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Music Marketing

Posted By Rick Goetz on July 6th, 2013

A blog for musicians and music industry people. It is a free educational resource and it is also the way I advertise my music consulting services. I am an entertainment professional with deep roots in the music industry. Throughout my music career I have been a major label A&R representative, a music supervisor, an artist manager, a reality show producer, a bass player and the head of a digital record label.

 

Posts Tagged ‘get my music in films’

Pitching to Film and Television

Posted By Rick Goetz on September 11th, 2013

This interview was originally published in May, 2012.

 

Rebecca Rienks is the music supervisor at E! Entertainment. A lifelong music fan, Rebecca interned at a variety of companies and venues while she was attending  Thornton School of Music at USC, including Interscope Records, Capitol Records and The Roxy. After graduation, she got a position as the assistant to the president of the music department at Lionsgate Films, where she worked on many film and television projects, such as the Leonard Cohen documentary I’m Your Man, Crash, The Devil’s Rejects and the first Saw film. She then helped launch an independent boutique music supervision firm called Creative Control, where she was the senior creative director for five and a half years. She has been at E! since 2011.

 

 

I talked to Rebecca about her responsibilities and experiences as a music supervisor at a major cable network and how artists can prepare their music to pitch to film and television. She also shared some critical advice for musicians that want to get their music heard by the gatekeepers at film studios and television networks.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

Thanks so much for taking some time to chat, Rebecca. How did you get started in the music business?

 

RR:

 

I graduated from the Thornton School of Music at USC. I was in the music business program there for about two and a half years as a transfer student. During my time there, I took a lot of different jobs and internships so I would have a lot of great experience and be in a good position getting out of school. I interned at places like Interscope and Capitol in the A&R department. I also worked in the club office and in ticketing at The Roxy.

 

Then, when I graduated, one of my professors hooked me up with the executive at Lionsgate Films. I interviewed to be the assistant to the president of the music department there and got the job. I was there for about two and a half years, and I worked on a lot of great projects, like the Leonard Cohen documentary I’m Your Man, Crash and the accompanying Oscar® campaign. I also worked on Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects, the first Saw movie, a bunch of indie films and a lot of television shows. It was a time when that studio was much smaller. It is still independent these days, but it was at a different level during that time. There were only three people in the entire music department running everything.

 

That was a great job to have as a launching pad out of school. But it wasn’t as if I had aimed to go into film music. This was around 2004, and music supervision wasn’t the kind of thing that everybody talks about like they do now. It was essentially just a job that, when I got out of school, I took to really well. I had a really great rapport with the head of the department. When he finally decided he wanted to leave and move onto other things  after having been at Trimark, Artisan and Lionsgate for over a decade, I ended up leaving and going with him. We launched a company together called Creative Control.

 

We continued to work together under the independent supervision banner of Creative Control for the better part of five or so years. Only in the last year have I moved over to doing more TV.I am now the music executive/music supervisor for E! Entertainment. I oversee music concerns for the entire channel. The way we divvy things up on the cable end of the spectrum is that each person oversees basically an entire channel. So, I oversee all music concerns for E!, including promos for E! itself and the Style Network. I also handle music publishing concerns for several of our cable channels. And I oversee our work with Ryan Seacrest Productions and the team that does all our red carpet events for the Oscars, Emmys, BAFTAs, Grammys and everything else.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

And does that also involve talent wrangling?

 

RR:

 

Yes and no. Essentially, we liaise with the live events team and the talent department to coordinate all the music you hear on our red carpet specials, including live music and any interstitial music that needs to be licensed or scored. It’s music supervision, but there is a talent aspect if we need to coordinate with an artist to do something live on the red carpet. It’s essentially a 360-degree job of music concerns as it relates to the E! channel.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

You mentioned you work with two different types of music. Could you estimate which percentage flowing through your hands is music that is specifically written for something on the network, and which percentage is licensed?

 

RR:

 

It really just depends on the program and the timeline. I come out of the sensibility of, “If we have this very specific need we have to fulfill, why not hire someone to create an asset for us that we can A&R from the ground up, so we get exactly what we want?” Otherwise, we have to search high and low for something that is possibly putting a square peg in a round hole. So, again, it really just depends.

 

There are instances where it makes sense for us to license whatever the hot pop track is now, or music from some kind of heat-seeking band that deserves coverage on a network like ours that is obviously focused on pop culture. Then there are times we need something to fit the sound and the style and the vibe, but we can’t afford Nicki Minaj or Katy Perry. So, we get somebody to come in  and create what we need.

 

I’d actually say it’s pretty much 50/50, because I do also help people find and secure composers for our shows, for theme song opportunities and promo music we need created. But obviously as a pop culture channel, we do a lot of licensing of pop music and Billboard-friendly music.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

I want to talk to you about licensing, because that’s obviously an incredibly important topic among aspiring musicians. But first, I’m assuming you work repeatedly with a lot of the same firms – those composition houses, etc. that create music for you regularly.

 

RR:

 

I wouldn’t say we go back to any one well in particular. Personally, I don’t often engage composition houses to do that sort of thing, because they are just entities with staff composers that turn stuff out all the time. While there is obviously a place for that, and I would never say I don’t use that kind of material or wouldn’t work with entities of that nature, I just prefer to work on an “artist” level. My background involved being in the music school and knowing a lot of people who were composers, musicians and in bands. So, I prefer to turn to the people that I know are accomplished musicians in a band, composers I went to school with that were in the composition department, or some great DJ I know that can do electronic music but is a DJ in Las Vegas. I prefer to turn to people on a personal level, rather than turn to companies that do this type of music as their specialty. And that’s a personal choice.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

That’s great to know. Most of my experience with music supervisors is with the advertising side. I know those guys go back to music houses quite often.

 

RR:

 

Yes. I would imagine that’s a majority of those kinds of companies’ business.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

Yes. Overwhelmingly so. And that music is also overwhelmingly instrumental.

 

Let’s talk about the best way of getting your attention. I always tell people that it’s a very difficult thing for an artist with one, two, three or even ten albums to call up a music supervisor. My joke is always, “Hang on. I have to put you on hold, because I have Sony on the other line, and they have all of Western music.”

 

You’ve come up in the music business and have been at this for a while. If the roles were reversed, and you were a musician or a composer, how would you get through to people like you?

