[rocknroll-scars] Re: Reissues epic - Pt III
- Having been solicited for a comment on this re-release/royalty payment/feasibility study here is a ramble. Individual albums may raise big bucks but the general market conditions don't relate much to lavish remastering releases of albums that mainly sold very poorly in the fist palce. In the 70's my label intended to doa re-release shedule and started with Company Caine's 'Product Of A Broken Reality' the reaction was underwhelming despite the nucleus of the band reforming for playing and further recording, the above maybe sold 600 copies while the follow -up 'Dr Chop' would be among the rarest of all Australian albums - 300 were pressed I believe. This low figure was compounded by the group breaking up [and then members objecting when a cash strapped label was forced to add a 'live; side to make up an album] then the label itself going down the shooter. We at least tipped Gully to the demise so he could grab the tapes - he has owned them all these years and resisted at least one offer I know about to put them out!
Anyway that is an illustration - who at EMI knows or cares about Tully or Spectrum/Murcepts for that matter! It has been proven this stuff doesn't sell at mid or lower price enough to cover costs and at a higher price the shops won't stock it! Try and find the Dingoes comp Mushroom put out some years back! So it's the same old Daddy Cool/J O'K, you know the rest repackage run around. Re royalties I have tracks I never see royalties for - recent examples 'So You Wanna Be A Rock N' Roll Star' - I get publishing but no actual sales amounts - who owns tapes? I haven't a clue at this stage. Canetoad have out Go!! Masters with 4 tracks band I was in - original owner DYT still controls - numerous letter gather no response - eventually you give up as total $ ain't worth the trouble - this goes all the way through to recent stuff - solution [part] own all your own stuff - no-one concieved of that then. Jim Keays got most of Masters back - I believe statute of limitations on label ownership should apply before rights revert but often to whom? Many people have dissapeared. All of Vibrants $ went to one band member for many years who didn't pass it on to others [name avail on request] Raven would pay blanket royalty cover to relevant label for stuff they do - it isn't up to them to pass this on it's EMI/Sony/Fest/ or whoever and the fact is unless they are hassled they don't!
Until recently hardly anyone knew there was a % of each disc payable to the performer [not writer] for airplay etc - The PPCA covers that - all of the money went straight back to the record companies, they just carved it up end of year - a nice little earner
It is as Duncan says, a minefield! A few other points - artists 'owing' labels didn't stop - some now haveno chance of recouping desite seemingly 'good' sales. 'Owning' or not 'owning publishing should not preclude being paid as this is a legal amount per disc split between publisher and writer [who may or may not be artist] if publishers % is unreasonably high it could be contested and most contracts are not forever - so unless writer has taken huge advance [rare in 60's] money should flow with a bit of prodding. Quill should be paid for e,g on new version of Gypsy Queen by country act Adan Harvey [along with co-writer K. Tolhurst who has incidentally just returned to live in Australia ] as for Lovegrove - not sure he wrote anything so that cuts him out. Really publishing is the main area you can collect on. Most publishers are very straight up they just need the info to pay or collect though AMCOS. I imagine a lot of grouchy old ex pop stars out there just are not doing their bit to collect!
Duncan Kimball wrote:
>Two issues raised in that reply are interesting. Spectrum, Tully and Tamam
>Shud were some of the best progressive bands to come out of Australia in
>the early 70's not forgetting Galadriel. I believe Galadriel started
>reecording a second album which wasn't released when will we >see this, if
Well I didn't want to exclude anybody - I just mentioned those bands as some
glaring examples of important work being neglected.
As for Galadriel .... sadly, the answer may well be "never", I fear. I
checked my recollection and, according to Ian McFarlane's new Encyclopedia,
the master tapes for Galadriel's 2nd LP were wiped, due to circumstances
beyond their control! He doesn't specify WHAT those circumstances were, but
it sounds pretty final. So unless someone in the band copied them, or a
safety master exists somewhere - it seems pretty unlikely we'll ever see it.
>A point or possible solution could be found >through the web site.
>Especially with regard to unreleased live material from Australian bands
>from this period. I was discussing with a friend here the possibilities of
>setting a web site where people for a small fee can down load MP3 >files of
>Australian bands like Tully, Spectrum etc, and this money is paid to
>the bands as a royalty! If we get permission from the songwriters and
>musicians to make the music available then >both the musicians will get
>money for people downloading their music, and Australians will get access
>to Australian music not otherwise available.
