Thursday, April 23, 2015


Reverbnation has been a bit of a different story. The PR company I was involved with at the beginning of my CD promotion effort had created my profile on there. It still took some work on my part to add the images, logos, and customize the profile. For the basic service free of charge one gets what appears to be more than from any other online service in terms of exposure, connections, gig opportunities, song submission opportunities of various kinds, promotion tools, distribution etc. 
This is the only website that keeps working for you even if you are not making direct presence. As long as your site, Facebook profile, blog, and Twitter profile you are working on even somewhat regularly are synced to your Reverbnation profile, you will see the number of visitors, fans, song listens slowly and steadily growing. But don’t get your hopes too high: this will not make you famous. And Reverbnation will still make way more money off of your free music than yourself. However, your odds are a bit better with this service.

The Reverbnation team appears to work pretty hard on creating opportunities for every musician. You get regular opportunity emails and you can apply to them right from your phone, most of them for free. The odds are very slim something will actually work, but it’s better than nothing right? From their free app you can keep your profile up to date and do the most of what the service offers where ever you are. Check and reply to emails, fan back your new fans, listen to other artist’s music, add shows, add songs, photos, videos, check the stats, and much more. 
From your home computer you can use their free gadgets like player, mailing list signup, video player, shows, free download etc. and place them on your main website, blog, Facebook profile etc. It’s quite smooth and slick and worth a try. Be careful what songs you are posting though. My suggestion is to post experiments, demos, songs that are not too important to you, especially not songs that you published on CDs! It’s proven that giving your published music for free will reduce the number of sales – if you at all have them already! Don’t get the U2 full you. They can give away a whole album through Apple – for a limited time, but be sure that they will make up for it in concert sales and later in CD sales because of the enormity of their popularity. The concert prices are now getting ridiculously high. In Vancouver, the biggest names in the music industry are selling regular tickets from $300 and up! Gone are the days of $40, $50, or even $90. Of course people don’t want to buy CDs anymore when they can stream the same music for almost nothing if they are doing it legally. The only way the music industry figures it can still make money is through inflating the ticket prices.
For us mortals, the only way we can retain some respect for our music is if we are not giving it away. At least we need to make a real careful selection of what we are going to give away. 


One good thing that MySpace had brought about was getting me in touch with a Canadian fellow artist from Toronto who recommended CyberPR Public Relations  company from New York. The artist had told me that since he hired them, his online presence had flourished to the point he couldn’t believe the difference. That immediately caught my attention. I checked their website, and soon I was in their hands. Only later did I recognized some major differences between me and that particular artist, and about the real reasons for his success. However, I still feel the move to hire the CYBERPR was very beneficial.
The company works on your social media presence, promotion of your music, and overall your product branding. They create your profile on their server that is available to all of their professional contacts including other artists, bloggers, podcasters etc. They also create your RPK that you can link to your website so it’s available to interested parties. After an interview over the phone, they create your artist bio. For this you will have to be available at the agreed time to conduct an interview. For the RPK you need to provide photos for the album and yourself, basic info about your music and CD and the pitch, some digital recordings for podcasters and internet radio stations, and to provide as many songs as possible. I’m glad I provided only 6 as initially I considered providing all! If I was doing this now, I would have provided only partial songs, but I will explain this later.
If you haven’t done it already, they would make your Facebook, MySpace, LastFm, Soundcloud, and Flicker (or similar) profiles and they will keep them pretty active for you. They will also keep pushing you to start and maintain your own blog. Your involvement is obviously constantly required. So, pretty soon, my initial 1.5 hours a day turned into whole evenings of doing online promo! For a while it was interesting as it was bringing some results, but later it became obvious that this kind of involvement will not be able to last.
In any case, it was very beneficial. Soon I started getting more Facebook likes, requests for podcasts, an internet radio station had contacted me to present my song “Sonny” with a live interview, one podcast selected my song “You and I instrumental” as the best in 2010, and as the culmination of it all, a UK blog “For Folk’s Sake” had reviewed my CD and selected it in top 10 discoveries of 2010.

