The emblem Shae Parker uses for his music features the silhouette of a guitar against the mountains of the Blue Ridge. This very aptly evokes his love of the Blue Ridge and modern Appalachian music.
We asked Shae about his own musical journey.
“I’ve been playing since childhood after discovering my mother’s old guitar tucked away in a closet. Primarily I play stringed instruments including guitar, bass, mandolin, and banjo, and I dabble with piano, other keyboards, and harmonica. Early on I had the pleasure to play with Blue & The Jaded. More recently I spent about 10 years with The Church Street Project as a vocalist and bass player. Since 2017 I’ve been performing solo and with The River Driven Band.”
As a lifelong local musician playing roots music, folk, blues, and Americana, Shae is glad to see a resurgence in the local music scene. Recent gigs with the River Driven Band include PaveMint Smokin’ Taphouse’s 420 Fest and Blue Wing Frog’s Round Here Originals. We’ve enjoyed Shae’s recent performances at Melting Pot Pizza’s 50th Birthday Bash and The Festival of Leaves.
Where to listen or find a performance? “Music is available on most streaming platforms and SongsbyShae.com has links to my music and calendar. Events coming up include Shenandoah Valley Golf Clubs Fire Pit Fridays, and Campfire Country Fest.”
Plans for the future? “Writing more songs, booking more shows, and a new album with the River Driven Band in the works.”
Shae’s varied resume includes radio broadcaster and journalist, sign maker, small business owner, Town Councilman and Vice Mayor, artist, and musician and songwriter. He knows a lot about operating a business — and he was gracious enough to share some of his music business notes with us.
MUSIC AS A BUSINESS
These are not all of the things I’ve had to learn, but a few items that may come in handy for those looking to release music.
Playing live is only part of the “business of music.” Once you start recording or writing music there are a lot of other aspects of the business to consider. I’ve had to learn most of this on as I’ve gone along.
Finances and licensing. If you haven’t already, open a bank account specifically for your music. It’s also a good idea to go ahead and get a business license, as they call it “The Music Business” for a reason. You’re going to have expenses and revenue, and this is the best way to keep track of it all in one place. Importantly, you will need an account designated to receive royalty and distribution payments.
Music Business. So you’ve recorded a song or an album, you’ve had it mixed down and are ready to release it to the world. Here are some other aspects of the industry you may not have thought of.
- Copyright is the first issue to tackle whether it is obtaining the rights to record someone else’s music or obtaining a copyright for your own compositions. Most of this can be handled through the Library of Congress.
- Distribution is a fairly easy to accomplish in todays day and age. Multiple companies offer services to put your music on most all streaming platforms. Rates depend on what your needs are, so researching the various services and companies will go a long way here. Your distributor will also collect your distribution royalties and distribute them to the proper writers/performers. If you plan to do a physical release (CD, Vinyl) distribution will pretty much be on your own either through local or online stores. Your distributor will also provide your ISRC and UPC codes, which help track your releases.
- Music publishing is a bit more complex as this is an additional revenue stream on top of distribution royalties. A publishing company will collect air play royalties on your behalf and additional performance royalties. Essentially publishing companies make sure that artist get paid directly for their work, whether through their own recordings and performances or by others. Publishing rights are overlooked by some establishments. Musicians and performance artists need to be diligent in making sure venues have proper music licensing before booking. This protects your interests, and the interests of the owners of music you cover.
- Promotion is often overlooked. Social media and websites are obvious promotional tools, but most streaming platforms also usually provide individual artist pages which will need attention as well. Remember you are no longer just promoting to friends, family, and the local music scene, but to the world.
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