Monthly Archives: September 2017

BE The Publisher

clefnote

To Finalize Our Month of “BEING,” in which EntreMusicians can take advantage of a few of the Wonderful Opportunities which await those with Initiative, we’ll end September in a space that I cherish the most .

I have been passionate about Music Publishing since the eighth grade. I was the kid who read all of the liner notes on the album. I learned the Record Label Names, Executives, A&R Personnel, Where the Album was Recorded, Mixed, Mastered – Who the Engineers were, Producers, Arrangers, Session Players – Who the Songwriters were and then… Publishing? ASCAP, BMI, SESAC? What does this all mean?

I started reading. I went to the library and borrowed “Making It With Music” by Kenny Rogers and Len Epand. I didn’t return it. For the first time I heard and realized that the Song is the Most Important Instrument in Music and the Person(s) who Owned/Controlled the Song’s Publishing will be the Most Important Instrumentalist(s) overtime.

Upon further investigation, I found that the Term (Lifespan) of the Copyright lasts 70 years after the Death of the Composer(s) – or up to 120 years in certain situations.

Further along, I heard the incredible Horror Stories of the Thousands or more Songwriters who were completely skewered out of their Publishing Ownership, Royalties or Both, ignorantly traded for the Price of Fame, a Shiny Cadillac or even a House, while the Publisher went on to earn Millions. To add greater injury, I learned that although Tin Pan Alley may have started as a true collaboration between Songwriters & Publishers, many of the Corporate Conglomerates who Took Over Music and Earn The Most, by far, are Attorneys – some who can’t even whistle in key or snap their fingers on beat. Remember Paul McCartney of All People only recently began owning the rights to his music, having to BUY It Back!

I determined early on that more important than practicing my drums (which I do regret to some extent) that I would become a Student of Publishing, Start My Own Companies and Keep All that I could. I would Never, Ever sign away ALL of it, no matter how much moola I was offered, unless it was purchased outright. Overtime I saw how Technology alters the Art & Nuance of Publishing and that I Need to Pay Attention Often. It’s like being married!

Before I recommend that You BE Your Own Publisher (and I strongly suggest you do), I must admit that there are some very reputable publishers out there. All of them are Not Snakes, but You Need to Do Your Homework and Triple Check It Before Signing. Publishing is Extremely Difficult Work and since Your Territory IS The World, having a Strong Sub-Publisher Looking Out for Your International Affairs is Vital. Since Publishing can easily become a full time job, provided You’ve Got a few Songs shaking on Radio, TV and/or Film, You should Employ a Loyal, Committed Team who can Advise and Monitor the Very Best Deals for Your Career.

Remember, Your Number One Goal is to Help Your Song Continue Earning Money for You, Even Years After You Write/Release It. You Want Your Songs to Reap Royalties for Your Family and Your Estate when You Can No Longer Pick Up Your Drum Sticks. Publishing is a Space where “Exploitation” of Your Work is a Very Good Thing – So Having Multiple Artists in Multiple Genres Record Your Songs is a the Lifeblood of Your Team. Think PrinceStevie and for crying out loud, Think Diane Warren!

I’m blessed to be entrusted with publishing songs for several songwriters in my area. It’s a Trust that I Hold Sacred and Dear. I Preach Publishing and Make Sure They Know As Much as I Do about this Business and the Activity of their Music. Our Terms and Conditions are Beyond Fair, meant to Lease and Not Own, so that All Ownership and Control is safely reverted back to them. I haven’t made nearly as much in publishing as I’d like to – YET! But there’s always that Next Project, TV Commercial, Indie Film or Up & Coming Artist that keeps us Alert and Hustling!

Go and Do Likewise!

By The Way, If You Happen to be reading this Today, Thursday 9/28, Join Me with Trish Hennessey on Hybrid Jazz, where we will be discussing our Entire September “BE” Series and Celebrating the Humanitarian efforts of EntreMusicians in light of the recent Hurricanes! You can also Listen to the Archives!

I’ve been in an intense Azymuth mode lately. I’m listening to their “Outubro” on vinyl as I post this.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , ,

BE The Actor

Lights_Camera_Action_4

Continuing our September trek down the Avenue of Opportunities EntreMusicians are free to follow, we pause to consider an oft overlooked jewel that could help Build an Enduring Brand while providing Additional Income for years to come. Have You Considered the Wide World of Acting?

