Happy Spring and Women's history month ladies and gents! We're celebrating women in STEM in our March issue and bring you two special reports: 2021 Ushers a Different Grammy Show and Your Songs Your Assets.

Women and philanthropy go together, as our featured ladies demonstrate. We visit two Glorias, and celebrate Grammy and Nobel prize winners. You'll love this girl who can take you to the moon and back.
We drop in two studios and hear from in-house producers and music executives. We bring you new releases from rising artists. And, oh yeah, you're invited to an Oscar party by a living legend and more...
We have news from studioexpresso community and grateful to you, our readers and sponsors. Thank you!

Megan Thee Stallion (R) wins in three Grammy categories: Best New Artist, Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance --the latter two for the remix of “Savage,” featuring Beyonce)
photo: Kevin Mazur /Getty Images Recording Academy
Artist's Gateway To The World's Top Music Makers
Work With Award-winning Producers In Legendary Studios

Grammy's Premiere Ceremony
Shines With Music & Nominees
Jhené Aiko hosted the Grammy Awards’ Premiere Ceremony where more than 70 awards are announced.
Aside from minor glitches during some acceptance speeches, the show was a success. Performers who took the stage during the Premiere Ceremony, all of whom are Grammy nominees included: Jacob Collier, Terri Lyne Carrington + Social Science, Jimmy "Duck" Holmes, pianist Igor Levit, Lido Pimienta, Poppy and Rufus Wainwright.
Cheche Alara (above top) produced and Music Directed the Premiere show.
The show opened with “Mercy, Mercy, Me” (written by Marvin Gaye, from his second million-seller album What's Going On). The segment celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Marvin Gaye classic with a montage. The nominated collaborators performed from different locations each in triangular frames floating against a dark starry backdrop.
Written in ’71, the song offers poignant message regarding the environment which remains relevant today.

Read the full article here
Recording Academy interim CEO, Harvey Mason Jr
Rich Fury / Getty Images Recording Academy
The interim CEO, Harvey Mason Jr followed Grammy’s first female CEO Deborah Dougan after her short stint and controversial departure.
Mason delivered a brief speech on the day of the show promising to build a Recording Academy "we can all be proud of."
He highlighted the organization’s support of the GRAMMY Museum®, advocating on behalf of music creators, supporting music people in times of need through MusiCares. And this year that support was much needed.  He told us that since March 2020, MusiCares has distributed more than $22 million to help more than 25,000 music people through these challenging times. Just last week the organization hosted a virtual fundraiser to honor the resilience of the music community. The virtual event also featured legendary performances from the MusiCares’ vaults by Bruce Springsteen, Usher, Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty. For general Aid Resources click here or Covid Relief

Full article here
2021 Ushers A Different Grammy
Hosted by Trevor Noah, the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards aired on CBS on March 14, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. with nearly four-hour run time. The awards could also be watched on Paramount+ or FuboTV (7-day free trial)

This year the show looked and felt different. Gone were the live performances, unusual artist pairings, elaborate stage changes with hundreds of instruments, musicians and MDs. Above all, gone was the live audience!
Enter the Pandemic Grammy, where the old was replaced with the new - giant green screens, creative graphics, viewer interaction via socials, and five small stages arranged in a circle. Attending were rotating nominees seated at tables for two, six feet apart, all outdoors, in front of the Staple Center in Los Angeles. There were fewer award-presenting stars, replaced by personnel from a few choice clubs and venues that have struggled during the pandemic, including the Apollo Theater in New York and L.A.’s Troubadour and Hotel Café.
Nice nod to the producers!

While Music’s Biggest Night remains one of the most popular award shows in the US, the ongoing decline in viewership continues to raise questions about the appeal and relevance of such formats in today’s ever-changing media landscape.

According to Forbes, the TV medium is poised to see unprecedented ad spending declines that we can tie directly to the rise of streamed content. Additionally,
"The notion of genre is disappearing," writes Amanda Petrusich of The New Yorker. What we mean by "Pop" or "Jazz" or "Country" changes regularly. It appears ratings for all award shows are down and the slide isn’t strictly COVID-related. In comparison, a TV-Event like Oprah with Harry and Meghan on CBS, drew 17 million viewers (twice the Grammy show) and it required three people talking from their chairs! What does this say about our culture or the public appetite for entertainment? 

