Archive for the ‘music business’ Category

good management

September 30, 2014


What musician couldn’t use a good manager, a trustworthy manager? Here’s a true story about the Turtles (by the Turtles) that shows what can happen to a band…

Is the album is dying? This guy says it’s dead.

November 16, 2013

Everywhere I read about the music industry (blogs, tweets, magazines and newspapers) pundits have been saying the album is dying. This guy says it’s dead.

In a few straight-forward statements, Bob Lefsetz lays it out. In a Variety article, he uses sales data from the recent releases by Katy Perry, Elton John, Miley Cyrus, Paul McCartney, Lorde and others to make the point that people don’t care about concept albums anymore. And if your album is just a collection of unrelated songs, they care even less. People want a hit song. If you give them one, they’ll ask for another one, not a throwaway cut from the same album.

No one had more hype than Miley Cyrus, but “Bangerz” didn’t even sell 45,000 copies in its fourth week of release. She can go on “SNL,” tweet her life away, but it’s not moving the needle. Lorde is selling as much as Miley without the benefit of scorched earth, proving quality music is as good as hype. But Lorde isn’t burning up the chart either.

We’ve turned into a nation of grazers. And the artist’s job is to constantly be at the smorgasbord. Not to deliver one big meal that is picked at and thrown away, but to constantly provide tantalizing bites to the public.

Read Bob Lefsetz’s Variety article here.

Demand for jingle writers

March 19, 2013

Musicians cash in by composing ad jingles

From the LA Times: Demand for ad jingles turns L.A. songwriters into music factories

An increasing number of ad agencies are seeking original compositions for their commercials, helping boost the fortunes of Los Angeles musicians and composers. Commercial-music licensing is a booming business, as advertisers, filmmakers, TV producers and others use pop songs to gloss their products. But licensing pop songs can be quite costly. So an increasing number of ad agencies are looking for original compositions for their commercials.

That has meant songwriting jobs for Los Angeles musicians and composers who are writing jingles while waiting for fate to turn them into rock stars.

“It used to be that you got called a sellout. But times have changed,” said Casey Gibson, a musician who has been paid to write jingles for Purina dog food and Columbia Sportswear commercials. “I’m actually proud of the fact that I’m able to make a living being a creative person.”

Read the entire article with photos here.

Gangnam Style, an explanation

October 12, 2012

I don’t know what the lyrics to this song mean, if anything. But if you think the US music industry is strange, you should hear how they do it in Korea.

According to a recent report, there are three reasons South Korean pop music is taking over the world:

1) Korea decided to produce pop music like it produces cars. Industrialize and focus on exports. South Korea is a relatively small country — any industry that wants to get really big has to look outside. So music moguls in the country created hit factories, turning young singers into pop stars and sending them on tour around Asia.

2) Korean record labels transformed the way music was released. From the beginning, new songs debuted on national television, not on the radio, like was done traditionally over here. That means the moment Koreans started listening to Korean pop music, they were listening through their screens. They were watching their music.

3) Korea is one of the most wired countries in the world. So early on in their development, record labels had to get good at YouTube. And they kind of perfected it. YouTube videos by Korean record labels were so good, they got tons of views overseas. And that’s how the record labels knew where to tour their acts. They knew their customers wanted them before they even got there.

Listen to the full report from NPR here.

will crowd funding work for me?

September 25, 2012

Terre Roche (formerly of The Roches) wrote an article in the New York Times describing her experience with Kickstarter, and then with Indiegogo. She and her band Afro-Jersey, failed to meet their goal. I guess we can’t all be Amanda Palmer.

She comments on the changing role of the independent musician, noting that her job seemed to consist of sending thousands of emails, checking for contributions and responding to friends/fans who sent money to the Kickstarter campaign and to a “wave of e-mails with sad tales of illnesses, lost jobs and stock-market horror stories.” Songwriting and rehearsing are on the back burner now.

a “wave of e-mails with sad tales of illnesses, lost jobs and stock-market horror stories”

She ends the article with this:

In a recent interview, Woody Allen revealed the astonishing fact that he has never sent or received an e-mail. It occurred to me that there are only two types of people alive today who have the luxury of indulging themselves in this manner: the very, very wealthy and the homeless. In the age of “Occupy” divisiveness, it’s nice to see a common ground between those two groups.

