Sunday, July 22, 2012

Is The EU's Proposed Reform Of Music Licensing Doomed From The Start?

from the signs-aren't-good dept

(This is from an anonymous source and seems to be one-sided.-Jerry W. Henry)
Music collection societies often figure in Techdirt thanks to their attempts to wring licensing payments from people on absurd grounds, like trying to make them pay for playing music tohorses, or for singing old folk songs. But in Europe, there's another issue. Because each country has its own music collection society, digital music startups wishing to operate across Europe must negotiate not one, but dozens of separate licenses – a major obstacle to overcome.
Even the European Commission has noticed that this is a problem, and has proposed bringing in a new directive to tackle it:
New digital technologies are opening up great opportunities for creators, consumers and businesses alike. Increased demand for online access to cultural content (e.g. music, films, books) does not recognise borders or national restrictions. Neither do the online services used to access them. This is where collecting societies come into play, in particular in the music sector, where they collectively manage the licensing of copyright-protected music tracks for online use on behalf of composers and lyricists and collect and redistribute to them corresponding royalties.

However, some collecting societies struggle to adapt to the requirements of the management of rights for online use of musical works, in particular in a cross-border context. As a result of today’s proposal, those collecting societies willing to engage in the multi-territorial licensing of their repertoire would therefore have to comply with European standards. This would make it easier for service providers to obtain the necessary licences for music to be distributed online across the EU and to ensure that revenue is correctly collected and fairly distributed to composers and lyricists.
That reference to collecting societies that "struggle to adapt to the requirements of the management of rights for online use of musical works" is a pretty obvious dig at organizations like GEMA, which has been extremely inflexible when it comes to online licensing of music in Germany. So we can probably expect vociferous resistance to any change from many of the collecting societies that have enjoyed milking their legal monopolies to the full. Surprisingly, though, some artists don't seem too enthusiastic either:
A proposed EU law to give musicians more rights over their royalties has angered bands like Radiohead and Pink Floyd, who accused the European Commission of breaking promises to tackle the problem of musicians' missing pay.
The issue here seems to be that collection societies have a tendency to hold on to money that they should be distributing to artists, also referred to by the European Commission. The fact that musicians have already gone on the attack suggests that we are going to see some fierce lobbying coming from multiple directions. However, it may be that this directive is doomed to fail for quite another reason.
Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission, and certainly one of the most rational/radical members there, has written an extremely interesting blog post about the new proposals. She begins:
Last week’s vote on ACTA -- although hardly a surprise for those who’ve been following – was a reminder about the big debate currently going on, about how to balance intellectual property rights with Internet freedoms

For me it’s about making it easier for artists to promote their work widely, and make a living from it: without constraining the immense innovation of the online world. And, for me, the current copyright system achieves all of those objectives poorly.

That’s why I’m convinced we need to reform copyright for the digital age. For me, merely making enforcement more and more heavy-handed is not the solution -- especially if it results in draconian measures like cutting off internet access.

But a good start – and I hope a principle on which everybody could agree – is that we should make it easier to legally access the content you love.
That's a very welcome statement, coming as it does from one of the most senior EU politicians. Significantly, she also has some words for the European Parliament regarding the proposed directive on music licensing:
our proposal needs to be agreed by the European Parliament and Council. Some previous attempts by us to modernise copyright rules -- like our relatively modest proposal on orphan works -- were significantly watered down by the legislator. This time I hope the Parliament and Council are more aware of the views citizens have expressed: that people love the openness of the Internet, and want easier access to more content.
That "modest proposal on orphan works" was gutted by the relevant European Parliament committee, as a previous Techdirt post explained. One key reason why the final form of the directive turned out so badly is that its rapporteur (the EU parliamentarian with overall responsibility for the legislation) was the copyright maximalist Marielle Gallo, who was not onlyone of the few to vote in favor of ACTA, but went so far as to brand ACTA dissent as a "soft form of terrorism".
Unfortunately, it seems that Gallo will also be the rapporteur on this new music licensing proposal. Assuming she gets her way, that pretty much guarantees that any directive that emerges from the long process of political wrangling won't do much to address the deep underlying problems with music licensing. It may even make them worse, judging by what happened with the hostage works directive under her guidance.
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Monday, July 16, 2012

The July Newsletter from the MSMA

Welcome to the
MSMA Newsletter!

