Tuesday, October 25, 2011

QR CODE. Did you get one yet?????? Do you need one???


Use QR Codes to Promote Your Music in the Real WorldMarch 24, 2011

If you’re not familiar with QR codes (quick response code), they are the little black & white checker-box images that are popping up on posters, kiosks, signs and just about everywhere else information is displayed. You’ve probably already seen them in use and just didn’t know what they were. When you spot a QR code, simply scan the code with a scanning app on your iPhone, Android, or camera-enabled smartphone. The QR code can initiate a number of smartphone functions, from linking to digital content on the web (like your music on CD Baby) to triggering a text message. One of the more useful functions for QR codes in music promotion is to link directly to digital content that enhances the message on your show poster or flyer.
So how can you actually draw people into your music with a QR Code?

For my band’s recent album release show, we embedded a QR code in the concert poster that took people directly to a mobile-optimized site that immediately played a track from our yet-to-be-released album. This not only allowed the user to instantly hear new music, but also gave them the opportunity to take info about the band with them to check out later at their own convenience. QR codes turn your postering efforts into a multimedia experience that leaves a deeper fan impression. See the images below.
The QR Code in action on the concert poster

After scanning the code, the mobile device is taken to an optimized landing page

Where can you get a QR code?
There are numerous QR code creation tools online. Just Google QR Code and you’ll find a huge list. The QR code creation tool I used to create the code in our concert poster is called Kaywa. It was simple to use and free to create your codes. URL shortener bit.ly also has a way to create a QR code that allows you to track links, so if you love to track your QR code scans, they might be your best bet.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Go Get Your Money

May 24, 2011
Understanding Foreign Public Performance Royalties

By George Howard(Follow George on Twitter)

We spend a considerable amount of time discussing the role of copyright in the music business on the TuneCore blog. Because the entire music business stems from the six rights enumerated in copyright law that are automatically granted to a songwriter who creates an original work and either records or writes that work down, we feel very strongly that you thoroughly understand each of these rights.

As streaming continues to emerge as the dominant manner in which music is consumed, one of these rights — the exclusive right to publicly perform your copyright — takes on increased significance. As we have discussed in this space before, when a song is: streamed from a website, played on radio, broadcast on TV, and/or performed on stage, the copyright holder of the song must grant the broadcaster (website, network, venue, etc…) the right to publicly perform the copyrighted work. Typically, this right is granted in exchange for monetary compensation.
As negotiating and settling accounting each and every time a radio station or web site wanted to broadcast an author’s copyrighted work would be far too time consuming (and result in far fewer public performances of songs), clearinghouse agencies were created to negotiate public performance agreements between authors and broadcasters. In the United States, there are three clearinghouse agencies, known as Performance Rights Organizations (PROs): ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC.

As stated, each acts as an agent for the copyright holders (songwriters and/or publishers) of the songs, and issues licenses (for a fee) to the broadcasters which give these broadcasters the rights to publicly perform the songwriters’ works. From these collected fees, the PROs distribute the money (after overhead) to their affiliated writers based on the frequency and range that their works are publicly performed.

While slightly complex, this truly is the best system in order to straddle the line of encouraging works to be used, but honoring copyright law. In any case, no one has really come up with a better system.

Problems arise, however, in an increasingly inter-connected and globalized world, where once a song is created (particularly, once it’s uploaded to the Internet) attempting to corral it within the borders of any one particular country is, of course, impossible. Thus, the question frequently and justifiably arises: “How do I, a U.S. writer, get paid my public performance royalties when my song gets broadcast in another country?” This article attempts to answer this question.

Foreign Public Performance Royalties
As the vast majority of U.S.-based songwriters are affiliated with one of the above-referenced PROs (and if you’re not you should really consider doing so), I’m going to work off the premise that the real question is: “Can ASCAP (or BMI, SESAC) collect my international public performance money?”

The Berne Convention
In order to answer this question, we must take a very brief detour to the land of international copyright law. It’s easy to think, given all the recent Internet-related conversation about copyright, that it’s a new issue, but the reality is that we’ve been wrestling with copyright basically since people started creating things and copying them; the Statute of Anne was the first copyright act, and it was put in place in Great Britain, in 1709!

