#067: Roundtable – Social Media, Music and You

iTunes, Twitter and Facebook updates in the news.  Kevin and Robert bring everyone up to speed on their recent musical endeavors as summer draws to a close.  Your questions and comments lead us into discussions on raising funds for the studio, using Twitter to get gigs and paying taxes on the road. Plus we’re already lining up great interviews for the fall. We’re back baby!



  • Hmm, two roundtables in a row?

    You mentioned iTunes and the new iPods (the nano has an FM tuner also by the way)… But didn’t mention bigger news, Logic Studio 2(logic pro 9) nor the somewhat problematic for recordists on Macs, Snow Leopard which was released two weeks ago.

    On the sales tax thing, you’re correct, it is based on the state the merchandise was sold in but, here’s the sticky part, diferent counties have diferent sales tax rates. My county for example is 9%. Fresno county which is only 50 miles away, is 10%. So yes, it’s state based but also county based. In some areas, it drops all the way to city based as well.

    On the royalty thing for cover songs. This can be sticky as well. The thing to consider is, wether the stream is being stored or simply streamed live. If it is live only, then the stream host is responsible. If it’s being stored as many ustream streams are, then the artist is responsible for obtaining licensing him/herself even in a not for profit situation.

    For example, you cannot place a cover song on myspace, soundclick, mystage etc. without the appropriate licensing (or at least claiming to have it)…

    By the way, on the iTunes 9 update, personally I like it overall but, the new color scheme I hate. Used to be more subdued background colors on tv shows/movies/audiobooks/apps pages now it’s stark white.

    I’m glad to see you and many others recognizing that Twitter and similar sites are better used for reaching potential gigs rather than fans.

    The fans will of course find you and likely follow but, do you really want to hear what the fans are tweeting about? After all, most of it has nothing to do with your act…

    On the sponsor issue, I’m in complete disagreement with you both.

    First, it’s cheesy as heck and devalues the product in the buyers eyes. Sure the sponsor finds value in seeing their name in the liner notes but the music buyer I believe sees it much as readers do vanity publishing.

    Second, consider public television. How quick are you to donate to public television when you see program after program with, sponsored by so-and-so… From my point of view, if they have a sponsor for the program, why do they need my money and more properly, why should I feel compelled to pay them?

    Third, As I see it, if you cannot afford the studio/replication etc. then you shouldn’t be spending the money in the first place. Most projects never show a profit and most don’t even break even. It’s money, like it or not, tossed away in the hopes of future revenue.

    Sorry to be so long winded, this episode opened the proverbial floodgates in my head:)

  • Hmm, not sure I agree with Robert about the sponsorship thing. Firstly, I don’t think it devalues the product if done well. Todd Rundgren’s ‘Something/Anything’ album has a portrait of Todd comprised entirely from names from his fan club (I might be wrong in the exact details). Although not a sponsorship thing, as a way of thanking his fans it works and looks good.

    I can’t comment on the public TV thing as I’m in the UK and have the license-funded BBC which is excellent.

    As for your third point Robert, I think that’s entirely up to the artist. My Ballard project is so far running at a loss and I’m not surprised. However, it satisfies my creative urges and keeps me sane – the money spent on recording, duplication etc is much cheaper than paying a counsellor!

    Marillion (British prog group) did an album a few years ago where they raised funds for recording by asking the fans to donate (they’d been dropped by their label I think). The fans loved the band and really wanted a new album so everyone was happy.

    Good to hear another podcast again chaps!

  • Neil

    With regard to cover song royalties, I have a business idea — maybe CD Baby could take it on?

    A digital music vendor that specializes in cover songs. You submit your cover, they handle all the publisher searching/performance royalties, and once it’s cleared, put your song up for sale. They keep a larger cut of the sales (both for the royalties and for their trouble), and you get to put it out without all the hassle and paperwork. I, for one, would be happy if I could put a cover or two on my album without dealing with all that junk, even if it meant earning half as much per download of that track.

  • I love the idea of getting people to sponsor a song to help defray the cost of making a record. I had some ideas for the liner notes, “Audio Mastering sponsored by…” or, “Album Art sponsored in part by…”

    Check out what my favorite psychedelic trombone funk band is offering fans — “Boner Donors” from $30 to 100,000.

  • Totally agree with the Tweetdeck awesomeness! I can’t imagine trying to keep up with this stuff without this resource. Also, the new itunes is very cool. Thanks guys!

  • Hey All

    I loved the discussion on ustream and putting cover songs up on youtube. My only suggestion would be: If you have a cover song on youtube that is getting some hits, why not put an mp3 version for sale as digital download on your site or cdbaby? You can put a link right in the youtube video now. Doing it legally with a compulsory licence is not that hard. You can find some helpful tips right here on CDbaby https://members.cdbaby.com/HowCDBabyWorks/FAQ.aspx and look under “How can I sell an album that has cover songs?”

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    – Jason Paul Johnston