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Artists :

UK's Anemo : "Slow Burn" - City Canyon Records
Miles Davis : A Different Kind Of Blue
Cat Stevens Returns : With Small Kindnesses
Jefferson Airplane : The Story Behind 'The Fly Jefferson Airplane' DVD
Alicia Keys : The Diary of Alicia Keys On DVD
Tony Koretz : Rocks Out
Willie Nelson & Friends : Outlaws And Angels All Star Concert
Hungry Lucy : Synthesizers and Fairy Tales
Marianne Kesler :  The Acoustic Madonna
Beyonce : What Can We Learn From Beyonce's Bottom?

     

 

Music Business :    

 

 

Career Strategies : That Work And Don't Work
How I Spent :Six Months On The Road With Billy Idol
Your CD Cover :  Your Best Ad For Your Music
How : Can You Achieve Success as an Independent Artist?
NARIP Presentation : Publishing Hit Songs
Extra! Extra! : Read All About You! (Press Kits)
Radio, Radio : Radio air Play
How to Get Targeted Traffic To Your Music Website : With No Money Down
Tips for Clearing Music : Television and Motion Pictures
Using Peer-to-Peer : To Launch a Career
Trakheadz.com : Introduces New Methods for Digital Distribution
Tips : For A Great Recording Session

 

Artists :

 

Miles Electric: A Different Kind Of Blue

"It takes courage to leave all your security blankets behind and jump without a blanket" -- Carlos Santana on Miles Davis

Eagle Rock Entertainment brings to home viewing audiences a documentary about a milestone performance of the legendary jazz icon, Miles Davis, with the DVD release, Miles Electric: A Different Kind Of Blue. Premiered at this year's 42nd New York Film Festival, this special feature documents the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival performance by Davis, which was the culmination of a remarkable journey.

Featured are interviews of musicians who were a part of this amazing transitional moment in American music, including Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and Keith Jarrett, in addition to those who were profoundly affected by his innovations - Carlos Santana and Joni Mitchell, among others.

When Davis released Bitches Brew in 1970, he opened up a new angle to jazz. Some critics accused Davis of selling out, while consumers kept his album on the top of the charts. To date, Bitches Brew is one of the best selling jazz albums of all time. Miles Electric: A Different Kind Of Blue examines the next step in the process -- performing live.

Miles performed before 600,000 screaming rock fans at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival. It was the culmination of a remarkable journey. A giant of jazz, Davis by the late Sixties started to look in new musical directions; challenged by what he heard in the streets and on the radio- and especially by Jimi Hendrix's music- he began to add electric pianos and guitars to his ensembles, incorporating rock and funk rhythms with jazz improvisations. This fusion resulted in masterworks such as In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew; it also resulted in controversy every bit as fierce as Dylan going electric, as musicians, critics, and fans argued over the future of jazz.

Directed by award winning producer Murray Lerner, Miles Electric sits down with several of the performers who played with Miles, interspersed with footage from the concert. Lerner has brilliantly captured this amazing transitional moment in American music, adding contemporary reminiscences by musicians who were at Davis' side (Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, Dave Holland, Gary Bartz, etc.) as well as others profoundly affected by his innovations (Carlos Santana and Joni Mitchell).

The DVD has a running time of 73 minutes and is presented in 5.1surround sound. It will be available wherever video is sold on November 16, 2004 for a suggested retail price of $19.98. Extra features on the DVD include additional interviews.

Eagle Rock Entertainment develops, acquires and produces music programming for a wide range of notable and high profile artists, which the company distributes on a worldwide basis. Eagle Rock Entertainment, Eagle Vision and Eagle Eye Media are wholly owned divisions of Eagle Rock Group, LTD.

Provided by theMusicDish Network. Copyright Tag It 2004 - Republished with Permission

 

 

Cat Stevens Returns With Small Kindnesses


Still from MajiKat DVD

Yusuf Islam, known to millions as the British singer/songwriter and pop star Cat Stevens, has reconciled himself to his music. A long, personal journey led him to a small stage in NYC last night for the private screening for the worldwide release of his new DVD, Cat Stevens: MajiKat: Earth Tour 1976.
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Not long after the MajiKat tour, Cat Stevens walked away from the music business and stardom, embraced Islam, and changed his name to Yusuf Islam. He shunned his pop star life, including those magical songs that captured the hearts of millions of fans and inspired many to embark on their own artistic journeys. So many of us loved that music, and it felt as if he were rejecting us, too. Photo: Promotional poster for Cat Stevens: MajiKat DVD

Yusuf's new life, largely hidden from public view, was subject to speculation and at times, derision. Some thought he had become a monk, others thought he'd gone crazy, many were just plain mad that the star whom they had embraced could abandon everyone so swiftly and so completely. But Yusuf Islam did not become a monk or a cleric. He did not retreat to live alone on top of a mountaintop in some exotic land. He did not stop living life, and once was quoted in an interview as saying, "I wanted to stop singing about life and start having a life." Yusuf started living a different kind of life from that of a pop star, one in which he found meaning, substance, and direction through his newfound faith in Islam.

Yusuf Islam at reception prior to screening

Yusuf currently lives in London, is married and raising a family of five children. He founded four schools in Britain for Muslim children so Muslim families can educate their children following their cultural and religious practices. He owns a Muslim-friendly hotel in London. He also founded a charity organization, Small Kindnesses, to rescue war orphans in countries like Kosovo, Bosnia, and recently, in Iraq. It is with Small Kindnesses that the screening opened.

Noel J. Brown, President & CEO of Friends of the United Nations, welcomed the 90 or so Eagle Rock Entertainment staff, distributors, journalists, photographers and assorted associates to the screening. He informed us that today was also the launch of the United States branch of Small Kindnesses, a charity that has been endorsed by the United Nations. In his eloquent speech, Mr. Brown spoke of the great work that Small Kindnesses does, and the wonderful contributions that Yusuf Islam makes in the lives of some of our most helpless world citizens: war orphans.

Following Mr. Brown, Yusuf's right hand man, Mohammed Kahn, spoke with a trembling voice of his experiences in Bosnia and Kosovo, of the helpless children and families... and of meeting a man called Yusuf Islam, who came over from Britain to help. Mohammed didn't know of Yusuf's former life, had never heard of Cat Stevens. When he learned of the former Cat Stevens and heard his music, Mohammed said, "I didn't see a different heart in Cat Stevens than the one I know in Yusuf Islam." When it came to helping victims of tragedy, Yusuf "didn't just sing about it he acted on it."

Paul Hoeffel with the Department of Public Information of the United Nations came onstage to describe how Yusuf had come to the UN a few years ago about Small Kindnesses and his interest in forming a partnership with the UN to work with war orphans. Mr. Hoeffel explained that the UN works with thousands of nongovernmental organizations, large and small, to help with crises and disaster relief. The smaller organizations often have specialized, grassroots knowledge so critical to successful operations in countries at war.

Calling disaster relief a "growth industry" because of the many conflicts around the world, he said that the UN depends on organizations like Small Kindnesses to create a network of aid and assistance. He called upon the creative community to participate, to help. He said that the UN and its network of charity organizations are looking for people who care, and suggested that people like Yusuf Islam can bring the creative community together to lend a hand.

Yusuf Islam at screening, holding his walking stick

At this point, Mohammed came back onto stage to introduce a man who was a hero to him from a completely different time, place, and world than for those of us in the audience who only know Cat Stevens. He asked Yusuf Islam to come to the stage. A slim, slightly hunched, middle-aged man in a light gray suit, rimless glasses and a wooden walking stick walked onto the stage. There he stood, with a neatly trimmed full beard and closely cut hair, both salt and pepper, a gentle smile and those dark, dancing, intense Cat Stevens eyes ... Despite his modest manner, this was a man completely at home on the stage, completely home with leadership. The baritone voice spoke softly ...

The DVD project "is a combination of where I was and where I am ..." he began. "My music was a gift," he said, " and I hope it weighs in my good deeds ..." Yusuf held out his right hand, as if weighing his songs in the scale of righteousness. "I've heard stories of how my music has helped people ... even stopped suicides ..." he looked down. "This gift was given to me." It became clear to me at that moment that Yusuf Islam has finally brought his long private journey from stardom to rejection to reconciliation to a close. He has found the common ground that acknowledges the gift of his art, the gift of his faith, and his desire to live a life of value.

Yusuf founded Small Kindnesses because he wanted to "do something in a practical level." The Small Kindnesses logo flashed on the screen, a photo of a precious young girl waiving. "This is a photo of a girl in Kosovo. She was hiding," he said. His camera captured her when she came out of hiding for one brief moment to waive. The screen was then filled with images of children, all orphans, saved by Small Kindnesses, smiling for the camera. Then there were images of refugee families who found help and solace with Small Kindnesses. Speaking softly over the powerful images, Yusuf explained that they serve orphans, families, and also now provide education for young women and girls to learn skilled occupations.

Yusuf Islam speaks with Mike Carden, Eagle Rock Entertainment

The photo of the young girl came back onto the screen and faded, and Yusuf asked Mike Carden, President North American Operations / Executive VP Eagle Rock Entertainment, to join him. We learned that Mr. Carden was not only the man behind this DVD project, but also is one of the special people who have adopted orphans, as well. A visibly moved Mr. Carden told us that he adopted two children and is in the processes of adopting his third, to the applause of the audience. He thanked the audience for coming to the screening, and for supporting the release of the "Cat Stevens: MajiKat: Earth Tour 1976 DVD. Realistically, at this point in the evening they could have showed me just about anything and it wouldn't have mattered, because I was so moved by what I had just witnessed. And then the show began.

I'd never seen Cat Stevens perform live. I'll not go into any details about the performances on the DVD (we'll leave that to the DVD review), but I will say that I literally had to stop myself from clapping after each song! Cat Stevens earned the love of his fans. Hearing those songs brought goose bumps, remembering the melodies, those singable, wonderful melodies! Interspersed between performances, Yusuf Islam speaks about his career, his albums, his music, his life. And hearing the lyrics anew, in light of what we saw and heard ... I just can't explain what it was like. As I listened to the lyrics, I thought of the man who stood before us, weighing the value of those songs in his hand.

Eric de Fontenay, Publisher and Anne Freeman, Senior Editor, MusicDish

What is the meaning of art? What is the value of what we do as artists, songwriters, and musicians? Those are questions that Yusuf Islam wrestled with, and each of us wrestles with. Why was I gifted with the desire to create music? What are the responsibilities of my gift?

I want to personally thank Yusuf Islam for bringing his personal struggle and journey to our attention through the Cat Stevens: MajiKat: Earth Tour 1976 DVD. He reminded me that who I am as a creative being is just as important as who I am in every other aspect of my life. Yusuf Islam has a story to tell that is important to us the creative community. Listen to his story, and then think about your own.

Research Assistant: The Singing Rebel

Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright Tag It 2004 - Republished with Permission

 

 

 

 

 

The Story Behind 'The Fly Jefferson Airplane' DVD
By Jeff Tamarkin,

While touring the United States for the first time in 1966, the Scottish folk-rock singer Donovan began hearing positive things about the vibrant San Francisco rock scene and, in particular, the band considered the city's most emblematic. Pen in hand, he injected a new song with the lyric "Fly Jefferson Airplane, gets you there on time."

For the next several years, millions would take Donovan's advice.

Jefferson Airplane, since their inception a year earlier, had quickly come to personify the cultural and societal revolution whose vortex was San Francisco-"heaven on earth," as co-founder Paul Kantner puts it in this, the first-ever Jefferson Airplane DVD collection.

Jefferson Airplane was no stranger to firsts: The first San Francisco rock band signed to a major record label and the first to score with national hit singles and albums, the Airplane quickly became media darlings, spreading the news everywhere. They were unquestionably responsible for inspiring thousands of young people across the country to migrate to San Francisco for a taste of the free life.

Due to their implicit status as spokesband of choice for the San Francisco scene, Jefferson Airplane spent a great deal of time performing in front of cameras-lucky for us because now, more than three decades after they went their separate ways, we can once again relive some of their most stunning performances.

Jefferson Airplane was, first and foremost, a live band-their creativity manifested most spectacularly as they invented and reinvented their music in front of appreciative fans. The earliest known footage of the group in action-aired originally on a Bell Telephone Hour TV special-captures it onstage in August 1966 at the legendary Fillmore Auditorium, the mecca run by the late promoter Bill Graham, himself a defining force within the San Francisco music community.

This rare film clip of the Airplane performing "It's No Secret," one of the first songs authored by the band's other founder, vocalist Marty Balin, also provides a glimpse of one of the pulsating, ephemeral liquid light shows that were such an integral component of the San Francisco dance-concert experience from the onset.

The woman singing next to Marty on "It's No Secret" may not look familiar if you aren't already familiar with the intricacies of the Airplane's long and winding history. Signe Anderson was a fundamental element of the band's initial lineup, but she was gone by the second album, replaced by the one and only Grace Slick, considered by many to be the first true female rock star-and one of the most original and fascinating artists rock has ever known.

Grace, as drummer Spencer Dryden puts it, "brought a commanding strength and focus" to the music. She was also one of the most beautiful figures in popular music, with a voice that could slice through steel. "Somebody To Love," a song she brought to the Airplane from her earlier band, the Great Society, became the Airplane's first Top 10 hit. The live version here, filmed at the epoch-defining Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967, is a prime example of the powerful Grace's gripping charisma and unparalleled artistry at work.

Monterey was, for the entire band, a moment to savor, perhaps the purest expression of the "peace and love" ethos of the times. And the group's Monterey performance of "High Flyin' Bird," a folk song they'd found on a Judy Henske album and played often-but never released on one of their own albums during their lifespan-is quintessential early Airplane. All of their propellers are spinning at full speed here, Grace delivering a spellbinding vocal during her section of the tag-team song.

If there is one song that will forever be aligned with the name Grace Slick, though, it's "White Rabbit," with its snaking bolero rhythm and provocative, Lewis Carroll- inspired story line. "No one thought it would be a hit single," says Dryden, but in fact it has become a classic of the era, a fitting, enduring symbol of the psychedelic '60s. The Airplane performed "White Rabbit" virtually every time they stood on a stage, and when they were asked to guest on the hip Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour TV program in 1967, they brought it to the nation's living rooms during prime time.

Some of the Airplane's numerous television appearances took place on programs that normally attracted a decidedly non-rock audience, however. Perry Como, an old- school crooner popular during the 1950s, must have been scratching his head in bewilderment along with the rest of his viewers as his RCA Records labelmates aired their trippy home movie-style, pre-MTV video of "Martha," a song written by rhythm guitarist/vocalist Kantner about a runaway he'd befriended.

