Are you playing your original songs/music live or are they getting played on the radio? Was your song placed in a TV show, film or commercial that is being played on TV? Did you know that songwriters get paid for these types of public performances? PROs (Performing Rights Organizations) are an integral part of the music industry and in getting these types of public performances licensed, tracked and then royalties paid to songwriters. The administration and business side of your song catalog is as important as you creating it - read on to learn the ins and outs of how this works from SESAC Creative Services Manager, Diana Akin Scarfo.
What is a Performing Rights Organization (PRO)? If you’re a songwriter, you have the right to be paid royalties any time your song is performed publicly. A PRO, also known as a Performing Rights Organization, tracks and licenses a songwriter’s music and pays the songwriter and music publisher public performance royalties (it is very common for the songwriter to act as the music publisher until a publishing deal/agreement is entered into). Public performance royalties are when your song is performed on radio (terrestrial, satellite, and internet), TV (TV Shows, films played TV, commercials), live performances (i.e. bars, music venues, festivals, etc.), and digital streaming services (i.e. Spotify, Google Play, Apple Music, Pandora, Rdio, Rhapsody, etc.).
Brooklyn-based indie rock duo The Bergamot have been driving around the U.S. in their Volvo on their 48-state “Unity Tour.” The husband and wife band took a break from their amazing journey to share their top touring tips, update us on the tour so far, and more.
What are your tips for touring musicians?
Touring… The final frontier. The only frontier. You know how you can turn the lights off in a room and for the first couple seconds of walking around you can remember where everything is and how to navigate. Then, after about 60 seconds, you slowly start to loose orientation and your memory becomes a little foggy. Then you just put your hands out and move your feet slow as to find your way. Finally, you hit into something and then it triggers your memory into where you might be. You just keep going and slowly the room reveals itself to you. That is the closest comparison I have ever had to life on the road. You can loose your sense of center and you completely become submersed in the moment and that is the guiding direction. It can be scary, but after a while you can get the hang of it. It can be frustrating when you are working hard to develop you career and others want to know how you are doing. But the truth is if you are still touring and performing you are still making it all work for you. It is just that simple.
Fresh off a tour in Germany, Mark Roberts of the electronic-goth project We Are Temporary, chatted with us about his new record deal with Trisol, the equipment he can’t live without, sound-pairing, and more.
How did you first get involved as a producer and what elements drew you in? My mom was an opera singer and my dad a classically trained organist, so I fell into music pretty early. My first attempts at production probably occurred around the time I was 14. By then, I had been playing guitar for a few years, got my first synth around 12, and had fallen head over heals in love with computers—Amiga 500, early 386 PCs, amber screens, MS DOS, etc.
Around 1992, my world was turned upside down when Steinberg’s Cubase came out on Windows 3.0 and I discovered the world of MIDI. Computers, of course, still couldn’t record audio back then, and so, after pestering my Mom for months on end, she finally got me a 4-track Tascam Portastudio for Christmas, with me combining elementary midi-programed drums and synths with some very rudimentary guitar power chords and pubescent vocals. The results were almost certainly awful, haha, but the damage was done and I was having the time of my life! 23 years and a handful of technology innovations later, I’m basically still doing the same thing, still having the time of my life 🙂
Performing over 300 shows a year, Chicago-based DJ Avi Sic has shared the stage with the likes of Calvin Harris, Icona Pop, and works with top brands including AllSaints and Nike. With residencies in Chicago, NYC, and Miami, Avi Sic is a driving force in today’s club scene. Read on to learn about her go-to gear, how she approaches music production, and more.
Hey Avi Sic, thanks for chatting with us! Introduce yourself. You were a radio DJ at KISS FM, mentored by DJWS (Lady Gaga’s Grammy-nominated producer), and have shared the stage with the likes of Calvin Harris, Diplo, and more. (Such a rad background!). How did you get started in music? As a kid i was obsessed with space and music – my parents wouldn’t send me to space camp so i concentrated on the music . I took up instruments at an early age and by high school I was Djing and playing college parties. I wasn’t certain as to what i wanted to do as an adult – DJing professionally kinda fell into my lap. I took sound engineering classes in college and messed around with the basics of the the early 2000’s. Pro tools, fruityloops, garageband… After a few years I was supporting myself solely off gigs and basically continue to network my way up and up.
