Thursday, February 25, 2010

Questions You Should Be Able To Answer About Yourself or Your Band?

As a music marketing consultant whenever I take on a new client I go through the following questions with them. For newer artists or bands especially, the depth to which you can answer most of these questions will go a long way in helping you 'take an inventory' of what you have done so far in your career, and things that you haven't done yet. I suggest that you take your time to answer the following important questions. Give thoughtful, honest, and detailed answers and they will help you when you write your bios, fact sheets, and press releases necessary for marketing and promoting your music, and they will also help you evaluate your current career status.

As you will see some of these questions are easy to answer, but I give hints to you that many of these questions need discussion, contemplation, and really need to be taken seriously. So, dive in and give these questions your undivided ttention...

Good Luck!...Christopher Knab


• Name of artist or band? (Include all band members names and instruments
• Is your stage name trademarked?
• Have you registered your songs for copyright protection?
• Have any of your songs been published? (If so, by whom?)
• Have you affiliated with a performance rights organization? (Which
one—ASCAP, BMI?)
• What is your background? (Who are you and your band members?
Tell your story.)
• Do any band members belong to the Musician’s Union?
• Do you have a written band/partnership agreement?
• Why do you want to record and release your own music? (Be very honest.)
• Who is your fan or customer? (Analyze this question thoroughly.)
• Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)
• Who are your musical influences? (Cite specific examples.)
• How do you describe your music to people? (This isn’t a short answer.
Discuss it.)
• What image do you think your music conveys? (Do not avoid the image issue!)
• What are your immediate music career goals? (Next one to three years.)
• What are your long-term career goals?
• How would you define the word “success”? (This isn’t a short answer.
Discuss it.)
• Do you have any personal contacts in the music business?
• Do you have an entertainment law attorney to consult with?
• Are you looking for an independent label deal or a major label deal? (Why?)
• Do you have a demo or press kit, or any promotional materials?
• What live performance experience have you had? (Any industry showcases?)
• How do you rate your live performance ability? (Be very critical.
No clichés.)
• Have you recorded any previous CDs or demos? (Which studios?
Who was the producer?)
• How did you sell your CDs? (Consignment? Over the Internet?
Live sales? Distributor?)
• Have you had any previous print or broadcast media exposure or reviews?
• Are you financially able to fund the costs of establishing your career?
(In debt?)
• Do you have a business license? (City, state, federal?)
• What is your current business form? (Sole proprietor? Corporation? Partners?)
• Have you set up a system for tracking your financial activities?
(Software system?)
• Are you aware of the tax deductions available for musicians?
• Do you have insurance on your band equipment and vehicles?
• Have you created an exciting, well-designed website?
(Aware of new design software?)
• Do you have a presence on the Internet that is active and aggressive?
(Looking for new pportunities?)
• Who handles your daily business activities? (Bookings, promotions, etc.)
• Have you created an actual career, marketing, or business plan?
(Is it in writing?)
• Are you actively involved with updating daily your social networking sites,
i.e. Twitter,My Space and Facebook, or any other such networking tools?
(If not, why not?)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Be Sure You Hav Enough Money to Record and Promote Your Music.

Many musicians have finally wised up to the idea that they must do more to further their careers than just record a few demos and send them out randomly to a list of A&R reps they found somewhere on the Internet. I rant about how "70's" that idea is all the time, so don't get me started on that topic.

The smart musician finds a way to record and manufacture either a single track, or a full length CD, and then goes farther than most other wannabees. They actually have money saved up for designing the artwork and manufacturing the CD, and money to do something with the CD. They realize that it takes money to promote and market the danged thing. Today, more and more bands and solo acts are just recording and manufacturing a single, and making it available for promotion and/or a give-a-way at their website or on MySpace etc. But recording anything is just the first step, what is more important is that you have money left over to promote whatever you recorded.

We need to look closely at the basic economic issues of creating and promoting musical product. This subject definitely separates the boys and girls from the men and women. For starters, you must know what the standards of excellence are for the 'sound' of recording as it relates to your genre of music. By this I mean, whether you’re a rocker, a rap or hip-hop act, a potential Top 40 pop artist, a country musician, or a singer/songwriter, the recording quality that’s expected of each genre is different. Think of it this way; the more mainstream sounding your music is, the more money you’ll be spending on your recording.

I’ve read many helpful articles and books about raising money for recording projects. They go into detail about the options available. You can save up money from each of the gigs you’re playing. (You are playing live aren’t you... duh 101, please and thank you!) You can borrow money from family or friends. It’s a long shot to get a business loan from a bank (good luck—they see it as very high risk and rarely provide such loans). You can do fundraising gigs with other artists. Whatever.

Raising the money for an unproven musical talent shouldn’t be the responsibility of anyone but the artist. There are thousands of independent records in the musical landscape. The musicians who put out their own music found a way to raise the money. Others have gone before you and gotten the job done. You too can raise the money to record and fund a proper marketing campaign if you’re serious about it.

Let me give you some tips on recording expenditures that might save you a few bucks.
• Looking for a studio? Ask around. Talk to other bands and musicians in your neck of the woods. What studios did they use? What was their experience like?
• Call the studios you’re interested in and ask for a tour of their facilities. Don’t use a studio just because someone else said to, check it out for yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable there, how can you do your best recording there?
• Check for deals. Ask about slow times or off-hours when the rent is cheaper.
• What comes with the studio time? An engineer? Is that person right for your music?
• What about a producer? Do you have someone in mind? Does the studio recommend someone? How much will they cost? (Be sure to sign a producer’s agreement with any producer too!)
• After you’ve found the right studio, at the right price, rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse! Many musicians spend precious time in the studio rehearsing. The clock is ticking! Before you waste expensive hours in a recording studio, be sure you’ve rehearsed your songs until you dream about them at night. In the studio the motto is: Get in, get out.

You’ve now determined a budget for the recording project, and you’ve stayed to it pretty well. What about the CD cover artwork, design and the manufacturing costs? I usually deal with this topic for several hours in classes and consultations. Think seriously about these topics.

You’ve spent months writing your songs, practicing and recording them. This was the creative stuff. From here on you’ll be leaving your comfort zone to enter the world of business. You’ll be making a product that will represent you for the rest of your life. Your choice of cover design and manufacturer will determine the quality of that product, and once those choices are made, they can’t be undone. If you are releasing a single for internet downloads only, or submitting your recording to various broadcast outlets, you will at some point need to create a graphic for that single, just as you do for a CD release.

Why are distributors now rejecting countless CDs with amateurish cover designs? One reason. Those musicians didn’t want to spend money on a cover design for their CD. The music is what it’s all about, right? What difference can a CD cover make? But think about it. Have you ever purchased a CD just because the cover was so cool you had to buy it? Someday, your CD will be in a store bin filed next to your favorite artist! Will you be proud of it? Will it reflect your image and your music? If not, you’ll be hurting yourself in the marketplace.

So, you’ve gotten your music recorded and manufactured, you’ve spent a lot of money, but you’re not done. It’s now marketing time! I suggest you budget an amount that doubles, or better yet, triples what you spent on recording, manufacturing, and design. (That’s only for a local or regional do-it-yourself release.) Here again are some promotion and marketing costs:
• Stamps and mailing envelopes for sending your promo copies to the media.
• Phone bills for the hundreds of follow-up calls you must make to the media after they receive your promo copies.
• Gas money while driving around to put your CD on consignment.
• Internet connection fees, website design, and promotion costs for making a killer-looking site that offers your music for sale using the new methods available.
• Hiring an independent record promoter and their retail counterparts. If you think you can get significant national airplay without hiring someone who has experience and contacts in college and commercial radio, get real. The reason a recording costs so much is because of the hidden costs of promoting and marketing it. And without promotion and marketing your recording has little chance of getting heard. Budget $400–$1,000 a week for this, for two to three months.
• Advertising costs. A distributor or even a local record store will presume you have money for this. For example, the listening-stations you see in stores are not free; they cost around $100 per station, per store, per month! This practice is changing right now, so check your stores to see what they offer.
• Printing and copying costs for distributor one-sheets, promo packages, response cards, posters, and flyers for live concert sales promotions.
• Miscellaneous: Other expenses that will surely come your way.

There you have it. An introduction to why you must find a way to properly fund your recording and marketing costs. If you need encouragement after reading this, go down to your local record store and walk up and down the aisles. Look at the thousands of other artists and bands who got their music into the store. That is an accomplishment, and if they did it, you can too. Also, don’t forget to go online and check out all the CDs that the Internet music sites have for sale!

Remember, it ALWAYS costs more to market and promote your music then it does to record and manufacture it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

List of Typical Band/Artist Income and Expenses

In case you ever forget that it takes money to make money with your music, here is
a summary of some general income and expense categories that may factor into your business/budgeting you know why music industry professionals say that
it costs MORE to market and promote music than it does to record it!

