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William E Simmons

Submitting songs to record companies

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I read another thread here about Taxi and if it was worth it. That reminded me of something that I experienced a good many years age. I had to shut down a Polygram office in Chicago . In the process we filled a very large construction dumpster with unsolicited CD's  that they had received that year, Never opened.

At one time I wanted to see if  Alligator records would publish something for me. I called and ask to speak with Bruce Iglauer the owner. The person answering the phone said Bruce was busy and who was I anyway. I said " hell, this is Billy, tell him to call me we he has a minute".  He called back about ten minutes  later. He said to send him the tape. I did and he called back and said no but he gave me the phone number of someone in Europe who would be interested. That actually worked out and they published the record. I think sometimes you have to be a bit pushy with a lot of self confidence to get anything done.  

Right place, right time, right stuff, right look, right contact,  and all the  stars  line up...then maybe,  sort of, kinda, perhaps, if you don't screw something up you can actually sell something and actually get paid.

I think we musicians feel like we get singled out to be screwed around. Sometimes that is true, lot of no good SOB in the music business.

Build and marketing a "better mouse trap" is really no different. Selling stuff at a profit is just difficult, no matter what.  The cost of sales and marketing of a product is often 40% of total cost. It takes money to make money.

The people buying your music have near zero interest in your "art work". They have to think that your music will make money for them. It is all about money.





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lol...Currently, the four major record labels (known as the Big Four) are EMI, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group.

In November 1990, Japanese multinational conglomerate Matsushita Electric agreed to acquire MCA for $6.59 billion. In 1995, Seagram acquired 80 percent of MCA from Matsushita. On December 9, 1996, the company was renamed Universal Studios, Inc., and its music division was renamed Universal Music Group; MCA Records continued as a label within the Universal Music Group. In May 1998, Seagram purchased PolyGram and merged it with Universal Music Group in early 1999.

I worked for Universal Studios who was then owned by Seagram and after Seagram purchased PolyGram I helped to consolidated the two companies.  I also flew back and forth between LA and London every week to do the same sort of thing in Europe.

Seagram, Universal, and PolyGram all had buildings and IT infrastructure which needed to be consolidated world wide.

There has been a ton of wheeling and dealing since that time. Now Vivendi owns Universal. 

Vivendi SA is a French media conglomerate headquartered in Paris. Widely known as the owner of Universal Music Group, Groupe Canal+ and Dailymotion, the company has activities in music, television, film, video games, book publishing, tickets and video hosting services. Music get bought for all those things. The market for music for film and TV is huge. The right move there can make you a multimillionaire almost overnight. 

I never got even one bottle of Whiskey out of the deal...lol They did pay me a lot of money for my services. One of the best companies I ever worked for. 

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I think the music variety and innovation were better in the 1950s and early 1960s, before the big labels started buying up the indies and when the individual disc jockeys chose the songs they would play on their radio shows.

Now with the Internet, people can innovate, but the supply is so saturated, getting noticed takes more talent and hard work than it does to play music.

I've played live all my life, almost signed to a major label (dispute over money ended that), opened in concerts for major headliners, played cruise ships, show clubs, singles bars, supper clubs, neighborhood bars, restaurants, seedy dives, and a lot of unusual places as well (like on top of a gas station's grand opening).

Although I never quite got that record deal, in the days when the record deal was the ticket to fame, I would do it all again. So far it's a happy life. Now if this #@($!*%& COVID would only go away.


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