An artist or music producer licensing music is similar to a land-lord subletting or renting out a property. While the ownership itself is not transferred, the rights to use the music for various purposes such as commercials, drama, documentary and video games are granted for a pre-agreed length of time. This is done in exchange for royalties which can vary in accordance with the quality of music, publisher, music library and any other terms and conditions.
The Following are the various kinds of Licences that every artist or licensee should know about:
Master Recording Licence: Obtaining this licence give the holder the right to use a recording that was created by someone else. In most cases the master recording rights are obtained from the rights holder. In simpler terms, a master license gives the holder the permission to use an already existing record/track.
Performance Licence: As the name itself suggests, obtaining a performance licence means that you are permitted to ‘perform’ the music in public. This could include live gigs in clubs, commercial establishments, conventions etc.
Sync Licence: This is a licence that especially assists up-and-coming artists in gaining valuable exposure. A Sync License gives the licence holder the permission to sync the music with visual media outputs such as documentaries, dramas and commercials, among others.
Mechanical Licence: A Mechanical Licence gives the license holder the right to reproduce and distribute copyrighted music. When you want to cover an already existing song, this is the kind of licence you will need to get hold of. When reproducing the track one cannot make major changes from the original.
Print licence: As one may suspect, A Print Licence is needed to print, copy or re-print the lyrics of a song. This type of licence is usually needed to create song sheets etc.
Blanket Licence: A blanket licence allows the licence holder to use songs/tracks in large quantities for a pre-determined duration and for a pre-agreed fee. This is the licence that radio stations or establishments that constantly play music (for example malls, restaurant chains etc.) go for.
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Read Below To Find Out What Happened When We Interviewed Paul Avgerinos. Listen to his Grammy nominated track ‘BHAKTI’ here:
Q. What was your first reaction upon hearing the news about your Grammy Nomination?
Well, my first reaction was to cry like a little baby, I was so happy. I was among great company within the category, I go back about 30 years with some of these artists. David Darling played on an album for me in 1994/95 and I know Peter Kater; he released one of my albums in ’98 so its really great to be in this fine group. It’s a great honour to be nominated this year. I have been really active with the whole Grammy process. It feels like the right time for me too.
Q. How would you explain your music to those who may not have heard any of your songs?
I would start off by saying what I do is ambient/new age and it is healing, uplifting and spiritual music. I just take it from there and see how people respond to that. Usually one of those words normally starts the conversation going effectively.
Q. What kind of music do you like listening to?
I listen to a lot of classical music and among other kinds. It just depends on my mood, like anyone. Sometimes I need to wake things up a bit and I put on some pop, rock, R&B even House music. I like all kinds of stuff.
Q. What do you enjoy most about creating music?
I think there are 2 aspects that are wonderful. One is all the peace and joy that you find going though the process. Then of course people’s reactions are great. Such as ‘this is so soothing and uplifting thank you so much for creating this’. So basically the enjoyment and the positive feedback.
How did you get into creating music?
It started mostly with trying to heal and uplift myself. I was trying to further my own spiritual awakening and find a path through music that was fulfilling and up-lifting. As I got better at it, I realised that I could help other people with my music, so it was a natural evolution and a lot of artists start out that way. They start to figure out how to be in this world with music, their emotions and spirit and once it starts to become a way to reach happiness then it expands out to other people and its a blessed process.
Q. To others wanting to create music what advice would you give them?
What I tell all my friends and colleagues, especially younger people, is to ‘find your Bliss’, ‘the heart of your music’ and ‘what is it about music that really lights you up?’. Find particular artists, styles, instruments or ways of doing things and explore them deeply. You will never be disappointed with the results. It’s a sacred process, it really is. It’s like going into a fantastic temple with great powers and blessings available and all you have to do is go in with humility and sincerity and you will be blessed. Of course, combined with that, don’t get frustrated when you do get rejection and disappointment. That’s part of the path and it takes many years to build a career. Think of it as a life’s work.
Q.Have you experienced any difficulties in the music business? if so, what were they and how did you overcome the situation?
I remember I was on a label and I really wanted them to release my next album but they kept saying no and pushing me off. So I kept revising it, thinking: ‘I should make it better and they will accept it’. I was really obsessed with this one label and thought that was where I was supposed to be, but they kept saying ‘No we’re not into it’ and this went on for about 5 years. I was really stuck. Revising the same album over and over and, meanwhile, people were forgetting about me because there’d been 5 years with no album. Finally Peter Kater, god bless him, came along and released the album, ‘Sky Of Grace’, on one of his own labels at the time. That broke the jam and I started getting into the flow again. That’s an example of being distracted and focusing on the wrong thing. Keep doing what you believe in and things will work out one way or another.
