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The Music Biz

The Music Biz

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 • BeatsBySwiss.com

Here goes more useful informations about the Music Business. This E-Mail is about Publicity & Promotions and i know it might look boring to you to read all these long articles but the more you will know, the less money you will loose so please read this article to the end.

Here goes more useful informations about the Music Business. This E-Mail is about Publicity & Promotions and i know it might look boring to you to read all these long articles but the more you will know, the less money you will loose so please read this article to the end.

Publicity & Promotions

Getting noticed in the music business is no easy task since an untold number of bands are out there trying to win the admiration of the same music fans, get written about by the same magazines, online media and bloggers and get their music added at the same influential radio stations. Publicists and promotions professionals like Indie Power spend all their time trying to get the artists they represent as much media exposure as possible.


Publicists' role in life is to get media exposure for the artists they represent. A good publicist will be able to develop a story around their artist then leverage their existing relationships with influential magazines, newspapers, online media, bloggers, TV executives and specialty radio shows to get them exposure. Securing a featured article, positive review or interview with influential media has a very big impact on artist awareness, music sales and show attendance. Publicists might work directly for the record label  or be independent and hired for a specific project or release. The publicist will typically be responsible for planning and coordinating a PR campaign for an artist around the release of a new CD. They will develop and good bio for the artist and the new release and a pitch letter that makes the writer's job much easier. Publicists will create a list of target list writers who typically like and write about the genre or style of music the artist has created then send them a promotional copy of the CD prior to it being released. The goal is to get as much press coverage as possible in the form of feature articles, interviews or reviews as close as possible to the street date or date of release of the new CD to build momentum for sales of the CD. The publicist will provide a weekly report to the label and artist showing which targeted writers have agreed to cover or review the new release or interview theartist.

Radio Promotions

Radio airplay is a very important in driving artist awareness and sales. The definition of radio airplay has expanded from traditional AM & FM stations to now include stations that simulcast on the web, to web only stations and satellite radio. Radio promotions people are responsible for getting the artist's release as much airplay as possible on as many stations as possible. Radio promotions are sometimes handled directly by the record label plus often times the record company will hire independent promoters to work a release as well. A good radio promoter will work hard to help build long-term relationships with the artists they promote and the program directors and DJ's at the influential stations in each market. The radio promotions group responsible for promoting the record will create a list of radio stations to target that typically play the artist's genre of music and are influential in their given market then send them an advance promotional copy of the CD with the goal of getting the station to add one or more of the tracks into their regular rotation or include one in a specialty show. When the promotional CD is sent it usually includes information on the date the track or tracks can be added, which tracks on the CD the record company is pushing and if there are any tracks that include language that could get the station in trouble with the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) if they play it on air. A report is generated each week for the record company showing the number of stations adding the artist's song or songs into their rotation and how many times they play it each week.

Radio promotions will set up CD giveaways or artist interviews to promote a new release and arrange on air performances and concert sponsorships or ticket giveaways with radio stations when the artist is on tour in each market.

Tour Promotions

Touring is an important way for an artist to not only make a connection with their existing fans and gain new fans but also can be a good source of revenue from ticket and merchandise sales. Touring also has a proven direct effect on music sales (both online and retail sales in the markets where the artist plays) and radio airplay.

Promoting a tour is critical to getting fans to attend the show and can be the difference between a tour making and losing money. Tour promotions basics include making sure the venues have posters advertising the artist and show date up prior to day of the show and getting flyers distributed around town announcing the venue, date and time of the show. It's important to communicate the artist's tour dates to their fans by posting the dates on the artist's website and Myspace page, record label website, and venue website plus regularly email tour dates to the artist's fan email list.

A well publicized tour will have artist interviews, articles and new release reviews in the local press in the days leading up to the show and arrange on air interviews, in studio performances, ticket or CD giveaways at the local radio stations. It's also important to coordinate tour stops with the distributor to make sure the artist's CD is available in the area music stores and that there is adequate retail advertising.

Lifestyle Promotions

Lifestyle promotions and marketing is a growing trend as record labels and artist continue to diversify the ways they reach music fans and generate new revenue streams. Lifestyle promotions often includes any type of marketing or awareness campaign that falls outside the traditional marketing channels for music and include placement in movies, TV shows, commercials or sponsorships. Companies like Ocean Park Music Group work to place and license independent music for use in movies, TV and commercials on behalf of the copyright holder. Having an artist's music played in a retail store with an attractive demographic or in a hip club can be a great way to build awareness for an artist. DMX and MuzakSin City Marketing coordinate special events such as listening parties and get the music of the artists they represent into the hands of the right people at influential clubs and retailers that play music.specialize in providing music for retailers tailored to their specific demographics of their customers and companies such as
New Media Promotions

The importance of new media promotions continues to grow in importance as the digital side of the music industry continues to gain influence with music fans buying habits. Digital retailers, online video outlets and mobile providers now have artist features and promote special features or exclusive content. Many labels now have promotions people dedicated exclusively to getting exposure for their artist roster with the constantly growing number of new media outlets.
How to Buil Your Bands Electronic Press Kit

Much has changed for musicians with the rise of Social Media from marketing to artist-fan relations to the distribution of music. This has forced artists to rethink how they communicate with labels, the press and fans. A traditional form of presenting music to industry stakeholders is the press kit. These typically have included a demo, photos, printed reviews, biography, etc. But with the various resources available with Web 2.0, such as MySpace Music, artists essentially have an electronic press kit that is available to anyone at all times. This doesn't mean that all artists use their MySpace page for this reason or even should. Instead they should use it as one element in creating an electronic press kit (EPK) versus a traditional press kit. The following are 3 simple steps towards creating your very own EPK:

1. Create a MySpace Music or Website

Thanks to MySpace, it's no longer absolutely necessary for musicians to have their very own website. Instead, they can use their MySpace to showcase their music/videos/pictures and provide any additional biography/tour related information. Having a website doesn't hurt though because it could make you look more professional and allow you to be found through search engines.Whatever you decide to do, the link you provide in your EPK to your MySpace or website should include your work because, ultimately, this is what labels/venues care about the most. Whether you provide a link to your MySpace page or to your website, make sure that the music is easy to find. The idea is to get them to voluntarily listen to your music rather than feel like it's being forced upon them, which could potentially turn them off right away. However, MySpace isn't the only tool you can use. YouTube is increasingly popular and not only can you display your music but can even include a video of yourself talking about it.

