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#1126823 - 04/21/17 11:25 AM Pro and NSAI questions  
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 6
Adam Jacob Offline
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Adam Jacob  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 6
Hey everyone - new member here. I am a long time singer/songwriter and spent the past many years performing throughout my area. After getting married and have a couple of kids, and juggling a pretty demanding job, I have started stepping away from the late night gigs for the most part, and am turning my focus to songwriting. Like a lot of people here, I'd like to turn this into an extra source of income, much like my performing used to be.

So all tha said , here are my questions. I've been doing a lot of reading about the business side of songwriting. I researched and joined ASCAP, and am considering joining NSAI. The question I have on NSAI, is what benefits will I be able to take advantage of outside of Nashville and relatively far from any local chapters (North East PA area)? I do writ primarily. Punt y music, and I donplan to visit and pitch my songs regularly in Nashville. However, the question is, are there still benefits I can take advantage of if I don't no have regular access to the association? Appreciate anyone's input on that.

Second question - regarding the PROs. Do I need to register every song I wrote with the PRO, or is it better to wait until you have interest or a publisher on that son to register it? I write quite a few songs that never get past my own demo - do I still need to register these?

Final question - is this forum an appropriate place to try to get co writes with other writers? That is another area I'm interested in pursuing, and would love to open up my options to this group!

Thanks for your help, and I look forward to working with you all!

#1126825 - 04/21/17 11:59 AM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Adam Jacob]  
Joined: May 2001
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Ray E. Strode  Online Content
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Hi Adam,
A PRO, collects public performance of someone's songs. You would have to have a huge hit probably
to collect anything. A Publisher will maybe have different businesses and join more than one Pro. The songwriter can only join one pro at a time. If you assign a song to a publisher he will have to belong to that pro.
When you join a Pro they want you to register ll your songs. I belong to BMI but have never registered all of my songs. In my opinion there is no use registering a song until it is Published, (Recorded and Released) by a Record Label. If you have assigned a song or songs to a Publisher and he get's it cut he will register it with the pro.

NSAI is the Non Profit Songwriting Organization in Nashville that has a lot of Activities for the songwriter. You have to decide if it is right for you. I believe they have a Pitch to a Publisher once a month. I used to belong but saw little advantage. Good luck.


Ray E. Strode
#1126826 - 04/21/17 12:13 PM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Adam Jacob]  
Joined: Dec 2008
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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John Lawrence Schick  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2008
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PA
Good to always register your songs Adam. Though if a cue sheet is turned into ASCAP with your member number, even if you don't have the song registered, ASCAP will still pay royalties on it. You're only registering titles.

Good luck! And welcome aboard JPF!

Best, John smile

#1126831 - 04/21/17 02:17 PM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Adam, it is a good place to get to know other writers. You are going to have to get to know people long before co-writes ever happen. Everyone values their time and who they work with, so you have to prove yourself before people will physically commit to working with you. The same can be said of NSAI, If you go to meetings, get to know people, do the same thing everyone else has to do, you will probably have those relationships proceed to co-writing. Until you do that, I wouldn't look for anything.

On Registering songs, there is a mistaken impression that BMI, ASCAP and SESAC pay on ANYTHING registered with them. Not true. Songs really have to have multiple plays, in multiple markets to show up on a pay period. That is why you really have to have artists or be an artist receiving regular airplay, or involved with a production, venue, etc. that PAYS' royalties. Just because a song is played somewhere once or twice in some non-reporting area, college station, or on some weekend bar, doesn't mean it is going to pay any money.

If an artist has multiple gigs in venues that pay licencing rates (becoming less and less all the time) those songs should be registered. Both BMI and ASCAP have "awards programs" set up for multiple plays on that. That would be a question to ask your PRO representative.

The basic problem that EVERYONE has in today's music market place is that we are mostly in the era of FREE MUSIC. Music is played more and more, but PAID for less and less. And the amount of music out there increases daily.

So while these are all questions you should get perspective on and have that conversation with your PRO rep, you also have to understand what music IS being paid for and how it is being paid for. Most writers and artists will make very little from their artistic endevors. The same way that anyone who ever picks up a paint brush, and dabs some paint on a canvas, will find that very few will be paid for their work. It is all worth JUST WHAT YOU CAN GET PEOPLE TO PAY YOU FOR IT.

MAB

Last edited by Marc Barnette; 04/21/17 02:18 PM.
#1126835 - 04/21/17 05:16 PM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Marc Barnette]  
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 6
Adam Jacob Offline
Casual Observer
Adam Jacob  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 6
Guys,

Thanks for all your replies! As usually happens, your answers have given me more questions and areas of clarification. I'm tracking that ascap will be the one collecting and paying my royalties whenever there are some to be paid. What else should I take advantage of from ascap?

John - you mentioned if there is a cue sheet turned into ascap with my member number on it, then I should get paid whether it is registered or not. Do I need to be including my member number on everything I write and send out (lyric sheets, demos, emails, etc.).

General consensus seems to be that I don't need to register a song until there is a possibility of getting royalties on it. Beyond that, is there any benefit in registering songs for nothing other than building a larger "library" for the PRO to see?

Finally on NSAI - I'm still on the fence about this one. I don't see there being much opportunity for me to get to meetings on any regular basis as I'm 2 hours away from the closest branch in philly. Would it be beneficial to be a member for my occasional trips to Nashville (couple times a year) or is my money best saved? I ask this question knowing it's a person decision but I was hoping to see what other "intangibles" or other benefits people may have experienced people in my same situation.

Thanks again to everyone. I apologize if this is all basic stuff - I'm new to the business side of things and I expect to have lots more questions soon! I'm currently reading "the songwriter and musicians guide to Nashville" by Sherry Bond. Quite informative so far!

