Royalties Vs. Joint Venture

Every artist knows what royalties are by now. But there are so many different ways to get paid for your music. The term that gets lost in the list is Joint Venture. Not many people use this anymore.  But when you’re having a lot of success and a big income, this might be it.

What is a joint venture?

This is just the same as an label deal, except the artist doesn’t get paid any royalties for his contribution. Now, before you panic and try to click away, this doesn’t mean the artist doesn’t get anything. So, hold your horses and read a little further.

This deals is meant for a band or artist with a lot of income in their music. This way, all the costs and expenses (like marketing and distribution) get taken from the income and the income will be split 50/50. This is how it works in most cases, but it depends on whether or not the label is in a good mood when signing the deal.

Royalties Vs. Joint Venture

So, is more more advantageous than the other? There is no definitive way of knowing. Our advice is that if you have a lot of success, you can get a joint venture (meaning you’d be the next Taylor Swift). This way, you can earn more of your money back. But you can lose a lot with it too if you’re not ready for this deal in your professional career.

With an ‘ok’ success and a decent income, we advise you choose royalty payments. In a joint venture you get charged more costs than under a royalty agreement. This can both be good an bad.

Royalties get paid ‘per unit’, this gets lost to joint venture and its easy to see that you can get more out of an joint venture. Of course, after all the expenses are deducted from the profit.

Advice for Lyricists: Part Three – Getting People to Listen

So, you’ve understood the writing process and have even started writing your lyrics. Now you need to get people to listen to you, find out more in part 3 of our advice for lyricists series.

As hard as it can be, learning to accept criticism can be the most helpful thing you do. It is the first step in getting people to listen to your music. Although family and friends may want to spare your feelings, they are a good place to start, especially if one of them is particularly musical, creative or you just trust their honest opinion. It might not always be easy, but criticism isn’t always negative or personal and it’s a very simple way to learn and grow as an artist. Nobody says you have to take all (or any!) of their advice on board but putting fresh eyes on your work can give you new perspectives and will give you things to consider.

What Am I Writing For?

Before you can decide where to share your music and/or lyrics it might be important to work out who and what you are writing for. Are you writing for yourself or to sell to others? Are you wanting to make a career out of lyric writing or is it a hobby? What genre/s are you writing for?

Some genres of music lend themselves more to performance, some to public environments and some to individual listening. You should consider these when you begin to think about sharing or selling your lyrics, compositions or music.

Finding People to Work With

If you are looking for people to work with, whether it’s co-writers, performers, or producers, there are many places to look.

If you’re at university, even if you aren’t studying a music related subject, you’re in luck; universities are breeding grounds for creative types. Once you get talking to people it’s likely you’ll find someone that play instruments, are writers themselves, or are studying music in some shape or form.

The same goes for the workplace, although it maybe less likely to find these creative types if you don’t already work in the creative industries, it’s still worth having the conversation! You never know what people do in their spare time, or if not them personally, they may know people who could help you.

Social media is perhaps one of the easiest ways to get your name out there. You could make posts on your own social media pages promoting yourself or asking around for other musicians. Of course there are also websites that specifically cater to ‘musicians finding musicians’ that will be specific to your local area.

It may be useful to look out for music industry networking events. They are a chance to meet with other like minded people and other musicians, you never know where it could lead.

The main take-away from this should be to talk. Keep people in the loop about what you’re working on, what you’re looking for, get your name out there so people know to think about you.

Recording a Demo

It’s easier than ever to record your own demo without spending a ton of money. Firstly, you need to choose where you a going to record. Are you going to book a studio or are you recording at home? If you are recording at home, you may need to consider what equipment you will need and what the acoustics are going to be like.

The next thing to think about is how are you going to be recording and/or producing your track. You can choose to record a live demo; with all instruments and vocals being recorded in one take. Or you can choose multi-track recording, with each instrument being recorded independently. Again, this may depend on what exactly you are producing. You could also use MIDI instruments rather than live instruments and then record a vocals over the top.

