#34: Recording, Pt. 1 – Getting Your Recording Agreements In Order – The Music Biz Workshop Podcast

John and Bill begin their multi-episode discussion of the Recording Process.  In this episode they focus on all of the various agreements that should be in place before you begin Pre-Production, namely:

  • Producers Agreements
  • Side Musicians Agreements
  • Master Recording Ownership
  • Songwriting Agreements
  • Copyright Registration
  • Studio Booking Agreement
  • Engineers & Arrangers Agreements
  • Equipment Rental Agreements
  • Mechanical Licenses

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Just like last episode, if you are interested in more info on Music Business Agreements, The Music Business Contract Library by Greg Forest is a great resource for example contracts.

As always, you can leave us a comment or question on our voicemail at 440-782-1Biz (1249), or email us at info@themusicbizworkshop.com

We’d love to hear from you!

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#33: Booking, Pt. 6 – 6 Booking Agreements You Should Know About – The Music Biz Workshop Podcast

In this episode, John and Bill continue their discussion of Music Booking, specifically the various Booking Agreements you should be familiar with. These are:

  • Performance Agreements
  • Agent Agreements
  • Side Musicians Agreements
  • Production Agreements
  • Merchandise Agreements
  • Performing Rights Organization (PRO) Agreements

The Music Biz Workshop PodcastListen Here  
Subscribe via iTunes here
: The Music Biz Workshop Podcast

If you are interested in more info on Music Business Agreements, The Music Business Contract Library by Greg Forest is a great resource for example contracts.

As always, you can leave us a comment or question on our voicemail at 440-782-1Biz (1249), or email us at info@themusicbizworkshop.com

We’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Legal, Music Booking, Music Publishing, Podcasts | Leave a comment

Band Press Kit Essentials – Ignore These At Your Own Peril

Digital Press Kits

A band’s press kit is similar to a personal resume. It is often the first impression of your sound, your image and your music.

It is essential that a musician or band with professional aspirations invest adequate time and money into making the best presentation possible. Each band’s press kit will be similar, but different, and kits can be modified to fit an individual situation.

What Is A Press Kit?

Your press kit (also known as a promo kit) is a very important part of your band’s branding and promotion.  Sometimes, for getting gigs, it’s THE most important part of getting the talent buyer or promoter’s attention.

Honestly, many talent buyers don’t listen to the CD unless the press kit indicates that the band has some sort of credibility.  This is the presentation side of who and what your band is like and what others are saying about your act.  A good press kit will portray the artist as a professional and for gate-keepers to learn more about you or your band.

Type Of Band Press Kits

There are TWO basic types of basically the same kit.

  • The PRESS KIT (analog – paper)
  • The ELECTRONIC PRESS KIT (EPK)

Both the press kit and the electronic press kit have a lot of the same materials in them. However, it’s important to keep in mind WHO you are sending to.   Many press kits are sent to talent buyers and many are sent to radio station music directors and, most certainly, press kits are sent to the media such as newspapers and magazines.

The Goal Of Your Band Press Kit

The object is to portray yourself or your band as a professional artist(s), moving up, making strides, and developing your fan base. Industry professionals receive press kits on a regular basis and are looking for substantial, legitimate press and promotional materials – resources that reflect your band’s progress – NOT FLUFF!

Fluff only serves to show that you don’t have genuine credentials. THIS DOES NOT WORK! Industry people know in an instant what credible press is and can spot fluff a mile away.

Here are a few items which will likely be included in any band’s press kit.

  • Photograph, A good live photo will work in a pinch
  • Recorded material, live or studio recordings
  • Any positive press, include the date/publication
  • A concise biography or history of the band
  • A listing or reference from venues already played
  • Fact Sheet about the artist

The best advice is to keep your kits efficient and as inexpensive as possible.

1 – Official Band Photo (or PRESS SHOT) – This needs to be a GOOD professional photograph that shows you or your band in the best possible light. Don’t use dark or complex backgrounds as they do not reflect well in a newspaper or magazine.

