Mj Wilson Photography - Internationally published, Female Photographer for Fashion, Lifestyle, Events, Weddings, Models, Actor Headshots

Tag - Websites for Musicians

New Songs for Kids – Balloon Dad Mom by Jeff Thomas

New Songs for Kids - Balloon Dad Mom by Jeff Thomas

When Jeff and I were discussing ideas for websites, he told me that he had recorded a CD for Children, a few years back, and had great success selling it on his own. Jeff originally wanted all his music on one website, but when I heard about this CD, I knew it had to have a look and a website all its own.

Jeff is a single Dad, who has great love for his daughter Kazue. While Kazue was growing up, Jeff wrote songs, just for her, which he then performed live, at local schools and recreation parks. What Jeff found out was there was a real need for original Children’s music that got the children interested and involved in the songs. With the help of Kazue, Jeff recorded Balloon Dad Mom and from the very first song, called The Shot Song, where the chorus goes: “No, I do not, like getting a shot,” you can easily see how children quickly relate to the song’s theme.

I don’t have children and my friends know that I tolerate things for children with very little enthusiasm. I didn’t think I could really get into this project when I started it, because I didn’t have that natural affinity towards kids. Boy, was I wrong! When I listened to Jeff’s Balloon Dad Mom CD for the first time, I found myself laughing out loud at parts of it. Best (and worst) part about the CD? I found myself not only singing along with the songs, I found myself singing the songs as I went about my day!

If this CD can make me sing along with it, imagine the effect it will have on kids and their parents!

We are excited to have created this second website for Jeff that showcases his Balloon Dad Mom CD of Children’s Songs. Jeff has already sold hundreds of copies of this CD on his own and this website will surely quadruple those sales quickly.

If you have a child, you need to buy this CD! Jeff’s clients have actually worn out copies of this CD, from it being played over and over again, and have returned to purchase new copies for their family.

You Can’t Help Those Who Don’t Want To Help Themselves

I’ve been very busy the past four months helping my ex-boyfriend, Randy Gun, get his website and blog set up and going.

Besides creating multiple Music Video Slideshows that used my images and his music, I’ve handled getting Randy’s music digitized, registered online, and set up for sales on iTunes, CDBaby, Amazon.com, Rhapsody, etc. I’ve also been the Administrator for his business Facebook page and for his blog, overseeing all transfers of information and registration at new websites.

I’ve called in favors from local vendors (in my area) on Randy’s behalf, and over half a dozen fans, fellow music aficionados and retail record sellers have provided me with free services, that I passed on to Randy. Several people (from around the world) even helped provide digitized copies of his music, when Randy’s original vinyl recordings turned out to be damaged.

I’ve personally spent over 320 hours of time creating Randy’s website as well as teaching him how to work on his website, blog and Facebook pages. It’s not rocket science, but not everything works smoothly, or correctly, each time, so there are always workarounds that need to be explained, when teaching someone how to work on the Web.

I had also created several promo items that Randy had expressed an interest in selling on his website. These items needed his “Stamp of Approval” before they could become available for sale.

I already had plans to be in New York City for a concert in August and added some extra time onto the trip so I could meet up with him for a new photo shoot and to be able to go over some of the web issues we were having, in person, and to get his approval on the other items.

Among other requests for his website, Randy had asked if I could get him “endorsements” from industry companies. He told me which company he was most interested in, and I told him I would take care of it for him.

A week before I arrived in New York, I called that company, on Randy’s behalf, and got a wonderful, positive response.

Based on just my initial phone call, my contact at the company offered several different perks for Randy, which included free use of equipment, free rehearsal space and even the possibility of some “exposure” via an interview, if they liked him and his website. An appointment was made for both Randy and I to meet with this company the following Thursday, when I was in New York City.

I was very excited to have made this strong industry contact so quickly and was looking forward to our meeting at their offices the following week. I called Randy that day with the news and told him we now had more work to take care of, the day before, so we could be prepared for the industry meeting on Thursday. I suggested that we meet up that Wednesday afternoon to prepare for Thursday’s meeting as well as take care of all the other business at hand.

