New Song Lyrics Post: WINTERS DEW (Without Her)

(1st Verse)

He’s in love with her– but he’s not quite sure– if she’s feeling just the same– how can you really blame him– we’d probably do the same thangs— ordinary love games— played– when snow rains– out– the middle– of winters dew.



Now he’s buying diamonds just to make her see— the skies the limit she can have anything cause he— doesn’t want to live– without her.


Countless trips to Paris, France and Rome to see all the latest fashion shows, couture boutiques just so he– doesn’t have to live– without her.


(2nd Verse)

Sometimes love can hurt— sometimes it just won’t work— assumptions can be changed— without diamond chains— How else will he know– that she’ll never go– without– true love– when push comes to shove— unashamed– in the middle of winters dew.



So, he’s buying diamonds just to make her see…



Little did he know she was madly in love with his eyes—

She would travel to the ends of the earth– third class– much to his surprise.

Embrace, feel her heart beat rise—

in exchange– for all the gifts ‘n plane rides–

for his kiss– in the middle– of winters dew.




(Chorus out)


Cause he was buying diamonds just to make her see…


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Break Open The Bubbly!

Dear Health Conscious Reader,


Pop the cork on a bottle of champagne and you know it’s time for a celebration. “The Bubbly” makes you feel good right away because if you’re drinking it, you know times are good.

Did you know it’s good for you, too? Champagne is packed with polyphenols, which are antioxidants from the grapes. They help protect your brain and your heart, keep your blood pressure low, and increase the “feel-good” chemicals in your brain.

There are other plants that have some of the same compounds you can find in champagne. Cocoa has them, for example… but a cup of hot chocolate somehow doesn’t seem as fun as a glass of champagne.

You get champagne either by combining two kinds of black grapes, pinot noir and pinot meunier, or by using the white chardonnay grape, and letting them ferment. That just means you let the grapes sit there until their sugars turn into alcohol.

But with champagne, you let them ferment twice, instead of once like regular wine. That’s when the bubbles start to form. And that’s when the fun starts. Not just for celebrations, but for your body, too.

As it turns out, champagne is very healthy.

Champagne gives you the same amount of heart protection as red wine, helping your heart’s pumping performance, increasing heart muscle energy production, and protecting your heart’s cells from free radical damage.1

The British Journal of Nutrition published a study that looked at whether or not champagne could affect how well your arteries work. They discovered that champagne specifically – not the alcohol in it, or the phenolic acids, which are the antioxidants from grapes – does make them work better.

They gave people two glasses of champagne to drink, and found that The Bubbly boosts nitric oxide. That’s the compound that relaxes your blood vessels and lowers your blood pressure. And the effect lasts for up to eight hours.2

A different study found that the antioxidants in the phenolic acids have another benefit. They appear to protect your brain.

The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry published a study that found three phenolic acids from champagne – tyrosol, caffeic acid and gallic acid – protect against the damage to your brain that free radicals can cause. Also, they protect you even if you only drink a small amount of champagne.3

Champagne can also be beneficial in other ways. For example, it causes you to release dopamine, the “feel-good” brain chemical that helps you to move around, think positively, and experience pleasure.4

Champagne may even help you digest your food better. A German study on the effects of different kinds of alcohol on people’s stomachs found that alcohols that are distilled (like vodka) have no effect on gastric acid, which your stomach makes so it can break down your food and digest it. But fermented alcohols, like champagne, increase gastric acid by as much as 95 percent.5

It’s well documented that one drink a day for women and up to two a day for men can help you live a longer and healthier life. And with all the extra heart and brain benefits you get from The Bubbly, it’s a good idea to drink some even if it isn’t a special celebration.

So how do you choose a champagne that packs plenty of polyphenol punch?

The first thing you want to remember is that even though the word “champagne” usually refers to all sparkling wines, actual champagne only comes from France. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other wines like champagne. You can also try a sparkling white wine from California, which is made the same way champagne is made in France. Or you can try champagne’s sexy cousins, Spumante from Italy and Cava from Spain.

• Champagne – The best champagne is not made every year, but only when the wine is good enough. Those champagnes have a “vintage,” or year they are made, and are very expensive, like the famous Dom Perignon or Cristal.

These expensive champagnes are also very “dry,” which means they have a slight bitterness… but that bitterness is good. It comes from very high polyphenol content. Don’t worry, though. Sweeter champagnes – ones that are less dry-tasting – are still plenty healthy.

• California sparkling white wine: You only get the health benefits from real “sparkling” wine. That’s because the real sparkling wine gets its bubbles from natural fermentation in the same style they use in France. If a wine is artificially carbonated like soda, the label will say the wine is “effervescent” instead of sparkling.

Spumante – Like French champagne, this kind of Italian sparkling wine is only made in one region of Italy. You may have heard of Asti Spumante, a popular brand. Spumante is lighter and less bubbly than champagne, and less expensive. Also, it’s best if you drink it within three years of the vintage.

Cava – Made exclusively in Northeastern Spain, Cava is made the same way as French champagne, but from Macabeo grapes. It’s fruitier than other sparkling wines, and its bubbles last longer.

On The Web: If you would like to learn more about sparkling wines, here are some websites to visit:

1. Snooth: You’ll find better wines listed here.
2. California champagnes: Get information on the wineries that make California sparkling wines, and where to get the best buys.
3. Wine Spectator: Check out this popular wine magazine that has news, rating and tips on finding what you want.
4. Decanter: Here’s another good Web wine magazine with videos, ratings and a “wine finder” search bar.
5. Robin Garr’s Wine Lovers Page
6. Joe Roberts’ “One Wine Dude”

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD signature

Al Sears, MD

1 Dudley, J.I., Lekli, I., Mukherjee, S. et al, “Does white wine qualify for French paradox?” J. Agric. Food Chem. Oct. 22, 2008;56(20):9362-73
2 Vauzour, David, et al, “Moderate Champagne consumption promotes an acute improvement in acute endothelial-independent vascular function in healthy human volunteers,” British Journal of Nutrition 2010; Volume 103, Issue 08
3 Vauzour, David, et al, “Champagne Wine Polyphenols Protect Primary Cortical Neurons against Peroxynitrite-Induced Injury,” J. Agric. Food Chem. 2007;55(8)2854–2860
4 Boyer, J.C., Bancel, E., Perray, P.F., et al, “Effect of champagne compared to still white wine on peripheral neurotransmitter concentrations,” Int. J. Vitam. Nutr. Res. Sept. 2004;74(5):321-8
5 Teyssen, S., Lenzing, T., González-Calero, G., et al, “Alcoholic beverages produced by alcoholic fermentation but not by distillation are powerful stimulants of gastric acid secretion in humans,” Gut Jan. 1997; 40(1):49–56


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The Surest Way To Live Better, Longer

Al Sears, MD
11903 Southern Blvd., Ste. 208
Royal Palm Beach, FL 33411

October 12, 2011

Perhaps the oldest anti-aging technique on record is eating less. Wise men have known this for centuries. The thing that has changed is that now modern science has tested this approach, measured its effect and even found out how it works.

When you eat less, you get a number of benefits:

  • Body temperature drops
  • Blood pressure lowers
  • Cholesterol levels drop
  • Cells divide at a slower rate
  • The rate of glycation drops
  • Free radical activity drops
  • Inflammation lessens
Live in a Mansion With a Full-Time Maid, Gardener and Driver…
for as Little as $694 a Month

This may sound like a fantasy, but it’s a reality for hundreds – if not thousands – of Americans who discovered a remarkable truth:

There are places where you can live like a movie star on a teacher’s budget. I’ve seen it first hand.

Some live up in the mountains; others on secluded islands. And they are financing their retirement on just a few thousand dollars a month, with the amenities you’d expect to find at the Ritz Carlton.

The only secret is knowing where to look. These enclaves of affordable luxury exist. You just have to know about them. And that’s what my friend Kathleen Peddicord does so well. She’s traveled to more than 50 countries, making the rich-and-famous lifestyle possible for regular folks with regular jobs.

To find out more directly from Kathleen, click here.

Essentially what is happening is a form of hibernation. You are “living less,” thus adding years to your lifespan. The less food you eat, the less your metabolic system has to work.

Caloric restriction (CR) has scientific validation with an amazingly consistent track record that stretches back 80 years. We now have evidence in over 60 species of animals including humans and other primates that fewer calories slow aging by a number of simultaneous mechanisms.

CR slows aging by causing hormonal changes in your bloodstream. We now know there is a genetic pathway activated by CR, which protects you from the damage that causes aging. And, most incredibly, CR slows the shortening of the telomere, which is the master genetic control for your biological clock.

For example, multiple studies show that mice on CR diets live up to 60 percent longer (and behave like younger mice in every way) than mice on a normal diet. In human terms, that’s like living an extra 50 years!

CR also lowers the risk of many diseases of aging. These include cancer, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s.

