Re-Title Publishing – Update

Last week I wrote a post about “re-title publishing”, and how I couldn’t really find much information on it. Which was part of the problem. Today I talked to the CEO of a popular music licensing service and he explained in detail why this practice isn’t great for artists and that it’s not industry standard.

What Re-Title Publishing is…

A company actually changes the titles to your songs and registers them with different names under THEIR publishing company. For example, if you have a song called “My favorite day is Tuesday.” They might rename it “Tuesday is my favorite day,” and register it under Douchebag Publishing with ASCAP or BMI, etc. You split the upfront licensing fees, and since they’ve published it under their own company, that entitles then to some or all of the backend revenue, which is what is generated whenever that movie, TV show or commercial is re-aired in the future.

Why It’s Lame

1) You get less money – whereas most licensing companies split the upfront fee with you and you keep ALL your future publishing earnings, this means you lose a percentage of those backend dollars.

2) It’s harder for listeners to find your music – If your song’s name was changed so some company could license it to a movie, people watching that movie are going to search for it by its new title. And because the only place in the universe it appears under that title is in the movie, they will have a harder time finding, and buying, the song.

Who Does It?

Granted, earning some money is usually better than earning no money. But there are plenty of companies that don’t require re-title publishing, if it ruffles your feathers or raises your eyebrows as it does mine.

Pump Audio is one of the big names in licensing that does re-title publishing. So, consider yourselves warned!

How to Find and Work with a Music Publicist

The most difficult thing about working with a publicist comes before you’ve even met the individual. Finding the right person or company to manage your press responsibilities is a serious effort. Without deep pockets or solid connections, the task can seem impossible, but it isn’t.

How to Find the Right Publicist

1) Playing festivals, like CMJ and South by Southwest, is one of the best ways to meet publicists. If you happen to be in New York City, Los Angeles or Chicago, there’s a decent chance that a publicist might be in your audience on any given night.

2) Do research on press agencies. Consider the other artists on their respective rosters and send your music, a list of upcoming shows and any press you’ve already gotten, along with a personal note, to their offices. While getting picked up by any music-related agency has become increasingly difficult, it still happens and the younger the agency, the better your chances.

3) Keep your funds in mind. If you have thousands of dollars, any agency will likely take on your project. However, if your budget resembles that of most musicians, you’ve got a few hundred bucks. This is not an inherent problem. Many agencies and publicists will take on a project they believe can succeed and accept payment later. Indie publicists will often accept a job without anything up front, so long as they like the music.

4) Talk to your friends. You’d be surprised how many artists find their managers, publicists and booking agents through a simple, friendly connection.

One You Have a Good Publicist

A publicist will have connections at major and indie publications across the country and throughout the world. They can be an invaluable resource when preparing for an album release or a tour.

1) Trust your publicist, but remember, you’re the artist and they’re working for you. Make sure that your publicist is serious about your work and represents you accurately (unless you’d prefer to leave it all in their hands, which may make things easy at first, but be warned, you may not like that reputation as a maniac, party monger in ten years).

2) Make sure you and your publicist can work together civilly. If he or she has a completely different understanding of your art and your image than you do, the relationship may not work in the long-term. However, there is good news: once you’ve had a publicist, getting a new one is far less difficult.

3) While your publicist can get your work in front of the eyes of journalists, he or she cannot force them to write about it. Don’t hold out for a review from one particular publication. Keep the big picture in mind. If your publicist gets three indie publications excited about you, but doesn’t get that Rolling Stone article, don’t immediately fire him or her.

Good luck. Got other suggestions? Tell us about them!

For a good intro level article that addresses “when to hire a publicist,” go here.

Today’s Most Innovative Music Industry Directory

The top 5 reasons why The Music Snob’s Industry Directory kicks ass:

1) It’s FREE!

2) You can create and edit ANY articles on ANYTHING you want related to the music industry (It’s a wiki!)

3) You can speak your mind! Share your snobbery: Insights and opinions, not just basic facts.

4) Articles can include videos, photos, and text. This ain’t your old phone book directory.

5) Real opinions from real musicians = better info

The Details

Think of it as a Wikipedia for the music industry, except in addition to factual and descriptive content, it allows users to speak their minds, through text, video and images. A place for the music community to share “snobbery,” in essence. Each musician has their own set of experiences trying to create and promote their music, and their insights can help all of us. For example, if I played a gig at a local venue, I could edit or create a page on that venue and share the details of how I got the gig, what the backline was like, tips for drawing a crowd, etc.

