Optimism for the Music Industry

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“The practice of art isn’t to make a living. It’s to make your soul grow.” – Kurt Vonnegut

I know what you’re thinking. “It’s not too late to sell my guitar and my amp, or my drums, or my stupid ass kahon and invest in some lemons, some sugar, and some plywood.”

At 5 cents a cup, you’d probably be making a heck of a lot more selling lemonade to your friendly neighborhood folk… Well I suppose this is where I should insert the disclaimer.

Warning: You are about to read some radical bullshit that is most likely outside the range of rational possibility for our species to come to terms with on a global scale. Don’t get too excited.

Fuck selling lemonade, music is too righteous. It is time we stopped giving a shit about money and started caring about passion. We are trained to commodify our art and our music but we forget that creating it with “money on our minds” bastardizes it and turns it into nothing more than auditory vandalism.

Leave the corruption to us “business people” to live with. Our hearts are made of thick mud, we can handle it.

So with that in mind, and as a last hurrah in my contributions to “No Bullshit Management”, here are 4 optimistic outlooks on the music industry that can hopefully make you want to stick around in it a little longer, regardless of its slow and painful expiry.

1.) Being in the music industry gets you laid. Especially if you play instruments. (Fuck ‘wonderwall’, try learning a Chopin ‘Nocturne’.)

2.) Music makes you happy as hell doesn’t it? What else do you want?

3.) The more the music industry becomes a place where people can’t make shit for money, the more all the scumbags will leave. *See the ever so malignant Ark Music Factory.

4.)  Once again, the more the music industry becomes a place where people can’t make shit for money, the more the all the virtuous music with dignity will emerge. You see, people will always make music, but the ones who keep doing it even though they know they will starve and die? – Those are the people we need as our artists, and then maybe one day Jack Kerouac can once again be correct in saying “The only truth is music.”

Phillip Richard

The Role of Agents in the Music Industry

james bond

Agents are one of the most active people in the music industry. They work with practically everyone in the artist’s business team on a regular basis. So what exactly does their role entail? When should an artist hire one? How do they get paid? And what skills do they need? These are all questions that this blog post will answer.

In a sentence, the role of an agent is to represent the artist in the field of live performance. Agents can range from being a part of massive, influential, and multi-industry agencies like CAA, and WME, to working alone in a freelance approach. They are an intermediary between the artist and the promoter, and while they do take into account the needs for both, they really work for the artist first and the promoter second. Agents really do so many different things it can get confusing so my aim is to briefly outline as many as possible just to gain a broad overview.

Contracts

Agents are in charge of putting together contracts, which essentially cover three aspects of the live show. The first is simply a summary of the event; participating acts, location, venue, etc. Secondly it will outline the jobs that both the artist and promoter are expected to complete in order for everything to run smoothly and lastly they will prepare a legally binding document that ensures everybody will do what they are expected to. For this, a lawyer is generally hired to help out.

Tours

The agent will be the person who plans the tours. This includes everything from dates, to timing of the show, and show length. On an international tour the agent is responsible for getting all of the legal travel documents prepared for anyone and everyone in the band, or anyone that needs to travel with the artists. Work visas can be a pain in the ass to get together for some countries and it is one of the most important aspects of an international show. If the artist can’t legally work in that country then the show needs to be cancelled and that would be a damn shame. Another important aspect of international touring that the agent must deal with is the foreign tax policies. 

Miscellaneous Day-to-Day Responsibilities 

The agent must know and understand the artist from genre to personality. It is crucial when it comes to finding the right gigs and other artists for them to tour with or open for etc.

The artist’s personal business manager/accountant will work together with the agent to create pre-show financial projections.

No matter what the agent is doing, he/she is working closely with some member of the artist’s business team. On a daily basis when dealing with a single project an agent can be in contact with a lawyer, a promoter, an artist, a manager, and an accountant. They have incredible experience with all of these people and for this reason an agent is often the go to person to get questions answered about what is going on in terms of the behind the scenes work on a live show.

