Music Publishing is the business of exploiting your music through licensing your songs and collecting the royalties. The copyright owner may license others to use any or all of these exclusive rights for a fee. The income generated from granting a license is publishing income, and there are four main types:

  • Performance Income
    Every time your music is played in public, you are owed a fee for the performance of your music. It is impossible for anyone to track every time a song is played in a club or on the radio, so publishers sign up with, or “affiliate with,” one of the performance rights societies: BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated), ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) and SESAC. These groups issue performance licenses to radio and television stations, nightclubs, restaurants, and so forth, so that these businesses can play a variety of music. The societies then track and collect the revenues and pay the copyright owners.
  • Mechanical Royalties
    When you issue a license to a record company to manufacture and distribute copies of your songs on vinyl and CDs, the record company will owe you a fixed price per song on each copy sold. This fixed fee is the “mechanical royalty rate,” and it can be either negotiated and set in your recording contract, or based on the current statutory rate as fixed by the Copyright Act. The mechanical royalty rate is set by the Compulsory License Provision found in Section 115 of the U.S. Copyright Act; the current statutory mechanical rate is 9.10 Cents for songs 5 minutes or less, or 1.75 Cents per minute or fraction thereof per unit sold – whichever is greater. The Harry Fox Agency, a subsidiary of The National Music Publishers’ Association, is available to grant mechanical licenses for its almost 28,000 publisher clients. For more information, contact:

    Harry Fox Agency
    711 Third Avenue, Eight Floor, New York, NY 10017
    (212) 834-0100; fax (212) 953-2384
  • Synchronization Income
    A “synch” license is what you grant to film or television productions to allow them to use your song as an accompaniment to film and TV pictures. There is no standard industry fee for synch licenses. The fees are negotiated and depend on the importance of the particular song and how it is used in the production. In a situation where a popular song is used as the basis of a scene, such as the “Old Time Rock and Roll” scene in “Risky Business,” the fee can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. For local television commercials and low-budget films, the fees are whatever you can negotiate.
  • Print Income
    These royalties are generated by any publication of your songs in written sheet music or a “folio”, which is a book of songs. This category is not a big earner for many artists, but “Greatest Hits” print anthologies published for artists like Joni Mitchell and Led Zeppelin are examples of popular printed music. For each book or sheet sold, the copyright owner of those songs receives a percentage of the retail price.

What do music publishers do?

A publisher is responsible for “administering the rights” associated with your copyrights, which involves getting your songs played, issuing the appropriate licenses and collecting the money. In the standard arrangement, a songwriter will sign over her copyrights to the publishing company for administration, and in turn the publishing company agrees to pay 50% of all revenues collected to the writer.

The publisher collects mechanical, synchronization, print and foreign release income for the author. The company keeps the “publisher’s share” and pays you the “writer’s share.” The one exception to this arrangement is in the performance income collected by performing rights societies. The societies issue the writer’s share directly to you, and issue the publisher its share separately.

Subpublishing: I have a popular song in a foreign country, but don’t speak the language and am not familiar with their music business customs and practices.   How can I take advantage of business opportunities related to my work over there and ensure that I am collecting the money I am owed for use of my work?

Being thousands of miles away makes it impossible to adequately conduct business without the help of a subpublisher, a foreign representative who will act on your behalf with regards to your intellectual property.  Your US publisher allows the foreign publisher (subpublisher) to act on its behalf in that respective territory.  Each foreign territory has its own particular rules in licensing music, collecting royalties, and protecting copyrights.  For this reason, it is incredibly important to select a subpublisher that you can work with and trust.  A good foreign representative will be well-versed in the local rules and procedures regarding business affairs surrounding your music, and have a music business network in place within the territory.

What exactly does a subpublisher do?

A subpublisher functions much like your own music publisher in the US. The subpublisher protects your copyrights, registers songs with the local mechanical and performance collection societies, promotes new uses for your work, collects royalties, audits royalty statements from users of your work, negotiates licenses, and sues infringers.

Foreign publishers perform a combination of administrative and promotional tasks. Some do one or the other, while some do a little of both.It is important to match your interests with the strengths of the subpublisher. If you are an artist looking to ensure that royalties are collected for use of your song, then choosing a subpublisher with strength in administrative ability is ideal.  If you are looking for new uses for your song, then selecting a subpublisher with quality contacts in the local entertainment industry would be ideal.

Another thing to keep in mind is the geographical reach of the publishing company. Some publishers have offices worldwide, while some only have offices in specific territories. If you go with a worldwide publisher any problems that arise abroad can usually be resolved through the US office. This makes conducting business and communication more efficient since you are not trying to get a hold of a publishing office in another time zone. The biggest fear in going with a worldwide publishing company is that their artist catalogue is so extensive that your work may not get the personal attention and care that you desire.  Another concern is that offices abroad may run less efficiently than the US office.

Hiring independent publishing companies on a territory by territory basis can be beneficial in that they may be able to give you more individualized attention.  They may also know the lay of the land better in their specific region.  Your US publisher may already have subpublishers abroad, in which case it might be easiest to allow them to handle your affairs.

Protect yourself: the sub-publishing agreement

Your goal in negotiating any contract should be to maximize profits and minimize risk. To do this you want to negotiate favorable contract terms for yourself.  What follows is a list of common contract elements that you will want to be familiar with so that you (or your publishing company on your behalf) may consider them when you negotiate a subpublishing agreement.  

Term – The standard length of a subpublishing agreement is generally three to five years.  Three years is the minimum duration foreign royalty collection societies often accept.  Contract length can be negotiable dependent upon the following various factors (many of which are discussed later in this section).

Advance amount

Retention rights for local cover recordings

Right to collect “pipeline” royalties (money earned prior to the expiration of the term of the subpublishing agreement, but not yet paid by the music user until after the end of the term)

Released-album guarantees

Extensions if advances have not been recouped 

Rules of local performing rights societies

Suspensions due to breaches

Extensions based on the non-achievement of guaranteed earnings plateaus

Compositions Controlled by the Agreement – Agreement may comprise the entire catalogue of a US publisher, all songs written by a particular songwriter/artist, select compositions, or an individual song.

In agreements for the entire catalogue, the following language is common 

“Publisher grants to Subpublisher the following rights in and to all the musical compositions listed on Schedule A as well as any and all musical compositions currently or hereafter owned or controlled by Publisher during the terms of this Agreement.”

This usually entails all future songs acquired during the agreement duration as well.

Royalty Percentages – The foreign representative’s compensation is always based upon the percentage of money generated by the songs controlled by the subpublishing agreement.  Generally, this percentage is anywhere from 10%-25%.  For superstar artists, this percentage can get to as low as 5%.

