LOOKING FOR MORE GIG OPPORTUNITIES? WHAT ABOUT ONLINE CONCERTS/GIGS

Recently we did a post on facebook offering some alternative gig ideas – one of which was about using one of the online gig platforms to hold more gigs.
The two platforms I mentioned were https://www.concertwindow.com/  and  https://www.stageit.com/site/landing   but there are a number more.

Anyway, following an inquiry off that post,  I thought I would write a more detailed blog about how the online concert area may be of interest and beneficial to your long term business strategy. …… and put this on the blog so more people can peruse and consider.

Pleas note – I acknowledge this will not be of interest to everyone  – – and not every act/genre would it be appropriate for.
If you are someone/an act who HAS to be in front of live real faces or you are doing more than enough n the way of gigs – then you might not worry about reading further – – or ……….. you may want to read on anyway – – if you want to consider an idea to supplement current gig schedules or gradually reduce traveling etc. or just out of interest.

Also note:  I am not giving a specific 1,2,3 do this, then this etc – – most of the platforms have great instructions and forums to give you all the how to – or you can employ our services to help more (especially in the marketing etc area) – —
this post is about the what, why do it and some thoughts if going to consider.

Oh and of course  – an online concert/gig on one of these platforms could be something for those doing music based gigs, spoken word/poetry, almost any creative arts are or otherwise  — just note for this blog I am orientating the thoughts to those in the music industry.

Anyway I hope you find it of interest.
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So what dos this thing called an online concert sort of look like  – for those who don’t know  – basic overview.

Unlike a YouTube video or a recorded/streamed show you can watch anytime/search for etc- – …….it is like any other gig you do – an advertised gig, at a certain time for a certain ticket price……  it just happens to be online.
I suppose you can liken it to a webinar or online live forum etc  – except it is your gig that you control and people pay to attend.
People buy a ticket to the show, get a discrete log in/password and tune in/attend the show at the agreed start time.
If set up properly there may be the facility to ask questions, interact etc (using side bar comment areas that someone mans and relays to the act).
The artist picks the venue (lounge room, garage, studio etc), start time, sets up and delivers – collects payment from the platform on agreed basis etc.
The audience attends, interacts, at the end of the show they leave (exit screen), hopefully comes back to the next one and even more hopefully, follows the act in between.
The fee is a lot lower than most venue gigs  – -but that’s fine – because the audience isn’t travelling and the act isn’t either (and other reasons below).

Oh and of course  – an online concert/gig on one of these platforms could be something for those doing music based gigs, spoken word/poetry, almost any creative arts are or otherwise  — Ifor this blog I am orientating the

So that’s it in a nutshell – –basically a gig at a venue attended by an audience but all in cyberspace.

So why even consider this idea

The advantages to me of online concerts for the gigging musician/act are multiple.
A couple of the main ones are

  1. You have the chance to open yourself on a new media platform to people who don’t know you already…..and therefore gig to possibly anyone in the world.

    There is an increasing amount of people who are using these sites to ‘get to gigs’ because of the convenience in a busy lifestyle – but also because they can’t get to a/that gig.  And ‘can’t’ because of a myriad of factors – -which may include
    –  remoteness (not only country based or outback but also work location – eg oil rig worker, etc)
    –  disability (constricting travel options/movement, anxiety in crowds, etc)
    – general interest
    – even safety concerns if go out/travel in some places
    – and so many other reasons

  2. You can reach those people who are already your fans but you are not going t0 be playing where they are – – – and so you can connect/interact with them in a pseudo live scenario maintaining the connection and enhancing the loyalty (they are seeing you perform as a gig, with banter etc as well as possibly respond)
  3. For both of the above  – on most platforms you can set the geographic boundaries of the audience – which allows you to exclude places where you are playing  and so not to reduce the chance to fill the venue gigs
  4. You can ‘gig’ at relatively no cost other than time – — – and the gigs can be either when you don’t have enough gigs on  – or have as random extras or … as a regular ‘tour’ you build into your yearly schedule.
    I would suggest both the latter two
    – random is good to put it out there and trial a new set or something special etc or just because
    – doing a regular online show 3-4 times a year (or more if proves popular) builds a following
  5. Even though the ticket price is a lot lower – your costs are effectively nil – except for time to practice/prepare and do the gig.
    – you can do it from home, your practice room or whatever
    – there is no travel, roadies, food/etc
    – not having to worry about hard copy promotion, posters
    etc
    Bu please just think – 100 people coming online to your gig at even $4 net to you – – — is a $400 gig fee – and you are doing it from your lounge room, garage etc -Imagine if you online concert grew over time to getting 500 or 1000 watching (and there are many acts that get that now around the world) …. That might be all you do at that stage eg LOL.
    (liken it to the youtubers and whats going on their with subscription channels etc)
  6. You can set the ‘venue’ up to look as you want to fit your feel generally/brand or specific for that gig  – making it more comfortable but also more personalised and recognisable
  7. Only people who have bought a ticket to the show get the log in and can be tuned in – so they have to buy to see it!
    (Doesn’t mean you can’t have a few people with you to be an audience and bounce off – – but the idea is you are delivering an online show – so always be camera focused)
  8. If you have someone helping you on the computer side – you can interact (ie besides your chat in between songs), they can take questions for you to answer – or names to do a shout out to etc…. thereby personalising the experience for the online audience
  9. You can vary your format/line up – be the full band, acoustic cut back,
    Or it could be set up and run for a side of your music your band doesn’t do. etc etc – – -you could even end up with multiple concert channels to facilitate all of those options as well – it is again based on your individual need
  10. Etc etc etc etc – the list goes on

So how to start????????

