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Gibson Songwriting Blog

Lady Gaga’s canceled Born This Way Ball – which was set to run 22 more nights at arenas through March 20th – will lead to nearly $30 million in refunds, according to estimates based on Pollstar data. And that’s not counting the huge potential income losses from merchandise, food, beer and parking sales. “It was definitely a blow,” says Bernie Punt, sales and marketing director for the Bryce Jordan Center at Pennsylvania State University, which had nearly sold out its 12,500 capacity for Gaga’s March 2nd gig. “Trust me, I’ve been hearing nothing for the past 48 hours of so many saddened fans that were looking forward to this. Everybody bought those tickets for Christmas or Hanukkah gifts.”

Gaga announced on Tuesday that she was forced to cancel all remaining dates on the tour due to a labral tear to her right hip, requiring surgery. Her world tour in 2012 had grossed $161.4 million, according to Pollstar, behind only Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Roger Waters and Coldplay; her early dates this year had consistently sold out between roughly 9,000 and 15,000 tickets at each U.S. arena. As pop-star injuries go, this wasn’t as devastating as Bono’s back surgery before a U2 tour in 2010 – but Gaga’s tour, at least so far, was completely canceled rather than postponed, so the revenue is gone.

"It’s such a huge disappointment," says Alipa Patel, marketing and communications manager for Copps Coliseum, where Gaga canceled this weekend’s show in Hamilton, Ontario. "It’s pretty marquee for a city like Hamilton to get a Lady Gaga. We’ve had a lot of big names come through, like Bruce Springsteen and Elton John, but with Lady Gaga being so current, it was really something that was going to put us on the map.



These are the voices that seem to be getting drowned out. In a talk at SF MusicTech Summit this week, Cracker and Camper van Beethoven founder David Lowery argued that near-zero investment and greediness from companies like Apple are making artists worse off than ever before. The well-articulated argument, dubbed “Meet the New Boss, Worse Than the Old Boss,” was also outlined on Facebook ahead of the talk. Here it is, in Lowery’s words.

"We know this empirically. The facts and evidence are in. Let’s start with the best case scenario. Let’s just look at the division of gross revenues and expenses. The scenario where the artist puts out the record themselves on their own label. Okay, the vast majority of sales take place on iTunes and Amazon. How much does the artist get paid? Well if you are independent, you get 61% of gross, because you need either a distributor or an aggregator to get onto iTunes. iTunes itself keeps more than 30% for simply hosting the songs on their servers. They do absolutely nothing else.

"This is why Steve Jobs was a genius. He was not afraid to be greedy. So now an old-style record deal might have netted the artist 20-35% of gross (most reports of artists deals are wrong and low because they don’t include the mechanical royalties). "The old deals weren’t great at first glance, but then if you start digging into it they weren’t as bad as people think. And as I will show you were in most cases a better deal for the artists than the new model. 61% of gross is a lot better than 20-35% of gross until you consider the fact that under the new model the artist is responsible for all aspects of the record’s production, marketing and distribution.

"The artist pays for the recording, the artist pays for all publicity, promotion and advertising. And here is the key thing. The artist absorbs the costs of touring. You know only a handful of artists make a living touring right? Most artists need another job to go back to or they get tour support from the record label.

"In fact under the old model record labels used to pay artists to tour (actually they still do). Once you factor in the Tour Support labels once paid to artists the model is actually shittier to the artist. Unless of course you don’t tour.

"Plus the new model makes the artist absorb ALL THE RISK. The risk of making a recording that doesn’t recoup. The risk of going on tours that don’t increase sales enough and become a loss.

"Now consider iTunes and Amazon who are now the biggest music companies of all. They put up ZERO CAPITAL and ZERO RISK and they get 30% of the gross in return. At least the old record label system shared some of the risk! Wow the old labels were not so evil compared to the new labels.

"Now of course the independent artist can still sell so many albums that the higher percentage of gross 61% overwhelms the higher initial costs. But I bet this is not the case for most of your favorite artists. The increased costs and responsibilities make THE NEW MODEL a worse deal. The artists that do better under the new model are few and far between. That’s why so many artists that seemingly could go independent do not. They still use record labels. Look carefully at your favorite artists latest record. Is it still on a standard record label? A lot of smart well managed bands still on labels. Why? Because the NEW MODEL is actually worse. "But you didn’t even need this whole complex argument to see this right? You’ve already spotted the main problem right?

