Monday, March 19, 2012

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It is not my intention in this post to kill or steal, even quench your dream, dream on, but I must tell you the facts about what is involved in getting a Record Contract, or Getting Signed, I know from personal experience, so listen up.
I have stated before and so I state again, you MUST have a current issue of the songwriters handbook, this book is your bible in the music biz. What I tell you know can be read in the first few chapters in the book. The book always has several chapters on this stuff and than all the listings of Record Labels, Publishers, Agents, you name it. If your a songwriter and do not want to record your own music, you send your music, in the most simplistic recording you can, the publisher wants to hear if your song is a hit, a great song, or a CD filler that is only an OK song with many production tricks and fills. A great song is a great song with one voice and one instrument. That is all a publisher really wants many times.
A publisher works with X amount of writers a year, they will accept your song many times, if it is good to put in their song catalog. A publishers song catalog is their bread and butter. You can only submit to one at a time, NEVER more than one. That's a rule spoken and unspoken. Know this before you make a move. A publisher is the one that shops your song to artists, they are good, bad and ugly, many contacts in the Songwriters Market book change every year and so you MUST have the current edition. A&R Exec's change every year, record labels come and go, publishers come and go, every year. Take note of how long they have been in business and be careful with one who is brand new.
A publisher may only sit on your song and not shop it at all why? The new publishers esp. are looking to say I have 200 songs in my catalog, and so they are building their catalog not you. Also understand, when you get a contract from a publisher and you are an unknown artist, writer they always ask and its the norm, to get 100% of the song rights, it works the same with a record label. With a publisher try and say I will give you 80% of the rights, if you get that, you have done very good. A publisher will sit on your song, unless it is a hit, and they will have in their contract, they are sole owner of the rights for a year, or more, never go with that, never, say 6 months max why?
You will have your song doing nothing, unable to submit it to anyone else, after 6 months if nothing happens, get it back and submit it to another publisher, if not, your song will be in a pile for a year or more. NOT GOOD. Never do what is called blind submissions never, what this is , shows your not at a pro level, you must do the work, how? use your handbook, see what artist they have published, type of songs and make sure you submit only after looking into and researching the publishers activity and what they do, would you send a rock song to a rap publisher? no, read the handbook, do the work, or all is in vain.
The record Label. You contact the A&r Exec. and no one else, this who you also see when you shop your music in Nashville, L.A. Boston, Atlanta, N.Y. Seattle,WA, these are the music hubs and each work with different styles of music as you will read. Most good Record Labels will not even accept any unsolicited music and there is a lot to the submission to a record co. Many will not give you the time of day without an agent submitting your music. The new record Co will take a listen, make many promises, be warned many are song sharks, they have a P.O. Box in Hollywood and live in Maine, I kid you not.
One note about lyric writers, listen up, NEVER,EVER, EVER, fall for the adds in the tabloid magazines that say Nashville record label, we will set your lyrics or poem to music, an original composition, and it cost you a arm and a leg, you never pay anyone, ever to put music to your lyrics, I can not tell you how many I have warned about these song sharks, and so few heed, so be it. You will have a CD mailed to you with what you think is an original composition, a vocalist and the music, set to your words, wow. When you write all the lyrics 100% and another composes the music, it becomes a 50-50% deal, you never pay, never, that is the in your face truth of what these false prophets in the music biz do. This is how most do it. It can be a husband and wife team, or a person with a friend who has an OK voice that is available. They use a program called Band in A Box, the new version is stunning and a must if you gig out as a solo or duet, you can have a complete back up band and it sound 100% pro. The software has 1000's of pre- made templates in many styles of music, in fact all. They choose a template, spark it up, and have someone sing a crappy vocal and you get your CD and false hopes, avoid these and save time, money and a heart break.
If you submit a radio ready song and are looking to get signed read this RED ALERT.
You must have a full CD, pro recorded and a local following, press releases and all, or forget it. You must build up a local following and have media coverage, and good sales to show, 300,000 units minimum before they will even consider you. Start local, and use the internet, but you must have a large local following. When you shop your music, say in L.A. you have to move there , or make a tight schedule of several places that gave you an appointment to see the man or women in charge.
If you have never sat in an office of an A&R Exec, get ready for the shock of your life, are you ready? they will pop your CD in a player and listen to 15 to 20 seconds of each song, so cut out that amazing 30 second blazing lead guitar intro, make your intro a few seconds, It is wild to sit as I have in an office and watch the person listen to 20seconds of your song, if after 1 or 3 songs your done, they say I like what I hear, but not what were looking for at this time, but keep in touch, or OMG! sign on the dotted line, dream on, this never happens, never.
A few years ago, before shows like American Idol and many others now, have done one thing guess what? The 1000's of CD submissions that these folks used to get have now turned into 10's of thousands of boxes of CD recordings that will never even get a 20 second listen. Fact, I have talked to some old friends that listen to music for a living.
Lets say, you have a great local following have sold 300,000 plus CD's or mp3 downloads. One night, in the audience is a man or women, scouting talent, you, they heard of your local success and came to see how the crowd responds, they look for that beyond even what your music sounds like, what response does the crowd show? this means sales.
You get signed and you are thrilled, the next step is, if your CD is a polished CD and a pro product, they will do nothing, but run off a few thousand copies and send it out to their distributors. Next a press release, and a little tour to promote your music, act, CD. Guess what? these are actual statistic I will now give, fact, not fiction. Less than .5 % of all bands that get signed ever make more than one recording and are never heard of again, the record label puts all the promotion dollars in their proven track record sales of their talent, they do almost nothing for you. It is the same if your a writer and get a contract, a publisher to publish your book. As an author I know this as well. They send out a few books to the main outlets, your book stays on the shelf one month, maybe two, but one month. unless it sales, it is up to the author to go on book signing tours in book stores and do radio interviews etc. and the author pays for all of it, the writer, band must self promote and that's that, on to the next book, CD whatever.
Lastly, a good co will give you a cash advance, not a big one, but guess what? you have to pay that money back via your sales so it is a loan, many, many authors, bands, end up owing the little money they made to the one who gave the advance. Fact, not Fiction. You end up with owing the co. and not being able to pay them back, also you end up with a plate of rice and beans. This is a sad story, but it's the way it works. I could say much more, but for now, go out get a Songwriters hand book, NOW, a current one, or one at the library, they are mostly way outdated, but look at it anyway, and verify what I told you, the first few chapters are the same, most of the time, but all I told you is in every issue, I did not get my scares and pain from the handbook, but going out and living the life of a starving artist and sitting in a office watching many people listen to 15 seconds of my great CD, that I put my heart and soul, blood, sweat and tears into.
I hope this did not steal your dream, truth is shock resistant, and this is all the truth. Never give up, go and keep knocking on doors, make submissions, work your music, promote it. Go the Independent route and keep 100% of the rights, did you ever look on the back of a well known artists CD, look at the publishing CO. most big acts started their own publishing biz and they retain all the rights, all the big names do this, look at a CD and see, it, the publisher, production co, the logo, name is a business a savvy band, act did to not let the cash get into the hands of greedy record companies.
Did you know David Bowie and others are on the N.Y. stock exchange? they did it and it has made them millions. As a self published, self promoted Independent artist you are in the drivers seat, you will be even if you get a contact. I have learned it is better to do the independent route and control your own dream and path and not relay on the people in L.A. or any music city to do little to nothing for you and you end up losing all your publishing rights and royalties. If you are a local band, you play out, you sale you CD at your performances and if you go with say, disk makers, pay around 1.00 a CD and sell it for 7 or 10.00 you can make a very, very good living, do the math yourself and see. Truth is stranger tan fiction, and a fact is a fact, a calculator never lies, but song sharks do.
If you are a solo musician and do not play out, you put your MP3's for sale on I-tunes and other places, people are not buying now days, they can get all the music they want free. SOPA is a good and bad thing, many loop holes in the law, it is a law to censure the internet and freedom of the internet, censoring is happening as I write, I see it every day, have you seen You Tubes new lay out? The deal is to shut down internet freedoms, soon, very soon all sites like blog spot, word press, any social media site will be gone, the writing is on the wall. use the freedoms while they are still up, and forget making a living off MP3 sales if you do not play out. Fact, not Fiction.

