Professor Pooch's "Tips of the Day", and other Musings...

One Professional's Life in the Music Business...

[Note: Sorry, but as a private consultant, unless a person gives me the right to use their name, I must omit it.]



Note:
You have my permission to re-post any "blurbs", or anything else on this Web Site,
on: Web Sites, MySpace, etc., as long as you have the following:

Professor Pooch
Music Biz Guidance
Education & Direction
Complete Contract Services

Web Site: professorpooch.com
Your Music Business Resource Center

Email: Pooch@professorpooch.com

(c) 2008 David J. Spangenberg


Note: Check "MySpace" Addy: /professor_pooch Bulletins & Blogs also...


The Art of Accepting Success

I decided to post the following because I see it too much in the Music Biz - people that should become successful, but screw things up for themselves!

It is very important that you be wary of something most people don't know exists: the "fear of success". This is often coupled with a will to fail.

It's amazing when you consider the number of people who work hard, literally wear themselves out, and yet never achieve the success everyone feels is their due.

I honestly believe that in most cases the person subconsciously feels they "don't deserve to be successful". They may have been "put down" by people quite often when they were growing up, and they werent old enough to analyze and differentiate between "fact" and "opinion". Let's face it; if you hear something often enough youll believe it's true.

They don't become successful because it's something they literally can't imagine for themselves, for various reasons, and they are constantly putting stumbling blocks in front of themselves, ensuring their failure.

These people lack the capability to think positively. They may tell themselves all types of uplifting things, but they don't believe what they say. Failure is their mode of life because they cannot imagine anything else.

It is important to develop the ability to think positively, and it can be done. It really isn't difficult, although at first it may seem that it is. When a negative thought appears in your brain, "X" it out and replace it with a positive thought.

Just like a computer can be re-programmed, so can your brain the most amazing computer ever invented.

The first step to success is to establish small goals that are reasonable, ones that you know deep inside you can achieve, and then work for them. After some small successes, the larger goals wont seem so far away.

Note: One of the four main things I look for in an Artist is DRIVE! These people never have a fear of success. They steadfastly intend to make it to the top and nothing's going to stop them! The word "fear" is not in their vocabulary.

Also, there are people in the Music Business we've all heard of whom have achieved great success, and then have destroyed themselves. Some through drugs [alcohol is a drug!], some through personality changes resulting from fear.

Success is frightening to a lot of people; they don't feel they deserve it, that it's really an accident, and that it must soon disappear. If they believe this, it will, because they aid in its disappearance!

Success need not be fearsome, and it is not to people who have first understood, and then remained themselves. To them, success is just an upward change of circumstances, resulting from their work. They know they're entitled to it, because they've earned it. They know they deserve it.

People with hit records who feel that they must produce another hit every time, work under self-imposed stress. Of course their audience wants them to come up with another hit. So does their Record Company - Music Industry People love hits - it's where their money comes from.

So what? No one in the world is so gifted or so magical as to be able to produce hits on demand; too many things can get in the way that are not forecast-able, such as poor promotion.

It is very hard for someone who is under intense stress to produce another hit to actually produce one. "Defining" the hit and then trying to figure out what made it so great and setting rules for producing a clone of it rarely works.

The way to go about it is to maintain the same way of working, the same attitude they had the first time. The same good work- habits, outlook, heart and feelings will tend to produce other great songs or records when they're ready to come out.

Why do I go on about this? Because I expect that you, if a career in the Music Business is important to you, can very possibly come up with, or be part of a hit. If you change, that is, you let anything get in the way of your career, whether it be excessive drugs or partying, fear of failure or success, or whatever, you have earned the right to fail!

A final comment is this remark by an old hand in the Entertainment Business: "Definition of a fool: the guy [or gal] who believes his own publicity."

Once a Person becomes successful in the Entertainment Business there's a concerted publicity effort to make him appear to be the greatest. Fine for business, but believing you really are the greatest is deadly. You should have pride in your work and continue to strive to do and be the best. But, be honest about who and what you are.

"Stolen" from my book on the Music Biz available HERE

(c) 1984-2008 David J. Spangenberg

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Music Biz Tips: On Stage [Part #1]

Although some people feel that getting up there and doing it is the most difficult part of the business, you'll find it's easier than you thought, [especially if you've followed my previously directions regarding "practicing as if it was a performance"]! Probably easier by far than all the preparation, practicing and learning you went through to be able to get out there.

Think about it. The worst is behind you, and now all you have to do is be yourself, enjoy yourself, and make sure the audience has a great time. They will, if you do.

Start off strong, get their attention, and keep it moving, without any long pauses that will lose the audiences attention. Unless your act involves talking, concentrate on the music.

After you have gotten off a few numbers, you might say a few words of "patter" - and then back to the music. If you use patter, remember that it has to be great. A little humor never hurts, but it shouldn't become the show, but merely strengthen it. A few one-liners can make all the difference.

Keep your performing tight and professional; don't waste time. Know what you're going to do next and do it.

Go out and see well-known Performers. Watch and listen to what they do and observe how smoothly, tightly, and cleanly they do it. This is what you're aiming for.

Make play lists of the material and tape them to your instruments if necessary to smooth progressions between numbers. If you have an Engineer and/or "lighting person", they should have a list, also.

Because Singers should be heard clearly and the words understood, it is important for the Musicians to cut down the volume a bit when the Singers are doing their thing. [If they "don't remember" the Engineer should.] "Fills" should be played around the Singers, not over them. Solo volumes may be turned up but then must also be turned down when the solo is over.

Too many Musicians make the mistake of just turning up their volumes, becoming louder and louder during the course of an evening, forcing the vocalists to be "buried" or to lose their voices trying to compete or to just hear themselves. Always leave room for changes and adjustments in volume, so that when it's necessary you have room to build.

Every song you do should have an exciting ending, one that invites applause. When you see popular groups or Bands perform who also have records, you will find the endings of their on-stage numbers are different from the endings on their records. Hearing a strong exciting number and having it end weakly is a tremendous letdown for the audience.

To speak again about "mood", the timing of your sets is important. Timing in the sense that you should be constantly aware of the emotional temperature of the audience. If you've been building the audience to the point where they want a fast, exciting, emotionally explosive song, playing a slower one is the equivalent of giving them a cold shower.

When people request songs, [and they will!], don't embarrass them for asking. If you know the song, want to do it, and it fits into the set, do it. You're out there to please the audience, not offend or alienate them. If you don't know the song, really hate the song and/or can't bring yourself to perform it, you can just give a gentle apology for not doing it.

Note: This was stolen from my book on the Biz... "The Music Biz" © 1984-2008 David J. Spangenberg [constantly updated]

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Music Biz Tips: On Stage [Part #2]

Leave any personal problems at home. Even if you have differences with the club owner or manager, treat him/her with respect, even if you don't like the person. The performance is the most important thing. You shouldn't take it out on your audience. Treat them with respect, too! Direct your emotional energy to your audience.

Anyway, even if they're the worst people in the world, and you hate every minute you're there, it's only temporary. You don't have to return. Throwing yourself into your performance can get you through it and do you good.

Anger or frustration can ruin any performance, so be your own master, and never allow your emotions to affect you on stage. No true professional does, and they've all had bad times. Act professionally and you'll be treated as a professional.

I'll never forget a married, and always-quarreling, duo I worked with - they always seemed to be at war with each other. But as soon as they walked out on stage, they sang to each other as if they were more in love than anyone in the world could possibly be.

Of course, as soon as they got back stage again, away from view, the wars would start all over. But, that didn't matter - because the audience didn't see it.

Clubs and Companies don't want to deal with "problem people." If you become known as a "problem person" your career may be as good as dead.

Once you're out there, have fun! If you're feeling "down", you'll be surprised how "up" you can become simply by throwing yourself into your performance. You could even hate being there right at that time, but remember there are no strangers out there, no enemies, unless you make them through your attitude. Be warm and friendly - it pays.

People are there to be entertained, and you're there to do it. They are paying for their entertainment, and if you make them feel comfortable you've gained a new group of fans.

Make love to them with your eyes, your body language, your facial expressions, and your voice. If you're a Singer, sing to someone in the audience, looking at them directly; your audience will feel that you genuinely love them, and love entertaining them- and you'll have a fan for life! You can never afford to be "the genius" or "the star", aloof and remote, no matter how great you feel you are, or may be. Communicate!

Nothing is ever perfect. Mistakes will occur. Laugh at them; they're not fatal. Let the audience in on the goof. If you seem vulnerable or defenseless they'll love you! That's turning the error into an asset.

People will laugh at errors, like the TV and radio "bloopers" that wind up in collections and on the air. They don't laugh and say "What a jerk!" but have sympathy for "the poor guy" while enjoying seeing someone else screwing up. In effect, they're laughing with the person, identifying with them, because they've undoubtedly had similar things happen to themselves.

The key is, don't be stuffy, and don't exhibit anger because someone goofed, but play it for fun. Some Performers even goof deliberately for comic effect and even make a career out of it [e.g. Victor Borge]. I cannot emphasize enough that entertainment should be fun and enjoyable for both the Performers and the audience.

Note: This was stolen from my book on the Biz... "The Music Biz" © 1984-2008 David J. Spangenberg [constantly updated]

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Karen Stauffer, owner of River of Life Natural Foods since 1989, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition and has been involved in the natural foods business for 34 years. Singers and Musicians come to her for help with their special needs. Karen does nutritional counseling at her shop in Lahaska, PA and by phone. (1-800-651-3820).

Eating Right on the Road
© 2006 Karen Stauffer

We all know what’s wrong with eating too much restaurant food on the run-too much fat, sugar, and salt combined with hurried eating and irregular schedules can lead to weight gain, fatigue, sluggishness, and even worsening of pre-existing health conditions like heart or blood sugar problems. Often there’s a lack of fiber, and usually fresh greens are in short supply. And ketchup is not a vegetable!

When we’re younger, these shortcomings don’t affect us as much. The body becomes less resilient, though, the more it has to endure poor diet, especially combined with the other stresses of travel.

The first and easiest step you can take is to carry an enzyme digestive aid, to be taken with meals. This will help break down your food so the body can absorb it, so you’ll get more nutrition and less indigestion and gas. (This is particularly important for people over 40 or those who are taking acid-reducing medication, because they may not have enough stomach acid to properly digest food.)

Chewable enzymes are pleasant to take- I like Zand’s Quick Digest. It comes in convenient rolls, tastes good, and digests all food components-fats, starches, and proteins. You should notice improvement right away!

Acquire a small cooler, about the size that holds a “six pack.” Do not fill it with a six pack! An apple, an orange, individually wrapped cheese portions, hard-boiled eggs, cherry tomatoes, pea pods, red and green peppers, and carrots all travel well. Use one of those re-freezable cold packs or a zip lock freezer bag with ice. My cooler has a shoulder strap, which is a definite plus.
Somewhere in your luggage, put a small day-pack with raw nuts (not roasted or salted), crackers, and energy bars or dried fruit. Designate a dedicated bag and keep all edibles in it-lots easier to find your snack that way. Also toss in a few small aseptic (no refrigeration needed) packs of soymilk in a zip lock bag. They’re perfect for breakfast! (And those zip lock bags will come in handy eventually for trash, too.)

If you’re traveling by car, keep a stock of bottled water in your trunk.

Now that you’ve got the ability to avoid vending machines, airline food, and similar traps, make the most of your choices in restaurants. Often you’ll be able to substitute items on the menu. Last week I was in a popular casual dining chain and I heard a waitress offer broccoli instead of French fries with a hamburger, without even being asked! Steamed veggies are best, with a squeeze of lemon.

Request “no salt,” “heart healthy,” or “low carb” options, and ask for wholegrain breads (but avoid egg substitutes and artificial sweeteners).

Don’t forget that many supermarkets have salad bars, and you can bring a salad to your hotel room-just don’t get dressing on the bedspread! At the same time, pick up fruit for the next day.

Some Chinese restaurants can provide brown rice and no MSG, as well as vegetarian options. Ask a local or check the phone book.

If there is no choice but fast food, observe the “four no’s” rule- no soda, no cheese, no fried potatoes, no shakes. Many places offer salads, applesauce, and fruit cups. Baked potatoes are OK, and some places have egg sandwiches that are actually edible for breakfast if you leave off the cheese, bacon, etc. Remember that cheese is not real, but processed “cheesefood,” the potatoes are fried in over-used oil, and diet sodas are even worse for you than regular ones.

A fiber supplement can be helpful to keep you regular. (Many people who don’t normally have a problem suffer on trips). Talk to someone at a health food store to choose the right one for your needs-soluble, insoluble, chewable, or a blend. While you’re there; a multiple vitamin might be a good idea as well. (Leave all pills and powders in original containers to avoid suspicions when traveling.

“Green drink” powders can be a helpful nutritional addition to your diet. Contents of a packet are mixed with water or juice to make an instant beverage. Some have immune boosting ingredients, protein, or energy-enhancing herbs. They taste best mixed with juice. (They look like you’re drinking green paint, or at least the water you cleaned the brush in.) Some people report great energy and cleansing properties from these chlorophyll-dense food supplements.

Another great, easy-to-pack beverage is Emergen-C™. Mixed with water it provides vitamin C, B, minerals, and alpha lipoic acid in a fizzy drink. It’s a great substitute for coffee or cola, and comes in a variety of flavors-including coffee and cola! Tangerine and cranberry are the most popular, though, and the lift comes from nutrients, not caffeine. Most drugstores or health food stores will have this item.

Instead of alcohol to relax, try Koppla®, a soothing, pleasantly sweet drink mix in packets, available in health food stores and containing lemon balm, with other herbs. There are also drink mixes containing magnesium, which acts as a muscle relaxant.
If you absolutely need to wake up fast, green tea is the way to go! Lower in caffeine than coffee, it's rich in antioxidants and contains an amino acid (theanine) whose calming effects may help balance the caffeine. Take along a few tubes of Teatech™ instant powder, or a few teabags. Bottled green tea is widely available too, but often over-sweetened. Remember that caffeine is a drug, and use it only as needed, not every day.

You may actually want to eat a small amount of something sweet, such as two or three cookies, close to bedtime to help make you drowsy. If you eat at a Chinese restaurant, save the fortune or almond cookies to eat at bedtime. Or, this is the only time you may want to patronize those vending machines. Don’t eat too much or your blood sugar may drop and wake you in the middle of the night. (Alcohol can do that as well).

Adapt these suggestions to your own needs and food limitations. Some people have fewer needs than others. Don’t pass on good regional cuisine that appeals to you now and then! Even if it’s not nutritionally ideal, some good barbecue or homemade pie can make a trip special.

But be smart, and don’t live on fatty, salty, sugary, fiber deficient foods, either at home or while traveling. You’ll play better, feel better, be more alert and relaxed, and hopefully live longer!

Note: Other Articles by Karen for Singers/Musicians can be found on this site under Nutrition for Musicians

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Types of Songwriting & Co-Publishing Agreements

There are two kinds of Songwriter Agreements with Publishers.

1. "Exclusive": Exclusive covers all songs a writer has written in the past, and will write for a period of usually 2-5 years in the future.

2. "Per song": "Per song" is NON-exclusive, and is used for usually 1, 2 or 3 particular songs.

Note: If you are a songwriter, you should sign YOURSELF to an Exclusive songwriter's agreement to your own Publishing Company, for say 5 years [at least] :) Yes, you need to sign yourself, as writer, to yourself, as publisher. Why?

A. You're most probably going to have to split your publishing with someone else, and this will make sure that your contract to yourself [if properly written] protects you much better than if you use another Publisher's songwriter's agreement.

B. If you ever decide to sell your Publishing Company [and many people eventually do] - you'll continue to get paid as a songwriter! [If you DON'T sign to yourself, they won't know who and how much to pay!]

Now, for other writers/songs you want to have, you can use the same exclusive contract if you want the writer to write for you exclusively [and they OK that], or have a per song agreement.

Next, most writers nowadays want [expect] to split publishing [and therefore Ownership of the songs] with you. In that case, you will need a "Co-publishing agreement". There are 4 types:

1. per song - and they don't have their own publishing company
2. per song - and they DO have their own company
3. exclusive - and they don't have their own publishing company
4. exclusive - and they DO have their own publishing company

[Btw, I write and negotiate these contracts and can personalize and supply them to you. You can use the same ones over and over again. My price [which includes if you have any questions, which I will be happy to answer for free] for all contracts, personalized for you: $175 for all 6. [2 songwriting & 4 co-publishing] This will cover you for everything you will run into as a publisher. I can also write them for you individually, $65 for either Songwriter Agreement, $45, for any Co-Pub. Agreement]

If you have any questions, ask! :)


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The Major Labels and Their Main "Children"...

UMG: [Universal Music Group]
Barclay, Interscope Geffen A&M, Geffen Records, Island Def Jam Music Group, Machete Music, Mercury Records, Polydor Records, Universal Motown Records Group, Universal Classics Group (which includes Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Philips and ECM), Universal Music Latino, Universal Music Group Nashville (which includes Lost Highway, MCA Nashville and Mercury Nashville) and Verve Music Group.

WMG: [Warner Music Group]
Asylum, Atlantic, Bad Boy, Cordless, East West, Elektra, Lava, Maverick, Nonesuch, Reprise, Rhino, Sire, Warner Bros. and Word.

[Thorn-]EMI:
Angel, Astralworks, Blue Note, Capital, Capital Nashville, EMI, EMI Classics, EMI CMG, EMI Televisa Music, Mute, Narada, Parlophone and Virgin.

Sony [BMG]:
Arista Records, BMG Classics, BMG Heritage, BMG International Companies, Columbia Records, Epic Records, J Records, Jive Records, LaFace Records, Legacy Recordings, Provident Music Group, RCA Records, RCA Victor Group, RLG - Nashville, Sony Classical, Sony Music International, Sony Music Nashville, Sony Wonder, Sony Urban Music, So So Def Records, Verity Records.

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Major Record Labels Are Losing Money???

From Billboard: "Universal Music Group made a significant contribution to parent company's Vivendi Universal's financial results for 2005."

