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The Occupy Wall Street & Together Movement is a reflection of the increasing anger and implosion of the working class in a “profit by any means necessary” driven capitalist system.
Capitalism on its own merit is not the problem. The way it’s approached in America is. There is a dichotomy at play, though. Consumers want products at low prices, and producers manufacture goods in other countries with lower wages to achieve the desired consumer prices.
Somehow, it is easy for some to ignore inequity in pay and unsafe working conditions if it takes place outside of the United States.
The consequence of outsourcing jobs outside of the U.S. to increase profit is that jobs shrink in America, especially in the manufacturing sector. In a recession, more jobs in multiple sectors dry up, affecting almost everyone except for those in the sectors that create new technology or for corporate executives. They actually get richer.
The result is that more workers feel the frustration of finding adequate work, something many in the African-American community have experienced for generations.
What is the real price of all of those inexpensive goods and high profits?
What would a device like a smartphone cost if it were manufactured 100 percent in America?
This problem is nothing new.
There has been anger with the growing gaps between the rich and those trying to get by day-to-day since the founding of this country.
I know firsthand the results of vast inequity in America. That is what I fought against in the Black Panther Party.
When the schools in New York shut down in the 60s, I was angry. I helped organize my community on behalf of my nephews and other children in our community.
I stood up for what was right, and I remained angry.
That anger led me into a tailwind of substance abuse.
Anger has consequences.
It leads to more harm than the original source of the anger. My family was devastated when violence killed my son in 1996. Although my loss was painful, I did not get resort to anger or violence.
Over the past 15 years, I have channeled my pain into the work of the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation. In the spirit of Tupac’s legacy, we established the Foundation to provide opportunities for young people to express themselves creatively, to teach conflict resolution, to improve communities, and to provide an institution that brings people together.
The Foundation has been different things for different people at different times. For some, the Foundation is a source of strength; for others, it’s a place of empowerment. The Foundation is a place of comfort to those grieving the loss of a loved one killed by violence, we increase awareness and prevention of suicide, and we offer acceptance of others regardless of their sexual orientation or background.
We honor and learn from our seniors, and we mentor young women. We honor fathers, and those who have rebounded from substance and other abuse. We empower our community with resources, and provide jobs and opportunities for single mothers, young people, and for those just trying to get by.
The Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation and those that we have helped have long been “The 99%.”
The Occupy Movement has successfully organized people across the globe that share the frustration of the negative results from inequity in the U.S. capitalist system that has existed since I can remember.
But, for the movement to be effective, especially for those involved from the Hip-Hop community, the movement must not ride the waves of anger into waves of violence, but into action.
Community action that helps those most vulnerable in their community – children, young girls, and seniors – is the best defense.
For instance, imagine the impact of thousands around the world flooding shelters to help those most vulnerable in their communities.
Being part of The 99% is nothing new, especially for the African-American community.
Don’t scoundrel this opportunity to leverage the impact of the thousands that have organized. These opportunities do not come often.
When this organizing moment is a glimpse in the history books, will your only accomplishment be a T-Shirt that reads “We are the 99%?”
The permission needed to record songs, music or lyrics in films or other visual media. Under this license you can play the music yourself (provided you don’t rewrite the words or “alter the “fundamental character of the music” – see parody).
NOTE: If you are playing music from a sound recording, you will probably require Master Rights.
Do you know Karen Kline? I do. And so do a lot of people in the music industry. She used to be a really good friend of mine. For a minute, I was in love with her, even though I knew the relationship could never last. Karen’s known and loved throughout the world of music, video and radio. She’s a jetsetter and she’s known for being reliable and dependable.
And Karen Kline has this incredible ability to be in many different places at the exact same time.
This Saturday morning, like many Saturdays for years, a truck will show up to the homes of many people in the music industry and Karen will be delivered right to their front door.
I met Karen while I was staying at the Hotel George in Washington D.C. (I’d heard of Karen for years but we’d never been formally introduced). It was 1999 and I had just been hired as the Program Director at BET, the fast growing entertainment channel. BET was then being broadcasted into over 48 million homes and my job would be deciding what videos would be played on the channel.
By this time, music videos had surpassed radio as the place to break a record. And the record labels were nervous. Was I going to change the format? Cut down the number of videos played? Pick and choose what kind of videos I would allow to be played? The answers were yes, yes and yes. But no one knew that yet.
It didn’t matter. My friends at the major record labels were not going to take any chances.