1. Artist Income Sources:

a. Live Performance Fees
b. Record Label Recording Contract Royalties
c. Publishing Income Sources
* Mechanical Royalties (Sales of CDs, DVDs)
* Performance Royalties (Broadcasting: Radio, TV, Satellite radio)
* Synchronization Fees (TV, Film)
* Sheet Music Sales
* Commercials/Jingles Income
d. Merchandising Royalties ( T-Shirts etc.)
e. Misc. Income Sources
* Internet streaming/ downloads
* Investment Income
* Endorsements
* Book and/or Video Sales
* Multimedia Product Sales


2. Artist Expenses:

a. Recording fees: CD/Tape
* Producer/Engineer
* Studio Costs
* Misc.Tape and other studio supplies
* Equipment Rental charges
* Guest Musician fees
* Mastering fees
b. Graphic Artist/Cover Art Design costs
c. CD/Vinyl Manufacturing/Duplication charges
* Promotional Expenses (Indie Radio Reps/Sales Reps,)
* Marketing and Sales Plan costs (One sheets, Coop dollars, Ad money)
d. Publicity/Promotional Material Costs
* Publicists Fees
* Promo/Publicity Kit Design costs
* Flyers, Posters, Envelope Design costs
* Printing/Copying charges
* Photographer fees and duplication charges
* Internet Website costs (Design, maintenance, access fees etc.)
* Misc. online promotions, events
e. Office Expenses
* Rent
* Stationary and office supplies/furniture
* Postage, Phone and utilities bill
* Office equipment ( computers, fax machines, phones et al.)
f. Taxes
* Local, State, and Federal taxes
* Tax preparation costs/Bookkeeper fees
g. Band Equipment Costs
* Instrument purchases/rentals
* Tour Luggage
* Misc. equipment repair/maintenance costs (strings, drumsticks etc.)
* CDs and Tapes ( for listening and study purposes)
* Misc. recording/playback equipment (4 track recorder/mixer etc.)
* Sound system
* Rehearsal space costs
h. Songwriting
* Copyrighted songs registration/ filing costs
* Performance Rights Organization Fees ( ASCAP-BMI-SESAC)
* Lessons/Study/Research expenses
* Conferences/ Seminars budget
i. Artist Business Team Costs
* Personal Manager/Consultant fees
* Business Manager/Accountant fees
* Booking Agent fees
* Publicist fees
* Music Attorney fees
j. Transportation costs
* Auto/ Van purchase/rental/Insurance costs
* Maintenance costs (gas, service, repair)
* Airline, bus, and/or train tickets
* Highway/Ferry tolls
k. Touring expenses
* Per Diem (for food, lodging etc.)
* Road Manager/Roadies salaries
* Lighting/Sound equipment purchase/rental costs
l. Merchandise (T-Shirts etc.)
* Design costs
* Manufacturing and shipping costs
m. Miscellaneous Expenses
* Costumes/Stage clothing
* Insurance (health, equipment, life etc.)
* Union dues
* Trade magazine subscriptions
* Video production and manufacturing costs
* Whatever else comes along that you forgot about

Sunday, February 21, 2010

10 Tips Even The Most Naïve Musician Should Take About Working With The Music Industry.

I had a call today from a young musician who was seeking advice about a 6 song demo tape he and his band had put together. He had plans to ‘shop it around’ to some labels to see if he could get a recording contract. He was a very polite guy, and wanted me to be very honest with him about what his band should do with their demo. The more we talked the more I realized how clueless he was. When the call was over, I couldn’t get it him out of my mind. How could he be so clueless in this day and age? What closet was this band living in, thinking that a demo tape of 6 songs was all he needed to get a ‘deal’.

I get upset when I encounter naivete, or blissful ignorance…it pisses me off.

On the one hand we have a slew of entrepreneurial bands around these days that are very hip to using traditional and non-traditional marketing tactics to get their careers launched. Many bands are out their playing live as much as possible, using the web to get their music circulated and sold, These bands are working hard day and night to get their music into the marketplace, and they realize that the business of music is a ruthless business that demands as much from you as you are willing to give it, with no guarantees of any success coming your way.

And then there are the clueless, the naïve, and the blissfully ignorant. “Why won’t they just go away?” I ask myself. Because regretfully, “ignorance is bliss” is still a permanent state of mind for many aspiring musicians. These idiots will never go away regardless of the dozens of outstanding books, articles, regional and national music conferences, and webinars that are out there spreading the gospel of ‘do-it-yourself’.

It is one thing to be naïve, and another thing to voluntarily remain ignorant of music business realities. But wait, why should I complain?

I am a music business consultant. I should be happy that there are so many clueless musicians out there. They could become my next client. But they won’t because they have no desire to educate themselves. Even when I tell them they can get a lot of free information at my, they won’t even go there and read the free articles because… they are too lazy. So, what’s a music business consultant to do?

Will I surrender to the clueless? Will I let the naïve get to me? Will I stop my crusade to help musicians with the business of music?


So, to prove it…here are a bunch of FREE TIPS for the taking:

1. Learn how to write a song!

We live in a time when everybody and their sister can and does make their own music.
That doesn’t mean however that your music has what it takes for record labels to invest their money and time developing, promoting, and marketing that music. A&R Reps are always saying, when asked what they are looking for, “We don’t know what we are looking for, but we’ll recognize it when we hear it.” What we can read into their comment is that your music must truly stand out in some significant, original, dynamic, and creative way. 95% of the original music out there contains regurgitated ideas that were ripped off from some other more gifted musicians. Challenge yourself! Talent scouts in this business hear hundreds of mediocre songs every week. What is it about your songs that make them stand out from all the rest?

2. Play live as often as you can.

You can always tell the difference between a musician who is in it for the money, and a musician who is in it for the music. The dedicated musician/band MUST play live every chance they get. Money-focused musicians whine about the fact that they can’t get club gigs that pay anything. If you really think that you can make your living solely as a musician in the first three to four years of your career, you are headed for a breakdown and disappointment. Think about it...almost every legendary musician who has made a mark on our culture has been a musician who struggled long and hard at their craft, and never stopped playing live.

Eat determination for breakfast! Go out there and play on the streets if you have to, play at schools, fairs, festivals, do benefits to help other people and organizations. Offer your services to non- profits, charities, church groups, and any other companies or organizations you can think of. Hang out at clubs, look for jamming possibilities, or start your own jam sessions. Look around where you live and you will see many places and venues where musicians can play. As you establish yourself and more and more people show up at your shows, the paid gigs will increase. Remember... play live, and then after you play live, play live again, that’s what musicians are supposed to do.

3. Never stop practicing your instrument.

One of the curious developments of the late 70’s was the huge increase in garage bands, punk bands, and ‘do-it yourselfers’, who just picked up an instrument, or started to sing with some friends, and 6 months later recorded a record and began to play live. Some great music, and new directions in music, came out of that situation. But now, 30 odd years later, the novelty of hearing amateurish thrashings has gotten a bit dull.
Prior to late 70’s, more often than not, the music that is our heritage was made by musicians who, from the time they took up their instrument, worshipped at the feet of some master bluesman, jazz player, folk legend, songwriter, or whatever. The habit of these inspired musicians was an appetite for perfection, the need to be not just ‘good enough’, but GREAT.

Why settle for less. Whatever developing stage you are at, go beyond it, re-commit yourself to your instrument or voice. Take lessons, or better yet, sit yourself down at your CD player and choose a favorite guitar player’s record, and listen closely to what they are playing. Then re-play it, and re-play it again. Challenge yourself to go beyond your limitations. Who knows, maybe you will discover some new territory, wherein you will find your ‘sound’, and increase your chance to stand out from all the mediocrity that is your competition. Believe it or not, record labels love to hear innovative, accessible new sounds. Actually in their heart of hearts, that is what they are really hoping to hear on every new demo music file or CD, and from every new act they go see at a live venue. Y

In the business of music, when we hear something new, original, and accessible to people, we can then invest in you with more security, believing that if we put our ‘label brand’ on you, with our talents of promotion and marketing coming to the front, then we ‘have something’, and your music becomes our music, and we work together to broaden you audience appeal. It’s kind of like a partnership between ‘Art and Commerce’. They can work together!

4. Cough up the bucks to register your songs with the Copyright Office.

I never cease to be amazed how few artists are willing to spend $35 to register their copyrighted songs online with the U.S. Copyright Office.

By the way, these folks are often the same folks who complain about not getting paid to perform their unknown music. All I know is that when an inventor comes up with some new product that they think will appeal to a certain type of customer, the first thing they do is file for a patent on their invention. The same reaction to protecting songs should be there for any serious songwriter. If you really intend to work hard and develop your career as a musician who writes your own songs, don’t wait too long to take care of this simple, but essential task. If you really believe in your unique and original music then take the time to learn the basics of copyright protection. With the Internet or your neighborhood library and/or bookstore there a number of easy ways to learn what it takes to file for copyright protection. Do it now!

