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Š 2008 - Compiled by Umnyama Music npo035704. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means without written permission of Umnyama Music. This brochure is an initiative of poppunt.be and umnyama.co.za, and was published with the support of the Flemish authorities. It is made available free of charge. Not For Sale


INDEX

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Introduction

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To DIY or not to DIY The DIY route, The music industry route, Do it: choose it

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Recording your music Demo or professional recording, Where do you start, Checkpoints before you get to a studio

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Protecting your music The concept of intellectual property, The administration and protection of intellectual property, Performing rights, Mechanical reproduction rights, Mind the gap: internet, neighbouring rights and the International Sound Recording Code (ISRC), Setting up a company

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Promoting your music Public image, Dealing with the media, The internet, Live performances

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Distributing and selling your music Physical or digital distribution, Manufacturing CDs, CD artwork, Bar code, Distribution, Selling at Shops, The internet, Ringtones and mobile downloads

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Helpful links and literature

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The POP MUSIC DIY Guide | Tips & Tricks for the Home-made Pop Star This booklet is inspired by De Muzikantengids (by Jan van der Plas and Tijs Vastesaeger), Poppunt’s own elaborate “music bible”, which is distributed throughout Belgium and the Netherlands. About the author: Jeroen Arthur Seynhaeve holds an LL B (Bachelor of Laws) degree, and is a web designer and a music composer in his own right. He’s been active in the South African music scene for 10 years and runs the non-profit organisation Umnyama Music and the multimedia company jaMMM.co.za. A major word of thanks to Luc and Tijs at Poppunt, who made this project possible. Gratitude also to Marlijn, who assisted with the research, to the Flemish authorities, which provided the financial backbone for the writing, designing and printing, to the Franschhoek Legal Advice Centre, which took care of logistics and financial management, to my editor Freda at Wordwise, to photographer Dominique at Tape Town, to Roach at AIRCO and African Dope, to Jurgen and Toine at the University of Kwazulu Natal, to Martin at MFM Radio 92.6, David at RISA (the Recording Industry of South Africa), Gwen at SAMRO (the South African Music Rights Organisation), to Brigitta and Mbali at SARRAL (the South African Recording Rights Association Limited) and to Collen at NORM (the National Organisation for Reproduction Rights in Music in Southern Africa) for great advice and to all the musicians who were so kind as to share their experiences with me.


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Introduction It all seems so easy: you record a couple of songs, play some gigs, sell CDs, get your face on a TV quiz and the bucks, groupies and fame come rolling in. That’s what you see all around you, right? Well, yes – but what you don’t get to see is what’s going on behind the scenes: the years of hard work, the exhausting studio sessions, the months of promotional touring away from home and family, insecurity, doubts, financial trouble and boring meetings with accountants and lawyers. The things that may not exactly fit in with your immediate idea of an artist’s life.

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Okay, occasionally a really wild party is thrown. And, okay, stepping onto a stage with thousands of people screaming your name – and flashing naked body parts at you – is rather satisfying. And, admittedly, selling millions of CDs is a real ego booster. But then, there is the flip side. There’s a whole bunch of legal, administrative and business stuff going on behind the scenes of any successful pop artist. Since you, too, will need to know about these things if you want to become a successful artist – and if you want to prevent those people working behind the scenes to go off with all the profits of your hard work – this booklet gives you the low-down in easy, practical steps. No jargon.

Still with me? Still reading? Good. That means I haven’t frightened you off yet. It probably also means that you’re willing to do what it takes to succeed in the music industry. Simply put, not being informed of the stuff that goes on behind the scenes of an artist’s life would be a waste of your talent. I know that you’re good and that you’re willing to prove it to anyone who wants to listen. Well, take good care of your talent. Respect it, protect it, treat it like a baby – because raw, ignorant talent can easily be exploited or wasted.

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Introduction 01


Some people choose – or have the luxury to choose – to let other people take care of the business aspects of their music career. Managers, music publishers, booking agents and record company executives are all specialists in the issues that I’ll be discussing in this booklet. But, as is the case with any specialist, you don’t meet them on every street corner and they come at a hefty price. And they themselves choose whom they want to work with and they take a good deal of your earnings as an artist. For many an artist, this is not an option or it becomes an option only once they have built a respectable amount of success on their own. If you get the chance to work with a reputable professional, grab it. But be careful of the pitfalls, as I’ll explain later. This booklet focuses on the DIY – the do-it-yourself – route. Artists all over the world have followed this route since the advent of pop music in the mid 1900s. But, in the past, it was never easy. You had to come up with very creative ideas and most “independent” artists were never able to get beyond the “alternative” music scene. Today, however, you’re in luck. Life has become just a little easier for independent artists. With the advent of the internet has come an ever-growing number of opportunities for an artist to promote and distribute her or his music – worldwide – at basically no cost. Better and faster personal computers have also made it affordable for you to set up a basic recording studio in your bedroom. This has allowed a “democratisation” of the music market: an artist no longer has to wait until some record company decides to put its full weight behind her or him. Anyone can access the worldwide music market and take a shot at international fame. It could be you, it could be your music, that’s downloaded one million times and has you smiling all the way to the bank, without you having to leave your bedroom. I’m not saying that it’s easy, though. It’s still a lot of hard work. One of the major misunderstandings that I’ve observed among artists is that they think recording a CD is all it takes. “I’ve worked very hard at writing and recording my songs, my CD artwork really rocks, but now nothing’s happening,” many of you have told me. Hmmm, right, nothing will happen if you don’t make it happen. You have to get out there and actively promote your music with live performances, appearances and reviews in magazines, in newspapers and on the radio. I’ll be talking about that later. In this booklet, I’m boldly assuming that you’ve already started making and playing music. If you’re still not sure whether to learn to play the guitar or the piano, if you’re still fighting about the bass player’s girlfriend (do bass players actually ever have girlfriends?) or if you’re insecure about the hiss in your voice – toss this manual aside and return to it when you’ve made up your mind.

02 Introduction

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If you choose to build your music career yourself, get ready to change your mind-set. Hmmm, sounds daunting? You just got used to your mind-set? Let me explain. A great many artists believe that: (1) their only mission in life is to create art; and (2) the world owes them something as a thank you for creating their art. It wouldn’t be wrong to share those beliefs if you were the only person in your community making music, as was the case in the olden days in traditional societies: one person was appointed to make music for the king’s birthday, to communicate messages or simply to entertain. But today, things are different – very different. Whether you make music purely for artistic reasons or for commercial reasons, you end up in a world in which music is an international multizillion-dollar industry and everyone – musicians and record companies alike – is trying to cash in as much as she or he can. Even though you might not be that interested in making tons of money, you share the stage with people who are. The next time that you write a song, think about this: when the girl next door goes to the music store (or searches the internet for music), she’s faced with thousands of options – from the fat beats of hip-hop and R&B bling-bling to the rebellious slogans of punk and the sophisticated air of classical music. And even if there’s a certain style that she prefers, that style is represented by another dizzying number of artists. Who’s she going to spend her hard-earned cash on? You’re up against major multinationals here, big machines that exist with only one goal in mind: to make loads of money. So why would she buy your CD?

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To DIY or Not To DIY 03


How do your music and image compare to the music and images of international stars? Believe me, when she’s at the music store and sees that new overseas music sensation, she won’t feel that she owes you anything. The girl next door will buy what appeals to her. And why does certain music appeal to her? Because a lot of thought has gone into its recording, production and marketing. Ah, finally, I’ve arrived at the point that I wanted to make. To be a talented musician is one thing (and I believe that you are). To get people actually to buy your music is a whole different thing – which would traditionally be taken care of by professionals like record companies. But we’re taking matters into our own hands, right? We’re not going to wait until a music industry professional thinks that we’re good enough, right? We’re taking the DIY route – right?! So what are you in for, then, taking the DIY route? Firstly, accept who your competitors are, as I’ve discussed above. Secondly, learn from them: see how they promote big local and international stars. Thirdly, think about how you can set yourself apart from the rest. Highlight your differences, your unique qualities. What can you offer music fans that other artists can’t? Is it the fact that you’re aware of what’s happening in your community, is it the fact that you’re proudly African, is it the fact that you understand how a youngster thinks, is it the fact that you’ve mastered a specific kind of dance, voice technique or technique on a musical instrument? And finally, with the knowledge that you gain from this manual, you should be able to design a strategy of your own, around your uniqueness. I know: you don’t have access to the budgets that big stars are able to throw behind their marketing campaigns – but this should be an incentive for you to come up with really cool, creative ideas. I’ll be discussing some of them later, but the point here is: you have to come up with a good strategy to record, market and sell your music.

