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Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Producer's Getting Paid Checklist

Music producer image from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture production blog
Today getting paid adequately for your services is one of the most difficult tasks facing a producer. It used to be that there was plenty of money for an advance, and the sort of sales that could eventually lead to a substantial reward for a producer's participation in a project. Of course, that was during the heyday of the music industry when the power of the major record labels was at its peak.

Today it's much more difficult for a producer to be compensated for his expertise. With budgets ever smaller (a small deal is now around $40-50k, down from around $200k) as a result of much lower music sales, just asking for a percentage of sales is like giving away your time in the project for nothing. That's why a producer today has to have a new strategy for getting paid, be it with a percentage of publishing or merch or a larger up front fee.

To help you make sure that you will get paid, here's an excerpt from The Music Producer's Handbook that outlines a few questions to ask of whomever is funding the project you're about to work on.
  • Who’s paying? Is it a record label, the artist or band, or an investor?
  • What’s my compensation? Will I be paid per song, on spec, hourly, a flat fee, or a percentage of sales for the project?
  • Do I get an advance? How much is it? Can I get at least half up front?
  • Can I get paid on something other than music sales? Since sales are pretty low these days, can I get a piece of merchandise or publishing?
    • When am I getting paid? Do I get paid before the project beings or when it's complete? Half at the beginning and the other at the end? When I deliver the final product? Does that mean after mixing, mastering or manufacturing?
      • How am I getting paid? Are you paying me in cash, by check or direct transfer to my bank account?
      • Is my money part of the budget? Are you giving me the entire budget so I can pay the bills or am I giving you the bills for you to pay?
      • Do I get paid from the sale of the first unit onward? Or will I be paid after any advance is recouped?
      These are all good questions to ask before you take any production gig, even if it's on spec. Knowing the details up front will keep you from losing out later.

      For read more book excerpts from this and other books go to bobbyowsinski.com.

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      You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

      Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.

      Wednesday, February 20, 2013

      The Physics Of The Mosh Pit

      Ever think that a mosh pit was just a bunch of young guys with too much testosterone that randomly beat each other up to the music of their favorite metal band? Well, think again as researchers from Cornell University have found a distinct correlation between moshers and gas particles.

      Like a gas, moshers bounce off of one another when they collide (instead of sticking), and can flock and follow one another. They also found that the mosh pit has three distinct modes; random, a whirling vortex, and a lane formation as the moshers break through the crowd. You can see all three clearly in the following video, or you can play with the various parameters of the simulation itself here.

      It just goes to show how wonderful science is in that it can take what seems to be such a random unthinking act and add meaning and structure to it (uh, I think that's good). Read more about it in this article at New Scientist.



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      You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

      Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.

      Tuesday, February 19, 2013

      Fandalism: A Social Network For Musicians

      Fandalism is an interesting social network designed especially for musicians. It's not like ReverbNation or BandCamp in that it's not designed around the business of being an artist; instead it's more like a cross between YouTube, where artists can upload videos of their performances, and Matchmaker, where compatible musicians can find each other.

      To register, you answer basic questions like where you're located, what instrument you play, your influences and musical history. You can then share your work through photos, videos, lyrics or Soundcloud audio. After you've set everything up, you can follow other musicians, give them "props" (likes), and send them private messages.

      One of the cool new features on Fandalism is the ability to distribute your songs to iTunes, Spotify and Google Play. It's cheaper than either Tunecore or CD Baby in that you get unlimited uploads for only $19.95 per year, as compared to Tunecore's $29.95 per album per year or CD Baby's $49 per album (plus a percentage of the sale). Fandalism also gives you the first upload to iTunes for free.

      There's been a lot of attempts to create a musician's network and none of them have caught on. Fandalsim already has over 550,000 members and has the feeling of something that is simple and non-intimidating enough to finally break through in a big way. Here's a video overview.

      Sorry for the cross-post from my Music 3.0 blog, but Fandalism applies to both.



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      You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

      Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.

      Monday, February 18, 2013

      Hearing Music Is Learned Trait

      piano scale image from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture blog
      Most of us believe that our enjoyment of certain types of music is something that we're born with, but apparently that's not the case. Researchers at the University of Melbourne have found that what we consider to be pleasurable is indeed a learned trait.

      The researchers found out that we measure how pleasant a sound is to the ratio of dissonance that we perceive, which provides a degree of "roughness, harshness, unpleasantness, or difficulty of listening to a sound." When listeners in the study (even trained professionals) were played a chord they never heard before, they found it impossible to hear the individual notes that it was comprised of, and therefore it sounded dissonant and unpleasant. After the listeners where trained to identify the pitches present in the chords, they found it less objectionable, even if the chord was technically inharmonious.

      It turns out that if we're raised around music based around a certain scale, we come to find that more pleasing than one that we're not exposed to. The Western 12 note "do-re-me" scale is a good example. It was mathematically derived by Pythagorus and not particularly natural, but Westerners adopted it and eventually found it beautiful, yet we have a hard time with semi-tone scales of Indian ragas or Arabic quarter tone intervals.

      It's also the reason why a kid who grows up in a house with classical or jazz always playing in the background develops a love for that music, as opposed to someone growing up in a house filled with rock or hip hop.

      As with so many other factors, our early environment forms our musical tastes for life. Remember that the next time you play music around your kids.

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      You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

      Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.

      Sunday, February 17, 2013

      New Music Gear Monday: MACHINA MIDI Controller Jacket

      People have been hitting their bodies in rhythm for centuries and until recently, have relied on good-old fashioned acoustics for amplification. That's not easy, considering that these bags of mostly water that we call bodies don't resonante particularly well.

      Now comes MACHINA, a MIDI controller that's actually a wearable jacket. The unit isn't on the market yet, but has a Kickstarter campaign to get the ball rolling. Check out the video and tell me if you think it's cool or not.



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      You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

      Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.

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