During my first week at BET, I set up the playlist, deciding which videos would be played and how often. I cut the playlist, from four hundred titles to a mere eighty. Some industry executives were elated; some were furious. The next weekend, a FedEx truck pulled up to the Hotel George with two packages for me.
Both packages were exactly the same, five thousand dollars in each, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and tucked inside the FedEx envelopes. No return address; no instructions, just the name Karen Kline, a fictional woman that I loved like she was flesh and blood.
It’s called payola. And it’s as old as recorded music itself. Even the very word tells you how far it goes back. Payola is a contraction between the words “pay” and “Victrola,” the old-school phonograph that was used to spin the very first records.
Payola is firmly embedded in the music industry, deep in the grooves like tracks on a vinyl record. It’s been going on for so long that it’s hard to believe that people are still getting away with it. But they are. I know I did.
And it wasn’t just money. When I was working at BET, I was still coming up to New York City every weekend for my job as a DJ on WBLS. Every Friday, various record labels would fly me up to New York, usually first class, and put me up at the best hotels. Knick tickets, pricey restaurants, whatever I wanted—I would have because I was in a position of power. I had control. And if you were a record label executive, you needed to make sure I was happy.
Almost everybody in this industry takes money. If they have the power to put a song on the radio or a video on television, they’ve been offered money to do it—and they’ve taken it. Maybe it’s only been once or twice. But they’ve done it.
I turned down payola for years. I really did. But it’s impossible to turn down ten thousand dollars in cash when you know you’re going to play the song anyway and it’s from a friend you’ve known for twenty years. There’s just no way to turn that down.
So, I’m putting that out there right now. I’m guilty. I’ve taken money. And I’m not ashamed to admit it. But I’ve never been anyone’s slave. Legally, I could go to jail or maybe not. I think I could win my case. I’ve taken money. But I’ve never played a song or a video I didn’t like. I know I still have to live with my demons. And maybe I’ll have to pay the price for it. But I’m not alone. And my relationship with Karen Kline was a one-night-stand compared to how she’s operating today. Karen Kline is not just visiting people on Saturday mornings anymore. She’s married—to corporate America. And she’s bringing in more money than anyone could ever fit inside a FedEx envelope.
SAME SONG is an explosive look at the corruption that is running rampant throughout the music industry. From the desperate promotion departments at major record labels who will do anything to get their acts on the radio and on video to the greedy program directors who take cash, gifts and other luxuries, SAME SONG will explore how corruption is rearing its ugly head once again.
SAME SONG also examines “legal payola” and how corporations are now the major beneficiaries of under-the-table payments and pay-to-play.
With the Telecommunications Act of 1996, consolidation would forever change the music industry. It was a bill that was originally designed to stimulate the economy by loosening up the rules for selling goods on the Internet. But inadvertently, it gave license for communications companies like Clear Channel to start buying up radio stations like penny candy.
Before long, seven companies owned 70% of the radio stations in the United States. There were very few individual owners who could determine what would be played. This meant smaller, corporate-influenced radio playlists. There would be less variety and more of the same artists, over and over again. These new stations were like funnels and the only records that would make it through were the ones with the cash to push them out. If the record labels wanted to hear their acts on the radio, they would have to fall in line—and cough up major bucks.
The same would happen in video as well. When Bob Johnson sold BET to Viacom for three billion dollars, it meant that MTV now owned it’s only major competitor. And getting your video on either channel would now cost you thousands.
SAME SONG is about how the digital age in the mid-90s exposed radio stations that frequently lied about how often they were playing the songs they were being paid by record labels to play; it’s about how the golden age of the trained broadcaster was soon replaced with interns, DJs and mixers who, for years, had been silent in the booth. SAME SONG explores how radio has become one of the few media outlets where salaries have plunged as profits have skyrocketed. And SAME SONG will break down the shake-ups that will be happening very shortly. Much like Alan Freed’s payola trials in the 50s, and the pay-for-play scandals involving music men like Clive Davis in the 70s, the music industry is on the cusp of another huge investigation and many of the major players in the music industry may find themselves unemployed, at best and possibly, in prison.
And in many ways, SAME SONG is my story. Since 1976, when the busing riots in Boston sent me scrambling into the radio station at WRBB at Northeastern University, the music industry has been my life. During my very first stint in radio, I was Paul “Pure Love” Porter from midnight to three AM and I fell in love with the medium of radio and the impact I had on my community.
Radio introduced me to women. Radio introduced me to cocaine. Radio introduced me to some of my best friends. And radio killed some of them too. SAME SONG is a ride through my whirlwind of media jobs, working for and with some of the most colorful, well-known and scandalous players in the music industry.
