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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:50 pm 
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polydigm wrote:
slime.oofytv.set wrote:
polydigm wrote:
It seems to me that the only thing that is threatened with anniversary packages is the inclusion of whole copies of original albums or tracks from the original masters...
no partial tracks, samples or ring tones allowed
Okay, I'm not always willing to do all the leg work, there are only 24 hours in a day, but what I have gathered is that not everything on the MOFOs, for example, would be verboten. Hence, more trim historical projects would still be possible. To me, that type of thing would be better value in the long run. As I said, quality, not quantity. I'm not going to quibble about the price of ZFT CDs, I would be happy to pay over the average CD price for an archival project that the ZFT had gone the extra mile to produce. Basically, smaller and more juicy. If I had the time, I have the tools to put one together that would make my point, I don't, but it's an obvious point, surely. (I mean in general, not you Slime, I'm sure you know what I mean).

Anyway Slime, what's your take on the legal allowability of cut down MOFO type projects? I'm assuming that's still possible.


Makes sense poly - slime, since you are purported to have the expertise, if the ZFT knew what restrictions were placed on the masters Ryko controlled, they shouldn't be surprised by the court ruling, right?

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 7:23 pm 
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Makes sense poly - slime, since you are purported to have the expertise, if the ZFT knew what restrictions were placed on the masters Ryko controlled, they shouldn't be surprised by the court ruling, right?[/quote]

I think ZFT's legal team did not do an adequate job of defining terms. I'm being polite...they did a horrible job. I think we all know the legal protections and use limitations that Gail was seeking. The contract, as written, is too vague.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 11:20 am 
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I have read the whole case memorandum and it looks to me like a truly frivolous half-baked lawsuit on behalf of ZFT. I could not believe some things - Ryko sends ZFT a draft agreement regarding "Lather" in 1996 (together with a $100K check) and ZFT responds in 2006!; ZFT complains about Vault Masters used on a few tracks on Ryko's "Strictly Commercial" - what, Ryko ninja squad team broke into the Vault and stole the masters?.

This travesty of a lawsuit led to nothing other than pissing off Ryko who in turn produced a much better substantiated counter-lawsuit against ZFT and won. I assume the story is not over (and recent disappearance of Ryko CDs might corroborate this) but I have no sympathy for ZFT here.


Last edited by djmdavid on Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 5:17 pm 
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Well, according to what legal education I have, it's some sort of legal document.

I wish somebody could tell us where it is now.

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 Post subject: re: zft lawyers
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 10:43 pm 
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djmdavid wrote:
...a truly frivolous half-baked lawsuit on behalf of ZFT...

... pissing off Ryko who in turn produced a much better substantiated counter-lawsuit against ZFT and won. I assume the story is not over (and recent disappearance of Ryko CDs might corroborate this) ...

agreed, djm, the lawsuit outed skeletons the would probably have stayed in the closet, like the ringtoans & the hots rats vinyl

on the missing cds, maybe ryko found more exploitables by re-analyzing the original contract, & the music industry direction for the last 17 years; future zft mofo type projects could easily be done in collaboration with ryko ... with some big picture co-operation, ryko may cut gail some slack on the odd track that violates the non-compete & even cross-marketing zappa archival material with ryko cds [and beer labels to match]

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 10:52 pm 
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djmdavid wrote:
I have read the whole case memorandum and it looks to me like a truly frivolous half-baked lawsuit on behalf of ZFT. I could not believe some things - Ryko sends ZFT a draft agreement regarding "Lather" in 1995 (together with a $100K check) and ZFT responds in 2006!; ZFT complains about Vault Masters of a few tracks on Ryko's "Strictly Commercial" - what, Ryko ninja squad team broke into the Vault and stole the masters?.

This travesty of a lawsuit led to nothing other than pissing off Ryko who in turn produced a much better substantiated counter-lawsuit against ZFT and won. I assume the story is not over (and recent disappearance of Ryko CDs might corroborate this) but I have no sympathy for ZFT here.

Exactly. Hence my title for this thread.


