Being an industry disruptor is not as sexy as it sounds even if headlines everywhere infer otherwise. Forbes, The Guardian, Equities.com, and others talk about the disruption of industries from two points of view. From the disrupted: “Oh, s**t! We’re f***ed! What do we do?” From the disruptor: “Here we come. Watch out, World. Early investors who managed to hang on are so gonna wanna kiss our feet.” In all these instances, disrupted and disruptor are sexy because of having big bucks and making even bigger promises, teams of under-30-somethings roller blading from one fancy office to another as they read their quarterly stock option reports, and planned IPOs or looming layoffs making them beg for government bailout. (Note the cover to the left: I’m surprised the art director didn’t throw on a cowboy hat and snake skin cowboy boots and have him twirl a lasso the graphic designer would have made Continue reading Being an industry disruptor is not as sexy as it sounds.
A young man and woman discuss their expectations about promises made to them. Will our young man see the light? Will our young woman convince him of his worth? Stay tuned for the next exciting installments of “What Is He Drinking?”
What true sacred cows exist in the music business are few and far between, yet there are many who are calling themselves that and fooling a lot of people. One asks about the newest sacred cow on the block — Aggregators. Are they, in point of fact, the new pyramid schemes wherein a vast majority of the power and money flows to the top with some coins trickling down to keep the underlings from screaming too loudly? Are they playing fast and loose with others’ properties, money, careers, and, carried to its logical conclusion, their lives? As with all pyramid schemes, there are levels of earning potential. Those potential levels are held out to newbies as accessible if one does things the approved way. In truth, these levels are not accessible. As the old saying in the music business goes, “It isn’t who Continue reading The New Pyramid Scheme
Having read the previous blog, let’s get into it. Your hanky is handy, right? There are a few select investors and international companies whose money is tied up in selling magic snake oil to content creators. What is that snake oil? Let’s see if we can ascertain that from these sample headlines, shall we? “CDs ARE DEAD! ALBUMS ARE PASSE!” “STREAMING IS GOD! SINGLES ARE KING!” When I read an article with those conclusions, I ask myself if that writer has been hired to enthusiastically encourage those beliefs or if he is a dupe. Moving on. Suffice it to say, I am not the only one calling BS on those headlines. The problem though, is something I run into time after time after time of consultation sessions with artists, DIY/Indies, and singer/songwriters, and when talking with other content creators/owners/marketers in the music business: Content creators and performers sign up and upload everything without reading the contracts. “But, Angela,” they whine, Continue reading Which are you? Part of the Solution or Part of the Problem?
Almost four years ago I began researching how to make money in the music business. My friend said, “Oh, it’s easy to make a million in the music business. First, you start with a two million…” Can I get a bada-bing-bada-boom drum roll, please? The problem is: he wasn’t far from wrong. Which of course was a conclusion and methodology I could not accept since I did not have one million, much less two. Anyway, as I was looking at income streams in the music business, everybody — and by everybody I mean everybody — kept telling me that the future was now: Spinning, physical media, and albums are out. Streaming, singles, and downloads are in. There’s one thing about me you should know: I do not make a business decision based upon what everybody says. So I began digging into the music business and asking: Who. What. When. Where. And though listed Continue reading Which is being sold: Songs or Delivery System?
Get the book by Angela K. Durden by Clicking Here Listing your song with your performing rights organization (BMI, ASCAP, or SESAC) or SoundExchange.com, does not mean the copyright has been registered. Performing rights organizations (PRO’s) are not agents for Copyright.gov. But where does a copyright begin? Not at registration, that’s for sure. Instead, copyright begins the moment you put your idea into a tangible form. Registration of your song with both the government and with your PRO should only be done in these instances: When the lyrics are final, register your copyright with the government When the song has been recorded, mastered, and is ready for release, register the master of your recording. But these are only part of what you need to know. You can pay Angela a lot of money for her time and have a phone conversation, or you can get her book for a much lower price and find Continue reading Registering Your Copyright
Friends have been sending me a link that tells the story about a guy “you’ve never heard of”, but seems to live in some northern, cold, European country (where the furniture is sleek), and who worked his tail off (as well he should), and for the past twenty years has written ALL the worlds biggest hits. First of all, no, he has not written all the worlds biggest hits, though he has written quite a few. Okay. Second of all, yay for him. I would love that to happen to me, too. It’s called monetizing. By now, though, you know me. So when I get to reading such a story I also get to thinking about the subtext and I wonder why my friends are sending it to me. Do they want me to think that with hard work and application to my fledgling talent, there could go I? Did Continue reading Subtexts-Part One: Should I Give Up?