I know that radio and video are influential in shaping young minds. And my experiences have changed my outlook. “Morality is not an option” is now my mantra. And there are people out there who won’t buy it. They’ll think I’m writing this book for revenge or just to make a buck. That’s fine. I can live with that. I can’t live with what’s become of the music industry. I’m partly responsible for bringing it to the depths it’s sunk to today. But I can also be responsible for exposing the ugliness and peeling back the layers for everyone to see.
A nation devoid of art and artists cannot have a full existence.
Accused Chicago Bears drug dealer Sam Hurd has hired high-powered defense attorney David Kenner to represent him in his federal drug dealing case.
The former wide receiver was arrested on Wednesday (December 14), after he met with an undercover agent in a Chicago restaurant and attempted to purchase multiple kilos of cocaine.
Federal prosecutors began investigating Hurd in July, when an informant tipped them off, claiming that Hurd was running a drug dealing network.
According to prosecutors, Sam Hurd admitted to an undercover agent that his drug dealing network was selling about 4 kilos of cocaine per week.
He was at the restaurant meeting with a confidential informant, to set up a deal, because he could not keep up with the demand.
The NFL star was attempting to purchase 5 to 10 kilograms of cocaine per week at a cost of $25,000 per kilo, along with 1,000 pounds of marijuana to distribute, per week. He also left the meeting with a package he believed contained a kilo of cocaine.
Sam Hurd’s attorney David Kenner is already well-known in Hip-Hop circles.
Kenner represented incarcerated drug baron Michael “Harry-O” Harris, who was allegedly an early investor in Death Row Records.
According to the documentary “Welcome to Death Row,” Kenner helped Harry-O form Godfather Entertainment, which was supposed to be the parent company for Death Row Records, which was co-owned by Marion “Suge” Knight and Dr. Dre.
Harry-O’s alleged ownership of Death Row Records set off a bitter battle for the label, which resulted in Suge Knight bankrupting the legendary imprint.
The company was eventually sold to Canadian based company Wide Awake Entertainment for $18 million in January of 2008.
David Kenner, along with Johnnie Cochran, was among the lawyers who represented Snoop Dogg in his 1996 murder trial, which ended in an acquittal for the rapper.
David Kenner is hopeful that he can successfully defend Sam Hurd against the federal drug dealing charges.
“Sam intends to fight these charges, and we intend to defend him fully,” David Kenner told the Associated Press. “We have complete confidence in him…they start off looking terrible, and then we end up with not guiltys.”
Sam Hurd’s coach Lovie Smith and other members of the Chicago Bears were shocked at his arrest.
Earlier in the summer, Hurd had signed a $5.15 million deal with The Bears.
He also earned a $1.35 million signing bonus and took home a base pay of $685,000.
But things could get worse for the disgraced NFL star, as reports are surfacing that he was providing drugs to other NFL players.
According to CBS Radio’s 670 The Score, federal prosecutors have a double-digit list of NFL players that are connected to the drug dealing network, in some manner.
Hurd is charged multiple offenses, including conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine, or half a kilogram.
He faces up to 40 years in prison and a $2 million fine if convicted.
Sam Hurd is currently free on $100,000 bail.
If you’re like most of the marketers or business owners I talk with these days, you’re wondering what exactly are the benefits of Facebook fans (i.e., “Likes”) to your brand. Also, how much more likely are they to do business with you than those who don’t “like” you on Facebook?
Those who profess to be fans are much more likely to participate in “desirable actions” using Facebook, such as making a purchase, installing an app, entering a sweepstakes or voting online in a contest. That’s according to , a full-service social agency owned by the Washington Post Company, which looked at 50 brands and more than 5 million Facebook ads over a five-month period earlier this year.
Of course, it should come as little surprise that fans are more likely to perform desirable acts than nonfans. But the knowledge that they do so at a situational rate of up to 547 percent higher than nonfans is eye opening.
Specifically, the survey shows that Facebook fans are 291 percent more likely to engage with brands than nonfans. For example, the fan conversion rate to install an app is 38 percent compared with 12 percent for nonfans. That’s a 239 percent difference, or, in other words, fans are three times more likely to convert than nonfans. The conversion rate for existing or new fans to enter a brand’s contest was found to be 6 percent as opposed to 1 percent for nonfans — a 545 percent differential.
When it comes to making an actual purchase, the SocialCode survey shows that fans do so at a 7 percent rate, while nonfans buy at a rate of just 2 percent.
