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#766284 11/02/09 02:32 PM
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I've done some searches on here and on the web....I know it's been discussed....or I feel like it has....but I can't find it....

Info on demo studios...good experiences, bad experiences. You can post here or send me a private message. I sure would appreciate it.

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Well,
Two I have used in the past is Eyeball Records, J. Gale Kilgore down in Texas and Eastcraft Demos in North Carolina. Just Google them. Or you can also Google Demo Studios in a particular state and Nashville. Many have samples on the Web Site but that may not give a good representive picture of what they can do. In Nashville you usually have a good variety of vocalists but may pay a bit more.

Also Mike Dunbar here on the boards may do demos.


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Hello, eb,

Since I'm pretty new here, I really don't know how much it's been discussed. But in anycase, some advice:

- Find a studio that will not put as part of the deal that they keep a part of the publishing or that they get a co-write. Of course, if you DO co-write with them or their musical ideas change the song's core (in a good way, obviously) then it's only fair and ethical that whoever did that, get's a co-writing credit.

- If you're not pressed in your day-to-day schedule, ask the studio owners if you can record during down-time. That means recording in hours when nobody else is using the studio (usually weekend, mostly Sundays, and other days from like 10 pm to 6 am).

- Make sure that by the time you actually GET INTO the studio to start your sessions, everything is in place. If you're paying for the recording, that makes you at the very least the executive producer. That means that you have to make sure that all the time is well spent. Make sure the songs have been practiced so that you don't waste time with mistakes that could've easily been taken care of during rehearsals; have all the arrangements done; have all the instruments in tune by the time recording starts; have a recording plan so that you know who and what is recorded first, second, etc. If you're recording any covers, you should already have asked for and gotten permissions from publishers, writers, etc.

- If money is a big issue, like it is many times, you can always ask (very diplomatically) if there's some way of lowering the price by doing some sort of exchange: if you're good at your instrument, you might suggest free recording sessions as a studio musician, for example.

- If you're planning on mastering your session (always a good idea), see if the studio has the facilities to do that (not all of them do and there are specific type of studios with engineers that specialize in mastering). If they do, see if there's some sort of package deal that would include recording and mastering the session afterwards.

- If you're looking to have CDs made, some studios offer this service, too, or have the connections with a company that does this. Of course, look around for better deals in this part, too.

- Look around. If you're not in a hurry, take some time to not only look for a good studio that fits your needs, but also get a feel for the people that work there.

Anyways, I hope this advice helps you.

Take care and good luck!


Serge




Sergio Mendoza Hochmann

"Maybe I'm singing off-key, but that's ok, you see, I've come to terms with my own voice."

http://www.identidadsonica.com

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I've used two in Nashville - both with good results.

Galen Breen at Gator Hole Studio does very good work at a good price. And Play It Again demos will give you good results with great communication. Bill Watson, the producer, is quite well known.


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eb...

I have only used one in Nashville...Magic Shack (Jason Roller/contact).
There are many others that are very good as well.
I am just speaking from personal experience here.
They are very reasonable, do fine work, communicate well and are very timely.

PM me if you want more detailed info.

Good Luck..





Larry


Can't find the stairway to 'heaven'...but I know where the elevator is.

Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us" - Albert Schweitzer.
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Eb,

I would drop a recommendation for Jay's Place on 17th Ave. Jay and I are a sort of "partnership" in that we do a lot of work together, but I am not a partner in the studio. I have done about 300 demos there in six years. He is a great arranger and we have a very competetant studio band.
I would appreciate your looking at his web site, www.jaysplacerecording.com. to look at what he does. Another site is my former and present publishers, Larry Sheridan of the Parlor Studios, which do special rates over weekends.

Like all studio work, check out what we all do, contact us and tell us what you are looking for and expect.

Good luck.

MAB

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Hi Eb, I have used: http://www.thesongwritersstudio.com/ for the past 10 years. They are very reasonable and the quality is great. Take a listen to the demo's on my site. Donna


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Check out

The Loft

in Columbus Georgia.

Support your in state musicians!!! love




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I have also used Galen at Gator Hole for guitar-vocals and he did nice work. I've used Kim Copeland as a producer on a track that was recorded at Funhouse. Slightly more expensive than some methods but the song sounded fantastic. I made a post about it - song is called Girl in a Truck.


"Victory is what happens when ten thousand hours of practice meet up with one moment of opportunity"

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I hear great things about Gator Hole, but haven't used them yet.

I have used Lilac Moon (lilacmoonproductions.com), and felt they did a great job with the production.

But remember, whatever studio you choose, the more you put into it, the happier you will be.


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For a sample of Galen's work, listen to "Tumbleweed" with Dusty Drake's vocal at

http://www.soundclick.com/masonjarre


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No... seriously.......

why would you spend your money on out of state folks when there are excellent, just as good... right in your back yard????

Atlanta, Columbus, Macon, all have great studios and fab musicians that need to put bread on their tables.

Keep it in state!!!
Help your homeboys and homegals!




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Ed,

That is a very good question and here is the answer. It depends on your application for songs. If you are an artist, doing your own thing, your own vision, you can record any place you want to. There are indeed very good studios all over America and Abroad and indeed many home studios where local musicians turn out very good product.
But if you are planning on pitching yourself and your songs in a market that is full of songs and writers, the bar is much higher. And most people find that they local studios don't sound the same, are far removed from the current sounds, trends and styles. And about three times as expensive.

On a per song basis, the cost for radio ready demos are around $500-$600 in Nashville. The same song in LA can range around $1500-$2500. New York, around $2000, Toronto around $1800. And most people who do songs in those areas sound very out of step with what is done in the Nashville studios.
It is in the players. When you are using a really good guitar player who plays in the local bars on the weekend doing cover gigs and actually is a little more like Joe Satriani, he is not going to match up the same guy in Nashville who actually plays on the latest George Straight record. We use the same players that play on the major sessions.

That is one reason. Also a point of this is what not to play. When we get a lot of demos for review we often can tell what musician is in charge. If you have a guitar player, it is usually very guitar heavy, not as consistant, and the guitar drives the demo, usually with extended solos, voiceings and content that is far from song supportive. If it is a keyboard player, generally they are often trying out new keyboard sounds, and too often come out sounded dated instead of advanced.

