AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: What Rights Are In A Copyright? Compulsory Licenses DATE: 2/01/2007 10:26:00 AM ----- BODY:
Copyright: the right to control the copying and use of a protected work. Songs are copyrighted works. A song is considered as one whole work, so if it consists of both music and lyrics, and if one person wrote the music and one person wrote the lyrics, there is only one copyright and both authors are holders of that copyright. Each person who was an author of a song is a part copyright owner, no matter how many people there were. However, songs that were written under a "work for hire" agreement belong to the person or company that paid the writer to write the song, and the actual writer has no interest in the copyright. It's important to understand that there is a distinction between the song itself, and any particular recording of the song. Recordings are separate works, and a separate ownership right exists in the recording. Recordings will be discussed in future posts. Generally, a copyright holder completely controls the right to use a work, other than narrow exceptions for reviews and educational use. But songs have an extra peculiarity. Once the song has been recorded and publicly released, any person can acquire what is known as a compulsory license to record the song again. The compulsory license includes a statutorily determined mechanical royalty, so although the copyright holder cannot keep someone from recording the song, the copyright holder must be paid for that use. Right now the mechanical royalty fee is 9.1 cents per song manufactured. This means that if 1000 copies of a CD with your song on it are manufactured, then the recording company or artist must pay you - usually through the Harry Fox Agency - $91. Digital downloads are now the purchasing medium of choice for many people. They are covered by the same compulsory license rules and royalty rate as the traditional CD recording. The only difference is that the seller pays periodically based on the number of downloads sold. Uses of the song other than making a recording are not covered by the compulsory license and statutory royalty rate.
-------- AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: The Bottom Line to Selling Songs DATE: 1/29/2007 05:55:00 PM ----- BODY:
You may by now be wondering why a lawyer is talking to you about setting performance goals and joining associations. Shouldn't I be talking about how to copyright your songs? The truth is, unless you are good at what you do, organized about how you do it (even if you depend on someone else to keep you organized) and up to date on trends in music, you will never need a lawyer and it'll be a waste of your money to register anything with the copyright office. That's the bottom line. No one will "discover" you if you don't put your music "out there" somehow, and no one will buy it after it's discovered if you don't know who owns what. And if no one's interested in the music, you'll never need a lawyer. So I want you to do well, I really do. And here is your bottom line, stated another way: 1. Study your craft and constantly seek to become better at what you do. 2. Create opportunities to let as many people as possible hear your music. 3. Learn about the business of music - what paperwork do you need, what registrations do you need, what sorts of agreements do you need with your musicians? And then do those things. If you need help with those things, that's perfectly okay. Most musicians have someone in the background who keeps up with papers and the like. But it is up to YOU to make sure that someone is attending to those three things. Because when you are a songwriter, you are the product, and you are ultimately responsible for whether you succeed or fail in the business of selling your music.
-------- AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: Music Business Plan, Part 8 DATE: 1/29/2007 10:43:00 AM ----- BODY:
The last two questions on your survey are related, but different issues:

I have material registered with the copyright office - both songs and recordings.

I have a complete list, somewhere, of what I have written, who wrote the songs, who played on the recordings, and written agreements with those players.

