Music Business | Peter Weis - Composer
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Questions Answered: Mixing Help

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A friend on Facebook recently sent me a question. She had recently purchased protools and needed help learning to mix. I realized this info might help out other people as well. Si I decided to post the answer to mu blog.- If you have questions or comments please leave them below.

I used this book http://amzn.to/137lzzo It is a good place to start. Keep in mind that there a few things that go into a good mix. The most important of those are the Performance and the Production. If those suck, a mix isnt going to make them much better.

Tips:

No. 1 – Take time during your production work to choose the right sounds (Those would be the sounds that sound good to you, the better they work before you mix, the better they will sound once you mix, and the opposite is true.)

No. 2 – The last more important issue is you have to learn to listen. For this part I suggest you get a few CDS, of what ever charting artists you like and listen to what they sound like. One of the reasons so many people suck at mixing is they have know clue what a good mix actually sounds like. Make sure to get music from major label charting artists,  not remixes, freestyles, mixtapes and bootlegs from around the way. If you’re going to learn what a good mix sounds like, your going to have to start by listening to good mixes.

For Hip Hop:
Life After Death by Notorious BIG is one of my favorites.
The Eminem Show

For Rock:
Staind – Break The Cycle
Nirvana
Puddle Of Mud

R&B
Boys To Men & Mariah Carey – One Sweet Day

As I think of more I’ll add them up.


Music, Laws, Business and You.

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A Night at the NY PMA Meeting

Last night I attended a meeting of the Production Music Association. I encourage every composer that works writing music for television, advertising or film to attend one of their events when possible. The event featured a panel of industry experts discussing the issues that face our side of the music industry. While these events can be a bit dry to sit through due to their corporate nature they are eye opening to say the least. What creating music for a living reduces down to when all is said and done is:

The music we create are assets. (They have value) They are assets for the composer or writer, and they are assets for the publishers. Composers and publishers both seek one thing, to improve the profitability of their business based on those assets. That means to get paid. 

As simple as that sounds, the laws and practices that come into play to profit from those assets are much more complicated than an invoice. There are issues for different types of licenses, different rate schedules, different PROs (Performing Rights Agencies, like ASCAP, BMI and SESAC)  all important topics that make navigating a career in the business difficult even for people with years of industry experience.  None of these issues are more apparent then when you attend a meeting like that of the PMA. Panelist, mostly dressed in suits, cited court cases and prefaced statements with legal disclaimers. This is music right? Suits, court cases?

No it business.

Dreams of working in the music business become much more based on reality when they become your reality. Profits, loss, legal issues, asset management, this is what you need to familiarize your self with if you want to further your career.  This is the first step every composer (and publishers starting out) need to take because it shows you what your music is worth and how you should value it.  When you understand that you will proceed in a way that benefits you and your clients best. At the same time the individuals you work with will respect your time and music more for it.

Peter Weis
Composer, Producer

 


Why You Need Your Own Domain Name

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You Dot Com
(Total reading time 2 minutes)

This post is for  friend I made today. I had the idea to write this after I had a conversation with them about creating a website.

There are many websites offering free websites giving you a place to call your own. By now every needs a web presence: musicians, singers, composers, bands, artists, business, everyone. For musicians there are sites like reverbnation.com ,and countless others, that let you set up shop for next to nothing. You have a place to show off your music, list performance dates and gather basic information about your fans.

So whats the deal then? Why not use it? There are a few reasons.

The first and most important is longevity. No one knows the future of any dot com. Even a website with as huge a following as Facebook could be old news in a year or two. Facebook old news? You think it couldn’t happen? Do you remember this awesome site called Myspace just a few years ago? Everyone had to have a Myspace page, every one used it, and many artists had built up huge fan bases on Myspace. So what happened? Myspace started to suck and people went else where leaving their pages behind. Almost everyone that used Myspace still has their page, but when was the last time they checked it? I haven’t logged into myspace in more then a year. This same fate could be that of any web start up. Of course the staying power of some companies and websites seems a bit better then others but you never know.

Owning and promoting your own domain name for yourself, band or business ensures that you are teaching your fans and customers where to find you no matter what. You domain name should not cost you more then $10 a year and basic hosting can cost as little as a a few dollars a month. That is a great price to own your own piece of the web.

The next reason I recommend avoiding free sites is advertising and distraction. If your fans on coming to a page about you then the focus should be about you. Your information should be the focus not some blinking thing on the side of the site or worse some annoying advertisement that pops up and makes noise. Some one took the time to actually come to your page, don’t wast there time with an advertisement for some web junk first.  Advertising on your own domain on the other hand is a completely different story especially if making money from sponsors allows you to create more content for you fans. That is a topic for another post though.

A physical brick and mortar space in the real world would cost you a fortune to maintain monthly. $100 or less per year is worth the investment if your are serious about branding your self.

Have questions about getting started on the web branding your self? Ask in the comments section below.

Thats all I have to say.

