Category Archives: Commentary

Michelle Shocked

How About The Music Modernization Act?

Text by Michelle Shocked

Aftershocks are still being felt from the sub-prime mortgage fraud that roiled working-class Americans – particularly those in the Latino and African American communities – between 2007 and 2012. The extensive damage caused by this economic disaster should serve as an early warning of what now lies on the near horizon in the guise of the ironically named Music Modernization Act being considered in Congress. Proposed in the wee hours just before the end of the 2017 Congressional session, the Act should, in truth, be called “The Spotify IPO Protection Act”.

         In 2011, on the front lines of defending homeowners during our efforts at Occupy Fights Foreclosure, I saw with my own eyes in the Los Angeles County Recorders office, sitting in front of an outdated DOS era computer, the consequences of unregulated banks creating private databases of public deeds far away from the prying eyes of the County Board of Supervisors and County Recorder.

         As most people now understand (at least anyone who’s seen The Big Short), Wall Street “securitized” sub-prime mortgages, sliced and diced them into millions of tranches and sold them with insurance policies against their inevitable default, then shorted their own bad loans. Taxpayers were left crawling through the rubble of the collapse of 2008, while the banks made a seventy-fold profit on the foreclosures than what they would have earned by simply servicing those original loans.

Continue reading

Agent of Change UK

Agent of Change Battles Threat to UK Live Music Scene – A Proactive Solution to a Universal Problem

Text By Dawoud Kringle

Music Venue Trust is a UK based network of grassroots music venues and their supporters. Their base concept, Agent of Change, was first introduced into the music scene in Australia, and then, three years ago, into the UK. Agent of Change is a term that is used to describe various approaches to controlling the relationship between newly built development (typically residential), and extant noise sources (typically, music venues).

The Agent of Change campaign believes that the cornerstone of the UK music industry is under threat and needs protection. Music venues are threatened with closure because of changes in planning laws to encourage residents to move into town centers. This change in policy was originally intended to address housing shortages (specifically, offices, car parks and disused buildings to be converted into residences. The problem arose with the UK’s music venues being next door to those offices and car parks. Music venues were subsequently forced to fight noise complaints, abatement notices and planning applications. The locations of the venues were deliberately chosen so that the music wouldn’t create problems for residents. With the aforementioned housing policy changes, residents made complaints about sound. The problem was exacerbated by the fact that the developers of the residential properties have no legal obligation to soundproof these new residences. UK law mandates that the business or person making the noise is responsible for its management.

Continue reading

NOW

“Now” Cannot, In Any Real Sense, Be Preserved!

In order to be truly connected to a real event “NOW,” it may be necessary to be disconnected from the digital cyber world… In fact, the modern music business has delegated the sublimity of music itself to a zeitgeist of insignificance. 

A Cultural Commentary By Dawoud Kringle

There was a scene in the movie Collateral, where the whole of modern popular musical culture was eloquently represented. A professional assassin (played by Tom Cruise) took a cab driver (played by Jamie Foxx, who Cruise forced his assistance in a series of assassinations) to a jazz club. The assassin loved the live jazz performance in the club. He was fascinated by the unpredictability of the music. The cab driver disliked the performance and found it incomprehensible for the exact same reason. His conditioning to accept uniformity and predictability in music – and life itself – could not allow him to let go of his illusion of control and allow the music to be itself.

Continue reading