Archive for March, 2011

MUSIC NEWS: Charlie Sheen and Snoop Dogg Collab?

It seems Charlie Sheen has got a little more “Tiger Blood” left in his system.
He has recently been in the studio with Snoop Dogg working on a song.
No details Yet on when the song will be released but we do know that it should
be a interesting song if not anything.

Between his broadway show, sitcom, this new song, and all the publicity he’s been getting lately Sheen seems to be benefitting from his irate behavior more than anything…
Now that’s what i call “Winning”



SARAH THOMPSON: My name is Sarah Thompson. I am a 39 year old freelance graphic artist/stay-at-home mom.


SARAH THOMPSON: I created this group because we had a very tough month in our family financially. I had to go out of town for my father’s surgery and fill my tank up three times as opposed to the usual one in that two-week pay period prior to me starting this. With the extra high prices in the grocery store (due to these high gas prices) it completely wiped us out. And it made me sad and then angry. Why do the oil companies never take a hit for the American people? Our economy is SO very fragile right now. This is going to set a lot of people back. The oil company profits are so much more than other commodity companies take for themselves. Pure greed.

GET IT DONE BLOG: What do you hope to accomplish from the event page you created?

SARAH THOMPSON: My major goal with this event was never thinking we were going to make gas prices plummet because of this one day. I wanted to raise awareness and start a dialog to wake everyone up. Capitalism has run amok in this country. We, the consumer have forgotten that, by just buying into whatever price they throw at us. I want this to be a wake-up call for us and for them. And I have loved all the people exchanging ideas and coming up with alternative ways of producing our energy. I have also inspired some No Gas Weeks and Go Green pages, as well as a Boycott Exxon/Mobile always page. All good things.

GET IT DONE BLOG: There has been attempts in the past to get consumers to strike and all if not most have not been successful. Why do you feel that your campaign will be any different?

SARAH THOMPSON: The one thing I have loved about my page is the open exchange of ideas. People are finally starting to talk about it, writing their congressman/woman, deciding to take public transit, giving up the car for the old bike, boycotting major oil companies.
There have been several other events that have been started just because of my page. That is truly what I wanted most from this page. But, my how I was surprised at how quickly it became viral. A true testament that this issue effects so many people.

GET IT DONE BLOG: Who do you think is too blame for the rising gas prices?

SARAH THOMPSON: I blame a variety of people for the high gas prices really. Oil tycoons, speculators, and the politicians in all their pockets. I would definitely say, if you go vote, make sure your candidate has not collected campaign finance money from any big oil corporations. I believe they live on a “I’ll scratch your back, you scratch mine” mentality.

GET IT DONE BLOG: What do you think consumers can do to help regulate the price of gas besides striking?

SARAH THOMPSON: My message to get people to participate would be this: We the People are not just words on a piece of paper. It means something. It means that in numbers we can accomplish our goals of a better good for ourselves and our planet. United we stand, divided, we WILL fall.

GET IT DONE BLOG: After this campaign what is the next step you plan on taking? If you plan on taking any at all.

SARAH THOMPSON: I will be starting a group soon to tackle the issues and keep the momentum going. We definitely will have the support. It’s time to bring capitalism back down to earth where it works for all of us, not just a privileged few.

Thanks for your questions! I hope you find a lot of support on campus! Have a great rest of the week. And NO GAS on Thursday!


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Industry Tips and Advice: Does Working Hard Mean You’ll Succeed In Music?

You should by now know that it’s not easy to make it in music. There’s no doubt that you’ve got to put the work in to succeed as an independent musician, and anyone not willing to do that may as well give up now. Some people spend years working hard before they start to see some sort of decent profit, some people put in that time but never get to that stage at all.

So does working hard mean you’ll end up succeeding in music? The simple answer is no, as you can see it doesn’t. What’s important however is you understand why working hard alone doesn’t mean your music career will be a success, and what you can do to increase your chances of succeeding.

Here’s how it goes for a lot of people: They embark on their music career, hoping that one day their music will take them far enough to earn a full time living and make them famous. They write a few lyrics, make a few songs and put them online, and maybe even turn up to the odd open mike night and perform. Then they do all this again. And again. And… Again. At one point, they stop and wonder why their music career is moving extremely slowly, if at all. Maybe they’re not putting enough work in? So they decide to up their game (If they haven’t quit by then) and focus a lot more on being everywhere. They up the amount of time they spend online networking with fans, they try and get more local shows, and they try and talk to everyone they can about how good their music is. So now they’re running around like a headless chicken, trying to get as much done as possible. But wait, how much are they really getting done? Yes they’re working really hard, but how smart are they actually working?

There’s no point entering the music game and swinging round wildly till you hit something, why not instead look at what you want to hit, work out how you’re going to hit it, take aim, and then whack it with one knock out blow? That’ll make a lot more sense…

Work Smart When You’re An Independent Musician, Not Hard
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”. Quote by Sun-tzu, a Chinese general & military strategist (400BC).

Yer, that’s what I said mate…

The point is this; Fighting a battle blindly is not ideal. So if you’ve got a chance to see before your battle begins, there’s no reason to not do so. You want to be able to know what you’re going to do and then go out and do it. Instead of just going to the studio, making as many songs as possible and then giving them all out for free, why not stop and ask why you’re doing that? And how it’ll help you in your music career? But don’t just take a guess as to why and how it’ll help, make sure you’ve got proof to back it up! Study the game. You want to see who’s doing well, and why they’re achieving success. Chances are it won’t be just because they’ve got talent, there’ll also be business elements that come into play. So see what’s working for them, and try and recreate your findings so you can make your music just as successful.

One thing I’ve noticed, is a lot of people don’t leverage the promotional opportunities they have available to them. They could easily get someone else or a service to reach a whole load of people for them, yet instead they choose to reach potential fans one by one manually. Of course, this takes a long time. I’m not going to go into how to leverage your music career right now, as I’ve got a whole other topic coming on that very soon. What I will say however is this: What’s the point of working hard when you can get someone else to work hard for you?

Have a think of how you can get other people to work hard for your music career (And let us know your thoughts in the comments below), and I’ll let you know my ideas in a topic very soon. To your success.

Industry Tips and Advice: 10 Mistakes People Make When Trying To Become Professional Musicians by URBANIZED!

f you want to become successful in the music industry, there many things you need to know and do. But even if you get all that right, you can prevent yourself from reaching big success by making critical mistakes along the way (and there are many potential mistakes one could make, when not being careful). After coaching and mentoring many musicians and bands seeking a career in music, the same patterns of false assumptions, problems and mistakes appear over and over again. Here are the top 10.

Mistake #10 – Not having a compelling image that is congruent with your music. Most musicians (and bands) severely underestimate the importance of their image. Yes, music is about ‘music’, but music business success is about a total package that includes music, image and visual stage show among other things that need to be fully developed in a congruent way.

Mistake #9 – Trying to ‘get your name out there’. Although this seems to be a main goal of most musicians and bands, it is the wrong approach to start with. Before trying to be seen and heard as much as possible, it is often more important to focus on ‘converting’ the people who hear and see you into becoming actual fans. This ‘conversion’ is the first key to your promotional success, NOT getting seen or heard as much as possible.

Mistake #8 – Believing that social media websites are the keys to online music promotion for musicians and bands. Social media websites are a tool. They are ONE piece of the online music marketing puzzle. Music industry companies (record labels, artist managers, booking agents, etc.) are far more interested in the popularity of YOUR website, not how many friends you have at MySpace, YouTube, Facebook or any other website that you do not own and control. Want to impress the industry with your band’s promotion? Build your website traffic.

Mistake #7 – Not investing enough time into building your music career. Most musicians spend most of their time on music, but put very little effort into the many other critical elements needed to make it in the music business. If you are already a talented musician, you should invest at least 50% of your time into starting or advancing your music career. If you are still developing your musical skills, you should still invest around 25% of your ‘music’ time into building a future music career.

Mistake #6 – Surrounding yourself with people who are negative, lazy and lack ambition. If you are very serious about becoming a professional musician and building a great career in music, then you absolutely must surround yourself with like-minded musicians.

Mistake #5 – Having merely mediocre live performing skills. Many musicians, who are not yet in a good band, put off developing their live performing and stage presence skills. This is a big reason why talented musicians don’t get into really good bands that they audition for. Your music may be good, but a live ‘show’ requires more than great music. If people only wanted to hear the music, they would listen to you at home. Both fans and record labels want (and expect) to see a REAL show. Neglecting this area results in talented musicians and bands becoming quickly forgotten.

