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How to Buy Lingerie For the First Time

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At our store we see girls who are buying lingerie for the first time and while it might look to the casual observer to be easy for a girl to buy lingerie, the truth is quite the opposite. We often assume that just because a girl is female that she naturally knows how to shop for clothing and especially lingerie. What could be farther from the truth? Buying lingerie, particularly sexy lingerie is not something most mothers teach their daughters. Mothers often go with their daughters to buy their first bra, but that may be the last time many girls have any guidance in buying lingerie, particularly sexy lingerie.

When should a girl buy lingerie? First let’s define our terms. Bras, panties, hosiery are all technically lingerie as they are undergarments and girls as young as 15 or 16 can and do purchase these items by themselves or without much if any adult supervision. The age varies among families and how independent the young woman is and wants to be. Keep in mind though that surveys reveal that well over 80% of women are wearing ill fitting bras and this remarkable figure started somewhere. Mothers are free to assist their daughters as much as they want, but keep in mind that young girls have everything to say about how much assistance they need from their mothers. Purchasing bras and panties for every day wear is often done in department stores and due to the very nature of unmentionables proper guidance may be lacking. On the other hand how much assistance does a young man need to buy underwear? He likely buys a four pack of tightly whites and goes on with his business if his mother doesn’t pick up a couple dozen at the local Costco.

When it comes to buying bras the matter is a while lot more complicated as a young girl may/will mature and along with that maturity or weight gain comes a larger bra size and a need for additional fittings. Most young women are not going to get one fitting much less two or more so often they are left to their own devices like taking a couple of bras into the dressing room and fending for themselves. Buying proper bras in terms of size is so important as it relates to comfort, posture and how a girl looks in clothing that it can’t really be over emphasized but most stores do not have employees that can properly size a woman’s bra anyway. Look in the local newspapers and you will note that from time to time department stores offer “bra fitting specialists” who are visiting their stores. This suggests that the full time staff is not trained in proper bra fitting. Such is the nature of the lingerie business as a whole. Women are conditioned to try on clothing to determine correct sizing but in the case of bras it is not quite that easy.

Price: As in most garments the greater the cost often the greater the quality of the garment. Most would agree that certain brands are more expensive, better made and sizing may be more accurate. It is always important to buy quality if you can afford to buy the best then this may solve some problems in buying lingerie for the first time. The difference in cost can and should result in more attention to detail, finer materials and the garment lasting longer. Don’t fall prey to the idea though that you have to pay more to get the best quality. Also don’t fail to shop at sales and clearance times for the best value for your money.

Service: Even though you may pay more it is always best to shop in a full service store or boutique particularly when buying lingerie for the first time. The cost of goods and the amount of service you receive usually go hand in hand. Buying lingerie or anything else for the first time should result in more questions about fit, material and what to look for in a quality garment. Sales people in a high end store often, not always can assist you with any questions you may have. Even if you don’t buy anything you may learn about what you are buying and what to look for? You can pay too much for lingerie considering the use it will get. If you are paying $250.00 for a pair of panties consider how durable the panties are, how often they will be worn and perhaps 5 pair of panties at $50.00 is a better value. On the other hand a robe that will keep you warm be useful for 2-5 years and worn every day is perhaps a worthwhile investment.

Purpose: Lingerie may be something sexy to wear under your work outfit or something to wear on your wedding night or honeymoon. The work lingerie needs to be more durable, functional and comfortable than the outfit that will be worn for a precious few minutes or an hour once a month or less. Consider the purpose as you would a pair of shoes for work or running. Purpose is important and when combined with price you can make informed decisions. Often a pair of panties and a sexy lace bra can be worn to work as well as being a sexy outfit for a romantic evening. Don’t think outside the box; throw the box away when it comes to lingerie. Many of these articles of clothing can and should serve dual purposes.

Where to shop: Consider that time is money and there are lingerie stores and then there are lingerie stores? What do I mean? Department stores offer little in the way of sexy lingerie but a lot in the area of foundations, a term used to refer to bras, shapers and panties. Consider what you are looking to buy? If you are looking for a sexy little number to warm up his heart rate then the lingerie boutique may be your best bet. No harm in shopping everywhere but if time is short then plan where you are most likely to strike pay dirt.

When to shop: When first shopping for lingerie it is best to determine what is available. If you live in Manhattan then just get on the bus or subway and shop. Many other areas don’t have this unlimited shopping access and your shopping may require you to shop on the internet or at a mall. Shopping on the internet offer the anonymous experience you may desire but the inability to try anything on so be forewarned. First time shoppers really needs the ability to try things on first before buying.

Since you are buying lingerie for the first time be sure to consider taking someone along for the fun of it. Be it a boyfriend, husband, girlfriend or your mother. Shopping is always more fun when you have someone to share the experience. They can be invaluable when it comes to advice but listen to your instincts as you are the one who has to wear it, so enjoy the experience.

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Five Ways To Brighten Your Future

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When it comes to the story of your life, you call the shots. Whether it’s choosing a college, a major, a profession or a spouse, you have the ultimate say. If you want to take control of your future, you need realize that you can manipulate your own reality to conform to your inner most hopes and dreams. Bend the world around you to conform to your hopes and dreams. Realize that you are the driver of this vehicle known as life. You are not a passenger, and you don’t have to wait until the next stop. You can steer this thing wherever to go.

