Friday, August 28, 2009

QUOTE ME! - THE UNIVERSE - August 28, 2009


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

Ronald Fairbank 1886 - 1926



Jeremy Correia asks:

How does a company that does nothing more than publishing acquire the rights to the valuable asset? Where is the leverage? Why can't the songwriter make the same phone calls the publisher would for the usage of songs. Since the artist is most frequently the songwriter these days, and organizations like ASCAP collect the fees, what is the value in having the middle man? Can't the manager handle the publishing for the artist? Do you have any words of wisdom that may help me see the light? I have all of the tools necessary to open a publishing company tomorrow but I don't have any idea as to what a legitimate pitch would be to acquire copyrights.

Hartmann responds:

Please note this previous post on music publishing:

All that being said, as an entrepreneur you are precisely correct. I advise artists & managers to keep all income streams under their direct control. Publishing has always been the most lucrative part of the music industry and it is the only enduring asset for artists and songwriters. Acquisition of copyrights isn't just a matter of having a good pitch and a game plan. Its not rocket science either, and anybody can do it. Songwriters always love their tunes and it isn't easy to convince them to sign over their copyrights. I'm not the only one advising them not to sell.

The big leverage is money. Lacking investment there is little reason for songwriters to sign with a publisher, its just as easy to do-it-yourself. If you had a roster of writers, you might attract new writers by offering them associations with your veterans. An established company can always point to their track record and history of success to attract new writers. A new company hasn't much to offer. You are always fighting the gravity in the elevator imposed by the status-quo.

The publishing industry has lost considerable income as a result of diminished mechanical royalties from record sales. But, they have many other ways to go. The hottest outlet now is TV and Film where music is playing a stronger role than in recent decades. When a song is performed on American Idol, for example, the catalog for the original artist skyrockets. Every pitch has a "anti-pitch" so you can always ask. Many songwriters are starving and vulnerable to cash offers.

Your best shot at owning copyrights is to find a Band that has a great live act and offer them a management partnership whereby you are become an equal partner in all their activities. Then you can set up your own publishing and record company to exploit the records and merchandise at their gigs. As their partner and CEO of the LLC, or corporation, you can seek to place the controlled compositions, through music supervisors, on TV shows and movie soundtracks.

The only other option is to purchase songs directly from the writers. The problem here is 90% of the songs are not commercially viable, so you could end up with a catalog full of duds. If fans flock to a bands gigs there must be something about the songs that appeals to them. Rather than trust your personal taste, watch the audience. If they are screaming and yelling for more, they must be hearing something they like coming from the stage. If they buy the CD on site you have a business. If they pick up a t-shirt as well, you can bet they will be back, with their friends, for more.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

QUOTE ME! - TEACHING - August 26, 2009


A teacher effects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.

Henry Brooks Adams 1838 - 1918



Symmetry is the essence of beauty. If a band standing on stage, in front of an audience, is awkward and disheveled, and members don’t seem to belong together, there is a subliminal distraction imposed on the audience. This anomaly will cloud the beholder’s attention and incite them to "think" about what is being presented to them. When one guy on stage is really tall, and another band member is very short, it can be awkward for an audience to receive that image and digest the information, in a harmonious manner. Of course there are no absolutes and symmetrical flaws can be overcome. Hall & Oats success was not precluded by this particular example, in this case talent eclipsed image. However, whenever I saw them, it registered in my mind that the guy is really short. When building a band always try to find attractive people and build balanced visual elements into the artist’s image. Costumes and stage dress should be appropriate to the specific statement the artist wishes to make to his audience. Be careful about the instrumentation, and the tools that are used to put on the show. Sound, lighting and production techniques should be designed to provide a harmonious balance on stage. The business of music has always been an audio/visual medium, but this is even more relevant in the digital age. New artists are first observed online through YouTube videos and personal web sites. The fan base knows what you look like at the same time they are exposed to your sound. If a picture is truly worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million. A bands image is immediately established by their dress, tattoos, piercing, instruments and music. Addressing a specific audience is instantly focused by what your act looks like. A country fan knows a metal band and moves on. A metal head sees himself in the act and clicks deeper into the web to determine the authenticity of the act. The fans are the first judge and they are always right for their taste. How you present your act weather it is T-shirts and sneakers, or suits and boots, a carefully considered image will steer you straight to the fan base you seek. Symmetry provides a more pleasant picture. Managers must be conscious of what their act looks like. Its a show, so show them . Be fearless. If you don't want to look like every other band in your genre, visuals are an area where you can separate yourself from the pack. Sometimes image can overcome substance. The greatest example of this is KISS whose "look" was more important to their success than the quality of their music. More recently Slipknot took a bold visual stance and got noticed. Whatever, your genre might be stretch the image as far as you dare. No matter what, do something, look original, demonstrate some style. Your songwriting and performing skills will be what ever they are; your image can be adjusted to make an impression on the audience. If they like your attitude, they might listen to your music. Start by creating a dynamic show with physical action and visual symmetry.

Four Peas In A Pod - Eagles

In early 1971, David Geffen and Elliot Roberts founded one of the first and most successful boutique record companies of all time, Asylum Records. I was the very first employee of the fledgling label and in charge of managing the artists. David's original motivation was to create a home label for legendary singer/songwriter Jackson Browne. However, once in the game they were faced with building a roster of talent to create product to feed into the distribution system. Jackson introduced David to several of his contemporaries, including J.D. Souther and Glenn Frey. David signed Souther as a solo artist, and he suggested that Glenn's should form a band.

With the help of Linda Ronstadt and her manager/producer, John Boylan, a group was formed, around Glenn, inside Linda's band. The quartet of Glenn, Don Henley, Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon became the founding members of the Eagles. They went on to become Asylum's most successful artists with immediate success out of the box, and a sustaining catalog of hit albums and singles. This band had symmetry. They were all skinny, long-haired, twenty somethings who looked exactly like their audience. Their handsome good looks projected a strong visual image.

The pattern had been set a decade before by The Beatles who also projected symmetry in their appearance. The Fab Four chose a more formal and refined image by appearing on stage, and in public, dressed in matching suits. Their manager Brian Epstien wanted to overcome their working class roots by making them more palatable to a wider audience. Their look changed with every record and they established clothing trends for an entire generation. The footwear they favored became known in the cultural vernacular as "Beatle Boots," and we all wore them.

The Eagles incorporated a similar symmetry into their look without compromising their individuality. There was no uniform dress code, but their was an instinctive choice to lean toward their country rock roots. When they walked on stage, or down the street, they looked like they belonged together. They never intentionally copied one an other's style, but what they each chose to wear matched their personality and the role they played in the band. The symmetry was beautiful and even though they didn't look alike, they were four peas in a pod.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

QUOTE ME! - THE SUPERNATURAL - August 26, 2009


Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them.

Voltaire 1694 - 1778




Virtuosity means excellent playing skills. Superior instrumental technique is most obvious to another accomplished musician who has a solid basis for measurement. B. B. King is the best judge of how well Eric Clapton is playing his instrument. However, the talent required to deliver a superior performance is not lost on the average music fan. Music is a mathematical statement in which precision, speed and physical dexterity all play a part. Mastery of a musical instrument combines with the musician's mental choices to produce a specific result. The best technician is not necessarily the best player. The most proficient performers transcend mere technical ability and reach into the depths of their imaginations to create inspired works of art. Music is the mathematics of the masses and our minds respond to greatness without analytical judgement. We feel it when it sounds good and we cringe when its sharp or flat. The emotional reaction is not about logic or reason, it just is. If a musician lacks imagination, the sounds he produces will have less impact. When the meter, melody and message are skillfully integrated the response is visceral and cerebral. Music can close the mind + body gap and create an euphoric experience for the listener. The presence of a virtuoso player in any band inspires the other members to play better and grow. A great player sets a standard of excellence that the others can strive for. Sometimes this ingredient alone can dictate the success of an act. An inspired performance generates excitement in the audience. It is very important to have musicians with superior ability as a primary ingredient in any band. Managers and artists must seek and recognize the great players. A strong band represents the best possibility of putting on a good show. Virtuosity provides a powerful insurance policy for artists seeking success in the highly competitive music industry. There are three ways to master your musical instrument, practice, practice and more practice.

