Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The MAMAs - Madison Area Music Association June 22nd, 2014 by Roy Elkins

The Madison Area Music Association Annual Awards
June 22nd, 2014 Capitol Theatre, Overture Center
Madison, WI
by Roy Elkins

June 22nd, 2014Capitol Theatre

This Sunday in Madison, Wisconsin, the Madison Area Music Association hosts it's annual awards show in the Capitol Theatre. This high energy and diverse show recognizes local talent and, at the same time, raises money to buy music instruments for kids.  Over the years the association has purchased and/or donated over $50,000 of instruments for organizations, school music programs or an individual who just wants to play music. The MAMAs (themamas.org) show, includes over 150 volunteers and is the premier annual musical event in our great city.

The MAMA (themamas.org) was founded by Rick Tvedt, a local Madison musician, who has a deep passion for helping musicians and kids succeed. In it's 11th year, the MAMAs continues to thrive. In the second year of the MAMAs, I got involved as Rick's commitment to the music community is infectious. His dedication to this organization is unmatched and it may be years before the community ever realizes the positive impact that this one individual has had upon it. Beth Kille, one of the best performers and songwriters in Wisconsin, is producing the show and has put together an amazing event.

Kyle Henderson
This year's lineup at the show will include:  RIP - great hip hop songwriter, producer and performer / The Dang-Its - a phenomenal country bluegrass band with great instrumentalists / Annabel Lee - winner of the Battle of the Bands which earned her a spot at The MAMAs / Modern Mod - A very talented group of young musicians who describe themselves as a garage band surf pop. Very talented group that could a have a big future / The unique sound of Son Contrabando. A collection of musicians from Wisconsin, Venezuela & Peru / the amazing Kyle Henderson.  Kyle is was the front man and bass player of the 80s Pop sensation The Producers.  His killer vocal is legendary and he now fronts his own blues band made up of some of the best players in Madison / And a very special performance from the Madison Music Makers Youth String Ensemble.

Madison Music Maker
Every year, the MAMAs (themamas.org) presents the lifetime achievement award to a resident of Madison and who has dedicated their life to music and the community. Past winners have included Clyde Stubblefield (Legendary drummer for James Brown), Jan Wheaton (Jazz Singer extraordanairre), Ben Sidran (Highly acclaimed Jazz keyboardist, writer and producer), Richard Davis (World class versatile bassist with with Mingus, Gillespie and Springsteen), Jim Fleming (Long time morning anchor of Wisconsin Public Radio's Morning Classics and the nationally syndicated To The Best of Our Knowledge), Pro Arte Quartet (Founded in 1911, one of the longest running and most respected Classical Quartets in history), Doc DeHaven (Trumpet virtuoso in the Chicago and Madison scene for 50 years), Marv Rabin (Founder of the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra) and Michael Leckrone, (Well respected conductor of the Wisconsin Badger Marching Band.)

This year the award will go to Leotha Stanley, who has been the music director at Mt.Zion church for 30+ years. His career has been legendary, as he was invited to the Olympic Trials (long jump), made the national team in 1987 and won a silver medal at a meet in the UK. He later became a paramedic and has helped scores of kids and adults become better musicians. He is truly a deserving individual. Jonathan Overby of Wisconsin Public Radio and one of Lee's closest friends will present his award to him.

Besides the great lineup of talent, numerous awards will be handed out to Madison's best. The red carpet is rolled out at 5 and the show will start at 6 PM.

I and Broadjam are honored and proud to part of this great organization.

Press & educational links – Hangout June 6, 2014, “Blanket” Music Licensing, Industry Projections, Celebrating Sonic Foundry, A Music Platform, Project Famous – Great Photographer, Models of Opportunity: How Entrepreneurs Design Firms

Monday, June 16, 2014

Congressional Hearings on Licensing System

Congressional Hearings on Licensing System
by Roy Elkins

I just read an article by Ben Sisario of the New York Times who is covering the congressional hearings regarding the rule changes that are needed for music licensing.  I wrote a blog titled One Licensing System a few days ago in response to another article. I really appreciate the reporters who are covering this as we will never hear this through broadcast or any non-internet source.
DC Roy Elkins
US Capitol

The current system of acquiring and paying for music is out of date, so I am glad to see the congressional hearings taking place in Washington. But my fear is that lawmakers, who are known for not even reading the bills they are voting on, will actually wrap their heads around the complexities of the music industry.
I was glad to see Jim Griffin on the panel as I have always had a lot of respect for him.  He is a great thinker and always seems to be at the forefront of most legal and technological advances in the music industry. He suggested a central database of rights holders that could be referenced by those looking to license music. I couldn’t agree more.