     The annual W.C. Handy Music Festival starts July 20th here in the Shoals.  This festival showcases our rich local talent as well as some amazing musicians from all over the planet!  Music is everywhere during the 9-day festival.  The Blind Boys of Alabama will headline this year's festival.  We hope that you will come and be a part of the great musical heritage that we have here in the Shoals!  You can download the Handy Events Calendar here:

     Thank you to Steve Melton for reminding us not to forget about the recording engineers that are a huge part of the Muscle Shoals legacy.  Stay tuned for some feature articles highlighting the guys that were "behind the scenes" during recording sessions for The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Bob Seger, Paul Simon and many, many more!

     Please forward this newsletter to anyone that might be interested in the Shoals music scene.  We want to continue to promote our music beyond our borders.   Thanks for your support!

Christine Ohlman Joins The Decoys for Handy Show

By Terry Pace

     A powerhouse voice in the world of pure, unadulterated American rhythm-and-blues and soul-drenched rock ’n’ roll will be joining the Muscle Shoals Music Association and a stellar array of Muscle Shoals musicians for a spectacular, spirit-lifting concert celebration during the 2012 W.C. Handy Music Festival.
     The beloved “Beehive Queen” herself – electrifying soul singer Christine Ohlman – will headline the MSMA fund-raiser on Thursday, July 26, at the Marriott Shoals Conference Center in Florence, Alabama. The Shoals’ own Wildwood Ruminators will open the show at 7 p.m. The “Queen of Blue-Eyed Rock and Soul” will perform – backed by the all-star Muscle Shoals band The Decoys – beginning at 8 p.m. Tickets for the show – co-sponsored by Northwest-Shoals Community College, the Alabama Music Hall of Fame and the Marriott Shoals – are $10 per person and available at the door.
     “Soul music has always touched me so deeply, and never deeper than the music of FAME, 3614 Jackson Highway and Muscle Shoals Sound,” maintains Ohlman, who lives in Connecticut but considers the Southern-soul mecca of Muscle Shoals her musical second home. “I absolutely treasure, as well, the people of the Shoals. It's like being part of a special, ultra-heartfelt family, and I am honored to be called its adopted daughter.”
     Renowned worldwide as the long-time vocalist for NBC-TV’s Saturday Night Live Band, Ohlman earned universal critical praise for her 2010 release with Rebel Montez, The Deep End. The album – which was honored on five national Top Ten lists – features unforgettable collaborations with special guests and duet partners Ian Hunter, Dion DiMucci, Marshall Crenshaw and the late, great Levon Helm. Award-winning music historian Peter Guralnick – author of Sweet Soul Music, Lost Highway, Feel Like Going Home and the two-volume Elvis Presley biography Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love – hailed Ohlman’s music as “tough, tender, thoughtful and sassy – R-E-A-L, as Sam Phillips was wont to say.”
     For her Handy concert with the MSMA, Ohlman says she’s particularly honored to be performing live with world-class Decoys musicians Scott Boyer, Kelvin Holly, David Hood, N.C. Thurman and Mike Dillon – seasoned players that she considers “the current standard-bearers” of authentic Muscle Shoals soul.
     "Our set on July 26 will lean heavily on Shoals favorites of mine – with a sprinkling of Memphis Sun classics thrown in as a nod to Sam and Jerry Phillips – melded with some of my more soulful originals – and, of course, ‘Love Make You Do Stupid Things,’ ” Ohlman explains. “It’s a dance concert, so don't plan on sitting down for long. Let's celebrate the heart and soul of the Beehive/Shoals connection – and raise some money for the good work of the Muscle Shoals Music Association while we're at it!”
     During her visit to the Shoals, Ohlman will also perform as a special guest during the Handy festival’s climactic headliner concert by the Grammy Award-winning Blind Boys of Alabama beginning at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 28, at Norton Auditorium in Florence. Tickets for that concert are $30 per person.
     “Sitting in with the Blind Boys promises to be especially memorable for me – what a gift, what a joy!” Ohlman concluded. “I only hope to be able to give back with my music some of the love that has been showered on me.”
     In addition to the Ohlman concert, the MSMA will also co-sponsor (with Pillar of Fire and the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library) two special W.C. Handy Music Festival editions of The Screening Room film series at the library in downtown Florence. Admission is free.
     Legendary Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section musicians Jimmy Johnson and David Hood will help introduce the concert documentary Wattstax (1973, featuring the Staple Singers, Isaac Hayes, Luther Ingram, Eddie Floyd and other Muscle Shoals and Memphis recording artists) at 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 24. Muscle Shoals singer, songwriter, guitarist and former Little Richard band member Travis Wammack and Shoals native Ken Lovelace – guitarist, fiddler and leader of Jerry Lee Lewis’ band for the past 45 years – will help introduce the concert documentary The Legends of Rock ’n’ Roll (1989), featuring Lewis, Richard, James Brown, Ray Charles, B.B. King, Fats Domino and Bo Diddley, at 2 p.m. Thursday, July 26.


