Music fans’ ire toward Ticketmaster for expensive concert tickets may be somewhat justified, according to a fiery investigation by CBC News and the Toronto Star on Wednesday detailing a secret scalping scheme run by the ticket sales company itself. The two outlets sent journalists undercover as scalpers to a live entertainment convention this summer, where Ticketmaster reportedly pitched them on its underground professional resale program, through which it takes a cut of profits.
Ticketmaster, which is owned by live entertainment juggernaut Live Nation, enlists resellers to grab batches of tickets from its site and then flip them for higher prices on a Ticketmaster-owned, invite-only platform called TradeDesk (touted by the company as “The most powerful ticket sales tool. Ever”), according to the report. Ticketmaster gets extra fees from the pricier resale tickets on top of its fees from selling the original ticket. CBC and Toronto Star journalists were told that despite the existence of a Ticketmaster “buyer abuse” division that looks for suspicious online activity in ticket sales, the company turns a blind eye to its TradeDesk users. A sales representative told one of the undercover journalists that there are brokers with “literally a couple of hundred accounts” on TradeDesk, and that it’s “not something that we look at or report.”
Ticketmaster has sued groups in the past for using bots to grab up live events tickets from its site, which prompted counterclaims that Ticketmaster was itself supplying scalpers with bot software — which, per this week’s investigation, TradeDesk appears to be doing. “This is going to be a public relations nightmare,” popular Canadian radio program host Alan Cross told CBC upon seeing the findings, noting of previous “whispers of this in the ticket-selling community, but it’s never been outlined quite like this before.”
I knew that Ticketmaster sucked, but this sucks like a thousand hoovers all running at once.
Seriously, if someone at the DoJ’s antitrust division wants to hit some low-hanging fruit, this kind of crap is clearly out of line, even by the standards of the, “Strict Constructionist,” judges who hate antitrust enforcement.
Sony Music Entertainment has been forced to abandon its claim that it owned 47 seconds of video of musician James Rhodes using his own piano to play music written by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Last week, Rhodes recorded a short video of himself playing a portion of Bach’s first Partita and posted it to Facebook. Bach died in 1750, so the music is obviously in the public domain. But that didn’t stop Sony from claiming the rights to the audio in Partita’s video.
“Your video matches 47 seconds of audio owned by Sony Music Entertainment,” said a notice Rhodes received on Facebook. Facebook responded by muting the audio in Rhodes’ video. Remarkably, when Rhodes disputed Sony’s claim, Sony stuck to its guns and denied the appeal. As far as we know, Sony hasn’t commented publicly on the dispute or explained why it continued to claim Rhodes’ music.
But whereas Facebook’s formal appeals process didn’t work for Rhodes, public shaming seems to have done the trick. Rhodes’ tweet on the topic got more than 2,000 retweets, and Rhodes also emailed senior Sony Music executives about the issue.
Guys, let’s be reasonable here. Without strong copyright enforcement, composers like Bach will have no incentive to produce new music. Sony is just ensuring that Bach has the financial freedom to release his next album. Really they’re doing you a favor.
Recording artists received just 12% of the $US43 billion that the music industry generated in 2017, according to a Citigroup report published on Monday, and led by analyst Jason B. Bazinet.
$US43 billion matches a 12-year peak that the industry hasn’t hit since 2006, the report said.
The proportion of the total music industry revenue artists are capturing has actually risen since 2000, when artists took home only a 7% share of the revenue.
But this increase is due in large part to the growth of concerts and touring as a revenue stream that is largely distinct from the intermediary of their music labels. Artists are still taking home a meager share of the increasing revenues in streaming for their music, where music labels and music streaming services act as intermediaries.
The report shows that “consumer outlays,” which includes streaming, concert sales, and purchased music, generated an all-time high of more than $US20 billion last year. But music businesses, including labels and publishers, took almost $US10 billion, while artists received just $US5.1 billion, the “bulk” of which came from touring.
If you want to support the artists, go to their concerts, because they do not get sh%$ from the record distributors.
Someone on Facebook post complained about a Tweet calling Obama a Neoliberal tool.
