April 23, 2017

“Caution: Read Before Signing” – Chicago Music Professionals Event Review

By Sofia Bergfeld

Chicago Music Professional’s second Meetup presented again by “The Brian’s” focused on contracts, specifically the cautionary action artists should take before signing any contract. They began by stating the basic elements of a contract and introduced the hypothetical of a four-member band to better illustrate the situations and terms an individual may run into during contract negotiations.

The Brian’s also discussed band agreements and stressed the importance of getting an attorney. Attorneys are there to represent only their client not the entire band. In most cases a record label is not concerned with the band behind the lead singer therefore it is extremely important to get yourself protected.

They also discussed the types of management contracts and recording agreements. The standard album cycle is around 18 months so most management contracts are the same length. The Brian’s mentioned key terms to look for in recording agreements as well. Some of these terms include: parties, team recording process, advances vs. recording budgets, artists royalty, recoupment, controlled composition clause and cross-collateralization.

The worst mistake an artist can make is coming to their attorney and asking, “What did I just sign?” Bottom line, you need to understand the agreement and there is absolutely no excuse for not reading the contract. This means you should not rely on anyone else to read the contract. The Brian’s stressed that there is also no excuse for not understanding the contract. An ounce of prevention can go a long way in the world of contracts so it is important to ask questions.

Overall, The Brian’s provided useful information for anyone who will encounter a contract in the future and even gave great advice for those that already have come in contact with these types of contracts. The session can be viewed on our Ustream.com channel.

Read The Fine Print!

 Read The Fine Print!


By Delara Alviri

Disputes between artists and their labels are nothing new. Conflict may ensue whether you are at the peak of your career or just starting out. Some stories have been known only to those involved while others have become famous music history. One can only hope to never get into this kind of argument, but it is a reality that an artist may face whether she likes it or not. Even with good intentions on both sides, contract disputes are sometimes both inevitable and unforeseen.

One famous story is between band 30 Seconds to Mars and Virgin Records. Virgin and 30 Seconds to Mars were tied for a five-album deal, but Virgin sued Jared Leto, vocalist for the band, for thirty million dollars for breach of contract when the band refused to deliver a third album to the label in 2008. The band members claimed they had not seen a cent from the label for more than two million records sold, so they demanded their right under California Labor Code Sec. 2855(a) which governs the ability of entertainers to terminate their contracts after seven years. The dispute got ugly, and Leto was adamant about his lawful rights. Eventually, the suit was settled in 2009, and incredibly, 30 Seconds to Mars signed a new contract with Virgin Records!

Probably an even more famous cautionary tale is between Slash and Duff McKagan versus Axl Rose. Axl claims that his feud is based on Slash being a “cancer…better removed, avoided, and the less anyone heard of him or his supporters, the better,” and that Slash and Duff did “damage to my ability as a writer.” While on tour at the height of the band’s drug and alcohol addictions, Axl reportedly had his lawyers hold up his band-mates backstage and told them Axl wouldn’t join them onstage unless they signed all rights and control of the name Guns N’ Roses over to him. They agreed, and it was the beginning of the end. Skip a few decades, in 2005, Slash and Duff sued Axl for lucrative deals putting Guns songs in movies and other media despite no controlling interest in the music. In 2006, they sued again for signing a publishing deal that omitted any royalty checks to the rest of the band. There’s no end in sight for this classic group and dispute.

Another notorious dispute that went all the way to Capitol Hill was between Pearl Jam and Ticketmaster. Even Bill Clinton had something to say about this. The band, specifically singer Eddie Vedder, discovered fans were paying outrageous service-charge fees to Ticketmaster when buying tickets for their upcoming U.S. tour, which resulted in Pearl Jam scrapping their 1994 summer tour. The band was so serious about this issue that they attempted to stage its own tour of non-Ticketmaster venues. These were mostly non-traditional venues where the band would have to build shows from the ground up at every location. Economically and politically there was no upside for Pearl Jam to fight this battle, but it was a historic moment in time. It was a challenge to the existing business model, and the band risked jeopardizing their superstar status. Ultimately, Pearl Jam lost in court, but it brought the company a public relations nightmare by bringing some of the industry’s back-room dealings into the light.

