Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Easy to Find Music Licensing forms at Songfile

Harry Fox Agency-- songfile
for those of you needing to get licensing for cover material... here's a place for 25-2500 songs...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

How the Mighty Fall, new book by Jim Collins, author of "Good to Great"

How the Mighty Fall, article in Businessweek. Written by Jim Collins.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Of Interest to Artists.. Sales figures of discs this week

From Bob Lefsetz email news.. 5/14/09
Thanks, Bob, fascinating read.. opinions and all

1. Chrisette Michelle (Or is it Michelle Chrisette? What kind of world do we live in where almost no one in America knows the name of the holder of the number one album?) "Epiphany"

Sales this week: 83,468

So what are her Pollstar numbers?

So she grossed $800,000. Sounds like less than one Eagles private. And believe me, thirty years on (never mind the sixty of Elton!), no one in the Fortune 500 will be paying her to sing.

My "Epiphany" is sales numbers are no longer the number one barometer.

2. Hannah Montana "Soundtrack"

Sales this week: 81,533
Percentage change: -5
Weeks on: 7
Cume: 826,012

Weird when an album that loses five percent of its previous week's sales ends up at number two, but I must say, I'm surprised by the resilience of this collection. Then again, I was reading Dolly Parton hype (skimming, to be honest), and she said she only appeared on "Hannah Montana" twice, but since they rerun the show ad infinitum, everywhere she goes kids call out AUNT DOLLY!

This is not about music, this is about money. No different from selling Snuggies. With a shelf life barely longer.

3. Ciara "Fantasy Ride"

Sales this week: 80,890

Don't you love the modern era? Where there are enough diversions that you can completely avoid what's being hyped in the mainstream and not give a shit? (Then again, I am fascinated by the "Jon & Kate Plus Eight" marriage... You go on TV and you expect not to be picked apart? Or are they having the last laugh, was the marriage already kaput and they just wanted some of that TLC money. Didn't TLC once upon a time stand for "The Learning Channel"? What exactly are we learning here, that education is irrelevant, that rather than trying to play sports or be a rapper you should just get on a reality television show?)

4. Rascal Flatts "Unstoppable"

Sales this week: 57,987
Percentage change: +10
Weeks on: 5
Cume: 636,887

Loved the title track to their last album, "Still Feels Good". It's got that hair blowing in the wind with the top down feel that goes all the way back to the Beach Boys. The playing and singing on this new album is just as good, it's just that the material is substandard, almost completely unmemorable. And I tried. Played the album more than once, all the way through, looking to be hooked. I was not.

5. Bob Dylan "Together Through Life"

Sales this week: 50,734
Percentage change: -59
Weeks on: 2
Cume: 176,613

If this record was released by Joe Schmo, it never would have made the chart. This album is selling based on the brand name, and that's it.

7. Taylor Swift "Fearless"

Sales this week: 40,534
Percentage change: +42
Weeks on: 26
Cume: 3,189,543

Songs. That's what's selling this record.

Whether you adore that she's so young and innocent, or hate it, bottom line, you listen to the album and it makes sense. You don't need a decoder ring, there are melodies, changes, hooks, YOU CAN SING ALONG! And there's an honesty absent in so much of not only the mainstream crap, but the country crap.

9. Ben Harper & Relentless 7 "White Lies For Dark Times"

Sales this week: 34,363

The white lie is the manager telling Ben that anybody still cares.

Mr. Harper built up momentum, and then when it was time to deliver the killer track, that cemented his viability, he didn't. It was all anticipation and no release. His career has been floundering for years. I like him, I like his music, but I've stopped telling people he's a cult item who is about to break.

13. Nickelback "Dark Horse"

Sales this week: 28,164
Percentage change: +12
Weeks on: 25
Cume: 1,910,309

They're not good-looking, they don't work with Timbaland or Dre, they're not on TMZ or PerezHilton, they've got no buzz. But it turns out selling albums and tickets for a long time is not about buzz. Buzz is the start. Nickelback broke with a couple of hit singles. Now the public feels they'll get pure rock and roll. And that seems to be what they want. You can pooh-pooh, but you only WISH you were part of the cash juggernaut.

16. Kings Of Leon "Only By The Night"

Sales this week: 23,919
Percentage change: +4
Weeks on: 33
Cume: 672,889

I just wish I liked them more. Wouldn't it be great if the new white hope were truly transcendent as opposed to being a couple of steps beyond serviceable?

17. Kelly Clarkson "All I Ever Wanted"

Sales this week: 23,290
Percentage change: +27
Weeks on: 9
Cume: 550,236

Turn her into a rocker.

