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Thread: The Music BUSINESS

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  1. #1
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    The Music BUSINESS

    Hi,
    are there any musicians here who would share their stories and advice on the Music BUSINESS as a BUSINESS.

    1. Specifically could you tell me what I need to know regarding the Music Business, so I(and others who read this thread)can make smart informed decisions and not get screwed

    Obviously one very important piece of advice is to get a good Lawyer.

    2. Another item I would like to know more about is Music Unions or the Unions of Musicians local ... of whatever city you live in!

    What are the advantages to belonging to a Music Union?
    What are the disadvantages?

    Is it advisable or necessary to be part of a Music Union?
    Do musicians in bands ie.Linkin Park, Van Halen, Korn, etc do they have to be a member of a Music Union in order to be a member of those bands?

    Do Music Unions have alot of power &/or Authority?

    If a Music Union is powerful, do you you know of experiences where you or your band was "Blackmailed" if you decided the disadvantages of a Music Union "outweighed" the advantages?

    I've heard that if your band wants to play on a television show you may have complications if you don't belong to a Music Union
    (Mr. Steve Morse shared his experience with me when this very example happened to him!)

    Are there politics involved in belonging to a Music Union or not belonging to a Music Union?

    I know that much of this knowledge that you will share has been from the "school of Hard experiences or Hard Knocks" but I hope that you will still share, as it will undoubtably help so that I & others can learn from your experiences!

    Thanks in advance for the advice!!!
    Last edited by Schooligo; 06-25-2003 at 08:09 AM.
    "Success is arriving at a Personal Satisfaction within yourself"

    Dedicated To Guitar!!!

  2. #2
    Groovemastah DanF's Avatar
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    Well I can only give general stuff because I'm not a professional musician but I have worked for unions in the past and I'm pretty familiar with how they work.

    To wrap it up the advantages to being in the union are networking (if you want to get anywhere you need to know people) and protection (wages-wise). If you don't join the union you may very well be unable to do much of anything. Seems crappy but the best thing to do is just join, pay your dues and just think about how much easier life is.

    As far is who is in the unions, everyone in your local orchestra for a start. I don't know if say Linkin Park is in the union but I'll bet all of their techs and other people etc. are.

    That's just been my experience (Don't mess wit da union); however, if you want more info you might check out a book such as "Going Pro: Developing a Professional Career in the Music Industry") by Kenny Kerner (of the Musicians Institute).

    -Dan

  3. #3
    Experimentalist Koala's Avatar
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    Theres a lot of information about this online, and theres even books that have been written about it.

    Many things can be said, but IMHO I believe itīs key to do things calmly and not live every second of your life waiting "to get signed". This has gotten many people i know personally and many others who i donīt into terrible situations as they jump at the first offer they get.

    Take things slow, read deals over and over again and get a good lawyer, preferably one who has worked for a record label before. (I actually work undewr the watchful eye of an ex-WB lawyer and shes always done things right.)

    I recommend pushing the envelope as fas as you can before signing anything.

    About Unions, in my opinion (i only know the ones in my country) theyre blood sucking sobīs who will just hunt me down every day trying to get money outta my work (even though ive never joined). (Actually not too long ago, they showed up at a show, i was ready to start playing so my lawyer went out to meet them. They said theyīd confused me for a french 90something year old Harpsichord player. Im 23, and live in mexico, they got the french thing right, ive got ttwo nationalities soooo go figure)

    Anyway thats my experience, and i hope this thread carries on. Maybe Guni or Eric have taken Music Business courses at their respective schools.

    Hope this is worth somehtig to you,

  4. #4
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    1st off Thanks for the advice, any reply is a helpful reply

    Prior to creating this thread I did a search in the IBreathe Forums to see if the either of these topics had been addressed in depth.

    Just so you understand, My rationale for starting this thread was 2 fold:

    1. Many times I'll ask a question not just to benefit myself, but ideally to benefit the IBreathe community as a whole.

    2. Also I have noticed (myself included) that musicians aren't as knowledgeable about the Music Business as a BUSINESS, until some unfortunate experience makes them become all to aware that the Music Business is a BUSINESS.

    As for the Internet online, I have found very little advice about Music Unions, however on the other subject though I have been trying to increase my knowledge & I did find some very helpful advice at GUITARWORLD.COM lessons page, J YUEGER(sp?, I'll try to find the name of his column)the guitarist for White Zombie gives some great advice in a column he wrote regarding the Music Business!!
    "Success is arriving at a Personal Satisfaction within yourself"

    Dedicated To Guitar!!!

  5. #5
    Ibreathe Music Advisor EricV's Avatar
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    It takes quite a lot to get used to the biz-side of it. And often, itīs just as important as your chops or gear. Because... even though you might be able to play really well, or write awesome songs, you wonīt get anywhere if you donīt know how to publish your music, or get jobs, and most important... how to take care of stuff like copyrights, payment etc.
    I mean, a lot of people have been screwed because they were like "Well, itīs all about the love of music... I am an artist, after all"... those people didnīt look into the business side, never made contracts, didnīt copyright their music, didnīt do anything to cover their back and protect their rights.
    So they were screwed... after all, it IS a biz.
    So, you not only need a good lawyer ( if you can afford it ), you have to spend some time getting some knowledge about the biz-stuff.
    If you wanna be a "hired gun", or if you wanna play out with your band, or if you wanna write songs for other people, you better make sure you know how to set up a contract... unless, of course, you love to do stuff for free. The people you work for sure WILL love THAT.

    Check out those two rants I wrote about Attitude and "making it"... thereīs no really specific advice regarding legal things, but thereīs some general stuff which might fit the bill...


    http://www.ibreathemusic.com/learn/article/77

    http://www.ibreathemusic.com/learn/article/85


    So... try to get some literature about contracts, or the "business" side of music. There are some out there.
    Talk to some people who are in the biz. If you get to meet some popular guy at a workshop or concert, pick his brain about this.

    Of course, every one of us would love to just say "Man, all I care about is music, I just wanna play and not worry"
    But once you leave your basement, or your bedroom, and start working with others, once you get gigs bigger than backyard-parties, once you wanna publish your music or even *gasp* get paid for your work, you need to look into the legal stuff... otherwise youīll be screwed.
    It happened to the best of us... Van Halen, Shawn Lane, Joe Cocker, Steve Morse... and those are just the big guys...
    Eric

  6. #6
    Experimentalist Koala's Avatar
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    Originally posted by EricV
    *gasp* get paid for your work, you need to look into the legal stuff... otherwise youīll be screwed.
    Eric
    LOLOLOL you nailed the feeling ina few words Eric!!!!

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