Pump Audio

So…something like 5 years ago, I went through the painful and laborious process of uploading some of my songs to Pump Audio‘s online portal. After the submissions being lost or rejected several times, and a few rounds of paperwork in their “old” and “new” forms, we finally got to the point where some of my tunes were accepted into their catalog. This was after a number of calls and emails to them–using some contact info I had to get through a friend who has a friend who works(ed) there.

So, thus far, not the most personal relationship, but I figured, we came this far, let’s see how it goes.

Just got an email notice last week about their online royalties system. Good step in the right direction, Pump. I guess there are some people alive over there! Today I got an email notice from “Workflow Mailer OAP1” (presumably Getty DB) to “~WF_ADHOC-398972” ( obviously me) with an unreadable attachment called “notification detail” (tried reading from gmail in 3 diff browsers, also tried downloading and opening, no luck). Sounds like Getty could use a real Product Manager over there to clean up the user experience. ūüôā

So, I logged into my royalties area and can see that my track “Master Plan” (an earlier, grittier instrumental version of “Those Days”) was licensed by “Red Bull Media House GmbH”. (A quick scan of the term “GmbH” tells me that’s how the Austrians term LLCS). So I guess Red Bull Media House has a massive, ever-growing archive of inspiration extreme sports content. ¬†Anyway, per the invoice from Pump they purchased several audio synch licenses for this song at $2.38/pop (I collect half, Pump the other half). It doesn’t say anywhere on here why type of media this will be synched to–it is a blanket license to sync to video or web or whatever? ¬†And for what time period? ¬†Indefinitely? a year? ¬†Really vague. Knowing how these things go, maybe about 3 seconds of my song will be in the background of some dude doing a flip on a snowboard.

And $2.38 is a pretty sad number. ¬†Obviously Pump makes its money off of a large volume of artists in bulk. $2.38 is hardly enough money to pay for anyone’s time. ¬†Of course, this is more or less what I expected from a massive library and a non-exclusive deal. I’m just wondering if it’s really worth all the effort? ¬†I guess if they have 100 of these deals a day…that comes out to… $238. ¬†Still not much. ¬†Seems to me that working with a smaller number of quality artists and valuing their music higher would be a better biz model?

But at least we’re starting to see a little activity. ¬†I give Pump credit for trying to automate things and improve their system. At the price point above though, I won’t make an effort to give them any more tracks, even if it is non-exclusive. ¬†That’s the problem of massive, non-exclusive libraries and teeny licensing fees–you run the risk of devaluing your music too much.

If only everyone could be as awesome as my latest licensing partner, Studio 51 Music. I love the guy that runs the company–he really listens carefully to our pieces and also to our feedback. He and his developers have a fantastic online portal for submitting music/paperwork and they do regular UStream meetings to answer all our questions. Plus, I’m must honored to be among the ranks of all of their quality, talented composers.

With Studio 51 and TuneSat flanking me, I feel I’m set up for much better ongoing success in 2012.

Spark Condenser Mic : New Addition to my studio

Very stoked to get started on vocal tracks using my new Spark condenser mic.

Yes–those are lyrics written on a receipt from Trader Joe’s.¬† When creativity strikes, it can be anywhere…

Visit me sometime at my studio in the BETA Records production compound in Hollywood.¬† Apparently, it used to be one of Charlie Chaplin’s production facilities; most of them have been torn down to build condos or strip malls.¬† Ahh, L.A.!

Informercial for Tria Laser

My music is the theme music for the Tria Laser, an infomercial that ranks #25 on the list of most popular infomercials. It has aired thousands of times. Apparently, it’s one of the most successful infomercial-driven product launches in history. ¬†Many thanks to my licensing partner, Mainstream Source, on this project.

I did get paid pretty nicely on this, but I should note that I had to go through a lot of extra effort with ASCAP to make sure that they would pay me for this. They may be better now but several years ago they were not good about tracking infomercials at all in their system. I had to open a special ticket and provide them with a lot of data, which included information from tune sat as well as the actual media buy information, which I was lucky enough to procure from Guthy Renker.

you can watch the clip below which still exists out on YouTube‚Ķ My song “5 Good Teasons” appears at about:28 in.

Avantone Mixcubes





As soon as funds allow–maybe in July–I plan to get a pair of the Avantone Mixcubes.¬† I’ve been hearing great things about them.¬† You really get a bang for your buck since they are only $269 at Sweetwater.¬† They’re 93dB efficient so you can run them on just about anything.¬† Plus, they just look really cool.¬† I love the sleek, retro design.

Anyone else using these puppies?

Latest Film/Music TV Survey

Ever wondered if what you’re getting paid for your film/tv/game tracks are commensurate with what’s being paid in the industry in general?

I’m definitely sure I’m NOT getting paid enough, or at least for ALL my placements. With TuneSat and some better ASCAP reps now in arming me with the technology and power I need to hunt down those ever-elusive back end royalties, hopefully that’s changing.

Here’s the latest¬†2011-¬≠‚Äź2012 edition of Film Music Magazine’s Salary and Rate Survey, with data current as of June 2011. They compiled this information based on “extensive research, interviews and information gathered from professionals throughout the film and television music industry.”

DownLoad Here

Writer gets back music rights after all these years

Great piece about songwriter from the Village People, who has finally terminated a publisher’s rights to his music.

“When the Copyright Act amendments went into effect in 1978, it meant that songwriters could terminate copyright grants to publishers and record labels 35 years later. If they were to do so, however, they need to send their termination notices not fewer than two or more than 10 years from the intended termination date. The result is that 2013 is the first year in which musicians can effectuate a termination notice, and a number of them who created works in the late 1970s are now under the clock to do so or forfeit the right for the foreseeable future.”

Good Article on Approaching Music Blogs, Writers, and Other Music Press

This article has some great tips, in particular, how to pitch a unique story (you as the unique individual). In my case, I have the advantage of the still commonly-held view that women doing anything technical or with making beats is “unusual” and not a part of our DNA. Hogwash!

I also agree that keeping the story local (although Los Angeles is hardly a small town) is good, and as is being very specific about how you approach each person (and don’t spam them with follow up emails!)

Read more: 5 Tips for Approaching Music Blogs, Writers, and Other Music Press | Echoes ‚Äď Insight for Independent Artists.

Tunesat Update

Just a quick note to say how pleased I am so far with Tunesat. In only a month’s time, the software has already brought up 50 detected instances of my music on TV. Excited to announce a few new networks I’m on now, like FUEL and Comedy Central!

The majority of the instances are for my song “5 Reasons Why”, which got licensed to Tria Laser for an informercial. That sucker is airing constantly all over the place! I think we can look forward to some nice backend royalties for that! I’ll have to get on the horn with Lynne Enman from ASCAP about 6 months from now to document everything…

Music as a Business vs Art

Friend Michael Benghiat of the Music Kitchen, who I partnered up with on tracks for Oprah, lent some great advice at this workshop about the music biz. He pointed out that writing music and licensing it can pay off a lot more than playing gigs, which is certainly the case for me.

“Songwriters and publishers make money every time their music is played,” Benghiat said. “Performers only get paid when they perform.”

“I know people who are doing really well,” Benghiat said. “If you can produce good-sounding music inexpensively, you can make money.”