5. Design some decent looking promotional materials.

The topic of designing and writing effective promotional materials; bios, fact sheets, cover letters, photos, and quote sheets is a lengthy one to say the least. My tip to help musicians promote their careers, and contribute to their getting any deal offers, is to make the promo materials as compelling, and informative as possible. Take an inventory of your accomplishments, positive reviews, past sales, and live appearance highlights, and organize them into professionally written bios etc. Having done that, time also needs to be taken to research who to send the materials to, and to ask each potential recipient what type of information they would like to have sent to them. No ‘generic’ kits should ever be sent out to any gatekeepers in the music business. Most gatekeepers in the industry today will want you to send any requested materials via email attachments. Be sure though to ask them what they prefer; email attachments or snail mail goodies.

6. Get acquainted with any labels or publishing companies you may be interested in..

If you were applying for a job with a certain company of corporation, wouldn’t you take some time to ask questions about their stability as a business, their reputation in the industry, and their background and experience? The same is true when shopping for a record deal.

(If you insist on this approach, and if my emails are a good source of information, thousands of you still insist on shopping for deals instead of building your career to attract the businesses you want to work with)

Some musicians get so excited when a certain label approaches them with a recording contract, or a publishing company offers to sign them. Well, what can I say…go ahead and sign some damn deal…you will be writing me back after you experiences with that approach and asking me for help, but it will be too late by then…sorry suckers!

At least take the time to learn a few things about contracts before you go looking for one. Research the companies who may contact you. How have they done with your particular genre of music? What specific ‘points’ are they offering you? Who runs the label or publishing company? What is their reputation in the music business? How do you like them as people? These and other questions can be crucial in making an unemotional decision about an arrangement that could make or break your career.

7. Don’t use just any attorney for legal advice…find an entertainment law attorney..

The business of getting signed to any deal in the music business has always had, has now, and will always have, the involvement of entertainment law attorneys. No jokes will be inserted here, because any relationship between a musician, a record label, a publisher, a merchandiser etc. will come down to two attorneys hashing out the contract for the musician and the respective companies. It should be pointed out here that when all is said in done with the ‘courting’ process, the musician is never present during the actual negotiations. The musician’s attorney and the music company’s attorney meet, talk over the phone, and fax, email, even text message their offers and counter-offers amongst themselves. This fact serves to remind you that choosing a reputable, ethical, well respected attorney with lots of deal making experience within the music industry is an absolute necessity for any serious musician who wishes to fight the good fight in the legal arena.

8. Learn what managers do by doing management for yourself..

Self management is always a valid option in the developing stages of establishing your career as a musician. Much can be learned by taking on the jobs of securing gigs, getting some publicity, planning tours, dealing with personal issues that arise within the band, and schmoozing with A&R Reps and various other label and publishing personnel.
However, there comes a time, usually when the daily tasks of doing the business of being a band takes up too much time, and it is at this time that the services of a good manager can be very useful. I have always felt that if any musician or band has worked hard to establish their career, and achieved a modicum of success, they will have a better chance to ‘attract’ the services of a professional, well-connected and respected manager.

Today, finding a Manager is very difficult. Managers who do this job for a living can only take on clients that generate income. Making money as a personal manager is no easy task, and many upcoming artists forget that if any moneys are to be generated from their music, it can takes years for the flow of that income to be reliably there. So, as a band develops self-management, or gets help from intern/student managers, the road that heads toward professional management may open up.

Over the years I have heard several horror stories about ‘managers’ that approach upcoming acts and say that for X amount of dollars, they can do such and such for the artist. No, this is not the way legit personal manager’s work. Well-connected and respected personal managers get paid a negotiated fee for their services (get it in writing) for any and all business transactions they are responsible for (15%-25%) over a particular contract period. No musicians should ever pay a fee to a so-called ‘manager’ who will not do any work UNLESS they are paid up front. Flim Flam men and women still abound in this business... be forewarned.

One of the most important jobs of a manager is to secure recording and publishing contracts for their clients, this is why it is so essential to choose well connected and well respected managers. The music business is a ‘relationship’ business. Who knows whom, and who can get to the gatekeepers, and who did what successfully, is what this management game is all about. Choose carefully the people who will be representing you in any business dealings.

9. Take advice only from people who have talked the talk and walked the walk.

Everybody has their own list of Do’s and Don’ts and the only real value they have is that they present you with ‘opinions’ about what to do to get established as a musician.

To be quite candid, the best rules in the music business comes from the experience of building your own career; learning from your own interactions with the gatekeepers at labels, the media, management, and booking companies as to what is right or wrong for you. For every Do or Don’t there is an exception to a so-called ‘rule’. As I reflect on the advice I received and listened to over the years, the most valid tips came from people who walked the walk, and talked the talk. If you feel that the source you have contacted knows what they are talking about, and has had first hand experience doing what you want to learn about, that is the only feedback that might stand up over time. Choose carefully.

10. Educate Yourself! Learn something about the business of music.

Ignorant, ill-informed musicians are a menace to themselves. Over the decades there have been countless stories of musicians who were ripped off by their record labels and music publishing companies. Why? Exploitation was the name of the game, and still is when it comes to money issues. In the past, keeping musicians in the dark was standard business practice. However, the past has passed. Today, musicians who signs a record contract, and learns later about the bad news contained in it, have only themselves to blame.

There are dozens of outstanding books available on every conceivable topic related to the business of music. They can be found in bookstores, libraries, and through the Internet. In addition, there are many schools that now offer 2- 4 year programs on the business of music. Seminars and workshops are available on a year round basis in most major American cities. It is only myth, superstition, stubbornness, and immaturity that stand in the way of any musician making a commitment to educating themselves about the business of music.

There ya go! Now please…keep this information close at hand and commit to learning as much as you can about a business that thrives on exploiting naïve or the blissfully ignorant musicians.

Friday, February 19, 2010

by Christopher Knab (2010)

There are many factors that must be considered by musicians and bands as they prepare to release an independent recording, or attempt to attract the attention of any kind of label, either small independent labels, or the major labels.I have been involved with independent music for over 35 years.and in order to help you understand what must be done to plan your career, and/or implement a record release, I have conceived a Music Marketing Concept that will help you professionally develop your music for the marketplace. This easy to understand concept can be used by any dedicated and hard working musician or independent record label to build and/or further their careers as talented artists.

By learning the ‘Four Front’ Music Marketing Concept, which is based on the time tested and ever evolving marketing strategies and tactics of major and independent labels, you will know what it takes to compete in and work with all the businesses, services, and people that a recording artist encounters while pursuing their musical careers.

You will see how understanding the ‘Four Front Concept’ can help you develop your talent and image; along with helping you create effective promotion, advertising, and marketing materials, which are so vital to a successful and profitable music marketing campaign. In addition, The ‘Four Front’ concept provides you with information on how the businesses and services encountered in the marketing process rely on each other for information and support of any recorded product.
So, let’s get started.

The Music Industry is organized into "Four Fronts" or key areas. Please remember that today any up and coming new act must understand and apply the principles of The Four Fronts of Music Marketing and apply them to older traditional methods as well as the growing opportunities that the Internet provides!
The First Front of Music Marketing is called Artist and Product Development. It is broken into two parts.

Artist Development is Part 1 and it deals with all the issues that any new artist or band must consider, such as; songwriting skills, and musicianship development, creating an honest and consistent image, copyright and publishing concerns, co-musician and band issues, recording and mastering arrangements, as well as management and legal needs. Product Development is Part 2 and it deals with all the issues that must be considered after a recording has been made including: cover artwork design and printing, manufacturing choices, market research data, as well as distribution and sales strategies.

After the music has been created and a recording has been manufactured, the remaining Three Fronts, which are called: Promotion (the radio, TV, and Internet airplay/promotions campaign), Publicity (the press and media campaign both on and offline) and Performance (live shows and touring plans) come into play to support the First Front of Artist and Product Development.

The trick to understanding the ‘Four Front Marketing Concept’ is simply this. You must conceive, budget for, and carry out a consistent four-pronged marketing campaign for your independent music.

Every successful record in history has behind it elements of this basic formula, so there is no need to reinvent the wheel, all that is needed is to build upon the tactics and strategies that have been utilized by record labels past and present, and to find innovative new ways to expand on those proven methods.

The growing impact of an Internet presence for developing acts is such an example. If you look at what is available on the Internet for musicians as tools to expose and sell music. Behind the Internet’s structure is the basis of four key areas of exposure, Online Product Sales, Promotion through Internet radio stations, Publicity through many online publications, and the opportunity to Perform your music live over the Internet.

