It's All About The Music 




James Dean Fisher
Nashville Tennessee Damn Good Tunes Editor

                        Female vs. male airplay; Is there a real problem?

 

Back in the days when I started my career in the music/entertainment industry, there was no such problem, if there is a problem, with playing too much of a gender, male or female. In those days of radio broadcast, spinning records paid the bills, we had all the major artists, as well as many artists that are known today as, " Independents " of which we had in rotation on a hourly and daily basis. Most of the smaller stations usually closed and shut down around dark in the evenings and resumed broadcast around 5 AM in the mornings. As DJs, with some of the radio personnel known as newscasters, we all went about the daily task carrying out the business of the radio station, each had our own individual job, as well as doing other duties if necessary.

 One of the things that we did not have to worry about was who got played the most, male or female artists. We had Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Patti Page, Kitty Wells and a host of other female singers, as well as, Roy Acuff, Webb Pierce, Hank Williams Senior, Jimmy Rogers, the Louven Brothers, Willie Nelson, Faron Young, Bill Monroe and all of the current day recording artists. We also had a number of independent artists from the local area, all of which we played without discrimination. Sure, the big labels like RCA, Capital, Decca, Columbia, Sun, all of which had " Reps.,” that came around, usually monthly, made their presence and influence ominously present. The program director, of which was one of the owners of the station where I worked had a very simple philosophy about the music and the artists that the air personalities played daily. He usually spent a couple of hours in the evenings after the station closed, listening to new records. The ones that made the cut were not records that he personally liked, ah sure, there were that were his favorites, but he always made it a policy to listen for professionalism, production, as well as radio audience acceptance.

Perhaps the PD (program director) could've been a little more selective and more stringent about the records that came into the station but the most important thing the radio stations kept in mind, was who was recording music, making records that were selling. When these records were played on the radio, people would go to the local stores were records were sold and buy these records. Many artists in those days, sold literally thousands of singles at around $.79 each, with albums selling for around $2.99 and selling thousands. The radio stations made a very good income from the local advertisers and the advertisers sold their products, generating income for their business! WHY CAN RADIO NOT SIMPLIFY THE RADIO BUSINESS and create a level playing field for the artists, both independent and major label? With a format of this nature, there would be more music on the market, more artists would be able to earn a livable income doing what they trained most of their lives to do!

Radio stations, one and all, should lay down the politics! They should concentrate on producing professional quality music, dispensing the politics and discrimination that is so prevalent in radio broadcast in today's radio entertainment industry. It's been said that money is the root of all evil, consequently, in today's entertainment world, money begets evil, and therefore, politics berths evil of every nature.

Should radio stations play more female artist? Should they play more male artist? Essentially, reality should prevail; there are enough male and female artists to satisfy a world of music lovers. From my perspective, there are enough male artists, as well as female artists to satisfy the listening audience in the radio broadcast industry. Once there were more male artists and I was one of the people that welcomed the influx of female artists. Female artists give a different prospective and spin to a song. Most of them have a way of bringing out their most enter feelings, making the listening audience stop and take a second listen to the song. That is a good thing.

 It is a proven fact that the request from the listing audience must and does play a very important role in what gets played and what doesn’t. The song generates revenue for the station and its advertisers and sells records and sheet music. (Yea, there are still sheet music copies for many songs) The P.D. usually makes the decisions about the material the station plays, as well as the quality of the recordings that come in for rotation. If the production is not up to professional broadcast standards, the P.D. will ditch the record. No airplay for the artist that recorded the record. This is the utmost reason to get into a good recording studio with pro musicians and production engineers in order to get a broadcast-ready record before sending the record(CD) or MP3 out to radio, as well as a waste of good money! Another thing that a new artist must consider is his or her reputation. The reputation a new artist, or any artist builds will stay with that artist throughout most of their professional recording career, hence, great songs and production is an absolute must! Just a note for thought: there aren’t many Willie Nelsons around anymore, old Willie can write and record anything and get it played, so if you must waste mucho dollars and have plenty of them to waste, make sure your records are broadcast quality. 


A typical family from yesteryear gathered around the radio
( photo courtesy  www.uh.edu )

In today’s music world, social media is a very powerful tool. The artist, at any level, can utilize to influence record sales, as well as airplay, and sometimes spawning a very lucrative recording career. If you are a new artist or a struggling artist, take a look at what is available to you as tools to get your music out to the public and sale records. Are you going to sell millions of records on social media? The answer is usually, a grand NO! Social media can spread your name throughout the world with just the touch of the mouse on a computer and hand devises of which we all process! An artist can introduce himself and his music to the world with just the ability to take some time to develop a program or an app that has the artist’s information and contact and how to buy the music.

Starting a fan club may sound dated, but it sells records and merchandise! An artist can burn CDs, print their own labels and mail these CDs to radio stations all over the world, however, with one of the more recent tools called MP3’s, shipping and distribution has become less of a burden to emerging artists. It is a known fact, in today’s world; you will experience theft of your music! If one could find a method by which music theft can be conclusively stopped, there are millions of artists that would gladly pay for the knowledge and the ability to stop people around the world from stealing their music!

Whether or not female artists are getting more airplay from broadcast radio than their male counterparts, is most certainly undetermined conclusively. Which gender sales more music, records and sheet music is yet to be definitively proven. Listen folks, with the small numbers of male and female artists on major labels today, producing major label records, there is a major void in broadcast ready music and this catastrophe could be changed with more and more independent artists producing broadcast quality records and CDs and getting great music out to the radio stations. I feel that program directors and DJs will and would welcome more great records and CDs. From my experience, great music, the more the better, is what generates revenue for the radio broadcast stations, TV and anyplace where broadcast music is sold.

 I have found that politics plays a much larger role in what music, the genres of music, as well as what artists get their music played in rotation in today’s broadcast radio. Small independent radio, sometimes, can do more for an artist than the major radio stations. Naturally, this will depend on the location of the radio station and its broadcast power. If you have a new record that you want to get on the radio, one of the old tried-and-true methods is to work the independent radio stations in your area. Whether you are male or female or a group, get out there, get a list of independent and other radio stations within 100 mile radius of where you live and work! Go by and talk to the program director and the disc jockey. Introduce yourself, dress appropriately, dress as a professional and act professional when you speak with these people, simply, because your first impression will be the first of many great relationships with radio or, on the other hand, YOU can make it your last impression! You are asking, how am I supposed to do this, where do I get the money to do this? Use the money that you waste on things you can do without, put this money into the expense of going around to these radio stations and getting to know the radio personalities, as well as the program directors. This will pay off in terms beyond your wildest imagination! It is a true fact, you will NOT know until you put forth the effort!

