Replaced: A&R at Industry Showcases
"Pop singer Lana Del Ray was noticed when she and her management created a faux homemade music video for her song 'Video Games,' eventually leading her to the opportunity to perform on 'Saturday Night Live' before she even released her first album."
Replaced: Leaking One's Own News to Gossip Columnists
"Frank Ocean made headlines last year when he took to his Tumblr to write about a relationship he had with another man, utilizing a social platform to reveal a large part of his life that was previously unknown."
Replaced: 3rd Party Contests for Songwriters
"Electro-house music producer Deadmau5 even incorporated vocals a fan sent him over Twitter into his song 'The Veldt.' Rolling Stone later named it one of the best tracks of 2012."
Replaced: Publicists and Fan Club Managers
“'Social media is pretty much the only way for This Must be the Band, Grood, and DJ noDJ (his other two bands) to actively promote shows or music,' said [Chicago-based guitarist and singer Charles] Otto. 'It’s also where everyone goes to connect with us before shows for requests and show information.'"
Replaced: The Warehouse Size Nightclub
"In 2011, Justin Timberlake and Specific Media Group purchased the nearly defunct Myspace for $35 million, and a little over a year later unveiled a new Myspace that almost entirely centered around music."
We recently had a fun post about Hollywood accounting, about how the movie industry makes sure even big hit movies "lose money" on paper. So how about the recording industry? Well, they're pretty famous for doing something quite similar. Reader Jay pointed out in the comments an article from The Root that goes through who gets paid what for music sales, and the basic answer is not the musician. That report suggests that for every $1,000 sold, the average musician gets $23.40. Here's the chart that the article shows, though you should read the whole article for all of the details:
Of course, it's actually even more ridiculous than this report makes it out to be. Going back ten years ago, Courtney Love famously laid out the details of recording economics, where the label can make $11 million... and the actual artists make absolutely nothing. It starts off with a band getting a massive $1 million advance, and then you follow the money:
What happens to that million dollars?
They spend half a million to record their album. That leaves the band with $500,000. They pay $100,000 to their manager for 20 percent commission. They pay $25,000 each to their lawyer and business manager.
That leaves $350,000 for the four band members to split. After $170,000 in taxes, there's $180,000 left. That comes out to $45,000 per person.
That's $45,000 to live on for a year until the record gets released.
The record is a big hit and sells a million copies. (How a bidding-war band sells a million copies of its debut record is another rant entirely, but it's based on any basic civics-class knowledge that any of us have about cartels. Put simply, the antitrust laws in this country are basically a joke, protecting us just enough to not have to re-name our park service the Phillip Morris National Park Service.)
So, this band releases two singles and makes two videos. The two videos cost a million dollars to make and 50 percent of the video production costs are recouped out of the band's royalties.
The band gets $200,000 in tour support, which is 100 percent recoupable.
The record company spends $300,000 on independent radio promotion. You have to pay independent promotion to get your song on the radio; independent promotion is a system where the record companies use middlemen so they can pretend not to know that radio stations -- the unified broadcast system -- are getting paid to play their records.
All of those independent promotion costs are charged to the band.
Since the original million-dollar advance is also recoupable, the band owes $2 million to the record company.
If all of the million records are sold at full price with no discounts or record clubs, the band earns $2 million in royalties, since their 20 percent royalty works out to $2 a record.
Two million dollars in royalties minus $2 million in recoupable expenses equals ... zero!
How much does the record company make?
They grossed $11 million.
It costs $500,000 to manufacture the CDs and they advanced the band $1 million. Plus there were $1 million in video costs, $300,000 in radio promotion and $200,000 in tour support.
The company also paid $750,000 in music publishing royalties.
They spent $2.2 million on marketing. That's mostly retail advertising, but marketing also pays for those huge posters of Marilyn Manson in Times Square and the street scouts who drive around in vans handing out black Korn T-shirts and backwards baseball caps. Not to mention trips to Scores and cash for tips for all and sundry.
Add it up and the record company has spent about $4.4 million.
So their profit is $6.6 million; the band may as well be working at a 7-Eleven.
And that explains why huge megastars like Lyle Lovett have pointed out that he sold 4.6 million records and never made a dime from album sales. It's why the band 30 Seconds to Mars went platinum and sold 2 million records and never made a dime from album sales. You hear these stories quite often.
And note that those are bands that are hugely, massively popular. How about those that just do okay? Remember last year, when Tim Quirk of the band Too Much Joy revealed how Warner Music made a ton of money of of the band's albums, but simply refuses to accurately account for royalties owed, because the band is considered unrecoupable. Sometimes the numbers even go in reverse. If you don't understand RIAA accounting, you might think that if a band hasn't "recouped" its advance, it means that the record labels lost money. Not so in many cases. Quirk explained the neat accounting trick in a footnote to his post about his own royalty statement:
A word here about that unrecouped balance, for those uninitiated in the complex mechanics of major label accounting. While our royalty statement shows Too Much Joy in the red with Warner Bros. (now by only $395,214.71 after that $62.47 digital windfall), this doesn't mean Warner "lost" nearly $400,000 on the band. That's how much they spent on us, and we don't see any royalty checks until it's paid back, but it doesn't get paid back out of the full price of every album sold. It gets paid back out of the band's share of every album sold, which is roughly 10% of the retail price. So, using round numbers to make the math as easy as possible to understand, let's say Warner Bros. spent something like $450,000 total on TMJ. If Warner sold 15,000 copies of each of the three TMJ records they released at a wholesale price of $10 each, they would have earned back the $450,000. But if those records were retailing for $15, TMJ would have only paid back $67,500, and our statement would show an unrecouped balance of $382,500.
I do not share this information out of a Steve Albini-esque desire to rail against the major label system (he already wrote the definitive rant, which you can find here if you want even more figures, and enjoy having those figures bracketed with cursing and insults). I'm simply explaining why I'm not embarrassed that I "owe" Warner Bros. almost $400,000. They didn't make a lot of money off of Too Much Joy. But they didn't lose any, either. So whenever you hear some label flak claiming 98% of the bands they sign lose money for the company, substitute the phrase "just don't earn enough" for the word "lose."
So, back to our original example of the average musician only earning $23.40 for every $1,000 sold. That money has to go back towards "recouping" the advance, even though the label is still straight up cashing 63% of every sale, which does not go towards making up the advance. The math here gets ridiculous pretty quickly when you start to think about it. These record label deals are basically out and out scams. In a traditional loan, you invest the money and pay back out of your proceeds. But a record label deal is nothing like that at all. They make you a "loan" and then take the first 63% of any dollar you make, get to automatically increase the size of the "loan" by simply adding in all sorts of crazy expenses (did the exec bring in pizza at the recording session? that gets added on), and then tries to get the loan repaid out of what meager pittance they've left for you.
Oh, and after all of that, the record label still owns the copyrights. That's one of the most lopsided business deals ever.
So think of that the next time the RIAA or some major record label exec (or politician) suggests that protecting the record labels is somehow in the musicians' best interests. And then, take a look at the models that some musicians have adopted by going around the major label system. They may not gross as much without the major record label marketing push behind them, but they're netting a whole lot more, and as any business person will tell you (except if that business person is a major label A&R guy trying to sign you to a deal), the net amount is all that matters.
What is a Producer?
The best way I know to describe what a producer does comes in the form of this analogy: A producer is to a recording as a director is to a film. When it comes to making a film, the buck essentially stops with the director. It’s the director who steers the ship working with everyone from the actors to the technical editors in order to achieve his or her overall vision of the movie. It is exactly that way with a producer when it comes to making a recording. Not only must the producer have the experience to work with the studio engineer (often possessing the technical expertise to engineer the project themselves) but a producer must also have the musical understanding to help the artist with everything from song choice, structure and arrangement, to the all-important vocal performances that are vital in giving a recording its personality. In short, a producer provides the experience and necessary perspective to guide a recording from start to finish.
Producers can come from a variety of backgrounds. Here are the four most common and what each brings to the process, but, typically, producers have experience in more than one of these areas.
1) Producer/Songwriter – Since at its essence, a recording is dependent on the quality of the song, the producer/songwriter is heavily involved in the song selection process. Not only does this type of producer have experience in knowing what does and doesn’t work when it comes to pre-existing songs, but often this producer will co-write songs with the artist for a given project.
2) Producer/Musician – Here, it’s often an instrumental and music theory background that gives this type of producer their experience. They have first-hand knowledge when it comes to working with musicians and knowing what instrumental approach will work best in a given situation.
3) Producer/Engineer – In this case, the producer’s primary experience comes from actual recording (i.e., placing microphones on drum kits, recording vocals and mixing albums). By becoming an expert in the nuts and bolts of the recording process, an engineer/producer can make the recording process a smooth one for the artist.
4) Producer/Music Fan – This is someone who lives and breathes music and has the instincts to guide artists and session musicians through the recording process without necessarily having had the “hands on” experience of being a songwriter, musician or engineer themselves. They often bring great perspective to a situation where being too close to any one part of the process might compromise the overall recording.
What Do Producers Do?
Producers can be involved in many different aspects of a recording. Some producers are very “hands off,” acting mostly as the voice of experience and perspective for artists who already have a fairly clear idea of who they are and where they’re headed. On the other end of the spectrum are the producers who are involved in every element of the recording, from co-writing the songs, to engineering, to playing one or even all of the instruments. In some, but certainly not all of these cases, the resulting recordings have such a distinctive sound that the producer becomes as associated with the recording as the artist themselves. For the record, no one way takes precedence over any other for producing a recording. The only measure of a producer that matters is whether or not the resulting recording is satisfying to everyone involved. As most producers operate somewhere in between minimal and complete involvement, here are the main areas where most producers do their work.
1) Pre-production – This includes working with the artist to decide if the songs are as good as they can be and, ultimately, which songs would work best as a group for an album release. It also includes deciding on the overall sound of a recording which involves deciding which session musicians/instruments would be best suited to achieve the sound and feel of a particular song.
2) Instrumental Recording/Arrangement – At this point, the producer works with the assembled musicians and helps direct their performances in the studio in order to achieve a cohesive sound for the recording.
3) Vocals - Finally, because the typical music listener responds first to the voice of the singer, one of the most important roles of the producer is working with the vocalist to help them give their best and most sincere performance of their material. It is extremely difficult for even the most experienced vocalists to have any perspective on their performance while it’s happening. For this reason, a producer is the voice of reason and experience who knows how to encourage a vocalist to do one more vocal pass or helps them realize that it would be better to take a break and come back to fight another day.
How Do I Find A Producer?
For those who are new to the process of recording, whether it’s an album project or even a song demo, it is unclear where to look to find a producer for your project. Generally speaking, word of mouth in your music community serves as the best, most organic way to find a producer right for your project. Another effective way to find a producer, particularly if you’re interested in doing a whole recording project, would be to look at the liner notes on some of your favorite independent CD projects made in the city where you plan to record. Often, those producers are available for hire and it’s just a matter of getting their contact information, which the CDs usually include. Finally, there’s no rule that says you can’t contact a well-known/successful producer whose work you admire. Maybe they will be too busy or too expensive to work with, but you never know. If you’re respectful in your request, there’s no reason not to try.
