James Taylor/Warner Brothers

“52 Ways to Screw an Artist, by Warner Bros. Records”

Their maps may suck, but at least they’re honest.

Yup, that’s what pisses me off. All the people suing Apple for its iTunes accounting practices, claiming they’ve been screwed. You know Apple, famous for paying late, if at all. Never honoring a deal. Forcing you to audit and then settle for less than you deserve.

They’ve been selling tracks at the iTunes Store since 2003. Apps, books and movies thereafter. And I’ve never ever heard anyone complain about the accounting, no one to my knowledge has ever sued. They may complain about retail pricing, but a deal’s a deal.

A deal is never a deal in the music business.

It’s just a starting point, a negotiating point. Hell, oftentimes the people “honoring” the deal are not those who made it. Which is kind of like complaining about your haircut to the barber in the next chair. Or bitching about your 1904 Hamilton watch to the company owning that name today, which is Swatch. But it’s even worse, because unlike a haircut or a watch, copyrights are the gift that keeps on giving. So it’s never settled. There’s always income. Who gets it?

In a world where I can go on bit.ly and see how many people clicked on a link I’ve posted, where I’ve got reams of data at my fingertips, record royalties are still a black art. What I love most about the above lawsuit is after agreeing the royalty rate on “Mudslide Slim” is 11.5% in the first audit, after a rate of 10% and 11% was applied, then Warner only pays 11% thereafter. Whether intentional or sheer incompetence, why does this happen? Believe me, if an executive’s paycheck was suddenly short, he’d drop everything and do his best to get it right, would stop coming to work and file a lawsuit if the problem wasn’t immediately rectified. But if it’s the artist? Well, the artists are dumb.

No, that’s the major label business model. Theft from the artist.

And I know so many deals don’t pan out, but is that really a reason to put your finger on the scale on those that do?

Deals could be simpler.

Royalties could be computerized.

But then profits would vaporize.


And while I’ve got your attention, and that’s all that’s important, attention, money comes after that, I want to revisit something I posted in the Mailbag, about ticketing.

Tweets are evanescent, they come and go, they evaporate. Just because somebody tweets something, don’t believe most people saw it. Most people are overloaded with information, they can hardly keep up with what’s going on in the present, never mind comb the past.

Which is also to say, few people click on links. They just haven’t got the time.

And I posted a link at the very top of the Mailbag, and I got almost no e-mail about it.

Click this link, now:

Eric Church Show Reveals How Scalpers Really Work

You can watch the video or not.

But be sure to read the article. Wherein the head of the “Fan Freedom Project” is shocked, I say shocked, like in “Casablanca,” that scalpers ended up with 75% of the floor seats for an Eric Church concert at the Bridgestone Arena.

You know, the Fan Freedom Project that wants to make sure you can resell your tickets on StubHub. No one’s selling their tickets on StubHub but scalpers. This is kind of like voter fraud, the number of legitimate people reselling tickets on StubHub is tiny. It’s a haven of scalping. And these people, via the “Fan Freedom Project,” want to ban paperless ticketing, so you have the right to overpay a scalper who’s never going to go to the show, just resell the tickets at a higher price to you, the fan. This Eric Church concert in Nashville had ticket buyers from 41 states, “248 tickets went to New York, 353 to Massachusetts, 495 to California.” Is this Church’s only concert this year, are people flying to Nashville for the show? Of course not, this is a profit center, that’s overcharging you, the fan.

Yes, this is America in a nutshell, while you’re bitching about Amanda Palmer scoring a volunteer horn/string section, unknown faces working in the dark are truly screwing you. Yup, while you’re discussing Romney’s “tape,” you’re clueless as to how private equity truly works, how Bain really makes its money.

And that’s just how they like it. With you in the dark. Ignorant.

Who do you blame?


Yup, the country was ruined by Obama and Ticketmaster, and if we could just get rid of both of them, harmony would reign.

What a load of crap…

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