I haven’t had much time to blog about the rather remarkable implosion of the Obamanites over Sarah Palin. I’ve offered a couple of entries here and here, among other more incidental postings. During the night of the convention, I, along with millions of North Americans, heard that gritty song from the 70s by Heart called Barracuda, following Palin’s speech. The song was referring to Sarah Palin’s nickname, “Barracuda”, symbolizing her tenacious character.
Well, like all anthem songs which conservatives use for their political campaigns, they are invariably written and performed by social liberals. That usually means that when the song is picked to introduce a conservative candidate, the liberal peons are on the phone immediately to the Democratic campaign demanding that they contact the said artist(s) to let them know that the nasty Republican Party is using their song — without permission, of course.
The last time I heard that happening was with Daryl Hall of Hall & Oats during the last presidential election. I don’t recall the particulars, but the gist of it was the same thing. This stuff happens all the time.
But this weekend I got an education on how the “business” side of this whole thing works from my brother-in-law. Like many people, I naturally assumed that you needed to get the permission of the artist to play one of their songs in a public venue (as would have been the case with the Republican National Convention). So when I heard the next day that the Wilson sisters had contacted their lawyers about issuing a “cease and desist” order, I thought, well, here we go again. Still, it bothered me that the Republicans would be so stupid to open themselves up to a potentially large lawsuit. Little did I know that that such fear was rather misplaced.
It turns out that once you sign on the dotted line of a standard contractual agreement in the music business (with very few exceptions), it’s all about making money. Politics is rarely, if ever, involved.
And that’s the way it was in the case of Heart, Barracuda, and the Republican National Convention:
Heart singers Ann and Nancy Wilson said a “cease-and-desist” letter has been sent to the Republicans asking them not to use the song.
“The Republican campaign did not ask for permission to use the song, nor would they have been granted that permission,” according to a statement issued late on Thursday on behalf of the sisters.
Copyright law may not be on the Wilsons’ side as the song is licensed for public performance under a blanket fee paid by the venue to ASCAP, the firm that collects royalties on behalf of composers and copyright owners.
Despite the Wilson sisters’ objections, one of the song’s co-writers said he was “thrilled” that the song was used.
In an e-mail to Reuters, the band’s former guitarist, Roger Fisher, said it was a win-win situation. Heart gets publicity and royalties, while the Republicans benefit from “the ingenious placement of a kick-ass song,” Fisher said.(Source)
So, in other words, the RNC paid ASCAP. ASCAP, in turn, paid the Wilson’s record label, and the record label paid the Wilson sisters. That means the RNC had every legal right to play the song because it paid the fee. The “cease and desist” order therefore was just a bone Heart threw to the liberalti to have with their kool-aid.
In some ways, everyone got what they wanted, as the band’s former guitarist noted above.
The RNC got to use the song in a masterful marketing move.
Heart got the bucks and the publicity.
And the liberal peons felt good that Heart issued a phony cease and desist order — even if it was written to pretend to have some authority — moral or otherwise. The chicks haven’t figured out that when you sell out, you don’t call the shots anymore. Your “art” is basically public property — for a price, of course.
I must say that this story so typifies the relationship between the rich liberal hierarchy and their useful idiots on the ground.