A#@HOLES NEVER TAKE A DAY OFF!
January 30, 2010
Back in the ‘60s, a songwriter and a publisher were supposed to split two cents for every record sold. When the infamous but charming, Morris Levy (Roulette records) asked for a “special rate” of one-half cent per song on my Shadow Mann album, I laughed and said, “Sure, why not? You’re not going to pay us anyway!”
Today writers and publishers divide upwards of eight cents for every unit sold and sometimes share hundreds of thousands of dollars that come for licensing fees from films, TV, and commercials.
Since I resumed writing and as well as pushing other people’s songs using the Internet, dozens of people I know from back in the day have been in touch with me to breath new life into their catalog and get new recordings on their songs. Unfortunately, many of these people are nefarious characters and are notorious for screwing anyone they can, and I’d be stupid to do any business with any of them. Needless to say I’m also wary of anyone I’ve never dealt with before, so I make sure I get a fee up front against a percentage of whatever income I’m able to generate, but even so I get taken in at times.
A top writer from the ‘60s, I knew casually, asked me to get a former number one song of his to Miley Cyrus, which I did foolishly, before I had an agreement with him. I stopped trying to deal with him when he became evasive. I never told him that I had played it already for one of Miley’s producers who flipped out over his song. I also never told him that I lied to the producer and told him Carrie Underwood had just cut the song, which of course stopped Miley from recording it!
A few days ago, I got a call from one of the owners (whom I’ve never met) of a publishing company I once was signed to. He wanted me to share my intimate knowledge of his catalog, and asked if I wanted to show some of his copyrights. He said was willing to give me a percentage, but not pay me a fee which…of course I wasn’t interested in.
When he mentioned, however, that he was considering selling his publishing company for $300,000 (10 times recent earnings) my eyes lit up and off the top of my head I came up with a unique idea to sell his company for a million dollars instead, in a way that’s never been done before…an innovation sure to make the front page of Billboard Magazine!
He thought it was a great idea and asked me to draw him up a proposal. He only had two songs that were bringing any income in the catalog, and I knew I could get hit covers on them as well as about 15 other “undiscovered” gems, but I played it cool as he was trying to pick my brain. In my head I was casting his songs with artists I could get to…Beyonce…Adam Lambert…Alicia Keyes…etc. knowing that I could significantly increase the value of his underexploited catalog. Before I talked with him initially, I checked his two biggest titles on “Google”, and found a John Mayer performance video of one of his songs…which he didn’t know about. He didn’t even know who John Mayer was…but that’s why you hire someone like me.
I wonder why this guy hasn’t responded to my phone calls or e-mail, but if he’s thinking of “appropriating” my idea, he should be aware that he needs someone like me with the expertise to pull it off, as well as means to publicize the sale (like my blog with over 1,450,000 hits). He probably doesn’t know I’ll get a “Google Alert” the minute my idea goes up on the Internet, and I’ll jump in 30 minutes later offering one of my clients catalogs, and crush him in the marketplace..
Last week was my birthday, I was 39 for the 29th time, and I’m working harder than ever before. I’m still recovering from contacting every Michael Jackson fan club in the world to alert their members to my song “Little Christmas Tree”, which led to 110,000 views on YouTube during Christmas week. I’m also developing a few ideas for Tommy James (“I Think We’re Alone Now”, “Crimson and Clover”) who has a book coming out Feb.16 called “Me, The Mob, and The Music”. I hope he doesn’t go into some witness protection program before I have a chance to interview him!
Alan O’Day (Undercover Angel”, “Angie Baby”), DJ Paul Payton, and I are finishing up some demos to pitch to classic hits stations which could liven up their formats and attract new listeners. Finally I’m in the editing stages of my book, “I Did It For A Song”.
Of all the things I’m doing, however, I’ m most excited about reconnecting with hundreds of old friends on Facebook, Twitter, my blog, Forgotten Hits, and Spectropop, and helping them reconnect with each other. I just wish those who try to con me into doing one thing or another for free would stop…but I suppose a#@holes never take a day off!
Copyright 2010 by Artie Wayne http://artiewayne.wordpress.com/about-artie-wayne/
Photo at top by Stephen Paley left to right- Artie Wayne as Shadow Mann, Producer Ron Haffkine, Kelli Ross, and Morris Levy
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