Choosing an Agent, and When to Look for One 

Emma Banks of Creative Artists Agency says when you’re ready for an agent; they will be looking for you. However for many artists it is a good idea to hire one, once you think you are truly ready to start playing live shows. It’s really as simple as that. In the very early stages the manager might be the one who is finding the gigs but once it becomes too much, an agent should strongly be considered. When it comes to finding the right one the best thing to do is ask around. Talking to other bands that are playing lots of gigs, or getting recommendations online are all ways to find one that is reliable. An artist should look for an agent they can get along with and that they can relate to. Being placed in the right or wrong gig can make or break a band. A good agent has lots of experience and is familiar with several promoters and several venues. Perhaps most importantly the good agent is organized and is able to improvise on the spot and handle situations competently and effectively when they go sour.

How the Agent Gets Paid

Traditionally an agent’s commission is 10% of the gross revenue from the show that they worked on. This number has stuck and is standard but on the extreme ends of things, the payment process can get changed up a little bit. For a fairly new act an agent can bump that number up to 15% or simply charge a flat fee that they deem reasonable. On the opposite end of that scale some of the largest acts whose shows can pull in millions can take as little as 5% and/or create a salary cap for each specific show. For a good agent this is a vital and justifiable investment for any act.

Final Note

While the agent has contact with every person in an artist’s business team his or her contact with the actual artist is fairly limited and is mostly done through the manager. This is a testament to the manager’s relationship with the artist because most of the information the agent will receive about the bands personality will be from the manager. While the agent’s role fundamentally follows all these points, in reality every single project they work on can be a completely new adventure. If you are considering becoming one, you can safely know that you’ll never be bored.

Phillip Richard

Sources:

Music Management Bible by the MMF

All you need to know about the music business chapter 6: by Donald Passman

The Promo Bay – A New Era of Independent Promotion

promo

If anyone has been on The Pirate Bay in the last several months (which I’m sure is not true *wink*wink*) you would have noticed at least once on the home page the words the promo bay accompanied by a band that is releasing their music through the pirate bay. Yes that is correct. The pirate bay has become a technically legal album Promoter for several artists over the last few months and it has become insanely popular recently. So much so that the pirate bay ‘crew’ needed to create a whole new ship and recruit a whole new batch of sailors. My apologies, that is probably the worst metaphor I have ever come up with but I’m keeping it. Anyways all you need to know is that the pirate bay launched a new website this week: www.promobay.org and the site is completely dedicated to marketing and distributing the work of independent artists. And by artists I mean photographers, authors, musicians, painters, film makers, game designers, software developers, all kinds of shit. If you make something your good enough for the promo bay.

How it works is an artist will submit their work to the promo bay and every couple of days a whole team is dedicated to looking through thousands of submissions and picking the best ones to promote to millions of people at no cost. As a side note youtube should do that. They should have a section where random artists can submit videos of their work and then youtube should just put it on the front page for a day. That would be radical as shit. We can all learn something from the pirate bay. Anyways, for some brilliant reason the UK has blocked all access to the promobay.org.

Why on earth would they do that? It is a completely legal website. Well what a good question Phil, let me tell you. Record Companies or Music Entertainment Companies or whatever the hell they want to be called are only really good for one thing at this point and that is promotion and exposure for the artist. Currently it is impossibly hard to get the kind of promotion that a record label can offer but things could very well change. And if the world discovers a new way then well, need I say more?

It is kind of sad that artists from the UK are being shunned by their own homeland from these incredible opportunities. I mean it can not possible hurt anybody so what the hell? If anything you want your home team artists to be doing well but my best guess is that they simply do not want anything to do with the pirate bay what so ever. It’s at the point where the pirate bay promotes the promo bay which promotes the pirate bay so I guess if you use one chances are you use the other but whatever. I’ve said it a million times, if your music is out there its better than it not being out there straight up.

At the end of the day the only thing the promo bay impacts negatively is record companies so as long as that is true they will have to deal with A LOT of shit. As any pioneer this is natural but I think this type of indie promotion has the potential to become huge. Like I said imagine if YouTube did this, or Facebook, or hell even the front page of Google. Independent music could easily become the most ‘consumed’ music out there. I think we could be headed that direction and the promo bay is leading the way into this new era of independent promotion. (see what I did there)

Phillip Richard

Source:

http://torrentfreak.com/uk-isps-block-pirate-bays-artist-promotions-121202/

More Windowing

This post is a follow up to Windows and Other Transparent Ideas – a post where I talked about an emerging trend among some pretty big names in the industry. ‘Windowing’ is essentially the process of withholding an album from streaming services with the assumption that they threaten album sales. Turns out the ‘monkey see monkey do’ saying can sadly be applied to this scenario. The sadder truth is that it might actually be working a little bit, and the saddest truth is that even a little bit, is a lot in todays music market.

