Archive for September 29, 2011

Industry Tips & Advice: Outside Representation

Nick Light is the SVP of artist development with Sony Music and former VP of Artist Development and Touring at Warner Brothers Records. He talks about the pros and cons of an artist having outside representation. He makes the point that outside representation can sometimes book shows that the record label can’t. Nick then describes how important relationships are with people outside the label because some connections can lead to a greater advancement in an artist’s career.



Industry Tips & Advice: How Musicians Get Paid

As a session musician Pomeroy contributed to albums not only by Williams and LaBeef, but also by such diverse artists as Trisha Yearwood, Emmylou Harris, Toby Keith, Neil Diamond, Billy Ray Cyrus, Tom Paxton, George Jones, Billy Joe Shaver, Shelby Lynne, Jon Randall, Brenda Lee, Gretchen Peters, Alan Jackson, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Earl Scruggs, Randy Scruggs, Duane Eddy, Allison Moorer, Steve Wariner, Asleep At The Wheel, Matraca Berg, Kathy Mattea, Larry Knechtel, Keith Whitley, Jesse Winchester and Alison Krauss. He is a featured artist on the “Nashville Acoustic Sessions” CD project, with Raul Malo, Rob Ickes and Pat Flynn, released by CMH Records in 2004.[2]
His most recent project is Three Ring Circle, an “acoustic jam band powergrass trio”, with Rob Ickes and Andy Leftwich.
In December 2008 Pomeroy was elected president of the Nashville based Local 257 of the American Federation of Musicians, succeeding longtime president Harold Bradley.

Glossary: Music

Fingerprint (digital):

is a way of recognising digital files by patterns in their data. The fingerprint is a short code, which can be read by special software to reliably identify the title and other details of a particular track. Shazam uses fingerprinting algorithms to identify music on a cellphone. Fingerprinting is sometimes (erroneously) called watermarking.

Article: Does amateur creativity make copyright obsolete? by Terry Hart

to a report that Facebook currently hosts 4% of every photograph ever taken in history. Whether that’s an accurate number or not, the social media giant does host a huge amount of photos on its servers. Masnick uses this story to question copyright:

What is the real purpose of copyright? Is it only to incentivize professional content creation, or to incentivize content creation overall? Given the stated purpose is to “promote the progress,” and to provide the public with more content, I would argue the goal is to promote more overall content, and it seems that technology is doing a much better job of that than copyright.

There’s a couple of points here I want to talk about later, but first is this undercurrent that runs through many criticisms of copyright — that of valuing amateur content over professional content.

Yes, copyright incentivizes professional content creation — it is an money in the production of creative output. There is a moral rights aspect to copyright — explicit in many civil law nations, implicit in many common law nations — but the incentive aspect of copyright is primarily economic.

Critics of copyright law occassionally advance arguments attacking the incentive given by copyright as unnecessary or outdated. This one in particular goes something like this: we have no need for copyright anymore because amateur creators don’t need copyright’s incentive to create and amateur creativity is better than professional creativity.

This notion isn’t unique to Masnick. Sci-fi writer Cory Doctorow shares this view. In the Guardian last November, , “I mean, I love sitting in an air-conditioned cave watching Bruce Willis beat up a fighter jet with his bare hands as much as the next guy, but if I have to choose between that and all of YouTube, well, sorry Bruce.”

Swedish politician , who, though he doesn’t get around to defining what he means by “new” types of culture, can’t wait for “old” types of culture to die out:

I’m going go out on a limb here and say, that even if it is true that movies can’t be made the same way with the Internet and our civil liberties both in existence, then maybe it’s just the natural progression of culture.

[…] After all, we have previously had operettes, ballets, and concerts as the high points of culture in the past. Even radio theaters (and famous ones). Nobody is particularly concerned that those expressions have had their peak and that society has moved on to new expressions of culture. There is no inherent value in writing today’s forms of culture into law and preventing the changes we’ve always had.

You’ll even find such ideas coming from more scholarly sources. The Social Science Research Council’s report adopts this idea and wraps it up in more academic language:

[W]e take seriously the possibility that the consumer surplus from piracy might be more productive, socially valuable, and/or job creating than additional investment in the software and media sectors. We think this likelihood increases in markets for entertainment goods, which contribute to growth but add little to productivity.