But no Jefferson Airplane television appearance was as charmingly perplexing as their return visit to the Smothers Brothers in 1968. Tom and Dick Smothers were, as Marty puts it, "brothers in arms," cool cats sympathetic to the rock bands of the day and open-minded enough to allow them leeway, much to the chagrin of their network. So when Grace, before heading out front to tear into a raw live rendition of the newest Airplane anthem, "Crown Of Creation," spied a table full of makeup and spontaneously smeared her face with the darkest brown she could find, no one tried to stop her.

"You never knew what Grace was going to do," says lead guitarist Jorma Kaukonen in Fly Jefferson Airplane. "She was her own mistress." That controversial blackface incident, along with many other shocking Grace moments, has since gone down in Jefferson Airplane lore-now, finally you can see what the fuss was all about.

"Crown" features a tandem vocal, but Grace once again takes the solo lead on "Lather," a tender, waltz-like ballad she wrote for Spencer upon the drummer's 30th birthday. In an appropriately childlike voice, Grace puts forth the then-radical suggestion that it's perfectly okay, even at such a ripe old age as 30, to remain young at heart. Incidentally, those who have scoured Airplane album credits may be interested in knowing that the fellow seen doing the "nose solo" in this clip from the Smothers Brothers' show is the elusive Gary Blackman, a friend of the band's who co-wrote some of its most memorable tunes.

The next performance is nothing less than one of the all-time greatest visual records of Jefferson Airplane at work. In 1968 the Swiss-French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard began work on a political semi-documentary he called One A.M. (One American Movie). Godard, who felt that the Airplane best represented the youth revolution of the day, wanted the band in his film, and keeping to its somewhat militant spirit, he had the musicians set up their equipment-sans permit-on a hotel rooftop in midtown Manhattan at the peak of the working day. There, as harried New Yorkers below scanned the sky to see what the ruckus was, the Airplane unleashed the most incendiary version of "House At Pooneil Corners," the music "bouncing off the buildings" on this chilled November afternoon.

The Airplane are simply on fire here-bassist Jack Casady looks and sounds positively ferocious, and both Grace and Marty are at their improvisatory, dueling best, having the time of their lives (yes, that is Grace doing a jig when it's over). The performance, which preceded the Beatles' famous Apple rooftop concert in London by months, culminates with the New York City police shutting down the kamikaze attack with threats of arrest. The Godard film was never released, but documentarian D. A. Pennebaker finished it up anyway, renaming it One P.M. (for One Pennebaker Movie).

"House At Pooneil Corners" was a sequel of sorts to the earlier "The Ballad Of You & Me & Pooneil," and the live version of that song, originally aired on a program called A Night At The Family Dog, shows the band at the apex of its jamming powers. Casady's bass solo is a scorcher-then, just as it seems things can't possibly get more intense, Jorma Kaukonen unleashes an astonishing guitar solo that mows down everything in its path.

By the end of the 1960s, as the war in Vietnam heated up and civil strife ravaged America, the Airplane, like many of their generation, had become more politically radicalized. But rather than take to the streets the Airplane-arguably the most popular and influential band in America by that time-made their point in song. "We Can Be Together" reflects that period, says Kantner in his Fly Jefferson Airplane interview, when "the flower children started growing thorns." The images that accompany the music here-in a promotional film produced by the Airplane's in-house light show man, Glenn McKay-are a reminder of the perilous, touch-and-go atmosphere in which this band created its crucial art.

The end of that decade also marked the beginning of the Airplane's dissolution. Spencer Dryden was the first of the key members to leave, replaced by a young Pennsylvanian named Joey Covington. The band "felt we needed more power," as Casady puts it, and the formidable Covington had what they were after. The live version of "Plastic Fantastic Lover," from the 1970 public television documentary Go Ride The Music, produced by the renowned San Francisco music critic Ralph J. Gleason, features the band cranking it up to full velocity, while the clip of "Volunteers," one of the band's most poignant anthems, puts that song into its proper cultural and historical perspective.

The Airplane was, says Kantner, "a creature of the '60s," and the group has rightly taken its place among the icons of that era. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honored them by inducting Jefferson Airplane in 1996, and to conclude this collection, we flash forward to the induction ceremony in New York City, at which some of the group members saw one another for the first time in years. Jorma's solo rendition of "Embryonic Journey," the exquisite acoustic fingerpicking number that had graced the band's breakthrough Surrealistic Pillow album, retains all of its sonic breadth and startling beauty all these years later.

The Airplane didn't always see eye to eye-that internal friction was in fact part of what gave their music its great strength-but in retrospect they acknowledge and understand what gave them their uniqueness and endeared them to millions, what made them such a fundamental part of a generation's existence. As the band's former manager Bill Thompson states, there truly was no other band like them. After viewing this video retrospective, whether you're a veteran fan or have just climbed aboard, you're bound to agree.

Jeff Tamarkin is the author of Got a Revolution! The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane (Atria Books)

Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright Tag It 2004 - Republished with Permission

 

Tony Koretz Rocks Out
by Holly Day,

Tony Koretz is a man with a mission: to bring rock 'n' roll back to the table. Since first picking up the guitar at the age of 16, the New Zealand musician, singer, songwriter, and audio engineer has written and released music that just plain smokes with rock'n'roll fervor and passion, the latest collection of which can be heard on his 2004 release, Kicking Cans (Rocksure Soundz). Written, sung, and almost completely played by Koretz himself, with a little help from his brothers Nathan, Marcel, and Simon.

"My whole family is musical," says Koretz about the familial line-up on the album. "Dad is a jazz pianist with a great feel, and mum played a bit too. I am the oldest of seven kids, and we are all musicians. We help each other out with our music projects, and I admire the musical talent in the other members of the family. There are not many instruments that someone amongst us all can't play." A couple of the keyboard tracks on the album were contributed by a friend, Matt Schmidt, but otherwise, this is entirely a Koretz boys project.

"I wanted to be the next Jimmy Page or Ritchie Blackmore," says Koretz about his musical upbringing. "When I was 16 years old, I took up the guitar, and saved up really hard to buy a nice acoustic guitar. It was an Australian handcrafted Maton, which I still love, as it has such a nice tone-it's the one I used on Kicking Cans. I decided early on that playing rock music was what I really wanted to do, so I bought a good instrument to start with, and began practicing really hard." He adds, "I never had any aspirations to be a vocalist at first, but I found I enjoyed singing while playing, so my music evolved into the singer, songwriter, musician format that I have today."

 
Take a Listen to Tracks from Kicking Cans
(streaming mp3)
"If Your Love Was A River"
"Kicking Cans"
"Come Back Baby"
"And the Wind Blows"
"Every Time It Hurts"

Listening to Koretz's work, you can almost see where his musical roots spring from. There's definitely a 70's guitar rock sound and feel to these songs, with classic prog rock influences like Yes, Styx, and Queen mixed into the musical notation. There's also a warm garage rock/bar band feel to the music, too, that makes the songs instantly accessible and intimate. There's such a strong, live sound to the album that one wonders how Koretz can work well when confined in a studio.

"I love recording, but sometimes I like to get out and play live too," he says. "I go through phases. I might do a series of shows for a time, and then I re-trench in the studio and don't go out and play for a while. I find gigging exhausting, and it's a bit of a love/hate thing for me." He adds, "If I had a road crew to set up and tear down the gear for me, and a regular committed band, I would probably tour and play more."

Kicking Cans definitely has a classic, guitar-heavy rock sound to it, with great hooks and melancholy keyboard riffs. Lyrically, Koretz's subject matter includes everything from the problem of world hunger and political oppression to that old standard called "love."

In fact, one of the best songs on the album, is a love song: the opening track, "If Your Love Was A River." In this, Koretz sings, "If your love was a river/I'd dive right in/If your love was a river/I don't know if I'd sink or swim," all set against a background of fast-paced, prog rock guitar riffs and a wonderful, melodic chorus. Another stand-out tune on this is the title track, "Kicking Cans," where Koretz sings about "Coke cans, garbage cans, headphone cans, baked bean cans, can't cans, won't cans, tin cans..." - basically, it's about the refusal to settle for less than exactly what one wants out of life. Another great song, "Come Back Baby," takes the album into slightly different musical territory, with Koretz pulling out the acoustic blues licks in the beginning and blowing into full rockin' electric blues by the end.

 
More on Tony Koretz

* Genre: Melodic Rock
* Home: New Zealand
* Website: www.koretzmusic.com
* Buy Kicking Cans CD
* Label: Rocksure Soundz
* Contact Tony

The album's a fun ride all the way through, happy and hopeful and upbeat without being vapid or sappy-instead, this is upbeat music that sounds as though it's being delivered by a voice of experience, someone determined to not be brought down, not matter how tough things are.

"I get tired of music where people are always angry, hateful or negative," says Koretz of his music. "Life is tough for a lot of people, and crappy stuff happens, but I don't think it helps anyone to have bitter twisted music hammered into their ears day in day out. I like to be real in my music. If I'm hurting I'll say so, but I always try and look at things from a perspective that should produce hope rather than a spiral into anger or depression. I have a faith in God that underlines my everyday thinking. I believe in looking for solutions and keeping as positive as I can, even in the dark times, so I try to portray that in my music."

He adds, "If I can encourage people to pursue their dreams against all odds, hold onto hope when all seems lost, help others in need and love 'all out' even if it costs, then I will have achieved something. But hey, in all honesty, as a musician, I would love people to enjoy the music, tap their feet, close their eyes, nod their heads in time to the beat, and play some air guitar when their mum or girlfriend ain't looking."

Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright Tag It 2004 - Republished with Permission

 

 

 

Willie Nelson & Friends: Outlaws And Angels All Star Concert

Eagle Rock Entertainment presents the legendary Willie Nelson for the first time on DVD in the all-star concert Willie Nelson & Friends- Outlaws And Angels.

Recorded in May of 2004 at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles and hosted by famed actor James Caan, the star studded lineup of Outlaws And Angels includes performances by Kid Rock, Keith Richards, Bob Dylan, Carole King, Toby Keith, Shelby Lynne, Merle Haggard, Lee Ann Womack and many others.

In addition to the powerful guests joining Willie onstage, the evening's performance is backed by an equally impressive house band including Nils Lofgren, Ivan Neville and Jim Cox, under the musical direction of Jimmy Rip. Bonus footage on the DVD includes a behind the scenes featurette as well as reahearsal and performance outtakes.

Willie Nelson's career as a legendary country musician, political activist and humanitarian has made him an American icon. To pay tribute to Nelson in 2002, a variety of musical acts recorded Willie Nelson & Friends: Stars & Guitars concert in Nashville, Tennessee. That concert was proceeded the next year with yet another star-studded performance to celebrate Willie's 70th birthday entitled, Willie Nelson & Friends: Live and Kickin', recorded in New York City.

Originally aired on the USA Network this summer, Willie Nelson & Friends- Outlaws And Angels is the 3rd all-star concert organized by Nelson and the first to be available on DVD in 5.1 Dolby Digital DTS Surround Sound.

House Band:
Jimmy Rip, music director/guitar
Bill Churchville, trumpet
Jim Cox, keyboards
James "Hutch" Hutchinson, bass
Jim Keltner, drums
Greg Leisz, pedal steel
Nils Lofgren, guitar
Kenny Lovelace, guitar
George McWhirter, trombone
Ivan Neville, piano
Mickey Raphael, harmonica

DVD track list:
1) Opening Title Sequence
2) Georgia On A Fast Train/ Willie Nelson, Toby Keith, Joe Walsh
3) Ramblin' Fever/Willie Nelson, Toby Keith, Joe Walsh & Merle Haggard
4) You Win Again/ Willie Nelson & Bob Dylan
5) Shotgun Willie Nelson/ Shotgun Bobby Willie Nelson & Kid Rock
6) Funny How Time Slips Away/ Willie Nelson & Al Green
7) Rainin' In My Heart/ Willie Nelson & Al Green
8) One With The Sun/ Willie Nelson & Shelby Lynne
9) Stormy Weather/ Willie Nelson & Shelby Lynne
10) Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow/ Willie Nelson & Carol King
11) Still Is Still Moving To Me/ Willie Nelson & Toots Hibbert
12) Midnight Rider/ Willie Nelson & Ben Harper
13) Pressure Drop/ Toots Hibbert & Ben Harper
14) I'll Never Be Free/ Willie Nelson & Lee Ann Womack
15) Opportunity To Cry/ Willie Nelson & The Holmes Brothers
16) Mama Tried/ Toby Keith & Merle Haggard
17) Pancho and Lefty/ Willie Nelson, Toby Keith & Merle Haggard
18) Overtime/ Willie Nelson & Lucinda Williams
19) Cisco Kid/ Willie Nelson & Los Lonely Boys
20) Comes Love/ Willie Nelson & Rickie Lee Jones
21) We Had It All/ Willie Nelson & Keith Richards
22) Trouble In Mind/ Willie Nelson, Keith Richards, Merle Haggard & Jerry Lee
23) Whole Lot of Shakin' Going On/ Jerry Lee Lewis & Kid Rock
24) I'll Fly Away/ Ensemble
25) On The Road Again/ Ensemble

Eagle Rock Entertainment develops, acquires and produces music programming for a wide range of notable and high profile artists, which the company distributes on a worldwide basis. Eagle Rock Entertainment, Eagle Vision and Eagle Eye Media are wholly owned divisions of Eagle Rock Group, LTD.

Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright Tag It 2005 - Republished with Permission

 

Hungry Lucy: Synthesizers and Fairy Tales
by Holly Day,

"I've been involved in music since I was like, 10 years old," says War-N Harrison of the band Hungry Lucy. "Most of my family's musical, so that's where I picked it from. It's just in my blood, I guess."

Vocalist Christa Belle and Harrison met while he was performing as the solo act Fishtank No. 9, and soon, Harrison was begging Christa to perform with him. "I just heard her sing, and I was like, uh-oh," he laughs. "She was just singing around the house, and it was kind of a shock when I heard her voice for the first time, because it was like, wow, this is excellent!"

"It was pretty difficult in the beginning," admits Christa. "Warren just kept asking me to sing, and I kept saying no, and I finally did. Once I did , it seemed kind of fun. The first album was probably the toughest, just because I didn't know what I was doing. I had a real problem with stage fright, too," she adds. "At least, up until our third show, which was in front of over a thousand people! That kind of took it right out of me."

According to legend, silent film star Jean Harlow's house was haunted by a ghost dubbed Hungry Lucy, called so because she made a huge racket each night while looking for food she was incapable of eating. The spectral remnant of a Civil War woman, Hungry Lucy had died of scarlet fever waiting for her lover, Alfred, to come home after the war, and in her delirium, she didn't realize she had died.

"There was just something about Lucy's story that struck a chord in me," says Christa. "Something about her waiting for her one true love to come back to her, even after death - I could kind of identify with it."