The Man Of Steel - Rusty Young

In early 1972 I had become a partner in G-R Management and was responsible for executing the performing and recording activity of more than a dozen artists. The most recent addition to our roster was seminal country rock band, Poco. Founded in the wake of Buffalo Springfield's 1968 breakup by Richie Furay, Rusty Young, Jim Messina and George Grantham, Poco had enjoyed just enough success to keep them going; but not enough to hold all the original members. By '72 Messina was enjoying popularity as half of the great duo Loggins & Messina. Guitarist, singer Paul Cotton had replaced Messina and Bass player Timothy B. Scmit, later to become a member of Eagles, had joined the little band that could. This was still a very solid line-up of musicians.

Over time Richie Furay had grown frustrated by the pace of Poco's career. He was lured by David Geffen to join singer/songwriter J.D. Souther and Byrds co-founder Chris Hillman in what we hoped would be the next super group, The SHF Band. A meeting was called to make the announcement that Richie was leaving. The extant members gathered in my Sunset Strip office along with Geffen, Roberts and associate manager Harlan Goodman. It was a very awkward encounter.

The band didn't have a clue that their lead singer was about to quit. Nobody wanted to address the issue and after a couple of rounds of meaningless chatter, I realized that it was up to me to break the news. "Lets take the bull by the horns," I offered, "This guy is leaving the band." There was a stunned silence as incredulous glances bounced around the room. It was plain to see the reality registering in the band's collective mind. Suddenly, recent events made sense to them .

The hottest management company in the world had romanced a marginally successful band into its family, just to steal its prime asset. Accusations flew and anger blistered in the room. "You're fired," declared Rusty as he stormed from the office, in a cloud of disgust, followed by the rest of the band. We all adjusted to the shock that reverberated through the room. We had expected it, and we took it on the chin, we absorbed the embarrassment, and slowly drifted from the room.

This event was a turning point in my relationship with Geffen. Our relationship had been strained over other issues, and it seemed like a good time to resign from the company. I turned to Harlan and said, "Lets start our own company," to which he responded, "We already have." Neither of us had any money and without an office or a client, we started Hartmann & Goodman in a phone booth at Sunset and Doheny. We found a role of dimes in my college beer mug and the first call was to Poco. We all gathered at Tim's house and by sundown we had a our first client.

Poco, now a quartet without a lead singer was called to the line. They would either crumble and become a footnote in rock history, or they would rally their skills, consolidate their talents and take a step up and deliver. We were all desperate to create our own survival and the band went into an extensive songwriting and extended rehearsal marathon. We went into the studio and began work on "Poco Seven" for Epic Records. Harlan and I begged Barbara Skydel, of Premier Talent, to book us a tour and the band went on the road for the rest of the year making "Seven" Poco's most successful album to date. We all enjoyed our most financially successful year as well.

Rusty Young was voted "Best Steel Guitar Player" for each of the first five years that Guitar Player Magazine conducted their poll. Eventually, they gave him a diamond award and retired him from future contention, in order to give somebody else a shot at the title. Rusty was without any doubt a virtuoso musician. By shear will power and excruciating determination Rusty turned his pedal steel guitar into a lead instrument. His dynamic performances inspired the rest of the band to reach beyond their previously perceived potential. This was by far the best version of Poco ever.

Rusty assumed song writing responsibility, along with Schmit and Cotton. A succession of hits followed and Rolling Stone Magazine declared that Poco had finally made it. They dubbed Rusty the "greatest slide guitarist in the world." Poco members have been prolific song writers, releasing more than 25 original albums. They continue to tour and always demonstrate their virtuosity.

Monday, August 24, 2009

QUOTE ME! - SATISFACTION - August 24, 2009


Plain living and high thinking are no more; the homely beauty of the good old cause is gone.

William Wordsworth 1770 - 1850




The day of artists being able to get away with a lack of performing skills is long past. The fans and the public are quite conscious of all the ingredients involved in any kind of theatrical production. An artist must be able to put on a good, live show. His performance must attract the audience back for a second, third, and fourth show. He must create enough excitement to induce the fans to invite their friends along next time. Unless the fan base continues to expand the act will not survive. It is very important that artists, building careers in The Music Renaissance, provide sales of recorded product and merchandise on site; these have become very important income streams. Without a good, live attraction, there is no way that an artist can function without a day job. Television requires a strong visual component and isn't likely to utilize artists without polished performance skills. Most sales of CDs will result from the impact of live performance on the fan base. Radio airplay is still controlled by the record companies and most of the air time is devoted to the established artists. New acts compete with the major stars for the same rotation. Live performance is the singular most important promotional activity that can accrue to the marketing of any record. When a manager chooses a client, he must make certain this particular ingredient is present. It will be very tough to survive if you can’t put on a good show that’ll bring those fans back time and time again. The bond created between audience and artist through the live concert experience is the most powerful inducement for fans to buy your records and merchandise.

The Return Of The Mountain Men - Eagles

In early 1971, I joined the Geffen-Roberts Company as an associate manager. David Geffen had entered into a partnership with Elliot Roberts, the manager of Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. Geffen was the manager of Crosby, Stills & Nash whose eponymous debut album catapulted the first "supergroup" to international stardom. Their second album included Young to produce CSNY's iconic Deja Vu. David and Elliot parlayed their success and set up their own record label.

Asylum Records derived its name from the perception that the record business was an island of insanity amidst an ocean of chaos. The adventure that followed did little to assuage that perception. David went on an asserted campaign to influence Joni and G-R client Laura Nero to sign with Asylum. After a protracted tug-of-war with Clive Davis, president of Nero's label Columbia Records, Laura signed with Columbia and fired Geffen as her manager. Joni signed with the fledgling label and her presence contributed heavily to Asylum's immediate success.

The first artist signed to the label was singer/songwriter Jackson Browne who shared a house in Silver Lake with a folk-rock duo called Longbranch-Pennywhistle. The act was composed of John David Souther and Glenn Frye. Geffen signed Souther to a recording contract and he joined our management roster under my direction. David suggested to Glenn that he would be better in the context of a band and set in motion a process that eventually produced a superstar attraction.

Running the record label soon escalated into a full time job for Geffen and he began to distance himself from the management of artists. However, since good personal management was the most sought after and least found skill in the music industry, we provided the service to most of the Asylum artists creating a "family" atmosphere. Another established artist who joined the Asylum roster was legendary singer Linda Ronstadt. As an artist, she was to play a significant role in the label's success. And, her manager/producer, John Boylan, helped create the label's greatest artist.

David was focused on discovring new artists for the label, and every day paced his office, rolling a loop of scotch tape between his fingers, obsessing that we had to find "the next big thing." Boylan
hired Frey, bassist Randy Meisner and drummer Don Henley to perform in Linda's back up band. One Monday night we all converged on The Troubadour in West Hollywood to catch Rondstadt's performance. In the middle of her set, Linda graciously introduced Frey, Randy, Don and lead guitarist Bernie Leadon, and allowed them to perform a four song set in the middle of her show.

