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#1160579 - 01/15/20 08:44 AM BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky  
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Gary E. Andrews Offline
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Early on in my songwriting journey, my father used to ask me, “What’s the chance of your songs becoming a hit? A million to one?”

I explained that while it’s true that not everyone who dreams of topping the charts will achieve his or her goal, songwriting success is not like hitting the lottery. Songs don’t become hits based on a random drawing.

All songs—and songwriters—are not created equal. There are reasons why some songs and writers become successful—and others fail to do so. Let’s take a look at some of the steps you can take to maximize your chances for songwriting success.

Write Songs That Jump Out of the Pile

It is important to write songs that are perfectly crafted, songs that use rhymes and familiar structures in ways listeners have come to expect. But to make an impact and break through, we need to include elements that separate our songs from the competition. These can include lyric concepts and angles that are fresh ways to approach topics with wide appeal; melodies and rhythms that are instantly memorable; instruments and sounds that push the creative envelope; lines of lyric that are unique; maybe an unpredictable chord; or an unexpected “wow” note.

We have to provide decision-makers with reasons to choose our songs over those written by the current hit-makers—and those written (or co-written) by artists. Revisit your songs with a critical ear after you have a finished draft. Ask yourself whether you have written a “good” song—or an exceptional one that will compel a publisher, recording artist, music producer, or A & R executive to select yours over everyone else’s. It can help to get professional input, then rewrite your songs until they are as strong as possible.

Write Up-Tempo, Positive Songs

I once heard a top publisher advise his writers that if they wanted the best shot at success, they should deliver “up-tempo songs with meat”—meaning songs with depth, songs that delivered a powerful message. My publisher of twelve years urged me over and over to write more up-tempo songs—and I wish I had listened. This is not to say that slow and sad songs can’t break through. Several of my most successful songs were slow, and I am grateful I wrote them. But slow songs, sometimes referred to as ballads, tend to comprise a small percentage of songs on an artist’s album—and tend to be written (or co-written) by the artist. Write the songs your heart needs to write, but be aware that it is easier to get “lucky” with mid- and up-tempo songs.

Collaborate

It is no coincidence that the overwhelming majority of successful songs are the result of collaboration. By co-writing, you not only benefit from additional creative input, you increase the number of people promoting and pitching your material. You also gain access to publishers, music business executives, vocalists, musicians, studios, producers, and others who might play crucial roles in your career.

Record Great Demos

Few music industry pros can imagine how a song might sound if it were produced at a different tempo; in a different style; and with musicians and vocalists who can really “sell” the song. We probably have a minute or less to convince our listener that he or she has found a hit. When your song is as strong as it can be, showcase it with a recording that shows it to its best advantage.

Take Care of Business

I have taught thousands of songwriters, and I have yet to find anyone who writes songs because they love seeking out publishers, scheduling meetings, pitching their songs, monitoring royalty statements, and dealing with the countless additional non-creative aspects that comprise the business of songwriting. But these actions are mandatory for songwriting success.

Join songwriter organizations and attend conferences, camps, festivals, pitch sessions, and workshops where you can receive feedback on your work and network with writers and music business professionals. In many cases, these are the actions that lead to songwriters attaining their goals.

Success in the music business—as in so many other endeavors—is typically the result of a cocktail of exceptional work, good timing, and good luck. There are no guarantees, but six students who have attended my workshops have had #1 singles. I’ve lost count of how many have signed publishing deals, had their songs recorded, and won top honors in competitions.

Watching their journeys, and those of other successful writers and recording artists, this is what I observe: when undeniable songs that are suited for the current market, are paired with a strong work ethic, persistence, a positive attitude, and a willingness to take care of business, it’s amazing how “lucky” we can get.

Jason Blume is the author of 6 Steps to Songwriting Success, This Business of Songwriting, and Inside Songwriting (Billboard Books). His songs are on Grammy-nominated albums and have sold more than 50,000,000 copies. He has been a guest lecturer at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (co-founded by Sir Paul McCartney) and at the Berklee School of Music, and has been interviewed as a songwriting expert for CNN, NPR, and the New York Times. For information about his workshops, webinars, additional articles, and more, visit www.jasonblume.com.


There will always be another song to be written. Someone will write it. Why not you? www.garyeandrews.com
#1160582 - 01/15/20 12:04 PM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Gary E. Andrews]  
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The lottery part is being noticed as a songwriter/artist.

It's true that some songs are better than others, and not everybody has the same skill. whereas a lottery everybody has the same skill, put two dollars down.

But the chance of your song of ever being noticed, by anyone, is the lottery. It's like trying to find one slightly faded red jelly bean, in a glass jar the size of a barn, out of the other perfectly red jellybeans. And somebody saying, THERE it is, THAT'S the one I was looking for. They wont see it, they wont even know there is one slightly faded jelly bean in that massive jar.

Also have to consider that with production and arranging, and great performers, a slightly weaker song can crush a slightly better song, and the ones that have all that polish were lucky enough to have been picked by the lottery system to be the one who gets to have all the polish.

There are too many mediocre songs that have become hits to think for one minute that its all about whats great and what isnt. Which is subjective anyway.

#1160586 - 01/15/20 01:22 PM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Gary E. Andrews]  
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Dayson Offline
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This is a great reference for us as Songwriters,
I really can't find anything that I disagree with. I've been studying up on a lot of elements that go into making a song successful, while luck does play some part, it's really about having the right material at the right time. As noted all Up-tempo/positive songs are what most Artists'/Publishers are looking for. (If at all) lol So why not give yourself that advantage over others? If you are writing mainly sad and depressing.angry music, then you are less likely to get a cut. The Artists, needs to 'Look good' to their audiences. Your song is something they will have to be forever associated with. They have to carry them around wherever they go, so make them look great! Nothing is ever guaranteed, but there are people out there making it happen. We can see evidence of that everywhere. Put the pieces together as noted from Mr. Blume and you will have a better chance of tilting the odds in your favor.

#1160587 - 01/15/20 01:32 PM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Dayson]  
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Fdemetrio Offline
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Originally Posted by Dayson
This is a great reference for us as Songwriters,
I really can't find anything that I disagree with. I've been studying up on a lot of elements that go into making a song successful, while luck does play some part, it's really about having the right material at the right time. As noted all Up-tempo/positive songs are what most Artists'/Publishers are looking for. (If at all) lol So why not give yourself that advantage over others? If you are writing mainly sad and depressing.angry music, then you are less likely to get a cut. The Artists, needs to 'Look good' to their audiences. Your song is something they will have to be forever associated with. They have to carry them around wherever they go, so make them look great! Nothing is ever guaranteed, but there are people out there making it happen. We can see evidence of that everywhere. Put the pieces together as noted from Mr. Blume and you will have a better chance of tilting the odds in your favor.


You increase your odds by being great. That's one tip none of these guys offer, but if you write great songs, you have a smidgen better chance than if you write crap ones, but not by much. Working hard and networking is also a big part, and making it your life and not a hobby.

But exposure is what makes a song a hit. No song can be a hit if its not heard. A hit song is just a song that has been heard by millions of people. If you can figure out how to be heard by millions of people, you might be on to something.

