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Thread Like Summary
cecileemusic, JAPOV, Marty Helly, Tom Shea
Total Likes: 16
Original Post (Thread Starter)
by John Lawrence Schick
John Lawrence Schick
Music business is a little slow the last two months. Only 10 placements in two month. And this last month only 3. So what to do when things slow down? I turn to my first love - classical piano. I don't care about placments when I'm composing serious music. It's just joyful - even though the music is melancholy. Melancholy joyful, one of my favorite moods...

So here's my work this weekend. The first song on the webpage. Nocturne in Blue: https://johnlarenceschick.com/home

Best, John smile
Liked Replies
by Marc Barnette
Marc Barnette

I have watched so many things hit the "live industry" even before the pandemic, that has driven it nearly into the ground.

In the 80's, karaoke came in and became a huge factor in dialing back live bands, duos, or singles. Let the crowd be the show.

That led to Karaoke contests, which became a huge money deal when American Idol and the voice "Legitimized Kareoke" nights. Movies, TV shows, etc. exploded celebrating the amateur singers in the population.

Contests became a huge deal in every type of entertainment, thereby cutting down the nights where professionals could actually make any money. And since there were more people now doing it, (The Internet exploded with performers) the amount of money that any venue would offer was nothing or next to nothing.

The cost of liability insurance, drunk driving arrests, increased competition, health and other regulations, all drove the cost of doing business up and the ability to pay for entertainment down.

The costs of going out increased by huge multiples, for average families or individuals, so it became fewer and farther between, and the threat of losing your liscence, your car, insurance, etc, by DUI arrests for even a small amount of alcohol in a system, weeded out many people.

Subscription services or streaming with constant music, replacing live music. ANd people who were losing the connection with the "live" context in the first place.

The general population who can get endless music on their computers, easy access even from the major artists.

Costs of concert tickets, etc. going out.

Societal upheaval, causing rips in the entire culture Going out to dinner to have a group of people surround and attack cars, assault people at resturants, mayhem and riots, property and physical destruction, will have an overall effect on venues, entertainers, and ability to conduct music.

The latest thing that had happened before the pandemic was venue after venue being sued by ASCAP, BMI and SESAC, for venues lacking proper payments for liscencing music. As money has dissapeared in other sections due to streaming, the PRO's have tried to make it up by going after many places, mostly smaller Mom and Pop venues, many of which are barely hanging on to begin with. If it comes down to paying employees, food and alcohol costs, liability insurance, rent, water, etc. the last thing to be paid is going to be entertainers. And if you are letting them play original music, paying them for that through increased fees is not even on the radar screen. So venue after venue have dropped paying the PRO's one by one. Again, since there are less and less venues and more and more writer/artists, the ability to get paid slowly ebbs away and dissapears.

Similar things are going to happen in television and film. As more go to alternative venues, productions, and more content is added, viewership gets more and more displaced, and spread out, the payments for that type of music will decline as well. Again, more people putting more and more product into the pipeline, different production companies, the less and less money they are going to pay.

Supply and demand never stops. More supply, more dissipated damand, and the amount of money paid is going to decline. Same as streaming has done. Just a matter of time.

So, as I said, I unforunately believe that we are headed for a time when all, or most of music is completely free. It;s something that all writers have to prepare for. A sad but true sign of the times.

2 members like this
by John Lawrence Schick
John Lawrence Schick
Hey Marc! Wow, a billion songs a month? That means 500 million songwriters have to finish a minimum of two songs a month. Sorry, just trying to wrap my head around a billion songs a month – ha, ha.

Well, yes, endless music out in Cyber Land. Although, 99% (just a guesstimate) follows a tried-and-true writing method, i.e., following the closest related chords and predictable melodies (little dissonance or deviations from the diatonic Major/ Minor scales). So, I imagine that there is very little new and / or interesting songs out there. Please, Cyber songwriters, break from the standard chord progressions.

I’ve heard many times, musicians saying there is nothing new to compose. I disagree, there is infinite possibilities outside of the predictable. 12 tones and their octaves have limitless possibilities. Possibilities that have been scarcely explored. Of course, that’s easy for an instrumental composer to say. Songwriters have to come up with new lyrical ideas. – as well as new melodies. And yes, today’s attention span could use some remodeling. Probably only a handful of subjects that would garner attention from the Cyber audience, for more than 10 seconds.

Okay, I had my say. Now I can go take my daily afternoon nap.