Copyright is a fairly simple concept, with some confusing elements. The gist is this: Any person who creates a "work" owns it and is entitled to determine whether and how it is used. The copyright exists the moment the work is created. You give notice of your copyright by putting the familiar c in circle mark, or simply writing the word "Copyright" followed by the year of creation and the name of the owner. In the United States, the ownership of that copyright can be registered with the US Copyright Office, which gives the owner the right to enforce their rights of copyright in the court system, if necessary. It is not necessary to register works that you do not intend to do anything with, but when you begin to pitch songs, you should make sure that you register those pieces with the copyright office. The second question is actually the more important of the two, and often much harder for artistic minded songwriters to answer positively. The nature of the music business is such that there is often a very long time period from creation to use, and as such it is extremely important to keep records of your material. Particularly if you are selling finished recordings for use in various media, you will need to be able to show that you have full rights to sell the use of the recording and to collect money for it. Which means, of course, that you have to have those rights and have the records and contracts to prove it.
-------- AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: I'm sure this is useful somehow DATE: 1/26/2007 11:05:00 AM ----- BODY:
MySpace is still a bit of a mystery to me. I continue to slowly stumble around and figure out what can be done with it. This morning I discovered something that I haven't seen talked about, although I'm sure there are people out there who know this. My musical specialty area is what I am increasingly calling "country that's not really country" because a consistent name for the genre seems to be quite elusive. Various terms include americana, alt-country, and roots rock - among others. This morning I was searching on myspace for profiles that enjoy that type of music. I searched all three terms and discovered an interesting bit of trivia. The term of choice in Texas and North Carolina seems to be americana. The term of choice in the rest of the south is alt-country. And roots rock is the term of choice outside the US and in Hawaii. Keep in mind these are probably statistically unreliable studies, but it was striking to me that the regional differences stood out so clearly. So if you work in a type of music that is not clearly categorized, keep in mind there may be regional differences in how people will recognize what you play - when you need to describe your music it is invaluable to reference similar artists as well as type of music.
-------- AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: Associate Yourself DATE: 1/25/2007 09:18:00 AM ----- BODY:
Music Business Plan, part 7 The next questions on the survey are: I belong to the following music related associations: Of these, I find the following to be useful: Of the others, I have/have not taken advantage of their services. y/n For a working songwriter that hopes to sell, you must be at least somewhat involved in the industry. Which means you should know something about the business of music other than what you learn in the celebrity newspapers. There are lots and lots of music related associations out there, and many of them have valuable services and networking opportunities available. Joining an association will not ensure your success, but joining the right ones and taking advantage of all they have to offer you will certainly move you forward on your overall business plan. Look for national associations as well as local or regional associations, and attend meetings when you can. Conventions are great networking opportunities. Read newsletters and magazines they provide. Check out the discounts and benefits they offer (some even offer things like group health insurance plans!) . Read their membership lists and use your common membership as the basis of opening an information interview with successful people you want to learn from. If you currently belong to one or more associations, evaluate whether you are benefitting from your membership. If you are not, check the association out the door and look for one that is a better use of your money. The Texas Music Office has compiled a great list of music related organizations to get you started. You will be overwhelmed when you see the number of groups that are out there, but it will be time well spent for you to plow through and find groups that are of interest to you. Just the information on the websites alone will make it worth your time, even if you never join a thing. So check it out here.
-------- AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: Music Business Plan, part 6 DATE: 1/22/2007 11:08:00 AM ----- BODY:
Do you have an answer for this question? The right market for my music is _________ Songs are used in LOTS of places. We tend to think about songwriting in conjunction with what we hear on the radio, and country, rock and pop acts do in fact buy songs. But there are also huge amounts of music used in other places. Some examples: These sources use all different types of music - all genres, with and without vocals, all tempos, short, long, simple to complex arrangements - and many of these markets can be approached without needing to find a publisher. Try this experiment - carry a notebook with you for two days and write down everytime you hear music, where it was and what type. Don't forget telephone hold music and even ringtones. At the end of the two days, you will have a good list of markets to think about.
-------- AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: Music Business Plan, part 5 DATE: 1/22/2007 10:37:00 AM ----- BODY:
How did you answer these questions: I have sold a song or two (or more).

I know what genre the music industry would classify my music as. y/n

If you are a songwriter, you should be trying to sell songs.

The exception is if you write only songs that you, your band, or a specific band with which you are associated perform, AND that band is successful enough that you are making your whole living from it, AND you are only interested in writing the type of song that band uses AND you only write enough songs for that band.

Unless the above exception applies to you, you should be trying to sell songs if you are a songwriter. Oh, I just thought of another exception: you have a trust fund and don't want anyone to know who you are.

