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Keith Test


Country Radio Seminar 2017

The Country Radio Seminar (February 22nd -24th), is proving itself once again as the annual gift of great live music, good times, networking, and thoughtful pearls of wisdom from the stage which have earned CRS its stellar reputation for nearly 50 years.

Country Radio Broadcasters, Inc. was founded to provide a platform and structure for education and growth for the Country Music format, serving as the conduit connecting the interests of Country Radio with the Country Music Industry. CRB says their motto is and has always been “Growth Thru Sharing”! That motto led to the Country Radio Seminar®, which continues to evolve, educate and promote the exchange of ideas and business practices which keep the Country Format dominant and vital.

This week is seeing some of the biggest names in the industry rubbing elbows in Nashville, catching up on all the latest in the biz, and enjoying live music from a Mount Rushmore bill that includes Trisha Yearwood (opening with the National Anthem), Lady Antebellum, Luke Bryan, Vince Gill, Sam Hunt, Kip Moore, Jon Pardi, Darius Rucker, Chris Stapleton, and young upstart Keith Urban.

Also set to perform: A Thousand Horses, Trent Harmon, Delta Rae, Midland, Carly Pearce and Maddie & Tae to name just a few.

And of course, there’s much to be learned at this year’s mentoring breakfasts, including breakouts devoted to Programming, Digital and Tech, Sales Mentoring, and Women’s Mentoring. Alongside, attendees will have much to glean via other educational elements including “Speeding Towards Tomorrow: Programming & Branding in a Mobile World,” “The Digital Revenue Explosion,” “Lace Up Your Boots and Get in the Trenches with Social Platforms,” You Are More Valuable Than You Think,” “Women Empowering Women,” and “Cultivating the Farm Team: Sources of New Talent.”

The Programming Mentoring Breakfast, sponsored by Sun Broadcast Group, promises to be an open Q&A forum tapping some of the most seasoned PD’s around, facilitated by CBS Radio Houston’s Bruce Logan. Additional participants due to be on hand are Shelly Easton, WXTU Philadelphia; Tim Richards, KMLE Phoenix; Tim Roberts, WYCD Detroit; Kenny Jay, KMPS Seattle; Rod Phillips, SVP/iHeart; Steve Stewart, KSD St. Louis/iHeart; Mike Brophey, WKLB Boston; Jeff Garrison, KCYY San Antonio; Andrew Bland, WWKA Orlando; Mike Preston, KKWF Seattle; Charlie Cook, WSM-FM Nashville/Cumulus; John Shomby, NASH/Cumulus; Nikki Thomas, WIVK/Cumulus; DJ Scout, WSOC Charlotte; and Mike Moore, KWJJ.

And, sure to be an especially good time is the “On-Air Talent Mentoring Happy Hour” which offers attendees the chance to mix mingle with on-air talent, managers and programmers alike, talking common issues like finding talent, digital advice, and marketing.

As always, Laurie Gail,  Play MPE’s VP of Label and Radio relations is on hand capturing the magic for digital posterity!

Academy Fight Songs: Oscars 2017

With awards season in full swing, the big kahuna Academy Awards are upon us February 26th.  The movie industry’s biggest night has plenty for music fans to chew on though, as stellar performers have been lined up for Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre.

Nominees for Best Original Song in a motion picture include gems from Sting, Justin Timberlake, and La La Land’s “City of Stars” as well as “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)”, performed in the film by Emma Stone. Composer Justin Hurwitz is honored by 3 nominations for his work on the Hollywood love note La La Land, including for Original Score.

Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling” comes to us by way of Trolls. (The film, not the internet bullies). The sugar-poppy number debuted at number one on the Hot 100 and was called by Slate “Timberlake’s ‘lightest confection’ since his boy band days”.  We’ll take it.  And it’s more than just a catchy little tune. It’s made history outta the gate: first week sales reached 379,000 which is strikingly the highest weekly amount for any song last year.  This alongside 15 million first week streams, mind you. Equally notable, “Can’t Stop the Feeling” is only the 26th song in Hot 100 history to debut at number one.

