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john

YouTube have confirmed that the launch of their new subscription service is very close, but at the same time they are in the process of removing some of the biggest indie label acts.

YouTube and several indie labels have failed to agree on the royalty terms covering the new YouTube subscription service. These terms are in addition to the terms already covering its free service.

Here we go. Again.

The payment dispute between YouTube and indie labels is threatening acts like Adele and Arctic Monkeys, who may now find their music pulled from the service. Such indie label acts account for approximately 10% of all the music that YouTube has permissions to feature. However, their music is now likely to be withdrawn by YouTube from the world’s largest video service, as YouTube has been unable to reach an agreement with Beggars Banquet and several other leading independent labels. Details of the proposed license are at this time not known. Perhaps the indie labels are being unreasonable, however, we have been here before with YouTube.

YouTube executives claim that they cannot continue to offer music as a part of their free service without it also being made available on their new paid service as this would "disappoint" its subscribers. Hmmmm, really?

Arguably, users will be more disappointed that the music of these indie artists will not be available on the service at all and if they suspect that YouTube has unnecessarily withdrawn music from many indie artists, denying their fans the opportunity of enjoying their music on the YouTube platform, believing that they are showing contempt for both music fans and for artists, in a highly cynical, self-serving, negotiating tactic.

Such a bullish approach by YouTube is hardly a new negotiating tactic. This isn't the first time that YouTube has removed acts due to a payment dispute. UK YouTube users may well remember the last large scale dispute where a large amount of YouTube content was withdrawn from broadcast within the UK. At the time Google had recently acquired YouTube. Accusations of manipulating public opinion abounded as search results appeared to be dominated by content condemning the position taken by PRS, the UK based PRO, in a dispute over license payments.

Some privately say that YouTube (Google) are using their size and domination of the online video and internet search markets to unfair advantage, yet again, by bullying the music business and intimidating artists, labels, publishers and writers into accepting exceptionally low levels of payment, by YouTube(Google), for permission being granted to YouTube(Google) to use their content within their products and services.

YouTube will not yet give a date for the subscription service launch, and they are currently testing the service internally. No doubt such testing is carried out within the terms of usage allowed by their current license.

“We’re adding subscription-based features for music on YouTube to bring our music partners new revenue streams in addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars YouTube already generates for them each year,” stated a YouTube spokesperson. Of course, they neglected to mention how much streaming such content had made for YouTube and Google over the same time period. They also left us to wonder at the levels of earnings that might have been enjoyed by writers and artists had their service not existed and listeners had had to find their music elsewhere.

While, on one level, the music industry is looking forward to there being more platforms in the streaming market place, the industry remains nervous about ceding even more control to the already highly dominant Google. Google’s track record, regarding respecting the rights of content owners, isn't exactly fantastic. In fact it is pretty poor. Terrible even. YouTube claims that it has paid more than $1 billion out to rights-holders in the "last several years.", however many in indie music have long complained of unfair treatment at the hands of YouTube. This is especially true when compared with other digital services.

In an interview with Billboard, Rich Bengloff, president of the independent label trade association A2IM, said that "We are treated equitably and fairly by Rdio, Spotify and Rhapsody, and about 20 services, but obviously not YouTube,". He also stated "I filed a complaint with the FTC last week.”

Going by past actions, YouTube and Google are highly unlikely to change their approach. From a music business perspective, there is little incentive to do so as long as PROs, labels, publishers, artists and writers continue to lie down and let themselves be walked all over.

A new, competing service is due to be launched by Amazon. Amazon's Prime Music service launches yet another major new player into the music streaming service business. While competition might improve the market overall, YouTube (Google) are bound to feel secure in their position, feeling that they can do whatever they want, for as long as their service dominates the marketplace to the extent it does, which of course it is highly likely it will, just as long as Google dominates search engine wars to the extent it does, leaving Google in complete control of their search results.

Songstuff

Writing Songs

Songstuff has a dedicated songwriting area, with many songwriting articles, and resource links for songwriters, plus an active songwriting community .

If you are keen to develop your songwriting skills, or simply just interact with other songwriters and musicians, our music community is the perfect place to spend some time with like minded people.

