Thursday, July 30, 2009

QUOTE ME! - IDEAS - July 30, 2009


Nothing is more dangerous than and idea, when you have only one idea.

Alain 1868 - 1951

Question of the Day - YouTube - July 30, 2009


Joe Harris asks:

Do you think that YouTube will play into the future of music at all? Could a true star ever come from it?

Hartmann responds:

The new music industry paradigm is shrouded in the fog of showbiz. High speed Internet access, and online experiments are in a state of explosion, creating an ever expanding cyber-universe. Artists and entrepreneurs, seeking to build careers in The Music Renaissance, must address a myriad of possibilities. Most Internet ideas fail to monetize. Some will prevail long into the future. One that has proven itself to be a cornerstone in the new A&R process is the amazing YouTube.

As a young performer wanders the woods singing with the birds, he dreams of bringing mass audiences to tears with the beauty of his songs. He imagines his destiny, and immediately sets his mind on a quest to fulfill the dream. This creative process is driven by desire and fueled by discipline. The digital battle for supremacy will be fought in the ever expanding cyber-universe.

Created in 2005 and purchased by Google, Inc. two years later for $1.65 Billion, uses Adobe Flash Video technology to display a wide variety of user generated content. Some major label content is available, but most music videos are uploaded by the artists themselves.
Anybody can watch, but only registered members are permitted to post an unlimited number of videos. Adult programming material encouraging violence or criminal conduct are prohibited.

Every serious artist already has a presence on YouTube. It has become a quick and easy method of presenting your act to prospective supporters. With a couple of clicks a talent buyer can quickly assess the artist he is being pitched by the guy on the phone. A quick link can instantly connect him to the artist's site where the information has been custom designed to close the deal.

YouTube was officially launched in November 2005. By July 2006 the company was receiving over 100 million video views per day. YouTube is the dominant provider of online video in the world, making it the third most visited website on the Internet, behind Yahoo and Google. The cost of YouTube's bandwidth usage is estimated to be more than one million dollars per day.

The projected revenue for 2008 is two hundred million dollars. Considering their enormous that isn't very much. Eye-balls may be king, but profit rules, and the company is expanding aggressively into feature films and television programming that will be accompanied by advertisements. The move is intended to create competition with websites such as Hulu, which features material from NBC, Fox and Disney.

YouTube has often been criticized for failing to ensure that its online content honors existing copyright laws. Users are cautioned not to post material they do not own or control. Pirated material can be issued "takedown" orders under the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Videos can be screened against data banks to determine if the intellectual property is protected.

Regardless of the source, or the competition, singers, musicians and bands can establish their acts online at any time. There is no charge and navigation is liquid and precise. Production values don't seem to matter. The simplest phone generated video of the right artist singing the right song could bring an act to instant global recognition. The hard part is turning notoriety into profit.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

QUOTE ME! - HAPPINESS - July 29, 2009


Hapiness is not an ideal of reason but of imagination.

Immanuel Kent 1724 - 1804

Question of the Day - RECOVERY - July 29, 2009


Ryan Hiss asks:

Is a recovery possible? Will the music business ever recover from its current state? And, If so, how will the industry go about doing it?

Hartmann responds:

Twenty-five percent of all disposable income is spent on entertainment. Those dollars are spread over a wide range of choices; and a shrinking portion is being devoted to the purchase of music. At the same time, their is a renaissance in music appreciation and exploration. MP3 technology and peer-to-peer file sharing enable massive music use at minimal cost to the consumer.

There is more music in play than ever in history. The ability to instantly access thousands of songs, across multiple genres, on demand, is revolutionary. It imposes a revolution in systems and protocols on the record business. Economic recovery does not mean restoration of the CD as a delivery system. The Music Renaissance will require the invention of a new business model.

It is important to draw a distinction between the Record Business and the Concert Business. These are symbiotic entities that, in combination, form the extant Music Industry. The personal appearance tradition was in motion long before record one; and it will continue long after all the records are out of print. The music industry will survive and flourish in the digital age.

The recovery process has already been initiated at the grass roots level. The big four record labels are shrinking their overheads and scrambling for digital solutions. Enormous publishing and recording catalogs, exploited by leaner machinery, will delay their demise. But, A&R will have to glean their new artists from the self-starters that can accrue millions of hits on the Internet.

The new music industry paradigm does not depend on the record business to prevail. It is in the concert arena that the war for supremacy in music is being fought. A new artist must control all the income streams within his own corporate structure. He must create a repertoire, mount a live act, build a booking mechanism and execute a performing, recording and merchandising system.A live attraction that can build a following can generate cash flow.

If an artist can become the dominant musical force within driving distance of his home, he can make a living; and he can evolve his presence in other markets. If he can't build a following in his home town, something is missing. Fix it. Some of the local heroes will survive and compete for a ubiquitous audience.

History dictates that a great star will rise. The Internet insures that we will all know when the avatar arrives at pretty much the same time. Until then, there are thousands of gigs going down every night. The most talented and driven artists will build low overhead, high profit entities that will grow more slowly and last a lot longer. The process will be conducted on the Internet.

The artists will be their own record companies and publishing houses. The best talent may be lured, by lucrative 360 deals, to the big four labels. However, if they succumb, the contracts will be licensing and rental arrangements whereby copyrights and masters are returned to the artist.

The record business was suffering from the digital decline before there was a recession. The thousands of laid off workers did not move vertically into other positions. They are out of work or moving on to greener pastures. The music industry will carry on and prosper; but the recovery won't be regenerated by the record business. The future rests on the economics of the fan base. Fame and fortune will accrue to the act that can demonstrate artistic and business skills.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

QUOTE ME! - AGE - July 28, 2009


If youth knew; if age could.

Enri Estienne 1531 - 1598

POST IT: AVATAR of the INTERNET - July 28. 2009


POST IT: Anthony Pe'a asserts:

In today's music industry it is going to be extremely difficult for there to be a single iconic band/performer. In the past, there were less musicians and fewer genres. Today, is an increasing amount of performers and so many variations of music genres (ie. rock: grunge, death metal, acid rock, etc.). Now days, anyone with a computer (reason, cubase, pro tools, or even fruity loops/garage band) can be a music producer or rock star. However, I truly love music and hope that one day there will be a single iconic performer like Bob Dylan or The Beatles.

Hartmann comments:

The antiquarian record business was born of technology. The first million selling artist was Enrico "The Great" Caruso. The first pop superstar was Frank Sinatra. He crooned his way into the hearts of millions of teenagers and fought for and won unprecedented, international success.

Each major systemic transition in the record business was provoked by advances in hardware and delivery systems. Every time the technology changed, the game changed. The modern record industry was the product of AM radio and 45 RPM singles; Elvis was the superstar. The postmodern era was the offspring of FM radio and 33 1/3 RPM long playing albums; The Beatles were the superstars. The Internet will produce its own avatar of music. Perhaps its more accurate to say, the next avatar of music will be revealed, glorified and exploited on the Internet.

Sinatra, Elvis and The Beatles were not the products of industry; they created industries. Their stardom was inevitable and new systems and protocols were invented to accommodate their successes. When the next great musical star is discovered, new mechanics will be created to contain the process. When hundreds of millions of iPod users decide to pay, instead of pirate, insant fortunes will be made. This will create a feeding frenzy in the coproate borard rooms.

There are many extant genres in the archives of Euro/American music. The indigenous genres range from classical to folk, bluegrass to country, jazz to rhythm & blues, blues to gospel, to all the styles of rock & roll, hip hop and electronica. The next great music wave could emanate from any one of these traditional forms. Or, it could be a new musical expression previously unknown.

The missing catalyst is the singer or band who can reach through the Internet and embrace a ubiquitous global audience. This great artists always seems to appear when least expected. They explode onto the scene after years of preparation and they become media sensations. Great songs, well recorded by a talented live performer put an artist in the game. The extant digital systems lets anybody participate. Only the great talent will survive. The very best will reach The Big Top.

Monday, July 27, 2009



DON'T FORGET: The world of music is the most competitive environment on the planet. Every day millions of artists post songs and videos on the Internet. This is a wonderful cultural achievement; the ancient Greeks believed every civilized person should be trained in music.

