It was recently announced that performance royalties are now a bigger source of income for artists than record sales. My good friend and colleague Pursehouse gets down and dirty with some number crunching:
Chris Brown was at number 40 in the charts this week (week ending 43) thanks to shifting 4,658 downloads of his instantly forgettable ‘Superhuman’ song. If he’d have distributed that though an aggregator who only took a 15% cut (like Sentric Music for example) then he’d have pocketed £1909.78 (but as he’s on Sony BMG a good few people will have got a cut of that before he gets his hands on any cash).
If that song is 3 minutes long then he’ll pocket £54 per BBC Radio 1 play and therefore only needs 36 plays to earn more than he made from over four and a half thousand sales. Considering the fact that if you’re a regular on BBC Radio 1 then you can pretty much guarantee that you’ll also be a regular on every other pop station in the country and again you being to realise the potential cash that is out there.
I won’t use this as an excuse to bang on about my favourite hobby-horse of “the future of music is free”, “distribution is marketing” etc. But basically, new artists, get your music out there and listened to. If it’s any good, this will eventually lead to a bit of buzz so you get radio play, and thus income.
Don’t even think about selling your recordings until you’re playing stadiums. Or at least have enough of a diehard fanbase who will pay proper money (ie. that which results in a net gain for you of more than 40p/track) for limited edition stuff, fancy physical releases etc.
“Governor Palin and I don’t agree on a lot of things, mostly social issues. But I have grown to appreciate the Governor. I was one of those initial skeptics and would laugh at the pictures. Not anymore. When someone takes on a corrupt political machine and a sitting governor, that is not done by someone with a low I.Q. or a moral core made of tissue paper. When someone fights her way to get scholarships and work her way through college even in a jagged line, that shows determination and humility you can’t learn from reading Reinhold Niebuhr. When a mother brings her son with special needs onto the national stage with love, honesty, and pride, that gives hope to families like mine as my older brother lives with a mental disability. And when someone can sit on a stage during the Sarah Palin rap on Saturday Night Live, put her hands in the air and watch someone in a moose costume get shot—that’s a sign of both humor and humanity.”—
What do you do when you’re faced with a difficult woman? One of those terribly stereotypical ones who cause men to say “all women hate each other blah blah blah.” What to do? My usual reaction with difficult people, men and women, is to bug the hell out of them until they somehow become my friend. (It usually works - I can be likable when I want to.) This one though, I don’t know what to do. I’ve tried to be nice and helpful and inclusive and have failed spectacularly on all accounts. She is only friends with, and there’s no other way to put this, women who are professionally “beneath” her in the pecking order of this joint. No peers (such as me) at all, not even one. I CAN’T STAND IT WHEN PEOPLE DON’T LIKE ME. And, I really can’t stand it when men sneer and say “you women never get along” which is absolutely not true, as I work with more women then men at the moment and we all (with the glaring exception) get along very well.
As a feline, I know something about cattiness. You have two options here: 1) ignore her or 2) kill her with kindness. Be nice to your enemies, it confuses them. Also, as a social experiment, observe her and figure out why she acts that way. It will give you some insight into cracking that little egg. Or, maybe she’s just a mean nasty troll. -MATC
You never know where you’ll find sexism in our society and our profession. It knows no party or ideology.
But it has no place in court. In a decision yesterday, 7th Circuit Judge Richard Posner took a shot at a plaintiff’s attorney who thought this was still 1950.
The case, Thorogood v. Sears Roebuck, was perfectly set up for a sexist wisecrack by an attorney cheap enough to take it. The case involved stainless steel clothes dryers that nonetheless caused rust stains on some clothing. A massive class action suit was mounted against Sears because “stainless steel” was not used for every part of the appliance.
During oral argument, the plaintiff’s attorney suggested that the all-male bench “ask their wives” about the problems associated with rust stains from dryers.
Posner did not find this funny. Writing for the majority (and holding for Sears) Posner shot back:
At argument the plaintiff’s lawyer, skeptical that men ever operate clothes dryers—oddly, since his client does—asked us to ask our wives whether they are concerned about rust stains in their dryers. None is.
Hopefully, getting smacked around by Posner will teach this attorney that he should not make sexist remarks in open court regardless of the gender diversity on the bench.