Here are five ways to help you brighten your future and take control of your life:

1. Don’t forget yesterday, ponder tomorrow, but live entirely in today, every single day.

You are in real-time control of your own destiny. Don’t shackle yourself by worrying too much about what came before, and don’t overburden yourself by projecting plans too far into the future. Live in the now and you will have more control of you future.

2. Network

Don’t go through life fighting battles all by yourself. Find allies. Create genuine relationships based on healthy, positive exchanges. Don’t selfishly look for assistance. Be willing to give up part of yourself in exchange for help from others.

3. Educate yourself and never stop learning.

Every personal perspective in this world is unique. At any given moment, the dumbest person around you still knows at least one thing that you do not yet understand. Be humble about your educational development. Be open to new ideas and practices. Recognize that learning never stops. Keep the door to your mind open at all times.

4. Have frequent discussions with someone who has a worldview and belief system that is different from your own.

Like minded people tend to gravitate toward one another. That’s natural and to be expected. If you want to have a bright future in this world, you need to be comfortable dealing with people who share different viewpoints. If you’re a liberal hippie, who consorts only with fellow hippies, then how are you going to react when your first boss is a staunch conservative who wears his politics on his sleeve? Likewise, if you’re the president of the local Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) branch, then you need to seek out different outlooks to experience. Associating with only the people that share your beliefs is myopic. In life you will constantly be expected to coexist with different perspectives, so make sure you are willing and able to do so.

5. Learn to let things go.

Whenever you feel completely overwhelmed, like the odds are unfairly stacked against you, think about balance. Ask any physicist, and he or she will tell you that the universe, from astronomical scales to sub-atomic levels, is a grand balancing act. Balance is critical to the existence of anything, from planets to people to particles. Whenever you feel like you’ve hit a bad spell of luck, remember how things balance out, and find strength in the knowledge that balance keeps the universe together. Trust in the fact that things will work themselves out.

The future is what you make of it. You are in total control of your life, no matter what previous or future obligations you may possess. Be confident in your ability to manipulate reality the way you see fit. Create the conditions you want to exists in, and adjust them whenever necessary. The more purposefully you live, the brighter your future will be.

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Quality Education Vs Accreditation

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Education:

“The act or process of educating or being educated; the knowledge or skill obtained or developed by a learning process!”

Inquiries into furthering my educational aspirations were made to various colleges within my immediate environmental area. Several of the schools contacted required placement exams that I did not challenge, as I am adept and very capable of dealing with college examinations. The thing that got to me was the disparaging remarks from some college recruiters regarding their standards for education as opposed to another college. One of the schools that I’ve attended is a two-year degree school while the other is as well. They hold real estate in the same zip code and competed for students in the same local. They both educated local students as well as out of state and students from other countries and nations.

One school considered itself superior to the other by reason of accreditation. The school that was described as inferior did not have middle states accreditation. The school was described as below standard by the other. The so-called superior school is lead and operated by a non-HBCU affiliation while the other happened to be lead and operated by an African American staff. The self-described superior school has made plans, designs, and did bid for the take-over of the African American school. Albeit, the self-described superior school admits that it does not and will not accept credentials from the so-called inferior school. I have attended both of these institutions and received very good instruction from its teachers as well. While the lessons learned were an invaluable source of information, the education that I received from personal academic research (self-taught) has enhanced my knowledge base. Money was not a factor in my personal research, study, and/or practicum. I would add, the knowledge and information that was derived from the HBCU School proved to be equally rewarding as the other if not better!

Personally, I would say that I received more educational value at the HBCU (Historical Black Colleges and Universities) as opposed to the other collegiate institution. Albeit, they both required money.

When students visit college campuses they are encouraged to become a student at that particular school. The tour guides’ show all of the amenities and accolades that are offered in order to get you enrolled…and to gain your tuition monies. But what about the quality of education offered by the particular schools? The majority of the colleges will often quote their accreditation as compared to another school of choice. What has accreditation to do with a good and valuable quality education? Money! And the ability to make money! Education does not and should not require money! 

In 1899 Dr. Matthew Anderson, an outstanding community leader, and his wife Caroline Still Anderson founded Berean Manual and Industrial School. Dr. Anderson was a pivotal influence in the religious, business, and educational history of Philadelphia. Dr. Anderson also founded the Berean Presbyterian Church and the Berean Savings Fund Society.

Caroline Still is the daughter of the great William Still, a Philadelphia Abolitionist and member of the Underground Railroad.

Mr. William Still (a self-educated man), one of seventeen children, was born in Burlington County in 1821. His father escaped slavery from Maryland to New Jersey and later was followed by his wife and children. William Still left New Jersey for Philadelphia in 1844. Three years later he was appointed secretary of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society.

“When Brother William Still was 23, he left the family farm in New Jersey for Philadelphia, to seek his fortune. He arrived, friendless with only five dollars in his possession. Mr. Still taught himself to read and write. In fact, so well, that in three years he was able to gain and hold the position of secretary in the Pennsylvania Abolition Society. Brother Still provided the all-white society with his views on how to aid fugitive slaves. After all, he had been one himself. He was such an asset to the group, that he was elected chairman in 1851. Still held the position for the next ten years. He also became chairman of the Vigilance Committee in 1852. Still was the first black man to join the society and was able to provide first-hand experience of what it was like to be a slave.”

