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In my last blog post, "Musicians Have Become Prostitutes", I shared the story of how I was recently offered an exclusive contract from a publisher who wanted me to transfer my copyright to her, in addition to signing with her library exclusively. This post resulted in more email responses, blog posts and facebook posts than perhaps any of my previous posts. So I wanted to explore this topic a little further to both clarify some confusion surrounding this issue and to re-iterate why retaining ownership of your tracks is so important. First though, let's define what exactly "copyright" means. If this seems basic to you and you already know this, my apologies, but based on some of the emails and comments I received, there seems to be some genuine confusion. The moment you write a song (or a poem, or article or any form of "intellectual property") you, by default, own the copyright to that song. Copyright literally means the right to copy or distribute. If you wrote it, you own it and of course have the right to distribute it, share it, sell it and so on, however you'd like. When you "copyright" your songs with the Library of Congress, which is what a lot of people think of when they hear the word copyright, all you're doing is documenting that you are the owner of whatever you are "copyrighting". It's simply a way of legally proving that you are the owner of the song (in the case of music) in the event that you ever need to. For example, if someone stole your song and claimed to be the owner, if your music is properly "copyrighted" you'll have an easier time proving that it is in fact your song. When a publisher or library takes your publishing income in the context of licensing, which is typically how publishers and libraries earn income, they are essentially taking half of any money that is generated through placements they secure on your behalf. When a song is aired in television a performance royalty is generated which consists of two halves, a writer's half and a publisher's half. So even if a publisher is retaining 100% of your licensing related publishing income, they are still only getting 50% of money that your placements generate. This is standard and in my mind it's fair. If someone else lands you a deal that you couldn't get on your own through their connections and relationships they should be paid. Anyone who disagrees with this probably fails to realize just how much work goes into running a publishing company. It's a lot of work and everybody deserves to be paid one way or the other. However, this is very different than someone asking to transfer your "copyright" and ownership of your tracks. All publishing and licensing deals I've signed in the past have allowed me to retain ownership of my tracks. I can still sell my songs on CDs, Itunes, Amazon and so on. I can still hypothetically sell the compositions to other artists or have my songs recorded by other artists. I can still share my music on Youtube and so on. They are my songs and I can still do with them what I want. But if you assign your copyright to someone else you are giving up your right to do these things. This is very different than sharing your publishing income for placements someone else gets for you. Someone commented onmy facebook page that "I own my shit and I'm not giving up my publishing" in response to my last post regarding my refusal to give someone the copyrights to my tracks, so I wanted to clarify the distinction between these two issues. Again, these are two different things with very different consequences. Read more at music.com
copyright image 5 things every musician should know about copyrightCopyright law tends to get thrown under the bus in favor of more interesting topics like marketing and social media, but it’s actually one of the most important things to understand as an indie musician. Think about it: without copyright law, music would be a hobby. Anyone could record, distribute, perform, or sync your music with video without even asking you, let alone providing payment. In other words, copyright law is the very foundation of your music career, so it makes sense to understand it. You can leave the finer points of the law to lawyers, but you should have a solid understanding of the basics. Not only will this knowledge help you feel more at ease when discussing contracts, you’ll also be able secure income streams and protect your rights. Here’s 5 points of copyright that every musician should know: 1. Your Exclusive Rights As a copyright owner, you get six exclusive rights. You alone can create copies of your song, distribute it, make derivatives, display it, and perform the composition and sound recording. (We’ll look at the difference between the composition and sound recording later.) If someone else wants to do any of these things, they need to get permission from you, and, in most cases, provide some sort of payment. For rest of article..go http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/2014/07/5-things-every-musician-know-copyright/?utm_source=cdbaby&utm_medium=email&utm_content=08-21-14&utm_campaign=DIY082114&spMailingID=46791852&spUserID=NjkwMjA3NDM5ODUS1&spJobID=502734685&spReportId=NTAyNzM0Njg1S0
