Jimmy and Rashida’s Wedding

I had the pleasure of DJing one of my best friend’s wedding reception. They enjoyed it and everybody had a good time as you can see in the pictures.

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Just Press Play Productions keeps the party going.
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Line dances always get them.

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Mission Control

Set up at Snap's wedding

DJ Logic keeps ’em moving…
Snap and Laurie again

Snap and his sisters dancing

This was my last wedding of the year. It was fun to do it for a close personal friend. I provided sound and lights for the event. They used their own M.C. The reception was held at the Hunter Rd community center in Douglasville, GA.

The future is here and it’s dope.

See that ^^?  That’s a link to my DJ profile on www.Thefuture.fm.  What is www.Thefuture.fm? It’s a website for DJs to post up their mixes legally.  It used to be known as Dubset.com but they recently relaunched as Thefuture.fm  They use an interesting bit of technology called Mixscan that actually scans the mixes we DJs upload and tags the songs. It’s pretty accurate, although I’ve had to correct it a few times.  From what I’ve read on the website, they actually report the spins to Performance Rights organizations such as ASCAP, and BMI.  So far, this site seems to be the most legitimate way for DJs to upload mixes without having to constantly worry about having a mix taken down off of Soundcloud, or YouTube due to copyright restrictions.  The site seems to still be under some construction as certain elements are not always working the way you’d expect but for the most part it is pretty functional.  The website allows DJs to track the listens and it also gives listeners the opportunity to purchase the songs you use in the mix.  It seems like someone actually sat back and thought about what is really happening when DJs make and distribute mixes. DJs are the original promotions department for music labels and people listen to our mixes because they trust our taste in music. Until now there has always been a gray area concerning the legality of DJ mixes.  Now with Thefuture.fm all of that seems to be cleared up. Thefuture.fm seems to tie up all of the loose ends concerning DJ mixes.  Artists are getting the promotion that they need through the DJ’s mix and the music executives can keep track of what’s being played.  Fans are getting exposed to great new music and DJs can create and distribute mixes without fear of legal action from the industry.

I highly recommend that DJs use this service for uploading mixes, and I would also recommend this site to music lovers that want to check out new DJs.  Lot’s of major DJs are already on the service and the range of music that is posted up is very diverse, so please believe that there is something for everyone on this site. Also while you are on the site check out my mixes and follow me.

What’s going on?

Over the weekend I sat down to work on a mix for a CD that I and another DJ are trying to put out together. Since he is the lesser experienced D,J I asked him to make a mix and then I would design my mix around his. We’re based in Atlanta so I knew it would be mostly down south rap, which I don’t have a problem with. In fact I had a playlist in my mind, but had to switch it up because he ended up using some of the same songs I was thinking of. This caused me to have to go digging for some other tracks online. I figured it wouldn’t be that hard to find something worth adding to the mix but I was oh, so wrong.

 I honestly don’t know where to begin so I’ll just be blunt. Today’s rap and R&B music sucks. It doesn’t just suck its plain horrible. As I listened to the music previewing it for some new hotness I was bombarded by unoriginal lyrics, extreme use of vulgar profanity, over sexualized themes, and wack beats. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a DJ and I believe in freedom of expression just like anyone in the industry. I just can’t see how some of this stuff made it out of the studio. There used to be balance in the music world. For every NWA, there was a Public Enemy. For every “Between the Sheets”, there was a “What’s Going On”. What happened to the music you could play in front of the kids or your parents? What happened to singing and rapping about social ills, and just plain old love? Why is everyone claiming to be a drug dealer or killer in our music? And yes the problem is mainly in OUR music. Black Music, Urban Contemporary, or whatever you want to call it, is OUR music. You don’t hear this much killing on the pop charts, and Country music sells way more than Rap and yet they don’t have to cater to the lowest common denominator. Why do we feel the need to only entertain ourselves with violence, drug dealing, and sex, sex, sex?

