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Facebook is my main news hub where I share upcoming releases, gigs, photos, videos, and blogs. Typically, I post 3–5 times a week.

Telegram and Twitter duplicate what I post on Facebook, with occasional extra content.

On Vkontakte, I write in the Russian language for my fans out of from Russia and CIS.

I also upload vlogs and gigs videos on YouTube and share travel photos, selfies, and studio routine on Instagram.

Managing a record label duties with Trello

An insight look at an A&R routine

When I joined the JOOF Recordings team as an A&R assistant in 2015, things were done using the typical tool that everyone uses — email. Each release goes through various steps, such as getting the mastering done, getting the artwork done, arranging remixes, making sure everyone got what they need etc. So as a big label that typically has a few dozens of upcoming releases in the pipeline, we had a bunch of emails sent back and forth. The problem was obvious: it was difficult to get an overview of the pipeline and hard to track individual status of each release.

Eventually, I came up to using Trello as a mission control centre for our releases, and in this blog I’d like to tell more about it. Perhaps, my experience will be helpful for other label managers out there, and for regular listeners, it might be just an interesting insight look at an A&R routine.

What is Trello

If you never heard about Trello and don’t know anything about it, I suggest watching the Getting Started With Trello or read the Beginner Tips for Using Trello first to get an idea of what this service is all about.

Basically, Trello is a free web-service for organising stuff. One of its common application is using it as a Kanban board, with cards moving across that represents a task in a production process. Like this:

Drag-n-dropping a card in Trello feels very intuitive and works really well

This concept allows you to get a big picture and see each individual task simultaneously in a nice visual way, something that a typical to-do list fails to achieve. It is commonly used for software and web development, marketing, customer support, and other teams and businesses.

The workflow

Our board has lists that represent the workflow and cards that represent releases. Here are the lists:

Forthcoming For releases that we’re expecting in the foreseen future, usually from the label’s artists. E.g. “A follow-up EP from John”
New demos For incoming demos that we found something worthy and for the releases from the previous list once it’s done. Here we have our internal discussion whether this particular release fits or not
In Progress For approved releases from the previous list. A release in this list means we’re currently working on the mastering, the artwork, the remixes etc
Submitted For releases that are good to go and submitted to the distributor. Once a card is here, we just waiting for the release date
Released For released titles that are out in stores, our back catalogue. It means our job is done here
Rejected For tracks that don’t fit JOOF for any reason. Rejected demos go straight here from the second list above
Profiles For cards that include our artist information: name, contacts, address, pictures etc. We use it a shared contacts book and for the contracts

Feel free to use these lists as a template for your label board too.

Here is the overview of our JOOF board just to show you how these lists look like visually (all text labels are pixelated on purpose, for obvious reasons):

Trello board with JOOF pipeline

Even through the pixelated filter you probably see some colour strips on the screenshot above — that’s the labels, a sort of a tags system built in Trello (I will call it tags to avoid confusion with the word “label” in this context). You see, recently JOOF Recordings launched two more labels under its wings, JOOF Mantra and JOOF Aura, so formally speaking we’re managing three labels at once at this Trello board. And this is where those tags come really handy.

Here are the colours of the tags we use corresponding to each:

  JOOF Recordings
  JOOF Mantra
  JOOF Aura

Such colour code helps dramatically as I can instantly tell what’s status in each of our label just by looking at the board. And of course, I can also filter these tags or just search when I need to find something specific.

Card details

You probably noticed some square icons on the screenshot above, they are visible even through the pixelated filter. Let me show you a zoom-in screenshot of a card:

Trello card

See my user icon at the bottom right corner? Since here at JOOF we have several people receiving demos, we assign a person who managing that particular release to avoid miscommunication. A kind of “account manager” in sales and customers relationship.

For example, if I see an icon of my fellow colleague Gary, I know that he’s taking all communication with that artist regarding this particular release.

