Category Archives: Music Industry
Howard Massey, author of The Great British Recording Studios, sat down for an interview with on the Producer Crosstalk segment of Music Connection to discuss his career from a musician to now an author. The Great British Recording Studios tells the story of the iconic British facilities where many of the most important recordings of all time were made. Check out the excerpt below.
Engineer, music journalist and newly minted novelist Howard Massey came to the business as many do: as a musician. After a move to London and an inked publishing deal, he logged hours at Pathway Studios. When the engineer there told him he was leaving, he asked Massey to fill the vacancy. As his repertoire broadened, he found that he was something of an expert on the Yamaha DX7 synthesizer. So good, in fact, that a friend suggested he write a book on it. He’s since scribed Behind the Glass and co-authored Geoff Emerick’s 2006 acclaimed Here, There, and Everywhere. Recently he has branched into fiction.
Howard Massey’s career has been shaped by a series of “left turns,” as he calls them. “I started out wanting to be a rock & roll star,” the writer explains. “I discovered that I had good ears. When I returned to New York, I was offered a job at Electric Lady Studios and when the [Yamaha] DX7 came out, I got one of the early ones. I found that no one really knew how to use it, including the people at Yamaha, surprisingly. So I locked myself in a room and learned to program it. A friend said I should teach other people. Later, someone else suggested I write a book.” In 1986, The Complete DX7 was published and his literary career thereby drew its first breaths.
With such a level of studio acquaintance––37 featured in Behind the Glass––Massey has thoughts on what signifies a space with staying power. “If people are flocking to book a studio, there’s something they’re doing right,” he observes. “Of course these days any studio that’s still in business, by definition, is successful because everything’s changed dramatically. Clients demanded more and record companies insisted on lower hourly rates. Studios got caught in the cash crunch. Of the 36 discussed in my book The Great British Recording Studios, only three are still in business.
“People today don’t feel the need to go into a professional studio,” he continues. “That’s a bit misguided. There are few artists in history who’ve had the ability to produce themselves well and view their work objectively. You can probably count [them] on one hand. If nothing else, having an objective third set of ears is invaluable. These days everybody thinks they can be a musician, songwriter, engineer and producer wrapped into one. It’s not that easy to be good at different things. I’m not saying nobody can do it. I’m saying few can. It’s hard to master several crafts at the same time and exceptionally hard to be objective about your work.”
Read the full interview here.
Martin Aston, author of Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache: How Music Came Out, sat down to discuss the book tracing the evolution of gay music from the 1920s to today with BBC’s World Service Newshour. Take a listen below.
Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache is not only the first book to tell the story of how music “came out” but to the first to shed light on these hidden pioneers alongside their famous counterparts.
The podcast gives a snapshot of what to expect in the book highlighting artists spanning decades on decades. Breaking Down the Walls is packed with 400 pages covering artists such as Helen Kane, Gene Malin, Frances Faye, and more. Starting in the Roaring 20s, Helen Kane, the woman behind the Betty Boop character, spoke more in code with her song ‘He’s So Unusual.’ That was the norm then in a way to not defy the social and political conservatism of that time. Fast forwarding to the modern era, the music is more blunt.
Martin Aston’s ambitious and comprehensive narrative unfolds over a hundred years, against a backdrop of social and political shifts, as gay liberation transmuted into LGBTQ rights, pushing for visibility and equality, from 1920s liberalism through to the closet of postwar years, the eventual breakthroughs of the ’60s, the permissive ’70s, the mainstream invasion and AIDS crisis of the ’80s, and the advances of the ’90s and noughties.
Aston also documents the retrogressive steps in Russia and parts of Africa, where songs bravely encapsulating the LGBTQ experience signify how the journey from illegality and bigotry to freedom is far from over.
Martin Aston has written about popular music for over 30 years. He has contributed to numerous publications, including MOJO, Q, Guardian, the Times (London), Attitude, Radio Times, Spin, and BBC Music, covering TV, film, and LGBT culture.
Bobby Borg recently sat down with dBs Insider to discuss the DIY musician. He is no stranger to this subject as he is a former major label, independent, and DIY recording/touring artist. The interview covered his books Business Basics for Musicians and Music Marketing for the DIY Musician, plus more.
The interview began with the questions that many aspiring artists may have, “How do I get my music out there?” and “How do I make a career in music?”
His book, Marketing for the DIY Musician, thoroughly explored this topic. It is a proactive, practical, step-by-step guide to producing a fully integrated, customized, low-budget plan of attack for artists marketing their own music. In a conversational tone, it reveals a systematic business approach employing the same tools and techniques used by innovative top companies, while always encouraging musicians to stay true to their artistic integrity. It’s the perfect blend of left-brain and right-brain marketing.
