Eddie Mair, Billy Bragg, YouTube, copyright etc etc.

I’ve spent the last week sitting in for my distinguished colleague Nils Blythe on the Upshares, Downshares slot on Radio 4’s PM programme. Which means walking into the studio at 1730 each evening with some trepidation – because you never know quite what the inestimable Eddie Mair is going to say. He is an absolute master of radio broadcasting, with the ability to switch from a deadly serious interview to something light with the flick of a switch – but so relaxed in his studio that sometimes you’re not quite sure whether you’re on air or not – the clue being the red light in front of you.

Snapping while broadcasting

Snapping while broadcasting

Anyway, I’ve tried to keep a bit of a tech theme running through the week (hard because stories were thin on the ground) but also to use some of my new media tools along the way. So I headed to an event at the Performing Rights Society, where songwriters were stepping up their campaign against YouTube. The bonus was that I got to meet one of my favourite musicians, Billy Bragg, and found to my delight that he was as nice in real life as he’s always seemed on stage – which is not always the case with celebs of any kind. As well as interviewing him for PM, I snapped him on my phone:
Billy Bragg
I also recorded an AudioBoo on my phone. It starts inaudible(you can’t yet edit “boos” which is a pain)but then Billy B starts saying musicians shouldn’t really compare themselves to exploited workers in Dubai – Pete Waterman had just made that comparison at the press conference, to Bragg’s obvious discomfort.

I then recorded Billy Bragg’s performance of “I Keep faith” on a tiny compact HD video camera – and uploaded it onto YouTube.
Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "Billy Bragg at PRS", posted with vodpod

Which rather begs the question – by uploading onto YouTube a video of a songwriter protesting about the way YouTube treats songwriters am I a)breaching his copyright or b)providing YouTube with my own content for nothing? And should either or both of us now demand some cash from YouTube for allowing them to use my excellently shot (ok shaky handheld) video and his music? Actually, this is obviously “news access” – and anyway when I looked at YouTube Billy Bragg is all over it. His videos haven’t been blocked – and indeed there’s this version of A New England where he says at the start some people may be recording this for YouTube:
Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "Billy Bragg in concert", posted with vodpod

I got the impression that while Billy is lending his support to his union, he’s a lot less worried about the whole issue of free music online than many of his colleagues.
And now here’s a final bit of video – shot by our excellent radio producer Mark Broad without whom none of us would get on air – in the PM control room as the programme was going out on Thursday evening. Feel free to rip it off – but remember, Mark and I will come after you and your family with a whole battery of lawyers.
Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "Upshares, downshares", posted with vodpod

One response to “Eddie Mair, Billy Bragg, YouTube, copyright etc etc.

  1. I think perhaps one of the best things about Billy is that he has stayed very close to his political and social beliefs – which he wears on his sleeve for all to see – and has also visibly grown as a performer. I remember my original 12 inch vinyl copy of the New England e.p. sounding quite raw with Billy’s voice being less polished and perfect-pitched than it has become.

    A great guy who writes earthy lyrics that speak the language of the average person – good to hear (and perhaps no surprise) that you find him to be true-to-form in person too.

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