Latest Indie News

  • Myth-Busting Music Industry Law

    Dec 19

    It’s an unfortunate truth – most musicians go through their careers operating on false music business and copyright “laws” they believe to be true, resulting in wasted time and money. Juan Lopez has written a great guest post over on The Musician’s Guide debunking 5 of these myths, from copyright registration to the use of samples. Give it a read, and add any more myths you can think of in the comments!


    (The Musician’s Guide) 5 Myths About Music Industry Law

    Credit: Juan Lopez

    This is a guest post written by Juan Lopez, a legal consultant at Altarboy Music. Altarboy Music are one of The Musician’s Guide’s partners and are the supplier of our wide variety of music contracts.

    The purpose of this blog post is to clarify several common misconceptions about music industry law that are often discussed amongst musicians on the internet.

    Indie Ambassador E2G Copyright Myths

    MYTH 1: Songs must be registered for the copyright to be protected

    Copyright is an automatic right of the author… meaning that as soon as you make a tangible copy of a work (i.e a recording of your song or a transcript of some lyrics) – then you own the copyright.
    Although the common practice of posting a copy of your material to yourself has nothing to do with securing copyright, it does however establish the date of when you created the work. This is very important, because should anyone later decide to use your material without permission, then you are protected, as this process is regarded as proof of when the work was written and by whom.

    In the US, registering the Copyright grants you certain legal advantages (which you would be missing out on if you don’t register) – including the following:

    1. Being able to collect compulsory license royalties
    2. Being able to file infringement action for damages and injunctions; you are also able to recover attorney fees (if you win).
    3. In the event of an infringement dispute in court the burden of proof is put on the party allegedly infringing your copyright.

    Read the remaining 4 myths on The Musician’s Guide!


  • MySpace Reboots Today With Focus On Music, Facebook Integration

    Dec 19

    image from after it was purchased by online ad firm Specific Media at a fire sale price, MySpace is finally getting a makeover.  The focus, as the new owners promised, is on music and includes full Facebook integration, a final admission that MySpace is no longer the social network it was created to be.

    Rolling out today, the changes, first reported by Billboard, also include a revamped music player with music recommendation and music search built in. "Music is white-hot right now and we want to be able to capitalize on our music catalog and our history in music. It's something the previous management didn't really highlight,"MySpace chief operating officer Chris Vanderhook told Billboard.

    Vanderhook's hope is to use the deals that MySpace has with labels along with an exclusive catalog of millions of tracks from independent artists to reposition the site as a music destination.  Many artists, however, stopped updating their MySpace pages months ago, and their is no guarantee they or their fans will return.

  • Arcade Fire Releases Interactive Video For "Sprawl II"

    Dec 19

    Arcade-suburbsArcade Fire's new single "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)" is receiving both the traditional and interactive music video treatment. With a dedicated site designed for interaction and a video designed for web distribution, it's well thought out but the muted movement choices make it an underwhelming experience.

    Arcade Fire are known for their innovative web projects and Arcade Fire Presents Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) is no exception. The site or interactive app requires one to activate one's webcam and move or click to affect movement on the screen as the single plays.

    Arcade Fire - Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)

    The problem is that the movement choices and the color palette both feel a bit constrained and muted. I feel that way about the traditional music video above as well. Artistically it's an interesting choice but not a strong example of the potential for interaction with digital video.

    That said, things do pick up towards the last third of the video and I appreciate the quality of movements that everyday people can do. But by then the experience has worn a bit thin and the upbeat shift fails to revitalize.

    I guess it's going to take a while for interactive video on the web to catch up to video games with dedicated equipment and controllers.

    Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith maintains his freelance writing hub at Flux Research and blogs at All World Dance and This Business of Blogging. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

  • YouTube Says Universal "Had No Right" To Take Down Megaupload Video

    Dec 19

    image from last week Universal Music admitted in court documents that it had pulled a Megaupload video including A-list musicians off YouTube even though there had been no violation of copyright law.  "What actually transpired," said Universal's lawyers, "was UMG’s use of YouTube’s Content Management System, which UMG is contractually authorized to use pursuant to its written agreement with YouTube."  In a terse statement, YouTube's owners Google clearly disagreed:

    “Our partners do not have the right to take down videos from YouTube unless they own the rights to them or they are live performances controlled through exclusive agreements with their artists, which is why we reinstated it.”

