Industry Tips & Advice: The 1909 Copyright Act

Russell Rains, a lawyer and Director of the Digital Media Management MBA Program at St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX, explains some key features of the 1909 Copyright Act — a piece of law that led to the creation of concepts like mechanical royalties (which led directly to the rise of the modern record business, broadcast rights, performance royalties, and other revenue streams which are central to the music business of today. He also enumerates the six rights granted by copyright and how each applies to the music business, and how “fair use” rights actually work under the law.

Industry Tips & Advice: Two Things That Your Record Deal Absolutely Must Have

Maggie Lange, an attorney and Professor of Music Business/Management at Berklee College of Music, discusses the two things you must insist that your record deal contain: a release commitment, and a marketing/promotion budget.

Industry Tips & Advice: Why Artists Should Own Their Own Publishing

Syd Butler, founder and President of French Kiss Records, tells aspiring artists why they should make sure to retain ownership and control of the publishing rights on the songs they write.

Industry Tips & Advice: What is a Mechanical License?

Producer, musician, and label owner George Howard discusses what mechanical licenses are and how they make money, how revenue from mechanicals is collected, and the controlled composition clause that reduces the mechanical royalty rate under certain circumstances.

MUSIC NEWS: Kreayshawn Inks Deal With Sony…

Reports last week claimed that the up-and-coming rapper signed, and now it’s official.

Internet phenomenon Kreayshawn has officially signed to Sony Music, HipHopDX.com has learned.

Last week, rumors started swirling that the rapstress had inked a $1 million deal with the label. Though the terms of the agreement haven’t been disclosed, the contract has been signed.

The label plans to package and service her breakout hit “Gucci Gucci” to digital retailers in the upcoming weeks. Though there were originally plans for a mixtape, Kreayshawn is set to begin working on her major label debut, due by the end of 2011.-hiphopdx

Article: Lloyd Banks Declared “Most Important Rapper In New York” By NY Times

Summer Jam 2011 was held yesterday (June 5) in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

More than 50,000 people turned out to see Lil Wayne, Drake, Birdman, Young Money, Chris Brown, Rick Ross, Fabolous, Lloyd Banks, Dipset, Wiz Khalifa, and Waka Flocka perform.

The New York Times showed up to review the event. They ended up being less than impressed with most of the acts, except a few.

Ross got the harshest review, his set was merged into the end of Lil Wayne’s for some reason. The Times said the rapper was: “mid-’90s-Versace-esque shirt unzippered; belly and breasts dangling; arms flailing as if he were in reverie.”

None of the other acts seemed to stand out either, but Banks was given a glowing review. Both for his performance and steady rise to the top of the New York rap scene.

[Lloyd Banks] may have stealthily become the most important rapper in New York — last year his “Beamer, Benz or Bentley” was a local anthem; this year he’s got “Start It Up.” It’s worth noting that major labels have done little for these two: Mr. Banks’s success came after parting ways with Interscope.

The purest New York moment of the night came during Mr. Banks’s set, when Mobb Deep emerged with “Shook Ones Pt. II.” Ten years ago Jay-Z used the Summer Jam bully pulpit to attack Prodigy of Mobb Deep, showing a childhood picture of that rapper dressed for dance class in a leotard. Prodigy’s emergence here — after a recent stint in prison, and with Jay-Z nowhere in sight — was a small piece of turf reclaimed.-thisis50

Definitely agree with this…

SPORTS: Plaxico Burress Plans To Return To The NFL….

The criminal record and locker room issues attached to Plaxico Burress are no reason not to sign him. In a league practically built on second chances, Burress deserves another shot (figuratively speaking). And remember, the only thing seriously hurt in his shooting incident two years ago was his ego. Other second-chance NFL players have committed or been charged with far more destructive crimes.

Burress’ age is a concern — he will be 34 in August — but he still has plenty left to give.

Baltimore or St. Louis might be interested, but Burress donned a Phillies hat upon being released from prison on Monday. Maybe his wardrobe choice was coincidental. More likely it was a message that he’d like to join Michael Vick’s ex-con-a-thon in Philly.

And the Eagles, in need of a big target in the red zone, might just bite.


Faces long odds

Dan Pompei

Chicago Tribune

For a team to really want Plaxico Burress, a lot of planets will have to be aligned. The team will have to know Burress well. It will have to be able to get him at a reasonable price. It will need a strong coach who can handle Burress. It should have a veteran team with an established quarterback. And it will have to be able to live with the possibility of Burress being a backup receiver who does not contribute on special teams.

