Bike Sharing - How it Works

Bike Sharing - How it Works
by Sue Basko, esq.

You're in a city and you see people ride by on bikes, many of which seem to match.  Then you notice bike stations with racks (called bike docks) and kiosks.  You see people pick out a bike and ride off.  What is this?  It's Bike Sharing! 

Bike Sharing is popular throughout the world.  Bike Sharing combines two of my favorite things - bicycles and the sharing economy.  Each year, more cities add Bike Sharing programs and the existing programs add more stations and  bikes. 

Here is a list of North American cities that have Bike Sharing programs: 

And here is a worldwide map showing which cities have Bike Sharing:  

Bike Sharing programs have different rules and prices in each city.  However, there is a shared commonality among almost all the programs.  This is how it works:

1.  THE BIKES MATCH. All the Bikes in a city are the same.  The seat heights can be adjusted.  Most of the bikes are sturdy and somewhat heavy.  The bikes have a front basket or rack with a bungee cord.  The bikes have lights that go on by themselves. You can tell the Shared Bikes going past on the street because they will all be the same distinctive color.  Bike Shares buy expensive bicycles that are valued at $1000 to $1500 per bike.

2.  BIKE STATIONS.  Bike Share programs have Bike Stations that have a kiosk and bike docks. The kiosk is a computer screen on which the users buy a daily membership, choose a bike, report any bike malfunctions, etc.  The Bike Stations are self-serve and automatic. There are no workers present, though most Bike Share programs have a phone number where a customer service person can be reached. Each bike is locked securely into a bike dock.  A bike may be taken from any bike station and returned to that same bike station or to any other bike station.

3. SHORT RIDES.  The object of Shared Bikes is to provide bikes for short rides, such as errands or commutes to and from a train, university, shopping center, or tourist attractions.  Therefore, the system works such that all short rides are included in one price.  That "short ride" might be defined as 30 minutes, 40 minutes, or one hour.  You need to check the Bike Sharing program you are using.  

4. ONE PRICE FOR ALL THE SHORT RIDES YOU CAN TAKE.  Most Bike Share programs allow a user to join for 24 hours, or for one month, or for one year.  Included in that price are all the short rides you care to make.  When the short ride time limit is up, you must return the bike to any dock location at any station.  You must then wait a minute or two and you can check out a different bike, if you like.  You could, in theory, spend your day taking short bike rides, and this would cost you one price.  If any bike ride you take exceeds the "Short Ride" time limit for that city, you are billed for the extra time.

5. EXAMPLES: These are imaginary examples that are typical approximations of times and prices.  Let's say Fun City has a bike share program with 100 stations throughout the city, with 1200 bikes total.  In Fun City, you can buy a 24 hour Bike Share pass for $10 or a yearly Bike Share pass for $75.  

If you buy the 24 hour pass at noon, you have until noon the next day to use the bikes.  You can check out a bike and take as many short bike rides as you like.  Let's say Fun City has a 30 minute short ride limit. You can check out a bike, and as long as you re-dock the bike at any bike station within 30 minutes, it is included in the daily price.  You can then wait a few minutes and take out another bike, if you like.  Or you can go for a short ride in the morning, another short ride in the evening, and several short rides the following morning.  If you are walking down a street and see a bike station and the mood suits you, you can take a bike.  

If you keep the bike for longer than 30 minutes (or whatever the short ride limit is in that city) on any given ride, you will be billed extra for that.  As an example, it might be an extra $2 for the time period between 30-60 minutes.

6. BIKE SHARING YEAR MEMBERSHIP:  If you join a Bike Sharing program for a month (if available) or a year, you will be given a thick plastic "key" which you will insert into a bike dock to unlock any bike.  This is much quicker than a daily membership, where you must choose a bike number at the kiosk.  You just walk up to any bike, put in the key, pull the bike from the dock, adjust the seat, and ride away.  With a Bike Share yearly membership, you can take as many Short Ride trips as you like for one year.  You might take 3 trips per day or 3 trips per month.  Users are encouraged to use the Shared Bikes as much as they like.  

7. CREDIT OR DEBIT CARD NEEDED.  To join a Bike Share, you need a debit or credit card.  Fees for keeping the bike longer than the Short Ride limit are charged to the card.  In some cities, only one bike can be taken out per credit card.  Other cities allow multiple bikes to be taken on one card.

8. NOT FOR CHILDREN.  Bike Share programs are not designed for children.  Most cities limit use of Bike Share bikes to people age 16 and up.  The bikes are the size and design for an adult rider.  

9. BIKE SHARE APPS.  Many Bike Share programs have apps for a smart phone that show the locations of bike stations and how many bikes are available at that station.  Bike Share programs also have websites that have interactive maps showing stations and bike availability.  

10. BRING YOUR OWN HELMET. You need to bring your own helmet and anything else you might need for your ride.

Demo Reels - Using Film Clips

Demo Reels - Using Film Clips
by Susan Basko, esq.


I am a film editor. An actor friend wants me to make him a demo reel.  I may also want to start making demo reels as a service for other actors.  Do I need to get clearance for all the clips?  I do not want to be sued for Copyright infringement for using the film clips.