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 Post subject: Re: re: zft lawyers
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:17 am 
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:41 am 
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I wonder what Trendy thinks of all this..?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:52 am 
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Somebody needs to lay out in a civil non partisan way what happened, I am somewhat confused reading the different takes since so much personal opinion enters into the rants, I'm good with that, but I don't have a handle on who, why, what happened...can anyone drop their ZFT/Ryko disdain long enough to give a Readers Digest summation...

:?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 8:43 am 
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My take in a nutshell. Gail gets pissed at Ryko (for whatever reason) and decides to sue even though she didn't have any grounds for a suit. Ryko (who owns the catalog - most everything that had been released up to Lather) says "oh, yeah?" and knows that it (Ryko) really does have some legitimate grievances against the ZFT and counter sues. The courts rule that Ryko is correct in some of their grievances and that the ZFT is wrong in all of theirs. My point is that Gail made things worse for her, the ZFT, and probably the fans by (wrongfully) suing Ryko. If Gail doesn't sue then Ryko doesn't counter sue and the ZFT can probably continue to get away with including the original albums (or different mixes of the original albums) in these MOFO type projects. Now somebody get me out of this damned nutshell.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 9:03 am 
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IrishBoris wrote:
I wonder what Trendy thinks of all this..?

Trendmonger thinks? That is new to me.

Th.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:57 am 
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KillUgly2 wrote:
My take in a nutshell. Gail gets pissed at Ryko (for whatever reason) and decides to sue even though she didn't have any grounds for a suit. Ryko (who owns the catalog - most everything that had been released up to Lather) says "oh, yeah?" and knows that it (Ryko) really does have some legitimate grievances against the ZFT and counter sues. The courts rule that Ryko is correct in some of their grievances and that the ZFT is wrong in all of theirs. My point is that Gail made things worse for her, the ZFT, and probably the fans by (wrongfully) suing Ryko. If Gail doesn't sue then Ryko doesn't counter sue and the ZFT can probably continue to get away with including the original albums (or different mixes of the original albums) in these MOFO type projects. Now somebody get me out of this damned nutshell.



Thanks KU, at what point in time did Ryko get the rights to the original albums, was that a deal FZ did?

:smoke:


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:19 pm 
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Plook wrote:
KillUgly2 wrote:
My take in a nutshell. Gail gets pissed at Ryko (for whatever reason) and decides to sue even though she didn't have any grounds for a suit. Ryko (who owns the catalog - most everything that had been released up to Lather) says "oh, yeah?" and knows that it (Ryko) really does have some legitimate grievances against the ZFT and counter sues. The courts rule that Ryko is correct in some of their grievances and that the ZFT is wrong in all of theirs. My point is that Gail made things worse for her, the ZFT, and probably the fans by (wrongfully) suing Ryko. If Gail doesn't sue then Ryko doesn't counter sue and the ZFT can probably continue to get away with including the original albums (or different mixes of the original albums) in these MOFO type projects. Now somebody get me out of this damned nutshell.



Thanks KU, at what point in time did Ryko get the rights to the original albums, was that a deal FZ did?

:smoke:

Well, FZ was releasing cd's on ryko from about '85 on and then when he died they bought the catalog. The ZFT still had the vault and could release that as they pleased and are now doing. I've heard some things over the years that Ryko only bought the rights to the catalog for a set period of time but that doesn't seem to ring true to me. I think they bought it and continue to own it. That's the way I understand it anyway.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 8:47 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 8:58 pm 
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I heard $10 million. That number seems pretty lame when you consider that there are mediocre NBA basketball players who make that much in a single season. :evil:


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:42 am 
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KAPT.KIIRK wrote:
Gail/ZFT did get $20 million for the Ryko deal in`94.Not a bad chunk of change.
Which Ryko probably never recouped.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:20 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:28 pm 
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KillUgly2 wrote:
I've heard some things over the years that Ryko only bought the rights to the catalog for a set period of time but that doesn't seem to ring true to me. I think they bought it and continue to own it. That's the way I understand it anyway.
That I can partially answer. The rights to sell CDs of the provided masters, they have that ongoing, no time limit. There was some kind of non-competition clause between them that had a ten year use by date, that's what was being alluded to very cryptically back when it ran out. I don't know the details though. In my opinion, both sides were at least stretching the rules.

