Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Happy New Year 2013 yahoo !! and Bridgeport Connecticut back in July 7, of 2012 PR Festival disaster

Well here I go, it is 2013 and we are all still alive !!!,  it has to be because the guy that made the Mexican calender either died or was sacrificed at the alter, maybe buy his wife.  Hey you know them Latina Women, you get them pissed and watch out....  So the guy never finished the calendar. then 2012 years later we all thought life was going to be over... LOL end of the world.. well we are still here so, like I said the calendar guy in Mexico either died or was sacrificed at the alter.

Okay enough of that, time for reflection - I write this to bring some truth at least from my point of view which is pretty much from the outside but with knowledge of what was happening from time of looking for artist to perform.

Bridgeport Connecticut back in July 7, of 2012
The PR Festival - Part I

Okay so let me tell you the story about a job in Bridgeport Connecticut back in July 7, of 2012 a Puerto Rican Festival which turn out a complete Disaster.   I think enough time has pasted to tell this story, my buddy referred this person to me and told me he would call me soon.   So I get a call about 3 months after from a guy that tells me a bit of the history about the PR organization in Bridgeport...  You know the same old greed story about how for many years this festival was the crown on all Latinos in Bridgeport and how the old President and Board Members were stuffing their pockets and so the new Board got elected and fired all the crooks, great huh !!!  except one problem, no one from the old crew wrote down a how to run or notes on how to do anything, just in-case they got hit by a Bus or had to run from an ex-wife etc...  They did not teach anyone on how to get this festival up and running each year and how to get sponsors, money from the government etc...   So when the new President Jackie (No Last Name to Protect myself ) and the other new Board Members stepped in, they knew zippo on how to run and produce a festival.   So they go to a guy they trusted and hire him as the Festival producer, the middle man etc...  and yeah he had some knowledge of doing these types of events but his problem was that he was burnt out already.   They guy was a regular working guy who thought he could make a few bucks by getting hired to produce this festival, and why not, he has a family to support and he's been involved with some medium size festivals before...  and so the problem, he was involved not that he ran a festival of this size (Hugh) and this important for the entire Bridgeport Connecticut Latino population.

When I say it was a disaster, trust me that is what it was a complete disaster, but again in all fairness not all of this guys fault.   See when people Call me and start asking me a million in one questions I already know that this person is looking to learn how to pull this off with very little knowledge and if you ask him about it, they deny the don't know, because they are scared I will take advantage of them.  The real is they also can't afford to hire me because they hire the coordinator / producer so why paid two people, and the new Board wants to show they are not robbing or spending money foolishly.  That's great right !!!  WRONG,   Your old President and the old Board robbed everything and everyone and maybe took all the information on how to handle  a festival and I understand now the radio people may have also been part of the problems since they were in with the old Board, they even help book artists for many years (what does that tell you).   The thing is that the old Board and Radio left this new President and Board without a clue as to how to get funded, how much to spend and how to do anything period.   Then the President tell the consultant you handle it, but yet she micro manages any and all issues that come up while also doing her day job as a busy Director for some Government type of office.   So even though she interrupted to find out whatever the issue was, she starts to listen to the problem and never finishes fixing any issues, and then she gets pulled by her day job and so the guy they hired never finds out about the problem or has already made different arrangement for that issue and now the funds to pay for that issue has been spent by the President with someone else and the consultant is left with the problem and it now is getting worse and the other worse part is that he finds out the funds for that project has been spent on another vendor that screwed up the complete project and was okay-ed by the President.  But don't just blame her lets look at the whole board who lets this happens again and again,  but now it is with the consulting guy and the President, meanwhile the clock is ticking and everything is a mess.


So what happens - No one is stepping up to the plate to say STOP !!! or even ask what is happening, even Large corporations have meetings to see the progress and gather the troops.  But this org. was so disorganize that at times it seems like those old slap stick movies.  I could not believe so many people wanted this festival to tank.  I was getting more involved because I saw the unfairness treatment from all the vendors and even the CITY,  oh sure the Mayor show up to the Banquet (free meal, photo op etc) but I think back on this and say that the Mayor could have placed someone to watch over this, just to make sure it did not reflect badly on the CITY of Bridgeport.   So lets see - it started with many things - the badly organized parade, the meetings with park people that failed to hire staff to man the gates, the fencing around the park, the accident of one of the main artist (Andy Montanez) weeks before the festival,  the calls from the mysterious Mary of Boston (Andy Jr's Promotion person) who was trying to get Andy Jr to replace his fathers performance (an inside ploy to not have this festival be the first to have Andy Montanez perform - that's another story), the Fire Dept. issuing orders to not close off the part completely (weird) only because the City designated the park for this festival and the park in the past was always closed off for paid events but for this event the Fire Department did not allow full closure of the park, which sound like a payoff, they forced a 200 foot section to be un-gated along side the port-a-potty's which of course defeated the whole propose of having the entire park gated.  Then another big error was advertizing of that the Festival was not free anymore and the entry fee was $5.00 a person, and because no meetings took place to organize this event well and the discussion of children door charge was never thought of.   