04 To DIY or Not To DIY

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The Music Industry Route The music industry route used to be the only route for you to take if you wanted to become a pop artist of any meaningful success. A few artists and bands have sporadically managed to thrive on an “alternative� marketing and distribution system, but that’s been the exception rather than the rule.

The music industry route involves a number of people who all want you to be very successful – because they all take a slice of the money pie that your success generates. That’s great, isn’t it: now it’s not just you but other people as well who want you to be famous, rich and beautiful: Your manager FOKPZUIFDIBNQBHOFu will make sure that you’re represented professionally – he might even be the one who closes all "SOP$BSTUFOT the other deals for you that I’ll be mentioning later. Your publisher will make sure that your music is being aired as often as possible, including on radio, on TV, as cover songs by other bands and on the internet, and will keep an eye on the protection of your copyright. Your record company will make sure that your music is in the shops, on a meticulously recorded disc, with the help of a professional producer and possibly with your best body parts exposed in an attractive cover design. Your booking agent will take care of live performances: she or he will try to get you listed at major music events and in popular clubs. This is the good part. You have only to look at your favourite local or international artist to know that it is a good part. So, with a few signatures, you can set the machine rolling, the machine that has one objective: to make you the best-selling artist in the world. You have professionals doing professional stuff for you – applying all their expertise, networks and money to your success – so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. While most music industry professionals are trustworthy (even though they’re under more and more pressure due to a changing music landscape), stories about the unscrupulous exploitation of young talent are legendary. Whatever the case, there are some downsides to signing a long-term record contract, particularly when your talent is still raw and naïve:

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To DIY or Not To DIY 05


Downsides to signing a long-term record contract

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A major misconception about record companies is that they give you money. They don’t. Record companies are like banks: they don’t give you anything but they may lend it to you if they believe that they’ll get something out of it. When you borrow money from a record company, you’ll be paying back every last cent through your CD sales. In other words, you won’t receive revenue from CD sales until the record company has its money back. This is why many artists are not – or are hardly – making money from their CD sales.

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You no longer decide for yourself which direction your music career should take. Professionals will advise you on what’s best in terms of their marketing plan – a plan that’s designed with their own interests in mind.

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You share any profits that you make from your musical talent with the professionals who work with you.

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You’re bound for years or even the rest of your life, even if you’re unhappy with how the record company performs. Stories are rife about artists who signed great deals – after which nothing happens. Many contracts are set up so that the obligations in terms of the record companies are vague, which means that they get away with sitting on their arses while your music career has come to a very real standstill.

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You could be the little duck at the bottom of the list. Some companies sign every artist that they can get their hands on, knowing full well that they can give attention only to the few successful artists at the top of their list. To them, signing you is more of a lottery than an actual investment: if your music career takes off, they share in the profits but, if nothing happens, they don’t lose out. If you’re depending on their actions to get your music career rolling, you’re damned.

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Since the advent of the internet, the players in the music field have changed drastically. With a new music industry now being largely driven by new media - the internet, video, mobile phones - and with the downfall of CD sales worldwide, traditional CD-based record companies have lost a lot of their clout in favour of an array of new media companies. Music linked to company branding, where large international brands aim to communicate with their target audience through popular artists, is another new trend.

06 To DIY or Not To DIY

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Do it: Choose It It’s a difficult balancing act, choosing between DIY and the music industry, but the options aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. You can assign certain parts of your music career to third parties. Common examples are press and distribution deals or publishing deals. Or you can launch your career on your own and, after you’ve established yourself, decide to approach a record company to take your career to the next level. DIY You have to come up with creative, affordable ideas. You’d better learn to deal with rejection and failure from an early stage. You’ll grow a lot more slowly, since you won’t be able to make use of the expertise of an experienced music industry professional BUT at least you’ll be in control. If you try something that doesn’t work, you’re free to try something else. Music industry The music industry professionals have been in business for decades and they know some tricks that you don’t. Instead of wasting time with the basics – and the mistakes that you make when you do things yourself – you could be using their expertise and networks. You share a common interest: a team of people works towards your success because your success is also its success BUT not everyone has your best interests in mind – and you might be regretting this for a long time.

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To DIY or Not To DIY 07


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Recording Your Music Demo or Professional Recording? A demo recording used to be essential. That was back in the time when you needed to persuade a music exec in a cool suit in a posh office in a tall building in a big city that your music was going to help him to pay off his bond. It was an essential tool in your strategy to persuade her or him to invest in your talent. I’d state the case that it’s no longer necessary to record a demo – if a demo is going to be a cheap and reduced reflection of your talent. We’re talking DIY here. We’re not talking about persuading some record industry professional; we’re talking about targeting music fans directly, with a quality product. We’re talking about taking things into your own hands, which implies that we’re not taking half measures. If you believe that your talent is worth any respect, spend the right amount of time, energy and money to release a professional recording and get it out there. If this takes a bit longer than recording your bedtime songs in the home-made studio in the backyard of your local grocery store – well, live with it. In the end, it will be worth the wait. If you can’t afford a full album, consider recording just one song – check out what I write about the changes in the music landscape, in that by far fewer full albums are being sold worldwide, while by far more songs are being downloaded. Releasing one song makes sense in this day and age.

08 Recording Your Music

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If you don’t have a computer – or if you feel insecure about controlling the recording process all by yourself – check out local recording studios. If you’re in or near a big city, that shouldn’t be a problem. If you’re in a rural area, you might have to travel to your nearest city. Spending time at a professional recording studio comes at a hefty price, though, and not all of them are as experienced as they may seem at first sight. Tread carefully. If you’re a bit tight on cash, approach your nearest university or technikon. Many of the music production and sound-engineering students there are constantly looking for projects and they usually don’t charge. On top of that, they have access to the training institute’s state-of-theart recording studios as part of their curriculum. Go and chat to the teachers and students.


Where Do You Start? Do you have a computer? Start today. Apart from the rather expensive music production software that you can find in music shops, there are a number of free music production software tools that you can download from the internet. Search Google, Yahoo or MSN for “free music production software” or check out www.hitsquad.com. When you’ve saved up some money, upgrade your sound card, microphone and other instruments. Bottom line is: you’re doing it yourself. Is there a learning curve? Sure, it might take you months before you’re able to drop the first line of music onto your hard drive. But remember the commitment that we made at the start of this manual? You want to take things into your own hands. You want to learn about recording techniques, production and editing skills because these will be an essential part of the rest of your musical life. And guess what? No annoying producer will be leaning over your shoulder, telling you that you must sing an octave higher, play that guitar left-handed or drum at 120 bpm. You decide about everything, every single note, every single beat. 1

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Recording Your Music 09


Checkpoints before You Get to a Studio Do you have a clear idea of what you want to sound like? Do you know how to get that sound? Know what your style is, know what comes naturally to you, and stick to it. In a professional recording environment, this aspect is typically the role of the producer. She or he decides what kind of instruments will be used in the recording, what the tempo of the song will be, etc. Are you comfortable enough to make these decisions for yourself or will you want help from a third party? The best recording studio technicians are those who stick to their jobs. Make clear agreements about how much you want them to be involved. Do you want them to record your music and shut up? Then tell them that’s what you want from them – in slightly different wording. If you’d appreciate some advice from time to time, then ask them for it. Most studio technicians have seen a lot of bands passing through their studios, they’ve worked with successful producers, they’ve seen all the tricks: they might be able to suggest a thing or two. Ask for other CDs that have been recorded at the studio, take them home and play them on as many hi-fi systems as you can. After all, you want to be sure that the sound quality is worth your money. Has the studio recorded music genres similar to yours? If you don’t have enough money to pay for recordings, some recording studio owners might offer you free recording sessions in exchange for a share in your copyright. Don’t do it. Rather wait and save up enough money. Prepare yourself. In the studio, the clock is ticking. If you think for two hours about whether you should sing “I like you” or “I love you” – well, that might become a rather expensive phrase in your song. Prepare your lyrics and know when to do what. Get organised. If you work with other musicians (whether session musicians or band members), let them know that you want a structured process – nobody arrives late. Try to set up a schedule with the technician and stick to it.