Giving and receiving feedback is a great wway to hone your songwriting skills. Songstuff has many critique boards dedicated to lyrics writing and songwriting, recording and production.

So don't hesitate, become a member today. It's free!

Mahesh

Writer’s Block

Writer's Block, one of the worst enemies for a songwriter. The writer's block is something that restricts a songwriter or lyricist from being able to be at his or her creative best. You might have an idea in mind which you'd want to make a song out of but you're not able to find the right words or what you come up with sounds too cliche or that you can't come up with anything at all.

Being stuck in a rut can really bum you out and make things further difficult to resolve. The following article deals with some insight and a few tips to overcome a writer's block and bring about a fresh approach to songwriting. 

Every songwriter is different in his approach but these tips may help you get more out of your musings nonetheless. 

http://www.songstuff.com/song-writing/article/writers_block/

Do you have any tips to overcome a writer's block? Let us know in the comments below or on the forums!

Be sure to share and like the article if you find it useful. If you have any questions, feel free to discuss it on the Songstuff Community Forums.

Songstuff

Would you be interested in coming along to take part in focused online meet ups and workshops? It could be a specific day, or a specific hour on a specific day. For example:

Every 2nd Friday Songwriting

Every Other Friday Recording, Mixing and Mastering

Every 2nd Wednesday Guitar and Bass Guitar

you get the idea.

The aim is to get as many people interested in a specific subject online at the same time or at least within a short timeframe.

So we are gathering opinion about workshops and online meetings

Please drop by an register your vote!

Songstuff

For songwriters, it is an ongoing discussion, what exactly makes a song great? If you could understand exactly what it is that makes a song great, then perhaps you could use that knowledge to your advantage when writing new songs, and avoid common mistakes.

Unfortunately it isn't as cut and dried as that. There is no right answer. That is why there are no song writing rules, only guidelines.

So we started a topic to encourage our members to explore the topic. Not to find a right answer, but in the hope that by exploring what it meant, by exchanging ideas, that it would help them arrive at a better understanding.

You can find the topic here

What Makes A Song Great?

It's free to join our community and you are welcome to take a part in the discussion.

Songstuff

If you are a singer and you are interested in improving your singing technique then our vocals area and vocals board are an ideal place to pick up tips and exchange ideas with other singers.

Vocals Area

Vocals Board

Vocals editor Cheryl Hodge has been teacher to many students; including pop icons Grammy winner Paula Cole, Juno winner Frazee Ford, and Canadian Idol finalist, Alyssa Klazek. She graduated from and taught at Berklee College of Music (voice faculty for 8 years), and for the last 18 years she has been the head of the Selkirk College Vocal Department. Cheryl has recorded 7 CDs and writes and gigs regularly with jazz guitar great, John Stowell.

cherylhodge.jpg

Songstuff

We have just introduced a brand new site area for singers:

Vocals Site Area

The Vocals area will include articles and tutorials, and links to useful resources. Subscribe to the Songstuff blog for regular updates as the Vocals area develops and grows.

We hope that you enjoy this new resource.

To accompany the new area we have introduced a new Vocals board

Come along and take part in the vocals board where you can talk about all things singing related.

Mahesh

Vocal warm-ups are an invaluable practice and some would even say, an absolute necessity when it comes down to being a professional or semi-professional singer. I'm sure there is no one here who would want to settle for a mediocre performance or for something that could easily be made better with proper vocal practice.  One of the most important realizations I've had as a singer-songwriter and a performing musician is that I'm able to express better and to move the audience better when I'm at ease with the songs I'm singing.

While singing a song, if the singer is too worried (and distracted) about whether he or she will hit that high note or whether that vibrato can be easily sustained, then the emotional quality of the performance maybe compromised. 

The following article deals with a few tips and exercises that maybe used in your warm-up routine to help you deliver a powerful performance!

 

http://www.songstuff.com/vocals/article/vocal_warm_ups/

 

Be sure to share and like the article if you find it useful. If you have any questions, feel free to discuss it on the Songstuff Community Forums.
 

Mahesh

It is not enough for a singer to be able to stay in pitch and remember the lyrics to give an impressive performance to the audience. A true performer is the one who can deliver a song confidently and expressively, whether it be inside a studio or in front of an audience within a live stage set-up.

There is very strong proof that the confidence of a singer on stage directly affects the quality of the vocal performance in terms of pitch, expression and power. Building confidence takes time and experience of being on stage. But there maybe a few things that you could try or keep in mind to accelarate that process. 

The following article deals with those tips and tricks that you could use to build confidence for the stage. 

http://www.songstuff.com/vocals/article/5_tips_to_improve_confidence_on_stage/

Be sure to share and like the article if you find it useful. If you have any questions, feel free to discuss it on the Songstuff Community Forums.

 

Songstuff

If you have ever suffered from stage fright this article is for you.

Performing your own songs, particularly for the first time, is often a nerve wracking experience. In this article Songstuff author Cheryl Hodge provides 5 confidence building tricks to help with stage performance.

Tricks To Developing More Confidence On Stage

cherylhodge.jpg

Cheryl's board profile

cherylhodge.com

For further reading and reference check out Cheryl's book: A Singer's Guide for the Well-Trained & Powerful Voice

Songstuff

Please welcome Tom Hoffman as a new author on Songstuff!

tom_hoffman.jpg

Tom will be writing for the drum area on Songstuff. Tom (aka tunesmitthth on the boards) has been playing the drums for many years and has a wealth of experience to share on many aspects of playing drums. Tom's tutorials will be part text, part video, with detailed explanations accompanied by clear demonstration videos.

Tom, from midwestern USA is an active drummer, songwriter and a regularly active member of the Songstuff Community Forum.

Songstuff

Too Small To Save - Tom Hoffman is the currently featured video on our YouTube channel. The video, was created by roflcopter.eu (board member roflcopter) exclusively for Songstuff. Please show your support for your fellow artist and drop by the channel and play the video.

You can watch the video here: Songstuff Channel

Please add the Songstuff Channel to your list of YouTube friends and to subscribe to the channel!.

Submit your video links for consideration to songs@songstuff.com with the subject "Video Channel Suggestion". We also consider videos posted to The Cutting Room board.

Mahesh

Making a music video can be a challenging process especially when you are working on a budget. But they prove to be a very important part in presenting and ultimately selling your music to the fans, new and old. 

Fortunately, the advancement in computer technology has made it easy and affordable to produce decent to great music videos. Making a music video involves a creative process which arguably matches that of making the song itself. The video needs to take the viewer on a journey that aligs with the song itself. 

The following article gives you an educated insight about the core aspects that go into making a good music video. It also gives you tips that you can use to make most of the resources available and produce a video that you can be happy with.

http://www.songstuff.com/recording/article/tips-for-making-a-music-video/

Be sure to share and like the article if you find it useful. If you have any questions, feel free to discuss it on the Songstuff Community Forums.

Songstuff

The development of a 3 finger style playing technique on the bass guitar is one way for a finger style bassist to achieve speed.

By clear demonstration on video and accompanying text including some exercises this tutorial by Graeme Carswell will bring your skills up to speed.

Three Finger Technique On The Bass Guitar

Graeme_Carswell.jpg

In addition to the music segments of the article a complete video of the lesson is also available on the Songstuff Channel

john

The State Of Play

The Times They Are A Changin'...

Time to baton down the hatches is an understatement.

The Music industry has been struggling for a long time, but too many pundits that was no real surprise. In many ways the major labels have written their own obituary, and the minor and indie labels haven't done much better. The labels, that for so long provided an investment opportunity for bands, moved away from long term investment some time ago, preferring to milk what they had and to get quick hits where they could. The resulting prolonged short term investment in most groups left us with many bands unable to develop and grow, and for their fan base to do the same.

Some how along the way fans became more transitory, less loyal. Build in the more generally adopted mercenary approach of society cultivated in the 80s, nurtured in the 90s and a Music industry focused on exploiting every avenue they could for the minimum of investment, and their lack of vision or even common sense regarding the online music industry and digital downloads is it any wonder that our industry has ended up a poor shadow of itself.

Perhaps it was always destined to be so, but that we should all be complicit architects of the demise of music as a viable career makes it somehow sadder.

