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comment by Simon_Pieman Apr 26, 2006Whilst songwriters are important and a poorly written song is a poor song, but surely the deliverance of that song is just as important. Would all those Motown songs be considered classics if they'd been performed by Holland,Dozier and Holland? Of course they wouldn't. They needed people like The Supremes to make them. I agree that songwriters should have royalties protected for longer, but a singer should have them protected at least untill after they've died. I can understand why Cliff is annoyed, not to be paid for those great shadows songs from the 50's, I certainly would be.
Haven't been here for a while, don't know if anyone remembers me. Nice to see you are still causing mass debates fingerchimp - oo er.
comment by CombeineHarvesterOfSorrow Apr 26, 2006Surely fifty years is plenty though. By that stage, the income from the performance has long since peaked. In other words, hasn't the singer already had their payday? After all, some songs take days, weeks, months to write. I don't think any take this long to perform...
My old man is a plumber but he doesn't get paid every time someone flushes a loo he put in.
comment by The Digital Ninja Apr 26, 2006Wouldn't that analogy be better attributed to the songwriter though?
otherwise I would have put down, 'I use toilets that were a results of other peoples hard graft, but I don't get paid everytime I take a sh1t'
comment by Simon_Pieman Apr 26, 2006"Surely fifty years is plenty though. By that stage, the income from the performance has long since peaked. In other words, hasn't the singer already had their payday? After all, some songs take days, weeks, months to write. I don't think any take this long to perform..."
I agree HarvesterOfSorrow that 50 years is a long time and a lot of money, but if that's long enough, isn't 70 years after death (I think it is) for a songwriter also long enough? I'm not saying I neccessarily think that, but it's definately an issue. Should the amount of effort that's gone into a sing affect the length of royalties? Or should Cliff stop being such a money grubbing so and so and just be content with however many millions he's ammassed? Thinking about it I reckon I agree more with the latter and that after 50 years you will have accumulated a fair amount of money from a song, and wanting any more is just plain greed.
comment by oggystoop Apr 26, 2006Being a Singer and a Songwriter since I left school I feel if theres one subject I know about its this. Cliff Richard should count himself very lucky to have been given the oportunity to sing with the exposure and help he's had from the media. I've written many good songs but sadly I find that in some competitions Im too old to enter. I fear my songs will never be published and the Industry is in such a mess it gets hijacked by Milli Vanilli or Boyzone or at Christmas by people like Cliff Richard. I only hope that the rules stay as they are - forcing Cliff Richard and his peers to develop their skills more as instumentalists and songwriters. Then the question of money would not bother them so much.
comment by oggystoop Apr 26, 2006you should be in toilet rolls mate!
comment by The Digital Ninja Apr 27, 2006i'm a bit young to have invented tissue paper unfortunately
comment by CombeineHarvesterOfSorrow Apr 27, 2006I think the royalties for the songwriter should extend for longer, because someone else could possibly cover the song after the first flush of fame.
I actually read about the Cliff thing some time back, where he was saying the writer of living doll was still getting money when he'd probably not thought about the song in 20 years. He certainly hasn't in the last seven anyway, as he died in 1998.
If cliff really wanted the money, he should have thought of it before now. There was once a shady music industry practice which permitted this, known as "Change A Word, Take A Third". All cliff had to do was add a verse, alter a few words etc, and he could have taken a writing credit. If he was too thick to do this, then feck him. Everyone else of his era did it.
Also, maybe he should dry his bulbs and think about session musicians. These guys have contributed a great deal to music, frequently for a one off fee. Think about all those big hits for solo artist type singers, with ripping instrumentation, for which some poor bugger got 50 quid and a pat on the head. Not a big deal in some cases, but in others it's a bloody big deal. How many people would care for Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street" without the saxophone?
comment by fingerchimp Apr 27, 2006as rick wakeman always bitterly laments he was given no writing credit for morning has broken although he composed the piano bridge part. he recieved his £25.
another enthralling session musician story...the double tracked bass part to walk on the wild side by lou reed came about because each musician was paid per track. the enterprising or desperate bass player saw the potential to increase his earnings. hey presto..but no writing credit, no royalties. and still razorlight make money...theres an argument against karmic realignment right there.
comment by CombeineHarvesterOfSorrow Apr 27, 2006Aye, And the bass player from walk on the wild side went on to write Clive Dunn's Grandad. So Justice is right, Justice is Served, Justice is Done!!