There are some drawbacks to CR. If you follow it closely, you will be hungry all the time. CR also requires a very long period to reap its benefits. CR is challenging and not for everyone. But that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from what CR studies tell us.

If you don’t want to sentence yourself to a lifetime of hunger, how about a short fast? Periodic fasting is a safe and reliable way to slow the aging process and prevent disease. Studies show that animals that eat a regular diet while fasting for one day once a week live longer than mice that don’t.

When you fast, you melt fat for energy. Not only do you drop the excess weight, you get rid of all the toxins that your body stores in the excess fat. A new study shows this kind of fasting also reduces depression and improves your quality of life.1

Fasting also helps your body make human growth hormone, along with other anti-aging hormones. This helps you to better use protein to repair cells, tissues and organs.

Here are a few tips:

  • Start with a simple 24-hour water fast. Don’t eat anything and drink plenty of clean water for a day. That’s it.
  • The next day when you break your fast, don’t eat a lot right away. Start slowly. Small amounts of fresh vegetables are your best bet. You can also start with a low glycemic load fruit like a grapefruit.

  • You can practice one-day fasts as often as every two weeks.
  • You can work and exercise while fasting.
  • If you have diabetes, kidney or liver disease, clear any fast with your doctor.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

1 Teng, N.I., Shahar, S., Manaf, Z.A., et al, “Efficacy of fasting calorie restriction on quality of life among aging men,” Physiol Behav. Oct. 24, 2011;104(5):1059-64


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Einstein’s Secret For Brain Power

Al Sears, MD
11903 Southern Blvd., Ste. 208
Royal Palm Beach, FL 33411
October 10, 2011

Albert Einstein had only one thing different about his brain than the brain of everyday folks. I’m going to tell you what that is, and it has to do with the most common thing people worry about as they grow older.

In my experience with anti-aging medicine over the last 25 years, there have been plenty of things my patients worry about: looks, vision, strength, sexual potency, and so on.

But the hands down, number-one thing more people are concerned with over and above anything else is the decline of their brains.

The fogginess. Their loss of memory. The experience they’ve had with elders who can’t remember things. The struggle they’re having trying to keep the same level of mental energy and focus.

They feel mentally fatigued, and that bothers them more than any physical problem. And from what I’ve seen, as you get older, you’re very aware of it and desirous of something to help with memory, attention, motivation and mental focus.

So, what to do? How can you repair your aging brain, and get better as you get older?

One way is to give some extra support to a neglected part of the brain called the “glia.”

Brain researchers always thought of glial cells as neurons’ strange assistants. They believed neurons did all the signaling and all the “thinking.”

But new research shows that glial cells do a lot more than just take up half the space in your “gray matter.” Some act as your brain’s immune cells, some anchor neurons in place, and some clean up waste. Some even signal your immune system for help.

These cells use glioltransmitters to stimulate and fine tune the actions of your neurons. This gives you a faster, more accurate brain with less fogginess and better concentration.

Glia also enhance the brain activity that helps you soak up the world around you. For instance, if you were missing a kind of glial cell called oligodendrocytes, messages would travel through your brain 30 times slower!

And did you know that extra glial cells were the only thing scientists found that was different about Einstein’s brain? He had a lot more of them than most people do.

The best way to enhance this part of your brain is with a group of antioxidants that zero in on helping you sharpen your mind. And they have memory and even mood-enhancing properties.

New research into brain activity shows that flavonoids, the antioxidant nutrients that naturally occur in plants, have a special role in protecting your glial cells.

Flavonoids assist your hard-working glial cells in getting rid of free radicals and other brain-robbers that play the biggest role in:

  • memory decline
  • slowing of body movements
  • mental fatigue

Here are four flavonoids that give your glial cells the most benefit, and help to protect and revitalize the biggest and most underappreciated part of your brain:

Red Wine Rescue – The American Cancer Society sponsored a study that showed the potent flavonoid apigenin was able to kill deadly glial brain cancer cells while at the same time protecting healthy cells.1

And in another study, apigenin not only protected animals against symptoms of Alzheimer’s, but those given apigenin had improved learning and memory capabilities, maintained the integrity of their brain cells, had better brain blood flow, reduced free-radical damage, and improved brain chemical transmission.2

The best sources are parsley, tomatoes, celery, artichokes, peppermint, and the herb basil. Red wine also has a good amount of this flavonoid.

Bees Make a Better Brain – Toxins and pollutants in the modern world assault your body all day with factors that cause inflammation. They can even hijack enzymes your body normally uses to protect your brain. Luteolin can stop this process cold.

In a brand new study, luteolin almost completely protected glial cells from free-radical damage and inflammation.3 It also improves memory and helps ease depression.

You can get each day’s supply of luteolin from celery, green peppers, the herb thyme, and in chamomile and yarrow teas. There’s also a unique source of luteolin… it’s from the resin bees use to make their honeycombs called propolis. You can find it in most health food stores.

Mango Powered Memory Boost – The natural extract from the leaves of the mango tree called mangiferin has been shown to be anti-tumor, can reduce pain, and helps protect against diabetes.

Many animal studies have also shown that mangiferin improves memory. And it protects against excitotoxins from the environment that can harm your brain.4

There is no mangiferin in the actual mango fruit. You must get the extract which is available from many Asian specialty stores and online sellers like

The Brain Berry – The little-known flavonoid called morin can kill cancer cells and protect the kidney from the effects of alcohol. It can also shield your neurons and those important glial cells I mentioned earlier called oligodendrocytes.

In a study from the journal Glia, researchers found that free-radical damage from inflammation was much higher in glial cells not protected with morin.5

Morin comes from the leaves of the guava tree, and from the fruit of a tree that grows on the American prairie called the Osage orange. But the most bio-available source is the delicious Chinese White Mulberry (which is actually very dark purple).

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD signature

Al Sears, MD

1 Das, A., Banik, N.L., Ray, S.K., “Flavonoids activated caspases for apoptosis in human glioblastoma T98G and U87MG cells but not in human normal astrocytes,” Cancer Jan. 1, 2010;116(1):164-76
2 Liu, R., Zhang, T., Yang, H., et al, “The flavonoid apigenin protects brain neurovascular coupling against amyloid-β-induced toxicity in mice,” J. Alzheimers Dis. 2011;24(1):85-100
3 Zhu, L.H., Bi, W., Qi, R.B., et al, “Luteolin inhibits microglial inflammation and improves neuron survival against inflammation,” Int. J. Neurosci. June 2011;121(6):329-36
4 Lemus-Molina, Y., Sánchez-Gómez, M.V., Delgado-Hernández, R., et al, “Mangifera indica L. extract attenuates glutamate-induced neurotoxicity on rat cortical neurons,” Neurotoxicology Nov. 2009;30(6):1053-8
5 Ibarretxe, G., Sánchez-Gómez, M.V., Campos-Esparza, M.R., et al, “Differential oxidative stress in oligodendrocytes and neurons after excitotoxic insults and protection by natural polyphenols,” Glia Jan. 15, 2006;53(2):201-11


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A Snicker Candy Bar Or A Potato… Which Puts More FAT On Your Body?

“You should see it, Robin. You should see the belly on me. I’m running, I’m lifting weights… for like two hours a day.”

Time To Toss Your Reading Glasses

Most doctors will tell you as you age, your vision will get worse. It’s just a part of getting older.

But guess what? They’re wrong.

There’s no scientific proof that age has anything to do with deteriorating near vision. Here’s the thing…

Just like every other muscle in your body, your eye muscles need to be exercised in order to stay strong. When your eye muscles are “out of shape,” you can’t properly focus and near items appear blurry.

Most people will just buy a pair of reading glasses and call it a day. But you don’t have to.

Leading optometrist Dr. Ray Gottlieb and the Cambridge Institute for Better Vision have come up with a therapy called The Read Without Glasses Method. It’s based on a 150-year old science that involves simple exercises that only take a few minutes to do each day.

If you’re ready to start seeing clearly and toss your reading glasses in the trash, click here now.

“I’m thinking of giving up. I hate it.”

I was listening to the Howard Stern Show in my car for a few minutes on the way to the clinic and Howard was telling his co-host Robin Quivers about how upset he was with himself.

Then he said something like, “I don’t get it. I eat right. I have a low-fat baked potato every day. And I still have this 10 pounds I can’t get rid of.”

I’ve read scores of books on nutrition, I’ve attended multiple conferences and I’m a certified clinical nutritionist. I’ve been thinking and living this and doing everything I can to eat healthier since I was a small child… and I’ve made the same mistake.

I don’t fault anyone for not getting it. It’s a fledgling science, and we thought we knew things that later turned out to be wrong.

Plus, I’ve done this for a living, and the disinformation campaign is still overwhelming to me. We see and hear so much through the mass media because they have an incentive to sell you things that are unnatural. Because that’s where the profit is.

Yet I still find myself wanting to agree with those jingles and commercials. I feel that emotion of “Oh, a low fat diet. That does seem so healthy…” And I have to correct myself.

