WE NOW HAVE A NEW SITE AND LIVE PODCAST DEDICATED TO FEATURING DOPE ARTISTS.
CATCH UP WITH US @ WWW.BLACKMARKERBANDIT.COM

  • Home
  • About
  • Articles
  • Commentaries
  • Media
  • Resources
  • Contact
Sponsor Advertisement

The Music Biz

The Music Biz

Keywords:
Friday, October 7, 2011 • User Submitted

As a new songwriter, you may be overwhelmed by all there is to do when it comes to moving forward in your career. I'd compare the approach of this article to eating the elephant one tiny bite at a time.

Original Article @ http://www.bmi.com/news/entry/552948

As a new songwriter, you may be overwhelmed by all there is to do when it comes to moving forward in your career. I'd compare the approach of this article to eating the elephant one tiny bite at a time. In other words, by being patient, organized and methodical in your daily work as a songwriter, you're guaranteed to make steady progress in your career. If you follow the suggestions below, the results won't be immediate, but when you look back after six months or a year, I think you'll be amazed at how much you've accomplished.

By Cliff Goldmacher

1. Do One "Business" Thing Every Day. This is the musical equivalent of eating your vegetables. They may not taste great but they're good for you. It's the same with the business side of music. We all know how much more fun it is to play the guitar, sing and even write compared to making phone calls, sending emails or following up on something you've already submitted, but if you're hoping to have financial success with your music, then they're all equally important. By making the rule that you'll do one business thing every day means that at the end of a year, you'll have done 365 things to further your career above and beyond your songwriting. I guarantee that's more than most.

2. Join/Start A Songwriting Group. Getting yourself to write on a consistent basis can be a real struggle. Writing is emotionally draining and tough for most of us to do in a vacuum. Ironically, I've found that even we creative types like assignments when it comes to our writing. By joining a songwriting group where you're required to bring in a new song or a rewrite of an old song every week, you'll have the additional motivation of being held accountable by more than just yourself. It really does work. If you're not aware of any existing songwriting groups in your area, make it a point to get to local writer's nights and reach out to other writers about starting a group. By simply showing up every week and doing the work, you'll find your songwriting muscles getting stronger no matter whether you agree with all the group's suggestions or not.

3. Don't Wait For A Publishing Deal To Act Like You Have One. If you find yourself thinking that if only you had a publishing deal then you could write every day, get great demos and have your songs pitched, then I'd humbly suggest that you've got it backwards. In order to get a publisher interested in what you're doing, you need to behave like you've already got a publishing deal. This means you'll be infinitely more attractive to a publisher if you can show them a body of work that's well written, well recorded and maybe even includes a cut or two. Don't wait around for the affirmation of a publisher to get up every day and do the work. In fact, if you get to the point where you can do all of the above on your own, you might look up to find you don't need a publisher after all.

4. Make One Song Pitch Every Week. Having exceptional songs and beautiful recordings of those songs is a great start but in terms of getting them recorded by other artists or placed in a film or TV show, they might as well not exist if you haven't shown them to anyone. I know this sounds obvious, but, as songwriters, we get so wrapped up in the creative process that we somehow, amazingly, seem to forget that until someone in the industry has heard our songs, they can't do anything with them. This means you need to begin your search for outlets for your music. There are industry pitch sheets and organizations out there that can help put songwriters together with industry folks looking for songs. Make it your business (see #1 above) to find out about these pitch sheets and begin the process of submitting your songs when you see an appropriate opportunity. If you do this once a week, you'll have pitched to 52 separate opportunities by the end of a year. That's a significant number.

5. Reply Promptly To Any Opportunity, No Matter How Small. The likelihood of Faith Hill calling you to ask if you've got a song for her is small but you should treat every email or voicemail from someone regarding your music as that kind of top priority. If another songwriter reaches out to say they liked one of your songs they heard you perform at a writer's night, reply quickly, even if it's just to say thanks. You never know when a causal contact could turn into something more significant. Our industry is full of stories of songwriters getting their material cut in the least likely of circumstances. All this is to say, there's no percentage in ignoring or putting off any opportunity no matter how small it may seem at the time. By acting professionally and responding promptly to anyone and everyone who reaches out about your music, you'll be sure not to miss something huge that might appear insignificant at first glance.

As I'm sure you know, there's no one way to have success as a songwriter. That being said, you can certainly improve your odds by staying patient, working consistently and treating your career with the respect it deserves.

