Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Music Business/Law Tips - "U2's secrets of success"

The rock band U2 has been together for nearly 40 years, and famous for almost 35. How did they do it and what can young artists learn from them? Below are some of the secrets of their success: 1. Great songs. 2. Smart management. 3. Aggressive booking agent. 4. Retained ownership of their masters and publishing. 5. Built a global fan base through consistent releases and touring worldwide. 6. Split songwriting income 4 ways equally in order to keep group harmony. 7. Evolved and stayed relevant with the times/sounds. Ben McLane Esq benmclane.com

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Music Business/Law Tips - "Marketing Terms"

For a record label to properly release a record, it needs to market and promote the record. There are a few marketing terms/jargon that are similar/overlap which an artist may hear a label refer to or see as a line time expense on a royalty statement, but which have slightly different meanings to the industry: "Marketing" - Generally refers to money spent for in store promotions, like listening stations, posters or product placement on end-caps or near the sales counter. "Promotion" - Generally refers to the label spending money to hire an outside (or indie) radio or video promoter who can hopefully get a single played. "Advertising" - Generally refers to the label spending money to buy ads on TV, radio or in print. "Publicity" - Generally refers to the label spending money to hire an outside publicist to obtain publicity in the press, TV, print and online media. Ben McLane Esq benmclane.com

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Music Business/Law Tips - "Streaming"

The 2 best known sources for streaming music in the US are Pandora and Spotify. Pandora is what is known as a “non-interactive” platform because its sort of like a traditional radio station where the listener has no real control over what is played (other than fixing genres/similar artists that cause a narrowcast). Spotify is known as an “interactive” platform because the listener gets to choose what they listen to (click). While streaming of music is great for the discovery of new music/artists, currently it does not pay out much in royalties to the performers/songwriters. Although it’s hard to say for sure, approximately 140 streams equal what is earned from 1 digital download sale on iTunes. Due to the explosion of cellphones, iPads, etc. (worldwide) where music can be listened to from anywhere via this platform, it will only get to be bigger. We will have to stay tuned to see how the money trickles down to the creators as this new model evolves. Ben McLane Esq Benmclane.com

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Music Business/Law Tips - "Business Forms"

Artists and entertainment companies have several options to consider when deciding the best type of business to form. The most common business entity forms are as follows: Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, LLC and Corporation. Factors such as liability, complexity and taxes are considerations. 1. Sole Proprietorship: This is normally for a one person company. Its also known as a DBA. This is the least complex, but there is more potential liability. 2. Partnership: This is for 2 or more co-owners. Its also not very complex, but each partner is subject to liability. 3. LLC: This is for 1 or more more owners, and is sort of a hybrid of a partnership, but there is a liability shield for members. 4. Inc: This is for 1 or more owners, and is more complex than an LLC to operate, but there is a liability shield. Most large companies seem to be corporations. The tax ramifications of each is beyond the scope of this article and its suggested one speaks to an accountant before making any decisions. Ben McLane Esq benmclane.com

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Music Business/Law Tip - "Record Release Set Up"

For an indie artist to maximize their chance of success from a record (album, EP or single) release they should do the following: 1. Have the music available on all digital retail outlets/e-commerce sites (i.e., iTunes, Amazon, etc.). This can be done easily via signing up with a distributor such as TuneCore, CDBaby, Orchard or MondoTunes. 2. Have the music available on the main Streaming services, such as Spotify and/or Deezer. 3. Have a Press campaign in effect (via a PR agent or yourself) whereby the music is being serviced to the tastemaker blogs that support your style of music so it gets reviewed, and a viral buzz can start. 4. Have at least 1 video up on YouTube to support the record. 5. Make sure there is a tour or shows performed to help promote the release. 6. All of the above needs to be coordinated to happen simultaneously. Ben McLane Esq benmclane.com

Monday, February 17, 2014

Music Business/Law Tips - "Online Performance Income"

There is positive news to report to songwriters. Even though record sales are down, because of new technology BMI, ASCAP and SESAC can now much better monitor/track, process and pay-out on performances of songs on the Internet, steaming audio, video, and other digital platforms and new media that are constantly emerging. According to a recent Billboard article, ASCAP reported that last year it had tracked 250 billion performances, many of which were from the digital world. Bottom line, that is new money that is coming to songwriters that did not exist a few years ago. Hence, from what might seem like just a small stream now may someday become a roaring river of new income. Ben McLane Esq benmclane.com

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Music Business/Law Tips - "Website Tips"

Here are the 3 key things an artist should keep in mind for his/her website: 1. Create a functional/attractive home page, which should contain easy to see/find links to the following basic elements: music, video, shows, contact info, a buy button for merch/music. 2. Make the website the "artist hub" and point back all the other social networking sites (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to the website. 3. Update the website frequently with new content to maintain fan interest and interaction. Ben McLane Esq benmclane.com