So they started out by asking for Big name Latino Artists - Like Don Omar and Daddy Yankee - way over there budget, but again they really did not have a budget they worked on how much and lets get the sponsorship to pay for it.  Well this idea is great but you need to plan out at least a year before and have sponsors on board and also look for govt local, state and federal matching fund grants for the arts type things to get the sponsors in the mood to give you money in a poor economy.  I told the consultant everything I could to help, because after all the funds were going to pay for Artist will go through my office since I will be booking the Artist so I wanted to make sure this festival won.  Well we got all the things out of the way, and my questions of who is at gates, the answer was oh I have my fraternity buddies, I knew at that point I basically was giving advise to the wall.  It heard me but did not stick.  So hey what can you do,  and miracles do happen, but not in this case.   Now we are down to the wire and Deposits are slow in coming, all target dates went out the window,  if I pulled out they (Festival Committee) would have blamed the failure on me for not providing the talent they ordered even though they did not have full deposits in and airfares were not purchased per riders.  So I spoke with the artists and they said do we have some of the deposit, I said yes we do but money is coming in so slowly and off target dates I was uncomfortable, but the Artist said go with it and so I did.

So now the Artist Manager calls me with a small problem, they artist are doing a show the night before they leave to NY and it's impossible for them to make the early flight, the tickets that were purchased by the Festival were sponsored and so non refundable and difficult to change and they were First Class seating.  So now you say well that's the Artist fault, not so fast the riders states clearly to get refundable and changeable tickets for this very reason, something always happens, it is only human.   So the festival have to find red eye tickets and the only airline was JetBlue who as we know have zippo First Class.   Well the artist refused to go on the flights and in short I don't really blame Andy Montanez because he is an older gent and he was on crutches after all he was in a crash in Colombia and in bad condition, so he was doing this for the people and the festivals pride.  Well the truth the airline stewards did the best they could to make Andy comfortable but he was not having it and so he took the Last flight out of San Juan on the sponsored Airline - yes the original airline which got him a first class seat but to JFK and arrival time was 2pm, festival closed at 6pm not to much time left to drive him from airport to hotel then wait for him to dress for the show and be at festival before closing.  Now lets step back little just before that madness the day before when the date of leaving has arrived and wow they came up with some more deposit funds with promise that at and during the festival or before the Artist would get on stage they would have the balance of the money.  Then Bam -  the problem - about the airline and artist etc...   okay so that's was all done and the morning of the festival  I now need to collect balance due.   Well I called the consultant and got voice mail, it is 6am and this guy has to be setting up this festival, the day before we ran through some of the details and all the answers from him was Yes.   

Something in my gut told me to get a car and go to the festival site and so I did and when I got there he was the only one at the festival setting up things, stage, vendors everything, and I asked him where are the people for the gates his answer was they are coming,  so is Christmas, but that still along time away.  I then saw these guys in yellow tee shirts charging money as people drove into the park so I went up to them and asked them who they were.  Well this group of 20 men worked for the City Parks dept and the Park Dept charges 20.00 to allow you to Park your car in the lot.  I asked the supervisor if anyone spoke to them about manning the gates for the Festival  and the answer was outrageous "oh yeah my boss went to a meeting and the organization did not want to pay for the men so they were told just to man the Main Park entrance and charge 20.00 for parking.  Should I tell you who was backing them up, the Bridgeport Police.   Are you putting the puzzle together.  I asked the consultant and he told me about the meeting with the park dept. and it seems they wanted heavy duty money for these men to guard the gates and charge the extra 5.00 for the festival.  And so the fraternity  brothers were asked to do this for free I gather.   What I was not told was that the Police was included in the Park Dept deal.  So the Police could care less if people were walking in for free.   Also it was now about 11:30 am and no one is at the gates and people are coming in by the hundreds and I start wondering how in the world is the organization going to collect these funds to pay these artist.   I ask the consultant again where are your people his answer now was that the President pulled them away for the Parade - so he had zippo people to guard the gate, it was at this time I notice the 200 feet of open area and the funny thing was that the section of missing fence was erected across the street,  I mean really the Fire Dept who works for the City gave the order not to close up that section but for all other events it's close.   So the only thing that runs through my mind is that the old President of this organization paid or called in favors to guarantee this New Board and President failed.   I blame the Mayor, the stupidity of the new President and the Board the radio station because I truly have a feeling they knew since I understand the old President had close ties with the radio and may have even worked at the radio station.

