Thousands rock to Black Keys, Neil Young, Foo Fighters at Global Citizen Festival in NYC

Guitarist Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys performs at the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on Saturday Sept. 29, 2012 in New York

NEW YORK — Neil Young and Wild Horse, the Black Keys, Foo Fighters, Band of Horses and others wowed thousands who turned out Saturday night for a free concert in Central Park to call attention to poverty worldwide.

Dubbed the Global Citizen Festival, the concert also featured K’naan, John Legend and Wild Horse, with Young’s performance capping off the evening. Video of the event was streamed worldwide as about 60,000 music fans crowded the park’s Great Lawn, the midtown Manhattan skyline twinkling behind them.

Legend made a surprise appearance, playing one song “Imagine” at a piano on stage, a short walk from where the song’s author, John Lennon, once lived. The five-hour show was a mix of tight sets from the bands, roughly an hour each, mixed with videos and information from guest speakers about global poverty-related problems like infant mortality and polio.

“Feels good to be here,” Foo Fighters lead singer Dave Grohl told the crowd during a break between hits like “Learn to Fly,” ”Best of You” and “My Hero.” Grohl, members of the Black Keys and others joined Young on stage for the finale, his anthem “Rockin’ in the Free World.”

The concert was scheduled around the meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York this month and organizers used an innovative approach to ticket distribution so that many concert-goers were forced to learn about an array of global problems in order to get a ticket.

Anyone wanting free tickets had to register at globalcitizen.org, which then required users to watch videos or read information about poverty-related issues. Each time material was consumed, users could earn points toward a drawing for tickets. Points were also accumulated by sharing information by way of Twitter or Facebook.

“Our social media campaign has been off the charts,” said Hugh Evans, CEO and co-founder of the Global Poverty Project. The approach demonstrates a new model for harnessing digital tools that might be repeated for other big events with political or social messages.

Neil YoungAssociated PressMusician Neil Young performs with his band Crazy Horse at the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on Saturday Sept. 29, 2012 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Organizers said more than 71,000 people had signed up online, resulting in more than 3.5 million page views. On average, they spent just over six minutes consuming content or sharing information. Nearly 200,000 pieces of information were shared on Facebook, and just a bit more than that on Twitter. About 170,000 people signed petitions via the site, and there were 98,000 videos viewed to completion.

Evans said the project achieved its goals, set out last year, of getting more than 100,000 people to take action related to extreme poverty while telling a new story about the challenges. To that end, the site conveys information in detailed, documentary-like accounts and uses an array of video, graphics and stories that are friendly for mobile and digital consumption.

Financially, he said, the project also achieved its yearlong goal — working with an array of organizations like the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, the Earth Institute and Rotary International — of garnering $500 million in commitments to help fight poverty.

Singer and guitarist Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters performs at the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on Saturday Sept. 29, 2012 in New York.

So now what?

Evans said that he’s hoping the audience, built online and at the concert, will continue efforts by tweeting President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney to halve extreme poverty by 2015, which is the key U.N. anti-poverty goal. And Evans is working on an announcement in October or November about “a major rock band” getting involved with the anti-poverty efforts.

Fan Sites for Pop Singers Settle Children’s Privacy Charges

The operator of fan Web sites for pop stars Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Rihanna and Demi Lovato agreed to pay a $1 million civil penalty to settle federal charges that the sites had illegally collected personal information about thousands of young children, the Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday.

Artist Arena, a company that operates fan web sites for pop stars like Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, agreed to settle federal charges that the sites had violated a children’s privacy protection law.

In a complaint, the Federal Trade Commission alleged that Artist Arena, the operator of the sites, had violated a children’s online privacy rule by collecting personal details — like the names, e-mail addresses, street addresses and cellphone numbers — of about 101,000 children aged 12 or younger without their parents’ permission.

The law, called the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA for short, requires operators of Web sites to notify parents and obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting, using or disclosing personal information about children younger than 13.

The sites are BieberFever.com, SelenaGomez.com, RihannaNow.com and DemiLovatoFanClub.net. The agency did not accuse the pop stars themselves of any wrongdoing.