But, let’s get back to basics:

In the beginning you must concern yourself only with the music itself. Remember, the first half of the First Front is called ‘Artist Development’. This simply means that everything starts with songs. If you intend to make money with your music, then your songs must have some commercial appeal to them. This does not mean that you must ‘sell out’ to some passing trend, but history has proven that the music that endures is music that stimulates the imagination of the listener in some way so that they are moved to purchase it. ‘Ownership" of your songs is the greatest proof that you have reached someone with your music. When fans feel they need to own a copy of your songs, that is the highest tribute to your songwriting ability.
So, your songs must be of that caliber.

When you feel confident that your songs have an audience that will appreciate them, then it is your obligation to protect your songs. You do this by filing your copyrighted songs with the U.S. Copyright Office . If there is a growing market (or demand) for your music, then consider starting your own publishing company, or searching for a music publisher.

As ‘Artist Development’ moves along, and the business of music progresses, establishing and consistently presenting a clear image for the public to relate to becomes increasingly important, as will defining the business structure and policies of doing business with fellow musicians in your group. (sometimes referred to as a Band Agreement of Partnership Agreement.

Artist Development also means perfecting your live performance skills, and finding affordable and reliable recording arrangements to record demo or other music projects. Finding the right studio, the right equipment, the right producer and engineer, and the right studio are all factors related to developing your art...your music...preparing it for the Product Development stage.

Before leaving the subject of Artist Development, it must be mentioned that self management, or attracting the attention of professional management may enter the picture. Someone has to arrange for and be responsible for all the details of the aforementioned details. And of course, the advice of a professional entertainment attorney is strongly advised as you prepare to enter the world of the second half of the First Front...Product Development.

Product Development, is again all those issues related to the question...You have recorded your music, now what do you do with it?

Well, hopefully you have thought about your customer a bit. Who is your fan? What do you know about them, and how do you intend to make them aware of your music? I suggest that you create a cover for your record that embodies all the image concerns you dealt with earlier so that when your fans, and the business gatekeepers who stand between your music and your fan (the buyers at distributors and stores, the music directors at all types of radios stations, the writers in the press, and the bookers of live shows)...can easily see what genre of music you play, and will be intrigued enough by your artwork to want to listen to it, and hopefully buy or support it.

Next, shopping around for the best manufacturing deal you can find becomes essential. There are, for example, dozens of ‘Package Deals" out there through such manufacturers as Discmakers and Oasis, etc. But, do you really need a thousand CDs? Maybe that is too many or too few! Too many start-up bands and artists manufacture x number of CDs solely because they got a good price from a ‘package deal’.
Research your fanbase, how many promotional copies you will need to send out, and how much money you have budgeted for marketing, and you may be surprised how many CDs you actually need. Many acts today do not release actual CDs, but instead release ‘singles’ that are available on various internet music sites like ITunes, eMusic etc.

Product Development then becomes a matter of SELLING your music. You must devise specific methods by which your CD can be purchased by your fans. Live sales, Internet sales, consignment at local stores, and ultimately finding distributors and retail music chain stores who will carry your music. Formal distribution is the toughest to obtain these days, simply because of the huge amount of releases being unleashed before an unsuspecting public. Over 1000new releases a week are littering the retail landscape these days, so finding and using other methods of selling your music are highly suggested.

Every professional and legitimate record label has setup the arrangements for selling their records before moving on to the other activities they will be used to expose the music they have released.

You must do the same thing. At this point at a record label, a Marketing Plan is written up. It will contain much of the information discussed here, and in the paragraphs ahead. But Product Development at a label means putting down on paper the tactics and strategies to be used to sell the release. Be prepared to spend some money dealing with all these issues. Distributors rarely enjoy working with under-funded labels. It takes money to develop your product for the marketplace. You may need funds for coop advertising with retailers, you will probably need money to print up hundreds of Distributor One Sheets (8 1/2x11 sheets that describe in outline form your marketing commitments), and if you want to get into some listening stations at retail, get your wallet out because it can cost thousands of dollars to get involved with that in-store merchandising effort).

The previous paragraph deals with traditional ways to get your music out there, but today, more and more, YOU have to find unique ways to sell your music both on and offline.

Enter the 3 (three) remaining Fronts... The Exposure Fronts.

Do you want to get some college and/or non-commercial radio airplay? Or perhaps prepare to enter the super competitive realm of soliciting commercial radio stations for airplay. Welcome to the Promotion Front! ‘Promotion’ in the purest sense of the word means ‘Airplay"! It is the thoughtfully researched and carefully planned out campaign for getting songs played on the non-commercial and public radio, as well as on the new Internet radio stations, and it can ultimately mean getting videos aired on public access TV, put up on YouTube and any other video websites.

The only reason record labels fight the good fight of trying to secure airplay for their records is the simple fact that when secured, airplay is the single most effective means of exposing music to the public. Be prepared however for a frustrating and competitive fight. You must be armed with your Product Development marketing ideas and plans, and a significant financial investment to have any real success on a national level with your Promotion plan.

On the Internet side of things, one could look at the MP3 revolution of the pas decade as the greatest Promotional gift to developing acts that has ever happened.
By posting your music on the hundreds of sites devoted to digital music downloads, you can have fans listen to your music any time they want after they have been streamed or been downloaded from those sites, or your own website (You DO have a website, don’t you?). Hot on the heels of the illegal downloadable music file revolution are many other secure downloadable opportunities as well. Use the social networking sites that fit your needs. From MySpace to Facebook or any other suitable sites that accept independent music. Do that and your fans will help spread the word about your music.

The next Exposure Front is the Publicity Front. Armed with professionally designed, image-reflected press kit materials ( Bios, Fact Sheets, Cover Letters, Photos, Press Clippings and/or Press Quote Sheets) you will be organizing again a well researched, and hopefully effective campaign to get the music press to review your release, and eventually write stories about you and your music, as well as interview you about your music. This Publicity Plan will act as a support mechanism for all your other ‘Front’ activities. Of course there are thousands of on and off line press opportunities, but again, armed with your marketing ideas from the Product Development stage, you will have many reasons to convince a magazine, newspaper, fanzine, or e-sine that they should feature your music.

The only other Front left to discuss a bit is the Performance Front. This, in many ways, is the foundation of most genres of music. Playing live in front of your fans is the best way to develop a loyal and dedicated fanbase. So, if you want to play in the clubs and other big venues that showcase talent, give the gatekeepers in that arena reasons why they should book you. I am a big fan of doing non-club dates as a way of getting the attention of the commercial mainstream clubs out there. From house party gigs, to school concerts, to fairs and festivals and everything in between, just getting yourself in front of audiences, and of course using that opportunity to get mailing lists made up, and to SELL your music...The Performance Front is the bedrock of the Four Front Marketing Concept. Many artists are finding ways online to broadcast their tours, and/or to have an archive of club and concert appearances on their websites.

Now, with a basic understanding of the Four Key Areas of music marketing described, there is on only one other basic concept that must be understood, and it is this.

The ‘4Fronts’ of Music Marketing are interrelated and interdependent upon each other!

In some ways there is a catch 22 about all this. By this I mean that in order to get your Product into mass distribution, the distributors want to know what your promotion, publicity, and performance plans are. In order to get significant airplay the radio stations want to know what your Product Development, Publicity, and Performance plans are. In order to get Publicity, the editors and writers at the magazines and newspapers want to know what your Promotion, Product Development and Performance commitment is, and in order to get the better live Performance gigs, the booking agents, and club owners need to know what successes you have had with selling your Product, getting Press support, and any Radio airplay.

So, where do you start? Well, I always recommend that you start where you are the strongest. Even though there are a lot of articles and books out there with titles like " Ten Steps To Musical Success", or " How To Be a Star in 30 Days", the truth of the matter is that every band or solo artist has to have the ability to ‘feel’ their way around this crazy business. There really is no systematic way that the ‘Four Front’ concept works the same for everyone.

Many acts build their successes around touring and playing live in support of their independent music. Others get lucky with some radio airplay, or have become what are called ‘critics darlings’, and get a ton of favorable press, and that becomes their breakthrough Front. Others combine elements of different fronts, playing live regularly, and constantly selling their CDs at their live shows. And of course, using the ‘Four Fronts’ online.

New generations of cyber-musicians are getting their breaks online, using Artist and Product Development, Promotion, Publicity, and Performance tactics and strategies to launch and maintain their careers. We really need to combine older traditional music marketing habits with any and all of the newer online ways to sell, promote, and market your music.

Lest you think that my discussion of this marketing concept is only the responsibility of developing acts, let me tell you this before I sign off...No matter how established or legendary any musician becomes, when they release another record, the ‘Four Fronts’ of music marketing stay with them forever. That is why they have stayed in your head all these years!

You may just be getting started and think that all I have described is a one time deal until you are ‘discovered’. Sorry about that, the more successful you get, the more time you will spend dealing with the ‘Four Fronts’ of Music Marketing. Welcome to the business of music!

