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There was a time that getting airplay meant that you were “making it”

For decades we’ve been hearing how outer space is the last frontier, but that is incorrect; the real frontier is the internet, world wide web…cyber space.

And the way it’s acting is much like the gun toting, old wild west days where there is little or no policing. According to Edward Bernays Jr., edstechreport.wordpress.com blogger, “there is a huge lapse in monitoring posts and reviews” that are piggybacking on paid for ad space.

According to edstechreport blog, music companies are hiring “marketing” companies that pay people to post fake reviews on venues that sell music, which in turn are being spammed by other companies. One company that appears to be very prolific is Arctic Silver which is a 3rd party computer accessory company. They use the music companies’ reviews and posts to sell their products. Many of these piggybacked posts have links that back- link to other sites.

All one needs to do is type in the name of an artist such as Beyonce, David Bowie or Lady Gaga with “Arctic Silver” next to it and voila. Edstechreport has pages of examples from this company.

On the surface it begins to look like a grassroots movement is occuring by all of the “fake” posts and reviews which equals spam. There are companies that do not use this technique to market their product that are being hurt by the practice of astroturfing and spamming.

According to tech entrapenuer Archie Whitehat “They are muscling out competitors with spam reviews on sites such as Amazon and on forms designed to enable users to chat about a product.” Whitehat adds that “Arctic Silver is the most prolific company” that is using the unregulated techniques and that his reputation manager has never seen anything like it.

Bernays states that the technique has gone under the radar for so long because there are no regulations to manage it ergo no problem exists. In essance, no one is watching therefore there is no problem therefore no one is doing anything illegal.

Bernays reminisced that there was a time that getting airplay meant that you were “making it”, but now it means the talent that wrote the song is getting ripped off due to outdated regulations which is why music publishers and song writers are fighting in Washington DC to pass the Songwriters Equity Act and revise the Consent Decree.

Going over streaming contract samples on edstechreport, it becomes pretty clear why the talent’s revenues have shrunk down to micro pennies. According to Bernays, the talent have been signing off on a “360 Deal” where the streaming services are paying the record companies and the record companies aren’t paying the talent at the rate the artists would like to see. “There is even a “breakage” clause in the contract where the talent is charged for product being broken during shipping/handling when that reality no longer exists in the cyber world of streaming music,” adds Bernays.

According to Bernays, the new digital business model has changed the game and upped the advertising stakes.

“They are using breakage math as a tool to determine digital royalties, but there is no more physical product so it is taken and rebundled into the digital domain. The record companies are eating up the royalties from ad revenues,” states Bernays. This whole issue is fast becoming a many headed hydra that needs to be looked into further. Please check out edstechreport.wordpress.com and edstechreport2.wordpress.com and see for yourself and develop your own conclusion. Also, please refer back to the article regarding the Songwriters Equity Act from 2/2015 and look at S.2321 and H.R. 4079. This issue hasn’t been fully resolved as yet and really needs to be.

What happened on the television show “Friends” where the actors went on “strike” to raise their pay scale to $1,000,000.00 an episode due to the fact that the “business” people were pocketing money hand over fist from ad revenue and paying a few thousand per episode to the actors should serve as a cautionary tale for the need to change that status quo of cyber space marketing.

For myself, I’ve seen pirating on Youtube via my book, Gallerie de Street Art, Paris, where they used my book to create a bogus back-link that asks for private info and takes large amounts of money from the victims’ account information. There were lots of links created with that book ad and each by a different person with a bogus name. There is no regulation regarding that type of thing and so no one will take them down or do anything. To me it looks like a copyright violation, but it isn’t because there is no legislation regarding it…no harm, no foul. In the matter of my book on Youtube.

Youtube felt that it wasn’t a recognizable link/back link so they said there wasn’t a real problem and my publisher said the same thing.

In the final analysis, Bernays is concerned that the astroturfing and spamming techniques can be used to drive a political campaign which is not a good thing.

Always on the lookout for a cool neighborhood venue to hang out at, listen to good music and have a glass of wine, I’ve found the Idle Hour. On Sundays they have bottomless Mimosa’s for $15.00 and BBQ and a very good duo called Wynchester that plays 1pm to 4pm.

