Thursday, April 30, 2009
THE FUTURE OF RECORDING ENGINEERS
Matt Schefke asks:
Hey, I was wondering if you think that in the near future or ever, recording engineers are going to be replaced by the artist themselves and a mac? Considering the way in which technology has become accessible and easy to learn for anybody is this s a possibility?
The cutting edge of quantum physics today is exploring the Measurement Theory which says that nothing exists until it is being measured by one of our senses. Up until the moment music is being listened to, it is just energy. Energy is never gained or lost it is just changed in the process of usage. Until someone listens to music it is not there. Engineers will always provide the ears that will measure, change and determine the quality and content of a recorded sound. For this reason there will always be a place for them. Some will be more talented than others at creating the changes. In the future, it will be very important for musicians and singers to develop as many skills in the recording arts as possible. Every job that they can accomplish in the process eliminates a person who must be paid to provide that service. In the music renaissance survival will be dictated by controlling and retaining the various income streams. A performer, songwriter, producer, engineer will keep the money that might have been paid for each of those activities.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
EARS OF THE BEHOLDER
Hey Prof. Hartmann:
I thought you might be interested in hearing about this! In August I started an
eclectic music blog called Ears of the Beholder with the intention of keeping my
friends up to date on my latest interests in music. The idea was and has always been
to keep the writing simple and let the readers decide for themselves. Since then it
has evolved quite a lot and I've gained an international readership of a few
thousand every week! With a growing name in the blog world I have been positioned
between artists/labels/PR and the fans as a "tastemaker" (although I don't think of
myself as that!). While I hardly make any money, I do get quite a lot of free music!
As someone interested in the evolution of the music industry, I thought you might
appreciate knowing that us bloggers have secured a crucial position in the Holodigm.
There is a rapidly growing audience for bloggers thanks to several successful
aggregator sites like Hype Machine and MOG that syndicate our content and point
their millions of viewers back to our personal sites. Artists and their
representation often go through people like me who attract a specific type of music
fan to more effectively promote their material. The beauty of it is out of those
people who contact me, I still have the final say on who I choose to blog about -
since I know my fans best. Through outlets like Facebook and Twitter - I now follow
you by the way (twitter.com/EOTB) - I can go another step and actually dialogue with
fans and other bloggers giving readers not just a publication to read, but a
community to participate in! While I'm sure this is not all news to you, feel free to share my site and my thoughts with your class. They might be interested in hearing about your alumni!
Hope all is well. Regards, Peter Arko
LICENSING MUSIC TO INDEPENDENT FILMS
Danny Saleh asks:
Knowing that the studio will own all the music created, is a it a smart thing for a potentially major artist to license his music for an independant film?
"Independent" film is a broad term. What it usually means is "small" budget. When this is the case the composer is in a stronger position than he would be with a major studio. There are always mitigating factors. If there is a distribution deal attached to the project it is more important. Most movies produced never get a theatrical release and a majority never even get a direct to DVD or cable deal. If you give up publishing and get no "work for hire" fee you may have given away synchronization licenses and master ownership for nothing. Be careful, these deals are like finger prints, they all look the same from a distance and they are all different up close. If the ind pendant film doesn't have a budget to pay you, or buy you out, then they probably need your music more than you need their picture. Everything is negotiable. If you want to gamble with them, I suggest you get as much cash up front as possible, certainly enough to cover the production costs. Only license them the synch rights for use in that particular film and give them no ownership in the copyrights except in relationship to their movie, or sound track album, if one is released. At worst only give up half of the publishing. Preserve the right to rerecord the songs without restriction and keep the right to use the masters in other ways. Retain the administration of the copyrights under the control of your publishing entity. This is one of those times when an experienced music attorney can be worth his weight in gold. In any negotiation, you are only as strong as your ability to say no.
Monday, April 27, 2009
MAKING MONEY IN THE MUSIC RENAISSANCE
Ryan Hiss asks:
As a growing number of singers and other recording artists bypass major record labels in favor of distributing music via the Internet, questions persist regarding the financial future of the music industry. This can work to an artists benefit, as with self publishing, recording artists are able to distribute their music directly to an audience without using a record label. However, when these artists attain notoriety, how do they benefit financially with no backing from a record label?
