Discipline Global Mobile

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"DGM" redirects here. For Italian rock-group, see DGM (band).
A knotwork, a design often associated with Celtic knots. The outer design is a circle, surrounding what appears to be a triangle surrounded by a Celtic knot at first glance. Closer inspection of the triangle reveals that it is in fact an organic part of the inner knot, which seems to have two continuous segments linked by knots. At first glance, the knotwork appears to be symmetric; closer inspection reveals that the right-hand knots seem to be the reverse of the left-hand knots and there are small differences among the "twin knots"; the right and left hands of the design have variations, much as our right and left hands have subtle distinctions. The design is not symmetric with respect to 120 degree rotations: The center of the pseudo-triangle is above the center of the surrounding circle, but visual balance is maintained by extra knots below the lower pseudo–line-segment. The background is crimson.
Discipline Global Mobile (DGM) has the policy that its artists retain all copyrights, even to DGM's knotwork logo.

Discipline Global Mobile (DGM, or Discipline GM) is an independent record label that was founded in 1992 by Robert Fripp, who is known as a guitarist for King Crimson. DGM releases music by Fripp, KC, related acts, and other artists in compact discs and as downloadable files. A 1998 Billboard profile stated that DGM had ten staff members in Salisbury, England, and Los Angeles, California.

DGM aims "to be a model of ethical business in an industry founded on exploitation, oiled by deceit, riven with theft and fueled by greed," according to Fripp.[1] Its policy is that its artists retain all copyrights; consequently, even DGM's "knotwork" corporate logo is owned by its designer.[2] DGM's aims were called "exemplary", and DGM was credited with having expanded "the possibilities of experimental music" and having improved the environment for King Crimson.[3]


Robert Fripp ergonomically plays electric guitar while sitting in a posture developed through years of application of the Alexander Technique.
The founder of Discipline Global Mobile, Robert Fripp has called music "an industry founded on exploitation, oiled by deceit, riven with theft and fueled by greed".[1]

Robert Fripp has been a guitarist for King Crimson since the late 1960s. During the late 1980s, Fripp sought royalties allegedly owed by E.G. Records; the parties reached a settlement after seven years.[4][5] Fripp founded Discipline Global Mobile (DGM) as an independent music label in 1992.[6][7][8]

Fripp dissolved King Crimson in 1974,[9] and relaunched the band in 1981[10] with the Discipline album.[10] Discipline's original cover featured a Celtic knot, which was later replaced by a similar knotwork design which Fripp commissioned from Steve Ball.[11] Ball's design was adopted as the logo for Discipline Global Mobile.[12][13]

Business aims[edit]

DGM's mission statement consists of five "DGM business aims", which include the following three:

  • firstly, "to help bring music into the world which would otherwise be unlikely" to be released unless "under conditions prejudicial to the music and/or musicians",[14]
  • secondly, "to operate in the market place, while being free of the values of the market place", and
  • lastly, "to be a model of ethical business in an industry founded on exploitation, oiled by deceit, riven with theft and fueled by greed."[1][4][14][15]

These aims were called "exemplary" by Bill Martin, who wrote that "Fripp has done something very important for the possibilities of experimental music" in creating DGM, and that DGM "has played a major role in creating favorable conditions for" King Crimson.[3]

John Paul Jones plays bass guitar
Formerly the bass guitarist of Led Zeppelin, John Paul Jones has recorded albums with DGM without signing a contract, stating that the relationship "is pure trust".[16]

Since at least the early 1960s, the recording industry has required artists to sign over copyrights and moral rights to their cover art, music, and lyrics. DGM rejects this practice, and since its 1992 founding has maintained its policy that its artists retain the copyrights and the moral rights to their works,[4][15] be those works musical or visual art.[8] Fripp wrote,

"The phonographic copyright in these performances is operated by Discipline Global Mobile on behalf of the artists, with whom it resides, contrary to common practice in the record industry. Discipline accepts no reason for artists to assign the copyright interests in their work to either record company or management by virtue of a 'common practice' which was always questionable, often improper, and is now indefensible."[17]

