T. Newman Fan wrote:
At this point, I think this stuff is best discussed in private among the parties involved in the business.
I know it is beside the overall argument of copyright, but I don't think this Safan sampler will affect sales of complete releases. There's much more depth to these scores than a few short cues.
Sadly, this is not true. There can be a drastic effect. And having the discussion in public is just where it apparently needs to be.
Rewind: Some fifteen years ago or whatever, composers and studios would allow promotional albums to help generate interest in the composer's work or sometimes even the film in question. It all slipped in under AFM policies where legitimate releases were prohibitive in costs. Then Intrada, alongside other labels, negotiated with the union to finally usher in the "historic rates" policy that allowed limited copies for sale, legitimately, for whatever profits could be made. It was an incredible turning point for all of us who love this music. The era of promos and gray area releases was over. An era of fully licensed releases to anything that could be located and licensed was now affordable and in.
Fast forward: We are proud to have been of this new era, which now has lasted quite a few years. BUT - the union has always maintained the position that each of the contracts for these licensed releases are for that release alone, and the entire policy can be terminated at any time should the system be abused.
What Mr. Esterhammer is doing IS abusing that system. And I have a dog in this fight, as does MV Gerhard, and the folks at Quartet and Music Box and all of the other labels... and including all of you folks, because we do not want to see this policy shut down and revert back to the era when the only things coming out were either affordable non-union projects or bootlegs with crappy quality made from underground tenth generation cassettes and whatnot.
It isn't even necessary to abuse the system today. The studios will make their actual vault masters available, license the recordings, the AFM will enter into a contract with the labels, and everything happens legitimately at reasonable costs for the most part.
It bothers me a lot to read people defending the issue of unlicensed albums today, especially when the piracy isn't necessary... and especially since it jeopardizes us all.
I love and respect the wonderful competitive environment us labels are experiencing today. If we don't release SANTA CLAUS, we enjoy seeing it come out elsewhere just the same. What happens over at Perseverance is no longer just ignorance of the system, nor is it because of misguided passion. It is just bad form. And if it is going to injure the system all of us legitimate labels today have fought hard to establish so these releases can be done in the best possible quality... yes, I am going to speak out.
For the record. Composers rarely control their music nor do they have much say in what studios and the union do with the recordings. But relationships do get made with labels, things are made possible, especially when the composers may have located the only surviving copies of tapes and whatnot... and again, we can all benefit. In the case of this Safan promo, Craig has no involvement in the licensing and by providing tapes was simply helping make a project happen under the guise that the corresponding label was covering all of the legal bases... which Perseverance was not.
I hope people will keep these thoughts in kind, just as I hope Robin will stick to creating CDs with the proper licenses... so we can all enjoy the music.