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« Sundance 2012

AFTER THE DUST SETTLES »

FIVE FLOORS OVER SUNSET-ASCAP

Posted on March 30, 2012 | Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment Comment 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I'm not sure if it was the best timing or not, but just a few days after Sundance we went on a true vacation to Costa Rica with some great friends and new experiences. Even though I was relaxed, I found I had all this momentum that made me anxious about taking full advantage of the last crazy week. Most of the people I met were just getting back into the groove of things anyway, or traveling to the next event. So maybe it was just as well in the end. 

 Even before we got back on American soil I was setting up meetings in L.A. to get things rolling again. I made the happy change to ASCAP from BMI... if you're a musician or restaurant owner you know who they are. In case you aren't either, they are the "non-profit" organizations that track every second of music played on T.V., film, radio, and public areas... like restaurants. The business of publishing and writers rights feels as complicated as the U.S. tax code, although it isn't. If you have anything that might be used in media you need to be a part of one of these organizations, but you can't be a part of both. When I was in school, BMI was the one in my face the most and gave a pretty strong sell. I was kind of told by the extremely few I knew in the business that it's all about personal preference. You know, Ford vs Chevy, or Mac vs PC... although someone at ASCAP made the good point that Ford and Chevy are very close, where as Mac and PC are not so close. "Nicely Done", I said. 

When I finally got some music on T.V., the crew who have been such an amazing help to me, made it pretty clear that the structure of ASCAP was much, much better than that of BMI. Since I have the analytical skills of a turtle I asked the simple question of how much. And since they have the analytical skills of a rocket scientist, the answer of "A LOT" was good enough for me. In my personal experience BMI didn't offer much. Granted I was nobody on their map, but when I would call for basic questions as an artist on their roster, they either didn't answer the phone or someone would answer with, let's just say a pretty rough tone. So even thought they hooked me in the beginning, I wasn't drawn to them for any reasons while I was in. My experience with ASCAP so far couldn't be more opposite. In all fairness my experience has been through and introduction by a hugely successful T.V. guy who brought me in with music on the books... sooooo. 

One of the reasons my experience at Sundance was so good had to do with the way ASCAP treated me, even though I wasn't even signed on yet. I was put on the list at the Music Cafe and private parties. I met some amazing artists and was treated as part of the family. One of the big differences is that ASCAP is artist driven and BMI is broadcast driven. Although there is a glossy pop to BMI in their marketing and presentations, ASCAP has the substance. For my money, I'd rather get the real support from the inside than the image from the outside. The building that the ASCAP offices are in is an impressive structure right on the heart of Sunset Blvd. Something hit me while I was talking to my awesome rep looking out the window at a movie billboard and bustle of one of Hollywoods iconic streets. I was actually in an industry office signing an important contract getting personal attention. After having a great conversation about why I left BMI, among other things I had some time to kill before my next surreal appointment at Lionsgate. 

 I made a couple of calls and ended up having lunch with a composer compadre who never ceases to make me laugh. I've haven't recalled this to him as of yet, but I might send a link to this blog since I'm sure it's not on his daily to do list. When I was in my Orchestration class, he was the guy who would show up with his irritatingly pleasant British accent and make the same orchestra I made sound like a street corner band sound like a John Williams session featuring Yo Yo Ma. So I thought he was smug and irritating. Somewhere along the way I realized that he was pretty stinkin cool and more importantly always game for a mid day beer.

 Now that I'm past that little ramble I have to say that the first few months of 2012 have been significantly different than the last five years. As it turns out, things don't move at extremely fast speeds until someone needs something from you yesterday so reaping the results has been a little like watching molasses in the dead of winter... or is it summer? Whatever's really, really slow. What I can say is that the feeling of having an association behind you that sincerely cares is invaluable so which ever one you choose, trust your gut.  

I'm not sure if it was the best timing or not, but just a few days after Sundance we went on a true vacation to Costa Rica with some great friends and new experiences. Even though I was relaxed, I found I had all this momentum that made me anxious about taking full advantage of the last crazy week. Most of the people I met were just getting back into the groove of things anyway, or traveling to the next event. So maybe it was just as well in the end. 
Even before we got back on American soil I was setting up meetings in L.A. to get things rolling again. I made the happy change to ASCAP from BMI... if you're a musician or restaurant owner you know who they are. In case you aren't either, they are the "non-profit" organizations that track every second of music played on T.V., film, radio, and public areas... like restaurants. The business of publishing and writers rights feels as complicated as the U.S. tax code, although it isn't. If you have anything that might be used in media you need to be a part of one of these organizations, but you can't be a part of both. When I was in school, BMI was the one in my face the most and gave a pretty strong sell. I was kind of told by the extremely few I knew in the business that it's all about personal preference. You know, Ford vs Chevy, or Mac vs PC... although someone at ASCAP made the good point that Ford and Chevy are very close, where as Mac and PC are not so close. "Nicely Done", I said. 
When I finally got some music on T.V., the crew who have been such an amazing help to me, made it pretty clear that the structure of ASCAP was much, much better than that of BMI. Since I have the analytical skills of a turtle I asked the simple question of how much. And since they have the analytical skills of a rocket scientist, the answer of "A LOT" was good enough for me. In my personal experience BMI didn't offer much. Granted I was nobody on their map, but when I would call for basic questions as an artist on their roster, they either didn't answer the phone or someone would answer with, let's just say a pretty rough tone. So even thought they hooked me in the beginning, I wasn't drawn to them for any reasons while I was in. My experience with ASCAP so far couldn't be more opposite. In all fairness my experience has been through and introduction by a hugely successful T.V. guy who brought me in with music on the books... sooooo. 
One of the reasons my experience at Sundance was so good had to do with the way ASCAP treated me, even though I wasn't even signed on yet. I was put on the list at the Music Cafe and private parties. I met some amazing artists and was treated as part of the family. One of the big differences is that ASCAP is artist driven and BMI is broadcast driven. Although there is a glossy pop to BMI in their marketing and presentations, ASCAP has the substance. For my money, I'd rather get the real support from the inside than the image from the outside. The building that the ASCAP offices are in is an impressive structure right on the heart of Sunset Blvd. Something hit me while I was talking to my awesome rep looking out the window at a movie billboard and bustle of one of Hollywoods iconic streets. I was actually in an industry office signing an important contract getting personal attention. After having a great conversation about why I left BMI, among other things I had some time to kill before my next surreal appointment at Lionsgate. 
I made a couple of calls and ended up having lunch with a composer compadre who never ceases to make me laugh. I've haven't recalled this to him as of yet, but I might send a link to this blog since I'm sure it's not on his daily to do list. When I was in my Orchestration class, he was the guy who would show up with his irritatingly pleasant British accent and make the same orchestra I made sound like a street corner band sound like a John Williams session featuring Yo Yo Ma. So I thought he was smug and irritating. Somewhere along the way I realized that he was pretty stinkin cool and more importantly always game for a mid day beer.
Now that I'm past that little ramble I have to say that the first few months of 2012 have been significantly different than the last five years. As it turns out, things don't move at extremely fast speeds until someone needs something from you yesterday so reaping the results has been a little like watching molasses in the dead of winter... or is it summer? Whatever's really, really slow. What I can say is that the feeling of having an association behind you that sincerely cares is invaluable so which ever one you choose, trust your gut.

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