At a conference on children’s marketing in New York on Wednesday, Edith Ramirez, a member of the F.T.C., said the settlement still needs to be ratified in court.

Read entire article published by the New York Times October 3, 2012

Global Citizen Festival, Black Keys To Bring Largest Charity Concert To NYC’s Central Park Sept 29

Neil Young and the Wild Horses, Foo Fighters, Band of Horses and K’Naan also among acts hitting park September 29 for world’s largest syndicated music charity broadcast.

About the Festival – Together We Can Fight Poverty

Central Park, New York City, (Taken with Instagram at SummerStage – Mainstage in Central Park)

New York’s Central Park, the site of countless iconic concerts, will once again aim for the history books on September 29 when fans fill the lawn for the Global Citizen Festival. Headlined by the Black Keys, Foo Fighters, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Band of Horses and K’Naan, the show aims to be the biggest syndicated music charity webcast and broadcast ever.

All 60,000 tickets have been spoken for, but the Global Citizen Festival will be streamed live on Vevo, YouTube, AOL/Huffington Post, Yahoo, NewYorkTimes.com, and VH1.com. Additionally, Palladia and Fuse will carry it on U.S. television. Among the many partners planning to broadcast the show focused on spurring action to end extreme poverty are: Palladia (like MTV, a division of Viacom Inc.), as well as VH1.com, NYTimes.com and YouTube.

The first-of-its-kind collaboration between global online and broadcast outlets will include full performances and remarks from the speakers on tap to attend. “The Global Poverty Project is proud to have such partners to help carry the message of the Global Citizen Festival around the world,” said Hugh Evans, CEO and Co-Founder of GPP in a statement. “This is a chance to take action towards ending extreme poverty in our generation.”

The Festival, in partnership with ten nonprofit organizations, has been timed to celebrate achievements and create awareness around the UN General Assembly in New York, when world leaders will convene to debate the Millennium Development Goals and make commitments to end extreme poverty. The broadcast will air live on Palladia September 29 beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET as well as live stream on MTV.com and VH1.com. For users who missed the live digital stream, it will then repeat at 12 a.m. and 8 a.m. ET.

Panoramic view of Central Park, New York City, from the Rockefeller Center.

Panoramic view of
Central Park, New York City

Central Park, which has been a National Historic Landmark since 1962, was designed by landscape designer and writer Frederick Law Olmsted and the English architect Calvert Vaux in 1858 after winning a design competition. They also designed Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Central Park is bordered on the north by West 110th Street, on the south by West 59th Street, on the west by Eighth Avenue. Along the park’s borders, these streets are known as Central Park North, Central Park South, and Central Park West respectively. Only Fifth Avenue along the park’s eastern border retains its name.

Is Brooklyn The New Hollywood? Fuhgeddabout L.A.! New York’s a booming mecca for TV and film these days

New York’s Steiner Studios, among the biggest soundstages outside California, could expand significantly in the coming years, according to a report today by Julie Satow in the New York Times.

The studio’s expansion plans could transform its home, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, into one of the major centers of movie production in the country.

The expansion would more than double the size of 8-year-old Steiner Studios, adding 328,000 square feet to the existing 300,000 square feet on the lot with a back lot for shooting New York streetscape-style exteriors, space for media offices, and classrooms for the study of film and entertainment

The project is expected to take 12 years to complete and cost $400 million, $35 million of which is slated to come from New York State and New York City government coffers, pending final approval. The announcement is the latest thrust in the state and city’s campaign to make movie and television production »

New York Is Ready For Its Close-up – The New York Times

Film production Boom in Queens with two studios in high Hollywood demand

New York steals the shows as TV networks look east. Tax breaks are luring an increasing number of producers to shoot on the east coast

Fuhgeddabout L.A.! New York’s a booming mecca for TV and film these days

Steiner Studios, Brooklyn’s Biggest Soundstage, Plans To Expand

Brooklyn Navy Yard, home to the Steiner Studios.

Huff Post – 08/17/2012

New York’s Steiner Studios, among the biggest soundstages outside California, could expand significantly in the coming years, according to a report today by Julie Satow in the New York Times.

