Monday, August 13, 2007

BMI to Sponsor Funky House Club - Some Congratulate, While Others are Very Upset

BMI is a performing right organization: It collects license fees on behalf of its songwriters, composers and music publishers and distributes them as royalties to those members whose works have been performed. Generally in the USA, BMI requires licences from live music venues, and sometimes the performer. In real life, If a venue has musicians performing music on BMI's roster, DJs playing music, or even an Ipod for background music, then the venue is required to buy a contract from BMI. (ASCAP is also another company that requires a public music performance licences)

DJ Charming Babii is one of SL's top DJs. He is co-owner of Funky House Club and frequent performer. The Funky House Club has scored an amazing opportunity:
From Funky House Club (Charming Babii via notecard):
"BMI is the largest performing rights organisation in the world. A quick scan of BMI’s legendary roster turns up such names as John Lennon, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Dave Brubeck, Willie Nelson, The Eagles, Thelonious Monk, Carlos Santana, The Beach Boys, The Neville Brothers, The Who, Aretha Franklin, Waylon Jennings, Charles Ives, John Kander & Fred Ebb, Leadbelly, John Williams, The Bee Gees, B.B. King, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and – via its affiliation with the British performing rights organization PRS – David Bowie, Sir Elton John and Eric Clapton.
The need to stay current is one of the music industry’s driving forces, and BMI meets that mandate with such names as Kanye West, the Black Eyed Peas, Maroon 5, John Adams, Juanes, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Keith Urban, Lil Jon, Mike Post, Juan Luis Guerra, John Legend, Tim McGraw, Conor Oberst, Keane, Don Omar, Thomas Newman, Snow Patrol, Snuffy Walden, William Bolcom, Ivy Queen, Snoop Dogg, Shakira, Seal, Rhianna, Tiesto, Armin van Buuren, Paul van Dyke, Fedde le Grand, BT, Basement Jaxx, Paul Oakefold, Gorrilaz and many other top names on the contemporary scene. (dance music)"

However, there's been communication through me about this being a problem for SL DJs and Clubs. Some are fearful that with BMI in SL and invested in the DJ/Club scene, they will begin investigating venues and DJs that may not have proper licencing to play music publicly. They may also begin designing rules and laws to regulate "virtual public music events". One angry raver said (as a group of 15 were hanging out in a club when Charming's Group Notice came through announcing the news.)"BMI is probably coming in to invent some new rules where virtual events are considered real life live events. They want to come in and take control of the music scene in SL, and make everyone pay to play."

One one hand,
But is taking BMI as a sponsor hypocritical? One DJ at the same club I was at said "It's like making virtual weapons, and accepting the Nazi's as a sponsor"

Danni Dollinger (owner of Funky House Club as well) has very positive reasons for wanting to be involved in SL. "i think its important to know the whole role of BMI . Its not only about licencing. Its also and moreover about discovering new artists and talented djs. BMI is a non-profit organisation that sponsors artist to spread their talents to the world BMIs major role here in SL and RL is for that in the forefront. We are really happy to explain BMIs role and plans for SL in tomorrows interview. Its actually a very exciting concept."

Are people just scared because they don't know what BMI and Funky House Club are up to? FHC owners are excited and happy to speak about their new adventure. Getting RL sponsorship from a music company is HUGE! Are the naysayers just jealous because he landed a big sponsorship deal?

I am going to interview Funky House Club owners tomorrow (Aug14th) so everyone can learn more about the project. I am also conducting several interviews with people that have strong opinions about this matter. (and you must be on the record).

Please stay tuned for the full story tomorrow. In the meantime, please post your comments or questions I should ask tomorrow.

--UPDATE-- Interview with Charming Babii & Danni Dollinger POSTED


Anonymous said...

Great catch Doubledown, will be following this closely!

Cher Harrington

DJ_Jenns said...

*slurp slurp* oh sorry I was too busy fellating the commercial music industry there...

Judging by the bubbling pot of resentment of the current shoutcast licensing fiasco, BMI really is making such a bizarre move sponsoring a club.

Like thats really going to make a difference to all those SL dj's out there stealing music... now if you'll excuse me I must return to pleasuring that insatiable industry .

It's as simple as this folk, there are what, over 2 million shoutcast servers running - (thats only the public ones advertising on the truth is without pulling the plugs on the network companies behind them... get back to work! your listeners are far more concerned about listening to you than whether you are a legitemate and constructive addition to the music industry... that or there just there for the illegal sploder...

