Musicians Say Enough Is Enough: The Significance of Whitey’s Rejection Letter

Musicians Say Enough Is Enough: The Significance of Whitey’s Rejection Letter

If you have an eye on the music industry then there is no doubt that you saw the scathing letter from British alternative rock/electronic artist, Whitey, to television production company, Betty TV. They were one company too many to request free music for their productions, claiming to have “no budget for music”. The response is clearly the result of a long simmering irritation that boiled over, and then poured over into social media.

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The result of which is sparking huge discussion in an already sensitive area of artist rights in this strangest of music industry times. Check it out at Whitey’s Facebook page, or read it for yourself below:

I am sick to death of your hollow schtick, of the inevitable line “unfortunately there’s no budget for music”, as if some fixed Law Of The Universe handed you down a sad but immutable financial verdict preventing you from budgeting to pay for music. Your company set out the budget. so you have chosen to allocate no money for music. I get begging letters like this every week – from a booming, allfuent global media industry.

Why is this? Let’s look at who we both are.

I am a professional musician, who lives form his music. It me half a lifetime to learn the skills, years to claw my way up the structure, to the point where a stranger like you will write to me. This music is my hard earned property. I;ve licensed music to some of the biggest shows, brands, games and TV production companies on Earth; form Breaking Bad to the Sopranos, from Coca Cola to Visa, HBO to Rockstar Games.

Ask yourself – would you approach a Creative or a Director with a resume like that – and in one flippant sentence ask them to work for nothing? Of course not. Because your industry has a precedent of paying these people, of valuing their work.

Or would you walk into someone’s home, eat from their bowl, and walk out smiling, saying “So sorry, I’ve no budget for food”? Of course you would not. Because, culturally, we classify that as theft.

Yet the culturally ingrained disdain for the musician that riddles your profession, leads you to fleece the music angle whenever possible. You will without question pay everyone connected to a shoot – from the caterer to the grip to the extra- even the cleaner who mopped your set and scrubbed the toilets after the shoot will get paid. The musician? Give him nothing.

Now lets look at you. A quick glance at your website reveals a variety of well known, internationally syndicated reality programmes, You are a successful, financially solvent and globally recognised company with a string of hit shows. Working on multiple series in close co-operation with Channel 4, from a West London office, with a string of awards under your belt. You have real money, to pretend otherwise is an insult.

Yet you send me this shabby request – give me your property for free… Just give us what you own, we want it.

The answer is a resounding, and permanent NO.

I will now post this on my sites, forward this to several key online music sources and blogs, encourage people to re-blog this. I want to see a public discussion begin about this kind of industry abuse of musicians… this was one email too far for me. Enough. I’m sick of you.

What does this mean and why is this such a potent statement? 

Currently the music business has been failing artists – specifically indie artists who make a living through their music, but by no means are major label darlings. The overnight wave of streaming services and instant-gratification, online music has bred a very unhealthy climate for musicians. Average listeners want instant, endless access and artists seem to get shorter and shorter ends of the stick.

It seems that it has gotten to the point where significant corporate entities have the gall to ask established artists for FREE music. As NJ White articulates, this isn’t their first rodeo, but this is the only way they survive. If corporations and the industry at large thinks they can undermine artist livelihoods altogether then it seems that we have really reached a low point. It takes artists with brains in their heads to actually come forth and call out this unacceptable activity. Too often this gets written off as “business as usual” in this messy climate, so it is rather refreshing to see someone stand up and shout a resounding “NO” to mistreatment.

The music industry, and all who dabble in the music industry, need to turn the tides away from the idea that consuming music content is not a commodity but an entitlement. One must adapt and change with the tides, but this is one glitch in the system that could self-destruct everything. Some standard must be upheld.

Whitey’s letter is not new information to anyone, but it is a bold and visible reminder that corporate interests cannot dictate the course of the music industry. If a company has the means to pay for their content then they absolutely should! That’s how this works.

The double standard that artists face needs to be systematically erased, or things are going to get a whole lot worse before they get better.

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Comments ( 56 )
  1. groovehog
    November 7, 2013 at 8:42 am
    Reply

    Betty TV and their ilk are simply the Monsanto of musical media; they are are co-opting musicians in much the same way that agri-biz is killing independent farmers with the goal of controlling the world’s food supply.

    • indiloop
      November 7, 2013 at 8:55 am
      Reply

      Very well said! If we have corporate entities that continue to choke the lifeblood out of artists then what hope is there? Following your analogy, we will only be left with lifeless (read: nutritionless) cookie-cutter music that we are force-fed to like.

  2. obelus
    November 7, 2013 at 4:53 pm
    Reply

    Another name for indie cred could be just plain integrity. More standard bearers like this, and a reverberating fear is struck in the free-verse.

    • indiloop
      November 7, 2013 at 6:21 pm
      Reply

      Absolutely. Once one artist is willing to cave then it becomes protocol.

  3. Sarah Gibson
    November 7, 2013 at 11:42 pm
    Reply

    Shame in you Betty TV I’ve just sent an email to Betty tv – pressoffice@betty.co.uk. I don’t want to post on their Facebook as too much publicity for them. Totally disrespectful practise!!

    • indiloop
      November 8, 2013 at 12:31 am
      Reply

      Well done, Sarah. Voices must be heard, as this cannot continue.