#1126836 - 04/21/17 05:38 PM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Adam Jacob]  
Joined: Dec 2008
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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John Lawrence Schick  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2008
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PA
Hey Adam,

If a cue sheet is turned in it would probably be through a publisher. In which case, they would already have your ASCAP info.

John smile

#1126837 - 04/21/17 05:59 PM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Adam Jacob]  
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 6
Adam Jacob Offline
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Adam Jacob  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 6
Ok - so not something I need to necessarily keep on all my correspondence. Also, I figure if I've gotten a song I've that far, I've probably registered the song. My question was more, do I need to immediately register a song once I write it? Sounds like no! Thanks again everyone! I think my next step is to try to build a relationship with ascap as well as some of you folks!

#1126871 - 04/22/17 09:41 AM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Adam Jacob]  
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 6,149
Dave Rice Online content
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Dave Rice  Online Content
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Texas
Hi Adam:

Welcome to JPF. Unless you are being "backed" by really big money or a "label"... building a relationship with your PRO Organization (in your case, ASCAP) is nearly impossible. They don't have time for you or me... and I've been a member with them for more than ten years. They are too busy promoting the "party line" and supporting the big-time artists.

Learning the "ins and outs" of the music biz is difficult and very time consuming at best. There are several really good books about the Music Industry, the Copyrighting Process (constantly in a state of change) and how to "Register" songs with your PRO. Your Public Library should have these in their reference or possibly even the "check-out" section. Do a search-engine look-up on the various subjects and you will get an idea about where to start.

Your question about immediately registering your songs (I think you mean applying for copyright protection) is often asked. The copyright law states that once a lyric is "put on paper" or a melody is recorded on any re-playable medium, it is automatically "copyrighted" by the intent of the law. (Once recorded, no action needed.) In other words, unless you have a "rave hit" on your hands, wait to "formally" apply for copyright with the Library of Congress' Copyright Office. (Most new writers believe their first song is a "rave hit" but it takes experience and informed feedback to know about commercial viability of a lyric, melody, composition or song.) By informed feedback, I mean good vibes from a music expert and not from friends or family.... unless you come from a family of well-known artists or performers. Your friends are never going to "go negative" on you... with the best of intentions... but with misleading results. Save your money on copyright until you have written a minimum of 50 songs.

All the best to you... and your music.

----Dave

#1126872 - 04/22/17 10:06 AM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Adam Jacob]  
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 6
Adam Jacob Offline
Casual Observer
Adam Jacob  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 6
Thanks for all the help Dave, Marc, John, Ray. Lots of good info. Dave - to clarify I was really asking about registering the songs with ascap - my understanding is that the song must be registered with them to get "paid". I do understand that there is a long road ahead to get any songs that kind of success, but what I wasn't sure if is when the proper time to actually register the song would be. As far as copyright, I understand from a lot of other research I have done that there is no point to copyright until a publisher is shopping my song and someone puts a hold on it to record it. I'm wondering if the ascap registration follows those same guidelines - sounds like it does.

I'm still interested in anyone's feedback on the utility of NSAI for someone who isn't in Nashville more than a couple times a year, and who doesn't have a local chapter close enough to be involved in. Thanks again for everyone's support!

#1126875 - 04/22/17 10:46 AM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Adam Jacob]  
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 6,149
Dave Rice Online content
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Dave Rice  Online Content
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Texas
Hi Adam:

You are correct about having your songs registered with your PRO if any payments from them are to happen. It is technically a little deeper than that, though. Are you creating and selling your own CD's? Did you use CDBaby or another source for marketing your music to the general public? "Singles" are "big right now" but mostly for big-name artists who stay in the public eye because they are being promoted by big labels, producers or... if they are famous enough, themselves. The "little guy or gal" is at the absolute bottom of the pyramid so don't quit your day job. Euphoria is a "bear trap" for songwriters when they start out on the journey to stardom. LOL!

I don't know how long you've been writing and/or recording but I would advise you to approach songwriting as a hobby but organize things so it can quickly be converted to a serious business. Create your own register of songs (like a notebook) and number each song with a four digit identity - e.g. - your first song would be numbered 0001. Mark the date and record any co-writers... and keep a separate notebook of names and addresses, etc. of your co-writers... if you do that in the creation of your music. A disciplined approach will help you "build a catalog" of songs and I would advise you to keep copies of your lyrics, scores, actual date of origin, even copies of your CD's or MP3s.

Don't hesitate to "re-cut" or re-write your songs as your "musical chops" gain traction. What may sound great to you today may sound awful in a year or two. Good musical "ears" don't grow overnight unless you happen to be a prodigy.

NSAI usually has chapters in the larger cities. Some are good, some are great and some are ho-hum. After the first visit, there are usually fees involved if you plan to participate.
You normally will get out of any organization what you invest into it and if you are willing to listen to advice of experienced chapter leaders. If you don't live close to a chapter, remember that it takes time, travel and expenses to participate. If you are not a performer, probably not worth it.

If your genre is "country" then Nashville should be your focus... but it is not the only major music center. Being in a music center is no guarantee of success. Los Angeles is also a big music business destination just like NYC, Austin, Memphis, etc.

Sorry if I have not answered all of your questions. My advice: Read, read and then read some more. Take your time, be organized and build a catalog of songs.

All the best to you,

----Dave

#1126878 - 04/22/17 11:28 AM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Dave Rice]  
Joined: Apr 2017
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Adam Jacob Offline
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Adam Jacob  Offline
Casual Observer

Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 6
Dave - thanks for all the advice. I'm tracking most everything you are says by. I think NSAI for now probably isn't a great use of my funds. I'm definitely treating this as a hobby right now with no plans to quit my day job any time soon. But like you said - I want to be organized and ready.

I'm not sure if I understand what you were saying about cdbaby, etc. I do have a self release ep that I sell at my shows, on iTunes, etc. is that what you meant? How does that favor into what I need to do with ascap and registering songs with them? Is my best bet to just register the songs without a publisher as I write them, or only the "released" songs? Sorry again for the possibly "dumb" questions here. I just want to set myself up doing things right. I'm very excited to move my focus to songwriting, and I want to make sure I do the business side of it the right way!

