Four Reasons Talent Isn’t Enough | MusicWorld® | BMI.com

By Cliff Goldmacher

It takes a combination of factors including patience, perseverance and, most importantly an undeniable work ethic to rise above the masses of songwriters all hoping to get their songs out in the world.

I’d like to begin this article by saying that I’m not a cynic. On the contrary, I’m a big believer that if your dream is to have success with your music, then, in time, you will find that success. However, there are rarely shortcuts in our line of work and being a gifted songwriter, in my experience, simply isn’t enough to guarantee success. It takes a combination of factors including patience, perseverance and, most importantly an undeniable work ethic to rise above the masses of songwriters all hoping to get their songs out in the world.

1. There are lots of talented people.

If I’ve learned anything after living in Nashville and New York City over the past almost twenty years, it’s that at a certain point, talent is the least common denominator. In the big music cities, the pool of gifted songwriters is deeper and wider than we can possibly imagine. This is a good thing. It gives us ample opportunities to learn from each other and improve, but the flip side of this is that talent is only a starting point. It’s all of the other things you do that separate you from the pack.

2. Talent is something that you’re given. It’s up to you to develop it.

There’s a reason talent is also referred to as a “gift.” The spark that makes us creative and intuitively wired is something that we don’t choose, we just get it. But just because you’ve got a gift doesn’t mean that you don’t need to develop it or spend time understanding it. That part is actually work. When you do the work, you will develop the ability to turn something that was unpredictable into something you can do consistently in order to make a living.

3. You’re running a business.

Being a talented songwriter without taking the time to understand the music business is the equivalent of a company that makes a great product that no one will ever hear about because they have no marketing department. In other words, writing the songs is just the tip of the iceberg. You need to remember that like any business, you’ve got to know the landscape, who the major players are and set specific goals along the way in order to get to the next level. I’m not saying this is easy, but I am saying it’s essential.

4. Work ethic is everything.

The dangerous myth about the music business is that it’s an exciting, creative world where people make beautiful music, go to parties, and one day they wake up and their song is on the radio. The gritty, unglamorous truth is that just like in any business, there are mundane, yet necessary, things you have to do day in and day out in order to get your music out in the world. Having a solid work ethic and a willingness to get up every day and work towards your goal will eventually get you there. It’s not always clear along the way how these little things help, but they do add up and, in the end, make all the difference. There is some glamour and excitement in the music world, but there’s a lot of uninspired work that needs to happen as well. Make sure you’re prepared to do that stuff, too.

Conclusion

Talent is a wonderful thing and should never be taken for granted. I’m here to remind you to enjoy your gift for the amazing thing that it is. However, this talent is only one part of a bigger set of conditions that need to be met in order for you to successfully get your songs out in the world and make a living doing it.

via Four Reasons Talent Isn’t Enough | MusicWorld® | BMI.com.

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Songwriter Blog: How to Build Strong Relationships with Venues | MusicWorld® | BMI.com

By Drew Kennedy

For the do-it-yourself singer/songwriter, booking shows and all of the additional duties that come with playing live gigs usually fall on the shoulder of one person.

Who? You already know the answer to that. It’s you.

So how do you do it? The answer can be summed up in one word: relationships.

Just as you’ve been diligently manning your band’s Facebook page and crafting amusing Twitter quips to jettison out into the vast spaces of the internet to keep fans engaged and on their toes, so too must you keep in mind one of the most important sets of relationships that you can develop in this what-have-you-done-for-me-lately business: the venue owners.

Some large venues can afford to employ talent-buyers, and others rely on a manager to handle the entertainment schedule, but more often than not, an up-and-coming band will be dealing with the owners of the venues in which they play. For lack of a better term, let’s simply refer to each of the people mentioned above as “the owner,” since regardless of financial stake in the game, they’re the ones who are giving you the date or paying you your earnings each night.

Here are some tips about how to connect – and stay connected – with these important members of an independent singer/songwriter’s network.

via Songwriter Blog: How to Build Strong Relationships with Venues | MusicWorld® | BMI.com.