Read her article, called The New Busking here.

You can find a related story, featuring the crowd funding experiences of several artists, including The Physics, Amanda Palmer and Terre Roche on NPR. Listen here.

What ‘Mastered for iTunes’ Really Means

March 5, 2012

The Record is a blog about how people find, make, buy, share and talk about music. It’s a collaboration between NPR’s Arts Desk and NPR Music.

Read their take on Apple’s new ‘mastered for iTunes‘ program.

Here’s a little of what Apple has to say about it.

Whether you’re a major label or a small indie, you provide the most important ingredient for iTunes—the music itself. It’s our job to faithfully and accurately deliver your songs and albums to fans around the world exactly as you intend them to be heard. To achieve this transparency, you need tools and technologies from us to ensure delivery of the highest quality master recordings possible into our ecosystem. With over 250 million iOS devices capable of playing your music, there’s never been a better time than now for us to communicate, codify, and distribute updated information to you about the best tools and processes used to produce the millions of AAC files delivered daily to our mutual customers in over 50 countries around the world.

Download the entire 10 page pdf from Apple here: mastered_for_itunes

4 New Year’s Resolutions for Songwriters

January 3, 2012

By Cliff Goldmacher at,

1. Write down a song title every day. If you take a minute or two every morning to wake up your inner songwriter, you’ll be amazed at the cumulative results by year’s end. Keep a small notebook by your bed and write down a song title first thing every day. Don’t spend a ton of time on these; just write down the first thing that comes to mind. Some of your titles will be uninspired but others will be genuinely unique and song-ready. This notebook is a great way of not having to start from scratch when it’s time to sit down and write. Sometimes a title that seemed dull when you were writing it down will inspire a great song when you see it again later. It’s a small thing but it’s a reminder that inspiration is an active pursuit.

2. Find a new (or your first) co-writer. Carrying the weight of creating a song by yourself is both a worthwhile challenge and a discouraging burden, depending on the day. Sharing the load with a co-writer is a great way to stay motivated and explore different approaches to songwriting. Read the rest of resolution #2 here.

3. Write a song in a genre that’s new to you. As a country songwriting friend said to me once, “there are lots of countries.” In other words, try to write a song this year in a musical style that’s unfamiliar to you. Read the rest of #3 here.

4. Don’t give up. Songwriting is not a profession for the faint-hearted or the easily discouraged. It can be both exhilarating and demoralizing. Read the entire article here.

Cliff Goldmacher is a songwriter, producer, session musician, engineer, author and owner of recording studios in Nashville, TN and Sonoma, CA. Cliff’s site, Educated Songwriter, is full of resources for the aspiring songwriter and his company, Nashville Studio Live, provides songwriters outside of Nashville with virtual access to Nashville’s best session musicians and singers for their songwriting demos.

You can download a FREE sample of Cliff’s eBook “The Songwriter’s Guide To Recording Professional Demos” by going to

Twitter: @edusongwriter

How to make a living playing music

November 29, 2011

Print this one, frame it and post it on your wall. Or fold it up and keep it in your wallet. It’s a little long, but well worth your time. In this blog post Danny Barnes spells out some principles to live by. It’s clear he’s talking from experience.

I had not heard of Danny Barnes before, but after reading this post, I had to dig deeper. Now I dig his music, too.

Read the post and explore Danny Barnes and his music here.

Major label artist makes 8 cents for every iTunes download

November 9, 2011

…according to federal court documents filed by attorneys for Chuck D.

Found on Digital Music News. Read the full article and see a similar chart for ringtones here.

How much do musicians make online?

October 28, 2011

How much money do musicians really get paid in this new digital marketplace? Is it enough to live on? How many CDs would you have to sell to earn a living? How many iTunes downloads would you have to sell every month? How about albums or downloads on CD Baby, how about Spotify?

Someone has taken the time and the considerable effort to research this and present it in a stiking visual way. In addition they are making available all the numbers in a spreadsheet arrangement here. To see a sharper (readable) graphic image, click here for the original post.

Note: these figures do not include publishing royalties (paid to composers of songs). The full spreadsheet of data does though. You can see all the numbers and sources here: