The Future of the Music Business

In December, Hal Leonard Books will release the fourth edition of The Future of the Music Business by Steve Gordon, an invaluable guide on how to succeed in the ever-changing music industry. Here’s a look at what’s new in the fourth edition.

The Future of the Music Business

4th Edition

Similar to prior editions, the purpose of the fourth edition of the FUTURE OF THE MUSIC BUSINESS, which is scheduled to be published in December 2014, is to provide a roadmap for success in the music business – not only for musicians, songwriters and producers – but also for entrepreneurs and industry professionals. Technology has profoundly changed the recording industry and the music publishing business.  Entirely new rules, business practices and  models have emerged at breathtaking speed including in the several years since the publication of the third edition in 2008. The fourth edition explains the most recent rules,  business practices and models, and offers insights into how to take advantage of them.

Part I provides an overview of the basic rules and business practices that apply to the record and music publishing business today. We discuss how copyright law protects  songs and recordings, standard contracts including management, label and producer deals and the most recent rules and business practices that apply to the new means of distributing music, that is, downloading, streaming and webcasting, and how those rules differ in foreign countries.

Part II is intended for producers of audiovisual works such as films, documentaries, and television. This section includes information on audio-only projects such as compilations and music sampling, special projects such as musical theatre and fashion shows, and stand-alone digital projects such as web series and digital sheet music. The emphasis is on how producers seeking music for their projects can save money.

Part III offers a history of the recording industry’s struggle to come to grips with the digital era,  analyzes the current state of music piracy, explores various current  controversies, and provides some hope for the recovery of the record business.

Part IV provides a “how to” in the digital age on topics ranging from ranging from how to write hit songs in the digital era to using digital tools such as YouTube to succeed to how to use a music education to succeed as a creator or music business professional.

DVD and two free CLE credits: Attorneys will be able to obtain two free CLE credits by viewing the DVD included in the 4th edition. The DVD contains a conversation between myself and Bob Clarida, a leading copyright litigation lawyer and adjunct professor at Columbia Law School, about Robin Thicke’s copyright infringement case involving his monster hit “Blurred Lines” and Gaye’s song “Got to Give It Up.”
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LISTEN: Bobby Owsinski and the Flo Guitar Enthusiasts

Jeff and Scott of the Flo Guitar Enthusiasts brought on Bobby Owsinski to talk about his latest book, Music 4.0: A Survival Guide for Making Music in the Internet Age. The guys discuss innovations in the music industry, the evolution of record labels, and give away copies of the book to two lucky winners!

00122318>>LISTEN HERE<<

Featuring the latest music business and social media concepts as well as brand-new interviews with a variety of the industry’s top movers and shakers, Music 4.0: A Survival Guide for Making Music in the Internet Age is a completely updated version of the previous best-selling editions!

How has streaming music impacted the artist and the industry? Who are the new industry players? Why do traditional record labels, television, and radio have increasingly less influence in an artist’s success? How should music be marketed and distributed in this new world? How do you make money when listeners stream your music? What’s the best way to develop your brand? How are Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube best used as marketing tools? What are the new technologies being introduced that will influence how we sell and market our work? All these questions are answered in this updated version of Music 4.0, along with some new high- and low-tech tips for inexpensive marketing and promotion.

Tip Jar: Beat Songwriter’s Block

Beating Songwriter’s Block is specifically designed to address the devastating phenomenon that every songwriter faces at one time or another. This book helps the reader develop a songwriting schedule, set songwriting targets that make sense, and deal with debilitating fear. Check out an excerpt from Music ConnectioSong Block covern Magazine!

 

 

Improve Your Audio for Video!

As a musical exercise, nothing beats improvising. It doesn’t just improve your playing chops – it’s a great generator of songwriting ideas. While it’s often thought of as a group activity, there are ways to improvise on your own––just you and your instrumen––that can provide you with great material for your next song. Many of the ideas listed below come from Chapter 3 of Gary Ewer’s new book, Beating Songwriter’s Block: Jump-Start Your Words and Music. The first five activities will help you create melodies, and the next five pertain to creating lyrics. Some involve singing, others will use guitar or keyboards. Most of them work as solo activities, but are fun to try with a fellow songwriter. Feel free to modify them to suit your purposes.


