The Music Business Model - Learn How to Make iT in the 21st century
New Music Business Paradigm
It's Not Who You Know, but Who Knows You!
Our whole musical business culture is bankrupt.
“It's hard to get someone to understand something if their paycheck depends on them not understanding it.”
Publicity does not pay. Airplay, sales and touring do. And the goal is to be able to do it as long as possible. In music innovate or die.
Rapino also delves into why consumers hate Live Nation subsidiary Ticketmaster and how the company has tried to fight overseas bots that buy and scalp most tickets sold online.
Independent Artist Secrets - Don Grierson - Music Artist Consultant
From: Don Grierson
Subject: Joe Cocker
We lost not only one of the most unique artists of our time with the passing of Joe, but my favorite "soul man”. When I signed Joe to Capitol Records in 1984, I found a man who truly sang from his heart and, although he wanted to be heard, wouldn’t compromise his art for commerciality.
You remember fun, it's the one thing that money can't buy. And that's what you hear too much in today's music, the money, getting it exactly right, nobody wants perfection, we want humanity. We're all equal, we're all in this together. We're best off listening to artists who are in it for nothing other than the truth, as opposed to rip-off industrialists. Who ran Goldman Sachs in 1970 or was responsible for derivitives? You don't know but we all know who the Beatles were. You think you want to be famous? You're better off living in obscurity, doing good, and having friends.
Capture lightning in a bottle? it's not what you've done, but what you're doing. If you're playing it safe, you are probably missing out on all the joy, all the fun. Come and get your share, not of cash, not of fame, but of LIFE!
"Why in the world are we here
Surely not to live in pain and fear
Why on earth are you there
When you're everywhere
Come and get your share"
There's just too much information. And no matter how big a story you've got, you can be trumped by somebody else or just plowed under by the detritus coming down the pike. Your album is in the rearview mirror only moments after it's been released. Look at the top of the SoundScan chart, it's new product all the time. Illustrating that that's what the public wants, new stuff! Don't blame the old men at the labels. They're beholden to the artists. Just like the artists are responsible for ticket fees, they're responsible for the inane album format. Because they've got no vision. Toting out their long-playing favorites, from "Sgt. Pepper" to "Dark Side Of The Moon," they say they're just following in a long tradition. You've got to create constantly now. That's they only way you can stay in the public eye! Radio is Las Vegas. A few people get lucky, a few win the jackpot. But most don't. Hone your track with its twelve writers, spoon-feed it to radio, be part of the dying game. Or release music constantly in order to maintain your presence in your audience's brain.
We live in a direct to consumer society. It's not the media's job to keep you in the public eye, it's yours! The new way is you bond to your fan. If he or she doesn't think you're living in their house, you're doing it wrong. The number one thing a fan wants is more music by his favorite act. Forget about the new audience, focus on the old. The old will sell you to the new. If you satiate them. And the way you do this is via new music. But it's not only music. It's connection. You think you're gaining traction by hanging with the program director? IDIOT! You're better off answering e-mail, responding on Facebook, making news on Twitter. There's no thrill like getting a Twitter response from your hero. You tell everybody you know. Virality is rampant.
An act without a manager is like an attorney representing himself, he's got a fool for a client. You need a third eye, an opinion from outside the maelstrom, to give you perspective. Music is a sideshow, a carnival, which is why Colonel Tom Parker did so well for Elvis. And yes, he might have ripped Presley off, not gone to Europe for fear of being revealed to be an illegal alien, but Parker made and sustained his career. There's yet to be a superstar without a great manager. Because performing and managing are two different skills!
Digital Rights Management
- Sony Rootkit DRM
- Sony Rootkit DRM apple
- Sony Rootkit plagiarism
- Sony Rootkit Ethics
- Sony Statutory Damages are a vital part of the copyright system.
The total income of the industry dropped by 25% between 1999 and 2008 and is expected to fall by 75% by 2013."
A statistical study on How much do music artists earn online shows that for a musician to earn the minimum wage in the US, per month, he or she would have to sell either 143 self-pressed CDs, 1,161 retail album CDs or 4,053, 110 plays on Spotify with a 0.0016 % royalty. In an article in Society of Authors journal author Martin Hodkinson states that "Hundreds of people have 'downed their tools' in the music business, through no choice of their own.
Movies, when done right, are larger than life. Music, when done right, is life itself. Check the statistics. It's musicians with the most Twitter followers. Because they've got something to say.