Over my fifty years in showbiz I have never met a musician who didn't think he was going all the way to The Big Top. This is charming but statistically untrue. Every musician loves the sounds he makes, perhaps that affection comes with the muse. Regardless of the source, ninety percent of them are wrong. Most will never compete in the professional arena and only ten percent, of those who do, will make a profit. Careers have no artificial time-frame and the race lasts a life time.

The game is not fair. Only artists with an extraordinary combination of talent and drive survive. Most importantly it is NOT a part time job. Get the most out of the academic environment while you are locked in to it; but, your survival begins when you leave school. Until then everything you do is preparation for the war ahead. You learn by doing it, and practice, practice, practice.

Each new artist is solely responsible for the application of the eight core professions in his personal career. Until someone else is assigned the responsibility, there are seven things that he must accomplish:

1. Create & Own a Repertoire.
2. Create & Mount a Live Act.
3. Create & Control a Booking Mechanism.
4. Create & Operate a Publishing Company.
5. Create a Operate a Record Label.
6. Create a Merchandising Apparatus.
7. Create a Powerful Internet Army.

With these seven tools and a lot of passion, sacrifice and luck an artist can make a living in The Music Renaissance, that is, IF the public affirms that you have talent and supports your career.

The booking process is one with a built in gravitational force that holds the new band down. You are a one man band, until you can acquire sidemen. That is a very expensive proposition. You must either pay the drummer or make him a partner. Both are costly choices. If you hire him you are in charge and can direct the show. If the sidemen become shareholders, the band becomes a democracy, everybody has a vote, equal rights, fiduciary responsibilities and certain liabilities.

The talent buyer wants to hire an act that people will line up around the block to see. The more people you can "draw" to a given venue on a specific date, the more money he will pay you. It doesn't matter how the larger venues screen acts, they rent their facilities to outside promoters who don't have a lot of choice when it comes to opening acts. The headliner usually dictates who will appear on the show. If you can't draw, you add no value to the bill. Everybody starts at Rock Bottom.

Focus on what you are in your own skin: A Singer, Songwriter, Artist, Manager, Agent and Producer. You are also your own Lawyer, Accountant, Publicist, Band and Crew. This makes you eligible for only the smallest of gigs. These start in the streets, homes, schools, bars and night clubs within driving distance of your home. If you can build a following, you will have value in the system. As your ability to draw a crowd grows, your income will rise and your fame will spread.

An artist will have many bands in his life long career. Some players will come and stay, many will play a while and move on to the next dream. Having a band is a luxury that has to be earned. The leader must organize, discipline and glue the group together. It is an endless job that should never be taken for granted. A strong solo artist, will attract the more talented musicians. This is important because, the quality of your live show depends on the virtuosity of you and your band.

It may be tempting to consider selling your songs to get started, but this is an extremely drastic act. The copyrights are the only long term annuity that accrues to songwriters. To survive in the quest for Elvisland the publishing revenues are a very important income stream. You must become your own publishing company. The next time to consider selling your publishing is when it is worth millions of dollars. By then, you may not want to part with the one true thing.

It is not likely that major publishers would pay a novice writer enough to build and maintain a band. So, you could sell your "golden eggs" and still end up facing the challenge of being a solo artist with no sidemen. Don't sell your publishing unless it gets you off of square one with an income, it provides access to other writers and it includes a marketing and placement machine.

Take action on your career immediately. Start demonstrating your singer/songwriter artistry. Build a repertoire of at least one hour's length. Sing that set every day to an audience of any size, in any place, for free. If there is no audience, sing it in the mirror. Write songs every day and find a way to work with more established writers to learn your craft. Re-write every line many times.

Create an act. Study your rivals and competitors. Do what they do only faster and better, keep what works and dump what doesn't. Develop a running sales “pitch” for your act. Learn to sell anybody in the food change on why your band is great and how they will be good for business.

Build a powerful web presence that will impress the talent buyers. Figure out where you want to play and find the access pathway to the talent buyer, every venue has a booking system. Find out what it is and play the game. Be confident but not arrogant; you need them, they don't need you. There are dozens of acts lined up for every gig. Persist, sooner or later you will make the booking.

When the repertoire is polished and refined, in the forges of the live arena, make a "live" recording. Produce and package the product yourself, add a t-shirt, and anything else you're not ashamed to put your logo on, and sell it at your gigs. By being in ACTION on a clear goal array, you will recognize the opportunities as they present themselves. Your career will be going at the right pace to, evaluate the options, and make the best choices from the ever evolving possibilities.

In other words, you have to do-it-yourself.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

QUOTE ME! - TEACHING - July 25, 2009



I said... how and why, young children, were sooner allured by love, than driven by beating, to attain learning.

Rogerf Ascham 1515 - 1568

Question of the Day - iBALLS ARE KING - July 25, 2009


David Johnstone asks:

You say the recording industry is dead in its own skin, that the Internet is the new delivery system, and artists and managers, in exclusive partnerships, will create the new music industry paradigm. And, you have recently described on your blog the future role of record labels as:

"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."

So, what about Facebook? - it seems there is room for expansion. Do you think this trend could be exploited in favor of at least the foundation for a new music medium, or will it look differently?

Hartmann responds:

The new music medium is Audio/Visual content. The aural experience is not enough for the Digital Generation. They've been on screens since before the womb and they want pictures. Sound alone will not create a "Fan" in The Music Renaissance. The music maven, in any given community, influences his peers to check out his latest discover. The sounds that hook their interest inspire curiosity about the source of the music.

The next stop is to see who has the audacity to produce this exquisite song. That is the hardest won click. The first 10 seconds of the video they land on must tell the whole story or the third click is on to something else. Genre, image and style are instantly established through context, color and costumes. Virtuosity will be measured in the next three seconds, melody in five and message in ten. If you haven't hooked them by then, you won't be adding them to your fan base. A clear visual message is a must.

The recording industry is not necessarily dead; it is more like a in a coma. It could wake up at any time. Some new technology could rescue it and provide a new business model. In the Interim, declining sales have imposed downsizing on the postmodern record business. The shrinking process is Internet imposed and has a digital solution. The big four record companies will survive on their publishing catalogs and masters while they suck in easy download and ring tone fees.

Essentially, the labels will ride out the storm by signing very few artists, as they digitize there operations. They will watch for acts with millions of hits on their websites and overpay to attract them. Bands should not focus on getting a record deal. Their time, money and resources must first be devoted to building a strong live attraction that performs original material.

It should not be assumed that every song one writes is a crystal tear from the eye of Zeus. Ninety percent of artists fail because of weak songs. Every act needs a repertoire for performing and recording. No matter how great your friends say you are, remember that music is kind of like sex and ice-cream, even when its bad, it ain't bad. The great music doesn't require study, its not an acquired taste. The best music leaps out at you, it tickles your brain, gives you goose-bumps and makes your body twitch. You want to hear it again.

Those closest to the act have the most context with which to interpret the performance. They are going to fall in love first. The challenge is to get the rest of the world on board. Regardless of the role record labels might play in the future the music industry will continue on as it has since long before there was a record industry. The backbone of that enterprise is known in and out of the trade as a "gig."

The future stars of music will be those who give the best gigs and can turn them into high profit merchandising events. To succeed an artist needs to treat the band as a do-it-yourself business. All enterprises have competition, and it is always a race for market share, when brands seek the same dollars. A band's survival depends on reaching the profit margin before the thrill is gone.

Most acts will give up, get a job in the real world and walk away feeling it was his manager's fault. Ten percent will reach the professional level and make a good living. One percent will reach The Big Top and make a great living. Every act starts out at Rock Bottom where the passion is highest, the dreams most grand and the fog of showbiz most dense. Duration is the name of the game.

The role of the Internet in creating the new music industry paradigm can not be over emphasized. Even if you are totally lost in the fog, start by building the band's web site and learn as you go. You may be flying blind, but at least you will be in action when the opportunities arise. Your web site tells the story, your gigs display your talents, your music and merch pay the bills. It all starts from the cyber-grass-roots and works up toward The Big Top. Start there.

