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Class is in Session: The Music Biz

From an origianl  post by Brian Corber  on Linkedin. Brian is a Music Lawyer, and has graciously granted permission for me to re-publish this. Check out his website – as he says, ” The music business is tough. Talent isn’t enough. You need a smart lawyer on your side.”



CLASS IS IN SESSION: THIS IS WHAT YOU DIDN’T LEARN BY BUYING GUITAR HERO OR GOING TO BERKLEE:

1. MUSICIANS ARE NOT HIGHER UP ON THE EVOLUTIONARY SCALE. THEY DON’T
WALK ON WATER AND ARE NOT ENTITLED TO ANYTHING MORE THAN ANY OTHER
HUMAN.

2. WHEN AN OPPORTUNITY COMES ALONG TO MAKE ANY MONEY AT ALL FROM YOUR
MUSIC, YOU’D BETTER GRAB IT BECAUSE THEY DON’T DESCEND FROM HEAVEN.
JUST BECAUSE YOU CREATED A MUSIC FILE, JUST BECAUSE MAYBE YOU REGISTERED
ITS COPYRIGHT, JUST BECAUSE MAYBE YOU REGISTERED IT WITH ASCAP, BMI OR
SESAC DOESN’T GUARANTEE THAT MONEY WILL DROP FROM HEAVEN ONTO YOU.

3. JUST BECAUSE YOU CREATE MUSIC DOESN’T MEAN YOU’RE IN THE MUSIC
BUSINESS. AND NOT EVERY NOISE YOU CREATE SHOULD BE CONSIDERED MUSIC. A
LOT OF IT IS NOISE POLLUTION.

SO, IF SOMEONE POSTS A MESSAGE SAYING: WE WILL LICENSE YOUR MUSIC, WE
WILL BUY IT, WE WILL USE IT AND YOU WILL MAKE MONEY FROM OUR EFFORTS, A
SMART PERSON WOULD GRAB THAT OPPORTUNITY FAST.

4. NOT EVERYONE WHO SEEKS TO MAKE MONEY FROM USE OF YOUR MUSIC IS EVIL.
YOU CAN TELL BY READING THE CONTRACT. IF YOU CAN’T TELL FROM DOING
THAT, HIRE A LAWYER AND HE OR SHE WILL TELL YOU.

5. THIS IS THE BUSINESS YOU’VE CHOSEN. IT’S NOT A CAKEWALK, IT’S NOT
ROMPER ROOM. IT IS A ROUGH COMPETITIVE BUSINESS AND MORE COMPLEX THAN
FIGURING OUT HOW TO ORGANIZE THE CORN ON YOUR PLATE. IT IS A WORLD WIDE
BUSINESS, IN MANY COUNTRIES, AND NOT ALWAYS ALIKE IN EACH OF THOSE
COUNTRIES. YES, THERE ARE PEOPLE OUT THERE SEEKING TO STEAL YOUR STUFF,
AND A LOT OF THOSE PEOPLE ARE YOUR FELLOW MUSICIANS.

6. RECENTLY MUSIC DISH REPORTED ON A SMALL SURVEY THAT INDICATED THAT THE
VAST MAJORITY OF MUSICIANS AREN’T MAKING ENOUGH MONEY FOR THE SIMPLE
NECESSITIES OF LIFE LET ALONE A MANSION AND A MERCEDES.

SO, REALLY. GET OVER YOURSELVES AND SMARTEN UP. BEING IGNORANT AND
OBLIVIOUS TO THE TRUTH ABOUT THE BUSINESS WILL DEFEAT YOU IN THE SHORT
AND LONG RUN.

7. AND JUST BECAUSE ANOTHER MUSICIAN TOLD YOU SOMETHING DOESN’T MEAN IT’S
TRUE. THEY PROBABLY HEARD IT FROM YET ANOTHER MUSICIAN WHO HEARD IT
FROM ANOTHER MUSICIAN WHO HEARD IT FROM YET ANOTHER MUSICIAN. THIS IS
HOW RUMORS ABOUT THINGS LIKE THE POOR MAN’S COPYRIGHT GET AROUND.

8. SMARTEN UP PEOPLE. ONLY THOSE WHO LEARN ACTUALLY LEARN HOW MUCH MORE
THERE IS TO LEARN. THOSE WHO THINK THEY KNOW EVERYTHING DON’T EVEN KNOW
HOW MUCH THEY DON’T EVEN KNOW.

0. AND STOP DRINKING THE ASCAP COOL-AID. AND THE BMI COOL-AID. AND THE SESAC COOL-AID. AND THE RIAA COOL-AID.

10. STROKING YOUR EGO WON’T HELP YOU BUY GROCERIES FOR YOUR FAMILY. YOUR
LANDLORD WON’T ACCEPT “I GOT 10,000 HITS ON MY MYSPACE PAGE” IN PAYMENT
OF THE RENT.

AND ATTACKING THE MESSENGER WON’T CHANGE THE MESSAGE. IF YOU WANT TO BE A MUSIC BUSINESS YOU HAVE A LOT OF WORK TO DO.

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