  1. Check out a few of the online concert type sites (two mentioned at the start and any others you come across)- – see which one has acts similar to you already performing (or close enough) because some of the audience that has similar styles to you is already there……
    See which seems to have a look, feel that will suit you.
    And decide on one (you want loyalty  and consistency, changing platforms to often disrupts and disassociates audiences)
  2. Check out what you need to do to run a gig (probably have to sign up but should be no cost)
    Even attend a few gigs there to see how it flows
  3. Once get that all together — — do it!!
  4. Review how it went and then
  5. Plan when you will do it again with refinements (count on a few refinements to get the whole thing flowing right)

THINGS to BE AWARE OF

  1. Like your own following and people coming to your gigs (other than friends, family and classmates etc) it takes time to build these up to be a significant component of your music/gig world.
    But the advantage is – – you don’t have any cost etc other than time.  So set your expectations very low and long term so you won’t be disappointed too quickly.

    If you get just a few friends etc to the first one – that’s fine – know it will take a while.
    Now some people treat the initial growth phase as practice for ‘real’ gigs etc – – I strongly recommend NOT doing that  – whether the audience is 1, 2 or more – – — — you don’t know who they are, the influence they have /potentially have and they paid to be there – – so like any gig, to me it should be practiced, rehearsed and the ‘show’ put on to be the best gig you can do in that format  – regardless of the numbers in attendance.

    How long does it take to build????? How long is a bit of string – – – it all depends on YOU.
    In fact its no different to how long to build your business overall.
    The more you market and market well, the better the show you put on so that people talk about it and start promoting the next one for you, etc etc – the quicker you will build your audience  to your online concert series.

    Allow it time to grow, give it enough of a chance to grow but please – if going to give it a go – – really do so and do it a number of times before you give up and market heavily for each one….. for an investment of time and effort – isn’t the potential worth it?

  2. Be aware of time zones and language issues when organising WHEN to have the gig
    Time zones is an issue – – – so you need t be aware of time zones if wanting to appeal to an international audience and what concert time will suit the most people in those zones. SO work out who you want to appeal to an cater to them as though you were in those countries as much a possible.
    For example, if I want to access the USA and Australia what time of night do I put the gig on? (Or morning but how many in Oz etc are going to watch it that early)  – who is going to be asleep or at work etc
    Or.. A marketing decision may be only to do the on line concerts for the overseas market and so suit their time zones (and leave the live to be local following) …
    Or you might vary the time of each gig to hit different places (as the main focus)
    It doesn’t mean others won’t buy a ticket -but just consider where the priority is to be be for you and work it that way.

    Language barriers could underpin your success – manage the expectations of your audience (at least to start with)  – eg. If you don’t speak a certain language or have people with you who do – don’t target that market in the initial stages

  3. BIGGY – – be professional and start dead on time and be there for the whole time
    Your online audience has paid for a ticket.
    Live audiences are getting more and more jacked off with bands starting 20,30,40 + minutes after an advertised start time – but they are sort of stuck once at the venue, and paid the money — – — – – online audiences are not!
    They can turn off or transfer at only a little outlay — -they won’t be back – -And they will spread the word in those platform forums very quickly if you are good and especially if you are bad/unprofessional etc.
    So
    – if you say the concert starts at 6pm – – then at 6pm you go live, welcome everyone and kick it off
    – if you say it will be a half hour or hour show – fill the whole  30 or 60 minutes (there is conversation, chat in between songs but don’t stop after 20 minutes and say that’s it) – – – deliver what you advertise
    – similarly end around when you say you will – even if you stay available for online chat with audience after – le the concert finishes when advertised so people can get on with their lives
  4. If you don’t already, learn and practice conversation into the camera – so it feels like you are speaking to each person out there individually – not only practice what you will all say but how you will say it and the visual delivery.
    Quick practice tip — – get your phone or camera set up on something – and record yourself speaking to it, singing to it etc as though it was an audience member.
    Then check the footage  –
    Look believable? How often did you turn away, stumble etc ?– – it takes practice!  (by the way that style of practice will help your stagecraft immensely in your venue shows as well as online)
    Second tip – – take that footage and fast forward, or reverse and watch your movements – -is there something (things) you do that you shouldn’t or a repetitive thing that would be annoying over time (this is an old public speakers trick to improve)
  5. Remember you are online at all times –
    No nose picking, indiscriminate scratching/adjusting, looks/comments to other band members — – mmm
    Always be audience mindful etc (again this is no different to a proper gig)
  6. When starting off – really engage your audience during and post gig for the future
    Ask them to give feedback after the gig about how they enjoyed it (or not) — – what could you do better, what shouldn’t you do, what else – what would need to change if anything for them to promote your next gig to their friends and network etc     — — and then do all you can or as much as you possibly can to answer their suggestions
    ie – ask their help in helping you grow this area
  7. Side/really important one ……
    Before you do your first advertised/live concert – – – – do a practice one that only a couple of friends/family know about and will tune in to (even make it a private gig) – –
    Make it people who will tell you the REAL truth and ask them to feedback afterwards or during as to ..
    – lighting (are you standing in shadow, cant see)
    – sound quality (remember its not how it sounds in the room but what is being broadcast that counts)
    – camera — – quality of image and positioning (head cut off etc etc)
    – interaction during the gig worked ok
    So you are doing a dummy run to not only be a bit more comfortable when go live – — – but when you do do the first live one – you have checked all the techo stuff and are sure it works from the audience end
  8. Like everything in this industry – – market, market, market – –as it grows think of ways to promote more and also enhance the experience so people talk about it more. Think out of the box –
    – guest artists
    – give aways/discount on album sales
    – a different location at times or a different format or???
    – if the channel lets you record the gig (some do, some don’t) – then 2-3 weeks after you could load some of it to youtube with appropriate promotion and invitation to the next one, etc
    – here’s one ….. if you have a youtube channel – – do a quick promo video on that advertising the online concert, when where (platform) links etc  – then promote that thru your social media etc using the visual.  Similarly at the gig promote your social media places, web etc
    – etc etc