Cliff Goldmacher is a songwriter, producer, session musician, engineer, author and owner of recording studios in Nashville, TN and Sonoma, CA. Cliff's site, http://www.EducatedSongwriter.com, is full of resources for the aspiring songwriter and his company, http://www.NashvilleStudioLive.com, provides songwriters outside of Nashville with virtual access to Nashville's best session musicians and singers for their songwriting demos.

You can download a FREE sample of Cliff's eBook "The Songwriter's Guide To Recording Professional Demos" by going to http://www.EducatedSongwriter.com/ebook

 
Tuesday, February 8, 2011 • BSR Admin

One of the interesting unintended consequences of the trend away from albums and back towards singles is that there is now less mechanical income being generated for writers.

Originally posted at: TuneCore | Written by: George Howard
 
One of the interesting unintended consequences of the trend away from albums and back towards singles is that there is now less mechanical income being generated for writers. Remember, a label must pay the copyright holder of the song (i.e. the writer and/or publisher) for the right to "mechanically" reproduce the writer's song on the label's release (be it on CD, vinyl, download, etc.).
 
The current rate, as set by statute, is nine point one cents ($.091) for songs under five minutes in length. Labels often insert a clause into recording contracts that reduces this amount when the artist signed to the label is also the writer; this so-called controlled composition clause reduces the mechanical royalty that is paid by the label to the artist by as much as 25%.
 
Whether the writer receives the full-rate or a reduced rate, this mechanical income is very material. Typically, mechanical payments must be paid to the artist from the label from this first record sold, and these payments should not be cross-collateralized against the artist royalty. What this means is that, as is the case for many artists signed to labels, even if an artist's account is un-recouped (meaning they have not made back in sales what the label has paid to sign, record, and (often) promote their record), the label still must pay the writer of the song(s) a mechanical royalty. This mechanical payment is thus often the only money a writer sees from the label.
 
During the album era, if you wrote all of the songs that were released on the album - and for easy math assume the typical album had ten songs on it, and that you were getting a reduced mechanical payment of seven point five cents per song - this meant that for every record sold, you, the songwriter, were owed seventy-five cents (the reduced mechanical of $.075 for each song multiplied by the ten songs on the album). If you were to sell a hundred thousand records, you were owed $75,000. This is not chump change, and there is a compelling argument to be made that the true benefit to signing with a label was that they were the promotional engine that drove mechanical royalties.
 
The advantage of this for the songwriter during the album era was, of course, that there may have only been one or two songs that captured the public's imagination - the hits on radio, for example - but the writer still got paid for all of the songs on the album that she wrote, even if the majority of people bought the album just for those one or two songs.
 
Even during the 7"-single era (i.e. small vinyl), savvy artists and managers would make sure to put a song they had written on the b-side so that when the record was purchased because of the a-side, they made some (or double) the mechanical income. This strategy of putting an original on the b-side of a single with the a-side as a cover is in some respects the reason why The Rolling Stones, for example, began writing their own compositions.
 
Today, we've largely left behind not only the full-length album, but also the 7"-inch single. Customers download specific individual tracks. In so doing, this results in non-single tracks on the album not being downloaded, and thus not generating any mechanical royalties for the writer.
 
Certainly, there are artists who still sell "albums"; i.e. their customers either still buy the full-length CD (or vinyl) and/or download an entire album, but clearly the trend is towards à la carte downloads (or streams) of singles.
 
This impacts, of course, not only those performers who are signed to the label, and also write their own material, but also writers whose work is covered by a performer. Unless this writer's song that is covered is the single, the chances of generating the type of mechanical income that was derived from sales during the album era is pretty much nil.
 
It will be interesting to see how this economic reality impacts the creative output of artists. If there is less economic incentive to write material that is unlikely to be a "single," will artists write less or write differently? It's frightening to think that in today's single driven market (one without even b-sides) that the Stones might have contented themselves with being a cover band - never writing - and releasing records only so they could tour.
 
What are your thoughts? Does the "album" concept still matter, given the lack of economic incentives? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
 
George Howard is the former president of Rykodisc. He currently advises numerous entertainment and non-entertainment firms and individuals. Additionally, he is the Executive Editor of Artists House Music and is a Professor and Executive in Residence in the college of Business Administration at Loyola, New Orleans. He is most easily found on Twitter at: twitter.com/gah650
 

Sponsor Advertisment

Sign Up Today For Updates!

Sponsor Advertisement
© 2013 - 2022 BootSlap - All Rights Reserved.