 So, broadcast radio PLEASE play BOTH female and male music, give it a level playing field and there will not be any controversy about who gets played most!  


James Dean Fisher 
Nashville Editor - Damn Good Tunes
damngoodtunesNVE@aol.com

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CAN THE INDEPENDENT ARTIST-WRITERS SQUEEZE THE MAJOR LABELS OUT OF THE BUSINESS?


CONTINUED FROM PAGE ONE

Could this be a real pipe dream!? The independent recording artists, writers, entertainers make up over 80% of all the artists involved in today's entertainment/recording industry. These numbers, depending upon where you look, are extensively impressive. The general makeup in the recording industry consists of independent artists, and dependent writers. With numbers like these, the inexperienced, financially unable notwithstanding, all of the independent artists that has and is spending millions of hard-earned dollars in an attempt to get a commercial product (record) on the market, could put a huge dent in the records that are recorded and distributed to the major radio stations if all the independent artists would unite. With that being said, and with good commercial records consistently and regularly hitting the market, why would the programmers at these major stations, not place these records on their playlist and into rotation?

If there were an abundance of good commercial records being recorded and shipped to the radio stations, it would be good business on the part of the music programmer, to utilize this product and take full advantage of this scenario. In today's world of entertainment, commercial recordings and the record business in general, PAYOLA is forbidden and is a crime! You’re say,” HA, HA, HA, no PAYOLA,” you say? Anybody that has been in the music business, recording industry, in general, knows quite well how the payoffs take place and where they come from. But, with good commercial records coming into the radio station on a regular basis, and the artists calling, visiting the radio station, applying pressure on the station management and its program director, the independent artists sticking together as a group, could make a historical change in the way radio stations receive, play and change the way they do business!


Go ahead, I can hear you now, you say this cannot be done! IT CAN'T BE DONE!? How does anyone know if this concept has not been tried? Just a small effort on the part of a few of the artists will not get this done, however, large numbers of artists standing up and sticking together would and could accomplish this monumental feat! After all, the record business was started in the beginning, by the indie artist. At that time, there were no major record companies. How did the records get made, you are asking; the artist went to a local radio station and used their wire recording machine to record the vocals and the musicians played live backup and the recording was made, then pressed onto an acetate master then pressed onto vinyl to be carried to the local stations for airplay. No mixing, no master mix as we know today. My, my, how things have changed! They have changed for the best and the advancements are state of the art technology today. Then someone decided to create a label that did the recording for the artist needing a record cut. The major labels were then born! It is very true, the big major labels have gobs of money these days to throw around and the money does the talking. They have the up-front funds to distribute the product, drop in the right hands where and when needed. Do all of the records recorded by major labels make the playlist? NO, they do not, but this is the way they have been doing business for years. The records that do not make it and cost lots of money is written off as a loss to the business (label) and saves the company money to apply to other profitable products that do make the playlist and sells are profitable due to the “Paid-for” airplay the big labels pay the big bucks for. It’s Business as usual. The indie artists do not have this advantage, therefore, they must use other tactics to get their records to the radio stations and get the stations to play the record. Indie records have to be as good or maybe, better in production and quality, than the major label products, otherwise, the indie record cannot compete, therefore, going nowhere. Indie artists MUST UNITE, get organized and STICK TOGETHER in order to get recognition and respect in the record business! Getting back to the basics and how it was done before there were major labels and big money, is the road to indie record success in today’s music business.

Just think about this for a moment - how many indie artists are there in the music business as compared to the major artists on major label? The numbers in comparison are staggering!

There are other ways the indie artists, as well as their friends, fans and family, can have an impact on what is played on the local radio stations. If the stations refuse to agree to consider the indie artists’ record/CDs, then action must taken . Just think, with all of your friends and family jumping on the bandwagon, boycotting the radio stations, as well as record sales outlets, such as, Walmart, Target, Kmart, Amazon, CDbaby? Essentially, the answer is the station management will get a wake-up call. Problematic, of course it is! There again, one or two or three multiplied by large numbers of people sympathetic to the plight of the varieties of music that could be available for airplay if the indie artists were able to get their music on the radio for airplay rotation! Just think of the varieties, styles and variations of music that would be available to the listening public if radio would simply not discriminate among artists. The major broadcast companies most certainly do discriminate against the independent recording artists, and they openly, consciously discriminate, with no fear of retribution!

We have all heard that one major artist constantly bragging about the millions of dollars raked in each year. If the radio stations played recording artists on grounds of quality and public demand, there would be more variety, more talent showcased regularly and the radio listening audience would have a vast amount of music genres to choose from when listening to radio. These major artists, just a couple of dozen, make millions from airplay simply because radio plays the same 20 to 40 records over and over and over each day. When radio plays the same record over and over continuously, they are basically cramming this artist down the listening audience’s throat! Many of the major artists are forced and coerced by the record company and the producer, into recording records not chosen by the artist, but by the record company and its producers. The artist goes along with it simply because they know unequivocally, it is, go along with the producer and the record companies’ wishes, or lose their record deal. Sure, after a couple of big hit records, the artist has some input into what songs they record, so long as the songs and the production is in conformation with the other records and artists on the playlist. By doing so, these artists make millions, tour year-round, while the indie artists are literally starving to death! Does this seem fair, one might ask? Of course it isn’t! The record company is interested only in the most profit, most revenue these few major artists can generate in the shortest length of time. Folks, this is just the way the record labels do business in the 21stcentury! The major artists must generate the revenue by selling millions of product or their record deal is right down the toilet, and the artists with it. The major artist in today’s music business must make the most revenue in their short-term career, because when their record sales drop, it’s just a matter of time until that artist is placed on the back burner and someone new takes their place. No longevity, no extended career, it is now or a brand-new face is waiting in the producer’s office to take your place. The current major artist must make their money now; the artist will be old news within 3 to 4 years. Time is of the essence with the major labels and their stable of artists in today’s so-called country music market.

