Monday, January 25, 2010

Music Business/Law Tip Of The Week - "Form Own Label"

Forming a label and selling music is doing business. You will need to take care of some basics: (i) decide what type of business formation to use (DBA, partnership, LLC or corporation), (ii) come up with a cool name/logo, (iii) obtain a business license from your county, (iv) open a bank account, (v) print up business cards and stationary, (vi) obtain UPC and ISRC barcode(s) for your label/product, and (vii) find a retail and online distributor (or you and the bands can sell independently until a distributor cares).

Ben Mclane, Esq

Monday, January 18, 2010

Music Business/Law Tip Of The Week - "Video"

For the majority of musical acts, the songs and vocals are the most important part of the package, and the biggest selling points. Having a following and touring history are also key. That being said, a great image/visual presentation can also very important to an audience, and for marketing purposes (e.g., MTV, mags). I have found that industry types tend to prefer to see a group perform live before they can really decide if the band has the right stuff. However, if the band cannot get the industry to come see them in person, then having a video for the industry to watch at their convenience could be a good sales tool, and might help create the desired effect (although the energy of a live show rarely comes across on a tiny screen). If you do plan to invest in a promo video, I would not suggest spending too much time and money on it because the odds of it being a determining factor in an artist's career - or even being seen - are not that great in most cases.

Ben McLane Esq

Monday, January 11, 2010

Music Business/Law Tip Of The Week - "Demo"

The basic necessary element of any demo is strong material for the format/market your music is geared towards. The most commercial song should always be sequenced first as some A&R persons may never get past that song if it does not hook them. A demo consisting of 3-4 songs is the standard. Production or sonic values are a factor to some, so you should seek to create the best sounding recording you can afford, since that is what your competition is doing. With new technology a person does not have to spend a lot. Just make sure the vocals and whatever other aspects of your "sound" that make you special jump off the speakers. However, forget the fancy packaging, etc. as form never wins over substance. Moreover, if you are developing a following and selling records you have already proven your worth, so no one will really care what your demo sounds like anyway. Of course, if the purpose of your demo is also to sell to fans, you will need to make it sound good so a buyer feels they bought something of quality.

Ben McLane, Esq

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Music Business/Law Tip of the week - "Connections"

In general, I think the best way for a young band to make connections in the music industry is to work hard to put themselves in a position where industry people want to speak to them, and better yet, help them. This would mean the band should tour, sell CDs and merch, invade the internet and all the music related websites, generate press, enlist a street team, network like crazy, etc.; whatever the band can do to raise its profile and generate a buzz. Once a band has some value in the marketplace, the industry will magically appear. Of course, the band then has to be careful about who they hook up with in the industry when assembling their team so that the band is joined at the hip with pros and not schmos.