Rik Panganiban said...

I find this post fairly confusing. My understanding is that BMI is interesting in exploring Second Life and their role in SL musical performance. They are coming in via sponsorship of a particular club?

Given the lax IP-enforcement in SL, I think DJs and musicians might have cause for concern. That said, this is one of the legal areas that was bound to come up once SL got big enough.

Obviously, composers deserve fair compensation for their work. And people should have fair access to works at an affordable price. This is a far reaching discussion that goes well beyond one particular club or DJ. I would hope that we could have that discussion without undue sword-rattling and legal threats.

Anonymous said...

I would encourage everyone to investigate BMI’s role within the music industry and the service they have historically provided. I will direct you to a FAQs URL on their website which you will obtain summary of their main agenda if you read critically.

In short, they are an organization that collects royalties in the form of licensing purchased by any business (whether for profit, non-profit or charity) that broadcasts or plays music “publicly”. In return, legal permission is given to broadcast or play material protected under copyright that is created by artists or producers for whom they represent.

Professional artists who are represented by BMI are compensated based on the amount of revenue collected minus what BMI determines as operational costs that include lobbying congress, sponsorships in many forms, workshops, etc. While they carry fa├žade of a "non-profit" organization, it is quite clear that such luxury spending exploits any business or entity forced to pay such license. Without being fully transparent with full disclosure of operational costs, what they are based upon, as well as their payback to artists, legitimacy behind their claim as a "non-profit" organization is questionable as a technical one at best. Likewise, sponsorship of a virtual club in Second Life that has existed for only a blink of an eye without any long-term history of stability and reputation is questionable practice by an organization that claims itself as non-profit.

I do not congratulate FH. Whether monetarily or in attempting to protect their future, they have made choice to capitlize without regard to anyone else in the community, placing the current SL club scene as we currently know it in greater risk of jeopardy. With such affiliation, FH has moved a step ahead of everyone in assuring themselves as one of the only virtual clubs to remain in operation in SL pending any such future legislation that would hold the rest liable to pay for license. The future of all clubs and independent performing DJs unable to afford such license potentially faces coming to an abrupt halt.

Again BMI’s primary agenda is collecting royalties through sales of licenses that permit "public" broadcasting or playing of material created by artists they represent and protected under copyright. We should proceed with caution in believing their purpose is anything else. We should avoid letting our egos yield false optimism. BMI’s mission is unlikely the discovery and promotion of the amateur artist, producer, or virtual club. We can only hope they quickly realize their is no potential worthwhile econonmic gain within the SL club scene, and that those of us that are here enjoying are doing so only on a pure motivation through passion for music only and not money. Hopefully, the majority will hold similar insight and actively avoid any current BMI sponsored clubs or events in SL as well as any in the future.

Astrin said...

I don't really see a big problem with this, per se. I think it's a bit of a logical jump to assume that BMI's support of an SL club means that they'll start acting against all the other clubs that stream music protected by BMI. That's something that goes on in RL constantly, as well, and BMI is better off doing positive things to convince songwriters to work with them - ie. to get more customers, not bad publicity and fewer customers.

But that's just my take, it'll be interesting to see what happens. I'm glad that Funky House Club worked this out with BMI if only to try some new waters in SL. For me, there is no status quo in SL worth preserving, it's a new environment, it's real life, and it needs to face all the issues we face in RL venue music and DJ performance at some point.

Tropical said...

What is the problem, a music corporation is willing to sponsor a club in SL, thats great. I think BMI is smart, this is a great way to discover new talents and artist and we all know, that in SL we have some great talents and artist. I think we will see more of that in the future, record companys will slowly come in and discover the good artist and the artist will promote in SL. This is a really good idea.
Why should BMI make a move like this, sponsor a SL club to hit on everyone with licensing rules. We all know that there is a lot of talk about licensing in SL and in general on streaming, but we all forget that nothing is set yet and maybe it never will. This SL club is just one of the first ones who will get a sponsor like this, BMI is big so maybe the other will learn and follow soon, wait and see, this has nothing to do with licensing, this is a smart move, well done BMI

sirhc said...