Promoting the Progress

“To promote the progress of useful arts, is the interest and policy of every enlightened government.”

In the US, the end goal of copyright law is promoting the progress of the useful arts and sciences. A private right is secured as an incentive for creating and disseminating works for the public benefit.

Usually when we talk about “” and copyright, we’re talking about cultural works that are made for many of the same reasons as professional works but without the commercial aspect — videos, music, and writing created by hobbyists or striving professionals. But some of those making the argument that amateur creativity makes copyright obsolete sweep in not only this type of creativity but all noncommercial creative acts.

Snapshots, home videos, and status updates are great ways to communicate and express ourselves, but these can hardly be considered contributing to the promotion of the progress of the useful arts and sciences. Where is the public benefit in a stranger’s vacation pics? (Never mind that, unless you’re friends with all these people, you likely can’t see most of them.)

I wonder sometimes about those who don’t see the value of art and entertainment made by someone who got paid for it. It’s stunning that they can’t see the value of , or , or , or . To dismiss these works and countless others like them as mere “entertainment” that is “unproductive” is an incredibly narrow viewpoint.

What’s equally stunning is the view that the measure of progress when it comes to copyright law should be based solely on numbers — quantity over quality. Ten photos are better than one, no matter what.

Come on.

Faza, at the Cynical Musician, addressed this topic last year in a post on . And the late :

I agree that the copyright law should encourage widespread dissemination of works of the mind. But it seems to me that, in the long pull, it is more important for a particular generation to produce a handful of great creative works than to shower its schoolchildren with unauthorized photocopies or to hold the cost of a jukebox play down to a dime, if that is what it is these days.

Copyright protection

But suppose we ignore all this and decide to weaken copyright protection since the incentive is not needed anymore — problems would still remain. While the type of amateur creativity discussed above doesn’t rely on copyright’s incentive, it still benefits from the protection copyright law affords. A lot of attention is focused on end-user piracy of works from larger entities, but larger entities can infringe on individuals’ works.

Certainly, this type of infringement happens now. Look at the flurry of controversy that stemmed from news that photo service  allowing it to distribute those images to its company partners. This is far from an isolated incident — in 2007, the for using a photo of her, uploaded to Flickr under a Creative Commons license, in an ad campaign (the case was ). And even the aforementioned against the unauthorized use of one of his wife’s photos by a newspaper.

Without copyright protection, companies would have free rein to behave like this. There’s nothing magical about copyright protection that makes it only limit the ability of consumers getting free movies.

Development of creative tools

Technology is suggested by Masnick as a better mechanism for promoting creativity than copyright protection. It’s true that people today have access to a vast array of cheap and portable tools to record and produce high quality audio and visual content (though no technology has yet made it easier to learn how to tell a story or convey an emotion). But this idea that technology has rendered copyright obsolete begs the question that a functioning market for professional content had nothing to do with the development of that technology.

Would there be technological tools that help amateurs create — especially free or cheap tools like GIMP, Blender, and Reaper — without their commercial precursors? These tools required investment and development, and that came largely from their use in professional contexts — decades of improvement fueled by a need for this technology and enabled by the money to meet that need. Invention, after all, doesn’t occur in a vaccuum.

No doubt this technology would have developed without copyright and a market for professionally produced content. But it certainly wouldn’t have developed at the rate it had — the tools that are available today would likely be decades away in such a world.

This ties into the benefit of copyright protection and its economic rationale. I think even copyright’s critics would agree that the ability to create movies and music from a home computer is a good thing. And, while I’m unaware of any research quantifying the effect of a market for professional content on the development of the technology used to create that content, I think it’s safe to say that it does have an effect, and probably not an insignificant one. We, as a society, generally want to encourage those things that bring about good results. Viewed this way, copyright makes sense from a public interest and economic perspective.

The “progress” of destroying markets

The biggest problem with attacking copyright by placing amateur content on a higher pedestal than professional content is that it sets up a false dichotomy. When did this become an either/or choice?

