Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal Blog: January 2014

Training & insights for stage and studio singers, speakers, vocal coaches and producers from professional vocal coach and author of "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training method.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Indie Radio Promotion...strategy & steps from Shantell Ogden


OK, raise your hand if you know how to promote a record to radio. Before I read a post I'll tell you about, my hand wasn't raised, either. As you might guess, it's more than just having some of your family call a few radio stations and request your new music.

Shantell Ogden is an Americana indie music artist. Her latest album "Better At Goodbye" was produced by John Willis (tracks) and me (her vocals). She's getting rave reviews; one DJ who is on it early said "it's better than 90% of the crap they get". It has a shot at serious radio ranking.

She is a marketing genius, and also has the win-win mentality I so respect. She asked me for my help with her radio campaign. I am excited to tell you she agreed to write a blogpost about the successful steps she uses to get her records played on radio. What a gift!

So indie artists...
  1. For your own music success, go read her very informative blogpost Hello Radio: DIY Promotion in 7 Steps...
  2. then help her out by returning the favor: Call a radio station (the list is in her post) and request they play one of her songs (I'd suggest the title song "Better At Goodbye") . This will mean a ton to her.
What do YOU know about successfully promoting a record at radio?  Share something helpful to us all... and let us know what radio station we can call for YOU.

It takes a village to have a hit... don't you love that?

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Protecting Your Songs: Practical Tips from Nashville

 
The voice of the songwriter creates intellectual property... an artistic and financial asset. The asset (song) need to be protected before publicly performing it, licensing it, releasing it, sending it out in the world. Here is the way we in Nashville like to do it:

Get all cowriters' and co-publishers' info

Too many times I have written a song with someone and had to hunt them down later to get their information! Now I make sure to collect writer/publisher info and put it on the lyric sheet.

Get every writer's ...
  • legal name, address
  • publishing and co-publishing company(s), address
  • writer and publisher PRO affiliations (see below)
  • writer and publisher share percentages. 
In Nashville, we usually just evenly divide the writer's share among all writers, but all writers should agree -- before the song is written -- on publisher(s) and publishing percentages. Then make a note!

Sign up for full membership in a performance rights organization (PRO)

If you haven't yet, as soon as you have a published version of your song (and yes, a recorded demo will do), get yourself registered as a full member of a songwriter's performance rights organization (PRO). These companies collect and distribute money (called royalties) for public performances, including radio play. They take a small percentage, yes, but it's the only way you'll get those royalties. Note: PROs do not collect mechanical license fees from physical and digital sales.

PROs in the US are ASCAP, BMI, SESAC.  These organizations have agreements with other international PROs to collect royalties outside the US. For international writers there is a good list of PROs at Iamusic.com. While SoundExchange is a PRO, it collects and distributes royalties to recording artists and copyright holders of sound recordings (labels), not songwriters.

You can go online to sign up with a PRO, but if possible, get an appointment with someone at the organization so you will have a personal connection to help you when you need it.

Register your song in your PRO

It's very convenient to do this online now. Each PRO has tutorials about how to do it, but you may want to get someone to walk you through it the first time or two. The weirdest thing you need to know is that your total credits need to add up to 200%. That's 100% total writer and 100% total publisher assignments. Don't put this off; if you get a cut and your song is performed, don't miss out on getting your performance royalties collected!

Copyright your song

From a very practical vantage point,  if you write a lot, you may not want to pay the $35 fee-per-song at www.copyright.gov . An old legend says you can just do a 'poor man's copyright', mailing the song in a certified letter you never open. But blogger Jonathan Bailey sums up why Poor Man's Copyright is a myth that we need to understand and stop practicing this useless form of copyright protection.

Copyright.gov says your song is protected the moment you create it and fix it in tangible form. Yeah right. BUT, you can't sue in federal court unless you officially copyright your song. So folks, we are taking a chance when we don't copyright our material. That said, not only do I not copyright all my songs; major publishers don't go to that expense either. We do it when we find out the song will actually be recorded for release ('cut'). It's a gamble; writer-beware... and more importantly, be informed so you know what you're choosing to do.

Also be aware of a cool little money-saving strategy: If your songs have the exact same writers and publishers and percentages, you can do what is called a 'compilation' that I think only costs $35 for the whole compilation you register. Dig through this page on song collections for information.