Record companies are the least likely source of money for emerging artists in the digital age. The Internet is a double edged sword. It has cut the postmodern record business to its knees; and it must also be the tool that carves out the future of the music industry. Record companies are dying under the crush of their own weight. When they tried to destroy Napster almost a decade ago, they sounded their death knell. Th digital generation has no compunction about stealing music from the web. It is perceived as an attack on corporate greed, not the artist community. With the proliferation of millions of musicians, singers and bands on the world wide web, it has become impossible for record companies to see the Forrest for the trees. ProTools enables anyone with a song in his head to make a record. The Internet offers a myriad of ways to reach the public Free of charge. With low cost recording and free promotion, what does a record label have to offer a truly talented artist? You don't need a huge budget to record your music and you don't need payola money to get your music on the radio. Because no one is listening to the radio. This generation of music fans doesn't want to be told what is hip and cool by some record company executive trying to justify his inflated salary. The music lovers text each other when they find something good and they share the files for free. The cost of discovering and breaking new artists has become prohibitive and the labels have stopped even trying. They would rather try to buy you when you gain Internet notoriety. Except why do you need them, then? They will bludgeon you with a 360 degree deal and take a piece of your publishing, gigs, and merch and they will own your masters. If you consider that a record sold through a label nets the artist a few pennies and one sold directly by the artist to the fan base can net ten dollars, or more, there doesn't seem to be any good reason to sign with a record company. The Holodigm system suggests that you start your own label, never sell your publishing and build your fan base from live appearances. Don't put the money into hotel rooms and long distance travel. If you can't make it at home, you can't make it anywhere. If you can make it at home, you can make it everywhere. So stay home and become the dominant musical force in your town. Bond with your audience and sell them your stuff. If they love you they'll steal from everybody else, but not you. They saw all those reality band shows on MTV. They know how to support the artists they care about. If you are in music to get rich or laid forget it. The only artists who will succeed in the digital age are the ones that do it for the music. The ones who have no choice but to play and play hard. If they have talent, put in enough time, develop the right skills, work hard and get lucky, they might make a living. The Holodigm is dedicated to training, mentoring and coaching those artists who have the courage to try.
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STARTING A MUSIC BUSINESS
I have a friend who is a young Rap Artist from harlem living in CA, he has the talent and the first CD he produced is good and people who listen to it like it. He is currently performing in small venues once in a while but doesn't seem to be going anywhere, what do you recommend he does? i think if his music was marketed right he could be big.. what do you think?
Many artists have music rolling around in their heads; occasionally some get it out and onto a disc. In the music Renaissance performing live is the key to success. One can get fees for the gig and sell CDs and merch to the audience. These are vital income streams that contribute to the act's survival. Many are lost in the fog of showbiz and don't know what to do next. This is where personal managers come in. Someone has to run the day to day business and get the bookings. Most often the artist is not good at this. Artists who are alone and stuck should find someone they trust to be in business with and enroll them in The Holodigm Seminars. They will learn how to build and run a music business; and they will get coaching from me and my staff on line. The Internet and digital recording have made the barrier to entry very low; anybody can play. The traditional builder of new artists was the record companies. However, they have abandoned that responsibility and it is now a do it yourself world. Only the most talented and driven artists will survive.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
BEST CITIES FOR EMERGING ARTISTS
Michael Barber asks:
I was wondering, what is your opinion on the best cities for an upcoming artist to excel and succeed in the US? There are numerous cities that I personally believe would be perfect for upcoming artists, but would like to hear your thoughts and opinions as to where you believe this goal could best be accomplished.
Every city has the potential to be the source of the next music wave. The least likely are cities that have had music waves in recent times. Seattle for example would still be vibrating in the aura of the "Grundge" movement that produced Nirvana ad Pearl Jam. San Francisco is fondly remembered as the center of the psychedelic era spawned by Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead. L.A. offered The Byrds and Buffalo Springfield in the sixties. Boston gave us Aerosmith and Boston. The best markets for the next "big thing" would be New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Cleveland, Denver or virtually any other major market. A large population helps. The most important ingredient is of course the talent. A single artist can emerge from any place at any time. However, to create a major music wave it usually requires two or more talented acts surfacing at the same time from a common source. The primary ingredients are an active night club scene and a large fan base from which to draw an audience. College towns are particularly good spots as there are students of drinking age and lots of fake IDs that facilitate the process. Austin, Texas has a vibrant music scene and a populace in tune with the cultural pride of being a music center. These music movements are organic, grass roots based and talent driven. Generally, they cannot be artificially manufactured, but a creative entrepreneur could develop a live event program at a specific venue that might kick a new music movement into high gear. A great act well presented is a requisite ingredient.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
e yates asks
Do DJ's who mix parts other songs together and make a profit from them such as Girl Talk and Milkman have to pay royalties to each of those artists?
