Tips on getting music placed and listened to

A lot of people email me and ask questions about how to get their music heard, do I have some time to listen and perhaps can I give them some advice? So I decided to put this together as a little posting to try to pass along some VERY IMPORTANT info. I hope it helps it is very basic but sometimes that is all that is needed to do. .

Do your research, find out what shows fit your music. Check the credits. Some of us may respond to Linkedin, Facebook, etc. If I have heavy metal or hard rock songs and cues I am not going to send them along to a show that primarily uses Hip Hop? or Reggae?

You may think this is silly that I say this but I cannot begin to tell you how many times I might post a listing or song search and I get back the totally opposite results. I will post something like I need Hip Hop, or Urban rap tune and someone will eventually send me a singer songwriter or jazz, even once I got a classical score piece. I am not mocking you or making fun of them for I have done that even in the past a long time ago but you need to do your research and find out what shows use what or what have they licensed before. Nothing will get the Music Supervisor to NOT listen to something more than when someone says, “I know your not looking for this at the moment but I feel this will be the best fit for your show…”  Not tripping but if the director wanted something other than what is listed we would have asked for it.

When sending someone an email asking them to listen to your music be sure you make the process as simple as possible. Links to stream with a link to download next to it. Keep it clean and accessible. Something like SoundCloud or Drop Box You Send it, Reverbnation EPK something easy.

Try to think of it like a million folks are trying to get the Music Supervisor or A&R agent to listen to their music. If the one listening needs to fill out forms or go searching on some website then that is NOT going to happen.

“What is the best way for me to get your attention to their music or take a moment to listen?” Be honest about presentation. Be professional yet humble. Try not to tell me you’re the NEXT so and so..Let your music and image do the talking. You maybe working out of a garage or a one room apartment or you may have a great band rocking out every night. THe thing is that if you have great music and great attitude you WILL be heard, your music WILL get you to where you need to be. Might take a while but it will. LOL

Finally BE ENCOURAGED!! and Keep on keeping on. No ONE believes more in your music than YOU! No one will promote it as hard, talk it up as much or try to sell it more.If you send a package out give it some time say 4-6 weeks. I cannot tell you how many times I might have sent something out and not heard nothing back then WHAM when you’re not thinking about it like sometimes months later you get the call, “We LOVE YOUR MUSIC!!” So just because someone does not call you or email you with in a month or so does not mean you’re not being heard.

We live in an age of FAST..somethings take time and for the RIGHT time. If you hold steady and do not quit and believe, make great music SOMEONE WILL notice.

With that I say CHEERS and have a safe summer, stay in touch.

Wolfie’s Music Publishing

The music players on here are from Wolfies Music Publishing and Mark Allan Wolfe

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Music Start Ups

I thought this was a great article and wanted to re post it to share with my followers and anyone else out there.

visit markallanwolfe.com for more

Music Startups and the Licensing Drag

by

It is surprising that, to date, most of the conversation around the music licensing challenges faced by new music services has centered on cost rather than friction — the specific prices of royalty rates and the dollar value of advances, instead of the complexity of the process. When that complexity is addressed, it is spoken of in very general or anecdotal terms: music licensing is “complicated,” requiring a “long time,” because negotiations take place among  “countless copyright owners with different perspectives.” Furthermore, it is often argued only broad changes to copyright law — regardless of the impact of other factors — would be sufficient to overcome this friction.

In May of 2012, Sean Parker, an investor and board member of Spotify, claimed the firm’s US licensing efforts required upwards of two-and-a-half years before completion.1 Reuters had reported it spent at least eighteen months attempting to license the service in the US2, while Forbes wrote it had taken two years in Europe.3

Turntable.fm launched a beta version in late May of 2011. While still an invite-only platform, it announced a license from Sound Exchange covering performances of sound recordings, as well as blanket licenses from ASCAP and BMI for the broadcasting of musical works.4  Eight months later, the firm would announce direct licenses from EMI, Sony, Universal, and Warner music.5

In August of 2011, the Financial Times reported that the negotiations between the record labels and Beyond Oblivion, while nearing conclusion, had been ongoing for upwards of eighteen months.6  Four months later, the FT reported that Beyond Oblivion would close shop before launching its Boinc music service. Licensing agreements had yet to be completed.7

These accounts suggest different problems. Spotify was rumored to have spent nearly four years seeking music licenses. Instead, Turntable.fm, launched without them, then obtained the requisite compulsory and blanket licenses within sixty days, and, within ten months of the service becoming available, negotiated directly with the record labels. Finally, Beyond Oblivion was a non-starter after apparently two years of discussions.