Christopher Knab

Copyright 2010, all rights reserved

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sample/Example of a Band Agreement

Throughout the last 2 decades I have often spoken of the importance of putting together a Band Agreement when you and your fellow band-mates are serious about acting and doing business together professionally. I hope this generic template for a Band Agreement helps you write your own Agreement.

In my book 'Music Is Your Business' (on pages 23-26) I explain some basic facts about key issues found in a typical band agreement. I also suggest that you and your fellow musicians should try and write up your own agreement before consulting with an entertainment law attorney. You can find my book 'Music Is Your Business' on as well as on my website

Good luck with it all!


Band Partnership Agreement

Introduction. This Band Partnership Agreement (the "Agreement") is made by and between _______________________________________________ (collectively referred to as "Band," individually referred to as "Band Partners"). This agreement shall be effective as of the date of the last signature below (the "Effective Date"). The Band Partners agree as follows:

The Band Partnership. The Band Partners establish themselves as a general partnership (the "Band Partnership") to be known as the _________________________ under the laws of _________________________ for the purposes of musical and related entertainment activities. The Band Partnership shall commence on the Effective Date and shall continue until it is ended according to this Agreement. The principal place of business of the Band Partnership shall be at _________________________ or at such other place as the Band Partners may determine.

Band Partner Services. In order to fulfill the Band Partnership purposes, each Band Partner shall contribute musical entertainment services to the Band Partnership. Such contributions shall include, but not be limited to, services
* as a recording artist with respect to sound recordings;
* as a musical performer in all media and on the live stage; and
* related to merchandising rights solely with respect to activities as a
member of the Band.

Non-Band Partnership Activities. Each Band Partner is permitted to engage in one or more businesses, including other musical entertainment efforts, but only to the extent that such activities do not directly interfere with the business and obligations of the Band Partnership. Neither the Band Partnership nor any other Band Partner shall have any right to any income or profit derived by a Band Partner from any non-Band Partnership business activity permitted under this paragraph.

Name & Logo. The Band Partnership shall do business under the name _________________________ (the "Band Name") as an assumed name and as its trademark and service mark.
(Insert logo.)

(Check if applicable and fill in.)
[ ] The Band also uses the following logo (the "Band Logo") as a trademark and service mark:

Each Band Partner acknowledges that the Band Name and Logo (if Band Logo exists) are (select one):
[ ] the exclusive property of the Partnership and not owned by any individual member and, unless otherwise authorized in writing, departing Band Partners shall have no interest whatsoever in the Band Name and Logo, apart from the limited right to be known as an ex-member of the band. In the event that the Partnership dissolves, no individual member shall have a right to use the Band Name and Logo apart from the limited right to be known as an ex-member of the Band.
[ ] the exclusive property of the Partnership and not owned by any individual member, except that in the event that __________ and ___________ cease to be members of the Partnership, the Partnership shall cease use of the Band Name and Logo (including "formerly [band name]" or similar references) in connection with any offering of entertainment services. Departing Band Partners shall have no interest whatsoever in the Band Name and Logo, apart from the limited right to be known as a former member of the Band. In the event that the Partnership dissolves, no individual member shall have a right to use the Band Name and Logo apart from the limited right to be known as an ex-member of the Band.
[ ] not assets of the Band Partnership, but rather are the sole and exclusive property of _______________ (name of person who owns Band Name and Logo) and, unless otherwise authorized in writing, shall remain that person's sole and exclusive property during and after the term of this Agreement. The other Band Partners shall have no interest whatsoever in the Band Name and Logo, apart from the limited right to be known as former members of the Band.

Warranties. Each Band Partner warrants that the Band Partner:
* is free to enter into this Agreement;
* is under no restriction which will interfere with this Agreement;
* has not done nor will do any act or thing that might hurt the Band
* will not sell or transfer any interest in the Band Partnership without the
prior written consent of the other Band Partners; and
* will refrain from activities which could prohibit the Band Partner from

Each Band Partner indemnifies each other Band Partner from all claims that may arise from any breach of these warranties.

Profits and Losses. Unless agreed otherwise in writing by the Band Partners, the Band Partners shall share equally in all of the Net Profits, losses, rights and obligations of the Band Partnership. "Net Profits" shall mean all payments which are paid to the Band Partnership or to any Band Partner as a result of Band Partnership activities. After deducting Band Partnership expenses (that is, reasonable salaries, rent, promotional costs, travel costs, office expenditures, telephone costs, accounting and legal fees), the Net Profits shall be distributed in cash to the Band Partners.

Ownership of Recorded Compositions. The Band Partners (check one) [ ] shall [ ] shall not create a publishing entity (the "Band Partnership Publishing Company") which shall own all rights to "Recorded Compositions." Recorded Compositions are songs:
* recorded by the Band;
* released for sale on sound recordings under the Band Name; and
* which were written or co-written in whole or in part by one or more Band Partners.

Each Band Partner agrees to assign any ownership interest in each Recorded Composition to the Band Partnership Publishing Company and to execute any documents necessary to evidence the transfer of ownership to the Band Partnership Publishing Company.

Division of Publishing Revenue. Revenue from the Band Partnership Publishing Company, if such publishing company has been created, shall be distributed as follows:
[ ] All music publishing income derived from Recorded Compositions, including both writer's and publisher's shares, shall be divided equally among the band members.
[ ] The Band Partners shall share equally in the publishing income from all Recorded Compositions. The writers of each Recorded Composition shall receive an equal pro-rata share of the songwriters' income with respect to each Recorded Composition. By way of example, if two Band Partners write a Recorded Composition, each shall share equally in the songwriters' income from that song. The publishing income from that song shall be distributed equally to all Band Partners.
[ ] All revenue derived from Recorded Compositions shall be pooled (whether it is characterized as publishing or songwriter revenue). Each Band Partner shall receive one credit for performing on each Recorded Composition. The writers of each Recorded Composition shall receive one credit for writing. Each Band Partner's total number of credits equals the numerator (top number of a fraction). The total number of credits equals the denominator or bottom number of a fraction. Each Band Partner then receives this fraction of the song income. By way of example, if four Band Partners perform on a song and one Band Partner has written that song, the songwriter Band Partner would receive 2/5 of the revenue and the other three band members would each receive 1/5 of the revenue.

Publishing Administration. The Band Partnership Publishing Company, if such company has been created, shall have the worldwide, exclusive right to:
* administer and control the copyright ownership to the Recorded Compositions;
* designate all persons to administer the copyrights to the Recorded Compositions; and
* enter into agreements to co-publish, subpublish or otherwise deal with the copyrights in the Recorded Compositions.

In the event that one of the Band Partners leaves the Band Partnership (a "Leaving Member"), the control of the jointly owned copyrights shall vest exclusively in the remaining Band Partners for the term of this Band Partnership. The Leaving Member's interest in the Band Partnership Publishing Company shall extend only to those Recorded Compositions which were commercially released for sale during the Leaving Member's period as a Band Partner ("Leaving Member Recorded Compositions"). The Leaving Member shall receive semi-annual accountings and payments with respect to any income due on Leaving Member Recorded Compositions.

Meetings and Voting. Each Band Partner shall have the right to participate in the business of the Band Partnership. Meetings of the Band Partners can be called by any member of the Band Partnership upon reasonable notice.

(Check either "unanimous" or "majority" for each issue )
Unanimous Majority
Expelling a Band Partner
(unanimous except for party to be expelled) [ ] [ ]
Admission of a new Band Partner: [ ] [ ]
Entering into any agreement that
binds the Band Partnership for
more than one year: [ ] [ ]
Additional capital contributions
by any Band Partner: [ ] [ ]
Receipt of any bonus or goods or
other assets of the Band Partnership
in excess of that received by any other
Band Partner: [ ] [ ]
Any expenditure in excess of $_________: [ ] [ ]
Incurring any major obligation such as
borrowing or lending money: [ ] [ ]
Selling, leasing or transferring any
Band Partnership property: [ ] [ ]
Entering into any contract that takes
less than a year to complete: [ ] [ ]
Check-signing rights: [ ] [ ]
Amendment of this Agreement: [ ] [ ]

(Check and fill in blanks if applicable)
[ ] In matters that require a majority vote, _________________________ shall be entitled to extra voting power, in the amount of ______ votes for every other Band Partner's single vote.
[ ] In the event that a majority cannot be achieved, the decision of___________________ shall prevail.

Books of Account and Records. The books of the Band Partnership and all other documents relating to the business of the Band Partnership shall be maintained at its principal place of business and shall be available for inspection at reasonable times by any Band Partner (or any designated representative of any Band Partner). The fiscal year of the Band Partnership shall end on December 31st. The Band Partnership shall provide an accounting statement to each Band Partner twice a year at the end of June and December.