In Music Marketing For The DIY Musician, the first thing is important to realize is what marketing actually is. Marketing isn’t something that happens after your music is ready, it begins at the inception of an idea with a vision. You need to have a clear idea of where you want to go and what you want to do first. Marketing isn’t just advertising or promotion, they are subsets of it.
For those that are interested in deal that artists garner from record labels to publishing, he discusses that topic in his book Business Basics for Musicians. The 300+ page book is the layperson’s guide to the music industry. In a conversational tone and an easy-to-scan format, it simplifies five vital areas in which musicians need to succeed: Career Execution, Business Relationships, Pro Teams, Deals and Dollars, and Future Predictions. Everything from copyright to record deals, managers, merchandising, and doing it yourself is covered.
The Business Basics For Musicians Book is more about the actual deals you’ll get in your music career. Agents, record labels, lawyers, managers, publishing deals. Those are the things that it focuses on. The key takeaway from the first chapter in this book is making sure you really do want to be in the music industry, because for most people they give up too soon, they have false expectations of how quickly they are going to find success or sustainability in the business. The idea is to go out there, build some momentum on your own and then hopefully the managers and labels and the rest will come. You need to have realistic expectations of where you are at in your career.
Read the full interview here.
Bobby Borg and Michael Eames, two of the authors of Five Star Music Makeover: The Independent Artist’s Guide for Singers, Songwriters, Bands, Producers, and Self Publishers, sat down with Taxi TV Live to talk music publishing, promotion, and more. Taxi TV Live provides interviews with songwriting tips and music business information along with special interviews with industry guests, and more. Be sure to take a listen below.
I didn’t think a book with five authors would be this good.
Interviewer, Michael Laskow, had an amazing conversation with both Bobby and Michael who provided deep insight and tips to the music industry, promotion, and for all those up-and-coming artists out there, how to survive.
Five Star Music Makeover is an engaging all-in-one guide designed specifically for aspiring artists. Written by five experts with over 100 years of collective experience, both on and off the stage, this unique book covers five key skills every musician needs to succeed: (1) improving vocal production/technique; (2) writing memorable and marketable songs; (3) recording your ultimate EP; (4) navigating the publishing world; and (5) promoting music effectively. In addition to Bobby Borg and Michaels Earnes their are three aditonal authors: Eric Corn, Anika Paris, and Coreen Sheehan.
As for who wrote what, Anika covering writing music, Eric, recording; Coreen, performing; Michael, licensing; and Bobby, promoting. This interview covered everything from motivational tips for an artist to attract an audience to branding themselves. There was discussion of royalties, licensing, pay to play. If you’re into music, of course this interview is for you, but for those with hopes of becoming an entrepreneur, the information shared goes beyond that.
In the music business of today, as the independent DIY, you need all these skills; you need t be aware of them.
The interveiw was an amazing, organic conversation that’s definitely a must listen!
Check out the interview in its entirety here.
Shelly Peiken, author of Confessions of a Serial Songwriter, sat down with Bonnie Wallace of Hollywood Parents Guide for the podcast Hometown to Hollywood. Shelly discussed the songwriting process, being an artist, todays music industry, and more. Listen to the podcast below.
Todays music industry is not what it once was and Shelly Peiken was able to dive deeper into that change and the future for upcoming songwriters. Early in the interview she defined what being a serial songwriter meant:
Somebody that’s just passionate and faithful to just getting up and writing a song everyday and then saying, ‘ok where can we pitch this.’
When it comes to her songwriting she stressed how organic it needed to feel. She wrote a song, ‘Rotten to the Core,’ for Disney Channel’s, Descendants. Bonnie’s daughter, Dove Cameron, starred in the film so there was a personal connection there. Shelly feels that she is a vessel and the connection that she has to her younger self which was the reason she began writing. Making money is always a plus, but it ultimately boils down for her to feel valuable and authentic.
When I wrote my book I thought, you know, it’s not me. It’s the industry and I’ve gotta change the way I’m navigating it and stay in touch with my joy.
What advice did she have for young songwriters? She urged them to be proactive. Find out how they can make a difference. There’s a problem within the industry as far as the streaming epidemic taking away from the compensation of artist and all those that come together to make the music. Young songwriters must be aware and act now to keep ensure the future of being a songwriter. Most importantly, they must continuously tap into their creativity and never be afraid to step outside their comfort zones.
Do everything. Experiment. Test the waters. Write with people who you’re not sure you’re gonna love working with. You might love. Just do everything.
This interview is full of gems that will inspire anyone of any age.
Confessions of a Serial Songwriter
by Shelly Peiken
From the songwriter behind such hits as “What a Girl Wants” and “Bitch” comes a memoir that offers an insider’s perspective on the music business and the craft of songwriting.
