Category Archives: Music Industry

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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Everything an Artist Needs to Know

Bobby Borg, author of Business Basics For Musicians, wrote an article that is featured on the Music Connection website. In it Bobby Borg speaks about Producer Deals and the importance of dealing with an experienced record producer. Read an excerpt of the article below to learn more!


00139915While the proliferation of home recording tools has enabled many talented artists/producers to record quality masters right out of their own bedrooms, there are still just as many talented songwriters/performers like you who need help from an experienced record producer.

An experienced record producer not only understands the technical and creative aspects of bringing a recording to life, they also understand—should you ever advance your career to signing with a record company—how to manage budgets, deal with union forms and get guest permissions to use other artists. In short, they are expert project managers and know how to deliver a commercially viable record on time, on budget and at the desired level of quality.

While the role of a record producer is typically understood by most artists, the business aspects are more confusing. Thus, what follows is a brief rundown of when a producer may first get involved in your career, how the deals are negotiated and the producer’s fee structure.

(The following article has been excerpted from the book Business Basics for Musicians, by Bobby Borg.)

WHEN AND HOW A PRODUCER MAY FIRST GET INVOLVED
A record producer’s involvement in your career may begin at a number of different junctures and be handled in a number of different ways. The most common scenarios include: the barter system deal, the on-spec deal, the do-it-yourself deal, the production deal and the record label deal.   

A Barter System Arrangement
When artists are just starting out and have little or no money to pay for a recording studio and record producer, their first involvement with a producer might exist under a barter system arrangement with a local producer.

A barter system deal is a straightforward arrangement where the goods or services of the artist are “exchanged” (i.e., used as currency) for the goods and services of the producer. Just be sure that the terms of the arrangement are clear and there are no misunderstandings about additional ownership of songs, recordings and/or hourly fees owed.

The On-Spec Agreement
Another scenario for artists at the beginning of their careers is the on-spec deal.

The on-spec deal is a situation in which the artist makes contact with a local producer/studio owner (perhaps one who is a friend, fan or close relative of the band), and arranges to record at no cost under the terms of an informal agreement. Such an agreement may state that if the band gets a recording agreement, they will pay the producer a predetermined flat fee for services rendered and consider him or her as a candidate to record the final product for the label. If the artist never gets signed to a recording agreement, the artist never owes the producer any money.

Another agreement could state that the artist gives up ownership in the master recordings or shares in certain songs for a specific term. This way, when the artist makes money down the line, the record producer also gets paid. [Warning: just be sure to understand the terms of any agreement before signing and to speak with an attorney or consultant if unsure about anything.]


Read the article in full over at MusicConnection.com

Shelly Peiken’s lyrical works

Shelly Peiken has a book coming out in March about the songs that she has helped write and also written herself. Confessions of a Serial Songwriter may even feature some of your favorite songs! Check out the video below to see some of the many songs that she has written/co-written.

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.

5 Ways To Overcome Age Discrimination in the Music Business

Author of Business Basics for Musicians, Bobby Borg, has teamed up with Music Insider Magazine as a guest author on their page! You can’t avoid getting older, that’s what author Bobby Borg wants you to know, but there are some ways to deal with the age discrimination that may occur in the music business. Read below to see what more Bobby Borg had to say!


 

00139915Although age can be a sensitive subject for most musicians, you must accept that there’s a general prejudice against aging in the commercial music industry. Generally speaking, the industry views music as a youth-oriented business. While this might totally infuriate you, be sure that age discrimination can be overcome by reading these five tips. 

1. Understand the Rationale: The idea is that a musician’s life expectancy in the pop, rock, R&B, and rap genres parallels that of an athlete’s career span in the sports world. As you approach the age of thirty-five, your chances of succeeding have significantly diminished.

While this is somewhat paradoxical, since musicians’ skills tend only to improve with age and experience, understand that most larger record companies rely heavily on youth, vitality, and sex appeal to sell music. They also prefer signing younger acts that, if successful, can bring them a return on their initial investment for several years to come. Be clear that these companies are businesses just like any other, and bottom line profits comes first and foremost.

 

Read the entire article HERE.

 

Important things to do before shooting a music video!

Steve Gordon, author of The Future of the Music Business, gave a few tips on Digital Music News regarding the legal ins-and-outs of producing a music video. He also gives a brief history of music video followed by a survey of how successful artists have used and continue to use them to launch their careers. Click on the link below to read the entire article!


00123126Part I: History & Continuing Importance of Music Videos.

1. Before Music Videos

Audiovisual presentations of music have existed since the first motion pictures containing sound.  In fact, the first Hollywood “talkie,” released in 1927, was a musical featuring Al Jolson called “The Jazz Singer.”  Before the invention of the video cameras, there were many musical short films featuring the performance of single songs, such as Frank Sinatra’s patriotic “The House I Live In (That’s America To Me).”

