May 4, 2009

Save The Singers! [9:53 am]

Or something:
Singers tell Congress: Money (That’s What I Want)
(pdf)

Jack Ely, the singer whose 1963 version of “Louie Louie” still makes the rounds on oldies radio, lives with his wife in a mobile home on a horse ranch in Oregon. Ely says they share $30,000 a year from her teacher’s pension and his Social Security checks. They are paying down a mortgage.

So sometimes it bothers Ely, 65, when he hears his voice singing “Louie Louie” on the radio or in sports arenas, knowing he’s not getting paid.

[...] Since the advent of radio in the 1920s, songwriters have made a little money every time their tunes are played on stations in most industrialized countries. The six children of “Louie Louie” songwriter Richard Berry today share more than $100,000 in royalties every year.

But performers like Ely don’t get a dime.

A bill moving through Congress aims to change that. It would let performers and the recording labels get a share of the ad revenue that radio stations collect from playing their songs. This pool of royalties could be hundreds of millions a year — which would be crucial for the record industry, as compact disc sales plummet and digital song sales aren’t making up the difference.

Hmmm - I thought it was the *singers* who were supposed to get the money? Or, *shock*, did those sly execs get the singers to sign a contract that meant they don’t have the rights anyway?

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The Boston Globe’s Death Spiral [7:01 am]

You know, I wanted to read this article the way I usually do — reading a copy of the paper over an iced tea and a toasted bagel at my local Au Bon Pain. I’ve even made the concession to buying the paper each day from one of the newspaper vending machines that pepper my neighborhood because the delivery company for the Globe subscription service can’t seem to get it to my home before I leave for work (and routinely delivered it regardless of any request I made for vacation stoppages — even delivering it a full six months after the Globe had cancelled my subscription for non-payment because they changed the look of their bills and I kept throwing them out with the junk mail).

I even have made the effort to find the vending boxes that are filled early, because the one that is near the Au Bon Pain where I like to eat doesn’t get filled until after 8:00 AM, when I have been in my office working for over an hour.

But, this morning, I ended up having to read this article online because the vending machine wouldn’t take my $0.75 — probably because it was not reset from the Sunday price of $2.50.

Or maybe the machine was just broken — like the entire Boston Globe distribution model. *sigh*

Globe negotiations continue (pdf)

Boston Globe management was continuing to negotiate concessions with its major unions well past a midnight deadline, but said it was prepared to file a plant closing notice with the state today if they failed to reach agreement. That would allow the paper’s owner, the New York Times Co., to follow through on its threat to shutter the 137-year-old newspaper.

You know, when I changed my (fully paid up) subscription from daily to Sunday only, I wasn’t even asked “why?” — the person on the other end just took the necessary information and then let me go.

When you can’t even deliver the physical object in a timely fashion, what makes you think you can call it “news” anymore?

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