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Thread started 10/25/04 8:50pm


10 Publishers lookin for HIT songs who get RESULTS

Swiped this from another board:

just read and learn:

The role of music publishers has changed dramatically over the past few years, but a select breed has profited from these changes by supplying songs to film, television and new media; locating and nurturing talent; and propelling music publishing into an unknown -- but certainly profitable -- future. Whether youÕre a new songwriter breaking in, an established writer with a back catalog, or a band or artist with quality music, Music Connection is pleased to introduce you to 10 music publishers who can get results.

LWBH Music Publishers
Contact: Lynne Robin Greene, President

LWDH Music (Lansdowne Music/Winston Music Publishers/Bloor Music/Hoffman House Music) is the publisher of over 1,250 recorded songs, which include The Dillards Classic Bluegrass Catalog and hits by surf king Dick Dale, the Doobie Brothers (five multiplatinum songs) as well as rare Sixties R&B, jazz, standards and much more. They also administrate over 30 artist composer firms.

The company stresses hands-on involvement. “It’s all about the songs and the writers,” says Lynne Robin Greene. “We take special care to advise on all services from assisting in music negotiations worldwide to handling every possible administrative need. We further strive to educate artists and writers on their rights and how to exploit them, and build upon their catalogs. We also specialize in artist and writer royalty collections and research for many other artists and companies.”

Newly signed for administration is the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s John McEuen (Colorado Music/Video Wizards). Recent television placements include Alias, Six Feet Under, Malcolm In The Middle, CMT Greatest Road Trips, The Andy Griffith Show Reunion, and feature films All About The Benjamins and Johnson Family Vacation.

“We want uniqueness: a sound we haven’t heard before, a great story lyric, and a vocal style that’s special and completely irresistible, says Greene. “Do not call or query. We really like independent artists with their own cleared masters: blues, pop rock, R&B, hip-hop, dance, country pop, roots, bluegrass, jazz. No middle of the road pop, hard rock or gangsta rap. Send your three best songs –– lyric sheets with a SASE is a must.”

Music 4 Media, Inc.
Contact: Greg Hall

Greg Hall, the founder of Music 4 Media, has a background in live music events. He worked for indie labels, moved to Los Angeles from Phoenix, and, after three years, noted a gap in the publishing sector. “A lot of focus was going to big touring and record sales. After that dropped off, the labels went back to obtaining publishing rights. The medium within the music and film industry was missing. That’s where the vision for this stemmed: how to get independent music and independent filmmakers involved in licensing and information and resource sharing.”

The company deals with all styles of music. “We’re not a publishing company in the general sense. We create tools for artists to learn from and utilize. The music we accept comes from all over the world. I want to establish a catalog that is diverse and large enough for buyers to come to one place.”

The firm’s agreements are not conventional publishing deals, but licensing representation agreements. The music is pre-cleared, and when the buyers browse and need to find something, placement can happen quickly. “A lot of online licensing companies have set pricing parameters. Our thing is more integrated,” says Hall. “We try to work a position so both sides will benefit. We look at all aspects between the media and the artist.

In the past six months Music 4 Media has reevaluated its focus and formed partnerships with other companies. “We’re also working with artists and management, plus live event promotion. What has worked well is to use the resources of others and share them. We want to pick up artists cross the nation and be involved with them on a street level, licensing, but also promoting other parts of their careers.”

Although many publishing companies concentrate on film and television, Hall knows there are many more outlets. “We have 47 categories we look into: coin-op games, information kiosks, the web moving in a different direction, we push all aspects.” Submission info is on the Web site. “You’ve got to have the music on CD and it has to be good quality.”

Harmonious Music
Contact: Jay Warsinske

Distributed by Rykodisc Music in the U.S., Harmonious Music is also a record label with alternative, rock, urban and club music. The company’s roster includes breakthrough artists and artists coming off major record deals. “We’re doing a lot of international business. We just licensed a song as the main theme for New Line Cinema’s Blade III. We’re on the soundtrack and in the main fight scene in the movie.”

The artist on Blade III is Kool Keith, whose Kool Keith Presents Thee Undatakerz is a science fiction/concept groove. “It’s fantasy and alternative music. Keith just went off on what’s in his mind. He’s a free-thinker, and he bridges the gap between alternative and hip-hop,” says Warsinske.

Warsinske came up on the record side of the business. “But publishing is so important, it’s the one thing that lives on. The song can be covered or used in a commercial. If you’re only making and selling records, you’re missing out on the longevity of that creativity.” The company also puts together independent music soundtracks and will be producing their own low-budget niche films in alternative, hip-hop or punk. “We see an avenue in the DVD world. Maybe Paramount or 20th Century may be green-lighting less movies; DVDs can be a way for executives to create. Right now we have 100 million DVD players in America. You have to rent or buy DVDs to feed the machine. There’s an insatiable appetite for new movies, documentaries and programs.”

Warsinske says his company listens to styles that don’t rely on corporate radio. “We’ve got to go with artists who are going to get a buzz in the clubs, on the streets, in the magazines and on the Internet. We’re a label/distributor/publisher. We can take finished product and get a move on it.”