After recording, your track needs to be mixed. You may want to get someone to help you with this if you aren’t used to mixing but as it’s a demo a rough mix is fine, so don’t feel like you have to spend a lot of money on it. You can then master your track. Nobody expects a demo to be perfect, it just needs to showcase your potential.

Soundcloud, YouTube etc.

When you have your finished demo, its time to share it, which is very easy to do. There are so many platforms online now where you can share music for free – SoundCloud and YouTube as well as social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and even LinkedIn.

The main thing to consider when sharing your work in this way is intellectual property protection. Once your content is online pretty much anyone can access it so be sure to cover yourself. This is where copyright comes in.


Copyright allows, by law, an original work to be considered a property that is owned by somebody. Copyright happens automatically once the ‘product’ is created so it is not necessary to register (except in the U.S where there is a registration process). Intellectual property protection comes in many forms (copyrights, patents, trademarks etc.) which must be made tangible in order to be protected. It is important to have proof of ownership. One way to do this is to post a copy of your recording, composition or lyrics etc. to yourself, keep the envelope sealed.

As a copyright owner you hold the right to copy, distribute, rent, lend, perform, show, communicate/broadcast and adapt your work.

Selling Your Lyrics

Music publishers are responsible for ensuring that songwriters and composers are paid for commercial use of their compositions. As a songwriter or composer, you can assign your copyright to a publisher, who will then license, safeguard and monitor the composition, and collect royalties and distribute them back to the songwriter/composer. Publishers also deal with synchronisation, so that the composition may be used for television and film.

If you are interested in music publishing see our sister company Anara Publishing.

Get international exposure for your music at Midem

A message from our sponsors, Horus Music.

Are you looking to get exposure in the worldwide music industry?

Every year we attend Midem festival, which is the largest business-to-business event in the music industry. We’ve been attending Midem for the past 10 years, so we have a significant presence while there.

Would you like to take your career to the next level?

If you’ve been trying to get a deal with record labels, managers, etc. this could be your lucky day. This year, we are looking for artists from all genres to represent at Midem.

This means, we will attend Midem on your behalf and hold meetings with top industry delegates. We will be looking to get you the deal you’ve been looking for. Our reputation means that we can secure meetings that others simply cannot. We will create a tailor-made EPK that will include your music, videos, bio and other relevant content that will be presented the relevant contacts and executives.

Why are you doing this?

We’re dedicated to helping musicians further their careers, this is something we do on a daily basis. We know that there is no better place than Midem for helping musicians get the opportunities and exposure that they’re looking for.

What can I expect from Midem?

Each artist is different and we never guarantee any specific outcomes. However, the more high-quality resources you have then there’s a higher likelihood that you’ll get the results you’re looking for.

In recent years, we’ve had artists that have received licensing deals with Detour Records, French and European promotion through Music Media Consulting, management and recording deals with Animal Farm, synchronisation deal wit O’Neill’s surf brand, publishing opportunities in GAS territories, booking agent deal with Kir Tomkinson as well as opportunities to tour Brazil and China.

What happens after Midem?

When we return, we will follow-up with each of the people we met and provide you with a full report detailing who was contacted, what meetings were organised, what comments were made and the outcomes of those meetings, along with other information that could help you when it comes to finalising deals. A copy of the EPK that we used can also be provided upon request.

How do I get involved, and what do I need?

For a small one-off payment we will attend Midem on your behalf and you will retain full rights to your music in this none exclusive deal and will keep 100% from any deals that are made, we will help you make the contacts you need to finalise your own deals.

All you need to do is get in touch here and send us more information about you, as well as links to your music, and if we like what we hear we can go ahead and start preparing your EPK.

Speak soon!

Horus Music Review: The Boutique Music Distributor

We were contacted recently by Harrison Welshimer owner of Music Munch – a website dedicated to helping Independent Artists, he had heard of some of the good stuff our sister company Horus Music were doing and wanted to write a review. He did and it was so nice we thought we’d post it below: Thanks Harrison!  

The internet is both a boon and a curse as we navigate this crazy music business. For example, there are dozens of music distributor service companies to choose from, which is a great thing. But we also have so many options that it leaves us indecisive, which is a bad thing. So what’s the solution?

