Music Industry RoundUp – April 12th, 2012
Finding the right manager
By, Bobby Borg
In the classic concert film The Song Remains the Same, there’s a famous scene where Led Zeppelin’s manager Peter Grant, a 270-pound former wrestler from East London, is backstage screaming at one of the promoters at Madison Square Garden. Needless to say, the promoter is backed in a corner and shaking in his boots! Many artists may think that an intimidating personal manager is exactly what they need. But…
Jeffrey Jampol, current manager of The Doors says, “The days of the Peter Grants in this business are over.” People in the music industry prefer to do business with nice guys. A manager must be able to nurture and maintain numerous relationships, while at the same time standing firm, being sensible, and demonstrating a strong knowledge of the business. (It’s a fine balance between ticking people off and not being a push-over.) If a manager walks into the record label and starts pounding desks, insisting that things get done his way, HE’S BOUND TO GET ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE!
So what are the most important qualities to look for in a manager? In addition to being powerful, well-connected, a good negotiator, enthusiastic, committed, and accessible, a good manager should be one who overall inspires your TRUST AND RESPECT.
Bobby Borg is the author of “The Musician's Handbook: A Practical Guide to Understanding the Music Business” which is available now in a store near you.
Vocal Health Basics – How to Properly Care for Your Voice
While we don’t normally think of singers as world-class athletes, some medical professionals are making the case that the demands put on one’s voice when singing one to three hours a night is as intense as those made by an Olympic marathon runner on his body. Additional factors such as nutrition, smoking, drug use, noisy environments, and proper voice training (or the lack of it) all play a role in a singer’s ability to hit the stage night after night and perform at their best.
Like many health-related issues, prevention is much easier and less expensive than having to undergo surgery, so it’s important to understand how to keep your voice in good health.
Superstars Losing Their Voices
During the last half of 2011, three major recording artists dropped out of circulation due to vocal health issues. Each developed a slightly different voice problem that required rest and eventually surgery.
Arguably, the most valuable voice in pop music at the moment, that of the talented British pop singer Adele, whose sophomore album 21 has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide, was silenced when she was required to cancel seventeen US dates mid-tour and have laser surgery due to the condition of her vocal cords. While she is expected to make a full recovery, her condition is just one example of a high profile artist facing problems maintaining their vocal mechanism. Adele’s condition, reported in the press as two hemorrhages of the vocal cords (the terms vocal cords and vocal folds are often used interchangeably), was likely exacerbated by the stresses of touring.
Shredding is Great, But Know How to Play Melodies
This is being written from a studio player's point of view. I love shred. I love metal in every form. Some of my favorite guitarists are Greg Howe, Steve Vai, Guthrie Govan and Brent Mason.
However, I've been noticing a trend amongst younger guitarists on YouTube and elsewhere; it's a distinct lack of melody. Speed, blazing technique, sweeps and taps are all fine and incredible and have my deepest respect. I know the hours of practice and dedication it takes to acquire these techniques. But in the studio world, the place where people hire you to play the way THEY want, these styles are rarely used.
I have asked many of my students to simply play "Happy Birthday" on guitar. MOST COULD NOT! It was a struggle from note to note. Here's something else I used to do in order to check how I was doing: (And this was wrong, I know, because I had no intention of joining ... but I did it anyway ... I was young and foolish and had an attitude.) I would audition for bands.
Here’s a tip that I believe came from Rick Rubin.
We all know to push the elements in the chorus, right? It’s kind of a no-brainer. When mixing we usually bump the lead vocal, or whatever instrument is the main melody of the chorus, to separate it from the rest of the track and establish the hook. This is mixing 101. Well Mr. Rubin has gone one better…
The chorus is the money part of a song. Without a good hook in the chorus the listener won’t be inclined to stick around so now your “hit” song will would be just another song that they skip. Well Rick has a little trick up his sleeve that helps push the chorus even further…. He bumps the master fader!
Online Radio... Jumps 30 Percent in Past Year
A new study conducted by Arbitron Inc. and Edison Research entitled "The Infinite Dial 2012: Navigating Digital Platforms" found that the online weekly radio audience is now at an estimated 76 million Americans. The figure represents a more than 30% increase from a year ago and s 29% of the U.S. population.
"We've been tracking the usage of online radio in this series since 1998, and this year's increase in weekly usage is the largest year-over-year jump we've ever recorded. said Bill Rose, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Arbitron, in a statement. "The increased demand for online audio content, and the ever-expanding variety of that content, shows that online radio continues to be a resilient, adaptive media for the changing needs of today's consumer,"
The new data also shows that Americans increasingly own smartphones (three times as many in the last two years), use Apple products and engage in social media (especially adults aged 45 and older).
Other specific takeaways from the study can be found at Billboard.biz