I arrived in New York on Wednesday afternoon and prepared all the paperwork for Randy to look over and got the laptop set up so we could dive right in to work when he arrived.

Randy was a “No-Show.”

Randy didn’t respond to any of my emails or text messages and left no message for me, about any schedule changes.

Not knowing what else to do, I showed up on time, for our Thursday morning meeting with the Industry Rep.

Again, Randy was a “No-Show.”

Since Randy left me with no other choice, I took the meeting myself, got a tour of their facilities and saw what they had to offer to Artists. I made an awesome industry contact that I will now use for my other Musician Clients.

I received a wonderful compliment from the Industry Rep in that he recognized that I was a “Facilitator”. I am someone who gets things done. This is why I have been successful in my life and it is also why my Clients hire me – so I get things done for them.

It’s “Basic Business 101” that you do not blow off meetings that might help you in the future. If Randy couldn’t make it to the meeting, I could have attended on his behalf, with some preparation from him, on what he wanted accomplished. Randy didn’t even take the time to clue me in on what he wanted, nor did he extend the professional courtesy of a phone call to me, or the Industry Rep, when he decided to not show up for either of the two scheduled meetings.

Not only did Randy cause embarrassment for me with his actions, he came across as totally unprofessional in the eyes of this industry contact, when he couldn’t be bothered to even show up for the appointment that I had made for him, at his request.

My team and I have done everything in our power to build Randy a functional, creative and profitable website, which was not an easy task to do for someone who had been out of the industry for close to 30 years. How do you make someone like that relevant today? I think we accomplished that task with flying colors and built Randy a solid website presence which was based on the strong images I had taken of him, 32 years ago.

It is unconscionable for Randy to treat me or my staff this way, after all the hard work we have done for him. Why ask for something and then refuse to be part of the process? It simply doesn’t make any sense at all.

Since Randy refuses to address, “own up to” or refuses to apologize for his actions last week, I am taking the issue to a public forum, so others will know how unappreciative he is of all the work that has been done for him, to date.

Follow up 8/15/11: After three weeks of no emails or calls from Randy, I finally received an email from him late last Friday night. His “answer” to all of the above? He deleted me as the Admin on his Facebook Business Page and “unfriended” me personally, on Facebook! How’s that for good business sense? What grown man even does such a thing? There was no apology or reference to his non-communicative status for over three weeks of time, nor an answer or apology for being a “No Show” at the industry meeting in New York City, that he had asked me to set up for him.

The only responsibility that Randy had for his website was to write blog posts on a regular basis to keep the site supplied with content. In four months of time he only managed to write two stories for the blog, and several other advertising snippets for the sale of his products. Everything else had been created by myself or my staff. We had been waiting for over a month for him to write an updated intro to his blog and to announce his website on his Facebook pages, to make the launch of his website official. These two things were never accomplished by him, yet his website was live and had been selling music downloads for him, for close to two months already.

When I returned from New York last week and we still hadn’t heard from Randy, we changed his password to the admin area of the blog because technically, he was a Client that hadn’t paid, because he hadn’t completed the work that he had agreed to do. (If you don’t pay your electric bill, the electric service gets turned off.)

In his email to me on Friday, Randy told me that he could “no longer work with us” because we had “deleted his website” before he could “take any actions to prevent us from doing so!” (His website wasn’t deleted, he just couldn’t access it anymore.)

Randy didn’t “own” his website. We had registered the domain name and were hosting it under our corporate account. Randy had not paid us anything for this website as we were comping him the design of the website and blog, in return for his contributions to it, and for his referrals to other friends. It’s rather odd for him to think that he “owned” the website when he hadn’t invested anything monetarily into it and he hadn’t even completed the tasks required of him, to fulfill his end of the Agreement he had made with us.

Randy was interested in his website while I was spending countless hours creating Music Videos for him or getting his music registered and online. His interest started to wane, and he become more and more unavailable, every time something was needed from him, or when he had to actually do some work or complete a task himself.