It seems to be a standard in the industry that actors use the clips in which they act for their demo reels. The clips are small and are limited to the parts where the actors appear.  The clips in themselves are not edited and the audio is not changed and music or effect of any sort are not added onto the clips.  They are kept as is.  The clips give the name of the project and the year. The videos are edited on high end systems so the video and audio look good.

 Sell your services making the video, do not sell the video itself.  The videos can never be monetized (have ads on them).

This seems to be the standard in the industry and I have never heard of anyone being sued who follows this specific pattern. A legitimate film industry professional with a normal sense of fairness would not sue an actor for use of their acting clips in a demo reel -- or doing so would be what marks the person as not a legitimate film industry professional.   It is a known standard in the film industry that actors use their film clips in their demo reels.  However, the film clips must be short and must not be edited or changed in themselves, because this may in itself by a an infringement of Copyright or of artist's moral rights.

 If a lawsuit were to happen, it might be an arguable defense that the demo reel is Fair Use as an analysis or review of that particular actor's skill.

Nothing can ever keep you from being sued. Using only the appropriate short clips in the correct way without making changes will go a long way to providing a solid defense if any lawsuit should arise.  Also, give credit for the clips.

Watch many demo reels  first to see what works and what does not:

Big Pimpin' Copyright Lawsuit

Big Pimpin' Copyright Lawsuit
by Sue Basko, Esq.

Now is a good time for a review of the basic Copyright law that pertains to use of a sample from one song used in a new song created by someone else.  There is a Copyright case on trial now in Los Angeles involving Jay Z, Timbaland, and use of a sample in a song they made.  Below, we'll review the law YOU need to know to use a sample in a song you create.

Jay Z and Timbaland are testifying in a Copyright lawsuit trial that was filed against them in 2007 by the nephew of an Egyptian songwriter.  The nephew claims that a 4-note flute sample from the Egyptian song used by Jay Z and Timbaland in their 1999 song "Big Pimpin'" violates his uncle's moral rights.  The Egyptian nephew claims that the family never signed over the right to make a derivative work.  You can read more about the case in this excellent news article by the Guardian.  

The flute sample in "Big Pimpin'" is taken from the Egyptian song, "Khosara, Khosara," written for use in an old Egyptian movie.  You can hear the song in the video below.

The "Big Pimpin'" case is complicated because the sample came from an Egyptian song that was not registered and using U.S. Copyright law.  From the accounts of the trial, it sounds as if Jay Z, Timbaland, and their record companies did all they could to be fair.  They paid the music companies representing the family of the composer for use of the song.  The nephew, or his lawyer, contends that the family never signed over the right to make derivative works.  The music company representing the song says the family did sign over the right to make a derivative work.  This may be difficult to determine because of different laws and different languages being used by the U.S. and Egypt.  There is also the issue of artist moral rights, which are recognized differently in different nations.  The nephew's concern seems to be that "Big Pimpin'" has lyrics that portray promiscuous sex, and that this defiles his uncle's song.   If permission was not given, this would violate the artist's moral rights.  In U.S. copyright law, this right is translated statutorily into the right to control which derivative works are created.  In the "Big Pimpin'" trial, the judge has ruled that the song lyrics cannot become part of the trial.  This is the crux of the lawsuit and thus appears to be an error on the part of the judge, which may result in an appeal.

USING A SAMPLE UNDER U.S. COPYRIGHT LAW OR INTERNATIONAL LAWS:  When you want to use a sample of a song in your work, first you need to check and see if it is under U.S. Copyright law.  You can check that on the U.S. Copyright website.  If the song you want to sample is under the laws of a different nation, you need to follow the laws of that nation and of the U.S.  That is not easy.

If you look at the "Big Pimpin'" case, Jay Z and Timbaland involved lawyers, got contracts, and paid at least $100,000 for use of the sample.  That was not good enough because the family claims it never gave up the moral rights or that it never assigned the right to make derivative works, although the music company representing the song says they did assign the right to make derivative works.

This brings up a very important lesson -- that the rights or license you are getting in any contract are only as good as all the underlying contracts, releases, and licenses.  In most instances, the underlying contracts will be shaky, at best.  It is important to get rock solid contracts that are valid in perpetuity for all the world and that are binding on the estate, heirs, agents, or assignees of the property.

IF THE SONG YOU WISH TO SAMPLE IS UNDER U.S. COPYRIGHT LAW and if the song you are creating will be under U.S. Copyright law, this is the important thing to remember:


1) MASTERS USE LICENSE. the recorded music itself has a copyright that belongs to the Owner of the Copyright on the Sound Recording that is actually being used, which will usually be a record label.  The license to use the sound recording is called a MASTERS USE LICENSE;

AND  (a great big important "AND")

2) PERMISSION FROM THE SONGWRITER/ PUBLISHER TO CREATE A DERIVATIVE WORK.  The Songwriter is usually represented in such matters by a PUBLISHER.   The songwriter or publisher may or may not give permission to use the sample.  Permission may be given or withheld for any or no reason and may be on any terms the songwriter or publisher desires.

