As many of our works only gain revenue from usage in productions such as television, film and live events, this made me wonder if there needs to be a protocol for organisations such as PRS or ASCAP to check with artists if they’re music is going to be used as a backdrop for a political agenda or a propaganda machine. This is all assuming music used at political conferences seek licensing for the music they use, which if they aren’t, they are breaking the broadcast laws for private events.
My cynical mind imagines this is by design and they want the outrage from the liberally minded artist in the news as exposure for their event and adds more division between their supporters and the “flakey bum musicians” and their fleet of lawyers will pat away any repercussions from these societies.
The examples above are pop songs which had success at the time of their release and the story is all about principles. My concern is our music could be used without me finding out until I get my PRS report through, which is sometimes a year later.
We are already over a barrel with how we earn a living through music as there is usually no upfront fee for production music. We are very grateful for the inspiration someone has to use our music and to get some small return from it. To be in a position where we have to submit it to a library with the potential it could soundtrack a harmful cause is concerning. This is still assuming they obtain a license for the use… or they are in the camp that they are above the law, especially when the arts are concerned.
I’m very much in the camp that music needs to be available to everyone to enjoy in their downtime, even if they have sinister motives in their day job. We’ll always find connections to our emotions and moral compass in art and it is partly our job to make art that inspires away from malice and inspires humanity and an awareness for each other and the evolving world around us.
There was a big surge in fighting the devaluation of music since the birth of the internet, file sharing, streaming and the near-death of the mega rock star. This was a movement lead by the major labels but it had a trickle down effect on independent artists. I’m reassured and excited we now have such an open playing field where every sub-genre and experimental artist has an opportunity to surge into the ear shot of many, completely independently. Great music will always shine if you work hard enough to get yourself heard but all that hard work to make something beautiful gets pulled down from it’s transcendency when it’s a backdrop to a fickle front-of-house with a very dark back-of-house. Should we just write protest songs to disable the desire?
I think I can be rest assured that there isn’t any uplifting music out there that’s going to polish these turds, and even though it may roll it in glitter for just a moment, my worry is it just legitimises the ongoing culture that music is free to use for whatever.
It’s seeming harder to have control of what your music is endorsing.. The system needs to evolve to allow for more artist control and for our ethical values to not be compromised through devaluation. .