Do NOT take your band’s photo against the backdrop of any of the following: railroad tracks, brick walls, staircases or bridges. It’s OLD!! Be fresh with your approach.  You can get bulk copies printed that have the photo, the name of the band (artist) the contact information and, of course, your website.

A good publicity photo will get a lot of mileage. And similar to the logo it pays to research publicity photographs of other musicians. Check the advertisements in any music magazine or look at the ads for upcoming performances in your area. Whatever creative notions come to mind you will have to seriously consider your budget.

Getting your photo taken is an area where you can’t afford to skimp and let a family member take the photo, unless they happen to be a professional photographer. Otherwise you will need to shop around and once again keep the photography students in mind.

When it comes to getting the prints made, glossy black and whites are required for reproduction in newspapers. Inexpensive bulk-duplicated prints are suitable for distribution to other industry contacts.

Make SURE the photo is in focus and you can see the bands faces well. Artsy photos are rarely ever re-printed in newspapers or other periodicals.

It’s ok to include a color shot, but be sure and include the black and white one also. (It saves them one step if they AREN’T going to use color.

2 – Sound Recording – I can’t tell you how important it is to have a professional sounding recording as a part of your press kit.  Be sure to highlight a couple of tracks to listen to, particularly if you are getting any attention and/or airplay on that track.

When you don’t have a lot of PRESS, let your music do the talking.  The bottom line is that I really only want to SEE what you look like, HEAR what you sound like and see what OTHERS are saying (writing) about you.

3 – Press

  • Articles written about you or that include you in a positive light. Talent buyers, promoters, & booking agents are looking for an indication that you are doing business in other markets and that you stand a chance to catch on and do business in a NEW market. Specialty buyers are looking for things that will indicate that YOU are the perfect fit for whatever special project they are buying for. Record companies are looking for bands on the rise that have a good professional image without the use of fluff!
  • Reviews! , (positive of course) Live or studio recordings.
  • Pre-views (“they are coming to town and we hear they are pretty good”)

4 – Biography – The first portion of your biography (bio) should be about the musicians involved in the project.  The biography is a short story (one page or less) of concise information that will give the reader a brief overview of who you are – the members’ names, some influences, your geographical location, and the audience demographic of which you are trying to reach.  All important information about your musical history should be included.

Include a few sentences about how long you’ve been together and a few professional acknowledgments that you’ve received.  This is a good place to mention a couple of notable venues and/or major artists you’ve performed with.

CAUTION: Don’t over-hype how many times you’ve been an opening act. This only points out that you are always the opener and never the headliner.

5 – Fact Sheet – Separate from the bio is the fact sheet.  If you are just starting out you may not have enough facts or quotes to make separate sheets.  That is okay.  Remember, shorter is sometimes better, because many people don’t want to spend a lot of time reading a detailed description.

In the event that you do have enough history for separate sheets (fact sheets and quote sheets) the one page rule also applies here. The fact sheet should deal with any favorable sales figures, big shows played such as festivals, air play, big bands you’ve opened for, past tours, and so on. Remember to stick to the facts.

6 – Promotional Items – Stickers and posters and any small promotional item that may help branding.  These may end up in the trash so don’t send expensive material.

*****Make SURE that you have your WEB SITE ADDRESS and a WORKING CONTACT PHONE NUMBER on EVERY page, the CD, the Bio and the Photograph.****

Packaging For Your Press Kit

Send your press kit in a nice little report cover.  Utilize your logo and/or graphics on the front if possible.  Type the address label.  Make your presentation professional without being costly.