This extends even to DGM's knotwork corporate logo, the copyright of which is owned not by the company, but by its designer,[2] Steve Ball.[11][12][18]

DGM does not require that its artists sign written contracts.[19] Former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones said, "It's pure trust," and noted that "there are dangers on both sides. I could have a successful album and just sign with a major, or they could decide not to pay me." Jones explained that he was accustomed to "working in situations that do rely on trust and integrity, those old-fashioned words" because Led Zeppelin had no contract with its manager.[16]

Royalties are paid above the prevailing rate, as announced at DGM's launch.[4] In return, DGM artists are responsible for promoting their albums through concert tours and interviews.[15]


Adrian Belew plays electric guitar
King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew has recorded several albums with DGM.

The first business aim of Discipline Global Mobile is "to help bring music into the world which would otherwise be unlikely" to be released unless "under conditions prejudicial to the music and/or musicians".[14] DGM has released music by King Crimson, Robert Fripp,[6] and other artists. DGM's catalog features more than a hundred releases by King Crimson, including remastered albums with bonus tracks and DVDs with archival footage. Fripp's DGM catalog has been called "vast".[20]

Other DGM albums feature rock and jazz music, often of an experimental type. Adrian Belew, the lead singer and co-lead guitarist of King Crimson, has released several albums with DGM. Artists who had played with Fripp during the 1970s, such as Peter Hammill and Bill Nelson, have released DGM albums.[7][20] Experimental albums have also been released by John Paul Jones;[16][21] Jones and DGM worked without a written contract.[16][19] DGM also released an album by The Rosenbergs, who retained control of their master recordings and received DGM funding for touring and promoting their album, according to band-member Evan Silverman. The Rosenbergs had been in public conflict with their previous commercial label, Universal Records, which had demanded control of the band's domain name.[22]

DGM releases music by Robert Fripp and The League of Crafty Guitarists (RFLCG), a performance ensemble of students from his Guitar Craft courses.[7] The Crafty Guitarists played acoustic Ovation guitars; Fripp performed with either an Ovation Legend or an electric guitar.[23] Crafty Guitarists Bert Lams, Paul Richards, and Hideyo Moriya formed the California Guitar Trio, which has released albums with DGM.[24] The California Guitar Trio and a fourth Crafty Guitarist, Trey Gunn, became the supporting members of another DGM recording artist, the Robert Fripp String Quintet (RFSQ). In the RFSQ, the California Guitar Trio played acoustic guitars (Richards doubled on a fuzz EBow guitar), Gunn played a Chapman Stick, and Fripp played electric guitar and "Frippertronics" (soundscapes).[25] Trey Gunn (along with drummer Pat Mastelotto) joined King Crimson in 1994.[26]

Mail-order and on-line services[edit]

According to a 1998 profile in Billboard magazine, Discipline Global Mobile had seven staff members in Salisbury, England, and three in Los Angeles, California.[7] DGM "is actually housed in a dull pebbledash building in a village near Salisbury, south-west England".[6]

Its label manager reported that the country with the largest market was Japan, where mail-orders accounted for only 10% of sales, but 50% of profits. In 1998, DGM was distributed in Japan by Pony Canyon; in the United Kingdom by Pinnacle;[7] and in the United States by Rykodisc.[7][22] Sound samples have been offered in addition to DGM's mail-order services.[7] Free downloads from DGM have strengthened the relations between artists and fans.[15]

In 2012, DGM's site had the following introduction: "The aim of DGM is to connect music, musician and audience in a way that supports the power of music, the integrity of the musician and the needs of the audience. DGM Live offers music for download with photographs, diary archives and audience commentary for browsing".[27] DGM's successful transition to an age of digital distribution was called "unique" among music labels in 2009; this success was credited to its provision of legal, high-quality recordings of concerts, which effectively reverse-engineered the distribution-networks for pirate recordings ("bootlegs") of concerts.[28]