If you open up a card, it shows all the juicy details such as attached files, lists, due date, and the chat our team have about this release. Here’s how it looks like:

Trello card detailed view

Well, that’s pretty much it. Trello is a great tool for collaboration and management, but its application can go far beyond this. Personally, I also use it for tracking my radio show, vlogs schedule, gigs database, and so much more.

Feel free to ask if you have any question, I’ll keep the comments box below open.

Read also: Managing social media with Amplifr

Sep 13   A&R   Behind the scenes   Management   Music industry

Futurephonic live with Chris Williams and Regan Tacon

Video summary and highlights

A few weeks ago, Futurephonic hosted a live Facebook video featuring two awesome guests: Chris Williams (Iboga Records, Noisily Festival) and Regan Tacon (Nano Records, Origin Festival).

That was a very insightful talk on career strategies for emerging artists. You probably know my commitment to education and learning, so I wish more people “behind the scenes” could give a talk like that.

The audio quality of the video wasn’t that great though, sometimes made it really difficult to watch. I’ve decided to write down some key points so I could get back to them at any time, perhaps some of you will find it useful too.

There we go.

On changes in the industry

  1. The Internet is the biggest game changer for the music industry, for the better. The distribution is much easier now, you can get music anywhere in a matter of minutes and anyone can access to it.
  2. Psytrance scene has also changed in the last decade, it spread out to more places across the globe. New sub genres come in and out, it’s ever-changing process. Psytrance is a culture, so it will stay here for quite a while.
  3. In the pre-Internet days, the music industry was labels-driven, they have a control over everything. Despite such limitation, it was a higher threshold for quality of music that has been released. Social media now liberated records labels ability to put music out, but the question is whether the quality of music across the board has risen? From the artist’s perspective, entrepreneurs and marketers now have amazing platforms to be creative.
  4. We see now many artists experimenting with marketing, ads, formats of communication. We’re still learning, and there is no right or wrong way. This experimentation itself is what special about this time, it’s fantastic time to live from the artist’s perspective, basically.

It’s fantastic time to be an artist now.


On getting music out

  1. Perfectionists find it really difficult to let it go. They keep polishing, and polishing, and sometimes they polish it so much so they polish away the bits of what was good in the first place. Don’t sit on it for too long.
  2. Finishing tracks is a part of the producer’s talent.
  3. So many people doing the same thing, so much noise is out there. You have to come up with quality. Quality takes a lot longer, much longer than most people realise.
  4. Most tracks out there is nowhere good enough quality as it should be. Artists need to be realistic about what they send to labels. Patience comes along the way.

On getting noticed

  1. Spotify and YouTube channels are new platforms for discovering new artists.
  2. From the new artist’s perspective who’s trying to get noticed, it’s all about presentation. If you have a Facebook page, make sure you have a high-quality design, branding of your product. Even if you put a Facebook video with your branding behind it, it’s very important that this branding is good—if not better—as the music itself. It’s vital.
  3. The first impression matters even before anyone heard your music. It was the same even when the demos were on CDs — it’s like receiving a demo with a marker handwriting vs. CD with an artwork, well-written letter, logo. Same applies to SoundCloud now.
  4. Oldschool way of approaching by shaking people hand at the the backstage still works the best.

Branding is vital. First Impressions last.


On being signed on a label vs. go independent

  1. Labels work as a filter, taking care of the releases, artwork, promotion etc, allowing artists to focus more on music.
  2. Ultimately, all successful artists need a support, and labels are a massive help in that.

On albums and singles

  1. Releasing singles is a great things—it gives a stable flow of music from artists to fans, no need to wait a year or two.
  2. Each single is typically supposed to be a yet another dancefloor-killer which creates a lack of experiments, the cool B-sides. Back in the days, sometimes those B-sides become hits.
  3. Albums give more freedom on that matter, you can have dancefloor-killers whilst also including a couple of out-of-the-box tracks.
  4. Albums certainly add some extra weights, an extra level of value for the artists who are capable of creating those albums.