Randy also told us in his email that the website (that we had designed at no cost to him) was “worthless” to him now, because he was bothered by the “control” we had over it, when we changed his login password. (This happened after he had been non-responsive to us, for over three weeks of time.) Again, no acknowledgement or comment or apology for any of his actions (or rather non-actions) for basically disappearing and being a “No Show” at the industry meeting that he had requested I set up for him.

Another excuse that Randy conveniently came up with was that if something “wasn’t putting food on his table right now, he had no time to be involved in it!” He also said (and I quote:) “I don’t believe I ever asked you for a website, Mj.” This comment, of course, came after we had already been working on his website with him, for over five months of time.

Randy had no clue, whatsoever, on how to run a blog, much less a website, much less a Facebook Business Page. I had spent countless hours of time with Randy, online and on the phone and in person, trying to teach him how to work on his website/blog/FB Page. None of my time was compensated. In fact, Randy couldn’t even be bothered to buy me a cup of coffee, when I shot photos of him in New York, back in May. Randy conveniently found the time for me to provide another free photo shoot to him, but he couldn’t be bothered to spend 15 minutes of his time, to sit down and talk, and catch up with me, the person who he hadn’t seen in over 30 years. I was providing all my services to him for free, based on our relationship to each other from the past. In return, I got absolutely nothing from him.

In his last email, Randy also made the comment that he would rather pay us for the work we had accomplished so far, instead of continuing on with our original Agreement, where we comped him our services in exchange for his. When we sent him a bill for our services to date, he ignored the payment request and never paid it.

A true character reference: In early July, during an online chat session, Randy had told me that he was taking the Music Video Slideshows I had created for him and his old band, The Necessaries, and all the photos I had taken of them, and he was putting those materials, (and all their hits in website traffic that I had achieved for him) “in his back pocket” when he went to negotiate with his old band members, to “sell” them on the idea of reuniting, to record new music together to sell online. Isn’t it funny how Randy was so enthusiastic to use the materials I had created for him, (with no compensation, or credit to me whatsoever), to try and resurrect his career with a band that had fired him over 32 years ago, yet he couldn’t be bothered to uphold his end of the Agreement, that he made with us, for the design of his website?

Hope that meeting worked out well for him, because Karma is a bitch.

The moral of the story? Even “Free” isn’t enough for some people.

It took me, coming back into Randy’s life (30 years later) to get him to do something with his music. If it wasn’t for me, his music wouldn’t be online at all or for sale on iTunes. There wouldn’t be four Music Video Slideshows showcasing his music with my images, and he wouldn’t have the 60+ images that I gave him of himself, from those early years.

He didn’t appreciate any of the things that I gave him or did for him, which is more than obvious by his actions (or lack thereof).

I have no idea why Randy suddenly decided that all our hard work wasn’t valuable anymore. Maybe he is just living up to the “unpredictable, moody ex-rocker” stereotype, which works if you are successful or Keith Richards, but doesn’t work so well if you are just my old boyfriend, who nobody knows/remembers.

And now — because of his weirdness/craziness/unprofessionalism — Randy has no website, no Blog, no place where he can update friends and fans on new music releases or direct people to, where they can buy his music. He also has a truly hurt and confused former friend.

The lesson I have learned from all this is…even with “Friends”, have a contract or signed document in place before you “donate” any of your time or energy. Otherwise you will have a sad tale like this one to tell, instead of a wonderful, fun project to show, that you created together.

Follow up 11/10/11: Just when you think this story couldn’t get any weirder…It’s been three months since I last heard from Randy Gun…I was helping a new Client move some files over from MySpace to his website when he made a comment that he had seen a MySpace page for Randy Gun. I told him that Randy didn’t have a MySpace page. Curious, I did a search on MySpace for “Randy Gun” and lo and behold, Randy had both a personal and an “Official Musician” page set up! On Randy’s “Official” MySpace Music page were links to his two songs, that I had created the artwork for, that I had digitized the music for and set up for him to sell, on CDBaby and iTunes. He was trying to sell his music now, via a MySpace Music Page. I thought this was pretty ballsy, for someone who had declared to me, that he had “no interest” in selling his music online, and/or having a website presence, and for someone who had basically run away from his Agreement with me, and for someone who had failed to make any sort of payment to me yet, for the 5-6 months of work that I had already done, to make his songs available for purchase online.

