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Trent Reznor on signing with a major record label

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

“I started my career in the late eighties, where the template was: sign on with a record label. That’s you’re ticket to admission.  You have to have distribution, they have it tied up – promotion, all the team in place. And then just try to work as hard as you can, and over time, what I was hearing when we were first getting signed was, by your third or fourth album if you get your audience, that’s what we’re aiming for, and we look at you as a Prince type character, with a career like The Cure, or Depeche Mode or bands that’ve been around for a long time and that will continue to be around. Ok, all right, I’m ready. I’m in for the long haul; I’m ready to do this.

Then you start to learn as you see contracts. Wow, whoever went along with this contract originally, it’s not a very fair contract. Let’s see, you as a record label lend me some money to make a record, and then I have to pay you back all that money. And after I pay it back, you own it forever. Wow. And then I get to make this little sliver on top of that, if I’ve recouped (expenses). But you get to control how much I spend on marketing and other things I have to pay you back for. So, wait a minute. I could sell this many records and still never recoup? And you do all the accounting?  And then when you don’t pay me, ever, then I have to spend twenty-five grand to audit you, for you to then tell me “Oh, yeah, we do owe you this much.” That kinda sucks. And then [there’s] the mysterious, purposefully convoluted and tangled world of publishing, and how confusing that is. And a lot of musicians, myself included, that just wanted to work on music, and hoped someone had figured that out.
And you realize – some of the unfair business practices and precedence that’s been established.   And I’m not saying that no one should benefit from songs I write, or that I do all the work and I should make all the money. But I should make SOME money, and I should be able to clearly see where that money is coming from, if I did all the work, essentially. I wrote the song, I came up with the idea.

But then when you see the industry start to collapse, which means you’re kinda happy to see some of it collapse, but then you’re sad because also my livelihood is in danger, and I think how am I going to support myself and a family in an industry where we’re essentially making typewriters, you know? Nobody wants typewriters anymore. Everybody will read, and everyone still writes, but they don’t use these clunky machines…

I think the promise, and what I would hope more than anything, is that when we get to this new business model, whatever that is, on the record label side and also on the publishing side, [is] that somebody is strongly speaking up for artists’ rights when that starts to get figured out. And that in an age of potential transparency, that the actual content creator has a seat at the table…

What I consider, from a consumer point of view, the next good business model, the next thing that makes sense, is if there were mass adoption of music subscription services, like Spotify. I think in an age of broadband connection being everywhere, everyone having powerful computers in their pockets, this sense of feeling-  normal people feeling comfortable with the idea of the cloud, and their data’s somewhere but it’s is secure, it’s somewhere, and they have access to it, having all the music available in the world available to you at your fingertips, anywhere you want it all the time, that’s pretty cool.  That requires some education on the part of those companies, to help people to understand what that is. But is it fair to the artist? Not really. Look at the checks you’re getting paid from those services. It’s not an inspiring amount, and it certainly doesn’t replace lost revenue.

In my case several year ago, sitting around realizing “Hey, that kind of hazy dream I had, of sitting around getting checks for record royalties for the rest of my life? From work I did years ago?” You know, Eagles style, “Hey, Hotel California, another billion dollar check shows up.” It’s not gonna happen. Being able to make a sizeable amount of money from selling a record. It’s not gonna happen anymore. That’s a bitter pill to swallow. Music is free. I don’t think it should be free, but music is free. I can right now search in Google for any music that there is, and find it free. And so can anyone else with above-rudimentary searching ability. That’s a fact. That’s what you’re competing with.”

- Trent Reznor, Nine Inch Nails

More on Trent Reznors proven solution to these issues in the music business:
The new music business model: Connect With Fans!

 

 

Pro Soul officially launches in Beijing, China

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Chinese flag We’re excited to officially announce something we’ve been working on for over 2 years now, launching Pro Soul Alliance in China.
China is a huge, emerging market for the music industry, but currently in it’s infancy, and immature. Professional assistance is desperately needed due to crippling discouragement for artists attributed to the pervasive downloading of music. There is also a huge lack of ‘official’ presence for foreign artists who are becoming very popular in China. That means huge opportunity for those willing to support, develop and nurture this challenging market.

