Archive for October 5, 2011

Industry Tips & Advice: Traits a Good Producer Needs

Producer and music educator John Snyder expresses his strongly worded opinions on what traits make a good producer good, and what happens if you don’t work on developing these traits.

Shoot Date: April 2008

Industry Tips & Advice: Artist Deals and the Future of the Music Industry

Don Passman is an entertainment lawyer and the author of All You Need to Know About the Music Business. He discusses the changes in current artist deals. Passman also discusses what he believes is one of the key aspects of the future of the music industry: cell phone technology.

Shoot Date: September 2006



Breaking News: Steve Jobs Dies, Was Only 56 Years Old.

 the mastermind behind ‘s iPhone, iPad, iPod, iMac and iTunes, has died, Apple said. Jobs was 56.

“We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today,” read a statement by Apple’s board of directors. “Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve. His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts.”

The homepage of Apple’s website this evening switched to a full-page image of Jobs with the text, “Steve Jobs 1955-2011.”

Clicking on the image revealed the additional text: “Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.”

Jobs co-founded Apple Computer in 1976 and, with his childhood friend Steve Wozniak, marketed what was considered the world’s first personal computer, the Apple II.

Industry watchers called him a master innovator — perhaps on a par with Thomas Edison — changing the worlds of computing, recorded music and communications.

In 2004, he beat back an unusual form of pancreatic cancer, and in 2009 he was forced to get a liver transplant. After several years of failing health, Jobs announced on Aug. 24, 2011 that he was stepping down as Apple’s chief executive.

“I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know,” Jobs wrote in his letter of resignation. “Unfortunately, that day has come.
reported by

Glossary: Music

P.D. – Per Diem:

A per diem, or P.D. for short, literally means “per day” and it is basically expense money for a touring band. P.D.s are paid out to each band member and usually members of the crew so that they can afford to cover basic personal expenses while on tour. P.D.s can vary dramatically depending on how much money the tour has behind it – for instance, a small tour for an indie band that is losing money probably won’t have any P.D.s at all, while a tour that has plenty of tour support from a record label might have very generous P.D.s that give everyone plenty of money for food and maybe even a little left over.

Industry Tips & Advice: Making Money in Today’s World of Music by Todd and Jeff Brabec

In today’s world, there are a variety of ways songwriters and artists make money in music. These include, but are not limited to: video games, on-line streaming, traditional radio play, downloads, songs in films, TV shows and commercials, webisodes, ringtones, e-greeting cards, lyrics on t-shirts and jeans, merch bundling and more

Some of these areas generate a lot of money, others very little and some are good for promotional benefit only.

Each area of music has its own set of rules, contracts, licenses, considerations and royalties and differ depending on whether you are a songwriter, an artist, or both.

The following gives you the basics of what you need to know to make money as a songwriter and artist in today’s world of music.

Record Sales

Every time a song is downloaded or sold in a physical form (CD, vinyl, etc.), the songwriter and music publisher are paid a combined 9.1¢ from the record company. For example, if the song has 100,000 individual track downloads from iTunes and is on a 500,000 unit selling album, the total “mechanical” royalties would be $54,600 ($9,100 + $45,500). In addition to these “song” royalties, the artist would also receive recording artist royalties for each sale based upon the royalty provisions of his or her recording contract.


If the song becomes a major radio hit, the total songwriter and music publisher “performance” royalties could easily exceed $700,000. These royalties come from the fees that are negotiated by the performing right organizations (ASCAP, BMI and SESAC) with the many users of music (radio and television stations being the largest) and which are split 50/50 between the songwriter and music publishers involved with the song. Writers and publishers have to join one of these organizations to receive these royalties.

The royalties in this area can vary greatly depending on which organization you join as well as how many times the song is performed and the type of station it is performed on (a performance on a large station will be worth more money than a small station, etc.). Also, ASCAP, BMI and SESAC give extra bonus monies to songs which generate a great many radio performances in a 3 month period; sometimes tripling the amount of money for a hit song (e.g. $200,000 in royalties becomes $600,000).


The song also receives many thousands of streams on the Internet (web radio) resulting in additional song royalties to the writer and music publisher. The recording artist, on the other hand, receives even more money for these very same streams of the record from SoundExchange (the entity that collects for artists, labels and background musicians and vocalists). An artist has to join SoundExchange to receive these record “performance” royalties. There is also no fee to join SoundExchange.