Local Cover Recordings – Where a subpublisher is hired for the purpose of promotion, most agreements provide that the subpublisher can take a larger percentage of the income that is generated from a local recording (usually a “cover”).  

Be wary of language that provides that, if a local recording is secured, the subpublisher’s percentage on all versions of the song contained on that cover record will be increased. 

This kind of provision is unfair if the original US version is a major hit.  The exception is when the “cover” becomes a major hit in the foreign territory, and the original US version is not generating income in the foreign territory.

Increased Fees for Cover Records – Known as an “increased cover version percentage” clause, this only applies to mechanical income (CD sales, downloads, other audio recordings; things that can be counted on a per unit basis).

The subpublisher sometimes will take an increased fee on radio and television performance income generated by the cover version of the song.  This becomes hard to monitor because performing rights societies do not account separately for different broadcast versions of the same song.

Print – the US publisher generally receives 12.5%-15% of the retail price on printed editions of all compositions, or 50% of the subpublisher’s net income. 

Usually not a major source of income

Advances – This is the amount of money you will receive up front, and depending on the clout that your musical catalogue has, the advance amount can vary widely.  If a song/catalogue is likely to generate income in the subpublisher’s territory, advance amounts upwards of six-figures is not unusual.  

The advance amount should not be the only factor considered in choosing a foreign representative.  Other factors to keep in mind;

Company integrity

Reputation for administration and promotion

Personnel

Royalty rates

Retention rights

Duration of the agreement

Do not underestimate a foreign representative because of poor English ability.  A subpublisher knows their business and more importantly, their market.

How Advances are Paid – Advances are paid in any number of ways.

One-time payment upon signing (e.g., $10,000 upon execution of the agreement)

Specified advances at the start of each one-year period of the agreement (e.g., $10,000 upon execution of agreement, and $10,000 each year of the agreement thereafter)

Advances upon the release of each album, with reductions depending on the number of songs controlled by the artist on each such album (e.g., $10,000 upon the album’s release in the foreign territory provided the writer/artist has written at least x% of the compositions on the album)

Advances upon recouping all or a specified percentage of the previous advance (e.g., $100,000 upon recouping x% of the previous $100,000 advance)

Advances on local chart activity (e.g., if a song reaches the top 10, then $10,000.  If it reaches number one, then another $10,000)

Advances based on a company’s acquisition of other US catalogues (e.g., a mutually agreeable advance in the event that the US publisher acquires a major company for representation)

Advances based on actual earnings in the foreign territory (e.g., if an album earns $50,000 in its first year, an additional advance of $50,000 will be paid to US publisher)

At-Source Royalty Payments – This provision ensures that there will be no extra charges or deductions from royalties passing from one foreign territory to another before being passed on to the US.  Typical language follows;

“All royalties payable shall be based on gross income received at the source and shall not in any way be reduced by any charges including, but not limited to, any sublicensees granted by Subpublisher except only for: (1) those fees and commissions paid by the Subpublisher to the performing rights societies, mechanical license societies, and other collection agents in the territory; and (2) payments made by the Subpublisher for any “value-added” taxes and other taxes, if any, required to be deducted in the territory.”

This language prevents foreign companies from double-deducting fees on monies earned in portions of the territory covered.

E.g., if you have an agreement with Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, the agreement will prevent the German affiliate from deducting fees that may have been already deducted by Austria and Switzerland.  Without the provision, the German company could deduct 20%, then forward the remaining 80% to Austria who would deduct 20%, then forward the remaining onto Switzerland, whom would also take 20%.  

Rights Granted to the Foreign Representative – The writer/publisher usually grants the following rights in and to the musical compositions to the subpublisher.

Mechanical Rights – The right to issue mechanical licenses and collect royalties for the manufacture and distribution of records, CDs, downloads, and other audio recordings.  

Performance Rights – The local foreign representative is given the right to register the songs with the performance right society in the territory and collect the publisher’s share of income earned by performances of the songs on radio, television, live in concert, in restaurants, bars, etc.  

The writer’s share is paid directly to ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC (depending on writers’ US affiliation), and NOT the foreign subpublisher.

Audiovisual Rights

TV and Film – The US publisher normally grants the foreign subpublisher the right to issue synchronization rights to include songs in television shows and films that originate in the subpublisher’s territory.  

Home Video – For US films (and TV shows and video games, usually), the film producer will always demand that the US publisher grant home video rights on a worldwide basis via a one-time non-royalty buy-out basis.  Under this agreement, no money is paid to the foreign subpublisher.  The foreign subpublisher is usually given the right to negotiate home video licenses for audiovisual projects produced in the foreign territory, at least with respect to sales in that particular territory.

Recording Artist Videos – There is usually always a record company provision that grants worldwide right to manufacture and distribute short or long home video versions of the artist’s performances.  

For songs written by outside writers, the record company will have to negotiate a separate agreement with the publisher of each song.  In most cases a worldwide license granted on a per unit royalty or buy-out basis.  

It’s rare that a subpublisher be allowed to negotiate a separate video license for this product for sales in its territory.

Commercials – The right to include a song as part of a foreign commercial to be broadcast in a foreign territory is sometimes given to the subpublisher.  

When granted to the subpublisher, this right is usually conditional upon the subpublisher receiving approval for each particular request from the US publisher.  

Print – The right to manufacture and distribute sheet music is virtually always included in the rights being granted.

Rights Reserved by the US Publisher  – The following rights are commonly reserved by the US publisher;

  • Dramatic/literary rights
  • Commercials, political campaign uses, and endorsements
  • Grand rights (the right to use a song in a musical, live theatrical drama, opera, etc.)
  • Ownership of the copyright

All other rights that are not specifically granted by the terms of the subpublishing agreement

Royalty Payment Dates and Audit Rights – Royalties are normally accounted for twice a year, with semiannual payments and statements sent to the US music publisher 45-90 days after December 31 and June 30 of each year.  Audit rights are similar to those contained in US publishing agreements (30 day notice, audit conducted during normal business hours, limited number of times one can audit)

Retention Rights – Upon the termination of the agreement, many subpublishers will want to retain the following rights for some period of time after termination.

Pipeline Monies – Enables the subpublisher to collect money that has been earned during the term of the agreement, but has yet to be collected at the time of the agreement’s expiration.  

The US publisher generally concedes this, though usually demands a time limit on such rights (6-18 months).  This prevents the pipeline collection period from being open ended.  

Retention Rights if Advances are Unrecouped – if advances paid to the US publisher have not been recouped, the foreign subpublisher may have the right to extend the agreement for a specified period of time so that advances can be fully compensated.  

The US publisher should place a time limit on such retention rights.

