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Paid Songwriter Development Services

Posted By: Sausagelink

Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/25/10 03:41 AM

Twenty years ago, there was a mantra on Music Row....
NEVER PAY SOMEONE TO LISTEN TO YOUR SONGS!

Then some company came to town and a major star was involved as a PR spokesman if nothing else. The company would work with you and help you develop as a writer if you paid them. However, at a public panel discussion, the star spokesman said he probably would never do a song from one of the writers in development preferring to do one by a well known writer.

Now it's a new century and things have changed. Paid critiques and so forth are very common and becoming more common everyday. The big three I know of are Cloyd, Blume, and Barnette. Each has a little something special to offer that the others don't.

Just today, I got an e-mail about a new service being offered by Rory Feek and Tim Johnson. Nashville Demo Studio connected to a woman I first met through JPF has a deal going. I saw a post in another group about the Nashville Songwriter's Festival put together I guess by Barry Allen, who was a volunteer I met at NSAI. Then there are the NSAI seminars and critique services. SGA has critique service also. There is also Taxi and SongU.

I know of several songwriters with hits behind them who offer critiques, workshops, and/or mentoring. Jeffrey Steele has had a workshop, as has Craig Bickhardt, Steve Seskin, and others.

I'm not as positive as I used to be that I can write commercial songs. I also don't think I can learn new styles of writing. I think I'm better than some people "in the know" think I am and I'm not as good as some "who don't know" think I am.

In my opinion, out of all these services I've mentioned, I think the most beneficial for me are ones that offer networking but I'm not good at networking and worse now than I used to be.

The main reason I wrote this post was just to let folks know of some of the different methods available. They all cost and in my opinion some cost too much for what they offer. However, everyone who takes that last sentence as wisdom should know that I am so tight I squeal when I walk.

Most of these folks/companies I've mentioned won't come right out and say "the money you spend will probably not get you a contract" but I haven't seen any of them say "We can make you a star!" either. There are sites/people who will tell you they can make you a star and you should run from those people.

One thing I like about MAB here in JPF is his posts here make it very clear there are no easy bulls in this rodeo. In fact, sometimes I think he goes out of his way and makes it look too hopeless. His tour service, by the way, is quite unique. Cloyd's "Play For Publishers" is also unique but things are changing.







Posted By: Marc Barnette

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/25/10 07:42 AM

Roy,

Thank you for that. A lot of writers are now offering workshops, seminars and critiques. There are a lot of reasons for it. One, of course is money. But I tend to think that is a smaller point of it. When you gather a lot of knowledge over years,you find a lot of people help you. You want to give back. I have seen all the guys and girls you mentioned, and I am pretty good friends with all of them, and the money aspect is part of it, but it is a lot more of the giving back.
Teaching in any way shape or form takes away from your own songs, your own journey. So you have to have a love for it. I have seen almost all the people you mentioned spend as much time for free, sitting around a hotel lobby or during a break in a show, talking to writers for quite a while.
But it kind of takes it's own direction. Most of the time it starts when you are asked, over and over for advice. That takes a lot of time, especially when you run into those types that "know they know it all, the industry just HAS to give them a shot, and of course who crappy the whole business is".... I think we have all heard those, some on these very pages.

So then it gets a little more intense. It happened to me because NSAI wanted a way to "juice up" the chapter workshops around the country. There is only so much the "home office" can do for Tacoma, New Jersey, Minneapolis, and other places around the country and Canada, so they devised a plan called "Adopt a shop" which was professional writers could travel to do workshops and shows and visit the regional chapters.
I had one deal fall apart, another one be screwed by a lawyer, and was traveling anyway, so that is what became my life. Today, I get paid to help people learn to write songs, help them record songs, do critiques, performance coaching, career advice, networking help and hold their hands through every step of their journey.

So most of the others that you mentioned got into it just like that. And there is a non ending amount of people wanting to learn this. There are literally millions of people out there, people who do poetry, want to audition for American Idol, write on their computers, do open mics, coffee houses, etc.

And I think that we get a bit frustrated as well. You get tired of hearing the same song over and over and you want a better educated group of people out there writing and performing.

Then there is one more reason. There is always the next Miranda Lambert, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, out there. Makes since to get in on the ground floor.

So yes, there are a lot of us doing it now. And there are some sharks out there, I'll not deny it. But the reason I do pages like this, as well as Mike Dunbar, Rand Bishop, Mike Cairo, and others who do music professionally, is to share our knowledge. And for each of us to get to know each other.

