Saturday, December 19, 2009


Allen Johnston - The Music specialist
Not long ago I had an online discussion about the new R. KELLY project and I took the stance that his inability to grow up and be a man, while sexually and mentally messing with teenage girls was enough for me to never be associated with his music again. This stance made a real stir online and of course I got all of the pseudo reasons why I should endorse his music.

a. He had not been convicted so regardless of what I thought he was innocent.
b. God wants us to forgive one another for our transgressions.
c. Since we came together as a people and fought the trail of OJ we should be behind R.KELLY.
d. Where are the fathers to stop this kind of teenage girl treatment and where was his father?

Not one person wanted to address the 2 main true issues I see surrounding R.KELLY.
1. He preys on young teenage women (girls) for his own mental and sexual satisfaction.
2. He is not a musical genius but a high school drop out with a creative musical, marketing and promotional team that constructs his success.
I, for one, refuse to put my personal feelings aside to allow a man with such a confirmed history of abuse make more money. I have found out that I am not alone on this subject for literally millions of other people from almost every racial and age group agree with my viewpoint. He is now and shall continue to be, in my mind, less than a man.
Musically he has years of education ahead of him before he can be classified as proficient. His lack of formal education shows in his lyrical content. His lack of musical knowledge is apparent because he uses co-producers on all of his songs to make sure he has music.

When asked on the Tom Joyner Morning Show if he would go back to school he said NO he believed that he would lose his creativity if he got education. By any standard this is NOT what you want young aspiring kids to think, and showed me his disdain for education and fear of learning.

I understand that he has made a lot of money, but looking at his career strictly from a professional point of view, his team has made much more money than him. R.KELLY has to hold himself responsible for loss of family (wife, children, and brother) exorbitant legal bills, declining fan base and the karma of his actions.
His latest endeavor R.KELLY MEMOIRS being written by David Ritz is supposed to tell the truth about his life. Interestingly enough one person has already commented “How can he write a book when he can’t read”.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Copyrights 2014

Copyrights 2014

The implication that major labels will be devastated by the litigation of hundreds of artists receiving their copyrights is really humorous. Especially when one looks at exactly what the major labels currently own.

Major record companies have a built in money machine selling the catalog of past artists. The sales of cd, vinyl and “Live show” DVD keep the lights on while new artist sales fluctuate. During the 1980’s the major labels came up with a scheme that put the independent retailer out of business while solidifying their own distribution divisions. They created the Sound Scan system (digital database using a products UPC code) and gave free computers to the independent store owners and coalitions. This gave the labels direct access to the independent store data and told them what catalog items were consistent sellers. Now they could lower product manufacturing costs and increase profits on products they were paying little or no royalty on. And since they owned the copyrights, they paid themselves for mechanicals, synchronization and performance publishing rights.
The recording contracts written before and during that period gave the major labels ALL of the revenue streams from the copyright. The only stream left to the artist was possibly a percentage of the Writer’s share of publishing, performing and merchandising. PA & SR copyrights, for virtually every hit song prior to 1984, are either owned, or controlled by a major label or major label affiliate. Example Sony records will control the SR copyright on a song, contracted at least 50% of the PA copyright, which in turn is part of the Sony publishing(100% owned) catalog ultimately allowing one pocket to pay the other. Most artists have taken an advance against royalties that allows the major label to own even the original songwriters 50%.

Just so you don’t forget, here are a few of those affected artists.
Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Ray Charles, Chuck Berry, James Brown, Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters, Big Joe Turner, The Temptations, Little Richard, Wilson Pickett, Fats Domino, The Dominoes, Sly & The Family Stone, Lloyd Price, Martha & The Vandellas, Parliment Funkadelic, The Four Tops, The Isley Brothers, Jackie Wilson, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Kool & The Gang, The Supremes, Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers, Earth, Wind & Fire, etc..

Ultimately, worst case scenario, the labels will have to re-negotiate with a few wise and non-hungry copyright owners, otherwise it will just be business as usual by advancing some monies and getting another contract.

These catalogs still have a valuable worth in digital downloads, film & commercial licensing and corporate licensing, the labels have the staff, connections and technical support to pursue this.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Best In Black Music And Entertainment


Allen L. Johnston - The Music Specialist

Once upon a time Billboard magazine was considered the “bible” of the music industry. If you did not chart in this magazine you did not have “high” sales, if you did not show upward movement you did not move into “high” rotation at radio, if you were not written up within its pages you did not acquire any advanced or international publicity. Basically you were a NOBODY. Billboard never planned for its own demise, so it never created an Awards show based on the excellence of its artists. The Billboard Urban conferences were a weak venture that never achieved the support of the major labels or major selling artists. This made them available to the independent artist and label who still thought that Billboard was the bible. The Billboard nightclub was suppose to be a place where the “best of the best” performed, in reality these clubs became overpriced disco’s and have disappeared into night club nirvana. There is a lesson to be learned from the downfall of Billboard Magazine.

Can anyone give me suggestions on how we can save or re-create an Awards ceremony that has the qualities we need to instill about our music?

The Soul Train Awards gave me a feeling of dread and shock when I realized that the bar of excellence has been lowered to an all time low. The show was as dreadful as it was based on numerous problems. The biggest of which is the in ability to have a vision of excellence to strive towards.

Soul Train started in Chicago Illinois as a teen dance show with MC Don Cornelius. His personal vision of excellence brought national recognition, national audiences, advertising and the ability to launch acts which most teen dance shows lacked. In 1985 the Tribune Entertainment Company partnered with Don Cornelius Productions Inc. as the exclusive syndicator and distributor. In 1987 the Soul Train Music Awards hit television making history and setting the bar for Black music & entertainment award shows. After years of progress it too became dated, lost its national audience and relevancy along with the Don Cornelius vision of excellence. In 2007 the parent Tribune Company was sold, Don Cornelius became very ill and Soul Train Music Awards was sold to Madvision Entertainment in 2008.

Don Cornelius, born September 27, 1936 was raised with an entirely different set of morals than business principles than most of the current generation. Not only was he an excellent television producer, promoter, salesman and visionary, but he was also a radio announcer (WVON) and a former Chicago Police officer. He envisioned the pomp and ceremony, the panache and elegance that made the Soul Train Music Awards the best of its era.

The Soul Train Music Awards originally contained a voting body of professionals within the radio and record communities. These radio programmers, retail store owners, wholesale buyers, managers, and recording artists who had charted within the previous year, actually cared which person won each individual award. Having a great selling “novelty” record was not a requirement for winning and the winners immediately had increased sales directly connected to the Awards show. The past hosts included Dionne Warwick, Luther Vandross, Will Smith, Patti Labelle, Gladys Knight, Anita Baker, Brandy and L.L. Cool J. The presenters tried to out dress and out class each other and they included Quincy Jones, Montell Williams, Barry White, Oleta Adams, Eddie Murphy, Elizabeth Taylor, Billy Dee Williams and even Don King.

This was an award show that had refinement, major professional entertainers, completely innovative and substantial performances and dignity.

The current Soul Train Awards structure seemed to miss the entire scope of the awards. Gone were the super star celebrities, the outstanding performances, the advertising and the dignity. I see the problem as the inability to have a wider sense of quality both in music and presentation.

People are doing business as if it was a relationship. They are acting emotional, personal, self serving with no regard for others or what they are trying to accomplish. The level of brilliance has been watered down for singers who feel that they can make a few vocal runs or hold a note a few seconds longer than anticipated and that makes them a superior

artist. This is not only musical artists but includes the entire behind the scene individuals who make an awards show possible. It was easy to see, even after the show was edited for television that rehearsals had not been effective, camera direction was sub standard and the outreach to the Black music and larger arts community was mediocre at best.

The World audience expects more and deserves more. What will happen next year? Who knows but one thing is for sure this year’s show was NOT The BEST IN BLACK MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

No Positive Reputation = VULTURES

Today’s entertainment industry has created a totally new type of divisive character. The person who makes the saying “shady business”, a reality. The main reason this person exists is due to the lack of Positive Reputation among today’s industry players.

