Friday, December 5, 2014

The Quest for Forgiveness: Chapter 6, Part 2

Last time, we dissected Brianna's terrible, terrible song that everyone thought was amazing. If I recall, there are more later, so I'm sure we'll have another couple blogs devoted to them. But for now, back to the story.

As I said last time, the owner and everyone else is completely gaga over Brianna's awful song. The owner runs up to her and asks her about the song, and she tells him she wrote it:
“I never sing anything but my own songs. I’m not up on today’s music. In fact, I haven’t even listened to the radio for years.”
Well, that could explain why she's not good at coherent song structure. By the time she was old enough to start writing songs, she'd stopped listening to them and had nothing to build off of.

She gets tipped TWENTY DOLLARS from a single person for singing this one song (looks like she can charge exorbitant amounts for digital downloads and retire at 30) and the owner gives her a new job singing in the restaurant instead of being a waitress. The business booms because people come eat at this place just to hear her sing.

Flash forward to right around her seventeenth birthday, and her songs get a standing ovation. She leaves the stage to a cheering crowd wanting to hand her money. (Literally. That's not metaphorical at all.)

She goes sits at a table in the restaurant to write songs which is reserved for her in between sets, which is a little weird, because, first of all, the restaurant is super busy now because of her so somebody probably needs that table, and secondly, wouldn't she rather have someplace a little more out of the way? Do they have a break room, or does everyone take their breaks in the rest of the restaurant? She continues to talk about how she's constantly being hit on by guys in the restaurant. She IS kind of the face of the place now, so I feel like this is an awkward arrangement.

A guy approaches her. He turns out to be from a music company and compliments her on her last song.
“I always close with that song. One of these days, I hope to record it.” 
Burns chuckled. “Ma’am, where have you been? Don’t you know that song has already been recorded? It was written and performed by Sandra Porter two years ago. It went platinum.”
This leads into a thing where apparently someone stole her song, but I'm more confused that apparently this guy doesn't know covers exist. Worst music scout ever.

Brianna argues with the guy that she wrote it, and a lawyer woman at the next table chimes in and says that if she has proof (which she does) then this guy and his music company representing Sandra Porter could be in mega trouble for stealing Brianna's song. This lawyer woman turns out to be Sonya, who was in the first chapter of this book as Brianna's lawyermanagerprivatedetectiveoncall. Sonya goes to talk about other cases she's done:
“[M]y firm was the front-runner of the internet download case. Millions of songs were downloaded and sold on the black market.” Sonya spoke with confidence, never missing a beat.
A bewildered Brianna asked, “What happened?”
Burns stepped in. “Songs were downloaded by a group of Americans and sold to fans in Asia as originals.”
First, as a minor thought, I like that Sonya speaks "with confidence, never missing a beat," as if a lesser woman would have faltered and stammered through that explanation, not really sure if her firm had been involved in that case at all. Actually, maybe it IS remarkable how confident she is, given that what she's saying makes NO SENSE.

...The black market? "The Internet download case"? So... that one time someone pirated a song?

I don't even know what it would mean to sell songs to fans as originals. Does this mean Americans tried to download other people's songs and resell them as their own creations? But if that's the case, who are the Asian "fans" of? Was someone like... pretending to be Katy Perry and reselling all Katy Perry's songs to the Asians who had become fans of the fake Katy Perry?

Maybe they were pirating music and then selling them at normal price to Asians who... couldn't access them or something. But, um, I'd assume most of them could. Even just glancing at iTunes store available, it's accessible from a lot of Asian countries. And that's just iTunes. I'm sure there are other legal music purchasing services -- or, if not legal, free. International music is, on the whole, much easier to get than movies.

As I said on Facebook posting about this weird section, I think Rothdiener genuinely has no idea how Internet piracy works. (As is the case with so many other topics.) Like there has to be some sort of for-profit reselling in order for it to be a crime. Maybe he doesn't know there are ways to get things for free. That's also weird to call "the Internet download case" -- the main issue here isn't the downloading, it's the reselling. Their crime was not downloading, it was reselling illegally. I mean, maybe they downloaded the songs illegally, but that apparently isn't important enough to mention in this recap.

