Thursday, February 23

Advise to club & resturant owners/managers


 by Dave Goldberg on Friday, January 6, 2012 at 9:53am
 AS I’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR GIGS LATELY, I’ve never seen so many free and low paying gigs. Well the economy is bad, so I can understand that a little bit. However, it is no longer good enough for the musician to be willing to perform for little compensation. Now we are expected to also be the venue’s promoter. The expectations are that the band will not only provide great music, but also bring lots of people to their venue. It is now the band’s responsibility to make this happen, not the club owner. Just the other day I was told by someone who owned a wine bar that they really liked our music and would love for us to play at their place. She then told me the gig paid $75 for a trio. Now $75 used to be bad money per person, let alone $75 for the whole band. It had to be a joke, right? No she was serious.But it didn’t end there. She then informed us we had to bring 25 people minimum. Didn’t even offer us extra money if we brought 25 people. I would have laughed other than it’s not the first time I’ve gotten this proposal from club owners. But are there musicians really doing this? Yes. They are so desperate to play, they will do anything. But lets think about this for a second and turn this around a little bit. What if I told the wine bar owner that I have a great band and we are going to play at my house. I need someone to provide and pour wine while we play. I can’t pay much, just $75 and you must bring at least 25 people who are willing to pay a $10 cover charge at the door. Now wouldn’t they look at you like you are crazy?
"Why would I do that"
they would ask?Well because it’s great exposure for you and your wine bar. The people there would see how well you pour wine and see how good your wine is. Then they would come out to your wine bar sometime.
"But I brought all the people myself, I already know them?"
they would say. Well maybe you could make up some professional looking flyers, pass them out, and get people you don’t know to come on out.
"But you are only paying me $75, How can I afford to make up flyers?"
You see how absurd this sounds, but musicians do this all the time. If they didn’t, then the club owners wouldn’t even think of asking us to do it. So this sounds like a great deal for the club owners doesn’t it.They get a band and customers for that night, and have to pay very little if anything. But what they don’t realize is that this is NOT in their best interest.Running a restaurant, a club, a bar, is really hard.There is a lot at stake for the owner. You are trying to get loyal customers that will return because you are offering them something special. If you want great food, you hire a great chef. If you want great décor,you hire a great interior decorator. You expect these professionals to do their best at what you are hiring them to do. It needs to be the same with the band.You hire a great band and should expect great music.That should be the end of your expectations for the musicians. The music is another product for the venue to offer, no different from food or beverages.When a venue opens it’s doors, it has to market itself. The club owner can’t expect people to just walk in the door. This has to be handled in a professional way. Do you really want to leave something so important up to a musician? This is where the club owner needs to take over. It is their success or their failure on the line, not the musician.The musician can just move on to another venue. I’ve played places where for whatever reason only a few people have walked in the door on a Saturday night.The club owner got mad at me, asking where are the people? I turned it around on him asking the same thing? Where are all the people? It’s Saturday night and your venue is empty. Doesn’t that concern you?What are you going to do about it? Usually their answer is to find another band with a larger following.This means the professional bands get run out of the joint in favor of whoever can bring in the most people.Eddie Mechanic who has slaved all week fixing cars at the local dealership also plays guitar. Not very well,but he’s been practicing once a week with DoctorDrummer, Banker Bass Player, and Salesman Singer.Usually they just drink beer between rehearsing a few tunes in Eddie’s garage, but this week they answer a craigslist ad and line up a big gig. Well they don’t sound that good, but they sure all work with a lot ofpeople everyday. All these people can be given a flyer on Monday and after being asked "are you coming to my gig?" everyday all week, will most likely show up on Saturday night. So mission accomplished, the club owner has packed his venue for one night. But here’s where the club owner doesn’t get it. The crowd is following the band, not the venue. The next night you will have to start all over again. And thepeople that were starting to follow your venue, are now turned off because you just made them listen toa bad band. The goal should be to build a fan base of the venue. To get people that will trust that you willhave good music in there every night. Instead you’ve soiled your reputation for a quick fix.I think we as musicians need to fight back. Sure you can get mad about it, but that won’t do anything.We could all agree not to play those for the door gigs,but you know that isn’t going to happen. But what we can do, is explain to the club owner that it’s not in their best interest to operate their business like this.There is too much at stake for them not to be truly invested in the music presented in their venue. Convince them that if they think that live music is important to the demographic that they are trying toreach, then they need to reach out to that demographic in a professional way.If you asked a club owner, "who is your target demographic?"
I doubt they would answer "the band’s friends and family."But yet clubs operate like it is. Another example, I answered a craigslist ad for anice looking place in Beverly Hills. The ad read…
"looking for a high energy jazz band, if you can bring the band and have a following, I will put you on stage."
That logic seams to say that they think musicians in a jazz band know lots of people living in Beverly Hills. And the people those musicians know,have lots of money to spend. Those are two pretty big assumptions. Good luck finding that combination. Even if you find that combination, are you going to find it every night? Because friends and family of a professional musician won’t come out that often. They can’t. This is what we do every night.Would you expect the chef’s friends and family to eat at your restaurant every night? How about the dishwasher, the waitresses, the hostess? Or how about the club owners friends and family? You see,when you start turning this argument around, it becomes silly.I’ve started arguing with club owners about this. It happened after I played a great night of music in LA.We were playing for a % of the bar. There were about 50 people there in this small venue, so it was a good turnout. At the end of the night, I go to get paid, and hope to book another gig. The club owner was angry. "Where are your people?" he asked. "All these people, I brought in. We had a speed dating event  and they are all left over from that." I pointed out they all stayed and listened to the music for 2 hours after their event ended. That was 2 more hours of barsales, because without us, you have an empty room with nothing going on. He just couldn’t get over thefact that we didn’t walk in with our own entourage of fans. Wasn’t happy that we kept a full room spending money. Right when we were talking, a group of people interrupted us and said "you guys sound  great, when is the next time you’re playing here again?"
The club owner, said "they aren’t, they didn’t  bring anyone."   I went home that night bummed out and sent him an email. Telling him most of what you are reading here and how his business model and thinking is flawed. After a lot of swearing back and forth,because I’m guessing that musicians never talk to him as a business equal. He eventually admitted thatwhat I was saying made sense. BUT, that’s not howLA clubs and restaurants work. And he has bands answering his craigslist ads willing to do whatever it takes to get the gig. It’s been a couple of years nowsince that conversation. I called his bar, and the number is disconnected.So there you goLA club and restaurant owners.Theadviceis free. But you’ll most likely ignore it because "That’s not how it works". But if more musicians kept telling them the same thing, perhaps it would start to sink in.
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Monday, December 5