When it all comes down to it, we are in this together. The more educated each of you are, the more likely you might be to use one of our services, or pass on what you know to someone else. It really is the circle of writing life.

That is how it works.

MAB
Posted By: Bill Robinson

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/25/10 08:33 AM

Personally I don't think anyone can teach a person how to write a hit song. You can either write one or you can't. You might be able to learn formulas and structures but you must have the song in your heart or you will never write one.
But having said that;
well even a blind dog will find a acorn once in a while. Oh wait, that was supposed to be a bone. it was the pig found the acorn. ... or was that a deer?

Taylor Swift wrote her first hit when she was a tween. No one taught her anything. She did it by herself. Natural talent.

My Brother's Granddaughter just went to the University of Michigan to take her SAT's or whatever it's called now.
She is 11 years old... That's right. ELEVEN. And they want her to go to college. Most of the folks in our family barely made it through High School.
Those are the kind of people that write hit songs. Most of us will NEVER write anything that is commercial, That will get cut, or that will buy us that first Mercedes.
I don't care how much money you spend on workshops, seminars, or critiques.
Either you have it or you don't.

I was at one of those workshops a couple years ago. The Mentor was critiquing our songs. I did mine. It had a Heart/Start rhyme in it. I was torn apart for it. Told it would NEVER be cut with that rhyme. I needed to learn to be more original.
I should buy his book.
After the workshop was over the mentor did a couple of his own songs. Well what do you know. The first song had Love/Above Rhyme in the first verse. The second song... you guessed it. Heart/Start.
That was the last time I paid for a workshop.

I think a one on one type mentoring or even group songwriting sessions, Networking, would be a far better use of energy and time.
MAB offers something similar to that I think. That would be the type thing that I believe would really help.

Posted By: Hummingbird

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/25/10 10:38 AM

There's an interesting study in the book "This is Your Brain on Music". They did a comparison between those who were thought to have "it" and those were were not. And they found, interestingly enough, that anyone who put the time in could become an expert, and, in fact, that those who were thought not to have it, actually outperformed those who were thought to have it. The median was 10,000 hours.

I have proof of this phenom, as I often work with people who are considered to be tone deaf and have no singing talent. I find that those who are determined and are willing to engage in the process over time can overcome the barriers and find their natural talent, which was buried under doubt, ineffective habits and misunderstandings.

So I find it hard to buy into the notion that one 'has to be born with it' or 'has it or doesn't have it'. IMO, some folks need help to find it. In the end, you can't tell the difference.

I also disagree with the idea that one can either write songs or not. I wrote lots of crappy songs 5 years ago. (I wrote quite a few at 13 years old, too) I write much better songs today, after getting feedback from many peers, taking songwriting seminars, reading books on lyric writing, taking courses in jazz theory, guitar lessons, etc. There is value in continuing education. In fact, this kind of education is why I now have tracks signed.

Hummin'bird
Posted By: Kolstad

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/25/10 11:55 AM

There are many sides of this subject, and I think whats really important is not to look upon these services as a 'buy and get your song fixed' kind of thing.

I believe these services can certainly help you, but only if you are willing to help yourself. It's no secret that learning is a part of life, but it's a complex one, because you'll never know what direction the enlightenment takes you. I believe I can vouch in on what's good/bad coaching and learning, as I've been trained to coach at the university, have been teaching and done research in the learning department for years, and have worked years professionally as a business development coach (NOT in music business, though).

Last year I spent between 500 and 1000$ on coaching alone for my music, and it was mostly well worth it! For that dole I could take a songwriting course on Berklee, but like with the Berklee stuff, much of the coaching I can take with me, so when I write now, I remember many of the issues and points from the coaching, and use it to take the songs elsewhere, and I believe up one level. I think the experience these coaches has from practice is invaluable, and not something you'll learn in formal education. It's actually possible to take a BA in songwriting here in Denmark too! (not that I care, just interesting to see how far off markets academics usually are - Im one to know)..

I have learned very important things from cowriting, and producing my own demos too. But I DO believe coaching can be really helpful, especially in stages where you really struggle with how to get your lyrics to match what the current markets are looking for. You could benefit from coaching no matter how long you've been writing and your professional level.. it all depends on how it's set up.