Last edited by Fdemetrio; 01/15/20 01:37 PM.
#1160590 - 01/15/20 02:30 PM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Gary E. Andrews]  
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Hi Fdemetrio,

Yes, of course you have to write a great song! No one can expect to have success with songs that are just good... Your song has to beat out anything they already have. If you can do that, at least you put yourself on the playing field. That of course is no guarantee because there are a lot of other things that factor in the placements of songs. But If you write a Song that's undeniable, you will get noticed and possibly a cut. I'm sure you are aware that all songs are not created equal, you have to hone your craft for years to be able to compete in the big leagues, but there are Songwriters who join that league everyday. It's difficult for a lot of us to know what level we are writing at unless we get outside informed input. Put the work in and it can pay off. Success is different for each of us, writing better today than we did yesterday is all one can ask for. Thanks for your input.-Dana

#1160597 - 01/15/20 05:30 PM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Dayson]  
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Originally Posted by Dayson
Hi Fdemetrio,

Yes, of course you have to write a great song! No one can expect to have success with songs that are just good... Your song has to beat out anything they already have. If you can do that, at least you put yourself on the playing field. That of course is no guarantee because there are a lot of other things that factor in the placements of songs. But If you write a Song that's undeniable, you will get noticed and possibly a cut. I'm sure you are aware that all songs are not created equal, you have to hone your craft for years to be able to compete in the big leagues, but there are Songwriters who join that league everyday. It's difficult for a lot of us to know what level we are writing at unless we get outside informed input. Put the work in and it can pay off. Success is different for each of us, writing better today than we did yesterday is all one can ask for. Thanks for your input.-Dana


But Jason Blume is teaching, or trying to, how to write hits, and make commercial songwriters out of his clients. Hes not trying to help you write better today, tommorow or yesterday. He teaches how to write hits.

Writing the song is only a small part of having a hit with that song.

Last edited by Fdemetrio; 01/15/20 05:34 PM.
#1160598 - 01/15/20 05:52 PM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Gary E. Andrews]  
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Dayson Offline
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Hi Fdemetrio,

I don't profess to know what Mr. Blume is trying or not trying to teach. It's pretty clear that he spells out what one must do in order to increase their chances of success. Mr. Blume is speaking in terms of getting your song cut by a Major Artists' I believe. Everything starts with the Song, If you want to write for the commercial market, these are the steps that he recommends taking. If you write for yourself and have no commercial aspirations then, you can pretty much write what you want. "better" is a subjective term, yes you can write better, you can write a hit, they don't have to be mutually exclusive. I don't think writing a song is a small part, the song has to have something really appealing to stand out from the crowd. Those songs are not easy to write. Even songs I don't care for that have become hits, I can listen enough with an open mind to know why it might appeal to others. Thanks for your take!-Dana

#1160599 - 01/15/20 05:55 PM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Dayson]  
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Originally Posted by Dayson
Hi Fdemetrio,

I don't profess to know what Mr. Blume is trying or not trying to teach. It's pretty clear that he spells out what one must do in order to increase their chances of success. Mr. Blume is speaking in terms of getting your song cut by a Major Artists' I believe. Everything starts with the Song, If you want to write for the commercial market, these are the steps that he recommends taking. If you write for yourself and have no commercial aspirations then, you can pretty much write what you want. "better" is a subjective term, yes you can write better, you can write a hit, they don't have to be mutually exclusive. I don't think writing a song is a small part, the song has to have something really appealing to stand out from the crowd. Those songs are not easy to write. Even songs I don't care for that have become hits, I can listen enough with an open mind to know why it might appeal to others. Thanks for your take!-Dana


He wouldnt have any students if he told them..."look, the songwriting business is impossible, stop trying" "the best you can do is write the best song you can, thats success"

He teaches what he believes are lyrical concepts and melodic concepts that will catch attention. He's not teaching "mastery of songwriting" He hasnt even mastered it, and does he have any hits?

Last edited by Fdemetrio; 01/15/20 05:55 PM.
#1160627 - 01/16/20 01:49 PM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Gary E. Andrews]  
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#1160629 - 01/16/20 02:06 PM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Dayson]  
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I have nothing against Jason Blume Personally, and I think alot of songwriting is learned. But I have known alot of these types of guys who cant make money writing songs, either any more or never, and so they teach, write books, dvds to make money.

Why would you do this for a career if you could be a hit songwriter for a career? He may very well have hits but he doesnt mention what hit songs he has written, when, he goes over them vaguely.





Last edited by Fdemetrio; 01/16/20 02:18 PM.
#1160635 - 01/16/20 03:20 PM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Gary E. Andrews]  
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Fdemetrio,

Jason Blume has songs on albums by the OakRidge Boys to Britney Spears and also the Backstreet Boys. I am not an advocate for Jason Blume per se, just noting that he is a successful Songwriter, who has done it all. He says in the interview why he does what he does now. I think it's a pretty cool thing to teach others what you have learned yourself. I don't think Songwriters should be judged for making a living teaching the craft. I don't see other people judging Musicians or Singers that teach that have not "Made it" Who has the right to say who can do what for a living and be judged as legit? Someone can own a music store and not play a note of music, are we going to judge them for this?
If you are not judging him by this criteria, and I am mistaken, then accept my apologies in advance.-Thanks-Dana

#1160641 - 01/16/20 05:19 PM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Gary E. Andrews]  
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Jason has had many hit songs for many artists
And has also had an incredible successful career writing greeting cards. There are those that I could question their abilities, but Jason is not one of those. He knows his stuff.

#1160660 - 01/17/20 03:01 AM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Originally Posted by Marc Barnette
Jason has had many hit songs for many artists
And has also had an incredible successful career writing greeting cards. There are those that I could question their abilities, but Jason is not one of those. He knows his stuff.


This is also a really cool interview on him. Also, there is a link featuring an Youtube interview from Taxi Creator Michael Laskow, I hope I got his last name right. lol but he's very candid on the why he does what he does, he seems to take great pride in doing what he does now. If you guys get a chance, check it out.-Dana

#1160668 - 01/17/20 11:48 AM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Originally Posted by Marc Barnette
Jason has had many hit songs for many artists
And has also had an incredible successful career writing greeting cards. There are those that I could question their abilities, but Jason is not one of those. He knows his stuff.


What hits, and what artists?

#1160679 - 01/17/20 03:29 PM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Gary E. Andrews]  
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He has had Backstreet boys and Brittany Spears hits, but not being that well versed or interested in pop or rock, I didn't know those. He had several country hits before I knew him, most notably, "Change My Mind" for one of the best singers in Country History, John Berry. I was particularly interested in this one because I had been hearing the song everywhere on the radio and loved John Berry's voice. He was one of my favorite singers and then I got a cut on his last country record, "WILDEST DREAMS." He had a really good run of hits but the most notable and biggest was 'Change My Mind'. That one killed me. And two years ago I got to know John Berry and write one with him as well. It's one of his favorite songs too.

I had heard about Jason for years because he was doing his BMI weekly teaching class. But I never knew him till we ended out in Lake Tahoe, for a songwriters retreat. There were 8 Nashville pros and 85 attendees in a three day workshop, writing session. Jason was one of the pros and presenters. I sat in on his class and thought "This guy really does know his stuff": because he was saying things that I knew but had never heard put quite that way. So it was very interesting. But I was thinking "Yeah. but what has he written? Because he really didn't talk about himself. He talked about what the people in the class wanted to talk about which I thought was pretty cool.

Then we had this guitar pull and he was sitting next to me and wouldn't play. So I sort of goaded him into it. He had claimed he wasn't any good and blah, blah, blah, I thought he probably was not that good a player. He claimed he hadn't played in a long time. Seemed like a lot of excuses. But someone handed him a guitar and he played that song. I was FREAKED OUT because this guy was REALLY GOOD! He hung around and played a two or three more and every damn song was really good. All the people there seemed to know them all but I didn't. Those were the rock/pop things. I was impressed and I don't impress easily.

