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Welcome to Just Plain Notes

Just Plain Notes: Volume 1.164, March 23rd, 2007
Written by Brian Austin Whitney
Visit the Website:
Mail CD's @ 5327 Kit Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46237
Copyright 2007 Just Plain Folks Productions.
Just Plain Folks Member Population: 41,303
Just Plain Quotes:

"I'll get by with a little help from my friends" -The Beatles

"While there's life, there's hope." -Cicero

"The only cure for grief is action." -George Henry Lewes

"We all suffer at one time or another.  All we can hope is that when we're not suffering, we're helping those who are and when we are, they'll return the favor." -Brian Austin Whitney

My Take:

I had planned to write about the uproar and hysteria over the recent CRB Internet Radio Royalty Rates but after the troubling loss of yet another musician to suicide last week, I decided that this particular pulpit might be better used on that topic. 

It was reported that fellow JPF member and Boston lead singer Brad Delp committed suicide at his home in a fairly planned out and awful way.  Though I never had a chance to meet him in person, he had entered the JPF music awards with his duo Delp and Goudreau and I actually planned to try and make direct contact with him and Barry this year because I've been a long time fan and Boston was a seminal group for people my age (42). His soaring vocals are forever burned into my musical DNA.  Sadly, his end wasn't as unusual as it should be. 

Suicide and the thoughts and emotions that lead to it are all too common in our industry.   We often focus on the major names due to celebrity factors.  While this may bring some attention to the issue briefly, once the news cycle runs, it disappears again quickly.  I was very disappointed that the mainstream media made no attempt to use this tragic end to discuss resources for others out there facing the same illness.  I am no doctor and I am no mental health professional.  But I feel like I can't just move on from this topic while I know some of you reading this are suffering.  Help does exist.  Though I've had my share of health problems, I am fortunate that suicidal thoughts have not been one of them.  My Grandfather, however, was not as lucky and killed himself when I was an adolescent after a series of debilitating strokes.  For those of us lucky enough NOT to personally have these feelings, we should educate ourselves because it's likely someone in our family or friends are already or will some day be suffering from this.  We all suffer at one time or another.  All we can hope is that when we're not suffering, we're helping those who are and when we are, they'll return the favor. So here's my attempt to do some of that now. 

If you are having suicidal thoughts (or have had them in the past), please call this toll free number 1-800-273-TALK (8255).  If you have transportation, you can also go to the local emergency room.  Even if you don't have health insurance you can go and get treatment at any emergency room. 

Here's a Q&A about Suicide and Depression that everyone should read:

Here's what you should do if you know someone else is suicidal:

You can get all sorts of information and help at these sites:

One of the best resources to deal with musicians and mental health I have ever come across is a grassroots facility in Athens, Georgia called Nuci's Space.  It's an amazing facility created by the mother of a 22 year old suicide victim named Nuci.  We've written about them before, but it's worth repeating here.  They offer mental health and other medical support services for musicians without health insurance.  I haven't come across anything else like it in the 9 years I've been running JPF.  Visit their site at

Most of us can't really understand how you might be feeling, but it doesn't mean we don't care and we don't want to help you.  Just as we'd want to help you if you had cancer or heart disease or alcoholism.  All these things are physical illnesses and though not everyone can be cured, everyone CAN get treatment and help.  Please don't hesitate to seek help.  All of us need a little help now and then.  We can't afford to lose another musical genius and more importantly, we can't afford to lose another friend. 

Learn, Succeed, Thrive.  We're All In This Together!
(Tons of great stuff in the newsletter today!  Sign up for a JPF Roadtrip Showcase and learn lots of stuff. I know it's long, but use the Table of Contents below to check out the things you're most interested in!)