From booking their first tour on their own to touring the country nonstop for the last three years, twins Brooke and Brit of indie-pop duo Good Graeff know a thing or two about living life on the road. They just premiered their music video for “Good Touch” on Galore Magazine and shared their go-to touring tips and rules for indie bands with us. If you’re about to hit the road, read on for advice from the ladies of Good Graeff.
We’ve been touring consistently for the last three (ahhh almost four!) years, the first of which was a three month tour we booked ourselves (Yikes!). Now we try and keep it to six weeks and under. Here are some tips we’ve learned, and some rules we have. Not to say these will totally resonate with you and your band, or work for every band… EVERY BAND IS SO DIFFERENT. Also, most bands are all guys, which I think also changes what can drive you crazy. So these are guides for an indie touring band. If you are about to embark on your first tour, there is a big learning curve I think, and you will have awesome highs, and probably a few tour lows, but hey! That’s kinda what it’s all about.
Don Bartlett, owner of No Door Agency, shares the most common mistakes bands make when running Facebook ads and how to fix them. Read on to learn about how to make the most of your Facebook ads and how to use them to grow and engage with your fan base.
Our company was born of a passion for music. Which means in addition to our work for artists and labels as clients, we also follow a lot of them on Facebook simply as fans. And as we see bands’ promotional efforts come through our news feeds, we tend to see lots of the same mistakes. Here are a few of the most common:
Lack of Context
If your aim is to reach beyond your existing fans to create new ones, a ticket link is about the worst thing you can use for your campaign. The likelihood of someone seeing an ad from a band they’re not familiar with and proceeding to buy a $15 ticket is close to zero. To reach new ears you need to communicate WHY they might be interested, then provide an easy path to become a fan. Once they’re a fan, THEN you can sell them a ticket.
As a talented DJ, songwriter, and producer Lauren Flax has worked with the likes of Sia, Le Tigre, Fischerspooner, and is part of the Brooklyn trip-hop duo, CREEP. With a single coming out with Fritz Pop Tv with remixes from The Carry Nation and Hannah Holland, an EP due out this summer, and a European summer tour, we chatted with Lauren about the equipment she takes on the road, what advice she’d give someone who wants to get into music production, and more.
Hey Lauren, stoked to have you be part of our series! Give us a little intro to Lauren Flax. How has being a Detroit native and growing up in the Chicago house scene influenced your style? Everything. It’s a pretty special thing to be surrounded by the best of the best in terms of house and techno. I grew up knowing the biggest influencers, and that definitely put a spark in my belly. I wanted to be a part of it.
Tim Lowman aka Low Volts, the electrifying one-man, dirty-blues-rock n’ roller, recently finished a 28-stop nationwide tour with Brian Setzer Orchestra. Read on to learn about his experience on the road and to check out his top 10 touring tips!
Thanks for being a part of our Life on the Road series! Introduce yourself.
Thanks for reaching out! My name is Tim Lowman and I have a one-man act called Low Volts. It’s a dark and heavy, dirty-blues rock project I started about five years ago for fun and It’s been a wild ride ever since! I play down tuned slide guitar through a few amps in stereo, stomp on a vintage kick drum that’s loaded with shakers and tambourines, all while howling through a microphone. It’s heavy enough to be able to perform at larger theaters and arenas when everything is mic’d up through the mains, but can also be tame enough to play more intimate venues. Being a one-man act keeps things more streamlined for touring and the crowd seems to really dig the uniqueness of it all.
Last November you were selected to support the Brian Setzer Orchestra on a 28-stop nationwide tour! Tell us about your experience.
It was really a dream come true and a huge thanks goes out to the ReverbNation CONNECT program for helping bring us together! I learned so much about the in’s and out’s of professional show production and how to keep the crowd engaged. We played some of the finest theaters in the country where you can hear a pin drop in between songs so it really kept me on my toes about keeping my gear in proper working order and tailoring a setlist that works for the specific crowd and venue. When you’re on a tour of this caliber you only get about thirty to forty minutes to make a mark so you better knock ‘em dead!