Category Archives: Music Industry

Shelly Peiken talks technological changes

Author of the book Confessions of a Serial Songwriter, Shelly Peiken, spoke with Argonaut Online about her book, the changes that the writing process seems to have taken, and more! Read an excerpt of the interview below and let us know your thoughts on the interview in the comments section below.


COASS-Final_CVR_152159“Hit songwriter” sounds oxymoronic, considering the process by which commercial pop songs are frequently constructed. But Shelly Peiken belongs to that echelon of “career songwriters” who’ve made a living crafting songs for other artists.

“I was actively getting up every day and writing and pitching to artists,” she recalls, estimating that she would write or co-write 30 songs a year. The sassy writer’s best-known cuts are “Bitch” (Meredith Brooks), “Who You Are” (Jessie J), “Almost Doesn’t Count” (Brandy), “What a Girl Wants” and “Come on Over” (Christina Aguilera).

A short list of other artists for whom she’s composed includes Aaliyah, Natasha Bedingfield, Joe Cocker, Natalie Cole, Miley Cyrus, Celine Dion, Selena Gomez, Gladys Knight, Lisa Loeb, Reba McEntire, the Pretenders, Britney Spears, Keith Urban, and the cast of “Glee.”

Now, 25 years into her career, Peiken has become choosier in her projects. As she spells out in her witty, compulsively readable book “Confessions of a Serial Songwriter,” she still joyfully sings along at the top of her lungs to songs she hears on her car radio.

But something fundamental has shifted in the way mainstream pop music is created, largely as a consequence of technological changes that continue to rewire the industry.

The thrill of connecting with a song that perfectly encapsulates the listener’s own circumstances — that three-minute rush that addicted Peiken to songs and songwriting in the first place — is rooted in very human experience.

She writes poignantly about how the Beatles and singer-songwriters such as Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon “were all able to reach a place inside of me with their self-examination, honesty, incongruities, longings and whimsical pleasures.”

But when songs are treated as templates with interchangeable parts, rather than as vehicles for meaningful personal expression, their capacity to connect deeply with listeners is undercut, which in turn shortens their shelf life.

That lack of relationship between co-writers — the trust-building collaboration Peiken dubs “SongSex” — affects the quality of music and disenfranchises songwriters from the process of song creation, she argues.


To read the full interview click HERE.

 

Shelly Peiken on the Standing “O” Project Podcast

Shelly Peiken, author of Confessions of a Serial Songwriter, was on the Standing “O” Project! She spoke with Viv Nesbitt about her book, creative process, the current situation with streaming services and more! The podcast is available below, click play to hear what they had to say!

>>Listen<<

COASS-Final_CVR_152159Shelly 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 (March 2016, Backbeat Books, $19.99).

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.

Shelly Peiken on SongCraft: Spotlight on Songwriters

Shelly Peiken, author of Confessions of a Serial Songwriter, was on the SongCraft Show! She spoke with hosts Scott Bomar, author of Southbound, a book published by Backbeat books, and Paul Duncan. She talks about what inspired her to write songs, her experience with certain artist, and how the book came to be! The podcast is available below, click play to hear what they had to say!

>>Listen<<

COASS-Final_CVR_152159Shelly 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 (March 2016, Backbeat Books, $19.99).

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.

Bobby Borg on Taxi Independent A&R

Bobby Borg, author of Business Basics for Musicians, was featured on an episode of Taxi Independent A&R! He speaks about his book and gives you some insight on topics featured in the book. There’s even a little surprise at the end! Click play on the video below to learn more!

00139915

There has never been a greater need for musicians to understand the music business than now, when emerging technologies make it possible for artists to act as their own record labels, and new contracts are structured to grab the biggest slice of an artist’s revenue pie. But in a digital age overflowing with confusing and ever-changing information, musicians need trusted business advice from a veteran artist who can break down the basics in a language they understand.

Business Basics for Musicians is the layperson’s guide to the music industry, written by a professional musician for other musicians. In his book, Bobby Borg simplifies in a conversational tone five vital areas in which musicians need to succeed:

  • Career Execution
  • Business Relationships
  • Pro Teams
  • Deals and Dollars
  • and Future Predictions.

The book not only covers legal aspects such as copyright and record contracts, it also shows to how to deal with the people involved along the way: band members, managers, attorneys, talent agents, and producers. Business Basics for Musicians will help musicians to faster navigate to success.

