Monday, February 22, 2010

Music Business/Law Tips - "A&R"

The basic function of an A&R person is to find amazing talent for the label he/she works for; talent that hopefully will sell lots of records/have a long career. Hence, the A&R function exists at labels both large and small. Major labels might have designated A&R reps, while an A&R person at an indie might also perform other functions (e.g., sales, marketing, janitor). In general, once the A&R person signs an act, he/she would be involved in helping administer the making of the record (i.e., setting budgets, selecting producer, choosing songs, etc.), and ultimately helping create the marketing campaign/imaging the artist. The A&R person is normally the biggest champion at the label for the artist, and it is wise for the artist to keep close communication with that person. Unfortunately, there is a lot of turnover at the A&R level and some new A&R types might make an unwise decision that damages an act, so an artist would be well advised to get everyone at the label behind the project to ensure it has the best chance of success.

Ben McLane, Esq

Monday, February 15, 2010

Music Business/Law Tip Of The Week - "Full Time Artist"

If an artist is serious about making music his or her career, then quit the day job immediately. The clock is ticking and there is no time to waste. To beat the competition requires a 100% full time commitment to the band. The building process takes years for most, so start now. There are countless ways to make money in music while at the same time moving the career forward (e.g., tour, film/tv placement, sell merch). Worst case, there is always grandma, girlfriend, dad, aunt, investor, credit card, etc to keep a person going until they are self sufficient. So, no excuses.

Ben McLane Esq

Monday, February 8, 2010

Music Busines/Law Tip Of The Week - "Agent"

If you are a new band only drawing a small crowd in your own backyard, it is doubtful that any booking agent will be interested, or be able to do much to help. You have to remember that an agent's livelihood depends on taking a cut from what the artist makes off the show (usually 10%). Most new bands lose money or break even on shows, so it is not worth an agent's time at that level. Because of that, in general it is up to you to book yourself initially. Once you start to develop a following in your region and elsewhere, at that point a good agent might be able to take over the reins for you as they will then have something to work with, and also will be able to make some money. If an agent does work with you, along with the commission you will be paying them, one would hope that an agent could increase your fee, get you opening slots for larger bands, book more prestigious venues, introduce you to the industry, etc. Many agents work without an exclusive contract, and I would suggest not signing anything if possible since it is in the best interest of the band to keep its options open. Touring is the bread and butter of the band, and you want to make sure you have the best agent on your team, and it may take some auditioning to find the right one.

Ben McLane Esq

Monday, February 1, 2010

Music Business/Law Tip Of The Week - "Self Promotion"

Maybe this is not a completely new concept, but it has certainly been reinforced this past year: that artists need to act like a business/their own label to market themselves. They need to play live and tour as much as possible in and outside of their region, and use any and all means to self-promote/sell music (internet, street teams, print, radio, etc). Only then will an actual record company take interest - once there is a following.

Ben McLane Esq