Just Plain Notes Table of Contents:

1. Disc Makers Offers Special JPF Member Discount: Deadline March 31st!
2. Quick Note From Brian on the new Internet Radio Royalty Rates
3. 2007 Just Plain Folks Roadtrips: US Midwest, US Southeast and Europe
4. You Can Be A Successful Songwriter by JPF Mentor Danny Arena
5. JPF Member "MySpace" Database and "CDBaby" Gallery
6. Rock The Net: The Battle for Net Neutrality Wants Your Involvement
7. JPF Music Awards: Links to Samples from Winners and Mailing Address
8. New Weekly Mentor Critique Program is Launched!
1. Disc Makers offers Just Plain Folks Members Discount

Our community partners at Disc Makers announced an ongoing JPF member discount at our 2006 Music Awards show.  Order any new CD replication package from Disc Makers and save $50. Visit to receive our wholesale catalog. Be sure to mention that you are a Just Plain Folks member when you order to get the discount.  Offer expires 3/31/07.  So get your orders in before the end of the month!

These guys do amazing work and we've been getting raves about them (and never 1 single complaint in 9 years!) and even if you're burning your own CD's, they can help you with that as well.  We used one of their lightning fast 7 Disc Burners again this year to make thousands of copies of voting discs for our judges in this year's JPF music awards.  Get their catalog by clicking the link above to see all the products and services available.  (Including an affordable expert Mastering staff). 
2. Quick Note From Brian on the new Internet Radio Royalty Rates

I planned to cover this in more depth, but I just want to let all JPF members know that the hysteria over the new Sound Exchange Internet Royalty rates are no reason to panic.  I was initially shocked, but then I had a talk with Jenny Toomey of the Future of Music Coalition and I understood what was going on.  This rate is a GOOD thing.  Many of you many not realize that in the US, Radio Stations do not pay a Performance Royalty like they do in nearly every other Western Civilization in the world.  That means that all the income that ARTISTS make from Radio in other countries for Radio Play isn't paid to US Artists.  And because of that, no foreign artists get paid either for US Airplay, so those countries retaliate and don't pay the US Artists for airplay in their countries either!  It's unfair but Radio was able to get away with it many years ago and it stuck.  If Madonna does a song she didn't write and it goes #1, she doesn't make a dime from airplay.  It sucks.  But the good news is that as music shifts to Digital/Satellite and Internet Radio, everyone will now get paid who performs on a song or owns the copyright of the recording.  (You'll also still get your songwriter royalties from the PRO's).  In the next decade, that is going to start becoming a major source of income for every artist who get's airplay.  This is setting the foundation for that. 

So why the panic?  Small hobby level or non commercial Internet Radio stations can't possibly pay the new fees.  Small commercial operations are also in danger.  But Jenny explained to me that it's likely there will be waivers for non commercial stations or at least a small blanket license fee.  There may also be options for small broadcasters to share a % of their income so it's affordable to keep going.  It's not in anyone's interest to shut down the little guys (except perhaps the major players who want less competition) and fortunately we have a representative on the Board of Sound Exchange from the Future of Music Coalition (and he's a brilliant guy and a good friend of the JPF Organization).  I am confident a reasonable resolution will be made and it will allow folks to continue playing music they love, exposing new and developing writers and artists and helping nudge everyone into the next generation of the music industry.   So take a deep breath and be a little patient while the details come out.    I also strongly suggest you visit Sound Exchange and learn what they do and register in their database if you have any music that you performed on (even as a back up player) released for airplay. 
Here's the Press Release from the FOMC:

Copyright Royalty Board Decision May Mean Fewer Sources for Independent Music
Future of Music Coalition responds to CRB’s webcasting rate decision

March 13, 2007

On March 4, 2007, the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) announced new royalty rates for webcasts, effective from 2006 to 2010. The retroactive rate for 2006 was set at $0.0008 per song per user, with rates increasing annually to:
$.0011 (2007) per song, per user
$.0014 (2008) per song, per user
$.0018 (2009) per song, per user
$.0019 (2010) per song, per user.

The rates set by the CRB are in line with those suggested by SoundExchange, the agency designated by the Copyright Office to collect and distribute digital performance royalties. Critics of these higher royalty rates say that these fees could be equal to or greater than many small internet stations’ total revenues, an untenable position that would force many existing stations offline. 