The contemporary music business has created a host of new players and new positions, unfortunately the honesty of these players is not based on their actions. A few examples of the new breed hustler starts with their ability to consistently find people and companies that are new and uneducated. The sayings, “up and coming”, “about to blow up”, “new day in the music business”, “next one to hit”, and “not new to the game” are ALL flags to the new breed vulture to get these people immediately.


Promotion Man / Woman – Once having this title meant you had a position of importance within the music community is now an open license to lie and steal from unsuspecting artists and companies. Everyone wants their music to be played over radio and television believing that once their music is heard they will become rich and famous. Very few artist understand that airplay is one of the final cogs in the musical business wheel, only needed AFTER you have created a fan base, developed a distribution strategy, done copious amounts of publicity and promotion plus seen significant sales. Then acquiring airplay will increase your sales base, popularity and notoriety. The new promotion person prays on the inability to understand this and promises visions of massive sales, humongous airplay spins and increased popularity both over the air waves and over the Internet.

The reality is that the artist winds up spending thousands of dollars fir their song to be played on a mix show or on a “make it or break it” show, then they are told that their song was not good enough to be considered a hit. By the way there are NO REFUNDS – NO CANCELLATIONS.

Record Pool DJ's & Directors - This is another "hyped" filled position with an organization that has a different twist. First the record pool wants your money to play your music in a club or over a radio station mix show where THEY GET PAID to play music. (Double Dipping) They offer you the ability to be on a conference call, be added to a website or perform at one of their venues for an additional fee. There is no logical business development plan to grow your song or attract new listeners. Ultimately you are told that if you don't use their services your music will be blacklisted and never heard in the environments that they control or work within.

Record pools were created to assist individual record companies place their music within clubs and venues playing recorded music. The pool members listened to your music gave it a few plays and returned feedback to the artist or label. Record labels in turn assisted the pools by developing promotional items (special vinyl, t-shirts, etc.) giving free shows and communicating with the individual pool DJ's on a regular basis. Record pool directors charged their membership for the service of receiving new music and record label promotional items. Now there are pool directors that claim the same responsibilities of promotion people, telling artist and labels that they can deliver a record to radio and develop sales and a fan base.

Retail Promoters - I honestly thought that this business was dead but here we go again with another useless reason to collect more money from an unsuspecting artist. Approximately 90% of the retail accounts selling music in the United States are owned by corporate entities. Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Best But, Target are the retailers that control the sale of physical product. They all buy from authorized vendors who are either major labels or one stops. What can a retail promoter accomplish? They can not place any music within the corporate accounts, they can not get information on product that is sold in these accounts and they have no influence with the authorized wholesale vendors. Hiring one of these people is akin to having smoke blown up your ass. Feels good for a moment than the odor assaults your senses.

Consultant - A new position with an old twist, most contemporary consultants are ex- record company promotion people who still believe that they can get a record added to radio station play lists. The reality here is that the music business has changed into a digital delivery, digital promotion licensing business and will never return to the OLD RECORD GAME. The consultant game is to tell you what they did back in the day and get you thinking that they can make an immediate difference in your professional career. Once again there is no business plan, no development plan and no real knowledge of how to work in today's digital world.

The easiest way to avoid these new era vultures is when they approach you ask them WHAT HAVE YOU DONE LATELY?

Reputation in this industry is developed over time, weather it is negative or positive. It can't be changed for Reputation is history. The Internet allows almost anyone with a credible past to be researched. Google is the search engine of choice and if the person or company you want to do business with comes up with several negative reports, 10 times out of 10 YOU will be a victim.

Do your homework; do not sign contracts until you have had them explained to you by an outside source. Do not believe the hype of how great your song is or how much someone is going to do for you because you wrote, sang, rapped or performed.

The vultures are out and they will circle the uneducated, peck at the gullible and devour the greedy.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Allen L. Johnston – The Music Specialist

This story was written because I received a phone call from a distressed parent, attempting to make their child’s entertainment dreams a reality. They had gone to an industry related association meeting and heard how wonderful members of this group treated new artists and their projects. This parent believed the stories of success and made sure to get the contact information from the people they thought could assist them. Several days later this same parent called one of their new contacts and asked them what they should do to help move their child to the next level of positive achievement. They were immediately told to send money and the project and everything would be wonderful. Of course they did as requested and waited to hear back from their new contact. Within a week the contact had told them that the project was playing on several radio stations and was being recorded by Broadcast Data Service (BDS), please send more money so that your project can be reviewed in a national trade magazine and more airplay can be sustained. The parent once again believed their new contact and sent an additional round of financing to ensure success for their child.

Within 2 more weeks the parent received a phone call from an entirely new contact living in another market. This second contact had been in touch with the first contact and had a significant plan of action for the parents’ project within their market. All they needed was for the parent to send money plus the project and everything would be wonderful. The parent told them that they did not have the amount requested but would send half now and within a week visit this new market and deliver the other half. The contact said to send half now, but the price would have to double for the second half because they didn’t work like that. FINALLY the parent started to get suspicious, thought that this was a game just to get money and called me for clarity.

My response was probably NOT what the parent wanted to hear.

I told them that because they were lazy, greedy, and ignorant and wanted something given to them on a platter they were a perfect target for this type of scam. Their laziness was seen in not checking out the markets were they wanted airplay before they sent money, not checking the markets during the supposed airplay and not trying to promote these markets at all. They did not even have the call letters for the radio stations where they were supposedly getting airplay. And of course they had NO CD’s for sale anywhere.

Their ignorance was on quite a few different levels. They had no knowledge of BDS so did not realize that they would have had to place a digital fingerprint within their song and register with BDS before anyone could record any spins. They believed that their song was going to be reviewed within a national trade magazine yet they had not written a bio, taken any promotional photos, designed an album cover or even heard of the magazine prior to sending money to a person they had only met once. Finally they had done no homework on the industry related association whose meetings caused them to acquire the aforementioned contacts. They were destined for failure from the beginning.

The above story is true, only the names of the culprits have been removed.

There is a way to change this perceived behavior well in advance of getting caught in a financial and business mess.

HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY – Normally people don’t think that being honest rates high within the entertainment industry, however based on how small this industry is and the ability to communicate at light speed, telling someone a lie can backfire on you very quickly. Now that these industry related association contacts have fooled this parent, their names are being mentioned over many different telephone and Internet networks. The industry related association has not been functional within the industry for at least 10 years, but continues to get new “wannabe” artists, label owners and “over the hill artists” into its meetings. Their credibility is suspect at the very least.

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER – My father once told me that if you own a restaurant you need to know how to greet people at the front door, take the garbage out of the back door and everything in between. The same analogy works within the entertainment industry. If you know what is suppose to happen then you can’t get scammed when it doesn’t happen.

RETURN PHONE CALLS – The ability to communicate over the phone has been taken for granted and current industry relations are being held over the impersonal Internet. It is great to send an MP3 file, a photo or bio over the Internet, but the ability to call a person and tell them that the file is waiting for them is invaluable. Phone calls may only take a few moments, but can create a lifetime worth of good will.

NETWORKING WORKS – Get out, meet people, stay in touch with them and make friends. Remember that friends do business together, strangers don’t.

SHAKE HANDS – The very best way to conduct business is to physically meet your client and “press the flesh”. The entertainment industry was built upon artists and managers going from one venue to another making fans and personally visiting stores. The idea of not visiting your public and making a lasting impression is the very idea that can kill your business.

Somewhere down the line my generation dropped the ball in relating our history and education to the parents of the current youth generation. Some how the ideas of truth, justice, family, respect and honesty have been misplaced within the current popular culture. Each one of us must take a stand, tell the truth and save our youths dreams.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


In the past few weeks there has been a flurry of controversy concerning the PERFORMANCE RIGHTS ACT. Many broadcasters and thousands of uninformed people are suggesting that the bill would be the death of Black radio within the United States.