The melancholy back-story of Hungry Lucy the ghost works well to explain what one can expect from the music of Hungry Lucy the band. Over the course of nearly six years, the team of keyboardist War-N Harrison and singer Christa Belle have released three bittersweet and dark albums, the most recent being 2004's "To Kill a King."

"This album is about a bad relationship. I won't go into too much detail," Christa adds quickly, laughing. "It's about being stuck in a bad relationship when the other person is not a very nice person, but you feel compelled to stay." From track to track, the listener gets pulled through the details of this relationship, from the first track, where the narrator decides that she wants to end it, to the end - of both the album and the relationship.

Through this journey, we're treated to some truly exceptional musical numbers. In "Can You Hear Me?", a dreamy minimal synth-pop beat plays behind Christa's soft yet strong voice and War-N's barely-whispered, almost-menacing soliloquy of a person determined to be understood and heard, ending with the words, "No more." In "Fool," a stark voice opens up with the grim, "In this bloody pool, I see such a fool in me - how could I let myself believe in you?"

More on Hungry Lucy
* Genre: Darkwave/Pop-World/Trip-Hop
* Hometown:
* Website
* Order To Kill a King
* Label: Hungry Lucy Music
* Contact Hungry Lucy

Preview To Kill a King
(streaming mp3)
A Lifetime Remains
You Are
Rainfall
My Beloved
"You Are" (streaming video)
512kbps QT - 100kbps QT
512kbps WMV - 100kbps WMV

It's not all dark, though. Somewhere during the 10th track, "Stars" (directly after the telling instrumental interlude of "A Lifetime Remains"), the narrator makes a complete turnaround, reflecting on the hope she sees in the future of the children she sees crossing the street in front of her, no doubt making a connection with the purpose in her own life. She has determined to leave the "King" in her narrative, and to do it as bloodlessly as possible.

"After so long, you just can't take it anymore, and you kind of have to dig and find your own personal strength and get the hell out of there," explains Christa of this section of the album. "I kind of wanted to convey the message that you kill the power and not the actual person, because that kind of makes them more miserable if they have to live with the bad things they did when it's all over." She adds, "We didn't really intend to do this as a concept album, and I know a lot of people think that we did, but it's just the lyrics I wrote seem to tell their own story."

The strength in this album lies in both the construction of the lyrics--and the fairy-tale construction of the way the songs are set against each other--and the complimentary instrumentation. Throughout the album, Harrison's unique combination of natural-sounding instrument samples and chilly electronics creates an almost otherworldly feel to these songs, part industrial culture and part Renaissance Fair. There's little wonder that this band has been receiving such glowing reviews from international media outlets, despite the fact that they released and promoted all three of their albums on their own.

"I'd been in a number of bands over the years, and they all had done releases through various independent label channels," explains Harrison. "Frankly, I got a little frustrated with it - I mean, on a smaller label, there's not that much money there, understandably, but then when it's spread among several bands, then the share of each band is even less. And I got to thinking that there's nothing that they're doing that I couldn't do myself, basically. So that's how we set out about doing it. No stone is left unturned with us, whereas with a label, they're somewhat reliant on what they can afford to do and what they're willing to do for one of the bands on their label. So unless there's a ton of money there, like with a major label, but my experience has been, if you want it done right, you've got to do it yourself."

Provided by theMusicDish Network. Copyright Tag It 2004 - Republished with Permission

 

 

Marianne Kesler - The Acoustic Madonna
By Ben Ohmart,

There are bands who focus on production, there are singers and bands who are occupied with finding radio hooks, and there are singer-songwriters who write from the inside and let success fall where it may. Marianne Kesler's new release, Green Room, is the latter (maybe with the pinch of "hooks" thrown in for self-satisfaction).

The premise is acoustic, though she does not stick to the "rules" of folk or acoustic pop, most ably heard in the title track:

"Walking through doorways, roaming the halls
Long endless corridors, writing on the walls
Gazing in mirrors, adjusting the light
Subtle reflections & rumors of light
And I wait for you. And I wait for you...
In the green room...so patiently
In the green room...wait and see"

If they ever remake "Saturday Night Fever" (oh come on, they'll get around to eventually), they should put in "So Beautiful" in place of "More Than a Woman." It's got the same quietness and soft romance as that classic, only in a single voice, acoustic guitar (with rhythm) way that would make Karen Carpenter smile jealously.

On every track there is an air of innocence that translates dewy-eyed girls who write poetry into the real world (and we're not talking the edited, shaky camera MTV version). The abecedarian, lucid vision of "Unrefined" is merely a soft beat, a few unplugged guitars and a voice giving clues into her uncomplicated yet intricate emotional lifestyle. Not crooned, but the voice is held not much higher than a whisper as she soulfully throws:

"The lion is crouching
The door is left ajar
A voice in the hallway
A roar from afar
Trying hard to remember
Harder to forget
Thinking of the what ifs
And lingering regrets...and
I keep falling, falling back again."

It is this blend of melodic, unsullied optimism that has kept Marianne Kesler in the studio and touring for exactly a decade. Her performance history is a literal Who's Where of festival work: Rockfest in NY, Rock the Park in CT, Rockledge Music Festival NY, Columbus Arts Festival, Inside Out Soul Festival in NH, and Woodstock in CT. Not to mention extensive tours in The Netherlands and Australia. She also frequents coffeehouses, cafes, churches and any place else they allow music from California to New Jersey.

This is Marianne's 5th studio album since 1994. She's received an incredible seven ASCAP Popular Awards, with airplay across the US, Chile, Spain, Finland Romania and other unbelievable places.

It differs from her previous releases because, as she states, "there is more 'acoustic art pop' melded with the rock in Green Room, in contrast to the folk influences of my earlier albums. Also this producer finally hit upon the electric guitar sounds I have been searching for several projects!" Both the writing and recording took the better part of a year to put together. "I think the lack of time pressure allowed us to better serve the individual songs for once. We had very few parameters going into this project other than to make beautiful music."

More on Marianne Kesler
* Genre: Acoustic Pop/Rock
* Hometown: Bellefontaine, OH
* Website: www.coolspirit.net
* Studio/Production: Soulthink Productions
* Buy Marianne Kesler's CD "Green Room"
* Contact Marianne Kesler
Take a Listen to Green Room
(WMAs)
* Green Room
* Unrefined
* Your Eyes
* So Beautiful

With influences covering Neil Young, Counting Crows, Judy Collins, Goo Goo Dolls, U2, Kings X, Bob Dylan and James Taylor, no wonder she's "always admired a deeply felt message communicated with passion and honesty. So much of music to me is overkill - glossy treatments of the superficial. It just doesn't ring true to me. I've had some really tough things to deal with in my life and some days I just don't 'feel' good. But my faith lets me look a bit further than the everyday into what I believe is a deeper reality, and there I find comfort and hope."

This simple, honest view of observing life and people is where her style and lyrics come from. "Something happens, it triggers a thought process, and a song is born. I used to write totally personal songs, but now many are what I call 'collages' ... a little bit of me, a glimpse of you ... hoping people can see themselves in the reflection."

Marianne has paid her dues and is now prepared to reap the club benefits, one of which is working alongside her family on the road. "Actually, my kids are older now and I am free to pursue music full time. They have traveled with me in the past though, and are all very supportive. They have been everything from roadies to players to my current co- writer and producer...very awesome."

As anyone else in the field might say, her dreams for music are simple: "Just a bigger audience that really loves my music... instead of booking all the little gigs and praying that somebody shows up! Being asked to play, and having an audience that just loves what you do (so you can quit trying to please everyone or catch the latest wave) living out this crazy dream of making music!

"I think Green Room is the closest I have ever come to capturing what I mean to say and how I want to sound! I actually enjoy listening to it... which as an artist is very hard for me to say about my own work. So with all this, I am truly hopeful that a whole new fan base will make its acquaintance and really fall in love with the music!

"I really love what I do. If I could come to the place of being able to create music, as opposed to spending so much time on the business side of things, I would feel very fulfilled in that part of my life. I'd feel like I was doing just what I was created to do!"

Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright Tag It 2004 - Republished with Permission

 

 

Alicia Keys: The Diary of Alicia Keys On DVD
"No modern woman is both singing and writing soul songs of this caliber." - Jim Farber, NY Daily News

Eagle Rock Entertainment brings an unprecedented look into the everyday life of one of today's hottest, most admired and talented musical sensations, Alicia Keys. You've seen her on stage and you've heard her on the radio; now get a rare up-close and personal look at the young woman behind that powerhouse voice.

As a singer, songwriter and pianist, Alicia Keys has raised the bar for female musicians and has been embraced by audiences of all ages. Fans now get inside the head of Alicia Keys and an exclusive look at this superstar with the DVD release of Alicia Keys: The Diary Of Alicia Keys. Containing footage that cannot be seen on any other Alicia Keys project, the DVD goes behind the scenes to capture the true Ms. Keys and her team craft her most recent album, The Diary of Alicia Keys.

Alicia Keys took the modern R&B world to a whole new level the minute she broke onto the music scene and has since earned the title of "musical superstar." Capturing loads of behind the scenes footage, the cameras take viewers onto the tour bus, the stage and even to video and photo shoots, offering a glimpse at the daily life of Alicia Keys. The Diary Of Alicia Keys captures the true personality of Alicia, not usually seen on stage. From Spain to Arizona to Africa, The Diary Of Alicia Keys is a raw and real look at this critically acclaimed, multiple Grammy award winning, platinum selling international superstar.

Join Alicia and her crew onto the set of the "Girlfriend" video shoot and DIARY photo shoots. Get an up close and personal look at the different sides of Alicia, watch hilarious footage of fights on tour, rough crowds and clowning around between she and her team. Offering a backstage pass to all things Alicia, The Diary Of Alicia Keys is a must-have for any fan.

A proud recipient of five Grammy Awards, four Billboard Music Awards, an MTV Video Music Award and countless others, Alicia Keys is a piano-playing prodigy whose multi-dimensional gifts emerged at the age of five. Alicia's natural talent blossomed into a rare mix of Soul/Hip Hop, Jazz/Classical and R&B flavors. Alicia grew up in New York, and began writing and producing her debut album at the age 14.

In July 2001, Alicia Keys impacted the music industry with an incredible force as her first album, Songs In A Minor debuted at the top of the Billboard charts, selling over 235,000 copies in its first week of release. The release stayed at #1 for three weeks and ultimately catapulted her into international super stardom. Keys has since released her follow up album, Diaries, which has seen the same success, making Alicia Keys a staple in the world of music.

Eagle Rock Entertainment develops, acquires and produces music programming for a wide range of notable and high profile artists, which the company distributes on a worldwide basis. Eagle Rock Entertainment, Eagle Vision and Eagle Eye Media are wholly owned divisions of UK-based Eagle Rock Group, LTD.

Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright Tag It 2005 - Republished with Permission

 

 

What Can We Learn From Beyonce's Bottom?
by Aaron Minsky a.k.a. Von Cello,

Last year, after that famous incident at the Super Bowl, I wrote an article titled, "What Can We Learn From Janet Jackson's Breast?". In that article I spoke about the sexual history of rock performance; how the sexual emphasis started with Elvis and then grew and grew as each generation pushed the envelope further and further, until finally Ms. Jackson opened the envelope: baring her breast on television during a day time, family entertainment event! While I did not take a position on the morality of her display, I did question this trend of mixing sex and music, and wondered when musicianship would again be admired.

 
MusicDish Network Sponsor
It has been a year since then, and I am sorry to bring you this shocking news: sex still sells! Violence also sells. But now the trend seems to be the mixing of sex and violence. In fact, sex and violence are now so mixed up it is hard to tell the difference.

Of course, we have all seen the videos of gangster type guys in hot tubs surround by nameless girls in bikinis fawning all over them. We have also seen the scenes in clubs where young men and women, looking like updated characters out of "Guys and Dolls," dance in a tough way. Yet the trend has gone further.

I just saw the video for the new song "Soldier" performed by Destiny's Child, the group that features the young, talented, and sexually provocative Beyonce Knowles. In the video, Beyonce and her female band mates claim to be looking for a "soldier." A soldier, by their definition, appears to be a gang member. They claim that they want to have sex with just such a person. Here are the lyrics of the chorus:

If his status ain't hood
I ain't checkin for him
Betta be street if he lookin' at me
I need a soldier
That ain't scared to stand up for me
Known to carry big things
If you know what I mean

Now, I don't pretend to know what she means when she says that this man must "carry big things," but she seems to be referring to weapons. When she says his status must be "hood," that means he must be from a poor neighborhood, and when she says he "better be street," that means that he must be one who spends a lot of time on the street. In other words, he couldn't be a doctor or a lawyer, or anyone with an office job. He has to be someone who basically makes his living on "the street." In other words, a criminal. This is further emphasized in the second part of the chorus:

If his status ain't hood
I ain't checkin' for him
Betta be street if he lookin' at me
I need a soldier
That ain't scared to stand up for me
Gotta get dough
And he betta be street

As you can see, one of the requirements that these sexy young girls have for a man is that he "Gotta get dough." And they are not talking about someone in the bakery business. They want a guy who can bring them cold, hard, cash. And again, it cannot be from a legitimate business, because "he betta be street."

Let's also consider the language here. First of all, we must realize that the ladies of Destiny's Child are all well educated and extremely wealthy. Beyonce came from a family that was anything but "street." Her father had the intelligence and business acumen to become the manager of her extremely successful group. Her mother had the sophisticated fashion sense to be able to create the costumes for the girls. This is not your stereotypical "ghetto family," yet look at the words sung by Ms. Knowles and company:

I know some soldiers in here (Where they at, where they at)
They wanna take care of me (Where they at)
I know some soldiers in here (Where they at, where they at)
Don't mind takin one for me (Where they at)
I know some soldiers in here (Where they at, where they at)
They wanna spend that on me (Where they at)
I know some soldiers in here (Where they at, where they at)
Wouldn't mind puttin' that on me (Where they at)

"Where they at"? Are we to believe that someone of Beyonce's privileged background really says, "Where they at"? Are we to believe that she really wants a guy who will "take one" (ex. a bullet) for her? Are we to believe that she sees gangsters on the street and "wouldn't mind puttin' that" on her? In other words, she would like to have sex with some poor gang member she just eyed on the street?

Could you imagine the outcry if a wealthy, white woman came out with a song using these kind of phrases, "Homie in the Dickies, in my zone tonight", "Oh he lookin' good, and he talkin' right"? Are we to believe that this is how Beyonce talks when she is on a photo shoot for a top fashion magazine, or when she is in the studio making recordings at $500 per hour, or when she is dining in Beverly Hills at the finest restaurants in town? What we are really seeing is a group of very rich people of color, pretending to be poor people from high crime neighborhoods, where a girl might actually need a tough guy to protect her from the other gangsters in the area. What we are seeing is a total fabrication! It is a new type of Hollywood image.