Ending the Partnership. This Agreement and the Band Partnership shall not terminate for the reason that a Band Partner leaves the Partnership. If a member leaves, the Band Partnership shall remain in full force among the remaining members.

This Agreement shall terminate, and the Band Partnership shall end, upon the first to occur of the following events:
* The written agreement of the Band Partners to end the Band Partnership; or
* By operation of law, except as otherwise provided in this Agreement.

(Check and fill in blank if applicable.)
[ ] If _________________________ leaves the Band Partnership, the Band Partnership shall end.

The addition of a new Band Partner shall not end the Partnership, and it shall remain in full force among the remaining Band Partners.

Distribution of Band Assets After Termination.
* Income and Debts. After termination of the Band Partnership, any income that is owed to the Band Partnership shall be collected and shall be used first to pay off debts to people outside the Band (creditors) and any remaining money shall be used to pay debts (loans in excess of capital contributions) to Band Partners. If money remains after paying off these debts to Band Partners, it will be distributed equally to the Band Partners.

* Band Property. Any property owned or controlled by the Band Partnership (for example, musical equipment) shall not be sold but shall be evaluated, by an accountant if necessary. The property shall then be distributed as nearly as possible, in equal shares among the Band Partners.

* Royalties & Future Income. If at the time of dissolution, the Band is entitled to royalties or owns property that is generating income or royalties, the Band Partnership shall vote to either establish an administrative trust or designate an individual (for example, an accountant), to collect and distribute the royalties on an ongoing basis to the Band Partners according to their respective interests.

Addition of a Band Partner. Each new Band Partner must agree to be bound by all of the provisions in this Agreement. A new Band Partner shall not have any rights to the Band Partnership property or assets existing at the time of admission to the Band Partnership ("Existing Property") or in any of the proceeds derived from the Existing Property (for example, revenue or royalties generated by recorded compositions, sound recordings or other materials created prior to the new Band Partner's admission).

Leaving Members. A Band Partner may leave the Band Partnership (a "Leaving Member") voluntarily (by resignation) or involuntarily (by reason of death, disability or being expelled). A Band Partner who resigns shall give thirty (30) days prior written notice. The Band Partnership shall provide written notice if it expels a Partner. The Band shall have, at its option, the right to immediately exclude any expelled partners from live or recorded performances during this 30-day notice period. A Leaving Member is entitled to:
* the Leaving Member's proportionate share of the net worth of the Band Partnership
as of the date of disassociation.
* the Leaving Member's share of any royalties, commissions or licensing fees earned
from sound recordings which include the Leaving Member's performance. These
payments shall be made when actually received by the Band Partnership and after
subtracting a proportionate deduction of expenses. The Leaving Member's record
royalties shall only be paid after the record company has recouped the band's
recording costs for the respective recording.
* An expelled Partner shall be entitled to receive the value of his or her interest
in the partnership according to the provisions of this Agreement.

(Check and fill in blank if applicable.)
A Band Partner may be expelled from the Partnership in the following situations:
[ ] the Band Partner seeks protection under the federal bankruptcy code;
[ ] the Band Partner makes an assignment for the benefit of creditors; or
[ ] __________________________________________________________

Determination of Net Worth. If the Leaving Member and the Band Partnership cannot agree on the net worth of the Band Partnership, then it will be determined by a mutually agreed upon accountant. The net worth shall be determined as of the date the Leaving Member left the Band Partnership. The Leaving Member's share shall be paid in installments starting one month after determining the net worth and be payable as follows:
* If the share is less than $10,000, it will be paid in 12 monthly installments;
* If the share is more than $10,000 but less than $25,000, it will be paid in 24
monthly installments; or
* If the share is more than $25,000, it will be paid in 36 monthly installments.
The share payments will include interest at the prime interest rate.

Notices. All accountings and notices required under this Agreement shall be given in writing by personal delivery, mail or fax at the addresses of the Band Partners set forth below (or at any other addresses designated by a Band Partner).

Band Partnership Bank Account. A Band Partnership bank account may be opened by the Band Partners_________________________ shall have the right to sign any checks drawn on the Band Partnership bank account, endorse checks for deposit or make any withdrawals from the Band Partnership bank account.

Mediation; Arbitration. If a dispute arises under this Agreement, the parties agree to first try to resolve the dispute with the help of a mutually agreed upon mediator in _________________________. Any costs and fees other than attorney fees shall be shared equally by the parties. If it proves impossible to arrive at a mutually satisfactory solution, the parties agree to submit the dispute to binding arbitration in the same city or region, conducted on a confidential basis pursuant to: (Check one)
[ ] the Commercial Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association, or
[ ] the rules of _________________________.
Any decision or award as a result of any such arbitration proceeding shall include the assessment of costs, expenses and reasonable attorney's fees and shall include a written determination of the arbitrators. Absent an agreement to the contrary, any such arbitration shall be conducted by an arbitrator experienced in music industry law. An award of arbitration shall be final and binding on the Band Partners and may be confirmed in a court of competent jurisdiction. The prevailing party shall have the right to collect from the other party its reasonable costs and attorney fees incurred in enforcing this agreement.

General. This Agreement may not be amended except in a writing signed by all Band Partners. No waiver by any Band Partner of any right under this Agreement shall be construed as a waiver of any other right. If a court finds any provision of this Agreement invalid or unenforceable as applied to any circumstance, the remainder of this Agreement shall be interpreted so as best to effect the intent of the parties. This Agreement shall be governed by and interpreted in accordance with the laws of _____________________. The provisions of this Agreement shall be binding upon the successors and assigns of the Band Partners. In the event of any dispute arising from or related to this Agreement, the prevailing party shall be entitled to attorney fees.


Band Member Signature
Date: __________________________
Soc. Sec. #: ____________________ Date of Birth: ____________________

Band Member Signature
Date: __________________________
Soc. Sec. #: ____________________ Date of Birth: ____________________

Band Member Signature
Date: __________________________
Soc. Sec. #: ____________________ Date of Birth: ____________________

Band Member Signature
Date: __________________________
Soc. Sec. #: ____________________ Date of Birth: ____________________

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

OLD and New Commandments For Musicians and Bands

By Anonymous

1.Suck up to the top cats.

2.Do not express independent opinions.

3.Do not work for the common interest, only factional interests.

4.If there’s nothing to complain about, dig up some old gripe.

5.Do not respect property or persons other than band property or persons.

6.Make devastating judgments on persons and situations without adequate

7.Discourage and confound personal, technical and/or creative projects.

8.Single out absent persons for intense criticism.

9.Remember that anything you don’t understand is trying to fuck with you.

10.Destroy yourself physically and morally and insist that all true brothers
do likewise as an expression of unity.


By Christopher Knab (2010)

1. Never suck up to the top brass at record labels.

2. Always express your independent opinions.

3. Always work for the common interest AND watch out for any factional interests.

4. If there is nothing to complain about, stay on the track you have chosen.

5. Always respect property and the persons you work with AND your own property and your fan’s/gatekeeper's property as well.

6. Never make rash judgments on persons without knowing for sure what you are talking about.

7. Encourage and praise personal, technical and realistic creative projects, as long as they prove to be working.

8. Do not single out anyone or put blame on others for your mistakes.

9. Remember that anything you don’t understand about the inner workings of the music business is your fault, and no one else’s.

10. Strengthen yourself physically and morally, but don’t expect others to do the same.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Radio's Reasons NOT To Play A Song (2010 Version)

Over the years this list of radio's excuses for NOT playing a song has grown and expanded, and even been updated for technology. I first got a copy in the mid 90's, so as far as I know, this is the latest version of it...Add some more to it if you like and email them to me at


1. Not for us or our sound

2. No room

3. No label support

4. Want to give record the best shot so we will have to wait till when we
have more room

5. No local sales

6. No national action

7. Considering...

8. Watching and waiting

9. Wrong image

10. It's not modal

11. Needs another copy

12. Poor reaction from test marketing it

13. The jocks don't like it

14. No phone reaction

15. We played the import

16. We're going to wait and see what the competition does

17. Will wait for the single

18. The record's not in any kind of stores around here

19. Need approval from Atlanta

20. I like it but the P.D. doesn't

21. It was vetoed in the music meeting

22. Too hard

23. Too soft

24. Its wimpy

25. Not as good as their last release

26. It needs to be re-listened to

27. It sounds too disco-ish

28. It sounds too pop

29. We didn't get the co-promotion

30. Trade #'s don't merit airplay

31. Sounds like everything else

32. Its not a good record

33. I don't like it

34. The mp3 file wouldn’t play

35. The music file crashed my computer

36. We only play stuff that “ rocks “

37. Saving room for when new releases get scheduled

38. Going into the library

39. Too many women singers right now

40. We want to hear a hook

41. No tip sheet advertising

42. Nothing about it hits me

43. Don't like the mix

44. Not enough guitar

45. Too many strings

46. Over-produced

47. Under-produced

48. Don't like the band’s name

49. This song is not consistent with their last release

50. Our listeners won't be able to relate

51. Too rhythm oriented

52. Send all our jocks copies

53. Can't play too many singles

54. That music only works in the big markets

55. We’ll wait till more stations play it

56. Not our kind of music

57. Too alternative

58. Not alternative enough

59. Where’s the beat…the BEAT!

60. I’ve misplaced it, but its here somewhere, call me back

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Rest of The Producers Agreement Contract Issues

This is the last posting I will do on the question of what a Producer's Agreement might look like. There are two (2) other posts recently about this topic, which you can look up in my archive. This is the largest section about this type of Agreement.