Artist Endorsement Deals – dos and don’ts

 

 

by MICHAEL GALLANT on AUGUST 10, 2012 ·
Read more: Artist Endorsement Deals – dos and don’ts http://blog.discmakers.com/2012/08/artist-endorsement-deals-dos-and-donts/?utm_source=DMAudio&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=EA1234#ixzz25WE6TMRT

Visit any music store and you can’t miss the posters — “Rock Star X proudly plays Company Y’s guitars.” Or crack nearly any music trade magazine and you’ll see ads with well-known keyboardists, horn players, producers, and beyond singing the praises of the instruments and tools of their choosing.

Such are the most visible manifestations of sponsorships and endorsement deals, symbiotic relationships between companies and music creators who use, and help promote, their products. And while many endorsement deals may seem like the stuff of high-visibility, world-touring acts, they can be helpful tools for a wide range of indie musicians as well.

Here are some thoughts from artists and industry professionals to help demystify the world of endorsement deals and help you figure out which options, if any, are best for you and your music.

Know the nature of the deal
An endorsement deal is a partnership, plain and simple, where each party does certain things to help the other — and themselves.

In an endorsement relationship, artists often receive goods for free or reduced price, as well as “promotion for benefit of the artist’s career and the stature of the manufacturer,” says Randy Fuchs, who coordinates endorsement relationships for brands like Nord, Kurzweil, PreSonus, and many others through his company Artist Relations.

“Our relationship with Steinway is simple and straightforward,” says Elizabeth Joy Roe, one half of the virtuosic Anderson and Roe piano duo, which has an endorsement relationship with the revered piano maker. “We show our commitment to Steinway by performing on their beautiful pianos, and Steinway provides pianos for our use — concerts, recordings, etc. — whenever possible.”

In short, an endorsement relationship should feel like a win for all involved. Speaking of which…

Love the products, and the company, you endorse
Fuchs warns that you should only endorse a product that you know well, use regularly, and absolutely adore. “Companies don’t want musicians looking to chalk up another endorsement,” he says. “They’re looking for advocates who love and use their products, people who will go out and proselytize for their brands.”

For Anderson and Roe, the endorsement relationship with Steinway stemmed from just that sort of love of the instrument. “We don’t view our relationship with Steinway as ‘corporate’ because it feels like the most natural and sincere choice to use Steinway pianos,” says Roe. “Both of us have a deep personal connection to these instruments, and we are proud to be associated with such an iconic brand.”

Roe points out that the downsides to endorsement relationships often come when the company lacks ethical standards, or if the artist doesn’t have “an authentic conviction in the value of the brand.”

“Thankfully, this has not been the case for us,” she continues. “Steinway creates pianos of superlative craftsmanship, which allows us to channel our artistry to the fullest.”

In his own work, Fuchs walks a similar walk, encouraging his artists to do the same. “I love the brands we work for, and we’ll spend time with people who don’t know those brands so they get to love our gear, too,” he says. “I believe that Nord and Kurzweil make amazing keyboards, that Seymour Duncan makes great pickups, and that all the other brands that I work for are truly outstanding. I’m proud and honored to work with them — and I’d sincerely hope that any artist embarking on an endorsement deal feels the same way.”

Greg Anderson, Roe’s duo partner, further recommends that you make sure that you and any company you partner with see eye to eye when it comes to musical and business goals. “In an endorsement relationship, make certain your priorities are aligned,” he says. “In our situation, we as artists want to sound our best, and Steinway, as an instrument manufacturer, wants their pianos to sound excellent. The alignment of priorities means we’re naturally helping one another.”

According to Anderson, anything short of true fandom towards the company you partner with can have negative effects. “Audiences can sense insincerity in a heartbeat, and endorsing a product for the wrong reasons will destroy your artistic credibility,” he says. “You don’t want your listeners distracted by any lack of integrity. You want them focused on your performance!”

