…or so says the gigantic music publishing conglomerate that is determined to stifle any musical inspiration in this country. How? Well, this link sums it up pretty well. If you don’t know anything about guitar tabs, then check out the linked article before proceeding…
I must say that I only realized how bad the situation had become after doing a thorough search for Pearl Jam’s "Animal" guitar tab. Four years ago I viewed the tab easily through my favorite tab search engine, Guitar Tab Universe, but tonight couldn’t find it anywhere. That is, anywhere except Ultimate-Guitar.com, which didn’t include the solo (which happened to be exactly what I was looking for, the rest of the song is trivial). It turns out that this site is one of a very few sites offering tablature for viewing these days. Unfortunately a great internet democracy has turned into an authoritarian state where choice doesn’t exist and servers are located in Russia to avoid legal threats from entities such as the NMPA and MPA, who make peanuts (and always have) from selling overpriced guitar sheet music for mainstream artists.
The battle is much like the peer-to-peer file sharing battle of years past. The RIAA and MPAA have largely won this battle [save the fantastic thepiratebay.org, located in Stockholm], but at what cost? Conglomerate radio now spews a pathetic selection of mainstream crap to its audiences while record sales, well, haven’t really changed at all. Several studies have proven this; simply do a Google search on "record sales" and see for yourself. There is so little worthwhile music on mainstream radio that everyone with the least bit of musical knowledge turns elsewhere for creative inspiration. This hurts everyone, and eventually, the music industry will feel it itself when the eventual backlash occurs.
This particular battle is an egregious trouncing of Amendment Number One. A musician’s interpretation of a song is just that, an interpretation, and should be the sole property of the transcriber. People shouldn’t be forced to buy published transcriptions of their favorite songs, especially when (in my case) such transcriptions don’t exist.