If you have ever heard the comment from an evaluator that a song sounds "Dated" it is usually because the players are playing songs in their regular lives that are from several years back. There are guys playing crunchy electric guitars when that style went out quite a way back.
And while there are a lot of rock influences in country now, there are some subtle differences which are difficult to discern unless you are around certain songs and styles every day.

Most local studios bread and butter are commercials for businesses, corporate work, local bands and artists, individual products, and more of the slick, polished things you hear often. That is the main kind of work they get.
In Nashville, New york or LA, you will have the bread and butter of the studios being the music that is represented in those towns. The players in the studios work the major sessions as well, engineers, are usually working with the major labels, the producers are involved in major products.

One of the people mentioned here frequently is Galen Breen, of Gator Hole studios. I know Galen and have worked with him on many occassions. We have done some very interesting sessions.He is very professional and very reasonable. But he also knows the current styles, the current licks and how to turn out something on a very definite style that pitches well. He is in the middle of things here and plays with many of the current players. It is the same with most studios.

Converesly, people that are trying to pitch to LA or New York from Nashville, are rarely in that pocket. They do different things there. And people in those towns do things different also. A few years back I was called upon to produce a girl from LA who was trying to do a country project. Her backer, the man who invented "Hooked on Phonics" and was worth $100 million dollars had been trying for two years to find the perfect sound to promote her in Nashville.
They had spent $37,000 on two songs. They had hired musician after musician, guitar players, drummers, bass players, keyboard players, and couldn't find what they wanted. They would hire people, they would cut and paste in the parts, and it all sounded flat, pre-programmed and far from what we do here.
They came to us and for $5000, (recording and their stay in Nashville,) we did five songs that were exactly what they were looking for. They pitched it around but both the singer and the backer had moved on to other things. I don't think they were ever really that serious. A very good looking actress/model and a very rich guy trying to play around. But we did do a job that was much closer to their own vision.

It is never a perfect solution. I never want to diss any studio anywhere. there are great players, great rooms all over the country and I hope all of them do well. For us here, it is about songs and demos that are industry competitive because we are all in such proximity to each other.

That would be the answer I would use. If you are pitching in Nashville, cut in Nashville. If you are pitching in LA, New York, Chicago, London, Toronto, Atlanta, Seattle, etc. cut there.

MAB

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Originally Posted by EdThomas
No... seriously.......

why would you spend your money on out of state folks when there are excellent, just as good... right in your back yard????

Atlanta, Columbus, Macon, all have great studios and fab musicians that need to put bread on their tables.

Keep it in state!!!
Help your homeboys and homegals!



Hi Ed

Very simple one word answer "circumstances" or if you prefer "situation"

All I need know is someones's situation and then it's just common sense.

Example - You or anyone writes songs, lyrics only OR lyric & music. You play acoustic guitar only and are not really a singer.
Okay now call your local studio and book time and go in there to start your project.
And then be prepared to PAY lots to get NOWHERE! You can sit with the recording engineer and twiddle your thumbs.
Or are you in a studio that doesn't charge by the hour? Usually $50- $75 and up an hour...

These kind of circumstances decide what a person should do or consider.

This subject is part of something that often comes up, I have been planning on making a thread about it and some other points on RECORDING that concern songwriters & musicians.





Thanks!
Peace Mike
Sub

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Mike,

As always, you are one of those exceptions to the rule. Everything I have heard you do sounds very responsive to the market it is intended for. You are the kind of real deal I suggest people seek out and utilize.

In anything that you do, writing, recording, pitching services, managers, music libraries, do your homework. Meet the people involved. Seek out the people they represent. Listen to what they do and who they interact with.

Do that and you will always be just fine.

MAB

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Originally Posted by Marc Barnette
Mike,

As always, you are one of those exceptions to the rule. Everything I have heard you do sounds very responsive to the market it is intended for. You are the kind of real deal I suggest people seek out and utilize.

In anything that you do, writing, recording, pitching services, managers, music libraries, do your homework. Meet the people involved. Seek out the people they represent. Listen to what they do and who they interact with.

Do that and you will always be just fine.

MAB


Thanks Marc

I know you do and I appreciate that.

I also create and intertwine in the various styles I'm working with. When it's my own material I don't take a song and then try to make it sound like it belongs in some other genre. I write it that way. Lots of people think well just put this in it and it's authentic or real feeling. That was a great point you made about that.

Great response on that subject Marc

All The Best
Mike


Thanks!
Peace Mike
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Here's a list of some http://mynge.com/music-forum/music-industry/studio-listing/tennessee-reocording-studios/356.html

I only have good experiences with using demostudios in Nashville, they are nothing but excellent for publisher demos, and the rates can't be beat.

I aim to produce full band demos in my homestudio, and learn a lot from getting pro demos from Nashville of my best songs. I can never beat a Nashville studio, and I'll always have to use outhouse vocalists - but in all modesty I hope to develop a voice as a producer, that can work for some of my output, at least once in a while. Also to be able to pitch my own stuff for tv/film, without paying expensive master rates. All of this is really helping me to develop as a musician, engineer and producer, as well as a songwriter.

Paying a pro studio is really just the tip of the iceberg, as - finishing up my songs, doing the research on possible pitches and reference songs, record a proper worktape, communicating with arrangers and session leaders, listening to how the musicians choice of voicings, signature licks and bag of sound tricks really support every line, and the perfect mixes - all of that is invaluable as a learning experience. Now, I just hope one day to be able to be present to some of the Nashville sessions too.

So instate, inhouse, outstate, outhouse ect.. well, you can choose to be a house musician or local politician of course, and thats quite honourable in itself, but if your goals are getting cuts in the pro game, you'd be better off to do what ever it takes, and get an attitude that works to support that.

That's the required business way.

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I cannot stress enough the importance of finding someone who understands YOUR needs and is prepared to go the extra mile to help YOU in any way they can. That is more important than location, money, time and all the rest of the points made here.
Some guys are only interested in churning out quantity rather than quality. Whether they charge by the hour or charge by the song it does not matter. The important thing is to give you the service you need at a price you can afford. Communication is the key. Many bad demos are produced and much time wasted because the explanation of what exactly was wanted or expected was not fully discussed, understood or explained. It is sometimes better to use a studio where you can meet face to face and provide input along the way rather than phone or email but it all boils down to what works for you and the end results produced. One of these days I might send something to a Nashville studio just to see JUST how good they really are but in the meantime I am happy with the team I have right now. They provide a complete service from rough demo to full production including mastering. They cater for any genre, style and budget and the guys are pretty good at multi tasking like laying down parts and help with arranging etc. NOTHING is too much.....not just pros but good buddies as well.