Clone bands should definitley have to pay royalties. I remember reading in the lies page of the NME once (Thrills, or whatever it was), that Alice In Chains recieved a royalty payment every time a member of Godsmack breathed. Seems only fair.
comment by Spinky Apr 27, 2006Isn't one of the reasons Simon Cowell's so rich is that he's credited as "handclaps" or something on every Boyzone single?
Don't see why songwriters are so precious about their songs though life + 70 year is a long time... if you didn't want anyone to play or profit from the song then keep it to yourself.
Rock 'n' roll and pop music aren't about songs - we've had songs for hundreds of years before we had these things. it's about performances (live or on record). One man sitting on a stage with a guitar can be a performance if it's done well - as can a huge Vegas revue of cover versions, complete with acrobats and showgirls. I'd say both forms are just as valid.
After thinking about it more, I'm going to retract my earlier comments - performance and songwriting should be equal (so if you can do both you get paid twice). Otherwise it gets split down the middle. You songwriters are too precious - without a decent performance, there is no song.
comment by fingerchimp Apr 27, 2006" You songwriters are too precious "
definitely, otherwise why would we sequester ourselves in dingy bedsits and apartments, forgoing the joys of paid or well paid employment, drinking too much and wishing we could afford a proper drug habit, pouring out our insignificant and ordinary tales of self-pity and percieved rejection in language that would make a creative writing evening class student blush? yes we are precious horrible self-centred little people but you love it! you harvest the bitter fruits of our depression so pay pay pay!!!!
comment by Salty Dog Apr 27, 2006The American singer/songwriter, Guy Clark, once said that the recording of a song is just what happens one day, in less than five minutes of that day. It is by no means the definitive version of the song. It certainly isn't the be all and end all of the song. It is merely a version of something that has been previously composed. Therefore, Cliff's recordings are just versions. They are by no means definitive.
Songwriters are often overlooked artists. To create a song out of thin air is almost a miracle. In no other art form do you start with nothing. There's always something. But you're born with the ability to hum and capture melodies. It takes something special indeed to create a solid song from that cosmic ability.
Also, songwriters themselves don't end up singing the definitive versions - they too just do a version. Lennon's 'Imagine' is great, but it takes Brian Ferry to say, hey, let's try it again!
comment by iamtherealdoctor May 8, 2006no the problems this causes in the future just isnt worth it for future artists the public or anybody as seen in 2024 with the beatles jackson fiasco.TRD.
comment by fingerchimp May 9, 2006"To create a song out of thin air is almost a miracle. In no other art form do you start with nothing."
id love to think of it like that, it makes me sound really special but actually you do have the structure of key and scale, chord progressions are quite static, if you step outside of established western musical precedents then your audience will quickly find your music atonal. also you have the great heritage of recorded music to pull from too, as me and roger discussed plundering traditional arrangements for ideas, so i dont think its quite that miraculous but its still pretty special.
comment by releaseroger May 9, 2006A miracle?
Well, it's a miracle to get anything written down, that's for sure!
I walk around with a brain full of ideas but never write them down.
Most of the time I use a template, so to speak. Chimpy is right when he says we do kinda plunder the backwaters of music for ideas.
I play in all kinds of guitar tunings to get ideas which throws up some useful stuff.
I have to be honest though, we're still pinching ideas off each other when it comes to writing. Still beats being a performing seal though...
comment by fingerchimp May 9, 2006sounds like we may make similar music really rog, i use a lot of different tunings. i got the impression you were a bit more of an axe man than me, i play finger style mostly and hardly ever stray from the acoustic. i tend to come up with a piece of music first, usually the verse, and then ill write a melody part for the vocal and form there i form the chorus and any bridge part or middle 8 from a combination of the verse part and vocal melody. then i try to write some words. generally the whole process can take anywhere from a couple of hours to several years. some songs ive been playing around with for 3-4 years and am still struggling to find a good lyrical hook for. the style of phrasing i use means my songs usually have few words making the ones you use much more important. its an endlessly frustrating, rewarding and ultimately pointless endeavour but not something i can even imagine not doing. i wrote my first song at about 9 or 10 years old.
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