The degree of difficulty is very high, and new artists compete with each other, as well as the presiding stars. Enduring the nomadic lifestyle of a travelling performer isn't always as glamorous as some might think. Many will quit out of shear exhaustion. The professionals will create a personal relationship with a loving audience and build those fans into their business structure.

The online music marketing and promotion sites will provide cost free infrastructure for every band with a brand. Careful use of the social networking systems will continue to to play a major role in the artist's ability to control his own destiny and direct his career into the market place. By retaining ownership of publishing and masters, the artist company builds a permanent annuity that will produce for years to come. To the degree a brand is established, it retains its value.

New artists should reach as deep into the fan base as possible. The pre-teen audience has access to the same technology as the teen-ager. They have been constantly exposed to music since the womb and they will grow with you. Even if they aren't Facebook eligible, all of them are YouTube specific, they are on the web somewhere and can be reached. Catch them while they have a lot of tread on them. When you get fans on the support team, your next challenge is to retain them.

The postmodern record business was built on the back of great artists evolving the recording arts through technology. When radio ruled, a knowledge of sound may have been enough to compete. In the music renaissance, film and video are equally important ingredients. When every terminal in the distribution system comes with a screen, iBalls become the new King in town. The King is dead, long live the King.

Friday, July 24, 2009

POST IT! - NAME THAT BAND - July 24, 2009



Duz Ramjam Mancini asks:

Hey John, How do I copyright my new band's name? D

Hartmann responds:

Hi Duz; The arbiter when it comes to band's names is the American Federation of Musicians. 95% of gigs above the club level are conducted under union contracts and the AFof M has jurisdiction. they say what you can call yourself on that contract. You can research names through Local 47 on Vine St. in Hollywood. Call membership and ask for representation on (name your band here) if they don't have one, the name is free. When two bands share the same name. The one who can prove first use of the name wins. The best way to establish ownership is to play a gig that will be advertised in some publication with a printed date. Or your name on a ticket with a date on it also works. The great hip hop artist Common was originially called Common Sense. A group I managed shared the name. My CS proved in court that they used the name first by presenting a tiny 3" x 5" ad for a gig in a bar in Laguna Beach. Common changed his name and became a star. Common Sense died proud owners of a great name. Copyrights on brands and names can come later when there's dough and a reason. Until then the web domain is the most important thing to lock up. And, book a gig with a date on it. Lock that away in a safe place. Pax. .j.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

QUOTE ME! - FAME - July 23, 2009


In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes.

Andy Warhol 1927 - 1987

Question of the Day - MUSIC SUPERVISORS - July 23, 2009



Ann Finnegan asks:

I took your class a couple years ago when I was at LMU and really enjoyed
it. I majored in film but have always loved music. I'm now working for a
songwriter/producer who has asked me to help him get his songs into movies.

I remember you recommended several websites for posting songs to get them
seen by music supervisors. Is there any way you could send me those links or
even suggest other methods to get in touch with music supervisors?

Hartmann responds:

Its an audio/visual universe. High speed digital connections allow a vast amount of material to be infused into the prevailing system that creates, produces and provides music for film and television. The symbiotic relationship between music and film stretches back to the silent movie era, when a live musician sat below the screen and created musical effects in synchronization with the unfolding drama. The best of these were held in high esteem and worked the big houses.

Today, every film and television production team includes a Music Supervisor whose basic job is to accomplish the same thing. They search for, select, secure and synch the music to a film. Their goal is to accomplish the director's vision by commissioning, licensing or purchasing the music he requests. However, budget, producers and studios have considerable influence on the process.

Every major movie studio has a significant music department with vice-presidents, efficient systems, infrastructure, and resident music supervisors. Most productions are covered in house. Although, a considerable amount of the work is farmed out to independant contractors who service a production's musical needs on a project by project basis. Most are listed in various trade publications, and a concerted "Google" search will provide credits and contact inflormation.

With record sales in decline, the income streams generated from synchronization and master use licenses have become vital to record labels and music publishers. Many major telelvision shows include popular music elements on their sound tracks and as on camera, dramatic content.

The process of choosing a song or composition is varied. A one hour TV show might license a half dozen songs, or more, per episode and do the entire thing in a two week compressed schedule. The same job on a film could take months to be accomplished. The director or writer often indicates a specific song in a scene. Most often the music supervisor suggests possibilities based on an analyasis of the script. The director accepts, or suggests alternates until the music cue is licensed.

There is a creative aspect to the music supervisor's job that requires a sensitivity to comedy, drama and storytelling. A comprehensive knowledge of the extant catalog of songs and recorded music is essential. Producers with budget limitations have taken to seeking out new artists willing to license their material cheaper in return for the exposure. Music can be a chacter in the show.

POST IT! - DO-IT-YOURSELF - July 23, 2009

THE NEW YORK TIMES - July 22, 2009

Artists Find Backers as Labels Wane


There was a time when most aspiring musicians had the same dream: to sign a deal with a major record label. Now, with the structure of the music business shifting radically, some industry iconoclasts are sidestepping the music giants and inventing new ways for artists to make and market their music — without ever signing a traditional recording contract.

The latest effort comes from Brian Message, manager of the alternative band Radiohead, which gave away its last album, “In Rainbows,” on the Internet. His venture, called Polyphonic, which was announced this month, will look to invest a few hundred thousand dollars in new and rising artists who are not signed to record deals and then help them create their own direct links to audiences over the Internet.

“Artists are at the point where they realize going back to the old model doesn’t make any sense,” Mr. Message said. “There is a hunger for a new way of doing things.”

Polyphonic and similar new ventures are symptomatic of deep shifts in the music business. The major labels — Sony Music, Warner Music, EMI and Universal Music — no longer have such a firm grip on creating and selling professional music and minting hits with prime placement on the radio.

Much of that has to do with the rise of the Internet as a means of promoting and distributing music. Physical album sales fell 20 percent, to 362.6 million last year, according to Nielsen, while sales of individual digital tracks rose 27 percent, to 1.07 billion, failing to compensate for the drop. Mindful of these changes, in the last few years marquee musicians like Trent Reznor, the Beastie Boys and Barenaked Ladies have created their own artist-run labels and reaped significant rewards by keeping a larger share of their revenue.

Under the Polyphonic model, bands that receive investments from the firm will operate like start-up companies, recording their own music and choosing outside contractors to handle their publicity, merchandise and touring. Instead of receiving an advance and then possibly reaping royalties later if they have a hit, musicians will share in all the profits from their music and touring.

In another departure from tradition in the music business, they will also maintain ownership of their own copyrights and master recordings — meaning they and their heirs can keep earning money from their music.

“We are all witnessing major labels starting to shed artists that are hitting only 80,000 or 100,000 unit sales,” said Adam Driscoll, another Polyphonic founder and chief executive of the British media company MAMA Group. “Do a quick calculation on those sales, with an artist who can tour in multiple cities, and that is a good business. You can take that as a foundation and build on it.”

The third Polyphonic principal is Terry McBride, founder of the Vancouver-based management firm Nettwerk Music Group and manager of Barenaked Ladies. The Polyphonic founders, who have provided the company with $20 million in seed financing, say they plan to invest around $300,000 in each band. The company will then guide musicians and their business managers — who will function a little like the band’s chief executive — to services like Topspin, which helps manage a band’s online presence, and TuneCore, a company that distributes music to online services like iTunes, Amazon and Napster.

The partners say they have been thinking about such a venture for several years. They recently tried to raise money for the company from venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, but met with initial skepticism.

“Returns on entertainment products when portfolios are small are typically very erratic,” said David Pakman, a partner at venture capital firm Venrock, which passed on the deal. Mr. Pakman doubted that Polyphonic and similar firms could produce the kind of returns on investment that venture firms typically look for.

Polyphonic, which will be based in London and in Nettwerk’s offices in New York and Los Angeles, says it plans to approach private investors again after it has proved its model works.

The new company will have plenty of company in exploring new ways for artists to maintain control over their creations. Marc Geiger, an agent at William Morris Endeavor, who tried a similar venture in the late 1990s called ArtistDirect, is now developing a program for musicians at his agency that will be called Self Serve. Mr. Geiger said he was not ready to divulge the details yet, but said that Self Serve would provide tools and financing for artists to create businesses independent of major recording labels.

