Getting Paid

May 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By Bud Scoppa



Education Guide

Mix is gearing up to present its longstanding annual Audio Education Guide in its November 2014 issue. Want to have your school listed in the directory, or do you need to update your current directory listing? Add an image, program description, or a logo to your listing! Get your school in the Mix Education Guide 2014.

Useful Information

According to BMI new media guru Richard Conlon, TV is now the primary revenue generator on the performance-rights side, having overtaken radio. And while new media presently represents less than two percent of the pie, it's growing rapidly and generating revenues at a multiple of that percentage. Almost all of the usage is from streaming via subscription services like Rhapsody, MusicNet and Napster; ad-supported major portals like MSN, Yahoo! and AOL; social sites like Facebook and MySpace; and mobile services including cell phone radio, ringback tones and audio/visual. Breaking down A/V, about one quarter of all streams are music-intensive. All of these areas are growing.

“At BMI, I think we're very well positioned for a usage-based economy and a service economy,” says Conlon. “We don't care about selling products or manufacturing discs. We care about monetizing use, and use is what's gonna happen, whether it's subscription or ad-supported or bundled services with ISPs.”

Hybrids Get Good Mileage

The days of putting all your eggs in one basket are over, according to New York-based manager Joe D'Ambrosio. “In these demanding times, the lines have blurred and people have to do other things,” he says. “Since I went on my own eight years ago to represent producers, engineers, mixers, composers, arrangers and writers, the lines between those roles are gone. We now get paid for the job.

“On my client Tony Visconti's high-profile projects, the money is there to hire his engineer. But with other artists he's working with, he's happy to engineer and mix himself. He also arranges, plays bass and sings background vocals, but he's not yet taken a writing credit. If he introduces a line, he doesn't think it's proper to take a full writing credit. On the other hand, Jay Newland, who built his reputation producing, engineering and mixing tracks on Norah Jones' first record, is being asked to sit in on writing sessions. He's not Kara DioGuardi, but he absolutely contributes a lot to songs and has been encouraged by record companies to sit in with writers and be a part of the process. But he came back to me, God bless him, and said, ‘I don't want to take a credit unless I can contribute.’”

The Performance Rights Act, a piece of legislation that would require radio stations to pay a fee for the music they play — which is the case in other countries — is now being debated on Capitol Hill. It would compensate labels and artists, musicians and backing vocalists, and also, if they obtain proper letters of direction, producers, mixers and engineers who are contract royalty participants.

If you're a producer/engineer like Newland, you might want to think more seriously about, when it's appropriate, getting a piece of the songwriting action. “I wouldn't put it that way,” Jeff Brabec replies with a laugh. “You can if you want to. But so many producers are real contributors, also. Song ownership is a valuable source of long-term income, and one which is not touched by the record company.”

We're used to seeing the P-E-M credit; will we start to see a P-E-M-S credit?

Old-School Vs. New-School

As for the traditional record business, most observers feel it's only a matter of time before the whole thing crashes down; one person I spoke with predicts that a number of major labels will be gone by this fall. In the meantime, the labels' attempts to recast artist contracts as revenue-sharing deals, with the record companies taking a piece of the touring and merchandising, have been greeted with disdain by many artist managers.

“They want to share in that revenue, and they don't want to help you build that revenue — which is antithetical to sharing in that revenue,” says D'Ambrosio, referring to the labels' abandonment of traditional artist development. “At a managers' panel I attended at SXSW, all of them said, ‘We're no longer focused on CD sales; we're focused on merch and live shows. But our artists need to make new music to play at their shows for their audiences.’ And one manager said, ‘We're not burying the record labels, but we really don't need them as much as we did.’ I don't know if that's really true. They don't need the old model, but I think you still need a focused team to bring their expertise to a project. Even though it's diminishing, the major labels are still the only ones with the power to break records.”

Acceptable Use Policy
blog comments powered by Disqus

Mix Books

Modern Recording and Mixing

This 2-DVD set will show you how the best in the music industry set up a studio to make world-class records. Regardless of what gear you are using, the information you'll find here will allow you to take advantage of decades of expert knowledge. Order now $39.95

Mastering Cubase 4

Electronic Musician magazine and Thomson Course Technology PTR have joined forces again to create the second volume in their Personal Studio Series, Mastering Steinberg's Cubase(tm). Edited and produced by the staff of Electronic Musician, this special issue is not only a must-read for users of Cubase(tm) software, but it also delivers essential information for anyone recording/producing music in a personal-studio. Order now $12.95



Delivered straight to your inbox every other week, MixLine takes you straight into the studio, with new product announcements, industry news, upcoming events, recent recording/post projects and much more. Click here to read the latest edition; sign up here.

MixLine Live

Delivered straight to your inbox every other week, MixLine Live takes you on the road with today's hottest tours, new sound reinforcement professional products, recent installs, industry news and much more. Click here to read the latest edition; sign up here.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

The Wire, a virtual press conference offering postings of the latest gear and music news, direct from the source. Visit the The Wire for the latest press postings.