Nutritionist thought they were doing the right thing by telling everyone to remove all fat from your diet. But it’s not fat that makes you fat. It’s excess carbohydrates.

As far as a potato goes, Howard might as well have said, “I’m eating a snickers bar every day, why aren’t I lean?”

In fact, he’d be slightly better off to eat a snickers bar than a potato.

Potatoes are an all-starch food. There’s almost zero fat or protein in a potato. It’s almost pure carbohydrate. And it’s a kind of starch that breaks down into sugar exceptionally fast. As soon as a potato hits your saliva it starts turning into blood sugar.

All that blood sugar means you have to produce more and more insulin to process it. Eventually, your body gets tired and stops responding.

It’s kind of like walking into a kitchen while someone is cooking. At first, you get a blast of aroma. But after a few minutes, you don’t notice it any more. Your hormones are the same. When your body stops responding to insulin, it’s called insulin resistance.

Blood sugar that your body can’t or won’t process gets stored as fat. So it’s foods with excess carbohydrates that can make you fat. Not fat itself.

So the idea is to eat foods that don’t spike your blood sugar. Also, you want to let your blood sugar come back down after eating so that your insulin doesn’t stay elevated for too long.

This means eating foods with a low Glycemic Load (GL). The GL is simply a number you get when you multiply a food’s Glycemic Index (GI) rating by the total amount of carbohydrate in each serving you eat.

That makes it much more practical for your everyday life because the GL tells you how fattening a food is.

For instance, let’s look at a Snickers Bar. It has a glycemic index rating of 68. That means it breaks down into blood sugar much slower than table sugar (which has a 100 rating).

A potato has a sky-high GI of 104. So it’s worse for your blood sugar than actual sugar. And much worse than a snickers bar.

But that’s not the whole story.

A Snickers Bar also has more of the right kind of fat and more protein than a potato. And because it has more stuff in each serving than just pure carbs, it has a lower Glycemic Load. That means it’s less fattening.

A medium potato has an enormous 216 grams of carbs per serving. This gives it an incredibly high GL of 36.

The GL is a fresh way to look at everyday foods. Some GL ratings may surprise you – especially if you’ve been eating cereal and potatoes.

I consider foods with a glycemic load under 10 as good choices. They are a green light. Foods that fall between 10 and 20 on the GL scale are more like a yellow light: not bad, but proceed with caution.

Foods above 20 are a red light. They will not only make you gain weight but keep you from dropping weight just like Howard Stern is experiencing. Eat those foods sparingly and try to eat protein instead. Protein has a GL of zero. For the complete glycemic load chart, click here.

If you want to eat a potato, stay away from white potatoes and opt for a sweet potato instead. It has a GL of only 12, and they’re loaded with carotenoids, vitamin C, potassium, micronutrients and fiber.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD


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How Not To Get Screwed… The 6 Legal Rights That Drive The Music Business






DERIVATIVES & SAMPLES………………………………..8

PUBLIC DISPLAY…………………………………………..13




ABOUT THE AUTHORS…………………………………..23

TUNECORE FACTOIDS……………………………………24

REFERENCE GUIDE………………………………………..25




by Jeff Price, founder of TuneCore

2 the six exclusive copyrights that drive the entire music business!

The instant you write or record an original song, be it on a cocktail napkin or sing it into your iPhone, you get six excusive legal copyrights as granted by the government.

These six legal copyrights (in no particular order) are:



Public Display

Public Performance


Digital Transmission


These rights protect your song, allow you to make money off it and control how others can use it (hey, it is your song after all!)

These laws were written by Congress (or the equivalent in other countries) to protect and empower you … and advance a culture of creativity, which the government believes benefits society at large.

These six rights drive and dictate the rules and money of the

entire music business. The purpose of this booklet is to arm you with the knowledge that

enables you to make informed decisions, control your rights, make money and pursue your passions on your own terms.



Before we drill into the six copyrights, it’s important to have the basics. There are two copyrights to every recorded song – a © and a ℗.

This is Dolly Parton. She wrote the song “I Will Always Love You”. This is Columbia Records. Columbia Records hires Whitney Houston to sing Dolly’s song “I Will Always Love You” This is the recording of Dolly’s song “I Will Always Love You” that Columbia Records hired Whitney to sing.  The actual record-ing of Whitney singing Dolly’s song is controlled by Columbia Records – this is the ℗ – it stands for “Phonogram”

The song itself is owned by Dolly, this is the © – it stands for “Copyright” Many of the copyright laws benefit the songwriter (Dolly) more than the performer (Whitney). If you are both the songwriter and the performer, it’s important to imagine yourself split in two.

For example, Dolly wrote the song.  Columbia Records then makes a deal with Dolly Parton (the Performer) to sing Dolly Parton’s (the Songwriter’s) song.  Dolly Parton (Performer) could make no money while Dolly Parton (Songwriter) could make a bundle due to copyright laws.  Which brings us to the first copyright: The Right of Reproduction (and no, that is not a bad name for an adult film!).


The Right To Reproduce is obviously the sexiest one of the copyrights you get when you write a song, and it’s also one of the more technical. To explain this further, let’s go back to the example in the front of this booklet:

Columbia Records hires Whitney Houston to sing Dolly Parton’s song “I Will Always Love You.”  The recording of the song  (the ℗) is controlled by Columbia Records (Label), the song itself (the ©) is controlled by Dolly Parton (Songwriter).

The basic concept behind the right to reproduce is this: under federal law, if you write a song, no one else can reproduce it without paying the songwriter(s) a  “Mechanical Royalty.”  The Mechanical Royalty rate is set by the government, and defines the maximum amount that must be paid to the songwriter for each reproduction. As an example, Columbia Records decides it is going manufacture 1 million CDs of its recording of Whitney singing Dolly’s song.  Each time the CD gets made (not sold), Dolly’s song has been “reproduced.”  The same holds true if Columbia Records manufactures anything physical — be it a vinyl record, wax spool, cassette, eight-track tape or any other physical product.

Under US law (and the laws around the world) each time Dolly’s song is physically reproduced she must be paid by the party who reproduces it the “Mechanical Royalty” rate as set by the government.

A second way a song is “reproduced” is when it is downloaded to a comput-er. It makes no difference if the song is bought from iTunes or downloaded for free from a blog or peer-to-peer file sharing service. Each time the song is downloaded to a hard drive it is being “reproduced.” The Mechanical Royalty rate in the U.S. is $0.091 cents (just under a dime) for each and every reproduction.  The rate goes up fractionally if the song is over five minutes in length.   Therefore, under the letter of the law, if Columbia Records manufactures 1 million CDs that have Dolly’s song on it, Dolly gets paid 1 million x $0.091 = $91,000.  If Columbia Records manufac-tures 1 million CDs that have TWO of Dolly’s song on it, Dolly gets paid 1 million x ($0.091×2) = $182,000 and so on. It does not matter if the CDs sold, it does not matter if Whitney or Columbia Records made any money, or even if the CD is released — Dolly Parton (Songwriter) must be paid her mechanical royalty even if Dolly Parton (Performer) makes nothing.  The same holds true when a song is downloaded.

As with anything, there are some nuances to this law.  First, if the songwriter (Dolly) has commercially released her song, anyone who wants may cover her song on their release as long as the songwriter is paid the “mechanical royalty” for each reproduction.  In other words, once you release a song, you cannot stop anyone from covering it.  However, anyone that covers your song MUST pay you the mechanical royalty rate.  If they don’t, they have violated the law and you can sue them.

Second, if the song has NOT been commercially released, the copyright holder (Dolly) can pick who gets to release her song first (herself or some-One else), and negotiate any rate she wants for that first use.

Third, the songwriter (Dolly) can waive or modify any of her rights associated with her exclusive right of reproduction.  For example, she can agree to get paid mechanical royalties only on CDs that sell.  She may also be willing to accept less than the $0.091 per reproduction (called a reduced mechanical).  There are lots of permutations of this, but the basic premise is that there is a starting point that everyone must negotiate from.

There is one more type of “reproduction” – these are called “interactive streams.” There are two types of interactive streams.  One is for services that charge a fee to listen to a song on demand (like Napster, Rhapsody, Mog, Rdio, etc), the other is for services that do not charge a fee to listen to a song on demand but are ad supported services (like YouTube).

With these two new types of reproductions, the government expanded the definition of reproduction and came up with additional mechanical royalty rates. The owners of these sites and services are required to pay the songwriter a mechanical royalty, which is a combination of a percentage of the revenue generated by the site and a payment per each subscriber.  Mechanical royalties are significantly lower for those sites that are non-interactive (like Pandora), than they are for interactive sites (like Rdio) The very short version of all of this is, if you write a song, you are to be paid each and every time it is reproduced.  This royalty stands alone and must be paid to the songwriter (and only the songwriter (Dolly) – not the performer (Whitney)) regardless of anything else. And this is one of the reasons why Paul and John have so much more money than George and Ringo.


