Hawleys Higher Vision

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Rockin Robin Today
pages for his insightful and informative articles, videos, trivia and more!
Click here to read past stories.

 Read The
Letters From
Convicted Murderer
 Richard D'Antonio.
Click Here

Full Armor Productions Releases Their Compilation Of Classic Blues And gospel music!
  Containing classic blues gospel songs in their original form as well as new originals, 
Dusty King James", delivered by Full Armor Productions is rich in culture and positivity. 
From Robert Johnson's "Crossroads" to the 
title track, "Dusty King James" features veteran blues artists as well as 
new talent who are able to capture the essential message of the classic 
blues and gospel tracks contained in this compilation.
"Dusty King James" is available at CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon, and other online 
music outlets.

For more information on the compilation and to hear some of 

the tracks,visit


Christian St. James
has been a fixture on the
CASHBOX easy listening charts
with his hit 
"The Coffee Song"
Visit his website here
Newberry Opera House

North Platte, Nebraska, humorist James Larson, has written five new songs available at
James-Larson.com. they are:
Doctor Doctor, Hillary's Brain, Rush Limbaugh on the E.I.B., Duck Dynasty, Bigfoot, and a few serious songs Bring our P.O.W.s Home, Heaven Is For Real, Jesus, and A Labor of Love

Greg Finch Ministries

For some great award winning gospel music visit his website!
Just click the picture

Christian Gospel Artist
RC Kouba

Garth Brooks Says I'll Take The 80,
They Can Have The 20

Chris Castle 7/25/14 Music-Technology-Policy

When Garth Brooks was at his peak the last time around,  I remember a story about him  that stuck.  Garth visited the sales teams at some of the biggest retailers along with his label sales executives to discuss the set up for one of his albums.  After they’d all visited for a bit, Garth asked the label execs to leave the room and he stayed with the retailer’s sales teams.  “Now tell me what you wouldn’t tell me if they were in the room,” he said (or so the story goes).

That, you see, is a business-savvy artist.  This isn’t for everyone, but if artists are interested in their business, this is exactly the kind of thing you should do.

So it’s not surprising that Garth Brooks has held his records back from digital distribution all this time.  Apple wanted to commoditize his albums by forcing him to sell on a per track basis, Pandora pays a pittance and Google just steals from all of us.  Who would do that who could not?  Those who are quick to accuse him of being a Luddite should stop and think–maybe he just didn’t want to take the same hillbilly deal that everyone else got.

And in 2014, it’s gotten even worse.  You have streaming services like Spotify that are further commoditizing music and YouTube using their dominant market power to screw indie labels.  So it should be no surprise that Garth is only going to make his new record available on garthbrooks.com, and I infer from the news that Garth is going to make some, perhaps most, of his back catalog available digitally for the first time on garthbrooks.com.  Apparently Garth is going to price the digital catalog at a low retail price.

Not surprisingly, some of the usual suspects are up in arms about this really smart decision as short sighted, not embracing digital, etc.  The future is streaming, yadda yadda.  I’d suggest that the critics are actually missing the future in an extraordinarily short sighted way.

Like Louis CK, Garth is able to take advantage of a cream skimming marketing strategy and passes the benefit on to the fans.  And naturally, the “mistake” he’s accused of making is that he didn’t cut the digital services in on the release.  But this misses the real future for artists like Garth who are already well-known with a loyal fan base.  (See my article from 2000, Why Free Agency Matters: The Coming Changes in Artist Relations.)

Garth Brooks does not need iTunes, Spotify or any of the other retailers to reach his fans.  He’s going to be on a 3 year tour with all the attendant publicity.  He’s going to be promoting his record and tour like there’s no tomorrow.  This will drive fans to one place and one place only–garthbrooks.com.  That’s exactly what he should be doing.  Why should he drive traffic to anybody else?

In the 80/20 world of digital music retail, Garth is telling these services that he’ll take the 80 and they can have the 20.  Here’s why:  Just like Louis CK’s Beacon Theater video, the important number here is the marginal revenue to the artist.  If Garth’s fans were to buy the album on iTunes, for say $10, there’d be about $7.00 wholesale price that the artist would actually take home (assuming no label).  What Garth takes home from garthbrooks.com sales would be pretty close to that iTunes sale if the fan bought the record on garthbrooks.com at a $7.00 retail price (at least if you amortize the overhead costs across all the commerce being done on the artist site).  All Garth is doing is cutting out the middleman.