Best, John smile
2 members like this
by Brian Austin Whitney
Brian Austin Whitney
I am curious John, as a creative exercise, if you could compose some short pieces "in the style of" famous composers?

I think it would make for a fun video compilation for one of our artist interviews. I approached a well known Instrumentalist (kind of a household name in their genre) but he thought it would be too difficult on his instrument. Do you think you could take a crack at it John? If it was fun it might be a viral video.
1 member likes this
by John Lawrence Schick
John Lawrence Schick
Originally Posted by Brian Austin Whitney
I am curious John, as a creative exercise, if you could compose some short pieces "in the style of" famous composers?

I think it would make for a fun video compilation for one of our artist interviews. I approached a well known Instrumentalist (kind of a household name in their genre) but he thought it would be too difficult on his instrument. Do you think you could take a crack at it John? If it was fun it might be a viral video.

Yes, I've already composed about 15-20 piano solos in the style of the Greats. I posted three of them on my website. In the order on my website: https://johnlarenceschick.com/home #3 In the Style of Mozart #4 In the Style of Gershwin #5 In the Style of Bach.

Best, John smile
1 member likes this
by Marc Barnette
Marc Barnette
Well almost all musicians and writers have headed to the online world as they don't really have any choice. So yes, it will be much more competitive going forward.
1 member likes this
by Marc Barnette
Marc Barnette
Yep, me too John ,Hey, you ought to try to book a band I perform with from time to time. 13 peice full R&B horn band. Chicago, Blood Sweat and Tears, Ides of March, Joe Cocker, Van Morrison, Otis Redding. Ray Charles, etc. Try to book that thing these days. LOL!
It's why we play once a year whether we have to or not!

1 member likes this
Oh, come on Marc... The "music industry" is not that old. Buddy Holly and the Crickets were recording in a garage back when producers were still beating the bushes looking for opportunities to make money. Now, you can't get a producer's attention without money... Travel has always been part of the equation lol.

I could be wrong... but... the way I see it, music has always been one of those things that musicians look at an say, "Well, if he can do it so can I." So, it simply didn't take very long for the market to become saturated with both producers and musicians. The biggest change I see today is musicians becoming their own producers.
1 member likes this
by Marc Barnette
Marc Barnette
Pitch what? You can pitch to anyone you write with. Aside from that, you're pretty much pitching to yourself. Headliners are LONG GONE from anyone's reach. And the people you have to go through usually have a LOT more gold and platinum records than you do, so you don't really qualify.
But hey, you can always go for it. Go ahead and pitch. You also can just walk onto the practice field of a major Pro football team too and start playing. Not really advisable, but you can try it

There is a real world out there. Best to understand the rules before you get on the field.

1 member likes this
by Marc Barnette
Marc Barnette
It's business. When you are a smaller venue, withall of the things that are involved in the costs of doing business as well as the increased competition, not to mention what has happened to the venues during pandemics, paying what often seem to be exorbinant rates for the use of music is an economic decision. They can't afford it. They will go to a music subscription service. Contrary to popular belief, live music is not as essential as it once was. Like everything else, music is in the background of our lives now, not in the foreground. And it's not just covers, it's originals as well. It's any live music. If you have live music, you have to pay BMI/ASCAP/SESAC, liscencing fees, which often are arbitrarily decided on. Venues resturants, bars, pubs, clubs, etc, are not on the profit margins most people think they are.

So having live music at all is being phased out in many places. But again, this has happened long before the Pandemic. This has been something happening for well over 20 years. BAck when I was really performing a lot and then phasing into my teaching phase of my career, I started being at many of the "final live shows" of venues that had been around for a long time. Meeting with managers, owners, etc. were always financial considerations. They were not making as much money, indeed, many losing money. On many occasions, I was brought in as a "last gasp" of some venues, thinking that I would bring some extra business (which did happen at times) or have some special "magic" (I didn't) to inject life into some place. I did many songwriters workshops and shows in some resturant bar, bring in two or three dozen people, who ate, drank, and had a good time, making the venue good money for that day or days. Then to find out they closed a few days or weeks later, because that was the last gasp.

The present lackadasical attitude of the general public in many areas toward live music is pretty interesting. It's just not that big a deal anymore. There are pockets of course, was just in Florida,where things are opening back up and pretty active. But in many places, audience numbers have been down even before the Pandemic. There are just a lot of competing factors for the consumer dollar now. And the Internet has brought endless choices to people's home computers and phones. They just don't place the same priorities on it.

