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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Major Labels and the TOP 10% Money Makers vs. FREE MUSIC

I hear a lot of people talking about the Major Record Labels making HUGE PROFITS off the backs of the people who support the music they put out, but I can assure you that NOTHING CAN BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH! The major labels are going BROKE! In fact, many have CLOSED and two have filed for Bankruptcy leaving only about two left standing and their days are NUMBERED I can assure you.


Why? Because the labels stuck to the old business paradigm where they WERE making a TON of money but that model is BROKEN! The internet has changed EVERYTHING!

As for those ARTISTS that are getting RICH by charging high rates for LEGAL DOWNLOADS of songs – don’t even think that is the case! In fact, for 10 years in a row CD sales are dropping at an INSANE RATE! In fact, if you follow Sound Scan – you would know that CD SALES are dismal – and most retailers have dropped the number of SKU’s (CD TITLES and how they are tracked) that are available to a very small amount.

Wal-Mart – was the LARGEST distributor of MUSIC for quite some time – PERIOD. As you saw Tower Records file for bankruptcy – nobody stopped to think about all of the independent record labels or distribution companies that were caught up in that whole process and many of them lost HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of dollars as their inventory that they had SHIPPED to TOWER was now owned by the bankruptch trustee – will they EVER see any money out of those bankruptcy proceedings? NO! Not a dime because you can’t sell CD’s anymore! That’s just how it is!

So what happened to these smaller companies? Many of them lost so much money that THEY TOO had to file for bankruptcy as a small company cannot afford to lose $25,000 much less $250,000 – so these purveyors of music that were NOT necessarily representing the “mainstream’ music that you heard on the radio but were trying to break NEW ACTS that had worked for years to get to the level of being able to put out a CD and I can assure you that the amount of time and money that is spent on a FULL CD is mind blowing! What happened to these ACTS? They’ve faded into obscurity – their music careers are OVER – they have to go back to the BAR CIRCUIT and try to make a living by giving away CD’s if you are willing to buy a T-Shirts just to TRY make some merchandise money to pay for the gas in the bus, equipment maintenance, CHEAP hotels (or sleeping in the van) and eating fast food! Keep in mind the COVER CHARGE has NOT CHANGED since the 80’s – that’s 30 years of inflation and yet people are not willing to pay more than $5.00 to go see a band and yet people wonder why there aren’t nearly as many GREAT new bands out there.

There is simply no way for a standard touring band in today’s market to even make more than minimum wage or LESS once you factor in the hours of rehearsal, drive time to the gig, set up, play for 4 hours, tear down and hit the road again. It used to be in the 70’s when I fried chicken to buy my first guitar – Minimum wage was like $2.35 an hour – I can’t really remember – but I did what I had to do to buy my first guitar – practiced and practiced and our band made $875 at our first GIG! That was 1977! You can’t even get that as a guarantee from a bar and it’s now 2011. Also, I could play solo gigs for $200 or so a night for years – not any more! So if you look at the early 80’s and compare that $200 a night to the minimum wage – I was making a KILLING! But you can’t do that anymore – unless cover charge goes up – the only way to make any decent money is to play private parties….

But enough of what it was like THEN – let’s talk about NOW. Did you know that ONLINE SALES took a HUGE hit last year? Yes that’s right – after Wal-mart was replaced by iTunes as the number one retailer in the world – LEGAL DIGITAL DOWNLOADS STIL TANKED! So who’s making all this money? Well it’s the Justin Bieber’s (sp? Who cares?) and Taylor Swift’s of the world – and I don’t even want to tell you how bad of a deal you get IF you make it on American Idol – you sign away your LIFE just to get on the show – sure you’re going to make money – as you have to TOUR, and TOUR, and TOUR and work 18 hour days hitting talk shows, meet and greets, in-stores, etc, etc – it’s SUPER HARD WORK and if you don’t keep it up they forget all about you and then your done- what happens to all of those bands or artist that have had JUST ONE HIT - who knows but they are not making a KILLING in the music business that’s for sure – as music has become TOO DEVALUED! Seen the viral video that got 64 million spins on youtube? Did they get rich? NO – they made less than $50,000. Heard a band on Pandora that you hear over and over think they are making a killing? No! They’ve got to get 50,000 spins to make $400.00. That’s insane! But what do you do if you want to get your music out there just to even SEE if people will like it?

