Music Canada

Gold/Platinum

Join Mailing List

Music Canada

Gold/Platinum

Tag archive: David Lowery (4)

view

The Rambler by Graham Henderson: David Lowery & Chris Ruen Shine a Light on Brand Supported Piracy at Canadian Music Week’s Global Forum

Graham_headphones3Blog ThumbnailThe Rambler is a column by Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. Graham writes from time to time about developments in the music industry, new trends or just about music! Let’s face it, Graham has been around for a long time and has a lot to ramble on about.

Last month during Canadian Music Week, Music Canada was pleased to bring two of today’s foremost advocates for artist rights together for a discussion on brand-sponsored piracy. Music Canada has been sponsoring the Global Forum for several years now, because we feel it’s important to bring people who are connected with our world together to talk about the problems that we face. 

Brand supported piracy is a practice whereby Fortune 500 companies, either knowingly or unknowingly, purchase advertisements on illegal sites, providing the pirate sites with ad revenue while ad agencies, exchanges, and networks also make money in the process. The only ones who are not compensated are the artists whose works are exploited on these pirate sites.

This year, we were honoured to have two keynote speakers who have emerged as essential voices for musicians and creators in David Lowery and Chris Ruen. 

Many will know David Lowery as lead singer of the bands Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker, although he has also worked as a producer and started several music-related businesses including a studio, a record company, and a publishing company. Recently, he has emerged as one of the most articulate voices championing artist rights in the digital age, penning a series of blogs at The Trichordist, including Letter to Emily White at NPR All Songs Considered and Meet The New Boss, Worse Than The Old Boss?.

Chris Ruen is the author of the new book, ‘Freeloading: How Our Insatiable Appetite for Free Content Starves Creativity’, which is an essential read for those working in the music industry. His essays and criticism have appeared in The New York Times, Slate, The New York Press and Stereogum, and he brings both a music fan’s perspective and a journalist’s point of view to an issue that affects both creators and consumers. 

We were pleased to once again have Chris Castle moderate the discussion. Chris has been as one of the real, great artist advocates over the past several years, and I would encourage everyone to follow him on Twitter and his blog at www.musictechpolicy.com/. 

The video from the Global Forum is now available and embedded below; I would encourage all creators and those working in music to watch it and share it widely.


Graham Henderson is the President and CEO of Music Canada. He also writes on an eclectic range of topics on his personal blog at www.grahamhenderson.ca.

Comments
view

Global Forum 2013: Brand Supported Piracy with David Lowery, Chris Ruen, and Chris Castle

Writer and musician David Lowery and Author Chris Ruen do not shy away from identifying major companies that support the pirate sites that damage creators every day by distributing unlicensed copies of music and movies.

On March 22, 2013 at Canadian Music Week’s Global Forum, the pair will discuss brand-sponsored piracy, a practice whereby Fortune 500 companies, whether knowingly or unknowingly, purchase advertising inventory from illegal sites. Advertising revenues keep these sites in business while ad agencies, exchanges and networks also make money in the process. The only ones left without compensation are the artists, songwriters and filmmakers.

David Lowery of the bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, has emerged as one of the strongest artist advocates through his contributions to the blog, The Trichordist. The blog has begun a “name and shame” campaign which identifies major brands that are supporting piracy by placing ads on illegal sites.

Chris Ruen, whose essays and criticism have appeared in The New York Times, Slate, The New York Press and Stereogum, recently published his first book, Freeloading: How Our Insatiable Appetite For Free Content Is Starving Creativity.

First brought to the attention of CMW delegates in 2011 by indie filmmaker Ellen Seidler, brand-sponsored piracy will be discussed during the Global Forum Networking Breakfast, a ticketed event, with moderator Chris Castle. David Lowery and Chris Ruen will be available for one-on-one interviews upon request.

For ticket and registration details, please visit www.cmw.net, or visit the registration office onsite at the Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre Hotel during posted hours.

The Global Forum is sponsored by Music Canada.

Update: Video from the Global Forum is now available below:

Comments
view

The Rambler by Graham Henderson: Shining a Light on Brand Supported Piracy

Graham_headphones3Blog ThumbnailThe Rambler is a column by Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. Graham writes from time to time about developments in the music industry, new trends or just about music! Let’s face it, Graham has been around for a long time and has a lot to ramble on about.