David always said that, when it comes to music, its easy to tell what's great; and its difficult to tell what's not great. What we saw that night was extraordinary. The musical virtuosity and tight harmonies inspired an enthusiastic reaction from Linda's fans; and I personally got goose bumps over my entire body. The next day David, Elliot and I met the quartet in a rehearsal hall in The Valley for what was to be the first rehearsal of the band that would cone to call itself Eagles.

Needless to say, the half dozen songs they had worked up were pretty raw; and there wasn't much attempt at performance. However, their potential greatness shone through and we immediately committed to manage the act and sign them to Asylum Records. As the new manager of an untested band, the first thing I wanted to do was get them out of town for some practical experience. I booked them in a bar called Tulagi's and sent them off to Aspen, Colorado.

With a limited repertoire, they were required to perform the same set four times a night for three weeks. There were about twenty-five patrons for the first show, twice that for the second and by the third set the place was packed. Every other performance in the run was jammed to capacity and beyond. Upon their return to L.A., I immediately noticed a remarkable difference in them.

Maybe it was the clean mountain air, or their beaming confidence, perhaps it was both. But, whatever happened it was obvious that the hard work had been a very positive experience. So I immediately booked them back for a return engagement. Geffen and I flew to Aspen and saw the phenomenon first hand. Their performance skills had blossomed and the music was tight. The rapport they had established with the locals was truly amazing. They knew how to put on a show.

By the time they returned the act was solid and seasoned and they were ready for the Los Angeles gig scene. From their first shows they dazzled the audience and their material was polished and ready to record. Their first album was produced by legendary English producer, Glynn Johns, and was an instant success. Two hit singles raced up the charts and their forty plus year career was off and running. Their succession of hit singles and albums have sold more CDs than any other American artist.

The skills they acquired in those early performances, out of the spotlight, have continued to grow. Today they are one of the most successful live attractions of all time and their current album is six times platinum and still selling. If Eagles come to your town, don't miss them, they continue to demonstrate virtuoso musicianship, a dynamic and entertaining show, they look good; and they can still hit the notes.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

QUOTE ME! - RACE - August 22, 2009


Though it be a thrilling and marvelous thing to be merely young and gifted in such times, it is doubly so, doubly dynamic - to be young, gifted and black.

Lorraine Hansberry 1930 - 1965

QUOTE ME! - RACE - August 22, 2009


Friday, August 21, 2009




When the big four record companies failed to embrace “Napster,” and peer-to-peer file sharing, they sealed their fate and precipitated their own demise. The traditional value of a record deal has always been tied to the very high cost of recording and radio promotion. Each time a label committed to record, and release, an album, it was obligating itself to a million dollar investment. Every time an A&R man signed an act he risked his job. In this day of diminished CD sales signing new artists is not a top priority. When albums cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce, the role of record companies was imperative. In The music Renaissance that is no longer the case. With the technological advances provided by ProTools and other low cost, digital recording systems, anybody can make a record with minimal investment. The second major contribution from the record companies, and their sub labels, was attached to their control of broadcast radio. At the height of the postmodern record business a large portion of the AM and FM radio formats were dominated by genre specific programming. The record companies fueled this process with millions of advertising dollars. These expenditures created the most competitive environment in the music industry and often the monies were expended through illegal activities known as “Payola.“ However, with the ubiquitous proliferation of the iPod, radio no longer has the universal relevance it once enjoyed. Today, music fans rarely access their music through the various radio outlets, radio is a default destination. In the digital age, personal choice of niche genres is more important than being fed formula music, chosen by record executives and radio programmers. When music is free for the taking and acquired on demand from every genre, word of mouth provides the relevant form of promotion. Fans collect files, not CDs, and radio is no longer a dominant force in the promotion process. Artists must promote themselves and grow their fan bases on the Internet. They have direct access to the potential customer; and a free mechanism for promotion of their personal appearances and merchandise. Most album sales will take place at live events, where the bonding experience between artist and fan is most intense. After all the deductions built into record deals dilute the artist's share, they net only pennies from the brick and mortar sale of a CD. Records sold by the artist directly to their fans net a profit of ten dollars or more. There is a reason that the superstars are abandoning the system that brought them to prominence. With the advent of three-sixty record deals, whereby the record company participates in all the artist's income streams, the situation is even worse. In the music renaissance acts will not be built from the record company penthouse down; they will be built from the cyber-grass-roots up. By the time they discover your Internet presence and come forward with their fat check books, you may no longer need them. The success of your business will not be dependant on expensive recording or radio airplay. Your long term interest will be best served if you own your publishing copyrights and recorded masters. Don't ever sign with a label.

Cash In Hand Fooleth No Man - Eagles

As the major record companies struggle to adapt to the digital age, they continue to reap handsome rewards from the exploitation of their extant catalogs of recorded masters. The cost of a digital download, or ringtone, is virtually nothing; yet the price to the customer is the same as with a plastic and paper delivery system. With the high profits from digital sales surpassing the numbers of paid hard copy transactions, the labels are treading water. They are not investing in new artists.

At the height of the postmodern record business, a number one album would sell a million or more units. Today, the number one slot can be reached with sales of only one hundred thousand. The primary promotional tool for music is the Internet where the posting of songs and video is virtually zero. In the past, the labels controlled the process, now the fans are in charge and A&R men are forced to follow the trends rather than create or lead them as they have in the past.

The corps of personal mangers, who represent the interests of artists in the game, have long battled the corporations for a fair share of the profits. Fairness has never been achieved. At best, a recording act received a tiny fraction of the gross receipts from record sales. Now the tables have turned and the established artists are asserting their power in the music industry economy.

The consolidation of radio station ownership has narrowed the possibilities and tightened the play lists. Stations have lost the "local" flavor and are locked into a formulaic approach mostly dictated by the record companies. In the concert business, ticket prices have skyrocketed and live events have become occasional luxuries, rather than the regular, habitual practice of music fans.

The most profound effect on the record business has been the defection of classic artists from their labels. The artist formerly known as Prince, later identified by an esoteric symbol, and now known as Prince again, shocked his record company by giving his album way for free with the purchase of an English newspaper. The great band Radiohead, shocked the industry by offering their album for free, asking only that the fans pay whatever they thought it was worth. Ironically, the net profits, far exceeded what they would have earned through normal brick and mortar sales.

The most dramatic desertion of the postmodern system was the path taken by the Eagles with the release of their "Long Road Out Of Eden" double CD. After careful consideration of the pros and cons of major label distribution, Eagles manager Irving Azoff recognized that the tightly controlled radio airplay, available to classic acts, wouldn't amount to much. He skipped the middle man and went directly to the biggest seller of recorded product, the mighty Wal-Mart.

Confident of the support of a huge fan base, hungry for Eagles' product, Azoff accomplished an unprecedented agreement with the retail giant. He made an exclusive deal that gave Wal-Mart sole distribution rights for North America. Traditionally record companies placed product in stores on consignment. If they failed to sell, records were returnable to the manufacturing label for full credit. A record shipped was not necessarily a sold record. Irving had a better idea.

In return for the privilege of exclusivity, for a three year period, Wal-Mart agreed to pay a guaranteed flat price for over three million units. The cost is speculated to be somewhere between five and eight dollars a piece giving Eagles one of the biggest pay days in the history of the record business. They reserved the right to release the album through traditional outlets in foreign territories, adding millions more to the gross sales. No artist ever made a better deal for an album, and the combined global sales make "Long Road Out Of Eden" one of the biggest sellers of the decade.

