In the corporate boardrooms music is another commodity and the
artists that create it are no more than a tool that they can use
to tap into difficult markets. Record contracts are so watertight
and royalties so low that it is only the really big stars - and
the record execs - who ever earn a penny from record sales, so thats
why the average musician isnt that worried about piracy. The
man behind such musical greats as Steps, Pete Waterman (who once
bought 18 Ferraris in one day) said: As Mark Twain said, Feed
a starving dog and it wont bite you. Thats the
principal difference between an artist and a dog.
Music only becomes valuable when it can be used to sell other products.
Mainstream success story David Gray says: Its staggering
the amount of money youre offered, but music is more important
than selling mashed potatoes or a dodgy jacket made in the Philippines.
He chose to say no. Last year Chumbawumba were offered,
and turned down, $350,000 by General Electric to use their hit Tubthumping
in an advert for air conditioning. They explained Its
not hard to dig up info on companies and sometimes it just stares
you in the face. When we were in New York in January there was a
huge NO SWEAT banner hanging from a building in Times Square. In
great big bold letters it urged shoppers not to buy Gap because
they use sweatshop labour. Are Madonna and Missy Elliot dancing
to Gaps tune because they have no idea what conditions the
jeans they are flogging are made under? Its doubtful either
of them would end up behind a counter or pulling pints if they didnt
make the advertising revenue.
Other British acts, unable to get on radio playlists and so denied
performance royalties as a source of income, are desperate to break
into a hostile US market, and are less conscientious. Badly Drawn
Boy linked up with badly made clothing company Gap, with his music
featured on one of their ads, while Coldplay (who told the world
to make trade fair) sold off Yellow to be
used by ABC television. John Harlow, a partner in the advertising
agency Naked explains: The commercial brand world used to
be quite a dirty word. Artists in the old days would say, I
dont want to be involved with that. But the dynamics
have changed. Records sales are right down. There is a new era of
Likewise, when once a band could turn up at a gig and insist the
promoter take down the banner advertising a dodgy beer company before
they would go on stage, now they are booked to play at the Carling
Weekend in Reading and Leeds, or at the Carling Academy in Liverpool,
or the Carling Apollo in Hammersmith. In the UK Carling, owned by
US brewer Coors (investors in GM barley; right wing anti-union,
anti-gay lobbyists...), are collaborating with corporate promoters
Mean Fiddler and Clear Channel to sponsor venues and festivals to
make the music industry profitable for them and turn festivals into
soulless landscapes and extensions of a shopping trip. Pop has finally
eaten itself and now its in the toilet with its fingers down
* For more on Clear Channel: www.clearchannelsucks.org
* For more on why the Mean Fiddler suck check out www.squall.co.uk/squall.cfm?sq=2002062501&ct=5
* For more on the melodious links between the music and the arms
industry see: www.cstrecords.com/html/uxo.html
in town? Want to find out how to get involved in Brightons
direct action groups? Then get along to the REBEL ALLIANCE
next Tuesday (14) 7pm at the Cowley Club, London Road. Also
showing will be American anti-war film We interrupt
Crap Arrest Of The Week
For having a protest sign...
Canadian coppers harassing homeless activists and their supporters
who were camped under a bridge to fight new anti-homeless laws nicked
one person who had put up a sign about the protest. The cops said
the protest sign was in fact a business sign which are illegal.
They nicked the woman after she refused to hand it over and instead
sat on it!
As SchNEWS went to press four people from Hounslow Against New
Terminals were still occupying a crane on the building site of Heathrows
Terminal 5 where theyve been direct action dangling since
Heathrow airport just keeps on growing despite the construction
of Terminal 5 underway, the airport authority are now saying they
want a sixth terminal and a third runway! On a local level that
would mean up to 10,000 homes plus schools, churches and community
centres flattened, wiping out the villages of Harmondsworth and
Sipson while Longford and Harlington would become so heavily polluted
theyd become uninhabitable. 230 hectares of green belt would
also be lost and nearby Hounslow already one of the most polluted
places in England would become an even worse place to live. One
of the protesters said We are occupying this crane indefinitely
because if the BAA (British Aviation Authority) gets its way, our
community will pay with the loss of our homes, schools and health.