Know what companies are looking for
“An endorsement deal is not an artist getting a product without responsibilities in return,” says Fuchs. “When you distill it all down, the ultimate purpose of an endorsement is to help grow a brand. If the artist doesn’t qualify to help grow the brand, then the manufacturer wants that non-qualifying musician to purchase his or her gear from a local dealer or favorite Internet dealer. What they do want is to have an endorser promote their brand such that a weekend warrior would want to go to their retailer and purchase their products.”

Fuchs sometimes gets endorsement inquiry phone calls from artists who may be amazing musicians indeed, but haven’t yet attained the career momentum necessary to fulfill their end of an endorsement relationship — a.k.a., bringing visibility and prestige to the company in a meaningful way.

“Even if someone is a brilliant songwriter or player,” says Fuchs, “if he only has 200 views on YouTube and doesn’t play any live shows, he’s not going to help a company sell their product,” says Fuchs. “If that same player joined a band, started playing gigs, and started to build a following — or even put together something wonderfully unique online that people could gather around — that’s far more compelling. If he’s able to get people to love what he does, that’s a powerful message.

“It’s more important to build your career and fan base than to spend energy at the beginning of your career seeking an endorsement. I am the guy who always likes to say ‘yes’ but I need to have a compelling reason to do so.”

Do you feel like your band is in the right position to get an endorsement relationship rolling? “The next step is to reach out to the company and ask for somebody in artist relations,” says Fuchs. “The dialog can begin from there.” Similarly, if you attend NAMM, AES, Musicmesse, or other music manufacturer trade shows, showing up in person at a company’s booth and introducing yourself never hurts; even if you won’t be ready to approach the manufacturer of your dreams for another several years, having a friendly face within the organization can be a great boon when it comes time to talk business.

Don’t be pushy
Just like many aspects of the music business, landing and maintaining a strong endorsement relationship has a lot to do with good will, positive energy, and enthusiasm. In other words, don’t be a jerk.

“I’ve seen some guys say things like, ‘If you don’t give me an endorsement, I’ll go with your competitor,’” says Fuchs. “Blackmail and threats don’t work. Ultimatums like that tell me that you don’t care about my company’s product, and that’s not what a company is looking for.” Fuchs likens approaching a company to forge an endorsement relationship to trying to find a date. “If you tell a girl that if she doesn’t date you, you’re going to date the girl next to her, chances are it’s not going to work,” he says, laughing. A better approach? “Find a potential partner that you’re really drawn to and want to be with, start talking, and build the relationship from there.”

Negotiate specifics that work for you
Not every endorsement relationship will look the same, Fuchs advises, so be sure to review each agreement carefully. “In addition to using the manufacturer’s goods, an artist will generally be responsible for providing a photo and a quote or some kind of testimonial about the instrument or product,” he says. “There might be video involved and working with social media to spread the word, or there might be the requirement to include a logo on your website, invite a dealer backstage, or possibly do an in-store clinic or two, depending on the band.”

According to Roe, her duo’s arrangement with Steinway entails the usage of Steinway pianos at their concerts and appearances in master classes at Steinway dealerships around the country (when schedules allow). “Steinway is basically responsible for providing instruments at our concerts,” she continues — though beyond that, the company has made its historic Queens, New York factory available to the duo for a music video shoot as well.

One area worth particular attention is anything that specifies which instruments from competing companies the musician can and cannot use in public. “I would never tell a painter to only use one paintbrush,” says Fuchs. “I believe that an artist has a right to use multiple brands, as long as they’re using my keyboard, for example, for the majority of gigs, and they do not appear in the ad of a competitor.” Not all companies will necessarily feel the same way, though, so be sure to check the fine print before signing anything, and make sure that whatever you agree to does not compromise your ability to deliver the best music possible.

At the end of any discussion, a written agreement, lasting either one or two years or in perpetuity, will likely be involved, says Fuchs. Whatever the term, be ready to review carefully — and consider showing the document to a lawyer as well.

