Tampa Music Conference 2017

It seems that for many years now the music industry has been under attack. Piracy has been around for years and with the digital era it ran out of control with the launch of Napster and other file sharing platforms. It seemed like the end was near.

The industry found a savior in 2001 when Apple released the iPod. The sale of MP3s gave the industry the boost it needed just in the nick of time. This rejuvenation however was short lived. Streaming services such as Spotify, YouTube and Pandora changed the way music is consumed. Because these platforms provide consumers music at no charge the value of music diminished. Affected was also the way songwriters, composers and publishers are compensated for their work. With music no longer being sold they now have to depend on streaming royalties which could be as low $0.0006 per stream.  With consumption revenues dipping so low musicians and publishers had to rely heavily on other income sources such as licensing their music for film, TV shows, Commercials and video games (known as Synch licensing). Another revenue source is public performing licensing. Public performance licensing is anytime a song is performed in public. This includes all forms of radio, concerts and music played at business such as hotels, restaurants, bars, coffee houses, etc. It is this last set of examples who have now decided to attack the music industry as well.

Public performances royalties are collected by organizations known as Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) In the US there are 3 major ones: BMI, ASCAP and SESAC.  The PROs collect royalties on behalf of songwriters, composers and publishers.  For the sake of transparency I will state  that I worked for one of the PROs as their Regional Area manager. My job was to visit business who were using music, yet were unlicensed.. My area consisted of all of central Florida; Tampa Bay to Daytona Beach.  I took this job with all the enthusiasm in the world, knowing that I was going to be helping others in the music industry. I was in for a rude awakening. What I found was a large list of local business who refused to pay for their music licensing. It was not that they didn’t know, they were well aware of their legal responsibilities, they just flat out refused to pay or stop using the music.  The main excuse given was that it was too expensive. It is important to point out that the fees charged by the two biggest PROs (BMI & ASCAP) are dictated by the federal government. These fees are based on usage. So a small bar who does live music only a couple times per week would pay a lot less than a large night club that operates all week long.

It goes without saying that my experience during this time was very disappointing. Not only did owners refuse to pay, they were offensive and abusive. Some of the worst abusers are the most successful bars, clubs and restaurants in town. The same one’s that are packed on the weekends, playing music and not compensating the music creators. The same one’s who brag about the success of their business, yet refused to pay for a license that often cost less than $700 per year, that’s less than $2 per day. Now as if it was not enough that they steal other people’s creation, some of these local venues have joined other venues nationwide and are lobbying congress to pass HR 3350, also known as the Transparency In Music Licensing and Ownership Act. This law is being heavily lobbied by a group known as “MIC”, which is made up restaurants, vineyards, coffeehouses, bars, etc. The law proposes that a master list should be created so that these venues can then go search to see which PRO can license the music they wish to use.  To someone not in the industry this would sound like a good idea, but it is not. It is truly just a way to create a loophole for these venues to legally not have to pay for licensing. For example, this law proposes the the rights owners have to register “all performing artists” which is impossible to do, since copyright law allows anyone to do a cover song. Rights owners have no way of knowing who will (in the future) make a cover of their song. Failure to include just this one item can void damages due if infringement occurs. Additionally, the idea that venue owners are really going to take the time to search a list before allowing a performance in their establishment is ludicrous. In today’s world of collaborations, many songs are written / composed by artist who are affiliated to different PROs, therefor both licenses are required. Playing devil’s advocate, let’s just say a venue owner does request a playlist from a performer prior to the gig and does check the list to verify that the songs are under their license, how will the venue deal with request? How will venues deal with open mic nights, DJs and Karaoke? The idea that a master list is good for the music industry is simply not true. This law’s solely intention is to help those business consume music for free and cutting off yet another revenue source for songwriters and publisher.

I want to take a moment here to acknowledge that there are a lot of responsible venue owners who appreciate the value that music brings to their clients. Those venues deserve your patronage and your loyalty. If you make music you should make it your business to find out if the business you support, supports you. If you are a fan, we in the industry would appreciate your help. Ask the owners, servers, bartenders if they are licensed. Make it a point to let the business owners know that you will not come back if they continue to use music without paying. Contact your legislator and ask them to vote no on HR 3350. Today the music industry is under attack again. Will you stand with us?

One of my favorite things to do is people watch. I like to observe how people interact with each other. Couples in particular are interesting to me. How did they meet? How long have they been together? Are they even a couple? Is it casual or serious? Sitting at a coffee shop recently I observed what appeared to be a fight between a couple and it made my mind race. It got me wondering on how different we act depending on the type of relationship we are in.

At some point in our life, most of us have experienced casual relationships. Just dating, friends with benefits, someone to chill with, however you label it, this relationship is one that is for now and mostly just for convenience. These relationships are almost always fun, especially at the beginning. You call each other when there is a need, be it physical or otherwise. Sometimes the reason for these relationships are superficial, where the other person is simply arm candy. Someone that makes you look good.  The successful doctor you bring to a family function or the supermodel you want to be seen with. Sometimes, these are just people on the other end of the phone or a text message. A person you can always count on for good conversation or a laugh. No matter what purpose they serve, causal relationships have one thing in common, more often than not they are temporary and self serving.