Research and Disclosures

This brief was prompted by the concern that there may be a far wider range of factors beyond the law that contribute to the current friction in music licensing. We need a better understanding of how technology firms and copyright holders navigate the intersection at which these two parties meet. For this reason, attention will be given to licensing timelines, process maps, and logics — indirect measures of the transaction costs and the frames within which these negotiations take place.

An expanded description of this research can be found in a report from the same author, released jointly by the National Association of Record Merchandisers and DigitaMusic.org (available at http://bit.ly/Innovation-Paradox). No third party other than Washington and Lee University, through a Lenfest Grant, provided funding for this research. DigitalMusic.org provided the ideal partner for the release of the larger report — not only is their charter “to advocate, educate, and organize on behalf of the entire digital music ecosystem,” but also their various advisory boards include representatives of both copyright owners and technology companies.8

A combination of publicly available and privately obtained data were gathered from more than twenty interactive music services launched or attempted to be launched in the United States, between 2000 and 2012. Published news stories and company statements were inputs for the data. Also, semi-structured interviews were conducted with more than twenty individuals who had been directly involved in music service licensing efforts over the period. In addition, and in order to gain as holistic an understanding of the licensing process as possible, private data was gathered from individuals who had represented both so-called “sides” in these negotiations: technology companies and copyright owners.

 

Importantly, individual sources for this research have been and shall be kept confidential. The direct mention within this article of any particular service does not mean that anyone affiliated with that service provided private data for this project. This writer was not given access to private contracts or any deal terms, and any privately collected data is addressed in the aggregate and/or without attribution.

Legal Background

Any service that makes musical recordings available to the public, whether as downloads, internet streams, or some combination of the two, likely needs to secure licenses from two types of copyright owners: the owners of the sound recording and the owners of the musical work. Sound recording copyrights exist in the music you hear when you hit “play.” Copyrights in the musical work exist in the words and notes (i.e., the lyrics and composition) expressed in what you hear. Record labels, featured artists, producers, and performing musicians have their stake in the sound recording. Publishers, administrators, composers, and lyricists, have their interest in the music work. A single individual might be the performing artist, label, songwriter, and self-publisher. Alternatively, different individuals or entities might play each of these roles.

 

Most interactive services will need to pursue licenses that cover some combination of reproduction, distribution (or publication), and performance rights granted to copyright owners. Two types of entities predominantly license these rights for the use of sound recording and musical copyrights in the US: copyright holders themselves and rights collectives (or aggregators). Rights collectives — such as ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and SoundExchange — represent specific rights or sets of rights on behalf of their members or stakeholders. Copyright holders, or their appointed representatives/agents, can directly negotiate license for the rights they hold.

Key Findings

First, and most importantly, the licensing process unfolds as it does for reasons far more complex than one party ‘gets it’ while another party does not.

For example, startup founders and investors may express different attitudes toward uncertainty and failure than those expressed by incumbent firms or copyright holders. These differences in attitudes are reflected in clear differences of opinion and outcomes in the negotiation. While startups are encouraged to defray the cost of uncertainty as long as possible, copyright holders have an incentive, if not a fiduciary responsibility, to address this cost upfront. As a result, the parties end up pricing particular uses of music before the value of those uses may be fully understood. Furthermore, for some of the parties involved, failure is seen as a normal part of the innovation equation — a somewhat positive badge, earned pushing the edge of what is possible — while for others failure presents a legitimate threat to professional advance — a negative brand, signaling the lack of procedure or credible analysis.

Second, the directly negotiated licensing activities of interactive music services have required, at the median, roughly eighteen months of effort before service launch.

The majority of licensing time is spent completing deals with major record companies who are also major publishers, while the remainder of time is spent completing deals with rights aggregators and collectives. Between ten and fifteen sound recording deals, across major owners and aggregators of these rights, are believed to be necessary for initial service launch. After initial launch, however, the number of sound recording owners with whom negotiations unfold has expanded from between 20-50 to greater than 500.

For example, one firm spent upwards of six months discussing potential features and pricing with rights holders before even beginning to build some version of the service. While some individuals expressed the belief that ‘familiar’ services might be licensed within six months, almost all services were self-described as ‘groundbreaking’,” or ‘never been done before’.  And so, while some standardization of service characteristics might hasten the licensing process, most operators are looking to innovate in some way, leading to an expansion of the time spent both coming to an agreement over service features and pricing those features for a license.