2. Create a "One Sheet"

In addition to your music you should include some information about yourself but limit it to one side of a single page. This page can include a short bio, marketing plans, tour dates and any other information you deem relevant and important. You can use bullet points or titles/subtitles to make the text more organized and easier to read but try to keep it as simple as possible and not too fancy.Labels receive an overwhelmingly large amount of press kits all the time, which is why it's important to be concise and to the point. If you do decide to send your press kit via snail mail, make sure it's not highly elaborate and easily accessible. In other words, don't shrink wrap your CD or fill your press kit with glitter.

3. Send Your EPK

Typically, there are two places you send your EPK to: venues and labels. If you're sending to a venue, they're going to want to know how many audience members you're going to bring. This information can be included in the e-mail before you link them to your press kit and/or MySpace Music page. If you're sending to a label, they're going to place emphasis on you as a brand. This means they will want to know if you've toured with any bigger acts, where you've played and where you're from. Again, you can touch on these in the e-mail and then expand on them in your EPK. Be sure to personalize the email and then follow up.


Swiss Boy

P.S. - To lease or buy industry quality beats visit  http://beatsbyswiss.com



Tuesday, February 18, 2014 • BeatsBySwiss.com

There are two general rights covered in a music copyright: the authorship of a song and the ownership of a song. According to Copyright Law, the writer is the natural owner of every song they write until ownership is assigned to someone else. Every song is made up of two equal parts; not the lyrics and the melody but the writer share and the publisher share.


Often the process of registering a copyright is what comes to mind when people hear the term copyright. However, songs are automatically copyrighted as soon as they are in tangible form, even recorded at home or simply written down. Copyrighted songs have to be original (not copies of another piece) and significant enough to constitute a work. Copyrighting work (getting it in tangible form) not only protects it from being copied or used by unauthorized parties but also is the first step to publishing material and ultimately being paid for it.

Once a work is copyrighted the owner has the exclusive rights to:

1. Reproduce the work
2. Distribute copies of the work
3. Perform the work publicly
4. Make a derivative work.

It also means no one else can do these things without express consent.

It's a fairly common practice among independent artists to mail their work to themselves then keep the unopened letter with its dated postmark as proof of the date the copyright became effective.

Songs registered with the Copyright Office at The Library of Congress will have the maximum protection under copyright law should a dispute arise. Songs should be registered prior to being available to the general public (posting them on Myspace for example) or commercialization of the work.
Once an artist is signed by a label the sound recordings are often times copyrighted by the record company and the song copyrights are often held by the music publishers.

Publishing Companies

There are two general rights covered in a music copyright: the authorship of a song and the ownership of a song. According to Copyright Law, the writer is the natural owner of every song they write until ownership is assigned to someone else. Every song is made up of two equal parts; not the lyrics and the melody but the writer share and the publisher share.
The writer share is semi-sacred. It represents the authorship of the song. While a copyright can change hands many times; the writer share remains the property of the author.
The other fifty percent, the publisher share, is the equitable share. It is what you can sell or buy. In this context it is known as the "copyright". When a publisher acquires a copyright, it is acquiring the publisher share.


The Publisher controls the writers share. The publisher licenses mechanical , print and synch rights on behalf of itself and the writer. These royalties and fees are collected by the publisher (the owner of the copyright) for both the publisher share and the writer share. It is the publisher's responsibility to pay the writer. Performance royalties are the only royalty type where the writer can collect his writer royalties directly from the performing rights organization. Control means the publisher has the right to negotiate and execute all licenses.


In music publishing, exploitation is a good  term. Writers want their songs exploited. Landing a song in a film or television show is an exploitation; somebody recording your song is an exploitation; releasing a record is an exploitation. When a writer's song becomes part of a greatest hits package down the line - that's an exploitation. An exploited song that is licensed and registered opens revenue streams.
Royalties don't just magically show up in your mailbox; It is the result of the publisher executing licenses and filing the proper registrations.


The writer or their music publisher registers their songs with a performing rights organization (ASCAP, BMI or SESAC) to get the song details in their database so the correct percentages of performance royalties can be attributed and paid to the correct party.
The music publisher registers their writer's songs with a "local" publisher in a foreign territory so they can, in turn, register the songs with their local mechanical and performing rights societies (society being a fancy term for foreign mechanical and performing rights organizations) so the correct percentages of foreign mechanical royalties and the publishers side of performance royalties are attributed and paid to the correct party.


The music publisher doesn't sell songs to another artist to record or to be used on a TV show or film- they license it. There are four primary licenses: Mechanical Licenses, Public Performance Licenses, Synchronization Licenses, and Print Licenses (Read Previous articles for more info on Licenses).

Functions of a Music Publisher


Secures copyrights, controls copyrights, executes a variety of licenses, causes songs to be registered with a variety of organizations and societies world-wide, collects royalties, disburses royalties, and more.

Creative Services

The Creative exploitation of copyrights or causing songs to be exploited by pitching songs to other artists and securing placements in Film, TV and commercials; networking and promoting its writers (further explanation invites a whole blog topic in itself)
Publishers are often able to provide critical funding in the form of advances against your future royalties and by covering the costs of recording demos of your songs.

Self Publishing

Some songwriters elect to keep their publishing rights and royalties by setting up their own publishing company. It is possible for an artist to keep their publishing rights and simply hire a third party to handle the publishing related administration. If an artist decides to set up their own publishing company they will need to register their affiliation with ASCAP , BMI or SESAC.
Swiss Boy

For Beats go to http://beatsbyswiss.com



Friday, October 7, 2011 • User Submitted

As a new songwriter, you may be overwhelmed by all there is to do when it comes to moving forward in your career. I'd compare the approach of this article to eating the elephant one tiny bite at a time.