As previously mentioned, when you are the author of an original work (like a song), and you fix that work in a tangible medium (write it down, record it), you are automatically granted six exclusive rights. One of  the rights that you don’t hear about very much is the right to create a “derivative work.” It, like all the other rights, is codified in the United

States Copyright Act and states:

A “derivative work” is a work based upon one or more pre-existing works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fic-tionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a “derivative work”.

Put simply, the only person who can create or grant the rights for a derivative work to be created is the holder of the copyright for the original work.

Translations – i.e. singing the song in another language When, for instance, The Gypsy Kings decided to do a version of The Ea-gles’ “Hotel California,” sung in Spanish (as seen in The Big Lebowski), it was a translation of the original work, and as such, not a cover. Thus, the Gypsy Kings had to get permission from the copyright holder(s) of “Hotel California” (the songwriter(s)) in order to create this “derivative” version of the work. Remember, as we discuss above in the “Right to Reproduce” section, you can cover any song that has been publicly released without getting anyone’s permission so long as you don’t make substantive changes to the lyrics or melody, and you abide by the mehanical license (i.e. legal) requirements.

A translation, however, is deemed to be a substantial change, and therefore a derivative work, which, as an exclusive right of the holder of the copyright (the songwriter), requires permission to be granted. In other words, you can say “no”.

As you can see from the above quote from the Copyright Act, it’s not just translations that are deemed derivative works, and require permission from the holder of the copyright. If you, for instance, wanted to create a movie or TV show based on a song, it would be deemed a derivative work (we, like you, are anxiously awaiting the TV show adaptation of the Justin Timberlake song “SexyBack”).


Where I believe derivatives will be relevant to most readers is with respect to sampling. Sampling is one of the most confusing elements of the music business, but understanding derivatives will help you better understand both the rules of sampling, and – depending on which side of the fence you’re on (sampler or sampled) – the money to be paid/made.

A sample is when you take a piece of an existing copyrighted work (the © and/or the ℗) and combine it with another work. If you refer back to the language from the Copyright Act regarding derivatives you’ll see explicitly where samples and derivatives overlap: any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted.” Because a sample clearly involves “recast[ing], transform[ing], or adapt[ing]” one work in order to merge it with another work, the copyright holder of the work being recast, transformed, or adapted must grant permission for this to occur. Simply put, because a sample is a derivative work, you cannot sample someone else’s copyrighted work without permission.

Note that there are typically two copyrights that must be addressed when a work is sampled (and thus two copyright holders from whom you must get permission in order to avoid infringing):

1. The copyright to the song itself – the © 2. The copyright to the version of the song (i.e. the master) – the ℗ For instance, if you want to sample the guitar riff from a Beatles’ song, you would need to negotiate a deal with the copyright holder to the song (The Beatles’ publisher(s) – the ©), and negotiate a deal with the copyright holder to the version of the song from the recording from which you are sampling (The Beatles’ label – the ℗). Either party can reject the request and refuse to grant you the right to create a derivative work. Should they not reject the request outright, they will negotiate with you to attempt to come to terms that allow you to create a derivative work.

Unlike mechanical royalties (see the Reproduction chapter) there is no legally required maximum rate for samples, so publishers and master holders will negotiate in order to get everything they can – including the rights to the copyright of the song that is using their sample.

A lesser-known approach to sampling is often referred to as a “replay.” This is where a derivative work is created and used as part of another

Work via a re-performance/re-recording of a piece of the original work. For instance, if an artist, instead of taking the sample of a guitar riff from a Beatles’ record, plays the riff herself and then uses her version within her own song, she creates a derivative work of the composition (the song), but not the master.  In this situation, the person creating the derivative “replay” would need to negotiate a deal with the copyright holder of the song (i.e. the publisher), but not with the copyright holder of the recording (i.e. the master holder – typically, the label). Of course, the publisher can reject the request; in which case, the replay cannot be used.

If you do not negotiate the rights to create a derivative/sample work with the relevant copyright holder(s), you are infringing on the exclusive right of the copyright holder(s) to create a derivative work, and you can be sued.  It cuts both ways, of course; should someone want to sample your copyrighted work, he or she will have to negotiate a deal with you in order to do so, or risk you suing them for infringing upon your exclusive right  to create derivative works.

A note on the fair use defense of “transformativeness.” The band 2 Live Crew used a sample of the Sony/BMG controlled master (the ℗) from the Roy Orbison song controlled by the publisher Acuff-Rose “Oh, Pretty Woman” (the ©) in their song called “Pretty Woman”.

The U.S. Supreme Court held in Campbell v Acuff-Rose Music Inc. (i.e. the “2 Live Crew Case”) that while 2 Live Crew’s unauthorized use of elements of “Oh, Pretty Woman” constituted a derivative work, the infringement was defensible due to fair use because 2 Live Crew’s version provides new insight to listeners, and thus represents socially important commentary (this is very similar to/overlaps with the fair use defense of parody).

This transformativeness fair use defense is likely what the sampling artist Girl Talk will rely on should any of the various copyright holders sue him for infringing upon their  exclusive right to create derivative works. There is no such thing as a “small enough” sample Don’t be confused with respect to misinformation regarding the right to use small amounts of another’s copyrighted work in your composition- i.e. a “short” sample – without legal risk. There is no clear standard for what is considered de minimis usage, and thus you are at risk if you use someone else’s copyrighted work no matter how short that “use” is.

Ignorance is not a Defense The courts do not view ignorance as a defense. If you create a derivative work without knowing or intending to do so – e.g., you put a riff in your work that is so similar as to be seen as a derivative work of another’s copyrighted material, but you didn’t know about this prior work – the law states that you are still infringing on the copyright holder’s exclusive right to create a derivative work. How- ever, if you can show that there was no knowing or intentional infringement, the damages will be less than if you intentionally and knowingly infringed.


As soon as you write down or record an original song you get the exclusive right to display this work in public.  This right is more often thought to relate to photographers, painters, sculptors or others who work in the visual realm. However, this exclusive right does have relevance to those who hold copyrights in musical works (songs) as well.

The Copyright Act defines displaying a work as showing a copy of the work, directly or via some “device or process” (like the Internet or a t-shirt). Such a display is considered public in one of four situations: (i) when it is at a place open to the public; (ii) when it is at a place with a group of people larger than a gathering of family or the normal circle of friends; (iii) when it is transmitted to a place open to the public or a group of people larger than a gathering of family or the normal circle of

friends; or (iv) where it is transmitted to the public (i.e., television and

radio broadcasts).

The most obvious way in which the exclusive right to display a “copy-

righted audio work” (i.e. a song) is done is by displaying the lyrics – for ex-

ample, a website that publishes song lyrics.  The display (and, of course,

reproduction) of song lyrics on a t-shirt, in a book, on a website etc. can

only occur if the copyright holder has granted the right.

This same right needs to be negotiated and granted to anyone that wants

to create, distribute and/or reproduce sheet music.

Increasingly, this right to display comes into play with respect to online

lyric/tab sites.  It is unlikely that these websites that make money via

advertising have negotiated with the copyright holder to display their

lyrics. In other words, they are making money through advertising off of

other people’s copyrights.


Of course, if you are the songwriter and record label you likely have the

copyright to the graphic elements associated with the package (cover,

etc.), you will have the exclusive right to display these elements as well.

Thus, album artwork used on t-shirts, posters, etc., must be cleared by

you prior to its being publicly displayed.


The Copyright Act grants copyright holders to musical works (the ©)

the exclusive public performance rights. This performance includes

both live performances and transmissions of performances; for ex-

ample, songs played on radio or TV.

Under the law, a public performance is:

(1) it occurs at a place open to the public where there is a substantial

number of persons, outside of a gathering of family and friends (like a

live gig); or (2) the performance is transmitted to such a place (like be-

ing in a bar watching the live gig happening somewhere else); or (3) the

performance is transmitted so that members of the public can receive

the performance at the same or different places, at the same or differ-

ent times (like being at home and watching the gig on the internet).

The Exclusive Right to Publicly Perform a Copyrighted Work

As one example, the exclusive right to pub-

licly perform a copyrighted work means that

only the copyright holder of the song (the

songwriter) may, for instance, play the song

in a club. Additionally, it means that in order

for a radio station to broadcast that artist’s

copyrighted song, the radio station must have

an agreement in place with the songwriter


(the ©). Same deal if, for instance, a TV station airs a show in which a

copyrighted song by the artist plays during the opening credits or in the

background of a show.

The Performing Rights Organizations (also known as PROs):


In order for the above to take place, clearinghouse agencies were cre-

ated – that is, a place an entity can go that represents a whole lot of

songwriters.  In the United States, these agencies are known as Perfor-

mance Rights Organizations (PROs).  There are three dominant ones in

the United States: ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC.  Each does the same thing:

they act on behalf of the songwriters who have affiliated with them, and

issue licenses to those who wish to broadcast (i.e. publicly perform)

these artists’ copyrighted songs.  Further, these PROs distribute the

money they collect in license fees from these broadcasters to their

members whose copyrighted songs are

publicly performed.