Good for Posner. It never ceases to amaze me how many people think it’s still 1954. -MATC
Our boy NDTiger is getting prolific with the letter-writing. Here’s another.
Dean Jay O. Light Harvard Business School Soldiers Field Boston, MA 02163
Dear Mr. Light,
I was wondering if I could write you and tell you how grateful I am that we have such talented and bright minds teaching our business leaders of the future. I have had no small amount of anxiety and fear these past few weeks over our country’s current financial situation, but having good men such as yourself at the helm of our country’s finest educational institution goes a long ways towards alleviating my worries.
I was also hoping to take your pulse on a little dream I have of entering business school and making something of myself. While I don’t have a lot of business experience just yet, I am smart and I do see things, big things! Let me give you an example.
Just last night I was imaging what it would be like if a fairy (or perhaps a river nymph) came down and gave me a magical bottomless Mason jar. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Now, I bet most people would only think of one thing to do with a bottomless Mason jar - they’d go to the bathroom in it. Think about it! You can’t store things in there, they’d just fall into oblivion. It doesn’t create anything, it’s just a Mason jar. Nope, you’d just assume it was only good for pooping and peeing in. Maybe getting rid of kitchen garbage, too. I’ll tell you, what a waste! (Pun intended.)
This is where my business mind took off. First, I thought that if I invented a screw-on toilet seat that I could immediately improve the product. It’s a Mason jar, so it has grooves on it to screw a lid on. Imagine a comfy toilet seat that morphs into a funnel and then ends in a plastic screw top. It would make pooping in the Mason jar much easier. But then I realized I could only sell one unit to the owner of this one, unique bottomless Mason jar. What a terrible business model. Then it hit me!
I LEASE the bottomless Mason jar to the United States federal government so that they may use it to safely dispose of all the country’s nuclear waste. I could make millions! Plus, I can carry the bottomless Mason jar all over the country and visit each power plant, so we don’t have to worry about transporting nuclear waste anymore. Once the waste problem is solved, we can spearhead the new construction of dozens of nuclear power plants. Bam! Now I’ve not only made hundreds of millions of dollars, but I’ve solved America’s energy concerns. That’s called great business ethics, Mr. Light, and I’ve got them coming out of my ass. (Pun not intended.)
I may not have a fancy degree or a lot of money, but I think I see the subtle opportunities that other people miss. Please write me back and let me know if I have your support in my dream of being a big businessman. I’d really appreciate your advice.
I recently had the opportunity to attend a talk by the Chief Marketing Officer of Burt’s Bees. He revealed the company’s first national ad campaign, the “Natural Vs” campaign. It asks the question, “Have You Read Your Labels Lately?” I’ve been a proponent of knowing what’s in my food for some time, but had not assiduously taken the time to examine my home-cleaning products or my toiletries (shampoo, etc). So I did some digging, and here are some of my revelations:
Part 1: My Yogurt
Yoplait Strawberry Contains: cultured pasteurized grade A low fat milk, sugar, strawberries, modified corn starch, high fructose corn syrup, nonfat milk, kosher gelatin, citric acid, tricalcium phosphate, natural flavor, pectin, colored with carmines, vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3.
cultured pasteurized grade A low fat milk: It’s cultured, which means bacteria has been added to it to ferment the lactose and galactose (milk sugars) and convert them into lactic acid. Milk is fermented in order to increase the shelf-life, add taste, and increase digestibility. It’s pasteurized, which means it’s been heated to destroy some viable pathogens. It’s Grade A, meaning it complies with the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments “Grade A” milk program, which is based on the FDA’s Pasteurized Milk Ordinance requirements to be shipped interstate. It’s low fat which mean it’s gone through a centrifuge which separates the fat from the the rest of the product.
sugar: This either comes from the sugarcane or the sugar beet.
modified corn starch: This is made by removing the starch from the corn through a fermentation process and a centrifuge. The starch is dried and modified, typically with inorganic acids, to become a fat substitute and to act as a thickener for the yogurt.
high fructose corn syrup: High fructose corn syrup is a sweetener that’s included in many foods. In fact, it’s in most processed foods that you eat. HFCS extends the shelf-life of food and is a cheaper sweetener than sugar. It’s made by turning the sugar that’s in cornstarch into fructose.