At the end of the day, it’s a good working relationship and the trust between artist and producer that makes for the best results. So, be sure that you not only like a producer’s work but feel comfortable working with them as well. You’ll be spending a lot of time with this person and trusting them with your art, so make sure that you feel like the producer you choose is willing to give you and your music the attention necessary to get a great recording.
Major Labels: We Spend Up to $1.4 Million Developing a New Artist...
Payment of Advances
Financing of Recording Costs
Production of Videos
Marketing & Promotion
Everyone these days is an artist. I’m pretty sure my mailman has an album coming out. Technology has saturated the market to a point of redundancy and monotony. This, fueled by a singles-driven market causes record labels to become weary of investing in unknown acts (understandably so). Any artist should have; hit songs, consistent shows lined up, a great following, independently moved units, radio play and/or impressive YouTube numbers.
It’s true, labels are looking for music in the style of artists who have hit it big already. The key is to dance along the line of familiarity and originality. Be a couple steps ahead of radio, but within a comfortable distance. If you are too left field, it would be hard to digest by labels and possibly even fans. If you are too similar to what’s hot now, you’ll miss the boat by the time your music gets big.
Make sure you have the ultimate product, before you invest ridiculous amounts of time and money into promoting it. Although the following has been stated repeatedly, sometimes repetition is key to truly understanding your goals. Practice your craft everyday, play gigs as often as possible and find legitimate sources of constructive feedback. As an artist, you must also realize that that it takes financial investment to develop a brand. PR, radio campaigns, web developers for your site, service companies, CD replication, copyright, professional photos, graphic design and so much more. If you are genuinely prepared to make your music a career, investing into your brand is key.
All that being said, it’s all about great art, a story and a movement. Truly, it’s a constant battle of balancing the time of perfecting your craft and developing your brand. Once you find this middle ground and you persistently create a movement with hit songs, you’ll find your way. Pursuing A&R’s through their assistants or interns, attacking blogs consistently with your music, creating interesting viral videos and finally developing an enthusiastic following will propel you towards where you need to be.
We both received cease and desist notices for names that were trademarked by someone else. He got one for Biggie Smalls and we received one for Bonnie and Clyde. Even though this album was released in 2008 and the people below in the notice just got their trademark in 2012, it’s legally their name now. Below is a link to help you understand how to trademark your name. We really didn’t have the group named Bonnie and Clyde but more just name of the album. Both artists(male and female) was just using that moniker as the album name.
This is Joel Andrew over at CD Baby.
I just received a cease and desist notice from Clyde (email@example.com)
regarding your artist name "Bonnie N Clyde." Clyde is the US Patent and
Trademark Office holder of the Bonnie And Clyde trademark, registration numbers
# 4149256 and # 4198372.
At this time I must halt distribution on your content in full. With the
trademarks registered with the federal government, I must comply with their
Please let me know if you have any questions about this.
The Free Mixtape/Street Album phenomena is killing the revenue flow in the Hip-Hop game. Artists are not getting paid, producers are not getting paid, etc.. I say, leave the MULTIPLE Mixtapes for the DJs, and the rappers should go back to giving out singles and samplers and creating quality EPs or Albums that they can market and sell.
Rappers have trained their audience to expect free music all of the time with the multiple releases of Free Street Albums…CRAZY!
Stop painting rap fans with a broad brush. Not every rap fan wants free throwaway music. Rap fans are not demanding this free clutter music; it’s being shoved on them. Many aspiring Rock & Roll, Pop, Country and R&B artists are building solid fanbases without giving away free albums. Rappers Take Note!
You can put out a free single or sampler, and still spark a lot of interest in your brand. Who told you that you MUST put out a FREE Street Album/mixtape?
Your fans must either want to be you or believe you. You must know your target market, and your music has to resonate with them. As an Artist, you must understand that your Fans don’t just buy your music; they buy your Lifestyle, your Brand, and your Movement as well.
You don’t have to keep putting out multiple free street album/mixtapes of original music to attract fans. You can release other free content from your brand like music videos, freestyles, video diaries, audio from radio interviews, video from concert performances, etc. Nowadays, it’s no longer just about selling CDs. It’s about selling or providing “Content” and conveying the mission of your Brand and your movement.
Try something different to build a fanbase. Look into the possibility of producing and starring in your own short films or long version music videos, and add your music as the score. Think outside of your circumference.
Give away a single or a sampler to attract fans, and then get them excited about buying a full length album or EP from you. Give them something to look forward to. When rappers constantly give away whole street albums of original music right out of the gate, it’s like a woman giving up everything on the first date. There is no momentum, no excitement, and no build up to what comes next – because she gave up everything on the first date. And it’s the same with artists.
Many upcoming rappers take the mystique and excitement out of their brand by giving away everything up front in the form of FREE Street Albums.
At least 70 percent of the independent rappers who put out multiple FREE Street Albums last year did not make a dime from their endeavors. FACT!
The crazy thing is that my next door neighbor’s 10-year-old daughter made more money selling lemonade last summer than many unsigned rappers made all year from their music endeavors – which included Free Mixtapes and Showcase performances. The little girl gave out samples, she advertised, did a raffle, and then she sold lots of lemonade drinks and ices. (Apply basic business principles to your music projects and watch your revenue grow by three-fold.)
The game plan for most unsigned rappers consists of giving away Free Street Album/Mixtapes and paying to be in showcases. And that’s it.
The average rapper spends $1,500 to put out his Free Mixtape/Street Album.. Who’s getting paid off of your FREE MIXTAPE/STREET ALBUM? LET’S SEE (Count With Me): The Studio, the engineer, the graphic designer for the cover, the CD manufacturer, perhaps the DJ you paid to host it, and perhaps the producers of the original tracks, the mixtape marketing company, and Datpiff or any other mixtape website that posts your mixtape in order to draw traffic to their site with the expectation of selling ads based on that traffic, etc.
I know an unsigned rapper who paid $2,500 to a well-known DJ to host the rapper’s FREE mixtape/street album. And the DJ didn’t even promote it. Next, the rapper spent $1,500 to get a collaboration on a song with a popular upcoming MC that went on the FREE mixtape/street album. Then, the rapper paid the studio and engineer to record and mix the FREE mixtape/street album, and he paid a graphic designer to design the cover. Then, the rapper spent $500 duplicating the CDs. And finally, the rapper paid $1,500 to a mixtape marketing company to promote the Free mixtape/street album.
At the end of the day, this rapper spent close to $7,000 on a Mixtape/Street album that he gave away for free. He got 12,500 downloads at the end of the day. Was it worth it? I say NO! Most independent rappers are just following Lil Wayne and Drake, and have no idea what they are doing.
Equally important, when you put a Free mixtape/street album on any mixtape site and generate thousands of downloads, do you know the demographics (Sex, Race or Age) of those downloading your mixtape? NO! Can you obtain the email addresses of those downloading your mixtape? NO! Do you know the location of those downloading your mixtape? NO! On these mixtape sites, you don’t receive any real stats, and thus, you don’t know who your potential consumers are. The only thing that you are doing is making money for the mixtape site. They use the traffic you draw to their site to sell advertisements.
RAPPERS WAKE UP! For many rappers, these Free Mixtape/street albums are just vanity projects and an expensive hobby. And many spend little money advertising the mixtape releases. Most rappers put out multiple free mixtape/street albums just to stroke their ego, but they have no understanding that, in many cases, they’re just throwing away money and cluttering up the already saturated Mixtape market.
And, some rappers are even going as far as to buy Mixtape Site downloads and manufactured stats.
Fake Downloads On Mixtape Site X + Fake Views On YouTube + Fake Followers On Twitter + Fake Fans On Facebook = FAKE MOVEMENT.
Just about every independent rapper has a FREE Street Album/Mixtape cluttering the market place. Try Something Different. Be Unique. Stand Out
It would make more sense to put the mixtape on your own website and draw traffic there. You can set it up so that people must enter a name and an e-mail in order to download it. Also, you can put a traffic tracker on your own website, and gather analytic demographic data of the unique visitors who visit your site. Moreover, you can also sell advertisements, bonus singles, merchandise, etc. on your own site, based on the traffic you draw there.
The bottom line is that many rappers are just following a trend. Instead of having a plan, most indie artists just make music, and put it out like they’re throwing darts against the wall hoping to get lucky.
If Lil Wayne comes out tomorrow and states that the Mixtape game is dead and he will no longer deal with it, then watch how many rappers follow his lead…SMH.
What worked for Lil Wayne, Drake and Wiz Khalifa as it relates to giving away Free Street Album/Mixtapes of original music will not work for every indie rapper out there.
Furthermore, if Rap Music Songwriters and producers understood the importance of publishing revenue and copyright ownership, they would not be giving their original music away for free so easily. Your music catalogue is an ASSET, and it has revenue generating potential. I can understand giving out free samplers or free singles. But CONSTANTLY giving away whole street albums of original music to try to build a fanbase doesn’t make sense.
ATTENTION INDEPENDENT ARTISTS: Are you receiving publishing Checks? Do you sell merchandise? Do you sell digital downloads? Are you getting paid from shows? Have you generated revenue by licensing your music? Have you obtained funds from Endorsements or Sponsorships? Do you get paid from doing features? Who is your target market? What is your distribution network?
Do you have a marketing plan and budget in place? Do you keep track of money you spend and money you take in regarding your music? Do you pay taxes based on income generated from your musical endeavors? How much did you earn last year from your music endeavors? How much do you expect to earn this year? How much did you invest in Promotion last year? How much do you plan to invest in promotion this year?
One hit single can generate millions for an artist via digital sales, publishing, paid shows, endorsements, ring tones, etc.
It is very important that every aspiring artist and producer know and learn the multiple revenue streams in the music business. Some of the Music Biz Revenue Streams include CD Sales, Digital Download Sales, Merchandising Sales, Tour Income, Licensing Revenue, Publishing Income, Ringtone Revenue, Endorsement Deals, and Sponsorship Revenue.
The key is to ATTRACT the masses to your music. Convert folks into fans and capture them by being unconventional. As an artist, you have to get out there and meet with the people, engage your supporters, hand out flyers, T-Shirts etc..
Don’t be a backwards hustler. What dude you know in the streets who gives away all of his product and is able to grow in the streets?
Big corporations give away free SAMPLES to attract buyers, but they also invest in advertising and marketing to sell the products as well.
PepsiCo is boosting its overall marketing budget this year by as much as $600 million. SUCCESSFUL COMPANIES INVEST IN PROMOTION. FACT!!
If you believe that nobody buys music anymore, then you’ve already lost. You’re just basically stating that you’re music career is a hobby.