Mistake #4 – Focusing on increasing the ‘quantity’ of fans instead of the ‘intensity’ of your fans. The ‘number’ of fans you have should always be your secondary focus (not your primary one) if you want to become successful in the music industry. The fact is, it is not the number of ‘fans’ that matters most, it’s the number of FANATICS which will contribute more directly to your success (or lack of it). This is particularly true in the beginning of a band’s music career. Focus more effort on converting your existing fans into raving fanatics. Learn to do this and the number of your overall fans will increase through powerful word of mouth.

Mistake #3 – Not enough cash flow to support your music career. Like it or not, it takes money to build a music career. Even if other people/companies are paying for your record, tour support, merchandise, etc. you still need to have the freedom to pursue opportunities as they come. Sadly, many musicians miss opportunities because they can’t afford to take advantage of them.In addition to a decent income, you also need the flexibility of being able to take time away from that income source to go into the studio, go on tour, etc. That is why learning how to teach guitar is such a great way to achieve both if you learn how to become a highly successful guitar teacher.

Mistake #2 – Not enough depth in your music relationships. There’s an old expression, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” In music this is often modified to, “It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.” The truth is, it’s not about either. The most important aspect of connections within the music industry is how deep are the current relationships you have now and will develop in the future. You don’t want to simply know people or be known, you want people who know you to have a real deep connection with you so that you are always on the top of their mind when opportunities present themselves. Ask yourself, “What can I do right now to deepen my existing relationships further on an ongoing basis?”

Mistake #1 – Having a fundamental misunderstanding about what record companies look for – and expect from new bands. This is a huge topic, but in a nutshell it’s very useful to think of record companies like a bank that lends money to people or small businesses. Record companies make most of their decisions about whom they will work with and what the terms will be in much the same way that a bank will determine who they will loan money to and what the terms of the loan will be. Both record companies and banks basically want to see 3 things:

1. How much value do you bring to the deal right now.
2. How much risk do you bring with you right now.
3. How much potential value and risk might you bring to them in the future after they invest in you.

If you want to buy a house, the bank wants to know a lot about the specific house you want to buy and EVEN MORE about YOU. Record companies are the exact same, they want to know about your music, your talent and your band, but they also care as much (or more) about YOU (and your band mates) as people. What about YOU makes a record deal a good or bad investment for them?



Industry Tips and Advice: Getting Permission to Use Copyrighted Texts in Musical Works by Marc Ostrow

For those of you who read my recent article on the commissioning process, you’ll recall that one of the things a commissioning contract will typically contain is a clause stating that you’ve cleared the rights to any copyrighted text or music you use in your work. Music publishers put similar clauses their writer agreements and labels have them in their artist contracts, too.

Let’s say you’re a composer and you want to set a text by your favorite poet. If your selected sonneteer happens to be Shakespeare, Elizabeth Barrett Browning or some other person who’s been dead for several hundred years, then there’s no problem since their works are in the public domain. But what if the versifier of choice is only more recently deceased or even happens to be a living, breathing writer like you? Then you’ll need permission to use the poem. Why? Because their works are still under copyright. Setting a copyrighted text to music constitutes making a “derivative work” of that text and the Copyright Act gives the copyright owner the exclusive right to do that. And trust me, you can’t claim “fair use” if you use a whole stanza, let alone an entire poem, for the text of your composition.

You’ll always want to get permission before you write that magnum opus. If you write the piece first, especially if it’s a large-scale commissioned work like a song cycle for tenor and orchestra, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself in deep doo doo if the copyright owner of your chosen text just says “no,” which they have every right to do. Weeks or months of precious writing time will be wasted and you’ll undoubtedly miss the delivery deadline under your commissioning agreement. Even if you can get permission, the rights holder will be able to drive a very hard bargain on the price and may even demand a piece of the copyright to your work if they know you’ve already written your masterpiece around their poem.

So whose door do you go knocking on? It could be a publisher or a literary agent. Start with the copyright page at the front of the anthology that contains the text. Send a short, polite note to the permissions department of publisher listed for the text, explaining who you are and what kind of kind of work you wish to write. Also ask the publisher to refer you to the appropriate rights holder if they aren’t it.

As for the specific rights you’ll need, these include the right to perform your work indefinitely, to have printed music made available and to be able to record the work, both in sound recordings and in audiovisual works. You’d be amazed how often composers, thinking only about the premiere, will only get the right to perform the work for a short time and neglect to obtain, or even ask for, the necessary publication and recording rights.

You’ll also need patience and persistence. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months of follow-up emails and voicemails to get a response and then negotiate a deal once you get to the proper rights holder. Don’t pester and always be polite. Otherwise, you’ll guarantee a slow — and negative — response.

The publisher of the text will want an appropriate copyright notice in any concert programs, printed music or recordings. Although they’ll sometimes insist upon a portion of the writer’s share of royalties (i.e., income), you should avoid giving them a share of the copyright (i.e., ownership) in your work. Flat-fee buyouts in the range of $500-$1,500 are common, especially for choral works written for the educational market, although these fees can range from nominal (e.g., $50) to enormous ($5,000).

The process is very similar if you want to use a quotation of a copyrighted musical work. Start by contacting the business affairs department of the music publisher for the work. If you don’t know who the publisher is, you can search on the website of the appropriate performing right organization.

Marc D. Ostrow is a copyright and entertainment lawyer in New York City, as well as a songwriter and composer. Previously, he was the head of the NY office of classical music publisher, Boosey & Hawkes, where he started the jazz division. He also served as a Senior Attorney in BMI’s Legal department. http://www.ostrowesq.com



Article: ‘Songs For Japan’ Set For Top 5 Debut On This Week’s Billboard 200 by Silvio Pietroluongio

“Songs for Japan,” the 38-track album featuring current hits, classic tracks and live performances benefitting Japan earthquake and tsunami relief, has been selling briskly since its exclusive release at the iTunes Store on Friday (Mar. 25) for the modest price of $9.99.

According to industry sources, the set moved approximately 25,000 units on its first day of release and could have shifted close to 75,000 units by the time the chart-tracking week concluded at the close of business Sunday (Mar. 27). That reported sum could land the album within the top five of next week’s Billboard 200. As reported earlier this week, Chris Brown is set to lead the list with “F.A.M.E.,” with industry prognosticators predicting debut week sales in the 250,000-300.000 range.

The last major relief-effort album, “Hope for Haiti,” which featured tracks performed on the “Hope for Haiti Now” telethon, moved 171,000 in no more than two full days upon its Jan. 23, 2010 release, although that album featured newly recorded songs and/or performances and was bolstered by MTV’s live telethon special.

“Songs for Japan” is a joint effort among the four major label groups, Universal Music, Warner Music, Sony Music and EMI Music. Proceeds from the album’s sale will benefit the disaster relief efforts of the Japanese Red Cross Society. A physical version will be released as a 2-CD set on Apr. 4.

The 38 tracks on the compilation consist of 21 Billboard Hot 100 hits, including 16 top 40 entries, nine top 10s and five No. 1s: Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable,” “Love the Way You Lie” by Eminem featuring Rihanna, Katy Perry’s “Firework,” Rihanna’s “Only Girl (in the World)” and a remix of the list’s most recent chart-topper, “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga.

To find out more about how you can help with earthquake and tsunami relief in Japan, go to RedCross.org.



Article: DJ Megatron Shot and Killed in Staten Island by The Editors of Boombox

Radio and TV personality DJ Megatron was killed early Sunday morning (March 27), after an unidentified gunman shot him on the streets of Staten Island, N.Y.

Megatron, born Corey McGriff, was gunned down in the Clifton area of Staten Island. He was pronounced dead on the scene a short time after 2AM, according to the New York Daily News.

McGriff — a former jock on WQHT Hot 97 in New York City and a mixer who made his mark on BET’s ’106 & Park’ — was not known to have enemies. His death comes as a shock to those who were his friends. “Everybody is shocked,” revealed a close friend who asked not be identified. “He just had a new baby. He wasn’t feuding with anybody. Everybody liked him.”

Police did not immediately confirm McGriff’s identity. Currently, no eyewitnesses to the murder have come forward or been located, says a police source.

McGriff is survived by three children and leaves a wife behind.



Industry Tips and Advice: ‘CYA – How To Protect Against A Lawsuit When Using Social Media’ with Stephen Zralek Esq.

Legal issues are often the last thing people think of when using Twitter, Facebook or blogging. They say that ignorance is bliss, but ignorance of the law is never an excuse in court. This video explores issues that every social media user needs to know to help protect against a lawsuit, ranging from copyrights and trademarks (copying others’ content, photos or logos) to fair use, privacy & terms of use, along with questions from the audience.