SOLO IDEAS

1. Play the following 4-chord turn-around: C F Dm G, or invent your own. Now… start singing––anything. Keep in mind that most good song melodies are comprised of repeating ideas, so try singing the same short fragment repeatedly as you change chords. The key to generating ideas is to keep things simple.

2. Detune your guitar to something other than the standard E-A-D-G-B-E. Move your B up to C, your G down to F#… that sort of thing. Now start improvising chords and melodic shapes as if you were playing a standard tuning. Why? The odd tuning will give you melodic and harmonic ideas you’d probably not have found otherwise. The best results happen when you detune your guitar randomly. Be prepared for weird sounds, but you’ll probably stumble on something that’ll get the creative juices flowing.

3. Dial up a short rhythmic/chord loop on your synthesizer and sing or play improvised melodies. Handing over part of the musical job to a synth frees you up to create ideas, both vocal and instrumental.

4. Sing a note that works. A song like Jack Johnson’s “Don’t Believe a Thing I Say,” or the verse of Maroon 5’s “One More Night” show us that melodies can do quite well sitting in and around one pitch. So give it a try: invent a short 3- or 4-chord progression (Am F G  C, for example). Play it several times to get it in your ear. Now, start by scat singing rhythmically on one note that works with the first chord. As much as possible, keep that note as you cycle through the chords. When a chord doesn’t support the note, switch to singing a note that works.

5. Create new melodies by borrowing from old ones. Take an old hit (“Hound Dog”, for example), and write down the all the notes used in that melody. (“Hound Dog” uses G-A-C-D-D#-E, listed from low to high.) Now put “Hound Dog” completely out of your mind and use that tone set to create an entirely new melody. As with our first idea, use lots of repeating patterns, but use only those six notes.

6. Choose a book from your bookshelf or from a blog or online news site. Open randomly to any page, or scroll to any random spot on a website, and point to the first word you see. With that word in your mind, point to a second word. Quickly invent a short line of lyric within five seconds that starts with your first chosen word and ends with the second one. Repeat. Example: You open a book and point to the word, “that,” and then you point to “more.” Possible lyric: “That is how I know I love you more.”

7. The best lyrics are not necessarily poems; they’re made of simple words whose main job is to stimulate the imagination of the listener. Take the following list of words and paraphrase them in as many different ways as you can that might work in a descriptive lyric. Work quickly. (The first one has been done to demonstrate.):
• Fog: The grey murkiness; through the misty haze; in the cloudy haze; the soup; etc.
• Happiness
• Anger
• Trust
• Held on
• Heartbroken

8. Lyrical clichés will kill a song faster than you can say Jack Robinson. (See what I did there?) “What goes around, comes around” is a cliché that’s not very interesting. But “What comes around is gone again” has potential. Or you might change “A friend in need is a friend indeed” to “A friend indeed, but what do I need?” Both of those examples turn the original expression around backwards, giving you something that’s a bit more creative. So for a fun improvising activity, Google “The Phrase Finder” website, have a songwriting partner read one of the sayings to a rhythmic beat, and try creating something spontaneously by reversing the order of some of the words. Another example: “Every cloud has a silver lining” might become “My silver lining turned a little cloudy.”

9. Bounce lyrical ideas off a songwriting partner. Sit facing each other, keep a beat by tapping your foot or dialing up a loop. Then one of you speaks out a line, and the other one has to immediately answer it with a line of their own. “I got you, and you got me”… “Anywhere I’m with you is where I wanna be…”

10. Try brainstorming titles. Work as quickly as you can. Don’t worry about clichés, just get a list of titles written that you can consider later. Some titles may just pop into your head with no story behind them at all: “That’s the Way To Do It.” Others may be a bit silly: “George is Going Crazy, and His World’s a Little Hazy.” Later, look through your list, strum a chord, and say the titles with a considerable amount of melodrama and vocal expression. See if melodic ideas pop into your mind.