DGM publishes an on-line diary by Robert Fripp, who often comments on performances and on relations with fans. A moderated forum allows fans to ask questions or to leave comments. Together, Fripp's diary and the fan forum display delayed dialogs in which Fripp and fans discuss diary-entries and forum-postings. Fripp's public writing of his diary has challenged his readers to become more active listeners and intelligent participants in performances of music.[29]

Conflict with Grooveshark[edit]

Fripp's diaries were internationally discussed following his publication of documents from a dispute with Grooveshark, an on-line distributor of music. Fripp complained that Grooveshark had been continuing to distribute his music, even after repeated takedown notices and other complaints. Fripp's correspondence with Grooveshark was published by Digital Music News[30][31][32] and in his DGM diary.[33] Fripp's exchange with Grooveshark was included in a suit against Grooveshark by Universal Music Group, which was filed in November 2011.[30][34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Fripp (1998, p. 9) according to Bruns (2003, p. 3)
  2. ^ a b Fripp (1998a, p. 3)
  3. ^ a b Martin (1997, p. 269)
  4. ^ a b c d Bambarger (1998, p. 86)
  5. ^ Bruford (2009, p. 142)
  6. ^ a b c Hunter-Tilney, Ludovic (3 August 2012). "The day the music died: In a rare interview, prog rock legend Robert Fripp speaks about standing up to the music industry". The Financial Times. Event occurs at 7:27 pm. Retrieved 5 August 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Bambarger (1998)
  8. ^ a b Atton (2001, p. 39)
  9. ^ Tamm (2003, 6 The "Red" period and the dissolution of King Crimson III)
  10. ^ a b Tamm (2003, 9 King Crimson IV and Andy Summers: 'Discipline: The band' and 'King Crimson born again' and 'King Crimson IV: The albums ')
  11. ^ a b Ball, Steve (1 October 2001). "Steve Ball diary". steveball.com. Steve Ball at AllMusic. Retrieved 25 March 2012.  |chapter= ignored (help)

    Ball (2001) cites as the original inspiration for the first cover for Discipline a design by Bain (1973, "Pictish knotwork borders from Gospels of Lindifarme and Book of Kells", p. 40): Bain, George (1973) [1951]. Celtic art: The methods of construction (Reprint of Constable Press ed.). Mineola, New York: Dover Publications. ISBN 0-486-22923-8. 

  12. ^ a b Ball, Steve (21 May 2009). "Steve Ball Roadshow: Extended press-kit". steveball.com. Steve Ball at AllMusic. Retrieved 25 March 2012.  |chapter= ignored (help)
  13. ^ Fripp (2011, p. 2): Fripp, Robert (2011). Pozzo, Horacio, ed. Seven Guitar Craft themes: Definitive scores for guitar ensemble. "Original transcriptions by Curt Golden", "Layout scores and tablatures: Ariel Rzezak and Theo Morresi" (First limited ed.). Partitas Music. ISMN 979-0-9016791-7-7. DGM Sku partitas001. Retrieved 25 March 2012. 
  14. ^ a b c "About DGM". Discipline Global Mobile. Retrieved 25 March 2012.  |chapter= ignored (help)
  15. ^ a b c d Atton (2004, Chapter 6 "Fan culture and the Internet: Musicians and fanzines", p. 153)
  16. ^ a b c d Shepherd, Fiona (1999). "Recognise the face of bass? (Clue: Think Led Zeppelin)". The Scotsman (ECM Publishers, Inc). (subscription required). Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  17. ^ Kozar (2012, "Fripp's aim was to move his music in new directions that others did not always understand", p. 2)
  18. ^ Robert Fripp wrote, "Steve Ball is ... designer of the [League of Crafty Guitarists] & Discipline knotworks (among others & in which he holds the copyright)." Fripp, Robert (August 1999). "Sunday, 22nd August 1999". Robert Fripp's diary. Discipline Global Mobile. Retrieved 25 March 2012. 