Anyway, you get the point. If you write songs, at some point you a) want those songs to be heard, and 2) would like to make a little money. So you should be trying to sell songs. The tough part is doing it. If you have already sold one or two, great. Think about how you sold them - was it a pure fluke? Or did you seek out a market and make a pitch? Did you make your own pitch, or do you have a publisher that made it for you? Think about whether you can capitalize on your prior sale. Even if the sale was a fluke, are there contacts that you made as a result that you can nurture? If you sought out the sale, maintain the contact that you made. Good contacts can also be a source of industry information or related contacts. You must have networking skills to do this - or you must associate yourself with a partner, publisher, or agent of some sort who has networking skills. Now think about genre. Musicians have a tendency to rebel against categorizing their music, but to sell you must be able to do this. You don't necessarily have to write to a genre, but you must know the genres, you must know how the industry, rather than your fellow musicians, understand those genres, and you must be able to fit your songs into a genre. Song buyers use words to describe what they are looking for, and they will typically use words that describe a genre - and then they will throw in references to well-known acts, tempos, and possibly the emotion or feel of a song. So you'll have to know what the genres are, how they relate to your music, and you'll also have to know the major acts in those genres.
-------- AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: Music Business Plan, part 4 DATE: 1/15/2007 01:19:00 PM ----- BODY:
Next question: I perform as much as I would like, yes or no? If the answer is no, here are some things to consider. Not all will apply to everyone, of course, so find the items that might make sense for you, and put them on your "think about it" list.
-------- AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: Music Business Plan part 3 DATE: 1/15/2007 11:14:00 AM ----- BODY:
How did you answer this? I record demos and am happy with how they sound y/n If you are a working musician you need a demo, and in most cases you need many demos. You need demos for booking gigs. Your demos should match the type of performance you are trying to book, so if you work with both a band and solo, you need demos showing each style. If you book gigs of mostly covers, you need a demo of covers. Booking personnel want to hear a demo that sounds like the thing they are trying to book, so unless you only perform one kind of show, you should have a variety of demos to choose from. You need demos if you are selling music. For each song you'd like to sell, you need to demo it. The demo need not be elaborate, but it should be musically sound, with vocals that stay on pitch, and with high enough sound quality that the listener does not need to strain to hear it. You may also need demos if you are looking for an agent, a label, a manager, or a producer. If you review your demo collection and determine that you don't have all you need or that you need to upgrade your quality, make a plan. Will you buy home recording equipment (these days, even low end equipment and an operator who understands how to record can produce fairly high quality recordings)? Will you book studio time? Do you need to take a class on using equipment you already have? Do you need to find more/better musicians for your recordings? Do you need to bring in an experienced engineer or producer?
-------- AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: Music Business Plan part 2 DATE: 1/11/2007 10:57:00 AM ----- BODY:
Today let's look at those of you who identified yourself as one of the following: Again, the goal here is to make more money, so we look for ways to either expand your opportunities, or better exploit those that already exist. A songwriter might consider expanding into one or more of the other three areas. This would potentially save money in creating demos, if you've been paying other people to do these things, or it would improve the quality of your demos if you've been doing it yourself without real skill or knowledge. Taking the time to learn one or more of these other crafts could expand your opportunities. Songwriters should also consider improving or learning new music related skills. Are you a strong lyricist but know limited music theory? Consider taking theory classes or partnering up with an instrumentalist for your songs. If you play guitar, you could consider piano lessons to expand your musical knowledge, hopefully to the benefit of your songwriting. Also consider the types of songs you write, and whether you can expand your area. A wider variety of songs may be the answer to more song sales - or maybe just shifting to a type with wider appeal and, therefore, wider sales potential. This doesn't mean you have to give up a type of song that you love, but if the market is small for your niche, then you'll have more opportunities to make money if you add either other niches or one larger market.
-------- AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: Music Business Plan, part one DATE: 1/09/2007 11:32:00 AM ----- BODY:
Now that you've had time to think about the survey in the previous post, it's time to use that as the basis for building a plan for the new year. The plan I want you to build is one that is designed to earn money from your music, so I'll be focusing on two things as I go through the survey in the next few posts: areas where you can expand your opportunities to make money, and areas where you can better utilize your current opportunities to make money. The first two questions were : I am:

I write: Lyrics /Music /Arrangements

And our review is based on finding areas where you can either expand your opportunities or better access yoru current opportunities.

So let's start with those who identified themselves as performers. The base question here is - how much time do you have available to perform, and how much would you like to have available? If you have a fulltime day job, then you are basically available to perform in town on weeknights and out of town on Saturday. And that's it. If you want to expand the amount of money you make from performing, then you either need to create a strategy to reduce your dependence on a fulltime job, or you need to create a strategy to increase the proceeds from the few gigs you are able to do.

If you want to increase your proceeds without increasing the time, you should be looking at which types of performance pay the best - maybe you want to market yourself more as a hired studio musician, or you want to up your chops and market yourself as a locally available side guy for big acts who need subs. Maybe you could devise a way to get a piece - or a bigger piece - of merchandise sales by creating new things to market. Maybe you simply need to move to a different band that gets paid better than your current band. Maybe you need to take on additional duties in the band that would give you a bigger share of any money made. Or maybe you need to find a series of regular weekly or monthly gigs with a variety of bands that would keep your schedule full on a regular basis. Or maybe you have a good series of gigs now, but your draw has increased over time and you can approach the venue about increasing your pay.

Next up: Songwriters and ways they can increase money opportunities.

-------- AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: Goals to Move Your Music Forward DATE: 1/03/2007 08:55:00 PM ----- BODY:
Yes, it's cliche, but this is a good time to review your life and career. If you are a musician, you are almost certainly self-employed, which means motivation and focus is all on you. This is a good time to review your self-business plan, and to make some plans and goals. In the next few days I'll discuss some things you should consider doing based upon where you are now.

I am:

a performer

a songwriter

an arranger

a producer

an engineer

I write: Lyrics Music Arrangements

I record demos and am happy with how they sound y/n

I perform as much as I would like.

I have sold a song or two (or more).

The right market for my music is _________

I know what genre the music industry would classify my music as. y/n

I belong to the following music related associations: Of these, I find the following to be useful: Of the others, I have/have not taken advantage of their services. y/n

I have material registered with the copyright office - both songs and recordings.

I have a complete list, somewhere, of what I have written, who wrote the songs, who played on the recordings, and written agreements with those players.

Next time we'll talk about some goals you should consider setting for yourself.

-------- AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: Why Are You Making a Demo? DATE: 12/19/2006 12:08:00 PM ----- BODY:
Writing songs is a business. A creative business, but nonetheless a business. And to be successful at converting your songs to money, you have to think strategically about everything you do after the song is written. Starting with the demo. Suppose you write a song. You're pleased with it, you think it has potential to be successful. So you whip out your 4 or 8 track recorder and make a demo. Or maybe you like the song so much you whip out your credit card and book some studio time. When your demo is done, and you're happy with it, you start to think about what you want to do with it. Some options:

With the exception os useing the demo as a work tape for your own band, the demo for each of the above options must meet certain requirements in order to work for each purpose. If you didn't record the demo with the purpose in mind, there is a really good chance that your demo will not be of use to you.