When the party broke up I talked to him a bit. He reminded me that we had met before and he had actually "germed me" at the Bluebird decades ago. That means he had come up and tried to get a writing appointment when he was brand new in town. I should have taken the damn appointment! Any way, he said that he had lived in LA for years and nearly went broke before he moved to Nashville. It was cheaper to live here and he had a few contacts still in LA, which is how he got his rock cuts later on. He had always been more of a writer than a player and felt embarrased about his performing abilities. He had done a show in Canada and kind of had a performing meltdown and never wanted to perform again. So he didn't go out and perform, but of course, by this time he didn't have to.

So he and I sort of passed in the town at other events. He is a BMI writer and I am an ASCAP writer so we didn't do too many things together. But I learned to never judge people by one or two things. It's an overall career and how you treat people and are respected by other people. He has written very good songs, knows his subject inside and out, written some pretty big hits and some very good books on the subject. And he is a pretty nice guy. I always have to admit, he is one I undersold and was proven wrong. He only spends part of his time here as he owns a pretty big house in Hawaii, and is out there most of the time. He also has a very productive greeting card business. That pays REALLY well.

MAB

#1160680 - 01/17/20 03:31 PM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Gary E. Andrews]  
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THis is Change My Mind by John Berry, written by Jason Blume:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GI36TNAWPcQ

#1160683 - 01/17/20 05:22 PM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Originally Posted by Marc Barnette
He has had Backstreet boys and Brittany Spears hits, but not being that well versed or interested in pop or rock, I didn't know those. He had several country hits before I knew him, most notably, "Change My Mind" for one of the best singers in Country History, John Berry. I was particularly interested in this one because I had been hearing the song everywhere on the radio and loved John Berry's voice. He was one of my favorite singers and then I got a cut on his last country record, "WILDEST DREAMS." He had a really good run of hits but the most notable and biggest was 'Change My Mind'. That one killed me. And two years ago I got to know John Berry and write one with him as well. It's one of his favorite songs too.

I had heard about Jason for years because he was doing his BMI weekly teaching class. But I never knew him till we ended out in Lake Tahoe, for a songwriters retreat. There were 8 Nashville pros and 85 attendees in a three day workshop, writing session. Jason was one of the pros and presenters. I sat in on his class and thought "This guy really does know his stuff": because he was saying things that I knew but had never heard put quite that way. So it was very interesting. But I was thinking "Yeah. but what has he written? Because he really didn't talk about himself. He talked about what the people in the class wanted to talk about which I thought was pretty cool.

Then we had this guitar pull and he was sitting next to me and wouldn't play. So I sort of goaded him into it. He had claimed he wasn't any good and blah, blah, blah, I thought he probably was not that good a player. He claimed he hadn't played in a long time. Seemed like a lot of excuses. But someone handed him a guitar and he played that song. I was FREAKED OUT because this guy was REALLY GOOD! He hung around and played a two or three more and every damn song was really good. All the people there seemed to know them all but I didn't. Those were the rock/pop things. I was impressed and I don't impress easily.

When the party broke up I talked to him a bit. He reminded me that we had met before and he had actually "germed me" at the Bluebird decades ago. That means he had come up and tried to get a writing appointment when he was brand new in town. I should have taken the damn appointment! Any way, he said that he had lived in LA for years and nearly went broke before he moved to Nashville. It was cheaper to live here and he had a few contacts still in LA, which is how he got his rock cuts later on. He had always been more of a writer than a player and felt embarrased about his performing abilities. He had done a show in Canada and kind of had a performing meltdown and never wanted to perform again. So he didn't go out and perform, but of course, by this time he didn't have to.

So he and I sort of passed in the town at other events. He is a BMI writer and I am an ASCAP writer so we didn't do too many things together. But I learned to never judge people by one or two things. It's an overall career and how you treat people and are respected by other people. He has written very good songs, knows his subject inside and out, written some pretty big hits and some very good books on the subject. And he is a pretty nice guy. I always have to admit, he is one I undersold and was proven wrong. He only spends part of his time here as he owns a pretty big house in Hawaii, and is out there most of the time. He also has a very productive greeting card business. That pays REALLY well.

MAB




Mab,

Fantastic Story! Love them, I feel like I'm in the mix when you share these great nuggets for us. Pretty Cool!!!

#1160691 - 01/17/20 06:44 PM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Gary E. Andrews]  
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Sorry to dominate conversations, but some of these things I have very close personal experiences with. I'll chime in with those when I can. Glad you enjoy them. Good topic.

#1160707 - 01/18/20 10:33 AM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Gary E. Andrews]  
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Well on his site he has the song Dear Diary by Brittan Spears listed as a hit.

Its the weakest track, the 12th track on the album. no means a hit, a cut yes, but it wasnt a hit

And I know there is writing for the market... But is this the lyric writing skills he teaches?

https://www.google.com/search?clien.....1..gws-wiz.......0i71j0i67.tMc0TN-ygec

#1160713 - 01/18/20 11:00 AM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Gary E. Andrews]  
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He teaches a combination of his own skills but mostly analizing the styles and methods of the great writers. He breaks down songs, shows common threads, demonstrates things that bind not only the songs but the writers. He also demonstrates elements of chart successes, how songs got there, and other elements of the business outside the song itself.

There is not a writer alive that thinks the songs he/she got cut were their best songs. As a matter of fact, many of them feel that their hits are some of their weaker songs. Think Don Von Tress thinks that "Achy Breaky Heart " is his best effort? Songs and artists are a very strange thing. Some take on lives of their own, beyond what they were intended. There are hundreds of enormous hits that the writer just threw together, had an off writing day, something that was done as a lark, that some artist, their producers, their label, their management, just caught onto and even more than the audience gravitated to that no one can figure out. That is the rule rather than the exception. About 85-90% of this business is an accident more than anything planned and that is one of the most frustrating things about it.

As I said, I'm not going to sit and analyze all of Jason's songs. Personally, I think pop/rock songwriting is the weakest of all, since it is MOVEMENT dominated (production) and lyrics are almost an afterthought, while country is a more lyric oriented format. Even though there is plenty in country that is pretty weak. They are just different genres and the requirements are different. I am only going to speak to what I actually know, the pop/rock artists, labels, particularly the dance, electronic media variety and their listeners, are certainly not one of those.

Does he have some mediocrity? You bet. We all do. And some of those become hit records, win awards, make money.

With everything with Jason, other teachers, myself included, you have to listen or read what is said, see what works, what rings true, and if it works for you, use it, if not, move on to something else.

When I was first asked to teach, I thought "THAT'S INSANE! I don't have hit records and have figured out ways to fail in the music business most people never even thought of." But that ended up being what I teach. Perseverance. Moving on after being knocked down. Reinventing yourself and finding elements of not only yourself but others that can help you build long term relationships.

Jason was much the same way. And overall, he was ASKED by BMI to teach classes, write for their web site, and represent BMI in his efforts. There are a lot of people who have benefitted from his teachings.

But here is another thing I always try to keep in mind. When I was trying to decide if I should even try to do a workshop, one of the guys who got me started, was a high school football coach. And he said "Often the best coaches were not the best athletes. And some of the best players are not good coaches. "
And that's true. Lombardi was never a good player. But they named the Super Bowl trophy after him. Micheal Jordan was arguably the best basketball player in history, but not a good coach. It's hard to find people who do both.

I know most of the much vaunted teachers out there and have even written with a few of them. Most of them, who are successful in teaching, are very average writers. But they understand the process, motivation and have a unique approach to their methods.