With the addition of Taylor Swifts’ “Red” and Rihanna’s (ironically named) “Unapologetic” to the list of artists partaking in windowing it is definitely bringing some attention to the idea. And this is definitely a problem for Spotify. Especially since both of these MASTERPIECES OF ARTISTIC AND MUSICAL CREATION debuted at number one on billboard.

GOOD GOD WHY AM I IN THIS INDUSTRY? To hell with you and your shitty music! Actually I’m going to go off on a little tangent because this little bit of research pissed me off. If you want to save this industry, think LONG TERM INVESTMENTS and Artist Development! Enough with the plug acts pumping out bullshit that expires in ‘coolness’ after the first weekend. That is unsustainable simply because you can’t forever rely on the demographic of 15 year old white girls who hate their fathers to keep your industry alive.

Record companies NEED to start investing in artist development again. Create an act that someone can grow up with and follow and support through decades. I repeat. LONG TERM INVESTMENTS. Let the act grow, who gives a shit if the first four albums don’t make a profit? If the band is growing you have something great in the works. Cleavage is nice but the porn industry is better than you at it. Sell music, not tits. For the love of sanity somebody make me CEO of Universal Music Group. The first thing I’d do is dump all these horseshit one-week-of-selling-sex acts and tell Vivendi SA to kiss my ass. Then I’d put some money into A&R and tell them to think Bruce Springsteen, and Prince, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Or any act that doesn’t need the help of 10 million other hired songwriters to make albums. Then I’d push album after album OF GOOD MUSIC out and down the throats of people until they LOVE it with all their hearts and souls so that on their 50th birthdays the artists they loved growing up are still kicking ass and releasing albums years and years later. This industry is a damned circus.

Anyways, back to my original topic, here are some reasons why windowing is an ugly mess.

1.) You are giving a substantial number of your fans a big middle finger to the face. Specifically your fans that are paying members of Spotify or other streaming services.

2.) Fans are giving the middle finger right back. “Unapologetic” is already the most pirated work of music on Pirate Bay. See for yourself, and hell, why not pirate that shit while your there. http://thepiratebay.se/top/101

3.) Restricting access to your recorded music is detrimental to your popularity. Honestly, in this day and age what is important is that your name is out there. That is how to gain fans and that is how to attract fans to live music and just as importantly that is how to keep your music alive.

4.) If this becomes a trend it will no doubt destroy Spotify because honestly if my favorite artists all start doing this I’m going to start wondering if my ten bucks a month to Spotify are worth it. Furthermore, If Spotify goes down the tubes I will bet all my Bruce Springsteen albums that iTunes sales won’t be significantly affected, but that the traffic on Pirate bay will explode.

Whatever, you know what I don’t even care. My rant was longer than what the post is actually about, but still, you’re now up to date on the windowing world, AND you have my opinion on it. Along with the rant that’s like a three in one, so give me a break.

Phillip Richard

Sources:

http://www.calgaryherald.com/entertainment/music/Rihanna+scores+first+album+with+Unapologetic/7621421/story.html

http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/13485692-rihanna-taylor-swift-refuse-spotify

Lawyers in the Music Industry

Seeing as we missed this class due to the Mama Event, (a great cause no doubt) I figured I’d take matters into my own hands and learn/blog about something I’m personally interested in. Maybe those of us who were in Paris can get the gist of what we missed.

First things first. Not common to popular belief, lawyers are wonderful, compassionate and charitable people in the music industry. I’m not very good at being sarcastic in writing yet but nonetheless, I suppose that could be true if personal incentives aren’t taken into consideration. Unfortunately, we live in a time where these bastards are truly needed in practically every aspect of an artists career, (and anyone else in the industry for that matter) and boy do they know it. I say unfortunately because this makes them extremely valuable and necessary and it always sucks to be that dependent on something. Even so,  what is always important to remember is that the lawyer works for the artist, not the other way around.