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Anyway  – – that’s probably enough general information and tips/thoughts I can input at this time.

Hopefully it got you interested enough with some basic thoughts to check it out, consider and decide whether something for you or not.

As always  – we would welcome any feedback, thoughts on this article you may have – – and if you do go for it (or have) luv to hear your experiences.

And of course, If you want more assistance with aspects of this- – we would be happy to work out some arrangement under our music business/mentoring service offering.

All the best till next time.

Ian

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Making Billboard top 10 hits in his Dad’s garage!

Not taking any credit for this article at all  – -but have posted it as I think it can be an inspiration and motivating to all those trying to get started in the production area – at least thought this would be of interest.
So replication of article by Graham Cochrane on his blog and enews Apr 17, 2017 

Proviso from Ian – to self produce specially in a less than ideal environment – –you need to have the ears to hear and know what to do (to correct or mix or whatever)– – – and how to finish it off to be acceptable to the audience and markets you are wanting to attract and relate to (which doesn’t always mean full mastering or pop commercial sound – – but you do need to finish it appropriately.  Other than that  – go for it!

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The next generation of music makers will never ask the question “Can I really
make a hit song in a bedroom studio?” Instead they will simply do it and assume it’s normal.

That’s exactly what LA based artist/DJ Gnash hasgnash been doing …….. the last few years as he is churning out cart topping hits (like 2016’s breakout single I Hate U, I Love U) with home studio equipment in a tiny garage studio at his childhood home, where he still lives with his parents.

The emphasis with Gnash has never been on the gear and studio, but rather the songs and the audience – just as it should be.

Getting his start as a DJ, the up and coming pop artist Gnash (Garrett Charles Nash) turned to original songwriting and started making music in his dad’s garage.

Still living at home, Gnash and his dad converted one third of their garage into a small, but doable home studio, where Gnash has recorded every song he’s done. And the best part? According to a recent interview in the Tampa Bay Times he uses budget equipment.

“My dad got me the same mic I use on everything now – this $200 mic from Guitar Center” – Gnash

I love it.  He has a microphone that’s working great and he’s not spending hours on forums or Facebook trying to find out what is “the best mic” for recording vocals. Instead he’s just using what he has and making hit songs.

 

And ultimately that’s a huge reason why he’s becoming successful.

He’s putting in the time to make lots of music and get it out there, rather than debate what equipment is “professional” enough to make a record.

And speaking of “getting it out there”, let’s talk about his approach to releasing music.

Dropping Singles As Soon As You Write Them

The pattern for as long as I can remember has been for artists to spend about one to two years writing, recording, mixing, and preparing to release an album or collection of songs.
Thus, every two to three years, every major artist would (and in most cases still does) release a brand new album to the world, complete with new singles, music videos, and an announcement of new tour dates.            Music was created on a 2 year cycle.

But the last few years I’ve seen a change and have personally (Cochrane) been advocating for a change in release method for most modern musicians. Moving away from the 2 year album cycle to the yearly or even monthly cycle.

Gnash is a great example of someone who is doing just that – ‘preferring to drop new singles almost as soon as he writes and records them’.

According to Billboard Magazine, even with his 2016 hit I Hate U, I Love U he simply finished it and put it out online for all to hear.

“I mixed it, finished the verse, fixed it, and put it out on the same night — and I went inside to my house ’cause I work in my garage, I make all my stuff out there — and I went into my mom’s bedroom like, ‘Mom, I just put my biggest song ever out,’ kinda joking, and she was like, ‘Go back to bed, honey.’ That’s about the extent of what I thought the song was gonna be. – Gnash

How home studio is that?

Writing, recording, mixing, and releasing music on a song by song basis is not only a reasonable way to approach music making as an artist it’s smart for your brand.

Musicians should view themselves as content creators and your audience prefers a steady stream of content, rather than a big collection every two years.

Simply Staying Focused On Creating Cool Stuff
To get a feel for how Gnash works on music and how he stays focused on the important things, you have to check out a 10 minute mini-documentary. After a few minutes you instantly realize that he’s captivated by music and creativity. See the mini doc video on Gnash here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GT0b0b2q–k

He’s always looking for new sounds, new ideas, and new songs.

Using simple gear like an Apollo Twin and some KRK monitors, Gnash just spends time creating and collaborating, trying to make something that is “cool” that will connect with his fans.

And isn’t that what we are all trying to do?

If you’re reading this, then you likely have a home studio with a simple setup that allows you to record and mix your own music. And if you don’t, then the good news is it doesn’t take much. Even $350 could get you all you need.

