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The Undercurrents Series of Music Business Educational Forums is designed to assist musicians, songwriters, bands and music industry professionals with continued growth and knowledge of the music / entertainment industry. These forums and the information provided is practical rather than legalistic in its approach and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice in relation to any particular matter. Undercurrents, Inc. accepts no liability for any errors or omissions. We're only trying to help you succeed.
Artist Development is about pre-release. It's about preparing for the artist and/or the song for exposure. It's the work done prior to developing a product.
· Preparing Careers
· Song Creation
· Protecting Songs
· Business Establishment
· Lessons / Coaching
· Creating Images
· Preparing to Record / Perform
Artist Development through Song Creation
Everything starts with a song. Without great songs, there is no music business. Songwriting is not just an artistic expression; it is the axis upon which the music business rotates. Artist Development is about the music itself. Good songs are not good enough when preparing to market the music. People only respond to what they feel are great songs. The songs must have some commercial appeal, if only to a certain music niche. (Folk, Hip Hop, Alternative Rock, New Age, Jazz, Blues, etc.) Finding that niche, and learning how to manage its growth is essential to developing a successful act. So, the songs must be of a VERY high caliber.
In the beginning, Artists may assume the responsibility of managing their own careers; with a goal of creating such a buzz about the music that it attracts more fans. This provides Artists the training and experience necessary to see the "big picture" of how they fit into the music industry. However, in the long term, Artists will need trusted and experienced management to oversee their careers and to coordinate efforts of booking, recording, contracts, promotion and sales.
Artist Development is also about protecting the songs by registering them with the copyright office.
Protecting the Music - Performing Rights Organizations
Songwriters need to affiliate with the Performance Rights Associations (ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC) as well, so that if and when those songs are played by the broadcasting industry, or in certain public places, Artists will receive proper payment for the uses of those songs.
The business of music publishing, which is really the business of finding uses for songs, is very important for the financial income streams of our songwriters.
Choosing a name for the act, and filing for a trademark to prevent others from using the chosen name are also part of the business organization of properly developing an Artist's career.
Starting the Business
Artists need to have and/or start their own business (sole proprietor, partnership, or corporation). This is a necessity if Artists want to have control over their careers. There are many questions to be answered about operating a business, financially and professionally. Artists need to update any changes in the business operations as they may occur, because the different city, state, and federal laws affecting any business are constantly changing and evolving.
Lessons / Coaching
As Artists careers develop, Artists may wish to improve on some of their creative talents by taking voice lessons or master classes from more experienced musicians. Investing in the best equipment and musical instruments is another necessity if Artists are going to be a professional, working musician. No Artist can perform their best work using mediocre equipment.
One of the most delicate issues involved with Artist Development is the matter of creating and consistently maintaining a clear and honest image. What people hear in the music must be seen in how Artists dress on-stage and can help or hurt Artists when they create promotional materials and artwork for their CDs etc. There must be a thread of consistency with Artists chosen image throughout the major four fronts of music marketing.
As Artists become more successful in their careers, Artists will need the services of an entertainment law attorney. Artists should utilize attorneys who have experience within the music industry. Artists will need them to look over any band agreements, record label contracts, publishing deals, or any other number of legal matters.
Band Agreements should define the issues related to running careers as a business and how members will work with the others in the band.
Artist Development is a combination of creative and business issues that must be dealt with to make the music, and the business surrounding the music, run smoothly.
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