Monthly Archives: February 2012

How do I get my record in the stores? By: Mike King

Hi. This answer is based on an article I wrote called ‘How To Get Your CD On (and Back Off!) The Shelves.’ The complete article can be found in the marketing section of the site. You’ll also find an interview with Eric Levin, who runs the independent retail coalition AIMS, as well as the successful Atlanta-based retailer Criminal Records. You may want to check that interview out as well for more on consignment and other options to get your CD in stores.

Finding The Right Retailer

To quote George W. Bush, “It’s hard work” getting your record into stores. For starters, independent retailers are taking a beating from the mass merchants. These ‘Big Box’ chains often offer sale pricing on new artist releases (as low as $7.99!) that independents simply cannot match (more on this subject here: CD sales are slowing, and the mom and pops that have not augmented their CD sales with DVDs, t-shirts, or other tchotchkes are having a really hard time. This, of course, all trickles down to you: independents are taking less of a chance on local talent. Save yourself some time, effort, and money by focusing your efforts on stores that tend to do well with your style of music. I don’t know if you’ve seen High Fidelity (recommended, if you haven’t), but the last thing you want to be doing if your band sounds like Belle and Sebastian is hassle a record store that is run by Jack Black. If the store is nearby, drop in, check out the vibe, see what’s playing when you walk in, talk to the manager, and ask what the best selling records are that week. A lot of indies have email newsletters (Other Music in NYC has a great newsletter, so does Criminal Records in Atlanta) that will give you a good understanding of their demographic and what they are good at selling. Before you do anything, be sure that you set your sites on a store that attracts the type of folks that might like your music.

What Retailers Look For From You

The record industry is truly a symbiotic industry. For a project to be successful, all the marketing elements have to compliment one another, from touring, press, radio, Internet, all the way down to retail – the last stop on the line between marketing and the consumer. This is fundamentally true for big artists and independent artists alike. However, labels and major distributors often use the ‘push through’ marketing strategy at retail: flooding retailers with CDs, discounts, and using large co-op budgets for price and positioning. They spend less time on artist development and actually turning people onto the music before they get to the store. This rarely works anymore for labels and distributors, and will certainly not work for an independent artist who doesn’t have the luxury of a co-op budget. Before you get your CD to the retailer, you need to have the other parts humming. If all your other marketing elements are in place, you’ll have an easier time convincing the manager or buyer to take your CD, and more importantly, you’ll have an easier time selling the disc, which will make the retailer want to buy form you again.

Marketing Elements That Affect Retail

Any successful marketing that you can point out to the store buyer is important, and will make a difference in their decision of if, and how many, records they take from you. But there are some marketing tactics you can use that make a bigger impact than others.

Touring There is no better way to get yourself visibility and develop a word-of-mouth ‘campaign’ then to get out there and play. On a local level, consistent gigs prove to the retailer that you are a serious band and have a fairly good following of potential record buyers. On a national level, it makes good sense for the local indie to carry your record in advance of a gig, with the hopes that folks from the gig will be so into your music that they’ll stop by the store to grab your disc.

Press – Print and Online Another thing that retailers look for is a press story. It’s great if someone gives you a positive gig review in the local weekly, but sometimes it’s even better if you’re reviewed online. One great example is the band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, who blew up at traditional retail, without a label or distribution deal, after a number of blog postings and a positive review on (check out the NPR story on them here:

Radio Personally, I have mixed thoughts about radio promotion (for developing artists) and the connection to retail, especially given the limited resources that independent musicians have. While I think it’s never a bad idea for an artist to play an in-studio performance if presented with the opportunity, I think the immediate connection to retail is less than good press or solid tour dates. There are arguments to be made that getting college radio play helps to build your base, which may be true, but I have never seen this affect retail. One band I worked with at Ryko was getting constant play on a major college station in Atlanta, GA (WRAS), and while there’s a great indie store in Atlanta (Criminal Records) the consumers never made the retail connection. There are certainly a lot of other marketing efforts that did not connect in Atlanta, but with the one that did, I saw little results.

Maximizing the Relationship

Once you’ve go your marketing in place and have convinced the buyer to sell some of your discs on consignment (which is the standard way indies will sell your CD), the next step is to work on ways to get folks to: A) know that your record is there, and B) buy it.

Point of Purchase Items (POP) Most indie stores are great about working with you to increase your visibility in their store. Point of purchase items are an obvious way to let folks know the store is carrying your record. Some effective ways to promote your record in store include:

A) Tour posters. If your playing a gig nearby, a tour poster with your club date on it let’s folks know your playing nearby, and that the store is carrying your record. Space is always an issue with posters, be sure to make them relatively small (11x 17 is plenty big).

B) In-store copies. While there may be listening posts at the store, more than likely you’ll have to pay to get your record in them (there are sometimes discretionary spots available at some stores). By sending a couple of in-store copies of your record to a manager or buyer that digs your band is a great way to some added visibility.

C) In-Store Performance. If an in-store performance is promoted properly, there is no better way to sell records of your band on the spot. Conversely, in-stores that are promoted poorly could be embarrassing disasters. Be sure to schedule your in-store at a time of day when folks are around, say 6PM on a Friday as a best-case example. Indies may also help you promote the gig through an ad in the local weekly.

D) Placement and Bin Card. This is really important and frequently overlooked. I don’t know about you, but I tend to lose my mind when I walk into a record store and forget the reason I originally stopped in. Be sure to speak with the buyer or manager to either create a bin card with your band’s name, or suggest that you make one yourself. You need all the visibility you can get, and if someone is in there looking for your CD, you want to make it as easy as possible for someone to find it. Being filed in with the general artist A-Z is the kiss of death.

E) Competitive pricing. Be sure to price your CD low! Again, you are likely going to be working out a consignment deal with the retailer, and you don’t want your CD in there over $10.

How do I get my record in the stores?  

Pink Floyd manager Peter Jenner on digital music formats by Ian Delaney

Are you happy with the music on your mobile? Music industry legend Jenner thinks we’ve got a long way to go yet.

The dark side of digital music

GLOBAL – A true industry veteran, Peter Jenner has managed Pink Floyd, T-Rex, Ian Dury, The Clash and Eddi Reader among others. He’s now head of the International Music Managers’ Forum.

Before you read on, take a look at this video where Peter talks about the state of digital music. We’ll wait. (Sorry, it’s not in a embeddable format).

Format disk

Like me, Peter started off in the world of 7-inch and 12-inch vinyl. He recalls cassettes coming along in the 1970s as a new format, with only partial success. And then CDs, which persuaded many of us to re-buy our record collections.

