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Previous Item   Wednesday, 24th October 2007  Next Item SOUND  VISION WORD



The day begins I…


11.25 The day continues…

… and with it the usual portion of the music industry. On this day, specifically, the EMI audit.

We are looking, inter alia, at payment by EMI for illegal out-of-period (post 2003) sales, and returns of unsold CDs. A concern with returns is always that they are not dumped back onto the market by mistake (by mistake, dear reader). We seem to be close to agreement on these two matters, on the basis of our current researches.

The third item for consideration is more difficult: downloads.

After the licence expired, King Crimson tracks repeatedly appeared on various download websites licensed from EMI. If this had happened during the license period, it would have been disturbing – even though shit happens and we should have gotten over it! -  because EMI never had download rights from us. At the beginning of the licence period, there was no such item as downloads; at the end of the period (December 31st. 2003), downloads were clearly an important part of the future. The EMI license was not renewed because we were not willing to approve download rights – even though they aren’t important! but it’s standard EMI company policy that we have to have them! even though they’re not important! – because the royalty terms offered sucked (these are current industry standard royalty terms).

EMI have offered to give us the download income; but this is not sufficient nor satisfactory, for various reasons. One example: F&E’s No Pussyfooting: 2 tracks downloaded at 99c each. Second example:  any KC album with (say ITCOTCK) 5 songs would sell for $5 on i-Tunes, as opposed to $15 for the CD).

What galls is the cavalier approach to copyright ownership of someone other than EMI. It’s a little too rich to punish punters for illegal downloads of EMI copyright material when EMI are themselves guilty of copyright violation. The response, many months ago, of the EMI lawyer (the one who also said shit happens! get over it) effectively told us I’ve done my best! we’ve told them to take it down! This isn’t quite good enough when making publicly available the copyright material of others. How bad do EMI management systems have to be that the company has no power of control over its licensing to download companies?  What checks were made to ensure that EMI had the rights to King Crimson / RF material? What systems did EMI have in place to ensure that all licensees were promptly informed when the license ended? Why did these systems fail in several EMI territories? What did EMI do to ensure their licensees honour the reversions?

 The fourth topic of our arising concern & interest is the delay in returning master tapes. Our distributor’s business was prejudiced at its very beginning, and lost because they were not able to release the catalogue punctually as intended. And DGM had to create new masters of all the albums, which should have been unnecessary.

Clearly, EMI as dinosaur doesn’t have a great deal of intelligence; does have a series of system failures to acknowledge, address & accept responsibility for; and compensate those who have been impacted – in this case, Panegyric, KC & DGM.

A general comment on large record companies: inefficiency in departments can rarely be remedied by outside parties who lose because of it. This is a full-time job, is very expensive, a major distraction from the creative life, and almost wholly a negative experience. This is the good news.

The bad news: this is known by the company, and allowed for within its operating structure. That is, efficiency is not seen as being in the direct interest of the record company - because it profits from its carelessness.

13.58  Travel organising continues, plus a meeting with Ian Joinery to fine-tune plans for work inside the house.

17.33  An afternoon of practising.

T called from Estonia & I also spoke to Director Bill & Chris Wong. Spirits are good, rehearsals went well & The Humans debut tomorrow.

What’s that?...

A Happy Gigster’s Briggs & Riley Wonder Wheelie & a hammered suitcase held together by tape, off to the front line…

18. 03 A final e-flurry, attempting to schedule KC rehearsals, choosing the final hotel of the Soundscapes – LCG tour. Closing the office, an early retiring for rising at 04.00.

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