Also, getting a nod is “How Far I’ll Go”, from Disney’s Moana, a 3D computer animated musical comedy.  The song is performed in the film by American actress and singer Auli’i Cravalho , in the role of the film’s namesake. Canadian singer Alessia Cara performed the song on the film’s soundtrack.  “How Far I’ll Go” was written and produced by Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Sting enjoys his 4th nomination, for “The Empty Chair” from Jim: The James Foley Story, HBO’s documentary honoring the legacy of the frontline journalist abducted and murdered in Syria in 2014. The song was composed with 2 time academy award winner J. Ralph.  Sting had this to say about the powerful song. “I was celebrating Thanksgiving with family and it dawned on me: leave an empty chair. If this happened to me…  I got my lyric! When you find the metaphor, you have your song, but until you find that metaphor, it’s tricky. This was the guy who told the stories of refugees. I wanted to honor his hope and courage, real American heroism, not the John Wayne kind. This is important because he died to tell the truth.”

All are set to perform at the big event along with the man, the myth, John Legend.

Ahead Of The Curb

With a history 5 decades deep, Curb Records counts itself amongst the industry’s indies to be reckoned with.

Named for founder Mike Curb, Curb Records is one of the world’s leading independent music companies. Owned and operated under The Curb Group since 1962, Curb Records has achieved 433 number one records, over 1,500 hundred Top Ten records and charted over 4,500 total records.

Not the typical background story of a label founder, Mike Curb’s is that of a a lieutenant governor and governor, by way of California. In addition, in his own right, Curb brings to the table experience as a music industry professional prior to Curb Record’s launch. He has enjoyed considerable success as a producer and songwriter, credited with writing over 400 songs, receiving awards and nominations along the way.  In 1972, Billboard anointed Curb with the Overall Producer of the Year award.  Not content to stop with those successes and that of his label, Curb also launched the Mike Curb Family Foundation and serves as the Chairman of gospel music’s Word Entertainment, named by Billboard as Overall Top Imprint in gospel for 2006. Mr. Curb produced “My Guy” for Petula Clark, “So Young” for Roy Orbison, and “Candy Man” for Sammy Davis, Jr.  Mind you, this of course only scratches the surface. An unmatched swath in the fabric of the industry, Curb recently told Billboard, “I’m never leaving Music Row. Are you kidding me? In my will, I’ve got a trust set up where they can’t move us off Music Row.”

As a philanthropist, Curb’s reach is equally striking. Educational programs bearing Curb’s name grace over a dozen schools across the states, while medical, homeless, and other family programs join Curb’s work with the Scouts of America.

All this rightfully led Curb to be anointed with stars on both Nashville’s Music City Walk of Fame and Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. But wait, there’s more for this label namesake’s renaissance man: For over 40 years, Curb has driven alongside the best of them in the realms of Indy Car, NASCAR, World of Outlaws and USAC. His wheels have even been lent out to none other than Dale Earnhardt. Capping off an already banner year in 2006 saw Mike inducted into the West Stock Car Hall of Fame.

With such a talent at the helm, it’s no surprise Curb Records has the likes of Ryan Dokke, as its Promotions lead. Three years ago, Ryan came aboard as Vice President of Promotion. CEO Jim Ed Norman had this to say about Ryan: “Ryan is a natural born leader. His tenacity and drive combined with his love of music make him perfectly suited to meet the demands of this rapidly changing industry. The Curb Group’s enterprises are numerous and extend to many areas, from music to motorsports to education and beyond. We’ve been searching for a candidate with the vision to actuate the many varied opportunities available here and we found that in Ryan.”  VP Taylor Childress added “Ryan is known for his passion and his dogged determination, both of which will serve him well in his new role here. His meteoric rise during his 10 plus years working in radio made him one of the youngest Program Directors in the format– demonstrating his ‘Can Do’ attitude. He has the intelligence and vision needed to lead Curb Records’ promotion efforts. He’s also a great human being and is lauded industry-wide for his solid character.”

It’s always nice to be able to take a moment to salute the good guys while simultaneously admiring their remarkable companies. After all Curb’s celebrated roster has included Sammy Davis, Roy Orbison, The Righteous Brothers, Hank Williams, Lyle Lovett, Lee Greenwood, Carl Perkins, Wynonna, and LeeAnn Rimes… just to name a few.