The US publisher is often allowed to repay advances for full recoupment to the foreign subpublisher.

Retention Rights on Guaranteed Albums – If advances are paid upon the release of an album, the subpublisher will normally have retention rights to the songs on any such album that is released in the last six months or one year of the agreement.  

This is fair for the subpublisher because royalties generated by such an album will not be received by the subpublisher until four to nine months after release.  The subpublisher needs to be allowed to receive earnings derived from use of the work.

Retention on Local Cover Records – The subpublisher often retains the right, (duration to be negotiated) to administer a composition if a local cover record has been released during the time of the agreement.  The same applies to local film and television uses generated by promotional efforts of the foreign subpublisher.  Various provisions can be written up for this retention right;

  • Retention only if the cover record becomes a hit 
  • Retention only if the cover record earns in excess of x amount of dollars
  • Retention only if the cover record charts in the Top 10

Information that must be supplied to the foreign representative – In order for the subpublisher to properly represent you, certain basics must be provided; 

  • Correct composition titles
  • Songwriter(s) identity
  • Authorship percentages if there are co-writers
  • Performance rights affiliation of the songwriters and music publishers 
  • Publisher’s control percentages if there is more than one copyright owner or administrator
  • Multiple authors = multiple publishers
  • The US publisher should submit the following information to the subpublisher;
  • Date of the recording’s initial release in the US
  • Release information in other territories

BMI today announced the highest revenues in its 76-year history, achieving $1.060 billion for its fiscal year ended June 30. The Company also distributed and administered a record-breaking $931 million to its songwriters, composers and publishers, a 6% increase over last year. These results represent the most public performance revenue and royalty distributions by any music rights organization in the world.

BMI operates on a non-profit-making basis and returns approximately 88% of all revenue to the musical creators and copyright owners it represents.

“We are beyond pleased with this milestone,” said Mike O’Neill, President and CEO, BMI. “The ability to provide our songwriters, composers and publishers with our largest royalty distributions to date proves that the current marketplace is working efficiently, a fact the DOJ has undermined with its recent interpretation of our consent decree. We’re eager to build on this success and continue to ensure that all of our music creators are fairly paid for their work and that licensees maintain full access to BMI’s repertoire of nearly 12 million songs. As of now, the DOJ’s interpretation will disrupt these efforts, stifle creative freedom for songwriters, limit choices for music users and bog down the marketplace. We are determined not to let that happen.”

BMI’s total domestic revenue performance of $784 million was bolstered by record-breaking results in its digital and general licensing categories. Digital revenue, which exceeded $100 million for the first time last year, hit a new high of $152 million, up 50%. Numerous new agreements were signed throughout the year, notably a multi-year license with Pandora, as well as deals with Spotify, Apple Music, Microsoft, Sony’s PlayStation Video and Slacker, among others.

General Licensing, which includes fees from businesses like restaurants, bars, hotels and fitness facilities, along with other income, hit a new milestone of $140 million. The category added 15,000 new businesses to the hundreds of thousands already in BMI’s diverse portfolio.

Revenue from all media licensing, including radio, television and cable and satellite entertainment, grew to $492 million, with cable and satellite entertainment accounting for the largest portion of BMI’s domestic revenue for the third consecutive year. International revenues came in at a strong $276 million, despite significant economic challenges overseas resulting in lower foreign exchange rates. While down 5% year to year in U.S. dollars, BMI’s international revenues would have exceeded last year’s performance by $14 million had it not been for the strengthening dollar.

BMI processed more than one trillion audio performances this year, over 950 billion of which were digital, a 45% increase from last year.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. –- January 28, 2016 — Today, the Copyright Alliance issued a statement on the recently-released Department of Commerce White Paper on Remixes, First Sale and Statuary Damages.

The Copyright Alliance appreciates the comprehensive and thoughtful discussion of the complex copyright policy issues considered in the White Paper.

According to Copyright Alliance CEO, Keith Kupferschmid, “in crafting copyright policy, we recognize that all interested parties must work together – including creative sectors, technology sectors, user groups and the public – as partners toward the same goal; and our collective goal is a thriving internet ecosystem that incentivizes creators to produce and disseminate new works to the public.” Kupferschmid continued by saying “this partnership should also encourage dynamic innovation and growth for technology companies as they collaborate with creators in making the works available through innovative new legal platforms while benefiting users who are certain to reap the rewards of new creative works offered on new platforms.

lock_sm“We think that many of the conclusions reached and recommendations made in the White Paper published earlier today help advance these goals. The authors of the White Paper did a thorough job soliciting and considering the many different viewpoints voiced by the interested parties, and the final result reflects a broad consensus. In particular, we highlight the White Paper’s discussions of remixes and the first sale defense and endorse its conclusions that the existing provisions in the Copyright Act, in conjunction with new business models, are effectively meeting the changing demands of consumers and that no change in the law is necessary at this time.”

Kupferschmid concluded by saying that “we look forward to working with leaders at the Patent and Trademark Office and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, as well as the other stakeholders, on next steps the Task Force may take.”

The complete White Paper is available for review here.

In today’s music business, a musician needs to understand and receive all the various streams of revenue that they are entitled to for their musical works. However, many of today’s artists are uninformed as to what royalties they are entitled to; and, even more musicians are not properly registered nor have their works indexed. This prevents the artist from receiving all the income earned for their creative works. One of these most important streams of income that many musicians fail to recognize or handle properly  are the revenues collected by SoundExchange.

Sound Exchange is a performance rights organization authorized to collect royalties for the digital performance of sound recordings under Section 114 of the U.S. Copyright Act. The right to these funds was originally established with the passage of the Digital Performance in Sound Recording Act of 1995 and later expanded by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Originally, SoundExchange was created by the Recording Industry Association of America (R.I.A.A.) to handle these new revenues; however, Sound Exchange eventually became its own stand-alone entity representing the interests of over one hundred thousand artists and copyright owners. As of August 5, 2015, Sound Exchange has reportedly paid over $3 billion directly to its artist and label members (http://www.soundexchange.com/pr/soundexchange-breaks-the-3-billion-mark/).

Unlike the other performance rights organizations in the United States that collect royalties for the public performance of musical compositions (i.e., ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC); Sound Exchange is the only entity authorized to collect royalties for the digital performance of a sound recording. Sound Exchange derives its authority, pricing and guidelines from the Copyright Royalty Board, which is appointed by the U.S. Library of Congress. SoundExchange is run by a board of directors that includes nine artist representatives and nine label representatives. This structure gives artists an equal say in the running of the organization.

