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#709495 - 04/09/09 04:44 PM Re: Should a Song Plugger provide documentation on pitches? [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Stevens119 Offline
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Originally Posted by Marc Barnette

I'm sorry to argue with you, but no you can't.

Maybe others can't...but I can.

#709755 - 04/10/09 04:11 PM Re: Should a Song Plugger provide documentation on pitches? [Re: Stevens119]  
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beechnut79 Offline
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Do people really need pluggers to pitch their songs? Do some writers more or less self-pitch? To do the latter would probably require the time and money to go to a lot of concerts and hobnob with the musicians between sets or after show. Sounds as if this would take less money than what some pluggers charge. Wonder if some don't work on contingency, where they get paid only once the songs are cut.

Have often wondered how people on shoestring budgets get started. I recall hearing the story of J P Rowling, who had absolutely nothing when she began writing the Harry Potter series, and now she's worth millions. Could the principles that apply to literature also apply to music? I certainly don't have $2500 to spend on a plugger.

#709759 - 04/10/09 04:23 PM Re: Should a Song Plugger provide documentation on pitches? [Re: beechnut79]  
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Janice Hopkins Offline
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Start small according to your own budget...use every single outlet that you can and pitch through SongU membership, by using the open admission publisher's in Songmarket Editions(new edition each year) anyway that you possibly can and of course getting it straight to an up and coming Indie artist is a good way as well..

Brian....answer my pm...ok(see my message r.e. pm's on

Jan the general message board)

#712388 - 04/20/09 10:31 AM Re: Should a Song Plugger provide documentation on pitches? [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Rand Bishop Offline
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So true, my friend, Marc...

But, as you well know, the only pluggers in Nashville that create real activity are the people who have cultivated relationships of trust and integrity with executives, managers, artists and producers. They can be relied on to consistently bring a select few truly competitive songs every time. They are likable (though persistent), considerate and professional.

There is this notion within the songwriting community that the best song will always win. As you and I well know, that assumption is very naive. Although it's crucial to a writer's success to develop song-craft to the highest level, it's relationships that create opportunities for those great songs to thrive in the marketplace.

So here's my "seasoned" advice:

When a writer is considering hiring a plugger -- look at who that person has access to, who that person can get meetings with on a regular basis. There is absolutely nothing wrong with song plugging or in paying somebody to rep your songs -- as long as (a) it's a person of integrity who is willing to report thoroughly on every pitch; (b) it's somebody who is connected; and (c) most importantly, that the writer doesn't actually expect overnight success. Even the best songs by the most successful writers sometimes take years of consistent pitching to find the right artist and the right circumstances to thrive.

If a writer hasn't developed the relationships that will create success, a well-connected plugger can help build the writer's reputation by touting his or her songs and name. But, the writer can do much more for him- or herself by being present, making friends, engendering trust creatively and by being good, pleasant person to work and hang with.

As I often say, becoming a successful songwriter is not "five minute abs," it's a lifetime commitment with no guarantee of return for your efforts. If you're in it to have number one songs, you're going to spend most of your time disappointed. If you write because you love to write and you want to improve every day, you'll find fulfillment in that. And that is the only part of this crazy process any of us has much control over.

Rand Bishop
songwriter/producer/author - Makin' Stuff Up, secrets of song-craft and survival in the music-biz

Rand Bishop
#712799 - 04/21/09 12:09 PM Re: Should a Song Plugger provide documentation on pitches? [Re: Rand Bishop]  
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Marvin Adcock Offline
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Marvin Adcock  Offline
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Nice summation Rand, and very very true.


#712853 - 04/21/09 02:33 PM Re: Should a Song Plugger provide documentation on pitches? [Re: Marvin Adcock]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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A lot of people have taken that attitude. That is where they end up as ghermers. If you take the time, meet people as people, do the same things everyone else has to do, develop them over time, a little at a time, earn trust and friendship, sure you can. That is the point. Or if you get cuts and hits, you are in good shape. Everybody comes to you.
But it is like " how can you get a job without experience, how do you get experience, without a job?" "How do you get cuts without connections, how do you get connections without the cuts?"
You might have some new, undiscovered method that I have never heard of. Could be the one that breaks through. I have only been here 21 years and known people that were here long before that and everyone I have ever known, has co-written and worked with a lot of people, written a TON of songs, and slowly but surely worked their way up, pretty much like any business, earning it a little at a time.
Till then, good luck in blazing the trail. I'm sure a lot of people would love to know the person that could do that. Pitch away.