Well I knew I had to try something anything because this also reflected badly on me and my office, I could not believe it was this bad,  I went to the consultant and demanded he hire some of the Yellow Tee-shirt guys (employees of the parks dept.) and then prayed no one would notice the opening next to the port-a-potty's - and so we started collecting funds the organization owed ($28,000.00) as balance,  what finally came in was $7,000.00 and that was because I got the front gate manned and then when the President showed up I basically tore her head off because of no personnel was here since the morning,  and she said I thought the consultant had his fraternity brother, and I told her you took them, and she said (like if she was surprised) who these guys? At which point, one of the guys said I thought since you called us we was only doing the parade since you (meaning the new President of the Bridgeport PR Org) told me to have all my guys meet you at the floats early this morning.   .... continued Part II

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Promotion, Promotion, Promotion

Promotion, Promotion, Promotion I don't understand why Artist don't seem to get they need PROMOTION !!! Without promotion you have nothing !!!!! When new artist contact me to see if I can book them, I always ask them if they have a promotional plan, what I hear from them is silents... nothing, nada!!! They don't even think about Promotion, because they think Promotion is something someone else will do for them. News Alert !!! WHO are you talking about, me !!! If you don't invest in yourself what makes you think I will do it, or anybody else. Really if your not going to invest in promotion then why even record. Also no one seems to understand you need a piece of paper with a PLAN written down on it, A PROMOTIONAL PLAN, what in the world is so hard to understand that you need a road map. Look it is simple, if your going to some place you have never been before, what is it that you do? Don't 99% of the world use a Map, a simple map, and if you don't have one pre-printed you then do what, WRITE down the instructions on how to get to where your going. So tell me why is it so hard to understand that you as an artist needs a road map, A PROMOTIONAL PLAN. Okay so now your saying "I don't know what a Promo Plan looks like. Well here is a sample... So think about what your going to do and the cost behind it and write it down, step by step so you don't get lost. Next time you look for a Booking Agent or Agency you can tell them that you have a Promotional Plan and you have done X to date. This way that Agent or Agency knows what else to do or where they can pick up from and follow up on what you have done to date. Also let me just say, this plan is not a one day thing, that plan need to be written in steps and written to be completed in 6 to 12 months. What !!! that long? YES that long, unless you have a staff of about 50 to 100 people working 24/7 this promotion any promotion will take more that 1 week to get your song known. So you better get started.... Oh yeah - Good Luck and save that money because promotion is not cheap. One more item, find your self a Public Relations company or Person that deals in Music and in the genre you recorded. Then show them your Promotional Plan. Planning Your Promotion Campaign - a sample A Hit Maker Concept The commercial Radio, Print Media and TV industry, at this time in history, couldn’t be less friendly to the independent musician, heck even Major Label Artist are having problems, because the Major Labels have pulled back on promotional funds. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t some significant Radio, Print Media and TV airplay available to you if you know what you’re doing. Outlined below is a plan to consider if you have the four important ingredients necessary for working your record to Radio, Print Media and TV. 1. The MONEY to fund the campaign. 2. A great looking Video of the song or songs you are going to promote. 3. The time to spend working all the stations, websites and Print Media consistently. 4. A product that is READY for national airplay, which is extremely important. When it comes to commercial Radio, Print Media and TV, the chances of getting significant national airplay and favorable Reviews for your independent record are next to none. We live in an era when a small group of powerful media conglomerates own and control the most important Radio, Print Media and TV stations in the land. Unless you are connected to a major label, or are independently wealthy, the costs of promoting your songs nationally to commercial Radio, Print Media and TV have spiraled out of sight. There are, however, lots of mix shows and specialty shows on commercial stations that may offer limited airplay, and at least will get you some awareness in the markets across the country. There will be a lot of work involved in finding these stations yourself, city by city, and music format by music format. I suggest you subscribe to