You’ve heard that the music business is all about relationships. What if you could develop a personal relationship with the company that puts your music in stores around the world? If that sounds good to you, Horus Music might be the right fit.

*Disclaimer: I’ve only worked with TuneCore, but liked what I read about Horus Music. It’s those ‘likes’ that I want to share.*

Just a Little Background…

Horus Music is HQ’d in Leicester, less than a 2 hour train ride north of London, where they’ve been in biz for almost 10 years. Customer service comes first. Take this story as told by Ms. Nina Condron, a Horus Music employee, as an example:

“We look at all of our clients at the same level and don’t just answer to our top label as we have no share-holders etc… A few months ago for example, we gave an independent artist with no label or management backing £4,000 (roughly $6,200) worth of advertising on Spotify for FREE!”

Marketing: The Part About Finding the Right Fans

Another boutique aspect is that any musician can get help with their marketing. Simply describe to Horus Music what marketing help you’d like. The folks there will look at your case and assess whether they can make it happen.

A lot of the time, Horus Music will be able to secure marketing muscle for you. Take 17 year old Melissa Severn, a singer/songwriter from Shropshire, England. She just had an exclusive interview with the MixRadio blog. Read it here!

But if Horus Music can’t help, they won’t send you a “sorry, no can do” response. Instead, they’ll guide you to a place where you can find the answers you need.

How big is Your Potential Reach?

Here’s something that blew me away: Horus Music can deliver your tracks to over 600 digital stores in over 120 countries. This includes all the majors such as iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, etc.

To give you an idea of how many stores this is, CD Baby has partnerships with over 95 stores while TuneCore puts their number at 150+. So Horus has 4x the reach of TuneCore!

Something That’s Hard to Find With Other Distributors…

Want to see your face on TV in Chile or Argentina?! Horus Music is ahead of the game  in music video distribution and “growing markets.” Platforms for video distribution include Mu-Zu TV, Vu-Clip and VEVO. Horus Music also has a focused effort on distributing your music in Japan, Latin America and India.

Don’t Take It From Me Alone

“Speedy and reliable in their delivery. Recommend them to any musician ! ” – Bobby Smith

“The Best…..I call them Milestone Makers” –  D-Bone Archives

“Fantastic people who really helped me! Thank you guys!” – Arek Pilarz

So What Does All of This Cost?

How does free sound? Yep, this is another highlight I have to bring up. Selling music is hard, today more than ever. Because of that, Horus Music has a free option in which they collect 20% of your earnings to cover their service. CD Baby has a similar model, but you still have to pay an upfront fee and they’ll collect a 9% royalty.

If you have a pretty good idea that you’ll sell more than 40 albums, you’d want to use a paid package. No matter which ‘paid package’ you choose, you keep 100% of your royalties. This is the TuneCore model as well. However, even though TuneCore’s prices are lower, Horus Music doesn’t have a renewal fee like TC.

Options vary in price as to whether you have a Single, EP or Album:

Distribution type Price
Single £14.99 GBP ($23.00 USD)*
EP (3-6 tracks) £24.99 GBP ($39.00 USD)
Album (7-20 tracks) £39.99 GBP ($62.00 USD)
Urgent delivery £49.99 GBP ($78.00 USD)

*All USD prices are rounded to the nearest dollar. Price conversion as of 7/5/15.

And you Walk Away With a Lot…

We’ve all dealt with it whenever trying to sell anything online… minimum pay-outs. Doesn’t it drive you crazy when you’re sitting at $97 in sales, but have to reach $100 before you get paid?!

Solution: Horus Music doesn’t have a minimum. You sell $3.00 worth of music, you’re paid $3.00 (but you’re going to make more than that, right?!). For a frame of reference, TuneCore acts more as a bank. You don’t receive money automatically. Rather, you withdraw the amount you need. There are minimums or fees with TuneCore (except when transferring via PayPal).

And just a little icing on the cake: no extra charges for pre-releases, ISRC’s, barcodes, Digital Booklets, YouTube Content ID (on our free package) which are all charges you’re starting to see from bigger distributors.