Then along came the age of digital, and many in the music industry hoped that we’d re-buy all our music again in this new format. But, of course, the public weren’t entirely convinced.

At least with CDs, you got a physical product and the promise of greater durability and improved sound quality. Buying those same recordings as a digital file seemed to many like buying thin air.

And once people realised that they could create and share their own digital versions. Well, it seemed the likelihood of making money from digital music was zero.

No way out

That was more than ten years ago. And digital music is still a conundrum for the music industry today. Record labels still want to charge a similar amount of money for digital recordings that we paid for physical products. And certainly, artists deserve to be able to earn a living from their work. Yet paying for something entirely immaterial is a hard pill to swallow for many consumers.

“Digital copyright is an oxymoron” says Peter, because digital isall about copying files. Artists and labels should forget about the idea of policing the Internet and punishing fans who download their music without paying for it, he believes.

So what’s the solution? Peter thinks that services likeSpotify and, we’d like to suggest, our own Mix Radio, are a step in the right direction. The music is properly licensed and artists get paid, albeit at radio-play rates.

Shifting the mix

Perhaps the ‘mix’ isn’t quite right yet, though. Just recently, US rock duo The Black Keys said they weren’t going to make their latest album available on streaming services – because the revenue share for artists was so low.

So what’s the next step after streaming music services? Would you pay more for such services, or should artists seek out alternative ways to make money from their work?

Here’s a second video, in which Michael Masnick of the Techdirt blog describes the many ways in which industrial rock project Nine Inch Nails sought to make money after they split from their record label in 2007.

Pink Floyd manager Peter Jenner on digital music formats

Musicians Earn What???? BY Sherrill Fulghum

Artist Poster
Pay me what I’m worth

It was not too long ago that a music fan could walk into an actual record (or music) store and peruse thousands of record albums, CDs, and singles; but today almost the only place to find an actual CD in the United States is at a live concert or the used book sale at the local library.

Currently most of the music purchased in the United States comes from digital downloads. The Daily Swarm has released some startling statistics on just what it takes for a musician to make a living in the music business.

When a musician or a band has a deal with a record company, the artist receives seven to 10 percent of each album or CD sold. With digital download services the artist receives about nine cents per song.

In the US there is a national minimum wage for workers of $7.25 per hour (some areas pay more). This translates into $1,160 per month before taxes. For artists to earn the same amount as a minimum wage worker, they would have to sell 1,161 physical CDs, 1,299 digitally downloaded albums, or 12,399 singles.

And when it comes to audio streaming services, it can take anywhere from 849,817 plays to over four million plays to make the same amount of money. What makes this even more difficult is that the various audio streaming and digital download services are not available everywhere.

Emusic is available in 27 countries

iTunes is available in 23 countries

YouTube is available in 21 countries

Vodafone is available in 17 countries

7Digital is available in 16 countries

Spotify is available in 12 countries is available in 10 countries

Amazon is available in six countries

Deezer is available in four countries

Pandora and Rhapsody are available in only one country

These numbers do not take into account the number of hours an artist or a band spends practicing each day, the time spent writing songs, and recording those songs. For many musicians the only real source of an income is by touring and some bands spend more time on the road then they do at home trying to survive making music. And just because the concert figures reach into the millions, the artist does not get most of it; that goes to the venue, roadies, technicians, lighting and sound engineers, and any number of “expenses”.

Like the best selling writers, there is a very small percentage of musicians who regularly make millions each year from touring and album sales; while the majority strive to eek out a living,

Making music can be fun but for the professional musician it is also a lot of hard work that often times shows very little in physical return.

Musicians Earn What????

What Publicists Need From Musicians by Anne Leighton / MTT


Screen Shot 2011 11 27 at 11.37.28 AM 300x199 What Publicists Need From Musicians   Guest Post by Anne Leighton

Posted By: Michael Brandvold (Michael is a 20 year music marketing veteran who has worked with unsigned indie bands and international superstars. Michael ownsMichael Brandvold Marketing a site dedicated to providing tips and advice for musicians.)

This is a guest post by Anne Leighton.

The best, savviest musicians listen to their publicist’s expertise.  Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson and Tower of Power’s Emilio Castillo pay attention to what I tell them when I disagree, find a wrong fact in their bio, or if they NEED to do an interview during a vacation.  They also tell me when something needs to be fixed.  We’ve never had an argument.  Sure, we’ve all made mistakes that were based in misunderstood e-mails or my faulty research for an address. All my artists have missed interviews, but we rebound and reschedule.  We’re human.

Your publicist interfaces with you: the media, other world and industry tastemakers, or gatekeepers to get you more known in your career.

We work together.  Whether it’s you or Ian, artists have to realize the type of coverage (radio, print, TV, internet) they will receive in conjunction with where they are at the time of their album’s release.  If you’re at Lady Gaga’s level, most everyone will devote space and time to you.  If you had hits more than three to 40 years ago, selected national outlets might be interested, but chances lie more in local print and radio. If you’re still determined to wake up early in the morning, you could get some local TV coverage.

If you’ve never had a hit, you need a fireball publicist who believes in you to get media coverage.  You may get newspaper, radio, maybe even TV.  As far as national coverage, you might get whoever that publicist has contacts with, plus some new outlets, and significant web coverage.

A good publicist will help educate you on how to work with the media.  I’ve combined thoughts based on both my experiences and those of other publicists I’ve grown to know over the years.

As the artist, your responsibilities are divided up into Three Categories: Personal Responsibility, Information and Customer Service.  Technically it is all about personal responsibility, but I’ll show you what to emphasize.


For your career and the publicist.

At the independent level, you are probably underpaying your publicist, who is always responsible for getting more media people to cover you with the hopes that fans will read those articles.  Let’s say you’re paying them $2000 per month.  The standard pay for publicists is $150 to $250.00 an hour.  And yet, these folks will be working for you, probably over 20 hours in the next month.

That work will include summoning the press to your tour dates,  posting on the internet and in social media, writing a bio (unless you already have one….then it’s tweaking your bio).  It’ll include follow ups with journalists who did interviews with you, rescheduling interviews you missed, event planning. The publicist’s agenda might include mail outs.  Even journalists they know don’t respond.  It’s a challenging job to be an advocate for talented musicians, but it is rewarding.

The publicist is also taking your phonecalls, coming to your shows, then going home the rest of the night trying to catch up on e-mails.

If you ask publicists for some advice on your career, don’t be insulted by thier answers.  They are not jealous or gossiping, but giving feedback for you to be aware of, and—at least—file away in your head.