Once you have the simple setup, it all comes down to creating cool music. Music that inspires YOU as an artist and that will connect with and inspire others.

That takes time.
Time to write, record, experiment, share, revise, create, share more, and engage with others who love music.

And every time you create and share a piece of music you get better. That’s how you improve. Not by perfecting something, but by producing something.

Gnash is a great example of this “recording revolution” we are living through. He’s taking advantage of it. How about you?

What is one thing you can do this week to kick your music making into high gear? Will you write a song in a day? Release a mix you’ve been pouring over for too long? Plan a live show in your town?

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Back to Ian|
Hope you found it of interest – I did

Be inspired  – go for it!

Side note:
– If you need help with gear selection, thoughts, input, space etc  – give us a call
– If you can create what you want but have trouble getting the end sound you are after – you might consider utilising our online mixing service or contact us to see if we can help in other ways http://pavmusic.com/serviceareas/online-mixing-service

Cheers till next time

Ian

 

How Much do Musicians and songwriters earn? How much can they earn?

Phew  – a big topic for an article eh?  Yes I questioned whether I should do this one at all.

But it has been a little while since my last article, and this topic has been brewing as a blog topic for a while.
I am constantly getting asked by those I mentor in the industry, emerging artists, and others  –  how much can I earn? Is the industry dead? What is possible? I cant see myself doing more than this? and why so many complaining? etc

So I thought I would put some thoughts and comments and links together and focus on those in the industry performing and those writing/composing.
Please note  – this is in no way comprehensive, an industry standard article nor conclusive  – it is purely my view and my investigations – what you do with it is up to you.

SO how much can you earn????? ……
How long is a bit of string is the first answer that comes to mind.
From nothing to huge amounts is the second –  –
because it all “depends” (this is my buzz word for the article by the way)

I know many singer/songwriters, band members independent artists doing local gigs lucky to get $50, $40 $20 or even $10 an hour for a gig (or just a beer and pizza). I know others who are doing corporate work and getting the equivalent of $200 or more an hour – (and then there are the top 1% which I will leave out of this paper anyway)

I know songwriters who have recorded their music and picking up $0.004 a play on Spotify through to $0.99-$1.99 a song download (PS hard copy songs are about the same once divide the price of the CD by number of songs).  But I also know others getting quite a bit in both up front and royalties because their songs are being sync’d into a TV series, or being sung/recorded by a popular artist or they are composing for games, film or TV.

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Before I go further let me – as an aside – let me put some of the hourly figures into context -and do a little maths – – – because some of the non musician readers out there will see the hourly figures and say ‘what are you complaining about” because ….
$20 per hour – if working a 38 hour working week as an employee (discounting off holiday loading and super so comparing straight $$) would mean you are on a gross salary of $40,000 per annum.
So $40/hr means $80K per annum full time, etc …. $100/hour equates to $200,000 per annum.
Of course musicians don’t usually work/get booked/gig (ie paid)for 38 hours a week – a lot of their week is made up of the ‘other stuff’ from admin to practice to marketing,etc. They have to amortise what they do get in the hours they perform, record etc for someone else over the working week.
To put that in context for a musician to earn the equivalent of $40,000 a year ($20 per hour employee) and say they are gigging 12 hours a week (say 4 gigs of 3 hours) – they would have to command a fee of $65 per hour for every one of those 12 hours – – and do it 52 weeks a year!
To have say 4 weeks off with the kids and say only 3 gigs of 3 hours a week over the 48 weeks – – that fee charge needed jumps to$93 per hour to get $40,000 gross.
Being self-employed with all the on costs travel, gear maintenance etc – – to achieve a $40,000 taxable income the same as an employee (after costs)- – they are probably looking at a need to earn $60,000 or so gross – — which then requires a fee of $104-138 per hour minimum.
Obviously the multiplication occurs as the expenditure and family budget needs increase but it gives you an indication of why some sectors of the music industry are complaining about income levels dropping through the drop in live venue fees and streaming etc
Just to put that into context
– when I was gigging in the early/mid 80’s the fee I was getting as a live performer hasn’t risen (and often dropped ) today from what we were getting then  – the musicians fees haven’t kept pace with inflation or base wage conditions
– as another context  -sales of music
To make $40,000 purely on Spotify streaming royalty revenue today – there would have to be 10 Million streams of the artist’s songs per year every year.
To make $40,000 to the artist at $0.99 sale on iTunes of which they get about $0.70 – requires 571,428 song sales per year.

Does that mean its all bad for a musician in the industry  – – -of course not
First, most musicians, singers or songwriters/composers are doing ‘music’ because they have to, its part of who they are, in their DNA and so they are living their passion. And so there is that nebulous factor to take into consideration.

Second, they have the option to do it part time and use a base job to pay the money need.

Third, others are working hard and doing enough gigs per week or enough marketing etc to achieve their income requirements and be full time –
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But also some sectors of the music industry are getting more employment and making more money  – so it depends. – Let me address this a bit more

OK so as most know –  the music industry is not a homogenous/‘all the same’ industry. There are all the different genres, different venues, different skill sets, different composition need etc – so …………..
to say carte blanche the music industry cannot support those in it  – – – to me is too broad a statement and while it is very true of a few sectors/genres – it is definitely not across the board – even within some genres there is dramatic variance.