As Rambler readers will know, I have been monitoring Google’s promise to downgrade pirate sites in their search rankings since it was announced last August. I was initially skeptical about Google’s push, but willing to give them credit for this ‘better late than never’ effort. However, I was soon disappointed as my research showed that time and time and time again, licensed music sites and services were buried beneath dozens of links to dodgy sites that exploit artists’ work for financial gains. Unfortunately, Google’s 2010 claim that they would remove piracy related search terms from their Auto-complete feature was also exposed as bunk.

My findings were backed up today as the RIAA released their Google Report Card, a new document that shows how ineffective Google’s change was. The takeaway is clear: “Six months later, we have found no evidence that Google’s policy has had a demonstrable impact on demoting sites with large amounts of piracy. These sites consistently appear at the top of Google’s search results for popular songs or artists.”

Since Google’s pledge to downgrade pirate sites in their search rankings has been shown to be a complete farce, you’ll have to forgive me for taking their latest announcement with a handful of salt. According to the sparse details in the Telegraph, the Palo Alto search giant will now look to cut off financial payments to illegal download sites. Ellen Seidler, the independent filmmaker who became a reluctant advocate in the fight against piracy after finding her film hosted on thousands of illegal sites funded by advertising, has also announced her skepticism about Google’s latest move, asking “how much is just PR posturing versus real action?” Seidler’s blog, Pop-Up Pirates, has been documenting examples of brand supported for nearly three years.

Of course, there is a reason that these pirate sites are created: they make money from the advertisements. As Seidler said at Canadian Music Week’s Global Forum in 2011, “Online piracy isn’t about altruism, it’s about income.” Seidler’s presentation thoroughly explained how “legit” companies (such as ad service providers, advertisers, and payment processors) encourage and facilitate this theft while profiting from it. You can see video from her presentation on her Vimeo page.

Some of the screenshots below provide an example of how major brands are encouraging mass piracy by financing sites with their advertising dollars:

Here, Bell is supporting the exploitation of The Dears by placing an ad next to pirated copies of their album on 4Shared, a site that has received hundreds of thousands of copyright removal requests in the past month.

Bell - TheDears - 4Shared

Here, Lysol buys advertising on a page illegally distributing Drake’s Grammy award winning album ‘Take Care’:

Drake - Lysol - SongsloverIn this screenshot, the History Network funds advertisements next to pirated copies of The Tragically Hip’s music:

History Network - Tragically Hip - 4SharedOne of the most prominent critics of this ad-supported piracy is David Lowery of Cracker and Camper van Beethoven fame. Lowery will be one of the keynote speakers at the 2013 Global Forum at Canadian Music Week, which is coming up on March 22nd and is proudly sponsored by Music Canada.

Lowery has emerged as one of the most articulate voices championing artist rights in the digital age, penning a series of blogs at The Trichordist, including Letter to Emily White at NPR All Songs Considered and Meet The New Boss, Worse Than The Old Boss?.

The Trichordist has kickstarted discussion in this area, notably by launching a ‘name and shame’ campaign highlighting brands advertising on pirate sites. Music Canada has joined the campaign, tweeting at one brand per day to draw their attention to the problem. Canadian labels Last Gang Records and Six Shooter Records have also tweeted their support, as has the Featured Artist Coalition. The campaign has been gaining attention, and top brands have responded by ensuring their advertisements do not appear on pirate sites. For example, Levi’s was quick to respond to the news their ads were appearing next to pirated content. “When our ads were running unbeknownst to us on these pirate sites, we had a serious problem with that,” said Gareth Hornberger, Levi’s senior manager of global digital marketing. “We reached out to our global ad agency of record, OMD, and immediately had them remove them…. We made a point, moving forward, that we really need to take steps to avoid having these problems again.”

Also keynoting the Global Forum this year will be Chris Ruen, author of the new book, ‘Freeloading: How Our Insatiable Appetite for Free Content Starves Creativity’, which is an essential read for those working in the music industry.

Chris Castle will reprise his role as master of ceremonies at the 2013 Global Forum, which is sure to be an engaging conversation. I’d also like to announce that for the first time in the event’s history, the 2013 Global Forum will be streamed online and will encourage interaction through social media – which will hopefully bring the issue of brand supported piracy further into the mainstream discussion and encourage more brands to ensure they do not encourage or facilitate the exploitation of artists’ work.

Graham Henderson is the President of Music Canada. He also writes on an eclectic range of topics on his personal blog at www.grahamhenderson.ca.