Yes, DJs using all or part of any copyrighted material are responsible for the mechanical royalties that are legally due to the songwriter and publisher of the original songs. The stutory rate of 9.1 cents is payable on every unit sold. Since a lot of these sales occur at live events and are not clearly documented there is a considerable room for the DJs to ignore this responsibility. This automatically creates yet another forum for piracy of copyrighted material. The infraction is not only against the publisher and songwriter; but the rights of record labels who own the original masters are also being violated. I expect that the most successful artists like Girl Talk will be carefully scrutinized and could eventually suffer severe penalties if they are violating the intellectual property rights of third parties.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Hailey Lennon asks:
I still cannot decide if I like American Idol and what it stands for but I know many feel that it is not a legitimate way of becoming an artist. I wondered your opinion on this way. Are these artists becoming famous more through celebrity rather than talent or do you believe those involved with the show would have made it in the music industry anyway?
A truly talented, pure musician must think twice about presenting himself on American Idol. Talent TV is one of the pathways on The Stairway to Heaven as presented in The Holodigm Seminars. The contestants are exploited for TV ratings and advertising dollars. The fame that results from quick exposures without building a live act through the traditional night club and concert system is just as quickly erased as it is gained. It does not come with an executive team that can create continuity and duration in the act. Far more careers have ended on American Idol than have been created. Colonel Tom Parker told me that the object of Personal Management is to build duration into the act. Artists who rise fast crash fast. There are of course exceptions to every rule and a handful of truly gifted people have built professional careers after success on the show; Jennifer Hudson and Carrie Underwood stand out. But when you consider the hundreds of artists who had this exposure and have dissapeared into obscurity one must assume that these two have "made it" despite American Idol rather than because of it. All the show did was speed up the process. Artists who gain fame from TV exsposure must still build the core team that will sustain their long term careers and the end result will not be evident until twenty years down the line. There is no easy way to The Big Top.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Kevin Peterson asks:
I know many of your students past and present log onto The Holodigm to post questions look things up and discuss the music business. How quickly are other people registering to the site and how do you think you can attract more support to the site besides word of mouth? Do you think that the current price is an amount people are willing to pay now and in the future?
Most of the current users of the "Blog" and "Forum" are students who are enrolled in my classes at LMU. Some are former students from Musicians Institute. Membership in The Holodigm Academy is growing steadily without any off line promotion. The test period has proven itself to be very beneficial to the development of the system. We are in the process of writing some new lectures and feature material that will be filmed next month. As soon as the new material is posted we will start an extensive media campaign that will address, online marketing, conventional press, new media and viral, social networking strategies. The core demographic for this information is represented by the millions of musicians, singers and bands currently listed at myspace.com. Most of these artists are lost in the fog of showbiz. The Holodigm System's information will facilitate the career pursuits of those artists. The price point is experimental, but considering that LMU students pay $2500 dollars for the same information and that university level courses presented online cost as much as $1,000 the price seems fair and reasonable. The extant customers indicate a high degree of satisfaction with their purchase of The Holodigm Seminars package. Their opinions can be reviewed by clicking on the "Testimonials" button at http://www.theholodigm.com/.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
After going to Coachella in Indio this past weekend, it was clear that the music industry has taken a new direction and rock'n'roll has been pushed aside with electronica. Although Paul McCartney, The Killers, We Are Scientists, Beirut, Thievery Corporation, etc. put on great shows as rock artists, the majority of the weekend was overwhelmed with DJ's and other electronic variations. What do you think this says about the current music generation? Do you think there is talent behind these DJ sets such as TRV$-DJAM and Girl Talk? What will this do to the music industry overall, because most of these artists take other songs already recorded?
All the great music genres will survive. Great artists will always present good shows and please the crowds. However, Classical, Folk, Bluegrass, Country, Jazz, The Blues, R&B, Reggae, Hip-Hop and Rock & Roll in all of its sub genres are now classic music forms. There will be no originality within the core structure of these genres. There has not been an original lick in Rock & Roll since Jimi Hendrix died. There has not been an original lick in Country music in over a hundred years. If one follows the historical trajectory it stands to reason that a new genre will emerge in popular music. This will establish the next cycle. These cycles always rise from a doldrums just like we are experiencing now. There is no ubiquitous form in popular music today. The "next big thing" always arrives with the rise of a "superstar" who defies convention, scares the parents and comes with a certain amount of danger, like sex, drugs or radical dress and a generally rebellious image. Without such a power personality a genre will float around on a cult level but not break into the main stream. When the superstar appears the new form explodes and the youth embrace it, defy the establishment's resistance and the next generation creates its own cultural icon. Then the cycle starts all over again. Usually there are two or more styles vying for popular attention when this phenomenon occurs. Electronica has been floating for several years and could well be the musical force that will kick off the next wave. Singer/songwriter music with story, attitude and social significance is also in play and could produce a superstar with sex appeal, charisma and a universal message. The electronica movement presents a peculiar situation since there are those creating the music and others who are manipulating previously recorded music in creative ways. The DJs are like radio stations or juke-boxes. They are vehicles for demonstrating uses of music and as such are vital to the dissemination, distribution and exhibition process. However, they are just promoting the originating artists work. Since they are not the ones building the publishing catalogs and do not receive the income from mechanical royalties and synchronization licensing fees, they will not own copyrights and master recordings. Therefore they won't build personal archives of intellectual properties even though they may become famous. Of course they can garner considerable fees for their personal appearances and that should make the whole thing worthwhile for them, the fans and the artists they promote. One thing is certain; music will change and the new thing will be huge because of the power of the Internet.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
buddy d asks:
Do you think that mobile devices [iPhone, Blackberry, etc.] will help or hurt the industry? On one hand, it seems like iTunes-like distribution channels, which have sold literally billions of songs, are good for the industry. They help sell songs, promote artists, and reduce pirating by offering cheap, easy-to-buy music. On the other hand, I feel like it increases the entry barriers for artists because they have to jump through more hoops as the primary music devices shift from CD players and the like to phones and mobile mp3 & video players. Thoughts?