Is There A Gene For Success in the Music Business?
Help for Musicians
- Technology: Social Network - Defining Cultural Literacy and Technological Literacy
- Internet: Learn About Twittera social network Tools
- Music: HOW TO USE TWITTER TO HELP BUILD YOUR AUDIENCE
- Music: Music Business Success Stories Social Music Revolution
- How Much Do Music Artists Earn Online?
A recording artist is someone who records and that is different from a musician.
You can understand when you see them play live. For my entire life it's been about the record. You tune in the radio to hear what's good to know what records to buy. Now you avoid the radio and no one buys. Now you go hear them play live.
2012 10,000 Hours - Practice Practice Practice
That's how long it takes to become world class. That doesn't mean you'll be rich or famous. This is a key point in "Outliers", Malcolm Gladwell's book that popularized the theory of 10,000 hours to excellence. You could be ahead of your time. Or past it.
1. We live in an MP3 era. If you make twenty minute opuses, it's gonna be hard to e-mail them, virality will be decreased. Ee're moving to streaming, so ultimately length is not going to be that important.
2. We live in a lo-fi era. You can focus on sound quality, but most people can't hear it. There's a chance hi-fi is coming back, but do you really have to spend so much money recording what people can't hear?
3. There's a vinyl resurgence. But that's fashion, pandering to those who want souvenirs. You can exist in this market, but it's never going to dominate, despite all the hoopla in the press.
4. Power ballads had their day, as did the melisma-makers...
5. Record companies used to support clubs. Now they don't. If your career depends on touring small venues for a long time, building your identity, cred and audience, you're gonna have to fund it yourself.
6. Virality amongst youth is more intense than it is amongst adults. Kids will find the latest and greatest and spread it almost instantly. It could take years amongst adults, if ever. So if you make adult music, know that your career is going to grow very slowly...not because your music is bad, but because it takes that long for old people to get the message.
7. A TV appearance used to yield great dividends. Now it means almost nothing. Because of the plethora of cable channels and the unending additions to YouTube.
Note, none of the above have anything to do with the quality of music. Success depends on the situation.
Furthermore, never forget it's 10,000 hours of hard practice. If you're not frustrated, sweating, about to put your fist through the wall, angry that you can't go out and hang with your friends, go to the movies, date, then you're doing it wrong.
PIPA and SOPA
K12 PUBLIC EDUCATION
Truth and Reality How the World Really Works Closing a tumultuous week of wide protest against PIPA and SOPA
It turns out that while illegal music sharing is still quite popular among the kids, most of the swapping takes place offline, not on.
The RIAA knew SOPA and PIPA were useless, yet supported them anyway. The industry knows that most music files are swapped offline, notes Torrent Freak. So why is the RIAA still asking ISPs to spy on us? The Torrent Freak blog reveals that, despite the RIAA’s public support of the ill-advised SOPA and PIPA bills last winter, the music industry trade group never actually believed that either piece of legislation would have put a dent in music piracy. Torrent Freak got its hands on a leaked presentation given by RIAA Deputy General Counsel Vicky Sheckler
2011 Mike Dreese of Newbury Comics, as told to Larry LeBlanc:
"So (the big music chain's strategy was) not about trying to excite the customer. To extract value from the labels seemed to be the pursuit. In essence, there was a lot of value available because not very much of that value (from the product being sold) was flowing to the artists. (Retailers and labels) would be sitting there on a $10 wholesale (CD) item, and it was basically $9 available to be thieved. If Best Buy could grab $2 of it on a mark-down, the label could use the rest for car service and fancy meals; I guess that worked for a long time."
The major label business model is theftI have no idea why so many artists revere the major labels. It's like staying with an abusive spouse, fearful of the great big world outside the house, afraid you won't find something better. It's like a poor person voting for a Republican. It's against your interests. But since big media controls the debate, look at the Big Brother SOPA legislation it's ramming through the legislature as a result of paying off Congressmen, ignorant artists believe the labels are on their side.
They were never on your side.
From Ahmet screwing bluesmen back in the fifties to Warner Brothers insisting on 360 deals today, the goal of the label is to take your money. Oh sure, their hit to shit ratio sucks, but is that really a given? How come every Pixar movie has been a blockbuster? You can't call it luck at this point, there were just better people involved, insisting on excellence. So you signed with the label, which paid you an advance, and the rest of the money, the touring and merch, was your own. Now they're coming after that money too. They say it's necessary, that they can't make it without them. What's it gonna take for artists to say NO MAS!
