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antiMUSIC is pleased to welcome aboard with Chuck DiMaria, who will be giving us his 2 cents every week on a variety of music topics.

As always the views expressed by the writer do not neccessarily reflect the views of antiMUSIC or the iconoclast entertainment group


Business As Usual

I got this little gem from the Arista website under the ‘company policies" link. Arista is a record company, just in case any of you all are wondering. (www.arista.com) They've got Usher and Avril and Outkast, to name a few.

Now, it's a little wordy, but it's worth reading:

UNSOLICITED MATERIALS

Arista does not solicit nor does it wish to receive any confidential, secret or proprietary information or other material from you through the Web Site or Arista's mail and email addresses or in any other way. Any information or material submitted or sent to Arista will be deemed not to be confidential or secret. By submitting or sending information or other material to Arista you represent and warrant that the information is original to you and that no other party has any rights to the material. By submitting or sending information or other material to Arista you grant Arista the royalty-free, unrestricted, world-wide, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive and fully sub-licensable right and license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such material (in whole or part) throughout the world and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed. You also warrant that any "moral rights" in posted materials have been waived.

Did you get all that? How's that for a swift kick in the gonads?

Here's the recap, in case any of you missed it: If you send a demo of your music to Arista without them asking for it, you've just given away your rights to the songs. Period, end of story, film at eleven.

So, let me get this straight; a record company doesn't want to hear any of your music? Wow, that makes sense.

And they don't want to hear is so bad that they've decided that the best way to curb your enthusiasm is to steal the songs you've worked so hard to create.

And you wonder why I'm not interested in getting a record deal anymore?

There was a time when that was all I thought about. It was the reason we lived. We wanted that fame; we wanted it so bad that it hurt.

And then comes the realization that getting a record deal is probably the worst thing that can ever happen to you. And the aforementioned statement is proof positive that the record industry is not run by musicians, but rather by lawyers and accountants.

After I read that statement, I wanted to blow chunks all over my keyboard. They don't want your music, and if you send it in, they'll steal it.

Does that mean that if I want a job and I send a company my resume, then they have the right to take my children? That's all a demo tape is when you think about it, it's your band's resume. It is an encapsulation of what you can do.

And these guys are so adamant about not wanting to hear anything you've got that they're willing to steal it from you.

I don't know – something just doesn't make sense here.

Look, I understand fully that there is a certain amount of liability here and the record companies are well within their rights to protect themselves from those who would try to swindle them with a false claim of copyright infringement. But that's pretty easily avoided – don't steal copyrighted material.

Somebody's job at the label should be to plow through the mountains of demos, most of which are probably garbage, just to find that one diamond in the ruff. And when you do find it and bring it to your boss, if he thinks you've got an ear for talent, then ba-boom: You've got yourself a corner office, kid.

That's what should be going on, but obviously it's not. What's the matter, can't afford to hire anyone to do it? You've got to be kidding me. With all the money they've been fleecing from the consumers for their over-priced CD's, you'd think they could hire someone to listen to demos. And if you find a hit, you get called up to the show. Simple, huh?

And you'd think that a record company would be a little more sensitive when it comes to stealing copyrighted material. I mean, isn't that what the whole file swapping debate is about? Rabid teens around the globe are stealing copyrighted material? Well, the record companies seem to think it's a good idea, so how can they point any fingers here?

So some band in some small town somewhere in America sits down and writes a few songs. They record them and decide to shop the tape around.

And in doing so they run the risk of losing it all.

It's mind-boggling.

And how else is some nameless band in a nameless town ever going to make a name for themselves?

Read it again, kids. Even if you put up a website with mp3's of your music and sent an email to Arista inviting them down to the site, you lose.

So a band is playing out, getting a following, making music, and they decide to roll the dice and take their shot. They set up a website to showcase their talent. Booking agents, managers, fans – they can all go to the site and check it out.

So what's the problem? A guy from the record company goes to the site, listens to the mp3's, and if he likes it, he tells the band, "Great, let me hear some more." If not, a simple "no thank you" will suffice.

Is that so hard? I mean, that is your job, right? To seek out new music for the masses should be the reason you go to work in the morning.

Oh, but I forgot that you people aren't interested in putting out good music. You're not interested in looking for diamonds in the ruff. You'd much rather take some misfit from a reality show and make them a star. You'd rather subject us to the absolute garbage that currently crowds the charts; the prefabricated pop stars, the mindless samples, the loops that never end.

And just to guarantee that there will always be something to steal, er…I mean sample, you bury a little disclaimer somewhere on your site that gives you license to steal.

Steal music, steal dreams…there is no difference to a musician. Their songs are their dreams.

If musicians ran the music industry, we'd be a hell of a lot better off, believe me. There'd be a lot more good music out there to choose from, CD's would only cost about $9.99 and Clay Aiken would never have gotten a record deal.

But, alas, it is not to be.

So remember, taking copyrighted material for your own use is stealing…unless a record company does it, in which case it's not stealing.

It's just business as usual.

That's my two cents, now gimme my change.


Chuck DiMaria is Los Angeles based musician, actor and antiMUSIC columnist (his resume goes on). Check out his website ChuckDiMaria.com for more of his writings, MP3s and more (be sure to read about his adventures in online dating!!) Plus be sure check out the site for his band Under Pressure.