Monday, May 22, 2006

Haiku A Day May Keep The Doctor Away


Michael Levy is a writer, poet, peace-nik and author who believes in truth, beauty and joy.

Michael submitted a poem that I posted at because it was very good, and I am a bit selective when it comes to who's poetry I post on my websites or blogs.

Here's a press release on him and his works. I believe that Michael is the genuine article and I support any and all works that he produces.

Here's his release and at the end you'll find his contact information as well. When you write him tell him I said hello; that's Jorge of The Majical Band. Without futher ado, here is Michael Levy.

Ultra - Violet Haiku De-Lights

In a busy world, where people are swamped with everyday chores and work, they do not have time to read long- winded inspirational books.

Michael Levy has penned a new meaningful book that can reduce stress in an easy manner. The reader only needs to read three short haiku lines, which will allow them to develop a thought provoking inspirational message, throughout their working day.

Levy declares; A refreshing three line haiku poem, taken from the 270 + poems in the book, can be carried in the mind all day long. It could help ease the toil and lift the burden of stresses and strains of modern day living ... Levy says this unfamiliar way of relieving stress will be the next big thing to catch on with busy mums and exhausted dads.

It is sure to be an inspirational / humorous boon for every preoccupied, stressed-out person on planet earth. Point of Life book publishers have been in business for eight years, publishing eight titles by inspirational author and world celebrated poet, Michael Levy.

His inspirational poetry and essays now grace many assorted web sites, journals and magazines throughout the world. Point of Life web site is ranked number one in the world when "Inspirational books" are the search words on Google and a deeper search will reveal the extent of Levy’s reach throughout the world.

He is expert columnist for Positive Health magazine, the leading complimentary health publication in the UK. Levy has also been published by the The Royal College of Psychiatry many times over the past three years Ultra - Violet Haiku De-Lights ... The most profound, meaningful and humorous haiku publication in many years.

Available from all book stores in the USA & UK from 12th May

Contact Details: Michael Levy
Book Name: Ultra - Violet Haiku De-Lights
Price: $12.95 paperback, non-fiction poetry
Publisher: Point of Life, Inc. Publication
Date: May 06
Phone Number: 954-785-8439
Fort Lauderdale Florida Website:

There you go people, and remember, a Haiku a day keeps all your worries away :-)

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Licensing Your Music


It's amazing how musicians overlook this way of making money with your songs. Ever hear about ASCAP, BMI or SESAC? Read here what Andre Calihanna has to say about it . . .

Music is everywhere. It's playing in just about every restaurant in every city around the world. It's in the air when you go to the mall. It's in practically every television show and movie ever made. It’s on video games and airplanes. It's pretty difficult to escape it.

Amazingly, with copyright law, all this music is protected. The copyright owner, typically the songwriter and/or composer, has to grant rights for the use of his material, be it on radio, television, in a public place, etc. The owner of the sound recording also has to grant permission for the recording to be used or broadcast.

A license grants the right to use or broadcast music. In the case of radio stations, restaurants, and bars, this is usually done with a blanket license obtained from ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC, the performance rights organizations who monitor and collect money for artists.

In most venues, the songs played are hits by popular artists. But the demand for new and unheard content makes licensing a viable opportunity for independent artists.

"If you look at it, it's one of the only real ways of earning money off your music," says Eric de Fontenay, founder and publisher of MusicDish. “The music industry is changing, but the revenue channels aren't changing as quickly as the industry. Principally, artists are making their money by gigging and selling merchandise. After that, if they’re advanced enough, it’s licensing."

The opportunities available to independent musicians don't often have a lot if money attached to them. Still, Sean Cassidy, founder of independent Running Dream Records, is thrilled to have landed a track on EA Sports’ best-selling FIFA 06 video game. Selasee, the sole artist on the label’s roster, earned the distinction by beating out thousands of other indie submissions.

"Often there’s not a lot of money to be made in the licensing part," explains Cassidy. "In some situations, where there’s not much promotion for you, you have to get some kind of monetary compensation. But for something like an EA Sports video game, there’s no monetary compensation for that – if you get something it's very small – because they’re giving you this great marketing platform. Six million people get this video game. You have to recognize the benefits in that situation and not focus on the monetary aspect."

"If you’re making a film, you need music. When you say cheap, you're comparing it to what the other option is, which is major label music. With that, the most expensive part might not be the music but may be all the legal terms, conditions, negotiations, etc.

So there are a lot of independent film makers who are looking for music that does not impose the same transactional costs. The artist could still make $3,000 off the deal. Of course, the publisher might make 50%, but the artist is still making $1,500. How many CDs do you have to sell to make that? How long does it take to sell that many CDs?"

Television placement represents a large and relatively attainable avenue for licensing songs. Evan Koch, who heads Primary Voltage Records, a Boston-based indie label, landed artists on MTV responding to an online posting. He sent all the label’s CDs to MTV, and some were selected for placement.