10 Recording Your Music

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Protecting Your Music The digital revolution, which includes ever-faster personal computers and a worldwide web of interconnected individuals, has been hailed as both a blessing and a curse for musicians. It’s a blessing because computer-based music recording has become a lot more accessible to the average musician and because the internet offers innumerable marketing and distribution possibilities. However, it’s also opened up a can of worms. Even the cheapest computers are able to copy just about any CD. The internet – and some malicious websites – offers ways of distributing music worldwide without any remuneration to the artist. I’ll be talking about that later. In this day and age of illegal copying, downloading, distribution and piracy, it’s important for you to have everything legally in place to protect your music. But don’t get paranoid: you don’t want to miss out on good exposure because you’re afraid that people who hear your music might do something illegal with it. Remember this: 1. If you have your copyright in place, you’ll always stand a good chance against the illegal use of your music. If someone locally or internationally uses your music in, say, a movie, you might not hear about it and not receive royalties for years. But, chances are that, one way or another, you will find out. That’s the time when you come down on the bad guys like a bomb. 2. The illegal copying, downloading and use of music is happening as we speak. You’ve probably done it yourself: copied a CD or cassette, or perhaps even used a non-licensed sample of a song in one of your songs. Accept it, it happens. So instead of avoiding it by locking up your 1

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your music in a safe 100 metres beneath the earth and keeping it away from potential eager fans, reward people who are willing actually to pay for your music: give away free entrance tickets to your gigs to everyone who buys your CD or give them an access code with w Logically, copyright works in two directions: it protects your creative ideas AND it protects other artists from you using their creative ideas without their permission.

> Protect Legally, your musical creation is protected from the moment that you “materialise” your musical idea, in other words, basically from the moment that you record it or write it down. Ideas that live in your head aren’t protected. To help you protect and administer your musical ideas, there are organisations in South Africa that register music and keep an eye on the use of such music. More on this in the next section.

RespectRespect another artist’s creative property. The law calls using someone else’s musical idea without her or his permission “plagiarism”. You can be penalised for this. Treat other artists as you’d like to be treated by them. Obtain permission to use a song or a certain part of a song and arrange to make payments for the use of such music.

Before we look at how you get everything legally in place to protect your music, let’s look at what copyright actually is. Read this carefully, as, for many musicians, this is the bread and butter of their career. 12 Protecting Your Music

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The Concept of Intellectual Property People are entitled to property when they acquire it – whether they buy it, receive it as a donation or inherit it – or when they create it. Creating - as in “composing� - is what we’re interested in here. “Entitled� means that the property owner is the one who decides what happens with the property and that she or he is the one who receives any revenues made from the exploitation of the property.

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When you compose a song, it’s your song. The law says: “It is your property�. You decide what happens to your song and you’re the one who receives any profits made from the use (broadcasting, selling CDs, downloading, etc.) of your song. Copyright exists as soon as you have given the composition a material form, e.g. it is written down or recorded. You can not claim copyright to ideas that “live in your head�.

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Composers’ copyright protection is written into South African law by the Copyright Act 98 of 1978, as amended. There are copyrights that refer to the “song� and copyrights that refer to the “recording�. Copyright in the case of a composer lasts for the lifetime of the composer and for 50 years after her or his death.

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What I’ll be discussing below – intellectual property, and the administration and collection of royalties – is traditionally the job of professional “publishers�. They deal with SAMRO, SARRAL and NORM, and act as a double check on the calculation and payment of your royalties. They also use their networks among record companies and public broadcasters to place your songs in CD releases, advertising, movies, documentaries and, consequently, generate royalties that you yourself would not have been able to secure.

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The Administration and Protection of Intellectual Property It’s practically impossible for you, as an individual, to track down every possible use of your music. You can’t go out and check up on every radio station, TV broadcaster, restaurant or other public place to make sure that your music isn’t being played or that, if it is, you’re being paid for it. You can’t buy every CD and analyse it for possible tunes that are your property. You can’t go to every gig to listen for plagiarism. That’s why South African artists – like artists in the rest of the world – have established organisations that do this on their behalf. These organisations keep a database of copyright-protected music, they administer the database, they negotiate and they collect payments (so-called royalties) on behalf of their members. Now, because music copyright entails many different aspects, different organisations (“collecting societies”) take care of these different aspects in South Africa: Performing rights are handled by SAMRO, mechanical reproduction rights are handled by SAMRO, SARRAL and NORM. RISA handles neighbouring rights.

Performing rights “Performing rights” refers to the compensation (a.k.a. “royalties”) paid to composers for the use of their music in: Live, public performances; TV and radio broadcasts; and Music commissioned for film, video, television and radio programmes as soundtracks or advertising jingles. Only one organisation deals with performing rights in South Africa: SAMRO: the South African Music Rights Organisation. “SAMRO is a collective administration society that is charged with the administration of performing rights in Southern Africa. We represent our composer, author and publisher members when a musical work is performed in public, broadcast or transmitted in a diffusion service. We license the performance in public, broadcast or transmission of copyrighted music works, collect the licence fees, assemble the 14 Protecting Your Music

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information about the use of that music and then compute and distribute the royalties ... SAMRO is created and controlled by composers, songwriters and music publishers, with a Board of Directors elected by and from the membership. By virtue of the bilateral (reciprocal) agreements for the protection of intellectual property or through the Berne Convention with many other similar music copyright organisations around the world, SAMRO protects an extensive repertoire written by thousands of songwriters and composers worldwide.� samro.org.za 2008.

Why become a member of SAMRO? | It’s a good idea to have your music administered by an organisation like SAMRO for two reasons: (1) SAMRO takes care of the administration of royalties (it does all the negotiations, calculations and payments on your behalf) and (2) SAMRO can play an important role in terms of proof of ownership. Let’s look at a simplified example. What happens if you hear a song on the radio that sounds exactly like the one you wrote and performed a year ago? Firstly, you listen again and then you pinch yourself to make sure that you’re actually awake. Secondly, you try to get into touch with the artist who’s performing your song on radio and explain to her or him that you’re entitled to compensation for the use of your music in public broadcast. Thirdly, you’re told to piss off and to prove that you’re the owner of the song, in other words, that you wrote the song before the other artist recorded it. Enter SAMRO! If you submitted your song to SAMRO, the date on your submission form will be decisive in establishing the ownership of the song. If you can prove that you wrote the song before the other artist did by referring to the submission date in the SAMRO database – and the other artist can’t prove that she or he wrote the song before you did – you’re the owner of the song and you’re entitled to compensation for the use of your song. How do you become a member of SAMRO? | Apply for membership by phoning SAMRO at 011 489 5000 and ask for a membership application form to be posted to you. You’ll receive an Application for Membership as well as a number of documents titled Notification of Works. The former requires all your details. The latter requires a list of all your compositions. There’s no joining fee or annual subscription. There might be a bit of a waiting period, though, and there’s one major requirement: your music must have been broadcast or performed in public within the last two years prior to you joining. 1

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Mechanical reproduction rights “Mechanical” refers to the compensation paid to copyright owners for recording, manufacturing and distributing music on a physical carrier like a cassette, a CD or vinyl. Every time that music is transferred from one format to another, such as from a master tape to a CD, mechanical royalties are due. Simply put, anyone who wants to record and sell one of your songs has to pay compensation upfront to one of the organisations that collects mechanicals on your behalf. The compensation is a percentage of the cassette’s, LP’s or CD’s retail price. Three agencies deal with mechanicals in South Africa: SARRAL, NORM and SAMRO. Membership is mutually exclusive: you can join only one agency that collects mechanical royalties on your behalf.