Sure VIP songwriters are becoming consultants, and we all know the joke about consultants that charges you for asking you what time it is. And the business part of it where the coaches pat each others back, as there are good economic sense in that, makes your options less than transparent. So certainly there IS a risk it all becomes too obvious..

I would say, stay away from paying for common sense stuff! I think the usual suspects are to be told how hard the business is, how hard it is to get your songs heard, how good your demos have to be ect.. (You know, the Forum stuff.. On forums those things makes sense to enlighten newcomers with unreal expectations with hard facts, but thats NOT for personal coaching where you try to learn a craft). You don't want that kind of negative energy in a learning situation, and it's not doing anything for you in terms of motivation either.

So if that's what your getting from coaching, you get nothing but an abusive grumpy father, telling you what you already know. I believe thats the relations you should pull out of, as you otherwise will just have your creative energy drained from your body, and end up demotivated. You don't need other people to tell you what your goals should be, but you'll need someone to assist you getting there. But most times you get really useful stuff that is particularly about the craft of your work, and guidance on your options to take it waay further. THAT's where the coaching gets invaluable!

Money and learning is usually a real bad combo, as focusing on the money aspect tends to sabotage learning on both sides of the table. Knowing people often expect too much and don't want to go where the good hurting can get them ahead, coaches feel obliged to give you certain standard knowledge, without really take into consideration if thats for you in particular. But if they give you that, they secure their back from complaints.

Also the fact that you are paying for knowledge makes YOU have certain expectations about what you should be getting, and then you focus on the money aspect of it, if you don't get what you expect. If the learning setup is any good, you SHOULD get out of your comfort zone (not by being told or intimidated, but by realizing that you're nowhere near where you want to be and you really have to fess up to get there), and that usually doesn't feel too good.

That's excactly why it is so important to develop a good relationship with your coach, and create an environment together that feels safe to ridicule both of yourselves in, and to take a firm handle on things (both relational and on the craft) you both feel doesn't work and discuss them through.

So, to me it makes most sense to develop a closer relationship with a coach (or with a publisher!), and decide to stay in it for the long haul. Those are not easily found, and you probably will have to go through many people to find it. But, it is possible, at least for a period of time. Find and develop a respectful relationship like that, and coaching can be really rewarding, I think..
Posted By: Everett Adams

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/25/10 05:10 PM

Originally Posted by Bill Robinson
Personally I don't think anyone can teach a person how to write a hit song. You can either write one or you can't. You might be able to learn formulas and structures but you must have the song in your heart or you will never write one.
But having said that;
well even a blind dog will find a acorn once in a while. Oh wait, that was supposed to be a bone. it was the pig found the acorn. ... or was that a deer?

Taylor Swift wrote her first hit when she was a tween. No one taught her anything. She did it by herself. Natural talent.

My Brother's Granddaughter just went to the University of Michigan to take her SAT's or whatever it's called now.
She is 11 years old... That's right. ELEVEN. And they want her to go to college. Most of the folks in our family barely made it through High School.
Those are the kind of people that write hit songs. Most of us will NEVER write anything that is commercial, That will get cut, or that will buy us that first Mercedes.
I don't care how much money you spend on workshops, seminars, or critiques.
Either you have it or you don't.

I was at one of those workshops a couple years ago. The Mentor was critiquing our songs. I did mine. It had a Heart/Start rhyme in it. I was torn apart for it. Told it would NEVER be cut with that rhyme. I needed to learn to be more original.
I should buy his book.
After the workshop was over the mentor did a couple of his own songs. Well what do you know. The first song had Love/Above Rhyme in the first verse. The second song... you guessed it. Heart/Start.
That was the last time I paid for a workshop.

I think a one on one type mentoring or even group songwriting sessions, Networking, would be a far better use of energy and time.
MAB offers something similar to that I think. That would be the type thing that I believe would really help.



I agree with you Bill. If God gives anyone the raw talent to be a writer, a singer, an athlete, a painter, etc. He/she has a better chance of succeeding at it. God also gives you a love and desire to develope the gift He has given you, therefore you will work at developing that talent to it's utmost potential. When I was young I loved playing Hockey, would love to be a pro player, but my talents and body structure was not good enough to make me a pro, no matter how much I desired it or worked at it, I could only go so far.That was not my main gift or talent. God gives everyone at least one gift, it may not be glamorous in other peoples eyes, but if it makes you happy and you are good at it, it is your gift. The are carpenters and there are CARPENTERS, there are mechanics and there are MECHANICS, those with the gift show out and above those that learned the trade but did not have the gift, that special nack of doing things well. The same thing applies to the arts. There are singers and there are SINGERS, songwriters and SONGWRITERS. Desire alone will only take you so far, desire and natural talent plus work can take you all the way. A little luck and a few breaks also help.LOL
Posted By: Marc Barnette

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/25/10 05:10 PM

I would say that one thing you have to look at in any consultation service, is that you have to look at the overall purpose of the service. With me, particularly, but probably all of them, it is not just about "That song." That is a myth.