Do it all yourself – but that takes YEARS of work! Which you may never see much return by way of money but if you love what you do – then just maybe everybody will catch on and follow you. With PRO TOOLS and home studios, anybody can make a good CD – but even if you can make your own music, get it on iTunes, and tour, tour, tour to try to build a fan base – without a LOT of money behind you (which used to come from the major labels) how are you going to PAY for all the promotion, production for larges shows, etc. It take money to make money – so sure that top 10% that you see on TV etc are making some good money – but for HOW LONG?

When was the last time you want to a TRUE ARENA show? They used to have them all the time but now all but the very BIGGEST stars can even get an arena to sell out. Most are lucky to get ½ full…and even bands like US – that have a HUGE following are NOT making a ton of money of music sales – they make it from TICKET SALES!

So the bottom line for those that want FREE MUSIC and think they are being ripped off – don’t buy those artists music, do NOT buy major label acts music either! Support the mid-level band that are jus trying to make a meager living – and don’t forget about those young and truly talented, hard working artist/bands that will spend years working on their craft only to fall by the wayside – and if they didn’t PLAN for a way to make a living in something other than music – what will you hear from then next? “Would you like fries with that?” So these days if you put all your eggs in one basked and don’t make it – which is the ONLY way TO MAKE IT – then you are going to have a really hard life.

And those are just the FACTS – THE TRUTH ABOUT THE MUSIC BUSINESS!

I'm all about supporting songwriters, artists and bands that are out the breaking their backs just TRYING to do what they love and HOPING that it's enough to just pay the bills - but i can assure you that only the VERY TOP ARTISTS (whose careers are eventually going to fail) are the ONLY ONES that are making much money - the stuggling bands that are REALLY GOOD can't seem to get a BREAK but again, if they are doing it for the LOVE of music - then I'm all for it - and will support them as much as I can - which is what I've been doing for the past 30 years - developing bands, helping band, working as their producer, their attorney, their mentor, and putting up MY OWN TIME and MONEY to help them!  But this is just how it is - only a very small percentage will hit the big time - the REST will fade into obscurity...
 
I just wish the more people actually understood the TRUE nature of the music business before they rant about how much the labels or the big acts are making - rememember you have a better change of getting hit by lightning that having a career in the music business and that is a cold hard FACT!  I just wish it was different and that more people understood that it's the mid-level bands and the up and coming bands that are facing the toughst times EVER!  They are going to work so hard - just to come up empty handed! It's SAD but it's TRUE!  So if we make music almost FREE - how will these poor musicians, writers and bands even make even enough money to live at the POVERTY LEVEL?  They won't and they aren't already!
 
Which is why I've taken a complete 180 and do NOT CARE about the music business or making money - I'll give you my music for free (not that I'm any good anyway, my good years are way behind me) but I still do it for one reason and one reaon only - BECAUSE I LOVE MUSIC!!  And more importanltly - "I love to PLAY music!"  And if EVEN just a few people enjoy what I do - then that's enough for me!  All it takes is for somebody to say they Liked JUST ONE of my songs or came to one of my shows and really enjoyed it and that will make my DAY!  But I can assure you I don't play live anymore as I can't afford it - it's just too much work for too little money - and I'm NOT going to go play unless I bring the WHOLE PA, Lights and everything else as I want to put on a GREAT SHOW - but you can only do that for so long - so I spend my time in the studio and writing and hope that when I finally release something - that just a few poeple will reach out and say - "hey that's pretty good!" And again, that's fine with me...
 