There’s a big difference between FREE music and GOOD music, and some rappers confuse the two. Most Rap fans don’t want FREE music. They want GOOD music that appeals to their emotions. And they will pay for it if it’s marketed right.
Forget about putting out three (3) mediocre FREE mixtapes in a row, and concentrate on creating one (1) CLASSIC ALBUM that you can market and sell.
The music business is NOT the LOTTERY. That “Dollar and a Dream” mentality will not cut it. Get a Budget! Get a Plan! And, Get To Work! Do Remixes, Do Music Videos, Do Video Logs, Do Contests, Do Shows, Do Interviews, Get your own Merchandise, Connect with DJs and your fans.
There are millions of aspiring artists and producers. So how do you expect to STAND OUT if you look, talk and sound just like everyone else?
The music game is all “Smoke and Mirrors.” Don’t get caught up in the illusion and slight of hand. Study and learn the biz for yourself.
MONETIZE YOUR MOVEMENT AND MAKE YOUR MOVEMENTS MAKE SENSE.
The key principles of sample clearance
- Sampling is a form of copying someone else’s music (sound recording and underlying composition)
- UK copyright laws (Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988) dictate that for infringement to take place a substantial part of a recording must have been used. Substantiality in the UK differs from in the US.
- Only use a sample with permission of copyright owner.
- Copyright owner can consider licensing use and decide whether to grant the license or not and determine the fee. Copyright owner is entitled to refuse permission.
- You will be required to pay a fee and/or royalties and credit (mention) the original writers/ copyright owner from which the sample is taken as a condition of any licence.
- Music which was made or released within the last 50 years (life of copyright) will still be in copyright and can only be sampled with permission from the copyright owner of the recording.
- In addition, a license from the copyright owner of the underlying composition (music and words). A license for the composition will not be needed if you RE-RECORD the composition.
- Sampling will infringe copyright in the music and/or the sound recording, if a ‘substantial part’ of the original and used without permission. Sample considered ‘substantial’ by reference to quality rather than length.
Westbound Records and Bridgeport Music v No Limit Films (2004)
The case centred on the song 100 Miles and Runnin, which samples a three-note guitar riff from Get Off Your Ass and Jam by George Clinton and Funkadelic. The song was included in the 1998 movie I Got the Hook Up by No Limit Films In the two-second sample, the guitar pitch has been lowered, and the copied piece was “looped” and extended to 16 beats. The sample appears five times in the new song.
A US federal appeals court ruled that recording artists should licence every musical sample included in their work even minor, edited, unrecognisable snippets of music. The court posed the question “If you cannot pirate the whole sound recording, can you ‘lift’ or ‘sample’ something less than the whole?” The Court’s answer to this was NO; and the court added “Get a license or do not sample – we do not see this as stifling creativity in any significant way.”
How Not To Clear a Sample
- You cannot clear the underlying composition in a sample by re-recording the sample. If you choose to re-create the use, you still need the publishing clearance.
- Altering the sample (even to the point of making it unrecognisable) does not get you out of clearing it.
- Sampling a track which already cleared its samples doesn’t get you out of clearing them.
Sample Clearance FAQ
How much of a song can I use before I need clearance?
It doesn’t matter how long the sample is. It could be two seconds and you’d still have to clear it.
How do I approach a Record label or Publisher in regards to obtain a clearance?
Give information about your planned releases e.g. label the tune will be released on and how many copies pressed. Record company or publisher may say yes, ultimate decision is sometimes up to the musicians.
Sampling from a small label artist
A small record company may want a flat fee, known as a ‘buy-out’.
If you’ve sampled a relatively unknown tune and it’s quite a short release you might end up paying just around £500 but they may build in a condition that another fee is payable if you want to press more records.
Sampling from a large label artist
A larger label or bigger artist may want a royalty – usually 1 to 3 per cent.
They’ll probably want an advance against that – which, for a major artist it may be several thousand pounds. You may be able to reduce the royalty by paying a larger advance or reduce the advance by offering a larger royalty.
What difference does it make if the of the sample is used little or a lot?
If the sample is extensive and underpins your tune to such an extent that the track won’t really work without it, you’re in a weak bargaining position. In such case, a Record company can demand a much higher royalty – as much as 50%.
How do you get clearance for published samples?
Publishing companies will typically want a royalty but not an advance. For light usage of a minor artist this can be less than 10%. For a larger artist it may be 50% or more – up to 100%.
How does sampling affect my royalties?
The royalties for samples will be deducted from your record sales share of royalties and publishing royalties. You may also have to give up some of your Performer’s Royalties to the people who performed on the record you sampled.
What if I cannot find the copyright owner?
Do not proceed with use until you have obtained clearance in writing from all copyright owners concerned and all clearance terms and conditions agreed. To proceed without all necessary clearances in place will equal breach of copyright.
Can I approach the band/writers directly?
Clearance must be sought and obtained from the copyright owners. In most cases this is the record label and publisher.
How long will it take to get an answer to my request?
Publishers will often discuss the clearance request with writers of the composition that has been used. If writers are recording, touring or working on other projects the clearance can be delayed.
If the composition that you wish to use is not U.K copyright, the publisher may need to liaise with a foreign publisher who in turn may need to liaise with the writers.
What can I do if my request is denied?
You must remove the sampled/re-created use from your work. To proceed without all necessary clearances in place may well result in action being taken against you for breach of copyright.
(Hypebot) –1. Never leave promotion to the other guy. Depending on your point of view don't count on the label, band or publicist to do their jobs. Do it yourself or it may not get done.
2. Know your niche market(s) or hire/befriend someone who does.
3. Always think of the fans first when making decisions.
4. Start early. Pre-promote. It allows time for viral buzz (aka free promotion) to build and ensures you’ll get you a larger share of a discretionary spending.
5. Take the time and spend the money to get a great publicist to get free media.
6. Produce great promotional material and send it out early and often. Don’t wait until they need it.
7. Email lists must be your new religion. Make sign up simple and easy to find. Put it visibly on the top half of the front page and watch it grow.
8. Segment your email lists (genre, location) to fight email burnout.
9. Produce and send great e-cards. The best ones get forwarded to others.
10. Make your web site a destination by keeping it updated and including news, giveaways, polls and things to make it worth visiting.
11. Put your promo online in downloadable form for easy access by the media and your fans.
12. Enable and encourage others to do your promo for you. Ask fans to put up flyers and send out emails. Put a poster online as a free downloadable PDF for fans to use.
13. Create, utilize and reward a street team. Here’s a short article on the subject.
14. Talk to people and take informal polls. Have they seen your ads? Where? Did they grab them and provide useful information? Survey your audience via email, on the web and at shows.
15. Add a free poll to your web site or blog via yourfreepoll.com.
16. Get every free listing everywhere you can no matter how obscure or far away. Maintain an extensive “listings” email list and use it.
17. Enhance the value of press releases by always attaching a photo or graphic file or a link to one.
18. Aggressively seek sponsorships. Big sponsorships are great, but no sponsorship is too small to consider even if its just cross promotion in ads or free give aways.
19. Always think yourself as a brand that needs to be defined, marketed, and protected.
20. Try local cable TV. Some local spots on Fuse or other targeted channels go for as little as $7 each. Check out Spotrunner, dMarc or your local cable company.
21. Try local internet advertising via Google Adsense, Facebook or local web sites. MySpace is adding targeted advertising early 2008.
22. Advertise on internet radio and blogs that serve your market.
23. Create consistency by creating ad mats and radio spots beds.
24. Sponsor non-commercial radio and get mentions. NPR is great, but don’t forget college radio.
25. Think out of the box with radio tie-ins. Rry talk radio for a classic rock or jazz radio for a fusion. Radio stations want to expand their audience too.
26. Co-brand. Celtic Music with an Irish bar or specialty shop or metal with a tattoo parlor. Worry less about money and think more about exposure.
27. Sponsor somebody else’s event. Consider trading sponsorships.
28. Create your own affordable net radio station on Live 365.
29. Add a blog to your website to keep content fresh. Blogger.com has free tools.
30. Go viral and post on related list-servers and discussion groups.
31. Can't find the right discussion group? Start your own discussion group for free at Yahoo or Google Groups.
32. Get on both MySpace and Facebook and stay active. Don’t just set it up and forget it.
Update it and promote it. Make it worth visiting. iLike and others are creating services to help you keep track and update more than one site at a time.
33. Make everything you do an event. What holiday is near? Is it a band member birthday? An anniversary near?
34. Consider the internet your new best friend. Study it, learn from it, explore it and use it.
35. Run contests for best poster design or homemade video. Share all the entries on the web.
36. Produce monthly or even weekly podcasts. Consider having it produced cheaply or in trade for tickets, etc, by a local college DJ.
37. Do anything you can think of to enhance the consumer experience.
38. Give stuff away – backstage passes, seat upgrades, seats on stage, tix to the sound check, mp3’s of live songs.
39. In the entertainment business perception can be reality. Is your show the biggest, best, loudest, “most talked about”? Then be sure to tell the world that it is.
40. Enhance and monetize the hard core fan experience with a Platinum level fan club that offers exclusive downloads, pre-orders, insider news, preferred seating at shows, etc.
41. Go old school and cut through email overload by also faxing calendars and press releases. Use a free computer based fax broadcast service.
42. Don't just send announcements to the main stream press but include bloggers, internet radio, record stores, colleges and even large offices.
43. Make your faxes look like mini-posters worth hanging up.
44. Fly a plane with a banner over someone else’s event.
45. Park a van or truck with a banner on a main street or across from a show by a similar act.
46. Buy a billboard for an event or series of shows. Place it strategically near a competitor or across from a college campus.
47. Use one of the cheap automated phone answering services advertised in the classifieds to set up a special phone line for your schedule.
48. Pass a clipboard(s) around before a show to capture emails or do a survey.
49. Meet your fans face to face and ask them for feedback but how you can serve them better.
50. Try the good old fashioned US mail occasionally. It actually gets people's attention.
51. Promote “After Parties” that are cheap or free with a concert ticket. This allows you to extend your brand or even tag onto someone else's at low cost.
52. Hand out flyers on the way out of the Live shows.
53. Capture info from any one who make a purchase particularly ticket buyers.
54. Ask your web visitors questions. Polls are free and easy to set up with sites like PollDaddy.
55. Sell merchandise at affordable prices. It’s branding that someone else pays for.
56. Get creative with your merchandise – don’t just sell shirts. Try flip books, for example.
58. In this age of too much info and media, work to make yourself a trusted gatekeeper for your genre(s) of music. Use newsletters, blogs, tips, links, internet radio, and more. Don't just write about yourself. Write about things people who care about you also care about.
59. Carry a video camera everywhere and post short videos on YouTube.com and elsewhere of live shows, interviews, backstage, etc.
60. Create your own related niche blogs or web sites (for example MidWestmetal.com or NightlifeDetroit.com or FansOf--------.com). You can make yourself the only (or primary) advertiser, but keep it real with info and news from others.
