Saturday, February 28, 2015

Happy Anniversary Mixtape Sessions! We're Celebrating 7 Years of Music!


On this day, 7 years ago, Flora and I released her 'Overcome' EP, which gave us such gems as 'Let the Sunshine Out' and 'Overcome.' Mixtape Sessions, in celebration of its 7-year anniversary, is extremely proud to release several new compilations in the coming year. “Mixtape Sessions Volume 1” highlights some of the earliest releases on this incredible label. Artists included on this 1st installment include: Gerideau, Flora Cruz, queen AaMinah, Eddie Nicholas, Jose Gonzalez and label head, Adam Cruz.

Happy Anniversary Mixtape Sessions. Music for the People.

Click here to listen+buy!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Freedom Radio Hour - Mix by DJ Adam Cruz - Season 2 Episode 6 - Fri Feb 27, 2015


Freedom Radio Hour
Season 2 Episode 6 - Fri Feb 27, 2015
Music mixed by DJ Adam Cruz
Music business news hosted by Eddie Nicholas and Adam Cruz
Live on Capital Radio 91.6FM The Heartbeat of Sudan
  • Vincemo & Patricia Edwards - To Win My Heart [Soul Candi Records]
  • Typheni - Is It Love (Danny Krivit Re Edit) [Quantize Recordings]
  • Hook & Bass - Bomba Bien (Main Mix) [Open Bar Music]
  • Peppe Citarella - The Flute (Afro Zippin' Up Mix) [Tony Records]
  • DJ Kemit feat. Eric Roberson - Fortune Teller (Pablo Martinez Remix) [Ocha Records]
  • Timmy Regisford - Catch Me (Instrumental) [Tribe Records]
  • Riverside & Sandman feat. Jeremy Ellis - Into Your Story (Kai Alce DISTINCTIVE Remix) [Fast Forward]
  • Todd Terry - Hardhouse (Original Mix) [Inhouse]
  • Todd Terry feat. Martha Wash & Jocelyn Brown - Jumpin' (Tee's Unreleased Mix) [Inhouse]
  • PM Dawn - A Watcher's Point of View (Don't Cha Think) (Todd Terry's Melody Mix) [Gee Street]
  • Kenny G - Havana (Todd Terry Freeze Mix) [Arista]

The Anatomy of an Agreement: What can Artists look for?

You've written and recorded your demo, you've played some great gigs, and you can now boast a multitude of Facebook friends, from Watford to Wichita and back again. A&R guys are falling over themselves to get to you and there's now a major-label record deal on the table. What do you do? Sign?

If this is the fortunate dilemma in which you find yourself, hold fire. Before you do anything, you'll need to know what's up for grabs. If you want fame and fortune and everything that goes with it, without the pain of disillusionment and legal hassles later, you'll first need to do a little homework.

Understanding The Jargon

Because of their legal complexity, recording contracts can be quite hard to decipher. They come in different shapes and sizes, and will often vary depending on the label, and the status of the artist involved. Even so, many of their commercial terms are similar. They certainly require closer inspection in an article of this scope.


Recording contracts are legally binding agreements, enabling record companies to exploit an artist's performance in a sound recording, in return for royalty payments.

Exploitation is achieved through physical sales, such as CD, vinyl and cassette; the public performance and broadcasting of works; and the sale of digital products such as downloads and mobile ringtones. The contract will define a record to include audio-visual devices as well. So 'Dualdisc', DVD and other new technologies will be caught by this definition.


The recording contract will usually require the artist to sign to the label exclusively. This means that they can't record for another label without permission, nor can they leave the contract if they're unhappy. The label, however, remains free to sign and promote as many artists as it wishes. Record labels invest huge sums of money in breaking an act and claim that they need this level of control in order to improve the chances of making a profit or, as is more often the case, to cut their losses. Occasionally the artist gets one over on the label. Mariah Carey described the termination of her long-term deal with EMI in 2002, as "the right decision for me". This, however, may have had something to do with the £19m EMI had to pay her to end the relationship!

If an artist wants to make a guest appearance on another artist's record, they'll need a 'sideman' provision to cover this. Chris Martin, of Coldplay fame, recently showed up on the Nelly Furtado track 'All Good Things', albeit with his plaintive vocal somewhat obscured in the mix. Likewise, DJs and producers will sign deals under a specific alias, leaving them free to contract with other labels under a different pseudonym. Dave Lee, AKA Joey Negro, Raven Maize and Jakkata, is a case in point.


