Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Eminem court case may raise pay for digital downloads

Posted in Uncategorized on September 20, 2010 by stacyepps

Eminem court case may raise pay for digital downloads.


SoundExchange: New Artist Checklist | Future of Music Coalition

Posted in Uncategorized on May 11, 2010 by stacyepps

SoundExchange: New Artist Checklist | Future of Music Coalition.

Register your copyrights Copyrights to your original creative works exist as soon as you fix the sounds or words or notes to a medium (written down or recorded). But to secure additional legal rights, you must register your copyrights with the US Copyright Office. Electronic registrations can be processed much more quickly than mailed registrations. Also, sound recording and music composition recordings can be registered together, which, if you own both, is cheaper than doing them separately.

Draft an agreement between band members In the glow of the creative process, it’s easy to forget to put things in writing. Write out an agreement in case issues come up at a later time (and they often do). The agreement should address the rights and responsibilities of the band members including who owns what percentage of the business, what property is owned or controlled by the business (including the band name, web site, and equipment) and who funds the bands and looks after its finances. Break out the percentage of ownership rights of each track – who wrote it? How will you split royalties? Discuss what will happen if band members depart, or new members join. Again, we suggest you consult a qualified attorney, to see if and when incorporation or a formal partnership would be recommended to help protect your assets. At any stage, it’s important to have some kind of written agreement in place.

Trademark your name and logo The US Patent and Trademark Office oversees trade and service marks. Make sure no one else owns the rights to your name and/or logo and if not, be sure to register it. It may be your only way to prevent someone from claiming he or she owned the name first, or claiming to be you later. Registrations can be made in different “classes” to cover recordings, live performances, merchandise and other classes, so make sure you cover the bases. Registration costs can add up in a hurry, but a band or artist name and brand may become one of your biggest assets, so it’s well worth it to protect it early.

Form a company (or companies as necessary) for your label, songwriting/publishing, touring, merchandising, etc.) It’s important to look at your work as a small business, not just a creative hobby, and to get all your legal protections in place. Forming a company, partnership, sole proprietorship or LLC and keeping separate financial records can help ensure that you’re compliant with taxes and can protect your interests. A consultation with an entertainment attorney and/or an accountant is strongly recommended.

Pick a songwriting Performing Rights Organization and register – ASCAPBMI or SESAC If you’re a songwriter or publisher with a song copyright, you’re entitled to collect royalties from public performances of your musical compositions (for instance, the royalties that you are entitled to receive when the songs you wrote are played on the radio). ASCAPBMI and SESAC take care of this kind of licensing, collect fees from them and pay them to you. They all cover the same copyright, so you only need to affiliate with one. Check out their websites and see which might be best for you.

Register with SoundExchange If you performed on and/or own the masters of a sound recording, you can collect royalties from anyone who streams that track digitally (webcasters, satellite or Internet radio, etc).SoundExchange is the only organization designated by the US government to collect and distribute these royalties, so register now to claim your money. It’s totally free.

Arrange for Distribution Set up an account for digital distribution with an aggregator like IODAINgroovesTuneCoreThe Orchard or similar companies which allow you to make your music available to the public for digital downloading at popular sites like iTunesAmazon and others. Be sure to properly enter all metadata accurately during this process since it will propagate everywhere after that. Understand the obligations, splits and commitments you make by entering into an agreement so that you know how it may limit other opportunities.

Embed metadata about each track into each digital file If a music service opens your file or pops in your CD, and sees ‘Track 1’ and ‘Artist Unknown,’ you could miss out on royalties. While services and webcasters are supposed to report all the tracks they play, they’re busy, and you need to make it as easy as possible. Many millions of dollars have been earmarked for “promo only,” “self-released” and “artist unknown.” Include, at the very least, the artist or group name, copyright holder or label name, and track and album titles, and the ISRC number, if available. Most mastering software includes the ability to embed this data, and online services are available.

