Major vs Indie Labels: Pros & Cons

Many artists are confused about the difference between an indie and a major record label. The goal for many artists is a record deal with a major label, not realizing that there are advantages and disadvantages to both types of labels.

Music Think Tank does an excellent job explaining these differences. They offer key advice and give a very clear description of what both types of labels have to offer. There is a slight bent towards encouraging artists to consider indie label contracts but in general, the information is objective and valuable. You can read the full text of their post here.

Indie Vs. Major  Music Think Tank

Like anything else in life, it is always good to weigh all options before making a decision. By doing so, you will gain a clear picture of everything that is available to you. This applies to the decision to pursue a major record label or an indie one; both come with advantages and disadvantages. But do not count one out because of what the typical definition of success may look like or whether you think one may be too hard to obtain. Again, both have pros and cons.

 

5 Characteristics of A Successful Music Manager

The music industry can be ruthless. Artists are taken advantage of every day and without proper representation, they can suffer negatively from loss of income and damage to their brands. Luckily, music managers serve as a buffer to this. The music manager’s  job is to protect and defend the artists they represent at all costs.

Being a manager however is not an easy job. It takes tenacity and strength of will. Many people who get into this industry do not realize that it is a tiring job and they often burn out when the work gets hard.

Luckily, there are 5 characteristics that are essential to being successful as a manager. These characteristics almost ensure success but are not comprehensive. They are however essential and serve as the foundation for a solid career.

1.Successful Music Managers are Well Connected

The music industry is one where connection and networking is key. One of the key components of a manager’s job is to ensure that a musician or artist has as much work as they can possibly handle.

This is partly because a manager’s income is directly tied to that of their artists.  Typically, a manager receives 15 to 20% of the income generated by an artist. The more work and income they secure for an artist, the more money goes into their own pocket. Because of this, they should be well connected and have solid networking skills. This will only lead to more success. Managers who do not have this often burn out and fail to produce opportunities for their artists.

A successful manager should be able to create opportunities for an artist they themselves would not be able to find.

2.Successful Music Managers are Persistent

It can not be overstated how tough being a successful artist can be. There will be a thousand closed doors and missed opportunities before success truly begins. It is the job of the music manager to represent the artist well by remaining persistent. They should not be apt to give up easily and they should not easily take no for an answer.

Managers should be goal oriented, always wanting to push both their business and their artist to the next level. Again, they are invested in the success of the artist and should do everything possible to make success happen.

3. Successful Music Managers are Knowledgeable

There are so many things to learn and know about the music industry. Navigating it all can be confusing and a good music manager will either know the ropes or know how to find the information needed to get the job done.

From copyright law to contract negotiation, from tour management to branding and social media strategy, the music manager is the doorkeeper to the artist’s entire life. It is important that they know what they are talking about when they speak and that they provide or obtain answers to questions that both the artists, (as well others working with the artist) might have.

4. Successful Music Managers are Professional

The music manager represents the artist to the public. In theory, all opportunities should come to the artist through their manager. If this is the case, then the manager needs to present him or herself well and they need to remain calm and professional at all times. They are the artists representative to lawyers, agents, pr professionals and venues on a regular basis.

A successful manager understands that they are not the artist. They should not be prideful and they should be okay with the artist maintaining the spotlight. They should be articulate, calm, well versed in their job and able to fully convey the artist’s brand.

5. Successful Music Managers are Visionaries

That brings us to music managers as visionaries. The music manager should be the artist’s biggest cheerleader and again, they should be able to fully convey the artist’s brand. They are to believe in the artist’s talent: the more they enjoy the artist’s work, the more they will work hard to promote and brand them. Managers should have clear visions for the artist’s future and should partner with the artist is making that future a reality. A manager who does not do this will not remain faithful to their artist.

