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Artist and Musician Essentials – Reasons To be Cheerful Part 2 

Written by Richard Rogers (Music2Deal UK representative)

What do you look for when attempting to break into the music industry? What are the essential ingredients that help you on your way? Where can you find information that propels you on to the next level as you choose a career in the mind boggling labyrinth that is the business of music?

Here, in an occasional series, our A&R man and Music2deal music expert Richard Rogers guides you through various tools printed or otherwise that Richard thinks are still worth shelling out for in 2019 to keep you ahead of the competition. The must haves for any musician, artist or songwriter. Basically the essentials needed with the information that you require with one or two not quite so essentials thrown in for comparison for good measure.

 

Music Socket Music Industry Directory 2019

This came as an absolutely lovely surprise from a company called Music Socket who i have to be honest and say i’d never heard of. Music Socket is run by a guy called J. Paul Dyson and they have a website that you can peruse at www.musicsocket.com. They work in both the music world and the book writing world. The directory is 202 pages long, contains absolutely no adverts and is choc-a-bloc full of engaging and wonderful information.

 

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On the first page is a section on protecting your copyright under the Berne Convention that for someone like myself with too many years in the music business to count was a real eye opener. Having worked on the EC Directive for Copyright Legislation back in the 90s I was unaware that the Intellectual Property Rights Office have a registration service.

The book then extends into US labels for 30 odd pages before dedicating itself with a lengthy foray into UK labels providing all the information you’ll need. This is followed by smaller sections on Canadian and Australian record labels only which is a teeny weeny bit bizarre but informative nonetheless.

Then there is a real gem, a record labels index by genre which is worth it’s weight in gold and you wonder why other directories never offer that and again it provides the country each label is represented within. This is great news for example if you are a UK indie act looking for an American indie label as all the information is on one page. Same if you are a jazz act, metal band or house artist looking for a listing of labels in each specific genre then it is all here.

There are bulky US and UK manager sections and weirdly a tiny section of 3 Canadian managers which seems a little pointless although no Australian managers are listed whatsoever. Then another good idea, a managers index by genre, again this is a genius move to save a rock act looking through all the classical or rap managers.

Peculiarly there is nothing here on publishing whatsoever but I loved this book just for the two indexes on record labels and managers that other directories do not provide. From what I understand it is not released in print every year so check with Music Socket. For me a great book to have on the shelf alongside the Music Week Directory as they work in tandem with each other.

If you purchase the directory then you have free access to the entire www.musicsocket.com website which includes thousands of listings. I have to say the website is a bit old fashioned in design (think 2005) but if you are simply after information on managers and record labels then it’s all here and it is updated with changed addresses, contact details etc on a monthly basis.

 

Writers’ Handbook 2019

There is an accompanying book from the same people titled Writers’ Handbook 2019 which is similar to the Music Industry Directory and is edited by J. Paul Dyson (who also edited the music directory) and is produced in much the same way. There are magazine titles featured that are split into US, UK, Canadian and Australian sections although funnily enough there is also an Irish section here too and they are cleverly divided down into a subject index for each title. So you have an arts section, drama, fiction etc.

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Further into the book are a listing of literary agents and a listing of publishers by territory and of course the all singing all dancing subject indexes that are simply priceless.

There is a separate website for this at www.firstwriter.com and again the book is presented with bags of information if a little obliquely.

I would recommend both the Music Industry Directory and the Writers’ Handbook. Great reference manuals for the music industry and book fields.

 

The MusicSocket directory costs £9.99 in print and £7.99 as an ebook. As far as i’m concerned this is as cheap as chips and well worth purchasing if you can’t afford the Music Week Directory.

