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Recording Artist Union.....What do you think?

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This article by Jim Bessman, 29 March 2001 was posted on 'Bandname.com' and was emailed to me. I thought I would pass it on. What would this mean for the music business? I'd be interested in your thoughts.


As previously noted here, Courtney Love, who's charging Universal Music

Group with breaking California labor laws allowing termination of

contracts between artists and entertainment companies after seven years,

is calling for musicians to form a union. In a lengthy "Dear Fellow

Recording Artists" letter penned last month, Love said that R.E.M., the

Dixie Chicks, U2, Alanis Morrissette, Bush, Prince, and Q-Tip have

expressed support, and stressed "three basic facts" that all recording

artists need to know. These are:


1. No one has ever represented the rights and interests of recording

artists as a group in negotiations with record companies

2. Recording artists don't have access to quality health care and pension

plans like the ones made available to actors and athletes through their


3. Recording artists are paid royalties that represent a tiny fraction of

the money their work earns.


Until very recently, Love discovered, "Congress believed that the RIAA

spoke for recording artists. The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of

America) is a trade group that is paid for by record companies to

represent their interests. The Napster hearings last summer and a few

other issues have let Washington know that NO ONE speaks for recording

artists right now. We have their attention and must act quickly to make

sure artists have a voice."


Artists have all the power, she concluded, seeking additional support from

artists in organizing and further educating the public. "[Artists] create

the music that makes the money that funds the business. No one has ever

harnessed that power for artists' collective good."







My Band:


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