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Entrepreneurial Advice From Diddy

The richest man in hip-hop sits down with FORBES senior editor Zack O’Malley Greenburg to discuss his entrepreneurial vision—and what he’d do if he had to start all over again today.

Joni Sledge, Founding Member of Sister Sledge, Who Recorded Hit Anthem "We Are Family," Dies at 60

Joni Sledge, Founding Member of Sister Sledge, Who Recorded Hit Anthem “We Are Family,” Dies at 60

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Joni Sledge, one of the original members of “Sister Sledge,” second from left, poses with Rodney Jerkins, second from right, her niece Camille Sledge, left, and her cousin Amber Sledge in August, 2006. Chris Polk / AP Joni Sledge, who with her sisters recorded the enduring dance anthem “We Are Family,” has died, the band’s representative said Saturday. (more…)

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Ghostwriting: Inside Hip-Hop’s Secret Business

Two accomplished rappers and ghostwriters, Smoke DZA and Skyzoo, discuss hip-hop’s oft-ignored reality.

“You know, the music biz can be really tricky!”

“I’m sure Sour Cream will make it big on his own!”

“Even if he doesn’t make it big Sour Cream will be okay as, long as he’s doing something makes him happy!”

“Hey you know, it’s not all about the money-”

“EE-EE-E-EEE!”

“Dad!?”

[GASPS]

The problem with the music business today in trying to capture today’s youth is they’re trying too hard. There are record labels that are admitting to the fact that they’re trying to copy the ‘model’ that has worked for Taylor Swift and Big Machine Records. And the thing is, we just didn’t know any better. I was 16 years old and wrote all these songs about being in high school and sophomore relationships, not thinking that people would relate to it, hoping they would, but there really was no business model to make it work for the younger demographic. If we can relate to lyrics, then we’re going to buy the music and I don’t think that’s a hard formula to figure out. People my age are really, really honest about what they like and what they don’t and they know it when they hear it and they know if they can relate to the lyrics.
—  Taylor Swift talking about what the music business needs to do to engage today’s youth (x)

We sat down with Thirty Seconds To Mars to talk about their award-winning documentary, ArtifactWatch the full interview.

“I think Artifact should be shown at every music school [and] it should be shown at every record company,” said Leto. “It’s a very unique and intimate look into the relationship between art and commerce, and one band’s struggle with an industry.”

Who is the most popular artist in every state?

Pandora has released a new graphic (above) revealing the most popular artists in every state based on plays through their digital radio service. Unsurprisingly, Billboard champion Drake has laid claim over the majority of the United States. What may surprise some however, is the fact Taylor Swift only claims two states, which is three less than rapper Kevin Gates and two less than Eminem (who hasn’t released a record in over two years). 

These artists are not the only ones getting a lot of play in these states. Here’s a full rundown of the top 10 biggest artists in all 50 states:

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Warren Buffett and Jay-Z On The Power of Luck

Chance plays a big part in getting to do what you love.

The issue of how much musicians theoretically earn from their work has moved out of the trade press and into social media’s trending topics recently, whether that’s Taylor Swift demonstrating her clout via a successful protest of Apple Music or Jay Z’s Tidal promising artists higher royalty rates than other streaming services. In the background of these debates is the question of whether songwriters and performers are actually getting all the money they’re owed.

A new report released Tuesday by the Berklee College of Music’s Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship details what it repeatedly calls a “lack of transparency” in the music business. Titled “Transparency and Money Flows,” the 28-page report also gives recommendations that highlight the labyrinthine complexity of the current system.

The output of a year-long study, the report cites estimates “that anywhere from 20-50 percent of music payments don’t make it to their rightful owners." 

Is Transparency The Music Industry’s Next Battle?

Photo: Carrie Davenport/Getty Images

Self-Studies: Introduction To The Music Business (BerkleeX)

LESSON 4b:  Managers, Agents & Attorneys

Commissions 

  • percentage of the artists earnings paid to the Personal Manager
  • usual rates of Personal Manager’s commissions in the U.S.

10% - for new or inexperienced managers
20% - for experienced managers
more than 20% - for special cases

  • usually based on the gross income of the artists (on some cases it’s applied to the net income instead)

Preferred Personal Manager Term

  • usually with initial period of at least 2 years + 3 additional 1-year options
  • alternatively maybe based on certain number of albums and tour cycles

Fiduciary Relationship

  • any time a person places their trust in another person to handle things on their behalf
  • a fiduciary is a person in whom another person has placed their trust
  • a legal concept that applies to personal manager’s agreements

Power of Attorney

  • provision that states that the manager has power of attorney from the artist to do things that the artist could do

- sign checks
- enter into agreements
- etc.

A Manager's Duty: What Every Artist And Manager Should Know!

Hello and welcome to our second Advice column of the week. This feature is a bit extra special because it also serves as our first collaborative piece with Daniel Alvarez, attorney at law and music business aficionado. We will be working with Daniel a lot in the months ahead, and we think the perspective he has on the business today is one that can aide both artists and industry professionals. If you have any questions about the content of the blog, or if you would like more information regarding the distributional services offered by Haulix, please email james@haulix.com and share your thoughts. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

As an entertainment attorney, it is amazing what I see from the sidelines of the music business. I feel like it is hard to shock me anymore due to all the craziness that has come across my desk. We have all heard horror stories about record labels label that treats a band wrong. Yet what surprises me, is how frequently I consult with a band about a bad manager experience but I hardly hear about that in public. Entertainers think it is a quasi-parasitic relationship where they accept that they are getting used for profit, but they are getting the career benefit of label support. The sharp difference for when a manager does something wrong, is that they are supposed to be on your team, so the entertainer almost never sees it coming. The hit hurts most when it comes from someone you trust. 

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How To Maintain A Professional Online Presence

This week we’ll switch things up a bit. Instead of talking about how to get into the local music scene, I’m going to give you some solid advice on social media. Most people would think it’s common sense to be nice on social media, and not post any incriminating photos (partiers, I’m looking at you), but it isn’t.

  • Keep your privacy settings on Facebook locked down pretty tightly, but make sure that you set a few posts to “public” so people can see your posting style. I usually do this for posts about new jobs I’m working, or posts about new bands I’ve discovered, etc. Untag yourself or remove any photos that show you doing something you would not want an employer to see, they can and do look up profiles before/after interviews - especially in social media/marketing areas of the business.
  • Either protect your Twitter feed or be careful about what you post on it. Do you really want to be that person who gets fired over a tweet?
  • Make a LinkedIn account! It’s a good way to find out who works for companies you are interested in working for, and to stay in touch with professional connections that you don’t know well enough to add as a friend on Facebook.
  • For any of your accounts, make sure that you represent yourself genuinely, but don’t get dragged into public flame wars. They will just make you look bad.

Next week we’ll be back to more music industry focused topics, stay tuned!