Many musicians and songwriters still believe that they can strike it rich by becoming a recording artist.

It has never been easy — and seldom lucrative — to be a star. In the top 40 era (1950s through 1980s) most artists who had a major recording deal went broke in a big way. Recording and songwriting royalties were swallowed by the record companies and music publishers. The artists were even paying the record companies the majority of their live performance money since those companies paid for the touring expenses (and charged huge interest on the “loans”).

Creative bookkeeping more often favored the companies than the artists — even the Beatles. Their first recording/publishing deal was a giant rip-off.

Yet even today, people have stars in their eyes about having a hit song.

Here’s the reality — you need to get your song played 1,000,000 times on Spotify to make $3,000. And only a handful of songs ever reach that. And those songs are all “Producer” songs — the artists are just puppets.

Winners of competition shows (American Idol, The Voice, Star Search, etc) have signed outrageous contracts to get into that system and their future career is basically indentured servitude.

The people making money today are doing their own live performance and tour bookings and are licensing their music themselves.

The glamor has faded — but it was always just a mirage.

Filed under Music Business by on . Comment#


I learned to play the guitar when I was about 13 –8th grade. My family had a 3rd or 4th hand acoustic guitar originally bought for my older brother, but since he was left-handed, it just laid around unused for a couple of years.

I had a Beatles song book and I had all the Beatles records (and loved them) so that was my stimulus to learn to play. The guitar wasn’t easy to play, but I was determined. I even persevered when I broke the high E string and didn’t have any means to get a replacement (I was just a kid in a small town and had no idea how to go about getting a replacement). I just adjusted my chords so they didn’t use the high string.

After learning the basics, and being determined to stick with it, I really longed for an electric guitar. Eric Clapton had one. Carlos Santana had one. Jimi Hendrix had one. I really needed one!

Then I saw it — the perfect guitar.

On the inside back page of most comic books were lots of novelty items for sale. X-ray Specs

I play a little guitar

Read more on A Little Guitar…

Filed under Guitar by on . Comment#

Today is the International Day of Peace.
I grew up in the Beatles generation, and I thought the world was coming to an end in 1969 — not because of the Viet Nam War, but because the Beatles announced they were breaking up!
Fortunately, the music didn’t stop. Especially John Lennon (and — yes, you have to include Yoko) who tirelessly campaigned for Peace and Love. “Give Peace A Chance” and “Imagine” and “War is Over If You Want It (And So This Is Christmas”), the “Bed-In” in Toronto.
Teddy R-bigstick-cartoon 
But reality is not kind — there has never been a cessation of war.
I learned a Christmas song when very young — “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day” and the last verse is so melancholy.
And in despair I bowed my head,
There is no peace on Earth, I said
For Hate is strong and Mocks the song
Of Peace on Earth, Good Will To Men.
Happy International Day of Peace.
Let’s all try to get along.

Filed under Politics by on . Comment#