Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Don't Watch This Video--You Might Get Sued (Somehow)!

I'm continually fascinated by the ongoing battles and scuffles amid and around the recording industry and their impossible battle against technological advancements of any sort. The ignorance that is continually shown by certain artists and labels is stunningly cute. Wasting energy stopping music from the digital world is just about as realistic as winning a war on terror or a sack race versus grumpiness.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that copyrights should be infringed upon, but I do believe:
1.) recording labels are an archaic and wholly unnecessary entity in an age when artists can connect to their fans and sell their albums and concert tickets all by themselves and keep exponentially more revenue, control, and integrity.
2.) artists like Metallica and Prince endlessly suing their own fans rather than embracing the new possibilities of a digital age is the same ridiculous mentality as our current Administration who is planning to somehow end terror by tracking down one "evil-doer" at a time.

Thus, I'm enjoying the philosophical rivalry that is currently emerging between Prince, one of the most litigious and anti-Internet artists you'll find (proof, more proof, I'm hardly scratching the surface) and web-lovers Radiohead, whose most recent album, "In Rainbows", was available for download for free/donation for several weeks via their website and whose most recent single, "Nude", was made available for fans to download the individual "stems" or song components (e.g. voice, guitar, strings, drums) and create their own remixes and alternate versions of the song (this effort has since propelled their previously uncharted song to #37 on the Billboard Hot 100).

Clearly, these artists have a disparate viewpoint concerning their relationship with their fans and the online community. However, their paths are now crossed because of Prince's cover of Radiohead's Creep at this year's Coachella Music Festival seen below.

Once videos began to emerge on YouTube, Prince threatened to sue those who had posted the footage. However, since Radiohead owns the publishing rights, they stood up to the threats on behalf of the fans who had posted the material. Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke to Prince, as quoted by the AP: "Tell him to unblock it. It's our ... song." Right on. Perhaps not all musical "theft" takes place online.

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