Click on the links below to check it out. The directory is always accessible via the righthand column on this blog..

Music Snob Music Industry Directory
Music Industry Publications Music Snob Industry Directory Add a Publication
Music Industry Businesses Browse Music Industry Businesses Add a Music Industry Business
Music Venues Browse Music Venues Add a Music Venue
Music Studios Music Recording Studios Add a Recording Studio
Music Snobbery Music Snobbery Add Snobbery
Music Industry Books Music Industry Books Add a Music Industry Book
Music Industry Events Browse Music Industry Events Add a Music Industry Event

Re-Title Publishing – Is it Legitimate?

I recently submitted music to a licensing opportunity via Sonicbids, and was psyched to see that it was “selected” by the licensing company. But I was thrown by this statement: “Please send a disc of tracks that are clear for licensing and re-title publishing.” I have no idea what “re-title publishing” means, and could not find much mention of it anywhere. I flipped open my copy of All You Need to Know About the Music Business by Donald Passman, and there was no mention of it there either. So I emailed Don, and he claims no knowledge of “re-title publishing.” Which has me worried. If the expert who wrote the industry standard book hasn’t heard of it, can it possibly be legit?

Am I Just Paranoid?

If any of you are familiar with this concept, please post something in the comments. I’m going to call the company and get some details. My google searches did return some info on “sharking” songs, where publishers in the old days used to change the names of songs and register them again, so that they could claim the share of licensing that originally went to the artist. Not that this is the case in this instance, but I don’t want to get screwed.

Help, anyone?

Find Your Fans – A New MySpace Pay-per-Click Ad Program

MySpace recently launched “Find Your Fans,” a pay-per-click service that allows you to create and publish an ad for your MySpace profile and position it in front of your target demographic.

We’re a little behind in noticing, since I haven’t logged into my group’s MySpace page in a while. It seems that Tom recently sent a mass message to all music profiles detailing the new ad program.

Here’s how they describe it:

What is it?
“Find Your Fans” beta is an ad platform that enables anyone to easily run advertising campaigns on MySpace in an affordable, effective manner.
How does it work?
Before you can begin, you must have an active MySpace profile set up. Once you have a profile, “Find Your Fans” beta allows you to create your first online advertising campaign in just a few easy steps:

1. Create an ad. You can easily create an ad using our pre-built ad templates. Just browse our template library until you find the template you like, and then add your own text, image(s) and logo(s). You can also upload your own ad to run in your campaign.
2. Select your target audience. You select the audience that you are targeting with your ad. With “Find Your Fans” beta, you can target your ads to users within a specific gender, age range, geographic area or user interest.
3. Choose a budget and schedule. You choose the maximum amount of money you are willing to spend and how long you want your campaign to run.
4. Create an account. You will need to create a separate username and password for your “Find Your Fans” account and provide us with a valid credit card.

“Find Your Fans” beta will handle the rest for you. Your ad will run on MySpace and be targeted to the users that you have chosen. Your ad will continue to run until your campaign has reached the maximum spending limit or the scheduled end date you have set for the campaign. You do not pay for your ad to simply appear on MySpace. You are only charged when someone clicks on your ad.
How much does it cost?
The minimum spend for a campaign is only $25! You only pay when someone clicks on your ad and visits your profile (.25 cents for each click). You tell us how much you’re willing to spend upfront, so you’ll never spend more than planned.

My initial thoughts

MySpace is so overrun with advertising already, that the concept strikes me as not worth the time or money. Each click costs $0.25, and with the MySpace generation so used to free music, which is readily available on the site and other social networking sites, the odds are small that the average musician would recoup the investment by selling music. Perhaps they will find new fans that will go to gigs, but again, I’m doubtful. Other MySpace marketing efforts available to the small-budget artist don’t yield much, so why should this one? Maybe I’m just too cynical…

Please correct me if I’m wrong, or if you have used these ads with some success…Perhaps there is hope:)

Here’s a link to a blogger that’s applied for the ad program and promises to post info on how it works / goes…

And here’s one that’s more optimistic on the program: click here

Additional Myxertones Features – SMS Fanlists, Videos, etc.

