The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

Entries for 'Steven O'Rourke'

Mat Tanner is a musician. He has already self-financed, self-recorded and self-released one album and is in the process of doing the same with a second. Last week, however, he incurred the wrath of Universal Music Publishing Group.  What could a Manchester based singer-songwriter have done to offend one of the world’s largest publishing groups? 
Well, sometimes, when playing live, he likes to play an acoustic interpretation of 'Power of Love' by Huey Lewis and the News, 'Boy in the Bubble' by Paul Simon, and 'Kiss' by Prince. Not all three songs, but rather a self-devised medley.  It’s an interesting number, and one of his fans enjoyed it enough to record it on their mobile phone and email it to his website, along with a number of performances of his own songs from the same night.
Impressed, and wanting to share the video with fans such as myself, Mat uploaded the video to YouTube last year. Since then it has received over 500 view and numerous comments, almost all positive. It is worth noting at this stage that two other videos of Mat from the same night had over 1600 views between them, therefore, people weren’t just searching for Prince say, and finding Mat.  However, Universal obviously feels very differently and so last week Mat received the following email:
“Dear Mr. Tanner,

This is to notify you that we have removed or disabled access to the following material as a result of a third-party notification by Universal Music Publishing Group claiming that this material is infringing:

Please Note: Repeat incidents of copyright infringement will result in the deletion of your account and all videos uploaded to that account. In order to avoid future strikes against your account, please delete any videos to which you do not own the rights, and refrain from uploading additional videos that infringe on the copyrights of others. For more information about YouTube's copyright policy, please read the Copyright Tips guide.”

As far as I’m aware Mat has made no money from this video. It’s not a song he plays live all that often and so doesn’t trade on the back of it. He is simply a musician making his own music who happens to play a cover version to vary his set every now and again.  Where is the crime?  Surely, there is more chance of someone going out and buying a Huey Lewis/Prince/Paul Simon record on the back of being reminded of it than there is of any of the above losing out?  And what of the thousands of cover bands who make a living playing other peoples music in almost every pub in the UK and Ireland every night of the week? 

Taking action against a musician for playing music doesn't help music; it only threatens it. 

What next, copyright infringement for learning to play the guitar?  Oh wait!

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The Immediate, whose debut album In Towers & Clouds was well received by the majority of reviewers (one exception being's Aidan Curran), announced this week that they were to split, citing “existential differences.”
Anyone attending an Immediate gig over the past year or so will not be surprised. The band; David Hedderman, Conor O'Brien, Peter Toomey and Barra Heavey, always came across as top heavy, all chiefs and no Indians. With each member having the ability to play each instrument, the band took the opportunity to showcase this ability after almost every song of their live set.
That’s not to criticize the band for being multi-talented, but it often felt like each member wanted to be the front man, and came across as bored when not in that position. For the most part this didn’t take away from the quality of their live shows, but there was always something in the background, an itch that one day was going to have to be scratched. However, while it’s a pity that a band with such promise has met its demise, their loss may well be our gain.
Four, clearly talented musicians, now have the opportunity to find a new vehicle with which to express themselves. Where In Towers & Clouds suffered from having too many influences, future releases by ex-Immediate members may well have a clearer sense of direction as the others interests and influences no longer need to be addressed.  
Fans of The Immediate need look no further that the demise of Juniper for inspiration. Damien Rice has gone on to find his own voice, one that, judging by album sales, has been heard by an awful lot of people that may never have bought a Juniper record. While not as successful, Bell X1 have also, since Junipers demise, carved out a loyal fanbase of their own, and, more importantly, Paul Noonan and Co. are now making the music they want to make.
Of course, the opposite may well happen.  Perhaps The Immediate equal more than the sum of their parts, and without each other the magic may is just not there. Either way, instead of getting the chance to hear one Immediate follow up album, we may get to hear four; surely some good must come from that?

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Nuggets from our archive

1999 - 'The eMusic Market', written by Gordon McConnell it focuses on how the internet could change the music industry. Boy was he on the money, years before any of us had heard of an iPod or of Napster.