More About Music Justice

Learn More About Music Justice

JUSTICE

noun:

The process of determining punishment or reward.

The just, equitable and righteous administration of law according to moral principles.

More about Music Justice

Why the music industry needs to be reformed


A message from the founder of Music Justice

The worldwide music industry generated more than $16 billion dollars during 2016: which is a lot of money by any standards. The general public are frequently presented with imagery of global icons enjoying the fruits of their labour. Pictures of superstars with their huge mansions, private jets and cavalcades of limousines represent a popular stereotype, but for many, such wealth remains in the realm of fantasy. What nobody sees are the talented musicians and singers who have been forced to quit the music business altogether because they were robbed of their income by the music industry.

History is littered with stories of people who despite selling millions of records and generating many millions of dollars in the process were left to die in abject poverty. The music industry has a glamorous face, but beneath the surface, something rather less pleasant occurs on a daily basis. People (often young, and poorly educated about the inner workings of the music business) are seduced into signing away their musical rights, or consenting to agreements that are devoid of anything that could pass for fair or reasonable contracts. The music industry ‘uses and abuses’ creative people with impunity because it knows that there will always be someone who will leave themselves open to systemic abuse – so long as the hard-to-resist lure of fame and fortune is dangled before them.

I’ve been there…

Errol Michael Henry has seen first hand the culture of greed, deceit, theft and dishonour that is rife with a business that seems to have no moral compass. Errol says: “I keep hearing people say that there is no money in the music business – nothing could be further from the truth. The industry is awash with cash and other associated businesses (the live music industry) are thriving. A lack of cash is not the central issue – a severe lack of integrity about how the money is shared is the real problem. My experiences with large conglomerates have shown that many of them have zero regard for contracts: breaching them with (apparent) impunity. It is also not sufficient for many huge corporations to exploit people during the term of their contracts – many of them persist with ripping people off long after those agreements have expired.

I have been through this myself on numerous occasions and found that the companies involved all acted exactly the same way. Their first response is to hide, their second response is to deny, their third response is to lie and their final response is to fold! Between these phases anyone seeking satisfactory resolution is likely to face threats, intimidation, fiscal penalties and other punitive measures designed to make them quit. During that past few years I have had to relentlessly pursue both Universal Music Publishing and Warner-Chappell Music in order to recover publishing copyrights that had been wrongfully retained beyond the contracted period. Neither company were initially willing to even acknowledge that they had done anything wrong and both of them are facing further action from me as I intend to extract compensation from them for the years their actions have cost me. It isn’t hard to understand why when musicians are faced with a fight with these companies, many simply give up the fight for their income – which means they accept the robbery.

It is extremely daunting to face a highly organised oppressor who is well funded and wields influence in ways that you cannot easily see or respond to. The more I look into the underbelly of the music business, is the more I see the extent to which it’s propensity for theft is by design, rather than a circumstantial by-product of it’s sheer size. The extent to which large music companies and some collection societies willingly ‘cover each others backs’ only becomes really apparent when someone tries to call guilty parties to account.

I uncovered evidence that both Universal Music Publishing & Warner-Chappell Music were abusing copyright registrations to their advantage and to the detriment of their writers. Even though I brought written proof to the PRS that their rules were being broken, they refused to do anything about it, so I am now actively working to reform their organisational ideology, practices and procedures. What I can report at this present moment having directly interacted with the senior management at the PRS it isn’t difficult to understand why some companies take serious liberties with other people’s property, yet escape unpunished – but that will all change very soon.

Antics in high places…

It is extremely daunting to face a highly organised oppressor who is well funded and wields influence in ways that you cannot easily see or respond to. The more I look into the underbelly of the music business, is the more I see the extent to which it’s propensity for theft is by design, rather than a circumstantial by-product of it’s sheer size. The extent to which large music companies and some collection societies willingly ‘cover each others backs’ only becomes really apparent when someone tries to call guilty parties to account.

I uncovered evidence that both Universal Music Publishing & Warner-Chappell Music were abusing copyright registrations to their advantage and to the detriment of their writers. Even though I brought written proof to the PRS that their rules were being broken, they refused to do anything about it, so I am now actively working to reform their organisational ideology, practices and procedures. What I can report at this present moment having directly interacted with the senior management at the PRS it isn’t difficult to understand why some companies take serious liberties with other people’s property, yet escape unpunished – but that will all change very soon.

