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The PunkLawyer Blog Music Archives - Page 2 of 2 - The PunkLawyer Blog

Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Drunken Bus Drivers and Stolen Trailers, Oh My!

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

So summer is here in full force, and with summer comes Warped Tour, which kicked off this weekend in Ventura, California.  Apparently it has been a bit of a wild ride for some of the artists so far.  Dying Scene reported that Sum 41 had a scary trip back from the show after discovering that their bus driver apparently was drunk.  In a series of tweets, the band described the experience:

“We are alive. In ventura. Ready to rock out.” 3:18 PM Jun 27th via UberTwitter

“What an idiot! We could have been killed! Fuck this guy. Never working for us again!” 10:00 AM Jun 27th via UberTwitter

“No doubt we like to drink. Its well documented. But this fucking idiot did it while driving!” 9:58 AM Jun 27th via UberTwitter

“New bus driver came and met us at the side of the road…. He seems more sober.” 9:55 AM Jun 27th via UberTwitter

“Recap. Our bus driver ran off the road. He was drunk. Deryck tried to fight him” 9:50 AM Jun 27th via UberTwitter

“So our bus driver was drunk. We are at the side of the road. This tweet is not a joke. Trying to get to Ventura for warped tour”  9:32 AM Jun 27th via UberTwitter

The band has obviously fired the driver, glad no one was hurt in the incident.  This incident not only illustrates how dangerous drinking and driving is, but also how important it is to make sure whoever is driving you and your gear around is safe to do so.  This includes not only being sober, but also rested.  If you’re hiring someone to drive a tour bus, make sure they are properly licensed, and a background check might not be a bad idea.  This goes for whether you have a driver or not.  If you have a tour manager, he or she is responsible for making sure your transportation on the road goes smoothly, and should be held accountable for those duties.  Of course, flights get delayed, vehicles get stuck in traffic, sometimes there’s nothing anyone can do.  But it’s a good idea to discuss with a tour manager what your expectations are of him or her for the tour, and then put it in writing so everyone is clear from the start.  This will help matters if problems do occur down the road, pardon the pun.  And they can happen, like when King Khan and BBQ were arrested in Kentucky on drug charges, and their tour manager was charged with driving with a suspended license in addition to possession.  The arrest not only resulted in cancelled shows, but reportedly also put their work visas in jeopardy.   So be careful out there.

In other Warped news, it was tweeted today that the Bouncing Souls would not be playing today’s date in New Mexico as their trailer may have been stolen:

“Also please note: BMTH is not playing because Oli is in LA and The Bouncing Souls will also not be playing because their trailer is          missing.”  about 1 hour ago via Twittelator Jun 30

Old Shoe Records was advising via Twitter for people in Phoenix to look out for Bouncing Souls merchandise to hopefully catch the culprit:

“The Bouncing Souls trailer was stolen yesterday in Phoenix! Watch for excess Souls Cd’s and Vinyl lets catch these bastards.” @vanswarpedtourabout 1 hour ago via TweetDeck

I think it’s getting scary out there for touring bands.  As I previously posted, Protagonist recently had their gear stolen, and Alternative Press has reported on the seeming rash of thefts of gear and trailers from bands.   I discussed in a previous post some tips for keeping your gear safe on the road, but it seems to be getting harder to outsmart the crooks.  Above all, keep records of your gear with the make, model, serial numbers, and any identifying features.  Take pictures of it, as well as your vehicle.  Get insurance for both, and understand what is and is not covered in your policy. Keep a copy of your policy with you, as well as the number of your agent or company.  Make sure to always lock the vehicle/trailer.  Unfortunately, it seems lately that even if you do everything you can think of, it still won’t stop a determined thief with tools to cut through chains or locks.  If something does happen to your gear, get a police report, and if you have insurance call the company to start the claims process.  This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list, and I’d like to hear from bands, venues, etc that have dealt with theft and may have tips.  Look for more on this topic in the future, as well as an update from Protagonist.  Check out their videos from their recording session with Stephen Egerton over at Punknews.

Happy Record Store Day!

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

In honor of this special day, I thought I would post in regard to a panel discussion I recently attended at the American Bar Association Section of Intellectual Property Law Annual Meeting.  It was a great conference with sessions on current issues in copyright, patent, and trademark law, IP issues in social media and advertising, entertainment law and others.  Full disclosure, I’m a Young Lawyer Fellow for the Section, but I cannot say enough about the Section and its wonderful group of professionals.   I really enjoyed the conference, especially the entertainment law panels on intellectual property issues in entertainment transactions, as well as the future of the distribution of entertainment content.  It was in the latter panel that I really got to thinking about the state of the industry in comparison to the past and where it might be going.

One recurring theme was that physical content for entertainment is dead.  I found myself thinking of the recent buzz about the resurgence of vinyl, and recalled being at the Fest last fall seeing people carrying records to swap or sell.  I have a small vinyl collection myself, and in thinking about the number of bands and labels that have been and continue to release music on vinyl, the idea of physical content for music being dead seemed odd.  Certainly the industry has changed, sales are down and a lot of sales are from digital instead of physical format.  But the response I get when I talk to some friends and colleagues about the buzz on vinyl, for which sales were up 33 percent in 2009 while total album sales were down 12.7 percent, the response I get is “oh the sales aren’t that big,” as if it doesn’t matter.   Yes, vinyl accounts for only 1 percent of the overall market, but I think in this day and age if you can get people to buy physical content over digital, it’s kind of a big thing, especially if you consider that 2 out of 3 of those vinyl album sales were actually made in record stores.  I think instead of brushing it aside, the industry could learn from it.  Engaging your fans, putting out quality product and a great live show can go a long way in increasing sales, but I think labels and artists have to change your expectations as to what sales of recorded music will be.

Yes, the sales today pale in comparison to what they were at the peak of record sales (which interestingly I learned from the panel was from 1998-2000, the Napster years), but perhaps expecting those type of sales in the Internet age is unrealistic.  The landscape has changed dramatically, instead of there being only a few outlets for exposure to music (mainstream radio, MTV, etc) and limited options for purchasing music, now there are tons of ways to do both.  A big part of the future will be filtering services to help people sort out the crap out there, and there are going to be growing pains along the way.  I think there will always be people who want to be huge rock stars and pop superstars, and if that’s the route you want to go, you can certainly shoot for it and make certain sacrifices in that effort.  However, I know bands and artists that make a living from touring and making smart uses of their rights in publishing and other business efforts.  It’s not an MTV Cribs living, but I don’t think that’s the goal of every band or artist out there.  I’m not saying I have all the answers, and I’d like to hear what you think.  Hope you have a great Record Store Day and find some great records!