Original Article @ http://www.bmi.com/news/entry/552948

As a new songwriter, you may be overwhelmed by all there is to do when it comes to moving forward in your career. I'd compare the approach of this article to eating the elephant one tiny bite at a time. In other words, by being patient, organized and methodical in your daily work as a songwriter, you're guaranteed to make steady progress in your career. If you follow the suggestions below, the results won't be immediate, but when you look back after six months or a year, I think you'll be amazed at how much you've accomplished.

By Cliff Goldmacher

1. Do One "Business" Thing Every Day. This is the musical equivalent of eating your vegetables. They may not taste great but they're good for you. It's the same with the business side of music. We all know how much more fun it is to play the guitar, sing and even write compared to making phone calls, sending emails or following up on something you've already submitted, but if you're hoping to have financial success with your music, then they're all equally important. By making the rule that you'll do one business thing every day means that at the end of a year, you'll have done 365 things to further your career above and beyond your songwriting. I guarantee that's more than most.

2. Join/Start A Songwriting Group. Getting yourself to write on a consistent basis can be a real struggle. Writing is emotionally draining and tough for most of us to do in a vacuum. Ironically, I've found that even we creative types like assignments when it comes to our writing. By joining a songwriting group where you're required to bring in a new song or a rewrite of an old song every week, you'll have the additional motivation of being held accountable by more than just yourself. It really does work. If you're not aware of any existing songwriting groups in your area, make it a point to get to local writer's nights and reach out to other writers about starting a group. By simply showing up every week and doing the work, you'll find your songwriting muscles getting stronger no matter whether you agree with all the group's suggestions or not.

3. Don't Wait For A Publishing Deal To Act Like You Have One. If you find yourself thinking that if only you had a publishing deal then you could write every day, get great demos and have your songs pitched, then I'd humbly suggest that you've got it backwards. In order to get a publisher interested in what you're doing, you need to behave like you've already got a publishing deal. This means you'll be infinitely more attractive to a publisher if you can show them a body of work that's well written, well recorded and maybe even includes a cut or two. Don't wait around for the affirmation of a publisher to get up every day and do the work. In fact, if you get to the point where you can do all of the above on your own, you might look up to find you don't need a publisher after all.

4. Make One Song Pitch Every Week. Having exceptional songs and beautiful recordings of those songs is a great start but in terms of getting them recorded by other artists or placed in a film or TV show, they might as well not exist if you haven't shown them to anyone. I know this sounds obvious, but, as songwriters, we get so wrapped up in the creative process that we somehow, amazingly, seem to forget that until someone in the industry has heard our songs, they can't do anything with them. This means you need to begin your search for outlets for your music. There are industry pitch sheets and organizations out there that can help put songwriters together with industry folks looking for songs. Make it your business (see #1 above) to find out about these pitch sheets and begin the process of submitting your songs when you see an appropriate opportunity. If you do this once a week, you'll have pitched to 52 separate opportunities by the end of a year. That's a significant number.

5. Reply Promptly To Any Opportunity, No Matter How Small. The likelihood of Faith Hill calling you to ask if you've got a song for her is small but you should treat every email or voicemail from someone regarding your music as that kind of top priority. If another songwriter reaches out to say they liked one of your songs they heard you perform at a writer's night, reply quickly, even if it's just to say thanks. You never know when a causal contact could turn into something more significant. Our industry is full of stories of songwriters getting their material cut in the least likely of circumstances. All this is to say, there's no percentage in ignoring or putting off any opportunity no matter how small it may seem at the time. By acting professionally and responding promptly to anyone and everyone who reaches out about your music, you'll be sure not to miss something huge that might appear insignificant at first glance.

As I'm sure you know, there's no one way to have success as a songwriter. That being said, you can certainly improve your odds by staying patient, working consistently and treating your career with the respect it deserves.

Cliff Goldmacher is a songwriter, producer, session musician, engineer, author and owner of recording studios in Nashville, TN and Sonoma, CA. Cliff's site, http://www.EducatedSongwriter.com, is full of resources for the aspiring songwriter and his company, http://www.NashvilleStudioLive.com, provides songwriters outside of Nashville with virtual access to Nashville's best session musicians and singers for their songwriting demos.

You can download a FREE sample of Cliff's eBook "The Songwriter's Guide To Recording Professional Demos" by going to http://www.EducatedSongwriter.com/ebook

Sunday, September 25, 2011 • User Submitted

In the old music industry, there were only three media outlets that could cause an artist to "break" nationally: MTV, magazines like Rolling Stone, and commercial radio. Today, of these three outlets, only commercial radio is left, and the major record labels, in collusion with the station owners, control it.

Originally posted @ TUNECORE BLOG

In the old music industry, there were only three media outlets that could cause an artist to "break" nationally: MTV, magazines like Rolling Stone, and commercial radio. Today, of these three outlets, only commercial radio is left, and the major record labels, in collusion with the station owners, control it. Simply stated, if an artist is not signed to a major label the probability of getting airplay on a Top 40 or Hot AC station (or any other format that has an impact) is right up there with Congress getting along. It's just not going to happen.

There are a few important things to take away from this:

First, as of 2011, despite the still powerful (but diminishing) impact of commercial radio, and the stranglehold control on it by the major labels, the majors still have a 98% failure rate on their releases. Therefore, having access to commercial radio, or even getting played on it, does not guarantee success. Now some good news: artists no longer singularly need commercial radio to "break"- there are other way to do it, in particular, social networking via YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Using these new outlets, many artists - such as Boyce Avenue, The Civil Wars, Lecrae, Jesus Culture, Blood On The Dance Floor, Kelly, Dave Days, Ron Pope, Chase Coy, Colt Ford, Ed Sheeran, Jon Lajoie, Rucka Rucka Ali, and tens of thousands of others - are achieving varying levels of success

Next, the potential money artists/songwriters can make from commercial radio is not limited to artist royalties from CD and other music sales. As a matter of fact, over 98% of artists signed to a major label never see an additional penny of artist royalties beyond their first advance. The additional money they can make from commercial radio play is tied into a copyright the songwriter controls, called "Public Performance."

Under U.S., and most international law, the moment a song leaves your head and becomes tangible (meaning it has been recorded and/or written down) you get six legal copyrights. One of these six copyrights is the exclusive right to "Public Performance." The right of public performance means that no other person or entity can publicly perform your song without a license from you. Radio play is a type of public performance.

All radio stations must get a "public performance" license from the entity that controls this right. The songwriter controls this right unless he or she has done a deal transferring it to another entity called a publisher or a publishing administrator. Almost all songwriters and/or publishers outsource the job of issuing public performance licenses to third party organizations called Performing Rights Organizations. These organizations deal with and license this one right on behalf of their members.

In the United States there are three performing rights organizations: BMI, ASCAP and SESAC. Radio stations get public performance licenses and pay these organizations on behalf of the songwriter and/or publisher. Each time a songwriter's song is played on the radio, the songwriter/publisher is to be paid by the performing rights organization from the money it collected from the radio station.

Until the advent of television, the largest income streams for songwriters/publishers from public performances collected and licensed by the performing rights organizations came from commercial radio play. With the introduction of TV (a song being played in a TV show is a public performance), more public performance revenue was paid and the pot got bigger. However, this just meant more money for the artists/songwriters who had their songs marketed and promoted by major labels.

As you move into the late 70's, cable TV came into existence. At first, the performing rights organizations dismissed cable TV as irrelevant in regards to generating revenue for public performances, over time this changed. With the maturity of cable TV, and the arrival of MTV, the swatch of artists making money from public performances finally began to get a little wider.

As you move through the 90's, the music labels entered their "golden years;" their control over market share and commercial radio was supreme. In addition, CD sales, revenue, and numbers of releases were at a record high and it was still the artists/songwriters, and their songs being marketed by majors, that almost exclusively made significant revenue from public performances.

Which leads me to the next point: what happens when commercial radio as we know it goes away and the last control point for the labels is gone?

The power of commercial radio is already diminishing, listenership for music-programmed stations is down. Stations that used to play music have flipped to talk radio formats (news, sports, commentary) and advertising revenue is not what it used to be. The final nail in the coffin will be when cars come with built in connectivity to the Net. At the moment, there are over 200 million cars in the U.S. with just about none of them wired to connect to Net. But that's changing. And as soon as "connectivity" becomes as common as air conditioning, commercial radio as we know it will be dead. This is not a matter of "if," it's a matter of "when."

The impact can already be seen. Oddly enough, over the past decade, as revenue and market share for the major labels and listenership for commercial radio have gone down, revenue collected for public performances has gone UP over 70%, and it's not chump change.

Currently, the three U.S. performing rights organizations ASCAP, BMI and SESAC collect over 2.3 billion dollars in public performance royalties. The increase in revenue for public performances is coming from more places paying the performing rights organizations for public performances. Connectivity combined with a proliferation of hardware devices like smart phones, iPads, the Roku, Apple TV, computers, and so on have significantly increased the volume of public performances and the entities that need to pay for them. There is just more money in the pot. In addition, the legal definition of public performance has been expanded to include a stream. Every single time a song is streamed - be it in a YouTube video, via Pandora, Slacker, LastFM, Spotify, a website etc., - money is to be paid to the songwriter/publisher for a public performance.

In the old world, songwriters made public performance money when their music was played on the radio. In the new digital world, the songwriter generates revenue each time their song is played on devices via a plethora of interactive and non-interactive music services (think Pandora, LastFM, Slacker, Spotify, Mog and so on).

Unlike commercial radio, the majors do not control the future digital streaming music industry, consumers do. This means that although there will still be some mega superstars earning a disproportionate amount of public performance revenue, for the first time there will also be hundreds of thousands of new artists/songwriters making money of some significance from public performances. Each time anyone listens to a song via a stream, the songwriter of that song is owed money.

The problem then becomes getting these artists/songwriters their money. Unfortunately, the traditional performing rights organizations are not very good at this in the digital world. There is no transparency as to what is being charged and/or collected, and there are huge gaps of time between when they collect their money and when it is paid out. In addition, as they do not have an efficient way to pay out money to songwriters that have earned below a certain threshold, they have earning minimums,

With the shift in public performances moving from terrestrial based radio to the world of digital streaming, there must be a system that gets songwriters more of their money more quickly, with transparency and an "audit" trail to assure accuracy. For example, if an artist's recording streamed ten times, the songwriter should be paid for ten public performances.

This to me is the future of the music industry, and this is why TuneCore is now spearheading this change on behalf of the new emerging music industry. It's crucial for artists to understand that, whether they like it or not/whether they want it or not, they're increasingly in control of their destiny. The motto of the new music industry is transparency. Via unethical practices like Payola (see George's article), and the inability to adopt to technological transformations, the labels and the old school systems are no longer efficient and have lost and/or abdicated much of their power. Those artists (and the members of their team) and new companies who both understand the emerging landscape and embrace its opportunities will fill the power vacuum.

Sunday, September 18, 2011 • BeatsBySwiss.com

This is really important because a lot of people don't know the difference between Royalties from Sales and Mechanical Royalties so i thought this might help you too.

What up this is Swiss Boy

My last email was about Royalties from Sales. In this one you will learn about Mechanical Royalties and Licenses. This is really important because a lot of people don't know the difference between Royalties from Sales and Mechanical Royalties so I thought this might help you too.

Mechanical licenses are the rights granted by the copyright owner or publisher to reproduce songs for public distribution. Money paid by record companies to manufacture and sell records is called mechanical royalties. Mechanical royalties are paid to the publisher who pays the songwriter accordingly. Mechanical royalties are typically determined by multiplying the mechanical rate by the number of tracks on each record or CD that is sold.

Mechanical royalty payments are typically not reliant on the record label recouping their expenses from recording, producing or marketing the record like royalties from sales.

