Monthly Archives: April 2019

Music Business Past vs. Present

Romancer
Source: Flickr

In the past, the music business was controlled by the major record labels. The record labels controlled everything in an artist’s career from start to finish. The record label would control and artist image, airplay, access to audits, likeness, royalty rate, success and everything in between while under the record label contract. When the artist career was over, the artist often didn’t have anything to show for their hard work and creativity.

Back in the day, the record label would finance artist’s project up front in the form of an advance. The advance usually amounted to a loan which the artist had to repay. The record label would finance the recording, distribution and promotion of the artist project and then “recoup” the money after the project started selling. Although it seems fair on the surface, the record label would charge the artist for much more than what the record label provided. The record label would not only bill the artist for the things mentioned above, but they would deduct artist royalties for damaged goods, record club discounts and a wealth of other expenses. In addition the record label would take these deductions from the artists’ gross earnings.

Although the record label would allow an artist to audit the record company’s books, many artists didn’t conduct any audits. Artists were generally afraid of angering the record labels by asking the record labels to show the expenses and deductions in writing. This justifiable fear kept artist’s in their place – under the record labels’ control.

Today with digital technology, the power is shifting into the hands of the artist

There’s a new trend in the music business that has record labels sweating in the boardroom. This new trend is called “Do It Yourself” (D.I.Y.). With Digital Technology anyone can start a record label and have a personal studio on their computer. There are a number of free or (very inexpensive) studio recording software applications that allow an artist to record and distribute their own material without the help or control of any other record label.

An artist can easily promote and sell their CD’s and MP3’s online at thousands of internet sites. In addition there are many new web hosting services that allow an artist to have a website dedicated to promoting their and selling their music to the growing online community.

There are hundreds of artists making a living selling their music online. Think about it, if you sold 20,000 CD’s online at $10, you’d earn $200,000. If you sold 20,000 for a record label you’d be in debt and you’d face the risk of being dropped from the record label.

By recording, distributing, promoting and selling your music yourself, you control your destiny. Today an artist can control their expenses, track their deductions and not live in fear of any record company.

Today the power is in the artist hand of the artist’s.



Music Business Past vs. Present

Music Business Past vs. Present

Idlewild -7000
Source: Flickr


In the past, the music business was controlled by the major record labels.
The record labels controlled everything in an artist’s career from start to finish. The record label would control and artist image, airplay, access to audits, likeness, royalty rate, success and everything in between while under the record label contract. When the artist career was over, the artist often didn’t have anything to show for their hard work and creativity.

Back in the day, the record label would finance artist’s project up front in the form of an advance. The advance usually amounted to a loan which the artist had to repay. The record label would finance the recording, distribution and promotion of the artist project and then “recoup” the money after the project started selling. Although it seems fair on the surface, the record label would charge the artist for much more than what the record label provided. The record label would not only bill the artist for the things mentioned above, but they would deduct artist royalties for damaged goods, record club discounts and a wealth of other expenses. In addition the record label would take these deductions from the artists’ gross earnings.

Although the record label would allow an artist to audit the record company’s books, many artists didn’t conduct any audits. Artists were generally afraid of angering the record labels by asking the record labels to show the expenses and deductions in writing. This justifiable fear kept artist’s in their place – under the record labels’ control.

Today with digital technology, the power is shifting into the hands of the artist

There’s a new trend in the music business that has record labels sweating in the boardroom. This new trend is called “Do It Yourself” (D.I.Y.). With Digital Technology anyone can start a record label and have a personal studio on their computer. There are a number of free or (very inexpensive) studio recording software applications that allow an artist to record and distribute their own material without the help or control of any other record label.

An artist can easily promote and sell their CD’s and MP3’s online at thousands of internet sites. In addition there are many new web hosting services that allow an artist to have a website dedicated to promoting their and selling their music to the growing online community.

There are hundreds of artists making a living selling their music online. Think about it, if you sold 20,000 CD’s online at $10, you’d earn $200,000. If you sold 20,000 for a record label you’d be in debt and you’d face the risk of being dropped from the record label.