Burress will be 34 soon. He hasn’t played football in two years. He has a history of not always doing what he is expected to do. If he is able to play anywhere near the level he played at prior to his incarceration, he will have beaten long odds.

Most teams, understandably, won’t be interested. He could, however, fit with the Jets.


Plenty of questions

Sam Farmer

Los Angeles Times

It’s hard to imagine a 34-year-old receiver who hasn’t played since November 2008 will spark a bidding war, especially when free agency — whenever that happens — will be flush with similar receivers. Terrell Owens will be looking for a new team, as will Randy Moss and Sidney Rice.

Plus, what kind of shape is Burress in? How does he run? What’s his mentality like after his prison term?

ARTICLE: Joell Ortiz Speaks On Thoughts That “Big Pun’s Back” Is Disrespectful

“Just a couple of days after Liza Rios accused Brooklyn rapper Joell Ortiz of disrespecting her late husband, Big Pun and his son, Baby Pun by recording a song titled Big Pun’s Back, Ortiz finally decided to respond via twitter.

“Shout to Nicole, Pun’s Sister and MaMa Pun for the kind words. GOD will judge by my intentions. Im good with that,” Joell wrote. “No matter how good your intentions may be there will always be some negativity if you take action. still gotta do what you feel is right. if they was no PUN, Breal, nore, cuban, seiss, armagadon there would be no ME! im clear on that. always have been,always will.”-This50

Industry Tips & Advice: The Ultimate Tour Checklist by Tourbinder

If you’ve followed the Ultimate Guide To Planning Your Tour so far, you’ve determined that you’re ready, decided where you want to go, chosen the right venues, and successfully booked each venue. Now it’s time to decide what you need to bring on the road and make sure you don’t leave anything behind. Remember to pack light, because there won’t be much room.


This is going to be different for every band, so you’ll have to take the time to make this yourself. Include EVERYTHING: guitars, backup guitars, guitar tools, drum keys, bass drum pedal, drum stick, cab chords, amps, mics, cable bags, pedals, tuners, even extra strings. Try to put things back into the van the same way and in the same bags each night, so that you are sure to not leave anything behind. Refer to this checklist after every show to ensure that everything get put back into the van.

In Your Tour Book
Name of each venue and date
Venue Address
Directions to the venue (or use a GPS)
Load-in Time
Time that doors open
Your set time
Set length
Set lists for each show
Names of other bands you are playing with

Merchandise Inventory checklist – keep track of what you sell and give away each night.

Summary of contract agreement – are you getting a guarantee or percent of the door, and what are the agreed upon numbers? Are you getting free drinks or half-off food?

Copies of contracts/email conversations with venues – every once in a while, you may run into a promoter who doesn’t want to give you what you previously agreed upon. Bring documents to prove your agreements.

Healthy snacks – you are going to be eating copious amounts of cheap junk food on the road, and you don’t want anyone getting sick. You’re going to be in close quarters with everyone, so if one person gets sick, everyone’s getting sick.

Towels and Washcloths – shower every day, and keep clean. You are going to be meeting tons of people on the road, and will be in close quarters with your band mates. Nobody wants to talk to the oily, pimply, smelly one.

Camera / video camera – even though the flip cam has been taken off the shelves, find a way to document your trip. Uploading daily photos/videos is a great way to stay engaged with your fans from the road. But also, touring is a lot of fun, and you’re going to want to remember the incredible things that you see and do on the road.

AAA card – just in case. Vans break down, and you want to do everything you can to not let that get in the way of a great tour. Also, take care of your van, and keep the oil changed.

Appropriate clothes – always bring an extra pair of shows and more than one pair of pants.

Phone chargers and laptop chargers

MIFI card – if you can afford one, get one! It’s a great way to get Internet on your laptop from the road, so you can stay in touch with your fans. Otherwise, make sure that at least one band member has a smart phone, so you don’t disappear from the rest of the world.

Business cards – you’re going to be meeting tons of people on the road, and you want to be able to give them something to remember you by. Business cards are standard, so try to invest in some quality business cards.

CDs and Merch – Set a goal for how much merch you want to sell each night, and try your hardest to meet that goal each night. It’s a great way to get extra gas money on the road. I know that merch can take up a lot of space in the van, but the last thing you want to do on tour is run out of things to sell to your fans, so plan accordingly.

Bottled water – you don’t want to be dehydrated on the road, and you definitely don’t want to live off of sodas and sugary drinks the entire time either. Water bottles are easy to refill, while gas station drinks will add up to be rather expensive.

GPS – these are great for finding places to get food, and will also help you find the venues and get there on time.