Black radio died years ago when consolidation of ownership, syndication of programming and disregard for the local community became the Black radio norm. What the cry is now is for the local listeners to rally around the Black owned radio stations so the stations won’t have to pay out more money. Where is the concern for the artists whose creativity and expertise made this entire industry possible?

Looking at Black radio within the United States many people seemed to forget exactly how Black radio assisted the recording artists and independent labels. In the beginning Black radio was concerned about the health and growth of independent Black owned labels and worked closely with them, at times in complete partnership, to create events, shows, in stores and remote broadcasts benefitting both parties. As revenues grew and more stations became popular the attitude of owners, sales people and eventually disc jockeys became more and more financially directed. What once was partnership creating revenue for both sides became a mandatory free show, promotion, in store or event FOR the station. Disk jockeys became PIMP jockeys and wanted money in advance of hearing the music that was offered to them for possible airplay. Research techniques were initiated to offer “scientific” excuses for not playing a song, while new systems were put in place to make the journey to the radio station more difficult.

Record pools, independent promoters, marketing experts, publicity people, ALL were started from the inception of artists creativity and expertise. Without the song NO ONE would be eating. Now that the United States wants to join the rest of the free world in assisting the artist acquire revenue that has been LONG denied them we hear from major and independent broadcast owners that this is a business threatening move.

Education of the issue can help you understand the different visions presented by both sides.

The SOUND RECORDING PERFORMANCE RIGHTS ACT FOR TERRESTRIAL RADIO H.R.4789 passed the House of Representatives on May 13, 2009.

Performance Rights Act - Amends federal copyright law to:
(1) Grant performers of sound recordings equal rights to compensation from terrestrial broadcasters;
(2) Establish a flat annual fee in lieu of payment of royalties for individual terrestrial broadcast stations with gross revenues of less than $1.25 million and for non-commercial, public broadcast stations;
(3) Grant an exemption from royalty payments for broadcasts of religious services and for incidental uses of musical sound recordings; and
(4) Grant terrestrial broadcast stations that make limited feature uses of sound recordings a per program license option.

Any single track of recorded music consists of 2 copyrights.

There is a copyright in the written words and music (the “musical composition”), which is typically held by the songwriter or their publisher.

There is a copyright in any recording of the composition (the “sound recording”), which is typically held by the performing artist or their label.

What the Performance Rights Act is proposing is that the owners of the sound recording start receiving payment for the use of their art. Prior to 1995 performers could not receive ANY remuneration for their art, then Sound Exchange started collecting for Internet radio, Satellite radio and Cable radio plays and artists who had not seen any money in years from their publishers or labels started seeing renewed checks.

We are now talking about paying recording artist direct for their contributions to the BILLIONS of dollars in revenue radio stations have all ready collected.

This is not the end of Black radio.

This is not the end of free on air time for non-profit organizations.

This is not the reason for firing announcers and other radio station people.

This is a call for station owners to become more attuned to their community needs, develop consistent sales programs that develop better usage of their staffs, stop doing business the way it was done years ago and step into the future. I find it really strange that the people speaking out the most against the Performance Act either work for a major radio network or have refused to embrace the new technological changes now available for supplementary revenue formation.

Interestingly enough radio stations outside of the United States have been paying publishing fees AND performance fees for years and it has grown there business.


Today’s entertainment industry has become strategically deployed to affect a new state of mind within the youth of the African Diaspora. My continued contact with young people both online and in person confirms this global tragedy.


I have been speaking about this problem for years but it took my friend REJE SHOWERS to give it a name, “NIGGERDOM”

Niggerdom is a state of mind programmed into our youth worldwide that gives them unapprised information on behavior, ethics, morals and daily choices. This is not a haphazard condition but a strategically planned and orchestrated scheme to continue the status quo and keep wealth, power and land ownership out of the hands of people of color.

The basic entertainment premise is, instead of making a product so skillfully and honestly that people want to run out and acquire it, you now promote & market a product to make people yearn for it. The art form presented to the masses has become non emotional, lyrically laden with sexual, criminal, low moral, gender bias, fantasy concepts. Today’s young adults and children covet sex without love, big cars, flashy jewelry and perceived power through violence. Money has become their religious conviction.

Historically this particular mentality was originally cultivated when European royalty devised the strategy of non-white people being sub intelligent to white Europeans. This was made common place AFTER the discovery of gold, spices, hardwood, higher mathematics, astrology, medicine, surgery and information storage was presented to Europe from the European merchants travels to other non-white continents and cities. This creative idea held that non-white people were not entitled to land, wealth, independent thought, religion or freedom that was not ISSUED by a white European.
As generations passed this concept morphed into a worldwide plan that justified the slave trade, the taking of countries, and the creation of “townships”, concentration camps and detainment centers. As far fetched as it may seem this same strategically made plan has changed into a contemporary methodology using entertainment and mass media as its ultimate tools of delivery.


This strategic conditioning has created a few new common terms and phrases that are having a significant impact on the collective Diaspora’s psyche.

HATERS - A term unheard of just 5 years ago, but today it is used to describe a litany of individuals, organizations and political parties who’s viewpoints are different than the user of the word. A HATER is someone who openly criticizes, purposefully attempts to sabotage, or who indulges in any number of other activities/behaviors aimed at someone they consider doing better than them. Instead of developing answers to the problems that arise everyday, people are now saying that others are “hating” on them and developing a false sense of security by using the term. Hating, the result of being a hater, is not exactly jealousy. The hater doesn’t really want to be the person he or she hates, rather the hater wants to knock some one else down a notch. NIGGERDOM

When you make your mark, you will always attract some haters...
That's why you have to be careful with whom you share your blessings and your dreams, because some folk can't handle seeing you blessed...
It's dangerous to be like somebody else... If God wanted you to be like somebody else, He would have given you what He gave them! Right?
You never know what people have gone through to get what they have..

Black, Asian, Hindi __________ is not as good as White ___________

(Add any of the following words in to the blank spaces.)
Grocery Stores
Television shows
Hip Hop
Rock and Roll
This is an example of NIGGERDOM at work at its basic level, using the ability to transfer negative concepts between the races just to create negative feelings about one.

HERD MENTALITY - One of the greatest NIGGERDOM tools in existence. People of color unknowingly call themselves individuals while constantly following the buying, dressing, eating and entertainment habits of millions of others. The Hip Hop generation manufactures a new look in dress and personal preferences, now every child, tween, teen and young adult has a NEED to follow the latest trend as quickly as they can afford it, regardless to their basis needs for health and education. If a new line of black sneakers with pink polka dots is introduced to the main stream media audience, every one of the aforementioned groups wants to wear them immediately. This immediately opens up the concept that “Your sneakers are not REAL because they are not the name brand advertised or you didn’t buy them from the exclusive “right” store”.


This system of degradation and self hate has been fueled by the capability of major labels, television, movie houses, mass distribution and the press to PRIMARILY market and release negative projects.

There are too many decision makers that see the world through their own pair of wealth orientated glasses. Recently Queen Latifah has become disgusted with the lack of positive roles for people of color within the industry. As new as this may seem this is only the most recent cry for freedom from a person of color concerning this historically blatant strategic system. There have always been alternatives to this system, but until recently has there been the means to affect these alternatives worldwide.

The answer to NIGGERDOM is to own, control and operate the entire ability to make entertainment and educational material, distribute the materials and communicate directly with the recipients of the materials. This means developing independently owned schools, studios, online and offline distribution centers, and banks to assist in financing the deployment of positive materials to the billions of people of color worldwide. This is not just an American problem, British problem, Hindi problem, Asian problem, Caribbean problem or African problem. NIGGERDOM is a universal problem that must be destroyed before it totally destroys our ability to change it.

I humbly suggest that YOU take the first step with me. Make something that positively portrays you, your family, your village, your town, your city or your religion. Join like minded people online and offline, start sharing your project and positive ideas. Instantly stop using the terms and thoughts being programmed into your home, computer, car and cellphone and look at people around you as equals.

