Archive for January, 2012

Hey indies!

I know it’s been a while, but I gotta be honest, this subject that I’m gonna touch today is one of the most intricate ones. People don’t give enough credit to copyrights, with the internet piracy, creative commons, the whole discussion about the SOPA, PIPA, etc. we are starting to realize that it is important to have your music copyrighted (even when I don’t agree with the bill).

At the same time, there are things that are true in these subject and there are complete myths that are hard to break. The other day I was in a “Copyrights, Patents & Trademarks” class and even here, all the way in Spain, I heard the myth again: “The Poorman’s Copyright”. You know, that story about sending yourself a copy of the music & not opening it and blahblahblah… just so you just know, that DOES NOT hold any protection in the eyes of the law, so if you do that, somebody steals your music & you think you’re protected because you did that, YOU ARE WRONG! Alright? So tattoo this in your forehead if needed: COPYRIGHT OWNER CANNOT SUE FOR INFRINGEMENT UNLESS HE HAS REGISTERED THE WORK. With that said, you better pay attention to this video! 🙂

The basics:
There are 2 types of copyrights (when talking about music):
Sound Recording (SR): The actual recording. Also called “masters”. Normally Record Labels/Artists own this copyright. If you own everything (composition, lyrics, production, etc.) you can also copyright it all in the “Sound Recording” session.
Work Of Performing Arts (PA): The composition, encompassing music, melody & lyrics (if applicable).

How long does a copyright last?
From the date of registration til 70 years after your death.

Can you transfer copyrights?
Yes, but you have to do it in writing

How much does it cost?
It’s $35 per claim (if done online). You can do it by song or collection of songs if the same authors are shared.

Is it international?
Not really, each country has its copyright office, however, if you copyright your creations in the US Copyright Office (www.copyright.gov) you are protected in most of the countries in the world, thanks to relationships they have with other countries offices. For a full list please click here.

To read more about copyrights:
Copyright Basics

Para leer mas sobre copyrights:
Fundamentos de los Derechos de Autor

I’ve got this very interesting question in one of my previous episodes. Although I wanted for this diary to be more in order, from beginning to end of an artist’s career (hopefully it never ends right?), I can’t help to start receiving this kind of questions. So I figured out, whoever is interested in this episode will watch it, it doesn’t matter the order, right? And I prefer to do an episode to answer than just do a personal answer, since I think more people will be interested in this matter.

In this episode I take you through the steps to be able to sell your music on digital outlets, such as iTunes, Amazon, etc. This is basically what you will need to do/have:

– Have your music properly produced & clear of samples
– Have your music mixed & mastered
– Copyright your music (www.copyright.gov)
– Get your own UPC/EAN (depending where you want to sell it) code & ISRC Codes
– Have/make a cover artwork
– Find a digital aggregator

If you do this step by step, you shouldn’t have a problem putting your music for sale. Make sure you allow between 3-4 weeks for release once you’ve uploaded your song/album to the aggregator’s system.

By the way, from now on you guys can send your questions/comments/suggestions to indieartistdiary@ireneb.com. I will try to answer by email or with an episode, depending of what the question is about!

 

Today I went to a class about taxes in Europe, yep! It may sound boring, but if you’re gonna be an artist and eventually create a brand of yourself, you have to learn tricky & boring things about taxes, benefits, losses, etc. That way you will be in total control of your finances (even if you have an accountant or somebody who helps you do your taxes).

However, it is not about taxes that I came to talk about, it is about something far more interesting than that that I see over and over. I see artists being impatience and doing the wrong moves because of that, hell! I even made that mistake with the release of “Forgive Me Now”! But I learnt guys, because I had to work double to recover from that mistake. Some artists though don’t have that luxury & we see great talent wasted because of choosing the right timing to do things. These are my advices for you not to make the same mistakes I made:

– Don’t quit your day job before you’re established as an artist or you have enough money to live doing JUST music. I also had to work in a boring job that I didn’t like to save money to do what I really wanted, go to the US and record a bad a** record!

– Don’t release songs that are not finished: You want to be seen as a professional, in this music business there should be NO DEMOS! Only between producer & artist, not to be released to the world. When your song hits the world it has to be properly recorded, mixed & mastered!

– Don’t release songs/singles before you have all that you’re gonna have recorded & ready to go. It doesn’t matter if it’s a single, EP or album. You should have everything COMPLETELY ready before you release anything.

– Don’t start performing songs that you have NOT for sale (I’m talking original songs, you can do covers! of course!). The important thing about performances is to reach NEW audience that go & buy your record. If your record is not for sale, you’re gonna loose the audience, since most regular people ARE NOT gonna wait until your album is out for sale, they’ll just go to the next artist. People, in general, are volatile & have a very short attention span.

I think that’s all for today! Don’t make the same mistakes I made! Be patient, it is the secret to a music artist’s success!

Working with a producer and seeing lots of artists around I’ve found that, in general, there is a big misconception between producers, programmers, musicians and authors. I recorded this episode to make it all clear. Grammy Award producer Frankie Biggz helps me define each one of them.

You can also see a little bit what we did with Lorena Ares recording here in Mallorca. We had such a great time! She is such a hard worker for a 13 year old! As an author it is such a beautiful thing to see your song come to life in the voice of a new artist. You guys gotta experience it, at least once!

Also, you guys can get to this blog now from http://www.indieartistdiary.ireneb.com.

Today we spent most of the day at the studio recording Lorena Ares. When I got to the hotel I was surprised by a viewers’ question, that is awesome!! The question was concerning the Episode 3, about free stuff. He was offered to get his music mixed for free, but he was worried about the rights that he owned if that was done probono.

The thing is, you have to know what the other person is thinking, they might just want to do things for credits or experience. Make sure you talk about details in each deal, the same with anybody that offers their services for free. After you’ve gotten to an agreement, make sure you write a memo deal (a small contract with details) that states the parts of your agreement (no compensation upfront, rights for each of the parts, etc.).

Also, of your dealing with music being sent to a mixer/masterer, make sure you have copyrighted all the content before you send it out. You never know what people can do with your music once they have it in their hands…

Episode 4 – Managers

Posted: January 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

Hey guys,

Here in Mallorca, working & thinking: What can I talk about next? And then I got an idea! Managers! Managers are another kind of breed. There are great managers, that really believe in the artist they represent, and they you have the scam artists that hide behind the name of “artist manager”.

Don’t fool yourself, to have a manager is cool, but you don’t need one until you are rolling, you have a project ready, like a record for instance. Other things you should know:

– Managers work on commission, you get payed, they get payed.
– A manager can take between a 15-25% of the revenue he provides (performances, collaborations, etc.). The more money they invest on the project, the more they are entitled to. You should have a contract that states what are the percentages he’s taking for everything.
– Managers work for you, you don’t work for them, if they don’t do their job properly, you can fire them!]
– You should trust your manager 100% & they should have complete transparency with you (backed up by contracts, in-voices of stuff, etc.)

This is all I can think about right now, I want to give a shout out to my manager in Spain, Fran Torres!! You da bomb!!

Super great news about this diary, but I still cannot reveal anything. However, today we’re gonna talk about money, the eternal enemy for indie artists, right? Well, let’s be real here, you NEED some kind of money to be an artist, especially an indie one 🙂 Even if everybody worked for you pro-bono, you will still need money for some things an indie artist needs. Here is my view on the subject!

PS: I didn’t record anything at the studio, because they had a little accident & they’re trying to fix it, sorry!