Even the major labels themselves are demonstrating new flexibility for musicians who do not want to sign the immersive partnerships known as 360 deals, in which the label manages and profits from every part of the artist’s business. In late November, for example, EMI took the unusual step of creating a music services division to provide an array of services — like touring and merchandise support — to musicians who were not signed to the label.

“We all know the role that the record label has traditionally played needs to change,” said Ronn Werre, president of EMI’s new division. “There are artists that want to have more creative control and long-term ownership of their masters, and they may want to take on more of the financial risk. To be successful we need to have a great deal of flexibility in how we work with artists.”

Artists who have produced their own music and contracted with EMI to run parts of their business include the R&B singer Bobby Valentino and Raekwon, a member of the Wu-Tang Clan.
Mr. Message said that “there are many artists who still want to go with labels, which do still have abilities to really ram home hit singles.” Bands who take the Polyphonic route, he said, will need to have considerable entrepreneurial energy. For example, they might stay after concerts to “go to the merchandise store and sign their shirts and talk to fans, because they know they are right at the heart of their own business,” he said.

Bands that have taken this approach say it can be arduous. In 2007, after releasing three records with independent labels, Metric, an alternative band from Toronto, finally got several offers from the big record companies. But the band declined to sign after concluding that the labels were asking for too many rights and not offering enough in return.

With help from a grant from the Canadian government, the band cut its own album in April, “Fantasies,” and started selling it directly to fans on services like iTunes, where it has scaled the popularity charts. “It certainly has not been easy,” said Matt Drouin, Metric’s manager. “When I get up at 6 a.m. the British are e-mailing me. When I go to bed at 2 in the morning the Australians are e-mailing me. It’s an extremely empowering position, but one hell of an undertaking.”

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Question of the Day - DISCOVERY -


R. Cavalier asks:

This summer I have an internship with Sony Pictures in their creative music affairs department. This mostly deals with putting music in films, and also discovering new artists who sound like more famous artists. How do you suggest I begin searching for the next great group to put in films? What elements of an artist should be magnified? Minimized?

Hartmann responds:

The fundamental activity in the entertainment industry is the discovery of talent. A great performance is as easy to recognize as it is difficult to describe. When a talented vocalist sings a great song there is a physical and cerebral reaction ignited in each member of the audience. The combined emotional charge envelops both artist and patron in a binding cathartic experience. The energy is geometrically increased with the arithmetic progression in the size of the crowd.

Originally the word talent described an ancient unit of weight or money. The evolved meaning relates directly to the ability to demonstrate performing skills for remuneration. There are a number of contributing factors required to generate the perception that talent is present. The ability to reveal superior, artistic power and technical skill, on demand, is the essential ingredient

The great stars shine in their shoes. They project an aura of beauty, grace, style, and confidence before they open their mouth to sing. These elements, in combination with other key ingredients, contribute to the public image of the act. The first to recognize the star factors are the mothers of musicians who sacrifice to buy instruments and eventually surrender the garage to the band.

As artists venture into the professional activities of showbiz, their "attraction" remains constant. The fan base grows as the public turns toward the artist and sees the light emanating from him. If talent is present the people see it, they revere the artists and reward them with fame and fortune. As each new member joins the fan base, he is assumed into the discovery process.

The discovery of the act is generally attributed to a member of each of the primary professions of manager, agent and producer. The personal manager generally gets credit for being the first to see his clients potential. By declaring the artist a star, and proceeding on that basis, a manager risks his reputation and career on that acts success. Agents and producers compete with their peer group. The challenge is to build a team to expose the act to the widest possible audience.

Music industry professionals, seeking to discover the next big thing, must utilize the Internet search mechanics to track singers and bands. it is also the primary tool for promotion and marketing. However, the low barrier to entry and the absence of quality control allows anybody with a Mac a mic and a tune in his head to put a song up on the or

With millions of artists competing a hungry entrepreneur could surf the web years and never find an act that gives him goosebumps. There is an infinite number of artists, but only ten percent have commercially viable talent. Of those, many will have fatal flaws and some will lack the character and drive required to overcome the gravity in the elevator to The Big Top.

Singers need songs a band needs a stage. The practical arena for discovering talent is the extant night club scene. There is one in every market and it is the organic filter of talent in each community. A&R and management entrepreneurs conduct their quest in this world. Conversely, the band that envisions itself one day playing to sold out arenas, starts here at Rock Bottom.

The road to success is never easy. A band must have talent, know how to play the game of showbiz, have a strong player at each position, play perfectly well and, just to survive, they still have to get lucky. Ten percent of the survivors will compete for all the money. The ones who make their livings from music, and don't need a day job, are the true professionals. One percent of them will reach The Big Top. The discovery process begins when the great star discovers himself.

Monday, July 20, 2009

QUOTE ME! - ECONOMICS - July 20, 2009


Trickle-down theory - the less than elegant metaohor that if one feeds the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.

J.K. Galbraith 1908 - 2006

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Question of the Day - BREAKING THE BRAND - July 20, 2009


esolarz1 asks:

With rumors circulating as to whether or not the popular all girl group, "The ♥♥♥♥♥cat Dolls," will break up, leaving Nicole Scherzinger with a solo career, I have a question: Is this a good career choice for everyone involved, including Nicole, and the girls themselves, the record label, etc. Also, is it a good risk to separate a group that has been so successful? We have seen this in the past with Destiny's Child, and recently with rock bands, such as Jack White from The White Stripes creating a new band, but again is it a good risk?

Hartmann responds:

Showbiz is a game of risk and reward. There is a fundamental gamble involved, when pursuing careers in the music renaissance, and the odds favor the established. The new artist must not only out run his contemporaries, he competes with the reigning stars as well. If the goal is to become rich and famous, you have a better shot at winning the lottery than becoming a superstar. If you are driven by an obsession to make music, no matter what the cost, you may have a chance.

In the music renaissance each attraction is engaged in the building of a "brand." The postmodern record business requires that artists compete to be included in the shelter of the four super-brands, UMG, SONY, WB and EMI. They represent the status-quo and the traditional pathway. However, the public has lost confidence in the old system and is turning to piracy and other free, digital-delivery mechanics. The loss of revenue forces the labels to shelter fewer and fewer artists.
This puts every band in the branding business. The money will go to the act that can do it alone.

The Internet is a perfect weapon for proactive promoters. Easy access, low cost maintenance and high end reach, give you control of your career and business enterprise. The brand you build belongs to the artist and the manager who build it. This is best accomplished in partnership, with shared equity, and mutual exclusivity. Artist and manager are under contract to their own company. Their covenant is to build a business around the artistic product and bring it to profit.

Ninety percent of the time that effort fails. When it is successful it is a phenomenal achievement. It requires a vividly envisioned and carefully executed career-direction strategy; and a flexible and spontaneous management team. With a clear game plan, a trustworthy CEO, partnered with a talented and charismatic artist, can compete to be in the ten percent of performers who will earn one hundred percent of the money. Of those, one percent will reach superstar status where ninety percent of the money is taken. Even,the ten percent club is very exclusive and access is hard won.

Professional musicians walk an endless tight rope in order to advance their art, extend their careers and turn a profit. The company you build should be designed to hold the business you might eventually become. Presume you will have maximum success and plan ahead for that eventuality. Create an infrastructure that will accommodate the artistic and business needs of the board of directors. In the case of bands, all partners own equal equity and are board members.

Initially, the equities and responsibilities reside with the singer/song writer around whom the musical enterprise will be built. However, turning a body of music into a business is not a singular activity, it is a team sport. To succeed many things must go right, and the credit is shared. If the repertoire exists and an artist can sing it, there is an act and a show is possible.

Getting the show on the road and bringing them back alive, with the money, is an ancient enterprise. It is possible for enormous profits to accrue. Ownership and entitlement must be clearly defined in advance so there are no lawsuits somewhere down the line. It is hard to keep civil, artistic and business marriages together, and that becomes the challenge. Everyone participating should know what he is expected to do, what he will receive for doing it, and what happens in the event of a divorce. This understanding should be resolved at the beginning.