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I've only ever used one:

Mike Caro's Substudio smile

He's a fantastic musician on a variety of instruments, he can do many different genres, he listens to you and captures the sound YOU are looking for, and his prices are very reasonable. Oh yeah, he gets stuff back to you quickly too.

Working with Mike has been nothing but a great experience!

You can also see that he has a lot of class, in that he responded to your query by giving advice without advertising his own services. That same attitude applies when you work with him as well - he will be upfront and tell you when something isn't ready to demo.

You won't go wrong with Mike!

Scott

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I'm sure NOT saying that there are not excellent folks all over the place. I'm sure everyone mentioned is excellent at what they do.

All I am saying is that everything that has been mentioned is right here in our own state. There is just no need to go elsewhere, unless you just want to.

Mike, I hope I am not getting your response to me wrong but you seem to say the "circumstances" dictate that he go out of state. Not sure about that... why? Are you saying that there are no places in the state of Georgia that understand what songwriters needs are. I hope not, as that would be really arrogant and totally not the truth.

I guess I am weird. I buy my most of my equipment for local stores unless there is a huge price difference. I buy my strings from my local music store. I buy what food I can from local farmers. I've never bought a foreign car. I will buy a cd from a local band WAY before I will get one online.

My point is that this need CAN be filled just as well right here in state and I will stand by that. Like I said, I'm sure everyone mentioned in the thread is awesome..... but so are the musicians right here in Georgia and there are a few that even know a thing or two about songwriting and songwriters. We are not all hicks!




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Ed,

You make a few comments that really say it all, although you are not realizing it. You want to support your local players. That is noble and a good thing. So do we. Which is why we say if you are pitching in Ga. record in Georgia. There are a lot of studios here too. And with the players that actually play on the major hits that are on the radio. This is not just a Nashville thing. As I said, it extends to every music center their is.

The way most Nashville people would look at it is this. The people that come here are asking for a piece of the pie. The people who are in this town, writers, artists, musicians, publishers, pluggers, producers, record labels, etc. sacrifice everything to move here. They all spend years infiltrating and becoming a part of a community. They spend years earning respect, and networking. They spend fortunes promoting their own music and those of people they know.
And then there are people from outside those circles that say "I don't want to do that. I want to do things my own way and through my own people. I want to support them." That is fine. But you cannot expect people who have sacrificed to put your stuff ahead of their own. That cuts against common sense.

Every writer has to look past the song. Past the recording. Past the performing. It is much more than that. It is about community.

To go back to my very first statement on this thread. There are very competetant musicians in every town. But there are certain people who live the life many others want. When you are trying to get into those doors, you have to keep other things in mind in your overall approach. I understand about your wanting to support local people. So do we.

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Originally Posted by EdThomas


Mike, I hope I am not getting your response to me wrong but you seem to say the "circumstances" dictate that he go out of state. Not sure about that... why? Are you saying that there are no places in the state of Georgia that understand what songwriters needs are. I hope not, as that would be really arrogant and totally not the truth.

I guess I am weird. I buy my most of my equipment for local stores unless there is a huge price difference. I buy my strings from my local music store. I buy what food I can from local farmers. I've never bought a foreign car. I will buy a cd from a local band WAY before I will get one online.

My point is that this need CAN be filled just as well right here in state and I will stand by that. Like I said, I'm sure everyone mentioned in the thread is awesome..... but so are the musicians right here in Georgia and there are a few that even know a thing or two about songwriting and songwriters. We are not all hicks!



Hi Ed

Yes smile we are a bit misunderstood for sure lol

Yes you can do everything and get everything you want in your own state,town & maybe even your neighborhood. YES why go out of state if your physically gonna be walking into a studio I agree. That would be foolish.

But online? You wouldn't restrict yourself by staying local online,that makes no sense at all. Exactly what are we talking about? If it's going to another state to walk in and record a demo then this particular thread is over lol

What is EB looking for a demo studio at all for? That is what is going to determine what he does. If he could just walk in cold to a studio in his town why wouldn't he? Why would he be looking?
Sounds like he's thinking online session to me...

But the circumstances I'm talking about widely vary, I don't know how you personally go about recording your songs.
But lets say you wrote songs,you are JUST a songwriter, now where are you going to go to record? And how much are you going to pay and what are you going to do, ya know how are you going to go about it. Going INTO a studio could be a BIG costly mistake for a songwriter.

These are some of the questions a songwriter asks about.
So these are the various situations they deal with when making a try at a goal. What do I do? and who can help me that works out best for me?
Now if that answer lies ONLINE and not in a local studio why in the world would you limited yourself online to one place? If it's online than you can shop everywhere & anywhere.
---------------------

On a different topic....

As far as buying a CD from a local band because they are local before one from a band I really like who lives somewhere else. That doesn't make sense to me at all smile I don't have that kinda loyalty to my state smile
And when my American cars, ALL which have died at a hundred thousand miles or less last for 250,000 miles and much more than I will never look at a Camry or Nissan again smile So when money doesn't matter to me anymore I'll buy a Ford and a Buick and watch it fall apart. After the 100,000 mark your at least going for a Tranny and that ain't cheap.

My car right now is a Buick smile and all at one time, the car stalled, the door wouldn't open from the inside,the window would not come down and the horn did not blow.
The funny part was my wife drives over a train track every day to and from work. Now imagine that and read again what I said about the car smile She thought I was trying to get rid of her lol


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Scott

Thanks for your support and kind words.

Now let me use you as a PERFECT example of one situation.

Online - You send me a song from Florida to New York, I produce it and we get John Daubert from New Jersey to sing, the song recording ends up playing in Philly at the stadium on Opening Day twice!. And then on the Baseball Almanac website.

Local - You call some studio and book time. The end! lol

No but really forget all the results, what & how were you going to produce this song in your area? How much time would it have taken how much cost?
I can tell ya how, but you can tell us.


