Photos from the JMC held in multiple locations in Jamaica.
1st day - Service Day for the youth community
2nd day - Sessions at Jampro
3rd day - Sessions at Edna Manley College of the Arts
4th day - Sessions at The Boardwalk - Fort Clarence Beach
Allen L. Johnston – The Music Specialist
As I travel from city to city, country to country having speaking engagements at schools, universities and on conference & seminar panels, I have found that the current generation has one great misconception.
THE GAME IS TO BE SOLD AND NOT TOLD!
One popular school of thought is that the information on this industry is so valuable that it should be expensive to obtain. This is a position easily taken by the many” seminar hustlers”, conference organizers and independent business owners with questionable practices who make a living on selling access.
These very same people now have a generation believing that the entire entertainment industry is built on service organizations & companies that care less about your project and more for your continuous monetary payment. Their goal is to get you into a contract where you are paying for services that have little or no effect upon your career.
I want to tell you today about some changes that have occurred without notice within the music business.
Today the Internet has made the term Release Date virtually disappear by offering direct access to the consumer. Most independent artists are trying to get as many songs as possible in front of as many people as possible so they can start selling themselves doing shows, merchandise and anything else that can make them a living. Sales programs have been regulated to the major 4 stores, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target & Best Buy and this doesn’t even take into consideration iTunes and the Internet.
Consolidation, National & Regional consultants, corporate advertising and governmental politics made this job start to dry up. Add onto that the unscrupulous individuals that take your money promise you a group of stations or an individual radio station and then find reasons to say that you are at fault for making the song NOT get played. The Independent promoter is now history totally ineffective at creating radio spins on any major chain of radio stations.
This phrase has not disappeared but only morphed into something entirely different than its original context. Now record pools charge the RECORD COMPANIES to place their music within the clubs of the specific membership. Record pool directors and upper echelon pool personnel have become quasi-Independent promoters and are charging enormous fees to place music on radio mix shows and occasionally on the air for a limited time. (Make it or Break it) This is really a travesty for many of these people have no business acumen, formal training or scruples.
Chart position today is a farce at best, not signifying massive sales. For example this week’s #1 album in the country sold 166,000 a far cry from the weekly sales of over 600,000 common just a few years ago. The #5 record on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart only sold 55,000 and has a grand total of 551,749 for 18 weeks’ worth of sales. I don’t even know anyone outside of a major company that evens subscribes to any of the trade magazines. But even more critical is the concept that new artists still believe that if you are on the charts than you will get some type of preferential treatment within the entertainment industry. There are now Chart Promoters that will take your money and promise you position on a major record chart, even though you don’t deserve anything. Please don’t think that your record is the only “hyped” record on the charts and this helps make the charts useless
The other school of thought remains rooted with tradition and history claiming the industry information should be free so that our offspring’s can learn faster with greater knowledge and less mistakes.
The actual cost of information sharing is getting lower and lower all of the time. Years ago you would have to find a conference or seminar to attend, pay your expenses, pay admission and then research the people that you wanted to meet just so you could sit with them and hear “first hand” the knowledge you desired. Follow up phone calls, mailings, and physical trips kept you up to date and in tune with the industry. Today all you have to do is pick up an electronic device, surf the web and immediately acquire information, contacts, knowledge and opportunities.
Information is readily available in many different countries and languages, what this generation seems to fail to recognize is the WISDOM to know right from wrong and the ability to interpret the information for their betterment. Because you want someone to hear your music, pay you money, make you a career and all you do is perform, is the primary reason you are destined for failure. Creating a true business environment that includes a plan for growth using multiple revenue streams is a path to long life.
Today I am telling you that this business model has changed entirely.
People are interacting with one another at an alarming rate, passing information, audio, video and business files around without any funds being transferred globally. The ability to reach your customer directly is causing a new business model and governments plus private industry are adapting rapidly while many in the public sector continue the 1980’s practices.
Russia is now scanning, cataloguing and placing ALL of the books found in their library system online. This is not only Russian literature, but English, French, German and more. Africa, India, China and other third world countries within a few years will have major penetration on the World Wide Web allowing access to their collective banks of information and knowledge. Effectively this will mean that the world’s knowledge will be OPEN to anyone that has an Internet connection for FREE.
We once knew that you had to have a distributor to sell your products. We put up with paying distributors to ship, house, and even communicate with our companies. We signed contracts with distributors allowing them to make advance money from our projects if they became a hit and were “picked up” by major labels. This was what we accepted and allowed as normal business operation.
The world’s largest distributor of audio & video projects today is FACEBOOK.
In years past creativity was extraordinary, each individual writer, musician, singer, dancer, film maker, painter, designer and more worked on their craft and fashioned their distinctive individual style. A few collaborations were developed but for the majority of the entertainment products these collaborations were small (2-3person) units.