At the end of 2011, We announced a new world class recording and production studio in Beijing as our first step. Now we are offering promotion, marketing, sales and distribution both within China and outside to our existing artists and Chinese artists through our local office in Beijing. Unlike other companies offering music services in China, we are based within China, and our local office is staffed with bilingual locals who know the market and culture, and have experience working with Chinese and international artists here.
Our company has been legally registered as a Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise in China under the name ‘敬真堂(北京)文化咨询有限公司’ Which translates to ‘Respect Truth (Beijing) Culture Consultancy Co. Ltd.’ (This was as close as we could get to our english name given the language and cultural differences. We kind of like how depending on the translation of our Chinese name, it can mean ‘Church of Truth’)

Because China is a complex and daunting market for a foreign company, we are starting out with the following basic range of services:

For Chinese artists:

  • Focusing on getting Chinese artists who are ready exposure internationally
  • Getting international distribution and sales for Chinese music (iTunes, Spotify, Nokia)
  • Promotion and marketing for Chinese artists overseas by connecting with interested markets and fans

For International Artists:

  • Digital distribution for international artists in China (including essential mobile stores China Mobile, Unicom, Telecom)
  • Promotion and marketing in China focusing on key social networking sites like Weibo, Douban, Youku
  • Collaboration with Chinese artists and recording traditional Chinese instruments with local professionals

As we continue researching the industry and experimenting with new techniques for promotion and marketing music in China, we will also be offering licensing for Chinese music internationally in Film, TV, and online, expanding their revenue sources. We will also assist Chinese artists who are ready create their own business and develop music career in China to maximize their profit and control. Of course we will also be able to assist international artists book shows and organize tours in China in future.

We have already begun assisting international artists Elika Mahony, and Hart as well as Chinese artist Abominati get exposure in China.

You can sign up right now for promotion, marketing and  distribution in China with the ‘Professional Artist Management and Consulting Asia’ option on our Get Started page.
For artists within China, we have a new website entirely in Chinese with a helpful blog focused on the local market.

For more information, please contact our China artist services manager BeiBei Lei

Watch for our next post with more about why China is an important market backed up by the latest statistics.

Indie artists, get six months of free management and promotion

Monday, October 5th, 2009

THANKS TO ALL THE ARTISTS WHO ENTERED OUR CONTEST – WE WILL NO LONGER BE CONSIDERING CONTEST SUBMISSIONS. BEST OF LUCK TO THE 2 LUCKY MUSICIANS. WE WILL BE POSTING OUR DECISION DECEMBER 1ST!

Pro Soul Alliance artist contest banner

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Receive 6 months of professional management and promotion to take your career to the next level!
Services and support selected artists will receive include:

• professional phone consultation and education with CEO of Pro Soul Alliance on the artists development *and career
• a professional blog based website they can edit and update, complete with hosting by Rackspace, one of the best in the world, with artistsname.com
• Professional bio and press copy writing, blog development and updating
• Search engine optimization for effective search ranking
• Graphic design, photography and image assistance for promo materials
• Social networking configuration and integration, connecting with fans (ReverbNation, Facebook, MySpace, Blip.fm, Twitter, Youtube, Ourstage etc)
• Offline & online marketing assistance, radio airplay, follow up, and tracking
• Product development, design, CD production and digital distribution through major online retailers worldwide including ringtones and mobile phone
• Licensing and song placement; electronic licensing options online
• Scheduling of show dates for live performances
• Video Production; Youtube promo viral marketing videos

To narrow down the 2 winners, Pro Soul Alliance will be choosing the artist that is the most marketable, and has already shown commitment, and dedication to their career.

Contest ends October 30th. Details, entry information and music submission can be accessed here: http://www.prosoul.com/contest

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How will Indie labels react to major label partnership?

Friday, July 10th, 2009

NEW YORK, July 1 /PRNewswire/ — Sony Music Entertainment (SME) today announced that it has entered into a global partnership with IODA to create a new leading distribution and services network for independent rights holders. As part of the partnership, Sony Music has made a strategic investment in IODA, a leader in digital distribution, marketing, and technology solutions for the independent music industry. Additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In a statement released by Kevin Arnold, Founder and CEO of IODA, “Sony really impressed us with their respect for, and understanding of the needs of the independent community.” He adds, “We remain, as we always have, fully dedicated to helping independent content owners succeed in the digital world. This alliance will greatly enhance IODA’s ability to continue delivering effective solutions for Independents.”