For instance, club owners pay the PROs a

flat annual license fee that allows artists to

perform copyrighted music in their club.

This is how any artist is able to stand up on

any stage  and sing a Bob Dylan song.  The

PROs use a variety of methods (including

visiting clubs) to determine which songs

are being publicly performed.

In a similar fashion, the PROs monitor

radio play and music played on TV in order to determine which of the

writers who have affiliated with them are having their copyrighted

works publicly performed.


For all of the above, only one copyright holder gets paid: The Songwrit-

er (the ©).  This means, for instance, that every time Columbia Records’

version of Whitney Houston singing Dolly Parton’s song “I Will Always

Love You” is played on the radio, broadcast on TV or performed by

Whitney Houston in concert, it is Dolly Parton (and those who repre-

sent her) who receive the public performance royalties from the PRO.

Columbia Records and Whitney get nothing.

This exclusive right to publicly perform a copyrighted work is incredibly

important for artists and songwriters to understand as it can generate

significant amounts of money.

In order to receive this royalty, the writer must become a member of

one of the above-mentioned PROs, and then register each song.


Once you write down or record an original song, you get the exclusive

right to distribute.

With respect to CDs, vinyl, or downloads (also known as “phonore-

cords”), this simply means no one can sell, rent, or lease copies of

your songs without an agreement in place.  So, if you are an artist who

releases your own records, and you want someone to distribute copies

of your records (either physically or digitally), you must enter into an

agreement with the distributor to do so.

In addition, there are important elements of the “right to distribute”

that relate to the use of music in movies and TV shows.  Below, we ad-

dress each of these things.


First Sale Doctrine

One wrinkle with respect to the right to distribute is that once some-

one buys a copy of copyrighted work (like a CD), they are able to resell,

rent, or lend those works (i.e. give it to a friend or sell it on eBay).  This

is known as the “First Sale Doctrine”.  This is how used CD stores and

libraries, for example, are not infringing on the exclusive right of distri-

bution held by the author or publisher of the work.

First Sale Doctrine as it Applies to Digital Copies

The First Sale Doctrine is different with digital copies like a download

or Internet based stream.

Congress passed The Digital Millennium Copyright Act to address

issues with respect to the “First Sale Doctrine” in the digital age.  It

states that while you may purchase a digital copy of a song, you do not

have the right to then distribute it digitally in the same way you are able

to resell a CD to a used CD store. The rationale, of course, relates to

another exclusive right of the copyright holder: the right to reproduce.

When you resell or lend a physical CD that you have

bought, you are actually handing over (distributing) the

very same copy of the work that you bought.  In other

words, you are not reproducing that copy.  On the other

hand, under the law, you are not allowed to buy a CD,

burn a copy of it, and sell that burned copy to a used

CD store, because you’re violating the exclusive right to reproduce.

Similarly, in a digital world, you cannot download a song to your hard

drive, and then sell a copy of that song (keeping a copy on your hard

drive), because you are reproducing the work, and you don’t have the

right to do so.

The Right to Distribute as it Applies to

Synchronizations – film and TV placement

One key component of the right to distribute is its

impact on the ability to use a song in a TV show or

movie.  When a producer of a film, TV show, or ad

desires to use music in a production, the producer

must obtain the rights to use this music from the

copyright holder(s).

If, for instance, James Cameron wants to use the Dolly Parton song

(the ©) “I Will Always Love You,” that was recorded and released on an

album by Columbia Records (the ℗), Mr. Cameron must make a deal

with both Dolly (for the song) and Columbia Records (for the recording

of the song). He needs Dolly and Columbia Records to grant him the

rights to both reproduce and distribute their copyrights.  He does this

by offering to pay them a lot of money.

Thus, Mr. Cameron must obtain what is called a “synchronization

license” from the copyright holder of the song (Dolly) and a “master

usage” license from the label (Columbia Records).  These licenses grant

Mr. Cameron the right to reproduce and distribute the film with Co-

lumbia Records’ recording of Dolly’s song in it. If he does this without

getting the rights, he could be sued for more money than he made off

Titanic (well, maybe not, but you get the point).

Some of you may be asking what about the right to  have the film shown

on TV, and not infringe upon the copyright holder’s exclusive rights to

publicly perform.  The answer, as described in greater detail above in

the “Performance Right” section, is that those rights are negotiated

with the broadcasters (i.e. the TV stations) on behalf of the copyright

holders of the song by the Performance Rights Organizations.  One

side-note, movie theaters in the US are exempt from paying public



performance fees.

The Right to Distribute relates directly back to revenue, as no one may

distribute (sell, lend, etc.) your work without your having granted them

the rights to do so.  Additionally, no one may take your song and use it

in a film, TV show, or ad and distribute your work without negotiating

with you and getting your permission.


There are two ways for your music to get “radio” play:

The old fashioned way: AM/FM radio where a “terrestrial” (meaning a

broadcast tower sitting here on planet earth) transmits your music to

the world via good old fashioned radio waves.

And second, the new “Digital Transmission” way: for the most part,

Digital Transmissions happen via the Internet (like Pandora or another

Internet radio station); a satellite (Sirius Satellite Radio or Scotty beam-

ing music down to the poor doomed Enterprise Red Shirt); or Cable TV

(like Music Choice).

Under federal law, when music is played on AM/FM radio, the person(s)

that actually wrote the song must get paid a royalty for the “public


Taking our example from the front of this booklet:

Columbia Records negotiates a deal with Whitney Houston to sing Dol-

ly Parton’s song “I Will Always Love You.”  Columbia Records’ version of

the song is played on AM/FM radio. Dolly (Songwriter) gets paid for the

public performance, but Columbia (Label) and Whitney (Performer)


get nothing for this public performance. Yeah, it’s weird, but that’s the

way it works (and once again, you now know why Paul and John made a

lot more money than George and Ringo.)*

The Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act of 1995 and

the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA) changed this

by stating when music is played via “digital transmission” radio, Dolly

Parton (Songwriter) AND Whitney Houston (Performer) AND Colum-

bia Records (Label) must get paid. The amount paid to the performer

(Whitney) and the record label (Columbia Records) is a rate set by the


Therefore, if your recordings have been played via Digital Transmission,

U.S. federal law requires that you receive royalties. If it’s your song, or

your voice, or your instrumental on the recording, you are owed money

that is sitting and waiting for you to collect.

To monitor and collect this money, the music streaming companies

provide detailed electronic play logs which are matched to individual

recordings allowing an entity called SoundExchange to pay out exactly

what is earned. As soon as you sign up online for free with SoundEx-

change (, you can collect royalties you’ve earned

dating back to the beginning of collections in 1996.

SoundExchange, a non-profit organization, was appointed by the

Library of Congress to collect and distribute these royalties to artists

like you. It is free to register with SoundExchange to collect your past

or future royalties.

Just to clarify, plays from sites like YouTube or MySpace do not fall un-

der this law because these sites are deemed to be interactive; meaning

listeners can select the specific tracks they wish to stream (a function

radio does not have). This means that although YouTube, MySpace and


others pay a PRO like ASCAP/BMI/SESAC (talked about elsewhere in

this booklet), they are NOT ALSO paying SoundExchange.

If you are the Songwriter (Dolly Parton), the Performer (Whitney

Houston) and the Record Label (Columbia Records) and you register

with SoundExchange and a PRO like ASCAP/BMI/SESAC you will

receive the maximum amount possible each time there is a public

performance via Digital Transmission of your music.

*For terrestrial AM/FM radio play, every industrialized country in the world,

EXCEPT the United States, requires both Whitney (Performer) and Columbia

Records (Label) to be paid when they play the song.


These six rights can sound complex and confusing. Don’t let them

intimidate you.  It is vital that you understand them, as these are the rights

that enable you to make informed decisions, control your rights, make

money and pursue your passions on your own terms.

After reading this booklet, your next steps should be registering your

songs with the copyright office and registering with a PRO and


The rest you can deal with on a case-by-case basis as the opportunities

pop up.

Remember, these are YOUR rights, and you can do with them as you wish,

either enforce them vigorously or waive them; the decision is yours.  The

point is there are rules and laws in place for you to use as you deem

appropriate. This is your music and you career.  With this information at

your fingertips it should help you make the best decisions to pursue

your goals.



Jeff Price

Jeff co-founded and ran spinART Records for 17 years with his high

school friend Joel Morowitz releasing bands like The Pixies, Apples

In Stereo, Ron Sexsmith, Boo Radleys, Echo & The Bunnymen, Clem

Snide, The Deers and many more.

In 2005, after becoming angry with digital distribution companies

demanding artist’s rights and revenue from the sale of their music, he

founded TuneCore.