Q. What made you first start producing music? when did you know you wanted to make a career by creating music?
I have always been fascinated by electronic sounds, thanks to my dad who had an extensive record collection of artists from the 70s. He had music from artists like Mike Oldfield and Synergy ‘Larry Fast’. I was completely fascinated by that kind of music, so I started working with electronic music around 1988, it was then I first began using multilayered textures. At that time we used tape and I produced a number of tracks with layers of electronic sounds and various instruments. I began studying music professionally when I was 13 with the guitar, by the time I was 17 I was composing music for classical chamber ensembles and I knew then that music would be my path and I have loved it ever since.
Q. What have you been working on this year?
Since 2005 I have composed about 300 production music tracks specifically for placements and various media, which is such a large catalogue for a single composer like me. This year I have been focusing specifically on composing music for the concert hall, symphony orchestra and bold string ensembles. We have plans to produce some new production music and I’m working with my brother Kevin Kornicki, who is my personal percussionist and also a composer, so we collaborate and we have some plans for new tracks to begin working on this year and into next year.
Q. What has been your proudest personal achievement throughout your musical career?
I am very fortunate to have had some degree of success with my original music in several areas. Regarding my production music, I lived in Los Angeles for 3 years where I connected with music supervisors, music libraries and I got a placement of my track in the CBS Prime time show, CSI Miami in 2010. That was a pretty big event for me, it was a huge placement and probably one of my biggest achievements.
Q. You have been composing music since 1987, how has the internet and technology helped you as a composer?
The internet has been enormously helpful in a lot of areas. The ability to share and transfer music files to clients and collaborators is probably, for me, the first and biggest advantage of the internet. Most of my music production placements have been negotiated solely by e-mail correspondence, that alone and the speed at which you can deliver music and correspond with contacts is huge. I shared on social media Brian Eno’s 1979 lecture ‘The studio as a compositional tool’ and I think that sums up what today’s modern studio composer is really about. Basically, using the recording studio as tool or musical instrument in itself, creating new sounds. Technology has affected every musician to some degree, even classical musicians. I saw a cellist at a recital who was reading a spooler off an ipad on stage which I thought was really great to see, because much of the time you see classic musicians being very anti-technology. The ability to record and produce in a home studio environment is key. 95% of placements I have had in the media have been composed, mixed and produced by me in my home studio, music notation programmes allow composers to create very high quality scores and parts that you can self-publish as a composer. The last thing I have to say about technology is that the latest sampler is a very important new instrument for me. Much of my production music is created from sounds I record myself, edit and play back in real time from a mini keyboard connected to the music sampler programme. So some of these sounds are actual instruments and others are just objects of a percussive nature. Real life objects like hitting a metal lamppost, tin cans and ceramic glass bowls can get you some really original sound textures. Technology is really important to me.
Q. Throughout TV and Film where would your dream track placement feature?
For me, any placement in a prime time TV show or successful and well distributed motion picture is a good thing. After all, as composers, we want our work to reach the widest possible audience and also benefit from it financially. So, for me, anything like that would be a good thing.
Q. What do you have planned for the future, have you anything exciting you’re working on/coming up?
There is always good stuff on the horizon. As I mentioned earlier, I’m working on new production music with my brother Kevin (a percussionist/composer) and we are exploring a drum and bass type sound where we are going to integrate world percussion with the sample of percussive object sounds that I mentioned earlier. I’m looking forward to a performance of one of my symphonic works that will be played by a professional symphony orchestra here in the U.S. for the concert hall. The piece will be premiered in January 2015. This piece was nationally recognised here by the College Orchestra Directors Association with a citation of excellence. So that’s a big thing for me and that will reach a huge audience and we will have it recorded. It’s a symphonic piece with 70 players so that will be really great.
Q. What tips do you have for music producers on creating music or getting their music heard?
Persistence. There is a lot of rejection and you have to knock on a lot of doors in order to find the right one. Be thankful for the success you do get, persist and don’t dwell on the negatives. If someone is not responding to you that person probably is not right for your music. Remember, a yes is a yes, a no is no and maybe could lead to possibilities.
Despite the undeniable popularity of Internet streaming service, Spotify, the Swedish industry giant has recently announced that they might soon be putting time-limits for streaming new content on free users.
The new move will most likely come into effect in early 2015, following ongoing negotiations between Spotify and Rights-Holders. ‘The Hits Daily Double’ reports that current deals with UMG and Sony are set to expire in 2015 and this could be a push from Spotify to ensure the acquisition of new agreements with the labels.
