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Thread: Skating music loudness at competitions

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    Skating music loudness at competitions

    The music at competitions plays a role in how the audience and the judges react to a performance, and it also affects how a skater performs. If it's played too loud or too soft this might give a skater a disadvantage. The skaters must have some control over the loudness by editing the music file that they will skate to, but the final control is on the arena's speaker system. Is the volume set at the same level for all the skaters during a competition? Or do the skaters get to choose exactly the volume setting at which their music will be played?

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    When I do music for local and regional comps, we sometimes find notes posted to it - "play loudly please" because their recording isn't loud. As soon as the music starts we make slight adjustments so the skater can hear it and the audience isn't in pain from it blasting.

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    Acoustics is also something that neither the skaters nor the sound people have any control over. I think will will play havoc when skaters start using vocal music next year.

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    ot Do skaters have to pay for rights to use the music they skate to? If so, what is generally the cost?

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    I've been told by skaters that most competitions allow you to give feedback during practice sessions. However, they do complain that the acoustics for an empty rink is different than that of one with many people in it.

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    Thanks for the information, everyone!

    loopy - Your comment about making slight adjustments reminded me of something I had forgotten: at the 2003 world championships, the volume of the music was increased during Michelle Kwan's free skate because it couldn't be heard over the audience's cheering.

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    Anissina Peizerat complained their FD music wasn't loud enough at the 1999 GPF (St. Petersbourg).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Srin Odessa View Post
    I've been told by skaters that most competitions allow you to give feedback during practice sessions. However, they do complain that the acoustics for an empty rink is different than that of one with many people in it.
    That is correct.

    Especially skaters with a "less professional" environment need to adjust their music on the fly so to speak and the quality of the master does vary a lot, not only because of the natural sound of the different genre´s of music (ambient, classic, jazz, soundtracks ...) but also because of the "who made the final mix".

    Sometimes when you talk to coaches or the parents of a skater, then they mention "we cut those and that together" and I think its a real pity that it is like that. The transitions from one piece of music to another, the volumes or the keys - it sometimes is a real "train wreck" and you miss the smoothness.

    In my opinion a more professional approach to one of the key elements in figure skating would be advisable. You can achieve great results, it doesn't even need to be expensive.

    But also the ISU could work a bit "more professional" there. They could start with a basic - db setting, that music should have when being submitted. By doing this the levels wouldn't be incredible high at one skater and low at another. I use -12db in my music.

    Then they could also think about having a few resident "DJ´s" at their skating events, who know the environment, the music etc.

    Maybe it is too much and I am going a bit too far here, but I believe it would help the skaters a lot.

    @ Icey

    This is a very complex topic,

    in Germany there is an institution that serves the rights of musicians. It is called GEMA. That Institution has an agreement with the DOSB (German Olympic Sports Confederation). That agreement rules for instance that sports events based on music, including practice with less than 1.000 viewers are allowed to play music. Therefore the DOSB pays a fix amount of money each year.
    This also includes music that is played during a break, for instance while waiting for the scores of a skater, between groups etc.

    However, for non amateur sports such as football, ice hockey other rules apply. The fee that a federation, club or event organization committee must pay depends on how much money they make in relation to how many visitors they had etc.

    However, there is also music that is free. For instance if the original artist has died. After the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, also known as the Mickey Mouse §§§ this is 70 years. Of course you can imagine that not every Skater picks music that is public domain, therefore this more / less applies to people that might organize their own skating event, independently of the DOSB (as an example skating with friends or your school).

    This of course is how things are handled in Germany. Still I believe that it is very similar in other countries and that Skaters don't pay anything, but those people that organize events. Be it the local ISU in your country or a sports club etc.

    Maybe these information help you a bit

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Acoustics is also something that neither the skaters nor the sound people have any control over. I think will will play havoc when skaters start using vocal music next year.
    The vocals are mostly OK for the ice dancers; it should be no different for singles & pairs.

    Alex D, In the US, rights to songs are heritable, so, for example, the songs of John Lennon are not public domain, and the rights to them are owned by Yoko Ono, so things about who is paid or not for a song clearly differ by countries.

    Either the arena or the event organizers or the skating federation may pay the music rights. This is even a factor at events for regular people-if the restaurant where you are having a wedding reception does not pay blanket music rights, the restaurant will not let you have a DJ or even live music, unless the musicians are playing their own originals, or else public domain music. When my nephew got married, he could have paid the rights, or hired a DJ who paid the rights, or of course, used a different venue, but instead, he just didn't have music.

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    There is a time limit on rights, I believe. I am more familiar with rights to written text such as novels, essays, and poetry, which now in the U.S. allows for anything published before I think the end of 1922 to be public domain. (This cutoff year will change in the future.) There is some similar arrangement with music. So it will be awhile before John Lennon's music, for example, is public domain.

    Also, and this is trickier, a piece of music can be public domain (something by Tchaikovsky, for example), but the performance is still under copyright. So unless you have a situation such as the lovely 1908 recording I found on YT of Leonid Sobinov singing a Rimsky-Korsakov aria, you have to pay for the recorded performance in some way, I think, unless you record the song yourself with your own instruments.

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    Alex D, In the US, rights to songs are heritable, so, for example, the songs of John Lennon are not public domain, and the rights to them are owned by Yoko Ono, so things about who is paid or not for a song clearly differ by countries.
    Yes, in those cases it is indeed true, that's not any different here

    What I don't know though is, what happens if Yoko (lets hope she stays healthy for many more years) would die? Would she again give the rights to her children and if so, would this then theoretically go on and on?

    By doing so, you could theoretically keep a copyright forever in your family. We in Germany had a case once where someone wanted to keep an old building at a train station, this was ruled off by the court as they said "the original copyright holder has been dead for more than 70 years now", so his ancestors also lost the claim.

    Either the arena or the event organizers or the skating federation may pay the music rights. This is even a factor at events for regular people-if the restaurant where you are having a wedding reception does not pay blanket music rights, the restaurant will not let you have a DJ or even live music, unless the musicians are playing their own originals, or else public domain music. When my nephew got married, he could have paid the rights, or hired a DJ who paid the rights, or of course, used a different venue, but instead, he just didn't have music.
    Oh wow that's an interesting restaurant, I mean that they didn't had any blanket music rights. I would expect that every public pub, bar or restaurant has those. You don't happen to know how much it is in the US? Lets say for a venue with about 100 people?

    In Germany we have different payment models depending on what you play and how large your venue is in combination with the entry fee. But this would go to far in a figure skating forum :D

    Do you also have a Law background as you seem to know about those things?

    Also, and this is trickier, a piece of music can be public domain (something by Tchaikovsky, for example), but the performance is still under copyright. So unless you have a situation such as the lovely 1908 recording I found on YT of Leonid Sobinov singing a Rimsky-Korsakov aria, you have to pay for the recorded performance in some way, I think, unless you record the song yourself with your own instruments.
    Yes this does indeed ring a bell. I read something like that in a book about copyrights a few years ago.

    I believe that as you said, someone could replay the original notes - but he cant use the performance based on those.

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