Rosanne Cash responds to Hypebot’s Bruce Houghton

Following the Money – Alternative music revenue streams for musicians

A bucket under every drip…

Drops in a Bucket
Photo courtesy of Smabs Sputzer

I recently had the opportunity to research and write a piece for Berklee Today magazine exploring lesser known revenue streams for composers and musicians.

In today’s music industry, tapping every revenue source is key, particularly for independent artists. Thinking like an entrepreneur and getting ahead of the curve with new technologies can create exciting opportunities for distributing and promoting music.

This piece starts with the basics of copyright and the role of rights organizations and jumps into library music and the potential shifts that will be created with the adoption of HTML 5 as the new web standard.

I was was very fortunate to receive input from artist Neara Russell, music publishing administrator Patricia Blair, composer Joel Goodman, and the good folks at ASCAP and SoundExchange. Special thanks as always to my editor Mark Small at Berklee Today!

You can read the full article here:

Follow the Money


California Copyright Conference: The Future of the Latin Music Market

On February 8, 2011 The California Copyright Conference hosted a panel discussing the current state and future possibilities of the Latin music market, organized and co-moderated by Eric Palmquest – Director, Disney Music Publishing and Marissa Lopez, Associate Director, Latin Writer/Publisher Relations at BMI.

The panel featured:

Richard Bull – President of The Sixth House, a management company with touring, label, licensing, publishing, and corporate marketing arms.
Tomas Cookman – CEO, Nacional Records & Cookman International, and founder of the Latin Alternative Music Conference.
Yvonne Drazan – Creative Director, peermusic
Nir Seroussi – VP, Marketing and A&R, Sony Music Latin
Kike Santander – Multi Grammy Award winning songwriter and producer, Chairman of the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (LARAS) and CEO of Santander Records.

Marissa Lopez (whose career began as a Latin radio DJ) kicked off the festivities with a mix of regional and Latin music styles. Although the topic of the panel was the decline in Latin music sales, particularly in digital, the panelist were uniformly upbeat and excited about the wide open future for Latin music.

Richard Bull and Tomas Cookman have had strong successes with synch licensing and developing strategic partnerships with other companies both inside and outside of the music industry. The Sixth House’s partnership with peermusic has been particularly rewarding for both parties. A common theme was the need to exchange services and develop diverse partnerships. Each situation is unique in today’s marketplace. Cookman: “There is no right or wrong answer. If it works for you, it works for you.”

Panelists agreed on the need to control master recordings to simplify the process of clearing masters and publishing rights in one shot. Tomas Cookman described his strong relationships with music supervisors as being build on his ability to clear tracks for synch within a few hours.

Technology has created easy access to a global marketplace which raises the bar for music quality…the best music wins. Kike Santander passionately described how his commitment to music drove the decision to start a label at a time when others a running in the other direction.

Except for younger fans who follow edgier, alternative artists, the general Latin market has not been as quick to accept digital downloads. However, this market skews much higher on the use of mobile devices according to Richard Bull.

When asked how to encourage fans to engage in the digital download market, Nir Seroussi stated that the concept of music ownership is going away. Fans want music anytime, anywhere, and labels must think of themselves as service businesses. The future lies in building strong artist brands and alliances with a broad range of business partners.

Global Music Registry Meets Consumer Consumption Model

A thought provoking post from the Rethink Music blog. The barriers to creating a global music licensing registry are substantial in and of themselves. As consumer behavior shifts away from ownership to an “anytime, anywhere” access model, accurate, streamlined licensing will be key to a great music experience for the public as well as solid monetization for creators.

What do you think?
Rethink Music

California Copyright Conference : “The Music Industry: A Survival Guide for the Future”

Tuesday evening’s panel at the California Copyright Conference dinner in Sherman Oaks was quite upbeat considering the many uncertainties of these times. The panel, moderated by Shawn LeMone, ASCAP’s VP of Film/TV and Visual Media, and Diane Snyder-Ramirez, VP of Royalty Accounting and Administration at The Royalty Review Council, consisted of:
  • Russell Emanuel, CEO, Extreme Music
  • Amanda Marks, EVP/GM, Universal Music Distribution
  • Patrick Russo, Principal, The Salter Group
  • Kari Kimmell, Recording Artist and Songwriter
  • Victor Rodriguez, Music Director THQ, Inc.
The theme for the evening was, “synch licensing.” Traditional music industry boundaries continue to blur and each panelist discussed evolving practices from their individual perspectives. 
Patrick Russo began the discussion with an entertainment industry revenue analysis. The larger segment is growing and diversifying, although music revenues will continue to decline. The good news is, music is ubiquitous and a key component in a wide palette of entertainment properties. This creates new opportunities for licensing and publishing revenues.
Russell Emanuel described the huge shifts in the music library business. The industry is moving into what was once considered independent label territory. Extreme Music is courting independent, niche artists (mostly songwriters) rather than the more traditional jack-of-all-trades composers. 
Victor Rodriguez is producing video game scores with traditional film composers as well as scoring entire properties from music libraries. Music is being licensed for virtual social networks and multiple co-branding opportunities are emerging across media platforms.
Kari Kimmell’s music has been featured in over 100 film and television shows. She controls her catalog and handles the licensing and business development with music supervisors herself. Although business takes up 50% of her time these days, Kari is very excited about the successes and opportunities available to her as an independent artist. 
Amanda Marks is anticipating a surge of tablet devices, providing a compelling entertainment experience for consumers. She is excited about the potential of apps to filter music, cutting through the noise in the channel and bringing the cream to the top. App developing tools are becoming more affordable and available to artists. Amanda feels that music distribution will be firmly ensconced in the cloud in a few years. A licensed experience where listeners can get anything, anytime, anywhere, will be a game-changing alternative to pirated music.
Revenue opportunities for creators are a mix of licensing fees, back-end residuals and exposure (the highly coveted “Chyron”). How these trends can benefit musicians working in non-pop genres is not as clear but one thing is certain: The music industry is a moving target, accelerating every day. The keys to “Survival” are making great music, working hard, and staying ahead of new revenue opportunities.

(Re)Defining Music as Business

The Internet has made music creation and distribution available to everyone, processes traditionally handled by record labels. The responsibility for managing marketing and music publishing now fall squarely on the artist. Because of the massive amount of material on the Internet it is very challenging to rise above the noise and distinguish yourself. While running a business is creative in it’s own way, thinking of oneself as a brand is very uncomfortable for many creatives. Jacob Detering has written a good blog post about this subject.

(Re)Defining Music as Business

Another good read on this subject is Fans, Friends and Followers by Scott Kirsner. Scott interviews several artists working in a variety of mediums, who discuss the successes and challenges they have had as they figure out how to promote themselves and choose the right business partners.

Stay tuned to this blog for tools, strategies and success stories…