So I would like to list some examples and references giving some information that may not have been known till now to some those in the music industry reading this – and I do so for 2 reasons
1. Seeing alternatives may open a door into brainstorming about alternative/adjunct areas to possibly be considered in your future planning.
2. To me we need to be careful we don’t tar the whole industry, or expectations of those entering other areas of the industry, to the experiences being had in our own sector (good or bad)

So here we go- performers

  • If you are a classical musician working in orchestral or band scenarios- you might go to http://www.musicians.asn.au/union/rates.html you can see a table as set by the Musicians Union of Australia to give a base indication of various fees a musician might earn – while not great they do give some starting figures.

    At the other end of that  – are musicians full time employed in a few studios here and overseas working on online game and film scores, or with certain symphony orchestras or the fees of very popular solo, duo etc acts crossing over into mainstream.

  • Acts for corporate events and weddings etc will charge more than those in coffee shops etc as they have different requirements and expectations by the audience at times – while no ‘chart’ exists across the board – some groups do publish their rates – –
    So as an indication Viva group in Sydney have this page on their website http://members.optusnet.com.au/aband/pricing.html
    String quartets etc may price like http://www.stringspace.com.au/prices/
    Cover bands in the pub scene etc can be $2000 for a band or even duo  – -or more
    And then the top groups will go up from there
  • While mobile DJ’s at a party will earn one rate for the night  – -a DJ/producer doing the club circulate with a following will earn more (as well as sales of their pieces/remixes) – to of course those the top Dj’s doing gigs around the world – check out   http://gazettereview.com/2016/05/the-top-10-highest-paid-djs-in-world/  )

While some songwriters are struggling to be heard, or happy to be the singer/performer and sell their music at their gigs, online to followers and some community radio station play– others are
– working the social media with online concerts (ticketed), working youtube subscription channels to their music etc – -(check out http://mashable.com/2011/01/23/found-fame-youtube/#5WgBjz8iMOqB and (your going to hate me LOL – http://www.teenvogue.com/story/best-artists-discovered-on-youtube )
– making a much higher income selling their songs to other artists for an upfront fee plus royalties.
– getting the songs (all genres can be in this) placed in relevant TV, advertising, some films etc  – all genres can be in this (as I say every time a guy walks down a street in a film and music plays from out of a bar – someone has made money from that 3-10 second grab)

In the songwriter/composer area  – when we start we start to get to those scoring /writing songs for musicals, shows, films TV etc  – a new bit of string starts to unwind.
It can depend on whether a main theme, background, a moment – a large international or local business (or show) – where advert will be seen etc
I know companies who have paid as little as $200 for a jingle piece or a telephone on hold work – through to the music for high profile 30 second ads costing a client company $30,000 (yes just the music). So some examples

  • As an indication of some of the fees for the use of music (recorded works and composed etc) in the ‘production area  – APRA-AMCOS Publishing have a rate card they produce every year – http://apraamcos.com.au/media/customers/2017-PM-Rate-Card_AU.pdf
  • Writing for TV can vary just as much- – one site that gives one point of view/indication of what is possible above those APRA rates above can be seen here https://www.taxi.com/music-business-faq/ftv/tv-composers.html
  • Then there are film score composers  – another piece of string unwinding
    David Bell in his book “ Getting The Best Score For Your Film,”… – gave an indicative figure about composers and budgets in films  –
    “The low budget film: A $20,000-$50,000 package deal. The composer delivers a recording — any money he does not spend, he gets to keep.
    A medium budget feature or TV movie package deal:”$50,000-$150,000 – established composer with a ‘high-end’ studio and a few live players.
    A medium budget feature or TV movie with ensemble: “$50,000-$300,000 music budget plus a composer fee of $20,000-$30,000 for TV, or $30,000-$100,000 for feature.
    A high budget feature: “Up to $400,000 music budget, plus $200,000-$400,000 composer fee.”
    (think Hans Zimmer Williams or Horden etc at this plus – check out this from 2014 http://www.therichest.com/expensive-lifestyle/money/making-millions-5-makers-of-movie-music/ )
    David Bell
     (born April 17, 1954) is an American composer, known for his music for television shows. From 1984 to 1991 he contributed music to 79 episodes of Murder, She Wrote, 5 episodes of “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman”, followed by 66 episodes of Star Trek shows from 1994 to 2003. In 2002 he won the ASCAP Award (Top TV Series) for Enterprise, shared with the series’ other regular composers

  • The world of online/video games music is yet another ball of string unwinding  – — you can have independent gaming composers like Chris Lines at one end http://chrislines.net/indie-game-composer-cost/  – through to TV, film and game composers like Sean Murray  (think Call of Duty, Counter strike and look at his list of credits https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sean_Murray_(composer)  & http://www.seanmurraymusic.com/  – no not the actor out of CSI LOL) – sorry no $$ there

And we haven’t even scratched the surface of the other parts of the industry – from production, studios, agents, managers etc etc etc

SO IT DEPENDS, always has and always will DEPEND – – –

Is the music industry a constantly changing beast yes, but it always has been (or it has for the 40 years Ive been in it)
Are some sectors finding it hard to change and make ‘enough’ yes  – some  individuals finding it hard to evolve into what the public wants now, yes
Are there some sectors like jazz, folk etc that have NEVER been big money spinners, not the ‘popular’ public choice, yes– – – –
Is any of that different to the past – no – its just different in different ways….
BUT others are doing very well  – so it depends.
No different to your view on technology and internet service development – while  public listening through streaming and phone data size has reduced income lines from per song sales and studio fees- it has opened up wider possible audiences and industry collaboration (and markets)  – – and a number will remember what it was like (and what it cost) to make a record 10-20 years ago compared to today.