Roughly two-hundred years after The Statute of Anne, as international travel (and thus, the dissemination of works created in one country into other countries) increased, The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (typically referred to as, The Berne Convention) was put into place in 1886. In short, the countries that have signed The Berne Convention (and nearly all industrialized countries have) must honor copyrights created by authors from other countries in the same way they recognize copyright in its own country.
For example, if you’re a U.S. author, and register your work in the U.S., but your work ends up getting exploited (sold, broadcast, etc.) in Spain (a Berne signatory, and thus a member of the so-called Berne Union), you enjoy the same amount of copyright protection as if you were a Spanish author with a Spanish copyright. While there are variants from country to country, for the most part the copyright laws that exist in the US are consistent with those in Berne Union countries.

Relationships between U.S. and Foreign PROs
Given the above, you can begin to imagine how reciprocal relationships between U.S. PROs and their equivalents in other countries might work. In essence, U.S. PROs license the works of their affiliated (i.e. U.S.) writers to the equivalent PROs in other countries, and these countries license their works back through ASCAP, BMI, and/or SESAC. The foreign PROs thus collect on behalf of the US writers and remit this collection to the U.S.-based PROs, who then pay out to their affiliated writers.

Of course, the devil is in the details, and there are some details to be aware of. First, you must question whether or not the local PROs are accurately reporting your usages to ASCAP, and, related, collecting the proper amount. This becomes a very real question when you factor in the fact that the U.S. is the only industrialized country that does not pay a public performance royalty to the copyright holder of the sound recording (typically, the label). Because of this, many foreign PROs refuse to enter into one-to-one reciprocal relationships with the U.S. because they (justifiably) feel that their (i.e. non U.S.) artists are not being fully compensated due to the U.S.’s refusal to pay a public performance royalty to the master holders/performers for terrestrial broadcast. Thus, these foreign PROs do not pay U.S.-based writers.
Additionally, there are so-called “at source” issues. As you can imagine, there are costs all along the value-chain with respect to collecting and disseminating these royalties, and the more intermediaries between the broadcasters who are paying the fees and the copyright holders who are owed the money, the greater the chance that the money will be reduced.
Because of both of the issues above (lack of true reciprocity of payment and diminished income due to multiple intermediaries) some writers deem it a good strategy to enter into sub-publishing arrangements with publishers who are based in foreign countries, and grant these sub publishers the right to collect public performance money on their behalf.
Alternatively, if you’re a qualifying writer (and what determines if you are “qualified” or not varies from country to country, but, as you can imagine, it always involves your works being exploited in these foreign countries with some frequency), you can affiliate with foreign PROs even while continuing to be affiliated with a U.S.-based PRO. However, as you can imagine, the U.S.-based PROs do not want you to do this (it cuts into their revenue), and thus may not make it an easy process for you.

As we can see, while there are mechanisms in place for the licensing and collection of your works in foreign countries, actually setting up the best strategy to ensure the maximum amount of benefit when your works are publicly performed is decidedly a non-trivial matter. That said, this is where we are in the music business today, and it will be the artists (and their teams) who work through these complexities in order to generate the maximum amount of revenue from their works who will be best positioned to sustain their artistic career on their own terms over the long haul.
George Howard is the former president of Rykodisc. He currently advises numerous entertainment and non-entertainment firms and individuals. Additionally, he is the Executive Editor of Artists House Music and is a Professor and Executive in Residence in the college of Business Administration at Loyola, New Orleans. He is most easily found on Twitter at: twitter.com/gah650

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Toxic "Cold" The Chicago HipHop Story

This video tells the story of Chicago. My brotha Toxic came with it on this one
I'm Very Proud of this effort. Ill 4 Life.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Is There a Formula for a Hit Song?

Is There a Formula for a Hit Song?Is There a Formula for a Hit Song?

What do hit songs have in common that can unite soccer moms with club rockers and hipsters? Literally creating one nation under a groove! Two Rutgers master degree candidates created a presentation called "Visualizing A Hit" that maps popular songs against some of their musical attributes in an effort to find out what they share, and how they have changed over time.

First, they tapped Billboard’s chart data to build a database of over 4,200 popular songs, their peak ranking, Billboard “Hit Status,” and number of weeks they were on the charts.They then cross-referenced that data against detailed musical information for each song — its key, mode (major, minor, etc.), tempo, loudness, “danceability level,” and “energy level” using data from The Echo Nest. (Disclosure: The Echo Nest, a music intelligence platform, publishes Evolver.fm.)