Decide that you’re going to take criticism because that publicist cares about you, wants you to grow, flourish and prosper, so he or she can work with you forever.  If you disagree, be logical not accusational.  Don’t be insulted if the publicist says, “You’d look better in tight pants.”  Discuss why you don’t want to wear tight pants.  Then, while you’re alone, look at the photos of you in the pants she hated, and assess how they really look on you.  Sneak out to the clothing store, and try on some different pants, making sure—of course—that you evaluate how your ass (the only one you’ll ever need in this business) looks. Think about the feedback you’re getting.

Accept where you really are in your career. Look, you know you’re special, but just in case you weren’t warned, neither America, the media, venues, other rock stars and their entourages agree… yet.  One or two people, yes.  Maybe a few more every month you gig, but at the end of the day, this is a country of starfuckers.  Just know that nobody in this business is going to make your way easy unless, after they listen, they decide you’re good.  And then it’s just one person; who knows if their hot shot music industry colleagues will agree or if they’ll be pushing their unknown fave.

Oh, and make sure you get to know your fans.  They already know you or think they do—pay attention to their expectations, you’ll learn something.  Never travel incognito.  If you’re waiting on line at a pitstop, talk to the people next to you, give them a flyer, ask them about their musical expectations.  Engage the whole line in conversation.

Everyone in the industry gets lots of music; the bigger media outlets (like JAY LENO, ROLLING STONE, NEW YORK TIMES, ELLEN DEGENERES) and their counterparts receive more pitches and music than you can imagine.  The talent booker or a major writer only has two ears, and they pretty much need to listen to the same thing at a given time… and there’s only so much time.  In fact, I’ve seen name publicists NOT get THE placement in ROLLING STONE, RELIX, NPR SONG OF THE DAY, PITCHFORK, and national TV over and over again, even for a seemingly-hip act with a track record.

I can’t tell you the amount of people—including best friends—who didn’t listen to some really great musicians, even some semi-famous folks over the past few years.  Busier people listen to two notes, or click a YouTube page, turn it on, walk away to get a snack, come back, and go, “nah…”  I have no idea what “Well, they’re really talented, but it’s not my kind of music” really means, but we get that line a lot from media people.  DON’T TAKE ANY OF THOSE ANSWERS PERSONALLY, EVEN IF IT’S THE OUTLET YOU’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO BE IN; KEEP PLUGGING.

A west coast publicist stresses that artists need to manage their own expectations of what publicists can deliver.  Be realistic about knowing where you are in their career when a publicist starts working with you.  The general rule of thumb is if you’re not new on a major or super hit roster, where a record label is funding a full-on media outreach campaign like you saw over the last year for Florence and the Machine, it will be harder to get mass media attention.  Know that your publicist will be sending out more albums to more media people and getting less results than what a glorified major label artist receives.

Again, if you are absolutely an indie artist, consider doing a long campaign in which the publicist works your album intensively for three to five months before an album’s release, and then on a maintenance plan where he or she would follow up over the course of a year to at least18 months.  After all you’ll be touring and building your career during that time.  Records should not be left on the curb to die.  The idea is that you’ll be at a higher level with your career for the next album, and will receive some automatic placements with journalists who covered you over the last album, and—if you have a story that’s bigger than just great reviews–bigger media could be interested.

These three months get a minimal amount of placements and only start the awareness for artists (even those with the humongous push).  Hiring a publicist for just three months—well that time is pretty much prep for the releases and mail out.  Those CDs are now lying in wait along with dozens of packages.

Be grateful for the placements, especially if you go with a three month campaign.


At the beginning of the campaign, the band and the publicist need to develop a collaborative working relationship when it comes to the media.  A recommended way to get everyone on the same page is to have the bio, press release, song description sheet actually originate from the band.  They should talk with the publicist, brainstorm on angles and the most important reasons their new album exists.  What’s it about?  The band will write a draft, and then the publicist builds on that.  Depending on how throrough you were, she might ask you, “Well, since we’re aiming to work what a great live act you are and how you broke the songs in live, then maybe we should talk about some of the festivals you played at.  Do you have a list of festival you played it?”

Bands should be maintaining their web sites and social media pages.  Bands should add the publicist to their fanlist.  Publicists should be posting the best articles on her social sites, and telling industry colleagues she’s working with these artists.  Create a buzz about them with everyone, including industry tastemakers.

As soon as a show is confirmed, let the publicist know via e-mail.

Communicate.  If you won an award, are collaborating with someone famous, tell your publicist.  If you’re planning a charity event, plan the event with your publicist.  How it should be named, who are the priority acts are on the bill.  Send your publicist any extra thoughts related to the event, keep the publicist up-to-date.  I worked a concert that was one of those once-in-a-lifetime events.  After the event was a critically-acclaimed success, I heard from two musicians that a special guest was not happy with how the show was billed.  All through the campaign I had sent him e-mails and also private messages through his Facebook page about the press release, but had never heard from him.  So don’t be disappointed in the marquee if you don’t communicate either in the beginning or as the work progresses.

Take advantage of the publicists’ expertise.  If they specialize in sponsorships, pay them to do a campaign to reach out for sponsors.  You can negotiate up front money along with a percentage.  Supply them with information.

Give the publicist your media contacts, including phone number, e-mail, and special comments.  Who has covered you in the past?  Bands need to always be updating their contacts; be prepared for the future.


I know stern taskmasters and I know assholes.  There’s a difference.  When my workers don’t do something right, I have to give criticism, “Let’s work on this,” and I tell them exactly what I want.  If they don’t follow up, I repeat myself.  At some point I plead, even cry but without an insult; “I’m trying to help you be better at this work, it’s pleasing the customer.”  I explain why something should be the way it is.  I listen to them.  I also get a good vibe about whether they can take criticism.

If you yell at a person, it makes criticism hard.  If someone yells at me a lot and doesn’t let me speak then I know they’re not able to have any dialog, then I’d rather talk with them at a time they’re capable of expressing themselves.  Look at criticism as something that needs to be fixed. Think “constructive criticism.” Insults are another case—people who give insults need to fix themselves.  Constant rants and rages show they’re problem clients and it’s best to stay far away from them.

These are actual lines clients have insulted their publicists:

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results and I’m not going to drive myself insane” on something little.

“You’re driving me crazy,”

“Why are you so lazy?”

“You’re jealous,”

“I was being sarcastic when I said, ‘Let’s do the bloody interview.’”

“I want your report, which probably has nothing on it.” The publicist sent the report with plenty of placements and got back, “There’s nothing on the report!”

All of those are rude and nasty things and have no place in a business relationship.

