||The Muse's News
Issue 1.11 - February 1999
In This Issue:
ISSN 1480-6975. Copyright 1998 - Jodi Krangle. For more info about placing ads, send an inquiry.
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Hi again, everyone. I hope you all had a wonderful New Years! As you've probably noticed, I've been rearranging The Muse's Muse. I hope those of you that haven't yet checked it out will do so. I think you'll like the changes. I've made the first page as much of a "songwriting toolbox" as I could - but if you have ideas for other links or handy tools I should have there, please do let me know. If you're interested in making The Muse's Muse your home page (the page that comes up when you first open your browser) simple instructions on how to do that can be found at: http://www.musesmuse.com/home-instr.html .
In other news, I'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate one of The Muse's News subscribers, Dimitrios Bitzenis, on receiving the prize for the third best Dance Song of the year in the 1998 UNISONG Contest (http://www.unisong.com/) with his song, "When I Close My Eyes". Way to go, Dimitrios! If you have a success to report, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org let me know about it so I can tell the rest of these fine folks!
I also wanted to remind you about Ben Ohmart's offer to review independent CD's. For those of you that missed last month's issue, Ben does CD reviews for www.atnzone.com (a *wonderful* web site) and he's also agreed to allow me to reprint those reviews in this newsletter. So if you have an independently released CD that you'd like to get reviewed, send it off to:
P O Box 750
Boalsburg, PA 16827
I'll let you know which CDs he's chosen to review.
And please congratulate our thousandth subscriber, Douglas Opler who has won homself a copy of Harriet Schock's BECOMING REMARKABLE book & CD. Douglas is an amateur songwriter who currently studies biology and physical anthropology at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University. Thanks Douglas! And thanks to all of you that have helped to make this newsletter a success. Your support is greatly appreciated.
Next month's give-away is a copy of John Dawes' *very* informative booklet, MUSICIAN'S GUIDE TO WEB PROMOTION (http://www.tacotruffles.com/) If you have a web site or are planning to have one in the future, you *want* this booklet - trust me. A review can be found further on in this newsletter.
Would like to also mention that if you find this newsletter of interest and think a friend or your local songwriting organization might too, feel free to pass them a copy.
Lastly, I'd like to ask a small favour of you: If any of you find any reviews of The Muse's Muse or mention of it in a print medium of any kind, I hope you'll let me know. Often, I don't hear about these things unless you guys tell me. So thanks in advance!
Ok. Enough gab. ;-) Lots to read this month so I hope you enjoy!
All the best,
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Songwriting Book Review: by Jodi Krangle
MUSICIAN'S GUIDE TO WEB PROMOTION by John Dawes
The back cover of the book proclaims, "You can't afford *not* to pick up this book." And you know what? It's right. If you've ever thought about getting your band or your company on the world wide web, you should have this publication handy. And many of the principles outlined in it will work just as well for other types of web sites as they will for music web sites.
Since my day job has a lot to do with web site promotional techniques, many of the ideas in the book were already familiar to me - but I still found myself learning *a lot*. John has an easy to understand, no-nonsense writing style that appealed to me and when you're talking about a subject that can sometimes get a little confusing, that's quite a feat.
The information included in the book runs the gamut from how to find yourself an internet service provider to how to prepare your pages for maximum placement on major search engines and from how to find a way to easily accept credit card transactions online to how to write press releases and bios for OFFline promotion. There's *lots* more - but you really do need to read it to believe it.
After each chapter, there's a handy checklist to go through and there are even samples of promotional materials in the back plus helpful web site addresses for everything from tuning up your web site to producing stickers with your web site address on them (an amazing idea for a tool that didn't even occur to me until I read this book!)
If you're planning on making a web page, you really *should* read this book first. While it isn't an html guide (and there are plenty of those out there!), it's a very handy reference for those who are serious about promoting themselves on AND offline. The amount of useful information packed into these pages is truly astounding. This is another book in my collection that'll be heavily thumbed through, believe me!
