Music

Silly

The report added: “Music creators could also be harmed by lack of competition to sign artists and offer them distribution services. Such harm could be reflected in the share of revenues that music creators take overall.

The streaming companies are barely profitable, if indeed they are. So, the limitation is what we consumers will pay for the music. It’s not about the split of the revenues, it’s about the lack of revenues.

Fair sum of cash, yes

What’s the most you’ve made from a gig with The Police?
The 2007 Reunion Tour was a giant pay-off for all of us and quite incredible: the most money I’ve ever made. We sold out every stadium in the world.

And I hate to say it – well no, I don’t hate to say it – I think I was the highest-paid guitarist in the world during that Reunion Tour. I got about $1m a night, and we did 150 nights. Someone’s got to do the job.

Nicely explains this line:

Have you saved for retirement?
I don’t really need to because things went too well.

Rapper naming conventions

Two Suspects In The Killing Of Rapper Young Dolph At A Cookie Store Have Been Arrested

I’m actually confused as to which part of this is the name.

Two Suspects in the Killing Of would be a decent enough band name. Have Been Arrested I think is the other part of the sentence from the name. So, conclusion, the name of the rapper is probably Rapper Young Dolph At A Cookie Store, yes?

Super

He was working as guitar tech for Rod Stewart when the singer’s first solo tour arrived at Olympia in London for four nights in 1976. “Mum came to the show and sat next to Elton John. Elton was freaking out because he was sitting next to Hattie Jacques and Mum was freaking out that she was sitting next to Elton John.”

One of those stories. Each life only provides a few of them of course. Which leads to the story about a Greek shipping billionaire. A wife (second, perhaps third) complained about his retelling one of his stories. To which the response was along the lines of only one life and set of stories but wives are easy enough to have more than one of.

“Not in this band, we all just follow Keef”

Not sure how true this story is but nice all the same.

Muso sits in with the Rolling Stones. Starts muttering how odd it seems. “Usually, you know, the drums and bass lay down the beat, the swing. The rhythm guitar follows then you layer up from there” sorta muttering.

“Not in this band, we all just follow Keef”.

Which might be the secret not that I’m musician enough to know. The one standout musical talent in there being Richards. Sure, it would be nice if Jagger could actually sing – yes, he’s got the charisma etc but even Rod Stewart has been unkind about his singing voice and his attempt at an American accent in Midnight Rambler is simply cringeworthy – and he knows his way around chords and keys. Jones was a multi-instrumentalist, Charlies Watts a fine drummer – although even there You Can’t Always Get What You Want was done by Jimmy Miller as Watts just couldn’t pick up the groove – and Wyman a perfectly servicable bassist but again, that really stand out bass line on Sympathy was done by Keef. Mick Taylor a very fine blues guitarist. Ronnie Wood excellent again.

But the one who is different. Who has something more and better. Original if you prefer. Something that other entirely fine, even excellent, musicians don’t have, that’s Richards. In the way that Clapton had with lead, Billy Cobham on drums. Perhaps the comment about BB King solos – he doesn’t play many notes, does he? Nope, but they’re always the right ones.

Not quite sue why this thought strikes on a Monday morning but there we are. The one thing that makes the Rolling Stones different is Keith Richards.

Bowie Bonds

Just to now bring the story to a close.

Bowie bonds were issued in the 90s. The machine rights – the recordings themselves – plus the song rights were up for sale. So, Bowie borrowed $70 million by issuing bonds backed by the royalty streams to make sure he bought them.

The publishing rights to David Bowie’s huge and peerless catalogue of songs have been sold by his estate to Warner Chappell Music (WCM), the publishing arm of Warner Music Group, in a deal worth at least $250m (£185m) according to anonymous sources speaking to Variety.

Note that’s just the song, or publishing, rights there. Pretty good deal, hunh?

Wonder if it includes one of the songs known to have been composed on a ukelele?

The drugs did affect Francis then

Not much because we were in lockdown. I wrote most of the hits, so I get royalties, but I’d be getting even less without Sandie Shaw! I was at Buckingham Palace — I can’t remember why, but it was around the time I got my OBE. Shaw came over to talk about copyright because at that time songs went into the public domain after 50 years, so you stopped earning money. Sandie was like: “Come on, we’ve got to extend the copyright!” It’s now 70 years, and it’s all credit to her. I’m lucky it happened in time for me, but with books it goes on to your offspring, and with music it doesn’t — I find that wrong.