The right to create a derivative work is one of the main rights given to a songwriter in U.S. Copyright law.   This is the statutory place where "artist moral rights" have been codified, to some extent - although artist moral rights, as they exist in other nations, are more all-encompassing.  Under U.S. Copyright law, the right to make a derivative work is where the artist gets to say yea or nay to the use of his or her work in someone else's new work.  In the "Big Pimpin'" case, the family of the Egyptian songwriter is saying that their uncle's song, "Khosara, Khosara" is defiled by use of its characteristic flute notes being sampled and placed into a song with immoral or indecent lyrics.

In the U.S., if a songwriter wants to use a sample of a famous song, it is very common that the songwriter or publisher will demand to see the lyrics and possibly even to hear a simple mock-up recording of the proposed song BEFORE permission is given for use of the sample.  A songwriter or publisher may even want control over any music video for the song created with the sample.

AND (and this is the biggest "AND" of all)

3) MONEY MONEY MONEY.  You have to PAY to use a sample.  You have to pay a flat fee and royalties per sale for the MASTERS USE LICENSE.   That money goes to whoever owns the sound recording you are using, usually a record label.  And you have to pay the songwriter/ publisher.  That might be a flat fee, or it might be a flat fee plus an amount per each copy sold.

The contracts that you form with the Songwriter/ Publisher and with the Record label/ Owner of the Copyright on the Sound Recording will tell what price will be paid, how, when, and all the pertinent terms.

In most instances, most record labels and most publishers will only allow samples of their songs to be used by a song creator who has a good track record, a lot of potential for sales, a plan for a good song and good usage of the song, plans to create a new song that will not interfere with the sales or reputation of the original song from which the beat is taken, and MONEY to pay them upfront.

AND (and and and)

4) ROCK-SOLID CONTRACTS written to cover all contingencies.

If a sample is used in a song that becomes a big hit, lawsuits will come out of the woodwork.  In the "Big Pimpin' " case, it sounds as if Jay Z and Timbaland took every conceivable step to be fair, to get contracts for use of the music and for the underlying songwriting, and to pay everyone fairly.  They say the family has been paid all along for use of the song.  Success and money attract lawsuits. In the U.S., generally speaking, a nephew would have no standing to sue on behalf of rights that belong to his uncle.  It is unclear (at least to me) how he has standing to bring this lawsuit in California, unless he was appointed the representative of the estate under the laws of Egypt.  It also sounds as if the lawsuit is trying to divide the right to make a derivative work from artist moral rights over that derivative work, but in U.S. copyright law, that is not valid, and the lawsuit is taking place in a U.S court.

In the U.S., it is the obligation of the artist who is allowing someone else to create a derivative work to take precautions IN ADVANCE to make sure that the new work will be suitable to cover what are in essence, the artist's moral rights.  In the U.S., we cannot give the right to create a derivative work and then complain afterwards that it does not meet our standards.  THEREFORE, any contract formed to give the right to create a derivative work should be based on information given BEFOREHAND regarding the proposed project and the people who will be creating it, and subject to approval AFTER its creation.  This is where the right to create a derivative work branches off from moral rights.  In other nations, one might give the right to create a derivative work and then still complain after its creation that it violates the moral rights of the original artist.  In U.S. Copyright law, if you give permission for a derivative work to be created, the onus is on you, as the owner of the copyright on the original work, to ascertain in advance whether the derivative work will meet your approval.  Under U.S. copyright law, once you give permission for a derivative work, unless it violates a specific provision of a contract you have formed with the person creating the derivative work, you do not have grounds to complain.  In the U.S., the artist's moral rights are not separate and apart from the right to create a derivative work. In other nations, the artist's moral rights are separate and sacrosanct rights.

Conversely, any contract to allow creation of  a derivative work must be meticulously drafted to avoid having one's creation used in a new work that may harm the reputation or morals of the creator of the original.   The "Big Pimpin'" case is a great example of this.  The original song, "Khosara, Khosara," was created by an Egyptian for an Egyptian movie.  Egypt is a predominantly Muslim nation, which has become more fundamentalist in recent years.  It is entirely possible the family of the songwriter may face scandal or punishment if it appears they gave permission for the sample to be used in "Big Pimpin,'" the lyrics to which are below.  The music video, shown above, portrays a drug hustler fantasy of having a big boat filled with dozens of beautiful women wearing bikinis.

"Big Pimpin' (Extended)"
(feat. U.G.K.)

Uhh, uh uh uh
It's big pimpin baby
It's big pimpin, spendin G's
Feel me.. uh-huh uhh, uh-huh
Ge-ge-geyeah, geyeah
Ge-ge-geyeah, geyeah

You know I - thug em, fuck em, love em, leave em
Cause I don't fuckin need em
Take em out the hood, keep em lookin good
But I don't fuckin feed em
First time they fuss I'm breezin
Talkin bout, "What's the reasons?"
I'm a pimp in every sense of the word, bitch
Better trust than believe em
In the cut where I keep em
til I need a nut, til I need to beat the guts
Then it's, beep beep and I'm pickin em up
Let em play with the dick in the truck
Many chicks wanna put Jigga fist in cuffs
Divorce him and split his bucks
Just because you got good head, I'ma break bread
so you can be livin it up? Shit I..
parts with nothin, y'all be frontin
Me give my heart to a woman?
Not for nothin, never happen
I'll be forever mackin
Heart cold as assassins, I got no passion
I got no patience
And I hate waitin
Hoe get yo' ass in
And let's RI-I-I-I-I-IDE, check em out now
RI-I-I-I-I-IDE, yeah
And let's RI-I-I-I-I-IDE, check em out now
RI-I-I-I-I-IDE, yeah

