Friday, 8 November 2013

ROBERT FRIPP: Revisiting royalties in the music industry: the promise of “Big Data”

For those who believe the music industry’s aim should be to encourage creativity, Robert Fripp’s diary makes for depressing reading.
The veteran guitarist, founder of King Crimson, has published the diary on his website since the 1990s, during which time he’s spent more hours locked in bitter legal battles with labels and distributors than he has playing music.
Written with the driest of English wit, Fripp’s diary details the trials and tribulations of the independent artist in a music industry now dominated by an oligopoly of major companies.
Fripp’s particular bête noire is the Universal Music Group. “You cannot expect a company the size of UMG to read or apply the details of every contract of every catalogue it acquires”, Fripp cites from legal correspondence received from UMG following the company’s acquisition of yet another competitor – and wryly notes in the same breath that nearly two decades’ worth of royalties for his two albums with The Police guitarist Andy Summers have remained unpaid.

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What happens when you mix what is - arguably - the world's most interesting record company, with an anarchist manic-depressive rock music historian polymath, and a method of dissemination which means that a daily rock-music magazine can be almost instantaneous?

Most of this blog is related in some way to the music, books and films produced by Gonzo Multimedia, but the editor has a grasshopper mind and so also writes about all sorts of cultural issues which interest him, and which he hopes will interest you as well.