All indie artists and entertainers SHOULD boycott the large box stores and music outlets where major artist’s product is sold. Hurt the pocket books of the major labels and demand the stores stock indie artists as well as the major artist’s records. If enough people would demand the sales outlets stock indie records and not buy the major artist’s records until they agree to sell indie artist’s product, and radio start playing them, there would be a landslide change in record sales and the indie artists would be on the same playing field as other artists on major labels. Would they sell as much product? They would not, however, the records would be available should someone go looking for a song recorded by a particular indie artist. A level playing field would be good for the economy, good for the musicians and singers and record companies because more records would be sold. Radio would have a larger listening audience and sales form advertised products would skyrocket once again. The radio audience would grow because more people would be able to get and hear what they want to hear from radio. Folks, check out the indie artists, YOU WILL FIND some great music that is different and fresh!!

WE HERE AT DAMNGOODTUNES.COM FOCUS ON THE INDIE ATISTS AND INDIE MUSIC BECAUSE NO ONE ELSE SEEMS TO CARE ABOUT THE individuality of music and its artists. WE ARE ALL BOUT THE MUSIC and we show it in our publications and content. Most of the personnel as well as the editor-n-chief are indie musicians. We love what we do and what we can do for the artists we feature.

In this article, it is my intention to bring to the forefront the importance of the indie artist and the need for the individuality that is brought about by the indie artist music business.

FOR THE FIRST TIME, YOU CAN VOICE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS SUBJECT (Do Not Write a book!)HERE @ damngoodtunesnve@aol.com   

 


LITTLE JIMMY DICKENS

While performing up in the Midwest, Jimmy met Roy Acuff. Mr. Acuff would eventually ask Jimmy Dickens to come down to Nashville, Tennessee to perform on one of the most famous radio shows on the globe, the world famous Grand Ole Opry on W. S. M., Radio. Jimmy Dickens, having cut his teeth on performing on live radio, took the experience in stride, soon becoming a Grand Ole Opry favorite. While touring the south west, Jimmy met Marty Robbins at a radio station, so, returning a favor, he introduced Robbins to the Music Industry. Marty Robbins went on to become a major country music artist. Little Jimmy Dickens would go on to become a full-time member of the Grand Ole Opry. Little Jimmy Dickens soon was signed to a record label, Columbia, where several hit records were recorded and as a member of the Grand Ole Opry, Jimmy continued to tour, playing concert venues, and county fairs. Little Jimmy Dickens found himself touring with artists such as Johnny and Jack, Kitty Wells, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Minnie Pearl, Hank Snow, Lefty Frizzell and most all of the then present day country music stars. Jimmy Dickens had the nickname, “Tater,” a nickname his good friend, Hank Williams Sr., would affectionately call him. Tater toured regularly with the biggest stars in country music for over 35 years. Dickens had many hits but only one #1 hit; “May The Bird Of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose.” Little Jimmy Dickens was the oldest and longest standing member of the world-famous Grand Ole Opry. It was commonly known around Nashville Tennessee, that little Jimmy Dickens had many friends and was loved by fans all over the world. Jimmy Dickens was the first artist to tour the globe. He was inducted into the Country Music hall Of Fame in 1963.

 The first time I ever heard the name, "Little Jimmy Dickens," I was a little boy living in central Mississippi. I was at some relative’s home in Kosciusko Mississippi, listening to W S M, A.M. Radio out of Nashville, Tennessee. The local radio station D. J. said a small four year old child had fallen into a well near Kosciusko and the local people, as well as the local authorities, were unable to rescue this child from the well. It seemed time was quickly running out to save this child's life. The local radio station announcer came back on the radio and stated that an entertainer by the name of Little Jimmy Dickens was volunteering to be lowered down into the well, an attempt to save the child's life. The child was rescued and for several years, I would hear Dickens performing on the Grand Ole Opry.

I’m never dreamed, in my wildest dreams, that 30 years later I would find myself on the same stage with little Jimmy Dickens, playing backup guitar for him. This man had a way with people, he had a way with words, he knew how to reach an audience and identify with them. Standing on the stage, I watched little Jimmy Dickens come bounce out on the stage, reach up, slide the mic down to his height, a huge flattop guitar strapped around his neck and start his show. Jimmy usually would open his show with a little bit of comedy, poking a little bit of fun at himself; the people loved him! He always had a great show and his audience loved him!

Little Jimmy Dickens is a legend, a GRAND OLE OPRY STAR that will never be forgotten. His legacy as an entertainer will go on and will go down in the history books as a kind man, a funny man, 4 feet 11 inches tall but 10 feet of talent!

 

R.I.P. Tater

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Just imagine a world without music, a radio station with no music to play. If radio did not have the current format such as CD, MP3, MP4, etc., just where would people get the music  they listen to today as they drive, party, listen to at home and at work and so on? Uhh, some of us still have the old vinyl records and cassette tapes, some of us even have some of the old eight track tapes still around. These are formats that came and have gone with the times. As some may have noticed, vinyl is making a rapid come back and it is coming back fast. These are some of the multiple changes that come and go in the music recording industry. Today's radio stations play mostly preprogrammed music usually programmed by the program director that programs music for all the stations owned. The local radio stations have very little say so about what gets played on their station. The new releases by major artist are distributed to the broadcast company then placed in the rotation by program director. My, my how the world of radio has changed! Not for the betterment, I must add!


Radio stations depend on the production of music and whatever the current format might be in order to have the music of which they play to the listening public. The recording artists that record the music for radio and public broadcast depend on radio to get their music and their name out to the public. When the public hears the artist's record/CD, or as of late, vinyl record, they go in search of the music/record/CD, purchase and play for their listening enjoyment. Radio is the major vehicle for getting new artist, as well as prominent, successful artist's music out to the listening public. Sure, there is television, movies, live music, but radio is still the most prominent factor in promoting all artists and their music.