The Wal-Mart type deal is only feasible for a superstar attraction with a large and devoted fan base. But, the principals can be applied to baby bands as well. In an era when artists can create low cost recordings and promote them for free on the Internet, there survival may well depend on keeping the high profits from CD sales in house. Record companies are imposing 360 degree deals on new artists. They offer cash and airplay at a time when the efficacy of both is in doubt.

A band with a thousand fans, and an efficient booking mechanism, can survive without a record company's support. A talented act, with a good live show, can prosper and build their own record company. They can own their masters and keep one hundred percent of their publishing, box-office and merchandising receipts. Most importantly they can control their own destiny by never signing with a record company. If they offer you millions of dollars, you can have fun weighing the option and considering the possibilities. By then, you probably won't need them. But, if you do decide to sign, license your masters for a limited term, so that in the end they are returned to you.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

QUOTE ME! - PARENTS - August 20, 2009


The joys of parents are secret, and so are their griefs and fears.

Francis Bacon 1561 - 1626




This is one of the cardinal rules of the music business. The intellectual property created by songwriters is the only permanent annuity that accrues to the creators of copyrights. Long after the artist is retired, and the recorded product is out of print, the song remains. The great ones are recorded over and over again by new and established artists. Under the compulsory licensing provisions established by law, anyone may record a song, that has been previously released on a commercial recording, without permission from the writer or publisher. The recording party remains obligated to pay the prevailing statutory rate, currently 9.1 cents, for each record sold, containing that copyright. However, they are not required to obtain permission from the administrating publisher in advance. It is up to the performing rights societies to track the use of the song and collect the monies due to their writers and publisher members. ASCAP, BMI and SESAC will distribute the domestically earned monies to the appropriate entities. It has become customary in the industry for writers to make co-publishing deals with established publishers. Hartmann’s Law #6 reminds you that the income stream from publishing may be the only earnings that will continue to accrue in support of your retirement. Although there are exceptions to every rule, and the major music publishers provide valuable services, it is best to never sell your publishing.


The most profitable activity in the music industry is music publishing. The myriad of income streams that flow from the users of music, to the writers and publishers, is a multi-billion dollar business. Every time a song is played on the radio, in night clubs, concert halls, elevators, or on movie and television soundtracks, a fee is paid. In the digital age, music is embedded in printed matter as advertising, greeting cards sing to us and digital downloads have surpassed CDs as the primary delivery system for music. Despite the legalities, most music in use is pirated for free.

From the antiquarian record business, to the postmodern era, mechanical royalties have been paid by the purveyors of sheet music and phonograph records to the creators of the copyrights. This income stream was the principal source of songwriter's wealth for more than one hundred years. The Internet has decimated the archaic infrastructure of the postmodern recording industry.

The digital generation has evolved a mind set that regards Internet content as part of the public domain. What the record business views as "stealing" is regarded by the youth as an inalienable right. If an intellectual property reaches the world wide web, it is considered free for the taking without moral obligation. A music fan who wouldn't even think of shop lifting a CD, will download a music file without a twinge of compunction. If its online its mine, is the only rule.

The big four record distributors are restructuring their systems and protocols to accommodate the decline of album sales. Since the Internet became the primary promotional tool for music, the record business has been forced to adapt. Their huge catalogs of copyrights and master recordings provide for low cost, high profit, exploitation of these primary assets. By shrinking their overheads and forcing 360 degree deals on the few acts that do get singed, they will survive.

The full force of the decline in record sales is felt most by the artists. In the early seventies, the seminal folk rock band Buffalo Springfield was sucked down the black hole of broken dreams and disbanded. Neil Young went solo. Stephen Stills joined David Crosby and Graham Nash to form the iconic act Crosby, Stills & Nash; and lead singer Richie Furay founded the first country-rock band, Poco. Orignally called "Pogo," they were forced by Walt Kelly, the creator of the famous comic strip, to choose another name. Poco is Spanish for "little" and proved appropriate.

The co-founders, Rusty Young, Jim Messina, George Grantham and Randy Meisner enjoyed moderate success out of the box. The title, "Pickin' Up The Pieces," is a reference to the breakup of the Springfield in 1968. It is the only debut album ever to be warded a perfect rating from Rolling Stone Magazine. A favorite of album oriented rock FM stations in the early 1970s, Poco was considered to be a highly innovative and pioneering band.

Although the band charted a handful of Top 20 hits, overall their Top 40 success was uneven, and many of their most innovative records were commercially unsuccessful. Throughout the years Poco has performed in various groupings, with the latest version still active today. With 24 original albums and 26 "Best of" and anthology collections, the band boasts a total catalog of 50 releases. The 1978 album "Legend" was their fourteenth LP and the first to go gold and platinum.

Two hit singles, Young's "Crazy Love," and Messina replacement, Paul Cotton's "In The Heart Of The Night," drove "Legend" to the top of the charts and Rolling Stone declared that Poco had finally made it. The hit records stimulated Poco's large record catalog and formed the basis of the long term success of their publishing company.

I was particularly honored a few years back when I received a call form Rusty Young. "I just called up to thank you," he said. " For what?" I asked. I could feel him smiling when he relied, "Every time I go down to the mail box, there's a check from ASCAP, and I remember how you insisted that I never sell my publishing." This was a gratifying moment, I'll never forget.

Of course there are no absolutes in this life, and there are always exceptions to every rule. Sometimes, young songwriters might sell their publishing, to finance their survival, and develop their writing skills. And, of course, after a certain amount of success is achieved, a valuable catalog will attract major publishers with large checkbooks and they might make you an offer you can't refuse. However, talented writers should avoid these temptations, and retain ownership of their intellectual property, whenever possible. The continuing profit flow should accrue to the original writers.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

QUOTE ME! - AGE - August 19, 2009


The man who owrks and is not bored is never old.

Pablo Casals 1876 - 1973




When artists and managers pool their dreams, and join forces to pursue their career goals in a partnership, they are consummating the first marriage of showbiz. The bond that forms is deep and powerful; it often lasts a life time. That is the rare exception. Most showbiz marriages end in divorce and that includes the traditional kind. Its hard enough to keep two people together; when it comes to bands, with multiple partners, the problem is exponentially increased by the number of players involved. Sooner or later each band member will be involved in a short, or long term relationship. This significant other automatically becomes part of the management force. Let’s face it, the wife is the first partner in any marriage, and the marriage between the artist and the manager will always take second seat to the real life wife. It is incumbent upon the manager to get the wife on his team. He has to manage her and make sure that her opinion, her goals and her desires are addressed, considered and implemented into the systems and protocols. She must feel that the manager respects her role and considers her interest in the business scenario. The wife can be a manger's greatest ally, or she can be his worst enemy. If she’s sleeping with the boy, and controlling his private life, she is in the power position. If she's telling him, “That guy’s not the right manager for you,” there’s nothing you can do to keep that cancer from rolling around in the client’s head. At the slightest provocation, and nothing works perfectly well all the time, she can find fault with the manager's performance. She can induce that particular cancer to explode and cause the demise of your artist/manager relationship. This principal also applies to the girl friend, today's infatuation can easily become tomorrow's bride. Wise managers always manage the wife.


