Blog Archives

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!

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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.

Howard Massey on Pensado’s Place

Howard Massey, author of The Great British Recording Studios, was featured on the 254th episode of Pensado’s Place! In this episode Howard Massey speaks about Abbey Road, EMI, and many other groundbreaking music operations of the early and mid 20th century and emphasizes the importance of historical knowledge in addressing the modern music environment. Watch the video below to learn more!

00333513From the time that Thomas Alva Edison invented the phonograph in the 1870s, music has become an integral part of everyday life.   Nine decades later, the “British Invasion” spearheaded what was inarguably one of the most important and creative periods in the development of recorded music.

In The Great British Recording Studios (November 2015, Hal Leonard Books, $34.99), Howard Massey tells the story of the iconic British facilities where many of the most important recordings of all time were made. The first comprehensive account of British recording studios ever published, it is endorsed by and was written with the cooperation of the British APRS (Association of Professional Recording Services, headed by Sir George Martin) to document the history of the major British studios of the 1960s and 1970s and to help preserve their legacy.

The Great British Recording Studios surveys the era’s most significant British studios, including Abbey Road, Olympic, and Trident, with complete descriptions of each studio’s physical facilities and layout, along with listings of equipment and key personnel, as well as details about its best-known technical innovations and a discography of the major recordings done there. Seamlessly interweaving narrative text with behind-the-scenes anecdotes from dozens of internationally renowned record producers and a wealth of photographs – many never published before – Massey brings to life the most famous British studios and the people who created magic there. His “Stories from the Studio” take readers behind the scenes of the making of some of the world’s best-loved records, including The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me,” and the Rolling Stones’ Beggars Banquet.

Meticulously researched and organized, The Great British Recording Studios will inform and inspire students of the recording arts, music professionals, casual music fans, and anyone interested in the acoustically pristine facilities, groundbreaking techniques, and innovative artists and technicians that have shaped the course of modern recording.

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!!

Meet Deke Sharon!

If you haven’t heard of Deke Sharon, then you will now! Deke Sharon, author of the book A Cappella Arranging, and vocal producer in the movie Pitch Perfect, is making waves over in New Zealand and pretty much everywhere else in the world. A Cappella became cool again with the help of  hit movies Pitch Perfect, Pitch Perfect 2, and with TV shows such as ‘The Sing-Off’. Deke was recently in New Zealand to help out a local choir group, click on the link below to learn more!

Click Here!

00333442The world loves to sing. From barbershop groups to madrigal choirs to vocal rock bands, there are tens of thousands of vocal groups in America. The success of mainstream television programs such as Glee and The Sing-Off not only demonstrates the rising popularity of vocal music; it reflects how current trends inspire others to join in. In addition, through various online and on-the-ground vocal music societies, the “a cappella market” is well defined and well connected. Like singing itself, a cappella is a global phenomenon.

At the heart of every vocal group is the music it performs. This often means writing its own arrangements of popular or traditional songs. This book is the long-awaited definitive work on the subject, wide ranging both in its scope and in its target audience – which spans beginners, music students, and community groups to professional and semi-professional performers, vocal/instrumental songwriters, composers, and producers – providing genre-specific insight on a cappella writing.

The tone of the book is instructive and informative, yet conversational: it is intended to stand alongside any academic publication while remaining interesting and fun. A Cappella Arranging is a good textbook – and a “good read” – for every vocal arranger, whether amateur or professional; every vocal music classroom, and any professional recording studio.


Deke also has an upcoming book called, The Heart of Vocal Harmony, due out in the Fall! We’ll keep you updated!

Remembering George Martin

George Martin, the music producer of the Beatles and one of the most influential producers in music history, has passed away. He was often referred to as ‘the fifth Beatle’ for having discovered the Beatles and producing their records when no one else would. In memory of his passing, below is a foreword that he wrote for the book The Great British Recording Studios.


00-00b-GeorgePress_ForewordAFTER THE SECOND WORLD WAR, England was a battered nation with the hopes of its people at a low ebb. True, no enemy had landed on our shores, but the standard of living and morale were low. Everyone was weary, yearning for a sign of relief from the misery that war had brought. The heavy bombing of major cities like London and Coventry had done more damage to the spirit of the people than any material destruction of their homes and property.

But then, with the coming of the ’50s, music began to lighten the scene. Records gave the young hope, and teenagers bought and swopped records from the USA as well as the homegrown ones. In a pretelevision age, sound was king. And the United States seemed to be the best place in the world for rock ’n’ roll music.