(a) In the event Producer is not engaged to produce the Artist’s Masters for Record Artist, and one (l) or more of the Recordings (even though edited or re-mixed) is commercially released by Record Artist, Producer shall be entitled to a three (3%) percent royalty override of the suggested retail list price ("SRLP") of records embodying any Artist Recording hereunder and sold through normal retail channels throughout the United States ("USNRC") and not returned. Such royalty shall be paid on all singles and for LP’s shall be computed on a pro-rated basis, with the numerator to be the number of Artist Recordings and the denominator to be the total number of masters on the record. Producer shall also be entitled to receive applicable credit for the Recording(s) embodied in said record.
(b) Artist agrees to use it’s best efforts to cause Record Artist to pay all royalties due to Producer hereunder directly to Producer and Artist agrees to execute letters of direction and any and all other instruments necessary to effectuate same.

(a) The compensation set forth herein is full and complete payment to Producer for all services and rights in respect of the Work. No additional sums will be due to Producer or any other entity as a result of the exploitation of the Works.
(b) As additional consideration, Artist shall use it’s best efforts to have Producer credited as a "producer" and shall give Producer appropriate production and songwriting credit on all compact discs, record and cassette labels or any other record configuration manufactured which is now known or created in the future that embodies the Masters created hereunder and on all cover liner notes Artisting any records containing the Masters and on the front and/or back cover of any Album listing the Masters and other musician credits. Such credit shall be in substantial form: "Produced by________________________.”. Artist shall use its best efforts to ensure that Record Artist properly credits Producer and Artist shall check all proofs for accuracy of credits, and shall use its best efforts to cause Record Artist releasing the record to cure any mistakes regarding Producer's credit on the next print run of such materials. If Artist fails to comply with this clause in any instances or sole obligation to Producer by reason of such failure Producer's sole remedy is to have Artist add the appropriate credit. Artist shall provide Producer with five (5) copies of the completed Records within thirty (30) days after manufacture of the Record to review for accuracy.

(a) Producer shall be considered the author of the music recorded on the Masters recorded hereunder which are written or composed by Producer, in whole or in part, alone or in collaboration with Artist or with others. Such ownership percentage shall be accorded to Producer in accordance with Producer's percentage of authorship based on the copyright laws of the United States and as set forth on Schedule “A” attached hereto. Appropriate credit as a song writer and author of the music showing author's performance right society affiliation shall be given to Producer based on the songs produced and created under this Agreement. If Producer is the sole writer of the music produced under this Agreement, then Producer shall have the right to prepare and file copyright registration forms for the music produced under this Agreement. Producer shall provide Artist with a copy of the filed registration form upon receipt by Producer of the filed form from the Copyright Office. Artist shall have the right to incorporate lyrics with the music created hereunder to create a new song (“New Song”) and Artist shall have the right to give the New Song a new title and register the New Song for copyright, providing Producer the copyright credit in the music in the New Song as set forth in this Agreement. If Producer contributes original lyrics to the compositions recorded, he shall receive a pro-rata share of the songwriter credit, and associated publishing, with any other original lyricist, and it shall receive a pro-rata share of the songwriter credit, and associated publishing, with any other original composer, unless all songwriters agree in writing to another division of writer credit. Claimed percentages of authorship for each title are set forth in Schedule A hereto. Any compositions to which Producer contributes songwriting are referred to herein as "Controlled Compositions”.

(b) Subject to the terms of this agreement, Producer member hereby retains his publishing rights in connection with his share of all compositions and Artist further grants to producer the right to participate and be present during all negotiations with Record Artist and/or any other person or entity with whom Artist may enter into negotiations regarding the sale, license or distribution of the Masters to be produced hereunder.

Producer and Artist hereby make the following representations and warranties:
(a) Producer has the full right and ability to enter into this Agreement, and is not under any disability, restriction, or prohibition with respect to the grant of rights hereunder.
(b) Producer warrants that the manufacture, sale, distribution, or other exploitation of the Masters hereunder will not infringe upon or violate any common law or statutory right of any person, firm, or corporation; including, without limitation, contractual rights, copyrights, and right(s) of privacy and publicity and will not constitute libel and/or slander. The foregoing notwithstanding, Producer undertakes no responsibility whatsoever as to any elements added to the Masters by Artist and/or Artist, and Artist indemnifies and holds Producer harmless for any such elements.
(c) Producer warrants that he shall not "sample" (as that term is commonly understood in the recording industry) any copyrighted material or sound recordings belonging to any other person, firm, or corporation (hereinafter referred to as "Owner") without first having notified Artist and obtaining Artist’s consent. Artist shall have no obligation to approve the use thereof; however, if approved, any payment in connection therewith, including any associated legal clearance costs, shall constitute an additional recording cost and expense and shall be borne by Artist, recoupable from royalties hereunder. Knowledge by Artist that "samples" were used by Producer which were not affirmatively disclosed by Producer to Artist shall shift, in whole or in part, the liability for infringement or violation of the rights of any third party arising from the use of any such "sample" from Producer to Artist. At Artist’s request, Producer shall cooperate with respect to any matters concerning "sampling" which may arise hereunder.

Parties hereto shall indemnify and hold each other harmless from any and all third party claims, liabilities, costs, losses, damages or expenses as are actually incurred by the non-defaulting party and shall hold the non-defaulting party, free, safe, and harmless against and from any and all claims, suits, demands, costs, liabilities, loss, damages, judgments, recoveries, costs, and expenses; (including, without limitation, reasonable attorneys' fees), which may be made or brought, paid, or incurred by reason of any breach or claim of breach of the warranties and representations hereunder by the defaulting party, their agents, heirs, successors, assigns and employees, which have been reduced to final judgment; provided that prior to final judgment, arising out of any breach of any representations or warranties of the defaulting party contained in this agreement or any failure by defaulting party to perform any obligations on its part to be performed hereunder the Non-defaulting party has given the defaulting party prompt written notice of all claims and the right to participate in the defense with counsel of its choice at its sole expense. In no event shall Artist be entitled to seek injunctive or any other equitable relief for any breach or non-compliance with any provision of this Agreement.

Payments and royalties earned and payable, if any, shall be accounted for and paid to Producer (or Producer's designee, as applicable) within thirty (30) days after the end of each respective calendar quarter ending March 31, June 30, September 30 and December 31, or in accordance with such accounting period as designated pursuant to Recording and/or Distribution Agreement, and royalties shall be paid and accounted for within thirty (30) days after the end of each respective calendar quarter in accordance with the terms as set forth therein. Artist shall have the right to retain, as a reserve against subsequent charges (said reserve not to exceed thirty (30%) percent), credits or returns (collectively "returns"), a reasonable percentage of royalties otherwise payable hereunder; provided that said reserved amount shall be liquidated fully by the fourth accounting period following the period for which the reserve was first established. Producer, or a certified public accountant on Producer's behalf, may at Producer's cost and expense examine Artist's books relating to the sale or other distribution of Records hereunder solely for the purpose of verifying the accuracy of any statement rendered, only during Artist's normal business hours and upon reasonable written notice. Artist's books relating to any particular royalty statement may be examined within two (2) years after the date a statement is rendered by Artist to Producer. Artist shall immediately pay the balance due of any understatement of royalties paid or payable as revealed by such examination.

10. Parties hereto agree to save, defend, indemnify and hold each other and any of their Artist’s, agents, heirs, successors, assigns and employees free, safe, and harmless against and from any and all claims, suits, demands, costs, liabilities, loss, damages, judgments, recoveries, costs, and expenses; (including, without limitation, reasonable attorneys' fees), which may be made or brought, paid, or incurred by reason of any breach or claim of breach of defaulting Artist's warranties and representations hereunder which have been reduced to final judgment; provided that prior to final judgment, Artist shall be entitled to withhold royalties otherwise payable in an amount equal to Artist's reasonably estimated exposure in connection with such claimed breach by Producer, and provided further that if no legal action is commenced in connection with such claim of breach within one (1) year after notification to Artist of such claim, then Artist shall release all royalties so withheld. As an alternative to the withholding of royalties, Producer shall be entitled to post a bond for the benefit of Artist in an amount equal to Artist's reasonably estimated exposure. Parties shall be entitled to designate any defense attorneys engaged in connection with any such claim or action.