Today’s industry is just different from where it was as things (often external) evolve – and like any industry that changes or has to shift and adapt to external changes –  that will favour some, hurt others, require minimal change in some and massive change in others –  and make no difference to a number.……

Most of all … the music industry is definitely not dead and there are always options, opportunities, (or decisions to stay as is) that exist  — -well that’s my humble opinion.

Cheers till next time

Ian

Have a Bollywood philosophy

Why do people go to the light movies, musicals, even animations?
Why do people watch soapies, fantasy flicks..tv “reality” rubbish?
Why do people go to a gig, a play, musical theatre, ballet or the opera? An exhibition. Or?

While there are many individual, specific reasons, at a basic level across the board….I think it is…to be entertained? Or deeper, to escape? To get some time out? Relief from daily grind? More? Maybe even for some, to capture a moment of fantasy hope?

What started this train of thought?
I was watching Bollywood Star Australia on TV the other night (yea, ok, dont go there). Regardless of what you think of the/such shows etc.. one bit of the statement made by Mahesh, the ‘big director’, right at the end made it worthwhile…..he said (paraphrasing a little as from memory) ‘
we give possibility of hope to those who don’t have any hope of a life that can be different. The chance to live a moment beyond reality but in a world that is theirs…….that’s what Bollywood is about …giving a moment of hope in a life of survival…and so there is no room for despair in a Bollywood movie“.

It made me take time to dwell on this for those of us in the entertainment/creative arts space and why it is so important to strive to be the best we can be, put on the best show we can and deliver ..regardless if one or 1000 in the audience,  whether live or a production or end product delivery……

And even the last part of his statement applies – as there is also really no room for despair or apology in delivery of your performance or your work.
People don’t want to come to a show (especially if they have paid to be there) and hear an apology that you have a cold and so wont put on the best show you could, or really care that you have had a ‘bad day’ and a bit distracted. It’s actually not about you!!
You are there/being paid to entertain, to provide an atmosphere or ambiance, a laugh or, create an illusion in a show or scene etc. ……to subjugate self and be there for them – give them that moment away from normal life – to be entertained.

We don’t know what is going on in the lives of those who come to our gigs, listen to our records, watch our video, look at our works ….. And what we do may provide that moment!

Fanciful? Maybe, but I have read a story of a person who was about to commit suicide, and a song playing on the radio spoke to them and took them out of that path…….. seen someone  who was walking along totally dejected and watched a smile appear on the face as he saw a child dancing to the music of a busker …….. know of a few people who have hung on to the words of a song, poetry or a speech during an adverse time.

Don’t doubt the potentially positive power of what you do creative one…you can, and do, have an effect!

So my thought for the day  – – – Have a Bollywood philosophy and purpose in delivery of your creative world!

 

(also relates to being positive and not bad mouthing or complaining all the time on social media… But that’s a discussion for another post.

Till next time

Ian

In the end Crowd Funding Campaigns only work for 3 basic reasons

People are going to crowd funding to help in projects for everything from music, movies, start-up business ideas, environmental or ethical causes, even personal purchase needs etc. There is really no area of funding need where crowd funding is now not at least an option to consider.

The problem – according to a range of studies researched (can be named if want or just goggle ‘success rate of crowd funding campaigns’) On average less than 40% of crowd funding campaigns reach their target some say eve less– and if a target is not reached, all the money goes back to the givers – so ziltch achieved.

There are many individual reasons why the other 60%+ fail – however  – whether using  Go Fund Me, Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Pozzible etc  (or any of the myriad of crowd/group funding sites)  — successful campaigns are, at their very core built on 3 basic things achieved

  1. Engagement -Before, at the start and during the campaign.
    Whether it’s the look, the wording, the reason for the campaign etc – the whole campaign invites people to engage -it’s a positive experience for them (in whatever that means). It engages and makes them feel there is a decision needed to give – rather than something to walk past.
    It is also momentum – keeping up the engagement so some level of initial success is achieved quickly and then people perceive they should want to get on board
    The length of the campaign also is a factor in maintaining engagement and momentum
  2. Value
    This is broken down into 2 areas
    Perceived value of the $$$ request vs the reason requested
    If people think you are asking for too much for what will be the output or the potential, they wont give – – so, does the target suggested sound reasonable, ‘good value’ for the end result – -and is that explained properly in the associated dialogue for people to understandFor example, I see one friend asking people to fund a ‘commercial quality CD production’ with a target of $4,000 and another with exactly the same wording for $10,000. IF that’s all you have to go on, who would you chose to help reach their target?
    But if the first was a solo singer guitarist recording most of it in his own space and just getting mastered – and the other was a 8 piece swing band working in a professional studio etc etc – then whose proposition has the best value – – if in fact there is a difference at all?

    Or if I see one friend wanting $5,000 for a start-up business based on a statically/market researched need, prototype tested  idea  – and one wanting $5,000 on an idea and gut instinct feel???  Who has the potential for a more valued proposition?