What to leave out (a/k/a fluff)

  1. Flyers from some other gig – especially if you were only the support act. All this shows is that you’ve done this other gig.
  2. Copies of ads for a show that you were on. This doesn’t mean anything.
  3. Copies of news articles or reviews that only mention that you were part of the bill.
  4. Bad reviews.
  5. Artsy/fartsy photos other than your official band photo.
  6. Any kind of scent such as patchouli on the mailing envelope.
  7. If you don’t have anything other than “fluff” maybe you should just send a photo and a tape (or CD or whatever). Try to have a photo that will print well in the newspaper types.
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#32: Booking, Pt. 5 – 5 Ways To Get A Gig For Your Band – The Music Biz Workshop Podcast

Welcome to episode #32 of The Music Biz Workshop Podcast!  In this episode, John and Bill continue their discussion of Music Booking, based on the article below, “5 Ways To Get A Gig For Your Band”:

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When it comes to finding work as a performing musician or a band, there are many different possibilities available for those musicians intent on completing this task, and here are five ways to get a gig for your band.

The More Popular You Are, The Easier It Is To Book A Gig

As a musician gains more and more fans, the easier it is to find a gig.  Without any fans, the task is much more difficult.  Let’s face it, most talent buyers or club owners are not artist developers but saloon keepers.  It’s a blessing when a quality artist teams up with a quality artist developer; someone who believes in the band; someone who will work with you as you develop your stage performance and stage presence.

You’re Going To Have To Put In Some Hard Work

Without a talent buyer or promoter who will help a band get a “break,” a band needs to make their career flourish by more hard work.  Performance is one of the five main income sources for songwriters.  (The others are: publishing, recording royalties, merchandise sales and synchronization licenses.)  Therefore, it is imperative that for a songwriter / musician to focus on their career and maintain a professional attitude and prepare a quality presentation.

  1. Without a doubt, the easiest gig to get is to volunteer your performance for a fundraising event or benefit.  You might be surprised at the residual bookings that are generated from this kind of performance.  If you are a quality performer, the people listening to your band will congratulate you after the gig.  Make sure you have your business card ready.  Pick a local charity and contact them to inquire about any upcoming events that they may have.  Have your press kit ready as well as an EPK version (EPK = Electronic Press Kit) available on your website.
  2. Another way for you to get a booking is to ask other bands if you may perform before them.  Many times, other bands are delighted to have someone else “warm-up” the crowd for them.  That’s why they are called warm-up acts.  Check your local performance listings and pick one that would be suitable for your band.  Contact the band that is scheduled to perform, and ask them if your band may share the stage with them.  If they agree, ask them to contact the promoter so your band name will be added to the promotion and publicity.
  3. You may have heard the old line… “If you don’t ask, the answer is no.”  This same adage is true for bookings.  The best way to get your own booking is to make the call.  Yes, get on the phone and call the talent buyer or promoter.  You may not get the gig, but you will start to get name recognition for these “gatekeepers.”  Hint:  Be persistent but polite.  Historically, the best day to call is Tuesday.  Many promoters take Monday off after a long weekend.  So, Tuesday, they are back at work.
  4. A good way to get a gig outside of your market is to secure your own performance in your hometown and then gig-swap with another band from the city where you want to perform.  Again, check the listings of bands performing in you target market, contact the band and make your pitch.  You will find that many times these bands are in the same situation as you and want to get into your market.  This works well especially if you can provide the other band a place to stay overnight.  In addition, you will make new friends and contacts.  Remembers, this business is ALL about networking and relationships.
  5. Lastly, many cities have agents who handle the local market.  These are not agents who book tours but book local clubs in and around their city.  Make sure you are on their target list.  Call them, introduce yourself and describe what your band does.  Many times, these agents book clubs exclusively and need a new band.

So, when you’re looking for a gig for your band, try one of these methods.  Remember, you next gig may be based on your next phone call. 

You can leave us a comment or question on our voicemail at 440-782-1Biz (1249), or email us at info@themusicbizworkshop.com!

