Hard Work for Gatorade


You might be seeing this ad all over March Madness 2014…. MEGA organized the music license for the “Hard Work” cadence. Shows how a simple idea, marrying the truth of  consistent exercise to achieve your goals is hard work. I believe this will connect to a broad population who goes to the gym every day expecting “hard work”.

Cashing in Chips at SXSW with Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga and Doritos
Lady Gaga and Doritos

This may be a new low for Music Branding associations.

You might find this article interesting in the New York Times.

The author laments the takeover of SXSW by corporate brands and wonders whether SXSW is a stage for the brands or the artists? More old(r) men lamenting the good old days where Artists were anti-establishment. Get over it. The artists now crave to be the establishment

Few in this new millennium era  care about sponsors and artists cozying up.. The “mega” artists continue to dominate the sponsorships and media attention while amazing new artists who are sleeping on floors and trading their last paychecks for gas money to get to SXSW fight, as they always must, for attention. Bummer? No, Reality check 2014.

No there’s nothing new here. SXSW has just become  a music and technology sponsor-fest….is there something wrong with that? It was inevitable. SXSW is not a 501(c)

What is interesting is the risk reward relationship that unfolded around the Doritos “Bold” sponsorship of Lady Gaga at SXSW with GaGa organizing a performance artist to vomit all over her during the Doritos branded show! That’s Bold.

Its well known that Frito Lay is a world class company and marketing organization. And Lady Gaga is a superstar….one whose running head face into the dark without her long time and also world class manager Troy.

However, this ill fated marketing initiative was bound to bring the wrong kind of attention. Attention, certainly, comes with the GaGa territory. She excels at attention getting. But disgust and laughs? Could not have been the plan.  But does anyone at Doritos believe that this association was good value? Not anymore you can be sure. Having organized some of the largest branded associations with artists in the world, (Pepsi and Beyonce- Led Zeppelin and Cadillac) I must admit to being challenged by artists feeling that they must show their credibility by biting the hand that’s feeding them, but I’ve never, ever seen something  so public and frankly dispensed with such (artistic) contempt….oh in the name of art of course;)

Brands today, more than ever in an instant social media world have to carefully think through the associations they craft they to augment their marketing efforts; especially when the whole point is to drive a conversation. How about this conversation? GaGa has a performance artist barf all over her at a Doritos gig…

Its not easy and I’m not advocating being risk adverse. Just be smart and vet the artist.  Never ever forget that the brighter the star the higher the inner temperature that burns; meaning, artistic genius (and yes even tho I do not care much for her music I do believe GaGa is an artistic genius) comes with a very sharp double edge sword. Is this a case of a smart plan just gone awry or a  plan where you could have seen this freight train coming? IMHO the latter….Meanwhile…Katy Perry and Popchips… much smarter relationship and working!

Transparency: I’m an owner in Popchips but had no hand in its relationship with KP.

Licensing Music: the Basics

Excerpted with permission from an article my good friend Larry Miller wrote in the November/December 2013 “Licensing Journal”…. and I could not think about saying it any better than he did!

The licensing of musical works is unique in that there are two copyrights in every recorded song. The underlying composition by the songwriter(s) usually is controlled by a music publisher. The recorded version of the song by a particular artist usually is controlled by a record label. For example, Darius Rucker recorded a song Bob Dylan wrote, “Wagon Wheel,” for his most recent country album, leading Dylan to be nominated for a 2013 Country Music Award. If someone wants to license Rucker’s recording of this song, a license must be obtained from Rucker’s record label Capitol Records Nashville, which is part of Universal Music Group, and also from Bob Dylan’s publisher. However, there is a second writer on “Wagon Wheel,” Ketch Secor, who wrote verses around Dylan’s original choruses. Both publisher licenses must be obtained to clear 100 percent of the composition.

That is a relatively simple example. In fact, publishing rights often are dramatically complex. The recording “Empire State of Mind” was made famous by Alicia Keys and Jay-Z, but there are seven writers on the track: Burt Keyes, Sylvia Robinson, Angela Hunte, Shawn Carter, Jane’t Sewell, Alicia Augello-Cook, and Al Shuckburgh. How is that? Hunte and Sewell wrote the original version of the song; Jay-Z (aka Sean Carter) liked it but changed the words. Alicia Keys contributed to a new bridge. Then a sample of The Moments’ “Love On a Two-Way Street” was added, which was written by Sylvia Robinson and Bert Keyes. Al Shuckburgh, also known as Al Shux, was the recording’s producer, and as is often the case, was also given a writer credit.

All seven writers presumably have, in theory, worked out their ownership percentages (called shares or splits). But why nine publishers, not seven?

Because publishing assets often are treated much like stock in a company, with writers selling part of their shares to another publisher. All must be licensed, and all must then be accounted for in their payment.

Most other countries, including major music markets such as the United Kingdom, Japan, and Germany, have a single Mechanical Rights Organization. The United States, with its free market approach, does not, although the Harry Fox Agency (HFA) administers mechanical royalty licenses for much of the repertoire, but not all. So all of these licenses must be obtained by bulk licensing or directly with the publishers assuming they can all be identified. However, for music licences intended for use as commercials, in fact, a unique publishing and mechanical license(s) must be negotiated for the intended use (digital, television, radio, industrial…..and or more) and for a specific term.

Voluntary and Compulsory Mechanical Licensing

Unlike any other copyrightable work, under U.S. law, there is a provision for compulsory licensing of musical compositions for recording and distribution as long as the work has been previously recorded; first uses are reserved for the songwriter and directly licensed from the publisher. These uses include CDs, downloads (digital phonogram deliveries or DPDs), and on-demand streams. This license of the underlying composition is called a “mechanical,” a term that dates back to player piano rolls, the earliest known mechanical reproduction of a song. While the compulsory mechanical license provision has existed since 1909, there came to be accepted variations to the terms in business practice. To be in compliance with the compulsory license provision, the entity that wants to reproduce and distribute a work must first send all the publishers a Notice of Intent to use the work, as outlined in Section 115 of the U.S. Copyright Act.