Archive for January 4, 2012

Music News: Talib Kweli and Mos Def Perform Little Brother With Roots.

?uestlove says it was a dream of his to perform “Little Brother” with Black Star and talks about how Dilla produced “one of the most intricate Hip Hop songs ever crafted” in his mind.


After Black Star performed “Little Brother” with The Roots on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, ?uestlove explained why the song is so important. The drummer behind The Roots noted his appreciation for J Dilla and shared some of what he knows about the beat. He also said that it was a dream of his to perform the song with Black Star.

New Music: Crooked I “Sweet Emotion”

Industry Tips & Advice: How Record Labels Work by Allison Klein Pt 4

The Business of Music

Now that you understand how a record label is organized and what the A&R department does, it’s time to take you through the steps a record company goes through when it decides to sign an artist. To understand this process, let’s take a look at a rock group we’ll call “Band X,” and a record label we’ll call “For Example Records.”

Before artists can be signed, they have to be discovered. Imagine, for this example, that Band X is discovered after an A&R representative from For Example Records goes to see Band X at a live show. Before the A&R person went to the show, he was given a demo tape by a trusted source and did his research on the band. At the club, he likes what he sees and now must convince the entire A&R staff to sign the band. When they are in agreement, the band is signed and the wheels go into motion.

Band X must now plan its album. The A&R director and producer decide on the concept of the album and select the songs that will be on the album. For Example Records gives Band X a budget, which is used for studio musicians, studio engineers and studio time. The A&R executive then coordinates a time for the band to begin recording the album. (In the past, record labels had their own “in-house” recording studios, but today most record labels use independent recording studios.)

As this is going on, the other departments of the record company are in full swing. A budget is allotted for advertising, art, publicity and promotion. As graphic artists, designers and copywriters begin their work, the A&R department, as well as publicity, marketing and sales, decide on a release date for the album. The artist development department (along with other departments) plans the live performances, promotional tour and radio and TV appearances. The record company must make sure that there is promotion for Band X on the national, regional and local level (depending on how much money the label is willing to spend).

Near the time that the album will be released, the label’s departments are working hard to secure press coverage and exposure for the band. All the machine’s parts are working together to make sure that Band X’s album will sell many copies, ensuring the success of everyone involved, from the artist to the radio stations to the CD stores.

This is just a sampling of some of the things that happen when a record label signs an artist. As you can tell, the music business is not just parties and hanging out with rock stars. A record label must do a great deal of work to discover, sign, produce, promote, distribute and sell an album.



Music News: Nas’ No Show Allegedly Cause For Kidnapping.

A New Years Eve concert no-show by Nas in Angola is being blamed for the alleged kidnapping of an American concert promoter and his son.

According to TMZ, Patrick Allocco of AllGood Entertainment and his son were abducted at gunpoint because of the rapper’s failure to show. A rep from AllGood stated that Nas along with opening act Jemiah Jai were paid 315k to perform two shows in Angola however, the two failed to make their appearances. Allocco’s team went on to say that both Patrick and his son were snatched up by hired assailants working “for a local ‘concert impresario’ named Henrique ‘Riquhino’ Miguel” who was allegedly paid a heap sum for the NYE show.

The rep also revealed that Miguel “was PISSED and didn’t want Allocco to leave the country without resolving the whole money issue … so he sent his people to take them into custody at gunpoint.” There Patrick and his son were reportedly handed over and interrogated for up to seven hours.

A U.S. Embassy personnel confirmed to TMZ that the two are “in residence” at a local hotel and are in the process of resolving the money issue with Miguel. Patrick gave this statement to his rep team: “The hope is that Nas and Jemiah Jai will return all of the monies that were wired to them immediately so that our ransom may be paid and our safe return to the United States may be facilitated.”

Neither Nas nor Jemiah Jai’s reps have responded to emails as of press time.—Ralph Bristout

Music Video: Roots Live at The Winter Classics

Industry Tips and Advice: Demo Deals.

By Heather McDonald
Unlike a lot of indie labels, major labels don’t like getting unsolicited demos. Such demos open up the label to way too many legal hassles for accepting them to be worthwhile (“hey, I sent my demo to such and such label and they gave my song to Beyonce!”). Still, demos are an important part of the new artist equation for many labels. After all, without a demo, how do you know what an artist’s music is really like and how they will sound on record as opposed to a live show? To get around being out of the traditional demo loop, major labels (and some big indies) rely on so-called demo deals.
Demo deals are essentially label funded tryouts. A record label will offer you a set budget to go into the studio and record a demo that meets their specifications in terms of number of songs. You record the demo, hand it over to the label, and they check it out and decide if they want to offer you a deal. Make no mistake about it – demo deals aren’t handed out like candy. If a label offers you such a deal, then they are very interested in your music, but there is no guarantee that a “real” record deal will await you at the other end of the demo process.
That being said, labels can’t sit on your demo forever. Demo deal contracts usually specify a set period of time the label has to make a decision about your music, and it is usually pretty fast: a month or two is usually the limit. During that time, you aren’t allowed to send your demo to other record labels and try to use it to land any sort of deal.
After the allotted time has passed, the label can offer you a deal or tell you “thanks, but no thanks.” You can’t decide not to listen to an offer from a label that has given you a demo deal. This is called first negotiation rights, and it means that you have to come to the table and hear them out.
What you don’t have to do is accept their offer. If you’ve negotiated and negotiated and you just can’t come to terms, you can take your demo and walk. With your demo in hand, you can nowshop it to other labels. If another label loves your music and wants to offer you a record deal based on what they’ve heard, your commitment to the label that paid for the demo is not over. Most demo deal contracts stipulate that that label has “first refusal rights.” That means that you have to take your new deal to them and give them a chance to match it. If they’re willing to match the deal, you have to take it. Sometimes you only have to go back to the first label if you are planning to accept a deal for less money than they offered you, and sometimes it is any deal, any time. Your demo deal contract will tell you which is which.
If you do sign a deal with another label, the first label is going to be holding their hand out looking for repayment for their outlay for your demo. If you have the money, great. In the very likely event that you don’t, your new label may step up, pay your bill and then recoup their expenses from the royalties from your release for them.
It is also important to note that demo deals have an enforcement time limit. If you record a demo and nothing happens, and ten years later you sign a record deal, that first company usually can’t come back and say, “remember that demo? We’ll take our cash now.” Again, your contract should have a provision that lets you off the hook after a year or so.
Are demo deals good? From a label perspective, they are a roll of the dice. You may end up with a great new artist, but you also may end up never recouping your outlay. From a musician perspective, demo deals let you professionally record a demo without spending the cash upfront, but they can also leave you with a big red mark on your label account that will eat up your royalties for quite some time – and believe me, you will have enough of those without a demo deal.
The bottom line? Demo deals involve some risk on the part of all parties involved, but sometimes they are quite useful. It all comes down to your circumstances, how enthusiastic the label is and the size of the outlay.

Quote Of The Day

But time growing old teaches all things.


Breaking News: The Quadrantid Meteor Shower Live



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