[Chorus One: Jay-Z]
We doin.. big pimpin, we spendin cheese
Check em out now
Big pimpin, on B.L.A.D.'s
We doin.. big pimpin up in N.Y.C.
It's just that Jigga Man, Pimp C, and B-U-N B
Yo yo yo.. big pimpin, spendin cheese
We doin - big pimpin, on B.L.A.D.'s
We doin.. big pimpin up in N.Y.C.
It's just that Jigga Man, Pimp C, and B-U-N B

[Bun B]
Nigga it's the - big Southern rap impresario
Comin straight up out the black bar-rio
Makes a mill' up off a sorry hoe
Then sit back and peep my sce-nawr-e-oh
Oops, my bad, that's my scenario
No I can't fuck a scary hoe
Now every time, every place, everywhere we go
Hoes start pointin - they say, "There he go!"
Now these motherfuckers know we carry mo' heat than a little bit
We don't pull it out over little shit
And if you catch a lick when I spit, then it won't be a little hit
Go read a book you illiterate son of a bitch and step up yo' vocab
Don't be surprised if yo' hoe stab out with me
and you see us comin down on yo' slab
Livin ghetto-fabulous, so mad, you just can't take it
But nigga if you hatin I
then you wait while I get yo' bitch butt-naked, just break it
You gotta pay like you weigh wet wit two pairs of clothes on
Now get yo' ass to the back as I'm flyin to the track
Timbaland let me spit my pro's on
Pump it up in the pro-zone
That's the track that we breakin these hoes on
Ain't the track that we flow's on
But when shit get hot, then the glock start poppin like ozone
We keep hoes crunk like Trigger-man
Fo' real it don't get no bigger man
Don't trip, let's flip, gettin throwed on the flip
Gettin blowed with the motherfuckin Jigga Man, fool

[Chorus Two: Bun B]
We be.. big pimpin, spendin cheese
We be.. big pimpin, on B.L.A.D.'s
We be.. big pimpin down in P.A.T.
It's just that Jigga Man, Pimp C, and B-U-N B
Cause we be.. big pimpin, spendin cheese
And we be.. big pimpin, on B.L.A.D.'s
Cause we be.. big pimpin in P.A.T.
It's just that Jigga Man, Pimp C, and B-U-N B, nigga

[Pimp C]
Uhh.. smokin out, throwin up, keepin lean up in my cup
All my car got leather and wood, in my hood we call it buck
Everybody wanna ball, holla at broads at the mall
If he up, watch him fall, nigga I can't fuck witch'all
If I wasn't rappin baby, I would still be ridin Mercedes
Chromin shinin sippin daily, no rest until whitey pay me
Uhhh, now what y'all know bout them Texas boys
Comin down in candied toys, smokin weed and talkin noise

[Chorus Two]

On a canopy my stamina be enough for Pamela Anderson Lee
MTV jam of the week
Made my money quick then back to the streets but
Still sittin on blades, sippin that ray
Standin on the corner of my block hustlin
Still gettin that cane
half what I paid slippin right through customs
It'll sell by night its extra white
I got so many grams if the man find out
it will land me in jail for life
But im still big pimpin spendin chesse
with B.U.N. B, Pimp C, and Timothy
We got bitches in the back of the truck, laughin it up
Jigga Man that's what's up


HTML: fun and easy!

HTML: Fun and Easy!
How to Make a Link
How to Make Italics, Bold, Delete, Big, and Center
by Sue Basko, Esq.

Are you jealous of people who can make their online comments, Craigslist ads, band descriptions, and other things just a bit snazzier because they know HTML?  HTML is hypertext mark-up language.  It is coding you can use in spaces that allow it.  It's easy!  Here are a few easy HTML codes to get you started.  

Here's how to do it:

This is called an angle bracket.  
HTML code goes inside the angle brackets.

Let's say you want to make some words bold.
is the code for bold.

You turn the bold code on with 

and turn the bold code off with

Everything that is between the on and the off will be bold.

I want to order a mushroom only pizza.

Let's add some HTML for bold:  

This is how it will look: 
I want to order a mushroom only pizza.



How it looks: 
The Title of My Paper



How it looks:
 She was so dreadfully boring.


How it looks:
  The sale is for a Limited Time Only!

Note: In comments, this is used mostly for jokes or sarcasm.


How it looks:
   The Antiques Shoppe was filled with junk treasures.

Susan's Twitter
The link is live. It goes to my Twitter.  Click on it and see. Here is how to make such a  a link: 

This will get you started on HTML. Practice makes perfect!  There are many more HTML codes.  Have fun learning them!

Paragon Studio Trident Audio Board Refurbished

Paragon Studio Trident Audio Board Refurbished
by Sue Basko, Esq.

Update 2016: Sadly, Paragon Studio was forced to go into sleep mode because the building in which the studio was housed was sold to a developer.  The Trident Audio Board was sold to another Chicago Studio.  Joe Connors is now producing at Bennett Road Studios.  If any others from Paragon want to write in and say what you are up to, we are happy to post it.