It only takes a few collective people to make a change.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Have you ever “GOOGLED” someone on the Internet? Google has become the source to find information “instantly” on anyone. Today’s online search media can make you or break you in only a few moments. Once you had to be careful about what was written or reported about you, now there is a completely new set of media online with Bloggers, Twitter, MySpace and Facebook. Facebook has become the fastest growing and most used social network site on the planet. Facebook worldwide has 1.5 million NEW subscribers a month. Based on Worldwide Internet usage and Population statistics there are over 1,590,000,000 online users. According to a March report from research firm Nielsen, two-thirds of the planet's Internet population visit social networking or blogging sites. Across the world, activity in social networking communities’ accounts for one in every 11 minutes spent online, the report said. In the United Kingdom, the average is one in every six minutes. In Brazil, it's one of every four minutes.
Comedian and radio personality J Anthony Brown says “Watch Out Now” and today that is one of the best pieces of advice a person can have. The Internet has become the number one source to find out information on just about anyone or anything.

As an Internet user, online music consumer or social network user you are leaving a trail of information. Consider how much information you voluntarily provide on your Facebook profile. Now imagine if you could combine that with your Netflix renting and Amazon buying habits. Then throw in the suggestions of your friends and the pages you visit the most often. All those various sources of information about you are currently stored in different locations—on your computer’s browser history, on your Facebook page, on the servers for Netflix and Amazon—but just imagine how accurate a search could be if every time you had a query, the mass of data about you that exists on the Internet could inform the results. Google and Yahoo already do this to a limited extent by tracking your search history to refine results. Local, State and Federal governments now have databases researchable by any common person who has the time, energy and a small amount of money. If you have been involved with a court system over ANY matter there is information on you online. If you have applied for any type of governmental money, paid taxes or applied for a driver’s license, there is information about you online.

In fact, as we each carve out our individual niche on the Web, the logic of search may well flip inside out. Since we are essentially meta-tagging ourselves through our social networking memberships, shopping habits and surfing addictions, it’s conceivable that the information could attempt to find us—the old concept of push media, but in a far more refined way. As new content enters the Web, it could tumble through the various filters that you set up around your identity and then show up on your home-page news feed, or in your personal in box, or pop up on a ticker that follows you around as you browse from page to page. The new concept of EVERYTHING being transferable to your cellphone could really take on a different meaning when your online information gets “pushed” to it.
Email is the most popular mode of communication, designed for one-to-one interactions.
Instant messaging, texting and social networking are dramatically higher among teens than in the overall broadband population.
Photos are the most common type of information shared online, while podcasts are the least common.

Blogs are more likely to be shared with co-workers and the public than other forms of shared content.

Just like the opening days of Napster and the copyright questions, as social networking evolves, there will be an unholy mess of privacy and security issues to work out. Don’t be paranoid just start being careful about what you do. Start creating new positive information about yourself continuously for the Internet. Remember that weekend in college that you decided to “streak” around campus? Where are those photos your friends took? Drugs, Alcohol and photography should not be mixed, it could turn around years later and bite you. Make sure that you don’t have photos on someone’s page that can destroy your career or affect your livelihood.

The Internet is a microscope and you are a living specimen to be examined.


If you think that you can go to a conference, play a song or perform and someone will give you a deal. HELLO you are almost a complete fool. Most NEW conferences are about separating you from as much of your money as possible and this happens by selling you dreams. These NEW conferences are long on conference performance slots, nightclub showcases, and DJ panels and short on education and real business networking. Just tell me what artist ever "BLEW UP" from having a DJ, an A&R rep or a record promotion person listen to them? This industry takes work and you must be prepared to do the work.

Conferences should be about business, the conference speakers have their agenda, normally wanting to sell their services, and the attendees have their agenda, making the best presentation possible to get someone's attention.

If you read correctly you will see I said PRESENTATION. Here are a few of things you should have ready.

1. Your music on either a PRESSED cd or on a jump drive (mp3). Hand written, computer made cd's from Staples or Office Max are not PRESSED.

2. Information ON the cd or jump drive, most people have to take your cd OUT of the case to hear it, but a few will tell you it's great and never open the case. You need your name, title of song, time (length of song), phone number, mailing address and email just in case someone wants to get in touch with you.

3. Business card with company or artist name and contact information. Try not to have your girlfriend or boyfriends phone number as your contact because you know you two are going to fight and talk smack about each other. This is not good for a professional to hear if they are trying to contact you.

4. Additionally you can have a one sheet. This is a single sheet of paper with information on where you are being played, what you are doing for promotion, the UPC code of the song so a store can add you to their computer database. Contact information on you or your company plus a photo of the cd insert completes it.

5. Try NOT to have a bunch of promotional mess, stuff like postcards, flyers, posters, and mini pictures of half naked women. This stuff looks good in the street and most professionals will just throw it into the garbage, leave it on a table or drop it on the floor.

Be prepared for business and still be able to have a great time at the social events

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sports And Music Like Oil & Water

Professional football players, professional basketball players, professional boxers and other professional sports figures DO NOT make good record label managers and are absolutely not talented artists.

This may sound like a harsh statement however recent history proves it to be correct.

Within the last year I have had the opportunity to observe a professional basketball player and 2 professional football players, let me tell you my story. The names have been changed to protect the guilty.


This person, lets call him Mr. J, was a self taught musician. He spent numerous hours in his hotel room while on the road, teaching himself how to play keyboards and making music. As most self taught musicians he never learned theory, harmony or the historical significance of the musical masters before him. What he learned was scales, a few chords and how to make rudimentary songs on his digital equipment. As a self taught musician he imagined that he could sing well. This, in his mind, qualified him to be a virtuoso and he believed that every song he made was a fantastic hit.

What he never learned was how to run a business, how not to let his ego get in the way of his business, and how to delegate authority to seasoned professionals. What transpired within a year was totally his fault. He let his relatives become his label executives yet they had never finished high school, never run a business and had NO connections within the industry. He made business decisions for his label based on who stroked his ego so he spent over $100,000 in radio promotion and never got more than 15 spins nationally. After acquiring a distribution deal he let his ego over power his business sense creating verbal abuse and problems within the distributorship.

You can’t “slam dunk” a record, you need a team of individuals working together on a solid marketing & promotional plan to make things happen. Today Mr. J still believes that he is an artist without any record sales, shows or company structure.


No talent is probably the most used and abused portion of the entertainment industry. Thinking that you can sing or rap because you “feel it” is so far from reality that Never Never Land is closer. Mr. A has absolutely NO TALENT, his voice is raw, out of key, listless and he fancies himself a rapper. Yet he hired some of the best producers, engineers, mastering and web design people in the industry. He put thousands of dollars into a mix cd, not ever thinking about selling anything or owning any of the songs (?) on the cd. He has not once tried to form a music company, establish a publishing house, start a management company or create any type of legal business system for himself.

He has a lawyer, an accountant and a personal business consultant yet he still has thrown away his money on a project that is POOR at best. The people that he pays won’t tell him the truth; they want to continue getting paid.

Being a professional football player means that your image and the image of the team you play for should stay untarnished. Mr. A’s first song was about ALL of the negative things you can find in the streets. Bitches, hoes, guns, fancy cars, fancy jewelry, pimping, you know Keeping It Real. It automatically created the impression that Mr. A was uneducated, socially ignorant and a very poor artist.

You can’t get far with that type of initial endorsement.


Here is a tale of complete abuse and stupidity. Mr. R was a young “baller” years before he attempted to make music. His background was one of deceit, alcohol & drug abuse and physical abuse culminating in the creation of a posse of friends that lived to spend his money. As a professional player he brought the same qualities he grew up with, along with the same friends to his game. This mixture of mayhem, alcohol abuse and drugs made his music become great to his ears and of course his posse, but the music never had a professional technical quality, mix or merit.