With that out of the way, the point is that hopefully after reading this you won’t be able to justify their existence, but rather you will definitely be able to understand their purpose. How’s that? Off we go!

What does a lawyer do?

The most obvious role of the lawyer is to be involved anywhere that an artist is potentially generating income. And anywhere an artist is potentially generating income, there will be a contract or an agreement needed. And when a contract or an agreement is needed a lawyer should be involved. So as you can see from the lovely circle of reasoning here, they exist because they are needed and they are needed because they exist.

Other than negotiating contracts and working with you and literally every other member of your team they (the good ones) also act as reliable A&R persons for labels. Lawyers are involved with everyone in the industry, so they know everyone in the industry, and that means they have some clout that, in the early stages at least, the artist probably doesn’t. A good lawyer promotes the acts that he/she truly believes in, to the labels and actually wants them to be successful. Why do they do this? Quite simply because the more successful the artist, the more successful the lawyer.  In other words they want the artist to do good, so they can make more money from them. Labels know this so it is easy for them to seriously consider the acts recommended by lawyers. Lawyers won’t just submit any shitty band to a label because that devalues their judgement in the eyes of the label. If a lawyer only submits artists that truly have potential, the label will love them and take every recommendation seriously.

The lawyer can also play an active role in putting together an artists’ business team which brings us to the next point.

When is a lawyer necessary?

Many people think (at least I did) that lawyers don’t come into play until much later down the road in an artists career but that isn’t necessarily the case. Lawyers can be an important member of the band’s team during it’s initial formation (so basically, when the band should be dealing with the band agreement).

Furthermore, since lawyers have so many connections it is often the case that a band hires a lawyer before they even have a manager, let alone any other member of their team. Hiring a lawyer before agreements with these members even exist makes sense because a lot of the time it can be the lawyer that finds the manager, agent, business manager, and so on for the artist in the first place. Look at it this way, an ethical label won’t let an artist sign without a lawyer. Even if you have a manager, but no lawyer, they won’t sign you. And if they do they are probably assholes that are trying to take advantage of you in a deal, so be wary of that if you are an artist.

Alright, we have established that it can be a good idea for an artist to hire a lawyer early in their careers. But good lawyers have the power to be selective. So in a weird way in order for the artist to have a good lawyer, they need to deserve one. Because of the role that lawyers play in A&R the good lawyer must be interested in the band, as I mentioned earlier, he/she must believe in the bands potential and work ethic. This means that once the artist has some stable ground under them in terms of songs written, demos recorded, and a small promo package, it can be a great time to get a great lawyer. I know this sounds contradicting to the statement of getting them as early as the band agreement, but you can always hire a lawyer on an hourly basis to deal with the band agreement, and have no other involvement with the band until the band feels they are ready enough to go for a great lawyer, or at least hire one full time.

How can an artist find a great lawyer?

The simple answer is look for one. Talk to local bands that seem to have their shit together. Find a band that you like and look inside their album to find a name that has ‘Esq.’ after it. Look for them online as there are several legal directories available. Most importantly, interview them. Ask them what experience they have in the music industry specifically, and if they foresee any conflicts of interest with other clients. Finally ask them how, and how much they bill you. Which leads us to the final part.

How does a lawyer get paid?

This is one aspect where they can get just as creative as any of the artists they are signing! I’ll briefly and simply try to outline the four main ways they like to take their money.

Hourly – usually $150-$600 per hour. The extremely expensive ones are usually only dealing with big acts and even bigger labels.

Percentage – 5%-10% of income generated from the deal they worked on/negotiated. When dealing with percentages the lawyer takes the money from the net artist share, not the gross money received. ***This type of billing is very common. It can technically be paid by the label through the artists’ personal advance; which makes it recoupable against artist royalties.

Hybrid – At first they charge a (relatively) low hourly fee and then take a percentage later once things get going. I recommend this way ideally, for a beginning act.

Value-Billing – This one is pretty abstract. It is based on this: the more “value” the lawyer helped you get in a deal, the more they get paid.

