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#710811 - 04/15/09 04:06 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Colin Ward]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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That would be true except for this fact. Imagine that those salesman came to your business, tried to sell you something, then you bought it from someone else, virtually the same product. Then they sued you saying you got the idea from them, took their product idea and had someone else sell you the same product. Then they sue you, the other salesman, the distributors, the catalogue manufacturers, everybody.
You know it is a bullshit suit and figure it will be thrown out of court and see a lawyer. They assure you it is frivolous and doesn't stand a chance, but then hit you with a ten thousand dollar bill for their services. Then the distributors you work with, the other salesmen, pissed at the annoyance of being added in a suit they had nothing to do with, drop all contact with you, withdraw the product, and actually counter sue you for getting them involved. Your bank calls the note on your business and before you know it you are in the newspapers, on the internet and all kinds of debtors are knocking on your door. all your other customers reading the headlines, figure you are a bad risk and about 6 months after letting someone in your door you didn't know, or want anything from, you have no door or no business.

That has happened. I don't know what is so hard about getting to know someone before you try to get them to buy your wares. Just doesn't make sense to me. has nothing to do with damned if you do or dammned if you don't, has to do with common sense and understanding the market and etticate.That is why there is no gherming and signs that say "No unsolicited material." Because if they don't understand common sense and etticate, you don't want to deal with them in the first place.


#710836 - 04/15/09 05:22 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Joe Wrabek Offline
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I kind of agree with Colin on this. ASs a city manager, I have dealt with a lot of salespeople. Most of them did do the "I wanna get to know you first" thing--it is a good sales tactic. You are more likely to buy something expensive from somebody you think you know and trust, and we both knew that.

I still got the cold-callers--not a lot, but some. Having been one for a while (I sold aluminum siding), I am inclined to sympathize with what they were going through. I would talk to them. I would tell them very firmly what I was interested in, and tell them if they had a really good deal on it, I wanted to hear from them, but not until. And most of the time, they'd do what I wanted, and when they did call me again, they would have something really good, and I would buy it. I saved a ton of money on some of those deals--and I wouldn't have been able to do it if they hadn't called me, and I hadn't listened.

I realize Nashville is dealing with intellectual property, which is more intangible--but I would think the bottom line is they're still folks with a product to sell. There are going to be bad apples as have been described--I ran into some in the city-manager business--but I'd think folks like that would or could get frozen out of the business pretty fast, if people talk to each other. I've certainly managed to do it with bad apples I've dealt with. And yes, one possible reaction to the existence of those kind of people is to refuse to deal at all with that cold-calling end of the business, which I guess is what I'm hearing Nashville has done. The problem is you miss out on a lot of good product that way.

And of course, that attitude leaves the cold-calling salesperson with the impression, right or wrong, that you're just not interested in any "product" from anybody outside the circle of people you know, and those salespeople will go do or deal with somebody else. Kind of what I have done with my music.


#710843 - 04/15/09 05:36 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Joe Wrabek]  
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Z. Mulls Offline
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I totally understand the "closed community" feel and attitude of Nashville. It makes it practically impossible for me personally, as I'm not at a point in my life where I can relocate and/or devote my full time to writing song lyrics, and without that kind of commitment it would be sheer luck for me to have any kind of success.

I for many years was active in a local theatre, which had a reputation for being top-notch. It attracted, and kept, many of the best non-professional actors and directors around. It was a great community of people as well, mature and mutually supportive.

It also had a reputation for being "closed" and "cliquish" and "snooty." Now I would sit in audition for other directors' shows, and when someone new came on stage and blew us away, we were excited, and wanted the director to cast that person if at all possible. But most people weren't quite up to the level of talent we had on hand.

And on the flip side, when we put together a show, sure, we had some idea who would come out and who would be likely to be cast -- you have to know who's in the talent pool -- but they never had it in the bag. If someone new came along who was better, they'd have an honest shot.

When you have such a rich talent pool on hand -- *and* they're people you've worked with before, who you know will show up on time, be easy to work with, give a great performance, be reliable in all ways -- the new person has a big hurdle to get over. That's just the way it is.

I may be a talented writer, but Nashville is not hurting for talented writers. Who are there. Every night. I do get it.

I was a little ghermy when I landed in Nashville, and hope I didn't make too many mistakes, but by the time I left three days later I "got it." I did go into a publisher's office, and left a CD with the gal at the desk (and I'm sure it was pitched, hard). I did follow up with a guy I saw at a writers' night on MySpace, swapped a couple of e-mails, but when I mentioned I didn't live in Nashville I never heard back.

This would have been a great thread to read *before* I went down last year, but it's never too late to learn...

My Soundclick

2007 Grand Prize Winner International Songwriting Competition

Avatar Photo by Diana (used with permission)
#710905 - 04/15/09 08:38 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Z. Mulls]  
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Billy Darnell Offline
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Lebanon, TN
Ladies and gents,

I think you can make all the counter points you want, and they are all certainly warranted. All good reasons for the Nashville industry to change or loosen up their closed door policy. Unfortunately,The bottom line is, "It is what it is", and it isn't going to change any time soon. They still have a lot of power, still control the airways, they're still the biggest show in town, and it will take a long time until they have reached a point where they are willing to grasp at any life preserver thrown in the water.