Being late is another way some people feel insulted, so being prompt is good.  If you’re scheduled to do an interview at 3 PM, call the journalist at 3 PM.  (Of course the publicist has to check with you to make sure you’re available for a 3 PM interview!!!)

Sometimes you have an interview scheduled for 3 PM the next day, and something else comes up.  Whether it’s a family outing or a last minute gig, you need to notify the publicist as soon as something comes up, so we can notify the journalist and reschedule the interview.  Chances are if you tell the publicist at the last minute, the journalist will not give you a second chance.  It’s hard to build careers, and harder with a diva.

Yes, there are times where there is a family emergency. My client had to take his wife to the hospital one time when we had a slew of interviews.  He called and e-mailed me 10 minutes to the first interview.  That was a name act, and all interviews were rescheduled.

If you have apprehensions about a media interview, discuss that with the publicist.  Technically you should be doing all the interviews you can, but you might not want to be in something like a very poorly produced cable show, blog that just started, interviewer who seems scary, or an early morning TV show.  Discuss that with your publicist enough in advance so that the journalist can find a replacement if this was confirmed.  If it wasn’t confirmed,  it will be up to the publicist’s diplomatic skills to figure out what to tell the journalist.

It’s funny. I recall a diva who was really upset about doing a late night radio interview.  So the publicist said, “I want you to take a break and think about why you want to cancel the interview tomorrow night.  Then get back to me with your decision.”  And now that diva is great friends with that late night radio host.

You just don’t know where your career is going to go, what unique path you’ll be working as you become more known.  Will you be a household name or will you be the sound that music fans from 2015 and 2025 discover? If you use common courtesy, and keep the channels of good communication open with your publicist, you should be able to develop some great relationships with most media people. And at least your unique road will be happier.

What Publicists Need From Musicians

What It Really Means To Be A Working Musician by Jason Parker / Hypebot


image from oneworkingmusician.comAs the title of my blog suggests, I pride myself on being a working musician. This year marks my 10th anniversary of making a living through my music and I couldn’t be happier with how my life has turned out. When I quit my day job in 2001 I had no idea what my life would end up looking like, but I knew that whatever the outcome I’d be happier if I at least tried to build my life around my passion for playing music. From where I sit now, I can’t imagine it turning out any other way!

One thing I’ve realized over the years is that most people have no idea what it really means to be a working musician. Even musicians and music industry “experts” seem to have no real grasp on the day-to-day lives of what I like to call the “musical middle-class”.

In the last few days there has been renewed discussion of this topic because ofan article NPR wrote about the band Cake, and their dubious distinction of having the lowest-selling #1 record in the 20-year history of calculating record sales (it sold 44,000 copies in one week, FYI, which still seems a staggering number to me!). In reading the responses to this, and writing a few of my own on various blogs, I’ve formulated a few ideas I’d like to share with you about what it reallymeans to be a working musician.

I Have A Job – Just Like You

Artists often like to talk about the time we quit our “day job”.

I even did it 2 paragraphs above. It’s a nice way of delineating our pre-artist life from our post-artist life. But in reality it’s a misnomer. I still have a day job. It may not look like yours or the doctor or salesman or barista or truck driver, but it’s a job nonetheless. My job is playing weddings. That’s what I do to make a living.

And just like the doctor and salesman and barista and truck driver, I work hard at my job so that I can make money. I do it so that I can use that money to live the kind of lifestyle I want. And like anyone else, much of my time and energy is devoted to this pursuit. In a comment I left on a blog post over at Hypebot I mention that I make 75% of my money on 10% of the days of the year.

In reality, that was me stretching the truth a bit to make a point. While it’s true that I average about 35 weddings (and corporate events) a year, which translates to 35 workdays, or 10% of the year, the fact is that I work a least 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year, hustling to find, market to and land those gigs.

That is my day job.

In that same Hypebot post I linked to above, Suzanne Lainson of Brands Plus Music laid out her ideas about how “most non-famous full-time musicians make a living”. Here’s her list:

  1. Playing in multiple bands so that they gig as much as five times a week.
  2. Playing at weddings and other gigs that come with a guaranteed $1000 – $3000 per gig.
  3. Teaching music, as much as 20 -40 kids a week.
  4. Church music director.
  5. Being in a cover band.
  6. Playing on cruises or in dinner theaters.
  7. Playing in a house band or being the solo piano player at a bar.

While there are certainly other ways musicians make money (composing, arranging, copying, licensing, etc), her list is pretty sound. I’ve done all but # 4 & 6. And while I agree with Suzanne’s facts, I do not agree with her conclusions.

She goes on to say that:

The problem with all of the above is that the musicians who do it tend not to get a lot of respect, either from the music reviewers or from other musicians. Being a wedding musician tends not to be something musicians proudly announce. It’s not considered very prestigious. The non-famous musicians I know who are making the most money are viewed rather condescendingly by local music critics and by up-and-coming musicians who think that kind of thing is akin to selling your music soul to make a buck.

But playing original music that the bloggers love tends to be the least lucrative kind of music you can do.

The advantage of having a [non-musical] day job that pays the bills is that you can do the music you love without regard to whether it pays the bills. That can be very creative.

The problem with Suzanne’s conclusions are that they are about respect, prestige and what other musicians and bloggers think of all this.

Frankly, I couldn’t care less what anybody thinks of the way I make my living except for me and my family. Granted, I’m a little older than your average wanna-be rockstar, and I’m a jazz musician, but I am wholly unconcerned with what anybody thinks about my chosen day job. Just like the musician Susan refers to who supports their music through a non-musical day job, I’m doing what I can to survive. Unlike those folks, my day job allows me to play music much of the time.

And while most musicians with non-musical day jobs are busy complaining about all that entails, I’m building my chops, practicing and playing with musicians I love and respect.

Now, just because I don’t care what people think about my day job, that doesn’t mean I don’t care what people think of me as an artist. Which leads me to my next point…

Art Vs. Commerce

Artists are always talking about this perceived dichotomy. It is a constant source of frustration and anger with many artists I know. I choose to look at it a bit differently. While I do see a distinction (i.e. playing a wedding = commerce, writing music for my quartet = art), I don’t see it as black and white polar opposites. In my world, commerce serves my art, and art serves my commerce.

Weddings may be mostly a source of income for me, but I can say with absolute certainty that I have learned something about music and art at almost every wedding I’ve ever played. That’s because I approach weddings like I would any other gig. I hire the best musicians I can find (usually my working band), I try to play as musically as I can, and I try to have fun. Similarly, I know that when I’m composing a new piece of music, that music has the potential to end up on a CD which I will sell and therefore make me money. It’s all a means to an end, really, and that end is the lifestyle I’ve chosen.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I realize that there are people out there who do art for art’s sake. I have nothing but respect and admiration for those people. The world needs artists who are not concerned with anything but their art. However, I would say that those people make up a tiny fraction of the artists in the world, and those people probably won’t call themselves “working artists”. Just artists.

