Next Time You Sing a Song Publically, Make Sure You Don’t Get Sued by Fire Records

April 6, 2011

There’s something about COO of Fire Records, having to discuss something with him has always been a pleasure. As soon as the discussion ends, we always have a thing or two to write about. Unfortunately, we haven’t talked in a while which is why you probably didn’t see a Fire Records post in so long.

Last Sunday, we sat down with one of the Fire Records insider who disclosed shocking stuff about their policies. These policies are probably around for a while but we have only learnt about them now.

Before I write about the real issue, I need you to have some background knowledge about the Fire Records policies we have already talked about. We have whined so much about this that you probably already know that Fire records work on the lump-sum model. They buy composition rights from musician apart from the distribution rights which they are supposed to buy anyway. Being the owner of the composition rights, they require each TV channel and radio station to pay the royalty to them as they play the music.

The whole concept of buying the rights is crazy. Why? because rights are legal, social or moral freedoms that are supposed to be used by you and not to be sold. Again, the debate is why did artists sell the rights at first place, probably for some money that they can’t make otherwise because of the industry being extremely dried up. Honestly, if they had known this is what they are entering into, they wouldn’t sign up for this even for the little money that they can’t make otherwise. Musicians generally fall for this because they are unaware of so much that they are giving for such little fee. That’s something we have already talked about and that’s much lesser crazy than what we have just heard from our source at Fire Records.

What else does Fire Records buy? Performance rights! The right to perform. Performing rights are the right to perform music in public. Let’s say I cover a song from an album which has been signed by Fire Records, commercially or non-commercially, but in a public event which is being attended by outsiders. Let’s suppose that someone from Fire Records shows up at the event and notices me performing that song. He can under the law hold me responsible for infringing their rights unless I pay Fire Records a performance fee. Sounds a little crazy? There’s more to it. Fire Records has also taken performance licenses from some of the major record labels of India.

Which means if you’re found performing Sheela or Munni or may be even Gulabi Ankhien at your favorite cafe in an open mic night, they can charge you for that. Does anything get crazier than this?