Archive for June, 2011





How To Start an Independent Record Label

Starting an independent record label, like starting any other business, requires a well-conceived plan with clear goals.

To complete this How-To you will need:

A business plan
A name
A band or artist
A recording studio

Step 1: Write a business plan

Write a business plan to demonstrate to potential investors that you know what is involved in running a label.

Step 2: Raise capital

Put together a budget, and raise the capital necessary to form and run the business. Funds can come from personal savings, loans from family or friends, bank loans, or investors.

Step 3: Choose a name

Choose a name for the label.

Tip: Check with local, state, and federal laws to ensure the business is properly registered.

Step 4: Contract a band

Contract an artist or band that makes great music and record their album.

Tip: Pick a band that is willing to tour. A record label suffers if the band does not tour.

Step 5: Contact the press

Submit the band’s record to the press four months before the release date. This increases the chances of getting a review around the release date.

Step 6: Send press to distributors

Send any press about your label or its bands to music distributors.

Step 7: Make the album available

Have the album available in stores and online so the fans who didn’t buy one at the concert can get an album with little hassle afterwards.

Article: Is Music Your Hobby or Your Career? Knowing the Difference is Crucial by Keith Hatschek

Assuming that music is the number one driving force in your life, it’s still important to analyze carefully whether you are pursuing a hobby or a career in music. Why is it important to know the difference? This is an issue that sometimes trips people up, as they look to make a career in the music industry. Many come to the industry because of their love of music. But the reality is, you’ve got to have bankable skills to deliver, or you’re not going to be gainfully employed or grow your career. Many people have sacrificed years of their life because they felt they wanted to be “near the music,” only to realize that they didn’t have the necessary skills or training to match their passion. No one gets hired strictly on his or her enthusiasm. You must have marketable skills that create value for your employer. A hobby is the pursuit of a field for personal enjoyment.

Me? I’m a hobby guitar player today. I play my guitar a few times a month and it gives me great pleasure doing so. I used to be a professional guitarist, and I was paid well for my skills. I practiced regularly, studied my peers’ work, read up on guitar technology and performed 4-5 times each week. That’s quite a bit different than my musical hobby today.

A career is your vocation–the daily occupation in which you must excel. Either a hobby or a career can be rewarding; however, you have to decide which one of these roads you’re on. If you plan to build a successful career in the music industry, you’ve got to be serious first and foremost about developing the talents you have that will make you attractive to employers, be it as a performer, a sound engineer, a composer, or a booking agent. Then, once your skills are coming together, get serious about developing your job search strategies, enhancing your skill set, building a network of professional contacts, and researching what competition you’ll face in specific entry-level job areas. Discover what your earning prospects are in the field that interests you the most.

Bottom line: it’s okay to switch from a hobby to a career. But make sure you have the required commitment, as the road will be challenging and you will need to stay focused on achieving your goals. I know the difference between the commitments required for a career versus that of a hobby. Now you do, too.



Industry Tips & Advice: How to Start A Record Label by Bro. Steve Harris

Learn the elements of how to start a record label from veteran industry expert Bro. Steve Harris. Special guest appearance by Donald Passman, Vickie Lataillade and Kerry Douglas. Contact Steve @ BroSteveMail@me.com to help you.

Industry Tips & Advice: Pay for Your Music Career By Heather McDonald

Working in music can mean an almost constant struggle to find the money to keep things going. Whether you’re a band in need of money to tour or a label in need of cash to press some CDs, it seems like it is ALWAYS something. Music business funding is never easy, but you do have options. Find out how to uncover the cash you need to make your music career dreams take off.
Time Required: Ongoing
Here’s How:
1.Identify Your Needs

You know that you need money to get your musical endeavor off the ground, but one of the most important steps in getting the money you need is figuring out just how much of it is going to be required. Hint: the answer is not “as much as possible.” Figuring out a realistic budget for your project will help you keep everything running smoothly and will help your case when it’s time to start applying for loans/grants. For instance, you don’t need $100,000 to do an indie release – ending up with more money than you need leads to bad spending. Start your project off right with understanding your costs.

2.Put It In Writing

If you’re going to apply for a small business loan or for a grant from an arts council or other funding body, you’re going to need a business plan. Even if you’re planning on financing your music project with your own credit cards, writing a business plan forces you to think about the potential of your project and how you can make it happen. Your business plan should include:

•Overview of the project
•Details about the market/consumers/similar businesses
•Projected returns (including how long it will take to see returns)
•Marketing plans
•Your qualifications (info about career, education, etc)

3.Investigate Your Sources

The available sources for music business funding vary from location to location to location. For instance, people in the UK are lucky enough to have a network of arts councils who are a first stop for grants to get musical projects under way. In the US, there are few grants in place and most people have to try for traditional small business loans. The best way to learn about what is available to you where you live is to ask around among your fellow musicians and check out your local government website for more information.

4.Approach Your Sources

After you’ve identified the people most likely to come through with funding for you, it’s time to start making your pitch. One thing you should keep in mind here is that yes, you’re trying to work in the music business, which can be a bit more laid back and casual than a traditional industry – but the people whose money you want will almost always be more “business-y” types. Showing up late to a meeting wearing last night’s clothes and smelling like you bathed in lager? Not so good. Be professional and give the impression that you are capable of pulling off your proposed venture.

5.Get Ready for the Long Haul

Getting funding for any business can be tough, but the creative industries are a special case (largely because the people who control the purse strings are secretly convinced we can’t be trusted to manage the money). Finding money can take a long time, and you may have to apply for money from several sources to fund one music project. When you’re planning your project, make sure to build in plenty of time to tap into the right funding sources.

1.Look for the RIGHT Funding Source

Sure, when you want to get your project off the ground, it can be tempting to take an “I’ll worry about that later” attitude towards loans and debts you are racking up. In the long term, if you spend unwisely at the beginning, you won’t have anything left to make sure your project gets the push it needs. High interest loans and credit cards might seem like a fast and easy way to get things rolling, but they should be your last resort. If you have to take on some debt, take the time to make sure it will be manageable enough to let you pay it off and keep your project going.

2.Get Help When You Need It

Even where there are no nice arts councils or arts grant sources, there usually are groups to help small businesses get their stuff together. If you need help writing a business plan or coming up with a budget, do a quick internet search for small business assistance groups in your area. You may be able to get free (or very cheap) assistance in putting together a professional proposal that will help you get the cash you need.

3.Do Your Homework

This is especially important if you are looking for funding to start a business like a record label – make sure you REALLY understand your market and what you are getting into. Just because you’re a music fan and read a lot of music magazines doesn’t mean you really know how the business side of music works. If you don’t have any specific experience in the part of the music industry you want to get into, investigate before you take the plunge. Seek out other people who are doing what you want to do and get their input so you have a clearer picture what’s required and who your customers will be.



