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Musicians Who Are Entrepreneurs

Many musicians aren’t just making their millions off of their music. Stretching their name and business savvy into other fields has proven just as profitable as selling their musical talents. Here are just a few of these musicians doing just this.

1) Sean Combs – P. Diddy or Puff Daddy operates his business interests under the business name Bad Boy Entertainment Worldwide. Business ventures that fall under Bad Boy Entertainment include Bad Boy Records; the clothing lines Sean John; Sean by Sean Combs, a movie production company; and his two restaurants. In addition to being an entrepreneur, Coombs has also taken the roles of recording executive, performer, and producer of MTV’s Making the Band. If that isn’t enough, he is also a writer, arranger, clothing designer, and Broadway actor.
So what else does P. Diddy sell under his various company names? There is his fragrance Unforgivable, which sells for roughly $70 a bottle. And then there is vodka. In 2007 he signed a multi-million dollar agreement with Ciroc.

Other ventures that earn P. Diddy a pretty penny include the TV series he created called “Making Da Band.” Diddy also owns restaurants in New York and Atlanta (named “Justin’s,” after his son). And if that’s not enough, Diddy holds the honor of having designed the Dallas Mavericks’ green alternate jerseys.

All of Coombs efforts have paid off well making him one of the richest hip-hop performers with a net worth estimated at US $346 million.

2) Jay-Z – Jay-Z, also known as Shawn Corey Carter is also a financially successful hip-hop artist having a net worth of over $150 million. Jay-Z co-owns the 40/40 Club an upscale sports bar that started in New York City and has since expanded to Atlantic City and Chicago. He is part owner of the NBA’s New Jersey Nets and is also the creator of the clothing line Rocawear along with Damon Dash. He is the former CEO of Def Jam Recordings, one of the three founders of Roc-A-Fella Records and recently, the founder of his new venture Roc Nation.

Jay-Z also serves as co-brand director for Budweiser Select and collaborates with the company on strategic marketing programs and creative ad development. He provides direction on brand programs and ads that appear on TV, radio, print, and high-profile events. He has also invested in a real estate development venture called J Hotels that recently acquired a $66 million mid-block parcel in Chelsea, New York.

3) 50 Cent – Curtis James Jackson III, better known as 50 Cent, rose to fame with his music which sold more than twenty-one million copies combined. It was from here that he went on to expand his empire through a handful of ventures. To start, he signed a five-year deal with Reebok to distribute the “G-Unit Sneakers” line as part of his G-Unit Clothing Company. He worked with Glacéau to create a Vitamin Water drink called Formula 50. In 2007, Coca-Cola purchased Glacéau for US $4.1 billion. 50 Cent also teamed up with Right Guard to launch a body spray called Pure 50 RGX Body Spray and a condom line called Magic Stick Condoms.

50 cent is also an author and started a reality TV show on MTV called 50 Cent: The Money and The Power.

4) Jennifer Lopez – Jennifer Lynn Lopez often nicknamed J. Lo, is an actress, singer, record producer, dancer, fashion designer and television producer. Lopez launched a clothing line in 2003 named JLO by Jennifer Lopez, which includes different types of clothing for young women, including jeans, T-shirts, coats, belts, purses, and lingerie. She also sells jewelry, hats, gloves and scarves. In 2005, J. Low launched a new clothing line called Sweetface. In late 2007, Lopez retired JLO by Jennifer Lopez and launched a new juniors’ line called JustSweet. Her fashion lines have featured at many New York Fashion Week events.

Jennifer has also opened a Cuban restaurant and is a spokesperson for Lux shampoo in Japan. Lopez owns the film and television production company Nuyorican Productions, which was cofounded with her manager Benny Medina. Lopez net worth is estimated at over $250 million.

5)Justin Timberlake – Justin Randall Timberlake is a pop musician and actor. Timberlake has co-owned three restaurants in the United States: “Chi” opened in West Hollywood, California and “Destino” and “Southern Hospitalty” in New York. He also has his own brand of tequila called 901; the name comes in part from the area code of his hometown of Memphis.

In 2005, Timberlake launched the William Rast clothing line with childhood friend Juan (“Trace”) Ayala. The 2007 line contained cord jackets, cashmere sweaters, jeans and polo shirts. The pair reports inspiration from fellow Memphis native Elvis Presley.

Recently Timberlake started his own record label, Tennman Records.

These are just a handful of musicians who have made it big in other arenas; numerous other musicians are making it big with their marketing skills, business expertise and name.