The Pensado Awards

Last Saturday heralded the very first Pensado Awards show, a show designed to “acknowledge today’s emerging brand of music professionals.” Dave Pensado (a hugely recognized professional mixing engineer) and Herb Trawick, co-hosts of the popular youtube show Pensado’s Place created the event to “celebrate the uncelebrated”, or to acknowledge those in the music industry that go unthanked and unrecognized despite their skills. Nick Messite from Forbes wrote an impressive article about the event, which you can see an excerpt of below. Pensado and Trawick are also the authors of the upcoming publication, The Pensado Papers, coming from Hal Leonard this October. Read the rest of the article here!

How The Pensado Awards Leveled The Playing Field – And Spoke Truth To Power

Last Saturday night, in the ballroom of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, a few hundred people—some of them famous, others far more important than famous—gathered to acknowledge a truth in today’s music industry: the times, to misquote a modern day bard, have a-changed.

Yes, it’s a telling moment when Ron Fair (Chief Creative Officer/Executive Vice President Virgin Records/Capitol Music Group) steps to the podium and proudly proclaims, “This business belongs to the people who love it the most—to the kids not shackled by the old industry models.”

Such a statement—from such a key player—is a powerful validation to the as-of-yet nameless up-and-comers in the music industry; to employ a biblical simile, it’s tantamount to the lion lying down with the lamb.

The venue for this statement was the inaugural Pensado Awards, an event designed to put a public face on those who work behind the scenes in the music industry—men and women who toil in windowless caves for eighty hours a week, who make daily peace with the relative obscurity to which they’ve been relegated, who forego friends and family in favor of deadlines, tinnitus and carpal tunnel syndrome—and who do so, much of the time, to polish the products of pop superstars, many of them vapid and half-talented in nature (in my estimation; no mixing engineer has ever bashed his or her client to me, on or off the record).00120020

But unlike the vast majority of award shows, this ceremony wasn’t about honoring insipid quasi-talents. Instead, the Pensado Awards attempted to give a hand up to the people in this business without whom there would be no business at all: the songwriters, engineers, producers, educators, entrepreneurs, assistants, interns and runners of today and tomorrow (Kendrick Lamar might have been robbed of his Grammy, but he got his Pensado Award).

 

Coming this Fall: Music Marketing for the DIY Musician

At a time when new technologies make it more possible than ever for musicians to attract attention independently and leverage their own careers, DIY advice from a music professional has never been so desirable. Bobby Borg has been down the road of the self-made musician, and he brings his experience and his advice to other hopefuls through Music Marketing for the DIY Musician. According to Borg, publicity is the key!

Stimulating publicity and building good PR (public relations) are the first of many promotional strategies that you can use to help promote your products and services.  Publicity refers to articles, reviews, and comments that journalist write about you because they want to write about you. In other words: Because you “earned” their interest and respect. PR refers to what happens in the minds of your target audience as a result of great publicity. Overall, fans are left with a much stronger image of you, your offerings, and your brand.  So how should you start stimulating publicity and building good PR? Consider the following:

  • 00124611Create an informative press kit (physically and digitally) that includes a biography, picture, current news release (or press release), and a sample of your music. 
  • Create a list of local magazines, newspapers, and blogs red by your target audience.
  • Build relationships with local journalists by first reaching out and complimenting them on their work. 
  • Send local journalists (after getting permission) your press materials and be clear about what it is you want from them: A record review, live performance review, or an interview. 
  • Become part of the local news by being part of your local scene:Attend other artist’s shows, go to award ceremonies, and hang at parties where local press people hang out. 
  • Participate in community activities in which you strongly believe (feed the homeless, 5k run to cure cancer, etc.), and then inform the local press of the good deeds you do.
  • Devise a “publicity stunt” (a sneaky/crazy/daring activity) that gets press people to take notice and write about you. Just be sure not to do anything illegal. 
  • Start your own magazine and write about local bands (including your own).   
  • Capitalize on your school’s paper, newsletter, etc., where you already have an “in.”
  • Publicize (your publicity) by including various quotes and testimonials in your biographies, press releases, and anywhere else that you can.  
  • Hire a talented communications student at a local college to help with some of the above tasks, and/or entice one of your fans to help out with some of the work.  