Major labels will normally sign the artist to a worldwide deal. Companies such as Universal and Sony/BMG have offices in all the key markets, together with the vast distribution network capable of delivering their latest offerings to a supermarket near you. Split-territory deals are less likely with major record labels, but independents may be more willing to agree to such an arrangement.


This relates to the duration of the contract. It is calculated by reference to an initial fixed period of maybe 12 months — when you'll make your first album — followed by further option periods, also usually of 12 months, allowing the record company to extend the contract if they wish. There will be a minimum commitment within each period, requiring you to deliver a certain number of tracks, to a releasable standard, with perhaps a total of five or six albums expected under the deal.

Try to avoid wording that masters must be 'commercially acceptable' — a euphemism for 'radio hit' — as delivery and acceptance requirements may have a knock-on effect on how long the artist is tied to the deal. Where a label is only willing to accept commercial recordings, as opposed to merely technically satisfactory ones, the artist may have to rework or re-record material before the label is finally satisfied of the record's chart potential. The option period in which the album is due could thus overrun by a good few months, before the label accepts it and commits to a release date. It will be a further 3-6 months before the label can determine the album's success, which in turn will delay the exercise of the next option, and so on. It is sensible therefore, to negotiate a 'long-stop' provision, so that the overall duration of your contract won't exceed six or seven years maximum.

Rights Granted

Under most exclusive recording contracts, the artist will assign copyright in the sound recordings to the record company. An assignment is a transfer of ownership for the full life of copyright. In the case of sound recordings this will be 50 years from release.

Two issues are of particular concern here. Firstly, even unreleased recordings remain the property of the label for the artist's entire career. And secondly, even once the artist has repaid all recording costs, the label will still own the masters. This was one of the reasons why Mick Hucknall decided to part company with Warner Music in early 2000, claiming that his deal was 'immoral'. Warner made approximately £192m from the relationship, and kept all the masters, whereas Mick earned a paltry £20m! Hucknall has since taken control of his destiny, along with a greater share of the profits, releasing music on his self-financed label,

In rare instances, an artist will secure a reversion of copyright clause, allowing them the return of their masters at a future date. Robbie Williams' ground-breaking 2002 deal with EMI granted him such rights — but then again, how many Robbies are there?

Other rights the label will wish to acquire include rights in the album artwork and the right to use the artist's name and likeness in connection with the sale and promotion of the records.

Release Commitment

The artist should aim to secure a positive release commitment from the label (at least in the UK), coupled with a minimum marketing spend to support the release. Should the label fail to release your record, you should be able to terminate the deal, and/or buy back your recordings, so they can be licensed to another label, or perhaps self-released.

Written by Richard Salmon

Click here to read more.

Robin Thicke & Pharrell Williams vs Marvin Gaye Trial: 7 Things to Know!

Written by Colin Stutz

With the "Blurred Lines" trial underway in Los Angeles this week, songwriters Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams are defending their 2013 smash song against claims it was improperly derived from Marvin Gaye's 1977 hit "Got to Give It Up."

There have been complex twists and turns over the last year and a half that are liable to lose some of those even watching the issue closely. To fill you in on what may prove to be a landmark copyright ruling, here are seven key things you should know as the trial moves ahead:

1. This lawsuit was originally brought by Thicke, Williams and song co-writer Clifford "T.I." Harris Jr. as preemptive attempt to protect "Blurred Lines" from claims of being a rip-off. Following, Gaye's children, Frankie Gaye and Nona Gaye, brought counterclaims that alleged Thicke's "Marvin Gaye fixation" had led to the misappropriation of two songs -- "Blurred Lines" and 2011's "Love After War," which was not written or produced by Williams.

2. There are supposedly eight "similarities" identified between "Blurred Lines" and "Got to Give it Up," according to the Gayes' expert musicologists. Those are: "(1) the signature phrase in the main vocal melodies; (2) the hooks; (3) the hooks with backup vocals; (4) the core theme in 'Blurred Lines' and backup hook in 'Got to Give it Up'; (5) the backup hooks; (6) the bass melodies; (7) the keyboard parts; and (8) the unusual percussion choices." Meanwhile, the plaintiffs have argued the defendant is attempting to claim ownership of an entire genre.

3. There are several players who are no longer involved in this lawsuit. Sony/ATV was previously named in the Gaye family lawsuit, under its EMI April subsidiary, for allegedly breaching its obligations to protect the Gaye catalogue. The Gaye family claimed EMI also administered rights on "Blurred Lines" and didn't want Gaye's family getting in the way of the song's ongoing success. The Gayes and EMI settled under private terms.