Jeff Bachmeier is owner of 977music.com, an online music and online radio station network providing live streaming Internet Radio channels with music from the 50’s thru Today. Users can also choose to create their own customized on demand playlist through their own social media profile. For more information please visit http://www.977music.com.

To Sing Or Not To Sing – Lip-Synching

Lip-synching, most people hate it and many musical artists within recent years have been caught doing it. Whether the lip-synching was done for technical reasons or due to the fact the ‘singers’ couldn’t sing, audiences have stood up against it.

What is lip-synching? Technically it means to match lip movements with a voice. The term can refer to performances in the production of film, video and television programs. The practice of people during live concerts, lip-synching, is quite controversial.

People will go as far as to boycott a singer or even sign a petition. When Britney Spears was lip-synching on tour, over 3,500 fans signed an online petition begging her to stop the practice. Spears denied the practice saying “I don’t lip-synch”. But her tour manager, Larry Rudolph said Spears tour would be a mix of live and lip-synched vocals as past tours have been.

Lip-synching has been used often in the past to help recording artists create a particular effect, to enable them to perform live dance numbers, or to cover for illness or other deficiencies during live performance. Sometimes lip-singing performances are forced by television for short guest appearances, as it requires less time for rehearsals and hugely simplifies the process of sound mixing. The practice of lip-synching during live performances is frowned on by some who view it as a crutch only used by lesser talents.

Although lip-synching is a historic practice in the music industry, after Spears petitioners created a big to-do about it, the act of lip-synching has become taboo. And yet, few live pop performances, such as those at the Super Bowl’s halftime show, can go without being lip-synched. Purists complained when Shania Twain lip-synched her performance. Producers of the Super Bowl’s half time show won’t say whose music has to be lip-synched with prerecorded music and who is performing live.

The biggest controversy when it comes to lip-synching was with the group Milli Vanilli. Milli Vanilli not only practiced lip-synching, they didn’t even sing the prerecorded version of their music, a double taboo. Milli Vanilli came about when Frank Farian developed the concept of the group and chose to feature vocals by Charles Shaw, John Davis, Brad Howell, and twin sisters Jodie and Linda Rocco; however, he felt that those singers lacked a marketable image. He then recruited Morvan and Pilatus, two younger and more photogenic model/dancers he found dancing in a Berlin dance club, to front the act.

Milli Vanilli’s debut album All or Nothing, was released in Europe in mid-1988, with Rob and Fab’s pictures on the front and center of the albums, but no mention of who actually sang the songs. The success of the record caught the attention of Arista Records, who signed the duo, added a new track written by Diane Warren, “Blame It on the Rain,” and renamed the album to Girl You Know It’s True for release in the American market in early 1989.

This version of the album went 6 times platinum and led to the re-release of the title track, which peaked at number 2 on the Hot 100 in April of that year and was certified platinum. Milli Vanilli’s meteoric rise to pop music superstardom culminated with a Grammy Award for Best New Artist on February 22, 1990.

The first sign that the group was lip-synching happened in late 1989 during a live performance on MTV at the Lake Compounce theme park in Bristol, Connecticut. As they performed onstage live in front of an audience, the recording of the song “Girl You Know It’s True” jammed and began to skip, repeating the partial line “Girl, you know it’s…” over and over on the speakers. They continued to pretend to sing and dance onstage for a few more moments. Then they both ran offstage.

Unlike the international release of All or Nothing, the inserts for the American version clearly attributed the voices on the album to Morvan and Pilatus. Because of rising public questions regarding the source of talent in the group, as well as the insistence of Morvan and Pilatus to Farian that they be allowed to sing on the next album, Farian confessed to reporters on November 12, 1990, that Morvan and Pilatus did not actually sing on the records. As a result of American media pressure, Milli Vanilli’s Grammy was withdrawn four days later (however, their three American Music Awards were never withdrawn because the organizers felt the awards were given to them by music consumers), and Arista Records dropped the act from its roster and deleted their album and its masters from their catalog, taking Girl You Know It’s True out of print.

Lip-Synching, whether for convenience or lack of talent, will continue to be a bone of contingency among audiences who when paying for live music, want live and real music.

Jeff Bachmeier is owner of 977music.com, an online music and online radio station network providing live streaming Internet Radio channels with music from the 50’s thru Today. Users can also choose to create their own customized on demand playlist through their own social media profile. For more information please visit http://www.977music.com.