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SoundExchange is authorized to collect digital performance royalties on behalf of the owners of the sound recording copyright (i.e., the actual recording of a performance of the musical composition, which is referred to as the “master recording”). Typically, the sound recording copyright is transferred to the record label as a part of the recording contract with the musician. However, there has been an increase in sound recording ownership by the artists themselves as record labels are extending far fewer recording contracts than they had done in the past. This fact is further evidenced by the large number of musicians who are involved in “Do-It-Yourself” music promotion and distribution without any traditional record label assistance.

Additionally, it is essential to understand the difference in the types of revenues collected by SoundExchange and those collected by “small” Performing Rights Organizations, such as ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC in the United States. Performing Rights Organizations collect “small” public performance royalties for the owners of copyrighted musical composition (the underlying musical composition). These public performance royalties are paid to the music publishers, songwriters and composers of the song. For example, when Jimi Hendrix’s version of “All Along The Watchtower” is played over an analog radio station, the songwriter, Bob Dylan (in addition to the song’s publisher) receive royalties from the appropriate Performing Rights Organization as the original composer of the song. In contrast, Sony Music, as the sound recording owner, and Jimi Hendrix, as the featured artist, would receive royalties from SoundExchange for the song’s recordings’ transmission over a non-interactive digital platform, for example, when the song is played on Pandora. Accordingly, companies and artists can collect royalties from both sources (i.e., one royalty for the musical composition copyright and another for the sound recording copyright) as these organizations work with each other to pay musical creators the royalties they have earned from these distinct streams of income.

Under Section 114 of the American Copyright Act, SoundExchange is only authorized to issue statutory licenses for non-interactive digital platforms. These include satellite radio stations (e.g., SiriusXM Radio), internet radio stations (e.g., iHeartRadio.com), non-interactive digital music streaming services (e.g., Pandora) as well as digital cable and satellite TV services (e.g., Music Choice, Muzak, DirecTV, Dish Network). A comprehensive list of all the current licensees is available from SoundExchange at http://www.soundexchange.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/2015-Q3-Licensee-Count-10-19-2015.pdf. For example, Pandora is a non-interactive service as it plays similar artists and songs based on a user’s selections and preferences; whereas, Spotify is an interactive service that enables a user to determine the exact song they wish to hear at that moment.

Each non-interactive licensee pays a statutory rate that is determined by a variety of factors, including the number of stations or channels, the number of listeners or subscribers, and/or the amount of advertising and other revenues earned by the licensee. In contrast, on-demand or interactive music streaming services, such as Spotify, are not subject to SoundExchange statutory licensing. These interactive services must enter into separate licensing agreements with the song’s copyright owners to utilize the works.

To pay its members, SoundExchange receives monthly reports from each of its licensees listing exactly what each licensee has performed that month. This data is compiled and utilized to distribute the licensing fees collected by SoundExchange to the appropriate6a00d83451b36c69e201b8d1897e71970c-800wi
parties on a pay-per-play basis. Of the total amounts collected, 50% percent of these funds are distributed to the owner of the song’s sound recording (typically, a record label), 45% of these funds go to the featured performer on the track (typically, the musician) and the remaining 5% of these funds are distributed to the non-featured performers on the track through the American Federation of Musicians (A.F.M.) and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (A.F.T.R.A.). Additionally, SoundExchange takes a 4.6% administrative fee “off the top” of the total funds collected to handle these matters on behalf of its members.

Additionally, these royalties are very important to an artist as the funds are distributed directly to the recording artist without the artist’s respective share being first distributed to the artist’s record label. Typically, if the record label were to receive these funds first, they could potentially apply the funds against any unrecouped balance amount owed to the label; however, SoundExchange prevents this by distributing the funds directly to the artist. This distribution system is extremely advantageous to an artist, especially those signed to a major record label, as the artist can continue to receive SoundExchange payments without being fully recouped with their record label, which is not the case with most other royalties accrued in the music industry.

Also, SoundExchange currently holds at least $200 million in royalties owed to non-member artists. Most of these artists are unaware of the existence of this relatively new digital performance right and of the organization, SoundExchange, which administers the licensing. With the rise in popularity of Internet radio stations and music streaming services coupled with the decline in CD and download sales, it is essential that record labels and recording artists properly register with SoundExchange to ensure proper collection and distribution of all the royalties owed to them. SoundExchange’s distribution numbers have steadily risen in recent years and should continue to increase as more users switch from downloading media to streaming-based digital music services.

In conclusion, in order to receive the full value of an artist’s work, they should sign-up with SoundExchange and ensure that their musical repertoire is properly indexed to receive all the amounts they are entitled to. Additionally, SoundExchange does not administer royalties on behalf of downloaded material, as that is typically handled by the sound recording copyright owner (the record label).

Collins Connect handles all matters pertaining to music and the law, contact our office for help in registering your copyrights as well as indexing your works with ASCAP, BMI and SoundExchange visit www.collinsconnect.org.

The growth of streaming music services and shared playlists, and the continued strength of YouTube, unleashed new forces on the music business last year — catapulting independent artists onto the charts with growing regularity, music industry statistics show.

As the grip of the major music labels continued to loosen in the era of Pandora, Rdio and Spotify, one of the biggest indie stars, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, saw its hit song “Thrift Shop” hit No. 1 in 2013, the first time since 1994 that a song without the backing of a major label reached the top of the charts.

The song, released in August 2012, was also the No. 2 streamed video in the first half of 2013, with 187 million streams.

The rise of streaming music services, where the major labels’ control is weaker, and the decline of FM radio, where the labels’ control is powerful, has had a clear effect on the power of indie.

In 2007, indies controlled 25.8 percent of the music business, No. 2 behind Universal Music Group’s 28.8 percent share. By June 30, 2013, indie — a universe that includes Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, Bon Iver and Mumford & Sons — leapfrogged Universal by growing its market share to 34.5 percent, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Universal was at 28.3 percent.

Rich Bengloff, who runs the American Association of Independent Music, believes the availability and popularity of music streaming — which grew by 24 percent in the first half of 2013, while digital sales slipped 4.6 percent in the period, its first-ever decline — is exactly why artists are opting for indie status and why their power is growing.

Not surprisingly, Pandora founder Tim Westergren has been wooing the independents. Songs from outside the major labels make up 50 percent of the content streamed on the 14-year-old service. On broadcast radio, it’s 13 percent.

“There are artists who were invisible in the music business who now get exposed to an audience that is big enough to support them,” Westergren told The Post this week. “There’s an opportunity for a really well-run band to take control of their careers.”

Pandora (which in a regulatory filing said it had 70.9 million active users as of Oct. 31, up 8 percent this year) has been working with indie artists to develop tools like letting them know where their richest concentration of fans are so they can better plan tour locations, Westergren, speaking while on vacation in Australia, said.