Mr. Curb and… Curb Records, we salute you.

To hear and download the latest in Curb Releases, including Selah – I Got Saved, Mo Pitney – Everywhere and Rachel Holder – You Only Call Me When You’re Drunk, check out your trusty Play MPE Player.

Curb photo: Copyright © 2017 Curb Records, Inc.

The Bully Pulpit

With the seemingly infinite reach and power of social media, there’s been a steady increase in chatter regarding the dangers of online bullying… but to this point, it’s usually something we associate first with our more vulnerable members of the population, and 7th graders caught in Snapchat’s daunting crosshairs. However, the heated sentiments of the past year have proven that music’s superstars are not above the fray when it comes to judgement and a lack of civility forging its path through that qwerty keyboard and out to the universe.

In a post-”wardrobe malfunction” TV world, notoriously, Mariah Carey took heat for an apparent audio playback malfunction at December’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve performance. Carey ceased lip synching and refrained from singing as the crowd heard Carey’s vocals play on. Indeed, Carey even spoke to the crowd as her recorded vocals continued to play under.  Immediately, the inevitable Twitter storm brewed.  (“Even Mariah Carey can’t’ sing along to Mariah Carey.” amongst the notable jabs.)   Trolling of the “meltdown” even extended beyond social media, across the field of entertainment – across the relationship between performer and audience, and to… professional sports. Adorned in a pink leotard, the San Antonio Spurs Mascot coyote even carried a mic as he walked around the court at subsequent game, facing fans. The coyote went on to lip sync (unsuccessfully of course) to Carey’s “Emotions.”

And fast forward to the most watched event in TV, year after year, and we find Lady Gaga giving it her all (as ever) at the Super Bowl. Inconceivably, it seems there are those who felt Mz. Gaga’s body is less than perfect – and took to self-publishing online to celebrate their perceptions. They did not phase the superstar however, who responded on Instagram: “I heard my body is a topic of conversation so I wanted to say, I’m proud of my body and you should be proud of yours too. No matter who you are or what you do.”

There were those too who were relentless in response to those who performed at the Inauguration, including Chrisette Michele. The virtual attacks on Michelle were so striking, that India.Arie stepped in to defend her. In an open letter, India.Arie wrote: “…Stop the petty talk – AND USE OUR ENERGY FOR THE HIGHEST GOOD. WE ARE MORE POWERFUL THAN WE KNOW when we are making “woke” or what I call, “high consciousness” choices…”

This year continues to shine a light on the sheer magnitude of the internet’s reach…in all its playing-field evening magnitude. While we idolize these stars, at our weakest we seek to simultaneously take them down a peg. While we once identified with these enviable escapees from the island of misfit toys, twitter and Snapchat have given us a forum to drunk text the whole world at our not so finest moments.  As stated on CNN’s series documenting the 80s, and in particular the public’s growing obsession with television, “any tool for human expression will bring out the best and the worst in us.” Each day we seem to get closer and closer to a self-perpetuated Orwellian state reminiscent of They Live, to mix apocalyptic metaphors. While the thought police are hopefully still at bay, heckling and tomato throwing will always be a part of free society and the performer-audience dynamic. And there won’t always be “safe places” to shield those from opinions different from their own.  But… there will be dancing, and the show must go on.

OMG, UMG, WMG

Officially, as of February, Warner Music Group has become the latest to join the $1 Beeeellion club in streaming dollars.

Spotify and Apple pieces of the pie helped Warner accumulate $311 million in 2016’s 4th quarter, an increase of (ya ready?) 47%. Even more jaw dropping? That shakes out to a swift $3.4 million a day and 26 a week in streaming dollars. Warner joins Universal Music Group, the first to surpass the mighty 1 billion in streaming bucks annually, as of December 2015.

In a statement, Warner CEO Steve Cooper said “Our strong momentum continues with excellent first-quarter results including 11% constant-currency revenue growth on top of 11% growth in the prior-year quarter. While streaming continues to drive industry growth, we are outperforming the market thanks to extraordinary music from our artists coupled with first-class execution from our operators around the world.”