If you think about it, this is nothing new. In the 1940s there were wealthy actors who made a lot of money portraying gangsters; Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney, to name a few. There has always been a fascination with outlaw types in American culture going back to Jesse James, and Billy the Kid. The difference is Bogart and Cagney were actors, and everyone knew they were just acting. In the case of Beyonce, and many other music stars of today, they are often well-to-do kids pretending to be poor gang bangers, and many poor kids look up to them and buy into the image they are portraying.

If I were a poor boy from a tough neighborhood, and I wanted a sexy girl like Beyonce, I would think, "Wow, I guess I better join a gang, because Beyonce says her guy better be street." I would think, "I have to be able to get dough', take one' for a girl, and carry big things'." Isn't that the message here?

Isn't the message also that I should speak in black slang, rather than try to speak in standard English, as Bill Cosby has been telling us to do? I should say, "Where they at," instead of "Where are they." I should say, "I aint checkin for him," instead of, "I am not interested in him." If I want to have sex with a girl like Beyonce, who walks around with her belly showing and shakes her round bottom in tight designer jeans while draped with fox furs, I had better become a tough gangster who steals money from people, gets into fights over turf, and carries big things (if you know what I mean).

At the end of the video, we see the three Destiny's Child ladies holding evil looking Doberman Pinchers by tight leashes as the girls pose looking hard, like S&M dominatrixes. The message, once again, is that sex is violent and violence is sex. It is the ultimate merging of the two highest selling things in America. Now you don't have to go to one place for your sexual imagery and another for your violent imagery, now you can have "two, two, two images in one"!

I hope I don't sound like I am being judgmental about this new trend. I am merely trying to point out that far from the trend turning back to an interest in great musicians who really play their instruments and can improvise and create imaginative landscapes of sound, the trend of sexuality, and now sex mixed with violence, continues to grow in today's American popular musical culture.

By now, you might be wondering, "What does any of this have to do with Beyonce's bottom?" The answer is: NOTHING!

Why are you so interested in Beyonce's bottom anyway?

Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright Tag It 2005 - Republished with Permission

Music Business :

 

How I Spent Six Months On The Road With Billy Idol
... And Said Five Words To The Man
By John Schlick,

 
MusicDish Network Sponsor

Hopefully, that's a catchy title. This is a great (and completely true and unembellished) story that highlights a part of the job description of being on the road. Many people outside of the music business want to hang out with Rock Stars (in some capacity OTHER than "Groupie"). Many of them think that by taking a position as a sound tech, lighting tech, stage carpenter, rigger, etc, they will get to "hang" with whomever they are on tour with. If this is your primary reason for getting into the tech side of the entertainment business, then you are in the wrong business. PLEASE, stay home. The entertainment business is for people with a passion for their job.

The arena sized, touring road crew business where I work is a place where pros exercise their craft. They set-up somewhere between 1 and 20 semi-loads of gear in record time EVERY day, and they love that it's their job. Now, there are ways to hang with the band, and have it be ok, and I'll get to that at the end. In the meantime, let me tell the story that I allude to in the title.

Back in the late '80s I was on the Billy Idol Whiplash Smile tour. We were playing 6,000 to 20,000 seat venues across the U.S. and Canada. I got the job in the way most people get cool jobs in the business... I got a call at home asking me if I could be on a plane the next day to replace someone they hadn't YET told they were firing.

So, naturally the next day I was on a plane to Boston to head for the Centrum in Worcester, 60 miles from the airport. I joined the tour, learned my part of the load in, show, and load-out. The worthless guy was replaced. In the very rare moments of free time I had, I tended to find myself hanging out either with Duffy, (the guitar player for our opening act, The Cult), Ian, (the lighting designer for the Cult), or Kenny Aaronson (Billy's bass player), and occasionally with Janet, (Billy's wardrobe girl, who also happened to have the bunk below me on the tour bus). But I never really saw or talked to Billy.

After a couple months of this, we pulled into Philly at some venue where they have three levels of parking below the main space. Now, a confluence of events took place that led to one of the strangest encounters of my life, which I remember vividly to this day.

First... Catering (where the food is!!) was located at the lowest level of the parking garage in some large room off to the side. You had to walk down and down and down the ramps and across the parking area and then up a small set of stairs to get to catering to get lunch.

Second... A day or so before we hit town, they had a vintage muscle car show in this venue. Hundreds of old cars, perfectly restored, spotless, the pride of American manufacturing. Many of these cars weren't scheduled to be shipped home to their owners for a few more days, and so easily 50 to 100 of them had been parked in the lowest level (the most secure) of the parking garage.

Third... The night before we arrived it had POURED down rain. I mean, POURED. Like, they got their annual rainfall in one night. Now, remember the parking garage? Guess what? It's well below grade right? Lets add one more factor here Poor Drainage!

To adequately paint the picture, imagine a couple of million dollars of cars with about an inch of their hoods showing above the water, and catering on the other side of an impassable lake. What do you think was going to happen... The roadies and local crew were walking across the hoods of the cars to get to food, hanging from the sprinklers to make the hop between some of the cars that were parked a little farther apart than others.

Now, I got up a hair late that day, and missed breakfast. So after we got the rig flown, I headed off to get lunch before focus not knowing anything that I just told you. I got to the bottom of the ramp, saw a car close by that wasn't underwater and noted that the hood was totally scratched. Then I saw a trail of dented hoods all the way across the garage to the stairs that led up to the door on the other side where food was. So, I did what everyone else had done. I hopped up on the first car, and grabbed the sprinkler and headed across the lake using the car hoods as stepping-stones.

As I got on the first car, Billy appeared out of catering, and headed towards me, both of us using the sprinklers to steady our hops towards each other from car to car. (Now, I also noted that Billy's silver tipped boots were REALLY doing a scratch number on the cars, but with the dents and scratches that were already there, this was not really an issue.)

We met about in the middle of the lake, on the hood of a BEAUTIFUL, bright orange, must have been mid '50s Chevvy coupe. It must have been a monster on the road. He was grabbing a sprinkler to pass me on the windshield side of the hood, and I was holding something like an electrical conduit to pass him on the radiator side. As we passed, I said to him "Hey man, how's it going?" (5 words), and he shot back, "Yeah... It's going all right." With that, he moved on to the next car towards the ramp, and I moved on towards the food.

I was out with this tour for six months, and it turns out that was my ONLY encounter with him the entire time, and so even though I worked for him for a reasonable period of time, that was the only exchange I EVER had with him. (Wait, I saw him backstage at a Van Halen show in LA two years later. I said "Hi, I was on your Whiplash Smile tour," and he said "Cool.") I need to tell you that I don't lament that this was my only exchange with Billy on the tour, because the moral is that it wasn't my JOB to sit and chat with him. It was my JOB to hang the lighting rig every day, and I did that, cause well, I didn't want to get replaced like the guy I had replaced. The fact that I got to talk to him under fairly interesting circumstances doesn't change that I was doing my job.

Now, the exception that I mentioned earlier... The larger the tour you are on, the less access you will have to the band. Of course, this means that smaller tours, you DO hang out more with the band, but it means you are hanging out with "lesser" stars. So, IF you want to hang with the band, go on a one-bus, or van/club tour as stage crew or even "merch girl," but always remember to do your job FIRST! (If anyone wants to know what happens to you when you DON'T do your job? Email me at John_Schlick@hotmail.com, and I'll tell you the story of Glitch, who went out with Hanzel Und Gretyl on a bus based club tour.)

Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright Tag It 2005 - Republished with Permission

 

 

Career Strategies That Work And Don't Work
One Musician's Practical Perspective
By Butch Berry,
MusicDish Network Sponsor

I know there are successful musicians out there, and I want to know how they got that way. No doubt we all want to know.

In being a musician, there is either some sort of pride with not seeking someone else's help, paying for it and doing it on your own, or just being too lazy. I never had that problem. I was not too proud to pay for someone else's consultation with how to help my career, because it is a business. I'm not saying I always hired someone. I would also ask all the musicians I knew who were successful at what they did. After trying out everything suggested to me, these are things that I found did and didn't work.

Getting a Band Together

This is the first step. Now, you might have other musician friends, but there are obstacles. They have to be easy to work with, like the music and not be flaky. I didn't have any friends who were into my music, so I went to www.craigslist.org. I found a drummer and a bass player that worked out. It was hard to find more players, so I went to hired guns. I liked the idea that you could find exactly what you wanted and they would learn your songs, no questions asked and have it down in a week. Man, that made things easier.

Getting the Gig

Everyone has ideas on how to book gigs. First you need the promotional package: the picture, the CD, and a bio. The CD is the most important part. The booker is looking for a match on the bill. Also, they always want to know how many people you can draw. The magic number seems to be around a minimum of 25 people, but more about that later.

After sending out multiple packages to bookers, I found that most of them don't call you back. You have to be persistent, but not annoying. I found that calling after a week is a good time to start. Sometimes they have a recording saying the best time to reach them. Plan to send your CD one to two months before the time you would like to be booked. Bookers plan ahead that amount of time.

You will have to hunt around to find the small places that will book you if you have an audience of 0-25. People say that it's good to book shows in three to four different markets in your local area. While this is a good idea, it's easier said than done. What happened to me is that I called and sent out packages to multiple places outside the city I lived in and none responded, or if they did they wanted to know if I had an audience in the area. Well, this is where the "catch 22" comes in: No, I didn't have an audience there because I'm looking to create one there, and I can't unless they give me a gig, but they won't give me a gig unless I have an audience. Phew! Did you catch that? What ends up happening is you can book shows at VERY small places and maybe even cafs to get started in the areas and make musician friends.

Making friends with bands in the areas you want to play is KEY. Playing at small places in that area is one way. Another way that's suggested by others is to send e-mails to bands in the area you want to play in. Why travel to the areas when you can just send an e-mail, right? Wrong. What ended up happening is that I sent e-mails to the bands that I thought we would work best with and no matter how sincere I was in the e-mail, they never responded. I find that most bands are not very professional, or at least helpful with other bands in giving them a show, unless you're already friends with them. The bands in other areas that I was able to get shows with I was already friends with. How do you do that? Go to shows and support local bands. When other bands come in from out of town and you're at the show, introduce yourself, start talking to them, and give them your CD. Then when you contact them about shows they will be more likely to be responsive.

Promoting the Show

Here is one the main keys to being a successful band. Why? Because one of the best parts of playing a show is seeing a lot of people in the audience. Also, the club likes it because they have more chances to sell drinks. Let's face it, this is a business. The club may like having a band on stage that doesn't make them wince, but more importantly, they're concerned with how much money the bands help them make. This is why the club will invite bands back. If you can bring in a lot of people that drink, you may never have to book your own shows again. You will have club bookers calling you and asking you to fill in spots for them. This is the point you want to get to. But before you can get to this part, you have to bring the people in.

There is much speculation as to the best ways to do this. In all honesty, there isn't one perfect way and trying as many ways as you can think of is probably not a bad idea. However, of all the ideas that have been suggested to me, these are the ones that did and didn't work for me:

Putting up flyers everywhere: Now, if you didn't know a band, would seeing a piece of paper tell you how they sounded? No, so why would you go? I never got people to a show because they were introduced to my band on a piece of paper on a pole. If you are known in the area, this works well.

Handing out flyers personally at targeted shows: This is where you make small flyers and go to shows that you think the bands audience would be similar to yours. Now, you don't want to go into a club and hand out flyers for a show that you're playing at another club. Clubs sometime see this as rude. However, you can wait outside for people to leave and hand them a flyer and have a chat with them. This is both a hot and cold method. Again, you are stranger to these people and most of them still won't come to your show. You will be lucky if you pull in a few. I paid for 5,000 flyers and had a street team pass them out and talk about the show to people. In the end, I had 20 people show up to a show that weren't from the band's mailing list. That's quite an expense for so little people showing up.

Inviting friends and family: This is the only surefire way to get an audience started. These people will come to your show, and the hopes are that combined with them and the other people that are at the bar to see other bands will like you enough to come back again and/or tell other people about you too.

Posting your show on music sites: I have never had someone tell me they came to see me because they saw my name on a music site. That said, I myself do check sites like www.myspace.com, to see what shows are playing because I can go the bands websites and hear the music.

Advertising your show in the newspaper, Craigslist and local weeklies: It is free to list your shows in an area of these places and people do actually check them while they're doing other things.

Playing parties: You can contact people you know that have lots of friends and have parties and ask them if they would be interested in hosting your band. Some you will be able to get them to pay you a fee. That worked for me. It has also been suggested that you put a donation can at the door saying that it's for the band and mention the suggested amount you want. I haven't tried this way, so I'm not sure how well it works. But, it's another idea in case you have a host that doesn't have enough to pay you. This is a good way to have a captured audience that you don't have to get to come to the show.

Catch-all for things that didn't work: Passing out flyers for your next show and CDs at a show that you have just played, playing bookstores, imagining the ideal audience and place you want to play, playing open mics, leaving CDs at places with your next show on it, leaving cards at tables asking people to sign up for mailing lists or to host you at a party, putting information and non band-related news on your website, forums, and putting your band sticker everywhere.

In the end, it is important to keep trying different things and not quit after one method doesn't work for you. It could be the next thing you try that brings you success. It can also depend on who you know, what style music you play, and how much money you put into constantly getting your name out there. Luck is just consistent hard work and creating the opportunity, so you never knowall of things I've listed as not working could very well work for you. Good luck!

Butch Berry is a singer/songwriter/guitar player for Butch Berry Band www.butchberry.com

Provided by theMusicDish Network. Copyright Tag It 2004 - Republished with Permission


 

INDIE 2004: Your CD Cover is Your Best Ad For Your Music
By Christopher Knab,

Your cover is your calling card to the record industry and to the consumer...how well you design it and the other graphics for your release could well determine your success or failure as a musician.
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Now that I have your attention, I have put together the following guidelines to help you realize the importance of the graphic design stage in preparing your music for the marketplace. A well designed and attractive cover, along with other detailed information you have included in the packaging, may well determine if the gatekeepers in the music business ever bother to listen to the music contained on the record, and if a music consumer is turned off or on by your graphics. It is the best advertisement for your music.

So, go through the following questions and evaluate the design, graphic images, text (title, credits, etc.) and concept of your release by answering the following questions thoroughly and carefully. Then critique your cover in a professional manner, suggesting any improvements you think would help make the graphic design a more effective introduction of your music to the industry and your fan/customers.

1. Front Cover:

Is the name of the artist clearly visible?
Is the name written with a unique Logo design?
Is the name of the artist in the "top third" of the cover?
Is the title of the release distinguishable from the artist's name?
Is the genre of music hinted at by the cover art?