Throughout my more than fifty year career in the entertainment industry, I have been privileged to know a lot of wonderful women. I was always quick to recognize their value and include them in the appropriate processes. In most cases, at least on the surface, I was confident that my personal relationships, with the wives and girlfriends of clients, helped facilitate the diurnal activities. I included them in the social processes and, when appropriate, in the business.

Often the wife was the only sane person in the room, sometimes she represented a destructive force. A manager has to be conscious of the role the spouse is playing in each scenario. Her natural nesting instincts, and protective attitude toward her husband's best interests, gives her significant power over the home and business. When the girl is first introduced to the management and band, she is at her most vulnerable. As her relationship with the star blossoms, she is eager to transcend her "groupie" status and gain more respect. This is the first connection point for managers, and it is wise to consider the possibilities and make her feel welcome.

A warm and inviting attitude, expressed by management is imperative at this juncture. She may be gone tomorrow, in which case no charm is wasted, or, she may be in for the duration. If a manager is cold and exclusive at the beginning, she may seek revenge when her power increases. Some vision is required at this stage, so that the manager does not become a victim of her wrath.

In the early sixties, as a young television agent at the William Morris Agency, I discovered my first client. The Beatles were breaking wide open and the British invasion had begun. Unique to that situation was a duo named Chad & Jeremy. Unlike most of the English bands that participated in the birth of the postmodern record business, C&J never had a hit record in Great Britain.

Promoted in America as the originators of "The Oxford Sound," Chad & Jeremy landed a guest shot on The Hollywood Palace, one of the top variety television shows of the day. I was on site servicing a WMA client, movie star Betty Hutton, who was a guest on the show. Chad & Jeremy's first single, "Yesterday's Gone" came over the house sound system, and I was immediately flushed with goose bumps. I instinctively recognized that this song was something special and sought out the duo. It took six months of pitching, but I eventually talked them into emigrating to America.

Most of the British Invasion artists toured the U.S. under very strict work visas that required the entire itinerary be negotiated in advance. Once set, an act could cancel dates, but was not allowed to make additions to their scheduled events. This was not problem when it came to personal appearances, they were always booked months in advance. But, television dates were booked only two to three weeks in advance, and most British Invasion acts never appeared on U.S. television.

I had instructed Chad & Jeremy to come to the U.S. as permanent residents, and their "green cards" allowed them to accept any offers of employment they could get. This unique availability provoked dozens of TV appearances that might have gone to other British artists, and was a key factor in their success. They got all the television shows that might have gone to The Beatles or other English artists. Many hits followed their first number one record, "Yesterday's Gone."

One of the most significant contributors to Chad & Jeremy's stability was Chad Stuart's wife Jill, a beautiful and intelligent woman who helped keep Chad's feet on the ground as their career exploded. Jill and I had a warm relationship and she often provided key pieces of "inside" information that helped keep the machine running smoothly. William Morris and I were the source of the income and Jill recognized that being part of the "glue" factor was in her personal best interest. More than fifty years later, we are still friends and every now and then connect on facebook.

I befriended several other rock & roll ladies over the years. Susan Nash, wife of legendary musician, Graham Nash, was a professional actress who understood the complexities of his career and has always been a positive force in his life. Their marriage is still strong after more than thirty years. Ringo Starr's wife, actress Barbara Bach, has provided an elegant and intelligent stability to his amazing world. They are constant companions and one is rarely seen without the other, usually holding hands. My second signing to WMA was Sonny & Cher. In this case the wife was also the client. I ran into Cher in Malibu a few years back and she was still the same warm and wonderful person she had been as a girl.

Sometimes the manager's role in the artist's personal relationship takes a different path. In the mid seventies, I got a call from a superstar client who had a serious problem. His live-in girlfriend, of three years, had fallen from favor. He wanted her out of his house and life. But, she was a tough little cookie and not inclined to leave. This is why they call it "personal" management.
I was asked to deliver the bad news, which she did not take too well. I was later described in the ensuing palimony lawsuit as the client's "Henchman." Fortunately they reached an out of court settlement, and I was never called upon to testify against her. Which, of course, I would have done, out of loyalty to my client. Managers must always dance with the ladies and manage the wife.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

QUOTE ME! - NATURE - August 18, 2009


In her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous.

Leonardo Da Vinci 1452 - 1519




You may be familiar with Cheech & Chong's hit record "Basketball Jones." In that context, the basketball player is addicted to the game; basketball is his "jones." The term has evolved, in the vernacular of our popular culture, to describe one's particular addiction. In the realm of music, there is a prevailing acceptance of various forms of drug use. Prescription drug use, authorized by licensed physicians, can be one of the most dangerous sources of drug abuse. Often unscrupulous doctors have contributed to their patients demise by providing them with excessive amounts of controlled substances. Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson both died under such circumstances.

Many musicians use, or tolerate the presence of cannabis in their environment. The presence of this "gateway" drug can create an atmosphere of acceptance for cocaine, amphetamines, psychedelics and heroin. Holding and travelling with these hard drugs creates the potential for encounters with the legal system. Personal managers are often placed in the position of accepting, or even enabling, serious violations of the drug laws. They are responsible for all activities that occur on their tours, and circumstances beyond their control can force them to manage the jones.

Managers must know who in the band, crew and entourage may be carrying drugs. He might not be able to preclude drug use, but he should insist that legal drugs are properly prescribed and the holder is carrying the appropriate documentation. Illegal drugs present a different set of problems that could lead to anything from unfavorable publicity, to the loss of his client's personal liberty.

Failure to manage the jones can result in the cancellation of shows, which will wreak havoc on the economics of the tour. Budgets are calculated based on off days, travel days and play dates. Regardless of the reason, every lost date eats heavily into the profit margin. Shows cannot be immediately replaced, and last minute cancellations often incur unexpected costs and financial penalties. Managers must watch for the signs of addiction and always manage the jones.


I have personally experienced numerous situations where clients have placed their gigs and careers in jeapardy through drug abuse. Some resulted in temporary incarceration, and a couple even led to court room trials. However, careful attention to the handling of each one precluded any play dates ever being cancelled; and no client of mine was ever convicted on my watch. A manager is not just responsible for the prevention of problems, he must handle the aftermath as well. When the jig is up and the act is in custody, its the manager who must provide the solution.

The greatest story of jones management, that I ever heard, happened to former clients of mine, and their new manager. The names have been changed ot protect the guilty. Back in the early seventies a young band had scheduled a break in their tour. The itinerary called for a few days of rest and recuperation in The Bahamas. In those days every musician carried a jones that was part of his personal identity. Drug use was considered an acceptable, if not honorable, form of rebellion. Band and crew not only accepted drug use, it was more often than not, expected.

A quick flight from Miami to Nassau put the raggedy, long-haired entoruage in the hands of the Bahamian customs officals. One look at this scruffy bunch and they were immediately ushered into a holding room for further questioning. The young manager jumped forward and, in a humble and courtreous voice, asked why they were being isolated. "Because we are going to search you for drugs," was the Captain's reply. The manager immediately imagined the worst of the possibilities and asked if they could speak in private. The Captain invited him into the hall.

"I know these guys don't look like much, but they are a new band, with a hit single and an album rising in the charts," he told the Captain. "Why are you telling me this?" he said. "Because, if you search them you will find they are all carrying small amounts of drugs for their personal use," he said. "You will have to arrest us and the story will be all over the news by sundown; the record company will drop them, and their careers will be over. Is there any way we can avoid a search?"

The Captain was impressed with the manager's audacity and offered a potential solution. "I'll tell you what, you go in there and collect every illegal substance in their possession, and hold it on your person. My men will then conduct a full body search of everyone in your party, except you." The manager had to trust him and accepted the terms. He quickly gathered the goods. One by one, each member of the band and crew stood for inspection and none was found to be holding.

