Digital music distribution, black holes: the Mille Plateaux case

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Terre Thaemlitz is a multi-media producer, writer, public speaker, educator, audio remixer, DJ and owner of the Comatonse Recordings record label.
He’s also known for his work with the Mille Plateaux label.
A couple of days ago Terre published an open letter on his website. It’s a detailed and heart-felt j’accuse, that deals with some of the “black-holes” of digital music distribution.

The facts: “…the original Mille Plateaux back-catalog has once again been illegally uploaded into major distribution systems, including Beatport, etc.”.
All that has happened regardless if “none of the original Mille Plateaux catalog is authorized for digital distribution, all contracts have since expired, and all rights have returned to the original artists long ago.”

How does it work?: “…companies such as iTunes, Juno Download, and others who have illegally sold my albums over the years typically receive their content from central distributors (such as IODA this time, or Iris Distribution last time), which serve as a legal buffer between the storefronts and illegal uploaders”.

The consequences: “…we artists do not receive any money from their sale. The consumers’ money is going to industry crooks who illegally and deliberately upload the materials solely for profit…Meanwhile, we artists face tremendous difficulty in having our unauthorized works removed from online distribution systems”.

The context: “…ironically, major distribution thugs spend millions of dollars on legal actions aimed at eliminating not-for-profit file sharing, all under the pretense of their moral superiority in the fight to protect access to information worldwide. Let there be no mistake about the hypocrisy of the distribution system, which is only concerned with profit, and has no interest in liberating the flow of information from the shackles of commerce. To the contrary, their moral march to protect the rights of musicians is our demise, individually and culturally…”.

The full document is available here.

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