I Have and have Enjoyed Occasions to Stretch My Capacity. I’ve included a few clips below. You may or may not find them absolutely incredible and Academy Award worthy, but the Lessons I’ve learned, Experience I’ve gained and Connections I’ve Secured as a result of taking these risks have endured to my advantage.

Here’s several reasons You too should consider Acting as a Key Instrument in your EntreMusician’s Briefcase.

1) Acting naturally yields Electrifying Outlets of Creativity which can be Channeled into Wonderful Songwriting. 

2) Entering the Acting Arena aids you in Sharpening Your Stage Persona, Audience Engagement, Video Production Skills and in many ways can become a Second Career.

3) Acting Appropriately Positions You to in a space to Present Your Songs to the Soundtrack or Contribute to the Score. 

4) Acting Propels You into a Zone of Discipline that involuntarily Spills Over onto Your Musical Approach, Practice and  overall Study of Your Craft 

5) The Preoccupations of Acting Heightens Your Sensitivity to Everything Going Around You While Demanding an Exacting Performance Every Single Take.     (Every EntreMusician Reading This Can Relate…Especially if You’ve had to play drums with a pounding headache!!)

With sincere respect to the True Art & Profession of Acting, I have found within my tiny experiences that the most the Director expects of you aside from professionalism is to Relax and Be Yourself (especially while ‘In Character’)

Haven’t You Noticed that ALL of the Actors & Actresses You Know and Love are actually only playing Themselves on Stage & Screen?

In Almost Every Movie Denzel, Duvall, De Niro, Depp & Downey, Jr. retain their distinct personalities! Different Script, Different Character (supposedly), but the same basic disposition, emotions and approach. The reason we love their movies, is because we love THEM!

So Memorize Your Lines, Dive into The Script and Develop a Magnetic Persona that will Increase Your Email List and Strengthen Your Fan Base.

I have been blessed to act in three independent movies, having contributed to the scores of two and playing the lead role on stage in the off roadway adaption of David Lee Talbert’s “The Fabric of a Man”. In fact, I was so completely naïve that I didn’t know I was the lead!!

Thank You to Art Byrd, Johnny Herbert and Ray O’Neil for trusting my muse!

Greater Threat Clip (Ray O’Neil)

Magnify (Art Byrd)

Film Ruiner – A Spoof while out in LA (Art Byrd)

I Was Listening to Bob James’ “H” on Vinyl while writing this blog…

Tagged , , , , , , ,

BE The Producer!

prod2

Throughout this month, I’m sharing A Few of The Ways I’ve Honed My EntreMusicianal Skills by “Being” All The Things I’ve Needed to “Be” to Advance My Artistry & Career, while making a few bucks along the way. Last Week, I detailed the opportunities awaiting EMs who donned the Booking Agent Hat to represent other Singers/Bands/Artists in their areas. Today, we look into Being The Producer.

In a Tiny Region like Youngstown Ohio, there are very few outlets for Jazz Musicians. Many of Us Frequently Perform in Akron, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and further away, as my band SounDoctrine began to do early on to make a name for ourselves.

Around 2005 the City hired an Event Coordinator, Claire Maluso, to open up the Downtown Entertainment Corridor to other Genres which were traditionally dominated by Rock and College Bar Bands. Claire, an avid jazz lover, reached out to me as SounDoctrine was starting to build momentum due to our music airing on the Weather Channel during their famous jazz filled breaks.

We began to put together weekends in various downtown restaurants which quickly spilled into the annual Youngstown Jazz Fest. When Claire left her position, I began to work with the new hire and representatives from YSU and the Visitors Bureau to broaden the show’s scope. I was Blessed to Oversee Production from 2010-13. This provided two wonderful advantages for which I remain grateful.

1)  Through Corporate and Community Sponsorship, we were able to secure a better rate for All of the Performers. Previously, the “Baby Bands” received $0.00 “for exposure,” which I always thought was a crock after doing my fair share of them. The more notable bands were paid between $250-$400 for a 45 minute set. But with 5 to 6 members…?

What I was blessed to do was raise that rate to $850 per band and then create a “Pre Fest Night” at a Downtown Venue the night before where the “Baby Bands” were paid for their exposure and one of the notables headlined the evening! This created Synergy and Excitement for the Entire Weekend. It also created greater degrees of acknowledgement from the local artists, who all recognized that our team was committed to paying them more respectfully.