    • Steffen Presley
      November 19, 2013 at 11:52 am
      Reply

      It’s not one company doing this. It’s ALL of them! It is an epidemic. As a professional musician/composer I deal with this sort of thing constantly. What hasn’t been discussed here is the reason companies get away with this: Any amateur can create so called “music” using just an iPhone or something now-days. You don’t need to know a thing about music to create “ear candy” on these devices. These people will gladly submit their “creations” for free because they quite naively think it is the road to stardom. Leveraging the uneducated bad taste of the general public, these companies are happy to use any kind of trendy sounding crap, especially that which imitates what is currently popular, which these mobile phone apps are designed to very easily do. There is an endless number of these people are willing to hand over these cheaply done creations for free, so there is absolutely no incentive for media companies to actually pay. There are not nearly enough professional composer/musicians to counteract this trend. This has also led to the death of real music. I have to live with that.

      • Will lenihan
        November 23, 2013 at 10:52 am
        Reply

        I cannot agree with you more. I, during a dark period of creative life worked as a commercial composer right a the start of the real dissolution of the business, late 80s-90s. The same things were starting to happen after years of reasonable and sometimes big budgets. All the composers in LA, we complained. This was before complete amateur music making with ipads and iphones. It has only grown worse. I left it behind many years ago and never regret it. Good luck to you.

  4. Uppror Magazine (@Uppror)
    November 8, 2013 at 1:06 am
    Reply

    Entertainment industry executives expecting an independent musician to license their music for free. I bet those same executives are the first to complain when people pirate their work. The sheer hypocrisy of many inside the entertainment industry is astounding. They are bigger parasites than any ‘pirate’ illegally downloading a movie or TV show.

    • indiloop
      November 8, 2013 at 8:23 am
      Reply

      Parasites indeed. Of course the main difference is someone’s livelihood vs. drops in a corporate bucket. Maybe we should download a few Betty TV program episodes and see what happens …

  5. Fuzz
    November 8, 2013 at 3:54 am
    Reply

    By the way, if you have ever downloaded a track illegally ie a torrent etc. YOU, Yes ,YOU are also part of the problem for struggling artists .

    • indiloop
      November 8, 2013 at 8:23 am
      Reply

      THIS.

      • ryan
        November 11, 2013 at 2:40 am
        Reply

        sorry, but i clean floors for a living. ill torrent as long as my child goes to university.

      • Micah
        November 11, 2013 at 7:14 pm
        Reply

        Don’t kid yourself Ryan. Many ppl steal wtvr they can regardless of income, childs education or melting polar icecaps. Finding a few dollars to support your fav artist (if you had one) is not a difficult task, esp if you’re managing to fund a University education. The fact is you simply choose not to because its available for free, and you don’t respect the creators of music enough to pay for their work

    • Navy_O_Navy
      November 11, 2013 at 2:38 pm
      Reply

      OK. But I also purchase music legally, buy merchandize and go to concerts, often solely because I first heard an album I downloaded with a torrent. The cost of a CD has outpaced inflation, minimum wage, etc. very quickly the last 15 years, so sometimes two wrongs do make a right, especially when money returns to the artist in other ways. If you really, REALLY are one of those Thom Yorkers who believe the internet’s net (heh) effect on music has been financially damaging, either you’re a millionaire like him who is upset he isn’t collecting more cash through their major label deal, or you’re delusional.

      • Norm_L
        November 12, 2013 at 5:14 pm
        Reply

        There seems to be a widespread misconception that artists actually make large sums of money as a direct result of having signed a recording contract (with ANY label). With very rare exceptions, nothing could be further from the truth! Please do your homework before making an incorrect statement based on popular assumption. The only people making any real money from recordings are the record companies, who typically take advantage of a hungry artist, and deprive them of everything they possibly can…and the inexperienced artist agrees because of the same delusional assumption! Often, rather than raking in the assumed huge bags of cash, the artist ends up in debt!! Do some research!! I’ve been banging my head against this issue for going on fifty years!! At this point, I only continue to play for love of the music.

      • Micah
        November 12, 2013 at 10:13 pm
        Reply

        Firstly, the cost of a CD is no longer relevant. The cost of a single download is usually $0.99. You can buy an entire album for the price of 2 coffees at Starbucks. The choice to steal is yours, no excuses. The case is being argued that a fair tradeoff to consumers stealing music, or getting free downloads offered by artists, would be if they attended shows and bought merch instead.

        Just to clarify, Radiohead dropped their label affiliation as soon as they were legally able, as most artists do if they can. They then released an entire album online using the ‘pay what you want’ model and netted millions for themselves from their own efforts. Labels are parasites and have destroyed the business of music, which is the major reason why the industry is in flux, not the internet. Also, we have no idea yet what the NET effect of the internet will be on music, because artists/business ppl are still desperately scrambling to find ways to re-monitize music, following the near death of physical sales. If there was a 1-1 ratio of ‘lose of physical sales’ to ‘gain of paid downloads’, all would be fine…this of course isn’t the case.