Sharing in the credit for Warner’s banner year? Bruno Mars, Michael Bublé, Twenty One Pilots, the Suicide Squad soundtrack… aaaaand the Hamilton original cast album. This win for Warner reflects an overall increase in revenue by a cool 60 mil.  As compared to streamings’ 50% share of revenue, physical sales hang tough at 36%. (Downloads round out the number).  Meanwhile, Sony clocks in at 39% streaming, and over 40% physical. From 2015 to 2016, Streaming at Warner increased by over 12 percent, while overall revenue showed an 8% bump.

The monthly numbers for Sony?  $124m overall, about 4 million daily with $167,000 coming in hourly from Apple & Spotify. This marks a 30% increase as compared to 2015. All that being said, it’s still all about Let’s Get Physical.  Physical sales remain the top revenue generator for Sony. Downloads meanwhile, have shrunk to just one fifth of Sony’s total cash. All in, Sony Music brought in $3.65 bil in 2016.

According to nonprofit IFPI, which provides research and insight into patterns and methods of music consumption worldwide, digital revenues now account for 45 percent of total revenues, compared to 39 per cent for physical sales. In addition, “Streaming remains the industry’s fastest-growing revenue source. Revenues increased 45.2 per cent to US$ 2.9 billion and, over the five year period up to 2015, have grown more than four-fold.”

Worth noting, Sony’s biggest sellers were A Pentatonix Christmas and Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker.  So, amidst all the cash cow numbers talk?  No better reminder of the soul behind this industry, and why we’re all a part of it.

The Fruits Of Labor: The Orchard & Play MPE

The Orchard & Play MPEPlay MPE is pleased to announce our partnership with The Orchard.  Like two peas in a pod… or… oranges in a grove, Play MPE and The Orchard form a natural allegiance second to none when it comes to one-stop-shopping digital distribution needs. Founded in 1997 in New York’s Lower East Side by Richard Gottehrer and Scott Cohen, The Orchard is a pioneering music, film and video distribution company operating in more than 25 global markets. With an adorably mom and pop presentation, The Orchard and their uber user-friendly dashboard bring a holistic approach to streamlining content to the industry’s biggest players/platforms, including:  iTunes, YouTube, Spotify, Vevo, Amazon.com, rdio, and oodles of others.

Diana Wollach, Director, Corporate & Product Marketing at The Orchard, had this to say about the partnership. “Play MPE® offers a premium promotional service for delivering music securely to targeted influencers and we are excited to work with Destiny Media to bring this service to our clients,” said “We’re always looking for partnerships that will add value to our label clients’ business, and we’re confident Play MPE® will help us accomplish exactly this.“

And on our end, Destiny’s CEO is also pleased as punch. “We are happy to partner with The Orchard to provide our Play MPE® services to securely distribute their clients’ music to decision makers in radio, press, TV, and film.” said Steve Vestergaard. “We are particularly excited about the opportunity to work with a top music distribution company, thus entering into a new distribution channel for our services.  This partnership with The Orchard further illustrates the value proposition that both record labels and now media distribution companies are finding with our Play MPE® service.”

For nearly 20 years, The Orchard has grown consistently in achieving its goal of empowering businesses and creators in the entertainment industry. From the start, The Orchard’s goal has been to provide independent artists with the ability to sell their music to mainstream audiences.  Within a year of their launch, The Orchard became the first company to supply indie music to CDNOW.  2003 saw The Orchard expand to Europe, setting up shop in London and preparing for the arrival of iTunes, delivering to them the largest catalog of independent music in the world.

As such, The Orchard naturally and quickly become the first independent distributor to hit one million paid downloads and streams.  Growing by the second, the continued success prompted The Orchard to expand their groves to include a Film/TV/Advertising division and further expose clients’ music. As they say: “As your end-to-end digital and physical solution, we’ll get your music to hundreds of retailers — big or niche — in every country around the world.  They even have a handy dandy acronym for their system- and it’s as adorbs as their logo:   V.E.C.T.O.R. (Very Efficient Conduit To Our Retailers). The scope of services encompassed by The Orchard even includes music placement, through their aptly dubbed “Sync Services,” fighting the good fight to get placement in film, TV shows, ads, and games. Bookending that moneymaker is

The Orchard’s Rights Management arm, removing the headaches related to the complex process of publishing approval, licensing, accounting and royalty payouts.  It’s all part of what The Orchard calls their total music solution which allows users to “still have plenty of time to make music and develop artists.”  As their messaging states, “We’re a 21st century distribution company with a global presence and a local feel.”