By recording, distributing, promoting and selling your music yourself, you control your destiny. Today an artist can control their expenses, track their deductions and not live in fear of any record company.

Today the power is in the artist hand of the artist’s.



How To Find Mp3 Files Online

How To Find Mp3 Files Online

Idlewild -6743
Source: Flickr

Almost everyone has heard about the legal proceedings regarding the distribution of music files online. Regardless of which side of the issue someone mind find themselves on, downloading music on the Internet has struck a chord with nearly everyone. For someone who owns or plans to own an MP3 player it is important to play by the rules to ensure they don’t wind up in the middle of this ugly fight. Here are a few online sources for downloading digital music legally that charge reasonable amounts and have respectable names.

1. AOL Music Now–America Online has been a major name in the Internet world since the early nineties and boasts over 1.5 million songs in their database for members to use. AOL’s service is available on a free trial and then for $0.99 per downloaded song.

2. F.Y.E.–After a free trial period, F.Y.E. (a leader in downloadable music) provides 1.2 million songs to choose from for a flat $1 per download.

3. MusicMatch–While MusicMatch does not offer a free trial period, the MusicMatch software will make personal recommendations for its users, among other services. They charge $0.99 per download.

4. MSN Music–Microsoft, another leading name in the Internet and in computers, offers one million songs that are available for $0.99 per download. Like MusicMatch, MSN does not offer a free trial period.

5. Napster–Napster, the name that started it all, is once again one of the premier outlets for music downloads, this time on a monthly membership fee basis. With around one million songs in their database, Napster offers downloads for $9.95 a month on up to three computers. Napster also offers a seven day free trial.

6. PassAlong–Relatively new to the scene, and sporting a smaller database than most download services of around 400,000 songs, PassAlong offers a nice perk in exchange. A member can earn bonus points that reduce the price of future downloads by making recommendations to their friends for certain types of music. PassAlong does not offer a free trial and starts at $0.99 per download.

7. PureTracks–Canadians benefit from WMA files from just $0.99 in Canadian dollars. Puretracks has over 1 million songs.



Florida Keys Culture Thrives Amid Idyllic Island Ambiance

Florida Keys Culture Thrives Amid Idyllic Island Ambiance

Iwami Kagura : Heroes and Demons
Source: Flickr


Best known for their favorable climate, relaxed atmosphere and unparalleled watersports, the Florida Keys also are havens for creative spirits that add a tremendous cultural dimension to the islands’ appeal.

The 125-mile-long island chain has a variety of cultural events and resources, from performing arts and musical shows to quality films, art galleries and literary venues.

Located on the campus of Florida Keys Community College, the 480-seat Tennessee Williams Theatre is the largest theater south of Miami. In recent years, productions have included “Porgy and Bess” and “La Cage Aux Folles,” as well as appearances by the New York City Ballet.

In Marathon, the Marathon Community Theatre operates a live theater and cinema. In the Upper Keys, the Keys Players have entertained audiences since 1978.

Key West is home to the renowned Key West Film Society and three theaters offering regular productions.

The intimate Red Barn Theatre, originally a carriage house, became a playhouse in the 1940s. The Waterfront Playhouse has hosted the Key West Players for decades.

Musical offerings abound as well, ranging from shows by Islamorada’s Keys Community Concert Band to Big Pine Key’s quirky Underwater Music Festival and Keys-wide performances by Island Opera Theatre.

The nationally acclaimed Key West Symphony Orchestra, directed by award-winning conductor Sebrina Maria Alfonso, features more than 70 of the United States’ top classical musicians and soloists.

In the visual arts, Keys galleries represent virtually every medium – from oils and watercolors to sculpture, metalwork, photography and pottery. Galleries include tropically themed exhibit halls, artist cooperatives and outdoor working studios in Islamorada where visitors can watch the creative process. In addition, art and craft shows flourish throughout the island chain.

At the heart of the Keys’ creative atmosphere are their literary legacies. Tennessee Williams kept a home in Key West and Robert Frost was a frequent visitor. And Ernest Hemingway lived and wrote there throughout the 1930s in a home now open for tours.

Every summer the island stages a festival celebrating Hemingway’s life and work, and every winter the Key West Literary Seminar recognizes the island’s literary appeal.