I observed that many of his behaviors served the neoliberal playbook, and they replied, “You’re wildly wrong on the powers of POTUS if you think Obama was able to singlehandedly do quite a lot of that list,” and I replied:
He had a literal blank check or mortgage relief, and he “Foamed the Runways” (Geithner said that) for insolvent banks, it’s on him. His decisions on target assassinations and his embrace of torturers and torture enablers were his decisions as CinC, it’s on him. His decision not prosecute banksters was his AG’s decision, and he supported it, it’s on him. He tried to push through TPP, it’s on him. He did not lift a finger to support card check, it’s on him. Sing to the tune of “Chad Gadya.”
I am feeling very smug about my bon mot right now.
It appears that Tom Petty suffered a cardiac arrest, and may or may not be dead though the most recent reports strongly imply that it’s just a matter of time:
For several hours on Monday, rock star Tom Petty was dead to some members of the news media, even if he wasn’t in fact.
Though gravely ill and lingering near death, Petty was still clinging to life when CBS News incorrectly reported that he had died. The report — which the outlet blamed on unidentified sources in the Los Angeles Police Department — was later withdrawn and corrected.
But not before touching off a stampede of he’s-dead/no-he’s-not reporting by other news organizations. The result was a monumental mishmash of confusion, joining the long history of misreporting on the deaths of well-known people.
TMZ, the tabloid website with a history of being first on celebrity deaths, was the first outlet to report that Petty was in the hospital and soon updated its story to say: “TMZ reports that Petty had no brain activity when he got to the hospital and a decision was made to pull him from life support,” while never pronouncing that the “American Girl” singer had died.
Rolling Stone magazine reported around 4:15 p.m. EST that Petty had died and published a lengthy obituary of him. But the magazine upgraded Petty’s condition to “hospitalized” about an hour later without explaining what had happened to its earlier report. A note at the bottom of its story said, “This story is developing.”
I rather liked his music, and he did the best Mad Hatter ever, so I will miss him.
I was coming home from the chiropractor today with Sharon* driving, and the song Don’t Stand So Close To Me by the Police came on, and she turned up the volume.
I asked her why she liked this song, but hated the Pink Floyd song The Wall, which she hates for what she sees as its anti-teacher message. (“We don’t need no education ……… Hey! Teacher, leave them kids alone”)
I replied that she just turned up the volume on a song about an affair between a teacher and a student.
She said that she was unaware of this, and then she quickly changed the station.
I then sung:
Her friends are so jealous You know how bad girls get Sometimes it’s not so easy To be the teacher’s pet
And then she elbowed me.
I am amused.
*Love of my life, light of the cosmos, she who must be obeyed, my wife.
Have you ever talked about the lyrics of a much-loved song with a friend? Perhaps the discussion took place online? It might surprise you to discover that you’ve gotten pretty darn close to infringing a US patent.
This month, EFF’s Stupid Patent of the Month feature has singled out Patent No. 9,401,941, owned by CBS Interactive, which has claimed its monopoly to “processing user interactions with song lyrics.” The patent’s big reveal is a “computer-implemented system” for “processing interactions with song lyrics.” Supposedly, this adds to existing technology by allowing a user to select particular parts of songs, view a menu, and then write an interpretation of a selected line.
Of course, even if such an idea were patent-worthy, there were already websites offering that feature before the patent’s priority date of 2011. The most notable is perhaps Rap Genius, a website founded in 2009 that is now simply called Genius.
The patent examiner actually pointed out Rap Genius to the applicant, compelling CBS lawyers to narrow their claims. They added a clause saying that their technology would suggest comments to users based on what type of comments have been written in the past. That narrower definition is unlikely to be infringed by many lyrics sites, but even the narrower definition should not have resulted in a patent grant, argues EFF lawyer Daniel Nazer, who wrote the blog post.
Faced with the prospect of a never-ending search for an exact list of features proposed by the applicant, the examiner eventually gives up and grants the patent. That may be what happened here.
Even aside from older technology, the patent, which was filed in 2015, should have been rejected under the Supreme Court’s Alice precedent, argues Nazer. It’s a series of routine Web development decisions, and that’s exactly the type of “generic” computer technology the 2014 Alice decision should have rendered unpatentable.
The Alice in question is Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, where the Supreme Court ruled that just because you add “With a computer” to an unpatentable idea does not make the idea a patentable one.
We seriously need to fix our patent review process.