This whole experience of course brought some interesting twists. Very quickly after I joined CyberPR, a podcaster has contacted me complimenting me on my music and requesting a song to be placed on his podcast. I naturally accepted. A few days later he contacted me telling me that he liked my music so much that he hacked into CD Baby site and my page there, and downloaded all my songs! His excuse was that since he was in South Korea or something like that, CD Baby was not allowing him to purchase anything – so he hacked into it! I was shocked. The fact that he liked my music so much he wanted to have it didn’t impress me. I told him he could have asked me to send him a copy (and I wouldn’t even charge him) would be much more flattering than having him steal it. It didn’t seem to faze him at all. 
Another episode was with a podcaster who selected my song as one of the best that year. This was flattering, however, I found his podcasts on sale on ITunes with no remuneration to the artists or even mention about them!
The third episode was with my song “Sonny” that was posted on a website and offered for free without even consulting me about it! After I had a talk with the CyberPR team, they had removed the song, but couldn’t understand why I’m at all upset about it! No, I don’t believe in giving the art for free. It takes a lot of talent and sweat to produce it, and regardless of personal taste, it deserves respect and recognition. In a way, by artists accepting this disrespect as a new reality, we ourselves are creating this massive exploitation of music and art in general, where everybody else is benefiting and making money, in some cases billions – but artists! Read the latest case of Taylor Swift and google about how much artists get from online streaming. You will be shocked, and probably disgusted about it as well… 
The last thing was about the bio. I only got really bad reviews about it. My feeling was that it had been done too quickly, with not much thought, with the structure that was not fitting the accepted norm as I had learnt after my research, but I went with it thinking they should know what works. It didin’t  work, and finally after too many complaints I had to abandon it and create my own. 
While I was with CyberPR, I was at the same time with CTW Promotions, and the Cyber team couldn’t understand how come my number of friends keeps growing so rapidly in comparison to their other clients. This proved to me that only if you have someone or some company working on it daily, you will get more significant results. Even with that, the success rate is very much under question. As I got laid off, I had to discontinue not only CTW Promotions but CyberPR services as well, and eventually it all stopped. After the initial contract, you are offered a monthly service that was at the time about $250. From this perspective I’m not sure that would be money best spent, as all in all, the online promotion could be useful, but is not crucial. For real success, it still seems, the old fashioned leg work still works the best. 

I would like to give you latest example from my experience: Since the backup vocals are very important in my music, realizing that hiring them every time is not feasible, I came across a choir which performed at a concert I was attending with the bass player in my band. I’ve always been interested in singing in choirs but to that point none triggered my attention. The ones that did were usually requiring reading notes which I don’t - so naturally I never attempted trying to get into those. This one was more relaxed, yet still with some serious repertoire that would give me both training for my vocal chords and keep me educated about music in general. So I eventually joined them. I’ve already got not only interest from fellow singers to help me with the backup vocals, but to attend my every performance. The first one happened just before the holidays, and just by sending one email to everybody (about 25 people in total), I got 4 showing up (4 more stopped by to pick up more people and they ended up drinking too much so couldn’t drive… but that’s another story…). That’s still a pretty good percentage (6.25%). Out of 800 plus people I invited on Facebook, only one had actually shown up! By word of mouth I also invited a few of my closest friends probably about 15 or so, and 5 showed up! About 33%!
When you think about online involvement, you got to consider how much time you are spending on there and what you are actually getting. The more I’ve been doing it, the less I’m convinced it actually helps much.
Back to the artist from the beginning of this Online Public Relations Company story: He was and is a professional musician probably at least in his 50s with at least 30 years of experience in the industry. He has worked with some big names in the industry; he does music and everything around it full time, he has real time connections and fans already. In his case, the online promotion makes sense just to boost his brand, to add to what he already has. Without the real time involvement in his music business, the online presence would do very little for him and for anybody for that matter. The time will come when more and more artist will be waking up to this realization and we will see a decline in artists’ online involvement. Unfortunately, there seam to be a limitless pool of wannabe musicians out there desperate to get their music out so I don’t foresee a disappearance of online music services. I’m only hoping that we will all put the respect of our own music it deserves back, and stop giving it away.