Music of the 70s

Music of the 70s

The Tea Party - Stuart Chatwood
Source: Flickr


We all associate songs and music with events in our life.
Many songs hold special memories for us. We fondly remember the songs that were playing when we went to our first dance, the songs the school band attempted to play during half time at the high school football games, the songs that we heard on our first date, or the songs we heard on the radio while driving our first car.

The music of the 1970’s is probably the most impressive and most recognized of any era. The artists of the 1970’s provided us with numerous songs we loved to dance to and sing along with. At that time most bands actually played their own instruments and didn’t need to sequence part of it.

Remember how we used to listen to the music then? At first we had eight track players in our cars, then we moved upward to cassette players. Vinyl records were the most popular way to listen to our favorite music. Every week you could go to your local variety or record store and pick up the new #1 song on a 45 record for under $1.00. Of course, there was always the radio to listen to – most of the popular channels were on am radio. We had many styles of music to listen to, including the bubble gum music of David Cassidy and the Partridge Family, soft rock of Barry Manilow, the great dance tunes of the Bee Gees and the Commodores, rock of Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin, the brass band sounds of Chicago, or the disco beat of Chic and Donna Summers.

The nostalgia of the 1970’s music lives on today. We can listen to it on our local 70’s’radio station, on cds, on mp3, download it on our computer, and burn it onto cds. For those of us who prefer records, we can still purchase them at record stores, antique or second hand stores, or yard sales. Of course, many of us have held on to our own record collections and record players and can pull them out at any time when we need to relive those nostalgic days of the 1970’s. Some bands are still performing after more than 30 years. There’s nothing like seeing your favorite 1970’s performers live in concert!

The music of the 1970’s is still popular with people of all ages – not just those who grew up with it. It never grows old. It only gets better with each passing decade.