Shelly Peiken, well known for writing culturally resonant, female-empowerment anthems such as Christina Aguilera’s No. 1 hit “What a Girl Wants” and Meredith Brooks’s smash hit, “Bitch,” looks back on her career and inside the business of songwriting in her memoir, Confessions of a Serial Songwriter.
A humorous and poignant pop culture memoir about Peiken’s journey, Confessions of a Serial Songwriter takes readers into the rarefied world of the music business. From a young girl falling under the spell of magical songs to a working professional writing hits of her own, Peiken describes how she built a career, from fledgling songwriter, pounding the streets of New York City to Grammy nominations, international hits, and the first Number One song of the millennium.
David Wild, contributing editor for Rolling Stone, calls Confessions of a Serial Songwriter “a great book [that offers] an insightful, honest, often funny, emotional look inside the good, the bad, the ugly, and ultimately the transcendent aspects of trying to lead a creative life inside a competitive career.”
In addition to the fascinating biographical trajectory, Peiken presents invaluable information for the aspiring songwriter, including tips about the creative process and how to adapt to the constantly changing currents. “Now more than ever, people who want to enter this topsy-turvy world of professional songwriting need to know how to handle the inevitable ups and downs that accompany what, for me, has a been an incredibly gratifying journey,” said Peiken.
In Confessions of a Serial Songwriter, Peiken writes about personal growth, how to recognize your muse and navigate the creative process as well as the struggles that arise between motherhood and career success. While she’s not afraid to delve into the divas, celebrity egos and schemers, it is the talented and remarkable people she’s found along the way that predominate the text. And, finally, Confessions of a Serial Songwriter raises the obvious though universal challenge of getting older and staying relevant in a rapidly changing and youth-driven world.
6.0″ x 9.0″
B/W photographs throughout
Hal Leonard Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard Corporation
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
SHELLY PEINKEN is a Grammy-nominated songwriter. She has been a prolific, behind-the-scenes force in the music business for more than two decades. Her songs have sold in excess of 50 million records. She is beast known for penning culturally resonant anthems, including Christina Aguilera’s “What a Girl Wants, Meredith Brooks’s “Bitch,” and songs recorded by Britney Spears, Celine Dion, Natalie Cole, the Pretenders, Keith Urban, Cher, the Backstreet Boys, and many others. She lives in Los Angeles.
The Art of Recording a Big Band is now available at Groove3! This inspiring and educational documentary, shot by Shevy Shovlin, is all about studio legend Al Schmitt. Watch the video trailer below for a look behind the documentary!
A highly anticipated documentary, The Art of Recording a Big Band is now available for streaming and download at Groove3.com. The Art of Recording a Big Band was filmed at the famed Capitol Studios in Hollywood, CA, over the course of a two-day master class by industry legend Al Schmitt and partner, Steve Genewick recording Chris Walden’s GRAMMY® Awards-nominated 18-piece jazz big band.
The film focuses on the recording methods of Schmitt, one of the most celebrated recording engineers, producers and mixers of all time, winning 22 GRAMMY® Awards, the most recent for Paul McCartney’s “Kisses on the Bottom” in 2012. Over the course of his career, Schmitt has recorded and mixed more than 150 gold and platinum albums. His credits include: Henry Mancini, Sam Cooke, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Sammy Davis, Jr., Natalie Cole, Thelonious Monk, Elvis Presley, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, and many more.
Shevy Shovlin, a well-known recording industry professional in his own right, makes his big screen directorial debut with this 90-minute educational documentary film. “This project is near and dear to my heart not only because I am a huge fan and good friend of Al’s, but because I was there to witness the magic that he brings to his recording sessions. Our hope is that the film will not only inspire and educate a new generation of the recording industry, but pay homage to a recording legend through the unique challenge of recording the exciting genre of Big Band.”
The educational and inspirational film includes interviews with Schmitt’s longtime recording partner Steve Genewick as well as Chris Walden, Dave Pensado, Ryan Hewitt, Kenny Wild, Paula Salvatore, and a cameo appearance by engineer and mixer Andrew Scheps. Longtime friend and collaborator, Quincy Jones provides a poignant opening statement about the importance of “the person who captures the sound”.
The film is now available for streaming (with the All Access Pass) and for download for $24.99 at Groove3.com
Sylvia Massy, author of Recording Unhinged: Creative and Unconventional Music Recording Techniques, is featured in a new video that is now available on Lynda.com. Click play on the video below to watch a preview and check out the full video in the link below!
Recording Unhinged: Creative and Unconventional Music Recording Techniques dares you to “unlearn” safe record-making, to get out from behind the windshield, stick your head out the sunroof, and put the pedal to the metal!