Watch what you say
“While it should be obvious to anyone in an endorsement relationship to watch one’s words and avoid competitor’s products, extra care must be made in today’s hyperactive social media landscape,” says Anderson. “You never know when a ‘mistake’ will go viral.”

If there’s ever a moment where you’re unsure about how to proceed — a certain venue only has a competitor’s instrument or amp, for example, and the gig is being streamed live on the Web — your contact at the endorsing company should be able to help you figure things out. And if worse comes to worse, review your original written agreement for clarification.

Anderson further warns that, while it’s important to speak positively about an instrument or company that you endorse, don’t go overboard. “We do our best to truly champion the product at hand as often as feels natural,” he says.

Build your career and let the endorsement deals come
According to Fuchs, the best way to attract endorsement relationships is to build the most vibrant, robust, and exciting career possible. “Sometimes artists will spend a lot of energy trying to get an endorsement when they should be spending that time putting together a street team, handling social media, rehearsing, making connections, playing gigs that they have to travel for, working on performance and composing skills, and so on. If you get popular, endorsements will come.”

Fuchs affirms that his company forges endorsement relationships with plenty of up-and-coming artists — yet regardless of whether a band is selling out small clubs or packing stadiums, a true dedication to one’s career is a must, he says.

Look beyond music companies
While many endorsement opportunities exist with music manufacturers, artists of all genres and levels of popularity continue to partner with beverage and snack food manufacturers, restaurant chains, shoe and clothing companies, and beyond — often in highly creative ways.

Electronic artist Moldover, for example, has brought his interactive Octamasher music installation to numerous events sponsored by Red Bull energy drink. “They were looking for innovative and interesting ways to promote their products,” he says. “They wanted current, forward-thinking art, so it was a good match. They helped me develop the Octamasher, share it with new audiences, and earn money doing it. In return, they got to be part of something completely new. They won cool points.”

Regardless of whether the company you want to work with sells energy drinks or hacky sacks, the advice listed above still applies. “Find a brand that stands for something you can get behind, or a company with a philosophy that resonates with you,” says Moldover. “Every company has, somewhere within it, a one-paragraph summary about who they are and what they do. If you read it and identify with it, that’s what you’re looking for.”

Moldover also advises seeking out individuals at your target company who see eye to eye with you and can advocate for you and your music. “If you don’t have a personal connection as well as a philosophical one, it’s hard to get anywhere,” he says.

 

Mi2N.com – Overall Impact Of Unlicensed P2P File-Sharing Is Negative

The majority of research undertaken shows that overall unlicensed P2P file-sharing has a negative impact on recorded music sales. Unlicensed P2P file-sharing is also a major obstacle to a thriving digital music market as it does not reward artists, creators or investors in music. Like other forms of piracy, it provides unfair competition to an enormous range of legitimate sites and services that music consumers have access to across the world.

IFPI has noted the American Assembly’s Copy Culture Survey, undertaken with “support from a research award by Google”, which has been trailed in some media outlets and could lead to some misunderstandings. The report’s author, Joe Karaganis, writes that: “US P2P users have larger collections than non-P2P users (roughly 37% more). And predictably, most of the difference comes from higher levels of ‘downloading for free’ and ‘copying from friends/family.’ But some of it also comes from significantly higher legal purchases of digital music than their non-P2P using peers-around 30% higher among US P2P users.”

While previous studies have shown that some unlicensed P2P network users also pay for music, and a few are serious fans who pay a lot, they are far outnumbered by the bulk of unlicensed P2P network users who pay little or nothing for music. Research by The NPD Group during 2010 in the US found that just 35 per cent of P2P users also paid for music downloads. P2P users spent US$42 per year on music on average, compared with US$76 among those who paid to download and US$126 among those that paid to subscribe to a music service. The overall impact of P2P use on music purchasing is negative, despite a small proportion of P2P users spending a lot on music. That finding was corroborated by a study in Europe by Jupiter Research in 2009.