But I can't speak for the other Artists and Bands that are still trying to make it BIG! But I do wish them all the luck in the world!  Bless them all!
 
SM @ MSO

Monday, February 21, 2011

Pandora - are they going to drive away their listeners?

I had planned on Blogging about Pandora soon anyway, but the e-mail I got today sparked me to write this IMMEDIATELY!


I remember when I first discovered Pandora – I thought it was really cool – sure there are a lot of other services out there which I use or used but I just though Pandora had something special if they could just HANG ON until they could get the revenue to stay open.

What I liked is that one could type in a song or an artist and there it was for you to hear AND you could create YOUR OWN RADIO STATION based on that ARTIST or SONG! And then it got to be a lot more like Arbirton as Pandora would then use some algorithm to predict similar songs and/or artists which was not the BEST algorithm as I would get some pretty weird stuff on my station (or rather stations as I created a LOT of stations based upon my own VERY VARIED musical tastes). But you could always say “I don’t like this song” and it was gone from you play list or “LIKE the song” and it would come up more often as well as other similar songs/artists in that vein – but the math just didn’t work that well. As you got to hear a LOT of stuff you did NOT like – so I just hit the “thumb down button”.

Then they had to start to ad advertising – understandable. You’ve got to have revenue but these ads were not obtrusive – you just had to LOOK at it. Then they added advertising that you had to HEAR. That was OK too – it wasn’t too obtrusive and I surely understand that they set a time out feature as they shouldn’t have to pay for streaming songs to an empty room – but I did like to turn on ambient music to go to sleep with…so when it timed out – no problem. But then those ADS got LOUDER and more often and that’s when it got annoying.

However, I stuck with them even though Pandora was NOT my only source of streaming radio – but I did get turned on to a lot of new artists and songs that I would have NEVER heard otherwise. I can assure you that my local radio stations would NEVER play that type of music – as my tastes are very eclectic and I do NOT like the over homogenized and pasteurized mocha-chino land over-corporate McDonald Land chain store music that Terrestrial Radio tries to cram down your throat at the behest of the major labels trying to break and maintain their latest acts including their FIRST hit that was OVERPLAYED in the first place and the second single by the same artist that doesn’t even belong on the air. In short, if I’m in my car, its Satellite Radio and being such an avid music fan, I don’t even subscribe to ANTYHING but music. I could care less about the hundreds of channels of talk, sports, or anything else – I want MUSIC and I want the type of music that suits MY TASTES and with Satellite you can get some good music – and I grow tired of listening to my iPod or other devices through my car speakers…my paid for songs get BORING as well…

Well now Pandora has really taken it to a level that is just really BAD – they not only have commercials – but they are LIMITING how much music you can hear on one month – and since I work in front of my computers ALL DAY and in to the night – I listen a LOT. So I get an E-mail today saying I’m approaching my FREE LISTENING LIMIT!! WHAT?? According to Pandora most people do not listen more than 40 hours per month – and “the number of ADS a listener hears decline sharply after 40 hours” HUH? That makes NO SENSE whatsoever! I’m all about paying royalties, even though the royalties paid for 40,000 spins of ONE SONG on Pandora do NOT amount to much for the songwriters or publishers – in fact, Streaming Radio, is HURTING the writers and driving down royalties – but that’s a price every writer or publisher has to pay in order to even GET SPINS – as that’s better than NO SPINS at all! But give me a break – you’re going to SHUT me down unless I pay – well – I understand you need your money – but you may end up sending me to another FREE SERVICE and LOSE me as a customer all together! Sure I could pay the $39 per year, but until you get your computers to pick better music and NOT bombard me with stuff I do NOT want to hear, then we’re at an impasse. I could pay the $0.99 to keep listening with ADS included or just pay out the $39 – but again, once they shut me off – I’ll go searching for another place for music before I break out my credit card! Get it RIGHT and I’ll gladly pay –I’m already helping spread the word as I tweet and post to FB what I’m listening to – thus getting you MORE LISTENERS –  but IF I’m going to PAY – you’d better start getting your math right as well as be paying MORE to the writers and publishers and quit driving down the value of music!

