Taylor: The perils of playing it safe

There was this rock star, see, who learned that playing it safe is the only sure way to lose.

Stop me if you’ve heard this story before.

There was this rock star, see. He started with an acoustic guitar and a mouth organ. But then his songs caught on. So he went electrical. He added a drummer, some backup singers, a brass section. Fireworks and lights. Enough amplifiers to levitate small children. And all the whizz-bang gimmickry a recording studio could generate.

He became rich and famous.

But then he decided to do a nostalgia tour. Just him and his guitar. So he called his managers in. He said he would be out of reach, out of touch. He divided the market up into zones, and told them they were on their own.

When he eventually came back, he called his managers into his penthouse office, one by one, to find out what they had done in his absence.

The first manager said, “I listened to all your records and read all your songbooks. I realized that you were a genius as well as a brilliant performer. So I tried to make your insights even more widely known than they were already. I encouraged writers to quote you. I made your songs available to church choirs and school music classes without charge. I sponsored philosophy forums where university students debated your concepts.”

“How much money did that make?” asked the rock star.

“None,” admitted the manager. “At least, not directly. But far more people know you now. You’re quoted more often than Shakespeare. And coincidentally, sales of your songbooks and CDs keep going up.”

“Well done,” said the rock star, and called in the second manager.

“I’ve been zealous about collecting royalties,” said the second manager. “If they bought sheet music, if they bought a CD, if they sang your songs at a school concert, if they quoted your words in a magazine article or a book, I made sure they paid you something for it. I didn’t threaten anyone; I just pointed out that using your words or music without compensation was like stealing from you. They always agreed that you deserved a fair return for your creativity. The royalties have been rolling in.”

“Well done,” said the rock star, and called in the third manager.

“I didn’t want anyone stealing your stuff,” said the third manager, “even if you did swipe some of your best melodies from Tchaikovsky and Verdi. So I turned down all requests for permissions. Nobody used your songs in commercials; no one quoted your best lines in books or editorials. Your creative efforts belong to you, and I kept them locked up tight until you returned to administer them yourself.”

“You stupid twit,” said the rock star. “Just who and what did you think you were serving? If no one sings a song, it doesn’t exist. If no one hears my words, they’re meaningless.”

“But I was just protecting your copyright,” protested the manager.

“Get out!” roared the rock star. “You’re fired!”

He gave that manager’s territory to the other two. And he sent a Tweet to millions of followers on Twitter: “Playing it safe is the only sure way to lose.”

I wonder who he intended his message for.

Just Posted

A new development surrounding plane that went missing around Revelstoke in November

The family of Ashley Bourgeault believe they have found a new clue

Coal dust escaping rail cars spurs petition

Local governments onboard with Shuswap resident’s request for better control of escaping particulate

UPDATE: Rockslide keeps Coquihalla northbound lane closed

Highway 5 is closed in one direction.

Racers connect with international event at Big White

The 2nd annual event is designed for racers from different countries to bond together

Mamas for Mamas founder survives with new lease on life

Kelowna’s Shannon Christensen escaped a dangerous situation and lived to tell about it

Lake Country Winter Blues Fest bigger and better in its second year

Organizer Ryan Donn says he’s already planning the 2019 edition

Lawyers slam ‘de facto expulsion’ of student guilty of sexual interference

Calgary student guilty of sexual assault of a minor allowed to finish semester

B.C. NDP set to restructure union bargaining

School trustees to regain control over employer group

$130K could get you on a dive to the Titanic

Hot summer ticket: $130K could get you on a dive to the Titanic off Newfoundland

UK’s Princess Eugenie, daughter of Prince Andrew, engaged

Princess Eugenie, the daughter of Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, will marry Jack Brooksbank in Autumn 2018

German nurse charged with 97 more murders

Niels Hoegel, serving a life sentence for two murders, has been indicted in nearly 100 more killings.

Okanagan jazz legends grace Vernon Jazz Club stage

The Vernon Jazz Society presents the Craig Thomson Quintet Jan. 27

Two men guilty in murders of Alberta family could face 75 years

The pair were found guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Klaus’s parents and sister in a rural home near Castor, Alberta

With Senate talks falling short, U.S. shutdown enters workweek

President Donald Trump accused Democrats of prioritizing services and security for noncitizens over U.S. citizens

Most Read