At they end of the day it all comes down to the fact that the more money the artist is making, the more money the lawyer is making.

Final Note

It is in the best interest of the artist to have the same lawyer for as much of their career as possible. You get to know them and yes, can eventually build trust. As an artist always remember the lawyer works for you, and at the end of the day they can be the only ones who can save your ass. Anyways, I hope you learned something from this post.

Love them or hate them, lawyers are not going anywhere fast and they play a massive and distinctly important role in the careers of anyone and everyone involved in the music industry.

Phillip Richard

Sources and Further Reading:

All you need to know about the music industry by Donald Passman.

http://d83mezhuhqi17.cloudfront.net/76/05/57/3956967?Expires=1353662961&Signature=Eln4vmkeSHIlfD8LGdxv6-wMGOsp5oPLPx8~HiqDkeB23z3gr-N9IezlzFsklm~7KWDuhFofBXb9tlqcKhMt~5~DwzUZk8DYQiArSX76FQ3RMaQzjDFnPSlxSe38weiJJc6-csCUPw-EEdS70rARvE~r8CrWigGqlmfXpH-D3YQ_&Key-Pair-Id=APKAIVZN4AJ762UIENTQ

You Should Have Spotify Premium

 

Yeah I’m talking to you. You and the kid with the free Spotify account sitting through commercials, listening to lower quality music through 300 Dollar “Dre Beats”. I bet you a ten dollar bill you’ve lost enough ten dollar bills in your couch pillows to get you Spotify premium for the next ten years. And for those of you quick to jump on that last statement.. shut up. It’s a metaphor for wasting money on bullshit.

I don’t work for Spotify, and I don’t have money invested with them. I’m writing this because I am sick and tired of uninformed spoiled assholes bitching about Spotify being expensive. I like music enough to know that streaming is the future of recorded music. I also like music enough to know that Spotify is propelling this future, and that they need to do good, in fact better than they are doing now, in order for artists to make money. And finally I like music enough to know that 10 bucks a month for a service like Spotify is cheap as f*ck.

Spotify has about 5 Million paying subscribers and I think that by 2015 that will have more than doubled. So get in early with the hip and cool kids. You want to be hip and cool don’t you?!? The more profitable Spotify is, the more musicians can make, and if it is going down that road anyways let’s get it over with. If you are currently a free user of Spotify, STOP READING THIS AND GO GET SPOTIFY PREMIUM. SERIOUSLY.

Here is a list I made of Ten (10) TEN things that you can buy for about TEN dollars.

1. 20 Million + (20 000 000 +) tracks of music, at your unlimited disposal. Ad free. Whenever you want them. In high quality.

2. 1/3 of a hat from the hat store.

3. A pack of 3 white socks.

4. One single album on iTunes.

5. Two coffees and a chocolate chip cookie from Starbucks.

6. A hand of Blackjack.

7. A ticket to a B-list 2-D movie at the theaters. (Or 1/2 a ticket to Avengers 3D)

8. Cover charge at a bar you didn’t want to go to in the first place.

9. A cocktail from that bar that you bought for some stranger that won’t even sleep with you.

10. about ten rides on the Valencia bus system. Could have walked. Lazy shit.

Now if I gave you $10 to spend. And you honestly had to choose what your 10 dollar investment would be out of these things, what would you pick? If it’s anything other than number 1 or number 6 you should be kicked out of music school (if you actually are in music school, apparently normal people read this blog too) and denied access to music forever. In all seriousness people need to stop bitching about music prices. It’s not a lot. I have a premium account on Spotify, I pirate the hell out of entire discogs when I feel like it, because I can, AND I still buy albums on the regular. Probably more than most people these days.

It is ok to not like Spotify or be against it’s business model or whatever the hell else.. but If you actually use Spotify and you are not a paying member think about how important music is in your life and how much it is worth to you. Now give yourself a little shake of the head, and say no the next time the bartender tries to charge you 10 bucks for a taste of poison… at least once a month anyways.