The song is next put into a major motion picture resulting in a $40,000 songwriter and music publisher “synchronization” fee. If the film were an independent feature film, a documentary, a student film or a film being shown only in film festivals, the fees could be as low as $500 or “gratis” depending on the budget of the film. In many cases, the writer and publisher will negotiate “step deals” where they receive additional “synch” monies if the film achieves certain box office numbers. In addition, every time the movie is shown on broadcast television or cable, the writer and publisher will earn monies from ASCAP, BMI or SESAC. Once again, this shows the importance of registering with a performance rights organization. If you are not associated with ASCAP, BMI or SESAC, you will not get your song royalties for performances of the movie.

If the original master recording is used in the film, the fee will normally be the same as negotiated for the song and is shared 50/50 by the record label and the artist.

Video Games

Based on the song’s success, a video game developer wants to use it in a Guitar Hero / Rock Band type game. As opposed to most video games that pay only a one time “synchronization buyout” songwriter / music publisher fee to put the song into a game, many music intensive games pay a song either on a per unit sold basis (e.g. 1¢ per game sold) or on the game reaching certain sales plateau numbers (e.g. $ 4,000 to put the song into a game with an additional $4,000 for each 250,000 units sold). Additional monies are also earned when a song is downloaded into a game. As many of these types of games sell millions of units, the monies can be substantial for the songwriter and music publisher. If the original master recording is also used, the record label and recording artist will receive the same amount since they usually license on the same basis.

With Rock Band, you can make your song available for gamers to buy and play. Each time your song is bought, you are paid a fee that you must split with the publisher (after all, the song was “reproduced” when it was bought and downloaded).


Anytime a song is placed into a television program, the television producer will negotiate a fee
with the music publisher of the song who then shares the monies with the songwriter. The amount
of the fee will depend on many factors including the show’s music budget, the stature of the song, the
length of the license, the distribution media (over-the-air television, cable, the Internet, downloads to
mobile phones, etc.) and how the song is used in the program (sung by an actor, played in the
background, used as the theme, etc.), how long it is used for (10 seconds, 2 minutes, full
use), among other factors.

Some television series ask for an “all television” license which will allow them to broadcast the
program on all types of television media including Internet distribution. Virtually all television licenses
have an option for the TV show producer to distribute the program to home video. Some include home
video in the original license without making it an option and pay more upfront. Other series license for
all media which gives them the right to distribute the series over all distribution platforms. And there are
many variations in between. For example, CSI will ask for one type of license and American Idol a totally different type of license.
Fees range from $9,000 to $30,000 for the use of a known song in an episode of a successful series depending on the type of license and the media requested. The fees for lesser known or new songs are less than the above.

If a TV show wants to use your song as a theme, the producers will also many times license the master recording of the song. For example, The Sopranos TV series not only used A3’s song “Woke Up This Morning” (through a license with their publisher) but also licensed the original master record from the group’s record company under a separate negotiation. If the song is specifically written for the TV show, however, the production company will virtually always own the publishing rights and master recordings.


For many years, the songwriter and music publisher payment for a song used in a ringtone was a % of the price paid by the consumer (e.g. 10% of $1.99). That % arrangement has been replaced by a 24¢ total fee for each ringtone sold in the U.S. This fee is collected by the music publisher and shared with the songwriter according to the terms of the publishing agreement, (e.g., 50% to the songwriter, 75% to the songwriter, etc.)

Broadway Show

The song is placed in a “catalogue musical” similar to the Journey songs used in the show “Rock of Ages” and the Green Day songs in the Broadway show “American Idiot”. The deal that the music publisher agrees to is one that pays all of the songs in the show a percentage of the gross weekly box office receipts. The show becomes a big hit grossing 1 million dollars a week in New York with the writer and publisher earning $200,000 in theatre royalties for the 1st year of performances.


These are just some of the ways that music makes money in today’s world. Granted, you have to have the right song or record as well as be knowledgeable enough to take advantage of opportunities when they are presented to you. That said, opportunities to make money from your music are greater than ever before. Recognize them, take advantage of them, and enjoy your career in music.

© 2010 Jeff Brabec, Todd Brabec
Information contained in this article is from the Jeff and Todd Brabec book “Music, Money, And Success: The Insider’s Guide To Making Money In The Music Business” (Schirmer Trade Books/Music Sales/505 pages/6th Edition). See also the Brabecs’ website: .



Article: Why music video games aren’t dead by Scott Steinberg

Music video games such as Activision Blizzard’s and Electronic Arts/MTV/Harmonix’s were among gaming’s fastest-growing sectors a few years ago, soaring to become a $1.7 billion business by 2008. But after a 46-percent sales crash in 2009, they become a cautionary tale and fodder for endless jokes describing “the day the music died.”

But despite critics’ claims, the beat hasn’t stopped for music games, which continue to enjoy chart-topping success in a multitude of forms and formats. As revealed in my new book (), here’s why it’s premature to label them a one-hit wonder.

