Archive for October 21, 2011

Industry Tips & Advice: MUSIC PUBLISHING – AN INTRODUCTION (Part 2) by Alan Korn


This article is part 2 of an overview on music publishing. I discussed what music publishers do and the types of income they collect. This column looks at typical publishing deals that are available.


Actually, not every artist needs to enter a publishing deal. It may be wiser to first obtain a major record deal before finding a music publisher. Conversely, publishers may want nothing to do with an artist who doesn’t have a record deal or some other guaranteed way to generate income. In addition, some artists may prefer to hold onto their copyrights and let administration agencies collect their publishing income.


With the exception of print music, income from musical compositions is generally split on a 50/50 basis between the music publisher and writer. The publisher’s half of this income is called the “publisher’s share,” and the writer’s half is the “writer’s share.”

To illustrate how this works in the real world, let’s take the following example. Imagine a publisher collects slightly more than $.68 (68 cents) in mechanical royalties from the sale of one of your CDs (actually 10 songs x $.091 cents per song x 75% rate for controlled compositions = 68.25 cents. I’ll round off the extra ¼ cent for purposes of this article). Assuming there are no collection costs deducted off the top, the publisher’s share comes to approximately $.34 (34 cents) and the writer’s share also comes to approximately $.34 (34 cents).

This financial split is a basic, but important, concept. When discussing publishing income, be sure to remember this distinction between “publisher’s share” and “writer’s share.”



Standard music publishing deals come in several varieties. These include song-by-song publishing deals for specific compositions, and exclusive songwriter agreements that may last for a fixed period of years (usually 1 year with options to extend the term). These publishing deals may cover all songs written by an artist, or just those songs commercially released during the term of the agreement.

Under either arrangement, the publisher becomes the copyright owner of the songs. In exchange, the Publisher may pay the artist an advance based upon the potential value of the compositions. Subsequent income generated from these songs is then split, usually on a 50/50 basis. After the publisher recovers its advance, the artist is paid the “writer’s share” of net income received, while the publisher retains its publisher’s share.


Co-publishing deals are similar to the above arrangement, except the artist (or the artist’s publishing entity) co-owns a percentage of the copyright along with the publisher. It is common for both parties to each own 50% of the copyright, though percentages can vary from deal to deal.

In a CO-publishing deal, the songwriter’s publishing entity also receives a percentage of the “publisher’s share” of income. Thus, using the above hypothetical, an artist would receive the “writer’s share” of the publishing “pie” (i.e., 34 cents), while also receiving up to half the net income from the publisher’s share of the publishing “pie”(i.e., an additional 17 cents).

Although CO-publishing deals are sometimes better than standard publishing deals, not all CO-publishing deals are in the artists best interest. For instance, some independent record labels require new artists to enter into a CO-publishing deal with the label’s “publishing” entity. (Ironically, few major labels require this of their artists). Even if you are offered an additional advance for such a deal, you should resist it! Here’s why:

  1. The record company’s goal here is to reduce the amount of money payable to you from record sales (since the record company gets to keep 50% of the “publisher’s share” of mechanical royalty income);
  2. Independent record labels may lack the experience and resources to promote your songs like an independent publishing company;
  3. An independent publisher has more incentive to demand and accounting and collect publishing income from your label; and
  4. It may actually be in your interest to retain these copyrights and enter into an administration deal instead.


In an administration deal, the publishing administrator collects income and also helps promote the songwriter’s catalogue. An administration deal may last for a specific period of time (i.e., 3 years) or for one year with several options to renew. When the term is over, all rights revert back to the artist.

A publishing administrator is typically paid by deducting a percentage of the income it collects on behalf of the artist. After deducting this administration fee (anywhere from 10% to 20% of the gross proceeds) the administrator distributes 100% of the remaining net income to the songwriter(s). As an incentive to promote your songs, some administrators may also charge a slightly higher collection fee for income earned from cover songs.