For example:

Rough cut demos made with your own equipment will never cause you a problem, but they may very well not be what you need. On the other hand, an elborately produced recording for which you spent money on a studio and musicians may turn out to be a complete waste of money if it's not right for your ultimate purpose.

Before you spend money or substantial time on a demo recording, BE SURE you think through the purpose of your demo and get all your details in order so that you can move forward with the demo as a valuable part of your business plan.

-------- AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: Consider Music Publishers DATE: 12/14/2006 11:42:00 AM ----- BODY:
I attended a mixer hosted by the Austin Music Foundation the other night. (This is a really great group, by the way, which offers a wide variety services to musicians who are serious about building a career. It's worth checking out if you are in the central Texas area) During a conversation I was having with a songwriter, she made the comment, in passing, that of course she was planning to keep her own publishing rights because she understood she would make more money that way. I've heard that before, and I think it is a pretty common belief among many musicians. Most large record labels require their acts to sign over the publishing rights to their songs as another way to make money - or recoup their expenses, depending on how you look at it. For most acts, little to no benefit is gained by the act in that type of arrangement. But the truth is that a good music publishing company is well worth looking into. The publishers' job is to sell your songs. And they do have incentive to do so, because that's how they make their money. A good publisher will have lots of industry contacts to keep posted on who is looking for music. They'll also subscribe to the insider tip sheets - valuable material for someone serious about selling songs, but very expensive for an individual who is only selling their own catalogue. Bottom line is that if you want to sell songs, you should be courting music publishers as well as the end user buyers. But choose a publisher carefully. Research and ask questions like these:

Ultimately, what you are looking for is a publisher that actively searches for opportunities and has a sales plan to includes all of its catalogue. Answers to these and other questions will help you find a publisher that can actually make you money.

-------- AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: Craft is Step One DATE: 12/12/2006 11:26:00 AM ----- BODY:
Just wanted to be clear that the information in this blog is aimed at people who have good, completed work already. I'm a lawyer, not a songwriter, and I can't help you write a song. I can tell you how to be in a pretty good position to sell your song, and I can tell you how to make good decisions about your business. Business? Yes, if you are a songwriter or an author, you have a business. And you need to do business kinds of things, like having contracts and seeking business, legal and tax advice. You may not need to do all that now, but if you start to make money with your songs, you will need to do that or find yourself losing out later on. So here's what I want you to do: 1. Study your craft, whatever it is. Continue to study it. Learn not only all the technical aspects, but stay up on new equipment, and new techniques of whatever it is that you do. 2. If you plan to make money with your craft, study the industry. Continue studying the industry. You must know what people want to buy.
-------- AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: What Rights Are In A Copyright? Compulsory Licenses DATE: 2/01/2007 10:26:00 AM ----- BODY:
Copyright: the right to control the copying and use of a protected work. Songs are copyrighted works. A song is considered as one whole work, so if it consists of both music and lyrics, and if one person wrote the music and one person wrote the lyrics, there is only one copyright and both authors are holders of that copyright. Each person who was an author of a song is a part copyright owner, no matter how many people there were. However, songs that were written under a "work for hire" agreement belong to the person or company that paid the writer to write the song, and the actual writer has no interest in the copyright. It's important to understand that there is a distinction between the song itself, and any particular recording of the song. Recordings are separate works, and a separate ownership right exists in the recording. Recordings will be discussed in future posts. Generally, a copyright holder completely controls the right to use a work, other than narrow exceptions for reviews and educational use. But songs have an extra peculiarity. Once the song has been recorded and publicly released, any person can acquire what is known as a compulsory license to record the song again. The compulsory license includes a statutorily determined mechanical royalty, so although the copyright holder cannot keep someone from recording the song, the copyright holder must be paid for that use. Right now the mechanical royalty fee is 9.1 cents per song manufactured. This means that if 1000 copies of a CD with your song on it are manufactured, then the recording company or artist must pay you - usually through the Harry Fox Agency - $91. Digital downloads are now the purchasing medium of choice for many people. They are covered by the same compulsory license rules and royalty rate as the traditional CD recording. The only difference is that the seller pays periodically based on the number of downloads sold. Uses of the song other than making a recording are not covered by the compulsory license and statutory royalty rate.
----- -------- AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: The Bottom Line to Selling Songs DATE: 1/29/2007 05:55:00 PM ----- BODY:
You may by now be wondering why a lawyer is talking to you about setting performance goals and joining associations. Shouldn't I be talking about how to copyright your songs? The truth is, unless you are good at what you do, organized about how you do it (even if you depend on someone else to keep you organized) and up to date on trends in music, you will never need a lawyer and it'll be a waste of your money to register anything with the copyright office. That's the bottom line. No one will "discover" you if you don't put your music "out there" somehow, and no one will buy it after it's discovered if you don't know who owns what. And if no one's interested in the music, you'll never need a lawyer. So I want you to do well, I really do. And here is your bottom line, stated another way: 1. Study your craft and constantly seek to become better at what you do. 2. Create opportunities to let as many people as possible hear your music. 3. Learn about the business of music - what paperwork do you need, what registrations do you need, what sorts of agreements do you need with your musicians? And then do those things. If you need help with those things, that's perfectly okay. Most musicians have someone in the background who keeps up with papers and the like. But it is up to YOU to make sure that someone is attending to those three things. Because when you are a songwriter, you are the product, and you are ultimately responsible for whether you succeed or fail in the business of selling your music.
----- -------- AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: Music Business Plan, Part 8 DATE: 1/29/2007 10:43:00 AM ----- BODY:
The last two questions on your survey are related, but different issues:

I have material registered with the copyright office - both songs and recordings.

I have a complete list, somewhere, of what I have written, who wrote the songs, who played on the recordings, and written agreements with those players.

Copyright is a fairly simple concept, with some confusing elements. The gist is this: Any person who creates a "work" owns it and is entitled to determine whether and how it is used. The copyright exists the moment the work is created. You give notice of your copyright by putting the familiar c in circle mark, or simply writing the word "Copyright" followed by the year of creation and the name of the owner. In the United States, the ownership of that copyright can be registered with the US Copyright Office, which gives the owner the right to enforce their rights of copyright in the court system, if necessary. It is not necessary to register works that you do not intend to do anything with, but when you begin to pitch songs, you should make sure that you register those pieces with the copyright office. The second question is actually the more important of the two, and often much harder for artistic minded songwriters to answer positively. The nature of the music business is such that there is often a very long time period from creation to use, and as such it is extremely important to keep records of your material. Particularly if you are selling finished recordings for use in various media, you will need to be able to show that you have full rights to sell the use of the recording and to collect money for it. Which means, of course, that you have to have those rights and have the records and contracts to prove it.
----- -------- AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: I'm sure this is useful somehow DATE: 1/26/2007 11:05:00 AM ----- BODY:
MySpace is still a bit of a mystery to me. I continue to slowly stumble around and figure out what can be done with it. This morning I discovered something that I haven't seen talked about, although I'm sure there are people out there who know this. My musical specialty area is what I am increasingly calling "country that's not really country" because a consistent name for the genre seems to be quite elusive. Various terms include americana, alt-country, and roots rock - among others. This morning I was searching on myspace for profiles that enjoy that type of music. I searched all three terms and discovered an interesting bit of trivia. The term of choice in Texas and North Carolina seems to be americana. The term of choice in the rest of the south is alt-country. And roots rock is the term of choice outside the US and in Hawaii. Keep in mind these are probably statistically unreliable studies, but it was striking to me that the regional differences stood out so clearly. So if you work in a type of music that is not clearly categorized, keep in mind there may be regional differences in how people will recognize what you play - when you need to describe your music it is invaluable to reference similar artists as well as type of music.
----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Ryan Michael Galloway DATE:5/27/2007 10:03:00 PM There are other terms: Texana, Red Dirt Music, and probably a billion others. Another challenge is the fact that many of us songwriters are very eclectic and may write in multiple genres. The indie approach allows that, but--just like the record companies--if you can't categorize it, it's hard for people to find it, and it's hard to sell it. ----- -------- AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: Associate Yourself DATE: 1/25/2007 09:18:00 AM ----- BODY:
Music Business Plan, part 7 The next questions on the survey are: I belong to the following music related associations: Of these, I find the following to be useful: Of the others, I have/have not taken advantage of their services. y/n For a working songwriter that hopes to sell, you must be at least somewhat involved in the industry. Which means you should know something about the business of music other than what you learn in the celebrity newspapers. There are lots and lots of music related associations out there, and many of them have valuable services and networking opportunities available. Joining an association will not ensure your success, but joining the right ones and taking advantage of all they have to offer you will certainly move you forward on your overall business plan. Look for national associations as well as local or regional associations, and attend meetings when you can. Conventions are great networking opportunities. Read newsletters and magazines they provide. Check out the discounts and benefits they offer (some even offer things like group health insurance plans!) . Read their membership lists and use your common membership as the basis of opening an information interview with successful people you want to learn from. If you currently belong to one or more associations, evaluate whether you are benefitting from your membership. If you are not, check the association out the door and look for one that is a better use of your money. The Texas Music Office has compiled a great list of music related organizations to get you started. You will be overwhelmed when you see the number of groups that are out there, but it will be time well spent for you to plow through and find groups that are of interest to you. Just the information on the websites alone will make it worth your time, even if you never join a thing. So check it out here.
----- -------- AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: Music Business Plan, part 6 DATE: 1/22/2007 11:08:00 AM ----- BODY:
Do you have an answer for this question? The right market for my music is _________ Songs are used in LOTS of places. We tend to think about songwriting in conjunction with what we hear on the radio, and country, rock and pop acts do in fact buy songs. But there are also huge amounts of music used in other places. Some examples: These sources use all different types of music - all genres, with and without vocals, all tempos, short, long, simple to complex arrangements - and many of these markets can be approached without needing to find a publisher. Try this experiment - carry a notebook with you for two days and write down everytime you hear music, where it was and what type. Don't forget telephone hold music and even ringtones. At the end of the two days, you will have a good list of markets to think about.
----- -------- AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: Music Business Plan, part 5 DATE: 1/22/2007 10:37:00 AM ----- BODY:
How did you answer these questions: I have sold a song or two (or more).