Amateur creativity thrives regardless of the copyright incentive. In fact, it’s an essential part of any culture with professional creators: almost without exception, every one of those professional creators has started out as an amateur. What Masnick, Doctorow, Falkvinge, and others are saying is that society would be better off with only amateur content rather than the combination of amateur and professional content.

That doesn’t sound like progress to me.



Music News: Cee-Lo Green’s Mini Documentary

Watch PART I of CEE LO DISTILLED, presented to you by ABSOLUT VODKA. Exclusive studio footage inside with unprecedented access to the artist. Cee Lo opens up about his influences and musical debut with guest appearance by Busta Rhymes and Goodie Mob.

Music News: At 85 Tony Bennett achieves First Number 1 Album On Billboard 200

Legendary pop singer Tony Bennett achieves his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 with “Duets II,” making the 85-year old the oldest living act to reach No. 1. His all-star collaborations album bows in the top slot with 179,000 sold in its first week according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The 14-time Grammy Award winner’s previous high on the chart came in 2006, when his first “Duets” set debuted and peaked at No. 3 with 202,000. Bennett has been charting on Billboard’s charts since 1951 and notched his first hit on the Billboard 200 album tally six years later. Until today, the oldest living artist to top the Billboard 200 was Bob Dylan, whose “Together Through Life” debuted at No. 1 in 2009 when he was 67-years old.

Bennett’s “Duets II” features 17 pairings with such stars as Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey, Carrie Underwood and the late Amy Winehouse. Last week, Bennett made news as the oldest living artist to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, when his duet with Winehouse, “Body and Soul,” debuted at No. 87.

Industry Tips and Advice: How To Address Contacts Through Email Without Becoming A Nuisance

A few years ago I hated leaving Hip-Hop shows because every rapper would be by the door handing out their latest mixtape. Nowadays everything has gone digital and my mailbox can’t escape being filled everyone’s latest single or mixtape. So I’ve decided to give rappers a bit of a guide on how to not on everyone’s shit list.
Now let’s get one thing clear, if you “work” in music (or are trying to get into the industry) you are going to be getting email from everyone and if you’re not, then you’re probably not very important. It’s annoying, I know but artists need to find ways of getting their music heard and emailing is one of the simplest ways to do that today. If you don’t like it, hit spam on any unwanted emails. It’s your right!
But artists need to learn how to send an effective email. It’s really not that difficult.
1) Learn to BCC: Seriously, quickest way to end up in someone’s SPAM folder or getting cussed out is not putting emails in the BCC box. For those of you who don’t know what BCC does, it’s simple, it hides the email addresses of the people you are sending your music to. Why do this? Because people don’t want their email out there for everyone to see and they don’t want 30 replies on the same email of people cussing you out. Plus, say you do have some important people on your list, do you want every bum to have that address? Do you want other rappers to have your mom’s email address? Then learn to BCC.
….Click to continue reading
2) Label Correctly: The file name should read as “RAPPER NAME – SONG TITLE (PRODUCED BY BEATMAKER)”. It should not read “Track21 – Crappy Edit”. If you got other versions of the song label like this “RAPPER NAME – SONG TITLE (PRODUCED BY BEATMAKER)[RADIO EDIT]”. It just makes reading and finding songs easier once downloaded so that way people can put them in their MP3 players. Some blogs will ask for it in a different name, but make sure you include the important stuff (your name, track name and what version it is).
3) Don’t Attach: Send a Zippyshare or Hulkshare link. Don’t use Rapidshare, Zshare, or any site that has too many advertisements. You want a site that gives bloggers an embedded code so that they can post your music up without a problem. Viruses are everywhere on the internet and most people don’t want to download anything. Plus, downloading music means taking away space from people’s hard drives. Give them a download link, make their lives easier.
4) Press Releases: Don’t just send a download link or youtube link. Let the reader know who you are, what you look like (include an image!) and what you are giving them. You don’t want to give them 3 pages of info they won’t read but give more than a sentence.
5) Backup Links: Datpiff is great for mixtapes. They count downloads and plays plus they will stream your music but here’s a secret, most blogs hate DatPiff links. Think of it, you’re asking blogs to direct traffic to another website! Give them a backup link. Send the Datpiff link and another download link. This goes for singles. Send a backup link in case someone kills your link.
6) Include Contact Info: Have your social networking sites (Twitter, Facebook, ReverbNation, Official Website, EVERYTHING).
7) Review: Before sending out the email, CHECK EVERYTHING!!! All the links, misspellings, everything. Nothing worst than a rapper who can’t spell his homtown’s name. Just a bad look.
8) Don’t Be Annoying: Seriously one email is enough. If you want to be risky send two, but don’t overdo it! Also hitting up someone’s twitter, gmail, and facebook with messages may seem like you’re grinding, but in reality you’re just being annoying. If it’s hot it’ll get play. Focus on who’s opening your emails, not who isn’t.
Sidenote: There are a million and one email marketing companies. We here at ThatsMajor have our own as well (contact ThatsMajorMedia@gmail.com for a quote), but I’ll let you guys in on a secret. There aren’t 50,000 people in the music industry! So if someone says they’ll email your track for X of dollars to 100,000 people, odds are 95,000 of those people are not checking your email and that list is not focused on just Hip-Hop heads. So it’s really just a bunch of junk emails who don’t give the slightest shit about your music.
Also, one blast won’t really do anything for you. Have a plan or work a plan with who you are hiring. If you got a mixtape, drop a few tracks leading up to the release, drop the tape, then drop videos. Don’t just get one email blast and expect that to have any impact on your work. Contact artists that have worked with the company a lot and see if they recommend the company.
Finally, don’t ask for a blast that day or tomorrow. You want to be a professional, have it time out so that the company can do the blast, send you a preview, you edit, and then send it out. Just makes life easier when people aren’t running around last minute trying to get stuff done.
@thatsmajor www.thatsmajor.info