My very dear friends at Paragon Studio in Chicago have worked for months refurbishing their famous Trident mixing board.  Paragon Studio is a great place with wonderful people.  You can read about  Joe Connors, the Chief Engineer and producer, HERE.  Paragon sent me this excellent write-up below about the historic Trident audio board - which I have had the pleasure to sit behind many times.  Please read and enjoy the pics.  

Trident TSM 48x32x24x4x2 Mixing Console #9

PSI-Trident 1a
Paragon Studios, Inc. is home to the legendary Trident TSM Console #9 used to record artists Art Garfunkel, Pink Floyd (The Wall), Queen, Roberta Flack, Meryl Streep, Little Richard, Elvis Costello and R.E.M. to name a few.
Paragon Studios, Inc.
This unique Trident audio mixing console was constructed in 1979 and remained in full service at Trident Studios in London until 1981 when renowned recording engineer, Ben Rizzi, purchased and installed it in New York City’s Master Sound Studios. There, the console’s award winning recordings by renowned artists led to a studio buyout and its relocation to Kaufman Astoria Film Studios in 1984. The console was then sold to Fred Shaw of Bradley House Music Studios in Quinby, South Carolina. In 2002 the console was purchased by its third and present owner, Ned Engelhart, of Paragon Studios, Inc. in Chicago, IL.
Trident Board 02
The legendary Trident TSM #9
Just some of the many artists who have recorded on the legendary Trident TSM #9Placido Domingo, Keith Richards, Tony Bennett, Pink Floyd, Barbra Streisand, Dizzy Gillespie, Queen, Kiss, Luciano Pavarotti, Sesame Street, Julie Andrews, N’Sync, Elvis Costello, John Cullum, Wynton Marsalis, Gary U.S. Bonds, Sir James Galway, Roberta Flack, Sinead O’Connor, Laverne Butler, Monty Alexander, Arthur Blythe, David Sanborn, Joey Henderson, Ramsey Lewis, Robert Merrill, Gerry Mulligan, Max Roach, Bill Taylor, Astor Piazolla, Marvin Hamlisch, Betty Carter, Barbara Cook, Incognito, Billy Joel, Benny Carter, Leonard Bernstein, Itzhak Perlman, Blues Traveler, Little Richard, R.E.M., Chuck Harrington, Ornette Coleman, Branford Marsalis, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Ace Frehley, Phylicia Rashad, Don Byron, Paul Williams, Vilayat Khan, Kathie Lee Gifford, Jack DeJohnette, Peter Erskine, Art Garfunkel, Charlie Haden, Judy Kaye, John Lurie, Marcus Miller, Michel Petrucciani, Markus Roberts, Buzzcocks, Samuel Ramey, Chico Hamilton, Kathleen Battle, Hal Miller, Chic Corea, Meryl Streep, Vernon Reid, Betty Buckley, Paquito D’Rivera, Oscar Peterson, “Weird Al" Yankovic, Monte Croft, Dom DeLuise, George C. Scott, Don Rickles, Angelo DiPippo, Joe Simon, The Drifters
The legendary Trident TSM #9 has completely been reconditioned to original factory specifications!
Come in and listen for yourself!
The process has been lengthy, arduous, painstakingly tedious, time-consuming, with many prolonged delays spent finding the correct replacement parts!
The regional tech for Trident during the 70's was John Klett | | Our local expert who has been assisting since the legendary Trident TSM #9 was installed in PSI (and, in fact, was the individual whose recommendation was made to Ned to purchase) is Soren Wittrup of CS Electronics Inc. Fred Guarino, owner of Tiki Studios in New York, had a Trident similar to Paragon's. Mr. Guarino sent information, schematics, and was of the utmost assistance. Story has it that Fred sold his board to Alicia Keys, and then she sold her's to someone in Kansas City.
IMG 2862
Joseph Connors with Darrel Yount
And, finally, our legendary Trident TSM #9 reconditioning project was completed under the dedication and supervision of our Chief Engineer, Joseph Connors, and in-house tech, Darrel Yount of Music Dealer Services / Mods by Darrel.
Call if you wish to know more about our legendary Trident TSM #9 reconditioning project.  

triton board main studio ad
Who We Are
First and foremost, we here at Paragon Studios, Inc. believe in you, the artist, and the music you are making. We listen to your needs and present solutions to capture and preserve your creativity. No matter if you are a seasoned professional or just beginning, we are committed to providing you with exceptional quality in service and product.
We're Team Players
All of our efforts are targeted at creating and maintaining long-term mutually rewarding associations, not only between us and you the artist, but among your entire team. We help you grow by understanding the relationship between you the artist and your support network of Manager, Tour Manager, Publicist, A&R Exec, Booking Agent, Attorney, Record Company, etc.
Adjusted Gold
We've Got the Gear, the Ears, and More
Paragon Studios features professional recording hardware and software from Pro Tools HD and Logic, to gear by Shure and Neumann. Whether you’re going for a clean digital recording, or that classic analog “straight-to-tape” feel, Paragon has what you’re looking for.
In house instruments include assorted electric and acoustic guitars, basses, Hammond B-3 Organ (with Leslie cab), unique Steinway Grand Piano and various drum kits with assorted snares, cymbals and percussion. We are experts at capturing the sound of your own gear and help you polish that personal touch on your tracks.
We're Flexible
Whether it’s a short demo or a full length album, our eclectic studio and productive atmosphere is the perfect fit for nearly every genre. Paragon Studios is a 24/7 facility, including space and studio. Block rates are available, and rates are negotiable to fit your budget.

