Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Who Owns Music?

My post yesterday brought to mind a few things I've been wanting to post about but haven't gotten around to just yet, all dealing with the ownership of music:

1) The keyboardist on the original recording of Procol Harum's A Whiter Shade of Pale recently won his lawsuit for partial songwriting credit. On one hand I sympathize with the original songwriters, who had the song before they formed the band, but on the other hand the keyboard part is probably the most distinctive part of the song. In a nice irony, this keyboard part that just got somebody a lot of royalties owes a huge amount to JS Bach's Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (Sleepers Awake) cantata.

2) Recently the homies at the Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum did the world a great service and put Wolfie's original recordings online. I know, not 'recordings' the way we think about them today but recordings nonetheless, in a non-aural format and arguably superior to audio recording. To give it a spin I downloaded the score to his Variations on 'Ah vous dirais-je, Maman' (a theme most know as 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star') and it came out to about 1 Megabyte in jpgs. It's nice to know that in these days of the RIAA chasing down little girls for filesharing activities some of the greatest masterpieces of western music are available for free.

3) Then there are those who are not determined to own music, like one label that is actually embracing file sharing. When I encounter intelligent and thoughtful situations like this I'm tempted to go buy something there just to support the fine folks at Magnatune.



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