2. Back Cover:

What specific type of information is included on the back cover?
(Label name, catalog number, barcode, song titles/ times, contact information, production credits, more?)
Are the graphic images and text and colors used clearly readable?

3. Label:

Is the artist's name (logo) present and clearly visible?
What specific information is on the disc itself?
(Many artists leave the disc blank for 'artistic' reasons, do you wish to make such a statement, or are there more important considerations that should be addressed?)

4. Booklet/Tray Card:

Describe the type of Booklet/Tray Card used in your packaging.
What specific images, and text information is included?
( More credits, thank you's, lyrics, pictures, etc.)
Is the artwork and design consistent with the rest of the artwork and design of the front and back covers?

5. Spine:

What specific information is on the spine of the CD?
( Label name/logo, catalog number, artist name, release name?)

You have spent a long time writing, rehearsing, performing, and recording your music. Please take some time to consciously consider all the issues listed above, subtle and not so subtle, that go into creating your CD, Tape, or Vinyl release. Once approved and sent to the manufacturer/printer it will be too late to correct any second thoughts you may have had. (Will you still be proud of your cover 10 years from now?)

Once released, your record will take its place in a retail store next to the thousands of other artists and bands that made it to the shopping arena where a consumer may or may not be attracted to your music by the artwork you have created. Never forget ... the career you save by learning the craft of cover design ... may be yours!

Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright Tag It 2004 - Republished with Permission

 

 

How Can You Achieve Success as an Independent Artist?
By George Shantzek,

 
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Often life as an independent artist has been regarded as a one-way ticket to Smallville: great college crowds, a great college student quality-of-life, and a double lifetime supply of beer. This career choice is known to be, at best, difficult-- offering a menial and even thankless role in the music world.

Whether you happen to be in the industry or just an innocent bystander -- also referred to as a fan, many will measure the success of an artist in simple terms: how many units have been sold; how much exposure has the group received; how many can they pack into a room or concert hall? And whether you want to admit it or not, EVERYONE regards the mainstream media as an indicator of whether a group's success is significant or marginal.

Many of us in the industry ask ourselves, repeatedly: how can independent artists reach a broader audience? We respond with great certainty, declaring the internet as the artists' newfound Mecca. And then some will go on to lambast MTV, the radio industry and music store chains for refusing most independent artists access. "That!" we say, "is the 'Great Barrier' to independent artists reaching a broader audience and a successful career!"

So we are left with this simple recipe:

Internet = Good: the music "Promised Land," offering endless opportunities to attract hundreds of millions all over the world! An artist's direct link to potential fans, knocking out the middle man.

Big Business = Bad: The bad guys who ignore good music - except for the moments they take a calculated risk with a great new discovery for MTV's "Road Rules."

The problem with this recipe is that it gives us a false view of the real industry playing ground.

First, a brief look at the Internet: the Internet can be an excellent business and marketing vehicle for artists. But look no further than Google and you can find endless case studies on the "dotcom bust," proving that the internet is NOT a business model, whether you're a farmer or a world-class media company. It is only complimentary to your product, your vision and your marketing strategy.

So, let us say, for all intents and purposes, that there is an artist who is pretty talented and has a good product to offer unsuspecting eager listeners. From here, we move on to the vision: following the "thinking with the end in mind" approach, we establish that the artist would be very happy with regional airplay, a six-album record deal and limited exposure on MTV2.

Now unless this artist majored in Business, Marketing and Entertainment Law, his or her marketing strategy might remain a bit unsophisticated, making it highly unlikely that he or she will ever see the day that one of the songs will receive regional airplay, let alone a six-album record deal or MTV2.

And anyone who has managed to "break into the business" or has landed a record deal can tell you: turning your music into a business can be an extremely risky, and sometimes disturbing, venture. An artist is simply an entrepreneur full of passion, ideas and creativity. The music might be good and the concert crowds might love it, but it will never generate huge amounts of money until the artist is ready to work hard at developing a sophisticated focused marketing plan and whip out 4-minute industry-friendly jingles.

But, even then, the artist needs to be savvy enough to survive formal collaborations with producers and record labels. No producer or record label looks out for the interests of the artist. That is not their business. Their business is maximizing and exploiting a consumer-friendly product. Nothing more, nothing less. The bottom line is all that matters. Once there is no more bottom line, there is no more artist.

Even musicians who have had some significant success with their music are still hesitant to claim that success as an independent artist is possible. Tor Hyams (www.tor.net), a well-respected singer/songwriter in Los Angeles, has successfully written music for motion pictures and network television and still has grave doubts about making it as an independent artist.

"It is almost impossible to achieve success anyplace as an independent artist. What I truly think about the Indy scene is that it is important and crucial to the evolution of music. Though I become less jaded every day, I must be a realist and insist there is truly no future at this point for independent artists except for the rare occasion when all the stars align and luck is a lady tonight.

"Even if you just look at raw figures (Sound Scan numbers, ad dollars spent each year on records, etc), you would literally have to be a millionaire to make it right now. It is simply impossible to have anyone know who you are without mega-bucks. You are competing against the major labels and Indies with a lot of money."

And this is someone who has relied heavily on the internet for establishing his business. He even has a cyber claim-to-fame:

"I was the first indy artist to acquire financing for a record online... Billboard wrote an article about me and the event and so did many other internet and print pubs. There was a lot of hype. I got 35K to make a record, spent 6 weeks at one of the hippest studios in the country making it (Fantasy Studios in Berkeley) and then it all went South.

They (industry managers/producers) said they were going to make big things happen, that I should let go of control and they would act as my managers, etc. Zippo. They dropped the ball. I had another business contact who was supposed to get commercial radio to play the record. Again, ball dropped. The label that got me my deal went bankrupt. Nothing happened and the investors never got their money back."

But even though he had some pretty strong words for his own record deal experience and the state of the industry today, he has still found a way to carve a niche in the music world and make a good living out of it.

"Am I bitter? Not really. I actually got to live the dream; 6 weeks in a major recording studio with a real legit producer doing my songs. Not bad. What I realized later on was that I was actually pretty satisfied with just that part of the dream.

"I suddenly didn't need to be rocking out at Madison Square Garden. I realized that I was a good songwriter, but that my particular brand of performing was just not being accepted. People wanted Justin Timberlake, not a 30 something pop rock singer."

And sometimes it just takes staying true to the brand and sitting it out long enough so the trends shift back in your favor.

"Ironically, my 'brand' is actually coming back to be trendy. People have actually started buying my record again and playing it on the radio without me having to do anything at all. At the same time, I am finally writing and producing commercial records as a living. Life is good and the path I took here (including this whole Indy thing) was correct because now I am here and I like it here. I feel like I have gained a lot of knowledge in a very short time and that is certainly a privilege."

So is there a simple recipe for success as an independent artist? Definitely not.

But there are just some words to live by: stay true to the product, search out a niche to exploit, and get a damn Business / Marketing degree!

This article was made possible by a call-for-articles, Focus Marketing, a company bridging data analysis and marketing strategy development for the music industry, to independent artists and labels on their experiences in promoting and selling their music.

Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright Tag It 2004 - Republished with Permission




 

Event Review: NARIP Presentation - Publishing Hit Songs
Alan Melina Reveals the Secrets Behind 500,000,000 in Record Sales
By G-Man,

"So then I said, 'Are you guys deaf? That's a hit record!' And they agreed to listen to it again."

Those twenty words reveal a lot about Alan Melina, from his stature in the business (he pitches songs directly to Clive Davis and others at the top), to his track record (he has signed writers and artists who have sold half-a-billion recordings), to his faith in the quality of the work he represents (often displaying an eye-opening level of self-confidence).
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So when Melina speaks about the innermost details of the world of publishing, listen closely and take lots of notes.

Two Professions in One Person

Melina is Managing Partner in the personal artist management firm New Heights Entertainment and President/Managing Partner of the independent music publishing group Sunset Boulevard Entertainment. In this dual capacity, he brought an even greater degree of knowledge to the presentation by the National Association of Record Industry Professionals (NARIP).

"I live in a world where art meets commerce," Melina stated. And he was eager to help each attendee more readily integrate his art with the commercial aspects of the industry. In order to present data that would be most relevant to everyone, he asked each of us for a brief introduction, then often related portions of the 4-hour seminar directly to individuals in the auditorium. A nice touch.

Attendees included industry insiders such as Marvin Etzioni, an original member of acclaimed Los Angeles band Lone Justice and now a producer represented by Studio Expresso; Tyree Knox of WEA; and Sherry Perkov, Executive Music Supervisor for The Roddenberry Estate.

Secrets & Facts

On several occasions, Melina asked me not to print something he was about to say, so all I can reveal are the facts of his presentation, not some of his wonderfully entertaining opinions and irreverent anecdotes. But the list of facts was impressive and useful, including:

* The bundle of rights in a song
* Categorization of music publishing revenues
* Determination of mechanical royalties by country
* Definition of co-pub (co-publishing deal)
* How the "free goods" record company provision can hurt your income
* The truth behind the "securitization" deals such as the Bowie bonds
* How to determine the worth of a song catalog
* Basic math used regularly in the publishing business
* Ways a publisher exploits the copyrights he acquires

Melina is in love with this subject matter, and he makes it come alive as he speaks. He is also a bit of a raconteur, often garnering laughter from his keen observations about some of the more peculiar aspects of the worlds of publishing and management. Some highlights of his presentation:

* "Information, information, information. Music publishing is all about information."

* "You need to know to change language in your contract from 'You will be paid in accordance with the Artist's Contract Provisions' to 'You will be paid in accordance with standard Harry Fox Agency rates.' It will affect your payments."

* "Contract language can be crucial. As a publisher, you need to be specific when agreeing to make additional 'step payments' or 'bonus advances' to writers. You should not sign a contract that says you will pay additional bonus advances 'upon release of an album containing a song.' It needs more detail, such as 'upon release of a newly written previously unrecorded song by a major U.S. label (i.e. Sony, WMG, BMG, EMG, UMG) each such song a minimum 50% control which is subject to this agreement, licensed by us from date of first release (for which we have a fully executed mechanical license for which there are no disputes or counterclaims) at no less than 75% of the statutory mechanical rate in effect at the date of release (such advance reduced pro-rata if lesser control or lesser mechanical rate), accompanied by a commercial copy of the subject album'."

* "I don't pretend to know what's in the head of Hilary Duff's friends or the 12-year-old females who buy her records, but I do make sure I know what record companies think THEY know about it."

* "I believe in the 'serve/volley' style of business. You don't sit back waiting for something to happen. You serve with your best shot and move forward to try to MAKE something happen."

In the make-something-happen vein, Melina recommended Sunday brunch at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills around "noonish table 72, 73, 74 or 75. You'll be in the thick of it."

Summing Up

Fascinating, detailed, entertaining, helpful. More than one attendee expressed delight at the amount of excellent data contained in the presentation and handouts. Says Kerry Furlong, VP of HitsCreative.com, "This was one of the most valuable events I've ever attended."

"Alan brought us first-rate information, practical experience and insider tips about this vital and lucrative part of our business - music publishing," says Tess Taylor, NARIP president. "As he emphasized, information is a key to career advancement and expanding your knowledge, vision and point-of-view. Every executive is more valuable to his employer when he not only understands how things work, but why. Hearing Alan's experiences and strategies is a great way to improve our own. And when NARIP members take the information we have been able to provide, apply it and succeed, that gives me the greatest satisfaction."

If Alan Melina makes an encore appearance, don't miss it.

Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright Tag It 2004 - Republished with Permission

 

 

Extra! Extra! Read All About You!
By Carla Hall, MusicDish.com

 
MusicDish Network Sponsor
What the hell is a press kit? It's your demo, photo, and bio. Who needs a press kit? You do. Also known as a promo package, a press kit will open doors to a record deal, gigs, and press interviews. Create your own marketing ruckus, and the industry will be on you like stank on sh*t.

Since your press kit is your calling card, you better take the time to decide what you want people to know about you. Ruff Ryder's Eve makes sure that her photos are tight. She says, "I want the photos to show that I'm sexy, strong, and feminine." And way before Nelly Furtado hooked up with Missy and Timbaland, she walked into soon to be manager Chris Smith's office with a package that reflected her personality. "She took a lo-fi approach to her kit, which was about $9 worth of photos from one of those booths in the mall, and an essay which was just stream of consciousness writing of what she thought, and how she felt about music," says Smith, "It wasn't about 'This is the best shit since such and such, and I'm gonna take over the world because I'm good.' The photos were very spontaneous, and the free form writing thing was just touching, and people fell for it."

Get Your Paper. Imagine an A&R person's desk, covered with tapes and press kits. Which one will get listened to first? To create inexpensive stationery, have a creative friend design a letterhead for you and take it to a copy center like Kinko's. Or for a special touch, bring along paper from www.paperaccess.com. Some of the hottest kits are color folders with your materials in the pockets. According to Ariel Hyatt of Ariel Publicity, whose roster includes Parliament's Bernie Worrell, "Stationery makes you look more professional. Would you take a company seriously if they didn't have any letterhead?"

And You Are? Your bio is next, and should read like an article. Many editors are swamped for time, and may quote your bio word for word. No longer than one page, it should say who you are, while avoiding a lot of hype. Describe your music in a unique way early in the bio, so editors don't have to search for it. If you decide to write it yourself, have someone else check it for misspelling and over-hyped clichs. But Ariel adds, "You may be a great musician, but you may not be great at capturing how you sound on paper. If you hate writing, or you're not down with it, get someone else to do it."

Smile Pretty. Whether you're a thug Romeo or a downtown diva, your photo is an opportunity to show your personality as an artist. When you're trying to get press in your hometown newspaper or Billboard magazine, it's important to have a clear, professional quality photo. A black and white, 8 x 10 picture will do the job, just make sure that your music and your image are consistent. Jonathan Mannion, whose portfolio includes Ja Rule, Jay-Z, Eminem, and others, believes that it's not difficult to find a photographer that fits in your budget. He says, "Be resourceful. Sometimes the assistants of the heavy hitters are incredible photographers in their own right. You can also find people at art schools that have a good eye."

Weed it Out. Filling up your press kit with club ads of your performances is a waste of space, and no one wants to read them but you. If you only have a bio, that is enough to start. When you start getting press, limit your clippings to about five of your best, and work on getting more new ones. Ariel continues, "Press clippings should be no more than four pages of white double sided press clips, and leave it at that."

Work It. Take the time to present a consistent image. Says Chris Smith, "You need the music to back it up, but you should be well-rounded. The photos, your music, and the information you give about yourself should be connected."

Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright Tag It 2004 - Republished with Permission

 

 

Radio, Radio
By Carla Hall,

 
MusicDish Network Sponsor
Planning to send your new single to your local Power or Hot station to get radio airplay? Think again. Getting radio airplay is serious bizness and no longer in the hands of individual DJs, so you best plan to get hot or go home. Each week, new songs get added to a station's playlist (called "adds"), while current songs are monitored for the number of "spins" or times played per week. The rest are dropped. Believe it or not, there is a method to the madness.

"If anyone has the perception of simply putting a CD in an envelope and sending it to a radio station will automatically get airplay, then they're probably misguided," says Jerry Lembo, an independent radio promoter. "Music directors usually have a designated day and time when they take calls and/or visits from promotional reps. It may be a Wednesday between 1-4 PM. It's not like you can walk in at any given time of the week."

During a music director (MD) or program director's (PD) "visiting hours," the record promoter presents a song and dance of why the station should play the song. "What you want to do is bring in information about the artist, if there is any activity surrounding the song. Maybe the artist is playing locally, or appearing on television. Maybe the song is being used in a soundtrack or has been reviewed in a notable publication," continues Lembo. "Whatever you have to enhance the big picture of a song, this is your opportunity to present the facts."

On the R&B and Urban Radio side, there are other ways to get put on. Go through the side door via radio call-in freestyle shows and mix show DJs. "If you're on a mix tape and you make something people wanna hear, and people vibe to it, the radio stations are forced to hear what you're doing," says New York Power 105.1's Doctor Dre. "50 Cent put out tons and tons of mix CDs. He was on so many different tapes that people decided that he was the next big thing."

Payola is the means of getting a station to play your record through bribes and gifts to the MDs and PDs. Back in the day, labels were rumored to use these tactics. "In the past, the only way I could get to a program director was at The Jack the Rapper Music Conference," says rap Godfather Luke Campbell. "I'd get a suite, because I ain't Sony or Interscope, and I'd have to be creative. So I'd get the dancers from the club, put them in the room, and I'd play the same record over and over. I took the army mentality, like what they'd do in Vietnam. I'd just play a certain record over and over and run the enemy crazy!" However, the current slump in the music industry has forced people to play by the rules. "Kids have so many other ways now to get music. They can burn it, download it, or get it from a friend with a CD burner, and it's affected the business. So we can't do the big dinners and parties, and other things that are considered raunchy anymore, because it doesn't make sense financially."

Prepare. Compile list of college and mainstream stations that play your type of music. www.radio-locator.com lists stations all over the world, including web radio. Billboard and CMJ (College Music Journal) are excellent research guides. "If you listen to the frequencies in any given market, you can tell which stations are more aggressive about music, says Jerry Lembo.

"You have stations that will lead musically, and you have stations that follow. Depending on the station, you may have to build a large regional or national story before they even consider adding your record."

Who Dat? Learn the key players at each station, as well as their visiting hours and preferences. If you're approaching a college station, find out which DJs play your particular style of music. Says Geo Bivins, VP of Radio Promo at Capitol Records CK, "These days, radio promo is about going to the office, playing the record, and really working the whole station in order to get them to feel your record."

Create Your Story. Nobody wants to sleep on the next big thing. Radio people want to know what other honest hype, if any, is going on with your record. "Maybe the artist is playing locally, or appearing on television. Maybe the song is being used on a soundtrack, or reviewed by a notable publication" continues Lembo. "Whatever you have that might enhance the big picture, this is your opportunity to present the facts to the music director.

Back to School. Don't sleep on college radio for the most on-air opportunities. Interviews and performances on college stations can help you build exposure. "College breaks a lot more new artist than we do," says Doctor Dre. "There's less restrictions. I was at WDAU at Adelphi University from 1993-1998. I had so many people, like Public Enemy, that came through that became bigger artists."

Check Yourself.Radio promotion is a long term strategy. Work a few stations at a time, since you'll be begging them often. If at first you don't succeed, dust yourself off and try again. You may need to work your song for the long haul. "It's more often that you don't get the add," says Lembo. "You could visit stations for up to a year and even then not be successful. But it depends on how strongly you believe in the music."

Promotions. As the saying goes, never underestimate the power of a free t-shirt. Suggest giveaways to advertise local performances, and kiss up to your radio station ballers. "Promo-wise, everything works because it is a relationship business, " says Bivins. "But everything comes down to whether or not you have a great record."

Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright Tag It 2004 - Republished with Permission

 

 

How to Get Targeted Traffic To Your Music Website With No Money Down
By Chris Standring,

 
MusicDish Network Sponsor
Everyone now knows that if you are an artist or you play in a band that it is imperative you have a website. It is now considered the norm and a nice place to refer existing and potential fans.

However, an artist website that sits in cyberspace and gets visited only after bands mention their web address on stage is a website that is not utilizing the Internet's full potential. A poorly promoted website can be like a tree falling in the forest. It may look stunning, have all the bells and whistles but if nobody can find it then it is a waste of time in my view. I want to tell you how you can get a good steady flow of regular targeted traffic to your artist website without spending a dime. Of course there is some work to do but it will be your time and not your dollars that you will be giving up.

You have no doubt heard about reciprocal link trading. This is something that has existed since the dawn of the Internet. Essentially this is where one website links to another. All very simple. However, most webmasters don't utilize the full benefit of link trading and for the most part the trade is a waste of time. Let's talk about how to do it right. There are two reasons you should trade links with other websites:

1) To get a stream of targeted traffic to your site from external links.
2) To fuel the search engines and rank your site higher.

You should only trade links with websites that are relevant to your website. For instance, if your music is categorized in the punk genre then you should of course target websites that are common to that theme. If you are a new age artist there may be many more sites you might target; spiritual bookstores, yoga and so on. Get creative and ask yourself "Who out there in cyberspace would like my music and where do they hang out?". Use keywords in Google or any other search engine to find sites to trade with.

Not all sites will trade, especially corporate commercial sites, ezines etc. Many will however and you should propose a trade via e-mail if a site invites link exchanges. The easiest sites to trade links with will be other band sites, so you should do that first. You must make sure that the websites that you trade links with have a clearly viewable link from their home page to their links page. It should say "links" or "resources" or "sites we like" and so on. You shouldn't link with any site that has a links page that can't be found. After all what good is it to you?

To really get the benefit of this marketing tool you should start a simple link directory. Think of your links directory as a mini-yahoo portal, of course the links will only be relevant to your visitors. Write down a list of categories, and add new categories as you build your directory. For example, let's say your music is "classic rock". Your categories might be:

1) Classic rock bands;
2) Classic rock ezines;
3) Classic rock heroes;
4) Reviews;
5) Music biz resources;
6) Other cool links, and so on.

Whatever genre your music is in you can customize your categories to fit. Get creative. OK, Now I want to explain something of huge importance and will make ALL the difference when you trade links with other sites. You must tell webmasters exactly how to display your link. Let me give you an example. Let's now assume you are part of a progressive rock group called "Motormouth". Here is the right way and wrong way to display the link:

Motormouth
Progressive rock from four piece band out of Denver, Colorado

Motormouth - the coolest of all progressive rock bands
Based out of Denver Colorado, this four piece band are taking the US by storm

Example #2 is the preferred way to display your link. Not all websites will allow this (especially directories) but you should push for this where possible. Let me explain why. Search engines are now giving more relevance to websites based on how their link is displayed on external sites, compared to any text residing on their own domain. If for example your band plays progressive rock then you should take advantage of your biggest keyword and include it as part of your link title.

As a surfer, if I was interested in progressive rock I might go to Google and type "Progressive rock bands". Now if you look at example two above the keyword "progressive rock bands" is part of the link title. Keep in mind that it will not help so much to include the singular "progressive rock band" in the link title. The singular keyword "band" is different from "bands" you understand? Web surfers would probably not type "progressive rock band" in Google because they might be looking for more than one. Results will vary so think about your strongest keyword and how surfers might find you - then get that keyword somehow in your link title.

After trading a good amount of links search engines will warm to your site and start returning your results extremely high in its results, depending on keyword competition. This should give you a nice flow of traffic from those websites you have traded links with and many many more from search engines when surfers enter your keyword. Please believe me when I tell you that artists and groups are NOT doing this right now and it is a simple procedure that will take just a little discipline and some time on your part. As I mentioned before, make sure that the website you are trading with displays your link the way you need it displayed. The best way to do this is to give them html code that they can copy and paste. Using example two above your html code might look like this:

Motormouth - the coolest of all progressive rock bands
Based out of Denver Colorado, this four piece band are taking the US by storm.

When requesting a link trade be courteous and professional. Remember that you must target relevant sites only (otherwise search engines will penalize you). If you want to get into this a little deeper you might download the free google toolbar which will display a pagerank (from 1 to 10) every time you visit a web page. When you trade a link with a website that has a high pagerank (IE: 4 or 5 and above) this will serve you better in return. The page that displays your link should in itself be pageranked (not just the site's home page) in a perfect world. However, I do think that user relevance should take precedence over pagerank in this instance.

Lastly, if you want to go even deeper and manage your links directory in a highly effective way I suggest you buy some incredible software called Arelis. I use this and it has tripled my traffic and therefore product sales. I created the A&R Online band directory using this as well as four other website link directories.

It allows you to check on a regular basis whether other sites are still linking back to you, enabling you to remove any broken links or contact those sites to repair etc. etc. It manages your link database brilliantly and will even generate the html web pages at the click of a button. It makes a pretty dull chore actually quite fun. Costs around 100 bucks. Money well spent if you want to really drive targeted traffic to your band site. If you are serious about your music career I can't recommend this software highly enough.

Oh, one more thing. Make sure you capitalize on the traffic that you start receiving! Rather than expect visitors to come sailing through and buy your CD, make sure that on your home page there is an incentive for them to subscribe to your band newsletter. You must get their e-mail address and build your mailing list as you can market direct to them later on. Give them a huge incentive. Again get creative. If they have come to you from a "progressive rock bands" keyword typed in a search engine, give them what they want! Perhaps offer them a free eBook with articles, news and photos of your 10 favorite progressive rock heroes when they subscribe to your list. Of course your band is on the front page of the eBook right? You should be marketing yourself first but if you are unknown you should piggyback off established stars.

 
"So You Think You Want A Record Deal?"
The A&R Online Guide to Landing a Recording Contract
by Chris Standring
"A spirited how to...(and how not to) e-book. A very clever idea that is written with real-world examples for musicians/artists by a musician/artist." - Russell Ziecker

Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright Tag It 2004 - Republished with Permission

 

 

Tips for Clearing Music for Television and Motion Pictures
By Steve Gordon, Esq.,

Reprinted from "Entertainment Law & Finance"

Music licensing offers ancillary income in a music business that lately has seen decreases in sales of recorded product. Even the Internet, which has negatively affected record sales, offers music licensing opportunities. In the following interview, New York entertainment attorney Steve Gordon discusses the practical considerations involved in the licensing of music. Next spring, Gordon will teach a course on digital music law and business models at New York University and present a seminar at Columbia University on the future of music on the Internet. Gordon's contact information, information on the course and seminar, and his previously published articles can be found at Steve Gordon Law.

 
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[Question] What kinds of projects do you work on?

Steve Gordon TV, movies, documentaries, compilation albums, DVDs and Internet-based projects. I recently worked on several interesting jobs in cooperation with Universal Media Inc. [a company specializing in finding footage and music]. These projects included a documentary on Latin jazz for the Smithsonian Institution, a companion record album for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, a network TV special featuring the music of Elvis Presley, and a PBS special featuring Frank Sinatra's duet performances from his old TV series, to be released as a home video and on foreign TV.

Currently, I'm working on an independent movie about a serial murderer who targets punk rock fans, containing more than two dozen songs and masters. I also represent a publicly traded Internet content provider that is continually securing rights in all kinds of content, including music, videos and computer games.

[Question] What is the process for securing copyright clearances?

Steve Gordon The process is basically the same for any kind of project. Research the songs, strategize with the client, negotiate the terms and review or, in certain instances, prepare the licenses. In regard to the last item, music publishers and labels will usually provide their own licenses. However, occasionally a small label, publisher or unsigned artist will request that you draft the license.

With respect to research, the kind of material to be cleared will dictate the nature of research to be performed. For instance, for musical compositions, the ASCAP and BMI databases are excellent sources for identifying the writers and music publishers. Each of these databases may have to be explored because each performing-rights organization provides information only on the songs in its own repertory. SESAC also administers certain songs that will not be included on the ASCAP or BMI sites. In addition, the Harry Fox Agency provides information concerning songs that it represents (see Songfile.com).

If your client is using musical recordings, the packaging and liner notes can supply information such as the name of the record company and artist, and the release date. If the client is using excerpts of TV, movie or video footage, someone should view the credits from the original TV program, movie or music video to determine the TV service, studio or record label that controls the copyright in the footage. The musical artists, actors and other persons (or their estates) appearing in the footage may also have to be cleared depending on various circumstances, including whether there is a musical performance in the footage.

Once you have identified those who control rights in the material to be used, you are almost ready to approach the owners and negotiate terms. (See sample clause below.) But first you must strategize with the client. This conversation should include what rights will be required, that is, media, territory, duration, what you think it will cost and what to propose to the licensors.

This process is the real "art" of licensing. With knowledge of the applicable business practices and pricing, you can advise your client on the approximate amount of money he or she will have to pay for clearances; alert him or her to potential problems, such as material that may be too expensive and may have to be replaced; and develop a letter addressed to the owners accurately reflecting the precise rights that your client needs and proposing the lowest reasonable fee or royalty. The proposed payment, which obviously must be approved by the client, should be as low as possible and include a cogent explanation of the reasons that the owner should accept such a rate. At the same time, the proposal should not be so out of whack with standard business practices that the owner feels insulted.

The negotiation process involves a discussion with the copyright owner or its representative about the project, plus continual follow-up. Many of the projects on which I work will not make a great deal of money for any individual copyright owner. For that reason, many of these requests usually are low-priority items to the people from whom I am seeking permission. To do this work, therefore, a combination of courtesy and persistence is recommended.

Ultimately, if the licensor doesn't accept your terms, you will have to negotiate compromises or even advise the client to drop the desired music. For instance, trying to get a hit song for an independent movie may not happen because the song owner may not like your client's project, or may not wish to license it to anyone at any price, or may propose a fee well beyond your client's ability to pay.

Finally, the owner will send the license, and it is my responsibility to make sure that the terms in the license exactly match the understanding between my client and the owner.

[Question] What issues arise specifically in the case of independent movies?

Steve Gordon From a clearance point of view, the most important difference between an independent film and a major studio production is that an independent producer usually has a lot less money to spend on anything, including music. Therefore, an independent filmmaker may have to curb his or her desire for securing "name-brand" talent. For instance, if your client wants to use "Satisfaction" under the opening credits, that is going to cost big bucks indeed, unless he or she happens to be a personal friend of Mick Jagger, and even then, don't assume a huge discount.