2)  As Producer, I Was Able to Strategically place SounDoctrine Immediately Before the Headliner. This meant:

a) More Time on Stage

b) Our Set Would Be Seen by those who may have arrived late

c) The Prime Opportunity to be Associated With (and often acknowledged by) The Headliner who usually arrived during the first portion of our set

Our resume now includes us opening for jazz legends, Spyro Gyra, Pieces Of A Dream and Grammy Winner Kirk Whalum among others, many of which we are blessed to remain in close contact with.

To ensure our momentum, we also created a monthly “Second Sundays” event to keep the jazz vibe alive Downtown, which ran until 2015, which featured regional artists and also gave our band another outlet for presenting new material. We were blessed to partner with our local Chick fil-A franchise to make this a spectacular event.

This past March, I was blessed to produce the very successful “Meet Me At The Cross” Good Friday Event at the Covelli Center in Downtown Youngstown, which by God’s grace was my largest feat to date. We are currently making plans for 2018.

Through this process, I have learned all of the consociate aspects of “Putting On a Show” faster than if I had just remained in the Drum Chair, showing up for Sound Check. Needing to simultaneously wear the multifaceted hats of Technician, Promoter, Marketer, Fund Raiser, Corporate Solicitor, Stage Direction and grasping what it means to dialogue about City Ordinances, Liability Insurance, Unions and how to navigate the various insecure/angry/weird personalities you often encounter in a 20 hour day without losing your cool – while retaining the stamina to play your set, has wholly strengthened me and has helped me to make better decisions in my career.

Production is extremely hard work. “Game Day” will Make You or Crush You!! There are No Gray Areas. One Day I will tell you about the time I almost went to jail hours before I was to go on stage…

I’m forever grateful for an amazing team I can call at a moment’s notice when it’s time to do it again! Michaela Write, Orlando & Dana Watson, Lori B, Phil The Beat & Rosalyn Moore, Felicia (FiFi) Fuller, Jerry & Bea Thjompson, Demetrius Allen, Isaiah Rowe, Dan Glass, Shaun Shaulis and the silent Nia Brown. Y’all Know None of this could’ve been done without you!

BE The Producer!

 

I was listening to Herbie Hancock‘s “Mr. Hands” on Vinyl while composing this.

 

Tagged , , , , , ,

BE The Booking Agent!

concert audienceSince September is a Traditional Educational Month, I Will Spend it with You by Sharing A Few of The Ways I’ve Honed My EntreMusicianal Skills by “Being” All The Things I’ve Needed to “Be” to Advance My Artistry & Career, while making a few bucks along the way. 

Being an EntreMusician comprises being adept at all of the functions of an Artist’s Career. Managing all the aspects of your own career can be its own unsettling balancing act. However, when you’ve become adept at walking atop your own tightrope, you might find it profitable to help someone else gain stability. 

It’s Common Practice for any Musician to refer another band for a gig they aren’t able to do. The second step is becoming noted for intentionally hooking up other talent for an event or venue and receiving a reasonable fee for doing so. 

For a few years now, since my days as producer of the event formally known as the Youngstown Jazz Fest, I have been able to align various artists with a variety of regional events. Both parties are aware that I represent the Band/Singer/Musician as an agent exclusive to that performance.  

I charge an extremely affordable rate, based upon the amount of work I need to do – and I keep it very basic. This fee is ALWAYS Collected from the Venue and Never from the Artist. I am doing them both a favor, but the advantage is Always Towards My Fellow EntreMusician. 

I Only Recommend bands I KNOW are completely dependable with a Killer Show to Event Promoters that I KNOW will Treat Them Right and Will Pay. If I am Not Confident of Either of these Attributes, I don’t get involved.  

I Send an Agreement on Behalf of the Performer, Collect the Non-Refundable Deposit and Secure the Date. I don’t get mired into the tiny details letting the bandleader and venue owner customize the event. I Am Not the Band’s Manager and I Never Insert Myself into that Role. 

I’ve had only 100% Satisfaction Rate so far for these “Favors.” The best thing is I Don’t have to be there on the night of the event, unless I want to. I Invest My Time in Concentrating on My Own Production and/or Performance! 

Please Note: Some of the Larger Music Business Capitals have State Laws which govern and license the activities of Booking Agents. Make Certain You Are Knowledgeable of and In Compliance with any applicable situation!

Be The Booking Agent!

I was Listening to Chuck Mangione‘s “Live AT The Hollywood Bowl” on Vinyl while posting this…

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,