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Larry g(EE) Scores Publishing Deal

OS & LarryLarry g(EE), who earned the opportunity on OurStage to appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live! back in 2012, has signed a publishing deal with the well-respected and fast-growing Primary Wave.

Primary Wave will help Larry (last name Gayao) and his band to promote their music, particularly via licensing opportunities.

He told Dallas Morning News, The exposure that I think [Primary Wave] will bring not just to myself as an artist, but to the music is going to be incredible and help me take steps to releasing this new material.

To that end, Gayao also announced a new album due in 2015. Join him behind the scenes at Kimmel and listen to his breakout single “Yo Mama” below.

Sell-Out: Is Music Licensing The Saving Grace For Artist Income?

Let me just bypass the whole “record industry is failing” and “illegal downloading is on the rise” introduction. We all know that professional musicians need to get paid, but this means finding new means of doing so other than record sales and royalties. Over the past 5 to 10 years it has become increasingly apparent that music can be used as a marketing tool”one that can help sell products by adding a coolness factor or a down-to-earth credibility to advertisements that says “hey, we know what you like.” In the past, allowing your music to be used in advertisements or by big corporations for financial gain was known as “selling out.” Now it seems like this might just be survival. (more…)

Craig Zobel's 'Compliance' To Feature Soundtrack Of OurStage Artists

The debut feature film from director Craig Zobel, the thriller Compliance, is coming out later this summer. And while we’re big fans of independent cinema, we’ve got a special reason why we’re excited about this movie. Compliance marks a major success for OurStage’s Licensing Program, featuring a soundtrack comprised of OurStage artists.

Don’t go see Compliance if you’re looking for another popcorn movie. Feel good hit of the summer, this is not. The cerebral, challenging movie earned rave reviews when it premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. From the movie’s synopsis:

Becky and Sandra aren’t the best of friends. Sandra is a middle-aged manager at a fast-food restaurant; Becky is a teenaged counter girl who really needs the job. One stressful day (too many customers and too little bacon), a police officer calls, accusing Becky of stealing money from a customer’s purse, which she vehemently denies. Sandra, overwhelmed by her managerial responsibilities, complies with the officer’s orders to detain Becky. This choice begins a nightmare that tragically blurs the lines between expedience and prudence, legality and reason.

Heavy stuff indeed.

(more…)

Licensing Landscape

We all know how much the music industry is changing. Technology is evolving and most people have ditched their CD collection for an iTunes library full of illegally-downloaded music. And while file-sharing seems to be the most prominent headline these days, there’s other music news to report. Music licensing has fast become a crucial aspect of the music industry, especially when it comes to making money. When someone owns the copyright to a piece of work, others must obtain a license from the artist in order to use said work. For example, music supervisors must get a synchronization license to use someone’s song in a movie or TV show. Recently, there’s been a lot going on in the world of music licensing. Here are some of the important music licensing stories we think you should know about!

  • YouTube settled in a lawsuit with the NMPA (National Music Publishers Association of America) by agreeing to pay publishers a portion of their ad revenue in order to keep their artists’ music up on the site (this includes fan made videos with artists’ songs in them). The important thing to know about music publishers is that they represent writers. Sometimes a performer of a song is also the writer, but that’s not always the case. So, only the writers and their publishers will benefit from this settlement.
  • Back in the ’70s, copyright law was revised to allow artists to reclaim their work (termination rights) after thirty-five years, so long as they apply two years in advance. Right now, record labels own the master recordings of huge artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty. The first wave of recordings that this rule applies to is from 1978 and record labels are anxiously preparing to fight back. If they lose the rights to these recordings, they will lose a huge source of income.
  • A judge found that MP3tunes, in a case against EMI, was not guilty of promoting infringement. The Web site is a music cloud service that allows users to access their own music as well as the songs found through a search engine, which is the main point of concern. The case started out based on the allegation that 33,000 of the songs were infringing on copyright but the case brought it down to only 350 tracks.

The Boss

No Cover: Prince Doesn't Want Anyone Else Recording His Songs

Prince kicked off his 21-night tour of Los Angeles last week on Lopez Tonight, and along with discussions about artichoke being an excellent swear word and his love for tortilla chips, Prince told George that he wants copyright laws changed so that no one can record covers of his songs. Ever. Prince has always been pretty protective of his songs, fighting his label, YouTube, eBay and even his fans over what he considers his intellectual property. But we’re a little surprised that he’d want to go so far as to make covering his songs illegal. (We’re also surprised that people actually watch Lopez Tonight, but whatever.)

My problem is when the industry covers the music, Prince told Lopez. There’s this thing called compulsory licensing law that allows artists through the record companies to take your music at will without your permission. And that doesn’t exist in any other art form, be it books, movies”There’s only one version of ‘Law & Order.’ There’s several versions of ‘Kiss’ and ‘Purple Rain’.