What I hear Mark saying is, he doesn't necessarily agree with the wrong or the right of it either, but that's the way it is. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. If your not comfortable with that I hear Greece is looking for a few good artists.

Right, wrong, Fair, Unfair, regardless of what we think about it,it's the the reality, pure and simple.

I think Mark honestly wanted to help people avoid a common problem if you decide to come here one week and make an impression. We all know you only get one chance to make a good first impression. I don't think Marc means to defend the policy, but on the same hand he is an insider, and he has a first hand knowledge of how and why some of those policies exist. In their own way the Nashville community is "Damned if they do, and damned if they don't".

I sure don't mean to defend it either, because I am not an advocate of it, I am not looking for a deal, but I also realize their is little sense trying to tell them there has to be a better way.It's a total waste of time and effort, and at my age, both time and effort have become high priorities if you know what I am saying.

Take faith in "the times they are a changing", and spend your time helping to sculpt the business of the future, and learn from the mistakes of those who came before you, for their but by the grace of god, go I.

Billy Darnell

#710927 - 04/15/09 10:04 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Billy Darnell]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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I want to refer back to the definition of Gherming, the reason I started this thread. It is the act of "forcing" your product on people that you don't know, who are in the business. There is a very simple way to get your material to people. Asking permission. it is simply talking to someone for a few minutes, finding out about what their life is like and then asking the best way to get them to listen to a song or two. They will tell you right up front. they either don't accept outside material, or in many cases, have a certain person that might "listen" to material. It is all about timing, time and place. If a hit writer, established publisher, person of note, are at a party, public event, showcase, playing a show, etc. that is not a time to hit them up to listen to things. Yet that is exactly when we are talking about. During dinner, trying to get into their cars, walking down the street. These are the times it happens.
For me, it is after a workshop or seminar or class,where someone comes up and tells me to "listen to this in your spare time." What spare time? I don't have any. But I try to be nice about it. If someone has taken my workshop, I usually will take the CD, although I rarely listen to them. If you do music from around 7:00 in the morning to around midnight, music is the last thing you want to listen to in your "spare time."
I have never met anyone who came to Nashville, who spent a little time, made the rounds, went to some writer's nights, met some other writers, who didn't find an avenue in a back door. Just takes a little perseverance and not being so insistant. It is really not as hard as it seems. If you will just "flip the desk" a little and ask yourself how you would like to be approached if the roles were reversed, you might see it from a different perspective.
Z. is right about new people coming in. There are two elements of Nashville to keep in mind. It is a small town. Everybody knows everybody. It is easy to get a reputation. That is the good news. The bad news is that it is easy to get a reputation.


#918572 - 08/29/11 04:04 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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The Gherm Guys Offline
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This post is awesome!!

Hank & Fred

#918573 - 08/29/11 04:08 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Johnny Daubert]  
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The Gherm Guys Offline
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The Gherm Guys  Offline
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We love Conway!!!

Hank & Fred

#918929 - 08/31/11 12:24 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Tom Shea Offline
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Marc - good perspective.

It is impolite and it does not do any good anyway.


Thomas Shea

Thomas Shea - Songwriting

Justice - Songs

#918947 - 08/31/11 02:19 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Tom Shea]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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I don't really get the "Gherm boys" but I hope it helps sometimes.


#918965 - 08/31/11 04:37 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Kolstad Offline
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"the definition of Gherming, the reason I started this thread. It is the act of "forcing" your product on people that you don't know, who are in the business."

Isn't that what groupies do? Who doesn't want groupies? Are you sayin' them groupies ain't what they're cracked up to be?? heheh

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#919036 - 08/31/11 08:16 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Kolstad]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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If you consider a "groupie" some 375 pound guy that hasn't bathed in two weeks, breathing down on you and leaning you up against a wall to tell you how great his songs are, I guess you could call them "groupies." At least with most Groupies there is some kind pleasure involved. With Ghermers, there is only the strong desire to get the Hell away.


#919205 - 09/01/11 04:35 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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John Voorpostel Offline
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I'll share this story.

First Pineyfest, one attendee was probably the most "focused" business wise. I cannot remember who the artist involved was, so I won't mention any names, but he happened to be the attendee's seat mate on the plane in from Texas.

The attendee did say why he was going to Nashville (the artist was attending the Fan Fair held in June every year) but everthing else was pleasantries and conversation.

The attendee also said he could almost not control himself, he sooohhhh wanted to get more out of it, but he kept quiet....which seems was the right approach because he said that as they were deplaning, the artist actually asked him to keep in touch and send him some stuff.