Phillip Richard

Further Reading and Opposite Opinions:

http://fonicmonkey.net/2010/01/18/why-spotify-premium-is-too-expensive-and-how-to-fix-it/

http://community.spotify.com/t5/Music-Chat-Social/Monthly-subscription-price-is-too-expensive/td-p/93227

http://drownedinsound.com/news/4142606

Case Study: Staying Close to Fans – while still being super cool.

It’s all about finding a balance. How can you make the artist-fan relationship personal, while still keeping that mysterious and glorifying vibe that comes from putting our favorite artists up on a pedestal? It indeed takes both of these elements to create increase the percentage of your fans that are “superfans” but they are seemingly contradictory.

I want to show a case study of a relatively small yet successful band that has built itself off of dedicated superfans.

Urban Cone is a band based out of Stockholm, Sweden. They have been working hard toward releasing their first album “Our Youth” and now that it is ready to be released out into the world they are putting the power of actually releasing it into the hands of their fans. Here is how they did it and why it is so clever.

First of all, the band has branded themselves with the ever so hip pine cone. Which for marketing purposes is very important on its own, but that’s not the point here. Basically what they have done, is take five pine cones for each track on their album. Painted them gold. Tied a number and a code to each one. They then released “the album” through pine cones in five major european cities: Stockholm, London, Oslo, Copenhagen, and Paris. Once a fan finds a cone they take a picture of it and upload it to Instagram – the corresponding track is released in that country on Spotify.

Sounds risky right? It also sounds like a lot of work for the fan. Like really, you need to have a lot of faith in your fans to make a public contest like this. Some potential issues that come to mind are, what if nobody cares enough to go out and do this? What if a cone is blown away or lost or found by someone who has no idea what the contest is about and just takes the damn thing cause it looks pretty? What if the fans that do go out become discouraged because finding a gold cone in the city of london honestly sounds like the hardest thing I can think of. But nonetheless, it is working for them. Out of the 25 gold cones released into the world 20 of them have already been found and the tracks have been released.

This risky strategy creates a direct relationship with the fans and the music, while making the artist seem elusive and attractive and worthy of time and effort. The fact that the band is able to pull this off shows that the fans they do have are more than willing to put in some work to get their album. It shows that they have something unique to offer the fans and that they have a strong faith in their fan base that also leads inevitably to fan loyalty. And that is what is important.

It is difficult to come up with interesting new ways to get involved with your fans other than simply tweeting at them once in a while, but innovation in this field is almost a surefire way to making a career out of your art.

Phillip Richard

http://www.urbanconemusic.com/

What’s in a Name? – A Story of Greed

“I’m not a businessman. I’m a business, man.”

– Jay-Z

“Shut up Jay-Z, you’re going to poison your daughters mind god damnit.”

– Phillip Richard

Disclaimer: This blog post contains light, but frequent profanities. Don’t read if your offended by the english language. Also don’t read if you are a big fan of Beyonce and/or Jay-Z. Actually you know what, never-mind. Read it, it will be good for you. I honestly like their music too so whatever.

Well folks, it’s starting to get ugly out there. This is a story of people all over the place taking advantage of each other for personal profit. I don’t really know who wins, at the end of the day I guess they all do because the mind of innocent baby girl is left protected but as you’ll see it’s a crazy ass ride. I don’t know how to start or to even get my points across exactly, so I think I’ll begin by writing a script about a conversation that likely* happend (or at least something like it anyways) between the biggest couple business partnership in music around last January…

~  SCENE-1  ~

Jay-Z: “Holy shit Beyonce, this kid could be a bigger cash cow than all of our albums combined!”

Beyonce: “I know I can’t wait to exploit the hell out of her, but where do we start?”

Jay-Z: “Well, I suppose we turn her into a product A.S.A.P. ya dig? I mean we need to trademark her name/identity before anybody else does.”

Beyonce: “Genius! Let’s do that right meow. I’m going to milk this for all it’s worth. I’m talkin’ ‘Baby Blue Ivy’ bullshit all around: Baby Carriages, Baby Cosmetics, Baby Bibs, Chairs, Dolls…”

Jay-Z: “Hell even as insult to injury to all of our fans that will blow their entire paychecks on this crap, even if they don’t have kids, we will throw in some Diaper Bags!!!1 ‘Let your baby take a shit in our babies brand name shit.’ How’s that for a poetic metaphor?  No wonder we are multi-millionaire artists. Nothing can stop us now! hahahahahahlol

…or can it?