The Music Ministry Coach.com Some people call them “Praise Teams”, some call them “Worship Teams”. I even saw an article not long ago where the author’s sole purpose for writing it was to prove why they should be called one and not the other. I personally don’t think that’s nearly as important though, as understand and maintaining a certain level of integrity and standard in the songs that praise teams and worship teams choose to bring to the people. It seems that as praise teams (that’s what we call them where I’m from) become more and more prominent- even completely replacing the traditional church choir altogether in some churches- they are exercising more and more “leeway” in their song selections. I suppose that’s coming from a perceived need to include more diversity because of the increased demand for more songs to sing. Some seem to be gradually becoming more interested in entertaining than really helping lead the audience in praise and worship and creating an atmosphere conducive to making that happen. Some have begun taking secular songs and just changing some of the lyrics, which I confess I find disturbing. Others just take the secular song and sing it just like it is, which is another trend I’m concerned about. More and more, songs are being sung by praise and worship teams that are neither praise nor worship. And while I feel like I’m really stating the obvious here, I thought if there was one rule everyone understood was the fact that praise teams and worship teams are supposed to sing praise songs and worship songs. But over the last few years of writing this blog and just talking to people serving in music ministries all over the world, I find that many praise teams- newly formed ones especially, seem to struggle with understanding what constitutes a praise song vs a worship song. More importantly, some people struggle with identifying songs that don’t really fit either and thus aren’t really something a praise team should sing. Some people boil it down to something as simple as tempo: praise songs are fast, worship songs are slow. They do often tend to have that in common, but the difference between praise and worship is far deeper than that. I think if praise teams better understood the difference between what praise is and what worship is they would at least have a more solid foundation to use as a guide when choosing appropriate songs for their teams. The best place to go for that of course is the word of God. While searching the internet today I came across an article I felt really really explained that difference well. What I love about the article the most though, is that the author, whose name isn’t listed on the article, really does a great job of explaining clearly what makes praise praise and worship worship. But it’s all the scriptures included in the article that you’ll find an invaluable resource. If we hold every song we’re considering to the scrutiny of scripture we can’t help but make better choices, simply because many of them won’t qualify when held to that standard. First getting a clear understanding about the difference between praise and worship and then understanding what scripture says about both will set your praise or worship team on the right path to choosing songs that are truly praise and worship songs and are scriptural in their lyrical content.
Answer: Mercy and grace are often confused. While the terms have similar meanings, grace and mercy are not the same. To summarize the difference: mercy is God not punishing us as our sins deserve, and grace is God blessing us despite the fact that we do not deserve it. Mercy is deliverance from judgment. Grace is extending kindness to the unworthy. According to the Bible, we have all sinned (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8). As a result of that sin, we all deserve death (Romans 6:23) and eternal judgment in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:12-15). With that in mind, every day we live is an act of God's mercy. If God gave us all what we deserve, we would all be, right now, condemned for eternity. In Psalm 51:1-2, David cries out, "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin." A plea to God for mercy is asking Him to withhold the judgment we deserve and instead grant to us the forgiveness we in no way have earned. We deserve nothing from God. God does not owe us anything. Anything good that we experience is a result of the grace of God (Ephesians 2:5). Grace is simply defined as unmerited favor. God favors, or gives us good things that we do not deserve and could never earn. Rescued from judgment by God's mercy, grace is anything and everything we receive beyond that mercy (Romans 3:24). Common grace refers to the sovereign grace which God bestows on all of mankind regardless of their spiritual standing before Him, while saving grace is that special dispensation of grace whereby God sovereignly bestows unmerited divine assistance upon His elect for their regeneration and sanctification. Mercy and grace are best illustrated in the salvation that is available through Jesus Christ. We deserve judgment, but if we receive Jesus Christ as Savior, we receive mercy from God and we are delivered from judgment. Instead of judgment, we receive by grace salvation, forgiveness of sins, abundant life (John 10:10), and an eternity in Heaven, the most wonderful place imaginable (Revelation 21-22). Because of the mercy and grace of God, our response should be to fall on our knees in worship and thanksgiving. Hebrews 4:16 declares, "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/mercy-grace.html#ixzz39dH48hiW