or get a copy of the annual CMJ Directory and look online for every website that has lists of Record Pools, DJs, Online Radio and Cable TV video and non Video shows. If you have money to invest in Radio, Print Media and TV promotion it’s possible to hire an independent "Public Relations" promoter or company who may be able to open some doors to these shows for you. Be prepared to spend several hundred dollars a week for their services. A more realistic approach for airplay and reviews is to consider the options available on the noncommercial side of the FM dial. (88.1 FM to 91.9 FM) With the combination of college Radio, Print Media and TV stations, community stations, and even some of the larger National Public Radio and TV affiliated stations and Cable TV, your chances of getting your record and video played are much better as well as getting to perform live. Below you will find an outline based on how professional record labels plan for their Radio, Print Media and TV promotions. You need to prepare: • A database of commercial and non-commercial stations that you realistically think may play your music. • The timeline you'll use to put the promotional material together (basically setting your deadlines). Be sure to remember that your plan may be distributed to employees, and any independent promotion people you may hire. This plan will be their introduction to you or your artist, and is the plan they will base their work on. 1. Design a detailed overview of your Radio, Print Media and TV promotion plan. • Consider all marketing and promotional ideas listed below. • Propose what you think would work best in each of the areas to help market the record to Radio, Print Media and TV. • Remember to keep cohesiveness between all areas: Give reasons why your music is appropriate to each station you approach, each reporter or editor. • Remember you will need several practical tools/materials to achieve your goals. (Computers, hardware/software, office supplies, money etc.). Address the following specific topics in your plan: Background/Goals: Give a brief history of the artist, and describe the goals of your plan. Make sure you have a real Biography and Promo Pictures. Image: Describe and maintain the artist's image consistently in all promo materials. Radio, Print Media and TV: What Radio and TV format(s) will be targeted? What Print Media would review your music? What markets? Which songs? Any station promotions? (On-air concerts?) Hiring any Independent PR promoters? Publicity: Describe your plans to create a “buzz” in the print media. Any press releases to the music industry trades and regular magazines and newspapers? Update any bios, fact sheets, and other press materials. Sales: Describe Distribution and Retail plans. Any in-store play/ promotions? What other specific sales opportunities? Mail order, live shows, Internet Website, Blogs, Internet Radio? Any store promotional tie-ins with Radio and TV stations? Video: Is a video budget cost effective? Does the Video look as good or better than whats on the top Video shows now? How many songs are on video? What airplay opportunities are there for the video? Touring: Describe the time frame for touring, and other promotional events to coordinate while on the road. Consider specific clubs, halls, fairs, festivals, etc. Any club/venue promotional tie-ins with Radio and TV stations Advertising: Design an ad to be placed in the trades/ consumer music press, and other media? What funds are available for purchasing ads? Describe the costs/benefits? Misc.: Record release party and where? Are you doing more than one Record release party? Will you perform at the Record release party? Maybe a promoter will sponsor your Record release party? Novelty item to give away? Any other clever ideas? Explain clearly each idea. 2. Design a 24 to 48 week plan for the product and promotional tools. * Lay out what needs to be accomplished each week to get the record out. * Consider the: artwork, mastering, credits, sequencing, printing, pressing, booklets, layout/design, Bio, Pictures, One Sheet, Press releases. * Include in the timeline when to start working on the promotional tools that you will need for your plan (photos, press releases, novelty items, display material, ads etc.). * Design the timeline with deadlines for each element of your project. As you can see, a Radio, Print Media and TV promotion campaign is something that is done as part of a wider marketing plan. Always have distribution and sales plans ready, as well as publicity, advertising and touring plans coordinated carefully with your airplay and print campaign. The worst thing that can happen to any song on the Radio, Print and TV is that someone hears the song, but can’t find a way to buy it. Professional major record labels always have distribution and sales connections set up way before they secure Radio, Print Media and TV airplay. You must do the same. Okay so there it is, if I missed something, Let me know... Chino Rodriguez, LatinMusicBooking.com