  6. Layton Peck
    November 8, 2013 at 5:06 am
    Reply

    Hypocrites quite possibly, Brood of vipers yes. It has ever been thus. This is not a recording industry only issue. This is a life lesson. Musicians have been pressured for decades to play for free, play for less, “pay your dues” was a popular phase in the 1970’s. You get play some shit hole bar for gas money while the owner rakes it in, where some drunken idiot wants you to lend him your guitar so he can impress his friends with a gawd awful rendition of some Hank Something Or Other song, and when you say NO, because that instrument is the tool of your trade he unleashes with a tirade about your ancestry, your mother’s intimate relations, threatens to punch you lights out , calls your manhood into question, blah, blah, blah . . . . it has ever been thus. Ever ask a mechanic if you could borrow his tools, or a doctor if you could use their scalpel. Your friends tell you to get a “real job” because they think you are just screwing around. Many musicians give in to this pressure because they want to make it, have their music heard, be a star, be on TV, have a CD, most unfortunate as this is, I agree with Whitey. Tell them to stick their business where the sun does not shine and move on. What is even scarier is that this trend seems to be permeating mainstream business. How many of you thumb typing sycophants, who like download music like all the time like, are accepting positions with companies like banks and accounting firms, pro sports teams and even politicians so you can gain experience . . . in other words work for free. how many are doing heavy labour and being paid under the table so if you get injured you have no way to claim insurance for disability? Our urban streets are littered with such people, the problem is greed, and most musicians I know have integrity, you have to have some to have the discipline it takes to have the chops to even be working. We should be angry, but righteously indignant. Stop “liking” social commentary in social media and act. But it seems thee will always be someone who is seduced by the prospect of fame and fortune, if you just be a good little boy or girl and pay your dues. Each of us must take a personal stand against greed and corruption. It is never easy but it lets you sleep at night. Call these money grubbing companies what they are, thieves, charlatans, and assholes, and band together with like minded people to make it hurt where it will be most felt. In their pocket books. There is an old saying in New Brunswick Canada where I live, “the only helping hand you will get is at the end of your arm”. Don’t want what they are offering, fame is not all its cracked up to be, and if you want to make your living as a musician, be smart about it, do not trust to an easy way to fortune, but love the playing and demand to be compensated. Find a way to make it happen on your own.

    • indiloop
      November 8, 2013 at 8:37 am
      Reply

      What has become “business as usual” continues to fall further and further into the mire, and you’re absolutely right that the proof is all around us. Exactly, this is not just a music issue, this is an integrity issue. People are getting taken advantage of in every walk of life, and it seems to strike down upon our Millennial Generation time and time again. Corporate greedy values are imposed on the culture as a whole. and no one outside of that elite group can sustain it.

      Thanks for this thought provoking post!

    • Gillian Mciver
      November 10, 2013 at 1:50 am
      Reply

      well said!!! great post.

  7. Russ Chapman
    November 8, 2013 at 8:16 am
    Reply

    It’s only slightly ironic that the youtube video attached to this article has Whitey’s name written in Walt Disney’s font- a clear use of Walt Disney’s work without permission, compensation or recognition. Sure, it’s a stretch to call it a violation of copyright, but it doesn’t look good, considering the issue at hand.

    • Kara Buntin (@acaketoremember)
      November 10, 2013 at 11:30 am
      Reply

      I thought the same thing about the Disney font… I will add that the production companies probably aren’t paying everyone involved, either. In the US tv and magazines ask for a lot of free contributions from various vendors and promise them how great the free publicity will be. Which it isn’t, but there will always be people willing to work for nothing so they can say that this or that show or magazines featured their work.

    • Graphix
      November 11, 2013 at 7:43 am
      Reply

      (1) That’s just the Waltograph, a common source legal font, you can download it free. Nothing illegal about that at all. (2) That video is a fan upload on Youtube, clearly not uploaded by Whitey.(3) No sign of that font anywhere on his official pages. (4) He’s just expressing what many also clearly feel. He didn’t make his letter viral- thousands of other pissed off creatives did that. You don’t actually have a point, you’re just being pedantic.

  8. An Open Letter To Whitey: Stop Crying - GURU - GURU
    November 8, 2013 at 11:32 am
    Reply

    […] never heard of you, but I’ve seen your recent email tumbling around the blogosphere. It’s one of those emails that people read and think, “Yeah! That’s how I feel! […]

  9. Benny Adam
    November 8, 2013 at 1:30 pm
    Reply

    The biggest problem really lies underneath the fact that most artists believe they need Majors approval to be able to make a living. This belief is what leaves them weak and a prey for whoever embodies that ”major label’ illusion of authority. Artists need to realize there’s only two things that really make a difference weither you succeed financially or not: The quality of your art, and the reaction of the audience. PERIOD.

    • indiloop
      November 8, 2013 at 1:41 pm
      Reply

      Well said, sir!

  10. Should musicians work for free? - MyLesPaul.com
    November 8, 2013 at 2:45 pm
    Reply

    […] Musicians Say Enough Is Enough: The Significance of Whitey’s Rejection Letter | Indiloop Click the link for the full letter and article, well worth a read. I never heard of the guy but it's great to see him speaking up. __________________ I take photographs like Jimmy Page and play guitar like Ansel Adams. Overly sensitive? Offended by those who have an opinion that may differ from yours? Click here to ignore me. […]

  11. Get over it
    November 8, 2013 at 4:44 pm
    Reply

    I wonder if Whitney paid Disney when he ripped off their logo… if not, then I’d like to add ‘hypocrite’ to his impressive resume.

    • thepaleking71
      November 9, 2013 at 2:35 pm
      Reply

      It’s called the fair use law. You’re allowed to use the work of others when you’re using said work as a parody, as it is used in this instance.

  12. Bill
    November 9, 2013 at 2:44 am
    Reply

    ‘Get over it': he is within his rights to use the Disney font. Its use is satirical and therefore not subject to copyright.