Recession

OK, we all know this one is going to bite hard across the board, but in recession the arts are always hit hard, and long. Some sales may have been up (reported download sales) but at the same time the sales of physical media has plummeted. Overall the total pot has shrunk significantly on the previous year. Yet still many in the industry are more focused in painting over the cracks than taking a long hard look and actually addressing the problems within the industry.

From previous recessions we can expect them to plummet further. Live gig opportunities will reduce, and the terms that venues and promoters offer will change. On a bright note for performers equipment costs will go down, but at the same time we are likely to lose many brand names too, especially small or custom manufacturers. Music education will suffer greatly too with many private tutors with less pupils and many colleges and schools reducing expenditure on media courses, going against a trend of recent years.

More musicians will move to semi-pro from pro, and semi-pro to enthusiast. Simple figures say that there will be less money to support an ever growing number of artists. Get used to the words "Cut Back".

The rigid rules of yesterday will be re-written.

Like many I look around and point the finger of blame but the truth is I am as responsible by the fact I let the erosion happen, as did we all to some extent or another.

Time also to watch out for the sharks selling you hope in a box. They too will be desperate for money and perfectly happy to exploit your vulnerability. Be Careful!

What Can We Do?

Recent supposed "fan friendly" album releases have been typical of the approach of the industry for years - more of a PR exercise than anything of real worth. So what can we do?

Well if there has ever been a time to be creative about how we conduct our business, it's now. Certainly we can learn from both the good and the and of the past, but I think the melting pot of major, minor and indie labels and publishers, artists and writers and the online industry may just forge some surprises. We may not recognize the industry that emerges after this recession.

There's no quick fix this time. The shit has well and truly hit the fan.

Personally, I think panful or not the business needs to switch back to longer term investment in a broader range of bands artists and writers. Without them there is no industry. Likewise the fans need to be nurtured, for without them there is also no industry. More blue sky investment too, fresh ideas create the markets of the future.

Flexibility is needed. Creativity is needed. Dedication is needed.

Sink or swim it's time labels and publishing houses really invested their time and money in the grassroots of the industry. It's all very well picking cherries but if you don't feed the plant the cherries get smaller and eventually the plant will simply die.

As an individual musician I too cannot be complacent. I have to be active in the change, contribute, and try and have a positive effect on the outcome. The online industry does present unparalleled access to fans, unfortunately so much good music is buried beneath the depths of teenagers with mobile phones recording themselves singing the latest hits badly, or posting tunes created with songwriting tools for dummies, or their first tune on the guitar after a month of playing as if they were finished works. While all those may have their place the lack of discernment or options offered to members and visitors alike by online sites is leaving artists trying to move up a mountain in an avalanche.

Artists are too fragmented. Too many remain unrepresented by any body or union, and lack the sense to realize that their strength is in working together for mutual benefit Too many don't value what they don't know. The celebrity culture encouraging a lottery chance "short-cut to fame" replacing a realistic plan.

All that said, now is the time for opportunity. A time for fresh ideas both musical and business. A time to re-mold the industry we have at present.

Quite how we find the energy or stamina does seem an elusive proposition.

Rant over. For now.

Mahesh

The Pentatonic Scale is something that almost every musician would have learnt in their early days. No matter the genre, the Pentatonic Scale proves to be a very powerful tool in improvising solos. Even though less is known about how the human brain interprets music, it's been observed that it responds to recognizable patterns such as the Pentatonic quite instinctively.

Jazz vocalist Bobby McFerrin demonstrated this theory at the World Science Festival in 2009 when he participated in a talk called “Notes & Neurons: In Search of a Common Chorus”.

McFerrin begins with guiding the audience through a few notes of the Major Pentatonic scale assigning a position on the stage for each of the notes. He then allows the audience to get familiar with each of the notes by indicating them based on the positions on stage. What happens next is quite impressive. The audience instinctively guesses the rest of the notes as McFerrin moves away from the assigned positions.

McFerrin also mentions at the end “Now, what’s interesting to me about that is, regardless of where I am , anywhere , every audience gets that..”.

That makes us wonder how close music really is to human life. Watch the video below to see how it happened at the World Science Festival.