Friday, October 26, 2007

Congress to FCC: Don’t Rush Media Consolidation

According to an article by Shawn Chang from, Congress intensified its efforts to slow down the FCC's rush to gut media ownership rules. Chang said that members of the house and senate have focused their attention towards FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, and he said that "Thursday, more than 40 members of the House joined Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) in a letter Martin asking the Commission to 'resolve significant shortcomings in [the agency’s] plan regarding accountability, transparency, and scientific integrity' within the current media ownership proceeding."

Apparently, Martin has no intention of listening to the people's testimonies received during the past few years of public hearings, and he apparently plans to allow the gutting of media ownership rules in favor of conglomerates. If we live in a democracy, then how can it be that such a monstrosity can occur? How can the will of the people be so blatantly ignored?

Regarding the letter sent to Martin, Chang reveals, "The letter was prompted by last week’s revelation that Martin secretly circulated a timeline that would complete the current media ownership proceeding by mid-December, even though the FCC hasn’t completed a series of public hearings, addressed the dismal state of female and minority media ownership, or explained its shoddy and slanted research."

This is nothing short of appalling, and it brings to mind a quote by author Glenn Smith from his book entitled, "The Politics of Deceit: Saving Freedom and Democracy from Extinction," where he wrote:

"When freedom as we define it here becomes irrelevant to the machinations of government, why would government take steps to protect freedom? As expected, we find that elected leaders exaggerate the symbols and rhetoric of freedom while individual liberties are curtailed. American flags fly at every political event. Bells of liberty ring, patriotic music plays. While we are distracted, the political pickpockets go to work” (Smith 38).

What can be said about a federal agency that disregards its' responsiblities of protecting the public interest. In any other job, employees that defy their employers will usually find themselves unemployeed. How can it be that Chairman Martin is beyond reproach? Smith believes that with the Internet, there is hope in resisting the imposed policies of corrupt and unethical politicians:

"The Internet is a tool that is fast becoming maximally usable to its users.
This renewed participatory sphere is restoring citizens’ abilities to resist. It is resuscitating democracy and freedom. When citizens are engaged in conversations with one another about, say, the pros and cons of the Patriot Act, it is less likely that the manipulations of one leader or party will be as effective as they otherwise might be" (Smith 39).

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Fair Fight in the Marketplace: A Must See Documentary!

This film is brought to you by the collaborative efforts of: Street Law, Inc, the American Antitrust Institute, Filmmakers Collaborative, and the Constitutional Rights Foundation.

This is a documentary about what antitrust laws are, and what they mean to everyone—consumers, small businesses, entrepreneurs, free enterprise, etc.

It is now airing on PBS—but, if it is not airing in your area, you can watch it here. Before positive changes can happen, we must all be aware of the problem—and most importantly—we must care about the problem, because antitrust affects us all in many different ways, and in many different industries; true independent music included.

Learning resources are available by visiting””

If you would like to help--spread the word about this film!

Monday, May 21, 2007

How to Recognize True Independent Music from Imposters

True Independent Music is growing. So much, in fact, that major labels are now vying to create bands that pose as true independent acts--when in reality, they are not. It is a known fact that major labels regularly make offers to buy promising true independent record labels. When they can't buy them, they try to create the illusion. Here is an excerpt of an actual e-mail sent by a major label to a true independent record label we know:

"When we show interest in entertainment entities, this means there must be something unique, that it has indeed peaked our interest. It means there is potential for major success and growth. It is no secret that in business, there is a beneficial balance between both parties, regarding accomplishments, financial rewards, and recognition, to name a few. The balance may lean more in favor of us at first, until a proven formula has been established. Specific rights and restrictions are common in the entertainment industry. This maintains a structure that will keep order, and creates a protective element that makes business operate in an organized and timely fashion.

All of the small details are not of much importance in the big picture. The bottom line is, you are a small company that can do nothing of great measure for your artist. We are in a position to do so. We would like to purchase your label, and in turn, promote your artist as an independent artist, with major label benefits, which would include touring with established acts, recording in a state of the art studio, monetary advancements (career and personal), manufacturing, distribution, PR, and a name that will give them superior credibility. Sacrifices are a must for positive changes. Give that some thought. I am confident you will do the right thing."