    Whitey should take that stick out of his butt though. He is making it seem that Betty TV is ripping his music off, when in reality they are asking permission. Most of you don’t seem to realize that the reason companies ask for permission to license, is because artists are willing. The fact is that music does not require a large labor base, so it is relatively easy to produce it independently, compared to TV and films. That, along with its great profitability — which is why the music industry is so large — creates a tremendous amount of competition, driving down the value of the art itself.

    Come around and realize that commercial exposure itself has a monetary value; even if the artist is not being paid directly. I’m out– you bunch of self righteous tools.

    • criscotwister
      November 9, 2013 at 11:45 am
      Reply

      That’s such specious reasoning – how does something that is apparently “very profitable” make it very unprofitable, or in your words “less valuable due to competition” for the creator? Compensation for work is due regardless of this arbitrary value you seem to think the work has.
      Secondly, commercial exposure… To what? How does having his music ‘exposed’ on some shitty reality TV show going really help?
      I’ve always hated this “exposure” line being flogged about. Have you ever said that to a doctor? “Oh Doctor, Doctor, I’ve no money but you’ll get great exposure because I’ll tell all my poor friends about you! Who will also assume you’ll work for four-fifths-of-fuck-all :,)”

      • Bill
        November 10, 2013 at 11:12 pm
        Reply

        Again, they are not ripping his music off: he is talking about companies that request his music, and since he denies, they are not going to use it.

        Even the highest tiers of entertainment are becoming hyper-competitive, so much so that even Spielberg’s award winning Lincoln barely got into theaters. This means that artists have now become like professional sportsman. Only a very select few are going to make it to the big times and get a part of the industries revenue.

        Exposure has value even if you can’t accept it. Sadly, not everyone can effectively monetize from their reputation: it takes ingenuity and great effort like anything else, and to say that an opportunity in itself has no value is ridiculous. Gene Simmons would have been a nobody if he wasn’t such a great businessman, it is because of him that Kiss was able to profit from their initial popularity.

        I think you are in denial that most art has no value. This is not a doctor or tradesman that offers services that are necessary in life, and to compare music or poetry or filming to real work is absurd. People who go into art should have no expectations of being able to make a living doing that. What a joke: musicians thinking that their “art” has value like food on the table, shelter, electricity, health…

    • Chris
      November 9, 2013 at 12:20 pm
      Reply

      Very fair comment.

  13. Betty Guinn Beaver
    November 10, 2013 at 9:35 am
    Reply

    all good music comes from good minds who deserve to be paid for that and their skills at guitar playing and all other musical skills they have and contribute to the public, they are special, special people and what they give to others is golden….pay them the big bucks because
    they earn it!!!!

  14. Musicians Say Enough Is Enough: The Significance of Whitey’s Rejection Letter | Norfolk Music Teachers Association
    November 10, 2013 at 10:07 am
    Reply

    […] Musicians Say Enough Is Enough: The Significance of Whitey’s Rejection Letter. […]

  15. Carron
    November 10, 2013 at 1:02 pm
    Reply

    I agree totally , I refuse to get free music from anywhere and all myusoc is paid for on iTunes. I support local up and coming artists by giving back all of the profit to the bands, and as a small cafe we pay our dues wen we play artists music.
    If we get free music then the artists don’t get paid!
    It’s sad that some artists think they should play their music and just do it for the love of it! I wouldn’t go to work if I didn’t get paid to, I love my job but I need money to pay the bills I’m Thinking artists do to?
    Anyway that’s my rant !
    Carron

  16. joelauge
    November 10, 2013 at 2:53 pm
    Reply

    THIS!… is why I’m building this: http://fan.si – artists should own their own relationships with their supporters. It’s just the right thing to do – and the right time to do it.

  17. Bill LaCroix
    November 10, 2013 at 6:08 pm
    Reply

    I am a local musician in a small rural Montana community that has been hit at least five times in the last 10 years by ASCAP/BMI strong arm men who demand the venue owners cough up $500-$1000 to have live music, since their spies reported that I (or someone else) played a Beatles tune or some such. This corporate extortion has stifled live music here. And yet who gets their tithe from BMI/ASCAP? Not indies. Not me. Corporate copyright holders who bent the rules further and further back until “copyrights” from music written as far back as 1927 can be bought and exploited, and not to the benefit of the culture from whence the music sprang. The meaning of “public domain” is worth considering when one talks about music as a commodity vs music as a right. I too get told time and time again by small venue owners that they can’t possibly pay me a penny for dragging my $10,000 worth of equipment down to there place and sharing my half a century of experience with and yet they pay $50 to go to a concert in Missoula where someone who’s doing OK in the corporate music world sweeps into the community, vacuums up several thousand dollars of disposable entertainment income and leaves folks like me to play for pennies or less. The music-dissing culture runs deep indeed, so deep it’s ingrained in virtually all of us, even we who finally give up and play for free because there is literally no other choice. It’s bitter for sure, but when one talks about music as a “commodity”, just realize, please, that you’re part of the problem.

    The world is full of meaningless noise without context and Nature abhors a vacuum. Reality TV, in my opinion, is Nature filling the void of real culture. Play the game. Take your chances. But I ought to be share a Hank Williams tune if I want to for my community with the reasonable expectation that the bar owner should pay me rather than Hank JR. JR doesn’t need the money, and Hank SR died half a century ago. I can’t even legally play a Woody Guthrie tune without paying a “royalty” for chrissakes. This is ridiculous, wouldn’t you say? http://billlacroix.blogspot.com/2013/07/on-energy-folk-art-and-culture-wars.html

    • Bill
      November 11, 2013 at 1:58 am
      Reply

      Why do you think you deserve any money for playing covers?
      No one is forcing you or even wants you to play live music, that is the god awful truth. Everyone has equal opportunity to share with their friends and fans on youtube, something that musicians never had in the past. If musicians actually cared about culture, they would provide free use for their tunes. The fact is, these bands you respect so much would rather sell out than enrich your culture.

