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.