Creative Culture Journal

The best site on the web for what is real in arts & entertainment

2023 - Edition I


If you are a “creative” of any kind, who has, in the past, shared your performances of “familiar” (that is, copyrighted) material for no reason other than to demonstrate your skills, or your appreciation of the skills of the creator of the material, your time is past. 

Since the implementation of the DIGITAL MILLENNIUM COPYRIGHT ACT OF 1998 (DMCA), which is the legislation regulating content usage on digital media, there has been a conflict growing in a steady evolution. It has paralleled the development of a wide range of digital platforms, many of which, like YouTube and Facebook, have benefited greatly from user content creation. 

For that reason, media platforms, who are responsible under the DMCA for enforcing copyright protections, have played loose with that responsibility for as long as they have been able to, but the salad days are done. Platforms are now facing large fines ($150,000 and more for a single infraction) and over the past 18 months, the digital media world has changed. 

Now, anyone uploading a track to any media platform will find their upload digitally scoured by algorithms for signals that the work infringes on a copyright holder’s rights. There are automatic penalties for an uploader who fails these copyright infringement trials. You can be canceled, banned from the platform for life, with any content you may already have on the site permanently and irretrievably deleted. 

Okay, fair enough, you might say, because people are generally sensitive to the rights of others, and we would all want protection for something we have created, that is ours. 

“Protection”, in that context, equates to money – dollars and cents. You can contact the owner of the material you would like to “cover” and pay a mechanical licensing fee for how you intend to use that material. That fee can amount to very little, or a whole lot, depending upon the value of the material you wish to use. 

That dollar figure limits the use of material, even by well-financed operations, like movie studios. It is incredibly expensive, for instance, to license the use of a Beatles track, which is why they are rarely heard in the movies. 

Movie studios and big recording labels aside, mechanical licensing fees eliminate almost everyone else from using copyrighted material, even for purposes without profit. Creative types working in home studios can no longer legally upload copyrighted material to an internet site because they can’t afford it. 

Most creatives learn their crafts by emulating, recreating, and building on material that is familiar to them, and they test out their development by going public with their projects. And most have no money to pay expensive entry fees that will inevitably limit the playing fields – the content libraries – to a managed elite, which the jaded among us may equate to a corporate sponsorship of the arts. 

This new hard-edged copyright enforcement will have an impact on the culture of tomorrow. It might make one wonder how the media programmers will people their ivory elite in a world designed to protect creators who might never have developed without assistance from earlier, less distributed, less litigious generations of geniuses.



APP Music

Is that a band in your pocket, or are you..?

It is amazing, these days, the musical resources that anyone can carry around on the mobile device. You have apps that help you learn to sing on key, and others to record your musical inspirations, all without involving another burdonsome human in your project!

Check out this link to a UK site that has the whole playing field sussed out. 


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Grass Valley Center for the Arts 

Russel Davidson Architecture + Design renovated this building, beautifully realizing local arts enthusiasts' vision for the establishment of a creative arts engine for little Grass Valley, California. The design firm and members of the local business community have succeeded in renovating and re-purposing a wonderful old building that has been integral to the community since 1947. It began life as a Chevrolet dealership and over time has been a beauty school and a gym and dance facility. After receiving grant funding in 2016 to complete the renovation, the building only reopened last year, and with great impact.

Tomorrow night, as this is written, the facility will host an evening with Graham Nash. 

Grass Valley, and Nevada City, it's sister a few miles up Hwy 49, is a really special place with a lot of energy. It has two top-flight performance venues that have somehow survived the pandemic shutdowns.

 PHOTO - Melissa Clark

The Center for the Arts is a labor of love one can only hope can survive, because it provides fantastic creative programs for youth, beautiful exhibit space for fine artists, and a jewel of a performance auditorium. The space attracts top acts (Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt will be there next month, sold out) to a town of less than 13,000 population. It is home to numerous musicians and actors of note and it is spectacular that this little community is able to support this extraordinary community asset.  


Vocal Range Isn't Everything

When it comes to determining those singers who can put a song across to an audience, a singer's range may have less to do with it than do other vocal attributes. That said, vocal range does say something about the engine your favorite singer is working with.

On average, humans have a somewhat limited vocal range. Most untrained singers have somewhere between a 1.4 to 2 octave range. The average trained singer will have a 3 octave range, while trained classical singers may have as much as a 5 octave range.

Here is a list of well-known singers, and their vocal ranges, as identified by various internet sites. Exception could be taken to some of these range assessments: 

2-Octave Range
  • Avril Lavigne
3-Octave Range
  • Ed Sheeran
  • Adele (3-minus)
  • Celine Dion (3-plus)
  • Taylor Swift (3-plus)
  • Bruno Mars
  • Lady Gaga
  • Freddy Mercury
  • Barbra Streisand
  • Kelly Clarkson
  • Elton John
  • Idina Menzel
  • Madonna
  • Aretha Franklin (3-plus)
  • Dua Lipa (3-minus) 
4-Octave Range
  • Ariana Grande
  • Prince (4-plus counting shrieks)
  • Michael Jackson
  • Alicia Keys
  • Beyonce (4-minus)
  • Jennifer Hudson
  • Demi Lovato
  • Miley Cyrus (4-minus)
  • Paul McCartney 
5-Octave Range
  • Whitney Houston
  • Mariah Carey 
8-Octave Range
  • Georgia Brown (Brazilian Jazz singer)

There is a Guiness Book of Records range record holder, spanning an extraordinary 10 octaves, but it didn't make his name (Tim Storms) a household thing.     

Sax Players to Know

We at the CCJ are big fans of sax man Jay Metcalf, at In this video, Jay turns us on to some of the visionary sax players who made the instrument what it is today.        


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