Not really, songwriter royalties are indeed 70 years but it’s 70 years after death of the songwriter. It’s machine rights, the recording of that specific version, which is x years from creation. But those aren’t what the songwriter gets. So, a certain confusion there but then apparently he did lose his septum in the shower one day…..

Nice line

In a Dan Baird track “Won’t you boogie what you started”.

Could build a very fun – obviously, a boogie – around that. In his piece it’s just a line.

Tutoring Ms. Coppola on public goods.

Twitter doesn’t allow the more detailed examination of matters so, something I can link to from there.

Frances Coppola is insistent that music is a public good. The origin of this was about music degrees and how folk don’t make much out of having done one. Because, music is a public good, d’ye see?

The background to this argument is that there are sensible and reasonable arguments to say that public goods are underproduced in a purely market economy. It’s rather like the opposite of the externalities argument. Or perhaps we have positive externalities here which are not included in market prices. Just as negative externalities should be taxed or regulated away – which we use just depends upon the details of what we’re talking about – so we might want an intervention into the production of public goods.

The definition of this public good is not something good for the public, not something the public thinks is good to get. It’s highly specific – it must be something non-rivalrous and non-excludable. The mandatory citation from Wikipedia:

Note the “cannot”. It is not sometimes isn’t, often not, it’s cannot.

The standard exemplar is vaccination and that’s wrong. Because a vaccine, as we’ve all just found out, can be given to someone or not – it’s excludable. Also, since we’ve been having shortages it’s also obviously rivalrous. If one person gets one then another can’t have that same one – that’s what rivalry means and we can only have shortages of something extant if that is true.

The public good is the herd immunity of that necessary percentage of the population being vaccinated. Once that has happened then there is no way that we can exclude someone from gaining that benefit. Whether they’re vaccinated or not they enjoy that safety of being in a population the disease cannot pandemic its way through. Further, their enjoying that herd immunity doesn’t stop someone else from also enjoying it.

The point of the analysis being that in a market economy we tend to think that public goods will be underproduced. Because it’s really damn difficult to make money out of herd immunity. Or something that can be created once, copied thereafter and the quantity available never reduces.

Which is why we have time limited patents on inventions. The invention is a public good that cost a lot – maybe – to create that first time. But why would people spend a billion on making a new drug if the generic companies could just copy it on Day Two?

We can vary what the intervention is. Patents, the invention of property rights in order to create excludability, is one answer. As Ronald Coase pointed out about lighthouses, we could say that boats docking at domestic ports pay lights dues which go to the private lighthouses. We’ll just ignore the free rider problem of boats passing by because that solution is good enough. We could have regulation, we could have government spending. Adam Smith thought the benefits of being part of a generally literate and numerate society were worth government subsidy to primary schools. Now all we need to do is get the schools back to teaching readin’, ‘ritin’ ‘n’ numbering.

Or, to remain with vaccines, in order to gain that herd immunity we could use the NHS solution – government pays for all the kiddies to have them. Or the US, the kiddies can’t go to school until they’ve had their shots – the regulatory answer.

OK, fine. The crucial part of the argument though is that there is a general agreement that a purely free market system will underproduce some or many of such public goods. Intervention is thus justified. What the intervention is depends upon the specific circumstances – as with the inverse and Garrett Hardin on commons tragedies. The what depends upon the details, the whether on the identification of there being a public good here.

Which is, to repeat, that something be non-rivalrous and non-excludable.

So, to music. Is this something non-rivalrous and non-excludable?

“Music” is too wide a sector for there to be a correct answer. So let’s divide it into two. There’s the creation of new music – composition. Then there’s the performance of music that has already been composed.

OK, so we can exclude people from a performance of a piece of music. Note, as above, that our definition of public good does not depend upon whether we normally exclude, often do so, it’s whether we “cannot” do so. But clearly we can. So, music performance is not a public good. Yea even if much music is performed in public and for free, even if it’s good music for free and in public, a much stricter, erm, stricture, it ain’t a public good.

Ah, but composition. Once Amadeo had scribbled down those too many notes anyone could – and did – copy them. Anyone can now too. That’s a public good. Or as those two sisters created – or didn’t, as the controversy is – Happy Birthday. As millions of people will prove, this very day, it’s not possible to exclude people from singing it now that it’s been created. And their doing so doesn’t deplete the Happy Birthday Mines – so no complaints from George Monbiot about the damage Big Birthday is doing to Mother Gaia – that will allow people to do the same tomorrow.