On commitment

  1. Artists need to be committed to working hard. I don’t think people realise how hard some of those artists work. The guys who work the hardest are the one who gets the gigs, gets the money etc. because they push it all the time.
  2. It’s a lifestyle, you have to be ready for this. And music is just one part of it, with social medias it’s 50–50 these days.

I don’t think people realise how hard it is.


On festivals bookings

  1. There are always some acts promoters keep in mind for the next-year festival lineup.
  2. Once headliners are booked, promoters go over recommendations first and only then to submissions. Don’t send a festival submission in three days prior to the festival, it’s won’t work that way.
  3. There are definitely some promoters who check and evaluate how many “likes” an artist has in order to make a booking decision.

On marketing

  1. If you want to pay to promote your page, do it the right way using legit Facebook mechanisms, not via external “likes’ farms.
  2. Always keep in mind country demographics when starting an ad campaign. For example, for sales-driven campaign always include countries like USA, Australia, Japan, Germany, Sweden, Denmark. However, for a streaming campaign, it’s worth also including Brazil, Mexico, and other countries that don’t usually purchase music, but stream a lot.
  3. Men typically buy more than women, so don’t split demographic targeting 50–50, push it more towards men.
  4. Upload Facebook videos.

We spend a fortune on Facebook marketing, to be honest.


On streaming and sales

  1. Streaming isn’t brining any money, let’s be real about it. It’s interaction with people, this is how people connect with the music.
  2. Anyone who really buying music is DJs. You not gonna get money selling music as a Psytrance artist, although it’s true for other genres as well. There is just not enough people buying music across the world.
  3. Beatport gives 60–70% of sales, another major amount is iTunes, and all the rest stores altogether are basically nothing. That’s how it is.
  4. Linkfire.com is a good way of putting all the streaming and stores links at once and then get statistics of clicks.

On investment

  1. A well-thought advertisement campaign could be a solid investment, eventually giving more gigs in return.
  2. Rather than relying on a photographer that can or cannot shoot while you are playing, you can hire one to be sure you’ll get high-quality photos.
  3. Some artists spend their entire fee hiring photo- and video artists to make a proper aftervideo from the event. Do it at least once in six months.

Invest in your branding.


Jul 31   Career   Marketing   Music industry   Psy scene

Музыкантам: советы при общении с зарубежными лейблами (18+)

To my English-speaking readers: the post below is written in the Russian language to help Russian music producers deal with foreign record labels. No worries if you don’t understand a thing :-)

Музыканты! Если вы отправляете свои треки на зарубежные лейблы, но при этом плохо владеете английским языком, этот пост для вас.

Я работаю A&R-менеджером на британском лейбле JOOF Recordings и получаю около ста новых демо-записей в неделю. Мне приятно, что среди них оказывается много русских музыкантов, но то, как написаны сопроводительные письма — это полный, кромешный пиздец.

Речь не об орфографии или грамматике, а о смысле: зачастую при дословном переводе с русского на английский (без нормального знания последнего) получается такая каша, что носитель языка либо ничего не поймет, либо подумает, что вы дебил. Перспективы так себе.

Приведу пять примеров из писем и расскажу, как надо.

1. Новая работа

Самая распространенная ошибка на моей практике — использование неуместного перевода слова “работа”. Пример из жизни:

“I would like to introduce you my new job.”

Хотя слово “работа” можно перевести как work, так и job, смысл у них совершенно разный в зависимости от контекста. Разумеется, гугл-транслейт контекст понимает плохо, поэтому и переводит чаще всего неправильно.

Говоря по-простому, job — это само понятие работы, деятельность, за которую обычно получают деньги. Это слово подойдет для фраз, например “я устроился на новую работу” (“I got a new job”) или “неполный рабочий день” (“part-time job”).

Словом же work обозначается скорее труд или достигнутый результат . Например, “я работаю с Васей” (“I work with Vasya”) или “работы Шекспира” (“the works of Shakespeare”).