The Holodigm System advocates forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC). This is easily accomplished with a few well placed dollars on The equities in the company are equally shared between the management partner (CEO) and the artistic partner (Act). The services of each are exclusive to the LLC. If extraordinary success is achieved the board may elect to transfer the assets of the company to a more sophisticated corporate entity.

The first major expense is the cost of the band. As the capacity of the venue grows so goes the size of the band. The American Federation of Musicians (AFofM) designates that bands have leaders and sidemen. Usually the guy with the tunes is the leader and he dictates who gets to play in the group. If the tune-smith doesn't have money to hire players, he often has to turn the band into a democracy and give each member an equal share. This entitles every band member to a vote and it imposes an array of fiduciary rights and responsibilities that must be legally documented.

When a band is succeeding, the LLC is the vehicle that provides the glue factor. The allure that made the original singer/songwriter attractive in the first place often remains the focal point. The public isolates him from the other members of the band and the media speculates about how great a solo career he might enjoy. A strong CEO (manager) will hold the band together and enforce the mandate of the board of directors. But, the star is tantalized by the possibilities.

All bands break up eventually and they often change members for a variety of reasons. The LLC's by laws should require an exiting member to leave his equity in the firm. This becomes the magnet to attract the replacement member. Founding members should be entitled to royalties from sales of recordings on which they perform. Specific terms should be clearly defined.

If a band member chooses to pursue a solo career, it does not necessarily demand the dissolution of the established act. A solo career is often a challenging possibility for the star, but they do not always succeed. Preserving the original brand provides a certain fall back position if the new venture does not take root. Establishing a name in showbiz is extremely difficult and, once accomplished, remains bookable regardless of the number of extant founding members. There are many successful touring attractions that don't have any original members in the current lineup.

Even if the new solo artist's brand is enormously popular, it may not have the enduring qualities of the original act. The creative burden, of having to write all the material, might diminish the quality of the songs and recordings. Hall of Fame singer/songwriters Glenn Frey and Don Henley both enjoyed solo careers of considerable stature, but neither could eclipse the fame or fortune of the Eagles. We all know how tough it is to keep a band together and we love when it happens.

Demand for superstar attractions is very high. Sooner or later "they" make "them" offers they can't refuse. In this day of high ticket prices, and multiple income streams, major attractions often go out the door in profit from day one. What Eagles and their CEO-partner Irving Azoff have demonstrated is that you can succeed outside of the box. They recognize that a good name is hard to find, a band and a brand is a business, and in the end, three branded bands are better than one.

Friday, July 17, 2009

QUOTE ME! - DANCE - July 17, 2009


Dance is the hidden language of the soul.

Martha Graham 1894 - 1991

Question of the Day - SOCIAL MEDIA - July 17, 2009


T. Dann asks:

Professor, How can an up and coming artist use social media like Twitter and Facebook to gain a following in a certain geographic area?

Hartmann responds:

Cyber-space is an ever expanding universe. Love it, or not, humanity is streaming into the collective digital-mind at the speed of thought. The Internet is powerful and dangerous. Eventually, It will change the way everything is done. Where there is a vacuum, digital will fill it. Where there is resistance digital will erode it. The postmodern record industry is rich and powerful. It is suffering because its core product, the long playing compact disc, has lost its market share.

Free file sharing has expanded the use of music, but the old business model needs a major overhaul. Only ten percent of the recording and performing artists will reach the survival level. In the past, the big four record companies maintained expensive A&R divisions to sort through the millions of acts competing to be the true professionals. Thousands of A&R minions scoured the bars, night clubs and college campi selecting the acts that the labels would present to radio.

The A&R process has reversed itself. The A&R search is conducted from the cyber-roots up. The old system of find an act, develop the repertoire, polish the live performance, record an album, send a single to radio and climb the charts is not longer viable. Radio has a finite reach and a fixed time frame. As a music source it has lost its preeminence to iPod efficacy, convenience and cool. Record labels are hesitant to risk millions on radio promotion, if no one is listening.

In the music renaissance the new artist faces a myriad of forces vying to influence the new music industry paradigm. The strongest winds are coming from all things digital, instant on demand access is more important than "owning" content. There are many delivery systems competing for the Internet music dollar, Apple is preeminent but its a Marathon, not a dash, any one could win. The fundamental difference is that, today, the artists is directly connected to the fan base.

Ninety percent of the artists will fail to survive. Success will accrue to those who bring the most unique ingredients, in the greatest quantities, to the mix. Considering there is talent and a good live act, in support of strong material, the next most important element is a strong business mechanism. The first step is to create a web presence that links the artist to the customer.

An entire generation is growing up under the microscope of "reality" television. They are focused on an Internet search for artists and music that are new, extraordinary, revolutionary, hip or cool. When they find"it" their iPhones light up, as they text, tweet, blog, face off and share the news. Organic, viral, SOCIAL MEDIA networking is the primary force in music promotion.

The fan wants to belong to a tribe. He has very high standards and only "feels" a certain genre of music. His exposure to reality TV makes him curious about the mind set, lifestyle and personal habits of his heroes. The band's web site must sell that message in a creative and entertaining manner. The goal is to hold the attention of the visitors and enroll them in the fraternity. They are more important to the act's survival than ever before. Make them part of the "viral" squad.

There is a definite distinction between "social" media and traditional "industrial" media. The social media is online, highly accessible and user friendly. It is an ubiquitous and multi-faceted fusion of societal and technical forces that democratize the sharing of information, as well as user-generated, and consumer-generated content. Industrial media includes the traditional main stream print, film, broadcast and cable outlets of the mass media. .

All music brand exploitation must utilize both channels to form and maintain an interactive personal relationship with the artist's entire fan base through the mass media. Social is free and immediate; industrial demands significant resources to get a band's image into the main stream promotion mechanism. Both can reach small niche groups and large global audiences. The web is real time, easy access and low cost. Professional public relations services are expensive and random. Also, there is never any real proof that the story you got resulted from the fee you paid.

The audience can participate in social media by adding comments, instant messaging or even editing the stories themselves. All forms of participation matter, blogs, forums, wikis, podcasts, webcasts, email, instant messages, texts, tweets should be hyper-linked to build a critical mass. At a certain level of accumulated unique visitors an artists web site will become an income stream.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Question of the Day - JOBS- July 15, 2009


Meghan Corregan asks:

What are some words of encouragement you can give to graduating recording arts majors who are being thrust into the horrible job market?

Hartmann responds:

Every year thousands of students graduate from the comfort and security of college life into the ruthless competition for survival in the real world. Many of these newly minted alumni are well schooled in the creative and business protocols of the recording industry. Armed with Macs, mics and creative juices over flowing, fledgling artists, producers and entrepreneurs dive head first into the business. The first terrible thing they all learn is that the water is running out of the pool.

The postmodern record industry has been enduring a long slow deflation for the past decade. From the moment the big four record giants decided to bury Napster, and sue their customer base, their doom was sealed. Record executives, protecting their inflated salaries and in support of their stock options, are scrambling through the chaos pretending they have a future.

Forced by minuscule sales the labels have cut staff, trimmed rosters, imposed 360 degree deals and released less product in a desperate struggle to survive. The recession only compounds the fracture. The unemployed professionals and the graduating class meet head-on in an open competition for the same opportunities. This, in a market place where there are very few jobs.

The novice record producer cannot afford to wait for the system to reinvent itself. He must be proactive in the core activity of his profession, making records. He needs to be more than a studio geek. He should have an eye for talent, an ear for music, and a nose for business. He must dive into the universal talent pool and choose an artist he believes in and produce it. If a producer can add personal manager to his skill set he will improve his odds of being successful.

Showbiz is about talent. It is hard to define the ingredients and elements of talent, but we know it when we see it. Sometimes, we think we see it when its not really there. Find an act you believe in and turn the recorded music and live performing into a business. That makes the producer an entrepreneur instead of a statistic of the unemployed. If you are good enough to make a profit in the music business, you will be able to give up your day job.

QUOTE ME! - COMMERCE - July 14, 2009


There is nothing more requisite in business than dispatch.

Joseph Addison 1672 - 1719

Monday, July 13, 2009

Question of the day - INFLUENCE - July 14, 2009


K. Young asks:

Who would you say is the most influential artist of all time? And who do you think is the most influential artist of this era?