Now that it exists Happy Birthday is a public good – non-excludable and non-rivalrous. At which point we’ve our public goods problem, people won’t invest in producing public goods “enough” because of the difficulty of profiting from having done so. To which the societal solution is copyright and yes, that’s absurdly overcooked. 70 years after death of the songwriter is nonsense. But that’s what the problem is. Composition is, once done, a public good so we do something about encouraging it. We could use other solutions. Creation of property rights isn’t the only way – we could have direct government subsidy of songwriters of course. That’s even been tried and gave us such famed pieces as “The Bones of the Ukrainian Helots are Crumbled Under the Weight of the Exceeded Tractor Production Targets” and other such light ditties.

Ms. Coppola has been arguing that performance of music is a public good. T’ain’t. Composition is. Which is why we already have a societal solution to that public goods problem of gaining more compositions – copyright. That performance is excludable means we don’t have to have a public goods solution because there isn’t a public goods problem here.

Note that this doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be subsidy to music. Or even, music degrees, which is sorta where we came in. We might think that warbling about the lark’s ascent is such an addition to societal happiness that we’ll cough up tax money to get ‘er done. Or we might not of course. But given that that is not a public good then the known and agreed public good justifications for such don’t apply. It becomes, instead,

canwejustifyshootingthispersoniftheytrytoescapefromprisonafterbeingsentencedtojugtimefornotpayingthetaxesthatsupportthechoirsingingaboutthedamnbird?

Y/N?

For the music performance ain’t a public good.

That’s not really, wholly, quite right

Bowie worked with the music investor David Pullman to create “Bowie bonds” in 1997, which securitised the artist’s American royalties into a financial asset.

The bonds offered a fixed annual return of 7.9pc over a 10-year period and raised $55m (£40m).

Rather, he borrowed the money in order to secure those rights.

It all becomes a horrible tangle with mechanical and songwriter rights etc. But certainly the way I recall it – and do correct me if wrong – those rights were up in the air at that time. So, he borrowed to secure them, the royalty flow from them once owned being the security for the bonds.

Just an observation

The cousins that are Manic Street Preachers. New album out. Seen a couple of interviews this past week.

Hmm, OK.

Of course, the vanishing of Richie doesn’t define them. As they themselves say, it shouldn’t define them either. It was three decades back, done, dusted, gone.

Which is presumably why both interviews rest heavily on the events of thirty years ago and the vanishing of Richie….

Well, yes, probably so

Although it’s often thought impolite to point it out:

Sir Paul McCartney has described the Rolling Stones as “a blues cover band” and claimed The Beatles tapped into a wider array of musical influences.

The Stones used to be described as a “singles band” rather than an album one. Some startlingly good pieces undoubtedly – and yet the albums often enough contained acres of very lazy, umm, blues covers.

Dunno about that

Despite the bitterness of his departure, he remained proud of Status Quo’s music. “When you specialise in something, stick with it,” he said, in response to accusations that one song was indistinguishable from another. “We specialised in hard rock boogie and there was nobody bloody better.”

Georgia Satellites did it pretty well too.

What I hadn’t known though was that this was his last gig with the band.

Quite a way to go out.

To be honest, looking at later videos etc, I just thought he’d had a haircut……

This ain’t sophistication either

But there’s something to it:

Well they pulled into the parking lot
They saw a flashing sign that said,
Wet t-shirt contest every Saturday night
Well Tina looked at Dixie, said one of us can win that prize
Well Tina didn’t win ’cause she danced to Twisted Sister
But when Dixie told the DJ gimme three steps mister
All the gentlemen in the audience began to rise

Who?

Mogwai: ‘I’m surprised anyone listens to Eric Clapton. He’s a complete joker’

We’re still waiting for the “Mogwai is God” graffiti, aren’t we?

The thing about Clapton being that he is a rather good guitarist. You know, musician and all that.

Now, it may well be true that his views on vaccines are not all that relevant to anything at all. You know, Feynman on scientists outside their own reservation of knowledge and all that. But then that also applies to Mogwai and their views on Clapton’s views about vaccines – why in buggery is this shit important?

Sneaky

Neither have Charlie Watts – Kenny Jones and Jimmy Miller instead……

On the subject of music

Who gets this song right?

(Both live versions for proper comparison).

BTW, I read somewhere just recently same guitarist (proper, name one) insisting that there were only two real Guitar Gods, Jimmy H and JJ Cale. Which might be taking it a little too far……