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June/July 1996

Big Pond * Wammies Voting Procedures * Wammies Nominations * Local Notes *
New Releases * Studio News * Resources * music@cyberspace * Indie Awards *

Your Music Across the Big Pond

by Stacey Williams
Countless musicians have experienced a twist in the tale of local boy makes good by breaking into foreign markets. The NAIRD (Natitional Association of Independent Record Distributors) Convention panel, Selling Outside the US provided an informative view of how to break into the world market with your music. Panelists included Paul Tai (New World Records); Mitch Salalof (Hired Gun Marketing); Bob Feldman (Red House Records); and Dan Storper (Putamayo World Music).

"Focus is the key element," was Dan's advice. "Focus on the US market, then learn the foreign markets. Start with English speaking countries and don't overlook your neighbors to the north - Canada." To introduce product into the market, realistic goals must be established, a plan of action created, contacts made, and effective communication maintained. Attendance at MIDEM was recommended by all panelists.

Bob suggested looking for booking agents who do foreign tours. Once contacts are established, following through and following up with product is essential. Europe is a very press driven market. A publicist experienced in foreign markets can get the word out and create an interest in your music.

Sending a sampler to distributors was cited as a means of introducing your music to the market. Most distributors will not carry your whole product line and samplers will give them a way to choose which merchandise they want. Paul stressed alternative marketing venues such as specialty stores, mail order, and consignment deals to break into international markets. Make your product more appealing by putting press kits and liner notes in the language of the country.

Before sending product to any market, check references on those persons with whom you are dealing. Pirating of music still is a problem in every market. Make sure it doesn't happen to you.

The difference between licensing (the right to manufacture product) and distribution (the right to sell product) deals should be clearly understood and defined in the contract. Method of shipment and who is responsible for shipping costs should also be stipulated in the agreement. Jewel boxes add to shipping costs. Panelists suggested using the CD sleeves to make getting the product through customs more efficient. Knowing the customs regulations for the market is a must.

All charges and payment issues should be discussed up front. Knowing how to wire money and knowing the banking routes shows distributors you know how to do business in foreign markets. With established accounting terms and monthly or tri-montly statements licensing agreements can be policed. Most of the panelist found it easier to deal in US currency.

Every one dreams of taking the foreign market by storm. By knowing the marketplace, contacts, venues and laws of your target market, your world invasion doesn't have to be a war. Crossing the big pond could actually be fun.

Wammies Voting Procedures

The WAMA Board of Directors will be seriously considering changes in the policy and procedures relating to the nominations and voting for the Wammies. In the past few years, the Board has received a number of comments regarding the procedure, both pro and con. The Board is now creating a special committee to asses the present procedures and to provide to the full Board of Directors recommendations for change. The changes, if any are adopted, will be implemented for the 1997 Wammies. This year's event will not incorporate any changes of significance, beyond what the Board has authority to do. In the past, some of the areas of concern have been:
  1. Whether a band should have one vote or whether every band member should be allowed to vote?
  2. Whether the criteria for the awards should be set forth in a more formal fashion, much like the Oscars or Grammys. The argument being that better criteria and enforcement of the criteria, will make the awards more respected and legitimate?
  3. Whether categories should be better defined and more permanent?
  4. Whether artists should be nominated in more than one ore two categories.
All written comments should be sent to:
Jay Rosenthal, Esq.,
Berliner, Corcoran & Rowe
1101 17th Street, N.W., Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20036
or faxes to 202-293-9035 (c/o Jay Rosenthal, Esq.)

The Board will designate a special Board meeting to meet with individuals or groups to discuss these issues.

The 1996 Wammies Nominations

The Nomination Ballot for the 1996 Washington Area Music Awards (The Wammies) will be included in the August/September edition of WAMA News. Hard to believe, yet true. We encourage potential nominees to let the WAMA membership know what you've been doing. Send in your news items or consider advertising in the newsletter. An informed member is our best voter.
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