Article: Universal working on a bid for EMI by CANNES

Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company, is working on a bid to buy British rival EMI, home to Katy Perry and Coldplay, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters on Thursday.

Universal’s owner Vivendi backed the plan, the source added.

EMI, was put up for sale earlier this week by Citigroup , which took control of the ailing firm in February after its previous private equity owner Terra Firma defaulted on a loan.

Analysts had previously thought regulators would block any deal by Universal to buy EMI, the world’s fourth-largest music company, after European regulators objected to consolidation among other major music groups.

However, the industry has since endured a torrid time, with many music retailers going out of business and millions lost to online piracy.

Smaller independent labels, which had previously joined forces to object to consolidation amongst the largest companies, have also increased their market share in recent years, while EMI’s has fallen.

“They’re in the frame,” the source said of Universal. “The will is there, and a data room should be set up fairly soon. They believe Vivendi are supportive, as they realise this is the last game-changing acquisition to be made.”

Universal’s last major acquisition was the purchase of BMG Music Publishing, which it bought before applying for regulatory approval. It then agreed with the European Commission to sell certain assets to secure its clearance.

If Universal tried the same approach with EMI, it would probably have to sell EMI’s lucrative publishing arm and possibly other recording assets in certain markets.

Analysts estimate that EMI could be sold for between $2.5 billion and $4 billion, after it reduced costs in recent years. It can also boast a strong classical division and a catalogue that includes the Beatles and Kylie Minogue.

Other suitors are likely to include Warner Music Group, which has long been seen as a natural partner for EMI, and billionaire media investor Alec Gores has also been linked to the firm in media reports.

Universal and Vivendi declined to comment, while Warner and Gores were not available to comment. (Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Will Waterman)



Article: Performance rights groups face challenges and uncertainty by By Ed Christman

NEW YORK (Billboard) – After decades of occupying one of the most stable corners of the music business, performance rights organizations (PRO) are starting to face uncertainty and competitive challenges.

EMI Music Publishing announced in May that it plans to issue bundled mechanical and performances licenses directly to online services for its EMI April Music catalog, assuming responsibility for functions previously handled by ASCAP. It’s a move that other leading music publishers are expected to make.

Greater interest in direct digital licensing among publishers, efforts to establish Pan-European licensing and the creation of a global repertoire database are reshaping the landscape being navigated by ASCAP and its fellow U.S. performing rights organizations BMI and SESAC.

ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento says that decisions by clients to take charge of some digital licensing won’t threaten the PRO’s business. He points out that EMI’s move only affects online music users who aren’t currently licensed or do not have licenses in effect with ASCAP and excludes broadcast or broadcast digital rights, cable, satellite and all other offline media. Moreover, he notes that the online dollars represented by EMI’s decision could amount to less than one percent of ASCAP’s total annual revenue.

“We see the efficiency of licensing in bundles,” LoFrumento says. “We feel very strongly that is something that will be the next step in this business environment. This will result in a new business model over the next few years.”

U.S. PROs continue to enjoy relative financial stability. For instance, ASCAP’s annual revenue fell 6% in 2010 to $935 million, but that was down from a record-high $995 million in the prior year. Still, moves toward direct licensing could potentially erode PRO revenue. But Richard Conlon, BMI senior VP of corporate strategy, communications and new media, says the PROs will weather these challenges, though he acknowledges that the business is in flux.

“The core construct of BMI will be very different in five or 10 years as we start to virtualize and as the dynamics of the global footprints start to change the global nature of copyright,” Conlon says.

In a statement, SESAC president/COO Pat Collins says that PROs have already contended with technological changes for years.

“More music is being consumed today than ever before,” Collins says, adding that the Internet has “brought efficiencies to the tracking, identifying and payment processes that were unthinkable 10 years ago. These developing technological advances will allow SESAC to achieve even more robust licensing on behalf of the copyright owner, thus increasing royalty distributions.”

In a trend that’s bound to be discussed again at the World Copyright Summit in Brussels June 6-8, publishers and collection societies across the Atlantic are contending with a shift to Pan-European licensing.

To meet a mandate by the European Commission to provide one-stop licensing for digital music providers that want to do business in multiple European countries, Universal Music Publishing Group and Sony/ATV Music Publishing have each formed a joint venture vehicle with a European collection society to handle all of their Anglo-American repertoire, while EMI has formed a JV with two societies.

Warner/Chappell Music’s Pan-European Digital Licensing initiative is working with seven European societies so far to provide digital music users a choice of which society they want to work with. Each time one of these vehicles handles licensing for a digital music service, it eliminates opportunities previously handled by each country’s own collection society.

Moreover, some industry observers suggest that the Pan-European licensing vehicles concept could soon evolve into global licensing mechanisms for the digital marketplace.

As they establish bundled, all-in digital licensing for both mechanical and performance rights, publishers must be careful not to undermine standard royalty rates, Conlon says. “When bundling you are doing so to make it easier to license, but you have to make sure not to squeeze out some value.”

Meanwhile, efforts to create a global repertoire database could enable direct licensing, which would further affect local societies’ revenue collections. But others dismiss that possibility, saying that a global database would ensure a more efficient marketplace — for example, ensuring songwriting claims don’t add up to more than 100 percent, a very common problem, while allowing collection societies to continue to compete on services.

In the meantime, the ability of digital music users to track and report in greater detail will also spur change. The emerging digital market is already providing “more transparency and accountability,” says Conlon, who notes the PROs do well in worlds of complexity that are also becoming more fractionalized.

“We scale well and are totally exponential,” he says. “We are dealing with and translating the long tail … handling billions of performances every quarter. We are optimized to handle what will be an increasingly fragmented medium and marketplace.”

But improved accounting systems have enabled “some to consider going direct” to rights-holders like publishers, Music Reports Inc. founder/chairman Ron Gertz says. “They will trade the convenience of to do a la carte licensing.”

That dynamic will be matched by major music publishers looking to increase profits in difficult times by doing direct licensing deals in easily trackable media like those offered by digital music providers. The bundling of rights and direct deals are among the market forces that will increase competition among collection societies.

If publishers pull back licensing rights from PROs, how will those organizations compensate for that lost revenue? Some industry executives are predicting mergers will take place among collection societies around the world, creating regional licensing hubs. But others speculate that some societies may move to grant multiterritory rights for their exclusive repertoire.

Meanwhile, music publishing executives predict that current trends will lead to a consolidation of backroom functions among rival PROs. In fact, ASCAP’s LoFrumento is advocating that scenario.

Collection societies “use the same database and we have the same information on the members’ share; we all use similar systems,” he says. “The idea of multiple back offices with multiple personnel doesn’t bode well for us. As the music industry faces the future, we have to look at the functions that we are not competing on and combine them. We need to start a dialogue with other societies.”