I believe the applications will continue to evolve in more an more creative ways. Eventually everything will be done on your cell phone. And they may even become defense mechanisms and weapons. Music will become cheaper and easier to buy than steal. Everybody who loves his own music and makes cheap records will not have a career. Only the most talented and driven will overcome the gravity in th elevator to The Big Top and turn their music into profitable business ventures.
buddy d continues:
I wonder if the movie industry will follow suit with the music industry's excellent distribution and low cost model. Movies on iTunes are the same price as buying a DVD [$10-$20] and they are not even in HD! I get my HD content via "other" means but I wish I could just buy through iTunes for a low price - maybe $5 each for full HD content. Oh well, I guess that's a separate issue.
It is only a matter of time and circumstance before movies will be digitally down loaded at low fees just as music is. More sophisticated forms of theatrical entertainment will be introduced to bring audiences out to cyber-theaters where a sensual involvement in the drama will be enhanced by full spectrum audio-visual stimulation. Check out The Allosphere at UCSB.edu for a glimpse of a new technology that will put the audience into the drama in a very realistic way.
Monday, April 20, 2009
THE NEXT BIG THING
Do you believe that artists today will ever impact their fans so greatly, in comparison to artists like The Beatles, or Elvis? Will there ever truly be another Beatlemania?
The hysterical reactions of Beatlemania and Elvissteria were inspired by the emotions felt by their young female fans. Teenagers seem to respond to the things they love in a very demonstrative way. They are revealing raw, unbridled emotions stimulated by hormones and sexual awakening. It is not easily explained, but it could happen again. Previous superstars like The Great Caruso, Rudy Valli and Frank Sinatra created this sort of reaction from their followers. Every generation seems to choose a musical hero to focus their energy upon. It is part of the rebellion against parental authority. It is not only possible that it would happen again, but probable and in the near future too. It would be defying the historical trajectory for it not to happen.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Jennifer A. Marchini observes:
It is undoubtedly apparent that successful musicians are successful due to their large fan base. With this in mind, one can begin to ponder how musicians manipulate their fan base. Obviously, as a fan one holds the musician with a high regard, and thus, trusts and respects his or her opinions or standpoints. Having said this, if a musician takes a political stance, does it persuade his audience to believe similarly, or does it have the reverse affect and actually cause his fan base to diminish? I think this is an appropriate topic to analyze due to the fact that throughout history it has taken on both roles, depending on how the musician goes about it. For instance, if the musician is radical in his approach, it can lead to his fans being alienated. I have found this to happen in my own personal experience, concerts that have become bombarded with personal political thoughts, left me with a bittersweet feeling, and often resulted in a diminishing interest in the musician. However, on the converse side, a few ideologies subtly introduced through either lyrics or other musical techniques, left me pondering what was my own stance. In this case I praised the musician for sparking my own thought process.
It is a double edged sword. The last line of defense in any democracy is the arts; and it is incumbent upon the artist to have a point of view. This is an ancient tradition. If an artist has a passionate message to carry to his followers, he should incorporate his ideals into the music which is the only pure thing he has. This allows the fan a certain amount of latitude for interpretation. When he puts his rhetoric into a verbal context on TV, stage or in the media he takes a greater risk. Protest music makes an artist's position very clear and since his fans are looking for leadership it usually strengthens his bond with them. If one already has a strong adverse opinion, it could damage his relationship with some of his fan base. But, generally speaking most fans are looking to have there own beliefs validated and they choose an artist for what they have in common, not where their opinions differ. The artist must never consider this factor and only write and sing what he believes, regardless of how the public receives his message. He should always satisfy himself first and foremost when it comes to the music.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Do you believe that today's music festival's will ever have the same impact as on today's society and generation(s) as music festivals such as Woodstock did in the late sixties?