For those interested, John sends out regular web tips through his mailing list. To subscribe, just send a blank e-mail to email@example.com. He's also the web promotion columnist at GetSigned.com (another fabulous resource!).
John Dawes' MUSICIAN'S GUIDE TO WEB PROMOTION will be next month's give-away (thanks John!) and for those of you who missed it, John's live chat on the 18th of January was a lot of fun. You can view a log of this informative real-time discussion at: http://www.musesmuse.com/chatguest3.html.
If you have a book review you'd like to have published in The Muse's News, you can contact me at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
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COPYRIGHT & PUBLISHING Q & A
with Nancy A. Reece of Carpe Diem Copyright Management:
Q:When a credit says, "used by permission," how did the artist obtain permission to record someone else's song?
-- Debe Welch, Chicago, IL
A: Hello Debe. When a song has been indicated "used by permission" it is a statement that may or may not be redundant information. As we have discussed in previous issues of the Muse's News Newsletter, you are required to obtain a mechanical license from the publisher or administrator of the copyright prior to releasing the composition. A compulsory license is issued when a song has previously been released and is usually issued for the current statutory rate. If it is the first use of the composition, then a mechanical license is required in order to have 'permission' to release the song.
When you see the phrase "used by permission" it is underlining the fact that all licenses have been properly obtained.
**[The original correspondent (Aleyna) has given her permission for this to be reprinted in The Muse's News]**
Thank you for writing Aleyna. I would be happy to address your questions in a more specific way, if you like but here's what I believe will be helpful;
Q:Do I put my songs at risk of being pirated when I perform them live? I've heard so many opinions on this and I was wondering what yours was.
A: Yes. every time a copywritten work of any nature is performed in public, the risk is there for piracy. However, proper registration of the works gives you comfort that if there is an infringement, you have the tools to stop it. You may contact the US Copyright Office for the forms needed to register any works.
Q: If I suspect a song of mine or a part of a song of mine being pirated is there any legal action I can take?
A: If the work has been properly registered, you do have the tools to stop the infringement. A letter to the suspected infringer claiming ownership of the original copyright and a request to "cease" usage without proper licensing would be a practical first step.
Q: Am I just being paranoid in thinking that I shouldn't perform my songs live for fear of "inspiring" some other songwriter? This poses a problem for me because I am just as much of a performer as I am a songwriter and I would love to feel safe in performing my own songs.
A: We still view songwriting as an art form. What is the point of creating the art if it is not shared in someway. However, there will always be songs that you want to keep personal. Songs like ones written for certain occasions that are only relevant to that occasion, for example.
But, I am guessing that you wrote your material to share a story or a view point and it would be sad to be robbed of sharing your work. All songwriters are inspired by other writers. If you had never heard certain songs that inspired you, I doubt that you would be a writer at all. Enjoy being part of that process for someone else.
Q:Performing my own songs may even be the key to my success. I've been debating whether I should perform my songs to help my chances of getting a recording deal or whether I should keep them quiet and in my pocket so as not to lose them to other songwriters.
A: Perform your songs to the best of your ability, make sure that they are properly registered and enjoy sharing your intellectual property.
Q:Can you help me get some clarity on this dilemma?
-- Aleyna Williams
A: If you would like assistance in registration of your copyrights, our office can be hired to help you. Further consultation is also available at hourly rates, please let me know if there is anything else we can do for you.
Carpe Diem's owner and president, Nancy A. Reece has been involved in the music business since 1983. She was the president of an independent advertising agency for eight years as well as a successful personal artist manager for nine years. She represented the careers of several recording artists and songwriters including those with EMI, Zomba and Liberty Records as well as Benson, Starsong, WoodBridge, Temple Hall and N'Soul Records. She also represented, for a number of years, a Grammy and Dove nominated record producer. Reece has won awards of excellence in print magazine advertising and has been named as one of 2,000 Notable American Women (1995) as well as being listed in the International Who's Who of Professional and Business Women (1993). She was also named Cashbox Magazine's Promoter of the Year (1989).