 As you can see, there are a variety of different ways to generate publicity and strengthen your public’s perception of you. But don’t be mislead: publicity and PR are not as easy as 1 – 2 – 3. They require follow up (over long periods of time) just to get one magazine or blog review. But if you’re pleasant, charming, and have truly a great product, all the hard work will all pay off. 

Check out more advice from Bobby over on his website

Celebrating 100 Years of ASCAP

Bruce Pollock understands the importance of having a “Friend in the Music Business.” ASCAP has been that integral supporter of songwriters and musicians for 100 years now. Bruce contemplates the absolute importance of ASCAP’s contribution to the music business in an article he wrote for Grammy.com, which also includes excerpts from his book – A Friend in the Music Business: The ASCAP Story. Read the rest of the article here.

You don’t get to be around for 100 years in the entertainment industry by living in the past. John LoFrumento, CEO of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, which joined that rarefied rank earlier this year, certainly agrees.00333038

“The question really is: ‘How should ASCAP be positioned as we go forward?'” says LoFrumento. “If all we can say about ourselves is, ‘We are 100 years old,’ then we’re in deep trouble. What we should say about ourselves is: ‘We are in the first year of another 100-year run.'”

With an ongoing mission that includes protecting “the rights of ASCAP members by licensing and distributing royalties for the nondramatic public performances of their copyrighted works,” ASCAP has remained relevant by expanding into the realms of talent discovery and development, augmenting its original mission with a mix of conferences, workshops, showcases, networking events, and annual awards.

The ASCAP Foundation’s Musical Theater and Television & Film Scoring Workshops have emerged as highly regarded proving grounds for young talent. Launched in 2006, the annual “I Create Music” Expo has become ASCAP’s signature event. Taking place in April, the 2014 expo featured keynotes, panels on a variety of topics, performances, networking receptions and exhibits, with participants including GRAMMY winners Shane McAnally, Amy Grant, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, and Jermaine Dupri, among others.

“The performance panels are always really popular,” says Lauren Iossa, ASCAP senior vice president of marketing, who helped conceive the expo. “But the business panels are the key to a new writer’s success.”

Bobby Owsinski presents Music 4.0

Music 4.0 is a guide to help up-and-coming music makers to navigate the music industry in an increasingly digital age. In its introduction, author Bobby Owsinski describes how this book has evolved from his previous Music Pro Guides:

“Welcome to the third edition of Music 3.0: A Survival Guide for Making Music in the Internet Age. As you’ve probably noticed, it’s now called Music 4.0, and that’s because the industry has continued to change at a record pace and has now evolved to the next level of evolution.

I originally decided to write this book precisely because the music world was changing so much. Oh, it’s always been evolving, but the speed of the industry’s remodeling has increased at a rate previously unimagined. It would be nice to say that this change is brought about by a leap in musical creativity, but that’s not the case. This metamor- phosis has been caused by technology.

The Internet has brought us so many conveniences and so many new ways of living our lives, having fun, and communicating with those we know and don’t know that we sometimes don’t appreciate how quickly it’s all come about. It’s also brought us so many choices in the way we make music and ultimately make it available that, unfortunately, it’s also left most artists and music makers dazed and confused with all the seemingly endless options. What should I do? How can I do it? Who are my customers and fans? What do they want from me? How do I reach them? How do I take advantage of all these choices? How am I going to make money? These are all questions that an artist might have had previously, but the relevancy and urgency have only increased with the current times.

