Feedback on new song draft?

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LesSampou
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Re: Feedback on new song draft?

Post by LesSampou » Wed May 27, 2015 10:06 am

Hi! Here's an update on the potential "derivative arrangement" my song RODEO STAR may have from Stan Rogers RIDERS IN THE SKY. I finally called ASCAP who turned me on to the publisher EDWIN H MORRIS and spoke with a lawyer there. Am sending the MP3 and lyrics. He simply said, they'd check it out and if it is a derivative (five melody notes) then they will issue a permission based on a royalty rate percentage of the new copyright of RODEO STAR.

I'll wait to hear and if the it IS deemed derivative then I will decide whether to keep it in based on the amount of the percentage.

Thank you all for supporting me in taking that step to gain permission, at least knowledge!!
keep you posted, Les

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Re: Feedback on new song draft?

Post by Kolstad » Wed May 27, 2015 10:34 am

Let me get this right. You (who?) say that the definition of a derivative work is 5 melody notes? Assumingly 5 identical notes, then (quarter notes, eight notes ect., played in the same interval)?

And you are letting people whom may have intrest in determining it as a derivative work, draw the conclusion? With the definition of a derivative work and having the sheets of the two songs, you should be able to do this analysis yourself, or at least, check if their conclusion is right.

It's a legal principle that you don't get the wolf to shepard the sheep.. (sorry got caught up in old wolfsayings there http://www.wolves.de/wolfsayings_e.phtml ) :D

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Re: Feedback on new song draft?

Post by zacnelson » Wed May 27, 2015 4:22 pm

That's great advice from Kolstad!

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Re: Feedback on new song draft?

Post by LesSampou » Wed May 27, 2015 8:38 pm

well, listen and tell me. The song is linked at www.soundcloud.com/les-sampou-rodeo-star and you be the judge:

Yipee Ya Yay
Yippe Ya Yo

(the original version from Ghost Riders in the sky is opposite lyric (after I did the research): Yippee Yay yo, yippie Yay yay....)

I was not worried until a few folks here at Taxi suggested I get clearance/permission cuz they recognized the "homage" and so I did and that's the response I got. from the lawyer at Stan Rogers pubishing house...i get your point but short of hiring a lawyer, it seems to me to be a very recognizable stanza from "Riders in the sky". I in fact learned it from my dad singing cowboy songs in the kitchen. I know it's a popular melody to an old popular song, so there is a risk.....

I could change the lyric and one note and be totally in the clear. Might be a safer route. bums me out though cuz I love the part and how it connects to the old cowboy song. They want 30% though and money up front. No way. I'll just change it. no sweat.

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Re: Feedback on new song draft?

Post by zacnelson » Wed May 27, 2015 8:42 pm

Yeah the money up front would be a deal breaker! 30% is probably reasonable though.

How much money did they want?


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Re: Feedback on new song draft?

Post by mikemichnya » Wed May 27, 2015 8:45 pm

Hey Les,

Loved the song ~ and your singing! Your voice was positively ethereal in places. I also think you and your co-writer have crafted an excellent example of universal AND descriptive lyrics. The music reminded me of all those old spaghetti westerns (the ggod, the bad and the ugly) I used to watch as a kid. Super job.

I agree that intro is a bit too long, and I like the suggestion of starting at the 15 sec mark. At the same time, you could keep it as is as an instrumental. I don't think the long instrumental hurts you there.

Re the derivative chorus melody, I'm late to the party, but it was immediately familiar when I heard it. (I couldn't place it until I read Andy's post, then I knew it immediately.) I agree w/Zac's idea that it's better to steer clear of anything that's too close melodically, because of both the infringement and the gatekeeper issues.