In the meantime, ASCAP just finished development of a new back-office distribution system, which will provide members with 24/7 access to the organization’s database as well as increased transparency.

Another issue expected to drive the evolution of PROs is the growth in the number of registered songwriters, who are demanding more services.

Regardless of what happens in the digital market, PROs will always have general performance licensing to fall back on because monitoring song plays at bars, clubs and stores requires boots on the ground to track.

But here, too, they face challenges, as was illustrated last year when two federal courts approximately halved the negotiated annual blanket fee that music service providers like Muzak and DMX pay BMI and ASCAP for every apparel store, beauty salon and health club for which they program music.

(Editing by Chris Michaud)



Article: News Corp. Sells MySpace For $35 Million Up To Half The Staff Laid Off

NEWS CORP. has finally sold MYSPACE, to advertising targeting firm SPECIFIC MEDIA for approximately $35 million plus a 5% stake in the entity, the NY TIMES reports. In the process, “many” — some media sources speculate up to half — of the company’s 400 employees were let go.

NEWS CORP. bought the once-powerful social network for $580 million six year ago, only to see it fall from grace behind FACEBOOK. Fortunately for RUPERT MURDOCH’s conglomerate, most of its original investment was recouped when it struck an advertising deal with GOOGLE soon after it acquired MYSPACE. Even so, NEWS CORP. had been trying since last winter to sell the company, after the annual revenue it generated dropped from $605 million to $183 million.

What went wrong? THE TIMES cites a blog post by LEE BRENNER, director of MYSPACEs now-defunct “Impact” section, who wrote, “I’m sure most employees (former or current) will argue that it was poor management, or a need to hit revenue targets once NEWS CORP. took over, or a bottleneck in the technology department, or lack of resources given to their division, or a poor public relations effort, etc., that set the course of MYSPACE’s downfall. Any number of these could be true. I suppose we’ll never know for sure. It is most likely a combination of these factors, along with a ‘low attention span’ public. It probably didn’t help to be doing business, and trying to grow, along with all of these issues, in the midst of a global economic crisis.”



Industry Tips & Advice: Music Career Problems and Solutions By Heather McDonald

Working in a creative field requires a tough skin, and the music industry is no exception. Band, label, manager, agent, promoter – it doesn’t matter in which part of the industry you work; you are bound to face more than a few bumps in the road. The trick is to deal with the disappointment, learn from it and move on towards your goals without getting sidetracked. Find out how to manage these common music business problems so you don’t lose sight of where you want to go.

Music Industry Problem – No One is Responding to your Demo:

Music Industry Solution – A very, very common music industry issue, this one. The first thing you should know about dealing with is that almost every single one of your favorite bands has faced this let down, and in most cases, you WON’T get a response from your demo. It doesn’t have to mean you are doing anything wrong per se – sometimes it just takes awhile to get the right demo to the right person. You can up your chances of getting the response you want by making sure you adhering to some basic demo ground rules. Need some help? Check out these articles:

The right approach is no guarantee of demo success, however. There are a few things extra things you can do to increase your chances:

•Keep building your profile by playing shows
•Pursue press coverage of your shows
•Keep your and keep labels informed about what you’re doing
•Stay on top of your internet promotion tools, like Facebook, and your own blog

You might also consider releasing your own record. You can learn the pros and cons of this course of action here:

Music Industry Problem – The Review Isn’t in the Magazine After All:

Music Industry Solution – Getting press for a new album or a live show can be hard work, especially in larger publications who generally look favorably on labels and bands who can throw a big load of advertising money their way. Hitting the wall when you’re trying to convince people to cover your news is one thing, but being told by someone that a review will be in a certain issue of a newspaper/magazine or on a certain website and then having it never appear is doubly frustrating. How should you handle it?

Again, first of all, understand that this happens often, and it really isn’t anything personal. Sometimes writers say that a review will appear just to appease you and sometimes they really think it is going to be there and are just as surprised as you when it’s not. Getting bumped for bigger stories is part of the game, but you can make things better by following up on it. Put a call in to your contact at the publication and find out what happened. See if you can get them run it in the next issue instead. If you made a big deal about the review beforehand on your website or if your distributor has been using news of the review to promote your album, touch base with everyone and let them know what happened and when the review will resurface.

In most instances, there isn’t much you can do to absolutely guarantee a review will come through when you think it will, but you can perfect your press game with the right approach. You can also build up a personal relationship with of the writers who are into your music. These articles can help:

Music Industry Problem – No One is at the Show:

Music Industry Solution – Few things are as disheartening to everyone involved in a show than an empty room on the night of a gig – but it happens. The finger pointing will begin as the night wears on, but the bottom line is you can’t MAKE people turn up to your show. If you find yourself faced with one of these shows, do your best to turn a negative into a positive by being gracious to everyone involved with the show so you are still welcome in that venue. And while there is no guarantee that the crowds will be pounding the door next time, there are things you can do help a gig get the buzz it needs. Check out this advice:

Music Industry Problem – The Gig is Cancelled:

Ah, nothing says “indie music” like the last minute canceled gig. At the “building an audience” level, most of the time bands will be working with promoters who put on shows for fun. Some of them are really great and as good as, if not better, than any promoter working in the bigger leagues. Some, well, aren’t. When you’re dealing with people who don’t put on shows professionally, there is always a chance that something will come up that is more pressing for them and they will have to cancel a gig. You may also deal with people who want to put on a show for you, will plan to put on a show for you, and then realize on show night that they can’t put on a show for you – but they don’t really tell you that. (I once had a friend spend months going through the motions of booking a show for band I was working with, only to go M.I.A. as the show drew closer. The band and I discovered on the night of the show that the supposed venue was closed down. True story.)

The bottom line here is steel yourself for it and deal with it. When you don’t have any pull and are trying to break into a new area, it happens. File it under “things that will be a lot funnier when we make it” and move on. Always be polite and gracious with anyone you deal with even as things are going up in smoke because you never know whose help you’re going to need some day. Of course, there are things you can do to mitigate these kinds of surprises:

Music Industry Problem – We’re Broke:

If nothing says indie music like disorganized gigs, then being broke is a close second. You can sell what seems like a lot of records and still be lucky to break even. You can play to good crowds every night and end up in debt at the end of the tour. You can promote sell out shows every night for a week in your local club and need to consider getting a second job to support your promotion habit. Forget swimming pools and movie stars – simply getting to the point where you can support yourself through your music requires a lot of hard work and patience. As long as the sacrifice is worth it to you, the best thing you can do is make peace with your bank balance, spend wisely (yes, the gatefold sleeve clear vinyl 10″ is cool, but it’s awfully expensive) and manage your money wisely. These articles will help:

You may have noticed a theme in these music biz problems – that the bottom line is that disappointments are going to happen, and often they are out of your control. Look at them all as part of the ride, not the end of it. Learn from them and move on to better things.

