Welcome to Just Plain Notes
Just Plain Notes: Volume 2.003, November 30, 2012
Written by Brian Austin Whitney
Visit the Website: www.jpfolks.com
Mail CD's @ 5327 Kit Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46237
Copyright 2012 Just Plain Folks Productions.
Just Plain Folks Member Population: 50,184
Just Plain Folks on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JustPlainFolks
Brian on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Brian.Austin.Whitney
Brian on Skype: Brian Austin Whitney
Would you like to join the JPF Networking Message Boards? It's quick and easy. Just click the link and choose a password and user name and you'll be posting in no time! We'd love to hear from and about you. You can get peer feedback on your music or lyrics, find people to co-write with, get answers to just about any music related question and promote yourself and your gigs on the appropriate boards. It's a very friendly place where 20,000 of your peers hang out!
To register: (It's a separate registration from JPF membership): http://www.jpfolks.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?action=agree
Just Plain Quotes:
"Make failure your teacher, not your undertaker." -Zig Ziglar (Rest in Peace Zig!)
"When you tell the truth, people listen." -Jose Raul Bernardo
"I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act." -G. K. Chesterton
"If you're creative and have something to say, there's never been a better time to be alive in my view. We just need warriors to take that message past enemy lines and get it to the young reinforcements and veterans. That's my goal." -Brian Austin Whitney
There's too much negativity and cynicism out there these days including in our current music world. I have 3 words for you: Knock it off!
Why? There's more great music being made right now, at this very moment, than at any other time in world history. With the right talent you could do beat poetry, play metal guitar and classical flute with a side of theremin all in the same song and STILL find an audience of people who love you, even if they are in far away places like Guam, North Dakota, Capetown and Paris. But that's just fine! Everyone's living room is a concert hall and TV studio thanks to Skype or Facetime and a video enabled internet device. If you're creative AND have something musical to say, there's never been a better time to be alive in my view. We just need warriors to take that message past enemy lines and get it to the young reinforcements and veterans. That's my goal.
But there ARE enemy lines forming all around us. The labels still wield power, but other entities have stepped in and closed ranks around us trying hard to steal away the promise of creative freedom and fair play and most importantly FAIR PAY for hard work and deserving offerings. We need the battle cry of education right now more than ever before. With our biggest weapons, mass communication and networking, we should get facts and strategies out to our peers and realize that there's a wide and diverse audience out there for nearly any and everything of interest as long as we don't allow power to fall into the hands of this new breed of gatekeepers, nor allow them to . We have to use our grassroots numbers to match the political influence those rich and powerful entities are wielding.
Please read the information below called RISING TIDES from our partners at the Future of Music Coalition. It is CRITICAL that you understand what is going on, who is trying to take away your freedoms and ability to earn a living making music all in the name of saving their own flawed business models or worse, simply to ensure their stranglehold on ultimate power over us all. We need to preserve those who want a fair and open partnership with us and cast away those who wish to control us and keep us in collective creative poverty. But we can't do anything until you know what is going on. So read below...
...then go make some great music and put it out there in a fearless and fun way.
Learn, Succeed and Thrive. We're all in this together!
Table of Contents:
01. Support our Sponsors: It's a win/win/win!
02. Rising Tides: Envisioning Fair Internet Radio
03. Just Plain Folks finally has a Facebook Page!
04. 2013 Just Plain Folks Music Awards Early Entry Information
Note About Our Website: We are working on a brand new website which we can use to feature your videos, bios and music files. Don't be fooled by the outdated home page which shows our 2009 Award winners. It's simply a placeholder until we launch the new site. The JPF message boards linked near the top of this newsletter are very active daily with thousands of your peers! Join us there!
2012 Just Plain Folks Community Partner Sponsors!
Note: We'll be adding some new sponsors in the coming months with special exclusive deals for JPF members who switch to their services. To All Companies: Email Brian directly at email@example.com if you'd like to become a Just Plain Folks Community Partner and work with our 50,000+,members around the world.