As always, please take a look at some of our other websites:
Undercurrents
SoundSavant
Tri-C Recording Arts & Technology

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Key Questions to Ask Your Potential Entertainment Attorney

Key Questions to Ask Your Potential Music AttorneyWhat questions should your ask your potential entertainment attorney?  Every day we enter into agreements and some of those agreements turn into contracts.  Those contracts, whether good or bad, are the essence to success in the music industry.  Important contracts for musicians, bands and songwriters include topics on co-songwriting, recording, performance, publishing and many, many more.

What Does An Entertainment Lawyer Do?

The biggest tip I can provide you is to make sure you have a qualified entertainment attorney to review and counsel on the pros and cons of the contract that you are considering.  Do not hire an attorney who specializes in something other than entertainment/music law.  A quality real-estate attorney may not know what clauses or issues are missing in a typical entertainment contract.  So how do you know if the attorney you’re considering is going to work well for you?

Questions for Your Music Lawyer

Here are a few questions to ask when interviewing your potential music lawyer.  The questions you should ask will vary with your case. Consider the following list to be a starting point:

  • What are your areas of specialization? This question is crucial.  Do not assume the attorney knows the entertainment/music business.
  • What is the cost of the initial consultation? Usually, the initial consultation is free.  This is the time to discuss fees and other critical questions.  Remember, you are interviewing the attorney and he/she is interviewing you.
  • Will you be the only attorney who works on the case? If not, who else will work on it? Sometimes, attorneys work in large firms.  Depending on your case, you may end up hiring the firm and not necessarily the attorney that you interviewed.  Be clear on who will handle your legal issues.
  • How much does the attorney charge for their services?  Again, be clear on what you are being charged for.  Ask the attorney if they can take your case on a contingent fee basis.  This might help you with your financial budgeting.
  • Can I do some of the work on the case to keep the cost down? Many times you may be able to assist your attorney with mundane work where you may cut costs.  If the attorney is charging you’re their full hourly rate to make photocopies, perhaps you could do that work instead.
  • If I contact your office with questions, how long will you take to return my call?  Some attorneys are very busy.  That does not mean that they do not have time for you.  This may mean that they are in high demand.  Your concerns are most important to you and you should know, in advance, an estimate of a response you may expect from your legal counsel.
  • How often do you go to trial? This could signal an attorney who may not want to negotiate a settlement which may ultimately cost you time and money.
  • Have you ever been disciplined by an ethics committee, or been suspended from the practice of law? If so, why?   There is a reason why there are so many lawyer jokes.  Be wary of someone who does not share your values.
  • What “continuing legal education” courses have you attended during the past few years?  Attorneys are required to keep their knowledge of law current.  They must take a certain number of educational credits to maintain their license.  The better question would be… “How do you keep up with the on-goings of the music business?”

This is just a start of where to begin when asking entertainment attorneys about their involvement with your career.  Many music professionals start building their team with an attorney first… then the manager.  So… interview a few music lawyers before making any decisions about your team.

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Huh? A Songwriter Salary

SongWriter

Some musicians work a day gig working at something non-musical or lacking in creativity.  Their days may be long and unfulfilling.  If this is you, consider a songwriter salary.  Yes, by putting on your entrepreneurial hat, you may find that writing and publishing songs can generate a long-term income stream.

Maybe “salary” is the wrong word to use but income for songwriters is abundant and multi-sourced.  Are you aware that the current copyright law allows songwriters to earn income from their copyright for 70 years beyond their death?  Yes, that means that once you create your musical masterpiece, you may receive income for the rest of your life.  The added benefit is that your children and/or estate will continue to receive income for an additional 70 years past that unfortunate date.

Income Sources For Songwriters

There are many income sources for a songwriter:  These income sources are called royalties.  Royalties are paid by individuals or companies whom license your songs for recordings and/or performances.  The songs are then licensed again by companies when they use of the recordings in within their business.  Many companies use music to help generate their own income.  In other words, a radio station uses recordings of songs for listeners to “stay tuned.”  The radio station is making money from advertisers based on the number of listeners that they have.  Another example is a restaurant or nightclub who sells food and beverages to customers while they have songs playing, either live or recorded.