Active Relaxation – The Neglected Art

Active Relaxation – The Neglected Art

DWTT Bark 27 04 2019 PSA - 29
Source: Flickr

Stress
Stress is a serious business. The subject is often in the news: we know that it causes the loss of more working days than physical illness and can lead to serious conditions of the heart and other organs. Stress is taken so seriously these days that employers have a legal duty of care towards their employees.
The media put far less emphasis on the natural antidote to stress: relaxation. It might be useful to remind ourselves what relaxation actually means. Far from merely being the absence of tension, relaxing actually requires a positive act of will. Just as a composer writes rests – indicating silence – as carefully as the notes played by musicians, so we need to decide when to relax and how to do so. Just think of the expression ‘To compose yourself’.
Techniques that help
We know of many techniques and disciplines, some of them very ancient, that help us to relax. Meditation has been described as ‘Increasing the distance between thoughts’, a way of emptying the mind of its usual chatter, regret, worry and aspiration. Yoga can help us to achieve a similar inner calm through focusing on the body and how it breathes. In both cases, the emphasis is actively on focusing our attention on the here and now, rather than reflecting on the past or thinking ahead.
As with any other conscious decision, we need to focus on what we are doing if we want to succeed – and here, for many of us, lies the difficulty. If we want to benefit from these disciplines, not only do we need to endure the slow process of learning new techniques that feel strange and unfamiliar before enjoying the benefits, we also have to overcome an instinctive objection from our own bodies.
What tension does
The trouble is that when we are experiencing stress we become tense: our muscles tighten and adrenaline and cortisol flow through our systems, making it even harder to relax. Even sitting in a quiet darkened room doesn’t guarantee success – if your mind is buzzing you’ll feel over stimulated. It’s easy to understand why we seek easier, more instant ways to calm down. That’s why we sometimes confuse relaxation with distraction – especially in a time when so many distractions are available.
What does or doesn’t relax us
‘I feel stressed out tonight. Let’s just relax in front of the TV.’ Unfortunately, most television programmes are designed to engage us by arousing our interest in some way. The sound tracks are especially effective in stimulating us emotionally, so that the net result of our attempts to ‘switch off’ turn out to be merely ‘changing channels’ with our attention. We swap one set of stimuli for another – and we have even less control over the content than when we are wrestling with all the details of our own over-busy lives.
The active choice
So: relaxation is an active choice, but it can seem too difficult and time-consuming to learn how to use the techniques that work. How can we actively choose to relax easily and effectively? William Congreve wrote ‘Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.’ and throughout history gentle music has been a favourite way to change the way we feel. This is because the vibrations that reach our ears do more than just please us as they cause our own internal rhythms, like heartbeat and brain activity, to synchronise with the music.
If you have ever tried turning off the sound track of a scary movie you know how flat it can seem with only pictures to keep the mood going. Anyone who has seen what happens to baby boomers at a party when someone plays a Rolling Stones record has experienced the power of music to move people.
Type of music that relaxes
Naturally, the result depends on the type of music being played. A growing number of composers are choosing to focus mainly on the effect their music has on the listener. In the 1960s a series of ‘mood music’ albums appeared, followed in the 1970s by British artist Brian Eno’s invention of the term ‘ambient music’ to describe the subtle, mood-invoking albums he created. The emphasis in this type of music is on the listener, not the artist ~ a very different approach from most productions. My own experience is relevant here as I spent more than twenty five years doing my best to capture the audience’s attention as a session musician, performer and bandleader before getting involved with hypnosis and Neuro-Linguistic Programming as a way of helping people to live the kind of lives they really want.
New role
It was while exploring how to combine music with these ways of helping people that I realised the difference in emphasis: in my new musical role I was no longer centre stage ~ in fact, if the listener was aware of me then I wasn’t doing my job. It surprised me how much more difficult it can be to produce music so subtle that the listener is largely unaware of it, yet so effective that it relaxes him or her every time.
Self treatment
As I researched what had already been done I found a fascinating range of different techniques, all contributing to the power of gentle music to soothe and calm us. These approaches can be combined to create truly effective musical solutions to the everyday problems caused by stress. This kind of self-treatment is a welcome alternative to pharmaceuticals, being very effective and extremely safe. Some hospitals have found that when they play the right kind of music their pain-killing medication bill goes down, in some cases to half its former level.
In the 1960s, a popular idea was that music could change the world. For us as individuals, that now seems to be true – at least on a personal level.



The Nashville Film Festival

The Nashville Film Festival

The Tea Party - Jeff Martin
Source: Flickr

Summary:

Originally known as the Sinking Creek Film Celebration, the Nashville Film Festival is one of the oldest and wide-ranging film festivals in Tennessee and the United States. Right now, the Nashville Film Festival is hosted by the Regal Green Hills Stadium 16 and has the participants of over 16,000 people during the 2006 event making it the biggest and most important film festival in the mid-south America.

The success of the Nashville Film Festival is very evident to the submission numbers it had on 2006 alone. Over 1,700 of feature films, documentaries, shorts, animated films, experimental films and children’s films from all over the world made their way to the 2006 Nashville Film Festival. Even contenders from other film festival particularly Toronto Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival and the Sundance Film Festival appeared on the lineup, effectively boosting the level of competition and therefore the level of quality of the films. 200 chosen entries are decided after much prescreening and deliberating and these entries (from all genres) are selected for the Nashville Film Festival showcase and shown on four state-of-the-art screens throughout the event. This 2006 Nashville Film Festival event featured a diverse selection of 244 films from over 40 countries.

The Nashville Film Festival not only honors distinguished works in video the event also takes pride in showing off excellent masterpieces in the music arena. After all, Nashville is called the “Music City”. In fact a number of the most memorable songs highlighted in films were written and performed by Nashville songwriters and musicians. Not only that, Nashville is a spring board for emerging musical talents. The Nashville Film Festival do present showcases, workshops, and other events where budding songwriters and artists come together with veteran media entertainment professionals from Hollywood and around the world, allowing a chance for collaboration which would otherwise be impossible.

Independent films and low budget films can also greatly benefit from the Nashville Film Festival. Independent films only have one concern, most have no money to publicize it further beyond flyers and posters. That even won’t attract distributors. But in Nashville Film Festival, a chance that your work will be shown where movie producers, directors, and talent scouts would be watching is a definite gold striker.