Adam

#1126885 - 04/22/17 12:36 PM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Adam Jacob]  
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 6,149
Dave Rice Online content
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Dave Rice  Online Content
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Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 6,149
Texas
Hi again, Adam:

CDBaby will distribute your song(s) to various retail "outlets" but payments for sales of CD's or "digital only" songs will come directly from CDBaby. ASCAP will only be involved if somebody wants to do a cover of your song... or perform it in a show while they sing it. Registering your song(s) with ASCAP without a Publisher may not be the best way to go about things... but only your PRO Rep at ASCAP can advise you about that. Have you used their "on-line" registration process?

Never doubt that most of us here believe there are no dumb questions. Knowledge is power (of sorts) and if ya don't ask... ya never learn. The real problem in this game is that the rules are always seeming to be in a "state of flux." One thing for certain... the guy or organization with the big bucks gets to call the tune.

Most of what different individuals here post or reply is from their perspective. Mine is that of a songwriter who never sings or performs in public. (Old and ugly won't sell too well in Sheboygan... LOL!)

For the sake of discussion, let me re-state what I've attempted to get across in this discussion:

1. Once your song is recorded. It is considered "Copyrighted" from a technical stand-point. (It will only hold up in court if your lawyer is good enough.)
2. Before you register your song with a PRO (like ASCAP) it should be copyrighted and published. If a publisher "signs you" they will normally copyright the song themselves.
3. Read and understand the "splits." (the process of monetary distribution if your song is performed publicly by someone else... or recorded by someone else.)
4. If you have co-writers, the money distribution gets "watered-down" even more. (Everybody wants to get paid.)

How big is your "fan base?" Brian says (or I believe has said) that it takes a number of serious fans in the range of at least 5,000 to begin making a serious impact on having a future in the commercial side of the business. You will probably be expected to "tour" (live out of a suitcase and travel on a crowded bus or van) for months on end... and this can wreak havoc on a marriage... not to mention your personal health... and the probable introduction to drugs... in order to cope. From my perspective, this is a quick way to assure your early demise and, if you were really good, someone else will make most of the money from any royalties you may have created or will create after you are dead and gone.

It all sounds so glamorous but think about your objectives long and hard before somebody asks you to sign something.

Regards and best wishes, ----Dave

Last edited by Dave Rice; 04/22/17 12:38 PM.
#1126893 - 04/22/17 04:15 PM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Adam Jacob]  
Joined: Apr 2017
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Adam Jacob Offline
Casual Observer
Adam Jacob  Offline
Casual Observer

Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 6
Thanks dave, Marc, all. I was maybe a little unclear in my first post - I write and perform, and while I think it's important to continue to perform even as a writer, I don't ever expect that to be my focus. Maybe 15 years ago I would have wanted that, but I'm married, 2 young kids, not interested in being on the road all the time. What I want to do is keep writing, and maybe 10 years from now, be fortunate enough to have that be supplemental income to my retirement. At the least, I want to meet some cool people and write some great songs with them, but I am a business minded person so in reality, I hope for it to be a business someday!

Thanks everyone for the info. I've spent some time reading old posts on the same subject or similar one - lots of info out there and I thank you all! Would love to hear any other thought anyone else has.

Adam

#1126913 - 04/23/17 09:38 AM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Adam Jacob]  
Joined: Aug 2007
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Martin Lide Online content
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Martin Lide  Online Content
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Joined: Aug 2007
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Houston, Texas
Adam

My opinion is jaded and based on heresay, because I've never been in the music business, just have a psychological addiction to writing. And I would say that I have never made a dime at music, but Itunes owes me $2.15 as of right now. I would collect it but I want to decide what I'm going to do with all that money first.

My opinion fwiw2u

There are very talented people in Nashville who could write a song every morning and every afternoon that would be viable. Nashville doesn't need any songwriters. I'm sure that artists and labels stay on the hunt for something new and fresh, but that would have to be astoundingly good to attract attention by an "outsider."

If you have any shot at all, you need to be in Nashville meeting people who might could make something happen for you. From what I have repeatedly heard the "pros" in Nashville consider us part-timers and hobbyists to be silly, annoying and undeserving. If you ever had a good idea and put it out there, chances are greater that a publisher would give it to one of his writers and tell them to "re-write the hook" rather than pursue a relationship with you...imo.

The music business in Nashville is not a big happy family waiting to embrace your music and make your dreams come true. No business is that. Where there is money, there is competition and cut-throats. The music business has a disproportionate percentage of connivers and pretenders who will encourage hopeless dreams in exchange for a few bucks. I can give a first-hand account of some of those people.

NSAI pays evaluators to critique songs. If the critiquers could make something happen for you, doesn't it stand to reason that their time would be better spent advancing themselves? I'm sure the argument is there that by participating in the musical process as an evaluator that they are advancing themselves. Maybe. Maybe not. And there is that disconcerting waiver that NSAI makes you sign to never bring a suit against them or anyone involved on their side of the table, if your song is stolen. Ask yourself why that is mandatory.

I know I sound like an a-hole and a loser. I may be. Keep in mind that thousands of people don't win "The Voice", the "X-Factor" and "American Idol." If you have a wife and kids to think about, put songwriting in perspective when you allocate your time.

Signed,

Old Uncle Marty

Last edited by Martin Lide; 04/23/17 01:10 PM.
#1126916 - 04/23/17 10:43 AM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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If your song is used on a television show or the like, the royalties will come to you via your PRO. BMI for instance has specific guidelines based on whether the song was in the background or being featured and how many seconds it lasts. If your song is played on a network, you are paid by how many stations are in the network. Your song does not have to be a radio hit nor does it have to be more than barely audible in a TV show for you to be paid a considerable amount. So if you release a song to a music library or anywhere at all where it might get picked up for play, you should list it with your PRO. If it never leaves your computer, then don't bother. Don't wait for a publishing deal because they are few and far between. But music plays on thousands of shows on thousands of channels 24/7.


Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/


#1126918 - 04/23/17 11:18 AM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Ray E. Strode  Online Content
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Well Adam,
I would say you have came to the right place to learn about the music industry! So don't be discouraged by the posts here and never give up! Don't be taken in by some that promise great things out there. There are always a few scam artists working to separate you from your money not only in the music industry but all over the place. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.


Ray E. Strode
#1126931 - 04/23/17 11:18 PM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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"NSAI pays evaluators to critique songs. If the critiquers could make something happen for you, doesn't it stand to reason that their time would be better spent advancing themselves? I'm sure the argument is there that by participating in the musical process as an evaluator that they are advancing themselves. Maybe. Maybe not. And there is that disconcerting waiver that NSAI makes you sign to never bring a suit against them or anyone involved on their side of the table, if your song is stolen. Ask yourself why that is mandatory."

Well Uncle Marty, since you seem to know so much about it, I would ask you how many songs you have listened to in your career as an NSAI evaluator? Number one, I was one for ten years,and have been to over half the chapter workshops in the US and Canada. And have evaluated thousands of songs in that time, and I can tell you that I have never heard one that I would steal.
There is simply a different level when you are around this on a day in and a day out business. Mostly because you hear virtually variations on the same song over and over and over.
No offense intended to all those people out there but it is much harder to do this and find a unique twist on it than most people ever see. Nothing new under the sun. Only so many notes, so many ways to say "I love you."

And do the writers inside Nashville write everything unique and wonderful? Absolutely not. Again, it is much more difficult than you would realize? But stealing anything? Not hardly.

But anyone who gets a major hit is sued by everyone who THINKS they had THE MOST UNIQUE IDEA IN THE WORLD. If you have song that has the word ":Love" in it somebody is going to claim they wrote that before anyone else. They can't explain how it actually found it's way to the person who supposedly "stole it."

We all write the same stuff. Believe me, for anyone that claims they have some unique never done before idea. I can generally show where that idea was written before they were even born. But unending claims of "They stole my song" ensure that unless someone is pretty well known. there is not going to be anyone to even LISTEN to their song in the first place.

Intentional song theft? 100% total myth.

MAB

#1126932 - 04/23/17 11:20 PM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Martin Lide]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Offline
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Originally Posted by Martin Lide
Adam

My opinion is jaded and based on heresay, because I've never been in the music business, just have a psychological addiction to writing. And I would say that I have never made a dime at music, but Itunes owes me $2.15 as of right now. I would collect it but I want to decide what I'm going to do with all that money first.

My opinion fwiw2u

There are very talented people in Nashville who could write a song every morning and every afternoon that would be viable. Nashville doesn't need any songwriters. I'm sure that artists and labels stay on the hunt for something new and fresh, but that would have to be astoundingly good to attract attention by an "outsider."

If you have any shot at all, you need to be in Nashville meeting people who might could make something happen for you. From what I have repeatedly heard the "pros" in Nashville consider us part-timers and hobbyists to be silly, annoying and undeserving. If you ever had a good idea and put it out there, chances are greater that a publisher would give it to one of his writers and tell them to "re-write the hook" rather than pursue a relationship with you...imo.

The music business in Nashville is not a big happy family waiting to embrace your music and make your dreams come true. No business is that. Where there is money, there is competition and cut-throats. The music business has a disproportionate percentage of connivers and pretenders who will encourage hopeless dreams in exchange for a few bucks. I can give a first-hand account of some of those people.

NSAI pays evaluators to critique songs. If the critiquers could make something happen for you, doesn't it stand to reason that their time would be better spent advancing themselves? I'm sure the argument is there that by participating in the musical process as an evaluator that they are advancing themselves. Maybe. Maybe not. And there is that disconcerting waiver that NSAI makes you sign to never bring a suit against them or anyone involved on their side of the table, if your song is stolen. Ask yourself why that is mandatory.

I know I sound like an a-hole and a loser. I may be. Keep in mind that thousands of people don't win "The Voice", the "X-Factor" and "American Idol." If you have a wife and kids to think about, put songwriting in perspective when you allocate your time.

Signed,

Old Uncle Marty


Give this man a Gold Star for an accurate HARSH REALITY posting. Don't confuse good intentions with effective use of your time. What I mean is that even people in the industry with good intentions, 100% honest in all ways, aren't usually worth the money and resources you spend on them. The industry pays you if they are ACTUALLY interested.

If you could spend all your money, by selling your house, abandoning your family, selling all your stuff and using that money to find success of any measure that could even help you break even, don't you realize that people and companies with nearly unlimited war chests of money to burn (without doing those horrible things) STILL can't buy success on a sustainable level (where they make more than they lose)?

Music is a loss leader. That's an old retail term for items they sell at a loss to get people to buy accessories to those items which are 80+% profit which you don't think twice about. They make more off those VHS tapes than they would on the cheapo crappy VCR they sold you. A grocer sells Coke for a loss so you'll buy milk and eggs and bread at huge markups (or vice versa as cheap milk is often the true loss leader).