Music Industry Problem – No One is at the Show:

Music Industry Solution – Few things are as disheartening to everyone involved in a show than an empty room on the night of a gig – but it happens. The finger pointing will begin as the night wears on, but the bottom line is you can’t MAKE people turn up to your show. If you find yourself faced with one of these shows, do your best to turn a negative into a positive by being gracious to everyone involved with the show so you are still welcome in that venue. And while there is no guarantee that the crowds will be pounding the door next time, there are things you can do help a gig get the buzz it needs. Check out this advice:

Music Industry Problem – The Gig is Cancelled:

Ah, nothing says “indie music” like the last minute canceled gig. At the “building an audience” level, most of the time bands will be working with promoters who put on shows for fun. Some of them are really great and as good as, if not better, than any promoter working in the bigger leagues. Some, well, aren’t. When you’re dealing with people who don’t put on shows professionally, there is always a chance that something will come up that is more pressing for them and they will have to cancel a gig. You may also deal with people who want to put on a show for you, will plan to put on a show for you, and then realize on show night that they can’t put on a show for you – but they don’t really tell you that. (I once had a friend spend months going through the motions of booking a show for band I was working with, only to go M.I.A. as the show drew closer. The band and I discovered on the night of the show that the supposed venue was closed down. True story.)

The bottom line here is steel yourself for it and deal with it. When you don’t have any pull and are trying to break into a new area, it happens. File it under “things that will be a lot funnier when we make it” and move on. Always be polite and gracious with anyone you deal with even as things are going up in smoke because you never know whose help you’re going to need some day. Of course, there are things you can do to mitigate these kinds of surprises:

Music Industry Problem – We’re Broke:

If nothing says indie music like disorganized gigs, then being broke is a close second. You can sell what seems like a lot of records and still be lucky to break even. You can play to good crowds every night and end up in debt at the end of the tour. You can promote sell out shows every night for a week in your local club and need to consider getting a second job to support your promotion habit. Forget swimming pools and movie stars – simply getting to the point where you can support yourself through your music requires a lot of hard work and patience. As long as the sacrifice is worth it to you, the best thing you can do is make peace with your bank balance, spend wisely (yes, the gatefold sleeve clear vinyl 10″ is cool, but it’s awfully expensive) and manage your money wisely. These articles will help:

You may have noticed a theme in these music biz problems – that the bottom line is that disappointments are going to happen, and often they are out of your control. Look at them all as part of the ride, not the end of it. Learn from them and move on to better things.

SOURCE: http://musicians.about.com/od/musicindustrybasics/a/disappointments.htm

MUSIC VIDEO: Whole Foods Parking Lot Music Video


Industry Tips & Advice: Music Industry Investors By Heather McDonald

Music Business Angels:
Music business angel investors can take several different forms. Your angel might be a family member or friend with deep pockets, or they may be a complete stranger with loads of cash who is interested in investing in start-up companies. Some music business angels are people who have made their money in music and want to pass along their good fortune AND their expertise. Other are simply people with money to spend who like the idea of getting involved in music. Angels will help with start-up cash, but your proposed business needs to be of a certain size to make it worth their time (see “Small Print” section below).

Venture Capitalists:
Venture capitalists (VCs) will invest in businesses both at start-up and at times when the company needs a cash injection to grow. If you’re looking for VC funding, make sure you look for a group that has history of investing in music related businesses. Although VCs look for high risk investments, they’re not always good matches with creative industries unless they’re used to that realm. In other words, if you can even get them to take you seriously to begin with, they don’t really care about your “artistic integrity” – they want the loot, and they want it fast.

Arts Councils:
Americans can all but forget about this one, but outside of the States, most countries have funding bodies that provide money for the arts, including the music industry. These arts funding groups can be great places to get the money you need because they are willing to work with music businesses of all sizes and have the ability to take chances on projects profit seekers like angels and VCs wouldn’t touch. Even better, most of the time they give grants rather than loans, so you don’t have to pay it back. You’ll still need a good business plan to work with them, however – though in most cases, they can help you write it.

Major Labels:
For indie labels, investment by a major label is an option. This kind of investment will typically only after you’ve built a proven track record of success as a label and need money to expand – start-up cash from a major is usually only given to someone who has either run a successful indie label in the past or has a good sales record as an artist.

Of course, funding from a major will require cedeing some control of your label, which has not always ended well for indies. Learn more:

This is another one that is specific to labels, and it’s getting a bit harder to find. However, in some cases, you may be able to get a distributor to invest in a release on a project basis. For instance, if you have a chance to work with a big name artist, but you can’t really afford to come up with the advance or the money to give the album a proper push, your distributor might step in with an advance against future earnings on the album or with a loan that would make them an investor in the project, giving them a larger cut of the album’s profits.

Distributors might also help with manufacturing.

The Small Print:
When you’re looking for investors in your music business, it’s important to remember that in exchange for the cash, you’ll be giving up a chunk of your business, some of your autonomy, or both. Make sure you carefully consider the real cost of the investment – not only what you will have to pay back, but what you will be sacrificing when you work with an investor – and make sure you are clear on these points in advance. Some things to consider include:

•Does your investor want to be involved in making business decisions? If so, do they have experience in the music industry or another creative industry (and if yes, do you share a similar philosophy in terms of the business)? Working with an investor with tons of music industry experience who wants to help you shape and build your business can be a great thing. Working with an investor who simply has a lot of money and wants to invest in your music related business because they think it would be kind of fun might not be such a great thing if they want some say-so in your business decisions. (Note that not all investors will want to become involved in your business. Some just want to make an investment and wait for the payoff.)

•Make sure you understand if you are getting an investment or a loan. Investments bring risk for the investor, and so they understand they may lose their money. A loan needs to be paid back.

•If your investor is pressuring you to sign over a large share of your business, be cautious. If large amounts of money and large shares are involved, get legal advice.

Another thing to remember when you’re seeking investment is that the hardest kind of business to find funding for is a very small one. Generally speaking, VCs don’t want to talk to you unless you need at least several hundreds of thousands in investment. Music business angels will invest in smaller companies than that, but typically they’re looking for investment opportunities at least in the tens of thousands range. Raising a few thousand dollars is the hardest thing to do. In the absence of arts councils or generous family/friends, you may need to consider savings, personal loans and credit cards if you need a relatively small amount of money to get going.

Also, be aware that music investment is usually given to businesses like labels, promotion companies, etc. Bands looking for investment will have a difficult time going through one of these routes and will need to look to labels, distributors and so on for their needs.