    Then
    B. The old …..”What’s in it for me “ is satisfied  – –
    What does the campaign offer that will either –
    – be of some benefit to the giver  (reduced price etc)
    – be something unique
    – be something that adds value to their experiences with others (a musician offering a home concert etc)
    – satisfy a need in them (which may not be financial, it may be more philanthropic)
    – or something that ‘gives back’ for them giving – – – and possibly offers increased benefit the more they give  (which also  encourages higher giving consideration of course)

    Finally in the base 3 reasons

  3. There is enough of a network, social leveraging etc and marketing activity to stand a chance of success.
    One of the biggest reasons crowd funding fails is the person asking doesn’t have a wide or big enough ‘net’ of potential REAL giving sources to actually achieve the goal in the first place.
    Sure you will pick up some ‘randoms’ along the way if the hype and bubble and talk around the place is good enough – – -but if there are not enough people at the start with enough money (and who would possibly give) to get to at least 70-80% of the target (and probably closer to 90% is better)   – and a number of those people will probably help promote the campaign to others- then you are probably wasting your time.Think of the fishing net analogy and where a professional fisherman casts their net.
    They don’t just randomly throw the net over the side when in deep water and see a few fish ……. they use their sonar and radar, and network of communication etc to look for the areas where there are huge schools of fish – so, even though they will only catch a small percentage of the school in the sweep, they will end up with as full a net as possible.
    Or similarly – —  5,000 likes on a facebook page doesn’t mean you will get 5,000 people contributing to a funding campaign –probably not even 1,000  – maybe not even 100 IF the people who have liked aren’t satisfying point 1 above in your normal facebook interactions.

    So in considering a crowd funding campaign – check out how many social networking contacts you have (probably real ones that are either friends as well in the flesh, &/or those that engage regularly with you in your normal positing, have helped promote you before), how many people you could email who would be accepting to read and consider, family, work associates, etc etc – – then take that figure and see if say 40% of them giving at the base level requested would achieve around 90% your target. If so, go for it.
    If not, then possibly further consideration or decisions need to be made as to how to increase that percentage or whether to proceed at all.

Hopefully you found these thoughts of interest if you are considering a crowd funding campaign.

To help on some more ideas as to what to do it you go ahead – -check out this survey from Indiegogo and the tips to put in place – -https://go.indiegogo.com/blog/2015/10/crowdfunding-statistics-trends-infographic.html – –and plan well the campaign and activity before starting.

If you need assistance with the initial analysis, positioning or marketing of a crowd funding campaign – contact us as that can come under our mentoring/advisory service area.

Cheers till next time

Ian

“Golden Ears”? Bah Humbug

Another great article from Graham Cochrane following on from the post from yesterday for those looking to record and mix their own stuff.

While there are exceptional mix engineers and those whose hearing may be more fine tuned than yours (or who have full range hearing if you have lost some frequencies)- – – —  BUT don’t be fooled by the hype and don’t make excuses for lack of work.

Be as good as you can be by ….just doing it more and more, practicing more, having a go, listening, learning, getting feedback and practice, doing it again over time. Only then will you know where your limits lie if any – and you will be soooo much better through the process.

Anyway here is Graham’s thoughts ………….
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I’ve heard it said that there are some people in the world who have some kind of super human hearing.
They hear things that the rest of us don’t.
They have what are called “golden ears” and unfortunately it’s a natural gift that you and I can’t manufacture.
The thought is, these “golden ears” are what give them the edge when it comes to recording and mixing music and why their tracks sound so good and ours don’t.

It’s a total myth.

Let me put it to you straight. The idea that some people’s mixes are better than yours because they have better hearing than you is a joke.
More than that, it’s a cop-out, an excuse.
Labeling some as having “golden ears” helps us to accept the fact that our mixes stink.
“Well it’s because they were born with something that I don’t have, makes sense why my tracks aren’t as good.”

This is ridiculous. It’s just as ridiculous as the excuse of gear: that some how the reason your recordings are lame is because you don’t nice expensive gear.
In both of these scenarios we are missing the point and putting too much emphasis on things that aren’t the difference makers.
There are a million factors to why the pros churning out a great mix and you and I churning out a subpar one.

It’s just an easier pill to swallow to tell ourselves it’s because of their ears or their gear, not their skill, which can be learned.

Did you know that the only way to get good at this craft, this art, is to simply do more of it?
That’s right people. The secret to audio success is…practice! In fact, the reason most people will never be good at this is because they give up too soon.
But not you, you’re not going to quit. You’re going to continue to make bad record after bad record until slowly over time your tracks improve and your skill level increases.
Which will only fuel you to do more of course.

It’s unfair in some respects to compare your mixes to a Chris Lord-Alge or a Dave Pensado because let’s face it, they’ve been at this a lot longer than you have.
And not just in number of years mixing, but in number of albums per year.
If you mixed 25 albums each year for the next 10 years, you’d get really good too!

At the end of the day, being a good recording or mix engineer is all about knowing what good music should sound like.
If you are a musician or huge music fan then you’ve likely listened to hundreds or albums and songs and you have developed your tastes.
You know what you like. You know what cool drums sound like, and a rocking vocal, and a fat bass.
It’s in your head. This is paramount to your success.

When recording and mixing your job is to simply use the tools at your disposal to turn what’s in front of you into what you hear in your head. No “golden ears” required.
Just normal, average, everyday, music loving ears. Because at the end of the day, music is all about connecting with the average fan.

Your job is to simply make a song that is fun to listen to.

It’s a lot simpler than we make it out to be.

