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Tiki Central Forums Beyond Tiki How do you get old music released? No, really!.
How do you get old music released? No, really!.
spy-tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 11, 2003
Posts: 732
From: glendale, ca
Posted: 2004-09-15 2:17 pm   Permalink

The downloads in the music posts and my own penchant for obscure spy movie music have me wondering...what's really involved in getting the rights and paying royalties and so on and actually getting CDs released of the stuff you know will never see the light of day. Sure it's fun dumpster diving and thrift shopping for old tiki records, but what about clean, crisp sounding, digital recordings. How does one go about tracking original tapes sitting in someones garage or forgotten in some record companies archives, getting the legal stuff out of the way and getting the thing put on CD? Sure it costs money, but people do it even in limited releases. With the talent,knowledge, and resources on these boards someone must know the secrets. I'd like to know too. We could even start a Tiki Central label for obscure polynesian recordings. Whadda you think?

 
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vintagegirl
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 12, 2002
Posts: 542
From: Los Angeles
Posted: 2004-09-15 6:58 pm   Permalink

Contact my friend DJ Lee at Dionysus Records in Burbank. He's got quite a catalog of great lounge/exotica at his company and probably knows what's involved. He's also a TC member here.

lee@dionysusrecords.com

http://www.dionysusrecords.com/


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tikibars
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 2024
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
Posted: 2004-09-16 2:45 pm   Permalink

There is far too much here to go into in one post.

A REALLY short version:

First, you need to start a company, and all of the legal and financial stuff that goes with that.

You need to get a distribution deal so the CDs will make it to all the record stores and on line retailers.

You need a promotions department to get the word out, get press, advertise.

You need an art or graphic design department.

You need lawyers to work out the deals for licensing the music (and lots of other stuff).

Then - the music.

You need to find out who own the legal rights to any given recording.

You need to cut a deal with the owners of the material to release it on your label instead of their own.

Many times bigger labels won't see the value in more obscure recordings, and will give license, but since they are big companies, the fees are high. Smaller labels may be long out of business and impossible to track down.

There are also several people who need to be paid for the same song - the owners of the actual recording (usually the record label), the songwriters / owners of the publishing rights (or their estate), and the performers (or their estate).

Then you need to find the master tapes.

In many, many cases, master tapes are lost or destroyed. In many, many other cases they are damaged. Some older tapes are made of acetate and become brittle and unplayable. Newer tapes (post 1960s) are made of different materials, but become sticky and won't play back properly on the machines.

You'll need to find a professional archival recording specialist to rescue the tapes, if possible, and then someone to remix and/or remaster them.

So: IF you can get a license to release a recording that someone else owns, and IF you can find the tapes, and IF they are rescuable, then you're ready to press the CDs, send them to your distributor, and then get your promotions people on to selling them.

Now, interestingly enough, this is exactly what I have been spending the month of my life doing.

There's a guy called Jim Skafish who released two LPs for IRS Records in the early 1980s.

He has 53 reels of tapes going from the 1960s all the way to the present day, including the (pretty cool) first LP for IRS, the second LP that was unreleased because IRS felt it was too radical and weird, and the techno-pop record that was eventually released by IRS as his second LP (in place of the radical one). Plus tons and tons and tons of stuff he did before and after his IRS Records period.

I have been archiving all of this paterial into a high resolution digital format for him. Some of it will be released, and some not.

This has been an enormous task. I have been in Chicago's CRC studios (with Billy Corrigan in the studio next to us!) all month working on this stuff.

We have tapes in over a dozen different formats, depending on what years the various things were recorded. In some cases, machines to lay back the tapes weren't available, and we had to literally look all over the country for proper machines in good working order - sometimes unsuccessfully.

Many of the tapes were unplayable, and had to be 'baked' - literally put into a food dehydrator for 8 hours to make the magnetic particles on the tape re-adhere to the tape itself.

Thousands of Qtips were used cleaning tape machine heads. 500 gigabytes of hard disk storage were used.

All in all, a huge project, with many challenges. Now, Skafish is negotiating with record label lawers for the right to actually release some of his own music.

So: if you STILL want to do this project, I know a recording engineer with experience in preserving archival recordings (me!), but the rest of the battle is up to you!

over and out -









_________________
- James T.
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spy-tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 11, 2003
Posts: 732
From: glendale, ca
Posted: 2004-09-16 5:13 pm   Permalink

Great Info! Vintagegirl-I will try your friend at Dionysus. Always thought it was a great label.

Tikibars-I think I may have met you and your wife at a Mervyn's in Glendale looking at hula girl bedsheets. Right? Thanks for that great info and good luck with your project. Sounds pretty daunting, but I'm going to press on for now anyway and see what I can find out. I need a good project right now.


 
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tikibars
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 2024
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
Posted: 2004-09-16 7:15 pm   Permalink

I live in Chicago, and am not married, so that wasn't me.

