Dear Papa Bear,
I have a question on how to achieve success in the world today. I've been trying to succeed for years with typical "bear morals," you know, honesty, love, compassion, credit to others' work and not steal it, etc. But I've began to lose hope in that code of standards. I'm a bear in spirit and fursona/human wise but... I notice how dishonest hearts always win. Today being honest and doing the right thing, is total BS nowadays. It's like hunter VS. prey, kill or be killed. I read about artists in the music world, how they sometimes steal music from other artists that were SUPPOSED to have the song as their own produced by a selected producer(s) but another artist takes it and claim it as theirs before the original artist release it or finish recording the project. THOSE music artists become successful far more than the original artist by stealing their work or if the producer decides another singer deserves it more than the original. For example, Rihanna's "We Found Love" was originally meant for a lesser known artist. Though she didn't steal it but the producer/Electronic-Dance DJ, Calvin Harris, felt Rihanna would be a better candidate. Which he was right unfortunately for the original singer. I know it's dishonest and not right to achieve my goals in life in this way, but when evil looks so good... it's very tempting... an evil desire or temptation to strife for the blood of who ever in the same situation as you but only cause them to fail to improve your success to climb to the top. Things got worst for me, all the "love" I gave and attempt to success in the "good" way, I felt was a total waste of time and instead I should've cheated my way through everything... even use a few people to my advantage... I don't know what to do, maybe you know?
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Dear A. Bear,
An interesting dilemma that has potential answers from a narrow to a broad perspective. Let’s start from the narrow and work our way up a bit. That is, the idea about songs being taken from one artist and recorded by another who then makes a success of it. This is not a new practice in recent times by any means. In fact, many remakes of songs have been more successful than the originals. The Beatles even called Elton John’s remake of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” a more successful rendition than their own. Here are some others:
In short, this sort of thing happens all the time in the music biz. Producers don’t care who first wrote or performed the song; they are looking for the person who can give them the best version, sing it the best, and make the most money on it. Did they “steal” it? Depends on what the contract says. If you have a case where someone stole your copywritten song, take them to court. Copyright infringement cases are also a mainstay of the music industry (I always think of George Harrison being sued for “My Sweet Lord”). If someone took one of your songs and recorded it, making money off of it, then they need to pay you royalties.
The case you cite about Rihanna is a case in point of the above. You even admit that nothing was stolen; the producer simply decided that Rihanna would perform the song better and handed it off to her. You even admit that the decision was the right one to make. So, the person originally promised the song didn’t get a “fair shot,” but maybe they wouldn’t have done as good a job and didn’t deserve it.
Bear, you need to remember that music is not burned onto CDs and downloaded onto iPods for the sake of beauty and love and kindness in the world. It is done to make money. You yourself, I suspect, are in it for the money, or you wouldn’t be upset by this. If you were writing and performing music simply for the love of music, you wouldn’t care who made money off of it because it would be your gift to the world. I doubt that is how you feel; you are seeking an income. We all need money. I do this website for free because I care about furries and wouldn’t dream of charging them for my advice, but I do have “Ask Papabear” items for sale on the site, too, because I need money (btw, who wouldn’t want a handsome Papabear mug or T-shirt? Hint, hint! ;-) )
I’m reminded here of a story my mate often tells me about the news industry. He used to give seminars to journalist students, asking them, “Why do stations like Fox News and CNN exist?” He would get answers like, “They are trying to report the truth to Americans,” or even “CNN/Fox have political agendas and are trying to give us their left/right wing slant on the news.” WRONG! After a dramatic pause, he tells them, “They are broadcasting the news for one reason only: to make money.”
Once we wash away any notions from our naive, idealistic minds that this world operates on the basis of kindness and brotherhood and realize that, like the lion eating a gazelle on the Serengeti plains, we have to do ugly things to survive, we have gone a long way toward being unsurprised by what humans do.
Is there a lot of backstabbing and unscrupulous behavior in the business world? You bet. Is that a pleasant thing? Of course not. Do we have to succumb to this behavior and emulate it ourselves? That depends on what you want in life. For instance, to become president of the United States, you have to do a lot of favors to pay back the favors of people who helped put you in office; you have to compromise your values with Congress in order to get things done. Some people can live with that; I cannot, which is why you won’t see me running for president, let alone any other office.
I have seen nasty, horrible people get high-paying jobs they don’t deserve, and, yes, it makes one bitter. But these people climb their way to the top over the bodies of other people and, when they stand at the pinnacle, they find themselves without a soul and without real friends.
There are, though, cases in which people are so incredibly bright and talented that they can rise above the crowd and not compromise their integrity. Those people are few and far between in the business world. Then there are those who do not give a rat’s ass about having a prestigious job and being driven around in a limousine—people, like Papabear, who are more than happy to have enough food and shelter to get by and, more importantly, have real friends and family members who love them. One doesn’t need to compromise in any fashion in order to achieve those goals, my dear brother bear.
Papabear’s advice to you is this: don’t worry about those backstabbing, double-crossing bastards who make lots of money at the expense of others. These are the people who, like Bernie Madoff, eventually end up having to stare at empty walls, their lives imploding all around them. And, if they don’t end up in prison like Madoff, they might as well be in one because their lives will be very empty indeed.
Live and let live, which is a very bear attitude. Pursue what you love in life, hug your friends, love your lovers, and you will find happiness.
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