“Independents are supportive of Pandora because it’s a level playing field, not a walled garden,” says Westergren.

While indie artists and their labels are enjoying and cashing in during the early stages of the Pandora era, no one believes the big guys are going away.

Indies are still tied to the big labels for distribution. Macklemore & Lewis is aided by Warner Music’s Alternate Distribution Alliance.

And the majors, seeing the rise of indie labels, have been gobbling up some of the more successful ones.

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Question: What was the most important/influential/impactful event to happen in the music business in 2013, and why?

 

Tom Corson, president/COO, RCA Records
Continued consolidation in all areas of the music business. While consolidation makes business sense for those involved, it also opens up opportunities for entrepreneurs who are the lifeblood of our industry.

Colleen Theis, COO, the Orchard
The grand opening of the Rough Trade New York store was a landmark event for music retail and the US independent music industry as a whole. Rough Trade’s experiential approach to merchandising and marketing music and related art and entertainment events is unique. New York is the only city of its size without a large-scale indie focused music retail hub. Although I work primarily on the digital side of the industry, I have love and appreciation for the unique record store shopping experience and the collector’s aspect of vinyl, CDs and special artist-related products.

Matt Pincus, founder/CEO, Songs Music Publishing
The summary judgment ruling by Judge Cote in the ASCAP rate court was a threshold event in the music publishing business. Unexpected, the decision said that rights holders did not have the right to withdraw their digital rights from ASCAP on a selective basis to get a better rate through market negotiations. The ruling broke the back of the current performing rights collection system, making it uneconomic for ASCAP and BMI to continue operating under the consent decree regulations they are subject to. It will change the entire system of performance royalties.

Chris Vanderhook, COO, Myspace
The re-emergence and reinvention of Miley Cyrus. After everyone picked their jaws off the floor, you realize it’s harder now more than ever for artists to gain awareness and penetrate. We’re living in an age of dominance — meaning you have to dominate to make real traction — and only the biggest superstars can break through. Miley created a fervor that proved she’s one of those superstars.

Ben Stauffer, finance director, Centricity Music
The Warner Music/Clear Channel broadcast and digital royalties deal. A major label signing a deal to receive broadcast performance royalties (while sharing digital royalties) will positively impact Warner Music (and its recouped artists) by providing them with an additional income stream. However, it has big potential to shrink playlists even more and further impede the ability of indies to have their songs played.

Ted Kalo, executive director, musicFIRST
The digital music landscape is going to present greater opportunities for artists and their ability to connect with fans like never before. A perfect example is Beyoncé dropping a digital album with no advance press and announcing it to her followers via Instagram. But it’s also going to present greater challenges than ever as music creators struggle to make the music economy work for all. We need to continue building a responsible, sustainable music ecosystem that rewards creativity instead of strip mining it. House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte has indicated that there will be Congressional hearings in 2014 focused on the music business. We will be watching carefully and working to make sure that music creators receive fair pay for their work whenever and wherever it is played.

Greg Hill, president/CEO, Hill Entertainment Group
I think in 2013 the music business has seen a leveling out and a realization that no matter what tools we have at our disposal or what new ways we have to reach consumers, at the end of the day, an artist and a song connecting is still the most important factor.  We have had all of these new avenues for exposure open up to us over the last decade, but I believe it has become apparent that music still matters.

Marcee Rondan, senior vice president, MSO
There seems to be a resurgence of female artists in music. From young artists like Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift to Katy Perry and Rihanna and new artists like Lorde, for the first time in years women are on the charts. We need to continue to support these artists, so that young girls with musical aspirations have role models.

Max Gayle, manager of artist development, Island Def Jam 
Jay Z’s Samsung deal — a groundbreaking music deal that made the record industry change the way sales are counted. Not bad for an ex-hustler from the Marcy Houses in Brooklyn.

Julien Mitelberg, CEO of Bandsintown and COO/co-founder of Cellfish
It was interesting to witness the chain of events surrounding SFX Entertainment, including an acquisition spree that included Beatport, Fame House, Totem OneLove, and Paylogic. The subsequent IPO in June showed how electronic music has moved to the forefront of both business and pop culture in recent years. This was a turning point for the genre that will have lasting ramifications on the live music industry as a whole.

Tom Gimbel, GM, Austin City Limits
Thom Yorke and other significant artists speaking out against Spotify and the other major streaming services for low artist payments. This is a core debate that will last well beyond 2013. Music fans appear to want the streaming services and many are willing to pay for it, but can the business model produce meaningful revenue that will make its way to the musicians who are creating the art? If artists cannot earn a living, who’s going to make the music?

Will Mills, VP of music and Content, Shazam
The continuing shift of music consumption to mobile is still of critical importance regarding how creators/rights holders get paid.

Joe Riccitelli, executive VP/GM, RCA Records
The changing of the Hot 100 chart. Adding in YouTube streams into the formula made a big difference for artists, especially those who may not have to have a major label pushing. It completely changed the strategies on a No. 1 Hot 100 campaign.

Robb McDaniels, founder/CEO, INgrooves
The launch of iTunes Radio was a long-time coming, maybe even too long given Spotify’s head start. But it confirmed what we all suspected: access to on-demand streaming services will quickly dominate the consumer landscape and shift the power structure of the music business. It will change how we market, consume and monetize music for many years to come.

Jim Donio, president, Music Business Association
2013 showed us that we don’t need to choose between digital and physical products; we can enjoy both side-by-side.

For example, this year saw the continued growth of vinyl, with Daft Punk selling 19,000 LPs of “Random Access Memories” during its debut week, and Queens of the Stone Age likewise selling 12,000 vinyl copies of “… Like Clockwork,” accounting for 13% of the album’s overall sales when it topped the Billboard charts. And let’s not forget Record Store Day, which saw a 36% jump in vinyl purchases over last year’s event, not to mention a 25% spike in overall indie record store sales during its Back to Black Friday event.

That said, this year also saw major digital milestones, particularly the proliferation of viral video artists who managed to cross over to mainstream chart success. This year, Bauuer’s “Harlem Shake” and Ylvis’ “The Fox” followed in the footsteps of Psy’s “Gangnam Style,” highlighting YouTube’s status as a major force for music discovery.

Andy Cohn, president/publisher, The Fader 
Kanye West’s “Yeezus,” one of the most polarizing albums (and artists) I can remember, coming out to responses that ranged from “complete garbage” to “utter brilliance.” It’s albums like “Yeezus” that whether you like it or not, keep music moving forward — and while not the most radio-friendly album by far, it definitely caused a passionate and extended conversation which is always a healthy thing for the industry.