Future of Music Coalition: Future of Music Coalition is a national nonprofit organization that works to ensure a diverse musical culture where artists flourish, are compensated fairly for their work, and where fans can find the music they want. Visit: www.futureofmusic.org
TAXI: The world's leading independent A&R company, has been successfully helping Songwriters, Artists and Composers get their music heard and signed by top Publishers, Major & Indie Labels, and Film & TV music supervisors since 1992. TAXI, is your best bet! See them at www.TAXI.com.
SongU: SongU.com provides multi-level song writing courses developed by award-winning songwriters and more. You will find all the tools you need to succeed as a songwriter -- all online. At www.SongU.com
we’ll bring the music industry TO YOU.
CDBaby: The best place to sell your CD's or music files on line. They also have the best on-line hosting service called Hostbaby. Nobody else even comes close. See them at www.CDBaby.com
Disc Makers: Nobody makes CD or DVD manufacturing easier and no one delivers faster. When you need CD or DVD replication, short-run duplication, complete printing and packaging options, sturdy duplicators and printers, or affordable blank CDs and DVDs look no further. They've got it. They also now handle licensed merchandise for you (t-shirts, hats etc.). Mention you're a Just Plain Folks Member and get a $50 Discount off your initial CD Orders! Sign up for a free catalog and booklet on Mastering your Music, Achieving Success and the Fast Forward Newsletter at www.discmakers.com/jpfolks
To All Members: If you work with an online music industry company you love, please tell us about it and maybe we'll team up with them as well! Email Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org with information and a contact for the company you are endorsing!
Rising Tides: Envisioning Fair Internet Radio
Written by Casey Rae, Kristin Thomson & The Future of Music Coalition
Over the past ten years, internet and digital radio has evolved into a robust and viable business.
Services like Pandora, Sirius XM, Clear Channel’s IHeartRadio and Slacker are leading the way in delivering radio-like services to millions of music fans every day, and paying millions of dollars in digital performance royalties to rightsholders, performers and songwriters.
But as these businesses have grown, the initial licensing procedures – as outlined by the Digital Performance in Sound Recordings Act of 1995 and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 – have become a point of contention. Pureplay webcaster Pandora’s royalty bills are based on a per-user, per-stream rate (with a percentage of revenue option that would likely be higher). Meaning, they owe a fraction of a penny for every user, and every stream, the consequence being that as the business grows, so do the costs. Pandora, which states that 50 percent of its gross revenue goes to rightsholders, says that this calculation is unfair – especially when compared with satellite radio’s rate of eight percent of gross revenue. Pandora says that the differences in rates are unsustainable going forward. (Watch Pandora founder and Chief Strategy officer Tim Westergren interviewed by the Chicago Tribune’s Greg Kot at the 2012 Future of Music Summit here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvFuMhbU_8g&noredirect=1.
Currently, there are competing bills that address the issue of radio parity in different ways.
The Internet Radio Fairness Act (IRFA), introduced by Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) on July 20, 2012, seeks to abolish the current rate-setting standard for webcasters like Pandora. The bill propses instead to calculate rates for webcasters according to the same standard as satellite radio. Currently, pureplay webcasting rates are calculated on a “willing seller, willing buyer” standard, which aims to reflect fair market rates. IRFA eliminates this approach. Critics of the bill say these changes will no doubt lead to a substantial decline in revenue for artists.
(IRFA is supported by Pandora, DIMA, and Clear Channel. It is opposed by RIAA, AFM, Just Plain Folks, SAG-AFTRA, AFL-CIO, MusicFIRST Coalition, NMPA, and NAACP).
On August 20th, Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) offered a different vision with the Interim Fairness in Radio Starting Today Act (Interim FIRST). The bill would put cable and satellite radio services on the same royalty-setting standard as pureplay internet radio. That would make cable and satellite radio stations pay higher royalty fees to musicians. Nadler’s bill also calls out the one platform that does not compensate performers and sound recording copyright owners for their music – broadcast radio. Interim FIRST would also compel some over-the-air broadcasters to compensate performing artists, albeit through a stopgap measure that involves raising the rates for terrestrial stations’ digital simulcasts to make up for what they aren’t paying for over-the-air plays. Unfortunately, Interim FIRST would not collect money owed to US performers for international plays. In a tough economic climate for domestic artists, this can only be seen as a partial solution, at best.