The studio’s expansion plans could transform its home, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, into one of the major centers of movie production in the country.

The expansion would more than double the size of 8-year-old Steiner Studios, adding 328,000 square feet to the existing 300,000 square feet on the lot with a back lot for shooting New York streetscape-style exteriors, space for media offices, and classrooms for the study of film and entertainment

The project is expected to take 12 years to complete and cost $400 million, $35 million of which is slated to come from New York State and New York City government coffers, pending final approval. The announcement is the latest thrust in the state and city’s campaign to make movie and television production a central part of the regional economy.

“When Mayor Bloomberg came in, he wanted to diversify the economy and make it rely less on Wall Street,” Marybeth Ihle, press secretary at the New York Mayor’s Office for Media and Entertainment, told The Huffington Post. “We see it as a sector of the economy that offers good jobs. It’s good for other businesses — there are about 4,000 ancillary businesses that rely on film productions, from lumber yards for the construction of sets to fabric shops for costumes.”

The state started offering tax incentives to film productions in 2004; the incentives have since increased several times, most recently in July, when New York tripled its tax-incentives for post-production film work. The past few years have seen many states around the country competing for film productions by cutting taxes — but New York’s rates remain among the lowest in the country.

In terms of attracting productions, the tax breaks seem to have worked. A report by the Boston Consulting Group, released in May, indicated that New York’s filmed entertainment sector grew by 70 percent between 2002 and 2012, and now generates about $7.1 billion a year. Twenty-three television shows were filmed in the city in 2011 and 2012 — up from seven in 2002.

Ihle said that filmmakers are so eager to work in the city that soundstage space has become one of the major limiting factors to such work — even though Steiner is just one of 100 production spaces in the city. As such, she said that Steiner’s expansion is sorely needed.

“We’re almost at capacity in terms of studio space,” she said. “When the pilots were filming earlier this spring, there was a scramble to figure out where they could film.”

Four TV shows, including HBO’s “Girls” and “Boardwalk Empire,” already use Steiner Studios as their home base, and dozens of movies and commercials film there for shorter periods of time. It’s unclear as yet how the expansion will affect overall production capacity; the majority of the space will be dedicated to offices and classrooms. But the Times story said that the plans call for more than 100,000 square feet of new stage space, including the back lot for exteriors and a state-of-the-art underwater studio, presumably in the East River.

Steiner Studios is the largest tenant in the Navy Yard, which was originally opened in 1781 and was the construction site of the first steamship in the U.S. Its tenure as a military manufacturer ended in 1966, but it’s recently been resurrected as a mecca for small-scale light industry in the city.

The Truth About Mainstream Success

Music Clout

Ever wonder why so many artists become one hit or one album wonders? Music consumers over the past decade have adopted the idea that the majority of artists are brought to fame using the “boy band” formula. This formula that label executives simply have an idea of an artist molded, find the talent to fill the requirements, and then easily market them to make lots of money sounds like a wonderful idea. However, that rarely is the way that an artist reaches fame. Unless the artist is connected to an already established celebrity, there is a long and sometimes strenuous journey that lies ahead of them and their business partners. This journey is known as the pipeline of events that must happen in making any ordinary musician with recorded songs into a successful main stream well-known artist.

There are many departments and people who will work hard on the development of a successful artist. Much like the many parts used in putting a car together on an assembly line, each part of the music industry pipeline must be properly put in place and work well in order for the ending product to be productive. A new artist, much like a successfully put together new car, must be then well maintained and closely cared for in order for success to continue. If any steps are skipped in the development process or with maintenance, failure is likely to happen. This of which is quite common. Hundreds of artists a year are attempted to be marketed and brought to fame, but fail due to missing or malfunctioning parts in the pipeline.

In this pipeline there is the Artist, Artist and Repertoire, Marketing, Distribution, Retail, Publicity, and Media personnel, all of which are working to get the artist efficiently to the consumer. Each member of the pipeline needs to stay well informed, and aware of the current status of the developing artist. Any malfunction in the communication process could lead to failure. Even Jimmy Iovine, chairmen of Interscope Records once said “if this company (Interscope) is about anything, its about discipline and staying focused”.

