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Star Academy

Posted by Steve R-187639 - Created: 14 years ago
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Not sure how many people here watch French TV but I was watching tonight's Star Academy 'prime' and was surprised to find myself upset by one of the songs.

Elton John is the 'parrain' of this year's series and consequently a lot of his old songs are covered by the 'star academiciens'. On tonight's show, Sofia sang a chilled out version of Candle In The Wind. So far, no problem. It was only when she sang the line 'Goodbye English Rose' that it occurred to me that she wasn't singing the original version but the adaptation that Elton wrote for Princess Diana's funeral. The very version that Elton has said he will never perform again. The very version for which all royalties received were given to charities as he did not want to draw a profit from such a sad and important moment in history.

I'm surprised to find myself upset by this interpretation as I don't consider myself to be a royalist nor the sort of person to be affected by such a thing. Not even sure why I have written it on here, but they say a problem shared is a problem halved.

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10 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 10)

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Posted by mikem-181687 - 14 years ago

Mike's version of how this works is pretty spot on, in my opinion, and having worked twenty years in music and an ex employee of said Simon Fuller, plus production manager for the last "Fame Academy" tour, I feel reasonably qualified to comment.

I feel as Mike, that this was probably an oversight and lack of comprehension rather than for any pre-determined purpose.

 

 

mikem

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Posted by stgeorge-182529 - 14 years ago

I'm afraid I agree with Paul Carmel , ( although ' Pop Stars' is an M6 production on French TV. ) that it's unlikely a cock-up over the ' version' was made on Star Ac.

 

stgeorge

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Posted by Paul Carmel-190537 - 14 years ago

I have a French friend who has been a publisher for over 30 years. He has been approached by Star Academy on more than one occasion to use songs that are within his catalogue and in each time a one off payment has been agreed, and I presume distributed correctly.

Pop Stars in the UK is where all this rubbish came from and you only have to look at the way that was put together to realise that wrongful use of a song is just not on their agenda. 

Record company: Polydor A&R man Paul Adam ( oddly enough on the panel of judges); Agency: Helterskelter agent Paul Franklin ( he was holding dates at venues before they knew how many were going to be in the band or before any auditions had even taken place); Promotions: Nicki Chapman (who was lined up to be the manager, then couldn't be because she was leaving her company to go and work for . . . . . .guess who, Simon Fuller . . who is behind the whole concept in the first place and is fast seeking world domination.

All of the above were in place aprox 2 years before a single audition took place.

This a well-oiled and back-slapped machine which has been syndicated around the world

A simple cock-up of not having a song cleared and the chance of bad press or the chance of being sued ...................me thinks not

Any way if you want to continue our little banter let's do it by e-mail cos I doubt anybody is interested in PRS, MCPS and the like!

PC

 

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Posted by mike-179830 - 14 years ago

Unfortunately, I doubt that charity will benefit directly - precisely because of the ins and outs of music publishing and rights management.

The only way in which any cash is likely to hit charity directly is if there is a clear audit trail that identifies a payment for "Candle in the Wind" (and, more particularly, the specific variant of it) right the way through from Star Academy to SACEM to BMI to the Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) to Universal Songs of Polygram (the publishing company) to Bernie Taupin & Elton John (the authors).

That's unlikely to be the case, as administering the rights payments would cost more than the rights payments themselves, in most cases.

I'm not sure exactly how it does happen, but I suspect - from parallel IP situations - that it's more like this:

SACEM puts all its "non-French" revenue in a pot and then divides it up pro-rata among the various organisations with which it has "contra" deals. So BMI just gets a percentage of the pot. BMI then, in turn, divides the cash - along with the cash from 70-odd other territiories - among its members, pro rata based on (for example) their domestic revenues. UMPG then gives another appropriately sized cut to Universal Songs of Polygram which then spreads it among the writers & composers it represents using some other pro rata system.

I suspect if Messrs John & Taupin were to say, "What percentage of this royalty payment is from the Princess Diana version of 'Candle'?" then nobody would have a clue.