Dmitri Vietze, founder/CEO, StoryAmp.com
Your parents heard about Spotify. Twitter Music launched and died. iTunes Radio launched and nobody noticed. In other words, we learned that entrenched players do not have the advantage. Again.

Grace Jones, founder, REQUIEM media
Hype, hype and more hype. Artists seemed to push limits and minds on album campaigns. From Kanye’s projections on buildings around the world to Vampire Weekend’s listing in the New York Times classifieds to Arcade Fire’s “secret” shows, the art of the album announcement and rollout had no limits. Interesting to see Beyonce do the exact opposite and turn the whole process on its head!

Rell Lafargue, Chief Operating Officer, Reservoir
Jay Z ushered in a new mode of record distribution and promotion with the Samsung-funded app release of Magna Carter Holy Grail. This could set a trend that furthers the transition away from traditional record label distribution deals for the next several years.

Moving forward, we believe that both formats will continue carving out their own niches, and music fans will be better off for it.

Tom Windish, president, The Windish Agency
The continued importance of platforms, like Soundcloud, for launching awareness of unknown and unsigned artists.

Dwight Lazarus, manager of brand partnerships, Island Def Jam and Republic Records
The most impactful event to happen in the music business in 2013 is innovative album releases. Jay Z (“Magna Carta… Holy Grail”), Arcade Fire (“Reflektor”) and Daft Punk (“Random Access Memories”) all set the bar for the music industry, in terms of releasing music for sale.

Liana Huth, senior VP of partnership marketing, Fuse
The reopening of Madison Square Garden, after a three-year, $1 billion transformation.

Wendy Washington, executive VP of artist and media development, RED/Sony Music
The Jay Z/Samsung deal. Although brand partnerships are not new, the scope of this deal was remarkable. It’s a great example of how music companies are addressing the challenges of selling music with innovative, revenue-generating solutions and partnerships outside of the traditional route.

Peter Jesperson, VP of production and catalog, New West Records
The Replacements’ three reunion shows at Riotfest. Because they were an important and influential group that didn’t get their just due during their original incarnation and the attention they received this year helped to rectify that a bit.

Ros Earls, founder/owner, 140db Management
The reshaping of the majors. The sale of EMI to Universal, and Parlophone to Warner Music. And then there were 3!

Roderick Scott, manager of publicity and lifestyle marketing, Warner Bros. Records
SXSW continues to grow in scale, scope and importance as a place where artists of all tiers, fans, brands and industries intersect at a natural crossroad. It’s single-handedly the most important place to discover or cement support for the next big thing.

Madelyn Scarpulla, GM, Loud & Proud Records
For better or worse, there is no one single event to point to in 2013. A combination of events, tours, songs and moments is always what keeps our business fresh and exciting each year. Some highlights: Miley Cyrus’ much talked about performance; iTunes Radio, AEG shuffle, the subscription model continuing wars, cultural shift to pop music, Rough Trade Records’ opening in Brooklyn.

Eliot Van Buskirk, editor, Evolver.fm
It’s actually not so easy for me to identify one for this year, so I’m going to go with an outlier: that 2013 was the year when the self-driving car arrived. This might not seem like a music thing, but it is. The car is the last place where FM radio makes sense, and maybe the only place where satellite radio makes sense, and is the only place many of us spend time listening to music, because our eyes have to be focused elsewhere. If music is to retain “carshare,” or whatever you want to call it, which has been boosting radio and even physical format revenue for decades, it will need to get creative — videos, interactivity, social, and everything else that grabs more attention than just sitting there and listening, because when people don’t have to drive anymore, they might not do that anymore.

Rell Lafargue, COO, Reservoir
Jay Z ushered in a new mode of record distribution and promotion with the Samsung-funded app release of “Magna Carter Holy Grail.” This could set a trend that furthers the transition away from traditional record label distribution deals for the next several years.

Lauretta Charlton, publicist, Joe’s Pub
Pandora seeking legislation to reduce royalty payments for rights holders. As streaming services become more widespread, it’s important to find a balance between offering fair compensation to artists and adapting to the new business model. Outspoken artists like Thom Yorke and David Byrne can bemoan services like Spotify all they want, but the reality is most of us are not consuming music the way we used to. We have to adapt, and we have to find a way to do it fairly. Reducing royalty payments is not the way to go.

Mary Jurey, GM, Playing In Traffic Records
In the U.S., I think it was the full on adoption of Spotify. It has made streaming easy and brought it into the mainstream in 2013. I am personally on Spotify all the time, as opposed to a year ago. I use it daily.

Miles Anthony Williams, CEO, Righteous Music Media
Robin Thicke Suing the Gaye Family before they sued him. It is an obvious rip-off of Marvin Gaye’s song. To top it off, it is nominated for Song Of The Year at the Grammy’s, which is a travesty.

Laura Swanson, executive VP of media and artist relations, Island Def Jam
Without a doubt, the comeback of video director Diane Martel. Diane was responsible for two of the biggest musical earthquakes of the year — Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and Miley Cryus’ video “We Can’t Stop.”

Neda Azarfar, VP of communications, Myspace
Livestreaming. It’s not necessarily a new concept, but it seemed as if any time more than 20 people got together this year, it was live streamed. Myspace started doing event livestreams in a bigger way this year, and I saw firsthand that people really do tune in and watch. A lot of people, actually. As a result, more brands and content owners are asking for this capability because they want to extend their offline events and expand their audience reach. I’d say that live streaming is at a pretty basic Phase 1 right now, but the interest and growth of the category make me think we’ll see people layering more interesting and interactive elements on top of the streams in 2014.

George Littlejohn, co-CEO, Purpose Music Group
Several independent R&B and soul artists starting to find alternative ways to reach broader audience — Honeyb Larochelle appearing on the “Sing-Off” on NBC; Monet getting songs placed on “Criminal Minds,” “Mindy Project” and “Orange is the New Black;” and Russell Taylor winning the very first VH1 artist “You Oughta Know” and the platform it brings. Overall, television having impact on sales and exposure again (Tamar Braxton, Keke Wyatt).

Rey Roldan, president, Another Reybee Production
Without any facetiousness, Miley Cyrus on the VMAs. Her twerking caused a whole nation to re-examine many things, including the industry-at-large’s view of women in music, how the industry and the nation views children raised in celebrity families, when is a performance too-raunchy-for-TV, and the method in which children who grow up in the spotlight adjust to adulthood.

Caesic Brox, chief marketing and financial officer, Raleighwood Records
YouTube’s crackdown on synthetic views and Billboard’s decision to add streaming to the way it calculates the Hot 100 has had a significant impact on the business of music. Coupled with the services that have popped up to enforce IP rights on streaming videos, marketers are now further incentivized to create multi-platform campaigns and fully embrace YouTube as a revenue generating platform.