If you would like to ask Nancy a copyright or publishing question for our continuing Q&A section, please send your e-mail to <email@example.com>. We can't guarantee we'll get to all of the questions, but we'll certainly try.
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Musical Notes: Songwriting Contests & Market Information
For Up-To-Date listings, please go to:
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Songwriter In Profile:
Lon Van Eaton
What early experiences in your life contributed to your love for music making?
In Trenton, New Jersey, birth place of Norman Swartzkoph and Dennis Rodman and myself, they have a hospital band that marches the corridors of the maternity ward playing polkas when you are born. Really though, my mother (from Italy) sang opera and my dad (from Idaho) played country guitar. Derrek and I heard strange versions of "On top of Ol' Smokey, etc." We also had a fine record selection and by the time we were 5 or 6, music lessons. We studied classical and other forms. I also remember neighbors sharing musical evenings, The Carlisi's (Mandolin, accordians), lot's of 50's 45's. I still love polkas and there are many other great people from Trenton including Patti LaBelle and Frank Stallone who called me just last week.
What made you graduate from a love of music to wanting to make a living out of it? Or did you just fall into it naturally?
Events cleared a path for me to consider a career in music. In high school I was always balancing. On one hand was the most normal and on the other the least. One event in Trenton is worth typing. I was elected to lead a dance band for our high school festival..i.e. a week long Broadway show competition for the whole school of 3,000 plus.
Trenton being only 30 miles from Philadelphia and 60 from NY had a reputation as not supporting live shows. Ya know -"If I want Broadway I'll go to the city" attitude. So our 22 piece band was the pit orchestra for a Louis Armstrong show at THE War Memorial building in Trenton. Unbelievable! 5 people in the audience! maybe 3, serious. BUT Louis played with this heart and soul that was truly as if the place was packed. It really keyed me into realizing that music is a hard living and so I decided to go the more normal route and every time I went that way the other way would lure me back with better opportunities.
Sorry what was the question I'm carried away! Yes...Did I fall into it. mmmmmm I did it for fun as a teenager made demos, played in clubs, wrote songs, had bands, kept in school to miss "fighting in Vietnam". Amazing. Then while in college in California, a demo for CBS with the band Jacobs Creek led to an offer to be signed. I weighed the opportunity, asked my Dad who said: "Do what you love". Off I fell into NY and a recording artist life. At the Albert and Chelsea Hotels where we lived were James Hendrix, Muddy Waters, Lovin Spoonful, Dylan and many more...a school of a different kind at the all night basement jams. Oh, also Janis Joplin. Whew. Andy Warhol parties...the other side for awhile for sure. I still love music and am very blessed to work and make a living at what I love.
When did you start writing your own songs? Were there particular artists that were your inspiration? Obviously, you were playing in a pretty fertile environment then...
While we were playing gigs all along the East Coast (teenage years), we played other peoplesí songs. Then, I made a conscious decision never to do that. I had read a lot (as I still do) and the idea of being a writer was very inspirational. I was about 14 when I wrote the first one "Salt Lake City" -- "Surfin' on salt?? I Think I can't drown in a wipe out!"
I would read something cool and use the idea in an original song. When I listened to Dylan and Lennon, well, they were so great. Yet, Dylan painted a "picture" while Lennon painted a "future". I learned from many and kept writing. Some were inspired, but as I developed, I learned that re-writing was the key. Hard work it is to hone it down, especially, if you compare your work to the greats and others out there.
How do you think your songwriting has changed between those early days and now? What areas did you most improve in your songwriting and did you have a method for doing that?
