Thursday, August 15, 2002

SOME GIRLS: Swizzlestick are currently running an excellent interview with Juliana Hatfield, where she talks about side projects (Some Girls and the Blake Babies reunion), cover versions, Aimee Mann (I know this might mark me out as being Terence Q Thick, but I didn't know she was the voice behind Til Tuesday - but then they never progressed much further in the UK than the Great Gambo's Saturday afternoon US chart slot) and, inevitably, the interweb: "Most of the money that is being made is going to the record company and the executives so I'm like, "Good. Power to the people." The musicians make such a tiny royalty rate anyway, keep the money out of the hands of the greedy fuckers in the record company. But, the tiny percentage that the bands do get, that's what they have to try to live off. I'm not really sure what to think. But I do feel really strongly about one part that I think is really bad. It gives people the freedom to have whatever they want and to have unauthorized recordings that maybe the artist doesn't approve and doesn't want out there." She goes on to talk about songs she didn't want people to hear which somehow got onto the web, and then onto unofficial CDs: "There are pros and cons though. I was glad that people were able to hear the songs that I was proud of. That's the only way people are ever going to hear them. I was in a bind. I couldn't release the songs and the label wasn't going to release them so I'm glad people heard them. At the same time, I felt abused. People were taking my stuff and doing what they wanted to do with it. But I'm sure the intentions were good. I don't know if it was being sold. If people are selling it, that's a whole other thing. That's just bad if people are making money off my work and I'm not getting a dime."
Which is a fair point - and one we've not really got to grips with here very much. Live songs and released songs are one thing; but what about the stuff that hasn't been released because the artist doesn't think it's good enough? The problem here lies with the way the stuff seeps out - clearly, the Juliana stuff must have got onto the web from someone who was either at the session, or else who was trusted enough to be given a tape. In future, artists are going to have be a lot more careful who gets to take away their doodles and half-formed ideas; the Record Company vault is more like an all you can eat diner now.
Of course, if she'd died in an Aaliyah style crash, her label would probably have stuck 'em out on a full price CD anyway. Talking of which, Juliana says: "A CD costs so little to manufacture and yet these record companies are charging $16, $17, $18 for one CD. I refuse to pay that. I won't pay $18 for something I can get for so much less. Why are people buying CDs? They are stupid to pay that much money." Only someone on a small label like Rounder could hope to get away with that.

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