Совет: если вы хотите назвать песню или трек работой, то используйте именно слово work, как показано в примере выше. Или так и пишите — “Here’s my new track”, без всяких ворков вообще.

2. Энджой

Еще одна частая проблема — письма в таком духе:

“Please check out my new track, I hope you like it. Enjoy!”

Вроде, с точки зрения языка всё нормально. Но проблема в том, что из письма не ясно, чего от тебя хотят, причём такие письма приходят в основном от русских музыкантов. Ну, заценил я трек, дальше-то что?

Капитан Очевидность может сказать, что отправитель конечно же ждет релиза, но вот нифига: иногда оказывается, что музыкант хочет чтобы этот трек сыграли на радио, иногда просто хочет услышать оценку, иногда — хз. Сам не знает.

Особенно обидно, когда трек оказывается хорошим. Ты такой “класс, давай издадим?”, а тебе в ответ “не-не, ребят, трек уже подписан на другом лейбле, я просто так вам отправил заценить”. Энджой, блеать!

Совет: не поленитесь добавить, с какой целью вы отправляете трек и чего вообще от лейбла хотите. Пишите ясно, как есть: “Хочу у вас издать трек, вот демо” или “У меня тут есть классный трек, возможно подойдет для вашего радио-шоу, вот промо”.

3. ФИО

Бывает, подписывают русского музыканта на лейбле, просят прислать данные для контракта, а он им такой:

“Real name: Vasiliev Gennadiy Andreyvich”

Ну ладно я, я-то пойму. А другие зарубежные лейблы, где нет русскоязычного менеджера? Ребят, пожалейте бедных иностранцев: они искренне недоумевают, почему фамилия стоит первая, что “среднее имя” (привычное для них middle name) на самом деле имя, а последнее — вообще имя отца, и самое главное как всё это друг от друга отличить.

Совет: если вас просят написать полное имя для контракта или другой формальной процедуры, пишите просто имя и фамилию. Без отчества и именно в таком порядке — имя и затем фамилия: Gennadiy Vasiliev, Daniel Sokolovskiy. Вроде мелочь, но сильно облегчает жизнь.

4. Творческий псевдоним

По-русски часто говорят: “я музыкант такой-то, мой творческий псевдоним такой-то”. И так по-английски и пишут:

“Hello! My name is Pavel and my creative pseudonym is Paul Sandy.”

Это как раз тот случай, когда вас поймут, но вероятно подумают, что вы дебил. Тут дело такое: по-русски фразу “творческий псевдоним” можно заменить на “псевдоним, под которым я занимаюсь творческой деятельностью” и будет всё в порядке. По-английски же слово “creative” еще означает “оригинальный” и “уникальный”, поэтому получается, будто вы сразу даете оценку своему псевдониму.

Это все равно что сказать “у меня потрясающая музыка и очень оригинальный псевдоним” — согласитесь, как-то не очень, отдаёт хвастовством. Вдобавок, если вас зовут Павлом и вы издаёте музыку под именем Пол, то такой псевдоним нифига не криэйтив.

Совет: stage name и alias — этими словами чаще всего называют псевдонимы артистов. Просто запомните. Никакие “pseudonym” не нужны.

5. Письмо

Находчивые русские музыканты знают, что если лейбл не отвечает на письмо уже неделю, то можно смело отправить второе — напоминание. И в общем-то правильно, вот только такие письма зачастую выглядят примерно так:

“I sent you a letter last week, please check it.”

В 2017 стало нормой называть электронные письма просто письмами, без всяких корявых “e-мэйлов”. Но гугл-транслейт об этом не знает, поэтому фразу “я отправил вам письмо” скорее всего переведёт как “I sent you a letter”. Разница в том, что letter — это бумажное письмо. Конверт такой, который отправляют “Почтой России”.