Final Take

If you’re living in England, I think you’ve got to try Horus Music. That’s because of that one-on-one connection. You and your mates could take a weekend trip and actually meet the people helping you. That’s an awesome thing!

But something you need to remember is that no matter which music distributor you choose to partner with, it’s up to you to sell it. A great product will sit on the shelf without a good salesman. And if you’re an aspiring singer/songwriter, I can help.

Tad Bit About Me

Hi, I’m Harrison Welshimer, a kid from Wyoming who fell in love with music instead of the oil patch. After spending two and a half years in Denver, Colorado, I found the group that I enjoyed working with most: beginner singer/songwriters.

What if you could learn how to write your first song and make money from it using an easy, step by step approach?

Starting September 1st, 2015, you can learn how at Good luck and see ya there!

Making The Most of Spotify

As many of you will know, Spotify is a huge streaming platform with other 40 million active users worldwide. Clearly, this platform is huge and it will pay off to have your music on there. So if you haven’t, you definitely you should.

As well as being arguably one of the biggest streaming sites in the Music Industry today, it has an integrated Social Media aspect to it that can prove very useful for bands. Here are five different ways bands can make the most of Spotify.

Verification on Spotify

Nothing will make your page look more official than that little blue tick in the corner of your profile picture! It is well known that verification can be a tricky thing to get, and surprisingly Spotify have made it quite easy.

They offer a link to a verification form on their website which can be found via this link:

Once this is completed, they ask you to be ready with the following information:

  • The Spotify profile username you would like linked to your artist discography page.
  • The artist URI link (link to artist discography page).
  • The preferred display name for the profile.
  • A URL link to a 2048 x 2048 pixel JPEG profile image (no more 500kb, please).

A link to a twitter account associated with the artist. Please note that twitter credentials are not stored in any way.

Then after all this is done, it is up to the scary Overlords of Spotify to decide your fate. Verification can take a couple of weeks to complete, but once its done just think how official and important you will look.


Ever been on a jog and needed a playlist to make all that sweating and heavy breathing vaguely enjoyable? Well Spotify is jam packed with incredible playlists for all sorts of occasions! It is home to a huge catalogue of music playlists. Labels have even gotten in on the fun posting their archives and music picks of the week. If you have a Label and they have playlists, it would be good to try and push your music there. If you do not have a label, you can do it yourself, you don’t need them anyway.

Playlists are a great way to organise your music and share your personal music collection with fans; just don’t post any guilty pleasures that will harm your bands image. If you’re a Math Metal band showing off your favourite Shania Twain hits, it’s probably going to lose you a few followers.

Widget and Integration

Spotify content can be useful to spice up your website and social media pages. Playlists can be embedded to Facebook posts and added as widgets to webpages, thus proving another innovative way to get your music out there and in people’s faces.

Spotify also offer little gizmos that can increase your audience on Spotify through your Social Media pages and Website. You can embed follow buttons on your site to get more of your fans interacting with you. In effect, this will encourage more playlist subscribers, followers and the potential for more Spotify streams.

Fan base Interactions

Once you have successfully migrated your fanbase from social media and your website to Spotify, it’s about time you started to create more of a buzz around your band and keep in touch with all the lovely people who appreciate your music – your fans.

You can recommend music to your fans through the Spotify feed, which displays what music you have listened to, starred and play listed. You can also send music direct to particular fans as well as song suggestions for their playlists.

Label Promotion 

If you have a Label, then there may be further Spotify promotions that might be accessible to you. Have you ever wanted to be the band that interrupts all the free tier Spotify users by trying to flog their new hit single or album through an audio advert? Your label may have the facilities to make that a dream come true! Audio ads can be very successful if done right, make it personal, snappy and relevant to your band and your audience. Spotify also offer banner adverts, but audio adverts have proved a higher success.

Spotify are also a big fan of commentary albums, which might be another possibility to boost your Spotify audience. Commentary tracks give fans further insight into your song writing process and there is nothing hardcore fans want more than further insight into their favorite music. Spotify also offer opportunities to perform in one of their Spotify Sessions, but these can be quite difficult to arrange and require you to have a large audience in order to be considered.

