I currently reside in Nashville which is affectionately known as Music City. However lately the music part has begun to shrink. There has been an influx of people moving into condos across from bars and complaining about the music which leaves me scratching my head. Would you move near an airport only to complain about the noise? Another issue here is some home studio owners like Lij Shaw (who has worked with acts such as Tori Amos, Zac Brown Band, and Ani Defranco among many others) has received a cease and desist from the city for operating a home studio which is to some degree the life blood of this city. He was also told to no longer operate his Podcast on YouTube as it falls under a “home business” definition even though it is strictly on the Internet which has me scratching my head even more as that has nothing to do with having clients in your house? All this makes me ponder the future of “Music City”
This past week I received an offer from a music library for an exclusive deal on one of my tracks. An exclusive deal is not uncommon in that world and neither is wanting 100% of the publishing share. Typically the library will take the publishing share which leaves the writer (me) with the writer’s share, essentially a 50/50 split. However, this music library (and now I use that term loosely) ALSO wanted 50% of my writer’s share…wait a tick! Huh? That’s basically they get 75% of the pie. NOT a common practice and I hope no songwriter ever agrees to such a deal. My fear is many desperate and naïve musicians fall prey to such a thing which would only further devalue an already devalued product…music
I used to play the cafe area in several Borders books and music stores all around the Cincinnati region on Friday and Saturday nights. I was only paid $50 but it was only a 2 hour gig and I always sold a bunch of CD's, got people signed up on my mailing list, and gained a following of regulars. People could come out on a weekend night not have to deal with a loud smoky bar and hear good music, enjoy a cappuccino, and peruse a book or two. It was a win - win situation for all. I made a little money, Borders made money, and people had a nice place to hang out. Then someone in their corporate office decided why should they pay musicians? I’m sure we can just get them to play for free. As a result the professional touring artist such as myself were not going to play for free so they basically got anybody who could strum a guitar. As a result the music was sub-par, people quit coming to hang out long story short within the next 2 years all Borders had closed. Yeah, what's that they say about Karma? I'm not saying that that was the definite reason that Borders closed but I can’t help but wonder if that had caused some sort of trickle-down effect?