On the other side of the spectrum we have serious relationships. Those who we hope to spend the rest of our life with. Some of these relationships start off as casual and with time blossom into something more concrete. In addition to time, these relationships also require attention, devotion, commitment and sometimes sacrifice. We have to give ourselves into these relationships, but the rewards make them worth it. This person will see you at your worse. They will be there to lift you when you are down and celebrate with you when you are up. You also act different when you are in a serious relationship. The world knows it and there is no guessing as to who you are with. You spend your money different. Financial decisions are made with the “big picture” in mind. You are mindful of the places you go and the people you are with.  Goals are clearly defined and you know where you are going instead of “hoping” things go somewhere.

By now you must be asking yourself what does this article have to do with music? The answer is simple, what kind of relationship are you and music in? Is it a casual relationship? Something that you do for fun? Do you do music because you like how others see you with music? Does it make you feel cool and feeds your self esteem? Do you call on music when you are lonely and need a fix? Or is music something you are married to? Do you alter your spending habits and make decisions to enhance your future with music? Do you think about music throughout the day and can’t wait to get back home (studio) to be with her?  Is music your side chick, or your wife? Do you respect her as such? Be honest with your answers to these questions. There is absolutely nothing wrong with casual relationships and they could be fun, just be upfront with yourself as to whether there is a future with her or not. She deserves that much.

The Tampa Music Conference is taking over the Tampa Bay Area next month! We couldn’t be more excited. If you’re wondering why you should attend the conference, we’ve got you covered.

Here are the top 4 reasons to attend the Tampa Music Conference:

1. Learning

Learning new industry trends is one of the best reasons to attend the Tampa Music Conference. There will be two panels, Marketing and Industry Insights, where industry experts will be sharing best practices for generating more revenue from your music, giving real-world advice, and talking about the future of the industry.

Beyond the panels, you’ll learn by observation and through discussions.

2. Affordability

The Tampa Music Conference is one of the most affordable music conferences in the nation! There aren’t many music conferences that you can learn about new trends, meet industry leaders, and network with other local artists. Right now, you can pre-register for only $35! Registration will be $50 at the door.

3. Build lasting connections

The music business is all about networking and building lasting connections. The Tampa Music Conferences gives you the chance to make true personal connections rather than staying behind email, phone, or messaging. Meeting industry leaders and other local artists face-to-face gives allows you to build a real connection, and over time, trust.

4. Best conference in the area

The Tampa Music Conference is one of a kind. It gives local artists the chance to increase their exposure, learn new things, build lasting connections for an affordable price. You definitely do not want to miss out on this year’s conference!

If you haven’t purchased your ticket yet, there’s still time! Visit here for more information.

This post was originally featured by our friends at Sonicbids.

One of the best things about social media is meeting new people. While not every platform is created for that – we all feel a bit uncomfortable when we receive friend requests from people we don’t know on Facebook – there are plenty of sites these days that are made for strangers to connect. Myspace (remember that?) was one example, and Twitter is a more relevant one. LinkedIn is the most professional option, and one where connecting with someone you barely know – or don’t know at all – is almost universally accepted.

So, since most people are okay with that sort of thing on LinkedIn, why not take advantage of it? You may not have an opportunity to meet some people in person just yet, but you can at least reach out to them digitally. Networking is one of the single best things you can do to further your career (whatever that may be), and doing so with the right people can make all the difference. But who should you connect with, and how do you find them? Here are four groups of folks you should add immediately, and where to find them.

1. Conference attendees and speakers

Industry-linked conferences can be a great way of simply learning who is in the business you want to be a part of, and where they rank. If somebody is speaking on a panel or is simply attending the event, you may want to do some research and learn more about them.

For example, when I came back from SXSW last year, I spent some time looking through the list of attendees in the back of the official program and adding many new people on LinkedIn, even if I hadn’t actually met them. Just so you know, I think only a handful of people didn’t accept my request, and I think it’s safe to assume that many of those are people who simply don’t check their accounts very often.

How these people were involved in the music world ranged quite a bit, and I didn’t discriminate too much when clicking the “+” button. After all, can you really have too many connections?

2. Journalists and bloggers

This one is especially helpful if you’re in a band, though it can’t really hurt no matter who you are. Forming a relationship with important writers in your field can be a great way to get the message out there about what you’re doing.

Sure, bands and companies can hire PR firms and publicists to do this, but when journalists get pitches from friends or acquaintances as opposed to someone they don’t know, it means a lot more – which increases the chances of you getting some press out of it.