(Interim FIRST is supported by MusicFIRST Coalition. It is opposed by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB)).
Both pieces of legislation are problematic, but in different ways. The IRFA bill, while attempting to create rate-setting parity among large pureplay webcasters and satellite radio, does so by lowering the amount that pureplay webcasters need to pay musicians and copyright owners, by a lot. IRFA also doesn’t address the lack of a public performance royalty for sound recordings for terrestrial radio airplay – the most egregious loophole in regards to “parity” out there.
Another point of contention: Section 5 of IRFA contains language that could put limitations on the ability for artists (or their collective representatives) to speak publicly or otherwise advocate for compulsory licenses over direct deals. The bill invokes the anti-monopoly provisions in the Sherman Act as justification for these restrictions. This is troubling, as collective management bodies – such as PROs, unions and SoundExchange – offer important leverage to musicians and performers who otherwise lack input into rate-setting and other royalty negotiations.
(This issue was debated extensively at Summit 2012 on a panel called “Radio-active: Internet Broadcasting and Artist Compensation” here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vhn0hg2lXsg
Interim FIRST attempts to tackle the terrestrial radio exemption, but instead of confronting the problem head on and simply legislating that terrestrial stations must pay public performance royalty for sound recordings, the bill simply raises the rates on the digital part of the business to compensate for this gaping hole in rights. Traditional terrestrial airplay is still hugely important, and consistent airplay generates significant royalties for songwriters and publishers. A real attempt at parity would include the establishment of the public performance royalty for sound recordings for terrestrial airplay.
It is common for stakeholders to suggest legislative fixes that have a favorable outcome for their position. Typically, opponents characterize such proposals as extreme and unworkable, and then offer suggestions that meet their own needs. But this back and forth process gives all stakeholders room to negotiate and compromise on legislation that could achieve more reasonable middle ground.
We expect that the webcasting rates battle will go on for a number of months, hopefully with some compromises. FMC endorses seven core points that musicians and advocates must defend in the upcoming fights, no matter what the outcome:
1. Musicians and songwriters are primary stakeholders in these debates. Airplay on terrestrial, satellite and internet radio are an important part of musicians’ careers, not only for exposure, but also as a revenue stream via royalties paid by their PRO and/or SoundExchange. Musicians cannot just be the unwitting victims at the tail end of this process. Policymakers MUST include a variety of musicians and songwriters in these ongoing conversations.
2. Rate-setting should be reasonably platform neutral. Although business models and competition should be factored into any rate-setting scheme, we believe that no single technology should be penalized and no platform should be exempted from compensation obligations. Even if rate-setting standards are harmonized, rates may still differ based on unique market factors.
3. Direct payments to performers must be preserved. Direct payment to musicians for digital performances – as represented by SoundExchange’s direct and simultaneous payments to performers and sound recording copyright owners – is a major advancement in fair and transparent artist compensation. It is important that the direct payment process not be whittled away in the pursuit of bargain-basement licensing deals. Any proposed legislation should include provisions to ensure direct, non-recoupable payment to artists – even under direct licensing agreements.
4. Rates should balance the growth of new technologies with fair compensation for creators. It may be necessary to examine whether emerging radio technologies are able to compete against already established services. However, expansion must not be subsidized on the backs of creators who are the reason this marketplace exists in the first place. We recognize this is a difficult balance to strike, but it is a crucial one for all stakeholders. And the balance is impossible to achieve with the continued exemption for terrestrial broadcasters.
5. Musicians’ rights to bargain and advocate collectively must be defended. Without the leverage offered by collective management bodies, musicians and songwriters lack input in the process of royalty negotiation. Anti-trust law must never be abused to prevent artists from speaking up for their collective best interests.