SM @ MSO

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Typography - Who Cares or has the time?

I've never really got why anyone would want to reaally STUDY typography, especially since you've got so many 1000's of choices these days.  In fact, I can't remember how many different Fonts I have downloaded for the variety of apps that I use - some install automatically (depending on your OS) and some you have add to the app later on - which isn't a problem - but keeping track of what's what is a REAL PAIN! 

Further instead of SEARCHING and searching (or better still wasting TIME looking) for a particular font to either match what you're working on or what you WANT to add that needed look for your graphic or Document work and THEN try to remember the name - then there's a really cool FREE APP that's out there - (can't I've even tried to use it on a MAC) but it works GREAT with PC's!  Just add the font or compare fonts in a single viewing pane so you can COMPARE on the fly!  It's insanely easy - and saves an incredible amount of time wasted browsing around the 1000's of fonts on your machine.

It's FONT VIEW OK - you can get it from CNET (one of my FAVOURITE places to get apps so much so I subsribe to their updates - LOADS of GREAT INFO!).  Be that as it may, it allows you to COMPARE FONTS and then PICK the ones that you need with a side by side comparison...just too easy.

Try it - you'll LOVE IT!

SM @ MSO



Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Trademark Infringement is Rampant on the Internet!

I guess most people just do NOT get Intellectual Property – and I must admit, it took years of studying and learning to really get a total grasp on the intricacies of how it all works but when it comes to TRADEMARK LAW – it’s pretty easy to understand.


The first rule is that IF somebody is first to use a trade name wether that be for a SERVICE, PRODUCT or BOTH – then they have the right to use that name unless somebody comes along and established a name in a similar class of goods, files that mark with the USPTO (United State Patent and Trademark Office) and that’s on file for SEVEN YEARS – then they can preclude the original owner of the name from using it. And not just get injunctive relief but also statutory damages!

But the real test of whether a Trademark or Trade Name is able to be protected is not that clear as you can NOT get a registered TM on a geographically descriptive mark – such as Middle Tennessee Music Products/Services. You must first figure out if anyone else has USED that mark in the class of goods/services you intend to use your mark in commerce.

But first in Commerce usually WINS! OR first one to FILE is better off - but not alwasy the winner. Of course, there’s regional marks that are created through State Trademarks and that works if your business is LOCAL, Statewide or within a REGION as you get a ‘zone of expansion”. But with the internet – almost any business is doing business not just nationally but INTERNATIONALLY and that REALLY applies to MUSIC!

However, you cannot Trademark a song title – you can’t even copyright a song title. And I hear that all that time – “we need to copyright that name” – WRONG! You need to TRADEMARK IT! And that is NOT as easy at it may sound. Sure a State TM is pretty easy to get but that has NO protection nationally or internationally!

But it’s all good – I’ve got some infringement issues with a few of my business name and I’m deciding IF I want to fight the battles – as my attorney is FREE but I may take the moral high ground. We’ll see – but some cease and desist and/or let’s make a deal letters are about to out soon! AS my ALERTS are lighting up with names in music that are just too similar to precisely like mine…but it’s all good!

What really started to hurt me is that a well KNOWN band came out with a song that was almost identical to one of my company’s names – and there’s NOTHING I can do about that – they had every right to use that name in a song title – and that just KILLED my SEO and SMO efforts, but again, I’m OK with it – it actually will make get motivated to finish up the site designs for the 10 or so sub-divisions of my main business. AS they really needed an UPDATE and/or UPGRADE!