Wynchester consists of 2 guitarists from a few other acts such as Tenacious D, that won a Grammy last year for a performance of a Dio cover song, and the Kyle Gass Band. John Konesky and Mike Bray perform classic rock, country, and 90’s R&B and do take requests.

They have a wry sense of humor which is put to good use and they have a “vintage” hook that feeds on the profile of the “hipster” musicologist who collects 45’s and only listens to “deep cuts” states Konesky.

While listening to them I kept hearing a few final chords from Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven” which Konesky said occurs when they end a song with a D chord…it’s an OCD thing he added. They can’t be all bad if they know some Led Zeppelin…right?

When I was a kid the 93 bus that went to Hollywood would drive by that barrel building and I always wondered what it was about. Since being restored, it’s a very cool venue to hang out in and the people are friendly.

The Idle Hour is located at 4824 Vineland Ave.

For the more discriminating music palate the new, mainstreamed music is boring, banal and vapid and leaves

people wanting to move on to greener pastures and find new music that is creative and enjoyable. One of my buddies since we went to school together is such a person.

She has sent me several links to Korean artists such as Eddie Kim, Park Hyo Shin and Jung Joon Young. These are all very talented young people with a flair for very slick Pop music and reminds me a lot of how much influence Michael Jackson still has on performers.

The stand out talent that she sent me is Japanese performer Miyavi, AKA Takamasa Ishihara. His music rocks and is very energizing. Dubbed the “Japanese Samurai Guitarist” this young man plays with his fingers without using picks. His guitar work is amazing and it’s touted that the guitar is what makes the difference in his work…”it’s the key.”

There are so many great tunes to tout that it’s hard to say which one to listen to on Youtube or iTunes, but there are two that’ll work; Horizon and The Others. My favorite video is Horizon.

Miyavi has appeared in two films: Oresama, which has a time travel theme and Unbroken. In an interview on the Ellen Show, Miyavi said that Unbroken’s director Angelina Jolie found him on the internet. According to the Ellen Show his performance in Unbroken left movie goers raving about how good his performance is in the film.

His gigs in 2015 include a sold out show at the Troubadour and an 80% sold show at the El Rey Theatre, but there is nothing on the books about his coming to L.A. in 2016.

I would love to know who his inspiration is as a guitar player.

Miyavi is represnted by the WME Agency and Red Light Management.

Caroline McElroy

Author: Caroline McElroy

The muse struck at a young age and began with Ernie’s Record Shop on Lankershim Blvd. In North Hollywood where I purchased my first Beatle record “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and a record by Major Lance titled “Um,Um,Um,Um,Um,Um”. From there I saw the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl and I was hooked…on Rock N’ Roll. At the age of 13 it seems as if the magical world of Rock N’ Roll opened up and welcomed me. A trip to Indio with Frank Zappa and possee, and subsequent gigs as a dancer at The Teen Fairs at the Hollywood Palladium sealed the deal. As a trained journalist, I’ve written for magazines, newsletters,newspapers and blogs. In addition, I have run a nightclub by the name of The Cave. Music is the thread that weaves a patchwork quilt of genres, venues and experience out of my life and in the process have introduced many fine acts to my followers. For the rest of my story dear readers, read my articles and it will unfold like the petals of a lotus flower. Sometimes you’ve gotta wear the hat to remind people who they are dealing with. LOL

Caroline McElroyhttps://carolinemcelroy.wordpress.com/
The muse struck at a young age and began with Ernie’s Record Shop on Lankershim Blvd. In North Hollywood where I purchased my first Beatle record “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and a record by Major Lance titled “Um,Um,Um,Um,Um,Um”. From there I saw the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl and I was hooked…on Rock N’ Roll. At the age of 13 it seems as if the magical world of Rock N’ Roll opened up and welcomed me. A trip to Indio with Frank Zappa and possee, and subsequent gigs as a dancer at The Teen Fairs at the Hollywood Palladium sealed the deal. As a trained journalist, I’ve written for magazines, newsletters,newspapers and blogs. In addition, I have run a nightclub by the name of The Cave. Music is the thread that weaves a patchwork quilt of genres, venues and experience out of my life and in the process have introduced many fine acts to my followers. For the rest of my story dear readers, read my articles and it will unfold like the petals of a lotus flower. Sometimes you’ve gotta wear the hat to remind people who they are dealing with. LOL