Peter Weis
Composer


Upgrades

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Do you upgrade your computer and software often? Did you ever wonder when the best time to upgrade is?  Here are my thoughts on upgrades.

  • Never upgrade anything in the middle of something important.
  • This is the most important rule to remember.
  • Don’t upgrade software or hardware just to upgrade, have a reason. Are you upgrading because of advertising and marketing or is their truly a need? Ask your self this question or else you will constantly be playing catch up to new technology.
  • If possible never upgrade the first day the upgrade is released. New things can be full of  problems. Wait a week or two and see what happens. Let some one else be the beta tester.
  • Don’t do upgrades in a rush or when your half a sleep. Leave your self enough time to the job or you will regret it in the morning.
  • Last but not least, enjoy your purchases and get the most out of them.

Thats all I have to say.

Peter Weis


Music Business 101 Contracts

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Real World Music Business 101

There is no other industry filled with more lies, bs and crap then the music industry. As a young songwriter or producer trying to get a break it is easy to be led along, taken advantage of, and sold dreams. Here are some tips to help you make the process of sifting through all the wanna bees, “managers”, “indie record labels” and other things.  My personal working experience has been manly working with different music publishing companies and that is what many of these suggestions are based on. Each area of the music business differs but most of these suggestions will still hold weight.

1. Do as much research as you possible can about the person or company. The more established the person or company says they are the more visible they will be on the internet. Ask what PRO or performing rights agency they are affiliated with. Then check and see.

2. If you are being presented with paper work get legal representation when ever possible. I’am not recommending you sign things with out the advice of a lawyer, however their are some things that should raise some flags.

  • Words like “work for hire” which isn’t always a bad thing.
  • Are you actually being paid anything for completing the work?
  • Are they asking for your SS#
  • Did they ask you to initial each page of the contract?
  • Did they ask you to fill out forms for TAX purposes? (* If you are going to get paid by a company they will have to report it to the IRS)
  • Did they ask for information about your PRO?
  • How many copies of the document are you signing?

3. Whenever possible always try to meet with someone at the company you are signing with at least once in person. Even a 5 minute conversation on the phone can reveal layers of a persons character cloaked by things like facebook, twitter, email, and myspace.

4. If you feel something isn’t right. Pay a few dollars and do a public records search. You might be surprised with who you were about to sign with.

5. Seek advice from your peers that may have had similar experiences. A fresh look at something can create an entirely new perspective on something. It’s easy to let emotions take control of a situation when you get excited and think. “This is finally it”. That “Finally it” could me your career is about to begin or it could me your career is about to be over because you just made a poor decision.

6. Lastly. Always way what you are providing with what you are getting in return, the exclusivity of it, and then ask: Is it worth it? What is the risk involved? What is the best possible scenario? What is the worst? At the end of the day you and only you are responsible for your choices.

Thats all I have to say.

Peter Weis


Gobbler – Back Up For Musicians

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Gobbler – Back up solutions for audio and video professionals.
(Total reading time 2 minutes)

Through a tweet I hear about Gobbler today. Gobbler is a cloud based file sharing and backup solution for media professionals like musicians, studios, and video editors. Sign up to the site was easy and right now they are offering a 25 GB free account while the web site is in beta testing.

After sign up and confirmation of your email address you must download an application that catalogs your files. I searches your hard drive for session created by your DAW (digital audio workstation.) It recognized files by all the popular recording softwares including Logic, Protools, Garage Band, Cubase, Sonar and more. For a full list of compatible files visit the Gobbler website. When Gobbler has finished searching your computer is shows a list of files you can select to back up. The sessions you choose to back up are then put in a queue or fancy waiting line to be uploaded to the cloud. Once the file is on the cloud the it can be sent to another person by link in an email. The session will also be updated and continuously backed up on the cloud from that point on. One of the best features about Gobbler is it does not do anything while your DAW is open and you are working. It leaves that precious CPU for you to use on your session and plug ins. When your session is closed and you are watching reruns of the Jersey Shore on Netflix Gobbler gets back to work.

Gobbler seems like the backup solution musicians and studio owners have been waiting for. Back up products like Apple’s built in Time Machine are good but the danger lies in the back up being on site. Cloud based back ups are more useful in the case of some catastrophe like theft, flood, or fire. In an event like that your main hard drive and back up drives are in the same place and they will most likely suffer the same fate. Cloud based storage moves you backed up information off site.

I’ll be trying Gobbler over the next few months to back up sessions for my clients. Give it a try while they are still overing free hard drive space. It might not last for long.

Thats all I have to say.

Peter Weis


Get Your Network On

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Networking
(Total reading time 1-2 minutes)

Network, Network, Network. Thats all any one ever says about trying to launch a career in the music business. Yet time and time again I meet people that are trying to “build their network” that just don’t get it. Networking is not about meeting every one under the sun, going to parties and handing out business cards. Networking is about trust. Thats it. You need to have relationships with people that have faith that you can get a job done. That job could be something small or it could be a multi million dollar project. It is all related to trust. It bothers me that so many people moan and groan about how hard it is to get into the music business and proceed to fall to the side like flakes in a fish bowl.  Don’t build your network by passing your business card out like appetizers on the snack tray. Just give it to a few select people and then follow up like you are a responsible person. Its not that hard.

