubling travel agents,
    unhinging uppolstry shop managers,
    video-taping vacuum stores,
    wringing out waterparks,
    X-Raying Xerox service centers,
    yelling at yogurt shops,
    and zig zagging around zoos. "

    Good thing nothing like this ever happens in the US. *sigh*

  • by WormholeFiend (674934) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @11:08PM (#9798074)
    They wanted to lend me a discman, but since I had my own MP3 player with me, I used it instead.

    I did notice that they had a cd holder full of CDRs though. But that's ok, since this is in Canada and we pay fees on blank CDRs for that, eh.
  • It's pretty bad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JediTrainer (314273) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @11:24PM (#9798160)
    My father is a dentist in Canada (in the Toronto area). This has been going on for months now, and the Canadian Dental Association sent him a notice nearly a year ago about dentists getting harassed about this.

    I was pretty shocked to say the least, but if you can believe it, even the 'on hold' music qualifies as "public entertainment" in the view of these idiots. Where most businesses used to be able to just tune a radio and plug that into the telephone, that practice has now effectively been outlawed. In fact, he's never played CDs in his office - he's only used the radio (nevermind that the stations have already paid the 'public entertainment' tax), and that appears to be a no-no as well.

    The unfortunate solution to this whole mess was to:

    stop playing ANY music in the office

    replace the 'on hold' radio with a paid-for recording which has royalty-free music in the background

    In the end, SOCAN didn't get much money from him, I don't think, because the royalty-free music was composed in-house in the firm that recorded his fancy new telephone greeting for waiting callers. But the whole idea riled him up so much I think they've lost the whole family in customers when it comes to buying music in the future. Go figure.

  • by cagle_.25 (715952) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @11:26PM (#9798171) Journal
    I'm one of those "freebie" musicians who plays and records for the love of the sounds. (I can afford this only because I have a day job.)

    What strikes me funny as the "outrage for having to pay for music" story goes another round on /. is that we really have come to wrongly view music as a non-economic good, like air. Why?

    I think there are two reasons:

    commerce has pretended to give music to us for free: music is an expected part of the background in any store, at any event, for any time spent on hold. Radios broadcast the stuff for free, out of the goodness of their hearts.

    Wait a second, no one does that. Strike that. Radios broadcast music for free because they receive ad revenue, and it is therefore in their economic interest to broadcast music without charge. Funny, stores do the same: a store with a soundtrack feels more polished to us because we aren't troubled by the chaos of other people's conversations. I suppose the ultimate example of soundtrack-polishing is Nordstrom's, with their live pianists.

    So despite appearances music is not like air, but is used as a means of enhancing commerce. But we *think* it is, because of its ubiquitous presence in our lives.

    Second, the commerce model followed by RIAA and friends stands in stark contrast to the professional model followed by classical music. In general, pop music pays by a royalty system. Concerts do provide some revenue, but the primary income stream even from concerts comes from royalties for sales of CDs and T-shirts. By contrast, classical musicians are salaried or payed per gig. (Can you imagine Perlman being payed a fee for every T-shirt sold at a Kennedy center concert?) So why does this matter? Because a salaried musician is far less likely to look for ever-more oppressive ways to squeeze revenue from his art. His salary is thus-and-so, and if he doesn't like it, well then, he negotiates with his employers.

    But in a royalty system, the "employers" are the consumers. The revenue-squeezing tactics we see here are really ASCAP's way of trying to re-negotiate their salary. The RIAAs talk of "fairness" really is just rhetoric to get the foot in the door, and the squeezing will never stop.

    So what is the solution? I think we all need to first acknowledge that our belief that music is free like air is simply wrong. Downloaders who expect to sample for free before paying have an unworkable expectation.

    But, the royalty system for music needs to go. The industry's expectation of being paid for every "instance" of their intellectual property is unsustainable. Instead, musicians should be salaried, should make most of their income from actually performing concerts for people, and should release on CD only if they fully expect their music to be copied by others. Instead of concerts being a hook to get people to buy CDs, CDs should be a hook to get people to go to concerts. That would mean higher concert prices, but it would return some sanity to a currently insane system.