To see what the busy bees at The Orchard have been harvesting lately, head to http://www.theorchard.com/music-distribution/.

Keith Walker: Deeper Than A Beer Bottle

Keith WalkerSpeaking with Keith Walker, it’s easy to discern the clear drive and determination that his paved the way throughout the singer-songwriter’s career. Though born in Louisiana, Keith was raised in Los Angeles, where he introduced his friends to his favorite Merle Haggard and Garth Brooks songs. Music was always a part of the Walker household (with Haggard, Gary Allan, and Garth Brooks heard regularly), and the seeds of Keith’s musical dreams were planted early.

Following high school, Keith and those musical roots were well on their way, as he pursued an opera scholarship by day and spent evenings playing country music in the local clubs. Ultimately, Nashville called to him and Keith went on to study at Middle Tennessee State University. There, he worked and played hard, forming connections that would be the foundation of his burgeoning career, all while continuing to write songs.

Beth Robinson, General Manager at Richey Promotions glows when speaking about those songs and songwriter. “Keith’s matchless honesty and emotion runs throughout his catalog. He is excited about sharing his wholehearted, down-to-earth passion for country music.” Reflecting on the whirlwind that his climb towards success has meant, Keith shared, “It’s been quite amazing actually. I just have an amazing team. Richey promotions they got behind me and they’re my cheerleaders.  They’re waving my flag all over town with the radio stations. It’s just really starting to work. It’s funny where I’m at I wasn’t sure if I was gonna go to a promoter right away but it just really ended up clicking when we met.”

Also clicking?  That little partnership with Play MPE. Mr. Walker took to the internets, Tweeting trumpeting Play MPE’s impact on his rise in the country ranks… and charts. “This probably won’t mean that much to you guys but Play MPE is the service that gets radio the music they play. This week I was #3 right behind Garth Brooks and Brad Paisley. Right in a line with my heroes. Today is a good day!” (Thanks for the shout out, Keith!  And “won’t mean much?”  P’shaw!  Keith’s success embodies the empowerment provided by Play MPE’s reach and usability, if we do say so ourselves.

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And speaking of “right in line with my heroes,” Keith also locked in dates playing with Clint Black, Kenny Chesney, and Ken Smith.  “It was nice to be on the same card…That alone was huge for me.”

Keith speaks with equal reverence and exuberance about reaction to “Me Too.” “The response has been tremendous so I’m just really blown away.”

Turns out, this wasn’t originally the plan, until a few little birds prompted him: “It’s funny, I wasn’t actually planning on releasing this single. This was one that kind of snuck up on us as we were listening in the office.  And some people who are just country music fans walked in. It was a family member of my promotions team, ya know – a 3rd party. It’s always nice to get the somebody who’s not really in the industry and they go ‘Oh we love this song, oh yeah, you gotta release that.’ And it was one of those that my wife was asking why we never released it. I’m happy that it shows a little more depth to me as an artist because the first two singles, honestly, were about drinking. So… there’s nothing wrong with a good drinking song. I wanted to show that I’m deeper than a beer bottle.”

Keith WalkerSpeaking about the process overall, Keith reflects, “I’ve been writing my whole life.  And I’ve been blessed to write with some amazing songwriters here in Nashville. I’ve got a coupla guys I really click with. Love sitting down with those guys and stuff. The know my story front and back so it’s easy to sit in a room with them.”

I ask if the inspiration comes in bursts or if he’s steadily prolific. “I would say there are bursts. I’ll spend some time where I’ll put on my hat. Like, summertime this is my show hat. I gotta go up, I gotta play. Then this is my creative hat. Now I’m starting to get back into writing after being on the road a lot. It’s a lot of up and down. Don’t get me wrong – when I’m on the road and I think of something, like deeper than a beer bottle I’ll write that down. I’ll marry up a melody to it later if it’s feeling right.”

Sure seems things are feeling right these days. To hear Keith’s latest gems head to your Play MPE account!

