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Subject: Re: "Tristan" Recordings
From: [log in to unmask]
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Sun, 7 Jan 2018 10:44:26 -0500

TEXT/PLAIN (50 lines)

On Sun, 7 Jan 2018, R Stuart <[log in to unmask]> asked:

> Does any one know who exactly has the ability to block the release of a
> performance? In Frau, can the Falcon? Each one of the brothers? I'm sure
> these details weren't spelled out in the performers' original contracts.

I've followed this for many years so what I give is an educated supposition. 
Indeed, original contracts probably never envisioned release of broadcast 
performances.  But whatever principles were involved, I'm 100% sure any 
negotiations had to go through the American Federation of Musicians - the 
musicians' union for the United States.  They are the ultimate decider of such 
issues and I don't believe anyone can go against what they proscribe.

Whatever they negotiated when the Met began releasing historic 
broadcasts on LP (which I recall was phrased so that you did not purchase the 
album, but that album was a gift in exchange for a donation), that 
apparently gave some principles the power to withhold permission.

Negotiation with Sirius apparently overrode earlier contracts (it's 
just being broadcast to subscribers, not being released so that one can "own" 
it physically).  But then when the Met released CDs of its 1966-67 season, 
apparently they cleared whatever hurdles existed. (My guess is that any 
"profits" go to the Met's pension fund and Local 802's general fund, not to 
individual artists.)

You may think that principles have a lot of negotiating power, but my sense is 
that they don't at all.  When I was processing Bruno Walter's papers, Columbia 
Records *told* him what his royalties for reissues would be.  Once or twice he 
remarked that reissue royalties were pretty small, but his entreaties were 
essentially ignored.  (His royalties for reissues were between 1-2.5%).

Bob Kosovsky, Ph.D. -- Curator, Rare Books and Manuscripts,
Music Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
blog:   Twitter: @kos2
  Listowner: OPERA-L ; SMT-ANNOUNCE ; EXLIBRIS-L ; SoundForge-users
--- My opinions do not necessarily represent those of my institutions ---

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