In some cases, a songwriter may receive as much income from a co-publisher as a publishing administrator. However, while a CO-publisher may be able to offer a generous advance, an administration deal can provide an artist with greater financial and artistic control. There are also many advantages to retaining the copyright to your songs. For example, if your first record sells only moderately but your next CD becomes commercially successful, you may gain greater leverage to negotiate a favorable publishing, CO-publishing or administration deal at a later date.


These two columns provide just a brief overview of the music publishing industry. Because publishing money is often a major source of revenue for recording artists, it is important to know about your publishing rights. For those who want to learn more about this area, one book worth reading is “Music, Money and Success: The Insider’s Guide to the Music Industry” by Jeff Brabec and Todd Brabec. The authors have years of experience in the music business, and their book provides a detailed guide to publishing industry practices, including tips on what to look for in a publishing deal.

Alan Korn
Law Office of Alan Korn
1840 Woolsey Street
Berkeley, CA 94703
Ph: (510) 548-7300
Fax: (510) 540-4821



Industry Tips & Advice: The Importance of Music to Game Development and User Experience

Rob Catto, Program Director of Game Development at Full Sail University, explains how adding layers of sensory data to a game can create a fuller, more immersive experience for the player. He also gives some background on how music’s role in game development has evolved over the years, and how, thanks to improved technology, it has become a more significant part of the gaming experience.

Shoot Date: January 2008

Glossary: Gaming

Concept art:

Drawings or paintings that represent what a thing will look like in the future when the thing exists (needed because it doesn’t exist yet, and funding is easier to get when you can show what it will look like).

Industry Tips & Advice: Seth Godin on the Music Business – Part 3

Seth Godin talks to Music Business Radio about the changing face of the music industry.



off that “ON DECK” hosted by DJ Suss One Get It Done Entertainment LLC

Industry Tips & Advice: Navigating the Music Business – Mapping Out A Living BY: JAMES HOGG

So how hard is it really? You write songs and sell them, that’s all there is to it, right? Unfortunately the music industry isn’t quite as simple as we’d all like it to be. There are many different sectors through which an artist must pass and even more ways in which these sectors can be negotiated and traversed. To successfully navigate the music industry one must learn what happens in each of these sectors and how they inter-relate. To help you get started we have a ‘Map of the Musical Universe’ courtesy of PRS (click to enlarge).

This map provides a detailed summary of the business flow within the music industry. Look closely at how and where money changes hands and try to work out where you might fit in. Also, to help you make sense of it all, we’ve come up with a few top tips for navigating the music industry >>

1. Know your Brand

Always bear in mind that, just like purveyors of all other commercial products, you are a brand. Music is, of course, a highly creative endeavor in its own right, but after it has been published, distributed, sold and bought it becomes the end product of a complex commercial industry which effectively makes you, the artist, a marketable brand. We know that great music can sell itself, but branding always exists in some form. For example, even an artist who rejects everything to do with marketing and branding will, in doing so, create a set of branding credentials and a marketable image: that they are nonchalant, they disregard convention etc. The Sex Pistols’ anti-authoritarian and anti-establishment attitude became their brand; what they were known for.

Branding is essentially how you are perceived and is something that you can try to actively influence with an array of marketing strategies. Alternatively you can let your Brand grow naturally as you make more releases and do more gigs. Whichever method you choose, the key thing is to be aware of how you are perceived and how this perception can be effected by different things.

With an accurate notion of your Brand and how you are perceived, you should begin to look for ways that you can use this perception to your advantage and channel it into good, effective promotion: select other producers/organizations/blogs that are in keeping with your Brand and look for with some form of mutually beneficial relationship. Find DJs and producers who play and make similar stuff to your own and swap tracks for collaboration or playing out. Write an article for a blog and ask in return to have your music posted there. Don’t confine your creativity to the studio: think of new and original ways to get your music to relevant audiences and people who will actually be interested.

2. Build a strong fan base

Aim to build lasting relationships with fans. On Twitter and Facebook don’t only post about buying your latest release as this will bore people and lose their attention. Keep your posts fresh, mix up the content and engage with fans as much as possible by replying to questions etc. It’s better to have a few dedicated and enthusiastic followers than a large amount who are all indifferent and disinterested. There are three different types of fan; passive, participating and passionate, so think of ways you can appeal to all three.

