Sunday, April 6, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008
1.) A strong hook/memorable chorus. If no one knows what your song is called, they can’t request it when they hear it on the radio. More importantly, they can’t buy it at retail…or track it down on the Internet to illegally download a copy of it.
2.) Good melody. Commercial music is characterized by good melodies (i.e. verses, choruses, and sometimes bridges that get stuck in your head and make you want to sing-along). What can the top selling hip-hop acts of the last 10 years (Tupac, Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, Eminem, and 50 Cent) attribute their success to? Good melodies (not cool beats) that increase the commercial value of their music...thanks largely in part to the king of modern hip-hop melody, Dr. Dre.
1. Have good songs.
Much easier said than done, but isn’t this the goal? Collaborate with people that are more experienced than you. If you are a singer, set your ego aside and get (or cover) songs that allow you to showcase the strength of your vocal talents.Read More....
Friday, March 21, 2008
"The Fastest and Easiest Way to Make Money With Your Music
Will Be Staring You In The Face Tonight — I guarantee It!"
By Michael Laskow
In one of my recent columns I wrote about recognizing opportunity and then seizing it. This month, I'm going to make it even easier for you. I'm going to show you the fastest, cheapest, and easiest way to make money with your music.
I'm surprised you haven't figured it out for yourself yet. You stare at it night after night, and it stares right back at you. As a matter of fact, it even talks to you (and millions of other people). That's right you slackers, wake up and smell the half-caff, low-fat, double mocha-latte, it's your TV!
Think about it. In the early days of television there were only three networks and only slightly more channels. With the advent of cable and Direct Satellite transmission, the average American home has 60-100 channels of programming and virtually every show needs music. Even better—there are a lot more countries other than the U.S. that have TV's with music hungry programs, and more channels are popping up every day.
Let's see... you've got your big time networks, then you've got your not so big networks (I hate the frog with the top hat logo—really dumb), you've got your food networks, your travel networks, your hunting networks, your fishing networks, your beauty networks, your health networks, your classic movie networks, your porno movie networks, your "classic" porno networks, your religion networks, your fire-breathin' heathen networks, and God only knows what else. My point? They all have programming that needs music!
So where does all that music come from? Most of it comes from people like you. If you think all those shows have high priced music houses do custom scoring for them, think again. The majority of the music you hear on TV comes from what are commonly called production music libraries (they used to be called needle-drop libraries, but for obvious reasons, they're not any more).
Production music libraries buy much of their music from people who work out of home or project studios. You don't need to have an arsenal of equipment. A studio with MIDI and at least eight tracks should do the trick. If you can afford to go digital, so much the better—not because anybody listening at home will have a clue that they're listening to a digital recording, but because it allows you to bounce tracks more cleanly, thus needing less tracks, and keeping the cost of your studio to a minimum.
So, what's the next step? Well, you need to know that making music for TV isn't like making records, and it isn't like making demos. The quality of your recording has to be what is commonly called, "Master Quality." In short, that means, better than a demo, but not necessarily as good as a record. The companies that buy or use these tracks are not looking for good compositions that need to be re-recorded. They want something that's done, finished, complete, finito. They want a mix done to DAT that they can then use in their library, or master on to a CD. No re-cutting, no re-mixing.
Many libraries house their most popular cuts on CD volumes that are often categorized by type of music. Some categories that typically get requested by end users are: Jazz (of all types), Rock, R&B, Country, Alternative, Horrific, Serial Dramatic, 50's, 60's, yep, even 70's period music, Rap, Anthemic (think Marlboro man meets Francis Scott Key), World Beat, Ethnic, Corporate—in short, just about every kind of music is needed for something sooner or later.
Tracks for TV, radio, documentaries, and corporate videos are usually requested in lengths of :2, :5, :10, :15, :30, :60, and 3:00. Most libraries will ask for a specific track in all or most of the aforementioned lengths. Some lengths are used for TV commercials, some are for radio, some are used for station I.D.'s, and some are used for cues in films. Be prepared to write your tracks so they are easily editable to the shorter lengths from the longer "parent" track, and make sure the tracks have a button, or closed ending. That simply means the tracks ends on a beat, not a fade, and by the way, should somebody tell you they need a :30 track, they really mean they need a :29.5 (reverb decay included), a :60 should be :59.5 and so on. If the tracks are too long, they will be cut off by the next commercial or segment of the TV show. Golden rule: never go over the allotted time. Come in just short, ring out included.