Recently we took a look at Myxertones and Xingtone, two companies that enable independent artists to sell music via ringtones and make some extra cash. The people at Myxertones were nice enough to send us some more info on a few features that are also available that we all might want to know about:

In addition to our free “MyxerTag” (aka our widgets for blogs, Myspace, Facebook, etc.) and “MyxerCode” (the custom artist/item codes which empower users to download content directly to their mobile phones) which you mentioned in your post, Myxer also provides something called a Fanlist to all artists, free of charge.

A Fanlist allows fans to opt-in to receive SMS text announcements directly from the artist/band. Limited to around 110 characters, these “text blasts” are intended to further connect artists to fans by allowing artists to send timely announcements to fans’ phones. Many artists use this feature to announce upcoming tour dates, or updates to their Myxer ringtone offerings. (I’m a fiction writer, and use the service to distribute serialized short stories.) The service is free for both artist and fan. Fans can opt-out of the “fanblast” service at any time.

In addition to selling ringtones and wallpapers, artists can also sell videos via our service, as well.

For more ambitious content creators, Myxer also offers access to its free API, which can be used to further customize the distribution of an artist’s Myxer mobile content.

For more Myxer info you can check out their blog here.

How to Make Money Selling Your Music as Ringtones

There are many online services available these days that quickly and easily help you sell your music as ringtones, or turn album art into mobile phone wallpaper. These services will give you your own mobile content store that you can embed in your MySpace page or on other sites, and give your fans new ways to enjoy your creations.

Caveat: Do people really use ringtones? I’m not sure. While I exist in a bubble insulated by snobbery and isolation, I hear that human consume ringtones in supersize quantities, and that people are actually willing to pay MORE for ringtones than the actual songs they come from. Which seems RIDICULOUS to me. But hey, perhaps that means ringtones are a great way to subsidize the cost of songs. In the near future I will be setting up some songs as ringtones and do an experiment to see how well they sell…Perhaps those of you who actively use ringtones can share your stories and ringtone dreams…

Below is a quick review of two of the more popular services available that enable independent artists to sell their own ringtones…

Myxer helps you create and distribute mobile phone ringtones and wallpapers. If you want to sell them, you can use their tools to do that as well.

Myxertones is free if you want to give away your content. Otherwise they keep 70% of gross sales for overhead and their own pockets if you sell your tones or wallpapers.

Selling Tones
Myxertones allows you to set the price for each ringtone or wallpaper between $0.99 and $2.99. The service provides MyxerTags, small pieces of HTML code, that you can add to your website or MySpace page to sell directly to your listeners. Users enter their phone number and receive the corresponding mobile content.


  • Includes online tools to make ringtones and wallpapers
  • No up-front costs.
  • Receive payments through Paypal
  • Generate text codes to enable download of ringtones directly from mobile phones
  • Ringtones included in the Myxer catalog, which may give additional exposure


  • Because you pay nothing up front, you receive a lower percentage of sales (30%) compared to other services that charge monthly fees and pay out 40-50%.

Xingtone enables you to turn your audio into ringtones, and then sell or give them away via your own mobile content webstore. These “webstores” can be embedded on your website, blog, myspace page, etc.

Xingtone is free if you give away your ringtones. If you want to charge people, Xingtone will charge you. Plans are as follows:


Selling Tones
Artists can set the price for ringtones (they recommend $0.99-$3.00), and the plans pay out 40-50% of the gross sales, with the rest going to Xingtone.


  • Customizable embedded “mStores” for selling your ringtones

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MySpace is a Trailer Park and I’m Never Visiting Again…

Using MySpace makes me feel dirty. Like I just visited a trailer park and ate potato chips and watched TV commercials with strangers while fleas crawled on the carpets. Recently I logged in and it was like a condemned slum in hell: the site had been converted into a sidebar to a giant “Guitar Hero” advertising campaign, marked by vivid oranges and fiery reds…Even the flames of the inferno were simulated by the lovely animated Guitar Hero graphics. Just to remind me that each click is truly part of the descent downward…


I’ve stuck it out several years, fluctuating between logging in daily to try and add new “friends” that I will never engage with in a meaningful way, or totally block the site from my consciousness for months at a time. While your hideous layout, icons and EVERYTHING else are terrible enough, the lethargy of your ad-choked servers has turned even the most benign process into a tedious bore.