    Hegarty & Halliwell (2011, "Illustration credits: Chapter 9", p. xii)

  19. ^ a b Mehle, Michael (22 October 1999). "Been a long time: John Paul Jones hitting the road 19 years after Zeppelin's demise". Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO). (subscription required). Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  20. ^ a b Cook, Richard (1 January 1996). "In praise of older men". New Statesman (New Statesman Ltd). (subscription required). Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  21. ^ Anonymous (2002)
  22. ^ a b Spellman (2002, p. 87)
  23. ^ Tamm (2003, Chapter Eleven: Guitar Craft in the world)
  24. ^ Molenda, Michael (January 1, 2000). "California Guitar Trio: Paul Richards, Bert Lams, Hideyo Moriya". Guitar Player (NewBay Media LLC.). (subscription required). Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  25. ^ Robert Fripp String Quintet (1998) [1993]. "The Bridge Between" (CD). Discipline Global Mobile. The Bridge Between at AllMusic. Retrieved 25 March 2012. sku DGM9303. 
  26. ^ Cleveland, Barry (1 June 2003). "Eyes wide open: Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew's vision of the new King Crimson (Interview)". Guitar Player. (subscription required). Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  27. ^ "Welcome to DGM Live". Discipline Global Mobile. Retrieved 25 March 2012. 
  28. ^ Anonymous, Belfast Telegraph (18 August 2009). "Jam and the joys of music distribution in today's world". Belfast Telegraph (Independent News and Media PLC). (subscription required). Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  29. ^ Atton (2001, p. 43)
  30. ^ a b Sisario, Ben (14 December 2011). "Sony and Warner are said to sue web music service". New York Times. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  31. ^ Peoples, Glenn (21 November 2011). "Grooveshark lawsuit reveals details of Universal Music Group's allegations". Billboard.biz (Billboard.com). Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  32. ^ Resnikoff, Paul ("paul") (13 October 2011). "King Crimson can't get their music off of Grooveshark, so they cc'd Digital Music News..". Digital Music News. Retrieved 30 May 2011. 
  33. ^ Fripp, Robert (12 August – 20 October 2011). "Robert Fripp's diaries". Discipline Global Mobile, DMG Live!. Retrieved 30 May 2012. :

    August: "Friday, 12th August 2011", "Saturday, 13th August 2011", "Monday, 15th August 2011", "Tuesday, 16th August 2011", "Wednesday, 17th August 2011";

    September: "Wednesday, 7th September 2011", "Saturday, 10th September 2011", "Monday, 12th September 2011", "Wednesday, 14th September 2011", "Thursday, 15th September 2011", "Wednesday, 21 September 2011", and "Monday, 26th September 2011";

    October: "Thursday, October 13th, 2011" and "Thursday, 20th October 2011".

  34. ^ Lawsuit claims Grooveshark workers posted 100,000 pirated songs. Greg Sandoval, CNET, 21 November 2011


Further reading[edit]

  • Fripp, Robert (January 1980). "The new realism: A musical manifesto for the 80s". Musician, Player and Listener 22: 34. Cited in Tamm (2003). 
  • Fripp, Robert (April–May 1980). "The vinyl solution". Musician, Player and Listener 24: 24. Cited in Tamm (2003). 
  • Fripp, Robert (April–May 1981). "Bootlegging, royalties, and the moment". Musician, Player and Listener 32: 28. Cited in Tamm (2003). 
  • Kirk, Cynthia (8 August 1979). "Fripp 'anti-tour' unconventional, but artist says it proves point". Variety 296: 59. Cited in Tamm (2003). 
  • Schruers, Fred (26 July 1979). "Robert Fripp's public Exposure: The return to 'an intelligent way of listening'". Rolling Stone 296: 16. Cited in Tamm (2003). 
  • Smith, Sid (2001). In the court of King Crimson. Helter Skelter Publishing. ISBN 1-900924-26-9. 

External links[edit]