Compulsory Mechanical Licenses were introduced as part of the Copyright Act of 1909 and allow anyone to reproduce a previously recorded work as long the copyright holder is notified, provided monthly royalty statements and paid the royalty rate set by law, called a statutory rate or stat rate. What this means is that you can record a cover version of a song without explicit permission of the copyright holder as long as the song has already been recorded and distributed, you don't substantially change the song's lyrics or music, and you comply with the licensing and reporting requirements. As of January 1, 2006 the statutory rate is 9.10 cents for a composition five minutes or less in length, or 1.75 cents per minute, rounded up, for songs over 5 minutes, per copy.

Record companies often negotiate down mechanical royalties from the statutory rate, for example, 75% of statutory rate.

A record with 12 tracks on it and a negotiated mechanical rate of 75% of stat ($.0.06825) that sells 50,000 copies would generate $ 40,950 in mechanical royalties (12 tracks X $.06825 X 50,000 sold copies) that the record company would pay to the publisher.

The Harry Fox Agency is the primary mechanical rights administration organization in the United States that issues mechanical licenses, collect royalties, and provide reporting for almost 35,000 music publishers. They are paid a percentage of gross royalties collected for their services.

More information about the music business coming soon!

To buy Industry quality beats visit http://beatsbyswiss.com


Thanks for your support. - Swiss Boy


Monday, March 7, 2011 • BSR Admin

There have been six fundamental changes to the music industry that have revolutionized and transformed the business.

Originally posted in: TUNECORE | Written by: Jeff Price
There have been six fundamental changes to the music industry that have revolutionized and transformed the business. It is vital that artists are fully aware of these changes in order to make the most money and pursue their passion on their own terms.
These six changes are:
  1. Music fans now buy and listen to music from digital music stores and services.
  2. There is unlimited shelf space where everything can be in stock at no detriment to anything else.
  3. For no up front cost, there is unlimited inventory always available on demand as a perfect digital copy.
  4. With the launch of TuneCore, there is no gatekeeper to placing a song on Apple, Amazon's etc store or hard drive.
  5. Distribution of a release is now global and not restricted to just one country.
  6. Artists can market directly to their fans.
With these changes, gone are the days of needing to be able to negotiate a label and/or distributor deal agreement (provided you were lucky enough to get one).
Instead, with self-distribution and access to marketing, the artist is now: The Label, The Performer, The Publisher and The Songwriter. While wearing all of these "four hats" at once, artists are now uniquely positioned to profit from the best possible contractual distribution terms and highest revenue generation via the sale, use, or streaming of their music. The challenge is that many artists don't know what these rights are, or how to collect the money they've earned from these revenue streams. A comprehensive, streamlined, and completely inclusive infrastructure does not yet exist that enables every artist who is owed money to easily collect it. However, there are solutions out there for artists, and it's imperative that you understand these.
The entire music industry is built on six legal copyrights.
The six copyrights are:
  • Reproduction
  • Derivatives & Samples
  • Public Display
  • Public Performance
  • Distribution
  • Digital Transmission
For a more detailed explanation of each one, please download or read the free TuneCore Music Industry Survival Manual: How Not To Get Screwed: The Six Legal Rights That Drive The Music Business
Money is made from music by either selling, licensing or using it -the sale of the music is the one that gets talked about the most.
The others also generate a LOT of money for artists, performers and songwriters. This money is made based on the USE of music as opposed to just the SALE of the music - in other words, music does not necessarily have to be sold to make the artist, songwriter, performer and label money. Much of the money from these six copyrights is collected by entities located on every continent around the world called Performing Rights Organizations (PROs). PROs tend to be not-for-profit or government controlled and/or mandated. Their function is to collect and distribute money owed to songwriters, labels and performers. The amount of money the writers are paid comes from federal laws in those countries that mandate entities MUST pay them for the USE of music.
This has become increasingly important now that the music industry is global - with one click your music can be distributed, sold, shared, tracked and marketed around the world.
As one example, unless the songwriter agrees not to be paid, every single time a song is streamed legally for free on the Internet, money is owed to the songwriter. This money is paid to the PROs and sits there waiting to be claimed.
As another, every single time a song is played on the radio (either via the Internet or broadcast from an AM/FM transmitter tower) the songwriter, label and performer must get paid. As an interesting twist, and to make a point, there is an exception to this rule - everywhere in the world the songwriter, performer and label get paid when a song is played on AM/FM radio EXCEPT for the United States. In the U.S., only the songwriter gets paid. This means from radio play, there is money sitting in other parts of the world with a PRO for the label and performer. If the label and performer are based in the U.S., they are not able to collect this money UNLESS there is someone in another country working on behalf of them to collect it.
As yet another example, if you are a U.S.-based band and you write your own songs and use TuneCore to distribute your music into another country like iTunes Japan, each time your music sells in Japan, iTunes pays the Japanese PRO money for the "reproduction" of your song. This money is in addition to the money iTunes pays for the sale of the song. This money sits with the PRO until it is collected by the songwriter/publisher. After a certain period of time, if it is not collected, it is given to other members of the PRO.
It is vital for you to know about all of these potential revenue streams and how to collect on them around the world.

Major Artist Initiatives in 2011

I view it as TuneCore's job to go into the world on behalf of its artists and help them plug into and collect all the money that exists for them. This is a major initiative for us in 2011. Over the next 90 days, we will be providing significant news and updates on how we intend on doing this for this new industry.
Also, in the next 45 days or so, we are rolling out a new accounting system that allows for even more transparency down to the one trillionth of a penny as well as even more advanced custom sales reports and free access to iTunes trending data.
A major education initiative is also being undertaken to provide the knowledge and information every artist should know. To that end, we will continue to post a large amount of specific information on the blog as well as create more PDF booklets for free download. George Howard (former President of Rykodisc, current professor at Loyola) and I are embarking on a series of free to attend multi-hour seminars discussing in-depth the nuances and information around the six legal copyrights.
If you are attending South By Southwest, please make certain to join us for a free two and half hour seminar on:
The Six Legal Copyrights:
Friday March 18
2:00 - 4:30 PM
Room 8 (Third Floor)
Austin Convention Center
The power of TuneCore Artists is now unquestionable - they have sold over 300 million songs via paid download or stream over the past 2 ½ years and have transformed the industry. Artists today not only can take the power and control into their own hands, but they must do so. This does not mean that you must go it alone; there are resources that you can avail yourself of in order to create and succeed on your own terms. It is our mission to continue to work with you to further transform the industry and provides these resources. Only by setting it free can the industry grow to its full potential.
Stay tuned for the next transformation...
Tuesday, February 8, 2011 • BSR Admin

One of the interesting unintended consequences of the trend away from albums and back towards singles is that there is now less mechanical income being generated for writers.