The War Machine T'Shirt Logo, looked great on a black T'shirt

 It's A 2 Thing, had over 400,000 plays on the net, and 2 top 5 songs on sound click years ago,with out any paid promotion, that's a big deal out of over 250,000 other songs. did great, great pop-alt rock CD, I have over 2,000 songs in my catalog, will co-lab, or produce you via the net , contact me, as I said give a listen and think on these great free resources, no one else offers, and consider a small donation is all I ask, if you have it, if not, feel free to use my services any way, I was a starving artist many years, I understand.I would have given my right arm for what I am offering free, nothing like it , never was.I am not into the cash, but promoting true Independent artist and teaching free the newbie to pro, how to take their talent to the next level.
 Russ Dean is on my Indy Record Label This is a CD cover we did for Him , you can get this quality for 25.00 a pop, come on man LOL. Hear His music on sound click

 My Daughter Colene Rose When I was Producing her, her CD cover what a good looking women, and great, great talent
I Have recorded over the many years under different stage names, as a solo my names were, David Louis, Daniel Louis, Louis,D'Abaldo etc.Bands, Mind Theater, Mantle, Living Sacrifice, Providence, Many others.

My burden is to teach others what I have learned, pass it forward.And to offer many things to help the newbie esp, with help, songs, mastering audio the A to Z and almost all 90% of all I do is Free, so let your journey begin today, and let me and my resources help you, fair enough?

Have a creative day and get a hold of me if you want in on any of the free resources mentioned.
Dan Abaldo
Producer, A&R Exec, Urgent Mission Records, Digital Goatee Productions, owner. Audio teacher, film music composer, artist development, Indy artist promoter, Manager, Mastering and Recording Engineer.

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