You know–the gatekeepers.

And since Garth is telling the press that the price will be low, he clearly intends to pass the saving on to the fans–and he can still make good money because after he pays the songwriters, fulfillment, and some allocation for overhead, what’s left is all his.  He doesn’t have to share it with middlemen.  Plus he doesn’t have to compete for shelf space on his own website.

There’s an increasing number of in-demand artists who believe that holding their records off of the streaming services actually increases their sales, at least in the initial post-release window.  And of course no one is more disturbed about this window effect than the streaming services.  They want you to believe that they are the future–and resistance is futile.  Streaming services want you to believe that they are a critical part of your release strategy so that they can take advantage of all your marketing efforts on your album and touring set up at a low cost to themselves.  Actually–the sum of all the marketing done by all the artists on their service.

Here’s the fact–the retailer may control the price, but the artists set the terms, particularly artists like Garth.  Garth’s customer is the fan–not some digital retailer that is uncooperative, entitled, and may be sold to the highest bidder tomorrow.  Garth will treat those fans very, very well, just like he always has.  I would not think that any artist wants to subject their fans to the customer service experience at YouTube if they could avoid it.

If streaming services want to commoditize music, the services are going to be treated as a commodity, too, just like “special markets” departments or the old record clubs.  They’ll get the record eventually, just not when it’s fresh.  If you sell music like it was a stale bagel, then don’t be surprised if artists send it right back at you.

At the right moment, Garth will no doubt open up his online presence to digital retailers and streaming services.  But they should understand that for artists like Garth, people like them who bought the long tail ridiculousness are just not top of the list for business partners.  So have fun chasing that 20% folks.


Ray Sanders was born in Hardin County, Kentucky in a log cabin home that was said to be a bit like the one Abe Lincoln was born in. His education in his younger years took place in schools in Kentucky, but college took him to Texas Western in El Paso, Texas where he got interested in the western way of life. At one time six foot two Ray said he wanted to make a home in the southwest someday.

While he was in El Paso, he said in an article in an old Cowboy Songs magazine that he started working at KHEY which was a 10,000 watt station back then. The station booked him for personal appearances all around the southwest in places such as El Paso, Tucson, Arizona; Albuquerque, New Mexico and more.

He came back to Kentucky and worked with WLEX-TV out of Lexington. Later on, he was singing on the Mutual Radio Network. That got him in touch with many folks in the business and one of them was Hal Smith from Nashville, Tennesse. He got Ray a recording contract with Cullman Records and was booked on tours throughout the country.

When he got to appear on the WSM Grand Ole Opry, it got the attention of Libery Records who signed him to their roster and because of that, he moved to Hollywood to work on his recordings. Of the first six records he did with Liberty, he had seven songs hit the national charts. They reported that one disc jockey poll voted him number six best new singer.

In addition to his music interests, Ray had some business interests as well as being a writer and an electronic technician.

Some of the records that he did that did well for him included, "Dynamite", "Walking Blues" and "This Time". In 1959, he did a tune with the backup of the Jorndanaires - "I Can't Resist You" b/w "I'm So Afraid".

Listen to a great new Hillside Records release from the legendary 
Ray Sanders

Little Heart Of Dixie

Beach Music Charts

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We are pleased to bring you our exclusive interviews by long time CASHBOX interviewer 
Bob Sands. Click here.

We conducted an interview  with songwriter Johnny Spears. Johnny is a key figure in a song ownership dispute that has been playing out in a CASHBOX Exposed column. You will be able to hear Mr. Spears speak first hand about his inspiration for the song in question.  Click here for the interview.

Longtime friend of CASHBOX 
Rock legend Tommy James of Tommy James and the Shondells
offers a behind the scenes look at the creative process in the music business, including songwriting, recording and everything involved. Click the picture to visit his page for links to his
 "Inside Tracks" Series.

This is how we looked in the 1950's

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