8.8 million viewers tuned in to the CBS broadcast of 2021 Grammy show.
A new executive producer was at the helm for the first time in decades. The show must go on and this year the task was upon British TV producer Ben Winston (above left w BTS). He turned James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke” series into a viral sensation. Co-executive producer, Jesse Collins is a Grammy and Oscars veteran who produced the Weeknd’s Super Bowl show just weeks before, viewed by 96.4 million.
Read the full article here
studioexpresso @ NAMM feat producers, musicians from its community
Curt Bisquera (Sarah McLachlan, Elton John), Kenny Aronoff (Smashing Pumpkins, John Mellencamp, Sting), Greg Penny (Elton John, KD Lang), Rafa Sardina (Lady Gaga, John Legend), Niko Bolas (Neil Young, LeAnn Rimes), Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hedrix, Kiss), Matt Wallace (Maroon 5, Faith No More), Cheche Alara (Christina Aguilera), Kim Bullard (Elton John, Kelly Clarkson), Cristina Abaroa (Celine Dion, Enrique Iglasias), Brady Leffler (Hot Chelle Rae, Justin Beieber), Al Schmitt (Diana Krall, Paul McCartney), Alex Acuna (LA Phil, Beck), Teddy Campbell (American idol, The Tonight Show w Leno), Ellis Hall (Ray Charles, Tower of Power), Jacob Armen (Prince), Peter Asher (James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt), Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Melody Gardot), Manny Marroquin (Bruno Mars, Alicia Keys), Dave Schiffman (Adele, Limp Bizkit), Gregg Field (Sinatra, Pharell), Sylvia Massy (Tool, Johnny Cash), CJ Vanston (Toto, spinal Tap), Dame Gail Dorsey (David Bowie, Gwen Stefani), Jenny Mason (The Mrs), Neal Pogue (Outkast, Andre 3000), Leland Sklar (Phil Collins, James Taylor), Moogie Canazio (Sergio Mendes, Sarah Vaughan), Laura Dickinson (Frozen II, Lady and the Tramp), Daniel Seeff (KJazz, Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz), James Torme, and Brent Fischer (D'Angelo, Elvis Costello and The Roots).

ATC Monitoring at New Jersey's Hobo Sound Studios
Stewart Lerman (above right) recorded Loudon Wainwright III’s new big band album,
I’d Rather Lead a Band
The album was recorded at Electric Lady on their ATC SCM50ASLs and mixed the project on Hobo Sounds ATC SCM45As.
Similarly, he recorded music for Respect, the new biopic about Aretha Franklin starring Jennifer Hudson and Forest Whitaker, at Reservoir Studios on their ATC SCM25As and mixed on Hobo’s 45’s.
Lerman mixed all of the most recent season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Hobo’s 45s.
click the image to purchase the album from Amazon
“Years ago, I would schlep my monitors around with me to the various studios that I worked at to maintain some consistency,” Lerman said.
“I first encountered ATCs at a studio called The Lair over a decade ago, and I thought they sounded so beautiful! On my subsequent trips to The Lair, I left my monitors at home. Then a few years ago, ATCs started popping up at all of the New York City studios that I frequent: Electric Lady, Brooklyn Recorders, Reservoir Studios, and Manhattan Center. They all had different ATC models: SCM25As, SCM45As, SCM50ASLs, and SCM100ASLs. They all sounded great and remarkably consistent from model to model. Soon, every room I regular worked in had ATCs, and I no longer felt compelled to bring my own monitors.” Shanahan was similarly enchanted with the sound quality and performance of the ATCs in those same studios, and so the partners decided it was time to upgrade Hobo Sound to ATC as well.

Friends and music industry veterans, Tony Shanahan (above left) and Stewart Lerman (above right), share Hobo Sound Studios in Weehawken, New Jersey. Shanahan has produced, engineered, written, and played bass with Michael Stipe, Ryan Adams, Robert Plant, Faith Hill, Aimee Mann, Natalie Merchant, and Suzanne Vega, to name a few. He has served as Patti Smith’s bass player for over two decades and co-wrote her Grammy-nominated hit 1959. He currently serves as Smith’s musical director.
Lerman is a 2X Grammy-winning producer and engineer who has worked with Elvis Costello, Neko Case, David Byrne, Sufjan Stevens, and Mumford and Sons. In addition, he has produced music for movies, such as The Royal Tenenbaums, The Aviator, School of Rock, and TV shows, such as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
and nearly five dozen episodes of the musically-rich Boardwalk Empire. Shanahan and Lerman recently upgraded Hobo Sound’s main control room with a pair of ATC SCM45A three-way monitors. 

“We used to have a sub with our previous monitors, but once we put the ATC SCM45As in our control room, the sub became unnecessary,” Shanahan reported. “The 45s have plenty of low end that is punchy and defined, and they’re remarkably revealing and accurate at all listening levels. They’re clear without being overly bright, and I never get ear fatigue.” Lerman agreed: “I do so many styles of music for film, TV, and records, and I love tracking loud. That’s mainly for the musicians. I think it’s weird if their headphones are blasting in the live room and then they come back to the control room and everything is quiet. Like, what happened!? So, I try to keep tracking dates loud. But when I mix, I tend to mix quietly because I hear different details and can tell when something’s poking out. The thing about the ATCs is that they sound amazing and consistent at any volume. No pain, no bulbous low end. I really look forward to going to work!”
Like most engineers, Shanahan and Lerman spent their early years battling the demons of translation. “So many times I’d get a mix sounding good on other monitors, and then I’d hop in my car at the end of the day, listen back, and go, ‘what the hell was I thinking!?’,” Shanahan said. “The ATCs remove any guesswork, and I’m not questioning myself anymore. It’s easy to make good choices, and I’m never surprised by what I hear on other systems. We even have a little setup in Hobo Sound with a bunch of different reference speakers, but ever since the ATCs arrived, I don’t use them. If it sounds good on the 45s, I know it sounds good, period.” Given ATC’s ubiquity in the New York City studios that they both work in and ATC’s noted consistency across models, Shanahan and Lerman have a solid basis to build successful projects from the ground up with confidence.
Shanahan is currently leveraging ATC’s honesty to assess materials for a planned remastering of all of Patti Smith’s records for a box set. “I’m going through all kinds of stuff with an ear out for the gems that fans will love to get a hold of,” he said. “A lot of it is on old tapes that don’t sound very good.”
Trans Audio Group -- The Recording Studio Equipment Experts. Call to order from their trusted brands:
Questions- pricing, availability and dealer locations please email sales@transaudiogroup.com

