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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Using Multiple Monitors and INCREASING PRODUCTIVITY!!

Since I do vast amount of computer work that requires a LOT of processing speed I actually use up to 4 or 5 computers at a time as each one is dedicated to a different task. Not only does this allow me to multi-task but it allows me to let certain machines RENDER large files (sometimes 45 minutes or more to render) without fear of harming my VIDEO FILES and I can KEEP WORKING on other parts of these projects without skipping a beat!

My Main Computers are two relatively new PC’s that I built myself and I use three monitors for the TWO Machines. I’m using two 21” monitors on the one machine using a dual HDMI video card so I can do graphics, music mastering, videos, etc on that machine all at the same time and have plenty of real estate to put different apps, windows, etc exactly where I need them. And the second machine just has ONE monitor but I’ve got an HDMI output to my TV if I need more real estate or want to stream from NETFLIX (without using my wireless connection) or any other viewable content from my computer to my TV – even though I do NOT watch TV.

(IN FACT – a new blog coming soon on 10 REASON to KILL your TV!)

The second machine is what I use to “stream” music or check my social nets, etc – and that way I only have one machine that’s truly exposed to the internet. And I use a KVM switch for both machines so that I only need one mouse and keyboard! And lastly I use an 8 PORT POWERED USB A/B switch so I can use any USB device such as webcam, flash, jump drives, or even move files to my external drives, AS any USB device can be shared between both machines…a HUGE TIME SAVER, and has some security features as well – as you’d have to physically be IN MY OFFICE to flip the A/B to either machine!

But this is the MOST important thing you should get from this BLOG – USING MULTIPLE MONITORS will increase your productivity by at LEAST 40%!!!

I’m NOT KIDDING…and there’s research out there that back me up!

But sometimes when I’m checking site design and coding issue in different browsers it’s NICE to be able to run THREE monitors (one with IE, Firefox and Chrome, Safari or even OPERA!) Setting up two monitors with a dual graphics card is a snap! But using more may require a second graphics card OR A SOFTWARE APP to ADD MORE MONITORS!

I’m able to use my third monitor from my second machine using an app call “maxi-vista” – it’s AWSEOME at the mid-level network monitor app that allows you to share MANY MONITORS via your NETWORK (and yes, you can allow just the monitor to be shared through your SOFTWARE FIREWALLS!) And all I have to do is to EXTEND my desktop and I’m using THREE MONITORS while working on one project. And with the mid-level version – you still can use your clipboard to copy/paste from the second machine – (a simpler way of networking without having to set up File and PRINTER sharing!)

Then I’ve got a new MAC Laptop next to me that I will use for a variety of purposes and my iPad just roams around at will.  And that’s just in my MAIN STUDIO OFFICE! And to my left is my FAVORITE MACHINE!! I currently have a SUPER FAST 64 Bit computer that I built from scratch so I could customize it for my needs. And it’s dedicated to PRO TOOLS and I pretty much keep it isolated from the internet and my “intranet” as I’ve got WAY too much content vis-à-vis music production files that I cannot afford to lose or expose to outside sources. I currently use a 24” Monitor Via HDMI but it’s NOT enough real estate for me to keep both the EDITING WINDOW and MIX Window open where I can actually see up to 42 Tracks – so I’m adding a 42 monitor above the 24” – this way I can still have my Near field reference monitors set up as an “isosceles triangle”. The only problem with having a second monitor ON TOP of another is that you can’t drag your mouse UP and DOWN, so it take some getting used to and you choose if you drag your mouse off to the right or left for the mouse icon to go to the TOP MONITOR – but I’m sick of using CTRL = to switch from mix to edit windows and hence I’m losing productivity!

In my other office, I’ve got a 21” laptop that’s running an extra 21” monitor so I can move spread sheets across that entire amount of real estate. If I’m working on Graphics Files I can be working in PS, Fireworks, Flash, CS-4 (Dreamweaver) or anything I need OPEN and WORKING all at the same time. This allows me to check my work, change pixel width, view source code, etc and keep several windows open and spread out across ALL monitors.

It’s also nice to take an XL spread sheet and move it across BOTH monitors so I can read each line going all they way from A to Z!!!

So in short no matter what Office I’m working in – I’ve got to have at least TWO monitors so that I can copy/paste, edit, do my research with many windows open but I don’t have to resize the windows or waste time Alt-tabbing between apps!