His ego told him that he already knew what the public wanted, knew how to make music and really didn’t need anyone critiquing him or his posse. His behavior was that of a little rich brat who expected everyone to bow to his needs. The maltreatment of money in our community makes for a very poor thinking individual. Much like “Ghetto life gone wild” Mr. R became the poster child for bad manners and drunken debauchery.

Once again not having entertainment industry business savvy created a poor working environment, couple this with a massive ego and you have an automatic failure option. This artist (?) never copyright protected his music, never joined a performing rights organization, believed that his partners word was good enough so there would be no contracts. Mr. R had no formal musical training, his producer had no formal musical training and their equipment was antiquated. “Fruity Loops” is not professional recording software, especially when you do not have anything but a computer and no other outboard gear or instruments. When money, alcohol and drugs tell you that you are great, only a complete fall can change you.

Mr. R set his entire musical career up to fail from the beginning.

Why have I told you these stories?

I want my readers to learn from other peoples mistakes. The record industry has changed completely; no longer can you buy your way into the industry. No longer can you abuse industry personnel in one market and believe that you can just move on into another market and do the same thing. The new entertainment business environment includes education, persistence, technology, morals and honesty. Today you must know how to build your own business and create honest, forthright deals that continue to bear fruit for the future. You can not do things by “feel” and believing that the business will run itself.

Today you must have a talented, productive team that is technology savvy to be able to be successful within the industry.

There are too many new artists still doing things in an antiquated way because they think business is run the way it has ran in the past. Do not have a record release party if you don’t have any press, radio, retail, or television people invited. This is a good way to have a FEEL GOOD party for yourself, friends and family, but it won’t jumpstart your career.

Do not talk bad about DJ’s that won’t play your song and expect other DJ’s in another market to treat you with respect. INDUSTRY PEOPLE TALK, and believe me that “tell a lie” travels much faster than “telegraph, telephone or Internet”.

Learn from the mistakes of people who can afford to make them.

Movies On The Move

It won’t be long before cable and satellite television companies will start complaining about the unfair advantage the Internet is having on their business. Microsoft's Xbox LIVE and Sony's PlayStation Network will soon become formidable competitors to incumbent Pay-TV services. Leveraging broadband-enabled game consoles as Over-the-Top video platforms - thus bypassing cable and satellite TV operators - these companies will offer a compelling alternative to traditional TV programming by providing a more immersive, interactive video experience.

Xbox 360 is the only game system that lets you instantly watch movies and TV episodes streamed from Netflix. This movie-watching innovation is available to Xbox LIVE Gold members ($49.95 a year) who are also Netflix members ($8.99 per month minimum) and allows them to instantly watch movies streamed from Netflix via Xbox LIVE for no additional monthly fee.

Sony's CEO Howard Stringer noted, "Sony's unique position in electronics and entertainment will enable us to provide specialized offerings for Sony customers directly to their televisions outside conventional distributors and without the need for any set-top box." Sony's PlayStation Network is not only a Blu Ray player, but allows it’s users to choose from hundreds of full-length movies from top studios including 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate Entertainment, MGM Studios, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Bros. Entertainment and The Walt Disney Studios. Plus, choose from a large inventory of TV episodes from a variety of television partners, many available in standard-definition (SD) or high-definition (HD).

Even before the launch of Experience, Microsoft's Xbox LIVE had amassed some 15,000 movies (1,000 of which are HD) and some 13,000 TV shows for download-to-own. Xbox LIVE was the first online video portal to offer HD downloads for TV viewing. The Netflix partnership adds 12,000 movies and TV programs to the mix, all for free streaming to Netflix subscribers. This enables Xbox 360 users to access on-demand movies and TV shows within the Xbox Experience social environment with a click of their remote.

Sony's PlayStation Network has collected close to 1,000 movies and hundreds of TV programs for download-to-own. As well, it has announced plans to expand dramatically its video library in the next few months in order to compete with Xbox LIVE.

Even Nintendo, staunchly dedicated to pure gaming experiences, enters millions of new homes each month as the set-top box du jour, it's no video player. There's no Netflix, no Blu-ray drive, not even a proper DVD slot. However, Wii isn't without its possibilities when it comes to streaming video, and there, a Japanese company called Fujisoft is leading the charge. Fujisoft has introduced 'Everybody's Theater Channel' to Japanese Wii users the service launched this January 27th, it will be second, following the BBC "iPlayer" which hit the UK in early April 2008.

Fujisoft prices by the block, with one block of three TV episodes equal to one movie -- and will charge 300 Nintendo Points for one 2-day rental, 600 for two 3-day rentals, and 800 for three 5-day rentals. Currently their video library is limited to Japanese anime, movies and TV programs. But they are in talks with Nintendo America, and if talks go well everything could change.

The future for satellite and cable television companies does not look bright. In fact the current model facing the cable & satellite industry makes these companies PAY upfront for the films they want to show. Future licensing deals with one of the video gaming companies could totally change to a pay per view or pay per download with NO upfront costs involved. This would basically open the platform to unlimited viewing with NO COST to the video gaming companies.

Movies are on the move, and that move seems to be away from satellite and cable television.

Friday, April 17, 2009


This is your chance to finally make it to a MAJOR music conference.

Memphis Cook Convention Center, 255 N. Main St., Memphis, Tenn. The host Hotel is the Memphis Marriott Downtown, 901.214.3715

Super-Producer Teddy Riley will be one of the Conference's Co-Chairs, hosting 2 seminar-workshops on Production & Songwriting.

Other Conference Co-Chairs are Jon Hornyak, Senior Executive Director, Memphis Chapter of the Recording Academy;

Dean Deyo, President, Memphis Music Foundation;

Kurt "KC" Clayton, Producer-Songwriter, and Chairman, Memphis & Shelby County Music Commission;

Al Kapone, Producer-Songwriter, Family Biz Entertainment;

Eileen Collier, Program Director, KJMS-FM, WHAL-FM/Clear Channel;

Vicki Mack-Lataillade, CEO, Lily Mack Entertainment & Publishing and the Urban Representative, Christian Copyright Licensing International, (CCLI);

Don Cody, CEO, Moses Media Inc.;

Bobby O'Jay, Program Director, WDIA/Clear Channel; and

Mickey "MeMpHiTz" Wright, Jr., Chairman & CEO, Hitz Committee Entertainment.

More co-chairs and panelists will be announced in the days ahead.

The Urban Network Summit has been a meeting ground for music executives, recording artists, the radio broadcasting community, music retailers, new media strategists, producer-songwriters, music publishers, entertainment attorneys, managers, film makers, entrepreneurs, and financiers for two decades. The event consistently attracts the industry's top professionals, and aspiring newcomers.

Some of the world's most recognizable recording artists have participated in past Urban Network Summits, most recently held in both Industry Hills and Palm Springs, Calif. They have included Jaheim, Case, Dorinda Clark, James Ingram, Destiny's Child, Will Smith, Lionel Richie and Mary J. Blige, to Boyz II Men, Patti LaBelle, Busta Rhymes, and Mint Condition. Other names include Wyclef Jean, Rahsaan Patterson, Kirk Franklin, Chante Moore, Trey Songz, Ludacris, LL Cool J, Mary Mary, and Yolanda Adams.

Central to the Summit are Urban Network's informative and topical seminar sessions. There are nearly two-dozen panel sessions providing attendees with information on a diverse array of entertainment industry-related topics, from radio station programming, operating brick and mortar retail stores in today's online-driven environment, songwriting and production know-how from some of today's top creative talent, marketing your artists and labels through the digital medium, to becoming a success in the Hip-Hop, R&B, and Gospel genres.

In the tradition of Urban Network, part of the Summit will be centered on Gospel Music–featuring seminar sessions, and showcases catering to the Gospel Music Community. The Summit will also target New Media (Digital Strategies), the DJ and Hip-Hop Communities, the Independent Label Community, and various topics such as Film, Licensing, Touring and more.