Anyone in power is there by virtue of two things. One: The people entrust them with doing what’s best. Or, two: Brutal application of force of law. Power to the people is not an idle concept. That being said, in the music business, the system that now exists came to be in bits and pieces. Each bit, each piece, was put in place at various times. Some were put there to protect content creators and were welcomed by them. Most were put in place and brutally shoved down the throat of content creators with spoonsful of sugar, i.e., false promises. And when the people have had enough, then the people take the power back. That is happening now in the music business. And what do we see when the people attempt to control their own property? We see the deep pockets frantically — oh, yes, I use the word frantically Continue reading Spoonsful of Sugar
I know a story about a man who does not know I know this about him. I shall not name him nor his industry other than to say it isn’t entertainment related in any way, shape, form, or fashion. The previous blog (Put Your Foot In It: Part One) set the premise for this narrative. I’ll call the man Wesley, though that is not his name. (It is my daddy’s name, though, so I like it.) Wesley was a young man whose father was very well known and had made plenty of money in Industry A. Wesley grew up in that business, but decided he wanted to be in Industry B. He went for it whole hog, too. He bought an existing business that was in a wee bit of trouble and decided, like all people do who have never been in a particular business before, that he had it Continue reading Put Your Foot In It: Part Two
“Angela, there comes a time when you just have to put your foot in it. When you have to say I’m doing it and then do it.” I nodded my head in appreciation because that’s what I’ve been doing these last two years with the music business, writing songs, learning music theory, working on and finishing novels, meeting and greeting, and so, so much more. And this year, 2014, will see me stomping harder than before. I listened to my friend because I’ve seen his struggles the last few years. He, too, is in the music business; has been most of his life, and wearing many hats: Artist, musician, performer, manager, teacher, composer, lyricist, and collaborator. Technology and other changes and economy issues, over which no one has control, made my friend take a hard look at his situation. That hard look made him say the above quoted statement. But Continue reading Put Your Foot In It: Part One
START: Condo Log. Star Date: 6790-0101 (11:02 Ante Meridian Earth-time) Mother ship launch successful. Broke free from gravity forty minutes after zero hour. Future readers of this Condo Log will conclude correctly: Zero hour was at nine ante meridian. (If a reader did not conclude this, then I must wonder if they are familiar with music at all. But I shall save that for private musings in my second memoir.) The Team worked hard in Star Date 6789. There were glitches, missed steps, and stumbles. But, as all excellent teams do, they did not quit, they did not cry Uncle. Instead, they worked hard to put their ship in order, outfit it for the journey, and got themselves in prime shape ready to go to infinity and (dare I say it?) beyond in the next 365 days. But what will by our infinity? What will be our beyond? As my Continue reading Condo Log. Star Date: 6790-0101
http://www.hulu.com/#!watch/62945 Here is the link to watch this documentary. You may need to copy and paste this into your browser. As of this date (December 14, 2013) this link worked. If it does not work for you no matter what you try, email me at a n g e l a d u r d e n @ m s n dot com (don’t put any spaces in the email address) and tell me it doesn’t work and I’ll find another that does and refresh this page.
Ask any car salesperson and they will tell you: They don’t like professional tire kickers. They don’t like professional tire kickers because they waste the salesperson’s and the dealership’s time. These tire kickers go so far as to drive a hard bargain. They make the salesperson and F&I people believe they would buy today…if only the numbers were right. But professional tire kickers lie. They never had any intention of buying a car. It’s all in the game for them. The numbers will never be right. In the music business there are a lot of professional tire kickers. I come from a long history of being in business for myself. I went out and knocked on doors to get my first customers. When they hired me to do something, I did it good and I did it in a timely manner. My customers were not left hanging, wondering where and Continue reading Tire Kickers, Crickets, and Definitives
Labels: Labels should have physical distribution already set up, as well as other deals in place where your music may play (such as radio). 360 deals are common, but unlike not too many years ago, these are now much more realistic, but you should not sign with a label just because they offer you a deal. Take a copy of the contract with you, and see an attorney. Run the numbers mentioned in the contract. Understand your deliverables to them, and their deliverables to you. You are not becoming an employee of the label, and the label does not work for you. The contract formalizes a working agreement for a certain period of time. Labels can own the master recordings and monetize that particular version of your song. NOTE: These days, labels do not develop artists. You are on your own on that. Remember, you are You, Inc. Labels want Continue reading Labels, Managers, Publishers: What Are Their Roles in Your Career?
If you are the music artist, there are certain things you must do if you want to make a profit. One: Know your songs very well in order to – Two: Be able to perform songs live as you – Three: Keep in time with the band and can – Four: Form a connection with your audience that – Five: Will sell merch, CDs, and future tickets. Got that? Of course, here’s the thing, to do all productive movement you must be organized. In order to be organized, you must know what you want to accomplish and how you must accomplish it. Labels, managers, and publishers no longer hold hands. Do you know what each of these do? I’ll explain that in the blog post entitled Labels, Managers, Publishers: What Are Their Roles in Your Career? You are not special. Get over yourself. There are plenty more music artists with Continue reading You, Incorporated