One benefit of joining the Music BC Association was getting a contact of the Conquer The World Promotion Service recommended by them. The service was online promotion on social media like Facebook, Twitter, and such. It’s sad to see that they don’t exist anymore as I can’t find them online. Although the service was pricy, it did work as promised. One of the issues with similar companies is that most don’t really work with real people, don’t create personal contacts, the Likes on Facebook are not real etc. The recommendation by the Music BC proved true, and very soon I started seeing the benefits. The number of MySpace friends started growing very fast. That was very encouraging, especially as the price for the weekly service was $50. I believe I was paying those $200 a month for at least a year if not longer. It was worth it as at the end of that year I had about 60,000 friends on MySpace! And all of them were actually legit. The CTW team had a clear and productive strategy, and I could see them working daily on promoting my music. This reflected on the number of people who accepted the friend request, listened to the music, and liked my Facebook page. If I had not been laid off from my day job at the time, I would have probably continued using their services. I’ve learnt that most artists who used similar services got way better results than the ones who were trying on their own. It requires a lot of work, and a very specific promotion strategy with some automated message generation processes that one is very unlikely to master on their own, unless they focus on that full time.
One relatively minor problem with this was coming from constant changes on social media sites. I figured they make the changes not only to improve on service, but even more so to get people back to their sites to hang there for longer periods of time. Even though I was paying for the service, I still had to spend every once in a while updating my profiles, changing security settings etc, etc. This was at times very frustrating, but not because of the CTW Promotion, only for the strategic changes in social media sites.
For a while after I got laid off I reduced their service to a less expensive package of $20 a week, but I couldn’t sustain that for longer than 6 month so eventually I had to stop. However, I highly recommend similar services, only if they work with real people and not artificially generated numbers. To figure out who is legit and who is not requires some time to research, test, and look for trusting sources of recommendation.
To be continued...


As my CD got done and I got all 3000 copies packed in all the drawers and storage I could find around my house, I created a CD Baby profile and sent the 5 copies of each CD release (the Serbian and English version). I signed up for hard copy as well as the digital release, and in a few days my music was all over the internet. Four years after, several online profiles later, many and many hours spent on online promotion, I only have 1 CD sold, and 3 digital copies, and several streaming of songs, all together not adding up to $50 minimum that CD Baby requires to send you a check! Sad I know.
However, even after all that discouragement, I still believe that one of the best moves in all this was actually creating a profile on CD Baby and posting my music. Why? First, because for a very modest fee per album you get it permanently (hopefully forever) online, and in their stock. Personally, that means a lot to me even if it does not sell. Second, they seem very professional, and they know what they are doing. The service is smooth, the site is with no glitches, your info and stats about your sales are easily accessible and it’s all very well organized. Another very important benefit for me personally was that soon after I had posted it on CD Baby, the Canadian Library of Archives had contacted me requesting copies of my CD for their archives. To date, this is pretty much the most valuable thing that happened to my CD not only after I posted it on CD Baby, but otherwise as well. 

A couple things I would have done differently though. First, I would seriously reconsider posting my music on Itunes (so called digital distribution). I’m still not quite sure if I would completely take it down or not post it at all. In any case, the streaming sites I would avoid completely. On CD BABY you are able to track when and who bought your music and in what form. You can also see the prices each individual paid to get or stream your song. I have my music on several streaming sites and one stream is paid $0.0004 on Spotify! Rhapsody pays $0.0091, Muve Music pays $0.00099, Xbox Music: $0.0023, Rdio: $0.008, $0.0005, My Space: $0.0007 etc. Deezer pays $0.3564 for a song download!
It’s not surprising the latest scandal about the mainstream artist who had his song streamed millions of times and got only $3,000 for it!
That is the very reason Taylor Swift boycotted the online streaming. Guess what: She “Occupied Her Music” and her CD sales skyrocketed!


In the meantime my CD was out and I had it registered with Socan, Music BC, and The Canadian Songwriting Association, and subscribed to their magazines. I thought if I wanted to get anywhere with all this I needed to throw myself right into it and keep up to date with the latest buzz. I’ve created profiles on both Socan and The Canadian Songwriting Association. My feelings about the effect of it are mixed. While there was no immediate benefit, the opportunity is there if you have time to utilize it. You are kept in the loop, you know what is happening at any moment in your city or the country, and if you got time and money to travel and mingle you will sooner or later gain some contact, some gig or such. If you are willing to schmooze there is some paid as well as free events organized by the Music BC, and similarly in other provinces. For me so far it hasn’t worked. The events I wanted to sign up (a few of them) didn’t work because of the time and location. Having to work daytime, half the day is out, the rest was usually a question of should I work on my new song or spend the evening schmoozing. I always chose the new song. At least I got a couple hundred songs in the last 4 years! I’m not good at schmoozing anyways. I believe that a musician should be able to either hire someone to do it for them – if he or she has means for it, or to get into an agreement with a PR or a music manager, label or similar.  Plus, I don’t believe in having to go around and beg people to listen to my CD or check out my Facebook page. And that is a big problem in general. 