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Everyone wants to do what I do, Why?

Everyone wants to do what I do, Why? - So I need to write about what is going on in a Depressed time of October 2012, I have been booking Bands and Artists, and even other type of entertainment since around 1974, and I have always had a hard time if it wasn't because I had other interest such as working in Systems, getting to upper management in some big corporations and selling a computer hardware and programming company in the late 80's, the truth is I would really not still be doing this Music Booking business... oh yeah I have had some advantage and LUCK and as people say fallen into shit, but that is because of my nature, the way I treat people who I see will become something or are respectful of others and themselves. I just heard about these 2nd rate producers as well as second rate record executives are now looking at starting a Booking Agency, but with an angle, provide Public Relations and Publicity and well as pushing out Artist and Bands to Promoters, Buyers and basically come out as an Agency that has these artist exclusive, also mind you, these are not A list artist / bands these were at one time A list names but in a world of what have you done lately, these acts are more oldies but goodies, until the next New Artist or A List artist makes a hit or by chance one of the oldie but goodie make another hit song, hey could happen!!. Well I am writing about this because as you may or may not know, in life things always gets back to ones ears... and my Name comes up in conversations, as being the brick wall that these new Agencies must break down. I must laugh at this, not because these people feel as if I am in their way, really ?? me ??, Look the real is, the TIME of the era is against them, I feel that there are only a handful of private Booking Agencies, I am one, Juan Toro, Andy Pozo and then a few other Dominican guys that basically have continued from what their fathers have started and now their fathers are now passed or retired and so the sons have continued hey that's great, But hello they are running Agencies that are established... I have stayed above water for many reasons, one, I get income from a Savings which was from a company I sold for a price that I dumped the funds in a savings, two, I get funds from odd jobs I do in a real work world as a consultant as a programmer and also hardware repair and modification, three, I assist in musical productions, recording, concert productions, and promotions etc... and then of course Bookings. As I mentioned, Live Music Bookings is very hard work and a thankless job, from all sides, Artist, Buyer and anyone of the staff or investors. The point is because of my wit I have stayed in business and above water. As time passes I have noticed that people become more mean with each other (including me I guess) because they have not figured out how to keep that income coming, and because they have started or are starting a business that needs BALLs to work in, they think by targeting an old-timer that has not really looked to handle exclusively the A list artist or any bands, but yet still gets permission from those A list acts and the management teams to be able to say I have them exclusive on a non exclusive basis ;-), anyway trying to block my efforts or taking away the B and C and D list acts, they think they will close me down or place a dent in my income. News alert, it's not easy for me, what makes them think that doing whatever, will make them number one... I don't get it, and I feel that's just mean and drumming up bad vibes. I live my life easier than in the past, in New York I would do things that I now regret I ever did. But I did them, and the rule of life is if you place an older, wiser animal in a corner thinking that animal does not have the energy or a way to get away or not attack because it's old and/or has d-clawed him/herself, keep in mind that your not thinking about experience and experience gives that cornered animal a strategy of how to plan the next step. Does that animal act dead, hurt, scared or does it attack as a crazy animal, or fake foam at the mouth to scare the attacker, or just dodge the attack and get away. In either case that animal will plan a retaliation and that plan will include a finally that may or may not include everything but the kitchen sink. And since these people gave a tell at the poker table, they made their first mistake. Instead of making me feel that the fight is not worth it because I am old and not really into going to war, or maybe my connections and following are retired or dead so I would not have any political power (friends) to assist. They are painfully wrong, We as a group of Agencies that compete with each other on normal days, will work with each other and will come together to protect what is ours, unless one of us has died, we basically don't like giving up the little we have. Just like every animal in the world they all mark their play area and if another animal comes into that area to claim it... Watch Out.... So the moral to my blog today is watch out it ain't over till the fat lady sings.... and there is no such thing as cosa nostra. (okay so I am Venting, a guy has the right to vent) ;-) Chino "Carmine" Rodriguez - Latin Music Booking - online since 1991 est. 1974

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Happy New Year - 2012

So it's 2012, the end of the calendar, well if this is the end, I must say I had a good run. I just got some bad news on my personal life side. My son's father in-Law has been given months to live, yeah cancer, I feel bad about that, my grand kids have seen him more than I only because my daughter-in-law chase my wife and I away years ago, but that’s another story. Any way her father is now dying and has been given a few months, this means maybe by April or May he may be gone. He is a nice guy, the grand kids are in my opinion more attached to him because he lives 3 minutes away, while I live 8 hours away. I have never had a long discussion with him, but he has been very gracious with us, I know he feels alittle guilty that he and his wife get to see the kids often, but it’s not his fault and I know that. I feel pretty bad that he will be gone soon, we never were best of buddies but I know he would always speak up on our behalf, if there was a discussion that we were mentioned. It’s so awkward because I don’t know what to say, or how to prepare for what will happen. I understand he is like a tooth pick now, because of the Kimo therapy, he can’t eat and now that he is home he is going to try to eat since his therapy has stopped. I understand he is going to get looking like if he is getting better, he’ll fatten up, and color will come back to his face. But that is just giving us faults hope , because the Doctors already have told us that he has a few months if that. I will pray for his soul, and ask my church to do some rosesary prayers in his name. Pete Ferandino make your peace. A warning to all who smoke, Please Stop !!! and those who don’t right now, Don’t start !!!, Sad day.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Break Down