None of this really goes to explain the increasing scarcity of FZ's catalogue in the major music stores. It's possible that Ryko was backing off while the court case was under way, but it's absurd to think that they would withdraw his CDs out of any kind of spite. As said above, they would want to recoup their initial investment and more. It would not serve them well to make his stuff hard to buy. Just the opposite, good business sense dictates they have something worth selling and they should be out there selling the arse off of it.

So who does know what the hell is going on with the Ryko catalogue? One possible scenario that occurs to me is that in the background right now, the lawyers and representatives of both sides are nutting out a possible renegotiation of the original agreement that incorporates anniversary remasters of the original catalogue. Ryko can't do that off their own back on their side of the agreement, Gail did suggest that such a remastering extravaganza might occur and she would have to tread carefully on her side of the agreement. Voila, a kind of mutual solution. All the other big and not so big prog guys et al have these anniversary remasters, sometimes after a fading out of stock of previous releases. If that were the case, to be on the safe side, you wouldn't run off to the "factory" and pump out a whole new batch of stock of the current Ryko CDs would you?

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:53 pm 
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polydigm wrote:
KillUgly2 wrote:
I've heard some things over the years that Ryko only bought the rights to the catalog for a set period of time but that doesn't seem to ring true to me. I think they bought it and continue to own it. That's the way I understand it anyway.
That I can partially answer. The rights to sell CDs of the provided masters, they have that ongoing, no time limit. There was some kind of non-competition clause between them that had a ten year use by date, that's what was being alluded to very cryptically back when it ran out. I don't know the details though. In my opinion, both sides were at least stretching the rules.

None of this really goes to explain the increasing scarcity of FZ's catalogue in the major music stores. It's possible that Ryko was backing off while the court case was under way, but it's absurd to think that they would withdraw his CDs out of any kind of spite. As said above, they would want to recoup their initial investment and more. It would not serve them well to make his stuff hard to buy. Just the opposite, good business sense dictates they have something worth selling and they should be out there selling the arse off of it.

So who does know what the hell is going on with the Ryko catalogue? One possible scenario that occurs to me is that in the background right now, the lawyers and representatives of both sides are nutting out a possible renegotiation of the original agreement that incorporates anniversary remasters of the original catalogue. Ryko can't do that off their own back on their side of the agreement, Gail did suggest that such a remastering extravaganza might occur and she would have to tread carefully on her side of the agreement. Voila, a kind of mutual solution. All the other big and not so big prog guys et al have these anniversary remasters, sometimes after a fading out of stock of previous releases. If that were the case, to be on the safe side, you wouldn't run off to the "factory" and pump out a whole new batch of stock of the current Ryko CDs would you?

Makes sense.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:23 am 
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djmdavid wrote:
KAPT.KIIRK wrote:
Gail/ZFT did get $20 million for the Ryko deal in`94. Not a bad chunk of change.
Which Ryko probably never recouped.


Ryko have more than recouped that. Much more. Even considering the $44 million they spent through "corporate restructuring" in order to purchase the release rights for the 60+ FZ titles, etc.

From 1991-2005, the FZ catalogue sold just over 3.5 million copies in the US alone (that's on average, over 235,000 copies annually). 3.5 million x $15 per unit sold = nearly $53 million in gross sales. Of course Ryko doesn't receive all of the gross sales but they probably receive about half. And again, this is only considering US sales during a 15 year period. Ryko has been selling FZ product worldwide for 27 years. So since FZ's US album sales are 25-35% of his worldwide album sales, a worldwide estimate for gross sales from 1986-2012 would be in the $250-$275 million range...

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:13 am 
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For me, the question was always about who is best placed to look after the FZ catalogue?