The importance of Copyright

Barbara Hendricks Brings Music to Inauguration Ceremony

Barbara Hendricks, one of the world’s leading opera singers and a best-selling recording artist, joined the intellectual property community in inaugurating the new WIPO building on September 26, 2011 with a recital of Manuel de Falla’s “Siete Canciones Populares Españolas.”

(Photos: E. Berrod)
 Video -  Barbara Hendricks sings at WIPO,
accompanied by pianist Love Derwinger.
Ms. Hendricks said she was pleased to be part of the ceremony as a representative of the artistic community.  It was an honor she said, “to be here to help you inaugurate your new building with music because you are here to help us the artists, the creators, the scientists. Because without our rights, without the possibility to continue, there will be no more arts, there will be no more creativity, there will be no more civilization.”

"[WIPO is] here to help us, the artists, the creators, the scientists. Because without our rights, there will be no more arts."

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry welcomed Barbara Hendricks as "an inspirational representative of the international artistic community, who has demonstrated a life-long commitment to promoting development through the arts – a cause in which we share.”  He paid tribute to Ms. Hendricks’ work in support of refugees through the cultural foundation, Etoile d’Azur (Help with Art), and as an Honorary Ambassador for Life of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

Ms. Hendricks’ performance delighted delegates of WIPO’s member states, who were in Geneva for the WIPO Assemblies.  “The fact that she was here is wonderful,”  said South African delegate Tshihumbudzo Zane Ravhandalala.  “By bringing music to the ceremony, Barbara Hendricks reminded policy makers in the IP community that their work is truly important by providing an environment where culture can flourish."

WIPO DG Francis Gurry thanks Barbara Hendricks
– "an inspirational representative of the
international artistic community."
"We need art in our lives... it is the singular expression of our human condition.”

In a filmed interview for the WIPO You Tube channel, Ms. Hendricks told WIPO that artists need to earn a living from their work and that piracy - while not so prevalent in classical music - prevents many from doing so.  “Quite a few artists that are getting downloaded for free are people who write and produce their own music and without revenue they can’t continue.  So that means there will be no music to download soon because those artists will have to go out and work in an office or something.”