But I look forward to meeting you eventually, and/or having a wife eventually!


 
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thejab
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2986
From: Tradewinds Apartments, Alameda, CA
Posted: 2004-09-17 12:02 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2004-09-16 19:15, tikibars wrote:
I live in Chicago, and am not married, so that wasn't me.

But I look forward to meeting you eventually, and/or having a wife eventually!



Don't do it JT! It's not worth it! Take it from a once-married bachelor for life.

Interesting story JT. I remember seeing Skafish in the early 80s on that IRS TV show with Peter Zaremba from the Fleshtones as host. What was the name of that show? I'm amazed that you remembered him. I can't remember what he sounded like but his music must be great for you to go to all that trouble.


 
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tikibars
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 2024
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
Posted: 2004-09-18 08:38 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2004-09-17 12:02, thejab wrote:
Interesting story JT. I remember seeing Skafish in the early 80s on that IRS TV show with Peter Zaremba from the Fleshtones as host. What was the name of that show? I'm amazed that you remembered him. I can't remember what he sounded like but his music must be great for you to go to all that trouble.



Was that show called "The Cutting Edge"?

And re: Skafish, I hooked up with him after HE found ME, after hearing that I was the man for the job (through other professional colleagues). I remembered him from the movie "Urgh a Music War", but I can't say I was a huge fan (though I do like his stuff more now after hearing so much of it).

Remember that this sort of thing is my job, so 'all of this trouble' is being compensated for via a check (a check that is getting me to Hukilau!).

That said, I have worked with so many shitty rappers and talentless garage rock bands, that on the occasions when I get to work with some real talent, it is a blessing and a pleasure. Skafish is actually a really talented guy, so this big project has been fun.





 
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Digitiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 22, 2004
Posts: 754
From: L.A. baby!
Posted: 2004-09-20 10:04 am   Permalink

Spytiki,
I've been wondering that very thing myself and toying with the idea of looking into it. I know there are wonderful exotica and kitch (did I spell that right?) albums that will probably NEVER come out on CD. I'm sure there's a small market for this...at least a small one. On the non-financial side: this great music and it would be a shame to have it simply decay away. Digital preservation of these old recordings is also an admirable goal too! I look at the Scamp Records releases of Martin Denny & the very small release of Robert Drasnin's Voodoo as perfect examples.


 
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spy-tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 11, 2003
Posts: 732
From: glendale, ca
Posted: 2004-09-20 2:10 pm   Permalink

Exactly. Plus, things fall into public domain, and people buy suitcases full of rare beatles tapes all the time. Well, sometimes...anyway when you think of some of the obscure record labels that have come and gone and the stuff that must be stuffed away in someone's garage, it starts to seem possible. I live in L.A too. If a couple of others are interested it might be a good excuse to meet somewhere over Mai Tais and plot our strategy.

 
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Satan's Sin
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 13, 2004
Posts: 729
From: Imperial Beach, CA
Posted: 2004-09-20 3:47 pm   Permalink

Yeah, what's the deal with things falling into public domain? Esp. music and movies?

I think the copyright for a book is something like the copyright holder's lifetime plus 75 years.

But what about a movie or a song?

For example, at my 99 cent store I saw the 99-cent-store DVD edition of "White Zombie" (Bela Lugosi), and then at a Rite Aide I saw some "Family Classics" edition of "White Zombie" for $4.99 (guess which one I bought).

Anyway -- any of you TC lawyers know what the deal is? As in -- if I find an old, old, old song on LimeWire or something could I download, burn and sell that? As I imagine I could download, burn and sell a copy of White Zombie?

(as, in fact, I might be able to do with the "ephermeral" films on Perlinger Archives?)

Anybody?

(psst -- anybody want to buy a DVD of "Aluminum on the March"? It's only $4.99 .... )


 
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Digitiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 22, 2004
Posts: 754
From: L.A. baby!
Posted: 2004-09-21 4:41 pm   Permalink

I think it would really hinge on the obscurity of the music. Lets face it, for a large label, some of these LP releases are literally lost in their catalog. They don't even know they have them and the company doesn't see it as viable to reissue because it will never make the kind of sales they "want" to make. Someone coming in and offering a 'reasonable" amount for rights based on its age and small audience size should be able to doing. I mean, after all, its extra money that the label wouln't otherwise have. But, having said that, sometimes the doofuses at large corporations like that, flip their noses at small transactions.

What a small label needs are a few people who have ALL the know how to do it--audio mastering, graphics & print for the booklet, even a lawer if possible...all in-house. I mean, today you don't necessarily have to go through the major distributors (who will want to take a BIG cut). Now-a-days an indie can go directly to Amazon, Border's, etc.

[ This Message was edited by: Digitiki on 2004-09-21 16:46 ]


 
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