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July 29, 2002

Look, a clue Artemis Records has a wild and crazy marketing idea: how about getting their artists played on thousands of Internet radio stations? Duh. Courtesy of Erik V. Olson, here’s their announcement.
Artemis Records has agreed to issue licenses to internet radio for one year for the master use of songs by all Artemis recording artists. This announcement was made today by Danny Goldberg, Chairman and CEO, Artemis Records and Daniel Glass, President, Artemis Records. During this period, beginning August 1, 2002, Artemis will waive the royalty payments that would otherwise be due them.
Artemis artists include Warren Zevon, Rickie Lee Jones, Boston, the Reverend Horton Heat, and (blogger red-meat alert) Steve Earle. [10:03 PM]
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Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Look, a clue:

Avedon ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2002, 10:56 PM:

Yes! Just what I've been hoping for!

Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2002, 02:06 PM:

Makes me want to go out and buy records by all those artists...not one of whom, unfortunately, is to my personal taste. But I'll nose around.

Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2002, 06:37 AM:

(Whee! Vanishing comments! I said this yesterday and now I find it's disappeared. So I'll say it again ...)

This is a good idea, but it's too little too late. The RIAA have already killed internet radio; most channels are shutting down under the demands for additional royalties that the CARP committee approved. Radio is a network-externalities thing: for it to be useful, you need multiple broadcasters and omnipresent receivers. Half the internet radio stations went off the air at the beginning of July and the rest are living on borrowed time, due to shut down over the next three or four months. When that happens, a single candle burning in the darkness won't be able to change the essential fact that night has fallen.

Nor can a webcaster do anything useful with this declaration. Unless they restrict their playlist to Artemis groups, they'll still be nailed by BMI and ASCAP and similar broadcast rights blackmailers. Who dole out the surplus on top of the money they make in accordance with a formula that ensures 90% of it goes to the top-selling bands of all time -- the Elvis and Beatles estates, Michael Jackson (doesn't he own the Beatles rights?) and so on.

Basically, this declaration doesn't cost Artemis Records anything. Nor does it buy anyone else anything, unless they set up a webcasting channel broadcasting only artists on the Artemis label. The only way it could help would be if, say, Sony Music or Time-Warner followed suit (as if!) and it turned into a major industry-wide initiative to tell the RIAA they've gone too far. But the RIAA hasn't gone too far -- they're an industry association, and what they do reflects the desires of the major record labels. So it ain't gonna happen.

Alison Scott ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2002, 05:33 AM:

You'd only need to band together a hundred or so small record labels with this policy to produce a viable strategy for a few internet radio stations. In fact, if I were a small record label, I'd probably start up my own internet radio station, on the no-human-intervention involved and click-throughs to Amazon model.