I know what genre the music industry would classify my music as. y/n

If you are a songwriter, you should be trying to sell songs.

The exception is if you write only songs that you, your band, or a specific band with which you are associated perform, AND that band is successful enough that you are making your whole living from it, AND you are only interested in writing the type of song that band uses AND you only write enough songs for that band.

Unless the above exception applies to you, you should be trying to sell songs if you are a songwriter. Oh, I just thought of another exception: you have a trust fund and don't want anyone to know who you are.

Anyway, you get the point. If you write songs, at some point you a) want those songs to be heard, and 2) would like to make a little money. So you should be trying to sell songs. The tough part is doing it. If you have already sold one or two, great. Think about how you sold them - was it a pure fluke? Or did you seek out a market and make a pitch? Did you make your own pitch, or do you have a publisher that made it for you? Think about whether you can capitalize on your prior sale. Even if the sale was a fluke, are there contacts that you made as a result that you can nurture? If you sought out the sale, maintain the contact that you made. Good contacts can also be a source of industry information or related contacts. You must have networking skills to do this - or you must associate yourself with a partner, publisher, or agent of some sort who has networking skills. Now think about genre. Musicians have a tendency to rebel against categorizing their music, but to sell you must be able to do this. You don't necessarily have to write to a genre, but you must know the genres, you must know how the industry, rather than your fellow musicians, understand those genres, and you must be able to fit your songs into a genre. Song buyers use words to describe what they are looking for, and they will typically use words that describe a genre - and then they will throw in references to well-known acts, tempos, and possibly the emotion or feel of a song. So you'll have to know what the genres are, how they relate to your music, and you'll also have to know the major acts in those genres.
----- -------- AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: Music Business Plan, part 4 DATE: 1/15/2007 01:19:00 PM ----- BODY:
Next question: I perform as much as I would like, yes or no? If the answer is no, here are some things to consider. Not all will apply to everyone, of course, so find the items that might make sense for you, and put them on your "think about it" list.
----- -------- AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: Music Business Plan part 3 DATE: 1/15/2007 11:14:00 AM ----- BODY:
How did you answer this? I record demos and am happy with how they sound y/n If you are a working musician you need a demo, and in most cases you need many demos. You need demos for booking gigs. Your demos should match the type of performance you are trying to book, so if you work with both a band and solo, you need demos showing each style. If you book gigs of mostly covers, you need a demo of covers. Booking personnel want to hear a demo that sounds like the thing they are trying to book, so unless you only perform one kind of show, you should have a variety of demos to choose from. You need demos if you are selling music. For each song you'd like to sell, you need to demo it. The demo need not be elaborate, but it should be musically sound, with vocals that stay on pitch, and with high enough sound quality that the listener does not need to strain to hear it. You may also need demos if you are looking for an agent, a label, a manager, or a producer. If you review your demo collection and determine that you don't have all you need or that you need to upgrade your quality, make a plan. Will you buy home recording equipment (these days, even low end equipment and an operator who understands how to record can produce fairly high quality recordings)? Will you book studio time? Do you need to take a class on using equipment you already have? Do you need to find more/better musicians for your recordings? Do you need to bring in an experienced engineer or producer?
----- -------- AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: Music Business Plan part 2 DATE: 1/11/2007 10:57:00 AM ----- BODY:
Today let's look at those of you who identified yourself as one of the following: Again, the goal here is to make more money, so we look for ways to either expand your opportunities, or better exploit those that already exist. A songwriter might consider expanding into one or more of the other three areas. This would potentially save money in creating demos, if you've been paying other people to do these things, or it would improve the quality of your demos if you've been doing it yourself without real skill or knowledge. Taking the time to learn one or more of these other crafts could expand your opportunities. Songwriters should also consider improving or learning new music related skills. Are you a strong lyricist but know limited music theory? Consider taking theory classes or partnering up with an instrumentalist for your songs. If you play guitar, you could consider piano lessons to expand your musical knowledge, hopefully to the benefit of your songwriting. Also consider the types of songs you write, and whether you can expand your area. A wider variety of songs may be the answer to more song sales - or maybe just shifting to a type with wider appeal and, therefore, wider sales potential. This doesn't mean you have to give up a type of song that you love, but if the market is small for your niche, then you'll have more opportunities to make money if you add either other niches or one larger market.
----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger The Crazy Affiliate DATE:2/25/2007 05:04:00 PM Backend Cash Manuscript Revealed Before you buy Backend Cash Manuscript, learn the truth. Everyone else is saying how great the product is, but how many of them actually bought it? Well I have, and I have used it. This E-book is being highly touted by alot of the "Gurus', but does it really deliver? Will it work for the regular little guy? Read my Free report "Backend Cash Manuscript Revealed" befor you buy. Don't be suckered in by all the hype. TheCrazyAffiliate reveals all. Backend Cash Manuscript Revealed ----- -------- AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: Music Business Plan, part one DATE: 1/09/2007 11:32:00 AM ----- BODY:
Now that you've had time to think about the survey in the previous post, it's time to use that as the basis for building a plan for the new year. The plan I want you to build is one that is designed to earn money from your music, so I'll be focusing on two things as I go through the survey in the next few posts: areas where you can expand your opportunities to make money, and areas where you can better utilize your current opportunities to make money. The first two questions were : I am:

I write: Lyrics /Music /Arrangements

And our review is based on finding areas where you can either expand your opportunities or better access yoru current opportunities.

So let's start with those who identified themselves as performers. The base question here is - how much time do you have available to perform, and how much would you like to have available? If you have a fulltime day job, then you are basically available to perform in town on weeknights and out of town on Saturday. And that's it. If you want to expand the amount of money you make from performing, then you either need to create a strategy to reduce your dependence on a fulltime job, or you need to create a strategy to increase the proceeds from the few gigs you are able to do.

If you want to increase your proceeds without increasing the time, you should be looking at which types of performance pay the best - maybe you want to market yourself more as a hired studio musician, or you want to up your chops and market yourself as a locally available side guy for big acts who need subs. Maybe you could devise a way to get a piece - or a bigger piece - of merchandise sales by creating new things to market. Maybe you simply need to move to a different band that gets paid better than your current band. Maybe you need to take on additional duties in the band that would give you a bigger share of any money made. Or maybe you need to find a series of regular weekly or monthly gigs with a variety of bands that would keep your schedule full on a regular basis. Or maybe you have a good series of gigs now, but your draw has increased over time and you can approach the venue about increasing your pay.

Next up: Songwriters and ways they can increase money opportunities.

----- -------- AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: Goals to Move Your Music Forward DATE: 1/03/2007 08:55:00 PM ----- BODY:
Yes, it's cliche, but this is a good time to review your life and career. If you are a musician, you are almost certainly self-employed, which means motivation and focus is all on you. This is a good time to review your self-business plan, and to make some plans and goals. In the next few days I'll discuss some things you should consider doing based upon where you are now.

I am:

a performer

a songwriter

an arranger

a producer

an engineer

I write: Lyrics Music Arrangements

I record demos and am happy with how they sound y/n

I perform as much as I would like.

I have sold a song or two (or more).

The right market for my music is _________

I know what genre the music industry would classify my music as. y/n

I belong to the following music related associations: Of these, I find the following to be useful: Of the others, I have/have not taken advantage of their services. y/n

I have material registered with the copyright office - both songs and recordings.

I have a complete list, somewhere, of what I have written, who wrote the songs, who played on the recordings, and written agreements with those players.

Next time we'll talk about some goals you should consider setting for yourself.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Sansietch DATE:1/06/2007 11:04:00 AM Hi. I like the idea for your blog. Maybe we can link ours somehow to generate more hits. I am a musician who does everything himself. I have a blog on "doing it yourself" and hope you will review it. Email me with ideas if you want to do an exchange or whatever. You could do blogs flushing out mine more or on similar topics...hey we could have a book in the end...anything. I'm very creative. My blog is www.writingup.com/sansietch
My website is www.sansietch.webs.com
How about my ebook which I have set as a website also
www.ebookfree.webs.com
Let me know what you think. My email is sansietch@inbox.com ----- -------- AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: Why Are You Making a Demo? DATE: 12/19/2006 12:08:00 PM ----- BODY:
Writing songs is a business. A creative business, but nonetheless a business. And to be successful at converting your songs to money, you have to think strategically about everything you do after the song is written. Starting with the demo. Suppose you write a song. You're pleased with it, you think it has potential to be successful. So you whip out your 4 or 8 track recorder and make a demo. Or maybe you like the song so much you whip out your credit card and book some studio time. When your demo is done, and you're happy with it, you start to think about what you want to do with it. Some options:

With the exception os useing the demo as a work tape for your own band, the demo for each of the above options must meet certain requirements in order to work for each purpose. If you didn't record the demo with the purpose in mind, there is a really good chance that your demo will not be of use to you.

For example:

Rough cut demos made with your own equipment will never cause you a problem, but they may very well not be what you need. On the other hand, an elborately produced recording for which you spent money on a studio and musicians may turn out to be a complete waste of money if it's not right for your ultimate purpose.

