Mentoring Guidance – Resonates OR Resistance?
I hear from so many songwriters who are very confused by all of the mentoring advice they receive from various industry professionals. One mentor says one thing; another mentor says the opposite! The songwriter is on the outside trying to get to the inside by following the expert’s advice. I completely understand how that feels!
Let me give you a little insight on the process. Just know that each person is truly trying to give you their best perspective from their experience and their role within the industry. Remember the role of that industry professional when you are in your mentoring. Very different advice will be given from someone who is working in Film/TV versus someone who is working in the commercial radio market. YOU have the answers inside of you for your songs and your career.
Here are a couple of suggestions for the next time you are trying to assimilate and apply the many mixed messages to your career and songs.
Read more →
Song Titles – Relevant, not Revealing!
The first point of contact, is the first point of SALE and in a song, that is the title. So here is another tip for your titles:
Make the title RELEVANT, but not REVEALING! Example: if the title of your song is “She Broke My Heart Again,” I kind of already know what your songs is about and a publisher might make an assumption that they don’t have to even listen to the song to know that it is a sad ballad.
However, if the song title is “Jagged,” I can relate to the emotional feeling the title inspires, but I have to LISTEN to the song to really know what it is about. That is what we want happening for YOU! We want you to get your songs HEARD! So be Relevant in your titles and save the big REVEAL for when they are listening!
As a songwriter we often utilize the tool of alliteration. Alliteration is when a series of words in a row or a sentence all have the same first consonant sound. As kids we used this tool often in fun tongue twisters like “She sells sea-shells down by the sea-shore” or “Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers.” Alliteration is also a great tool for TITLES of your songs, as it makes a title easy to remember.
There are all kinds of quotes regarding running races. Here are some examples:
“Success isn’t how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started.” -Steve Prefontaine
“The five S’s of sports training are: Stamina, Speed, Strength, Skill and Spirit; but the greatest of these is Spirit.” -Ken Doherty
“Let us lay aside every weight and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1
Trust me, you need patience to work in the music industry!
I believe creating a track record of success in the music industry requires stamina, strength, skill, spirit, and patience. These attributes are something you really want to consider when you are pitching your songs to a publishing company.
Although there are all kinds publishing company configurations out there, I have observed that there are frequently two basic types of publishing companies.
Type #1: A company opens and at the head of the company is an experienced industry leader who has run a great race previously, has a successful track record for his/her efforts and is finally, finally getting the investment backing and opportunity they have worked for years to create. These companies have the magic mix of ingredients required to create a successful publishing company. They have the investment funding, enthusiasm, vision, a track record of experience, and deep rooted relationships. I am always thrilled when I see those ingredients mixed together, as it is so good for the songwriters they sign! A songwriter signed to this company is on the fast track and is positioned with the greatest opportunity to succeed.
Type #2: Then, there are those new companies that open with a lot of finances and enthusiasm and not much else. Finances and enthusiasm are important and a requirement for any publishing company. However, without experienced leadership, finances and enthusiasm usually fizzle in the face of real publishing challenges and those ingredients alone do not create a successful publishing company. These types of companies usually last three years or less. They close due to the lack of real industry knowledge and the relationships required to succeed. The end result for the songwriter who signed with them is that frequently their songs are tied up for several years, the company no longer exists, no one is working their catalog, and they are running in circles for years with little to show for their efforts. Sometimes the songs written during those years are gone forever without the right kind of contract.
A successful publishing is something that happens over time and under the guidance of experienced leadership with a track record of success that has often come at a sacrifice and has taken years to acquire.
If someone wants to sign your songs to their company, ask questions like:
What is the track record of the leadership?
How long have they personally worked in the music industry?
Have they worked in publishing previously or were they a successful leader in a different industry?
Does the contract contain a reasonable reversion clause?
How do you get your songs back if the company closes?
GSC desires for you to run this race and to WIN! I trust this information will be of service to someone today who is looking at a contract and trying to make that very important decision of whether to sign or not to sign?
Be EQUIPPED with knowledge and information.
You can find this and other helpful tips and information on the member section of our website. Not a member yet? JOIN TODAY!
Lyrics Have an Expiration Date!
We often talk about how production is like a time date stamp and can limit the shelf life of a song. Production has a signature sound usually identifiable by the decade in which the song was produced. This is why Time Life magazine successfully sells songs by the decade like, “The Sounds of the 60’s,” “The Hits of the 70’s,” and so forth. People who grew up in those decades are comfortable with those sounds and identify with those songs. But did you know that your lyric can also have a freshness date?
Here is a little insight on the song journey process. Just remember, I know there are exceptions to this rule, but my goal is to maximize your opportunities for success through these tips.
It can frequently take five to ten years for a writer to actually achieve success with their first major cut. One such writer who has worked for nearly 15 years for his current success is Josh Osborne. Did you catch how I said 15 years? Even if you got a song cut today by a major artist, it might take two years to actually hit radio and three years for you to start receiving income.
Lyric language in a song that describes current technology or current buzz words like “selfie” give an expiration date on your song. Songs like “Feeling Groovy” or “The Streak” for example, are identified by the lyric as representing a certain generation and era of music.
If you do not have a way to expedite your song to market through a major artist you may be spending money on a demo for song with a very short shelf life. The choice is always up to you and if you feel strongly about a particular lyric, then please always follow your heart. If you are the performing artist, of course get your fresh and relevant song to the market asap!
Otherwise, you may want to look at your song lyric again. See if there is another word to express the same emotion without compromising the intent and integrity of your song while extending the shelf life and freshness of your song. This is what happens when a song is called timeless.
Investing in YOUR SUCCESS one tip at a time!