The majority of radio is owned and operated by broadcast companies such as Clear Channel, Broadcast Radio and many others. These broadcast companies consist of the various genres of music such as, " Rock," " Country," " Gospel," " Bluegrass," etc., and others that play a variety of genres of music. There aren't many of these types of variety radio stations on the air these days, however, most of the mainstream radio stations will only play major label recording artists. This, my friend, must be changed! You might ask, " How do we get this done?" I feel like it can be done, but, it is going to take a mighty effort from all artists and all genres in the music industry, pushing the broadcast companies to allow their program directors and station managers to play all artists, whether major record label artists or independent record label artists. Inadvertently, monies allocated to the promotion of each mainstream artists, filters down to the mainstream major radio stations. Small independent radio stations do not have this advantage, essentially, these radio stations depend on local advertisers to pay their bills and to keep the radio station operative. 


Independent radio stations brought about this thing known today as the recording industry. In the beginning, singers and entertainers wanting to get their music recorded and played on the radio had to go to the radio station in order to get their songs and music recorded. The radio station had recording devices that could record the musicians and the vocalist live and that's what you heard on the radio in those days. Eventually vinyl came along and the rest is history until the format started changing. Radio stations should have one thing in mind, one goal and that is to play music, recorded music for their listening audience. For many years radio stations depended on local advertisers for their income, thus the music, the records they played and the kind of music they played attracted their advertisers. Major radio stations have many streams of income, therefore,  abhereance to what the community would like the station to play is irrelevant.


In the days of old, a new recording artist would spend part of his time doing radio tours. That means that artist would call the radio station and ask if he could come by and bring his latest record. In general and in most instances like this, the radio station would welcome the new artist and his music. The jockey on duty at the time the artist shows up at the radio station, would have the opportunity to meet the new recording artist and listen to the new release. After listening to the new record/CD, the disc-jockey, with the consent of the program director, would give the new disk/CD a spin for his listening audience to hear. If the new release was really good, commercial and professionally produced and provided their listening audience responded well to the new release, the new artist would most likely get airplay. 


The new artist with a new record should start locally, saturating a 500 mile radius of his base. The new artist must visit each radio station, hand-deliver his latest release to the program director or the disjockey that has the power to spin the record on air. The radio station's listening audience will respond to any new record and new artist, especially, in small town America, provided the record is a good record and commercially produced. We, as independent artists, have the ability and the means to accomplish this. There is a cliché that has been around in the entertainment industry for many, many years that simply says," One must pay their dues." Diligence, perseverance and determination, along with hard, hard work is what it takes to make it as an entertainer that sales records. If one is to become successful in the music industry, the you will pay some dues and one of the first rules is to make being an entertainer a business and treat it as a business at all times. Some hopefuls never know just how hard one must work to achieve success in the music business! You have to want this more than anything else on this earth! Learn to take the disappointments along with the good and there will be many of both as the artist works his or her way up in the business! Be prepared and you must be STRONG or you will never be successful in the music industry.


One of the most essential parts of owning and operating a business is appearance and speech, you must dress and act like a businessman or woman. This part of the entertainment world has virtually and literally been discarded in today's music industry. Folks, the way you dress and speak, speak volumes and it either garners respect or disapproval. To become a professional entertainer/artist, one must have the utmost respect from the business world as well as their peers. If you, as an up and coming artist have these aforementioned qualities, your road to success in the world of entertainment will have a much smoother surface.


So, you are a brand-new recording artist, you DO NOT NEED a MANAGER! You must have something to manage before you get a manager. A manager will take a portion of what small amount of income you are earning and with today's income as a new artist; you will need ever cent you earn. Do not let some of your peers tell you that you do not need a" Day job!" Do whatever you have to do to live and pay your Bills. Therefore you will have the time to promote yourself as an artist and have an income to pay the bills, have a life and build yourself a career as an entertainer and artist.

James Dean Fisher
Damn Good Tunes - Nashville Editor

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Who made who and how in today's Nashville ?
continued from page one

Country music has always been the music of the people. This kind of music is a post product coming from what was once called folk news, where individuals would travel throughout the community and sing the current events and happenings in song form throughout the area and community in which they lived. This activity became so popular, the stories of which the singers singing as they traveled throughout the region, the news and news events soon became songs. These songs soon were being performed over and over and became a very popular form of entertainment during the youth years of America. Many of the great artists of the past was a product of that existence.

 

In today’s music industry, just what, exactly, makes the “Star?” Is it money, is there a true born and bred talent there or is it the available funds the perspective up-and-coming artist has available, along with today’s high tech technologies that are currently available in most good, to best recording studios? As a writer, as well as an entertainer/recording artist, I have visited several of the venues that have writers nights and I have performed a few times in the writers around. I stopped doing the writers rounds and the writers nights mostly because what I was hearing was rather hard on the ears and in some cases, intolerable.

 

Hence, the chance of a legitimate producer, major record CEO showing up to hear the writers is extremely improbable. Maybe if the producer/CEO’s vehicle broke down in front of the venue and it was pouring down rain, his phone was stone dead, he or she just might come inside to use the phone to summon help! As it stands today, I have several great friends that actually enjoy doing the songwriter rounds. I know very well there have been several writers gain success and go on to become successful writers and recording artist. Some enjoy long successful careers.

With that being said, one might wonder how these, “Superstars” actually become Superstars. It is a well-known fact that in today’s music world, the music market, the “ Pretty people” stand a greater chance of securing a record deal than ever before in the music industry. Currently it seems the young, vivacious “ Pretty people” are chosen in many cases over real talent. The record labels are looking for people that stand out, look great in photographs, and videos as well as television and the media in general. The mindset of most of the new record label CEOs is how much money this artists can generate in a short period of time. Finding a new artist with real talent, building a career with longevity is no longer a priority. The turn, “ Meat-mill” comes to mind, due to the turnover in the new artists in the recording industry of today. It is sad to think of an industry in those terms, consequently,  action speaks for it’s self…….rather country music that is today’s  pop country music, speaks for’s self. In today’s country, a “New artist” is good for about 3 to 4 years, according to some of the marketing experts and gossip that goes around in the recording industry here in music city and other major recording locations in the US.

 

The quagmire of which I am speaking is; how does a true talent, I’m speaking about an artist with a true natural standout appearance that possesses  a voice professional enough to stand alone with the,” Big boys”  getting the hit records and that are classified as country music superstars. Just stop and think about it, what does it take in today’s new wave pop rock country, to secure a major label recording contract, a record deal? In the case of several rather new artists that are considered” Superstars,” it is well known, with personal finances and monetary resources, success was most certainly inevitable. In today’s music market, the recording industry no longer reach out in search of that special talent, that individual with that special look, stand out appearance, of whom possesses a voice capable of becoming a professional entertainer, maybe a Superstar. There is a steady flow of dreamers of whom think they are the next “Big thang!”