Songwriter Royalties

There are a few royalties that songwriters should pay particular attention to including Mechanical Royalties, Performance Royalties, and Synchronization Royalties.  There are also other royalties such as Foreign Royalties, Print Royalties and Grand Right Royalties but let’s focus on the top 3.

Mechanical royalties are paid to a songwriter (or the publisher who them pays the songwriter) when their song is used on a recorded medium.  This includes compact discs, vinyl records and MP3s.  The current rate is 9.1 cents per song per sale.  In this example, if the recording of the song sells 1 million copies, the mechanical royalties are $91,000.  If the song has an extended length, the fee structure changes.  Check the US Copyright office for details.  They may be reached at www.copyright.gov.

Performance royalties are paid when the song (either live or recorded) is used by a company such as a radio station or nightclub.  This royalty is usually paid through a license granted by a Performing Rights Organization such as ASCAP, BMI or SESAC.  For songwriters to maximize their income, they should join one of these organizations.  The songwriter’s affiliated publishing company should also join the same PRO.

The third type of royalty addressed above is Synchronization Royalties.  A synchronization royalty is paid any time the songwriter’s song is used in connection with video.  This is a one time negotiated royalty between the video producer and the songwriter (or songwriter’s publisher).  Synchronization royalties are paid when the song is used in film, television or commercials.  The length of term, the fees and the function of the song can be negotiated prior to the song’s use.

In order for songwriters to turn their copyrights into a steady salary, they will need to team up with a quality publisher or publisher their own material.  Many songwriters are hesitant about collaborating with a publisher and choose to publish their own material.  That might be a good idea but only if the songwriter actually works the song like a publisher would.  If the songwriter does not perform the work of a publisher, they will receive no income.

So… follow your dreams to a songwriter salary and live life without the day gig.

 

Looking for more info?  Here is a complete list of our podcast episodes and articles on Songwriting.

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#31: Booking, Pt. 4 – Are You Ready To Hire A Booking Agent? – The Music Biz Workshop Podcast

Welcome to episode #31 of The Music Biz Workshop Podcast!

In this episode, John and Bill wrap up their four-part series on Music Booking by answering the question, “Are you ready to hire a Booking Agent?

The Music Biz Workshop PodcastListen Here  
Subscribe via iTunes here
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You can leave us a comment or question on our voicemail at 440-782-1Biz (1249), or email us at info@themusicbizworkshop.com!

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#30: Booking, Pt. 3 – The Music Biz Workshop Podcast

Welcome to episode #30 of The Music Biz Workshop Podcast!

In this episode, John and Bill continue their four-part series on Music Booking with a discussion of booking your own gigs.

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Subscribe via iTunes here
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You can leave us a comment or question on our voicemail at 440-782-1Biz (1249), or email us at info@themusicbizworkshop.com!

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#29: Booking, Pt. 2 – The Music Biz Workshop Podcast

Welcome to episode #29 of The Music Biz Workshop Podcast!

In this episode, John and Bill discuss how to put together a Press Kit geared towards booking gigs.

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Subscribe via iTunes here
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You can leave us a comment or question on our voicemail at 440-782-1Biz (1249), or email us at info@themusicbizworkshop.com!

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#28: Booking, Pt. 1 – The Music Biz Workshop Podcast

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Subscribe via iTunes here
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Welcome to episode #28 of The Music Biz Workshop Podcast!

In this episode, John and Bill discuss how to get prepared to book your first gig.

You can leave us a comment or question on our voicemail at 440-782-1Biz (1249), or email us at info@themusicbizworkshop.com!

 

As always, please take a look at some of our other websites:
Undercurrents
SoundSavant
Tri-C Recording Arts & Technology

Posted in Music Booking, Podcasts | Leave a comment