The only upside I could see in all these years, aside from meeting a few very damaged women for strange liaisons, was that MySpace had become the epicenter of online music marketing. I marveled at the bands with millions of fans, billions of listens, etc. Especially given how time consuming it is just to add a friend. Boy they must have a lot of money, to hire little monkey boys to click through accounts all day long. Alas, the day came when I learned of the inside track – “the MySpace bot.” Little software programs designed to automate marketing functions, leaving the braindead activity of participating in MySpace to the computer while I searched for signs of life elsewhere. That sure got my hopes up. It at least made things bearable. I mean, my software proxy has basically conducted all my MySpace personal interactions for the last several months. At least. And that’s probably the only reason why I haven’t just canceled my account.

Oh, and I forgot one REALLY important point – The good bots are separate programs, and don’t even require you to have a browser open. Which means, YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TO LOG IN TO MYSPACE. You never have to see a horrifying full page graphic for the latest piece of cultural garbage, or get the shivers from an eyeful of crass icons implying endless permutations of meaningless functionality.

The point being, that I was tolerating this relationship. I hadn’t gotten the courage to quit you completely. But you’ve made it impossible to continue. I tried to run my bot tonight, add me some friends, send some messages out to the atmosphere, do some “mass marketing,” etc. But the bot wouldn’t send any messages. So I was forced to log into your internet vomitorium, where when attempting to “Compose” a message (You make it sound so profound), I was informed that users with over 2000 friends “cannot use this function” or some other nonsense.

So, you’re telling me, that at MYspace, aka the “place for friends,” that because I have a lot of friends, I lose my privilege of communicating with them? ! Well that is just dumb. But you’ve made this very easy for me. So I just wanted you to know that this is goodbye.


Update: For an awesome article on MySpace, read How To Defeat and Kill The Devil MySpace

Using TuneCore to Put Music on iTunes, Rhapsody and Other Distribution Sites

I recently used Tunecore to distribute my latest musical release to iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster, and a whole bunch of other services.

The album creation and upload process was pretty straightforward, and TuneCore’s user interface is very clean and easy to use. The tracks took forever to upload, but it was ~160MB for 4 songs.

Only two quibbles:

  1. The help links on the album creation/upload pages open in the same browser window, which made me worry I was going to lose the information I had already entered. These should open in pop-up windows.
  2. After uploading a track, it says “Verifying file” or something, and a circular icon rotates to show you that the file is being processed. I waited for this to stop, but it never did on its own. I was afraid to do anything else because I didn’t want to corrupt the file I had waited an hour to upload. Turns out, once verification begins, you can add another song below, and when the page refreshes, it will indicate that the previous track has been added successfully. This wasn’t clear to me, so I wasted a lot of time waiting for something that never happened.

These are really just small usability issues…

Each Digital Distributor is Different

TuneCore does a good job of laying out all the payment intricacies involved with each of the digital distributors that you can push your music to. Each service is different and may be more or less profitable for artists. But I figure that the more ways someone can discover my music, the better. Everyone I know buys music from iTunes, but maybe some users of the other services will discover me somehow.

And now…The wait.

After completing the upload and album creation process, then paying, the site returns a message saying that the music should be available in 8-10 weeks. Damn. This is a long time. I’m sure Apple and company have billions of terabytes to process, but still. Two months seems quite long. Oh well. At least it’s out of my hands now.

It didn’t take nearly as long as I feared for my music project to go live with the various services. In many cases, it was only a few weeks. Awesome!

Why I Chose TuneCore over CDBaby

Back in 2008, I chose Tunecore over CDBaby to distribute my second EP. At the time it made sense for reasons that I no longer recall.

Since then, it couldn’t be any clearer to me.

I would never choose TuneCore over CDBaby ever again

TuneCore is a crap service that holds your music hostage indefinitely. You’ll have to keep paying their annual fee forever, which after a few years feels like absolute robbery. They actually go through the trouble of having your music removed from iTunes if you stop paying them.

I stopped paying them because I found it absurd and anti-human. I finally re-listed the album through CDBaby, which you pay for once and that’s it.

The one downside to CDBaby is they charge 9% of your sales. But if you’re an unknown musician like me, that will be about $0.00 after a few years when everyone who knows your music has already bought it. In which case you don’t want to pay just to have them keep your music listing active.

End of story. Sorry for the bad advice, nearly eight years ago now. If you expect your albums to sell for years to come then maybe TuneCore’s annual fee will end up cheaper than 9% of sales. But if you’re just a regular musician putting some music out there, you’ll regret using TuneCore.