1. NORM – www.norm.co.za – NORM (the National Organisation for Reproduction Rights in Music in Southern Africa) has been operating in the interests of music publishers and composers for more than three decades. It’s a fully-fledged association charged with the mechanical licensing of the repertoire of all members. NORM is a “one-stop shop” where those requiring a mechanical licence (or permission from the copyright owner to make reproductions) can make their application. NORM’s function is to act as a negotiating and mechanical licensing body, through a mandate issued by its members. 16 Protecting Your Music

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NORM’s membership is as diverse as it is comprehensive. The four major publishers in South Africa are members – Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Gallo Music Publishers, EMI Music Publishing and Universal/BMG Music Publishing. There are also well over 100 independent publishers including the likes of Sheer Publishing, David Gresham Publishing, Ghetto Ruff Publishing, African Dope Publishing, Essex Music, Mokima Music, De La Music, Copycare Africa, peermusic, Rodeo Songs and many, many more. Becoming a member of NORM is easy: if you’re a songwriter and you have a repertoire of active songs, then you can apply to join. Membership is subject to approval by the NORM board of directors. Phone 011 447 8870

SARRAL – www.sarral.org.za – SARRAL (the South African Recording Rights Association Limited) is a non-profit society, operating since 1963, looking after the rights of composers of musical works, wherever such musical works are recorded. These activities are carried out in SARRAL’s territory of operation in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland. SARRAL is also, however, affiliated to all similar societies throughout the world. Anyone who’s created at least one musical work can apply to join SARRAL. You simply sign an agreement giving SARRAL the right to administer your works and – voila! – no waiting period: you’re in! Simply phone SARRAL at 011 339 1333 and it will send you the necessary forms.

SAMRO – SAMRO started collecting mechanical royalties in 2007, and is consequently the only organisation in South Africa that collects both performing AND mechanical royalties on behalf of its members.

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Mind the gap: The internet, neighbouring rights and the ISRC

The internet | By virtue of the nature of the internet, the monitoring of music usage on the internet is proving to be very difficult. The royalty collection associations – SAMRO, NORM and SARRAL – are, however, attempting – as far as possible – to research the internet and to keep abreast of new services involving music usage on the internet. But, at the time of printing, royalty collection for South African music played, streamed, distributed or downloaded on the internet wasn’t really being monitored. Although agreements are in place between some royalty collection associations and some internet providers, it’s hard to track down the usage of your music in the far and dark corners of the internet. Nobody officially monitors the use of South African music on the internet and it’s not regulated by law. This does not, however, mean that people are allowed to use or distribute your music freely on the internet. If someone does want to use or distribute your music on the internet, that person has to obtain your permission to do so. If you’re a member of a royalty collection association, such a person has to approach the association that you belong to. That person then has to report quarterly on the number of downloads that is used and pay a percentage of the download retail price. This is shared between the royalty collection association and the copyright owner(s) – you. If you’re not a member of an organisation, you yourself have to negotiate a deal that you feel comfortable with. “Giving permission”, by the way, means that you’re allowing someone to “use” your music; it doesn’t mean that you’re giving away any of your copyright. Someone using your music without your or your association’s permission is illegal. If you find out that a website is using your music – playing it as background music, offering free downloads, offering ring tones, etc. – without your permission, contact your royalty organisation (SAMRO, SARRAL or NORM) immediately. Also contact the people who are making illegal use of your music!

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Neighbouring rights | “Needletime” – or “neighbouring rights” – is a compensation for performers who don’t write their own music, for producers and band members; people who significantly contribute to the performance of a song, but are not entitled to composer’s royalties. It is a kind of “third royalty” - on top of the typical composer’s “performing royalties” and “mechanical royalties”. For years, only the copyright owner – which is usually the composer – was entitled to royalties in terms of the public performance or mechanical reproduction of a musical work. The artist performing the music on stage or on a sound recording wasn’t entitled to royalties. For example, a top-selling artist who didn’t write her own songs wasn’t entitled to royalties in terms of performing or the mechanical rights of a song, even though her face may have been associated with the success of that song. Instead, royalties were paid only to the copyright owner, the composer of the song. In principle – needletime was introduced in South Africa in 2005 in the form of the Performers’ Protection Amendment Act. This provides for the right of remuneration to performers and recording artists, to owners of sound recordings (in other words, record companies) and to producers for the exploitation of their musical works. This is a good start – but it isn’t being monitored appropriately. However, SARRAL and SAMPRA have been accredited with, respectively, individual performers’ and record companies’ neighbouring rights and, together with RISA, they are in the process of negotiating this “extra” royalty with broadcasters.

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The ISRC - the International Sound Recording Code The ISRC was introduced by www.ifpi.org to enable “master owners� – the people who are entitled to neighbouring rights of the recording of a song – to keep track of the use of their music, worldwide. It’s a code of unique numbers that’s applied to recordings of musical works like CDs and MP3s. Every time that the music is used – on radio, on TV, on websites or in other media – the code is read by special equipment, which sends out information about the use to the master owner’s collection society. RISA, at www.risa.org.za, has sole accreditation to grant ISRCs to master owners for the South African territory. You don’t have to be a member of RISA to be able to apply for an ISRC but – logically – only master owners of a specific musical work can apply for ISRCs. Even though the ISRC has been introduced in principle in South Africa and many master owners have started to apply these codes to their recordings, broadcasters haven’t yet started to use the codes to collect information. At the time of printing, it seems as if no radio station or television broadcaster has yet installed the equipment needed to collect information from ISRCs.

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Setting Up A Company I’m assuming that you’re serious about your music career and that you see it as more than just a hobby to escape from your day job: I’d therefore advise you to set up a professional structure like a company or an association. This is advisable for the same reasons as those for running any business: to separate your personal assets from the business assets. Where setting up a company is concerned, you have the following four options: Sole proprietorship: If you’re a solo artist, setting up a sole proprietorship is the easiest way to formalise your music career. This business form has only one owner but it can employ other people like your band members. The advantage of a sole proprietorship is that there are hardly any legal formalities or registrations. A major disadvantage, however, is that the owner is personally liable for any business debts. That means that, if, for example, your business has borrowed money from the bank and it’s not able to repay that money, the bank can demand that you repay that money out of your personal savings. So tread carefully when you choose this option! In terms of tax, the income of a sole proprietorship is considered to be part of the owner’s personal tax. Close corporation: The close corporation (“CC” to its friends) offers an answer to the major disadvantage of a sole proprietorship: here, business and personal assets are separate. In general, the owners of a CC (up to 10) can’t be held liable for business debts and they share in the business profits according to fixed shares.

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The income of a CC is taxed separately from that of its owners. A CC has to be registered with CIPRO (the Company and Intellectual Property Registration Office). Private company: A private company (a “Pty [Ltd] “) is set up along similar principles as those for a CC (in other words, there is . Non-profit organisation (NPO): One more option we should look at is the NPO. The major difference between an NPO and a company like a CC or a Pty Ltd is that an NPO’s board members can’t share in the NPO’s profit. We don’t talk about shareholders here but about board members or employees. Board members may receive a salary but they can’t share in the profits of the NPO. An NPO has to be registered with the Director for Non Profit Organisations at the Department of Social Development. Ask for application forms from your nearest Department and submit them together with your NPO constitution. If you intend to access local or international subsidies, this might be a preferable business model, since many government or organisation policies require the receiver of subsidies to be non-profit organisations. To be exempt from tax, a percentage of an NPO’s overall income must originate from donations. JOUFS JUFMZ HP PO UIF i* XPVME EFĂŞO U GSFF QV F 8 QPTVSF OFU *U JT GSFF FY S JO GP  FU  UIF JOUFSO EPXOMPBET PO SME XP F UI FT SOFU NBL TUBODFŃŽF JOUF u BTNBMMFSQMBDF F 1BSMPUPOFT ŃŽ F  CF ,BIO.PS

22 Protecting Your Music

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Promoting Your Music Think about this: why do you know the artists that you know? Did you go out and look for them? Did you see them on TV? Or maybe read about them in newspapers, in your favourite magazine? Did you hear them on the radio? Did you find them on the internet? Do you realise that you’re at the receiving end of the promotional campaigns that work behind the scenes of every pop artist? It’s a common mistake to think that, once you’ve written, recorded or performed a number of songs, you can sit back and wait for success and fame to come knocking at your door. On page 3, I explained that music fans usually don’t go out and search for new artists. It’s up to you to let them know of your existence. How? Traditionally, there have been radio and TV, magazines and newspapers, flyers and posters. Today, there’s the worldwide web!