Graham

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So get to it.  Just do it and do it again, and again and again…..

By the way  – If you someone to listen and help critique your mixes, or mentor you, or work with you (locally, remotely or online -let’s use the technology we have available) – we offer those services – just ask.

Cheers till next time

 

The BEST bit of gear you can get is YOU

Great article in an enews from Graham Cochrane of The Recording Revolution below.
I endorse his view totally!
Once you have ‘reasonable gear’ that does the job you need -it then comes down to YOU – your ears and ability to LISTEN and HEAR, your skill and knowledge to KNOW WHAT TO DO AND WHEN (and what not to do), etc ….AND REFERENCE TRACKS to hear where there are issues that need to be allowed/adjusted for – to get the end result needed (a whole other topic).
Sure having a perfectly set up room and the top gear is nice  – if you can afford it and IF the return will be there to justify   — but remember …..A great mixer can be in an average room with average gear – and if they have some reference tracks to know what issues are there that they have to adjust for – they will still bump out great and competitive mixes.

Anyway here is Graham’s article
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Nothing irritates me more in the audio world than seeing impressionable home studio owners being led down pointless rabbit trails in the name of “getting better recordings.”
There is a gospel of “better gear” being preached day and night on popular internet forums and all around the inter-webs that not only doesn’t help get people the results their after, it leaves them more confused and disenchanted than ever.

Why are we obsessed with converters?! (If can’t tell by now, the title of this email is chock full of sarcasm)
But the sad thing is, this statement is being made all the time.
Many of you even have been “convinced” by someone online that your converters are bad and you need to upgrade.

You might not have even known what converters were, let alone that the ones you already own in your audio interface aren’t “good enough” to do serious audio work.

I’ve read all the articles, watched all the video interviews, and of course taken part in many internet debates about the “blanket theory.”  You might know what I’m referring to.
People will say something like, “Once I upgraded to [insert more expensive converters here] I immediately noticed a difference in the sound. It was like someone had pulled a blanket off of my speakers!”

You know what else sounds like a blanket coming off of your speakers?
A high shelf boost of 2db on the mix buss.

Back in the days when Pro Tools users had to have Pro Tools hardware connected at all times, there were only a handful of audio interfaces I could use. After upgrading from the original 2 channel Mbox to the multichannel 002 Rack interface, I was set. I could now record full bands and drum kits. And that’s exactly what I did.  I had that thing for 7 years and used it on countless albums and live recordings.  Well, it became a well known “fact” that the converters in the 002 were “awful” and “unusable.”
That was news to me.
In fact, I was making a decent living in my studio and my portable rig helping people make great recordings, all with the 002 as the centerpiece of my rig.
It wasn’t until people told me that the 002 converters weren’t good enough that I ever even noticed.I became paranoid instantly.

Just like anybody else I want my recordings to sound their absolute best, so of course I immediately began looking for ways to “upgrade” my converters.
But I could never justify the cost of either a mod, or an ADAT converter of some kind. It just seemed like a total waste.

So instead I decided to keep my money in my wallet and put all my focus on something that would actually improve sound quality: …improving myself.

I worked on mic placement, gain staging, better arranging, strategic use of EQ and compression, and constant referencing of pro mixes.
All of these things have made major improvements in the final result of my recordings and mixes.
No new gear necessary.
And  that’s what I’m getting at people. I have no doubt that audio to digital conversion technology gets better and better as the years go on.
Shoot, we used to only have 16 bit converters and people were still making Grammy award winning records on them (Frank Filipetti and James Taylor for example).

That’s the thing. Technology keeps getting better, but that has no bearing on your ability to make pro sounding tracks on your current gear.
The hard truth is, we all are desperately looking for an excuse to spend money on gear.
That’s what drives all of this in the end. The converters issue is no different from the new preamp, microphone, or plugin issue.
We’d rather buy our way to better recordings than practice our way.
The latter is far more effective and cost efficient my friends.

Graham Cochrane
TheRecordingRevolution.com
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(back to Ian) Before I moved to Melbourne and had the architect, acoustician and builders come in and build my purpose buit Production Pit studio and bought the extra gear and purpose built computer etc- for 8 years I used a converted rumpus room in our house in Canberra.
It had some treatment but wasnt sound proof (just as my wife about her frustration in hearing a phrase I was working on over and over again 🙂 ),  and all the treatment was home made (other than a very few bits of second hand panelling) – – -an acoustician came in to help find THE spot to sit and work from (but a metre either side and the sound went wonky) – -BUT that didnt stop me being very productive and producing quality work for the 8 years we were there.
How??? I learnt the room, I used reference tracks, learnt my plug ins in detail (what they could and couldnt do – and so many of them were freebies)  – then I listened and worked with what I had.…. and practiced and worked at it.

So work with what you have got before getting caught up in the ‘I need that’ syndrome.
Learn your room (its good and bad points, find the sweet spot etc);  listen  with reference tracks (that you know well) and find where frequencies are boosted or shelved, reflections are affecting by the room or gear  – and then adjust accordingly (keep using reference tracks) – -and practice, listen, practice, listen etc etc
(One tip – in a really bad room –  – mixing at low volumes so there is less sound bouncing around the room).

If at that point you still cant get your mixes sounding where you want – – remember we run an online mixing service and a mix assessment service that may be of interest  (check it out on the website pavmusic.com- subtab under the Production Tab)

Cheers till next time.

Ian