      And if you think there is any difference between types of artistic expression, such as reality tv vs country music, you are grossly mistaken.

      No one is stopping you from playing the music you want. If you want to make money doing it, you will have to do it like anybody else by respecting the intellectual property of others; tough luck.

      • Micah
        November 11, 2013 at 11:05 am
        Reply

        Bill, while you seem to have a good grasp of marketing and business techniques, your unmitigated gall is appauling. You obviously feel the work of artists has little or no value to society (“… to compare music or poetry or filming to real work is absurd”), Who are you to define what society thinks is valuable? Who are you to decide what work deserves to be monetized and what doesn’t?

        No where in this article does it mention Whitey feels they are stealing from him…simply that they have plenty of $$ and have chosen to place a value of $0 for the music budget. A person deserves to be compensated for their work, even if that work doesn’t satisfy the base of Maslow’s hierarchy. The same narrow-mindedness that motivates you to say musicians must give away their work for free if they care about society, is also at the core of your gross generalization that all musicians have no integrity and would sell out in an instant, rather than enrich culture. I didn’t realize these things were mutually exclusive. This idiotic double standard is at the very core of the problem Whitey refers to. If ANYBODY cares about society, they work for charities and help ppl at the ground level. Enriching society though charity is an individual choice, and has NOTHING to do with a persons vocation. And for the record, this isn’t 1969 anymore. More politicians smoke crack than musicians these days, and many bands are at the forefront of incredible chartible work worldwide.

        As far as working for ‘exposure’ is concerned, the real issue at hand for artists is where to draw the line (see the actual article above). Yes exposure can be monitized, however if an artist is expected to work for free, give his art away for free and provide it online for free, the oppoortunity for compensation is greatly diminished. Not all artists can create an empire selling lunch boxes and figurines like KISS, and to say these other artists are either incompetant, shit out of luck or must completely change what they do to survive your business paradigm….well you get the point…maybe

      • Bill
        November 12, 2013 at 2:04 am
        Reply

        Micah, I enjoyed your response and find that you do have some very fair and valid points. I do believe that some of my points were misunderstood.

        I do not think that art has no value in society. In fact, most of my friends are musicians, and I myself have abandoned a well paying career in finance to live a bohemian lifestyle and write, and yes, I do charity work regularly. That fact is that most musicians could care less about society; what they are concerned about is their own success, to have fun, and get laid. There is nothing wrong with that. But to begin to say that a DJ entertaining a room of people for the night has the same value as a lawyer trying to get this same DJ off of drug charges, doesn’t make any sense to me. I do believe art has great importance to being a human being, but to me that is mostly confined to our own personal expressions of art, as a means of enhancing our own communication with ourselves and the world.

        If a musician wants to monetize, they can do so even with no references (such as having a song of theirs in a reality tv show, which most musicians will never achieve). I know many DJs making 400$ every Thursday Friday Saturday at a hotel club; musicians who produce soundtrack music for games; musicians who play at small clubs for a few hundred profit each: these are real jobs, and these people are making a half decent living doing what they like. This may not be fame and fortune, but this is a living, and to complain that you cannot make it past this into the big leagues, well, it is just plain silly. While a musician cannot expect to make 100k/year even after a decade of practice, a lawyer can. So if they are solely concerned with money, they can go and read something that barely interests them for 8 hours a day for 10 years and become a lawyer.

        Ultimately I think that most musicians and artists have unrealistic expectations. To have talents and make a living is entirely achievable in music. To become a celebrity is something else, and usually has more to do with your connections than talent.

      • Micah
        November 12, 2013 at 10:45 pm
        Reply

        I’m sorry Bill but i must disagree with you again. ‘Most musicians could care less about society’?? I’d wager you can find a much larger group of conscientious, actively charitable artists than almost any other vocation on earth, esp lawyers. Also, how many wealthy ppl give to charity solely for the purpose of writing it off against capital gains and reducing taxes? Its a convenient loophole for them, and they couldn’t care less where the $$ goes.

        Yes, many artists want fame, fortune and to get laid. But who doesn’t? Not all DJ’s are crack users, and lawyers are certainly not all upstanding, honest citizens. There is a very good reason why the practice of law is met with such disdain by the general public. IMO artists who bring ppl joy, evoke thoughts and provide an emotional outlet are far more important to the world than lawyers. That however would be more as a result of the flawed legal system they work within, than the individuals practicing (but certainly not in all cases).

        Agreed that an artist can usually find opportunities to work and survive, if one were to lower his/her standards of living enough, however, the virtually unattainable dream of rock stardom drives many from the 1st time they pick up an instrument. No one ever said we were all genius’

  18. Rob
    November 11, 2013 at 4:14 am
    Reply

    Like one’s access to a barrister via a solicitor, would there be any mileage in the idea of only accessing musicians’ services via an intermediary – like the Musicians’ Union – who would log all usage and police its proper licensing at agreed scale with legally-enforceable penalties for non-compliance? The PRS/MCPS do this for radio/TV/film/advert//concert hall/juke-box/retailers’ public use of music in most instances, so are we discussing “buy-out” deals here: one-off, lump-sum, up-front fees?.

