For thousands of years, leeches were used by the medical world to treat a wide variety of ailments – their saliva, for example, contains proteins and compounds that protect against blood clotting. Believe it or not, but they’re still used by Britain’s NHS today – and for farmers, they can even be used to treat mastitis infections in cattle.
Advances in medicine and technology mean, of course, that their use is not as prevalent as it was in the past. This means those poor leeches are having to find other things to do with their time – and this is when the Ears To The House team began to wonder whether Mr Luis Ferdinand Vega Jr used to be one of the aforementioned parasites in a previous life.
Such is our bemusement at finding that the 57 year old Vega is running a remix contest, in conjunction with Beatport and Nervous Records, for his song “How He Works”. The contest, which runs until May 23rd, promises prizes to the winners worth nearly $10,000 – but is the winner likely to see their remix getting its own release on Nervous?
The terms and conditions appear to suggest that Vega and Nervous boss Mike Weiss – who have a long-standing friendship – will have the final say. And they reserve the right to say no, as clause 6 says…
“Label shall have the right to refuse to release and distribute the Winning Remix, or may, at its own discretion, decide not to include the release or distribution of the Winning Remix as a Prize to be awarded to the Grand Prize Winner as part of this Competition at all. In the event that Label elects to release or distribute the Winning Remix, the Grand Prize Winner shall be required to (a) convey to Label all right, title and interest, including, without limitation, the copyrights in the Winning Remix and the Stems embodied therein and (b) grant to Label the sub-licensable, gratis right to use their name(s), likeness(es), and other biographical material(s) provided by them (the “Name & Likeness”) in connection with the potential manufacture, distribution, marketing, promotion, sale and/or other exploitation of the Winning Remix.”
In other words, if either Vega or Weiss choose to block the release of the remix, there is absolutely nothing the winner can do. Theoretically, the winner could not actually play their version anywhere without breaking the copyright, which Nervous Records own. So much for the Loopcloud blurb saying you can use this as a springboard to “launch your career as a producer.”.
We reached out to The Insider to see what he thought – and his response was pretty scathing. He said, “Louie’s got some f***ing cheek, hasn’t he? This is really quite something. The guy has never done anything for free in his life. When he was in Masters At Work, they used to get paid around $20,000 for their remixes. I should know – I once worked for a label that paid $25,000 to have a remix done by the duo.”
“He’ basically behaving like a leech, but it’s no different to what a lot of the industry does. One EDM producer told me years ago that he basically used his remix contest to pinch ideas from other people. Also, what’s to stop anyone from using AI to make this? Nowhere does it say in the terms and conditions that it has to be made by a human, only that it has to be submitted by one. Louie is a very talented musician, but he could find himself selecting a winning remix made by a robot. No wonder he wants the option to refuse to release it.”.
With the recent news that some 60% of musicians admit they’re already using AI in their production work, we can’t help but wonder what quagmires Louie “Leech” Vega might be getting himself into…