The game is rigged across the board. Music is a loss leader. It doesn't make anyone but people who make their REAL money off something related, a dime. Sure., there's a handful of people who through sheer brilliance or simple dumb luck (or who sleep with the right people or who can hurt the right people in some way) who find success. There's even reverse loss leaders out there. These are people who are GIVEN success (sometimes without their knowledge) so that everyone else will buy into the overall scam and they can cash in. American Idol-like shows anyone? Show's "like" that (don't need a lawsuit, so I am simply using them as a prototype) are, in my OPINION, complete scams, where the results are fixed right out in the open* as well as behind the scenes and under "nondisclosure agreements" that each contestant must sign. (I know MANY of the "like"American Idol shows and (fill in the blank) other finalists who have told me exactly what they had to sign and my God, it is soul crushing. (*I will tell this part later, needed to work for a bit)

In many, they tell contestants upfront they have the right to change results to improve the show at any time and in their sole discretion. They sell these (mostly) kids on the idea of "exposure" and sure, for a couple of real talents it worked, but let's be real, does anyone think for a moment that if Carrie Underwood walked into a label office they wouldn't have seen the Goldmine? Many of these "nobodies" are in on the scam by building bogus or exaggerated back stories made for TV to make even the most downtrodden go sit in a stadium all day for their shot to build the david vs goliath story made for TV audiences, especially the rags to riches stories we particularly love in the USA. It's mostly bogus and we've all seen much better contestants get jobbed because these folks wouldn't agree to play ball (one famous show only had 1 contestant WILLING to win the show, I mean all were offered a shot and said "no thanks" and the only one who did want it won by default, but everyone on the show, including his fellow contestants, went along with it for the TV time and all knew which week they would be "voted" off which is why so many had their very best performance on their very last week on the show. (Yeah, you know what I am talking about). Of course these are all just my "opinions" and simply for discussion purposes. (where's that "wink wink" emoticon?)

All these hustlers out there skinning the never ending lines of newbies who want to buy their dream for a 50 dollar fee or a 3000 dollar demo or (fill in the blank) are just feeding the dragon which will burn them all in the end. It's all a hustle and exactly WHY I started JPF, to keep it free, keep it free from ads, keep the awards free to enter and it used to be I could at least get the truly decent people behind real companies to help support us but outside of TAXI (who are also no longer sponsors but have always been honest players in the business who tell people upfront how they work, what they do and offer their money back if they don't satisfy them) there simply aren't many of those folks left (if you know one please let me know, we'd love to work with some honest, decent people again to inform you about what they do in exchange for helping pay the costs of helping you do what you do for free). Most of the really good people who did it well got bought out/swallowed whole by behemoths and the others got crushed. And I am absolutely FOR people making a buck, as long as they offer a real service and not just scamming people's dreams who hope to buy the success their talent or market forces and oversupply and lack of demand will never supply them with.

I am one of the only sole survivors and they've made it very tough on me at a great cost to my health and ability to continue. But I see it as a mission to provide what I can, while I can, to help as many people as the "system" will let me get away with helping before they (or my own health) snuff me out too. But the wolves are closing in fast. I've had nominees in our awards ask me how much they have to pay to win an award because that's what so many others (some well known) do. It's just sad. WE pay money out to do this free. We're in a huge hole and I am still trying to find ways to make it all happen and I have donated 2 years of 7 day work weeks to make it happen this year and I love it, but sometimes the tide just wears down the shore line. The constant drip drip drip wears down the most stubborn rock (and I am nothing if not stubborn). But like the joy of making music, I get joy of meeting creative people who are passionate about making something from nothing that, when it's done well, can move me to laugh, or tear up or move my foot with the groove. I especially love traveling to meet these people face to face in their own hometowns. It feeds my heart, my soul, my creative passion and sometimes my ego (though often that can work in reverse). I've seen people so talented that I decided rather than spend my time working to be some level of successful with my own music, I'd rather spend it helping those people get heard.

So even with all that, you should be doing 1 thing to help your career. You should make as much music as you can get away with. You should write every day for the joy of it, you should practice with some friends for the joy of it and you should do some live shows when you can for the joy of it. That is what makes music worthwhile. The rest is just nasty commerce. And along the way, when you get some sincere appreciation, man, that is GOLD. Not bought and paid for PR bullcrap but just regular people who stumble into a show and sway their hips, or applaud a song that connects or your friends who make you smile when a jam goes just right. Or when you simply satisfy yourself because you impressed a handful of people on a message board you are friends with, or better a complete stranger or you made someone laugh or cry or you got better at what you love to do. THAT is where your payment is. Look inside, nowhere else.

Brian

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@aol.com
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#1126935 - 04/24/17 04:06 AM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Offline
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Indianapolis, IN USA
NSAI is really not about what it can do for you, (or even the reverse) but mostly a tool to help you do more for yourself. Nothing that they do at a chapter meeting is something you could not easily do online. (This is a big reason we stopped our chapter program which was similar to NSAI but with more emphasis on performing than their primarily writing focused approach). Often we shared coordinators to each others benefit. They also took our Mentor program idea and others. But there's a fee to join and much of their real work is lobbying for major songwriters interests in DC. They use their "membership" as a tool to get meetings with politicians with the implication they are speaking for the broader community and the "little guys" as well as the big ones. But make no mistake that unless you live conveniently close to an active chapter or make a lot of trips to Nashville, you can do anything they do for yourself in your own town. We had over 100 chapters at one time going, all free, all active with coordinators and monthly meetings and song circles, critiques and showcases. We had speakers come in, went on trips to studios and other industry related companies and had parties and built a face to face community which is the great part of being in a local chapter. But if it really isn't local, you should just build your own chapter in your own home town (or a nearby town with more people if you're in the boonies). I am happy to tell you how, or for that matter, you could start a JPF Chapter yourself and match and surpass anything NSAI is doing in their chapters. It's not hard, it just takes a person willing to do the work and spend a little time making it happen. We started and moved and built and rebuilt chapters all over the place, even outside the USA. The truth is that the coordinator is key. If they are friendly and well liked and fair minded and a good communicator, it's a breeze. But you're dealing with real people so you have to set down guidelines, keep meetings in order, keep politics completely out of it (or you'll have WWIII or worse, you'll have an US vs THEM type cliques going which is deadly.

Let me know if you're interested.

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@aol.com
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#1126944 - 04/24/17 09:29 AM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Martin Lide Online content
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Martin Lide  Online Content
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Originally Posted by Marc Barnette


Intentional song theft? 100% total myth.

