Archive for July, 2007


A must read for any artist that performs live

July 18, 2007

Date: July 18, 2007 3:23:34 AM EDT
Subject: A must read for any artist that performs live

First of all, let me take this time to give a HUGE shout out to any artists that perform live (hopefully that’s every single one of you!)

And I don’t mean just artists that play gigs in the corner pub or club.  No, I mean an extra special big shout out to any artist who has ever toured in their car or a van and spent hours, days, weeks or months on the road.

Touring is a crucial part of becoming a successful artist/band and yet touring as an indie artist can be demanding.  A different city each night. Food on the road.  Gas prices soaring.  Cheap motels.  But you have to do it.  So my hats off to you, give yourself a HUGE pat on the back for a job well done, especially if you’re touring NOW in 2007.  It’s a lot of work but at the end of the day, isn’t the worst night up on stage in front of even 1 person better than the best day at your day job?  Yeah!

So, this email is incredibly important for you to read.

An artist recently sent me this email about performing rights societies ASCAP and BMI.

Now ASCAP and BMI are the folks that collect money for you when your songs are broadcast on TV or on the radio.

In my experience, I have had nothing but good experiences with the people that work at ASCAP and BMI.  So, do not call or email them to complain….er, yet.  This isn’t the fault of people you know but perhaps the executives in charge.  Let’s discuss this and email me your thoughts and if you have any additional information or facts before we decide if this is true or not and demands any action on our part.

Does this warrant concern or action among artists?

What are your thoughts?

Please keep in mind the opinions expressed below are not my own but solely of the artist writing them.  I am sending this email out to gather more information, not to in any way shed a poor light on ASCAP or BMI.

Jennifer Yeko
True Talent Management
9663 Santa Monica Blvd. # 320
Beverly Hills, CA  90210

Hey Jennifer,
Before I get into my concerns I’d like to thank you for representing the “little guys” of the industry and trying to get us the “love” we, and the industry in general, so desperately need.
Okay, here it is:
First off, let me state that I’m a member of ASCAP. I joined because I thought they were truly interested in protecting artists…especially the ones who NEEDED their protection.
Two of the smaller venues that I used to play have since discontinued their live music.
Because people from ASCAP and BMI have been bleeding all of the small businesses dry in their attempt to “help artists.” Small coffeehouses and restaurants, especially those who feature original music (most of which is unregistered through ASCAP or BMI), are being “sweated” for the same blood money that bigger venues are expected to pay.
They are killing all of the small venues that actually treat artists fairly. Large clubs treat artists like cattle, slave labor. Many venues, especially in LA, are still using a “pay to play” system, dressed up in a “ticket sales” package.
ASCAP & BMI are systematically destroying the fertile proving grounds that create the great musicians, songwriters and recording artists of tomorrow. And since artist development is no longer a concern of labels, fewer and fewer artists have careers with any longevity. We have become “disposable.”
These venues are the ideal places where artists like myself can try out new material in an intimate setting. Without these venues, the quality of the art produced will definitely suffer.
The actions of ASCAP & BMI are as deplorable as those of the major labels that are destroying the very industry they own and exploit, and when CD sales, and downloads, plummet even further than they already have, you can rest assured that their $ will dry up as well.
Live music has been all but suffocated in the public’s eye already. You are helping to deal the death blow to an already struggling majority of artists. Don’t believe me when I say that the general public no longer goes to see live music? Just ask any gigging artist in the clubs. Their hardest challenge is getting people through the door- people other than their families and friends.
Something needs to be done. Someone needs to address the harm being done in the name of musicians. The only ones who benefit from this current course of action are the “big boys”- superstars and the wonderful watchdogs at ASCAP & BMI.
Their responsibility is to all of us, NOT just the “cash cows.” PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE encourage them release their stranglehold on the small, inconsequential venues that generally lose money just having us perform there because they treat us with the respect to actually pay for our art, instead of charging us.
The cycle needs to stop. They need to help fix the problem, instead of adding to it.
I’m sure this plea will fall on deaf ears, but at least I feel better knowing I passed on my concerns as a member. Cultivating the talent that will keep the labels, as well as ASCAP & BMI, alive in the future SHOULD be priority number one.
Thank you, in advance, for passing this on to others who might actually help to do some good.
Chris T.


Advice to artists re: Sending out music submissions & following up

July 1, 2007

Date: July 1, 2007 4:43:34 AM EDT
Subject: Advice to artists re: Sending out music submissions & following up

I received this email from an artist today:

“We sent you a package, which you received months later, but never got back to us to tell us whether you are interested or not.”
Wow, now you’re in a band, you write songs and that’s the tone of an email you send someone in the business?  Yikes.

Earth to artists/bands:

Do not expect to hear back from people just because you send them a package, especially if it wasn’t requested.

Do you have any idea how many CDs I receive a week?

At least one of those big mail crates full.  Some music industry professionals receive a mail crate full of CDs a DAY – or more!

It’s not a manager’s obligation to let you know your package was received.  It’s your duty to FOLLOW UP.

That being said, depending on the person, the follow-up can be a very tricky thing.

For most people it might be ok to email to ask if a package was received.

But, if you send one, be pleasant and professional.  An email like the one used above will be automatically deleted or will generate a terse reply back.

Know that most of us in the “industry” are far too busy dealing with other issues.  We definitely don’t have time to check and make sure every package sent to us was received.  So, unless we said it’s urgent and ask you to follow up, assume that if you mailed it to the correct address and put enough postage on it, it was received.  Believe me, people will get back to you if they like what they hear.

Spend your time on more important things – like writing great songs, taking vocals lessons and perfecting your craft.

Now this is not to say that you should never follow-up with anyone.  In fact, following up is key to success. Just make sure it’s done right.  When you send an email with the tone of “we sent you a CD months ago, why didn’t you contact us?” well that’s just rude and insulting to anyone who works as a professional in the music business.  Always be respectful.  Why?  Because there are far too many artists out there who are and if you’re the one rude one out of a hundred, don’t expect anything good to happen in your career.  Just a little friendly advice.

For example, I have almost 900 emails in my inbox right now.  So following up with me on a package is probably not a good idea 🙂

Besides, would you rather I spent my time sending out emails confirming packages I’ve received – or working to find places where you can actually place you music and make money from it?

The answer should be obvious.

“Motivation will almost always beat mere talent.”—–Norman R. Augustine
“The most important thing any songwriter needs to have is that drive, an ‘against all odds’ instinct to keep writing through all the rejection and all the hardships. These are your stories, the stuff that turns into your songs. I think a lot of people run from these things, but they need to realize that’s what you’re gonna be writing about for the next 20 years.”Jeffrey Steele, hit songwriter