But remember, even Mozart made money writing and performing music for the royals who hired him. And Michelangelo totally resented the commission he got to paint the Sistine Chapel. But they did it anyway, because they were working artists, and great art was created in the process.

David Hahn over at Musician Wages wrote a great article recently about working as a musician. It’s a good read, especially for the last part, where he spells out one way you can make $50,000 a year:

How to Really Make $50,000 a Year

1. Get a church job (3 services a week @ $100/service) = $15,600
2. Start a teaching studio (12 students @ $50/lesson) = $31,200
3. Play background music once a month (@ $250/gig) = $3,000
4. Play in a band twice a month (@ $50/gig) = $1,200

That’s $51k a year. That’s how it’s really done.

That’s just one reality for you. There are many other scenarios that can add up to 50k a year. The important thing is that it’s based in reality. Which leads me to my next point…

There Was No Golden Age

Many folks who decry the state of the music industry these days point to some mythical “golden age” when they think it was easier for a working musician to make a living. I don’t believe such an age ever existed. All working artists have had to struggle, hustle, be creative, roll with the punches and piece together a living doing multiple jobs. It’s never been any different and it won’t ever be. That’s the plain and simple fact. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Rather, all evidence supports the fact that it is entirely possible.

The good news is that today, we have tools at our disposal that make it exponentially easier to be an independent working artist. Which leads me to my next point…

Technology Is Your Friend

For the history of recorded music and the “music industry” (which is all parts of the music world that don’t relate directly to making music), there have been gatekeepers between the artist and the potential fan. Mostly, the record labels. This is because they controlled the distribution. If you wanted to get your music heard outside of your town, you had to have a label help you get it recorded, released, promoted, played on the radio, placed in record stores, etc. There was almost no way of doing this yourself. That all started to change when Derek Sivers created CD Baby. This was the first major avenue of distribution that was open to every musician, with or without a label. What Derek did was to remove the middle-man. This has led to a total shift in how independent musicians can reach their fans directly.

Since then, literally thousands of other tools, companies, websites, etc. have sprung up to help us indie’s get our music out to the world. Nowadays, we can record, distribute, promote and sell our music without ever leaving the house! It has never been easier to find your potential audience, connect with them, and get your music in their ears. With a little research, hard work and ingenuity, you can be a fully self-contained and self-sustainable music business yourself. But you have to think of yourself as a business, and use both the time-tested best business practices and the new emerging technologies to help you succeed. If you don’t want to do that, that’s cool, but that probably means you’re going to have a tough time being a working musician. Which leads me to my next point…

Working Means…Working!

I once took a trumpet lesson from the great Brian Lynch, and he said something to me that I’ll never forget. He said that practicing is the job, and that if you don’t truly enjoy practicing then you may as well find another job that you do enjoy, because life’s too short. I really took that to heart and it changed the way I feel about practicing. These days, however, I realize that there are other parts of what I do that are “the job”, from blogging to tweeting to hustling gigs, etc. And I’ve found a way to enjoy all these things. That’s the only way I can be happy at what I do.

If you want to be a working musician (or artist or doctor or plumber), you have to work at it! That’s a simple concept that’s not so simple to execute. But like all things that are worthwhile, it takes effort, commitment, drive, enthusiasm and a positive attitude to achieve. As I mentioned above, the internet is a great too to help you achieve your dreams. But it’s also a place where lots of people will tell you its not possible and give you many reasons why. Don’t listen to them. Instead, search out the people who are actually doing it and listen to them! We are out here and we are willing to help.

What It Really Means To Be A Working Musician

Music Business Lawyers: How They Charge By Todd Brabec, Jeff Brabec

Music Business Lawyers: How They Charge

By Todd Brabec, ASCAP Executive VP of Membership and Jeff Brabec

In a world of extremely complex contracts and business relationships, where one word in a 100-page agreement can mean the difference between financial security or bankruptcy, selection of an attorney is one of the more important choices that has to be made.

Hourly Rates. Many law firms charge a client a set dollar figure per hour of work done. For example, in the entertainment industry, fees can easily range from $150 to $500 per hour for attorneys. All actual out-of-pocket costs (e.g., copying, fax and telephone charges, messenger, overnight mail, court filing fees, courier bills, secretarial overtime, etc.) will be billed to the client, as the hourly fee does not include such costs, also known as disbursements.

Retainers. Certain clients pay an overall monthly or yearly fee to a law firm, from which actual hourly charges billed during a particular year will be deducted. For example, a client may pay a law firm a guaranteed fee per month, which keeps that firm available for legal advice during the year.

Flat Fees. A fairly common arrangement when an attorney is negotiating a single agreement for a client (e.g., an exclusive songwriter’s agreement, a recording artist agreement, a record producer agreement) is the flat fee. Under this type of arrangement, the lawyer tells the client in advance how much the negotiation and representation will cost regardless of the amount of time expended.

Percentage of Earnings. In addition to the hourly and flat-fee arrangements, some lawyers are also entitled to a percentage of the client’s income under the agreement that is negotiated. Occasionally, these percentage arrangements apply only to the initial advance received under the agreement being negotiated. At other times, the percentage applies only to advances that are paid during the term of the agreement. And at still other times, the percentage applies to all income generated by the agreement, regardless of whether the monies are earnings or advances or whether the monies are payable during the term of the agreement or afterward.

© 2007 Todd Brabec, Jeff Brabec
For more information, check out the book Music, Money and Success: The Insider’s Guide To Making Money In The Music Business (Schirmer Trade Books/Music Sales/502 pages) available for sale at, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Music Sales Group and

Music Business Lawyers: How They Charge

Money For Performances By Todd Brabec, Jeff Brabec

Money For Performances – ASCAP

By Todd Brabec, ASCAP Executive VP of Membership and Jeff Brabec

One of the largest sources of income for songwriters, composers and music publishers is the money received for performances of a writer’s work on radio, television and cable stations, concert halls, wired music services, websites and other outlets for music. These monies – over 4 billion dollars worldwide – are collected by performing right organizations (PROs) in all major countries of the world and are based on the Copyright Law – a law which recognizes that a writers creation is a property right and that permission and a payment must be made, in most cases, when it is used.

The monies from this area can be substantial. For example, a #1 song can easily generate over $1,000,000 in a few short years with a successful TV series theme song earning well over $100,000 a year in worldwide writer and publisher earnings.

