I now find myself on the very useful Pho mailing list, joining the cognoscente in the discussion of issues related to the digital delivery of art, especially music, movies and books. Yowza. I just received a reaction to our interview with RIAA president Cary Sherman from Pho-member Fred W:
- I am sure that a number of pholks will find things of interest, humor and general outrage in Mr. Sherman’s musings on the industry and technology, but there was one particular answer that got me throwing Styrofoam cups around
the room (my wife having learned not to put breakable crockery in my reach while I am reading stuff from the RIAA).
The question and answer follow:
Q.: You say that you are protecting artists rights, but after what AFTRA did to Sam Moore, shouldn’t you be helping artists suffering from the indignities of piss-poor managments of their pension funds and royalties?
A.: The Sam Moore dispute with AFTRA is bad news, no question about it. But it’s ancient history. Today, artists are the most well-represented people on earth. They have managers and lawyers that specialize in extracting money from record companies for their clients, and they’re very good at it. We just got the results of a study of contracts, and the amount of money being paid to these artists is impressive. New contracts in 2000 averaged $450,000 in advances and commitments for the first album; if the artist was successful and renegotiated his contract, the average soared to $3.7 million. You can imagine the sums being paid to the superstars. By the way, the companies have been helping out the older artists with major contributions to the Rhythm & Blues Foundation and other groups.