Как-то из-за такого письма пришлось пройтись по всем сайтам и аккаунтам лейбла, чтобы проверить, не указан ли где-то физический почтовый ящик в качестве контактов для демо. Короче, не делайте так.

Совет: запомните, письмо — это mail или email. Не пугайте людей спамом почтового ящика в подъезде.

У меня таких примерно еще штук сто, но пока остановлюсь на этих пяти :-) Если есть что добавить — пишите, комментарии ниже открыты.

Читайте также по теме (на английском):

2017   Advice   Music industry

“Is this standard practice for a label to share profits 10/90%?”

I have recently been contacted to submit a track for a compilation by a small label, Ghost Label Records. I know you have covered this before, but I have some questions about it. The contract I have been sent to sign seems a bit ‘dodgy’, specifically:

“a) All profits from sales of physical CD’s, digital downloads will be splitted 10% for the Licensor and 90% for the Licensee.
...
c) Payments may be withheld if sum does not match or exceed withholding amount of 1000 euro. The label’s accountant department will only contact the artist in the event their dues have reached 1000 euro. The label is not responsible for contacting the artist should their royalties not reach the withholding amount. ”

1, it seems a bit one-sided. Artist gets 10% label gets 90%? Is this a usual split? 2, it seems like they are saying that they will only pay me if the sales reach over 10,000 euros (highly unlikely). Is it standard practice to have a clause like this in a contract?

Having already been asked to re-do my mix as he wasn’t happy with the eq on the kick, which I did twice, I was then asked to re-write the first minute of the track because “the start of your track is very insufficient and poor. Till 01:10 the track has no meaning and sounds poor because only the kick/bass is playing”.

Is this standard practice for a label to ask for a rewrite of a track they have asked to include on a release?

Hamish Strachan

Hamish, it’s good you questioned the contract because the terms you’ve mentioned doesn’t seem promising at all.

Typically, labels and artists have a 50-50% split share. That’s the industry standard. I heard some purely commercial labels offer 60–40 and even 70–30 split deals, but never 90–10. It’s a nonsense. Here is one of the contracts I previously signed to give an example:

One of the contracts I signed. The standard 50-50% split is highlighted

But in this case the split share doesn’t really matter because of the second term:

“Payments may be withheld if sum does not match or exceed withholding amount of 1000 euro. The label’s accountant department will only contact the artist in the event their dues have reached 1000 euro.”

Some labels indeed withheld the sum until it reaches $50 or $100 just to make their accountant’s work easier, but $1000 is a scam. Don’t forget that stores and distributors also take their commission, so typically labels get only half of the price tag you see in the cart.

Let’s say, if an average price per track is €1, then the label’s share is 50 cents, which means your share would be 5 cents in this case. And that, in turn, means they would need to sell 20 000 copies just to reach that payable threshold of €1000 that suppose to go the artist. Basically, it means that’ll never gonna pay the artists, and I mean it — never, literally.

Don’t get me wrong, you should’t expect a solid income from music sales alone anyway. Releasing on a label has a marketing purpose. For example, I didn’t get a penny from my debut EP released on Ovnimoon Records back in 2012: they sent me a nice pack of CDs instead. That was a part of the original deal so that was fine by me, clear and simple. But when those guys from Ghost Label Records say they will pay you some money whilst in reality they won’t, I think it’s a scam. It’s up to you whether you want to deal with the people like this or not.

The truth about music sales

As for the second part of your question when a label asks to re-do the track, well, it depends. Generally speaking, I would say it’s a good sign, it means the label care. You can get an idea of what kind of feedback I give as an A&R at JOOF in the Tim Bourne’s success story. But looking at the contract terms above, I don’t think give a shit about the artists.

2017   Advice   Music industry

Insights on sending a demo to a record label. Part 2

It’s safe to say that my previous advice on sending a demo is one of the most popular articles on this blog: there are thousand of upcoming producers looking for a proper way to reach out record labels, and I hope these insights helped to shed some light.

Today, I would like to continue that topic and share five more short tips on sending a demo to record labels based on my experience of A&R.