Even if Mick Jagger is your client's best friend, the people who administer the Stones' copyrights may never have heard of your client. Music publishers and labels generally will adjust their rates downwards based on the size of a movie's budget. But don't expect to pay a nominal fee for a hit song just because your client's budget is modest. Independent film producers should also understand that no matter how popular or recognizable the music in a movie is, people don't watch movies to listen to music. A lawyer or clearance person can work with a savvy producer to create a great soundtrack without busting the budget.

For instance, many music publishers, labels and managers may be eager to place new songs written by "baby bands" that will be more reasonably priced than songs written by established acts. Another alternative is a "stock" music house. Generally, these firms can license both the song and the master, and therefore offer one-stop shopping as well as low prices.

Finally, a composer or songwriter/producer can be hired to write music for specific scenes, or a complete score. There are many talented but hungry songwriters who would be happy to work on a client's project for a credit and a reasonable fee.

Another way to work within a client's budget is to set up the quote request as a series of options. Generally, a film festival license can be secured for a small fee because music publishers and labels recognize that festivals are not commercial enterprises. Additional rights such as theatrical, free TV, cable and home video can be requested as options. Each one may be exercised by paying a specific fee. "Broad rights"-which include theatrical, TV and home video-can be expensive. In case your client does not succeed in securing commercial theatrical distribution, these options will allow him or her to gain exposure for the movie (on cable TV, for instance) for a reasonable fee without paying for unnecessary rights. Next month, Steve Gordon will address such topics as deal points, "most favored nations," penalties for the failure to secure copyright clearance, and the role of a music supervisor.

[Question] Please describe the deal points (e.g., term, territory, royalties or fees).

Steve Gordon The term will vary depending on the nature of the project. Of course, you always would like to secure perpetual rights for your client. But that may not always be possible. For instance, in regard to a TV project, music publishers and labels will customarily limit the term to three to five years. A longer period will cost a lot more money. One way to accommodate future uses is, again, to set up options. The original term can be three years, with an option for another three. That way, your client doesn't have to pay the additional fees unless he or she actually exploits the program for a longer term.

Movie and TV producers will generally seek worldwide to maximize the audience for, and income from, their projects. Producers of album compilations, on the other hand, may wish to target the U.S. and Canada market only. So the scope of the territory provision will depend on the business interests of your client. Of course, the most important item in virtually all clearance licenses will be the money. Generally, flat fees will be required for TV and movies because that is the standard business practice.

On the other hand, if you license a song or master for an album or a home video, you can expect to pay a penny rate per unit. How much you pay will depend primarily on the nature of the project. In regard to a compilation album, although there are exceptions, the owner of the track (generally a record company) will require a per-unit penny rate against an advance. If the penny rate is 10 cents, then an advance payment of $1,000 may be required, with a "rollover" payment of another $1,000 for sales exceeding 10,000, and additional rollover payments after that for each block of 10,000 units. The underlying song will be subject to a statutory mechanical license, currently 8 cents per unit, although it may be possible to secure reductions from such rate in certain circumstances (if a charitable purpose is involved, for example).

Clearing music for a motion picture is a whole different ball game because there is no compulsory license for use of musical compositions in audiovisual works. The money demanded for even a never-quite-famous song can easily reach six figures for a movie to be distributed by a major studio. The owner of the master, usually the record company, probably will want at least an equal amount for the master recording.

[Question] What is meant by the phrase "Most Favored Nations"?

Steve Gordon Also referred to as "MFN," this is a business practice than can affect all the terms of a license. It means that you cannot treat the owner or licensor of content less well than any other owner or licensor of content used in a similar manner. The practice is very common in regard to concert TV programs featuring a dozen full-length musical performances. No one who licenses any song for such a program wants to get less money or give more rights than any other licensor. MFN also plays a big role in audio compilation albums. It exists but is less common in regard to clearing music for movies, because in a movie each piece of music is often used in a different way. For instance, one song may be used over the credits, another song may be used for only a few moments in the background of a scene, and another song may be heard as a theme throughout the movie.

[Question] What are some reasons that a copyright clearance cannot be secured?

Steve Gordon Money is the most common reason. In regard to a movie, although some baby bands, composers or songwriters may love the exposure that your client can create, established artists and bands may not need the exposure. They already have it. Therefore, the price can be prohibitively high. To give a recent example from my own practice, we could not get the price of a Bee Gees song down for an independent movie. So we replaced it with a new song composed by my client. Another problem is that the copyright owner, or his or her representative, may not wish to be associated with your client's project for whatever reason. I once had a problem with getting permission to use "Macarena" for a Chipmunks video. Apparently, the composers did not relish the idea of their song being performed by cartoon characters.

[Question] What are the possible penalties if copyright clearances are not secured?

Steve Gordon Perhaps the worst-case scenario is an injunction, which is available as a remedy for copyright infringement. Your client's project could be shut down completely. If it's yanked out of distribution, not only are potential profits lost, but there also could be serious expenses incurred in retrieving the product from warehouses or retail outlets (as there would be if a DVD were involved). Of course, copyright owners have other remedies available to them, including statutory damages and attorney fees, if they properly registered their works. Therefore, the price of using a copyright without permission can be quite steep indeed.

[Question] What is the role of a music supervisor?

Steve Gordon A good music supervisor can identify music that could enhance your client's project. But due to budget constraints, experienced music supervisors make their living working with big studio productions. When they can be afforded, they have knowledge and contacts that could prove valuable, especially when it comes to finding new, cutting-edge music. The client can't depend on lawyers or clearance people to be his or her "ears." Depending on the budget, therefore, the client may have to be his or her own music supervisor, although a knowledgeable lawyer with good industry contacts can be very helpful.

[Question] What is involved in licensing music for Internet-based projects? How is it or other new technologies an emerging area for clearances?

Steve Gordon New technologies, including the Internet, have created new uses for all kinds of content. New business practices and forms of licensing have also emerged. The issues and rules can be quite complex, depending on what you are trying to do (e.g., webcasting, streaming or downloading) and the kind of content you are trying to clear (interactive games, music, etc.). Perhaps the fastest-growing areas of music licensing are interactive webcasting and video on demand. Already, satellite systems and digital cable modem services are offering content on demand. Concert specials accommodate themselves beautifully to these new technologies.

Eventually, concert videos may also be available on the Web on an on-demand basis. Therefore, in addition to clearing a concert special for TV and home video, clearance people will find themselves clearing for on-demand uses. This will entail educating the licensor as to the new technologies and, in the case of webcasting, assuring copyright owners that your client will protect the owners' copyrights with encryption technologies to prevent piracy.

Sample Clause for Synchronization License

License # (Basic Cable Television)
Date:
Effective Date: In consideration of the terms and provisions of this agreement as hereinbelow set forth, we hereby license to you, nonexclusively, the right to record the musical selection set forth in Paragraph "2," below, in synchronization or timed relationship with the single television production known as________________________in the territory and for the purposes hereinbelow described.

This license shall apply and be limited to the musical composition and type and duration of usage set forth below, and as compensation therefor you agree to pay and we agree to accept the sums indicated:

TITLE: COMPOSER(S): TYPE OF USE: PERFORMANCE RIGHTS SOCIETY: FEE: SHARE REPRESENTED:

(1) This license herein granted is limited superficially to use in connection with the origination, transmission and public exhibition of said production by means of satellite (DBS) and basic cable television over such facilities as you may determine may be otherwise restricted hereunder, provided, however, that production will not be exhibited by so-called pay, subscription or commercial television, or similar method and will not be recorded or exhibited on audiovisual cassettes or any other sight and sound device, without our prior written consent, it being understood that such usages shall require licensing and payment of additional fees to be negotiated between us. No sound recording shall be manufactured, sold, licensed or used separate or apart from said film or videotape.

(2) Basic Cable Television shall mean exhibition throughout the Territory of the Program performing the Compositions by means of cable television, whether such programming is transmitted by wires, cables, satellite or other communication channels, for which members of the public may pay for the transmission service provided by the cable system, but do not otherwise pay a premium for the programming transmitted by such cable system.

(3) The license herein granted is a license to synchronize and record only and does not authorize or permit any other use, it being understood that performing rights licenses must be secured from any performing rights society or other entity having the legal right to issue such licenses as the owner of or on behalf of the owner of such rights in any licensed territory in which the music as recorded hereunder may be performed. All rights of every nature and description not herein expressly licensed to you are reserved by us for our use and benefit.

(4) You shall have the further right, but at your sole cost and expense, to edit, arrange and rearrange the music and lyrics for purposes of recording hereunder, provided that no substantial music or lyric changes shall be made without our prior written consent. This license shall not be deemed to include any right to parody the original music and/or lyrics of the songs. Any new arrangements hereunder shall be made only by persons acting as "employees for hire," but at your sole cost and expense, and all copyrights therein and all renewals, extensions and reversionary rights interests thereof throughout the world shall be deemed assigned to and owned by the copyright owner of the underlying composition, subject to your use under this agreement.

(5) The license herein granted shall be for and limited to the territory of ___________.

(6) Your rights for use covered by this license shall commence on the effective date of first broadcast in ____ for a period of two years.

(7) On expiration of such term, all rights licensed hereunder shall revert to us without further notice and in their entirety.

(8) On completion of production, you shall furnish to us two copies of the music cue sheets for said production (if such a cue sheet has not been furnished previously with regard to the production).

(9) No warranty or representation is made in connection with this license except that we warrant that we have the right to issue this license subject to the terms and conditions hereof. In any event, our total liability under such warranty is limited to the amount paid by you hereunder.

(10) This license shall run to you, your successors and assigns, provided that you shall remain liable for the performance of all the terms and conditions of this license on your part to be performed, and provided further that any disposition of said film or videotape of any copies thereof shall be subject to all the terms hereof.

(11) SPECIAL PROVISIONS: License also includes Foreign Television. Term of three years from initial airing in each country. All television media excluding pay-per-view. World outside United States and Canada. Fee _____.

(12) License will become null and void if payment not received within 60 days of dated license.

(13) This is the entire agreement between the parties with respect to the subject matter hereof. No modification, amendment, waiver, termination or discharge of this agreement shall be binding unless in writing and signed by the party to be charged. No waiver of any provision shall be a continuing waiver thereafter. This agreement shall be deemed to have been made in the state of New York and its validity, construction, performance, breach and operation shall be governed by the laws of the state of New York or, if applicable, the United States copyright law.

Steve Gordon is an entertainment attorney and consultant based in New York. Telephone: (917) 912-3400; e-mail: stevegordonlaw1@aol.com. He formerly served as director of business affairs for Sony Music Entertainment.

Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright Tag It 2004 - Republished with Permission

 

 

Using Peer-to-Peer to Launch a Career
Janis Amy,

How The G-Man Got Played, Got Signed, Got a Publisher, Got on iTunes. . . all by Giving His Music Away For Free

 
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The G-Man is a musician who knows how to "work the Web," perhaps because he's also deeply involved in the worlds of advertising and marketing. Some of his marketing savvy was put to use in launching his music career.

DEFYING THE RIAA: What did he do that was so extraordinary? Defying the wishes of the RIAA and the major record labels, he offered all the music on his first album for free. In fact, he went even farther than that: he contacted thousands of DJs and remixers, established peer-to-peer filesharing relationships with them, then offered to send them individual tracks (bass, synth, vocals, drums, guitar, etc.) if they wanted to mix new versions of his songs.

The results have been spectacular, involving reviews, remixes, club play, radio play, a record deal, publishing and licensing agreements, and awards. All three of his albums have been nominated Electronica Album of the Year by the Los Angeles Music Awards, and he won for his "Grin Groove" album in 2002.

INDIE SIGNING HIS OWN COMPANY: He is signed to Delvian Records, all of his albums are on Apple's iTunes, his song catalog is administered by Janssongs.com, and he has opened his own company, G-Man Music Radical Radio, where he creates songs, sonics, radio spots, and music for film, TV, and games.

Perhaps best of all, two of his songs have been remixed by Matt Forger, best-known as Michael Jackson's recording engineer on "Thriller," "Bad," "Dangerous," and four other albums, and who also worked with Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Van Halen, and many more. These tracks are a part of The G-Man's "The Platinum Age of the Remix," an album featured on StudioExpresso, home to more than 100 of the world's best music producers and engineers.

Additionally, The G-Man has become a creative director for NARIP (National Association of Record Industry Professionals), an associate writer for MusicDish.com, and a content supplier for Circle of Songs, L*A*M*P, Bitchin Entertainment, and Venus Music.

RAVE REVIEWS: Reviewers have compared his songs to such artists as Devo, David Bowie, Art of Noise, Brian Eno, OMD, Thomas Dolby, Spandau Ballet, and Frank Zappa. From mainstream media like the New York Times and the All Music Guide, to respected Web sites and eZines, music by The G-Man is written about with zeal.

AIRPLAY: The G-Man is also receiving airplay on college stations in many cities across the United States and Internet radio around the world. Most important from the business aspect, his songs are being licensed for use in radio and TV commercials.

HOW IT BEGAN: "The 'give it away' approach may be a cool new way of starting a career," G-Man states. "And some people say this method puts me in the vanguard of changes that are overwhelming the music industry. Perhaps it's both," he says with a grin.

"I think that the music business as we know it is splintering into a million shards," he states, "and it is being built up into something new right before our eyes."

SIX YEAR OVERNIGHT SUCCESS: Six years ago, Scott G was an advertising writer, radio commercial producer, and sometime music critic. But he wanted to make sounds, not just write about them, so he picked up a guitar and began learning to play.

In 2001, he started recording his first album, creating music that fuses today's dance grooves with pop melodies and then adds sly commentary. Some have called it dancebeat, some have called it Zappa-esque, but Scott calls it "grin groove music."

Using "Grin Groove" as his album title, The G-Man did several things that together represent the beginnings of a quantum shift in the way music is created, marketed and disseminated to listeners around the globe.

First, he put up a simple, graphically clean, "100% animation-free" Web site at www.gmanmusic.com. Next, he combed other Web sites for the e-mail addresses of media as well as 25,000 DJs, remixers, and those involved with raves, clubs, electronica, dance, and drum 'n' bass genres. "This took as much time as it did to record the songs, but it was worth it," he says.

KEEPING IT SIMPLE: Then, two simple e-mail messages were created. He followed the ideas recommended by Indiespace's Pete Markiewicz, namely, put the basic idea in the Subject line, keep the message short, and do not include any graphics.

One e-mail message announced his new genre of music to the media. The other e-mail offered to send tracks for free to anyone who wished to remix his music -- and that is perhaps the most significant part of his approach, as you will see.