Named “Best of the Bar” by his fellow Nashville lawyers, Stephen is a partner at Bone McAllester Norton PLLC. He helps clients resolve disputes over their creativity and intellectual property: copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, rights to publicity and counterfeit goods. His clients range from individuals (celebrities and regular folk) and businesses ranging from small entrepreneurs to big companies. His cases cover everything from music, film, furniture and software to shapes of water bottles, knock-off hardware and beauty supplies, and canine dental chews. He is co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Copyright Litigation Committee. Stephen is active in the community, and a co-founder of WaterCooler (a monthly networking group for young entrepreneurs).




Article: ‘We Will Rock You’ Is Top Sports Song Again, But NHL and MLB Teams Differ by BMI

“We Will Rock You” again is the most-played BMI song at NFL games, but professional baseball and hockey teams have different favorites. NHL teams play “Twilight Zone” more often, while MLB teams like “Car Wash.”

Songs at NFL, NHL, and MLB events are tracked each year for BMI’s 475,000 songwriters, composers and publishers. As the global leader in rights management, BMI processed more than 92 billion music performances during 2010.

The new list of Top 10 sports anthems includes many recent titles. These include “Boom Boom Pow,” “Run This Town,” “Fire Burning,” “Let It Rock,” “Burn It To The Ground” and “Turn My Swag On,” all of which were released within the last couple of years. Two performers with songs among the Top 10, the and , were tapped for live performances in Super Bowl XLV.

The overall Top 10 songs at sports events for the 2009-2010 season are as follows:

  1. “We Will Rock You” by Brian May, performed by Queen
  2. “Let It Rock” by Dwayne Carter and , performed by Kevin Rudolf, featuring .
  3. “Burn It To The Ground” by Chad Kroeger, Mike Kroeger, and Joey Moi, performed by .
  4. “Boom Boom Pow” by , apl.de.ap, Taboo and Fergie, performed by the Black Eyed Peas.
  5. “Car Wash” by , performed by Christina Aguilera with Missy Elliott.
  6. “Fire Burning” by Paul Anderson,  Hajji and Nadir Khyat, performed by Sean Kingston.
  7. “Song 2” by , Graham Coxon, Alex James and Dave Rowntree, performed by Blur.
  8. “Turn My Swag On” written by Kelvin McConnell, Antonio Randolph and Deandre Way, performed by Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em,
  9. “Run This Town” written by Athansios Alatas, Jeffrey Bhasker, Jay-Z, Rihanna,  and Ernest Wilson, performed by Jay-Z, featuring  and Kanye West.
  10. “Machinehead” written by Gavin Rossdale, performed by Bush




In all the doom and gloom discussion of declining CD album sales, the upside has been completely missed. The majority of music now being created, distributed, shared, bought and discovered is happening outside the traditional music industry. Even better, more revenue is being made by artists and business via the fame of musicians than ever before. A band “breaking” is no longer singularly based on the Herculean task of selling albums.

This was not always the case. In 1991, the Neilsen-owned Soundscan launched and shook up the music industry by electronically tracking and reporting weekly albums sales based on information reported to it from music retail stores across the country.

The once a week Soundscan sales reports measured what bands were “breaking” by reporting how an album sold the previous week. These reports were so accurate in reflecting who was popular that labels, managers and artists used the data to leverage MTV, commercial radio, retail stores and to justify additional marketing. Alternatively, they would use this information to determine that a record, and by extension the artist, was “dead.”

Article: Nalip Spots You on Documentry 411 By: Darren Eath

Three years to the day I lost Grandma Carmen & 53 years to the Day Elizabeth Taylor escaped DEATH, we lose her, Queen Taylor an ICON of Humanity, Entertainment & Advocacy – RIP.

On the eve of March 22nd, I was privileged enough to attend The NALIP “Spotlight on Documentaries Conference.” I welcomed the night as an NYC actor/writer & aspiring film producer. In appreciation of being invited to a very informative and poignant conference, I will expound on how NALIP dedicates to empowering and supporting independent FILM PRODUCERS. In attendance were producers and key members of the TV, film and media industry. Too many channels & networks to name and to add the venue, CULTURE FIX (9 Clinton Street, ask for Ari, Daniel or Coles) was proportioned and prepared to satisfy the Film industry in addition to their regular guests. Not a single impolite or crass soul in sight.

The highlight was solely on today’s most prominent and abundantly sought after film style, The Documentary. Each element which comprised the event worked so well that to call the night a drag or even a disappointment would be a sin against the act and art of what NALIP sets out to conduct. If I were to call a spade out it would have been the audio but then again the attendees were so attentive and compelled by what the panelists had to share that using a PA system was an add on.

The night treated me to listen to five panelists and one featured guest, thus enabling me to understand and reaffirm why I’ve transitioned to the world of films. Starting off with William Caballero, an amazingly talented and well rounded prodigy of film making. Caballero was the recipient of the BILL GATES MILLENNIUM SCHOLARSHIP. His first documentary, AMERICAN DREAMS DEFERRED premiered at the NY Int’l Latino Film Festival and he’s been twice nominated for MTV Movie Awards. His upcoming documentary film: SPEAK! So The World Will Listen: UGANDA, is complete and ready to premier. He was the opening theme of the night.

What followed next was the main course of Documentary films “Who’s Who & Guess Who” formed and informative. From important figures of major network programmers, acquisitions and distribution, in addition to producers of 2010′s most riveting, entertaining and eye-opening films such as, SINS OF MY FATHER (a look at the Life of Pablo Escobar’s Son, after the death of his father) up to ESPIRITU DE LA SALSA (an entertaining depiction of Salsa dancers in the Tri-state area which is portrayed by an extremely colorful cast).

Each speaker was as impressive as the other and each was ready to assist their fellow panelists in elaborating on the WHO, HOW, WHY and most importantly WHEN a film is ready to be PITCHED. The audience embraced their messages, OSCAR & EMMY winners and nominees alike respectfully drew on the challenges, blessings and mishaps of creating a winning and compelling film. The Moderator carried each topic and perfectly delivered a focused and descriptive look at the World of producing Documentaries.

The most significant descriptions I heard last night related to producing a documentary were: HONEST, RESPONSIBLE, RELIABLE and the list included PATIENCE and EDUCATED. Although many were trying to decipher The Divinci Code of “Financing and Pitch-it Time Frames”, the statement which follows best describes the formula:

There is no such thing as a “Documentary Industry”. Don’t believe your documentary is “THE ONE” everyone will be after or looking forward to watching but film it as such. Be patient as well as open-minded. It is imperative to understand that the core expressions of the film can and most likely will be changed and most of all be prepared to pitch your concept in 3mins or less because you never know who will be by your side during events such as film festivals, airports, elevators and future NALIP conferences…

Coming from the music and entertainment world, Nalip’s conference was a refreshing atmosphere, every single person was welcoming and engaging, I saw no egos & the flow of creativity was free, just as was the event. This goes to show that the Best Things in LIFe are still FREE!

Roman Suarez, Breaking Records 1 Hit@A-Time

Follow @DarrenEath or Google DARREN EATH

Industry Tips and Advice: Live Webcast of “Songwriters: The Next Generation” by ASCAP

“Songwriters: The Next Generation”

Live Webcast – March 24 & 25, 2011 from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. (EDT)

“Songwriters: The Next Generation,” a program of The ASCAP Foundation and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, will showcase the work of four emerging songwriters and composers in a free concert on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage on Thursday, March 24 and Friday, March 25, 2011 at 6 p.m. Each show will be streamed live beginning at 6:00 p.m.

Each evening’s hour-long program, designed to spotlight the talent of young songwriters and composers, will be hosted by ASCAP members and two-time GRAMMY Award winners, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer.

To view the live streamed performances and the Q&A with the artists go to http://www.kennedy-center.org at 6:00 p.m. and scroll down to Millennium Stage on the right hand side. Click on: “Tonight’s Free Performance.”

The performances will also be archived on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage site for future viewing.

“Songwriters: The Next Generation,” presented by The ASCAP Foundation and made possible by the Bart Howard Estate, is part of the Kennedy Center’s free, daily performance series.

The Performance Schedule is as follows:

Thursday, March 24th – 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Sonia Szajnberg and the Sonia Szajnberg Band
Zaccai Curtis and The Curtis Brothers Quartet

Friday, March 25th – 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Katie Costello with Dave Eggar
Dan Mackenzie and his Band

Industry Tips and Advice: You Ask, We Answer: What Exactly Is A 360 Deal? by Tom Cole

Time again to answer your questions about the music industry. So far we’ve tackled why physical recordings are the size they are; why songs fade; and what a hook is, among other topics.

