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Wednesday, 29 July 2015 04:35

Letter from Chris Gero - Summer 2015

chris gero headshotSongwriting is an elegant craft. The ability to connect words to create a profound message is not a gift many people are given. Some songwriters have created messages that have moved entire generations, like John Lennon or Bob Dylan.

But unlike the time in which these great legends wrote and showcased their craft and were duly paid for it, we now face an era where paid monthly digital streaming services are surpassing the sales of albums and music downloads. With rapid development in technology and sharing capabilities, modern songwriters are taking a punch.

Van Dyke Parks, a songwriter who has collaborated with Brian Wilson, U2, Joanna Newsom and The Byrds, to name a few, recounted this story for The Daily Beast after collaborating with Ringo Starr:
“Forty years ago, co-writing a song with Ringo Starr would have provided me a house and a pool. Now, estimating 100,000 plays on Spotify, we guessed we’d split about $80. When I got home, on closer study, I found out we were way too optimistic. Spotify (on par with other streamers) pays only .00065 cents per play.”

Although songwriters are facing the challenges of declined royalty fees, singer-songwriters are vastly emerging and gaining more recognition, thanks to the same technology. And Yamaha takes pride in finding these emerging and well-known singer-songwriters and connecting them directly with their target audience while providing promotional and instrument support.

However, while technology is creating amazing opportunities for music to reach new audiences, it's also creating real challenges for songwriters and composers, who don't have the same revenue streams as performing artists.

Recently, Taylor Swift wrote a public letter to Apple® denouncing their plan to not pay royalties to musicians during a free three-month trial period for its new streaming service. Thankfully Apple® listened and changed its policy. At Yamaha, we applaud Taylor for her courage and Apple® for making the right decision. It isn’t always easy to take a stand or to admit when you’re wrong.

It’s time for us all to stand up for songwriters. I’d love to have an open discussion on the Yamaha Entertainment Group Facebook page to address this topic. What do you think needs to change to make songwriter royalties fair in today’s digital age?

Kindest Regards,
Chris Gero

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Wednesday, 29 July 2015 02:30


Wednesday, 29 July 2015 02:17


Joseph Anthony Somers-Morales, a.k.a. SoMo, has a simple but effective musical philosophy.

"If it sounds good," he says, "people will listen to it."
Wednesday, 29 July 2015 02:14


Eddie Palmieri is one of the most important figures in the history of Latin music. Over his six-decade career, the 78-year-old pianist, composer, and arranger has demonstrated total mastery of the music’s traditions—and an astonishing ability to expand them. With his landmark 1975 album, The Sun of Latin Music, he was the first musician to win a Latin GRAMMY®—his first of nine such awards. He received a Jazz Masters award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and his music is enshrined in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.
David Choi may not be the first musician to build a career without the backing of a record label, but few artists have done it as successfully. Nearly a million fans subscribe to the 29-year-old singer/songwriter’s YouTube channel, and his videos have racked up an astonishing hundred million views. Choi’s online audience eagerly purchases his CDs and attends his shows, and his recently released fourth album, Stories of You’s and Me, promises to be his biggest yet.
FROM INTERNET PHENOMENON TO DOUBLE-PLATINUM recording artist, singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat has spent the last eight years evolving from fledgling artist to poised pop professional. Since her initial breakthrough with the infectious song “Bubbly” on MySpace, Colbie has released five hit albums, including her most recent, Gypsy Heart, in late 2014.
Wednesday, 29 July 2015 01:44


NO ONE EXPECTED Tay Strathairn to grow up to be a piano player—least of all himself.
TROY LAURETA SITS ATTHE KEYBOARD of a gleaming white grand piano. Perched atop the piano is multitalented, multi-octave pop vocalist Ariana Grande, singing the title ballad from My Everything, her GRAMMY®-nomi-nated 2014 LP. It’s an intimate, heartfelt moment in an otherwise action-packed set, and when Grande breaks into tears, Laureta is right there to keep her going, smiling in encouragement as he continues to play. Meanwhile, the audience—a sold-out crowd at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden—cheers them both on as only 20,000 fervent fans can do.
IF IT WEREN’T FOR PUNK, Erik Sandin might not have played drums—or any instrument at all. But in 1981 his neighborhood punk band needed a drummer, so 15-year-old Erik became one. Two years later, he and two Los Angeles friends formed NOFX, which would go on to become one of the most successful and long-running punk bands ever.
AS TAYLOR SWIFT’S TOURING BASSIST, AMOS HELLER OCCUPIES one of the highest-profile sideman chairs in music—and he’s having the time of his life. That's especially true right now, as the band is in the midst of a world tour for Swift's record-breaking smash album 1989.
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