The first step an upcoming artist must take is to get noticed. There are millions of bands in the United States, from little jam bands who have never played in public, to huge top selling artists that are featured on covers of Billboard and Rolling Stone magazines. On a yearly basis, each of the major record labels and their imprint labels (Sony, EMI, Universal, and Warner) receive over 10,000 demos of aspiring artists. Of these 10,000 artists, only between 5 to 40 of them will actually be signed. The job of finding and sifting through these artists would go to the Artist and Repertoire person or team, depending on the size of the business. Since the 1960’s, it has been the sole purpose of the A&R personnel to research artists, go watch the artist perform, talk with the artist, the artist’s manager if they have one, and get an overall feel for them. The A&R person is looking for an artist that shows potential to be able to endure the process of becoming a successful part of a label’s roster. These attributes include, having an already stable fan base and marketability at the grass roots level, some sort of history in successful touring and recorded music, and the overall determination to cooperate and work hard with all the departments in the pipeline. The last point is very important. This being because once the A&R person finds an artist they believe is worth their time, they then must work hard in convincing the label executives they work for, and every member of the pipeline that this musician will be an asset to the label.

Looking from the artist’s point of view, the search to getting signed is a grueling and nerve racking process also. Some artists get so caught up in the idea of being signed that they will do anything to get a record deal. Many young aspiring musicians, who haven’t had any experience in the industry and are naive to contracts, sometimes find themselves with the record deal that has a ball and chains attached. Kevin Czinger, the founder of Volcano Entertainment said “In this business, the first rule is, never act out of desperation, because there is always someone out there looking to sucker you.” Many bad contracts will take away all rights of the artist to their music, and leave them with little to no credit or money for their hard work. But let’s say an artist was spotted by an A&R person from a credible label, was offered a decent record deal, and they accepted.

Now with that process over, the real path to success begins. From the A&R department the artist is handed over to the marketing team. The marketing team has the biggest steps to take in getting the artist up and going. The marketing team will analyze what the artist has to offer, what they have already accomplished, and what they are capable of in the near future. The marketing team is responsible for making the artist seem extremely appealing to distributors, retailers, radio and other media. The biggest factor in making an artist look like an asset is to show that they will make the business money. For retailers money means the artist will bring in sales and increase store customers, while for radio it means that the artist being in rotation will increase listeners. For other media like magazines newspapers, and online outlets it means the artist will create a buzz, and increase readers, hits and again sales. The marketing team can always make the artist seem more appealing by giving incentives to the businesses by adding deals, discounts, and promotions if they agree to take on the artist.

While the marketing team is working hard, they will usually hire an image consultant to work with the artist or band on creating an image that will catch the eye of their demographic. Ever since the debut of MTV and large color music magazines, the image and style of musicians has become one of the most valuable and important selling points. Many artists will despise yet go along with image changes and adopt certain character traits to fully create the persona their label and image consultant believe will work best for them.

Once an artist has their image ready and a solid album recorded, the next step is to physically get the artist out to the public. This process is much more difficult than most would think. It involves an important middleman, the distributor. Most major labels have a distributor of their own, and many smaller labels as well as independent labels, will rely on the distributors of the majors because it is not an easy job. When a label has a completed album they will send the master to a duplication factory with an order of how many pressings they need. That factory will then pass the CDs on to the distributor. The sole job of the distributor is to hold the albums safely in their warehouse and to efficiently ship out albums when a retailer requests them It comes back to the marketing department whether or not there will be a demand from the retailers for the albums. If no stores want the albums they will sit in the warehouse collecting dust and the label as well as the artist will loose a lot of money.