If you aren’t using multiple monitors and your in graphic design, music or video production they are a MUST HAVE! And keep in mind that you can also change your screen resolutions to make SURE your website is working or looks good with different monitor’s sizes, resolutions, etc. Try it – you’ll be amazed at how much more productive you will become! And once you’re used to two monitors, you’ll want three or MORE!! Trust me, you’ll LOVE IT!

As an A/V producer and coder - I can't imagine NOT having the geart I do - and of course, alwasy want newer and FASTER machines - but I know the limitations of each and phase out a computer every so often, rip it down to bare bones and set it up as a LINUX server!  I've had a Linux Server running on a 386 machine that has NEVER crashed - not EVER!!!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Truth About the Music Business - in E-Book and Print on Demand

It's almost completley official - we'll soon have new cover art, ISBN # and the book will be available via Print On Demand and by E-book.

Will keep you posted...and post links, etc -

Also Excertps from the book will be available here in this blog!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Dangers of Social Networking!

I’ve been involved with Social Networking of sorts since about 1990 before the World Wide Web even existed when we set up hosted chats and fan based music content through CompuServe. But I have found out through the years that it’s not such a safe thing to post too much information as the cyber-world is NOT very safe. And now that FB has admitted that they have released MILLIONS of people PRIVATE INFO, well that DID IT FOR ME! And FaceBook is NOT alone –My Space has more than it’s fair share of problems especially a VIRUS APP that will come up when you try to change your settings – DO NOT let this application run (use your own AV APP) and close out of My Space IMMEDIATELY and then clear your CACHE! And keep in mind that BEFORE you got to any website such as a business site – remember that these companies can TRACK your visits as well as the URL’s that are stored in your Browser’s TEMPORARY CACHE! KEEP THAT CLEAN as that’s where most spyware and malware will reside!!

Here are a few TIPS that you should think about! Trust me on this as I just experience a cyber-stalker that was just a LITTLE TOO WEIRD! If somebody really wants to know and/or track your every move – then your social networks will allow them to do it!

1. If you post things that you don’t want anyone else to read – and there’s some things you may post that you think are OK – but they can come back to haunt you – make ALL of your social networks as PRIVATE as you can! Choose your friends, contacts, or subscribers wisely and don’t give out TOO much information!

2. Be careful of who you allow to be one of your friends, read about them BEFORE you CONFIRM or add somebody on FaceBook or other sites There are a lot of people adding new FB pages that are NOT who they say they are! And these people are trying to phish, scam or otherwise get your PRIVATE INFORMATION!

3. BE careful about what you POST – even pictures, etc – FaceBook has EXTREMELY overbroad terms and conditions – anything you post is THEIRS to use however they want – EVEN AFTER YOU DELETE IT!

4. APPLICATIONS on FACEBOOK are DANGEROUS! I’ve been talking about this for YEARS! I do NOT accept gifts, drinks or worse PLAY ANY GAMES! Much less use ANY APPLICATIONS – I refuse ALL APPLICATION requests as there are written by third parties (NOT by FACEBOOK) and the latest breach of security that gave out MILLIONS of peoples private info as well as their LISTS of friends was from GAMES, APPLICATIOINS, etc Those who were using these apps have had their PERSONAL INFO jeopardized and there’s NO TELLING where that info will end up. Once a third party has your information – they’ve GOT to make MONEY and what’s the BEST way to make MONEY? Sell that information to marketing companies or the highest bidder! And do you think that these marketing companies’ data is SAFE? NO WAY – hackers are dying to get into those databases and they WILL FIND A WAY to access that info!

5. NEVER post anything about your location – the last think you want to do is to post “we’ll be on vacation for the next few weeks, can’t wait!” – Might as well put up a sign in your yard – we’re out of town – help yourself!

6. Do NOT post your birth year or the year you graduated – it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out your birth year by a year or two. Having a name, address, birthday only means that to totally steal your identity they only need a few more pieces of the puzzle and a good computer person can really dig and/or spoof certain agencies and get the final pieces of the puzzle and jeopardize your PRIVACY and your IDENTITY!

7. Don’t post your original hometown or birthplace along with any information that could allow others to steal your identify. Ever notice how your hometown, high school, or birth place are often your secret password questions? The last thing you want is to let some steal your e-mail passwords or other passwords! If they do, they can even access your banking information!

