Creator Spotlight with Mark Kassa
This week, we would like you to meet rock musician, Mark Kassa!
What was the inspiration behind becoming a musician?
In 1985, I saw Stevie Ray Vaughan at the Meadowbrook Amphitheater in MI. Stevie’s incredible playing inspired me to play guitar. My biggest influences have been Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Santana and Tom Morello. Later in my career I also became much more proactive as a producer/writer and have written/recorded with Funk Legend George Clinton (Parliament/Funkadelic), Billy Cox (Hendrix), Andy Vargas (Santana), legendary drummer Dennis Chambers, and many others. Currently, my song Vicious Tides feat. Andy Vargas (lead singer for Santana) has been on the Global DRT Rock Charts for almost four months (peaking at #13) with a second release coming soon via Universal Music Group.
Can you take us through your creative process? How long does it take? Does everything you produce make money?
The creative process is interesting. It’s inspired by emotional things and produces very serious or very sarcastic lyrics. The great part is that you can express your opinions in song lyrics and set the mood by the instrumental part of the music. For example, angry lyrics equate to heavy guitar riffs, sarcastic lyrics result in funky guitar riffs, etc. It takes me roughly a year to write, prepare and record an album. You release an album hoping that you can capitalize on it. But it is increasingly difficult with the minimum payouts on some of the streaming services.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about your line of work?
The biggest misconception about music is about the amount of time and dedication required to be successful. People don’t understand that thousands of hours of study, practice, rehearsals, etc., along with thousands of dollars, are spent recording, mixing, editing, mastering, producing and pressing an album. It is similar to sports – the game may only be 2-3 hours long but so much goes into game day preparation.
When did you first become aware of copyright?
I first became aware of copyright after some of my work was presented to/used without my authorization. The infringement affected me personally and financially. On a personal level, it still bothers me that I was taken advantage of and have lost sleep over it. Multiple attorneys have reviewed my case and were disgusted by the outcome. An attorney/professor even wrote an amicus brief on my behalf because of the injustice he saw. Financially, I have potentially lost millions of dollars as my intellectual property was used to promote a huge event in 2012.
What is the best piece of advice you have for fellow creators about copyright and how to protect their work?
My advice to fellow creators is to document everything. Save all of your email communications that you use to present your music/ideas. Immediately register your work with the United States Copyright Office when it’s complete.
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