Hartmann responds:

The music industry has a long historical trajectory reaching back to when men pounded on logs in caves and other guys took chickens at the door. Prior to Edison's phonograph, saloon and vaudeville performers were the backbone of the music industry. Box office receipts and alcohol sales funded the process. The gold at the end of the rainbow was to discover and perform a "hit" song. The breeding ground for songwriters was a New York neighborhood called Tin Pan Alley.

All glory is fleeting and the hits come and go. The "best" is always a judgement call and it is directly related to the quality of the competiiton at any given time. In the late eighteen hundreds, if the great Lilly Langtree sang a hit song on stage, she could sell a lot of records in the form of sheet music. The phonograph changed the focal point from paper records to songs recorded on metal, then acetate tubes. Since the advent of the recording arts, technology has shifted the mechanics from fragile tubes to discs, tape and digital as the delivery system for popular music.

For more than a hundred years each succeeding generation has discovered, embraced, worshiped and adored one musical hero after another. The extant selection process is fueled by music, but it is also directly attached to sociatal evolution and cultural phenomena. Elvis emerged at a time in history when his sexuality was exquisite to teenage girls, and shockingly scary to their parents.

Elvis engaged a country caught up in a post war rewarding of itself that was laughingly called living the "American Dream," a responsibility almost everyone took quite seriously. After the Korean war the beat generation carved an alternative to the cookie cutter lifestyle in the dream. Rebellion was already in the air, in 1955, when James Dean turned it into a right of passage in "Rebel Without A Cause." Three movies later the rebel lay dead in a smoking Porsche Spyder.

Into that vacant spotlight stepped The Hillbilly Cat. Elvis, armed with beauty, charisma and Rock & Roll music, was rocketing to the top of the Rackabilly movement sweeping across the South. Despite his warm and easy way, he was instantly perceived as the quinessential bad boy by fans and media alike. To a genreration of rebels without a leader he became the universal sex symbol.

The girls loved Elvis so much that the boys were afraid to object and loved him too. The string of hit records and movies that followed, in the latter 50s and early 60s, firmly established him as the greatest entertainer of all time. He brought the most hits to the most stages, in front of the most people, for a longer period of time than any other superstar attraction. He inspired generations of musicians who emulated his style, copied his moves and evolved his legacy as The King of Rock & Roll.

There were many other players in the race, including Bill Haley, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles and Jerry Lee Lewis. The marriage of gospel music and the blues owes its glory to the originators, Little Richard, Fats Domino and Chuck Berry, but it was Elvis who caught the wave. As the perennial highest earning deceased person, Presley exemplifies his manager Colonol Tom Parker's old axiom: "The object of personal managment is to build duration into the act."

Elvis' memory is a living testimony to the impact he had on his ever loyal fans. Their devotion is expressed in almost religious fashion on all the appropriate occasions. The Beatles, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Michael Jackson, Tupac Shakur and others have achieved extraordinary success and they share status in the pantheon of stars. I have not seen the next contender.

In this age of TV and movie induced "celebrity" fame and fortune are no guages of talent. However, in general the biggest stars have the most skills, and recqusite ingredients, in the right balance at the right time. Even then luck has a lot to do with it. Every great artist influences those who follow him. If it has a beat and you can dance to it, it was influenced by Elvis Presley.

QUOTE ME! - BEAUTY - July 13, 2009


Beauty is no quality in things themselves. It exists merely in the mind which contemplates them.

David Hume 1711 - 1776

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Question of The Day - MULTIMEDIA - July 13, 2009



Willie Peters asks:

How do you think the Entertainment Industry will be shaped by the recent collaborations of mixed media? Do you think that the industry could consolidate into a new sector? For example, the highly publicized Animal Collective are talking about creating a "visual album"....will this concept inspire others to collaborate with a variety of artists to promote their trade? This has been happening for many years but is it possible that "stars" will HAVE TO be experienced in ALL forms of entertainment?

Hartmann responds:

The Music Renaissance is not just the Phoenix rising from the ashes of the postmodern record industry, it is a complete reinvention of the music business. Th eprocess begins in the video gaming world with a wide range of interactive "play along" musical programs. Millions of little guitar heroes revel in the euphoria, that only music can provide, as they addict themselves to the mathematics of the masses. Virtual music is a gateway drug that often leads young gamers to covet a real guitar.

Musicians always love their own stuff and I never met one that didn't think he was going all the way to The Big Top. Unfortunately, ninety percent of them were sucked down the black hole of broken dreams. The ten percent who make a profit and survive, compete for the "music" portion of the entertainment dollar. Free digital downloads have forced the gross receipts into free fall.

The low threshold for entry into the most competitive environment on the planet allows all skill levels to participate. This creates a, "can't see the forest for the trees," scenario. The record companies still feed product to radio, but even a hit ain't a hit these days. Modest sales out of the box will catapult a new CD to number one. Therefore labels can't afford to develop new artists.

The top ten percent of the performing arts community competes for one hundred percent of the music money. The circus that hosts this competition is an amorphous network of colleges, night clubs and concert halls whose events are promoted by artists and entrepreneurs on the Internet and in the main stream media. Every genre has its mythical birthplace. Each venue in a community earns its position in the hierarchy of prestige. The ability to move up in capacity and draw an audience to the next largest venue is a true indicator of an act's progressup the ladder to financial success.

To survive, an artist must present a live act entertaining enough to cause audiences to bring their friends to the return engagement. Skillful marketing of music and branded merch at live events, combined with box office receipts, must create a profit for the promoter and the artist alike. Singers and bands without polished performance skills will be pushed off the survival plateau.

All Internet activity is conducted in an audio-visual universe. The artist who rises above the chaos will need to be proficient at many things. Multimedia coordination and synchronization will be imperative. Presentation and promotion of music is irrevocably married to film and video. The phenomenon has imposed a radical keyhole through which endless streams of new content can be viewed.

Artists must develop appropriate visual componants in order to present their music on the world wide web. Personal sites, social networks and music marketing systems all employ visual content to facilitate promotion and sales of recorded music. Every genre has an established visual image that is deemed the traditional fashion of that style. Black leather, skulls and chains definitely says "metal." Cowboy hats say country and oversized shorts, falling down, screams Hip Hop.

Survival in The Music Renaissance is as much about business skill as it is musical talent. Artists must be proficient in all aspects of the entrtainment industry. The service you can perform for yourself is one that you won't have to pay someone else to do. The ideal scenario is for an act to write its own material, produce the records, distributes their msuic and merch at live gigs, through their personal web site and via the various on line music distribution systems.

Since the music business is reinventing itself, the inclusion of video in all aspects of promotion and marketing is imperative. Singers and Bands will be required to create low cost video to emphasize and punctuate their music. Concept albums could enhance the artists ability to tell his stories more efficiently. The combination of words, music and pictures geometrically increases the impact of the audio visual entertainment experience.

Bands must create and produce their own video content in tandem with their music production. Successful entertainers will of necessity need to learn the basic principals of film production. Every band should carry a video camera to document their activities. Fans want to know their heroes and interact with them. Musicians need to enroll and retain members in their club.

Reality TV has exposed the raw underbelly of the music business, including the diurnal struggles that all artists face, to the widest possible audience. The public knows when they buy a concert ticket, or purchase CDs and merch at a live event, that they are supporting the artist's survival. That survival depends directly upon the efficientcy of the artist's booking and marketing mechanism. Mastery of the core activities of entertainment reinforces the artist's control over his business and artistic activities. Reducing operating expenses gets him to profit sooner than leter.

Friday, July 10, 2009

QUOTE ME! - AMBITION - July 10, 2009


Madam, if a thing is possible; consider it done; the impossible? that will be done.

Charles Alexandre del Colonne 1734 - 1802

DON'T FORGET - ACTION - July 10, 2009


DON'T FORGET: There is no template for building careers in The Music Renaissance. For decades the postmodern record business has imposed its systems and protocols on the music industry. The Internet and all things digital have reversed the process. Plummeting CD sales have gutted the infrastructure of the once mighty record business. The big four have always relied on an elaborate and expensive A&R mechanism to sift through the brass needles to find the golden.