 

In today’s country music world, the recording artists that have made it to the major labels, that are enjoying the success of hit songs and selling the millions of Cds, that are produced on a regular basis and industry, seem to have forgotten the people that helped them get where they are. They seem to think they are in the world for above the fans and the music buying public. These artists think they have to have bodyguards, security teams and escorts anywhere they go and no one is allowed to get near them. Has the world gotten so erratic and so distrustful, that the artists is fearful for their safety, or could it be they have placed themselves on a pedestal so high no one can reach them, furthermore, they feel they don’t need anyone reaching out to them anymore. I assume the new wave , so called, country artist feel they are in grave danger if they should allow themselves to be within arms reach the music fans, the music buying public. Is this really the way it is, or if they chose, could they just walk among the crowd, the fans and be friendly and forthcoming? The point here is; let’s just get back to the way country music used to be. Let’s all enjoy the music, the artists enjoy their success and I think the world would be a much better place in which to live.

 

Rockstar! Hollywood actors! Why does the country music artists of today think they need to be rock stars, Hollywood actors? While on earth can’t they just be satisfied with being a successful recording artists, selling millions of albums and Cds, touring, playing the concerts, making money? Could some of the reasons recording artists of the day have no longevity, they are trying to be too many kinds of celebrities instead of concentrating on his or her career as a recording artist? In the history of the recording industry, country music, rock, blues, jazz, pop, you get the picture, most artist stuck to what they did best and stayed with it. They worked on their career, mostly sticking to the genre they were successful with, hence, building a career with longevity. In the past, most successful artists, country music artists, rock, pop, gospel , blues, etc.. stayed within their field and  enjoyed long successful careers. Just what is the real reason the new wave, pop country artist’ careers, come and go, and fade so fast? Why would they all want to sound alike? No individuality!

 

In today’s pop country, it is very hard to distinguish one artist from another! I feel this is a flaw in the producer’s make-up and is his desire to make the fast money!

All up and coming artists of today will experience the trials and hardships that come along with making it in the music industry. It’s called, “Paying your dues!” In some people’s view, it is called experience, learning the ups and downs of the music business. Many of the trials and hardships will benefit the new-comer and make a more seasoned, successful artist!

 

The main gist, as well as the overall substance herein is meant to be an understanding of the music business and a limited, minimal guide for the unknowing, the individual that is intent upon pursuing a professional recording artist/entertainer career in today’s world of music.

ONE great rule that NEVER, NEVER, fails is; STICK WITH WHAT YOU DO BEST, DO YOUR BEST, WORD HARD AND NEVER QUIT and remember, a stranger is just a friend you have not met yet and NEVER , NEVER FORGET WHO YOUR FRIENDS AND FANS ARE! The ones you STEP on going up will most probably be there  on your way as YOU fall down!

James Dean Fisher
Nashville Tennessee

 

 

DO YOU WORK?

by James Dean Fisher
Nashville DGT Editor


As most of us know the term," Working Stiff" comes into play when talking about most people. In terms of working, sometimes, people misconstrue the term," Working," as something they do to make a living and pay the bills, however, doing some things that many people would call," Work," some call this a hobby or something they just love to do. Take for example, fishing, yes, I love to fish, consequently, it can be work, simply due to the nature of fishing in itself. If one fishes from a boat, the boat must be transported to the lake, then launched into the water, then the fishing begins. The true nature of a hobby in itself can be work, such as hunting, bowling or a ballgame since it is physical in nature.


Most people work in order to live, pay the mortgage, a car payment, buy food and pay the bills. However, when they work at their occupation, they expect to be paid and paid well. Some jobs pay minimum wage, some jobs pay medium wage and then there are those jobs that pay the upper to high incomes. (Big bucks, so to speak) The percentage of people in the upper and high incomes are minimal, as compared to the so-called, " Working stiff."


Having a specialized skill can enable a working person to earn higher income, therefore, trained workers and skilled workers, whether in the industrial, professional, white-collar or specialized fields are most in demand. Highly trained musicians, journalists, attorneys and physicians are just a few of the specialized people in the workforce today. Are you a specialized well-trained individual?


 While making a point here, it is important to recognize the feasibility, as well as the availability, of people that fit into these categories. Some jobs, even the jobs that are considered physical labor or highly specialized can earn a person high income, however, there are people that are specialized in many fields, highly educated in their field, cannot gain employment. Supply and demand comes into play here.


Some of the people that fit into the aforementioned categories are musicians, journalists, broadcast radio/TV reporters, along with Marine biologist. Does that sound strange, unbelievable? Yes, so what is the problem? With musicians, there are two factors at play, one, saturation, two, ability. There are musicians everywhere and most are lacking in experience. Specialized musicians, and performing musicians must have experience and be able to perform professionally. A journalist/reporter/writer must have experience and be able to bring forth to the table, the ability to carry out the duties assigned to them, whether it is writing the story or reporting an event for a newscast or writing script for play. Each individual trained in a specialized skill must be able to take the duties and responsibilities and produce results that are not only satisfactory, they must be professional in order to build a successful career in his or her chosen field.


Some reporters that you see on your local television doing field reports of newsworthy events in the area are among the lowest paid people in the professional broadcast workforce, along with journalist, musicians and fast food employees. Why is this? The answer to this question can vary, depending upon who you ask. But..... do they get paid for the work they do? Are they a valuable asset to the employer? Are they of value to the employer, valuable enough to get paid well? It is obviously and most apparent that they are not. But....... they do get paid! Is the amount they get paid what they are worth? Sometimes, but most of the time, it is not. What can they do? This, in many cases, is a matter of priority. If a person is working at a very low-paying occupation (job) because that is the only job available and they have bills to pay, food buy, then working at this low-paying job is necessary, but, this person can be on the lookout for a better paying job with better income.
Some people work at low-paying jobs, not because they choose to do so, but they work at this job because this is the career field in which they have gone to school, trained and planned on building a lucrative career in. Sometimes this does not always work out and the job, even though this person has gone to school and trained in this particular field, the market can sometimes diminish, forcing the employer to not only cut back and not pay his employee as well he should, opposed to laying the employee off or worse, dismissing the employee altogether, the employer allows the employee to continue to work at the lesser pay scale. Consequently, when an employee is working in his chosen field, yet, not earning the income that the position would normally pay, depending upon the employees financial circumstance, it would behoove the employee to continue working, rather than winding up at the unemployment office and earning no income. The day job syndrome you’ve heard about.


In today's economy, with businesses folding left and right, a well-trained professional, even with years of experience in a particular field, is not assured there will be a position for him or her in the workforce. Thus, an age old cliché that says," Any job is better than no job" applies, however, the variables that include education, training, position availability and the economy, factor into securing employment, earning the income that training, experience and availability should garner. If you are a musician, even a very well educated, highly trained experienced musician, all of the aforementioned is amplified to a great extent simply because of supply and demand. With the music industry as it is today, there are thousands of beginners, newbies, as well as entry level players, thus, the market for employment in the music industry is marginalized. With that being said, the demand for well-trained, experienced musicians is still there and education and ability sometimes can bring the" Cream to the top," so to speak. This means that some players, singers and actors and entertainers stand to lose their present job simply because someone new comes along with more knowledge and experience.
 In today's entertainment world, there is a new factor/player to consider; age is a major factor along with presentability. In today’s entertainment job market, the" Pretty people" sometime win out, even though there is far less talent. Is this factor fair? Of course not, is this discrimination? It most certainly is, however, in our world of entertainment, the rulings of law are overlooked, not observed and in many cases, these laws do not apply to the entertainment employment community. Age and appearance, as well as size and height being just a few examples!
So folks and fellow entertainers, reporters, journalist, burger flippers, and any other that feel they are working at a job they are overqualified for and not earning the income they think they should, if this job means eating, paying the bills and putting shelter over one's head, it is time for positive thinking, working a little harder and be thankful for what you have. Things will get better if you try, work hard at what you do, be the best you can be, because if you look around it's not hard to find someone that is in much worse shape than you. Becoming the best that you can be at what you do, continuing to improve and hone your skill, will and does always pay off in the long run.


To all my readers and everyone at damngoodtunes.com
I wish you good fortune, a great holiday season and look forward to the coming new year, 2014!!!


BTW......... here in music city, there will be lots of news, as well as new things coming from the music city, Nashville editor and recording artist, James Dean Fisher in the coming new year!

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James Dean Fisher: Nashville Editor

SO YOU THINK YOU WANT A PUBLISHING DEAL..................


Doing business in music city, Nashville, can and is a task not enviable by most, especially people that has attempted to tackle the music industry. Over the last 10 to 15 years word has gotten out to the general public just how much money can and is being made by successful songwriters. It is a well-known fact inside the industry that artists/songwriters that come to town, whether it be Nashville, Los Angeles, Chicago or New York, good writers that make their way by getting their songs cut (recorded) by major artists or is lucky enough to secure a major record deal, can and do make lots of money. In real perspective, more musicians make their way to these cities that have established themselves as music mecca centers. Record deals are signed and songwriters are much in demand. In these areas the accomplished musician stands a better chance of success with the recording artists as well as recording studios. Is this following one's dream? Sure it is, after all, there are new recording artists and songwriters showing up in the music industry everyday! Brand-new songs are recorded every day a new recording artists,... And the music business goes on.


Say you are a new writer/artist and you are new and fresh in music city, USA, your car is doing okay, you have a roof over your head and you are picking up playing gigs around town. Now....... you are thinking, everyone else is getting their songs cut, it is now time for me to get my songs cut. What is the next step for me? 


Do I just wonder around and in the studios that are scattered all over Nashville and surrounding areas or do I get to know the musicians and local artists more and on more personal basis? Some friends are using private studios that are located in their homes and they are cuting demos using home equipment and local musician friends for session players. Is that really good enough? The big question is..... do I go all out and spend all my money on doing" Pro-sessions" for my songs to submit as demos?
These are many of the questions that are asked and it goes through the mind of new musicians and new artists when they come to a major music mecca such as Nashville, Tennessee. 



One will hear many different ways and different approaches to getting demos recorded with hopes of getting them into the hands of publishing companies and A and R people working for major record companies and publishing houses. These answers will vary, depending upon whom you ask and how long and how successful they are as a writer and musician/recording artist. Most writers that have achieved success by getting their songs recorded by artists that are also considered a major artists or new and upcoming artist on their way up will tell you that " Major session" demos are not necessary in order to submit your demos to publishing companies and A and R people. What is necessary is a song well lyrically constructed and recorded using a device that is clear and that is able to record a good vocal track. 


With a well constructed song and a well recorded demo consisting of a piano/vocal or an acoustic guitar/vocal, is usually sufficient for most publishing houses and record management companies. If your song is selected by the publishing company to be recorded by an artist, the publishing house or the artist’s record label will do a professional demo of song and the recording session will be paid for by the record company or the publishing company. For demos, just a good clear vocal with either piano or guitar is sufficient unless instructed otherwise by the publishing company.



Being a new artist/songwriter in town seeking to get their songs published and recorded by recording artists seeking new material, can be rather frustrating as well as problematic for a new writer, simply because no one in town knows your ability, hence knowing nothing about you or your writing skills. With that being said, a new writer must pick the very best of his best songs and get the highest quality demo made of the song, or of those songs ready to submit. It is important to know that as a new writer one must never submit more than two or three of his best song creations to a publishing house or a record company. 


The very first song/demo must categorically be the very, very best that you have to offer, otherwise number two and possibly number three will end up in" File-13!"(The trash can!) The first song must get the publishers attention and it must be strong enough to make him want to hear more of your songs, otherwise, you will be just another of the many, many writers submitting sub quality song material to his publishing company. FYI, the rate of getting a cut is about one in 1000, so with that being said, beware, do not do waste their time with poorly recorded demos and ill constructed song lyrics! 


NOW THAT YOU HAVE SEVERAL SONGS, HAVE THEM SUBMITTED TO A "PUB" HOUSE, the question now is; do I need a publishing deal? A publishing deal can be good or it can be bad, there is no deal when you have a" Verbal agreement" because in a court of law, without a written contract, verbal contracts will not hold up in court. If a publishing house wants to sign you as a writer, first and foremost, you should check for legitimacy as well is reputation on the part of the publishing house. In today's music market there are many, many so-called publishing companies that will agree to publish your songs and your material for a fee, usually paid up front, when in reality, they have no credibility. They've taken your money and promised you that your songs will be recorded by major artist, when in reality, they have never had anything recorded.