Ash Street Music
Contact: Jimmy “Muffin” Yessian, VP/Creative Development

“Ash Street Music strives to be an integral part of the music-publishing industry by signing established songwriters while continuing to discover and develop new talent,” says Jimmy “Muffin” Yessian. “I believe that as a songwriter/publisher I have a special connection with other writers whose songs I publish. I understand the attachment a writer has to each song he writes.

“I have signed four of our staff writers so far, and I’m always looking for a writer who fits into the ASM family,” adds Yessian. A recent signing is Andrew Dorff, who penned “When the Hero Dies,” the lead single from BJ Thomas’ comeback album. Writer/artist Dillon Dixon is releasing his own project and has a song with country buzz band Cowboy Crush. “I have also signed several single song contracts,” says Yessian. “Writers submitting for single song contracts have to realize that their song is not only competing against the many other writers who are looking for a single song deal, but against our staff writers. An outside song or songwriter has to have something I find very special in their writing to get my attention. My allegiance is to my staff writers first.”

Yessian describes himself as a “songaholic.” He clarifies, “I look for a writer who can quickly get me addicted to their song. They have to wet my palette in the first 30 seconds. Pour me something that makes me want to keep drinking the melody and follow it to the end of your story.”

Christmas & Holiday Music
Contact: Justin Wilde

The name of the company says it all: Justin Wilde is the industry’s go-to-guy for seasonal tracks. “Since I began my career as a songwriter, I know what it’s like to be on that side of the fence,” remarks Wilde. “Having been a business major with an emphasis in marketing and advertising in college, I realized early on how valuable a successful Christmas standard would be, so I attempted to write my own, called ‘It Must Have Been the Mistletoe.’ In trying to turn it into a classic, I learned the Christmas music arena better than anyone in the business.”

Wilde takes great pride in signing the best songs he can find, not simply the best resumes. “I work all markets, not just records and TV/ film. Last year I had a song in the Boston Pops’ Christmas TV special and tour. This year we have five new songs going into print with Warner Bros.’ sheet music division and three others with Hal Leonard. Last month I placed four holiday songs written by a dermatologist from New Jersey in a new film, Love Surreal.

Wilde observes that, for Christmas music, melody is key. “A great melody starts with a strong melodic hook (usually three to six successive notes) which are then interwoven throughout the song. A great melody can be sung a cappella, without the need of harmonization to support it. All of the major Christmas standards can be sung a cappella by carolers on doorsteps or in nursing homes without the aid of accompaniment. If your melody needs a track to carry it, it’s weak. If you’ve written a chord progression and then try to improvise a melody over it, you’re starting backwards.”

Del Oro Music
Contact: Bud Anderson

“The industry has changed dramatically. Those of us smart enough to stay boutique companies are going to be successful in the long run,” says Bud Anderson. Del Oro focuses on the consumer: what types of songs do they enjoy; what will work in a movie, on the radio. “Consumers tend to look for songs that are a soundtrack to their lives. So I look for meaning, depth –– something we’ll all remember 10 years from now.”

The company generally signs a specific song. They have six writers who contribute consistently for them, plus another 30 who pitch them regularly. “One of our big successes is ‘Deeper Love’ by Cece Peniston, it’s doing great in the clubs and we’ve signed it for two films also.” Junior Vasquez has just remixed the song for the clubs. “Whatever it is, the tune has to be strong in dance, not just carry the beat.”

Twenty-five percent of the company’s music is sent to Europe first. “It’s always been a proving ground; the American market gets its cues from what’s happening there. We’re in tune with remixers from the U.K., Spain, Italy and Germany. It’s cutting-edge.”

An Army brat, Anderson grew up around the world and has a global consciousness. “We not only keep our focus on our own communities, but also what’s happening around the company and around the world.”

Del Oro recently presented a listening party, a networking event. “I think it’s critical for publishers and labels to keep their eyes and ears on what’s coming up. The party was an opportunity for new writers to be heard by labels and producers.”

Permission, from an e-mail or a phone call, is required for submissions. “If we know something’s coming we’ll listen. It takes a couple of weeks. At any given time we have between one and four movies –– we place stuff all the time. Anything commercial is fine, including exotic world songs, but if it works on the radio or in a movie, that’s what we want to hear.”

Avatar Publishing Group
Contact: Lynette Jenkins

With a record label and a publishing company under one roof, Lynette Jenkins knows it’s better to cover both sides. “You have to diversify; you need control in order to put a song into film or television. We’re a small independent, so this setup makes it easier.

Jenkins has been with the company for 10 years. She was originally a singer and a recording artist who helped out on an Avatar music supervision gig. “With both the business and the artistic head, I can talk to an artist creatively as well as business-wide.”

Avatar tends to sign completed, self-contained projects in the areas of R&B, hip-hop and rap. A recent signing, Planet Asia, is an exception, as Avatar funded the record. “He has a following; people know who he is. You need some type of following, someone has to know who you are. We prefer artists with a name and street cred. You’ve got to do retail, shows, and work hard.”