A Caution: 

Don't perform your songs unless they are copyrighted... or at the very least fixed in tangible form. That's just asking for trouble.

Anyone have other thoughts about protecting songwriting work?

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Monday, January 13, 2014

How To Make It In Music Business


 want this? read this:

Hello and happy new year! I just received an email with a great question to start 2014 off on 'All Things Vocal':
Hey my name is Michael, I am looking for a great vocal coach in the Nashville area and I love the way you have your web page and the info you have on there. You seem like a great teacher, I have also heard some of your music and you are awesome. [Thank you very much, Michael:) ] But I do have one question. I know this going to sound like everybody's dream but what is the best way to get seen up in Nashville?  I am sure there are thousands of people trying everyday. Is it who you know or who you are working with or what? I wanted to ask someone that would give me the right answer and not lie to me about it. Could you help me get there if I started with you and vocal training?

My answer:

Your question is a very good one. I always strongly advise people to figure out -- on the front end of any money/time/heart that you invest in your music training/writing/production/performing -- how you would define 'success' that would make your efforts worth it to you.

Levels you could consider 'success' in the music business include:

1.      You sing better (write/play, whatever you want to be able to do better), and it’s important to your heart and part of your life-balance to be good at your music. It’s not necessary that you make music as a career, or that you ever make money at it. But you love doing it, and it fulfills you to do it well. Karaoke, choir singing, jam sessions with family and friends, the occasional show, that sort of thing.

2.      You want to get good enough to audition or participate in a talent show of some kind and not embarrass yourself, maybe even place or win. College music programs, those TV talent shows so many go out for, a part in a musical or other production.

3.      You want to do seriously good music on the side… you want to do a recording project that may never pay for itself but is a legacy for you, you want to do some special performances, to get a casual band together to do some part-time gigging. It's important for your life-balance wholeness to be able to make some very good music.

4.      You have a professional reason to get better at singing (playing, writing, etc).
  • You're a side-musician that need to sing background better on live tours,  you are getting live show background vocal, jingle or studio session work and want to go a level up, etc. 
  • You're a songwriter and need to sing and/or play better to write better melodies and perform or demo your work. 
  • You're a public speaker (seminar or teleseminar host, keynote speaker, salesperson, teacher, coach, voice-over talent, minister or other) you may need to get rid of some vocal strain or gain vocal ability that will make you a more effective communicator.
5.      You are potentially good enough to have a main career as a recording/performing artist, and decide to devote a certain amount of time to finding out if you can get the bandwagon rolling.
  • For this, you need to understand that the odds are great you’ll never break even. It’s a gamble you must be willing to take, and like all gambles, you need to be as fully informed of your chances as possible. 
  • You will need to develop a network of industry insiders… and that takes time, patience and careful persistence. Your reputation with them will be based on things like your personality, ability, and usefulness to others.
  • You’ll need money for training, recording at least a demo, and gigging costs (at first you will play for free). You'll either have a backer, savings you're willing to dip into, a day job or all three.
  • You’ll need to develop a circle of accountability to keep you safe - an entertainment attorney, friends/family with good business instincts, other singers/writers/insiders who have gone down the road before you. A good circle will both caution you when you’re about to step off a cliff or be scammed,  and encourage you when you’re almost there but losing heart. And you'll reciprocate by doing the same for them.
  • You’ll need a strong constitution for all the ‘no’s’ you will receive. 
  • You’ll need to get and stay informed about the current music business marketing and promotion strategies that are working. 
  • And you’ll need to be satisfied if at the end of the day you can’t make your career pay, that at least you tried, and it’s important enough for you to do so.
What I promise to people who train with me is that...
  • I will kindly but frankly assess your commercial potential for the music business (though I never say 'absolutely never' because a lot depends on your persistence in developing your craft and learning the biz) 
  • I will make you the best singer you can be, helping you discover your uniqueness, conquer any vocal problems you have, max your ability and protect your voice. 
  • I am also a studio producer and/or vocal producer and offer the best of those services, too. 
  • You can use me as a wall to bounce off potential music business strategies your considering, but I do not promise any networking. That is up to you.
Let me know if you’d like to work with me, and thanks again for reaching out. I wish you the very best whatever you decide. - Judy


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