So I've made this blog to point out some of the mistakes I've noticed that Musicians make and to share tips. One of the biggest mistakes I've noticed is that they "forget" to copyright their music. I say forget and use it VERY loosely because most Artist don't even think to copyright their music or know they are supposed to. A nice way for me to stress the importance of copyrighting your music is so you know it is yours, and that no one else can use it for a profit without your permission; protect yourself and your intellectual property.
When you copyright your music, you mark it as your own creation. This gives you legal grounds to go after someone who may be making a profit from it without your permission. It also is necessary when you register your music with BMI or ASCAP. They won’t allow you to make money from your music unless you can prove that you hold the copyright. This is not as hard as you might think, but you do have to fill out some paperwork and pay a fee to copyright your music.
Some people like to do this one song at a time, but you can save a lot of time and money if you have a recording of more than one song. Once you've recorded a few tracks you can then copyright your music all at once. Some artists like to submit an entire album at once, and that is always a great idea. If you have just one song, and you don’t know when you might write another, go ahead and copyright your music creations one at a time. Have the lyrics written down also so that you can get it copyrighted - who knows you may have the one catch phrase that everyone wants to bite off of and years from now you can honestly say "I started that" and it's documented.
I don't really suggest Poor Man's Copyright due to the chance of it not holding up in court.
*Form PA - performing arts works, including motion pictures
*Form - sound recordings
*$45 payable by check or money order
*must be clear, legible, and on good quality 8.5-inch by 11-inch white paper
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
"Swagger" is important to urban music. However, don't let "swagger" keep your music career at a standstill. YOU NEED FANS!! You may be the hottest singer, rapper, performer, etc. in the game but you will never be able to make money in the music business without fans.
Music Marketing is about attracting fans - getting more people to come to your performances, buy your CD's, and tell other people about you. Also take note that you must go out and build fans, sitting up on MySpace adding people all day and never getting out in the world is not going to build genuine fans. Get involved in as many showcases, talent shows, etc. that allow you to showcase your talent. I'll say it again: People have to SEE you perform and LIKE you enough to BUY your music and TELL other people about you
Following up with my previous post about Interviews, check out my great friend, Crisco Kidd of PARTY 933.com, Houston's Hip Hop & Party Station, as he sits down with Common. Common was in town last night with N.E.R.D. as they are on tour.
There are two Kyte feeds featuring Common, so be sure to check them both out.
Crisco Kidd broadcasts LIVE via Kyte MONDAY THRU FRIDAY 3pm - 7pm. Check him out and join him in chatting live and answering questions on air and in chat. Or just tune in to his show via www.party933.com.
www.myspace.com/thablockparty - www.kyte.tv/ch/88950-crisco-kidd-block-party - www. criscokidd.blogspot.com/ - www.Twitter.com>CriscoKidd
Monday, September 8, 2008
In a previous post, I stated that all write ups are a good thing to add to your Press Kit. Good or bad write ups, interviews, news paper clippings, etc, should all be saved and put into your PK or EPK. When I say BAD write ups and such, I mean possibly on the writers behalf - NOT YOU AS AN ARTIST!
(side note - the example I am about to post is of a group that I actually really like & is rather cool with one of the guys, but wrong is wrong! LOVE YOU SCOOBY!!)
The Grit Boys are a Houston underground group - actually they stand out a little above underground due to them actually having more clout around town, on the local status of Lil KeKe, Z-Ro or Trae. Last November the talented trio was featured in The Houston Press, one of Houston's TOP paper publications, actually it is the most known paper publication in town. Overall it caters to White people but it is very informative for all. The Grit Boys interview was also showcased on the home page of HP's site for the week it was out, which is how I came across it. I thought I was being hard on them by being disappointed until getting feedback from other people:
HP: That's so badass. That should be your next CD cover. Does everyone have daytime jobs?
Unique: [Scooby] is a cable man*, I lay carpet and [Poppy] works at a tennis shop.
(*Scooby later explained that he is not an actual cable man. He works with the cable receiver boxes; he doesn't actually "knock on doors and shit.")