Industry Tips & Advice: Music Business Etiquette (Oh Yeah, It Matters) By Heather McDonald

Think music industry etiquette doesn’t matter? Think again. There may be some things about the music business that make it less uptight than other industries, but word of mouth is a large part of what makes the business tick – and when an industry runs on word of mouth, how you treat the people you encounter counts. Now, I’m not saying that you need to bring a host(ess) gift to your next business meeting, but there are a few things you can do to avoid becoming THAT guy/girl. Here are a few music industry etiquette tips to help you stay on the right side of your fellow music biz types.

1. BCC Is Your Friend
When you send an email to a group of people, use the BCC (blind carbon copy) field. If you don’t, everyone who is copied on your email list can grab the email addresses of everyone else – and not everyone is going to be cool with that. Using BCC says, hey, I appreciate having this line of contact for you, and I respect your right to decide who does and doesn’t have this address. This is true of both industry email lists and fan email lists.

Of course, accidents happen. If you accidentally CC rather than BCC your email list, apologize. It still might not make you the most popular kid for a little while, but at least you have acknowledged that you understand that you have compromised the privacy of the people on your list.

2. Use Follow-Up Sense
You’re waiting for some feedback on your song/business prop/etc. And you’re waiting. And you’re waiting. And it’s just not coming.

Frustrating? Oh, absolutely. But there is a line between following up territory and restraining order territory. Don’t cross it. Unless the entire world will collapse if you don’t get an answer on something by 6 PM, if you’re calling or emailing multiple times per day, you’re probably going overboard. Likewise, don’t track down home numbers, etc, and try to catch people out that way. If you make multiple follow-ups, a simple, “I know you’re busy, but…” and a “please let me know if you need more info” make gentle reminders that you’re waiting for news. Stay polite, annoying as it may be.

3. State Your Business
The first time you make contact with someone, give yourself a proper introduction. Don’t assume they know who you are, and don’t do things like (one of my personal faves) send an email that simply says something like, “let’s work!”

Of course, don’t start at birth, either -. “Hi, I’m so and so from such and such” plus a few details and maybe a website link work fine. Then, explain why you’re reaching out, be it booking a show, soliciting advice or just because you like what they’re doing and wanted to open a line of communicaton. If you’re hoping to meet up or have a phone call to discuss something, say so and suggest a few times. Be clear and concise – you’re more likely to get a response if people can actually understand what you’re after.

4. Keep Your Appointments (And Buy The Coffee)
If you make an appointment with someone, keep it or reschedule it. Bonus points for being on time or calling if you are going to be late. It is just good manners, period. Plus, not showing up for a meeting makes you look irresponsible, unreliable and scatty.

Likewise, if you request a meeting with someone to ask for advice or pitch something to them, consider springing for their coffee/drink/meal if at all possible. It is a gracious thank-you for their time. Of course, money can get pretty tight in the music industry, but if you can do it – go for it.

5. Put It In The Vault
The music industry is a very small place. You may have the goods on a lot of music business deals gone wrong, not to mention the personal goods on what so and so did on tour or why so and so got booted from the band. Tempting as it may be to blab – zip it. This is doubly true of your own deals gone wrong. You may feel incredibly slighted by your band break-up or management collapse, but take the high road when pressed for details.

Two good reasons to button your lips? Well, one: gossip is a two way street – you probably have a few stories of your own you’d appreciate someone keeping close. Two: being a big mouth says, “if our working relationship doesn’t work out, I will violate your trust, too.” Doesn’t exactly instill confidence.

6. Take Your Lumps
Not everyone is going to like everything you do. Whether their displeasure is expressed by declining to work with you or in review form for all to see, don’t even think of sending an outraged email or getting them on the phone to confront them. Yes, maybe they DON’T get what you’re doing, maybe they’re the only ones to have ever complained – just let it ride. You can’t bully someone into liking your music. There is no accounting for who likes what, and you can’t predict it or change it. If there are “fair enough” points in a bad review, take them. Otherwise, your time is much better spent focusing on the people who are into what you’re doing and making peace with the fact that there is no such thing as unanimous in the music biz.

7. Respect the Free Stuff
Free stuff, like guest list spots or promos, don’t just fall from the sky. They may be free to you, but someone is paying for them. Getting to go to shows for free or getting free music are great perks of working in music, but try not to send your favorite band into bankruptcy by treating your 25 closest friends to a free night out at their show. Be reasonable when requesting guest list spots and other free things.

8. Thank You
Did someone take the time to respond to your request for advice, give you a recommendation or introduction or help you in some other way? For goodness sake, thank them.



Industry Tips & Advice: Branding, Fans, and Building a Lasting Music Career

Corey Webb and Leo Larkpor of distribution and marketing startup MogulTunes discuss some of the mistakes that upcoming artists make which undermine their long-term career prospects. The explain the difference between a “music listener” and a “fan,” and what branding has to do with long-term career success, as opposed to being a one-hit wonder who ends up deep in debt to a record label.

MUSIC NEWS: Rapper Climbs Street Light In Times Sq. To Promote.

An aspiring rapper’s performance atop a Times Square traffic light earned the shameless self-promoter a trip the Bellevue psych ward on Tuesday.

The Great White Way was turned into a parking lot of frustrated, horn-honking drivers for almost two hours, as cops tried to talk Raymond Velasquez down from his 20-foot perch at W. 44th St. and Seventh Ave.

Velasquez, 34, of Brooklyn, has a history of trying to crash TV shows on BET, CBS and NBC.

During the standoff, Velasquez, dressed in cargo shorts and a red Brooklyn T-shirt, tossed CDs down to cops. He did chin-ups on the cross bar and a bit of a wire-walking act while spitting a couple of raps.

Meanwhile, cops inflated an airbag, and flanked the pole with two Emergency Service Unit trucks while putting a ladder up to the cross-bar.

Cops said he initially told them he’d come down only if songstress Alicia Keys, who was doing Good Morning America show in Times Square, would talk to him.

Velazquez, who goes by the nickname C.I. Joe, or Coney Island Joe, last tried to get attention by jumping the barricade outside the Today show last February.

Before that, the VH1 blog reported that he interrupted BET’s “106 & Park” in April 2010, and the CBS Early Show in December 2010, to show off his rap skills.

“This is my way of how as a artist entity like myself get heard” he wrote on his C.I. Joe Facebook page Tuesday.

While stuck drivers fumed, his pole dance act had tourists and New Yorkers gawking — some snapping photos or recording videos of the action.

Shujuana Furlow, visiting from Atlanta with her two teenage daughters, said she had just asked the pole man for directions to the Bowery when “he just started climbing up the pole.”

“He just climbed right up there, he was really relaxed,” she said. “He did four chin-ups on the cross bar and started rapping.”

When the cops came 15 minutes later, she said he pulled a CD from his cargo shorts and threw it down to them.

“When they tried to talk to him again, he threw another one down, did the Miss America wave, and stood up and rapped again,” Furlow said.

Meanwhile, cops stopped all southbound traffic and set up metal barricades to keep pedestrians from the area.