The majority of today’s creativity comes from the ability to hear, see and read ideas from other people globally. We originally called it “sampling” or “biting” but now it is the way of education worldwide. Most of what I write about comes from ideas already circulating on the web. Being an avid reader I am in tune with many different people from different countries all speaking the same inferences. We have become “people of the screen” and millions of followers are looking at their screens daily. In todays market if you do not have a website, can be Google and have a positive social media score than you are not to be trusted or to do business with. This is not my call, but the direction that society has taken. If you see a person online with negative Google comments concerning their business or service, with no visible web presence or with dislikes (thumbs down) on their Facebook account you leave them alone. The public has the power to make or unmake anyone just on the “thumbs up” rule.
The concept of Piracy has now changed into a new concept called Motivation meeting Opportunity. If I have a copy of your movie and you decide that only the people that pay you should see it, then I now have an audience (MOTIVATION) that wants your product and since I have it available (OPPORTUNITY) I can send it to them for FREE. A few readers just got mad, but this is file sharing at its lowest level and millions of people are doing it daily. There is now an entire generation of teens and young adults that will always believe the Internet is the source of FREE information, video and music.
For years the idea of copyrights has bothered me, I know that it is an archaic regulation. I have only seen it work when you have money and power to use it . I have watched the major labels, publishers, performing rights organizations and other groups make BILLIONS of dollars, Euros, yen, pounds, marks or whatever your countries currency is called based on copyright infringement regulations. Very few original songwriters or original publishers make a portion of the huge profit being generated by copyrights. The Internet is changing the entire structure of copyright law worldwide, causing problems and many different fixes.
The new school of thought expands of the concept of “User Licenses” instead of mandatory copyright rules that the public ignores. A user license is an agreement between the purchaser and the licensor for the right to use the product. This makes so much more sense when dealing with the Internet and the download and uploading of files. In particular the End User Licensing Agreement (EULA) is becoming more and more popular among originators of entertainment products worldwide.
Today’s business needs open communication between users for the flow of information to travel while the concept of keeping the information until you get paid is DEAD. Many of you will continue to think in this antiquated way, as for me I’m opening up my business to interested people for FREE. My open hand will receive more than your closed fist every day. I never said that I won’t get paid, but I won’t wait to exchange information, files and business acumen on a perceived payday.
Allen Johnston The Music Specialist brought a list of music everyone should be aware of, click the link below and open your mind.
Mr. Allen Johnston The Music Specialist has applied all of his experience and knowledge to secure an exclusive Asian Marketing, Distribution, Streaming and Mobile Delivery Deal. In keeping with the trends within Global music Mr. Allen Johnston identified territory that would be responsive to the US to market Independent Artist.
The following countries are exclusive to this venture: China, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, U.A.E and Vietnam.
The Music Specialist’s mission is to provide foundations in the Entertainment Industry and in business academics that will enable our youth to advance the field of social entrepreneurship with the highest quality performances that both educate and entertain.
The Music Specialist delivers power pack in person appearances guaranteed to amuse and educate including:
• Question and answer group sessions
• Conference panel participation
• Multimedia presentations on Entertainment Industry back office structure
• Publishing Creation and Administration
• Sync US Licensing and International Licensing
By attending Midem over the past 20 years I have seen the growth and changes within the Global entertainment industry. American culture has become an integral portion of the world music, film and Tech communities. What I have also seen is the lack of American musicians, artist, creators, videographers, film makers, producers and writers, tech companies and music professionals attending.
For 2015 I have made a commitment to change the status by assisting a cadre of American companies in attending Midem, preparing there materials and obtaining business meetings while there. By taking advantage of the MUSIC SPECIALIST MIDEM SPECIAL I will assist your company at NO EXTRA CHARGE.
In the past 5 years EVERY COMPANY that I have assisted has acquired an International deal.
Sales-MidemTel: +1 (212) 284-5142
Fax: (212) 284-5148
Title: Take Me to the River
Release Date: September 12, 2014
Directed By: Martin Shore
Produced By: Martin Shore, Jerry Harrison, Cody Dickinson, Lawrence "Boo" Mitchell, and Dan Sameha
Cast: Terrence Howard, William Bell, Snoop Dogg, Mavis Staples, Otis Clay, Lil P-Nut, Charlie Musselwhite, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Yo Gotti, Bobby Rush, Frayser Boy, The North Mississippi All-Stars and many more.
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Synopsis: "Take Me to the River" is a feature documentary celebrating the inter-generational and inter-racial musical influence of Memphis in the face of pervasive discrimination and segregation. The film brings multiple generations of award-winning Memphis and Mississippi Delta musicians together, following them through the creative process of recording a historic new album, to re-imagine the utopia of racial, gender and generational collaboration of Memphis in its heyday.
Like us on FACEBOOK: http://goo.gl/dHs73
Follow us on TWITTER: http://bit.ly/1ghOWmt
On January 5, 2013 I was invited to be an industry professional in a speed-networking event for the Atlanta entertainment industry and to focus on fashion law. Organized by Allen Johnston, The Music Specialist, it featured over 40 industry professionals from film, television, fashion, and music to offer 5-minute rounds with industry talent to help them put their best foot forward. For more information and the next event date see:http://www.entertainmentindustryconnection.com.