Poppy: I work in shipping and receiving in a tennis shop. I ain't never fucked with tennis a day in my life.
Scooby: What's crazy is that work reality just set in. At first we was just bullshitting. Broke. Thinking some shit was just gonna come to us. All these niggas is lying sayin' they got all this money. That shit is dumb. I have no problem working. I got bills to pay, feel me.
I DID MENTION THAT WHITE PEOPLE READ THIS RIGHT?....OKAY, CARRYING ON:
HP: So gimme some juice. Who do you all hate? Where's the beef?
Scooby: You know what we really, just, really don't like?
HP: What's that?
Scooby: Bitch-ass niggas........
Scooby: It's like, they know that you got everything that could make you bigger than them, but they don't wanna fuck with you because you could pass them up. But then they act like you still cool with them. They ain't your friends but you kinda gotta be cool with them 'cause you gotta see them people everyday. It's like your boss, you know what I'm saying? You could be the best worker, but he's gonna mess with you 'cause he don't want you to get past his position.
HP: So basically, my boss is a bitch-ass nigga? Got it.
Scooby: Ha. Nah, I'm saying, that's how niggas is.
Having an interview in a well known publication where you have excessive cursing is NOT SEXY! "Bitch ass nigga"?? I wouldn't suggest this type of language with any article but HOUSTON PRESS is definitely not one you want to act a fool in. The sponsors and companies that read the Magazine is overwhelming - forget about the labels who may read it. We are in an era where companies such as Scion, Coke, Red Bull and Pepsi are looking to reach the Urban Consumers and one way they do so is through Artists. You have a name in your community and you're featured in HP - you may be someone I want to contact because it some what shows you are cross over and appealing. Well guess what, it just went out of the window when you're featured and your interview looks like that.
I would suggest doing practice interviews with bloggers, local magazines or even your friends - after all, practice makes perfect. Read up on interviews by some of your favorite artist in big publications so that you have more control of your interview to where you're answering questions you want to answer are asked. GOT IT? =)
Complete Grit Boys Interview
The article featured above is a clipping of my GREAT friend Chris Classic. Chris is a talented artist whose music you have heard but didn't even know it. His music has been featured themes of TV shows, and movie soundtracks or placements for many movies including Transformers, Fantastic Four,Fantastic Four Rise of The Silver Surfer, American Pie 4,5 and 6, Harold and Kumar I & II, Alvin & The Chipmunks, and several others. Along with several ads for huge clients like the NBA, McDonalds, Sprint, Chevrolet and Dodge.
There is no question that his songwriting and performance skills are marketable and appealing. The media buy for the Dodge charger campaign was $60 million. The Transformers and Alvin & The Chipmunks movies alone had $200 million behind them. And while it seems that most artists who are fairly successful are trying to get into the Film and TV world that Classic has cornered, he still yearns for the ability to release an album on a major or successful independent record label. He is currently working on his first album even with no recording contract, called The Radio Project, with an expected completion in 2008.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
It's about QUALITY not QUANTITY; if you know you don't go to every Artist page that you add and support their music, what makes you think they are doing nothing more than adding you just to get their numbers up - numbers that mean nothing if they aren't listening? Mama always said, do unto others as you want done to you, take that same quote and apply it to your music game.
Speaking from personal experience, interacting with the 150 people you have on your friends list that actually enjoy your music leads to more people who want to check you out and add you on their own because they are feeling your music. How so you ask? The same way MySpace got you in trouble behind some girl leaving you sexy glitter comments on a weekly bases is the same way people will check you out; Muthaflippers are NOSEY! Having genuine and regular conversations with people that are actual fans on a weekly bases makes outsiders wonder, "who is this person?", so their next move is to click on your page, play your music, scroll through your comments and if you're good, they add you. TRUE STORY! You're able to do this by actually NETWORKING and being a FRIEND to your fans. Keeping it small to start off with leads to them paying you attention when you have things going on, which then turns to them following you when you get a little shine and encourages them to go out and buy your album because you were their ACTUAL Bud on MySpace and not just another annoying Artist. It's not too late, remove the unwanted people; treat MySpace as a business if you're going to attempt to count how many song plays you had for the day. Make those plays count. Out of all of those plays, how many people added YOU and not you adding them?