Music festivals in the future could have significant impact if they came to stand for something more than just a bunch of acts trying to make a buck and a lot of kids drinking beer and trying to hook up. Events like Monterrey Pop and Woodstock had huge sociological overtones that had to do with counter culture values rising against the Viet Nam war, racism and other forms of injustice that prevailed at the time. The next big music event will be a product of rebellion against the economic elite and their ongoing war against the middle class.
I completely agree with your opinion on today's music festivals. I felt sad and a little jealous, in a way, last night when we watched "Monterrey Pop." The people of today probably won't be able to experience a festival like that. Those artists were purists; they were there because they loved the music and they wanted to share it with those that loved and appreciated it as well.
I share your sadness at the loss of this kind of event. There was something wonderful about the early pop music festivals before they became all about the money. The best Monterrey and Woodstock started out as commercial ventures but quickly turned into free concerts. It was all music, free for all present, all the time. However, we cannot deny that festivals like Coachella, Stagecoach and many others provide a lot of employment for bands and they are very popular with music fans. They may lack some of the historic and romantic value, but they are commercially successful events.
Friday, April 17, 2009
CAPITAL & LAUNCHING
d gilchrist asks:
How much capital is needed to obtain mass-market exposure for a new artist? What would be the first step in such a campaign? What would be the quickest and most effective avenue to focus on if capital is not an issue? Gigs? Internet? Radio? TV?
Capital investment can always speed up the process. However, you can start your business on line for free. All you need is to understand what you are dealing with and how the Internet works in terms of music exploitation and digital convergence. There are only two primary activities, recording and performing. Start out by making a record that can be given away for free on the internet. Then book live gigs and sell hard copies of the record to the audience. Add T-shirts and other merch as able. Stay close to home so you don't spend the money on travel and hotels. If you can't make it at home, you can't make it anywhere. If you can make it at home you can make it everywhere. If it ain't good live, dump it and manage somebody else. Radio is very expensive and not very effective when everybody is listening to his iPod. TV is a merit based medium focused on ratings. If you aren't happening to some degree the producers aren't interested. Talent TV is very dangerous and destroys more career than it makes. Do it yourself on the Internet.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
a dowd asks:
Can you still copyright a song by sending it in the mail to yourself?
Yes, in a trial over copyright ownership a properly sealed and dated, self addressed, letter can be proof of ownership as of the post date. However, there is a much easier and faster way to do this now. The web site web songs. com allows you to post a copyright instantly and at no charge. This is the best way to get your intellectual property secured. Go digital
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
MANIPULATING PUBLISHED MATERIAL
t sanders ask:
What about when an artist or producer makes a change in the structure or lyrics of a song; is he entitled to a share in the copyright?
Adjustments in a copyrighted song that relate to tempo, arrangements and variations in production do not change the ownership of the song. When lyrics are substantially changed as in the "Weird Al" type scenario you enter an area of publishing known as "interpolation." This requires a negotiated adjustment with the writer/publisher and is subject to their approval. Otherwise the statutory mechanical royalties are due to the original owners of the copyright. If a name artist is making the request a deal could probably be negotiated. If it is an unknown artist seeking to adjust a valuable copyright the request is most likely going to be denied. This is somewhat like "sampling" where the original copyright holder gets the dough.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I was wondering if I wanted to do a cover of an already copyrighted song, how would I go about getting permission to record the copyrighted song? Would I go to the record company? Or to the artist's agent? Is it easy to get permission to do this?
A song is only licensed by the publisher the first time it is recorded. Once a record has been released a legal statute called "A compulsory license" comes into effect. This means you may record a cover version of any song in the known universe without permission. You are still liable to pay the statutory rate for that song on every copy sold. The current rate is 9.1 cents a song. If it is a new song that has never been recorded you must contact the publisher and secure a license. Mechanical royalties for songs in the public domain accrue to the recording artist. Copyrights expire fifty years after the death of the songwriter and then enter the public domain.
Monday, April 13, 2009
What is the industry's "Next Move?"
The other day in class, our guest speaker talked about the phases of the music industry. It seems like the music industry is about to begin it's next phase. What do you think that will be like?
Get set for a rocky ride. All those millions of artists on myspace.com are about to realize that the stars in their eyes are burning out. The easy money and loose women they dreamed of won't be landing on them just because they put a video up on youtube. Anybody can call himself an artist, but without Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hours of rehearsal they aren't going to make a dime. 100% of the money will be earned by 10% of the artists; and 90% of that money will be made by 1% of the artists. These are the same odds that have always prevailed. A Mac a mic & ProTools will get you in the game, but that doesn't mean you have talent. Only the very most talented will win. The record companies can't see the forest for the trees so don't count on them. Create a great live act and sell CDs and merch to your audience. Build a fan base and do it all yourself. A great superstar with a new genre will rock the world and eventually consummate the marriage of the Internet and digital distribution. In the music renaissance the gifted artists will make the lion's share of the money, own their masters and publishing; and most importantly have total control of their business and art. It is a great time to be a musician; but the ride to the big top won't be easy. You will need to know how to play the game; play perfectly well, have talent and get lucky.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
I've heard of artists buying into tours. What does that mean? Does an artist ever have to pay to go on tour?