Chief Engineer
Paragon Studios, Inc.

Joe Connors studied composition and linguistics at the University of Montana. After college, Joe began his career at Paragon Studios, Inc. as an intern, learning the ropes of recording and further developing his composition skills. He quickly earned the title of Chief Engineer in 2007 and has held the position ever since.
FUN FACT: Joe used to be a Sous Chef at Drayton Place in Mobile, Alabama serving Cajun and Creole flares on French Cuisine. Mouth-watering aromas are commonplace wafting about the studio complex; especially in the kitchen and dining areas when Joe wears his 'chef hat'!
820 West Fulton Market, 4th Floor, Chicago, IL 60607
Phone: 312-942-0075 (Studio Line), Phone: 312-942-2488 (Fax)
Phone: 312-342-4005 (Cell), E-mail:

Camping for Music Festivals: Creating a Campground

Camping for Music Festivals: Creating a Campground
by Sue Basko, Esq.

If you want to create a campground to go with a concert or festival, there are many factors to consider.  Below is a list to get you started in planning.  There are so many details. If you're going to do this right, you need to be extremely detail-oriented.  It can be best to work with someone who has done it before.

Some of the most basic needs are drinking water, portapotties, hand washing stations, and showers.  These can all be rented.  There are companies that will send a big truck filled with potable water that can be used for drinking and showers.  "Potable" means the water is clean and safe for drinking.  It is safest to also use potable water for showers and misters, so there is no risk of bacterial infections in the water mist.

In hot weather, cooling stations are needed to keep campers from getting heat stroke.  Misters are often used.  A mister is a length of hose or piping with small holes in it, attached to a clean water source,  that emits a fine mist.  Usually the misters are mounted above head height, so people can stand under them. Sometimes misters are fronted with  a fan, to spread the cooling mist. Other cooling stations are a dome or tent that has air conditioning.

Here are some links to companies that rent misters, portable showers, potable water trucks, portable toilets, etc.  These are links to get you started so you can get an idea of what is available, space needed, and costs involved.   Most of these sites have good photos of the equipment that is for rent and some even provide layout diagrams.  Keep in mind, you have to use a company that delivers to the location of your event.

Misting/ Cooling:

Potable Water, Showers, Restrooms:

Another main need for any festival or campground is electricity. If there is not adequate on-site electricity (and there rarely is), you need to rent a generator.  Here are some generator rental companies to get you started on understanding what is available and costs involved:

Electricity Generators:

The links above are not recommendations, they are simply examples of companies you can explore to get started in finding what you need.  Your choice of a company should include such factors as location, price and add-on prices, availability, reputation, customer service.   Most such companies will be able to give you a lot of information.  For example, if you tell a company that you will have a 2 day festival with 200 people present all day and night, the company can tell you how many toilets you will need, etc.

Here is a basic checklist to get you started in planning a concert or festival campground: (These are numbered for convenience, but all items are important.)

  1. Zoning 
  2. Permits
  3. Local laws
  4. Inspections required 
  5. Campground temporary - can you get a permit for that?
  6. Is the ground surface suitable to tents?
  7. What must be done to the ground surface to make it suited for tents?
  8. Surface cushioning, leveling, drainage
  9. Flood plain areas?
  10. Electric wires overhead?
  11. Lighting danger?
  12. Sewage and water run-off? 
  13. Presence of wildlife
  14. Presence of mosquitoes, ants, mice, etc. 
  15. Presence of any endangered species
  16. Insurance - how much and can you get it?
  17. Water sources
  18. Water for drinking.
  19. Showers - are there any?
  20. Toilets - can you rent portapotties?  How many will be needed legally? Price them out.
  21. Hand-washing stations
  22. Servicing of portapotties, Cleaning several times per day
  23. Toilet paper, paper towels, soap 
  24. Electricity
  25. Basic Lighting
  26. Trash bins and collection
  27. Recycling
  28.  Clean-up during and afterwards
  29. Security and safety
  30. Layout done accurately to scale
  31. Plotting the space, marking the space
  32. Temporary fencing for exterior perimeter 
  33. Fencing to demark roads, areas, toilet area, etc.
  34. Layout marked or fenced, "street" signs and space signs made and posted
  35. Signage
  36. Car Parking
  37. Car parking layout – must follow recommended sizes
  38. Parking accommodations for handicapped
  39. In and out allowed? How many times per day?
  40. Alcohol allowed in?
  41. Layout to accommodate cars and camping; should not mix or dangerous 
  42. Picnic benches, tables, chairs?
  43. Preparations for possible severe weather conditions
  44. Having a central fire pit and shelter/ tent/ dome
  45. Not allowing campfires 
  46. Propane and cook stoves allowed or not? 
  47. Establishing a business entity for accepting payments
  48. Establishing a reservation system
  49. Establishing reservation and refund policies
  50. Camping price per car? per tent? Per person?
  51. Campers should have ticket to event, show it to reserve campsite
  52. Plan to have any “glamping” sites, that is glamorous camping with nice tents, furniture, etc, provided? (These rent for higher prices) 
  53. Noise ordinances, drug ordinances, drinking, guns, weapons, fireworks, glass
  54. Working with local sheriff (you don't want them coming on property)
  55. Emergency Medical Techs on location at all times
  56. Preparation for medical emergencies such as overdoses.
  57. Advance prep for med helicopter, ambulance, etc.
  58. Children, babies – allowed or not?
  59. Camping 18 and up only?
  60. Waivers of liability
  61. Rules stated on website before purchase of camping spot
  62. Dogs, cats, snakes and other pets brought by campers?
  63. Handicapped accessibility? Ramps, portapotties
  64. Availability of phone service, radio, wifi
  65. Need to run phone line for campsite business/ emergency contact within camp and to the outside? Buy/ rent satellite phones/ radios? (This can be especially true in a ravine, cave, mountain valley, deep forest area)
  66. Note: some ticketing systems depend on availability of phone service/ wifi to check authenticity of tickets.
  67. Food vendors
  68. Food vendor licensing, permits, health department inspections
  69. Presence of potable water for kitchens
  70. Source of electricity for kitchens 
  71. Other vendors - sunscreen, insect repellent, flashlights, etc.
  72. Possible entertainment on site 
  73. Cleanup, Damages, Repairs, Restitution, Trash, Recycling
  74. Set-up Time needed in advance (How many days/ weeks?)
  75. Break down / clean-up time needed after? (How many days?)
  76. Tire treads, ground damage, resurfacing (especially if it rains)
  77. Hiring people for entry gate security, layout, set up, security all day and night, EMTs, recycling, toilet maintenance, trash pickup.