Brenda Bottomley, manager/owner, Tulpa Records
The most important/influential/impactful event to happen in 2013 is what I refer to as the changing of the guards. Many top executives employed at major companies and artists have died, retired, resigned or have left to create new business ventures. These new trends and streaming services will bring big changes and broaden the scope of the music industry as we know it.

Stephen F. Goffreda, program director, 92.3 FM WYRC-LP in Spencer, WV
iTunes Radio, because it further pushed streaming digital music into the mainstream.

Inge Colsen, publicist, Girlie Action
I always find SXSW the most impactful. Even though it’s a maze and scavenger hunt at best, you’ll find plenty of gems and have the chance to meet up and run into the people you’d like to do business with for the rest of the year.

Mercedes Davis, CEO, Freshboy Productions
Jay-Z partnering with Samsung to release his new album. He eliminated the middleman, which is the record label and used a major corporation to get his album released to the public at a very staggering rate, where he has now reached double platinum status in the United States.

 

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****TOMORROW IS THE DEADLINE FOR THE 25K FROM ASCAP! HIT ME IF YOU NEED ASSISTANCE OR HAVE QUESTIONS.

ASCAP Plus Awards is available to writers who received less than $25,000 in domestic performance royalties in the previous calendar year. On an annual basis, eligible writer members must confirm all of their works are registered with ASCAP, activate direct deposit and then submit an application using the “Apply” button below. For more information about ASCAP Plus Awards, please visit http://www.ascap.com/members/ascaplus.aspx

Email me if you need assistance or have questions. You must be an ASACP member. Candace@CollinsConnect.org

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You need a good artist bio. I mean, you really need one. If you expect people to write about you and your music, you’ve gotta give ‘em the CliffsNotes. A journalist’s not going to search far and wide just so they can plug a few sentences into a show-preview blurb. Instead, they’ll write about someone else. So, not having a bio can really be detrimental. But having a good one can be one of the most beneficial things in your repertoire – it allows you to have a one-sided conversation with both fans and journalists, giving them the info you think is the most important.

However, having a crappy band-bio can sometimes be worse than not having one at all. Hitching your pony to something that is poorly executed is going to make you look sloppy and unprofessional by association. Here are 5 mistakes you may be making in your bio, and some ways you can fix them.

1. Your bio is too long.
Are you familiar with the internet acronym “tl;dr”? It stands for “too long; didn’t read” and is often seen as a response to lengthy posts in forums, but its applications don’t end there. And this is NOT something you want people to think/type/say when they come across your bio. Allow me to be blunt here: no one wants to read 1500 words about your band, except possibly the people in your band. People want the condensed version – an easy-to-swallow overview that doesn’t feel like homework. Give that to them.

2. Your bio is too short.
“Goat Desolation plays barnyard-themed black metal and is from Parts Unknown” isn’t going to cut it as a full bio. Yes, it’s good that they’ve got where they’re from and what kind of music they play in there, but there should be more. Tell a simple version of your backstory, give some examples of who you’ve been compared to musically, and list off some career highlights if you have any. Two or three concise, well-worded paragraphs is all you really need. And when someone sees that, they’ll take the time to read it. Because it won’t take that much time.

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3. You waste space with things no one is going to care about.
I’m going to be blunt again: People might want to know how your band got together, but they aren’t going to want to know every single detail of how you all ended up in the same garage. And if they do, you can post the long version in a special place on your website. I’ve seen band bios that try and take the reader through a step-by-step account of how each member joined the band, what bands they were in before, how many practices it took for them to find their groove – something that could have been summed up with “Goat Desolation formed in the summer of 2012, drawn together by a mutual love of most things metal and all things beer. They started playing shows three months later.”

Your band’s origins are interesting to you, and maybe to your friends, but you’ve gotta think big-picture here. Along these same lines: If your bass player used to be in Stryper, mention that. If he used to be in a band that no one has heard of outside your neighborhood, do not mention that.

4. You forget to include things that everyone will care about.
These things include band members’ names, what their function is in the group, how many records you’ve put out, where you’re from, a succinct description of your musical style, etc. In other words, things that someone who is going to write about your music is going to want to know. Again: make it easy for them. They’re going to write their own piece, but your bio can steer them in a direction that will be beneficial for you, so take hold of the reins. And your drummer will thank you when he gets his name in a blurb instead of just being referred to as “the drummer.” He’s probably already had enough of that.

5. Your bio is poorly written or formatted.
Spell-check is only going to catch so much. If you’re worried that you’re not the best writer, have someone who you know is a good writer help you out, edit your copy, or do it for you. If I see a bio that isn’t separated into easy-to-read paragraphs and is riddled with grammatical and/or spelling errors, I’m not going to assume that artist is dumb, but I’m going to assume they’re lazy, and that’s even worse. Why spend all that time perfecting your music just to half-ass it when it comes to describing it?

CONTACT me ASAP if you have ASCAP for the 25k in possible writer’s Royalties 

ASCAP Plus Awards Deadline July 1, 2013

ASCAP Plus Awards

The ASCAP Plus Awards program provides cash and recognition to writers who create music with a value beyond the scope of performance surveys.

All ASCAP Plus Award applications must be submitted on or before July 1, 2013

Who is Eligible

The ASCAP Plus Awards program is available to writers who received less than $25,000 in domestic performance royalties in the previous calendar year. It rewards writer members of all genres whose works were performed in unsurveyed media as well as writer members whose catalogs have prestige value.

How to Participate

To be considered for an ASCAP Plus Award, each writer must submit an online application via Member Access. The application must be submitted annually and reference achievements of the previous calendar year.

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Why independent songwriters should register the copyright for their music

When you submit a song for copyright you’re simply proving the date of submission of your work. The fine folks of the copyright office don’t sit around listening to every submission to see if they’ve heard it before. That would be an impossible task. When you write or record your song, technically, you’ve created it — and thus you own the copyright to it. By submitting a song to the copyright office, you’re protecting your music simply by acknowledging the date of its creation.

It’s also important to note that certain aspects of your song are not protected even if you’ve registered the copyright. These include:

* chord progressions

* the overall idea or concept of your song

* and a title or short phrase

Just think about how many songs have used cliche ideas like “I wish you were here,” or “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Also, imagine how many copyright infringements there would be if the I – V – vi – IV chord progression could be copyrighted. On the other hand, melodies and the actual lyrics are very much covered under copyright protection.

Beginning the copyright registration process
The website for submitting your song for copyright in the United States is http://www.copyright.gov/. On this website, you’ll be able to print forms for mailing in the music you want to copyright, or you can submit your music for copyright online, which makes submitting even easier.