Comments
view

The Rambler by Graham Henderson: Pandora opens the box

Graham_headphones3Blog ThumbnailThe Rambler is a column by Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. Graham writes from time to time about developments in the music industry, new trends or just about music! Let’s face it, Graham has been around for a long time and has a lot to ramble on about.

It is not time to yet celebrate the trashing of Tim Westergren’s embarrassing bout of Congressional panhandling…but we are getting close. I can’t imagine that anyone in our industry is unaware that rather than update its business model, Pandora sided with entrenched media and Internet companies and went to Congress in an effort to force a reduction in royalty rates paid to performers. Separately, Pandora has sued ASCAP to lower royalty rates paid to songwriters — just for good measure.

Pandora’s Tim Westergren and Joe Kennedy complained to Congress that Pandora pays a high proportion of revenues in royalties. The problem with this argument is that Pandora CREATED the profit squeeze they complain of by adopting a business model that artificially limited advertising to a single minute every hour. Had Pandora adjusted their model by airing one minute more, Pandora’s profits would dramatically improve.

As David Lowery relates in the Trichordist, the Committee opened up a can of whup-ass on Pandora. Tim Westergren, who just a week or so ago happily showed up at the Future of Music conference (with tousled hair and a hoodie), dodged the Congressional lion’s den altogether. #Coward. Instead, Pandora sent its CEO, Joe Kennedy, to the slaughter.

And a slaughter it was. From all sides of the spectrum abuse was heaped on the idea that Congressional lawmakers should get involved in a private dispute over the payment of royalties–at rates that Westergren himself crowed only a few short years ago was a fine solution for Pandora. In fact, the entire event pinwheeled out of control when lawmakers started asking inconvenient questions about why performers were not receiving royalties when their music was performed on terrestrial radio. This plum presented itself to lawmakers because, inexplicably, Pandora had enlisted lobbying support from terrestrial broadcasters. Of course, terrestrial radio in the US does not pay a performance royalty for sound recordings played on their air. No one knows this better than the Members of the very Congressional subcommittee holding yesterday’s hearing. Rep. Sensenbrenner told Pandora that the subcommittee has devoted more time to this issue than any other in his long service. So for Pandora to throw in their lot with the broadcasters was a very odd choice of bedfellows that put the lack of a performance royalty for US terrestrial radio squarely on display – Member, after Member, after Member raised this issue.

As far as Pandora’s issue with rates–the Subcommittee members nearly unanimously asked “when is a deal a deal” and recited back to Pandora Tim Westergren’s own words from three years ago in which he had celebrated the end of the “royalty crisis!”

It is also worth noting that Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the bill’s author, got little or no support from his co-sponsors. Only one co-sponsor spoke and had little to say in defense of the bill. After sitting through an hour and a half of uniformly negative statements by his colleagues, Rep. Chaffetz became so agitated that he actually insulted the mother of the head of SoundExchange in an extraordinary breach of Congressional decorum. Moms are sacrosanct…even in the bear pit that is Congress. Stay classy, Congressman.

I have always thought Pandora’s choice of name might come back to haunt them. Those of you with even a passing familiarity with the classics will recall that the Titan Epimetheus (brother of the more famous fire-stealer, Prometheus) was given a “gift” by Zeus – it was the beautiful, god-crafted Pandora. Now his brother Prometheus had warned him NEVER to accept gifts from Zeus (the two were not exactly on good terms since Prometheus had been chained by Zeus to a rock for all eternity while his liver was repeatedly eaten out by a Vulture.)

Epimetheus forgot his brother’s advice. He accepted Pandora from Zeus and he was even more delighted when he saw that with Pandora came an unusual, sealed chest.

He was told NOT to open it under any circumstances. One day when her husband was away, Pandora, consumed with curiosity (a fatal flaw “programmed” into her by Zeus himself), was unable to resist her impulses – she opened the chest. The moment she did, out flew a ghostly parade of demonic forms that represented every evil Zeus had wished to visit upon mankind. Men and Women had, for example, been free from work – they lolled around living off the largesse of heaven and the gods. After the chest was open, they were condemned to actually WORK for a living.

Well, Westergren, it appears, has opened his own version of this chest….and what demon has he unleashed. It looks Pandora is going to have to WORK to adapt their business model to the market…there will be no heavenly handouts from the congressional gods. But he can hope: Pandora did.

Graham Henderson is the President of Music Canada. He also writes on an eclectic range of topics on his personal blog at www.grahamhenderson.ca.

Comments

This website made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation.