Category Archives: Articles

Music Business: Mechanical Royalties & Music Publishing: How to get paid from music

Sirr Love explains how to get paid from publishing and how it works. (math and all).

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Music Business Article: How To Get Songs Placed On TV And In Movies

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Last weekend at the ASCAP Music Expo at the Loews Hollywood Hotel I attended the Music Supervisor panel containing 5 music supervisors who actively place music in film and television.

Over the course of my career, I’ve had about 30 TV placements (20 in the last year from my new record). I’ve gotten songs placed on high profile shows that are known for their music, like One Tree Hill and shows you’ve never heard of, where music is very much “background,” like Friendzone. And everything in between.

And I’ve also been 1 week away from having a song on So You Think You Can Dance. Contracts were signed. The only problem was, the contestant who was going to dance to my song got bumped. Balls.

There is no one way to get music placed on TV (or in film). In addition to how I’ve gone about it, I’ve spoken with many of my musician friends who make livings on song placements about this.

Music Supervisor

According to the Guild of Music Supervisors, the definition/role of a music supervisor is defined as:

“A qualified professional who oversees all music related aspects of film, television, advertising, video games and any other existing or emerging visual media platforms as required.”

Music supervisors are the actual people who take the cues from the producers and director when the “picture is locked” and underscore the picture with songs. The composer underscores the picture with original, scored compositions written specifically for that scene.

Sometimes (most of the time) music supervisors use the instrumental version and most of the time it’s just a small snippet of the song (however, now I have to brag a bit, One Tree Hill used all 3:43 of my song – words and music. But that’s very rare).

On the ASCAP panel sat Rebecca Rienks, who currently places music for E! (you know those promo montage spots that always seem to have Ryan Seacrest looking… Seacresty); Holly Hung, who primarily places music in film trailers; Jeff Gray just finished a feature film; Lindsay Wolfington (who placed me in One Tree Hill), mostly works on TV shows; and the moderator, Jason Kramer, is a music supervisor at Elias Arts, a music production company that specializes in original music composition and sound design for TV, films and commercials. Kramer is also a host on Los Angeles’ KCRW.

musicsupervisorpanel

They rapped for just over an hour about what types of music they look for, day to day challenges (mainly dealing with producers who say stuff like “can you make this more purple?”) and showed us some of the spots they’ve placed music in.

“As long as it fits and tonally hits everything that it needs to hit, it doesn’t matter if it’s an indie band, somebody not signed, somebody just dropped, if it works it works.” – Holly Hung, Music Supervisor

Hung told a story about working on a trailer for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.  She said they had a Coldplay song as temp music and she spent 3 weeks looking for a replacement for it. She scoured iTunes and found a band who had just gotten dropped by their label and the singer was currently working at Starbucks. She used the song and the band got $80,000 for the placement.

Getting Music To The Music Supervisors

As you can imagine, music supervisors get inundated with emails from people wanting their music placed. Be it musicians, licensing companies, publishing companies, managers or just fans of the supe (that’s short for music supervisor – and yes they have fans), supes can get overwhelmed and are very picky about HOW they will take submissions.

DO NOT ATTACH MP3s

There’s no correct way to get music placed, but there are a few incorrect ways. All supes on the panel said do not attach mp3s to an email. It clutters up their inbox and will go directly to the trash (and your email will probably get blocked).

How To Get Your Email Opened

Hung said to put who you sound like in the subject line. Like “Sounds like Coldplay.” Keep the body short and to the point and only send the songs that make sense for the project that supe is working on. So, DO YOUR RESEARCH. Do not send your tear-jerker ballad to Rienks who needs upbeat, fun, exciting music for her E! spots.

How To Get Your Song Listened To

In the email, include links to where the song can be quickly listened to (without having to be downloaded) where there is ALSO an option to download it if they want to use it. Also, directly below the song, include a link to the instrumental.

Wolfington mentioned that she loves Box.com. Box.com (unlike Dropbox) will open a window with a player and it has a download link in the upper right hand corner. Very convenient.

Do not include links to ALL of your music. Send the best 1-3 songs that will work for that supe’s current project.

If the supe wants more of your music, she’ll ask.

In the email, it may help to list a couple distinctive adjectives below each song or key lyrics. Like:

“Cold Water”
epic, explosion at end,
key lyrics: “I will find the artist inside me”
full wav: link to box.com
instrumental wav: link to box.com

And yes, always upload .wavs. Not mp3s. If the supe wants to experiment with your song in the spot, she isn’t going to want to have to REEDIT in the wav once she realizes it’s a low-quality mp3.

Licensing Companies

If you don’t have a publishing company, there are companies out there who solely pitch music to music supervisors. Unlike publishing companies, they do not own any part of your song. Similarly, though, they will not go hunt down your mechanical royalties around the world for you (like publishing companies will).

Some will take a back-end percentage of your performance royalties (like from ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, SOCAN), and others won’t. Some will work with you non-exclusively and others (the more established ones) will require you to work exclusively with them.

Typically licensing companies will take about 30-50% of the total sync fee and 30-50% of the back-end performance royalties.

Getting Paid

All network TV shows have a budget for music. Most higher profile cable TV shows have a budget for music. Most reality shows have a very tiny budget for music and will not pay you for the placement unless they have to.

Network TV shows will typically pay $3,000+ (depending on the spot and your level of clout). Cable TV shows will typically pay $750+ and reality shows on cable mostly pay indie artists nothing. Movies, trailers and commercials typically pay the most: $20,000+.

But these are very loose numbers. I’ve heard of major label artists getting $30,000 for a cable show and indie bands making $80,000 for a trailer.

Before you breakout the pitchforks for the reality TV show producers, you won’t NOT get paid EVER for these spots, you just won’t get paid up front. Meaning, many of these shows will ask you for the rights to place your music for free, knowing that you’ll make back-end songwriter/publisher performance royalties from your PRO (Performing Rights Organization – ASCAP, BMI, etc). If you get a bunch of these kinds of placements, they can really add up. It just takes about 9-18 months to see that check, though. These shows also (to compensate for their lack of payment) do a decent job of maximizing the band’s exposure. Most shows have an entire music section on their websites that list all music from each episode with links to iTunes and Spotify and to the bands’ websites. The Real World also puts the name of the song and the artist on the screen while the song is playing.

So, it’s not completely free. It can be pretty decent exposure.

And hey, if you don’t want to let them use your song for free, there is no one forcing you to.

Also worth noting, you don’t make any performance royalties when the movies are shown in theaters. There’s no legitimate reason why. It’s one of those messed up parts of the music business.

Pay To Submit Companies

There are companies like MusicXray.com, Sonicbids.com and Taxi.com who charge you to submit to music supervisors (oh you also have pay to become a member) for consideration. Taxi.com openly admits that only 6% of their artists get some kind of deal (who knows how many paid submissions they already submitted). But one of the music supervisors on the panel (I’ll withhold who) when asked about these companies, said, “it’s bad business.”

I’ve never actually heard of anyone getting a placement through these services. If you have PLEASE post it in the comments.

You have to see it from the supe’s perspective. They want music from people they trust, like licensing companies, publishing companies and musicians who they have a relationship with. Not some service that pushes out music where the only barrier for entry is a fee.

How To Get In The Door

Now that you know HOW to submit, how do you know WHO to submit to? Well, simple, do your research. The first handful of placements I got were from watching TV shows, noting the kind of music they used, looking at who the music supervisor was (they’re always listed in the ending credits – or on IMDB), Googling a bit to find their email, and cold emailing. Actually, I tweeted Lindsay Wolfington my song for One Tree Hill.

They’re all mostly on Twitter too.

Above all DO NOT SPAM them. This is a quick way to get blacklisted and blocked. Be polite and respectful. Make sure your emails are short and to the point.

If you don’t get a response don’t think they’re not interested. Wolfington mentioned that she puts all of these emails in a folder and when she’s looking for music, she sifts through the folder. So make sure your links don’t expire.

If you want to find a licensing company, there are a ton out there. Google around for a bit. Ask your friends who have gotten placements who they use. Check the credits of films to see who the song is “Courtesy of” – if it’s not a label, it’s most likely the licensing or publishing company.

I get asked all the time who are some good licensing companies out there, and the fact is, I don’t know all of them. I don’t know most of them. I’ve worked with a handful of them and have a few now who pitch me (non-exclusively), but it’s pointless for me to share this information because then the few licensing companies I know would get flooded by your emails. Do your research and find the company that’s the best fit for you.

Getting songs placed on TV shows and in movies is a highly sought after part of the music industry. Some musicians make their entire income off of it. Many companies do exclusively this. Like any avenue in the music industry, if you want to do well, you must put in the time necessary to master it. You can’t blast out 50 emails to 50 music supervisors and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. It takes years of building up relationships, networking and trial and error. And again, DO NOT send out music that is not right for the show (or underdeveloped). That gives a bad name to all self-pitching artists. Every time a supe gets an email from an artist with shitty music or music that is completely different from what she places, she is less likely to open another email in the future. Don’t hurt your fellow independent musicians. Be respectful and be professional.

Ari Herstand is the author of How To Make It in the New Music Business, a Los Angeles based singer/songwriter and the creator of the music biz advice blog, Ari’s Take. Follow him on Twitter: @aristake

source: Digital Music News

High School Spotlight: Santa Fe High Wins Golden Shovel Award x The Green Monsters

Santa Fe High Wins Golden Shovel Award!

sf whole garden

We have a winner! Santa Fe High School’s Green Monsters won the Golden Shovel Award from the Florida Department of Agriculture for “Best Revitalized Garden.”  Here are excerpts from their application, prepared by teacher Ryan Pass. Thanks, Ryan, for the inspiration!

The Santa Fe High School Monster Garden is an idea that really took flight this school year.  Our group is known as the Green Monsters, and the students are all students with disabilities, most of whom are on the Access Points curriculum.  Access Points is a modified curriculum for students with cognitive impairments or significant disabilities that prevent them from being successful with the standard state curriculum.  Students construct and operate the garden during their science class, and some work in the garden during a Career Preparation class.  At the beginning of the year, we took full control of a small garden that was composed of a total of five 4 ft. x 8 ft. raised beds that were overrun with weeds taller than a person.  Throughout this school year, our students have constructed and maintained a garden space in excess of 1500 square feet with approximately 600 square feet devoted to growing plants, and the rest walkways.  This increased area provided a large blank canvas to allow more student work space than in previous years, and it provided more space for greater crop diversity.  Students have constructed 4 ft. x 8 ft. raised beds and trellises.  They have moved soil, installed mulch, started seeds, transplanted seeds into larger pots, and planted seedlings in the garden.

Santa Fe before

Currently we are growing three varieties of cucumbers, numerous herbs, green beans, snow peas, lettuce, Swiss chard, carrots, beets, spring onions, scallions, yellow squash, zucchini, scallop squash, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, eggplant, tomatillos, and several varieties of tomatoes.  We also have marigolds, miniature sunflowers, a red banana tree, and two pear trees.  In the past we have grown collard greens, mustard greens, kale, kohlrabi, radishes, turnips, sugar snap peas, and cabbage, as well.  We grow our plants from seed to harvest.  Most of the seedlings we grow are sent home with our students or provided to our financial sponsors at no cost to them.  We choose what to plant based on requests from sponsors, personal preferences, and to experiment with new or different foods.  Our students have the opportunity to sample foods they have never seen or tried before, and they get to take home fresh produce regularly.  Carrots and snow peas are the favorites, as they almost never make it far from the garden before they are eaten.  We are planning to build a compost area and plant a berry patch with blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries very soon.

a couple months in

Teachers collaborate to create lessons that complement the work in the garden.  For instance, through their Math class, students worked to measure out the garden plot and calculate perimeter and square footage.  In Science, students learned the process of photosynthesis, and they can determine which fertilizer to use for different situations or conditions.  In History class, students studied about the history of farming in America and how the industry has developed over time.  Many of our students take a specially designed Health and PE course (HOPE) where they have used our produce to make salads for their periodic “feasts”.  Our Career Preparation program also utilizes the garden as one of our on-campus work settings for students to learn skills and responsibility.  Students process requests for plants or produce and deliver them to people across the campus.  Additionally, our students designed and created signs depicting the names of our sponsors and signs with their own monsters on them to place in and around the garden.  Financial sponsors sent in their design requests for their signs, including color and wording, and our students had to read and fulfill the orders and then ensure that the final products matched the orders.

raised beds santa fe

cucumber plants

Our Green Monsters are recognized and appreciated across the school campus.  They are proud to wear their Green Monster t-shirts every Thursday, and several members of the faculty and staff, as well as one student not in the program, have their own shirts.  More people want shirts, but we ran out!  Many people around the school visit the garden just to grab a handful of fresh produce for a healthy lunch.  When our school was up for Accreditation this year, one of the programs our school chose to feature was the Green Monster program, and members of the Accreditation team made sure to visit us.

Our garden is financed by generous donations from faculty and staff, funds provided by our school principal, and by community businesses who have provided us with plants and materials for free or at a discount.  The Farm to School program sponsors 64 square feet of our growing space.  The food grown in this space is provided to the school cafeteria for use in school lunches.  We have provided lots of lettuce and collard greens to the cafeteria so far.  To sustain our program in the future, we will continue to seek “Monster Sponsors” to provide us with financial support, we will continue partnering with Farm to School, and we plan to expand into fundraisers such as selling seedlings that we grow and care for, selling t-shirts, as well as canning and selling pickles (which our students are very excited about).  As this school year winds down, I have many students asking how they can join our program next year.  I sure hope we can grow our program to accommodate them!

harvesting lettuce for lunches 2

lettuce for lunchesThrough programs like the Golden Shovel Award, with exposure from local media, and with community support, we hope to shine a positive light on our program, our school, and on programs for students with disabilities in general.  We hope that the positive exposure will not only help our program to continue in future years, but maybe serve to provide encouragement to other schools considering adding a school garden to their campus, especially those who wish to serve students with disabilities.

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source: Alachua County Farm To School

Music Business Article: Music industry goes to war with YouTube

Record labels are angry about the relatively small fees the platform pays for music videos compared with streaming services
David Bowie’s Blackstar video still
David Bowie’s Blackstar album helped push UK vinyl sales to a 25-year high in 2016.

The music business is a tough place for most artists to make money. This struggle was thrown into sharp relief last week when the UK industry revealed that artists earned more from vinyl sales in 2016 than they did from YouTube payments for viewings of music videos.

The BPI, the record labels’ association that promotes British music, says this is the latest example of YouTube exploiting the “value gap” between what it makes from online advertising shown around music videos and what finds its way to the artists’ pockets.

As if to add insult to injury, news of the paltry level of payouts came a day after figures showed that Google, and subsidiary YouTube, took home the lion’s share of the £10bn spent on internet advertising in the UK last year. BPI figures show UK vinyl sales growing for the ninth consecutive year in 2016, to a 25-year high of 3.2m units – driven by Blackstar, the final album by the late David Bowie – and making £41.7m for record labels and artists. By contrast, music video streaming, which is dominated by YouTube, funnelled just £25.5m to the industry.

“YouTube’s holding company [Google] can’t really have a motto ‘Do The Right Thing’ then pay one-seventh of the rates other streaming services pay,” said Allen Kovac, who has managed bands including the Bee Gees, Mötley Crüe and Blondie. “Moreover, Google drives audiences to YouTube, which devalues artists’ music. That’s a win-win for them, but a colossal loser for artists.”

In December, YouTube said it had paid more than $1bn globally last year to the music industry from advertising that runs around videos. It claims it is generating money from “light” users who would never subscribe to a paid-for music service, so this is money labels and artists would not otherwise see. It also says it is capturing money from identifying and putting ads around fan uploads, which now account for half of the industry’s YouTube revenue, and is a bonus.

spotify logo and earbuds
Pinterest
Spotify paid record lables about $2bn in 2015, twice as much as YouTube, which is eight times its size. Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters

“YouTube is working with the music industry to bring more money to artists, labels and publishers,” said a spokeswoman. “YouTube is contributing a meaningful and growing revenue stream for the industry.”

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However the IFPI, the global recording industry body, claims that with 800 million music users, YouTube is paying little more than $1 per user for the entire year: “This pales in comparison with the revenue generated by other services, from Apple to Deezer to Spotify.”

Spotify is a fraction of YouTube’s size – it has some 100 million users, half of whom pay for a premium service – but paid record labels about $2bn globally in 2015. Income from the UK operations of streaming services, mainly Spotify, rose more than 60% year on year in 2016 to £238.6m, according to the BPI.

Revenues from streaming are forecast to overtake physical sales this year to become UK labels’ biggest revenue generator. Physical album sales fell 2.6% to £284.7m in 2016. The streaming boom pushed UK record companies’ total trade income – which includes music sales, performance rights and music licensed for use in films, TV, ads and games – up 5.6% last year to £926m. But the BPI says that figure, a five-year high, would be well over £1bn if the industry got the revenue it believes it deserves from video streaming.

“These figures suggest a corner is being turned as more people choose premium subscription services, but are hugely frustrating given that they could be more positive still were video-streaming platforms to pay fairly for the music they benefit so much from,” said Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI.

The battle is set to come to a head in Europe later this year. The industry believes YouTube unfairly takes advantage of “safe harbour” laws, which protect it from liability for the massive amount of copyrighted material illegally uploaded by its users, so long as it is removed on request.

The labels believe that YouTube’s ability to make money from videos without a licence puts it in a position of power. Services such as Spotify need a licence before they can make music available.

Last year, the European commission proposed to make YouTube and other such services subject to the same copyright rules as other streaming services. The European parliament will vote on the reform this summer, although YouTube is lobbying heavily against it.

“The biggest problem facing music creators is that the most significant source of online music, video streaming services, pay them insignificant royalties,” said Gadi Oron, chief executive of Cisac, the international confederation of societies of authors and composers. “This is a huge global flaw in the music landscape: it is unfair, and it is alarming. That is why the EU reforms currently under discussion are so important.”

SOURCE: theguardian.com

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College Scholarships Alert: Opportunities for Moms

by Susan Dutca

Being a college student can be daunting, period. With the surplus in coursework, responsibilities and stressing over college debt and expenses, college students are high-anxiety all year round…not just around finals time. On top of that, some student-parents must manage going to, and paying for college while raising and paying for their children. Fortunately, there are great financial aid resources and college scholarships reserved for students who have families; including students with dependent children, single mom scholarships, and single dad scholarships! With Mother’s Day right around the corner, indulge in these exclusive free college scholarships- for your accomplishments as a student and mom.

