Thursday, July 17, 2008

Everything to Everyone

Today in Music History:

In 1972, a bomb exploded under The Rolling Stones equipment van in Montreal, believed to be the work of French separatists. Angry fans rioted throwing bottles and rocks after 3,000 tickets for the show turned out to be fake.
It wasn't my intention to feature another Canadian artist coming right after Tom Cochrane, but a member of one of my favorite Canadian bands is in trouble with the law. Of course I speak of Stephen Page from the Barenaked Ladies. It saddens me a bit, Stephen has had a bit of a tough run. He's battled depression and separated from his wife last year with whom he has three children. The Barenaked Ladies have had a mostly squeeky clean career for the past 20 years and I just hope Stephen comes out of this OK.

I like BNL for a lot of reasons, their humour, sing along melodies, their amazing harmonies, their charity and activism work and their on stage banter which is never the same. They were one of the first Canadian acts to sign up with the Canadian Music Creators Coalition which basically says, “Fans who share music are not thieves or pirates,” they state unequivocally. “Sharing music has been happening for decades.” It’s identified three simple principles to guide copyright reform and cultural policy:
- First, we believe that suing our fans is destructive and hypocritical. We do not want to sue music fans, and we do not want to distort the law to coerce fans into conforming to a rigid digital market artificially constructed by the major labels.

- Second, we believe that the use of digital locks, frequently referred to as technological protection measures, are risky and counterproductive. We do not support using digital locks to increase the labels' control over the distribution, use and enjoyment of music, nor do we support laws that prohibit circumvention of such technological measures, including Canadian accession to the World Intellectual Property Organization's Internet Treaties. These treaties are designed to give control to major labels and take choices away from artists and consumers. Laws should protect artists and consumers, not restrictive technologies.

- Third, we strongly believe that cultural policy should support actual Canadian artists. We call on the Canadian government to firmly commit to programs that support Canadian music talent. The government should make a long-term commitment to grow support mechanisms such as the Canada Music Fund and FACTOR, invest in music training and education, create limited tax shelters for copyright royalties, protect artists from inequalities in bargaining power and make collecting societies more transparent.

One not familiar with their work might think, aren't they the ones that sing a lot of goofy pop songs. Yeah they have one or two of those but in the last 5 or 6 years they have really matured and it really shows in their music. Everything to Everyone is the eighth full-length album by the Barenaked Ladies and their sixth studio album. It was released in 2003. Everything to Everyone is probably Barenaked Ladies' most honest album -- always touching, but serious and completely open for the first time in their 15-year career. Several artists have made attempts to spoof the celebrity-obsessed world in which we live, but Barenaked Ladies succeed in keeping things simple. Hopefully I can encourage a few folks to buy their stuff and maybe it will help Stephen pay his legal bills. Good luck Steve.

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