UMG's earnings from operations increased to €480 million ($570 million), up 18.8% from 2004 on a comparable basis and at constant currency."

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Iff you ever have any music biz legal questions re: contracts or copyrights or whatever stuff, ask me.

Although I do writing and negotiation of contracts throughout the U.S., I'm NOT an Attorney, but I can do everything that an Attorney does - except deal with the courtroom stuff. I DO teach Entertainment Law & the Music Biz to Attorneys wishing to switch to Entertainment Law. And I'm half the price of an attorney :)

Important recommendation: If you ever need a lawyer re: anything in the music biz, see either a person like me, a Music Biz Contract Specialist, or an Entertainment Attorney. Entertainment law is different than other types because you must know the Music Industry to know what might have been left OUT of the contract that needs to be IN there to protect you. I've seen too many cases of non-music biz attorneys unknowlingly hurting their own clients!

Well, getting back to where I was, if you run into me at the Grape or wherever, I'll be happy to answer your legal, as well as creative and business questions...

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Music Biz Tip: Important re: "Radio Airplay"

Lately, it's been so cool to see so many songs played on the radio from our MySpace bands - especially in the Philly-area which is my home base. [Yay WMMR!!!]

I tried to send letters to each of my "Friends" on MySpace [I'm /professor_pooch] with a song on the air the following important info. But, the great news is I can't keep up with all of the songs being played here and elsewhere - so here it is for all…

You may be paid IF your song is played on the radio - and you sent your "Work Registration" [a/k/a "record release form"] in to BMI, or Sesac, or ASCAP, whichever "Performing Rights Society" you belong to [for each recording of every song]. If you are not the Publisher of the songs, make sure THEY send in their proper forms!

Note: I DO hope that every Songwriter, Artist/Songwriter, and Producer/Songwriter, who is releasing any recordings to the public, is signed to one of the "Societies"! And, if you're the Publisher, that's a separate registration. [The Societies pay the Publishers their share directly, and the songwriters their share directly.]

Yes Songwriters, and Publishers get paid for "Airplay" - Live or Recorded.

[You can check http://www.professorpooch.com/PublishingS.htm
for most of the ways a Songwriter and Publisher are supposed to be paid - there's a lot of ways! The info is "stolen" from my Music Publishing Course :)]

Did you notice I said above to send in the form for each "Recording of every song" - not "Song"! Simply put: No matter who else records your song[s], you have to send in a separate form, notifying them for every version released, of every song, by any and everybody.

To contact any or all of the Societies, you can go to bmi.com, ascap.com, and/or sesac.com. As a writer you can only belong to one society at a time. As a Publisher you can belong to all three if you wish - under different company names.

If you have any other questions on this, or any other Music Biz topic, ASK! :)

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Music Biz Tip: Legally using “O.P.’s”/“Cover Songs”

Cover songs = songs written/performed by others

Artists/Bands: Once a song is released by an Artist, ANYONE can record and/or perform it as long as you don't change the melody [much] or the words. It is Copyright Law [“Compulsory License”].

1. If you are NOT using the song to sell anything/make money from it:

Don’t worry about it - just use it.

2. If you DON’T change the words and or melody, and you’re going to perform both yourself, that is, you are going to re-do the instruments AND the vocal, :

If you ARE going to try to profit from it, they cannot turn you down, but you need to notify the owners of the song - that is, the Publisher, so they can issue you a license.

To find the Publisher:

A: check out- http://www.harryfox.com/index.jsp . This is the address for the Harry Fox Agency that represents a good deal of the Publishers.

B:If they don’t have it, and if you know that the company is either BMI, ASCAP or SESAC, check their web sites…

3. If you’re going to use the original recording, that is, you are going to use EITHER the original instruments and/or the vocal:

You must get permission from the Record Company - and it’s going to cost you. This includes rappers and other types of music where you’re going to make a loop from the recording.

AND, you’ll also still have to get permission from the Publisher, following ..2 above.

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Music Biz Tip: You CAN'T Copyright Your Group Name! But...

I seem to get asked this almost everyday - somebody wanting to know how to copyright their artist or group/band name...

Simply put: You cannot copyright a name, a phrase, a title.

You CAN "Trademark" them! [And you SHOULD before you sign with a Manager or Record Company! - YOU want to own the name of your group [or product]!!!]

Instructions:

1. Go to...
http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exef=searchss&state=q44pov.1.1

...and type in under "Search" what name you want to check to see if it is trademarked already, and if it is, if it's "Alive" or "Dead"

2. If it's Dead, or it doesn't exist go to...

http://www.uspto.gov/main/trademarks.htm

...and it'll tell you all about trademarks and allow you to file electronically. Unless it's gone up recently, the minimum cost will be $275 - if you file electronically. You can also have an attorney do it, but it will obviously be more expensive

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Should you save the money and Register your Copyrights as a "Collection"?

Yes, and no, depending on your situation. The potential problem is related to the fact that you will have only one registration number for all the songs!

If you are an Artist, Group or Band who intend to perform all the songs yourself, and they are not the type of songs that an Artist would "cover" [such as rap or hardcore] there will rarely be a problem. But, if you are a songwriter, or an Artist with songs that might go to several different people/Publishers, there will be at least a temporary problem.

The problem is that you receive only one registration number per form - and you'll be asked for that number on what is called a "Copyright Assignment" form, or as part of your Songwriter's Contract with a Publisher. In effect, if you sent 3 songs in, and there were 10 on the collection - all ten may be, in effect, tied up due to having the same Registration Number.

By the way, if this situation ever occurs, you'll have to re-register the other songs if you wish to safely deal them to other Publishers.

Side notes:

That "copyright assignment form" mentioned above is a very good reason why you should "Register" your songs in Washington. If you don't have a number to put on the forms, it'll make the person think about trying to steal them, in that they've never been registered.

Also, it has been said that, there are Record Companies who, when they don't find your song in the "Library of Congress", where they are stored when registered, they won't pay songwriter royalties on that song[s]. And, there are digital sites who look to see who to pay on particular sales/downloads of songs, and if they can't find them there, they don't know who to pay!

Remember: there are plenty of answers to your copyright questions, plus full step-by-step directions on how to fill them out on my site at Copyrighting

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Music Biz Tip: Artist/Songwriters & Songwriters

When you form a Publishing Company [which all writers should do], remember to sign a songwriter's contract to yourself - to your own Publishing Company!

Why? 2 reasons:

1. If you should ever sell your Publishing Company, and it may pay to do so at some point, you'll still get writer's royalties! If there's no record of you as a songwriter, you won't!

2. There's a great chance you'll have to split some of your publishing at some point. So, who's going to give you a better/fairer songwriter's agreement - you yourself, or someone else?!

Now, don't go overboard - if it's too one-sided, no one will deal with you. But ALWAYS make sure that any Songwriter's Agreement with a Publisher contains what I call a "catch-all" clause.

This clause, should say something like, [in "People-Talk", here], "I want 50% of everything not listed in this agreement". At the rate that technology is going, who knows what way of usage/distribution will be around in 2 years, let alone 10 years or so.

And, it also takes care of any type distribution, technology, format, whatever that's been left out of the Agreement [except for what's covered with your Performing Rights Society, such as BMI, ASCAP] - which you must join as a Writer AND as a Publisher]

Note: I can write/negotiate ANY type Music Biz related Agreements you need or run into - and at 1/2 the price per hour of any competent entertainment biz attorney.

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Artists & Producers - When Choosing a Manager...

As much care should be taken in finding a Manager, as in finding a partner for marriage. You will in effect be "married" to this person for some time, usually at least several years, and the "divorce" might even be more difficult to achieve and settle than one from a regular marriage. If it works, finding a Manager could possibly be the single most important career decision You make.

Obviously, you must choose the correct Person or Company to manage Your career. This is probably the most important decision in Your professional life. You are giving away control over Your career, and essentially Your life, for an extended period of time.

There are two key considerations that will not appear in any contract:

1. "Can You trust this Person?" -

You must have complete trust in them because:

a. A "Power of Attorney" contract clause is usually involved. This means they can sign Your name to many, if not all agreements and You will be bound by them. [This must be "adjusted"!]

b. They will initially, most probably, be handling all Your money.

2. "CAN this Person advance my career?"

a. "Great intentions" do not make a great Manager. He/she may have the best, most sincere intent in the world, and really want to help make You an outstanding success. But, to do this they

(1). must have knowledge of the industry

(2). contacts within it

What should You do to make sure they are right for You?

1. Check them out within the industry.

2. Have them give references and check them.

3. Ask others they manage.

4. Ask Artists they once managed and find out why they aren't together. [Evaluate these reasons. The Manager may not have been at fault.]

5. Have someone who really knows the Industry, such as an Entertainment Attorney, grill them for You.

[Note: I do this all the time for people - make sure the potential Manager really is who they say they are - and see if they know their stuff!]

The above was "stolen" from my Artist Management Course...

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Caution!!!

A legitimate Music Publisher or Record Company will never ask you to put up money for any reason! Scam artists always will.

Legitimate Publishers and Record Companies will invest whatever money is necessary. They make their money by having a successful record, and don't need to look for the "fast buck".

Legitimate Publishers and Record Companies never advertise looking for clients - they don't need to. They're bombarded with stuff!

Simply put: Ignore any mailings or ads by so-called Publishers or Record Companies!!!

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Tip for Singers...

The key to making it in the Music Business is communication. Every really great Performer has it, and it consists of the ability to put a song across to the audience. Doing it requires you to be real, and that much misused word, "sincere". That means opening up, so that people listening can feel what you feel. There can be no walls between you and your audience [or microphone].

You must be a real person with believable feelings, singing words that you believe in. You must sing the words as if you mean them, which you should be able to do, and you must feel that you do. You must, in a strange way, be there - become the song you sing. Singers who are capable of doing this may have much lesser voices than others, yet reach far greater heights.

For this reason, using discrimination in choosing the material you sing is most important. Word-wise, base your choice on whether you could say the words of the song to someone.

Can you see yourself in the situation of the song? Have you been there? Are you there now? Will others see themselves in the song? This last one is very important: don't choose songs in which only you can relate.

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Important Stage Tip For Artists...

Zero hour! You're ON, and whether there's a packed house, or only one person out there, it makes no difference. You are a professional - an Entertainer - and you should perform like one. Always do your best, the very best you can do, and take pride in doing it. Make it a habit to always play the same way - inspired!

Experience has taught me that you never know how important or powerful that one person might be!

I'll never forget the time that a pretty good group I knew was playing to an empty house except for me and a friend - it was their first set of the night. The group saw it as only two people in the audience and "not worth the effort" to put everything into their performance.

After the set, and after my friend left, I told them that they just screwed up a possible major contact. My friend happened to be the Senior Vice President of Promotion for a Major Label...

"Well, how did WE know he was important?" My answer: "Everyone is important!"

There's no excuse for not playing the same way all the time. It's called "Being Professional!"

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What is a Professor Pooch and what does he do?

I've been asked so many times lately about my Personal Career Guidance, Consulting and/or Contract Services - what I do and how I work, etc., including my fee structure, and how it works, so here goes...

Over the last few years, I decided to put heavy emphasis on helping people and organizations that have asked me to come out from behind the scene and speak to and help the up and coming new Artist, Songwriter, Producer, Manager, etc. - the main purpose being making sure they don't get screwed.

Of course the "getting screwed" situation has existed for some time - but I found it to be worse than I ever thought! Lately, through my educating/lecturing/whatever for these organizations, I've run into so many one-time stars who were never paid for many of their common "services", such as, writer's "mechanicals" [sale of CD's etc.], Producer's royalties, Artist's this and that - the list goes on and on. Most didn't KNOW they were getting screwed until I talked to them and/or looked at what they signed.

And, people constantly come to me with "Get me out of this contract!!!"

[Btw, although I do music biz legal work and contracts for people throughout the USA, I am not a Lawyer. I'm a Music Biz Contract Specialist. Yes, I guide and teach lawyers who wish to get into or understand the Entertainment Law end, but I have never had a desire to become a lawyer, myself. I like dealing with legal music biz situations, especially contracts, but that's as far as my interest goes.]

Meanwhile I had developed and taught Music Biz & Legal courses at The Art Institute of Philadelphia, and last year I accepted the role of Director of the not-for-profit John Whitehead "Music Business Learning Center" in Philadelphia as well as spoken at/for other organizations mainly in the PA/Jersey/NY/Maryland area.

I also write lots of stuff for my large music biz site [professorpooch.com], and on my music biz forum [http://www.mimusicnet.com/modules.php?name=Forums] so people could get a lot of free and useful career info.

Now, through my wish to help teach the general public what's really happening in the biz, how it works, and how to "operate" in it, I've run into a lot of people that want to meet privately with me.

I've purposely kept my rates very low, and simple, for years:

$65 per hour [less than half the price of most entertainment attorneys] for people new to the business - until you start making money, or more money, or I save you lots of money, whatever the case may be. At that time, it becomes: $95 per hour.

These rates are for anything I agree to do, including but not limited to: Consulting, Educating, Advising, Direction, Contractual Writing and/or Negotiations, Career Guidance, whatever, for Singers, Songwriters, Musicians, Groups, Bands, Managers, Publishers, Producers, Production Companies, and Indie Record Companies.

What I DON'T do: Anything pure Business [such as accounting, biz plans - I hate doing them] or anything "Technical".

[Folks, technical skipped my generation - my son is, and my father was very good at technical stuff - I'm not. I was asked to teach audio courses at the Art Institute of Philadelphia years ago, and I turned it down - I told them I couldn't teach it. They asked "Why not? You're a good engineer and producer!" And, I leveled with them: "I don't know how the stuff works, why it works, and frankly, I don't give a damn! Look... I just twiddle the knobs till the music ' Feels Good '!" :)]

So thats a Professor Pooch in a nutshell. If you have any further questions about me, yell! Btw, my resume is at resume
You should check me out, just like you should check ANYONE out who may be doing business with or for you!


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Are You Watching Your Biz Of The Biz

Please pay attention to what's happening business-wise, as well as contractual-wise, in your career. If you don't want to, don't know how to, don't have time to, or for whatever reason can't, make sure you have someone watchin' your ass for you! Receive the money while you're rightfully earning it, don't wait to find out you don't have any money when you want it or need it!

An interesting, true story: Bette Midler, early in her career when she was just becoming pretty well-known, was invited to sit in the back of a limousine with Mick Jagger and David Bowie. "Wow", she thought - she was thrilled to be able to sit with such well-known people in their limousine! She thinks, "Wow, I'm gonna get some real 'dish'"! [Midler talk for "gossip"].

Didn't happen. She learned a big lesson that day that served her well, when Mick and David spent a whole hour talking about nothing but Business, Business and more Business!!! Tour expenses, Management, Tax relief, Merchandising, etc., etc. etc.

You'll notice something in common about the big, successful stars: Their music is magical. But they take the time to make sure they ain't gettin screwed, business-wise or contractually! If they have Managers, Business Managers or whomever handling their business for them, they still take the time to go over everything with these people, making sure their carefully chosen biz reps are properly taking care of them and their products and monies, and that these reps are on top of the game, always one step ahead of the competition.

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Do You Know How To Practice?

Treat practices like a performance right from the start. You're all gathered together to play, not to just horse around. If you're paying for the practice hall you're wasting money if everyone isn't serious about what they're doing.

Now, if you're the "Leader", you shouldnt be a dictator, but merely keep to the role of leader, and when people stray, lead them back. Hey, if something's funny, laugh at it. Don't put it down. Music, of all the professions, has some life to it, some humor and lightness. So don't be grim-jawed and tyrannical. You can have fun AND be professional.

Another reason for treating practices professionally is that the Musicians will realize the importance of spending their time doing it. Great, solid practices do more to bind a Band or Group together than almost anything else - including performances.

Always be aware of what is going on in practice. Look for difficulties players may be having which may be apparent to you, if not immediately to them. Whatever the problem may be, work it out right then.

Practices are somewhat more relaxed, no matter how seriously they may be taken. The Band isn't dressed to perform, and they realize that the pressure of a performance where everything must be right the first time, isn't there. They know they can play a riff or an entire piece over and over until it works.

At the same time, because the pressure is lessened, personal problems between Band Members may surface more readily than in performance, when they wouldn't allow them to do so. People are all different from each other. Some aren't affected at all by small things while others are irritated to the point of madness.

Talk to whoever is responsible [not in front of the others] and straighten out the situation. You cannot afford to spend a lot of time nurse-maiding anyone or trying to smooth things over; you have a definite job, many responsibilities, and no time to waste on side issues.

Scheduling is the basis of progress for any sized Group. Set dates for completion of learning material.

For instance, know that one-quarter of the proposed list of songs you wish to learn will be learned within a specified amount of days or weeks. Then, decide when another quarter of songs should be done by, etc., until all is under control. If things progress well, when you enter the fourth quarter start looking to play dates soon after it is to be completed. Set a schedule and keep to it as much as possible!

Note: Give yourself a little extra time to learn the first song or two. Its normal for the first song or two, or three to seem to take a long time to learn. However, you should keep in mind that you're not just learning songs - you're melding as a group and you are also developing your Sound!

Practice and work until you feel ready and then go after those play dates. Be practical and honest. And don't think you'll be ready by such and such a date, KNOW you'll be, because you've thought it through and weighed all the possibilities.

Now don't figure every decision and every goal is It, and that you won't deviate from it. Change and variety are the very basis of life, and you must always be able to make changes when necessary, not because of whims. Plan everything you do, carry out those plans, and you'll be on your way to better things.

During practice, music is the main area of concentration, BUT there are other just as important considerations that most Musicians don't think about.

1. Remember that when you are on stage you will be judged not only on your sound but appearance as well. That is, does your Group look wasted, dead, or very much alive?
2. What does your equipment look and sound like?
3. What kind of relationship do you wish to develop with your audience?

Your image is a major point to consider and develop. Your image could be described as: What you play, the way you play it, the way you come across to people, and the way you look. Be Real! Don't try to be what you ain't! You can't fool your audience!

Agents and other Music Industry People will want you to be a well-rounded, professional group if they are going to deal with and for you.