New York's Gramercy
NUGEN Audio Celebrates International Women’s Day with Owner/Engineer Alison Casey

Alison Casey (left) is the owner and senior mixer of Gramercy Post in
New York City where they do HGTV, NatGeo, History and other cable network-type programming, film trailers, commercials, documentary and narrative films, ADR and voice over recording. "Half of my team are female engineers," says Casey. As part of an upgrade, the studio offers surround mixing with an Atmos room that is 7.1.4, a 5.1 room, two smaller stereo rooms and three vocal booths.
Casey began working there as an intern in 2008, at 22.
She switched to freelancing, but continued to keep in touch with the company. "The founder, Joe Mendelson decided to retire from sound and sell Gramercy to me in 2012. Since he’d been able to train me from the ground up and we have a similarly intense work ethic, I think he knew his studio would be in good hands," says Casey.
Casey is an avid NUGEN plug-in user and a strong advocate for diversity
at work place.
Her advice for beginners: Develop an auto didactic, self-motivated approach to learning and improving your skills, and follow the latest technology and best practices.

Sunday APRIL 25, 2021
With all-time low 23 million viewers last year, the Oscar telecast is still the second highest-rated annual event behind the Super Bowl.
2021 Oscars promises a most diverse and inclusive participation Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® Televised live on the ABC Television Network and in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

MJF64 Fest September 24-26
Elton John's 2021 Virtual Oscar Party
You're Invited!

Elton John's 29th annual AIDS Foundation Academy Awards® Pre-Party and Viewing Party will be virtual on Sunday, April 25, 2021.
You are invited to join the 60-minute Pre-Party Special 7-8 pm, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, with a spectacular stripped back performance by GRAMMY® Award Winner Dua Lipa and a must-see duet with Elton John.
Click here to buy tix for $19.99
For a VIP experience, where you can watch the Oscars® virtually with Elton John, David Furnish and guests, as well as the Pre-Party, click here
2021 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award Recipients
Clint Bleil, age 26 of Pittsburgh, PA; Andy Clausen, age 28 of Brooklyn, NY (Seattle, WA); Stratøs (Eddie Codrington), age 24 of Kalamazoo, MI (Ann Arbor, MI); Michael Echaniz, age 26 of Oakland, CA (Berkeley, CA); Eliana Fishbeyn age 25 of New York, NY (Chapel Hill, NC); Ariel Sha Glassman, age 24 of Denton, TX (Columbus, OH); Philip Ryan Goss age 28 of Brookline, MA (Evanston, IL); Jon Hatamiya, age 29 of Sacramento, CA (Davis, CA); Joseph Herbst, age 25 of Easley, SC; Chase Kuesel, age 27 of Brooklyn, NY (Norwalk, CT); Aditi Malhotra, age 23 of Boston, MA (New Delhi, India); Luca Mendoza, age 22 of Los Angeles, CA; Lesley Mok, age 26 of Brooklyn, NY (San Mateo, CA); Yu Nishiyama, age 26 of Hawthorne, NJ (Yokohama, Japan); Zach Rich, age 27 of Greeley, CO (Wichita, KS); Yoko Suzuki age 26 of Yokohama, Japan; Gary (Kaiji) Wang, age 25 of Rochester, NY (Beijing, China); Alex Weitz age 30 of New York, NY (Tucson, AZ); Matt Wong, age 22 of New York, NY (San Francisco, CA); and Courtney Wright, age 26 of New York, NY (Woodbridge, VA).

The ASCAP Foundation announces the recipients of the 2021 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards. Established in 2002, the program recognizes gifted young jazz composers up to the age of 30. It carries the name of the great trumpeter and ASCAP member Herb Alpert in recognition of The Herb Alpert Foundation's multi-year financial commitment to the program. The recipients, who receive cash awards, are selected through a juried national competition. 
“We are grateful to the Herb Alpert Foundation for their long-standing partnership and financial support for this important program to help nurture the careers of talented young music creators,” said ASCAP Foundation President, Paul Williams.
Composers receiving Honorable Mention this year are:

Henry Godfrey age 24 of Jamaica Plain, MA (Silver Spring, MD)
Oliver Mann, age 17 of CA
Daiki Nakajima, age 18 of San Jose, CA
Hunter McKay, age 24 of Boston, MA (York, ME) Yuma Uesaka, age 30 of Brooklyn, NY (London, UK)
Andrew Watkins Alcocer, age 24 of Rochester, NY (Fresno, CA)

Congrats to young jazz composers!