Hello Blog, Well it has been awhile since I have written anything, busy looking for work..... Wow the econemy is really shot, it use to be that when things were bad, people would still go out and party. Bands were purchased and Clubs were FULL!!!! in today's world of 2011 post Bin Laden Death the world seems to have just rolled up the carpet and everyone has went to sleep. No one is buying Live Music, and even CDs, I have to figure out what move to make, problem is I am not getting younger and everyday I find someone New in my field who claims they are an expert. I'll give you an example... Got a guy who claims he is an oldtimer yet I never heard of him, but you toss that up to the fact no one really has met everyone in this Business, even if you was working the same place "NYC" in the 70s, 80s, and 90s... So I let that pass and don't question the guy. Well this guy claims to have Europe wrapped around his finger. Now people in the years that I have been working this business I know one thing club promoters change at the drop of a hat, unless they own the club and still that may change also. So to claim that you have Europe, Wow, I mean Wow.... so lets see... so a few weeks go by and then the Tell comes out.... He calls up one of my ACTS to feed the Bull to the artist, basically to try and prove he is better, so Mr. or Ms. Artist forget Chino and Come with me, so he tells the artist get me a price for you and your staff, plus the whole Band to go to Europe, and by the way also give me a price for the samething for 5 gigs and also for 10 gigs. To a non Music Industry person or a novice Artist that sound FANTASIC !!!!, to a season guy like me... That sounds like the guy does not know Sh_t, Why you may ask ?, well in the first place, at this stage of the game the 2010, 2011 etc, you can't get a promoter to pay for 2 airline tickets, forget about 19 tickets, then think about from 12 to 19 hotel rooms and Food Per diem of $75.00 avg per person, times min. of 3 days per person and pay it in cash upfront and with Deposit and contract. The correct thing now (2011) is ask the Artist for him and his Musical Director and MAYBE, and thats a TALL order one can ask for a 3rd ticket for the Manager, but that is rare now a days, also rare is having a Salsa Artist perform with a Live Band, the Promoters are asking if the Artist can sing to his CD, in other words to Trac Tape. So when this guy ask the Artist for the price on 1 gig and 5 gigs and then 10 gigs for Europe, My Bull Sh_t dare shot up, because you can get a Live Back-up Band that sight reads on the spot anywhere in the world now and yes even a Salsa Band, and it could be Chinese Musicians, but they will sound like if they have played that music for 50 years, so why bring a Band from PR, and scare the Promoter with a Hugh Price Tag... That shows me this guy is no oldtimer in the Booking Business, and it shows me that everyone wants to be Mr. Booking Agent.... Geeeeezzz the crap I have to deal with... Why me Lord....
"A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him."
Have a Happy - Chino Rodriguez
Want to know more about me... Look me up in Google or use this link
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chino_Rodriguez

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Releasing Your Own Record

Releasing Your Own Record:
A Common Sense Checklist
Chino Rodriguez - Entertainment Executive, May 22, 2010


Legal Ease

For artists who are releasing their own record for the first time, without the involvement or assistance of a label, the process can be a little intimidating. It can be easy to miss some key legal details in the process.


Here, therefore, is a very basic checklist of issues to be considered when releasing a record. Bear in mind, though, that your own particular circumstances may dictate that you take certain steps that are different from, or in addition to, the various steps mentioned below. Also, it has been necessary to greatly oversimplify some of the issues discussed below due to space limitations.

1)
Agreement Between Members of Group. If it is a group (as opposed to a solo artist) releasing the record, and if the group has not already formalized its relationship by way of a partnership agreement, incorporation, or limited liability company ("LLC"), there should at least be a clear and simple written agreement among the group members about how the finances of the recording project will be handled. Also, it is always a good idea to deal with the issue of the ownership of the group's name as early in the group's career as possible.


2)
Investors. If there are investors involved, documents will need to be prepared in order to comply with certain Federal and State securities laws. Be especially careful here.


3)
Distribution and Promotion Strategy. Think ahead about how the record will be distributed, advertised, and promoted, and how much money will be needed to effectively market the record. Sometimes all (or almost all) of the budget for a project is spent on recording and manufacturing costs, and there is little or no money left to effectively advertise or promote the record. This, of course, is not really a legal issue but is such a common (and often fatal) problem that I feel obliged to mention it here.


4)
Mechanical Licenses. For any cover songs appearing on the record, you must obtain a mechanical license from the owner of the song (i.e., the song's publisher), authorizing the song to be recorded and providing for the payment of mechanical royalties. In many cases this license can be obtained from The Harry Fox Agency (212/ 370-5330) or the new RightsFlow / LimeLight Agency (212/ 202-8353). Allow eight to fourteen weeks for this process, and be prepared to pay advance royalties per cover song (which could start from $100.00 to many times that, depends on the song and the publisher and how many CDs or Downloads you estimate selling in the first six months).


For songs not licensable through Harry Fox or Lime Light, you must contact the publisher directly. Usually the easiest way to do so is to obtain the publisher's contact info from the "song indexing" departments at ASCAP and BMI.


5)
Sampling Clearances. If you are including any samples on your record, you need to obtain sample clearances from the publisher of the musical composition being sampled AND, separately, the record label that owns the master being sampled. Do this as early as possible, as there will be some instances in which either the publisher or label will not be willing to issue a license, or the licensing fee which they require may not be affordable.


Also, some duplicators will require you to sign a form stating that either you have not used any samples, or that if you have done so, you have obtained all necessary clearances. If there is any obvious sampling done, the duplicator may require you to show them the clearance documentation.