Jason, in my opinion, is one who can teach and write. But if you don't feel he has anything to offer, move on to what you find that works. In my experience the best teacher is experience. You just do it, trial and error and hopefully build into what you need to be.

MAB

#1160714 - 01/18/20 11:09 AM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Originally Posted by Marc Barnette
He teaches a combination of his own skills but mostly analizing the styles and methods of the great writers. He breaks down songs, shows common threads, demonstrates things that bind not only the songs but the writers. He also demonstrates elements of chart successes, how songs got there, and other elements of the business outside the song itself.

There is not a writer alive that thinks the songs he/she got cut were their best songs. As a matter of fact, many of them feel that their hits are some of their weaker songs. Think Don Von Tress thinks that "Achy Breaky Heart " is his best effort? Songs and artists are a very strange thing. Some take on lives of their own, beyond what they were intended. There are hundreds of enormous hits that the writer just threw together, had an off writing day, something that was done as a lark, that some artist, their producers, their label, their management, just caught onto and even more than the audience gravitated to that no one can figure out. That is the rule rather than the exception. About 85-90% of this business is an accident more than anything planned and that is one of the most frustrating things about it.

As I said, I'm not going to sit and analyze all of Jason's songs. Personally, I think pop/rock songwriting is the weakest of all, since it is MOVEMENT dominated (production) and lyrics are almost an afterthought, while country is a more lyric oriented format. Even though there is plenty in country that is pretty weak. They are just different genres and the requirements are different. I am only going to speak to what I actually know, the pop/rock artists, labels, particularly the dance, electronic media variety and their listeners, are certainly not one of those.

Does he have some mediocrity? You bet. We all do. And some of those become hit records, win awards, make money.

With everything with Jason, other teachers, myself included, you have to listen or read what is said, see what works, what rings true, and if it works for you, use it, if not, move on to something else.

When I was first asked to teach, I thought "THAT'S INSANE! I don't have hit records and have figured out ways to fail in the music business most people never even thought of." But that ended up being what I teach. Perseverance. Moving on after being knocked down. Reinventing yourself and finding elements of not only yourself but others that can help you build long term relationships.

Jason was much the same way. And overall, he was ASKED by BMI to teach classes, write for their web site, and represent BMI in his efforts. There are a lot of people who have benefitted from his teachings.

But here is another thing I always try to keep in mind. When I was trying to decide if I should even try to do a workshop, one of the guys who got me started, was a high school football coach. And he said "Often the best coaches were not the best athletes. And some of the best players are not good coaches. "
And that's true. Lombardi was never a good player. But they named the Super Bowl trophy after him. Micheal Jordan was arguably the best basketball player in history, but not a good coach. It's hard to find people who do both.

I know most of the much vaunted teachers out there and have even written with a few of them. Most of them, who are successful in teaching, are very average writers. But they understand the process, motivation and have a unique approach to their methods.

Jason, in my opinion, is one who can teach and write. But if you don't feel he has anything to offer, move on to what you find that works. In my experience the best teacher is experience. You just do it, trial and error and hopefully build into what you need to be.

MAB


Very true. The great sports star cant understand when a mere mortal cant do what they could. The best coaches are guys who werent great players, solid players with good fundamentals, but not great players.

I have no problem with Jason Blume. There used to be a woman named Molly Ann Leikin, I guess she's still a woman...and still living, but she had the same kind of business. teaching. Critiquing she had a few claims to fame like writing the theme to Eight is Enough and a hit for Cher I think.

But in reality, If I had some inside scoop on how to get my song to be a hit, why would I reveal it to the world. Wouldn't I just write the song and have a hit myself? Unless the money is dried up and I cant make a living as a songwriter,,,then I do this.

Nothing wrong with it per se, its just the hype and the advertising that turns me off.

Last edited by Fdemetrio; 01/18/20 11:11 AM.
#1160717 - 01/18/20 12:35 PM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Gary E. Andrews]  
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I do understand. And it's pretty weird. When I started doing it, in 2000, a lot of hit writers and my contemporaries got upset with me because they felt it was demeaning to work with the "great unwashed" people that had not gone through the same things they had to get where they were. But I had seen the end of the money in songwriting and the deals dissapearing and it just sort of came my way. People that had come to see my shows for years and seen me talk and be a part of NSAI (Nashville songwriters Association International) and it was the co-ordinators that asked me "Can you come talk to our groups?"

I actually turned them down for quite a while thinking "Why would anyone llsten to me?" I started with one chapter and then that built to several others. When I'd go to California, coordinators from pther parts of California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, etc. would ask if I could work their groups in. In order to keep it from being a big chunk of money for any one individiual or group, I did private critiques, and later songwriting lessons to make it more affordable for the individuals. So increasingly my stays would be longer and longer. That spread across the US and NSAI asked me to be sort of a "testing ground" for a program they were working on called "ADOPT A SHOP". This is where pros from a certain region would adopt those workshops and have a mentor program. As I was out, more and more of the writers would ask me about coming to Nashville and when they came in, I would help them in their trips. That was my "Songwriter Tour" program.

This is how most future songwriting teachers, particuarly if they didn't have a college program or degree backing them, became known. It was sort of like the athletes that retire and then become sports announcers. As the money declined, you would find more and more hit writers going to the teaching. Soon there were boot camps, college cirriculums, writers retreats, now cruises, horseback adventures, etc. Pretty much every one does it. And not everyone can teach. Many just plug their own DVD's books, web sites, etc. No one forces anyone to do this, and I've done both sides, taken workshops and given them.

But whenever something works, usually everyone piles on and that drains money out of that too.; So now the only thing more prevalant in Nashville than songwriters, are songwriters with books, teaching methods, classes, television and movie scripts, pod casts, YOU TUBE channels, you name it.

While I seem like a big defender of Jason, and I am, I don't know him that well. As a matter of fact, three days ago, he passed me in the grocery store and I didn't even know who he was till I got in the car. Again, we sort of pass each other all the time. But the real thing is that I have seen a lot of people trying to do this. Some good, some not so good, some absolute rip offs. I even thought Jason might be that for a while till I got to know him a bit and see how he did what he does. And again, I think that it is BECAUSE he doesn't just talk about himself and what he has done that makes it work well. He really has some interesting perspectives that go "beyond the song.."

And that is why it is really hard to teach anyone to "write a hit song." I don't know that you can do that. Hit songs are so random and so much of it has to do with things long beyond the song itself. He analizes more than just the song. He is very similar in that way to another friend of mine, the late great Ralph Murphy, who was an executive at ASCAP and used to do a "Murphy's Laws" column for ASCAP. He would analize elements of hit songs and find their common traits. Then talk about the artists, the companies, etc. which are as important as the songs themselves. When you have a huge hit that is everywhere, and bringing in money and fame, it is going to be easier to get people to listen to you again. Doesn't guarantee anything, but does make it a bit easier.

Jason does a lot of that and has a really good handle on songs styles, artists, and relationships to the listeners as well as the business. That's why I think he does a really good thing.

MAB

#1160720 - 01/18/20 01:17 PM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Gary E. Andrews]  
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I seem to recall a check-list created by Blume that was really useful in judging a completed song... or using while it was being written/developed. (As a Private Pilot, I admire check-lists.) I liked it well enough to print it... but my filing system leaves a great deal to be desired except for my catalog. My wife is constantly harping at me to get that doggone desk cleaned up... but that gets in the way of inspiration, recording, re-recording, answering fan mail (all three of them) and other amusing passtimes. LOL! Having said all that, it was probably that other guy whose name I can't remember right now.

Getting old is not for sissies!