8. NEVER use the same password for EVERY single account.

9. Be careful about posting WHERE You will be – if you are going out at night – then text your friends where you will be – do NOT post that you’ll be gone that night or that you’ve left you kids with a sitter or whatever – that’s just asking for trouble. You are better off e-mailing from your personal account (NOT FB MAIL) and/or just calling your friends or texting them.

It’s gotten to be a very transparent world and if somebody wants to get more information about you – they can find it! So don’t offer up more than you need to and remember whatever you post is very similar to a DIGITAL TATOO – you can try to remove it – but the scar will ALWAYS BE THERE as once it’s out in the ETHER on the INTERNET then somebody could have saved a screen shot, retweeted what you’ve said, e-mailed your songs or videos to somebody else, etc – So just keep that in mind BEFORE you push the SEND or ENTER BUTTON to POST!!



Monday, October 25, 2010

The pain and joy of WRITING!

Have begun to compile VOLUMES of songs, ideas, short stories, and a host of scribblings on napkins, 3 x 5 note cards, business cards, etc - and PUTTING it ALL I guess most writers do...

But sometimes you just need an avenue for your creativity to FLOW - but not WASH back downstream to it's all  subjective - but the names have been changed to protect the innocent and/or guitly!

Will start posting to three new blogs - all under PSUEDONYMS and/or "nom de plumes" - if you're on FB, Twitter, etc and are a FRIEND - you MAY be able to find them - but it's some DEEP material so I won't divulge my alter egos...



Saturday, October 23, 2010

The First Music Download EVER!

Totally LEGAL – through my company – Online Multi-Media, CompuServe and Geffen Records!

My company (Mike Lawson and a few others) started the first Internet Chats for the music business and even did the very FIRST MUSIC DOWNLOAD on the INTERNET EVER – all totally legit and LEGAL. In fact, the VERY first song that was released on the internet was by Aerosmith.

LOS ANGELES, June 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Geffen Records will make music history and mark a technological milestone on Monday, June 27, when it becomes the first major record label to enable users of an electronic information service to download for free, in broadcast quality, an entire, never-before-released song from a major artist. Beginning that day, Aerosmith's "Head First" will be available for a limited time via personal computer to the 2 million members of the CompuServe Information Service, the world's largest consumer on-line information service for personal computer users.

"If our fans are out there driving down that information superhighway," says Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, "then we want to be playing at the truck stop. This is the future -- so let's get it going." The rockin' "Head First" was recorded during sessions for the band's most recent album, "Get A Grip," which currently has sales of more than 8 million copies worldwide and reached No. 1 on the "Billboard" pop album charts upon its release last year. "Head First" was produced by Bruce Fairbairn and written by Steven Tyler, Joe Perry and Jim Vallance.

CompuServe members can type GO AEROSMITH to download "Head First." Downloading the 4.3 megabyte file will take approximately 60 to 90 minutes depending on the speed of the user's modem (14.4 or 9.6 kbs). Because of the groundbreaking nature of this event, Aerosmith will be waiving all their royalties for the song, and CompuServe will waive connect-time charges.

"This is an experiment," says Luke Wood of Geffen's marketing department. "We've been providing 30-second song samples for some time and said, `Why not a whole song?' Now the technology's caught up with the idea."

The idea to make a full-length song available on-line came from Wood and Robert von Goeben of Geffen's graphic arts department, one of the managers of the Geffen section on CompuServe's Music Vendor Forum. "Many users online have been asking for longer and better sound samples," notes von Goeben. "Now we can offer them everything. When I first brought CompuServe to Geffen's attention, I knew it was just a matter of time before we would offer full length songs. It's really exciting." The three minutes and 14 seconds of "Head First" were digitized and then compressed by Jim Griffin, Geffen's head of information technology.

Geffen was one of the first labels to provide sound and graphics through an electronic information service. Since last October, CompuServe members have been able to directly access Geffen Records via its music vendor forum to receive tour schedules, facts about the label's artists and new releases, full-color logos and photographs and 30-second electronic sound samples. Members have been able to write to artists during on-line interviews and leave electronic mail for Geffen staff members.

"We're trying to push the boundaries," says Wood, "and we're committed to exploring this idea and others like it in the future."

For more information about downloading the song, please call CompuServe on 800-524-3388 and ask for representative 615.