6)
"Work for Hire" Agreements. For any session people, engineers, etc. whom you are hiring, it is wise to have them sign a short and simple "work for hire" agreement, to preclude any possible future claims by them that they are owed royalties or that they have ownership rights in the masters. Do this BEFORE you go into the studio.


7)
Producer Agreement. If you are using an outside producer, there needs to be a producer agreement signed, defining (among other things) how the various costs of the recording sessions will be handled, what advances (if any) will be paid to the producer, and what producer royalties will be paid to the producer. Just as in the case of the Work for Hire agreements mentioned above, do this BEFORE you go into the studio.


8)
Production Credits. Make sure that the production credits listed in the liner notes--for session people, producers, and others--conform to any contractual requirements. For example, the producer agreement will often be very specific about how the producer's credits are to be listed. For musicians performing on the record who are signed to a label, they will normally need to be credited as appearing "Courtesy Of" their label.


9)
Liability Releases/Permission Forms. You need to consider the possible necessity of getting a liability release or permission form signed in any of the following scenarios: (a) If a photograph and/or artistic image of an individual outside the group is included in the artwork; (b) If any of the artwork which you are going to use is owned by any third party; or (c) If any logos or trademarks owned by third parties appear in your artwork. There can be some tricky legal issues in this area, so be very careful here.


10)
Copyright Notices for Songs. Be sure that the liner notes contain the correct copyright notices for all of the songs on the record, i.e., both for your original songs and any cover songs that you are using. Information about copyright notices can be obtained here. Also, make sure that the song credits correctly state for each song the name of the song's publisher and the publisher's performing rights society (i.e., ASCAP, BMI, etc.).


A non-legal sidenote: At the same time you are working on the artwork and the copyright notices, etc., doublecheck to make sure that your artwork meets all technical specs of whoever will be printing the artwork. Also, if you will be distributing the record through a record distributor, make sure that your artwork conforms to the distributor's specs.


11)
Copyrighting Your Original Material. Certain copyright applications need to be filed promptly for your recordings and for your own original songs. Use "Form SR" for copyrighting the masters of the songs, "Form PA" for each of your original songs on the record, and "Form VA" for the artwork (if you own the artwork and want to copyright it). You can download the copyright application forms from the Copyright Office's website.


In some instances, it is possible to file an SR form to cover both the musical composition and your particular recording of that musical composition. The instructions for Form SR discuss when and how you can do this.


12)
Registering Your Original Songs with BMI/ASCAP. Assuming that the record contains one or more songs that you have written, and assuming that you are affiliated with ASCAP or BMI, or are in the course of becoming affiliated, you will need to file "title registration" forms for each of your original songs appearing on the record. This will enable your rights society (i.e., ASCAP or BMI) to monitor any airplay of your material.

13) Trademark Notices/Registrations. Be very sure that you have the legal right to use the group name and label name which you have chosen, and consider the advantages of filing trademark applications for those names. Also, make sure that your liner notes contain a proper trademark notice for the name of your group, and (if applicable) the name of your label. Information about trademark notices can be obtained at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office web site.


14)
Obtaining A Bar Code. For information about bar codes, visit the Uniform Code Council website, or call the Uniform Code Council at (937) 435-3870 (Dayton, Ohio). Also, many CD duplicators will, as part of their service and at no additional charge, provide you with a bar code for your record. Ask about this when getting quotes from duplicators. Also, for the reason mentioned in the next paragraph below, you may want to make sure that any bar code you obtain from a duplicator will identify your particular record, and not someone else's record.

15)
Registering with SoundScan. If you anticipate significant sales and want to come to the attention of record labels, it's a good idea to register your record with SoundScan, a private company. SoundScan compiles record sales data based on the scanning of bar codes from sales at retail stores and then sells that information to its subscribers, which include all of the major record companies.You can obtain a SoundScan application form from SoundScan.


Note: If you plan on submitting a SoundScan as well as BDS, Mediabase or other reporting companies application, be sure that you obtain a bar code specifically for your own record. If, instead, you "borrow" someone else's barcode (or the duplicator's general barcode), your sales and broadcast will be credited to them and not to you.

15) Registering with BDS, Mediabase and any other. If you anticipate significant sales and want to come to the attention of record labels, it's a good idea to register your record with BDS, Media Base and any other tracking company that the Radio stations and TV stations use to report what they broadcast on the air. These companies compiles play spins and vid feeds data based on the scanning of bar codes from the broadcast of Radio and TV shows and then sells that information to its subscribers, which include all of the major record companies. You can obtain a BDS and Media Base application form from SoundScan or do a search on google from their website. So why do you need to be concerned about this type of tracking, because this is how the retail stores determine if your record is popular enough for them to order it from the distributor and also how many records they should order. Now of course there are many other factors for the retail store to look at besides those reports, but if your record is brand new those retail outlets are looking for the song to be broadcast many time on many radio stations to determine if they should purchase 500 records or just 1. On the subject of catalog items the other type of report that is looked at is advertising reports which show if your Record that was re-issued is being advertised and in what formats to determine whether they should buy it for stock item sales. This report is given to them by the sales person of the distributor or by the originating product company (You / see study on Marketing for this type of campaign).