    /ramble

    • Few things (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770)
      "Wait a second, no one does that."

      Three letter counter argument: NPR. Radio financed by tax dollars, not ad revenues. Funny thing, they play classical and jazz music that isn't copyrighted and there's not a huge payola scheme to play.

      As for listening before you buy, why is that an unreasonable expecation? If I wish to buy art, I can go to a gallery and for free or at most a small fee to the gallery (not the artist) go and look at works I might like to own. I pay for the work when I want a copy of it, not
  • by Gribflex (177733) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @11:41PM (#9798250) Homepage

    Are any composers and authors actually in favour of this, or just the publishers?

    I asked my wife, a musician, the above question. She replied with "No, that's stupid!" In addition to thinking it was stupid, she also seemed to feel that it was more important the people heard her music than that she was paid for every time it was played.

    After asking her about the 'other sides' opinion that the artists need to get paid fairly for their work, she reminded me that even though she is a musician, she won't ever receive the royalties. In her case, she plays with an orchestra. This means that it is not her that is the artist, but the orchestra. And it is not her that can complain, but rather the orchestra director and (possibly) the conductor. But more likely the recording label, not the actual orchestra.

    So, OK. The orchestra gets paid. That means that she gets more money because the royalties trickle down in her paychecks. Wrong. She is paid a fixed salary, independent of how much revenue the orchestra makes.

    OK, so she isn't exactly a rock star, nor does she make millions with her music, but she is still a recording artist and the law does not benefit her, nor will it ever.

  • SOCAN sucks (Score:4, Informative)

    by cmallinson (538852) * <c AT mallinson DOT ca> on Sunday July 25, 2004 @11:56PM (#9798298) Homepage
    I had to pay those bastards $60 or $70 bucks just because I played music at my wedding. I called them to ask them where this money goes, and they said it's used to fight for the copyrights of Canadian musicians. For fun, I asked if I could avoid paying the money if I only had GUESTS at the wedding take turns singing during the dancing. I would still have to pay, as those people would be singing songs they heard on the radio, and thus still owed royalties to the original musicians and composer. I was not able to avoid these fees, as the hall I had rented was a city-run community centre, and had to abide by the rules.

    Here are some of the other tariffs [socan.ca] charged by SOCAN.

    Strolling Musicians and Buskers; Recorded Music - Fee per day: $32.55 for each day on which music is performed

    Skating Rinks (Roller & Ice Skating) - 1.2% of gross receipts from admissions exclusive of sales and amusement taxes

    Comedy Shows and Magic Shows - Fee per show: $36.60 where use of music is incidental.

    Aircraft - Fee per quarter, based on seating capacity:
    a) Take-off and landing music - ranging from $40.50 to $82.50 per aircraft
    b) In-flight music - ranging from $162.00 to $330.00 per aircraft

    Telephone Music on Hold - Fee for one trunk line: $94.51, plus $2.09 for each additional trunk line.

    Background Music - Annual fee: $1.23 per square metre or 11.46 per square foot; half the annual rate for establishments operating less than six months per year. (In all cases, minimum fee of $94.51)

  • by failedlogic (627314) on Monday July 26, 2004 @12:32AM (#9798466)
    The problem a lot of these establishments have right now is that they feel that they have to play current, hit music. If anything, some music only appeals to certain demographics. I don't want to hear Eminem while having my teeth cleaned or furniture shopping. Play classical music pieces like Mozart or other things that are in the public domain. Last I checked, some of this music is $2.00 a CD in the store!

    The other problem is that the RIAA hasn't tried to sue the US gov't. I would love to see them try and sue the Pentagon, DOJ or the Whitehouse for playing tunes to guests or workers. Big political no,no that you'll never see. But then again, when everyone else pays ... so will everyone else .... the gov't .... that's right taxpayers.

  • by rogerborn (236155) on Monday July 26, 2004 @12:33AM (#9798469)
    This is old, but it still applies... In fact, perhaps now, more than ever.

    The End of the Internet
    http://mymac.com/showarticle.php?id=494

    (Some time in the near future)

    I finally found a way to make money off the Internet. I did it by writing a book about how the Net died.