-0- 6/15/94

/CONTACT: Bryn Bridenthal, 310-285-2701, or Roy Hamm, 310-285-7937, both of Geffen Records; or Debra Young of CompuServe, 614-538-4553/

WOW have times changed but that was REVOLUTIONARY back then! 

SM @ MSO (Thanks to Mike Lawson my partner at the time!)

Cybersquatting! TM Infringement TRICKS - Don't FALL FOR THEM!

I recently got an e-mail where somebody has somehow managed to get by me and purchase a “domain name” that I had wanted to get for a long time. I don’t know how I missed it but this guy was saying that if you will make a bid I’ll sell you the domain.

The bottom line is that since I’ve used my “Label Name” for better than 15 years, whomever he sells it to as long as they are in the business of selling songs, CD’s, Records, etc – they are going to infringe on my mark.

What really got me upset is that he found an obscure “sub-domain” that had a friend of mine’s E-mail address and started to hit my buddy up for MONEY as well even though I just used that Domain and hosting with a sub-web that had our own little personal website on it for our hunting camp. I didn’t really want to buy a domain and hosting for just about 15 pages of stuff that’s posted there that sort of tracks via pictures and text the past 10 years of us building the hunting camp, pictures of our fields, etc.
Anyway, I digress – I found a very interesting article on this subject which is linked here:

This is pretty much dead on. Gone are the days of an individual buying up a ton of domain names and then trying to sell them back to REAL company that should own that name. But like everything else, the law takes time to catch up. In fact, you used to be able to do this and make a LOT of money but some company with deep pockets went ballistic and took some people to court and WON big time! So the legislature eventually enacted some law that say “cyber-squatting is NOT LEGAL” – so if somebody tries to hit you with a scam to try and sell you a domain name that should be yours – you CAN get it. But it will cost a lot of money. Your best bet is to wait it out until they give up as these squatter can’t hold on to these names forever and will eventually give up. Conversely if they sell it to someone else and that company/person start to use it – and it violate your TM right – then go to court, get an injunction and they have to stop using that name and then make an offer to buy the domain at FAIR MARKET PRICE!

Remember if another company is using your name and they got there first - First is time is first in right.  So you're going to have to CHANGE YOUR NAME especially if they are offering similar services or selling similar goods in the same class as yours!  Which means, get another name, logo, business card, letterhead, new website design, etc, etc - VERY COSTLY so choose your name wisely!  But on the other hand if YOU own the name (even if you haven't filed for TM protection) you still have injunctive relief and you can make the OTHER company stop and start all over again! 

Choosing a name without being in TM Infringement

Choosing a band name, or for you label or even a business name such as for your publishing companies can be quite diffucult as the last thing you want to do is to infringe on a registered mark and have to STOP all of your work and start over.

First, we’ll discuss choosing a band name. Remember that you must have a unique name or you are going to cause confusion in the market place. And that is indeed the crux of Trademark Law. Under the Federal Lanham Act – the first to use a name in commerce has the right to use the name as long as it’s not geographically descriptive (Nashville Music Band) or other tests that are too many to list here. Your best bet is to GOOGLE the name, then check on iTunes for a band that’s similar, then check with a Domain Registrar, and do as much research as you can. The main thing is that you don’t want to cause confusion in the market place.  In fact Trademark is NOT set up to protect the OWNER of the mark but to protect the consumer as to the origin of the goods or services. 

Case in point, my band sometimes called “The Cowboy Killers” has been using that name for almost 20 years. We don’t play under that name exclusively but were for sure the first to use it in commerce. Then a few bands have come and gone that were using that name as I found them on My Space, etc. But I’ve owned “Cowboy Killers Music” (ASCAP) since the early 1990 and I’ll get back to Publishing names later. Be that as it may, a band from Germany comes along and they started to use the very name. I sort of let it slide as I haven’t toured the UK or the Continent for a very long time and I figured it wouldn’t hurt as long as they STAYED over in Europe but now they have songs on iTunes and Rhapsody listed MY SONG “Hold Back the Night” but put THEIR album cover as the cover art. That kind of got my attention. Since I never filed for a FEDERAL TM – which can take up to SEVEN years for the name to clear – I didn’t think it was worth the time money or effort. But at least under the Lanham Act – you can get an injuction. Should I? Well, I’ll give it some time, bands come and go. But I do own the name while this OTHER band is using – and of course, they can’t use “The Cowboy Killers” as a fan page on FB as I’ve already got that – but they are using that name on My Space.