The standstill finally came to an end almost two hours later with the pole dancer finally agreeing to come down.

He was cuffed and taken away to Bellevue for a psychiatric observation.

Police also slapped him with a string of charges – reckless endangerment, obstructing government administration, resisting arrest, trespassing and disorderly conduct.~dailynews

MUSIC NEWS: Police Brutality, At Smif-N-Wessun Show

NYPD Brutalizes Hip-Hip Fans After Smif-N- Wessun Concert

Once again the New York City Police force shows that’s it’s is the nations most out of control and barbaric organization’s. Hip-Hop functions have always been a target on the NYPD’s radar, and last nights events after a recent Hip-Hop concert once again highlighted blatant police brutality on the cities citizens.

Duck Down Records Artist’s Smif & Wessun’s album release party was another dark reminder of a city under siege by it’s own police force. Why do New York City police officers feel they can get away with preying and beating on the very citizens they are paid to protect, is it the fact that they can get away with Rape, and murder among a laundry list of other crimes in the agency’s torrid Past. When does this end. When do we finally start holding these thugs in blue accountable for criminal activity.

Watch the video showing the disgusting events that unfolded after what was a peaceful and progressive night in Hip-Hop music. Submitted by Lady Jay, and with final analysis of the night’s events by General Steele of Smif & Wessun. The really crazy thing is most of these rookies probably listen to Hip-Hop… Hopefully charges will be brought up against all the officers involved in this sad situation.

Unspoken Truth ~wane enterprises

Industry Tips & Advice: Music Industry 101 Seminar -Artist Etiquette

The panelist discuss the importance of artist etiquette when dealing with Dj’s, Radio Stations & Record Labels

Industry Tips & Advice: 10 Fashion Tips for Performing Female Musicians – What to Wear on Stage By Vivian Clement

One thing that all successful Female Musicians have in common is a great eye for fashion. They make their mark by either being super fashionable or very down-to-earth basic. The following 10 tips will help you develop your own vogueness as well as zero in on some of the “faux pas” to avoid.

Do you have the “Star Factor”? Most celebrities hire consultants to help them create their unique image, but chances are you don’t have the same budget they do. That doesn’t mean you can’t create your own “je ne sais quoi”. Study some of your favorite artists and figure out what makes them stand out from the crowd. The goal is not to copy someone else but collect ideas you can later on stage to radiate your own style.

Right Clothes, Wrong Gig. Wearing jeans in a bar is one thing, but wearing them in an upscale venue is usually not appropriate. If you’re not sure what kind of clothes you should be wearing for a gig, call the venue beforehand and inquire about the dress code. Smart casual (no jeans but somewhat stylish) is common at most trendy locations. Avoid clothing made from cotton which wrinkles easily and looks too commonplace. Stick to polyester or blends that look stylish and wear well. For fine dining try a nice dress or dressy pants and a classy blouse.

Have a nice trip…see you next fall. Watch out for potentially dangerous clothing such as hanging tassels from skirts or pants. Not only can this type of clothing cause you to trip while you are on stage, but can be very distracting if you play an instrument. Consider not wearing rings or bracelets if they interfere with your performance. Many musicians don’t wear watches because they tend to get in the way of performing. It is much better to focus and have a great gig than cause embarrassment by tripping over your stylish “bling”.

Shoes that kill. Remember those gorgeous stilettos that screamed your name from the store window? Then when you finally wore them you felt like you were going to die by the end of the night?

Performing with uncomfortable shoes makes for a very long and painful gig. It’s worth spending time hunting down comfortable footwear. If you can’t bear to see your feet without those killer shoes, wear something more comfy to the gig and change them right before you play. Bring another pair of shoes for your later sets. This will change up your arch, move the pressure somewhere else on your foot, and create less fatigue.

Out of style, out of mind. Keep up to date with fashion especially if you perform for a younger crowd. You don’t need to purchase new clothing every week, but you do need to stay somewhat current. For older crowds, purchase clothing that is more on the conservative side, but still trendy.

Get great hair – find your perfect haircut. No matter what your age is, having great hair is a must. Nothing looks worse than a female performer whose hair is outdated or has roots that desperately need touching up. It doesn’t matter how great your clothes are – having perfect dresses not only adds to your professionalism but makes you feel like a star.

Look fabulous with the right colors. Knowing which colors accentuate your hair and skin is a must. Certain colors can make you look tired or pasty, especially under stage lights. If you’ve never had your colors done, visit a professional color consultant. They will quickly assess what your best colors are and make suggestions o accentuate your features.

Is your clothing intimidating your audience? Female musicians are often under a microscope, particularly by their worst critics – other women. Depending on what type of venue you are at, be sure that your clothing is not threatening to your female audience members. Jealous women can make negative comments to venue owners which could cost you your gig.

Dress your age. Whether you are young or old, always dress appropriately for your age. If you are younger and performing to a more mature audience, the key is to dress more conservative. If you are a little older, you don’t want to dress like you are a teenager – unless you know that you can really pull it off.

Dress for your body type. It’s important to attract your audience by being fashionable, but be sure your clothes aren’t creating the wrong kind of attention. Aim for fashion that suits your body and watch out for clothing that is too small or large. For an objective point of view, request opinions from friends about your stage clothes. You can also take pictures of yourself to get a different perspective.

These 10 tips are not the be-all-and-end-all of fashion for female musicians, but they’re a great place to start. Being a fashionista can dramatically add to your stage pizzazz and give you that star quality that sets you above the rest!



Industry Tips & Advice: How to Find Stage Clothes For Musicians by Robin Raven

When preparing to perform live, many musicians spend as much time on hair and wardrobe as they do on the sound. Read on for tips on helping a musician dress for the stage.


Listen to the songs that are to be performed that evening. By getting to know the music, one can get to know the appropriate style to go with the songs. Write down any ideas or inspiration that the music gives you.

Speak to the musician about your ideas. Be open-minded and willing to change things. Perhaps he is going for an ironic look, and he may want the clothes to look nothing like someone would assume the singer would be wearing.

Look at thrift shops. If you shop at department stores or chains, the performer may end up in clothes that audience members are also wearing. You want a unique look. Vintage or thrift shops will present a lot of choices. Keep in mind that thrift store clothes can rarely be returned if not liked, so make sure you have an alternative use for chosen clothing if it’s rejected by the musician.

Keep in mind the preferences of the musician while shopping. Be open-minded in what you are thinking about for each musician. Perhaps the shy and timid back-up singer truly wants to let loose in a Britney Spears-style costume. Listen to what each musician wants, and ask a lot of questions to bring about the truth of her tastes.

Don’t try to force a musician to wear something that he is uncomfortable with. Unhappiness on stage can lead to bad playing if the performer loses his passion for the music and performing.