    Not that I made any money while it existed, you see. No one did.

    Oh, like everyone else, I loved the Internet for all the freedom it gave me, and the wealth of information and idea exchange, where everyone profited from that free flow of thought and information. But, you know how Man is. Never underestimate his ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!

    Why did it end? Simple: It was greed.

    First it started with the Spammers. There got to be so much Spam, that even Congressmen were snowed under with the daily deluge. No one could get their legitimate mail because of the thousands of fake letters these inventive Spammers were sending out with their Web bots. Congress finally made a law strong enough that any of them could be shot on sight. Some hacker then posted on the Web a public list of the lot of them, and soon they were all dead.

    The public, long laboring under all that Spam, liked what they did so much, that they killed off all the hackers too. This had a profound effect on people taking computer science and engineering classes, did you know that?

    That was the first nail in the coffin of the Net. We should have all paid attention to it. But no one did. We were all too busy trying to make a buck off of the Net.

    The next coffin nail came when the Music and Movie companies finally paid Congress enough money to have the copyright laws changed. It was easy once Disney got them to extend copyright privileges another hundred years. The new law that Congress passed was very comprehensive! In fact, no one could listen to the music without breaking the new laws!

    Now it was a Federal offense to even read or see anything that was copyrighted. If you did, there would be an unauthorized copy in your brain that you could access just by remembering. Oh, you could legitimately purchase a copy of anything copyrighted in the stores, but you could never open that copy and view it or listen to it. Tough law!

    That's why all the libraries in the country were permanently closed. Right after that the schools and colleges were all shut down, and their teachers and administrators put away for using copyrighted materials in their classrooms. Students, however, were forgiven their offense in this, but all their books and notes were confiscated and burned.

    The next nail came with the legal view of computer hardware. That legal POV stated that the desktop, palmtop, or laptop computer you were using could also hold, however briefly, yet another copy of any copyrighted material you might put into it, for transfer to a CD, or perhaps downloaded off the Web. Congress just attached this to their Anti-Terrorism Bill for Secure Systems Standards. Remember, these devices were considered guilty until proven innocent, just as their owners were. It seems the very existence of these machines was now suspect, because someone, somewhere, might use them for pirating copyrighted material!

    Therefore all these computing devices became illegal to even own. No more Computers!

    The music companies, having now gotten their way with Congress, finally had a law written that was so powerful, even they were locked up! They were all sent to prison for having a copy of their own music, which they had bought (or rather stolen) from the artists. Just deserts!

    Then the movie producers and the owners of movie theaters were locked up for the same violation of this powerful new copyright law! They were sent away for distributing more than one copy of their movies.

    Then the music artists and singers were all locked away for the same reason. Worse, for under the new law, many were sent up the river for playing their own songs too many time
  • by irving47 (73147) on Monday July 26, 2004 @12:43AM (#9798523) Homepage
    Magazines? Some organization could form to 'protect' the copyright holders like Time or People or whoever, against doctors offices and other waiting rooms for having their copyrighted printed materials available for public viewing. I'm sure there are others... Oooh. The video stores at the mall that sell movie DVD's and have the movies playing from start to finish on the TV's!

    Who else shall pay the price for common sense???

  • by Facekhan (445017) on Monday July 26, 2004 @12:57AM (#9798588)
    My Dentist (big hairy jewish guy) and his really hot hygenists (this is why I deliberately give myself cavities) sing showtunes to me while they do their thing. Its wonderful...
  • Magnatune (Score:5, Informative)

    by steveha (103154) on Monday July 26, 2004 @01:59AM (#9798817) Homepage
    One solution would be to get your music from Magnatune.

    http://magnatune.com [magnatune.com]

    All Magnatune music is licensed under the Creative Commons license with terms of Attribution, NonCommercial, and ShareAlike.

    http://magnatune.com/info/openmusic [magnatune.com]

    I just studied the "Licensing" page, and I think that playing music for your customers is a "commercial" use and you would need a commercial license from Magnatune. But they offer their whole catalog for commercial use, and if you license from them, you know that 50% of whatever you pay goes straight to the artist.