When it comes time to copyrighting your music, there are two forms you can use as a songwriter. They are Form SR and Form PA. Technically, there are three forms, if you consider the fact that there’s also a short-form version of the PA form. But that offers the same protection as the PA form. SR stands for Sound Recording, while PA stands for Performing Arts. So how do you know which one to use? The following is from the Copyright Office’s website and will answer that for you:

When to Use Form SR (Sound Recordings)
Use Form SR for registration of published or unpublished sound recordings, that is, for registration of the particular sounds or recorded performance.

Form SR must also be used if you wish to make one registration for both the sound recording and the underlying work (the musical composition, dramatic, or literary work). You may make a single registration only if the copyright claimant is the same for both the sound recording and the underlying work. In this case, the authorship statement in Space 2 should specify that the claim covers both works.

Form SR is also the appropriate form for registration of a multimedia kit that combines two or more kinds of authorship including a sound recording (such as a kit containing a book and an audiocassette).

When to Use Form PA (Performing Arts)
For registration purposes, musical compositions and dramatic works that are recorded on disks or cassettes are works of the performing arts and should be registered on Form PA or Short Form PA. Therefore, if you wish to register only the underlying work that is a musical composition or dramatic work, use Form PA even though you may send a disk or cassette.

Examples of the Proper Use of Forms PA and SR
Jane Smith composes words and music, which she entitles “Blowing in the Breeze.” Even though she records it, she is not interested in registering the particular recording but only in registering the composition itself. If she decides to submit “Blowing in the Breeze” for copyright registration, she should use Form PA.

Emily Tree performs and records Jane Smith’s “Blowing in the Breeze” after complying with permissions and license procedures. If Emily decides to submit her recording for copyright registration, she should use Form SR.

The same principles apply to literary and dramatic works. A recorded performance of an actor speaking lines from “Hamlet” could be registered on Form SR as a sound recording. The claimant in the sound recording, of course, has no copyright in the underlying work, “Hamlet.”

Copyright registration costs…
There is a cost associated with each application, whether it’s a Form PA or From SR. Check the Copyright Office’s website for the most up-to-date fees. The good news is, if you’re copyrighting your own music, you can submit multiple songs under one application for one application fee. So if you’re copyrighting an album of ten songs, as opposed to copyrighting them one by one, you’ll save a few hundred bucks when protecting your work. Plus it saves you the paperwork of copyrighting all of your songs separately.

Poor-Man’s Copyright, and Other No-No’s
It’s also worth mentioning that there are a couple makeshift copyright alternatives that songwriters occasionally like to talk about. I don’t recommend doing these. The most popular is called the “Poor Man’s Copyright.” This is when you physically mail a recording of your song to yourself via certified mail and keep it sealed. Supposedly the postmark on the envelope will date your music and therefore protect you if someone comes along after that and steals your song. A newer version of this idea is simply putting your song on YouTube or another time-stamped social media outlet. The idea is that your music is dated and therefore protected by the time stamp on the social media site.

Nielsen estimates that “by the end of 2011, [there were] 181 million blogs around the world, up from 36 million only five years earlier in 2006.”

Let that sink in for a moment…

Now, ask yourself, how many of those blogs are producing hits?

I’m talking about the kind of stuff viral dreams are made of – shares, links, comments, buzz, traffic, massive subscription lists, sales, etc.

The answer? Very few.

Now ask yourself this: How many think theirs has hit potential?

The answer? All of them!

And many are trying to create an online brand. But not everyone has what it takes to create a hit industry blog, which is why you only have a few breakout stars in each industry. And if you’re using your company blog or website to build an influential brand, this is what you are up against.

Sound impossible? It’s not.

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I put in a lot of hard work around a simple brand concept I call “The A & R Perspective”.

The A & R Man Said, “I Don’t Hear a Single”

I’ll get to the details in a moment, but first a quick marketing lesson about the music industry.

In a nutshell, here’s what record labels are looking for:

A talented artist and a hit single.

The talented singer part is probably no shock to you, but why a hit single? Because that’s what leads to multi-platinum album sales, sold out concerts, and legions of fans buying merchandise.

In other words, a musician doesn’t have a brand until they have a hit.

So, the record companies create A&R (Artist and Repertoire) departments and hire executives to scout new talent and hit songs. These people have a pretty sweet job. But don’t be fooled, scouting isn’t easy.

Why? Because every artist thinks they’ve got the “it factor” and the next smash song. And 99% of them don’t. (Hmm… sound familiar?)

So, what does an A & R executive look for?

Oh, they’re just looking for talent and:

Buzz factor, a strong work ethic, an established fan base, strong web presence, a proven ability to sell songs, someone who isn’t overwhelmed with other commitments or debt, someone that is compatible with recent trends, and strongly positioned with a fresh image, look, and sound.

You didn’t think they just want talent, did you?

So how does this lesson apply to you and your business?

It’s difficult not to be fascinated by the Illuminati nowadays, especially considering we think we know who is in it, and there are actually some people out there who believe they know the steps it takes to get in there.

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Guys, this is getting out of control. A June trial date was set for Wafeeq Sabir El-Amin in Virginia who believed that it was necessary for him to sacrifice his friend’s life in order for him to be a rap sensation.

The judge denied bail for El-Amin, 27, and he was deemed a “danger to the public.” According to the Times-Dispatch, he was so high from marijuana, he couldn’t remember what he did when he was questioned by detectives.

“You are my sacrifice,” Johnson quoted El-Amin as saying before he allegedly fired a shot toward his friend’s head inside a Henrico home that was to become a music studio.

The incident happened Dec. 26th at an abandoned house. The victim woke up to El-Amin pointing a gun at his head and saying he needed to be sacrificed.

The bullet ricocheted off the victim’s hand sending bone and skin fragments into his eye, according to the warrant, but the victim was able to get hold of the gun and shoot El-Amin in the stomach before he ran off.

Johnson [the Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney] said in court Thursday that the trial will delve into the hip-hop music culture and the notion that a secret society called the Illuminati has control over the success of some performers.

It was the belief that a sacrifice had to occur in order to join the Illuminati that allegedly incited El-Amin, Johnson said. Investigators recovered more than a pound of marijuana from the Athens Avenue home, according to the search warrant, as well as literature dealing with the Illuminati and its alleged connection to the music industry.

Supposedly his Illuminati obsession had grown, and he was studying the career of 50 Cent.

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ILLUMINATI v. DR. CONRAD MURRAY, BAPHOMET MIND WARS & THE ASSASSINATION OF MICHAEL JACKSON

The Cleveland Show’ Sheds Light On The Illuminati [VIDEO]

Illuminati Songs: 33 Lyrics About The Secret Society