Taking a beat from the performance and live column, to opinion the current music industry ‘turmoil’.
Yet, the silence IS deafening. The reasoning sensible.
The ‘police investigating the police’ ‘process’, is the ‘go to’ damage control minimalist PR mandate.
This approach, complete with company quotes “…we have, are or will be/creating a respectful workplace culture for everyone …We take all allegations of bullying, harassment and other inappropriate behaviour from our employees and investigate them vigorously..”
Much is said about toxic culture, the abusive workplace practices.
Not much is said about music industry culture. The idea that this treatment starts and stops with staff, is nonsense.
How many artists want a bad Industry reputation, airing the dirtiest of all laundry? Owning up to being a slave? Enabling and perpetuating the future of serfdom, if you open your mouth, goodbye / terminate your career, and with extreme prejudice?
None of this trivialises alleged abuse, alleged rape, alleged misappropriation of funds. Record, Publishing, Performance Rights Agreements, and contracts are labeled
Not much was reported in Australia concerning the treatment of indigenous artists. One “positive” (?) – exploitation in the industry is equal opportunity.
And the apparent hypocrisy; the ethics and morality could be said to be alive per aria quote in response to the ‘Four Corners’ investigation:
“No one should feel unsafe, harassed, discriminated against, or bullied in the workplace. ARIA will continue to work towards safety, inclusion, and equality across the music industry including through the cultural change process that was started in May this year. We will listen to the voices that need to be heard and provide our wholehearted support every step of the way”.
Country music star LeAnn Rimes advised at the time: “I just turned 19 last month… I will be 35 when (the contract) is met.”
‘I just turned 19 last month … I will be 35 when (the contract) is met.’ – LeAnn Rimes
In Film, Scarlett Johansson can go from one project to the next, produce her own ‘vehicles’, work with any studio she can form a one-off relationship with, yet recording artists are under exploitation contracts for years and may not leave.
Staff at Record Companies are paid WorkCover and Superannuation, have mechanisms for complaint, work under OH&S guidelines and Codes of Conduct, as a general rule. They can leave employment under numerous circumstances and take legal action in an equitable fashion. Staff Wages and Bonus’ are/were paid, weekly, monthly, annually.
Not for the bulk of recording and publishing artists, the ‘Term’ (employment ‘work for hire’) for recording and publishing artists runs for years. Generally, recording artists are accounted to every 9 months (for the previous 6 months – 1 1/2 years after a ‘sale’) under contracted opaque methods, where it is difficult to question, let alone action any anomaly or underpayment.
In many contracts, the record/publishing company can extend the agreement if the artist asks too many questions about earnings and may take punitive action, make veiled threats, and/or diminish the artists’ importance at the label, provide less stringent ‘service’.
Artists I have managed have been threatened. This historic ‘culture’ was ingrained with exploitation, slavery, and abuse.
Consequently, it should come as unsurprising that Executives at record and publishing companies could feel emboldened, strengthened in their disposition regarding the management of artists and then, staff.
Logically it should come as unsurprising that a despot could evolve from a toxic environment. To me the only surprise is that it has taken long for the media to pay any sanguine attention to this abuse.
It seems disingenuous for the ABC to look at one side of the problem and not at all where the problem came from.
It wasn’t one guy, one group, a period in time.
The ABC may not have clean hands here, it could be argued, in that they have failed to acknowledge their perceived conflict of interests in both ABC Record and ABC Publishing. Thoughts should turn to their contracts with recording and publishing artists, as ‘exploiters’.
For taxpayer funded SBS, how many Eurovision Competitors were Sony Artists and/or managed by the related ‘Sony’ Artist Management Company? Who benefits from this tax payer funded commercially infused enterprise?
The mere commercial convenience of artists being defined as ‘work for hire’, not employees, is one that even Uber and the ‘gig economy’, has moved on from. Not the recording and publishing industry, broadly.
The true story of slavery and abuse and without diminishing in any way from the horrid treatment received by staff at Sony? How convenient to yet again be told, directed by the media, look over here, not here, the basis of the exploitation culture.
How convenient for the ABC, as they do little investigation into the recording and publishing industry. Try to remember the last time any media in AU reported on concerns, except for those published or reported on,out of commercial self interest?
But that illustrates why little help and attention the AU recording, composing and performing artist gets in the first place. Little AU Airplay, gig opportunities, help during the pandemic, no minimum wage, no protection from exploitation.
Naturally you’d think there would be protection from ‘the Unions’ but little, if any. Industry groups haven’t said much.
To me this shows, even now, how the boys club works, how begrudgingly they act, as if to imply, there’s more to this than meets the eye.
It should be noted that it was in 2019, that ARIA decided to include several women, on the Board.
Likewise their silence on this matter is likewise disappointing. I’m sure these women may all have something to say.
I’ve seen record companies, publishers and performing rights organisations abuse artists. I’ve seen women as manager’s not taken seriously, denigrated by their male counterparts.
The term ‘boys club’ applies. Gussying up organisation to include woman as a ‘beard’, again I’ve seen this, for appearance sake, not much deckchair rearranging.
It could be the case that having struggled a great deal, made many compromises to get on in the business, women may feel more competitive with other women for position, as there’s little opportunity for advancement. The Queen Bee syndrome.
Here’s an interesting article on why women may not help one another:
Unfortunately ‘Hope’ is not a strategy, isn’t a solution, it’s purely the vapours of an aspiration.