    I'm not sure how much they would charge for a dentist to play music for customers, but the "Public Space" license (e.g. for playing music in the dining room of a restaurant) is $45 per year for one album.

    P.S. I'm a happy customer of Magnatune; I admire what they are doing and I hope they succeed. I have no other ties of any sort to them.

    steveha
  • by salec (791463) on Monday July 26, 2004 @04:43AM (#9799283)
    ...Remembering music in your memories and listnening to it? If music industry only could force you to forget, or to detect that you are at the moment "listening" inside... they would squeze money out of you.

    I suggest people who are sick and tired of this make organised "silent listening" parties in protest of stupid note counting: Get together, mention the title, no, title could be a trademark, run a chain of asociations to the part, untill everybody say "I got it" (don't bring clueless friends with you), then someone makes the "start" gesture (whatever it may be) and everybody "listen to the music together" (some very sync people could even dance to it) in ridicule of conduct of music industry and demonstration of the fact that hearing music once is owning it forever.

    Where this heads, soon you would be required to use headphones (with real head detection) to stop accidental leaking of their music to someone who did not pay. Loudspeakers would be illegal, unless all precautions are met to keep all the sound inside the room, and everyone in the room payed the playprice. (Not so bad after all... then none would bug you with loud music any more or they would be sued by RIAA for unauthorised handing out of their property).

    The point is that information can only be sold the way secrets are sold (remember, by definition something is information for you only if you haven't already knew it). That goes for all new (software, video) and old (written stuff, music, even patents) flavours of information. Any other attempt to price and deal it in material kind of way is like trying to hold the water in the basket, plow the sea, or heard the snails.

    Information is precious and should be priced very high accordingly, but any attempt to steer it afterwards is pointless, doomed, expensive, troublesome and, as most of us feel, tiranic. Get your money now and keep your nose out of my business! The problem they (information producers and dealers) have with this natural state of affairs is twofold: 1) they wish to sell directly to great number of people who hasn't got that kind of money, but as there are so many of us, 'en masse' ('the market') we have huge amount of it (and they think they shold get all of it and more) and 2) they are huge machinery wich pays its own record manufacturing. The solution is so obvious and natural but, hidden behind the long rooted law system, information industry doesn't want to change and subsidize itself:

    First, the information carrier imprinting (record production) industry should be separated from information producing industry.

    Second, there should be information exchange market, like there is stock exchange market. The information brokers would buy brand new (and expensive!) information (music, software, films, ...) from producers, with agreement that producers won't cut their buyers' (brokers') prices by selling bellow them, or even that they would not make another sell at all, for some fixed, agreed upon, period. That clause is, of course, voluntary and seller's fail to comply, treachery, would hurt seller's bussiness credibility and future prices hard (I am sure that, in case of traceability of trust breach, there could even be a court case).
    Of course, the buyers will have to be very cautios who they get into business with. Maybe some of their co-buyers can make fast sell into their target market and close them out (think "first newspaper to publish the news"). But, going large scale may be too expensive. New owners of information can choose to sell several copies to other interested parties, at more affordable (medium or small businesses affordable) price covering their expenses plus profit in sum.

    At some pont, record producing industry will buy the information and publish it at very affordable price (i.e. like Linux or BSD distros of today), but of course they will compete and try to get it sooner then competition do. Still, somewhere, very soon, you will be able to get it for smaller price, home
  • No free music. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by blanks (108019) on Monday July 26, 2004 @09:35AM (#9800727) Homepage Journal
    About 1 1/2 years ago, a company (not sure which one) was sending people to different (small) business's in Minneapolis Minnesota. Most of the businesses were non chain coffee shops, cafes, and restaurants. They basically said that they would be fined if they were playing music if they did not have a subscription to digital radio. Just about every place I used to go to had to switch, because no one wanted to get fined., or fight to defend their rights to play music in their location. Some people did try doing different things, like playing music off music channels on cable, but for the most part, no more local bands, no more local music, nothing but mainstream music off digital subscription. It will happen in your city soon if it hasn't happened yet, it worked so well in Minneapolis, im sure they will force everyone onto it.

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