61. Send thank-you notes. Not emails; written notes. No one says thank-you anymore. It will be remembered.
62. Ask for the purchase. Never forget that you are in sales.
63. Market to the niches. Market to bartenders in Irish pubs for a Celtic or motorcycle shops for a heavy metal. Try tattoo parlors, coffee shops, book stores, niche clothing shops.
64. Make your emails and web site useful to the reader. Add info and links to things your audience might find interesting or useful that you have nothing to do with.
65. Share your best promo ideas and avenues of promotion with other stakeholders: bands, promoters, labels, publicists, and sponsors.
66. Share media lists with others highlighting things you think will work best for each project.
67. Sell a series or combo. This works for recorded music and live tickets.
68. Surprise people. Give them something for free that they did not expect.
69. Create and use banners. Don’t have time or $ for Kinkos? Try Avery Banner Maker.
70. Trade others occasionally for targeted email lists, but don’t overuse them.
71. Hire or befriend a geek who will help you keep up on new technologies and internet promo opportunities.
72. Partner with a charity. Build good will and get more free media. Maybe you're giving a small % or maybe it’s auctioning off or selling the seats on stage or tickets to the sound check.
73. Consider unusual places on the internet like Craigslist, sBay and StubHub as promotional tools…Try selling tickets and other stuff there.
74. Musicians want to be actors and actors and athletes want to be musicians. Think about how you can cross promote so everyone wins.
75. Always make available a hi-resolution color photo available for easy download and you’ll get much better placement in print Sunday editions and calendar sections.
76. Some fans travel so try cross–promoting with another show (by the same band or just a similar band) in another city 50 or 100 miles away.
77. Create a special “Insider” email list fof a few fans, key media, tastemakers and bloggers for pre-announcements who love to know things first…and like to tell others.
78. If the there is going to be a meet and greet after show make sure that it's advertised. Fans always want a chance to meet the musicians.
79. Consider offering a student discount or senior discount.
81. Work to make it easier and cheaper for fans to buy tickets online. There are always going to have to be some fees, but some services like InTicketing charge much smaller fees than Ticketmaster.
82. Find ways to your regular ticket buyers.
83. Enhance your gatekeeper status by creating your own free Pandora or Last.FM “radio station” and linking to it from your site.
84. Create free custom Pandora or Last.FM for each concert event…”Get in the mood for the Al Green concert with this classic soul stream…”. It’s a free way to make the concert an event and keep them talking about it to others.
85. Start a short term blog for every big show or series. Post when it goes it go on sale, when an opener is added, when the front rows are sold out, news about the bands, everything. Link to it from our own site.
86. Produce and sponsor a cable access show.
87. Utilize free interns. Try to make sure they are getting college credit so they are motivated to work.
88. Use cell text messaging to communicate instantly. Try Nightlifetexting.com or Google to find other companies.
89. Flyer - It’s the cheapest form of advertising. Clubflyers.com even offers free flyers every month or a try local printer.
90. A good flyer promotes more than one show and is also worth of being hung as a mini poster.
91. Flyer someone else’s show in a related genre.
92. Make sure all important info is on the front page of your site: new gigs, news, latest photos/songs/videos, etc. Make it easy as possible for fans to see the site is update and to get to stuff quickly.
93. Make sure everywhere you are mentioned (club listings, others bands you are playing with, etc) links back to your site. If they aren't linking, ask.
94. Encourage fans to "tag" you and your content on other sites like flickr, blogs, etc. Then aggregate that data on your site.
95. Do the same using recommendation sites like Digg and Stumble. See example links at the bottom of every Hypebot post.
96. As Tip #7 stated, email lists should be your new religion. A few sites like scriggleit.com offer free mailing list and text messaging solutions. There's no excuse.
97. Finding the time to keep up with all of this is hard but essential. Take advantage of new free services that offer the ability to manage content across platforms: > Nimbit enables mp3, CD, ticket and merchandise sales on MySpace, Facebook and elsewhere from a single integrated widget. > ReverbNation provides email sign-up, street teams and web promotion tools. A new addition allows multi-artist tracking. > iLike has made its fan communication and community building tools instantly compatible on both its site and Facebook and provides tracking tools and stats.
98. If you hear about a good promo idea, go online and research it RIGHT NOW. Try it before it becomes over used. You can drop it if it doesn't work.
99. Up your promotion Karma. If you try something and it's a hit, tell others. Then they will be more likely to share ideas with you.
100. Read Hypebot regularly. We'll help you keep on top of what's hot in music marketing.
Yesterday, it was reported that album sales in the U.S. were up one percent last year, with Adele's 21 easily the best-selling record of 2011. Now Nielsen/SoundScan has confirmed that21 not only finished 2011 with 5.82 million copies sold, but was the best selling album since 2004, when Usher's hit recordConfessions sold 7.98 million copies. Adele also had the top selling single of 2011, as her smash "Rolling In The Deep" sold 5.81 million digital downloads.
Every January, Nielsen SoundScan releases an annual report on the music business for the prior year, and every year in recent memory, the numbers have sung the same sad song: overall music sales are down, again, as piracy and other factors chip away at the industry’s sales numbers.
This year, however, there’s a glimmer of hope. For the first time since 2004, overall music sales are up. It’s an incremental improvement–album sales edged up 1.4% to 330.57 million units from 326.15 million in 2010–but it’s an improvement nonetheless, especially compared to the 13% dip in total album sales from 2009-2010.
Intro: The six exclusive copyrights that drive the entire music business!
Introduction by Jeff Price, founder, TuneCore
The instant you write or record an original song, be it on a cocktail napkin or sing it into your iPhone, you get six exclusive legal copyrights as granted by the government.
These six legal copyrights (in no particular order) are:
Frequently, we receive inquiries from musicians who have had their song(s) selected for opportunities on Music Xray and who have questions about contract terms they’re being offered by the industry professionals.
We talk a lot about how this era of the music business is a particularly good one for the independent artist (by that, I mean an artist not signed to a label; someone who releases his/her own music either by him or herself or with a small team). The reasons for this are many, and largely due to technological advances: companies like TuneCore made it possible for you to have your music distributed world-wide very efficiently; Pro Tools (etc.) allows for the efficient creation of music; social media enables you (in theory) to promote your music directly to fans, etc…
Last fall, former composer Johnny Pate was sitting in his Southern California retirement community, mindlessly flipping channels, when something caught his ear. “I passed this award show with Jay-Z doing this big production with girls and all that, and I heard this tune. I was like, ‘Whoa! I know that sound!’ ” Shortly afterward, Pate received a royalty statement and a five-figure check—Jay-Z’s producer, Just Blaze, had used portions of one of his songs for the hit single “Show Me What You Got.” “I’m still flabbergasted that they would sample something I wrote thirtysomething odd years ago,” says Pate.
Pate had unwittingly entered the burgeoning, byzantine world of sampling. Sampling—taking an artist’s music and using it to build a new tune—goes back at least to the Beatles and Pink Floyd, who used fragments of other songs. But modern-day sampling started in the South Bronx, where party D.J.'s in the 1970s would find a favorite chunk of music and blend two duplicate records to play that section over and over. It has always been the de facto beat-creation process for hip-hop producers, but as the music has exploded in popularity, copyright laws have been enforced more regularly and the stakes—and money—involved in the sampling business have risen accordingly.
For example, as rapper Kanye West celebrates selling nearly 1 million copies of his new album, Graduation, last week, royalty checks aren’t just being readied for him but also for Elton John, ’70s duo Steely Dan, and the abstract German band Can. West borrowed from a motley crew of musicians to create his hit album’s sound collage, which means he’ll be dividing his several million dollars with the original artists. Jay-Z, Nas, and even West’s competitor 50 Cent built their catalogs on sample-based albums, their tens of millions in royalties split among hundreds of artists, some of whom haven’t released a new song in decades.
Whenever music is sampled, the user has to get permission, or “clear” the sample with the original songwriters and, depending on the circumstances, the original performer and record label. Experts say artists can ask for a flat fee or a percentage of the new song’s publishing rights—anywhere from 15 to, believe it or not, 100 percent. (Publishing-rights percentages determine how much in royalties an artist gets from album sales.)
“Every single sample clearance is different,” says Kathleen Merrill, of the Parker Music Group, who has cleared music for sampling, TV, and movie use for 18 years. “And it’s really all over the place how long the process can take—there can be 10 publishers on one song.”
It wasn’t this complicated in the ’70s and ’80s, when hip-hop was a subculture instead of a multibillion-dollar business. Although the law was more loosely interpreted before, now it is the creators’ responsibility to ask permission for every sound borrowed—from a bass line to a high hat—or, increasingly, be vulnerable to legal action.
“[Now] it is the song producer’s responsibility to notify the rap artist or the record company as to what they sample,” says Deborah Mannis-Gardner of DMG Clearances, a 15-year veteran of the business who has worked with P. Diddy, Nas, and Ghostface. It is common to give album credit to the very important person who obtains the rights to samples.
The sampled artists, songwriters, or record labels can come back with how much they will charge. New York University professor Joseph Schloss, author of Making Beats: The Art of Sample-Based Hip-Hop, says this dynamic has created three tiers of samplers: big-budget artists, like West, who can afford to clear every sample; midlevel artists who cannot afford to clear but are on the radar of music labels; and underground artists virtually invisible to litigious music labels.
When it comes to paying for the sample, money can come from both the artist and the producer—or from just one or the other. For example, producer Disco D composed a song on 50 Cent’s 2005 album The Massacre that prominently featured a song by the O’Jays. The people controlling the sample wanted half of the publishing rights, and 50 Cent, the most popular artist in rap at the time, had no intention of giving up his half. Still an up-and-coming producer, Disco D received none of the publishing rights and very little money from The Massacre’s 11 million units sold.
For financial, legal, and sometimes even bragging reasons, producers will distort, or “flip,” a sample without clearance and try to slide it under the radar. If they are caught, the consequences can be severe. Just last year, Notorious B.I.G.’s 1994 landmark debut, Ready to Die, was ordered off shelves because it featured two short, uncleared samples from the funk band Ohio Players.
Merrill says that the laws haven’t gotten any harsher—but publishers have finally started using them. “From my perspective, they were pretty lax until the beginning of illegal downloads,” she says. “Now there are songs that are very old that are in litigation...and we’re talking from the beginning of hip-hop music.”
Both Steely Dan and Elton John rarely approve samples, which makes West’s having the artists’ work on his album an impressive—and expensive—feat. “Elton John commands a high price,” quips Merrill, who wasn’t involved with Graduation. “As he well should.”
But performers and sample-clearance agencies stress that the emphasis usually isn’t on the money but on the sampled artist having control over how he or she is being interpreted. It can often be a win-win situation.
Says Merrill, “What a great thing sampling says about the glory of music through time: that someone like Kanye would be moved by Elton John, and Elton was moved enough to allow Kanye to use it.”