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Business is about creating win-win situations, and I feel it is important to support the folks that are playing top notch country and keep it alive every day, when I can. Country isn't really a money business (try make some hip hop), so I get Marc's feeling about outsiders wanting to get in on 'the cake', so to speak. Must be a similar feeling that drives your viewpoint, Ed.

Having demos done in Nashville is not just about having the greatest players in the world playing my stuff for reasonable rates, it's much more than that. I want Nashville sessions players and singers to be able to find work (and they come from everywhere, Georgia too!), I want to support the studios that can work for rates songwriters' like me can afford, I want the Nashville community to thrive and keep the country traditions alive. Not only for my blue eyes, but to have a place to go with my music in the future. Thats the win-win.

Sure I don't just give away my funds, but as music markets develops today, having a place to go with country songs is not a given, and there's no better town than Nashville to support for that. So when I need to spend money, I lay them where they do most good for me AND for the community that will listen to my efforts (well, basically they won't listen to stuff that don't have a Nashville sound laugh ).

So there might be great players in Georgia, and I certainly think it's a great idea to go local on some things. But look at Jason Aldean. He's from Macon, Georgia, and went to Nashville, even though Macon has great musicians and great artist traditions.

From an International perspective, I would hate to put down my money in a local studio that is striving to be selfcontained with local business. Even though Nashville could be like that, it isn't (I know that first hand). I'm not saying Georgia is, but I think the point is clear. We live in a WORLD, not just in a country, state, town, house or room. cool

So, the local talk won't heat up my seat, cause Nashville is NOT just any local community with small town political viewpoints. It's a beacon for country music worldwide, and everyone with the right attitude and talent is welcomed to go and give it a try (yes yes Marc.. just don't get my hopes up).

I don't mean to take anything away from Georgia, I love songs about Georgia and Georgia artists like Jason Aldean, The Allman Brothers and Otis Redding, Gladys Knight, Ray Charles, Trisha Yearwood, The Black Crowes, Alan Jackson, Billy Currington, Jennifer Nettles, The Zac Brown Band, just to mention a few (well, even the greatest songwriter in the world, Kanye West is from Georgia!) but Nashville just stands out. It's just a better hook to work from, so to speak, for me anyway. love

So I think the dominance of Nashville (that's what you really are talking about, Ed, isn't it?) is both a necessary and a good thing for Country music, and the studios can't be beat, so that's where I'll get my demo work done. And you'll never know, the drummer or picker might even be from your hometown, just chasing down a dream playing your song..

Dammit, I should have pursued that marketing career! Don't know why I'm even writing this..

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Mag

I agree with what your saying I'm still not sure what Ed's question was. He said "Why go out of state to do your demo?"

And he's 1000% right. But didn't the original guy Eb a little confusing there lol, sound like he was looking ONLINE for a demo?

Mag, on a more general note,

Nashville more than anything for me is that I have always felt it is the strongest for consistency anywhere. Things are steady & plenty there and have been for a long time.
This aside from having loads of talented people working & living there.

But some of the biggest, best and most popular music EVER comes from everywhere It's that Nashville besides a community is a central station key location for music, especially Country & country contemporary music.

But when stuffs gets hot then all focus turns there, think MOTOWN
where was that? Detroit... They ran the planet in there time but then that slowly fades.
Grunge from Seattle faded, The British INVASION made EVERYTHING seem weak. The LA sound of the 80's. etc...

Like many musical movements they fade but Nashville just stays basically the same and glides along with new & old faces working together. I think that is special.

Granted with that you don't get that WOW take over the planet factor musically. But the planet is gonna be here for a while God willing so!!!! smile sounds pretty smart and stable to me.


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Personally I think that putting the making of a demo in the hands of strangers is taking a big chance. OK technically the end result will be up to a certain standard musician wise and recording wise.....BUT.....is the end product truly what you really wanted and imagined it would sound like and will it have your own personal stamp? It might be OK for non performers or hobbyists but not for me. I like to be there in the studio as I feel the need to supervise the recording and have direct input at all stages.....I also like to perform songs myself and interact face to face with enginers and any musicians laying down the other parts. I do no think it can be done to my satisfaction over the phone or internet....or by sending home recordings to be turned into demos.
Allowing others to make big decisions on my behalf and without much of my input is not for me. It is my money and I want to see for myself how it is being spent.
By way of an experiment I recorded a song at home and sent it to the studio. I left them to comp it and edit master etc. The end result was OK.....but not what I really wanted and many changes had to be made. Many hours were wasted.

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Totally Jim

That's the whole thing about situation and circumstance. You perform on your songs, bingo that changes the situation.

You should totally be in the studio.

You may have players working with and for you for FREE! That is a HUGE factor.

You have been in bands HUGE HUGE factor, many songwriters haven't. You also have the ear and experience to know and mix and match. You could for example have one instrument done online for a certain song than bring it into the studio.. etc..

My thread is going to be about stuff like that, and how with Songwriters the downside is lack of experiences with many musicians it's often lack of commitment.

Those two traits is what affects my life,career and work in the studio for sure smile


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Absolutely Big Jim, being there and saying nothing is better than not to be there and communicate a thesis. Mail order will always be second best.

I plan to save some songs, and go to Nash and be there for the sessions, working with those class players. THAT'S my idea of BIG fun!

Untill then I'll have to deal with the second best option. But I still think getting mail order demos done in Nash is way better than go in my local studio or go to London for sessions, you bet!

Perhaps I should go to Edinburgh, I know a songwriter up there..

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Yes Mike, we are on the same wavelength. I look towards Nashville because I write and care about country music, that's been the major genre in my life, and I want to support a community that is not about money and open Internationally.

I care a lot about Jazz too, and love New York for that. Reading the old Bird and Miles biographies was great, and I love the fact that the city got the crime cleaned up in the 90ies.

Love Blues music too, love Memphis and Chicago. Hate to hear how Memphis has turned out.

Not sure about what the L.A. scene is about anymore, but I love Tom Petty and Lee Ritenour!

The US is the musical Klondike for any musician and songwriter. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.

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Originally Posted by the songcabinet
Absolutely Big Jim, being there and saying nothing is better than not to be there and communicate a thesis. Mail order will always be second best.