I’m well aware that there are many exceptions to the rule, but if you turn on “The People’s Station”, or the station “Where Hip-Hop, and R&B Live” you will not hear them; unless the artist is doing a big show in town which rarely happens. Lupe Fiasco doesn’t get major play on the radio; neither does Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Jean Gray, or any other artist with good sense. But you know who does get major play on the radio? Lil, Wayne or anybody he does a song with. Nikki Minaj and her self loathing lyrics get spun every day all day. Black radio will play songs with a black woman calling other black women nappy headed hoes before they will play a song that refers to black women as queens, princesses, or just plain sisters. Make a song about young black men going to college and taking care of their kids and it won’t go anywhere, but make a song about poisoning the community with crack, disrespecting women, or black on black violence and it has great potential to become a hit. Why is that?

As a DJ I take partial responsibility for this because I play some pretty ignorant music from time to time as well. I think what separates me from the radio is the fact that I keep it balanced. I admit that I do like a lot of Jeezy’s songs, and even some Lil Wayne songs. I also like A Tribe Called Quest, and The Roots. See that? That’s called balance. There is a time and a place for everything. You can’t just thug it out all day and all night. There needs to be a compromise somewhere. When will there be a Trey Songz song that doesn’t push sex to the kids? 7:30 in the morning and V-103 is reminding my daughter that Trey invented sex. Don’t they know that parents are riding in the cars with kids going to school?

Chuck D once said that hip-hop is the CNN for the ghetto, and that does remain true even today, but even CNN has some happy ending stories run throughout the day. When is hip-hop going to do that? If rappers want to be mad and have their voices heard why aren’t they getting mad and speaking out against the real problems in the ghetto? Where’s the message about the senseless killings of our youth? The corrupt cops and politicians can do their dirt in the hood and no one would know because most of the ‘hardcore, OG’ rappers are too scared to speak up about that. It’s easier and more profitable to brag about killing your own. We can’t even blame The Man anymore. Most of the crap rap that is put out today is from independent artists that have their own labels or are on local street labels. We’ve been trained long enough by the powers that be to the point that we no longer need guidance on self degradation. We’re on auto pilot now.

I can only imagine what ‘music’ will sound like 10 years from now. Hopefully people will wake up and realize that there is more to life than what we are currently being presented, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen anytime soon. For now I can only do the best that I can and heavily filter the music that goes in my library. I’ll most likely be turning off the radio and digging deeper for musical gems. We all have to do our part and I need to define my role in all of this musical madness.

[\end rant]

Licensing music…

As I have mentioned in my introduction and in a previous post, I create music and get it licensed for use on TV shows. It can be a lucrative hobby or profession depending on how you approach it. I try to work the business from both angles. Because I have a day job I am not pressured to churn out tunes to get paid therefore, I’m able to move at a slower pace than a full-time musician. However, because I understand the importance of having your paperwork in order and can appreciate the efficiency of a well run business, I try to operate as professionally as possible. This includes doing research and taking the time out to learn how things work in this industry. Taking this approach is what gives me the advantage in the industry. In this post, and future posts I hope to drop a few gems of wisdom for getting your music out there.

I‘ve been a ‘beat maker’ or ‘producer’ way before I sold or licensed my first beat. For almost as long as I’ve been a DJ I’ve been experimenting with various pieces of equipment with the goal of making my own music. I started out with a Tascam 4 track cassette deck and a Gemini sampler, then gradually progressed up to gear like the MPC 2000XL. All of this time I was making beats and getting people to rap on them, but we could never gain any traction or see any real results from our hours of hard work in the studio. At this point, even though I was spending full time working hours in the studio I was still just doing the music thing as a hobby. There was no professionalism about what we were doing. We were using professional grade equipment and software but we were still on the amateur level. Something was missing or holding us back from reaching the next level.