Before you spend money or substantial time on a demo recording, BE SURE you think through the purpose of your demo and get all your details in order so that you can move forward with the demo as a valuable part of your business plan.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Ryan Michael Galloway DATE:1/05/2007 01:05:00 AM There still seems to be a contingent of publishers and producers out there that say a voice/piano or voice/guitar is best, because it shows if the song will stand on it's own. In your experience, are these folks right or are they dinosaurs? I've always thought if you could send a producer/artist a song that sounded just like the project they were working on, you'd have a big edge--but I've been told a few times that I'm wrong. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Pamela DATE:1/09/2007 04:13:00 PM The key seems to be to flesh it out enough to hear all the parts, but not get in the way of the song itself. Your demo shouldn't try to sound exactly like the artist you're pitching to, but will usually have a better shot at consideration if it's in the singer's key, the same gender, is or is not guitar heavy, has plenty of harmony or not, etc. Think of it like showing a house for sale - it should not your personality in it, but it should have furniture and basic decor. And a song demo seems to do best that way as well. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Ryan Michael Galloway DATE:1/09/2007 11:17:00 PM Can a demo be TOO good? I've also heard rumors that if it sounds like a hit already, other producers/artists won't touch it for fear of competing with a strong recording the writer will release. What else have you heard? ----- -------- AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: Consider Music Publishers DATE: 12/14/2006 11:42:00 AM ----- BODY:
I attended a mixer hosted by the Austin Music Foundation the other night. (This is a really great group, by the way, which offers a wide variety services to musicians who are serious about building a career. It's worth checking out if you are in the central Texas area) During a conversation I was having with a songwriter, she made the comment, in passing, that of course she was planning to keep her own publishing rights because she understood she would make more money that way. I've heard that before, and I think it is a pretty common belief among many musicians. Most large record labels require their acts to sign over the publishing rights to their songs as another way to make money - or recoup their expenses, depending on how you look at it. For most acts, little to no benefit is gained by the act in that type of arrangement. But the truth is that a good music publishing company is well worth looking into. The publishers' job is to sell your songs. And they do have incentive to do so, because that's how they make their money. A good publisher will have lots of industry contacts to keep posted on who is looking for music. They'll also subscribe to the insider tip sheets - valuable material for someone serious about selling songs, but very expensive for an individual who is only selling their own catalogue. Bottom line is that if you want to sell songs, you should be courting music publishers as well as the end user buyers. But choose a publisher carefully. Research and ask questions like these:

Ultimately, what you are looking for is a publisher that actively searches for opportunities and has a sales plan to includes all of its catalogue. Answers to these and other questions will help you find a publisher that can actually make you money.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Ryan Michael Galloway DATE:1/05/2007 01:00:00 AM Great post. What do you think of businesses like Taxi.com that are supposed to do the same thing (shop your songs) for a one-time fee. I've heard they have a good reputation, but what have YOU heard.

RMG ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Pamela Parker DATE:1/09/2007 03:28:00 PM Services like TAXI are a kind of in between of music publishers and the songwriter him/herself.

A well run service spends the time and money to cultivate industry contacts and build their credibility as a quality source for music. They serve the industry by giving them access to indie music but screening it for them to find quality songs and recordings. They serve songwriters by giving them the opportunity to submit for song placements without having to personally keep up with tip sheets and their own industry contacts.

In short, these services can be valuable for songwriters, either as a beginning step into song sales or a supplement to other efforts. It's up to the songwriter to research each particular service to see if they have a wide range of contacts and a good pipeline of song requests.

TAXI is one of the better of these services, as they actively cultivate and seek sources, and have slowly gained built their reputation as a worthwhile source of songs. Other services do nothing more than subscribe to tip sheets and pass songs along. Those need to be more carefully evaluated as to the cost vs benefit to the songwriter.

I do not think that any service should completely replace the songwriters own efforts to find their own placements, whether personally or through a representative like a publisher, agent, manager, or attorney. ----- -------- AUTHOR: Pamela Parker TITLE: Craft is Step One DATE: 12/12/2006 11:26:00 AM ----- BODY:
Just wanted to be clear that the information in this blog is aimed at people who have good, completed work already. I'm a lawyer, not a songwriter, and I can't help you write a song. I can tell you how to be in a pretty good position to sell your song, and I can tell you how to make good decisions about your business. Business? Yes, if you are a songwriter or an author, you have a business. And you need to do business kinds of things, like having contracts and seeking business, legal and tax advice. You may not need to do all that now, but if you start to make money with your songs, you will need to do that or find yourself losing out later on. So here's what I want you to do: 1. Study your craft, whatever it is. Continue to study it. Learn not only all the technical aspects, but stay up on new equipment, and new techniques of whatever it is that you do. 2. If you plan to make money with your craft, study the industry. Continue studying the industry. You must know what people want to buy.
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