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OK, so we’ve gotten this far. Phase 1. You understand now that the promotion of your music is essential if you intend to reach a broad audience. This simply means that you let as many people as possible know that your music is out there and that it’s worth exploring. Now we’ll look at how you can go about promoting your music. Promotional campaigns can cost huge amounts of money. Some international artists spend big bucks on letting the world know that their latest album is out. But here’s the good news: you don’t need huge amounts of money to get your message across to a reasonable number of people. What you do need are the following three things >>>

Public Image Enter the fashion police. Let’s face it: pop music is a lot about image. Music, lyrics, hairstyle, attitude, cleavage – it’s all part of the package. Either people associate with your style or they don’t. Since its inception with people like the Beatles and Elvis Presley, pop music has had strong links with contemporary youth culture. It translates and dictates what’s cool, what young people think, dress and behave like. An essential tool in creating a public image is the way you look. And essential tools in spreading that look are professional artist or band photographs. People remember photographs more easily than they remember blocks of written text. Your photograph is therefore the first image that readers and websurfers will – or won’t – associate with. So make sure that any time you or your band appears in a magazine, in a newspaper or on a website, you look the part. Make sure that your photograph represents what your musical image and style stand for. A sexy miniskirt and revealing cleavage, for example, are probably not going to lend you much credibility as a gospel singer. Have a look at what other artists in your music genre are wearing. I’m not saying that you should copy anyone. What I am saying is be creative, be an individual, be independent – but make sense. Unless your music is all about not making sense of course ... 24 Promoting Your Music

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Dealing with the Media Press kit | Whomever you’re planning to approach – radio stations, local bookers, magazines – make sure that you have a sound press kit. And make sure that your press kit rocks. Your press kit is your CV for the music industry labour market and a whole lot more. It’s often the very first thing that media and music professionals see, read or hear about you, so make sure that it’s worth their time. Make it funky, interesting, in line with your musical style. And try to deliver it by hand – you might actually get a chance to meet the addressee in person and that’s your chance to leave an impression.

How to approach the media | Always remember that journalists, radio presenters, etc., are human, social beings. They – like most other human beings – like to be taken seriously, they like a bit of good old flattery, and they have limited time schedules. They prefer a nice person to a grumpy, mean-looking, cursing person. If your music is all about being grumpy, looking mean and a lot of cursing and you find it difficult to get out of that role when approaching the media, perhaps it’s a good idea to find someone else to do that job for you. If you think that you’re the biggest star South Africa’s has ever seen – let alone heard – either put that thought on hold while dealing with professionals or find someone else to represent you in professional matters. Confidence is great, arrogance is annoying. In these cases, a manager would be right for you. Think about it this way: journalists, editors, radio station managers, etc., are always eager to share a good story with their audiences. They’ll want to tell your story – if your story is interesting enough, in other words, if your story somehow appeals to their audiences. So, make sure that you’re appealing. Reread what I wrote in the previous point about most human beings preferring nice people. It does take a couple of social skills to persuade the media to get behind your music. Make sure that you have a story. Make sure that your story is an interesting one, one that your target audience can relate to, one that your target audience can find support, consolation and resemblance in. I’ve found that, if you don’t have money to spend on your promotional campaign, you have to come up with other ways to exchange valuables with the media. Give-aways are a great way of getting into mainstream media without paying stacks of money: give away 1

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Here’s what should be in your press kit:

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A covering letter: An introduction to the press kit, in which you refer to an earlier conversation or a common friend. This is where you make your press kit personal by addressing one particular person.

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Music releases: Commercially released recordings of your music. Don’t worry too much about sending poorly recorded demo tapes as well.

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Photographs: Remember what I said about public image?

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A biography: Brief and relating only to your music career: people may be sorry about your cat but they don’t need to know that she died a year ago. Stick to the facts pertaining to your music.

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A list of gigs: Both played and planned.

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The availability of your music recordings: This is a bit of a catch-22. I’ve experienced that most people in the media would happily support your music career – most people in the media love the idea that they’re dealing directly with an artist as opposed to dealing with a sleek and corporate marketing exec – but they’ll support you only if your music is available to their listeners, readers, viewers, etc. However, when you go to music retail stores, they’ll ask you about the attention that the media is giving your music. The catch lies in that one excludes the other: you can’t show that your music is available if the stores don’t want to make it available because you haven’t had the required media attention because the stores don’t want to make your music available ...

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A list of any awards.

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Publications and press clippings: What are the good things that magazines, newspapers, internet music blogs or chat forums have written about you? Obviously, the more important the source, the more impact.

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Testimonies or recommendations from “important people” like famous artists: Send your music recording to famous artists and ask them to comment. If they say nice things about your music, ask them for their permission to use that as a testimony. It works!

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And, if you really want to make an impression, the addressee’s favourite pizza, flowers, perfume ...

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autographed CDs, give away concert tickets, give away proceeds of CD sales to a good cause. You both win: the media makes itself popular by giving away stuff to their audiences and you get free exposure. At some stage, you’ll have to do more than just deliver press kits. You may be invited to do a radio interview or even to do a gig on a TV show. I can’t give you any secret recipes on how to appeal to hordes of lusty fans, but I can help by telling you that it helps to be prepared for just such an occasion – an interview or show, I mean. Be prepared for the fact that journalists, TV presenters and radio hosts will ask you questions about your music, so it helps a lot if you know a good answer or two. Apart from being prepared, try to stick to one coherent story throughout all your interviews. In-depth interviews – about your views on life, the universe and everything – are really something for later in your career. Don’t worry too much about that at the start of your career. Now, it’s important that your fans get a clear, coherent idea of your music and of your public image.

Magazines and newspapers | People who write for magazines and newspapers are constantly looking for something to write about. They love a good idea, product or story to write about. It makes them look good and it might make you look good at the same time. Many magazines and newspapers have sections like “CD reviews” or “Interviews with artists”. This is your way in – straight onto the coffee tables of thousands of homes, offices and public places. There is a good chance that magazines won’t find your latest CD interesting enough to write about – so give them something extra to write about, apart from your music. Give them stories. Are you donating proceeds of CD sales to a good cause? Do a story about the good cause and draw attention to your music in that way. Are you planning something really special at

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your next gig? Use that as your way in to have your latest CD mentioned in a magazine. Are you giving away CDs, entrance tickets to your next gig, T-shirts, whatever? Use that as your way in. I’ve found that often you don’t have control over what people write about you

Radio and TV | Radio and TV airplay is essential. After all, tons of pages can be written about your music but music comes to life only when it’s played – on a hi-fi, on TV or live. Radio and television traditionally provide the best platform to be heard and seen by a broad spectrum of people – potential fans and buyers of your music! Particularly national commercial radio and TV broadcasters, however, are often difficult to access because they have agendas of their own, agendas that are dominated by markets and advertisers. If you know how to play along with these commercial strategies – break a leg, you’ll do fine. But most artists don’t know how to do this – or refuse to do this. For them, local radio stations are a good alternative. Radio stations in South Africa are obliged to play a certain percentage of local music. These percentages are dictated and monitored on www.icasa.org.za. For community stations, this percentage can be as high as 40%. This means that community radio stations are constantly looking for exciting local musical talent to play on their air waves. It could be you, right? This does not, however, mean that you can force a radio station manager to play your music – no, that’s not how it works. How it works is that you approach local radio stations just as you would any other important people in the media and you try to persuade them with the strategies that I’ve discussed above. If none of this works for you, don’t get too bogged down about airplay on the major radio and TV stations. Here, again, the internet provides a way out, accessible to all. Check out a website like www.last.fm, which has been heralded as “the end of radio as we know it”. This website offers personalised radio programming and, more importantly, allows any artist to sign up. Do it. Other great ways of getting internet airplay are by loading your MP3s onto social websites like facebook.com and myspace.com. At least one recent rock band claims to have achieved worldwide fame simply by targeting those websites and building a fan base in this way. Or post a movie on youtube.com. And this takes us straight to the point that I’ve been wanting to make for a long time: get your arse onto the internet –read the next section on how to do so.

