Although I'm a GEMA member, and in general appreciate the fact that GEMA does about as good a job as any organization in collecting licenses fees for performances, broadcasts, and recordings, I have to admit to taking some pleasure in Anonymous's take-down of the GEMA website today, if just as a reminder of GEMA's inability to deal — technically, legally, economically — with the internet and as yet another marker of the screwed-up state of musical rights (protection, longevity & orphaning, compensaton).
I was recently astonished to learn that someone had written a blog item identifying pieces from this blog's Landmarks list available in recorded form on Spotify. While I appreciate the research effort here, the compensation model for anyone involved in the production of recorded music at Spotify is just not a good one and if you respect musicians, please don't use Spotify. I realize that more and more people simply expect to get recorded music for free (& I'm personally indebted to countless recordings borrowed from libraries or heard on radio, back when there was interesting music on radio in SoCal, so I know the feeling, but those recordings were purchased by the libraries and those radio stations reported and paid license fees for those broadcasts), and I recognize that the wind is blowing in a direction in which, ultimately, only live performances will generate real income streams for most musicians, BUT, the Spotify model in which a composer gets paid only fractions of a cent (dollar or euro) for a streamed listening is — above and beyond the insult — simply not a sustainable one. Brian Brandt's (of Mode Records) article on this topic is well worth reading.