(c) 1984-2008 David J. Spangenberg
This above was paraphrased from my Book on the Biz included in my "Music Biz On A Disk™"

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Putting Together Your Gig Set List...

Once you learn your songs, and everyone is satisfied, organizing the sets is the next step. The order in which the music is placed is very important.

Grabbing the audience's attention immediately is the key to a successful start; holding it, will keep the performance successful. And successful performances lead to more bookings!

You should start strong and want to get stronger, but you can't overwhelm the audience and wear them out. Too much of the same thing is wearing on an audience, and on the Group.

All music is mood music in that it influences the listeners, and you can effectively tease your audience, taking them up and down, even spinning them around by the way your music is organized in sets. The best method is to start strong, end strong, and in the middle ease up a little and make your listeners comfortable. That way, whether they realize it or not, they will be waiting for the next set or performance.

When you have a set together the way you've decided you'll perform it, record it. Listen to the playback carefully several times.

Don't be surprised that your feelings may change about some of the material, because now it may not seem to fit. You may have too many fast songs or too many slow ones. Worst of all, without realizing it, you may have too many sad ones. Or, if all the songs are too similar in tempo and feeling, the set may feel limp or lifeless. If this happens, the Musicians will react to it and their performance will be lifeless too.

Changes are made more often than not. It's a fact of life. Be ready to make the changes, even to learning new material if it's necessary. Sooner or later you'll have to learn new material anyway, so why not now?

Above all, don't just let it go hoping things will work out in performance. They usually won't. Always be ready to do whatever is necessary to make your performance as great as possible.

You should also time your sets including time you might use to talk to your audience. If you're supposed to do a forty-minute set, for instance, and you find you're coming out considerably less, add a number or two. If more, cut down. Work this out before you perform so that you're never caught having to cut the set before you planned - which may force you to eliminate one or two of your strongest numbers.

Keep changing the sets as you acquire and learn more material. This keeps things interesting both for the audience and the people in the Group. Playing the same material in the same sequence too many times will guarantee stale performances very quickly. Yes, the audiences like familiar material, but not sameness. Surprise them!

(c) 1984-2008 David J. Spangenberg

[This piece was "stolen" from my "The Music Biz" Book found as part of "The Music Biz On A Disk™" on this site]

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Are You Recording All Your Practices???

Checking your progress is important as a Group or Band, and the best way to do it is by recording all your practice sessions. The Group/Band leader may listen to it privately, make notes, and play it over a few times before having the Group listen to it. If he/she does this a few times they will be better prepared to discuss with the individual Musicians how they sounded, as well as to comment on the Group's performance as a whole.

It is important for the Band to hear how they sound playing together, as it's very difficult, if not impossible, to do so very accurately while in the act of playing.

A few of the things to listen for are:

1. The feel of the sound.
2. Is everyone really "putting out"?
3. How tightly is the Group playing together?
4. Do variations you have tried come across?
5. Are certain instruments overloud, drowning others?
6. Is someone playing a clinker?
7. Is the rhythm solid behind the other instruments?
8. Is everyone on key?
9. Can you hear the Singer's words?
10. Is the spirit there, the identification with the music that puts it across?
11. Do the songs build?

You will be surprised at the things you hear even if your recording is not studio quality, and at how easy it is to change things. I've said that practices should be played like performances. If you do this and the recording sounds good, it might help you get a few gigs. If it's really terrific, it could ultimately lead to a recording contract - it's happened before and it will happen again.

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The Difference Between An Agent & a Manager:

What Is A Manager (supposed to be able to do)?

A. A person who "guides, counsels, advises and helps to provide employment"
B. A protector, and "doer".
C. They take all steps necessary to help You become a success.
D. They make money when You make money; the more You make, the more they make. Their success comes through helping to achieve Your success.
E. They can be an objective person who can look at all aspects of Your situation, analyze them, and make a rational plan. They have to be able to look at You and Your work differently than You do. Why???

-->1. Your work is intensely personal, and You're probably too emotionally tied to it.
-->2. Everyone needs a professional outside opinion, not friends or relatives. It's hard for them to give an honest, sound opinion. WHY???

---->a. They're too close to be honest and unswayed by feelings;
---->b. If they're not professionals, they're not qualified to give an opinion.
---->c. If You listen only to friends and those close to You, You'll run around in circles, being pleased with Yourself but making no progress. Or worse, they don't like Your stuff, or they're jealous - and it really has hit potential!

Note: Do not mix up "Manager" with "Agent" - many people do! They are two different animals, and in many states it is illegal to do both. You will [should] see in most Management Contracts that it says that they will hire an Agent, and are not expected to book Artists themselves.

Agents are "middle-men/women" who get "gigs" etc, for people, etc. In reality, an enterprising Agent is Someone who places Anyone or Anything for Anyone with Anybody for a piece of the action.

Agents need an "Employment Agency License" to legally do their work. Managers, in most states cannot legally "book" their Artists, although some will book their Artists here and there, in the beginning.

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Any Questions On Getting Into The Music Biz?

Hey! I'm here for you guys!!! Sooooooooo.....if you ever run into a question or problem re: the music business in general, or your careers in specific, ask me about it!

I can answer any questions you may have re: the Creative, Business and/or Legal sides of the biz. The exception? I don't deal with "Technical issues" such as equipment problems and the like.

So folks, unless your recording or equipment system has broken down, ask away...Oh, btw, check out the links on the left often for lots of free info to help your careers.And please... Spread the Word!

PP
Music Business Career Guidance
Education & Full Contract Services

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What is Copyrighting?

In actuality, a song is considered "Copyrighted" as soon as it is created AND "affixed to something tangible" - which means you can see it, [as on paper, or DVD's or video tape], or hear it, [such as audio or video reproductions].

When you send your forms, songs, and money to Washington, you are actually "Registering" songs that are already copyrighted.

Playing it as safe as possible, I always believe in sending in my copyright forms before I show them to people. You notice I said "sending in". You don't have to have the stamped forms back before you show them, otherwise you better be prepared to wait from 4-6 months or more. In actuality, the forms are stamped/dated as soon as they receive them from you, and therefore are covered from that date on.

You can get the forms at: http://www.copyright.gov/forms/

I do highly recommend that on all tapes, tape boxes, CDs, word sheets etc., you do put "the copyright notice" on the songs immediately - which is legal. "The copyright notice" consists of three parts - and in this order:

1. The copyright symbol: © or the word "Copyright"
2. The year (Not the date): such as "2008"
3 Your [legal] name: such as David J. Spangenberg

It should look like: © 2008 David J. Spangenberg

Full copyright info & step-by-step instructions can be found on my web site at: http://www.professorpooch.com/Copyrighting.htm

Btw, too many people still believe in the "poor man's copyright", that is, mailing the songs to themselves, and not opening them - leaving them sealed with a Post mark date. Forget it! It's worthless! Spend the $30 and breathe easier.

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Voice Lessons - Good or Bad???

As a Producer, I have been forced over the years to become a voice coach - way too often to undo the mess caused by voice teachers! And, the more lessons the singer took, the longer it took me to get the Artist onto the right track…

[Now, before I get a large volume of complaints from voice teachers, let's keep in mind that, just like with any other profession, there are good ones and harmful ones. I'll also ask all of you to please read this entire piece before assessing judgment on my thoughts.]

Instead of listing all the problems I'll narrow it down to the 2 main ones [and yes, they are related]:

1. Teachers who through different means/lessons/whatever try to get the singer to sound like them or everyone else instead of bringing out the uniqueness of each individual.

But worse than that…

2. Teachers who want the singer to continuously "think" about or "watch" or "keep in mind" everything they're doing!

"Think about the notes you are hitting"; "think about your breathing", "think about your tone", "think about this", "think about that"…

I'm sorry, but thinking about anything will prevent an Artist from ever becoming truly successful. How can you communicate with your audience if you are thinking about yourself and what you are doing - instead of actually singing the song? [DOING - instead of THINKING!]

[I'm sure everyone reading this has noticed, when you're in a concert, bar, or wherever you've heard live music, that you either find yourself thinking about all kinds of things or talking to your neighbor - or you can't take your eyes off the performer!]

I don't care if you are thinking about the notes you are hitting, the ones you want to hit, the neat trick with your voice you did on the last recording that you want to do the same way - let alone the argument you had with your girl/boyfriend, what the audience thinks of your voice, or any other matter…

Yes, I do understand that at first, when you are beginning to work with your voice [or any instrument] there are things to learn, and yes, think about. BUT, it must be made clear that the Artist must make them a habit so they can turn off their thinking.

The end result must be that the singer let their inner feelings take over, let their emotions out and feel what they are singing about.

I'm sorry, but simply put: It is impossible to "think" and "feel" at the same time! This is the key difference between being a local Bar Singer, and being able to achieve National or International status!

Or as we say in the Industry, "If you want to grab your audience, it's got to come from your Heart - not your Head!"

Funny thing is, when a person learns to totally trust him/herself and not care at all about what they sound like or what people think of their voice - that is, they let loose, two great bonuses occur:

1. The singer will sound like no one else because their true emotion is coming out…

2. They find they are more comfortable with their real life outside of music - because they trust and believe in themselves!!!

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"Standard" Contracts?

If you ever see the word "Standard" at the top of a contract - ignore it and have someone in the business check it over carefully! There's no such animal... I've seen way too many different Agreements with the word Standard at the top.

There may be some standard parts [called "boilerplate"] in a contract, or it could be that person's or company's standard agreement. But, there's no such thing as a contract that's "standard" - that everyone gets from everywhere.

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Royalty Rate Change! [as of January 1, 2006]-

The Good news: Copyright issued Royalty rates paid to Publishers/ Songwriters as of 1/1/06 just went up to 9.1 cents per record sold. It has been going up every two years, but will now stay there unless "law" is changed.

The Bad News: Artists who write songs, and sell them through a Record Company while under contract to them, through what is known as the "Controlled Composition" Clause, are still only going to be paid 3/4 rate = 6.825 cents. Yes, it's illegal, but in effect, by you signing the contract, you say they are allowed to break the law...

Note: it's actually worse than that - examples: they usually only want to pay you for 10 - 12 songs on your album - though you may have 15, and if you do "cover songs", they'll pay THAT Publisher the full 9.1 - and take the difference [2.3 cents], from your paycheck!

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There are two kinds of records in the Music Business - the kind that rotate, and business. It's important to keep records of your business dealings from the start. Failing to keep accurate records will cost you time and money later on, especially if you wind up in a hassle with the IRS. Someone once wrote that there are only two certain things, death and taxes, and truer words were never written.

From the start, form the habit of getting receipts for everything for which you spend money connected in any way with your Music Business.

This list will help:

Buying, renting and repairing equipment... Rental of practice hall... Recording time and materials, studio... Studio computers, programs, peripherals, Sidemen for recording or appearances... Car or truck rental for appearances... Travel expenses, gas, oil, and tolls... Parking on business calls... Business telephone calls... Equipment and business insurance... Music paper, stationary, cards, pencils, etc… Informational and educational courses, books and magazines… Manager's and Agent's percentages... Photocopies... Postage and mailings... Hotels, motels for appearances... Business luncheons or dinners... Accountant's and Attorney's fees... All other Professional fees... Licenses or Permits for business...

This is a partial list; you will find other expenses that are applicable.

You may be able to deduct all or portions of health insurance, medical and hospital costs, and other items listed in the Tax Guide furnished by the IRS. It will pay for you to get one and check out the deductions allowed for that particular year, before tax time.

If you spend money and don't or can't get a receipt for some reason, make sure you write down the amount, what it was for, and the date. Use a notebook or file folder, but keep the notes all together. No matter if it's only a quarter, it all adds up, and you'll be glad you did it later on as April 15th rolls around.

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"Writing Off Into the Sunset..."

I love writing songs!

My favorite place for writing? While Driving!

I just take off into the wild blue yonder... It's great! Turn my phone off and take in the scenery - especially when the leaves are changing colors in the fall.

Well... Great except for the first few times I tried this, especially the time I ended up around 5-7 hours and several hundred miles later in God's Country... Hell if I knew where I was! It was dark, and very weird surroundings. I would've been satisfied finding almost ANY hotel/motel, or whatever...

I finally got rescued by two State Troupers in the middle of the night who told me where I was - in some Western Pennsylvania 20 lettered Indian-named State Park that I can't pronounce to this day.

Well, to make a long story short - I now stay on a Turnpike or other road where I can easily find my way back - if I have to - or I want to...

Oh, and remembering what I write is no problem - I learned to carry digital and cassette recorders with me always. This way, I don't have to try to interpret my scribble :)

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I've found that most people don't understand the differences & uses of (c) with (P) in regards to their use on products, word sheets, etc.

(c) stands for the SONG Copyright Ownership - Unpublished OR Published

Songs are Registered in Washington with FORM PA - Published or Unpublished

(P) does NOT stand for Published!

(P) stands for the RECORDING ownership [Production]. That is, whomever Owns the Recording/Production.

Most often on CDs, etc., you will see, for example:

(P)2005 WMG [Note: WMG = Warner Music Group]

Now, you DON'T have to be a Record Company to own the Recording. If you PAID for the Recording, in effect you Own it.

Recordings are Registered with FORM SR.

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A. If you are a Manager, Record Company, whomever, offering someone a contract, make sure you say to them, in front of witnesses, that they "...have the right to seek an Attorney or an Independent Knowledgable Music Biz Person of their own choosing to look at the Contract". And make sure it's in the Contract also, which they'll sign, stating the above sentence, plus giving them the option of not going to one if they so choose. The point is - it's their choice.

B. Don't forget, if you're a person who has been offered a contract, and who is NOT given time and the choice of going to an Attorney, and/or asked to sign a contract immediately, as is -- Simply put: something's not only obviously wrong with the contract [it's obviously written totally in their favor], just as importantly -- something's obviously wrong with the person offering you the contract...

A or B. No matter what, make sure that the person you use to write and/or check or negotiate your contracts is a Music Biz Attorney, or Music Business Contract Specialist [like me]. There are many nuances in the Music Biz that other attornies won't know - especially what's been left OUT of the contract! I've seen that because I've taught some!

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An important Music Biz Tip for Those Wishing to start an Indie Label:

I highly recommend to my clients who wish to form an Indie Label, and that intend to sign more than one act, that they definitely also start a Production Company - and sign Artists to the Production Company first!

Reason? Simple. If the Production Company Agreement is written well, it'll state that you, as a Production Company, have up to [usually] 18 months to decide whether to place the Artist[s] TO your Indie label, or THROUGH your Prod. Co., onto ANOTHER label.

Why is this important? What if you start working with an Artist - and you find out that they are impossible to deal with in some way! This way, you can have some other Label deal with the headache, and you can still make your Production Company AND Publishing Monies!

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You're an Artist, and you're actively seeking a Manager, or you've found one.

Are you "comfortable" with them? Remember, you're dealing with a PERSON who's a Manager? You're going to be spending a like of time with this Manager or Management Company's representative that's going to be assigned to you, so you better be able to interact in a positive manner - and this Manager better be "for real".

You see, there are two things you will never find in any Management Agreement:

1. Can they advance your career?

They may want to help you, but can they do what's necessary to help you become successful?

2. Can you trust them?

Not only are they going to be handling your money, usually, at least initially, they are also going to have some form of "Power of Attorney" over you - that is, they can sign your names to checks, contracts, etc.

So, if these two things aren't in any contract, what can you do?

How about "checking them out"? If they are legit, it won't bother them in the least.

1. Talk to other Bands/Artists managed by them.

2. Talk to people who USED to be with them [although do keep in mind that it might've been the Artist's fault not the Manager's why they're no longer together.]

3. Check them out on the "net".

4. Have somebody "Grill" the potential Manager. [That's why it's so important to know the biz - so you know what to ask them.] I've done this for countless Artists.

-- A funny one. I was "grilling" this person who was dropping names like anything. Big ego. When he mentioned a Producer I knew, who he said he was real close to, I asked him, "Oh, how's his son doing? I haven't seen the kid in years." And, he responded with, "Hey, he's doing great!"

My Producer friend doesn't have a son.

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You could be an Artist, or a Manager, or a Producer, whomever - and a friend gives you a CD. And he/she says, “I know that you know ______. Please give them this CD - its perfect for them!”

What Would You Do? Give it to the Artist, Publisher, or Record Company, etc., for your friend?

I'd have no choice but to tell them that I willl listen to it - and then decide if it’s appropriate.

“You mean you won't just hand it in for ME???”

And I'd say, "Look, when I hand something in, MY Name is on the Line - not yours! I'M the one handing it in."

I always want the person getting the CD to say, “Hey, here's another song from Professor Pooch. Lets give it a listen.” Not, “Well, here’s another one for the 'circular file' " - without even listening to it.

And I'd tell my friend that, if they were a real friend, they'd understand.

But, I’d tell them, if the quality of the material and production is great, in my opinion - and it Fits the Person or Company I'm taking it to, I'll be very happy to take it to that Person/Company. It'll help my friend - and at the same time show them that I still have "my ears."

And, that my Name still means something.

It's so important to always remember, that in the Music Biz, you're known by your Name. And you'd better take real good care of it if you want to stick around...

Stay Tuned For The Next Episode

 

Question: What do you think is the common connection among real Super Stars?

Answer: They are both loved and hated by the public. That is, People either Love or Hate the same Artist/Group!

Why? Because they standout from the crowd - and other Artists. They have their own musical "Sound", their Own "Image"

In other words: they are UNIQUE.

Unique Looking [Hey, you know anyone that looks like Michael Jackson?], and/or
Unique Sounding [including lead voice (Jagger/Dylan) and/or Musical Sound (Arrangements-Production) and/or
Unique Stage Personality, and/or

As soon as you hear a song - you know who it is!

You get the picture...

Think about it: Michael Jackson, Elvis, The Beatles, Prince, Dylan, Jagger

But "Unique", alone, doesnt work. They still must be MARKETABLE! That is, a lot of people will want to buy their product!