 

Elizabeth Chan’s Christmas Quest

Elizabeth ChanFor the past five years, singer-songwriter Elizabeth Chan has been making Christmas music.  And not in a ‘tis the season, December, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, once a year sort of way. Just like her 2012 chart success namesake Everyday Holidays conveys, for Chan, every day is devoted to Christmas music. And that’s been the case for far longer than 5 years’ time.

The well-spoken and introspective Chan is candid and endearing in sharing the makings of her dream, dating back to early childhood. “When I was 7, I knew that I wanted to write a famous Christmas song.” Savvy to the core, it’s no surprise that the native New Yorker spent many successful years in the corporate rat race, working in magazine publishing at Conde Nast. We spoke of the leap Chan made back in 2012, embracing that dream she’d had since 1st grade.

“I think when you reach a point in your life you kind of evaluate what is most important. I sometimes think I realized it too late, but actually it was just on time. But, time is the most precious resource that you have to give. I am a firm believer that money comes and money goes, and you always know how many days, how many hours it takes to make a certain amount of money. You always know how much money you need to live a certain amount of days. But, you never know how much time you have. And you never know how many days you have. So, that is pretty much the fuel that kind of fires my career because I know that to create a Christmas standard, it’s gonna take time.”

Along the way, this time has meant the founding of Merry Bright Music Enterprises, of which Chan is the CEO.  As stated at merrybrightmusic.com, the company was created with her personal mission in mind: To leave behind a new holiday standard that can be enjoyed by generations to come. “Between composing, writing, and producing hundreds of original holiday songs, Elizabeth travels the world to share her story and music with millions worldwide. What started off as a goal to write one Christmas song has led to multiple award nominations and critical acclaim for her music. Not only is she passionate about her own music, but she is active in music advocacy groups and is an proponent for independent labels, artists, and the rights of musicians around the world.”

Elizabeth Chan - Five Golden RingsChan’s drive and determination are tangible as she speaks. She has a clarity of purpose that is enviable, and detectable in any successful person, inside or outside the music industry. A keen observer and listener, Chan has clearly taken countless mental notes along the path to success and applied them toward all she continues to achieve, mindful of the challenges she faces as a perceived “seasonal” and niche artist.  “It’s not the kind of the thing where I can be like an Ariana Grande seemingly overnight and form relationships with everybody one Christmas at a time. If Christmas were every day, I’d be killing it… but, it’s not. And that’s what makes Christmas music so special.  I embarked on this journey and I started from nothing. I really started from nothing.”

Five years on, the many stops on that journey have reinforced the award-winning singer-songwriter’s decision as the right one.  Outta the gate, Chan’s debut Naughty and Nice debuted on the iTunes holiday chart.  This season, Chan returns with Five Golden Rings, featuring a new batch of standards, including the gorgeous “Ghost of Christmas Past” and “Sleigh.” Chan’s success has fans and confidants alike urging her to expand her focus and cross over to other genres.

“Every day somebody says to me ‘you are so good at what you do. If only you did non-Christmas music, you’d be killing it.’ But that’s not my dream. And everybody has their own dream. I know that this is my calling and it’s my purpose. So, to need to just do things the way that everybody else thinks is the right way might be right for them, from their own mindset, but for me, I know what my journey is.”

Chan summarizes her craft, succinctly noting “Christmas is really my muse,” going on to share “I have a very distinctive special relationship with the season because I’m constantly inspired by it.  I study and I listen to a lot of Christmas music all year around. I definitely have my own distinctive perspective on how I like to craft my Christmas music so it comes from a storytelling place. It comes from real authentic place. For me to be able to do that, I also have to protect that which inspires me. That’s one thing I’m most proud of is that this is still an art to me, that I feel like sometimes is lost with some Christmas projects.”

Elizabeth Chan TwitterFittingly, Irving Berlin is named as an idol. “When he wrote ‘White Christmas,’ he didn’t set out to write a famous Christmas song. But, he was really kind of focusing on his experience living in Hollywood during a time when he felt most alone and wanted to remember life at home, and that’s a very timeless message that we can all relate to.”

