… I would first weigh my wants and needs, my strengths and weaknesses, leave my sanity at the door, and it would go something like this…
My Aim [Musically]:
1. My Main Criteria: Grrreat Songs that grab you and take you away to another land… That always has been, and always will be #1 in my book!!!
2. Broadcast-Ready Masters with Great Artists & Great Accompanying Musicians with Great Arrangements & Productions.
3. Genre: Open – But I would lean toward Rock, Classic R&B, Classic Soul [not neo], Rock-Dance, Techno, & Rock’n Country.
My Aim [Products]:
1. Singles! Each Song would be handled like a “Project”
2. Possible Albums [if there is a demand for a particular Artist]
3. Compilation Albums [if there is a demand for one, or it just makes sense at the time.]
My Aim [Business-wise]:
As each Single is completed and [Mastered], they would be put right out! Single, by Single!
1. Downloads, Streaming, etc…
2. Placements of Recordings – Branding, TV/Film, etc…
3. Placement of Songs
4. Placement of Artists [PP/Label]
5. Multimedia Uses and Sales
6. Sale of other Products, including Merchandise, when warranted.
My Legal Set-up:
The Record Company [“Company”] would be part of the Music Division of “Professor Pooch LLC” [“PPLLC”], involved with:
1. Production/Record Company – Artists would be signed with my Company, per Single, or through my Company to another Label – only if that Label approaches my Company, and my Company and Artist feel they should become involved in some way with them.
My Company would only consider Artists who are willing to do what Artists are supposed to do in the Music Industry in 2011, both musically, and in regards to being sociable, inviting fans to be a part of their Total Music Experience. Artist [or Musician or, Producer, or whomever] could, if they wish, use any alias they want…
2. Publishing – We would be using a good deal of my own songs. But, I will always be open-minded to amazing songs that grab me that are written by others! I’m not stupid – and I Love Great Songs!
Multiple people would be able to record one or more songs, with or without my Company’s involvement, as long as the arrangement and production are different, and it’s not released until after the Publisher has the right to choose who’s releasing the 1st version. [“Compulsory License”]
3. Management Division [“PPLLC”] – We would over-see projects, but will receive no income for Managing, except when we’re responsible for directly or indirectly making whomever or whatever “happen.” There will be no double-dipping! When earned, Management would receive 20% of the Artist’s Gross, to be split up with all the associates involved on that Project.
I will always be open to suggestions, from anyone involved in any Project, but I would have final say if a decision can’t be made - regarding any situation, for any reason. MY Name is on the line!!!
In truth, a Democracy rarely works in the Music Industry - somebody MUST make a decision at some point so things can move forward!
Yes, I would have a Team of Associates that would become involved on a Project by Project scenario… Also, from time to time, I would take on Interns, those who would really want to learn the Music Business, and help make the Project[s], a success.
Note: In most cases, Legal Contracts covering all our wants and needs, would be written and/or negotiated by me – but I would reserve the right to use outside Attorneys, in certain circumstances…
Record Company Business Model:
The Artist would be signed “Per Single.” Just for that Single - unless “something happens.” That is, somehow this Single jump-starts their career, wherein they should keep in mind, and reward, those who were responsible for helping make it happen, by extending “the Term” of service.
All accounting would be totally transparent to those involved with that particular project.
This would NOT be a 360 Deal!!! 100% of Artist’s Live Performance money is theirs to keep!!! [Unless they have their own Manager]
We would not Manage Artists, but are open to guiding their Manager, if they have one. The Record Company and Artist must be on the same page.
As with any Record Company, this Company would have the right to release or not release the Recording[s]. However, if Recordings are not released by the Record Company, Artist would have the right to release them, themselves. However, those involved, except for the Recording Company, would be paid as agreed…
My Company Criteria for “Signing” an Artist:
Artist & Musicians/Groups/Bands:
1. They would have to be considered an “Unsigned Artist”. That is, they are not signed with a Major Record Label or Subsidiary. Artists may be signed to, and are encouraged to form, their own Indie Label. Artists already with other Indie Labels would be considered on a case by case basis [through the Production Company.]