Among the seven actions a user might perform on a fan page, SocialCode found that the difference in cost per acquisition, or CPA, between fans and nonfans is $9.56. That number is calculated by dividing the total cost of clicks by the total number of actions. For fans who install an app, for instance, the cost per acquisition is $2.61 compared to $8.49 for nonfans. Similarly, for fans making a purchase, the fan CPA is $14.88 compared to a nonfan CPA of $43.86.
Others costs include: contest submissions ($17.21 for fans, $76.25 for nonfans); contest voting ($3.26 for fans, $21.09 for nonfans); fan acquisition ($3.39 for fans, $5.17 for nonfans); program signup ($41.25 for fans, $75.90 for nonfans); and sweepstakes entry ($2.57 for fans, $5.81 for nonfans.)
In Facebook fan studies from last year, the value of a fan ranged from $3.60 in a to $136.38 in a assessment. Problems I see with the SocialCode survey is the assumption that all of these fans engage in actions to the same degree and that these desired actions can be weighed the same. I would think, for instance, that a purchase “action” would trump a contest vote every time. Similarly, the value of a fan should be measured by how much money he or she is bringing to the table in the form of purchases made, with the cost per action subtracted from that figure. The bottom line: How much more did we sell to the folks who signed on as our fans?
What value do you place in your business’s Facebook fans?
is one of my past clients and for the past few months I had wanted to interview about her experience and growth using social networking to grow her fanbase. Well we were finally able to make it happen. I felt it was important to have artists say all of this, sometimes hearing it from a peer carries more weight. So take a couple minutes and read about how Lisa went from essentially zero to social networking wiz and grew her fanbase over the last 10 months.
Lisa set the wayback machine to December of 2010 when we first talked. You were a couple months away from releasing your most recent album and hired me to help you with your website and online marketing efforts. Your online world at that time was fairly small; less than 1000 on your email list, a handful of fans, less than 100 followers. We talked about what you would need to do to grow your fans, how you would have to spend time engaging with everyone on Facebook and Twitter, how you would have to write articles to post on your new blog, and how you had to open up and talk about yourself personally more than you talk about the new album. I remember at the time you said you were not sure you could do all of this, that you didn’t know if you had the time. But, you forged ahead.
Now not even a year later and looking back – what do you think about that journey?
Wow Michael – it’s like you gave me social network “seeds” to plant in the Internet “dirt” in December 2010. I planted several of them: Facebook, Twitter, my blog, and then (and to some extent), “watered” and tended to them daily, and over time watched their roots take hold, and now these beautiful, virtual “social flowers” are growing and are continuing to thrive. I believe, though, it is only by tending to them regularly-in my case daily-that they will continue to thrive. I’m most amazed by the connections I have made on all of these different networks. Sometimes it starts with someone responding to one of my inane posts on Twitter, or a fan on ReverbNation who has heard my music and wants to reach out and tell me the impact the music had on him, or a simple response to a silly sign I posted on Facebook.
These kinds of interactions can create new friendships and build long-lasting and direct relationships with fans.
The people I am meeting in the online community are just as “real” as the people I actually do meet. For me, being home a lot, I love connecting with online communities. It also helps me to not feel isolated.
I never even imagined receiving the kind of feedback I’ve received online. I’ve heard from new and old friends that are connecting through the and sharing their stories. I’ve received countless messages and comments that the songs and video and website are amazing. I’ve been on friends FB pages and seen them sharing my videos, or most recently, my nomination for AIM Awards! Thanks to my fans, Aoede even hit #1 on Hot Pop on ReverbNation for a few days in February, then climbed the charts locally and nationally and is currently #2 for SF Pop…
Even with all those signs from the universe, it took receiving a particularly humbling and stunning FAN mail from a fellow musician to realize what an impact I was having. In it he writes, “Very few artists make me sit back and say the world is a better place with them making music in it. You Are one of those artists.” Another fan sent me a message on Twitter indicating my life, music and heart and soul gave her hope and strength to do what she needed to do… MY GOD! Talk about impact! It dawned on me that the music is secondary.
Maybe nobody really cares about the music until and unless they have a relationship with you.
Here are a few examples of how some simple Twitter and ReverbNation messages led to some amazing opportunities and directions such as radio shows, features, fan blog posts and reviews, airplay and more!
Winner of Music Contest to Pitch an Original Song to a Brand
Spark For New Song-Perfect Day
Speaking/Performance at Myositis Association Conference
Nomination for All Indie Music Awards: and
How did you manage the time commitments?