“Void — A Sector To Avoid” art by Kuldar Leement. So as this artwork title suggests, in this blog we’ll talk about things to avoid

Send only finished track

People often say something like this: “here is a 15-seconds draft of my new track, I’ll finish if it fit your label”. What? How can label approve something that doesn’t exist yet? What if this 15-seconds snippet is fine, but then you will suddenly come up with something entirely different that not suits the label?

Demo is a demonstration of your best skills. So show a finished track, not a half-assed product.

Double-check your links

You’ll be surprised how many broken links labels see in their inboxes! From my experience, roughly every third link is broken due to incorrect privacy settings of the track or just because of copy-pasting a wrong URL.

Apparently, I’m not alone with this. Here is what Basil O’Glue, a manager of Saturate Audio, wrote on Twitter:

Producers! Please, double-check your links, be sure another person can open it.

Simplify your signature

Have you ever received an email with a signature that includes full sender’s address with ZIP code, fifteen links to all of his social pages, several international phone numbers, fax (who the hell still use fax nowadays?), and a huge wall of text of “dont-print-this-email-save-the-trees” and other bullshit? If so, you probably know this feeling: it’s annoying.

Such signature is nothing but a visual noise, it takes extra effort to scan the email searching for some meaningful text. Please, don’t do that. Keep it simple, your name and one link to your website are totally fine.

Don’t brag too much

Ah, this is my favourite: listing the entire discography, every single DJ’s support, and all chart appearances. Why, just why are you doing that? What the logic behind it? Every time I receive an email like this, I imagine two label managers having this conversation in my mind:

— A quite mediocre demo, not for us...
— Yeah indeed, not good enough...
— Hold on, he said his previous track has been supported by David Buretta!
— Seriously? Sign him up!!!

Jokes asides, please don’t show off all that stuff unless it’s relevant to the label or that particular track, it’s not cool.

“Please suggest some label where it might fit”

Sometimes, when I say that the demo doesn’t fit the label, some smart guys come back asking “can you suggest some labels where it might fit?”. This question sounds harmless at first sight, but just think about it for second. Imagine if you would fail a job interview and then ask: “do you know other companies that might be interesting in hiring me?”. Sounds, erm... not quite appropriate, don’t you think?

if you don’t make any attempts to learn the industry by yourself, how are you going to work in this field? This is where we came back to what Part 1 begins with: do your research first.

2017   A&R   Advice   Music industry

“Can a label own the masters based on an email conversation?”

Hey there! I landed on your nice blog and started reading. I’m grateful I found some nice pieces of advices! I bother you a bit more, hoping you can help me – that would be so much appreciated if you have some time to give me your opinion. Here’s our story:

I work as an A&R for a new label. We signed in February of this year an artist, with proper contract. The contract transfers us the rights for a vinyl EP. Let’s say, that on this EP the strongest track is called “Karr”. Now we were ready/going into test-pressing on last Tuesday morning. But had to stop it all. Why?

Because a few hours sooner a big known label in the Techno industry *outed* a post on their Facebook page, promoting a digital V.A. in which we were stunned to see OUR main title track of EP being listed as one of the V.A. tracks.

It appears that ‘our artist’ had been in touch with that label during 2015-2016 and had discussed a possible release for 2016. Which never took place. Basically, that label has remained sitten (sleeping on that track they now outed) for two years.

Without any renewed expressed interest after December 2016, four months later and without warning, they sent the masters to our artist per email six days ago! Thing is, neither the artist neither us never planned that previous label would have the balls to do such! That’s crazy!

We immediately emailed that label, stating the artist had signed with us. Their defense line is the following. They state they own the masters because of the fact they had previous exchange of emails (that can be indeed be seen as a kind of an agreement), but they were discussing a release for 2016. Again: never took place in two years.