Through a partnership with the Newport Festivals Foundation, one of this year’s Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards recipients will be featured by the Newport Jazz Festival.
The ASCAP composer/judges for the 2021 competition were: Ambrose Akinmusire, Wycliffe Gordon and Jihye Lee
ASCAP Young Artist Spotlight: Matt Wong
2021 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award Recipient

Photo (R): Chuck Gee Matt Wong at SFJAZZ Center, San Francisco, CA

Matt Wong made his SFJAZZ debut as a leader featuring a dynamic sextet, performing a program of his original compositions in April of 2020.
After completing his undergrad at Manhattan School of Music in 2019, Matt was approached by Stefon Harris (chair of the Jazz program at MSM), and
Alan Kay of Windscape to write a new piece as a part of the celebration of the school's centennial season. Entitled A Subconscious Development, the 20-minute piece blends classical and modern jazz idioms, depicting various scenes in and around the Manhattan School of Music. In A Subconscious Development Wong explores musical themes inspired by the duality in self-doubt and self-growth. Wong's appreciation for jazz began when he played the piano at the age of six. His musical influences include Robert Glasper and Bill Holman. He performs with The Matt Wong Trio, as well as in many ensembles in the Bay Area. He has performed in a variety of venues including the SFJAZZ Center, Davies Symphony Hall, Yoshi’s Oakland, and has also appeared at festivals including the Montreux Jazz Festival/Switzerland, Umbria Jazz Festival/Perugia (Italy), and the Monterey Jazz Festival/California. His big band compositions have been performed by groups including Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.
"Congratulations to Matt Wong on this latest achievement! Every time I’ve worked with him we’ve been able to turn out great music with great efficiency; he has some of the best ears around,“ says Grammy®-winning Producer, Composer, Arranger, Brent Fischer.

2021 Grammy Online Event
ELI Winners & Honorees
2021 ELI Service Award recipient: the Black Entertainment & Sports Lawyers Association. at the 23rd Annual Entertainment Law Initiative during the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards on March 12, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images
23rd Annual Entertainment Law Initiative Grammy
event celebrated the nation’s top law students and prominent entertainment attorneys. 2021 ELI Service Award recipient: The Black Entertainment & Sports Lawyers Association.

Congrats to ELI student competition winners:
Sophia Sofferman, Esq.! Her winning paper proposes a solution through three approaches for recording artists when use of a loan-out company grants an assignment of copyright, and is hindering them from exercising the rights of authors under Section 203 here
Read Runners-up papers for Evan Biegel on Tuning The Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Musical Work Infringement here and Alberto Vargas on "Bare Possibility or Reasonable Opportunity? In Defense of A Defendant-Conscious View of "Acess" In A Digital Age" here
This year this event was streamed on facebook here.
The annual writing competition provides law students with an opportunity to win up to $10,000 in tuition-based scholarships for the winner and $2,500 each for the two runner up winners. Congrats future music lawyers!
Producing A Podcast
Tuesday, March 30, 3:00 p.m. PDT

There’s a lot that goes into making a great podcast beyond pressing record and rambling. From strategy and pre-production, how to record, edit, and distribute. Moderated by Laura Clapp Davidson of Shure. Guests (below)
include Fela Davis, a graduate of Full Sail University with 20 years of experience in audio engineering and mixing (Ron Carter, Brian Blade, Jose Feliciano, Meshell Ndegeocello, Bilal).
Sign up here
A New Single By Leslie Jordan from Jack Miele Productions Gaining Steam and Streams On Spotify
The Jack Miele Productions LTD team photo (L to R) Brianna Owens, Kassie Netherland, Sean Carey, Jack Miele and Isabel Caballero
Leslie Jordan has released a single featuring Chris Stapleton and Morgane Stapleton, produced by Jack Miele.
The track "Farther Along" was released on March 12th and is getting positive response. "It's surpassed 14k streams on Spotify alone in just 7 days. We tracked the 504 Horns section at our new facility," says the producer. The session was recorded at Miele's Productions Studios in New Orleans and the rest was tracked by Producer Travis Howard (not pictured) in Nashville. 
"We also have a location in Covington, LA that we've been remodeling and are almost finished adding new ISO rooms," says Miele.
Jack has worked on Emmy Winning, Oscar Nominated and Grammy Nominated recordings including—– “Big Thang” Engineer (Emmy Winner for FOX 8 “Best Promotion”), “The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button” Sound Engineer (Oscar Nominated for “Best Sound Mixing”), “Grande Isle” Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys Engineer/Mixer (Grammy Nominated for “Best Regional Roots Album”). Miele has credits as Music Supervisor and composer on “Gardening With Dan Gill” (PBS), ESPN, Sundance Channel, and IFC, to name a few. His work on Jingles include: Mercedes Benz and Mountain Dew.
Watch the official video with Leslie Jordan ft. Chris & Morgane Stapleton - "Farther Along"

The Ambies celebrate excellence in podcasting and elevate awareness and status of podcasts as a unique and personal medium for entertainment, information, storytelling and expression. The ceremony will be streamed LIVE on YouTube, Twitch and other platforms on Sunday, May 16, 2021 from Los Angeles, CA at 5PM PT/8PM ET, with a pre-show starting at 4:30PM PT/7:30PM ET.
This year’s slate of nominees feature activists, award-winners, bestselling authors, luminaries and renowned journalists including: Hillary Rodham Clinton; Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey; NAACP Image Awards-winner Tessa Thompson, Forgotten: Women of Juarez’s Peabody Award-winning journalist Oz Woloshyn and public radio journalist Mónica Ortiz UribeThe Ambies will highlight 164 nominees across 23 categories — with winners to be selected by every voting member of The Podcast Academy — in addition to a Governor’s Award. Eligible new members will be able to vote to determine this year’s winners if registered by March 26. More information about becoming a member may be found here.
Veronica Swift
This Bitter Earth
March 19