Urban Network also attracts the Creative Community of Songwriters & Producers, the A&R arena, Radio Broadcasters, a scheduled keynote address, a Saturday Independent Label Festival (containing some hot headliners), and a 21st Anniversary Gala, honoring an industry icon.

"With 21 years of serving the industry, and 19 years of coordinating conferences, we are very excited about our first foray into the Memphis market," says Urban Network Publisher & CEO, Miller London. "Memphis has a strong and rich musical heritage, and in conjunction with the strategic alliances that we have formed inside the City, the Summit is guaranteed to be a major success. I look forward to you joining us at the Cook Convention Center and our host hotel, the Memphis Marriott Hotel Downtown, and that you register for the Summit early."

For more information and Summit updates, regularly visit or contact

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Could This Be You?

Music has become a mass market commodity. The advent of new technology coupled with the low cost of recording equipment has made anyone’s bedroom a recording studio.

Unfortunately technology and ease of recording has also made a multitude of new recording artists that are legends within their own minds.

Over the past few months I have traveled extensively and witnessed many new and diverse acts perform. For every 500 acts that I have seen and heard less than 3 were of remarkable talent.

Several reasons are behind this travesty of music.

1. Very few musicians, artists, singers or producers really know how to read, write and understand musical notation. Music is an exact science and the majority of the people making today’s music have no clue as to what that science truly is.

2. “My music sounds like” is the new standard that entertainers hold dear. Telling themselves and any person that will listen, that their music sounds as good as some platinum selling artist they hear on the radio so this should mean that the public will like it just as much.

3. Copycat entertainers remix a song and then maintain that the music they have stolen should be appreciated just as much as the original. This is completely true of the mix tape era artist, stealing hit records music, rapping or singing over the music and maintaining that they have a right to do so. As much as I personally don’t like Soul Jah Boy “Superman”, his music was new, unique and different than any other song on the air. His copycats include “Wonder Woman”, “Batman”, “Do the Superman” and a host of extremely poor imitations.

4. LOCAL DOES NOT make an artist. Staying with the Soul Jah Boy saga there must be at least 200 different songs coming from Mississippi that sound similar to him. Yet not one of them is worth the time it took to make them.

QUESTION: How many different ways can you make a chant?

ANSWER: Who knows but Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina and Florida ALL have thousands of songs on mix tapes and cd’s that are “HITS” to the artists that made them, but in reality are poor versions of the “Call and Response” Chant originally from Africa made popular in the USA by the Black churches.

Please don’t think that this phenomenon is only associated with the Hip Hop generation, the gospel music industry is full of “HOLY” wannabes that can’t sing, play or even maintain an honest business relation.

Being a religious artist is NOT a free ticket to maintaining music sales, popularity or even a fan base. It is not an automatic license to having anyone appreciate your music or in anyone giving you airplay. There are way too many religious artists that failed in the secular music industry, got saved and “switched over” because they thought the religious scene was easier to conquer.

Has anyone really listened to the huge amount of BAD rock, neo soul, r&b, contemporary jazz, country, blues or really lousy southern soul music available today? It has become a chore to listen to online radio, regular radio, and cable radio on television or even “live” acts. Entertainers in every genre use the excuse that they are not trying to “sellout” and are keeping it real. But the question has become “Who are you selling out to?” Since your music is marginal at best do you continue being a starving artist or do you learn how to make music that fits a group of people that will PAY to hear you perform it?

Digital is about to surpass the CD, and once it starts to happen it’s going to move music faster and faster and faster. Who is going to control the playlist? If there is an unlimited amount of music available – and as soon as the amount of music available exceeds the amount of time you have in your life, that’s unlimited – somebody will have the control spot of deciding what to listen to next. Will you be in a position to charge people to tell them what to listen to or will you pay people to have them listen to your music?

Today music sharing is becoming wide spread worldwide and music is becoming FREE for the listening. Only the unique, talented or famous entertainers are able to continue to sell music to the public.

More and more people are programming their OWN musical choices, be it via iPod, smartphone or burning private cd’s.

Who are the innovators, musical geniuses and multi media creators?

Who are YOU?

Thursday, April 2, 2009


You’ve laughed at the older generation and called us out of step with the times. You have made sure that phrases like “Old School” and “Ancient Thinking” were created just to talk about my generation. Well there is a wave of new racism starting to hit this country and you THUGS can now show the world how “BAD” you really are.

Now that Barack Obama has become President there is a massive movement of racism, skin heads, Aryan "neo-Nazi” Brotherhood, KKK and other organizations that hide behind democratic names surfacing with an agenda to change the status quo.

The new Thug, Gangsta or whatever is the catch word of the day, has chosen a position of arrogance, fake power and threats of violence to keep their sense of belonging within the United States. The same gangs and pseudo drug cartels that terrorize a Black neighborhood could become a real force for change when the Aryan Nation starts its movement. Instead of drive by shootings of children within your own neighborhood, you should be able to protect your homes and families.

Instead of "making it rain" at the strip clubs, why not take a few of those dollars and create “making it rain” for the hungry people in your hood.

Here's a thought, why not make a few songs on how to STOP the destruction that is being perpetrated everyday on your generation and mine. I guess that since this generation did not grow up fighting for civil rights you have just not learned how to fight anyone but each other.

Being a THUG should only be a badge of courage if you are really doing something. Getting high, wearing baggy clothes that slow down your running and walking, wasting money on unimportant symbols of wealth and telling everyone you meet "YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. YOU FEEL ME" etc... is not THUG it is really following the plan that another more intelligent group of people have laid out for you to follow.

I speak to so many wanna be entertainment industry people every week that really are living a dream. THUG life, BALLER life, GANGSTA life are all dreams within the United States for not one of you supposed THUG, BALLER, GANGSTA people have any power.

The power to pull a trigger is nothing in comparison to the power to make a gun, distribute it, make the laws surrounding its' use and enforce them. The real Racists are coming out of the woodwork and they are not terrorists. If you want to really be a THUG do something that shows you got some BALLS. Protect your MAMA.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

End Of An Era

The end of an era is at hand. As an old philosopher once said”Everything must come to an end”. This year at MIDEM 2009 two things were in their death throes, completely bringing an end to this portion of the music industry.
First the CD has become an object of the past worldwide as witnessed by the poor attendance of physical distribution companies, CD manufacturers and record labels. MIDEM director Dominique Leguern said "It's not a music industry crisis, it's a CD crisis." This does not mean that the music business is suffering as many experts have criticized. Many segments of the music industry saw incredible growth such as digital delivery, publishing, and licensing.

At MidemNet the business had said that within the next two (2) years the only people still making and playing CD’s will be old people. The idea of even using a CD player seems to be ancient and absurd.

The second and most shocking portion of the music industry was the worldwide executive view about Gangsta Rap. Thugs, gangsta’s, hoes, record pools, dj’s and more should be aware of the new condition of music outside of the United States. International distributors, labels, publishers, wholesalers and one stops no longer have an interest in Gangsta RAP music from the USA.

I met with companies from China to the UK, Cuba to Russia and onto one company had an interest in American Gangsta rap music. Every country said basically the same thing “American rap is violent, filled with overt sexual images and not conducive to the quality of life in our countries. We would rather sell local and national based acts from our own country whose musical messages condone better ideas”. I have heard specifically from the Italians and French that the R&B they want from America should not contain any rap lyrics.

Looks like keeping it real has finally caused the rap industry the pain and drama that is written about in the music they created.

Monday, March 23, 2009


As more and more countries turn to cell phones as the individual source of communication, more and more applications for the cellphone are being developed. The ability to contact a customer directly is creating a new wave of dependence upon the cell phone. Shortly the cellphone will become the most important device in your life.

Here are a few new concepts all ready in use through out the world.

1. Digital Wallet - A digital wallet (also known as an e-wallet) allows users to make electronic commerce transactions quickly and securely.
A digital wallet functions much like a physical wallet. The digital wallet was first conceived as a method of storing various forms of electronic money (e-cash), but with little popularity of such e-cash services, the digital wallet has evolved into a service that provides internet users with a convenient way to store and use online shopping information. Now the digital wallet application has moved to the cell phone and smartphone allowing the user immediate electronic access to their accounts.