Don’t focus too much on selling tracks for 79p online. This is actually a very long-winded way of creating a fan base. You will be much better off giving tracks or other content away for free as this will encourage more interest and create a stronger connection between you and potential fans. The first step is to build up a following, then you can start making money from selling content. Additionally, a good sized following is something that will generate interest from promoters, venue bookers and labels and is therefore worth loads more than a few 79p downloads.

3. Be professional

A Wise Man (who loved his job) once said ‘choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’. You might not see your musical pursuits as a job or career, and it is true that the music industry is a lot more laid back than other areas of business, but it is an industry nonetheless and it is therefore vital to maintain a professional stance when dealing with the people you encounter as you navigate your way. Such situations will not always be equivalent to a strict office environment; indeed, an evening’s work might involve a few drinks whilst networking at a gig. The key here is to find a balance: Utilize the benefits of the music industry’s more relaxed conventions but always take it seriously. Nothing is more off putting than someone who acts as though business isn’t important.

One of the keys to success in the music industry is good networking and therefore a great way to demonstrate professionalism is through your communication with others. Here are some pointers:

Be conise, don’t ramble and make clear the reason you are contacting the recipient.
Avoid slang. Spelling should be as per the dictionary, no text message abbreviations.
Don’t hound anyone. Once you have sent the email or left a voicemail, wait at least a few days before chasing up. Never turn up at someone’s workplace uninvited: always call ahead and make an appointment for business matters.
Think about your reputation. The Music industry is made up of tight knit groups so if you have an argument with or are rude to one person, the word will soon get round. Slamming one door could cause several others to close as well.
Be considerate and helpful. The more you help people out, the more willing they will be to help you in the future. Thanking people when they help you makes it more worthwhile for them, so they will be more inclined to help you again.
4. It all comes down to the music

Hone your skill and master the craft. Ultimately, if the music is good it will sell itself. The advice above is all valid but don’t get so wrapped up in the business side of things that you neglect the creative process. Don’t worry about making a certain sound, stay true to the kind of sounds you want to create and your talent will show through naturally in the music you make.



Article: The killing of Muammar Gaddafi by Tim Gaynor and Taha Zargoun [VIDEO]

DISTURBING images of a blood-stained and shaken Muammar Gaddafi being dragged around by angry fighters quickly circulated around the world after the Libyan dictator’s dramatic death near his home town of Sirte.

The exact circumstances of his demise are still unclear with conflicting accounts of his death emerging. But the footage, possibly of the last chaotic moments of Gaddafi’s life, offered some clues into what happened.

Gaddafi was still alive when he was captured near Sirte. In the video, filmed by a bystander in the crowd and later aired on television, Gaddafi is shown being dragged off a vehicle’s bonnet and pulled to the ground by his hair.

“Keep him alive, keep him alive!” someone shouts. Gunshots then ring out. The camera veers off.
“They captured him alive and while he was being taken away, they beat him and then they killed him,” one senior source in the NTC told Reuters. “He might have been resisting.”

In what appeared to contradict the events depicted in the video, Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council said Gaddafi was killed when a gunfight broke out after his capture between his supporters and government fighters. He died from a bullet wound to the head, the prime minister said.

The NTC said no order had been given to kill him.
Gaddafi called the rebels who rose up against his 42 years of one-man rule “rats,” but in the end it appeared that it was he who was captured cowering in a drainage pipe full of rubbish and filth.

“He called us rats, but look where we found him,” said Ahmed Al Sahati, a 27-year-old government fighter, standing next to two stinking drainage pipes under a six-lane highway near Sirte.

Rat in the hole … The drainage pipe where Gaddafi was pulled out before meeting his death

On the ground, government fighters described scenes of sheer carnage as they told stories of Gaddafi’s final hours.
Shortly before dawn prayers, Gaddafi, surrounded by a few dozen loyal bodyguards and accompanied by the head of his now non-existent army Abu Bakr Younis Jabr, broke out of the two-month siege of Sirte and made a break for the west.