Our question today comes from Wes Davenport, who asks:

I would like a story on 360 deals in the music industry. From what I understand, these deals take over duties involving merchandise, concert booking, and other aspects of the business to increase profits and ease the load on the musician … These deals are controversial among the musicians I’ve spoken with. Some of them like being freed up to create music. Many, however, see it as a ploy to grab more money from the artist. I can see how this is controversial, particularly since the internet provides outlets to substitute for a label’s services.
Wes has the basics, though Danny Goldberg, President of Gold Village Entertainment — which represents artists — is quick to say, “a 360 deal is not something that has a precise definition. But in general, what it means is usually a deal with a record company in which the record company also participates in the income of all of the other aspects of the artist’s work, such as songwriting and merchandise, in addition to making money off the records.”

Hence the term, “360 deal.” But even that is a bit of a misnomer, according to Glenn Peoples, Senior Editorial Analyst for Billboard magazine.

“Most deals are about 270, maximum, not 360 degrees,” he says. “In theory a 360 deal encompasses all revenue that an artist brings in, and hence the name, ’360 degrees.’ I’m going back and forth between ’360′ and ‘multi-rights.’ Usually in my writing I call it ‘multi-rights.’”

The first 360 or multi-rights deals that gained wide attention were not between artists and record labels but between performers and the giant concert promoter Live Nation. Madonna signed a 360 deal with Live Nation in 2007 that landed the performer a reported $120 million over 10 years and gave Live Nation a share of her touring revenue — but no money from recorded music. The following year, Jay-Z signed a deal with the concert promoter worth roughly $150 million over ten years.

Peoples describes how these kinds of deals work:

“If Live Nation is your promoter — and when you have this deal they’re the exclusive promoter — you’re gonna be making money on touring and Live Nation as a promoter is gonna take their cut. So in a multi-rights deal that wouldn’t change. Once you bring in merchandise, that adds another element to it. And Live Nation wants to add merchandise to it — that it can sell at its venues and through its websites, and it can leverage the relationships it has with its concert goers and ticket buyers. Originally Live Nation did want to get into recorded music also. And they briefly formed a record label, Live Nation Music, and actually signed Zac Brown Band. They promoted the first single, and then dropped the label and Zac went to Atlantic.”

Peoples says Jay-Z’s deal with Live Nation was different: it created a joint venture for the performer to run some of his businesses through Roc Nation and Live Nation. “These are superstars,” Peoples says, ” and these are very different deals than the baby bands are signing with record labels.”

A multi-rights deal can include merchandise sold at concerts, band web sites and brick-and-mortar retail outlets as well as revenue from touring, sponsorships and even fan sites — all of the ancillary revenue streams that an artist generates.

“So merchandise is a bigger part of a record label’s pie,” Peoples continues, “and as it becomes a bigger part, they’re taking revenue from artists. So, it’s been called a land grab, which is not totally accurate, but it does I think reflect the impact that a record label has on an artist’s career.”

As an example, he cites the most recent figures from Warner Music Group. In an earnings statement this month, Warner reported that non-traditional income accounted for 13% of revenue in its most recent quarter and 10% for the full year.

“Non-traditional revenue is the kind of stuff in multi-rights deals,” says Peoples: “10% isn’t much, but it’s a big improvement from nothing — which is where non-trad revenue was just a few years ago.”

Danny Goldberg’s Gold Village Entertainment represents 15 artists, including The Hives, Teddy Thompson, School of Seven Bells and Steve Earle. Goldberg says it wouldn’t make sense for 14 of them to sign a 360 deal.

“But one of them, a band called Care Bears On Fire, it did make a lot of sense for them to do a deal like that with S-Curve Records. They were brand new artists; they were still in high school; the amount of investment required to give them a chance was very risky because they didn’t have an existing fan base. For someone [S-Curve Records] to take a six-figure risk in that one instance, it made sense. I don’t think it’s a theological issue with an absolute right or wrong about it. It depends with the artist and the label. Most of the people I represent, it doesn’t make any sense, because they already make enough money live.”

Goldberg says the label kicked in “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to make a Care Bears on Fire record and subsidize touring and marketing. And he points out that the label has no guarantee the band will earn enough of an audience to generate enough income to recoup the investment.

For labels, multi-rights deals are, in large part, a reflection of a music industry that’s seen record sales plummet over the past decade. Peoples says a label’s investment in an artist with a 360 deal now comes back in a number of ways.

“Part record sales, part merch sales, part touring, part music publishing, part everything else. In the past, music sales were enough to merit that investment. So if sales were still fantastic, like they were ten or eleven years ago, the impetus would not have been there to go into these multi-rights deals.”

There have been plenty of criticisms that the labels are just trying to grab whatever income they can wherever they can to make up for lousy record sales. And the label’s involvement with a band can vary. Peoples describes what he calls “active” and “passive” deals:

“In a multi-rights deal, the label could just take the money even though they’re not providing any value for that revenue stream, and that would be a passive deal. And a more active deal is one where the music company owns a promoter or a merchandise company and is actually actively working the rights for those artists and taking a cut.”

All of the majors now have merchandise divisions, says Peoples. And they’ve always had music publishing arms, which control the rights to the songs themselves. But even those divisions are diversifying.

“Sony/ATV Music Publishing, for example, sells shirts at Zazzle.com that have their song lyrics on their shirts,” Peoples says. “They’ve also done similar things at retail with their song lyrics which, along with the composition, are part of the rights of the music publisher. So they’re getting very creative.”

But back to the question of what’s in it for the artists. Goldberg points out that record sales are half what they were a decade ago yet records are still the vehicles through which most artists market and promote their careers.

“They need to incentivize someone to do the marketing. Depending on where they are in the world as far as their sales base, do they have money or do they need money? Sometimes it makes sense to incentivize a company to spend money by giving them [the company] a participation in other income streams. Records alone don’t have the value they used to have, but the marketing still costs approximately what it used to cost.”

And Goldberg says multi-rights deals work better for different kinds of music than others.

“For a certain kind of artist, say someone who wants to be the next Justin Timberlake, the majors still have a unique value. For a rock band, for someone who wants to be the next REM, they don’t. And that’s why you see an artist like Arcade Fire — it has the number one album on Merge Records and sells out two nights at Madison Square Garden.”

The power of alternative media, touring and the Internet work to a smaller rock band’s advantage, says Goldberg, but the labels still have the advantage in country music and overseas. But in the U.S., multi-rights deals are standard now, says Peoples.

“So newer bands are definitely giving up a piece of a lot of different revenue streams. I think just like old record contracts, some of them work well and you sell a lot of records, or they don’t work well and it goes bust. When you’re successful everybody’s happy.”

We hope that answers your question, Wes — probably more than you wanted to know.



Industry Tips and Advice: MUSICIAN HEALTHCARE


When you purchase a health insurance policy on your own – for yourself or your family – you’re buying what’s known as Individual and Family health insurance. Many people turn to Individual and Family coverage because they have no employer sponsored options, they are self-employed, or their employer-sponsored options are getting too expensive. There are a number of major life events – unemployment, starting a business, early retirement, college graduation – that may require consumers to purchase health insurance on their own. Some buy coverage for themselves only, others for their whole families. How do you know what kind of Individual and Family plan is best for your needs? The purpose of this Health Insurance Survival Guide is to address this and other questions. In the following pages, we’ll lead you through a five-step process to help familiarize you with Individual and Family health insurance and help you make an informed purchasing decision.

Industry Tips and Advice: Music Publishing 101

Music Publishing 101
© 2003 Danica L. Mathes & Jeffrey L. Michelman www.EntertainerLaw.com

Publishing can be lucrative for musicians who write their own songs. Such artists own the copyright in the lyrics and music they write and publishing money (a.k.a. royalties) can be earned by the copyright owner of the songs. [Note: Publishing does not come from the copyright ownership in a sound recording, just copyright ownership in lyrics and music.]

The copyright owner of a song is entitled to certain exclusive rights in the song under the U.S. Copyright Act. Therefore, only the copyright owner of a song can use the song unless someone pays him to use it. When a copyright owner allows someone else to use his music, the owner is really granting a license in the copyright. A license is a legal agreement between two or more parties that allows one party to use something that another party owns, but does not transfer ownership from one party to the other. The money from these licenses is called publishing.

Publishers – Before we talk about the sources of publishing income, we should probably discuss
publishers. It can be very difficult to keep track of how much money you may be owed from your
publishing, and many songwriters hire a publisher for this very reason. A publisher’s job is to find users for your music, issue licenses to such users, collect all of your publishing money, and pay you…also known as “administering” your copyrights. They will also have a better idea of the going rate for the various licenses you will want to grant (for example, how much would you charge for someone to use your song in a commercial?). The standard (although not only) arrangement for most publishers is to keep half of your publishing money as the fee for their services. When a songwriter signs a publishing agreement, the writer will actually sign over (assign) the copyright to the publishing company in exchange for half of the publishing revenues generated. The reason for this is because the Copyright Act requires the copyright owner to sue to enforce a copyright, so you pay the publisher to enforce your copyrights.

While most record contracts will attempt to have songwriters give their publishing to the label’s
publishing company, you may want to avoid this. If you decide to sign a publishing agreement, make sure it is with a reputable company, as a good publisher will make you money. You can also administer your own publishing and set up your own publishing company for your songs.

Public Performance Royalties – The copyright owner of a song has the exclusive right to perform his song in public. Therefore, no one can play your song in public (such as in clubs, at live concerts, on the radio, and on television) unless you give them permission to do so and they pay you. Performing rights societies such as ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated) and SESAC are responsible for issuing licenses to and collecting money from people who want to play your music. For example, every time your music is played on the radio, you are entitled to performance license money which ASCAP, BMI or SESAC collects for you if you belong to their organization. These organizations are involved only in the public performance aspect of the publishing industry are not traditional music publishers.

Mechanical Rights – To use a copyrighted work, one must usually obtain a license that is negotiated with the copyright owner. The Copyright Act provides for six major exceptions to the copyright monopoly that are known as compulsory licenses. These exceptions require the copyright owner to issue a license to someone else whether the owner wants to or not. The six exceptions relate to cable TV rebroadcast, PBS, jukeboxes, digital performance and distribution or records, and phonorecords of non-dramatic musical compositions.

The Copyright Act provides that once a song has been recorded and publicly distributed, a Compulsory Mechanical License is available to anyone else who wants to record and distribute the work in the U.S. upon the payment of licenses fees at the statutory “compulsory” rate set forth in the Act (the current © 2003 Danica L. Mathes & Jeffrey L. Michelman www.EntertainerLaw.com
statutory rate is about 8¢ per song). A mechanical license is the license issued by a publisher to a licensee (typically a record company or someone recording a cover song for their independent release) granting the licensee the right to record and release a specific composition at an agreed-upon fee, per unit manufactured and distributed. Mechanical licenses are available for audio-only recordings only if: (1) the song is a non-dramatic musical work, (2) that has been previously recorded, (3) the recording has been distributed publicly in phonorecords, and (4) the use of the recording will be in phonorecords only. Mechanical licenses do not apply to dramatic works, such as operas, film soundtracks, ballet scores and Broadway medleys. If these requirements are met, the mechanical license must be granted under the statute. Mechanical licenses can be obtained through the Harry Fox Agency (www.harryfox.com), which represents most U.S. publishers. Mechanical licenses can also be negotiated directly with the publisher or copyright owner.

Digital Rights – Digital licensing is the licensing of copyrighted musical compositions in digital
configurations, including but not limited to, full downloads, limited-use downloads, on-demand streaming and CD burning. The Harry Fox Agency and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) recently reached an agreement that recognized the need to obtain mechanical licenses for digital music distribution. Significantly, this agreement provides a framework for the licensing of Internet-based music subscription services. To obtain a digital license, contact the Harry Fox Agency, the publisher or the copyright owner.

Print Rights – While public performance and mechanical royalties are the major sources of publishing revenue, printed music can be lucrative as well. A songwriter receives publishing money from a print license any time sheet music of his song or a folio of a collection of his songs is sold. Money from print licenses are usually a few cents per copy printed. For example, the sheet music for “Send in the Clowns” has probably made Stephen Sondheim a lot of money from print licenses.

Synchronization Rights – A synchronization license (known in the industry as a “synch” license – ‘cause that sounds much cooler) is required any time a song accompanies a visual image. Motion picture and television companies and advertising agencies pay for the right to use songs in their movie soundtrack, show or commercial. The amount of money for a synch license varies widely. Record companies usually demand a free license to use a song in a video while a feature song for a movie soundtrack from an established artist can exceed $100,000. Each license will generate a different fee, as there is no set rate in the Copyright Act for synch licenses. To obtain a synch license, contact the publisher or copyright owner. Publisher information can be obtained from ASCAP, BMI, SESAC or the U.S. Copyright Office.

Sampling – Sampling occurs when a portion of a prior recording is incorporated into a new composition. When a song is sampled without permission, copyright infringement of both the sound recording (usually owned by the record company) and the song (usually owned by the songwriter or publishing company) has occurred. In order to legally use a sample, you will need to contact both the owner of the sound recording and the copyright owner of the underlying musical work for permission. License fees for sampling vary greatly and depends on how much of the sample you intend to use, the music you intend to sample, and the intended use of the sample in your song. Licenses can be granted for free, for a percentage of the mechanical royalties (i.e., a couple cents for each record pressed), or for a flat fee. As there are no statutory rates for samples, the copyright owner can charge whatever he wants and does not have to let you use his work at all. Using samples without permission can lead to you paying statutory damages to the copyright owner from $500-$100,000 per infringement, and a court can even make you to
recall and destroy all of your infringing albums. Do not rely on the “fair use” doctrine or the myth that you can use a certain number of seconds of someone’s song without penalty. Get permission.

Foreign Rights – Domestic publishers usually enter into foreign licensing or sub-publishing agreements with music publishers that operate outside of the U.S., although U.S. publishers often obtain Canadian rights when they obtain U.S. rights. Unlike in the U.S., most foreign territories have government-owned publishing organizations that collect and administer publishing.



Industry Tips and Advice: An Overview of Musician Royalty Streams by David Rose

Like almost everything else in the music business, it seems the ways artists earn royalties and actually get paid is confusing and a bit of a mystery. Below is an overview of how the typical royalty streams for musicians are earned, collected and paid in the music business.

Before we get into the specifics of royalties it’s important to understand the difference between a songwriter and a recording artist since royalties for each are often times different.

A Songwriter is typically the person (or people) who write a song’s lyrics and melody. A catchy guitar rift doesn’t entitle the guitar player to any songwriter royalties unless that person is also credited with contributing lyrics or melody to the song. Ultimately, the people who receive songwriter royalties are the ones that are listed as a songwriter when the song is registered with the US Copyright Office. The majority of royalties in the music business are paid to songwriters. It’s much more viable for a songwriter to build a long-term career in music than it is for a drummer who doesn’t write lyrics or melodies.

The Recording Artist is the entity collectively considered “The Band”. This usually includes all members of the band. For example, all the members a band like The Arcade Fire would be considered the “recording artist” for royalty calculations purposes. Recording artist can also mean a solo artist. Even though an artist like Pete Yorn is backed by session musicians in the studio during a recording session, the session players are not usually entitled to recording artist royalties. In this example, Pete Yorn would be considered the “recording artist” for royalty calculations.

Now, let’s take a look at the different types of music business royalties.

Royalties from Sales – Royalties from sales are royalties paid by the record company to the recording artist based on sales from their music. These royalties are typically based on a percentage of sales, 10% for example. The calculations used for determining royalties from sales can be quite complex and are a negotiated as part of the artist’s overall recording contract with the record company.

Payments of royalties from sales to the recording artists do not start until the record company has recouped all the expenses they incurred for making, promoting and marketing the record. Recoupable expenses can include the costs of recording, producing, mastering, manufacturing, promoting and marketing the record, tour support, video production and any other related expenses the label includes as part of the recording contract.

It is quite common for a recording artist to never receive royalties from sales (unless, of course, their record is a huge hit) due to the way royalties from sales are structured and the high costs for the record label of getting a new record to market.

Mechanical Royalties – Mechanical Royalties are paid to the songwriter by the record company for the right to reproduce songs for public distribution. Mechanical royalties are paid on a per song basis for physical sales (CD’s, Albums) and permanent digital downloads (iTunes). Mechanical royalties are determined by multiplying the mechanical rate by the number of tracks on each record or CD that is sold. As of January 1, 2006 the statutory rate is 9.10 cents for a composition five minutes or less in length. For example, a record with 12 tracks on it that sells 50,000 copies would generate $54,600.00 in mechanical royalties (12 tracks X $.0910 X 50,000 sold copies) that the record company would have pay to the songwriter.

An agreement was reached for limited download and interactive streaming services to pay a mechanical royalty of 10.5 percent of their revenue, less any amounts owed for performance royalties. It is currently unclear how the calculation for paying songwriters from these revenues will be calculated.

Mechanical royalty payments are typically not reliant on the record label recouping their expenses from recording, producing or marketing the record like royalties from sales.

Public Performance Royalties – Public performance royalties are paid to songwriters for use of their songs by radio stations, restaurants, bars, TV / cable networks, retailers, online services or any other establishment that plays / streams licensed music heard by the general public. These royalties are collected and distributed in the US by the major performing rights organizations, ASCAP, BMI or SESAC. Public performance royalties are calculated using several variables and not on a per play basis. Songwriters should register their works online with one of the performing rights organizations in order to receive royalties for their work. However, it’s common for songwriters to not receive any public performance royalties until their song is publicly performed heavily.