Stay Tuned For The Next Episode

 

-- A Common Music Business Contract Mistake That I Run Into Often:

**Not Thinking Long Term. 2 Common Examples:

1. You're offered 10% as an Artist
[Side Note: Make sure it says of the Retail Price! If it says "Wholesale", make sure you get 20%!!!]

Why not ask for your rate to rise each album you release by 1/2%?

Why not ask that your rate goes up 1/2% for "Gold" and anothet 1/2% for "Platinum"?

Believe it or not, the Record Company will probably say "Yes" to both! Why? Because if you're doing well, they won't mind it, and if you're Not selling, they can always rease you from the contract anytime they want!

2. Thinking you can stop paying a Manager [for example] when the contract is over.

Well, if you read the contract carefully you'll notice that it says the Manager makes his/her percentage for all contracts signed during the term.

What this also means? Say you sign a Record Deal during the 3 years [example] you're signed to the Manager. Well, although the Management Contract may be over in 3 years, the Record Contract may have a few years to run, and the Manager is entitled [through the contract] to keep getting his/her percentage of the Record Company monies for the length of THAT deal!.

How to solve that? How about a compromise: a "Reverse Sliding Scale". An example: If Manager was getting 20% of the gross [average a Manager gets] during the 3 years, the Manager would get 10% the 1st year after the Agreement was over, 5% the 2nd year, 2.5% the 3rd year - and nothing thereafter.

Otherwise you'd be paying the Old Manager 20% and your New Manager 20%!!! Yikes!!!

Tune in for the next episode...


-- And now for another edition of: "Pooch's Pet Peeves"... [in no order]

1. Musician's playing "afraid of making mistakes" in the studio, so, of course, they sound mechanical...

2. Managers signing Artists with no intent of shopping them - or not knowing how to...

3. Publishers signing songwriters/songs with no intent on shopping them -or not knowing how to...

4. Production Companies signing Artists and Songs with no intent on shopping them - or not knowing how to...

5. Musicians forming bands making sure that they "hire" no one who is better than them talent-wise or image-wise...

6. Singers who try to show all the tricks they can do with their voice - instead of letting it out from their heart...

7. Songwriters who see how complex and/or sophisticated they can make the words - where I always have to ask them: "Do you really talk like that???"...

8. Producers who find Artists for songs - instead of the RIGHT Artists for the particular songs...

9. Artists who believe what someone says is in the contract - instead of reading it, or better yet, show it to someone who understands what it says - and what it doesn't say...

10. Show promoters who duck out after they get the money - and not paying the performers...

11. People who write songs to the "beats", instead of putting "beats" to the songs - of course limiting the melodies that can be used...

12. Record Companies afraid to sign someone who is unique - yet only the unique become superstars and make them the most money...

Tune in for the next episode...

 

I've finally found someone who could take some of the day-to-day office & biz stuff off me, so I can do what I need to do. I've also seen through the years how hard it is to find someone that fits my 3 criteria:

> 1. Someone I can totally trust - and I don't just mean with money. The music biz also deals heavily with "Intellectual Property". "Intellectual Property" = IDEAS, which = things you can't always protect from someone else's eyes and ears. This means things that are personally created by someone, such as ideas, their music, as well as their marketing and other biz stuff.

And with ME, that also equals all My Clients Intellectual Property, also!!! And that includes films, videos, multimedia stuff, creative writings, personal contracts, etc., etc...

> 2. Someone who's a "self-starter". That is they can come up with ideas and run with stuff without me having to always be by their side.

Now, I don't expect them to know my total business and how I "operate" immediately. But damn, I hire someone to help me - not to hold me back from doing what I should be doing...

> 3. Someone who is competant! They know something about a lot of things. They can even type! [I'm a hunt-and-pecker :)]

---

I've found out by talking to many others through the years that they've been in the same boat for years. Too many people nowadays want something [money, prestige, whatever] - for doing nothing. They don't want to earn it.

Btw, I learned something important by making a big mistake years ago - that you shouldn't automatically take someone with a lot of brains over someone else. I took on, in the nineties, a young man who was valedictorian of his class in a prestigious music business school, with an associates degree. Two years of solid music business education, as well as other creative and business skills.

What a waste. Because someone is "Book Smart", it doesn't mean they know how to use their knowledge - that is, know what to do with what they know! As my history teacher in high school taught me regarding college degrees - "pieces of paper": "BS" = Bull Chit; "MS" = More Chit; and PHD stands for "Piled High and Deep"!

 

Tune in for the next episode...


-- I received a question from a Music Publisher client re: "What if I get material where I like the lyrics but not the music or vice versa? Is there anything I can do?" Here goes:

Answer: YES, if you use a typical Songwriter's contract, it states something like: "The Writer hereby consents to such changes, adaptations, dramatizations, transpositions, editing and arrangements of said compositions, and the setting of words to the music and the music to the words, and the change of the title as the Publisher deems desirable." Which means, you can change anything you wish -as long as it doesn't affect anything else in the agreement, such as the financial arrangement with the Songwriter[s]. You may ask the Songwriter, first, if they'd make changes you'd wish made, though going by the above statement, you don't have to.

Now, I know many Songwriters would want to kill someone who would ever even think of changing their Words or Music. Well, I'm sorry, but if you're a Songwriter, and you want the songs done exactly as you pictured them, you're going to have to Produce them yourself, with yourself as Artist - and possibly have to manufacture and sell them yourself!

My advice? As I learned many years ago, by a person who was Producing me [Gene McDaniels - known for writing and producing for Roberta Flack, Gladys Knight, etc.] "Pooch, what's the difference, so you write another song!"

Let's face facts: the Songwriter writes it, and then the Publisher may want to change it, and then the Arranger may want to change it, and then the Artist [if not the Songwriter] may want to change it, and then the Producer might want to change it... As the saying would go: "He/She who has the clout -wins out :). Actually I eventually LIKED the change of arrangements Gene used for some of my songs with another Artist. I knew he was a "Pro" and I just had to listen to it several times to get the old "picture" out of my mind. And btw, I learned not to care about the changes, because, even if someone changes it, I can STILL do it the way I want, later! And so can you!

-- Site-wise, I've added a new "Ask the Professor" page -and don't forget to dip into the archives to see what you've missed! And, send in those questions you have about your entertainment career!

You'll also notice that the "Free Library", on many of the main heading pages now contains an expanded list of what's in it. Before, you would've had to actually go into a topic to see if there was more. Btw, if you want me to put more stuff up in the free library, tell me what you want. Also, don't forget, this Journal is free and has lots of free useful topics, itself. Don't forget to check the previous months, also...

-- There was an important conference held recently by "The Future of Music" people covering the major changes happening in the biz, with all the new options for singers, artists, musicians, managers, etc., etc. And, you can hear audio, or see video of the major panels for free, at: http://www.futureofmusic.org/events/summit05/schedule.cfm. Just go down the page and click on what you want that's available in audio or video - many well-known people involved...

-- Also, if you haven't noticed, I've dropped the price on my all-in-one books/courses/etc.: "The Music Biz On A Disk™" by 1/3!

Tune in for the next episode...



-- One of the things I've been doing for the last week is working on putting together some record companies for a few of my clients. Amazing how many people are into starting record companies nowadays. It seems like the number is growing exponentially...

Well, in a way, I can't blame them because the rules of the game have changed. Really good Artists are coming to Indies, because, even if you want to be with a Major Label, if you want any kind of a worthwhile deal, you gotta show you can make some noise with an Indie. And, still others have realized that, by selling 50,000 independently, you can actually make more income than selling a million through a major. And you have much more creative control, as a Writer, Artist, and/or as a Producer. One of your main sources of income is having control of the Merchandising, selling what you want through your web site and at performances. And, then there's the Publishing - the ownership of the song, and all the royalties that go with it...

-- I've finally taken the time to get some of my songs out - had no choice, timing is everything... When a top Artist is planning to be in a studio, that's when you must hit. Luckily songs are timeless, it's just the arrangements that change, especially the rhythm, tempo, etc... I was just thinking how an Artist took one of my songs a couple of years ago that I had written over 25 years ago - I just updated the "feel"...

-- If you missed my Management Duties Checklist, check out below. It's just as important for Artists and Producers [who often have to "play Manager" for a while], besides Managers.

-- It's interesting, checking my logs I've found that the most "googled/msn'ed, etc." thing on my site is my Piano Chord Chart, which people usually list on the search engines as wanting a "Free Piano Chord Chart".

The 2nd most popular is people wanting "Free Management [or Producer, or record company, etc., etc.] Contract". Of course they endup on Contract Services - the page which starts out with me warning people how dangerous these non-personalized "free contract" are. There are good contracts and bad contracts, useful contracts and useless contracts, and just plain old Dangerous Contracts.

I saw a situation lately where a Manager was hurt, unintentially - but still screwed - by his own Attorney re:an Artist. Part of the problem was this Attorney wasn't an Entertainment Attorney, or a Music Biz Attorney, or Music Business Contract Specialist [like me]. Part of the problem: there were so many commas in some of the sentences - which were waaaayyy too long on their own - that you couldn't always tell what the subject was, leaving the paragraphs very ambiguous and unreadable. That's a big no no...

-- Contract Tip For The Day: If you are a Manager, Record Company, whomever, offering someone a contract, make sure you say to them, in front of witnesses, that they "have the right to seek an Independent Knowledgable Music Biz Person of their own choosing to look at the Contract". And make sure it's in the Contract also, which they'll sign, stating the above sentence, plus giving them the option of not going to one if they so choose. The point is - it's their choice.

Btw, don't forget, if you're a person who has been offered a contract, and who is NOT given time and the choice of going to an Attorney, and/or asked to sign a contract immediately, as is -- Simply put: something's not only obviously wrong with the contract [it's obviously written totally in their favor], just as importantly -- something's obviously wrong with the person offering you the contract...

-- Funny one: The abbreviation Lawyers use for the word Contract is the letter "K". Go figure...

Tune in for the next episode...



I decided to answer recent letters requesting Music Biz Info I've received lately, ala "Ask the Pooch"...


--Q. "I have one question for ya. When signing a record deal as a new artist do I have to use their producers or can i have my own?"

Pooch: If you sign with a Record Company, the contracts always say that they pick the producers, or have control over who you use. As a Contract Specialist, I try to offer the Record Company the "Right of First Refusal" instead of total control.  This means, the Artist comes up with a Producer they use or want to use, and the Record Company says yes or no.  If it's a "No", you can then come up with another Producer and ask for their Yes or No, and so forth and so on...
 
However, the best way to solve it is if you do the whole production yourself, and they like what you've done, then the problem is already solved :).  And, if you make the deal as a Production Company with the Record Company, and you're signed to the Production Company, then you'll not only have creative control, you'll have much better Financial Control!  Your Production Company gets a pot of money to pay the Artist and Producer[s] and what's left over goes to the Production Company - which can be you  :)


--Q. "Long story short - I have a 21 year old daughter who has been asked to sign a singing contract with a group and we are clueless.  She is in Laramie, WY in school as a senior and the group is in Nashville.  I am in Springfield, MO. Do we need to have a lawyer look at this contract?  Can this lawyer be from any state? If you could answer our questions we would be so appreciative." 

Pooch: YES, someone should look at the contract - it will affect her life for a period of time, probably years. It doesn't matter what state the person is in that looks at the contract, but it must be done by a Music Business Contract Specialist, like me, or an ENTERTAINMENT Attorney.
 
I have a 21 year old daughter myself that's into music, so I understand your concern. Your daughter needs to really learn and know as much about the music business as possible to play it safe.

--Q. "My wife and I are trying to record our first CD.  We have a strong team working on the project with us, but we need some backing for it. We were thinking of having a ''showcase'', or put on a small concert for investors. My question is... "what kind of return are investors looking for and how should I approach them about asking for investments"?"
Kurt

Pooch: First, it's pretty hard to get investors to back an Artist.  The investors might be interested in the Showbiz part of it, but their accountants and biz people try to scare them away concerned about the risky business of music investing.
 
You'll have to do one hell of an amazing show, or you'll probably have to cut a couple monsters on your own to maybe get their interest enough that they over-rule the accountants. Smaller investors, who may use their heart more, may be easier - depending on how much you need/want. The best people sometimes are those that have extra "play money", and wish they were stars but don't have the talent, and/or, want to be "associated with" a star, get back stage passes, etc.
 
Re: what kind of return for investors, there's countless ways of doing it, including, but far from limited to: 

1. Money back plus an extra X amount of dollars, and then it's done

2. A percentage of all monies that come in for life of deal

3. A big percentage of the first album's profits, and lesser for second...

in other words, just like a contract, it's whatever two or more people agree on.
 
How to approach them?  In the music biz especially, it depends on who "them" are. Everyone is an individual, and will have to be approached as such.
 
Another key is, how much money you want, and what it's going to be used for. I'm surmising you want money to finance the recording, but you'll also need money for packaging, pics, phone calls, mailings, travel, whatever.


Tune in for the next episode...

-- Something that really hit me outa nowhere. I realized that this PP.com Web Site that I write, type into "Dreamweaver" and load myself, Is done on a very high end computer and large LCD monitor. And, I started to wonder how other people see this site on their computers - computers that are all different with different sizes and types of monitors, and whether they're looking at the site in 1024-768 [I use 1280 - 1024] or whatever resolution people have set on their puters. I have made adjustments hoping that the print is now not too big on most people's computers re: my links on left and right.

-- I received a scare after moving all my equipment around in my office, when my monitor stopped working! Damn, expensive new monitor, and did I do something wrong when I moved it??? Well, luckily I have a computer savvy son, who came up with lots of things that could've gone wrong - and one move solved it. The plug had come loose at the monitor. Whewww, close one!

-- Sacreligious- I heard they made the "Spangenberg Castle" in Germany into a hunting resort! Oh well, if I ever visit it, maybe they'll give me a discount :)

-- Oh well, I'm sure I'll get back into the swing of things after I finish up this re-room fixing up. Then I can get my head back into the biz... It's been hard, getting rid of out-of-date recording equipment I've used for many years... But, one thing has always kept me successful - keeping up with the times, adjusting as necessary...

Tune in for the next episode...

 

Contrary to popular belief, I am not a Lawyer. I'm a Music Biz Consultant and Contract Specialist. Btw, I have never had a desire to become a lawyer. Yes, I like dealing with all kinds of legal music biz situations, especially contracts, but that's as far as my interest goes.

And, I don't think I'd be happy doing just one job, such as being a lawyer. I enjoy more doing everything having to do with the biz - including the music itself. I've been making sure lately that I take some time daily to work on music. It helps me keep my insanity :).

-- Second contract I worked on yesterday was in regards to a new Artist and a Recording Contract they were offered. Now, it's a known fact that, if you are a new Artist, unless you have a really, really high "buzz factor" going on regarding you, your initial contract is going to SUCK! So, the trick is for the Artist to make their 1st contract last as short a time as possible, while the record company tries to make the 1st contract last as long as possible. Because, as soon as an Artist become's popular, the Artist is going to want to make more money and have more creative control than the initial contract would offer. And if it's over quickly, the Company is going to get stuck offering them a lot more money and power if they want them to re-up.

But, there is always that sucky 1st contract. You normally can't get around it. The key word is: "Normally". Here are some instances where a Major or Mini Major Record Company [doesn't matter what style of music you do] will give you a better offer [in no order, but leaving the best way, in my opinion, for last]:

1. Recording with, or being represented by a Successful Producer and/or Production Company

2. Being represented by a known and respected Manager. Preferably, one who has friends in the business, especially one who has Artists already with the Company you want to approach.

3. Out and out Hit Songs - and preferably in Master form, ready to put out there.

4. You've written hits for other Hit Artists.

5. You're already known in the entertainment industry, such as you've been an actor or model on TV, film, or what not.

6. The enthusiasm of the Company re: the Artist's potential.

7. The financial shape of the Company.

8. The "chemistry" between the negotiators (how they get along).

9. Record Companies previous bad experiences

10. Whether Publishing is involved [and how much].

11. Astrological signs, and such [I'm not kidding]!

12 But the best way??? Where the Record Company comes to YOU! And, all of a sudden you have a bidding war between companies for the right to sign you!

Now, what would make them come to you? Because you've created a gigantic "BUZZ" around you! People [your paying audience] loves you, and you're already selling a lot of records on your own - or with a small label. Everyone is writing about you. You have a large following in person and through your web site. It still doesn't hurt to have a powerful Manager or Producer representing you. And a few of the other's listed above. Jut make them want to come to you.

The fact is, most Major labels are extremely paranoid about signing anyone nowadays. Their preference is to have you sell 50,000 with an Indie, so they figure they're not taking a big chance. At that point, most Indie's distributors don't have that international reach that Majors have, so they kind of join hands, or the major makes a settlement with the Indie to take over your contract. Note: You'll find words to that effect - they'll usually use the term "Third Parties" -in an Artist's recording contract with an Indie.

Something to always keep in mind is, no matter WHO you sign with, make the contract as short as possible and make sure you can make money from side things, such as songwriting, merchandising and performing to make up for what you don't get from the Record Company.

The problem is, many of the Majors, and it's trickling down to the "lesser companies", are now attempting to take over the Merchandising end. One Major was even starting to go after some of the Live Performance income of Artists! Look, when Record Companies see a way to make money, they're going to go after it.

More on this subject at another time... I've gotta do some work :)

Tune in for the next episode...

 

-- And now for my Sunday Sermon...

I was meeting with a client, going over agreements, recommending changes, etc., all geared to a very interesting situation: the start to reclaiming of "stolen dollars" for creative efforts in the music industry that weren't properly "accounted for".

I hate to be cryptic, but I'll have to jump straight to the moral: Simply put, please pay attention to what's happening business-wise, as well as contractual-wise, in your career. If you don't want to, don't know how to, don't have time to, or for whatever reason can't, make sure you have someone watchin' your ass for you! Receive the money while you're rightfully earning it, don't wait to find out you don't have any money when you want it or need it!

An interesting, true story: Bette Midler, early in her career when she was just becoming pretty well-known, was invited to sit in the back of a limousine with Mick Jagger and David Bowie. "Wow", she thought - she was thrilled to be able to sit with such well-known people in their limousine! She thinks, "Wow, I'm gonna get some real 'dish'"! [Midler talk for "gossip"].