Almost all around Nashville can greatly benefit from this annual celebration. The organization behind the Nashville Film Festival also offers movie concept lectures and educational screening programs for the elementary, middle and high schools, colleges, museums, libraries and community centers throughout the year. And the organizers also manage the Young Filmmakers Program. This program teaches interested youth video making skills in Nashville community centers such as the Preston Taylor Boys and Girls Club, the Martha O’Brien Center, and the Oasis Center.



Selecting The Location Of The Wedding Ceremony

Selecting The Location Of The Wedding Ceremony

Vanya and the Bandho - 109
Source: Flickr


The wedding ceremony is where two individuals unite to become one.
Choosing the location for this event would seem a simple task, but it’s actually one that requires much planning and coordination, especially if a non-traditional ceremony is being planned.

Many couples will hold the wedding ceremony at a house of worship, usually one that the bride, the groom, or some other family member attends. When this is the case, selecting the location is fairly easy, provided the date is available. But what happens when the bride- and groom-to-be are of different denominations? More tricky still, how is the situation handled when the couple doesn’t have any religious affiliation?

That’s when the couple needs to get together to discusses their wedding ceremony location options. And there are many. Selecting the location of the ceremony should happen well in advance of the wedding date, up to 12 months if possible. If you wait too long to reserve the location, you may find it’s already booked.

Besides a house of worship, wedding ceremony locations can be practically anywhere – at home, at a country or yacht club, outdoors at a local, national or state park, on a yacht, on a tropical island, at a mountaintop retreat, in a medieval castle, at Disney World – you name it, it’s probably capable of accommodating a wedding ceremony.

Before selecting a location, however, you’ve got to make sure it’ll accommodate your needs. Is the location large enough to accommodate all your guests? Are dressing rooms available? Are there electrical outlets for acoustics and/or music? Is the location easily accessible, especially for those with special needs? Can you find someone to officiate at the location?

The amount you’ll pay will vary from location to location. When you’re finding out the costs, be sure to ask what is included with the price. Make sure the items mentioned are written out on the contract, too. You’ll likely be asked to provide a deposit to reserve the date. This needs to be reflected on the contract as well as the balance amount and due date.

There’s more to consider about the wedding ceremony than just the location. The music and the vows need special attention, especially if you wish to break out of the ‘traditional’ mode. The music may be included with the location. For example, oftentimes a church will use its own organist. However, if your budget allows, you may wish to write your own wedding songs and hire a soloist and accompanist to perform them. Or you can hire musicians to match the theme of your wedding. If these types of arrangements are in your budget, be sure to reserve the talent far in advance, right after you’ve secured the wedding ceremony location.

You can also write your own vows or make modifications to traditional vows. This puts a truly personal touch on the event. Just be sure to give a copy of your version of the vows to the person officiating so that everyone knows what to say.



What You Should Know About Beginner Guitar Chords

What You Should Know About Beginner Guitar Chords


One of the biggest mistakes a new guitarist can make at the start of their musical career, whether for profit or pleasure is to go out and look for or buy a compendium book of six thousand chord shapes and all the variations and permutations that are involved.

You will instantly be overwhelmed with way too much information and thoughts of dread at the amount of time and effort involved in what you want to achieve. Learning all those shapes and fingerings is a massive undertaking and you will never finish it anyway.

Most musicians seem to make the assumption that they have to know all the music before they can create any for themselves. Nothing could be further from the truth, you do not have to learn all of those chords before you can start to play the guitar or any other instrument for that matter.

You must have heard about songwriters who have created songs with only three chords, the Beatles for instance. Thousands of songs have been written with 3 chords, so for the time being, three chords is all you are going to need to concentrate on. You will make much better progress by learning familiar 3 chord progressions and familiarising yourself with the structure of how the chords work together than trying to learn hundreds of chord shapes that don’t have any relevance to one another or that you can’t relate to.

Here are a few areas that you may not have thought about but will advance your playing a lot quicker than just knowing a bunch of fancy chords.

1. Pick a few easy chords that you know you could and would like to play. Lets take a C Major chord as our example as this is almost a standard army issue chord that everyone uses or will come across at one time or another throughout the coarse of their playing.