Think about this... Suppose you get 1000 people of all ages, genders and backgrounds to come to a show that you are putting on at a local venue. You start out the show giving the people information about your music and you perform a few of your best songs. Chances are that at least 1 person of the 1000 will like you and your music enough to buy your CD or come to your next live performance. Apply this theory to a larger group of people. There are almost 300 million people in the United States. One-tenth of one percent would be 300,000 people. If you end up with 3 fans out of that group of 1000 people, you'd have nearly one million fans!! WHY NOT YOU?!?!
Build your fan base!
Lately, a lot of my inspiration to continue working within this MUSIC industry (working with actual Fortune 500 companies is so much easier) has come from a great friend, my role model, Aaron Arnold of Music is my Business. It's hard to really pinpoint one thing about him that stands out, just take my word when I say he is a motivated young man who has accomplished a lot in a short amount of time.
With that being said, I'd like to possibly introduce two networking sites that I encourage many people to take apart of. These are two sites ran by some of the most highly respected men in the industry; Ludacris & Super producer/Song Writer Bryan Michael Cox.
Wemix.com is Ludacris' home away from home. The site allows you to make a profile, upload your music, network with other talented people and most importantly, be involved in personal contest that Luda puts on. dope, aye?
TheStudioExposed.com is Bryan's networking site - it is one of those Ning.com hook ups. Joining different groups and participating in contest and forums are some of the key highlights on the site. Not to mention a host of Musicians seeking Producers, Song writers and Artist.
I'd suggest not trying to put on a front for the Talents that run the show. In due time after networking and building a name amongst the site may be what is best; be genuine about it also. Take advantage and click every tab possible and get in on the action.
Not that I should have to say this, but I am in no way shape or form paid by either of these men to promote their site, I am a member of both sites for reasons separate of yours; research. My research has allowed me to come back and share the great sites with you!
I have a background of putting on some of the hottest showcases in Houston via my place of business; yes I am the brain child of every showcase that went down even the one's with PARTY 93.3.
I want to do the same here - showcase talented musicians. Granted this is not a Magazine (I was an editor for one before) but blog reviews are something is substance when it comes to your Press Kit. What's a press kit you ask? Tsk - yeah, you need me, lol. With my immaculate writing skills (don't sleep, I get paid to write bio's & such, lol) I will do a weekly write up on an amazing artist who is talented. Taking such write up, printing it out and finding a suitable place within your press kit is something Labels look for; amazing write ups on your music. Excuse me for being in the stone age & believing grass roots Managing is what it takes to get a talented Artist signed with an astounding record deal.
Send me your music - CathrynMarie@Gmail.com
ps - GOOD and NEGATIVE write ups are something of relevance. It shows you're not human and there are people who didn't get you when you first started out.
Quote from Side Bar:
....having 50 million friends on MySpace is NOT networking & having 50 million hits on MySpace does not mean anything if no one likes your music. The hits more than likely come from someone like myself who clicks on your page post to the message out of curiosity. Yanno, the same way John McCain had over 3.5 viewers watch his speech at the RNC - no one cared for him but tuned in out of curiosity.
Obviously someone has to be the bearer of bad news - People have to SEE you perform and LIKE you enough to BUY your music and TELL other people about you. You need fans in order to be known, and TRUE fans. Not fans that Hammer had who were no longer fans once he lost his money, yanno those who didn't buy other albums because he looked out for his people.
There are other things needed and that is what this blog is for. I'm not going to give away EVERYTHING because Music Marketing is how a Sista eats, lol BUT I will throw tips out there to get you to where I would tell you YES when asked to work your project. I turn a lot of people down because I refuse to be associated with garbage as music, money does not motivate me - working a quality project with quality people excites me.
I have my hands in a lot of things, from DJ's to Radio to Record Labels (and not those Mom & Pop labels) - I've learned from these people and we work together - so now let me work with you so you can know these people also.