January 27, 2009

Creative Commons Licensing / Copyright in a Digital Age

For those of you that are unaware, I thought i'd share some information in this blog about Creative Commons. Lawrence Lessig has been a driving force in creating a non-profit organisation with new, groundbreaking copyright rules, that aim to guide forward-thinking musicians and artists through a new digital age of arts.

Building upon existing laws, Creative Commons licenses adapts them to allow remixing, mashing, evolving and combining of existing works, which makes for a creative freedom that will surely help inspire many new artists; influence is a powerful motivator, and something that creative people love to share. The original artists are able to choose which rights they want to maintain, and which they can offer to allow experimentation and sharing for future works, the idea often being that no work is 'finished', and that by sharing and giving in this 2.0 world, exposure, discovery and accreditation are more important than direct revenue from one set product.

Lessig is not aiming for...

Read the full article over at UK Music Jobs - The premier online community for music industry professionals.

Lee Jarvis.

January 14, 2009

7 ways to improve your chances of getting a Music job

1) Update your Music Jobs profile! I can’t stress this enough. I see lots of profiles for people who sign up, no picture, no CV, and then sit back and wait. The industry doesn’t work like that, you have to show what you can do. That includes on your profile page; scores of companies view hundreds of pages every month (stats) – make yours one of them

2) Become ACTIVE in the social communities. They really are shaping the future on so many levels, from the way people share feedback on internet radio to Obama’s US election campaign. If you are potentially going to become one of my employees, I want to know that you are serious about the industry. One way I can see this is if you comment on the big music news; it shows that you are on the ball and that you are able to form an opinion. This is a whole new dimension to networking in person, and that has always been a key to the industry. Now, I’d honestly say that BOTH are of equal importance.

3) Start a blog. A blog should be seen as an extension of your resume. It can offer proof of your knowledge and insight, as well as a way to exercise your brain and keep you on top of your game, even if you only get 10 hits a day. This article should fully convince you, and also offers start-up tips, in the form of due diligence (not as scary as it sounds), finding your true voice and beginning in ‘stealth’ mode.

4) Keep your CV up to date. There are endless websites offering helpful tips, including how to make your CV a good, readable length, a smart and original layout and even helping to explain recent layoffs and career changes. Suck at spelling and grammar? Get a friend to check it over with you.

5) Internships. Yeah, I know, working for free sucks, and maybe it shouldn’t be allowed. But to be brutally honest, supply exceeds demand in the music industry, like many of the arts. Internships should not be seen as a step down, as they can open up so many new avenues and a whole new career opportunity. Even if they don’t lead directly to a new position, your CV will look so much stronger if you have got off your butt and worked one day a week at a radio station for a few months, then you spent 6 weeks helping out at a magazine. If you’ve not had anything music related since your education (or at all), you should really think again about internships.

6) Create your own work. There has never been a better time to go Indie, and you can apply that way of thinking to any aspect of the industry. Start that record label you and your buddies have always talked about. Invest in some equipment so you can hire yourself out as a Mobile DJ. Even write your own e-book. You will be surprised where it may take you, onto remix work for other labels? A regular gig at a guy’s bar (who’s brother’s wedding you performed at)? A publishing deal or magazine column? It may take a while, but you stand a far better chance if you are out there hustling away doing your own thing. Again, it’s proof that you are dedicated.

7) Go to events. Prepared. I’ll be honest (again!), this is something that I’m slacking at. I know it is important to get out there and meet new faces, check out new technologies, swap details and then follow up, but I have been a bit rubbish over the last couple of years. Being prepared simply means spending a reasonable amount of time and money on some good business cards/ CDs/ DVDs/ Press kits. I know it will greatly improve my media and marketing base if I get out to parties, conferences and exhibitions, and that is what I’m going to start doing. Join me.

So, there you have it. Of course I’m not saying this is definitive, and results may fluctuate with the weather, but I promise that these are fundamentals on your path to success.

Lee Jarvis.

Cross-posted at UK Music Jobs

January 08, 2009

iTunes goes DRM-free

Well, it’s always been on the cards, but the biggest news of the week is that Apple have finally been able to make iTunes tracks available without the Digital Rights Management that was essentially ‘watermarked’ into all previous tracks.

So you can now buy a tune from iTunes and play it on Microsoft’s Zune player or similar by SanDisk. It really took us until 2009 to get to that stage? The major labels and countless independents have been selling DRM-free tracks via Amazon for about a year, so why did they hold out on Apple?

Steve Jobs announced that EMI were willing to drop DRM back in 2007, but the rest of the majors (Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony Music Entertainment) have held out for some unknown reason. Actually, the reason is know; it’s because majors have no idea how to move forward in this music evolution. They were unwilling to hand over DRM-free copies to iTunes because of the scale of it’s sales, fearing a loss of control and rampant, escalating piracy. They struggle to keep hold of things like DRM so that people don’t ‘steal their money’.

Here’s a thought. Will Apple’s news make much difference? The people who already buy millions of tracks from iTunes are doing so (mostly) happily and playing them on their millions of iPods and iPhones. As far as they know (or care), DRM has never been an issue. People who have wanted to download DRM-free music for their non-Apple devices have been able to find it fairly easily. Will these settled buyers bother to jump ship? Especially with the new price rises too (more on that later). The infamous Bob Lefsetz thinks the news is very much a non-issue, saying that “the only people who care about DRM don’t pay for music, they just steal it. Otherwise, Amazon would have eclipsed Apple and the Seattle company would own the online music market”.

Is it all too-little too-late?

Lee Jarvis.

Cross-posted at our UK Music Jobs website and also our USA Music Jobs website. The premier online communities for music industry professionals.

January 06, 2009

The Grammys 2009

So, that time of year again, huh? The Grammys are a funny thing. On one hand, they are the GRAMMYS! The most infamous and high profile music award you can get - everyone wants one. Adele (kinda) wants one. I want one. Heck, I want three. But on the other hand, they have somehow managed to miss out on awarding some of the finest talent in recent years the titles they deserve. Chicago Tribune's Kevin Johnson recently said about last year's Album of the year award going to Herbie Hancock, "Hancock's a legend, but ignoring the impact of [Kanye] West and [Amy] Winehouse felt like a mistake”. Ok, so Winehouse did win five other categories, but his point is, as the LA Times puts it, “ The industry wants -- more to the point, desperately needs -- ...innovators, but it decidedly prefers those who also find ways to acknowledge the old traditions”.....

Cross-posted at US Music Jobs just before the holidays, go there to read the full post...

Lee Jarvis