Paragon Studio Trident Audio Board Refurbished

Free Music for Youtube Videos

FREE Music for Youtube Videos
by Sue Basko, Esq.

Do you like making videos for Youtube?  If so, our good friends at Youtube have worked hard to give some really great options for you to use really good music for free on  your Youtube videos.

The first option is a free music library.  You can use this on any of your Youtube videos.  The Youtube Audio Library has music that can be selected by genre, instrument, mood, or duration of the piece of music.  There's a lot of good music to choose from.  Go to the site and play around with the settings and listen. You'll hear some excellent selections to suit most videos.

This is what the Audio Library looks like:
what the Youtube Audio Library looks like. 

SFX Categories
Some SFX Selections in the "Water" Category
The Audio Library also has Sound Effects, or SFX for short.  Select the "Category" tab and you will find about 20 SFX Categories, each of which has about 20 selections.  There are so many great sound effects.   The picture on the left shows the Categories.
←← Sound Categories.

Sound Effect Selections→→
One the right, you can see some of the sound effect selections listed under "Water."  You'll find all kinds of water sounds from bubbling brooks to waves washing up on the shore, to a drinking fountain.

what the Ad-Supported Music looks like 

 The second option is Ad-Supported Music. These are a few hundred of  the most popular songs that lots of people want to use in Youtube videos.  The Youtube people have worked hard to cut deals for these songs to be used for free.  When you use one of these songs, an ad will play first and that ad money goes to the people who own the song. Or there might be those in-screen ads.

The Ad-Supported songs are a collection of today's most popular songs for Youtube videos along with some songs that have been popular for a few years.  In today's selection, you'll notice "Uptown Funk," which is very popular for school videos; several songs from "Fifty Shades of Grey," a few songs by Taylor Swift, the hugely popular "Gangnam Style," and a few hundred other songs that a lot of people like.   Some of these would be great for a Youtube wedding or vacation video, a travel video, a dance video,  or you own homemade tribute music video.  You can use all these songs in your Youtube videos without paying any money or getting any licenses. The songs have been pre-licensed by Youtube for your use in Youtube videos.

Each one of the Ad-Supported Songs has a different set of restrictions. You can see the restrictions by clicking on the arrow by the song.  Here we show the restrictions on two different songs.

Comparison of the Use Restrictions on 2 Ad-Supported Songs

Let's compare the restrictions on the two songs, "Love Me Like You Do," and "Uptown Funk." Notice that neither song allows you to monetize the song. That is going to be true of all the Ad-Supported songs.  You get to use the song for free, but your use of the song is supported by the ad revenue that goes to pay the copyright owners of the song.

The second restriction is whether Playback is blocked in any nations.  For some reason, Germany is a party to very few of the song agreements, and Playback is blocked in Germany on many of the Ad-Supported songs.  Notice that is the case with "Love Me Like You Do."  Playback of "Uptown Funk" is blocked in 244 countries.  That means your friends in the U.S. will be able to watch your video, but friends in other nations will not likely be able to watch.  The restrictions on each song are unique, so you need to click the arrow by each song and find out what the deal is with that particular song.

If you are choosing an Ad-Supported song, you will want to check on these restrictions to be sure you pick a song that suits your needs. If you want your song to be playable almost worldwide, you need to choose a song that is blocked in as few nations as possible.