As for the acts saying how much they used to make selling records, the dirty little secret was that after having a load of success, their lawyers renegotiated and got huge advances, which still weren't enough if you continued to sell. And if your deal didn't pay out, the labels took it out on the wannabes. Hell, costs are not even the same amongst the rich and poor acts. It takes longer to recoup if you're a newbie than it does if you're an established act, why should that be? Costs are costs!
The record companies screwed the artists, paid off the radio stations and put the profits into their pockets. And now that there's less money to be made, someone's gotta pay, something's gotta give, and it sure as hell ain't the execs' salaries. Do you see Doug Morris making less? Jimmy Iovine? Are you kidding me? They just laid off the underlings. As for those underlings still with jobs, they're clueless as to the workings of the royalty department. Which is a black hole anyway. There's no such thing as an accurate accounting, people on both ends of a contract can't even agree on a definition, there's just a settlement after an audit. The labels never want to cave, never want to admit they're wrong, it sets a bad precedent.
As for their statement that no act ever broke through the Internet, that they're a necessary part of the equation, that's no longer true. Acts have broken via the Net, radio means less than ever, this is their worst nightmare, that they may not be needed, which is why they're on this giant disinformation campaign.
And they're not to be trusted. Acts couldn't share in the upside of CDs because of the startup costs. But costs keep going down with volume, with success, and the labels never did raise CD royalty rates, they just kept that money. To the point where you now sell a track on iTunes and the act gets less than a dime.
Which is why the major labels are gonna die. It's a fairness issue. Acts don't mind sharing fifteen or twenty percent of their revenue with managers, they can see the benefit in all avenues of exploitation, they believe the manager is on their side. But the labels ask for revenue in areas in which they've got no expertise, it's a land grab.
And now the enemy is Spotify. Well, Spotify coughs up a minimum of 70% of revenues to rights holders. If your label is taking most of that, you just have a bad deal. If you're lamenting that per stream payment is less than an iTunes royalty you're a believer in buggy whips and typewriters. You can't succeed in the future by denying it. We live in an era of data. Hell, Google makes analytics available for free!
But you don't see the labels publishing their accounting. There'd be too big an uproar.
Yes, major labels have a lock on Top Forty radio, but that's a smaller game than ever before. And it's not only labels, artists pay lip service to all kinds of archaic forms that are destined for the scrapheap. Like terrestrial radio and the album. Yes, the artists can continue to be screwed by the system because they're just that uninformed, just that dumb. You know who hates change? ARTISTS! They obfuscate the truth and you buy it.
The Stones are wily old businessmen:
They were among the first to realise that fans would pay more for concert tickets. But even up-and-coming acts now try to build livelihoods around merchandising and live performance. Scorcher, a rapper from London who recently signed his first record deal, set up a clothing label even before he made his first video. He invariably wears his own products in the music videos that he gives away on websites like YouTube. Scorcher is not so much selling music as using music to sell. “If you buy into me musically, you will also buy into the clothing and the lifestyle,” he explains.
Music's cachet and emotional pull also make it a potent weapon for businesses that want to build their own brands. The Rolling Stones (again) led the way in recruiting tour sponsors, from Sprint, a phone company, to Ameriquest, which sold mortgages., Sponsorship can lead to musicians wearing a company's clothes and naming songs after it: Rascall Flatts, a country music band, has done both for American Living, a label carried by JCPenney. IEG, a firm that tracks the market, estimates that the value of tour sponsorships in North America will reach $1.74 billion this year, up from $1.38 billion in 2006. Music's best business customer is television. economist.com/ 2010
Inspiration is just as important as perspiration, if not more. Tons of work on a lousy project...still yields a lousy project.
The Pebble, iPhone/Android connected wristwatch. The manufacturers asked for $100,000 on Kickstarter. So far, they've raised $7,447,226. Why?
BECAUSE PEOPLE WANT THE WATCH!
Musicians are using Kickstarter the wrong way. They're focusing on themselves instead of their fans. Most are asking for funds to record albums. Their pitch is give me this money because I've been screwed by the system and can't get enough to record properly.
How do you create something that people truly want to own? How do you refocus your pitch from yourself to your customers? Kickstarter has a role for beginners, but its true use is for those who are already established.