If any provision of this Agreement shall, for any reason be illegal or unenforceable, then and in such event, the same shall not affect the validity of remaining portions and provisions of the Agreement.

Nothing contained herein shall be construed to constitute a partnership or joint venture between the parties hereto, and neither Artist shall become bound by any representation, act, or omission of the other.

This Agreement shall be deemed entered into within the State of _______________and shall be construed in accordance with and governed by the laws of that State and/or by U.S. federal law.

All notices which either party may desire or be required to give hereunder, shall be in writing and sent by certified mail postage prepaid. Notice shall be deemed effective five (5) days after posting. (A simultaneous transmission of all notices and statements via facsimile is recommended.) The address of the parties for all notices, statements, and payments shall be as first set forth above.

In the event of any controversy, claim, or dispute as to the terms of this Agreement, or the subject matter thereof, or breach, thereof, and/or litigation resulting there from, the prevailing party shall be entitled to recover from the other party reasonable attorney's fees and costs resulting there from.

This Agreement sets forth the entire understanding between the parties regarding the subject matter hereof, and cannot be modified except by written instrument signed by the parties hereto. This agreement may be executed in counterpart and shall have the same validity, force and effect as if executed in whole.

The headings set forth herein are for convenience only and shall not be construed as defining the terms and conditions contained hereunder or utilized to assist in the interpretation of any ambiguity or ambiguities contained in any of the provisions of this Agreement.

The parties hereto agree to execute any and all further documents, which are necessary, required or desired to make this Agreement effective and binding upon the parties hereto and which are necessary, required or desired for the performance of any of the terms or conditions hereof.

(a) If Artist fails to account for and make payments hereunder and such failure is not cured within thirty (30) days after written notice thereof to Artist, or if Artist fails to perform any other obligations required of it hereunder and such failure is not cured within thirty (30) days after written notice thereof to Artist, or in the event that Artist shall go into liquidation, or shall go into bankruptcy or make an assignment for the benefit of creditors, or any insolvency or composition proceeding shall be commenced against or by Artist, then and in any one or all of such events, this agreement shall automatically terminate, and the Artist shall have no further rights of any kind whatsoever in and to the Masters and/or records hereunder. In any such event the Artist shall continue to account to Producer for royalties and/or other sums earned in respect of records embodying the Masters manufactured by or for the Artist prior to the date of such termination.
(b) If Artist fails to perform any obligations required of it hereunder and such failure is not cured within thirty (30) days after written notice thereof to Artist, then Producer shall have the right to terminate this agreement and suspend its performance thereof. In any such event the Artist shall continue to account to Producer for royalties and/or other sums earned in respect of records embodying the Masters manufactured by or for the Artist prior to the date of such termination.

Producer may freely assign all or any portion of Producer’s rights, duties, and obligations under this Agreement to any other business entity established by Producer, provided, however, that no such assignment shall result in an increase of Producer’s fee payable by ARTIST under this Agreement, nor otherwise result in the modification of any other material or substantive provisions of this Agreement, absent written agreement to the contrary.


IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have accepted this Agreement on the date first set forth above.

PRODUCER: ________________________ ARTIST: ______________________________

By: _________________________________ By: ______________________________
(President) Artist____________________

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Words of wisdom from a Publicity Pro

Think Like A Professional Music Publicist

(25 Tips borrowed from the mind of a publicity genius...Howard Bloom)

The following information is summarized and improvised from an interview with the legendary music publicist and father of modern music publicity...Howard Bloom in the ‘Billboard Guide to Music Publicity’ (out of print book)

Howard Bloom (now a retired music publicist and well known author of books such as the Lucifer Principle is responsible for the publicity for such legendary artists and bands as: ZZ Top, Prince, Talking Heads, Billy Joel, Billy Idol, REO Speedwagon, George Michael, and countless other artists.

The 25 Tips;

1. Learn to be a writer for magazines, newspapers, and any online publications.

2. When going in to work with an act for the first time, go in AS IF you were a journalist and interview them at GREAT LENGTH, spending as much as 2 or 3 days in the interview.

3. The purpose of this is to find out all the facts, but more than just bland facts—find those things that will make an interesting and compelling ANGLE.


5.THEN, write your Bio, that incorporates all the information you have discovered.

6. Writing your Bio is like a good encyclopedia tells all the facts that would be useful to other writers you will send the Bio to, and to yourself as you approach media contacts who will be EAGER to take your phone calls and work with you.

7. Publicity by itself cannot sell records, but it will be a strong addition to your other marketing tactics if done right.

8. Don’t worry about generating tons of press. Concentrate on appropriate media contacts within your geographic and budgeting limits. Then WORK those contacts with constant, but polite communications that will provide your contacts with useful information to do THEIR job.

9. If done right and in cooperation with a professional record label that is dedicated to building slowly and consistently the careers of their acts, publicity can do the point that as an act grows, and more and more articles and print media appear, people will ultimately say something like; “ Oh, that band (or artist)...I’ve been reading about them”.

10. Aim to get consistent press, month after month. No haphazard publicity planning!

11. Remember this truth: When it comes to the music publications, like Rolling Stone, Spin, Uncut, or Mojo....or even local and regional music outlets, there is a key group of critics that run through this country the way a nerve runs through a lobster. These critics are all friends and talk to each other. The have certain acts that are fashionable among them to like or dislike.”

I2. Is YOUR ACT one of those acts that these critics are likely to respond to? Research who these critics are and try to determine if your artist or band might be appealing to them. If not....

13. Keep your acts AWAY from any critic who you suspect doesn’t like your act’s kind of music.

14. Get involved with choosing the photographs that will be sent out with other publicity material. Keep photos 8x10, black and white, glossies!! Nothing else.

15, Music publicity is just one of many tools used to promote an act: get involved with the act’s management, record label, and publishing company. Communication is everything. If anyone drops the ball the whole campaign can collapse.

16. The first step in planning a music publicity campaign is doing research; the second step is creating one’s materials (bios, fact sheets, cover letters, quote sheets, business cards, websites, and other online materials); the third step is creating lists of those people you think are good contacts for your particular act. The next step is sending out or emailing the materials to those people you think can help your act, so that after a week to ten days, you can begin contacting these people and have people on the line who are willing to work with you.

17. Research and write down the ‘lead times’ for every publicity contact you make. Depending on whether a contact is a newspaper, a website, a blogger, a national or regional publication these lead times can vary from hours to days to weeks, or even months in advance of the publication date.

18. If you have done YOUR JOB with your contacts, you then have to wait and see if THEY have done THEIR JOB helping you get the word out, (the buzz) on your act.
If someone gives you bad press, don’t make a big deal about it, just remember who said what about your act, and DO NOT include them in any further publicity plans.

19. When working with a record label always remember that a record company will put out many obstacles to the development of the career of an artist. Being signed to a label is not the beginning of stardom, it is the beginning of your difficulties. A label will throw every obstacle it can in front of you, and it is up to you to find out how to get around, under, over, and through them.

20. You must be willing to work 12-18 hours a day 6 or 7 days a week until your act is successful, and be sure their label reps and management are going to be up working with you all the way toward success.

21. There is NO SUCH THING as a short term publicity goes on eternally OR until the act breaks down and quits. But as a publicist YOU will never stop working, you will just move on to the next project that comes your way....VACATIONS? There are no vacations in this profession. So, today, more than any other era, acts are broken on the road,(talk about a lot of work) and your publicity work should encourage that, and be in there helping plan the tours and all that goes with working the publicity angle as you move along.

22. When you are planning a publicity project you have to work out your strategy from the get go, like you are building a building. If you don’t build the foundation right, it will tilt just like the Tower of Pisa, except this tower WILL fall without proper planning.

23.Be sure there is ONLY 1 contact to the press with your act. YOU are that contact. Do not let members of a band switch around talking to the press. ALL these types of interviews or press conferences must be PART of your plan, and going back, IF you did your initial interview with the act successfully you will know what bandmember to work with to get the right information out to the press, and that information should be what YOU said to your act as you train them for working with the music press.

24. Choose your media carefully. We live in an era of many press possibilities: From local papers and magazines to the bigger national and international music publications. In addition there is radio...AM/FM, HD Radio stations, satellite radio, and thousands of Internet broadcasters. And don’t forget television and the hundreds of cable channels out there. If that isn’t enough, there are more music bloggers out there than there are websites days for music exposure. The trick is ....WHICH OF THESE IS RIGHT FOR YOUR ACT?

25.LASTLY....well, there is no last thing to know. There is just more to know all the time. You must be possessed like a demon in this business, or you...or worse yet...YOUR ACT may suffer. Keep your eyes and ears open for new publicity the old saying: “better look behind you, you never know who is gaining on you.”