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And getting onto TV would be even more difficult – or would it? Just don’t expect the next music, youth or lifestyle programme to do a feature on your good looks. It’s probably a little too soon for that (or too late in my case ;-). But there are other ways: Approach TV programme makers (some make a point of supporting local music): they might be interested in using your music in their next programme. Documentary makers are always looking for quality background music. Advertising companies might be looking for jingles (a part of your song) or atmospheric background music.

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Negotiate upfront payments but don’t forget that these companies must pay licences to use your music (which translates into royalties, as we discussed in the copyright section of this booklet). So, if you’re a member of a royalty collection organisation, make sure that all admin in terms of performing and mechanical royalties is sorted out correctly with these organisations. And insist that your name appears either when your song is played or in the credits. For your music to be used on TV, you’re really depending on timing. Your music must fit in with the visual content. If a programme maker is looking for an upbeat, energy-boosting song and all that you can offer is some sweet, esoteric lounge stuff, you’re not in luck. If you can offer what the programme maker is looking for: the right beat, the right atmosphere – you might just be in luck!

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The Internet Music on the worldwide web | I’m wild about the internet – and I recommend that you’re too! The internet has become an essential tool for any artist who wants to promote and sell her or his music independently. South Africa might not be where some other countries in the rest of the world are in terms of internet access and music websites, but things are changing rapidly and some good initiatives have already been taken. Firstly, let’s look at how the internet has come about as a platform for sharing music. The internet started as a networking system among scientists. Via the internet – a global web of computers that are linked to one another: the worldwide web – they could exchange ideas without actually meeting each other. Soon, people became aware of the commercial possibilities of the internet for non-scientific purposes: if you can share ideas, you can also share products like books and cars – and music. The first way in which music was shared on the internet was through the possibility of ordering a CD online. You’d contact a retailer via her or his website and simply order a CD from behind your computer, pay and have it delivered to your door the next day. So, instead of selling CDs to family, friends and neighbours – all of a sudden – this worldwide market opened up to just about anyone with access to a computer and to the internet. If you think that sounds good – wait – it gets better!

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As personal computers became bigger and internet connections became faster, they were able to handle bigger files. You were able to download music: instead of ordering the physical CD, you copied the digital file onto your computer and your computer played the music whenever you wanted to hear it. This was so novel and revolutionary that it changed the face of the music industry – probably forever. Let me tell you why: While major record companies were busy taking people to court because they were illegally putting copies of copyright-protected music onto the internet and making them freely available to anyone who wanted to download them, software companies like Apple (and many other smaller companies) saw the gap and jumped right in. Worldwide, CD sales crashed – but Apple’s iTunes became a frontrunner of the revolution. iTunes is a shop on the internet from where people can download music – legally – at a fixed cost per song. You can download either to your computer or to Apple’s famous MP3 player (the iPod). Apple makes sure that the artists receive royalties for every download, so everyone’s happy. By now, a number of both small and big companies, including most major record companies, are offering a similar service on the internet. As a result, an impressive number of websites is offering music downloads, including South African websites focusing on South African music (see page 42). A lot of these websites still include the possibility of ordering physical CDs.

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In what follows, I’ll be talking about how you can get onto these websites and make your music available worldwide. I’ll also, however, show you that simply being available isn’t enough, just like simply getting your CD into a music store isn’t enough: once your music is available, you have to rub it in the faces of potential buyers and then persuade them to buy it. You have to promote it. Read on.

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Promoting Your Music 31


What can the worldwide web do for you? | The worldwide web can do a lot for you. Think about the internet as a window onto the world. It breaks down geographical boundaries and limits. It allows you to gather information, get in touch with people and even do business all around the world – all from behind your computer screen. In your case, you can use the internet to: 1. Promote your music; and 2. Sell your music. In this chapter, we’ll be looking at how you can promote your music on the internet. In the next chapter (page 41), we’ll be looking at how you can sell your music on the internet. How will your music be found amid a gazillion websites and a trillion other songs on the internet? Yes, findability on the internet has become a big issue precisely due to the growing amount of information that’s available. It’s great to make your music available for download on the internet, accessible to people all around the world, but, if nobody knows about you and your music, the chances are really slim that anyone will ever download your music. Question: So what do you do? Answer: Don’t stop at simply making your music available on the internet; actively promote your music on the internet as well. How? In the same way that you promote music in the “physical” world, it helps to create a hype around your music. Get noticed. Get listed onto music websites like cdbaby.com. Get onto social networking websites like myspace.com and facebook.com. Take part in music forums, chats and blogs. If you have some cash available, you can even buy advertising on the internet: banners that appear on other websites, advertising on search engines, etc. This could make a lot of sense if you find a website that clearly targets the same demographics as you do with your music. Just contact the website and ask how you can advertise on it. If you don’t have cash, ask your friends’ permission to advertise on their websites and blogs. Offering free downloads is a great way of attracting visitors to your website or to any website you’re offering the free download from. It’s a tricky business and actually really a bit of a grey zone. But, whichever way you look at it, bear in mind that none of the methods I discuss below implies a cession of your copyright. Offering a free download doesn’t mean that you’re giving away your “ownership” 32 Promoting Your Music

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of the song: One school of thought says: Beware of offering free downloads of entire songs. It’s more advisable to offer parts of your songs, like 30 seconds. People should be able to get an idea of what you sound like in 30 seconds and, if they like it and want to hear the entire song, they should buy the song (in other words, pay for the download). Another school of thought says: Offer at least one entire song to download for free. With today’s oversupply of music, you have to make your music as accessible as possible. Lower the threshold to zero. A free download gets people in and, once they’re in, they’ll come back and pay for other songs. If you have your own website, make sure that your website is noticed by search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN. Most people find a website because they were looking for something on one of these search engines. So how do you get noticed? You get noticed by other websites linking to your website, by using music-related content and by adding metatags:

Links

Ask your relatives, friends and colleagues to link to your website. If a search engine like Google notices that a lot of people are linking to your website, it will give you a better ranking in its search results. A better ranking means that more people notice your website and potentially visit your website.

Content

If your music genre is gospel, use a lot of “gospel” and related terms on your website. These terms are called “keywords” in a web designer’s lingo.

Metatags

Metatags are invisible codes that are added to the head section of your website and guide search engines. Metatags are often littered with the same keywords that you use in your content.

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Promoting Your Music 33


Live Performances For many people, live music is the only music. Whether or not you agree might well depend on the quality of your sound system but, whichever way you look at it, it is an essential aspect of music promotion. For many artists, interaction with people is one of the most exciting things about their entire music career. For many fans, seeing and hearing you live on stage is the best way to connect to you and your music. With CD sales dwindling over the last few years, many artists - in particular those who don’t write their own songs - claim that performing to a live public is the most important way to make money in the music business these days. It’s also probably the best way to get noticed by industry professionals. So where do you start?

Technical stuff | A good sound system is the key to a great gig. I know: it’s not always possible to hire the latest sound equipment, but this could be something you can arrange with the venue owner. Some venues – like arts cafÊs, churches and clubs – have their own sound equipment. Just bear in mind that the size of the equipment must be in balance with the size of the venue. Sometimes a simple amplifier will do.

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A mixing desk is important for you to balance your instruments and vocals. It can really make a lot of difference, so, if you can get your hands on one, do so. If there’s a technician to control the mixing desk while you perform, that’s even better. Buy the poor woman or man a beer. It may seem like an easy job, but it’s hard work and you want to stay friends with the mixer. If she or he messes up your mix, she or he messes up your performance. If you’re really planning to do a lot of gigging, look at buying your own sound equipment. This way, the quality of your live sound doesn’t depend on the sound system of the venue or rental company. It also allows you to experiment with different settings on the equipment, which is a great way to fine-tune your live sound. 34 Promoting Your Music

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Draw up a stage plan and stick to it. A stage plan is a map that indicates where all the musicians should be during the performance. This is important for the sound engineers and for the stage and security personnel. It’s not necessarily a pretentious idea to have a roadie around – someone who builds and cleans up your set, carries the instruments, fixes things when something goes wrong during a performance and, most importantly, hands out drinks during a gig. This will take a lot of pressure off you, which is exactly what you want when you have five minutes to go before the curtains open.