 

RR:

 

Like you said, it’s very tough. And it’s even more difficult when you’re an indie and are selling yourself. That’s why I personally think to gain traction, the best thing to do is to use an established pitch house to work your material. Because, those are the companies and people that are going to have an ongoing rapport with people like me, who will be looking for a great aggregator source that can funnel things, because I can depend on their sound and quality level. There are a bunch of pitch houses I turn to on a regular basis that represent indie labels, one-off individual artists. They all have their own process for how they vet and take on new clients.

 

That in and of itself is hard enough, because obviously companies like that have a huge roster of things they’re working. And there’s a lot to dig through with companies like Bank Robber, Terrorbird, Zync – I could go on and on.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

Would you deem the ones you just named reputable?

 

RR:

 

Yes. For sure. It’s hard enough to gain the ear of someone in my shoes even going through those kinds of channels. But it’s much harder as an indie artist repping yourself and trying to make inroads. Because even if somebody like me has the best of intentions of seeking out and working with indie artists and keeping that door open, I’m still just constantly being inundated with material. And even with the best of intentions, I could never chip away at it all.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

I was an A&R guy. You often feel like you’re sitting behind a desk where dreams go to die. That’s why I am no longer in A&R, because I couldn’t stand that my job was to destroy people’s dreams.

 

RR:

 

And I know how that feels. That’s what I always try not to do. I’m very much a music fan. I come out of the indie world and grew up with friends in bands. I know how hard it is to tread that path. I have the best of intentions. Unfortunately, you can only “Paula Abdul” things so much. I try to be encouraging and present a positive picture for indie artists, while still giving them the honest nuts and bolts. But at the end of the day it’s a hard road.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

It’s very important that artists put things into perspective. And you want to be cordial and nice as a gatekeeper. But sometimes that can make people think they have an “in” with you. So, you want to be nice, but you can’t be too nice. It’s a strange thing, and it’s a hard thing to communicate that to people who are asking, “Well, isn’t your job to be nice?”

 

RR:

 

And as an artist, you’re one out of hundreds. Even if I have the best of intentions to listen, it’s physically impossible to listen to everything. I try and be encouraging with a huge, huge, huge dose of realism.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

And people are going to continue to try. And they should. So, what do you look for in regards to the presentation? Are there “do”s and “don’t”s when it comes to the make-up of the solicitation email, the packaging, etc.?

 

RR:

 

The biggest turnoff is somebody who doesn’t have their own business and affairs in order. If you can’t be learned about the fundamentals of how to license your material to a supervisor, there are plenty of people who will not give you the time of day. It is not my job to teach you how to handle the business of your art. So, if I get something from somebody and talk to them, then realize they don’t understand anything about the concept of the ownership issues surrounding what they created – their own music publishing, whether or not they have co-writers, whether or not they’ve figured out their splits, all those nuts and bolts – unless I feel that I’ve found lightning in a bottle with an artist, I’m not compelled to go through the process of shepherding someone through the film and TV world. At the end of the day, everybody needs to be educated about how to manage their own art, even if they’re not trying to make inroads in the film and TV world. You need to understand the basics of how to exploit your music for your own betterment.

 

If you want to talk about specifics of presentation, so many of them are logical to me. Think about if you were on the flip side of the equation and were the person that was being inundated with music. The sheer volume of music that is coming into you via email with digital links and downloads, etc. – “Download this. Stream this. Click on this blog.” – is astounding. If you were in that boat, what would be the things that would make it difficult or undesirable for you to check something  out? I’ve realized more and more that people don’t necessarily think about it that way.

 

If I’m going to get things digitally, I prefer the music to be sent to me via streaming links with the option to download. If I do find something interesting and go the extra mile to download it, I end up looking later in my downloads folder and have 300 things in zip files I haven’t even unzipped yet that I’m, in theory going to go through. Even with the best intentions, it’s a lot to chip away at. But if someone sends me a streaming link, I’m more inclined to click through, listen to it really fast, then maybe download one-off songs or a folder here and there that I think meets my needs. I’d rather not have to download a bunch of stuff that I think might not be right for me.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

When somebody comes to you – and this could be even a Terrorbird or a Bank Robber – does having a reference to other stuff you’ve placed help? It would demonstrate that people have done their homework. But is it helpful when someone says, “I see that you used this in such and such a way, and that made me think you would be the person to talk to”? Does it help if they acknowledge they know the type of material you place?

 

RR:

 

Yeah. It obviously shows someone has done their due diligence to understand what is, in theory, right for me and the channel. E! has a very specific sound and style. And we’re actually in a period where we’re trying to expand that and open it up to a wider spectrum of sound than the spectrum we’re known for. But really, we have a very ingrained sense of what our channel is and what it’s about. So, when I encounter people that send me something that’s wildly off base from the kind of programming we do and the kind of audience we have, for better or worse, it reflects on how well they really know what I’m doing. If you haven’t done your homework to sell yourself, why would I go the extra mile to wade through the 10 tracks you sent me to find one potential track that might be right?

 

So, to answer your question, yes, letting me know you understand the type of material I place definitely shows you’ve gone the extra mile. We all work on lots of different things, of course. But sending something that is wildly off target and saying, “This would be perfect for you” is the fast road to “file 13” – the waste basket. Because, you clearly are spamming people.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

Do you have any parting words of advice for artists?

 

RR:

 

If you’re an indie artist looking to approach film and television, I would say, first and foremost, know your business. Be educated. That’s helpful to me and to you. No one is going to look out for you more than you. So, before you even bother to try to engage with anybody on a business level, you should know your own business.

 

In terms of generalities of presentation, etc., we get such a cross section of material sent to us. You could dig around anywhere and find a ton of tips and tricks. And the thing that drives one person crazy could be someone else’s preferred method of reaching out. Everybody has their own little nuances of how they like to be pitched to, for lack of a better term.

 

That being said, there are some basic things to think about. Track listings are important. Make sure that if you’re sending someone a CD, the track titles are there. Meta data is hugely important. If I load your CD and the tracks come up as tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and there’s no artist information or contact information or album title, it’s going to have to be the next best thing for me to bother to input meta data into iTunes so I can save it. If I pop something in the CD player and it comes up with no meta data these days, I usually just toss it. And it’s an oversight that somebody is not doing their general homework.

 

If you’re going to submit a CD without artwork – which is fine, because there are demos and things of that nature – still include a paper track listing on the CD case. A lot of people write their information on the CD itself, which is fine. But maybe I want to make note of a track and I can’t, because the track titles are on the CD that is in the player.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

And by the sound of it, all these things happen quite frequently.

 

RR:

 

Yes. They’re rules of thumb for a reason.

 

There really are a ton of tips and tricks. Another one:  If you’re going to email someone a cold email, don’t send MP3s. All you’re doing is clogging my inbox. If I don’t know you and have never made contact with you before, I may or may not even open a file that you send me, because you are a complete stranger, and you may be spamming me with a virus.

 

If you’re going to email someone cold and suggest someone listen to your material, don’t send five-albums worth. Send your three or four top songs and let someone get acquainted with the kinds of songs you have, then reach out to you to get your last five albums. Don’t inundate somebody right off the bat if you’re trying to make an initial impression.

 

There are a thousand ways to go about this process. And like I said, everyone has their own way of doing things and filtering through material. It’s really interesting to see how unprofessionally some people present themselves. And I know they obviously don’t mean to do that. But you only get one opportunity to make a first impression. And when you’re competing with a bunch of other first impressions, it’s very easy for the person you’re contacting to just move on.

 

To learn more about Rebecca Rienks and the work she does, visit her professional website or follow her on Twitter.

Trent Reznor, Continued Industry Growth and EMI News, February 4, 2012

Posted By Rick Goetz on February 4th, 2012

This past week, the music industry was focused on whether new business models would create growth, as Trent Reznor discussed focusing on music in film and some predictions for the future of the industry with TuneCore, and a new professional study was released about overall profitability of the music business going forward. Also, the Chairman of Warner Music Group (WMG) voiced his objections to the EMI Group acquisition during his last day on the job.

 

 

Trent Reznor:  Scoring for Films and the Shifting Music Industry

 

Trent Reznor talked to CEO of TuneCore Jeff Price last week about his successful shift into writing music for films and where he sees the music industry headed in the future.

 

In the TuneCore blog, he first discussed his growth as an artist over the years and why it was important for him to identify his strengths and weaknesses as an artist through trial and error in order to find a “truthful” voice that would help fans connect with his music:  “… I’ve kind of tried to be editorial about my own writing skill set – what I’m good at and what I’m not so good at. And I’ve focused in on some things that I don’t feel I’m very good at. I’m not good at telling a story. I’m not a Paul McCartney, or a Tom Petty … that can write a story about somebody else. I’ve never really tried it [publicly], and when I’ve tried it privately it feels disingenuous.

 

… I started writing by just opening up a journal and there were words that were truthful because they weren’t meant to be lyrics, and that had a sense of integrity to it that I could tell felt real. And that became kind of a template for me to a) stay sane and get this out of my system, and b) I thought that taking some of this ugliness that was bottled up inside me and channeling it into something that had some degree of beauty to it at times, felt like ‘Wow, I’ve found my voice.’”

 

And how did Reznor break into scoring films? It didn’t necessarily come easily at first, as he does not necessarily consider himself a “real composer.” And the process of scoring The Social Network (for which he won an Academy Award) was far different from the process he (and his partner Atticus Ross) used for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. However, he tried to bring what he learned about his own personal skill set as a musician into the experience:  “…I find that if I can emotionally relate to something about it, I can turn the faucet on, and ideas come out. If I feel like I have skin in the game, if I feel like it’s… if I’m a part of it, then I tend to find that I have to get out of the way and just let the ideas and music come out.”

 

It’s one thing to say, ‘Music has a big impact in a movie. It really manipulates how you feel.’ I understand that concept. But to see … a movie that I’d seen a few times now, without any music, transform into something that felt much darker, or weightier, or more vulnerable? It was really fascinating to witness firsthand and be a part of.”

 

Reznor has lately been touted as one of the innovators in the “new music business” who has managed to find a unique business model that allows him to continue to experiment with his art while still working consistently and seemingly effortlessly. Still, he sees a “tough road” ahead for him and other DIY artists, though he is still optimistic:  “… I think we are in between business models. It felt clear to me that labels didn’t know what they were doing back then … We didn’t go, ‘Let’s go with an indie label,” which has the same business model … We went direct from us … The label’s me and my manager, as loud as I can shout on Twitter or anywhere else.  And you realize the shortcomings of that, that you’re only as loud as people that want to listen to you.

 

… I’m not disenchanted by things. I think in a lot of ways it’s the wild west right now, and it’s wildly exciting, and it’s interesting when something’s been disrupted this greatly, the record business. There’s limitless potential, but it also requires a lot of effort.”

 

And according to Reznor, re-building the music industry is going to have to center around really understanding what the fans want and finding an infrastructure that will solidly support artists’ rights:  “I think the promise, and what I would hope more than anything, is that when we get to this new business model, whatever that is, on the record label side and also on the publishing side, [is] that somebody is strongly speaking up for artists’ rights when that starts to get figured out. And that in an age of potential transparency, that the actual content creator has a seat at the table, and it’s not ALL the things glomming on to it that are carving off their parts.

 

What I consider, from a consumer point of view, the next good business model, the next thing that makes sense, is if there were mass adoption of music subscription services, like Spotify. I think in an age of broadband connection being everywhere, everyone having powerful computers in their pockets, this sense of … normal people feeling comfortable with the idea of the cloud and having all the music available in the world available to you at your fingertips, anywhere you want it all the time, that’s pretty cool.  That requires some education on the part of those companies, to help people to understand what that is.”

 

A New Study Shows, “the Sky is Rising” in the Music Industry

 

Industry expert and TechDirt blogger Mike Masnick shared the results of a new professional study of music industry growth in a presentation at the midem music festival last week. And the news seems to be promising:  “Contrary to the dire warnings of the legacy entertainment industry players, the market is booming, with even greater content choices for consumers, more options for creators, and many more opportunities for smart businesses and artists to make money.”

 

Masnick’s presentation revolved around the release of a new research paper put together by TechDirt and sponsored by CCIA and Engine Advocacy. The paper examined the real state of the music and entertainment business and more realistically looked at some of the numbers behind “doom and gloom” reports about the death of the industry that continue to make the same cynical statements about “cheap” consumers, paltry returns for artists on digital sales and why new laws need to be created to prevent a complete implosion.

 

As Masnick argued, an honest look at the numbers shows that “the overall entertainment ecosystem is in a real renaissance period … the industry is growing both in terms of revenue and content.” The report was split into video and film, books, music and video games and showed that during the last decade, all four segments have actually showed significant growth and opportunity. The amount of content produced in each area has grown at an astronomical rate, revenue has grown and, despite rumors of consumers just wanting everything for free, these consumers have actually continued to spend more of their income on entertainment – 15% more in the period from 2000 to 2008.

 

What were some of Masnick’s other key points? In the past decade …

 

  1. Employment in the entertainment industry rose 20%, with indie artists seeing a 43% growth in employment opportunities.
  2. The overall entertainment industry grew 66% in the period from 1998 – 2010.
  3. Consumers are in the middle of an “age of abundance” when it comes to entertainment. More content is available and in many more ways than before.
  4. Content creators are currently in the midst of an “age of amazing new opportunity as, in many cases, old “gatekeepers” have disappeared. A huge number of people are making money from creating content – with much of that content coming courtesy of new tools that have allowed artists to use the Internet to create, promote, distribute and monetize works.

 

Masnick admitted that there are significant challenges, including the Internet itself:  “the Internet has eaten away at some traditional means by which these businesses made money. But, as the data shows, there is more money going into the overall market, more content being created, and many new ways to make money. That shows that there is a business model challenge – and a marketing challenge – but much more opportunity in the long run.”

 

He concluded that the major challenge will not be to respond to a business that is getting smaller, but to figure out how to “route around existing structures” in an industry that has actually expanded significantly.

 

More information on this study can be found on the TechDirt blog and in Forbes.

 

Out-Going Chairman of WMG Edgar Bronfman Against EMI Acquisition

 

Edgar Bronfman, Jr. stated he was strongly opposed to Universal Music Group (UMG)’s acquisition of EMI Group, according to an article published in The Wall Street Journal. At the D:  Dive into Media conference on his final day as Chairman of WMG, he said he was concerned that bringing EMI on board “would create what I call a super-major that would control not only the future of recorded music but the future of all digital media.”

 

He added, “I think it’s dangerous, I think it’s problematic and I think it’s got to be stopped … It does strike me as hubris particularly for Universal to think it’s going to be easy to buy EMI, and frankly to think they can buy EMI at all.”

 

According to Bronfman, WMG has plans to lobby against the upcoming merger, both in the U.S. and abroad. However, a senior Universal Music executive who listened to Bronfman’s statements declined to respond, claiming that only an official spokesperson for UMG – who was not present at the conference – was permitted to make a statement. And the spokesman was traveling and unable to be reached.

 

Once combined, Universal and EMI would control 40% of the worldwide music market. Bronfman stated that this would give the mega-company the power to establish terms for new online music services and other companies and would greatly decrease artists’ options for earning income.

 

When criticized for voicing his objections merely because of a “sour grapes” situation – since WMG lost out on a bid for EMI – Bronfman stated that had nothing to do with his analysis, especially since a partnership between Warner and EMI would have resulted in a smaller market share than Universal currently has by itself.

 

January 31 was Bronfman’s final day as chairman of WMG, though he will continue to serve on its Board of Directors. He was appointed CEO in 2004 as the leader of the investment group that bought the company from Time Warner, Inc. He also led the company’s push to acquire EMI.

 

Universal won EMI in an auction, settling on a price of $1.9 billion and agreeing to be responsible for meeting any regulatory conditions. The deal is set to close before 2013.

All About Music Clearance

Posted By Rick Goetz on November 22nd, 2011

Deborah Mannis-Gardner is the President of DMG Clearances, Inc., a music clearance company that has been in business for over 15 years. A graduate of Emerson College, Deborah got her start in music working at Diamond Time in the early ‘90s alongside many other music sample pioneers. During her over 20-year career, she has worked with major labels including Atlantic Records, Sony Music, Capitol Records and Warner Bros. and has cleared samples for major artists such as John Legend, Lil Wayne, Lady Gaga, U2, Kid Rock and Beyonce. She has also done extensive work clearing music for film and television, working on movies like School of Rock and The Aviator and with studios like New Line Cinema, 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures. She is also the clearance agent for Rockstar Games – creators of the “Grand Theft Auto” series – and has worked as a consultant for EA Entertaiment, Activision and many other video game companies. Deborah also recently started a music library called Zah Muzickwerks! designed for DIY, indie and emerging artists looking to get their music placed by TV networks, film companies and video games looking for less expensive, artist-owned masters.

 

 

Deborah spoke to me recently about how the music and sample clearance industry has evolved throughout the past 20 years and how she has grown her own business. She also offered some advice for DIY artists that want to use samples or get their music placed in film, TV and video games and build successful careers.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

Thanks so much for taking some time to talk to me, Deborah. Tell me how you first got into the music business.

 

DMG:

 

I started doing music videos. I went to Emerson College and was doing college radio and music videos. I started working on the music side of things at a company called Diamond Time, which was a clearance company. I fell into doing music and sample clearances because no one was really doing that. It was pretty much just Madeleine Smith on the West Coast handling all the gangsta rap. Her husband at the time was Dirty Don, and she was doing all the N.W.A. stuff. There was Hope Carr on the East Coast, and her husband was Larry coming out of Tommy Boy. And then there were a couple people dabbling in it, but there weren’t a lot of people doing it.

 

I wanted to do it, so I started working doing sample clearances in 1990-1991 and really loving the challenge of it. There weren’t really any rules to it. As people were doing clearances, they were creating the rules. When Madeleine and Hope were doing it, they were doing it for handshakes and t-shirts. Back then, we were getting James Brown screams for $500 buyouts. We were getting his “Hey, hey!” for $500. The world of clearances was totally different.

 

It’s how many years later now? And I’m still doing it. That genre of music is still strong. And it’s crossed over. It’s not considered “black music” or any specific genre of music anymore. It’s for any age, any race. Sampling isn’t just done within one genre of music. I’ve worked with U2, who have sampled. The B52’s have sampled. Michael Jackson even sampled.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

You’ve done sample clearances for 20 years. So often, you’ll see artists run out and sample something they love and put it out there because, in the Internet Age, everything is open source. On the internet, you can just view, click and copy anything. People are under the impression that it’s easier to beg forgiveness than to ask permission. Without someone like you paying to clear samples, does a DIY artist stand a chance of even getting his/her phone call taken by these record companies to clear samples?

 

DMG:

 

No. That’s why you need to hire people like me. I’m one of the few people left around that are still doing sample clearances. I love it, and I take on anyone. And I give free advice, because there are so many people that are trying to do things themselves. I give them guidance on what to do, see what their budgets are like or if they can replay something to eliminate the master costs. If musicians and artists can create something themselves, they should create it.

 

But sampling is an art. It’s like when you’re cooking and adding seasonings to something. Good and true sampling is when you’re adding elements of something in order to enhance it; it shouldn’t be the whole bed of the song. Although, some producers do that, and it works out as a good flavor. Salaam Remi, who I love as a producer, sometimes puts a little dash of a sample in it, and it just enhances a song. It’s incredible the way some of these guys do things.
As for the internet and going crazy, sampling something and putting it on YouTube and mixtapes, back in the day, mixtapes used to be something you sold from the trunk of your car; it was a lot more forgiving. Mixtapes are now sold on the internet, and it’s not as forgiving. The battle I’m having as a clearance agent is when someone is selling all these mixtapes that have samples in them. And then they try to release something legitimately with samples in it. And the publishers and record companies go and research the artist and say, “You know what? We’re not going to clear the samples until you back clear something you sampled on your mixtape and didn’t get permission on.”

 

Musician Coaching:
Let me guess. When you go and back clear something, that costs a lot more money.

 

DMG:

 

Is there a penalty cost? Sometimes there is and sometimes there isn’t. As a good clearance agent, I try for there to not be too much of a back penalty. Sometimes you try to see how many units were sold and try to limit it to that. It depends on who the artist is, but you don’t want it to be a huge amount. What you try to determine is, what the extent of the sample is and what the value is. And then you pay for the cost based on the use and the units sold.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

I don’t want you to give too much information away for free, but are there certain things that are just unclearable that people should stay away from?

 

DMG:

 

Sure. There are certain artists that do not allow their material to be sampled at all. There are artists that even if they respect the artists that have sampled them will not let their material be sampled. Anita Baker is someone I respect so much, because she’s even had artists she is friends with come to her and say, “Come on. We’re friends … Please?” And she’ll say, “I’m sorry. I can’t do it. Because if I do it for you, it means that I’d have to do it for other people, and I don’t want to be sampled.” She doesn’t want the music to be used differently from how she initially created it. As an artist, that’s how she chooses how her material is seen or used.

 

There are other artists that have had their careers reborn because of sampling: Syl Johnson; Johnny Guitar Watson, before his passing. There are quite a few guys. And then there are great guys like Hamilton Bohannon, who has been sampled and still has his career going because of it. There are a lot of people who have done well by being sampled,  because it’s revived their career and brought back their music. Obviously compact discs, then MP3s helped. But prior to that, these guys weren’t receiving any revenue, because their stuff was lost, and no one was using it anymore. If you think about it, brought back James Brown.

 

Musician Coaching:
Sure. And it brought back Sly and the Family Stone, Parliament and Funkadelic …

 

DMG:

 

And Barry White and all those people. And then there are some purists. Led Zeppelin doesn’t want to be sampled. But Led Zeppelin is even hard to clear for use in movies. When we did School of Rock, it was very hard to get that music cleared, just for synchronization purposes.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

Somewhere along the line, you also picked up synchronization licenses for movies, TV, video games, etc.

 

DMG:

 

I work on movies. And I handle all the Rockstar games projects. I’m working on the new “Grand Theft Auto 5” right now. I also do clearances for shows that are part of BET’s programming. Then, I work with the film studios. That started because everyone was concerned about the clearances of the hip hop and rap samples being used in their films. It really isn’t difficult. I know where a lot of the bones are buried, so it makes it really easy for me. I also do music clearances for commercials.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

Obviously it sounds like you’re working with a lot of the upper-echelon, name-brand artists. In terms of the DIY and emerging artists that come through you, what are the ones that are succeeding at getting their music placed in film and TV doing right? I get so many of these artists coming to me and saying, “Can you help me get my music placed?” And I usually have to say, “No, I can’t.” There’s so much cold calling, and at any given time you’re competing against Sony, who has everything you can imagine available. It’s a tough thing.

 

DMG:

 

It is a tough thing. And it is a lot of cold calling, but it can be done. We worked on a video game called “Pop Star,” and they were looking for unknown guitar bands. We got a bunch of unsigned, unknown guitar bands. And one of the bands we chose – a local band here in Delaware – ended up being the band you had to beat in that game. And that’s how I started up a company called Zah Muzickwerks!, a company my son named. It’s a music library. And we’re actually just populating right now. The whole purpose of it was to look for small local people who write their own material. Hopefully by the beginning of 2012, we’re going to get it out to TV networks, film companies and video games that are looking for less expensive, more easily cleared, artist-owned masters to be used as fillers. Because stuff is getting so expensive these days. I set it up so it’s not just the music – it also has lyrics. Sometimes people like to put songs in based on lyrics. A lot of HBO shows do that. So, I did it with lyrics and feeling and instruments and BPMs and all those other details.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

Going back to that local Delaware band – what did they do right in terms of making themselves easy to find?

 

DMG:

 

First of all, they knew me.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

Fair enough. I sat behind the desk where dreams go to die for a very long time as an A&R guy, and I had my own policies when it came to artists approaching me. Is there a right way and a wrong way to approach you when an artist is going in cold?

 

DMG:

 

Anyone can send me an e-mail. I don’t turn anyone away. Sometimes people will send me an e-mail and just say, “What do you think of this song?” I respond by saying, “I’m not A&R, but I can tell you what I think.” For example, some guy sent me a really great song. But it sounded just like Green Day. And I said, “It’s really good, but you have to come up with your own style.” But anyone that wants us to put their music in our music library, giving them the chance that someone else will listen to it for use, we don’t charge anyone. But if their music gets picked, we get a percentage of the money they would receive.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

I know this is really hard to ballpark, because there’s so much context that figures into it. But, people call me all the time and say, “Rockstar Games or True Blood just called me, and they want to use a little bit of my music as an interstitial.” How do people know what they should be charging? Are there any “absolutely do not do” deals?

 

DMG:

 

That relates to the other company that I’m working with. I have a business partner, and we have a boutique company where we administer publishing. We charge a small administration fee and handle that for their clients. And if they own their own publishing, we can help them with that. We have some big names like Redman and Keith Ross. But it’s run by a friend of mine, Deborah Evans. And she has years of experience. The reason I partnered up with her is because there are so many little guys out there that don’t know how to handle those requests, or have a small percentage of a song by Rihanna, Pitbull or Eminem and don’t know how to collect their mechanicals outside of the U.S., or don’t know if their song is being used in a TV show, and if someone forgot to request their five percent. That’s why I wanted to get into the world of publishing administration – to help those people out.

 

It’s a pretty important issue. I’ve set it up with her so we have publishing administration worldwide, because it’s important to be able to collect all over the world. The whole basis of everything I do is that I want to help people in the music industry. My fees and everything I do are based on flat fees or a percentage, just so everyone knows what my costs are. It’s all about giving advice and truly helping people.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

As someone who provides such a wide range of services pertaining to publishing and placement, what are the top handful of things aspiring or younger musicians need to know about?

 

DMG:

 

They have to make a decision:  Do they just want to be a musician and create music, and then have someone handle the business side of things … or do they want to do it all? I’ve just recently expanded even further where I’m now handling an artist out of South Africa and bringing him over to the United States in January. And he has taken the position where he wants to understand the business side of things, but he wants me to handle the business aspects in the beginning. So, if you’re an artist, it’s important that you understand registering as song, copyright, etc. And if you don’t know how to do these things, find someone else to do it. My artist in South Africa has done a single, and I’ve been able to get it into my friend’s new iTunes app. Then, I was able to cross promote it so his song was on iTunes through CD Baby. And now we’re going to be doing a music video. And I’m doing all this set up stuff before I decide which label I’m going to shop the music to or if I even want to shop it to a label.  I have to gauge what technology is doing, and whether labels are even the way to go based on changes that are happening within the industry. You have to sit down and really follow the business and know what’s going on.

 

Or, you need to decide that you’re going to spend your energy booking gigs and getting fans. It’s hard to wear all those hats and be the artist that creates the art.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

If you were 20-years old again and a musician just starting out, but you knew what you now know thanks to your experience, which hats would you choose to wear?

 

DMG:

 

If I were a creative artist, I would find that one person that I could trust and maybe even do a contract with that person to do my business for me. And I’d give that person a percentage of the money I’m going to make.

 

To learn more about Deborah Mannis-Gardner and the work she does with artists looking for help with music clearance and music publishing, visit the DMG Clearances, Inc. website.

Music Placement in Film and TV

Posted By Rick Goetz on August 9th, 2011

William Richter is the co-founder, along with Daniel Lessner, of Skanda Music, a music production house. Their collaboration has resulted in a catalog of over 1,200 tracks for feature films, sports, television and commercials. Will got his start in the music industry after graduating from Berklee College of Music, where he studied Music Composition and Film Scoring. From 1995-2002, he wrote scores for many TV movies and independent films. He eventually began producing music for commercials, and won several CLIO Awards for his work. His music can be heard in over 100 theatrical trailers and international commercials. He started Skanda Music in 2006.

 

 

I recently got to sit down with Will and talk about how he got started in the industry, the process of building and marketing such a large catalog of music and some advice he has for artists that want to get their music placed in film and television.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me, Will. How did you end up in the music business?

 

WR:

 

After I finished high school, I went to the Berklee College of Music. There I mostly studied composition. And when I got out of school in 1996, I would say that was the first time music was starting to really be affected by computers. I was fortunate enough to know the computer program Finale. So, my first gigs were all working in music preparation. That was a great training ground. Every day I was able to see orchestras recording on stages out here in L.A. – guys like Danny Elfman, John Williams and Basil Poledouris all doing their thing at Sony and Fox. I got a sense of how those guys dealt with producers and directors to deliver film scores. This led to some of my own work. I was scoring for TV movies and independent films. From about 1995-2002, I was doing a lot of work in those fields.

 

Then I had an abrupt turn. I started doing work more in commercials. I was offered some work from a commercial house that was based in both New York and L.A. It’s a very full-time pursuit to deliver on the schedule that those houses demand. It shifted me away from doing a lot of film work into doing commercial work. In that field I did work for a lot of big, heavy-hitter clients and won a bunch of CLIO awards. I stayed with them from about 2002-2007.

 

At that time, I had another little independent venture going that was suddenly coming to fruition. In 2004, I had started working with another composer friend, and we started putting out independent tracks that the publishers were using to try to find work in trailers and on television. We started seeing some good returns back from that investment. Those things were starting to take off.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

So, you just put together a teaser library that eventually got you better work?

 

WR:

 

Yeah. With all the commercial work, it was the sort of thing where it was great money and great business. I was happy with all that, but I wanted to do independent music too. These recordings of independent tracks that I’d do on my own or that I do with my partner Daniel now for Skanda Music started to take off. We had a number of really good placements and it was the sort of thing where I could leave commercials and start working independently to produce library tracks that were getting good work.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

That’s great. Is that where your business is today?

 

WR:


Absolutely. If you go to our website, you’ll see that in the last month alone, we’ve had placements for Showtime and HBO. We also did a big campaign for the History Channel when they launched their new high def network. One of our tracks became their promo piece to announce that. We’ve had some pieces that have gone in trailers. Every day it’s a different thing. We never know which place we’re going to land in. But we have a very steady line with about three publishers that we cater our tracks to that have been getting all this kind of work I’ve been describing.

 

Our music is big, dramatic overtures. It’s John Williams meets Hans Zimmer kind of  drama music with big orchestras.

 

Musician Coaching:


Speaking of Hans Zimmer, I’ve heard that when you see his name on a piece of music, it’s actually him and 50 other musicians, including yourself from time to  time.

 

WR:

 

Yes. To be perfectly honest, his method of doing things is certainly to have a number of guys that are working. My personal involvement has been down the chain from what he’s doing. He has his own team of guys he works with. So, what you’re saying is true. There are several bits of music I’ve done where I’ve worked with one of his guys – a guy named Michael Levine. I worked with him on a number of cues on the side. But that type of work hasn’t been the main focus of what I’ve been doing.

 

Musician Coaching:


Right. I just thought that was interesting. It’s certainly a great name to be affiliated with.

 

WR:

 

Yeah. I did work with him on Matchstick Men and Black Hawk Down. Those were the credit pieces I got that were with Remote Control Studios, which is his whole operation. Most of what I’ve been doing is something that’s been independent, and my own thing.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

I understand. It sounds like you’ve come to a place where you’re able to wake up in the morning and make music. And you have relationships in place where you have people out there pitching it and getting it placed. That’s where a lot of people dream of being. But most people wind up starting by having to pitch their own music. What are some best practices for getting music placed?

 

WR:

 

We focus mostly on trying to have our own unique sound. We found that has led to relationships with both producers and editors that we regularly have a line of communication with. As an example, about a year ago we sold that track to the History Channel. We tracked down the editor and said, “Thanks so much for placing us in what you’re doing. Here’s the latest of what we’ve been doing.” And we sent them our newsletter. And those guys have gone out and are finding further work for our tracks in a number of other History Channel shows. We try to listen to what they are in need of and provide a little bit of what people are asking for while still sticking to the dramatic tone of our tracks.

 

Musician Coaching:


There are so many Berklee grads I know who wind up doing five-second licks and selling a guitar to someone at Sam Ash. What about you, your music and your pitches has made you succeed where a lot of other people did not?

 

WR:

 

I think a lot of my own music reflects honestly what I see out there as an artist and my philosophy about life. My tracks are not always universal. They have a very specific moment where they will be needed. But when it’s that moment, it’s something special. I think there’s a no-holds-barred approach with our music. We really go for something that is both intellectually and emotionally satisfying. It’s quite a lot to swallow at any given moment. But when it’s time to really push the envelope, we’re right there.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

What about on the business side? Clearly you’ve done something right when it comes to marketing yourself and building relationships.

 

WR:

 

“Always under promise and over deliver.” It’s basically that. It’s the sort of thing where I know in order to deliver something that really sounds great, it’s never good to have the deadline in your head. I remain ambiguous about when I’m going to deliver it. And when something is actually done and artistically at the point where I think it’s at its best, then it’s time to go and offer it to a client, put it on the market and try to go with it. I think a lot of times publishers will say, “We’re looking to release our next ‘action’ music CD in the fall.” And I’ll think, “Yeah. Sure. But that doesn’t mean I’ll have my best ‘action’ work done by then. We take the very best music and try to do it on our own time and our own schedule. Then, when it’s ready, they get it.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

You’re clearly in a place where a lot of these relationships are thriving. A lot of the people who approach me are people who are just trying to get started in the music industry. Obviously the music has to be great. But from a business perspective, if you’re thinking back on the experience of making your first set of contacts, what advice do you have for people in terms of just finding someone that will be receptive to their work?

 

WR:

 

When I first began, I remember it was the industry practice that most of the publishers or licensing houses were offering was a 50/50 split of publishing rights. That’s a very good rate to start with. These people are going to put some time forward and try to get your music marketed. It’s a great place to get your first few shots. I personally waited a little too long to renegotiate; somewhere in the range of four or five years in I was still taking that cut with some of these publishers. And I didn’t even realize it was the sort of thing you can renegotiate. After a while, you can go in and say, “You’ve made more money with us. Now our share should be greater.” I think my advice would be just to be aware where a good starting place is and then where to go from there. And that was my own mistake. I spent a couple years in that transition window and then suddenly realized I needed to make a change when the BMI statements were coming in. I didn’t really think that much of it until someone told me I could ask for a bit more.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

You’ve mentioned working with multiple publishers. Do you have a publishing deal in place?

 

WR:


Yes. My partner and I work with three different publishing houses. I use different publishers for different types of tracks, because each one is good at marketing and selling a different kind of music. We take whatever tracks we have and try to get them with the best publisher who seems to have the right place to put them.

 

Musician Coaching: 

 

I know you’re doing music that’s very orchestral – music that’s well arranged and uses multiple instruments. It’s very different from music made by four dudes in flannel shirts. Most people have one publishing deal and then are stuck relying on that film and TV placement house. Do you still own all of your own publishing and then just strike administration deals? How does that work?

 

WR:

 

Sometimes we take deals with these different companies and are actually being hired on commission. They say, “We want X percentage.” We show some early sketches of what we’re working on, they show an interest, and then we strike up a deal from there. Other times it’s a track that has been completed, we sign a deal with someone for a year or two, and after that time, those guys haven’t done anything with it. So, we pick it up, move it over, play it for someone else and try to move it around a little bit.

 

Musician Coaching:


The reason I’m pausing on it so much is because I come mostly from a straight rock ‘n’ roll background. And in that world, you did a deal with one publisher, and that was it. But it seems like that’s never how it has worked for you, which is great.

 

WR:

 

I work with one other guy closely. Skanda is half myself and half another guy named Dan Lessner. Both of us had our own relationships with our own publishers when we started working together. And he’s ASCAP, I’m BMI. That’s great, because we can use the both sides to work to our advantage. That’s been the attitude we’ve independently maintained:  Nobody owns us. We’re going to do our track, we’re going to see who is selling what where, and put what we have in the right place at the right time. The catalog we have is somewhere around 1,200 tracks. We like to promote our biggest, grandest things and put them forward on our site. But we also have hundreds of background cues that work in reality television and similar places.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

And quite literally, you built this network of contacts one by one and by over promising and under delivering, as you stated.

 

WR:

 

That’s what we’ve tried to do. Absolutely. The other part of this is what I was describing before:  Any time we find we’ve gotten a placement, we do a little bit of Googling and some IMDB’ing and send a follow-up to the editor saying, “Thanks for placing us. Here’s our catalog and here’s what we do.” We function independently and try to nurture those relationships in that way.

 

Musician Coaching:

 

Similarly, I’m sure if you felt like you had something for a given show or movie, but you didn’t have a relationship with anyone attached to it, you could go in on a cold call as well.

 

WR:

 

Yes. For example, we make a habit of calling the sports teams each season. We have had music that has been used both as sports shows’ themes and as the bumper for teams in the NBA and for Major League Baseball – for the Tampa Bay Rays, Phoenix Suns, St. Louis Cardinals. Every year, we call all the teams and send them our press update kit. Every season there’s at least one bite that makes the few days we spend on the campaign every year trying to reach all these people and sell them our music worth it.

 

Musician Coaching:


What would you tell someone who was just starting out in music to be careful of?

 

WR:

 

These days, it’s such a competitive industry. It’s so hard. There are so many things to think about. I would say the biggest would be to try to be wary of catering to the industry too much. Be true to your own artistry and really capture that within your music and have the confidence to sell it in that way. Dan and I get together and are good at inspiring each other in that way. And we try to capture that spirit of encouraging each other in the music. You should do whatever it takes to make you strong in that way and able to take on the whole industry.

 

To learn more about William Richter and his work, you can visit the Skanda Music website.

License Your Music

Posted By Rick Goetz on October 22nd, 2009

Larry Mills is the director of music products for Getty Images – the parent company of Pump Audio.

Larry-Mills-Musician-coaching

Pump-audio-music-placement

Musician Coaching:

What is it that you do for Getty / Pump Audio?

LM: I am the director of Music Products for Getty Images. My job entails helping to develop our current catalogue of music, which include Pump Audio, our premium playlist catalogue and Royalty Free Music, which came over in the Getty Images acquisition of Jupiter Images. Those three current products and then developing any products or catalogues from a content standpoint are some of my responsibilities, as is bringing in partners such as record labels, digital distributors, publishing companies and aggregators of content, whoever they may be. I also work on developing strategies from a sales standpoint and rolling that out on a global level to educate, train and support our sales teams around the world. These strategies help them sell more music into their current sales clients, which range from everyone from advertising agencies, digital content creators, publishers, corporations and every major media company in the world. I also develop an online strategy to get the freelance and small online one- and two-person shops to come in and have an easy way to get music for their individual and small business projects.

Musician Coaching:

For the purposes of this discussion let’s talk about Pump Audio as that is the company that would be most valuable to an independent artist.  How much independent music are you placing on an annual basis with Pump Audio?

LM: In our current catalogue we’ve had over 40,000 artists submit music to us in the nine or ten years we’ve been around. Every song is listened to by our team of classifiers to separate the good from the bad. We currently have over 125,000 songs that have been classified as “good enough” to make our catalogue. We have 40,000 of those tracks online and two delivery methods:  our online soundtrack tool and our Pump Box, which is a hard drive for more professional, high-volume users – the major production companies and broadcasters like the MTVs and NBCs of the world. The hard drive has 35,000 tracks, and the remaining tracks are used as the on-deck circle and put online. We put anywhere 3,000-4,000 new tracks per month into the online tool. Those tracks are used for research or are potentially songs that fall into categories where we already have a lot of music. We don’t want to overwhelm the person searching and listening. A search return of 6,000 songs is not going to be in anyone’s interest.  We pay out anywhere from 5,000-10,000 artists every six months. We license hundreds of thousands of tracks in a given year.

Musician Coaching:

What are some of the qualities of the type of music that you license and that gets placed?  What tips would you give to someone that wants to work with Pump Audio?

LM: I think initially it’s very important to know that if you are going to submit music to any licensing service, the majority of the volume licensers like us look for instrumental music. I would recommend that any artist who submits to always make an instrumental version of every track. So if you’re going to put a song on your record with lyrics, you should spin off another copy that’s an instrumental version. That is the majority of music that is used in big-blanket deals. If you watch television and movies, most of the music that is background music is instrumental. That’s the high-volume music. If you go online and listen to the music that’s being played on videos or on Web sites, more often than not that music is instrumental. A lot of people miss this. Following this tip will also give you a greater chance on an international level. The second tip is, we find that stylistically it really is a mixed bag, but it’s usually what’s popular in the day that is popular in licensing. For background music electronic, moody stuff – whether that mood be positive, negative, upbeat, downbeat – is very popular. Depending on the time, we’ve seen an uptick in hip hop or teen pop or country or harder rock. It crosses all genres.

Musician Coaching:

Can you point to any particular long-term success stories in the Pump Catalogue?

LM: We have some of those stories, and we can point to some people who have had more success outside the U.S. that have opened up some touring opportunities for themselves. We had one artist that placed a song on a Portuguese soap opera and was actually able to tour Europe with it because the person was able to get fans through the Web. I think a company like ours is less about getting an artist to get a song in a big commercial or on a TV show and more about being the bank. We are about making you money on your music. Any of those things that help you with promotion your career are positive bi-products but I don’t think very often you’re going to see companies like ours breaking bands. It’s not what we’re built for. It does happen, but it’s more about artists that came with us and were able to become professional musicians. We’ve had people that have been able to take the money they make with us and buy a van so they were able to tour better. I think a lot of people looked at the licensing landscape as, “I don’t mind giving it for free if I think I’m going to get promotion.” I don’t think that’s the case anymore. The “Grey’s Anatomy”s of the world helping with Snow Patrol or the Fray, those were bands on major labels to begin with. I don’t think that’s necessarily the best way to do it. The goal should be when you come to people like us is to look at us as a volume play to make you money to then invest in your career. I think other people dangle the carrot and say, “If you do it for free, we’ll get you this or that,” but 90% of the time, that’s not how it plays out. I think the reality of what a company like Pump does is important. As the guy who founded the company said, “The only thing I can promise is, if I get paid, you get paid. I don’t promise that you’re going to become a star because of this.”

Musician Coaching:

Tell me about the splits.

LM: Artists get 35% of the sync license and we administer the publishing for the uses that we place. We re-register the tracks so we know if we placed it or the artist placed it. If we get something in a show, we share in that revenue, and if the artist gets something in a show, we don’t touch it. This isn’t a publishing deal. If we place it, we take 50% of the publisher’s share. So basically 25 cents on the dollar of the entire performing rights revenue. We actually collect that around the world because we place things globally. We have a deal with Kobalt Music Publishing, and they help us register and collect the money around the world. We’re seeing performance revenue from Singapore, Australia, Romania, Turkey, South America, etc.

Musician Coaching:

So artists don’t have to go to the P.R.O.s (Performance Royalties Organizations) in other countries to get that revenue.  How do you respond to concerns from artists who are interested in signing up with Pump but are also interested in getting publishing deals in the future?

LM: Our deals are totally non-exclusive, and there’s just a period of time it takes us to get tracks off the system. It’s very easy to get them off our online system, but more difficult to get them off our Pump Box that sits on people’s desktops all over the world. So there’s a certain period of time in our contract that allows us to continue licensing that track for ease of use by our clients. But you can pull out of this deal at any time. We are big supporters of the independent music scene and have paid out millions upon millions of dollars to independent artists in the last ten years. You could say that next to record labels we support the independent music community more than anyone. We hope the money people are making with us is some leverage into dealing with a publishing company. My opinion would be that if I was a publishing company looking at an artist working with Pump, taking it out of our library does you a disservice. You should be able to negotiate with that publishing company and say, “I’m making $50,000 per year with Pump, so pulling me off that catalogue is in no one’s best interest.”

Musician Coaching:

What percentage of people that apply get into the Pump catalogue?

LM: My guess is that we get anywhere from 5,000-10,000 new tracks submitted to us on a monthly basis and we average 2,000-2500 new tracks making it in to the syste,. So, I guess about 25-50% of new music gets accepted. Once an artist in our system and gets placed we tend to accept their new tracks faster.

Musician Coaching:

Any advice for artists about things to be wary with services like Pump?

LM: I think an artist should be in as many of these as possible. There are a lot of very good ones out there that have been very successful. I don’t care if someone makes you $100 per year. Your songs should be earning for you wherever possible. I think the two key things you should be wary of is exclusivity if you don’t want it and how the service claims to be or not be royalty free. Royalty free is a term that is being misused and is confusing to clients who believe when they buy music from these sites that there are no performance royalties due, and that is not true for affiliated artists. I think they need to be very careful when they are signing up or they may get caught in a situation where the client is buying something that is different from expected and might put the artist in a funny situation.

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If you are interested in licensing your music check out Pump Audio