The truth is that the music industry is looking for talent. They are just trying to waste their time sifting through the flakes. The people who don’t return calls, don’t answer emails, take for ever to get a demo, it goes on and on and on.

If you want to work in this business then make a clear decision to do so and then respect that any other job. Once people trust you they will talk about, give you work, and let you into their network. just because they trust your work ethic and personality.

Thats all I have to say.

Peter Weis


Power Brunch With NARIP and Rockamedia

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Get your network on.
(Total reading time 1 minute)

Less then a month ago I became a member of the National Association Of Record Professionals also know as NARIP. This afternoon they hosted a brunch focused on networking and making friends with in the field. It was a great opportunity not only to rub elbows with a few publishers and music licensers but also to talk to people with similar goals.  It is  comforting to find that you are not alone in your struggles, confusions, success and failures. Special thanks need to be given to Ed Steinberg and Samantha Watson of Rockamedia for sharing their space and being such welcoming hosts. From the latch turn on the door as it opened they made every one feel welcome.

Compared to other networking events I have attended this brunch was much more personal and intimate. The room was filled with cool people that were willing to share their stories, talents and needs in a way most other events cant seem to match. NARIP also seems to draw a much more focused type of individual to their events. Despite what phase of their career they are currently in, most, if not all of the people I have met at the NARIP gatherings are much more goal oriented and serious about their craft.  I look forward to seeing the people I met today at the next event and hope next time I can share time with others as well.

Thats all I have to say.

Peter Weis

Composer.


15 Must Read Music Marketing Articles – Market Your Music Already

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Peter Weis Composer ProducerStart marketing your music now.

Everyone loves to create music, no one likes to deal with marketing it. The cold truth though is with out marketing your music some way or another no one will hear it. Your marketing could be simple like sharing your music with friends on Facebook, youtube or twitter. On the other hand it could also be extremly complicated if your an established artist on a major label involving advertising campaigns, public relations firms, radio promoters, managers, tours, street teams and on and on and on. So where do you begin?  Here are a few articles to get you going in the right direction. There is a lot to learn about marketing especially now that the internet has taken over as the most influential advertising platform.

And no music marketing article could be complete with out a link to Bob Bakers Guerilla Music Marketing Handbook

Now get out there and start marketing.
Thats all I have to say.

Peter Weis

Want to know more about Peter Weis the Composer


Get Your Music Career Started Now

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Your Music Career Starts Now
(Total reading time 2 minutes)

I spent an hour on youtube.com sifting through a buffet table of talent.  Singer songwriters, rappers, covers of just about any song you could imagine. Some artists not even 16 years old with more then sixty videos worth of cover songs.  Some you can tell have been professionally recorded, others have not. It really interests me to see how youtube’s evolution will continue to push the music industry into new directions.  In only a few years the entire model of music distribution and now artist development and a&r has been turned on its head.  If you are a major label looking for talent scouting through youtube provides you not only with talent but with complete metrics, audience demographics, and fan base built right it.

Learn cover songs that your audience would like.  If your are a country artist learn country songs, if you are a pop artist learn pop songs.

When you cover a song, don’t just perform the song.  That is karaoke, which is cool, but not what you should be aiming for.  Create your own version of the song.  Make the song.  What makes an artist an artist is their instant ability to put their sound on something.  Frank Sinatra, Barbara Streisand, and Sammy Davis Jr. could all sing the same song and each would be insanely different. That is what artistry is about.

Here are a few of many examples available on youtube.

I Need A Doctor by Eminem and Dr. Dre – cover version by DaViglio

Firework by Katy Perry – cover version by Megan Nicole

Oops I Did It Again – cover version by Kina Grannis

You’ll notice in most cases the video is simple, very simple.  Basic editing if any, basic recording with modest equipment.  More then likely an Apple Imac or laptop with the free version on Garage Band and a decent microphone and inexpensive audio interface.

But you say to yourself I am not a singer songwriter. Thats okay.  I would love to see a 45 year old man cover a Katy Perry song on bag pipes.  In all honestly it doesn’t matter what you do, just do what you love to do in a consistent way.  The entire point is to cover songs that will attract people to your fan base.  Does it happen over night?  Not at all.  If you are gaining youtube subscribers, building your fan base, attracting people to your live shows, and selling some downloads on itunes here and there, that is a huge sign you are headed in the right direction.  And your fans will let you know. Not sure if this works?  I found a singer songwriter doing similar videos on youtube of cover songs last night.  As I looked around on her page I discovered she was signed to the multi platinum production team, The Neptune’s.

Go get started.

Thats all I have to say.

Peter Weis