2. Artists must know how to “communicate” a song. [If they can’t feel a Song – they shouldn’t do it!]
3. Details of what I look for in an Artist can be found at this Link:
Note: I may choose to be one of the Artists, myself – depending on the Song, and if it makes sense…
Note: These are generalized; there may be variations due to participants and situations… All are from “the net” [as opposed to the “gross”] – full, transparent accounting will be made available to all on that Project…
Artists: 15 points [“pts.”] for sale of Physical Products [if released in that form]; & 35 pts., for Digital Products
Musicians: If not part of a Group, they will receive 15 points [pts.] Physical & 35 pts., Digital – which would be split equally between all the Musicians, including Vocalist]
Songwriters/Publishing: The actual Songwriter[s] would receive 100% of the writing money. The Publishing income would be split 50-50 between Writers and the Publisher.
Arrangers: 2 Pts.
Producers: 4 pts.
Studios: a 50-50 split with Company of the Master[s] and its income.
Engineers: 2 pts.
Note #1: For all roles in a Project, if more than one person are involved in that role, the amounts are expected to be split equally.
Note #2: All participants would receive proper recognition for their efforts, which would be displayed prominently, if at all possible.
Promotion & PR – will be overseen by Management, utilizing a Team of “Trusted Associates.” However, every Musical participant in every project must agree to promote any product they were a part of.
Web Site / Networking: We would have our own Web Site and would be well covered on the Internet, Mobile, etc., including the Social Networks. An agreed upon, off-the-top, per song, set amount would be paid from Income, and would be split between Web & Promotion Associates …
1. I would expect all involved in any way on any Project to Act & Be Professional at all times! That means: No Drama; No Egos. This would be a Team Effort, & Everyone must treat Everyone, and Everything, with Respect.
2. There would be no coming to me with any products, unless requested. If you are great at what you do, believe me, I will have heard about You, or will hear about you, somehow, someway, from someone!
3. Due to my location, I would use Greater Philadelphia Area Studios, and they would be invited to offer use of their Studios, on a song by song basis, with the understanding that they can pick the Project[s] they wish to become involved with…
4. I would, at times, look for certain people for particular situations. If I ever would need a particular service or person or whatever, I would approach that person or company, or announce it…
5. There would be very few, if any “employees.” People would normally receive their income for what they actually do… Interns wishing to learn the Music Business, and help with the cause, would be able to approach me, and if it’s a “fit”, we would talk about it…
6. At times I will post song demos, and if an Artist or Group would be interested in doing one of the Songs, and feel they can do it justice, we would discuss it…
7. Legal contracts & releases, etc., would be signed “Per Song” with everyone involved, spelling out everything! Everyone would be invited to use an Independent Attorney of their choice, if they so wish.
8. In regards to all the roles I mentioned, you should only pick the products and project[s] that you believe in!
9. There would be little, if any, expenses to recoup, before payments are made!
10. No one involved would be expected to pay for anything involved in their part of the recording process for their project up front! $0.00!
Well, that’s it in a nut shell!
Oh, by the way…
1. Ya know, it’s very tempting to me to want to really do this… Hmmm…
2. You are welcome to steal any or all of what I’ve mentioned. Obviously, as I said in the beginning, I built it around my wants and needs, and my strengths and weaknesses. You’ll need to adjust it to your strengths & weaknesses, and work with others who are strong, where you are weak, like I would do…
Now, if You are seriously interested in starting your own Production and/or Record Company, in any way, shape or form, I will ask you to keep two things in mind, before you start any major project like this:
1. Either know the Music Industry and how it operates, inside and out, or, see either me, or someone else who really knows the Music Industry for guidance in pulling off any or all of the above. I will be happy to help you design your own Company, to fit You.
2. Either know the Legal/Contractual end of the Music Industry, and how the Music Industry operates, or see me or an Entertainment Attorney specializing in the Music Industry, to make sure you’re protected and your contracts are in place, personalized to your exact situation, wants & needs…
Well, the only other thing to add at this moment is:
Welcome to the 2011 version of the Music Industry -
where You, have the Freedom, to be You!
And, as I always say: STAY TUNED FOR THE NEXT EPISODE….
David J. Spangenberg
Music Business Career Guidance,
Educator, Author, Consultant,
Music Legal & Contract Specialist