Archive | September, 2008

What is Music Licensing?

26 Sep

For a good intro article on licensing, check out How Stuff Works’ article: “How Music Licensing Works”

MySpace Launches MySpace Music and Self-Serve Ad Program

26 Sep

The talk of the week seems to be the activity at MySpace, what with the launch of MySpace Music and their new self-serve ad platform.

Other sites are reporting on these goings-on much more than I care to, so if you’re interested, check out Hypebot‘s by-the-minute MySpace reporting for coverage of the MySpace Music negotiations and the hubbub surrounding indie labels and their fight for a take of the profits.

For some reviews and discussion of the ad service, you can check out:

Shoemoney

or

CDFNetworks

Ads can only link to MySpace profiles, so that pretty much makes me not interested.

Read an Interview with The Music Snob

24 Sep

Rumblefish just posted an interview of TheMusicSnob to their blog. If you’re interesting in learning more about the man behind TheMusicSnob.com, check it out!

Review of Online Music Licensing Services

24 Sep

To date we’ve reviewed several web-based services that help artists make a few bucks licensing music. To review the articles and interviews we’ve done, go ahead and browse the Licensing Category.

Below is a table that compares several basic features of each service examined so far…

  Rumblefish MusicSupervisor.com Pump Audio Music Gorilla Song Catalog
Annual Fee
0
0
0
$299
$199
Licensing Split
50%
50%
50%
0
flat fee

Back-End Publishing

0
0
50% of publisher share
0
0
Re-Title Publishing
no
no
YES
no
no

To help you understand it, here are a few definitions:

Licensing Split: When someone buys a license to your music, they pay an upfront fee to the middleman service. The split determines how this money is divided between you and the middleman.

Back-End Publishing: Another source of income from licensing are the royalties generated when your music is used in certain situations, such as on TV or in a movie. These are generated every time your music is “performed”. In most cases, you the artist will receive 100% of the back-end publishing, because you probably don’t have a separate publisher. But in the case of Pump Audio, they re-register your songs with ASCAP, BMI, etc. under new names so that they can “administer” the royalties “more effectively”, and gain access to 50% of your publishing royalties. Sketchy.

See here for an explanation of this practice, known as Re-Title Publishing.

If you are interested in having us review your service, let me know: brian@themusicsnob.com
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In related news, Rumblefish put a post on their blog about our two part Rumblefish article

Selling Product Placements in Songs

22 Sep

It appears that a serious hack has infiltrated the upper (or lower, depending on how you see it) echelons of music marketing, and recently conducting an email campaign offering companies product placements in songs by the likes of the Pussycat Dolls, among others. One of the people he unwittingly sent the email to writes a blog for the Anti-Advertising Agency, a group of ad professionals(?) that lament the influence of ad professionals on the world.

There’s an article at Wired about this mis-sent email and the idiotic attempts by its author to have his good deeds de-publicized. Here’s one of his winning defenses of selling product placements in songs:

We are just financially taking care of the people that should be taken care of…If an artist like Sheryl Crow has the same target audience as XZY brand, we feel it’s nothing but a strong and strategic way to pinpoint a market.”

I was thinking of starting a non-profit recently to “take care of” Sheryl Crow, but I’m glad a for-profit got to it first and is looking out for her. She seems to really be suffering.

That said, I also disagree with the Anti-Advertising people, who seem to advocate a disabling “integrity” that would shame every artist into giving away his last pieces of property and living under a tree in a public park:

Unfortunately, it does seem that some truly independent artists actually DO need the money provided by a momentary advertising fix.”

So they’re saying that some people, even though they have no corporate sources of income, may actually need money to survive like the rest of us? Who could imagine?! 

Get off your high horse. And take a writing class: their mission statement does everything but lay out a mission, getting lost in the satisfaction of using words that obscure and make uninteresting any actual point they may have.

But that’s just me, a broke independent musician, bitter that Coca-Cola hasn’t called yet asking me to write a song about Diet Sprite.

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To subvert the subversion, I’ve decided to place this icon above my Google ads:

Maybe if they institute a pay-per-click program I can offset the loss of giving my music away for free.

A Quiet Week…

19 Sep

It’s been a quiet week here at The Music Snob, recharging batteries and experiencing music instead of writing about it.

Soon we will forge ahead with further talk of music licensing opportunities and other aspects of music marketing. Part of my quiet has been accepting that the best way to get heard these days is to give away your music for free. It took a while, but I’m convinced of this from my rampant surveys of music marketing blogs and the unsatisfactory returns on the time I’ve put into trying to sell my music.

My recent release, Bbelief, was a monumental effort for me in terms of time, passion, and money, and the results are my best musical creation thus far. Letting go of it and just putting it out there for free has been a psychological blow, as I think it’s probably the thing of most “value” that I’ve contributed to society.

Click here to download my 4-song EP

The “industry” discusses music as just another form of brand marketing these days, with the idea being, don’t worry about giving it away for free, because that’s how you get people interested in buying merchandise and concert tickets from you. Sounds like I better leave the woodshed and go on tour!

Woodshedding

16 Sep


I love the concept of woodshedding, a term mostly used in jazz circles to describe isolating yourself and practicing your chops. Because there are only so many hours in a day, I tend to fluctuate between playing a lot and playing none at all, and when I’m not playing, attending to the other aspects of music production or life.

The past several days I’ve been getting back to the basics – not woodshedding in the real sense of the word, but just rediscovering my love for and the joy of great music. It’s a serious cure, and lately I’ve been taking it all in…

Sunday night I saw an incredible performance of Steve Reich‘s Music for 18 Musicians at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC, put on by Wordless Music

Yesterday I found a copy online of the Dave Matthews Band’s first studio recordings from 1992, which blow me away for several reasons: at times they sound like total shit, which is reassuring. But Dave’s songwriting abilities were mature from the beginning – these early versions show that some of his best songs were forged in the group’s most amateur moments.

Inner Rhythm – New eBook on Building a Successful Music Biz

12 Sep

On the other side of the pond, Kavit Haria is busy in England helping musicians attend to the nuts and bolts of building a music career. You should check out his new ebook:

How To Design a Winning and Profitable Music Business.

I checked the guide out and wrote a review for him. Here’s what I had to say:

“Kavit Haria’s ebook outlines some essential business practices that musicians interested in building a career should consider. Instead of taking the ad hoc and uncoordinated approach, musicians should carefully consider their goals and the concrete steps to get them there. If you are in the process of turning music creation into a music business, you should check out Kavit’s summary of a music business framework and his analysis of the artist-fan relationship.”

Another aspect to the book that I thought was important is his distinction between opportunistic and strategic thinking. Most of us move forward without a clear plan, taking the opportunities that present themselves, but not moving towards a concrete goal. If you define your goals first and then work backwards, your actions should be much more effective.

I hear that.

Free Music Marketing Strategies for Broke Musicians

9 Sep

I recently came across two great articles that lay out good marketing strategies for musicians with practically no money. So, no more excuses that you’re broke! Check ‘em out…

No Money Music Promotion Plan

The $52.45 Music Marketing Plan

Speaking of resources, this place seems to cover any topic you might think of. Though the insights may not blow your mind…

Free Publicity – Get Interviewed Here!

8 Sep

Since I’m no expert, I started this site to document my process of learning about music marketing. A big part of that is talking to people that are experts, and some of our strongest articles have been with successful musicians or tech company people. 

If you want to share your perspective on the music industry, your career, or any marketing strategies and tools, let me know…

brian@themusicsnob.com