46 COMMENTS

  1. Astroturfing music?

    So that could possibly explain why rubbish such as Justin Beiber sell records?
    Back-tracking to the Bernaise log, it is interesting on how the record execs have not attacked the spammers/astroturfers. Possibly as they are also in collusion with each other?
    So let us see if I have this right…… Music is being astroturfed and as people often act like brainwashed sheep they will purchase something that appears ‘popular’ when in reality it isn’t. So in essence the real victims are the end purchasers of any music or in fact any product?

  2. If this is the future of the ‘digital model’ then honest artists are going to be hit big-time. Astroturfing will kill the industry forever-all for a quick dollar. If these Barktic Silver dudes are the (pardon the pun) stereotypical of all astroturfers then we have a drastic crash in the industry. How can anyone trust ANYTHING they see online ever again?

  3. Using an entertainers copyrighted name/material to lever up your position on page one search results would seem to be an illegal use and or infringement on the copyright holders rights.

    Keeping in mind Arctic silver is only one company and half a million return on a search for just one entertainer, Lady Gaga wow!

    – just did “Arctic Silver 5” “David Bowie” and got 5k so it appears you can throw in any entertainers name and would suggest millions if not 10’s of millions on the Spam Back Pages from one company on just one product……….

    By extention Probably $$ Billions in back Ad revenue due overall if determined to be infringed – Awesome Article

  4. Agreed Andy dude!

    It seems these. AstruBurfers? Are spamming on the back end of honest artists in order to peddle their product?
    So bro it seems that on line advertising as all the credibility of an opinion poll right?

  5. Parasitic LOL, like cockroaches deceiving customers, stealing others people hard earned work crosses me the wrong way. Never thought about spam other than the kind you get in email this type of spamming by Arctic Silver definitely new to me.

    You would think that google could filter this stuff out and hell you think they would want to – they are losing adrev on page 1 with them getting position without paying for it!

    Free ride on everybody else’s dime -how corrupt is that?

  6. Why don’t the companies who are doing this/paying for fake reviews get fined or even better banned from Amazon and Ebuyer, hit their pockets!

    just think how many people have been deceived and bought these products thinking they are the bee’s knees.
    The fact companies are using deception to deprive people out of their hard earned money I find fraudulent, now who do we trust!

  7. @Don Schultz

    “I hope the music agencies go after them quickly”
    I totally agree with you, Arctic Silver has a lot to answer for also have you seen some of the forums where the moderators/Admins will sit there telling everyone AS5 is this that and the other, that has puzzled me for a while but after reading this I can see what’s going on!

  8. re: Your Second post.

    I didnt know about Arctic Silver until after this article. I did a little digging around and the issues with this company is actually MORE than what has been stated within this article.

    I have found paid forum moderators owned by Arctic Silver themselves and that is just to start.

  9. To Barry

    Good question:

    Half the time I think Amazon are in on it, however I do not think that can be proved.
    I wonder what will happen when the music agencies find out about this?
    I googled madnonna and arctic silver and i get 5,500 hits……interesting

  10. @Don

    Wow now that is a new low, also that would end up with dishonest reviews on these forums when it comes to Arctic Silver :/

    I bet post are also deleted to hide true comments which don’t big up the company name and products like AS5

  11. I find it nteresting that you bring up the possibility of using those astroturfed ads in political campaigns. I followed some links, used Whois lookup at http://whois.domaintools.com/ to figure out who owned the sites, and then Googled their names. I traced one site owner to a publishing group that has one of our current presidential candidates’ daughter as a board member. No surprise that the newsgroup in question is heavily in favor of that candidate over the others.

