Thursday, March 29, 2012
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Monday, March 12, 2012
I've just arrived in Bern, Switzerland to play a few shows and I attended the opening press event where I witnessed a group of young musicians ranging in age from 18 to 28 playing in a Jazz Big Band. They were a part of the Bern school of music. Every time I'm in Europe I'm struck by how much they put the music first. In the states we often complain that there is no REAL music and so forth but we just have to open our eyes and ears because it's all in front of us. The band of students I witnessed were playing new arrangements by a Belgian composer and it was beautiful to see them be so excited about learning. I think we sometimes get so caught up in opinions and genres that we miss so much of the beauty that exists around us everyday. It is vital that we get back to a place where we participate in life and not just watch it pass us by as we stand there and dole out opinions. We have to also constantly look behind our own backyards. This is a BIG world and if you simply look and listen, you will see that music education and arts are thriving because there are students all over the world that want to know and learn as much as they can about this craft. We must also remember that we are ALL always learning. We just have to stay open to see what's right in front of us. Being a creative person in a gift and a blessing and we must not take it for granted. Enjoy the journey.
All Rights Reserved By Airtight Productions 2012
Thursday, March 8, 2012
I read a post a couple of days ago form an older artist who had been a part of a very successful group. They had gold records and a few hits, but he mentioned that during the height of their success it took him years to receive any royalties. He also mentioned that his music had been used in several films and he was only paid a few hundred dollars for licensing. He's now retired and barely living on a social security check. Yes, he is still owed tons of back royalties but can't afford an attorney to fight it. I know we've all heard hundreds of these kinds of stories. The music industry was and still is a tough business but let's never for get that it is a business FIRST and you only get what you negotiate. Most artist are so busy focusing on being famous that when they have even a little success their ego can sometimes cloud their judgement. Let's face it, their is just nothing exciting or fabulous about doing tons of paperwork including filing copyrights and publishing papers. So many artists sign agreements without fully understanding the dreaded fine print. It is important that you are aware of every single clause and what it means. A record deal or now 360 deal (which are horrible by the way) is only a loan. If you borrow money from a bank, you will negotiate to get the best interest rate and terms of payback that best suit you. Well you should look at any contractual agreement the same way. Don't walk into any meeting trying to be an artist. WALK IN AS A BUSINESS MAN/WOMAN. Negotiate terms that will pay off the advance or label investment as well as get you paid not only in the short term but the long term. You want a deal that gives you a percentage ownership stake in everything that you generate from performance royalties, publishing, mechanicals, licensing. . . etc. You need to also look at the length of the agreement. Don't sign your life away. There is so much more to consider, much more than I have time or space to write in this setting, (I will cover it in depth in my book). Just remember that you only get what you negotiate and if you make a bad deal, it's not the other guy's fault, he was looking out for his interest, NOT YOURS. Enjoy the journey.
All Rights Reserved by Airtight Productions 2012
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Monday, March 5, 2012
The one thing that will never change about this business is opinions and EVERYONE has one. What we have to be careful about is passing judgement. We all have likes and dislikes as industry people and yet another set of likes and dislikes as artists and musicians. Any healthy or constructive criticism is always welcomed and needed for growth but criticizing out of jealously or just malcontent is not beneficial to the artist or our business. We all know that there is a vast difference between great music and commercial music. Now there is some commercial music that can be considered great but for the most part commercial music serves the moment. It serves a cultural and societal point of view. It is simply a snapshot and should be looked at as such. We should always keep the quality bar raised but that doesn't mean that we disregard anything new or outside our particular box. Marketing or not, if millions of people buy into a song or artist, there is something that connects and that is not always ONLY about music. It could be the subject matter, the delivery and it's always about timing. Certain songs and artists just work at a certain time based on their social relevance. The buying public is not buying music based on perfection, they buy music that relates to their lives. Just as I've heard Jazz purists talk down about smooth Jazz not realizing that smooth jazz sells a lot more than traditional jazz because of it relevance to the current culture. If looked at correctly, the Jazz purists would see that smooth Jazz can be used as a door to get people to discover traditional Jazz. Most people are more than willing to learn but they have to feel respected as listeners and not be made to feel unintelligent because they happen to like smooth Jazz. Most of the music is just instrumental R&B and the quality of the musicianship is high and, for the most part the recordings sound great and are easily accessible for the listener. The same can be said for other genres like the blues. Most blues purist will be quick to define what is REAL blues without realizing that the blues is more than just a certain beat or set of chord changes. The blues is truly the foundation of ALL forms of American popular music but it too has grown and continues to morph into new and exciting things. The problem is those that refuse to let it do so. Some think they are preserving something but they are only destroying it because if you don't get a younger generation to embrace the music, who will carry it forward? Yes, it is vital to always know the tradition and where the music came from but we must not ever be afraid to let it grow and we must never mock the the things we don't understand. Be careful passing judgement. Live, love and create freely while enjoying your journey.
All Rights Reserved by Airtight Productions 2012