 

58th Grammy Award Winners

Here is the complete list of winners from the 58th Grammy Awards:

Record of the Year: Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”
Album of the Year: Taylor Swift, 1989
Best New Artist: Meghan Trainor
Best Rock Performance: Alabama Shakes, “Don’t Wanna Fight”
Best Musical Theater Album: Hamilton
Song of the Year: Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”
Best Country Album: Chris Stapleton, Traveller
Best Rap Album: Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: Kendrick Lamar feat. Bilal, Anna Wise & Thundercat, “These Walls”
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: Tony Bennett & Bill Charlap, The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern
Best Pop Solo Performance: Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”
Best Rap Song: Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Best Alternative Music Album: Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color
Best Rock Album: Muse, Drones
Best Rap Performance: Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Best Rock Song: Alabama Shakes, “Don’t Wanna Fight”
Best R&B Album: D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah
Best Urban Contemporary Album: The Weeknd, Beauty Behind the Madness
Best R&B Performance: The Weeknd, “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)”
Best R&B Song: D’Angelo and The Vanguard, “Really Love”
Best Traditional R&B Performance: Lalah Hathaway, “Little Ghetto Boy”
Best Dance/Electronic Album: Skrillex and Diplo, Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü
Best Dance Recording: Skrillex and Diplo With Justin Bieber, “Where Are Ü Now”
Best Music Video: Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood”
Best Country Duo/Group Performance: Little Big Town, “Girl Crush”
Best Country Song: Little Big Town, “Girl Crush”
Best Music Film: Amy Winehouse, Amy
Best Rap/Song Collaboration: Common & John Legend, “Glory”
Best Pop Vocal Album: Taylor Swift, 1989
Best Country Solo Performance: Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”
Best Contemporary Christian Music Album: Tobymac, This Is Not a Test
Best Roots Gospel Album: The Fairfield Four, Still Rockin’ My Soul
Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album: Pitbull, Dale
Best Latin Pop Album: Ricky Martin, A Quien Quiera Escuchar (Deluxe Edition)
Best Comedy Album: Louis C.K., Live at Madison Square Garden
Best Spoken Word Album: Jimmy Carter, A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety
Score Soundtrack for Visual Media: Birdman
Best Gospel Album: Israel & Newbreed, Covered: Alive Is Asia [Live] (Deluxe)
Best Gospel Performance/Song: Kirk Franklin, “Wanna Be Happy?”
Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song: Francesca Battistelli, “Holy Spirit”
Best Contemporary Classical Composition: Stephen Paulus, Paulus: Prayers & Remembrances
Best Classical Solo Vocal Album: Joyce DiDonato and Antonio Pappano, Joyce & Tony – Live From Wigmore Hall
Best Classical Instrumental Solo: Augustin Hadelich, “Dutilleux: Violin Concerto, L’Arbre Des Songes”
Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance: Eighth Blackbird, “Filament”
Best Choral Performance: Charles Bruffy, “Rachmaninoff: All-Night Vigil”
Best Opera Recording: Saito Kinen Orchestra; SKF Matsumoto Chorus & SKF Matsumoto Children’s Chorus, Ravel: “L’Enfant Et Les Sortilèges; Shéhérazade”
Producer of the Year, Classical: Judith Sherman
Best Regional Roots Music Album: Jon Cleary, Go Go Juice
Best Folk Album: Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn
Best Blues Album: Buddy Guy, Born to Play Guitar
Best Bluegrass Album: The Steeldrivers, The Muscle Shoals Recordings
Best Americana Album: Jason Isbell, Something More Than Free
Best American Roots Song: Jason Isbell, “24 Frames”
Best American Roots Performance: Mavis Staples, “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean”
Best Tropical Latin Album: Rubén Blades With Roberto Delgado & Orchestra, Son De Panamá
Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano): Los Tigres Del Norte, Realidades – Deluxe Edition
Best Children’s Album: Tim Kubart, Home
Best World Album: Angélique Kidjo, Sings
Best Reggae Album: Morgan Heritage, Strictly Roots
Best Latin Jazz Album: Eliane Elias, Made in Brazil
Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album: Maria Schneider, The Thompson Fields
Best Jazz Instrumental Album: John Scofield, Past Present
Best Jazz Vocal Album: Cécile McLorin Salvant, For One to Love
Best Surround Sound Album: James Guthrie and Joel Plante, Amused To Death
Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical: Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk (Dave Audé Remix)”
Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical: Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color
Best Historical Album: Various artists; The Basement Tapes
MusiCares Person of the Year: Lionel Richie

Music Streaming Services: Two Sides Of The Story

A recent study that examined the rapidly growing music streaming industry has found that the services have had tremendous impacts, that are both positive and negative. While paid music streaming services can increase revenue for the music industry and lead consumers to spend more money on music overall, free streaming services have been substantially less beneficial.