    MORE: Megaupload Video Back On YouTube, After UMG Offers 'We Yanked It Because We Could' Defense

  • Don't Let Your Past Dictate Your Future

    Dec 19

    Don’t let the memory of a past experience hold you back or prevent you from trying again.

    Everyone experiences failures. It’s a part of life. 

    The important thing is to learn from the things that didn’t work out for you. Take a step back from your failed attempts and try to remove your emotions from the situation. I realize how hard this is, but try to look at things analytically.

    If the same thing were to happen to someone else, what advice would you give them? When you take a subjective look at the situation, be honest with yourself and ask, 
    Why? What was missing? What could have been done differently? 

    For a developing artist, failed attempts are often the norm rather than the exception. In Canada, the first thing that jumps to mind is funding and grant application rejections from our government’s cultural organizations 
    (FACTOR, BC Music, Alberta Music, SaskMusic, Manitoba Music, etc.). It can be a real drag to find out that your application was rejected. Especially after you spent so much time creating the “perfect” marketing plan… and you even printed it on pretty paper too!

    There’s no lack of things to get you down when you live the life of an artist. Heartbreaking and frustrating things surround you 
    (if you let  them). Let downs such as your songs being rejected by radio programmers, promoters not accepting your band to play in their venue, being denied a slot on a festival, agents turning you down, managers saying you’re not ready for them, and of course… empty venues.

    But… now you’re going to hate me for saying this, but it’s true: 
    everything happens for a reason. Seriously. So what can you do about it? Well, here’s an idea, analyze that shit! 

    The world isn’t out to get you. 

    There’s a reason why each and every one of these things has happened, you owe it to yourself to figure out 

    Perhaps, now brace yourself, perhaps someone else’s song is better than yours. Or perhaps another song is more suitable to that radio station’s demographic? Or perhaps the production on your track isn’t up to par with commercial radio standards?
     Perhaps you don’t have enough touring experience to get that opening slot on that tour. Perhaps you haven’t done anything special to set yourself apart from the rest of the bands out there. Perhaps you have no fan base. Perhaps you’ve done zero marketing to grow your audience.

    All of these potential reasons for your failed attempts should create an automatic 
    Action Plan for you. Once you pinpoint what it is that’s holding you back, attack that shit and fix it! You owe it to your dreams to do everything you can to create the opportunities that await you.

    Don’t let your past dictate your future. 

    Take control of your future, take control of 
    Now. Throw away the tissue box, roll up your sleeves… and let’s get to work!

    Need more inspiration on this topic? Here’s some of my favourite quotes on this subject:

    “I’ve come to believe that all my past failure and frustration were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy.”
    —Tony Robbins

    “The line between failure and success is so fine that we scarcely know when we pass it: so fine that we are often on the line and do not know it.”
    —Elbert Hubbard

    “Like success, failure is many things to many people. With Positive Mental Attitude, failure is a learning experience, a rung on the ladder, a plateau at which to get your thoughts in order and prepare to try again.”
    —W. Clement Stone

    “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
    —Winston Churchill

    Now get out there and kick your past in the ass!

    —Brian Thompson

    Connect with Brian on Twitter, Facebook, or on his blog at Thorny Bleeder.

  • Pixies' Manager Richard Jones On Direct-To-Fan Marketing & Sales [VIDEO]

    Dec 19

    image from thisweekin.comIn a new episode of This Week in Music, Topspin's Ian Rogers talks  with Richard Jones, the manager of the Pixies. Their wide ranging discussion includes why and how he uses direct-to-fan tools with the Pixies and the other artists that he manages.

  • Top 20 Songwriters Of 2011

    Dec 19

    image from artists who perform hit songs are common knowledge to even the most casual music fan. In some cases, the same artists who dominate the airwaves are also responsible for penning the songs we know and love. However in many instances, the world’s most popular music is made possible by songwriters who often go unnoticed by the fans of their music - until now.

    The Songtrust Top Songwriters Chart

    This is the first chart to recognize top songwriters in the US. Using data from Billboard Radio Songs and Digital Songs charts (full methodology here), we’re showcasing the immense talents of 2011′s Top Songwriters. And as you’ll see below, many of today’s top songwriters display remarkable versatility, composing songs in many genres for many different artists.

    Congratulations to Swedish songwriter Martin Sandberg – better known as Max Martin – on topping our chart for 2011 with his contributions to smash hits by Britney Spears, P!nk and Katy Perry.