“Mr. Still established a profitable coal business in Philadelphia. His house was used as one of the stations on the Underground Railroad. Brother Still interviewed escaped fugitives and kept careful records of each so that their family and friends might locate them. According to his records, Still helped 649 slaves receive their freedom. The number is compounded with the number of slaves saved by Sister Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.”

“William Still, a self-educated man, began his campaign to end racial discrimination on Philadelphia streetcars. He wrote an account of this campaign in Struggle for the Civil Rights of the Coloured People of Philadelphia in the City Railway Cars (1867). He followed this with The Underground Railroad (1872) and Voting and Laboring (1874).”

“William Still, a self-educated man, established an orphanage for the children of African-American soldiers and sailors. Other charitable work included the founding of a Mission Sabbath School and working with the Young Men’s Christian Association. William Still died in Philadelphia on 14th July, 1902.”

The Concise History of Berean Institute:

“In 1904 Berean Institute of Philadelphia Pennsylvania qualified for state aid and received a grant of $10,000. Over the years, state aid has enabled the school to expand its services and diversify its programs of study. Funds from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania now provide a significant portion of the total operating budget. Berean Institute embarked on a program of expansion under the dynamic leadership of the late Dr. William H. Gray, Jr., who utilized the support of many influential citizens of Pennsylvania including the former Governor Milton J. Shapp. Dr. Gray served as Chairman of the Berean Board of Trustees. Under Dr. Gray’s leadership Berean Manual and Industrial School began operating as Berean Institute. He also had Berean Institute’s current building constructed in 1973.”

“Mrs. Lucille P. Blondin, who served the school for forty-five years, became Berean Institute’s first President. Mrs. Blondin retired in June 1993. Dr. Norman K. Spencer was appointed to serve as the second President and Chief Executive Officer. Under Dr. Spencer’s leadership, contracted programs funded by the City and Commonwealth agencies as well as community outreach projects have been added. Hon. John Braxton, former Judge, Court of Common Pleas heads a list of distinguished Board of Trustees members.”

“Berean Institute enrolled students in full and part-time programs. Most of the students are residents of the Commonwealth and live in Philadelphia. Other students have come from Central and South America, China, India, Puerto Rico, Tonga, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Tanzania, the Dominican Republic, England, Cambodia, Viet Nam and states along the eastern seaboard of the United States.”

“A number of students come to learn a marketable skill and their Berean training fulfills their current educational aspirations. Many others regard the school as a stepping-stone to further education. Berean has many graduates who have gone on to earn four-year college degrees and others who have completed graduate studies at some of the area’s outstanding institutions of higher learning.”

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Education granted Berean Institute approval to award the Associate in Specialized Technology Degree on September 15, 1976, and the Associate in Specialized Business Degree on December 27, 1976.

Again, education is:

“The act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life; the act or process of imparting or acquiring particular knowledge or skills, as for a profession; a degree, level, or kind of schooling: a university education; .the result produced by instruction, training, or study: to show one’s education; the science or art of teaching; pedagogics.”

A definition of education: ‘The act or process of educating or being educated; the knowledge or skill obtained or developed by a learning process; a program of instruction of a specified kind or level: driver education; a college education; the field of study that is concerned with the pedagogy of teaching and learning; an instructive or enlightening experience:

Dictionary.com Unabridged

Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2009

So why does another school rate it’s accreditation over and above that of another? Money! Many colleges and universities rate its’ educational values based on the amount of money in its’ coffers as well as the amount of money that they can amass!  Another tool to increase superiority in the education business is to attain and maintain accreditation and as many acquisitions as possible.

Several opinions suggest education achieved through these venues is designed to prepare people/students for the job market as opposed to being prepared for life skills. The skills required to carry ones posterity and their descendants that follow into prosperous futures.

Is it fair to assess the stature of a collegiate institution above any other based on the amount of money that is needed to be spent or the amount of education that is achieved? Ivy league institutions turn out many students who are not prepared for the challenges of life…but many of them are rich and have spent thousands of dollars to attend those schools as well as graduating from them. On the other hand, many poor people that are lucky enough to qualify for grants, loans, scholarships, etc., are better prepared to face the challenges set before them (so it seems).

Many poor and working poor students seem to value the collegiate level education as if their life depended upon it, so they tend to work a bit harder to achieve the degree status. The document can be deemed worthless when the graduate cannot find the desired job for which he/she has studied. It is even worse when the graduated student finds that they are worse off than when they started college. They are now burdened with school loan debt plus the debts that they have had to meet before attending college. Working at McDonalds and the like, seem to be the only job that is attainable for many of them. The competition is fierce. These students are for the most part, grouped in with many applicants that are not college educated and many do not have high school diplomas as well! The knowledge attained is not considered or tested by many of these employers. Kiosk type pictures on a cash-register computer is what they have to work with. Is this not insulting to a student who has studied computer science, read and write computer programs and its languages, as well as other academics of study? 