In the beginning, it was a lot of energy-more than I had as I was only a few months out the hospital and recovering and still doing intensive treatments-it was part of my therapy to focus on the music-part of my healing path I believe. I just incorporated it into each day as I did my physical therapy or exercise.
It is still time intensive now-I read and respond to messages daily on RN and post daily on Twitter and Facebook, but I feel the time invested connecting with fans and building relationships is valuable time. I find that I focus on 3 main areas: humor, music and health. I like to find puns and strange signs and post them because humor is important to me-I like to laugh and make others laugh every day so the time spent is therapeutic!
Topics Focused On:
Humor, Music, Health
What tactics did you find worked best on Facebook?
On Facebook, I find being myself and showing up to the page works best-I ask Aoede’s Question-o-d-Day, I post pictures of things that I find interesting or strange, I post my Daily Muse-an inspirational quote, and post other stuff related to Aoede. I find that people seem to like to interact with each other on the page.
What tactics do you use on Twitter?
Again, just being myself. I like wordplay, useless facts, puns, phrase origins and just connecting with people-responding to messages, posts, acknowledging others -just interacting generally more than “selling.” I do post related to music, but more often through re-tweeting what someone else has said. Being genuine is important to me, as is connecting with my followers. Also, when you posted Aoede’s 7 Tips Save Your Next Video on your blog and Music Think Tank, I noticed an opportunity to engage with those people who retweeted and was able to get followers and more engagement from the blog post.
What hurdles did you encounter over the last year?
For me, I am not in the public performing or touring lately. I am focused mostly on writing, recording and licensing and placements for film and TV, so my biggest hurdle is how do I continue to keep the songwriter’s dream alive, and expand my fan base?
Social networking for me has been very effective for finding new fans and building relationships.
The hurdle is that it takes a lot of time on each of these networks, as well as my own blog, to be effective and engage with fans, respond to emails, find new fans, and continue to write or play music. The ideal would be a balance of online time vs. creative play. Most days I spend more time online than play, but do feel it is a worthy investment. Also, I shot a music video in January expecting completion and release in March, to coincide with Fairy Tale Love on Affair with the Muse. This video is still being completed so I haven’t released “product” since March 2011. My next release will be my album in 2012. Being online and accessible, engaging with fans, takes some of the burden off of me to just focus on releasing and selling “products.”
Also, sales has been a hurdle. I think it is so difficult as an indie artist to rely on digital sales income-indie artists don’t have the name recognition that Adele or Lady Gaga does. I am looking to licensing to supplement and will also consider a Kickstarter campaign to help fund/pre-sell the new album. My goal for the past year was to expand the fan base. Now that that is happening, I can start identifying ways the fan base can help support.
Have you seen your relationship with your fans change over the last year?
Absolutely! Whereas I really was only engaging with fans through my newsletter and email before, now I engage with fans through all these networks, newsletter, email and through my website as well. It means that people have access to me in many different ways than before-e.g., they can ask questions (we do an Ask The Muse segment in which we video a fan’s question and Aoede’s response to it-done with some humor), leave comments, or engage directly with me through messages or posts. I am finding more people want to engage, want to get to know me. Some artists and fans of them want to know my story, are interested in telling their stories. Others just hear my music and want to tell me how it has had an impact on them. Some want to get to know the muse behind the music and actually develop a relationship with me. I’ve even had some fans thank me for responding, as apparently some artists don’t make time to respond with even a simple thank you, or ask how they are doing every once in awhile. It’s the simple things that artists can do that seem to go a long way in the fan’s eyes. I do a weekly acknowledgment for my fans who have left comments for me on my networks, mostly on RN, through a blog post called Aoede’s Angels. It’s a gesture to publicly acknowledge the fans and artists who support me. On Facebook, I really feel like I’m developing an online community of folks who want to “play” and to actively engage with me. They really don’t want to keep hearing “buy my cd!” over and over… and that’s not the message I want to send either…
If you sat down with an artist that is new to using the social networks to meet and talk to their fans… what would you tell them? How would you help them to see the light, the importance of spending time online?
I would probably emphasize their significance by using my own story as an example. I am an artist who gigged a few times a month regularly for the past four or five years; so I was in the public and able to meet people, do a few tours to promote my albums, and grow my mailing list slowly. I did have an EP (Ear Candy) out in 2006 and an album out in 2008 (Push and Pull) and available digitally, but I wasn’t focusing on heavily promoting them or on social networking and active fan engagement except for my monthly newsletter and responding to fans through e-mail. Once my health forced me to stop gigging regularly, I still wanted to connect and engage fans and that’s why I plunged head first into the world of social networking in early 2011, coinciding with the release of my new website, a new music video for “I Lost, You Win,” and the release of Affair with the Muse. As I noted,
Social networking isn’t the kind of thing that you dabble in once or twice and then forget about and expect it to grow on its own.