It’s always a good idea to make the most of the platforms your music currently resides on. Research the stores that your music currently inhabit and see if there’s anything on there you can use to promote your band. Spotify isn’t the only store out there with added extras that bands can take advantage of.

Marketing Mix: Techniques for Your Upcoming Release

Marketing is extremely beneficial if you have a new release coming up. Although you may not like to think so, your music is a commodity to be sold. So marketing your recordings to the right people will be very beneficial. The marketing mix, also known as the 4 p’s, are the key elements that need to be thought about before a release campaign. So here they are:

1. Product

Your product is simply the music you are releasing. You need to understand the product from the consumers point of view. This will help to determine how your album should look, where it should be sold, and much more. Understanding your product will set you up for success with your marketing mix.

Information gathering is the most important thing here. Your fans will tell you what they want and how they want it, if you only ask and listen. You could put on a competition to design the artwork or choose which songs to feature on the album. This all helps get fans involved in your creative process whilst also ensuring they will like it.

2. Place

You need to consider where your music is going to fit in the global sphere. Please be aware that this is no easy task with physical copies in stores; you will need a solid marketing campaign and it will cost more money than releasing digitally.

If you decide to release your music digitally, our friends at Horus Music provide a great digital music distribution service that you may want to look into.

 3. Price

To decide how to price your CD there are 3 different ways to do this:

  • Cost based pricing – Where you add together the costs of making the CD plus how much profit you want to make. This is divided by the amount of CD’s you intend to sell (more applicable to physical copies).
  • Competition based pricing – Look at artists that you feel you are akin to in terms of level of development and fan-base and find out how much they charge.
  • Value based pricing – If you are offering something with lots of tracks on an album maybe you should charge a little more. This is more applicable to digital as you have to decide whether you will charge budget, or premium prices for single tracks.

4. Promotion

This is the last stage in the marketing mix. One of the best ways to promote your upcoming release is by playing live and getting as much PR as possible (see our blog about how to approach a PR company). It is extremely beneficial to allow press to review your gigs – they will probably also mention your release.

Arrange as many interviews as you can with radio, TV or in online videos where you can talk about your music. Just make sure that everyone knows you’ve got a release coming out!

And there you have it – the basic 4 points of the marketing mix to implement for your upcoming release, these are applicable to anything from putting on a gig to selling T-shirts.

Collecting Your Royalties

Collecting your hard earned royalties is something that is vital for musicians. After all, this is how some of us earn a living. However, this is a hazy and confusing field of the industry and a lot of artists are unsure of how to go about receiving royalties.

Here in the UK, there are two main collecting societies. These are PRS for Music and PPL. The biggest question we hear from artists is “which one do I need to sign up to?”

In essence, if you are a songwriter, composer or publisher you will need to join PRS and if you perform or record music you will need to become a member with PPL. In many cases, if you write, record and perform your own music you will need to be a member of both organisations. This way you can ensure you’re getting the royalties you’re entitled to.

PRS for Music

PRS for Music collects both performing rights (under the name PRS) and mechanical rights (under the name MCPS). Performing rights are whenever a song or composition you have written is played or performed in public. For example on TV, radio, performed live or played in a public place such as a shop.

Mechanical rights are whenever a song or composition you have written is reproduced. For example, when works are recorded onto a physical product such as a CD or downloaded from the Internet. PRS for Music will collect both of these for you. But you will need to sign up for them separately through their website.

If you are in a band, each member who has written music or lyrics should register individually – not as a band as a whole.

Costs: Currently, the admin fees upon registering for writers are £30 for PRS and £50 for MCPS. If you are a publishing company, the fees are slightly higher – £400 for PRS and £50 for MCPS.

Benefits: PRS for Music will collect these royalties for you both in the UK and internationally – it’s fast, efficient and fairly hassle free. You will get quarterly payments complete with detailed statements to see exactly what makes up your royalty payments.


PPL licenses the use of recorded music. Whereas PRS pays royalties to the writers / composers of these tracks. PPL pays the performers and rights holders of the recording. If you are a performer on a recording or control the rights, you will receive royalties whenever that recording is broadcast in public, on TV and radio along with certain digital media services.