Shelly Peiken on The Pauly Cast!

Shelly Peiken, author of Confessions of a Serial Songwriter, was on The Pauly Cast podcast. She spoke with Paul Samuel Dolman about her book, the importance of connecting with others, and much more! The podcast is available below, click play to hear what they had to say!

>>Listen<<

COASS-Final_CVR_152159Shelly 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 (March 2016, Backbeat Books, $19.99).

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.

Too old for Rock ‘n’ Roll?

Bobby Borg, author of Business Basics for Musicians, is back again to give you some tips on overcoming age discrimination in the music business. After a certain age you can’t become a police officer, join the military, or become a flight attendant, but in the music business things can be a bit different. After the age of 25, some find it difficult to get a record deal, but if you’re open minded and proactive you can find success in the industry. Here are Bobby’s thoughts!  (By the way, this article originally appeared on the Indie Music Bands blog several years ago, but Bobby’s words are just as relevant today!)


00139915Sign With A Major?
Major labels make up the majority of commercial recordings sold in the United States. As of this writing, the three largest record companies (or three majors) are Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group. Each major is also part of larger corporations that run a system of distribution channels, regional offices, international divisions, and other music business companies. Therefore, bottom line profits and corporate reporting are of primary concern—and reps most typically seek younger more “commercially viable” artists who can theoretically ensure a faster return on their investment. Additionally, the benefit of seeking younger acts is that if successful, they could potentially reap a return on the label’s investment for several years to come.

“It’s a young man’s game,” said one A&R representative who wishes to remain anonymous. “We look for artists from age 15 to 25. It may seen harsh, but it doesn’t makes sense to invest an older race horse when you can get the younger thoroughbred crossing the winner’s line for years to come.”

Unless a dramatic shift takes place in the industry in the next few years (which is very possible—more on this later), then seeking a major label deal may obviously not be the wisest focus for more adult artists: plan and simple.

Go Independent
Independent record companies (also called indies) are in majority not owned or controlled by the majors, and are generally distributed by smaller regional distributors. With less overhead and investment risk, indies are more open to signing less mainstream and perhaps more adult artists than the major record companies.

Said one indie rep in a recent music connection A&R poll conducted in 2003, “We tend to stay away from age discrimination. I look to the music first and people who have maturity and a strong business sense. Of course they must still have a marketable image even when they’re older—but it’s the professional performers who keep their health and image a priority and can convince the masses they’re younger than their years. If they have talent and look the part, then who cares how old they are.”

Indies may not just be more open to signing more adult artists, but also older “brands” or “genres” of music. Indies are known to be the sanctuary (literally) for veteran artists are were once successful and no longer can find a home on a the majors. Case in point, Sanctuary records (formerly CMJ) made a name for themselves by signing several of the hard rock bands that were once very popular in the 1980s. Surely, labels like Sanctuary aren’t trying to market to the masses nor do they have the budgets, but by signing artists who still have a modest (albeit dwindling) fan base and who are still willing to get out on the road and tour, a potential profit can be made for all parties involved.

Read the rest of the article HERE!!

Getting the most from your entertainment attorney

Bobby Borg, author of Business Basics for Musicians, is back again with 10 tips that will help you get the most from your entertainment attorney! Having written Business Basics for Musicians, Bobby Borg is definitely no stranger to the ins and outs of interacting with an entertainment attorney. Take a look at his tips below and let us know what you think!


00139915Attorneys are necessary to the business of music – and your music career. A good entertainment attorney reviews contracts you receive with your best interests in mind, translates contract clauses and complicated writing into terms you can understand, and knows what issues are most important to negotiate for in recording, publishing, and merchandising agreements.

Once you’ve hired an attorney, you want to make sure that the relationship runs as smoothly as possible. Attorneys are not inexpensive; nor do they have a lot of free time. Keeping this in mind, when you interact your attorney, make sure to get the most out of him/her. The following 10 Tips will help.

1. Be prepared and have a clear agenda

Before speaking or meeting with your attorney, be clear about what you want to accomplish. For instance, you might wish to discuss and better understand specific clauses that you’ve underlined in a music licensing agreement, and then want him or her to negotiate better terms if necessary and practical. Whatever the issue, just remember that an attorney will only advise you about what to do and never tell you what to do. Thus, looking at the bigger picture, be sure to have your values and goals clearly defined.