Bridgeport Music was listed in Thicke and Williams' initial suit, suggesting that threats were being made by the rights-holder of Funkadelic's song "Sexy Ways." Soon thereafter, George Clinton, who once led Funkadelic and has feuded with Bridgeport over the years, tweeted his belief there was no sample in Thicke's song. An agreement was made and Bridgeport Music was removed from the suit.

4. In October, Williams and Thicke failed to win the case on summary judgment, but there was a silver lining for the pop stars. In that case, the judge looked to old standards under the 1909 Copyright Act and concluded that the Gaye family hadn't sufficiently shown it made necessary deposits of the "Got to Give It Up" sound recording at the Copyright Office in the 1970s. Only the sheet music compositions are copyrighted and, as such, he said Gaye's copyrights on the song were limited to the sheet music compositions, which do not include many elements of the recording and those above mentioned "similarities."

5. Now, the Gaye family is not be allowed to introduce the original "Got to Give It Up" recording at trial so a jury can compare it to "Blurred Lines." Since Gaye's songs came out before copyright law changed in 1978, the judge has decided only a stripped-down version of the song can be played in court.

6.0Attorneys on both sides have given some estimation of potential damages. The Gaye family claims Thick and Williams' profits from the track totaled roughly $40 million and that according to general practices for licensing, they are due about half of that. The "Blurred Lines" side responded saying the song was not nearly that profitable and argued that the track's success wasn't due entirely to the music -- noting that the racy video and social media promotions should also be considered.

7. Finally, there's the now infamous deposition where Thicke admitted drug use and lying to the media about the creation of "Blurred Lines." His attorney wants much of this deemed irrelevant and prejudicial. He has stated that Thicke's comments to the press about being inspired by Gaye doesn't mean much since they stipulate to the fact that the singer had access to the song. Still, the Gaye camp isn't likely about to let this go. The family believes that inconsistent comments are "probative of credibility" and that "Thicke has never explained his absolutely contradictory sworn and verified interrogatory responses served in this case." This could lead to an attempt to impeach Thicke on the witness stand.

Listen to the two songs here:

Click here to read more.

Should Victor Willis of ‪The Village People‬ still get $ after signing away his rights? ‪

Earlier this month, a trial opened to determine the rightful songwriter behind 24 of the Village People’s songs, one of which includes their biggest hit "YMCA."

The original debate surrounding these famous songs began in 2012 when the group’s key singer-songwriter Victor Willis won a landmark ruling in a copyright case, reclaiming partial ownership of dozens of the band’s songs.

In May 2012 a California judge allowed Willis, famous as the costume-loving disco group’s policeman character, to terminate a decades-old publishing deal, which would give him the right to expanded royalties for hits such as Y.M.C.A. and Macho Man. Willis now contends he co-authored the songs with just Jacques Morali and therefore was entitled to a 50% share, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Contesting this are Village People publishers Scorpio Music and Can’t Stop Productions, who have suggested the copyright registrations indicate a third author, Henri Belolo. They say the songs were originally French and then adapted by Willis. The publishers believe Willis is entitled to only a 33% share.

Willis’ side previously estimated a loss of $30m from the claim that his songs are adapted from original French songs.

Scheduled to testify on behalf of the Village People songwriter is his ex-wife and the Cosby Show actor Phylicia Rashad, famous for her role as Clair Huxtable. She is reportedly expected to testify that she witnessed Willis writing many of the songs at their home.

Felipe Rose, who dressed as a Native American in the band, is said to testify that he saw Belolo and Morali working together to create YMCA and other songs.

Willis was the original lead singer of the Village People, performing with the group from 1977-80.

Click here to read more.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Freedom Radio Hour - Mix by DJ Adam Cruz - Season 2 Episode 5 - Fri Feb 20, 2015


Freedom Radio Hour
Season 2 Episode 5 - Fri Feb 20, 2015
Music mixed by DJ Adam Cruz
Music business news hosted by Eddie Nicholas and Adam Cruz
Live on Capital Radio 91.6FM The Heartbeat of Sudan
  • Ayro - Bounce (Spinna Remix) [Groovia Sound Project]
  • Flora Cruz - Overcome [Mixtape Sessions]
  • The S.O.S. Project - Grace of God (Original Mix) [Souluvn Entertainment]
  • Natasha Gilbert - Singing For My Life (KeMu DUB) [Slaag Records]
  • Siji - Ijo (Alix Alvarez Main Vox) [SOLE Channel Music]
  • Charles Gatling - Lifted [Cyberjamz]
  • No Smoke - Koro Koro [Profile Records]
  • The Wayouts feat. Don Corey Washington - Ferguson [Honeycomb Music]
  • USG - Ncameu (Main Vox) [Clairaudience]