The lady can sing! Her interpretations are gutsy and emotive. Her pitch is precise, her enunciation crisp. And, she's positioned to take her place amongst past and present jazz voices.
27-year-old Veronica Swift was raised in Charlottesville, Virginia by musician parents: Pianist Hod O’Brien and singer Stephanie Nakasian. She recorded her first album, Veronica’s House of Jazz, when she was only nine years old. After winning second place in 2015 at the Thelonious Monk International Vocal Competition, she moved to New York City to further her career. She has since performed and/or toured with a host of jazz luminaries, to include: Trumpeters Wynton Marsalis and Chris Botti. On her new protest album there are 13 songs with R&B, rock, American Songbook, Broadway influences with standards. Her voice celebrates women and shines in How Lovely To Be A Woman. She draws attention to violence against women in He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss). Veronica is backed by excellent musicians to include: Pianist Emmet Cohen, bassist Yasushi Nakamura, drummer Bryan Carter, guitarist Armand Hirsch, and flutist/saxophonist Aaron Johnson, plus the Stone Robinson Elementary School and Walton Middle School Girls Choirs, as background vocals!
This Bitter Earth was recorded in NY in 2019/2020 and was released on Mack Ave Records on March 19.

Watch Veronica Swift scat sing Pennies from Heave outside Terremoto Coffee Room --featured in this month's studioexpresso . She makes me think Ella, and want to hear more Veronica with my espresso order!
Tune Yards
March 26

Artful, creative and theatrical. Meet the TuneYards, Oakland, California–based music duo of Merrill Garbus, and her collaborator bassist, Nate Brenner. Their fifth album Sketchy is out on March 26.
Hurry, first 500 signed vinyls are available with your pre-orders Click the links and join the love fest.
The 11-track record, includes last year’s single Nowhere Man.
Hold Yourself is the accompanying animated video directed by Basa Studio. They have become darlings of late night shows -- performed live on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on February 22 and sang Hypnotized on Jimmy Kimmel on March 18. We're told the new album is inspired by two books: The Beastie Boys Book and Questlove’s Creative Quest. The Tonight show next?! Merrill is Talking Heads authentic, quirky, likable, expressive and fun! She supports nonprofits like Turnaround Arts: California. She recorded and co-produced with Nate at the Bot Cave. Music-makers on the album include: Hamir Atwal on drums, Craig Brenner on keys, Ross Peacock on synths, Nate on bass, percussion, synths. "I played uke, programmed drums, and sang," she says in a post.
Guilty and hypnotized!
Merck Mercuriadis & Nile Rodgers
Hipgnosis Managers: L-R: Ted Cockle former head of Virgin EMI;
Amy Thompson, Chief Catalogue Officer, formerly manager of Swedish House Mafia and DJ Snake, and a marketing advisor to Kanye West.
Big Streams Big Dreams

Neil Young made headlines for selling 50 percent of his worldwide copyright and income interests of 1,180 song- catalog. Enter Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited, the U.K. investment firm founded by Nile Rodger's manager, turned-investor Merck Mercuriadis (top middle).
Song-lover Merck says he bought his first Neil Young album aged seven.

The fund’s business model is based on streaming. Nowadays streaming platforms offer recurring payments for songs streamed on their platforms and Hipgnosis aims to aggregate catalogues of songs into one fund and reap the rewards of the royalties. In theory, this should provide a steady stream of income for investors. But wait! His fund is now public and trading on the London Stock Exchange (122.50 British Pounds as of March 24, 2021). 
In just four years Hipgnosis has invested $2 billion to-date and owns 129 major publishing catalogs with over 60,000 songs (13,291 songs listed in their 2020 Annual Report), by the likes of Tricky Stewart, Richie Sambora, Benny Blanco, The-Dream, Shakira and Al Green.
To raise this type of capitol, songs are rated as an
" asset class," thanks to the vision of one man. 

Managing Songs + Quality vs Quantity

How is this company different from other publishers or managers?
Quality over Quantity.
Sony/ATV owns nearly five million songs (The Beatles and Motown Songbooks). Given their large staff, managing an extensive group of songs can be daunting and in some cases, falls back on their priority artists. Merck's magic number to exercise full value is maximum of 150,000 songs for Hipgnosis. He's also targeting large and long-lasting catalogs that keep on producing. Take Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You - it's the most streamed song of all-time! Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk ft Bruno Mars is up there with 5 billion view just on YouTube. Merck takes credit for taking Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin to one billion Spotify streams (only Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody reached the same landmark, organically). Hipgnosis co-owns Don’t Stop Believin as a result of its interest in the Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain and Journey catalogs.

The Management Team
Merck uses terms like "surrogate-parenting your songs" and “managing your songs." In short that means each song is valued based on a profit/loss analysis.
This year the firm has brought on board an arsenal of label executives to include: Ted Cockle (former head of Virgin EMI), now President of Hipgnosis Songs Fund.
Amy Thompson is named Chief Catalogue Officer at Hipgnosis. She is formerly manager of Swedish House Mafia and DJ Snake, and a marketing advisor to Kanye West. The company annoucned Richard Rowe (Sony/ATV) as Executive Vice President in March.