3. People you’d want to know

Think of this as your wish list of people you wish you knew. Don’t be afraid to go all out here, because there basically are no consequences. Want to message the CEO of Spotify? Sure, go ahead. Wish you could grab a coffee with an A&R rep at Columbia Records? Give it a try – they might just hear you out!

Even if you request some big shot and that person doesn’t accept, so what? As mentioned before, there’s little to no thought given to the randomness of requests sent and received on LinkedIn, and I personally have never heard of anyone being upset by such a thing.

4. Old colleagues

Here’s a somewhat obvious one, but not everybody does it. This can be everyone from co-workers at your last job to the person who ran the company at your first internship. I’ve reconnected with old friends and colleagues via LinkedIn, and if nothing else, it’s nice to say “hi.” Outside of catching up, these people can be very valuable, as they know your work ethic best. Once connected, you can ask them to endorse you for certain skills or even write you a short recommendation – if you ask really nicely.

Like in the real world, those who aren’t afraid to go out and meet new people on social media are typically those who succeed, so go for it! You never know who you’ll end up meeting and what will come of your newfound friendships.

\\ Source Symphonic Blog //

 

As many tech-savvy musicians have discovered, social media platforms are great venues to not only communicate with fans, but also to connect with music industry influencers like bloggers, publicists, and music supervisors who can help move your career forward. The problem, however, is that many musicians who try to use social media to connect with these people are going about it all wrong. While some imagine social media as a magical vending machine that spits out industry contacts when we feed it automated messages, the truth is that connecting with people on social media takes much more perseverance and creativity than many of us are willing to invest. We’ve put together a few tips for musicians trying to make connections on social media with industry leaders.

Sending someone a direct message and following up every two days if you don’t immediately hear back

Many people in the industry are careful about giving away their email address, which is why direct messages on social media can be such a valuable tool for musicians. However, sending someone a direct message doesn’t in any way entitle you to a reply, and messaging that person over and over asking if they got your message certainly won’t increase your chances of getting a response. Instead of flooding someone’s inboxes with unwanted messages, try building a relationship with that person on social media before you send them a direct message. Comment on their posts, retweet their tweets, and don’t be afraid to offer a compliment (as long as you really mean it). If someone is already aware of you (and the nice things you’ve said about them), they’ll be much more likely to respond to your message in the first place.

Posting spammy comments on every message board you can find (even if it’s unrelated to your music)

How many times have you seen a comment like this on a YouTube video, Facebook page, or other online message board: “Hey, cool post! Check out our latest album (insert album title here) on iTunes!” Not only do these comments look like they’ve been posted by a robot, they’re also often found in places that have nothing to do with the type of music the band plays, or even music in general. Commenting can be a great way to increase your online presence and make connections, but only if you comment thoughtfully on posts you’ve actually interacted with. Spamming message boards will only serve to either make you look desperate or get you kicked off the message board.

Expecting everything and offering nothing in return

When many people think about social media, they think about what they can get out of it. How many followers can they get? How many much engagement can they get on each post? How can they use it to connect with the right people? The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t help you become someone other people will want to connect with. Think about it: wouldn’t you rather connect with someone who has been friendly to you or helped you in the past rather than someone who only talks about themselves?

Not doing your homework

One of the best ways to put someone off immediately is to spell their name wrong when you send them a message. It can also be similarly (although perhaps slightly less) off-putting when you get other basic details about someone wrong like the name of the company they work for or the city they live in. Doing your homework is important not just for avoiding this type of embarrassment; it’s also an opportunity to impress people with your knowledge of their work. For example, rather than starting a message with something like “Dear (insert name here), my band has a great new album out that I think you should listen to,” try something like “Dear (name), I really enjoyed the music you chose for the film (insert movie title here). I thought the song you chose for the final scene highlighted the message of the film in a really beautiful way.” Showing that you’re aware of a person’s previous work (and dropping a compliment while you’re at it) shows that you’re serious about making connections, and you’re probably a nice person to talk to as well.

Expecting instant results

One of the most difficult things to grasp about social media is that making connections takes time. In the same way that it can take years to build up a list of engaged followers, it can also take a long time to establish meaningful relationships on social media with the people you want to connect with. After all, you don’t become best friends with someone after talking to them for five minutes at a party, so why would you expect someone to become your friend online if they’ve never interacted with you before? Developing real connections on social media takes patience, but the people you meet online in an authentic way will be the people who stick with you the longest and do the most to help your music career.

The beauty of using social media to develop connections is that we can do everything from behind a computer screen or from a device in the palm of our hand. This convenience, however, also creates a dangerous falsehood: we forget that the people we’re talking to are real people, just like us. In order to make your online interactions more real, it can help to think of every interaction as a face-to-face interaction. Think about how you would talk to someone if you met them at a party or networking event. You would probably want to be polite, helpful, and even funny if the situation called for it. So why treat social media any differently? After all, all we’re really doing on social media is talking to people, so why would your social media conversations be any different than real life conversations?

 

\\ Source Symphonic Blog //