Writers and publishers join a PRO, which in turn, negotiates license fee agreements with the users of music, collects the money and pays it back to writers and publishers based on surveys of performances of the works performed in the many areas licensed (radio, TV, etc).

The largest PRO in the world is writer and publisher owned ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers). In addition to the collection and payment of royalties and worldwide representation, member benefits include musical instrument, studio and tour liability insurance, health insurance, discounts on musical instruments and equipment, a credit union and much more.

© 2007 Todd Brabec, Jeff Brabec
For more information, check out the book Music, Money and Success: The Insider’s Guide To Making Money In The Music Business (Schirmer Trade Books/Music Sales/502 pages) available for sale at, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Music Sales Group and

Money For Performances By Todd Brabec, Jeff Brabec

How You Can Clear Cover Songs, Samples, and Handle Public Domain Works By Alex Holz

How You Can Clear Cover Songs, Samples, and Handle Public Domain Works

By Alex Holz (Senior Director of Artist and Community Relations / rightsflow®, inc.)

Limelight Logo

ASCAP members who select “ASCAP” as their PRO affiliation during sign-up receive a special 25% discount on all Limelight service fees.

Limelight is the simplest way for artists to clear cover songs for physical and digital release. Artists can clear ANY song and ensure 100% of royalties are paid to publishers and songwriters.

Five Reasons to Use Limelight:

  • Allows you to clear ANY cover song
  • Licenses never expire
  • Volume discounts
  • Customer support via chat, email, and phone
  • Artists, labels, school groups, church choirs, and other users from over 46 countries and all 50 U.S. states trust Limelight!

Sign-up for FREE and receive the special 25%-offdiscount on Limelight by indicating your ASCAP affiliation during sign-up!

Flying an airplane and performing brain surgery (legally!) require one. So does distributing music. What is it? A license!

Licenses allow you to legally distribute, cover, and adapt music you don’t own or control. Knowing which licenses exist and how to obtain them saves headaches, aggravation, and most importantly — exorbitant legal fees incurred from copyright infringement.

The Golden Rule of Licensing: if you don’t own or control it, you likely need a license to use it.There are a few exceptions (such as public domain compositions), though the golden rule is a common sense guideline that can help determine when licenses are needed.

What do you want to do with the music? In order to determine the appropriate license, you’ll first need to answer some basic questions. Are you recording a cover song or adapting/altering an existing work? Do you want to include a sampled recording, or re-create the music entirely? Are you using a public domain composition, or one that is still protected under copyright? Each presents unique licensing challenges that must be addressed.

Make a Cover Song / “Re-make:”
Cover songs provide an easy way to target a new marketing base when placed alongside your own original works. In the digital age, cover songs can act as effective search engine optimizers for music (especially when you’re covering artists who don’t currently appear on iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, etc.).

As a professional songwriter, you may already be aware that anyone who wants to record a version of your song needs a mechanical license from the copyright owner, usually you or your publisher. Similarly, if you chose to record your own version of someone else’s previously recorded and distributed music, you would need to secure a mechanical license.  A mechanical license is actually a “compulsory” license granted to users under U.S. copyright law.  Usually, music users obtain these licenses through a music publisher or agent (such as Limelight).

There are several entities that can assist in clearing mechanical licenses and ensuring songwriters get paid.  Limelight is a simple, a one-stop shop to clear any cover song in order to distribute by means of digital downloads, physical albums, interactive streaming, and ringtones. Customers create an account and finalize their mechanical licensing and royalty accounting needs within minutes via a simple three-step process for a service fee of $15 per license (or less based on number of licenses) plus required statutory publishing royalties as set by law. Artists, bands and other musical groups can clear any song and ensure 100% of royalties are paid to the appropriate publishers and songwriters.

As a member benefit, ASCAP members receive a 25% discount off all Limelight service fees. To qualify, just designate ASCAP as your PRO upon registration sign-up.

Use a Sample
“Sampling” involves taking an existing piece of copyrighted music and combining it with another to create a new work. While sample usage has been especially prevalent in hip-hop and electronic music over the last 30+ years, samples have also been incorporated into other genres and present challenges in every scenario. Sample clearances are more complicated than cover songs since they can involve two separate copyrighted works (the music composition and the sound recording), multiple rights-holders, and are always subject to negotiation.

For instance, if you want to sample the synth line from Van Halen’s “Jump”, you would need to secure licenses from the record label (for the master), as well as the music publisher (for the underlying musical composition).

If you decided to re-create the synth part yourself as a music bed, it would still require negotiating directly with the music publisher (if they didn’t decide to reject the use entirely).  Unlike a mechanical license, sample usage is not governed by a compulsory license and requires directly negotiating with all parties.  The cost can range from cheap (gratis) to costly depending on the sample(s) being used.   Without licensing from the appropriate copyright owners, you are liable for copyright infringement and can be sued for substantial sums of money.

Record labels and music publishers alike have in-house licensing contacts who handle such requests (some even having online forms). There are several agents and legal consultants who specialize in sample clearance and can assist if you choose to hire one.

Using a Public Domain Work:
Public domain, like sampling, is also a complex area in the licensing world.  Public domain works (as they relate to music) are compositions that are not under copyright or whose term has expired. While a composition may have fallen into the public domain, an arrangement of that composition that possesses sufficient originality may be considered a new composition and thus, protected by copyright.

If you decide to record your own version of a public domain composition, you would not need to secure a mechanical license or pay royalties, unless you are using a copyrighted arrangement of that song. A simple rule of thumb — if you used sheet music to learn it, then you will need to secure a license. You can often find the basic copyright information on the sheet music..

Holiday music is the area where most questions arise. Many classic Christmas songs that are presumed to be in the public domain are in fact copyrighted, so make sure to double-check your sources before deciding a track is in the public domain. Like sampling, public domain is also an area where it is often best to consult a legal expert before distribution.

PD Info Online ( is a good starting point if the liner notes and copyright information are unavailable. Searching the ASCAP repertory ( will also produce valuable contact details in determining whether a work is protected or not.

The licensing world of cover songs, mechanical licenses, sample clearances, and public domain may contain complex rules and regulations for the casual music creator, though one adage holds true: If you ever have a question — don’t be afraid to ask!  Please visit the Limelight site ( — and specifically our FAQ section ( — for additional information and answers to many other questions concerning mechanical licensing.

At RightsFlow (, we’re helping artists, labels, distributors and online music services to license, account and pay songwriters and publishers.

Designed by musicians for musicians, Limelight ( is a simple way to clear any cover song.  Are you ready to clear a song for your release?  Get started and create a free account today!