One quote from Congressman Darrell Issa to the panel of industry experts, “Every one of you has a vested interest in some part of the status quo, and every one of you is railing against some aspect of the status quo.” Ok, no offense directed at Mr. Issa, but if anyone knows the definition of status quo and the efforts to fight changing it, it’s politicians….on both sides of the aisle. We shouldn't expect any less from the music industry. Hopefully our politicians realize we pay them to listen and legislate the process without prejudice, but they seem to be more interested in lecturing their employers lately.

Back to the topic at hand. In addition to Jim Griffin's suggestion, I would add that audio files be registered in this database as well and the flow of these could be easily tracked at the ISPs. I have written a couple different blogs on this as I believe the technology solution has been in place to solve this problem on the internet for years.  This blog was written in 2006.  www.broadjam.com/blog/broadjam-blog/bandwidth-monitoring/
There will not be a fully encompassing solution without legislation.  And the real irony, is that all of the pieces are in place to make it work in a very short amount of time.

The technology solution is simple.

If I send you an audio file, it must travel through an ISP.  The ISP could easily recognize it as an audio file.  It checks against the central database and says, “Oh, that is Hotel California by the Eagles”.  The ISP adds a nominal fee such as a penny to your bill and the receiver’s bill.  The ISP pays the appropriate rights holder or one of the performance rights societies. If there is one central database, there can also be one central collection society as an add-on to what Jim Griffin suggested.  See this blog for more info. www.royelkins.net/2014/06/one-licensing-system.html

Now I know a few of you stopped at the “one penny” comment.  Think about it.  If you only had to pay a penny every time you sent a song to a friend and it automatically hit your ISP or phone bill, you wouldn’t even blink an eye. You would send a song when you felt like it. So anytime a song is transferred from one location to another, then the sender and receiver pay this fee. Whatever it is. If it’s streamed, maybe it’s a fraction of the fee. 

Ok, maybe it’s not a penny, but let’s look at some numbers. The RIAA says on it’s own site http://www.riaa.com/faq.php that the economic losses equal $12.5 billion dollars per year.  There are 6 billion people in the world and we know at least 1 billion have computers, because they are on friggin’ Facebook. So if 1 billion people accessed music (via the internet, through email or on their phone) at a rate of just 10 songs a month, the problem is solved.  That’s right, 10 songs per person per month, the industry would fully recover it’s loss immediately. I do believe that there are probably more than a billion people using the internet and cell phones…..and the average will probably access more than 10 songs a month, but you get the idea. If there are 50 billion illegal downloads a year, we just added 1 billion to the bottom line of the industry. My guess is that number goes through the roof when folks aren’t thinking about the cost at the time of the transaction. Just like when we are streaming video or data on our cell phones and not thinking about it. Maybe it’s done for a usage fee and wrapped into one package, who knows? But one thing I do believe, it has to be done at the ISP level to solve the problem.

Like I said before, I will never claim to know all the legal ramifications of any solution, but I do know that the technology and payment distribution solutions are already built. They just need to be centralized and streamlined.

Press & educational links – Hangout June 6, 2014, “Blanket” Music Licensing, Industry Projections, Celebrating Sonic Foundry, A Music Platform, Project Famous – Great Photographer, Models of Opportunity: How Entrepreneurs Design Firms

Friday, June 13, 2014

California Music Industry Summit

California Music Summit
Broadjam Roy Elkins

by Roy Elkins

This weekend is the California Music Summit in Oakland in the Kaiser Center Tower at 300 Lakeside.  This is a great event that every independent musician should attend. Many great panelists and speakers will present their ideas and thoughts on how to make the music industry a more opportune place for all musicians.