I plan to save some songs, and go to Nash and be there for the sessions, working with those class players. THAT'S my idea of BIG fun!

Untill then I'll have to deal with the second best option. But I still think getting mail order demos done in Nash is way better than go in my local studio or go to London for sessions, you bet!

Perhaps I should go to Edinburgh, I know a songwriter up there..


You are welcome here anytime Magne..I would be delighted to take you to the studio I use and introduce you. I however disagree about sending stuff to Nashville as being any way better than using a local studio that knows the client personally and will work with them. Even London which is much nearer to me is a better prospect.
Of course I am in the fortunate position of living in a place where there are a number of top pro studios and plenty great musicians to choose from all within an hours travel. I see no merit in going halfway around the world to record in a strange studio with people I do not know and have never worked with. That to me is a very expensive waste of time. In any case Nashville with its homogenised standard factory way of working has never been a mecca for me.......probably never will.

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Big Jim,

That would make sense. Nashville is not a market you are interested in. The point I try to make on all of this is in the pitching, not the recording. One of the reasons people come to Nashville is it is the last area people actually record outside songs in the make up of the community. It is almost self contained but pretty much every other form of music is almost 100% self contained, so there is no chance for outside songs, regardless of how well they are recorded.

The reason for the "consistancy" that Mike Caro talks about, and the reality of fifty years of being the same thing, the home of country music and the principal force of the three music centers in that arena, is the compact nature of the community.
The reason people record here is not just to get the demos, it is to soak up the community. To meet the publishers, producers, writers, artists, musicians, that are involved with the actual part of the industry. You can do that hear. Everybody who is an "insider" now, was an "outsider' at some time. They worked their way in by doing it the way everyone has to.

In everything, you have to look past the song. It is never about "giving a demo' to anybody. That accomplishes nothing. Never has. It is about building a relationship with someone who believes in that song as much as you do and wants to place their reputation on that song, just like yours is. Songs and demos are a dime a dozen. It is about getting someone else involved and staking their own personal capital on that song.
Having a demo that sounds like the competition for the slots on that song are only a part of it.

90% of these and other threads are about "What do I do next with my songs?" That is why there is so much conversations about recording, pitching, TAXI, song catalogues, etc. No one knows what to do with them once they are finished. In my opinion and experience, there is no way outside of investing the personal capital in the type of music you are interested in, and taking it to the source where that music is done.

Writing, recording, performing are only 15% of the success of a song or writer. 85% are things the writer has no control over. Getting the right type of demo is only one part of that equation. That is just upping the level of the odds.

MAB

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Yes Marc you raise an interesting point...whilst we are only talking about where to record a demo on this thread..it is obvious that some misguided people are under the impression that a recording "made in Nashville" is going to be superior in some way to a recording made elsewhere. That of course is utter nonesense.... a turd is a turd regardless of who produces it and a great record is still a great record. Nashville over the years has produced many turds as well a some pretty good stuff. Lest we forget there was a band called the Beatles who produced some of the best albums and top selling music of all time in Abbey Road Studios, London. Detroit, Memphis, New York, LA, Chicago, to name but a few and many other places including European studios have also contributed to platinum artists recordings. I fail to see this fixation with Nashville especially for genres outside country or a misguided idea that your Nashville produced demo will sell any better than a decent demo produced elsewhere.
I repeat what I have said before many times Nashville is not the centre of the universe and has not got a monopoly in producing great demos.

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Well,
As I see it doing demos in Nashville for the Nashville thing has two problems. One is the cost is pretty high and after a while everthing starts to sound the same.

I, for some time had what few demos I had done in different places to get a variety of contrast. And, it is the song/ melody that is the final determining factor if it gets placed or not.

My songs have gotten strong consideration with my Guitar Vocal.

Marc, I do think you are doing a dis service when you say outside songs have no chance in Nashville. True it is hard to get thru some of those doors but there are requests for outside songs every month listed in Tip Sheets as well as TAXI. And true you can't usually pitch to Major Listings but I have gotten permission to send material so it is possible.

All this knowing that Producers go thru one to three thousand songs for a good selection maybe for one or two outside songs on a Major Release.

And we know that Major Labels want the Artist to write his own songs so they don't have to pay full the full mechanical rate of which at present is 9.1 cents per CD. On a 10 song release the full mechanical cost is 91 cents per CD.

If the Label/Producer would consider outside writers they would most likely get a better selection of songs than the Artist could write. Very few Artists ever wrote more than a handful of hit songs.

But of course the songwriter has to be professional as well. They can't send a poor demo and expect to get any attention. If the submission looks like a rank amateur sent it it will likely be passed over.

Everybody has to do his homework. It is disgusting when I am professional and those on the other end are the amateurs. I have seen it.


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Originally Posted by BigJim
or a misguided idea that your Nashville produced demo will sell any better than a decent demo produced elsewhere

Jim,

I think you are confusing recording your own album versus a pitchable demo to another artist. Remember in the US, songs recorded as "DEMOS" can not be sold -- they are recorded under lower recording $$ rates and can only be used as non-commercial demos (though I think you can enter them in contests ??). There are other union rates for limited sales and then full blown masters. Same musicians, same songs -- different rates.

So getting back to your point. If you are doing your own album -- find the best studio for you. If you plan on pitching to a Nashville artist then a nashville studio makes sense. Especially if you go there and start making connections.

Kevin


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Well guys, I'm considered a new writer (if a writer at all grin ), so folks in the Industry are not as overbearing with young guns like me.

It's like revealing your worst stories about yourself the first times you meet. People think you're a jerk because they don't know you and your humor (after a few drinks I'm allright with it laugh ).

You can isomorph that to writing and studio chops..

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What kind of half assed system pays different rates for the same amount of work and differentiates or will not consider anything produced in studios outside Nashville? Talk about corrupt nepotism ...sheesh. If I pay musicians or studios on a work for hire basis I expect the piece to be mine and mine alone to do with as I like. I also expect anyone I pitch a song to, to accept it as a song regardless of where it was recorded.

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LOL! Didn't you have these same rants in another thread?

Originally Posted by BigJim
If I pay musicians or studios on a work for hire basis I expect the piece to be mine and mine alone to do with as I like.


