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Jeff Buckley – 15 years of Grace.

Oh be still my heart…..this man can still make me cry since the first day I heard this record. This post is NOT about music licensing, or copyrights, or any rights for that matter.

It’s simply about magic. He was magic. There is nothing I can say about this man’s music that has not already been said, or felt by music fans and Aritsts the world ’round.

But…..I will say this, I come back to this record over and over and over, and will for the rest of my life. For what reasons, they are different every time. It’s as much an emotional invocation as an escape from the heaviness life can put upon you. Hearing is voice, the rhythm of his songs, is like a grand release, a good cry. You feel massive sweeps of emotion when you hear it and when it is done, you take a deep breathe and feel a little bit better going on with your day.

Rest in Peace Jeff Buckley.

The power of Juxtaposition in Music Licenisng

Jonathan Glazer is one of those Directors that has the magic touch. This spot is incredible, and riveting, as his work always is (Sexy Beast).

One of a few common tricks for music in a commercial is JUXTAPOSITION. This spot is a perfect example.


It shows how the opposite of what you think can sometimes be more engaging then the expected.

How Music Can Effect perception – MPR News Audio Interview

This is a fantastic interview with an Ad Agency Creative and a Music Expert talking about WHY shows and ads use certain types of music from the type of emotional that it emotes.

They explore the “feeling” factor of music and what role it plays in advertising and marketing.

They talk about political ads of late, openings of shows, and of course Apple ads.

The Definitionof a Copyright

I am WAAAAY behind in blog posting – so my apologies for that….

But in doing my online research for my GET YOUR MUSIC LICENSED products today, I found this great little video today. Enjoy and learn!


Neil W. Netanel is Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law in Los Angeles, CA. He specializes in Intellectual Property Law and Copyright Law.

Artisthouse is a great site for learning basics in all kinds of topics as an Artist. Follow this site consistantly for fantastic interviews and updates on issues you need to know about as an artist.

Headed to Belfast for MUSIC WEEK

Well, I am so dang excited.

I got an early birthday present a few weeks ago when I was asked to come give my HOW TO GET YOUR MUSIC LICENSED workshop at the Belfast Music Week. This event looks action packed. Over 100 local bands a nite for a week, and workshops and keynotes all day. I was honored to be invited and thrilled to speak.

Lots of great international press on the event as well. HERE

I am most looking forward to meeting the Artists and Managers of Northern Ireland;m to hear their questions and understand what they need to learn about music licensing.

What an event these folks are putting on! Take a look!

Anybody has some great tips on Belfast – lets hear them! I can hardly wait. If you are attending the event and reading this, please reach out an let me know what questions you would like to ask in advance !

Creative Commons in Fashion; how does it realte to Music Licensing?

I love getting my weekly TED email with the incredible 20 minute speeches from people all over the world, talking about everything from our food sources to electromagnetic fields. It’s a modern media encyclopedia of genius theorems.

In this talk, Johanna Blakley explores the results of an industry that embraces creative commons.

This is serious food for thought in relation to the music copyright industry.

Licensing music of deceased artists to Advertising; moral or not?

I am not the best at checking on my social media channels, but today as I was working today I checked my YouTube page and found that the Chevy Corvette spot I finished last month and posted to my YouTube page had some serious comments on it. I felt the need to share this. First, take a look at the spot:

This track is unmistakable if you have ever been a fan of folk or bluegrass from the 60′s and 70′s. It’s timeless.

Here is what my commenter had to say:

A trend in the commercial music industry I have become greatly upset with is the using of classic American music, largely from the 60′s, to sell things on TV. After hearing the Stones or Nick Drake or now (sadly) John Fahey, countless times lined up with AT & T or Chevy I can’t help but think of their products when I listen to these artists albums at home. This makes me sad.

I don’t want to think of AT & T when I listen to Nick Drake, and I certainly don’t want to think of Chevy when I listen to John Fahey. It’s one thing for the Stones to sell the rights to their songs as they’re living, but lending deceased artists’ music to products in a manner they probably wouldn’t approve of is a morally dubious endeavor.