If you are seeking a publishing company to publish and pitch your songs, make certain they have a good track record and sales with songs that have been recorded by artists and major artists. If their track record proves to be real and after you've done your homework and the publishing house is legitimate, then and only then should you consider signing with that publishing house. The agreement should state in writing, what your percentage of the royalties will be, and be clear on exactly what is agreed to between you and your publishing company. 


One of the foremost important things that must be clear is if there is money paid to you in the form of payment weekly or monthly. Make certain that the amount is stated clearly. You should understand before hand, that this money the publishing company has paid you will be a" Draw" and not a salary. This money will be collected and repaid to the publishing company when you get a song recorded and royalties from the sales of this record are paid to the publishing company. 


The money that they have paid you will be paid back out of the royalty income plus interest, calculated at the current interest rates. After months of getting your" Draw," the amount will add up and you, as the writer, could owe the publishing company more than royalties from your song has earned. Therefore, you will owe the publishing company and your song royalties will not be adequate to repay what the publishing company has paid you!


Sometimes, if you have a contract with publishing company and your song does not generate enough revenue to repay the money they have paid you, if you are a writer in which they have a lot of faith in, they will allow you to repay the money they've paid you with revenue generated from new songs recorded, however, if the new songs recorded does not generate enough revenue, in this case it is in the best interest of both parties, you and the publishing company, to part ways. 


In many cases, it is best for the writer to forgo the draws and take the royalty income as is as your song royalties generates revenue. If your song royalties aren't enough to support your lifestyle, maybe a part time job would be appropriate, therefore allowing you to generate outside income and the time to concentrate on writing and getting more of your material recorded by recording artists that sale records.


This article is written in an effort to educate new writers coming into the songwriting/music industry. There are many ways of generating revenue from your song that includes radio and TV airplay, royalties from club and jukebox usage, and as of late, YouTube, just to name a few. Record some of your own songs and sell the CDs. 



The point is, generating revenue from your writing and your writing skills, whether it is songs, articles or public performance is the goal. In today's music industry, generating enough revenue to support the writer’s lifestyle is the goal and becoming a successful writer is the ultimate goal. Becoming a success as a songwriter is a task not many writers accomplish. But, one never knows what song will become a smash hit that could generate huge incomes, with that being said, you must keep writing, honing your skills and pitching your songs. It is possible to hit the jackpot, but not probable.............. SO KEEP WRITING!

 

James Dean Fisher
Nashville Editor
Universal Sound Recording Artist


RADIO - WHERE IS MY MUSIC?

This radio station was located in the south-central part of the state and most people worked during the day while there were many people that worked in poultry plants at night. The radio station usually broadcasts from around five A M to around 10 PM in the evening. After the radio stations, that is the local radio stations, shut down for the evening, the only place to get music was from several distinct stations that operated and broadcast during the night, such as W L A C Nashville or W L W in New Orleans. These stations usually played one genre of music along with other programming.

My, my, how the broadcast stations, along with the music have changed over the last 25 to 50 years! Nowadays, there is a radio station for every genre of music, as well as many stations that play a wide variety of the new and modern music and some stations that play what is referred to now as" Classic country or classic rock." The stations that are now playing the" Classic" music are usually the most listened to radio stations on the air today.

WHERE IS MY MUSIC? Where is that variety of music that once was played on the radio stations small and large? WHY ARE THERE NO RADIO STATIONS playing the variety of music that could be requested by the radio listening audience? If there were radio stations playing music as requested by their listening audience, these radio stations would be playing all genres of music, hence, the music business, the radio airtime sales, as well is record sales would skyrocket! Are there no broadcast music executives out there in radio land that has the common sense to realize that for a radio station to be highly successful, THEY MUST PLAY WHAT THEIR LISTENING AUDIENCE WANTS AND REQUEST?

With these thoughts in mind and by utilizing this procedure, there would be more music, more variety, hence, much more entertainment and the radio listening audience that would be happy, without all the confusion and the different genres fighting for an audience! Radio airtime would skyrocket because the radio listening audience would be hearing the kind of music they want and listen to and or buy. Once again record sales, the mom-and-pop type record stores, would see a brand-new market.

Recording artist, writers, record companies would see revenues increase, because with a larger listening audience there is a much larger demand for the musical products! So.... Mr. broadcast executive, can this concept be initiated, can the music broadcast industry get back to some roots and play the wide variety of great music that has been recorded by major recording artists? The great variety of music and song written by great writers and brought to the radio listening audience, by great radio broadcast personalities once again! Note; with this concept in mind, not only would sales and revenue increase, this would create thousands of jobs in the now dismal economy. Folks..... From a songwriter/recording artist’s point of view, it is relatively simple; a C note is a C note, whether it was written by Brahms, Beethoven, Dr. John or Chet Atkins, a great song, a huge hit song, will always be a great song whether it sung by Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Willie Nelson or whomever!

Why does it seem necessary for broadcast companies today, to classify great music in certain genres, certain categories and names? If it's all good music, there will always be a demand for it as a product and a demand for it as entertainment! From this writer's point of view, in my opinion, Mr. Broadcast executive, get your act together........ PLAY THE MUSIC that the radio listening audience are begging to hear, that means hits songs from Louis Armstrong to Jerry Lee Lewis, Frankie Lane, the Beatles, George Jones, Little Richard and the thousands of other great artists that have given us so many great kinds of music and song in musical composition and recordings. It has been said by some great philosophers that greed can bring down empires.

Well............. Mr. American broadcast executive, take a look at your industry, do you not now think it is time to take a new look, review the broadcast industry as a whole and get back to playing all the great music, and..... there is still great music being written and recorded as we speak! By laying greed aside, playing all of the great music, the great hits by all of the great recording artists! Not only will the bottom line increase, record sales will come back, jobs will be created, but most importantly, you will once again have a radio listening audience that will not only listen, they will support this effort by requesting the music, buying the music, as well as supporting the advertisers and the broadcast music station overall! I, for one, would be a happy camper if I could, once again, turn on the major radio station and hear all the great music, all the great songs, none of this rotation crap or the politics........... just GREAT songs, music and once again, once again, great radio entertainment! The broadcast industry, the radio stations, need to bring back the great radio personalities, the great disc jockeys that knew how to bring to the radio listening public, great music, great songs and most of all, great entertainment!!!!