I immediately sent Randy a “cease and desist” letter, telling him that he was violating my copyright, by using materials that he had no right to be using, since he had never paid for the services that created them. Randy did own his songs, but he only owned one warped 45rpm record. The only reason Randy’s songs were online, was because of me and the work I had done to create the digitized versions of those songs and images. Randy had no right to use my materials, without payment for them, or without my permission, so I told Randy to remove the materials immediately, or I would take further steps to remedy the situation on my own.

Of course, there was no response from Randy and the songs didn’t disappear. I sent Randy one more warning, via email, and gave him 24 hours to remove the songs before I took further action. Again, Randy just ignored the request.

The next day, I made formal complaints with both CDBaby and MySpace, telling them that an Artist on their websites had purposely violated my copyright per the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and I requested that the material be taken down immediately. Randy’s songs and his profiles were removed completely, from all websites, within one week’s time.

Copyright infringement is a very serious offense. On top of everything else that Randy handled unprofessionally with me earlier this year, the fact that he would knowingly violate a fellow Artist’s copyright, and refuse to remove my copyrighted materials when asked to do so, was despicable and disrespectful on his part.

After the music had been removed, I wrote Randy a final email, telling him that even after his ridiculous and dramatic “exit” from our Agreement, back in August, I had been the bigger person, and I had left his music online for him, even though he had never paid me for the work that created them. (I knew no one would find the music since there wasn’t a website/blog or Facebook Business page that would drive traffic to the music.) But now, because he had obviously lied to me back in August, to try and get out of his promises and responsibilities, and because of his new subversive behavior, in creating a new web presence to sell his music online, (after he had told me he had no interest in doing so), and brazenly using the materials that wouldn’t exist if I hadn’t created them, was taking it more than one step too far.

I was really incredulous that Randy would/could stoop to so low of a behavior, when I had already thought he had reached rock bottom, on the Douche Bag meter. I really have no words to explain how all this has affected me on both a professional and personal level.

Even if you disregard the fact that Randy and I were a couple in the past and don’t even think about the fact that we should have been friends now (after all I had done for him)…I can’t believe that one human being, can treat another human being, in the way that Randy has treated me.

Dealing with him, throughout this whole process, that lasted from March through November, has ruined whatever good memories I ever had of him, and replaced them with these awful memories, that are full of outright lies and disrespect, that he showed me on both a personal and professional level. The final slap in the face was that I was taken advantage of, time and time again, by someone who initially professed to be “my friend.” I’m sure I am not the only person that Randy Gun has treated this way, which is why I post these matters in a public forum.

Someday, somehow, Randy Gun will have to account for how he has treated other people. He can’t keep running away from, and ignoring situations that he has been involved in, without answering for his actions. He can’t keep making and then breaking Agreements without consequence.

Since Randy feels absolutely no remorse or guilt over how he has handled this entire situation with me, and has never had the compulsion to straighten this out with me, or apologize to me, or own up to his actions with me, I think it’s fair to expose his actions, to his friends, family, co-workers and fellow musicians, so they can see what kind of person that Randy Gun really is, and how he sees fit to treat other people/women/friends/Artists. Hopefully no one else will have to go through, what I have just experienced with him.

To see a portion of the work that I created for Randy, click one or more, of the links below:

Click Here to view my Photo Gallery of Randy Gun

Click one of the links below to view the Music Videos I created for Randy Gun and The Necessaries:

MUSIC SLIDESHOW: Listen to Runaway Child (Minors Beware) by The Necessaries (My images/their music)

MUSIC SLIDESHOW: Listen to You Can Borrow My Car by The Necessaries (My images/their music)

MUSIC SLIDESHOW: Listen to I Do by Randy Gun (My images/his music)

MUSIC: Listen to I Apologize by Randy Gun