However, I also suspect that the choice of lyrics for Star Academy was a simple error (or even an irrelevance), and that only a tiny percentage of the show's viewers will be in a position to be bothered - or even to notice (just as I'm among a tiny percentage of shoppers at the Centre E. Leclerc to be quite startled when serenaded via the PA with X-rated gangsta rap from time to time...).

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Mike

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Posted by Paul Carmel-190537 - 14 years ago

Hi Mike,

My point was not to explain the full in's and out's of the music industry, it was only to say that in this instance charity will actually benefit from this dreadful show.

PC

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Posted by mike-179830 - 14 years ago

quote: This is how it would have worked. The publisher who owns...

No, that's not how it works these days. Not at all.

The performer clears the rights through their local songwriters'/publishers' rights organisation. ASCAP and BMI in the States are the best-known, but each country has at least one (SACEM in France), and they have a bunch of reciprocal arrangements, which means the actual writers/publishers typically know nothing about it until they get a cheque via the local rights organisation and then their own rights organisation, maybe a year and a half after the performance/recording/whatever.

In most countries, as a writer/publisher - technically, the copyright holder - you can no longer specify "restrictive covenants" regarding the use of songs (such as those which only allowed public performances of  "Leaning on a Lamp Post" to be by George Formby in the 1950s...), whatever the wishes of the writer/publisher. You can control the use of a performance - such as a given recording of a song - rather better, but control is still limited... But once a song's "out there", pretty much anyone can perform/record it as long as they pay the publishing rights (and don't mess with it so much that their alterations create a new work that infringes the copyright vested in the original).

Good example: a production company wanted to use Tom Waits' performance of his song "Heartattack & Vine" on a clothing ad some years ago. Mr. Waits said, "No way, José" (or words to that effect) so the company use the Screamin' Jay Hawkins version of the Tom Waits song; nothing Mr. Waits could do...

It's a little more complicated than this (of course...), which is which IP lawyers get well paid. But that's the gist.

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Mike

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Posted by Paul Carmel-190537 - 14 years ago

Lets put another spin on this,

This is how it would have worked. The publisher who owns the song ( not Elton John ) would have given the right to use the song with EJ approval. In doing this the deal would of be one of two: either Star Academy would have bought the song outright or, much more likely in this case given the song, they would pay a royalty ( no pun intended ) each time the song was used. 

Now bear in mind when that song was released all the money raised from sales and PRS and any other form of public exposure went to charity, and in this case a lot of  cash will be generated from the use of the song on SA will also go to charity.

 

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Posted by stgeorge-182529 - 14 years ago

Surely there have to be better things to do on a Saturday night ( I know the kids like it ! ) than watch Star Ac.!  However , the financial convolutions of this programme and it's spin offs are big time and undoubtedly surprising if you knew what goes on behind the scenes ! Make no mistake - these people do their homework , and the version last night would have been carefully thought about in co-ordination with Elton John's Agent !stgeorge

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Posted by orangeblossom-191080 - 14 years ago

HiI agree entirely - was v. surprised myself. Can't figure out who would have initiated it - star Ac. or Elton. Did wonder if Elton did it so that ppl would hear the song without him singing it - to encourage the use of it. Either way it was highly bizarre and inappropriate. Singing it as a tribute with a piano is one thing, gyrating dancers is another. & if it was from sheer ignorance, then they shouldn't be the professionals they claim to be.P.S. it's not like they don't know about Diana, it did happen in their country. I hope they receive complaints about it to be honest. And surely if it was Elton John's wishes that they perform it to raise money, that doesn't come above a (v.rich) friend's respect to another friend. Could he not just have donated money if the charity needs it that desperately?! Right finished ranting now! sorry about that! :-)

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Posted by steph75-182837 - 14 years ago

I am certainly not a British Royalist but out of respect to Lady Diana, I was upset too that Star Academy chose the the 'English Rose' version of Candle in the Wind for Sophia to perform and dance to ! The choreography
was totally inappropiate....dancers and Sophia in sexy chinese cheongsams !!!??? What was Star Academy thinking of ??!!!.......I think they probably did not know what the lyrics meant though......;(