Artie Wayne is on the move, and the train has indeed left the station. His campaign for truth and justice in royalty compensation for him personally and for his cowriters continues to gain exciting momentum. And, he can’t stop smiling. He knows he’s not alone in his efforts.
No one knows better than Wayne that whenever you declare war on the status quo, you draw a line in the sand. It’s then when you find out who your friends are, really. The true friend will stand by you and risk being identified with you being “one of them” in the battle. And, yes, some friends you collect along the path of success will fear being cast into a mold, so they will move away quietly, but you don’t miss them anyway.
You cherish, all the more who stands by you. In the past week, thanks to the ‘Facebook effect’ and the buzz of social media in full swing, Artie Wayne has every reason to be smiling. He’s on the phone, on the computer, and on the move in his quest for justice in royalty distributions.
Jumbled Letters and Bean Counting
Artie’s search for truth and justice in receiving what he believes to be his fair share of music royalties has taken on a new level of activity in the past week, thanks to social media. If you are one of the millions who play ‘Words with Friends’ on Facebook, two people can stare at the same group of letters and make a word. It all depends on which side of the screen you’re on. Take, for example, the letter grouping…a-p-p-r-o-p-r-i-a-t-e. Artie Wayne thinks he’s entitled to appropriate royalties as co-writer of two songs recorded by the late Michael Jackson. Someone can also spell (with one letter left over) A Pro Pirate out of those letters.
Seems statistics are leaning toward Wayne’s World, if you will. A Reuters report two days ago noted that singer Michael Jackson ‘was named this year’s top-earning dead celebrity’ in a list compiled by Forbes.com. This past year, Jackson’s music has garned $170,000,000 in earnings. In the first year after Michael’s passing, similar numbers were reached.
Even if you’re not really good at math, there’s every reason for Wayne to expect that two songs he co-wrote ‘Touch the One You Love’ and ‘Little Christmas Tree’, included on four different posthumous Jackson releases, should have earned sufficient royalties to have produced an income check. Wayne was nonplussed when he opened his recent royalty statement and saw he had not amassed royalties as a songwriter or publisher to garner even a minimum payment of $50.
The good news is that for the past week, celebrities and attorneys alike have kept his phone ringing and his computer announcing new e-mail every few minutes. He’s been surrounded and enveloped by love and outreach from those who can help, who want to help, and who are helping, as he prepares to go forward with formal proceedings against the bean-counters and computers who might just have erred and not made it ‘all the way down to the ‘W’s’ in their royalty distributions. You know, pesky accounting errors, darn those computers and all?
From the looks of things, Artie Wayne continues to have a legion of friends who love, respect, cherish, and honor him and what his work in the music industry has done for them, and for the business, over the last 50 years. Not only are there those in the industry, present-day and from back in the day, who have openly posted comments on his blog, there are some powerhouses he’s heard from behind the scenes via e-mail and phone calls. From the looks of things, Artie vs. the music industry has escalated into ‘Team Wayne goes after royalties.’
Talkin’ bout My Generation
So, who is on Wayne’s side? Let’s start with Shel Talmy, a Chicago native who is considered by peers to be one of the most influential producers, arrangers and songwriters ever (The Who, The Kinks, Manfred Mann, David Bowie). Says Talmy,
‘I’ve known (Arite) for umpteen years and we go back far enough so that he stayed at my flat in London and I at his apartment in L.A. What he says about the music industry re the ‘negative’ side, is unfortunately too true. Yes, there are lots of really good people working in music, and also enough jerks, out-and-out thieves and no-talent bean counters to make you wonder if you’d have been better off breeding ostriches or being a mortician… Artie was there from the getgo, has pretty much seen and done it all and you can take what he wrote as gospel. And by the way, his book is a terrific read and if you haven’t read it, put it on your Christmas list. There’s no doubt that Artie is the basis of that old joke about the two guys appearing on the balcony in Vatican Square with thousands of tourists looking on, and one says to the other, “Who are those two guys”?. The other tourist replies, “I don’t know who the dude in the robes is, but the other one is Artie Wayne!” What happened to Artie, happened to me, the ‘culprits’ being 2 of the biggest global record companies. I did take them on and yes, it took years, but I won in the end. It was NOT fun, but it was necessary. So should Artie take on the “Whaddya mean we owe you money” industry prevaricators again…absolutely!’
Tommy James, Wayne’s labelmate at Roulette Records, said, ‘Artie Wayne defines the best of the music industry when we had a real music industry…he did it all with style and grace and passion.’ Coming from a fellow songwriter who is experiencing a dynamic resurgence of his own, after his bestselling book, ‘Me, the Mob, and the Music,’ James knows what he’s talking about re the ‘business side of business.’
Artie the Author
Wayne’s book, ‘I Did it for a Song’ is also garnering more kudos from industry luminaries who are weighing in online on his blog (Artie Wayne on the Web). Just this past week, pop culture blogger and Emmy-winner Tony Digirolamo noted I Did it for a Song is a chronicle of music history of which he is proud: ‘Artie Wayne had a lot to do with many careers, solid weaving in and out with artists everyone knows.’
Patti Dahlstrom (who thanks to Artie Wayne had her song ‘Emotion’ become a hit for Helen Reddy and wrote chart-toppers for Anne Murray, Thelma Houston, Johnny Rivers and more), wrote: ‘Thank you for once again fighting the good fight!’
Grammy winner and producer of 30+ gold and platinum records, Joel Diamond, weighed in succinctly as well. Says Diamond, ‘My money has always been and will continue to be on Artie Wayne!’
Train of Thought
Alan O’Day is known for his own hits (Undercover Angel) as well other stars (Helen Reddy, ‘Angie Baby’ and Cher’s ‘Train of Thought’), and is a longtime Wayne colleague and true friend. O’Day notes:
‘Sometimes I wonder if the whole concept of the value of a creative work in perpetuity is in danger! As you know, we are waging similar battles. I applaud you for being willing to take your cause public, and I believe your victory will encourage so many others to say to the music Goliaths, ‘Do the right thing.’…Keep doing what you’re doing, my friend. Love Alan O’Day’
The Train Has Left the Station—All Aboard!
Speaking of trains, the groundswell of those who support Artie Wayne as an artist, songwriter, producer, and a man deserving of an appropriate and correct amount of royalties is on the move. The train, in fact, has left the station and appears on the way to accounting offices to fine-tune the business behemoths.
There’s more to come from Artie Wayne and his war and there’s plenty to review emanating from his burgeoning ever-creative mind. A few of his projects include writing collaboration on some exciting (hush-hush for now) projects with singer/songwriter, Heidi Little. Wayne says he’s ‘close to completing his follow-up book,’ which chronicles the life and times of good friend Allan Rinde’s restaurant. Wayne named the place and hosted there for nine years: Hollywood’s hot spot, Gengis Cohen, currently in its 25th year as the place to be. The book title is Vintage Wayne: ‘I Did it for an Eggroll.’
Remember the late night TV guy, ‘But wait, there’s more!’ That seems to be de rigeur for the caped crusader who was once known as Shadow Mann. Until he’s ready to weigh in from his San Francisco, CA, headquarters, stay tuned. For now, only the Shadow knows! And when it comes to the legal items, he’s staying mum but hints he won’t be silent for long.
If Artie Wayne had a theme song for his current pursuits, it would probably be McFadden and Whitehead’s ‘Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now’. This concludes the first class taught from the Artie Wayne School of Music Economics.