Well, I've written literally hundreds of songs. Some to play with words and/or music, some that were dreamt, inspired, and wrote themselves and I've learned my craft through hard re-writing work. I now have a definite plan or concept when I start to compose and collaboration with other writers has taught me the most. We have a thought process about life here at Imagine a Better World and it comes from songwriting. Imagine someone comes along, very excited, with a new song idea that goes: "When you wish upon a fish!" ( You know the melody.) You could respond (1) That's stupid! fish? Ha Ha LOL. Or (2) Hey cool!...what if you said "...upon a star" Choice #2 will create the probability of "Makes no difference who you are" #1 probably won't. That's a method for collaborating or writing solo. Work at integrating not compromise or dominance.
Who have you had the opportunity to collaborate with and what do you think that collaboration taught you?
Fun. It is so much more fun to collaborate and have a partner working with you to reach a goal. I write with a lot of people. My neighbor, Jerry O'Neill who calls to chat, inspires me. Consti is great at lyrics. Artists I produce are always partners. We really spend time getting the best songs we can. There's that old Nashville story about writing: "Even the guy who stumbles in the door and falls down drunk gets 10%!"
Which song of yours are you most proud of? Why?
Today it is one I hadn't heard in over a year. Listening to DATS for something else I came on "Apology". I wrote it as a wake up for me and others. Tomorrow it may be another. Apology starts with: "It's so outrageous after all that's been done...To the African people and American Indians..." Must put that one out somewhere.
Do you have any advice to others about the business? Any mistakes you've made that you would warn others away from?
So you want advice and my mistakes. For me the hardest lessons are about when you release control of the vision and when to hold on. Like a screen writer who has a vision and when they start shooting the movie it all becomes something else! The smart say Great! Looks good. They become successful, easy to work with, etc. If you hold out, they may find someone else!
I do think it was a mistake when I kidnapped my producer's dog and held him ransom until I got what I wanted. (Stupid me) I also made many mistakes by not taking the advice of more experienced people, thinking I knew what may be best. It's that ego in the way thing.
(About the dog napping episode, it was really nothing. On the way out of the studio one day, after a "discussion" over what single to release...the producer and I had a disagreement. I saw his dog, picked him up and took him home. When I got home I called and said now can we release what I want...he said no...I brought the dog back. He released what he wanted.)
My advice is that I've learned that things are very much step by step. A writer/artist may have a complete vision that he/she sees ... while others who are working with them only see it as it unfolds. This is why it is important to focus on the steps one at a time and stay present. Get on base and not always swing just to hit the home run.
What's in store for you in the future, Lon? Working on anything new? Have any new recordings coming out? Any new tours? How's your own studio coming along?
I continue to produce various artists here at Angels Ranch Studios. Artists contact us through our web site http://www.imagineabetterworld.com/ or through friends, etc. I listen to what they've done and we make a plan for the next step.
Every Artist wants to have a first rate CD of their work and I make that happen. The fun is doing that creatively. The development of an idea into a song, then the performance and then the sound -- in that order. If you don't have a song then don't record! So we focus on the songs first! Sometimes we use some of the Artist's songs and a few from other songwriters that fit that particular Artist. The point is to make a strong recording. Sometimes I'll travel to where the Artists are and record them there...and then come back to Angels Ranch for the polishing and finishing. It's amazing how working without a clock...and living with the music here at Angels Ranch produces special, magical things. Or maybe it's just because Consti takes such good care of us.
I have some new experimental tracks I've done. I'm finishing two compilation CDs now. One from the Denver at the Apollo project, teenagers in our inner city music project, and an Adult Contemporary project loaded with surprises. It starts out very up-beat and then dives into this heavy stuff and then out of that valley, the music picks up and leaves on an optimistic high. I like making a CD into a journey with an underlying theme -- like a movie.