By the way – I know that these other people using my names read my blogs, view my sites, so if you want to get a STEAL of a DEAL and avoid FEDERAL COURT – drop me a line – I’ll work WITH you – otherwise, if I work against you – YOU WILL LOSE!  Let's use the EASY BUTTON! ??

SM @ MSO



Tuesday, February 8, 2011

BROWSER WARS

Ok - I've not got SEVERAL COMPUTERS FIRED UP - including several version of Window OS and a couple of MAC OS - skipping the iPhone, iPad  and both Galaxies (phone and pad) for now- but have everything fired up!  I've got IE (not so cool - but you have to use it for some things), Chrome *(my favorite on speed), Firefox *(my favorite for blocking scripts and running TOR) and Safari - (can't get much use out of it unless with Mac OS but it works and I hate the default tab to all things MAC - we live in a cross platform world) and I'm running tests on SEVERAL MONITORS (HD, CRT, Laptops and many different sizes) along with Different Screen resolutions, etc - I'm sure my Analytics should be interesting tomorrow for my many sites!

So far I'm rather pleased as everything is adding up and working - however, I'm SUPPOSED to update IE - but the LAST update wreaked havoc with my two main mastering machines - which MUST have windows OS on them due to the many plug-ins I'm running and for Sony Vegas. 

But I'm slowly deciding through testing multiple site which is going to be my DEFAULT BROWSER on EVERY MACHINE - and soon enough as I finish up the learning curve for importing CSS into STATIC FBML.  But then it's on to learning the NEWEST MOBILE PLATFORMS and that's when I can fire up my smaller peripherals as I'm leaning toward the ANDROID OS - it's just SO COOL! 

Having fun getting my GEEK ON and LEARNING A TON as I GO!!    Can't wait to get into .mobi design soon enough....

SM & MSO

High Cotton Records has a NEW SITE!

After several years of TM infringement and cyber-squatting issues, we've FINALLY acquired High Cotton Records DOT COM!

And we welcome you to visit our NEW WEBSITE For HIGH COTTON RECORDS!  The original redirect link is still: www.highcottonrecords.net - new links on the way as we wait for DNS changes.

Steve Moore has revived the label in order to phase out some other projects and to promote his newest songs and recorded materials as well as many of his past productions and other projects which will be available soon on all digital forums and many streaming sites as well. The time has finally come to MOVE!

Due to issues that Steve Moore chooses to take the the moral high ground on - he's changing his band name back to "Steve Moore & the New South" and will be releasing his entire catalogue including all bands and CD's from High Cotton Records to iTunes and elsewhere soon enough. He will also be changing his FaceBook Fan Pages and Reverbnation and other accounts to reflect this change.  We apologize in advance to all of our fans for any inconvenience! 

You can see our new site at the following LINK: www.highcottonrecords.com/highcotton (please bear with us until we change the DNS SERVERS to reflect the correct link as this is merely one of MANY subdomains under our new hosting account(s). 

We look forward to seeing you there - and invite you to contact us via the contact page.  We will more than likely tie in our RSS FEEDS with FEEDBURNER and Google Feed Proxy, but that will come in time - we've got to fix our Permalinks and work in our SEO/SMO but will still be a division of Music Square One.

MORE SITES ON THE WAY - but all in due time. We've got to get Steve's book deal wrapped up, get some more content for the second edition and have a LOT of other projects going on currently....

Thanks for stopping by our Blog and we hope to see you at High Cotton Records soon!




Sincerely,

Steve Moore, B.A. J.D. Author of "The Truth about the Music Business"
steve@highcottonrecords.net (new E-mail address on the way as well)

Monday, February 7, 2011

iMac - Good enough specs for even the TOP of the LINE?

Not too sure...