Keep in mind, the use of this music is for use in your videos on Youtube only.  If you plan to host your video other places, the Youtube music licensing deal does not hold.  But remember -- Youtube videos can be embedded on most websites and social media, including on Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, and Wordpress.

To embed a Youtube video, you copy the embed code and paste it in to any place on a website that accepts HTML.  You can choose a size, or you can make it any size by deleting in the height and width in the embed code, and replacing it with new numbers.  Be sure to choose a height and width that maintains the original aspect ratio.  For example, if the embed code is Height 300 and Width 500, then you must change each number proportionally, such as Height 150 and Width 250.  Otherwise, you will get a misshapen picture.

To show a Youtbe video on many social media sites, you just add the URL link. This is true on Facebook and Twitter.

Have fun making Youtube videos with this free music!  Please feel free to send me links to the videos you create.

Camping for Concerts and Festivals: Creating a Campground

Paragon Studio Trident Audio Board Refurbished

Synch Licensing: Using a Song in a Film or Video

Synch Licensing: Using a Song in a Film or Video 
Most Basic Thing in Music Law #2
by Susan Basko, Esq.

You are making a film or video.  You want to use a song or part of a song, even a few seconds of a song, in the film or video.  To do this legally, you need a SYNCH license, or SYNCHRONIZATION LICENSE.  This is also often called a "Music Clearance."

A Synch License is not the same as a Mechanical license and you do not get it from the same place and it does not cost a similar price as the very inexpensive mechanical licenses.

WHAT YOU NEED to use a song in a film or video:

1) A SYNCH license.   This is a negotiated license between the filmmaker and the song publisher.  This is usually and best obtained by using a MUSIC CLEARANCE COMPANY.  The Music Clearance Company will charge a fee of anywhere between $600 - $2000  (more or less) for their work PLUS whatever amount the publishing company is demanding for your use of their song.  The publisher can deny you to use their song and can set any requirements on the use.  The publisher can charge you whatever amount they wish. A synch license is entirely negotiable and up to the whims or desires of the song publisher and/or the songwriter.   


2) A MASTER'S USE license to use the sound recording.  This is a negotiated license between the filmmaker and the record label or other owner of the sound recording copyright.  A Master's Use license is best obtained by using a MUSIC CLEARANCE COMPANY.  The company will charge you about $600 - $2000 to do the work, PLUS whatever amount the record label wants to charge for use of its recording.  The record label can deny you use of its recording and can charge whatever price it wants. 

If for some reason, you can get a Synch license from the publisher, but cannot get a Master's Use license from the record label, you may want to go on Itunes and find cover versions of the song and try to get a Master's Use license on one of the existing cover versions.  

To use a song in a film or video, you hire a Music Clearance company to get you a Synch License and a Master's Use license. The Music Clearance Company will probably charge a total of about $1200 - $4000 for this work and the publisher and record label can charge whatever amount they want.   Every film or video should have a music budget. The more money in your music budget, the more likely you are to be able to get the music you most want. 

 And keep in mind, if  the Music Clearance company has to go into extra difficulty to try to get the songs you desire, it will cost you more in fees for their service.  

 It is not a good idea to try to do this work on your own.  It is very complex work and the negotiations and contracts are nuanced.  In addition, there can be many publishers on a song, and many owners on a sound recording.  This is work best left to experts.  Many publishers and record labels will not even deal with a person trying to do it on their own as it presents the publisher and record label with too much risk.  In addition, most E&O (errors and omissions) insurance companies will only cover work by a reputable Music Clearance company, and most film festivals and film distributors require good E&O insurance. In other words, if you want to do anything with your film, you need to use a good Music Clearance company.  Another option is to use a Music Lawyer, but this will probably cost you more in fees, although a lawyer with independent music clients may be able to get you use of good music from one of their clients.

If you are on a very tight budget, you might want to use music from a pre-cleared royalty-free music library.  You may not get the exact song you hoped for, but you can get music in any genre or style from a music library.  If you use music from a music library, be sure to have a music lawyer read and analyze the contract.  Some libraries that advertise as being free music actually charge down the road for commercial use or distribution, and some have a time limit for use of the music so that your film or video will "expire" in a year (or whatever).  Just because a website says "Free Music," don't assume that to be fully true.  Have  a music lawyer check it out.

When a song is edited into a film or video, usually only a few seconds of a song are used.   When applying for a Synch License or Master's Use license, the publisher or record label will want to know how many seconds of the song you plan to use and which seconds.  Longer use of a song is usually for a credit roll at the ending, or sometimes the beginning, of a film.  

The publisher and record label will also want to know such things as what sort of film it is, where it will be shown, who you are and your track record, what company you are with and its track record, who are the cast and crew, the nature and genre of the film and of the scene in which the song will be used, the budget for the film, and other such factors. Sometimes a publisher, record label, or artist will want to see the completed scene or film before they give approval for their song to be used.  Using all those factors, the publisher and/or record label will decide if they want you to use their music and if so, how much they will charge. They will also determine other terms they may want in the contract. 

 It will be your responsibility to have the song properly listed in the credits.  Filmmakers get E&O insurance (Errors and Omissions) to cover any unknown defects in the clearances and /or errors or omissions in the credits.   To qualify for such insurance coverage, you usually will have to use a good