Well if you play crappy music from crappy artists then maybe you should pay the royalties. I on the other hand play music that real DJ's are encouraged to play. I produce my own tracks and remixes and support the dance music scene to the fullest extent. I'm not intersted in the so called music industry of America everyone knows that it's not underground music that they put out, It's crap that your mom would listen too. I'm here to support the real producers and artists. I'll keep playing my hard hitting dance tunez that the SL community wants to hear without fear of royalties and nonsense... if you play crap then your gonna have to pay the crap. :P
Besides producers of great music always get paid.... It's the corporate monkey's that want to take a share of your talent.
If your a chump then your gonna get chumped.

HallucinoGirl said...


Best I can tell BMI is neither record label nor do they actively facilitate the careers of artists by obtaining them label contrancts. Please tell me one example of one RL artist that BMI has promoted & for whom they have facilitated a lucrative contract.
I am interested in being corrected on this.

BMI has their foot in the SL door. A "bit of a logical jump" or safe thinking and risk prevention? Thats like saying just because the petroleum companies are in Alaska surveying for every potential source of oil, its a "bit of a logical jump" that they don't actually plan to access those stores eventually and capitilize from them.

Don't forget BMI is in business of representing some 300,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers. All on the premise of receiving compensation anytime their music is played to the public.

Regarding copyright laws. If you produce or remix a track with any component that is identical to a song protected by copyright, it is a violation whether you did so knowingly or not.

sirhc said...

But are we selling it? or are we just promoting the music? I'm NOT in the business of selling bootleg copies of other artists music. I'm in the business of promoting an art form called music. I'm also a graphic designer and in this industry it's known that ppl use and re-use ideas over and over again. I think if u play BMI music you should pay BMI in LIndens.... then they might see how ridiculous this all really is. Are they really going into RL clubs and charging the DJ's that play a remix of a song that's a white label and probably use's samples from a major motion picture? I think not. :P

Hallucinogirl said...

There is difference between laws and laws that are actually commonly enforced. Likewise, there are also many components of copyright law. BMI only deals in one facet known as "Public Performance License". BMI has nicely provided a synopsis of the copyright laws at though it is not entirely inclusive.

When you purchase a CD or track that falls under copyright law, the only legal permission you obtain is to listen to it privately (BMI grants license to play publicly).

While out of the scope of the service BMI performs, copyright law however also includes restriction against any reproduction or alteration with intent for sale or distribution. Arguably, internet broadcasting is method of distribution whether you make profit or not. A former federal circuit court decision mandating that recording artist must pay for every sample they use not in the public domain, no matter its length or recognizability, is also pertinent to this discussion.

I agree that is known that people use and re-use the idea of others, whether it be direct copying or as inspiration. This is applicable in all facets of culture and is common practice, whether graphic arts, music, architecture, and so on. However, it does not guarantee exemption from legal penalty should you fall into investigation or action ever be taken. Nor does it mean that the current laws are fair or just. That is the point I make here.

Because this discussion is starting to fall outside the scope of this current blog that focuses on BMI's involvement in SL, perhaps a new thread should be started.

Lina Pussycat said...

Copyright law itself is misrepresented heavily time and time again it was originally designed to protect the consumers but now these corporations use it to further their own agendas....

I find it funny for them to support this kind of club people that produce their own music etc they have no right to touch they have no right to touch anyone that isnt using something that falls under who is contracted with them....

I honestly find it a bad thing for companies like this to come into SL we dont need them. People wont bother with Funky House in the long wrong they have ousted themselves with getting a corporate sponsor that really just isnt best friends with independants etc...

Anonymous said...

"Danni Dollinger: BMI is here in a promotional capacity only."

How is that, when who they want to promote has to be licensed? Will they pay for the licensing fees of those playing at the club? Look the other way? Promote non-BMI artists without a license?

Google BMI. "Music speaks to the heart. Music also plays an important role in thousands of businesses—from radio, television and cable broadcasts, to streaming music over the internet, to live and recorded music used in restaurants, hotels and retail stores. BMI Licensing clears the performing rights for thousands of business which rely on music to entertain customers and increase profits.

What does this mean for your business? BMI saves you money! BMI represents over 300,000 creators of music, the songwriters, composers and publishers of more than 6.5 million musical works! Licensing makes the process simple, easy and cost-effective to obtain the musical clearance you need."

Thats put clear cut way before anything about promoting artists...

Anonymous said...

"Danni Dollinger: BMI is here in a promotional capacity only."

How is that, when who they want to promote has to be licensed? Will they pay for the licensing fees of those playing at the club? Look the other way? Promote non-BMI artists without a license?

Google BMI. "Music speaks to the heart. Music also plays an important role in thousands of businesses—from radio, television and cable broadcasts, to streaming music over the internet, to live and recorded music used in restaurants, hotels and retail stores. BMI Licensing clears the performing rights for thousands of business which rely on music to entertain customers and increase profits.

What does this mean for your business? BMI saves you money! BMI represents over 300,000 creators of music, the songwriters, composers and publishers of more than 6.5 million musical works! Licensing makes the process simple, easy and cost-effective to obtain the musical clearance you need."

BMI is a licensing agency. Pure and simple.

Anonymous said...

"BMI's Digital Licensing Center (DLC), the music industry's first fully automated end-to-end solution for licensing copyrights online, celebrated its sixth full year of operation in December. The DLC was created to make it easy for small webcasters to secure public performance rights online. The tool, which initially beta-launched in May 2000, was completely redesigned in 2004 with additional features.

DLC royalty revenues for 2006 were up 76% versus 2005, while nearly 200 new websites executed BMI licenses through the service in 2006. The DLC serves the performance licensing needs of nearly 500 small websites.

"It's working. . . . The DLC has met its mandate to simplify music copyright licensing," said Richard Conlon, BMI's Vice President of New Media & Strategic Development. "Small websites need dedicated resources where they can license their properties and pay their public performance fees online. For BMI, the DLC performs the administrative tasks of licensing and revenue booking for small sites, enabling us to keep headcount down. We plan to raise the current revenue ceiling for eligible sites from the current $43,000 to more than $50,000 in the first quarter of 2007 to make the utility available to more sites."

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

I have read the interwiev and the article from Doubledown Tandino and ofcaouse all the coments, and yes im anoymous, caouse if im not i will proberbly get trouble too.
I see a lot off small headed people and i also see a lot of envy people, when i read the articles and coments. BMI, ASCAP and what they all are called have been in SL for a long time, dont forget that, but its nice to see that BMI is in SL now to promote the music and give new talent a change, its great, think about that. I dont see BMI, ASCAP as the problem, no i see Doubledown Tandino and all you other negative people as the problem, you have no idea what you all are talking about, its easy to see Doubledown Tandino as the negative part in this, and the more i read his articles, the more im sure he just is a negative person, its not BMI, ASCAP who is scary here!!! And to BMI, i dont understand why Funky House is the one to sponsor, newer heard about them, and i have been in SL for over 2 years you should have picked bigger or more crowded clubs, or even have startet it all up yourself. Anyway, this is a good thing for the artist in SL and all the dreamers outthere who hopes to see the stars and fame in RL, this is a positive thing. If you all want a negative story and be negative about it, write about the bank busines and the bank crack in SL, it really should be illegal to have a bank in RL, yes i lost my money!

Anonymous said...

I think this is getting personal now, do we need that ? on the other hand i do see a negative tone from Doubledown Tandino and a few other, but i think is all about jealousy, yes i think thats the problem in this. What a great deal for a club in SL, what a GREAT thing for SL, who wouldn´t be happy for a deal like that and what a change for all the SL/RL talents, go for it!. to all you other jealous SL people outthere, get a life and try to be happy for other people than yourself!!!

Tropical said...

What a great interwiev from Doubledown Tandino, Danni Dollinger and Charming Babii, it tells it all, why are you all still going on about this, the interwiev tells it all. I dont see Doubledown Tandino as the bad guy in this, i think he loves the idea about BMI promoting new talents and BMI artist in SL, he is an artist himself, and why not, its a great idea. jealousy, yes thats so clear to see in all the bad coments, maybe all the bad coments is from other club owners, who wish they got this change, i don´t know, but im thinking it!!. Stop the negative talk and lets see what BMI and Funky House comes with in the future. PARTY ON

HallucinoGirl said...

Wow people! Before passing hostile opinions, I encourage you to read critically. Much of it is very enlightening. Much is very rational and critical thought process, and some unfortunately is irrational without support.

I commend Doubledown thus far. He has not displayed any negative tone whatsoever to this issue. He has refrained from making opinionated judgements. Don't persecute him or others because they asked legitimate quesitons or brought to light valid concerns.

Their are always two sides to a debate. Lets be rational adults here please and respectful to eachother if possible.