In response to this announcement, FMC urges stakeholders – small webcasters, commercial webcasters, artists, SoundExchange – to work together to strike a balance that recognizes the value of webcasting, but also properly compensates artists, performers and labels for uses of their work.  While the proposed method of calculating rates based on gross revenue may work for many of the larger commercial webcasters, it’s unlikely there will ever be a “one size fits all” resolution to rate calculations. Nobody benefits if small webcasting stations, those that are the most likely to represent the richest diversity of music available, are forced offline because of an inability to pay the proposed licensing fees.   A structure and process that sets reasonable rates for different but clearly defined categories of webcasters would be the best strategy.

FMC has participated in the majority of the prior webcasting rate and reporting requirement proceedings.[1] During each prior proceeding we have emphasized the same basic principles:

[1] In April 2002, FMC filed comments in the US Copyright Office’s NPRM on reporting requirements:

We also filed reply comments in this proceeding, underscoring the undue burden that many proposed reporting requirements would have on small webcasters and questioning the feasibility of the proposed “listener logs”.

In the same month, responding to widespread confusion about the rulemaking process, FMC published an easy-to-read CARP Fact Sheet that described the webcast license proceedings, as well as royalty and reporting requirements.

In May 2002, FMC’s Executive Director Jenny Toomey participated in the Copyright Office Roundtable.  FMC’s testimony underscored the need for multiple licensing levels that recognized the difference between large commercial, small commercial, noncommercial, and hobbyist webcasters.  We also called for reasonable reporting requirements and the automation of the reporting process, and we urged the Copyright Office to drop the use of ephemeral copy logs and the threat of perjury for non-reporting.

FMC expanded on this notion and filed testimony in the Senate Commerce Committee May 15 hearing, “Copyright Royalties: Where is the Right Spot On The Dial For Webcasting?”
3. 2007 Just Plain Folks Roadtrips: US Midwest and Southeast plus our first ever European Roadtrip!

After taking 2006 off the road to finish the music awards, we are heading back out for 3 major tours this year!  First we'll be visiting the US Midwest followed by the US Southeast.   In September and October, we'll be touring Europe for the first time and visiting France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Holland and possibly others.  We will work on that trip later in the year, but for now we're launching the US Tours.  The dates below are all tentative based on us setting up venues and having enough of you interested in participating.  We need help in nearly every city, so it's up to all of you to get involved and help us out. 

What do we do on Roadtrips?  In most cases we set up member networking showcases that welcome ALL genres, ALL levels of performers as well as non performers to come out, play a song or two and network with tons of artists, writers and industry professionals in your town.  In the past 9 years we've featured thousands artists at one of our JPF Roadtrip or Chapter events and we're very excited to visit a bunch of new cities this year and meet a lot of new and old friends around the US.  EVERYONE is welcome and encouraged to get involved. 

These trips take a lot of planning and therefore there's a lot of info on how they work, what you need to do to participate and what sort of help we need.  All of it is found at this link:

Roadtrip FAQ:

If you read that information and still have questions, email me at and place "Roadtrip Question (And the City You Live In)" in the subject field. 

What we need help on RIGHT NOW is setting up Showcase venues.  If you know of a friendly place we can hold this event that won't charge us or a cover and can supply a sound person for the night (or if we can get someone local to do it) please email me ASAP with the details.  Provide as much info as you can about the venue (size, type of venue, food options, age limitations, sound system details, website link if available and a phone number).  We've done hundreds of these JPF events over the years and there's nothing better than meeting folks face to face and seeing them perform live!  We only have 1 venue locked in so far and that's the first date of the trip in Cincinnati.  We need help in all other cities. 

-If you can help us out with a VENUE, please email me at and place "Venue (City and Venue Name)" in the subject field. (PLEASE DON'T EMAIL ANYWHERE ELSE!).

I also need Hosts in each city that can offer me a private room to sleep in, Internet access, safe parking for our JPF Van and air conditioning (I can't believe how many of you live without A/C.  I can't do it!). 