Buy/register your website address and social network domains Start your online marketing and fan building by registering and creating your domain names. It’s common practice for vendors to buy up domains in hopes they’ll be able to jack up the price to sell them back to you when you need them, so pin down the names as soon as you can. Also, create your band’s official profiles on the various popular social networking and sharing sites such as MySpaceFacebookTwitteriLike and YouTube.

Check out organizations and associations which may benefit you There are lots of groups out there doing great things for musicians. Not all of them will be right for you, but a few of them may be. Consider unions like the American Federation of Musicians and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, which represent a wide variety of musicians and performers, at all stages in their careers. Check out what groups like The Recording Academy and musicFIRST are doing to protect your work. There are also payment funds, including the Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies and the AFM & AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund, which may have funds to offer for certain kinds of work you’ve done. Many regional and local organizations are also available, and many of these groups offer member benefits and discounts on services you may use. Educate yourself about all the associations which may be open to you, and find out what choices can help you advance your career.

Build your web presence Use your site and social network profiles to sell merchandise, display a photo gallery, and dispense news updates and tour events. Keep the information fresh and interesting. Cross-link and expand your social network communications to drive fans to your website. Consider periodic email or other mass-blasts to keep your audience informed. Be authentic and consistent.

Get health and equipment insurance You want to be able to rock on for years to come, so don’t take any risks. When you’re on the road or at gigs, equipment can disappear, so find affordable but adequate insurance. In addition to private companies, some labor unions and organizations, offer health plans, but do your research to find the right plan for you. Check out the Health Insurance Navigation Tool (HINT) program—a good place to start looking, and get some free advice.

Build your team and assign responsibilities (merchandising, bookings, social media, accounting, licensing, publicity, email management, etc.) Build your business by having the right helpers in place. Assign those tasks to the person or group best suited to them. Many online enhancements or replacements for hired help are available (SonicBids,CDBabyTopSpinReverbNationRumblefishFanBridgeNimbit and others) which allow artists to take on many of these tasks themselves.

Create great music! There is no substitute for creative productivity. This is what artists do. So create often and let your audience know what you’ve been up to. It’ll take a lot of work, but before you know it, you could be living the dream.

If You Post Your Works on Social Networking Sites, Pay Close Attention to Your Privacy Settings Options

Posted in Uncategorized on April 14, 2010 by stacyepps

If You Post Your Works on Social Networking Sites, Pay Close Attention to Your Privacy Settings Options

Recently, a Nevada photographer found that social networking privacy settings may not seem so cool. She found a photograph of hers she had posted to her profile used in an ad by a sunglasses company she had never heard of. Although this may seem like blatant infringement (as she thought), whether it is may depend on permissions you give to third parties without even knowing it.

The web has been abuzz recently about this issue (a popular example being a husband whose wife’s picture popped up for a dating site ad), and the sites and advertisers have been pointing the fingers at each other. Regardless, artists should be particularly mindful of the risks and benefits posting pictures may create—and that means clicking on and actually reading those links at the top or the bottom of home page entitled “Privacy” or “Settings” or “Terms of Use.”

How this can happen.
The issue is not about posting pictures online; it’s about access. Our artist thought she was protected. She, like many artists, uploaded many of her photographs into an account she had with one of the many picture hosting websites, and she had a creative commons license for pictures on that website. The problem arose when she set up her account so pictures she posted would also automatically post to her profile on a social networking site. Although the creative commons license covered the pictures on the first site, her privacy settings allowed advertisers access to the photos when they posted on her profile.

Tailored Advertising.
In order to make advertisements more tailored to an individual user, social networking sites are utilizing user’s photos to help promote sites, companies, etc. to that user’s friends. In addition, third party advertisers are also gaining access through applications and using photos for their ads (an activity social networking sites claim violates their policies).