When it came time to examine the manager, the Captain solemnly declared that he had already searched him. "Enjoy your stay in The Bahamas." He smiled, turned and left the room. The courage the manager demonstrated; and the calm cool manner in which he negotiated the resolution, earned him the undying gratiutude of the band. They went on to become superstars with have a long series of hit albums and singles. The manager still represents the act and none of them will ever forget the day he had to manage the jones.

Monday, August 17, 2009


3. Don’t Make Friends at the Expense of the Act,

The personal manager of a star sits in a very powerful position. He is the shield between the artist and the rest of the world. His two primary responsibilities are the supervision of the booking and recording mechanics; but the appellation "personal" extends a manager's relationship into the artist's personal life as well. He is not just the chief executive officer of the artists business entity; he is also a friend and family member. Often a manger is approached by third parties seeking favors from the artist. Many such situations relate to securing tickets for resale outside of the traditional channels. A ticket broker, or scalper, will approach a manager saying, “You’re act is going to sell out The Forum; give me three hundred of those really good down-front seats, and I’ll pay you double their face value.” Now the manager stands to make a sizable amount of money by that particular maneuver. The scalper will go on and add triple, or quadruple the face value of the ticket, making a handsome profit. He does take a small risk, that maybe those tickets won’t sell, but he doesn’t make the offer unless most of the event is already sold out. If he makes this deal a manager is taking advantage of his artist: he is making friends at that artist’s expense. It’s against the rules. The artist/manger partnership is founded on trust. Making money, or friends, on the side, is a violation of that trust, and could lead to a breach in the relationship. It is the manager's responsibility to always protect his artist’s reputation, honor and assets.

The Bobby In The Lobby - Crosby & Nash

In the summer of 1966 my partner, Harlan Goodman and I were riding high. Our long time client Poco had finally broken wide open with their first platinum album, "Legend." Two hit singles and continuous touring drove the album up the charts and Rolling Stone declared that Poco had finally made it. Harlan and I started our management company, Hartmann & Goodman, with a fragmented Poco, momentarily stunned by the departure of lead singer, Richie Furay, who had resigned to join J. D. Souther and Chris Hillman in the Souther, Hillman & Furay Band.

Our success with Poco had established us as a viable management team and we eventually attracted another former client, from our days at the Geffen-Roberts Company. Our second client, Grammy winning band America, had joined our roster the year before. We had been instrumental in bringing them out of a sales slump; and they were riding the top of the charts with a succession of hit singles and albums produced by the legendary produce of The Beatles, George Martin.

I was in the middle of my yoga set one morning when the phone rang. There was a signature hiss on the line, those days signaled that it was a long distance call. "This is The Cros," declared the smiling voice of David Crosby. "Is this "the" call?" I asked. "Yes," he replied. I knew that this call would eventually come. I had been particularly intense about guiding their career when a partner at G/R and I expected that they would join our client list sooner or later. "Should I get on a plane?" "Meet me and Nash at the Holiday Inn, in Albany New York, tomorrow afternoon." I'll be there," I promised and hung up. My imagination thrilled at the possibilities.

Crosby & Nash were, and remain, a superstar attraction with what many believe to be the greatest two-part vocal harmony blend since The Everly Brothers. The possibility of managing them was a very exciting prospect. When they arrived at The Holiday Inn, I was standing under the canopy, grinning from ear to ear. After some ritual drug abuse, we got down to the business at hand.

"What are we doing here?" I asked. "We are on our way to Hyannis Port to play a gig." "There aren't any gigs there, where are you playing?" I summarized the facts as follows: "So, what you're telling me is that you're playing a benefit concert, at a hockey rink, for an incumbent Senator, who happens to be one of the richest guys in the world, and couldn't lose the election if he tried, is that it?" "That's about it," replied The Cros, "and that's why we want you to be our manager."

The gig turned out to be a lot of fun and a couple thousand people showed up to cool it on the wood covered ice. Ted Kennedy didn't make it, but we were elegantly hosted by Rose Kennedy, the matriarch of the Kennedy clan, and JFK's daughter Caroline. The next stop was New York City where Crosby & Nash were booked to play two sold out dates, at Wolman Rink, in Central Park. It was pretty cool to be introduced as the manager of Crosby & Nash.

The next leg of David and Graham's tour called for two weeks of one-nighters in Europe. I promised them that by the time they got back, I would have Atlantic Records in line and a game plan for the rest of the year. "No," said The Cros, "you're coming with us." "I had my passport over-nighted to New York, and the next afternoon we landed at London's Heathrow Airport."

As it turned out, it was a good thing I was there. Something had gone terribly wrong in the planning and execution of the tour. Crosby & Nash's booking agent was a one-man boutique agency owned by Howard Rose. His bread and butter client was superstar Elton John. Howard got caught in a violation of Hartmann's Law number three, "Don't make friends at the expense of the act." He had assigned the promotion of Crosby & Nash's tour to Elton's manager John Reed.

A managers primary tool is the telephone and my first call was to our long time English agent Barry Dickens. "What are you doing here?" Barry asked. "I'm here for the Crosby & Nash tour," I advised. I shuddered at his response, "There's a Crosby & Nash tour?" When I told Barry that our itinerary showed dates in London, Manchester and Glasgow in two weeks, I was shocked to learn that none of the dates were on sale. This is where personal mangers must go into over-drive.

A quick call to John Reed revealed that the continental dates had been assigned to the appropriate promoter in each country, but he had placed his secretary in charge of the British dates. I only heard his side of the conversation, but reading between the lines, it was obvious that she had booked the venues, but had done nothing about the promotion and advertising. We were looking at the distinct possibility that we would be playing to empty houses in all three cities.

I was furious and screamed bloody murder at Reed. I demanded to know where he was located and proceeded over to his office to straighten out the mess. When I arrived at his luxurious offices, the first thing I noticed was that there was a Bobby in the lobby. The receptionist informed me that Mr. Reed was not available and that the Bobby was there to insure that I got the message. It was obvious that Reed was useless and it didn't take long to write off the secretary.

Great and loyal agent that he was, Barry had spoken with all the European promoters who advised that all the dates were on sale and doing well. We would sell out every show. Unlike in the U.S., English, agents are also legally authorized to promote concerts. Mr. Dickens promised to take over the promotion of the three Brit sh gigs and we moved on to first show in Holland.

The continental dates all went well, and by the time we got back to London, Barry had engineered the sale of every ticket in the U.K., including some offered for standing room only. I must have really scared John Reed, because he never showed his face; and Barry earned our undying gratitude. Since then, I have never sent an act to Europe that wasn't represented by Barry.

Back in the U.S.A., my first assignment was to take the matter up with Howard Rose. Harlan and I took him to lunch at The Palm in West Hollywood. David & Graham wanted to fire him and we certainly had no objection. Managers like to "deliver" acts to agents where they have clout. Our strongest act, America, was with Chip Rachlin at International Creative Management.

The head of ICM's music division was an old friend, Tom Ross. We decided to renew America's contract with them, and add Crosby & Nash, and another client, Michael Murphy, of "Wildfire" fame to the mix. By signing all three at once, we were able to leverage an adjustment in the ICM commission structure; we got all three acts signed at seven percent. This arrangement saved our clients a lot of money.