I could get an injunction or I could just sell them the domain for a reasonable price and to compensate me for having to do a TOTAL SITE redesign under a different name. But I try not to hurt other musicians or cost them time and money – but at the same time, they are costing me money and time as well – we’ll see how it plays out. But for now I’m taking the moral high ground.

Now on to choosing a Publishing Company name – which is MUCH easier! If you register with ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC they basically do all the work for you. They’ll tell you how many names are similar which doesn’t mean they make a TM decision as to whether or not there’s another name that’s similar or could cause confusion in the market place – but it’s a start. Because after all, if you sign up with a licensing company you ARE in the same business, class of goods, etc. You publish music! But you can still file for a STATE of FEDERAL TM – state being much cheaper and takes less time but each state doesn’t necessarily check for FEDERAL TM’s. So you should check with Thompson and Thompson or other services to make sure that you are clear and this is certainly true of a record label – as most people own their own labels. Just remember that only certain types of marks are not eligible for Trademark whether they be a ® (fior GOODS) or Service marks or both. Since most labels provide goods and in many cases services you should file for both! Just remember that if you are first to use the mark in commerce you have the right to get a FEDERAL or STATE TM but you can also just put TM or SM next to the name, logo, phrase that you are using and that at least gives you injunctive relief (you can make the other company STOP using your name) but that can get expensive if they don’t. IF you have a perfected mark (you’ve filed a FEDERAL MARK) you can then get statutory damages, injunctive relief and MORE.

I’ll give you a brief example of a former client – they were using the name (Can’t say it here) and there was another band on a major label that even admitted that they knew about the other band but used my client’s name anyway. Needless to say – we were able to make them pay a TON of money to KEEP their name and my band would stop – but this second band had invested a TON of money along with the label to develop that name. But here’s the funny part – (keeping the names out to protect anyone that may be upset about this) the LABEL is the one that chose the name but the ARTIST/BAND had to pay the money for the infringement or rather the label paid it – but took it out of their recoupment from record sales, etc. Which is really insane – the label messed up – but wouldn’t pay for it! of course, the band could have sued the label but that’s like asking to get dropped. If they sued the label everything would have gone south! And that’s just how fair the labels are! NOT FAIR at ALL! Hence why if you’re a budding artist start you own band, start you own publishgin company and start your own Record Label – you can do all that the majors do and probably better except you won’t have the labels money – but since the label pockets aren’t so deep anymore it won’t matter. Just keep working at your art, your music and get all your ducks in a row and if you can bring it live, put out a few indie records and gather a following THEN the major labels may be interested and you’ll at least have a good negotiation position. If you haven’t done all you can to develop the band BEFORE you pitch you could get lucky and get a deal – but it won’t be a good one. In fact, you’ve got a better chance of being struck my lightning. But if you have a pretty decent history, have a lot of songs, are developed enough and have a pretty decent fan base, then you could get a major deal and you’ve got more negotiation position and if you’re really lucky – then you get ALL the labels interested and you could be lucky enough to get a bidding war.

But before any of that happens, make sure you have all of your business names *(band name, pub, and Record Label) in order and that your not infringing on some other band or labels name!

(This is NOT legal Advice - please check with an Attorney in your town)

Monday, October 11, 2010

The UPSIDE to a “custom deal”

One may think that my opinion is that all custom deals are bad, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, a custom deal if done right could be the BEST way to go especially if you don’t have "personal" access to the right tools to get your music out there! IF you can fund it - you're chances of making money are drastically increased!

First you would need to get your new CD ready to be recorded. Whether you release it one song at a time or not doesn’t really matter, what’s important is that IF you don’t have your own studio with GREAT MIC’s and MIC-PRES and you don’t know how to record extremely well on your own, you may be better of hiring a studio that comes with an engineer. After all, that studio should be pretty much set up and ready to go and if your smart choose a studio that’s already got the drums set up, tuned and mic’d extremely well. That could save a days worth of studio time alone!

Also, try to book the studio in blocks and AFTER hours would be your best bet. There’s more studios than you can count and if you go with a busy studio, then booking times when the studio is idle is the cheapest solution. Remember a studio has to pay rent/mortgage payments, electricity and all of the other bills that any other business pays so they are more than happy to block out time for you at a cheaper rate.