    Top 20 Songwriters of 2011

    Max Martin 1. Martin Karl Sandberg (Max Martin) – 83.9 pts

    Hold It Against Me, Till The World Ends (Britney Spears); F**king Perfect, Raise Your Glass (Pink); E.T., Last Friday Night (Katy Perry); A Loser Like Me (Glee)

    Dr Luke 2. Lukasz Gottwald (Dr Luke) - 71.6 pts

    We R Who We R, Blow (Ke$ha); Hold It Against Me, Till The World Ends (Britney Spears); E.T., Last Friday Night (Katy Perry); Good Feelin’ (Flo Rida)

    Katy Perry 3. Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson (Katy Perry) – 65.2 pts

    Firework, E.T., Last Friday Night, The One That Got Away (Katy Perry)

    Ester Dean 4. Ester Dean (Esther Dean) – 61.5 pts

    What’s My Name, S and M (Rihanna); Firework (Katy Perry); I Love You This Big (Scotty McCreery); Super Bass (Nicki Minaj)

    Bruno Mars 5. Peter Gene Hernandez (Bruno Mars) – 60.9 pts

    Just The Way You Are, Grenade (Bruno Mars); Lighters (Bad Meets Evil); Rocketeer (Far East Movement); F**k You (Cee Lo Green); How To Love (Lil Wayne)

    Phil Lawrence 6. Philip Martin Lawrence (Phil Lawrence) – 59.2 pts

    Just The Way You AreGrenade (Bruno Mars); Lighters (Bad Meets Evil); Rocketeer (Far East Movement); F**k You (Cee Lo Green); How To Love (Lil Wayne)

    Mikkel Storleer Eriksen 7. Mikkel Storleer Eriksen (Stargate) – 56.8 pts

    What’s My Name?, Only Girl, S and M (Rihanna); Firework (Katy Perry); Black and Yellow, Roll Up (Wiz Khalifa)

    Tor Erik Hermansen 7. Tor Erik Hermansen (Stargate) – 56.8 pts

    What’s My Name?Only GirlS and M (Rihanna); Firework (Katy Perry); Black and YellowRoll Up (Wiz Khalifa)

    Ari Levine 9. Ari Levine - 56.3 pts

    Just The Way You Are, Grenade, The Lazy Song, It Will Rain (Bruno Mars); F**k You (Cee Lo Green); Lighters (Bad Meets Evil)

    Shellback 10. Johan Karl Schuster (Shellback) – 49.1 pts

    Raise Your Glass (Katy Perry); DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love (Usher); What The Hell (Avril Lavigne); F**king Perfect (Pink); Moves Like Jagger (Maroon 5)

    Benny Blanco 11. Benjamin Joseph Levin (Benny Blanco) – 48.9 pts

    We R Who We R, Blow (Ke$ha); Dynamite (Taio Cruz); No Sleep (Wiz Khalifa); Moves Like Jagger (Maroon 5); Stereo Hearts (Gym Class Heroes)

    Adele 12. Adele Laurie Blue Adkins (Adele) - 48.5 pts

    Rolling In The Deep, Someone Like You (Adele); Rumor Has It/Someone Like You (Glee Cast)

    GoonRock 13. David Jamahl Listenbee (GoonRock) – 44.2 pts

    Party Rock Anthem, Sexy and I Know It (LMFAO)

    Redfoo 13. Stefan Kendal Gordy (Redfoo) – 44.2 pts

    Party Rock AnthemSexy and I Know It (LMFAO)

    Pitbull 15. Armando Christian Perez (Pitbull) – 42.4 pts

    Give Me Everything, On The Floor, Hey Baby (Pitbull); DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love (Usher); Hey Baby (T-Pain)

    Sandy Vee 16. Sandy Julien Wilhelm (Sandy Vee) – 44.2 pts

    Only Girl, S and M (Rihanna); Firework (Katy Perry); Hey Baby (Pitbull); Where Them Girls At (David Guetta)

    Adam Levine 17. Adam Levine – 38.0 pts

    Moves Like Jagger (Maroon 5); Stereo Hearts (Gym Class Heroes)

    Ammar Malik 17. Ammar Malik - 38.0 pts

    Moves Like Jagger (Maroon 5); Stereo Hearts (Gym Class Heroes)

    Ammo 19. Joshua Emanuel Coleman (Ammo) - 33.3 pts

    We R Who We R (Ke$ha); E.T. (Katy Perry)

    20. Peter Schroeder - 32.7 pts

    Party Rock Anthem (LMFAO)


    image from Top 20 Songwriters of 2011 was compiled by Jon Ostrow for music publishing rights management provider Songtrust.

