Tuesday, January 03, 2006

We Need Copyright To Protect Artists

I've never heard of Nellie McKay before, but add her to the "Artists getting screwed by the Music Labels" list. Via Atrios:
Nellie McKay, a young singer-songwriter whose 2004 album, "Get Away From Me," was one of the most acclaimed pop debuts in recent years, says she has been dropped by Columbia Records just as her follow-up was scheduled to reach stores. While Ms. McKay had been negotiating for some time with the label over the length and final song selection of "Pretty Little Head" - which was supposed to be released today - she says the decision not to put out the album was a result of a recent executive shake-up at Columbia, and "had more to do with my personality" than with the album itself.

The London-born, Harlem-based Ms. McKay had been fighting with the label over her insistence on a 23-song, 65-minute version of the album; Columbia was pressing for a 16-song, 48-minute version. (The two-CD "Get Away From Me" has been called the first double-disc set ever released by a debut artist.) At recent shows, Ms. McKay had given out the personal e-mail address of the Columbia chairman, Will Botwin, from the stage, encouraging fans to lobby him for the release of the longer album. "I thought we had resolved things favorably," Ms. McKay said. "We were just finalizing the artwork."
To translate, this was apparently the debate:
Ms. McKay: I'd like to give the audience more music for their money. We've recorded all these songs, and I think the audience will like them.

Sony executive: Who asked you, bitch?
Oh, and the added irony is that McKay paid for the recording herself out of pocket. So the label has borne exactly none of the costs of producing this latest record, but is using its power to prevent the release of a CD by an acclaimed artist.

We really, really need to reexamine copyright. Something else I'd like to hear the NDP's views on. A modest proposal: Ammending existing laws to say that, if any publisher refuses to distribute an already-complete work, the creator (author, musician, filmmaker, whatever) has the right to take said work to another distributor, regardless of any costs incurred by the original publisher. The implicit threat alone would probably do a lot to prevent this kind of abuse.


Fag Fucker said...

Her debut was pretty decent. It may be among the albums you copied from my computer last summer. Check out the song "Ding Dong" for a good introduction.

Russell McOrmond said...

The NDP candidate (and previous MP) to talk to about this issue is singer/songwriter, author and broadcaster Charlie Angus who is running for re-election in Timmins--James Bay.

I'm not a partisan person, and am not focused on any party, but I still gave money to Mr. Angus' campaign as I believe it is critical that an actual independant creator is in the next parliament to deal with the Lies of folks like Sam Bulte and her incumbent industry friends.