Avatar also works back catalogs to unearth funds that haven’t been paid. “We work with people who are having trouble getting their rights. If it looks like something I can broker a deal with –– get them money and me money –– we’ll do it. A lot of times within rap music there’s always disputes. ‘I wrote this,’ and a limo driver might say, ‘I put this in.’ You have to know both sides in order to come to a conclusion.”

The company accepts unsolicited demos; publishing questions may be e-mailed. “Since we’re a small company, that means we can rock and roll, whereas the majors have to go on the straight and narrow. There may be a gem in the pile of demos.”

Silver Blue Music/Oceans Blue Music
Contact: Joel Diamond

Silver Blue and Oceans Blue Music Publishing Companies have amassed over 300 copyrights, including at least five top 10 copyrights, and continues to generate an annual six-figure income. In 2002, Universal Music International President and CEO David Renzer concluded a major administration music publishing deal with the two companies. Under the terms of the deal, Universal Music administers the music publishing catalogs worldwide, which creates an inside track to Universal’s film, TV, and record divisions.

Thirty-year industry veteran Diamond has produced and/or written 36 gold and platinum recordings, over 54 Billboard charted recordings, plus movie soundtracks and television themes. “When I headed up CBS/April Blackwood Music it was a different publishing business says Diamond. “It was more of ‘chasing after the covers.’ Today, it seems to be a chess game and more strategic about how and where you can make your next buck.”

Recent projects include production on Howard Hewett, former lead singer of the multiplatinum group Shalamar, and the 5 Browns, new artists just signed to BMG through Clive Davis. Diamond both manages and executive produces the act. Through Jamie Foxx, Diamond has hooked up with 22-year-old hip-hop writers/producers Detail and YB.

“‘Different’ coupled with quality will always find its way onto the top of the Billboard charts, says Diamond. “I would be doing myself a disservice to try to pigeon-hole what I look for. Bottom line –– I let it find me. Something I taught Tommy Mottola (which I heard him use in an interview recently) when he worked for me as my assistant at MRC Music: ‘We love matching the song and the artist, and that’s our reward.’”

For new submissions, Diamond advises, “Just submit and do not expect return of same or phone call unless it absolutely hits me over the head.”

BOK Music
Contact: Monica Benson

In addition to placing songs in film, television projects and video games, BOK Music is a full-service music publisher with cuts on Faith Hill, Whitney Houston, Mistique, Diamond Rio, the new Spelling television show Clubhouse on CBS, as well as Disney’s Lizzie McGuire Total Party and That’s So Raven.

“There would be six of me working at a big company,” says Benson. “One person doing film, another doing TV, film, artists, Nashville and so on. But it’s just me –– it’s a lot of work.”

The company signs single-song deals. “I am looking for stuff. I don’t have time to go out and look because I’m pitching. I’m looking for that young WB sound –– like John Mayer, Ashlee Simpson.” She prefers that artists mail to her P.O. box (P.O. 8339, Calabasas, CA, 91372-8339). “If I like it, I’ll get back to you; I’m not staffed to call everyone back. Please, don’t call until we have a relationship.”

Benson is also paid as a consultant, plus a salary on cuts she gets for publishers Shapiro-Bernstein and The Royalty Network, representing their catalogs. She also does administration deals with artists on major labels and co-publishing with those who are not. “I just love placing songs; it gives me a thrill,” says Benson.

Benson’s husband, producer Howard Benson, is also looking for bands. He just produced “The Reason” with Hoobastank and he’s producing P.O.D.’s newest. “He has six singles out now,” she says. “And he’s looking for acts, so send material to our P.O. box.”

PEN Music Group, Inc.
Contact: Michael Eames, President

Michael Eames believes that there has never been a better time than now to be an independent publisher, label or artist. “For so many years it’s been about the corporations, the gatekeepers. The Internet leveled the playing field a couple of years ago. An online buzz can make and break a record. Power has been returned to the artist.”

Film and television placements are the company’s strong suit. “For the bands and artists we’re working with, TV is the new radio,” says Eames. “We’ve gotten three songs on Summerland this past season, a song from a band Tremolo on The Mountain. Millions of people are watching, even by network standards, some shows that have been canceled have six or seven million viewers. Who wouldn’t kill for that audience –– CSI is 20 million. The fans fuel a buzz and find new artists.”

PEN Music Group in one of the company’s divisions, and Fairwood Music USA is the U.S. office of a London-based company, Fairwood LTD. The company signed a 2004 worldwide agreement with Blue Mountain Music, a publishing company owned by Chris Blackwell, and amidst the 5,000 copyrights is the Bob Marley catalog. “It’s exploding,” says Eames. “We’ve been overwhelmed by this thing landing in our lap. It’s very exciting. We’re interacting with a lot of people, and, in turn, this will only help the independent artists we look after.”

Because of the company’s current workload, Eames requests that new artists and songwriters check in prior to submitting. He says the company is pretty much through accepting demos for this year, but in January they’ll be listening. “Independent artists are the future. Publishers are now looked to as an A&R source.”
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