There’s just one problem with that: Prince isn’t exactly right. Compulsory licensing does exist in other media, including television, and as Hollywood Reporter explains, there are plenty of “fair use” exceptions in literature and films as well.

Besides the questionable facts Prince uses in his explanation, we just don’t quite get where he’s coming from. Don’t get us wrong”Prince is a superstar and no one rocks sequins and high heels quite like he does, but how can someone who’s covered everyone from Michael Jackson to Radiohead to Gnarls Barkley to Rihanna say that it’s uncool for other people to cover his songs? We’re also a little confused as to what sparked this, especially following Prince’s decision to let Gwyneth Paltrow belt out “Kiss” on an episode of Glee earlier this season. Guess the eighties superstar is down with covers… as long as the money’s right.

Either way, Prince won’t be able to make this happen. Under United States copyright law, once a song has been recorded and publicly distributed compulsory licensing kicks in, and any musician who pays royalties has the ability to record a cover as long as they notify the original artist. But juuuust in case he somehow manages to pull it off, here’s a playlist of some of our current favorite Prince covers to keep you satisfied. No, Limp Bizket’s rendition of 1999 didn’t make the cut.

Industrial Revolution: "Grey's Anatomy" Killed The Radio Star

It’s official. TV is the new radio. Television is now the primary medium through which casual and even passive listeners with a general interest in music stand the greatest chance of discovering new music and artists.

Whether through serial dramas, sitcoms, commercials, or reality programming, television is absolutely soaking up hip indie rock bands and singer-songwriters as well as unsigned and often unknown artists. Sometimes it lends them cache “ a coolness factor that comes from being associated with something that sounds new. In the case of some higher-profile bands, like the ubiquitous Black Keys, this can cost them a chunk of change. Subaru and HBO, among others, are shelling out to feature the fresh-retro sound of a band like the Black Keys, which appeals to both young, in-the-know music fans and to an older generation who are so excited to hear something familiar-yet-new that they jump online (or, depending how old they are, to¦the record store) to find the genesis of this sound. Other times, and this is best case for the television show or advertiser, they spend relatively little on an unknown song from a licensor’s roster that either sounds fresh or sounds like another act they can’t afford or don’t want to pay for.

They wouldn't spray paint it if it weren't true.

In both cases, it’s a win-win. The unknown artists get the kind of instant and national exposure that they wouldn’t get even if the biggest commercial radio station in their town started playing them. And the TV shows are getting these artists cheap, so they’re cramming more music into their shows AND often giving them a credit somewhere during or after the show. The bigger acts, meanwhile, are benefiting by getting bigger “ in the course of six studio albums, the Black Keys have only in the last year or so, with an increase in song licensing, jumped out of a comfortable cult status and into the consciousness of people who are neither savvy toward new music discovery nor particularly interested in getting savvy. Even if they really like good music, they know they don’t need to work that hard to find it. Just wait for the new iPod commercial, do a Google search, and, boom, you’ve discovered The Submarines. Bands, likewise, no longer have to pander, as in years past, to the corporate powers-that-be at major commercial radio. If you have that one song that perfectly captures the ennui that apparently comes standard with having a medical degree, you might get yourself on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy”ladies and gentlemen, The Fray (whose success on that show’s soundtrack has led to more and more such opportunities, many of which the band reports turning down for fear of overexposure).

And bands no longer grapple with the concept of selling-out. Television has always needed music, but bands used to be reluctant to accept offers to have their music synced with a commercial or any images they don’t control. Now, that wall has come down. For bands, getting on television is not only an acceptable way to distribute your music, but an enviable achievement. A band with a song on MTV’s The Real World will remind their friends and fans on Facebook to tune in, posting it as they would a good review. And they see instant results. YouTube views hit the thousands literally overnight even after a brief clip on such a high-profile show. And the next check from iTunes or CDBaby might be a nice surprise.

There are still quality commercial radio stations out there but, over the last ten years, many have become stale and afraid to take chances on untested music. Some major commercial stations began testing alt-rock hits from the mid-90s on listeners, finding that they liked them”they still liked them” and so they put Stone Temple Pilots back into heavy rotation, fifteen years later, rather than risk valuable airtime on a relatively unknown artist.

Well, it’s their loss and the beneficiaries are the TV shows and the artists. The world would be a slightly better place if commercial radio were more adventurous and compelling, but in the meantime, at least there is a new and effective outlet for bands. Television has a broader reach and a more engaged audience to pitch to. Unlike radio listeners, people watching TV aren’t driving or reading or playing with their kids. They’re watching TV, so shut up, dammit, I’m trying to Shazam the song in this Target commercial.