These films were sometimes shown before main features at movie theatres.  In the 1960’s, artists like the Rolling Stones and the Beatles started to make short form films of individual songs to promote their albums.  The dawn of what we think of as music videos began in the 1970’s.  For example, in 1975, Queen commissioned the production of a video for their new single, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” to show on Top of the Pops, a popular British TV show showcasing the week’s top hit songs.   In the U.S., Video Concert Hall, launched on November 1, 1979, was the first nationwide video music program on American television, predating MTV by almost three years.

2.  MTV and the Birth of the Era of Music Videos on Television

In 1981, MTV launched by airing “Video Killed the Radio Star,” and this began an era of 24-hour-a-day music videos on television.  The founders of MTV, including Robert Pitman (current chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia, Inc. (formerly Clear Channel)), convinced record labels to produce more videos and to give them to MTV for free, just as they gave free records to radio stations.  The pitch was that the videos would promote the labels’ records and increase sales.  The only money MTV paid the labels was a relatively small fee to secure exclusive rights to play select videos for a limited period of time.

For instance, MTV paid Sony Music $4 million a year for such rights.  By the mid-1980s, MTV grew to play a central role in marketing pop and rock music.  Many important acts of this period, most notably Madonna, Aerosmith, The Who, Phil Collins, John Mellencamp, Phil Collins and Billy Idol, owe a great deal of their success to the seductive appeal of their videos.  After years of controversy regarding the lack of diversity among artists on the network, MTV aired Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” “Thriller” and other videos, which helped Jackson become the best-selling pop artist of all time.

But by the late 90’s, MTV sharply decreased the number of videos it showed on its airways.  Former MTV president Van Toeffler explained: “Clearly, the novelty of just showing music videos has worn off.  It’s required us to reinvent ourselves to a contemporary audience.”  A decade later, MTV was playing an average of just three hours of music videos per day, preferring cartoons such Beavis and Butt-Head and, later, unscripted reality shows such as Jersey Shore.

MTV continued to play some music videos instead of relegating them exclusively to its sister channels (such as MTV Hits), but around this time, the channel began to air music videos only in the early morning hours and in Total Request Live or TRL, which aired the ten most requested music videos of the day, as voted by viewers via phone or online.  As a result of these programming changes, Justin Timberlake implored MTV to “play more damn videos!” while giving an acceptance speech at the 2007 Video Music Awards.  Despite the challenge from Timberlake, MTV continued to decrease its total rotation time for music videos in 2007 and shut down TRL in 2008.


Click here to read the article in its entirety!

Five Star Music Makeover Team at NAMM!

The Five Star Music Makeover team will be in The NAMM Show this weekend!  Coreen Sheehan, Anika Paris, Bobby Borg, Michael Eames, and Eric Corne have teamed up to create this guide for singers, songwriters, bands, producers, and self-publishers, and will at the Hal Leonard Book on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. to tell you all about it. Check out the video below for more details!

00145992In order to achieve success in today’s music industry, artists must first do a great deal of work on their own. Learning the required skills can take years of real-life experience, and hiring personal coaches, studio professionals, and consultants can be costly. But now, for the first time, there’s an invaluable resource to help you meet these challenges.

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.

Also included is a link to a DVD master class, insiders’ stories and anecdotes, helpful tips, creative exercises, celebrity interviews, and all the practical expertise necessary to develop a successful music career. Five Star Music Makeover is a complete and practical career guide – a resource that transforms artists from good to great.

Predictions for the music industry: Part 2

Bobby Borg, author of Business Basics for Musicians, is back for Part Two of predictions for the music industry! This time, they focus on artist branding, live performances, and new products that might evolve for musical artists. Check them out below and let us know what you think!


00139915Music isn’t going anywhere – we dance to it, graduate to it, and get married to it. But one thing is for sure, the music industry will continue to change and grow. As we head into the bold new musical landscape, indie musicians must keep their eyes on the future.

1. Shifting demographics mainstreamed (Dan Kimpel, Music Journalist)

In making predictions about the music industry in 2020, I envision that the topography of the music landscape will be much more inclusive of artists who are representative of the shifting population demographics.

I believe that Latin artists, communicating in English, Spanish, and “Spanglish,” will be mainstreamed, and that Asian-American singers, bands and producers will become major creative forces. Songwriters will continue to bond together into “writing camps” and will exert an ever-greater influence as shapers of talent and as arbiters and producers of content. Mixers and remixers will become more dominant, as Electronic Dance Music (EDM) continues to unite the globe through worldwide anthems.

What will never change is the power of motivated, forward-thinking creators to configure music to challenge, change, and inspire the lives of listeners.