It all comes down to the idea. The ideas should be interesting unto themselves. Kickstarter is about cutting out the middleman. It's not about begging, it's about delivering.
Kickstarter is for when you've already got a platform. Or when you've got a new music idea that's so riveting that you'd rather do it without venture capital investment, if you can even get that. But your idea must be really damn good. People want to know what they're going to buy. The more you can delineate it on Kickstarter, the better chance you've got of being funded.
The Pebble: http://kck.st/HumIV6
2010 RIAA shipments of recorded music in the U.S. fell 12 % to $7.7 billion in 2009. Digital download sales, however, grew 19% to $2 billion. All-digital formats now comprise a record 41% of total music shipments in the U.S., up from 34%in 2008 and 25% in 2009, according to the association. The importance of performance royalties, a stable stream of cash broadcasters pay songwriters for radio spins, has grown, but the volume of this kind of royalty lending has decreased; performance-rights organizations that collect royalties have become more conservative in the projections they provide banks and since lending standards have tightened as a result of the recession.
The Future of Music is to get you to overpay for what you didn't even know you wanted. In the future, it won't be about owning music, it will be about being a member of the club, of the tribe. With evidence of how long you've been a fan, what shows you've gone to, the number of times you've spun each and every track. People will PAY to play in this arena, to publish evidence of their devotion, to compare and bond with others. The future of music will look nothing like it does today. Rights holders need to get out of the way to allow innovation. Copyright shouldn't be abandoned, but it's blocking the future. It won't be about ownership, it will be about belonging.
You start with free. That's the come on. Just like with video games. Then you sell bits and pieces, not music, but items ancillary to music, the ability to go to a party, maybe even virtual. What works is unknown, but the first step is getting people hooked. If you saw how much money is made by gamers in virtual items online, clothes for avatars, ability to unlock doors for exclusive access, you'd be stunned. This barely exists for music, because rights holders are afraid. You entice people, giving them a free taste, just like a drug dealer, and then sell them everything surrounding the music. You can't steal an experience. And if we make your life easier...
The Most Corporate Band
In the music business these days, it's not about selling the most CDs, it's having the best sponsors. How the Black Eyed Peas became the face of Samsung, Apple, BlackBerry, Bacardi.
Music doesn't drive the culture now because all the big acts are tied in with corporations, and are fearful of speaking the truth for fear of being Dixie Chicked. Used to be the artists were beholden to no one, which is why the business blew up. Artists lit the way. Now techies lead. We need are artists, who develop and build. The artist is the hardware, the iPhone/iPod, and the ticket sales and merch are the data plan. Don't forget most apps are free. Then again, now you can monetize within the app.
The concert industry may be following the recording industry down the tubes. There are no acts today who are going to fill arenas in 20 years. You've got to start small, charge little and build an audience. Which you nurture over time.
The old guard thinks: "The proliferation of music taste-making and discovery was making it nearly impossible to break an artist BIG––like Bruce Springsteen big. It's too fragmented in his opinion and he'd prefer a more singular pipeline of music discovery and taste-making. An hour later in the Future of Music panel he once again took the mic and asked the panel, “So, what bands have you broke?” He reiterated his earlier point that the proliferation of discovery and taste-making was undermining the infrastructure needed to break big-time artists. He told the panel, “You can't make a Radiohead!”
You know what? He might be right.
And you know what? Fine.
And that's the part this gentleman didn't seem to get.
Music will not die. People will not stop listening. But who is able to earn a living making it and who is able to earn a living selling it will be different. Insiders know that Ticketmaster is just a front for the acts.
Live Nation isn't in business with Doug Morris, but the kid on the street, with the new band, that's got a new manager, who hopefully will tell his agent to partner with the promoter, for the benefit of everybody involved.
How do you break a band? Word of mouth.
Not via top-down carpet bombing. If something is good, EVERYBODY in the target demo is aware of it momentarily via txt, IM, old-fashioned e-mail, pitchforkmedia.com, or stereogum or hypemachine or some music blog. MOST PEOPLE STILL FIND OUT ABOUT THE BAND ORGANICALLY! Ever since the advent of overhype, with MTV, band careers have become ever more brief. Only the oldsters, who developed organically, when you couldn't get on television on a regular basis, can tour a decade after they emerged, never mind three or four.