  1. Judith Heavenrich Memorial Scholarship

    Scholarship Application Deadline: February 15, 2018
    Maximum Scholarship Award: Varies

  2. Michael S. and Jeffrey C. Hagler Scholarship Fund

    Scholarship Application Deadline: April 1, 2018
    Maximum Scholarship Award: Varies

  3. Ellen M. Cherry-Delawder Memorial Scholarship

    Scholarship Application Deadline: January 31, 2018
    Maximum Scholarship Award: Varies

  4. Emerge Scholarship Program

    Scholarship Application Deadline: April 21, 2017
    Maximum Award: $5,000

  5. Dr. Wynetta A. Frazier “Sister to Sister” Scholarship

    Scholarship Application Deadline: April 1, 2018
    Maximum Scholarship Award: $500

  6. Women Empowering Women Scholarship

    Scholarship Application Deadline: October 16, 2018
    Maximum Scholarship Award: $500

  7. Ruth Thurmond Scholarship

    Scholarship Application Deadline: May 8, 2017
    Maximum Scholarship Award: $2,000

  8. Ann and Peter Ziegler Scholarship

    Scholarship Application Deadline: Varies
    Maximum Scholarship Award: Varies

    source: www.scholarships.com

Business Highlight: High schooler sells $1 million in custom socks

Brennan Agranoff is a 17-year-old with a lot on his plate.

The high-school junior balances homework with another full-time job he’s had since he was 13: He’s founder and CEO of HoopSwagg, a custom socks startup.

HoopSwagg isn’t just a little project on the side for this teenager. In four years, Agranoff has grown his idea to make custom-design athletic socks into a profitable online-only business with annual sales of more than $1 million.

Agranoff’s lightbulb moment came in 2013 at a high-school basketball game, where he noticed most kids were wearing the same plain Nike athletic socks. If these simple socks started such a craze, he wondered: What would happen if he kicked things up a notch and printed custom designs on them?

brennan agranoff
Brennan Agranoff, founder and CEO of custom socks startup HoopSwagg.

Fast forward four years, and HoopSwagg now offers more than 200 original designs created by Agranoff himself: a mix of goofy (a melting ice cream cone), funky (a spoof of the infamous Portland International Airport carpet) and tongue-in-cheek (“goat farm,” a family inside joke scattered with photos of the real animals on the family’s property). Agranoff also wants to allow customers to create their own designs in the future.

The company is now shipping 70 to 100 orders a day, with each pair of socks priced at $14.99. And this week, HoopSwagg announced its first acquisition: It bought competitor TheSockGame.com, which will add over 300 designs to the portfolio and help expand HoopSwagg’s customer base.

brennan boxes
HoopSwagg ships its custom socks to customers nationwide.

But HoopSwagg started small. After Agranoff’s initial idea at the school basketball game, he spent six months researching logistics like machinery and technology needed for custom digital printing on fabric.

He then made the case to two potential investors: his parents. “They thought the concept was a little out there,” Agranoff said. But he was persistent and ultimately received a $3,000 loan.

In true startup fashion, HoopSwagg launched in the family garage in Sherwood, Oregon, just outside of Portland. Agranoff set up the design printing and heat presser machines with his family’s help. He enlisted his parents to buy “as many white athletic socks as they could get from Dick’s Sporting Goods.”

Hoopswagg’s first year was slow. But momentum grew quickly after the socks — which Agranoff said are “for everyone from 6-year-olds to 80-year-olds” — took off on social media.

Agranoff leveraged his own social network and targeted a group of social influencers to help spread the word. In particular, the sock design inspired by the Portland airport’s former teal-and-geometric-shape pattern went viral, bringing more attention to the brand.

As sales soared, the company quickly outgrew the garage. The Agranoff family built a 1,500-square-foot building on their property to accommodate production, warehousing and shipping.

Brennan warehouse
Agranoff in his new 1,500 square feet warehouse on the family’s property.

His mother joined the business full-time, and Agranoff also has 17 other part-time employees. But self-sufficiency is key to his success, he said. Agranoff also taught himself to code, so he could better set up and manage his business’ website, and how to use graphic design tools to develop the designs. He remains the company’s only graphic designer, though he is colorblind.

For now, the socks are primarily sold through HoopSwagg’s website and via Amazon (AMZN, Tech30), eBay (EBAY) and Etsy. The next three years are pivotal for HoopSwagg, said Agranoff, who wants the brand to be in retail stores,” said Agranoff. He’s also expanding customization to other products like shoelaces, arm sleeves and ties.

Meanwhile, Agranoff is set to graduate high school six months early. While college is in the plan at some point, he’s slated to focus on HoopSwagg full-time after high school graduation. He currently spends about six hours per day on the business, after putting in a day of school and finishing his homework.

While Agranoff has never taken a business class, he learned a lot by buying items at garage sales and selling them on eBay — a pursuit he began when he was eight.

“So really, I’ve been learning how to do this for a while,” said Agranoff. “Especially today, with all the information available on the internet, you can’t be too young to learn how to be an entrepreneur.”

source: CNNMoney

Music Business: The Hint of Blockchain

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One of the biggest problems the music industry faces today is knowing which labels and publishers, performers, songwriters and producers own the rights to songs and recordings, and what their split of the royalties might be. Many believe that record keeping with Blockchain technology can help. Advocates of Blockchain foresee a music industry where every time a song is sold or streamed, payments on royalty splits would be clearer and quicker.

A Blockchain is ultimately a database that maintains a continuously growing list of records secure from revision or tampering, and one that enables trading with a cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin. Participants would engage in a new and efficient protocol that promises more transparency in transactions and a tamper proof medium of exchange. Less middlemen would be involved all around, which is reassuring for an industry riddled with issues of trust over intermediation.

In a perfect world, the Blockchain would also become the single stop to publish all information about the making of a song. The suggestion too is that Blockchain would devolve control to the original parties in the exchange. For instance, notaries could be replaced, as every transaction would be time stamped automatically and given a unique ID. A cryptocurrency would also facilitate international settlements between collections societies by eliminating the exchange rate risk.

Constraints

Building the technology is a logical first step, but shopping for its acceptance is not far behind. The data transparency issue is thorny. Blockchain needs multiple participants sharing data in a single space avoiding third-party checks on the accuracy of the terms of trade therein. The Global Repertoire Database, supported by the EU countries, failed to materialize two years go because it could not overcome the skepticism of publishers, songwriters, and many national collection societies, including USA’s ASCAP and BMI. If successful, Blockchain would supersede the need for a GRD type solution, but the historical record so far is not encouraging.

Even if it were possible to reach a trusted consensus in the Blockchain without the need of a third-party organization or authority, the technology appears to have technical limitations as well. There is, in effect, a real trade-off between the performance of the system and the amount of data it can process in real time.

Currently, if Blockchain were powered with Bitcoin, Bitcoin transactions could not keep pace even with credit card clearances. A 2015 Lloyd’s report makes the point that in its current configuration Bitcoin is far from Visa’s peak volume of 47,000 clearances a second (the report puts Bitcoin at seven transactions per second). In fact, the computing power needed for the Blockchain with Bitcoin would delay transaction processing. In part this is because every participant must replicate all contents of the chain as it adds on the next link.

With music, a commodity bundled with many rights and so many potential licensing outcomes, the size of the metadata needed for a transaction would be large. In fact, a Bitcoin powered database would be useless if there was a time lag in a transaction display because it could lead to double spending. This would clearly be a disincentive for a trade that deals in a low value product of mass consumption.

A Blockchain could move forward perhaps with another cryptocurrency, a development that would be welcome. In the meantime, Blockchain could serve as a repository of the chronology of all metadata, i.e. a decentralized data store, with the ability to operate at low cost, something like the GRD but with a special new codec.

Nevertheless, for an industry increasingly preoccupied with the right input format of its metadata, the question arises as to when and where will the input of the data happen. A DIY band that is self-published might be disciplined enough to pay attention as they record what contribution is apportioned to this or that member of the group. But most musicians separate the act of creation from the record keeping of the business data, so it is unlikely that the messiness of the original data is going to magically disappear with Blockchain, (even with unique personal identifiers and an established cryptography).

Developments

There are several music business startups that have set out to build a Blockchain and capitalize on it. One of them is PeerTracks. It plans to use the technology to craft a type of artist equity trading system within a streaming and music retail platform that will generate fan engagement and peer-to-peer talent discovery too. It would pay streaming revenue directly to the artists on a per-user-share basis using so-called ‘artist tokens’. Every artist would have their own name and likeness circulating in tokens and each artist would decide on the number of tokens in circulation, thus creating a cryptocurrency of artist tokens to replace ordinary money. Valuations would be commensurate with the popularity of the artist in a closed echosystem. The question as to how this echosystem would interface with the rest of the monetary transactions in the economy is still unclear.

Another startup, Ujo, is building a system designed to address two major problems in global royalty distribution and licensing. Ujo proposed a new, shared infrastructure for the creative industries that aims to return more value to content creators and their customers. Built in collaboration with artist Imogen Heap, Ujo’s model is different as it focuses on creating an open-source rights database and payment infrastructure. Like Peertracks, Ujo wants to revolutionize how money is distributed to artists and rights holders, but does not seek to create an alternative medium of exchange such as the ‘artists tokens’ of PeerTracks. Presumably, it awaits establishment of new and more efficient cryptocurrency than Bitcoin.

Another talked about projects is the Dot Blockchain Music Project, or Dot BC project, founded by PledgeMusic founder Benji Rogers. According to Rogers, this project aims to “create a new music codec (.bc) containing a minimum viable data set that would create a globally distributed database of music rights to an open source architecture and user interface.” Once a .bc file is delivered to a digital service or player, it would be decoded in compliance to the .bc rules, authorizing or rejecting the playback of the content. A payment would then be made to the owner or rights holder for the usage of that music. The key is the act of creating the .bc files that would build and then add to a global decentralized database of rights.