When you license your music for use in TV, Film, Video Games, etc.. someone needs to administer the publishing. A question people often ask me is whether it's better to self publish or to assign your publishing rights to a separate publisher. You DO give up your publishing rights when you assign them to an outside publisher,as well as half of all the royalties each song that is assigned to a separate publisher earns. This is what's known as the publishing share of performance royalties and it's how publishers earn their money. But the question remains, is it better to self publish or to work with an outside publisher? The answer really depends on how established you are as an artist and how many contacts in the business you already have. Chances are that if you're reading my newsletter you are an independent artist who is still trying to break into the business of music licensing. In this case working with an established publisher who already has industry contacts makes perfect sense. You give a portion of your royalties away in exchange for the relationships the publisher you are working with has. It's a perfectly fair trade off if you align with an established publisher. However, if you are actively pursuing licensing opportunities I would still recommend establishing your own publishing company through either ASCAP (who I belong to)or BMI. It's very easy to do and anyone can register their own publishing company for a nominal fee. The fee through ASCAP is only $25.00. Someone has to function as the publisher if and when your music is licensed in order to get paid a publisher's royalty. More and more there are music libraries that will pitch your music directly to supervisors without touching your publishing at all. So if your lucky enough to have your music licensed through one of these companies you'll want to make sure you have a publishing company in place! Like my publisher always reminds me, "The squeaky wheel gets the grease". I'm sure you've heard this expression before and this idea is critical to remember when it comes to pursuing licensing opportunities. I'm often asked what my thoughts are when it comes to how and when to follow up after submitting your music for licensing opportunities. My suggestion is to try and put yourself in the position of someone you're submitting your music to and think about what you would respond to the most positively. It's safe to say that most established publishers, supervisors and music libraries receive a lot of music on a regular basis. I run a music marketing company that is still very much in its' infancy and I receive dozens of submissions on a weekly basis. It is time consuming to screen all of the submissions my company receives and it sometimes can take time to get back to people who submit music. For a complete list of all my products and services visit my product page here: http://www.howtolicenseyourmusic.com/online-store.php
By The Wideo Blog You may have a great idea you are planning to build on, but success is far from assured. For every distinguished idea, there are thousands of similar ideas that are also flooding into our world. In order to succeed, a great business idea needs a great business model. Readers beware, these concepts are not the same thing. Once your idea meets and greets the adult world, it will be exposed to customers, and if they don’t care about the problem that your idea is meant to solve, it’s pretty much game over. A business model canvas, pioneered by Alex Osterwalder, visually describes a firm’s value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances, and is of course an integral part of your business strategy. It’s mapping out your business structure. Entrepreneurs can think of the business canvas model like a story; a narrative of how your enterprise will create, deliver and capture value. To design a business model canvas, you only need 9-building blocks that describe any business idea: 1. Customer segments Getting to know who will be likely to use your product. 2. Value proposition What you are going to offer to each customer segment. 3. Channels They describe the means of reaching each customer segment. 4. Customer relationship DTR or defining the relationship with your customers. 5. The Revenue Streams They document the profits and what is produced overall. 6. Key Resources Showcases which assets are indispensable in your business model. 7. Key Activities The to-do list of tasks that will generate value. 8. Key partners The ones that will help you link your idea to the world. 9. Cost Structure How much money you would direct to each building block of the business model. Even if customers may love the value proposition, keep in mind that you can face problems if the business model is not scalable and financially sustainable. Such a thing can be achieved by finding reliable channels to reach and secure customers and building up strong infrastructures that won’t collapse once your business grows. Failing to do one of these things can be detrimental to your idea. That is why an entrepreneur’s first task is to search for the right business model. This helps to map this world of challenges, so they can be detectable and organized. A Business model canvas is the tool that will help entrepreneurs visualize future hurdles so they can be prepare to dodge some bullets. It’s also beneficial to test business ideas. This is why it’s important to avoid falling in love at first sight with your idea. In order to compete in a world where the best model wins, it is fundamental to think harder and explore alternatives. For example, think about giving away your “valuable-proposition” for free. It might sound crazy, but it could get you ahead of your competitors! As an entrepreneur, you may be thinking about your model 24/7, and now there is a tool to structure these ideas and prototype them. The beauty about business models lies in its flexibility, which allows you to twitch and change until you have the perfect business model for your idea. Here’s a great explainer video about business canvas models, check it out!