It is the Web's ability to create a brand at breakneck speed. Let's begin where everybody else does, MySpace. Once again, MYSPACE DOES NOT BREAK ACTS! Most people never look at the homepage. What MySpace does is give you a place to listen to the MUSIC of acts. Usurping the need for a record company. For FREE, you can have your music hosted. Where not only "friends' can check it out, but professionals too.
The only people paying attention to old media are...OLD PEOPLE! THE RAW CREATIVITY! Like all great art, you listen and say WHO CAME UP WITH THIS? That's the essence. That's the power of music, when it reaches someone who wasn't paying attention. The key is to leave your mark online. And you do that via sheer creativity.
You can build a buzz. If you're GOOD! Most bands on MySpace are bad. But now EVERYBODY expects EVERY ACT to allow their music to be heard on MySpace! Were the major labels here first? No, they're begrudgingly following along. Terrestrial radio is still number one. But the savvy, the FANS, they're constantly surfing and discovering. Which is why acts should have their music available in blogs, given away free EVERYWHERE! Because if the tastemakers have it, they can spread the word. You need a huge touring and radio presence. An act with a profile should be ITS OWN label. Watch the P2P figures of Eric Garland and BigChampagne.  sse What is peer to peer file transfer?
Music vs. Social Network
If you make a great record you don't have to tweet, you don't have to be on Facebook, you don't even need a website.
Over the course of the last decade the debate has flipped. From cranky oldsters complaining that they don't want to do it the new way to wet behind the ears newbies who are computer literate but are second or third rate musicians.
We can smell the hype. We know when you're working it.
Your fans don't come first, they come second. You're first.
If you don't want to respond to e-mail, that's fine.
If you don't want to stand by the merch table at the end of the show, that's perfectly o.k.
You don't have to explain the lyrics or blog.
You just have to make great music.
But that's the hardest thing of all to do.
One thing Dick Clark had right, about the most people can say about music is it had a good beat and I could dance to it. We know when something impacts us, when we believe it's great. And when we find something this good, we want to get closer, we want to tell everybody we know. Come on, do you want to screw movie stars because they called you at home or because they're beautiful and in great flicks?
Social network if you must.
But it's no substitute for incredible music. At all.
Beyond FREE: How to make money when you give it away for free
There are 8 ways and proof of concept people making money this way, but are you good enough??
FIRST EXAMPLE OF A SUCCESSFUL
21ST CENTURY BUSINESS MODEL.
Musicians / Entrepreneurs Crighton and Allison are creating the ultimate artist/fan relationship. They are asking people to give Clint the opportunity to make his own record and this is how it works:
Limited to 1000 individuals who want to be involved, Talking Moon Music (Crighton and Allison's new label) are asking them to purchase a membership for AU$100. This is the deal.
- Members will have the 1/1000 chance to be randomly selected for an all expenses paid 10 day journey to LA to witness part of the recording process as well as see the sites of LA including Hollywood, Santa Monica Beach, Sunset Strip and Universal Studio's.
- Members will be a part of the creation of an independent record which will be marketed to the world (names will be printed ON the CD artwork).
- Members will receive lifetime entry into all solo/headline performances by Clint Crighton.
- Members will receive a signed CD prior to its official release.
Once 100 000 copies of this album are sold worldwide, members will get their money back.
Launched last week to his own database Clint Crighton is already proving that the innovative idea is paying off. One individual from Prague has purchased memberships for all 5 member of the family.
Call it a loan, call it a blind leap of faith but maybe you should be calling it the future of the music industry. Regardless of what tag you want to pin to their strategy most will agree it is the most organic approach to the music industry to date and possibly the one with the most potential.
What is on offer can be viewed at the label website - Talking Moon Music www.talkingmoonmusic.com
Clint Crighton is not signed to any recording company but has a management deal in the US with Fitzgerald Hartley Co. For further information please contact
Anita Heilig - Fitzgerald Hartley Company +1 (805) 641 6441
Dale Allison - Talking Moon Music +61 (0) 409 313 837 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Circus Orientation: Marketing Your Music
What percentage of Barnum's shows were in theaters and what percentage in tents?