Why is it that many non-ivy league students find themselves out of work? Why is it that many of them find that they are the first to lose their employment positions compared to their ivy-league colleagues? Why is it that many inner-city college educated graduates find themselves less likely to be selected as team-leaders than their counter part ivy-leaguers? Many employers advertise their openings with statements that don’t require a college level education. They ask that candidates simply have a high school level education. College educated candidates apply to those openings and find themselves scrutinized out of the running, i.e., background checks, credit checks, criminal histories, schooling activities, etc. Why is it college educated candidates find that not only do they have to compete with ivy-leaguers, they have to compete with high school educated folks as well. What is the sense in enduring hours, years, and other sacrifices to attain the coveted two and/or four-year college level degree when you’re not going to qualify for the job anyway? 

The notion of accreditation, money, and notable stature should not be the basis of choosing the collegiate route to education. Education should be based on ones ability to achieve, retain, and utilize education. The achievement of education begins in the home (as well as anyone who desires it). It begins with the Childs’ upbringing and the stressed importance placed by the parent and/or guardian. Should the child be highly scholastic in abilities that enable him/her to be described as intellectually talented above average, that student deserves free college education. While the rest of us who are collegiate material may well have to pay for our higher education. Mind you, my argument is based on the ability to access education without having to spend money…teachers need to earn a living, schools need to pay the costs of operating and maintaining buildings and staff. So the money has to come from somewhere. Albeit, the aforementioned disparages between different colleges should cease the practice of who’s a better institution of higher learning. Is it the responsibility of educated people to enlighten people who are not?

While many may not be aware, education is achievable without attending so-called accredited and/or less accredited schools, of higher learning…start with the libraries in your homes as well as the public facilities, news papers, magazines, shared information, and articles. Why is the education attained by others kept to a level of secrecy that one should have to pay for it?

Attained and acquired education is the responsibility of the educational pursuer…the burden is placed solely on the student not the educational pursued. I’m not advocating that one can become a doctor, architect, or a lawyer by simply reading text…there is a difference between education and training.

Education is yours to achieve and it can be free.

Acknowledgements:

Dictionary.com

Biography of William Still

Biography of the Berean Institute

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Finance

Invest in Your Small Business With Equipment Leasing

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If you’re running a small business, now is the time to think big, whether you are looking at expanding via equipment leasing or purchasing new business equipment assets.

The Federal Government’s focus on small business in the May budget was designed to encourage small business growth through tax cuts as well as measures to reduce red tape, promote more start-ups and hire more employees.

Many business owners will be taking advantage of the opportunity to receive an immediate tax deduction on every asset they purchase valued up to $20,000. Cars, utes, tables, chairs, printers, photocopiers, tools, TVs, sound and security systems, computers, tablets and smartphones are just some of the assets that can be deducted until the end of June 2017.

Short on capital? Try equipment leasing

While these tax deductions are great news for many small business, what about those who don’t have the capital available to purchase assets?

If you are a small business in this situation, equipment leasing may be your ideal ‘think big’ solution. Rather than buying machinery, equipment or cars, a lease enables you to rent them for a manageable monthly payment. At the end of the lease term, you have the flexibility to return, upgrade or continue to rent.

Leasing enables you to enjoy instant access to the tools you need to grow your business, while at the same time freeing up cash flow. Given lease payments are fixed, you can plan cash flow around a known cost, enabling you to stay ‘cash flow positive’.

With record low interest rates making leasing a viable option for any business looking to acquire an asset, whether it’s new kitchen equipment if you run a café, new tools if you’re a tradie or a new computer if you have a home office.

Leasing can be particularly useful if you need to update equipment but you’re not in a position to purchase, or your business relies on expensive equipment that goes out of date quickly.

There are also tax advantages to leasing. Under a leasing arrangement, the business does not own the equipment for tax purposes because the financier is the one who has bought the equipment and leased it to you. This means you do not have a depreciating asset on your books and do not need to pay GST on the purchase price of the equipment.

Lease repayments may be tax deductible and although GST is charged on these repayments, your tax agent or the Australian Taxation Office will be able to advise you of the possibility of claiming these via your company’s Business Activity Statement.

Want to know more about equipment leasing or Novated Leasing for motor vehicles? A mortgage broker can point you in the right direction.

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Locating Quality CCTV Surveillance Cameras and Other Security Devices Online

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It is no secret that there are many companies, world-wide, offering security solutions for business, corporate and personal use. But, as mentioned above, it is important to work with a company that has a proven track record of dedication to quality and outstanding service. It is equally important to work with a company that is committed to providing highly effective, reliable and cost-effective solutions to a variety of security issues. A good indicator of the level of service provided by a company is their product inventory list. Do they carry brand name products? Do they offer a warranty on their products and services? And do they provide clear information on their policies regarding shipping and installation?

For instance, if you are looking for CCTV surveillance cameras or fingerprint locks and access control systems, you want to partner with a company that offers the very best in these products. Purchasing a high-quality security device ensures that you are getting the protection that you need. This same level of scrutiny should be applied when looking for other devices such as safe, alarms, digital locks and fingerprint time recorders. By selecting high-quality devices at the outset, you can be more confident that your security measures are working around the clock.

The reason for this is simple, high-quality products from well-known brands have already established their own superior reputation in the security industry. When it comes to security devices, an outstanding track record of quality should always outweigh a low-ball price which is common with inferior products.

For some, it is important to find quality companies that do not overcharge. For instance, you may need, depending on your location, to find a company that does not any GST fees. In addition, you want to work with a company that has low or even free shipping and installation charges. It is also important to select a company that offers fast access to their customer support or customer service team should you need to speak or communicate with them. And, of course, you want to have clear details on payment methods.