Once you’ve negotiated a good price then work really hard on your pre-production. Make sure all your gear it working, you all know the songs, etc – try not to waste a single MINUTE that you don’t need to. Then go in and cut your record. Just remember that cutting basic tracks, and overdubs should NOT take you very long is you are PREPARED. The mixing is what is going to take time – but you can also take your tracks somewhere else to mix if you can. Just make sure you have somebody that KNOWS what they are doing. And THEN worry about the mastering! Just try NOT to mix the record in 10 different room or it will sound like it – try to make the product as uniform as possible and keep an A-B source handy at all times so you can compare each track to the “true north” and have uniform sounding product.

Once you’ve got your CD, then you need to make SURE that you work with the RIGHT people to help you with Marketing and Promotion because having a 100 songs on iTunes is NOT going to make you much money – so before you even think about your recording budget – make sure you have at LEAST that for Marketing and Promotion. And lastly try to come up with the most unique video you can to promote your music for FREE! In fact, be prepared to work the social networks as hard as you can – just be careful not to PESTER people or you’ll end up losing friends on My Space of FaceBook. Also, don’t ever put an audio or video PLAYER on My Space as a COMMENT –you’ll end up making more enemies than getting exposure.

You may even have an investor that can help but make sure to spend your money wisely and always think about your ROI!  There are a LOT of people out there that are dying to find the next big record and work with you – just don’t expect them to work for FREE! Work out a decent deal so that it’s a win-win situation! And then get ready for it – TOUR, TOUR, TOUR! And be ready to work every angle you have to get people to your shows! After all – if the fans come, then you’ll be on your way – if can’t establish a good following, you’ll won’t get a major deal and you won’t be able to make a living as the MONEY is on the road – don’t expect ROYALTIES to pay your bills!

Keep chasin' your dreams - and remember nobody is waiting on you to do anything!


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Vanity and/or Custom Deals (good or bad?)

There's a chapter in my book on "questionable practices" - at the top of the list were custom deals and/or vanity deals. But I saw them from an even "sleazier" side than STACK did.

There were LOTS of really bad studios that had record labels, publishing companies, distribution, and even D.J.'s AND CHARTS that were all tied loosely together but the sum of the parts was a complete unit and a TOTAL scam.

Yes, you could make a 10 song record for $10,000.00 - the budget was $2000.

Yes, you could get your song on a compilation CD that was sent to a LOT of radio stations and actually get a few of spins between midnight and 6 a.m.

Yes, you would give up 100% of your PUB - (just in case the song had a snowballs chance in hell of being a hit - if SOMEBODY else heard it and cut it right)

Yes, you would actually become CHARTED on these self-owned, self-promoted charts - BUT that meant nothing.

IN FACT, you would spend this $10,000 along with 11 other people - so the "label/studio" made $120,000 and spent $20K for the entire project and the artist got very little - the "scam artists" would take it all to the bank. The act would fold and leave Nashville and go to back home having to report to the home town people that put up the money that it was all gone. In fact the leading case for Consumer Fraud was Caprice vs. Brungard Records (20th Circuit- Nashville) which allowed the plaintiff to get THREE TIMES their damages AND attorney's fees for ripping off an act just like this!

IF anyone would bring me a deal like this to review - I would ask them to call the BBB and see how many complaints were filed - they would and 50% would walk, the other 50 would find a lawyer that would tell them this was a GREAT DEAL -

I wanted NO PART OF IT!

I even had a few REALLY RICH clients that did IN FACT buy their own record deal at a MAJOR as their Dads had a TON of DOUGH...lots of Oil Money in Texas was the norm. And then there's - the new Country Phenom – that’s drop dead gorgeous but CANNOT SING! You think she got signed on pure talent? Nope, DADDY bought her way in!

I’ve got buddy, who are still pounding it out in Nashville fighting for the scraps for any deal they can along with every other label guy that's been fired that cannot get a job doing anything else – one of them just dealt with a guy who just sold his business for a boatload of cash - so he buys a tour bus, gets a whole band together, starts to break into the music business in his 40’s – yes, he's OK but no star that’s for sure - but once everyone found out what kind of money he had - then they started to circle like buzzards, each one trying to pick the carcass clean before the others could get any of his money....all in all, he'll never amount to much of anything as an artist - but he does have enough money to open up a whole new office with a ton of people working for him that are all in it for themselves and once the money is gone - they are back on the street...