People are asking for evaluation on "That song" but also learning things about total songwriting, as well as norms of the industry.

When I analyze a song, it is from the point of view of a performer, a publisher, a record company person, produer, etc. Having the song well written is only a part of it.

Bill, the "no one can teach hit songwriting" is a common theme that comes up. And that is particially right. But not totally. All songwriters learn from one angle or another. And much of that costs money.As a matter of fact, I doubt that I know one hit writer right now that didn't come through NSAI and get private consulting through that. Some paid, some not.

One of my friends is Chris Wallin. I have known Chris since he moved to town. We played several rounds together. Chris had good songs but there was something "missing from them." They didn't have that "WOW" factor, that hit songs have.

It was not until he went through a lot of NSAI events, (he used to come from East Tenn. to Nashville to attend NSAI workshops) that he met Anthony Smith. Playing in many rounds together (and going to workshops) they met and started writing with Jeffery Steele. That resulted in "I'm Trying" which was a number 5 for Trace Adkins, and started a long run of hit songs with Kenny Chesney cuts, (Got a Little Crazy Last Night) Montgomery Gentry, George Straight and others. He had the number one and number two songs at the same time two years ago.

The point was that song critiques played a part on that but only a part. That is all any of us can do. If people can move to a music center, dive in, probably they can find ways to learn about this stuff by doing. But the paid critiques or coaching can almost always help. Those that have to do it long distance often have no other choice.

When I started to think about leaving Birmingham for Nashville, I paid a few individuals for their knowledge before I moved. That money probably saved me many thousands of dollars and allowed me to get a cut my first night in town.

So it costs money to get in the game at any level. And sometimes the most important advice is not about what to do but on what NOT to do.

MAB
Posted By: Scott Campbell

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/25/10 06:32 PM

One thing I'd be curious about is how many of the writers who have penned hit songs took a songwriting course.

Scott
Posted By: Mike Dunbar

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/25/10 06:58 PM

Scott,

I don't know about paid "songwriter courses" because they are a relatively new phenomenon. But there are very few, perhaps close to none, that did it without mentors, teachers, editors and coaches.

Years ago, it was easier for a new songwriter to have access to "biz" folks. Then those new songwriters started suing those "biz" folks saying the bizzers stole their lines. "Look, he used 'the' and 'and' just like me!!! The thief!!!" The doors around here started closing faster than sponsors dropping Tiger Woods. But it left a void. There was a need for "developers." The unknown, beginning songwriters needed someone to show them the things they couldn't see in the mirror. That's why this relatively new industry has sprung up. I will bet that within the next decade or so, nearly all of the Nashville hit writers will have taken courses, had paid critiques, or gone bar-hopping with Marc.
Posted By: WriterTomYeager

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/25/10 07:01 PM

good point Scott

I am betting None of them did......

Tom
Posted By: Scott Campbell

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/25/10 07:12 PM

Originally Posted by Mike Dunbar
Scott,

I don't know about paid "songwriter courses" because they are a relatively new phenomenon. But there are very few, perhaps close to none, that did it without mentors, teachers, editors and coaches.


I can believe that, Mike. Mostly because I've needed those people in any endeavor I've been involved in. Heck, I even see the need for editors! smile

Originally Posted by Mike Dunbar

Years ago, it was easier for a new songwriter to have access to "biz" folks. Then those new songwriters started suing those "biz" folks saying the bizzers stole their lines. "Look, he used 'the' and 'and' just like me!!! The thief!!!" The doors around here started closing faster than sponsors dropping Tiger Woods. But it left a void. There was a need for "developers." The unknown, beginning songwriters needed someone to show them the things they couldn't see in the mirror. That's why this relatively new industry has sprung up. I will bet that within the next decade or so, nearly all of the Nashville hit writers will have taken courses, had paid critiques, or gone bar-hopping with Marc.


If I was going to invest in myself, music-wise, I'd go with something like Marc's service.