A Balancing Act: ROI VS ROE

How is Hipgnosis going to add value to your songs and legacy? It’s yet to be seen. Who are the investors?
Merck talks ROI (return on investment) to investors and ROE (return on emotion) to artists when it comes to bringing their songs back to life.

Relationship With Producers & Artists

Merck wants to turn the music industry upside down.
He has made some 60 deals in 21 months with an investment north of $1 billion. “Out of those 60 deals,
40 are ones where I went after the songwriter or artist and developed a rapport,” said Merck in an interview this month.   Other big names who have signed with Hipgnosis are: Stevie Nicks to the tune of $80 million, Bob Dylan to the tune of $300 mill +. The company has acquired 100% of Lindsey Buckinghams’ publishing rights  On Mercuriadis’ roster are also top producers and song collaborators like Jack Antonoff (Taylor Swift), Mark Ronson (Adel), Dave Stewart (Eurythmics) and hip-hop producer Timbaland, to name a few. He has acquired 100% of Jimmy Iovine’s producing royalties.
“At the end of the day [when buying catalogs] you have to demonstrate to songwriters, artists and producers that you are the right pair of hands for them to put their children in,” said Merck in a streamed interview last week.
It's true that people listen to music in good times and bad and the streaming of music has increased noticeably during the lockdown period.
Still, managing your songs is always a good idea with people you have worked with and trust.

And for artists sake, learn about publishing and adminstration contacts and your options before you part with your babies, your songs!

Full article here
President Jo-Ann Geffen
Jo-Ann Geffen is the president of Creative Rights Group in Los Angeles, a company founded in 2014  to help songwriters and artists recapture and monetize the rights to their music assets. Her son, Jeremy Geffen, began the company and they worked together to sell the publishing, PRO income and/or performance and production royalties for such prestigious clients as members of the Commodores, The Isley Brothers, Smokey Robinson, Hoagy Carmichael estate, Baker Knight (Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson) estate, Ellen Shipley (Belinda Carlisle), Robert "Kool" Bell, Willie Mitchell estate, to name a few. They have helped artists reclaim over $150 million in assets related to the music they wrote, performed and/or produced. 
Your Songs Your Assets

Monetizing your songs is not a new concept. Most songwriters have been reluctant to sell their catalog except when the 3 Ds -- Death, Divorce and Debt - happen. The collapsed touring industry in 2020 and resulting lost revenues are providing a strong incentive for songwrtiers to change that and look elsewhere.

studioexpresso met up with Jo-Ann Geffen in March to learn about her company, Creative Rights Group and what's available to copyright owners who wish to recapture and monetize their assets or songs.

SE: Touring revenue has evaporated for artists due to the pandemic . What are some ways rights holders can monetize their catalogs?
JG: There are numerous revenue streams for rights holders including songwriters, artists, producers or their estates. Publishing, PRO income (performing rights organizations - BMI, ASCAP, SESAC), and recording/performance and/or producer royalties. Estates can also sell Sound Exchange revenue. Buyers are paying highest multiples on annual revenue that they have paid to date. There is also a tax savings since income from a sale is treated as capital gains at a lower tax rate (now it's approximately a 16% savings which could change if capital gains rate increases, as predicted) You can sell any portion of any or all of the revenue streams.

SE: How do you quality Interested music owners?
JG: We will look at your last three years' statements for all revenue streams and guesstimate the value for a sale. We can also tell you if your copyrights are ripe for termination to revert to you.

SE: Sound Exchange has distributed 7 billion to rights owners. who can sign up?
JG: Artists, musicians, producers, engineers

SE: Explain the '76 Copyright law.
JG: The '76 law dictated that as of 1978, anything written 35 or 56 years ago can be terminated. Terminations must be properly filed with the Copyright Office. When they mature (reach the 35 or 56 year mark) they will revert to the original owner.

SE: Your best advice to right holders?
JG: My advice is that it's all about the legacy. Each deal is unique and customized to the desires/need of the seller. Sometimes I recommend that they keep a percentage of the publishing so that they not only get a big check up front but also reap the rewards of the buyer working the catalog to recoup their investment.

SE: It's women's history month - name a top female executive you would love to have lunch with and why?! 
JG: Probably Melissa Gates. I've had the pleasure of meeting her husband and found him to be so down to earth and unpretentious that I was beyond impressed. Her philanthropic spirit and dedication to causes she cares about, notably the environment, are impressive at least and laudable. She did not depend on her husband, rather joined forces with him and helped to implement their matched goals.

The Opportunity

Last year global music sales grew for the fifth consecutive year, to $20.2 billion, driven by a 23% growth in streaming. Apple, Amazon and Spotify are expecting more than 450 million subscribers to paid music services by the end of this year.
The collapsed touring industry in 2020 and resulting lost revenues are providing a strong incentive to look elsewhere. 
"15 years of technological disruption in the form of illegal downloading has left these assets available at attractive prices at a time when the rapid adoption of streaming and its paid music subscription services is growing industry revenues significantly," Merck says in Hipgnosis' 2020 Annual Report.

