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Business Aims 

Wednesday, Mar 24 1999
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Included in all DGM releases is a statement regarding business and ethics, excerpts of which are reprinted here courtesy of DGM.

The first aim of DGM is to help bring music into the world which would otherwise be unlikely to do so, or under conditions prejudicial to the music and/ or musicians.

The second aim of DGM is to operate in the marketplace, while being free of the values of the marketplace.

The third aim of DGM is to help the artists and staff of DGM achieve what they wish for themselves.

The fourth aim of DGM is to find its audience.

The fifth aim of DGM is to be a model of ethical business in an industry founded on exploitation, oiled by deceit, riven with theft and fueled by greed.

The formal view of Crimson Music and DGM is that business practices, although widespread and "common practice," which seek to deprive the creative element of its authority, and artists of the benefit of their work, are short-sighted and immoral.

Any culture whose artists are directed or controlled by commercial interests is in mortal danger. Any artist directed or controlled by commercial interests is in mortal danger. Any artist willingly directed or controlled by commercial interests is not to be trusted. Any record company representative who asks an artist, "You want to sell records, don’t you?" should be avoided. Any A&R man who tells the artist to record a single, because their album can’t be promoted without one, has just told the artist to change labels.

Copyright Ownership

The phonographic and visual copyright in performances is operated by Discipline Global Mobile on behalf of the artists, with whom it resides, contrary to common practice in the record industry.

Discipline accepts no reason for artists to assign the copyright interests in their work to either record company or management by virtue of a "common practice" which was always questionable, often improper, and is now indefensible.

Currently, a few well-known groups have begun to challenge this practice. Where their cases have been successful and (discreetly) known to me, these arrangements are subject to gagging clauses. If we accept the principle of transparency to be one of the canons of ethical business . . . the gagging orders imply that the practices of certain major players in the record industry put them outside what DGM considers to be ethical business conduct.

Members of the public not familiar with the norm might not know this common practice of the record industry: The artist pays to record the album, generally with an advance provided by the record company. This advance is then recouped from artist royalties (which are themselves subject to limitations and reductions in accordance with "company standard policy") while the album is owned by the record company. The record company owns the artist’s work, for which the artist has paid. If the record company, or owner of the company, sells the catalogue or the company itself, the artist receives nothing for their work although having created the work and paid for it to be made.

Crimson Music recognises no valid or ethical reason to assign publishing copyrights to publisher or manager as an inevitable, necessary or useful art of the business of collecting publishing royalties.

The Ethical Company

Recognisable features of the ethical company . . . involve these attributes: transparency, straightforwardness, accountability, owning-up, honesty, fairness, common decency and distributive justice.

Recognisable features of a company whose base is ethically challenged are these: dissembling, use of threats, unkindness to employees, a widespread use of gagging orders, and an inequitable distribution of company income.

A company which would rather conduct its business (particularly disputed issues) verbally, instead of committing its views to writing; commonly resorts to litigation, or employs the frequent threat of such; employs gagging clauses as standard policy; pays its directors highly disproportionate sums in comparison with its employees; this company is suspect and should be avoided wherever possible.

A Personal Note to Young Musicians

. . . The first price the musician pays in order to play music is to endure the ramifications of the music industry, at whatever level. The second is to persist in failure. The third is to persist in success. The fourth is to endure the ramifications of the music industry at a new level. The only reward the musician receives is music: the privilege of standing in the presence of music when it leans over and takes us into its confidence. As it is for the audience. In this moment everything else is irrelevant and without power. For those in music, this is the moment when life becomes real. The concern of the musician is music. The concern of the professional musician is business. Only become a professional musician if there is no choice.

A Special Note Regarding Copyright

Discipline Global Mobile presents this piece of work in good faith, assuming goodwill between DGM, the supplier of this music product, and that member of the listening/viewing community who holds this in their hands and is reading these words.

This work is presented on the understanding that:

1. No audio or visual materials will be duplicated;

2. No written material will be excerpted and duplicated, other than in reasonable and acknowledged quoting.

No legal requirement can enforce goodwill or enjoin good faith. Right conduct is, essentially, a matter of acting in accordance with the promptings of conscience.

Conscientious behaviour, in our culture:

1. Appears to have few models;

2. Appears to be rarely rewarded;

3. Appears not to defend itself.

. . . If any of our customers, or trade dealers, feel this is too much for them, perhaps they might consider taking their business elsewhere. If any of our customers or trade dealers feel this is reasonable, I hope and wish they are able to conduct all of their business in good faith, and with goodwill.

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