Article: The Record Deal — Do You Really Want One? Do You Need One? By Ken Cavalier

There was a time in the music business, and we are going back a bit, when the ultimate goal for musicians, artists, or unsigned bands was to obtain a record deal or recording contract. Back then, we were talking major record label, there were little or few Independent Record labels to speak of. This was the standard focus and quest. It was my band’s quest at the time and we were lucky enough to get signed by Warner Bros. and they did a decent job on the marketing end. But if you are an independent artist today, a lot of you know that this obsession of getting a record deal may not be as prevalent as it was many years ago, and it probably should not be.

Most independent musicians today understand that the glamour of getting signed to a major record label or even a strong independent label may not be all it is cracked up to be. First of all, with the state of the music industry and record labels today, it is even harder to obtain a decent record deal then it was years ago and many Indies today realize that it may not be worth the effort — there is a good reason for this.

With the onset of the Internet and the way musicians market their music today, the playing field has been leveled. Artists and bands have an equal opportunity for exposure, record sales, and awareness. With the ability to start your own record label and publishing company, there is just not much of a need or desire for that matter, to get tied into an unfair record deal; provided of course you have the financial means, contacts, knowledge, and guidance to get all the necessary music marketing, promotion, publicity, and distribution.

However, if you are one of those unsigned artists or Indie musician that still believes that getting a good recording contract is the way to go please allow me to point out just a few of the many things you may be facing and getting yourself into:

When you commit to a record label you are essentially setting yourself up and locking yourself in for what inevitably can be years.
You lose the freedom of choice regarding some creativity, song selection, arrangement, releases, and live performance.
You are giving up the lion’s share of profits on CD sales and in some cases, depending upon what kind of deal it is, your merchandise.
You may have to give up all or most of your music-publishing rights which is where a lot of, if not most of, the income comes from other than touring.
You may sign a record deal with certain options and find that your recordings may never even get released at all.
Don’t expect the record label to put much money into artist development. They just don’t do that any longer. They expect you to be fully developed before they sign you.

Now, all that negativity about signing a record deal being said, there are still some advantages to signing with a record label. Record labels will still in most cases put some money into marketing and promotion. They have the necessary national music distribution channels you will need. In some cases they will still offer some semblance of tour support.

This article briefly touches on the idea of getting signed to a major label or high profile independent record label, and what you may find upon that signing. If the record deal is still an obsession with you, then you should read future articles where I go into far more details on different types of deals — “Good verses Bad”. There are many different types of recording contracts and I go through them all.

So with the ability and ease, in the today-world of the independent artist — being able to release your music on your own record label, facilitate your digital music distribution, and collect all the song royalties from the publishing, you may want to think twice before worrying too much about not being signed to a record label and concentrate on doing it all yourself. After all, you are an Independent Artist – and that is essentially the meaning of Indie. Bottom Line — You can do it without a label! You are the label! I have made this clear to all of my Indie Artists and have walked them though the process. Don’t be a slave to the labels – In the today world you just do not have to. Do not ever forget this! YOU ARE INDIE !! Good Luck.



Industry Tips & Advice: Major Record Label Deals: Pros and Cons By Heather McDonald

For most musicians, scoring a major label record deal is at the top of their to-do list, and for good reason. Having one of the Big Four labels working on your music can be your ticket to the big time. However, there is a downside to being on a major label roster. When you’re trying to decide whether your ideal home is an indie or a major, keep the following major record label pros and cons in mind, and before you make any decisions, be sure to check out the indie label pros and cons.

Major Label Deals – The Pros
1.Money: Deep, deep pockets have to be at the top of any major label “pros” list. Even with major label music sales declining and the industry as a whole struggling to keep up with changes in the way people purchase and listen to music, major labels still have a huge financial advantage over just about every indie label. When your label has a lot of money, that means they’ll be able to spend a lot of money promoting your record – which is exactly what you want. It also means they may be able to offer you a large advance and invest a lot in recording, touring, video shoots and other opportunities for you.

2.Connections: Money helps open a lot of doors, and when a major label comes knocking, most media outlets are ready to let them in. Additionally, most major labels have been in the business for decades and have long established connections that help you reach your music career goals.

3.Size: Alas, size CAN matter when it comes to record labels. Major labels are behind the vast majority of music sold, and this scale of operations can bring many advantages. First, they can get the best deals on manufacturing, advertising and other expenses since they do business in such enormous bulk – they have way more purchasing power than indie labels. Second, because of all of the artists on their roster, they can pull some pretty big strings in the media. Here’s a VERY common scenario: a major label may call up a big music magazine and say, “hey, if you want to interview (insert mega selling artist), we suggest you review/feature (insert brand new, unknown label signing).” This is great for you, if you’re that new label signing, because you get instant press in all of the top spots, giving you maximum exposure overnight.

Major Label Deals – The Cons
1.Big Pond, Small Fish: A lot of major labels tend to sign a lot of musicians and throw out a lot of music, just to see what will stick. As a new signing, except in very special circumstances, you’re likely to find yourself fighting for attention from the label. If you’re music doesn’t start sticking – read: selling – pronto – then you can find yourself with a record out that isn’t getting much promotion and a label that doesn’t return your phone calls.

2.Continuity: A big part of avoiding the aforementioned “big pond, small fish” syndrome is having a big fan at the label. Usually, this is the person who signed you. However, turn over at a major label can be pretty high – especially in this day and age – and you run a high risk of waking up one day to find out that the person who loved your music is no longer working at the label. The new person who takes over your album may not be such a big fan, and suddenly, no one is too interested in making your album a priority. You can include a “key man” clause in your contract to try to avoid this, but often the bargaining power is against you when you sign a major label deal, so scoring this set up is not guaranteed.

3.Artist Unfriendly Deals: Not every major label deal is unfriendly to the artist, but many of them are set up so that if a cashier accidentally gives you an extra dollar in change, you have to pay the label 50 cents. OK, that’s an exaggeration, but many major labels want to sign artist for multi album deals that offer them very little flexibility and that hand over a lot of creative control to the label. They know all of the loopholes, they want a piece of everything, and they have better lawyers than you.

4.The Passion Question: Many dedicated music lovers work on the major label side of the music industry. However – not everyone who works at major labels love music. You’ll find a higher concentration of people who are in the business strictly for the money in major labels than you will at indie labels, and that often ends up rubbing musicians the wrong way.



Industry Tips & Advice: Booking a Gig: Basics By Heather McDonald

Playing live may be the most important thing a band can do. If your band is unsigned, playing live is a great way to build up a loyal fan base, get some media attention and attract record label interest. For signed bands, gigs are the means by which you can keep building your audience while promoting your new releases. Booking a gig can seem like an overwhelming process, however, especially when a band is doing all of the booking themselves. If you’re in a cold sweat, wondering how to get some shows for your band, never fear. Take a deep breath, relax and follow these steps that are sure to get your band on stage.