Ok sure Quad Core - but if you're not doing Video or SUPER INTENSE audio is that REALLY going to speed things up - and how much RAM can you UPGRADE too? C'mon give me MORE RAM - got to have that to even allow the Quad to catch up to the multi-tasking I'll have to do - got to have CS-4/5 open and AE, PS/ILL, Dreamweaver and a few others - but not so into the AUDIO by Adobe - give my old Syntrillium with LOADS of plug-ins and at least I can MASTER - but can I multi-track and STILL use Sony Vegas to get my FINAL VIDEO's RENDERED and UPLOADED? Not too sure...seems like a PC thing.


Plus there's not nearly enough HD space - even with a daisy chain of Glyph Drives - I'll be torching HD's quickly at 90MB per TRACK times 4-5 takes and 32 Tracks - that's 11 GB for just BASIC tracking...ONE SONG - much less many versions of that one song - that 110 GB and then add to that 10 songs and that over a TB -- then try to SMPTE HD VIDEO times THREE HD cams in REAL TIME and now you're needing 200 TB - time to move to PETABYTE - and when you're done with Audio tracks - then master - then ADD all of the graphics tricks - I'm going to need at least THREE of them - sure I love my portable Mac stuff - jailbreak an iPhone, etc, but I'm done coveting a new 4g iPad - as the Galacy is SLEEKER and I prefer Google's OS - for the cloud - just with the SERVICE Providers would get their high end stuff up FASTER! MORE OPTICAL PLEASE!

Oh well, just get it ALL and that's how I ROLL - cross platforms - and of course, you've got to be able to switch from PTS to PTD's...oh well worse fates, at least there are no DLL and other RAM hogs on the MAC but I'd still prefer to BUILD from SCRATCH something that will BLOW away any take it as you find it out of what's shipped - I NEED TO CUSTOMIZE - give me a FULL TOWER with Loads of DRIVE RACKS and plenty of PCI BUSSES and I'll BE OK!!

Techno Distraction!! GK-A-ZOID!

SM @ MSO -

Intellectual Property Basics

(THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE - MERERLY a RESPRESENTATION of THE BASICS of IP LAW)

Most people just do NOT get intellectual property but the BASICS are not that hard to understand. And the main areas are Copyright, Trademark, Patents and Trade Secrets.


I’ll touch on Patents just to get them out of the way – Patents are governed by the USPTO – Patent and Trademark office. If you’ve come up with a new design (plants, mechanical, etc, etc) and that design is useful, non-obvious and UNIQUE then you can get a PATENT – but it’s COSTLY and you’ve got ONE YEAR to file for a provisional Patent (to buy a little time) and for your FULL on PATENT which could take YEARS to be granted. So if you’ve got a great new idea that you’ve build and want to market – get your ducks in a row and HIRE a GREAT PATENT ATTORNEY unless you think you can do it yourself – if so, good luck! Einstein was a Patent Clerk…enough said? Patents are designed to protect the OWNER of the Patent but only for a LIMITED TIME – 20 years, so that other companies can put them out and prevent a Monopoly – and of course, the 20 years is for the owner to be able to recoup their R & D ( research and development). So patents protect the owners for a time and then the consumer to be able to buy that design for a much better price and Patents are governed by FEDERAL LAW.

Copyright is probably the most common of all intellectual property rights – and these rights can get a bit complicated as one can get a Copyright immediately but it has no teeth. Suffice it to say that one is granted a “Statutory Copyright” when one creates a “work” and puts it out there for others to view, touch, etc. To keep this discussion as brief as possible I’ll stick to music or websites. You’ll often see song with a © notice or even a website with a © but does that mean that a copyright has been actually filed? NO! It’s easy enough to find out – go to the Library of Congress.Gov – and you can EASILY find out what copyrights have been filed. If the copyright was NOT filed – all that means is that the ORIGINAL OWNER (if you can prove you created the work) has a “Statutory Copyright” and the only POWER that invokes is injunctive relief – or “stop using my work!” – Not much help – right? So it would be wise to file your copyrights so that people can’t take part of your code (from you website) or part of your song (a sample) or just take the whole thing and use it as their own. Plus the owner can get damages for infringement along with attorney’s fees, etc – and all works come with a “BUNDLE OF RIGHTS” but that again is TOO MUCH for this blog – See “The Truth about the Music Business” for more information. But you’ll have to buy the BOOK! Copyright is also governed by FEDERAL LAW but Copyright is designed solely to protect the CREATOR of the work! Not like Patents that are a hybrid or Trademark that protects the CONSUMER!