It takes tending, nurturing, commitment to keep it growing. It usually doesn’t happen overnight (unless you are Charlie Sheen status and immediately find yourself with 1 million plus twitter followers ). I think I am in an unusual place because I do have the time (not always the energy!) to invest now. For an artist just beginning, I would say decide which social network you want to focus most on and spend time growing that. I would definitely recommend Facebook, ReverbNation and Twitter as great places to make connections. On Twitter, follow and engage those musicians who compel you, who you are influenced by, and whose listeners might like your music too. Engage listeners. My aha came from the realization that my music immediately compelled someone-other artists and fans alike-to reach out to me-to want to make a connection. I didn’t know there was an entire virtual world of people who might feel the same way until I reached out first and made this discovery!
MY STATS AS OF TODAY:
On REVERBNATION: Fans: 10,003
On FACEBOOK: 1414
On TWITTER: 2250
Brick Squad Monopoly rapper and Waka Flocka affiliate Slim Dunkin was shot and killed in Atlanta earlier tonight (December 16), according to a report confirmed by Channel 2 Action News in Atlanta, citing information from his attorney.
The rapper born Mario Hamilton had been making noise recently with his collaborations with Waka and other BSM members. LeBron Flocka James 3 dropped back in October; he also made appearances on Waka and French Montana’s Lock Out mixtape, which dropped earlier this week, among other projects.
According to the report, his attorney said he was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital and later pronounced dead.
JERUSALEM (AP) — Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, meet your Israeli doppelganger: Mark Zuckerberg.
Israeli entrepreneur Rotem Guez says he has legally changed his name to that of Facebook’s CEO, a gimmick meant to persuade the social networking site to back down from what he says are threats to take legal action against him.
He’s telling Facebook: “If you want to sue me, you’re going to have to sue Mark Zuckerberg.”
He says a lawyer for Facebook pressed him this week to close his online business Like Store, calling it illegal. Like Store promises to enhance companies’ online reputations by offering Facebook users free content only accessible by clicking “like” on the companies’ profiles.
Facebook declined to comment specifically on the name change, but said it was going after those who violate the company’s terms as part of efforts to protect users.
So Freddie Gibbs tries to get on a plane with weed.
Now if that isn’t shocking enough he actually gets away with it. The TSA agent let him go.
allhiphop.com summed it up pretty good.
TSA, FAIL on your part! We definitely don’t want to see another rapper catch a charge or get locked up, BUT come on! Did you really not think this was going to come back and bite you in the *ss?
Now, we’re not leaving it at that. Freddie, as much praise as we’re giving you right now…REALLY?!! You got away with a pretty big crime, and then you tweet about it??? In the words of Ed Lover, and more coincidentally, as a TSA employee wrote on your notice, “C’MON SON!”
Let’s hope that this warning is all Freddie has to deal with, but TSA, you’ve got a lot of explaining and firing to do!
All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.
That’s based on a joint survey conducted by ReverbNation and Digital Music News, one that found that artists now place a disproportionate premium on Facebook Likes. In fact, they not only regard Likes as being three times as valuable as email signups, but they also made similar comparisons to YouTube channel subscribers and Twitter followers.
As part of the survey, artists were asked to spread 100 points across a variety of social network connections to allocate importance, and this is what resulted.
The memo is out: major content owners are deathly serious about enforcing their property, and they want to make examples. That may include 24-year-old Kevin Poe, who has been linked by the FBI to a recent denial-of-service (DDoS) attack on GeneSimmons.com. The Connecticut-based Poe has been charged with two federal counts of conspiracy and unauthorized impairment of a protected computer, and penalties that could result in 15 years of prison time.
For now, Poe has been released on $10,000 bond, and a court date in Los Angeles is being scheduled.
This all started last year, when stern statements against piracy drew the attack. ”The music industry was asleep at the wheel and didn’t have the balls to go and sue every fresh-faced, freckle-faced college kid who downloaded a clip, so now we’re left with hundreds of people without jobs,” Simmons told an audience at MIPCOM in France. Soon thereafter, GeneSimmons.com was hobbling under a crippling flood of fake site requests, a classic hacker tactic for downing a site.
