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About Roger

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  • Birthday March 16

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    Nashville, TN

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  • Lyricist, Composer or Both?
  1. Question about Collaboration

    I've struggled with this my entire 30+ years in Nashville. On one hand, you want to give credit where credit is due, and on the other is does get annoying at times giving writer credit to individuals who contribute little to nothing. For a long time this mostly manifested itself in writing with artists (who really aren't writers, for the most part). I recall one writing session in particular where the "artist" in question stayed in the lounge talking to his girlfriend on his cell phone while I wrote a song by myself...at which point he walked in and said "ok, so let me hear what we wrote today." Conversely, there is a dear friend and co-writer of mine with whom I've had quite a few songs recorded. As I look back at the songs we wrote together, I find that his actual "contributions" were minimal and in some cases even non-existent. However, something magic happened when he and I got in a room together. I would very often had ideas that I had worked on for months and was completely stuck on, then he and I would sit down to write and all of a sudden, BOOM, it became clear how to write the song. For me, that is intrinsic value and I gladly split each and every song we wrote together 50/50 and never regretted it for a second. It really isn't a rule per se, more of an industry-accepted standard practice. The only criteria I have added to the equasion over the years is this: you must be present in the actual writing session, and you have to make some effort to contribute, even if you wind up not having a word or a note in the song. I did on one occasion give someone a part of a song who wasn't there - was a friend who blurted out what wound up being the song title in a conversation. I gave him 15% more out of consideration than obligation. I think it's also important to note the difference between simply being in a conversation with someone and perking up at something they say and thinking "hey, that could be a song", and sitting down with someone and tossing around ideas. In the case of the former, I've never typically felt an obligation to share writer credit for an idea someone gave me without their even recognizing it as a song idea in the first place. When Roger Miller lived in Nashville, the story was that other songwriters followed him around and hung on every word he said, because he was so brilliant he would say great titles in conversation and never even realize he had done it...more than a few hits were written from Roger's "droppings". The latter instance, however, is where I feel a writer's obligation to share credit becomes more significant and tangible. I've seen it lead to some ugly situations (personally and legally) when writer's wind up writing someone else's idea with a different writer after having discussed it or even tried to write it with the individual who came up with it in the first place. As for me, I feel ideas/titles are propriatary when you step into a writing appointment. If I toss out an idea and you love it and want to write it, you have an obligation to write with me and no one else BUT me. If however, I throw out the same idea and you pass, I'm free to write that with anyone else I choose - it also means you can't take my idea to another writer and write it without me. That's really the way it's done here. Sorry to have rambled on so, but I hope this is somewhat helpful.
  2. Interesting theory, but I've never met a writer in my entire career who puts that much thought into what they're doing. Believe you're overthinking it.
  3. Means nothing, basically. It USED to mean what previous posters have said, although there never was an official time frame for a hold. It basically lasted until the artist was finished recording. If you got the cut, then cheers to you and if you didn't your song came off of hold. Nowadays, it really doesn't mean much. Putting a song on hold has become an easy out for people to avoid having to say "no" or "pass". Nobody wants to see a song be a big hit and then have word get around that they passed on it for the artist they represent. Although very few will admit it, not many writers/publishers even honor holds anymore, they are just too leaky a vessel to put much stock in (apologies to Larry McMurtry for using his line from Lonesome Dove). When I got to town, you could get excited over a hold...used to mean you were likely to get a cut. These days I don't even pay attention to them when I get told about them. Sorry if this sounds cynical, just trying to be honest.
  4. Royalties

    What genre do you write? I ask, because different genres approach this different. Typically, if you have written the melody & lyrics, the song is 100% yours. The production (adding other instruments) is just that, production, and is usually taken care of by way of a flat or hourly fee that you pay the producer for his/her services. You should have actually negotiated/discussed this in advance, but it's too late for that now. In SOME genres (urban/rap for example), the producers' work is much more involved and (arguably) creative in regards to the creation of the song itself, and in those genres it is not uncommon at all for the producer to receive songwriter credit for his/her work. By way of example, I live & write in Nashville, primarily for the country market. I write on guitar, but I don't play all that well. When I record a demo, I bring a lyric sheet and my guitar, play the musicians a very rough version of the song, and then they go from there. All the solos, intros, fills, drum patterns, etc. are "created" by the session musicians, but they do not receive (nor do they expect or ask for) writer credit on the songs. That's just the way it's done, and I've been doing it here for over 30 years. It at least USED to be done that way in L.A. (a great book to read is "The Wrecking Crew", about the L.A. session musicians of the 60's/70's that gets into the creative input of session musicians on songs they were never given writer credit on). In the future, never EVER go into a situation such as the one you are in now without having discussed and agreed to the splits and payments in advance. Not doing so only leads to misunderstandings and hard feelings. Hope that helps.
  5. Writer's Block