Then you would just pay the one "master" rate and be done with it. I don't know the history of it all, but I am assuming that the demo rate arose out of the "pitch" mentality in nashville and the need to make it cheaper than master recording rates. Making it cheaper made it easier to make decent money by adding volume (of job opportunities) to the equation.

Kevin


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If I am not mistaken, the tiered pay system is more of a union thing.


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That's the idea.....there is a union rate, and if you're going to sell someone's work you have to pay them. But that would be prohibitively expensive if you just want a band demo for someone else to record and sell. So you pay them less with the understanding you're not going to release their work to the public


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Can anyone answer these questions

Was Eb talking about online or in studio demo work?

Was Ed talking about online or in studio demo work?


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I think this is ez stuff for people who just want to get publisher demos done to pitch for country artists (thats all I'm talking about), and Emmrich pretty much nailed that.

New guys don't have too much choice.. sure, George Strait can record Country hits in the keys. But that principle is pretty important to remember, also because people usually are not as good as they think they are.

There are great musicians all over the world. Even in Norway and Denmark we have great players, and right outside my doorstep, where I stand. So you can find musicians everywhere. But.. if you really think you are that good, hire a demostudio to proove you wrong. And if you are pitching in Nashville (the current centre of the COUNTRY universe), get it done there.

If you think you can do better yourself after having tried that, fine, you're an accomplished artist and don't need more advice.. and certainly won't have to pitch demos to publishers, right?

But genre familarity is a big part of hitting a home run as an outside songwriter. As an artist who wants to get gigs or an established inside songwriter, it's almost the opposite.

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The tier system is not unique to Nashville. It was developed to make demos more affordable to songwriters and publishers while charging the "fat cat" record companies a wage that reflected the "obscene" profits they made off the backs of the working musician. It was developed at a time when very few independent artists were able to sell records due to the cost of production and distribution. It was developed at a time when it was unheard of that a songwriter would sell their songs one at a time as downloads.

Very few producers take advantage of the tier system. For one reason, most producers are not union producers. They deal with musicians who get paid a flat fee per song, rather than an hourly wage. Those musicians are not going to lower their price just so a songwriter gets a better deal. Here in Nashville, the usual per song price is $50 per musician per song. That means five musicians run $250 a song, over that you are paying for the studio and producer. Often the producer is the studio owner and one of the musicians. Many times the producer/musician will overdub, for example, a producer/steel player might throw in dobro, electric, or acoustic guitar...a producer/keyboard player might also play electric bass along with the tracks (both are real world examples). So if you are paying $500 a song, then the producer is getting at least half of that, which is fair. They do the "extra" work, pay for the studio, get the gig, make the calls, etc. Some producers will sign a "work for hire" agreement. Some will get their musicians to sign a "work for hire" agreement.

A union producer pays by the hour. On a full master session in Nashville (a session that allows unlimited sales of the product...the type a major label or major independent artist would use) the musicians get paid approximately $135 an hour for a three hour session. Rather than counting songs, a three hour session is limited to 15 minutes of recorded music.

A union limited pressing session, the kind the average indie artist or label would get, allows 10,000 units sold (that's cds, downloads, 45's, whatever). The musicians get paid approximately $75 an hour for a three hour session. This session is limited to 15 minutes of recorded music (four or five songs). This comes out to about $50 a song. A union limited pressing session costs about the same as a non union session, sometimes more, sometimes less.

A union demo session, meant for "demos" (which means "demonstration recordings") that are not to be sold at all, pays the musicians approximately $60 an hour for a three hour session. Now, here's the rub...there is no limit to the recorded minutes or the number of songs. So realistically, it is possible to get as many as six songs in one hour, which brings the cost down to $10 per song. A LOT less than $50 per song.

Most musicians don't care how many songs they cut, they'd rather spend their time playing music instead of hearing the producer talking about it (or so they tell me...all the time smile ).

So the tiered system works out well for the songwriter or publisher who is looking to get a good product at a decent price. And, it is very good for entry level songwriters who are looking for a very good price...if they can find a studio that will use it. Mostly, it is publishing companies who use the demo scale session, usually either smaller publishing companies or larger ones who have their own studios. Most studios who record demos for independent songwriters, or songwriters without publishers, do not use the demo rate. That's why I've structured the Demo Derby. I offer what I call the "Demo Derby" to JPF members only. We started doing them in connection with Bobbie Gallup's Pineyfest, which is, alas, no more. How it works, I put together a team of experienced, credentialed musicians who work fast in the studio, and we blaze through the recordings. The pre-production work I do, charting and arranging the songs, makes the sessions go very quickly. We've done over 40 songs in two days. You can hear samples of what we accomplished, as well as a video of the Demo Derby itself (thanks to Tom Shea and Justice), on my website. Other than the Demo Derby, I've quit doing any other demo work. All my other recording work is for full masters or limited pressing masters. I'll be doing another Demo Derby early next year and will post info once a date is picked. Demo Derby demos can be upgraded to masters, Joanne Lurgio has recently done just that for her upcoming cd release "Nothing Remains the Same."

So the name "demo" really only applies to a recording which will not be sold. In my opinion, the demo is only useful to a songwriter who is interested in pitching songs to publishers and artists. I feel that the paid download for a songwriter is overrated. There are very few songwriters who make any kind of real money...anything more than a hundred downloads a year. That's not worth the $300 or more (or much more) that they pay for a recording. I record my own songs, that I've written, for free and I don't offer paid downloads. Now, for a singer or artist, that's another story.

When you get recordings made, if you want to sell downloads or licensing, make sure you get "work for hire" contracts from your producer/studio and all the musicians and singers on the project; either that or make sure there has been a union contract with them. If your receipt or contract says "demo" on it, even if you are not working with a union studio, there may be a legal problem if you sell it without a "work for hire" agreement. I know of a songwriter who got demos made with a demo singers voice, then had cds made to sell. The demo singer was under a development contract with a major label and could not have masters released, so she stopped the songwriter from selling any cds...after he had paid for them. Get those "work for hire" agreements and contracts.

Be sure to get backtracks of the recording...those are tracks without the lead vocal...that way if you want to change lyrics, "tweak" the melody, or just change singers, you won't have to pay for a new session.

