Thursday, June 15, 2006

Hey Gary Glitter, Shoe's Untied!

I don't post here very often -- this is Pat's show, and he does a fine job of it -- but I feel pretty strongly about this Gary Glitter creep. Specifically, I feel strongly about folks who -- for some strange reason -- don't think it's worth getting worked up about a song.

In the case of "Rock and Roll Part 2," it absolutely is worth it.

It's not about banning the song because of Glitter's "questionable habits." If that were the case, Derek, your point (as articulated in the comments of Pat's last post) would be well-taken.

The suggestion to stop playing "Rock and Roll Part 2" at sporting events is a suggestion, in essence, to stop funding the Gary Glitter Child Molestation Legal Defense Fund. It's not about judging Glitter's behavior, although I can see how some folks who are particularly turned off by old men having sex with children might make that a part of their argument to "ban" the song.

No, it's all about money. Let me explain.

There are three ways a musician can make money: 1) perform live to a paying audience; 2) record a song and receive a royalty for every unit of recorded media sold; and 3) write a song and receive a payment from a performance rights organization whenever that song is played in public (assuming the song is registered with BMI, or ASCAP, or any other organization that collects and distributes revenue to songwriters).

Gary Glitter is both the writer and performer of the version "Rock and Roll Part 2" heard at sporting events. As long as he is in jail, he will not be earning money from performing live. And he won't earn money from selling recordings so long as you and I and everyone else agrees to not run out to Best Buy and purchase Gary Glitter's Greatest Hits (which shouldn't be too difficult a thing from which to refrain, since if you ever wanted to own it, you probably already do).

But because Glitter's song is registered with performing rights organizations, those organizations (ASCAP and BMI) are contractually obligated to collect a fee from every team that plays the song at a game (a fee that is based n the number of times the song is played, and an estimated number of people who hear it), then cut Gary Glitter a quarterly check. The teams (also bars and restaurants and radio stations, etc.) that play the song pay rights fees from revenue collected from ticket buyers and advertisers.

Thus, every time you buy a ticket to a sporting event that plays the song -- and technically, even if you support an advertiser of a game you watch on television -- a portion of your expense goes straight into Glitter's pocket (which, presumably, he empties periodically to purchase better treatment in prison or, as was well-document in coverage of the case, to pay off his victims' families). It's a small portion, I'll grant you, but enough of one collected enough times that the guy has made a handsome living over the years (and can afford to hop from country to country looking for a legal system lax enough to allow him to pursue his prurient compulsions without intervention) on the strength of just that one song.

The NFL gets it. I read today the league has asked its teams to stop playing the song at NFL events next season (and, presumably, thereafter). According to a spokesman: "The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Teams understand the reason for the request."

Besides... While it may be a very popular song, if they stopped playing "Rock and Roll Part 2" at games and did not tell you, would you even notice it was gone?


Derek Knight said...

nnn-nnn-nn (here it comes) HEY!

nn...nn-nn-nn HEY!

(if it's any comfort to you, I've never actually paid MY ASCAP or BMI fees.)

I totally get where you're coming from, but, at the same time, I'm not going to open the giant can of worms that comes from making my entertainment choices based on the character (or lack thereof) inherent in the individuals who may or may not profit from my purchase. At the same time, I won't stand in your way if you choose to do so. In the case of the NFL requesting that the song not be played at NFL events, that's fine, they're big enough to make a difference in the guy's income. The NFL, though, has chosen to take a moral stand in this case, one which may open the floodgates in the future if whichever song they replace R&R pt. 2 with happens to offend someone in some way...

Bill Purdy said...

The song doesn't offend me. In fact, I quite like it. As a Colorado sports fan, I have a strange sort of pride that "we" (allegedly) started playing the song -- at Rockies games.

I simply think Gary Glitter should be punished for having sex with kids. One way I can punish him is to request sports teams I follow cut off their support of his music (unlike you, they DO pay their rights fees). I can also not buy his CDs, but since I have already done that my whole life that's not much of a step.

Pat Angello said...

GO NFL! Finally did something RIGHT!

Seriously, would you really miss it?

Everything you ever wanted to know about Pat Angello - sorry!