I recently saw the documentary King Corn, where the filmmakers asked the syrup makers in the Corn Belt if they could film the HFCS making process. There are about 16 chemical plants that produce the syrup and none allowed it! So the filmmakers dug up a recipe and made it themselves. It was disturbing – a vat of murky fermented liquid with much chemical tweaking. Although there are not conclusive human studies that indicate HFCS has detrimental health effects, there are animal studies that link HFCS with diabetes and high cholesterol. HFCS can also leave you hungry or make you eat more. Consuming HFCS raises your insulin and blood sugar levels less than does consuming glucose (regular sugar). Thus, your body does not think it’s as full as it does when you consume calories from other foods. Thus, you eat more.
nonfat milk: Same as low fat milk, just with less fat.
kosher gelatin: Gelatin. That’s horse byproduct! It’s made from the prolonged boiling of animal skin, tissue, and bones. But it’s kosher, meaning, well, it’s still made form fish bones and beef skins.
citric acid: This is an organic acid that exists in citrus fruits and is a natural preservative and flavor additive.
tricalcium phosphate: It’s a calcium salt. I’ve read that it is added to reduced fat foods to develop smoothness and opaqueness, as well as increase calcium content.
natural flavor: A bit nebulous, right? But if you recall from Fast Food Nation, natural flavor isn’t natural at all - it’s an additive concocted by flavorists. The exact definition of natural flavor from the Code of Federal Regulation is “the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.”
pectin: Pectin is a gelling agent much like gelatin. Except pectin is derived from the cell walls of plants instead of cows or fish bones.
colored with carmines: That’s Red No. 40, made of carminic acid, which is produced by the cochineal insect. Yes, that’s right. Small red bugs make my yogurt pink.
vitamin A acetate: This is a one of the primary forms of Vitamin A nutritional supplement
vitamin D3: It’s the same vitamin your skin gets when exposed to the sun.
Needless to say, I gave up Yoplait long ago. I’ve switched to organic, in which gelatin is replaced with pectin, there are no fake colors, high fructose corn syrup is replaced with actual sugar, and there is no acid modified corn starch. It’s delicious and has just a small price premium over Yoplait or Dannon.
As all my gentle readers know by now, NDTiger is a NDNation contributor who enjoys letterwriting. Here is his latest missive.
HEPA Corporation 3071 East Coronado Street Anaheim, CA 92806 Attn: President
Dear Mr. President,
Good day to you, sir, and may I first say how much I’ve always enjoyed your quality filtering products. I’d rather have a pair of HEPA filters than these two kidneys I’ve got, but you can’t make a trade-in with the Big Man Himself. But enough theology, I’m here today to talk to you about a business opportunity.
Now, your company has leveraged the discomfort and health problems related to allergies for your personal space filtering systems - yet you still can’t compete with the multi-billion dollar drug industry those fat cats behind Allegra and Claritin have built for themselves. But what if you could cure allergies altogether and take their place in the market? That would surely take the clumping out of their kitty litter! Well, thanks to a brilliant idea I had in the bathtub earlier today, now you can.
Introducing the HEPA nose filter! Imagine it, two tiny discs of HEPA filters that will keep out anything bigger than a couple of microns, shoved up people’s noses. We put the filters inside little rings of flexible rubber so you can easily bend them when you put them in your nose, then they flop out snugly against your nostril’s walls, forcing all entering air to be filtered first. No more allergens! Attack the source! That’s what Grandpa did in World War II, and that’s what I want to do to pollen in 2009!
Ok, I know what you’re thinking, who wants to stick a ring up their nose, right? I would have agreed with you six months ago, but have you seen what people are sticking up their fallopian tubes lately? Mirena and NuvaRing? If a doctor can get some woman to shove a plastic flux capacitor up her lady flower then you and I can get these filter rings up people’s noses. Let’s get to work, Mister Man!
Plus, our nose filter works both ways! Sick people will use them so they don’t spread germs when they sneeze. They’ll have them by the dozens to hand out in every elementary school classroom in America. Also, when you’re done at the end of the day you can wash the filters to use again. They’re dishwasher safe! Just put them in the fork basket.
Please write me as soon as possible so we can begin R&D and brand development. I was thinking of a name like Nos-Guard or Aller-Ring. I don’t know; they still need some fleshing out. It won’t matter in the long run, though. The important thing is that we act now, before it’s too late…