A more recent review of studies on the impact of piracy, Assessing the Academic Literature Regarding the Impact of Media Piracy on Sales, by Michael D. Smith and Rahul Telang of Carnegie Mellon University, concluded that the vast majority of these studies found that piracy harms media sales.

via Mi2N.com – Overall Impact Of Unlicensed P2P File-Sharing Is Negative.

How to Promote Your Music with SoundCloud | DIY Musician

Since CD Baby enables you to make all the music you distribute through us available on SoundCloud with the push of a button, I thought it’d be a good idea to list some of the ways you can use SoundCloud to promote and share your music across the web.

10 ways to promote your music with SoundCloud

1. Share your music publicly-

SoundCloud was designed to be the simplest way to store your tracks in one place and “push them out” to social networks, blogs, etc. You can easily share single tracks or “sets” (a playlist of songs that all appear in one waveform player) to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and more– or embed the SoundCloud player manually! Just click the “share” button on the player to get started sharing your music with the world.

When it comes to fan engagement, there are dozens of possibilities for sharing tracks and sets on SoundCloud: ask for feedback on alternate mixes, encourage your fans to create their own “perfect setlists,” post an untitled track and ask for fans to comment with their suggestions for the song name, etc.

2. Make it easy for bloggers to access your tunes-

SoundCloud makes it easier for you to do your own digital PR. Send your tracks to bloggers and journalists; you control whether they can download the tracks or simply stream them.

via How to Promote Your Music with SoundCloud | DIY Musician.

Vocal Health Basics – How to Properly Care for Your Voice

It seems that hardly a month goes by where a top singer isn’t forced to interrupt a tour, take a break, or undergo a medical procedure due to problems with their voice. Vocal health is often taken for granted, but once problems develop, they can stop a singer dead in his or her tracks, and in some cases require surgery and a lengthy post-surgery period of rest and recovery.

While we don’t normally think of singers as world-class athletes, some medical professionals are making the case that the demands put on one’s voice when singing one to three hours a night is as intense as those made by an Olympic marathon runner on his body. Additional factors such as nutrition, smoking, drug use, noisy environments, and proper voice training (or the lack of it) all play a role in a singer’s ability to hit the stage night after night and perform at their best.

Like many health-related issues, prevention is much easier and less expensive than having to undergo surgery, so it’s important to understand how to keep your voice in good health.

Superstars Losing Their Voices

During the last half of 2011, three major recording artists dropped out of circulation due to vocal health issues. Each developed a slightly different voice problem that required rest and eventually surgery.

Arguably, the most valuable voice in pop music at the moment, that of the talented British pop singer Adele, whose sophomore album 21 has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide, was silenced when she was required to cancel seventeen US dates mid-tour and have laser surgery due to the condition of her vocal cords. While she is expected to make a full recovery, her condition is just one example of a high profile artist facing problems maintaining their vocal mechanism. Adele’s condition, reported in the press as two hemorrhages of the vocal cords (the terms vocal cords and vocal folds are often used interchangeably), was likely exacerbated by the stresses of touring.

via Vocal Health Basics – How to Properly Care for Your Voice.

Intellectual Property for Artists: Copyrights, Trademarks and Protecting What You Create | CLARK, KRAUSS & COLANERI

As an artist, whether you create music, drama, literature or art, you want your product protected. You don’t want someone else taking your work without your permission. You may be afraid of “putting it out there” for fear of it being taken and used by others.

That’s where intellectual property, or “IP,” comes in. IP comes in three forms: copyrights, trademarks and patents. Patents protect inventions, which is for another time. This article addresses copyrights and trademarks.

Protecting the products of your creativity need not be very expensive or time-consuming. This article explains what IP is and briefly illustrates how copyrights and trademarks can be used as tools to protect works within the entertainment industry.

Note: This article only briefly touches on a field of law that is very extensive and complex. It is meant to be an introduction containing general information, not legal advice. Please consult an attorney if you have specific questions about your unique situation.

Below are the basics on copyrights and trademarks: what they are and why you should care.

via Intellectual Property for Artists: Copyrights, Trademarks and Protecting What You Create | CLARK, KRAUSS & COLANERI.