All Things Vocal Blog & Podcast by Judy Rodman: March 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. Download All Things Vocal podcast on your fav app!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Work-For-Hire Jingle Singing

My staff singers' group in the 70's! (I'm second from the right)
I got a couple of great questions this week from a recording artist/stage performer about doing work-for-hire as a singer. This artist has been getting a lot of calls to do jingles. 
He asks:
If I sign a 'work -for-hire' agreement, does that mean I will not make anything if my voice is on TV... maybe even a big TV show theme? They say they would never sell the song but if I do make it big can they exploit that song and make money because of my fame?
My thoughts:
If you sing jingles as work-for-hire you will get no payment for recurring play of the jingle spots, known as 'residuals'. This kind of deal is also called a ‘buyout’. Payment is negotiated between jingle client and performer, and you must decide if the fee you are offered is worth it to you right now. Buyouts are frequently offered for local and regional spots. But if you sing larger regional, national and international spots as work-for-hire, you are severely underpaid. (I did that in my early pre-union days as staff singer at a jingle company in Memphis and I know this first hand.)

BUT… even if you do a work-for-hire/buyout deal, they should not have the right to use your name or your picture! And… ‘they say they will never’…. HA! NEVER trust something they won’t sign to on paper. Without a signed contract, they can and will use your work, name, picture anywhere they want.

I would advise a consultation with an entertainment attorney who understands the commercial business. You may want to get a simple contract created for your work-for-hire buyout agreement, to protect your name and voice from being exploited. Also be careful singing other people’s song demos, for the same reason.

My solution after many years of doing buyout jingles was to join the union that is now called SAG-AFTRA. . If you are doing the larger market jingles you really should look into this. The residuals can be extremely lucrative.

If you are writing your jingles, consider those tunes to be … bought out. Here’s a good page to read about jingle writing fees…  If you are allowing parts of your full songs in jingles, make sure you have those songs fully copyrighted, and you should get them to do a synchronization license. Don’t ever just trust the promise ‘we’ll never…’ without a license.

Anyone else care to chime in about work-for-hire singing?

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

How To Start The Day - from PCG Nasville's Bernard Porter

I love working with people who really care about making other people's lives better - especially when those people are music makers. That's one of the many reasons I love working with Bernard Porter and his artist development company PCG Nashville. I'd like to thank him for sharing his thoughts in his guest post. I believe these practices could change the trajectory of a career, and of life itself:
Good morning!
...I mean it. Have a good start to your day and you’ll greatly enhance your chances of having a successful day, every day. The discipline of an early bird will manifest itself in many ways, or as Benjamin Franklin put it way back in the 1700’s, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”

The saying is just as true today as it was then and many of the most accomplished people on the planet have been shown to be early risers. But it’s not just a matter of getting up early that counts; what really counts is what you do with that extra time while the world at large is still slumbering. (Note: getting up early shouldn’t come at the expense of getting enough sleep).

Knowing how to leverage your time before breakfast will undoubtedly have a positive and productive outcome. So, here are six habits that those successful early risers employ.

Make a Fresh Start. This is actually something you should do way before breakfast—in fact, it’s best to do it the night before. Remove the clutter of yesterday both mentally and physically. Clean up your ‘to do’ list. Erase from the list the tasks you have accomplished and start a new list for the new day. Take a look at your desk before you leave the office (even if your office is at home). If papers and files are scattered haphazardly all over it, is that what you want to greet you at the start the day? Not a welcoming sight and not one likely to make you feel enthusiastic about any project. So clean that up, too.

Get Physical. Working out first thing in the morning will give you a burst of energy that lasts for hours. It’s a habit you should try hard to acquire and you can choose what works for you—a brisk walk or jog; hitting the gym; whatever. People who exercise regularly experience a positive boost in mood and are generally better off when dealing with tough decisions life throws at you. That’s because when you exercise your body releases “feel good” chemicals called endorphins that lead to a positive and energizing outlook on life. A byproduct of regular physical activity is improved self-esteem.

Take Time to Think. This might be the only quiet time of the day, your only chance to be alone and able to seriously reflect on everything that’s happening in your life. It’s your opportunity before the hurly-burly of the “work day” to let your mind wander and do some big picture thinking. You’ll be surprised how establishing quiet time like this to review where your business or career is heading can spark all kinds of breakthroughs.

Focus on Today. Plan your day ahead. Visualize the success you are going to enjoy. But first shake off any hangover from the day before. Don’t carry forward any stresses or aggravations. Wipe the slate clean and make a new beginning. If you need to take corrective action of any kind make sure that you do so with the right attitude for a new day. That might mean making a tough decision, setting the record straight with someone or maybe apologizing to someone. Whatever it is, get it out of the way.

Wake up Slowly. During sleep your brain is extraordinarily active filtering and processing the events of the day before. But when you’re waking fresh in the morning and still half asleep your mind—in this relaxed state—can often deliver creative solutions. Try it and see. With a little practice who knows what you will come up with? Sometimes, our dreams are where we store our best ideas.

Earlier is better. Whatever your current schedule try to get up even earlier. Even if it’s just 15 minutes. And spend that time wisely. Put into effect any of the tips provided above. If you can make it 30 minutes earlier, so much the better. You can’t buy time but you can give yourself a gift of time. Time is precious, so make the most of it. Waking up, jumping in and out of the shower, grabbing a coffee and rushing out the door sets the wrong tone for the day.

Energy is everything. Start with positivity, and that will set the stage for the rest of your day – no matter what problems are thrown at you.
You can learn about the services PCG provides and contact Bernard Porter from the PCG Nashville website.

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