The study conducted interviews with over 2500 music fans over the course of a year. They learned that, although free and paid streaming services reduced the revenues from CDs and downloads, the subscription fees for paid streaming services were actually over-compensating for the losses in other channels.

The growth of technology has truly changed the way that information and media are delivered to the masses. Only a few years ago, it was groundbreaking to be able to download any song that you wanted, and before that you needed to go to the store to buy a CD. Nowadays, you have the ability to listen to basically any song ever recorded instantaneously, often times for free. This has dramatically shaped the landscape of the music industry. This information in the study provides strong evidence that free streaming services may be unfair to the intellectual property holders.

For more information on this study, please check out the link below.

Streaming services are a blessing and a curse for the music industry

Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Universitaet Tübingen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Universitaet Tübingen. “Streaming services are a blessing and a curse for the music industry.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 January 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160118084406.htm>.

Pandora, Online-Streaming Services Order To Pay More To Musicians

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Musicians have effectively won a “pay rise,” following a recently ruling by the US Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) which increased rates paid by music streaming services operating in Australia. Internet radio companies like Pandora Media, will be required to pay more in royalties next year after the board decided to raise rates by more than 20 percent.

Pandora, a company that describes itself as a customized internet radio service, streams music based on a user’s artists choice. The service is then able to refine and customize the playlist based on feedback and an array of other music metrics.

Both Pandora and its music-streaming-rival Spotify, offer a free subscription plan supported by advertisements, as well as a monthly paid service that is ad-free. Pandora then pays a negotiated fee for sound recording to record labels or rights organizations representing artists.

Related Article: The most popular free online streaming services

As of June 2015, Pandora reported to the US stock exchange that it had 79.4 million “active users” throughout the US, New Zealand and Australia. The company also reports that there are more than two million “local” users.

The increased imposed by the board will affect ad-free and subscription based songs differently. The ad-supported streaming by internet radio operators will increase from 20 cents to 24 cents per 100 plays.  Royalties for music used via paid subscription services will be set at 31 cents per 100 plays. The new rate will take effect on January 1st and will rise with inflation over the next four years.

While the increase is welcomed by the music industry, the board did not grant as high of an increase as they had demanded. The music industry argued for rates between 35 to 41 cents.

SoundExchange, the collective representing artists, was unhappy with the digital copyright ruling, stating that it did not reflect fair market rates.

SoundExchange said in a statement: “Music has tremendous value and is the core foundation of the webcasting industry. It’s only fair that artists and record labels receive a market price when their music is used. We believe the rates set by the CRB do not reflect a market price for music and will erode the value of music in our economy. We will review the decision closely and consider all of our options.”

 

Aurous Ordered To Shut Down

WBMqlesZ_400x400Aurous, an upstart music site that described itself as the search engine for streaming, agreed to shut down last week, following multiple copyright suits from major labels.

The internet service launched back in October by Andrew Sampson, a 20-year-old coder. Aurous essentially allowed users to search for music across all available online platforms and then click on links to listen to them for free.

Sampson had described the platform as a search engine that could become a one-stop site for music fans, allowing them to import playlist from multiple platforms. However, the site never reach fruition after a court temporarily stopped the site within days of its launch; a join lawsuit by major record labels claiming that Aurous offered access to pirated material led to the sites eventually downfall.

In a settlement submitted to a federal court in Miami on Wednesday, Aurous agreed to shut down permanently and pay $3 million in damages to the labels.

In a statement from Chary Sherman, chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America trade group, said: “We hope this sends a strong signal that unlicensed services cannot expect to build unlawful businesses on the backs of music creators.”

Online streaming services have grown substantially over the last several years, with streaming sites such as Spotify, Deezer and Tidal growing in popularity. These sites allow users to stream unlimited, on-demand music.

The reason Aurous was targeted so aggressively is because the company had no plans to pay back royalties to the content owners. Grooveshark, an early streaming site that was started by young entrepreneurs, was also shut down earlier this year after years of litigation. The site allowed listeners to upload material to the site, even if the content was copyrighted.