The discovery of new talent is now conducted through an elaborate combination of artists performing live, social networking, Internet marketing and niche groups searching for a great song on the web. Instead of record executives choosing an act and pushing it at the fan base through radio and brick and mortar stores, the fans show support for an artist on line and as the clicks accrue the record companies follow the sweet smell of success and throw money at the act.

Instead of choosing from a small list of contenders offered by the labels, music lovers can select from the extant global catalog. This vast library has diluted the market place, spreading gross sales over a greater number of genres. Subsequently, the records at the top of the charts sell far fewer units to get there. That is why the major record companies will not survive in their current form. Buying is an option, not a necessity, and artists don't need a machine to offer free downloads.

The digital doorway is wide open to all comers, and everybody is lost in the fog of showbiz. The first step in creating a business from music is to accept the fact that no record company is going to jump start your career. Even if every song you write is a crystal tear from the eye of Zeus, a profitable business is not going to fall off the truck. Success will be achieved at the end of a war.

Ninety percent of the millions of artists, offering their music and merch on the web, will get sucked down the black hole of broken dreams. The first battle is to build an act that can get into the ten percent of artists who will turn a profit. One hundred percent of the money will be made by those acts. Ninety percent of that money will be earned by one percent of the artists. Until you build a profitable business in the real world, you are not even in contention for The Big Top.

ACTION is the operative word in all career pursuits. Forget about a record deal and stop looking for the big manager in the sky to bless you and move your mountain. He's not coming and you are going to have to save yourself. That is the good news. Competing for attention in the postmodern system is futile. No artist who believes in himself and his talent should consider a record deal.

Careers will NOT be built from the corporate penthouse down, they will be generated from the grass roots of the Internet, UP. This puts the control in the hands of the creative community. The Holodigm system offers a new paradigm for proactive singers, song writers and musicians to join forces with creative entrepreneurs to invent a new business model for the music industry.

Artists do not need to have an experienced manager. What they require is a partner with business acumen. The degree of difficulty is extremely high, and making a career in music is not a part time job, not for the artist and not for the manager. All business activity is the responsibility of the artist, until he finds his partner, then all jobs belong to the new manager of the corporation.

The CEO of a Holodigm cell now has full control of the company. He and the artist own the equity in the entity. Both are under contract for exclusive personal services. The manager's personal survival depends on the success of the act; and the artist has a partner whose only job is to turn his music into a profitable enterprise. Only ten percent of the most talented artists will reach this plateau. The ones that do will survive and compete for the national and global audience.

The new music industry functions under an evolving business model, it will also be populated by a different breed of artist. They will not be signed to a record company, they will have their own label and publishing entities and all income streams will be controlled by the corporation. The asset built will sustain all the partners in their old age. Most deals to acquire or exploit the artist's music should be licensing agreements where the masters and publishing revert to the act when the term expires. Bands should avoid paying commissions and royalties whereever possible by doing the jobs in house. A good booking agent is the first ally in the game.

An artist in his chrysalis period has no artificial time frame. The most important creative pursuit is to build a repertoire and think about the package. Step two is to develop an entertaining live show to be the delivery system for the company's product line. An effective booking mechanism is imperative and the CEO must create and maintain a system that keeps the act working live. The team must know how to play, play well, have talent and get lucky. ACTION makes the difference.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

QUOTE ME! - WAR - July 9, 2009


As you know, god is usually on the side of the big squadrons against the small.

Comte de Bussy-Rabutin 1618 - 1693

Question of the Day - SUPERSTARS - July 9, 2009


David F. asks:

You always mention the many qualities of a "superstar." What would you say is the most important quality or characteristic an individual must have in order to reach "superstar" status? Would do you find is the biggest flaw of a "superstar?"

Hartmann responds:

Superstars are born, not made. Most performing artists are imitating the originators of musical genres. Enrico "The Great" Caruso was the foremost opera singer of his day. His talent was fully developed before he made his first record. He became the first million selling superstar. He was followed by Rudy Vallee, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Michael Jackson and Tupac Shakur. Although, they all had competition, each became the preeminent recording artist of his genre. There were similar successes among female artists. Lilly Langtree, Billy Holiday, Aretha Franklyn, Barbra Streisand and Madonna all achieved world wide superstardom as musical performers. Thousands of others emulated their successes.

Each of these artists demonstrated exceptional ability at a very early age. Their skills were sharp, and their charisma palpable, long before they entered the professional arena. Driven by a passionate desire to reach a wider audience, each chased his dreams and eventually drew the notice of managers, agents and producers. These great artists did not work their way up from the bottom. They were already shining when showbiz presented them to an eager audience.

The continuous flow of music, through our cultural evolution, allows each generation to select an artist whose image, repertoire and style best represents their mood and identity. These are individuals with extraordinary talents that represent the mood of their followers and inspire deep devotion and loyalty. Their success drives other artists to create personal versions of the original style . This creates a trend that evolves the specific genre into its "classic" and immutable form.

Once whole, a musical style has no room for innovation or change. It becomes a vehicle for interpretation and repetition offering no original elements. There has not been a new addition to Country music in a hundred years. There hasn't been an original lick in rock & Roll since Jimi Hendrix died. When the elements of style are clearly established the criteria that designate quality address the artist's songs, voice, sex appeal, virtuoso musicianship, public image and attitude.

There are many successful artists who attain fame and fortune who cannot be classified as "super." This title is reserved for the few performers who explode onto the popular music scene in an innovative manner. They are instantly recognized and create huge, often hysterical, followings over night. There is usually some generational resistance to their rise, and they almost always have some social stigma to overcome. The ones that make it to The Big Top build enduring careers and are often forced into isolation by the insatiable appetite of the entertainment media.

Superstars are cast into an artificial world that constantly demands their participation in a process that is more about gossip than information. Part of us adores them and craves connection and membership in the artists private community. Another part harbors a prurient interest in their weaknesses and failures. This places the superstar subject in a vacuum where he is imprisoned in a world of his own creation.

The entourage becomes a wall between the star and his fan base. This separation provides the breeding ground for gossip, rumors and innuendo. The less the media knows, the more it invents. Eventually the legends eclipse the truth and artists surrender to their own mythology. They are forced to live their lives in small communities designed to appease their fantasies and keep the real world out. The paparazzi haunt them and agents and managers press them to feed the star maker machinery. In the end they are all powerful, alone and obligated only to their dreams.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

QUOTE ME! - VIOLENCE - July 8, 2009


A riot is at bottom the language of the unheard.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929 - 1968

Question of the Day - PUBLISHING - July 8, 2009


Fiona Thorburn asks:

If you wanted to start your own music publishing company from scratch, what would you say that step one would be?

Hartmann responds:

Music publishing is the one true thing. Regardless of the decaying state of the postmodern record business, publishing remains the cornerstone of the music industry. The ownership of music copyrights is the most lucrative activity in the music business. Royalties and licensing fees from songs and records continue to accrue long after the artist has hung up his sneakers and abandoned the road. Touring artists continuously stimulate sales of their compact disc catalogs, downloads and branded products. When they retire from active career pursuits the income continues to generate.

There is no pension in Rock & Roll. Publishing royalties can provide a permanent annuity to support songwriters and recording artists in their retirement. By current statute, music copyrights endure for the life of the songwriter plus fifty years. Then, the songs enter the public domain and may be published by artists and producers utilizing any particular composition.

The long term nature of copyrights, and the enduring cash flow, make publishing the most important first step in building your own business in music. Internet entrepreneurs are conducting massive experiments in support of the reinvention of the music industry business model. The postmodern system of, build a repertoire, create a band and a reputation, get signed, take a single to radio and sell a bunch of albums is over. A new system must be invented.

The future belongs to artists and managers who can build a live attraction, control the income streams and establish ownership of publishing and recorded masters. The fewer hands in the pie, the better. If artists write, produce and perform their own material, costs will be vastly reduced. Those who can manage their own careers or partner with competent executives will reach profit sooner, than if they had to pay commissions, royalties and fees for the various services.

Establishing a music publishing company is relatively simple. There are three performing rights societies in the United States that enforce the rights of songwriters and music publishers. The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers was founded by the great John Phillip Souza in the mid eighteen hundreds. Every marching band in the world used his material and nobody paid a dime. ASCAP developed the systems and mechanics that reversed that injustice.