Needless to say, this offer was declined, because free enterprise must prevail. So with this in are six ways to tell when a major label musical act is posing as an artist of true independent music:

1. They use cheats on MySpace, which shows inflated hits on their profile views, and inflated song plays. We have been approached by individuals on MySpace who claimed to have access to these programs and who also claimed to have the knowledge of how profiles are hacked and "friends" are involuntarily added, etc. These individuals were deleted and blocked.

2. They have extensive tour dates all over the world, and across the country. In reality, genuine true independent record labels cannot afford to take on the expense of a world or national tour, because they are disadvantaged in the marketplace, and they aren't permitted to play certain venues that are reserved for acts that are either signed with, or backed by, a major label.

3. They play concerts with major label acts.

4. They are on television, in the news, or in magazines that favor major labels.

5. They are getting lots of airplay on commercial and non-commercial radio stations nationwide.

6. None of the above is possible unless you are signed with a major label, or you are backed by a major label.

If there is a major label affiliation, connection, or backing, it is not true independent music. Don't be fooled.

Friday, April 27, 2007

A Word to the Confused: What Is True Independent Music

It has come to our attention that there are people out there confusing the public about what constitutes true independent music. One person, in particular, goes on to say that...

"A true independent music artist is independent of a record company to front the money for a release. Unless of course they have chosen to form their own company in order to gain certain business benefits..."

Because we are very much a part of the true independent music scene, it is our job to correct confused people like this, because they misinform the public when they speak about issues that they clearly know nothing about. The truth is, what constitutes true independent music, whether it is a band, artist, or label, is the absence of a major label affilation or connection...including social connections.

This confused person obviously has no experience in the true independent music scene. Otherwise, he would know that we are discriminated against for lack of a major label affiliation or connection. Our music is not on the radio, major retailers will not carry self-distributed music products. It does not matter if you are an artist, a band, or a true independent record label. We are all treated the same by corporate entities, and the conglomerate media. The level of corruption and deception is mind boggling. An artist or band signed to a true independent record label is, in fact, a true independent artist--because there is NO major label affilation or connection.

As I read more of what this person wrote, the motive for his misinforming the public on what constitutes true independent music became very clear--he is actually promoting that artists and bands aspire to sign with major labels:

He revealed himself when he said, "Being an indie artist can give you great bargaining power if you go for a recording contract. In addition to playing live, writing songs and releasing CDs, you've no doubt been reading up on the business of music and learning about tax write-offs. You've been keeping meticulous records of income, assets and expenses. Now, because you have cold hard sales figures, a good business attitude, an established name and probably a list of fans (repeat buyers), you are more likely to attract a major label deal when you do go label shopping. That's the stuff that the majors like to see."

It needs to be said that this guy lives in a fantasy world. None of the above exists in the world of true independent music.

He is not only a major label ass-kissing loser, but he is apparently connected to them. He has no clue what true independent music is, or what it is about. He totally revealed himself with this last quote. He is all about promoting major labels, as well as, confusing and misinforming the public. These types of schemes, and lies will never work, because we will always uncover and reveal the truth to the people.

An Exceprt from Episode 7: FCC on the Side of Media Monsters

True independent music is the entrepreneurial spirit of the recording industry. It has come to our attention, through an e-mail from the FCC, that the U.S. Supreme Court has “deemed three types of conduct so lacking in economic justification as to be per se illegal…” The three types of violations named were price fixing, bid rigging, and market allocation schemes, which they stated are generally prosecuted criminally by the Antitrust Division. They also added that the Antitrust Division has sole authority within the federal government to file criminal antitrust cases, though it also shares responsibility for civil enforcement with the Federal Trade Commission. Both of which, I should add, do nothing to preserve free enterprise for all entrepreneurs and small businesses, in all industries, as they should.

The problem with this is that it shows how disconnected our federal court system and federal agencies are from the original intent of antitrust laws.

In Section 1 of the Sherman Act it states that: “Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal. Every person who shall make any contract or engage in any combination or conspiracy hereby declared illegal shall be deemed guilty of a felony…”

There is much more to the Sherman Act, but in essence, the first section alone is clear about what constitutes anticompetitive conduct, and it is apparent from the FCC’s e-mail that these laws have been gutted and altered over the years, to favor conglomerates, by federal agencies and the U.S. Supreme Court.