2. Home & Car Monitor – New systems monitor environmental conditions for sudden changes in temperature, power supply, water on the floor, and fire, smoke and intrusion alarms. Smartphones are equipped with an output relay, which can be used to remotely turn thermostats on or off, immediately contact police or rescue services and monitor your vehicles condition.

3. Entertainment Center – currently you can read a novel, watch You Tube videos, see “live” television events, download music, set your home recording system, buy tickets to events, listen to FM radio or online radio, download movies, play interactive games and surf the Internet.

4. Health Monitor / Personal Records Keeper - Biometrics is used as a form of identity access management and access control. Most commonly used in personal technology devices as the fingerprint scanner. This application has found its way onto the cellphone platform and is becoming the initial tool for security. Based on the new Obama administration plan, personal health care records and individual health monitoring of the aged and afflicted will be directed to the cellphone, protected with biometric scanning.

5. Multitasking Business Tool – Finally the cellphone has become a multi tasking machine allowing the customer to view online documents, send and receive information via the mobile airways, and the Internet. Video phoning is now a reality and conference calling is a day to day actuality.

The growth in portable video devices, in my view, will drive demand for downloading content. The trend in video extends to user-generated visual content as well. The integration of increasingly sophisticated cameras into mobile phones and the growth of memory capacity will have a large impact on sharing photos and personal videos via mobile networks, and thus on bandwidth requirements.

The cellphone business is starting to grow up and with it are new opportunities to generate content, applications and new usages.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Recently I heard talk of rising gasoline prices becoming a primary factor in the demise of small acts touring around the United States this summer. It seems that the garage band, R&B act, Blues act, self contained Top 40 group, Jazz act or Gospel group can no longer afford to pack up the van and hit the road to do shows. As with most things in the music business the major companies have changed the way the “game” is played and are doing well. Concert tours from January to June grossed $1.05 billion in North America, the same as the midyear gross in 2007, according to a report this week by Pollstar, a trade magazine that measures concert revenue. The top grossing acts were Bon Jovi with a gross of $56.3 million, followed by Bruce Springsteen, with $40.8 million, and Van Halen, with $36.8 million. In addition to rock and pop, country acts placed high on the Pollstar list. Kenny Chesney is No. 4, with $35.3 million; Rascal Flatts No. 8, with $25.4 million; and the bill of Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood grossed $18.5 million to reach No. 11. With the exception of Kanye West (No. 6, with $31.6 million) and the Jay-Z and Mary J. Blige tour (No. 7, $30.7 million), hip-hop is largely absent.

The under representation of Urban based acts has me wondering what could be the cause? I feel that it is a combination of several factors that has lead to this particular moment in history. First the art of creating a song has been drastically reduced within the Urban community. The songwriter has become more of a cadence rhyme than a professional gifted in the art of weaving a lyric. Popular songs today are totally concerned with sexual prowess and have nothing to do with the concept of love and harmony. The few songs that are GREAT lyrical pieces are regulated to late night radio or specialty radio shows and have no place on video television programming.

Singers have become dependent on “auto correct” in the studio and can not carry a tune if you put handles on one. I listened to the BET awards over this past holiday and without looking at the screen I did not hear ONE singer that was in key. Many of today’s acts feel that vocal pyro techniques and not solid lyrics and a GREAT controlled voice is what‘s needed to interpret a song. Add into that the physical gyrations needed to sell on stage and you have one HOT MESS. There was a time when a popular singer could sit on a stool and weave a full hour’s show of love, heartache, misery, joy, happiness and more emotions within every person in the audience.
The current producer driven songs have one major fault in them, and that is the inability to have a REAL melody and not a 4 note change within the entire tune. To produce a song and not know why you use certain chords and notation is like performing heart surgery without going to medical school. You know the heart is there but you really don’t know exactly how to make it better. Couple this with the music sample community and you not only have a hot mess you have a hot STINKY mess. Music education can cure this problem. Learning how music works and the HISTORY of music makes all the difference in the world.

Most Managers today do not know how to find the best performance out of their artist. Where is it written that you must take your clothes off to make your music song better? How can you find excellence when you do not know what that really means? Good managers assist the act in developing a positive show that not only absorbs the potential audience but also assists the act in growing and understanding what it takes to keep a certain caliber of performance. A good manager also develops merchandising to be sold on tour to help the bottom line and to ensure a stronger fan base.

Not everyone in the industry is so worried. Live Nation is doing strong business on some of its most important tours, said Jason Garner, its chief executive for North American music. Madonna’s tour, which begins in Europe next month and comes to the United States in October, is already 90 percent sold out, he said. Coldplay’s summer dates are also 90 percent sold out, and the New Kids on the Block reunion, starting in September, is at 80 percent, a Live Nation spokesman said.

Lil Wayne all though having sold over a million records of his latest album debut has yet to reach the Pollstar Top 50 Touring acts. Boy George, Neil Diamond and Stevie Wonder are ALL making more money on tour than the majority of major label Urban, Jazz, Blues and Gospel based acts.

There are many 3D environments that now have “Virtual Live” performances where artist avatars are performing on screen while the artist performs at their home. In fact there have been several artist collaborations across continents creating these virtual live performances.

The business is changing rapidly, how will you grow?

Thursday, March 19, 2009


When was the last time you heard of anyone getting a deal from a mix tape given to an executive at an awards show? Don’t worry I’ll wait for the answer.


What makes you think that a mix tape will get you a major label deal? How crazy are people, or are they just that naive that they will believe anything. Creating a mix tape does not take the place of radio spins, cd sales, publicity on the artist, nor promotion & marketing of the product. But of course the new generation wants everything NOW without trying to create a positive foundation for themselves.

The Hip-Hop Awards are coming to Atlanta and I have been bombarded with email and other literature asking people to send your music and some money and we will put your tune on a mix tape that will get in the hands of some industry movers & shakers. This has got to be the most ridiculous promotional venture I have ever heard. If I or anyone that I know is at an awards show and you hand me a mix tape it will be tossed on the floor, left on a chair, given to a groupie or trashed before I leave that show. I will not carry it around like badges of honor letting everyone there see me “promoting “a mix tape.

Not once did I read or hear about publishing your tune, copyright protecting your tune or creating something entirely from your company that could become a promotional item. Just send me your tune and your money and you can get hooked up on this mix tape with other artists that are just as STUPID and talent less as you.

Mix tapes are not the only crazy item available for the Hip-Hop Awards show. There will be thousands of postcards, flyers, business cards and posters created just for this event and not ONE of the artists listed will get a major deal from any of it. Street teams will flood the area around the event and at each one of the clubs “pimpin” off of the Hip-Hop Awards event to plaster the parking lot, descend upon the club and bother the attendees both outside and inside of the venues. When did this become promotion, or better yet when did it STOP becoming promotion?

I guess as I get older I just see past ALL of the Toro Poo Poo and try to look at the heart of a situation. There is a thriving business in creating wild promotional campaigns for individuals and companies who don’t know the entertainment industry. Just make completely wild accusations, get the money and then tell the artist that if their record had been better they could have gotten a deal. This is going on at conferences, award shows, festivals and especially at the record pool / mix show level, where people are being told that they can get on-air if they follow a wild promotional campaign. Occasionally these promotional efforts work and a song does get on the radio. Once there the record label does not have the staffing or expertise to make significant sales happen based on the spins received. That leaves the label with airplay but no way to utilize it other than to hear their tune over the radio.

Major labels and most independent labels that aspire to major deals are looking for a track record on your tune. They want massive amounts of Internet play, a solid fan base that is constantly growing, retailers that want the product when the label approaches them and as many owner rights as they can take. No where in this equation does a label ask for a mix tape, postcard, flyer, etc.