Back to my first statement at the top of this article, if your song is on TV you don’t have to do much to get it heard. If people like it they will reach for it anyway. To this day I hate begging people to turn their heads and stop and listen. Do we ever do that on the street? No, and most likely most people would just pass you by if you did. I ignore all requests like “check out my CD”, or “Listen to my new song”, even when they are given for free, especially then, because I believe that giving it for free diminishes the value of the work, plus I don’t want to support giving the art away. Hence this series of blog posts. However, if the artist intrigues me with some content on his / her profile I will make time to check the music, and even keep up to date with what’s happening with it. 
Aside from registering the music with Socan, which should be done by default, the magazines have been the most important benefit from getting into the Music Associations so far. The gear updates, software and hardware updates, events, festival information, competitions, songwriting techniques and analysis, gig experiences, music business info etc. they are all things that you might benefit from at any point in your journey. I keep all the magazines still, as I haven’t read them all front to back yet, but I’m hoping I will get back to them sooner or later. Usually to leaf through them to get the sense of the overall, and read the main articles  it takes me about 30-45 minutes. Add to that about 1.5 hours of social media updates (there is many more sites that I will talk about later), that is minimum 2 hours a day spent on creating your online presence. Usually, that is way too much than I feel I should be doing. As the time goes by, I’m spending less and less time on it, simply because I don’t see the results that would make it worthwhile.
To be continued...


Immediately after the final mixing was done and I got the master recordings, I started creating online profiles. It was reasonable to accept at the time that online resources and opportunities should be used. Very soon after creating a bunch of online music profiles I realized that this might not be what I thought it was, and it would not bring the results I was hoping for. Especially because I don’t think my expectations were all that high anyway. However, the one expectation that was totally unrealistic was the thought that no matter where it is music matters to people. 
Not quite.

The only proven thing is – music trully matters to people only if:
1) It  gets on TV.
2) It is played on radio.
3) If you play live.
4) If you hit the jackpot of creating a viral video of your song or cover.
5) If you are in a business that uses free music as their main bait for customers.
6) If it’s free.
Everything else will bring you a few (valuable though) listeners and followers here and there, in return for hours of online presence – if you got time for all of it.
The first profile I created was on MySpace. 


It’s amazing how much things changed in regards to this online media for music promotion in only a few years. I couldn’t wait to post songs on there, so I posted 7 full songs thinking everybody will jump on the new thing curious to hear it. What a joke! It was only the first song that got a bit more listeners, and only after I would spend an hour or more online trying to communicate to people and pitch my profile. Looking at the activities and reading the comments of other people trying to figure out why they are there, I realized it’s not the music. For the most part, the social part of it was the reason to hang out. Mostly to get laid actually! At the time Myspace was the biggest online music promo thing, but who was mostly listened? You guessed it: the biggest acts in the music industry. The ones from TV and the radio.  The little guys and gals, including myself, were trying to piggy back their popularity by working really hard to get them as Myspace friends. I even talked to some who were claiming to be the actual artists, but very quickly I realized it was people they hired to work on their online presence.
Aside from my enthusiasm rapidly melting, the website itself was quite buggy and unreliable. The design changes they kept introducing were screwing up my habits, slowing down my computer, crashing it even. At times it was really frustrating. 
Initially I started spending a few hours a day on Myspace working on acquiring friends. One of the strategies I thought logical at the moment was to friend the most famous artists who in any way influenced my own music or I for any reason respected. My hope was that having their names on my friend list would benefit my own music. That proved totally wrong and useless. The only thing that was beneficial there was the free promotion THEY all got in return for pretty much nothing. Soon I realized that I would have to spend many hours daily to gain any significant number of friends. The percentage of them who actually had listened to my songs proved to be very minimal. In 4 years the top song (and one of the best on my album – You and I instrumental) has gained less than 2000 listens! 
Now I only occasionally go there to check my profile.  The interface has changed completely, and the music seems to be even less important. Last time I checked I couldn’t even stream the songs on my iPhone because of some incompatibility issues they were blaming on Flash Player or something – I lost interest in trying to figure out all the reasons they come up with. At the moment, it is possible to stream the music on your mobile device, but it’s somewhat cumbersome to access your own profile and find the music. Reading the latest comments of the people, MySpace still keeps losing its popularity over Facebook as much as it keeps trying really hard to become a relevant social media site where people would come and hang out for longer periods.
The second profile I had created was of course Facebook. My page was up and running very quickly. However, getting people to like my music on Myspace from Facebook was a challenge. I hoped that linking it and promoting it on Facebook, and creating the presence on the page daily would make a difference. At times it felt the opposite – the more presence I created the less interest I provoked. Later I learnt from some research that only 5% of all people you friend on social media sites will actually click on your page and take a look! Not to mention the % of people who would actually reach to buy your music, which is almost insignificant! 
So, needless to say, as soon as my presence on MySpace subsided, so did the interaction with people and the number of listeners.
To be continued…

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Occupy Your Music - Part 2: Lawyers, and all that crap...