MAB


Marc

I read all of your posts because I respect your opinions. Not being in the music business, I have no way to verify them but they look reasonable and reality based on what little I do know. And you state them very well. I, also, respect your integrity. You and Brian both make statements that are realistic and very contrary to "encouraging hopeless dreams for a few bucks."

What I'm used to seeing on the internet is #1, the disclaimer..."I can't promise anything"....#2 but someone is going to make it in the music biz...#3 and it's not impossible that, that someone could be you... #4 I can give you the tools for your shot ....#5 with an upfront payment of $___________

then back to #1....

I've seen nothing like that from you or Brian and respect and appreciate you both because of it.

However...."100% total myth"...? My sixty-four years of experiencing human nature will not let me believe that about any industry. I don't even believe that about the Catholic Church. I don't want to get in a vehement debate with you over it. It's not a burning issue for me.

And in no way am I labeling you a thief of intellectual property by association with NSAI nor am I labeling NSAI a thieving organization. I don't think that they are. I was just drawing attention to the need and requirement for a very unsettling looking waiver that I had to sign to get my songs looked at. For whatever its' underpinnings, that speaks loudly....to me.

And I have heard stories of publishers giving their writers songs to re-write. No eye witness accounts. But as an architect, I have been told to go look at someone else's design and emulate it. That's kind of the same thing. I didn't.

With respect,

Martin aka Old Uncle Marty smile



#1126945 - 04/24/17 10:05 AM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Dave Rice Online content
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Dave Rice  Online Content
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Dear "Old Uncle Marty:" (LOL!)

Hey, Martin. I could not resist pulling your chain about your "ongoing battle" for getting out an educated opinion. I admire your calm, logical response and being able to turn the other cheek. I know Marc probably got a little carried away (as we humans tend to do) and, like you, I forgive him his many sins. (Just kidding, Marc!)

My point is: Martin, I appreciate your constant support on this forum to all the participants and the maturity and talent you bring to the table to share with us. JPF is a better place because of all three of the big names being mentioned in this thread: Brian, Marc and you!

Thanks for being a "peace-keeper" and such a good example to your friends and fans. ----Old Uncle Dave

#1126946 - 04/24/17 10:39 AM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Dave Rice]  
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Martin Lide Online content
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Martin Lide  Online Content
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Originally Posted by Dave Rice
Dear "Old Uncle Marty:" (LOL!)

Hey, Martin. I could not resist pulling your chain about your "ongoing battle" for getting out an educated opinion. I admire your calm, logical response and being able to turn the other cheek. I know Marc probably got a little carried away (as we humans tend to do) and, like you, I forgive him his many sins. (Just kidding, Marc!)

My point is: Martin, I appreciate your constant support on this forum to all the participants and the maturity and talent you bring to the table to share with us. JPF is a better place because of all three of the big names being mentioned in this thread: Brian, Marc and you!

Thanks for being a "peace-keeper" and such a good example to your friends and fans. ----Old Uncle Dave


Thank you Dave.

Whenever my viewpoint gets contested on the internet, I'm used to going it alone. Having someone, such as yourself come along and compliment me is something that I'm not used to dealing with. I greatly appreciate it.

I appreciate your ranking but I'm clearly not a big name on JPF or anywhere in music and don't rank with people such as Brian and MAB who have dedicated so much of their life to it and created a great site like this that gives ammys like me a place to go talk our music..

I fully realize that all the money and promotion in the world could not generate a profit on some 64 year old guys's music that is intractably rooted in past decades...but...to paraphrase what Brian has posted multiple times....my life is not as good when I don't write. I've tried doing other things and nothing puts me, or a lot of us here, "in the moment" like writing a song and singing it to the tile in the bathroom.

Thanks again Dave.

#1126964 - 04/25/17 07:31 AM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Everett Adams Online content
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Everett Adams  Online Content
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I think rewriting a song or subject is called repainting. Taking someone's idea and putting another spin on it. Not really illegal but not nice. I heard a story one time, not sure if it is true, but this songwriter wrote a song that day and performed it at an open mike, mentioned he had just written it. The next day or so after he went to register it and found someone had already registered it in their name. Like I say, true or not, it gives you pause to think. lightbulb

Last edited by Everett Adams; 04/25/17 07:31 AM.
#1126969 - 04/25/17 10:06 AM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Everett Adams]  
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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John Lawrence Schick  Offline
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PA
Originally Posted by Everett Adams
I think rewriting a song or subject is called repainting. Taking someone's idea and putting another spin on it. Not really illegal but not nice. I heard a story one time, not sure if it is true, but this songwriter wrote a song that day and performed it at an open mike, mentioned he had just written it. The next day or so after he went to register it and found someone had already registered it in their name. Like I say, true or not, it gives you pause to think. lightbulb


How did your friend know it was the same song Everett? I'm sure there are many songs registered with the same title.

Best, John :P)

#1126981 - 04/25/17 01:11 PM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Nashville, Tn.
Hello All,

"Uncle Marty", I actually intended that a bit more tongue and cheek and humorous than it came across. Sorry about that. It is a little sore spot with me because so many people claim people "steal" there songs, usually on things that have been done many years before they were born. and I have never met anyone who just sat down and "stole" someone else's idea knowingly. There has been a LOT of it subconciously, and I have been on both sides ,with people lifting parts or elements of my own songs and then finding out I was on top of a friend's melody or lyrics, that I didn't realize. This is what I am referring to.

But what I do know is that there are great differences in professional writers and more of an amateur variety. We see it here a lot in that dozens and dozens of writers nights, shows, and thousands upon thousands of writers trying to get attention. Then when a professional writer comes on the difference in songs is night and day.