As the modern record business created massive record sales through AM radio, income from mechanical royalties soared. In order to avoid the price structure dictated by ASCAP, the radio and record industries formed Broadcast Music Incorporated to provide a competitive standard. Eventually SESAC was formed as a third option. All three provide virtually the same services. ASCAP and BMI are easily accessed through on line registration. Membership in SESAC is by invitation only. Visit or, name your company, and initiate the membership process.

Weather you are an artist, manager or producer establishing a publishing entity is your best opportunity to create a long term asset throughout your career. For relatively modest fees a songwriter can join a performing rights society and clear the name for a publishing company. The creation, acquisition and ownership of copyrights is monitored by these non-profit, member owned organizations. When the name of name of your company clears you are in business.

Monies due to writers and publishers, from any use of music, are traced, calculated and paid to the legally recorded owners of the intellectual properties. The collection of income from mechanical royalties, film and television licenses, personal appearance venues, radio airplay, jingles, games, elevators, ring tones, advertising and downloads is a carefully monitored process. The system provides a great deal of protection to rights holders and publishing administrators.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

QUOTE ME! - THE UNIVERSE - July 7, 2009


The world is disgracefully managed, one hardly knows to whom to complain.

Ronald Firbank 1886 - 1926

Question of the Day - FREEDOM FROM THE PRESS - July 7, 2009


Caitlin Pickering asks:

How, as a manager, do you protect the artist without overindulging them? Someone like Dylan, for example, was highly cautious when it came to the media. He often alienated them. The media, however, can really impact an artist's fate. Too much bad publicity can begin to shrink the fan base. How do you walk the fine line between privacy and lack of accessibility?

Hartmann responds:

There is an old showbiz axiom, often attributed to Colonel Tom Parker, "There's no such thing as bad publicity." Back in the latter fifties, as an emerging artist, Elvis Presley faced a tremendous amount of establishment and media resistance to his exploding popularity. Elvis' brand of Rock & Roll music was "black" in a violently racist America. His performing style was blatantly sexual, he didn't just challenge the moral standards of the day, he shattered them. The fans wanted more.

The greatest generation returned, victorious, from World War II and their grateful nation rewarded them with the gift of education. Millions of young men and women earned their college degrees under the G.I . Bill. This massive acceleration of intellectual development had an unforeseen consequence. A society long conditioned to obey, began to question authority.

Universal education suddenly exposed a major portion of our society to the Constitution and The Bill of Rights. A popular song of the day asked the musical question, "How do you keep the boy down on the farm, now that he's seen Paris?" The answer is, you don't. In fighting to protect our freedom, we discovered it. My father's generation invented the "American Dream." Their motivation was to win the war, so their children would not have to ever experience such horror.

The man in the gray flannel suit learned that he had rights. His next inclination was to exercise those rights and demand his freedoms. The middle class beurgeoned and parents tried to impose old fashioned standards of behavior on the "baby boomers." They only succeeded in precipitating an open rebellion. The Rock generation abandoned the goals of their parents and sought their personal identity. Their first major choice was to abandon their father's music and embrace Rock & Roll.

The sudden growth of Elvis' career was not the product of years of slaving on the road and the careful polishing of his talent. Elvis the Pelvis sprang into the public spot light in a sudden and
spectacular moment. His raw, animal persona instantly attracted a world wide audience that has never abandoned him. The international print and television media captured his every move. More than thirty years after his death, Elvis' estate still generates millions of dollars annually.

The public reaction to Presley's warm and gracious personality eventually eroded the negative press and even the parents accepted him as a great artist and performer. Throughout this process, Elvis never had to seduce the press. They were captive from day one and their coverage was more an observation of his life than an example of personal participation in the public relations process.

Although, he was down home charming and bright, he rarely gave interviews and he never pursued publicity. Perhaps this reserve only contributed to the media's insatiable hunger for all things Elvis. When America met The Beatles in the early sixties a similar media explosion dominated print, radio and television. The Fab Four didn't have to chase publicity, it was all around them, all the time. Their manager, Brian Epstein, and their publicist Derek Taylor, devoted more energy to protecting them from the press rather than exposing them to it.

In the fifties and sixties there was no insatiable black hole sucking up twenty-four hour cable news. There were no roving hordes of paparazzi stalking anybody flaunting their fifteen minutes of fame. Fan magazines were found at the news stands, not on television, like the full color, multi channel domination of the dinner hour that we experience today. Elvis and The Beatles were chased by the media and occasionally stopped long enough for us to get a glimpse.

The rest of the artist community endures a love hate relationship with the fourth estate. They want to expose their new albums, movies and personal appearances to their fan bases. Promotion is part of the artist's professional responsibility to the record companies, movie studios, TV networks, and concert promoters who invest in their careers. Its his job to sell the music.

Nobody works twenty-four hours a day. Sooner or later, the act has to sit down and let go. Rest and recuperation are the most important ingredients for an enduring career. The business of music must be conducted at a livable pace. Touring performers compete at a very aggressive level. The lifestyle is very demanding and athletic. The stress of constant travel, combined with the emotional peaks and valleys of performing, pushes stars into isolation, escapism and drug abuse.

As stars fade into decay, or disrepute, some of the attention is no longer welcome. That very adoration, once chased and cherished, becomes a vehicle for gossip, exposure and betrayal. But, there is no switch on the media monster; the appetite for destruction is insatiable and relentless. A tale of ruin and tragedy attracts far more interest than the story of the artist's halcyon days.

The manager must limit access to the star and control the flow of information to the media. The "official" artist's web site is the first source of the "story" which rarely overlaps the truth. When an artist who has built a rapport with the press, through years of interfacing, suddenly doesn't want to talk any more the gossip media embraces every possible fantasy. They should be ignored.

There is no quid pro quo in the media dance. The artist owes the press nothing and they are only as strong as their ability to say no. In normal times the media is the artist's ally and they both enjoy the symbiotic relationship. In times of tragedy, or scandal, pretty faces with cameras and microphones descend upon the scene of the crime. They assert freedom of the press and their right to know. I am always saddened to see the grieving family crying on TV the next day. They didn't know you can walk away.

Some publicity is desirable, some is not. Once you become a professional you have surrendered control. Be careful what curiosities you inspire. In a world of instant global communication, there IS such a thing as bad publicity. Careers are fragile and very unforgiving of the damage caused by strategic errors. If there are secrets, and there always seem to be, security and privacy protocols are imperative. The bad news becomes common knowledge in minutes.

Superstars always get over indulged. The pressure of a media cloud pushing in on the artist's world forces a sheltered lifestyle and a bunker down mentality. This creates an us against the world attitude resulting in the star dictating action and the entourage obeying. Excess wealth, isolation, extreme highs, enduring boredom and the illusion of power, all contribute to cultivated behavior. Managers must often make difficult choices when faced with enabling baser habits.

The media machine serves only its own interests. It is ruthless and incessant. Failure to learn this lesson, and understand the mechanics of public relations, has imposed great pain on the famous and their families. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison all died in their twenties due to a failure to adjust to the rigors of life on the road. They escaped into drugs and believed their own press.

The lives of Elvis, Michael and Tupac were tainted by the poisons that lurk in the well. The media captured their stories in mountains of words and pictures. Their legacies are preserved in the extant record and the archive of professional opinion. Sooner or later, what actually happened doesn't matter, the truth fades and the legend prevails. Fans are by nature fanatics in fantasy land. Their perception of the relationship between the artist and themselves is almost always a fantastic delusion.

Artists must create their own story and project it into the main stream media through the Internet. Their managers and partners owe them the truth as they see it. However, honesty is a priceless commodity; and only the most secure fiduciaries risk challenging or offending the boss. Sycophancy is part of every star's relationship with the personalites that occupy his world.

Whether he is seeking media exposure, or hiding his weaknesses, an artist must invent his public image, or it will be invented for him. Walk as a spy amid the media minions, pretend to be one of them, but never forget they are dangerous and self serving. Romance the promotion your career requires. But keep your secrets safe and don't ever be afraid to protect your right to freedom from the press.