Politics

Delays and non-payment of artist and songwriter royalties are a common refrain of artists and songwriters. Whether it is by design or not, is immaterial. The Dot BC project needs the cooperation of major corporations and collecting societies, for without that innovators would arguably stop in their tracks. The demand for music data is evident, but the incentive to supply it is less clear. A number of incumbents benefit from the status quo, but can we look to certain innovative music services as facilitators of change?

Companies like Kobalt, Stem, and Songtrust offer great tools to help musicians, managers, labels and publishers better manage their dataflow. They could take advantage of a shared metadata network by offering users the best in class tools to work with. Also, platforms like Spotify and Soundcloud have motivation to find a reliable and long-term solution to the transparency problem in order to avoid future lawsuits. Spotify seems to be leading the charge, having recently committed to “fix the global problem of bad publishing data once and for all”. They also have the scale and technical resources to ensure the availability and operation of the network.

Because the Blockchain does not possess cognitive empathy and does not understand nuance, it is unlikely that conflict resolution will obviate person-to-person dialogue. There will be need for trusted arbiters. Today this function is performed by PROs and other services that administer copyrights. It is likely that such organizations will continue doing data auditing and conflict resolution for their clients, rather than be superseded by new technologies.

Potential

Widespread adoption of Blockchain platforms within the music industry could prompt a new wave of change, yet remain compatible with contemporary models of digital music consumption and distribution. From the consumers’ perspective, very little would change except that a Blockchain would ensure that copyright theft and piracy would become almost impossible. However, the main advantage occurs in the way that artists are able to manage their intellectual property, ensuring that the way their content is used and paid for is controlled.

For music labels and licensing bodies, there is an opportunity to be on the leading edge of change by working with artists and distributors to establish new standards and ways of working that reach right across the industry. A Blockchain platform employing identity management and smart contracts could lock in rules for how revenue flows from consumer to artist every time a piece of content is played or streamed, thus reducing the costs associated with collecting and managing statistics, maintaining copyright databases and distributing royalty payments. It could also enable new business over micropayments being considered elsewhere in the media industry.

Also, the adoption of unique ID resolution could enable two or more parties to discover and share a common identifier for a song. The identifier can be random so long as it can also be discovered by alternate IDs such as ISRC or other internal fields or keywords. This stores songs in the Blockchain forever via a unique ID. So if even one note of a song were to be changed, a new ID would be created so remixes, dub plates, and flips would be instantly recognizable. Money won’t land in one big pot as a flat-charge to be paid out pro-rata, but distributed instantly and proportionately to each rights holder.

More Considerations

One of the key features inherent in Blockchain is the ability to put data into a public ledger that has a level of privacy. However, there are limits to the information that artists and businesses want to enter into any Blockchain. Some things best remain private and many transactions should never be made public. In some cases, there could be private sales of valuable assets where certain parties would not want that information entered into any public ledger.

Another concern that is often voiced is the uploading of incorrect and/or incomplete data especially as it pertains to publishing rights. According to some experts Shazam or Gracenote technology might help detect errors at the input stage, but it is difficult to imagine automatic correctives only.

Finally, Blockchain is not an authority unless given that recognition by humans. Yet Blockchain belongs to no one, and is only a public ledger or record of information pertaining to a transaction or asset. It can be polluted. It cannot be held accountable because it has no one to be accountable to, and no one is truly responsible for it. Since it is designed to exist in a decentralized format, the perceived value is that anyone can enter information into a Blockchain and by making it public, almost anyone can use it to validate a transaction.

Projection

 Still, Blockchain technology is slowly making its mark in general business. Examples include a payment system and digital currency, facilitating crowdsales, or implementing prediction markets and governance tools. It offers many captivating possibilities of eliminating the middleman in order to increase efficiency and transparency.

Worldwide, the financial services market is the largest sector of industry by market capitalization. If Blockchain technology could replace just a fraction of that by enabling these peer-to-peer transactions in other sectors then it clearly has the potential to create huge efficiencies. Many banks across the world are conducting research on how this technology could benefit them. These types of transactions are also very relevant to companies like Airbnb or Uber. One of the more popular ideas is the idea that the Blockchain could offer a decentralized Uber service, a way to have riders order and pay a driver over the Blockchain, all without using a middleman like Uber that takes a cut to connect rider and driver.

The music trade, like other industries, will likely make more use of the technology in time. An early adopter is Imogen Heap, who released her song Tiny Human on Ujo Music in October last year. Imogen Heap attached a smart contract to the song, a programmable agreement that a computer can read to facilitate, verify, and enforce terms, simplifying a trade. Heap also used Blockchain architecture to manage intellectual property rights and arrange payment splits. Although still in its foundational stage, her so-called Mycelia project is spearheading new ways of doing business. The Dot BC project, which released its Blockchain alpha test this August, may not be far behind.

