Thursday, August 25, 2011

Top 3 Ways to Tell You’re Getting Ripped Off by a Club or Promoter


Running a music venue is hard work. Let’s get that little truth out of the way upfront. Long hours. Liquor licenses. Sound system maintenance. Booking. Oh, and, umm…dealing with musicians! (Face it: we can be a bunch of immature divas sometimes, especially when alcohol is involved.) But that doesn’t justify skimming off the top or inflating projected costs in order to earn a few extra bucks at our expense.
So, here are a few things to be on the lookout for when it comes time to collect payment at the end of the night:
1. The Catering Budget – Did the club keep $250 from the door to cover “catering,” and then leave you with two cases of Budweiser and a snack platter? Yeah, they’re probably pocketing the rest for themselves.
 2. Promotional Cost – Did they print unique posters for your show and distribute them all around town? Did they run an individual print or radio ad for your show? Or did they print posters for their venue that list all the shows over the next week or two, and run an ad in the local weekly for all the shows that month? If you’re not getting special promotional attention from the venue, then your contribution to their promotional costs shouldn’t be that high. If they are, chances are the club is making every band kick in money and then giving the promotional “group-treatment” in order to earn some extra dough.
3. The “We Had to Let Some People in for Free” Excuse - Ever played a club that seemed pretty full, and then at the end of the night the door person hands you a wad of bills that seems a bit…thin? Then they tell you, “Well, it was pretty slow for a while so we decided to just let people in for free.” Yeah, that shouldn’t happen without your prior approval. Otherwise, they could be charging folks and feeding you that line so they can hang on to the cash.
Most clubs are innocent of these crimes, so I’m not saying you have to approach every gig with caution. Club owners, bartenders, bookers, door people, sound engineers, and musicians are usually all on the same team with the same goal: get people in the door, give them a good time, and make some money. But I have seen each of these 3 things happen multiple times. If you happen to be the victim, stay calm. Talk to the person in charge and tell them (with a cool head) that you don’t think their policy is quite fair given the circumstances. If they’re jerks, don’t play at their club again. If they make things right, sweet! Maybe it’ll curb such behavior in the future.
What are some other ways clubs can rip off artists? Got any horror stories of your own to share? Feel free to leave your comments below.
-Chris R. at CD Baby
P.S. In the comments section below, Roy Linford Adams added a few more warning signs that I thought were worth noting. He writes:
4. WE ONLY PAY FOR THE PEOPLE WHO CAME TO SEE YOU. I’ve dealt with this a few times. The fact is even IF they are asking the people what band they are there to see, it forces the person to have to choose. Maybe they are there to see ALL the bands.
5. THE EVENT IS HAVING YOU PAY JUST TO PLAY. So let’s get this right, you pay them hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars that between you and all the other bands, more than pays for the venue, promotion, and headliners. And they get to walk away with all the ticket sales? If this doesn’t ring a bell for you then don’t expect to ever get paid for your music. 90% of the time the turnouts for these events are terrible because the promoter already has his money. Sure he’ll tell you there’s going to be some massive turnout, that there’s going to be record label scouts, that this will “Make you carreer.” but the fact is he doesn’t have to deliver on a single one of those promises and afterwards, there’s nothing you can do about it.
6. YOU NEED TO SELL TICKETS IN ORDER TO PLAY. Let’s face it, if you can sell the 25, 50, or even 100+ tickets, you don’t need them. Rent the venue for the night, book some friend bands and sell those tickets. Typical club venues want $100-$300 for a night and the avergae ticket cost is $10, so if you’re selling 50 tickets, there’s at least $200 you’re not seeing. Why should YOU do all the work to sell tickets that you know are going to pay for the venue and more… only to let some greeseball walk away with that hard earned cash just for making half an hour’s worth of phone calls to you, the other bands, and the club????


                      Original article : diy musician

Friday, August 5, 2011

Going For Gold (Why Silver Isn't Enough)

Written By: Alan Lee

   So often i see people with big goals, lots of potential and big dreams, only to see them settle for less.  I don't know about you, but this annoys the **** out of me!  Why should i care?  Well because i just cant fathom why someone would settle for less than the best.  Ok...lets break down some scenarios I've come across, and maybe then we can try to figure out what the real problem is.

SCENARIO 1:  The Album Cover (with artist picture)
  So you want pictures?  Cool.  Headshots? Full Body? Album Cover?  Great!  So all you need to do is run out and stand somewhere that looks cool (cause you can always Photoshop the background), snap snap and you're done right? Wrong!  Lets break it down....

*Courtesy Reverbnation.com
This guy VERSE released his album cover.  Lets look at what he did right.