Originally posted at: TuneCore | Written by: George Howard
One of the interesting unintended consequences of the trend away from albums and back towards singles is that there is now less mechanical income being generated for writers. Remember, a label must pay the copyright holder of the song (i.e. the writer and/or publisher) for the right to "mechanically" reproduce the writer's song on the label's release (be it on CD, vinyl, download, etc.).
The current rate, as set by statute, is nine point one cents ($.091) for songs under five minutes in length. Labels often insert a clause into recording contracts that reduces this amount when the artist signed to the label is also the writer; this so-called controlled composition clause reduces the mechanical royalty that is paid by the label to the artist by as much as 25%.
Whether the writer receives the full-rate or a reduced rate, this mechanical income is very material. Typically, mechanical payments must be paid to the artist from the label from this first record sold, and these payments should not be cross-collateralized against the artist royalty. What this means is that, as is the case for many artists signed to labels, even if an artist's account is un-recouped (meaning they have not made back in sales what the label has paid to sign, record, and (often) promote their record), the label still must pay the writer of the song(s) a mechanical royalty. This mechanical payment is thus often the only money a writer sees from the label.
During the album era, if you wrote all of the songs that were released on the album - and for easy math assume the typical album had ten songs on it, and that you were getting a reduced mechanical payment of seven point five cents per song - this meant that for every record sold, you, the songwriter, were owed seventy-five cents (the reduced mechanical of $.075 for each song multiplied by the ten songs on the album). If you were to sell a hundred thousand records, you were owed $75,000. This is not chump change, and there is a compelling argument to be made that the true benefit to signing with a label was that they were the promotional engine that drove mechanical royalties.
The advantage of this for the songwriter during the album era was, of course, that there may have only been one or two songs that captured the public's imagination - the hits on radio, for example - but the writer still got paid for all of the songs on the album that she wrote, even if the majority of people bought the album just for those one or two songs.
Even during the 7"-single era (i.e. small vinyl), savvy artists and managers would make sure to put a song they had written on the b-side so that when the record was purchased because of the a-side, they made some (or double) the mechanical income. This strategy of putting an original on the b-side of a single with the a-side as a cover is in some respects the reason why The Rolling Stones, for example, began writing their own compositions.
Today, we've largely left behind not only the full-length album, but also the 7"-inch single. Customers download specific individual tracks. In so doing, this results in non-single tracks on the album not being downloaded, and thus not generating any mechanical royalties for the writer.
Certainly, there are artists who still sell "albums"; i.e. their customers either still buy the full-length CD (or vinyl) and/or download an entire album, but clearly the trend is towards à la carte downloads (or streams) of singles.
This impacts, of course, not only those performers who are signed to the label, and also write their own material, but also writers whose work is covered by a performer. Unless this writer's song that is covered is the single, the chances of generating the type of mechanical income that was derived from sales during the album era is pretty much nil.
It will be interesting to see how this economic reality impacts the creative output of artists. If there is less economic incentive to write material that is unlikely to be a "single," will artists write less or write differently? It's frightening to think that in today's single driven market (one without even b-sides) that the Stones might have contented themselves with being a cover band - never writing - and releasing records only so they could tour.
What are your thoughts? Does the "album" concept still matter, given the lack of economic incentives? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
George Howard is the former president of Rykodisc. He currently advises numerous entertainment and non-entertainment firms and individuals. Additionally, he is the Executive Editor of Artists House Music and is a Professor and Executive in Residence in the college of Business Administration at Loyola, New Orleans. He is most easily found on Twitter at: twitter.com/gah650
Tuesday, February 8, 2011 • BSR Admin

Before the record label consolidation, an artist would get signed, an album would get recorded, the release would get set up and distributed. The artist would tour as the label promoted the artist/album building up the fan base and credibility.