2. A focus on exciting music – not the latest technical trends (Mike Gormley, LA Personal Management; former manager of the Bangles, Oingo Boingo, and Danny Elfman)

While the focus in the music business has been on the latest technological trends and delivery platforms, innovative, great music will always be the future and true savior of the industry, whether it be the year 2020 or 2025. When jazz arrived on the scene, it was controversial, exciting, and real – as was rock, rap, and EDM. It propelled the music industry forward and gave it life. But what’s next?

The year 2020 will be marked by a new direction in music that shakes up the world once again and puts the focus back on the art and the talented creators, and not just on technology. Those artists who create something unique will thrive.

3. Extended product lines and stronger brands (Fred Croshal, Croshal Entertainment Group, LLC)

In 2020, music will be consumed virtually everywhere – on platforms that are seen today and others that have not yet been envisioned.

To survive, musicians – more than ever – will have to embrace this technology, but they must also realize that music and the distribution and sales of it will only be a one part of the their revenue pie (and perhaps even the smallest piece).
 
Artists will have to extend far beyond just selling recordings (streams, downloads, CD, vinyl, or whatever new format is discovered), hitting the road, and selling merchandise. Artists will need to grow their product offerings into licensing, sponsorships, production, co-writing, acting, modeling, restaurant franchising, investing, directing, educating, and other new creative ventures unknown today in order to survive and thrive in the new music business.
 
Thus, in 2020, protecting the artist’s true vision, values, integrity, authenticity, and overall brand image is paramount. Those who understand marketing will grow brands stronger than ever – relating to target markets and engaging fans on a far more personal level than they are doing now.  

Long gone are the days of the “mass” broad stroke mentality and narrow mindedness in marketing artists. It’s a new world today and it will continue to evolve in 2020 and beyond. The marketing savvy artist who can grow with it all will thrive.


Read the whole thing over at DiscMakers!

 

Predictions for the music industry: Part 1

Bobby Borg, author of Business Basics for Musicians, shares some insight on what the music business will be like in the future in this two-part interview at DiscMasters. No one really knows what the future holds and the music business and the technology surrounding it are constantly changing.  Here are Bobby’s thoughts. Check them out below!  (We’ll past Part 2 next week!)


00139915 What can we expect in the year 2020? Let’s see what a group of attorneys, music publishers, managers, and music industry entrepreneurs had to say about this. Enjoy.

1. Artists are more like tech start-ups and less like wandering minstrels (Greg Victoroff, Esq.)

In the brave new world of pop music in 2020, writers, musicians, vocalists and producers will be more similar to engineers and inventors, creating new apps and software. For those who innovate and monetize, there is vast potential. For musicians who aspire to just be record label “employees,” income from artist’s royalties alone will be insufficient to support a full-time career. To succeed in the world of digital music now and in 2020, musical artists need to think of themselves more like tech start-ups, and less like wandering minstrels.

2. Success that’s earned on your own: DIY style (Don Gorder, Chair and Founder, Music Business/Management Department, Berklee College of Music)

In 2020, as it is today, the marketplace will be overcrowded with music. There will still be the select superstar whose songs reach the masses through the efforts of a support team, but the vast majority of musicians will need to continue taking on a DIY approach to their careers to get seen and heard.

The good news is that technology will continue to advance and make doing it yourself even more possible than it is today. Successful do-it-yourselfers will continue to leverage the latest social media platforms and analytic tools to connect with their fans and fund their projects, partner with product and service companies for branding and advertising campaigns, license their music for film, television, games, ads, etc., leverage relationships with electronic media as part of their marketing strategy, and book and promote their tours and concerts – all with an ultimate goal of getting their music to the ears of the curators of the outlets for consumption, which will exist in business models that are still emerging.

Cutting through the clutter will continue to be a challenge, but great music combined with an entrepreneurial spirit and a lot of hard work will be the winning formula.

3. Affordable DIY services that capture new revenue streams (Tony van Veen, CEO, Disc Makers & CD Baby)

Many music industry trends over the last years have not been favorable toward artists and songwriters: we’ve gone from selling CDs for $10 to downloads for 99¢ to streams for under half a penny. While royalties in general will improve, it has been more difficult than ever for musicians to monetize their music.

As a consequence, independent artists and songwriters will continue to become more and more conscious of how to leverage their intellectual property into alternate revenue streams. In addition to the companies that already exist, you will see many new businesses offering affordable services to DIY artists to capture performance royalties, Internet royalties, mechanical royalties, YouTube royalties, sync licensing for film, TV, games, and commercials. Each of these incremental revenue streams may be small, but in the aggregate they will become a needle-moving part of the artist’s revenue mix.

 

Read the whole thing over at DiscMakers!

 

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