When Apple rolled out iTunes for the masses in the spring of 2003, the music industry was at a point of transition — and chaos.
Entering the new millennium, albums were enjoying blockbuster sales of several million units for its superstar artists, and profits were booming. Yet the threat of Napster and other forms of illegal downloading threatened to eviscerate those profits as many music fans were starting to get used to the idea that music, and loads of it, could be free.
Apple’s iTunes entered into that landscape with a concept that wasn’t exactly new: a system where you could pay for songs online. Yet iTunes, with its simple interface, its simple concept — 99 cents per song — and revolutionary MP3 device, the iPod, made it the golden standard.
The entry of Apple and its leader, Steve Jobs, who died Wednesday, into the music world was more than a success — it was a phenomenon. Today, iTunes is the largest music retailer, has redefined the listening experience and has largely become the way that music is consumed.
Today, the band formerly known as The Time has reunited with its original members under the moniker, The Original 7ven. They’ve crafted an incredible new 14-song album called, Condensate that is filled with the classic funk/rock/pop sound of The Time without sounding dated. Condensate is what The Time should sound like today. The catchy lead single and video, “#Trendin’” will satisfy PPM heads that want songs with big and memorable hooks. The hook in “#Trendin’” is a beast… “They’re talking about me, there talkin’ about me, we trendin’”. And this is just the first song from an album that you’re going to enjoy for a long time. No joke, Condensate is the truth! “#Trendin’” is impacting now on Time Life Music’s SRR Records. Wanna see the video? Click here: The Original 7ven's new single #Trendin - YouTube or get the song on iTunes at http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/trendin-single/id463680602.
2011 could end being the year digital music broke. Yes, the iTunes Music Store launched back in 2003. But 2011 has been a truly incredible year for digital music. Perhaps most important is the big improvement in download sales. This year's increase in digital downloads could result in around $300 million of incremental consumer spending by the end of the year, based on Billboard estimates using Nielsen SoundScan data.
There's a common -- and incorrect -- belief in the music business that nobody pays for music anymore. That claim just doesn't hold water in 2011. Through September 25, the increase in track and digital album sales has a value of about $236 million (calculated simply using $1.29 for tracks and $9.99 for digital albums). American consumers have purchased an additional 12 million digital albums and 90.5 million tracks on top of what they had purchased at the same point in 2010.
Sorry we don’t add any artists videos that don’t have big buzz on YouTube yet unless they pay fee (By Bigg buzz We mean at least 50,000 legit views on 1 single video by himself / herself "MEANING NO BIG ARTIST FEATURES" in 2010 and a lot of comments) we check everything
its $650 to PayPal per music video / freestyles / Audio slide shows (videos about hip hop and music videos only)
its 750 if it’s a video dissing a popular artist
1500 for mix tape commercials / beat making videos / Music video trailers/ dvd trailers / video blogs
2500 for infomercials
4,000 per day For BIG CINEMATIC BOX (for video to be shown on the top box on home page)
3000 per day for big box below cinematic
5,500 for 2 days up top on the main page of our site (top box)
1500 for promo fight clips
$2,500 for nude. $5000 for xxx clips
if you are wanting to pay for a video that’s not a music video or hip hop video. (Like an adult clip or video bout selling a shoe. email us back here For those prices. cause those are more expensive)
our www.paypal.com email is firstname.lastname@example.org. (Make sure u put on description of PayPal message box that this is for a video submission to worldstarhiphop.com) when you send payment.
once you send payment. email us back here with video title. description of video. video url. and the PayPal transaction ID Number and we will add it as soon as payment is cleared
send us Only YouTube, vimeo or Facebook video link and send us the link
if you want you to choose your own screenshot / still image of the video
just upload the screenshot to tinypic.com and give us link to the image
Has to be a still image directly from the video . Nothing false or misleading & No Booty shots that show a lot of booty cheeks
again all info in 1 email To email@example.com
Your video stays on our site forever. and will get added in the mix like how we add daily videos.
After PayPal payment is cleared. it takes 1 to 5 days for your video to get added on our site. if you’re in a hurry. and want it added same day in less than 24 hours. your welcome to pay Premium Fee which is 900 to get in less than 24 hours just videos that you are paying 650 for
so $900 total for video blogs / music videos / freestyles (videos about hip hop and music videos) to get added in less than 24 hours
*Note** If you paying for express placement. Please send a new email that’s says **EXPRESS VIDEO PLACEMENT**
so we can get it up in less than 24 hour guaranteed
*NOTE*: After you send payment and email us back with on firstname.lastname@example.org with the information. Check back daily on the site 1-5 days to see if your video has been posted. If after the 5 day you don’t see the video up. Email us back
*NOTE* Your video will have this tag next to it either UNSIGNED HYPE. USER SUBMITTED. OR LABEL SUBMITTED. You can choose from 1 of the 3
*NOTE* If you want your video to drop on a certain day.. (meaning you get to pick the exact date.. YOU NEED TO PAY FOR EXPRESS PLACEMENT $900)
*NOTE* We can’t add these tags on title. *HOTTEST MC IN THE GAME.. A MUST SEE".. we can only add those types of tags on description. And No False Misleading Tags On Title
Would you have guessed that the song, ‘Happy Birthday to You’ generates an estimated $2 million dollars a year in royalties? (and has earned this much annually since 1996.) It’s only eight measures long, spans an octave and was written for children …but it’s a BIG money maker.
The song has appeared in over 140 movies, in countless advertisements for products ranging from cars to cereals to insurance to paper products and pet stores… and was featured in the world’s first singing telegram in 1933. Royalties are earned for public performances of the song as well as its use in movies, television shows, advertisements, music boxes, theatrical productions and the like. (Just an fyi… singing it around the dinner table or serenading your friend is a royalty-free private performance.)
‘Happy Birthday to You’ was written by two sisters… one was an educator and the other a composer. They were knowledgeable about copyright law and took steps to register their work for copyright protection. They may not have guessed that their song would become one of the most popular songs in the 20th Century…. earning over an estimated $45 million dollars to date. (Spending $35 to register your music for copyright protection pays off)
Think mailing yourself a copy of your songs secures proof of your copyright ? Think again.
Mailing yourself a copy of your songs is not valid legal protection against copyright infringement.
Although technically a "copyright" takes place the moment the songs are created, mailing your songs to yourself unopened–sometimes called a "poor man’s copyright"–provides absolutely no protection in the event of a lawsuit.
In fact, according to several entertainment attorneys we spoke with, if you have not registered your copyright with the US Copyright Office and are sued for infringement or want to sue someone for violating your copyright , no court will hear your case.
So, in order to protect and enforce your copyright if someone tries to steal your songs or sue you for infringement, you must register your songs with the US Copyright Office. In the Court’s eyes, if you haven’t bothered to register the copyright with the US Library of Congress Copyright Office it’s just not worth their time.
Forms and information are available at the US Copyright Office. (We especially like Circulars 50 and 56.) If you need help deciding which forms you need, talk with an Information Specialist at (202) 707-3000. You can also register your copyrights online at Copyright.gov at a reduced fee.
Not just rappers but all artists need to see this video!
So you’ve written a new song. It may have the potential to be a hit, but one thing is certain: it makes sense to properly protect your song if you hope to profit from its recording and public performance. How do music copyrights work? What is required to have ownership of your song’s copyright? Why should you register it with the Library of Congress? What are some of the common music licenses that generate income for songwriters?
360 deals are contracts that allow a record label to receive a percentage of the earnings from ALL of a band's activities instead of just record sales. Under 360 deals, also called "multiple rights deals," record labels may get a percentage of things that were previously off limits to them, like:
Need ideas on how to spread the news that you are ready to hit the music scene? Don’t know where to start your music marketing and promotional efforts? Some tips presented here are tried, true and some are new, to get the word out on your music and you. Marketing is all the activities and processes of planning, communicating and executing a product, with a price, the promotion and the placement of an item to an end user. Your music is your product which you are then supplying to the end user - the music fan. Between you and the fan is a big space on how to bridge this gap. You may think that if you just get a record deal with some label, your prayers are answered and this instant bridge is built across that space. This is for the most part, not how things work today. As an aspiring indie or unsigned singer, songwriter, or a musician in a band you can not do just a few things to promote yourself and expect success in your music career. Offline and online music promotion and marketing exposure is an ongoing process in this DIY age. Music companies are looking for artists that already have fan bases, sold CDs, and are proven ready to move up to a higher level. Presented here are more than 100 tips and ideas for you to think about and tweak as you will, to get noticed, gain fans, and get heard. You have to find a way to stand above the crowd, for talent alone is not enough.
Need ideas on how to spread the news that you are ready to hit the music scene? Don’t know where to start your music marketing and promotional efforts? Some tips presented here are tried, true and some are new, to get the word out on your music and you.
Marketing is all the activities and processes of planning, communicating and executing a product, with a price, the promotion and the placement of an item to an end user. Your music is your product which you are then supplying to the end user - the music fan. Between you and the fan is a big space on how to bridge this gap. You may think that if you just get a record deal with some label, your prayers are answered and this instant bridge is built across that space. This is for the most part, not how things work today.
As an aspiring indie or unsigned singer, songwriter, or a musician in a band you can not do just a few things to promote yourself and expect success in your music career. Offline and online music promotion and marketing exposure is an ongoing process in this DIY age. Music companies are looking for artists that already have fan bases, sold CDs, and are proven ready to move up to a higher level. Presented here are more than 100 tips and ideas for you to think about and tweak as you will, to get noticed, gain fans, and get heard. You have to find a way to stand above the crowd, for talent alone is not enough.
Facebook. You already know it's the most prominent social media site on the planet.
You probably also know that, in addition to having a personal profile for yourself as a person, you can also create a "fan page" for your band, your music company, or yourself as an artist — or anything else for that matter.
Having a Facebook fan page can be a great promotional tool. But like any tool, it can be used ... or abused. In this post I will focus on the most common blunders as I walk you through the "5 Biggest Facebook Music Fan Page Mistakes."
Apple has deals with three of the big music labels to license a new cloud music service. And it is in talks to close a deal with holdout Universal Music Group, the world's biggest music company.
But when Apple gets its Universal deal done, it still won't be ready to launch.
That's because Apple has yet to nail down terms with the big music publishers, who own a separate set of rights. And Steve Jobs will need their sign-off, too.
While Apple came to terms with Warner Music and EMI Music weeks ago, and has now struck a deal with Sony Music, industry sources tell me the company doesn't have agreements with the labels' associated publishing companies--Warner/Chappell, EMI Music Publishing, and Sony/ATV. The deal Apple is about to sign with Universal also won't include publishing, I'm told.
The distinction between music labels, who own the rights to music recordings, and music publishers, who own the rights to songs' underlying compositions, seems small and technical. But it's an important one.
The two groups each get paid when their work is used, at different rates. And while all the big music companies have both a recorded music arm and a publishing arm, the two operate in different silos, and don't always share the rights to the same music. The Beatles' recordings, for instance, belong to EMI Music, while the bands' publishing rights are controlled by Sony/ATV.