Digital Performance Royalties – Digital Performance Royalties are paid to recording artists and copyright holders (usually the record label if there is one involved) when their sound recordings are performed on digital cable and satellite television, music, internet and satellite radio providers. SoundExchange collects and distributes digital performance royalties on a pay per play basis. Recording artists and copyright holders should register their work online with SoundExchange to receive royalties for their work.

Synchronization Royalties – Synchronization Royalties must be paid for a song to be used or “synchronized” with a movie, TV show, commercial or video. Synchronization royalties are usually paid in two parts. First, the copyright holder (usually the record label if there is one involved) is paid a fee for use of the song. Second, since the song will be publicly performed as part of a movie, TV show, commercial or video a public performance royalty must be paid to the songwriter through their performance royalty organization of record. Fees for synchronization range widely and are usually negotiated with the producer of the movie or TV show.

Print Music Royalties – Print Music royalties are paid to songwriters based on sales of printed sheet music. Royalties are typically 10% of the retail price of the sheet music.

Please keep in mind that royalty calculations can be very complex and for the sake of brevity this is only a broad brush overview of how royalties are generally structured without getting into the nuances of copyrights or music publishing.



Article: The MP3: A History Of Innovation And Betrayal by Jacob Ganz and Joel Rose

“I don’t like the title ‘The Father of MP3,’” says Karlheinz Brandenburg. But he kinda is. “Certainly I was involved all the time from basic research [to] getting it into the market.”

Brandenburg was part of the group that gave the MP3 its name. The Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) lent its name to the process of digital encoding by which audio and video is compressed into a file small enough to be transferred easily. That process — MPEG Audio Layer III — and the resulting file — the MP3 — is ubiquitous today. But the development wasn’t simple, and its outcome wasn’t inevitable

“He gave away our business model. We were completely not amused.”
- Karlheinz Brandenburg

The story of the MP3 is the story of how intellectual property became the commodity over which the Internet’s greatest wars would be fought, and also how the work that goes into innovating can be forgotten in the face of a technology’s rapid spread. Google “history of the MP3″ today, and you’ll find two options, neither satisfying: brief timelines that privilege the user experience over the process of invention and relentlessly technical, acronym-studded descriptions of the differences between various algorithms.

Today, Brandenburg is a professor at Ilmenau Technical University at the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology – the same organization that funded his efforts as part of the MPEG. Joel Rose spoke with him about the story of the MP3, and we jumped at the opportunity to get the professor to walk us through the history of the format. As he told Joel, that story begins almost three decades ago and ends in 1999, at the dawn of the file-sharing network.

1982: Brandenburg’s involvement in the process begins with a challenge: his PhD thesis advisor wants to patent a process of transferring data that, at the time, is considered impossible. So he asks Brandenburg for help.

“My thesis advisor for my PhD work thought of what to do with digital phone lines and composed and submitted a patent application that ISDN digital phone lines should be used to transmit music and the patent examiner told him, ‘This is impossible, we can’t patent impossible things.’”
1986: Real progress only arrived as technology advanced.

“I always say the real progress started in 1986. We had better computers, better probabilities to experiment with music on the computers — in fact it was in early ’86 that at some I point I had the idea to do things in a different way from others in the field had done and, in fact, that idea went into the first patent in 1986, and still can be found in MP3 and ISDN.”
The process still took quite a bit of time to perfect. “It’s not that easy [to explain],” says Brandenburg. Here comes the technical bit: Early encoding processes were designed to filter a signal into layers of sound which could each be saved or discarded depending on relative significance. But the system was “very structured and inflexible.” So a new system was proposed that would exploit the limitations of human hearing.

“Others had the idea that we really should use psycho-acoustic use and knowledge about what we hear, what we don’t hear — so-called “masking,” that sometimes we hear something, sometimes it’s masked by other sounds. With this system I gained, on the one hand, efficiency — being able to reduce bitrates for the music, the compressed music — on the other hand, I got the flexibility to adapt better to the properties of the human auditory system.”
1988: An international team is convened after the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) calls for standards in audio encoding. That team was called the Moving Picture Experts Group, abbreviated MPEG. Brandenburg credits a colleague, Leonardo Chiariglione, with “the vision that such standards could be useful.”

“In a standards group, people have to get consensus on a good idea for a system. … That was the original starting point for work of MPEGs. And at that time, everybody working on the subject around the world thought, ‘Okay, that’s our chance, let’s contribute to the standard.’

“The idea of Leonardo Chiariglione and other people was originally to bring video to CD-Rom. That was the first application — but the list of applications at that time already listed everything else we now use compressed video and audio for … So we had the audio subgroup within the motion pictures group … In the end we all together had a compromise worked out which had different modes, so-called Layer I, Layer II, Layer III … And most of our ideas went into the modes of compression in MPEG audio … which was the most complex one and the one giving best quality at low bitrates — that was called Layer III.”
MPEG Audio Layer III hits a snag.

“In 1988 when I thought, ‘OK, that’s near perfect, what we’ve done,’ I heard about this song and then heard it myself — it’s the acapella version [of Suzanne Vega's 'Tom's Diner']. The CD is Solitude Standing. The way it’s recorded — with Suzanne Vega in the middle and little bit of ambience and no other instruments — is really a worst case for the system as we had it in 1988. Everything else sounded quite OK, and Suzanne Vega’s voice was destroyed.”
More collaboration followed. Brandenburg worked with Jim Johnston of AT&T on different psycho-acoustic models and data coding, to try and fix the encoding system and save Vega’s voice.

“Finally [we] perfected the system and then Suzanne Vega’s voice was easy, but it gave us quite some work to have her voice in full fidelity … I think over time I have listened to the song 500 or 1,000 times. In fact, I still like it. That was the good part about it … Interesting thing, later on I met Suzanne Vega and I heard her singing this song in a live performance. It was really astonishing — [it] was exactly like on the CD. It was a like a curtain opening because I knew all the little details in how she sings it, and she still does it the same way.”
1992: MP3 is a reality. The ISO includes it as one of a number of possibilities for encoding audio. But for some time, Brandenburg says, it didn’t catch on.

“In the early days most people, especially people at the big consumer electronics companies, thought that Layer II is a good compromise. Layer III is too complicated to be of real use. So the first run of applications went to the Layer II camp.”
1993 – 1994: The system is in place. Where are the users?

“We had to look for different ways to market our technology. We had first companies like Telos Systems in Cleveland, Ohio … they were the first to use … Layer III to send audio over ISDN from some off-site recording site to the studio. So in some sense it was the original idea of sending music over phone lines.

“In 1994, we had some internal strategy meeting in Erlangen, and we discussed what to do and somebody said, ‘We have a window of opportunity to let MPEG Layer III become the internet audio standard,’ but I don’t think we had an idea of what that really meant.”
1995: The MP3′s birthday.

“We had a time in 1994 – 1995 where we really identified the Internet as a big application area for Layer III. We needed a file extension, so we have some birthday — on 14th of July in ’95 — we decided in Erlangen to use the file extension “dot m-p-3″ for all our software encoding or decoding: .MP3. It really has a birthday in July.”
To answer your question: Yes. In 2005, there was a birthday party for the MP3.

“[After] 10 years, we did a party, yes. Not every year, but from time to time. We still have the internal e-mail around where we announced the file extension internally at Fraunhofer.”
The Internet emerges as the MP3′s true home, and the source of what Fraunhofer hoped would be a workable business model. Here’s how that business model would work: encoding tools – to be used by large companies – would be expensive. But decoding tools – which would take the encoded digital files made using the MPEG Audio Layer III process and turn them back into audio that people could hear – would be available cheaply.

“Winamp was one of the early software which got widely distributed. The knowledge how to do MP3 decoding was out there in the open. We helped people to get that knowledge. There were still patent rights; we early on decided for a business model where we wouldn’t go after freeware authors. The people doing Winamp at some point paid a patent fee.”
1997: As MPEG’s encoding system got out into the world, it began to spark the imagination of users who definitely weren’t thinking of Fraunhofer’s bottom line. Before its second birthday, the MP3 was setting fires that its creators couldn’t put out. The story of how the technology was hijacked and adapted for widespread consumers contains not only the roots of the war that the music industry would later wage over the tiny, compressed, user-friendly files, but also echoes of some of the very ideas that war was fought over: intellectual property, copyright, technology, theft, control and the free distribution of ideas and products that had taken years to realize.

“There were more and more people using this technology to store music on their hard discs. The idea was [originally] that encoders would be much more expensive. … In, I think it was ’97, some Australian student bought professional grade — from our point of view — encoding software for MP3 from a small company in Germany. He paid with a stolen credit card number from Taiwan. He looked at the software, found that we had used some Microsoft internal application programming interface … racked everything up into an archive and wired some Swedish side, [and] put that to a U.S. university FTP site together with a read-me file saying, ‘This is freeware thanks to Fraunhofer.’