The two recent and unfortunate choices ( Nick Drake & John Fahey) of using tragic folk musicians, (Drake suicide, Fahey died alone and penniless) to sell items for large multi-billion dollar corporations smacks of a sad irony that plagues today’s commercial industry.

It is important that we do not treat art as a mere commodity. Most certainly John Fahey’s music has nothing to do with selling Chevy’s and I hope in the future you consider the importance and seriousness of the artists and their music whom you align with advertisements on TV. I ask you to think twice before lending deceased artists music to TV ads, ( especially people like John Fahey)

MY REPLY:

I think it is an extreme view to say that using their music is a “morally dubious endeavor.” When a piece of music is used, the rights holders are paid quite well. The music is used legally and the rights are given by the “owners” of that music.

As a matter of fact, one of the gentlemen who helmed this project is the son of one of the former members of The Kingston Trio, whom many consider to be as important a touchstone to folk music as Mr. Fahey was. I think he would agree, if the estate needs the money and the music is reflected in a positive light, it is a great thing for all parties.

So, let me repeat – the rights holders AGREED and they were paid well for the use of music in this commercial. I hope that Mr. Fahey was smart enough to see to it that his estate was set up in a way that his loved ones will get to see that money.

Music Licensing is one of the only consistent and reliable sources of revenue and marketing for artists today, and as the music business does, licensing in advertising follows the trends, and dare I say, sometimes we help set them. There are hundreds of artists who will see this spot and be inspired by the music. There are thousands of people who will see this spot and go buy John Fahey’s record, or even pull their old record back out.

You see this as a tragedy, but we see it as an homage that is one way to keep his spirit alive and back into the collective conscious of the music lovers everywhere. For the record, due to the resurgence in popularity of Nike Drake’s music after the Volkswagen commercial “Pink Moon” (which is arguable one of the best commercials ever made) the record label re-released his music with great success.

HIS REPLY:

You seem to miss my point. My point was not that the estates of Nick Drake and John Fahey may or may not being compensated nicely, it is that these artists, especially John Fahey, would not have wanted his music used to help sell Chevy cars. His music has nothing to do with Chevy cars. Fahey was an avidly independent and non-commercial artist by principle. It is simply inappropriate to use his serious and important music for a car commercial without his permission.

You repeatedly point out that , “everyone is paid nicely” . This however misses the principle of my point : John Fahey certainly would not have approved of his music being used to help Chevy boost its image.

MY REPLY

Your point is taken, but how do you know that Fahey and Drake would say no if they were alive today? There is simply no way to know. I staunchly (as said here) support artists right to say no to music licensing in ads or any other medium. I personally have worked with bands that have turned down hundreds of thousands of dollars based on principle.  But I, again choose to see this as a positive broadcast of John Fahey’s music. Albiet that I am slightly biased, being a music supervisor in commercials.

This brings me to a larger point that you have helped me make sir:

ARTISTS AND MUSICIANS, be clear in your contracts and in your will what you ARE willing to have your music used for. If you have sold your publishing, then you may have lost creative control. The only REAL way we are to know your wishes is if you clearly leave them behind.

Who is to be held responsible for an artist or musicians wishes once he is gone? If the use of your music is important to you, then think about it, write it down and place it into the hands of people you trust. Music is immortal, and there is no way to tell what is coming in the future and in what crazy ways your music might be heard, but give it some serious thought. Don’t let others decide for you.

In the case of John Fahey, the executors of his estate (or if they no longer own the rights to the music, then the label and the publisher) are responsible for making the decision to lend use of a song on behalf of the Artist, not the Agency or the Brand.

To those of you out there who have additional opinions, lets here them.

Music Licensing 101 – For Politicians

Today David Byrne posted on his blog that he is filing suit against Florida Governor Charlie Crist for the illegal use of “Road to Nowhere.”  Crist reportedly began using the song in January, during the Republican primary contestant Marco Rubio. (Crist has since dropped out of the Republican race, and will run as an independent candidate.)” The Guardian reports.

The news seems to be spreading across the internet like another bad Republican joke.

David Byrne’s BLOG POST is very concise and to the point about the matter. I applaud him for his candor and for speaking directly to the public about it.