Along the way he worked to launch eMusic, has appeared and been in-

terviewed on the emerging digital music space by Nightline, ABC News,

CNN, MSNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Billboard, NPR,

and many others and from time to time teaches at Berkeley, NYU, Pace

and more.

George Howard

George knew Jeff Price way back when Jeff was the president of

spinART and George was the president of Rykodisc.  When Jeff origi-

nally conceived of the idea that became TuneCore, Jeff, George, Peter

Wells, and Gary Burke all sat around Jeff’s father’s dining room table

to flesh it out.  George has stayed involved with TuneCore since those

early days, and is proud to still work with Jeff to continue to grow the


Currently, George advises numerous entertainment and non-entertain-

ment firms and individuals. Additionally, he is the Executive Editor of

Artists House Music and is a Professor and Executive in Residence in

the college of Business Administration at Loyola, New Orleans. He is

most easily found on Twitter at:


TuneCore Artists have generated over $140 million dollars in

gross music sales selling over 300 million songs

TuneCore has a branded section of Amazon

where it features its artists (

Over 20 million iTunes customers buy music from

TuneCore Artists

The first TuneCore Artist was Frank Black

On iTunes, there have been over 25 TuneCore

Artists with a Top 10 album and over 100 with a

top 100 album

More than two songs a second sell by a TuneCore

Artist on iTunes

Over 20% of TuneCore Artists are from outside of the

United States

TuneCore is the largest music distributor of labels, artists,

managers and publishers in the world

More music is released in one day via TuneCore than by a major

record label over three years

TuneCore markets and promotes its artists and has had

thousands featured in the digital stores




U.S. Based Performance Rights Organizations




Where To Register To Collect Digital Transmission Money


Where To Register Your Copyrights

United States Copyright Office, Library of Congress

Where To Distribute Your Music


Where To Get More Free Information For Artists

TuneCore Blog

ArtistHouse Music

Future Of Music

Other TuneCore Music Industry Survival Guides

Find Us Online

TuneCore’s Twitter account –

George Howard’s Twitter account –

George Howard’s blog:

TuneCore on Facebook:















OFFER VALID 3/1/11 – 6/30/11 ONLY.


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5 Big Mistakes To Avoid in Your QR Code Marketing Campaign

5 Big Mistakes To Avoid in Your QR Code Marketing Campaign

Matthias Galica9 days ago by 80

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qr code imageMatthias Galica is CEO of ShareSquare, the leading platform for connecting offline audiences to the brands they love via QR codes and custom HTML5 mobile web apps with real-time analytics.

Consumer-facing QR codes are hitting mainstream America hard this summer. Despite the idea that a rising tide lifts all boats, many well-intentioned marketers are crippling their campaigns with simple mistakes.

This is a big reason why QR codes still get a bad rap from some folks. QR codes by themselves are fundamentally neither good nor bad, they’re just a means to an end: an offline-to-online delivery mechanism. It’s what’s beyond the code that usually determines whether the experience will delight or disappoint.

Unfortunately, many early adopter marketers aren’t yet fully versed in the best practices or optimal use cases. It’s the adventurous consumer that suffers from the growing pains.

Since I’ve spent the past 18 months waist-deep in this fast-developing market, I’m compelled to offer up my short list of basic mistakes to avoid at all costs. While heeding all these rules won’t make your QR code marketing great by itself, they will likely save you from some embarrassment.

Mistake 1: Not Testing the Code

time qrCommon sense right? Until you’re able to read a QR code just by looking at it, you should always test the proofs with a variety of smartphones and scanning apps before you release a campaign.

This is the simplest way to spot scanning problems. For instance, a small placement (less than an inch) will often be too dense to scan if you’ve encoded a longer URL, but using or to automatically generate a short URL QR code is an easy fix.

Since QR codes feature up to a 30% error correction rate, there’s flexibility for creative branding and tweaks. But if the designer accidentally overdid it, test-scanning is an easy path to being the office hero that day.

For example, the above image is taken from “15 Beautiful and Creative QR codes.” While visually interesting, I’m fairly confident this isn’t scanable.

Mistake 2: Getting Too Fancy With Text


olsen qr 

Image courtesy of Yiying Lu.



If your goal is to get people to a mobile web experience, you should only ever encode a short URL. Don’t include any plain text, since many barcode scanners (even gold standards like ShopSavvy) won’t tease out the link. If you’re hoping a user will copy/paste on a mobile device, don’t bet on it.

Think of the QR code as a physical hyperlink that every barcode scanner should be able to immediately “click.” If your QR code requires the user to do much more than point and scan to arrive at the intended content, you’re probably doing it wrong.

Take the image above. I love the Olsen twins as much as the next guy, but these QR codes result in the oft-problematic text string + link combo. Fail bonus: The site consistently turns up invalid security certificate errors.

Mistake 3: Serving up Non-Mobile Pages

coke qrYour QR code scans successfully but you’ve pointed the user to a standard desktop website, when 99.9% of QR codes are scanned by a mobile device. Fail.

Get acquainted with HTML5 to give your mobile web app that native app feel. You can either hire a developer to build your mobile site or use a non-technical modular CMS (content management system) like Paperlinks if it suits your campaign objectives.

This Coca-Cola QR code’s heart is in the right place (the MyCokeRewards program) but the resulting non-mobile website is all but impossible to navigate.

Mistake 4: Putting QR Codes Where There’s No Data Signal


red bull qr 



Where your ad will run is just as important as how you implement it.

Tesco’s recent QR code “grocery store” in a Korean subway worked great because those platforms have Wi-Fi. This is not the case in the U.S. Placing QR codes in locations without Internet access is a sure way to make your audience upset. Make sure you know where the ads will be, and if possible, run tests to make sure they are visible and will still work.

For example, the Red Bull campaign QR code above was in a New York City subway, so I have no idea what it does.

Mistake 5: Not Offering Enough Value


marines qr 



This point is highly subjective but also probably the most important. The proper mindset is to reward the user for scanning your QR code. This “reward,” however, will change depending on what you’re trying to promote.

Try to avoid redundancy (a digital copy of your flyer), irrelevance or dullness (your company’s street address). Take the above image. The U.S. Marine Corps. QR code promises a cool experience but instead leads to a wallpaper download and a commercial.

When coupled with a clearly articulated call-to-action near the QR code, we’ve found the most compelling campaigns tend to offer one or more of the following:

  • Exclusive rich media, videos and photos
  • Exclusive or time-sensitive access
  • Free downloads or swag
  • “Instant Win” contests
  • Special offers, coupons or gifts
  • “Secret” information
  • Deep integration with social media to activate viral loops

The best advice is to put yourself in the shoes of your target fan. Would you bother pulling out the phone for your campaign? Would you be happy with the pay off? A little bit of time and thought can create a truly successful QR campaign.


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Artist Booking Essentials: College concerts and the military market

Artist Booking Essentials: College concerts and the military market



This is a condensed version of a 2-part interview originally posted on Read Part 1 and Part 2 of these interviews in their entirety.

Ari Nisman is the President/CEO of Degy Entertainment, an artist booking agency that specializes in booking music in the college and military markets. Ari got his start when he was a student at the University of Michigan, where he got involved in field marketing programs at several major record labels. He went on to work as a marketing representative with Polydor/Atlas Records, and started Degy Management Services, Inc. in 1997, and its booking agency arm, Degy Entertainment, in 2001.

What advice would you give a DIY artist that wants to get into the college circuit?
The college concert market is ruled by two entities: the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) and the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities (APCA). These two organizations are working in a cohabitative nature, but I would say to some extent they are also competitors. They both set up the infrastructure for schools and their programming boards to come together to one place. Agents and artists come in on the other side of the fence and work to find a way to book the entertainment onto the campuses.

APCA and NACA conferences give you an opportunity to submit to showcases, which is no different than if you’re submitting to a CMJ or a SXSW, except that instead of having to jockey for attention with 30 other showcases going on at the same time, the only thing going on in the college conferences is your showcase. You’re on stage for 15 minutes in NACA and 10 minutes in APCA. The folks sitting in the audience are the buyers and the people who can immediately impact putting dates on your calendar. It’s unlike any other sort of booking scenario out there. Sitting in that crowd are programmers and college buyers, generally 17-22 years old with their budgets in their left hand and their calendars in their right hand and a booklet in front of them with your picture and your pricing.

These people watch the showcase, and if they like it, a school’s representative can walk into your booth and ask you to fill out a booking slip. And each morning, one person from each school wearing a purple tag – the contract buyer – sits in a room with all their counterparts from other schools, and it’s almost like an art auction. For example, someone comes up that has a form filled out that says, “Degy Booking, International” and announces the artist’s name. And anybody from the college buyers that has interest puts their paddle up in the air with their school name. The agent steps to the front of the room if there are three or more paddles and starts to actually do the booking right there in the room on site. You build a tour right there.

