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Sunday, September 14, 2014

What does U2’s Deal With Apple Mean for the Music Industry?

Hi, DeDe here,

Personally, I love U2, and I think this was a very smart move for them. Bono has proven over and over through the years that he's not just a super-talented musician, he's also a true marketing genius. Look how he keeps re-creating his music, yet keeps it true to the U2 sound, and it's stayed more or less, quite popular...for almost 30 years.

However, this just shows how truly bad the situation has gotten for almost all of the artists in the music industry. What everyone's not telling you is that U2 got a huge paycheck (~100Million) behind the scenes from iTunes, Apple, etc. But for us non-famous, unknown, hardworking musicians and songwriters, this may be a signal of the final kiss of death for album and CD sales, which 99.9% of us still rely on for survival and in order to keep creating music....

There's got to be a solution here that protects artists, and pays us a fair amount for our new music-keeping copyright protections in place, while at the same time keeping music affordable and available to consumers. I'm open to your thoughts on this, any suggestions or ideas?...

What does U2’s Deal With Apple Mean for the Music Industry? The world's biggest band have given their new album away for free on iTunes. But what's in it for them?

-From, Sept. 2014

U2 sent shockwaves through the music industry last night by announcing at the launch of the new iPhone 6 that their new album 'Songs of Innocence' was to be given away completely free of charge on Apple's iTunes online music store.

To say that this is an unconventional method to release new material would be an understatement and it could potentially be seen as a seismic shift in the way music is delivered to its audience. Since the advent of iTunes and, more lately Spotify, the means by which people experience music has been subverted. Purists suggest that this is to the detriment to the concept of the album as a standalone collection of music, as today's listeners seem more content to download or stream a series of individual tracks as they grow their personally curated collections. It's the musical equivalent of separating the wheat from the chaff.

By partnering with Apple and giving their entire record away for free, U2 have embraced the digital age in a way that many of their contemporaries have appeared so hesitant to do and also encouraged fans to download and listen to the albums as a whole rather than to cherry-pick their way through it by downloading the odd single here or there.

But what exactly is in this for U2? Quite a lot, it turns out. Bono has said on many occasions, and as recently as last week, that he doesn't believe in "free" music so it would be naive to suggest that this is an entirely philanthropic gesture by U2. Various figures are traversing the internet this morning about exactly how much U2 will earn from their "free" album and it's entirely possible that this could generate Bono and co. more than any other album they've released in the last two decades.

The Wall Street Journal quotes a source "familiar with the talks" who said U2 were paid an astonishing $100 million for their participation, with Apple only too happy to realign with the group they previously worked with ten years ago to release a special U2 iPod. This move was also presumably designed to incentivise the purchase of U2's back catalogue in iTunes to a younger audience and to highlight ticket sales for the eventual tour on the back of 'Songs of Innocence' (though it's unlikely they would have needed to much help in that regard).

Jimmy Iovine, record producer and co-founder of Beats, explained Bono's intentions further to Time.

"The charts are broken", he said. "The old music industry has reached a low point and hasn't kept up with the digital world. He wants to see the artists' reach measured by how much they're listened to, by whatever medium or method."
U2 are following the lead of Beyonce, Jay Z and Radiohead who in the past have released music either unannounced, packaged with a tech company or free. In fact, Beyonce sold around 800,000 units of her last album within a week (though fans had to pay for it) when it was made instantly available on iTunes and U2 are expected to far eclipse that figure.
What can we take from this? It's a pretty strong indicator from U2 that they think the traditional means for music distribution is broken and what they have done with 'Songs of Innocence' is set a very appealing, if completely unsustainable, precedent. When the sales figures are released in a week or so we expect there'll be a few happy faces around the Vico Road but where does this leave the bands who are relying on album sales to generate income or recoup losses?
Releasing an album for free (or by having Apple write you a Euro Millions sized cheque) is a luxury only afforded to the 1%, leaving countless other bands trying to keep their balance on the shaky ground that is today's music industry.When the world's biggest band acknowledges that the system in place to sell music to the public is broken, where does that leave the little guy? U2's free album will no doubt be a delight to many but it might just be the clearest indicator yet that the system we have in place is irreparably damaged.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