It becomes very apparent how closely linked each department in the pipeline is and how much one effects the success of another. Now the demand from the retailers, that is go greatly wanted, will depend on the overall success and growing popularity of the artist in the public spotlight. A retailer will not buy a bunch of CDs from an artist just for them to sit on their racks, take up shelf space, and eventually make the effort to send them back. (In which, yes, retailers have the right to send back albums that do not sell, and for a full refund too.) Therefore a buzz in the media that is reaching the consumers must be on going. No matter how big of a scale or little of a scale the label is working on, the artist should be doing interviews for press, magazines, and newspapers on whichever level they are in. For example if a major label is working with the artist on a big budget, appearances and interviews could be done on widely known media outlets like SNL, Billboard Magazine, late night shows and big radio stations. For a smaller budget and label, local newspapers, smaller magazines, and college radio stations should be having coverage, as well as an efficient online campaign.

The media is a very important factor in an artist’s success in the mainstream world of technology today. A growing attribute in media has been the Internet. The Internet has become the most popular medium for consumers to receive information as well as find music and videos. This transition has also brought the record industry into a different realm for the first time since physical recordings could be mass-produced. The digital recording or the mp3 originally gave the record industry a big scare with significant decreases in sales. This was due to large amounts of illegal downloading, allowing consumers who usually would have paid anywhere from 15 dollars to 25 dollars for a CD, acquiring the same material completely for free. This left the record labels with less income from sales and many distributors piling up returned or unsold albums. The industry has since found ways to use technology to receive a handful of new streams of revenue. Sales in cell phone ring tones, online mp3 stores, such as iTunes and Amazon as well as many online streaming radio formatted stations have become extremely helpful in making up for lost sales. Atlantic Records back in 2007 even announced that, “more than half of its music sales in the United States are now from digital products, like downloads on iTunes and ring tones for cellphones.”

The online streaming stations like Last FM, Pandora, and AOL Radio offer thousands of popular as well as upcoming artists for consumers to listen to and also offer spotlights and capabilities of purchasing songs listeners like. Along with the Internet buzz importance of an artists personal website as grown as well.

Two departments, some that work right within the label, and some who are independent and work on retainer for a label are the Promotion and Publicity companies. Both of these companies are two more important factors deep within the pipeline. The job of a Promotion company is to get radio stations to add artist songs to their rotation. In theory, but not always, it is suspected that a largely played artist on the radio will bring in lots of revenue by touring. The publicity company has what could be a never-ending job. Their duty is to dish out human interest stories, some a little stretched from the truth, and enlarge the public buzz of an artist. As an artist becomes more famous the demand for insight into their lives and their background will grow. Sometimes like we have seen in cases like Britney Spears, the demand can grow to an unacceptable level.

If every member of the pipeline has worked hard and the artist has received a profitable release of an album, a following of more singles being released and music videos will usually occur. Along with a successful release will also usually come a large tour with big ticket sales. Once all of this has happened, the artist and the label will then turn into the maintenance part of the pipelines job. Maintenance is a crucial part in any artists career and will indefinitely determine the longevity as well as the stability of it. Along with this new success an upcoming artist will experience a change in personal relationships with friends and family as well as adapt to the new relationship with their newly found fans. Artists will work closely with their publicist as promotions team to make sure everything stays on track.

Soon after the tour or even sometimes during, the artist will start to work on their next album due to the fact that most contracts bind the artist to a three to four album contract. In most cases this is to ensure that royalties are being paid and all recoupables have been fulfilled. Recoupables are the monies that an artist owes back to the label. The majority of albums will cost thousands of dollars start to finish. The label will pay for everything upfront, but once revenue from the album starts to come in, the artist will usually not receive any more money until all the debt has been paid. In the meantime the artist will usually have received an advance of money when signing the record deal and hopefully was smart enough to ration the spending of the money until they could ensure the album would be profitable.

Royalties are monies earned from songs or sound recordings that will come in from many sources like CD sales, digital sales, and synchronization to commercials and movies. Royalties are given to the entity with the copyrights to a song. In most cases the label will demand that they hold ownership of all songs recorded; however many musicians that are also songwriters will fight for their right of ownership to their music. The RIAA, the Record Industry Association of America is the trade group that represents the U.S. recording industry in Washington. Their mission is to manage and enforce US copyright laws and to make sure the owners are receiving the proper income. Almost 90% of all professional sound recordings produced and sold in the United States have been created, manufactured or distributed by RIAA members.