So Britain woke up. Suddenly, good sounds were being made in good studios. Not just from the big boys like EMI and Decca, but also in little independent studios that gave free rein to their clients. We demanded and received better recording facilities. Tables were turned, and our records became the envy of other European nations.

And happily, I was there.

George Martin
November 2014

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‘The Great British Recording Studio’ is featured on Sound on Sound!

In the March issue of Sound on Sound, a leading magazine on music recording technology, Hugh Robjohns reviews Howard Massey’s authoritative The Great British Recording Studios. Read a snippet of the review below, and let us know your thoughts in the comment section!


00333513Anyone with a keen interest in the hey-day of the British music recording industry, from, say, the late 1950s through to the mid 1970s will probably already be familiar with some of Howard Massey’s books, such as Behind The Glass volumes I and II, and Here, There, And Everywhere (a Geoff Emerick biography). Those worthy tomes focus on some of the people involved, but his latest offering, The Great British Recording Studios (Hal Leonard, ISBN 978-1458421975), focuses mainly on the places — it’s a fascinating and commendably detailed book, which provides a wonderful overview of the significant recording studios in London in the ’60s and ’70s, as well as a few noteworthy facilities elsewhere in the UK. Most of these facilities are now long-gone, of course, but Massey has tracked down (with the cooperation of the APRS) many of the managers, maintenance engineers, and recording engineers who built and worked in them, to get their first-hand histories, recollections, stories and trivia.

The introductory chapter discusses the nature of the ‘British sound’ and some of the possible reasons for the distinct character attributed to recordings made in the UK’s leading studios, in comparison with those of the USA. Not surprisingly, the first major studio to be examined in the book is EMI’s Abbey Road, with the text, illustrations and period photographs covering the basic layout and dimensions of the three studios, their acoustic environments and treatments, and the available facilities including echo chambers, mixing consoles, monitors, tape machines, microphones, outboard equipment, and so on. There are also sections on the key personnel involved, as well as a brief discography of some of the major recordings created at the studios, and any significant industry innovations — for this was a time of countless ground-breaking developments in the recording industry. For example, did you know the DI-box concept was invented at Abbey Road?

Jean Ritchie’s Kentuck Mother Goose

Jean Ritchie’s Kentucky Mother Goose

Songs and Stories from My Childhood

by Jean Ritchie with Susan Brumfield


“The Mother of Folk Music,” Jean Ritchie, who died earlier this year, shares family stories, memories, and her favorite songs growing up.


Website

Jean Ritchie’s Kentucky Mother Goose is a collection of songs, rhymes and stories recalled from childhood by the legendary folk singer, who died in June 2015 at the age of 92.

The youngest of 14 children in a singing family from Viper, Ky., she grew up surrounded by the ballads, hymns, play-party songs, singing games and dulcimer tunes that formed the Ritchie Family repertoire. Toward the end of her life, returning to the earliest memories of the songs and the stories surrounding them, Ritchie joined forces with coauthor Susan Brumfield to create this charming anthology.

Jean Ritchie’s Kentucky Mother Goose includes a CD, featuring 50 of Ritchie’s recordings, including those of her singing with famed collector Alan Lomax in the 1940s and ’50s and for Brumfield in the 2000s. The book itself has reader-friendly transcriptions of the songs and rhymes, enlightening notes on history and performance, and related stories that colorfully evoke Ritchie’s Appalachian childhood.

This richly illustrated volume also features photos from Richies’s family collection, and by her husband, photographer and filmmaker George Pickow, as well as never-before-published drawings by beloved artist and children’s author, Maurice Sendak.

Full of Ritchie’s spirit and a delight for the eye and ear alike, Jean Ritchie’s Kentucky Mother Goose is both a fascinating window into a musical icon’s beginnings and a fitting tribute to the memory of a true American treasure.

 

$29.99
6.0″ x 9.0″
360 pages
9781480330641
BackBeat Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard Corporation

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

JEAN RITCHIE collected, composed, and recorded a wealth of folk music over her long career. She released dozens of albums, performed with artists such as Pete Seeger, written songs recorded by legends from Judy Collins to Johnny Cash, and inspired and influenced generations of musicians. She died in June 2015 at the age of 91.

SUSAN BRUMFIELD is the author of Hot Peas and Barley-O: Children’s Songs and Games from Scotland and Over the Garden Wall: Children’s Songs and Games from England, as well as First, We Sing! Kodály-Inspired Teaching for the Music Classroom. She teaches music education at Texas Tech University and lives in Lubbock, Texas.

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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/.

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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