David's Diary 

Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section Bassist David Hood has kept all of his work diaries from the mid-sixties to the present. Because they contain information that spotlights the rich history of Muscle Shoals Music, he will share one segment of his diary in this column each month.

By David Hood

     A chance meeting in an airport sparked an idea that turned into a Muscle Shoals music institution. In 1981, while waiting on a flight, Florence veterinarian David Mussleman and Sheffield/Yale University musician and educator Wille Ruff started talking about their shared interest in the music that originated in the Muscle Shoals area. This conversation led to the formation of the Music Preservation Society and the W.C. Handy Music Festival.

     In August of 1982 the first of thiry years of this great hometown attraction was held at Norton Auditorium. The headliners were jazz great Dizzy Gillespie and the Mitchell/Ruff Duo. Every year since the festival has featured artists from all genres with acts such as vocal groups Take 6 and Manhattan Transfer, blues artists Bobby Blue Bland and Little Milton, R&B stalwarts Percy Sledge and Clarence Carter, jazz instrumetalists Jimmy Smith and Ramsey Lewis. Representing more modern music have been Mac McAnally and the Drive-By Truckers.

     The Blind Boys of Alabama will headline this year's festival as we enter the next 30 years of Handy celebrations. 

MSMA 2012
Board of Directors

Jimmy Nutt - President
Rodney Hall - Vice President
Larry Bowser - Sec/Treasurer
David Hood - Past President

Wiley Barnard
Dick Cooper
Nick Martin
Suzanne Bolton
Terry Pace

Photo of Bottletree

Big Deal

Local band Bottletree releases self-titled EP.  Bottletree is James LeBlanc, Angela Hacker, Scott Boyer III, Byron Green, Jon Davis & Zach Thomas.

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit will record 
2 live shows on August 17th at Workplay 
in Birmingham, AL, and August 18th 
at Crossroads in Huntsville, AL.
The Civil Wars release video from their performance at Bonnaroo
Photo of Holli Mosley

In The Studio 

Holli Mosley
James LeBlanc
Larry Byrom - Alicia Keys overdubs
Finding Harmony - film - Billy Zane, Alison Eastwood, Anna Margaret
Judd Hall
Ace Records Remastering

@The NuttHouse
Belle Adair
Donna Jean Godchaux Band with Jeff Mattson
The Local Saints
Billy Smart/Jacob Lovell
Mike Pyle
Wildwood Ruminators

@Studio 144 - Jay Burgess/John Springer
The Bear
The Nova's 

Songwriter demos for Bud McGuire, Mike McGuire, Rusty Moody, Marty Lewis, Ronny Vines, Norm DeVasure.
Jingles for Hughes Radio, Carlsbad, NM….Hightower Media/KMOO, Mineola, TX….WBCD Radio, Jasper, IN….Cumulus Radio, Tuscaloosa, AL.

If you would like to be included in this column, submit your information to before the 7th of each month.