So, yeah, I have no idea what in the world Sonya's firm actually did in all this.

Back to Brianna. It turns out Ethan had sent some of Brianna's songs to some Nashville agent, so Sonya assumes they've stolen them. Music Guy Burns tries to sidestep it by offering Brianna a contract. Sonya says she and Brianna will be by in the morning, and that she'll be researching their claim on the song in the meantime. Burns quietly takes Sonya aside to say this to her:
“Knock yourself out, lady. You may think you’re powerful, but I represent the biggest recording company in the business. You’re out of your league. You have no real proof of anything. It’s that little tramp’s word against mine. And lady, I can make yours and Miss Tattoo’s life really miserable... just wait and see!”
Well, threatening the lawyer who already thinks you're sketchy seems like a really awesome idea. If he wasn't in trouble before, he sure is now.

He storms off, and Brianna and Sonya chat for a bit. Brianna reveals that she's only 17.
“Seventeen... and you have really been around, haven’t you?” Sonya typically got straight to the point. 
Brianna whispered, “Yes, and I’m not proud of that. Unfortunately, it is what it is. It is part of my life. I had to survive... somehow.”

So, the way they deal with this subject, I'm pretty sure they're talking about the time when Brianna sold sex in exchange for food, a place to live, or a ride to wherever she was trying to get next.

What a WEIRD and inappropriate statement on Sonya's part.

First of all, there's... absolutely no reason for her to think that. Brianna seems fairly trusting and naive, so she doesn't give off an "older than her years" vibe. All she knows about her right now is her name, her age, that she wrote this song, and that her father's not in the picture anymore.

Secondly, it's an incredibly awkward thing to just suddenly say to someone. Replace that careful phrase with what she's ACTUALLY saying: "I bet you've been a sex worker," and it becomes clear how inappropriate that is. It's entirely irrelevant to anything in the conversation.

Small Talk Tip from Rothdiener: When meeting a new person, always do your best to casually find out if they've slept with people for money. Then pry into their personal life as much as you can.

Sonya calls a friend of hers and asks Brianna to sing some of her other songs that were sent to Nashville so they can check and see if they were stolen too. So she does, and we get tiny examples of her songs again. This, I think, is my favorite one:
It was a time to love, 
It was a time to reflect, 
Where will it lead me? 
When will it start?
Check out those confused tenses! I now have NO IDEA whether the time to love/reflect was, is, or will be in the past, the present, or the future.

Of course, the guy on the other end of the line is amazed by her:
“Who is that singing?” Simon inquired. “My goodness, her voice is beautiful. It’s so full and crisp... it’s hard to explain. It’s unique... it’s... I can’t even describe it.”
Yes, yes, we know, Skye is Jesus, and Brianna's voice is Jesus.

Her third song she sings is the most exciting of all:
“That song is, I’m Thinking of a Time, and is the biggest song in America, in fact, the world. It has sold over nine million copies and won three awards so far. It was written by Judd Stevens. It was his mega hit on his latest CD, My Time, and also was in the movie, Time. And guess what! It has been nominated for a Motion Picture Award.”
That's like if "Let It Go" had also been released on an Idina Menzel CD called "Let Go" and featured in the movie "Go."

Anyway, that song is a big deal. Sonya tells Simon to send someone named Harry out from their law firm immediately, because Brianna's songs were stolen and they're going to get her money back.

Sonya then hangs up, tells Brianna her songs were stolen and they're going to get her money back.
Brianna, still in shock from the surprising news, shook her head in disbelief. “You’re saying someone stole my music?”
...Has she not been paying attention to anything this whole chapter?

Well, I have, and it has left me exhausted, and we're only a little over halfway through this huge mountainous chapter. So we're going to take a break and return next week to see the showdown between Brianna/Sonya and Petrichor Records for the worst songs ever stolen.

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