That was what I was referring to. Sorry if it came off a bit harsh. Totally unintended.
MAB

Last edited by Marc Barnette; 04/25/17 01:11 PM.
#1126983 - 04/25/17 03:21 PM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Martin Lide Online content
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Martin Lide  Online Content
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Houston, Texas
Originally Posted by Marc Barnette
Hello All,

"Uncle Marty", I actually intended that a bit more tongue and cheek and humorous than it came across. Sorry about that. It is a little sore spot with me because so many people claim people "steal" there songs, usually on things that have been done many years before they were born. and I have never met anyone who just sat down and "stole" someone else's idea knowingly. There has been a LOT of it subconciously, and I have been on both sides ,with people lifting parts or elements of my own songs and then finding out I was on top of a friend's melody or lyrics, that I didn't realize. This is what I am referring to.

But what I do know is that there are great differences in professional writers and more of an amateur variety. We see it here a lot in that dozens and dozens of writers nights, shows, and thousands upon thousands of writers trying to get attention. Then when a professional writer comes on the difference in songs is night and day.

That was what I was referring to. Sorry if it came off a bit harsh. Totally unintended.
MAB


All's well that ends well. Thanks for taking the time to clarify Marc.

Uncle Marty wink

#1127106 - 04/27/17 02:47 PM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Offline
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Indianapolis, IN USA
Originally Posted by Everett Adams
I think rewriting a song or subject is called repainting. Taking someone's idea and putting another spin on it. Not really illegal but not nice. I heard a story one time, not sure if it is true, but this songwriter wrote a song that day and performed it at an open mike, mentioned he had just written it. The next day or so after he went to register it and found someone had already registered it in their name. Like I say, true or not, it gives you pause to think. lightbulb


Ev,

In a case like that always remember date of registration means nothing. You ALWAYS have to prove your case in court if it goes that far. Being able to show draft versions, what inspired you, as well as being able to show that you had performed it live in public (and if possible show the person you claim stole your song was present or at least in the area at that time) etc. are all things (and more) you'd have to bring to a trial.

I think people who waste tremendous money registering songs by the dozens or 100's with the government before trying to do anything with them is a shame. Spend a little money (if you have to) or just get enough public opinion (hopefully from respected decision makers or at least strangers versus friends) that the song really connects on a pro level before spending the money is likely a good business decision. Also simply building an ever growing and ever improving catalog is more important than trying to push the same handful of songs for years. I know people who have written 5 okay songs and stop new work while they demo, redemo, shop, repackage etc. those initial songs endlessly. Same with live performance. Over a 20 year span I know performers who STILL play that one "hit" song they had 20 years ago when the pressure is on to choose 1 song, they always go to the same one. I even ask them, come on, give us something else, but nope, it's the "hit" (meaning not really a hit, but their safest bet to not fail getting a positive response). A lot of artists would NEVER play the same song twice. There was a gal who played one of my all time favorites I heard live only a single time and I asked her each time over a dozen or more subsequent performances to play it again and she wouldn't., even when I offered her an extra song. She hadn't recorded it, and so I never got to hear it again (though I think it might be buried in 20+ years of show tapes numbering in the 10k or more hour range, but who has time to search them all sadly. (I always thought they'd make a fun archive someday, but I doubt more than a handful ever get viewed again).

Paranoia of song theft is real. The Pro's know how rare it is for ANY song to hit big. If they were stolen from, the smartest ones wait for someone else to do the work, earn the money and THEN they swoop in and sue and clean up. I know some folks who have done that and it paid off. 99.9% of the time a song or song idea is stolen absolutely nothing comes out of it. Of those that do, it's likely a mix of coincidence (since public happening often inspire songs, many people have the same idea at the same time) misunderstanding (the songs really aren't similar) some accidental theft where someone hears something and they don't realize the idea came from something they heard instread of their own head weeks later and then a tiny tiny number of outright theft. It's not usually worth worrying about, like being afraid to fly because now and then they do crash It's horrible when it does happen, but denying yourself flight means you never usually get anywhere., a good way to look at fear of song theft.

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@aol.com
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#1127135 - 04/28/17 07:42 AM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Everett Adams Online content
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I get what you are saying. I write 2 to 5 songs a week, I'll pick the best to be demoed and I'll registered them in a collection for less than $2.00 a song. Not worried so much that someone will steal them as someone might accuse me of stealing theirs, which I would never do. This way I have a date to prove I had it written before that date. Some places won't accept a song for any reason unless it is registered.

#1127150 - 04/28/17 04:04 PM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Adam Jacob]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,830
Nashville, Tn.
Years ago, I was writing with a very good friend of mine who has had three number ones. Some HUGE hits. We sat down and started working on this song that was his idea. In a couple of hours we had it finished and went our separate ways, talking about getting back together and doing a demo of it. Two days later he called me up and said "We have to stop that song, because there is song on the radio EXACTLY like it. A day or two after that, I HEARD it and it WAS exactly like it. Same melody, similar lyrics. We dumped it.

What had happened was that he had heard it and just subconciously picked it up. But what happens with pros who write a lot of songs, is we know enough to file something away if it is too much on something else. I have found myself many times finding myself on some similarity of other friend's songs or discovered some amazing song I had been working on, was something that I had picked up from the time I was 5 or 6 years old. That is the way of most of this, and why most copyrights don't even mean anything. People copyright things that are not remotely copyrightable because they just sound like a ton of other songs.

And in this day of outright samplings of EXISTING TRACKS, illegal usage of songs through YOU TUBE, FACEBOOK TWITTER and everything else, I don't know how they can ever hold up. The only time you see any of that go through anything legally is when one major artist ssues another major artist because you have to PROVE that someone defamed you of making money. You also have to prove HOW they heard your songs and the INTENT they used to take it. There are really only a dozen or so real lawsuits that have ever been proven and most of those were quite unintentional.