-If you fit the bill and would be willing to HOST me the night of or before the show, please email me at and place "Host (City Name)" in the subject field.  (PLEASE DON'T EMAIL ANYWHERE ELSE!).

Mon, May 14: Cincinnati, OH @ The Blue Note
Tue, May 15: Columbus, OH
Wed, May 16: Pittsburgh, PA
Fri, May 18: Cleveland, OH
Sun, May 20: Detroit, MI
Mon, May 21: Grand Rapids, MI
Wed, May 23: Chicago, IL
Thu, May 24: Chicago, IL
Sun, May 27: Milwaukee, WI
Tue, May 29: Minneapolis, MN
Thu, May 31: Fargo, ND
Sat, Jun 2: Sioux Falls, SD
Sun, Jun 3: Omaha, NE
Mon, Jun 4: Des Moines, IA
Wed, Jun 6: Topeka, KS
Thu, Jun 7: Kansas City, MO
Sat, Jun 9: St. Louis, MO
Sat, Jun 23: Indianapolis, IN  @ House Party at JPF Headquarters

Southeast Roadtrip

Sun, Jul 15: Louisville, KY
Mon, Jul 16: Lexington, KY
Tue, Jul 17: Charleston, WV
Wed, Jul 18: Roanoke, VA
Thu, Jul 19: Winston-Salem, NC
Fri, Jul 20: Charlotte, NC
Sat, Jul 21: Columbia, SC
Sun, Jul 22: Charleston, SC
Mon, Jul 23: Jacksonville, FL
Wed, Jul 25: Orlando, FL
Fri, Jul 27: Tampa, FL
Sat, Jul 28: Valdosta, GA
Sun, Jul 29: Athens, GA
Mon, Jul 30: Atlanta, GA
Tue, Jul 31: Birmingham, AL
Wed, Aug 1: Nashville, TN Pineyfest
Thu, Aug 2: Nashville, TN Pineyfest
Fri, Aug 3: Nashville, TN Pinefest
Sat, Aug 4: Nashville, TN JPF Showcase TBA

Europe Roadtrip

September-October with visits to France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Holland.  Dates TBA.

If you would like to sign up to perform or attend one of these events, please follow the directions given at this link:

Roadtrip FAQ:

If you read that entire FAQ and don't see the answer to your question, email me at and place "Roadtrip Question" in the subject. 

Remember, some of these dates and cities are still subject to change.  We need enough interest in a city to do a showcase which means at least 15 artists.  If there isn't enough interest, we may still visit, grab dinner with those interested and do some documentary interviews instead of a showcase.  The JPF Roadtrips are a great tradition and I look forward to meeting lots and lots of you face to face on the road this year!

Our 2007 Roadtrips are Sponsored in part by Disc Makers and TAXI.  If you'd like to help sponsor one or more events, please email me at and place "Roadtrip Sponsor" in the subject field. 
4. You Can Be A Successful Songwriter
Written by JPF Mentor Danny Arena

Yes, it’s tough to break into the music business these days. But the news is not all gloom and doom. The truth is there are more opportunities for writers and artists today to make a living than ever before. You can be well on the road to becoming a successful songwriter or songwriter/artist if you follow some simple proven strategies:

MAKE SURE YOUR SONGS ARE THE BEST THEY CAN BE. The number one reason songs don't make an impact on an audience or get recorded by outside artists is because they simply aren't strong enough. Sadly, many writers waste thousands of dollars recording or demoing songs that aren't ready to be recorded or pitched. And some waste more money hiring independent song pluggers and buying tip sheets to pitch those same songs. The music business is hard enough to break into with a killer song, much less a song that isn't competitive. Instead of spending all that money on demos, recording studios and tip sheets -- buy a book on songwriting. Take a class. Attend a songwriter workshop or seminar. Aside from the networking opportunities you'll encounter, you'll probably learn a trick or two. Even if you already know the basic craft, you can still enhance your unique voice as a writer and strengthen your writing skills by incorporating new techniques into your lyrics and music. As Henry Ford said, "Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty."