As I see it, there are a few possible ways to go. You could leave it alone, pay what they're asking or duke it out in court. You could re-write the melody so that's it's not derivative but completely original (a bit harder, but you've got the chops for that). You could drop the chorus entirely (especially since you repeat the instrumental motif before the second verse), and re-craft it in AABA form w/that 32 sec instrumental bridge (after your second chorus), which would make it quite a bit shorter. Or some combination: make it AABA, and re-purpose your chorus as a bridge w/a new non-derivative melody, for example. I'll be curious to hear whatever you decide.

As to genre, that's a bit tougher. It certainly has that 60's spaghetti western feel. Alt-country? Folk? Indie spaghetti? Arrgh!

Good luck!
Best regards,

Michael (Amoriello) Michnya

Like Robbie Robertson sang, "take what you need and leave the rest."

https://soundcloud.com/mamichnya-1
http://www.taxi.com/mikeamoriello

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Re: Feedback on new song draft?

Post by LesSampou » Wed May 27, 2015 8:49 pm

Here's what their lawyer said after listening and yeah maybe I did his job for him but i'm not eager to get sued. I thought of it as a homage to an old public domain (in my mind it was not johnny cash or stan rogers but my dad singing in the kitchen old cowboy songs) So, while I thought it was innocent, I guess it's really money. I can change the lyric no problem and a a note or two and no problem. It won't be as cool, but then again, maybe it'll be even cooler. I'll keep you posted .:)


Hi Les,
Given the nature of the use in the provided mp3, we are inclined to treat this New Work (“Rodeo Star”) as a sample use of the existing Composition “Riders In The Sky (A Cowboy Legend)” by Stan Jones.

The typical arrangement with sample uses is for the publisher of the “sampled” Composition to claim a share of the copyright of the New Work. For this example, we would most likely claim 30% of the New Work. In this instance, we will also need to seek additional approval from the writer’s estate to clear the use itself – any claim of the copyright for the New Work and mechanical quote that we issue will be pending such approval.

In addition to signing our Sample Use Agreement prior to any release of the New Work, you will also need to obtain a mechanical license (which may be done through our affiliates at Kobalt Music Group). This mechanical license would require an advance royalty payment against sales of the New Work based on the initial quantity released. As such please confirm the initial quantity of the work that will be manufactured (if producing physical units), and specify the media/platforms in which it is to be released (ie: Physical CD, iTunes, Spotify, etc.)

Please confirm your understanding of the above, and advise if you wish for us to proceed with the issuing of an official quote for the use, as well as begin the clearance process.

Best,

Mark Levy
MPL Music Publishing
41 West 54th Street
New York, NY 10019
212-246-5881

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Re: Feedback on new song draft?

Post by LesSampou » Wed May 27, 2015 8:54 pm

Hy Michael,
just read your post. Thanks for all your feedback...I'll most likely keep the chorus, change a note and change the lyrics. It's totally good bad and ugly. We are hoping Tarantino will pick it up:) I grew up watching clint and john wayne at the drive ins my dad would drag us all to.

We already shortened the intro a bit so good advice. I"m checking out rodeo lyrics, idioms and such and am already coming up with an alternative. Keep you posted. And as I like to say "f*&k 'em if they can't take a joke..."

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Re: Feedback on new song draft?

Post by mikemichnya » Wed May 27, 2015 9:20 pm

Hey Les

We didn't go to the drive-in often (no car), but I was totally into westerns, so it's good to see they're making a comeback. It's a bit too modern for Hell on Wheels, but it's a cool song nonetheless.

I like your plan to change the melody, rewrite the words, and keep it clean.

I read recently that researchers analyzing hit songs came to the conclusion that the most successful hit songs repeat words and phrases up to a fifth more than songs lower in the charts. Maybe you could put "rodeo star" into the chorus a couple more times. Something like (and this isn't it):

Rodeo Star, Rodeo Star
rode into town and stole my heart...

Looking forward to the rewrite. :D
Best regards,

Michael (Amoriello) Michnya

Like Robbie Robertson sang, "take what you need and leave the rest."

https://soundcloud.com/mamichnya-1
http://www.taxi.com/mikeamoriello

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