I sit around and hear dozens of songs even some on the radio that are direct copies of existing songs and if those don't get sued, I don't know what chance any of this other stuff is going to stand. The entire RAP hip hop genre came FROM sampling existing tracks. So I just don't get it. I was even in a bar a few weeks ago and heard a new pop song that was the ENTIRE EXACT MELODY of "HEART AND SOUL", the piano piece that everyone learns when they are six years old.

So copyright away. But if you think someone is STEALING your song, you are probably going to spend more on legal fees than you would ever gain in any lawsuit.

MAB

#1127246 - 04/30/17 06:55 PM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Marc Barnette]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,205
Brian Austin Whitney Offline
Brian Austin Whitney  Offline


Top 10 Poster

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,205
Indianapolis, IN USA
Originally Posted by Marc Barnette
Years ago, I was writing with a very good friend of mine who has had three number ones. Some HUGE hits. We sat down and started working on this song that was his idea. In a couple of hours we had it finished and went our separate ways, talking about getting back together and doing a demo of it. Two days later he called me up and said "We have to stop that song, because there is song on the radio EXACTLY like it. A day or two after that, I HEARD it and it WAS exactly like it. Same melody, similar lyrics. We dumped it.

What had happened was that he had heard it and just subconciously picked it up. But what happens with pros who write a lot of songs, is we know enough to file something away if it is too much on something else. I have found myself many times finding myself on some similarity of other friend's songs or discovered some amazing song I had been working on, was something that I had picked up from the time I was 5 or 6 years old. That is the way of most of this, and why most copyrights don't even mean anything. People copyright things that are not remotely copyrightable because they just sound like a ton of other songs.

And in this day of outright samplings of EXISTING TRACKS, illegal usage of songs through YOU TUBE, FACEBOOK TWITTER and everything else, I don't know how they can ever hold up. The only time you see any of that go through anything legally is when one major artist ssues another major artist because you have to PROVE that someone defamed you of making money. You also have to prove HOW they heard your songs and the INTENT they used to take it. There are really only a dozen or so real lawsuits that have ever been proven and most of those were quite unintentional.

I sit around and hear dozens of songs even some on the radio that are direct copies of existing songs and if those don't get sued, I don't know what chance any of this other stuff is going to stand. The entire RAP hip hop genre came FROM sampling existing tracks. So I just don't get it. I was even in a bar a few weeks ago and heard a new pop song that was the ENTIRE EXACT MELODY of "HEART AND SOUL", the piano piece that everyone learns when they are six years old.

So copyright away. But if you think someone is STEALING your song, you are probably going to spend more on legal fees than you would ever gain in any lawsuit.

MAB


Marc,

Most of what you say is true, but beyond the early days of Rap where laws didn't even exist to cover sampling, now the laws are quite clear, plenty of case law is in the books and sampling doesn't happen without permission and usually without significant financial agreements and/or royalties (sometimes flat fees are negotiated, sometimes other arrangements. If none are made, the samplers risk losing everything they ever made and enough damages and punishments to end their careers, which we saw with Bittersweet Symphony, the last significant case of unauthorized sampling to become a big mainstream hit that I am aware of (though perhaps there's other examples I haven't heard about). I have a friend who had a song he co-wrote with a Rock Hall of Fame member get used by a Rap star without permission and without credits being given. Rather than suing, my friend simply named his terms and price and conditions which were met without any animosity either way and no one wasted millions in court. But mess with the wrong people, like the Stones, and their lawyers can destroy you for unauthorized sampling. All those hit songs you hear using samples are commonly done with permission. It is simply too costly most of the time not to get pre-approval.

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
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Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#1127256 - 05/01/17 08:08 AM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Adam Jacob]  
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,830
Marc Barnette Offline
Top 100 Poster
Marc Barnette  Offline
Top 100 Poster

Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,830
Nashville, Tn.
Brian,

Staying completely out of the rap world, I will defer to your knowledge on this. I do have two friends also that had a pretty big hit in the 70's on a R&B song. They had moved to Nashville many years later and their daughter still lived in LA. One day she was in her car, and heard their original song, done by rapper Snoop Dog in a rap version with his own lyrics. They contacted his publisher and were politely told to "screw themselves." Cost them a lot of money and they never really were satisfied. The same thing happened with Don Henley and Glen Frey when rapper Frank Ocean sampled the tracks from Hotel California, and this was just a couple of years ago.

So you might be true, although I would be willing to bet it is not always as above board legally. The bottom line is that I feel there is almost no protection, no enforcement, or no real money in songs anymore. They are giveaways that propel people to live shows. Again, brings me to my newer statement about Nashville.

How do you know you are in Nashville?
Your Uber Driver had song of the year two years ago.

MAB

Last edited by Marc Barnette; 05/01/17 08:09 AM.
#1127307 - 05/02/17 07:58 PM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Adam Jacob]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,205
Brian Austin Whitney Offline
Brian Austin Whitney  Offline


Top 10 Poster

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,205
Indianapolis, IN USA
Funny enough my friend's run in was also Snoop Dogg, but he finished (and his co-writers) with exactly what they asked for. Being as one was a Rock Hall of Fame member I am guessing it isn't the same case or you would have mentioned it. Even if it was I am told they we happy with the resolution and got their terms.


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@aol.com
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#1127424 - 05/05/17 07:54 PM Re: Pro and NSAI questions [Re: Adam Jacob]  
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,830
Marc Barnette Offline
Top 100 Poster
Marc Barnette  Offline
Top 100 Poster

Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,830
Nashville, Tn.
No. not the same one. But there are many that have had problems with the rap genre and sampling. Considering most rap come from "RAPPERS DELIGHT" which was the first mainstream rap hit, which was a direct rip off of "Queen's "Another one Bites the Dust", it can be said that the entire genre was founded on using someone else's work. Not just a "homage" or borrowing" it. But the exact tracks. That is what I have a problem with. But if they are paying, who am I to say anything? Again, not my form of music so I'm really not involved in it.

MAB


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