From CLI Bible School And coming to faith in God seems even more difficult when your father demands that you become a Muslim. And yet, that is exactly what happened to Hamidou Horton. The story I am about to share will touch you as you see God’s hand working in this young man’s life: “I am currently living in Monrovia, Liberia. My father is a Muslim and my mother is a Christian. I heard about the Lord when I was in school and sometimes from my grandmother and mother but at that time we didn’t go to church or was not active because of poverty. At times my father would threaten to disown me if I didn’t become a Muslim. Addicted to Alcohol and Women One day my mother invited me for a revival at her church, after we went home I went fast to sleep and I had a dream when the Lord spoke to me and told me I was wasting my time behind things of the World, those things that would not benefit me. I didn’t understand because at that time I was addicted to alcohol (a drunk) and women (sex). Saved in a Car Accident After the Lord spoke and I didn’t listen, I had a tragic car accident and he saved me. One thing I remember about that accident that turn me around was when the accident was about to occur I called on the name of Jesus and a bright light flash on the windshield. When I wasn’t injured in any way, I knew he is alive and real. Since that day I begin to pursue my Ministry Dream. Those challenges in our geographical area are Rain, when the rain is falling you can’t get people coming to church or Bible Study, the church becomes empty. The second is the youth, they are very reluctant when it comes to the church they are highly involved in Sex, Drugs, Alcohol, etc, so when they see you pursuing your Ministry dream or talking about God they call you all kinds of names. My Dream My dream to become a Pastor lies with God and CLI training when I am offered a scholarship. In Liberia, Theology schools are expensive and most of all I have to find means for my family. The schools are also very far from the city so it becomes a problem. I am actually praying every day to be awarded this scholarship to achieve my dreams. Actually, my biggest prayer of all right now is for you guys to pray is that God will transform my wife from being a Jehovah Witness to believing in Jesus and to help me grow stronger in my spiritual life so I can grow in the church. May God strengthen me and the works of God.”
When writing songs for television and Film there are a number of points to consider. By anticipating what some of the general needs are you can greatly increase your odds of your music actually getting used. There are a number of factors to consider, today we'll look at two areas that are important to keep in mind when writing for television: 1) Subject Matter - Music in television and Film is used to enhance plotlines. Generally speaking songs are matched with scenes based on subject matter. The lyrical content of the music that you're pitching needs to make sense with the scene that your song is being considered for in order to get placed. I'm typically not writing for specific scenes or even specific TV shows for that matter. So how do I know what to write about? Well one very safe bet is to write songs about relationships. Think about it, almost all stories, be it in television or film, involve relationships. Whether someone is falling in love, falling out of love or longing for love - just like in our real lives, relationships are central to most plotlines. Turn on the radio and what are 90% of the songs about? That's right relationships - and usually romantic relationships. This is a very good area to start writing about when writing for general placements. 2) Production Quality - Although it's true that the production standards for music used in television isn't nearly as rigid as it is for studio albums, it's still very important. There is a lot of competition in this industry and like in any industry the best quality "product" rises to the surface. It is possible to submit great quality songs recorded in home studios that will get placed. As a matter of fact all of the songs I've had placed we're recorded in this manner. Most of them done in Pro Tools. However, in retrospect I've realized that most of my songs that have not been picked up were due to poor production quality. My publisher has confirmed this suspicion for me too. If you're not great at engineering and producing then find someone who is to work with. All of the songs I've had placed I've had someone else help me with the producing. It's not my forte and I know it! If you want more in depth information about how you can get your music in TV and Films, check out my program "The A-Z Of Music Licensing". I created this program about a year ago based on everything I've learned about the music licensing and music publishing business. I walk you through the exact steps I took to get started and I show you how you can do the same. I also cover the technical side of the industry, I go over things like how you get paid, how copyrighting works, how to present yourself professionally, how to record music on a budget and much, much more! The program also comes with an updated directory of WHO to send your music to. There are over 2,600 listings for publishers, supervisors, music libraries, etc... You won't find a more comprehensive program on the topic of music licensing. The A To Z Of Music Licensing- My original program on music licensing that includes The 2014 TV and Film Music Business Directory, How To Audio Program, A Songwriter's Guide To Music Licensing Ebook, Several Audio Interviews with music licensing professionals, Sample Contracts and much more. The entire program is accessible online upon checkout. More info: http://www.howtolicenseyourmusic.com/the-a-to-z-of-music-licensing.php For a complete list of all my products and services visit my product page here: http://www.howtolicenseyourmusic.com/online-store.php Good luck And Happy Songwriting! Aaron Davison www.howtolicenseyourmusic.com