David you raise some VERY interesting possibilities; I for one would love to
see smething like that get off the ground - IF it was run properly. The
unreleased live material is a *very* important area. I know that there is a
hidden trove of such material - bootlegs, desk tapes etc. I would LOVE to
see that stuff reach the light of day, and it seems VERY important to me to
retrieve this stuff before its too late. Magnetic tape only lasts so long
Perhaps some kind of co-op of artists would be the best way to work it, so
as ensure that the maximum amount goes to the peoplewho deserve it. (I know,
I know ...)
However - and I'd LOVE to get opinions from people like Keith Glass and Tim
Gaze here, who have experience in such matters - I can envisage the whole
thing being a legal minefield.
I've had several LONG conversations with Paul Culnane about this and while
I'd love to do something like that on MILESAGO, my personal preference is to
err on the side of caution, at least for now.
- #1 -I don't want to rip off these artists any more than has happened
already, which is a bloody LOT.
- #2 I don't want to end up being sued into oblivion by record companies and
publishers. Make no mistake - they are getting increasingly stroppy about
this (basically, I think, because they know that a lot of their formerly
captive market is about to "go south" and buy direct from the artist via the
As you allude to futher on, the success of such a site - for the artists -
would really dependent on the honesty AND the sound business practices of
those involved, to ensure that musicians actually get the money that is due
Now, I'm not very conversant with the legalities, but there are a lot of
things to consider.
First: artists conventionally did not, and still do not, own either their
own publishing or their original recordings. (A galling situation, as Yoko
Ono and Paul McCartney can relate!) My guess is that it would probably end
up being the record companies and publishers who would (as usual) get most
of the money. I'm most of those debts were written off long ago, but i would
imagine that very few Australian artists pre-Skyhooks saw the end of their
contracts without still being heavily in debt.
Second: Im really not sure what the legal status of such live recordings is.
Let's say for argument's sake, that Mr X has a desk tape of Spectrum live in
1970 at the XYZ Festival. Who legally owns the recording? The artists? Their
management? The record co.? The publishers? The Festival organisers? Who
gets paid? How much each? It's real can of worms if you ask me! And paying
lawyers to work this stuff out costs more than I can earn.
As for the issue of non-payment to artists like Vince Lovegrove and Greg
Quill ... wow, it's a thorny problem. Let me play Devil's advocate if I may?
First off - I don't want to say ANYTHING against Raven without knowing all
the facts. I'm not doubting either Vince or Greg, but there may be valid
reasons why this has happened, and it might in fact not be Raven's fault.
I doubt that the Valentines or Country Radio owned their own recordings or
publishing so, other than the standard performance, publishing and
mechanical royalties - which (I think?) are administered by bodies like APRA
- the major amount of money changing hands was probably from Raven to EMI
(or whoever) for the lease of the recordings, adn I imagine they have to pay
royalties back to that company for every copy sold.
Also - Raven may well pay EMI, Festival (or whoever) the full quid. It might
be those companies who are holding out, which (given their known past
practices) seems to me FAR more likely than Raven doing so.
OR - money may have been paid, but has been intercepted by a third party,
such as former management, who still have legal claims for payment.
OR - it might simply have been nicked along the way. Example - it's taken
Kenney Jones of The Small Faces about 20 years to track down what happened
to all the money from their VERY successful Immediate singles and LPs. A lot
of it was copped legally because of the terrible contract they got from
their former manager Don Arden; but the bulk of it was, it seems, "diverted"
through a bewildering series of shelf companies by one of the former
directors of Immediate.
To be honest I just don't know enough about the legalities and the specific
cases to make an informed comment - and to be honest I'd rather not cop a
lawsuit to find out I was wrong!
>I believe that the time has come for the ball to be passed into new hands.
>This group could be a good start.
I agree, and I'd be glad to help that happen. Raven, Glenn Baker and others
have done some great work, but it's a new era and we need new paradigms (Erk
- did I really say that!?). As I said - potentially the Internet could be a
goldmine for these artists. BUT it could just as easily be an even more
efficient way to rip them off all over again!
That's why I think it's important to try and be "good" about it. It's really
tempting to buy bootlegs (and we've all done it!) but in the end you're only
ripping off the artists.
Phew! Time for a cuppa! On with the show ...
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MILESAGO - Australian music 1964-1975
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