GET FEEDBACK. Play your songs for an audience and see if that humorous line in the second verse really makes them laugh or if the bridge has the emotional impact you think it should. And by all means, have some professionals in the industry evaluate your song before you spend money on that demo or recording. A few professional insights on the song might save you a lot of money and heartache.

CO-WRITE WITH OTHERS. Some feel that co-writing might compromise their integrity as a writer. But like a good marriage, there are also a lot of advantages to a good collaboration. A collaborator can bring a new perspective into a song that you never would have thought of on your own, or bring strengths to an area where you might not be as strong (e.g., music, playing, singing, etc.). As well as the obvious creative collaboration on the song, a co-writer also brings his or her entire network of friends and business contacts to the table. For that reason, we regularly hook-up cowriters at in various songwriting challenges (the current challenge is the “blind date” challenge in which we've paired up over 100 writers who have never met to write long distance together). Last year, one of our members from Canada who was paired up with a writer from Hawaii collaborated on a Blues song. The Canadian writer then pitched the song to the director of a Blues Festival that happened to be in town that week. The pair ended up with their first co-write together getting recorded on a blues compilation CD alongside several well known Blues artists like John Lee Hooker. Together they accomplished what neither could have alone.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT DEMO. When you do get around to demoing that great song, choose the right demo. Not every song needs a full blow-out demo. Every song has its own life and the best vehicle to showcase the songs really depends on the song. One of our instructors, Cole Wright, a top Nashville songplugger, does a monthly feature in our e-Auditorium called “What’s Cole Pitching?” in which he plays and discusses several of the demos he’s pitched during the month. You'd be surprised how many guitar/vocal or piano/vocals he pitches and gets cut. So before you demo the song, give some thought to how to best let the song convey its message. Regardless of whether you do a full band demo or a simple piano or guitar/vocal demo, it needs to be a professional quality (i.e., the vocalist sounds like they should have a record deal and the guitar player is flawless).

JOIN THE DIGITAL AGE. If you're still recording your songs on that cassette or 8-track player and don't know how to put them into MP3 format, you're behind the times and are going to miss out on a lot of pitch opportunities. For example, when my wife, Sara Light, and I were writing for the Broadway show Urban Cowboy we got a call on a Friday afternoon from the director of the show that they needed us to write a new song for the close of the first act by Monday morning’s rehearsal – they needed lead sheet and worktape in hand at rehearsal. However, they were in New York City and we were in Nashville. With two days to write the song and get them a lead sheet and recording, there simply wasn't a lot of time. If I didn't have the skills to do the lead sheet on the computer and create/record the MP3 to email them at rehearsal, we would've missed a golden opportunity.

LOOK BEYOND THE OBVIOUS WHEN YOU PITCH. As the wise monkey, Rafiki, from the movie The Lion King says, “You must look beyond what you see”. Too many writers make the mistake of trying to only pitch their song to the top selling artists. You might as well buy a ticket to the lottery too because you've got just as much a chance of coming out ahead there. Your song is competing against the songs and networking power of every other hit writer and every other professional songwriter and publishing company around. Heck, that artist is probably writing songs for the album too and their producer probably runs a publishing company and has a vested interest in getting songs from his or her publishing company on the project. Even if your song is as good as all those other songs, it would be tough to compete against the established relationships and networking power of those other individuals. Instead of playing the lottery, play the odds. Today’s market is vastly different from what it was ten years ago. There are many more non-traditional opportunities available that weren't available to writers before if you just look for them. For example, we have a regular pitching opportunity at for a company in California that licenses songs for wedding slideshows, graduation slideshows and more. Some of our members make several hundred dollars a year from their songs being licensed in this way. The fact that online organizations like give indie artists an opportunity to market and sell their projects means they can generate an income (and pay out royalties) without a big record label behind them. There are thousands of independent artists on MySpace - many of whom look to outside material when it comes time to record their album (and have devoted fan bases that buy those albums). With the help of the Internet, you may find surprising sources.