Local is lekker | You start locally – of course. Depending on your style, you may want to approach a local restaurant, a dance club, an arts café or a church. Be professional about this. If you feel that you can’t be professional, find someone to do the smooth talking for you. Try to persuade the restaurant or club owner that you can both benefit from your gig: it can attract more customers to the venue and it’s great promotion for your music. Make clear arrangements – in writing – on the costs of the sound system, on advertising, on benefits and remuneration for the band and on sharing the profits. Some venue owners also want a share in the CDs that you sell at the venue. It’s not uncommon for an artist in South Africa to play the three-cities tour: Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. Due to the geography of our country, it makes perfect sense to make the effort of playing live in at least these three cities.

Getting booked | Some people organise gigs for a living; that’s what they do and that’s what they’re good at. Every year, around the country, festivals showcase the talents of many an artist, including musicians. Some of the most important national pop-music concerts in South Africa are Oppikoppi (in the Limpopo Province), the Cape Town Jazz Festival, the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (or KKNK to us locals) and the Grahamstown Arts Festival - but there are many other locally organised concerts worth your time. To get play-listed at one of these festivals, you’ll probably need a professional link between you and the festival organisers. Those links are booking agents or promoters. While you don’t really need them if you want to play at your local church, you can’t get around them if you want to play at any festival or event of national proportions. Approach them as you would media people: with respect, a healthy 1

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Promoting Your Music 35


dose of self-confidence and a sound press kit. Negotiate a deal with them, the most important of which is probably the sharing of profits. As always, if you sign exclusivity, make sure that there’s a way to get out of the contract if the agent isn’t doing her or his job.

The commercial circuit | The good thing about playing at a local venue or getting booked by a national event is that you can only win: you don’t really incur any serious expenses. It’s different on the commercial circuit – but, then again, this is often reserved for top-selling artists only. It involves hiring a huge tent, an amphitheatre or a concert hall and trying to fill it to capacity. You pay for everything, everything is an investment: sound equipment, catering, advertising, personnel, security, etc. If you fill it, you win. If you don’t fill it, you might just lose big time. But don’t worry too much about this for now: when you’re ready for such an event, the right people will know where to find you.

36 Promoting Your Music

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Distributing and Selling Your Music Physical or digital distribution? | The advent of websites offering music downloads (like iTunes) has been hailed as the end of the physical CD. According to trend watchers, in the near future – which started about two minutes ago – people will no longer buy physical CDs but will download individual songs onto their MP3 players, personal computers and mobile phones. This trend has, in fact, already taken off internationally. But, in my opinion, like the video that didn’t kill the radio star, the internet didn’t kill the printed book and probably won’t kill the CD, either. There’s added value to a physical CD that digital downloads just can’t offer - isn’t it just a great birthday present for your dad? So, the answer is to focus on both: physical and digital. The one doesn’t exclude the other and the one can’t replace the other.

Physical Distribution Manufacturing your own CDs | Some of you already have a modest CD manufacturing machine at home. If you have a computer, you probably also have a CD writer. If you don’t have a computer, you can go to your nearest photo shop, school or community project: if you ask nicely, someone at one of these places might just be prepared to write a couple of CDs for you. The above type of equipment is perfect for you to manufacture your first CD. And it doesn’t have to look shabby, either. Make it look good with some creative artwork: check out the ideas below. The advantage of this method is that you don’t have to invest in piles and stocks of CDs: you simply burn more CDs as you need them. Another upside is that you can personalise your artwork – and even your music – on every CD, something that major record companies, which depend on mass manufacturing, can’t do.

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Distributing & Selling Your Music 37


Once you’ve copied 300 CDs and put 300 CD covers in 300 jewel cases, however, you’ll probably start to feel the need to have this done by someone else. The good news is that you can: CD manufacturing companies have machines that press and copy (more about this in a moment) large numbers of CDs; they also have equipment that adds CD covers and plastic wrapping. You just sign the cheque. If you go for a quantity of more than 300 CDs, it will probably be cheaper to have your CDs manufactured by a professional company. In some cases, the minimum set-up requires you to have at least 1 000 CDs manufactured. Logically, the downside of this is that you’ll have to put down a bigger amount of cash and that you’ll have to find a place to store the CDs safely. Pressing (replicating, CD) or copying (duplicating, CD-R)? Pressing CDs is the real McCoy. And it’s not expensive if you go for at least 1 000 CDs. The CDs that you buy at your favourite music store are pressed CDs. Pressing is the process of making a glass master of your music recording. On this, your music is imprinted digitally by means of three-dimensional “pits” and “lands” to represent the 0s and 1s of the digital data. CDs are then written (“stamped”) directly from this glass master, after which a protective layer is added. Because pressed CDs are all stamped sequentially from the same master, they’re said to be more likely to be exact copies of the master. The downside of having CDs pressed is that you’re bound to pay set-up costs for the glass master. CD-Rs are created by a writing laser changing the reflective properties of a substrate dye on the CD-R to look like “pits and lands”. The downside of having CD-Rs created is that they’re said to be more prone to reading errors and degradation. The upside is that there are generally no set-up costs.

What should be on your CD covers? | CD cover artwork is very important. For many music fans, it’s an important reflection of your musical taste: good artwork may convince people in a music shop to buy your CD, while bad artwork might persuade them otherwise. If your artwork is sloppy, why would people think that your music is up to standard? It’s a good idea to ask a graphic designer to help you out. Here again – as is the case with studio recordings – you can approach your nearest tech, college or university and find out from the graphic design students whether they’d be interested in taking on your CD artwork as one of their projects. If you’re writing CDs off your own personal computer and you have a colour printer attached to your computer, you might as well print your artwork yourself. Some printers even come with a CD disk printing facility, which makes the whole thing look even sleeker. Or have your artwork printed at your nearest printer. Downside: you have to print quantities; you can’t print as you need. Jewel cases you can buy at any stationery shop. 38 Distributing & Selling Your Music

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On the CD cover should be: the name of the artist or band; the title of the album; the title of each song; the duration of each song (this will make radio presenters happy!); the names of the composers and lyricists; the name of the producer; the names of the studio or guest musicians; contact details; (P) and (C) and the CD cover artwork; and the catalogue number and bar-code. This is important if you plan to sell your CDs at music stores: they administer stock that is based on catalogue numbers and their tills register bar-codes. More about bar-codes below:

Bar-codes | If you plan to sell your CDs at small local shops, you probably don’t need to worry about bar-codes. But if you’re aiming at big chain stores or international retail, bar-codes are a necessity. A bar-code is the black stripes on the white background found on almost any product purchased at a shop. It gives the product a unique identification code. Bar-codes are read either by scanning a point of light across the symbol and measuring the lengths of reflections (white spaces) and no reflections (black bars) or by capturing a video image of the symbol. The lengths and positions of the reflections and no reflections are analysed by a computer program and the data are extracted. The easiest way – but not necessarily the recommended way – is to find out from your CD manufacturer whether they have registered bar-codes. If they do, you can avoid going through the registration process at GS1 and simply use one of their bar-codes. The official way, however, is to get in touch with GS1 at www.gs1za.org, register with it and obtain a unique bank of numbers. Even though GS1 is a non-profit association, you do pay for membership. The bank of numbers includes a company prefix assigned uniquely to your company. 1

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Distributing & Selling Your Music 39