The uncle of one of my clients, a country singer whose name I forget, sold so many records for RCA that during the depths of the depression the company gave him five gold RCA dogs listening to a big-horned record player. How did he pull it off? He realized that he could put on tent shows for a fraction of the price of those in theaters and auditoriums. Folks needed entertainment, and they needed it on the cheap. That's what he provided for them. This star of the 30s whose name is now forgotten hired a Dutch kid as one of his advance men a person who would go to a town as much as a month in advance and start banging the gong for the upcoming event, getting it into newspapers, putting up posters, starting word of mouth, and coming up with every press stunt he and the home office could think of to weave the event as lumpily and bumpily as possible (so it would stick out) into the community's span of attention. The Dutch advance man later renamed himself Colonel Tom Parker.
Orientation: Learned lessons from 1970's Midnight Movie TheaterS
Financial Success found by John Waters with Pink Flamingo's, The Wailers, Jimmy Cliff with The Harder They Come, Rocky Horror Picture Show. All found their audience, their culture, people believed in it, supported it, and - ! - it was all done through word of mouth.
Lesson: People will spread it around and support you if you are in the right place at the right time with the right sound.
A Personalized Word of Mouth Recommender Model
Consumer generated media; Buzz; Text mining; Sentiment analysis; Recommending agent; Self-organizing map.
Modern Marketing - Your most important team member is your Webmaster
Most marketing is done to intermediaries. Radio stations, television, radio shows. Whereas today it's about establishing a direct relationship with your FANS! Via your Website. Five Mistakes Band & Label Sites Make
You should have an update on your Website EVERY DAY! You should have a message board. You should have free music, whether streaming or downloadable, hopefully all downloadable, but at least recorded streamed and live downloadable. And you should retrieve mailing addresses. This is the ultimate goal of your Website, to establish a PERMANENT relationship.
This is not like fan clubs of yore. You don't want to charge people. And it's not like the fan clubs of today, wherein you pay for the privilege of buying supposedly good tickets. Rather this is about cementing a bond with your fans, making sure they never leave you.
Imagine a marriage wherein the husband never talked to the wife. Where she saw him on TV and in Best Buy, but never felt any personal contact. Well, that relationship wouldn't last too long. Best to make regular contact. PERSONAL contact.
The days of artists being superior is over. Stardom is something completely different. Oh, don't pay attention to the one hit wonders hyped in the media. In their case, it's about making fun of them. Even if they've had more than one hit. People might like Christina Aguilera's music, but they laugh at her implants and chicken legs. But if each and every one felt connected with the real her, it would be different.
Go to see one of those bands who survive on the road. Over by the merch table, there's a clipboard, garnering e-mail addresses, for their mailing list. Which is why, after the hits dry up, if they come at all, these bands can still work. They've established a club, a cult. And EVERYBODY wants to be a member of the group, feel like an insider. Your job is to make them one.
Don't make your site pretty, make it a fount of information. Somewhere people can find out EVERYTHING about you. And want to come back to to find out more. A place where they can not only meet you, but OTHER fans. Community is key. Everybody's looking for like-minded people. For friends, for love relationships. An artist's Website is a much better place to start than match.com or craigslist.org.
Your site should have minimal Flash work. No entrance page. It should be UTILITARIAN! As in USABLE! You should be THRILLED that anybody comes at all, and if they do, you want them to feel welcome. You don't want them to have to go through so many pages, waiting forever for them to load, that they get frustrated, so they never come back.
But the ultimate goal of your Website is to garner contacts. To get the name of every fan you have. So you can e-mail him or her and tell them you've got a new record, that you're playing in their town.
Forget those scrolls of tour dates on television. Even radio announcements. Most of the people who hear them could give a shit about the act. It's about reaching those who DO care, directly. This is what the Web affords. The Long Tail Cement and serve this relationship. Read Chris Anderson. If you do it right, you'll never have to get a day job.
How to make it in the Music Business
It's about dedication, it's about no fallback position. Your music has to sell you. Plain and simple Great music sells you.
- Read "The Tipping Point" for instruction (and buy Don Passman's "All You Need To Know About The Music Business" too, if you haven't read it, you're operating with one hand behind your back).
- Don't sign with a major label unless you write the kind of music that's played on Top Forty radio.
- Start reading hitsdailydouble.com and learn what Top Forty radio is. Look at the "Billboard" charts.
- If you're a sensitive singer/songwriter, your odds of making it on KIIS in L.A. are just about nil. Oh, it can HAPPEN, but at WHAT COST?
- Are you into the money or the artistry? If the latter, beware of signing with a major label. Their paradigm ONLY works if they can get you on Top Forty radio and television. If you don't listen to these stations or watch those channels do you want to appear on them? And, signing to a major is like being a member of a Mafia family. You can't say no. You've got to play ball, do what they say, or you're dead.