I was speaking of a formal course in songwriting. Somehow, it reminds me of folks who earn a lot of money by selling tickets to folks so that they can sit in a basketball arena and listen to inspirational speakers tell them how to succeed. I think I'd learn more by asking someone that I thought was successful if I could follow him or her around for a day. smile

Tom, I doubt that survey data are available - but it would be interesting to know. smile

Scott

Posted By: Bill Robinson

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/25/10 07:16 PM

Scott
I'd say most of them. Doctor's need education. So do Carpenters, singers, songwriters, etc. But I don't care how much education you get if you don't have what it takes to be great at what you are doing you never will be.
Oh! you might be "good" at it but you will never be great.
There are only a small percentage of people who can play musical instruments "Great" you don't know the difference between good and great until you hear "great".

There is a difference between being good at something and being great. I think you can teach someone to be "good" at it. But great? nope. You either have it or you don't.
And you might have it but if you don't really want it you will never develop it.

Someone had a thread here asking what advice you would give a new songwriter. My advice? If you want to make a living at this or ever expect to hear your song on the radio... Go home.
Posted By: Marc Barnette

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/25/10 07:27 PM

Tom,

Everyone I know did. Jeffery Steele, Chris Wallin, Dave Berg, Craig Wiseman, ALL of them came through NSAI events, song camps, writing in the rockies, etc. I went to seminars, private workshops, contests. That is how you meet the people you start intereacting with. So actually it is exactly the opposite.

They all got critiques, just a lot of them came through publishers. How did they get to know publishers? They made trips, spent money on these same events, hotels, etc. One of the reason they still lecture, support and do things for NSAI, because that was their initial contact with the industry.And yes, that costs money. What do you pay money for? Critiques, seminars, consultations.

Then, in dozens of situations, the people who they met through there, enabled them to get a leg up on their competition, introduced them to other people who took a natural evolution.

See, that is where I think people get off base when they are looking at this issue. Everyone wants a "I hear this song and if you do this, this and this, it is going to become a hit song." That doesn't happen.

What happens is they point out things in certain songs or groups of songs that might not be "wrong" but might not have enough "right with it." If you were to sit down with someone like myself, I am going to show you things you do in each song. With writers there are usually patterns. Run on phrases that don't work. Musical redundancy, cliched' lines. Not going "deeper" in their context. That is what courses, private consultations do. They weed those things out so you see them and avoid them before you get to a publisher.

Then there are changing dynamics in the system. Twenty five years ago, you could walk in offices and play songs for publishers. But there were very few writers. Now every one is a writer. And most of them are not very good. They say the exact same things over and over again the exact same ways everybody else has done.

So you are not going to get to publishers until you really have something special to offer or at least be able to hang into the game long enough to know people to take you to publishers. There are the networking phenomenon that has always been there but is now more pronounced than ever.
So the ground work that is laid over and over through those critiques that build relationships. If I have seen someone over a period of time, seen them grow musically, hear the questions they ask, get to know them personality, I am going to be more able to suggest people they meet to write with, to help guide them and since I have seen their growth, I am not worried about jeapordizing my reputation.

Now I can give you a better one than all of that. I found this out yesterday. I was watching the playoffs and one of the guys there who I have known for a while and done a bunch of shows with. He said "Do you remember that show we did a few years ago, with Jeffery, Jimbeau Hinson, Ray Hernedon in Mississippi? I said yeah. We did a tornado relief show for Jimbeau's home town over there about 3 years ago.
He said, you remember that guy who came backstage? Barely. he said, "That was Randy Houser." Jeffery told him to look him up when he came to town." Randy had found out about the show through an NSAI e-mail. He came to town, looked up Jeffery. Jeffery was doing some workshops and put Randy in contact with his publisher Steve Markland. One of the songs he had was "Honky Donk Bedonky Donk." That is how he, Jaimey Johnson, got in the door.
If it hadn't been for NSAI, Jeffery wouldn't have been doing workshops. I wouldn't have been doing workshops. We wouldn't have met each other, we wouldn't have known Jimbeau (who I met at an NSAI function. Jeff and I learned from writing with Jimbeau.
Private lessons are just an extension of the workshops. Some are paid, some are not. The relationships you build come through that because if someone cares enough about something to "pledge the fraternity" and do the same things you have done, you are more likely to spend the extra time it takes. And sometimes it works out well.

So have hit writers taken courses, private lessons, gotten critiques, coaching, etc? Only every one in the past 20 years.