Spotify has recently been thrust into the public eye due to boycotting from the internationally recognised artist Taylor Swift and her management. The global superstar, in a report for Time Magazine, claimed that “there should be an inherent value placed on art and (she) didn’t see that happening, perception-wise, when (she) put (her) music on Spotify”. Swift argued that streaming services are actively harming the industry and “Shrinking the numbers of paid album sales”.
Spotify have argued that they pay 70% of their revenue to labels, however, this appears to equate to roughly half a penny per play going to labels according to Business Insider UK.
90% of the streaming service’s revenue comes from subscriptions paid by 22.2% of its user base and it seems the service’s free users are proving to be a loss for the company.
The negative press from Swift, among other artists, and increased pressure from Rights-Holders might mean fewer free users on the service and, consequently, a higher royalty rate paid to artists.
Read Below To Find Out What Happened When We Interviewed Kyven Kyle Ewalt and Steven Shewbrooks. Listen to ‘Be The One’ from their latest EP!
Q. How did Kyven come to be?
Kyle Steve and I met in college (Berklee in Boston), we became room mates in the second year. Steve was a music synthesis major and I was a music business major and vocalist. As music students do, I recorded a couple of dummy vocals over Steve’s production and thought wait, that actually sounds really good. From that we thought we should really do this, that really started it. We wrote 3 or 4 songs together and we used them for different projects, after college we both independently moved to New York and dove right in. Now we have been writing songs together for 11 years.
Q. What has been your biggest challenge as a duo to date within the music industry?
Steven When we create music we want to get it out to as many people as possible and want it to be successful. There are a lot of projects we finish and end up waiting, you cannot force radio stations to play stuff. You can try your hardest to get your material out there but things have changed with social media and how everything is done nowadays. When we first started it was all about the physical CD getting it into the right hands, but since then it has become a lot more accessible to get our material out there.
Kyle I think what is interesting when we were finishing up school was that the record industry was is completely difference from what it is now. The digital evolution has completely changed what it means to be an artist, producer, record label. We had to learn along the way on how to do this, but we feel very lucky to have been featured in as many TV shows and picked up by companies which we have. It’s really tough out there but independent artists can succeed in ways that they couldn’t succeed in the old model.
Q. Throughout your career what are your most memorable moments ?
Steven For air play I would say, when we were first starting in the placements we would be watching TV, and suddenly our music would be blasted on Jersey shore with our name flash underneath. We thought this is crazy I’d be at home with family and music that I created is now being seen by millions of people. Similarly a lot of stores play our music, being in a mall walking past a store and hearing, thinking ‘is that our music?’. It has happened more than once. So that to me is just amazing as we are able to take something we created and have it be accessible to so many people.
Kyle For live performance we got the chance to gig quite a lot here in New York. We had a performance about 5 months ago at a place called canal room, a cool downtown space. We went for it, we had backing singers, backing dancers and the sound in the venue was really great so to be able to perform our music was quite thrilling, and fun.
Q. Your new EP was released on the 6th November. What can you tell us about it?
Kyle The EP is titled ‘For Commercial Use Only’ and the reason for that is Steve and I felt really fortunate that we have been placed in so many stores and television shows. The advertising world is it’s own special format but it’s kind of the holy grail on creating relationships there. We are doubling down on our intent to work with ad agencies, music managers, brand managers and we wanted to be very explicit and say hey guys pay attention this ones for you, and not that they’re totally accessible and relatable for our general audience. But they are inspirational in a way that we wanted to just flex our muscles and say we can do this, we can rival stuff that is on the market right now. We have been in the game long enough, we wanted to make a focus on this and see if it works.
Q. When creating music do you have a set process or designated roles?
Steven It depends sometimes, I will write a track more lyrical but most often I will create a track with a beat, i’ll come up with some keyboard parts, play in some ideas then send it off to Kyle or send a bunch of tracks. Then ask do you feel any of these? I can sit there and write a bunch of vocals to things that I have but when I send Kyle the instrumental and he comes back with something that is so incredible, I’m like ‘Thank god we didn’t use whatever I was writing for the melody! This is so much stronger, so much better!’.
Kyle I am a writer for both dance-pop music and theatre. I think in the story line and lyric line. I think you’re under selling yourself, what comes my way is in really good shape. Essentially I can just lay a melody line or vocal line and come up with a concept right on top. Maybe copy and paste or move around the structure if I want to go to a bridge a little earlier. Steve is funny, I can tell by e-mail if he really likes it or not depending on how many capitals there are and if i get a text too. When it comes to reactions between me and Steve we don’t get flustered. We both know our intention is to get the best song so we will just say were not feeling it. ‘That’s ok, cool’ and I will write something new. Its a good relationship; we don’t get offended.
