Eve of the Revolution:Original Posted by Hojin Egawa (English translation)

Eve of the Revolution

Annotation: This article was translated into English from the original post by Japanese professional bassist Hojin Egawa, with his permission.

Back in the 1950s to 60s, storms were raging with the Civil Rights Movement…

Stories of Civil Rights icons such as Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks as sung by the Neville Brothers ‘Thank you! Miss Rosa’, are especially well known among us music lovers.

Even further back in 1862, Lincoln issued The Emancipation Proclamation.  However some areas in Mississippi and Louisiana were excluded and life still remained hard for African-Americans, causing many to roam around the Mississippi delta, Louisiana, and Texas looking for jobs as seasonal workers.

Many bars where black people would gather after a hard day’s work would not have pianos, and cheap guitars were often played and sang to.  The kind of music that emerged at such bars would be called blues. Delta Blues is said to have been born in the delta area of the Mississippi River.  Blues that spread to the big city like Chicago would be called Urban Blues, and the blues found in bars around the delta would be called Country Blues.

In the 1920s, a white man would approach a black blues man singing country blues, with recording equipment in his hand.  He would tell him to sing, giving him money. Never having thought that his music would make any money, he would happily perform and get a meager fee…unaware that the original blues he played was recorded and would be made into records, generating a huge profit for white people.

A little before year 2000, Paul McCartney was complaining that he still had to pay a huge royalty to perform ‘Hey Jude’ and ‘Yesterday’.  Even the Beatles who successfully delivered a huge stadium concert and changed the history of commercial music were irrationally bound by unjust agreements that were made back when they were ignorant young sprouting musicians that had just come out from their hometown.

Although there is a huge royalty and licensing money involved with Beatles music, of course we all know that Paul McCartney is already a successful billionaire even without that money coming in.  He wasn’t fighting those lawsuits to buy back his music copyrights for money.  It was so that the money would be properly distributed back to the people who really should be entitled to it.

And now, how about the current situation in Japan?

Simply said, there is law for collecting money, but there is no system to distribute it.

Even if the royalty from a song is a few yen for one performance, artists and musicians must not give it up.

It’s not about money.  It’s about presence and raison d’etre as an artist, as a creator.

If sampling research is not conducted by the music copyright organization on the day or at the venue of the show, no royalty will be paid back to the copyright owners even if their music was performed.  This might be understandable if no money is collected, but there is a problem because both the performers and the venues are currently forced to pay usage fees under the name of inclusive contract.

The money that we believed would go to our respectable senior musicians, by us playing their songs as a tribute to them, is NOT properly distributed to the artists who own the copyrights.  And of course, the money that we pay comes from our audience that purchase tickets.

Repertoire Input System

I hereby propose a system that enables correct and proper distribution to copyright owners by inputting data of the songs that were actually performed at venues.