Back in the days of record shops when CD was still king, Ryko had a very healthy selection of FZ albums in nearly all the shops I ever visited. I thought the repackaging they did was excellent, and unlike Gail, I really liked the green cases. They stood out!
Ryko seemed to be genuinely thrilled to be the home of the Zappa catalogue, I recall getting mail outs from Ryko about new releases and coming FZ events. There was a sense that Ryko were big FZ fans. Remember that cool FZ screen saver they had :lol:

What I've seen from Gail is constant bitching about Ryko which seeing as they were doing a fine job I really couldn't understand. Ok, so there was those budget best of compilations but so what? FZ isn't here to promote his music anymore, you got to come up with ways to reach new fans and those keenly priced compilations were just the ticket.

Truth is, Gail is a control freak and while no one can take away her commitment to preserving and upholding FZ's work, I think she has made too many mistakes. Her 'my way or no way' has been damaging to the legacy.
The legal battles with Ryko were foolish. Here we had a record company with fine worldwide distribution who clearly wanted to work with the ZFT. The posthumous releases should have been done through Ryko. Sales would have been tenfold what the ZFT have achieved on their own. Instead she targeted and continues to target only a tiny hardcore who would be willing to pay inflated prices. I don't buy the 'Zappa's work is superior' argument. What I do buy is the 'Zappa's work should be heard' argument.

We had the discussion on the Carnegie hall thread about the half assed attitude towards downloads. This and the now inevitable 'delayed' announcements, the silly paranoia about bootleggers/track lists, total lack of promotion/buzz about new releases, inability or willingness to use social media and non cryptic communication, the hypocrisy regarding cover bands performances of FZ works/AAAFNRAA, legal battles with the fans/festival/bands not to mention the fall outs with the very people FZ worked with. Its no secret decent folk find Gail Zappa a nightmare to work with.
Of course, for us fans who adore Frank and his music we want to be on Gail's side but there are plenty of brilliant ideas and observations from her customers here, however, she isn't interested in listening, she knows best.

But now Warner own Ryko and it seems to be since the take over that the Ryko catalogue has disappeared. I heard a rumour that Gail maybe trying to buy the catalogue back. At first that sounds like a great idea but I don't have much confidence that the legacy will benefit. :roll:


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:19 am 
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Disco Boy wrote:
djmdavid wrote:
KAPT.KIIRK wrote:
Gail/ZFT did get $20 million for the Ryko deal in`94. Not a bad chunk of change.
Which Ryko probably never recouped.


Ryko have more than recouped that. Much more. Even considering the $44 million they spent through "corporate restructuring" in order to purchase the release rights for the 60+ FZ titles, etc.

From 1991-2005, the FZ catalogue sold just over 3.5 million copies in the US alone (that's on average, over 235,000 copies annually). 3.5 million x $15 per unit sold = nearly $53 million in gross sales. Of course Ryko doesn't receive all of the gross sales but they probably receive about half. And again, this is only considering US sales during a 15 year period. Ryko has been selling FZ product worldwide for 27 years. So since FZ's US album sales are 25-35% of his worldwide album sales, a worldwide estimate for gross sales from 1986-2012 would be in the $250-$275 million range...


Thanks for providing the sales figures of FZ titles - I've been wondering about those for years. Is this the Soundscan data (which covers only brick-and-mortar stores) - or the data includes online sales too?
A slight correction - $20m investment is related to '93 masters only (released by Ryko in 1995). Whatever has been released by Ryko prior to that was probably covered by a different agreement for additional money. I don't know the Ryko cost structure but I doubt they netted half of gross prices - more like 20-30%, at best. There is production (and some CDs have fairly elaborate artwork - think "Yellow Shark" - which would probably increase the production costs further), promotion & distribution (and Ryko did a phenomenal job distributing the stuff - I remember in late '90s I saw a good selection of Ryko FZ CDs in most generic music stores all over the world), royalties to ZFT from CD sales, etc. They kept the whole catalog in print - even the most esoteric titles (think "Franceso Zappa") - add inventory & stocking costs. They had to buy the rights to "200 Motels" from MGM - no way they ever made any money on this. As you mention, they had to use leverage (debt) in order to buy the FZ catalog - add the interest costs here too.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:23 am 
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Ringo wrote:
For me, the question was always about who is best placed to look after the FZ catalogue?