Q. Who would you love collaborate be with?
Kyle Speaking from a business perspective, I would love to collaborate with Taylor Swift and the reasons are that at the moment she is the queen of pop, she is very open to exploration and trying new styles, she is tall and slender like I am so an stage we would look good performing together. We have collaborated with female vocalist in the past and it does something to round out the sound if my voice is complemented with a female and Steve does really great work in production to balance the two and if there is riffing going off he will let the female voice sore. So that works.
Q. How has social media and the internet impacted on your music career?
Kyle It made our career. When we first started out it was when MySpace was the social media and through that we were contacted by a distributer who put us up in eastern Europe in Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic. We had a top 8 dance song in Poland off that. Steve reached out to the DJ Serge Devant, who we ended up collaborating with on 5 or 6 different songs and Serge is very well known worldwide. Him featuring us kicked up our recognition. He was based in New York so he would come over and chat. We did make albums early on but it’s changed over to digital. We have done all our songs online. I looked and 90% of YouTube posts with our music are not posted by us but by our fans. In the comments section it will be who wrote this song, links to Amazon iTunes.
Amurco are excited to be working with Streetlife to create something innovative and inspiring. Streetlife is a Blackpool-based charity offering vital support to homeless adults aged 16-25. It has recently been announced that Streetlife are set to lose £100,000 of council funding this financial year (’14/15′).
Amurco and Streetlife have created ‘StreetSound’, a weekly project which aims to build the confidence and creative skills of the young people involved with Streetlife. Over the 7 week period, we will create an original track which encapsulates the experiences of the young people and the benefits of such an invaluable organisation.
Alt Blackpool came to one of our sessions last week. Read all about the making of the track here:
Read Below To Find Out What Happened When We Interviewed Jim Gaven. Click below to listen to his most popular track ‘Make This Moment Last’.
Q. What inspired you to create music and become a singer/songwriter?
At first it was actually Chris Carrabba from Dashboard confessional, he inspired me to be a singer songwriter when I heard his music. I thought wow this is one guy and his guitar, I thought maybe I could do the same thing. But that inspired me to get into music not to be a singer/songwriter, I really wanted to play guitar and my good friend from high school played, so I thought it would be cool to jam with him. I taught myself how to play guitar and discovered I could sing and play which then lead to writing my own lyrics.
Q. For people who have never heard your music before how would describe your sound?
I would say it is a nice blend between the Goo goo dolls, Matchbox 20, John Mayer and Matt Nathanson. Kind of like an acoustic pop/rock fusion.
Q. Your songs aim to uplift and inspire your listeners, which one of your own tracks inspires you the most?
There are two songs of mine that inspire me the most, the first is ‘my life juice’ and the other is ‘locket’. Both songs speak about friends who were in a time of need, even though the theme of the both songs are the same both songs are very different. ‘My life juice’ is about a friend who didn’t want to come out of the closet because he was afraid that people would think of him differently. So I wrote about that whole experience. how he kept a secret which he shouldn’t, but was living in fear. The song locket was a really intense experience I had with a friend who was not in a good place and I wrote a song about, no matter how negatively your feeling think of this song, me and know there are people who care about you. Those song mean a lot to me because they’re about close friends and experiences. I like to take a bad situation and make it positive and hopeful.
Q. What has been the biggest highlight/ achievement or most memorable experience of your music career so far ?
There are a lot but my favourite was singing the national anthem for a professional soccer team last year. The Columbus Crew, they’re part of the ‘MLS’ and I was asked to sing the national anthem. Which was in-front of near 20,000 people, the largest crowd I have ever sang to before. The rush I got from hearing my voice over the loud speaker, over the entire stadium, was amazing.
Q. In Pursuit of F8th was your last album, released last year and inspired by your wife what was it like creating the album and what was the reaction to the album?
I recorded all of it in my home studio, I tried to do a lot of the recording when my wife wasn’t home as most of the songs were about her so I didn’t want her to know. I wanted to surprise her, a song I wrote directly prior to that album happened to be our wedding song that we danced too. Which was a song I recorded and wrote when she wasn’t home, so it was really tough and was a game of cat and mouse for a while. This album the recording, writing, mixing, mastering and all the instruments, was all me. It was a truly solo effort and I was confident enough in myself to make a solo effort from start to finish and the reaction has been fantastic. The album is on CD Baby and people have been buying it, which is great.