Although I wasn’t giving a full presentation I did prepare some notes for those who are in the fashion industry and have put them below for your reference. Remember these are here for general educational purposes and do not constitute legal advice. For that you need to make an appointment with an attorney. To make an appointment with me click on the “Contact Me” tab above.
What is fashion law?
It is a niche field of legal practice that focuses on the billion dollar industry of making us look fabulous including design, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, retailing, communications, advertising, publishing, consulting, modeling, etc.
What does a fashion attorney do?
Fashion attorneys’ work includes intellectual property concerns (such as copyrights and trademarks), business law, contracts, labor and employment law, merchandising and licensing, customs, retail leasing, international regulations, and more.
Fashion attorneys’ clients include: retailers, designers, manufacturers, distributors, artists, small businesses, musicians, athletes, filmmakers, entrepreneurs, fashion magazines, fashion bloggers, and others who are involved in the fashion industry.
What are some fashion law issues that are trending right now?
One of the biggest debates in the fashion industry is the fact that clothing design is NOT copyrightable. This is based on the doctrine of functionality. Under the US Copyright Act, 17 USC Sec 101, “useful” articles – items with a functional quality – are not protected under the act. Recent court decisions have found that clothing is considered a useful article.
That has not stopped fashion designers from trying to protect their designs but they have a difficult uphill battle for they need to prove that there is a “separation” of the aesthetic elements and the utilitarian elements of the items – so can they prove that the artistic is separate from the function?
One old case, Mazer v Stein, 347 US 201 (1954) showed that the statute element of a lamp had copyright protection as a statute separate from the lamp, but that the entire lamp did not. However, the court in Jovani Fashion v Fiesta Fashion, 2d Cir, No 12-598-cv, 2012, dismissed the case saying that the “sequin and crystal covered bodice, the ruched sating at the waist, and the layers of tulle of the skirt” were not separable from the concept of a “prom dress” and they were all elements of what makes a prom dress a prom dress.
So this is why the day after the Oscars we see so many dress knock-offs. Because of this, a Fashion Copyright Bill, theInnovative Design Protection Act of 2012 (S 3523) (IDPA) was introduced to try to offer protection to high-level (read couture) fashion design. It died in Congress last year, but it is predicted that Senator Schumer will introduce it for a 7thtime in the next session. We’ll watch and see what happens.
Copyright is not the only way designers have attempted to protect their unique designs – Lululemon designs and produces pricy and popular fitness apparel. In 2012 it sued Calvin Klein, Inc. and its manufacturer G-III Apparel Group, Ltd for copying its patented waistband of its signature Astro Pant. This is another case we’re watching to see what happens or if it will just settle.
What about protecting colors in fashion?
Colors as trademarks have had a limited but interesting journey in US courts. Tiffany has a trademark on it’s unique blue that it uses on its packaging and marketing materials. Burberry has a trademark on its plaid design. What about red soles on a shoe? This was the top case in 2012 – Louboutin had a trademark on the red soles of its shoes. Yves St Laurent created a red shoe with a red sole and Louboutin sued for trademark violation. The court did not invalidate Louboutin’s redsole trademark but did limit it. The red sole trademark is valid for shoes that have a different top color – but YSL’s all red upper and sole shoe was not in violation.
The use of underage models and the connection to exploitation of a woman’s body is always a concern. Although employment of minors is regulated, it is highly controversial in the public eye.
What happens to a fashion house founded by a married couple when they get divorced? Who owns the name, the reputation, the fashions, etc.? This is the case of Tony and Chris Burch and the Tory Burch, LLC. They finally settled – undisclosed terms – but it created uncertainty in the market as to the future of that design house for a while.
Brazil seems to be a top international spot for design and fashion lawsuits – whether flip-flops (Brazilian shoe designerFernando Mello) or handbags (Birkin Bag counterfeits) – you see it all happen there.
And more – Gucci v Guess in terms of a shoe, Louis Vuitton v The Hangover Part II over a bag, Humphrey Bogart estate v Burberry for publicity rights for using a photo of him “claiming” he was wearing a Burberry trench coat, window décor lightning causing trademark confusion for Zoomp, and Dolce & Gabbana sues Dolce & Banana in South Africa – to name just a few of 2012.
So do you need a fashion attorney?
The above examples show the diversity and broad range of issues a fashion attorney can help you with. Protect your assets and your creations to the fullest extent permitted by law. Learn as much as you can and get a great fashion attorney on your team. It’s an investment that will keep returning on its own for the life of your fashion brand.
What have you created today?
Allen Johnston The Music Specialist
The Music Specialist’s mission is to provide foundations in the Entertainment Industry and in business academics that will enable our clients to advance the field of social entrepreneurship with the highest quality performances that both educate and entertain.