Over the past decade, the length of time spent negotiating prior to launch does not appear to have significantly changed (the decrease appeared to be no greater than three months). What has changed is the number of tracks services license before launch. As examples: both Pressplay and MusicNet launched in December of 2001 with approximately (or less than) 100,000 tracks.9 In May of 2005, Yahoo! Music Unlimited, powered by MusicNet, launched with roughly one million tracks.10 Rdio launched in August of 2010, claiming upwards of seven million available tracks.11

Third, as noted earlier, interactive music services obtain licenses that cover both the reproduction and the performance rights in musical recordings and works. The sound recording licenses are obtained directly from the appropriate copyright owners. The musical work licenses often engage a combination of both collective and direct (or voluntary) licensing, involving discussions with not only performance rights organizations, but also the copyright owners themselves (or their appointed publisher/representative).

The point is that consent decrees obviously and significantly hasten the amount of time it takes for a new service to be licensed by the core performance rights organizations in the US. When rates cannot be eventually agreed upon, however, the resulting rate-setting proceedings can and have extended for years. Simply stated, due to the terms found in government-established agreements that cover the licensing activities of ASCAP and BMI, a service can operate as licensed (for public performance rights) by simply requesting a price for a license with characteristics not covered by the standard license terms published by these collective rights organizations. The result is a situation wherein a service can operate as licensed, yet the rate for that license has yet to be agreed upon.

Fourth, the amount of time it has taken to obtain a sufficient collection of licenses covering what are called the mechanical (or reproduction) rights in the interactive use of musical works has decreased over the last decade — from what once was years to less than 90 days in some cases.

This new found expediency can be had only as long as the service’s features fit within the categories outlined by a 2008 agreement covering interactive services, and the service chooses to license via what is known as the ‘notice of intent’ process. Essentially, this agreement requires that a service give written notice to the appropriate copyright holder, or their representative, of the intent to operate under established terms before the right to operate under those license terms can be enjoyed. If the service characteristics are outside the bounds of those prescribed terms, the service has had to directly negotiate with each copyright owner, or their representative, whose work might be used within the service.

 

This intent process is not necessarily efficient or affordable, however. Estimates of the number of points of contact for direct licensing or ‘noticing’ musical work copyrights vary substantially: from as few as 500 points, to as many as 6,000, to in excess of 30,000 potential points of contact. This variety depends upon how these rights holders are aggregated and how large the catalog of licenses is. That said, it may be no coincidence that a new cohort of music services were licensed and launched after 2008.

Fifth, the pathway through which innovation unfolds is largely similar across the services studied. Whether there is a right way or a wrong way to travel through the licensing pipeline, there is little variation in the way in which services make this trip. Furthermore, at any point over the last decade, it appears that no greater than two or three law firms, or individual lawyers and their staff, were most central in brokering directly negotiated licensing transactions.

For example, most services began the licensing process in discussions with one or more of the major labels. This initial stage might best be described as a ‘getting to know you’ conversation, during which both personal connections and basic service ideas were discussed. After a few months, the conversations shifted to more specific discussions of service features, pricing, if not also more technical white papers. The final months involved discrete discussions of licensing agreements, which saw between four and nine revisions over a span of one to four months. Once these major agreements had been negotiated, services shifted their attention to other aggregators of independent labels and artists.

Finally, while new services face an expectation to be novel — from the perspective of consumers, investors, and even copyright owners — service characteristics among competing services after launch seem quite similar. The variety in service characteristics that arrive at the table to be licensed appears to be somewhat greater than the service characteristics offered by services that launch as licensed. It is difficult to tell what would happen and what could be learnt by the industry from a much-expanded range of service characteristics.

Conclusion

While technology has historically paved the way for new developments in the music industry, it has both disrupted old business models and transactions over copyrights. Negotiating over music rights has become very complex, and the cost is not just measured in the price paid for a license. All the parties spend too much time, effort, and resources clearing every legal aspect in trade of recorded music. The cost for music startups is arguably large, and music right holders pay a hefty price too measured by the opportunity cost of losing new business.  Whether the party is a copyright owner or a technology company, the process for procuring a music license weighs heavily all round.

 

By David Touve

 

Endnotes:

1.  Isaac, M. 2012. Sean Parker: Why Did Spotify Take So Long to Get Stateside? It Could Have Been Apple. All Things D, May 30, 2012.