    As far as the “breakage” clauses go, I can see that potentially costing artists thousands, if not millions, if it is interpreted as “any time there is a break in streaming service.” I agree that the rules need to be updated. Money should flow to the artist first, not last. In the old publishing world, anything over 10% going to the agent was considered to be robbery.

  12. I’m so glad this problem is being called to our attention. It is robbery, Jack. Information highway robbery. Musicians are already losing so much in royalties with bootleg streaming music, now this?

    Check this out…How can it be that when I search “David Bowie” and “Arctic Silver” I see David Bowie’s name being used and abused within some youtube video search result that promotes this company and Bowie’s name in together? http://s24.postimg.org/5ai6kcnp1/arctic_silver_david_bowie_Google_Search.png

    Wow!

    Are they are engaged in libeling the artist’s names by not paying for advertising or the implied endorsement? Do these musicians even want to be associated in any way with the aforementioned company?

    Oh how easily recording artists lose money when companies use the careers of gifted people to market products without paying any advertising fees.

    So this company profits at the expense of famous names while the musicians go without ad revenue of any kind. It just doesn’t seem fair. How can this even be remotely legal in America? Something must be done.

  13. What is the solution? I agree that it really is like the wild west on the internet. It is everyone for themselves. Protect your data, use a password that is complicated (which you don’t remember), don’t write down said password and be careful of the latest virus, malware and spyware. Hundreds of acts of piracy are committed each day. Do we need cyber police? How would that look without violating a person’s rights? On the surface, it is a simple issue of policing the internet. Underneath, it becomes much more complicated. Technology is outpacing our societal structure. It will be interesting to see where it goes from here.

  14. @Barry Bradshw this is an international problem the UK hasn’t got any regulatory agencies in place either mean while here in America we are dealing with idiots bickering about who gets to use who’s bathroom!

  15. The Internet is still pretty new, which means that marketers aren’t limited by rules and laws that are specific to this new area. Writer Caroline McElroy has a strong take on how the newness of this frontier is hurting musicians.

    As the mother of a musician who plans to enter the music business, this is frightening. Scammers and streaming contracts are squeezing musicians severely. Streaming services charge talent for “breakage” that no longer exists. The services keep the money—not a big surprise.

    McElroy’s article reveals the seamy underside of a business that cheats musicians of the royalties they have rightfully earned.

  16. The lack of cyber policing is out of control in today’s market, which makes it impossible for honest business owners to make a living. Not only are artists suffering from this lack of regulation, but anyone utilizing an online platform can endure the same hardships. As a small business owner and a writer, I have lost the opportunity for many jobs because I would not produce fraudulent reviews for companies wanting to promote their products. The individuals who are responsible for creating art, copy, blogs, photography, music or any other product for online use or sale should be compensated accordingly. Scammers who take another person’s property—whether it’s tangible or not— and use for their personal gain should prosecuted in the same manner as someone who committed retail theft. After all, are they not stealing? The internet is one of the fastest growing methods to conduct business, which means it should be subject to all the protections of a brick-and-mortar business, for the well-being of both the consumer and the proprietor.

  17. As with the frontier analogy, I think growing pains, losses and gains are all part of the process. The wild west was not won without loss and many hardships – why would the cyber world be any different?

    While the hardships placed on musicians and those involved in internet-based venues is not fun nor fair, it also raises the bar for those affected to make changes, step up their game and gain knowledge of both business practices and regulation. Too much regulation might stymie growth and new horizons.

    Basic rules concerning property rights, limits and boundaries, how theft of cyber space and material is defined, plus retribution is all that is needed, in my opinion. Over-regulation has done harm in other areas of business and I see no difference in cyber business.

  18. I’ve been getting a lot of e-mails regarding my comment about sensing a Michael Jackson influence on Korean Pop music. I said influence and not imitation. It’s a given that artist’s will find inspiration from another artist’s work and will seek to take it to another level and make it their own. That is a compliment to Korean Pop music. I’ve seen photos recently of Miyavi sporting a Jackson Fedora and using similar poses as Jackson once did. As much as it pains me to say this, even Kanye West will have an influence on future artist’s works.

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