The news today that AP is going after an artist for copyright infringement over an image of the new US President came up in an RPM Challenge chat room. Somebody quipped that the average person doesn't know or care about copyright issues and will not until it affects American Idol.
I responded that copyright abuse will never affect American Idol because the show glorifies licensed copying. About 10 seconds later, the full weight of what I said hit me.
Each time somebody sings, butchers, whatever a popular song on American Idol there's a long line of people that get paid. I don't fully understand the business but thanks to some seminars I have attended I now know that there's a byzantine shadow world of publishers, PROs and others that are busily making sure that monies are collected for as many performances as possible. And that includes those annoying Hallmark music cards. Fuck, Desmond Child and Ricky Martin made money when William Hung became a minor celebrity butchering "She Bang".
So that's the scam. In exchange for the promise of stardom, you have people performing music that makes other people money. Music that might be good, might have been popular but no longer sells records.
Fucking evil genius.
Incidentally, I took the above image from Why Idol Auditions Are Packed With Bad Singers, an article that, in trying to answer the question, fails to follow the money.
Brain crapped by MMI on 2/05/2009