So the Credit Where Credit is Due website went live last week and we’ve already had a really positive feedback so thank you to all those that have taken the time to vote and leave comments. Please keep spreading the word.
I recently presented the case at two very different music conferences with extremely interesting results.
At this years AES http://www.aes.org/events/128/ i was lucky enough to share the stage with:
Paul Jessop, Consultant IFPI/RIAA
Simon Hutchinson, PPL
Chris Clark, British Library Sound Archive
George Massenburg, P&E wing, NARAS
Malcolm Atkin, Archive Consultant and chairman of APRS
John Spencer-BMS Chace
The panel, entitled ’After the Ball – Protecting the Crown Jewels’ set out to address not only the issue of crediting peoples work but something i had not thought about before; the archiving and protection of the musical recordings themselves.
John Spencer presented a very interesting website developed in conjunction with the US library of Congress. The simple online programme included many fields to input data with tie-ins to all the major collection agencies and labels around the world. Unfortunately the site is not yet public so you can’t see the detail he showed myself and the AES but it seems to be a possible way ahead. Check their website here http://bmschace.com/archive/index.html.
After John’s presentation the panel kicked in.
Malcolm Atkin made some very interesting observations regarding his work at Abbey Road on archiving and restoring media from the last 50 years. Of course inevitable the much maligned 2 inch tape proved to be the most reliable medium to back up to with 50 year old tapes still fully playable.
The entire digital domain did not fair well, the ubiquitous hard drive proving the worst with an average 80% failure rate after only 5 years!! Better get all those sessions on DVD then (sadly not much better)!
Also sadly lacking in the modern digital world are the recall notes normally associated with the sessions. With tape machines came tape op’s whose job involved making detailed notes regarding the recording, track listing and recall of the technology involved in capturing a performance and sound. With the advent of digital, tape ops/assistants (if they actually are on a session) now make tea and not much else. Without these notes it will be that much harder to dissect and understand todays recordings in years to come.
An obvious example of how this has educated and inspired is Kevin Ryan and Brian Kehews book Recording the Beatles http://www.recordingthebeatles.com/
The Beatles recordings are obviously some of the most sought after sounds and the knowledge of what went on within the hallowed walls of Abbey road can only be shared thanks to the detailed notes made by the assistants and engineers on the sessions, a point certainly backed up by Chris Clark from the British Library.
The concept of flattened masters arose. With so many Pro Tools sessions floating around of the same track and with many often being worked on by different engineers a finished, flattened session becomes even more important. How are we to know what constitutes the Lead vocal if the session turns up with 50 lead vocal tracks?
I was bought up with making decisions due to the constraints of tape. With the unlimited track count in digital sessions are often 200/300 tracks large. This must ultimately fall to the job of the Producer.
Simon Hutchinson made a very sad point. 200,000 titles in the PPL database have no song title and no artist name. Who owns them, played on them, owns the copyright, publishing, etc? All royalties for those tracks are therefore suspended. Again without the inclusion of credit data these titles will almost certainly remain unclaimed.
PPL are also in the process of updating their website to hopefully address these issues.
I made the point of this info helping to inspire and educate future generations (see original post) and the need for it to be attached to the listening experience. I also pointed out the demise of the Thank You credit, another loss no one had thought about.
George Massenburg raised the concept of Education. Educating not only the producers, engineers and musicians but also the labels and publishers. There are courses galore for engineering but none to teach the concept of data inclusion and archiving. Incentive is an issue. Could there be a financial incentive?
Who will pay for all this work in the first place? Could we persuade people to apportion a % of their earnings in the same way we do for their pension?
All very interesting points. I left there with more concerns and even more questions unanswered although it was great to see such eminent heads also as passionate and involved as i am.
I then jetted off to Ibiza for the IMS http://www.internationalmusicsummit.com/
I had been asked by Pete Tong to address the convention regarding this issue. On the whole I got a very healthy response with the usual reply “Why has this been allowed to happen?” “It’s because we’ve let it slide and it’s our job to rectify it” comes my reply.
The dance community have always been at the forefront of change and were certainly one of the first to embrace the digital age. Of course with its accent on the DJ a few people couldn’t understand why crediting musicians, mastering and all was so important although of course the bedroom brigade were very understanding. A few pointed to the Blog as being the modern equivalent. Of course I argued once again that we shouldn’t have to rely on the witterings of some unconnected 3rd party to safeguard the future accuracy of our work. On the whole a very satisfying event
Both conventions have made me realise that we now need to go further than I initially thought. Up to now I was content to push for the simple yet comprehensive and accurate info to be included in all future digital mediums. I now realise that we will need to offer more. Credits on records are not interesting enough and not an incentive enough. Modern technology and the internet offer a far more comprehensive and exciting option to inspire and educate. Therefore we should take up the mantle and look to novel ways to involve this and much more.
Thats the only way we are going to sneak this info on board is by providing more incentive for the industry and public alike.