IT'S IN THE REMIX: Remixers have been using his tracks all around the globe. "I have had five songs remixed in Russia by a sonic master called Random Distribution," The G-Man states, "and one of these tracks went to #1 over there. Meanwhile, an Australian DJ known as Zero Point Energy has done a remix that is now showing up on Web sites around the world. A jazz artist known as il moroso has begun remixing more of my songs and we have now agreed to collaborate on an album of acid jazz music."

Perhaps most interesting is the reaction from the European community. A consortium of remixers called The Allianz, led by DJ Insane, created remixes of every song on "Grin Groove." One of the DJ Insane tracks reached #5 on a European dance chart.

PART OF A PLAN: All of this could be viewed as just a series of fortuitous accidents, but The G-Man doesn't think so. "I believe that the music world is breaking up and is at the same time transforming into something new, and you have to address the peer-to-peer file sharing in order to exist in this new world."

As seen in the presentations by Indiespace's Pete Markiewicz and Jeannie Novak in the Future Of Music seminars, "the structure of the music business is different now," Novak says, "and it involves several new methods of working. One is cooperation in combination with competition, or 'coopetition,'" a word Novak coined.

It also involves an attitude of total independence from traditional distribution, and a faith that the business end of your work will play 'catch-up' to your art. "You create and market and interchange and share and compete with fellow musicians," The G-Man says. "And only afterwards does the business world come in to license your work for commercialization."

Did he write out his business plan? "Absolutely. I used the methods outlined by John Stiernberg and his Succeeding in Music organization. Some said my ideas were crazy, and certainly the record company doesn't let me do this anymore, but the plan worked. I wouldn't have even been talking with Delvian Records if they hadn't heard about me from all the activity with my songs all around the world," he points out.

"Mostly, I love the fact that the business was totally being driven by the art," G-Man says. "Plus, it was and is the most fun I've ever had in the world. And besides, under what other set of circumstances could I be collaborating on music simultaneously with people in Australia, Moscow, Los Angeles, Big Bear Lake, and The Hague in Holland?"

Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright Tag It 2004 - Republished with Permission

 

 

Trakheadz.com Introduces New Methods for Digital Distribution
Bringing Artists' Music Directly to the Club and Radio DJs
by The G-Man,

For all the hype surrounding digital distribution, nearly all initiatives have revolved around the distribution of music directly to fans for pay or for free. Just a cursory surf across the Internet reveals literally thousands of websites that offer to help independent artists sell, distribute and promote their music. Even with the success of iTunes and the proliferation of digital music retail portals, little attention has been paid to the Web's potential to supply music to influence-makers such as DJs and radio programmers. That is until Trakheadz.

"Trakheadz.com establishes a reciprocal relationship between artists and one of the most important groups of decision-makers for new music, the working DJ at clubs and radio stations," explains Steve Keitt, Founder and CEO of Trakheadz.com

 
Trakheadz Feedback Screen

Click for larger view
Trakheadz.com is the first online organization that provides a direct link between artists or producers and those who can put music into the public's ears: radio station program directors, radio station DJs, club DJs, touring DJs, party DJs, and other music professionals who are looking to discover the newest music.

"We've taken the concept of the DJ record pool and streamlined it, modernized it, and brought technology to it," states Keitt. "This is a new way of getting the freshest tracks into the hands of both radio and club DJs, rapidly, easily, and at a very low cost. These are the people who are out there every night, playing music for audiences who are seeking new music."

The model for Trakheadz.com didn't exist before Keitt invented it, but the idea began from studying an older method for introducing new music: the DJ record pool. There are many such pools, comprised of a community of working DJs willing to accept new tracks from a central source (the pool), to whom they report back their playlists, which are then used to create record pool charts. But these have tended to be cost-prohibitive for many DJs to participate in, hampered by rising shipping costs and very little interaction between the DJ and artist. Trakheadz.com tackles the issue by leveraging digital technology to not only securely deliver new music to DJs, but provide the artist with direct feedback from those DJs.

How It Works

Let's say you have a new music track that you want to test-market before you start putting a lot of money into radio promotion or distribution. The traditional methodology is to press hundreds of CDs or vinyl and mail them to the various radio programmers and DJs. The postage alone can run up a large bill, not to mention the pressing costs. And it assumes that your package will even be opened, let alone added to a playlist.

Contrast this with Trakheadz.com, which dispenses entirely with postage and pressing expenses by offering artists and labels an online platform connecting them with over 50,000 DJs worldwide. Once an artist sets up an account with Trakheadz.com, they can upload a selected track as an MP3 file along with relevant information such as the tracks name, length and genre as well as whether its available in CD and/or vinyl. A message is then sent to DJs who regularly play that type of music, allowing them to preview the track online, provide feedback and decide on whether they will add it to their playlists. Artists maintain full control over when and how long their songs are available for download and/or streaming.

 
DJ Feedback Screen

Click for larger view
In fact, the most powerful aspect of the Trakheadz.com system is the detailed reporting available through artists' online accounts. With the Trakheadz.com system, artists and labels receive a tremendous amount of useful data pertaining to each song's performance, including:

* the number of DJs who have reviewed the song
* the name of the club and/or radio station where the DJ works
* an individual score and an overall average DJ feedback score
* a list of DJs who have added the song to their playlist
* the number of "Spins" (the estimated number of times the DJ plays the song)

This type of data can be invaluable for any artist/label making marketing, distribution or touring decisions. If an artist receives positive feedback from DJs in a particular state or region, this can justify putting their promotional budget behind that song as well as approach local retailers and clubs. Reports can be printed and saved in MS Word format for easy review and incorporation in press kits.

If the response is not as favorable as hoped, an artist hears directly from the DJs on the front lines what it is about the track that isn't working for them. That analysis alone could make the difference in the entire approach to promotion and distribution of an album. In order to remain an active member, each DJ must provide written feedback to reviewed songs, so an artist knows relatively quickly how well their track is being received or what elements of the cut might need to be reconsidered for club play.

 
TrakHeadz Playlist Screen

Click for larger view
Keitt explains: "Our approach gets your track previewed by DJs who are working in front of crowds who enjoy your type of music, be it hip-hop, urban, dance, electronic, pop, or rock. You're not wasting your time or theirs. We only interact with DJs who are pre-qualified," he points out. "They have to identify what music they play, where they play it, how often, and so on. That way, you know you're reaching the right people in the business."

With the advances in technological tools for DJs, there are some who are making a living using playlists of MP3 files; which means that a previewed track can become part of a playlist in a club virtually overnight, without the cost of mailing a CD or a vinyl cut halfway around the globe. Some estimates show that as many as 80% of the world's top DJs use digital media along with vinyl while mixing live, and Trakheadz.com gives record labels and individual artists an extremely cost-effective way to take advantage of this trend.

Thanks to Trakheadz.com's affiliation with the NCIAA (National Club Industry Association of America), whose 43,000 members make it the largest trade club organization in the world, songs are automatically distributed to hundreds of Trakheadz.com DJs around the world; all of whom are guaranteed to be working DJs who have a significant club or radio audience in which to expose artists' music.

 
More on TrakHeadz

* Location: Teaneck, NJ
* Website: www.Trakheadz.com
* Business: music distribution & promotion
* Contact TrakHeadz

The company is also continually expanding in scope and adding new genres such as Hip-Hop: Mix Tape Raw, R&B; Neo-Classic Soul, Inspirational, Pop, Rock,Latin, and Reggae, thus encompassing a variety of musical tastes and styles. Coupled with the hundreds of other radio and club DJs who have joined the growing company, Trakheadz.com is becoming an extremely powerful weapon for artists and labels in their marketing and distribution campaigns.

"One great attraction for DJs," Keitt points out, "is that Trakheadz.com helps remove the hassle of sifting through hundreds or even thousands of songs. Our system is designed to let the most popular music quickly 'rise to the top.' This lets DJs move faster and be earlier in breaking the hottest songs."

The Man Behind The Vision

With his nearly two decades of experience in the music business, Steve Keitt has amassed an enviable track record. He produced and/or collaborated with such top recording artists as Kid 'n Play, Salt and Pepa, and TLC. Keitt has also written music for such popular films as "House Party III" as well as television shows including "NBA Inside Stuff" and the theme music for the hit television sitcom "Martin" staring Martin Lawrence.

While he continues to work with recording artists and is moving into publishing, with Trakheadz.com he has embarked on a journey that is opening new doors for emerging artists and producers in a multitude of genres.

Keitt maintains a love for music, yet it was one notable void in the industry that was the driving force behind the creation of his new business. "I have seen artists with great talent not make it because the dynamics of the music industry today do not always work the way they should," Keitt states. "There are artists who achieve some degree of success with a fan base, measurable sales and even distribution, but they don't always have the means to reach enough people with their music. I feel that Trakheadz.com is one great way to counter that problem."

"It is Trakheadz.com's goal to give independent record labels, producers and artists the same opportunities to have their music heard by the public that major labels give their artists," Keitt says. "With Trakheadz, the power to decide which songs are 'hot' and which ones are 'not' isn't hiding behind the desk of some executive, it's where it used to be: in the hands of DJs and, ultimately, in the hands of the record-buying community."

Adds Keitt, "The Trakheadz.com system is a tremendous opportunity for labels and artists at all levels to achieve mainstream success. With this system, everyone gets a fair shake."

Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright Tag It 2004 - Republished with Permission

 

Tips For A Great Recording Session
By Richard Dolmat,

You know your songs are great (and so does your girl/boyfriend, family, pets etc), and you finally decided to record an album in a real studio. That's great! But what actually happens when you get there?

When you finally do pick the perfect studio, one that you feel comfortable at, there is a certain routine that must be followed in order to get the best performance and the best recording for your budget:

1. Tune Your Instruments. This also includes your drums and any tunable percussion instruments you may have. There is absolutely nothing worse in the world than to have a perfectly written song with a perfect performance be ruined because someone didn't take an extra two minutes to check their tuning. Tuning takes a few minutes; a recording lasts forever.

2. Be Well Rehearsed. You'll be surprised how many bands suffer shock when they get the final recording bill. The main reason for this is because they confuse rehearsal time with recording time. Rehearse at home, in the garage, at your uncle's house; anywhere but at the recording session. When you arrive at the studio, you should know your songs inside-out and be ready for the red light.

3. Practice with a Click Track. A lot of drummers aren't able to play with a click track. Make sure yours can. A click track is essential in getting a good basic rhythm track that the rest of the band can lock in to, and to sync-up loops and delay times.

4. Be Early. Many studios start charging their clients from the exact time agreed to in the contract. Just because you decide to show up late, doesn't mean that the studio should give up that time for free. Be early and be ready to go.

5. Get the Sound Right. Never, ever try to fix it in the mix. It doesn't work like that. Take an extra few minutes to tweak the sound before recording it. Turn that knob, tighten that string, have another sip of water. Remember again, tweaking may take an extra minute, but the recording will last forever.

6. Know When To Quit. Recording often leads to diminishing returns. Spending 20 hours in a row at the recording session isn't going to make your song twice as good as spending 10 hours. This rule also applies to mixing. If you're tired, call the session and come back the next day fresh and ready.

7. Record Alone. Don't bring your friends, family, parents or anyone else into your sessions. As fun as it may be, you are there to do a job and record the best music possible. If you are a millionaire, then by all means, have a party at the studio, but don't count on getting anything done.

8. Mix and Match. After letting the engineer do the first rough mix alone (which he should), do an A/B comparison of your mix to some of your favorite CDs. Remember that the production CDs you are listening to have already been mastered. But it's a good way to compare levels and panning.

9. Bring Spares. Always bring spare strings, drum heads, bass strings, water bottles, throat lozenges, etc to a session. You'll always need the one thing you forgot to bring, so bring it all and leave them at the studio until your recordings are finished.

10. Have Fun! This is THE most important point of all. Creating and recording music isn't rocket science. Although there is a science involved, you should let the engineer worry about that. If you're not having fun, then you're in the wrong business!

Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright Tag It 2005 - Republished with Permission

 

UK's ANEMO Release "slow burn" On City Canyons Records

City Canyons Records announces the release of "slow burn" a remarkably original album by a new creative force from the UK, ANEMO. Release of "slow burn" will be supported by a North American radio promotion program and a full scale publicity and public relations campaign both in traditional media and on the internet. Prior to its general release date on September 6, "slow burn" will be available in limited quantities online at CD Baby and at the City Canyons Records Online Store.

ANEMO is bracingly fresh, featuring its own definitive sound which combines crunchy drum and expressive guitar ranging from pop-rock to metal with knock-out stratospheric vocals, courtesy of lovely diva Hazelle Woodhurst. That sound and those vocals wrap around strong edgy lyrics and songwriting from the team of Woodhurst, Kingsley Sage (keyboards) with additional contributions from Matt Palmer (guitar). ANEMO completed their first CD in late 2001 and made first public appearance at the Hippodrome Theatre in September for the BBC.

 

More on ANEMO
* Genre: Modern Rock
* Website
* City Canyon Records
* Buy the slow burn CD
* Contact ANEMO
Sample slow burn
"Fallout Renegade"
"Slowburn"
"Made of Fiction"
Hailing from Brighton in the UK, ANEMO (which means "changing forms") was formed in summer 2001 in Brighton, England. The ANEMO core is the songwriting partnership of vocalist Hazelle and keyboard player and producer Kingsley Sage. This core is then supported by the remarkable Matt Palmer on guitar. A talented "live" crew joins the trio for appearances at UK venues.

ANEMO has appeared at London"s Hippodrome Theatre for the BBC, the 2003 MIDEM festival in Cannes, France, the 2004 SXSW music conference in Austin, Texas, and also played at the X04 festival at the Brighton Centre in April 2004 and the BBC summer stage at Whity City in June 2004.

Prior to ANEMO, Hazelle worked as an actress with roles, amongst others, in BBC Scotland's "Invasion Earth" and "Shakespeare in Love". She also worked in Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut". Kingsley Sage worked previously in the 5 piece band Jumbo who released 2 singles on the Stoat Records label and have produced material for a range of artists including Icelandic indie-hipsters Bellatrix (for the "Diamond Gods" Bowie tribute album). Matt Palmer spends most of his non-music time off the beaches of Devon surfing.

City Canyons Records is an independent record label based in Manhattan. Current releases include Jen Elliott and THE SECRET'S OUT, David Steele's UNDERNEATH THE ICE, Valerian's INTIMATIONS OF SORROW and former Dead Can Dance drummer Peter Ulrich's ENTER THE MYSTERIUM. Upcoming releases include Sara Wendt's HERE'S US and Jen Elliott and Bluestruck's second album THIS DAMN SONG.

Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright © Tag It 2005 - Republished with Permission

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