The hangover from SXSW has subsided and deals are actually getting done in the world of both music and film. There are several hot topics which are been written, blogged, tweeted and plain old talked about in the music and film industry. Over the next several entries we will try to explore several of those topics.
A new contributor to L4M, Mr. Eric Malnar will update everyone on the public performance royalties debate that is garnering attention from the House, Senate, White House and musicians all over the world. We will also explore what is a standard 360 deal these days and continue to share our experience of working with musicians (both label musicians and independents) in the ever changing industry.
On the film front; just when I thought it was safe to celebrate the passage of Section 181…President Obama seems to have lost the legislation somewhere between health care reform and his next pack of Camels. We are still waiting for his signature on H.R. 4213 and eager film makers are anticipating the one year extension that should have come on January 1, 2010. In other film news, state tax incentives are ever changing so we will try to keep you up to date on the best places to film. Plus, we will walk the newbie film maker through the process of raising funds for an independent movie by explaining all of the paper work (stupid lawyers) that is necessary before you can even accept a check from your mom.
SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION OF THE WEEK:
One thing I take a lot of pride in is introducing talented people to other talented people. As a lawyer for creative people, I am able to make introductions to some gifted artists which then results in some pretty cool stuff. I always tell my clients to view us as a resource; whether it is introducing managers to artists, labels to artists, licensing companies to advertisers or musicians to other musicians, our clients end up with the same contacts and connections as we have.
Possibly the best example is this song. Our clients, Database, French Horn Rebellion and Hey Champ collaborated to bring you a Remix of Beaches and Friends. The song is doing great on a worldwide level. Enjoy:
If any of you read my ramblings you or are fans of any of my clients, you already know that we had our second annual showcase in Austin last week. Our showcase is a way to promote our clients and let the music community know that not all lawyers suck. We at L4M strive to help artists (not just musicians) treat their art as a business. We routinely help protect work product, form entities for bands, review and draft label and license agreements and, overall, act as the left brain aide to right brain thinkers. Our showcase is just a way to get that across to a wider audience and to thank our current roster of clients. NOW ON TO THE SHOW:
It is now Wednesday, March 24, and I have still not completely recovered from our showcase which took place on Saturday, March 20. To say that it was an amazing show is a huge understatement. Obviously I am a bit biased, but our lineup which included You, You’re Awesome, French Horn Rebellion, Hey Champ, Kidz in the Hall, Bad Rabbits, 88 Keys, Cool Calm Pete, The Cool Kids and Rakaa actually got better on the day of the show! Travis McCoy dropped by to perform a new song with 88 Keys, Tenille blessed us with her vocals on a couple of Cool Kids’ tracks and The Alchemist and Evidence reunited with their Dilated Peoples mate Rakaa to take the show to the next level.
None of this could have been possible without the amazing work and dedication of CATHARSIS NYC. Thanks to Justin Kim, James Kim and Tonia Kim (no relation) who put on yet another seamless show. All of the artists were amazed at their efficiency and organization in running such a giant event. Several commented that it was the best show they played for the entire showcase. If you are even thinking of hosting an event, you need to contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More kudos goes to our firm of Stahl Cowen. If you become a client of ours, you are a client of theirs. Without Stahl Cowen’s support, there would be no show.
Finally, thanks to the newest members of L4M, Eric Malnar and Brian Troglia. Both of my partners have made L4M bigger and better by bringing their unique music industry and legal experience to the team. Watch for new entries and articles from both of these guys.
So, if you were at the show, thanks for coming. If you were not there, you missed a great time. While it is impossible to replicate the live show experience (there were about 800 people there and a line around the block at 2pm on Saturday!!!), here are some pics to help bring you a little bit closer to the action. Special thanks to Justin Kim and Tonia Kim for the pictures (All Rights in the following pictures are reserved to Catharsis, LLC).
Huge issues, such as how to compensate musicians who have content ripped off or used without permission on Goliath’s like You Tube, do not seem to be any closer to being resolved. One lawyer from a large internet file sharing site expressed her frustration that it took her client 8 years to work out a comprehensive license deal with the labels. The labels countered that with a complaint that the country’s Anti-Trust laws prohibit the labels from meeting in the same room let alone coming up with a unilateral price for licensing music and come up with a fair price for licensing; music. The result will be years of musicians losing out on mechanicals and licensing revenue.