The function of maintenance will be ongoing for the rest of the artist’s career. They must now keep a good relationship and work with their managers, publicist, and label to sustain a solid career and credible view from the public. Main stream success is almost impossible to reach and even more impossible to maintain through the years, with so many eyes watching, people pulling for their side to have the biggest say, and struggle over rights, it is definitely not a joke. As your grandmother always said be careful what you wish for!

The Top 5 Ways To Get Noticed in Today’s Music Industry

From Music Clout: Finding Opportunities for Your Music

Bands & Musicians: The Top 5 Ways To Get Noticed in Today’s Music Industry

1) Write and record stellar music

This one goes without saying, but if your songs aren’t (at a minimum) catchy, provocative, unique, and meticulously recorded, then you need to invest as much time and effort as it takes to get them that way. The days of getting picked up by record labels on the basis of extremely low-budget demo recordings are pretty much over. So you basically need suck it up and spend some cash. Speaking of which….

2) Manage your finances effectively
It’s pretty much common knowledge that record labels no longer have huge stacks of money to invest in “artist development.” This means that you absolutely must manage your music career like you are running a business, watching your cash flow very carefully and keeping yourself in the black. Artists who fail to demonstrate responsibility and discipline in financial matters will simply get passed over by the labels. Period. Bottom line—you need to resist the urge to live the rock star lifestyle until you’ve got the bank to support it.

3) Play lots of gigs
The benefits of playing out on a regular basis are numerous. First of all, it helps to improve your musicianship through practice & repetition, forcing you to perform well under pressure. Secondly, it helps you to establish and refine your brand, personality, songwriting, and unique sound. Thirdly, it will help improve your charisma and social skills because you’ll be constantly fielding comments and questions from fans. And lastly but certainly not leastly, it will put money in your pocket, which of course helps with #2 above.

4) Develop and streamline your social media presence
In today’s all-digital music industry, this is an absolute must. You need to have a solid social media marketing plan in order to reach the maximum number of people and get as many ears on your music as possible. So how do you do you go about developing such a plan? I’m so glad you asked. 🙂 Here are a few tips:

Create consistent and professional-looking branding. Unless you’re super-handy with Photoshop and/or Illustrator, bite the bullet and hire a graphic designer.
Design an eye-catching (but tasteful) Twitter background, YouTube Channel, and Facebook page using your custom branding.

Upload your music to sites like ReverbNation, SoundCloud, and the BandPage app on Facebook, and promote it onall of your other social media channels

Create (and stick to) a regular posting/tweeting schedule to remain “top of mind” with your fans. Keep them informed of your upcoming shows, share pics & videos, and occasionally share off-topic
items that you think they’ll enjoy.

Set weekly goals for increasing your following, and constantly engage with fans. Never let a question or comment go unacknowledged.
Remember that achieving success with social media is a journey, not a destination.

And finally, we arrive at the most important tool in your arsenal when it comes to getting noticed in today’s music industry….

5) Get some truly amazing promotional photos
Time and time again, the first thing that potential fans (or talent scouts, venue managers, or even A&R reps) will see typically see when they come across your stuff for the very first time are your photos. Make a great impression, and chances are good that the person in question will bother to click your link, rummage through your press kit, or actually listen to your music.
Right or wrong, we all “judge a book by its cover” from time to time, so it’s no surprise that people will instantly make certain assumptions about you based solely on the quality and impact of your promotional photos. It doesn’t matter if you spent eleventy billion dollars on your album— if nobody’s listening to it because your pictures suck, then for all intents and purposes, you do too.

You might literally only have 2 seconds to catch someone’s eye, and bear in mind that in today’s caffeine-fueled world of 140-charatcer status updates, there will always be countless other things competing for that same sliver of attention. So the bottom line is that, when given a chance, you better make it count. As the great lyricist Eminem said, “you only get one shot, do NOT miss your chance to glow.”

By Music Photographer Russ Robinson.
Russ Robinson is a commercial band & music photographer based in Tampa, FL specializing in high-end artist promos, cd/album covers, composites, and custom-designed digital artwork. Visit him online at http://TampaBandPhotos.com or follow him on Twitter: @TampaBandPhotos