The exception to the button ending, timed to perfection track is when the film or TV show needs a song with lyrics, not just an instrumental track. There are often cases where a scene requires something that sounds like a hit song, but has never actually been a hit. It's cheaper to license a song from somebody who is "nobody" than it is to license a song from a major superstar. In fact, it can be tens of thousands of dollars cheaper. My advice—try to license the stuff that's been sitting on the shelf for a while and has no great probability of ever being a hit. Save your best for Clive Davis if your ultimate goal is to get a record deal.
I'm guessing that most of you who are reading this column would be very happy to just make a living doing nothing else but music, and the most realistic way I know how to do that is to get your music in to TV shows and film. You probably won't make millions, but you can earn a very nice living.
I know of quite a few people who subscribe to my service (TAXI), who have been successful in getting their music into music libraries, who in turn have placed their music in T.V shows and films. One of our subscribers makes over $100,000 a year working from his home doing music for film and TV, and another was recently able to quit his day job as a phone line installer (with 20 years seniority) because he is becoming very successful doing music for film and TV Nice work if you can get it!
The bottom line is that if you get off the couch and get motivated, you can make enough money making music to quit your day job. One word of advice—the companies that need this music won't track you down, you'll need figure out who they are and how to make contact with them. Hint: The networks themselves aren't the people to call. Try to find music libraries, publishers who regularly work in film and TV, and music supervisors working on film and TV projects. There are directories that list some of these companies. Work on your phone presentation before you call—be succinct, keep the conversation very short and very to the point.
When you are writing a song, there are things that "work" in a vague story and things that don't. If you've ever read any Jung, or even Joseph Campbell, you'll have some understanding of the way certain great themes work on the subconscious, even if the conscious mind can't say just what they're about. A lyric can consist of a number of disjointed phrases which invoke feelings of, say, "loneliness," and it will work, even if it's not specifically "about" something. The songwriter can still look at the lyric, line by line, and ask themselves, "is this line working for me or against me?"
Somewhat akin to vague lyrics are lyrics which work on more than one level. The Beatles' song "Julia" was written about John Lennon's mother, but it works as a normal love song just as well. It makes the song more meaningful if you know the "subtext," but it doesn't prevent the song from working for the person who is hearing it, unexplained, for the first time.
Occasionally, I'll write a song where the "real" meaning of the song is never stated, but at the same time, I'll try to make the song work on some more "obvious" level. Maybe the inspiration for the song was my favorite sports team losing a big game, but I'll try to write it so that it also works for the listener who thinks it's just one person consoling another person in a time of trouble.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
What does copy right protect?
Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.
No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work.
Registration is recommended for a number of reasons. Many choose to register their works because they wish to have the facts of their copyright on the public record and have a certificate of registration. Registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney's fees in successful litigation. Finally, if registration occurs within 5 years of publication, it is considered prima facie evidence in a court of law.
The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a “poor man’s copyright.” There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration.
You may register unpublished works as a collection on one application with one title for the entire collection if certain conditions are met. It is not necessary to list the individual titles in your collection. Published works may only be registered as a collection if they were actually first published as a collection and if other requirements have been met.
Yes. The deposit requirement consists of the best edition of the CD-ROM package of any work, including the accompanying operating software, instruction manual, and a printed version, if included in the package.
More questions answered http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/
To register a work, submit a completed application form, a nonrefundable filing fee of $30, and a nonreturnable copy or copies of the work to be registered.
Cities like Nashville and Los Angeles are beaming with songwriters who spend hours if not days writing, forming, and creating a song. If you are going to write them, why not get paid for your efforts. Songwriters are paid through a medium called royalties. I already mentioned 2 kinds of royalties...Mechanical and Performance.
The other 2 kinds of royalties are:
- Synchronization rights and royalties - A synchronization license is needed for a song to be reproduced onto a television program, film, video, commercial, radio, or even an 800 number phone message. It is called this because you are "synchronizing" the composition, as it is performed on the audio recording, to a film, TV commercial, or spoken voice-over. If a specific recorded version of a composition is used, you must also get permission from the record company in the form of a "master use" license. The synchronization royalty is paid to songwriters and publishers for use of a song used as background music for a movie, TV show, or commercial.
- Print rights and royalties - This is a royalty paid to songwriters and publishers based on sales of printed sheet music.