  19. Ric
    November 11, 2013 at 5:38 am
    Reply

    Absolutely right Whitey!! Well said, if you want a simple candy bar you Pay for it, and by the way while we are on it, you don’t get a Mercedes for the price of a Hyundai either!!!

  20. shirleyhonesty
    November 11, 2013 at 12:16 pm
    Reply

    Reblogged this on This is the rhythm of my life and commented:
    This is something I felt was worth sharing. Much more important than my post about the nothing that has been going on in my life.

  21. Boris The Russian Drummer
    November 11, 2013 at 4:53 pm
    Reply

    A few cents from very simple man from de-e-e-e-e-p Russian countryside….actually , more like my personal point of view or ,say, my notes on such a famous ( very unfortunately) issue & sub issues as there are plenty of them . Not trying to prove I’m right , not trying to actually prove anything and will gladly take any reply to my thoughts…..maybe I’m all completely wrong….

    * Back in the day talent was matters ….well, not anymore. Don’t get me wrong – there are still a lot of very talented peps who’s made it in “new era’ of music business , yet there is something interesting – for some reason I’m not aware of anybody making it big since lowest ( at the verge of completely dying ) CD sales. Please let me know if you know such a name. To my record most of the current main players are mostly those who has managed to get big CD sales right before its ( CD’s sales) fall, right with the very last wave of CD sales , or shall I say, during the agony of CD sales

    * Labels were NEVER musicians friends and this business is known as one of the toughest ones where “good man dying like a dog ” and where sharks all over the place. There are ridiculously way too many cases where labels , bookers & personal managers were taking full advantage & ripping off their artists that , in return , has completely destroyed some of the artists life’s

    * However, back in the day there was at list more or less functioning Union that actually was doing something for musicians….not anymore …and for a while by now. Hey , it’s still there, yet mostly to collect membership fees …….please prove me wrong ,maybe I’m hugely missing on something

    * The Net has killed it all. No ? Really ?
    Indeed…how come – you can have a million dollar looking web page for penny now , you can place your name ,info, promo, music & anything you think you should or just want ….all over the Net & most likely you can do it for free , you can do so much on Net …right ?

    Well, to me there were a little moment where one could get good outcome off Net as an indie musician…..with a few very fast “come & gone” windows appeared a bit later, but it’s all gone now as everybody’s now aware of the things “one should be doing as indie ”
    I’m talking about ” getting your name out there” thing…….

    Not sure if some of you will see where I’m coming from starting from “back in the day” & other silly things ,so I’ll try to move closer to the actual point
    ( note: I’ve said I will try….I may not succeed though:) ….)

    * There always will be sharks & always will be musicians who will either give away their music or performances for free. It seems that “officially ” musicians are claiming to be a brothers & sisters who’s really happy about some of their brothers & sisters success…
    Really ? :) Say, some real talent watching generically produced artist that is all over the Net ,Radio, MTV & such …so, this real talent is really happy about this “new prince or princess of music industry” ??? !!!
    I must be very bad man , as ,God, I wouldn’t ….wouldn’t be happy at all , yet rather angry…..and I’m not even talented enough, you know…,…

    I guess what I’m saying is : there is ALWAYS will be someone who’ll be willing to play or give their music away for free in ,say, crazy hope they may get advantage ( as that’
    s what it seems to be for them ) over the artists who will not .

    And aren’t there not enough cases where “used to be rebels” artists turned into quite ( and quite happy ) big name stars…I mean quite in terms of not making single noise about their brothers & sisters who were left slowly dying out there .. ?

    Anyways, this topic it’s just one of “above the water parts of iceberg ” and has quite regular appearance in musicians circles/networks…..but the problem is still there.

    Why is that ? I don’t know for sure as if I would know we all would be happy artists living their dream life , yet ( again) there are a few of my thoughts :

    * The whole thing somehow reminds me about mystery of jazz musicians – so many people seems to like jazz & blues, yet most of Jazz & Blues Greats are broke….how come ?:) It leads to next thought – if so many people seems to hate current “plastic sh@t ” why are those producing it & performing it has it all – fame & money ?
    Isn’t it something? Yes, I know -life is not fair, but still …:)

    * What would make a difference is global musicians ‘strike” , yet it just WON’T EVER HAPPEN ( I think ) , not in the world we live now ….there should be real revolution in peoples mind and not only in regards to arts , but a lot of other things that are very wrong in modern world………hey, I’m “old school” Russian and so I know a thing or two about revolution:)

    Now I’ll get serious for a second : most of the businesses are operating under government rules & regulations….am I at least right on that ?

    it seems that there are none for the artists as somehow NOBODY sees artists as “real people doing real job” or, say, workers and in the eye of majority of general public the art
    definitely is not a ‘real job” , but glorifying hobby….and that is a real problem

    Note: yes, show musicians, cruise line & etc entertainers , session musicians got their thing with no surprises …just as described in this discussion somewhere above. I guess we’re talking about mostly original artists with just a touch of “working” artists here & there.

    There are just a few professions that may require so much time ,hard work, dedication ,patience & necessity to constantly learn on daily basis as being serious pro musician . Those pros could probably understand what it takes to become a good modern time musician , yet they are way to busy even noticed our world …hey, after all they are doing “real thing”. (NHL players would be a good example of those who would understand:)

    The rest of the crowd just won’t get it & has real value to what we do….well, at lest the way we want them to .They have nothing to compare …..