EXPOSE YOURSELF (well, at least your songs). Something definitely happens when you don't put your songs out there in the world for others -- they don't get cut! So take advantage of every outlet, every possibility, ever opportunity. You never know which will be the one that pays off. One of our members received a contract offer from MTV for use of some of her songs in one of their TV shows because they stumbled onto her songs on her website. If people can't hear your song or find it, they can't fall in love with it and want to license it or record it.

CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE. Finally, remember that success is an ongoing journey, not a destination. As soon as you get your first single song contract, you want a staff deal. You land your first cut and then you hope for a single. You get a single and then you set your sights on having that #1 hit. You score a #1 hit and then they tell you that no one takes you seriously in the business until you have at least three #1 hits. In other words, this road has no end in sight. So enjoy and celebrate your achievements along the way.

Whether you are just learning to upload an MP3, a new open tuning on your guitar, or place in a songwriting contest – you are successful. Most of us did not choose this as a career. It chose us. We write songs simply because we can't imagine life if we didn't. So as long as you're on this journey, you might as well buckle up and enjoy the scenery. -Danny Arena

About Danny Arena:

JPF Mentor Danny Arena is a Tony Award nominated composer and professional songwriter. He holds degrees from Rutgers University in both computer science and music composition, and serves as an Associate Professor at Volunteer State Community College in Nashville, and an adjunct member of the faculty at Vanderbilt University. In addition, he has been invited to teach songwriting workshops throughout the U.S. and abroad, and performs his original songs regularly in Nashville at venues like the Bluebird Café. As a staff songwriter for Curb Magnatone Music Publishing, he composed several songs for the musical "Urban Cowboy" which opened on Broadway in March 2003 and was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical and a Tony Award for Best Original Score. He is also the co-founder, CEO, and one of the main site developers of, which provides over 70 multi-level courses developed by award-winning songwriters in addition to online coaching, co-writing, industry connections, and pitching opportunities.
5. JPF Member "MySpace" Database and "CDBaby" Gallery

Jeff Van Devender on our message board has created a database of any JPF members who have MySpace pages as well as a Gallery for any of you on CD Baby.  If you'd like to be included in either or both, here are the links for each.  This is another networking opportunity

To be added to the JPF MySpace Database for networking, post your request here:

To be added to the JPF CD Baby Gallery, post your request here:
6. Future of Music Coalition & Rock The Net: Fighting for Net Neutrality!

R.E.M., Boots Riley, Ted Leo to help launch new nationwide campaign for net neutrality
Kick off press conference before Ted Leo show on March 29th at Washington, DC’s 9:30 Club

R.E.M., Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam, Boots Riley of The Coup and many other musicians and independent record labels are joining a nationwide campaign to recruit thousands of artists to support the fight for net neutrality. “Rock the Net” is being organized by the Future of Music Coalition, Noise Pop, and Zeitgeist Artist Management.

“Four years ago we got 4,000 musicians (Ed Note: Many of them were JPF Members) to sign on to the battle against radio consolidation. With Rock the Net, we intend to get thousands of the nation’s musicians, independent labels and music services to become part of the effort to keep a ‘payola’ system from being established on the Internet,” said Jenny Toomey, executive director of the Future of Music Coalition. “This will be the largest coalition of musicians for net neutrality in the country.”

There are more than two dozen founding members of the campaign including the Kronos Quartet, Sarah McLachlan, The Wrens, OK Go, Death Cab for Cutie and the Barenaked Ladies. Rock the Net will launch a website ( on March 27 that will allow other musicians, independent record labels and music fans to sign onto the campaign and take action to support net neutrality. Bands and fans will also be able to track Rock the Net events around the country with an interactive map.

Net neutrality is the idea that all websites and services should be equally accessible on the Internet. Some Internet service providers have proposed charging a fee to Internet content providers to make their sites load faster. Rock the Net believes such a move could make it harder for fans to access the vibrant array of musical offerings now available online. A position paper on net neutrality is attached below.