Extra show posters and handbills – If you get to your city early and want to try to drive in a little more traffic to your show, carry around a few extra handbills wherever you go. Ask locals for advice on where to eat and explore, and let them know that you’re playing a show and that they should be there!

Safe / Moneybox – Keep this secure! Avoid internal arguments about money by keeping all revenue in one location. Whenever we got paid each night, we would put the money directly into an envelope inside the safe, and would use that money for gas. You can also decide on a per diem, and take that money directly from the safe each day.

Credit Card reader – you will sell exponentially more merch if you have the ability to make credit card payments. Get a free square credit card reader and download the app for your smart phone or iPad.
Sleeping Bags / Pillows – decide as a band if you want to have these or not. They take up a lot of space, but if you are going to be driving through the night, crashing on floors, or sleeping in the van, then these will definitely come in handy.

What are some other checklist items that every touring band needs? Share them here!



Article: Opening Band Etiquette by Heather McDonald

Being chosen as the opening band for a more established act can mean great things in your music career. You will get to play for larger audience than you might draw at your own show – an audience who might then get excited about turning out for your next headlining set. An added bonus is that peppered in amongst those potential new fans might be members of the press and industry who may become contacts for future opportunities.

All of those good things could evaporate pretty quickly if you violate some of the unwritten rules of being the opening act, though. Some of these rules might a touch frustrating, but take the long term view – making a good impression now is money in the bank for your future music career.

1. Co-Promote
There may not be a formal arrangment for you to roll up your sleeves and help promote the show, but get on board and do what you can. Announce the show on your website, social networking sites and via your mailing list. Be sure to include info about the headliners in the promotion you do to your existing fans.

Contacting the local press and radio may also be helpful, but consider checking with the show promoter before you do that. They may have plans for reaching out to the local media, and you don’t want to step on their toes and confuse the message. Generally speaking, the larger the show, the larger promotion machine behind it, so do check before making the media calls.

2. Watch The Clock
When the headlining musicians, their management, agent or the show promoter asks you to be somewhere at a certain time, be there. Yes, even if you know if absolutely everyone else involved in the show is going to be late and you’re going to be spending a lot of time standing around waiting. If something happens that is going to delay you – getting lost on the way to venue, flat tire, forgotten instrument, etc, etc, etc – call someone and let them know. Even if they treat you like you’re giving them T.M.I., better to err on the side of being thorough and showing that you respect the schedule set for you than to bank on the fact that everyone will be cool with you rolling in when you can.

3. Accept The Soundcheck
In most cases, soundcheck starts with the headliners and finishes with the first opening act. The reason for that is partially a practical one – the first opener will take the stage first, of course, so when they soundcheck last, the stage is set up with their gear so the show is ready to start.

However, the reason is also partially hierarchy. Allowing the headliners to get the first crack at soundcheck means they can kind of take their time and soundcheck until they feel good about their set. Sometimes, this means the headliners end up taking up ALL the soundcheck time – or most of it – and that of course means the opening act gets little or no time to check their own sound and get comfortable with the stage/acoustics.

For an opener, that can cause some serious stress, but your best bet is to grin and bear it rather than kicking up a fuss. Sure, it would be great if the headliners made sure everyone got a pop at a soundcheck, but it IS their show and their perogative to take the time.

4. Discuss Merch
Before you assume that you’ll be setting up a merch table the night of the show, discuss it with whoever booked you for the gig. Sometimes, headliners (or their reps) frown on support bands selling their merch because any money thrown your way is money not spent on the headliners’ merch. That may rub the wrong way – especially if the headliners are making big bucks for the show while you’re getting a pittance – but you’re kind of bound to the rules set by the people who invited you to play the show. Have a discussion about this before the night of the show.

5. Respect The Set Length
Even if it feels like the audience is eating it up and you’re having a great time on stage, wrap up your set when you’re supposed to. When you run over, you take time away from the headliners. It’s important that they get their full set – or if they don’t, that it is not your fault. Remember, the headliners are who the audience is REALLY there to see, so just be glad you made some new fans and promise them a longer set in the future.

6. Stay for The Show
Unless there is a valid reason why you have to play and dash – you’ve got a plane to catch, a 14 hour drive home, an illness or something along those lines – don’t skip out before the headliners play their set. Yes, even if they are not your favorite band, stick around and watch them play.

7. Say Thank You
Say a quick “thank you” to everyone who helped you land this opportunity and everyone who helped the show run smoothly. From the headliners and their reps to the venue manager and sound engineer, a quick thank you goes a long way.

8. Learn More
Learn more about shows, from booking to promotion to making the most of your audience in Playing Live 101.