Sad but true - I wouldn't mind providing a good service for a good talent - but when you start "raising money" - albeit through Private Placement Memo's to sell stock in a closely held Company that does fall outside of the SEC's priorities (or at least is not as stringent as public stock) - but you've got to have a GREAT ARTIST that everyone believes in and then put them into development - and then get the bucks to pull it off and even THEN it's a huge Gamble! How do you get ROI?

Here's a couple of things to think about - the Viral Video that’s had 64 MILLION plays later on YouTube and they grossed a Whopping $30,K...That's $0.0000149 cents per youtube spin and iTunes sales were de minimus for something that was HUGE from a viral standpoint. My math may be off as I did the calculations a couple of weeks ago - but it was ridiculously LOW.

And the last point: did you know it takes 400,000 spins on a pure-play server like Pandora or to generate $400.00? Another way to look at it is it takes 7200 spins to equal one (1) CD purchase (if you own all the rights!) and that's the medium of choice these days - Satellite and streaming technology!

Wonder why a huge act like John Mayer has to KEEP TOURING and putting out records like a mad man? He's not making shit in album sales or iTunes much less for radio plays or even SYNC deals - you used to be able to get $65,000 for a major film, or sync deal - now your lucky to get $1200....the biggest deal I've heard about as of late was my buddy that got $5,000 for "AFTER THE CATCH" lead song on History Channel/Discover (?) - the money was spent before he got the check not including other fees that could have been incurred such as attorney’s, managers, etc.


Stack-A-Track on Custom Deals....

Back in the 80's I produced several bands over at T.I. (*you guess the name) - The clients were wanna be acts....they could sing a little and their saving grace was the budget they had to pay me to sit behind a console and make their recording. On one occasion there was this country band of 20 year olds from Indianapolis....I found a tune I liked from singer songwriter Pat Alger....I saw Pat perform at the Bluebird one night and he did this new tune "Small Town Saturday Night"...I knew immediately it was a hit.

I called Terrell Tye and got a hold on the song for this band I was producing. Well, the band wasn't that good so I hired great musicians to come in and track the song....The singer tried as he might never was quite able to pull off a plausible reading. They pooled their monies from friends & families to come to Nashville to record. After about three months of them coming into town to attempt a vocal session, the publisher called me to say that her boyfriend wanted to cut the tune. Her boyfriend at the time was Hal Ketchum.... So he & Rooney recorded the tune and within a month the song hit the charts and made Hal a career.

Those boys from Indianapolis were confused & bewildered. I had dropped a hit right into their laps and they were so damned stupid they took it for granted and failed to perform the simplest of tasks. In the end I made a couple thousand bucks for the three months of frustration and disappointment. Most of these custom budget projects averaged in at about 50,000.00. The owner would con the acts into building basically an
illegal "corporation-business" venture that offered "stock" to all the investors.

That's pretty much the way he financed TI....Put together a bogus stock offering to about 6 people who invested 80,000.00 or so each. The studio got built...they put together a very nice recording studio and managed to pay them selves for a good 5 years while promoting all sorts of custom projects that put more money into their pockets and a little in mine.

The whole idea of someone buying fame makes me nauseous. If someone isn't good enough...If they are a marginal talent.....They don't deserve it. American Idol answers that one IMHO. As for me spending the last part of my life recording wanna be acts. I'll be passing on that one.

Why waste the time ?

(A good friend of mine with MAJOR credits talking on Custom/Vanity deals)

How to build your OWN Computer for VERY LITTLE MONEY!!

My niece and nephew had their computer totally fry! What could have caused it?

Dust and Carpet FRESH!! Yes, Carpet fresh – (in fact, this was the 5th computer this year I’ve seen have the power supply totally burn up due to CARPRET FRESH! It has enough “GRIT” to it that it will freeze up your hard drive and you’ll know it when you clean out the dust as it smell like carpet fresh!)

In the case of my niece and nephew – not only was the Power Supply gone – but the heat fried everything on the motherboard except for their hard drive so I was able to save all of their music, pictures, etc – which would have been a huge loss as that machine had about 4-5 years of their stuff – even going back to when they were playing with TOYS and not driving cars! So how does on fix the problem? They really needed to be able to boot to that original hard drive to recapture the data. Plus they really didn’t want to get a brand new computer as they would have preferred to get a laptop. So what’s the solution? Build one a new one for WAY less than a manufactured one!

Can you build your own computer? YES!!! It’s easy and extremely inexpensive! And in less that 30 minutes!

