Just in case you don't know why this picture is awesome.
March 12th, 2014
Apparently Steven Sondheim hated the song I Feel Pretty from the hit musical West Side Story because Maria, a poor Puerto Rican American girl would never sing the words I feel pretty and witty and gay. I tend to agree and that has slightly shattered my perception of how much I love that musical.
If I took anything away from this lecture, it was to establish the terms of your involvement from the beginning so there are no mistakes or problems. It skips all the business we don't want to discuss and gets to the music that we want to compose.
Grand Rights are the rights reserved for the creator of dramatico-musical materials. The grand right only exists in a musical work which is written specifically for a particular dramatic usage, whether that is opera: a stage musical: or a ballet production. Another more amusing definition might be: A musical performance whereby if it takes place in costume and you can throw something at it, there's a Grand Right.
Grand Rights are not licensed by the performing rights societies so you have to keep on them if you want to see your royalties. There are usually three recipients of Grand Rights including the lyricists, writers, and composers.
Anyway, grand rights are something you should probably know about if you want to compose for musicals. Its a possibility for any songwriter I suppose!
We ended class with an exercise that I botched unfortunately, (a lot on my mind and none of it was writing a hit opening number in 15 minutes). It was a fun little task, but there just wasn't enough time.
As for my Context and Methodology research paper, I am working on placing as many quotes and pieces of information from all my books as I read through them so that I don't end up spending two hours on two paragraphs like I did this weekend. I wrote the introduction. Woo. It's the part of the essay that is most likely to change.
Here are the notes so far:
Transformation: Analyzing how the Music Business Paradigm Shift has Affected the Songwriter in the 21st Century.
There are few constants in the music business including its transformative nature and songwriter based foundations. With the advancements of technology since the millennium, the role of the songwriter has adapted to the rising standards and expectations of the industry. Today, technology and songwriting are completely intertwined forcing the once songwriter to evolve into the performing producer/songwriter. There are thousands of songwriters across the globe fighting to fit within the brutal, impenetrable music industry and where there is competition, there will be natural selection. As the standards shift, so do the roles in which an aspiring songwriter must adhere to.
I will compare and contrast the brave new world of the performing producer/songwriter to the music business at the turn of the century. Through secondary and primary research, I will analyze this shift of expectations and transformation of the songwriter in the 21st century.
“…Music is music, no matter what contracts are signed and how the lawyers have chapped up the rights. Music fans don’t care about contracts, they care about the music and the musician. And that’s the point: there no longer needs to be a middleman between musicians and music fans” (Chertow, Freehan: 2009). 9 (Possibly different quote...when I find one.)
Here are the two paragraphs:
The discovery and process of utilizing electricity in the early 19th century has made music and technology inseparable. Technology continually challenges the limitations we establish and the impossibilities we embrace every day as forward-thinking minds pine over a very promising and powerful tomorrow. The Midas Hand of technology has left a golden, crater-sized footprint, waiting to be holstered and exploited, in every aspect of the human experience. The seemingly small fraction of that influence lies in the colossal culture and business of music. Today, music is bigger than it ever has been before.
The music industry has transformed many times in the last century, yet each push for change does not become any easier than the last. Every few decades, new advancements in technology provoke transformation within the impervious walls of the music business and the latest development lies in the 21st century. Access to technology has called for a power conversion—a transformation—and for the first time, it starts at the bottom of the pyramid with the songwriters. This foundation in which the music gatekeepers have stood on for so long, has initiated an inevitable shift in the paradigm of music business and artistry. This is a digital age and “a growing group of forward-thinking artists…are quietly creating a revolution” (Gordon: 2008). Xvii
2. The Industry Monolith
In order to understand how the music industry has transformed, we should know where the music business started. Bobby Owsinski uses an appropriate numbering system to track the evolutionary stages of the business in his book, Music 3.0. Lasting almost fifty years, the first generation of music business followed a model that is currently considered to be the original method of the industry. Music 1.0 consists of artists sending demos to major labels, being signed, joining forces with A&R
“Today, the artists contribution – talent, imagination, persona, and creative energy – is as important as ever...That makes the artist more powerful, and the average record labels offerings see much less significant in comparison... One cannot, however, under estimate the importance of the strong business network, and back in Naples often have huge business networks, with a lot of mission-critical support just a phone call away” (Kusek, Leonhard: 2005). 22
3. The Foundation
(The distribution monopolies no longer link the artist with their fans. Introducing the age of social networking. An end to finite distribution windows)
B. Dissolution of Mainstream Genre
(The mainstream music genre begins to disintegrate as new forms of distribution are offered. Multi-genre music availability)
(Clarifying that the all time musical ‘hit’ was a product of limited availability in the past. More listening options merit different tastes of listeners)
It's grand..... rights..... ;)