Sometime in the 90's, "artist development" for rock and alternative bands, got turned on its head. Gone were the days of a major label aspiring to propel an artist over many years to "rock legend" with multiple releases, tour dates, interviews and in-store appearances (Led Zep, Rolling Stones, Springsteen, The Byrds etc). Instead, new artists were given six weeks from the street date of their debut album to have a radio/MTV hit. If the first single from the album failed, the artist would typically get dropped; their career effectively over before it even began.
This change occurred with the consolidation of the music industry under multi-national billion dollar companies (many publicly traded). Gone were the days of patience for a "return on investment". Instead, the world boiled down to revenues earned over the last 90 days. Shareholders demanded quick growth, the value of a company lived and died by what was reported and booked every quarter of the year. If the company invested $1 million dollars into a band in January, it cared only about how quickly it could see its money back and how much profit would be made.
This get rich quick strategy helped destroy the value of labels and the careers (and potential careers) of thousands of artists.
Before the record label consolidation, an artist would get signed, an album would get recorded, the release would get set up and distributed. The artist would tour as the label promoted the artist/album building up the fan base and credibility. The band would gain experience playing live, learn things in the studio and grow as musicians. About a year later, the next album would be released, this time to some anticipation by the existing fans, and the same cycle as with the first album would repeat - building, playing, learning, touring, gaining new fans - until the next album came out. It was the artist's later album, built on years of learning and credibility, that would go multi-platinum providing the final piece of the puzzle in defining them as a "legend". Once at that status, an abundance of opportunities and wealth would arrive for many years to come via gigs, merchandise sales, advances and band and publishing royalties. The label would experience a huge spike in back catalog sales from new fans discovering and buying old albums selling as many copies of a catalog album in a single week as they did over the previous year. There were no label marketing costs directly tied to these catalog sales thereby generating huge amounts of high margin money for their bottom line.
Or said another way, the value of a major label like EMI (or make that Citigroup due to its recent acquisition) is not from one new Beatles' album, it's from the entire Beatles' catalog. These older albums sell and sell and sell yielding huge financial returns that dwarf income made off of just one hit album.
In the old music industry, the true monetary value for the record label and artist was in the catalog of created and released works - each song, album, EP selling a little (or a lot) each day, week and year creating a large and steady recurring and predictable stream of income ("recurring and predictable income" is the holy grail for financial institutions). The shift to a new strategy of just six weeks to "have a hit or you're dead" flew not only in the face of artist development but also in the face of long term financial gain while radically changing the way the game was played.
A quick financial return strategy in the music industry could only be accomplished in one way, a mass-consumable commercial radio/video hit single. Bands began to be signed not for their current and future value, but for just the one hit they may have written. All label bets were placed on the one single as it was sent to radio and MTV with hopes of airplay, reaction and consumer sales. Radio and MTV gained massive power being the only outlets to allow this quick explosive growth, and the labels were willing to pay them whatever it took to gain the media exposure.
The music world went topsy turvy - debut albums became an artist's best selling album with subsequent releases selling far less (Spin Doctors, BloodHound Gang, Alanis Morissette, Hootie & The Blowfish, Third Eye Blind, Better Than Ezra, Marcy Playground etc etc etc). Gone were the days of development, catalog and box sets; in their place came the world of "one hit wonders" whose value dissipated as quickly as it arrived.
This is not to suggest that these bands or songs were good or bad, nor is this to suggest that the phenomenon of "one hit wonders" was not happening through the entire history of the music industry. What was different was the lack of bands being nurtured, supported and given time to grow and develop at the world's largest labels. Lawyers, calculators and quarterly profit and loss statements replaced the ears and creative passion of music executives like Seymour Stein, Ahmet Ertegun, Lenny Waronker and Mo Ostin.
Bloated artist contracts were an additional side effect of this new get rich quick strategy - understandably, artists, lawyers and managers were demanding larger and larger advances on future albums as a major label would only exercise the option due to the previous album being a financial hit. Percentages of these large advances went into the pockets of the managers and, in some cases, the lawyer's, incentivizing them to take the money and run. Marketing spends went through the roof as the labels tried to hit grand slam home runs. Albums selling a few hundred thousand copies that were previously seen as a success were now redefined as failures.
As more than 98% of the bands signed were not hits, the labels could not justify nor afford the huge advances previously negotiated and the bands were dropped, their careers stunted and ended before they even really began.
As this new shortsighted strategy progressed for over a decade, the labels woke one day and realized what they had done - for the past fifteen years they neglected to build up a valuable catalog of work that people would continue to buy over a long period of time. The older "legacy" catalog of Pink Floyd still sold, but there was nothing taking its place, nothing being incrementally added - even rock legends die, taking their chest of musical riches with them to grave. This left only one option, buy even more into the new vicious cycle, do even less artist development, spend more money on marketing, invest more in videos, up advances, swing like mighty Casey at bat for that elusive home run and hope to god something hit.
Had there been more patience, less greed, less focus on next month's bottom line the magnificence of the industry could have been perpetuated through its creativity. Not only would these media companies have been reaping far greater financial rewards, but the artists and the music fans most likely would have had a different view of the entire industry.
The good news is the cycle has been broken, artists no longer singularly need a label to have a career; there is now a choice. The lessons of the past combined with the technology and opportunity of today can quite possibly create a return to the true cultural and long-term financial value of music. Through new media outlets and social networking, bands and fans can connect in more personal and meaningful ways. Fans are now able to more directly and meaningfully support their favorite musicians over the long term enabling the artist to create a significant body of work through their lifetime. The control of a band's career has shifted from the label to the artist - be it the path of Vanilla Ice or Radiohead, the choice, success (or failure) is the artists to make.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011 •

One of the most vital of these steps is the mix. It's not enough to have a great song; you need a great recording, and a strong mix is an essential part of that.

By Cliff Goldmacher
Originally posted at BMI.COM
Once you've decided to up the ante and put your music online for the world to hear, it's in your best interest to pay close attention to every step in the recording process. One of the most vital of these steps is the mix. It's not enough to have a great song; you need a great recording, and a strong mix is an essential part of that. The art of mixing (and make no mistake, it is an art) is not a skill everyone possesses. It's well worth your while, even if you've recorded your tracks yourself in your home studio, to seek out an experienced mixing engineer. While there is no substitute for a dynamic, exciting musical performance, a good mix can enhance every aspect of that performance so that the final result truly makes your song stand out. On the other hand, a poor mix can severely compromise even the best song and performance. Only you can write and sing your songs. That makes you an expert in those areas. However, unless you're also an expert mix engineer, I'd highly recommend going to someone who is.


I get it. Everyone wants to save money. I do, too, but there are places to save and places to invest. In an effort to keep recording costs down, many musicians have purchased their own recording equipment. This is terrific and there's never been a better time to buy affordable, high-quality gear. As long as you're as passionate about learning the engineering process as you are about your music, you'll do well. Owning your own recording equipment also takes a lot of the pressure off when it comes to experimenting in the studio. Finally, it allows you to record as many takes as necessary to get the performances you want without worrying about the clock. However, one way to make the absolute most of your recorded performance is to let an expert mix them. It's amazing what a talented, experienced mix engineer can bring out of a mix that might otherwise get lost or obscured at the hands of a less able mixer.

Before You Mix

Before I cover in greater depth what makes up a good mix, let's go back to performance for a moment. No matter how great the mix engineer may be, there are some things you simply cannot fix in the mix. To be more specific, there is no way to "mix in" a great vocal or instrumental performance. What makes a performance great might surprise you. For example, sometimes it's what you don't play that counts the most. In my experience, the best studio musicians are the best listeners. What I mean by this is that great players base their instrumental performance on whatever else is going to be played in the song so that all the instruments work together as a whole to serve the song and not their individual egos. Playing too much is the hallmark of an amateur studio musician. Secondly, the timely use of dynamics (where to play louder/softer or with greater/less intensity) is essential to a mix that breathes and has shape to it. Simply moving up and down a volume fader won't do the same thing. When it comes to singing, all the Auto-Tune and reverb in the world won't give a vocal performance real sincerity and emotion. Make absolutely certain that the performances are exactly how you want them before you start the mix process.