Howard Rose learned why it doesn't pay to make friends at the expense of the act. the first call I made back in Los Agneles, was to Mike Bowan, th emanager of Stephen Stills. "Guess what we've got," I asked. "What?" Mike replied. "Crosby, Stills & Nash," was my enthusiastic response. "You've got the guys?" "Yes," I offered. Mike was in my office the next afternoon and we proceeded to put the legendary trio back together. Our first album was the 1977 hit "CSN" which was driven to the top of the charts by a smash hit single on a Nash tune "Just a Song Before I Go.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

DON'T FORGET! - LES PAUL - August 15, 2009


Legendary guitar and recording innovator Les Paul, 94, died Aug. 13 from complications of severe pneumonia at White Plains (N.Y.) Hospital. A key pioneer in electric guitar sounds, responsible for developing and lending his name to what many consider rock ‘n’ roll’s definitive guitar,
Paul’s career spanned from the jazz age through the new millennium. Every Monday, he played two sets at New York’s Iridium Jazz Club.

“Les was a renaissance man,” says Patti Smith guitarist and rock historian Lenny Kaye. “He was many things: a great inventor, a great conceptualizer. But for me he was a great musician, who played with feeling and originality.” Paul’s early innovations in the development of the solidbody
guitar would become the template for Gibson’s bestselling electric, the iconic Les Paul model, introduced in 1952. Among Paul’s other technological innovations were evelopments in multitrack recording, guitar effects and the mechanics of sound in general.

Friday, August 14, 2009

QUOTE ME! - MADNESS - August 14, 2009


Madness need not be all breakdown. It may also be breakthrough.

R.D. Laing 1927 - 1989

HARTMANN'S LAW - #2 - GET THE DOUGH - August 14, 2009



The second rule of showbiz is, Get the Dough! This is the fiduciary responsibility of the manager. If an artist is going to plan his life months in advance, and obligate himself to show up on a specific date, at a particular place, he does so under a set of negotiated terms and conditions. He must rehearse his band, hire a crew, travel that distance, and incur a myriad of expenses. It is incumbent upon the promoter of the event to honor the conditions of the contract reflecting the agreement that got the artist there in the first place. It is very important that managers recognize this obligation and collect the money, as it is due, and make sure it is disseminated through the proper channels. The services of booking agents are usually employed to resolve the details of the employment and the agent is often involved in collecting the fees. Sometimes, a manager must also exercise a certain amount of skill to collect his own commission.

THE TAXMAN - Ringo Starr

In the early eighties I moved my family to San Juan Capistrano in an effort to get out of the fast lane and lead a somewhat normal life. After a couple of years in exile, bored with the real world, I returned to Los Angeles in search of gainful employment in showbiz. My first stop was at the offices of my long time friend and attorney, Bruce Grakal. I was warmly greeted as Bruce advised that his partner had left to start his own practice and the empty office across the hall was mine.

It took a while to get my bearings and gain a clear focus on the job market. I decided to start the search by going back to the agency business, where I had begun my career in 1961. Sam Weisbord, then president of the William Morris Agency, informed me that it was company policy not to hire former employees. Sammy confided that the greatest disappointment of his career came when he rehired a former agent, Mike Ovitz. In 1975, Ovitz, along with four other dissident agents, and a huge chunk of the WMA client roster, left to form the highly successful Creative Artists Agency.

I focused on Marty Klien the head of Agency for the Performing Arts. The gig didn't fall off the truck, but after a months long romance, I got lucky. One afternoon, while inching my way through heavy traffic on Sunset Boulevard I was passing the 9000 building which housed APA. By shear coincidence Marty was stuck at the building's underground parking ramp. All I saw was a black Mercedes, but for some reason I stopped and let the car enter the traffic lane in front of me. Our eyes connected and our grins flashed. Marty, must have taken the gesture as a sign.

Later that afternoon he called, and I finally got the meeting I had been seeking. A week later, I started my second career in showbiz as an APA agent. I was determined to never again abandon the industry that had served me so well for so many years. Eager to make an impression, I reached out to Grakal to see if he could deliver me a client. Over the years, we had each contributed to the others success by "delivering" clients to each other for representation.

Although Bruce's roster covered a wide range of composers, performers and record companies, his primary client was Ringo Starr. I was thrilled and honored when Bruce suggested that I meet the legendary drummer of The Beatles. Even Marty Kline was excited when I walked a real live Beatle into his office. He picked up the phone and called the producer of Saturday Night Live and secured an offer for Ringo to host the show. A few weeks later I accompanied Ringo to New York City for the taping. Ringo did a brilliant job and we had a great time. Everybody was happy.

Ringo and I hit it off and that is how we started our artist/agent relationship. A year later, I left APA to form a management company and Ringo honored me by going along. A few months later I got a call from Betty Fanning, my former secretary at William Morris. She had become the head of the commercial department and had secured an offer for Ringo to appear in a series of TV spots. I didn't think for a minute that he would take the deal, but it was for a million dollars.

Much to my surprise, Ringo jumped at the idea and after some dickering back and forth we improved the offer to one million, two hundred and fifty thousand, the fifty to be spent as expenses. This is where "Get the Dough" became a significant challenge. A British citizen, performing such services in America, was obligated to pay a significant portion in taxes. But, Bruce and Ringo had received income all over the world and they had a plan to get all the dough.

The Beatles' feelings on such matters were well documented on the first cut of their "Revolver" album, which was entitled "Taxman." First we negotiated to have the five thirty-second spots filmed in The Bahamas, where there is no personal income tax. This involved the rental of the local, Nassau television station for five days. I went along to service the booking and make certain that everything went smoothly. It turned out to be one of the most fun adventures of my career.

The telling of the rest of the story will have to wait for another forum, but the production was accomplished on budget and on schedule. All that was left for us to do was receive the million-two and spend the fifty grand. The payment was wired to a Nassau bank and immediately transferred to Ringo's bank in Monte Carlo where he maintains a residence. The two hundred thousand more than covered the commissions and Ringo walked with a cool million for the five days of work.

We rented a twenty million dollar estate on the end of Lyford Cay and took up residency for two weeks. We filled a limousine with groceries and started the longest running party in which I had every participated. There was a staff of eight servants at our disposal twenty- four- seven. I even had my own house on a private beach below the main mansion. Ringo's lovely wife Barbara got bored with our endless chatter and left us alone after dinner each night to share our life stories.

A week later, Bruce showed up and informed us that legendary singer/songwriter, Harry Nilsson was scheduled to arrive the next day. I had run with Harry a few times in Los Angeles, and I knew that the party was just about to get started. Except that I was already exhausted and didn't think I would survive another round of all-nighters. I booked a flight for Los Aangeles, and left the revelry to the professionals secured in the knowledge that we had fulfilled our commitmnet, delivered the goods, dodged the Taxman and honored Hartmann's Law #2 - "Get the dough."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

QUOTE ME! - LANGUAGE - August 13, 2009


Language is the dress of thought.

Samuel Johnson 1709 - 1784

HARTMANN'S LAW - #1 - THE SHOW MUST GO ON - August 13, 2009



The first rule of showbiz is, quite simply, “The show must go on.” This is an ancient tradition that goes back to the earliest days of the performing arts. When an artist makes a commitment to appear, at a certain time and place, to conduct the business of his art, he is under a sacred obligation to do so. The promoter spends money to inform fans that the act will be there. The fans spend money to be present at the performance; and they look forward to the artist's appearance.

There is a legendary story of an artist who was touring America one winter long ago, when the bus broke down. The performer, obligated to his commitment, and in the tradition of the show must go on, packed his guitar on his back and trudged five miles in the snow to the venue.