We are sick of corporate greed bulldozing the needs of our population.
The aviation industry wields a big stick and is using the governments
own forecasts of air travel nearly tripling in the next 25 years
to justify huge and immediate expansion across the country. And
it expects to get its way. Chris Mullin, a former Labour junior
transport minister commented During my 18 months as a minister
whose responsibilities included aviation, I learned two things.
First, that the demands of the aviation industry are insatiable.
Second, that successive governments have usually given way to them.
Although nowadays the industry pays lip service to the notion of
sustainability, its demands are essentially unchanged. It wants
more of everything.
Aviation is the fastest growing source of carbon emissions in the
country thanks to our love affair with ridiculously cheap prices.
Cheap that is for the consumer, thanks to fuel and tax subsidies
thought to be worth up to £500 per person a year, but not
cheap for a choking planet.
* Dont forget Rising Tide Gathering at the London School
of Economics this Saturday (11) Oil, war and climate change:
dismantling the oil economy. Book your place 01865 241 097
People from around the world converged last week on a camp in central
Australia held by local senior Aboriginal women - the Kupa Piti
Kungka Tjuta to talk and enjoy a cultural exchange. The main
topic for discussion was the way the atomic age has been such good
news for the area. Never-heard stories from local Aboriginals emerged
about the British Governments atomic bomb testing in the area
which began in October 1953. There were accounts of the earth shaking,
dense radioactive clouds, the sickness and death caused by the testing
- which has never been compensated for as well as defiance
and spirited survival. And it doesnt end there: these same
lands are now the target for a proposed huge nuclear waste dump,
as well as being near the biggest uranium mine in the world, Roxby
Downs. There will be actions and events around Australia on October
15th to mark the 50th anniversary of the bomb testing. See http://melbourne.indymedia.org
For more about the camp and the fight against the nuclear dumps
SchNEWS in brief
- Radio 4A is back on the airwaves in Brighton this weekend
(101.4FM) and on the net at www.radio4a.org.uk
- SchWOOPS wrong website in last weeks article about the
protest camp in Sherwood Forest. should read http://mysite.freeserve.com/sherwood_camp/
- the camp has now been served its eviction notice and desperately
needs more support
- 200 000 protesters were faced by 9 000 coppers as they flooded
the streets of Rome from the 5th-6th to protest the meeting
of 25 EU heads of state deciding on a superstate-creating EU constitution,
- Arab-American activist Ramzi Kysia - who spent nearly
two years in Iraq before, during and after the war - will be in
the UK between 15-24 November and is looking for people to organize
public meetings. 020 7837 0561 email@example.com
- George Bush is coming to the UK in late November and
people are already planning to give him the bushwhacking welcome
he deserves. To find out about the protests firstname.lastname@example.org
- DOVE opposing the polluting incinerators in East Sussex
will be walking along the River Ouse on the 21st October before
ending up at the White Hart Hotel, Lewes where the public enquiry
into incinerators is being held. Walk starts Paradise Park, Newhaven
9am 01273 515967 www.dove2000.org
In war-deadened Chechnya last weekends elections gave Chechens
little to lift their spirits. Akhmad Kadyrov, Russias preferred
puppet, was elected president with over 80% of the vote in Kremlin-rigged
elections. His two main opponents were forced out of the running.
While Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that the turnout
had been 86% and that it represented a positive change
most independent sources saw the election as a farce with a much
smaller turnout. A mere 50 people voted out of the thousands of
Chechen refugees crammed in squalid border camps.
This farce is all part of Putins naked attempt to bring the
rebellious little separatist state back into the loving arms of
Mother Russia. Its his homegrown version of the war
on terror, having bombarded the capital Grozny into heaps
of rubble and having run a campaign based on abduction and pistol-whipping.