It is not uncommon for artists, their managers or record companies to purchase opening act slots on national tours. This can be conducted as an outright purchase for cash or a guarantee to purchase and distribute tickets for each event. Sometimes advertising is the pay point where the act would purchase print or radio advertising for each of the concerts. Also agents have been known to swap slots for various clients to trade opening act positions.
s battle follows up:
How much does it cost to buy into a tour?
It depends on the tour. Who the headliner is and whether or not they care about you personally. How many people will you play for is a determining factor. You must also consider the cost of doing the tour. If you travel with a band and must purchase the opening act slot you could be talking a lot of money. It is better to earn the slot rather than buy it. It usually takes the clout and capital resources of a record label, agent or manager to make this work. However, if you had the Black-eyed Peas tour, for example, you could probably get a large advance from a merch company that would defray the costs. There is more than one way top skin a cat.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
I've been contacted by a guy who's putting together an indie record compilation. He sent me the following re: my songs at www.myspace.com/elissapmusic Does this seem like a scam to you? Always very much appreciative of your sage advice!!
Its a good pitch. If they weren't asking for money it might be worth a shot. There is no way to know for sure if these guys are legit. It would take a lot of time to research his claims. To succeed in the music renaissance you need to have a solid live act and a booking mechanism. If you have that you can sell you own product. There is no future in being with record companies. They don't sign or break new artists any more. To interest them you have to be happening on the Internet and in concert. If that is the case, you don't need them. Their strength in the old days was delivering radio, but radio is no longer relevant. Start you own record company and own your masters and publishing. Then use your live act to build a fan base and sell your product and merch directly to your fans at a high profit. The first level of success is survival. That means building a business around your music and not needing a day job or gimmick compilation records.
I have a friend who is a young Rap Artist from Harlem living in CA, he has the talent and the first CD he produced is good and people who listen to it like it. He is currently performing in small venues once in a while but doesn't seem to be going anywhere, what do you recommend that he should do?
Many artists have music rolling around in their heads; occasionally some get it out and onto a disc. Performing live is the key to success. One can get fees for the gig and sell CDs and merch to the audience. These are vital income streams that contribute to his survival. Many are lost in the fog of showbiz and don't know what to do next. This is where personal managers come in. Someone has to run the day to day business and get the bookings. Most often the artist is not good at this. Artists who are alone and stuck should find someone they rust to be in business with and enroll them in The holodigm Seminars. They will learn how to build and run a music business; and they will get coaching from me and my staff on line.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Who are some of your personal favorite Hip Hop artists/groups ever and where do you see the future of Hip Hop going in the future? Would you or have you ever managed a Rap group?
My favorite Hip Hop artist is Tupac Shakur. I consider him the Bob Dylan of the genre. He had the most poetic skills and enormous charisma. He was well on his way to movie stardom at the time of his demise. Even after his death his records continue to sell and his poetry is very popular. I also like Ice T and Ice Cube. My record company, Jake Records, released the last Digital Underground album and I like Shock G. I would certainly have managed a rap act if it was available and gave me goose bumps, but I never have. I think the genre has reached its classic form and will not produce much original product in the future.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
I am very interested in entertainment law and I am going to law school in the fall. However, I do not know much about the inner workings of the industry. How well must a lawyer know the industry in order to successfully represent and protect an artist?
Lawyers must know everything presented in The Holodigm Seminars plus all the legalities including the substance in the array of contracts necessary to conduct business in the entertainment industry. There is no getting around this. To be an effective lawyer it is imperative that you understand the creative and fiduciary responsibilities of each of the eight core professions of entertainment. A law degree is also very helpful in conducting the profession of booking agent.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
M De La Pena asks:
Looking back on your career what is one lesson you have learned or mistake you have made that has impacted how you do things today?
I have learned to listen to what the artist says to determine his concerns. If the act is worried about something it is usually the sign of a real problem. In this sense the client almost always leads the manager into what is best for the career. There is a solution to every problem. It is important to remember the 3 Ps when dealing with adversity. 1. It is not personal. 2. It is not pervasive. 3. It is not permanent. ACTION is the operative word. When in doubt, do something.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
MANAGERS THEN AND NOW
M. De La Pena asks:
What are some things that you wish managers did now that they used to do before and what are some things that managers nowadays have improved on over the generations?