As far as outlawing music instruments, while that's not happening, another segment of the culture that has taken enormous hits due to the Internet are brick and mortar music stores. They are passing into history too, as people go to more online purchasing. Nashville is down to two or three left, with most of the rest closing left and right.

So in all of this, I don't know that it's MONEY that screws everything up. In regard to music, it's the LACK of money that is screwing everything up.

1 member likes this
by Marc Barnette
Marc Barnette
I've always been struck by the fact that if you go back in time, to the days of Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Hank Williams, etc. you found that they would be out on the weekends traveling hundreds of miles, with a bass guitar strapped to the top of a station wagon,driving all over, trying to get to some radio station to do some interview so that people would come out to the dance on the weekend. And make barely enough to make all their ends meet. Always some producer, manager, agent, record lable, publisher, etc, made most of the money and contolled what they did. And they never recieved what they had earned. And much of what they did earn is still in some form of legal action today.

60 years later, and every musician is out there trying to navigate the millions of miles of the Internet, to scrape together enough gigs or interest to get people to come out and see them, possibly buy some form of product, and trying to develop an audience, often not even making enough to make ends meet. And internet service providers, and other platforms, make the majority of the money and control what they do. And they rarely make the money they've earned.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

1 member likes this
by Marc Barnette
Marc Barnette
Tony, I think you need to do a little historical research. The term "Payola" came from "Pay and Victrola." They were having pay to play problems in the 20's and 30's. It got really bad in the 50's with Allen Freed, but there has always been politics and money involved in music. But the point (you always seem to have a problem with that) is that musicians, artists, writers, are always having to go to extrodinary lengths to get themselves and their music heard, which anyone who has ever had to travel any length of time and end up making virtually no money will know, basically ANYBODY who has ever done music.

Having anything that actually pays off in music is a rarity, and the exception, not the rule. And it's always been that way. Now the platforms are the ones making the money. It always takes money to make money. And in music, it takes money to make no money. That's the rule. You're lucky to just not go broke.

1 member likes this
by John Lawrence Schick
John Lawrence Schick
"John, you're probably just getting more miliage overseas than here, so your checks are larger"

Maybe Marc, but I don't have time to analize the statements. The domestic statement is 60 pages and the International is 90 pages. Seems a lot of my old domestic placements are showing up on my International statement. I'll get one show showing up in 7-8 different countries. Like this show airing in Canada: "000012 DAILY SHOW WITH TREVOR NOAH DAILY SHOW WITH TREVOR NOAH OPRAH WINFREY $65.32". Not bad for one play, but a Country like Malaysia, would have only paid a couple dollars for the same show. This is massive accounting. I'm sure there's some computerize technology that calculates all this. Then ASCAP has to convert all the foreign currency to ours. Amazing though...

John smile
1 member likes this
by Marc Barnette
Marc Barnette
Thanks John,

It's find of weird, some people think I am some kind of "defend the music business" guy. I'm not. While I've always been on the perephery of the music business, had publishing deals, cuts, etc i've never gotten all bogged down into the details or been hamstrung by what the business is and is not. I've always sort of operated in my own world, which is why I'm still around while most of my contemporaries are long gone, quit, died off, or simply moved on to other things.
But I always know people who are there, people who are writers publishers, artists, managers, agents, venue owners, etc. that DO know what's going on. I've been able to see all this as a more or less outside observer. I don't really have a dog in the hunt. Doesn;'t matter to me if I ever get another cut. Doesn;t matter if any artist I work with strikes gold and becomes a big star. It would always be interesting, but not that big a deal to me, would not really change anything I do.

Once, when I was working with Frankie Ballard, someone asked me "What are you going to be doing after Frankie gets signed and things start kicking in?"
I said, "The day before it happens, I'll be working with artists, and writers, talking about songwriting, networking, the business of music.
The day after it happens, I'll be working with artists and writers, talking about songwriting, networking and the business of music."

And that's been pretty much what I've done.

When someone asks a question that is in my wheelhouse, I experience it personally or know people that experience it, I'll give my take on it. People can take it or leave it. But it is from the people involved with doing this.

I don't know where music will end up but people need to be involved in whatever level they are involved in with eyes open and have a love for the process and what they are doing. That should be it. If things happen, if they find themselves in positions to make money or make inroads, they should do that but be aware of the larger picture.
Anything I talk about is the bigger picture. I hope it helps.

Thanks, and congratulations on your victories. They are few and far between, but everything that keeps you moving forward is a VICTORY!

1 member likes this
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