- If you're pretty, if you have a good voice (although with auto-tune this is hardly necessary anymore), if you want to party at discos with Paris Hilton and you're NOT signed to a major label, you're missing the boat. This is what the majors do. Massage you into a product, fodder for the machine. They like it best when THEY'RE the artist and you just play along.
- If you're a rapper... you BELONG on the major label. Hopefully with someone who'll put other rappers on your tracks to help break you.
But, if you're an artist who doesn't fit the Top Forty radio paradigm ABSOLUTELY DO NOT SIGN WITH A MAJOR! You won't have success and you'll soon be at a day job. I know, I know, you can't pay the rent. You want the advance. Sorry, if you can't find a way to make it all work now, you're never going to succeed big time. It's a HARD LIFE for a musical artist. It's ALL ABOUT THE STRUGGLE! Work that day job. Make that music. And play live EVERYWHERE! That's the indie label paradigm. Free music on the Web and live performance.
As for the indie label
Sure, for discs make a deal. But get a good lawyer. Own your masters. Have a brief license period. DON'T GIVE SOMEONE CONTROL FOR ALMOST NO MONEY! If they want all the rights for no bread you don't want to be in business with them. Believe me, if they want you badly enough, they'll make a deal on your terms.
But better yet... Don't sign with ANYBODY! Don't even worry about making a deal with iTunes. Just give the music away on your Website and build community. You've got to get your music to connectors, TASTEMAKERS! But now, on the Web, EVERYBODY'S A TASTEMAKER! Give away MP3s on your Website and TELL people they're free to email / IM / burn / exchange them. Say they've got PERMISSION!
Put a feedback e-mail address on your site. And answer EACH AND EVERY LETTER! If you don't have time to do this, you're not gonna make it! Play Live, with passion, play like you mean it. After you start getting some traction, focus on the sound. Buy better equipment. Give away and sell stuff at EVERY GIG! Stive to be a professional. Build your community, build your fanbase they will pay you for your music. It's about slow and steady. You've got to want it more than anything. You've got to be willing to sacrifice relationships, real estate, remuneration, all in the desire to MAKE IT!
I hate to tell you, but the more people who hear the music, who have the MP3s, the MORE CDs you're going to sell. I know, it's counterintuitive, but it's fact.
On a 99 cent download the artist doesn't even make a nickel. Sale by track will not prevail in the future. It's economic suicide. You can only profit by selling the bundle. But, since Apple came up with a solution which the labels authorized, and what a story THAT is, just speak with Roger Ames and ask what it took to get Universal on board, it's the only real game in town.
"The Chat Room". About fifty or sixty heavies get together twice a year for a debate of the major issues in the music business. Tomorrow, with Richard as moderator, I'm debating John Kennedy, head of IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry). Go to http://www.ifpi.org/ to brush up on the organization. Roger Ames said The record companies DON'T pay royalties anymore. Robert Lee told us in the firm's office that you can't even negotiate a record contract anymore. It's take it or leave it. And it turns out the MMF is just joining with the publishers in the tribunal as to digital payments. So, there's no big money involved for attorneys. God, if it goes public, if the world hears that artists only make 4 1/2p per 79p download...this is the labels' worst nightmare. And I agree with Tony Wilson, there should be no public performance fee for selling a digital download, but it turns out that's the LAW, and the publishers are scraping to get a fair share, especially since the majors want a REDUCTION! From 8.25% to 6%!
Furthermore, I heard the inside story on the Robbie Williams deal. Turns out under British tax law they can write off the FULL VALUE of the deal in the year it's inked. And then the revenues are booked as profit when they finally come in.
If you've got a story to tell, make it all one song. Or, explain it on your Website. Tell people how to sequence the downloads. Or maybe, ask THEM how they sequence the downloads and what the result means to them. If the medium affects the art, the Internet is about collaboration, get the listener INVOLVED, don't dictate to him.
Make a ton of music. Put it up on your Website constantly. So people will go back and LOOK for it. Don't tour over five months a year, so you have TIME to relax and get inspired and continue to write, which is what you're truly about, being an artist. Establish a relationship with the fan, an ongoing one, not a static one. And know that if someone is into you, they'll want everything you ever did. Which is why I comb the P2P services for live tracks by my favorite acts. THIS is the passion we need. Not fat cats lamenting the passage of the old days eliminating all the soul from the enterprise. Music is dope. Sell it that way. Get people hooked so they won't let go.