Online, Mobile and Social Play

As we speak, smartphones, tablet PCs, web browsers and social networks are introducing millions to gaming, and expanding its audience to include even those who don’t consider themselves gamers per se. Moreover, billions of players are suddenly now walking around with ready-made jukeboxes in their pocket, or piped into free multiplayer (and therefore virtual-concert-ready) venues courtesy of services like Google+ and Facebook. Given the unique ability to serve as a common unifier across cultural, generational and socioeconomic divides, music – and, most importantly, music games – are spearheading the forefront of the revolution.

Make no mistake: Mobile, social, digital and online connected play is the future of music games, and already leading the field forward into a brave new era. From iPhone and iPad outings including Tap Tap Glee, VidRhythm and Songify to digital downloads like Audiosurf and Facebook offerings like Nightclub City and Dirty Dancing, a new breed of title is quickly emerging. And between the rise of franchises like Tap Tap Revenge and gamification-powered group listening services like Turntable.FM, their impact is already being felt. Between free and value-priced titles which tap into your smartphone and tablet PC’s digital music library, or let you download new tunes on-demand, the category’s fortunes are rapidly soaring. Simultaneously, new titles like Skillz also aim to provide experiences akin to those console-based competitors, i.e. DJ Hero, do at a fraction of the cost, minus the oversized controllers.

Given music’s massive appeal, and growing on-demand availability and ubiquity through connected devices, today’s mobile and social platforms offer endless brave new horizons for game makers to explore and conquer.

Digital Distribution

Sales of pricey plastic peripheral-based performance simulation games have been waning lately. But as can be seen from Rock Band, described by creator Harmonix as “a platform” and still drawing over one million people monthly to download new music online, it may be irrelevant. With said series having shifted over 100 million digital singles alone, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that online music distribution, not retailing fake Stratocasters, may be the real viable long-term business here.

Novel offerings with an attractive, attention-grabbing and instantly communicable hook, music games with fake drum sets and Stratocasters such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band may secretly have just been Trojan horses. Serving to capture the public’s imagination and introduce the ability to physically interact with songs, each effectively sneaked the beginnings of a pipeline for high-tech direct-to-consumer record industry sales into millions of homes. Admittedly more unwieldy and tougher to dispense than an iTunes download, these sets nonetheless remain capable of delivering virtually distributed songs, which users can play with and enjoy in myriad ways, at high premiums and margins.

For artists, record labels and game makers alike, the genre’s large installed base and voracious appetite for new tracks could prove a healthy business going forward.

User-Generated Content and Downloadable Content (DLC)

Devices like the Nintendo 3DS already offer popular features for built-in sound recording and sharing. Ditto for past outings like Guitar Hero: World Tour, which offers a complete song creation studio. But newer titles like Everybody Dance, YooStar on MTV and SingStar Dance also include the ability to tape and share performances online or distribute content via Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.

Whether creating beatbox-style remixes with applications like Cambox, or simply popping and locking on camera, all are tailor-made for viral spread, and helping quickly expand the category’s reach and audience. Though turning friends, family and shots of you accidentally two-stepping into the coffee table into embarrassing videos may seem innocuous, don’t be fooled. By allowing users to effortlessly express themselves, edit creations and spread the word, all present a tremendous opportunity that game makers are rapidly capitalizing on to build new promotional and sales opportunities.

Motion-Sensing and Active Games

Paired with motion-sensing peripherals like the Wii remote, PlayStation Move and Xbox 360 Kinect, music games aren’t just providing new and novel ways to play, and greatly piquing public interest. As sales figures reveal, they’re also staging a strong comeback. Alone, the Just Dance series has moved over 10 million copies, while Michael Jackson: The Experience notched three million copies sold worldwide and Dance Central managed to get 2.5 million butts jiggling in less than one year. That suggests we’ve moved on from fake guitars to sensor-based dance games.

Granted, titles like the upcoming Ubisoft game , played with a real guitar, will inevitably face an uphill battle going forward. Interested as people are in getting off the couch and shaking their moneymaker though, gesture-powered options like The Black Eyed Peas Experience still seem poised for success. Will motion-tracking dance and karaoke games rule going forward? That remains TBD. But given the seemingly rich and largely untapped vein active titles present by letting players literally get in the game, we wouldn’t bet against it.

Video game and technology expert is the head of video game consulting firm TechSavvy Global. A , analyst and industry consultant, he’s a regular on-air correspondent for ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and CNN. The creator and host of popular online video shows Tech Industry Insider, Gear Up and GameTheory, he’s a noted an entrepreneur and whose companies self-publish books, software, websites and more. His latest book is Music Games Rock: Rhythm Gaming’s Greatest Hits of All Time (2011, Power Play Publishing)  –  100% free to download at , also available on and ($2.99) and in ($24.99) editions.