For those who need CCTV surveillance cameras, fingerprint locks and access control systems, digital locks or any other type of security device view the resource box below for more detailed information that can be used in making the best buying decision. There is no need to work with anyone other than the best when it comes to purchasing high-quality security devices, not when your security is at stake.

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Recording and Selling Music 101

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“Aside from the creative and technical aspects of recording an album, there are legal and contractual issues that must be considered before even entering the studio. The artist or label paying the expenses of recording must be sure that everyone is on the same page regarding whether fees and/or royalties are to be paid and, if so, how much is to be paid to each party.”

–Howard Hertz, Entertainment Attorney

Depending upon the individual focus of their practices, attorneys may take cases that involve Intellectual Property and Contracts in respect to the music industry. Very often, composers and performing artists are neophytes when it comes to the economic and legal issues of this industry. Therefore, in this article, we will address the basics of recording, manufacturing, and sales to break even on a CD of recorded music. I (Dr. Sase) will address the economic issues.

As well as being an economist, I am a musician who has released original music and has produced/engineered the music of other artists. In addition, I own and operate a small recording studio. For the legal elements in this article, we welcome Howard Hertz, Entertainment Attorney at Hertz Schram PC in Bloomfield Hills, MI.

For the benefit of our readers, we will keep the techno-speak and accounting math to a minimum. Instead, we will present the big picture and will offer a basic understanding of what is involved in this market. In this way, we hope to help attorneys to educate clients, family members, or friends who may wish to attempt a career in this field. (Some of our readers may be interested in putting out CDs, vinyl, and downloads of their own music.) Therefore, without ado, we present “Essentials of Recording Music” for your reading pleasure.

Producing Recorded Music

In starting, it is good to make a “low-fi” recording at every rehearsal and gig. Often, performers use a pocket digital recorder, the type employed to record lectures and meetings. As the newer digital models can hold six hours or more, one can turn it on and let it be. If the material and its performance sound acceptable under such primitive conditions, the recording passes the 1960s pocket-transistor-radio test. Importantly, any verbal notes about changes to song structure or arrangements will be included for future reference.

A digital video recorder serves well for the same purpose. In the world of the Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), the video recording also provides an excellent scratch track. Being able to watch and follow movement and changes frees musicians, producers, and engineers from the old mechanical-sounding click track and helps to achieve a more natural and expressive feel in the multi-track overdubbing process.

Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page acted as the band’s producer. He got massive drum sounds from drummer John Bonham by recording him in the hall of Page’s medieval home, Hedley Grange. Forests, beaches, living rooms, practice rooms, bathrooms, and other places provide wonderful places to experiment and develop new musical parts. Generally, the recording studio does not. Even if you have your own studio that allows you to work off of the clock, it is usually best to do the work-up somewhere else, just to maintain perspective.

In the early 1950s, guitarist Les Paul invented multi-track, sound-on-sound recording–with the assistance of his friend, crooner Bing Crosby–in Paul’s garage. In an interview, Paul emphatically stated, “I never walk over to that machine until I know what I’m going to do and I never use the machine to find it. I find it and then go to the machine and use it. I never let the machine tell me. I tell the machine what to do.”

Therefore, prepare all of your instrumental and vocal parts in advance and develop a work schedule that includes contingency plans when you enter the studio, which is the final place in which you may be able to maintain creative control. If you need to make last-minute changes, you can keep them to a minimum in order to avoid excessive pressure and confusion during a session.

We can borrow a good parallel of detailed planning from the motion-picture industry, the one that interfaces the most with recorded music. Filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock worked as a director in the studio system. He was responsible not only for his own time but for the time of many other professionals working together on the same project.

In advance of shooting, “Hitch” storyboarded every shot of a scene before stepping onto the sound stage. For example, in the famous shower scene in the film Psycho starring Janet Leigh, there are fifty-two individual shots in the course of three minutes and ten seconds (Famous Shower Scene from Psycho (1960) Dissected in 52 Shots, on YouTube).

The master storyboardist worked out every detail, including chocolate syrup for blood, and framed each shot in advance of rolling the cameras. A major part of Hitchcock’s greatness came from his ability to maintain creative control in exchange for tight management of budget through planning. Planning pays when time is money.

Returning to the recording studio, it is a good idea to have more material prepared than you intend to record. Life happens. Sometimes, with a bit of good fortune, you move through the tracking faster than expected. At other times, a piece does not come together satisfactorily. When this happens, the piece needs to be shelved until it can be reworked. Given the time and physical cost of preparation, travel, and coordinating the schedules of the producer, recording engineer, musicians, and other participants in a session, contingency plans constitute a valuable asset.

On this point, the Time-Is-Money factor spills over to the matter of equipment by having spare cables, batteries, and fuses available on short notice. One of Murphy’s Laws states that such items have the notoriety to fail at critical times.

When it comes to recording, experience remains one of the best teachers. Practicing against previously recorded tracks that one will hear during the actual recording session is often the most economical way to prepare for a take. Usually, sound-on-sound projects will gel best when they are built upon percussion that is recorded against a scratch and/or click track. Then, the track is followed upward through the spectrum of pitch (lowest to highest frequency) with the addition of bass, keyboards, guitars, background vocals, and other instruments before the lead instrument or vocal is tracked.