Back in the days of record shops when CD was still king, Ryko had a very healthy selection of FZ albums in nearly all the shops I ever visited. I thought the repackaging they did was excellent, and unlike Gail, I really liked the green cases. They stood out!
Ryko seemed to be genuinely thrilled to be the home of the Zappa catalogue, I recall getting mail outs from Ryko about new releases and coming FZ events. There was a sense that Ryko were big FZ fans. Remember that cool FZ screen saver they had :lol:

What I've seen from Gail is constant bitching about Ryko which seeing as they were doing a fine job I really couldn't understand. Ok, so there was those budget best of compilations but so what? FZ isn't here to promote his music anymore, you got to come up with ways to reach new fans and those keenly priced compilations were just the ticket.

Truth is, Gail is a control freak and while no one can take away her commitment to preserving and upholding FZ's work, I think she has made too many mistakes. Her 'my way or no way' has been damaging to the legacy.
The legal battles with Ryko were foolish. Here we had a record company with fine worldwide distribution who clearly wanted to work with the ZFT. The posthumous releases should have been done through Ryko. Sales would have been tenfold what the ZFT have achieved on their own. Instead she targeted and continues to target only a tiny hardcore who would be willing to pay inflated prices. I don't buy the 'Zappa's work is superior' argument. What I do buy is the 'Zappa's work should be heard' argument.

We had the discussion on the Carnegie hall thread about the half assed attitude towards downloads. This and the now inevitable 'delayed' announcements, the silly paranoia about bootleggers/track lists, total lack of promotion/buzz about new releases, inability or willingness to use social media and non cryptic communication, the hypocrisy regarding cover bands performances of FZ works/AAAFNRAA, legal battles with the fans/festival/bands not to mention the fall outs with the very people FZ worked with. Its no secret decent folk find Gail Zappa a nightmare to work with.
Of course, for us fans who adore Frank and his music we want to be on Gail's side but there are plenty of brilliant ideas and observations from her customers here, however, she isn't interested in listening, she knows best.

But now Warner own Ryko and it seems to be since the take over that the Ryko catalogue has disappeared. I heard a rumour that Gail maybe trying to buy the catalogue back. At first that sounds like a great idea but I don't have much confidence that the legacy will benefit. :roll:


I agree with every word.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:56 am 
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One thing I know about is profit margins and any company running at even 40% would be consider an excellent performer, a good performer would be around 25% to 35%, most companies realistically run at about 15% to 20%, anything less than 10% to 15% would be considered unacceptable...My other point is that no matter how mismanaged you feel the ZFT is, it is their company and they can do as they please...

:smoke:


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:24 pm 
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Ringo wrote:
For me, the question was always about who is best placed to look after the FZ catalogue?

Back in the days of record shops when CD was still king, Ryko had a very healthy selection of FZ albums in nearly all the shops I ever visited. I thought the repackaging they did was excellent, and unlike Gail, I really liked the green cases. They stood out!
Ryko seemed to be genuinely thrilled to be the home of the Zappa catalogue, I recall getting mail outs from Ryko about new releases and coming FZ events. There was a sense that Ryko were big FZ fans. Remember that cool FZ screen saver they had :lol:


Agreed. I always thought Ryko put a lot of love and care into the '95 reissues and did a pretty respectable job in the distribution department.

Quote:
But now Warner own Ryko and it seems to be since the take over that the Ryko catalogue has disappeared. I heard a rumour that Gail maybe trying to buy the catalogue back. At first that sounds like a great idea but I don't have much confidence that the legacy will benefit. :roll:


If Gail buys the catalog back, I have no clue how a tiny label like Vaulternative/Zappa Records would be able to handle such a huge reissue campaign. It seems like she would have to license the catalog to yet another label that she will inevitably butt heads with down the road. Plus, the demand for CDs is so low these days that I would really have to wonder what label would jump at the offer to release 60+ FZ CDs, especially with no mp3 deal in place.


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