MAB
Posted By: Hummingbird

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/25/10 07:59 PM

If I was pitching songs to Nashville I know exactly where I'd start, lol. I'm wise enough to know my songs aren't good enough. I decided a while back I'd write my songs for me, and my instrumentals for film/tv, and that seems like a good balance. I've had one co-written song signed, and that was co-written with one of the best film/tv composers I know, 4 or 5 years ago. When he liked one of my lyrics and offered to co-write with me, I jumped at the chance. I told myself I'd have to keep my ego out of the way and really listen to what he had to say so I could learn as much as possible.

So if signing tracks to Nashville was my goal I'd be a member of NSAI, I'd probably re-up for SongU, I'd take a first trip to Nashville with nothing in mind other than doing a tour with Marc, meeting up with Mike Dunbar, and connecting with a couple of co-writers I work with who live there.... knowing I'd have to make regular trips in the future to maintain and grow those connections. One thing I have learned over the past few years is how much I enjoy being friends with musicians & songwriters & composers & anyone else who is involved in this creative enterprise we call music. Those friends & peers have been the source of info on the industry, advice on tools & skills to obtain, feedback on what I'm doing, and general boot-in-the-ass encouragement.

So, like, I wrote my first song at 12 or 13 but it wasn't til Apr 2007 that I signed a song. There was a whole heap of learnin' in between the two.
Posted By: Marc Barnette

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/25/10 11:23 PM

Vicki,

Sounds like you have everything you need.You have the right approach to Nashville. LOL!
You are proving one thing although I don't know if you see it. The key to the music industry are two things:

#1 Art of the hang.
#2 The art of the referall.

By getting to know your composer friends, through your existing work, you achieved #1.
By writing with them, and them putting their reputation on your work and by extension, you, you achieved #2.

That is what all of this is about. The coaching, mentoring, supporting, interacting, networking, etc. are all about going from #1 to #2.Congratulations. You have done what 99% of writers cannot say.

MAB
Posted By: Marc Barnette

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/25/10 11:28 PM

Roy,

About something you said about me going out of my way to make it seem impossible. I don't think I do that. I show you what is out there and then show you some ways to work within boundries that are in effect.
A writer that sets his goals to get cuts, make a lot of money, hear his songs on the radio, that may be impossible. But for a writer/artist to get a good look at reality, learn and write better and better songs, make some friends for life and have a great time doing it all, AND not go broke doing it,
THAT IS INFINATELY DOABLE!
And it is not just about working with me. I have yet to see anyone, anywhere, any time, who came to this town,spent a little time, getting to know people, standing in the same lines and doing the same things the people already hear have to do themselves, and working just as hard as they do, who didn't find a lot of friends, rewards and career advancement.
You just have to be realistic about what you are expecting to happen and how fast you expect it.

MAB
Posted By: Hummingbird

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/25/10 11:51 PM

Originally Posted by Marc Barnette
Vicki,

Sounds like you have everything you need.You have the right approach to Nashville. LOL!
You are proving one thing although I don't know if you see it. The key to the music industry are two things:

#1 Art of the hang.
#2 The art of the referall.

By getting to know your composer friends, through your existing work, you achieved #1.
By writing with them, and them putting their reputation on your work and by extension, you, you achieved #2.

That is what all of this is about. The coaching, mentoring, supporting, interacting, networking, etc. are all about going from #1 to #2.Congratulations. You have done what 99% of writers cannot say.

MAB


Thanks Marc. That means a lot to me.
Posted By: NCastlen

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/26/10 12:41 AM


I saw Marc break a table at Hobo Joe's preaching th gospel of Marc. Remember that one Marc?
Posted By: Marc Barnette

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/26/10 01:30 AM

That was a goodie.

Gary Hayes, the owner of that place, still has the table. That was funny. It is a way that I get people's attention over "Dynamics" in performance. You kind of have to slap people around, both in your songs and presentation of them.
I usually slap it open handed. That day I did it with a clenched fist.It put a hole in the table which we all autographed with things like "MAB was here!" "Get back on your Medication Marc" things like that. It lives on.

Vicki, so many people make this much harder than it has to be. It is about writing songs, yes. Without that nothing would happen. That is the language. But in order to speak the language, you have to have people that can help you get the "verb tense, the nouns, pro-nouns, etc"

Most people speak the language, but it is very rudimentary, like "I do not like Green Eggs and Ham, I do not like them Sam I am" very basic kindergarten language. As you progress, you enter more circles. If you say you got critiques from someone, then they actually invited you in to write with them, that is HUGE. That is speaking the language.