2. Take notes and/or record the meeting

Be sure to take great notes and ask if you can record your meetings. This way, if something isn’t immediately clear, you can review your notes or replay the conversation later. This is also helpful if you’re in a band and one of the members cannot be present. But just remember that not all attorneys will allow recordings during a meeting. Simply put: a recording provides clear evidence of a misstatement by the attorney, and it may be permitted in a court of law should you ever need to sue him or her. (Believe me, I know from experience).

3. Be on time and carpool

It may be easy for one band member to arrive at a meeting on time, but when all members of a group will be attending, you might consider driving together in one car to ensure that everyone is on time. Your attorney won’t be thrilled to have to repeat what has already been said for a member who walks in the door fifteen minutes late. And you won’t be happy with the bill either.

4. Appoint a band representative

It is a good practice to appoint one band member to serve as the liaison between the attorney and the rest of the band to avoid having every member of the group call whenever they have a question or want an update on a particular matter.

Appointing one member to make calls will also make life easier for your attorney, who won’t have to re-explain issues to each band member, and will also prevent the awkward possibility of each member getting his/her own take on a matter. By having a liaison, your group can put together a list of questions, and then one individual can make the call or attend the meeting. As long as your liaison is reliable and effective in relaying information to the other members of the band, this system usually works adequately.

Should the other members begin to feel they’re relinquishing too much control and are at the mercy of the appointed liaison, a band can always request group meetings via speakerphone or Skype so that everyone can listen in on the conversation. A second solution is to have everyone attend meetings in person but to appoint one representative to do all the talking.

5. Keep your attorney informed

It’s important to keep your attorney up-to-date regarding all business matters and developments. For instance, if your attorney is one of a rare breed who shops your band for deals, and you’re unexpectedly approached by an A&R representative from another label after one of your shows at a big convention like SXSW, your attorney should be the first person to hear about it. It makes sense to keep your attorney informed. You hired him for a reason, right?


Read the entire article over at blog.discmakers.com

DJ Shortee introduces ‘Shortee’s Complete DJ Method’ on Groove3!

DJ Shortee has released a video introducing her Complete DJ Method, the first six installments of which are available on Groove3.  You can read all about it at shorteescompletedjmethod.com.  Also, you can check out her her book, Spin Now! The DJ Starter Handbook, published by Hal Leonard Books.  Click play below to learn more!

Shortees Complete DJ MethodFor many who aspire to become professional DJs, location or lack of funding to attend a reputable DJ school can stand in the way of their dreams. Groove3 and DJ Shortee have teamed up to offer an exciting alternative: Shortee’s Complete DJ Method, the most comprehensive DJ instructional program available that teaches all the skills of a professional DJ.

DJ Shortee, the world’s leading female DJ, has developed over 50 thorough tutorials for all skill levels. She teaches on a wide range of industry standard DJ equipment and software platforms, so students will be able to follow the instructions on their preferred type of gear. Whether you want to learn on turntables, CDJs, mixers, controllers, or software, each lesson plan is arranged in an organized, easy­to­follow series of courses that cover everything from the essential basics to the most advanced skills.

Shortee’s Complete DJ Method covers turntables, CDJs, various DJ mixers, DJ controllers (Serato and Traktor), various DJ software (Serato DJ, Traktor Pro, Traktor Scratch Pro, Rekordbox, Rekordbox DJ, and Mixed In Key), music theory, mixing, harmonic mixing, trick mixing, scratching, beat juggling, remixing, video mixing, and more.

The first six Method courses are now available on Groove3 along with a number of related DJ courses by other experts making Groove3 the one­stop solution for every aspiring DJ or any musician who wants to improve their craft:

  •  DJ Gear: Turntables & Mixer
  •  DJ Gear: CDJs & Mixer
  •  DJ Gear: Serato Controller – Numark NV
  •  Software: Traktor Pro 2
  •  Software: Serato DJ
  •  Software: Rekordbox

The Method series is continuously expanding, and many new courses will be available within the coming months.

About DJ Shortee

With over twenty years of professional experience as a multi­genre 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/.

Shelly Peiken talks about MusicAnswers

Shelly Peiken, author of Confessions of a Serial Songwriter, was featured in the Huffington Post where she talks about advocating for songwriters’ rights. She also speaks about how the songwriting community needs to come together and a new movement called MusicAnswers. Read what she had to say below!


COASS-Final_CVR_152159A few months ago I went to Washington, D.C. to advocate for songwriters’ rights. Consent decrees that were established in 1941 still determine the rates that songwriters are paid and they haven’t been reassessed to take into account the realities of the digital marketplace. It’s been 75 years.

Do you know what the congresspeople told me? They said we, the creative community, have to get our act together. When the tech lobby comes to Capitol Hill it is unified and strong. It speaks with one voice: streaming rates are fine the way they are, in fact, they should be lower; streaming gives an artist free exposure which can lead to monetization in other ways. Creators should be thankful. There’s nothing more they can do about piracy. Don’t break the internet. Bla Bla Bla. But we–songwriters, performers, producers and composers–are divided in our message. And it’s true…we’re all over the place.

For instance, songwriters (and composers) come to Washington to support bills like the Songwriters Equity Act which would set rates at fair market value and remove the provision that prevents the federal rate court from considering relevant evidence when setting the royalty rates for a public performance. (As for the idea that we should be thankful for the exposure…well, the same could be said for eateries: serve free meals that people love and the people will return! How about a free drink too?)

Performers on the other hand, go to D.C. to advocate for The Fair Play Fair Pay Act. This bill states that recording artists should be paid performance royalties when their voices are broadcast on the radio–a no-brainer. Performers have another issue too: record labels receive the lion’s share of revenue that Spotify pays out, and they in turn are expected to compensate their artists. So why do performers receive a fraction of their due? The math remains a mystery. I feel their pain but as a songwriter, I’m fighting my own battle.

Producers have put forth the AMP (Allocation for Music Producers Act), which would create a structure for producers, mixers and engineers to participate in royalties for the songs they work on and allow them to receive direct payment through SoundExchange. Sounds good to me!

Read the rest of the article over at Huffington Post.

You’ve Heard These Hands

You’ve Heard These Hands

From the Wall of Sound to the Wrecking Crew and Other Incredible Stories

by Don Randi with Karen “Nish” Nishimura


A veteran musician and master story teller presents the stories behind the songs!


Website

“I’m Don Randi and you’ve heard my hands.”

With that, Don Randi begins his introduction to You’ve Heard These Hands: From the Wall of Sound to the Wrecking Crew and Other Incredible Stories (Sept. 2015, Hal Leonard Books, $24.99), a fascinating look at the life and musical times a keyboard musician, composer, arranger, music director, and record producer who has thrilled music lovers for years, even if they weren’t aware of it.

Randi played keyboards on over a thousand popular recordings and was a member of the remarkable “Wrecking Crew” of studio musicians during the explosive pop music era of the 1960s and early 1970s. Nancy Sinatra, the Beach Boys, the Jackson 5, Elvis Presley, Sammy Davis Jr., Neil Diamond, and Linda Ronstadt are among the many music greats Randi has worked with and writes about in You’ve Heard These Hands.

For many years, only music industry insiders, close friends, and jazz fans who visit Randi’s nightclub, The Baked Potato, have heard him tell some of the amazing, heartfelt, and hilarious personal stories in this collection. Now everyone can discover the in-studio, behind-the-scenes, and on-tour tales from the man whose hands we’ve heard playing on our favorite hit tunes. You’ve Heard These Hands will capture the attention and emotion of its readers, who won’t be able to resist sharing Randi’s stories with their friends.

$24.99
6.0″ x 9.0″
280 pages
9781495008825
Hal Leonard Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard Corporation

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

DON RANDI is a composer, arranger, music director, and keyboard musician. As part of the legendary “Wrecking Crew” group of studio musicians, he made hundreds of hit records in the 1960s and 1970s. He founded The Baked Potato jazz club in Los Angeles in 1970 and has owned it ever since, and he has released 20 jazz albums of his own, including the 1980 Grammy-nominated New Baby and the 2013 Acoustimania. He lives in Agoura Hills, Calif.

 

KAREN “NISH” NISHIMURA is an independent writer and an entertainment producer behind many digital advertising campaigns and promotions, including projects for Disney Online, Sony Pictures, Mattel, and CBS. A passionate jazz lover, she met Don Randi at The Baked Potato and eagerly agreed to become his biographer. She lives in Los Angeles.

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