This is a sweet photo of my sister, actress Missi Pyle, sharing a heartfelt hug with Robin Williams on the set of "The Crazy Ones" this spring.  Robin was really on fire during that episode-the one where he presented the crazy eulogy at client 'Conrad's' funeral. Missi played Conrad's was an excellent episode and the whole cast was great.  Missi's thoughts about meeting and working with Robin are posted below, a fitting tribute to a very worthy man. Didn't he make us all feel as if we knew him? -DeDe 

from Missi Pyle: 

     "I didn't know him. I just worked with him. One week last year. He was a huge light. I feel so lucky. He brought so much to us. All of us. So personally. I loved him as a kid watched him in Mork and Mindy. He was fearless and on fire. He inspired me to no end. I wish someone could have convinced him to stick around. We need him. Alas. I hope he finally finds peace. Rest in peace you beautiful man."

All the best music, blessings & peace to you!  DeDe :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Plans I Have For You by DeDe Wedekind

Please watch & share my inspiring new video of the Award-Winning song, 'The Plans I Have for You' by DeDe Wedekind. Thanks!

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Music (Ministry) Business: What Labels Are Looking For

A great post from my friend, Eric Copeland, producer extraordinaire and CEO/Owner of Creative Soul Records up in Nashville.
-DeDe :)

(Okay, so this is about the music biz, but is also applicable to a lot of other opportunities/relationships in life...)

The Music (Ministry) Business: What Labels Are Looking For: "A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament." - Oscar Wilde So as a Christian artist, you perhaps may thi...

Friday, July 11, 2014

A GREAT ARTICLE from TAYLOR SWIFT about Where The Music Industry is Headed...

Where is the Music Industry Headed?
Well, I have to hand it to her, Taylor Swift has managed to write a pretty decent article about the music industry now vs. 10-20 years ago, and where it's headed. Although I'm not sure such a youngster with so much success so early on isn't bit skewed in her thinking, (but aren't we all?), I do think there's a lot of truth to what she says. She basically says that the music industry has completely changed over the past 10 or so years. Its a lot harder to make it and for even good artists to sell their music. And since truly talented artists are rare, it makes sense that our music should be held in high regard. Therefore it should be bought at a price and NOT be free! I never thought I'd say this about Taylor Swift, but I agree!
Read more here: Taylor Swift's WSJ Article about Music

Thanks for reading/Subscribing and talk soon!  DeDe :)

Monday, June 16, 2014

How to Make a Cool (Cheap or FREE Music) Video!

Hi there Friends, Musicians, and Assorted Countrymen (and women!),

Well, now that I sort of have your attention once again, here's some loving advice from a good friend regarding making music videos, or any videos really.  This falls into that new category that I call: TRUE THAT.  You NEED to be on YouTube if you are a musician or songwriter. Period. Yes, ahem I'll say it again: "True That".  If you are not on YouTube you will fall by the wayside if you're trying to promote yourself, your music or a song, etc. Long gone are the days when you could avoid Social Media like the plague and still make it or try to make it (well, you can still TRY...)

You can even do fun lifestyle-type videos for your fans (or even your family & friends), or one to promote a new business or something, but whatever you do, be sure that you make them look and sound as professional as possible. And, there's no need to spend megabucks on them right now. That is, unless you are a super-mega watt superstar raking in the cash-ola, and in that case you should be making them really really professionally (read: totally expensive!), or you may just look cheap.

DeDe :)
Personal Disclaimer: If you look at my vids, some of them are professional like "One Child" and "The Fairy Tale Song", and some are more, shall we say, amateur. But I TRIED to only post ones that I thought had interesting content, and good sound/video, but this isn't always the case! :)

Written by: Gregory Douglass

So many bands and musicians have had success through viral music video outlets like Youtube. The demand for video is only increasing so it’s time for you to get in on the action. Youtube is still the second largest search engine in the world, and in case you forgot, that’s how Justin Bieber was discovered (how could you forget?) You could easily spend thousands of dollars on a sharp looking, professionally-produced music video – but if you’re just getting started, you probably can’t afford that. That’s no excuse for bypassing music videos altogether though. As a musician, you can’t afford not to have them these days, so here are six steps on how to make a music video on your own for free for those of you who are brand new to the world video:

1. Choose your strongest song. Assuming that you’re a recording artist, you probably have a least a handful of brilliant songs already recorded that you can choose from. Be sure to pick your strongest song, but don’t just take your own word for it – get some second opinions! Chances are, your favorite song isn’t necessarily your strongest song – at least not according to everyone else. Ask your fans, friends, and family what they think is your strongest – then do yourself a favor and take their word for it. This should set the stage for more consistent results from the music video you’re about to make. Understand that your music video will be an incredibly powerful promotional vehicle for whatever song you choose, so make it a strong one!