They did not get far.
France said its aircraft struck military vehicles belonging to Gaddafi forces near Sirte at about 8:30AM, but said it was unsure whether the strikes had killed Gaddafi. A NATO official said the convoy was hit either by a French plane or a U.S. Predator drone.

Two miles west of Sirte, 15 pick-up trucks mounted with machine guns lay burned out, smashed and smoldering next to an electricity substation 20 meters from the main road.

They had clearly been hit by a force far beyond anything the motley army the former rebels has assembled during eight months of revolt to overthrow the once feared leader.

But there was no bomb crater, indicating the strike may have been carried out by a fighter jet.
Inside the trucks still in their seats sat the charred skeletal remains of drivers and passengers killed instantly by the strike. Other bodies lay mutilated and contorted strewn across the grass. Some 50 bodies in all.

Fighters on the ground said Gaddafi and a handful of his men appeared to have run through a stand of trees and taken refuge in the two drainage pipes.

“At first we fired at them with anti-aircraft guns, but it was no use,” said Salem Bakeer, while being feted by his comrades near the road. “Then we went in on foot.

“One of Gaddafi’s men came out waving his rifle in the air and shouting surrender, but as soon as he saw my face he started shooting at me,” he told Reuters.

“Then I think Gaddafi must have told them to stop. ‘My master is here, my master is here’, he said, ‘Muammar Gaddafi is here and he is wounded’,” said Bakeer.

“We went in and brought Gaddafi out. He was saying ‘what’s wrong? What’s wrong? What’s going on?’. Then we took him and put him in the car,” Bakeer said.

At the time of his capture, Gaddafi was already wounded with gunshots to his leg and to his back, Bakeer said.
Other government fighters who said they took part in Gaddafi’s capture, separately confirmed Bakeer’s version of events, though one said the man who ruled Libya for 42 years was shot and wounded at the last minute by one of his own men.

“One of Muammar Gaddafi’s guards shot him in the chest,” said Omran Jouma Shawan.
There were also other versions of events. NTC official Abdel Majid Mlegta told Reuters Gaddafi had been finally cornered in a compound in Sirte after hours of fighting, and wounded in a gun battle with NTC forces.

He said Gaddafi kept repeating “What is the matter? What’s going on? What do you want?” and resisted as NTC fighters seized him. He added that Gaddafi died of his wounds as he was being transported in an ambulance.

“He was bleeding from his stomach. It took a long time to transport him. He bled to death (in the ambulance),” he said.
Another NTC official, speaking to Reuters anonymously, gave a violent account of Gaddafi’s death: “They (NTC fighters) beat him very harshly and then they killed him. This is a war.”

Video footage showed Gaddafi, dazed and wounded, but still clearly alive and as he was dragged from the front of a pick-up truck by a crowd of angry jostling government soldiers who hit him and pulled his hair to drag him to the ground.

He then appeared to fall to the ground and was enveloped by the crowd. NTC officials later announced Gaddafi had died of his wounds after capture.

Someone in the crowd shouted “keep him alive, keep him alive,” but another fighter cried out in a high pitched crazed scream. Gaddafi then goes out of view and gunshots are heard.

Further footage showed what appeared to be Gaddafi’s lifeless body being loaded into an ambulance in Sirte.
One of the fighters who said he took part in the capture brandished a heavily engraved golden pistol he said he had taken from Gaddafi.

Fallen electricity cables partially covered the entrance to the pipes and the bodies of three men, apparently Gaddafi bodyguards lay at the entrance to one end, one in shorts probably due to a bandaged wound on his leg.

Four more bodies lay at the other end of the pipes. All black men, one had his brains blown out, another man had been decapitated, his dreadlocked head lying beside his torso.

Army chief Jabr was also captured alive, Bakeer said. NTC officials later announced he was dead.
Joyous government fighters fired their weapons in the air, shouted “Allahu Akbar” and posed for pictures. Others wrote graffiti on the concrete parapets of the highway. One said simply: “Gaddafi was captured here.”





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