Q. What response did you get from ‘Make this moment last’ which was released in 2010?
I think ‘Make this moment last’ has been my most popular song, it has been used in wedding slideshows, videos and has had a few placements on TV networks. That is the song that has been used quite a bit which is about a relationship way before I met my wife and actually started in 2008, I finally got around to re-writing the second verse as something didn’t seem right to me and I recorded it in 2010.
Q. What are your feelings on the changes within the music industry in terms of digital music increasing in popularity. Which do you prefer CD’s or Digital?
Digital music to me is awesome, you literally have it at your fingertips and the ability to purchase something on your own. I prefer digital now, even though I am from an old school trade of thought. I still use CD’s in my car it wouldn’t be the same without a CD to pop in and to have the physical product, which I hope never dies as it’s like a nostalgic thing like Vinyl have come back over past couple of years. Some musicians and people in the music industry are like why its an out-dated thing, but its a nostalgic thing and its great that there are so many different music platforms. But digital to me is my favourite as it gives the buyer the freedom and choice to choose an album or purchase the single you really want.
Q. What plans do you have for the future?
I am actually recording another home studio album that should be out in the Spring, the hardest thing is finding time to get it done. There is so much going on in my life to allow me to really get it done but I am working on it, I am in the vocal stage so near the end of the whole process aside from mixing and mastering. I am going to call the album ‘Reflections’ which is going to be about me. This past year I have learned a lot about myself, being an adult dealing with certain situations and experiences in terms of maturing and learning about my faults and successes.
Q. Finally, what tips or hints do you have for other music creators?
I would say be true to yourself the best musicians and songwriters have created something that is eternal they have created something that is timeless. Not to follow the crowd and whats popular on the radio but write something from the heart and pave your own way. You don’t have to be on a reality TV show like Americas got talent or the Voice or even go Viral to make a difference with your music. Try to be original work hard and it will create opportunities that you never really thought were possible.
You can find Jim on: Website – http://jimgaven.wix.com/music
Quantity of content and accessibility are two key factors which are determining the future of the music industry. Streaming is growing in popularity year on year as more of us find ourselves in a position to access vast databases of content from our fingertips. Nielsen’s mid year report (2014) shows us the increase in on-demand streaming. (see below)
ON-DEMAND STREAMS (In millions – On-Demand Audio & Video Streams) 2014 2013%CHG. Total On-Demand 70,295.0 49,515.1 +42.0% Audio On-Demand 33,653.5 22,415.6 +50.1% Video On-Demand 36,641.7 27, 099.5 +35.2%
Musicians came together to call for fairer rules and greater transparency in terms of royalty distribution by digital music services. A report released by the international Council of Creators of Music (CIAM) last week named “Fair compensation for Music Creators in the Digital Age” recommends certain changes that should be enforced by streaming services in order to ensure their future sustainability.
Professor Pierre-E, the author of the report explains the recommendations within the study:
The current percentage of revenue paid to the rights holders by music streaming services is between 60-70%. With these services most likely to become the main source of music consumption in the future, 80% should be the minimum of gross revenues from all sources paid towards all rights holders. Professor Lalonde indicated the current level of revenue is inadequate given the dependency of these services on music content.
The study also recommends a fairer split of monies from streaming platforms, currently the split is geared more favourably towards record labels and performers vs. songwriters and music publishers. A 50/50 split between recording and composition would be a fair division.
But what is currently going on within the music streaming services? Digital Music News recently informed us on the documents filed by Pandora in US Congress and the Copyright Royalty Board informs us on their re-tooled, finances-first ‘Music Genome’ project.
Pandora, a digital music streaming platform recently signed a private deal with Merlin (indie label group). This deal will put a process they call ‘Steering’ into practice. ‘Steering’ will see songwriters and artists being played a lot more with Pandora shifting playlists towards cheaper content.
Indie artists will see their music being played more but, at a lower royalty rate. Being under half of what performance rights group SoundExchange requested that Pandora and others should pay in the future and also lower that what is now required by US statute.
Pandora has wanted to lower its royalty rates for a while now and US copyright law allows parties to construct private royalty deals which supersede federally-established rates.
But what about the listeners, Pandora’s users? The specifically tailored playlists recommended by the streaming service will surely be impacted by ‘steering’ listeners towards cheaper content. If you’re a user who loves listening to new indie artists then your sure to be steered towards this and, unfortunately, towards lower royalty payments.
Ostereo is a disruptive music company with a forward thinking approach. Our dynamic team of music-loving professionals based in the UK harness the power of playlist, video and social trends to ensure our artists’ success. Ostereo was founded in 2016 by musician and businessman Howard Murphy with the aim of combining the best traditional elements of the industry with the new, cutting edge digital aspects that power today’s music consumption.
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