Offering an instrumentalist or vocalist a copy of the best mix to date without the scratch or click tracks (i.e., the one that s/he will record against), saves confusion, frustration, and time. This work mix allows the musician to develop parts creatively and to get acclimated to nuances of tempo, rhythm, and volume before the session. Usually, this results in more productive takes and fewer of them. The additional cost to the project for this preparation is the minor cost of burning a CD or making an MP3 copy of the mix. The benefit of time saved for all involved far outweighs this cost.

Whether or not you are paying out of pocket for studio time, you are making an investment of your own time as well as the time of other musicians, producers, engineers, and techies working together on the project. Therefore, everyone should show up, should arrive on time, and, if possible, should get there a bit early.

The studio is a professional work environment. Please give the other music professionals the same respect and courtesy that you would give to your attorney, medical doctor, or dentist. If you must delay, postpone, or cancel, please do so in a timely manner.

Professional time for postponements or cancellations is usually twenty-four to forty-eight hours. Equal to the importance of showing up and starting on time is to know when to stop work on individual tracks as well as on the session as a whole. Tiredness is a vague and relative term. However, sensing the point at which the marginal net benefit of tracking an additional take reaches zero is a professional trait worth developing.

If you are not acting as your own producer and/or engineer, make the time with this person(s) to share your vision, needs, and concerns in advance. Use this time to go over production notes, equipment requirements, and other mundane items before the session commences. Everyone involved should understand the depth and scope of their responsibilities before the session begins. Delays eat up time for all and… Time Is Money. Therefore, make sure that you are on the same page with your producer and engineer.

Furthermore, note the limitations of the studio and its equipment. It is wise to know the kind and amount of tracks, microphones, signal processors, and other essentials. If you plan to use any unfamiliar equipment, make the time to research it. If possible, work with this equipment beforehand. A recording session is no place for unpleasant surprises. For optimal planning, you should know of any limitations in case you need to simplify your planned mix.

When the red recording light goes on, it is important to be technically precise in performance in order to remain within budget. However, bear in mind that we are making art. Playing with feeling and emotion from the heart is of paramount importance. Producing art commercially requires walking a fine line between the pragmatic and the ethereal. As a result, the genius in producing music is 99% perspiration.

Work with the technology, not against it. Generally, it is best to keep playing through a flop rather than to stop and start over. Part of the art of recorded music is “punching in” a short section of retake or digitally copying and molding a few notes into the track in a seamless manner. As long as most of the take has the necessary artistic integrity, the pragmatism of “time is money” works out.

In shaping the sound, remain focused on the lead line that prevails at the time. Usually, the vocal takes the lead except during intros, outros, and solos. Developing the accompaniment against a preliminary take of the lead line is a way to achieve a fluent and natural sound. Also, such an accompaniment provides a solid understructure that gives flexibility and independence to the musician who is rerecording the final takes of the lead lines.

This being said, it remains most economical to achieve a desired sound during the original tracking. Usually, it is more costly to return to a mix in order to rebuild or repair parts of it before the final mix-down to stereo. It is better to record clean and then to add effects and other “sweetening” afterwards.

Treat the production of recorded music with the same regard with which any other successful professional or business entrepreneur would treat their concerns. As in many competitive markets, the revenue per downloaded track or CD collection remains relatively constant across the span of all artists. The album Born This Way by Lady Gaga, one of the top-ten sellers of the year, hit the market at an equivalent retail price as the album MDNA by Madonna, one of the bottom ten.

As a result, the economic task of controlling the profit per unit falls fully on the cost side of the equation. Since music production is mostly about time cost, any action that can safely shave cost without destroying the integrity and quality of the product should be considered seriously. Note: these actions include keeping guests out of the session, making backup copies of takes frequently, and keeping thoroughly written notes throughout the course of the project.

In order to finish a good product, expect editing, mixing, and other post-production work to take the lion’s share of budgeted time. When we add together all of the production and post-production time, we should anticipate an investment of forty to fifty hours per track. In other words, a total of 500 hours for the entire album can be considered the norm. This is why having open access to a home studio for most of post-production is highly valued.

Part of this value comes from the fact that ears tire easily; consequently, prolonged post-sessions that require acute listening produce diminishing returns. Any work beyond mundane cutting, splicing, and adding fades and plug-in effects demand the perspicacity of fresh ears. Tired ears usually result in a substandard mix that will require costly reworking.

When do you know when the mix is done? This question is like asking a chef if the soup is done. It is a matter of knowing. We could define that point in a commercial recording as the one at which a constrained optimum is reached. It is the point at which the artistic vision is achieved subject to practical budgetary constraints; you know that the soup is done.

For some engineers, this point comes when they play it through a pair of crappy old car speakers. For others, this point may be defined as when you play the recording for others who have not heard it previously and it feels right to them as well. In any event, you will have gotten the best vocal and instrumental takes, have used your studio wizardry to achieve maximum sound, and feel that the music is ready to be unleashed on the world.

Complementing the technical and economic side of recording is the legal perspective. My guest contributor Howard Hertz explains that a tangible contribution to a recording (known as the master) or song (the composition) may result in copyright ownership or performance rights being held by any person contributing to the work.