And lastly, I wish people would take the "writing hit songs, getting cuts, getting deals," all that kind of stuff out of their language. I wish they would worry about writing better, knowing people better and enjoying what they do. Quit getting all worked up over things that don't work and don't get too caught up in things that manage to sneak through. Just take it for what it is. A journey.

"It's not the destination, it's the road that gets you there."

There, I am going to start quoting my own songs to end each post. LOL!

MAB
Posted By: Sausagelink

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/26/10 01:53 AM

I ain't Roy.
Posted By: Marc Barnette

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/26/10 03:00 AM

Oops sorry,

I can't remember all the names and I try to respond to what I can remember. You didn't sign the bottom and "sausagelink" sounds a little goofy.Sorry if I did the wrong name.

MAB
Posted By: Sausagelink

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/26/10 04:15 AM

Marc, Marc, Marc....
First you get my name wrong and then you say
it sounds goofy. It's a good thing my brother
Coldcut didn't hear you. He'd grind ya from
Barnette to brisket.

-goofy name withheld-

laugh
Posted By: Marc Barnette

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/26/10 06:04 AM

I guess I just can't win. Sorry bout that.

M
Posted By: Sausagelink

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/26/10 07:37 AM

Originally Posted by Marc Barnette
I guess I just can't win. Sorry bout that.


Sure ya can. You're already a winner. You were complimented in my post. Besides, Coldcut probably won't hear about ya. grin
Posted By: Roy Cooper

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/26/10 09:42 AM

I'm Roy but I'm not here hehe
I do like sausages though, maybe that caused the confusion lol
Posted By: Kolstad

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/26/10 10:29 AM

Heh yeah and Im the crazy ridiculous Norwegian that's always commenting on the world I don't understand from my rugged kitchen table, but of which I think I know all about. I blame the Internet grin

I agree we should talk way less about "writing hit songs, getting cuts, getting deals,"! Unless you're really living a professional life that's supporting those goals, they are not really realistic. And even if I have a chance, talking about the ends won't do anything for me. Those parts are kinda obvious, so the energy is way better invested in building good relations and writing more music..

And the friendships connecting through music and songwriting opens up for is amazing. In a very short time, I have been able to connect with songwriters across the world, and really have places to go if I ever get out of here (when I have any decent songs that can stand the light of day)..

It's a great point about the (paid) songwriter services, that they allow you to meet with the vip's of music industry. I can't think of a better way to find and connect with equal minded people. How often as a rookie can you say that you know people in Nashville, that will be able to help you out when you come to town, willing to sit down with you with your music, talk about it and be taken serious?

In Marc's case we are talking about a unique gateway to networking with people in one of the greatest music cities of the world! How cool is that? You can get on a songwriters tour with Jeff Steele if you want!! How cool is that? You can have your songs reviewed by Nashville, New York, L.A., London ect. based publishers, producers and successful songwriters! How cool is that?

Nobody ever have had options like this before, and you can start from any place in the world! Mentor based learning is as excessible as ever, and the invaluable networks that comes with those are open for everyone, EVERYONE! Think about it, thats amazing. This same accessability might also be the reason why language like "writing hit songs, getting cuts, getting deals," are found in starting songwriters vocabulary, not realizing the priveledge and responsability that accessability challenges your ego with.

I don't know, but if todays options doesn't turn you on as an aspiring songwriter, what would? Sure you invest some money, but you do that for everything you want.. What the h... are we supposed to use money for anyway.. haircut's???? love
Posted By: Hummingbird

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/26/10 10:34 AM

Let's not forget that forums like this one are great places to get feedback, start relationships, get info on the industry, discuss all things music (and some not, lol), and collaborate.
Posted By: Kolstad

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/26/10 10:37 AM

Absolutely Vikki - life is a great free ride here! I think all the forums for songwriters are..
Posted By: Marc Barnette

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/26/10 06:43 PM

Hey guys,

Magne, I am the only one who does the songwriter's tours. The rest are in workshop form or in larger groups or song by song critiques. It is really the thing that sets me apart from everyone, the one on one attention I give. I also am about things much past the individual song. I am involved in ovearll career guidance.