CONCLUSION

Hopefully, the above checklist will help to reduce, at least slightly, some of the stress and strain of putting out your own records. The key, of course, is to think ahead as much as possible. Some of the steps mentioned above, such as obtaining sampling clearances and mechanical licenses, can take some time and a lack of planning can unnecessarily increase your costs and/or delay the release date.


Also, make sure that you have all of your "ducks in a row" before you schedule any record release event. It's not an enjoyable experience to be locked into a record release date, only to find out at the last minute that you aren't going to be receiving your CDs from the duplicator by the time of the event or that there are legal or technical problems with either the CD or the CD artwork.

By thinking ahead, the odds are much better that your record release will proceed smoothly and that, after the record release, you will be able to spend your time and budget effectively promoting the record, rather than having to spend time doing repair damage.


Good luck!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How to Do the Worst Interview EVER!

How to Do the Worst Interview EVER!
The Best Ways to Make a Reporter Think You're stupid

Okay so first I did not write this I am posting because it is on the Money and I have been the advisor to many artist who have use this as a guide - so when I read this it was like I wrote it, but this person Marsha Friedman - must have read my mind
.... So I had to Post it....

Thank You Marsha - you said exactly what I have been telling these Artist for Years....

Over the years, I've given out reams of advice to people on how to do great press interviews, but sometimes it's difficult to cover all the bases. After all, the way I got smart about the media was to make mistakes and learn from them. So I thought it might be fun and informative if I assembled some tips from the reverse angle - the best mistakes to make. I mean, if you're going to mess up, why not do it in epic fashion so people remember you.
  • Don't focus on the interview. By all means, feel free to talk about whatever stream of consciousness pops into your head. Your family, your spouse, your health problems and the fact that your neighbor's dog is doing his business on your front lawn. Make as much nervous small talk as possible, and if the reporter grew up in the same town as you, feel free to grill him for an hour to see if he had any of the same teachers as you in high school. After all, it's not like he's a media professional on deadline whose time is at a premium. There is nothing more he'd rather do than to talk about anything, except of course, the reason he's interviewing you.
  • Preparation, shmeperation. Journalists get a kick out of people who are not prepared for the interview, who don't know the reporter's name or the publication for which they toil. They completely understand when you don't know what area of interest they cover in their columns, or when you tell them you've never read any of their stories. The only way to score more points is to tell them you've read their stuff, and you think they don't have a clue what they are writing about most of the time.
  • Schedules are for wimps. Don't worry about being on time. Feel free to be late - in fact, be VERY late, especially if you are actually meeting them in person. These guys don't like going back to the office, so the longer you can keep them out of the office - especially if they are waiting at a diner or coffee shop that's at least 30 minutes away from the office - the better.
  • Trash talk is gold. Do you know what really plays well in the media? Trash talking your competition. There is nothing more fun than shooting off your mouth to a reporter, and then watching the sparks fly in the morning when the paper hits the streets. Your attorney will love you for it, because the fees you pay him to defend you in the business defamation lawsuit your competitor files are finally going to make him enough money to buy that new boat.
  • Lie, and then lie about lying. Nothing will get you more ink than if you lie, because reporters are pretty good at discovering the truth. And when they do, that means they'll write another story about you. In fact, the bigger the lie, the better, because then you get the news coverage hat trick - the original story, the follow-up when they expose your lie, and the contrite news conference where you fall on your sword and admit the truth. I mean, think about all the people in the news today who lied, or who are accused of lying, and continue to dot the headlines. Of course, as with the trash talk tip, make sure you have a good legal budget, because a good long court battle over the lies is a sure way to keep stringing out those headlines.
Okay, it was fun getting all that off my chest. As you know, my usual writing style is more "positive and inspiring" than "bitingly humorous," but it's good to shake things up now and then. And when you think about the points above, we see these mistakes made in the press, in some shape or form, every single day. It always makes me wonder, if these mistakes are so obvious to me, why aren't they obvious to the people who make them? Or their advisors?
The bottom line is that no matter how unschooled you are in public relations, common sense is a good baseline to guide your forays into the media. And if you're just not sure about the best conduct during a media interview, get a good PR person, or a good attorney.
Or maybe both, just to be safe.
Warm regards,
Marsha - Marsha - Marsha