This past week Terry McBride gave a great interview with Jian Ghomeshi on CBC’s Sounds Like Canada. I really dig the guy.
Terry co-founded Nettwerk Productions back in the 1980s, intending to break bands that weren’t getting attention in the great white north. Remember Skinny Puppy, Grapes of Wrath and MaUVe? Those are the bands that Terry and co. worked so hard to break in the early days and they in turn helped to establish Nettwerk Music Group – which is now the largest independent record label and management company in Canada.
Terry has stayed passionate and true in an industry that can so easily turn one into a Starbucks drinkin’, club-crashin’, shit-talkin’ jackass. Hunter S. Thompson said it best: “The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.”
A couple years ago I was lucky to cross paths with Terry on an Avril Lavigne promo and the man is professional, dedicated and smart. He loves music and he believes in his artists.
Which is why I literally jumped for joy when I heard that he plans to stand up to the RIAA!
“Suing music fans is not the solution, it’s the problem.”
Kudos to him.
The whole story goes something like this: Terry plans to take on the RIAA on behalf of Elisa Greubel, a 15-year-old Texan whose father was sued by the recording industry trade group in August 2005 for owning a computer that allegedly shared more than 600 music files. Avril Lavigne’s track “Sk8er Boi” among them.
McBride said he decided to weigh in because the action involves his artists. “Litigation is not ‘artist development,’ ” he said in the statement. “Litigation is a deterrent to creativity and passion and it is hurting the business I love. The current actions of the RIAA are not in my artists’ best interests.” Nettwerk has offered to pay all legal fees and any fines for the family in the event that they lose the suit…
Furthermore, Terry is interested in exploring a collective licensing scenario much like France has opted for in recent months, “It’s stupid to fight it. Embrace it and monetize it.”
(I agree with Terry, and I’d even take it a step further and endorse a version of the celestial jukebox idea – ideas of which CRIA’s Graham Henderson calls the “Sovietization” of the industry, but that’s an argument for another time…)
I believe Terry’s heart is in the right place and I endorse his decision to fight for what he believes in – music and music fans. This was cemented for me listening to Terry’s chat on the CBC this past week. Why? Because he can’t say monetize! Four or five times he stumbled over the word.
Not to compare Terry to George Bush directly (whoa, wtf?!? lol), but his language troubles remind me of Dubya in a way, the inverse obviously. Bush stumbles when he’s trying to relate to the proletariat and says lame-o things like “I know how hard it is to put food on your family,” because he can’t relate and he doesn’t give a shit about whether anyone can feed their family or not. But ask him to talk about the business of war and he’s in like sin.
Similarly, I believe Terry doesn’t relate to the suits who use terms like “monetize”. He speaks lucidly and with passion about the history of Nettwerk, music or his artists but has trouble navigating the business lexicon of the music industry.
I trust him for this. It’s visionaries like Terry who see past the formulas, doublespeak and desperate protectionist attitudes. His language is music.