Costs: Registering with PPL is free.

Benefits: You will receive annual payments of UK royalties and quarterly international payments. Like PRS, they will send you detailed statements. PPL are also the first music licensing company to be given Qualified Intermediary status in America, which means that any money collected by them from the U.S is not subject to their 30% withholding tax. Bonus!

As you can see, each society works slightly differently to the other. They are both working with the same goal though – to give you the money you deserve! As musicians, it is important that you understand exactly how these collecting societies work to make sure that you’re not missing out on royalties.

Alternatively, to save you the task of signing up to either of these societies, distribution companies like Horus Music will even deal with collecting royalties on your behalf.

The Expansion of Streaming Services

With the advent of streaming services such as Spotify, Deezer, We7 and Xbox Music the way we consume music is changing and developing at an incredible pace. Whilst many people believe that this is damaging musician’s careers by diminishing the importance of traditional record stores, it is important that artists get on board with these future technologies. Through having platforms available at the touch of a button, it is making music easier to search and find through being able to share your favourite playlists or see recommendations as to what to listen to next. Therefore, if artists have their music available on these platforms it is more likely that their music will be stumbled upon by people all across the world without them having to even leave their house.

In recent months we have seen streaming services like Deezer make their service available on Smart TV’s. This has included deals with electronics giants Toshiba, Samsung and LG. They will begin to roll out their platform to compatible TV’s this year. In a time where music is becoming increasingly immersive, it’s important that artists take note of all the tools available.

Streaming Service Availability

Streaming platforms are available through various mediums: websites, hi-fi systems and in-car systems; along with apps for mobile devices including Android, iPhone/iPad, Blackberry and Windows phone. With this addition of Smart TV’s, there is no excuse for subscribers not to have access to their favourite music. It doesn’t matter whether they’re sat on their sofa  or on their morning commute. All consumers have to do is reach for their remote, smartphone or the power button for their car radio.

In the past gaining new fans would rely on being in record stores, on the off chance that someone found your CD. There would be the dilemma of them committing to buy something that they can’t listen to until they get home. After all this, there is the chance that they would find that it’s not the exact genre that they like. With streaming services, they pay their monthly subscription and they can try as many tracks as they want! People are more open to trying new things and exploring new genres with these platforms. This really is a great opportunity for artists to reach out to new audiences.

To find out how you get your music onto streaming platforms visit Horus Music for distribution packages.

International Music Deals

Maybe you’re looking for international music deals with publishers, labels, or a brand sponsorship.  Maybe you’re looking to expand where you perform and build new audiences. This is about getting deals in different territories, where they can be obtained and what to do once you have the meeting.

What is Midem?

In the middle of January, the world’s music community gather together in the South of France for Midem. Midem (Marché International du Disque et de l’Edition Musicale) began in 1967 and is the largest trade fair for the music industry. It’s a real diverse mix of people and companies from all areas of the music industry.

Types of participants who attend include:

  • Artist managers.
  • Labels (of all sizes from small independents to the majors such as Universal) Distributors.
  • Producers.
  • Publishers.
  • Tour managers.
  • Accountants and lawyers.
  • Festival bookers, venue bookers (Live Nation).
  • Promotions / PR people.
  • Journalists.
  • Brands (such as Coca-Cola, Swarovski, Durex, Heineken, HTC, Ford, Nike).
  • Brand Agencies (Grey Group).
  • Games Makers (Activision).
  • Stores (Apple iTunes, Google Music, Amazon, Deezer, etc.).
  • Technology companies (Sound Cloud, Topspin).

The appeal of international music deals are very exciting. It’s not unheard of for an artist to have little success at home but make a wonderful musical living overseas. The music industry is not just about managers, labels and publishers, there are so many more important partners. So if you want international music deals, there really isn’t a better place to be.

The music industry was a different place before  2000 and deals were so much easier to obtain.  Today in 2013, any company looking to make a deal with an artist has to be much more careful.

How Do you Get a Deal?

Being on the pitch is a great start to being a part of the game, but it’s not enough to win. So what do you need to get a label deal or publishing deal?