How You Can Clear Cover Songs, Samples, and Handle Public Domain Works

Diversifying Your Music Career By Etan Rosenbloom

Diversifying Your Music Career

By Etan Rosenbloom, Associate Director & Deputy Editor, Communications & Media

We all know that the record industry isn’t what it used to be. As it continues to contract, so will any one songwriter’s chance of superstardom. Of course, hitting the top of the charts isn’t the only way to live comfortably off of the music you write. If you’ve ever pitched a song to a music supervisor, produced a beat on spec for an upcoming rapper, scored a friend’s indie film or played a session gig, you know that there are many ways to monetize your music. For those of us that wish to make a career out of our art, all those different income streams represent more than just increased opportunity – these days, the multi-faceted approach is becoming a necessity.

To find out more, I spoke with ASCAP members Guy Erez, Judith Owen and Lance Hayes. You might say that these three exist in a “middle class” of music makers, in that they’re working professionals who may not be household names, but are making their music work for them all the same. Their preferred styles differ greatly, as do the paths they’ve taken to get where they are today. But they do have one important thing in common. All three have found success, and creative satisfaction, through diverse careers.


Guy Erez, in his element. Photo by Jessica Shokrian.

Guy Erez came to America from his native Israel as a precocious bassist looking to perfect his craft, but after he graduated from L.A.’s Musicians Institue, Erez’s music career quickly took off in multiple directions. A writing session with the artist Goldo led to the unexpected hit “Boom Da Boom,” which was featured on Disney’s House of Mouse and picked up by Fox as a theme song; he would go on to compose music for The Tom Green Show and The Andy Dick Show, and most recently, the theme for the Marvel/Disney animated show Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, which enters its second season this spring. Erez is also an in-demand songwriter and producer: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Meredith Brooks, Ryan Cabrera and Randy Coleman have all benefited from his deft touch. Erez recently launched Momentone with composer Inon Zur and music supervisor David Ari Leon, a music collective that caters to film, TV and advertising clients. And Erez still has plenty of opportunities to utilize that bottom-end expertise on live stages ‘round the world, as the new bassist for the Alan Parsons Project.

Do you consider yourself primarily a bassist, an artist, a producer or a songwriter/composer? 

I consider myself a musician. At this stage of my career, they are all equally important and feed off each other. My songwriting skills definitely help my producing and arranging, and I feel that through the years of producing, my bass playing became more defined. I’m aware of the whole spectrum of music, tone, parts, range…so I can serve the song better.

You’ve had some amazing live opportunities over the years. Do you think you could be content being just a live musician, if it paid well enough?

My first love is playing bass and the live show experience has been amazing, but with how my personality and career have evolved, I fell in love with the process of songwriting, composing and producing. The studio has become my second home. I see myself combining all of them to be content.

Are there parts of your career that aren’t as financially rewarding as they used to be? 

Yes, the producing side. Budgets keep going down, and the perceived value of producing is not what it used to be (since) a lot of people produce their own stuff in their home studios.

You learned to play so many different styles of music pretty early on. How important has that genre versatility been in building a career?

Genre versatility is very important in building a career. Like a painter with unlimited colors, it opens a range of possibilities. I find those influences appearing in my writing/composing and it gives me the confidence to take gigs of differing styles.

Has learning to produce and engineer helped you in other parts of your music career?

Yes. Learning to produce and engineer gave me the freedom to capture what I’d been hearing in my head as a songwriter, and as a player without having to depend on other people. It helped me to land composing gigs because I can deliver music from the beginning to a finished product.

Do you seek new outlets for your creativity more now than you used to?

The need to be creative has been always a big part of my life, and with that comes a constant search for new ways of expression. I don’t feel like I’m doing it more then I used to…the search has been consistently there.

Do you think that having a diverse career is a financial necessity for music creators today? What about an artistic necessity?

In most cases yes, but there is always an exception, and I know of people that stayed loyal to their own voices as artists and were lucky enough to brand themselves to a point that is financially rewarding. Again, I have to say that most of the people I know that are busy working in the business are wearing different hats at times.

Find out more about Guy Erez at his website:


Judith Owen

British singer/songwriter Judith Owen has released nine albums of sophisticated, introspective originals that showcase her wit and wisdom – the most recent, the classical-inflected Some Kind of Comfort, was released digitally just this week on her own Courgette Records. And while Owen’s records have earned her garlands of critical acclaim and dozens of film and TV placements, writing and recording is just one part of the equation. An ongoing partnership with Richard Thompson found her singing songs from across the centuries in his 1000 Years of Popular Music project; this fall, she’ll play multiple roles in Thompson’s wide-ranging Cabaret of Souls live show. Owen got the theater bug early on from her opera-singing father, and her passion for the theatricality informs much of what she does – especially her acclaimed Losing It show with comedienne Ruby Wax, an evening of music and monologues that exposes the inner workings of the depression that has racked both performers for years. For Owen, diversity is at the heart of her artistry.

What kind of impact has the Losing It show had on your solo career? 

I think the most important thing for me is that it’s put me in touch with and in front of the kind of people I’m always looking to reach…people like me, who are isolated, lonely in their illness, highly emotional…the list goes on. Music has been such medication for me, such an immediate form of self-expression, and I’ve always wanted others to be helped by it in the same way. It’s been remarkable really, turning my depression, something that’s been such a curse, into a gift.

Could you make a living solely by selling records? Was that always the case?

I certainly can and do on the performance end of things. I love being able to tour and sell, tour and sell. For someone like me, there’s no better way of gaining lifetime fans and selling your music than to be seen live…it’s always made sense because live performance is my thing…my true joy in life. Of course, I remember not so long ago having just enough money in my purse to get the bus home from a gig, but guess what? I was doing what I loved and I didn’t think twice about waitressing, or manning phones to support the music. If you can make a living doing the thing you love most in life, you’re the luckiest person in the world.

How important is it to you to understand the business of being a music creator? 

I think it’s hard for creative people to be business people as well, but the truth is that most of the biggest and most successful names in music are extremely savvy business heads. Now I’m NOT a business woman, but I am smart and do need to know exactly what’s going on with my life, career, money, I’d be crazy not to, but nothing, NOTHING comes before the music.

Do you seek new outlets for your creativity more now than you used to? 

Well I’m constantly stretching and growing, not setting myself any boundaries. And regarding music, I Twitter, YouTube live versions of songs, blog, the usual stuff, but it’s still the same basic idea, just worldwide thanks to this digital landscape. You hear something, you love something, and you tell someone else and so on and so on…it’s global word of mouth, pretty great when you think of it.