  1. Artist Name
  2. Album background matches the Album Title
  3. Colors Match
Now, lets break it down.
  1. Artist picture is not color corrected to make him seem like hes in the same place as the background (a simple contrast fix)
  2. Artist outline is not smooth and consistent
  3. Artist is not looking like a 'winner'
  4. Artists picture is slightly transparent
  So what can i assume from looking at this?  
  • The artists picture was not taken with this album in mind
  • The artist was lazy
  • The Artist does not value his own music.
  He could've easily found a camera, or cell phone camera (even those now have a high pxl output) and taken a picture specifically for the cover.  Then he could've stepped it up, and called a local gym or boxing gym and gotten permission to take some shots there (i've done this). He could've spent a bit more time on making the photo look consistent or found someone who could, usually for free by placing an add in the "Creative" part of Craigslist.  
   Those few steps, would've taken this cover from being a "typical NON-Major Artist" to a "Wow this person is serious about his career, maybe i should be serious about him too" artist. 

SCENARIO 2:  The Music Video
  Ok, so with people getting record deals from being on YouTube happening so often these days, you're sure you need a music video.  That's a fair assumption.  Well, while we're assuming, lets assume that you have a quality recorded song, recorded at industry standard quality.  Let's assume that the song you're recording a video for (if you have an album) is the song you're pushing to be the main single off the album.  So you've picked the song, you're ready to shoot right?  All you need is someone to hold the camera, edit it together on Windows Movie Maker and post it on YouTube that night!  Sounds like a plan...right?  Wrong.  Sounds like a waste.  Lets break it down...

Ok, so im guessing whatever camera you're using is at least HD, so then now you need location right? So you're not a hood rapper, so you're obvious choice is a Nightclub...Because that hasnt been done before right? Ok, so regardless of originality in location, you're get a Director, and crew, Some girls and guys who are anxious to "be stars" and you're set.  But what about make-up? Proper lighting? Storyline? Background acting?  Does your video seem real or staged?  Lets look at another example: 

Choze -Tell Me What's Your Name


Ok, so what did he do right?
  1. He mentions a club in the song and VIP and both are in the video
  2. He talks about a girl he wants to get to know, and in the video there is a girl he wants
  3. There is external lighting used to film the video.
  4. Everyone's clothes are clean and look authentic and realistic to each persons style.
And where he went wrong
  1. If there was make-up for film done, its horrible. Lots of forehead shine, uneven skin tones
  2. the extras dont look like they know what to do.  No one is acting natural
  3. different angles of the same scene have people in different places, not following continuity
  4. the club looks packed in the BRoll footage, yet empty in the close ups
  5. Inconsistant lighting and color correction
  6. He wants to know her name, but never approached her.
  7. For a song about a girl, the girl is barely shown and at the end he gets her too easy
  8. no explination of where that outdoors place is
  9. why are there fireworks behind buildings
The list could go on, but all these things could've been avoided if a little bit of attention were paid to details, OR if the artist cared more about his career than just putting out a video and had chosen a better director and crew.  
   So what happens when you think you did everything right and it turns out bad?  Well here's a secret....ready?.....DONT RELEASE THE PROJECT!  So what if you paid for it!  So what if you spent alot of time on it!  This is your career and are you willing to throw it away just to say "I have a video"?  

Ok, so i think i've gotten my point across, and with that here is a low budget, video that shows what little budget can do with the correct vision and direction:
OH MAN - FREESTYLE 
Empixx International Platinum awards for Video Of The Year & Best Cinematography & Editing in a Video

And here is what can be done with a small budget, and alot of attention to detail and correct vision and direction:

YES GIRL - MR. INTERNATIONAL
"MMPAA BEST VIDEO 2009" Award & "MMPAA BEST DIRECTOR 2009

So, with all that being said...stop putting out garbage, and start caring about your career.  Because if you don't show you care, no one else will either.




Thursday, August 4, 2011

NOW CASTING: Magnus Rex

We are booking PAID extras for the big stadium scenes at Heinz Field on Saturday, August 6th and Sunday August 7th   for “MAGNUS REX” starring CHRISTIAN BALE, GARY OLDMAN, ANNE HATHAWAY AND JOSEPH GORDON LEVITT.  It is a football game between the Gotham City Rogues and their rivals the Rapid City Monuments! These scenes are VERY involved and have lots of action.

YOU MUST BE AVAILABLE BOTH DATES ALL DAY STARTING VERY EARLY MORNING (AS EARLY AS 5AM) FOR 12 -14 HOURS. Pay is minimum wage for the first 8 hours and time and a half after that.  There will be craft service and drinks available all throughout this time.  You will be given lunch.  Reliable transportation is a must.  We can not book anyone who is relying on the bus as it does not run this early. Parking will be provided.

