12 March 2007


Good intentions combined with other issues again. This time, I really am back for good. Really. This is just a little catch-up, then I'll post the other stuff I've been working on offline.
  • There has been a lot of action in and around recorded music in the last couple of weeks. Distribution seems to be at the heart of it. Payola isn't dead; it's just settling in. (So long as "hit" is defined by "how often it's played on a station that nobody really cares about because those who are going to buy a copy of the song already own it," payola isn't going away.) The recording companies continue their whinging and short-sightedness, particularly given their dubious accounting practices.
  • In contrast to the recorded music industry, there's the problem with authorship of the underlying works. The Hatto situation just reflects, as much as anything else, the whole ego-gratification issue — made worse, in this instance, by the artist's apparent uninvolvement (so far as appears to be known at the moment, it was the husband's doing). Things don't get any better when considering the "authorship" of old live recordings. And throwing in the multiple layers of authorship in popular music just makes things even more interesting; at least, they're interesting when considering the Napsterization of online sheet music as a possibility.
  • In then end, publishing is a business. (Its nature is, of course, another question entirely.) I have some sympathy for textbook publishers, having been involved in the production of more than one textbook in my time. I have little sympathy for textbook pricing, though, or for the inexcusably short lifecycles for textbooks outside of law and life sciences. Contrast that with the distribution of compensation for (UK) authors.
  • Then there's the question of "authority" in the first place. Not just "who is the author," but who should be trusted as an "author". The current administration's trip down Yellowcake Road seems to have been inspired by the Scarecrow's directions, which certainly doesn't help things elsewhere. When one (justifiably) distrusts the ones we've elected to be in authority, that distrust overflows into everything else.