Monday, April 25, 2011

A Decent Song Is Just The Beginning

So, songwriters, let's say you finally write a decent song, after, hypothetically, nine years.

Well, that's really only the beginning, isn't it?

(By "good song", I mean "commercial").

And let's say you want to shop it around.

There's a lot of stuff to consider.

1. You need a decent demo.

There are different ways to go about achieving this. You could do your own! (That option is highly discouraged by those who own demo studios, among others). If you do do your own, you have to either be or find a decent singer. And you have to find someone to play on the demo and someone to produce it. If you're lucky and talented, you can do all those things yourself.

You can also hire a demo studio.

Just for fun, I did a Google search of Nashville demo studios. What I found was, they all basically charge the same rate (market forces at work), all their demos pretty much sound the same (the Nashville model!), all their singers are just generic enough to not interfere with the song (is that calculated?).

HINT: If the demo studio's website doesn't list its singers and samples of each, pass them by.

HINT #2: If the demo studio offers to put your lyrics to music, run, run, run! Sorry, but I stand by that. If you can't write a "whole song", give up. Seriously.

HINT #3: If none of the samples on their website will play, well, you can judge for yourself. They obviously either have more work than they can handle, or they just don't care.

I haven't done a comprehensive search for demo studios, because, (a) I can't afford it anyway; and (b) I'm not all that impressed with the ones I did find.

If I were to choose, I'd choose one outside of Nashville, but I'm just stubborn that way (and picky).

2. You need someone to listen to your demo.

By "someone", I mean, someone who can actually advance your career.

How do you find that?

Well, you could move to Nashville. That's a fun thought, if you don't actually need a job to support yourself. Then, you could pound the pavement and slip CD's to all the receptionists in town (I'd include something special, like a coupon for a free Dairy Queen Blizzard, or something. You know, just to sweeten the pot).

You could find a website that gives you direct access to someone who is a mover and shaker in the industry. Yes, there is one out there ~ I'm not going to name it. Do you own search.

If someone suddenly gifted me with $132.00, I would definitely submit my song to Paul Worley for review (enough of a hint? Try Google). This guy could actually do something for you, if you have the moolah to spend to take the chance).

You could check around and see if a local band would be willing to include your song in their set list. I'm not exactly sure what that would accomplish, but you could have bragging rights, at least. "Hey, the Jim Bob Trio did one of my songs down at the Buffalo Alice Bar & Grill last night!"

3. Songwriters say it's all about the art.

#@!%&#~|! to that. It's not. It's about the commerce.

All songwriters want to strike gold.

Sure, the "art" is all fun and frolic when you're writing the song. But once you have "that one", you want it to go somewhere. And by "somewhere", I mean, into your bank account.

Yea, they'll all tell you that it's just for fun. It isn't.

Do you do stuff for no reward? I mean, other than laundry and washing dishes, which, unfortunately, we all have to do, whether we like it or not? No.

We're looking for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow (and how often do you actually see a rainbow, anyway?)

So, there you have it. The songwriter's dilemma.

I wish I had some answers to share, but I don't. It's a crap shoot....or really, not even that. I did buy three lottery tickets today. My odds are better with those.

Anyway, if anybody is looking for good songs, shoot me an email.

Or barring that, I think I will make it happen.


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