Beyond the goals of any legislative efforts to address the rate-setting standards, FMC also encourages webcasters and digital music providers to embrace business practices that:
6. Make it easy for listeners to discover and take action. One of digital radio’s greatest assets is its ability to foster music discovery. On many services, webcast tracks are coupled with “buy now” buttons that redirect listeners to iTunes and/or Amazon for song purchases. But there’s more opportunity. Webcasters can help listeners to take action on their discoveries by displaying producer, songwriter and player credits, and connect to artists’ websites or social media, or learn about upcoming performances. Here's a petition on the Grammy site asking for this: http://www.grammy.com/credits
7. Recognize the power of data. Webcasters like Pandora have something that terrestrial broadcasters can never offer, and that’s accurate data about what music is being streamed, how often, and by whom. This is not just good for the accurate payment of royalties to a huge swath of musicians (many of whom have never seen royalties for traditional airplay), it could also be a new way for artists to leverage other sources of revenue. Pandora has already experimented in organizing live shows for artists in areas where there’s lots of Pandora airplay, and it works. Giving musicians and their managers access to data about listener engagement could provide musicians with the tools to efficiently route tours, promote new releases, build closer connections with audiences, and offer higher-priced items to dedicated fans. Access to data should not be traded for lowered digital performance royalties, but we encourage musicians to explore the options, and for webcasters to give musicians access to play data to increase the value of their streams and forge mutually beneficial partnerships with the music community.
FMC remains committed to advocating for the fair compensation for musicians and creators. We will participate in and follow the upcoming negotiations, distilling and translating information for musicians and encouraging policymakers to include musicians in the conversation.
If you’re a musician or artist advocate looking for more ways to get involved, drop us a line.
A webcaster whose primary business is to transmit sound recordings under the statutory license, and not to sell or promote any other service or product
“Muzzling Free Speech By Artists: IRFA Section 5 Analysis,” The Trichordist, November 8, 2012 http://thetrichordist.com/tag/sherman-act/
Just Plain Folks (Finally) Has a Facebook Page:
Okay, so I avoided it for a long long time. But I finally gave in and dipped my toe into the Facebook world. I barely have my own page and the JPF page is mostly a stub so far but I'd love to have you join us. And, anyone who considers themselves a Facebook expert, please help us out to build a nice community page there! Like the page or better yet, join us there! Here's the link:
Official JPF Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/JustPlainFolks
2013 Just Plain Folks Music Awards
We are still waiting for information from our long time partners before we can launch our next music awards. If you are champing at the bit and simply must send your music in right away, we always accept your CD's in hard copy form if you wish to send it to us. Right now is the calm before the storm so here's what you need to include if you'd like to submit your music for our next awards. We'll hang on to it (as we have all previous CD's received) until the next cycle begins.
Inside your package, please include ALL contact info including full name and position (singer, artist, drummer, manager, publisher, attorney, whatever), your full mailing address, your phone number and cell number, and if your CD case does not include a listing of all song titles and songwriters, including whether or not the song is a cover or public domain, you MUST include a listing of this information for your music to be considered in the awards process. In addition, please include your contact info on the physical CD's itself (meaning unwrap it and write it with a sharpie or in some other clearly readable way) because CD's are quickly separated from their cases in our screening process and if your CD has no contact info, band name, album name and song listing, we may not know who you are and would have no way to find you.
Once you've met those requirements, you may also include band bios or whatever else you want (I collect and wear JPF band/artist T-Shirts and/or Hats so if you want to send me one, I wear 3X shirts. If you have a cool one, I'll post a picture of it from somewhere in the world when we're touring and wear them to events).
Send the package to Just Plain Folks, 5327 Kit Dr., Indianapolis, IN 46237.
We do NOT return CD's and we cannot do feedback or critiques simply because we receive thousands of CD's a year and during the awards the numbers are much higher. But we do listen to all the CD's we receive in the order we receive them.
Note to those waiting to enter digitally: We will announce info on the digital entry process ASAP. Please be patient!
Copyright 2012 Just Plain Folks Productions