2.  Reuters. 2011. Spotify to launch in US after long wait. Reuters, July 14, 2011.

3. Bertoni, S. 2012. Spotify’s Daniel Ek: The Most Important Man In Music. Forbes, January 4, 2012.

4. Popper, B. 2011. Turntable.fm hits 140,000 users in its first month. BetaBeat, June 22, 2011.

5. Van Buskirk, E. 2012. Turntable.fm goes ‘legit’ with licenses from all 4 major labels. Wired, March 13, 2012.

6. Bradshaw, T. 2011. Beyond Oblivion reveals its Boinc service. FinancialTimes, August 23, 2011.

7. Water, R. & Garahn, M. 2011. Beyond Oblivion crashes before launch. Financial Times, December 30, 2011.

8. For further information, see: http://digitalmusic.org/about/

9. See: Garrity, B. 2001. RealNetworks bows subscription service. Billboard, December 15, 2001. Also: Kusher, D. (2001). The digitabt beat: Musicnet doesn’t rock. RollingStone, December 12, 2001. Available from: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/the-digital-beat-musicnet-doesnt-rock-20011212

10.  Yahoo!, Inc.(2005) Yahoo! premiers Yahoo! music unlimited. Yahoo!, Inc., May 10, 2005 (company press release). Available from: http://docs.yahoo.com/docs/pr/release1237.html

11. Rdio, Inc. (2010). Rdio takes the wraps off social music service. Rdio, Inc., August 3, 2010 (company press release). Available from: http://www.rdio.com/press/rdio-takes-the-wraps-off-social-music-service/

Helps for Composing a TV Commercial

I was surfing through the web the other day and I found this article felt it was pretty col. I feel it shared some very practical advice and thought I would share it with you. Please let me know what you think and also let the author know what you think as well.
5 Unwritten Rules For Composing a TV Commercial, Ident or Title Sequence
Written by Tim Rabjohns & Fridel for Music For TV Masterclass – July 25th 2012

As TV composers and course leaders we come across many unwritten rules that are simple but sometimes forgotten when working as a TV composer.  Some of you will agree that these are very simple but it sometimes make sense to go back to the basics.

1) When you read the brief try to understand what’s written in between the lines. Remember that most likely it was not written by a musician, and so they do not have the same way of expressing music as you do.  Try and think of the brief that describes the emotional journey that sets the mood of the piece, rather than always just the style of the piece.  Always ask as many questions as you can, (preferably to the person making the creative decisions) before starting to compose.  It also pays to ask for specific examples of existing music – this can save a lot of time and make things clearer..

2) Many people only submit a single option when they are pitching.  We really think it’s worthwhile trying to submit  more than one option. (some of them may be from pitches that you have done before).  We normally send one version that is exactly what the brief asks for, one that is a bit more extreme and one that follows your gut feeling (ie how you think it should sound).

3) Although it is a short piece of music a piece of music this length (ie 10 – 30 secs) it will often need to have a ‘Narrative’ of some sort. By this we mean a short intro, a middle or body and then a build towards the end and a finale.  We find it helpful to think of it like a song – with different “sections” – although much shorter.

Obviously not all jobs will require this format – especially some TV commercials which want the soundtrack to sound like a slice of a song.

4) If the job needs a “mnemonic” (a memorable melody line at the end – think “Intel Inside”) make sure it is a clear memorable melody and better if it appears in more than one place in the music.  Nowadays a mnemonic can also consist of a signature “sound” rather than a melody – so it’s always a good idea to ask the client what they want.

5) Subtle sound design can give lots of life to your ident composition. There are lots of sound design libraries full of sounds, so it is very easy to do.  It’s worth noting that you will always score more cred points if you create your own sounds – that nobody else has.

Good luck on your next pitch submission and we’d love to hear about your experiences and any other unwritten rules that you may have…

Written by Tim Rabjohns & Fridel for Music For TV Masterclass

GREAT NEWS UPDATES

Hello everyone out there in the web. A quick fast update on Wolfies Music Publishing and composer Mark Allan Wolfe @ markallanwolfe.com I am almost ready to post the online store where by film makers will be able to download the music or our artist and license it all in one spot. We are obviously excited and getting ready to make a great leap forwards.

So we figure with in a few days or so we should be completely ready to go live and make everything available. We will have music available for just about all genres and situations available. You can find music for Film, TV, Web and on hold and just about anything else. Will keep everyone posted for once we have this all set then we will slowly begin to input different sources to license. We will keep you all posted and if you have music where you think it would be great to place with in Film, TV & Web, then be sure to contact us with an email where to go listen or send a link to submissions@wolfiesmusicpublishing.com