Reflecting on her previous life in publishing, Chan comments on less calm moments. “I can tell you, I barely slept. I would keep myself up at night worrying about something that somebody said in some meeting and ‘how am I gonna deal with that tomorrow?’ And I don’t have that anymore. And that is freeing emotionally.  And when you’re free emotionally, you’re just all around healthier.  You’re also closer to who you’re supposed to be. I think when you are not attuned to who you are supposed to be or you kind of put it to the side and you don’t really think much of it, you can really lose yourself.”   In a follow-up email, Elizabeth rightly states of success, “Patience, grit but more importantly an unwavering belief in yourself and your art despite the adversity is truly the recipe I believe.” Want more pearls? Head to lizchanchrismas.com for thoughtful blog posts.

Since stepping off the corporate treadmill, Chan has worked tirelessly and prolifically, crafting countless songs, many of which may stay on the proverbial shelf for years. “I literally spend a good portion of the year writing hundreds of songs, and not all of them are great but some of them are gems. And then when I have those gems, I keep them and I let them kind of marinate in my catalog before I even release them. So, songs that I release on my “new records” are most of the time songs that I’ve written years ago that I feel, ok these are ready because I can recall them.”  A word to the wise, for sure. And, to mix metaphors, these things take time…particularly in the world of Christmas music. “It takes a really long time to make a Christmas standard. Any standard that is a standard right now minimum is a 20+ year old song… like Mariah’s song is almost 30 years old. I took a leap of faith. Sometimes the only vehicle you have is a leap of faith, right?  It worked out for me but I’m also somewhat obsessed with this idea of really wanting to leave behind a Christmas standard.”

It’s clear Chan is well on her way to achieving that goal. Now put your feet up by the fire, login into your Play MPE account and raise an eggnog toast!

Whoa Nelly

NellyThe double-edged sword of the internet’s immeasurable power has once again revealed itself… this time both causing and highlighting financial distress of one of hip hop’s biggest stars.  After reports surfaced recently of the considerable IRS debt looming over Nelly, the #savenelly campaign was born. At once a noble testament to the altruistic reach of social media, #savenelly invited fans to stream Nelly songs, the smash “Hot in Herre” in particular.

Nelly has amassed both federal and state tax debt: $149,511 owed to Missouri, and $2,412,283 in a federal tax lien imposed this fall. Sources in the Nelly camp assure the media that he is working closely with the feds to resolve the issue… but the daunting amount has fans rallying at his side, offering a solution. The well-intentioned plan, is a sort of stuffing the ballot box/crowd funding amalgam: Spin reported their determination that for each Spotify stream, Nelly would rake in between $.006 and $.0084. Spin staffers did some quick math and concluded that “Hot in Herre” would need to be streamed between 287,176,547 and… (ready?) 402,880,500 times to amount to the cash needed for Nelly to shake the tax albatross.

Though daunting, the cause has continued to draw support from grateful fans tweeting their solidarity and support. Some Twitter gems:

Nelly gave us hits for the middle school dances. We owe him #SaveNelly@theyhatedr

Because college was so lit. #SaveNelly@DaHoneyDipTX

Nelly helped you awkwardly grind on your first girlfriend during the homecoming dance. You owe him. #SaveNelly@thesaddestangel

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Indeed, streams for Nelly (born Cornell Iral Haynes), tripled during the start of the campaign – no small potatoes.  Media coverage mirrors the fan hysteria, with the 41-year-old superstar receiving making headlines in Time, the Washington Post, and USA Today… to say nothing of Fortune magazine’s piece.  Quick to chime in from the bwamp bwamp camp, Fortune noted that despite Spin’s well-intentioned math, the numbers do not reflect the true revenue likely to be achieved by the streaming campaign.  Fortune’s Dan Reilly notes “an artist would have to be completely independent – no label, manager, any other contracted representative, co-writers, producers, sampled artists, etc – to collect that streaming payout without giving away a good portion of it. Even if Nelly got the best deal in music history, he’s still giving up a portion of those fractions of a cent.”  And how ya like these Apples?  Andrew Farrior, Marketing Director for Street Execs, which manages rappers 2 Chainz and Young Dolph, told Fortune “The general rule of thumb is for every million streams you get, you make about $4,000 or $5,000 of actual cash, and that’s divvied up.”

Yipes. Get out the vote, kids!

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