2. Focus your time on learning how to get your fingers from that chord shape to the next shape, i.e. C Major to G Major. Speed is not what matters here – just a smooth action or change over.

3. Use a drum machine or metronome at around 80 – 90 beats per minute and strum all the strings of one chord and then move to the next. What you want here is to just listen to the sound you are creating. This will be satisfying to begin with for you to know that it is possible for you to make some music. Also you will be gaining finger strength and building muscle memory. The next time you come to play these chords you will find it gets easier and easier to play. If you keep learning new chords all the time to begin with you won’t make any significant improvement.

4. If it is possible, you need to record what you are doing into your computer or tape player. Listening back to your playing the next day will benefit you tremendously. I must admit that you might cringe a little bit at your own playing at first, but if you take the plunge you will make the decision consciously or unconsciously to want to get better, quicker. In a very short time frame, you will get use to hearing what you sound like, that is when you will start to have some real fun. You will start to generate your own ideas.

5. Stay relaxed while you play and don’t force yourself to do anything. Ten minutes of focused practise at a time will yield far more results than mincing about for a few hours with no focus.

If you are one of those people who will do what is discussed above, you will instantly be in front of the pack. Go to any music shop and listen to the new guitarists sitting their showing off. Most of them are playing a bit from here, a snippet from there, there is not much that is refined or practised. This habit can be with them for the rest of their natural playing life.

If you start out gradually and focus on building slowly on what you have previously learnt, chord by chord, your playing will be much more confident, natural and above all, worth listening to.



Do You Download Music Over A File-Sharing Network?

Do You Download Music Over A File-Sharing Network?

It can be estimated that millions of people around the world share music over a file-sharing network. For this article, I am addressing the issue in America mainly because I am not aware of the laws in other countries. Do you think it is illegal to download music from file-sharing networks? What about music you already own? An important recent court decision will answer these questions directly and you might be surprised.

Recently the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit heard a case against a Chicago woman, Cecilia Gonzalez. Many plaintiffs including BMG, Sony and others brought the case against her. Gonzalez allegedly had downloaded over 1,000 songs through KaZaA—although she admitted to only 30. Keep that number in mind, 30. Many, if not just about all, people who download files over a file-sharing network don’t stop at one file. Thirty files can be reached in minutes to an hour without thought. In fact, it was alleged that Gonzalez downloaded 1,370 songs in just a few weeks, which is an average of 65 songs per day.

If you where caught downloading thirty songs over a file-sharing network, what would your defense be? Let’s look at two specific common defenses and see how a court might react. I have selected two defenses that I feel are most common, because they not only appear in the court case I have referenced, but many others I have surveyed would try to use them as their defense as well.

First Defense: I was simply trying out the songs to see if I liked them and then I planned to buy the ones I liked and erase the ones I don’t. (Simplified: try-before-you-buy)

Judge Eastbrook, one of the judges hearing the Gonzalez case, pointed out that this defense is not valid because one had many avenues to hear music before purchasing. Eastbrook names iTunes, radio, internet radio, Yahoo! Music and others as ways to legally try before buying. If this was going to be your defense, you will lose.

Second Defense: I am only downloading music that I already own.

This seems like a great defense, at first. You already own the music and the law allows you to create a backup copy. Ah, but here is where it goes south. Downloading music you already own is not considered fair use under the U.S. Copyright Law and your action is therefore copyright infringement. See UMG Recordings Inc. v. MP3.com, Inc., 92 F. Supp. 2d 349.

Furthermore, the try-before-you-buy scenario is really blown away by the fact that you no longer need to buy CD’s in whole. iTunes really helped change the legal arena in this respect because a user can both sample songs at their leisure and purchase single songs. The ability to purchase single songs is the big one.

In the end, Gonzalez lost her case. The thirty songs, that would have cost $29.70 at iTunes, will end up costing her $22,500 in damages—imagine what it would be if the plaintiffs had pushed for a decision on all 1,370 songs. She was given the opportunity to settle for $3,500 before going to court, which she declined—another bad decision. If you download music over file-sharing networks and are caught, what will be your legal defense?



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