Hall of Fame Rises from the ashes

     Northwest- Shoals Community College has reopened the doors to Alabama’s musical Legacy.
     The Alabama Music Hall of Fame has been closed due to lack of funding from the state for the past eight months. Within this time, Northwest-Shoals Community College has devised a plan to lease the AMHoF and its 40 acres of property for $5,000 per month for six months. After receiving Alabama Community College System Chancellor approval, Wiley Barnard, Executive Director of the Hall of Fame, and Dr. Humphrey Lee, President of Northwest-Shoals, formally contracted on May 25 to make this plan a reality.
     While the hall of fame itself will still be under Barnard’s direction, the college will assume responsibility for day-to-day expenses and pay the hall of fame a $5,000 per month lease.
     The ultimate goal of Northwest-Shoals President Humphrey Lee is to purchase the buildings and the roughly 40 acres surrounding the hall.  The property can be used for expanding the college campus, and student interns can assist Barnard in the facility’s operation. The purchase must be approved by the state board of education and the two-year college chancellor.
     According to Lee, reopening the AMHoF could bring a great infusion of energy to the Shoals. “I think this is the perfect time to reopen the Hall of Fame,” he said. “The Shoals area offers so much this time of year with the different festivals and tourism packages. This will just give our local tourism bureaus one more thing to showcase.”
     Barnard echoes Lee’s sentiments and he is relieved to finally be able to reopen. “This a tremendous day for the area,” said Barnard. “We have been working so hard to get to this point. I believe visitors to our area and the community will really reap the fruits of our labor.”
     The AMHoF will be open Thursday-Saturday from 11am-5pm.


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Thursday, July 5, 2012


Next Meeting - Sunday, August 12th - 2nd Sunday



If you missed last month's meeting you missed some great and mostly unknown tunes that club member David Bryan shared with us.  Have ever heard of these.  'Sherry' by Jerry Cox & The Cavaliers, 'Til I Hear It From You' by the Monarchs, 'The Prayer' by Ray Scott, 'You're The One For Me' by Wanda Jackson, 'Little Island Girl' by The Golden Tones (Joe Simon), and then how about this one by Sally Haney, 'I'm In A Green M & M Mood'.  And so many more that made the meeting so much fun.  Thanks, David.


We send out over 2,000 postcards to previous visitors of our record show to remind them that the 28th annual show is coming up.  At this month's meeting we will be labeling and stamping them.  If you're free please come by and help with this big job.  And of course we will have some great music playing to pass the time along, sing to, or just enjoy listening to.


Our annual record & CD show is fast approaching.  Saturday and Sunday, August 18th-19th.  Be sure to sign up to volunteer for one or more of the many opportunities there will be to help.  We will have over 90 tables this year so it will be the largest show BRC has ever had.  We will have quite a few new dealers so that means there will be a bunch of new items to browse through.

Our Hall Of Fame this year will be inducting singer, songwriter, musician, and promoter  Bunky Anderson and a band that has been performing since the 60's, The Ramblers.  More about these in next month's newsletter.

Howard Baer

In early December, 2011  a death notice appeared in the Birmingham News obituaries.  Other then family and friends, probably 98% of people reading it did not recognize him.  Some BRC members certainly would have.  He did not attend meeting but he was a (honorary) member and Ben Saxon had him as a guest at a meeting in the early 90's.

He was Dick Deason, better known to many as Pete Pride, his on air name, in the early 60's as a DJ with WYDE when they were a 'Top 40' station and were a close second to WSGN in popularity among teenagers and young adults in this area.

According to the obituary, Deason was a B'ham native whose entire career was in broadcasting.  He started with a little radio station that he put together totally himself on a supply ship off the coast of Korea during the Korean conflict.  When he came back to B'ham he worked for many different stations.  He was Broadcaster of the Year (1991?) and head of the Alabama Broadcasters Association for several years.  He ended his career at WBHM where he retired about 1995.

I have vague memories of him as Pete Pride at WYDE but my best memories of him are from about 1964 - 1969 when he worked at WBRC AM 960 and had a Saturday afternoon show in the fall during football season.  WBRC was the flagship station for the University of Alabama for the B'ham area.  You have to remember, coverage of sports was as different as night and day back then compared to now.  There was only one national game broadcast every week on television by ABC.  Just about everybody followed football on Saturdays on radio back then.  There was no instant coverage of other games on TV like there are now on the myriad of all sports stations.