Didn't happen. She learned a big lesson that day that served her well, when Mick and David spent a whole hour talking about nothing but Business, Business and more Business!!! Tour expenses, Management, Tax relief, Merchandising, etc., etc. etc.

You'll notice something in common about the big, successful stars: Their music is magical. But they take the time to make sure they ain't gettin screwed, business-wise or contractually! If they have Managers, Business Managers or whomever handling their business for them, they still take the time to go over everything with these people, making sure their carefully chosen biz reps are properly taking care of them and their products and monies, and that these reps are on top of the game, always one step ahead of the competition.

As I stated in What's a "Superstar", where I list everything in common among real Superstars, one of them is that all Superstars accept that… the MUSIC BUSINESS is a BUSINESS! Or they don't last very long...

-- Also at this meeting something else came out: the necessity for two certain people, let's call them Dick and Jane, to disassociate themselves from a person we shall call Tom, who had become a negative in both of their situations. Tom had the potential to hurt their names through his morally unacceptable way of doing business, where he was trying to compensate for his financial losses due to bad dealings and harmful relationships. What a shame - Tom had succeeded in the music biz, and had screwed up his own situation. He was a very talented person creatively who was putting a drain on Dick and Jane, mentally and financially, and affecting them business-wise.

Dick and Jane had given Tom too many chances, letting him know if he wanted to deal with them, he had to become a straight shooter with others, as well as them. His name was starting to be seen in a very negative light by too many people. All that was left was to make sure they got far away from him. "Guilt by association" [closely associating with a person who did something wrong] is a very serious concern when your names are on the line. As I say in one of my Toptenlaws:

Your Name: It's The Most Important Thing You Have.
How You Treat It Will Determine Your Success!

"You are known by your name in the Music Business. Everything you do is under a microscope. Do whatever is necessary to keep your name in good standing by only presenting and representing Great Product! Always remember that when you represent someone else's product, Your name is on the line!"

And, being involved with someone who can hurt your name is downright dangerous and career-threatening.

And, in the situation that occurred today, we realized their names their names were on the line, and they had to do what they had to do...

Thus concludes my Sunday Sermon.

Tune in for the next episode...

 

-- Stuck in rotten traffic on 95 & 476 on the way back from a friends/clients place in another state, I found the tie-up to be one broken down car - On The Shoulder - and everyone was just stopping to look!!! What should've taken me 1 hour - took 2! All because of what they call a "Gaper Delay"!

But while stranded, going one mile an hour, I got to thinking about some of my other "Pooch's Pet Peeves". Well, besides the traffic jam, and the "Gaper Delay", here's a couple more...

1. I'm sure many of you have heard the term "thinking outside the box". It basically is used to describe the process of stepping beyond a human being's normal realm of thinking, using creativity to solve a situation, or to move a situation forward.

The weird part is, the whole premise is based on a fallacy --- There Is No Box!!! People create the boxes - mental restrictions around theirselves. They do what they've always done, or what they've been taught, or have seen or have experienced - and not letting their creativity flow constructively, coming up with something new.

2. "That person isn't 'Normal' ". "That's not 'Normal'." What the hell does "normal" mean? Who the hell decides who's "normal" and what's "normal", and not "normal" for us! I want to meet these people! I bet they either don't exist, or they're nuts! :)

3. People know me as a person who never gets rattled by anything; a kind of level person. Never too up, and rarely ever, down. Well... there's one thing you can do that really riles me: Needlessly pity yourself. The "Poor me" syndrome.

Most of these people that pity themselves, just want attention - of the negative sort. A re-enforcement of "down". Hey, if they want to deserve the pity, let them live for a few days in Afghanistan... I'd think they'd rather spend the time they spend pitying themselves on thinking how to take themselves out of that position; thinking of something positive.

Always keep in mind, that physical and mental are "attached". That when you feel mentally down, for whatever reason, your killing your immune system, which will hurt you physically, which will hurt you even more mentally, and so on...

-- Well, the people I was with earlier today were my kind of people. Spending their time on making their lives, their world, and our world, a better place... I'd rather dwell on that subject. Onward and Upward...

Tune in for the next episode...

 

-- By popular request, I dropped the price on my all in one "The Music Biz On A Disk™" for new buyers. Although it would cost thousands in person where I used to teach, I've dropped the price below 100. I DO want everyone to have it so they don't get ripped off by the sharks out there, and I DO believe it can help lots of people "Get In Survive and Succeed - Without Getting Ripped Off". Over 700 pages of pure step by step info.

My life's in that disk. If it helps people succeed safely in the biz, it's all worthwhile. The fact is, I keep seeing more and more people getting ripped off by people and companies in the Music Industry - when will it ever end? Maybe in my lifetime? That would indeed be something special. We can all hope...

Tune in for the next episode...

 

-- All of a sudden, me being who I am, started thinking of the Positive Side of going [practically] digital in my recording studio. [As stated below, on Sunday, "I sadly have pretty much given in to the call of [mostly] digital and started dismantling much of my analog equipment."]

Hmmm. Things I won't miss about analog...

1. SPLICING TAPE! GRRRRRRRRRRRRR! Slivers here and there, having to keep every one of them in case I had to tape them back!

2. Finding the right reel of tape, getting it down from the storage area.

3. Winding the tape carefully onto the machine.

4. Pitch changes when you sped the tape up or slowed it down.

5. Having to bounce two or more tracks together due to a shortage - the dangerous art of pre-mixing several tracks together, knowing that once mixed, there was no turning back - your original tracks, when reused - are gone...

6. Dirty board contacts giving noise when playing stuff until you sprayed it down with some noxious chemical, and played with the buttons or knobs til they stopped making noise.

7. Manually switching wires around by crawling under, around, and over equipment.

8. Etc.

Back in 1985, I remember feeling funny going digital at all, especially with my hard rock band background. But I realized something then too, that by learning and using Synthesizers, and Samplers, and Work Stations [Emulator 2 - with 5 1/4" disks - REAL Floppies], there were some positives...

1. My "Virtual Musicians" showed up on time and were there any time I wanted them. 2AM if I got in the mood

2. I didn't have to pay them, feed them, discuss "women/men problems", etc...

3. They were always "sober"

4. They were always in key

5. They didn't take over my session

6. There were no personality conflicts or ego problems

7. Etc.

BUT, then as now, I still use the synths, samplers, computers, whatever, to work out the songs - and depending on the material, use all or some REAL People to play the finished stuff. I'm sorry, but talented, FEELING people, in my opinion, can't, and will never be replaced. The human touch...

Tune in for the next episode...

 

-- I've told people a thousand times, but it still hasn't sunk in: do not mix professional situations with sexual situations. Again it happened. A producer started a sexual relationship with an Artist and it has come back to bite him. As they say, "a woman scorned"... Well, to make a long story short, she is ending up with ownership of some of this person's songs to "right a wrong" and appease the "higher ups". When will people learn.

It is soooo hard for business relationships to co-mingle with personal relationships. To do this, BOTH people have to be able to "switch hats". In other words, not letting a personal relationship interfere with a biz one, and vice versa. This is almost an impossibility, where two people are able to say, "OK, for the next 6 hours it's strictly business", or "OK, the next 2 hours is strictly personal. Even I learned this the hard way years ago, and I'll never get caught in that kind of mess again. You've been forwarned...

-- Another situation that came up today regards someone wanting to buy "outright" the rights to unpublished songs written by a very successful, well-known, deceased songwriter/artist/producer. Now, believe it or not that can mean a lot of things - and opens a lot of decision making. When someone says "outright", you would believe... what?

Ownership of songs usually means "Publishing Rights". [Yes, when you sign a songwriter's contract, you are actually giving up ownership in exchange for possible royalties and cash.] However, some people would take it as also wanting the writer's share, also. Plus, alot of other options are avilable.

What would you do? First, I would want to know how much money they're offering. If it's a million dollars, I would think one way. Any other smaller amount, could make me consider many, many options. First, you must understand that, a contract is whatever two or more people agree to. What other options are there? Examples, as if I was the writer:

1a. Normally, songwriter's turn over ownership for life. But does it have to be this way? How about saying, "Okay, for the songs you actually record and release, it's for life, but for all songs unreleased within two years, all rights revert back to me". [Escape Clause]

1b. "You can have ownership for X amount of years, but then all rights to all songs, and the monetary rewards from that point on, revert back to me."

2a. "You can have Publishing, but I still get the writing - with MY name listed!" [This is very important if you want to receive the writer's monies; plus become well-known and have people see your name on hit songs. Then they'll come to YOU for songs.]

2b. "You can have the writer's mechanicals, but I receive the airplay monies"

3. "You can't have the 'Print Rights' " [Print includes sheet music and song books [folios]

4. "I'm keeping the "sync rights". [Sync = synchronization, such as songs used in films]

5. "You can have 1/2 of the publishing [ownership] rights for that amount".

6. A mixture of the above, or many other choices.

Remember that [if you read my journal notes re: Publishing, or took my Music Publishing Course or read my Book], there are many sources of income in Publishing. One automatic "keeper" for me? 2A

Tune in for the next episode...

 

Besides updating my courses [I constantly do this, at least once every six months, plus when anything really changes in the Industry] I've been learning my new computer programs and rearranging my studio and office. I sadly have pretty much given in to the call of digital and started dismantling much of my analog equipment.

The good part is, since most of the "equipment" I'll now be using is actually imbedded in computer programs, I'll have a lot more room in the studio. But, I am keeping one 1/2 track operational due to the fact that because music still has to hit analog at least once in the recording process until digital can capture what analog has, especially in the thickness and warmth categories.

However, it is still a sad day, except for the fact that I'm giving much of my equipment to a long-time musician friend who still can use the gear for live performances, and I know he will give them a good home...

Tune in for the next episode...


-- I'm turning today over to the "Future of Music Coalition" a very important organization who's been looking out for the "little guys" in music since the year 2000. Here is their "Manifesto":


The History of the Music Industry vs The Future of Music

The history of the American Music Industry is a disheartening one, which largely details the exploitation of artists and musicians by opportunists and those without the musicians' best interests at heart.

For too long musicians have had too little voice in the manufacture, distribution and promotion of their music on a national and international level and too little means to extract fair support and compensation for their work.

Manufacturing and distribution monopolies concentrate the power of over 90% of music sold into the hands of five labels. With huge media mergers continuing to consolidate the decisions of what to play and promote, it becomes more and more difficult for artists to gain exposure through the few remaining coveted radio spots.

Historically, musicians have had one of two unattractive choices:

Align themselves with major label exploiters and agree to unfair compensation in the hopes of one day reaching a national audience; or

Resign themselves to working with indies and a life in the shadows.

The Good News
Recent advances in digital music technology are loosening the stranglehold of major label, major media, and chain-store monopolies. Digital download and online streaming technology offers musicians a chance to distribute their music with minimal manufacturing and distribution costs, with immediate access to an international audience. Songs that would never be programmed through currently-existing narrow commercial channels are slipping through the radio industry programming stranglehold and gaining exposure, thanks to the new breed of file-sharing programs.

The Bad News
As these technologies advance, their very accessibility threatens many of the traditional revenue streams (like mechanical royalties) which compensate musicians, often without substituting new payment structures.

The Media and Policymakers
Most media attention to this issue polarizes discussion, focusing either on the exploitation of artists by the major labels or on the exploitation of the artists by Internet applications that encourage unauthorized copying. Artists are presented with a false and unnecessary choice, support traditional notions of artists' rights and be called a money-grubbing luddite; or support new technology solutions and be accused of ignoring the plight of those artists left behind. This rhetoric pretends to speak for the artists, but in effect just continues to promote the viewpoints of moneyed interests like The Record Labels or The Technology Companies while it obscures some of the more promising new possibilities.

The Future of Music
We build this organization as an attempt both to address pressing music-technology issues and to serve as a voice for musicians in Washington, DC, where critical decisions are being made regarding musicians' intellectual property rights without a word from the artists themselves.

No longer will corporate media and big money be able to frame the discussion of music solely in terms of their industries, as we draw together the strongest voices in the technology and independent music communities to address questions of music in the marketplace with a clear-eyed focus on the interests of the artists.

No longer will business interests or lobby groups for business interests drown out the voices of the musicians on whose art they have built an industry.

No longer will idealistic techies and idealistic musicians find themselves locked into opposing sides of an issue that profoundly affects both of our communities.

We begin this organization with the intention of addressing three pressing areas of concern.

Piracy / Technological Innovation

The Future of Music Organization is founded on the belief that creation is valuable and should be compensated. Here we are speaking of both musical creation and technological creation. By drawing together advocates for musicians' rights and innovators in Internet technology, we will work to move the discussion away from the narrow privacy vs. piracy discussions that dominate the general media, toward practical solutions leveraging the strengths of digital download technology on behalf of the artists. Our work will encourage the development of innovative Internet music business models to guard the value of musicians' labor and ensure that artists will continue to be paid for their compositions and performances despite drastic changes in methods of distribution.

The RIAA's Conflict of Interest

The Recording Industry Association of America is a special interest group that claims from time to time to lobby on behalf of musicians, but it is funded by, and represents the interests of, the major record companies - the same corporations traditionally known to be the primary exploiters of the musicians that the RIAA claims to represent. The RIAA simply cannot be trusted to serve two distinct masters - the record companies and the artists. An important example is the "work for hire" issue: the RIAA pushed legislation that gives major labels the right to own musicians' master tapes in perpetuity, changing an existing law that allowed some artists to regain the rights to their masters after 35 years. By advocating for this language, even while claiming to have the artists' interests at heart, the RIAA made it clear that it is compromised, and cannot be left to its own devices in the policy-making arena.

In a more frightening development, the RIAA is attempting to step beyond its traditional lobbying role in order to enter the music-licensing business by collecting and distributing royalties from webcasts. While there is clearly a need for an organization to manage these royalties (webcasting royalties could result in more money than currently collected by BMI and ASCAP combined), the Future of Music has no confidence in the RIAA's ability to represent the voice of musicians or to collect and distribute artists' royalties from the major labels who fund the RIAA.

The Future of Music therefore advocates for an impartial and accountable organization to guard the value of artists' webcasting royalties. By standing in opposition to the RIAA we hope to give voice to the concerns of musicians who are simply not represented by an organization whose core mission is promotion and protection of the record industry agenda.

SDMI

The Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI), spearheaded by the RIAA, was an attempt to pull together a limited group of powerful consumer electronics manufacturers; PC manufacturers, and record labels to develop a copyright-enabled alternative to the MP3 format. It is viewed by many as a misguided and desperate scramble by those in the existing music business monopoly to maintain their stranglehold on the channels of distribution through the application of a standardized encryption or watermarking program.

As with most technologies that are conceived and developed in a no-feedback vacuum, without the desires of potential consumers in mind (not to mention an understanding of the limits of encryption technology), it was destined to fail. As much has been said by Executive Director Leonard Chiariglione, whose comments at the May 2000 SDMI meetings revealed a combination of infighting between competing business interests and fatal flaws in the group's structure, which requires all decisions to be made by consensus. While SDMI members bicker and veto proposals based on the personal financial interests of their multi-national corporations, consumers are presented with narrow, confusing options that alienate them and thus do more to promote piracy, which becomes the only viable mode of digital transfer for the great majority of the world's existing music.

The Future of Music believes SDMI is a perfect example of what happens when industry attempts to legislate technological advances without the crucial input of musicians and programmers.


As they say, in a nutshell: "The Future of Music Coalition is a not-for-profit collaboration between members of the music, technology, public policy and intellectual property law communities. The FMC seeks to educate the media, policymakers, and the public about music / technology issues, while also bringing together diverse voices in an effort to come up with creative solutions to some of the challenges in this space. The FMC also aims to identify and promote innovative business models that will help musicians and citizens to benefit from new technologies.

See how they can help you. Check them out and sign-up for their mailing list at: http://www.futureofmusic.org

Tune in for the next episode...

-- A trivia question about me, that no one could ever guess was: What did I major in in college?

Well folks, the last thing with anybody looking at my 5'8", 120 pounds would guess is, that before I spent 3 years at a Music College, I majored in Physical Ed! However, as I found out, the courses were basically micro-biology and other high falutin medical things. Now, I was always in Music [since I was 8] but I thought it would be fun taking athletic type courses, because although I didn't look the part, I loved playing sports. I was in great shape when I was young! I started out with gymnastics, played baseball, football, basketball; ran cross-country and track. To me it was fun, kept me out of trouble and it kept me rather healthy. [Btw, I sucked at golf - I could hit it a mile, but I could never guess which direction it would go or where it would end up. Now, miniature golf, I could handle :) - and tennis: I got tired of chasing the ball I hit over the fence...

Well, the sports thing ended when I was too busy on my music career as a Songwriter and Recording Artist, but I used to miss it. And after many years, I realized I needed to do something before my body fell apart under all the music biz extracurriculars, such as ::bleep::, etc., and I finally had a good excuse to do something - I wanted my young son to take martial arts. It would keep him healthy, since he wasn't into sports, and protection - he was as thin/small as I was. We settled on Ju Jitsu. I loved it and we spent 3 years in serious practice of the art...

However, both of our schedules got insane [good excuse, at the time] and we both dropped it. But I always missed it - except I didn't miss hitting the ground 50 times an hour - Ju jitsu's aim is to get the person to the floor immediately. So, I've been deciding to go back - but to a less floor-jarring martial Art.

Well, recently I read about this 102 year old woman in China who does Tai Chi - a slower and gentler form of martial arts. ::lightbulb:: . If she can do it, I certainly should give it a try, also knowing you can continue to do Tai Chi as you get older also. So I got brave and called this Tai Chi place near me. I'm starting this week. I'll let you know what I think :)

Why am I bringing this all up? One of my Music Biz clients is also a "personal trainer". When we met on Wednesday one of the things that came up was how important it is to be in shape if you're a performer. If you're not in really good shape you're gonna be in shock when you realize how ALIVE you have to be, and how exhausting it is when you're on a stage for over an hour!