In order for the artist or the record label to emerge from the studio with an album that s/he or it fully owns and therefore may distribute for sale to the public, agreements should contain proper “work-for-hire” language. (Essentially, a work for hire means that the contributor relinquishes ownership claims on the master or composition by stating that all work was performed for equitable compensation.)

Hertz emphasizes that these agreements must be signed by all producers, engineers and side-person musicians who have worked on the project. Typically, the artist or label should own the copyright to the master recordings contractually. On the other hand, the copyright ownership in the underlying composition may be owned by multiple writers of that piece of music. However, if agreed to in writing by all parties involved, the artist or label may “buy out” these rights.

Often because of the potential complexity of such agreement, a “split sheet” for each work is filled out after the recording of the composition. This sheet lists the determined percentage of the song or instrumental that was written by each contributing party as well as the percentage of the publishing rights that is owned by the publisher of each party involved. Then, the split sheet is signed by all of the contributing parties, thus making the determined, assigned split a binding agreement.

This is a very important point. It is often overlooked by many casual or informal musical groups that lack the understating of business law, which will treat them as a General Partnership. Operating as such an entity implies that all partners are held to have equal shares if no written agreement exists. In respect to the business of music, Mr. Hertz iterates that, if there is no written and signed agreement to the contrary, then a composition is owned in equal shares by each writer who contributed words or music irrespective of the percentage of their actual contribution.

Hertz provides this illustration: “[I]f three writers contribute to a work and have no signing to the contrary, they each own one-third of the copyright, even if one of the writers only contributed one line of lyrics and might have likely agreed to a five or ten percent share of the song if it was put in a split sheet.” A word of wisdom to all musicians and audio producers and engineers: have a qualified entertainment attorney on your side to guide you through these choppy waters.

Replicating and Marketing the Final Product

The 500 hours of time, energy, and artistic angst discussed thus far buries itself as a sunk cost, which is the non-retrievable fixed cost associated with producing recorded music for sale. In producing recorded music, most of the cost is upfront, fixed, and sunk. This includes all costs incurred to the point of making the glass master and cover artwork that is used to replicate the CDs commercially.

The amount that an artist needs to invest to get to this point depends upon the location of the studio (New York or Los Angeles versus everywhere else in the country), its amenities, and its reputation. Reportedly, the current high end is about $3,000 per hour. Ignoring incidentals, this would necessitate a project budget of $1.5 million (500 hours x $3,000 per hour). Based upon sales expectations to recover this cost, there are not many artists who would go “Gaga” over this price tag.

The average studio cost per hour in urban areas outside of New York and L.A. seems to fall in the monetary range of $75.00 to $150.00 per hour. This brings the average cost down to about $50,000.00 for the project, assuming that the artist(s) does double duty as producer/engineer.

If an artist is also a producer/engineer, s/he may be able to get the music out for around $20,000.00. This can be done by either using a budget-conscious studio priced at $50.00 per hour or by investing the $20,000.00 in his/her own Digital Audio Workstation, some good microphones, pre-amps, and acoustic sound-control material.

For many musicians entering the field of recorded music, the latter has become a very viable option. Given the simplicity of the style of music and the musical arrangements that they use on their recordings, some artists do manage to get their music ready to go out the door for about $10,000.00. For the sake of comparative discussion, let us work with these last three figures and assume that the artist works as an entrepreneur and manages the entire release.

The replication of CDs has become a highly competitive business. The price per 1,000 copies has dropped to around $1,000.00 depending on the type of packaging chosen. This gives us a unit fabrication (making the physical CD) cost of $1.00 per CD. However, there are promotional costs involved. A major but effective promotional cost is giving away free copies strategically to radio stations, clubs, and individuals as a way of priming the proverbial pump. Also, using social media like YouTube and Facebook is “free” advertisement.

For the sake of simplicity, let us assume that the promotional cost for a CD that contains ten songs averages $.50 per CD. The more CDs that are manufactured, promoted, and sold, the more money that must be invested in the project. In other words, the manufacturing and promotion costs vary with quantity. Therefore, we refer to these costs as variable costs that, on average, total $1.50 per CD.

In our example, let us say that the artist averages net revenue of $10.00 per CD. This suggests that the CD could be priced at $14.00 for sale through one of the popular online stores, distributed as digital downloads, or sold at live performances. We can phrase our economic question as a break-even analysis. In the business world, a break-even point of three to five years is considered reasonable. Therefore, looking at our artist as a start-up business, let us anticipate a break-even point at four years, forty-eight months.

What we want to know is this: How many CDs will our artist need to sell over the next forty-eight months to break even? How many CDs will s/he need to sell per month to achieve this goal? As the variable cost per CD is taken to be $1.50, the key determinant in this calculation is the upfront sunk/fixed cost of producing the master recording. If we take this fixed amount and divide it by the difference between the price at which the CD is sold and the combined cost of manufacturing and promoting each CD, we will arrive at the break-even quantity that must be sold.

If the recording costs amount to $50,000, then a total of 5,882 CDs must be sold at a rate of 123 discs per month. If our artist economizes or sets up his/her own project studio for $20,000, then only 2,353 CDs must be sold at a rate of 49 discs per month. If our artist is able to achieve a product of marketable quality for only $10,000, the break-even amount drops to 1,176 CDs sold at a rate of 25 per month, about one per day. If an artist has sufficient musical talent, and recording skills, and experience, s/he may be able to achieve this goal at a barebones studio that charges $25.00 per hour.

