Explaining music royalties and other confusing revenues

Music dollar and royaltiesBefore the digital age, music presented an already complicated business for artists to understand. But the fragmentation created by the Internet has created a baffling array of rights, royalties, and revenue streams, along with innumerable organizations authorized to collect these revenues. I’ve been in the music business for a couple of decades now, releasing albums. I’m still surprised to learn things I didn’t know. This post attempts to break down the various royalties and rights, and how they are collected. If you don’t already know this—or if you think you know it (like I did) but can’t explain it in detail to someone else—you’re probably losing out on revenue. Continue reading →

Is technology destroying music and culture?

A book about how technology is destroying cultureIn the August 28, 2017 issue of The New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert writes about a the impact of technology on culture. She reviews a new book by Jonathan Taplin, “Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy.” While technology and the Internet have benefited us with convenience and expansive social connectivity (especially for niche areas), it has also damaged culture. That is the premise of the book.

Taplin offers the example of Levon Helm, the drummer for the Band. Though he never got rich off his music, he was supported by royalties into middle age, earning about $100,000 a year. Continue reading →

New troubles for music industry

various iconsRecent reports highlight new troubles for the music industry and artists who try to earn a living through music. What the digital realm giveth, the digital realm taketh away. Like so many other developments, these erode cultural support for musicians. I’m no fan of the corporate music industry, which has long taken advantage of musicians, but most musicians these days just can’t win. Continue reading →

Where to find free sheet music online

Sheet music for "Stormclouds"I was looking for online resources recently where I could make my sheet music freely available. I thought it would be a good way to spread word about my latest solo piano album, Butter Avenue. Whether you’re a novice or an accomplished player, there are a few good sites that offer free scores. I’ve provided my impressions of the more prominent sites below, as well as those you might want to avoid. My solo piano pieces are available at my favorite site, free-scores.com. “Stormclouds” is the most popular download at the moment. The image on the left is the first page of the piano score. It requires an intermediate skill level to play, but some of my pieces are written in an easy style. Continue reading →