2. Choose your video equipment. Assuming that you already have a laptop, computer, smartphone, tablet, or camera with video capabilities – you’ll have plenty of equipment options to choose from. If you don’t have access to any of these devices, you probably have a friend who would be kind enough to let you borrow something. All of these devices come with some sort of internal camera and video recording capability, so choose whatever works for you. Since you’re making a music video, the audio component of whatever device you choose won’t matter because you’re eventually going to replace the audio with the pre-recorded audio of your strongest song. I use a Canon Vixia consumer camcorder myself – which is HD quality for a reasonable price – but you can use your shiny new iPhone 5MacBook Pro, or something as affordable and easy to use as a Flip MinoHD Camera.

3. Create your concept. What kind of imagery comes to mind from the song you’ve selected? What kind of music video do you want to create? For example, you can choose to create a more traditional, story-driven music video, or a live performance-style music video. With a story-driven music video, you might consider doing some acting or filming various places, people, things, or circumstances that support your storyline or imagery. Get creative here and make the most out of what you have to work with already. Is there anything just lying around the house that you can incorporate? Include footage of you lip-syncing a performance, lip-syncing a studio recording session, or capture footage your band performing the song. This will also work exclusively for a live performance-style music video, and you’ll be better off lip-syncing to your pre-recorded song verses singing it live for sake of better audio quality.

4. Choose your locations. Keep it simple and stick to 1-3 locations for your music video. They can be anywhere that supports your storyline or imagery – even three different rooms in the same house works. Is your song dark and brooding? Consider darker locations with softer lighting. Is your song happy and inspiring? Consider brighter locations with wide, open spaces. Shooting outside during the day always offers ample lighting, and cloudy days are particularly helpful in regulating the light because clouds act as natural light diffusers – so long as it’s not raining on your video equipment! If you want more indoor lighting regulation, be sure to have some good lighting options on hand – such as strong overhead lights with dimmers or spotlight lamps – and experiment with each lighting source.

5. Shoot your video. Experiment with various camera angles and positions before you start recording full takes. You might discover you have a more visually striking side or angle, and you might discover the same about your location. Once you’re ready to press record, plan to perform or lip-sync to your song 2-4 times, and aim for 2-4 takes for everything you decide to film as a general rule of thumb. This will give you more than one option for every point in the song, just in case you had something between your teeth during the first take. Nothing is more discouraging than putting the time and effort into filming just to realize you have to do it all over again, so always create options! This rule of thumb is particularly helpful when you’re filming yourself because no one will be behind the camera to keep an eye on things while the camera is rolling. Consider various different angles for each take so your options are diverse when it comes time to edit. Different angles might include a wide shot, a waist shot, a close-up shot, and a handheld shot.

6. Edit your video. Editing your own music video can be as much fun as creating a concept and shooting your music video, so don’t be afraid to learn. It’s exciting to bring your footage to life, and it requires more of your own creativity. There are some powerful video editing software options available for premium prices – such as Final Cut and Adobe Premiere – but since we’re talking about making a music video for free, lets take a loot at the freemium alternatives. If you have a computer, you should already have access to free video editing software that is easy to use and simple to figure out on your own. If you’re on a mac for example, you should already have iMovie, and Windows Movie Maker for PC.Youtube even has its own built-in video editing application, though I can’t say I’ve tried it yet. Whatever software you use should have the option to eventually mute or disable the audio from your video footage once you import/upload it into a new project. You might want to keep it enabled until you’re finished editing though, as it will be a necessary point of reference for the song as you extract each clip you want to use to lay over the recording of your song. Once a clip is added to your video timeline and matched up correctly to the appropriate section of your recorded song, you can then disable the video clip’s audio channel. Get creative and play around with all the different takes and angles you’ve captured until you have built a completed music video that you’re happy with, free of charge!