Interested studioexpresso producers and artists may contact Jo-Ann Geffen via claris@studioexpresso.com with "Your Songs" in the subject line.
Her Mission To The Moon & Back
Janelle Wellons Is JPLs Youngest Engineer

Engineer Janelle Wellons works at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. She is one of the youngest staffers on a Moon and Earth mission. She operates the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's Diviner instrument - a radiometer that measures the surface temperature of the Moon.
Wellons is also developing the system that will command the Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols instrument, which will launch around 2022 to study how Earth's pollutants affect people's health on a global scale. Just three years out of college, she has had to climb obstacles to get to her dreams. "One of my classmates approached me in front of a group of friends and said, 'We all know the reason you got accepted into MIT is because you're black." "I definitely had a huge transformation in college," she says. "When you take away the 'smart black girl' label, you become your own person and people can have a conversation beyond that." Wellons' typical day starts with checking on the health and safety of her instrument or, as she puts it, "making sure it's alive and well." Then she creates the commands that will be sent to the instrument. "I am immensely thankful for the opportunities and support that have brought me to JPL, because it was never a straight shot."
"The art of life is not controlling what happens to us, but using what happens to us."‬

“The Truth will set you FREE. But, it’ll piss you off first.”

-Gloria Steinem

Men play a big role in supporting women starting with our fathers. My grandmother, Anoush (means sweet) taught me about feminism before I was aware of the term. 
She was a self-taught independent, well-traveled (US, Europe, Iran, Iraq, Russia) woman from Armenia. She designed fashionable wears and supported a family of 5 in the 40s.
I knew her as an activist who loved theater and served her community as a Red-Cross volunteer. She valued education and loved her only granddaughter fiercely. A woke film, The Glorias, is now streaming on Amazon Prime. It is the story of feminist icon Gloria Steinem and her itinerant childhood and its influence on her life as a writer, activist and organizer for women's rights worldwide. Dolores Huerta, Dorothy Pitman Hughes, Flo Kennedy, Wilma Mankiller, and Bella Abzug all make appearances in the movie—and their casting is spot-on. Janelle Monáe stars as Dorothy Pitman Hughes, the cofounding editor of Ms. magazine and a feminist leader, child-welfare advocate, activist, public speaker, and author. Lawyer, civil rights advocate, and feminist Florynce “Flo” Kennedy is played by Lorraine Toussaint. Julianne Moore plays Gloria Steinem in her later years.
When asked to define feminism, Ms Steinem simply says. Look it up! It's "The advocacy of women's rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes."
Fortunately, in our music industry, many of you are fabulous men who support women engineers, producers and music executives. Here's my list of exceptional human beings, friends and colleagues-- studio owners, award-winning producers and entrepreneurs -- to whom I'm grateful.
My Dad Avo, Mark "Mooka" Rennick Prairie Sun, Dan Alexander DA Audio, David Schwartz NAMM, Jay Kaufman Kaufman & Assoc, Peter Maurer EnerGen WAO, Inc, Peter Gruneisen nonzero architects, Allen Sides, Brad Lunde Trans Audio Group; Rafa Sardina, Ken Allardyce, Brad Buxer, Lulo Perez, Matt Wallace, Andre Fischer, Niko Bolas, Marvin Etzioni, Brent Fischer, and my loving husband of 21 years, Nelson Dodge. It is absolutely men’s responsibility to fight sexism too. Thank you gents!

2020 Nobel Prize Winners
Cracking The Code of Life
Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna
Their Genetic scissors is a tool for rewriting the code of life. Emmanuelle Charpentier of Institut Pasteur in Paris, France and Jennifer Doudna, PHD from Harvard Medical School (now at UC Berkley) are the first two women to share the 2020 Nobel prize, which honors their work on the technology of genome editing. They will split the prize money of $1,110,400. 

Since Charpentier and Doudna discovered the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors in 2012 their use has exploded. What are some practical uses? Developing crops that withstand mould, pests and drought.
In medicine, clinical trials of new cancer therapies are underway, and the dream of being able to cure inherited diseases is about to come true, thanks to two women!

Emmanuelle Charpentier (L) and Jennifer Doudna (R) Nobel Prize for their Crispr-Cas9 "genetic scissors" photo: Getty Images
Costs of these operations are still high as much as $1million reported and face danger of crossing ethical lines, when it comes to controversial applications.

Now, it's up to societies to work out the legal and economic challenges so a larger and diverse communities benefit from Charpentier and Doudna's gift .
Where Dreams Are Born
nonzero\architecture works 2003 - 2019
Peter Grueneisen
Bruce Botnick (L) is interviewed in his recording studio, designed by nonzero by Mr. Bonzai. Photo by Peter Grueneisen
This book goes on my coffee table! It's got some of my favorite studios with stunning photography by the likes of Julius Shulman, Juergen Nogai, Edward Colver, Taiyo Watanabe, to name a few.
Where Dreams Are Born by Nonzero Architecture founder and multiple TEC Award-winner Peter Grueneisen is a celebration of his company's 30th anniversary. In addition to interviews with well-known talent and Peter's clients such as Hans Zimmer and Bruce Botnick, the book includes full-page color photographs with extensive architectural diagrams and project descriptions. Where Dreams Are Born features an introduction by Sam Lubell and conversations with clients Hans Zimmer, Bruce Botnick, Brian Riordan and Paul Lieberstein, as well as with Thomas Small, and architect Craig Hodgetts. "Our designs address the human desire for both the beauty and functionality of their surroundings, whether at home or at work, at leisure or in the public realm," says author/architect Grueneisen.
Order Where Dreams Are Born now from Amazon
Dolly Parton: A Living Legend & Doll

