Audio News for March 31, 2015

Pandora/Naxos Licensing Deal Felt to be Unfair? – A new agreement was reached between Pandora and Naxos for the entire Naxos catalog of recordings, but there was no mention of payment of royalties to the artists. 50% of performance royalties, according to law, are paid to featured artists and session musicians. The other 50% goes to the owner of the master (in some cases the artist), so it affects a great number of musicians in the case of orchestral classical recordings vs. solo artists. Congress and the AFM want to prevent exploitation of the artists and musicians, naturally.

Additions to the National Recording Registry – include The Doors, Radiohead, Joan Baez, Sly and the Family Stone and the Righteous Brothers.  They are among 25 artists who work will enter the National Recording Registry. The list’s choices range from Steve Martin’s A Wild and Crazy Guy and FDR’s funeral coverage from 1945 to a 1928 blues number by Blind Lemon Jefferson and a 1995 collection of Sesame Street hits. The earliest recordings are over 600 homemade cylinders from the 1890s, 1900s and 1910s. Nearly every decade is represented, but there is nothing from the 1980s which was deemed Congress-worthy.

Goodby to CDs? – Steve Metcalf on the WNPR site is talking about purging his CDs. To quote: “Still, the idea of owning the music, of possessing it, is hard to let go of. Especially in LP days, the record somehow was the music – with the often-beautiful cover art, the crisp and necessarily concise liner notes, and the beauty of the very disc itself, with its shiny black grooves promising a pleasure that, unlike most, would be deep and endlessly repeatable. Converting my collection, at this point in my life, to electronic files, or even just reconciling myself to the idea of streaming — a la carte — from some vast cloud-based repository, is really no big deal. I’ve already extracted from these discs the thrill of discovery, as well as the aforementioned satisfaction of ownership and display. But I do wonder how the disappearance of recordings as physical objects will alter the relationship that younger people have to music. [So do we…Ed.] Virtually the entire universe of recorded music is available to them at a click. And it’s so easy, so tempting, in fact, to pull the plug on a new or unfamiliar piece after just a few minutes. Thumbs Down. Skip Track. Gone.”

[We’re going to stick with the physical discs as long as possible, and when the higher-capacity Blu-rays come out in June or so, it will be a shot-in-the-arm to the physical disc medium. Plus there are the audio-only Blu-rays and SACDs…Ed.]

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