I'll never forget a well-known producer friend's son who was performing for the first time on TV [Soul Train] and after one song he was panting, soaked, exhausted, worn out [pick your own adjectives] - he looked like a truck hit him!!! His Record Company must of fainted! Now picture if he had to do a 2nd song - let alone play for an hour... Now, this dude looked great, with a sculpted body, but he had absolutely no stamina and obviously partied too much, without working out in some way. He never physically prepared for being on a stage. He should've known -- but where was his Manager???

The moral of this story: Make sure you or your client, whoever has to keep up with the rigors of practicing and performing - Can!

Tune in for the next episode...

 

-- Nowadays, for recording, I use "Reason" [for sequencing and "sounds"] & CuBase [for mixing, etc.], where I once used analog taping equipment in my home studio [not open to the public]. The problem has been, learning the two computer programs. I had put in my mind that I hated "wasting time" to try to learn them - but, in reality, I had this wall, because of my non-technical innards, thinking it would be impossible for me to learn to use them as well as others who could do it for me. But, in the middle of the night, if I had an idea, I couldn't do anything about it. And, I had a backlog of songs needed recording...

Well, to make a long story short, I put two of my monitors [desktop and laptop] together, one for the directions, one for the program. And, I saw how easily Reason could be used, since it looked and acted like an analog situation - except you dragged the mouse to move the virtual "wire connections", etc. Especially, since I already knew somethings about recording gear and "sound-designing" - programming of sounds. [That course I took back in 1985 played big dividends, learning about "envelopes", filters and all that stuff] I'll let you know how I'm doing, but it's starting to make sense to me --- now that I got brave and took the first step...

-- Contracts, contracts, contracts - so many contracts to work on... Luckily, to me, contracts are fun, since, contracts & negotiations can be creative, where you can make both sides happy with some compromising. Most people take one look at these weirdly worded pieces of paper, and give up before they start [as I did at first in the above situation with my programs]. You'll find that they are not too bad if you read them slowwwwwwwly.

The main problem with looking at contracts, for most people, occurs because you don't know the nuances of the music business - because it's often what's left OUT of the contract is just as important as what's IN it, and if you don't know the biz, you may not know what's been left out. As I've learned when teaching classes where there are attornies present, that even they aren't taught in law school the nuances present in the entertainment business.

The really scary part is the people searching on the net, and/or asking me and others for some free sample contracts. If you don't know the biz, how do you know if something very important has been left out? Or what's in it might not fit your situation. Although I've had probably a thousand or two clients over the years, every single one's situation is at least a little different from the next.

A few sure-fire "red flags" [things that should alarm you] in contract situations that should hit you:

1. Something written could mean more than one thing in your mind - "Now which does it cover or mean?" If it can mean more than one thing it is a problem. It should be very clear and specific.

2. "The contract was on one page, what can be the problem?" Simply put - I'll bet there's some important stuff left out.

3. A person gives you a contract and says you must sign it right then or "the offer is off the table." What to do? RUN! In this kind of situation, you can be sure that there is not only something wrong with the contract, but, even more importantly, something very wrong with the person who offered it to you!!!

4. You find that what's in the contract isn't what the person said would be in it.

5. There's no "escape clause" in a long term deal. It would allow you to get out if certain goals aren't reached along the way.

6. There's no clear "end" to the contract. [Contracts will normally use the word "Term" to describe periods of time]. By the way, many contracts use the words "contract period" instead of years - they are NOT the same!!!

Tune in for the next episode...

 

-- Besides meeting with clients, I've started doing my periodic update of my book and courses to keep them up-to-date [that's why my courses/Book, etc., are in print, so as to constantly keep them "today"]. Amazing how things have changed since i first started my serious writing back in 1983. People played vinyl records and these things called cassette tapes :) And, you had to be careful on hot days not to leave any records in your car - they warped :)

However, it's such a shame that many people nowadays never have heard music on vinyl or tapes - analog. The sound was so much thicker and warmer than today's CDs. Do an experiment if you are able. Play a song that's on vinyl or cassette and the same song on a CD - you won't believe the difference! You see, as a rough analogy: Analog is to Digital, as Film is to Video. You'll notice that Film is "warmer" and Video is "colder". That's why good music videos today are shot on film, and then transferred to video. [Simply put, much quicker and cheaper to edit video than film]

The reason that CD sound is thinner is because it can't capture all the "over-tones" present in sound, as of yet. Eventually I'm sure the technology will be able to capture it. Meanwhile, smart producers make sure that their recordings hit tape at lease once in the recording process. I don't know about you, but I like to FEEL the drums kick - not just hear them.

A weird story about how my first writing, my book, got financed. I had written a couple chapters and someone heard I was putting together a music book, that was NOT about bragging of my exploits, but actually helping someone get in, survive and succeed - without getting ripped off. This person, knew a person in Rhode Island, who knew a banker in England, who knew a Nigerian Oil Minister. [Yes a real one - not one of these spam emails asking you to help them bring millions out of their country and letting you keep some - NEVER RESPOND! They're rip offs.

Well, this Nigerian guy comes to New York and I meet him at a hotel, without a business plan, we told him what I was doing, and within fifteen minutes he wrote me a check for $25,000 - a lot of money in the early 80's - to finish the book. He said he would then give us another 25 to market the book privately.

To make a long story short, I finished the book, and we were planning to meet him to get the other 25. No one could find him! He disappeared! What happened? It seems his cousin, who was a broadcaster said some nasty things about the Nigerian government on TV, and they both "disappeared", never to be heard from again. I found out it was bad timing for me - the country/government was in turmoil, in the act of being overthrown...

Tune in for the next episode...

 

-- A common horror story I've run into way too many times regarding the TERM [length] of the Contract...

I always ask Artists, and other creative musical people, "Are you under, or have you ever been under any form of contract with anyone?" I ask to look at these old contracts even if they think they're over with, because enough time has lapsed to end the contract.

One example of this type: A group came to me to help them with some career decisions. They said the only Recording contract they ever signed ended 6 months before. I asked to look at it. Surprise! The contract hadn't even STARTED yet! They couldn't believe it! They showed me where it said that the Agreement started [paraphrased]: "...upon the Delivery by Artist to the Record Company of the product...", and the 2 years of the Agreement had passed since then.

But, what should've opened the group's eyes was the capitalization of "D" in "Delivery". Knowing that Delivery means the same thing in most Recording Contracts, I asked the group if the Company ever released any of their records. And they said, "No, the Company wasn't happy enough with what we delivered to them".

I then showed them toward the back of the Contract where they had the definitions. "...Delivery means a Product deemed ACCEPTABLE [my capitals] by the Company of a product ready for Manufacture..." Since the Company never accepted any of their product, and since the contract began upon the Delivery to the [acceptance by the] Company of the Product, the Agreement had never begun!!! Mortal shock to the group! Even more so, when the Company refused to sign the letter I sent requesting the the Contract be acknowledged as null and void - over! Well, luckily for the group, a little more "persuasive letter" I sent solved the problem. They signed it at that point.

Lesson: Always watch out for a Capital Letter in an Agreement! Find out why it's capitalized! [Always look for "Definitions", usually towards the back of a Recording Contract]

Another example: Way too many times I see terms with "endless extensions". In other words, for example, a contract says it lasts for two years, but the Company has the right to "automatically extend it another two years". After those two years, the Company has the right to "continuously, every two years, extend the agreement", etc., etc. The moral to this story: If there's no definite end listed in the Agreement - it's for LIFE!!!

Simply put, you must have a definite ending time listed. It can be sneakily snuck in, and you should have a Music Business Contract Specialist or Entertainment Attorney check it out and solve the problem - before it becomes a REAL PROBLEM! Since most Record Companies nowadays use the term "Contract Periods" instead of "Years", it can get very complicated. You've been warned...

-- On another angle, sometimes the contract they signed "doesn't cover me as an Artist". Maybe it's a "Modeling" contract, or an "Agent Agreement". Often these have clauses saying that the person is "exclusively signed to them", and never Clearly Stating that it's ONLY for Modeling, or ONLY for Movies, or whatever. Just like most Artist Management Agreements cover the Artist for everything even remotely relating to the Entertainment Industry, including their "...image, likeness and all other aspects of your personality". Folks, that covers about anything not clearly stated above that in the paragraph covering what the Agreement covers....

Tune in for the next episode...

 

 

-- I received several e-mails about "What I Do" and "How I work" re: getting more specific about what a Music Business Consultant actually does. I can't speak for others, but as simply put as I can explain it, I see myself as someone who "Fills Holes" and often acts as a "Troubleshooter" re: any music business situation covering the creative, business & contractual. To be more specific than that, please check out my resume.

-- I decided today to come clean on 2 Music Business Horror Stories - my own, from when I first started out, when I was strictly a creative entity...

-----

1. Many years ago, when I was first starting out as a Recording Artist, I was being produced by Jimmy Ienner, who was then VP of Peer-Southern Publishing. It was pretty exciting to me in that he was becoming a very hot producer. [Side note: his brother is Donny Ienner, head of Sony Music. Jimmy, the last time I checked had just left as Senior VP of Virgin Records]. He met me while I ws producing another act.

Now, being new to the business, I was at his mercy - and very happy to be, except for the problem that he was super Pop oriented and I was super Rock oriented, being a rock guitarist singer/songwriter. To make a long story short, he said I needed a "hit Pop single", which he didn't think I had. So he grabbed a song for me from this other group he was producing, an up and coming rock band at the time named "Water" [actually a bunch of Harvard Professors] who was being recorded by Apple Records, the Beatles Company. The song, "Coronation", wasn't exactly my style, but close enough and strange enough, and oh well, a step into the biz. I recorded it and everyone was happy, but...

Apple Records said I could come out with the song, but only after Water's record was released on Apple. One month went by, two months, three... A year later we realized that Water's Record was never going to be released! And, with all of the inner complications associated with it, I lost my first chance into the biz.

Being new to the biz, I also couldn't figure out why an album recorded by a powerful label was never released. I soon learned that this was very common-place at the time - and still is to this day. I later learned there is nothing in any recording contract that states a Record Label has to release any song[s] they can record. They can put out the time and money to record them, but decide to sit on them for any reason they choose!

2. Around the same period of time, I was also writing songs for other Artists. Well, a song I had co-written was recorded by three groups, and the first one was ready to be released on Columbia. Alright! My first song out there! BUT, I took a look at the actual record and I noticed something was missing - MY NAME!!! Rut Roh! And, I could get no answers from anyone!

A weird side-light of this story: The song was going to be released the coming Monday, but the Friday before, Columbia decided to do a house-cleaning and fired all the VPs! And, none of the new VPs were brave enough to put the recording out since it was from the past regime.

-----

After the above two things happened to me, along with many other things that seemed very foreign to me, I decided maybe it would be a good idea to learn the BUSINESS side, to prevent it from happening to me again. And, to make a verrrry long story verrrr short, people started coming to me with their own horror stories, asking me if I could explain things to them and help them out. And here I am today, behind the scenes, trying to prevent a lot of horror stories from happening to as many people as I can reach out to...

-- Contract "Tip of the Day": When someone ever brings up the word "Percent", such as, for example:"I'll give you 15%"; or "I want 15%", always ask: 15% of - WHAT???

Gross? [Off the top]

Net? [After expenses]

Adjusted Gross? [After particular expenses]

"Available" Income? [could mean a lot of things including how many others are involved, such as added Publishers]

After "Recoupment"? [Example: Artist receives no money until Record Company "recoups" -gets back -what they spent]

Retail?

Wholesale?

Etc.

Simply put, you'll find that PERCENT can mean an awful lot of things that can heavily affect your income!

Learn the biz! Experience the biz!

Tune in for the next episode...


"Helpful Hints Day" a few very important points that come up quite often in my daily existence...

By the way, after you read them all - and everyone should read every one, see the note below...

-----

Artists:

Singers and rappers, if you want to make it nationionally or internationally, it's gotta come from your heart - not your head. You can't think and feel at the same time...

By the way, you can know the words too well! When that happens you might lose the feeling of the song. Go back into the words, read them if you have to, and say them aloud as if you're talking to someone. Capture the feeling of where you are and who you are, and who you're "speaking to".

Songwriters:

Make sure that after one listen, the person listening to the song will know the name of the song...

You ever notice that 99% of the time, they don't tell you who it is, let alone the name of the song. So, if you want the person to know what the name of your song is, give them some help - so they can buy it!

Producers:

The best productions are when the Producer doesn't get in the way of the Song - he/she just brings the song out even more! Never add any FX or whatever, if it doesn't add to the feeling of the song... A Great Recording is when a person can just sit back and get hypnotized by the Recording as it takes them to another dimension, another place, another time -what I call a "Mini Vacation"... If it's a dance song, it should make someone automatically get up and dance - or at least get into a bodily rhythm... In other words, the Recording Should Take You Somewhere!

Musicians:

Less is more. Listen to the hits: What counts is playing the right note, at the right place, in the right rhythm - with FEELING! Just like Producers can Over-Produce, Musicians can Over-Play... As one of the all-time greats, Dizzy Gillespie, said: "The first five years you learn how to play your instrument. The next fifteen years, you learn when and what NOT to play..."

Don't worry about making a mistake. Just get into the song, and the feeling, because if you practised it enough, you'll play it confidently, without thinking...

Bands:

Always record all practises, and record, and videotape if at all possible, all performances. This will answer a lot of questions of how the band, and each individual, looks and sounds. Each member can look and listen to him/herself; and the Band Leader, or Manager, can listen to any and everyone. Hey, if it looks and sounds at least real good, you can use it to get the "right people" interested in becoming involved with you...

Managers:

Be PICKY - REAL PICKY, when you're thinking of representing some one. Remember, when you hand a recording in to someone to possibly help move your Artist up the ladder, YOU'RE name is on the line! Are you willing to stake your reputation on that person? Do they stand up to my "Signing Rules"?

Production Companies:

Even if you want to become a Record Company, continue to sign a new Artist first to your Production Company. Then, after a period of time working with him/her/them you can decide if you want them on your label, or you just want to keep them under your production company, but try to place them with another label. The reasons are many for going this route, the main one being: "Damn, they're a real pain in the ass!".

And don't worry about losing them once they sign to your production company, if you decide to place them with another label. If your contract is well written, it will state that you have the choice to sign the Artist with or through your production company, and your contract with the Artist is automatically extended for the length of the recording contract. Make sure this is written specifically and correctly in the Agreement to cover all circumstances!

Indie Record Labels:

You [should] have a Web Site. A great looking one, easy to look at and easy for anyone to find their way around. Now... who knows it exists??? Have you notified all the search engines? Do you have your Web Site and email address on everything you show or send out? Are you using just as much creativity to market your web site, as your artist uses to create their music?

-----

Overall note: Have you noticed, that each and every "helpful hint" above can [should!] be easily looked at and understood by every other creative or business entity listed above. Everyone needs to know, understand and experience the whole industry. Everyone needs to know and understand the creative and business interaction, between any and all of them, so they have the best chance of truly becoming the most successful they can be!

Tune in for the next episode...

 

-- I've been asked so much lately re: my personal consulting or contract services, what I do and how I work, etc., including my fee structure, and how it works, so here goes...

First of all, I've never taken everybody who's wanted my private services. I've done what I've been doing for 25 years, and I've worked for most of that time only on a referral basis, behind the scenes - my clients told other clients about me and all I know and can do.

But over the last few years, people and organizations have asked me to come forward and speak out to the people who don't have a lot of money and/or knowledge - to help the up and coming new Artist, Producer, Manager, etc. - the main purpose being making sure they don't get screwed. This led to me becoming the Director of the not-for-profit John Whitehead "Music Business Learning Center™" in Philadelphia. Also, I've spoken at/for other organizations mainly in the Pennsy/Jersey/NY/Maryland area. Then there's all the stuff I've written and put up on this site so people could get a lot of free and useful career info.

Of course the "getting screwed" situation has existed for some time - but it was more prevalent and worse than even I ever thought! Lately, through my educating/lecturing/seminars/whatever for these organizations, I've run into so many one-time stars who were never paid for many of their common "services", such as, writer's "mechanicals" [sale of CD's etc.], producer's royalties, Artist's this and that - the list goes on and on. Most didn't KNOW they were getting screwed until I talked to them and/or looked at what they signed. And, people constantly come to me with "Get me out of this contract!!!" [No, if they had the knowledge and/or the dollars they probably wouldn't have signed them in the first place.]

Now, through my wish to help teach the general public what's really happening in the biz, how it works, and how to "operate" in it, I've run into a lot of people that want to meet privately with me. I rather enjoy my privacy, and my clients wish for privacy, so I'm still very "picky" in that: A. I have to feel comfortable with you, B. You have to be totally open with me [of course, anything discussed must stay between me and thee], and C. you have to act professionally.

I've purposely kept my rates very low, and simple, for years:

$65 per hour for people new to the business until you start making money, or more money, or I save you lots of money, whatever the case may be. At that time, it becomes:$95 per hour.
[$45 per hour
still for students]

These rates are for anything I agree to do, including but not limited to: consulting, educating, advising, contractual writing and/or negotiations, career guidance, whatever, for creative or entertainment biz people. Group lecture rates are higher. If you aren't known to me, or you aren't a referral, you have to email me first and tell me about yourself, your goals, etc. - almost like a "cover letter" for a resume.

What DON'T I do: Anything pure Business [such as accounting, biz plans - I hate doing them] or anything "Technical".

Folks, technical skipped my generation - my son is, and my father was very good at technical stuff - I'm not. I was asked to teach audio courses at the Art Institute of Philadelphia years ago, and I turned it down - I told them I couldn't teach it. They asked "Why not? You're a good engineer and producer!" And, I leveled with them: "I don't know how the stuff works, why it works, and frankly, I don't give a damn! Look... I just twiddle the knobs til the music ' Feels Good '!"

I don't get into "paralysis by analysis". That term is courtesy of Bruce Swedien, the award winning engineer/producer from his association with Michael Jackson in Jackson's hit days to came up with it to me when I was discussing why I usually kicked out the musicians and all unnecessary personnel when doing the final studio mixes.

Well, there you have it... Tomorrow, I'll get back to doing what I do.