“He gave away our business model. We were completely not amused. We tried to hunt him down. We told everybody, ‘This is stolen software so don’t distribute it,’ but still the business model to have expensive encoders and cheap decoders [was] done. From that time on, we reduced the cost for encoders. There was a company, Music Match, which allowed people early on to take a CD’s music, read it into the computer and then have their own music jukebox on that. And they were legal, they paid for the patent fees so that was fine.

“When we found out that people used our technology to do unauthorized distribution of music over the Net — that was not our intention, very clearly. I have to say, I don’t say that everything the music industry does is correct or good, but still I think we should have respect for the work of the artists and everybody involved and it’s only fair that they get paid for it.

“It was in ’97 when I got the impression that the avalanche was rolling and no one could stop it anymore. But even then I still sometimes have the feeling like is this all a dream or is it real, so it’s clearly beyond the dreams of earlier times.”
For the music industry, it would be a nightmare, but one of those nightmares where – when it starts — you have no idea how bad things are going to get.

“We tried to tell the people from music industry early on, and we tried to discuss possibilities how to react to this … The idea was that the music industry wouldn’t just be able to go on, they would have to adapt to the situation as well, and if we now look back these 15 years we have to say they finally did but it was too slow and some strategic errors in there.”
1999 – 2000: Napster is invented in 1999, and even in its slow early days, allows the transfer of digital files from the hard drive of one user to another, with no regard to geography. Another group was convened in 1999 and 2000 to define methods for “secure, legal distribution of music over the Internet,” Brandenburg says.

“My advice was that they should shoot for a technical standard to get interoperability for all these upcoming services and MP3 players, music players and so on.

“And … that hasn’t changed, very clearly if we don’t reach interoperability for a secured format, then the only surviving format will be format without copy protection and that is what happened in the end.”
In the end, convenience won out.

“That was very clear. We told them usability, convenience is the most important factor.

“At some point in the late ’90s, MP3 was technically the best system out there and at the same time it was accessible to everybody. That made it early technical standard and nowadays the one format which can be played [on] all the devices who play music and that of course means that everyone, media-wise has to support that format as well.

“I think at some point we might get to completely different formats, without compression but that’s still some years out.”

CORRECTION: This article originally identified the researcher Leonardo Chiariglione as Leonardo Scaglioni



Article: How musicians are raising money for Japan relief by Matthew Perpetua

(RollingStone.com) — Musicians and record labels are doing their part to help raise money for relief efforts in Japan following the devastation left in the wake of the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit the island nation on March 11th.

Here’s a list of some planned benefit concerts and projects.

- The Universal Music Group is readying a digital-only benefit album to be released later this week. A tracklisting has not been announced, but U2, Rihanna, Bon Jovi, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj are among the artists expected to donate tracks.

- Lady Gaga has been selling special prayer bracelets on her site with all proceeds going to tsunami relief in Japan.

- Sonic Youth are auctioning off a set of rare posters and sneakers, and will headline a concert on March 27th at Columbia University’s Miller Theater with performances by Yoko Ono, Mike Patton, John Zorn, Sean Lennon and others.

- Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore will also headline a benefit concert featuring a number of avant garde luminaries at the Henry Street Settlement in Manhattan on April 8th.

- Norah Jones will headline a separate event on the same evening for the Henry Street Settlement.

- Beady Eye, Primal Scream, Richard Ashcroft, Paul Weller and Blur’s Graham Coxon will be performing a benefit show together at London’s O2 Academy on April 3rd.

- Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass and Bill Laswell will be performing at a fundraising concert at the Japan Society in Manhattan on April 9th.

- Hanson played an impromptu 12-hour charity event at the SXSW festival on Saturday, and the band is still encouraging fans to donate to the SXSW4Japan fund.

- Yo La Tengo will play a one-off benefit show at Maxwell’s in Hoboken on March 23rd.

- Warp Records, home of Grizzly Bear, Aphex Twin and !!!, are selling a special-edition T-shirt to raise money for Red Cross Japan Tsunami Aid Fund.

- The Mountain Goats are auctioning off an unreleased demo cassette to raise money for Doctors Without Borders relief efforts in Japan.

- Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison will headline a charity gig on March 30th at Stereo in Glasgow, Scotland to raise money for the Red Cross in Japan.



Article: Bryan Adams: ‘I Feel Sad For Young Musicians.’ by Hypebot

Cake’s John McCrea of and Bryan Adams must be friends. Earlier this month, McCrea said that music will be a hobby for most in 5 or 10 years. Adams is now echoing similar thoughts.

“I feel quite sad for the young musicians coming up because they may never get to pay their rent properly…

It doesn’t matter what the genre; nowadays, it’s so much harder than it ever was. You want to get paid for your work and be able to take something home to your family or yourself. I tip my hat to anybody today that can make music and move forward.”

In a recent feature, musician Jason Parker addressed this point:

“Many folks who decry the state of the music industry these days point to some mythical ‘golden age’ when they think it was easier for a working musician to make a living. I don’t believe such an age ever existed. All working artists have had to struggle, hustle, be creative, roll with the punches and piece together a living doing multiple jobs.

In Parker’s view, making a living from music has always involved a bit of struggle, i.e. not quite being able to pay the rent, but he says “that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Rather, all evidence supports the fact that it is entirely possible.”



Article: Study Shows Limewire Demise Cut Music Piracy by Hypebot

A new NPD study shows the percentage of U.S. internet users that used P2P to download music fell from 16% in the fourth quarter of 2007 to just 9% in the Q4 2010 when Limewire ceased its file-sharing operations. The average number of music files downloaded from P2P networks also declined dramatically as well. The stats:

On average, 35 tracks per person were downloaded in Q4 2007; and that fell to just 18 tracks in Q4 2010. (Some users downloaded just one or two tracks, while others took hundreds.) NPD estimates there were 16 million P2P users downloading music in Q4 2010, which is 12 million fewer than in Q4 2007.
The decline was spread over the period and other factors beyond Limewire’s demise contributed, but they were the dominate facotr. According to NPD, Limewire was used by 56% of those using P2P services to download music in Q3 2010, but fell to 32% percent in Q4 2010. Frostwire was used by 10% of those sharing music files in Q3 2010, increasing to 21% in Q4 2010. Bittorrent client u-Torrent increased from 8% to 12% in the same time period.

“Limewire was so popular for music file trading, and for so long, that its closure has had a powerful and immediate effect on the number of people downloading music files from peer-to-peer services and curtailed the amount being swapped,” said Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry analyst for NPD. “In the past, we’ve noted that hard-core peer-to-peer users would quickly move to other Web sites that offered illegal music file sharing. It will be interesting to see if services like Frostwire and Bittorrent take up the slack left by Limewire, or if peer-to-peer music downloaders instead move on to other modes of acquiring or listening to music.”



ARTICLE: Study: Napster Had Zero Impact on New Artists by Hypebot

A new study argues that Napster and its predecessors have not reduced the entrance of new artists to the music market.

Case in point: CD Baby just announced that new title sign-ups doubled in 2010. Piracy has made it harder to make substantial sums from the sales of recorded music, but it has not affected “the quantity of new recorded music or artists coming to market,” argues Joel Waldfogelm, an economist at the University of Minnesota. Read the abstract:

“In the decade since Napster, file-sharing has undermined the protection that copyright affords recorded music, reducing recorded music sales.

What matters for consumers, however, is not sellers’ revenue but the surplus they derive from new music.

The legal monopoly created by copyright is justified by its encouragement of the creation of new works, but there is little evidence on this relationship.

The file-sharing era can be viewed as a large-scale experiment allowing us to check whether events since Napster have stemmed the flow of new works. We assemble a novel dataset on the number of high quality works released annually, since 1960, derived from retrospective critical assessments of music such best-of-the-decade lists. This allows a comparison of the quantity of new albums since Napster to 1) its pre-Napster level, 2) pre-Napster trends, and 3) a possible control, the volume of new songs since the iTunes Music Store’s revitalization of the single.

We find no evidence that changes since Napster have affected the quantity of new recorded music or artists coming to market. We reconcile stable quantities in the face of decreased demand with reduced costs of bringing works to market and a growing role of independent labels.” (.)



ARTICLE: Ja Rule Pleads Guilty To Tax Evasion by Gil Kaufman

Rapper, who is headed to jail on a weapons charge, admitted that he failed to pay taxes on $4 million in income.

Queens rapper Ja Rule pleaded guilty to tax evasion in federal court in New Jersey on Tuesday, admitting that he had failed to pay taxes on more than $4 million in income.

