Here are the top 5 things to consider when hiring an artist manager.
I’m on VIBE 105.5 FM, discussing business affairs, intellectual property, branding and monetization for the music industry.
Starting a business in any creative field – whether as a creator, producer or one of the many ancillary supporting roles, e.g. lawyer, accountant, music engineer – must be a full-time, revenue-focused endeavour. Like any new business venture, there is little chance of success unless you and your team are prepared financially, mentally and emotionally for the road ahead. Business advisory and legal services are crucial in setting off on the right foot.
Sony Music just pulled down of its most popular recordings from SoundCloud – recordings from Hozier, Adele, MS MR (love them) and Passion Pit – due to a breakdown in licensing negotiations. The reason? Generally, a lack of monetization opportunities on the service. This breakdown in negotiations reveals an intriguing tension between the idea that SoundCloud is a “creator-driven” service but has now become a major global streaming service and distribution platform.
Grooveshark is dead in the water. This week, the music streaming service shut down in an attempt to settle a near $17 billion lawsuit (since reduced to a reported $736 million in damages) with a coalition of the major music labels. Here is how we got to this point.
Netflix is one of the few global media companies with the ability to solve digital music through strategic bundling of product, services and content. The battle for our music streaming lives can be waged by Google, Apple, and Spotify. However, Netflix represents the dark horse in this race, and could only mount a reasonable prospect if bundled film and music in the right way. Oh, and before a competitor like Amazon gets to it first. Well,…
I want to share with you a simple but powerful idea: you are not a DJ.
You are an artist-entrepreneur.
More than that, you are business.
I give this advice to each of my music clients in the course of my entertainment practice because artists need to hear it. Many artists are sometimes quick to view their work only as ‘creative’ without also realizing that their work is inherently commercial. And the DJ world, more than many other category of artist, exists where the creative meets the commercial: you’re regularly transporting equipment around the world, you’re making deals with club owners and publishers, and you’re performing live every weekend.
If it wants to, Netflix can solve the problem of people not paying for music through bundling music with its movie and TV service. And music is ripe for bundling for several reasons. No one service is doing bundling well right now. Amazon is almost doing it with it’s Prime Music service, but it’s mainly a brick-and-mortar product distributor, not a dedicated content delivery service like Netflix (which now also produces content). And Apple’s iTunes service is clunky and outdated at best, and the a-la-carte download model is very 2010. And Apple is really the only other company who could make a significant dent in a play for bundling. But with a slick UI and some negotiations with the major labels, Netflix can catch Apple asleep at the wheel.
Many hip-hop producers “lease” or licence their beats. But, from what I see in the course of my practice, some producers are not taking the best approach to maximize their licensing strategies and protect themselves and their business from threats of litigation.
Should you register your copyrights? Probably.
Registering your copyrights with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) creates a presumption of ownership in the work, and serves as a time stamp for when the work was created. Most importantly, copyright registrations can be used in court as evidence of ownership. The process is easy, you don’t have to send anything in to CIPO, it costs $50 and can be done on-line. Once registered, your work will be listed in the publicly accessible CIPO Copyrights Database.
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