----Dave

#1160727 - 01/18/20 01:42 PM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Gary E. Andrews]  
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I think that was one of the things Jason uses, and probably done by several people. Pat Pattison, of Berklee is another one that stresses those. I think the orignal idea goes back probably to the Tin Pan Alley days of the 50's and 60's. It's something a lot of people have probably developed over the years. I believe Jason uses it pretty frequently in his workshops. For people who have written a lot of songs, it pretty much becomes ingrained and you don't need so much of a list as it is just second nature. After a while you know all these things and they just come naturally. It is a point that you quit doing workshops or classes, not that you don't need help,but usually you are just writing so much you don't have the time or the attention to do that anymore. Sooner or later you need to get out of the workshop and into the practical application format.

The "older guys" people from the 50's, 60's. 70's etc. none of them ever took classes or anything. They learned by doing it and being around other writers continually. When you are in groups of people that live, eat, drink songwriting, it is just everywhere and you don't really need outside education. I have taken a few classes but mostly my education came in that way. Writing with people a lot better than I was.

A lot of people don't ave that luxuary or just have to learn in whatever ways they can. They might be physcially isolated or have other reasons they can't get together with people. Some would just feel more comforatable in a classroom setting. Most just have to do with where you come from and what works for you personally.

#1161252 - 01/30/20 09:55 PM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Gary E. Andrews]  
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Great discussion, didn't see the rest of this. Mab, you make a lot of great points. Fd, I can understand some of your skepticism also...
I think there will always be a great deal of skepticism when people promise to teach you to be a hit writer, and there should be. But you also have to look at their body of work and credentials, that will speak volumes.

I recently viewed a Video featuring a Highly Successful Songwriter name Martin Sutton, who has numerous hits with some of the biggest Artists' on the planet, and he also teaches. I do believe there are genuine people out there, that just want to see others succeed. With that being said, he has his own Songwriting Academy with a stable of huge producers and hit writers that hold workshops and critique songs ect. of course you have to pay to have access to these resources. Teachers should be paid for their time and efforts and the overall value they bring. I wish I could afford to attend some of these workshops and have a chance to co-write with some of these great Artists' but we all do what we can do, until we can do better.

Mab, like you said the best experience is getting out there and just doing it! I agree, 100%-Dana

Last edited by Dayson; 01/30/20 09:56 PM.
#1161271 - 01/31/20 01:15 PM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Dayson]  
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Originally Posted by Dayson
Great discussion, didn't see the rest of this. Mab, you make a lot of great points. Fd, I can understand some of your skepticism also...
I think there will always be a great deal of skepticism when people promise to teach you to be a hit writer, and there should be. But you also have to look at their body of work and credentials, that will speak volumes.

I recently viewed a Video featuring a Highly Successful Songwriter name Martin Sutton, who has numerous hits with some of the biggest Artists' on the planet, and he also teaches. I do believe there are genuine people out there, that just want to see others succeed. With that being said, he has his own Songwriting Academy with a stable of huge producers and hit writers that hold workshops and critique songs ect. of course you have to pay to have access to these resources. Teachers should be paid for their time and efforts and the overall value they bring. I wish I could afford to attend some of these workshops and have a chance to co-write with some of these great Artists' but we all do what we can do, until we can do better.

Mab, like you said the best experience is getting out there and just doing it! I agree, 100%-Dana


Well the problem I have with it is, so much of success in having a hit song is NOT about songwriting. He's not teaching you how to write a great song, in general, he's teaching how in theory, to write a hit song, alot of times a hit song and a great song are way different.

But even so, if I could learn from him how to write a song that has potential to make money (which is what he's teaching), then what? That was the easy part, The hard part is being the one song out of the millions of songs written this year that wants to be a hit

And of course, it changes the game altogether if you write these songs, AND, have a world class recording facility to work in and polish the terd as much as you like.

If he came clean and said "ok, contact me after reading my book, and I will introduce you to the dozens or hundreds of contacts I have in the business, or I will put you i direct contact with producers and artists looking for songs" Then id say "well, hell yes sir, and I dont even care about the songwriting part" i want THAT!

THEN, you'd have something real. But basicly he's saying, ok this is what type of song is making money these days, write it, and then go find success on your own...

Well, I could do that without paying you on top of it....

Last edited by Fdemetrio; 01/31/20 01:16 PM.
#1161308 - 02/01/20 05:13 PM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Fdemetrio]  
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Originally Posted by Fdemetrio
Originally Posted by Dayson
Great discussion, didn't see the rest of this. Mab, you make a lot of great points. Fd, I can understand some of your skepticism also...
I think there will always be a great deal of skepticism when people promise to teach you to be a hit writer, and there should be. But you also have to look at their body of work and credentials, that will speak volumes.

I recently viewed a Video featuring a Highly Successful Songwriter name Martin Sutton, who has numerous hits with some of the biggest Artists' on the planet, and he also teaches. I do believe there are genuine people out there, that just want to see others succeed. With that being said, he has his own Songwriting Academy with a stable of huge producers and hit writers that hold workshops and critique songs ect. of course you have to pay to have access to these resources. Teachers should be paid for their time and efforts and the overall value they bring. I wish I could afford to attend some of these workshops and have a chance to co-write with some of these great Artists' but we all do what we can do, until we can do better.

Mab, like you said the best experience is getting out there and just doing it! I agree, 100%-Dana


Well the problem I have with it is, so much of success in having a hit song is NOT about songwriting. He's not teaching you how to write a great song, in general, he's teaching how in theory, to write a hit song, alot of times a hit song and a great song are way different.

But even so, if I could learn from him how to write a song that has potential to make money (which is what he's teaching), then what? That was the easy part, The hard part is being the one song out of the millions of songs written this year that wants to be a hit

And of course, it changes the game altogether if you write these songs, AND, have a world class recording facility to work in and polish the terd as much as you like.

If he came clean and said "ok, contact me after reading my book, and I will introduce you to the dozens or hundreds of contacts I have in the business, or I will put you i direct contact with producers and artists looking for songs" Then id say "well, hell yes sir, and I dont even care about the songwriting part" i want THAT!

THEN, you'd have something real. But basicly he's saying, ok this is what type of song is making money these days, write it, and then go find success on your own...

Well, I could do that without paying you on top of it....









All songs—and songwriters—are not created equal. There are reasons why some songs and writers become successful—and others fail to do so. Let’s take a look at some of the steps you can take to maximize your chances for songwriting success.

Write Songs That Jump Out of the Pile

It is important to write songs that are perfectly crafted, songs that use rhymes and familiar structures in ways listeners have come to expect. But to make an impact and break through, we need to include elements that separate our songs from the competition. These can include lyric concepts and angles that are fresh ways to approach topics with wide appeal; melodies and rhythms that are instantly memorable; instruments and sounds that push the creative envelope; lines of lyric that are unique; maybe an unpredictable chord; or an unexpected “wow” note.

We have to provide decision-makers with reasons to choose our songs over those written by the current hit-makers—and those written (or co-written) by artists. Revisit your songs with a critical ear after you have a finished draft. Ask yourself whether you have written a “good” song—or an exceptional one that will compel a publisher, recording artist, music producer, or A & R executive to select yours over everyone else’s. It can help to get professional input, then rewrite your songs until they are as strong as possible.