But for all the mega-coverage we get today on Saturdays, Deason did something back then that no one does today even with about 8 local radio stations covering football  and all the satellite stations.  Deason had a scoreboard show on late Saturday afternoons and between taking calls from listeners wanting scores, he would play college football fight songs and marches, something you never hear today.  He would salute the biggest upset of the day by playing that team's fight song.  About '64 or '65 Army pulled a tremendous upset (possibly of Syracuse) and he played 'On Brave Old Army Team' and 'As The Caissons Go Rolling Along'.  My dad, who usually worked every Saturday in our small grocery store, was home sick that day and hearing those two songs made him feel better than anything.  Although not a West Point grad, he was a proud Army WW II vet (staff sergeant, field artillery, Fifth Armored Division) and he liked the Black Knights of the Hudson.

It's too bad you never hear college football fight songs and marches on radio anymore - one of the great traditions of the sport is disappearing.  I'd much rather hear them than the drunken fanatics rantings now on all the call-in shows.  Incidentally, now that Texas A&M is in the SEC, hopefully more people here will become familiar with the stirring A&M 'Aggie War hymn'.  It rivals the Notre dame "'Victory March', 'Michigan's 'Hail To The Victors' and Ohio State's 'On Ohio as one of the best fight songs ever.  Look for an article soon (maybe during football season - it starts way too early now though) on the history behind 'Yea Alabama' and 'War Eagle'.             HB


It's time to come "HANGOUT" with Larry and The Loafers. Join us for another second Friday night monthly show at The Cedars Club at 301 Green Springs Ave South, just follow the signs. Come early on July 13th starting at 6:00 with free dance lessons taught by Chris Bailey and Dance Instructors from Bailey Dance Studio. Chris will also provide music for Line Dancers when the Band takes breaks between play sets.  Followed at 7:30 with Good R & R music for your Dancing and Listening pleasure. Great (dance ready) Hardwood Floor, good food and reasonably priced Bar. Tickets on line $10.00 or at the door $12.00. Please look at to learn more about us. You have seen in person or heard about the fun everybody has at this show with Larry and The Loafers. Don't miss it, great new memories are made there. For additional Info call 205-261-8397.

The Ramblers and The Bassmen will be performing at Workplay on Saturday, August 18th starting at 7:00 PM.  For tickets go to or stop by Workplay - 500 23rd St South.  205-879-4773.


Atlanta, GA - Atlanta Record Show.  Sunday, July 29.  Marriott Century Center, I-85 & Clairmont Rd.  Exit 91.   10AM - 4 PM (EST).  $3.  404-861-3496.

Birmingham, AL - BRC 28th Annual Record & CD Show.  Saturday & Sunday Aug 18 - 19.  Cedars Club.  301 Green Springs Ave South , Birmingham, AL 35205. 9 AM - 5 PM Saturday, 10 AM - 4 PM Sunday.  $3.

Allentown, PA - 27th semi-annual 45 & 78 RPM only show.  Saturday Oct 6.  Merchants Square Mall.  1901 S. 12th St.  Allentown PA, 18103.  10AM - 4PM.  $3.  610-530-7606.  8AM early admission, $10.

Allentown, PA - Lehigh Valley Music Expo.  Merchants Square Mall.  1901 S. 12th St.  Allentown, PA 18103.  9AM - 4PM.  $3.  610-530-7606.

Austin, TX - Fall 2012 Austin Record Convention.  Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Oct 26 - 28.  North Austin Event Center.  10601 N. Lamar (formerly Crockett Center).  10 AM - 6 PM Fri & Sat. 10 AM - 5 PM Sunday.  $5 admission. Friday is early admission only for $25 .  This covers everyday.  Saturday early admission begins at 8AM.  512-288-7288.