“There have been countless how-to books on sound recording, but this isn’t one of them. Sylvia Massy has a unique perspective on what makes musicians tick and how great recordings are created. This book is a brilliantly assembled insight into their world and is a cracking good read,” says Alan Parsons.
Recording Unhinged, Sylvia Massy and her cohort of celebrity music industry producers, engineers, and recording stars discard fixed notions about how music should be recorded. They explore techniques that fall outside the norm, yielding emotionally powerful, incredibly personal, gut-wrenching, and even scary recordings. With commentary by Hans Zimmer, Al Schmitt, Bruce Swedien, Jack Joseph Puig, Dave Pensado, Tchad Blake, Bob Clearmountain, Linda Perry, Michael Franti, Michael Beinhorn, Bob Ezrin, Geoff Emerick, and many others, this book includes the stories, tips, and advice that you won’t find in any other instructional manual.
“Working with Sylvia on Undertow was an absolute pleasure. Whether recording the destruction of a piano with sledgehammers and shotguns, or dialing in killer drum sounds with the greatest mic choices, her approach was always fresh, fun, and never preconceived. This book will assuredly inspire some wacky recording sessions!”, praises Danny Carey (drummer from TOOL).
Recording Unhinged is also unique in its inclusion of exercises, diagrams, jokes, photos, and other images all related to more adventurous recording techniques. Throughout the book (and on the cover) are many full-colored illustrations – created by a musical genius – Massy herself!
DJ Shortee continues to update and expand Shortee’s Complete DJ Method, an online video series in which she thoroughly introduces each piece of gear and DJ technique, explaining every feature, function, and skill. The most recent addition is an information-packed course in the Traktor Controller Series that covers the integration and workflow of the Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4 DJ controller. Learn more about it in the video and information below!
The Complete DJ Gear Guide To A Traktor Controller: Kontrol S4
Now available on Groove3.com – for beginners, intermediate DJs, and seasoned veterans
As she does in her other video courses, DJ Shortee walks the viewer through each feature step by step, explaining how to use each function in detail. The lessons are taught in a clear and concise way that is easy for anyone to understand. The Kontrol S4 DJ Controller course works seamlessly in conjunction with her Traktor Software course, “The Complete Guide To Traktor Pro 2,” and is an essential part of building a solid foundation for DJs to take their skills to the next level.
DJ Shortee provides a complete breakdown of the Traktor Kontrol S4 DJ controller and all of its features, including Hotcues, Looping functions, Deck controls, Remix Decks, and Stem Decks.
Also included is an overview of Traktor’s software options and compatible DJ controllers, as well as the Traktor Pro 2 download, activation, and hardware registration. Shortee gives an overview of the Traktor Pro 2 software layout, an in-depth explanation of how to use the Kontrol S4 Deck controls such as the Jog Wheel and Deck Assign buttons (and how to customize them), and explains how to assign and control the Single FX and Multi FX modes.
This courses teaches how to master the Kontrol S4’s DJ mixer and all its essential functions and allows viewers to learn to customize the various EQs, Channel Filters, Tempo Fader, and Crossfader settings, as well as how to use the Kontrol S4 to control the Loop Recorder and then capture a loop on the fly in a Remix Deck.
An exclusive bonus lesson is included that shows the viewer how to switch between the two Kontrol S4 modes and convert the entire Kontrol S4 into an alternate MIDI device using the controller manager software. The Complete DJ Gear Guide To A Traktor Controller: Kontrol S4 is designed to help DJs of all skill levels master the techniques quickly and easily and improve their production skills.
Now available at Groove3.com: https://www.groove3.com/DJ-training-video-tutorials/The-Complete-DJ-Gear-Guide-To-A-Traktor-Controller-Kontrol-S4
Total running time: 149 mins & 19 secs (2:29:19)
$15.00 for purchase or available with Groove3’s All Access Pass for $15/month
About DJ Shortee
With over twenty years of professional experience as a multi-genre DJ, turntablist, music producer, author, and DJ instructor, DJ Shortee brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding to the classroom. She has taught for the Grammy Foundation, Dubspot, Scratch DJ Academy, Serato, Rane, Turntable U, SAE Institute, and more. Her name has become synonymous with the world of DJ instructional products, and she is respected worldwide for her talent as both an accomplished performer and a gifted teacher. More about DJ Shortee at http://www.djshortee.com.
About Hal Leonard & Groove3
Hal Leonard Books, a division of Hal Leonard Corporation, the leading publisher of books and digital content on the music business, audio technology, and instrument history, and Groove3, the audio community’s online resource for top-notch training videos, have announced a long-term strategic partnership to develop and deliver authoritative content to the world. Over the coming months and years, Hal Leonard will bring an unprecedented assortment of globally influential recording, audio, and music experts from a variety of fields to the Groove3 platform.