    How long does it take to become a good framer , or plumber , office worker & etc….?
    Say, from relatively ” not too long” to ” just long enough ” . It takes at least twice more time & overall effort to get to this level in music world. And than: have you ever saw anybody doing heavy labour job or, say, working in busy office looking really happy?
    Even if they are high rank pros in what they do…
    Well, when people watch us performing they see us happy & obviously having fun which
    honestly doesn’t look like a hard job to them . They see just a top of the iceberg and they will NEVER see the whole thing ,so, how can they understand…it’s impossible.

    I guess I’m trying to say the attitude towards musicians & art is already nearly in the blood of general public which adds to the greed of those sharks as they’re coming from general public too

    I think all those open letters & other similar actions are not going to make any significant difference….there are enough noise on Net about this subject.

    If government could step in , or Union would become the one it should be than maybe there would be some improvements .It seems that we’re living in the darkest time of the industry ( I mean for us, musicians:) where things just getting worst….

    Again to me the problem is an about combination of Web, peoples mind/attitude/integrity/greed & modern life/ time we live in. And it’s not like it’s something new :), it’s just a different forms of well known patterns – desire to get more for less & desire to get something for nothing from somebody else…..still the very same old world:):)

    Love & Peace to all !

  22. Boris The Russian Drummer
    November 11, 2013 at 6:15 pm
    Reply

    To me there are a few things related to this problem :

    * Web

    * General publics & government perspective of and/or attitude towards artists/musicians

    * Fast pace environment / times we live in

    * Ongoing re-enforcement of ” consumers society” with all the consequences

    Web :
    Has killed it all . Think about it before jumping on me & destroying me….

    Public’s / Government attitude :
    What? Music& arts are the real jobs? Are you kidding??!!
    It is glorified HOBBY ! That’s right – HOBBY !!!! How you like that !
    Honestly, that’s what majority is thinking anyway.
    Who am I to tell you? Nobody. Am I telling you ? Nope.
    Just sharing my personal point of view based on chatting to a lot of different people in a lot of different countries and how their attitude towards musicians has changed over the last 30 + years

    Fast pace environment/ times : people are lacking time more & more and there are more & more movement/actions around them. Soon enough everything will be “on the run”
    Think of why I’ve brought this in before accusing me of writing nonsense …

    Ongoing re-enforcement of ” consumers society” :

    We want much more stuff that we’ve used to and we want it for less possible, more less than ever… We want things right here, right now & right away. Money is everything and is the game . It’s already in the blood of new generation …and music taste too..
    The real “shaker’s & movers’ , those who are selling us ” goods and / or evils” wants us to be this way. Applying to music – they don’t want people to go deep , they want them to jump on another pc right after you’ve gone over this one,…..the one of 4-5 tunes they are kicking in your head 24/7 anywhere you go -TV, Radio, Media, Net, Department Store & etc..
    At this point we’re in transactions of going from “Hit Of The Year” into “Hit Of The Month “………we may soon end up with “Hit Of The Week” or even worst…:)

    And aren’t we all like “free” stuff , bonus, huge discount & such …..

    This ( and similar) topics are not new at all , yet things hasn’t changed a hair

    I think all the noise we make won’t do a trick at this time . What would help is either global musician strike ( which is simple impossible ) or some sort of government or, say , legal regulations ( Rob has nicely presented a few ideas in his comment slightly above my post )

    Love & Peace to all.

  23. Boris The Russian Drummer
    November 11, 2013 at 6:56 pm
    Reply

    Just a short addition ( and right about the subject ) to my emotional & messy post above :

    Those who makes money of us are perfectly aware of the level of desire & desperation of the artist to become the next big thing….they`re also perfectly aware of how many artists will take & try anything in hopeless hope to make it….and they are more than anybody else aware that bands & artist come & go….actually , more come & go and the number is going up daily….

    So, why in the world somebody who can make you providing your product or service to him for free as either you`ll think it`ll do good for you or he will make you believe you`ll get something in return ….why in the world this person would like to pay you …

    Or why they should not take advantage of the huge army of `day dreamers` if they see how stupid easy they can make money of their dreams

    Cous they are good & honest people …..in one of the most famous rip off businesses….right…..

    Note: there are some good people in this business ,but not really a lot ,just a few…really

    Hey , time after time they are coming across folks like Whitey…so what…it`s a part of their business. The noise we make…nah, doesn`t hurt or even bother them…

    Have you noticed latest trends ….no…well ,they are simple – you have to become either music related service ( preferably full service:) or consultant.

    Of course paid. Yet with no guarantee provided .Are you kiddin` -

  24. Ron Becker
    November 11, 2013 at 10:50 pm
    Reply

    Amen!

  25. Bryan Weir
    November 12, 2013 at 2:02 am
    Reply

    The guy may have a point and this company are clearly trying to take liberties but his point is very much diminished by this statement …

    “You will without question pay everyone connected to a shoot – from the caterer to the grip to the extra- even the cleaner who mopped your set and scrubbed the toilets after the shoot will get paid. The musician? Give him nothing.”

    I am surprised that no one has picked up on this. Those of you who are supporting him seem only to be concerned with the interests of the musicians. The company he is attacking are concerned only with their own interests.

    Is this Whitey chap perhaps a wee bit removed from reality himself in suggesting that “even the cleaner” will get paid. The use of the word “even” in this context suggest that he thinks paying the cleaner is somehow extreme or surprising. In other words is he worth more than they are. If so then he is as bad as the company he is attacking.

    • Micah
      November 12, 2013 at 10:10 am
      Reply

      very good point!