  • Musicians: Don't Let Your Past Dictate Your Future

    Dec 19

    Zen-present-time-warpOn Music Think Tank, Brian Thompson talks about something many people have to deal with - failure. In the music industry, artists have to face a lot of rejection, but Brian gives words of encouragement to anybody that needs it right now.

    “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
    - Winston Churchill

    (Read On)

  • New Music Seminar Returns To NYC June 17-19, 2012

    Dec 19

    image from year’s New Music Seminar (NMS) has been announced for June 17-19, 2012 in New York City.  the conference will open with keynote speaker Bob Pittman, CEO of Clear Channel.  Pittman has been a key player in Clear Channel Radio's Pandora-like digital radio platform, iHeartRadio

    If past New Music Seminars are any indication, these three days will be filled with informative seminars and important networking opportunities. Unlike some industry gatherings that focus on specific themes like music tech, branding or "the future of...", NMS is about practical and actionable information need for survival in the rapidly evolving music industry.

    This year’s NMS  is sponsored by SoundExchange, Digital Broadcasting Summit and the BMI Creative Conclave. 

  • Should I Pre-Sell My Album?

    Dec 19

    THE ARTIST: Michael Gaither (Santa Cruz, CA)

    THE QUESTION: I’m working on my third CD and am considering doing a real pre-sale when I’m about halfway through. Note: Not a Kickstarter funding campaign, but just a presale of the actual product. Have you covered this on your blog? I searched but didn’t see anything. I’m debating whether to do it through Bandcamp, which takes a cut but automates it quite a bit, or just doing it manually with a PayPal link and coding on my web site.  Thanks a bunch!

    THE ANSWER: Hey Michael, that’s a great question! No, we’ve never covered this the blog before (can’t believe it)!  Pre-sales are definitely a great idea.  Its a great way to start getting the word out about your album before it drops.  I think people have gone about it in different ways, so here are a few ideas.

    1. Determine Interest
    The number one reason people and companies pre-sale tickets, in the case of concerts and special events,  is to get an idea of how much interest there is in something. The more tickets are pre-sold, the better. Take this same approach with pre-selling CDs. Use the number of pre-sold albums to decide how big your first pressing will be. A pre-sale could make the difference between you pressing 500 and 1000 copies.

    2. Promoting
    Give me a reason to want to buy a pre-sold album.  Offer it for $10 instead of $12…or maybe 2 for $20.  Even better, release one single in advance. Give it away for free.  Make sure it’s a really great single. Make the single work to your advantage. If people like the song, its a great way to generate interest for your album.

    I’d also make sure there is a direct connection between the single and the pre-sell of your album. In other words, if people are downloading your single off of Noisetrade or Bandcamp, make sure you include a prominent, direct link to where they can pre-order your album. Make it so they can’t miss it. Never underestimate the power of suggestion. Sometimes people just need a nudge in the right direction.

    3. Platforms
    So the biggest question is probably a matter of whether you should pre-sale albums through your website (via paypal), or through  bandcamp. I think both are great options and you should do BOTH!  Here’s why

    • bandcamp:  They have incredible incentive for people to pre-order. When someone pre-orders your album through their site, you can release 1, 2, or more songs (mp3) in advance, and then release the full download on the official release date of the album. The same goes for physical copies. You can immediately release a few mp3s…or even the full album, and then send a signed hard copy when you get those back from the printer. It’s the best of both worlds and you determine the settings. Bandcamp has written an extensive blog about this. You can read it here.
    • official store: You should also have a store on your website…or a 3rd party store like Storenvy or BigCartel (linked to from your site). These are a great option because there are plenty of folk who still only prefer physical copies of albums. These stores also allow you room to add additional items like T-shirts, stickers,  and other merch.

    So that’s our two cents on the topic. We’d love to hear what readers have to say. Have you pre-sold an album before. What worked for you? What are some tips you can pass on to Michael and others?

    note: Michael Gaither also runs an excellent artist podcast that’s worth checking out at