The last one I built was a dedicated MASTERING MACHINE for our downtown studio…the motherboard had to have gone bad as the machine just keep recycling on boot up. Everything was tested on a separate set of parts and it came down to the motherboard. Unfortunately that meant a new power supply, RAM, Processor, etc. unless you want to try to buy legacy hardware and that will cost way more than you’d expect. Luckily we already had a full tower case ($30-$40) – but as stated, the Motherboard was fried – DUST and STATIC are the biggest enemy so that must have been the problem.

Be that as it may, you can go to Tiger Direct, New Egg or other companies and buy a bare bones kit – such as motherboard, processor, processor fan, RAM, and perhaps a new power supply depending on the voltage and the number of PINS to match the motherboard. Move the risers on the case to match the motherboard and install it. Pop in the PROCESSOR (gently as this is ZERO FORCE insertion) along with ‘thermal paste” – (you can buy this separately), pop on the CPU Fan, and then hook up the power supply to all places on the motherboard and to your peripherals such as internal drives (hard drives, CD or DVD ROMS or RW’s) and then power it up – if your original drive is in good shape you won’t have much problem at all – just load the new drivers and you’re back to where you need to be! A simple and cheap solution!

SM/MSO - AAA Computers

Friday, October 8, 2010

When are you REALLY READY to pitch to the Majors?

If you think you are ready – are you absolutely sure?

You usually only get ONE shot and the last thing you or the person that is working with you or for you wants to do is to “Waste a Pitch”. Trust me on this one, as you cannot burn a bridge by wasting somebody’s time. They’ll never give you the time of day again!

You have to be ready and I mean on ALL FRONTS! You can’t just have a great record in the can. You have to have 3 or more in the can and the fan base that comes from touring and touring to bring with you as a negotiation point. If you only have two good songs on that one record that could be singles, who would want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on the outside chance they may recoup their investment on two songs? Of course that’s if you are a band that writes your own music. If you are solo artist that can adapt to many different song styles, etc – then that’s a different story. But that doesn’t mean that a solo artist that can nail parts on a record can bring it live and be able to WORK with a professional touring band – it takes time to get tight!

Having played in tons of bands through the years and many of which were revolving bands as it was hard to keep a full band together. Something always comes up and you either have to cancel the gig or get somebody to fill in and about the only type of musician that can really do that is a drummer. Otherwise, it can take months to get really tight and you can't do it in rehearsal you have to do it LIVE! And no matter what you’re trying to do you’ve got to be able to BRING IT LIVE day in and day out – no off days!

You’ve got to stay in shape and get your rest – it’s not a party!

If you get signed you can expect a typical day on the road to be like this: wake up early and do a radio interview during drive time then hit a morning talk show, then back to another radio station for an online interview, then an in store at a local CD store, then lunch with whomever the players are in THAT CITY (radio, TV, promoters, club owners, you name it) and then back to another radio station and hopefully another in store and then sound check – then meet and greets before the show and then the show, then more meet and greets – (and these meet and greets better last a long time or you don’t have any fans) and then back on the bus and head to the next town…in short very long hard days!

And all the while you’re on the bus – you need to working on your next record! Tons of pressure for you to TOP your last one!

So before you waste your ONE PITCH you better have all the pistons firing and you’d better have something to OFFER the label other than your unbridled talent. Otherwise, you’ll end with a really BAD deal IF you even get one and then if you don’t have a HIT, you’ll get dropped and the chances of getting a SECOND deal or 1/100th or less than the first one – you rarely get a second chance to make a first impression so you’d better have it all together and get it right the first time! Lastly, be ready to play ball the way the label wants you to – if you’re not willing to compromise, then don’t even think about a major label – do it all yourself. And the best way to do that is to TOUR, TOUR, TOUR and put out singles or make records and bundle them with a T-Shirt and give away your music – people don’t want to buy many CD’s anymore…but you can record you live shows and sell that to those who can’t make it. Just remember, music has been devalued. Clubs don’t pay what they used to and people are spending their money on other things these days! But if you really want to do this for a living – you can do it – and with all the technology you have such a social networking, etc- and IF your music is REALLY good – the fans will KNOW it and will come back for more! But you had to build that fan base on fan at a time and one show at a time – after a few years of doing that, then you will know if your music is good enough as the number of people at your shows will TELL you the real value of your music! As touring is the ONLY way to make any REAL MONEY!