Category Archives: Music Industry

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!

 

Bobby Borg on Break the Business Podcast!

Bobby Borg, author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musician, visits the Break the Business Podcast to talk about the steps a musician can take on his or her own to carve out a place in the music industry! Click on the link below to learn more about what he had to say, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

>>LISTEN<<

00124611Written by a professional musician for other musicians, Music Marketing for the DIY Musician 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.

This book is the culmination of the author’s 25 years in the trenches as a musician and entrepreneur, and over a decade in academic and practical research involving thousands of independent artists and marketing experts from around the world. The goal is to help musical artists take control of their own destiny, save money and time, and eventually draw the full attention of top music industry professionals. It’s ultimately about making music that matters – and music that gets heard!

Bobby Borg on The Jazz Spotlight

Bobby Borg, author of Business Basics for Musicians: the Complete Handbook from Start to Success, was on The Jazz Spotlight Podcast and talked with Yannick Ilunga on a wide range of topincs, including the importance of learning the business side of your music career, how to set (and accomplish) goals, and the future of the industry. Click on the link below to hear the whole interview!

>>LISTEN<<

00139915There 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.

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.

 

Michael Beinhorn on Chandler Limited Part 2

Michael Beinhorn, has been a record producer for 30 years and he is the author of Unlocking Creativity: A Producer’s Guide to Making Music and Art, in which he reveals how to deal with the interpersonal issues record producers face when they work with artists one on one or in small groups.  He also is the subject of a three-part interview at chandlerlimited.com. You can read to Part 1 herePart 2 is below.  Enjoy!


00122314

This is part two of our ‘Featured Artist’ conversation with the celebrated music producer Michael Beinhorn, covering production concepts. Part III of our Michael Beinhorn series will break down the Courtney Love Wedding Day EP sessions.

If you’re interested in Michael Beinhorn beyond this article series, you can visit his website, or dive into his recently released book- ‘Unlocking Creativity: A Producer’s Guide to Making Music and Art.’

CL: It seems like you show up to a production, happily waiting to be surprised by what will develop, rather than force-feeding a ‘Producer’s perspective’ onto the project, i.e. there’s not a specific cookie-cutter template when working with you. However, you do have a production methodology, correct?

MB: Yes, there is always a methodology. First and foremost, I like to insinuate myself in a recording project, not only as someone with a lot of experience, but as a collaborator. I feel more at ease with this than the timeworn stereotype of producer-as-supreme-deity on a recording session. On one hand, I see the recording process as a series of creative tasks (as I’ve laid out here- “Reframing the Recording Paradigm“) that, when performed in an appropriate sequence, will yield the very best iteration of an artist’s work. At the same time, I visualize what the project feels (or “looks”) like conceptually. That may sound kind of abstract, but I always get an image in my mind’s eye of a project. I also like to treat the recording process as creative experience and the result of everyone working on the project, collaborating with one another to make something special and unique. These facets are mainly determined by the individuals involved and the music they are making. The varying degrees of those parameters, combined with a different cast of characters on every recording insures that each will be different from one another.

CL: Are you profiling the artist on multiple levels from the get go in order establish their custom production program tailored for them?

MB: From one perspective, you can say that. From another perspective, I’m learning about them so I can help them maximize their abilities in the best interests of the recording project.

CL: Would you say your process, though abstract, is hands-on when it comes to contributing artistically to the production?

MB: Yes, very hands-on. It’s more fun that way.

CL: When contributing to the production on an artistic level there’s a balance you have to find where you’re enhancing and not overshadowing the artist correct?

MB: Yes, that requires sensitivity and paying attention to the immediate landscape. If you’re sensitive to your own work dynamic and simultaneously, what the mission of the project you’re producing is, you can tell right away when you’ve crossed the line and are letting your ego run rampant. It’s imperative to always maintain priorities and let them be a deciding factor in every decision that gets made. A lot of really good ideas get tossed out, but the ones that stay must always be the most appropriate to what the project requires.

You can read the rest of Part to at ChandlerLimited.com!

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