According to the Associated Press, the platinum-selling MC (born Jeffrey Atkins) earned the money between 2004 and 2006 while he lived in an upscale northern New Jersey enclave.

The plea deal included an agreement by prosecutors to dismiss two counts of unpaid taxes on income earned in 2007 and 2008. Rule, 35, will be sentenced on the three remaining tax evasion charges in June and faces up to one year in prison and $100,000 in fines on each count.

Ja Rule pleaded guilty to attempted gun possession in December, stemming from a July 2007 arrest, but his prison sentencing was delayed earlier this month so he could get his finances in order. Lil Wayne, who Ja Rule performed with on that July night at the Cash Money star’s Beacon Theater show, was arrested on the same night and eventually served eight months in prison for the same offense. Rule is now slated to be sentenced on June 8 and has agreed to a two-year prison term in that case.

At the time of the sentencing postponement, Rule’s lawyer said the delay would allow her client to resolve his tax issue and maybe work on his next musical project as well. “We want to finish the album, and there’s also a tax issue,” lawyer Stacey Richman said. “Somebody, an accountant, had filed an incorrect form, and this is to correct what was done in the past.”



ARTICLE: ABC reportedly won’t press charges against the singer after his backstage tantrum at ‘Good Morning America’ studios. by Jocelyn Vena

Chris Brown Will Still Appear On ‘Dancing With The Stars’

Despite Chris Brown’s backstage outburst at the “Good Morning America” studios on Tuesday after host Robin Roberts questioned him about his life following his 2009 assault of Rihanna, the singer still will appear on another ABC show next week.

A network rep confirmed to EW.com that Brown’s scheduled performance on “Dancing With The Stars” next Tuesday will go on as planned. Meanwhile, TMZ reports that ABC has no plans to press charges against the singer over the tantrum.


The incident left many wondering if Brown had violated his probation in some way. E! News reported that plainclothes detectives arrived on the scene shortly after the outburst. TMZ pointed out that if New York prosecutors don’t press charges, then the singer wouldn’t have violated his probation and should avoid any further trouble with the law. MTV News contacted the Los Angeles County Probation Department about the matter, but they said they “were unable to comment.”

Shortly after his reported meltdown, Brown was spotted playing basketball at New York’s West 4th Street Courts. In photos posted online, the singer appeared in good spirits, smiling as he played out in the open. E! News further reported that his post-”GMA” schedule included a stop at the Opera gallery, where he appeared “really happy and in a great mood.”

An release party held in honor of Brown’s F.A.M.E. album at Webster Hall on Tuesday night also went on as scheduled, MTV News confirms from sources. Video posted online shows the embattled singer performing at the event.

A source told People.com that Brown has “been trying to move on from his past and focus on his music, and he’s finally putting out an album. Why can’t we focus on that? He makes great music and he loves his fans. He’s a good kid.”

What are your feelings about the Brown incident? Should he be allowed to perform on “Dancing With the Stars”? Share your opinions in the comments.



Industry Tips and Advice: Fergie, Sara Bareilles, Desmond Child, Jermaine Dupri, Rodney Crowell, Dr. Luke, Kelly Price and others added to ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO Lineup by ASCAP

New York, NY, March 23, 2011: Some of the biggest names in music, including Fergie, Sara Bareilles, Jermaine Dupri, Desmond Child, Rodney Crowell, Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald, and Kelly Price are among the panelists just added to the ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO lineup, it was announced today by ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers). Now in its sixth year, the EXPO brings together a diverse group of songwriters, composers, producers and music industry leaders to participate in a broad range of panels designed to support music creators at every stage of their career. The three-day conference takes place April 28-30, 2011 at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles, CA.

The latest panelist and programming additions include:

•Singer/songwriter Fergie of six-time Grammy Award winning, multi-platinum group The Black Eyed Peas will join a super panel of music creators from across the musical spectrum on the EXPO’s signature “We Create Music” panel to discuss common challenges, rewards and give valuable insights on how to forge a lasting career.
•Singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles will interview music legend Lindsey Buckingham about his incredible career. Prior to the interview, Buckingham will be honored with ASCAP’s Golden Note Award, which is presented to songwriters, composers and artists who have achieved extraordinary career milestones.
•Desmond Child’s Master Class in Songwriting will provide a unique educational opportunity for 60 randomly selected attendees to experience an intensive 75-minute class with the Grammy Award-winning songwriter/producer. During each day of the EXPO, Child will work closely with 20 attendees on the art of songwriting as he explores lyrics, melody, structure and other elements integral to a well-crafted song.
•Songwriter/producer Jermaine Dupri will be interviewed by songwriter Johntà Austin as part of a series of writer and composer-focused Master Sessions. Also confirmed are singer/songwriter Rodney Crowell, songwriter/producer Dr. Luke, composer Ron Jones, songwriter/producer Antonina Armato and composer Eric Whitacre.
•Producer/musician/songwriters and bass players extraordinaire Larry Klein, Marcus Miller and Don Was will discuss how they parlayed their common thread as bassists to go on and craft important works by some of the most memorable artists of the last four decades.
•Songwriter/artist Kelly Price and songwriter Cri$tyle “The Ink” Johnson will participate in the Women Behind the Music panel with songwriter/artist Melanie Fiona and songwriter Andrea Martin. This panel of incredibly gifted women in R&B will share their experiences in navigating the music industry and achieving creative success.
•Ari Levine of production/writing trio The Smeezingtons will join songwriter Josh Kear, songwriter/vocal producer Savan Kotecha and songwriter/producer Dan Wilson (Semisonic) on the Hitmakers panel. They will share their unique insights into what it takes to reach the top of the charts today.
•Producer Boi-1da and producer/engineer Noah “40″ Shebib – longtime collaborators with rapper/singer Drake – have created such hits as “Best I Ever Had,” “Forever,” “Over” and “Fancy.” On the Deconstructing Drake panel, they will share how they work with the artist, breaking down how they take a song from idea to the studio to the top of the charts.
•Performances by a diverse and successful group of songwriters, including Ryan Tedder (of OneRepublic), John Rzeznik (of Goo Goo Dolls), Claudia Brant, The Bird and the Bee (Inara George & Greg Kurstin), Steve Kipner, Rick Nowels, Dan Parsons, Tommy Sims, Jonathan Singleton, Chris Stapleton, Rufus Wainwright and others.
Also added to the EXPO lineup are Sandra Aistars (Copyright Alliance), Richard Blackstone (BMG North America), composer Bruce Broughton, Bryan Calhoun (SoundExchange), Chris Castle, Esq. (Christian L. Castle Attorneys), producer Drumma Boy, songwriter Chris DuBois (Sea Gayle Music), songwriter/producer David Frank, Jody Gerson (Sony/ATV Music Publishing), Gary Gross (Universal Publishing Production Music), Carl Jacobson (Nimbit), Allison Jones (Big Machine Label Group), Sam Kling (peermusic), Daniel Lee (Ten Ten Music Group, Inc.), composer Michael Levine, songwriter Jon Lind (Hollywood Records), Kevin Lyman (4Fini, Inc.), Matthew J. Middleton, Esq. (Simon, Eisenberg & Baum LLP), composer Trevor Morris, songwriter/performer Matt Nathanson, Don Passman, Esq. (Gang, Tyre, Ramer, and Brown, Inc.), Irwin Z. Robinson (Cromwell Music), Greg Sowders (Warner/Chappell Music), Kathy Spanberger (peermusic), songwriter/producer Matt Squire, producer Symbolyc One (S1), Adam Taylor (APM Music), Barbara Vander Linde (Disney Music Publishing) and composer Doug Wood (The Omni Music Library). They will join Marco Beltrami & Wes Craven, Bernie Worrell (of Parliament/Funkadelic and Talking Heads) & Vernon Reid (of Living Color), Van Dyke Parks & Rufus Wainwright, Darrell Brown, Mike Elizondo, No I.D., Kevin Rudolf, The Legendary Traxster, Mike Viola and a host of other music industry experts and talented music creators at what promises to be another must-attend event. For a regularly updated list of panelists, please visit www.ascap.com/expo .

The ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO is the premier conference for songwriters, composers and producers. It covers all genres of music and includes panels, workshops, master classes, keynotes, One-on-One sessions, song critiquing, networking events, product displays, state-of-the-art technology demonstrations, performances, and more. All music creators, producers, publishers and executives – regardless of their performing rights organization affiliation – will benefit from this unique creative event, which is designed around personal interaction, education and networking.

Discount pricing is available through March 31st. For more information, and to register, please visit www.ascap.com/expo.

Members of the press may apply for credentials at www.ascap.com/press/pressroom/expo/.




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