So, now we’ll talk about Trademark which is governed by FEDERAL LAW and STATE LAW as many states have enacted similar Statutes as a lot of companies just work in ONE STATE or surrounding states and therefore want to only protect their rights in a smaller area. Trademark rights unlike ALL other IP RIGHTS are NOT designed to protect the OWNER of the mark – but the CONSUMER – in regards to the origin of the goods and/or services. In short, when you as a consumer see that BRAND (LOGO) or Name – then you know that you can trust it – (as least that’s the goal!) But TM rights are indeed ALL POWERFUL as if somebody infringes on your mark – and creates confusion in the market place then the DAMAGES can be HUGE – of course, you can always put TM next to your name which shows an intention to trademark your name or that you are in the PROCESS of getting a TRADEMARK but until you actually have the mark REGISTERED and on file with the USPTO – you can only get injunctive relief. Get a REGISTERD MARK and you get injunctive relief, you get Statutory Damages, attorneys fees and in the worst case scenario for an infringer – the owner of the mark can take ALL of your profits from the illegal use of that Mark less what you can PROVE it cost you to make those profits. But in short, an owner of a mark can basically put an infringer OUT OF BUSINESS for GOOD!

The Last is TRADE SECRETS and this is governed by STATE LAW- this just means that if you have internal processes or ways of doing things, ideas, concepts, etc that are UNIQUE to YOUR business – you need to protect them – but you can’t FILE TRADE SECRETS with any agency – you just have to make sure that if you disseminate these secrets within or even outside of your company – you MUST be sure to put something on those communiqu├ęs that “THIS IS A TRADE SECRET’ and any type of reasonable damages you think you would be entitled to should someone STEAL your SECRETS of YOUR TRADE!

Just remember – your better of FILING for protection and NOT just going about your business without paying for the proper protection as you’ll end up with no better than “injunctive relief” or in other words, you can get a court to say – STOP DOING THAT!

AGAIN THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE nor is it INTENDED TO BE!
YOU SHOULD CONTACT an attorney if you would like more info or if you need any HELP with these issues, however, you are more than Welcome to buy my BOOK!

THE TRUTH ABOUT THE MUSIC BUSINESS - Steve Moore, B.A., J.D., Author


SM @ MSO



The Black Eyed Peas and The Half-Time Show...A total Disappointment!

I'm actually a pretty decent fan of the Black Eyed Peas. I like their studio stuff and a few of their videos - and I like the "Concept" of the band - and how they each have a unique personality and make that all work together as a whole. It's sad that they haven't really had more hits - but welcome the music business.

HOWEVER, I'm sorry to say that LAST NIGHT'S performance was well - JUST AWFUL! In fact, it was a reminder of how the proliferation of software DAW's like Pro Tools and Post-Editing tools for Video that are now so cheap that almost anyone can get in on the action with very little money- and if you get REALLY good at these APPS you really don't have to have MUCH TALENT AT ALL! In fact, PRO TOOLS has on their main adverts that you don't need any music talent at all - just ONE FINGER and with a LOT of practice, forethought and about 1000 hours of studio time and YOU TOO can be a STAR!

Well it was pretty obvious after seeing the LIVE - that they are USING all the studio tricks that are necessary to make them come off like they can actually BRING IT - and they surely didn't BRING IT LIVE - as least not IMHO. One would think that since they used the OBVIOUS Auto-Tune sound which has gotten to be SO OVERUSED that it's a JOKE that they could have used a BANK of Auto-Tunes and other pitch correction HW devices (like so many if not ALL of the major acts out there are using) that they could have come off like they indeed have some concept of PITCH Control.