 END SCENE 

Well, if you didn’t follow any of that Beyonce and Jay-Z got the, (clearly in my opinion) tasteless, but smart business idea to trademark the name of their daughter Blue Ivy, to begin a line of beguiling baby products.

Unfortunately for them and fortuneatly for their daughter they weren’t able to trademark the name. I mean the girl is going to grow up in the most superficial environment possible already, with her mom being, to many, the most attractive woman in the world, and with too much wealth to possibly know what to do with. She’s right on track to being a spoiled shitty self-entitled materialistic itch-bay. Quite frankly having her own million dollar franchise before she even knows how to avoid vomiting on herself is a step closer to everything nobody wants Beyonce’s and Jay-Z’s child to be.

Anyways, they go to their lawyer and are all like, “Blah blah blah trademark my kids name.” And the lawyer is like “Sweet, ok. Give me too much money.” But the lawyer soon finds out he can’t do this because somebody else already has. Well, ladies and gentleman as you can imagine at this point shit hit the fan and this overindulged couple didn’t go down without a fight. Nine months of court cases and I’m sure millions of dollars coming off of trees for I.P. lawyers later the case was lost to Veronica Alexandra, a small Boston based business owner. Her company is called Blue Ivy and they plan weddings for people. How nice.

Let’s take some time to reflect. So far we have Jay-Z and Beyonce taking advantage of each others fortunes, then we have them trying to take advantage of their first and only daughter so far, then we have the lawyers dragging an expensive court case over a nine month period and we also have, which I have yet failed to mention, fashion designers already trying to trademark the name before them. Some douche-bag fashion designer by the name of Joseph Mbeh tried to trademark the name “Blue Ivy Carter NYC” four days after the kid was BORN. Someone else tried to trademark the name “Blue Ivy Carter Glory IV” for a damn fragrance. What on earth would that have smelled like? Petroleum jelly and baby powder!? You people sicken me. Finally, and most importantly we have Veronica Alexandra of Blue Ivy Events who is happily soaking in the publicity and increased business like a parched sponge. Seriously though, take a look at the front page of her website. http://www.blueivyevents.com

Seriously click it. Did you see that? I know right? It’s like the main feature on her front page. Look at all the sparkling stars and shit coming off of that once in a lifetime promotional opportunity. Damn. This small wedding planning company is probably going to explode so big that by the time it’s little Ivy’s turn to get married she probably won’t even be able to afford the damn service. Owell at least Veronica has the decency to admit that she is using and abusing the whole circumstance: “I can’t be frustrated with something I think is going to bring me to produce and define my brand even more, which is financially exciting in itself and intellectually exciting as well. It’s like they caused me to create more opportunity for myself.” However, as sad as it is, everyone has their price and Ms. Alexandra is still open to the possibility of a buy out.

Anyways this whole thing is both sad and hilarious to me. While most parents spend their time thinking of a name or a small gift or how wonderful it will be to watch them grow into happy contributing citizens, the Carter family is going through a trial to turn their daughter into a labelled, branded product.

People, especially Berklee students seem to be in a constant desire to live and lead the life of Beyonce and Jay-Z, or any other super star for that matter. We must remember that while it is important to brand yourself and your artistic work, as artists there is a fine line between your business and your personal life. Once those lines get crossed things can get all kinds of fucked up. Sell your products not your souls ladies and gentlemen.

Phillip Richard

*This means it almost certainly didn’t happen, please don’t sue me.

Sources and Further Reading:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahsweeney/2012/10/22/blue-ivy-trademark-name-a-no-go-for-beyonce-and-jay-z/

http://www.bostonherald.com/business/general/view.bg?articleid=1061168659&srvc=rss

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/reliable-source/post/blue-ivy-the-trademark-feds-move-fast-on-rights-to-beyonce-and-jay-zs-babys-name/2012/02/03/gIQAOTDGnQ_blog.html

http://uk.eonline.com/news/355945/beyonc-and-jay-z-lose-trademark-battle-for-blue-ivy-but-get-good-advice-from-president-obama