Back in the September 2000 issue of NewMusicBox (not yet, as of this writing, converted to the archive), under Hymn & Fuguing Tune, we had a thread going called ‘What Makes You Attend A Concert,’ which was kind of a prelude to the ‘Iz You In Napster?’ thread. (The old thread is still on the server and can be reached by clicking here.
I am moved to revive the thread by a fascinating article by Frank Rich in the Sunday magazine section of the New York Times, at the moment still accessible online by clicking here. Entitled “Naked Capitalists,” the article claims that the porn business now accrues revenue of an estimated $10 to $14 billion in the United States, and, as such, is a bigger business than football, basketball and baseball put together, as well as movie tickets and all of the performing arts combined.
To quote Frank Rich, using the conservative low side of the estimates, ‘At $10 billion, porn is no longer a sideshow to the mainstream like, say, the $600 million Broadway theater industry – it is the mainstream.’ And, quoting a porn business person, ‘We realized that when there are 700 million porn rentals a year, it can’t just be a million perverts renting 700 videos each.’
Despite this enormous ‘entertainment’ presence in our midst, articles like Rich’s are rare, the corporate headquarters hide their presence behind false storefronts and the businessmen (and performers and directors) use false names in the credits. So they internalize the shame that the society expects from them.
I bring up the article not because I want American Music Center members running off to profit from the apparently more lucrative porn market, but because I still think that the business models being developed by the porn industry are becoming, for consumers, an expectation for other entertainment industries as well. So, as in the previous discussion, when someone actually proposes adopting that model, I think studying its ramifications and results in the porn industry is required.
As a side note, Rich mentions, in passing, a thriller from Video Team called ‘Westside’ that ‘features music by Aaron Copland.’ One suspects that, unlike Spike Lee’s ‘He Got Game’, permission from the estate was not granted for such a use (as an aside to my aside, I found Lee’s use aesthetically inappropriate for his film, but that’s my opinion). This reminds me of a Jaws sequel (I don’t know which number) where the composer stole from Stravinsky’s ‘Symphony of Psalms’ at the climax. So you see, copyright violations abound outside of the legitimate cinema.