The kick-off press conference is being held in conjunction with Ted Leo’s March 29 concert at Washington, DC’s 9:30 Club. Rock the Net is underwritten by Proteus Fund’s Media Democracy Fund.

Here’s a complete list of Rock the Net’s founding bands:

R.E.M., Stone Gossard (Pearl Jam), Ted Leo, Boots Riley, Barenaked Ladies, Sarah McLachlan, Death Cab for Cutie, OK Go, Bob Mould, Calexico, Kathleen Hanna, The Donnas, Jerry Harrison, John Doe, Les Claypool, Kronos Quartet, Jimmy Tamborello, Street to Nowhere, The Locust, Rogue Wave, Guster, State Radio, Matt Wertz, Griffin House, Matt Nathanson, The Wrens
7. JPF Music Awards: Links to Samples from Winners and Mailing Address:

I've had a lot of people ask me how they can hear the winning songs from the 2006 JPF Music Awards.  We're hoping to eventually host and link full versions of the finalists if the folks involved give us permission.  But in the meantime, while so many of you are still interested in at least sampling the winners, I created a post with links to the CD Baby files for as many as were available.  Feel free to share your thoughts about any of them.  If the song is linked it means you can get the song and the entire album on CD Baby.  Please check it out if for nothing else but to compare where your work is stacking up to the winning songs.

As for the future awards, we haven't decided how and when we'll be starting up the next process yet.  But we always accept CD's and DVD's from members.  (Sorry, we don't accept Cassettes, Vinyl or VHS tapes anymore).  You can send any music, video or movie that hasn't previously been submitted for a past awards to us any time.  We'll hold on to it until the next awards process.  We check out all music in the order we receive it so sending us stuff now before the next awards process officially begins will give you first shot at consideration.  ALWAYS include complete contact on the Disc (write it on there with a sharpie) and within the packaging.  We generally separate CD's/DVD's from their packaging when we get it so always supply info on everything! We encourage you all to send us Videos and any Indie Films you're involved with as we really want to continue to expand those categories. 

We don't do CD reviews or give direct feedback simply because we get too many CD's.  But we DO always listen to everything we get and if we have an opportunity to help you out or forward your music for an opportunity, we do that.  And you'll already be pre-entered for the next awards cycle. 

Our address is ALWAYS at the top of every newsletter, but here it is since you're reading this now: Mail CD's or DVD's to: Just Plain Folks, 5327 Kit Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46237 USA
8. New Weekly Mentor Critique Program is Launched! 

If you are a lyricist or songwriter, JPF Mentor Harriet Schock is doing a free weekly Critique lesson on our new JPF Message Boards.  Each week anyone can submit a Lyric or Lyric and MP3 file link for consideration.  Harriet chooses the most educational entry (i.e. it's not the best or worst, just the one she can make the most interesting points about) and she does a full critique for free.  The next step is that your peers chime in and do a critique themselves of the work.  Next, we post Harriet's Critique and then open it up for discussion.   The benefits are in learning how to look for areas to improve, which ones you got right and which ones you missed and learning how to improve them.  By learning how to critique others well yourself, it will make you a better writer the next time on your own work as well.  Check it out and you'll be blown away by the educational benefits of it all.   And as always, it's free to everyone!  So please join us!  You'll find the posts in the Mentor Critique section just under the 3 Lyric Feedback boards. 

Here's a link to the message boards:
(Scroll down a bit to find the right board)

To register to post (which means choosing your own User Name and getting a password back via email)
Click here:

We take submissions on Thursdays and Fridays, so there's still time for you to submit something by Midnight tonight!  On Saturday and Sunday we have peer critiques.  On Monday we post Harriet's Critique and we discuss the entire thing until Wednesday night when we start it all over again Thursday Morning. 

To learn more about Harriet Schock, please visit her Website at: . She's a great educator with custom critiques, classroom courses in Southern California and on-line course as well. 
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