My question is: can a label state ownership over the masters, basing themselves on fact they had received the pre-master (-6db Etc.) and that, *this*, is considered as “transferring” the copyrights? In my knowledge, that agreement would only be valid on the discussed year (2016!) and not after that. Are they allowed to ‘further’ exploit a file, never saying anything in four months? Just sending it over “mastered” and boom! Six days later they post and promote it?? Not asking for any renewed consent of the artist? (poor dude, he almost did a heart attack.. as he was super happy to work with us.. )

We really care for that artist and the all situation seems clearly abusive. but it’s a big, big label.

We suggested they replace the file and keep the ‘Name’ as it’s only in pre-order on their bandcamp page (for now, will be released on 26th of April). We thought showing them we were okay to try limit the hurt to their image (cuz that’s what they fear – such a big label doesn’t want to be ‘in fault’ publicly. so they don’t want to retire the track.. first people could push play, now this morning i just noticed we can’t anymore.. good sign for us?)

What do you think? We have no money to afford a lawyer, so all we have is state our points and tell them that we think no label can say that they own a track indefinitely (time) if NO contract.. and if NO release in the planned period – in what they state is their “agreement” (exchanged emails...) right? I mean – if so, means that every pre-master we get ONCE = would bind an artist to a label lifelong? WTF?

Sam

Sam, thanks for sharing your story. I’m not a lawyer nor an expert in this field, so before taking any legal actions I suggest consulting with one.

As far as I know, the fact an artist sending a demo saying “I would like to release it on your label” does not allow the label to actually release it. It’s basically just a letter of intent indicating an interest of one party in the deal, but not the final agreement.

Typically, most contracts work this way: “everything that not clearly specified in the contract is not allowed”. This is why we see 20-paper contracts specifying every tiny and obvious detail. A notarized email conversation could have a legal power, but all terms of the deal have to be written very precisely. So unless your artist and that big label specifically discussed having a release on a compilation, I don’t think they had rights doing so.

Don’t start a lawsuit: it might be a long, exhausting, and expensive process with a unpredicted result. And if your and that big label are registered as legal entities in different countries, that means you would need an international court which makes things even more complicated and expensive. It’s just not worth it.

I would suggest trying to solve this situation peacefully. Ask them politely to pull-off the compilation from the stores or to remove that track individually. We at JOOF had to shut down a release once too, so I know for the fact it is possible. Your argument is simple: you have the contract signed by that artist, they don’t.

If for some reason they won’t agree on shutting down the release, ask them to deal a sub-licensing contract. In other words, to pay you and the artist a fixed amount of money in exchange for allowing them to release that track legally. This is a standard deal in the industry.

“Label re-released a track without my consent” 

As a measure of last resort, at least tell people the truth. Share this story (with the real names) in public. This probably won’t change anything, but it’ll bring some justice.

I’m keen to know what other label managers and artists think about it?

2017   Advice   Music industry

Time traveller’s archive — 14

Some stuff to read (and watch) on the weekend

Aleksey aka Sonic Elysium on sound design
  1. Ultimate Kick and Bass Tutorial by Sonic Elysium. Kick and bass are probably two of the most frequently asked topics, people asking how to synthesise it, how to EQ, how to fit them together. And I’ve written pretty much all about it, see “Kick and bass” tag. However, if you prefer to watch rather than read, I highly recommend watching this tutorial by Sonic Elysium, he nailed it.
  2. TechMuze Academy podcast with Budi Voogt. Interesting talk about marketing, promo campaigns, and automations. “Do you see a benefit in paid ad campaigns for producers? I’m actually inclined to say no to Facebook and Instagram [...] Revenue streams in music are very indirect. ”
  3. Is DJing just about beat matching? Great blog, as always from John 00 Fleming. I’ve also written about it before, see Vinyl vs. Sync button.
  4. A Beginner’s Guide To Audio Cables. If you don’t know what is balanced or unbalanced cable or what the difference between RCA and XLR — this article on DJ TechTools is right for you.