The fact that ownership of a single song can be shared by lots of people is one of the reasons it's so hard to get anything done in digital music (recall that Google and Amazon both bailed on getting any rights at all for their cloud services). But the complexity isn't a deal killer, either.
In Apple's case, I'm told that the company doesn't have any theological hurdles to clear with the publishers. It simply started talking to the music labels first, and has only recently started negotiating with the publishers.
The only issue to hammer out is just how much Apple will pay for its service, which will let users move their music to Apple's "cloud" servers and then let them stream their songs back to different devices. But the two sides are at least "engaged" over the issue, says an industry source.
In many ways, this seems like a rerun of Apple's move to extend the length of the song samples it offers at its iTunes store. Apple planned to increase the duration of its samples from 30 seconds to 90 seconds last September. But it didn't get clearance from the publishers, and negotiations kept it from super-sizing the samples until December.
Music industry sources I talk to think Apple wants to launch--or at least announce--the cloud service at its developers' conference in early June. And if the hang-up is truly just about money, then that still gives dealmakers time to hammer things out. But remember that this is the music business, and simple things always take longer than they should.
For years, Mona Scott-Young has been behind the scenes effortlessly crafting the careers of Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliott and 50 Cent, to name a few.
While filming a reality television show documenting the life of Harlem rapper and her client Jim Jones, Scott got a unique perspective about the complex relationship between his longtime girlfriend and mother.
Through her Momami Entertainment company, she teamed with VH1 for 'Love and Hip Hop,' the natural transition from 'Basketball Wives' and 'Football Wives,' which uncovers the lives of the women behind some of the most famous rap stars out.
BlackVoices.com got the scoop from Mrs. Scott-Young on if these women should throw in the towel with their relationships, the future of hip hop music and why her show is different from the rest.
Here's 20 Questions With Mona Scott-Young
BlackVoices.com: So, you used to be a background dancer back in the day and wore catsuits?
Mona Scott-Young: You want to go back to the catsuits? To be honest with you, the dancing and choreography and artist development was something that came to me because it was something that I enjoyed. I walked into a dance studio one day and saw this class Stage Moves, and they worked with artists on their stage presence and how to hold the mic. I thought, "That looks really interesting. I can do that." I really enjoyed it, and it led to me doing artist development and choreography and eventually a couple of the acts I was working with asked me to appear in their videos. I did it because it was part of getting their show together.
BV: For people who don't know your history, can you tell us who some of the artists are that did background dancer for?
MSY: You should make that a trivia question. Make that a trivia question.
BV: How did you transition into becoming a manager?
MSY: It's not a natural progression for most people, but for me, what I did in management wasn't something I studied or sought but once I started working withTrackmasters, who came to me and said, "We want you to manage us as producers," I didn't want to have them subject to my trial and error. But they believed in me, and that was the start of my management company.
BV: And when did you start working with Violator Management?
MSY: I met Chris Lightly who, at the time, was still at Rush Management, and I worked with Black Sheep and that's how he and I connected. He was one of the doors I knocked on. When I hooked up with Chris, he was on the verge of a big change himself because he was going onto Def Jam with Lyor Cohen and being A&R with Def Jam and said, "We haven't figured out what we are going to do with these guys." So what started out as a request [to assist with finding out what to do with these artists] turned into a 20-year business relationship.
BV: Were you the only female manager back then in hip hop?
MSY: I don't know if there were others. I know there were other women that were around and doing it, but, for the most, part I think that I probably was one of the few females at a management company and especially in the hip hop game.
BV: Was that difficult for you running the careers of big-name people and calling the shots as one of the few women around?
MSY: The thing for me -- and the one thing I've had to rely on not having degrees or experience of working at a company and having to figure it out on my own -- I always had confidence in my skill set and went through it with blinders on. I'd be on the bus with a bunch of dudes and I gained a certain amount of control and respect, but also [I demanded] basic things like everybody is sharing rooms, I'm not. My clients respected the grind, and I always had their support. When I took on Missy as a client, I had both a client and an ally in terms of a woman battling her way in a male-dominated industry and not looking like a female pop star or a female rap star of that time. But, there is a camaraderie that exists amongst the men in terms of how they look out for and take care of each other.
BV: How did you not fall for a guy in the business?
MSY: It's a double-edged sword with not getting involved with clients, but I actually met my husband on the road. He was doing personal protection for Busta, so I broke my own cardinal rule.
BV: Some people will remember you from Missy's reality television show. Was that the first time you envisioned 'Love & Hip Hop' on television?
MSY: I conceptualized and produced that series for UPN. This started out as a show about Jim Jones, and when we did the pilot for that, it was centered around Jim. But, from the time that we shot the pilot, the VH1 audience had changed and we found out that Chrissy, his girlfriend, and his mom were incredibly strong characters. We reshaped what started out as a show about Jim Jones and expanded the cast to make it an ensemble series. That's how the concept for 'Love and Hip Hop' came about.
BV: Initially, knowing the type of reality shows that the network has, how did you keep this series different from 'Basketball Wives' or 'Football Wives'?
MSY: They cut the trailers so that they are salacious and so that people tune in, but the feedback that I've been getting is "Wow, you really coupled these girls in an honest way, and we feel like we're in a conversation and we get it." Even if you see them arguing, it isn't an argument for the sake of good television. I kept telling the girls, "We are committed to this and to make a good show, and in order to do that, you girls have to show up for the party and can't have any walls up or preconceived notions of what you want to share. You are going to spread the truth about how you are really feeling." I think that is the challenge with reality television. People say they are going to be real, but they automatically want to project a certain image of how they want people to see them.
BV: A lot of viewers think that with Emily and Chrissy, people assume that those women know what they are getting into. Do you think that there are any monogamous rappers out there?
MSY: It was very important for me that I didn't judge them. In order to get them to be honest, they couldn't be judged. My opinion wasn't important. I was just trying to capture where they were and what were they feeling. As far as anybody's ability to be monogamous, I think that's a function of that person and not that person's industry.
BV: Seriously, Mona, you've been in the business forever and have seen these famous people's careers rise and also the behind-the-scenes happenings. Do you really think they will be monogamous?
MSY: I've been married to my husband for 15 years. He was in the business. So, I'm telling you as honestly as I can. I am a walking and living example. I am married to a dude that came from hip hop. I'm not feeding you any bulls**t. If a dude is going to do what he is going to do, he's going to do it whether he's a rapper or an accountant. That's who he is. It has nothing to do with the industry he's in. I'm not pessimistic to the extent that I'm going to loop every rapper in one bowl. It's not something that I believe honestly. When you look at their lives, here's another side to the story, with Fabolous, in his mind, he rationalizes it by saying what I do publicly is my public life and you are my personal life. That's the way it is, and Emily chooses to do this show because she felt like she wanted to be out there.
BV: Do you think they have a good relationship or that he will say he cheats on her?
MSY: If he wants to come on the show and say he's doing some s**t, by all means, do that on season two but that's definitely not what I got out of it. I thought, "Wow this is a woman who has been in a relationship for a very long time. They have a child together and he has a certain way he wants to live his life." But, she wants a more public life.
BV: We also saw Swizz Beats' ex-wife, Mashonda, in the first episode. Is she a main character or will she just pop up every now and then?
MSY: Mashonda came out because her and Emily are good friends. She appears in the episode mainly as a friend. We talk a little bit about her story. She puts herself out there as a cautionary tale to Emily saying, "You've got to figure out what makes you happy, baby girl, and how you want to live your life. You've seen what I've just gone through. You need to make the decision that's right for you." It grew a little bit beyond that because she was great about opening up herself.
BV: Does Mashonda have a gag order, like the one that Dwight Howard put on Royce [from 'Basketball Wives'] that says she cannot mention Swizz Beats' name on the show?
MSY: I can't speak for what the legal arrangement is. I do know they have a working relationship and are raising a son together, but I'm not sure about what the legalities are on what she can and cannot say. She talks about being married to the rapper but maybe it was her comfort level for not saying [his name]. We don't pressure them to do anything they aren't comfortable with. We wanted to get them at their best.
BV: How do you feel about Chrissy proposing to Jim Jones? Do you think she should have waited until he proposed?
MSY: I definitely do not sit around and wait for anything to happen in life. If there's a situation where a woman is in love with a man and, for whatever reason, she feels confident that the love is reciprocated and she wants to take it to the next step, why shouldn't she reciprocate it? I have liberated views on relationships based on my own life. I have reverse roles in my own life, and I have the company that I'm running and he's running our family and our household. Chrissy is the same kind of woman. When she felt that the time was there, she didn't see any issues.
BV: Do you think Chrissy and Jim can stand the test of time if she isn't getting along with his mom?
MSY: My personal thoughts on that are, you're not just marrying the man, you're marrying the man and his family. That can be difficult. I think that it does present a challenge and it's something that Chrissy is going to have to navigate her way through because she and Nancy are two strong, really vocal and opinionated women. It makes for some good television.
BV: Some critics have made jokes that there's a lack of love on 'Love and Hip Hop'; what do you say to them?
MSY: I think that's absurd. A lot of the other shows that are out there, you don't even see the guys. You hear about them, but you don't see the guys. You don't see love. I think the scene with Chrissy and Jim and you see them together and they are talking about their lives. I don't know how much more love you can see besides that. We choose the title because I thought it was important to show love in this genre because hip-hop songs usually talk about sex and hitting that, but rarely do you hear people talk about being in love. Even Emily has love for her man and I don't know what says love more than that. When she says, "I don't want to give up on my family," I think that this show depicts love and relationships in a way that no other reality show does.
BV: In terms of Olivia and Somaya, do you think they can make a career without flaunting their asses in this day and age?
MSY: I don't want to make any statements about what their viability is, but as far as their ability, desire and determination, and their commitment to wanting to make this, I think, they have as good of a shot as any other female trying to make it in the game. I supported Missy who defied convention. I think with Olivia, I wanted her to break down the visage and give people a different opportunity to get to know her. I think Somaya has determination and is admirable in a way that anybody would respect. I think their music should speak for itself, and I hope this show gives them a platform to leverage that and give people an opportunity to get to know them, so that they give them a shot.
BV: Is there some type of woman who works in hip hop who you think should be added to a second season?
MSY: I think a manager who is young and coming up in the game would be good because when we talk about 'Love and Hip Hop' it's almost like a love for hip hop. Some women are in love with the game and with their careers in the game. I think that applies to a manager or a publicist or anyone trying to break into this male-dominated business. For me, I really wanted the focus to be that these are women with goals and aspirations and not riding off of someone else's coattails.
BV: Why do you think people should tune into 'Love and Hip Hop'?
MSY: I'm doing what I'm excited and passionate about. I think that the show has so much to offer in terms of really being honest, entertaining and sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes funny. It's about these women navigating their lives. Loving men, loving a career and loving a genre of music. I think these girls are really entertaining. They are fun and are really relatable. I know that we have an uphill battle because people are programmed in terms of what they think these shows should be about, but the feedback that I've gotten has been that we were really able to capture something more.