The resulting study revealed a number of interesting findings – among them, that Madonna is the overall queen of pop, songs are getting longer, louder, dancier and (barely) more energetic, and the optimal number of beats per minute over the past few decades was precisely 119.8:“Madonna has had 36 songs [in the top 10 and] The Beatles are right behind her with 34″

:Check out the presentation here. Might be interested in what you discover!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


So I put up this status on Gmail: "Too Smart for your Dumb ass"
It wasn’t directed to anyone I just liked the term..............and the day began not much different than any other day until Bruce B.L.A.C.C IM'ed me.
I’m glad I responded.

So I had this looooooog conversation with my mans BRUCE B.L.A.C.C on IM and what it broke down to is that I need to keep a positive attitude because I’m loosing friends. There is some "List" of people who I have beef with.

C'mon, seriously Beef??? If there was any real beef I'd be handled by now, wouldn't I? I mean I live in Chicago, we don't let beef drag we handle it. Bruce also went on about how heads talk and they have been talking behind my back, REALLYY?? I have you whispering in the winds about me? Oh how sweet. He went on to say that I don't have the same friends as I once did. Now that ,I can agree on. Sometimes you get tired of doing the same song and dance with people. Sometimes you out grow them. Some times you stop letting them misuse you. A lot of times the people who you gave the benefit of the doubt to disappoints you so you stop dealing with them all together.

This is how the game of life is. In this war we lose a lot of soldiers to the everyday. The friends, real friends never go any where. I began putting The Secret in to play in 2007 when I got back from the Wonda Women Project Tour. The book, The Secret, talks about The Laws of Attraction, it states" Like Attracts Like" . 2007 was time that I started to "lose" friends. I'm ok with that. I look back on those gone and I see them in the same position they were in before, just a bit more bitter. I started to find myself with like minded people who were encouraging, self sufficient, dependable, reliable, progressive, nurturing, thoughtful, kind, strong, and not abusive. I’d attracted those people in my life and I did not need them any more. I'm not perfect never did I claim to be but if I'm not satisfied with my mobility I look in (at me) and then I look out (at my surroundings). I can't change what you do but I can change what I do. So I decided to be more overstanding of others. If you know me and I mean KNOW ME you'll know that I am brutally honest. And it's time I got brutally honest with me. Ang13:

Everyone will not like you.
Everyone will not like what you say.
Everyone will not like what you do.
Everyone will not like that fact that you think you're the shit.
Everyone will not like how you come across.
Everyone will not like the way you look.
the way you rap.
the way you think.
the way you speak.
the completion of your skin.
your character.
your height.
your weight.
what you stand for.

They won’t like a whole lotta stuff about you Ang13. But as soon as I change something about me they don't like they’ll find something else, then something else’s, then something else which means they will never be satisfied and I will never be who I am trying to live up to the expectations of others. So here is the easy way out. if there is sooo much that you don't like about me you are free to go, please don’t wound yourself any more. Bruce stated 'it upsets me that you're not larger then you are, I always wonder that. You should be large" A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF NEVER SATISFIED. I stated " I'm not large on your scale, and I don’t work on your scale I work on mine". There are more people who like me than those who don't. Those who do like me get all my love and I have a lot to give. Those who don't, that drag my name through the mud, I applaud you. Hater looks good on you, it looks bad on me so.... proceed. Bruce refused to name of those talking behind my back. But I'm pretty sure it's those same people who are smiling in my face. Do your self a favor and free yourself it will feel soooo good not to be a phony any more. And as arrogant as this sounds it’s the truth: “those who talk behind your back are behind you for a reason”.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Conversation with a Young emcee

A 19 year old rapper contacted me through reverbnation.com and asked me to check him out. I think this response was way over due and I never responded this way before but here is what I said (in a loving way of course):

I like what your doing but lets try somthin:

Ok take any one of your songs and check off how many times you make reference to the crazy 8:
1. niggas
2. bitches
3. money
4. drugs
5. guns
6. sex
7. cars
8. tags
No really because I didn’t do that when I first started. And because I didn’t I kept referring to :
The reason why is because that is what I was always surrounded by:
I had to change the way I thought cause I couldn’t change where is was living (i was a kid at the time). I started to read a lot, got around people who thought like me, not like the way I did in the past and my rhymes, vocabulary, people, and situations I was attracting to me started to change. don’t confuse it
Run wild in the game. But you have to decide, do you want to be like them or better than them? You can be very successful without referring to the crazy 8 all the time. (Tho a bitch ass nigga took my money to by drugs and guns instead of taggin me up so he gets no pussy) just kiddin. Be the best representative you can be of the culture not just the rap game. You can reach the world with it, teach the world with it, or defeat your world with it.