Through the elections Putin is trying to force-feed the international
community the idea that Chechnya is returning to a state of normalcy
and stability. And so all those thousands of pesky refugees camped
on the border who are a blatant example of terrifying instability
are being forced from their camps and encouraged to return to the
normalcy of Chechen life. Russian troops recently broke into the
Bela refugee camp near the Chechen border, cutting all energy and
water supplies, pistol-whipping and abducting their way to forcing
the 1200 refugees back into Chechnya in time for the elections.
The UN has whimpered and expressed concern about the
human rights violations but with the US desperate for Russian support
in its own war of terror there is little chance that any action
will be taken against Moscow.
So will the pink flowers of democracy blossom now that elections
have taken place? Fat chance. A blossoming civil war is what Chechens
are most probably gonna be plunged into. FSB (the former KGB) agents
say they are now preparing for a bloody civil war pitting Kadyrovs
personal army of 4,000 against the leaders of rival factions whove
been sidelined by the Kremlin. Add to that Kadyrovs faltering
relations with Moscow after having declared that he doesnt
want to rush into parliamentary elections and youve
got yourself many more years of blood spilling and freedom choking.
The music industry still has its highlights, with small, independent
records labels and festivals running and jumping all over the place.
Truck Festival appeared in 1998 when a family decided that mainstream
festivals were crap so they organised their own. They got
a friendly farmer on side, enlisted a dodgy rave geezer to do the
dance stage and built a stage from 2 trucks.
5 years on and the festivals still small, run by volunteers
(ice cream sold by the local vicar), cheap (tickets, food and beer)
and fun. Oh, the musics good too everything from country
to UK hip-hop and even a cheeky trance party if yer lucky! Plus
its made tens o thousands of pounds for charity.
Like their website says There is no cut throat capitalism
here, no huge entry fees, and no inappropriate huge advertising
its a nice day out in the countryside with a few
beers and a plethora of bands. www.truckrecords.com
* American singer Ani DiFranco has set a shining example of what
can be done by avoiding recording companies, and makes 10 times
the profit by producing and selling her own records through her
own website. To date she has sold around a million albums. British
singer/songwriters Charlotte Greig and Astrid Williamson are following
suit. Greig says: Labels are much less important than
they used to be, because CDs are now so cheap to make. The punk
do-it-yourself dream is finally coming true.
While starve-myself-so-I-can-be-a-fat-cat David Blaine gets £5
million and lots of free eggs n kebabs for hanging in
a box, two of the seven prisoners on remand after the massive protests
at the EU summit in Greece (see SchNEWS 413) have gone on hunger
strike. Simon Chapman this week joined Suleiman Kastro
Dakdouk in the Syrians third week of a hunger strike while
supporters in London hung a banner on Tower Bridge opposite Blaine
to highlight the plight of the imprisoned protesters whove
been framed by the Greek cops. email@example.com
* The Legal, Defence and Monitoring Group are holding a workshop
next Saturday (18) where a solicitor will go through the law and
answer questions for anyone arrested for Obstruction of the
Highway at the recent DESi arms fair protests. Its free
but to get a place email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sitting in our Armani suits, tapping on £10,000 laptops on
the 15th floor of SchNEWS Towers we often think about how profitable
it would be if we increased our around 40,000 weekly readership.
So why not help us realise the SchNEWS dream by getting it sent
to your email box every Friday morning in a PDF format which
means it looks just like the original copy. You can then double
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leave copies in buses,
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To find out
how easy it is see: www.schnews.org.uk/pages_menu/subscribe.php
Were also looking for more venues that would like to get
a regular piece of the SchNEWS action - let us know of any suggestions
so we can send them a few copies each week. Local cop shops need
SchNEWS warns all readers making a song and dance of it - just for
the record, take note, youre instrumental in the scale of
NOW OUT!!! 'PEACE DE RESISTANCE' - SchNEWS Annual
2003 - £8 + £1.70 p&p
- SchNEWS Round
issues 51 - 100 Sold out - Sorry
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and SQUALLs YEARBOOK 2001. 300 pages of adventures from
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