Photo: Wade Payne/Invision/via AP

This month Music legend, Dolly Parton, 75, documented the moment in a video in which she encouraged eligible viewers to get their shot. Then she broke into a modified rendition of "Jolene". "Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, I'm begging of you please don't hesitate."
Last April Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where pandemic-related research was done on the Moderna vaccine. "So I just wanted to say to all you cowards out there, don't be such a chicken squat…Get out there and get your shot," she says with a chuckle. 
A master song-smith, actress, entrepreneur and humanitarian (Red Cross, HIV/Aids), Dolly’s net worth is estimated at $600 milll. Parton has 44 Top-10 country albums, and 110 career-charted singles over the past forty years with an impressive catalog of 3,000 songs (I Will Always Love You, Jolene, Coat of Many Colors and 9 to 5, among them). She is a co-owner of The Dollywood Company, which operates the theme park Dollywood  She has campaigned tirelessly for children's literacy via her Imagination Library.  With 50 Grammy nominations, Dolly stands as the second-most nominated woman in Grammy history, only behind Beyoncé. Parton who has received the Living Legend Award from Librarian of Congress says: “I don’t work for Awards or rewards."
“I’ve got enough rhinestones (on my gowns) to sink a ship.”
 – Dolly Parton

Meet Music Execs Michele Anthony & Carolyn Mugar
Michele Anthony
Michele Anthony is Executive Vice President of Universal Music Group, where her responsibilities include helping manage UMG’s U.S. labels and overseeing Universal Music Canada. She's tasked to maximize commercial and strategic opportunities to establish new revenue streams.
Anthony has an unparalleled depth of experience working with labels and artists. She previously founded 7H Entertainment, a consulting and management firm whose clients included Pearl Jam, Prince, Black Sabbath & Ozzy Osbourne, Björk and Soundgarden, among others. Before 7H Entertainment, Anthony served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Sony Music Label Group U.S., where she oversaw day-to-day management and operations. Prior to Sony Music, Anthony was a partner in the entertainment practice at law firm Manatt, Phelps, Rothenberg & Phillips, where her roster of clients included Guns N’ Roses, Alice In Chains, Rick Rubin, Sub Pop Records and The Pixies. Anthony represents UMG on the boards of several organizations, including RIAA. "I’m on the Recording Academy task force tackling diversity issues, and one of the things we’re looking at closely is women producers and engineers," she says who recognizes that women are the primary caretakers in their families. It's difficult to be out every night until 11 pm or midnight. It's difficult so work 14 hours a day.
She sits on the board of The Music, Mass Appeal, a New York-based media & content company focused on urban culture, and she also serves on the boards of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Global Citizen, where she helped found the annual Global Citizen Festival in New York.
The UJA-Federation of New York named Anthony its 2017 Music Visionary of the Year for her exceptional professional accomplishments and commitment to philanthropy, becoming the first woman to receive this award as a solo honoree.

When she was 12 years old, Michele Anthony tagged along with her father, music manager Dee Anthony, on tour with Peter Frampton and Joe Cocker.

Carolyn Mugar
Exec Director Farm Aid

Who can forget Farm Aid’s enduring impact on its four leading artists: Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews.

When Willie raised over $7 million during the first Farm Aid concert in 1985, he knew he had to find an Executive Director who could handle the task of distributing all that money. He handpicked Carolyn Mugar, an activist for many social issues, including labor, environment, toxics, literacy, and community empowerment.

Mugar received an Honorary Doctor of Public Service from Suffolk University Being half Armenian, Carolyn started a reforestation project in Armenia. She is also the President of the Armenian Assembly of America

Perhaps FarmAid changed people’s consciousness. "Farm Aid supporters have recognized the links between its mission and “the good-food movement, the environmental movement, the whole issue of structural racism. Farm Aid has been working with Black farmers and Black farm organizations since day one,” Mugar said in an interview with Billboard.

In a 2020 blog post (where you can donate), she writes to her supporters: "All of this tenacious work makes a real difference in the lives of farm families, and all of us who eat. When we strengthen family farmers, we are all stronger!"

"After 30 years, we are still here, you're still here, and together we're still fighting for the farmers. The fight ain't over yet but we're gaining on those suckers, so stay with us."
— Willie Nelson
Happy Birthday Lady Gaga ... March 25!
12X Grammy winner Lady Gaga is one of the world's best-loved music and film artists (124 million records sold as of 2014). Gaga's business ventures include Haus Labs amazon.com/hauslabs , a vegan cosmetics brand that launched in 2019.
Her philanthropy and activism focus is on mental health awareness and LGBT rights
Together with her mom, they founded Born This Way Foundation in 2012 to empower youth, improve mental health, and prevent bullying. 33.8 million watched President Biden and VP Kamala Harris' inauguration on Jan. 20 where Lady Gaga and Katy Perry performed.
In April 2020, Lady Gaga curated the televised benefit concert, One World: Together At Home, a collaboration with Global Citizen to benefit the World Health Organization's Covid-19 Solidarity Response which raised $127 million. In recognition of her contribution to the BLM movement, Gaga received the Yolanda Denise King High Ground Award in January 2021. She will be returning to Vegas for additional residency dates, which will be announced in the near future.

"I believe that kindness is the cure to violence and hatred around the world," she says.
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