The Instruments

Finding space in the mix for each individual instrument is essential. This is often achieved through judicious use of EQ, compression, volume and panning. For example, the skill it takes to get great drum sounds, marry the kick drum to the bass while also giving the electric guitars rooms to breathe and sparkle is developed over time and repetition - a lot of repetition. When this is done properly, the instruments are exciting to listen to. Each has its place and role to play and when they come together, the song takes on a life of its own.


A great mix engineer always makes the treatment and placement of the vocal a priority. Once the instrumental mix is where it needs to be, it's time to make certain that the vocalist is running the show. A combination of EQ, compression, tuning (if necessary), effects and volume-fader automation should all serve the ultimate goal of making it sound like the singer is in charge. There are several risks associated with improper vocal placement. If the final mix has too much vocal, then the instruments end up sounding small and weak. However, if the vocal is too soft in the mix, it loses its ability to communicate the emotion of the song. Every genre has its preferred vocal level. In general, pop music has the vocal more integrated into the instruments whereas country music (with its emphasis on the lyric) generally puts the vocal higher in the mix. There are, of course, exceptions to every rule but a good mix engineer will know the genre he or she is mixing in and do the right thing for the song.
On a related note, one of the best reasons to bring in an experienced mix engineer, even if you've recorded the song yourself, is a fresh, objective set of ears. It's been my experience that if the singer mixes their own project, they tend to keep the vocals too low for a couple of reasons. One is that most singers tend to get uncomfortable with their vocals up in a mix. There are precious few singers I've ever worked with who genuinely love the sound of their own voices. By keeping the vocal low in the mix, the vocalist/engineer won't have to leave their comfort zone but the mix suffers. The second reason has to do with the fact that the singer already knows the words and assumes that they're hearing the words when, in fact, they may be too low for someone who doesn't know the song and be difficult to understand.

Mastering a Good Mix

Mastering a mixed recording is a separate skill altogether. While this isn't an article about mastering, I'd recommend using a dedicated mastering engineer (not your mix engineer) when it comes time for this step. More to the point, the value of a good mix is that the mastering engineer will spend much less time (their hourly rates are generally higher than mix engineer rates) getting the finished master together. In other words, money you spend on a good mix will end up saving you money on a final mastered recording.

Doing It Yourself

If you're still intent on doing your own mixing, consider hiring an expert to mix a song or two for you and then ask them for the session files back. Assuming you're using the same recording software (i.e. ProTools, Nuendo, Logic), you'll be able to examine every detail of how the mix was done and use the finished mix files as a kind of tutorial so you can ultimately learn to do them yourself.
Cliff Goldmacher is a songwriter/engineer/producer/author and owner of recording studios in Nashville, TN and Sonoma, CA. Cliff's eBook "The Songwriter's Guide To Recording Professional Demos" is available as a free download from his site at http://www.cliffgoldmacher.com/ebook. Cliff is also the owner/founder of www.NashvilleStudioLive.com, a website that provides songwriters outside of Nashville with virtual access to Nashville's best session musicians and singers for their songwriting demos.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011 • BeatsBySwiss.com

Distributors are responsible for selling, positioning and marketing a record label's or artist's music with any outlet where music fans buy music including traditional retailers, online download services, online subscription based services, ringtone providers and mobile downloads.

Distributors are responsible for selling, positioning and marketing a record label's or artist's music with any outlet where music fans buy music including traditional retailers, online download services, online subscription based services, ringtone providers and mobile downloads. Most major music outlets, traditional and online, won't deal directly with record labels or artists and order exclusively through distributors. Distributors range in size from those owned by the big 4 record labels to independents to those that only distribute to online outlets. They typically charge the labels they distribute a percentage of price the retailers pay, 20% for example.
Inventory and billing management are keys to a distributor's success since retailers can return unsold inventory they purchase at any time. It is not uncommon for a retailer to return an order to the distributor prior to their invoice coming due then turnaround and place the same order they just returned. Since the distributor must accept any and all returns from retailers they typically require exclusive distribution agreements with the record labels they distribute. Retailers also typically want to deal with only one distributor on a CD release so they know who to order from and where send returns to as needed. Distributors must manage their inventory levels to make sure they can fulfill orders from retailers but not have too much inventory in stock that's not selling. They must coordinate shipments to and from both record labels and retailers. Many times distributors will also coordinate the manufacturing of the CD's for their labels since they can often times get better pricing due to the volume of CD's they can produce.

Retail Sales & Marketing

Distributors have sales people who call buyers at the retailers and get them to order inventory of their labels CD's and stock them in their stores. Retailers will often tie the amount of inventory they order to the amount of money the distributor is willing to pay in marketing programs and advertising with them. These marketing programs include special product placement within the retailer's stores, listening posts, giveaways and promotions, and often include print and online advertising. Distributors have a staff to coordinate the retail marketing programs with their labels, agree to marketing budgets, get ad artwork and send retailers the artist one sheet summaries of the release and promotional CD's to the buyers at the retailers. The costs of these marketing programs are charged back to the record labels and usually become a recoupable expense against the artist's royalties from sales .

Digital Distribution

Distributors must keep up with the constantly growing options for digital music and make sure their content is appropriately licensed and distributed by the wide array of digital music outlets available to music fans. Distributors who sell music through digital retailers and mobile providers must build and maintain an accurate database of each track and its related metadata (artist, album, track name, art, publisher and related information.) and create an ISRC code for each track in their catalog. The tracks and metadata must then be formatted to meet the format standards for each digital retailer and mobile provider before transmitting a file to them since there is not an industry standard that has been developed. Many distributors have developed web-based tools that allow each record label they distribute to upload their catalog and new releases directly to the distributor's database.
Today there are a growing number of companies who have bypassed the traditional retailers and focus all their efforts on digital distribution like the IODA Alliance.
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