***New record shop in town.  Club members Ray Edwards and Jack Wilson are opening a record shop in Gardendale called Birmingham Records.  The Grand Opening is Monday, July 2.  The address is 1103 Main Street - Gardendale, AL 35071.  Open Monday - Saturday 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM.  205-837-0596.  Drop by and see the guys and see if they happen to have that hard to find record you have been looking for.  Good luck, guys.

The Vibes

See ya,


Message 2 of 1130

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Myths Surrounding Guitar Lessons by Dave Taylor

Myths Surrounding Guitar Lessons

Many urban myths surround the guitar and, by extension, guitar lessons. These misconceptions often prevent young and old individuals alike from taking lessons on one of the most popular plucked string instruments known to man. Let's discuss a few of these misconceptions and the truth behind them.

First, let's discuss the misconception that music theory is a must. Yes, it is essential toward a deeper understanding of the aspects of music including rhythm, structure and harmony, among others. Most individuals who are reluctant to take to learn guitar is intimidated by the prospect of learning the ins and outs of music theory.

This should not be. Although your knowledge of music theory will come in handy at some point during your lessons, we must point out that many of the great guitar players never studied it. In fact, the greatest musicians of our time never even has any formal guitar lessons - Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray, to name a few.

Instead, you will mostly learn the practical aspects of playing the guitar like a maestro. Keep in mind that you may be a genius in music theory but if you will not put your knowledge into practice, nothing will come of it.

Then there's the misconception that repetitive exercises are a must during guitar lessons. This applies to practicing the scales and performing the guitar drills over and over again until you can almost do these things in your sleep.

Just like with music theory, learning to play the scales, among other guitar drills, like an expert is excellent foundation in becoming a good guitarist. We must say, nonetheless, that mindlessly going through guitar drills is not part and parcel of the best guitar lessons, far from it.

You will instead be taught how to read, understand and play music with a balance of great techniques and great passion. Music, after all, comes from the heart and flows into the fingers, something with instructors in the best guitar lessons seek to teach their eager students.

Yet another misconception about playing the guitar is that the faster you can play it, the better guitarist you are. This can be attributed to the emergence of guitar-related videogames where fast playing is rewarded with high scores. We then see many students taking guitar lessons who complain about the seemingly simple and slow pieces they are made to play.

In the real world, fortunately, fast guitar playing does not equal to greatness. Think of B.B. King, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame awardee and considered as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, whose style is best known for its fluidity, among other traits. So, play it slow and savor the music you are playing.

Indeed, guitar lessons are great ways to start toward becoming a good, if not great, guitarist. Set all your fears borne of misconceptions aside and start on this path.

If you want more information on then see this link now. You may also read more about the tips to here at this website.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Tangent Music Group (Birmingham)

Tangent Music Group is an independent music production and artist development company founded by producer Ben Trexel and based in Birmingham, Alabama. After 3 year stints at Airwave Production Group, Audiostate 55 Studios, and Workplay, Trexel formed Tangent Music Group in 2007. While at Airwave, Trexel engineered and mixed the renowned Live In The X-Lounge I and II. While at Workplay, Trexel produced dozens of live recordings and studio projects including the PBS documentary “Mr. Dial Has Something to Say,” and Train’s Live album.

Current News: July, 2012 finds Tangent Music Group releasing two debut albums; one from hard rock/soul singer Amacio Favor entitled BREAKOUT, and the other from Tokyo based alternative rockers What’s Up entitled WE ARE WHAT’S UP. Also this month, Tangent will relocate its operations to the renowned WORKPLAY complex on Birmingham’s southside. For those not familiar with Workplay, it is a multi-function entertainment complex with a 450 seat theatre, bar, recording studios, offices, and a large soundstage suitable for concerts, film production, and events.

Coming Up: On July 19, the Workplay Bar and Tangent Music Group will present a listening party for Amacio Favor’s debut CD from 7:00 until 8:00 pm. This event will also serve as a “meet and greet” for music fans and musicians to become acquainted with Tangent Music Group’s new operations at Workplay. Two days following, on July 21, Amacio Favor will play a live concert at Workplay as the opening act for Abandon August.

For more information or to obtain an interview from Tangent Music Group owner Ben Trexel, please email