I came up with the concept of the original Music 3.0 edition after writing a post on my production blog (bobbyowsinski.blogspot.com; there’s now also music3point0.blogspot.com) in which I discussed the current woes of not only the music business, but especially the artists who are just trying to do the thing they love most—play music. I know that some artists have grand ambitions to be the next Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Jay-Z, Coldplay, or any number of best-selling acts. Sometimes artists crave fame a lot more than they yearn to make the kind of music that will attract and keep fans for the long term. These musicians seem to be the ones that burn out of the business the fastest, once they realize how much work they really have to put in.

The vast majority of artists aren’t like that. They love what they do and are supremely happy when they find others that love what they do too. For them, just being able to make music without having to work a job on the side is considered a success. If that describes you, I hear you and feel you. Reading this book might not get you there, but it can set you on your way. Knowledge is power—and that phrase has never been truer than in the current music stage that I call “Music 4.0.” The possibilities for what can happen to your music are endless, but you’ve got to know how to take advantage of those possibilities before you can put them into action.”

Q&A with Leonard Slatkin

Conducting Business by Leonard Slatkin gives a unique look inside a unique profession. Slatkin recently sat down with Stay Thirsty Magazine to answer some questions about his book and how he himself rose to the position of maestro. You can read the rest of the interview here!

 

00333460I’d like to begin with a biographical note from your 2012 publication, Conducting Business: Unveiling the Mystery Behind the Maestro (Amadeus Press). You were effectively assured of victory had you entered the international competition to determine an assistant conductor for the NY Philharmonic. This was back in the 1960’s, when Leonard Bernstein was at the podium and arguably at the height of his popularity (via the Young People’s Concerts, which ran on CBS from 1958 to 1972). Essentially, you “turned him down.” Did you ever fear repercussions in your career? Also, what are your thoughts vis-à-vis competitions for conductors?

At the time, I was still a student, and I really hadn’t thought about my career. I had a number of options to consider, beginning with getting drafted! I might have been in the army, in which case I would have been an arranger for NORAD. I was also offered the opportunity to become the assistant conductor at St. Louis, and I had this chance to go to the Mitropoulos Competition. The latter, however, I had to turn down, because I simply did not want to be in a position that I hadn’t earned legitimately. No, I didn’t really “think about it” all that much. It bothered me; it disturbed me. I realized I could win the competition not for what I could do, but simply for who I was. I found that notion annoying. I should append that to this day I generally recoil at the idea of competitions as the way to “spot a talent,” even though I’m involved with one – the Van Cliburn Competition. Moreover, there will be an announcement fairly soon about my relationship with that organization, and it will become clear why I have chosen to accept it.

Competitions are arguably more suited for athletics, and the similarity dissipates pretty quickly. Of course, we “play” music or some sport, and the competitor is deemed only as “good” as he is on that particular day. However, we really need the “long-term” to be able to judge, particularly with a conductor. How does the individual relate to the orchestra? Other questions arise as well – knowledge of the score, technical command, and ability to garner the respect of the orchestral musicians. It’s really pretty difficult, if not impossible, to tell that in a conducting competition, and I hope I never have to be in the position of judging one.

Of course, I do have to judge other conductors, especially when we audition assistant conductors, but usually I can start that process during the course of an interview that takes place. Obviously, one needs to be able to conduct and relate well to the orchestra, but I want to see what other things the applicants bring to the table – communication skills; whether they write well and speak well; the ideas they may have for educational programs:  in other words, the “total package.” However, these intangibles are not what judges score, and so I’m decidedly not a fan of conducting competitions, since I feel I can’t really learn anything substantive from them.

 

I agree. In fact, I am reminded of Arthur Rubinstein’s famous quote, “Competitions are for horses, not people.” 

I suppose that for some it’s a necessary evil. There are those who attune their entire mentalities toward the objective of winning a competition. However, what do they do for the rest of their lives?

 

 

 

 

David Flitner on “Less Noise, More Soul”

Website

David Flitner, author of Less Noise, More Soul, has graciously written a blog post for us!