We’ve been attending Midem for years so we’re familiar with what companies look for before offering a deal. So what important information do you need to tell them?

  1. A small amount of information about your background and how you got to where you are now. It’s important you keep this to the point and not tell long stories about your childhood.
  2. What releases have you done? Do you have sales sheets for these releases?
  3. What gigging and tours do you do? Where do you do it? Do you have any previous, current and future tour schedules to hand?
  4. What press, radio and TV do you achieve or have achieved?
  5. Do you have a music video and a live video they can see?
  6. How pro-active are you with your fans and in gaining new fans? Do you have thousands of fans on social media and do you speak to them daily?
  7. Why do you want a deal in a particular country? Do you have a lot of fans from there and can you back it up with reports from Facebook etc?
  8. What sort of deal are you looking for?
  9. What are you offering (e.g. all recorded music plus future or just one album etc.).

The above applies to all meetings, not just label or publishers meetings, but meetings with gaming companies or brands. Before anybody invests in you they want to know what your fan reach is and how hard you work.

Some Final Advice

A meeting may only last 15 to 30 minutes, so you need to keep your information to the point. It’s best to keep it professional and business-like. You need to be friendly too as business is about building good relationships. However, you don’t have much time for chit-chat so find a balance between being friendly and approachable vs. being professional and giving precise information.

Finally make sure you have done your homework on the companies you’re seeking international music deals with. Does the company deal with the music you have for example?  Do they have history in your field?

The Saga of the Christmas Number 1

There have been a number of developments to the Christmas Number 1 over the years. In decades gone by there was no set formula but the festive champion was usually an iconic artist. For example, The Beatles, Elvis, Pink Floyd, Queen, Whitney Houston, or some sort of Christmas themed song or charity single. With the exception of the 2004 Band Aid re-release, this tradition died out in the 90s. This period was dominated by boy or girl pop groups and novelty releases like Bob the Builder and Mr Blobby.

Has the Christmas Number 1 Game Changed?

With the introduction of X-Factor in 2005, there has been an association between the winner and Christmas Number 1. The first winner, Steve Brookstein reached number 2 at Christmas but the next 4 winners enjoyed the festive top spot.

With overwhelmingly huge ratings and backing from Simon Cowell, this trend looked to be set for the foreseeable future. But things changed in 2009 when negative backlash against the Syco-signed talent show winners fuelled a counter campaign. The campaign for Rage Against the Machine’s ‘Killing in the Name’ to beat X Factor succeeded in denying winner Joe McElderry.

This is probably the cause of the latest twist to the tale. The 2010 and 2011 X-Factor winners Matt Cardle and Little Mix had their winner’s single released a week earlier. This was an attempt to ensure they got the number 1 slot on release. And while Matt Cardle did bag the top spot for 3 weeks running, Little Mix were beaten at Christmas by the Military Wives from TV show The Choir.

Will the Trend Continue?

So the big question is, what will happen this year and in the years to come? X-Factor ratings have slipped this year and been out-performed by Strictly Come Dancing early on. So we could be seeing the end of the era of the X-Factor guaranteed Christmas Number 1.

There’s strong competition this year with Kylie Minogue, Conor Maynard and Girls Aloud all releasing singles for the final week. The bookies’ favourite is the Justice Collective re-release of ‘He Ain’t Heavy…He’s My Brother’ in support of those affected by the 1989 Hillsborough Tragedy. There is also a 25th Anniversary re-release of the iconic Christmas song ‘Fairytale of New York’ by The Pogues ft. Kirsty MacColl, which is also being given a good chance to claim number 1.

So what do you think will get the top spot? Is this the end of X-Factor’s reign and more importantly, why do think things are changing? In my opinion, the focus has shifted from singing talent, such as Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke, to a popularity and personality contest.

The strongest voice, Ella Henderson, is already voted out this year. The success of acts like Rylan Clark, Christopher Malony and James Arthur, is down to their personality. The dynamic has changed in X-Factor and may be the cause for the dip in ratings as well as its loss of a guaranteed Christmas Number 1.