Derek Sivers of CD Baby on Music Career Perfection
CD Baby founder Derek Sivers offers timeless advice on what it takes to succeed with music. Indie Buzz Bootcamp Read Derek's latest thoughts on music, business and life at http://sivers.org/
FROM CDBABY.COM How to Legally Sell Downloads of Cover Songs - DEREK SEVERS
CDbaby is wonderful: "If you have recorded a cover version of someone else's song, and you plan to make that recording available over the Internet, the following information applies to you. You must follow these steps BEFORE you make your recording available for distribution to the public! Learn how to obtain a compulsory license to digitally distribute cover songs over the Internet to end users in the United States. If you record a cover version of a song, (meaning your performance of a song that has been released in the U.S. with consent of the copyright owner), you are entitled by law to release your recording commercially, and the owner of the copyright to the song cannot prevent you from doing so. The Copyright Act provides for what is called a "Compulsory License", which means that if you follow the steps set forth by statute, you can distribute your recording of that song on a CD or over the internet." SELL YOUR MUSIC and get ADVICE also see INDIE - what is that? Video
reform the recording industry's accounting practices.
DO THE LABELS OWE YOU MONEY?
Unpaid or underpaid royalties are classic problems for recording artists.
Under the agreement struck with Spitzer's office, music publishers and record labels promised to make better efforts to locate artists owed money, by putting ads up on company websites and working more actively with performers' unions. Signing the deal were BMG Music Publishing, BMG Music, EMI Music Publishing, EMI Music North America, the Harry Fox Agency, Sony Music Entertainment, Sony ATV Music Publishing, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group. Unclaimed royalties will go to the state if artists or their heirs can't be located. A BMG spokesman encouraged artists who may be owed royalties "to contact their record labels with updated information."
In the past the power of television matched with great music, could an act could blow up.
That was the paradigm employed for twenty years, use TV to blast your act into the stratosphere. Some people still believe in that game, but it's done. If you're lucky, now you've got a career. And the key isn't expanding your brand, but satiating your core, it's all about the core. The ones who come to every show, and those who know you, but haven't been motivated to come previously. Forget trying to make new fans. You can't do it, only your preexisting fans can do this. Your career is about lassoing who you can see, not going on a hunt for new pelts.
2006 licensing rights is the democratization of the music world.
Podcasters say these free-use networks have accelerated a new way of thinking -- an online infrastructure that allows bands to build their name from the ground up. Between bloggers, live radio streams, MySpace and podcasts, a band now has dozens of avenues -- outside of traditional record companies -- to develop a global fan base. What once was a hierarchy of record studios and radio stations has been flattened by a revolution of online forces which continue to redefine the model of the music industry by the month, the week and the day. The success of MySpace has encouraged the expansion of such blogs as Music For Robots (music.for-robots.com), and My Old Kentucky Blog (myoldkyhome.blogspot.com), where communities of tens of thousands now share their new favorite tunes and bands.
It also led to such streaming online radio alternatives as Live365.com, Pandora.com and LAUNCHcast (music.launch.com), which allow users to customize their own personal radio station. An endless catalogue of podcasts -- today there are around 5,000 music-only podcasts -- have, for many listeners, taken the place of radio entirely. PitchForkMedia.com what has been created through this emerging network of music fans is an entirely new system of "taste makers" -- influential voices which were once found only on radio stations and in entertainment publications -- and a new philosophy behind the marketing, promotion and distribution of music.
Late last year, organizations such as the Independent Online Distribution Alliance and its counterparts offered a solution to the final hurdle hindering podcasts: the legal issues surrounding a song's royalty fees and copyright protections. By bringing hundreds of independent record labels together, and having them approve their bands' music for free-use purposes, IODA launched a service it calls PROMONET, which distributes thousands of free tracks to approved podcasters every day. Podcasters must mention the band's name, and report back on how well the track plays with its audience. According to Tim Mitchell, IODA's vice president of marketing and business development, and Dave Warner, the creator and host of the weekly podcast Dave's Lounge, services such as PROMONET -- and others like the Podsafe Music Network -- create a win-win situation. Podcasters get new music. Bands get access to more potential fans, and information about those fans. Audiences get to hear the hot new thing.