The music industry is being reinvented. See how it is developing from today's entrepreneurs including Ian Rogers from TopSpin, Steve Schnur from EA, and Derek Sivers on how you can capitalize on the changing opportunities.
MPN is an online service for music business people and music and artist managers creating the future of the industry. MPN provides online music business lessons, exclusive video interviews and advice, career and business planning tools and thousands of specially selected resources designed to help you achieve success in this ever changing industry. MPN gives you the tools, expertise and guidance to help you get organized and take your music career to the next level. Learn from industry experts, set your goals and realize your vision.
The professional demo-recording process is a necessary part of the equation for songwriters aspiring to get their material heard by music industry decision-makers and, hopefully, cut by successful recording artists. Despite the fact that hundreds of demos are recorded every week in places like Nashville, New York and Los Angeles, new songwriters often find themselves overwhelmed and a bit intimidated by the prospect of getting their songs demoed and ready for primetime. By highlighting some of the mistakes I’ve encountered in my years of recording songwriter demos, I can hopefully help new songwriters avoid some of the pitfalls that result in either overly expensive or ineffective recordings.
Mistake #1: The song isn’t finished. It would seem obvious but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been paid (on the studio clock) for the privilege of watching a client’s creative process. I do understand why this happens. It’s incredibly exciting to feel like you’ve got a great song on your hands and the temptation is to get it recorded right away even if there’s a small tweak or two left to finish. I mean, how long can it take to re-write the second line of the bridge, right? Well, the reality is that when you’re in the studio and the clock is ticking, the environment is a lot more stressful than it is creative — not the ideal place to make sure your lyric is perfect. Unless you’re planning on only being a songwriter for another week or so, be patient, take your time and know that waiting another week (or even another month) to make sure your song is done before you book the studio time is always a good policy. Remember, you’re going to be spending real money on this recording, so be as certain as you can that your song is ready before you begin the process of recording.
Mistake #2: You haven’t made a rough recording. Everyone’s writing process is different and vive la difference but the one essential part of making sure your song is finished is making a simple rough recording. When I say “simple” and “rough,” I mean one instrument (usually guitar or piano) and a vocal into anything from a hand-held recorder to your smartphone. Here’s why: Without listening back to your song from the perspective of an audience member, you’ll miss a critical part of the writing/editing process. It doesn’t matter if you’ve played the song live a hundred times; by sitting back with a lyric sheet and just listening to the song, you’ll notice little flaws and missteps that you might never have heard if you’d just played and sung the song to yourself. The rough recording gives you the necessary perspective for those last few adjustments. I’d recommend re-recording your rough every time you think you’ve got the song totally finished. There’s an added benefit as well: Once you’re absolutely satisfied with your final rough recording, you’ll then have something to provide the demo vocalist so they can learn your song and you’ll have a reference for the session musicians when they get to the studio.
Mistake #3: You think the demo will fix what isn’t quite working in your song. Every once in a while you’ll finish a song and feel like it’s missing a certain something but it’s easy to convince yourself the song is fine and just needs the full demo treatment to give it what it lacks. My experience is that if you have reservations before you demo, the demo won’t solve that problem. Of course, all songs sound better with a full band of great players on them but don’t invest that money to fix a problem that most likely needs to be addressed in the melody and lyric of the song itself. If you find yourself feeling like your song is missing something and you’re not sure what it is, play it for a trusted friend or put it away for a while and come back to it. Demoing to fix the problem is an expensive way to get unsatisfactory results.
Mistake #4: You think you’ll save money by recording/playing on the demo yourself. I completely understand the mindset. I did it myself for years. The difference is that I was as passionate about becoming a recording engineer and session musician as I was about writing songs. If you’re only looking at recording and playing on your demos as a way to save money and not to become a professional engineer and session musician, then you’re better off hiring experts to do what you don’t do well. The key is to end up with a recording that marks you as a professional, not one that saves you money but isn’t up to par. There’s no point in saving money on a demo that isn’t pitchable. Take your own ego out of the equation. No one else can write your song for you. That’s where you’re the expert, but unless you’re also an expert at recording, playing and singing in the studio, it doesn’t make sense to do it yourself. When it comes to making a good impression with your demo, your recording has to measure up to the highest quality standards and that’s worth paying for. At the end of the day, if you’re trying to make money with your songs then remember it’s a business and you have to invest money in order to make it.
Mistake #5: You decide to record a full-band demo without having a very good reason. It’s understood that professionally recorded, full-band demos sound amazing, but it’s also understood that they’re expensive — sometimes, very expensive. Depending on why you’re demoing your song, a simple, professionally performed and recorded guitar/vocal or piano/vocal may very well be all you need. In my opinion, there are just a few reasons to record a full-band demo. First, you’ve got a film/tv pitch opportunity and they’re looking for a full-band sound for a particular scene. A second reason would be that you’re planning on using your demo as an artist project for the singer doing the vocal. For example, you may be working with a great young singer and you’re planning on killing two birds with one stone by demoing the song you wrote and also putting together a series of recordings that showcase that singer as an artist. In that case, do it up. You’ll be well served by going all the way with these recordings. That being said, I would strongly suggest not recording a full-band demo of your song just because you want to. Professionally performed and recorded demos are never inexpensive and you can get more bang for your buck doing simple, clean guitar/vocal demos of several songs in the place of a fully blown-out demo of one song. Remember, you can always go back and add more instruments to a professionally recorded, stripped-down demo later if the situation warrants.
By avoiding these mistakes, you will be removing a good deal of angst from the demo process. It’s always a little stressful getting ready to put your money where your mouth is and the better the decisions you make in advance, the more able you’ll be to enjoy the recording process as you’re going through it.
If you’re serious about making this business of music your full time career, then one of the first things you need to understand is the lingo of the business! Today we will discuss, in plain English, the top 7 terms you need to understand about publishing. Something important to remember about publishing is, this is how songwriters earn their living. If you are an artist who only records other peoples music, you are usually not entitled to the publishing income. However, if you are an artist who writes some or all of your own material, or a writer/ composer (beat-maker for the rap producers), this is where ALL of your money is coming from! So without any more chatter, here is:
Part of the genius of a market economy is its constant churn — products, companies and even entire industries that once seemed as ubiquitous and permanent as the air itself can be devoured in an instant, replaced by something more reflective of consumers' evolving tastes
For musicians, proper marketing and networking using social media can be tough. The possibilities are seemingly endless and as such, musicians are likely to spread themselves too thin. But not all forms of social media will give you the big pay-off. In fact, some methods are a complete waste of time for musicians looking to grow their fanbase, sell more albums, tracks and tickets, and who are ultimately achieve enough success to sustain a viable career within the industry.
Step by step video for copyrighting your music and/or beats
Jonathan Shalit has a remarkable personal reputation as an innovative manager of talent and their ideas. Following a successful career in marketing working with globally recognised brands, Jonathan has worked with literally some of the worlds biggest stars whether it be recording their music or guiding their careers in television or music and even both.
Radio promotion is an extremely important aspect of building your musical career. It is the quickest method in which to reach a large listening audience - that depending on the format and promotional campaign can be anywhere from 10,000 listeners to several million. We have provided a list of seven major reasons on the benefits of radio promotion and hiring a professional promotion company.
The music business has many movers and shakers. Watch explanation of what music publishing is in this free music business and song publishing video.
Interscope Records head Jimmy Iovine discusses how new artists come to the notice of the label, and what he personally looks for in the artists he signs.
Music Attorney Jordan Williams founder of www.TheHipHopSchool.com breaks down publishing and how not to get jerked!
Syd Butler, founder and President of French Kiss Records, tells aspiring artists why they should make sure to retain ownership and control of the publishing rights on the songs they write
Owen Husney, a manager, talks about how he discovered Prince.
In this http://www.artistshousemusic.org interview, George Howard of Loyola University, New Orleans and ArtistsHouse continues his Music Business 101 series with an introduction to the all-important art of marketing your music to the people who need to hear it. He discusses the concepts of attraction and retention and how they apply to your music, delves into an exploration of Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point and how the concepts explored therein can be reverse-engineered to your advantage, and encourages you to dig into your own values and passions to discover what it is you should be trying to communicate to your growing fan base.
Meet Dave Kusek, co-author of "The Future of Music" book and online course, and VP of Berklee Media.
Berkleemusic's instructor George Howard interviews the former personal manager of the multi-platinum band Boston Jeff Dorenfeld about the role of artist managers
Musicians MUST REGISTER with SoundExchange in order to get paid royalties from digital performances. Digital performances include having songs played on Pandora or Sirius Radio. I know that you might think that being registered with ASCAP, BMI or SESAC covers this, but it doesn’t. Separate registration with SoundExchange is required to collect royalties when your music is played on digital and satellite music providers.
An artist manager, also known as a "band manager", is in charge of the business side of being in a band. Often, band members are great at the creative side of things, but aren't so great at promoting themselves, booking their own gigs, or negotiating deals. In a very general sense, the task of a manager is take care of the day to day running of the band's career, so the band can focus on the creative side of things
It is astonishingly easy to get ripped off in the music industry. Music business scams abound, and people trying to break into the industry make ripe targets. Getting caught up in a music industry scam might not put the kibosh on your career forever, but it could set you back a serious amount of cash, thereby compromising your progress. You can avoid a lot of music business rip-offs simply by knowing what you should pay for and what you shouldn't. Here are a list of things that SHOULDN'T have you reaching for your wallet. (Note: make sure to read the fine print, because some of these situations can have gray areas.):
1. Don’t believe the hype: Sandi Thom, the Arctic Monkeys and Lily Allen are not super famous, rich and successful because of MySpace, and nor because they miraculously drew a crowd of thousands to their homegrown webcast. PR, traditional media, record labels and money were all involved.
Many talented emerging artists are confused by the issue of an image and don't have a sense of their own style. So, they either copy things from other people, or are just bland. Few artists actually have a true, distinct style. In today's entertainment environment, the first impression is as important as ever. However, style is only one aspect of an artist's first impression. Working with artists such as Usher, Beyonce, and Jessica Simpson has taught me that there are many things related to the way an artist comes across to others.
Copyright 2010 Jeremy Rwakaara
Following are, in no particular order, 10 important things you should do before you release your album:
1. If you are hiring musicians (background singers, instrumentalists, etc.) to play on your album, you will need to make sure they fill out a musicians release agreement or talent release form. This agreement is not necessary for musicians that own their own record label, are performing on their own albums, and will pay for and release the albums themselves. It is used more for the "hired guns" than group members.
2. All writers and publishers involved should fill out a songwriter publisher share letter of agreement that spells out their writer and publisher shares. This agreement is a document that all writers and publishers should sign and keep for their records. Any money made from the songs (except for money paid to the writers and publishers by their respective Performing Rights Organizations ) should be split up according to what is spelled out in this agreement.