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“Anyone who has worked in the art and science of recording music knows the challenge of getting what’s in one’s mind to sound the same when, eventually, it emerges from speakers (or, more problematically, ear buds). There are so many variables that can alter and confound the journey of sound on its way from instruments and vocal chords, through hardware and software. And, for the most part, skilled hands and ears are required to navigate the passage.

This is also the dynamic that attends the writing and editing of a book, particularly one that collects the voices of numerous contributors. Less Noise, More Soul: The Search for Balance in the Art, Technology and Commerce of Music brings together, by design, diverse personalities and points of view, all trying to make sense of where music finds itself amidst the digital paradigm, and all with a passion for that music’s profound relevance in our lives.

Does the message get through?

Reviewers have commented regularly on the “wealth of knowledge” brought by the contributors (many of whom are Grammy winners). The essays have been called “well balanced,” containing “elegant arguments for rethinking where technology is taking the sounds we crave.” One reviewer even referred to the essays as “unexpurgated,” saying they were “amusing and eye-opening and sometimes shocking and will certainly make you start thinking.” (“Shocking” is likely a reference to a metaphor offered by essayist Will Ackerman that I’ll not spoil by revealing here.)

The Journal of the Music & Entertainment Industry Educators Association honed in on the diversity of argumentation in the book, declaring the volume “excellent food for classroom thought and study.” Another reviewer succinctly caught the book’s essential concern with “musical authenticity.”

And then there was the review that summed it up this way: “Less noise more soul. No more needs to be said.”

Since its release Less Noise, More Soul has been acquired by dozens of major institutions, from Yale, MIT, and UCLA to the distinguished Eastman School of Music and the Loeb Music Library at Harvard. And, for good measure, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Each reader may decide for herself or himself about the merits of the message. But it’s worth the journey.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Flitner - credit Thomas BovairdDavid Flitner (Wolfeboro, NH) holds a PhD from Tufts University and has been a consultant to the US Congress. He is the author of two previous books and has written on music and public affairs for numerous publications, from major newspapers to Billboard. He composes and records with the band Thinline.

Sunburst: How the Gibson Les Paul Standard Became a Legendary Guitar

Superstrat cover singleSunburst, from Backbeat Books, is the latest venture in Tony Bacon’s explorations in guitar models and music. Sunburst unravels a myth and puts into sharp focus how 1,400 or so guitars produced at the end of the ’50s became the most desirable electrics of all time. Check out more of Tony’s books here.

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The Gibson Les Paul sunburst model – the ‘Burst’ – was made between 1958 and 1960, and today  it is probed and picked over like no other guitar. That’s because it really is like no other guitar. In fact, as we discover from the musicians, collectors, and guitar-makers found in this book, it may well be the greatest solidbody electric ever made.

You only have to listen to the music made with this guitar to realise that it’s a special instrument. Its roots are on Eric Clapton’s Beano album with John Mayall in the 60s and Jimmy Page’s classic work with Led Zeppelin into the 70s; there are its appearances on timeless cuts such as ‘All Right Now’ and  ‘Hotel California; and today we hear it bolstering Joe Bonamassa’s worldwide blues-rock success. Many more guitarists have found that the tone and feel of a Burst come together in a magical blend that helps them play better than ever before.

The sunburst Standard can be a beautiful object, too. The pictures in this book celebrate the splendour of its figured maple top, each one a unique signature, and reveal the way that the rigours of time can turn the hardest-worked examples into careworn road warriors with a history in every ding and paint-fade.

Sunburst is the latest book in Tony Bacon’s bestselling guitar series, with a thoroughly researched story partnered by a gallery of full-color pictures of great guitars, rare memorabilia, and famous Burst players – from Keith Richards to Joe Bonamassa and Jeff Beck to Billy Gibbons.

This book shows how Gibson slowly came to understand and more accurately re-create the original Bursts through its reissue programme, under way since the early 90s, and how Gibson’s artist models, limited editions, and collector’s specials have widened the appeal of an already legendary guitar. Sunburst closes with e reference section that provides production details and identificiation clues for every significant model, new and old, of this most enigmatic and revered instrument.