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Thanksgiving...


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Day before Thanksgiving… time to review what to be thankful for. This year, it’s a short list, thanks in large part to the economy; my wife says one of the things I should be thankful for is she still has a job, and I agree (and I said I’d mention it). To those who have been reading this thing, whoever and however many of you there are, I am thankful you’re there, too. I hope whatever information is being disseminated here is helpful.

There are a few—a very few—copies of the “Santa’s Fallen” CD left from the last (fourth) pressing, that I’d like to sell off for Christmas money. If anyone doesn’t have one, and wants one, please contact me. Ten bucks apiece, as usual, and I’ll autograph it, as usual. (This is not the only place I’ll be making that announcement, and there are not many copies left.) I won’t have another album out before Christmas because there just is not the money; it’s going to have to wait for better times. I do not know how long the better times will be in coming.

“Crosses by the Roadside” has gotten a fair amount of attention, but attention and money are two different things. Two music publishers have been contacted (I sent the song to one, and notified the other it was available), but I’ve heard nothing and probably shouldn’t expect to. The third (I know only three) is firm about not accepting any unsolicited material. I understand. If I were a publisher—and I hope to be one—I’d probably be the same way. There is a lot of [insert fecal simile] out there, and one can drown in it. I’d be selective, too—I’d have a small number of people I’d “handle” whose material and output I was familiar with, and then on rare occasions I’d cast out a small bit of bait and see what astounding new stuff I could reel in.

I saw someone ask on line how a band got paid when they recorded a song someone else wrote. I think the answer is the band either got paid a flat fee as session musicians when the song was recorded, or had an all-or-part share in the production of the record, and could maybe make money off sales. Only the writer and publisher get those minuscule copyright royalties. (In Europe, I understand, there are “performance royalties” for the band/artist, but that appears to be something the record companies in the U.S. have resisted.)

One way the band could make money is if the band were the publishing company. I don’t know if there are any bands doing this. It’s not a bad idea.

It would entail some marketing savvy on the part of the band (or the band manager), but a working band that’s making some money already is doing some marketing; it wouldn’t be that big a stretch. Of course, most small-time bands, or bands just starting out, don’t think of these things. It’s not until you’re making money selling records, or trying to get a song played on the radio, that you run up against the copyright royalties thing. Being the publishing company would be a good way for a working band to get some good original material—attractive to both the writer and the band (since the system would ensure both got paid a little money in the form of royalties).

Does that mean there’s a future for a Southern Pigfish Publishing Company? Not yet; the band would have to be famous enough so having your song “cut” by Southern Pigfish meant some financial reward. Not there yet. Might be a model for others, though.

With that, I’m off to buy fish for Thanksgiving dinner at my nephew’s (vegetarian, me—they can have turkey, but I can’t). Parting shot: as you drive over the river and through the woods, and keep seeing those roadside crosses, please don’t question whether those folks are better off than you are. The question’s already been asked—by me. Be thankful for the hand you’ve been dealt.

Joe

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