Tune in for the next episode...

 

-- As promised, here is the 2nd half of my intro to Music Publishing from my "Songwriting and Publishing Course". [The 1st half is below this one]. This came about because of all the questions I receive on "What is Publishing, really?" Again, please excuse the botched up "Word" to Web Formatting.

Note: I've taken into account that many Singer/Songwriters might say to themselves… "Hmmm, let's see. I wrote the Song, I already recorded it, and I placed it with myself - I'm gonna sing it. So, what do I need a Publisher for? I'll be the Publisher!!!" Or, a Producer will say: "I already have an Artist singing it! So, what do I need a Publisher for? I'll be the Publisher!!!" [Actually, doing an accepted Master recording yourself, especially as the Production Company will ease the path]

Well, if you don't have clout, as you'll see, it's gonna be complicated if you wish to be the Publisher, because Everyone wants to be the Publisher, or at least get "a big piece of the pie"! As you read further into this course, however, you'll see how you can at least keep part [usually half] if not all of the Publishing. You just have to know how to play the game!]


III. A Successful Publisher...

A. Understands Music Publishing, how it works, and how it fits in with the rest of the Entertainment world.

B. Has contacts in the music industry including, but not limited to…

1. Great Songwriters

2. Recording Artists

3. Producers

4. Record Companies

5. Managers

6. TV and Film Companies

7. Other Publishing Companies (often have joint ownership)

C. Is up-to-date with "what's happening" in the Industry

D. Know what people are looking for Song-wise.

E. Knows the advantages and pitfalls in almost every situation that's likely to arise.

F. Is Good at Business

G. Is "streetwise" in dealing with the Industry

H. Can avoid blind alleys in negotiations, make fewer mistakes, and save time and money.

IV. The Relationship between a Songwriter & the Publisher

A. The Songwriter and Publisher have a contractual relationship. The Songwriter signs a Songwriter's Agreement with the Publisher, turning over ownership of the Song [yes the Publisher will own the Song] in exchange for possible future royalties and possibly a small amount of cash up front. [I'll show you later on, the ways you can get back at least some of the Publishing/Ownership - immediately, through a Co-publishing Agreement]

CAUTION: A legitimate Music Publisher [let alone, A Record Company] will never ask you to put up money for any reason! "Scam artists" always will. Legitimate Publishers will invest whatever money is necessary. They make their money by having a successful record, and don't need to look for the "fast buck". Legitimate Publishers never advertise - they don't need to. Songwriters bombard them with tapes!

V. What does [should] the Publisher do for the Songwriter?

A. The Publisher licenses people to use the Song.

B. In exchange for ownership of the Song he promises to pay Royalties.

C. Works with the Writer & the Songs to bring them to highest potential.

D. Makes Recordings & Lead Sheets [if not done already].

E. Promotes the Song with an Artist that he/she believes it fits for live & taped performances.

F. Promotes the Record and the Song even after it's recorded. The more Artists that record the Song the better it is financially for Songwriter [as well as the Publisher].

G. Keeps track of the Song and how well it's doing.

H. Collect the money from all sources [except for what BMI, ASCAP & SESAC - "Performing Rights Societies" - pay directly to the writers for "Airplay" performances] due the writers, accounting for & paying the Writer & keeping the balance.

VI. What Initial Steps Must be Taken to Become Successful?

A. Nowadays, as always, every step of the process is very important. The competition is great- and your product must be also! Your name's involved! You want people to say either, "Wow, great! Here's another tape from….." or "Hey let's call… for a Song!"

All the steps are covered in this course. They are…

1. You have to have Great, Marketable Songs! You can Write it, or Co-write it [or as a Publisher, find them!] Without Great Songs you have a really long road ahead of you!

2. Protect the Songs! Register them with the Library of Congress!

3. You have to make a Great recording of the Songs [keeping in mind that the Song must come across- even if you are the Artist]!

4. You, or your Representative, must put as much Creativity and Hard Work into "Selling" the Song to someone, as you would put into Writing and Recording it!!!



-- Note: The rest of the course shows you all the tricks of the trade of how to pull everything off, including sometimes having others do most of the Publisher's work, while you sit back and collect the money :)

Do remember, the site already has the full piece on protecting your songs: http://www.professorpooch.com/Copyrighting.htm

By the way, I notice many people say "their songs are already copywritten." The correct term is "Copyrighted".

Tune in for the next episode...

 

-- A subject that keeps coming up all the time, and confuses so many, is: "What is Publishing". Many people have trouble really understanding "Music Publishing", and how it works.

Well, the best and easiest way for me to explain it is by going into my "Educator Mode", stealing directly from part of my 1st week's lesson in my "Songwriting and Publishing Course", which is an introduction to what it's all about....

[[Please the botched up formatting - it looks fine in Word & Adobe Reader, but I don't have the time to make the Programs I use, "Dreamweaver" and "Microsoft Word", understand each other better and faster when I have to put stuff up on the Web [I only trust myself with my site :) ]. [If anyone has an answer to how to faster and better make WS Word compatible formatting-wise with Dreamweaver, please email me and I'll be eternally grateful :) ]]

However, for now, what's important is the info...


 

Songwriter's & Music Publishing Course
By David J. Spangenberg
© 1991, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2005 David J. Spangenberg
All Rights Reserved

Week 1: An Introduction to Music Publishing

I. Introduction:

[Note: Since the subject of Music Publishing is usually confusing, let alone misunderstood by most people, it's important to spend the first week's lesson immediately painting a clear picture of what Music Publishing is, and then go into greater detail later on in the course.]

When you think of the word "Publishing", most people think of "Books", and that a Publisher, sells books. Well, at one time there were no records or tapes, let alone, CDs, Videocassettes and DVDs. Originally, people received all their music in the form of Sheet Music, that is, printed documents that contained words and notes of songs that allowed people to stand around a piano and sing with their friends and relatives.

Sheet Music still sells, [as well as Books of Sheet Music, known as "folios"] but this is a very small part of one of the most profitable parts of the Music Business. Songwriters and Music Publishers also can make sizable amounts of money worldwide from…

1. Sale of Records, Tapes, CDs, DVDs, Videocassettes, etc. - anything containing Songs played on a mechanical device, and therefore called "Mechanicals".

2. Radio & TV [including Cable] Performances also known as "Airplay". This also includes "Jukeboxes", live and taped performances at restaurants, clubs, bars, hotels, casinos, health spas, etc., etc.


3. "Synchronization Rights" [when Songs are synchronized with Film and TV Movies, etc.]

4. Commercials [Advertisers are going more to Songs than Jingles, now]

5. "Elevator Music" [when U hear Songs played in an elevator, supermarket, when "on hold" with a telephone, etc.]

6. Computer Chips, Computer Programs, Cell Phones [Ring Tones are hot!], Video Games

7. Etc., [including any new forms of technology and formats that seem to be appearing monthly!]

Simply put, whenever a Song is performed, no matter who performs it, the Songwriter and Publisher could [should] benefit! It is also the Music Business's best-kept secret- how it is possible to sometimes make quite a lot of money, with very little time and effort. Therefore, there's a lot of competition for publishing rights- and the money that goes with it. Today, many Songwriters and Producers, as well as many others in the Music Business have their own Publishing Companies, something unheard of 30 years ago, because they want the publishing rights and the money that goes with them. In most cases, two or more publishing companies will make deals with each other.

By the end of this course, you will have all the pieces to the puzzle- how you can be a part of this very profitable segment of the Industry. Of course, you have to first understand what Music Publishing is, and how that section of the Music Industry operates, so that you can become successful- without getting "ripped-off".

A little history of Music Publishing is necessary at this point. Before 1965, most people in the Industry, as a matter of course, went to Music Publishers for their Songs. The Publishers had Songwriters on staff as salaried employees, as well as other Songwriters constantly contributing Songs. But since then, many Singers/Bands/Groups began writing their own Songs. That isn't to say that Artists, Managers and Music Producers don't go to Publishers looking for material, or that Publishing Companies can't still place Songs for Songwriters. They can and still do, but not as often as they used to.

Also with the advent of technology, many of the pure definitions of roles in the industry have changed- mainly the Songwriter, the Arranger, and the Producer. Nowadays, a single person can sit at a computerized keyboard, in their home studio, and write, and/or arrange and produce Songs, not realizing which role(s) they are playing. Actually…

1. "The Song" is composed of only…

a. The Words

b. Lead Melody

[Note Regarding "Rap" music: Often I've noticed that the person doing the "Tracks" [see arrangement] is given credit as a writer. In actuality, the tracks person is not really a Writer, he/she is an Arranger, but as long as it's mutually agreed-to that they get credit as a Writer, then it's acceptable.]

2. "The Arrangement" [the "tracks"], what the instruments play and how they play it, includes…

a. Chords

b. Rhythms

c. Tempo

d. Instrument's and Background Singer's notes

3. "The Production" includes…

a. The mixing together of various elements, including setting/choosing…

(1). The Volumes of the Instruments
(2). The Tones
(3). The Frequencies
(4). The "Effects" (such as Reverb, Digital Delay, Compression)
(5). Other Sounds (such as prerecorded Samples and Loops often used in Recordings nowadays)

… to achieve the final "Sound" you hear on a Record.

Therefore, it is important, and therefore I am including in this course, information for Songwriters who are also Singers and Group or Band Members. Also, understanding Publishing is very important to the Managers & Producers of Artists.

It is important to note, also, that packaging the Artist and Song together, and selling them as one entity, has become a very important consideration to most Publishers - it makes the job much easier for them. They then don't have to search for an Artist willing to record the Song(s).

II. What is a Music Publisher's Job?

A. The Music Publisher and the Songwriter are a team. The Publisher is a businessperson or company who represents, and conducts business for the Songwriter, the creative person.

1. It's the Songwriter's job to create the Songs
2. It's the Publisher's job [in simple terms, at this point] to …

a. Find, [or write] "Great Songs"- great "Marketable Songs".

b. Record great demo tapes - preferably "Masters", nowadays [if the Songwriters don't present them with a usable one].

c. Create interest in the Songs by promoting them to someone willing to make a Master Recording of the Songs, usually a Producer or Record Company, so they can reach the buying public.

d. "License" (give written permission for these people to use) the Songs in exchange for future profits

[Note: At this point, many Singer/Songwriters might say to themselves… "Hmmm, let's see. I wrote the Song, I already recorded it, and I placed it with myself - I'm gonna sing it. So, what do I need a Publisher for? I'll be the Publisher!!!" Well, if you don't have clout, as you'll see, it's gonna be complicated if you wish to be the Publisher, because Everyone wants to be the Publisher, or at least get "a big piece of the pie"! As you read further into this course, however, you'll see how you can at least keep part of the Publishing. You just have to know how to play the game!]

Tune in for the next episode...

 

-- Yes, I know, I haven't been doing this daily, but I've been doing my best under very time-constraining circumstances.

I want to talk some on "Producers in the 21st Century". The reasons? A. Alot of people want to become Producers - almost as many as Artists, nowadays - plus, B. what a lot of people call producing - isn't!

First some definitions:

1. Songwriting = the lead singing notes and/or words

2. Arranging = what the instruments play, the rhythms, background vocals, etc.

3. Producing = taking what the Artist, Arranger and Songwriter did, playing with the volumes, eq, fx, panning etc., with the help of an audio engineer to make the finished product - ready for Mastering and to be reproduced for the market.

Too many people that want to be known as producers, most often in rap, and sometimes in R&B, are resposible for the tracks, or "beats", and call themselves "Producers". Many also consider themselves the Music Writer as part of the Songwriting team. Realistically speaking, looking at the definitions above, these beatmasters are actually "Arrangers".

Now, I'm not saying they aren't valuable, because the rhythm or groove or call it what you want is a very important part of today's recording process in those genres. But what they should be known as are "Arrangers" or we can use the common term "beat masters" or "beat makers" or the like. And yes, beatmakers can become well-known and make some good bread.

Popular beat makers can, like producers, make money on the "front end", the "back end" - and preferably, both! The front end is cash, and people starting to make a name for themselve can ask for and receive from $2500-7500 for a beat - and up - often Far Up! The back-end? Unless they're responsible for the finished production, they may receive a "point", or maybe a point and a half. But, just like most producers, the beat maker makes no back end until the record company "recoups" what they put out from the Artist.

By the way, I'm often asked, "What does it mean by "he's giving me 'a point' ". Point = Percentage Point, usually going by the retail selling price of the product. For example, let's say a record is selling for $10. Ten points (percent) would equal one ($1) dollar, and 1 point (percent) would equal ten ($0.10) cents. (Real Producers usually get anywhere's from 2-3 points, sometimes reaching around 5 if they become well-known.

Now quite often, nowadays, the beat maker is considered the songwriter (music person) also along with the word person. Although, as shown above, they really aren't songwriters, if the word person agrees to it, it's fine. If a beat maker doesn't want to feel guilty about taking a part of the songwriter's income, they can come up with a melody line for the chorus/hook part :).

How can a Beat maker protect their work? Copyright their beats under an SR (sound recording) Form, as the arranger.

You can find more on copyrighting by "Clicking Here".

-- Contract "Tip of the Day": If you need an attorney to write or negotiate a contract make sure they are an "Entertainment Attorney" or "Music Business Attorney" or someone like me who is a "Music Business Contract Specialist". I find too many people going to their family attorney, or friend who is an attorney not skilled in entertainment or contract law, or the like who, although they might mean well, have no idea what the music biz is about! As I said before, often what's left OUT of the contract is as important as what's IN the contract. And an "ambulance chaser" isn't going to know everything that SHOULD be in it. I've taught quite a few attorneys who've wanted to major in the music business or entertainment end, and I've seen there's a lot for them to learn.

Tune in for the next episode...

 

I can't believe how many people don't back up their work, trusting their computer hard drives as backups! Don't!!! I've blown 2 hard drives in the last 3 years!!! Hard Drives are NOT permanent!

Luckily, I do several things so I don't lose my stuff:

1. I run 2 hard drives, backing one to the other.
2. I partition my hard drives, so that if somehow I get a virus, I never lose my important files, because I keep my programs - where virus's often land - on a separate partition than my work files. This can be done very simply and easily when you set up your computer.
3. I back up my important stuff weekly on CDs. Plus, I use increasingly inexpensive usb "pocket drives" to carry around my real important stuff. They come in real handy for when my clients need something -I always have all their files with me.
4. I also keep a copy of important files on my mom's computer - that is, at a separate address. Just in case the unthinkable happens. [My mom, 88, would never know how to find what I put on, let alone read the stuff :)]

On a separate, but important note, I have over 275,000 files on my puter!!! How do I find anything? 2 things help: A. I keep separate folders for everyone and everything, and B. I really label my files carefully - including putting the date on them. Therefore, when I have several versions of a file, I know which is the latest.

Tune in for the next episode...

 

I was asked, as usual, to do another seminar on the Music Business. The problem is there's so much to cover when helping different people with all different interests, especially when you only have one day. We decided, so far to base it around Music Business Law Basics & Copyrights. One thing we also decided to do was have a couple acts perform, and having me and the audience critiquing them - the plusses and the minuses. What do I generally look for in an Artist? You can check "Superstars" for the full list.

What also came up was the subject of starting an Indie Label. It amazes me how many people are interested in putting together a label, nowadays. I'd like to discuss my feelings on that:

First, I usually recommend they either start out as a Production Company, or if they insist on starting a label, to still have the Artist sign to the Production Company, first.

-------------

Having an Artist sign directly to a Production Company, is a relatively new phenomenon [started around 25 years ago] that has picked up a lot of steam in the last 10 years. In this case, the Artist signs an exclusivel Recording Deal with the Production Company, and the Production Company signs a Recording Deal with the Label, promising that the Artist will record exclusively with that Label. So, in effect, the Artist is actually signing a Recording Deal indirectly through the Production Company, instead of directly to the Label.

Of course, the Production Companies main aim is to be the exclusive Production Company for that Artist, making money from all the recordings for the life of the recording deal. Producer's big prize? At least some of the Publishing Income...

Important note: The Record Company will almost Never sign exclusively with one Producer [the creative, studio person, often known as the "Line Producer"]. So, if the Producer is also the Production Company [biz end], they must allow others to Line-produce the Artist, if the Record Company insists. Reason? The Artist might be great, but the Producer may not be right for that Artist. What'll often happen is, the Label will allow the Producer to do all or much of the 1st album. However, if the Record Company sees that this isn't "working" for some reason, they have the right to hire other Producers, or ask you to.

-------------

Now, why should the Production Company sign the Artist to a Production Deal instead of a Record Deal at first? Because, until they see how the Artist reacts under different circumstances, they don't know what they're getting into with them! Maybe the Artist becomes very moody at times, or has a major drug problem, or can't handle the pressure, or is not good at recording in the Studio*, or is just a plain "pain in the ass". This way, if the Artist is very talented, but you don't want to deal with them, they can let another label deal with the Artist after recording them. And if all's cool, they will sign them to their own label.

You see, it states in most [well-written] Production Company Agreements that the Producer intends, if the Product comes out OK, that the Artist will sign a Recording Deal WITH them, or THROUGH them. Also, the Artist may be bound to negotiate and sign to any Management, Publishing or Recording Company that the Production Company wishes. And, if they get a Record Deal for them, and they refuse to go with that label, the Production Company will have "Power of Attorney" to sign their names for them!

Also, let's say they sign the Artist to the Production Company for 18 months. It's usually an easier signing, due to the fact the Artist knows they won't be tied up for 7-10 years - if the Production Company doesn't get them a deal in 18 months, they're free! It's like having a built in "Escape Clause". Of course the Production Company Agreement is automatically extended for the length of the Recording Deal, if they DO get a deal with a label.

What if they have a Manager? This can get sticky, because both [well-written] Management and Production Company Agreements state that they have Power of Attorney over the Artist AND the Artist must listen to only them AND they both have the power to make a Record Deal. There have been soooo many times that I've had to come in between the two companies to settle the situation so there's little or no problems when each wants to have the final "say-so" regarding the Artist's career moves.