  26. Billy Auld
    November 12, 2013 at 3:38 pm
    Reply

    Once you realise the “Industry” is only interested in money that means exploiting artists,you will get out. Otherwise be prepared to be used and abused. That’s the sad truth. GET OUT!!! DON’T SIGN UP!!! Stay independent!!! DO NOT BE CONSUMED BY THE PROMISES AND MONEY THEY OFFER.You will have to sell your soul. That can mean your death from which they profit.

  27. Billy Auld
    November 12, 2013 at 3:45 pm
    Reply

    By the way, when it comes to actual musical talent, the technical enhancements for
    crap singers is a diabolical cheat! Proper singers don’t want or need the technology that makes them sound pitch perfect. I much rather hear a singer that actually sounds HUMAN. Thank you.

  28. Dave
    November 15, 2013 at 7:54 am
    Reply

    This abuse starts way earlier in any budding musicians life. Open F*****g Mics. No-one other than maybe the organiser gets paid. All those chumps play for free and get used to playing for free, then no-one gets paid……ever. The only person to profit is the guy selling the beer.

  29. Boris The Russian Drummer
    November 15, 2013 at 11:52 am
    Reply

    Boy, was I emotional and ,as a result, all over the place in my above messages ?
    Also my very first comment shouldn’t even be there…..I was sure it didn’t go through as there was some glitch while I was pushing “post” button… Not sure why I’ve came back , nobody seems to even noticed my pity attempt & funky English :)…not even “dude, check your spelling …” comment…

    Well, I’ll make one more attempt….with more focus this time ….some of it I’ve already posted, yet I’ll use it again just so I can keep my thoughts in some sort of logical order.

    * Labels were never musicians friends since their existence and they are there for taking maximum advantage of musicians ,or, to be more exact, musicians dreams…period.
    There is nothing more to say or talk about. Is there any difference between “now & than” ?

    Yes ,there are a few.

    1.” Back than” the labels were doing all the job except actual music making , investing good chunks of money in their artists ( of course ONLY in hope to get as much as possible ROI ) “Now” the labels went so far as expecting the artists doing EVERYTHING they used to do & the artists to be at the point of almost breaking big themselves…….then the label may actually start thinking & calculate if they want to bother with the artist or not .

    The only question is – in this case why is the artist may need or want the label for ?
    Just so the label can get in the artists pocket and get a good chunk of cash for doing basically nothing or close to nothing ….to me it’s simply a stealing ..or well constructed scam ..at the best ……

    But you can proudly say : yeah, I’m signed with major label ……if that’s what you want:)

    And those a few “big name ” artists that are also making good money while being with majors are either those who’s got very good lawyers or were smart & strong enough to make OK deal or having really smart & good manger who made such a “healthy’ arrangements on the artists behalf and the artists themselves are good enough to do the job they MUST in order to get well paid……..again, I’m talking about current time

    Also it is important that most of those artists are singers/songwriters and they’re normally not looking for any songs from somebody else. As a singer you can make somebody’s song top worlds hit , yet you’ll be getting peanuts while the composer will be getting good chunk of $$. So, singer /songwriter is the way to go lately :):)

    2. There were more majors and no indies…. now there are just a few big guys & fast growing army of indies. I think somebody’s already mentioned this here – the indies are even worst than majors and while you may not get ANY advance at all from majors you won’t at least pay for their services, yet with most of the indies you have to pay some steady fees for what they say they will be doing for you….oh God ,I don’t even want to start as it’s the whole new huge topic itself……

    * WEB & Digital Age we live in :

    I think there were more than enough music & artists back in 20’s,30’s ,50’s ,60’s ,70’s & 80’s and early 90’s….yet the New wasn’t around . Now we’re almost in 2014 with WEB being accessible on basic modern mobile phone and millions of people has placed , are placing & will be placing more & more music on daily basis. Again, the whole new huge topic on its own, yet the bottom line is : there weren’t anything ever even hair close to current situation in history of man kind in terms of having :
    a. So much music ( which is still growing in geometrical progression)
    b. So easy access to the music.
    c. So many different ways of usage of the music
    d. So many people desperately wanted to get rich & famous pop or rock or else stars

    All this causing such a huge noise & mess – in terms of music & web activities related to the music. And than there are TV with its music channels , radio of all sorts ( commercial, net, satellite ..)

    To make it short- the biggest challenge all current artists are facing is HOW TO GET ABOVE THE NOISE. Again, another big topic itself…

    * Angry open letters & such :

    Those are having very little close to none effect, as there are more than enough frustrated artists in the world now , those who’s screaming about it ,those making noise everywhere & anywhere they can …

    However , while I’m almost always agree with them and the noise they make I still haven’t noticed any smallest difference in the situation…..well, actually there is..

    Based on my heavy networking & observation there are less noise and more “full musician services & music consultants “….think why is that ?:):)

    Anyways, not going to make any more comments ….I’ve already mentioned that I think we live in the worst time ever to be a musician …if you want to have it as your job that you do for living. You may trash me hard , but it is clear to me that most of the worlds population not considering that being a musician is one of the occupations just as being a doctor , receptionist , construction worker & etc. Apparently , it’s GLORIFIED HOBBY in the most of worlds population eyes – do you own research, talk to people…..

    Disclaimer: I’m nobody , so please save your inner peace & don’t start ” who the heck are you to tell us”…..and I’m not telling you. it’s just simply a combination of my personal experience , heavy networking & my funky English….as I’m still very Russian :)

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