There is no formula to the creation or breakdown of a dispute, but it happens all the time. Bands are sometimes compensated or forced to change; big companies may be forced to pay up. These disputes will continue to follow every artist. You’ve been warned!

CMP’s Next Event: “Caution – Read Before Signing!”

By Delara Alviri and Sofia Bergfeld 

The first Chicago Music Professionals meeting here at Music Garage was a success, and we already have the second one planned! “Caution – Read Before Signing!” will be held Wednesday, November 11, 2015 from 7 to 9:30 pm. This meeting will be focusing on the fine print of contracts- the “gotchas” that can get us all if we’re not careful! After getting feedback about the last event, this meeting will also be more friendly for those who will not be able to make it to the session in person. It will be streamed so that anyone can follow along with their mobile device or computer.

For all the Twitter fanatics out there, you can use this platform to tweet in questions for our presenters, Brian and Brian, to answer. Live tweeting will allow not only our in house audience to stimulate conversation, but also our at-home or on-the-go viewers. The broader the dialogue, the better the engagement, interaction and benefit for all, so we want to extend that circle to our virtual friends as well. “Caution – Read Before Signing!” is filling up quickly and capacity is limited so if you plan to attend – and you should – go to either the CMP group on Meetup.com or the Music Garage event page on Facebook. We all know that streaming a show is never as good as the real performance. That being said, we’re thrilled to be streaming the event, but we do not want you to miss out on the opportunity to network with other attendees at the session. You never know what a simple conversation could lead to!

Chicago Music Professionals has been steadily growing and is now connected with over 120 members on the Meetup site. Anyone can sign up at the website: http://www.meetup.com/Chicago-Music-Professionals/ but CMP additionally has a Facebook page that will post updates about meetings: https://www.facebook.com/chicagomusicprofessionals/. Either platform is an easy way to stay connected with the group and Music Garage.


“Building Your Team”: CMP’s First Session Packs the Room

By Delara Alviri

The first Chicago Music Professionals Meetup with Brian Rosenblatt and Brian Saucier was incredibly engaging and helpful. The event started with about half an hour of networking between artists, managers, engineers, students, and professionals from every branch of business. “The Brians” shared their knowledge about multiple aspects of a team that is necessary to have a successful career as an artist. They delved into specifics of multiple roles including managers (both personal and business), agents, and lawyers to name a few.

They began the talk with differentiating between managers and agents and their respective roles. Agents legally need licenses. Sometimes managers will do agent-like jobs, which unfortunately could end in a lawsuit if something goes south. Brian and Brian also cautioned against using a “friend-ager” (a good friend stepping into the manager role) as not the best business tactic. Although the friend-ager might have good intentions, they are not always the best suited for the role. Essentially you are hiring them for whom they know – you – and not what they know – being a successful manager. Additionally, they emphasized the importance of attorneys while also cautioning the overuse of legal input. It’s good to have legal input, but if everyone brings in his or her lawyer to make every decision, then progress is extremely delayed and very expensive. After their presentation, attendees were able to ask any lingering questions and network again with Brian, Brian, and fellow music professionals.

Every artist wants to have a successful career but formal knowledge about successful team building is not always readily available. Talent and passion are always important factors, but the often harsh realities of law and the business are often omitted when starting in the music industry. This MeetUp group was organized by Joe Lardieri in order to help the community in this often overlooked and misunderstood area. They were fortunate to have the Music Garage as a venue and extend an invitation to the members of its community. Music Garage is a quality facility that is about more than just being a landlord renting rooms to artists. It is a creative hub for the music industry to not only share creative ideas and knowledge but also to collaborate to create outstanding music. Continual meetings such as this will be extremely helpful for anyone at any level working in the music industry.

Chicago Music Professionals: Your Next Networking Destination

By Sofia Bergfeld

Everybody knows that networking plays a large role in becoming successful. Regardless of the field you are in, building a network is in a sense a lot like building a business. What do you do though when you know everyone within your networking circle? How do you broaden your network beyond that one-degree of separation?

Chicago Music Professionals (CMP) delivers the solution to this problem by providing meaningful content coupled with outstanding networking opportunities. We asked Joe Lardieri, organizer and event host of Chicago Music Professionals, to offer his insight into the value of networking and into the future plans for Chicago Music Professionals.

