Artists, and musicians in particular, are a giving bunch, happy to share a song with only the slightest chance of recompense.

For decades these creators have taken what comes to them for their music – their “product” – rather than placing their own valuation on it. This relentless giving has been mostly one-way, however, while the taking of what they create has been every which way.

From frustratingly low royalty rates and compulsory licenses to being outright ripped off by piracy sites, artists have given everything but the shirts off their backs… until now!

David Lowery Strikes Again

English: of and Cracker at the 2011 Pop Confer...

David Lowery of Cracker at the 2011 Pop Conference at UCLA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rarely one to shy away from an opportunity to put creative plight in the spotlight, band-leader and music lecturer at the University of Georgia David Lowery headed to DC to offer his songwriter insights to major broadcasters and webcasters.

The group was convening under the guise of “a diverse group of music distibutors, artists and users,” but as Lowery explains in his summary of the event, artists were not represented in the least.

In fact they were actively shut down, even as Lowery attempted to offer his take on a system that allows broadcasters to use music for a set rate, without clearing that approval with those behind the songs.

As the video above shows, Lowery came up with a novel way to not only get his point across, but also express his disdain for the poor treatment meted out to songwriters. Presenting panelists with the shirts off his band’s collective back, he made his point in style.


Take Opinions

Although there has been notable inclusion of the creative community in Congressional hearings on revising copyright law, it is the major players in the broadcast and technology sectors who hold all the cards when it comes to lobbying.

With so much at stake for artists, it seems only right that they should have their voices heard at every opportunity. They make the creative content on which many broadcasters, online and offline, new media and traditional, have built their reputations, yet have so little influence on how it is used or how much they’ll get paid for it.

In other words, as artists give so much, the least those who profit from their creations can do is take their opinions into account.