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Feature Articles

In-depth examinations of real-life situations in the music biz

Free Berklee Handbooks on Songwriting, Production and More!
The online branch of renowned Berklee College of Music is offering a series of five free informational e-booklets, covering songwriting, music production, music business, orchestration and more. Each was written by Berklee faculty member to provide you with exclusive tips and techniques for developing your career. Download them today!

PMA's Randy Wachtler on the State of Production Music
In 1997, the leaders of eight production music libraries formed the Production Music Association (PMA), an organization dedicated to promoting the interests of this specialized community. We caught up with PMA President Randy Wachtler about how production music can benefit music creators, and where the industry is headed.

Marty Khan: WTF Do I Do Now?
The old paths to music stardom are all but shriveled up. So how can a passionate music creator forge a livelihood? As veteran manager and consultant Marty Khan sees it, self-empowerment, collective action and a whole lot of hard work are more than just good ideas - they're requirements.

How to Plan a Successful Album Launch
Your new album is mixed, mastered and ready to go. So what's next? Music Think Tank blogger Ariel Hyatt has some tips on how to make the most of an album release, including a handy-dandy timeline for what to do before and after release day.

Fans on Facebook: What to Do Next to Engage Your Fans, Increase Sales and Grow the Relationship
All the news that's come out about Facebook Music has been really exciting for songwriters. More fans than ever before will be able to discover your music. THIS IS GREAT, but what's next? Here are a few tips on how to engage your fans, grow the relationship, and increase sales through Facebook.

17 Ways Artists Should Use Email to Grow Their Fan Base and Sales (Advice by MusicNomad)
If used right Email and Email management is a powerful tool to make that fan relationship grow, from personalized message to give fans an update on your band or a call for action to buy something from you. We have put together what we believe are the 17 best ways to use Email to connect with and grow your fan base and sales.

How You Can Clear Cover Songs, Samples, and Handle Public Domain Works
Licenses allow you to legally distribute, cover, and adapt music you don't own or control. Knowing which licenses exist and how to obtain them saves headaches, aggravation, and most importantly — exorbitant legal fees incurred from copyright infringement.

Direct-to-Fan: Advice from Nimbit on Hitting Your True Potential
There's been some debate recently about how artists will continue to get paid for their craft. Direct-to-fan marketing and sales has shown promise, but unless you actively take it on, you could miss its potential to grow your fanbase and maximize the money you earn. We've asked the direct-to-fan experts at Nimbit to help demystify the process with some practical advice.

Nimbit's Five Steps to a Successful Album Pre-Sale
Pre-Selling your album is one of the best sales tools you have in the direct to fan arsenal. A successful pre-sale campaign takes careful planning, excellent execution, and a solid understanding of your fans. The key in every step is to create reasons to engage and reasons to buy while making your fans feel great about supporting you. Carefully planning your messaging and product releases can go a long way toward creating and sustaining interest. Building up the release by introducing tickets sales and product sales geared towards different segments of your fan base will give you reasons to engage them multiple times. Here are Nimbit's five steps to a successful pre-sale.

TuneCore Offers Ten Tips to Sell More Music Online
You're an artist, composer, you make and perform music: here are some easy ways to get discovered and sell more music. From cover songs to searchability, from iMixes to affiliate programs, TuneCore has some great tips for you to help your music get heard.

Introducing FanRank: The world's first automated fan list segmentation engine based on loyalty/engagement.
So you're really getting into this whole Fan Relationship Management game. You know the #1 thing to building a successful (and long term) career as an artist is to get smart about managing fans and making sure to communicate with them regularly across email, social networks, etc. But how do you know which fans on your list are Super Fans, that will do/buy anything for you, and which fall into other fan segments (ie. Casual Fans, At-Risk Fans)? The answer is simple, FanRank.

Three Types of Feedback For Your Fan Emails
If you send an email about a new show to your fan list and no one opens it, have you effectively announced the event? Probably not. Improving your fan email newsletters can be easy if you know the three most important types of feedback to care about. FanBridge helps you collect and analyze this important feedback, and the platform is used by musicians large and small to make sending and tracking fan email lists, mobile lists, and social networks easy and effective. FanBridge is an ASCAP Member Benefit (giving you a discount!) which will help you build a constantly growing mailing list of engaged fans.

Three Key Fan List Strategies You Need to Know
A fan list is a powerful tool that many artists don't take full advantage of. It has been proven countless times that artists who are good about staying in touch with their fans have a higher chance of continually gaining new fans, increasing music sales, getting more people to live shows, and having longer careers. FanBridge is the leading provider of Fan Relationship Management services for musicians, managing well over 50 million fan relationships. FanBridge is an ASCAP Member Benefit (giving you a discount!) which will help you build a constantly growing mailing list of engaged fans.

