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Friday, November 19, 2010

How powerful are Steve Jobs and his MAC Dynasty? More than “The Beatles”?

Well its official, The Beatles, the “most influential and popular band of ALL TIME” at least IMHO have signed up with iTunes. Only about 9 years in the making but it’s an interesting story.

I’ll keep it short as best I can – but it’s a very interesting story at that and a lesson in the law, justice and injustice and the music business!

First The Beatles stormed on to the scene but rest assure not without having paid their due and then some several times over. One could easily say that they were one of, if not THE MOST, hard working band ever. They had slugged it out playing hours upon hours a day just rehearsing and then show after show. While in Germany, they played so many gigs it’s just not even possible to do that anymore. No place would have a band play every show, and many shows per day/night. But the Beatles did it and honed their chops and skills to set the stage for when they went in the studio with George Martin to make some of the greatest music ever recorded. And all on a 4 track machine at first. And it’s important to note that had the Beatles NOT hooked up with Mr. Martin they would have been a very different band indeed. Have you ever really listened to Paul McCartney’s bass playing? He’s playing ORCHESTRAL notes and not just riding the chord structure – sounds to me as if he learned a thing or two about how to weave a counter-melody into a basic 1, 4, 5 rock song! But I digress – as I’m a HUGE BEATLES fan!

The Beatles ended up with APPLE RECORDS the label which they put out a LOT of records and sold untold numbers and their LOGO for that label was almost IDENTICAL to the Macintosh Computer logo. Now, it’s been a long time since I’ve read much about the FIRST lawsuit the Beatles filed suit against the APPLE Computer and/or Steve Jobs and I’m sure Et Al. As the Beatles rightly felt that this mark infringed upon the APPLE RECORDS Mark and since computers could play MUSIC it was the right thing to do.

But this is where it gets sticky – a registered and trademarked logo – albeit it words, graphics, or both are set up to protect and/or cover a Trademark for a certain class of goods. Hence you can’t have a company that does something similar with a similar logo putting out the same goods and/or services. And here’s a tidbit about TM that most people don’t know. Trademark is NOT designed to protect the owner of the mark – e.g. Coca-Cola (THE most protected ® in the world!) Trademark is designed to protect the consumer so that they will know the ORIGIN of the goods or services and not be hoodwinked into buying an inferior product or service or to just plain cause confusion in the Marketplace. So would the APPLE COMPUTER being pushed out by Steve Jobs and his company cause confusion as to the origin of the GOOD – i.e. The Macintosh Personal Computer?? Well there’s no way to tell without testing it via the courts, you can’t just take a poll and see if the consumer can’t tell the difference and Intellectual Property Law is a very, very difficult area of the law. So who’s going to win? Usually the company with the MOST money – not fair, but that’s the law! How much justice can you afford? So Apple Computers had enough money to stave off the BEATLES in the court system long enough so that the parties settled and a HUGE STIPULATION in the settlement was the APPLE COMPUTERS would NEVER get into MUSIC. So that was the agreement – APPLE Computer would NEVER get into the music business or have any dealings with MUSIC (but then again, I’m sure there were parts of the agreement that could not have predicted the future as we know it now!)

Around 10 year later, here comes the iPod and we all know that music was being played on computers and is pretty much the norm and we also know that music was being traded around the Internet without people paying for it – and this was a HUGE loss to the Beatles as writers even though Michael Jackson had truly taken advantage of Paul McCartney and Lennon’s estate as well as George and Ringo when HE bought up their publishing. Also keep in mind that the publishing was not set up so that each Beatle kept a part of the writers share and that could have been the small chink in the armor of the BEATLES catalogue that made a huge difference – but that’s a completely different discussion altogether.

So Apple Computers was not supposed to sell music – well then comes iTunes so the Beatles take them back to court – and in what I think is a MAJOR injustice – LOST! But I’m always going to take the side of the CREATIVE and the CREATORS of copyrights! I’m very aware the Steve Jobs is a brilliant man and is EXTERMELY creative but there’s NOT a chance that he could ever be as good at music as the BEATLES – or could he?

Well I don’t think that if Steve agreed not to get into music – morally he should not have – but legally he got away with it! And to me that’s a MAJOR INJUSTICE but the courts didn’t see it that way – and isn’t that pretty much the norm? The law (both the legislative and the judicial branches) will never be able to keep pace with technology! So the Beatles lost and now with the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and thousands upon thousands of ways for people to have the Beatles music on these devices they can now buy the Beatles music from iTunes! And it only took about 9 years of the Beatles catalogue for SR copyrights to hold out until all of the surviving members and the estates of Lennon and Harrison to finally agree to let Steve Jobs sell their songs via iTunes.