The Writers’ Handbook costs £11.99 in print and £7.65 as an ebook. Again I feel this is money well spent,

Each book comes with a code that can be used for a £5 discount when subscribing to the associated website, the normal prices for which are:

 

MusicSocket:

Monthly: £2.65

Quarterly: £6.65

Annual: £19.99

Life: £64.99

 

firstwriter.com

Monthly: £2.99

Quarterly: £7.49

Annual: £22.99

Life: £64.99

 

 

www.musicsocket.com

www.firstwriter.com

Contact:  paul.dyson@musicsocket.com

 

Richard wasn’t paid by any company for the inclusion of any of the items here and this article is a personal opinion of someone with over 30 years professional experience in the Music industry. Richard has been employed in many sectors both full time and freelance for companies including Music2deal, BBC, Warner/Chappell Music, PRS, IMN, International Masters Publishers, Silverscope Records, Malta Music Export and Evershare Digital and written books on A&R, Eurovision and Depeche Mode.

Contact Richard on Music2Deal or at silverscope@btconnect.com or on +49 (0) 1578 1053121.

A&R Topics – What format do you give an A&R man your music these days?

Written by Richard Rogers (Music2Deal UK representative)

richard

 

Whilst I was over in MIDEM this year I received as an A&R man a number of different packages from artists as always. However, it is 2019 not 1999 and things have changed drastically in the last few years let alone 20 years. I remember once going to MIDEM and received so many CD’s that I had to buy extra luggage just to get them back to the UK! Those were the days and from an A&R perspective i’m personally glad they are gone. But what about the artist, should they be making special packages just for A&R or is that outdated?

 

My personal thoughts are that if you want to stand out from the crowd and get your music heard then you need to think out of the box and do things a little differently.

 

At this MIDEM I received a lot of flyers and cards saying login to this or sign in to that to hear our music and call me old fashioned but they went straight to the bottom of the pile of artists music to undertake to listen too. Why? I hear you ask. Well in truth I find it a bit lazy from the artists point of view. If they value their product (horrible word for music – apologies) then they need to show it off from a lofty height and show off their hard worked music. Take care of your packaging so in other words take care of the format you send to A&R. After all, if the artist has taken the bold and financially high risk of getting themselves over to Cannes with flights, accommodation and MIDEM entry then it shows they are serious about their music so why not come up with something better than a flyer.

 

Some people did use their initiative. Gary Whyte at Music Sync Tank who is one of our Music2deal members came along with memory sticks with a whole shebang of different tracks and was the perfect selling mechanism and it fits perfectly into your back pocket too. One gripe, there was no contact information on the stick at all apart from a semi faded logo saying ‘music sync tank’. All it needed was a mobile number, email address or website address and people could get in contact with Gary. Make it easy for people to find you. It might sound silly but it is so important to get the small details sorted out otherwise how can you get hold of Gary’s excellent music?

 

Meanwhile American singer Kim Cameron also bought along an MP3 stick but in the shape of a credit card which was quite ingenious and made me want to play the whole album.

 

Spanish act A Permanent Shadow turned up with CDs for their new album Songs of Loss which is a cracking little album in places but again another major problem, no information on the CD in regards website address, email or mobile numbers! Instead there is contact info for their legal team which I found frankly a bit weird and off putting.

 

Same with the Canadian artist, the lovely Monte Madder who presented me with a Skydive CD but it had no contact information on it whatsoever. Was it a promo CD or a fully fledged 6 track EP as the styles of the music were so different? It confuses people! It certainly makes you think, do these artists actually want to be signed up? Even more annoying is when I saw her live she was very good too.

 

Over the four days of MIDEM, I received about 15 CDs, 2 memory sticks, 2 MP3 cards (same thing really), 3 vinyls and about 60 to 70 flyers or cards sending me links to the artists tracks on their website, on Soundcloud, Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Amazon etc.

 

By the way, the vinyls were from two French and one Portuguese artist and one of the French 7 inch singles was on beautiful coloured vinyl. Mind you the song was nothing to write home about but that’s not the point. The point is, of these 90 to 100 artists who got played first? Yup the most visually pleasing followed by those that thought out of the box a little.

 

What do you think? Should it matter what format the A&R gets to hear the music? Do you have any unusual or novel ways to send or sell your music? What is the best format you have ever seen another artist sell themselves through?

 

I’m looking forward to your views and thoughts so please reply on the A&R Topics group on Music2Deal.

 

Richard Rogers

 

Links:

Richard Rogers on Music2Deal

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