Industry Tips & Advice: Tour Press Release Template by Heather McDonald

If you want it to be standing room only at the shows on your tour, then you need a tour press release to help get people talking. A tour press release will pave the way for you to get the press buzzing about your upcoming shows – and getting media attention for your gigs is the best way to people through the door. This press release was written with bands and labels in mind as the writers and print media, websites, and radio in mind as the recipients. Show promoters and PR agents will want to a slightly different tact with their tour press releases.

The Header: At the top center of your page should be a headline announcing your news – “Band X on Tour!” is fine, or something in your own words that expresses the point of the press release. Use a large font and bold print. Don’t make the headline cryptic. Remember that the person reading your press release is probably reading lots of other press releases – they’ll appreciate you giving them a clear message about why they should keep reading.

Under the headline, in smaller font, include another sentence or two about your news. Think along the lines of “Band X will be on tour from this date – that date to promote their new album XYZ.” You can italicize this text, or bold it, or both. Along with your main headline, it is a good idea to set this information apart from the rest of the press release by putting in a text box.

Optional top of the page inclusions are:

The label or band logo in one of the top corners of the page.
Contact information for the person that will field calls from the press for more information.
The band/label web address and/or MySpace page.

Paragraph One: Use this paragraph to state again that the band will be on tour, and if there is a reason why, say, to promote a new album or new single, include that in this paragraph. You don’t have to go into great detail about the new album/single here – if you want to draw some attention specifically to that, send your album press releases as well. You can also include a sentence or two about the band to give the reader a point of reference – tell them why they may have heard of you – but keep it brief. If you need a more formal introduction, include your band bio separately.

Paragraph Two: This paragraph is not as much a paragraph as it is a list of your tour dates. Introduce them by saying something along the lines of, “You can catch Band X at:” and then listing your tour dates. Put each date on a separate line. It also helps to center this information on the page and set the text apart in some way, either by using a different font or italicizing the text. You want the details of the shows to jump off the tour press release. If you know what other bands are on the bill with you, include their names here as well. If there is anything special about any of the shows – for instance, if a show is an afternoon gig or if the show is 18+ only – include that information on your list as well.

Closing: To close your tour press release, include the contact information the person in charge of handling press queries about the shows. Make a suggestion of what you want the person to reading the press release to do with this information: “if you need more information, or if you want to interview the band or review the show, please contact so and so.” Hammer home the contact information again by either having another small text box along the bottom of the page, or by bolding the text (visually, along the bottom this works better if the box is small and long – stretching horizontally across the page, rather than a wider text box that is centered on the page).



Article: Rick Ross Drops New Music

Rick Ross has a double-whammy on his hands. He is debuting a double single from his upcoming God Forgives, I Don’t album tonight with the big homie Funk Flex on Hot97. And multiple people that I’ve talked to on the Def Jam and WBR side have raved that there’s even stronger material on the album.

From what I’ve been told, the theme of God Forgives, I Don’t is “the duality of man,” and the two opposing personalities of Rick Ross.

UPDATE: Rick Ross announces to Flex that God Forgives, I Don’t arrives December 13.
check missinfotv.com for more info

Industry Tips & Advice: Ty Cohen’s Indie Music Biz / Business 101 : Call 2 – Part 4

Music Industry “Experts” fear me because I give away the same information that you need to succeed in the music biz that they charge thousands of dollars for. Listen in to past recordings of my “Motivational Music Mondays” tele-seminar series, plus sign up to become on of my elite “Music Industry Success” students for Free at www.MusicBizCenter.com then join my one-on-one coaching program at www.MusicIndustryCoachingClub.com/discount

Quote Of The Day

Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.
John F. Kennedy

Article: Top 10 best R&B artists that have emerged this decade by Sarah Epps

Every 10 years or so, we have a set of new entertainers and artists that breaks boundaries and make themselves household names. In the genre of r&b, there are many new artists that emerge,but fail to make a lasting impact in the music industry.

All the artists listed below debuted in the industry between the years 2000 and 2009.