Instead of being debated for being overweight at Wango Tango, she'd be seen as a blues mama. She shouldn't be doing radio shows, but BONNAROO!

She's got the wrong manager. Those single tracks aren't what they used to be. And she can truly sing. She should have guested with the Allmans at the Beacon. She should trade licks with Sammy Hagar at the Chickenfoot show at the Roxy next week. She needs an exit strategy, this pop world is shrinking and she's dependent on the next hit, when she should be riding her voice into Janis Joplin territory.

19. Keith Urban "Defying Gravity"

Sales this week: 22,348
Percentage change: +21
Weeks on: 6
Cume: 334,653

I heard "Who Wouldn't Wanna Be Me" last night and I about creamed in my jeans. He can play the guitar, he can sing, but he's decided to play by the rules and put out an album that might work on country radio but slides right off of fans.

This guy is SO good. Every rock fan of yore, who's going to the nostalgia shows of the has-beens, they should go to a Keith Urban gig. He's alive and kicking, with four axemen on the front line.

I am SO disappointed with this album. I played it again and again and again trying to convince myself that I was wrong, that it had redeeming elements, that it contained greatness. Alas, it does not.

A misfire.

21. Zac Brown Band "Foundation"

Sales this week: 21,995
Percentage change: +14
Weeks on: 25
Cume: 490,353

"Chicken Fried" is a very good cut. Unfortunately, the rest of the album is not better than this almost novelty song.

Jimmy Buffett was seen as second-tier in the seventies, at least prior to "Margaritaville". But his early albums contained gem after gem. There was artistry. But this overhyped Zac Brown album is made for the radio, not the museum. These country acts put commercialism number one, they don't reach for the artistic brass ring, or don't have the chops. It's a sorry situation.

We recognize greatness. Zac Brown is good, not great, unfortunately.

38. Depeche Mode "Sounds Of The Universe"

Sales this week: 14,191
Percentage change: -35
Weeks on: 3
Cume: 116,496

The core needs no new music. And the hype seems to indicate that the mainstream cares. But this is untrue. Old goths will go to the show, but no one needs new Depeche Mode music.

They should have put out ONE cover and then gone on the road. Convinced us, with a great remake, like the one they did of "Route 66".

40. Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley Band "Outer South"

Sales this week: 13,913

Can we all finally agree, that Mr. Oberst did not live up to his potential? Maybe that he wasn't that good to begin with?

41. Yusuf "Roadsinger"

Sales this week: 13,698

He can make secular records, high-priced videos, even go on tour, BUT HE CAN'T CALL HIMSELF CAT STEVENS??

This makes no sense to me. In the same country where most people have no idea what the number one record is, people are supposed to connect the dots that a guy who hasn't graced the hit parade in decades has a new release under a different name?

I can't believe there's a religious reason he can't use his old stage moniker.

Meanwhile, the album is CLOSE, but not close enough.

And he's spending all that pent-up capital.

Maybe next time.

What sells music is not marketing, but what's in the grooves.

The labels are blaming the customers, that all they want to do is steal. But even if P2P piracy ended tomorrow, the sales for the above albums would not rise dramatically. Because most people just don't care. They care about the new "Star Trek" movie... Paramount got a director with a track record, hooked him up with a franchise and let him loose. And ended up with quality. Kind of like Mutt and Nickelback, if Nickelback were a truly great band.

We need music that sells itself. And we just haven't got enough of that.

We've got all kinds of prognosticating how to make money, just not enough thinking how to get people away from their video games and TV sets to listen to music. Where's the excitement? When everybody knows the young acts don't write and oftentimes can't sing? You need honesty, credibility and authenticity to sell music, all wrapped up in good voices, changes, harmonies and hooks. We might get a track or two now and again, but then there's nothing under the surface, no continuity, you check out the album and it's dreck.

This won't be the situation forever. With the lack of revenue in the music world, the posers are going to move on and the real musicians are going to take over. There just isn't enough of a reward if you're not real, you've got to love to play! And these unfettered players will concoct genuine songs that will elate us when we hear them. The big bosses won't be controlling them, because the big bosses will be gone.

It can only get better.

But to blame today's sorry state on the customer is a grave mistake. Sales suck because the customer thinks new music has got the nutritional value of a Twinkie, it's like minor league baseball, entertaining, but not the real thing.

The real thing is the Beatles and all those ancient bands still treading the boards in sold out arenas. Most of whom can no longer write a decent tune, they're so concerned with managing their money. But what inspired these people can inspire a whole new generation. It's about the sound! Music is something you hear, not something you sell! Got that?