Exploitation in the music business is the selfish use of materials of the unwary musician – lyrics, recordings, compositions, videos, etc. – that preempts payment to the owner of materials. Exploitation in the music industry also includes unfair contracts, unjust negotiations, unmerited advice, unscrupulous management practices, unreasonable publications agreements, and inequitable performance agreements that disadvantage the artist for the profit and wellbeing of others.
Exploitation of the unsuspecting is so prevalent in the music industry that thick books are written about it. Abuse of musicians by entities of the recording industry, web developers, and video game producers are ongoing. The music industry goes so far in its exploitation efforts as to fix charts, fix profits, set up performance and songwriting competitions that promise much and award little, press artists into company-artist and artist-management relationship contracts, force performance venue tradeoffs, use strong-arm image creation tactics, and more. Nearly every musician has been exposed so some form of abusive exploitation in their career.
The object of exploitation? Money. Free money. Money for nothing, essentially. Music piracy is the most invasive tactic of those who practice exploitation. CDs and DVDs are routinely reproduced on home computers and sold or traded in marketplaces the world over. Master recordings become mobile phone ring-tones downloaded from the Internet and applied to video games, because rights are sold by the recording industry and music publishers. Recordings are uploaded to enhance websites. New challenges of exploitation arise with every new technological development in the field of sound.
A great deal must be learned about reproduction, distribution, and performance of music to begin to understand how many ways artists become subject to exploitation. That is no small task. Exploitation in the form of ring tones, video games, webcasts, satellite radio, and emerging technologies are difficult to monitor, and ongoing revenues for the artists have become nearly impossible to appropriate.
The safest way for budding artists to avoid many methods of exploitation, to get some reassurance of their career success, and understand their rights as artists is to read up on the music industry and the complications that exploitation presents them. Being assured of whom advice is sought is important. Discussing legal representation with several trusted and respected peers before seeking legal advice from “just anyone” willing to provide direction is also imperative.
This article provides an overview of exploitation in the music industry. If you would like to submit an article about exploitation or any other music-related subject, please feel free to do so here at Media Positive Radio.
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