Should I run to a computer and change my settings?
Maybe, but not necessarily. The catch is that the default settings can be different sites can be different, even within the same site. For example, social networking sites may require that you affirmatively give a third party access to your profile when you download an application. That same site, though, may have a default setting which gives it open access to your photos (search “social media privacy settings” to find a lot of information on the difference between the two). Therefore, you should understand the privacy options and defaults for any site on which you post your works.

But, whether you want your pictures used depends on your circumstances. On one hand, you may risk giving up control of your work. What right you give an advertiser depends on how the privacy settings are worded. This is especially true for applications which often grant access and possible use of your entire profile. Often, you have no say in what companies may use your works or in what way, and you may not even know who the companies are (especially for access through applications). As our photographer found, she had never heard of the company that was using her photograph. If you have an established portfolio, these uses may also dilute your works’ reputation and could lead to a reduction in the price people are willing to pay for your works.

On the other hand, this may give your works greater exposure. After all, any publicity is good publicity, especially for an up and coming artist. Our photographer found out about the use because a friend was impressed how a company had picked up her photograph. Plus, some companies are willing to negotiate usage rights if the photograph is a good fit for their ads.


Social media guru Rachel Masters’ reflections on MIDEM 2010

Posted in Uncategorized on February 25, 2010 by stacyepps

Rachel_MastersIn this guest post, Red Magnet Media’s Rachel Masters shares what she learned at MIDEM in her role as a MidemNet expert. Rachel has helped artists such as 50 Cent and Linkin Park launch and grow their social networks and social media strategy. You can follow her on Twitter for more insights on social media for artists.

Now that we have had time to unpack, enter new contact information into our PDAs and follow up on key business conversations, the MIDEM team invited me to reflect upon on what I learned at MIDEM 2010.

I had the opportunity to be a speaker/expert at the MidemNet Academy and MIDEM Managers’ Forum and I did one-on-one consulting at MIDEM+. Although my role was to share information, I also learned a lot from everyone I spoke with, and some major insights emerged.

Let’s face it, we’re not in the music industry to get rich quick. Those of us who are still lucky enough to work in the music business are doing it because we love music and want to help artists create and connect with their fans.

We have entered a new phase of cooperation in the music business.  Our industry is in the midst of massive transition – sales of records, tickets, and merchandise have fallen drastically. Guess what? NOBODY HAS CRACKED THE CODE AND NOBODY KNOWS ALL OF THE ANSWERS. This is why major music industry gathering events such as MIDEM are still relevant. It allows a social media geek like myself to meet a music publisher from Dorchester, a jazz musician and record label owner from Washington DCand a design student from Montreal. We can compare notes on what is working and what isn’t.

One manager I met with told me he’s collecting not only the email addresses of every fan but also their home addresses, because nobody receives snail mail from their favorite bands anymore. That’s a great way to differentiate your band and make an impression. Inspiration can come from so many places. You have to be open and willing to share both your wins and your mistakes: so much can be learned from someone else’s perspective and experience.

I also realized there is a massive need for digital media education. Us digital media geeks are not doing a very good job at making it easy for artists and executives to learn about technology. I had never spoken at MIDEM before, yet all of my talks were packed. I realized that there is a major thirst for information around digital media and talking about it once a year is not enough. Technology companies like Twitter and Facebook should have dedicated resource areas for musicians that demystify how to easily use their services in order to connect with fans and build audiences.

If you want to educate yourself and keep up with what is happening in digital media, there are a handful of essential, must-read blogs. Use these resources to your advantage:

1.     Hypebot – Covers music, technology and the new music business. Publishes a super helpful “New Music Industry Week In Review” column (editor Bruce Houghton is a regular MIDEM(Net) Blog contributor).

2.     Digital Music News Daily – Provides fresh news on the digital music scene, and is a great source for digital media events

3.     Mashable – Offers social media news and tips. This is an amazingly rich resource.

4.     TechCrunch – Profiles and reviews new Internet products and companies.

5.    Scott Perry’s New Music TipSheet – Read this blog, written by a music executive who understands the transition we are all going through, every Monday morning to get motivated.