He left his band and the crew to languish on the bus; and proceeded to put on the show for his audience—not the same show that he would have presented if it had been his regular band on stage—but he didn’t disappoint the crowd because he believed in this particular rule of showbiz.
Years later, I had a challenging experience with this law in my career as a personal manager.

The Fickle Finger Of Fate - America

I was travelling on the endless road of rock & roll in the summer of 1976. My client was the Grammy winning classic rock band America. We were in the middle of a world tour, and enjoying a day off in Miami Beach, before presenting a concert at a Mississippi college the next night. Our drummer, Willy Leacox was enjoying a few rounds of his customary Heineken when he fell victim to a tragic flaw in the construction of our hotel. Someone forgot to consider mother nature.

The engineers had failed to adequately research the environment and were unaware, that if the windows were left open in the room, a potentially dangerous situation arose. Under certain circumstances, the door was blasted shut by the off shore breeze with the ferocity of a cannon shot. So, enter Willy with a Dutch brew in hand and juggling his room key. As he reached to catch the closing door, the steel slammed on his finger leaving the tip dangling by a thread of skin.

As blood sprayed around the portal, Willy’s screams aroused band and crew alike as our party held down most of the rooms on the floor. The drum tech, Jim Hoskins, whisked Willy off to the hospital and sat with him all night, holding his finger up in the air. About 3 AM, Jim devised a pillow and sheet contraption that kept Willy's finger aloft while he slept. Jim was finally able to get some rest, in the adjoining hospital bed, while they waited for the damn doctor to arrive.

My partner, Harlan Goodman, was scheduled to arrive on the red eye from Los Angeles, and I had to catch an early flight to New York, in order to link up with another client Crosby, Stills & Nash. At 6 AM, as Harlan and I traded places in the doorway of an airport limousine , I shared the stunning news, “Willy cut off his finger, find another drummer and don’t blow tonight's show.”

As easy as that was to say, it presented a myriad of problems. But, this was not Harlan’s first day on the road, and if anyone believed in “The show must go on,” it was my very resourceful partner. Confident that he would handle the problem, I dashed for the early morning flight to JFK.

Harlan went into overdrive. A quick trip to the hospital revealed that Willy was ensconced in a private room, with his finger tip still dangling in Hoss's contraption. “Who the hell is going to sew this guy up?” Harlan bellowed at the night nurse. “There’s no one on duty qualified to do it,” she fearlessly replied. After a little research, and a lot of charm, Harlan had the number of a surgeon.

When it comes to doctors and lawyers, our policy is always to get the best. Within minutes Harlan had pried the top hand specialist from his sleep. ”This guy is a drummer and he has a show tonight. I need you down here immediately.” he begged. “I’ll be there at eight A.M.” the doctor promised. “He could bleed to death by then,“ was Harlan’s pleading retort. “Look I was up all night with a thumb replacement and unless you want this guy’s finger sewed to his ass, I’ll see you at eight! And sir, you better find a replacement, your man won‘t be drumming for months.”

A lurid shot of Willy sitting on one hand and drumming with the other flashed through Harlan’s mind and he closed the deal. The doctor, true to his word, had Willy in surgery by eight fifteen and the finger was restored to its former beauty, except for the stitches. With problem one handled Harlan turned to the big one. How was he going to put the band on stage that night?

He called an emergency meeting in the hospitality suite and turned toward the practical side of the issue. “Is anybody on the crew a drummer.” he inquired hopefully. No such luck, but Craig Hull, a guitar player serving as a tech roadie, knew a guy in Nashville who was a phenomenal drummer. Now Harlan had a target to shoot for and he sent Craig to track down Harry Stinson.

Harry was sitting in his mother's living room contemplating his future when the call came. Of course he knew America's world wide hit single, "A Horse With No Name," but was otherwise not too familiar with their repertoire. He dashed out to the local record store and picked up a couple of their albums for a quick listen. A couple hours later, a limousine dropped him at the airport where he picked picked up his first class ticket, and was on his way to the Mississippi gig.

Harlan met Harry at the gate and handed him a pair of headphones and a transistor cassette deck. “This is the live show, don’t take these off unless you’re in the shower.” he ordered. Harry ‘s head started bobbing to the beat and his sticks flashed on everything in his path for the next eight hours. By show time Harry was totally familiar with every song in the set and ready to play.

With Willy coaching from a beach chair next to the drum kit, Harry played his first date with America and never missed a beat. He finished the tour and languished in the undying gratitude of the band. We were all very impressed with his skill as a drummer and his trooper attitude. For his reward, we made him a partner in a band we were building for Clive Davis of Arista Records called Silver. They went on to have a top twenty hit on a song called “Wham, Bang Shanga Lang.”

The America show in Mississippi did go on and we launched Harry's professional career. He became a staple among the best west coast session players. Willy Leacox healed up fine and forty years later he still does over one hundred and fifty America concerts a year all around the globe. His contribution to the many hit singles and platinum albums that followed is incalculable. Artists and managers should remember this story when the going gets tough, because no matter what happens, the show must go on.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

QUOTE ME! - KNOWLEDGE - August 12, 2009


It is better to know nothing than to know what ain't so.

Josh Billimgs 1818 -1885

Question of the Day - SECURING COPYRIGHTS - August 12, 2009


mvbaseball559 asks:

I enjoy writing songs and have been doing so for a number of years. I would someday like to record a demo. How do I go about establishing the copyrights for my songs? They're obviously extremely important to me and I want to be protected in case they fall into the wrong hands.

Hartmann responds:

There is a songwriter behind every guitar; and a composer on every piano stool. Ninety percent of them will never take one step toward the professional realm. Regardless of the action taken, to exploit their intellectual property, the authors are entitled to protect their creations. There are several ways to establish ownership of copyrights and protect songwriters and publishers rights.

A copyright is a form of protection provided, by title 17 of the United States code, to the authors of original songs and other intellectual works. The statutes apply to both published and unpublished material. Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act affords the owner of copyright the exclusive right to reproduce, perform, sell, distribute, rent, lease, lend and license the song for commercial use.

Copyright protection subsists from the time the work exists in a fixed form. The copyright in a work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who creates the work. As the song is written, note by note, word by word, the songwriter becomes both author and publisher. Only the author, or those deriving their rights from the author, can claim copyright. In the case of works made for hire, the employer, and not the employee, is considered to be the author.

The performing rights societies are charged with the responsibility of collecting monies due to writers an publishers. ASCAP, BMI and SESAC are membership organizations charged with representing the interests of composers, songwriters, lyricists and publishers. Each provides a system for collecting monies due their members from the users of music. Through affiliation with international societies, these organizations protect the rights of hundreds of thousands of songwriters around the world, by licensing and distributing royalties from public performances.

Affiliation with these societies is relatively simple. Each has a strong online presence and for a few hundred dollars will enroll new members and provide copyright protection. Copyright ownership can also be be established through the Library of Congress at a twenty dollar per song charge.

The easiest access to protect a copyright is accomplished through This is a new Online Music Resource and Copyright Registration service. Websongs is a free service for Songwriters to list songs and compositions and for Recording Artists to list recordings. Websongs is also an online resource for music, where anyone can search for songs or recordings that they want to find out more about. This Internet system is particularly artist friendly and equally effective.

Professionals, who are more likely to accrue earnings, are better off joining one of the performing rights societies who have global monitoring and collection systems. However, in a legal dispute, a song that has been properly sealed by a postal employee, and remains unopened, can establish that the song existed as of the postal date. For the beginner, websong works and will protect his rights.