Personal Managers are first and foremost creative entrepreneurs. The profession is constantly evolving as the circumstances in the music industry change. These are unique times and a major paradigm shift is in play. What worked in the olden days may not be applicable now. The traditional role of managers is to champion the artist's dreams and create the executive team that will bring those dreams to fruition. The principals never change. However, the rules that govern today's activities are made to be broken but must be understood so they are not broken by accident. Novice managers learn their craft at the expense of their clients careers. This is not good. A Holodigm Manager is trained to anticipate the possible problems and keep them from happening. We are like Smokey The Bear: We prevent the fires; that way we don't waste time, money and energy putting them out.
Monday, April 6, 2009
RECORD COMPANIES & THE INTERNET
David Johnstone asks:
Do you envision a transmigration by the record companies from physical offices to outlets on the Internet? It seems to me that a realm such as MySpace.com, facebook.com, or any other social networking outlet is just too chaotic for those that demand (fans) to find their desired supply (bands/music)? Do you think the record companies may follow a Google-type model (in terms of advertising), invest millions into specific advertising/targeting methods, and essentially manifest their monopoly online? I'm not thinking in terms of money or profit from the individual songs, but rather advertising space and methods in general... it seems individual managers may or may not have the technical/theoretical know-how to reach the fans online.
The Holodigm is designed to provide a myriad of services to emerging artists that have previously been provided by record companies. In the future there will be little need to share the revenue streams with a record company that is not owned and operated by the artists themselves. There may be a learning curve to get a band's online presence established, but The Holodgim will design, build and manage webs sites for artists. The big four will try to preserve a huge profit margin on per unit sales and will eventually collapse under their own weight. This is what happened to the movie studios. The big four will become financial institutions and online digital distributors of their vast catalogs. They will not build new acts but will try to acquire artists who have already developed their businesses online and impose 360 deals to cut into all of the artists income streams. By the time the act is big enough to interest UMG, Sony, Warner Bros., EMI, or their sub and distributed labels, the artist won't need them. In the past a record company's strength was in its ability to buy air time on radio. In the age of the ubiquitous i'Pod radio is becoming irrelevant limiting the need for record companies not owned by the artist. The major record companies will probably experiment with advertising based and subscription models; but such systems are more likely to be created by Internet entrepreneurs than the big four who still want to gouge the fan and abuse the artist.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
D. Gilchrist asks:
How much capital is needed to obtain mass-market exposure for a new artist? What would be the first step in such a campaign? What would be the quickest and most effective avenue to focus in if capital is not an issue? gigs? Internet? Radio? TV? ???
Capital investment can always speed up the process. However, you can start your business on line for free. All you need is to understand what you are dealing with and how the Internet works in terms of music exploitation and digital convergence. There are only two primary activities, recording and performing. Start out by making a record that can be given away for free on the Internet. Then book live gigs and sell hard copies of the record to the audience. Add T-shirts and other merch as able. Stay close to home so you don't spend the money on travel and hotels. If you can't make it at home, you can't make it anywhere. If you can make it at home you can make it everywhere. If it ain't good live, dump it and manage somebody else.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
PERSONAL MANAGEMENT IS NIOT FOR FOOLS
Simone Battle asks:
A friend of mine who I used to intern for told me his ideas about managers, which perplexed me. He said that managers make an artist lazy. In other words unless you are an artist with gigs, a following, a record deal on the way perhaps, then you don't need a manager because there's nothing to manage. I had to disagree because I feel like it takes so much to get to that level of an established artist, especially nowadays when labels don't sign anyone unless they're packaged and pretty much independent. I think that an aspiring artists needs the help of a manager to aide in all of the non-creative aspects of building a music career, in order to get to that level of "record label interest."So, my question is, which artists need managers? Only the ones that have busy schedules, or all talented and ambitious artists?