Are artists able to participate without an agent? A lot of them can’t get representation early on in their career.
They can. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily a completely level playing field, just because they will be going up against agencies that have folks working there with ten plus years of experience who know the buyers. Obviously people like us have a competitive advantage just having familiarity with the schools and what they have and the people involved and the relationships. However, the nice thing about the market is that anybody can go in. All it takes is signing up for a membership fee and submitting your materials like I do for all my acts.

It can be expensive. Each conference requires you to buy a booth in advance in order to submit. To apply at all you have to buy an annual membership fee, which is pricey. You can submit to these conferences and not get accepted, which means you need to decide whether to still go or not go. All the travel is on you, you have to work your own booth and create all your own marketing materials. It can be a costly experience, and there are many artists that try to do it one year or two years and don’t continue because they are not fiscally able to do it. Another reason the artists try to do it on their own is to hopefully get a sniff from an agency and meet some of the agents in the booths as their counterparts. We see a lot of artists that get snatched up by agencies after they do it well themselves once or twice.

Is it very competitive to win a slot at those conferences?
It is, and NACA and APCA operate differently. At NACA, there’s a panel of selected students and advisors from each region. NACA is divided into seven regions, plus they have a national conference. APCA has four regional conferences during the year plus a national conference. All the regional conferences for NACA have their own committees, and they sit in a room on a designated weekend and watch all the applicants showcase at the conference. Currently for the larger conferences – like NACA Northeast, NACA South, NACA Mid-America – they get about 600-700 submissions. For the smaller conferences – like NACA Central and NACA West – they get about 400-600 submissions. They choose about 30 or so slots. And that’s not just music. It’s a combination of music, comedy, poetry, magic, or maybe even a dance troupe. So whatever type of showcase you can see on stage in terms of entertainment comprises that series of showcases. And they are going to be tasked with picking a diversified lineup – multi-culturally, genre, etc. – in order to fit a wide variety of entertainment that might be booked for that region.

Are there specific qualities you’ve noticed that artists have or things they do that get them into NACA showcases?
I would say the most important element that is consistently used is a three-minute video. In the NACA application process, one of the key ingredients you include with your application is one type of media. And the type of media that is most approved now is a video/DVD. In the first round they watch 90 seconds. In the second round they watch three minutes. And if you pass all the way to the third round, they watch another three minutes. So the video is probably the end all, be all for artists in the college market.

And the best video is probably live, well-filmed, with crowd shots to demonstrate it’s not just you and your mom who are into your band, right?
No question. When you’re competing with 700 other videos, quality, editing, and great audio will be really important. You need to be unique and show yourself well. At the end of the day, I don’t think there’s one kind of video that gets selected to showcase more than others. I’ve seen it work with EPKs and with a combination of live shows. I’ve seen it work against a white wall. I’ve also seen standard music videos – MTV/VH-1 style – get people accepted. I think you can go with any style of video as long as the three minutes show you well, are well-edited, and have good audio.

And what about with APCA? Is that different?
It is. NACA is a not-for-profit entity. APCA is owned by one person, a great individual named Eric Lambert who I consider a friend and I think has built a wonderful organization. Eric has his staff make the judgment calls on who gets selected to perform at an APCA conference. You hear of all these companies today that give priority membership, whether it be an airline or a hotel. And if you’ve been in the organization for years and continue to be a part of his organization, Eric gives some priority in terms of the initial slots and selection. But he wants to see the video, make sure it’s good for the college market and that the pricing is in line. It actually may be a little easier for an artist to get a showcase right away in the APCA market simply because if Eric and his staff like it, they may be able to slot you quickly. I will say some of the costs are a little higher with APCA vs. NACA. I like to consider APCA more of the “pay for play” method. If you pay the fee, generally, if you’re great, he’ll give you a showcase. But that’s one of the distinctions right off the bat between APCA and NACA: with APCA, you’re judged more by Eric and his staff than you are by a diversified group of folks in a room that you don’t know.

Do you have any general advice for people that want to pursue these opportunities? What is the experience of being a musician in the military and college markets like?
It’s a completely different world walking into a club and playing a 60-minute set. Firstly, you’re on a college campus where education is their main focus. And when you’re walking onto a military base, military operations and safety of the U.S. citizens around the world are their main obligations. You’re walking into places where their main role is not entertainment. You’re working with people a lot of the time that are experienced at what they do, but are not necessarily professionals at doing it. Students who are 21-years old and who are programming on their student activities board are not professionals at being talent buyers and promoting shows. You have to go in knowing that and knowing the environment you’re walking into.

Also, you’re not paid in cash; you’re paid in checks. Fortunately, with the government and with schools, your checks always cash. But sometimes your checks are sent after the fact. You have to have a W-9 filled out.

You also have to know how to act on a military base and on a college campus. Both have their own different rules. But if you’re walking onto a military base, you better know there are certain guidelines you need to understand. Walking onto a school campus is no different. Everyone is there to take care of students. The show may not be open to the public. It may be closed to everyone but the students. On a military base, the show might only be open to soldiers and sailors. You basically have to know the rules and regulations. It’s different from the club world, from the Performing Arts Center world, and from the festival world. Knowing the guidelines attached to your particular niche environment will really help you going into it.

How does an artist get booked for military events?
There’s no real showcase that I know of for the military market. They do have their own individual conferences. For example, the Army has the Boss Conference, the Navy has their meetings. A lot of the military personnel actually show up to the APCA conferences specifically in Atlanta for the national conference. So, if you do get a showcase with APCA at the national conference, there are generally a good share of military buyers who are in the audience. Those people are normally just buying for their bases, or sometimes they have some of the folks that book overseas for a series of dates.

To understand the military, you have to break it down into four main entities: Armed Forces Entertainment (AFE); United Service Organization (USO), which is the big daddy everybody has heard of and that Bob Hope made famous; Navy and Army Entertainment, which are the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) divisions; and private promoters, who are companies overseas and even some in the states. Understanding those four entities gives you a better idea of what that market is all about.

AFE is a great organization. Colonel Weatherspoon and her team buy a lot of up-and-coming acts. They’ve been known the past couple years to really take a chance on some of the younger acts that are making a name for themselves but aren’t fully established yet. They pay on a per diem basis, plus cover your expenses. You have to qualify to get into the AFE program. After they accept you into the program, then they look at slotting you for their tours around the world.

Everyone knows about USO of course. They are a third-party entity and are not necessarily part of the military. They get their money through private contributions. The reason USO is so well publicized is often because the more well-publicized you are, the more money and donorship you can bring in. You often get a mailer in the mail from them to help put money into the program. They then turn that money around and buy the talent to bring overseas. They generally don’t pay the artists, and I think it’s part of their credo that they don’t. But they do a great job of paying all the artists’ expenses and then some. But they have been known to bring out the heavy hitters like Bob Hope and Kenny Chesney.

Army and Navy Entertainment generally consist of people that work directly for the military, though they are not always enlisted. They are buying for either their individual bases or bases around the world. And you just have to get to those people and show them your stuff. Some of them have budgets, some of them don’t. Those are a lot of the people I buy for. We have a contract with the U.S. Army Entertainment, and we buy quite a bit for the U.S. Navy around the world. They will use different promoters and middling agents or sometimes go directly to dish out the right style of show to the right style of folks they buy with. They do a great job. And they are a little bit less publicized because they are actually the military, and thus they don’t really need to publicize what they do. Their goal is to take great entertainment directly to the troops. It’s not about fanfare or hoopla; it’s about making sure they bring the best quality entertainment to troops around the world.

To learn more about Ari Nisman and his company, please visit the Degy Entertainment website or follow him on Twitter.

This is a condensed version of a 2-part interview originally posted on Read Part 1 and Part 2 of these interviews in their entirety.

Read more: Artist Booking Essentials: College concerts and the military market | Echoes – Insight for Independent Artists


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Writing a Band Bio for Your Website – Create an Artist Bio That Rocks!

Writing a Band Bio for Your Website – Create an Artist Bio That Rocks!

Typing Your Band BiographyDescribing your music project in a way that really sells can be a daunting task. It’s easy to get mired in names, dates, events, musical influences and other details while neglecting the more compelling aspects of your musical story.

Your website bio needs to interest your fans and offer value to people in “the business.” After all, you want those music editors to easily divine the important bits and use them to write a glowing review.

Creating a successful artist bio means carefully balancing The Facts andYour Story.

The Facts

Figure out what needs to be said and say it. Using bullet points or subject headers will make it easier for someone to scan the page and grab what they need. If you want to expand information about individual band members or events etc. you can use hyperlinks to send the curious to external pages. The only rule here is be brief and get to the point. Remember, you want to keep your band bio no longer than a page.

The Facts You Need

  • The players (Jon Folsom, legendary percussionist)
  • Major accomplishments (We opened for [insert popular band])
  • A quote or two from a notable media source. (“We love the Bratwurst Boys” – SF Guardian)
  • Your contact info (Linking to a form or contact page is fine.)
  • What you sound like/influences (I know this is hard, but try to be concrete. Ask a fan. Don’t be too clever. Just honest. See this article for inspiration.)
  • Timeline (Band was formed in 1999, etc.)