The people need to know the truth about what is happening. The government is failing to act in good faith by not enforcing the law that was enacted over a hundred years ago to preserve free enterprise. We need to work together to protect and ensure free enterprise for ourselves, for our children, and for our future generations. It is our right to have it.

Listen to Episode 7 of the True Independent Music Show!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Radio bigs’ ‘payola’ settlement...Real Change, or Just Another Smoke Screen?

Today, in an article entitled "Radio bigs’ ‘payola’ punishment may help local music make waves," Jesse Noyes, a reporter for the Boston Herald Business Reporter, reported on the details of the payola settlement between the FCC and the four conglomerate radio ownership groups who were supposedly, "Looking to settle 'payola' charges with the FCC, Clear Channel Communications Inc., Citadel Broadcasting, Entercom Communications and CBS Radio - all of which have stations in Massachusetts - agreed to pay $12.5 million and to boost the amount of local and independent music they play."

Some main points of the settlement reported by the Associated Press included a 'side deal' with the American Association of Independent Music that "the broadcasters will offer 8,400 half-hour blocks of free airtime for independent artists," citing unnamed FCC sources. Noyes goes on to say that "under the new agreement, stations would have to set aside time for artists not signed to the largest four record labels in the country."

While there are some that are optimistic over this new development, there is still a lot of skepticism going on, especially, with true independent record labels who believe this is to good to be true. Although the settlement defines independent music, as music not signed to the "largest four record labels in the country," it does not address the issue of indirect connection, which has and does allow access to radio airplay. Even the smallest social connection, or previous employment with a major label is enough to bring down market-entry barriers.

People do not realize how easy it is for "music industry veterans" aka. major label connectees to start a business and operate as an "independent," while enjoying the benefits of free market access compliments of their former engagement, and still very much alive association, with the majors. It's the same snake only dressed up differently. The real proof will be in how much true independent music actually gets radio airplay, if any, in the future vs. how many "industry veterans," and posers actually eat up the dedicated 8400 half hour slots. Time will surely tell.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Episode Four - True Independent Music Show

The True Independent Music Show, Episode Four now available. Enjoy!

Click here for Episode Four!

Legend Heart Records Issues Open Letter In Response To Free Press, Future of Music: Stop The Confusion, Stop The Discrimination


This is in response to a press release dated January 24, issued by media reform activists at Free Press, Future of Music, and Industry Ears entitled "Slap on the Wrist Won't Stop Payola," in which they expressed grave concern over lenient terms reportedly contained in a potential payola settlement between the FCC, and the four major radio ownership groups. Most of the items proposed by these media activists to the FCC made sense, for all intents and purposes. However, two items stand out as potentially dangerous loopholes, first, that "independent" music should be included in "music testing pools," and second, that new music testing should include titles from labels and artists that have met unspecified “airplay criteria.”

First of all, these items are unacceptable because radio has proven to be untrustworthy and prone to major label favoritism, corruption, and payola. Subjecting labels and artists to music testing pools, or vague airplay criterion, would only create a vacuum in the market, and serve as another loophole for radio. It would also preserve the oligopolies in both recording and broadcasting industries. True Independent music has a right to equally share the public airwaves with major labels and their affiliates, including labels with major label "management" agreements in place. These media reform organizations are on the right track, but they failed, or forgot, to include true independent music in their proposal to the FCC. They also failed, or forgot, to distinguish the difference between true independent record labels, and labels that claim to be independent, but are in fact, not. The people must know the truth. Record labels with an affiliation or connection to a major label, are not truly independent.

Even the smallest connection to a major label brings down market entry barriers. A true independent record label has a right to open for business, create new and innovative music products, and bring those products to the commercial radio marketplace without having to submit to a major label, without having to submit to corruptible and untrustworthy "music testing pools," and without having to meet vague airplay criterion that would likely be lopsided in favor of major labels. No, this is definitely not the answer. Discrimination against true independent music would surely continue.

Section 2 (a) of the Small Business Act of 1958 states, “The essence of the American economic system of private enterprise is free competition. Only through full and free competition can free markets, free entry into business, and opportunities for the expression and growth of personal initiative and individual judgment be assured. The preservation and expansion of such competition is basic not only to the economic well-being but to the security of this Nation.”

Legend Heart Records is a true independent record label based in Port Orchard, WA. The company has been in operation since 2003.

More information is available at:

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