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It seems Metallica has some high class company.
March 6, 2001 8:47 AM   Subscribe

It seems Metallica has some high class company. The Cleveland Orchestra has halted distribution of their concerts to about 250 U.S. radio stations because of concerns about streaming audio. The orchestra's contract with its musicians covers radio broadcasting rights of live performances, but not Internet streaming, said Gary Hanson, the orchestra's associate executive director. Does this strike anyone else as strange?
posted by Aaaugh! (11 comments total)

 
I guess the jury's still out about what rights internet radio stations have - and if they're 'different' for live dj's or streaming audio that you can listen to at any time. Problem is, lots of regular radio stations now also do internet simulcasts so MORE people can listen - seems to be a GOOD thing to me? I mean, the radio station is already, assumably, paying all the right people the yearly fees to play other music, what difference does it make if a few more people are hearing it on the web? I'm sure I'm missing a lot of factors here in this thinking though.
posted by thunder at 9:40 AM on March 6, 2001


Yeah, I've always wondered about that myself. It seems like internet broadcasts would only increase the amount listeners and would be a good thing for at least advertisers if not for artists exposure. Concerns about copyright infringement don't seem to be all that valid since the quality of an intenet broadcast is usually worse than regular radio broadcast quality, so recording it would kind of not be worth it. What exactly is the beef?
posted by Hackworth at 9:47 AM on March 6, 2001


I don't think it's strange at all. Orchestras in this country have had all kinds of labor strife, and rights'n'residuals are very meticulously negotiated. Some of the same issues are behind the upcoming strikes in Hollywood. Plus, the CO has one of the most recognizable "brands" in classical music, and derive a lot of their revenue from radio syndication, so this is probably a crucial issue for them on several fronts, and one that needs clarification badly. I bet a lot of other performing arts organizations will be watching this carefully.
posted by rodii at 9:52 AM on March 6, 2001


what difference does it make if a few more people are hearing it on the web?

A big one, if you the owner haven't granted permission for that to happen.
posted by kindall at 10:04 AM on March 6, 2001


People often tend to see this in terms of promotion - ie "you should be grateful you're getting extra listeners" - but if it's possible for an artist to object to Napster on the basis that he doesn't want his music distributed without permission, he should be equally capable of objecting to other unauthorised music uses.

The fact is that both in the US and the UK, royalty rates for Internet broadcasting are still moot. There's still discussion as to who should collect the fees and who should pay the fees. Some stations probably believe they shouldn't pay extra for streaming Net audio at all, even if they are raking in additional advertising bucks for doing so.

Until such time as the arrangements work like clockwork, it should be remembered that a radio station is just as able to infringe copyrights on the Net as a Napster user is. I think it's good that this orchestra is taking a stand for its rights; whether their efforts will pay off or not is another matter.
posted by tobyslater at 10:11 AM on March 6, 2001


You know, it is the orechestra that is making the distinction here, a distinction which is pretty lame. What if a radio station increases it's signal power so that further outlying areas can hear them? That's the same thing, right? Do they renegotiate their contract at that time? Maybe they do. I don't know.

The orchestra simply wants more money. That's all. And, hey, if that's what drives their music then so be it. They may not be able to get more money though and some other orchestra will be invited to take their place.

Radio over the internet is one of the things that for me makes the web so cool. The idea that I can listen to a broadcast happening in another part of the world is simply amazing. I hope this isn't the beginning of the end of that.
posted by amanda at 11:28 AM on March 6, 2001


Radio over the internet is one of the things that for me makes the web so cool. The idea that I can listen to a broadcast happening in another part of the world is simply amazing. I hope this isn't the beginning of the end of that. I agree, since I live out in the middle of nowhere and can't get any FM signals in my house at all!Kindall said about the difference of web broadcasting, A big one, if you the owner haven't granted permission for that to happen. Interesting point - this makes me think that perhaps basing copyright on FORMAT isn't necessarily going to be an idea that can carry over? Let's say I could get both the radio AND web broadcast and can simply choose which format I want to hear. Now, the whole copyright thing treats e-formats different from conventional formats because they can be copied so easily and so quickly. Just thinking out loud here, but maybe the focus of 'new' copyright laws should be the artists themselves and not the products? I know that's not a new idea unto itself, but, getting philosophical again, maybe this means a societal switch from putting value on STUFF to putting value on people? Oh, nevermind - LOL - but I am enjoying all of these perspectives on this - thanks everyone!
posted by thunder at 11:41 AM on March 6, 2001


What if a radio station increases it's signal power so that further outlying areas can hear them? That's the same thing, right?

No, it's not. Radio stations are licensed to broadcast over the airwaves. The Internet is not the airwaves and thus the license the station has does not apply to Internet "broadcasting" (a misnomer, of course, as music transmitted over the Internet isn't actually broadcast at all). Music licensing is sliced amazingly thin; each medium of distribution or mode of use requires a separate license. For example, you need one license to perform a song in public, another to record it; another to play the record in public, and another if you want to use it as a soundtrack to something else. Each is a separate right that must be paid for separately.
posted by kindall at 11:45 AM on March 6, 2001


I noticed someone mentioned here that they should be happy that their advertisers are reaching a wider audience, but I think that's really a moot point. I don't listen to the radio all that much, but generally it seems to me that a majority of the advertisements are for local business. So yeah, the advertisements are reaching a broader audience, but does it really matter if someone in Florida is hearing your ad for Mullinax Ford in Cleveland?
posted by zempf at 12:12 PM on March 6, 2001


Please support your local public-access and pirate stations.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:16 PM on March 6, 2001


Uh, I think everyone is forgetting one thing -- with internet "radio", someone can capture the streams and trade the stuff on Napster/Gnutella/whatever. With regular radio, yes it's possible to do that, but it's more more difficult and you loose a lot of quality in the process. I think the CO is worried about people snagging the MP3 bits directly and distributing them. No more CD sales. If I were them, I'd be worried about that too.
posted by Potsy at 1:55 PM on March 6, 2001


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