James Dean Fisher

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HAS MOVED HERE  - CLICK ME

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ARE YOU READY FOR NASHVILLE?

I think we all have heard the old adage," Time passes in a hurry when you are having fun!" 2011 is passing at record speeds it seems. This year alone we have seen the Nashville Songwriters Festival, the CMA awards. The huge R.O.P.E. concert and the one and only Brittney Spears came to town. Brittney put on a huge show to a huge crowd, in the Bridgestone Center. This year, the Nashville and middle Tennessee area has seen and enjoyed the"Uncle Dave Macon Days" Festival as well as the great guitar show and now the" NAM" show is in town. Most, if not all musicians in the middle Tennessee area will visit the"NAM" show and will enjoy seeing all the new instruments, amplifiers, and all the other high tech toys and gadgets that is new on the market for the enterprising musician. Music city has a goal for having a major entertainment event, at least one time or more each month of the year. We pride ourselves as Nashvillians on making Nashville, Music City the most fun and entertaining city in the world. So when you want to visit a city that has the greatest entertainment on earth, some of the friendliest people on the planet, we welcome you here to Nashville, Music city, Tennessee.

Here in Music City, Tennessee, we are enjoying an exceptional hot summer. The temperature in the Nashville, Tennessee area during the summer months is usually in the upper 80s to lower 90s and from the middle 60s to the lower seventies at night. With the summer months upon us, Music City has so much to offer. Not only is Music City, Tennessee, a Mecca for world-famous entertainment, it is also a place where the locals, as well as visitors that come from all over the world, to enjoy probably the widest variety of music to be found in any city in the entire world. We, as Tennesseans probably take this offering for granted. Due to the fact there are so many, many great musicians and entertainers found in Music City, Tennessee. Most of the great country music stars live here in Nashville.

I have lived and performed in this  mecca which people refer to as Music City, USA for over 40 years. I am a published writer, a recording artist, as well as a journalist/reporter and business owner. With that in mind, I come in contact with many people that come to Music City expecting to get into the music business. Hundreds of people, musicians, writers, people that proclaim to be professional entertainers, and performers in their local hometown area , come here daily. Many of these people are the best of the best entertainers locally in the area from which they moved. They play the clubs, the bars, the parties, as well as most venues that is available for entertainers there. These entertainers, artists, musicians usually make decent money in their local area. The locals enjoy the music they play and enjoy their performances usually and it is commonly known that an entertainer cannot please everyone, so they hope to please the majority of the people that come to see them perform and if they please enough people and they have a large following, they think it's time to move on up the ladder for the success of which they have worked long and hard to accomplish. Instead of staying in the local area building a huge following, writing, and recording albums, selling their albums and their music and performing further, building their career as a musician and entertainer, they think it is time to move to Nashville, Tennessee.

I surf CraigsList on a regular basis, usually looking for musicians, as well as venues that are looking to book entertainment. I see the postings from musicians in cities all over the United States asking questions about how to get into the record business/music business in Nashville. I see the question about every time I get on CraigsList, " How do I make it in Nashville and how much work is there?" The answer to those questions can be summed up quite simply. A musician/artist, writer, entertainer should approach this business as one would approach any other kind of business. To become a successful musician/artist/entertainer, the approach is no different than the way one would approach a company searching for accountants, computer operators, electronic engineers or any other occupational career field. The musician, writer, artist, entertainer must prepare himself and in doing so he must learn his instrument, learn to write and he must have the experience to deliver a sellable product. The product of which, in this case, would be delivering the performance of his music, his song material and most of all, delivering a performance that the buying public will pay to see.

With over 40 years in the music business and as an entertainer/writer and guitarist, as well as a business owner, I have worked with other people, other companies and I have hired and fired my share of people. It is never a pleasant occurrence, but sometimes it is quite necessary to let someone go. There are usually many reasons why an employer or an entertainer, as for that matter, would let a musician or employee go. Most times when an employee, a musician or an employee at a factory has to be fired or dismissed, usually the reason is that musician or employee is unable to fulfill his duties. The lack of experience and preparedness comes into play, and as an entertainer/employer, it is imperative that each musician or employee be able to fulfill the duties he was hired to perform. The bottom line comes down to this; get the experience and learn the business and be able to perform with the professionalism that comes from years of honing your craft, whether it is playing a music instrument, singing, writing, or any other craft of which you want to make a successful career of. When this criteria has been met and you as an entertainer, become the whole sellable product, then and only then are you ready for a shot at the" Big time!" When and only when you are able to perform, and deliver a great show, the time for you has arrived.

Record labels are looking for the best of the best, the artist that can write his own material and perform that material in a live show and pull off a professional performance on the "Big stages.". A great performance by a great artist that the buying public will pay good money to come see. With this information in mind, and the guidelines that are set forth to become a professional entertainer/recording artist, the ball is in your court and the goal is achievable. With a good business plan and good management, a career in the music business as an entertainer/recording artist can be achieved.

As a business owner, writer, recording artist, journalist and an entertainer, I firmly believe one can do anything he chooses to do with the right education and preparedness. The human mind is the most advanced, as well as unexplored object known to mankind. With only 20 to 30%of brain capacity, the human mind can do things millions of the finest high-tech computers would be a dismal failure at accomplishment. That being said, I myself, being living proof that one can accomplish whatever you set your mind to do. The ability and the willingness to put forth the effort and the diligence that is necessary to learn, educate and secure experience to start and build a career is a feat and a major accomplishment in one's life.

TheDGT.com family, the magazine, from the editor in chief, right down to the writers, reporters and contributing journalist associated with this great Internet magazine, we, the journalistic family of writers/musicians have built this magazine to where it is today. Damngoodtunes.com is all about the MUSIC! The artists and the song, the performance, all genres is what DGT.COM is all about.

James Dean Fisher

Nashville Tennessee

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 Contact James Dean Fisher:

damngoodtunesNVE@aol.com 


 

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