It wasn’t until I was selected to attend the Red Bull Music Labs here in Atlanta that I found the missing link. Paul Anthony, the owner of Rumblefish, was a guest speaker at the music lab and he introduced me to music licensing. His speech on becoming working-class musicians really struck a chord with me. Until this time I had only sold one beat to an ad agency and that was done through the help of a friend of a friend. I didn’t have any direct contacts or connections in the industry. Rumblefish would eventually become that contact for me. Rumblefish is a company that licenses music made by independent artist such as myself to music coordinators for TV shows, movies, commercials, and other uses. At first I was slow to gather my beats. It was a chore for me to organize them and fill out the paperwork, but gradually I got it all together. This for some reason seems to be the biggest hurdle for the hobbyist producers that I meet. Every time I try to teach someone about getting music licensed we always hit a brick wall when it comes time to gather, organize, catalog, and mail off beats. These same beat makers that claim to have hundreds of songs can’t come up with a CD of 10 songs to send to the licensing companies. They always say they have to sort through their beats and then I don’t hear from them again for another year or so. The sad part is once you get past this stage everything else is much easier. Rumblefish handles the rest of the process for you. They shop the beats and make the deals. They also make sure to handle your Performance Rights Organization credits as well.

There are other companies out there like Rumblefish such as Pump Audio, Jungle Punks, and Splother. They all operate similarly with slight changes in the payouts and the results. So far I’ve found Rumblefish and Pump Audio to be the most effective when it comes to music licensing. I highly recommend signing up with as many of these companies as possible. You can even send them the same songs. It‘s like having multiple agents out there shopping your material. You can’t lose!

The best part about licensing your music is the residual royalties that keep coming years after you initially license the beat. Sure you get scheduled payouts from the music licensing companies for the initial sale, but you also get recurring royalties from your Performance Rights Organization. I’m registered with BMI, so I get quarterly payments from BMI for music that was licensed way back in 2007 even today in 2012. These TV shows get broadcast and rebroadcast all over the world all the while earning you money for the performance of your material. Once I realized how this part of the system worked I became even more motivated to create and send out new material.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are more things you can do with those same tracks that you licensed to generate more money from your work. I’ll be going further in depth on these topics which include getting your music on internet radio and getting into films. Until the next post, please check out www.musiclicensingstore.com, and www.pumpaudio.com . Gather your beats and songs. Organize your music and start sending out your tunes. There’s money to be made in the music industry and it isn’t coming from selling CDs.

Be sure to subscribe to this blog and follow me on twitter @logisticalstyle.

In the begining…

This is my first blog post and I’m pretty excited about it. I hope I don’t bore you all to death with the details of my life. This blog is meant to be informative and entertaining. I hope you learn something from reading it and I hope I can learn something from you all. Just bear with me as I work my way through all the finer points of blogging. It’s definitely a learning experience.

I’m probably going to be writing mostly about, DJing, music, and technology. These are topics that I spend a lot time researching and obsessing over. I’m a gadget fiend and the DJ world has plenty to offer so hopefully I can do some really interesting product reviews.

Another thing I hope to write about is the sorry state of the black music industry.  I am a child of the 70’s and ’80s.  I grew up listening to the early forms of rap, and Hip-Hop.  I’ve seen it grow and progress and I’ve also seen it take a turn for the worse.  As a DJ I get lots of music from established and new indie artists and it’s scary to see the vicious cycle of BS and mediocrity that is being pushed out these days.  Please believe I will have plenty to say about all of that.

I’ll also be chronicling my adventures in the music industry not only as a DJ, but also as an artist.  I make beats and I license my music for TV, Radio and other multimedia projects.  I used to work with rappers and singers but drama always seemed to get in the way of productivity so I have been working solo lately.  I’ve had more success as an independent artist that produces instrumental music than when I worked with all of those talented artists.  I learned how to get into the REAL music biz and  how to get REAL royalty checks.  I often get lots of questions from people about how I did what I did and I just want to give that knowledge out so we stop being starving artists.  There is money to be made in this industry and it isn’t coming from selling CDs. Let’s see how we can be a part of that money.

Hopefully this brief introduction will give you some insight as to what to expect from my totally awesome blog.