This scene takes place in the winter so you will have to be comfortable wearing layers in the heat.  No one with medical conditions such as heart problems, breathing problems or sun allergies should apply for this scene.

When they are not shooting, you will be able to remove the layers so we’re recommending people wear tank tops under their clothes.  They will do everything in their power with fans, misters and plenty of water to keep everyone hydrated and cool. 

IF YOU HAVE BEEN BOOKED TO WORK ON AN UPCOMING SCENE OR HAVE WORKED ON THIS FILM ALREADY, PLEASE DO NOT CALL TO BE BOOKED AGAIN.  WE WILL ONLY BOOK NEW FACES FOR THIS SCENE. 

IF YOU ARE SIGNED UP TO BE A VOLUNTEER EXTRA AND YOU CALL US TO BE BOOKED AS A PAID EXTRA AND WE DEFINITELY BOOK YOU FOR THOSE DAYS, YOU WILL HAVE TO CANCEL YOUR VOLUNTEER SPOT.   DO NOT CANCEL YOUR VOLUNTEER SPOT BEFORE FINDING OUT IF YOU ARE ACTUALLY WORKING WITH US!!!

PLEASE CALL 412-621-1160 (OFFICE – CALL THIS NUMBER FIRST), 310-968-7442(PRODUCTION CELL) OR310-710-8140(PRODUCTION CELL)  IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN WORKING ON SATURDAY AND SUNDAY. REMEMBER, YOU MUST BE AVAILABLE BOTH DAYS ALL DAY AND OKAY WITH WORKING IN THE HEAT. 

DO NOT EMAIL US WITH QUESTIONS OR TO BE BOOKED. WE WILL NOT BOOK THAT WAY.  YOU MUST CALL AND SPEAK WITH SOMEONE.

(posted originally by Mosser Casting)

How to Triple Your Odds of Getting Music Media Coverage


This post was written by guest contributor Bob Baker,  www.TheBuzzFactor.com

I view getting media coverage as a two-way exchange. You have something of musical value to share with the world, and the media source has a vehicle to help you reach more fans. However, you’d be surprised by the number of musicians who expect the media person to bare the brunt of the workload in this transaction.

Want an example?

For 10 years I was the editor and publisher of my own music magazine in St. Louis, Missouri. Over that decade, I wrote about or assigned stories on hundreds of bands. I was regularly amazed by the roadblocks that so many artists put up when I wanted to give them exposure.

I’d meet some band members at a show and express my interest in writing about them. They would seem excited about the prospect and promise to send a press kit that I could hand off to a writer. And guess what? Often, that press kit never came.

Then there were musicians who called or came up to me in person to gripe about never having been covered in my magazine. Typically, I’d ask them if they had ever sent me something on their band or followed up with a phone call or email to my office.

Usually, the answer was, “Uh, well … no.”

You’d think this would be a no-brainer, but it’s not. Too many musicians feel they deserve press coverage just because they exist or because they believe they’re the coolest thing since Menuto.

But every so often I was blown away by an artist who not only created good music, they also understood the two-way exchange of media exposure.

These artists would call and say, “Bob, I really enjoy your magazine, especially that recent article on …” (A little ego stroking doesn’t hurt.) Then they’d pitch their act with a newsworthy story angle.

But the really smart ones asked one key question: “What can I do to help you make this happen?”

Take a look at that question again. It doesn’t ask me to do extra work or jump through hoops to provide the coverage. In fact, it shows that the artist is willing to supply me with whatever I need to get the job done. Ask that question and you’ll triple your odds of getting media exposure!

And when I say “media exposure” I’m not just talking about traditional journalists with newspapers, magazines, radio programs and TV shows. This exact same principle applies to bloggers and podcasters, as well as people who can book your band for live events.

Most people in the music biz are overworked and under paid. If you help make their jobs easier — by providing quality music, photos, artist bios and good story ideas — the media will reward you with the exposure you deserve.

(This post is adapted from Bob’s PR package called “Killer Music Press Kits – Deluxe Edition.” Link: http://www.bob-baker.com/buzz/presskits.html )

Bob Baker is the author of “Guerrilla Music Marketing Online,” Berkleemusic’s “Music Marketing 101” course, and many other books and promotion resources for DIY artists, managers and music biz pros. You’ll find Bob’s free ezine, blog, podcast, video clips and articles at www.TheBuzzFactor.com andwww.MusicPromotionBlog.com.