And, what if they DON'T have a Manager? Well, expect to also play the role of a Manager until there is one - hopefully one that'll work with you instead of against you! [The poor Artist can be stuck in the middle] What usually comes up is, the Production Company is thinking to itself: "Damn, I'm doing the Manager's job, why shouldn't I get the Manager's money?"

My recommendation if they don't have a Manager? Do the work of the Manager temporarily until at least there's a record deal. It solves a lot of potential problems unless you and their Manager are on the same page, and agree to work together smoothly.

*There are many Artists that are great in the studio and poor on stage and vice versa. Did you know there are many, many popular Artists and Bands who don't have any or all of their own musicians actually perform/record in the studio. What you might think is the band on the latest CD, may actually be all or mostly studio musicians.

-- Please understand, re: the above, I was just letting go with a "stream of consciousness" typing [and I'm a "hunt and pecker" :)]and I know there's much more to tell. I'll look at it in the next day or so and put up more info re: Production and Record Labels.

Oh yeah, for example, one of the popular situations nowadays is where an Indie signs with a large Independent Distributor, and if the sales reach around 50,000, a Major steps in and takes over. You see, nowadays, the Indie is better on the street starting the Artist's career, and the Major isn't. But, the Major knows what to do when you're already at least regionally popular, and they have the money and resources to take care of the rest of the world. Also, this way the Major doesn't have to put out major money til the Artist proves him/her/themself. [Majors are so "bottom line" conscious nowadays they've become practically parenoid re: choosing which Artists to sign]

Tune in for the next episode...

 

-- Ya know, I just thought of "Monty Python's" announcement on all of their TV shows: "and Now For Something Completely Different... So... time to switch gears...

1st. Please forgive all the grammar on this page. [And yes, you'll see IM abbreviations] I wanted it to be simply the way I speak. It's flow of mind typing or whatever. Like we're together in a room just talking, one on one.

I just thought of something that always drove me crazy: My Mother. My mother is a retired English Teacher. A STRICT, by-the-book English Teacher. Now picture this: Growing up, I was a kid like any other kid, arguing with my mother about something or another, sometimes quite often. Now picture THIS: Believe me, there is nothing more exasperating in life than arguing with your mother - while all along the way, she's correcting your English at the same time. I could scream! [Which I often did] It was utter torture!

Soooo, for you strict grammarians out there, rest assured you'll find the rest of this site written like a Professor would... which brings me to...

2nd. Everybody should check out the rest of the site by clicking on the links to the left - the whole site is open to all and there's lots of free info, especially in the "Free Library". Way more than it looks - just click here: Free Library and click on those links. Btw, all of the links are "internal links" - that is, you won't be leaving this site.

The only outside link is the John Whitehead Foundation one, which takes you to a non-profit's site I'm affiliated with, where I am Director of the Music Business Learning Center, helping disadvantaged teenagers and young adults with their creative careers.

3rd. If you want to see more of the way I think, check out "Poochisms" in the Meet The Professor Section. The "Meet" section is where you can "check me out". I believe you should always check out someone whom you may be dealing with for some reason or another in the present or near future...

There, those links, etc., should keep you busy for a while, where you can check me and the site [and Chipper] out - so I can finish these contracts I have to get done by tomorrow :) Therefore...

Tune in for the next episode...


It's such a shame sometimes that the Music Biz can't just be about Music - sometimes it's just dealing with personalities. And some personalities clash!

For example, dealing with trying to help an up-and-coming Artist. She's a very talented singer only 19, but has already been put through the wringer by people promising her lots - and doing little. Being a female Artist can be hard, especially when you find out the people saying they're gonna help yo, are just after something else, because, of course, you're female.

Or, either male or female, they hopefully want to ride up on Your coat-tails. Or, they just want money. Or, they are just one of those people who signs everyone they can who they think can make it - and sit back and do nothing waiting for you to do it on your own. [The way to solve this particular one, of course, is to have that "Escape Clause" I discussed in the "Tip of the Day" on the 15th.]

Going back to the Artist I mentioned, she asked me, as her mentor/consultant to come with her to meet a Manager/entrepreneur [a legit one] with her "beats-person" and a third-party Producer/deal-maker who is also a client of mine. It went well, he loving her talent, with him showing her some of the productions this well-known remixer/producer he works with does that she hasn't already heard on the radio or in clubs. He thought they were a good fit, in that they both [Artist and Producer] are in the Pop/R&B realm, and he was sure the Producer would love her. Okay, that was the easy part. So far so good.

The hard part? The producer would want a half-decent amount of cash up-front. Rut roh. She decided that she had put up enough cash in the past and she wasn't putting any more up. So, he offered her another producer, not well-known, to work with her for nothing. So we all left and said we'd think about it.

Now, let's look at this situation. She was saying, she always heard that if someone was interested they'd put up the money. Yes, it's true, I told her - if someone is offering to sign you it's not legit to ask for money. However, I told her she should note that I asked the guy, when he asked for money, if this would be going through the Producer's Production Company, and he said no, she would own it. Therefore it was legit... See, as an Artist you do have a choice. You can pay for it and retain ownership of the production, or hope they will sign you, with the [written contractually] promise to pay for it.

Right after we left, the Producer/deal-maker who had come with us, went back for a minute into the house, and was able to get the guy to Produce her for free - promising that HE would shop the deal with the record labels for the other Producer. Sounds good, right?

Well, to make a very long story very short, when we got back to our beats-person's studio, the producer guy asked her for money to shop the deal, which really upset her - thinking that the cash part had been solved! Well, what he was doing WAS legit - as long as he got nothing else from the deal. The upshot? As I say at the end of every day...

Tune in for the next episode...

 

One thing that really upsets me re: the music business and the people in it. The subject? People stealing people from other people. This is definitely not the first time I've run into this. Many, many people have done this and do it all the time. It happens every day.

I was even involved with a case a few years ago [from the legal end] with a soon-to-be major superstar who was ripped away from a potential management situation, by a Lawyer who was supposed to be writing up management papers for this Manager. Many of these situations are legal - they're just not, in my opinion, very moral. It happens all the time, helping some people's careers while hurting others; and I don't have to like it... The shame is, many successful people are often "grabbers", or the type that hurts some one in some way as they climb the ladder...

I finally took some time and saw the Batman Movie. It was worth it - good flick! One thing that bothered me though, and it might've just been the theater, but the musical scoring, at times, was a little loud. When scoring is done right, you don't hear it - you feel it...

Same with song production. Some producers try to impress me with their productions by "over-producing" them. That is, you hear the productions over the song. Hey, I like neat sounds and effects myself, however, they should only be added if they bring out the song - not cover it up! A great arrangement and production add to the feeling of the song; they don't get in the way of it....

--A fitting contract "Tip of the Day": If someone asks you to sign a contract right away, and tells you that, if you don't sign it then, they'll "take the contract off the table" - Run! It tells you, not only that the contract isn't fair, it also tells you that the person offering it can't be trusted.

Oh yeah, people will say, "Hey, it was only one page!". One pagers scare me worse than 80 pagers quite often. I'll repeat what I said the other day: "What's been Left OUT of the Contract, is often more dangerous than what's IN it!"

I received a letter re: copyrights, and I sent them my complete "How to..." on copyrights. It can be found at: "Copyrighting"

Tune in for the next episode...

 

My days seem to change minute by minute - at least they're never boring :) Well, what was supposed to be a writing session of a few hours with one person, became a 3-some due to an "emergency" request from one of our other collaborators - we had to have two songs in by Friday night to two different type Artists. It was fun, but, it lasted 12 and a half hours, and I came home exhausted.

I must admit it's fun writing songs with my talented friends and clients. But what's really weird is, when I started out writing, I wrote both the words and the music [being a singer-songwriter]. Then when I started also doing my consulting/educating/contract end, i realized I had more fun writing with others. Think of all the styles! Forget about "writers block" [which I don't believe in anyways - more on that later :)] When you match one personality writing with another, well, I find it very interesting. Plus, I might write words, with some, music with others, and write both, or play or arrange/produce the music with others. [I'm often called in as a "song-doctor", to give songs some oomph, or emotion, or whatever.]

Look, to me, a great song is a great song! I don't care what style it is! I like great songs performed/recorded [well] in most any style. [Er... I have a "discomfort" with opera and old timey country - though some of the titles are fun :)] However, I remember the first time some one else did one of my songs. Well, Producers like to produce in THEIR style with THEIR arrangement fitting THEIR Artist's style - which I understood in theory, but I wasn't ready for the outcome...

Well, needless to say - I was in shock. I hardly recognized the song, though the melody and words were basically the same. I just never pictured it sounding like that, but, eventually it grew on me in repeated listenings. And hey, by copyright law, ANYONE has the right to record the song after the publisher has given permission to the 1st Artist ["Compulsory License"]. Therefore, I could've still recorded it. Or anyone else could've. The more the merrier. The more Artists that do my song, the more my income grows.

Plus, I learned a lesson from my 2nd producer [as an Artist], Gene McDaniels [Roberta Flack, Glady's Knight, etc.]: "Pooch, you can always write another song..." Which is true. I love writing. To me it's very meditative, just leaning back and letting the music and/or words flow through me...

I know Artists that are afraid to give up their songs to be recorded by other Artists, when actually, it could become a benefit! If that song became a hit with the other Artists, it would give the Writer-Artist of not only getting a recording contract themself, but also getting a better contract than they would've gotten otherwise! I have found, until they realize the truth later, that ALL writers think that: A. "I'll never write a better song!", and B. "The last song I wrote is my best". Hey, just write another song...

By the way, where's my favorite place for writing? Driving! I just take off into the wild blue yonder... It's great - turn my phone off and take in the scenery...

Well, except the first few times I tried this, when I ended up around 5-7 hours and several hundred miles later in God's Country - Hell if I knew where I was- and it was dark out. I would've been satisfied finding almost ANY hotel/motel, whatever... I finally got rescued by the State Troupers one of the times, who told me where I was - in some Western Pennsylvania 20 lettered State Park that I can't pronounce to this day. Well, to make a long story short - I stay on a Turnpike or other road where I can easily find my way back -if I have to - or want to...

Oh, and remembering what I write is no problem - I carry digital and regular tape recorders with me always, so there's no problem. This way, I don't have to try to interpret my scribbled writing, later. I even keep a couple recorders around my bed.

Oh well, I better stop here for a while and get some stuff done - got lots of recording to do again, tomorrow. I'm not complaining :). Although I love helping guide people's musical and business careers, it's fun to make time for the MUSIC! I really have no choice - creating and performing music is soooooooooooo addictive...

-- Contract "Tip of the Day". What's been Left OUT of the Contract, is often more dangerous than what's IN it! That's why contracts have to be written to SPECIFICALLY cover the persons and the situation involved. And no two people or situations are exactly alike!

[[Oh yeah, I'm setting a reminder here for myself to cover my thoughts on "Producers in the 21st century". ]]

Tune in for the next episode...

 

-- I just realized that this is the 4th anniversery of my site! Wow... 4 years since deciding to take a Web Design class at the Art Institute of Philadelphia where I taught. Hey, free classes - what the hell :). I also realized how important the web was going to be in the Music Biz and it wouldn't hurt to learn something new - especially about the Internet.

Well, here it is... my site, written and run by me. Actually, I can't believe I had the time to write and program all this stuff on this site along with all of the other biz and musical stuff I do. Well, I learned long ago never to give a creative person too much time to sit and think or they'll get into trouble with themselves. And, being human, contrary to some people's opinions, I can get into trouble like the best of them :). So... I keep busy - which ain't hard to do. Luckily I LIKE [most] of what I do!

-- Well, I luckily was able to convince my clients that they find someone else to do the numbers on this biz plan I was working on , involving setting up several large record companies under a common "arm". I hate to get involved with business plans as it is, let alone doing the numbers. As with most business plans, Investors expect a 3-5 years expenses/income prognostication. In other words, an extremely educated guess :). The truth of the matter is, when you're setting up different record companies of the magnitude that I'm working on, the answer is simple: zero or millions :). But, the investors want more detailed info, of course. Well, I'll leave that mess to the accountants. Otherwise I'd have to lie...

-- Some people have commented to me lately about the "Nutrition for Musicians" section of this site, re: health tips for musicians and other performers in the industry. The section is hosted by Ms. Karen Stauffer, a Nutritionist, who is popular with a lot of singers and musicians. People especially got a kick out of her article on "Keeping Up With Your Groupies" :).

I've been into vitamins, herbs and aromatherapy, etc., for years - and I'll take them over what most doctors would prescribe for almost anything! I found, through years of personal experience, that, if you know your body, and pick the right things to use, with the help of someone who knows what they're talking about, they'll work better for you, and with practically no side affects!

-- Contract "Tip of the Day" [brought up re: a client of mine today]: ALWAYS have a well-written "Escape Clause" in any contract you're intending to sign that lasts for more than 6 months, so that in case the person or company you've signed with doesn't help you to reach specific goals, in a specific period of time, you can legally break the contract - and escape!

-- I'm actually taking time to work on actually writing and playing MUSIC tomorrow! I'll be working with one of my writing partners at their studio trying to catch up with the songs we're expected to deliver - or just doing ones for fun if we choose! I need to spend lots of time "working" on the Musical Creation part of my career, for my sanity!!!

Tune in for the next episode...

 

-- I've come to realize that, since I started this "blurb" thing, it's much easier to remember, as well as have a good picture of what I did yesterday, than today - enough to discuss all aspects of what's going on. Things just seem to come more into complete focus after "sleeping on it". [Man, I'd love to be a fly on the wall at the "meeting of the subconscious minds" while I was sleeping, watching them discuss my life :)]

-- I spent a good part of the day with a very interesting, bright and talented young 18 year old Filipino woman that I've been helping on the music biz and legal end. We meet weekly [and sometimes more] doing a variety of things [business and music :)]. Music-wise, not only has she become a really good "beat-master", but she can also cover many genres of music, as well as TV/Film scoring kind of tracks. Many people are starting to come to her with all kinds of requests, from rap, to pop, to R&B, etc., plus scoring for TV pilots, etc... Needless to say her career/life is getting very interesting, to say the least.

I love to see a talented person take advantage of their talent! One of the words on Pooch's "chit list" is the word "potential". As in, "...that person has the Potential to become a Star!" I've found that 99% of the people with potential never become more than, maybe, a local area success, and for a variety of reasons.

One of the common hold-backs I find is "Fear of Success" - that is, they feel they're not "worthy" of success and put obstacles in their own path. [Click here for my commentary on that subject]

Simply put, a successful person keeps their mind on their goal, working towards getting there, not wasting time and energy on negative thinking/fears that gets them nowhere.

Fear is the Devil...

--This young woman and I also discussed the phenomenon of how the music biz is changing, focusing today on the art of presenting your music, as a songwriter and artist, to those that can help you.

Back when I started out, I could walk into a publisher or record company, sit there with my guitar or a piano and sing, or play a tape of my music. And, my playing, in my opinion, when I started out, was quite amateur-like, and my singing was worse - but they could recognize a good song! They had the ability, patience, whatever to say: "Hmmm, maybe switching this verse for that verse, adding a guitar and back ground voices..." etc. They were Music People!Then came the march of the Lawyers and "MBA's from Wharton" - biz people. Nowadays, most of the time you have to hand in finished tracks, practically ready for duplicating, where they can take a "less riskier" chance deciding whether to buy into an act or song or beat or whatever...

The other big change has been, in those days I could send tapes or show up at a company and be heard - doesn't exist anymore [except for fewer and fewer Indies. Simply put, you can't represent yourself. Record Companies, nowadays, will only talk to in most cases, Managers, successful Producers/Production Companies and Attorneys. [I actually had a student in my Management Class whose band sent out 117 recordings to companies - and they ALL came back unopened - one taking 14 months to come back stamped "Returned - Unsolicited Mail". That is, they didn't ask for it to be sent!]

Why the change? Reasons include fear of being sued ["They stole my song"]; having the Manager/Attorney/Producer screen out the bad stuff first for them - making them put THEIR name on the line handing the product/act in; plus, the simple reason that they got tired of being bombarded with tons of CDs/Tapes in the mail everyday.

-- My brain's fried right now, long day, but I have to sometime get into the other changes that are happening in the Music Biz. As Dylan sang "The Times They Are A Changing..." Actually, the Music Business is in the process of almost reinventing itself - out of necessity. Tune in for the next episode...

Tune in for the next episode...

-- Yuck - I hate doing Business Plans - except I can benefit from this one, so... Well, I finally finished it! Funny thing I learned about dealing with investors throughout the years - would you believe it's much easier to get, for example, $400,000,000 [yes, 400 million dollars] than $40,000???

Why? Because the people who can afford it, it's play money to them, and there's no interest in such a "small amount" as 40,000! So, for the smaller amount, the only answer is to get a bunch of people who'll put in about 500 or 1,000. [Btw, the people I was working with got the 400 million in 3 days! Good old foreign investors :)] The people that wanted around 40,000? They never got it. The rich people weren't interested, and the ones interested, couldn't afford it. Also, watch out for people who try to become a partner, promising money - but never put any in! [Use contracts. dummies, insisting on ALL the money at time of signing of the agreement! :)]

Another problem I found, is people, when they want an investor, never ask for enough! A smart investor who's interested in the project and believes in them and their "product", will give them more than they ask for...

-- Yesterday's John Whitehead 1st annual family picnic was fun. They even had a talent contest where I was a judge. One person stood out - a rapper who COMMUNICATED! It came from his heart - not his head. That's one of the biggest problems I find - people "thinking", instead of FEELING when they're performing.

-- One of the meetings I had on Saturday was with a concert promoter - who decided to get into other areas of the music biz. Promoting concerts is a lot of work - with no guarantee - unless you have a major drawing artist - which of course, the major promoters "own".

"Own"? It is "implied" that, "If you perform at THEIR venue, we will not let you perform at our BIG venues!" It's a monopoly - just like radio's become... Sad...

 

Tune in for the next episode...



David J. Spangenberg
["Professor Pooch"]

Music Business Consultant,
Educator & Advisor
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E-mail David at: Pooch@professorpooch.com

 

 

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