Poe is believed to be part of the shadowy Anonymous network, a collective that has also downed the RIAA’s site on numerous occasions. But the debate on Simmons is slightly different: while the RIAA fits more neatly into the ‘evil’ categorization, Simmons is an artist – just one who happens to have a very pro-capitalist, pro-enforcement bias. And, unlike most artists who feel the same way, he’s unafraid to express very strong positions on the matter. ”Make sure your brand is protected,” Simmons continued. ”Make sure there are no incursions. Be litigious. Sue everybody. Take their homes, their cars. Don’t let anybody cross that line.”
After watching prime time dramas such as ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, the amount of new music that a show like this introduces to the public is astonishing: “Anyone’s Ghost” by The National, “Abducted” by Cults, “Chameleon/Comedian” by Kathleen Edwards, “Hit It” by Miss Li, and “Echoes” by Mostar Diving Club. Who is responsible for introducing all of the amazing new music from today’s hit TV shows? Week after week, these people have the uncanny knack for selecting uberhip underground artists barely breaking the film of the jellied masses of independent musicians. Women like Alexandra Patsavas of Chop Shop Music known for her work on Grey’s Anatomy, Andrea von Foerster of Firestarter Music known for her work on Modern Family, and Lindsay Wolfington of Lone Wolf, known for her work on One Tree Hill are not only outstanding entrepreneurs, they are also the purveyors of musical cool.
For the record, MXSup is the slang industry term for music supervisor, a person who finds and licenses music for films, television, video games, or advertisements. Music supervision began at the turn of the 20th century when silent films were all the rage. At that time, organists accompanied the film and the supervisor indicated at various places on the score where classical themes were to be played. Today, music supervisors select music for critical points in the film soundtrack to increase the dramatic effect of the content on the screen. The music leads the audience emotionally and heightens their anticipation and fear before the critical action takes place.
Music supervisors clear two sides of the copyright: the PA Copyright for the music and lyrics as well as the SR Copyright for the master recording. Although a legal background is not a prerequisite, it is necessary to understand the rights of Intellectual Property holders and the terms of their copyright. Music Supervision is often a long process that takes careful consideration and attention to detail.
Clearing A Synch License
Ramsay Adams, David Hnatiuk, and David Weiss have suggested in their book, Music Supervision, that “music supervisors must be chameleon-like in their business dealings, [and develop] an ability to adapt their methods to the needs of every new production environment”. For that, they write, it is essential that every project be well documented, especially as regards the parties in every transaction: the composer and song title, the publisher, and the record label.
For Lindsay Wolfington, the music supervisor for One Tree Hill, the licensing process starts after the spotting session. During the spotting session, the music supervisor, producer, director, music producer, and music editor go through the script and highlight areas that require music ( ‘Jim drives to Malibu to find his ex-girlfriend and hears a song on the radio that reminds him of her’). The song coming from the source—the radio—must be integrated into the scene with a synchronization license. To minimize work, it is best to procure that license when the picture is “locked” to the music in a final version. A quote request is then sent to the publisher, who returns information about the credits used, her stake in the work, and the rate charged. Wolfington then sends a confirmation of the terms and includes a grant of rights, the fee, and her contact information for final signature.
Cindy Badell-Slaughter CEO of Heavy Hitters Music, a contemporary music library that places music for television in shows like CSI-NY and True Blood, clears licenses following a similar multi step procedure. In both cases the publisher, who holds the rights to the Performing Arts (PA) Copyright, i.e. music and lyrics, is the first person contacted.
Next, the supervisor would approach the SR Copyright owner, usually the record label. Once the publisher approves the request, the music supervisor creates a formal synchronization license with additional standard contract terms. Having an attorney draft a synch license to ensure its legality is recommended.
The Economics of Synch Licenses
Say an independent action film has a budget of $100,000. Most of the money is spent on actors, filming, and editing. The director has $15,000 ($3K for the supervisor, plus 4 points – a percentage of ownership shares on the back end income from the movie) and $12K to find six pieces of music for the film – essentially $2000 per song. The director placed six temporary tracks into the film to give it the “feel” that she wants for the scenes. These tracks are out of her i-pod collection and range from Foo Fighters’ “Rope”, Aerosmith’s “Love In An Elevator”, Broken Bells’ “The Ghost Inside”, Chris Cornell’s “Ground Zero”, Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android”, and Muse’s “Time is Running Out”.