In the end one can’t be sure just how much music of the Beatles will be sold via iTunes as most of the true fans of the Beatles already have all of the Beatles music in digital format and the TRUE FANS have it all on vinyl and won’t stand for the 320 Kpbs mp3 versions! But there’s a whole new generation of kids out there that have yet to experience the British Invasion so I’m sure there will be millions sold but I still think that this whole story should not have to be told! But welcome to the music business – the MOST POWERFUL BAND of ALL TIME were totally messed over by MJ and now SJ and there wasn’t much they could do about but spend millions of dollars that they WASTED only to LOSE something that they should have been able to capitalize on for the life of their copyrights and for as long as APPLE RECORDS was in business!

So in the end, who is more powerful the musicians or the business man who peddles hardware and/or a delivery device for people to BUY the music? You decide as you already know the outcome! It’s a sad state of affairs that the MUSIC and the people who create it – are usually the ones that lose SOMETHING in the end.


Monday, November 15, 2010

My blogs vs. PC WORLD

Coincidence?  Who can say - maybe it's time to contact PC WORLD and strike a deal - 50% of my last posts have ended up in PC WORLD - BEFORE the issue arrived via subscription much less on NEWSTANDS - that's not to say that their articles were NOT written before my BLOG - by any means - but it's funny how we're covering the same ground....

Stranger things have happened...just KEEP writing - or as "Brother Dege" says - WRITE ON!

Just read the blogs - then go to PC WORLD and see for yourself...


Which are the better odds - people with a HIT song vs. those hit by lightning!

Tune in soon - the STATS are going to blow your mind! 

But of course you can always stand on the Golf Course with a ONE IRON! 

AS the saying goes, we'll not even - "-" can hit a one iron!

MORE TO COME as I comb the net for TRUE STATS!


PS good things to come at MIDEM this year!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


It’s taken a long time, loads of research, lots or reading and ALWAYS keeping up with new trends, but when it comes to social networking, your website, in fact your entire ONLINE presence – it’s ALL ABOUT THE CONTENT!

Through years of producing music and with YouTube gettting more prominent - I found I was getting more involved in video production on top of studio and live recording. And along the way - I HAD to learn the basic of web design and different editing tools (this way I know what to farm out and what I can do on my own - as in todays world the MORE you can do on your own the further you are ahead of the game!

As technology changes, the more you know about what you want from a WEBSITE as well the many things you  MUST know such as back end coding etc, I have finally gotten my head around the BIG PICTURE and after OVER many long months of SOLID research, and YEARS of educating myself and learning how to do a variety of different things within multiple software applications that are necessary for the back bone of producing and BROADCASTING CONTENT via numerous platforms – I am for the most part still  climbing up the learning curve as that will NEVER stop but at least now I can create the vast majority of my own content for many formats and most importantly know how to communicate with graphics designers or others that I work with. Hence, I know what’s important but being able to produce it all on your own takes a LOT of work and a LOT of time - so know your strenghts. But you CAN learn how to do it ALL on your own!  Just be ready to work some LONG HOURS!

A simple way to start to really move toward  large content (such as my book) learn to tweet on a theme, then blog at that them or do a newsletter via e-mail is 10 X if not MORE effective as MORE PEOPLE by far read e-mails vs. blogs. So having a way to BLOG and send it out as a newsletter via E-mail is CRITICAL! (As a side note – I doubt that most current audiences are that in to reading RSS FEEDS but they will read their E-mail!)

However, a blog is still a great thing as it will allow MORE traffic, MORE exposure, increased SEO Rankings and of course Ad Sense (for products) as an EXTRA revenue stream!  And with Word Press - you really don't even need to know how to build a website. But you MUST know how to manage your back end coding for tracking, analytics, JS, and CRM.

And you can now get hosting that allows for CS-4 or CS-5 for GREAT design and a sub-domain for your BLOG done in Word Press such that incorporate your BLOG as a newsletter to be sent via regular E-mail (and have people sign up for your newsletter/blog from your website using FEEDBURNER sign up forms or from your BLOG itself) and you can use FEEDBURNER for FREE to power your newsletter via a plethora of mail apps – just don’t SPAM people and OUTLOOK is so outdated.

BUT nobody is going to be interested in your blog – UNLESS it is interesting to THEM and that goes double for your TWEETS – but you can TWEET your BLOG via a LINK to every blog you write e.g. “My Company offers A, B and C; read more info on “ but if you are business trying to sell more product or services you have to create incentive for people to want to be your friend or sign up for your social networks.

The main thing is that you’ll have to be DILIGENT and constantly cranking out CONTENT for everything you do…the MORE CONTENT the MORE TRAFFIC which equals MORE SALES of SERVICES or PRODUCTS! For you – it should be EASY!