Industry Tips & Advice: Music Industry 101 Pt.2: Emergence of the “360 Deal”

Mr. Anthony Hubbard to drop more science about the game, and specifically the evolution of the “360 Deal”. A must see for anyone who watched part 1, and is serious about breaking into and maintaining in the music game.

Industry Tips & Advice: Music Industry 101 Seminar

Sidney Miller (Founder of BRE Magazine) discusses the business side of the music industry & the creation of BRE magazine.

Quote Of The Day

A peace is of the nature of a conquest; for then both parties nobly are subdued, and neither party loser.
William Shakespeare

Article: 10 Best Female Rappers: # 6. Jean Grae

With three solid releases–Attack of the Attacking Things, The Bootlegg of The Bootlegg EP, and This Week–under her belt, South African-born, New York-bred rapper Jean Grae has been spinning heads for the past 10 years or so. What makes Grae stand out from the pack is her combination of humor and seriousness. Whether poking fun at herself on “Going Crazy” or rhyming about loyalty and dedication on “My Crew,” J.G. does it all with a touch of excellence.

In 2005, Jean hooked up with producer 9th Wonder for a full length collaboration dubbed Jeanius. A widespread internet leak forced her to shelf one of the best collaborative hip-hop albums you’ll never hear. Previously down with Babygrande Records (Canibus, Hi-Tek), Jean Grae is now signed to Talib Kweli’s Blacksmith imprint.



Opportunity: Durango Songwriters Expo Offers BMI Members Discounted Registration


BMI will sponsor the Durango Songwriters Expo, slated for October 6-8 in Boulder, Colorado at the Omni Interlocken Resort just outside the city. The Colorado countryside will be transformed into a songwriter’s ideal networking and workshopping hotspot. Approximately forty industry pros will be on site to lend hands and ears, from hit songwriters including , Glenn Phillips, and Tim Fagan, to publishers, music supervisors and other executives such as BMI’s Casey Robison, Director of Writer/Publisher Relations in the organization’s Los Angeles office.

More than 200 attendees are expected. Each songwriter will have three listening sessions, showcase or open mic opportunities, as well as the chance to meet and co-write with other music creators.

BMI songwriters, composers and publishers may take 10% off standard registration rates.

For more information, please visit .




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