Practical Advice on Composing for the Screen - An Interview with Jeff Rona
Jeff Rona's impressive composer credits include Ridley Scott's White Squall, contributions to Traffic, Black Hawk Down, Mission: Impossible 2, and Gladiator as well as Chicago Hope and Profiler and even music for the 2008 Olympics. In the newly expanded edition of his book The Reel World, Rona details the technical, business, and creative aspects of becoming a successful film scorer. Jeff Rona recently spoke to ASCAP with some great advice and inspiration for aspiring composers and songwriters and film lovers.

The Gain from Games – Video game music composers should reserve their performance rights
Rock Band®, Guitar Hero®, Dance Dance Revolution® (DDR), Stubbs the Zombie® — these are just a few examples of video games in which music has increasingly become a focal point, or at the least, an important element. As a side note, for those indie-rock fans, the Stubbs the Zombie soundtrack is quite good, featuring classic covers performed by bands such as Rogue Wave, Death Cab for Cutie, The Raveonettes, The Flaming Lips, and last but not least, The Dandy Warhols. I highly recommend it.

We Got You Covered – A Music Supervisors Guide to Licensing
Maya Halfon is a music superviso at Michael Welsh Productions. She started out at the fully independent electronic label, Quango, doing marketing and then pitching music in house to film, TV and advertising, as well as handling in house licensing before coming to MWP. Now MWP specializes in music for advertising.

Delegating The Heavy Lifting: A Musicians Guide for Getting Help & Support
I travel a lot to speak at music conferences and I see this all of the time: Musicians squirming in their seats as I present ideas on how to improve their marketing. The idea of having to do one more thing is just unbearable to them, and they literally begin to melt down in front of me.

Musicians Twitter Roadmap
I recently interviewed my friend Laura Fitton AKA Pistachio (that's her twitter handle) and I asked her to walk with me through creating a musicians roadmap for Twitter. It answers the question: If you wanted to create a community to promote yourself as a musician on Twitter and you didn't really have a lot of technological "social networking know how" How do you do it?

Digital Songwriter
In this piece, originally published in ASCAP's Playback Magazine, Fant-Saez explains how to maximize ASCAP's Collaborator Corner powered by eSession and collaborate with songwriters from all over the world right in your home studio.

Getting Started & Ariel's Top 6 Facebook Apps For Musicians
Facebook is here to stay. I know a lot of artists who are already overwhelmed with MySpace tend to feel daunted by the whole concept of introducing yet another social network into their lives. On September 4, 2008 Facebook launched "new" Facebook and the new interface is easier to use than before.

Songwriter and Music Publisher Agreements:
A Relationship Necessary For Success

Many times the first contact that a songwriter has with this business side of music is through dealings with a music publisher. Included here are explanations of the different types of music publisher agreements.

How To Acquire Music For Films
Frequently Asked Questions For Student and Independent Filmmakers

Getting Your Music Heard
Tips & quotes from music placement companies, production music companies, independent publishers, labels and music supervisors

The Grammy Foundation's Entertainment Law Initiative
President and COO of Universal Music Group Zach Horowitz gave the keynote address at the 2007 Grammy Foundation's Entertainment Law Initiative luncheon on the threat of unlawful P2P services and how Universal is empowering new business models, developing new revenue streams and harnessing the opportunities that the digital age presents.

Alan and Marilyn Bergman on Songwriting
Two award-winning, lyric-writing collaborators talk about their art in this three-part article

Insider Tips on Copyright From Official Copyright
Official Software gives ASCAP Members the inside scoop on protecting musical works through copyrights.

Creating a Winning Website: (Part 1) / (Part 2)
What works. What doesn't. What You Need to Know About Building a Great Website With ASCAP's New Web Tools.

Moving Tips
One of ASCAP's Member Benefit partners, North American Van Lines, offers some tips to make moving an easy transition.

The Future of Music
Marilyn Bergman, ASCAP President and Chairman of the Board, talks about the songwriter's perspective on copyright issues.

Ben Harper: Will = Power
Ben Harper shares his experiences in songwriting (recollections from the Lester Sill West Coast Songwriters' Workshop).

Creativity and the Internet: "Artist" or "Content Provider"?
Vernon Reid discusses the conflicts creators face in the digital domain.

John Debney — and the Art of the Film Score
Debney talks about his craft and how he carved his own niche in today's film music world.

Songs Into Film & Television
Want To Get Songs Into Film & Television? Here are helpful tips from a group of music supervisors.

Those Things He Do
An interview with Adam Schlesinger, the writer of That Thing You Do.

R&B Dialogues: Intimate Conversations with Those Who Influence the Industry
featuring Rory Bennett, Marcus Miller, Big Jon Platt, Tamara Savage, Stan Sheppard and Jeanie Weems. The panelists share their experience: essential reading for anyone looking to get ahead in the music business.

John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls
Interview excerpts from an ASCAP sponsored panel held in Los Angeles.

Got Stagefright? Be Not Afraid
At the Vanguard of Mind-Body Medicine, a breakthrough technique for enhancing performance is available.

The Name Game
What's in a band name? A potential legal battle if you don't plan ahead wisely. Here's the legal scoop behind naming your group.