By Charlie Griffin There is a fine line on what becomes popular in music. There is something about the song, the lyrics, music, performance or maybe just a hook of something. But the song has that “it” quality. Yet many artists love to cook a song thinking it will catapult them to the top overnight. Sad that is not true. So as an artist you do walk a very fine line in songwriting, arranging, staging, and recording and even in thought. Here are some ingredients to cause your song cooking to fall flat. 1. Long intros — Ever heard the saying, “Don’t bore us; get to the chorus?” It’s not opera! You don’t need an overture. It’s gospel, country or pop music. If your intro is longer than 15 seconds, it better be interesting. Rule of thumb, you lose people on any song within the first 30 seconds in person or radio. When you hear it answer the one question, “Does it catch my attention?” 2. Making the song too difficult to perform — “Because that’s how I wrote It” is a terrible reason to keep performing a song in a certain way if it’s simply not working. Find the right key so the singer can hit all the notes comfortably. Find the right tempo so the drummer can keep up. Take out some of the weird jazz structures if your guitarist can only play bare chords. Either do those things or find a different band. Fact, if a vocalist and the band are not able to compliment and feel each other’s intent, it is a train wreck waiting to happen. Note about changing a song’s key: if transposing is too hard for you as an instrumentalist, just hit the “transpose” button on your keyboard or put a capo on your guitar. It’ll be worth it. Refer to the Rule of Thumb; you lose people on any song within the first 30 seconds in person or radio. When you hear it answer the one question, “Does it catch my attention?” 3. Crappy sound — Low-fidelity CAN be charming, but that’s an exception to the rule. Make sure you capture the highest quality sound, and make sure whatever instrument is creating that signal sounds good too. All instruments are in tune. Vocalists are singing songs that are arranged and in key that is flattering. (Do not sing or record songs in the same two or three keys. Try to find that one key for that song that showcases your abilities.) Make sure your PA system is tweaked to give you the best and optimum sound in any concert hall or venue. Refer to the Rule of Thumb; you lose people on any song within the first 30 seconds in person or radio. When you hear it answer the one question, “Does it catch my attention?” 4. Song forms that lose the listener — The pleasure in most music is about ebb and flow of the song or tension and release. In order to have a sense of surprise, you need to establish familiarity. If your song defies traditional song structures, or keeps switching instrumentation every 30 seconds, or never repeats any lyrics, you’re probably gonna confuse a lot of people, and not in a good way. On the flip side, if your song is overly repetitive and never strays from what’s familiar, it’s going to turn into an audio snooze-fest. In short refer to the Rule of Thumb; you lose people on any song within the first 30 seconds in person or radio. When you hear it answer the one question, “Does it catch my attention?” 5. Weird breakdowns — Maybe YOU’RE bored with your song already, but nobody else has heard it yet. No need to get all avant-garde on us and kill the momentum. Listen around the 1:50 mark of this otherwise catchy song. Does this turn-around match, compliment or does it sound like a train wreck waiting to happen? Yeah, don’t do that turn around; find something that works.
A Guest Post by Aaron Davison of How To License Your Music.com I've touched on the importance of following up with music licensing professionals a lot in previous newsletters. Today I want to dig deeper into this topic and drive home this point even further. A couple days ago I interviewed Aaron Bethune, the founder of Play It Loud Music, for members of my marketing service, Renegade Music Marketing. During my interview with Aaron he made the point very clearly that you have to follow up after making initial contact with him or anyone else. As Aaron explained, he receives so many emails on a daily basis that by the end of the day if he hasn't gotten back to you, your email is probably so far down in his inbox that it's possible he's completely forgotten about it. Aaron explains that your initial contact is like planting a seed, but that you have to follow up to see anything come of your initial efforts. This is completely aligned with my experience. I've told the story before about the first song I signed to my previous publisher. I sent her several tracks and heard nothing back for about six weeks. I assumed (incorrectly so) that her lack of response was an indication that she wasn't interested. I had all but given up on anything coming from the music I sent but decided on a whim to send her a quick follow up email. I heard back from her within an hour and had a contract for my music mailed to me about two days later and about three weeks after that had my first song on national television. As Aaron Bethune explained in our interview, when you make initial contact with someone, it might just not be the right time. Maybe they're busy with another project and don't have time to respond to you. Maybe they're working on a project that you're just not a good fit for. It could be a number of different things, but for a variety of reasons, you won't always hear back from people right away. If you make it a practice to always follow up with people, in my estimate, you can probably, at a minimum, double your success in this industry. In a perfect world it would be great if everyone responded right away and got back to you explaining exactly what they thought and what you should do and so on. But we don't live in a perfect world and keep in mind that there are multiple songwriters contacting the same publisher, supervisor, etc... It's hard to get back to everyone. There are only so many hours in a day! So go above and beyond and not only plant a seed by contacting someone but, to continue the analogy, water the seed and make sure your intitial contacts grows into an actual conversation. That's how you move forward in the music business! Until Next Time.... Happy Songwriting! Aaron Davison