Most importantly, beware of the biggest mistake folks make when getting recordings made: don't have demos or masters made until you and/or your songs are ready. Consult your team (You DO have a team, don't you? If not do a search here for "teams" and figure out how to put one together), post your songs/lyrics here and get peer critiques, pay for critiques (use pro critiquers who are working in your genre of music), read as much as you can about the business. This advice applies to singers, bands, and artists as well as songwriters.

Second biggest mistake...you are paying a studio/producer to make good demos...not to tell you how good you or your song is, and not to publish your songs. Beware of the studio/publisher who contacts you about your song on a website or that you just had registered with the Library of Congress. They're probably not really interested in publishing or cowriting. They just want you to pay for the recording. And, if they tell you they want cowriting and publishing on a song lyric that THEY CONTACTED YOU about, then they want to write and own the music so they can use the same music over and over again, charging other songwriters for a demo that was paid for years ago, just changing lead vocals. Get "work for hire" agreements when getting music put to your lyrics, or, much better, find cowriters who aren't looking to get paid by you. Check with your team and get their approval before working such a deal. Even then, don't say I didn't warn you smile Many sales are made with flattery. Say, you look nice in that new car...you look just like Brad Pitt! And you sound like Carrie Underwood! And your song is a hit! (someone write that song before I do LOL).

Music is emotional, business is rational. The music business feels it is rational.

All the Best,
Mike


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

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Sub.....

Thanks for the reply! Sorry for mis-understanding your post!

Well if it is ONLINE he is looking for... you are right... that is totally a different animal.

But he STILL might start with his home boys!!! lol

Blessings....




Ed Thomas
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Ray,

I'm sorry you feel I am doing a disservice by telling the truth on any situation. I didn't say outside songs have no chance. Every thing has a chance. You have a chance to run on the field at the Super bowl and steal the football from the center right before it is snapped and outrun everyone, get into the stands and out of the stadium too. Not a very good one and you will probably be beaten within an inch of your life before being arrested, spend some time in jail and being embarrased on You Tube and the news shows for years as well. But you have a chance.
You also have a chance to win the lottery by finding a ticket on the street.

When you are trying to pitch songs to the music industry in Nashville, you go up directly against about 25 people who are not artists who get more than one cut a year. There are around 3500 songs released on major and large independent labels. BMI, ASCAP and SESAC only survey 200 songs a year for significant royalty streams. There are 250,000 songs a year written in Nashville alone. Around 2 million worldwide, all trying to fit into those very narrow definitions.
And those songs are vying for attention on CD's that are 90-95% written totally with the artist's involvement. Even the songs of those top 25, have polished, radio ready demos because often the bigger writers cut their songs on up and coming and new artists as part of their deals. Thereby most artists have their entire CD's written months or years before the rest of the world even knows who they are.

So while I am sure you have had people say send some guitar vocal songs, most people do, as well as most people are hounded by song sharks, libraries, etc. trying to scam them for money. That is a great deal different than making that very narrow cut of 12-15 songs that are actually in serious contention for consideration on projects. For those slots, the demo, the production, the connections, the networking, the personal interest and involvement all come into play. And you are basically trying to get an artist to take your songs over their own. They most often have done the demos, the leg work, the networking. They have a dog in the hunt. Why exactly are they supposed to take an outside song over their own, or of those that they know.

In June of last year, Micheal Laskow of Taxi, had to have a special meeting in Nashville for TAXI members who were complaining they were getting no cuts, very few forwards and in short, very little attention from the industry. It was a panel discussion with major publishers, producers, song pluggers. A few songs were played to show the level of the demos even to be considered.

There was more than a few gasps from the three hundred or so members when they heard the quality of the demos. Actually more of a groan. When you hear what the really big writers do, it can be pretty dishartening. It is a constant struggle.
No one is telling anyone to do any of this. What myself and others here are telling you is what the rest of the world who are doing this have to do, myself included. How you decide to conduct your own journey is up to you. We can only lay out what we each have to deal with. I never say it is the only way. It is the only way I have ever seen work. And I kind of have seen a good deal.

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Marc,
I hear what you are saying. I just don't hear it coming out of the Radio. I do on occasion tune in the Local Country Radio Stations. And according to your posts, J.P. folks should just fold it's Tent as we are just Whistling Dixie as it were. And. like it or not there are requests listed in Tip Sheets every month for songs. You say they are useless.

You mention the quality of demos. OK but I don't hear ANY Great songs on the radio. Maybe the people selecting the songs need to get out of the area and see what is going on elsewhere and get a fresh view. The last Platimum Album I am aware of was Gretchen Wilson. Any since you can name. I may have missed some.

It has been mentioned from time to time that you can polish a T*rd. I have mentioned it before but will again that the Labels want the Artist to write their own songs to prevent having to pay the full mechanical rate. That is why Artists write their own songs but it is a self defeating prophicy for the most part.

Keep trucking.


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Ray,

I don't know where you get your information. I never say anything is useless. I try to get you to see an overall picture. You say everything on the radio sounds the same. I ask what radio from what country are you listening too. I name dozens artists, Taylor Swift, Montgomery Gentry, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Little Big Town, Zac Brown band, Kenny Chesney, Reba, George Straight, Allison Krause, Sugar Land, Darius Rucker, Gretchen Wilson. Now exactly how is it that they all sound the same?
Selling platinum? Taylor Swift. Five million in sales. Last I looked a million was platinum.

Tip sheets are often outdated and none of them really say that much unless you call "Need hit songs" much of a tip.

I say that everyone on the radio, every hit writer, every publisher were nobody's once. They didn't quit. They didn't whistle past the graveyard of fold their tents. You say it can't be done and yet I give you example after example after example of people doing just that. No body knew Taylor Swift two years ago. And most people don't know the stars of tomrrow right now.

I can't force you to see something you refuse to see. I think you use a lot of half information and pieces of things out of context, see the very surface of something that is much deeper and make pronouncements on things. It is easy to do and most people do just that. And that is fine.
But you forget what my job is. I deal with thousands of people who take those same opinions and try to make their way in a business that rejects all of those kinds of opinions. they try to force songs, demos, artists,writers into a situation without doing the vaguest bit of research on reality and then blame the people who are in that industry.
And they say things like "I hear no great songs on the radio." Fine. That is criticizing the job interviewer who is doing an interview.