Paying artists for their music was a matter of respect and of fairness, she said. The opera diva described her own successful experiment in making her music available online and allowing users to decide whether - and how much - to pay for it.  But artists' own choices should be respected.  "If they want to give away their music freely, that's their priviledge," she said. "But they have a right to decide for themselves."

Barbara Hendricks concluded on an optimistic note on the challenges facing the music industry today.  “I think we will be able to find solutions so that artists can continue to create and to represent what is so important for us as human beings," she said.

Saturday, November 19

Major record label expands digital team


Los Angeles, CA, September 15, 2011 – Continuing with the expansion of its global digital operation, Universal Music Group (UMG), the world’s leading music company, has promoted Simon Watt to Head of Technology, Global Digital Group, it was announced today by Rob Wells, President of Global Digital Business, to whom Mr. Watt reports. Formerly, Mr. Watt served as Vice President of Technology for Universal Music Group International.

Based in Los Angeles, Mr. Watt will play a key role in helping to drive the ongoing globalization of UMG’s digital businesses. He will be responsible for developing and supporting strategic technical engagements with partners, developing new technology solutions, integrating new business models into the company’s systems and implementing their rollout to international markets. Mr. Watt will continue to work closely with the major technology companies including Apple, Google, YouTube, Spotify and Microsoft, on behalf of UMG’s record labels and operating companies worldwide.

“As the demand for digital music continues to grow, we are committed to working with those innovative companies in bringing new and dynamic services to fans everywhere,” stated Mr. Wells. “And having a results-driven executive of Simon’s caliber and experience lead our technology group demonstrates that we've got the best talent in place to maximize many of these opportunities in the current marketplace.”

“This is an exciting time for music and technology and I am truly grateful to Rob for the opportunity to play an even larger role in shaping our digital business,” added Mr. Watt. “We have taken a more progressive approach to working with our technology partners, while at the same time, being very responsive to what our artists, consumers and retailers want. We are determined to help create, support and nurture the very best services in the world for fans and artists alike.”

Prior to joining Universal Music in 2004, Mr. Watt spent 11 years at electronics firm ARM, latterly as Director of Research. He is the inventor of proprietary computing and microchip architecture, and has 20 patents in his name, many of which are used in the ~5B ARM processors shipped annually.

About Universal Music Group

Universal Music Group is the world’s leading music company with wholly owned record operations or licensees in 77 territories. Its businesses also include Universal Music Publishing Group, the industry's leading global music publishing operation.

Universal Music Group's record labels include A&M/Octone, Decca, Def Jam Recordings, Deutsche Grammophon, Disa, Emarcy, Fonovisa, Geffen Records, Interscope Records, Island Records, Lost Highway Records, Machete Music, MCA Nashville, Mercury Nashville, Mercury Records, Motown Records, Polydor Records, Show Dog–Universal Music, Universal Music Latino, Universal Republic and Verve Music Group as well as a multitude of record labels owned or distributed by its record company subsidiaries around the world. The Universal Music Group owns the most extensive catalog of music in the industry, which includes the last 100 years of the world's most popular artists and their recordings. UMG’s catalog is marketed through two distinct divisions, Universal Music Enterprises (in the U.S.) and Universal Strategic Marketing (outside the U.S.). Universal Music Group also includes eLabs, its new media and technologies division; Bravado, its merchandising company; and Twenty-First Artists, its full service management division.

Universal Music Group is a unit of Vivendi, a global media and communications company.

Tuesday, October 25

Copyright and Related Rights

Copyright and related rights protect the rights of authors, performers, producers and broadcasters, and contribute to the cultural and economic development of nations. This protection fulfills a decisive role in articulating the contributions and rights of different stakeholders and the relation between them and the public. The purpose of copyright and related rights is twofold: to encourage a dynamic creative culture, while returning value to creators so that they can lead a dignified economic existence, and to provide widespread, affordable access to content for the public.

WIPO works on the development of international norms and standards in the area of copyright and related rights. The WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights is presently discussing important issues such as limitations and exceptions, the protection of audiovisual performances and the protection of broadcasting organizations.

Recently published

Draft Report of the 22nd session of the SCCR
Current topics

Limitations and Exceptions
Audiovisual Performances
Broadcasting Organizations
Copyright Registration and Documentation Systems
Public Domain
Internet Intermediaries and Creative Content