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Rule for Booking Oktoberfest Entertainment
year I write about how venues should book their Oktoberfest
entertainment six to twelve months or more in advance. What I haven't
written about, however, is how important it is to maintain those
bookings. When you book a polka band for your Oktoberfest event, that
band is 100% comitted to your
event. That means they are turning down all other offers they're
receiving for the same date. If you decide to un-hire the band,
especially on short notice, you put every member of that band at risk
of losing income.
The Saturdays from mid-September through mid-October are the "New
Year's Eves" for polka bands. Booking a band for one of these dates is
like hiring a band for New Year's Eve. Likewise, cancelling a band on
short notice for one of these Saturdays is the equivalent of cancelling
a New Year's Eve booking on short notice. It's a major no-no. You just
don't do something like that, because the band is not only losing the
income from your event, but every event they've turned down while they
were committed to yours.
If you need to cancel a booking, INFORM THE BAND RIGHT AWAY so that
they have as much time as possible to book another job for that same
Music Group Withdraws Ownership Claim to My Song
few weeks ago, I wrote about how I was unable to collect RO (rights
owner) royalties for one of my songs, because ownership to the song was
being claimed by Universal Music Group, Inc. UMG's claim of ownership
to my song was reported to me by SoundExchange, a company that collects
and distributes royalties to
musicians when their songs are played over internet and terrestrial
radio. All of my songs
are registered with SoundExchange.
Since I wrote and recorded the song claimed by UMG and never sold the
anyone, I immediately disputed the claim. SoundExchange attempted to
negotiate the dispute, however, UMG did not relent. As a result, all
radio royalties earned by the song would be held indefinitely by
SoundExchange until the ownership dispute was settled between UMG and
I immediately emailed UMG with background information about the song,
explained that I never sold the copyright to anyone, and asked them to
settle the dispute by rescinding their claim of ownership. I waited
several days, but UMG did not respond.
I then wrote a cease and desist letter and mailed it to UMG. Within a
half hour of receiving the letter, UMG responded to the dispute by
rescinding their claim of ownership to my song. [PDF copy of the
It is now up to SoundExchange to accept the dispute settlement and pay
me my due royalties.
How UMG came to claim ownership of my song is a mystery to me. My guess
is that a radio station somewhere along the way made a clerical error
by reporting my song to SoundExchange as cover of another artist's song
by the same name which is owned by UMG. When the song ownership went
into dispute, UMG probably realized the song they owned by that name
was not my song, however, assuming I was probably a typical independent
musician who would not pursue legal action, they simply ignored the
matter. When they received my C&D letter, they realized their
assumption was wrong.
not complied with my
demands in the C&D letter, would I have taken them to court?
Absolutely. They obviously have a lot more lawyers than I do, and the
process would have been very costly, but this was a clear case of
intellectual property theft. No one is going to get away with stealing
a song from me. Recording covers of my songs is fine and even
encouraged, but claiming to own them is a different matter entirely.
View on Awards Considerations for Positively
distributing my new album to DJs, fellow musicians, and other
professionals in the polka music industry last week, I've been
overwhelmingly requested to submit my album to various polka
organizations for music awards nominations. I am both humbled and
flattered by these sentiments, because I hold the opinion of my fellow
musicians in high esteem.
My personal feeling, however, is that I create music to bring enjoyment
to people – not to garner trophies. The only accolades that mean
anything to me are the personal compliments and words of encouragement
I receive from those who listen to my albums. Twenty years ago, I would
not have hesitated submitting my music for awards consideration, but
now that I've grown a little older, trying to win awards is just not my
style. A plaque telling me my music is a winner may look good on a
résumé, but it's not going to make my music sound any
One friend, however, brought up a valid point in favor of submitting
Positively Polka for awards: I'm not the only musician on it. I have to
admit, I never looked at it from that angle before. I am extremely
proud of the talent that Abby, Mollie, and all the other vocalists and
musicians contributed to my album, and I would never do anything to
prevent them from receiving the recognition they so rightly deserve. So
here is my official stance on the subject:
I will not personally submit Positively Polka for any music awards,
however, anyone else who appeared on the album has my permission to do
so, and I will support their decision 100%.
a Ball in Nassau?
received this photo the other day. Can you guess who sent it? Here's a
hint: It came from someone who was apparently decorating the dance hall
with Old Style cans.
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