I:
Analyze each song from a variety of perspectives,

Do performance and vocal coaching,

Guitar lessons,

Overall catalogue assessment,

Recording help (handholding through the entire process)

Helping with bookings for writer's nights,

Speeding people past the audition process,

Help with networking introductions.

Advise on prospective deals, all the way up to basic negotiations with record or publishing companies.

So that is really what sets me apart. No one else does that. And no one spends as much time on forums like this for free than I do.

Vicki,

You are right. Forums like this are your first stop. You have friends you know and talk to here.

#1 Contact people you know and trust their opinions on.
Ask them to listen to your particular song.
Get several independent opinions and keep them seperate. Don't let them be influenced by others.

#2 When you have certain songs that rise to the top.
Get a professional opinion or two. The closer to the source of where your market is, the better.

#3 Test flight material live or have other people sing it in venues where you get a honest reaction. Away from friends and family.

#4.Get great demos on those songs.

#5 Approach the industry with ONLY those songs. You will save time and frustration. Only present your best.

#6. Make a trip to the industry center. If you can find another MAB, use them. If you are coming to Nashville use me.

That would be my game plan.

MAB
Posted By: Kolstad

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/26/10 06:53 PM

Thanks Marc, I wouldn't miss your tour for anything 'when I get where Im going' :-) .. but something tells me I need to work up a decent tolerance for alcohol first! As is, there's too much blood in.. grin
Posted By: Marc Barnette

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/26/10 09:51 PM

Magne,

You know, it is funny. Actually there is a little alcohol involved but actually there is more physical exhaustion involved. I come at people pretty hard and furious. Usually people find out more during the get aquainted breakfast session, than they find out in most multi day workshops.

It is because everything I do is based around the particpant. But it gets funny.

There was an African American female from Chicago that was brand new to songwriting. It was her first trip. She was actually a doctor in Chicago. Her husband gave her the tour for a Christmas present.

We were at breakfast and she asked "Do you ever meet celebrities on the tours?" I said, "Sometimes, but usually the writers in Nashville are the stars. And they are the ones we often want to meet and hear from. But would you like to meet one?"
She said "Sure."

In the booth right next to us was Weird Al Yankovick.I reached over the divider, shook his hand and introduced her to him. She about fell on the floor. Now I have added "Breakfast with Weird Al" as a tour stop.

Another one was a guy from Vermont. There is a place on my tour sheet that asks "Is there any writer you would like to meet within reason?" (I am not going to be able to get Jeffery Steel, Brad Paisley, or most artists because they are busy and on the road. But some I can set up.

This guy did not know the name of the writer but said he loved the song "Live Like You Were Dying" and wondered if that was about a real person. I said "I don't think so, but why don't we find out?" Sitting in the booth next to me (same resturant) was Craig Wiseman, the writer of that song. I just worked it into the conversation like he had been sitting there all along. "Craig, can you tell this guy about how you wrote that?" And he did. I have known Craig for years.

The "tour" is through the past, present and future of the writer. I never know where it is going to go, or who is going to be involved, but it is always interesting and always changes.

A lot of fun. If you want to find out more, ask or visit my web site.

MAB
Posted By: Stan Loh

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/27/10 11:02 PM

It was worth spending the time reading this discussion. Thanks guys. I hope to have learned something!

Stan
Posted By: ViCindy

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/30/10 01:58 AM

Thank you to all. I enjoyed reading every post. I was a part of the Nashville scene back in the late 1980's early 1990's and have not been back since. I do believe a gift is God given but needs refined and built. Hoping the Internet will keep me grounded in Pa. because I have to be. Amazingly great inspiring reading in this forum. I applaud all of you. Cindy of ViCindy
Posted By: ViCindy

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/30/10 01:58 AM

Thank you to all. I enjoyed reading every post. I was a part of the Nashville scene back in the late 1980's early 1990's and have not been back since. I do believe a gift is God given but needs refined and built. Hoping the Internet will keep me grounded in Pa. because I have to be. Amazingly great inspiring reading in this forum. I applaud all of you. Cindy of ViCindy
Posted By: ViCindy

Re: Paid Songwriter Development Services - 01/30/10 01:58 AM

Thank you to all. I enjoyed reading every post. I was a part of the Nashville scene back in the late 1980's early 1990's and have not been back since. I do believe a gift is God given but needs refined and built. Hoping the Internet will keep me grounded in Pa. because I have to be. Amazingly great inspiring reading in this forum. I applaud all of you. Cindy of ViCindy
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