The Olympics have started in Sochi, Russia... Watching the opening ceremony I couldn't but feel increased hope for us all. One idea, such as The Olympic Games, can still unite us. Even with all the corruption involved, the Corporatism which is inevitable even in such an event, with politicians involved in mafia or not, all the bad that one might think of surrounding it can not diminish one thing: dream! More than ever we need to dream, we need dreams...

I digress...


I brought all my audio files to the studio, all in 24bit 44.100 Hz resolution (there is no point in having it higher as no CD is recorded in better resolution anyways, at least not yet, so investing in equipment that does it higher is questionable). I've done all the base arrangements myself, with lots of midi files converted to audio, all individual instruments, sometimes in several channels, and several instruments playing the same themes for the fullness of the sound etc. I've done all vocals and back up vocals myself, and NONE of the audio files were pitch corrected! Only the song Good Night we pitch corrected at the studio as it was a bit too much off, but I insisted in not editing anything else, as I was looking for real, raw emotion, as deep as I can get it. For some stupid reason I thought this would be actually appreciated more! Wrong. Technology, and the industry itself, will rather support false representations than the real thing. All in a desperate run after the illusion of perfection, as the real one is impossible to achieve.

I digress again...

I had violin, drums, bass, dobro guitar, solo guitar, bass clarinet, and a double bass done by pro musicians. One of my favorite was the clarinet player I caught at his concert at the CBC Vancouver Studio and asked him if he would do the bass clarinet for my song Katarina. He looked at me sort of like 'who is this guy now?" but to my excitement he accepted. His name is Milan Milosevic, and is the son of the legendary Yugoslavian / Serbian clarinetist Boki Milosevic. Milan has created quite a successful career on his own versatile professional musician path. When I sent him the final product of the CD, he surprised me with how much he loved the song and being a part of the whole project. My heart was full!

So the recording sessions were going well. Kelly was getting everything organized in a highly professional manner. It's crucial to have someone involved in the industry who knows what needs to be done so you can relax and focus on your art. The sound engineer was also extremely supportive and professional, and above all punctual. I didn't think I will encounter that in such a creative environment. But Sheldon Zaharko is deservedly one of the best engineers in Vancouver, if not Canada, for a reason.

At the end of that week I had two master Cd's in my hands and I was ecstatic. During the recording sessions I was also doing my homework finalizing the steps of where to go and what to do with the promotion and planning the whole business side of it. The very first thing was meeting with a prominent lawyer in the local industry, the only one I could find that focuses particularly on music and music business issues. Even more importantly , he was directly involved with the major music association in Vancouver. He was to be the first to listen to a few songs from my CD.

Session 1

Looking back, I have no idea why I was so exited about the whole thing, especially when I had to pay $100 for an hour of his time! The album copy in my hands was so precious and big, I couldn't wait to share it with him. If I was a teenager, that would had been understandable. So I'm there, the receptionist didn't waste time to promote his bosses new CD, even to mention that the author does not perform live. It sounded like: "He is so above it all, he doesn't have to bother...". I smiled and set at the office waiting. The guy came, took the CD and put it in the player. My heart at first inflated,  but the sound was so awful I was left speechless. The sound system was set to a booming bass setup that screamed Rap and Techno style or something like that. Why did I ever expect more attention to something so essential, especially in a major music association in BC I will never know. My expectations definitely dropped under the dust in the carpet! What we were listening through that booming system was so terrible I couldn't wait for those minutes to be over. For the matters to be even worse, there was no time to request anything better, or to adjust the sound. The minutes were clicking, and with them the dollars I've paid. The music was the least important.

In a way this was the main point I got from that session. From this perspective now, the music is really not that important at all. Your album, as much as it looks huge as an achievement in your own eyes, is just a crumb in the loaf of good music out there. Not to mention the mediocre ones. What is important in the industry's eyes is to make your music available to as many huge businesses, real and online, as possible, and for free! And not for your own good. This is what the industry grew to expect.