Al and Bob Kohn, authors of Kohn on Music Licensing, state that the going rate to individually license one of these tracks for the life of the copyright in a worldwide release would be $5,000-25,000 for background use, $7,500-50,000 for Visual/Vocal use, and $15,000-100,000 for Featured use. Use of the title of the song as the title of the motion picture should bring an additional $50,000 to $100,000 over the above fees. Use of the music for opening credits might double the synch fee with closing credits slightly lower.
Clearly, major labels’ songs are too expensive. It is up to the music supervisor to find songs that fit the scenes with a similar mood and tempo as the temp tracks. This can be a daunting task when everyone from the producer to the music editor has fallen in love with how perfectly the temp tracks fit into the film score.
The best option is an online music library. These pre-cleared and professionally recorded tracks are an easy way to get music in a very cost effective and efficient way. Heavy Hitters, at www.heavyhittersmusic.com, is one of the top music libraries in the country. Heavy Hitters has an online “Jukebox” which allows the music supervisor to search using many options. Searching for a replacement of Muse’s “Time Is Running Out”, under “rock” and “Vocal Male”, returns 2,200 hits, but refining the find using “Bad Times” (since the title was “Time Is Running Out”) returned nine songs. One of them was “Wrong Way Down”. Being a hard-rock tune with distorted vocals, heavy guitars, and a similar tempo (111vs. 118 bpm) makes it a good fit.
Overall, it is important to remember that being a music supervisor is also about facilitating relationships. Lindsay Wolfington, for example, has always tried to be upfront during negotiation by being transparent with the budget and offering fair rates. She starts on ASCAP.com, where she searches for publishers’ information. She notes that licensing can be difficult when the parties are not registered with the major PRO’s (Performing Rights Organizations). Oftentimes she will find songs with an unlisted publisher. On One Tree Hill, for example, she used a Black Eyes Peas song and couldn’t find the person who owned 2.5% of the song. She told the producers and other publishers that unless it was all cleared, she would be unable to use it. She advises songwriters to “have a business head” and register with the appropriate PRO so that paperwork goes quickly and efficiently. Brad Hatfield, Emmy award winner and music supervisor for the show Rescue Me stresses instead the benefits of the book Getting to Yes, by Roger Fisher and William Ury; for the parties to come to terms, the authors suggest use of the Best Alternative To A Negotiated Agreement method, known as BATNA.
A good licensing strategy depends also on good internal communications. Music supervisors usually report to a creative director, a producer or director of a film, and a video game designer, so pleasing those that have deposited faith in them is essential.
Triple-threat talent John Leguizamo has made a career out of pushing boundaries, not being afraid to speak his mind and never taking no for an answer. As such, we were proud to have him as part of our MTV Pioneers Speaker Series, where he sat down with MTV News’ Sway Calloway to talk about breaking the mold, not being typecast and what success means to him over a career that has included roles in film, television and on Broadway.
One of his many groundbreaking roles was the beloved character Chi-Chi from a role to which Leguizamo said he gave 100 percent.
“I just went all out. I wanted awards and sh–, so I wasn’t playing,” he joked about his motivations for taking on the character. “I was going to take no prisoners. I was on a vegetarian no-protein [diet], so all my muscles would disappear. I stopped training, I would just run like crazy. In the movie, they were great, we did a lot of research. We went to all the drag queen clubs, like Escuelita, which used to exist here [in New York City], with all the Latin drag queens, and we had a godmother drag queen who would put us through the paces every day,” he recalled of his transformation with co-stars Patrick Swayze and Wesley Snipes. “We worked every day for hours and hours every day until we could get it perfectly drag queen-like.”
When asked about how he approached being a minority and how that affected his decisions, Leguizamo said that you have to know what you want and go for it.
“You’ve got to be thoughtful about your career. When you’re a minority — and I don’t really even like that word anymore because we’re not as minority as we used to be — you have to think about what you’re saying and what you’re leaving behind. When I was a little kid, we didn’t see [ourselves] on TV or anywhere. It was weird because you didn’t feel like you were a part of the American fiber,” he recalled. “Latin people, we have a 45 to 50 percent dropout rate in this country, and I understand that. It’s a tragedy and shouldn’t be happening, but you understand it. You don’t feel connected in that positive way that your people and you are going to make it, and ‘this is your chance and this is your opportunity,’ no, you feel like you’re not really a part of it.
“You have to crash into the party even if you’re not invited,” he said, indicating that those who have dreams of “making it” have to carve out their own career paths. “I was going to be that guy, I didn’t care I wasn’t invited. ‘I’m coming into the party, I’m going to be somebody and you can’t stop me Sneak a peek at these guys.’ “