Do you think that having a diverse career is a financial necessity for music creators today? What about an artistic necessity?

I’ve always seen diversity as being a natural thing and never really understood why you had to be branded as one thing only and never move outside of that. People in the business are always looking for a pigeonhole to put you in, a label to pin to you, that’s not what I’ve ever wanted. I’m not saying re-invent just to make money…I’m saying if you have the talent and ability for more than one thing then you should do it…you only have one life after all, and at least you won’t get bored!

Judith Owen’s new album Some Kind of Comfort was released on January 30th, 2012. Find it on iTuneshere

Visit Judith Owen on the web at


Lance Hayes

“Versatility” doesn’t even begin to capture Lance Hayes’s 20-plus-year career in music. Long before Hayes’s ambient electronica score for the universally praised Forza Motorsport 3 raised his profile in the video game world, the Seattle-based composer/DJ had truly done it all – from indie film soundtracks to podcasts, from remixes to sound design for live theater, from commercial music to live band gigs and back again. As Hayes tells it, seeking out new opportunities was par for the course as he found his way. Now, he’s in a great position to pay it forward: Hayes teaches an intensive course on video game audio at Seattle’s Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program, and writes a blog on the subject for Keyboard Magazine.

Do you actively seek out composing gigs, or do they come to you these days? Was it always that way?

Like most composers, I started out knocking on a lot of doors and doing a lot of work on lower budget projects to get experience. These days I do get offers regularly. Of course, if I hear about something that I want to work on and they’re not sure about what they’re looking for, I’ll try to sit down for a meeting and/or create a demo to see if we can work together.

Has your experience with licensing music for commercials and TV helped prepare you for the video game world? 

Absolutely! Game music is a unique and very challenging area of composition that aside from the technical aspects, like composing adaptively, often requires you to work in a wide range of styles. In just the last couple of years I’ve created game soundtracks that ranged from traditional orchestral soundtrack to electronic experimentation and from 70’s cop shows to gritty, homemade instrument-driven protest-pop songs. My licensing path, along with my career arc, has allowed me room to experiment with a wide range of musical styles which in turn has given me the production chops to create unique musical landscapes for a wide range of projects. Games, like films and other media, come in a lot of flavors and having the skills to create compelling music to match those palettes is a significant asset.

How did working on Forza Motorsport 3 change your career path? 

It’s safe to say that my career was more industry-focused at the time Forza 3 came out. While I had worked on games as a composer they were not quite as high profile as the Forza series, so it effectively made me a known quantity in the game industry as well as the gaming community. Basically, I went from being a behind-the-scenes composer with some amazing credits but little notoriety to a AAA game composer in one fell swoop. It’s opened a lot of doors to work on challenging projects that I enjoy doing with some of the most talented and passionate people I have ever met.

So much of your work has been for clients – networks, advertisers, game companies. Do you make any music as an artist?

I do. In fact I have a couple of projects. One is Rocket Ship Triceratops, which allows me to do some singing. Aside from my work on the “Stranded” Music for Gears of War 3 I’ve been so focused on composing that I haven’t done much vocal work since my band days back in the 90’s. Look for more from that project in 2012. The other is my DJ moniker DJDM. I do mostly instrumental electronic under that title, and that tends to be primarily for web release.

Do you license tracks to music libraries? 

I have music with libraries that range from boutique to massive and on occasion I’m asked to directly license music from my back catalog to projects. I’m a big proponent of licensing, as it can add a layer of income to your portfolio with little effort. And even if the income isn’t substantial every quarter, it can really add up. Besides, it’s hard to beat mailbox money from a source that generally takes such a small amount of effort to maintain.

Could you make a living solely by composing for video games?

A handful of people have traditionally done this, but it has been a minority of composers that could say they made a living scoring games. The need for game music is increasing to the point where this is possible for more people now and I think the field will continue to grow.

How important is it to you to understand the business of being a music creator? 

As an independent contractor that’s in the business of writing music, I realize that the “business” aspect of the equation is enormously important. All business ventures succeed or fail depending on how well implemented they are, and the music industry is no different. In fact the music industry compounds the road to success with additional subtle wrinkles like creativity, connectivity, content development and a constant state of performance review by your peers and the audience. Knowing how to manage your finances, contracts, representation, affiliations, instruments, tools, data and so on while keeping your head in a highly competitive field is all part of the process of being a professional composer. All of this has to be running smoothly so you can focus on what you were hired to do, which is write amazing music.

Do you think that having a diverse career is a financial necessity for music creators today? What about an artistic necessity?

You can work in multiple media fields adroitly if you’re on your toes. The more areas you work in the more work there is. It’s that simple. And it may not be a necessity, but it is a fantastic workout for your creativity to have to wrap your head around a wide range of composing challenges that various media environments can offer. I would argue that being nimble and flexible as well as seasoned is one way to ensure that you are prepped to take on ever-bigger opportunities as they arise.

Find out more about Lance Hayes at

Diversifying Your Music Career

The Internet by Todd Brabec, Jeff Brabec

The Internet

Internet service providers, websites, search engines, digital rights management, broadband, encryption, subscription and non-subscription services, compression, fingerprinting and watermarking, downloading and streaming, podcasting – these are but some of the many words and concepts that creators and publishers must understand if they are to enjoy the many benefits and opportunities available in the area of digital distribution of music.

Regardless, though, of the terminology and the constant innovations in this field, many of the established concepts of royalties and copyright that we have discussed in other areas also apply to this area.

Whether audio or audio-visual works are downloaded, streamed or otherwise distributed, transmitted, or communicated, the concepts of performance rights, mechanical, statutory, compulsory, synchronization, territorial and durational licenses, etc., all continue to play a role in the royalty process regarding transmissions of copyrighted music over the Internet.

The Copyright law, statutory licenses, compulsory arbitrations, voluntary negotiations, the Copyright Royalty Board and court decisions will continue to be instrumental in determining what type of license is needed as well as how much that license will be.

Other Income Sources

In addition to the sources of income already covered, there are many other royalty-generating areas, many of which can – depending on the composition – generate substantial writer and publisher royalties. These include sheet music and folio sales, lyric reprints in books, CD-ROM/Multimedia audiovisual configurations, karaoke, musical greeting cards, singing fish, music boxes, video games, singing dolls, commemorative plates, ringtones, sampling, jukeboxes, podcasting and musical fountains, among many others.

© 2008 Todd Brabec, Jeff Brabec
For more information, check out the book Music, Money and Success: The Insider’s Guide To Making Money In The Music Business (Schirmer Trade Books/Music Sales/502 pages) available for sale at, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Music Sales Group and

The Internet

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