By Alexander Stewart

source: Music Business Journal

Music Business: Just getting started as producer? #6ixxTips

Here are some points I felt would be helpful to those starting their music production career and to those who are considering to become a music producer.  If you have any other points to add feel free to leave a comment.

1.  Consult/Hire an Entertainment Lawyer to prepare the type of contracts you will need to legally protect yourself and your intellectual properties.  Form an official business for your production company.

2.  Put consistent time into maximizing your skills, learning new skills and continue to improve daily; music is a feeling, make what you feel, stay in tune with the art while increasing your fundamentals of your craft.  I encourage you to hire quality & reputable individuals or businesses to fill voids that you may not be skilled to do like graphic design, mixing or marketing; someone you trust with a proven track record of a specific skill that you need to elevate your career.

3.  Create a marketing strategy and plan for on & offline branding and promotions of your production.  Have a professional mix on your production that you are showcasing to help maximize your opportunities for placements.

4.  Build Site to showcase and sell your beats, this also offers the ability to showcase songs featuring your production.

5.  Every and I mean every artist in your immediate area should know you exist and have a place online to hear your work.  Here’s an idea, create a platform for yourself in your market by doing a project with local artists featuring your production and promote the project in the market, on/offline.  Speak to your lawyer on the legalities to make it an official release.

6ixx.  Travel to other markets with your production, maximize your personal network and create new connections at various entertainment industry events and events in general where potential clients will be networking.

These are just some tips that crossed my mind when thinking of those are just getting started or those considering to become a producer. Finally,  be authentic in all you do, in life and creating artistically.  If these tips were helpful please let me know.  Positive energy to all!!!

-INfamous 6ixx

 

#FeltLikeSharingAlert: Now You Know You Got A Dream, You’re A Winner!!!

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… I am inspired when I see people pursuing their dreams by doing what they love for the betterment and happiness of their lives … I heard a quote that says:

“…funny thing is, we only have control over our reaction to the things we can not control … ”  -Unknown

…that quote encouraged me to share these thoughts I have… I say, pursue your dreams, be who you are meant to be and do what you are meant to do … so what you fall, get up … so what you know nothing about a topic right this moment, learn it … but people tell themselves, I got my job(s), I got my kid(s), I got a family, I got this, I got that

… guess what? So does everyone in whatever field that interests you in life.  Whether it be real estate, stocks, agriculture, sales, sports, the arts, aviation, entrepreneurship, education, fashion, manufacturing, health, consumer services, philanthropy, technology, etc…no matter what field, those people have that same 24 hrs you do.

Let me ask you, why do you know a lot about the stats, trends and the culture of the dream(s) you have? Know why?  You’re deeply invested from a sideline perspective. Get in the game.

Yet, people come up with the most elaborate things to tell themselves why they can’t purse their dream(s).  And all I’m saying is that, you owe it to yourself to put into motion a mentality that says: “consistency in pursuing my dream(s) is the common denominator” … And you have the capabilities to be consistent in the pursuit of your dream(s) because you have already been consistent in telling yourself why you can’t pursue your dreams and you have mastered that to the extreme!!! Now just reverse that thought process and start mentally, by telling yourself that you can pursue your dream(s) and do THAT consistently.

Start right from where you are today and do something everyday from here on out about your dream(s) and if there is a day that you don’t do anything, immediately forgive yourself, let it go and get back to the dream(s).

Keep a detailed record of what you are doing daily which will build momentum to the point that your dream(s) becomes a part of the fabric of who you are as a person.

I know and most importantly YOU know that there is a dream(s) inside of you that is pulling at you daily and it is eating you alive to pursue it, but you just never do it for factors only known to you. I say,  if it is something that you truly love, inspires you and you want to do, then go ahead and do it with everything inside of you!!! I mean, you spend so much energy, time plus resources on things and people that get you no closer to your dreams, yet your dedication level is unwavering. I just encourage you to be that same way towards your own dreams!!! Dedicated YOU to YOU!!!

I mean YOU are the ONLY thing stopping YOU!!! And that will ALWAYS be the case!!!

… And to those who are already pursuing and living their dream(s), thank you … please continue to inspire and shine your light … the world needs that energy …

#OneLove

#IfYouBleedRedThenYouKnowWhatIKnow

#TheLightThatsInsideYou

#LiveYourPassion

– #TheGalaxy

Shared by @ZechWilsonMedia

#MusicBusinessArticleAlert: I.S.R.C. codes

“ISRC codes are often overlooked despite the fact that they are absolutely essential to music discovery and stakeholder payment,” said Bill Wilson, Vice President of Digital Strategy and Business Development for Music Biz. “Without an ISRC, there is no way to properly identify a song, meaning potential customers can’t find it, and those who own the copyrights can’t collect the royalties they are owed. This infographic goes a long way to educate the industry about the importance of ISRC as one of the most critical components in digital music.