Answered by Michael Laskow, TAXI CEO
My music has just been forwarded to a publishing company that has a standard deal whereby it "assumes publishing rights" and I get royalties. How can this be good? I want to gain some momentum in my career, but this seems like robbery. Is assuming and not paying for rights pretty standard?

— Cynthia Russell

I think it IS pretty standard in the music library business. The library business, while certainly a niche within the publishing industry, has a set of standards that are somewhat different from typical music publishers who might sign you to a staff writer deal, give you an advance, and require that you turn in a certain number of songs per month.

Libraries base their model on volume, and not going for the "big hit." They don't go out and plug songs as much as a regular publisher might. Instead, they build a large catalog, make it available to hundreds, maybe thousands, of people who need music for their shows and films, and hope that the stuff on their disks and hard drives gets used.

There ARE variations on how they work, and a great place to learn more about the different models, how they differ, and how you might be capitalize on how to best use them for what you're trying to achieve is the TAXI Forum.

There are tons of people just like you on the boards, and they have covered this and MANY other related topics in great detail. It's a tremendous resource that, I'm afraid, most of our members don't use often enough.

Here's a link: http://forums.taxi.com/

Cruise around, and you'll find TONS of great info, and don't give up if you don't find it in 30 seconds. Some of the posts may be from a few months ago, and might be on second or third level pages.

— Good luck,

Michael




I understand how a lot of crappy songs get written by the artist and possible co-writer because the artist wants writer royalties. What I don't understand is why record companies and radio stations cooperate in promoting this crap when there is quality material being passed over.

The powers that be need to understand that a lot of us turn off the radio when the material is as bad as most of it is anymore. How do we educate the industry and media?


— Ken Beck

GREAT question! First, I think there has been a huge shift to artists wanting to write or co-write their own material because they know they'll make more on radio airplay than they will on CD sales. Why? Mostly because of illegal downloads.

In the end, the listening public that is tired of hearing crap on the radio is somewhat to blame for the problem. ;-)

Also, radio stations do lots of call-in and call-out research to see what their listeners like best. They want to keep them happy to keep their listenership high, so they can keep their advertisers happy. Makes sense. So... again, what we hear on the radio is largely there because WE asked for it.

Actually the same is true for TV and movies. The producers TRY to give us what we watch and want the most. From the looks of things, "we" might have really bad taste. ;-) They'd be crazy to force us to watch and hear crap that we don't respond to because they'd lose money. They do research, we respond. Think Neilson ratings.

And maybe some of the reason that "quality material is being passed over" is because the truly big artists have enough power to dictate which songs go on their albums. We, as musicians, are pretty quick to blame the evil empire (the labels) for not giving enough control to the artists. When the labels DO give them control, one of the results may very well be the problem you describe.

You can't blame the artist for wanting to make more money by writing or co-writing many of the songs on their record to make up for the huge earnings deficit created by illegal downloading, but it may be short sighted at the same time.

I do feel confident in saying that there is no INTENT to pass over other great music. There are TONS of great songwriters in Nashville alone, and they are definitely being hurt by this issue, as are songwriters everywhere.

Bottom line — it IS a real problem, and if I had the answer to stop illegal downloading I'd be happy to share it. ;-) My people feel that it's justified because they think that artists are getting rich enough, so it's okay to steal.

I have a theory that goes something like this, "If people could steal meat through the Internet, then millions would be eating free filet mignon every day, and they'd probably TRY to justify it by blaming the cattle ranchers and the cows for making too much money."

While many people are in fact buying legal music from iTunes, the number of people who take it illegally by comparison is staggeringly huge. These are interesting times, and I don't think anybody has the right answer yet.

— Warm regards,

Michael




I couldn't make the Road Rally this year because of another commitment. Could you sum up some of the most important things learned on the panels and in the classes and include them in the next issue of your newsletter?

— Thanks,

Brian Galley


Boy oh boy, did you miss a great weekend! The Road Rally was amazing, but don't take my word for it. Here's a link to our Forum, where people are actually posting all kinds of stuff about the Road Rally. One thread in particular may interest you the most. It's called The Best Three Things I Learned at the Rally. Here are the links to the Rally section, and that particular thread!

http://forums.taxi.com//index.cgi?board=rallyopen
http://forums.taxi.com//index.cgi?board=general&action=display&thread=1194988687

— Warm regards,

Michael


P.S. We have many of the panels from last year's Rally included in the TAXI Transmitter. Visit www.taxi.com/transmitter to read what you've missed!



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