Broadjam's Mike Huberty will be there sitting on three different panels.
Roy Elkins Broadjam
Mike Huberty's band Sunspot

The first is at 11 AM on Saturday titled Generating Royalty Income. The new music business gives musicians the opportunity to generate revenue from a multitude of sources. This panel will address some of those outlets and discuss performance rights and other topics.

The second panel is at 1PM and the topic is Attracting Music Supervisors. Mike is out licensing manager and that is what he does on a daily basis at Broadjam. He seeks out opportunities for our members to monetize their music evryday. This panel will discuss how to find them on your own and how to get your music to a supervisor. It will also address the importance of this process in bringing new artists to the forefront. This is going to be a good one.

The last session is scheduled at 5 PM and is a Demo Listening Session. Participants will have the opportunity to submit directly to the panel of experts and get feedback on the potential of their songs.

Beginning tonight, there will be awesome showcases featuring some great independent artists at the Stork Club and tomorrow at the Legionairre Saloon. I wish I could be there, it sounds like it will be a great time with lots of great music.

If you are in one of the sessions and would like to provide feedback, feel free to post it here.

Roy Elkins

Monday, June 9, 2014

Happy 99th Birthday Les Paul!

Les Paul

Today, June 9th, would have been Les Paul's 99th birthday. Les changed the world with his inventions, his guitar playing and more importantly, his insatiable curiosity. I had the good fortune to meet Les and work with him while I was at Ensoniq in the 80s and 90s. He used our products and was always interested in what was coming next. When I moved on to Sonic Foundry, we had discussions regarding sampling and looping and the effects it would have on the music creation process. After Broadjam was launched, the topic moved to mp3s and the compression algorithms to create them. He was always inquisitive and full of ideas.

Les Paul Roy Elkins
Les at home with many of his inventions & instruments

My favorite Les Paul story.  He was traveling back from the west coast with Mary Ford when his car skidded off the road and nearly killed both of them. His right arm was shattered and he instructed the doctors to position it in a way so he could pick a guitar. To the day he died, his right arm was always bent like he was holding a guitar.

He played the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City right up until his death. It was a ritual to go see Les when traveling to NYC. He was always gracious and made you feel li
ke you were the most important person in his life.

While he is widely known for his innovations, those who knew him remember his friendly, humorous, engaging and inquisitive personality. Below is a link to a blog for your perusal written shortly after his death. 

Roy Elkins remembers Les Paul

Also, please support the Les Paul foundation.  He was philanthropic in life and now in death.  I am happy to be affiliated with the great people who run his organization.

Les Paul Foundation

Thursday, June 5, 2014

American Idol Every Year

Logo - thoughts by Roy Elkins

Every year, I become more of an American Idol junkie. I have seen more talent come through the show than any other broadcast venue and thanks to AI for giving these kids a opportunity. This past year, 75,000 hopefuls signed up and probably 6 – 12 will have careers of some level for a long time.  

Every year, I read and hear others criticize the show for their treatment of the contestants and the exploitation of them after the fact. But to date, most contestants that made it to the top 12 say it was a great experience.  What other way is there for a great vocalist to go from complete obscurity to stardom in 6 months?  Every winner and many others have gone on to some level of success.  Like the rest of the music industry, some continue to have success and some don’t.  The odds of making it through the traditional channels aren’t even close to this success rate.

Every year, I read that the judging this year was terrible, the show is fixed, one person says their ratings were the lowest in the shows history.  Lots of opinions continue to pour in. It still ranks in the Top 10 week after week after week and it is clear that the show execs are evolving the staging, dialogue and judging to get it to the top spot again.  Most television producers would be happy with a Top 10 show year after year.  

Every year I read that the final three were all terrible singers. Of course, 100 gazillion records later, they are still terrible. And this year, the final two contests had vocal ranges that far outweighed the competition. And number three was one of the most tasteful and inventive singers to ever grace the idol stage.  

I understand that it’s a matter of taste when watching reality shows like Idol and everyone has a different take on the various aspects of it. I appreciate any show, like Idol, who give kids a shot at “making” it.  And several do "make" it, every year.