The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #94778 Message #1848683
Posted By: Anne Lister
02-Oct-06 - 05:56 PM
Thread Name: Pitching a Song
Subject: RE: Pitching a Song
I think the problem is that the villains of the music industry are NOT easy to spot, and too many people go into too many deals rather misty-eyed and without sufficient information. I'm not saying that Derek was a villain, but there is a principle here and it works whether it's the Dereks of this world or the Sony Corporation. If some of the lesser known performers who have wanted to record one of my songs could take the trouble to track me down and pay me the right money, why couldn't Derek? Around the time of the early blues recordings there were a lot of excellent writers who were ripped off on a grand scale. It's great that we know their songs, but it doesn't make it OK that they were ripped off. There are a number of songwriters today who have been assured by record companies that they should sign over their publishing as a matter of course, who have subsequently lost money as a result. If we could indeed spot the villains it would be a much simpler world.
To take another example - I've recently recorded a version of "Silkie", and took a set of words from one tradition and a tune I'd learnt from a well established other singer which I'd assumed to be traditional. And then discovered that the tune had been written for that other singer but never credited and never paid for. I spent some time tracking down the copyright holder (Sandy Paton of Folk Legacy, in case this isn't common knowledge) and made sure I made a payment to him - he didn't write the tune, but had the copyright assigned as a way of making sure there was some income to support his record company.
I don't think we have to decide to be used or be useless in any kind of a negative way. We can act with integrity, and generally that means we get treated with integrity too - even if none of us in this music genre get to be as rich as Robbie Williams. Derek is not the only person to record one of my songs, and I don't have to be grateful for him using my song without permission or payment.