Every artist starts out as his or her own man personal manager. This is when they are at "Rock Bottom." They are alone in their room with their music and dreams. At that stage they are lost in the fog of showbiz and are probably not aware of the eight core professions of entertainment as described in The Holodigm Seminars. However, conscious or not they are responsible for all the activities assigned to each profession. Most of the millions of artists on myspace.com will never attempt to go pro. They will get a day job and continue to dream. The most passionate and driven will pursue professional status. If they have talent and they do everything right and get lucky they may make a living and survive. 100% of the money will be made by 10% of the artists; 90% of that money will be made by 1% of the artists. No artist can do all these jobs for the duration of the career. Showbiz is a team sport. Sooner or later every professional artist needs a manager. Record companies do not want to deal directly with artists and I know of no recent deals where there was not a manager and lawyer directly involved. Agents also prefer to deal with managers because artists are most often not very realistic and it takes a lot of time to deal with someone who is still learning the ropes. Every succeeding artist has a busy schedule.They must be writing, recording, performing, promoting, interviewing and often doing TV and films. The business does not stop because the artist is doing something else. Every act needs a manager to tend to the myriad of activities that are never ending and need constant attention. In The Holodigm System we train managers as well as artists; so one does not have to get an established manager to endorse you. Find someone you trust and teach them the new paradigm. It is not rocket science. The artist is the corporation; the manager is the CEO. Every business needs a leader to set the pace and dictate the policy. An artist who negotiates for himself is represented by a fool.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Jennifer Marchini asks:
In a generation where lawsuits for plagiarism are rampant one must begin to ponder is it the lack of creativity that causes one to borrow from others or is it the fear of borrowing that hinders creativity? Whatever the case it is undoubtedly true that the complexities behind music have increased; in an era where we are so aware of rights and giving credit to those who originally derived the idea, often time is spent getting approval rather then manipulating/combining old techniques to create a new one. Having said that, is the lack of a new breaking musician or music genre due simply to such constraints or is it because we lack a creative genius?However, there is one other major consideration in modern day and that is the transition to digital music. In a day where getting known is simply clicks away, it makes music diverse and therefore fans bases tend to be smaller, since music exists for all. So maybe it is this alone, but whatever the case it is safe to say that we are in need of a new music phenomenon!
I don't think songwriters sit down and worry about who they may be "borrowing" from as they write. Most copyright infringements are probably accidental. Since all the songs exist in the collective consciousness one may remember a melody they have heard previously and identify it as his own original material. In a finite realm such as music where there are only so many notes and so many chords duplication is inevitable. The plagerism of exact lyrics is a little easier to contest. Where sampling occurs that is indisputable. In a world where everybody fancies himself an "artist" it is easy to participate.. Microsoft even has a program that writes the song for you. The Internet makes it easy to present your material but with millions of songs posted it is still hard to find anything good on the world wide web. It takes 10,000 hours of practice to become proficient at anything so few will actually emerge as ubiquitous stars. There is definitely a lack of creative genius but some day a great talent will rise and shock everyone.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
ARE VIDEOS VIABLE?
A. Holden asks:
Do you think it is still profitable / a good idea for artists to invest a lot of money in making videos since music videos are rarely aired on television anymore?
No, I don't think large capital investment in video is a good idea. Nor is it necessary. The easiest form of video is documentary in nature and can be created by passing the camera around the band and adding some creative editing. Imagination is the greatest source of production value. Make them cheap and real to appeal to the true fan base. Post them on your web site and let the fans see you doing your thing. These home made videos are also called micro-movies, webios and min-docs. the fans are looking for honesty, fun and personality. These elements don't cost much if you have them.
L. Robinson comments:
So if it not profitable, why do bands keeping making music videos? Especially when many of these videos do not get seen?
There are two reasons bands keep making videos even though they are not being seen on TV. One is ego; bands want to see them selves as "rock stars" and a video is one way to revel in that fantasy. Second and more important is that video is still the best way to demonstrate an artist's music and image together. Since the Internet is the primary promotional tool, video will continue to be a very important component. However, bands will probably create the video themselves and the giant profit in producing videos is probably history. Only record companies had the budgets to create the expensive video product formerly seen on MTV and that has fallen off considerably. A lot of video directors and producers are moving into documentaries and narrative film making.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
ARTISTS RELEASING FEWER ALBUMS
Greg Tatum asks:
In the first few lectures you mentioned that older artists often released many albums; yet today it is an accomplishment to get more than a few out. Why is this the case? In our fast paced, media driven world it would seem that there are endless opportunities for musicians to reach even greater numbers of potential buyers by releasing more albums. Evidently this is not happening and I'm curious to hear what you think is going on.
There are a number of factors that have changed the volume of records released today. First, the public has grown more sophisticated in its ability to recognize a quality song. This makes it more difficult for artists to create an entire album's worth of material. Secondly, in the sixties and seventies fans were much more involved with their favorite artists and anticipated the pending release of new product. As the infrastructure of the postmodern record business increased in size, there was an artificial demand placed on the system to keep feeding it new product. This resulted in pressure by record companies to demand more albums. Record contracts were written in such a way as to compel artists to hurry the process. This resulted in a decline in quality that began an erosion of interest by the fan base. A formulaic method of producing records for the sake of having "product" rather than artists making albums when their material was ready, imposed an artificial time frame on the process. Today many of the artists are produced utilizing material they do not write themselves and records are released, for a variety of reasons. The release schedule has more to do with economics and competition in the pipe line. Touring schedules, and extension of sales programs for successful product often dictate premature deadlines. Artists who still write their own songs take longer between albums in order to ensure a higher quality. Thirdly, competition for radio airplay allows fewer artists access to radio promotion and this slows down the number of albums that get to compete.