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 https://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

BACK TO ARTIE WAYNE ON THE WEB https://artiewayne.wordpress.com

11 Responses to “A#@HOLES NEVER TAKE A DAY OFF!”

  1. MarkBarkan Says:

    Nice to see you still swinging that bat of yours-I ‘m in the process of finishing 2 CDs with my co-producer Albert Bouchard-When they’re done I’ll send them to you and if you can make us some money with them then before hand let me know what percentage you want to get either record deals or some of the songs in movies , etc. and I’ll be glad to sign and deliver it to you. It will be a couple of months before they’re done-I have only been ripped off myself many times -and never have done the ripping.

  2. Sunny Says:

    Shadow Mann,
    I remember this picture. I remember this time in life. It was GREAT !!!!
    Sunny Monday

  3. Sam Cooper Says:

    As always, I’m still a fan of your independent thought process and your wonderful way of delivering it to the rest of us. Your anecdotes are priceless. Not that you ever will anyway, but I’m glad you don’t let the bastards get you down. You’re some kind of hero in my book!
    All the best,

  4. Carla Says:

    Artie!!! What can I SAY!! Ha Ha!

    LOVE this photo for all the obvious reasons. Think I can see a glimmer of a halo over your head, don’t know about the others . . .

  5. Ron Haffkine Says:

    Hey Artie…The two different perspectives are interesting….Then again..Thats life…Talk soon Ronnie….Lot to tell you

  6. Wes Says:

    Hi again,Artie!
    Just loved the comments you just left on Spectropop about Morris Levy!
    “Sure,why not take the one half of a percent,SINCE YOU’RE NOT GONNA PAY US ANYWAY”!
    He musta been something else and I hear nobody should have rubbed him the wrong way!

  7. Jim in the Witness Protection Program Says:

    Hey, Artie –
    When I was working at the Strawberries Records chain owned by Morris in the mid-’70’s, they were having a pilferage problem in the warehouse, so Morris brought in a “warehouse manager” who I later discovered was the son of Vincent “The Chin” Gigante (“The Oddfather”) of Genovese family infamy. The problem ended miraculously overnight!

  8. Artie,

    Thank you for the shout-out! It’s great to be working with you and Alan as we “old kids” check out new adventures!

    I can now also mention a remotely-Artie-Wayne-related project I’m embarking upon: playing live gigs with the lead singer of my former band (of four decades ago) Benefit Street. Rob Carlson’s new CD, “Pieces of Paradise,” is being released this week with the launch of his new website, http://www.robcarlsonmusic (if it isn’t live yet, try again in a couple of days). Incidentally, we’re having our launch party/concert on Saturday, March 20th, at Stage One in Fairfield, CT, Rob’s home town.

    Rob and I reconnected because I’m in the process of finally issuing Benefit Street’s masters and demos on my own label, Presence Records. (I’m the promo department for both projects because “I ain’t gonna pay me anyway”!) By the way, the Benefit Street CD should be out in the spring. Details to come – but “Pieces of Paradise” is the focus right now.

    How this connects to Artie: when our well-intentioned manager was shopping Benefit Street around, I got our tapes an “audience” at Buddah when Artie was there. The legend (second-hand to me) is that everyone liked us but Neil Bogart, but he said we could have a single released, and “if anything happened with it” we’d get an album. Our manager, feeling heady from this news, went to NYC, sat down with Neil, asked for an excessive amount of front money, and got laughed out of the office. Obviously, no record came out.

    Artie and I were talking about this a while back, and when I gave him the details, he said (paraphrasing), “I remember that – so you were the guys? That story was legendary for years!”

    Anyway, our egos have recocvered, and we’re all moving into the future, with the past as present! Doggone – life is good!

    Best to all,
    Country Paul

  9. Alan O'Day Says:

    Happy belated birthday! Always nice to be reminded of the “good old days” by your stories of “innovative marketing”, & some of the characters you now wisely choose to avoid.
    I’m reminded of the Hunter S. Thompson quote, “”The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.”

  10. steve Owen Says:

    I enjoyed the article about you(Shadow Mann) and Morris Levy…
    Thankks for posting this article!


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