The Basics – Let’s go right back to the beginning. Before you even can think about booking a gig, there are a few things you will need to have in place:

•A demo or a finished CD, or a website on which people can listen to your music
•A press pack, including information about your band and clippings of any press coverage you may have had.
You should also have an idea of when you want to play a show – approaching a venue or promoter and asking for a gig “whenever” isn’t very helpful. Come up with a window of preferred dates and make sure everyone in the band has their calendar clear for those days.

Find the Right People – So, you’ve got the promo package and demo ready to go – now, who should you send it to? There are two ways you can go about booking a gig:

•Book directly with the venue, in which case you as a band take on the costs and responsibilities of promoting the show
•Book with a promoter, who takes charge of promoting the show
Sometimes, venues work with a specific promoter, and sometimes they don’t. Give your venue of choice a call to find out how they do things. If you don’t know any promoters, ask the venue for advice, or ask around to find out with whom other bands in your area work. If possible, get the names of a few different promoters and venue booking agents and send them all promo packages – nothing wrong with people fighting to give you a chance to play, right?

Tired of booking gigs for yourself? Try getting a manager or agent on board who can help you get the shows you want.

The Deal – A good deal is part and parcel of a good gig. You should prepare yourself, however, for the fact that many shows lose money. If you’re just getting started and don’t have much of a following yet, you should think of your gigs as promotional opportunities for your band rather than money making opportunities. Your willingness to work with a promoter and/or a venue to try and minimize the financial risk involved in a show will only help you convince people to work with you.

Your deal should detail how any income for the show will be divided, as well as confirming information about things like accommodation for the band, riders, backline, and soundchecks. If there is something you’re unsure about or you don’t think is fair, speak up well in advance of the show.

Show Up and Play – Now all you have to do is show up and play a good show. Be professional, treat the promoter and the people at the venue with respect, and if you can’t handle drinking all of the rider before going on stage, then for goodness sake, don’t do it. If you happen to have an off night, but you have treated people well, most promoters will want to work with you again. If you’ve given everyone working to put on the show a night of utter chaos and stress, well, then, you’ll probably be looking for a new place to play.

Make sure you take full advantage of the audience at the show and promote any releases, new websites, or any other news the band may have. Encourage everyone who enjoyed your set to sign your mailing list, so you can let them know when you’re playing again.



Industry Tips & Advice: Manager and Artist Manager by Heather McDonald

In a nutshell, managers are in charge of running the business side of an artist or band’s career, so that the band is free to focus on creating the music. A manager for an unsigned band, or a band signed to a small label, may wear many different hats: promoter, agent, accountant, and any role that needs filling for the band. A manager for an artist signed to a larger label may act more as a supervisor of the other people working for the band. They will make sure the label is on their toes, that advertising and promotion is in place, that tours are being booked, and that the band is being paid.

Artist Manager – What is it? :
An artist manager, also known as a “band manager”, is in charge of the business side of being in a band. Often, band members are great at the creative side of things, but aren’t so great at promoting themselves, booking their own gigs, or negotiating deals. In a very general sense, the task of a manager is take care of the day to day running of the band’s career, so the band can focus on the creative side of things

What Jobs Should an Artist Manager Do? Signed Artists:
The jobs a manager does depends very much on the band and where they are in their careers. For an unsigned band, a manager should:

•Send out demos to labels, radio stations, local print media, and online publications
•Book gigs and invite labels and the media to the shows
•Network and talk to people about the band
•Help book studio time and practice sessions
•Explore funding opportunities for the band

For signed artists, managers should:

•Negotiate financial deals with the label for expenses like touring and recording
•Oversee other people working for the band, like accountants, agents, and merchandisers.
What Jobs Should an Artist Manager Do? Unsigned Artists:
For an unsigned artist, the manager should be the mouthpiece of the band, and their greatest ally, making sure that everyone else involved in the band’s career is doing their job and working hard to promote the band’s success. For instance, the manager should be on the phone with the label, asking about advertising campaigns and then on the phone with agent asking about upcoming show opportunities.

Do Managers Need a Contract?:
In a word, YES. Even if you’re managing an unsigned band made up of personal friends and there is no money involved for now, you need to write up an agreement. It doesn’t have to be fancy or even supervised by a lawyer. Just jot down what is expected of both manager and band, what the percentage of income for the manager will be if any money should come in, and what happens if band and manager decide to part ways. Many new bands don’t want to make their friends sign contracts. Put that out of your mind. When you’re entering into a business relationship with a friend, a contract keeps the friendship safe.

How Do I Become a Manager?:
If you think management might be a good fit for you, take a look around you. Do you know any musicians who could use someone to help organize shows or manage their websites? Volunteer to help bands you know, even if it means working for free while you’re learning the ropes.

You could also approach a management company and see if they have any internship opportunities available. Like most music careers, if you keep your head down and work hard, the right people will eventually notice.

How Do I Find a Band Manager?:
If you’re a musician looking for a manager, this article will let you know how to go about finding one.

What is the Pay Like?:
Managers are generally paid a percentage of the band’s income: pften 15% to 20%. In addition to their percentage, managers should not have to cover any expenses out of their own pocket.

There are some things a manager should NOT get a cut of. These including songwriting royalties – in my opinion. You should be aware that there are many different kinds of management deals out there, and the changing face of the music industry has meant a change in management deals. Essentially, the way musicians make their money is in flux, and since the income of the musicians is directly tied to the income of the managers, managers need to make sure they are able to tap into the new sources of money.

Any deal between musicians and managers should be negotiated up front and revisited when significant events occur that could drastically increase or decrease the band’s income.




Industry Tips & Advice: Being a Music Entrepreneur Today

Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records, assesses whether it’s a good time or a bad time to be a music entrepreneur launching a new venture.

Industry Tips & Advice: Promoter by Heather McDonald

Promoters do just what their name suggests – they promoter live shows. But more than just promoting the show, promoters also organize shows and book bands. The basic duties of a promoter are to secure a venue for a show, promote the show via the media and via posters/flyers/etc in the local area, work with the band and agent to make sure all the show night needs are covered (PA system, lighting, etc), and when appropriate, promoters pay the band. The promoter is responsible for covering the venue costs and the costs of promotion and any special equipment. However, promoters can, and do, recoup these costs from the show income before they pay the band in many instances. Every deal is different, and promoters work with agents and managers to nail down the specifics of a deal before the show.

Some promoters, especially indie music promoters, put on shows for the love of it and actually end up spending more than they make. If you do make a deal with a promoter for profits from the show, you will likely have either a set amount that you will be paid, no matter how many people turn up, or a “door split” agreement, wherein the band and the promoter will split the proceeds from the show on a percentage basis, after the promoter has recouped his/her costs. Door splits can be 50/50, but often they are 70/30 or 80/20, in favor of the band.




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