The Eagles, Ozzy, Elton, Weezer and more to play Anti-Major Label Protest Concerts. 

12-20-01 antiGUY

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that a collection of popular recording artists plan to perform in a series of concerts in and around Los Angeles on the eve of next year’s Grammy Awards ceremony, in order to raise money for the Recording Artists Coalition, a group of artists seeking better treatment for artists by major record labels. 

The Times reports that organizers have already lined up four venues for Grammy eve fundraising concerts including the Great Western Forum, the Long Beach Arena, the Universal Amphitheatre, and the Los Angeles Sports Arena. The Coalition hopes to secure at least one more major venue for an addition concert, but the final tally may top 5 separate shows according to coalition board member Simon Renshaw, who also is a partner in entertainment management company The Firm. 

Artists who have signed on to perform at these concerts include Elton John, Billy Joel, The Eagles, Weezer, Ozzy Osbourne, Sheryl Crow, the Dixie Chicks, The Offspring, and Stevie Nicks. 

Sheryl Crow and Don Henley pioneered the Recording Artists Coalition which now claims a membership of approximately 100. Part of the group’s purpose is to lobby the California legislature and Congress to help stop alleged “unfair and coercive” business practices utilized by the major record labels that bar artists from receiving what they consider fair compensation for their work. The group is actively seeking to repeal a 1987 amendment to the California Labor code that allows the record companies to keep recording artists under personal contract for terms longer than the time allowed for similar artist contracts in the film and television industries. One other major concern for the Coalition is insuring that artists receive their fair share of royalties for the distribution of their music online. 

The major record labels contend that they use standard business practices that have long been employed in the music industry. One point is that it takes a tremendous amount of money to promote artists and that recording contracts are structured to offset these high cost. One record industry executive told the Los Angeles Times, ``The record companies are the ones who helped these artists get to the point where they could sell tickets and play arenas in the first place.'' 

Jay Cooper, a Recording Artists Coalition attorney says that the RAC is ''not raising money to go to war against the record companies.''  He points out that, “Artists have at times had differences with record companies on various issues and they would like to speak with a common voice,” then he alludes to the similar practices by the record labels trade group the RIAA “just as the record companies speak with a common voice on many issues, and very effectively.''