After much reading, reflection and thought, I’m almost CERTAIN now that WORD PRESS is the best option to go with for a BLOG as there’s just way too many new FREE apps and plug-ins that you can take advantage of and once it’s set up it should work GREAT! CS-4 or 5 will allow for much better graphics but you have to PAY a web designer to keep you updated while if you use WORD PRESS which has CRM and other tools that make it much simpler for the business to keep their site and blog updated.

IN THE END I truly believe that having a GREAT LOOKING WEBSITE with vital and critical CONTENT is the number one KEY TO IT ALL!! And that is the ROOT of your social marketing TREE – everything branches out (via links) from there! (Were I only to have the time to invest in my Graphics programs when I’m so busy with A/V - but I'll get there of Farm it out to the EASTERN BLOCK or RUSSIA - great coders, graphics artists and your dollar goes 5 times farther!)

FaceBook Fan Pages, YouTube, and Twitter (plus newsletter/blog) are going to be the MAIN TOOLS and CRUCIAL in this game as you can post video content to YouTube – in turn TWEET that and SHARE to FACEBOOK – you can TWEET about anything or post pics on FB and link them and these TWEETS will go ANYWHERE You want. In fact, your tweets can be shared everywhere including on LINKED IN. But most important of all you can post pictures, and all sorts of content on your FACEBOOK FAN Page, have UNLIMITED FANS (no cap of 5000 for your personal page) and whatever you post to FACEBOOK can be SHARED to anything you want as well….so a FACEBOOK FAN PAGE is critical if used correctly!

However, in the end – it’s about the CONTENT – building this entire infrastructure means NOTHING if you don’t add viable content and OFTEN. And again, that should become second nature and just as much a part of running your business as opening the door when you get to work or locking up at the end of the night!

I’d suggest this – a weekly (or more often blog/newletter) to start unless you can really discipline yourself – as does Krupnic for an almost daily newsletter. Also keep in mind that you don’t always have to WRITE THE NEWSLETTER CONTENT– you can let comments, posts, and responses to your blog/newsletter BE the CONTENT! Just copy/paste them into your blog and resend! And maybe add a comment or two…

I can’t stress the important of posting a YouTube Video at least once a week if possible – but for sure bi-weekly would get you some great content in a year! More would be better – if even 1 minute clips done with a Hi-DEF WEB CAM and posted to YouTube immediately and then click on SHARE to go to FB, Twitter, etc…But I’d also put on ONE REALLY GOOD and INFORMATIVE VIDEO per month that’s a LOT longer than the rest – much more info and MORE TO VIEW! But you’re way better off than I as you can literally create YouTube content in a quick video chat that you record at EOD or possibly just some VIDEO FOOTAGE or places you are..

Once all of that is IN PLACE – it’s just a matter of keeping up with it, making it part of your daily/weekly routine and staying with it - and then sit back and watch your network of people GROW and GROW as your CONTENT GROWS AND GROWS and with Analytics – you can track who is reading what – viewing what, when and from where….you can also use this incredible amount of back end data crunching to know if you need to make changes to certain pages of your website – based upon how long people stay on it – click through or BOUNCE! In short, you can TRACK ALL OF THIS!!!!! It’s amazing!

But I’ll say it again – you will only get out of it what you put into it!

For me it’s not that easy- I write songs, do intricate videos, write books, etc – if I write a song- I have to record, mix, master BEFORE I even think about putting it out as a video…as for my Videos – I don’t travel nearly as muh as I used to and am usually too busy for shooting vid’s when I’m gone. But I’d love to get more interesting footage! As for my book(s) – I could take pieces of it – and post all day long and soon will be doing so – putting out parts of my books, adding parts to the second edition and putting it all up there – and then having E-Books and Print on Demand for that that prefer a hard copy – including offering PERSONALLY signed and dedicated books for the extra cost of shipping and a little time to sign and get that order back out to the customer quickly!

I guess most people don’t think in terms of a BLOG that could eventually turn into a BOOK! But one should as you could use your daily or weekly content and compile all of that info/content into a book – just copy/paste, and then put all that into a 100 ore more page book if you stay on a theme – which is a good idea for your newsletters/Blogs and SELL IT – then write another via your newsletters…again, if you stay on a THEME!   I've read about poeple that have allegedly been learning a subject for almost 10 years, and yet they have not written even a TWEET about that information, much less a blog - forget about a book!  But unless you take your knowledge and put it in writing will it ever help anyone esle much less make MONEY!

Remember my book is 656 pages, not too many people can stick with reading enough to finish it – much less finding a writer tenacious enough to be THAT thorough….who will WRITE a TRUE REFERENCE BOOK! But one this is for sure – if you want to write a book – start with a blog! And then when it comes to your particular business – remember you must generate content and create it OFTEN and then Market the heck out it – as you can’t just build it and expect people to come!