"In the new model you have these parasitic entities (iTunes, etc.) that take 30% of gross and provide no added value. As screwed up as the old business was there wasn’t this giant parasitic entity sucking out 30% of gross for nothing. This should suggest to any intelligent person that there is something seriously wrong with the NEW MODEL.

Click On READ MORE April 2, 2012

Is internet radio completely broken? It’s getting harder not to ask that question: Pandora is one of the biggest streaming radio services on the planet, yet it’s struggling to pay its royalty bills, it can’t even enter the UK, and it can’t convince Wall Street to take it seriously. And now, the company is telling Wall Street that it’s unlikely to be profitable until at least early 2013 - that is, best case scenario. But is this really Pandora’s fault? You can argue all day about what a content owner deserves to be paid. But what if it’s simply impossible to build a business around those rates? This is what Pandora warned investors as part of its annual SEC filing, released just days ago. “Since our inception in 2000, we have incurred significant net operating losses and, as of January 31st, 2012, we had an accumulated deficit of $101.4 million. A key element of our strategy is to increase the number of listeners and listener hours to increase our market penetration. However, as our number of listener hours increases, the royalties we pay for content acquisition also increase. We have not in the past generated, and may not in the future generate, sufficient revenue from the sale of advertising and subscriptions to offset such royalty expenses. Part of the problem is that Pandora derives 87 percent of its revenue from advertising, according to figures shared by the company in March. Pandora’s been trying (rather unsuccessfully) to diversify into premium subscriber services, but it also finds itself dealing with considerable consumer resistance to paying for music (and especially radio) online. On top of that, Pandora is dealing with SoundExchange royalty structures that seem to be killing - not facilitating - the online radio market. And this is just horrific math: streaming rates are increasing, not decreasing, and the more listeners Pandora acquires, the greater its royalty obligations become. Which means that if per-stream royalty rates aren’t reexamined or restructured, one of the greatest companies to enter this space may simply be unable to survive long-term.


"Overwhelmed" is the newest song released by music sensation PJ Taylor. The song has an alternative edge with a pop feel and sound. His music is inspired by obsession, transgession, addiction, emotions and human interaction, and people can really make a connection when they hear his lyrics. He likes to write songs that can be interpreted in a number of different ways, drawing mainly from his own experiences and emotions.

As I grow in age, I value women who are over forty most of all. Here are just a few reasons why: A woman over forty will never wake you in the middle of the night to ask, “What are you thinking?” She doesn’t care what you think.

If a woman over forty doesn’t want to watch the game, she doesn’t sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do. And, it’s usually something more interesting.

A woman over forty knows herself well enough to be assured in who she is, what she is, what she wants and from whom. Few women past the age of forty give a hoot what you might think about her or what she’s doing.

Women over forty are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won’t hesitate to shoot you, if they think they can get away with it.

Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it’s like to be unappreciated.

A woman over forty has the self-assurance to introduce you to her women friends. A younger woman with a man will often ignore even her best friend because she doesn’t trust the guy with other women. Women over forty couldn’t care less if you’re attracted to her friends because she knows her friends won’t betray her.

Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over forty. They always know.

A woman over forty looks good wearing bright red lipstick. This is not true of younger women. Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over forty is far sexier than her younger counterpart.

Older women are forthright and honest. They’ll tell you right off if you are a jerk, if you are acting like one! You don’t ever have to wonder where you stand with her.

Yes, we praise women over forty for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it’s not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed hot woman of forty-plus, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some twenty-two-year-old waitress.

Ladies, I apologize.

For all those men who say, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free,” here’s an update for you. Now 80 percent of women are against marriage, why? Because women realize it’s not worth buying an entire pig, just to get a little sausage.


When Paul McCartney walked through the modest blue front door at the Motown Historical Museum on West Grand Boulevard on Sunday, he was just another excited, awestruck Motown fan. McCartney was most eager to see Studio A, the small space in the back of the Hitsville house where so many Motown hits were recorded.



The interesting thing here is, Prince HATES people covering his music. So much so that he wants to outlaw (yes outlaw) cover songs (wtf ?). I can’t even imagine a world without cover songs. Hell think of a artists that have benefited from their songs being covered and I know there are songs out there that were actually better when they were covered. Click here to Read the rest of this post!

Ronnie Gibson has been a top 20 artist on ReverbNation.Com for months now. He has many of his older recordings with a couple new songs on this site.  Ronnie has been included in many genres and is now in the country music genre. The site also contains some of his special “songs of faith” that he has written and produced some years ago. To check out this site simply click on