Archive for September 30, 2011

Industry Tips & Advice: Negotiating and Signing a Band Agreement

Maggie Lange, an attorney and Professor of Music Business/Management at Berklee College of Music, discusses what a band agreement is, and why signing a band agreement that sketches out how your group will handle its business, is a good idea for any group which is thinking about getting serious about their commitment to a career in music.



The Real World: Occupy Wall Street Join The Movement!!!

Article: Is Europe Screwing Artists? Here’s Another Take… by Paul Resnikoff

Last week, music industry attorney Steve Gordon European copyright extensions, mostly for being handouts to rich interests. That is, big labels and superstar artists, even with provisions geared towards the little guy.  It just didn’t trickle down or make sense, according to Gordon’s point-by-point logic.

But there are plenty of voices on the other side, including ex-SoundExchange head John Simson.  In this response for Digital Music News, Simson gives his two Euro cents on why this is worth a lot more.

The extension widens the copyright on sound recordings to 70 years, from 50 years previously.



Steve Gordon’s recently-published, incredibly-flawed analysis of the new EU directive would have you believe that only major record companies would benefit from this extension, with artists (other than mega-artists) receiving only a slight benefit. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Virtually every artist group and collecting society, which represents the rights of recording artists and session musicians, favor this extension for several important reasons:

1.  The directive includes a ‘use it or lose it‘ provision which means that if an artist’s work is no longer available to the public, the artist has the right to release those recordings themselves. This is a major victory for all artists who want to exploit their work but who for years had limited opportunity to do so;


2.  The directive includes a provision that record companies must pay 20 percent of their proceeds in the extended term to recording artists who were paid flat fees, or one-off payments instead of continuing royalties (session musicians and vocalists, among others).


3.  While compilations of catalogue material and tracks from classic catalogue will no doubt continue to sell to new generations, the majority of revenue derived from these tracks will be from licenses: commercial use, motion picture and television use, and public performances of these works. For the most part, these uses are split on a 50-50 basis between the ‘producer’ (the European term for the owner of the recording, not the studio producer) and the recording artist.



4.  Another major ‘win’ for the recording artist is that all unrecouped balances are wiped out in the extended term, so any revenue generated will be paid out.


5.  Public performance income on sound recordings, now well over $1 billion annually and growing at a very healthy rate, provides a steady income stream, not only to the featured recording artist and the sound recording copyright owner, typically a label, but also to the session musicians and vocalists who performed on those recordings.

In France, and some other countries, these ‘background’ performers receive half of all artist payments; in the UK it is a more complicated formula but averages around 35 percent of the featured artist’s share, a far cry from the US where, unfortunately, session musicians and vocalists receive only 10 percent of the artist’s share (or 5 percent of the total revenue generated).


I’ve seen critics point to increased costs for businesses as a reason to deny this extension – but businesses have a choice. If they don’t want to increase their costs, don’t use the recordings!  There are plenty of recordings in the public domain in Europe, including most of Elvis and early rock n’ roll. Has the public really benefited?  Do we need poorly mastered, cheaply packaged reissues?

While a few companies have used the 50-year rule to reissue and repackage things, respectfully and artfully, that is not the case most of the time. Why shouldn’t the artist, still living or his or her children, have the right to control that work throughout their lifetime? We’ve given songwriters their lifetimes plus an additional seventy years. Why should it be different for a recording artist?”



Glossary: Music


A Microsoft compatible with CD players.

Article: J.Cole Predicted To Sell Over 240k In The First Week.

Sources first told us Cole World was already projected to sell over 100K after 24 hours but now Billboard is throwing an even bigger number out there for the album’s first week sales. Industry prognosticators predict J. Cole’s debut album could push from 240k – 250k by the end of the week.

Sure, Kanye and Jay did 436,078 their first week but this is mighty impressive if it holds true. Cole is on pace to become the first solo artist’s debut to hit number one, since May 2o10. Bobby Ray did it then with The Adventures of Bobby Ray, which sold about 86k.

Cole breaks down the album, track by track, after the jump… missinfo.tv

Article: The Turntable Kitchen Pairings Box Offers “Curated Food & Music Discovery Experience” by Clyde Smith

As previously , 1band 1brand connects fashion and music in a variety of ways including on the two. Now Turntable Kitchen, a blog that connects food and music, is offering a monthly subscription service pairing tasty tunes and yummy eats.

is a blog about both music and food that occasionally pairs the two as one might pair food and wine. For example, in one post they pair a .

This interesting approach is taken by a couple, , with Kasey focusing the food and Matthew responsible for music. Now they’re taking their pairing concept further with the that, for $25 a month, offers a monthly shipment described as:

  • A limited-edition, hand-numbered 7-inch vinyl single featuring a pair of tracks by one of TK’s favorite artists/bands.
  • An exclusive, downloadable TK-curated digital mixtape packed with some of the most exciting up-and-coming new artists we’ve listened to.
  • A collection of three seasonal, themed recipes for you to try. Think: Fall Brunch, A Russian December Dinner, etc.
  • 1-2 premium dried ingredients for you to make 2-4 servings of each dish or drink (depending on each month’s theme). Each month, we’ll feature a special spice, flour, grain, or bean you’ll need to pull together a fabulous meal for yourself and a few friends.
  • Our suggested Pairings, tasting notes, and additional insights into the music and food that we’re sharing with you.
  • Occasional treats in the form of edible goodies, artist recipes, special reviews and bonus songs will surprise you along the way!

Focusing on a subscription model rather than a deals model is actually quite smart given that music bundled with related items have done quite well without being discounted. The rather complex package sounds like just the kind of thing foodies who love music would appreciate. Presenting it as a subscription service removes some of the uncertainty of sales and inventory while providing a unique offering that seems quite capable of building a cult following.

Given that I’m fascinated by both blogging and business models, it’s also nice to see such an interesting approach to developing a new revenue stream that is creative yet integrally tied to the content of the blog while setting the stage for additional streams if so desired.



Industry Tips & Advice: Flow of music rights and music royalties by Christopher S. Harrison

Licensing @ DMX

When I started at DMX, I found the following matrix helped me keep track of the licenses implicated in our various uses of music. I continue to find it a useful tool through which to filter new proposed uses and to help educate our internal organization.

Recently, someone felt compelled to try to the flow of music rights and corresponding royalties for the U.K. Another enterprising someone tried to the same flow of rights and royalties in the U.S. Always up for a challenge, I decided to take the relatively straightforward matrix above and develop a graphical representation of the flow of music rights and music royalties from the DMX perspective–for the U.S. only.

As the two above representations demonstrate, music law is either somewhat complicated or really, really complicated, depending on into how much detail one wants to delve. In the remainder of this semester, we’ll generally try to stay at just the “somewhat complicated” level, though at times we’ll have to venture into the land of “really, really complicated.” Enjoy…



Industry Tips & Advice: Hurricane Chris on the music game

Big Business kicks for a minute with Hurricane Chris about the music game

Quote Of The Day

A human being is not attaining his full heights until he is educated.
Horace Mann

Article: 10 Best Female Rappers: # 5. Da Brat

Discovered by Jermaine Dupri in ’92, Da Brat (like MC Lyte and Queen Latifah) exploded into the hip-hop scene at a time when female rappers were almost unheard of. Against all odds, her debut, Funkdafied, became the first platinum-selling album by a female rapper. Unlike Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown, Da Bra-ta-ta skewered sexuality early on in her career. Instead, she relied on her dashing delivery and double time flow.




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.