TV Picks: Real Time with Bill Maher continues the witty sharp salon of thinkers and sometimes stinkers who are moderated by comic/pundit and cultural analyst Bill Maher. Maher consistently books guess who cover the political gamut and intersperses with guests who are leaders of science, economics, spirituality (despite Maher’s aversion to religion) and top entertainment personalities too. It never bores.
This coming Friday sees singer Aloe Blacc as the top of the show interview, Fran Lebowitz as the mid-show interview and the roundtable guests are reporter Elahe Izadi, science educator Bill Nye and director Rob Reiner.
The music industry is in a full-fledged slump, with album sales down, streaming up, and popular artists like Taylor Swift bucking the current stalwarts like Pandora. The industry has to unravel a Gordian knot regarding how copyrights are assigned, the way they’re enforced, and what the pay out will look like for artists in the future.
One of the most vocal leaders of this copyright reformation is singer and songwriter Aloe Blacc, whose hit song with Avicii, “Wake Me Up,” was the number one most-streamed song on Pandora in 2013. He’s also known for his hit single “I’m the Man.”
In a past interview with VOX, Blacc outlined the distinction between the money that you make songwriting and the money that you make as a performer:
Blacc says, “The money I make as a songwriter comes from the publishing and the songwriting side of it. From what I understand about the copyright, songwriters are able to make money that is based on uses of the song — like a cover — so you get this statutory rate that’s decided by the copyright officials.
And this rate comes from a legacy technology: mechanical pianos. That’s why they call it the “mechanical royalty,” but those pianos don’t even exist anymore. If I create a song and I put it into the marketplace, it becomes published work. Because the rule that someone else made is that since I’ve made this public work, anyone else can cover it, and they are able to copy my song and release it and exploit it and make whatever money they want to make out of the sales (the master recording), but only account to me based on the mechanical royalty.
I couldn’t take a Martin Scorsese movie and make my own version of it and exploit that in the marketplace for money”
This doesn’t exist in other industries. I think it’s kind of weird. I couldn’t do that to someone’s movie. I couldn’t take a Martin Scorsese movie and make my own version of it and exploit that in the marketplace for money without having to negotiate with the right’s owners first about whether I can do it, how much I can make from it, and what I would have to split with them. I don’t get to have that right for my content.
The series continues its 13th season Friday, FEB. 20 (10:00-11:00 p.m. live ET/tape-delayed PT), with a replay at 11:00 p.m., exclusively on HBO. Allowing Maher to offer his unique perspective on contemporary issues, the show includes an opening monologue, roundtable discussions with panelists, and interviews with guests.
Monsters and Critics has hailed Maher as “a singular voice of pragmatic reason in a landscape of polarized pussies.”
In an unprecedented move, Maher visited Washington, D.C. for two live hour-long shows, presented back-to-back without a break, last September, hosting a new edition of REAL TIME, followed by the stand-up special “Bill Maher: Live from D.C.”
Maher headlined his first special on the network in 1989 and has starred in ten solo specials to date, including the hour-long presentations “Bill Maher…But I’m Not Wrong,” “The Decider” and “I’m Swiss” (both nominated for an Emmy® in the Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special category), “Victory Begins at Home,” “Be More Cynical,” “The Golden Goose Special” and “Stuff That Struck Me Funny,” and two half-hour stand-up specials, plus the specials “30 Seconds Over Washington” and “Comic Relief VI™.” Maher is also an executive producer of the innovative news magazine show “VICE,” which concluded its second season on HBO in 2014 and returns this year.
Maher was the creator and host of “Politically Incorrect,” which was produced by HBO Downtown Productions and debuted on Comedy Central in 1993. The series moved to ABC in 1997 and ran through 2002. He also produced and starred in the 2008 feature film “Religulous,” the seventh most successful documentary of all time.
Other HBO playdates: Feb. 22 (noon), 23 (1:45 a.m.), 24 (3:00 p.m.) and 25 (11:10 p.m.)
HBO2 playdates: Feb. 20 (3:05 a.m.), 21 (11:30 a.m., 12:50 a.m.), 22 (7:00 p.m.), 23 (8:00 p.m.) and 24 (10:00 p.m.)