So, why would CMP be valuable in helping someone advance his or her career within the music industry? Lardieri says that CMP “brings real world knowledge in a condensed usable format and couples it with an excellent opportunity to network with peers and likeminded artists.” The problem with working alongside people that you already know is that you can become stuck in a rut. To get out of this, he has a few suggestions: “Step out of your comfort zone, find groups that will allow you to come into contact with people you wouldn’t otherwise come into contact with.” CMP also allows individuals to break this pattern, casting a wide net over the Chicagoland music scene. Like-minded people who do not know each other are brought together and subsequently, fresh inspiration is achieved through these other artists. On October 15th, CMP held their first event titled “Building Your Team: Assembling the Pieces Integral to Your Success.”

After the event, we also spoke to Tim Worley and Judi Pellegrino, young professionals who understand the difficulties that can come with networking. Their advice to those attempting to broaden their networking circles was similar. Tim said, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Be proactive and have that drive. This includes follow-ups and taking risks because no one wants to work with the lazy guy.” Judi agreed and added, “Don’t be shy. Get over that nervous hump and it can lead to great things and you can help each other in your careers.” Tim admits that he was bit nervous to network at the event but once he did, he was glad. He said he made three great contacts at the event and has been collaborating with those people for the last week.

Judi and Tim also had suggestions for future CMP events such as a discussion board that would provide topics where members can express their interest or not. Tim suggested a discussion-based panel with a Q & A. “To have an actual team up there with people that aren’t superstars yet. I would like to see both sides- independent and large scale- represented at a panel.”

So, what are the long-term goals for Chicago Music Professionals? Lardieri says that ultimately, we want this to become a democratic organization. “In the long run, Chicago Music Professionals can be a medium to provide values to those who come to the events and like-minded, passionate individuals with similar interests can step up and suggest ideas that allow people to network and make connections while simultaneously gaining knowledge about what’s out there in the market.”

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All hourly practice studios include:

-A full backline (includes a drum kit, 2 guitar amps, a bass amp, a keyboard amp, speakers, a mixer, and mics)
-Custom acoustic treatment in every room
-Instrument rental (guitars, basses, keyboards, and others)
-1/4″ & XLR cables in every room

Rates start at $5/hr per person – Solo & Student Discounted Rates Available!

To take a look at all of our hourly rehearsal studios, click here!

Book a Premium Rehearsal in Our Showcase Room

Showcase RoomThe Showcase Room at Music Garage is the most premier rehearsal room in Chicago. The custom sound treatments, secluded location, high-quality gear, and renowned staff make it the perfect rehearsal room for touring artists.

The showcase room is the perfect studio for artists who require the ultimate in performance, comfort, security and service. Our beautiful 1,000 sq foot, tuned room with 350 sq foot attached control room is the best rehearsal space to tune up for a show or get ready for your next big tour. We accommodate for anything from 4 hour rehearsals to multi-day lockouts. We can also provide an engineer to dial in your mix and get your rehearsal started right! For more detailed information and photos, click here.

In addition to all usual building amenities, (24/7 access, easy  load in, premium security, freight elevators, close location to downtown) the showcase room provides the following to create a truly beautiful work environment:

-Private security keyed elevator accessibility
-A multitude of backline package options
-Custom-tuned 1,000 square ft live room with wood walls and high ceilings
-Adjoining 350 square ft custom tuned control room also available, at no additional cost
-200 amp 3-phase Camlock service in both the Showcase and control room. For conventional power there are approximately 50 , 20 amp 110 outlets in the Showcase room.
-Experienced and professional staff – We’ll work with you to make sure all your sound and lighting needs are met
-Additional rooms available for production, catering, lounge, tech and storage
-Private off-street bus parking

To inquire about availability and pricing, give us at a call at (312) 997-1972 or email JIM@musicgarage.com.

Book a Tour of Our Monthly Studios

Engineering Suite 506Music Garage monthly studios are the best place for your band, recording studio or business. Each room includes custom sound treatments and can be customized for each tenant, depending on his or her needs.

Each room features “room in room” construction with 16″ triple-drywall layered floating walls engineered to minimize sonic bleed, heavy duty Mul-T-Loc deadbolts, free internet, more than 28 outlets on 8 circuits of clean 120v/100 amp power (no RF interference or power surges), central heat and air conditioning, 24/7 access, 2 full service freight elevators (available 24 hours a day), loading dock and carts available for easy load-in and load-out, and much more!

Monthly tenants also have access to our gear for rental (in- and out of-house) and hourly studios, both at a discounted rate.

To see the quality of these rooms for yourself, click here for a FREE tour.

Breaking into Booking: Music Garage Presents


Music Garage Presents, Chicago

By Liz Peterson

Music Garage, at its core, is a laboratory for artists of all calibers to hone their craft and work closer towards the “10,000 Hour Rule,” that author Malcolm Gladwell speaks about. It’s the small experiments, that if repeated regularly, can lead to greatness.

The staff at Music Garage is acutely aware of the wealth of talent that occupies our rooms, both hourly and monthly clients. Music Garage CEO, Joe Lardieri, being aware of this, expressed that there was a desire to expand on the services provided at 345 N. Loomis even further, by beginning to curate events in some of Chicago’s premiere venues such as Double Door, Township, Bottom Lounge, Subterranean and others.

“The quality of performers in this building is known throughout Chicago. We have both approached, and been approached by venues to put those performers on their stages,” Joe said,

One thing he does stress about our booking services, is the element of curation that occurs. Because the events that are booked through Music Garage Presents do not directly support the livelihood of its business, staff members are given the time and support to build a bill of performers who compliment one another artistically.

Judi Pellegrino, Marketing Coordinator for Music Garage, considers this aspect of the booking service at Music Garage to be the most rewarding, as it has allowed her to organize events such as “Women in Music,” which was recently held at Township and featured Lili K., JG4, and Daryn Alexus.

For artists who are just breaking into the music scene, particularly if you’re going the independent route and are looking to book shows, Judi suggests that bands get their content organized. This includes having a band email address that all of the members have access to and regularly check, having this email listed on their Facebook or Bandcamp page, and ensuring that when they are emailing booking agents or venues that they are providing links to their music and including a short bio or description of their music. “The more professional you seem, the more respect you gain and the more seriously people will take you,” she continues.

While your first few shows will be the most populated with friends and family members coming to see your shows, it’s important to push through the honeymoon phase and continue to access the resources available in Chicago for performing musicians.

“Be kind and genuine to everybody you come across because you never know who might give you an opportunity in the future,” Judi explains. Every employee you encounter at a venue, from the individual working the soundboard to the bartender is somebody to introduce yourself to and network with.

Judi continues, “I think that if you help others and are respectful of their spaces, others with help you too.”

White Mystery Talks Booking and Promotion

White Mystery, Alex White

By Liz Peterson

White Mystery is a brother-­sister rock’n’roll duo made up of Miss Alex White & Francis Scott Key White. The siblings tour worldwide and have earned rave reviews from MTV, VICE , Sound Opinions, and Pitchfork amongst other publications. They recently premiered a feature ­length film, titled White Mystery ‘”THAT WAS AWESOME”, during this year’s Chicago International Movies & Music Festival (CIMMFest).

Miss Alex White was featured in Guitar World’s, “Ten Female Guitarists You Should Know” in 2011 and has had sixteen releases since 2003.

White is not only a talented and celebrated musician, but also upholds identities as a record producer, distributor, licensor, booker, promoter, and more. Every element and facet of White Mystery is owned and supported by the White family.

“It’s fun interacting with an event organizer and transforming an idea into a reality,” Miss White said. “Every show requires development and special ingredients for success, whether you book a house party or an outdoor fest.”

The very first show Miss White booked was in 2001 on the second floor of the Chase Park field house in Chicago, performing with the band Psychotic Sensation. After that band split apart in 2008, White Mystery has performed frequently in Chicago, Austin, New York and Paris.

White Mystery’s favorite local venues include Millennium Park, The Metro, The Hideout, The Double Door, Empty Bottle, and Reckless Records.

White said that it would be helpful to have an agent who could, “run at the same speed as White Mystery,” and that they could always use help in maintaining their musical motivations.