The feel of this is really nice, love the jingle-jangle of the sample and overall, it sounds like hip-hop to me. His name is Nickelus F, sounds like a winner.
Normally I would not put anything related to Enrique Iglesias on my site, I’m simply not a fan. But I don’t hate the man enough to go “wow bra, you suck”. However, I make the exception here since it’s a duet featuring Nicole Scherzinger. Hawaiians show support for one another, and thus I show respect to her.
An article at MSN.com talks about a case between Rita Marley on behalf of the late Bob Marley and Universal Music Group (UMG) over the rights to the music of Marley himself. A judge on Friday handed down the decision which says Universal are the sole owners of Marley’s core musical output between 1973-1977, considered to be the period in which reggae music moved from being isolated islander music to becoming a worldwide sensation. By being the sole owners of publishing and masters, it means Rita Marley and her entire family are not entitled to damages they had sought to recover from what they felt was the abuse of Marley’s music being used in advertising and movie placement. In other words, the case suggests that when you heard “One Love” or “Waiting In Vain” in a movie or cell phone ad, Universal received all of the money for its use and none went to the Marley’s. The court case basically states that this is perfectly okay.
To make it a bit more clearer, the Marley estate felt that they should have been consulted when it came to the use of any of Marley’s music, the same way the John Coltrane estate had demanded that his music could not be used without direct permission from his family (the late Alice Coltrane had received countless requests from hip-hop producers who wanted to use his music, all of them denied. If you hear a Coltrane sample in a hip-hop song, 9 times out of 10 it’s unauthorized.)
The article goes on to say that all claims the Marley family wanted were denied, claiming that the contract clearly stated that Universal owned it and are allowed to do anything with what they own, no matter what. Contractually, they are probably correct in doing so. However, by being a label with ownership rights, they probably did not inform the Marley family about new things that could have benefited them. You might say “oh, but they are an estate of a musical artist, should they not have been advised by a manager or lawyer about such technological advances as an MP3?” I mention this because the Marley family also seeked royalties from MP3 downloads, since it is the primary means of musical commerce in 2010. This was denied.
So how could this happen? Unfortunately, this is part of a battle between the ownership of one’s intellectual property vs. ownership. Most artists do not own their own music, this is fact. As someone who has signed a recording contract, it clearly states that when you sign with a label or company, you are essentially signing up for your music to be “exploited” in anyway possible. You are now working for “the man”, and by using their services to exploit you and your creation, you give up a cut of the proceeds. Can you promote the music yourself? Can you place your music in television commercials and shows, or movies? Can you appear on late night talk shows? If you can do this on your own, congratulations, you really don’t need a label. In 2010, you really don’t, because the state of the music industry indicates that labels can’t help themselves, so why in the hell do you think they can really help you? If the music industry is the sinking ship as many critics indicate, you’re merely dipping your hands in Crazy Glue and grabbing for the anchor. Not wise.
While I am not a fan of his music, someone like Ray J. (brother of singer/actress Brandy) can have hit singles simply by promoting himself. Of course he has a team behind him, but he owns his music and can do whatever he wants. The guy knows how to hustle, he learned it from the best (i.e. his mom), so take a few tips from his means of execution.
Now look at the late Frank Zappa. By the mid-70′s, he wanted to own the rights to his own music, both publishing and master recordings. He was denied this, and he fought for years, almost going broke but he was able to get back the music that was rightfully his. Prince, on the other hand, still fights, or at least deals with the conditions he was given. He played with the idea of him not being himself anymore, called himself “The Symbol”, “The Artist Formally Known As…”, “TAFKAP”, “SLAVE”, everything which was a tactic to let people know “Warner Bros. fucked me over.” He wanted the rights to his music, and so far he’s only won half the battle. Publishing moved from Warner Bros. to Universal, while the music he recorded for Warner Bros. between 1978-1996 is owned by the bosses who signed his checks. He cannot touch his own music, unless he re-records his own songs but who wants that? I want to hear the vibe captured on tape back then, even though he’s fully capable of pulling it off. I want the urgency of young Prince, not the carefully crafted Prince who is recreating due to lack of ownership.
The same cannot be said about Bob Marley, who died in 1982. His music and popularity is bigger than it was when he was alive, he was still “Boho Bob” at the time of his death, music the hippie white kids loved in college and music that black stations refused to play because it was backwater island music that did not sound “black”. Today, most people around the world think of reggae music as a music Marley created, even though the music has a rich and deep history before him. Marley was a crooner and could have been a smoothed out pop or R&B singer, he was like the Ronnie James Dio of Jamaica, someone who started out making music one way and became popular for doing something completely different. Marley arguably made Island Records a superstar in itself. The label may have also been the home of Traffic and King Crimson, but it’s “Island” Records for a reason, its tropical logo was a specific way to let people know “this is that oasis you’ve been looking for”. When U2 became Island’s bread and butter, and as their logo moved from the familiar palm tree to a negative fish-eyed photo of skyscrapers that turned the palm tree into a concrete one, it was obvious that the Island of the past would never come back. This was made more obvious when Island moved from being distributed by WEA to a Polygram/Universal entity. Now that they’re the Island/Def Jam Group, the company neither looks or sounds like the Island or Def Jam of yesterday, and some might argue that they’re only a corporate company in name only. I remember years ago, when Polygram released the Eric Clapton box set Crossroads, there was an article in (I think) Goldmine magazine which said that when you walk into other record companies, you could find each department fairly easy. If you walked into the offices of Polygram, you could get lost. The promotion and marketing department, the mail room, the listening room, the interns, you were in a building that was probably as chaotic as any scene in the Terry Gilliam film Brazil. If a simple record company can make the average civilian feel lost, imagine what an artist, struggling to gain back the rights to a song, album, or entire catalog, must feel like.
Of course, it may be only music nerds and record fetishists who care about these things. Read between the lines of artist interviews in the last, oh, 40+ years. There’s no sense of care in the industry. When things moved from “record sales” to “units”, it became more faceless than it was. Now the industry is struggling with selling binary code, and they can’t even do that right. Bob Marley, one of the more influential music artists of the 20th century, can’t even get justice in death. He would be livid in knowing that his words of pain, suffering, and freedom is now being dealt with by his family. I used to doubt the idea of Bob Marley merchandise, seeing shoes and beach towels with Marley’s name and image, but now I understand even more why they were created.
In the end, I know that Rita Marley and her family will, as Bob Marley said himself, stand up for their rights. When it comes to music, no one should feel any pain, and this is just a company taking advantage of someone and something for their own benefit. That is nothing new when it comes to music publishing and ownership. The Marley family will get a chance to fight a little, as court-supervised settlement talks are scheduled for October 29th. Until then, keep this in mind. The reason you hear Eric Clapton‘s cover of “I Shot The Sheriff” is not only because it was a hit and is recognizable, but also because it feeds the trust funds of those who now own the music.