Write Up-Tempo, Positive Songs

I once heard a top publisher advise his writers that if they wanted the best shot at success, they should deliver “up-tempo songs with meat”—meaning songs with depth, songs that delivered a powerful message. My publisher of twelve years urged me over and over to write more up-tempo songs—and I wish I had listened. This is not to say that slow and sad songs can’t break through. Several of my most successful songs were slow, and I am grateful I wrote them. But slow songs, sometimes referred to as ballads, tend to comprise a small percentage of songs on an artist’s album—and tend to be written (or co-written) by the artist. Write the songs your heart needs to write, but be aware that it is easier to get “lucky” with mid- and up-tempo songs.

Collaborate

It is no coincidence that the overwhelming majority of successful songs are the result of collaboration. By co-writing, you not only benefit from additional creative input, you increase the number of people promoting and pitching your material. You also gain access to publishers, music business executives, vocalists, musicians, studios, producers, and others who might play crucial roles in your career.

Record Great Demos

Few music industry pros can imagine how a song might sound if it were produced at a different tempo; in a different style; and with musicians and vocalists who can really “sell” the song. We probably have a minute or less to convince our listener that he or she has found a hit. When your song is as strong as it can be, showcase it with a recording that shows it to its best advantage.

Take Care of Business

I have taught thousands of songwriters, and I have yet to find anyone who writes songs because they love seeking out publishers, scheduling meetings, pitching their songs, monitoring royalty statements, and dealing with the countless additional non-creative aspects that comprise the business of songwriting. But these actions are mandatory for songwriting success.

Join songwriter organizations and attend conferences, camps, festivals, pitch sessions, and workshops where you can receive feedback on your work and network with writers and music business professionals. In many cases, these are the actions that lead to songwriters attaining their goals.

Success in the music business—as in so many other endeavors—is typically the result of a cocktail of exceptional work, good timing, and good luck. There are no guarantees, but six students who have attended my workshops have had #1 singles. I’ve lost count of how many have signed publishing deals, had their songs recorded, and won top honors in competitions.


Hey Fd,

I can appreciate your perspective...
I've took the original post that Gary posted and pasted them here, do you disagree with anything in here that Jason Blume is advising?

#1161339 - 02/03/20 07:11 PM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Dayson]  
Joined: Oct 2017
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Fdemetrio Offline
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Fdemetrio  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 2,680
Originally Posted by Dayson
Originally Posted by Fdemetrio
Originally Posted by Dayson
Great discussion, didn't see the rest of this. Mab, you make a lot of great points. Fd, I can understand some of your skepticism also...
I think there will always be a great deal of skepticism when people promise to teach you to be a hit writer, and there should be. But you also have to look at their body of work and credentials, that will speak volumes.

I recently viewed a Video featuring a Highly Successful Songwriter name Martin Sutton, who has numerous hits with some of the biggest Artists' on the planet, and he also teaches. I do believe there are genuine people out there, that just want to see others succeed. With that being said, he has his own Songwriting Academy with a stable of huge producers and hit writers that hold workshops and critique songs ect. of course you have to pay to have access to these resources. Teachers should be paid for their time and efforts and the overall value they bring. I wish I could afford to attend some of these workshops and have a chance to co-write with some of these great Artists' but we all do what we can do, until we can do better.

Mab, like you said the best experience is getting out there and just doing it! I agree, 100%-Dana


Well the problem I have with it is, so much of success in having a hit song is NOT about songwriting. He's not teaching you how to write a great song, in general, he's teaching how in theory, to write a hit song, alot of times a hit song and a great song are way different.

But even so, if I could learn from him how to write a song that has potential to make money (which is what he's teaching), then what? That was the easy part, The hard part is being the one song out of the millions of songs written this year that wants to be a hit

And of course, it changes the game altogether if you write these songs, AND, have a world class recording facility to work in and polish the terd as much as you like.

If he came clean and said "ok, contact me after reading my book, and I will introduce you to the dozens or hundreds of contacts I have in the business, or I will put you i direct contact with producers and artists looking for songs" Then id say "well, hell yes sir, and I dont even care about the songwriting part" i want THAT!

THEN, you'd have something real. But basicly he's saying, ok this is what type of song is making money these days, write it, and then go find success on your own...

Well, I could do that without paying you on top of it....









All songs—and songwriters—are not created equal. There are reasons why some songs and writers become successful—and others fail to do so. Let’s take a look at some of the steps you can take to maximize your chances for songwriting success.

Write Songs That Jump Out of the Pile

It is important to write songs that are perfectly crafted, songs that use rhymes and familiar structures in ways listeners have come to expect. But to make an impact and break through, we need to include elements that separate our songs from the competition. These can include lyric concepts and angles that are fresh ways to approach topics with wide appeal; melodies and rhythms that are instantly memorable; instruments and sounds that push the creative envelope; lines of lyric that are unique; maybe an unpredictable chord; or an unexpected “wow” note.

We have to provide decision-makers with reasons to choose our songs over those written by the current hit-makers—and those written (or co-written) by artists. Revisit your songs with a critical ear after you have a finished draft. Ask yourself whether you have written a “good” song—or an exceptional one that will compel a publisher, recording artist, music producer, or A & R executive to select yours over everyone else’s. It can help to get professional input, then rewrite your songs until they are as strong as possible.

Write Up-Tempo, Positive Songs

I once heard a top publisher advise his writers that if they wanted the best shot at success, they should deliver “up-tempo songs with meat”—meaning songs with depth, songs that delivered a powerful message. My publisher of twelve years urged me over and over to write more up-tempo songs—and I wish I had listened. This is not to say that slow and sad songs can’t break through. Several of my most successful songs were slow, and I am grateful I wrote them. But slow songs, sometimes referred to as ballads, tend to comprise a small percentage of songs on an artist’s album—and tend to be written (or co-written) by the artist. Write the songs your heart needs to write, but be aware that it is easier to get “lucky” with mid- and up-tempo songs.

Collaborate

It is no coincidence that the overwhelming majority of successful songs are the result of collaboration. By co-writing, you not only benefit from additional creative input, you increase the number of people promoting and pitching your material. You also gain access to publishers, music business executives, vocalists, musicians, studios, producers, and others who might play crucial roles in your career.

Record Great Demos

Few music industry pros can imagine how a song might sound if it were produced at a different tempo; in a different style; and with musicians and vocalists who can really “sell” the song. We probably have a minute or less to convince our listener that he or she has found a hit. When your song is as strong as it can be, showcase it with a recording that shows it to its best advantage.

Take Care of Business

I have taught thousands of songwriters, and I have yet to find anyone who writes songs because they love seeking out publishers, scheduling meetings, pitching their songs, monitoring royalty statements, and dealing with the countless additional non-creative aspects that comprise the business of songwriting. But these actions are mandatory for songwriting success.

Join songwriter organizations and attend conferences, camps, festivals, pitch sessions, and workshops where you can receive feedback on your work and network with writers and music business professionals. In many cases, these are the actions that lead to songwriters attaining their goals.

Success in the music business—as in so many other endeavors—is typically the result of a cocktail of exceptional work, good timing, and good luck. There are no guarantees, but six students who have attended my workshops have had #1 singles. I’ve lost count of how many have signed publishing deals, had their songs recorded, and won top honors in competitions.


Hey Fd,

I can appreciate your perspective...
I've took the original post that Gary posted and pasted them here, do you disagree with anything in here that Jason Blume is advising?





Well Dayson, I agree that songwriting can be learned, alot of it can be, also alot of it cant. You learn best by listening to music, the songs you love. Guys like Jason Blume help simplify what you need to learn, and help you see things you may have not noticed on your own. No problem with that.

Teachers can be good for focus, and also pats on the back. But Even if the 6 students he mentions who have had number 1's actually did, let's give them some credit for being really good in the first place, and lets also credit lthem for being really lucky.