10. John Legend – We first heard John Legend sing on Alicia Keys’ single “You Don’t Know My Name” in 2003. A year later, we then knew Legend for more than singing background vocals; he touched everyone’s heart with his Top 40 Hit “Ordinary People” in 2005 from the platinum selling album “Get Lifted”. The 6 time Grammy award winner has gone to sell over 6 million albums combined. Click to buy “Get Lifted”

9. Mario – Mario is best known for his 2 mega hits “Just A Friend” which peaked at #4 on the Hot 100 and “Let Me Love You” which was his first #1 hit. Mario first hit the music scene in 2002 as a 16 year old, demanding to be heard. With vocals and soul that are unmatched with any other teen, Mario captured our attention and made us remember his name. He’s still going on, Mario will be bring out a new album entitled “D.N.A” this year. Make sure to support him.

8. Jennifer Hudson- If you want to know how to make yourself a household name, just ask Jennifer Hudson. She has gone from American idol contestant to an Oscar and Grammy award winning diva in less than 3 years. When Dreamgirls first released in theaters, i’m sure there were tears flowing down more than a million faces after she sang her rendition of “I Am Telling You”. Even so, after her major success in Dreamgirls, Hudson was not ready to settle. She released her self titled debut album which sold over 200,000 copies in the first week. Jennifer is a force, and she won’t stop.

7. Chris Brown -With comparisons to Michael Jackson and Usher, how can one not be successful? Chris stormed onto the music scene in 2005 capturing the hearts of teen girls around the world. Chris debuted his first single “Run It” and became the first male artists whose debut single top 3 charts in the #1 position. Brown’s success did not seem to stop, all of his 3 singles made the Top 20. His second album, “Exclusive”, brought in more success for the 20 year old. He went on to claim 3 top 10 hits, and knocking all competition out the park. No matter the legal trouble, Chris is a talent that won’t be forgotten. Brown’s 3rd album is to be released later this year.

6. Duffy – Blue eyed soul has been around forever, but in the past years it seems to be emerging and becoming more popular. Duffy is known for her unique voice and catchy, soulful songs. Duffy debuted her critically acclaimed album “Rockferry” to the world in 2007. The single Mercy peaked on the US charts at number 27, and her album has went on to sell a million copies in the US alone. There is no question that she is one of the best to hit the scene this decade.

5. Ashanti – She may not be as relevant today, but Ashanti’s music won’t be forgotten. In 2001-2003 era, Ashanti owned the airwaves. Her song “Foolish” peaked at #1 on the billboard charts and she obtained the record for highest debut for a female artist…selling 503K the first week. Since her debut, Ashanti has gone to record 4 albums and sell well over 15 million records worldwide.

4. Keyshia Cole – Keyshia Cole leaves a lasting impression on anyone, whether good or bad. The singers debut album “The Way It Is” only 89,000 copies her first week; but shortly after 17 weeks, the album was certified Gold and has now sold over 1.4 million copies. The singer made a very impressive improvement with her follow-up album “Just Like You”. The album sold 281K copies first week, and sold over 1.5 million copies. It seems Keyshia continues to grow with each album made; also combined with her TV show, she is definitely known across America.

3. Ne-yo – We first met Ne-yo when he was “So Sick of Love Songs”, now we all have fell deeply in love with the music of the talented gentleman. Ne-yo has 5 top ten songs, and 2 top ten albums to boast. He has wrote number 1 hits for the likes of Beyonce, Rihanna, Mario, etc. There seems to be nothing Ne-yo can not do; he writes, produce, sing, dance and act. He is definitely the most talented male r&b artist to emerge this decade.

2. Beyonce- Huh? Beyonce at number 2? Well yes, it was very hard to choose, but she is amazing nonetheless. As one of today’s most talented and beautiful stars, Beyonce is an international success. Her career as a solo artist is one to beat. In 2003, Beyonce debuted her first solo album “Dangerously In Love”, which impacted the world in a way that only a mega-star could. DIL has sold over 13 million copies worldwide and won the diva 5 grammys in one night (Only to be tied with Lauryn Hill, Alicia Keys, Norah Jones and Amy Winehouse. Beyonce did not settle after her debut, she has gone to sell over 25 million records and has earned 7 Grammys in her solo career.

1. Alicia Keys – Timeless music, timeless artist. In 2001, Alicia caught the world’s attention with “Fallin”. We didn’t know how so much soul could be in such a beautiful, young woman. Many doubted Alicia could beat the success of her debut album “Songs In A Minor” selling over 13 million copies as of this date. Keys released “Diary of Alicia Keys” in late 2003 selling 618K in her first week of sales, and went on to sell 8 million albums worldwide. Overall, Alicia has went on to sell over 30 million albums, establishing herself as one of the best-selling artist of this decade. Keys is also commonly nicknamed “Grammy Goddess” due to her high favor in winning. Only a few female r&b artist have been nominated for a total of 24 Grammy awards, and won 12. The classically trained pianist is continuing her career, and is said to bring out an album by the end of this year.




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