But, like I said, the weekend was not without some optimism. Focus groups discussed new ways for musicians to make money and reach their fan groups. Several of the methods they discussed were ideas that this site previously discussed (Click Here and Here). Using new and creative ways to get your music to your fan base (USB drives, t-shirts, treasure hunts) and utilizing social media were stressed by those in the know. Creating an interactive experience with the buyer should be the ultimate goal of musicians. With all of the utilities currently available, the one on one fan/artist experience is easier to achieve.
The byproduct of the new methods of reaching and interacting with fans is the steady decline of the traditional album (Something I mentioned in last week’s post: See White Chocolate and the Soul Berries). Rolling Stone is picking up on this trend as it is reaching beyond the indies and making headway with some major artists. In Issue 1090, October 29, 2009, David Browne cited to the death of the traditional album in his article entitled “Artists Break Free of the Album”. In the article, several artists, including Billy Corgan, Modest Mouse, Sppon, Blitzen Trapper and Radiohead, are testifying to the need and the appeal of a new model for getting music to the masses. Finally catching up to the public trend (or disease, depending on how you feel) of severe Attention Deficit Disorder, the music industry is coming to the realization that if you are going to get new music out and grab the public’s attention, you better do it quickly and in a new and interesting way. EP’s are becoming the new LP’s and on-line releases, once deemed leaks, are becoming a cheaper and easier way to reach the entire world and not just the big box store customer.
The industry insiders and taste makers at CMJ were not necessarily revealing any new or earth shattering information that the informed musician did not already know. Yet, it is important to realize the significance of the simple fact that these industry and label types are finally catching on to the truth. If you really needed proof that the industry is not what it once used to be and the old model of releasing a cd, touring, sitting back and living off of royalties is dead, then hearing it from a label owner, label lawyer and label A&R executive is all you hopefully ever need.
The lineup is now set (well, pretty much set, we may still add some more acts) for the Lawyer 4 Independent Music Showcase. Kidz in the Hall will be rounding out the already awesome lineup.
In addition to the Kidz we are lucky to have Fatlip, Hey Champ, French Horn Rebellion, Whatzisface and DJ White Shadow. All of these artists are at different stages in their careers but none of them could have gotten to where they are without the proper team around them. So the collective team will showcase the collective talent.
If you are going to be down in Austin, you gotta come by the show. Let me know if you need more info.
Man am I sick of reading, listening, and writing about that crappy economy. If you don’t know that our economy is bad then go back to your Y2K bunker and hunker down for another 4 or 5 years. Trust me, you’ll be happy you did.
The music industry has been hit HARD by the recession. All facets of the business have been effected. Labels, distributors, marketing companies and venues have shuttered their windows and locked their doors. Still, the concert scene has been relatively healthy. Lollapalooza and Coachella had record crowds again this past year. Madonna made a ridiculous amount of money on tour (nice move by Live Nation) as did the Boss (nice work Azoff and Ticketmaster), the Police and Metallica. CMJ was packed with a lot of promising new artists and some main stays who have some exciting new material.
Which leads to my surprise about the rather unorganized and lackluster roster for the premier music conference, South By Southwest. In the past independent artists and freshly signed artists flocked to Austin for the opportunity to strut their stuff in front of the industry big wigs and peers. This year the industry big wigs may not be able to afford the air fare and hotel prices (which surprisingly have not gone down). So the result seems to be a scaled back festival.
Not to fear. Rather than bash blog about SXSW and complain from a far, I am going to take Obama’s lead and do something about it. I have taken it upon myself (with the help of Catharsis NYC, Big Like Giants, Music Dealers and my colleague Brian Troglia) to provide SXSW with an amazing showcase featuring artists that are both brand new, on the cusp and already established.
I give you the first annual (hopefully) Lawyer 4 Independent Musicians Showcase!!!! On March 21, 2009 from Noon to 6pm at Momo’s on 6th Street we will be showcasing amazing music and demonstrating how important a good legal team is t the success of a musician (but mostly amazing music). Already confirmed are: Whatsizface, French Horn Rebellion, Hey Champ, DJ White Shadow, Fat Lip, and Kidz in the Hall, with several more surprises in the works. Its free (obviously) and will be sponsored by L4M, Stahl Cowen and Music Dealers (read more about them below). So if you are coming to SXSW, you have to come to this showcase.
Let me know your thoughts about this year’s SXSW or if you need more details about the L4M showcase.
SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION OF THE WEEK: MusicDealers.com
The future of music licensing can be found at this site. Its a must for any independent band or artist. You sign up for free and submit your music for licensing opportunities that Music Dealers finds for you. Its non-exclusive so you don’t have to worry about signing over ownership of your music. Brilliant, check it out.