Bottom line, if it helps you, then its worth it, somebody once said, something is only worth what somebody is willing to pay for it. Ive read a number of songwriting books, the best to my knowledge is Sheila Davies Craft of Lyric Writing, EXCELLENT book.

Last edited by Fdemetrio; 02/03/20 07:23 PM.
#1161349 - 02/04/20 09:59 AM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Gary E. Andrews]  
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 5,283
Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 5,283
Nashville, Tn.
There's always this discussion that goes on:

Can hit songwriting be taught?

Yes and no. You can or need to learn some boundries and guidelines regarding your songs, because none of us are really the best arbiters of what we do. The ultimate arbiter is the audience that is intended for your songs.

So being able to get with others, in either a teaching format, or having someone to bounce things off of, are very helpful, help save time, etc. In that.

Songwriting can and is taught and people learn it one way or another. Every song you write is a teaching experience.
Some find more success in books, some view videos, some have other avenues. For me, the songwriting itself was always the best teacher. Particularly working with very experienced, successful people. And I've taken and given plenty of classes.

"HIT" songwriting is often a different deal, because the song itself is not always the key to success.
Getting to the right person or in the right circles, building great teams, having a great artist, presenting it well continuously, money and political contacts:

AND.
The acceptance of a large audience.

That can be explained, but not really taught. Somewhat teaching someone to play poker or blackjack.
They can learn all the in's and outs, build huge knowledge base, make all the right moves, and still might be beaten by someone with a better hand.

And you can't ever figure out what the general public will or won't connect with.

Jason, Pat Pattison, Shelia Davis, Steve Seskin, many others, including myself can show elements of that and give some breakdowns on what others have done and give participants some guidance in those directions concerning themselves, but no one can PROMISE anything. No guarantees, no sure things.

MAB

#1161467 - 02/07/20 10:31 PM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Fdemetrio]  
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 781
Dayson Offline
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Dayson  Offline
Top 500 Poster

Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 781
San Diego California United St...
Hey Fd,

I agree with a lot of what you said here. I think Jason and others like him do a great service to Songwriters, who need direction.
With the right mentor, you can jump leaps and bounds above your competition. Thanks for your view.-Dana
Btw, I just received my new Songwriting Book in the mail, it's titled
"The Songwriter's Guide to Mastering Co-Writing" By Marty Dodson & Clay Mills of Hit Songwriters and Creators of Songtown.com

I'm really looking forward to immersing myself in these tidbits of knowledge.-Cheers!-Dana

Last edited by Dayson; 02/07/20 10:33 PM.
#1161468 - 02/07/20 10:40 PM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Marc Barnette]  
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 781
Dayson Offline
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Dayson  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 781
San Diego California United St...
Originally Posted by Marc Barnette
There's always this discussion that goes on:

Can hit songwriting be taught?

Yes and no. You can or need to learn some boundries and guidelines regarding your songs, because none of us are really the best arbiters of what we do. The ultimate arbiter is the audience that is intended for your songs.

So being able to get with others, in either a teaching format, or having someone to bounce things off of, are very helpful, help save time, etc. In that.

Songwriting can and is taught and people learn it one way or another. Every song you write is a teaching experience.
Some find more success in books, some view videos, some have other avenues. For me, the songwriting itself was always the best teacher. Particularly working with very experienced, successful people. And I've taken and given plenty of classes.

"HIT" songwriting is often a different deal, because the song itself is not always the key to success.
Getting to the right person or in the right circles, building great teams, having a great artist, presenting it well continuously, money and political contacts:

AND.
The acceptance of a large audience.

That can be explained, but not really taught. Somewhat teaching someone to play poker or blackjack.
They can learn all the in's and outs, build huge knowledge base, make all the right moves, and still might be beaten by someone with a better hand.

And you can't ever figure out what the general public will or won't connect with.

Jason, Pat Pattison, Shelia Davis, Steve Seskin, many others, including myself can show elements of that and give some breakdowns on what others have done and give participants some guidance in those directions concerning themselves, but no one can PROMISE anything. No guarantees, no sure things.

MAB


Hey Mab,

As always, you give the best advice. I like the part about "every song you write is a teaching experience" I didn't think about learning in that aspect, but you are so right. You can always learn something from your last song, to make the best one better. I've been reading a blog created by the said Authors above, and one of the points they were making about this very subject. Mentioned that even Tiger Woods has a Swing Coach. So, that pretty much says a lot there.
Again, thanks for the input.-Dana

#1161476 - 02/08/20 01:39 PM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Gary E. Andrews]  
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,823
Gary E. Andrews Offline
Gary E. Andrews  Offline

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Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,823
Portsmouth, Ohio, USA
The most strategic lesson to learn is that you are transitioning from the activities involved in being a creative hobbyist to being a company, engaged in commerce with other companies, and consumers. Other companies, publishers, A&R representatives, 'labels', are 'consumers'. You have to learn new skills and take new actions that you didn't study or practice as a creative hobbyist, to be a salesman, to sell your product to consumers.
You most likely know nothing about contracting, about the music 'business', the 'industry', how music is changed from 'art' you created to product you, and they, are interested in selling. Obviously all the music you hear on terrestrial radio or internet sources or that you see sold in retail stores was 'sold' by someone to someone who then turned and 'sold' it again, seeking to 'sell' it to the ultimate consumer. You didn't study that process, the how-to of sales, the sales 'pitch' to those behind-the-scenes 'consumers' who see value in your 'product' and want to get in on the ground floor, owning a 'piece of the action'. You may not know the 100% Songwriting Royalties, 100% Publishing Royalties concept, and how you 'own' those 'rights', how you 'own' the 'right' to 'copy' your Intellectual Property, that 'product' that came out of your brain, accompanied by your hands on your instrument. You may sign your name, legally binding yourself to whatever is in the contract 'the other party wrote. That's all more conceptual, more commercial, than you considered during the creative process.
Creative hobbyists wrote many of the great Songs of history, one-hit wonders who, somehow, did it right, got the right combination of factors into their Song, or surrendered some 'right' to others to tweak their product, change a Line, a word, the Structure, the Melody, or the tempo, and added a full band 'arrangement' of instrumental accompaniment. Those factors all managed to 'sell' to the guy at the local radio station, or the guy behind the desk at the Publishing company, or the artist, or the artist's management. Once the consuming public heard it, it 'sold' to them too, and made money.
Then they all came back to the source, wanting another 'hit'. And the one-hit wonder often didn't have another one. The 'hit' was a fluke. They didn't know why it was a hit. They didn't know what the elements in the Song were that 'sold' it to the string of 'consumers' to the ultimate consumer, who expressed their appreciation in 'the coin of the realm', money.
Was it the Lyric, that 'story', that sense of the Singer-Character telling his/her story?
Was it the Melody?
The prosody of the two?
The Structure?
That clever guitar riff, simple as it is, strategically placed?
The percussion?
What was it? What 'hooked' them, kept them hooked, drove home THE Hook so they knew the name of the Song after hearing it once?
What made them get the Lyric/Melody 'earwormed' into their head so it replayed there after the Song ended?
They don't know. They weren't studying that when they created it. They may not have studied it after they wrote it, after it became a hit, before they tried to do it again. Maybe they never did study it.
I contend you 'can' learn. Whether you can learn to create hits consistently is in question of course. We still have one-hit wonders. Even artists with a string of hits are revealed to be dependent on finding their Songs, not writing them. Writers try again, but often don't succeed.
The 'lesson' here is that you can study. Whether you can learn depends on you. Whether you 'got' the lesson or just read it, heard it, saw it demonstrated, can be determined by what teachers call 'terminal behavior', the behavior that demonstrates that the student learned the lesson. The lesson here is that you can study. So study. Study the hits. Study the near-hits and non-hits. What do YOU think they do right and wrong? What elements hooked YOUR attention, sustained that 'hook' effect, and made YOU reach in YOUR pocket for your hard-earned money to lay down the coin of the realm in exchange for hearing that Song again, seeing that artist play it live. You CAN study.
Now, if you've studied, if you've learned, and if you've created a great Song, do you comprehend the commercialization, the pitching, the contracting. Strategically, are you willing to do THAT work, a totally new endeavor, quite different from being a creative hobbyist?