Classic Rock and Kiss

For those around in the 70s, when rock and roll was really taking flight, it is most likely you remember the band KISS. Formed in 1972, this band is most memorable for its members whose who wore flamboyant outfits and painted their faces. The anonymity of the group intrigued followers along with their elaborate stage performances that included breathing fire, spitting blood, guitars that smoked and more. While these tactics may seem over-the-top today, it earned KISS over 24 gold albums and sales that exceeded 80 million.

The idea of face makeup stemmed from the band’s desire to mimic comic book figures. There was the Demon, Gene Simmons; Starchild, Paul Stanley, Spaceman, Ace Frehley, and Catman, Peter Criss. Each person picked a character that best represented their personality. It wasn’t until 1983 that the band members from KISS performed without makeup.

KISS beginnings came from Gene Simmons, whose real name was Chaim Witz, and Paul Stanley, also whose real name was different than his stage name (Stanley Harvey Eisen). The two started a band called Wicked Lester. After recording one album, they abandoned the group in 1972 and formed their new group. Peter Criss, drummer, joined the duo and the three focused on a harder style of rock than from the Wicked Lester days. In early 1973, lead guitarist Ace Frehley joined the group and it was formally then called KISS. The idea came from Criss, whose former band was called Lips. Frehley designed the logo, making the “SS” appear like lightening bolts. Because the letters resembled the Nazi SS, a symbol illegal to display in Germany, the group changed the albums cover and merchandise in Germany to a modified logo that appears like backwards Z’s.

In March of 1973 the band recorded a five-song demo tape. On November 1, 1973, KISS became the first act signed to Buddah Records, later renamed Casablanca Records. KISS first started touring February 1974 in Canada. Initially KISS sold only 75,000 copies of their album. In 1974 they recorded their second album, Hotter Than Hell. This album didn’t do well either. In 1975 a third album, Dressed To Kill was released with the groups trademark song “Rock and Roll All Nite.” The band continued to struggle until September of 1975 with the release of Alive!, which earned KISS a first top 40 single, a live version of “Rock and Roll All Nite.”

It wasn’t until the ballad “Beth” was released as a single did album sales rebound for KISS. The song “Beth” was a #7 hit for the band. After this, the band released two highly successful studio albums in less than a year, Rock and Roll Over and Love Gun. Between 1976 and 1978, KISS earned $17.7 million from record royalties and music publishing. KISS was soon named the most popular band in American in 1977.

Between sales from music and KISS merchandise, the band was bringing in millions of dollars. The group didn’t peak until 1978 when Alive II the band’s fourth platinum album, achieved its highest average.

Drummer Peter Criss did his final tour with the group in 1979. The band found replacement drummer Paul Caravellow, later named Eric Carr and gave him “Fox” makeup.

In 1983, sensing it was time for a change; KISS made the decision to abandon their trademark makeup and costumes. They officially appeared in public without makeup for the first time on a September 18, 1983 appearance on MTV, which coincided with the release of the band’s glam metal new album, Lick It Up.

Lick It Up became KISS’ first gold record in three years. During these non-makeup years, KISS struggled with their identity and fan base. Simmons, arguably the dominating force in KISS during the ’70s, became less involved with the group in the ’80s as he pursued outside interests; most notably, a film career. After the band’s unmasking, he struggled with the loss of the Demon persona. During this time, Stanley became the driving force in KISS, as well as their most prominent member.

Though the original band members haven’t played together in a while, the band is still quite notorious for all ages of listeners and an important part of rock and roll history.

Jeff Bachmeier is owner of 977music.com, an online music and online radio station network providing live streaming Internet Radio channels with music from the 50’s thru Today. Users can also choose to create their own customized on demand playlist through their own social media profile. For more information please visit http://www.977music.com.

Alternative Rock and Its Beginnings

When music isn’t pop, rock, country, folk or classical, what is it? It could actually have many names but most refer to it as “alternative”. So how did this name come about?

There are many theories or ideas about how “alternative” became a term used so commonly today. Some say it stemmed from the DJs and promoters of the 1980s who were playing music beyond the top 40 rock radio formats. With freedom of song selection, new bands began making a presence and becoming more requested. From here, college radio grabbed on to the sound, dubbing the music with terms such as new post-punk, indie, or underground music. The use of the term “alternative” gained further exposure due to the success of Lollapalooza, where festival founder and Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell coined the term “Alternative Nation.”

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  • About the Author:
    Jeff Bachmeier is owner of 977music.com, an online music and online radio station network providing live streaming Internet Radio channels with music from the 50’s thru Today. Users can also choose to create their own customized on demand playlist through their own social media profile.

    For more information please visit 977music.com.
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