"The bottom line is MTV has got the most hours of original programming to fill," Koch says, “and they definitely have a need to make their content to seem very up-to-date. Put that together with the small budget they've got and it screams out the need to find an indie artist. Find stuff that’s just breaking out and get it on the air."

From an economic standpoint, the artist earns money in two separate streams in a TV licensing arrangement. First, there are synchronization rights, which is basically the copyright owner granting the network the right to synchronize his music with their program.

"But for an indie artist, you’re not in a strong bargaining position," explains Koch, "so you’re basically accepting zero for that. But luckily, there’s the second piece of the puzzle. Every time your song gets played, ASCAP or BMI is tracking it and they collect money on behalf of the songwriter. So that’s a check every three months."

To read more about licensing, go to:

So there you have it folks. Your art is sacred but if you don't believe in SAS (starving artist syndrome) then licensing can be your ticket to paradise, or at least to the super-market.

Always do what you love. Peace out.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Rock Writing for Television Music Jingles


I know you are a musician, an artist, a creator of art. But you're probably starving right? Yes, most musicians fall into the "starving artist syndrome" also known as SAS.

Well here's an article written by Michael Laskow, CEO and founder of Taxi. For those of you not familiar with that organization, they help bring music to the people who need it the most; radio, theatre and yes, television.

I belong to Taxi and it is a wonderful organization for the musician who believes that getting your art to the world is a good thing.

Television Music
by Michael Laskow

Often, success in the music industry is about recognizing opportunity and then seizing it. Well, you constantly stare at one of the easiest ways to make money with your music, and it stares right back at you. As a matter of fact, it even talks to you and millions of other people. Wake up and smell the latte… it's your TV!

In the early days of television there were three networks and only slightly more channels. With the advent of cable and satellite transmission, the average American home has 60-100 channels of programming and virtually every show needs music. On top of that, there are a lot more countries other than the U.S. that have TV's with music-hungry programs, with more channels popping up every day.

You've got your big-time networks, your not so big networks, your food networks, your travel networks, hunting networks, beauty networks, health networks, et. al., and they’ve got one thing in common: they all have programming that needs music!

So where does all that music come from? Most of it comes from people like you. If you think all those shows have high-priced music houses to do custom scoring for them, think again. The majority of the music you hear on TV comes from what are commonly called production music libraries.

Production music libraries buy much of their music from people who work out of home or project studios, so you don't even need to have an arsenal of equipment. A studio with MIDI and eight tracks should do the trick.

You also need to know that making music for TV isn't like making records, and it isn't like making demos. The quality of your recording has to be what is commonly called, "master quality." In short, that means, better than a demo, but not necessarily as good as a record. The companies that buy or use these tracks are not looking for good compositions that need to be re-recorded. They want something that's ready to air with no re-cutting or re-mixing.

Tracks for TV, radio, documentaries, and corporate videos are usually requested in lengths of :2, :5, :10, :15, :30, :60, and 3:00. Most libraries will ask for a specific track in all or most of the aforementioned lengths. Some lengths are used for TV commercials, some are for radio, some are used for station I.D.'s, and some are used for cues in films.

Be prepared to write your tracks so they are easily editable to the shorter lengths from the longer "parent" track, and make sure the tracks have a button, or closed ending. That simply means the tracks ends on a beat, not a fade, and by the way, should somebody tell you they need a :30 track, they really mean they need a :29.5 (reverb decay included), a :60 should be :59.5 and so on. If the tracks are too long, they will be cut off by the next commercial or segment of the TV show. Golden rule: never go over the allotted time. Come in just short, ring out included.

The exception to the button ending is when the film or TV show needs a song with lyrics, not just an instrumental track. There are often cases where a scene requires something that sounds like a hit song, but has never actually been a hit. It's cheaper to license a song from somebody who is "nobody" than it is to license a song from a major superstar. In fact, it can be tens of thousands of dollars cheaper.

For many people, a record deal is the brass ring they're after. The truth of the matter is that getting a deal on a major label is very, very difficult and getting a deal on many indie labels means that you've just signed with a label that can give you lots of attention, but they have no marketing machine or promotion money behind them.

The bottom line is that if you get off the couch and get motivated, you can make enough money making music to quit your day job, but the companies who need this music won't track you down. You need to figure out who they are and how to make contact with them. The networks themselves aren't the people to call. Try to find music libraries, publishers who regularly work in film and TV, and music supervisors working on film and TV projects.

Many of you reading this column would likely be very happy to just make a living exclusively doing music, and getting your music onto TV shows and film is one of the most realistic approaches to achieve it. You probably won't make millions, but you can earn a nice living.

Michael Laskow is the President of TAXI, the world's leading independent A&R company helping unsigned bands, artists, and songwriters get record deals, publishing deals and placement in films and TV shows. Find out more about TAXI and their services at

So there you have it folks. Get off yer duffs and get over yourself about being a rock and roll star. Create some great jingles, gather your friends around you, turn on the tv and have them listen to your latest "recording".

You might think you've sold out, but you'll be moping all the way to the bank. Then you can buy more recording gear and that new Stratocaster you've always wanted. . .oh and that. . .

Peace out!