Young kids and Facebook #2 – Parents strike back

More on from my recent post about Young kids and Facebook, where I read on my local school’s newsletter that some of the 7-11 year olds were going on Facebook. I decided to take matters into my own hands and send an email to the headteacher, asking if they knew there was information readily available on the internet about the pros and cons of children using Facebooks and other social networking sites. I also suggested that they look at sites like Thinkyouknow and maybe list them in one of the newsletters. To my surprise, I got an email back the next day, thanking me for pointing out what I did, and then got a mention in the next newsletter, in a paragraph telling parents about the Thinkyouknow website. So, a big tick for Parent Power! It’s probably the first time I’ve written to the school about anything – probably because it bothers me so much. We’ll probably never know if any of the parents take notice of it, but it’s a start. However, I’m now waiting for the backlash from parents saying “how dare you tell me how to bring up my child!” It actually makes you wonder why the Local Education Authority haven’t issued guidelines to school about things like using Facebook etc. Surely they’re the people who have more influence. I think I’m going to have to suggest going in and talking to the staff and kids about all this….

As you may know if you’re following my ramblings regularly, I am a Twitterer as well as a WordPress blogger. As such, I’m interested to read that WordPress have finally got round to adding a Twitter widget to the list available to those of us with WordPress.com accounts. I won’t go into details about what the widget will do as there’s more information about in WordPress.com’s blog post here – “Bring Twitter to Your Blog“. However, I’m still not convinced about having all my eggs in one basket – in other words, will people prefer to follow my tweets in Twitter, and my blogs in WordPress?

And finally – for those people who don’t know me, or are just interested in the ramblings about Facebook etc., you might like to know that I also make music in my spare time. In fact, I’ve been quite busy recently with the music-making. I”ve been making my own tunes for a few years, but a chance meeting with a DJ from the Big Chill organisation put me in touch with New Zealand band Pitch Black. I asked if I could do a remix for them, just because 1. I like their music, and 2. for a bit of experience of doing a remix. I sent it in, and they liked it so much they released it on their EP of the title track of their last album, and it’s on their new remix CD out in May. Because of that, I was asked to do a remix for Big Chill band Animat for their next single – that’s out early May too. Not bad eh? I’m on the lookout for some more remixes to do, but so far, so good! If you’d like to hear the remixes, please go to www.myspace.com/mistrust

The tracks on Myspace are:

Pitch Black – Rude Mechanicals (mistrust – ambiotik remix)

Animat – Deep Space Lament (mistrust remix)

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Internet Blackout New Zealand

Internet Blackout New Zealand
Internet Blackout New Zealand

Partly because I’ve got a link with New Zealand music (because of my remixes for Pitch Black), and partly because I think the new laws stink, I’ve joined The New Zealand Internet Blackout to protest against the Guilt Upon Accusation law ‘Section 92A’ that calls for internet disconnection based on accusations of copyright infringement without a trial and without any evidence held up to court scrutiny. This is due to come into effect on February 28th unless immediate action is taken by the National Party.

The webiste Creative Freedom says “Join thousands of New Zealanders already against this law by blacking out your Facebook photo, your websites, your Myspace pages, your Twitter account, in protest against this unjust new law that may come into effect on February 28.” There are over 5,000 signatures to the petition on the site already. If you’re a Twitterer, please include the #blackout tag to your Tweets!

My Twitter profile and blog have been changed to reflect the “Blackout” theme!  If you want to get involved with this protest, go to the following link and get some more info!

Creative Freedom

Zen and the art of music licensing

Since I licensed my tracks out to O’Neill Europe for the Deep Blue Open dvd, I’ve had a lot of people asking for some advice on how to get their music into film, tv etc. Obviously, I’m no expert, and I had a few people give me some pointers before I signed up with O’Neill, but here are some tips from me from what I’ve learned so far (but don’t blame me if this method doesn’t work!!!)

I was approached by a licensing company for them to use my tracks on an O’Neill surfing dvd and got some info from them about how to get my stuff into more films, etc and was advised to get a showreel together to prove to film makers and post-production people that my music fits in with the sort of thing they’re looking for. One of the best ways to do that is to offer some of your tracks for low/no fee to build up a portfolio. Have a look at some of these for more info:

http://www.mandy.com

It’s a site for film jobs – go to the Production Jobs section and check look through all the locations, eg Europe, then the Post-Production links. There’s both paid and lo/no income jobs.

http://www.ukscreen.com

There’s a forum on the site which lists people looking for music for films, mainly lo/no fee

http://www.labelsound.com

They’ll make all your tracks available for film and tv licensing (for a small fee).

http://niceup.com/misc/internet_music_licensing

An excellent article about how to get into the film music industry.