Distributing your CDs | And there you are then. CDs piling up against the ceiling of your bedroom. Mission accomplished. If you think that this is where it stops, however, you couldn’t be more wrong. After composing, rehearsing and recording your music and manufacturing your CDs, this is where Phase 2 begins. This is where the promotion and sales train takes off. It’s also where most DIY artists fail, so read on – carefully! You don’t necessarily have to aim for the national chain stores straight away. Your nearest souvenir shop, tourist office or café might be interested in selling your CDs. The bottom line of selling at a shop is simple: you tell them how much you want for your CDs and the shop adds a “mark-up” – a percentage of the retail price. It’s a good idea to negotiate your own percentage with the retail price in mind. If you want R120 for your CD and the shop adds a 50% mark-up, for example, you’d end up with a CD being sold for R180. It’s not a set rule but, often, the bigger the shop, the bigger the mark-up. Consider giving away percentages of your CD sales carefully – but do bear in mind the old saying that it’s better to have 1% of a million than 100% of nothing. Simply put: you need shops to get your CDs out to a reasonable number of people. Rack space is scarce – and it’s becoming even scarcer. In today’s music stores, music CDs are competing with DVDs and computer games. Music stores have to make quite an effort to sell well-known international artists, so why would they spend time and rack space on your CDs? Here are a few tips that could help:

Instead of demanding that a shop pays upfront, consider payment on consignment. It means that the shop puts your CDs on display but pays you only when your CDs are actually sold. This way, the shop doesn’t run the risk of spending money on a product that doesn’t sell. Off Bigger shops in particular sell music as part of an artist’s promotional campaign. When you release music according to the DIY method, you have to organise this promotional campaign yourself. This could turn out to be tricky, as I’ve already discussed on page 26: the shop wants you to advertise, while the advertisers like magazines and newspapers want your music to be available to their readers in the shops.

40 Distributing & Selling Your Music

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The Internet It’s fairly easy to make your music available on music websites and to sell downloads or physical CDs worldwide. Logically, the major record companies – Sony/BMG at www.sonybmg.com, EMI at www.emigroup.com, Universal at www.universalmusic.com and Warner at www.wmg.com. – reserve their available music downloads for their own catalogues. So you have to get signed up by one of them before you can get onto their websites. Getting onto other music websites, however, is no problem at all. In the “physical” world, major record companies might have a tight grip on what does and what doesn’t happen in the music industry but, in the world of the worldwide web, the cards are dealt differently. The websites run by major record companies are far from the most popular websites. There are a number of independent music websites that are happy to add you to their list of artists. Most of them charge a membership fee and take a commission for every song downloaded and every CD sold through their websites. iTunes, with an alleged 75% of the market share, is your first priority. It’s a virtual record shop where you can buy and download either complete albums or individual tracks from many artists of different genres. Unlike some other digital distribution services, iTunes is not a stand-alone website or a subscription service: it’s an entire application that’s integrated into the iTunes jukebox software that’s downloadable from the Apple website, which, in turn, integrates with the iPod music player. Single songs are all priced the same: 99-dollar cents. Albums are priced at a range of between $7.99 and $12.99 but the vast majority is priced at $9.99, a price point that Apple encourages for consistency. There are no monthly subscription fees and no sign-up charges. Although getting your music onto iTunes is not exactly straightforward, I have a great tip: get registered onto www.cdbaby.com and choose the digital distribution option. Cd Baby has an agreement with iTunes (and a bunch of other music websites) that allows it to add artists onto the iTunes database. You have to pay Cd Baby a small membership fee and you have to mail physical CDs to them, as they also offer physical CD orders. There are many alternatives to iTunes, both internationally and locally. One example for the Belgian-Dutch territory is legaldownload.be, while rhythmonline.co.za is great for South African music. Entertainment Weekly (ew. com) recently chose the following 25 best American music websites: iTunes, Emusic.com, pandora.com, rhapsody.com, myspace.com, archive.org, stereogum.com, turntablelab.com, kcrw.com, kexp.com, fluxblog.org, smithsonionglobalsound.com, npr.org, soul-sides. com, ilx.wh3rd.net, mixunit.com, pitchforkmedia.com, davidbyrne.com, insound.com, lemon-red.org, music.for-robots.com, woxy. com, littlestevensundergroundgarage.com, bbc.co.uk, music.aol.com and dustrygroove.com. 1

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Distributing & Selling Your Music 41


Ring Tones and Mobile Downloads | Most of the recent internet developments that I’ve been discussing are being rolled out in South Africa on mobile phones. While most of the rest of the world is experiencing the digital music revolution on computers and the internet, the South African computer and internet market seems to be too small at the moment to support those media. Only a minority of South Africans has access to computers and the internet. The local cellphone market is huge and is a good – albeit limited – alternative to serving as a vehicle for digital music distribution. The ring tone market isn’t easy to enter, however: only the biggest artists and the most popular songs have a chance of being listed on ring tones and mobile downloads. It’s hard to say when the internet music market will replace the cellphone music market in South Africa – if it ever will. If the experts are anything to go by, mobile phones and the internet are bound to converge, so it seems like a good idea to get your head around both media.

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Ring tones and music downloads are the two most popular ways of distributing music to a wide range of fans by means of cellphones – even though downloads are gradually replacing ring tones, since downloads can also be applied as ring tones. With ring tones, people download a brief section of a song, which is played every time their phone rings. Music downloads refer to complete songs that can be downloaded and listened to via a cellphone’s built-in MP3 player. The ring tone business is controlled by ring tone companies, including the cellphone companies. You can’t just go to them and say, “Hey, make my song a ring tone and offer it for download.� They choose the ring tones that they want to offer – just like record companies choose the artists that they release on CD. Ring tone providers pay licenses to SAMRO, SARRAL or NORM (which represent the composers or publishers) to be able to offer music as downloads and they report the number of downloads that are registered to them. They then pay royalties according to the number of downloads. If you don’t want to wait for the ring tone providers to give you a chance, try a website like phonezoo.com. This offers the possibility of converting your songs into ring tones, which you can then offer for download on your website. There’s also software around that allows you to do the same thing. 42 Distributing & Selling Your Music

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Helpful Links and Literature Firstly, the internet is probably your most important, most accessible and least expensive source of information. Search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN help you to sort through the gazillions of websites. If you don’t have a computer, ask a friend. If you don’t have a friend, check out your nearest internet café, school or university. Check out the Useful Links section at www.umnyama.co.za Secondly, there are a number of organisations that look after your interests on a daily basis. I’ve already dealt with the royalty collection associations but there are also other organisations that can provide great advice and assistance, including umnyama.co.za. Thirdly, read more books. Buy, borrow, or get them from your local library. Books can be very inspirational – just like I hope that this booklet might work as an inspiration for you! Reading about one idea might stimulate your brain to come up with another inventive idea. Here are some books that I recommend:

(PPEMVDL

Passman, D.S. 2002. All you need to know about the music business. Penguin Books. Lathrop, T. 2003. This business of music marketing and promotion: A practical guide to creating a completely integrated marketing and e-marketing campaign. Billboard Books (ISBN 0-8230-7729-2). Schwartz, D.D. 2002. The real deal: How to get signed to a record label. Billboard Books (ISBN 0-8230-8405-1).

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Helpful Links & Literature 43


POP MUSIC DIY GUIDE 5*1453*$,4'035)&)0.&."%&10145"3

I

t all seems so easy: you record a couple of songs, play some gigs, sell CDs, get your face on a TV quiz and the bucks, groupies and fame come rolling in. That’s what you see all around you, right? Well, yes – but what you don’t get to see is what’s going on behind the scenes: the years of hard work, the exhausting studio sessions, the months of promotional touring away from home and family, insecurity, doubts, financial trouble and boring meetings with accountants and lawyers. The things that may not exactly fit in with your immediate idea of an artist’s life. There’s a whole bunch of legal, administrative and business stuff going on behind the scenes of any successful pop artist. Since you, too, will need to know about these things if you want to become a successful artist – and if you want to prevent those people working behind the scenes to go off with all the profits of your hard work – this booklet gives you the low-down in easy, practical steps. No jargon.

Š 2008 - Compiled by Umnyama Music. This brochure is an initiative of poppunt.be and umnyama.co.za, and was published with the support of the Flemish authorities. It is made available free of charge. Not For Sale

Pop music DIY guide  

A small guide written for musicians in South Africa.

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