6.    Ariel Publicity’s Blog – Educates musicians and music entrepreneurs about how to use social media in order to expand your business and audience.

All of these blogs offer email newsletters. Sign up so you can read the latest on your mobile device.

From watching Amanda Palmer playing Radiohead’s “Creep” on a ukulele to learning about new companies like Hello Music!, my time at MIDEM this year was amazing. Thank you to everyone I met, for listening and for sharing. Please don’t stop just because MIDEM is over. Drop me a line and we’ll keep the conversation going. I look forward to hearing from you!


A Musician’s Guide to Taxes

Posted in Uncategorized on February 25, 2010 by stacyepps

It’s tax season and we can appreciate as much help as we can get…

Provided from CD Baby Podcast:

“It’s tax time! Before you run away screaming, we’ve provided this resource to help guide you through process of properly reporting your music income to the IRS. Allen Jones, from Portland Community College, stops by to break it down and aide us musicians in what is usually an ominous task. YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE: This information is provided only as a guide to point you in the right direction. Each individual has a unique tax situation, so it’s important that you seek the advice of a licensed tax preparer. In others words, don’t blame us if you get audited! Now stop procrastinating, and go do your taxes!

The form Allen has in hand for the discussion is the 1040 form. Download a copy here.”

#047: Allen Jones – A Musician’s Guide to Taxes

Posted using ShareThis

Music Business Royalties in the Digital Age by Don Passman

Posted in Uncategorized on February 18, 2010 by stacyepps
Posted by Don Passman
Monday, 23 November 2009
A graduate of the University of Texas and Harvard Law School, Passman is listed in The Best Lawyers of America. He is the author of the nonfiction bestseller All You Need to Know Aboutthe Music Business , which has sold more than 150,000 hardcover copies in print. Passman has lectured extensively on the subject of the music industry, including teaching a course at the University of Southern California Law School’s Advanced Professional Program, and lecturing for the UCLA Entertainment Law Symposium, Harvard Law School, the American Bar Association, the Practicing Law Institute, the USC Entertainment Law Institute, and the Los Angeles Copyright Society.


Assuming an independent musician has no record label, is the sole songwriter and owns their copyright and has digital distribution for a flat annual fee – How would they earn royalties from the sources below? Who collects and pays the royalties for each?

– Non interactive radio (Pandora)

Answer: There’s some question whether Pandora is “interactive” but for now, a court has held it is not. Assuming that’s correct, there is a compulsory license under the copyright law for the masters, and the monies are collected by a nonprofit company called Soundexchange.

ASCAPBMI (performing rights societies) collect for the songwriting.

The artist (who is also the record company and publisher in this example) affiliates with each of these companies for payment.

– Streaming services (Spotify)

Answer: Interactive streaming requires a license for the master from the company; there is no compulsory license, so they can charge whatever they can get. There are “aggregators” (like Tunecore and Orchard) who put together small companies and re-license the digital rights to masters. That would make sense for an owner/user like this example, because it’s hard to get streaming services to make one-off deals.

Songwriting is collected by ASCAP / BMI.

–  Digital downloads (iTunes)

Answer: Master rights are also licensed directly, or through aggregators, as above.

Publishing rights are done directly, or through Harry Fox.

– Subscription download service (eMusic)

Answer: I assume you mean a streaming subscription with a number of downloads included? If so, they need all the licenses above.

– Video streaming (YouTube)

Answer: The record company makes a deal with the site. Songwriting isn’t totally settled. Mostly, the record company gets paid by the site directly, then pays the songwriter / publisher.


Matrix Lawsuit Misinformation

Posted in Uncategorized on February 18, 2010 by stacyepps

So I have just heard from another source that the previous article was untrue, that Sophia Stewart had in fact not won the lawsuit. These websites claim that Sophia’s suit was dismissed via summary judgment.

Pursuant to the following articles:

Apparently there is a lot of misinformation about this case and more thorough research should be done.

Here is a link to her blog

and website