SM @ MSO -

What should I “pitch” full on demos or just the basics?

If you are looking for a DEAL *(record or publishing deal) you should have BOTH – but just remember in this day and age – publishers nor labels have much money so you are well advised to try it on your own if you are willing to work at it, but just for the sake of argument, I think you are best to "hedge" your bet and be able to offer as much music as you can. And that’s true if you are doing it yourself – why not have FULL BLOWN MASTERS and Acoustic Versions of ALL of your songs?

When looking for an artist or even a pub deal you need to have AS MANY songs as you can. In short, I'm willing to bet you'll hear "this is good - but what else do you have?" - If you really want an artist deal and the BEST deal - you'd be well advised to have 3 albums worth of material as a "band", duo, artist, etc that writes their own stuff - otherwise – the labels will put you with songs and/or writers. You see this most often with country and pop. It seems that rock (save for some exceptions) is the one last bastion of songwriters that do their own songs. For the most part in country and pop – the artists are either dictated or strongly advised to record the songs the label wants you to record. And even if you do co-write *(which is great) – you are going to come up against the “controlled composition clause” – which means you will only get paid a ¾ statutory rate for ALL the songs that you write on YOUR record. And that’s true even in ROCK! The labels don’t want to pay what is STATUTORILY dictated and have found a way to keep MORE of YOUR money! (But I digress…)

As a songwriter - you just never know where a cut can come from – you could be pitching an artist deal and end up with a publishing deal. For that matter, Trisha Yearwood got a record deal because she sang so many demo’s somebody finally said – “the song’s not that good, but WHO is that SINGER?” She got signed on PURE VOCAL TALENT. But this was before you had to be a triple threat – great looking, great voice and great writing/playing skills.

So when pitching for publishing or a label deal there’s two schools of thought. Demo and/or Guitar Vocals? Or well recorded Full blown demos that already have ALL the parts done and sound GREAT – (in short masters) are often preferred – but they can also SKEW the listener’s viewpoint of the song. While a guitar vocal or piano vocal can be a blank canvas as it were so that the publisher, A&R person or label contact can “envision” what would sound good with that song. So you’re better off having both. Therefore have all songs done with a simple guitar/vocal - piano/vocal (as you should for preparing for a studio session) - but also have some SERIOUSLY well done Demo's (or rather masters) - the people who make decisions have gotten pretty demanding and they want finished product - as they are usually not musicians or producers - just music fans that were lucky to get a gig at a label or publisher - so they don't necessarily have a clue - so the BIGGER and better it sounds - the better off you are…

And of course, don't forget to try services such as TAXI or putting your music out to as many places as you can as you never know when you'll get a call for a sync deal!

(I trust this is a help…) But I still think in todays world of social networking, word of mouth via texts, and cloud computing - if you have GREAT MUSIC - and you can keep putting out GREAT MUSIC - then you're much better of putting your own music out there - if the people love it - then the labels will come to you! 


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Embedded Codes (The good and the bad!)

I guess most people are just complacent, too busy, or just not interested in what's going on behind the scenes.  I've got too many friends that get infected by various mal-ware or other bad things just becuase the click on the wrong thing or even open up a seemingly benign E-mail with a FLA file or even a GIF and don't even know the sender or KNOW the sender the TRUST the Sender when the SENDER could be being douped as well! 

In short, code can be cmbedded into a number of different types of files.  Of course, with HMTL even a relatively secure site can get infected with a "drive by virus or mal-ware" - and FLASH FILES are notorious for having holes in their security and hence a FLASH FILE can hold all kinds of bad code - and a FLASH file can be saved as a "dynamic" or even "static" GIF - which may seem harmless enough. But if you know what you're doing you can create a GIF that has a link back to a PHP server (where the GIF is stored) and that GIF can have assoicated with good or bad code - in the case of GOOD CODE - that GIF can have analytics on it so that you can track visits to a social networking page - and hcnce provide the owner with a HOST of valualbe information to track the visitors to that page! 

The moral of the story - learn it - use it - or BEWARE of what you OPEN!! And don't think for ONE SECOND that what you do is safe and secure - the internet was designed to TRACK everything you do - and that's a little to Orwellian for me! 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Production, Production, Production (All about the CONTENT)

Catalogue and MORE catalogue....YEARS of music, songwriting, prose, shorts, blogs and books,  almost TOO much to tackle...but it's all going to be DONE - just as soon as I can get to it!

It's all about the CONTENT -  but I must choose wisely what I will release as MSO, HRC, DD, or any of my other 'nom de plumes" - good luck finding my TRUEST writing - the stuff I would NEVER release!

But if you can SORT IT -you will FIND IT!  But if you think you are IN the writings, or the SUBJECT matter - remember the names have been CHANGED and some LITERARY LICENSE has been taken....