The Great Beyond

We have focused on what may be called an Entrepreneurial Indie Label, one in which an artist or group does everything from production to direct sales (e.g. merch tables at gigs) except for two chores. The first is fabricating the CDs through a company such as Discmakers, Inc. The second is selling some of these CDs with the help of a music-marketing service such as CDBaby Inc. These CDs then will be sold online, as digital downloads, and at brick-and-mortar stores.

The next step up the ladder is for the small entrepreneurial music company to sign with a major or minor label. At this point, a good entertainment attorney to represent the artist(s) becomes indispensable. As Mr. Hertz stated in our opening quote, “The artist or label paying the expenses of recording must be sure that everyone is on the same page regarding whether fees and/or royalties are to be paid and, if so, how much is to be paid to each party.”

Currently, the record industry is reinventing itself in the Digital Age. This age has brought affordable means to artists in order to accomplish what only million-dollar recording studios could do previously. Online distribution has become feasible and preferable to many artists through CDBaby, iTunes, Amazon, and other venues. What these turns in events leave to major labels is what they continue to do best-finance, promote, and distribute product to large markets.

In her blog, recording artist Courtney Love, Love’s Manifesto, she states, “If a record company has a reason to exist, it has to bring an artist’s music to more fans and it has to deliver more and better music to the audience. Previously undiscovered artists benefit from the huge promotional break a major has to offer. It takes a ton of funds to break a new artist–funds most artists don’t have on their own.”

In determining which artists to sign, labels consider the sales potential of an artist. This decision usually is based on what the artist accomplished before. A rough rule of thumb remains that major labels sign artists who have made verifiable sales of at least ten thousand albums on their own. In addition, labels consider plans for touring in order to market product to a wider audience as well as feedback received on the artist’s music through social media.

Rerecording/mastering, fabrication, distribution, tour support, and other promotional investments all require capitalization. Nonetheless, the business is comparable to a roulette wheel. A wheel has thirty-six black-and-white numbers plus a green “0” and a “00.” The gambling houses win on these last two. Their odds of winning are 5.26%–the two green numbers divided by the total of thirty-eight numbers on the wheel. In the record industry, only 10% of all recordings released make it to the break-even point. Only about 5% of releases turn a profit. This subsidizes the 90% that lose money.

Therefore, cash advances bestowed upon artists are determined by the ability of the artist, the costs that may be recoverable from an artist, and the probability of success in a marketplace that ultimately relies on the 5% of releases that eventually become profitable. An advance is an ADVANCE. Essentially, it is a loan that is repaid through royalties (percentage of the sales) that hopefully are earned on future record sales. Under their contract with an artist, the record label is going to want to be paid back, and paid back first.

The label will keep all artist earnings from sales until the various costs are repaid. Furthermore, in multi-album deals, the repayment can be recovered across multiple albums and advances. This method of securitizing the investment made by the record company is known as cross-collateralization. Apart from a few exceptions, every cent invested on promoting an album, from video-production costs, radio promotions, and billboard signs to tour support, is recoupable from artist-royalty points. As a result, most artists make $0.00 from their royalty points until recoupment by the label is complete.

So, how do artists go about making money from their recordings? Very simply, they can achieve this goal by remembering that what they are involved in is a business. Furthermore, this business takes place in what economists refer to as a perfectly competitive market-the market sets the price for similarly situated products and that price is relatively constant at any point of time.

Due to this market quality, revenue increases at a constant rate as greater quantities of a recording are sold. As a result, there are only two ways to increase profits. One is to sell greater quantities of the product and the other is to decrease the costs of production, manufacturing, promotion, and distribution.

We hope that we have edified our readers about the physical, economic, and legal aspects of the recorded-music business. Thank you to my guest contributor, Howard Hertz, for his enlightening contributions to this article.

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Ohio Personal Injury Lawyers

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If you are involved in either an auto accident, an injury resulting from a dangerous or defective product, aviation disaster, professional malpractice, wrongful death, workers compensation, pet attacks, home accidents, toxic exposure, or anything similar in the state of Ohio, you may be able to file for personal injury damages.

Should you hire a lawyer or not?

Most personal injury cases can be settled out of court. However, if you are inexperienced and lack the knowledge to defend yourself, insurance companies will try to compensate you with an amount lower than what you are supposed to actually receive.

This is why it is advisable to seek the help of an Ohio personal injury lawyer in collecting claims for damages. Claims can include medical bills, lost wages (including possible overtime pay), costs related to pain and suffering, costs of physical disability, deformities, permanent scars, emotional stress, embarrassment, loss of love and affection and enjoyment, property damage, and other expenses you may have incurred due to the injury. Your lawyer will make sure to protect your rights and ensure that you receive the claims and entitlements you deserve.

An Ohio personal injury lawyer will focus on helping you collect the maximum amount of compensation that you can claim and will make sure that your best interests are protected. He will make sure your case is filed before the statute of limitations occurs.

An Ohio personal injury lawyer can help you prove – beyond a shadow of a doubt – that the fault lies with another person so that you can get a substantial amount compensation. If there is a possibility that you were at fault for the injuries that happened to you, the claim that you may be able to collect would be significantly reduced. A lawyer can help prevent this from happening.

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