The question arising out of this major merger or “Partnership”, is how will the independent label community react? After all, the I in IODA is supposed to stand for Independent. What we do know is that some indie labels are seen at times to be in distrust of large corporations. We know that IODA gains a strong marketing partner in Sony. Sony operating through its independent distribution subsidiary RED taps into IODA’s digital distribution system worldwide. Released in the Newswire, Sony identifies making a strategic investment in IODA. Sony’s subsidiary, RED will continue to offer digital distribution services and IODA will be an added option for clients who need other services than what RED currently provides, specifically more indie-focused marketing and global distribution services.

In time, the answer will unfold as to how the independent community will react to this meeting of corporate minds. What is clear – did we honestly think – major corporations, responsible to their shareholders, would sit on the sidelines for long – better yet, did they ever sit on the sidelines? Or were they just waiting for the savvy, independents like IODA to work hard, build and develop this growing, transitioning industry, and then come in when the time was ripe and call “Merger” aka “Partnership”.

Corporate strategy and business development in true form. Sony’s way of addressing the changing needs of their market without doing due diligence to innovate and make changes necessary themselves from scratch.

$7,000 Settlement for a 4-Year Piracy Lawsuit

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Record Companies have finally agreed to accept a settlement of $7,000 from a suburban family in a law suit that spanned over 4 years. Talk about relief! Four record companies accused Patricia Stantangelo of illegally downloading and distributing copyright music. This mother of five from Wappingers New York, claimed she couldn’t have downloaded all that music from the internet because she had no idea how to download music from the internet! She also refused to settle with the RIAA.

The lawsuit against her was dropped. However, they then turned around and sued two of her kids! Michelle, 20, and Robert, 16, were accused of downloading and distributing more than 1,000 songs. Michelle and Robert denied the allegations. The music industry claims a loss of millions of dollars due to illegal downloading, and the companies claimed that Michelle had admitted to the piracy and Robert had been implicated by a family friend.

Jordan Glass, Ms. Stantangelo’s lawyer, is reported as saying that the music industry had no idea that Ms. Stantangelo would fight back against billions of Corporate dollars.

Some relief can be felt knowing a settlement of $7,000, which can be paid in instalments, was perhaps only a fraction of what the RIAA spent on advancing their claims. Though they wouldn’t reveal their actual costs, it’s pretty clear more than $7,000 was incurred in legal expenses in this case of 4 years!

All to fight something that is inevitable, the freedom of music; music lovers getting what they want, when they want it. It is far less expensive to come up with new ways to monetize music instead of fighting to keep old ones that no longer work.

The RIAA is still cracking down amidst layoffs

Friday, March 6th, 2009

The RIAA has now announced Jennifer Pariser, former Sony BMG lawyer, as the Senior Vice President of Litigation and legal affairs for the music industry trade group.  Will this solve anything in regards to the RIAA’s stubborn attitude towards music consumption? To be frank, the RIAA and the major record labels are not listening to what music lovers have to say, and they certainly aren’t interested in giving them what they want.

A little while back, recently, we posted a blog entry about the Isle of Man, which is an Island not to far from Ireland. This Island has started to put a tax on the consumers Internet. This tax money is then distributed between record labels accordingly. But of course this is just an experiment, another attempt to avoid giving music lovers music on their terms…

Is it logical for the rest of the world to follow suit? Especially in America, clearly there is something wrong here. The creator of Kazaa was fined 200,000$ for violating the distribution right, and for what, helping people do a better job promoting music than the record labels are?
Not only is suing the distributors costly, but its proven ineffective, this is why DRM has been dropped for the most part on digital music.  Another dangerous individual to the freedom of music is Thomas Perrelli. He single handedly convinced the Copyright Board to help kill web radio by instilling massive fees for broadcast royalties! This has forced web radio companies to beg their listeners for donations just to stay afloat.
Then there is Neil MacBride, VP and Anti Piracy for Business Software Alliance.

It’s almost as if major record labels are begging fans to stop listening, to stop caring. The big record labels are pushing the fans farther and farther away.
The only way they can stop this downward spiral is to simply give in to what’s inevitable, and give customers what they want or risk becoming irrelevant and insignificant.

People are listening to and finding out about music in different ways than they used to and music companies and content creators should understand this and act accordingly.