With the growth of internet-based technology, online streaming services are viewed as the future of the music industry. The concern for music labels is to ensure that these sites are properly paying artists for the content they are distributing.

The Best Free Music Streaming Services

As technology has grown, the ways in which people find and listen to music has changed and evolved. People no longer need to rely on the radio to discover a new song, nor do they need to walk into a record store to buy an album. Nowadays, our favorite songs are easily accessible on our computers and mobile devices. We can easily discover new artists and instantly share them with our friends and family. There are a number of great services where you can legally stream just about any song — new and old — that your ears desire.

If you enjoy listening to music (well of course you are, who isn’t?) then you most likely have heard about some of the different streaming services and use them regularly. However, there with so many different options, each offering a unique experience, so it is helpful to be familiar with everything on the market. Digital Trends has an article that does a good job of breaking down the most popular streaming services, which I would like to share below.

1) Pandora

Pandora

Pandora is all about music discovery. You pick a starting point, such as an artists, genre or song that you like and Pandora does the rest. It will play songs that it thinks you will enjoy based on the suggestion. While the collection of songs is not that large, the algorithm does an excellent job.

2) Spotify

Spotify

Spotify is a music community with both a radio station, a wide range of playlists to discover and the ability to listen to any song you want in the database. You can easily connect with friends to share music and listen to their playlists. If you are okay with listening to an ad after a few songs then you can stream millions of tracks for free. If you are sick of the ads, there is an option to upgrade to premium for only $10 a month.

3) Google Play Music All Access

Google Play Music

Google Play Music has an expansive catalogue of songs, however, you can only get free All Access to this service for one month. You have the ability to create custom radio stations and play any song you like on-demand. Another great feature is that you can upload up to 20,000 of your own tracks to the cloud for free, making them accessible anywhere.

4) iTunes Radio

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Available on Apple devices, iTunes radio offers a bunch of free radio stations. You can choose from DJ-curated stations, modify stations or you can create your own. Do not skip too often because you are only allowed 6 skips per hour per stations.

5) Slacker Radio

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This is a radio service with a full range of mobile apps. With the free account, you will have access to curated stations with over 10 million tracks in all. You are only allowed 6 skips per hour with this service as well and will be subjected to occasion adds. Another feature is that there are a variety of talk radio stations as well if you are in the mood for something different.

For the full list of music streaming services, be sure to check out this article.

 

Research Suggests Music Provides These 5 Benefits

You do not have to be a musician to love music. It has been a part of human culture for thousands of years, and for good reason. No matter where you are from, music just feels good. Music can help you travel back in time and relive precious memories, open your mind to the world, and so much more. In fact, numerous studies show that music has tremendous positive effects on your brain. Research actually suggests that music helps humans cope with pain and can improve our physical and mental health.

Here are 5 ways that music can improve your health:

1) Ease Pain 

Listening to music has shown to actually reduce the perceived intensity of pain. The study shows that classic and meditation music was most effective at producing meaningful benefits for patients. For patients in geriatric care, intensive care, or palliative medicine you should consider putting on some music to help limit the pain you are experiencing.

2) Enhance Blood Vessel Function 

In this study, scientists found that music can actually have a positive and healthy impact on blood vessel function. Music can elicit certain emotions that can actually improve the health of blood vessel function. So go throw on some music that makes you happy and you will be doing your body a favor.

3) Reduce Stress

There is evidence that suggests music can help regulate several cardiac and neurological functions and also trigger biochemical measurable stress-reducing effects. If you find yourself to be stressed throughout the day, close your eyes, throw on a favorite track, and unwind for a few minutes.

4) Elevate Mood 

We are probably all aware that music elevates our mood. This study confirms this idea and shows that music helped put people in a better mood and actually helps humans get in touch with their feelings. The participants in the study rated arousal and mood regulation” and “self-awareness” as the two greatest benefits of listening to music.

5) Improve Cognitive Performance

Background music has been shown to help enhance performance on cognitive tasks. This study shows that music’s ability to improve cognitive function depends on whether the music first improves a person’s emotional state.