Google for things like music licensing companies, “indie movies”, “music wanted” stuff like that. Check out indie movie forums – there’s always indie film makers looking for cheap music and it gets you some footage for your showreel. Contact your local college or uni if they have a film or media school. Have a look on the unsigned band web forum – http://www.unsignedbandweb.com/forum-37.html for people advertising for music. There’s always ads on there. There’s a film makers forum on Myspace.com, too.

Music licensing can be a bit of a closed shop to unsigned artists if film producers have got a massive music budget. They get the best composers and pay a fortune to people like Sony and BMG for tracks. If the budget isn’t so big they want unsigned people like me and you. Usually for lo/no fee. Oh, and it looks good on your music CV if you’ve got film credits, whatever they are.

It’s definitely worth going down the lo/no fee route, just to get known. I’ll pm you with a list of some of the other sites I’ve been on for info. Make sure, though, that you get a proper contract. Well – 2 in fact – a Master Use and a Synchronisation contract.

BTW when you’re dealing with these sort of people – licensing, post-production, etc., be prepared for a very long wait. The company I dealt with over the dvd was actually liaising with about 5 or 6 other companies, so I was the last to know anything. If the bloke said there’s potential, try your music out on the sites I mentioned. Oh, and tell people you’re a film composer, and say so on your website.

You never know – you might get your music used and get paid a lot of money for it.

This article first appeared on my Blogger pages in November 2005. Since the, I’ve learned a lot more….
I’ve now discovered music libraries and production music….more information about how to get into this is at the MCPS website, where you can get a list of the 80 or so libraries in the UK.

I’ve had quite a few more opportunities………….

– Deep Blue Open has been on TV around world and now on O’Neill TV. Clips of this are doing well on Youtube. Click here to have a look….

– Tracks on another O’Neill DVD and surfer biography film

– Requests from various indie/student film makers for use of my music – I was confident enough to say “no” because the deals weren’t right. If I hadn’t done the O’Neill thing, I wouldn’t know about my rights, etc.

– Tracks put forward by licensing company for use in Hollyoaks (UK TV show)

– Signed non-exclusive deal with major UK music library for licensing my tracks to TV, film, advertisements etc. The tracks are now registered with MCPS-PRS.

– Requests from other music libraries to work with them.

Oh, and I’ve actually made some money from all this.

Check out some of my film music at my musicfreedom site.

Disclaimer: the opinions and advice given are just that: opinion. They do not constitute a contract between you and the companies mentioned, nor are they intended as adverts for those listed. Don’t sue me if you don’t get signed!

Music Licensing

Someone on the Big Chill forum that I occasionally visit wanted some advice about getting his music marketed through a music library and wondered if he had to sign up with MCPS and pay £100 for the privelege. As you may have read on here, I’ve recently signed a non-exclusive agreement with a major UK library, and haven’t had to register with MCPS, so something doesn’t add up if this chap has been told otherwise.

As far as I’m aware, the agreement I signed sorts out pre-clearance for my tracks that the library is offering to film, tv, companies etc. In other words, if a few tv production companies hear of one my tracks on the music library’s website and want to use it, there’s no need to wait ages for them to send me an individual agreement for each programme, for me to check them, sign them and send them back, etc, before anyone can use them.

From what I understand, the music library registers my track with MCPS (they get listed as the publisher), the production company requests a licence from MCPS website giving the catalogue number of my track, and the production company pays MCPS for the licence. MCPS (eventually) sends the licence fee (minus their admin fee) to the music library, which then pays me (minus their take – usually 50%).

If anyone else is looking for advice on signing up with a music licence in the UK, have a look here at the MCPS production music guide, which even shows you the official rate card for different types of production (anything from about £20 to £000s). The music library should be registered with MCPS – if they’re in the UK and not on this list, it’s probably not worth dealing with them.

If anyone from the USA or other countries is reading this and knows something about it in other countries, please let me know.