There is currently no recognised industry body that has the power to compel massive music organisations to do the right thing – but Music Justice is working hard to change that.

Music Justice will identify, investigate and prosecute cases on behalf of performers who find the complex jargon music related documentation difficult to make sense of. The language used in many music agreements is intentionally archaic and purely designed to make them virtually incomprehensible for most ‘normal’ people. It takes a huge amount of time and energy to break down the walls of bureaucracy behind which many of these large organisations gleefully hide. Music Justice is actively looking into the inner workings of these firms to identify ways to secure fairer payments for the people who actually make the music: not just those seeking to profit from it. I loved making music and collaborating with others of like mind was all I ever wanted to do, but I was badly damaged by the behaviour I was subjected to and it has taken me several years to learn how to cope with not only the fiscal losses, but the loss of commercial opportunities too – now I want to fight back.

Disheartened musicians will need help in order to recover their assets: Music Justice exists for this purpose.

I founded Music Justice because I know the circumstances leading up to and the consequences that follow the policies of enslavement that are rife within the music business. I have often found that highly creative people have little appetite for or appreciation of the intricacies of music law – they just want to play, sing or perform to the best of their ability as often as is humanly possible. This intrinsic passion for ‘art’ leaves them wide open to actual abuses and enslavement. Many artists will never own their work because the companies they are associated with insist that all rights are signed over to them in perpetuity. Ignorance of music law has made it extremely easy for these companies to take away valuable rights, without the musicians concerned ever realising the importance of retaining ownership. Music Justice exists to expose and oppose these oppressive regimes.

I am much clearer now about what I went through – and why, but I still feel the negative effects of my experiences to this day.

I am very serious about this mission to bring fairness to the music business. I suffered dearly because I refused to agree to the terms of entrapment proposed by the major music players. I escaped with my music rights, but not without scars. I now have a moral duty to warn other musicians and to educate them about the dangers that always were, and still remain a significant hazard today. By working together, sharing experiences and pooling knowledge, we can stop the invidious culture of robbery, entrapment and abuse that has for too long been woven into the very fabric the music industry. I have to champion this cause because no one else will. I am certainly not the only person who is aware of the long history of wickedness that the music business has inflicted upon musicians since its inception, but I am at present the only one willing to speak up, to stand up and to defend the rights of those less well able to defend themselves.

Music Justice will identify, investigate and prosecute cases on behalf of performers who find the complex jargon in music related documentation difficult to make sense of. The language used in many music agreements is intentionally archaic and purely designed to make them virtually incomprehensible for most ‘normal’ people. It takes a huge amount of time and energy to break down the walls of bureaucracy behind which many of these large organisations gleefully hide. Music Justice is actively looking into the inner workings of these firms to identify ways to secure equitable payments for the people who actually make the music: not just those seeking to profit from it. I loved making music and collaborating with others of like mind was all I ever wanted to do, but I was badly damaged by the behaviour I was subjected to and it has taken me several years to learn how to cope with not only the fiscal losses, but the loss of commercial opportunities too – now I want to fight back.

Can Music Justice be of service to you?

The time has come for the guilty to be prosecuted and the vulnerable to be freed from the chains that have blighted their lives. I honestly don’t have all of the answers but I am willing to ask the difficult questions and with the help of my dedicated colleagues, to take on the might of the nefarious agents who (under the cover of darkness) have ruined so many lives and decimated the hopes of creative people. My career as a music producer is done (for now) but my better, more noble, far more interesting and rewarding career as a champion of worthy causes has begun in earnest – bring it on!

Music Justice is actively looking for people who feel they have been subject to wrongdoing from companies/individuals operating within the music industry. Use the form below to outline the basis of your case and our team will review the circumstances to see how we might be able to help. Even if you no longer have access to the contract you originally signed (perhaps you didn’t sign one at all) – don’t worry we can still investigate on your behalf if we get the basic information that we need. It’s enough that you may have endured losses, but there is no need for you to suffer in silence too. Get in touch today and remember: “We will fight for you.” – Errol Michael Henry

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