Don't think anything came out of it in the short run, but I thought I'd share what could happen when you don't gherm smile

If writing ever becomes work I think I'm going to have to stop

iAccountant --- Info L inc --- Taxboard
#919305 - 09/02/11 01:25 AM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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Sausagelink Offline
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Years and years and years and years ago I was at a NSAI event where Buddy Killen was speaker. At the end someone asked if Buddy would take a tape. I think Woody Bomar was the host and he said we don't offer tapes at those events. Buddy said "I'll take the tape." So then everybody else was wishing they'd broken the rules. Who was the guy with the tape? Heck if I know, he never became a star.

If I were to meet Alan Jackson, George Strait, or George Jones, I'd probably gherm all I could just so I could say I did later.

#919333 - 09/02/11 05:33 AM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Kolstad Offline
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Originally Posted by Marc Barnette
If you consider a "groupie" some 375 pound guy that hasn't bathed in two weeks, breathing down on you and leaning you up against a wall to tell you how great his songs are, I guess you could call them "groupies." At least with most Groupies there is some kind pleasure involved. With Ghermers, there is only the strong desire to get the Hell away.


laugh laugh laugh .. or get away to hell!

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#920264 - 09/06/11 05:57 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Kolstad]  
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AJ Love Offline
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Its too bad in this day & age people don't know better than this!

Everytime I've met a celebrity I prefer to talk to them about some subject other than their job in order to help them feel at ease. Talk to them about football or kids or hotels or the traffic or about something funny that just happened in the room or about your hometown or whatever. Most celebrities I've met are extremely nice people when you just treat them like human beings, which they are....

Can you imagine meeting a pro baseball player and trying to talk him into helping you get a tryout in Major League Baseball? It would be silly. The same thing is true in the music industry

A.J. Love - Telecaster player & Songwriter
#920353 - 09/06/11 08:06 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Ande Rasmussen Offline
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Ande Rasmussen  Offline
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Martindale, TX, USA
Not to Gherm

Make friends,
Build relationships,
Create value for others.
Earn a great reputation.
Keep showing up.
Improve your ability and catalog.
Get cuts on your own.
Be an artist.
Be patient, persistent, charming yet bold.

In time opportunities will come your way.

You MUST earn the right to work with excellent artists, producers, and writers. Wait for them to ask you to work with them.
Or HIRE them and pay them well.

Ghermers have this particular annoying urgency, ignorance, and desperation that they mistake for being bold. some are cocky and over confident. It's a huge turn off. They have no clue how the music biz works.

Are there any Ghermer success stories out there?

What's funny is some beginning songwriters and artists go on to become very successful.

Be nice to people. You never know who will become what.
People remember how you treat them.

I know MAB has a bunch of I-could-just-kick-myself stories
Where writers or artists said no to writers or artists who asked them to cowrite or asked to record a song or something else?
They said no then that person goes on to have huge success.

I wonder how many writers turned Taylor Swift down when she just hit town?
I wonder how many of them now wish they hadn't?
Liz Rose found a way to work with her and that lead to the most cowriter cuts on her first 2 albums.

#920373 - 09/06/11 09:07 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Ande Rasmussen]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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I was one of the guys who passed on an opportunity to write with Taylor. But it was more of a scheduling thing than anything else. I personally have a bit of a problem with 14-15 year olds because I just don't know how to say what they want to say and usually they don't know either. So the sessions end up with a lot of us sitting around looking at each other.

I have gotten better over the years, but it is always difficult.

My stories are always more of a "just happened to miss the timing" thing than actually any slight on anyone's part. I was sent to meet Garth Brooks the day he got his big deal. We did talk a few minutes and had been hooked up to write but his career took off. Just missed it.

The "Ghermer stories:" with the happy endings, usually happened when they learned their lessons, regrouped and tried it a different way later on in their career.

Most of the people I talk about when it comes to this, dissapear pretty quickly.


#986434 - 12/03/12 04:01 AM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Colin Ward]  
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Michael Ofi Offline
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I keep having this dream where I land my helicopter on somebody's lawn and jump out to deliver a hand full of my demos. There's a lake behind me - and this big dude with a deep voice and a shotgun stompin' down from the house, growling something about a "Ghermin' son of a . . ."

Never seems to work out like I planned it. (Scratching my head.)

#986451 - 12/03/12 01:51 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Michael Ofi]  
Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 360
Sue Rarick Offline
Top 500 Poster
Sue Rarick  Offline
Top 500 Poster

Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 360
Oak Grove, KY
Most business has as much to do with how you’ve networked as the music business in Nashville. Many years ago I got out of music, went to college and started off on a new career. Along the way I went to a lot of conferences and symposiums and met a lot of people. Fast forward a couple years and I was on vacation in Plymouth England the same time that the Virgin Atlantic broke the cross Atlantic speed record. I went down to where it was docked to see a friend who was part of the crew. After getting a tour of the boat we went out to have a beer and a friend of his came in and after a few beers I got an offer to work on a research project in Plymouth.

That offer came purely from networking. Plymouth had one of the better Naval Architecture colleges so I knew I wasn’t the only one qualified for the job. Networking is a fact of life in any and all business. People just like to work with people they like.

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