Granted it was ALL LIVE and I'm sure SUPER, SUPER hard to pull off the set up in a short time - as that was obvious when they had MIC issues and Mix issues as their voices were not mixed well at least not during the first few minutes. But when I started to hear pure PITCH issues - I thought they had more command over their voices than I heard last night. Sure FERGIE can sing - but she's NOT even close to as good as some of the "other" singers of her time that have come before her - whether from IDOL or from the YouTube phenom or those that has risen through the ranks to get Major Deals and have created careers the OLD FASHIONED WAY – but you can’t deny, she’s certainly easy on the eyes and very talented, but I was SHOCKED at the notes she missed. And again, it was obvious they were using Auto-Tune in the OVERDONE way as per many other artists but couldn’t they have put some signal processing to correct some of those blatant bad notes? Who knows, I’m sure they were being mixed from somewhere WAY far away from the stadium – and I’m sure there was a MS (millisecond) or so of time delay to allow for the sync up of Video and Audio – but again, I’m sure that it was a massive undertaking for all involved – but with today’s technology, why couldn’t they PULL IT OFF? After all it’s the SUPER BOWL! But in my humble opinion, playing that gig is probably going to HURT the BEP’s More that it helped their careers – and the fact that it was done so POORLY from an Audio and PITCH point of view just PROVES that they are better off in the studio and hence, I don’t think I’d EVER buy a ticket to see them live. But what do I know? Not much – but I know what “I LIKE” and I did NOT like that performance. Get back to the studio and create a hit song - if you want to revive your career - as last nights performance did more harm than good!

DD & MSO

Friday, February 4, 2011

Down to Four - no THREE MAJOR RECORD LABELS

Well I said it in 2001 or so when I started High Cotton Records - the day of the Major Record labels are numbered.  Well we're losing another MAJOR this week - EMI.  What does this mean to the average consumer - not much really other than there's one less player that can try to develop bands, fund their entire promotion, marketing and distribution (as it NRC's - or Normal Retail Channels even matter).  And one less company to pay big radio huge dollars for ADS - yes, on the inside music companies and radio stations refer to "songs" as ADS - as somebody is paying to get the newest music out there.

But for those of us that live in middle America and/or Small Town USA - we're not going to notice as we're still going to have those local stations that play the SAME songs all the time and less and less companies are able to pay to get NEW music out there - so you're going to have to look elsewhere- the only real problem is WHERE - there's so many choices to find music and even MORE music to choose from today than ever before. 

We're never going to stop seeing the top 5% of acts that will still be on radio, TV, touring, etc - and we'll see more and more blow up on YouTube.  Just suffice it to say the Music Business although in a major INCOME decline as CD sales tanked last year even worse than years before but also ONLINE SALES took a HUGE DIVE as well - as there's just too many ways to get what you want to hear for FREE so for those artists or songwriters out there thinking they'll be cashing huge BMI/ASCAP checks - think again. Get with Sound Exchange and start to focus on Mobile Media - if you can hit THAT market - folks will find you on your others sites or get intrigued enough to hit the iTunes store.

The moral of this story - do it yourself - but do NOT think you don't have to put in the time - the reason why music was so good in the earlier days was that people WORKED at it!  Thousands of hours honing their craft - the only difference today is that you have to hone your craft and THEN know how to get it all out there yourself - or find these smaller and faster/forward thinking small and nimble companies that can help you get your music out! But it all depends on GREAT SONGS and TOURING - if you have GREAT SONGS - the message will go viral and you'll take off - and keep MOST of your money instead of giving MOST of it to the MAJORS where they want a 360 deal - where they get a large piece of the entire pie!

SM @ MSO