Your Story

At the heart of any great bio is a story. A good story is something that both your fans and reviewers will be compelled to pass along. It’s not only valuable for your bio, it’s something that should always be on the tip of your tongue when someone asks you about your music.

Hint: Your story already exists. You just need to find it.

Many of your facts may be part of your story. Feel free to sprinkle them in.

Finding Your Story

A story, in its simplest form, is simply a problem and a resolution. Here’s a made-up example:

“We wanted to start a bluegrass band but there were no fiddle players in our town. So, we paid for my little brother to take fiddle lessons, and a year later the Tweed Brothers were born.”

Pretty simple right?

Problem: Need fiddle player
Resolution: Trained little brother to play fiddle.

What problem, issue, or conflict is at the heart of your project and how are you endeavoring to find resolution? This can be approached from many different angles. Here are a few examples:


The Rockafellas were born out of our mutual frustration with our government’s treatment of the gay and lesbian community.”


“I needed a way to express my views on the universe and my music proved the perfect medium.”


“I wrote these songs about a girl I secretly loved. The song writing process helped me find the courage to let her know.”


“We wanted to address the juxtaposition of nature and technology and how it shapes our perceptions. We did this bycreating a hybrid of folk and electronic music.

If you can describe your band’s story in a sentence, then it should be a piece of cake to expand it to a paragraph. Just fill in the details.

A few things to remember:

  • Don’t reference old musical acts that you or your band members have been in unless they are highly notable.
  • Update your bio now and again with your more recent accomplishments and reviews, lineup changes etc.
  • Have at least a few people proofread your bio. Fix those spelling or grammar mistakes. Make sure it reads well out-loud.
  • Use hyperlinks. Your bio should only be a page, but provide additional info for those who are curious. You can link to album reviews, tracks to listen to, other websites, former band sites, etc.
  • Get right to the story. Don’t stuff your first paragraph with facts without first introducing your story. This will increase the likelihood that people will keep reading to find out what happens.
  • Add a photo to your bio page. A picture is worth a thousand words (or more).

Do you have a killer band bio? Are you trying to write one? Share a link in the comments below.

Related Article: How to Make An Effective Band/Artist One-Sheet

Build a Professional Band Website With HostBaby Today!


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The Growing Health Problem In America

Have you noticed that America is growing?  And I don’t mean in population…I mean around the waist.  :) Go to the grocery store, to work, or maybe even the mirror, and you may notice that things seem to be getting bigger everywhere you look.  The alarming growth of obesity has been brought to the forefront as of late by a new study that was recently on the news.  The study states that in 1995 there wasn’t a single state in the United States with an obesity rate of over 20%.  Today every state except for one, which is at 19.8%, is over 20%.

This alarming new study shows that there has clearly been a huge shift in the health of America over the last 20 years.  So do Americans not care about their health any more?  Well I think the $300 billion dollar weight loss industry makes it clear that that’s not the case.

I find it funny that weight loss is made to be so complicated in America.  People weren’t skinnier 100 years ago because of any special spinning machine in their homes or because they were taking a miracle weight loss supplement.  The answers to weight loss are and always have been simple…the tough part is always being honest enough with yourself to realize that you need to take the simple actions that are required…


Here are the 4 most basic weight loss principles you need to know, understand and follow to avoid the pitfall of American obesity and what comes with it (limited lifestyle and a premature death…hurray!):

1- Don’t Settle for Anything Less than REAL Food

When you walk into your grocery store, what percentage of the food doesn’t come in a box or a can?  Not a lot huh?  That’s because most of our food is processed today and the quality of that processing itself has gone way down.  This processing has led Americans to be filled with toxins.  The problem is they don’t realize they’re being poisoned and they don’t realize how bad it is for them.  There’s a common phrase that I hear a lot that’s “everything is fine in moderation”.  The problem with that is nobody actually gets what moderation actually means in terms of food.  If you have a little bit of something bad in 50 products that you buy then it totals up to a whole lot of bad for you.

If you want to be healthy you need to eat real food and have a zero tolerance for anything that isn’t real food  (OK…you can cheat sometimes, like once a week, but seriously…raise your standards for what’s acceptable to put into your body).  As a general rule if something has more than 5 ingredients or if it has ingredients that you don’t understand and struggle to pronounce then don’t buy it…it shouldn’t be in your body.

2 – Exercise Regularly…and for Fun, Not Just to Lose Weight

If you have kids you probably know very well how kids never stop moving (especially the ones that aren’t allowed to play video games all day long).  This is the way humans were meant to be.  We’re meant to be moving every day not sitting at a computer all day (like I do most of the time!)  Unfortunately most of us have jobs that keep us in one place…which means you have to make sure to move everyday.

To give you an idea of some of the things that I do on a regular basis…I run 2 to 3 times a week for about 3 miles (free and I have cool apps on my phone that make it fun), I walk for a round of golf (obviously not cheap), I dance once a week with my wife (not cheap but it has other benefits…use your imagination), I play pickup soccer (very cheap), I play tennis (free), I do kickboxing (cheap if you’re doing it a lot), I do P90X in my home (only a one time investment and then you have it forever).  I have a variety of things on purpose…so that it stays fun.  I can’t wait for my exercise every day.  Forget the boring gym if you don’t actually enjoy it.  And as soon as you get bored with something find something else you can have fun with rather than just quitting altogether. Remember that being happy is really healthy (good chemicals released into your body) so make exercise fun.

3 – Eat Nutrient Dense Foods and Eat Less Food

The over processing of food has grossly lowered the amount of nutrients that people get.  When you get less nutrients your body wants more so you keep eating.  That doesn’t help with weight loss.  :) So how do you solve the over eating problem?  You eat nutrient dense foods.

I’ll be the first to admit that overeating is the biggest health issue I deal with on a regular basis (no need to ask my family about how much food I can eat in one sitting).  So I always make sure to eat nutrient dense foods like green salads.  If you were to put french fries in front of me I could probably eat a couple plate fulls of them.  If you put a salad in front of me I eat one and then feel full.  That’s because when I eat the salad my body gets what it needs and stops asking me to eat more.

And here’s the other important thing you need to know here…you can eat WAY less than you think you can.  Most days I have a green juice and a couple of salads (really delicious salads!) and maybe a piece of organic wild fish on some days (relax super raw food eaters).  That’s about it.  And yet I have energy all day long to get through my hectic days of playing with my 2 1/2 year old and 6 month old, 8 hours of work, exercise and time with my wife.  I don’t miss a beat.  The funny thing is that whenever my life gets busier I know that I have to exercise more and eat less.  Not what most people would think.

Enough on me though…back to you.  Take a minute to visualize what your day would be like if you had more energy with less food.  Take a breathe and feel yourself lighter and more energized when your body isn’t spending all of its energy digesting.  What would you get accomplished with more energy and a clearer train of thought?  Could you make more money?  Could you create better relationships?  Could you be happier?

4 – Write Down What You Want to Look Like, Feel Like and Act Like Everyday…and Then Read Your List Everyday

We’re getting into that “personal development” stuff now…uh oh.  :) This step has actually done more for my life than anything I’ve ever done.  Writing down what I want to be like and want my life to be like and then reading it every day has made my life…well…magical.  I pretty much get everything I want by using this technique.  And I’m not saying that to be snobby.  I’m saying that to make you realize that YOU can have everything you want in your life.  Trust me…I’m not that unique.  :)

OK…so back to the exercise.  Get a piece of paper (or type this up and print it…that’s what I do) and write down 5 beliefs that you wish you had about your health.  I suggest starting off with these three from above “I don’t settle for anything less than REAL food” — “I exercise for fun at least 5 times a week.” — “I eat nutrient dense foods and only eat the amount of food that my body needs”.  Start off with those, then write your own.  Once you’re done read those every morning and every night.  Try it for just 1 week and you’ll feel a difference in how you act and feel.


Let’s Look at the Alternative to Being Healthy…Becoming Just Another Statistic

The U.S. has been gaining weight steadily for the past 20 years now, and the situation is reaching pandemic levels. In 1991, one in eight Americans were obese. By 1999, that number increased to one in five. Today, approximately 1 in 3 Americans are overweight or obese.

Obesity is appearing most severely in the South and Midwest regions of the country, and shows particular prevalence in African-American and Hispanic communities. African-Americans currently show 51% higher prevalence for obesity, and hispanics show a 21% higher prevalence.

An American Medical Association study estimates that 300,000 Americans die each year from these obesity-related causes such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. For children born in the U.S. from 2000 on, it is estimated that one in three will develop diabetes, leading to a lifetime of injections and pain. There is an overall loss in the quality of life for Americans, and the trend is getting worse.


So here’s the be all important question of the day…

Are you willing to raise your standards for your health or do you want to become another statistic?


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