3. All involved songwriters should register their work (the songs) with the U.S. Copyright Office. You can do so by either using thier eCO process to file online or filling out thier Form CO.
4. The artists / performers or the record producer (or both), unless Musician Release Agreements have been signed, should register their work (the songs) with the U.S. Copyright Office. You can do so by either using thier eCO process to file online or filling out thier Form CO. If you are the writer and performer / producer on the album, you can fill out just one Form CO for all registrations.
5. Register for an isrcApp (ISRC) for your songs. If you are not based in the United States, visit here to find the ISRC Agency in your territory. The ISRC is a unique international identifier for the songs (tracks) on your album and functions as a digital "fingerprint" for each track. Unlike a Universal Product Code (UPC), the ISRC is tied to the track and not the carrier of the track (CD, cassette, etc). The ISRC is usually inserted onto the CD master during the CD mastering session.
6. If you include songs on your album that you have not written yourself (i.e. covers), you will need to obtain a Mechanical License from the Harry Fox Agency (via Songfile ) that will allow you to manufacture and distribute up to 2,500 copies to the public. If you happen to know the songwriter(s) yourself, you can negotiate a fee directly with them or just write up a Notice of Intention to Obtain a Compulsory License and issue it to them.
7. If you wish to have your own UPC Bar Code, you can get one from GS1 US . Several companies, for example CD manufacturers, will offer you a UPC Bar Code free with their services. Keep in mind that in these cases the UPC Bar Code will belong to the CD manufacturer. If you produce another album, it will not have a UPC Bar Code unless you get another one from them or someone else. Having your own Uniform Code Council account will allow you to assign all your music-related products a unique UPC Bar Code in your company's name.
8. As a songwriter and/or publisher, in order to get paid for the performances of your songs on radio, TV, in nightclubs, airlines, elevators, jukeboxes, etc., you should join a Performing Rights Organization (PRO). In the United States, you can join ASCAP or BMI . Another U.S. PRO is SESAC , but affiliation with SESAC is by invitation only (subject to review by their writer / publisher relations staff).
9. As a Sound Recording Copyright Owner (SRCO - e.g. artist, producer, record label), in order to get paid for non-interactive digital transmissions on cable, satellite and web cast services, you should join SoundExchange .
10. Add your songs to the Gracenote Media Database using free Gracenote-approved software to upload your songs into the database. Alternatively, you may use iTunes. When correctly added, song titles and artist names will be displayed on media players (e.g. home stereos, computer media players, satellite and terrestrial radio, mp3 players, cell phones and other wireless devices, etc.) that take advantage of the Gracenote Media Database data.
How managers get paid
First, you need to understand a bit about how managers make their money. Typically a manager will receive a commission—usually 15 to 20 percent—of all of the income that you generate (the gross). This includes money from gigs, money paid to you from a record label as a personal advance against royalties (typically, not from money advanced by a label for you to record your record), money from merchandise, income from your music being used in movies or commercials, and any other source of income you generate as an artist. It is therefore in the best interest of the manager to leverage all of those connections I mentioned above to help you generate as much money as you can, which of course, generates more money for them. This is capitalism at its finest, and when it works, it works great for everybody.
The problem is that young or unestablished artists typically take quite a while to generate any revenue. Also, these artists typically don’t have any money of their own, so the management is left to spend their own money in order to develop the band before any money comes in. Because of this, you will occasionally see management securing other pieces of the artists’ potential income as a kind of collateral against the money and time they are putting up. Sometimes, for example, management will acquire some part of the artist’s publishing—in other words, a piece of the equity in the copyrights of the songs. This means that when these songs begin generating mechanical, synch, or performance royalties, the manager will be paid a percentage of the money. Managers do this because they often defer their commission while spending their own money. They have no guarantee that they will ever recover their investment. This practice has largely been frowned upon (by both artists and managers), and was seen only occasionally in the past. However, I’m seeing it happen more and more, and I believe it will become even more of a common practice in the future.
As an artist, you must seriously debate whether parting with your publishing, in order to provide a sort of insurance to a manager, is the right thing to do. My opinion is that it is usually the wrong thing to do. Whoever you assign any part of your publishing to must be able to do something with it. By this, I mean they must be able to “work” your publishing to generate awareness about you and money for you. If they cannot do this, do not assign any part of your publishing to them. Therefore, if a manager is requiring you to assign some portion of your publishing to them, you should only do this if you feel the manager is going to actively engage in working your songs.
Of course, it may not be this simple for you, especially if you don’t have a lot of options. You may feel that the prospective manager can help your career in many ways, and that it would be foolish to miss the opportunity to have him or her represent you by clinging too tightly to your publishing. You may be right. Your publishing is valuable. Part with it with caution, and only if you’re getting something of real tangible value in return.
It's Money that Matters
Money is a significant factor in creating effective artist/manager relationships. The manager is spending money, hoping for a return on investment. Publishing is one way to hedge that bet. Of course, managers who have no money will not be able to offer you much for your publishing.
Managers who have no money have a hard time being effective. There are always expenses involved in getting a band signed: recording costs, gas for the van, fan mailings, travel, guitar strings, and so on. It all adds up. Of course, management doesn’t have to pay for any or all of these things. But remember, they can’t make any money unless the band is making money, so they usually opt to pay for these things and others so that the band has a better chance of getting signed.
Even after you get signed, management is often the fountain of money. For instance, an artist and manager may determine that they need an independent publicist because they feel the label’s publicist (if it has one) can’t do an effective job due to workload, the label’s priority scheme, or whatever. The label is not obligated to pay for this (though often they do), and so the band and management are left to decide whether or not the potential added exposure they would get from a publicist is worth the out-of-pocket expense. Many times, in a situation such as this one, the band itself is not generating enough income to pay for something like this, so the management foots the bill. Theoretically, management will be reimbursed for these costs once the band does start generating some money. If neither the band nor the management can afford to pay, it really is the band that suffers.
Good managers understand that new and developing artists are much like startup businesses. The first couple of years (or records) typically are money losers. The hope is that after the painful initial period has ended, there will be a financial reward that will recoup all the early losses and then some. This is why managers will fund an artist’s career at the early stages—and, in fact, sometimes well into an artist's career.
In my opinion, it is better to have a manager who is passionate—and not a bozo—than one who is connected or financed but lacks passion, vision, or understanding of what your goals are as an artist. You will be working very closely with this person, and you need to be able to communicate easily and effectively together. Additionally, you need to trust that they will represent your artistic vision in a way that you are comfortable with. They will be your mouthpiece in many situations. Lastly, you need to really understand what your objectives are and choose a manager who will help you get there, and then set new objectives with you and help you achieve those. Good managers aren’t easy to find, so you must look long and hard and carefully. In many ways, the manager becomes another member of the band.
© Copyright 2007 Jeremy Rwakaara
To most musicians, the enduring image of an artist manager is a caricature of a heavy-set, unkempt slob of a man, stuffed into a 2-sizes-too-small, off-the-rack department store suit, chomping on a cheap smelly cigar while sliding a greasy hand unceremoniously into the back pocket of a starving artist. Surely, somewhere in the vast landscape of the music universe, such malice exists. The vast majority of artist managers, however, are a motley collection of well-meaning, hardworking, selfless individuals struggling to make the dreams of someone they believe in come true.
For the legion of dedicated unbelievers out there, this is an article that attempts to shed light on the true value of an artist manager. Following are 8 reasons why a band or artist needs a good manager:
1. Career Guidance - It's often extremely difficult for artists to step back from the day-to-day activities and see the big picture (you know - the old "forest-for-the-trees" thing). A knowledgeable manager can see how everything in the big picture fits together, and can help the artist navigate through the often-confusing maze of activities that seem unrelated yet are all part of a massive jigsaw puzzle. The manager provides career guidance and helps to set the overall game plan for the artist and the artists' team to follow.
2. Cheerleading - Even though fans are the main cheerleaders for an artist, someone has to communicate the same enthusiasm to the music business community. An artist manager will trumpet the artists' message to record labels, booking agents, promoters, media personnel, club bookers, independent retail accounts, etc., in order to keep them all engaged and enthusiastic.
3. Prestige - According to most record industry professionals, there is something to be said about an artist that has a manager. The logic is that if an artist is good enough to attract management, there must be something of value present. In fact, most major labels refuse to sign an artist unless they have solid team (manager, attorney and publicist) in place. An artist without management is just too much drama! Labels would rather deal with someone who knows how the music business works and can make decisions on a non-emotional basis.
4. Buffer - A manager can act as an effective screening buffer between the artist and people that want to do business with the artist. This buffer tends to attract legitimate industry players while at the same time scaring away scam artists. There are no scarier words to a scam artist than "please talk to my manager".
5. Time management - There simply is not enough time in the day to do everything that needs to be done in order to further the career of an artist. In between writing songs, conducting interviews, designing artwork for CD's and merchandise, managing a mailing list, filling out copyright paperwork, rehearsing with the band, hiring and firing musicians, updating band websites and MySpace profiles, getting pictures taken, shooting and editing DVD's and YouTube videos, sending out packages and/or updating EPK's, researching, repairing and purchasing equipment, etc., there isn't time to also craft a master game plan, solicit potential sponsorship partners, handle licensing requests, reach out to industry gatekeepers, attend industry networking events, harass labels for tour support, and so on. Some tasks can be delegated to the band while others can be handled by the manager.
6. Accountability - Part of a manager's job is to hold people accountable. What happens when the financial tour support that was promised by the label fails to materialize? Or the check from the booking agent bounces? Or the FOH engineer at the show is MIA? Or the licensee fails to sign and return the contract but is using the artist's songs anyway? Or the beer in the tour van vanishes? Somebody has to keep people honest, and that is most appropriately the manager's job.
7. Good Cop / Bad Cop - Need to fire the bass player but don't want to create an enemy? Let the manager play bad cop and do the firing. Need to re-negotiate your contract and request more of a promotion budget? Let the manager play good cop and keep a positive spin on the proceedings. There are plenty of occasions when the artist and manager can trade off playing good cop / bad cop.
8. Sounding board - A manager, even though basically an "honorary member of the band", is frequently on the outside looking in. Managers usually see things differently than the artist, and can often provide different perspectives, insights and solutions to problems the artist is encountering. Running ideas by a knowledgeable manager prior to making decisions often allows for good ideas to become better and bad ideas to be removed altogether from the to-do list.
So, there you have it! 8 good reasons why an artist needs a manager. Having said all this, however, it is important to note that having a bad manager is worse than having no manager at all. Many wannabe managers think they can just "wing-it" with an artist, and continue to operate with the "lets-record-a-3-song-demo-and-shop-it-for-a-record-deal" mentality, even though the music industry continues to undergo significant changes. New business models are emerging, and only those managers that stay at the leading edge of the learning curve will create successful strategies and provide meaningful counsel to their clients