#712876 - 04/21/09 03:15 PM Re: Should a Song Plugger provide documentation on pitches? [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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niteshift Offline
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Hey Stevens,

My own opinion is that Mark is correct on this one.

You may think you can, but eveyone but eveyone has an agent to do their bidding for them, and act on their behalf.

If you try to do it yourself, it is percieved as egotistical ( whether it is or not ) and in general gets a zero response. It's a simple fact that human nature does not allow a "look at me" attitude. If you say "look at him/her", it works much better. To do it yourself, it says you don't have a team of people with you, and on your side, who, by fair means or foul, are there with you to get things done to a mutual conclusion.

Example ; I'm currently promoting a co-written single, but that promotion is focused on the artist. In that way, folks are a lot more aproachable. If I were to say "hey, listen to my new co-written song", I wouldn't be given the time of day.

You may think you can walk into a room and say "look at me", but I can honestly say I've never seen it happen. Quite frankly, that would just be damn embarrasing, let alone not too businees like.

cheers, niteshift

#712885 - 04/21/09 03:42 PM Re: Should a Song Plugger provide documentation on pitches? [Re: niteshift]  
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billrocker Offline
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Nashville TN

Right on. Imagine some plugger coming up to you and saying, "Hey, I think I'll take up songwriting! How long do you think it will take me to write a song that's good enough to pitch to Faith Hill?" You'd probably roll your eyes much like he/she would if you told him/her that you were going to take up song plugging. Not that it wouldn't be possible, but it sure wouldn't happen overnight. For us it's all the years spent learning the craft. For them its all the years spent developing the relationships in the industry.

That some songwriters believe the best way to pitch songs is by hanging out at concerts suggests to me that maybe songwriters should stick to songwriting and let song pluggers handle the plugging. I say that with all due respect.

It's always easier for me to believe that I can do it all than it actually is.


#712925 - 04/21/09 04:56 PM Re: Should a Song Plugger provide documentation on pitches? [Re: billrocker]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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I thought that was pretty funny too. And there are a lot of people who try to do the backstage hang after the shows. Usually they are Blonde with big boobs, but somehow I don't think they are too productive as song pluggers.
There is always a "Don't try this at home" effect with people who have not been around it much. It looks deceptively easy. You are in a town where pretty much everybody knows everybody. You are thrown into contact with them all the time. Shows, showcases, resturants, bars, benefits, special events. There they all are, just go up, say hey, and hand em your CD, and say "Hey, got your next hit there, give me a call when you have my check."
Usually this goes on until they either do it or witness a "Full contact gherming." The artificial handshake of the ghermer, the look when the eyes roll upward of the ghermee,
the total freak out of the person who invited the ghermee, the security guards coming to visit the ghermer, the look in their eyes as they are escorted to the door, the laughter after they leave the establishment, the ensuing months and years, that their reputation is damaged and they continue to run into people and hear, "Oh yeah, your the one the use as the example of what not to do in the songwriting workshops. Hey, you are famous. Hang on...Security!" While not always so obvious, things like that do exist.

A couple of years ago, I was working NSAI's symposium. My role is usually a moderator on panels, a critiquer, and mentor with various groups. Then, as they do the judging on the song contest, I would do a twenty minute talk about etticate, mostly gherming. This is after they have had everyone else talking about it. Hit song plugger Sherril Blackman, hit writers Jerry Vandiver, and Tim Buppert actually have a short play all about it. So this Saturday, the 600 people had recieved a lot of lessons.

I finished my stuff, the judges made their decisions and everyone was filing out. As I walked by the crowd, shaking hands and hugging women, I came face to face with one of the top ten finalists. He shakes my hand, tells me how much he appreciated my talk, and hands me his CD! The exact thing we had just spent the entire day talking about.

It can be very difficult to understand,which is why it is better to hash these things out here as opposed to damaging a career you didn't even know was in danger.
And that is the real effect. In a town as small as this, you can end up cutting your own throat and not even knowing you have a knife in your hand.
There are always people who feel they can buck the trend. And I am sure that people get through the gauntlet. But they don't do it often. And it is so much more pleasant an experience if people just observed a few common courtesys'.


#712937 - 04/21/09 05:17 PM Re: Should a Song Plugger provide documentation on pitches? [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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billrocker Offline
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Nashville TN

That's hilarious. Proves my believe that most people think the rate limiting factor in this town is not being able to get stuff in the hands of the right people. ANYONE can get their stuff in the hands of the right people in this town. The problems arise when the 'stuff' isn't ready to be put in the right hands.


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