I have never said things like "useless" "no hope," "impossible" or any such thing because I don't think like that. My role in people's lives are getting them past all that. But there are things you have to do, research you have to do, contacts you have to make and prescribed avenues that work, and no matter how much people don't like those avenues, you are always welcome to make your own. But they are just not very successful and I would rather people slow down a little, make wise decisions with their money, time and efforts.

At any rate, whatever people want to do, how ever they want to do it. They are welcome to try and good luck if they succeed. I just hate seeing people I like walk into the same walls over and over again, when they could just as easily have done a little homework and not knocked themselves out so hard.

MAB

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Originally Posted by Ray E. Strode

The last Platimum Album I am aware of was Gretchen Wilson. Any since you can name. I may have missed some.


Ray, this interested me. Now, if you mean platinum as defined by the RIAA, in other words, sales of 1,000,000 albums, the only ones I've found since Gretchen Wilson's 2004 album have been:

Rascal Flatts
Carrie Underwood
Dixie Chicks
Josh Turner
Brad Paisley
Toby Keith
Keith Urban
Kenny Chesney
and
Rodney Atkins

I'm not sure if Big and Rich were certified before or after Ms. Wilson. I'm almost certain there are more names that can be added to this list. And, of course, Taylor Swift, who has outsold everyone in music currently.


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

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Originally Posted by Marc Barnette

When you are trying to pitch songs to the music industry in Nashville, you go up directly against about 25 people who are not artists who get more than one cut a year. There are around 3500 songs released on major and large independent labels. BMI, ASCAP and SESAC only survey 200 songs a year for significant royalty streams.


This reminded me of something. Here is some info that if you read it right will let you know how really tough it is.

I did this to get an idea of how many writers get cuts or get more than one cut. There are probably about 60 albums on represented on the album list below. I can't recall my exact methodology. I think I took the last two album releases of all the artists who had chart hits in (I think) 2004 and 2005 and looked at the writers of the songs. If the artist writes-cowrote ALL the songs on the album I didn't count it.

I heard once that 400 writers were let go in Nashville. Don't know if that was over a day, week, month, or year. 400? Sheesh, how many are there left? How many get turned down? I also heard 20 years ago that Tree Publishing had 60,000 songs in their archives. That's more than one for everyone person in my hometown! So anyhow, I assembled the information below and offer it so each of us to let us know, YES! We can be the one who makes it!

There were 942 songs on these albums. Most all were co-written. Many of these writers were the artist or in their group/duo/band, or were the producer, or wrote directly with the artist.

323 different writers wrote the 942 songs.

17 writers wrote 10 or more album cuts.

2 writers had 20 or more cuts. One was Toby
Keith with 24 and Craig Wiseman had 20.

Scotty Emerick, Toby's co-writer, had 19.

John Rich had 16. John had a bunch on Gretchen Wilson alone.

166 writers had only one cut. Most of those were probably co-
writes with more established writers.

A lot of these albums didn't reach gold status, which means 500K in sales, but they were albums by artists with chart records.

Here's the top 40 names in my list. Notice one of the most successful is Smith. I don't know if that's one or more people named Smith. This survey ain't guaranteed to be perfectly right but I think it's indicative of reality.

If you want more info on the writer, look them up in BMI or ASCAP.

This list, again, is writers who had have album cuts on a 2003-2005 abum by an artist with a country chart hit single in 2004 or 2005 (or 2003 - 2005 or thereabouts).

* indicates artist

24 Keith *
20 Wiseman
19 Emerick
16 Rich
15 Smith
15 Anderson
13 Steele
12 Osborn *
12 Tomlinson *
11 Nichols
11 McGehee
10 Rutherford
10 Thrasher
10 Martin
10 Vassar *
10 Paisley *
10 James
9 Beavers
9 Wilson *
9 Dillon
9 ONeal *
9 Turner *
9 Urban *
9 Mobley
9 Allen
8 Robson
8 Ingram
8 Evans *
8 Shanks
8 Bentley *
8 Warren
8 Beathard
7 Morgan
7 Hill
7 Lindsey
7 Verges
6 Satcher
6 Shapiro
6 Sampson
6 Gorley



In terms of writers with Billboard chart records since 1975, a 30 year span, this is the top 50 of what I have:


97 Bob McDill
68 Don Schlitz
64 Tom Shapiro
57 Rory Bourke
49 Troy Seals
48 Roger Murrah
45 Vince Gill
43 Chris Waters
43 Paul Overstreet
43 Charlie Black
42 Dean Dillon
41 Wayland Holyfield
41 Dennis W Morgan
39 Don Cook
39 Clint Black
39 Bob DiPiero
39 Mike Reid
38 Rafe Van Hoy
38 Craig Wiseman
37 Walt Aldridge
37 Bill Rice
36 Mark D Sanders
36 Merle Haggard
35 Alan Jackson
35 Hank Williams Jr
35 Larry Gatlin
34 Paul Nelson
34 Rick Giles
33 Bob Morrison
33 Bucky Jones
33 Gary Burr
33 Rodney Crowell
32 Sonny Throckmorton
32 Even Stevens
31 Don Pfrimmer
30 Mutt Lange
29 Keith Stegall
29 David Bellamy
29 Dennis Linde
28 Paul Kennerley
28 Max D Barnes
28 Toby Keith
28 Kye Fleming
28 Billy Sherrill
28 Kostas
28 Eddie Rabbitt
28 Jeffrey Steele
27 Norro Wilson
27 Curly Putman
27 Dave Loggins
.
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So Mike,
You are saying that things are not as messy on Music Row as we are being led to believe. Now, on that list of Artists who supposedly went Platinum, or better, how many wrote all their songs OR a huge hit?

I think Taylor Swift is more in the Bubble Gum set so she don't count.

If an Artist on a Major Label can't sell at least 5 million albums they may not be Major Material.

Among the group you mention above Mike which one wrote the biggest hit, if any?

I would say also that Non Performing Songwriters also put in their time and do a lot of leg work to become sucessful. Very few people write very much that is notable in their early years.

When listening to the Radio you may have to listen a long time to hear anything worth buying if they play anything at all with the short playlists that are repeated over and over. And honest to G. I hear mostly third rate material, even if it sold a million.


Ray E. Strode
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