So, the dollars were clicking as the lawyer gave me a short storyline: "Your music is sort of adult contemporary, but more localized in ethnic character".

- I should focus on my own Serbian community to start, which is good as it defines my niche already.
- I should look into online promotion opportunities.
- I should send the CD to radio stations.
- I should look into online and real store distribution opportunities.
- I need to play live a lot if I want to sell Cd's.
- I need to create a bunch of merch I can sell at the gigs.
- I need to become a member of his association.

Nothing concrete, no contacts, no recommendations, nothing. I already knew all of that. He asked me if it was useful, I smiled. I didn't want to be rude as I can be. I was too eager to start the whole process of promoting my music, I didn't want to care about it. But it did leave me with a deflated feeling.

Another important lesson I've learnt from all of this: there is a lot of work to do, and it's just starting! For some foolish reason I thought creating music is the most important. After that you find people and companies to help you with promotion, distribution, gig finding, merch production and design, street promos, and everything else based on belief in your creation, and you are set. You can focus on creating, and slowly build your business till you are able to make a living out of it. Good I kept my day job all this time!

In fact, very little, or no companies out there will be willing to do the leg work required for you. Everything is expected from you and only you. You need to set everything up yourself to the point where some company will be willing to even consider you for their roster. In a way, it reminds me on the Canadian show "The Dragon's Den" where a group of major investors are approached by people or groups with ideas in various stages. No idea is accepted unless it already makes sales. The bigger sales the better! It hurts to watch those desperate creative individuals go through the begging process, only to sell off their ideas for majority of the investor's interest. In some cases years of establishing the business around an idea are gone in the pockets of the investors, where they put as minimal effort into the whole process as possible! Sure, the investment is helping the creators in many ways, but at the end only the investor is really gaining from the whole deal. You make the cake, they are only happy to sweep the cream off of it!

This is exactly what the music industry is doing to all of us musicians hoping that our music will see the light of day. If you have to do everything yourself why do you need anybody anyways? Do you have time for all of it? Do you want to focus all that time to the other part of the business aside from creating?

For many this is OK, and I'm glad to see there is musicians out there who manage to make a living playing their own music. It usually comes after years of focus, while at the same time managing another business on the side which pays the bills till the music grows.

For me that is not an option, for now at least. With another career on the side, I do expect the industry to offer much more so I can keep the music being the focus, and not the business. However, my hopes that this will actually ever happen are very lean, and I will elaborate on this in the next posts.

The most important thing in all of this: save yourself money for "professional advice". If you are into your music and figuring out the ways to make it work, you probably already know what is best for you and which way to go. There is so much free resources available at your fingertips that you will rarely, or at all need to spend extra dollar to reach the points of your voyage. Your friends are most likely your best advisers.

Session 2

Another contact with lawyers was after several months of my online promotion I was running strong.
I was approached by a company on Twitter. They loved my song Katarina, and they kept sending emails about wanting to include the song into their library. I do believe that song is very good, if not the best on my album, was flattered with the attention from them, but still a bit puzzled with the amount or praise I was getting. So I did a bit of research about the company and it was legit. Nothing too successful, but being in New York and surviving was a good sign. So finally, I responded to their email and agreed to go over the agreement they were about to send.

Got a two page licencing agreement and read it several times very carefully. Several flags were raised in those readings, and the gut feeling was not good at all. There were things cut and pasted, sentences not making sense at all, but the most important thing, typed in very small letters was a clause about giving the company the right to modify, edit, rewrite, rearrange the song in any way they see fit! I knew right there and then I will not sign any of it but still curious about the interest I refused to see what was obvious. I decided to consult a lawyer again.

Another $110 later, one 10min phone conversation, and a couple emails exchanging the files, and I was left with what I knew already. Not to sign.

Sure, I was told, if I want my song to have some more exposure I could sign, but it's not advisable. And this is what I realised every company in the industry is relying on: on our desperation to get our music exposed to the point where some will be willing to give up all the rights.

First lesson from this is: if it doesn't feel and sound right, it is not right. Don't waste your money on advice you already know.

Second lesson: there is predators out there. Even if they genuinely like your music, you have to be extremely careful with considering their offers. Everybody is there to make money off of your music. That does not mean that you will.

Last lesson: stop giving your music away. We need to respect our own creation more, so others respect it as well. When did you last see the big names you see on TV are giving away their albums? Not even individual songs. We should start doing the same.

Occupy your music!

To be continued...