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How To Kill An Artist


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I think the real problem with lawyers is there are far too many of them per capita in America.So they must constantly push their services on the public to keep busy.Some of the tv ads here in the metro-NY region are a downright embarrassment to the honest and ethical attorneys."If you've been in an accident,you deserve a cash award" and "call our offices anytime...we're even here at midnight on New Years Eve!" These are actual ads run here over the past few years.

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eric and co.,

I experienced the scenario that eric has described at the beginning of this blog exactly that way. an A&R woman at warners signed me and believed in me, but she got promoted to a different division in Nashville. I was alone in LA with a guy who always wanted her job. he actually said to me "I have my own bands I want to bring to the table."

I had a cd of 5 killer tunes. just my voice and guitar. the reluctant A&R man said "go ahead and record with a band and we'll see where we stand." I was contractually entitled to a sum of money to record them. so I spent 3 months with studio cats who played with seal, melissa etheridge, sheryl crowe, etc. the very day I delivered them, eric clapton won 6 grammys for unplugged. the A&R guy after hearing the band version of the tunes said. "I'm looking for something more acoustic." !?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?

I reminded him of the original cd but by then I was old news. I was pushed aside and spent a year trying to get my tunes back. (the very ones they didn't want.) that was the writing on the wall for me and so I became an independent artist. today, I have had success on facebook, I tour, and I am re-building my website.

as a studio musician, I am hired to record (replace) tracks in the studio by up and coming bands. instead of being resentful, I have found that I am in a position to help these kids who are starry eyed. (don't buy the humvee just yet!) it helps to pay it forward.

at a grammy panel, quincy jones said it best. "it's over. IT'S OVER! the music business that we know is gone. be your own production companies while the labels become one big corporation promoting britney music. every established artist no longer needs a label. they are already known. they only need marketing to promote them. all the unknown artists need to find a director of a movie, an actor, a commercial, a videographer, someone the artist can help promote while the movie promotes the artist. it might be challenging, but it's easier than getting involved with a label who may not even be around when the record is done. (IF IT GETS DONE!)"

the same panel featured the engineers/producers of led zep's music. they related a time when the record execs went into jimmy page's studio to see if the music was going to be commercial. page kicked them out. he yelled, "do I come to your office?" as they were leaving with their egos deflated, the record execs said, "we need to find artists who will do what WE SAY." they saw the writing on the wall.

it was bone chilling to hear this. but it's exactly right. the record labels want american idol talent. someone they can mold because they want to be famous. a show that features paula, a woman who can't sing. it's documented that her vocals are autotuned. she is judging? please.

the pendulum has to swing back the other way. the internet is providing a grassroots method of finding music. our backyard is global. look at what we are doing here in eric's world. i'd rather get an email from eric that said, "hey my new record is done! check it out!" it's more personal AND eric will give us music that HE wanted, not what was filtered through some rec exec who wants to be sure his yacht payments are caught up.

if an artist sells a million cd's for a label, their percent will entitle them to less that $100,000. if they sell ten thousand cd's on their own, they will make the same or more. fuzzy math?

music is in our cells, it's so much a part of who we are. if the delivery method gets altered, we will go where we need to to find it. the content deliverers got greedy. we are finding a different way to get the content we need. I had an album, 8-track, cassette, and two cd versions of boats. my main question when listening to music (old or new) is, "do I want to hit the rewind/repeat button?" if I don't, I don't care how the content was delivered.

apologies for all of the "I"s above. it's a passionate topic to me.

"Trying to remember how it used to feel when a kiss was something special. And I wonder now will it ever be again?"

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Miguelli, as Bill Clinton used to say, "Ah feel yor pain."

I remember reading the book "Hit Men" years ago. It was a sort of contemporary history of Columbia Records and the music business from the fifties through the eighties.

The Columbia Records part began with the reign of Clive's first boss, the guy he tried to emulate, Goddard Lieberson.

Goddard was a graduate of The Eastman School of Music. I was dumbfounded. Can you imagine a record label run by a guy who actually knew something about music????? What an incredible luxury to have been on Columbia during THAT period, before the business was ruined by egomaniacs, lawyers and "bean counters."

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Crg 2, I was joking. Eric, I remember reading that during the fifties and early sixties, artists such as Buddy Holly and others who wrote their owns songs would be recording and someone in the studio would add a word or have them change someting and then be listed in the writing credits as well as the copyright. I also remember that artists such as Outsiders, The Buckinghams and others who recorded would usually have to do covers of other artists songs as part of their deal to get their recording contract. They were limited to how many songs that they could record that they wrote. Sort of like "That Thing You Do". So the bands didn't really get all that much did they?

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Well, I can't really see the point in starting up a record label right at the point when the only place left that can sell a CD is Walmart.

CD's are history. They will soon be as obsolete as vinyl. The new music business is going to built on touring. Record sales are a thing of the past. There will still be a few artists who sell tonnage, but not many.

Overall, the digital age has brought with it some major advantages and some major disadvantages.

The biggest advantage is that you can make a pretty darn good record in your house with a Mac and a Pro Tools rig.

The disadvantage is that you have to give it away, because there's way too much product, terrestrial radio is dead, and there's no way to get anyone to hear it, except over the internet, on your MySpace page.

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