Lon Van Eaton has over 30 years in entertainment industry experience in a variety of musical genres. He is a producer, songwriter and performing artist, recording with George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and John Lennon of the "Beatles" as well as a long line of musical artists.. He has released albums on the CBS, Apple, A&M and Imagine A Better World record labels, and has toured the United States, Europe and Japan. Founder of Imagine A Better World, an entertainment company dedicated to conscious change through the arts, Lon produces recordings at Angels Ranch Studios. He also travels off-site to produce for artists around the world -- some new (Freddy, Barbara West, etc.) and some well-known (Zubin Mehta at the Kennedy Center, Stevie Wonder with Turner Broadcasting for the Environment, and President Reagan and Ben Vereen in support of the Boy Scouts of America). Tour http://www.imagineabetterworld.com/ where you can visit his home and studio and find lots of photos, music clips, and updates on who he is producing and recording with now!
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Muse's Clues - Web Site Review by Tommy Merry
Have you ever had a discovery that was so profound, that you were actually reluctant to share it with others?
This month comes as close to any Iíve found. The Site is http://www.sonicfoundry.com/promo.asp?keycode=9005 and the product is known as ACID Music.
As the creation of Art and Music is heartfelt and a highly personal subject, some may find this article controversial, while others will find the most useful tool they have ever had in their songwriting grasp.
For many singer/songwriters who have no experience with playing an instrument, the quest for a complementary songwriting partner who has the same vision and talent level, is not always an easy one. This is where ACID Music steps in. The heart of ACID is a vast sample library with loops of drums, bass, guitar, keys, and percussion etc. in the styles of Country, Rock, Metal, Ethnic, Dance, Techno, House, World Beat and too many more to mention.
HINT: For those that donít know, a loop can be a small sample of music that lasts for one measure. At the end of the measure the loop can be set to start again giving the appearance of a continual musical phrase being played over and over, as a drum groove might be played.
ACID has a very straightforward interface that allows you to select an instrument and paint in as many measures of it as you like. For those who have worked with looping in the past, they know all too well that there is a high difficulty level in precisely aligning them up to create the illusion that an actual player is laying down the tracks smoothly. Sonic Foundry has made this automatic.
YOU DONíT PLAY AN INSTRUMENT? NO PROB!
A typical session might work like this: You grab one of the many drum loops available that will work for your song idea. You paint it into track 1. Now you search around for a bass part by auditioning hundreds of them in real time while your drum loop plays till you find the perfect complement. Now you do the same with the guitar, piano and synth until you have painted all of the tracks in. The amazing part? They are all lined up, in the same key, with perfect timing. The tracks will allow you to transpose their pitch and speed individually or change tempo midway through songs. Whatever you can think of you can do and it doesn't take an ounce of musical expertise, just the desire to create.
I PLAY MANY INSTRUMENTS AND THIS SOUNDS LIKE CHEATING TO ME!
Hold your horses, Lone Ranger. Being a multi-instrumentalists/ programmer/Songwriter myself , I wondered the same thing. Why would I use something like this? For many reasons, actually. First off, the high quality samples of real instruments are stunning with pre mastered sound quality, stereo imaging and live presence. This is a far cry from even the most expensive sequencer/ drum machines on the market. Secondly there is such a vast array of sounds to utilize that it's highly improbable that two people would ever come up with the same combination of instruments. Thirdly it's quick, it's inspirational and dad gummit it's fun! Best of all, when you finish with your song, feel free to record it and press it because these gems are 100% royalty free!
So whether you're in search of a writing partner (sorry Hammerstein) and don't play an instrument, or you're an advanced multi-faceted singer/songwriter who is looking for some creative fire to inspire, you have found a songwriting soul mate. Now go forth and co-create!
Keeping an eye out for you
-- Tommy Merry
Tommy Merry is a songwriter and guitarist that produces music for television, radio and indie movies when heís not busy being a webmaster/designer for Sun Microsystems. He also fronts the instrumental guitar project called Tommy and The Stompers. You can see them at http://www.shredzone.com/stompers.