Time traveller’s archive — 13

Some stuff to read (and watch) on the weekend

Eduardo Briceño talk at TEDx Manhattan Beach
  1. Eduardo Briceño: How to get better at the things you care about. I like how Eduardo separate activity between learning and performing, and funny enough, I’ve been using pretty much the same technique for quite some time. “Research shows that after the first couple of years working in a profession, performance usually plateaus. This has been shown to be true in teaching, general medicine, nursing and other fields, and it happens because once we think we have become good enough, adequate, then we stop spending time in the learning zone. We focus all our time on just doing our job, performing, which turns out not to be a great way to improve. But the people who continue to spend time in the learning zone do continue to always improve. The best salespeople at least once a week do activities with the goal of improvement. They read to extend their knowledge, consult with colleagues or domain experts, try out new strategies, solicit feedback and reflect. The best chess players spend a lot of time not playing games of chess, which would be their performance zone, but trying to predict the moves grand masters made and analyzing them. Each of us has probably spent many, many, many hours typing on a computer without getting faster, but if we spent 10 to 20 minutes each day fully concentrating on typing 10 to 20 percent faster than our current reliable speed, we would get faster, especially if we also identified what mistakes we’re making and practiced typing those words. That’s deliberate practice.”
  2. Research this music industry. Great blog, as always from John 00 Fleming. It’s posted in 2013 but its value hasn’t become any less since then: “Also look into the mechanics of how this industry works, many will have a track released and expect the label to get them bookings? The job of a label is to get your track (and name) marketed making sure it gets to the right DJ’s, into the right shops for sale, air play on radio shows and online and in magazines. Labels don’t have databases full of promoters and club owners, they have no need? The gig side of things falls to agents, its two completely different businesses that many think are one. A good label with assist an agent due to the marketing they provide, it makes the agent’s job easier to get gigs due to the exposure the label is giving the artist. ”
  3. Native Instruments: Making strummed acoustic 2. If you ever wondered how those guitar samples that you probably have in your library has been made of, this is gonna be interesting reading for you: “For the recording sessions, we teamed up with three different guitarists – each brought a fresh perspective and lots of great input. We focused on staying in the creative spirit as we wanted every recording to have the feel of a real take on a real track. So we would always warm up with a jam, and instead of recording to clicktrack, we used various drum tracks to help the guitarists perform each pattern with a distinct attitude. It makes sense that the more musicality goes into the recordings, the more comes out in the final product. Recording lasted around 6 months.”

Blacklisted: Drexander

We had a nice release out yesterday on JOOF from a guy called Samer Soltan aka “Drexander”, two atmospheric Progressive tracks. But turns out, this guy is a con man: he stole other artists’ music. He not just make similar tracks, not even take some samples, but literally take other guys’ tracks and says: “Hey, this is my music”. Moreover, this guy has also tricked other labels in the past, even big ones like Armada.

I deliberately want to make this info public because I believe there is no place for frauds in music. I can’t stand this especially being a producer myself. Whether you are a label, musician, agent, promoter, or listener, be sure to add that con man to your blacklist.

2017   A&R   Music industry

John Dopping on music sales

Do you remember my advice The truth about music sales, posted last year? Yesterday John Dopping from Research & Development posted his opinion on that, pretty much confirming what I was written about:

“Let me make one thing perfectly clear. Almost every ‘producer’ that appears in the Beatport top 100 makes absolutely no income from their work. Beatport take a cut, the distributor takes a cut (and tries to con labels out of money in a plethora of ways that I’m happy to elaborate on), labels invent artificial ‘expenses’ (which, as a label owner, I can tell you are completely bogus). After all that, the label typically contrives an arbitrary ‘minimum income payout’ which means they don’t have to pay the artist until they earn up to £100 or more, which is, basically, never.”

These are the sad realities of the current music industry state that many producers don’t want to talk about, but I think it shouldn’t be hidden. If you are an upcoming producer, keep that in mind.

Link to the original post

2017   Music industry
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