There will always be another song to be written. Someone will write it. Why not you? www.garyeandrews.com
#1161481 - 02/08/20 04:21 PM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Dayson]  
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 2,680
Fdemetrio Offline
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Fdemetrio  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 2,680
Originally Posted by Dayson
Hey Fd,

I agree with a lot of what you said here. I think Jason and others like him do a great service to Songwriters, who need direction.
With the right mentor, you can jump leaps and bounds above your competition. Thanks for your view.-Dana
Btw, I just received my new Songwriting Book in the mail, it's titled
"The Songwriter's Guide to Mastering Co-Writing" By Marty Dodson & Clay Mills of Hit Songwriters and Creators of Songtown.com

I'm really looking forward to immersing myself in these tidbits of knowledge.-Cheers!-Dana


If you are a lyric writer, which I think you are???? Then the book you need is Sheila Davies Craft of Lyric writing. All books have something to offer, but that is one helluva book, it really goes into detail , its more like a text book. Never read anything as comprehensive as that. have a look: https://www.amazon.com/Craft-Lyric-Writing-Sheila-Davis/dp/0898791499

Most of it is probably available free online now anyway.

#1161494 - 02/09/20 10:30 PM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Fdemetrio]  
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 781
Dayson Offline
Top 500 Poster
Dayson  Offline
Top 500 Poster

Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 781
San Diego California United St...
Originally Posted by Fdemetrio
Originally Posted by Dayson
Hey Fd,

I agree with a lot of what you said here. I think Jason and others like him do a great service to Songwriters, who need direction.
With the right mentor, you can jump leaps and bounds above your competition. Thanks for your view.-Dana
Btw, I just received my new Songwriting Book in the mail, it's titled
"The Songwriter's Guide to Mastering Co-Writing" By Marty Dodson & Clay Mills of Hit Songwriters and Creators of Songtown.com

I'm really looking forward to immersing myself in these tidbits of knowledge.-Cheers!-Dana


If you are a lyric writer, which I think you are???? Then the book you need is Sheila Davies Craft of Lyric writing. All books have something to offer, but that is one helluva book, it really goes into detail , its more like a text book. Never read anything as comprehensive as that. have a look: https://www.amazon.com/Craft-Lyric-Writing-Sheila-Davis/dp/0898791499

Most of it is probably available free online now anyway.



Hey Fd,

Thanks for the recommendation. I have heard of this book, and think I might have read some excerpts from it years ago. My book came in the mail finally! It was a great read! My only complaint, is that it seemed too short! lol That's only because I am in 'Sponge' mode, wanting to absorb every bit of knowledge on how to push myself forward and become the best Songwriter I can. It has a lot of common sense advice, but it also has ways for the beginning songwriter to navigate the problems that can arise during a session. Check it out if you can!-Dana

#1161495 - 02/09/20 10:32 PM Re: BMI: The Weekly: Jason Blume: 5 Ways To Get Lucky [Re: Gary E. Andrews]  
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 781
Dayson Offline
Top 500 Poster
Dayson  Offline
Top 500 Poster

Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 781
San Diego California United St...
Originally Posted by Gary E. Andrews
The most strategic lesson to learn is that you are transitioning from the activities involved in being a creative hobbyist to being a company, engaged in commerce with other companies, and consumers. Other companies, publishers, A&R representatives, 'labels', are 'consumers'. You have to learn new skills and take new actions that you didn't study or practice as a creative hobbyist, to be a salesman, to sell your product to consumers.
You most likely know nothing about contracting, about the music 'business', the 'industry', how music is changed from 'art' you created to product you, and they, are interested in selling. Obviously all the music you hear on terrestrial radio or internet sources or that you see sold in retail stores was 'sold' by someone to someone who then turned and 'sold' it again, seeking to 'sell' it to the ultimate consumer. You didn't study that process, the how-to of sales, the sales 'pitch' to those behind-the-scenes 'consumers' who see value in your 'product' and want to get in on the ground floor, owning a 'piece of the action'. You may not know the 100% Songwriting Royalties, 100% Publishing Royalties concept, and how you 'own' those 'rights', how you 'own' the 'right' to 'copy' your Intellectual Property, that 'product' that came out of your brain, accompanied by your hands on your instrument. You may sign your name, legally binding yourself to whatever is in the contract 'the other party wrote. That's all more conceptual, more commercial, than you considered during the creative process.
Creative hobbyists wrote many of the great Songs of history, one-hit wonders who, somehow, did it right, got the right combination of factors into their Song, or surrendered some 'right' to others to tweak their product, change a Line, a word, the Structure, the Melody, or the tempo, and added a full band 'arrangement' of instrumental accompaniment. Those factors all managed to 'sell' to the guy at the local radio station, or the guy behind the desk at the Publishing company, or the artist, or the artist's management. Once the consuming public heard it, it 'sold' to them too, and made money.
Then they all came back to the source, wanting another 'hit'. And the one-hit wonder often didn't have another one. The 'hit' was a fluke. They didn't know why it was a hit. They didn't know what the elements in the Song were that 'sold' it to the string of 'consumers' to the ultimate consumer, who expressed their appreciation in 'the coin of the realm', money.
Was it the Lyric, that 'story', that sense of the Singer-Character telling his/her story?
Was it the Melody?
The prosody of the two?
The Structure?
That clever guitar riff, simple as it is, strategically placed?
The percussion?
What was it? What 'hooked' them, kept them hooked, drove home THE Hook so they knew the name of the Song after hearing it once?
What made them get the Lyric/Melody 'earwormed' into their head so it replayed there after the Song ended?
They don't know. They weren't studying that when they created it. They may not have studied it after they wrote it, after it became a hit, before they tried to do it again. Maybe they never did study it.
I contend you 'can' learn. Whether you can learn to create hits consistently is in question of course. We still have one-hit wonders. Even artists with a string of hits are revealed to be dependent on finding their Songs, not writing them. Writers try again, but often don't succeed.
The 'lesson' here is that you can study. Whether you can learn depends on you. Whether you 'got' the lesson or just read it, heard it, saw it demonstrated, can be determined by what teachers call 'terminal behavior', the behavior that demonstrates that the student learned the lesson. The lesson here is that you can study. So study. Study the hits. Study the near-hits and non-hits. What do YOU think they do right and wrong? What elements hooked YOUR attention, sustained that 'hook' effect, and made YOU reach in YOUR pocket for your hard-earned money to lay down the coin of the realm in exchange for hearing that Song again, seeing that artist play it live. You CAN study.
Now, if you've studied, if you've learned, and if you've created a great Song, do you comprehend the commercialization, the pitching, the contracting. Strategically, are you willing to do THAT work, a totally new endeavor, quite different from being a creative hobbyist?





Hey Gary,

This new book that I just read about Mastering the Art of Co-Writing has a lot of good common sense information on how to navigate some of the legal and not so fun stuff of Songwriting. -Dana


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