ISSUE: The business of music, what comes next?

Almost any commercial business nowadays -whether is a shop, café, restaurant or even grocery store- use music to create an ambience, to lure costumers and generate a mood that mirrors the business culture.  But music is not only a decorative artifact, it represents hours of work and hundreds of people involved in making it.

“Regardless of industry everybody should be paid for the work they do,” said jazz trumpet player and composer Nadje Noordhuis. To guarantee that artistic work is respected the U.S. Copyright Act was created. This law, which protects music, provides monetary rights to copyright owners when their music is used.

Businesses are required to have a license to play music the same way you pay to use a cd from your favorite artist; however with new technologies things have changed.

“Internet is an intangible situation where writers and publisher are losing money,” said Johnny Allen, blues and R&B guitar player.

COPYRIGHTS

Songwriters, composers and music publishers usually become members of a performing rights organization that license their music to the public. In America the American, Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Broadcasts Music, Inc. (BMI) or the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers make sure to repay royalties to their owners. Nevertheless, in a world increasingly digital, keeping track of how people consume music is not easy anymore.

The U.S. Copyright Office at the Library of Congress recently announced the beginning of a new Music Licensing Study to help Congress review the U.S. Copyright Act 17 U.S.C. 101.  The aim is to “evaluate the effectiveness of existing methods of licensing music.” Every person interested in this discussion can submit written comments before May 16 to www.copyright.gov/docs/musiclicensingstudy/

“Hopefully whatever they decide is going to still allow composers to be paid for their time and effort,” said Noordhuis. “I just hope the business people can represent the composers in a way that is fair.”

MINI PROFILE: Connie De la Cruz (Revised)

An example of Connie De la Cruz's pieces from her Transformation Stone collection. Found at Style.com.
Connie De la Cruz likes to show emotion in her fashion collections through folds in the garments. This jacket is one example of her work from her Transformation Stone collection. This photo and others can be found here.

Connie De la Cruz’s fashion pieces always tell a story.

“I would say personal experiences are a big thing for me,” De la Cruz said. “I’m inspired by my feelings and emotions.”

De la Cruz, 22, a slim brunette from the Dominican Republic, said her interest in fashion sparked before high school. She had always paid attention to detail. So she loves detail in patterns in fashion design.

She attended an affiliate Parsons school in the Dominican Republic before transferring to Parsons in New York, where she lives now.

“There’s something about here that I really, really like,” she said. “Everyone’s focused on their thing. They want to get somewhere, they want to do something, they want to be someone.”

And De la Cruz is on her way. Last year, she was a finalist for her thesis collection. This January, she started freelancing for Calvin Klein. But she still designs her own work.

Most of De la Cruz’s garments – hoods, pockets and detachable capes – are based on folds. These folds represent feelings, and the concept of either letting emotions go or keeping them inside.

To further emphasize emotions, she designs folds with wide bottoms that become narrower as they get closer to the neckline. The outfit essentially points to the person wearing it.

And De la Cruz points to her story through her design.

She just started work on her pre-fall collection, in which she plans to focus on distortions.

“Some designers just design and they have really cool ideas and really cool material, but at the end, it’s not saying anything about them,” De la Cruz said. “What did the designer have to do to get there? What was the designer thinking about when he did it?”

Not everyone asks themselves those questions. But De la Cruz does.

Issues – Biography

All Is By My Side is, supposedly, the Jimi Hendrix biopic we’ve been waiting for. The film has been in production for seven years, ever since director John Ridley heard a rare demo of “Sending My Love to Linda.” But the film’s production has been hampered by an all-too-familiar obstruction: the deceased’s estate.

Experience Hendrix LLC, run by Jimi’s sister Janie, isn’t taking part in All Is By My Side, and All Is By My Side will be a Hendrix biopic without any original Hendrix music as a result. Luckily, the film’s producers are blessed with a different once-in-a-generation artist at the helm. André 3000, rapper turned actor, is making his big debut as a leading man. The Outkast frontman has been very involved with soundtracking the picture.

The soundtrack will be comprised of covers Hendrix performed rather than his original work. That includes some Beatles (“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”) and Muddy Waters (“Mannish Boy”). All Is By My Side focuses on Hendrix in the mid-60s, when he was a backup guitarist being lured to London and eventual stardom.

The Hendrix family was never even approached about using Jimi’s music—not that they would have allowed it. Janie is actually a step-sister, not biologically related to Jimi Hendrix. They’ve refused rights before, most famously to director Paul Greengrass . But the filmmakers have attempted to sidestep the issue entirely by contextualizing the film around Jimi’s days before stardom.

Charles Cross is the author of the Hendrix biography Room Full of Mirrors. He’s tangled with the Hendrix estate before, but he can’t help feeling a little suspicious of the upcoming film. “Suffice to say, don’t believe most of what’s in the film,” Cross said. “The fact that they never even approached the estate means the filmmakers aren’t interested in what actually happened.”