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VIDEO-TO-GO (A CHEAP WAY TO BE SEEN) by Kenny Love
Needing a video, but don't quite have the $250,000 that "they" say it costs to make one? Well, I may have some alternatives.
Why not check out your area Art Institute? If there is not one in your area, your next choice is a college or university. Practically, all colleges and universities have film schools or film departments. Sometimes, you must contact the department called, "School of Journalism."
Generally, aside from small basic expenses, schools will shoot your video for FREE! That's right...FREE!
One reason is that, though film students may be extremely talented and competent, they are not yet considered "professionals." Therefore, they cannot charge the commercial rates that their professional videographer counterparts can demand (and get).
Another reason is that your video shoot will usually qualify as a class project for the student videographer and, ultimately, a grade.
You, on the other hand, get the best of both worlds...an economical project as well as professional equipment and talent.
Another outlet is a Public Access television station crew. You can often, if not usually, find a crew that is willing to volunteer and work with you free of charge as well.
Some stations may require you to attend a brief course, or pay a small fee. But the savings are phenomenal over commercial sources.
Since releasing his initial recording, Kenny Love, a former Music Education Major, has had the opportunity to work in many varied business aspects of the music industry; recording artist, producer, author, journalist, promoter, booking agent, & public relations specialist. He has also appeared in television, radio, & print interviews as a music business consultant. His new report is titled, "Alternative Routes to Recording Success." Get more info at http://www.etwebs.net/kennyl/ar-to-rs.html.
Copyright 1998 by Kenny Love
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" O N S I T E " F E A T U R E D A R T I C L E :
TROUBADOURS, PIRATES & THE DIGITAL POLICE by Jerry Flattum
Songwriting, publishing, production and distribution in Y2K - a comprehensive 5-parter with tons of links & helpful information. Songwriting in the year 2000? You be the judge.
Classifieds & Useful Services:
SHOCK VALUE MUSIC WEBZINE
Sending Shock Waves Through the Music Business! Written for and about unsigned/independent music makers.
It's free on the web: http://members.aol.com/SVwebzine
E-mail for more information <SVwebzine@aol.com>.
THE FREEBIE TIMES
A free weekly newsletter with something for everyone. In each issue we have great contests, Sweepstakes, free stuff,and much more. E-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org> with Subscribe FT in the subject to subscribe.
ATTN: COUNTRY MUSICIANS & SONGWRITERS:
Country Wave is Canada's Premier Country Music Magazine. Call toll free (Canada and U.S.) 1-888-438-8439 for subscription info. Website: http://www.countrywave.com
PUBLISHER NEEDS ORIGINAL SWING MUSIC
BMI Publisher seeks original swing music to pitch to a major artist.
Please send your swing-music demo to:
EMSTONE, INC. MUSIC PUBLISHING, P.O. BOX 1287, HALLANDALE, FL 33080 USA.
M. Stone <email@example.com>
GREAT CD? NO CONNECTIONS? NO DEAL?
We can get you the deal if your project is radio-ready or teach you how to get there if its not! Never Off Key is a full-service music company run by music-industry professionals. Our CEO is a Grammy-nominated songwriter who understands your needs and concerns. We offer CD shopping, CD & Song Evaluations, Consultations & Coaching, and Workshops and Seminars.
Call Ellen at (619) 259-8831 or e-mail us at:<firstname.lastname@example.org>
US$2/line/issue. Min. 2 lines, max. 7 lines, where a line = 65 characters including spaces and punctuation. All contracts must be prepaid. E-mail to: email@example.com
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Contact Info & Credits:
Jodi Krangle ...........EDITOR
Kathryn Obenshain >......GRACIOUS PROOFREADER
Bryan Fullerton ............SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR
Back issues and other information available at: http://www.musesmuse.com/musenews.html
The Muse's News is part of The Muse's Muse, a web resource for songwriters.
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