Lets talk about the meat and bones of this issue. ITS ILLEGAL to use a piece of music without permission, but the issue that strikes the heart of the matter is this……If we cannot trust our political leaders to know the law, and cope to any wrongdoings…..then #$%?

My official political statement on the issue: This goes to show you how insanely out of touch our leaders and future leaders are. So sad. Every employee in the media industry, from a Sr. VP all the way down to a Production Manager knows you have to license a piece of music to use it in a a VIDEO ONLINE or in a TV COMMERCIAL, so how is it that an entire staff of well paid campaign employees and strategists don’t know? Impossible.

My official music licensing statement: David Byrne has a really good point in his article about the fact that, “I still believe songs occasionally mean something to people — they obviously mean something personal to the writer, and often to the listener as well. A personal and social meaning is diluted when that same song is used to sell a product (or a politician).”

Just this week I am being asked to clear a major Billboard hit for a global beauty brand. The artist might well say no to 7 figures based on principle, on the meaning of his song. I support that 100%. It is a personal choice.

The statement given by the Campaign is nothing short of HILARIOUS, as per David Byrne’s BLOG POST. He claims they have used two arguments to defend their wrongdoings:

Fair Use and Free Speech

FAIR USE is defined as limited use of copyrighted material for news reporting, teaching, or research. For the record….Political messages paid for by donations are NOT FAIR USE.

FREE SPEECH, I refuse to define, because anyone who reads this should know the definition. For the record, free speech is not even in the neighborhood with musical copyright.  You can “say” the name of a song, but you cannot PLAY it in your video and call it free speech.

So, to those of your out there that make your living by running political campaigns, you are going to have to play by the rules if you want to use music.

My favorite part about this little debacle, is not even that the warning siren has not already gone off on this issue several times (the most recent being Jackson Brown’s suit against John McCain for misuse of “Running on Empty)……. but  that fact that the generous donors of the Charlie Crist campaign will be helping to fund the settlement if Bryne is to win his $1MM case.

Lastly, and as a final pot shot to old school political methodology in this country, STOP USING GREAT SONGS TO GET YOUR SLOGANS ACROSS.

You might actually have to come up with some original material. Something inspiring….on your own….NOT the words of someone else like David Byrne or Jackson Brown.

Ok…one more point. Artists deserve to be paid. Old or young, rich or poor.

BLOG REQUEST: Top 10 things I hear in Conversation with Ad Folks

I got a request on my twitter the other day by @ShordSweetMusic to blog about what I hear the most in conversation with the good people of Advertising.

GREAT QUESTION.

After 10 years of conference calls, I can tell you, the answers to this question have not changed too much; maybe a little trend swerve, but all in all, the same. I will list them by rank of frequency.

Disclaimer: keep in mind the good majority of people I find and place music for are not music experts, and have a difficult time describing what they are looking for, which is where a Music Supervisor comes in real handy, but that being said, there are man many people in the Ad world who are music carnivores.

#10 – Find us something cool.

#9 – What are you looking for, can you give me a little bit more to go on? (me) ….We will know it when we hear it (them).

#8 – I need a track that builds (them).

#7 – I can’t tell you why we like this song, it just works, can you find another song just like it (them)?

#6 – We would like a track that feels organic, but has alot of energy (them).

#5 -We want a track just like this, but we are open to something else (them).

#4 – I like it, but it just doesn’t go anywhere (them).

#3 – Can I get this track in an instrumental (them)?

#2 – Can we get this track for the budget? Can you just get a ballpark quote from them and see (them)?

#1 – Has anyone else ever used that track? Who (them)?

I look forward to everyone’s comments on this one!!!!!!

GYML Workshop at SXSW Music on Thursday, March 18th at 3:30PM

It’s coming up quick! Another crazy week at SXSW. This year I am honored to be teaching a GYML for Commericals Workshop during the MUSIC conference.

Info can be found here:  http://my.sxsw.com/e/518

If any of you are coing to SXSW – give me a shout out on the GYML Facebook Page and let me know if you have any special questions you want me to cover.

See you in Austin!

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