Start creating a business for your music and not a gamblers dream. Remember that the music industry is at least 90% hard business work and 10% luck.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Movies On The Move

It won’t be long before cable and satellite television companies will start complaining about the unfair advantage the Internet is having on their business. Microsoft's Xbox LIVE and Sony's PlayStation Network will soon become formidable competitors to incumbent Pay-TV services. Leveraging broadband-enabled game consoles as Over-the-Top video platforms - thus bypassing cable and satellite TV operators - these companies will offer a compelling alternative to traditional TV programming by providing a more immersive, interactive video experience.

Xbox 360 is the only game system that lets you instantly watch movies and TV episodes streamed from Netflix. This movie-watching innovation is available to Xbox LIVE Gold members ($49.95 a year) who are also Netflix members ($8.99 per month minimum) and allows them to instantly watch movies streamed from Netflix via Xbox LIVE for no additional monthly fee.

Sony's CEO Howard Stringer noted, "Sony's unique position in electronics and entertainment will enable us to provide specialized offerings for Sony customers directly to their televisions outside conventional distributors and without the need for any set-top box." Sony's PlayStation Network is not only a Blu Ray player, but allows it’s users to choose from hundreds of full-length movies from top studios including 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate Entertainment, MGM Studios, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Bros. Entertainment and The Walt Disney Studios. Plus, choose from a large inventory of TV episodes from a variety of television partners, many available in standard-definition (SD) or high-definition (HD).

Even before the launch of Experience, Microsoft's Xbox LIVE had amassed some 15,000 movies (1,000 of which are HD) and some 13,000 TV shows for download-to-own. Xbox LIVE was the first online video portal to offer HD downloads for TV viewing. The Netflix partnership adds 12,000 movies and TV programs to the mix, all for free streaming to Netflix subscribers. This enables Xbox 360 users to access on-demand movies and TV shows within the Xbox Experience social environment with a click of their remote.
Sony's PlayStation Network has collected close to 1,000 movies and hundreds of TV programs for download-to-own. As well, it has announced plans to expand dramatically its video library in the next few months in order to compete with Xbox LIVE.Even Nintendo, staunchly dedicated to pure gaming experiences, enters millions of new homes each month as the set-top box du jour, it's no video player. There's no Netflix, no Blu-ray drive, not even a proper DVD slot. However, Wii isn't without its possibilities when it comes to streaming video, and there, a Japanese company called Fujisoft is leading the charge. Fujisoft has introduced 'Everybody's Theater Channel' to Japanese Wii users the service launched this January 27th, it will be second, following the BBC "iPlayer" which hit the UK in early April 2008.

Fujisoft prices by the block, with one block of three TV episodes equal to one movie -- and will charge 300 Nintendo Points for one 2-day rental, 600 for two 3-day rentals, and 800 for three 5-day rentals. Currently their video library is limited to Japanese anime, movies and TV programs. But they are in talks with Nintendo America, and if talks go well everything could change.

The future for satellite and cable television companies does not look bright. In fact the current model facing the cable & satellite industry makes these companies PAY upfront for the films they want to show. Future licensing deals with one of the video gaming companies could totally change to a pay per view or pay per download with NO upfront costs involved. This would basically open the platform to unlimited viewing with NO COST to the video gaming companies.

Movies are on the move, and that move seems to be away from satellite and cable television.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

2008 Changes in Radio

It never ceases to amaze me how the corporate radio owners and staffs have talked “down” on Internet radio. Miss direction and in parts complete “LIES” have become the norm. Internet radio has been called a passing fancy, nothing to take seriously, impossible to hear while you’re in a car and my personal favorite the Internet is for amateurs. The contemporary entertainment market has listened to this crap for the past few years, while the corporate owners were figuring out how to have their own piece of the incredible growing Internet broadcasting pie.

Now comes CBS Radio, making a big move onto the Internet, with 144 of its own stations, its recent partnership with AOL Radio, has added CBS's stations to its own stable of more than 200 channels, including many Internet-only stations. CBS has unveiled PLAY.IT anew software that lets visitors tune into any CBS radio station in the country with a button click - or create stations of their own. CBS owned LAST.FM and PLAY.IT allows music fans to create simple, personalized radio stations, based on personal musical preferences (Advertising is inserted into the stations).

“The AOL affiliation”, says Stephen Page, director of new media-integrations and PD of CBS Radio's KYCY, “has almost doubled CBS's streaming audience numbers. CBS was No. 3 before; it was Clear Channel, YAHOO, CBS. AOL was No. 4. Joining with AOL, we've leapfrogged to No. 1."

Not to be outdone Clear Channel has announced a partnership with Katz Media Group, ad sales subsidiary, to form the Katz Online Network, which will soon offer one-stop access to the two companies' 1,200 affiliates, including stations owned by Cumulus and Entercom, and a host of independent Internet channels.

Citadel, owner of the ABC Radio network, offers 182 streaming radio stations in 51 markets by way of Citadel Interactive. A simple tuner allows online listeners to listen to Citadel stations and shop for music downloads while listening.

The Arbitron “rating” books, which have been delivered for years on compact discs, are coming to an end. The PPM (portable people meter will be the ratings company tool of choice. PPM devices electronically pick up radio stations the carrier is hearing or listening to. The first ratings based on PPM are due out in this fall.

Satellite radio rivals XM and Sirius are now merged into "Sirius XM," with Sirius Chief Executive Officer Mel Karmazin running the combined company. No one knows how the programming lineups will shake out, or about a tuner that can receive both XM and Sirius programs. And, despite the merger, most technology writers are saying satellite radio is doomed. The slow economy plus the addition of WIFI in automobiles and Internet radio (which doesn't require a subscription fee) heading into cars as well as stand-alone tuners.

To make it easier to hear your favorite radio station, Nokia unveiled the Nokia N85, the latest Nokia Nseries multimedia computer made to set new standards for mobile entertainment, gaming and sharing. "The Nokia N85 was created to be more than the sum of its parts, offering a complete mobile entertainment package designed for connecting, sharing and discovering," said Juha-Pekka Sipponen, Director, Nokia Nseries. Each Nokia N85 comes with an 8 GB microSD card, up to 30 hours of music playback time and its high-fidelity sound means favorite tracks can be enjoyed virtually anywhere. Build a personal music collection from the millions of tracks and playlists available from the Nokia Music Store or other online music vendors, or synchronize PC and mobile music libraries via USB cable. Alternatively, consumers can enjoy RDS radio or a wide selection of stations via the internet. The 3.5 mm audio jack makes connecting a top-quality headset simple and an in-built FM transmitter lets the Nokia N85 play wirelessly through a car or home stereo to really crank up the sound.

The days of being tied to a computer are OVER. Now you can receive multiple FM radio broadcast signals, Internet radio programming and a massive amount of online downloads directly to your cell phone.

Don’t think that the UK is going to be left out of the online music explosion. The BBC Worldwide is planning to launch a targeted web music service starting early next year. Users will be able to stream tracks for free with the ad-funded service from BBC Worldwide. Digital rights management-free tracks, which will play across any brand of media player, will be available for download to own. BBC Worldwide's first major online music initiative will originally offer more than 1,300 tracks and videos from BBC radio and TV shows. But it will eventually be expanded to offer the full BBC music archive of more than 50,000 tracks and 3,000 hours of video. BBC Worldwide signed a partnership with EMI in June to provide online access to content by the music label's artists in the BBC archive and is negotiating with three other major labels - Warner, Sony BMG and Universal. The service is being built so that it can "reflect the discussion about music in other parts of the web", including connecting with users' social networking profiles and with recommendation services such as

FlyTunes, a mobile music streaming service, will now deliver Entercom’s Portland radio stations to iPhone and iPod Touch devices. Currently, KGON-FM, KWJJ-FM and KNRK-FM, KNRK’s HD2 channels are streaming, with KFXX-AM, KRSK-FM and KYCH-FM to be added by the end of this month.

2008 radio changes have just begun to transform the radio business landscape.