    Happens to everyone at one time or another. I've never heard a definitive method for getting past it, it seems that everyone has a different approach. Some try to just hammer away and write their way out of writer's block..the "nose to the grindstone" method. I've tried that, but it never worked for me. The only two things that have ever helped in those times when the muse just isn't with me are to either listen to a lot of music that I like & find inspiring, or to completely get away from writing & stop thinking about it - focus on other things, such as reading, walking, travelling, etc. Both have been equally effective, although I find the latter to be more helpful in times when I'm really struggling.
  6. Want to make sure you're completely clear on what I'm saying. As I'm sure you're aware, there are two "shares" in every song, a songwriter share and a publishing share. An individual can only be affiliated as a SONGWRITER with one PRO (at a time, of course...I've been with BMI, ASCAP & SESAC at different points in my own career). It is an exclusive agreement for the songs that individual writes. However, it is possible for the same person to own PUBLISHING companies that are affiliated with as many PRO's as they care to have a company for. So hypothetically, a songwriter, (Bob), affiliates with BMI. All of the songs Bob writes while he is under that agreement are BMI songs, and must be published by a BMI publishing company. But let's say Bob writes a song with an ASCAP writer (Joe) and Joe is not signed to a publisher and doesn't have a publishing company of his own. Bob could set up an ASCAP company, and put Joe's half of the song in there (assuming Joe was incredibly naive and was willing to give his publishing away). Bob would now own Joe's ASCAP publishing share, and Joe would retain his writer's share. The publishing portion has to be the same as the writer portion. Years ago, when I was with SESAC, I was signing a new staff writing deal and it got held up for a month or so because the company I was signing with did not have a SESAC publishing company set up, and it had to be done so I could write there. Hope that helps and that I'm not giving you more info than you need, but I want to make sure I'm saying it in a way that makes sense.
  7. If he's an ASCAP affiliated writer, he can't do anything re: BMI. His writer & publishing share both must be registered through ASCAP. Now if you were so inclined, and if he were willing, you could start an ASCAP publishing company and put his half in that - it's possible to own both an ASCAP & BMI publishing company, but you can only run your songs through the one that you are currently affiliated with. Feel free to message me if that's confusing. RB
  8. You'll have to set up an ASCAP company, you can't run an ASCAP writer's/publisher's share through your BMI company.
  9. Does Meter Matter?

    Great post Alistair (as usual - I wish you'd post something crappy sometime just so I'd know you're human too ) I absolutely concur that meter matters. The disclaimer of course, is that sometimes odd metering can be an effective writing tool (or gimmick, if you will). As an example, a song written by a buddy of mine & recorded by Wynonna Judd...it has a very odd meter to it. Dave Loggins, the writer, told me that he says what needs to be said and adjusts the melody to fit the words...which is completely backwards to the way I intuitively learned to write. I would have argued with him, but one look at his discography silenced any objections I had. Here's a few other links to songs of his. Hope you enjoy. Roger
  10. Janice, Here are links to 3 songs of mine ... enjoy (or maybe "endure")! I Didn't Think Of You At All
  11. In my writing, I try to determine what is necessary information and what is not. If it is necessary, clearly it goes in...if it is not, then I have to decide if the additional info makes the song more interesting, or simply bogs it down by going somewhere it didn't need to go. I will save someone the trouble of pointing out that much of my approach is genre-specific, as I write primarily for one market - consequently my approach is different than it would be for those who write in other genres. As a general rule, I prefer to write conversationally. I take each line and speak it (not sing, not recite,..speak) - if it does not sound like something I would say in a casual conversation, then it usually doesn't make it for me (there are certainly always exceptions). This approach, for me, eliminates the need to dissect a lyric to quite the degree it might otherwise.
  12. Song writers Wanted

    I hate to make assumptions about this kind of thing, but this one seems to obvious for me not to comment. This reeks of an ignorant mindset that I've encountered a lot over the years, that being: "hey, let's have our act sing country - ANYBODY can do that, it'll be a much easier avenue". I agree with Neal (I believe) who said something to the effect of "if she's country, I'm a fish". It's one thing if this young girl was a huge country music fan, and had been her whole life. I doubt that very seriously. This is handlers getting in her ear and telling her that it's much easier to break into the country market. Wait till they find out it takes about $500,000 minimum to get any decent country chart success. Lastly, and I mean this as no disrespect to the members/posters on this site (being one myself), but does it not strike anyone else as odd that songwriter internet forums would be the place a legit producer would go to for material? Seems to me a phone call or 3 to some of the publishing heavy weights in Nashville would make a hell of a lot more sense. Trust me, Sony/Tree, Warner/Chappell, Universal, etc. all have a ton of songs they can't get recorded...they'd love nothing better than a producer to call looking for outside material.
  13. Jimmy Webb wrote a brilliant song with the verses in 3/4 and the chorus in 4/4. Here's Glen Campbell's version of it.
  14. rhyming dictionary

    My fave is the New Comprehensive American Rhyming Dictionary by Sue Young. Available on Amazone for just under $10.
  15. Record labels don't give a damn about hurting your feelings. They're interested in two things primarily: 1) making money, and 2) taking credit for whatever is making money. The hallways at labels are filled with people wanting to get their thumbprint on a successful project so that they can take credit for it and then get a promotion or a raise ("Yeah, that last single? I picked that...the artist wanted something else, but I knew that was the hit"). Sometimes they're right, more often they don't have a clue. It's purely business to them, nothing personal - and they'll never care about your music as much as you do, ever. That's an unrealistic expectation. I find your two posts confusing on this level, though. In your initial post, you said you were worried about 'getting sacked' (assuming you mean 'dropped', 'fired', 'dumped', etc.). In your reply, you suggested that you had made them lots of $$$ in the past. If you in fact have made them a lot of money, then you should have a lot more leeway as to what you do and how you do it - additionally, you'd have to screw up pretty substantially for them to drop you, it wouldn't be something as insignificant as the order of the tracks on a CD. If you've got a history of success with them, tell them to stuff it and do it your way. If not, tell them to stuff it in a much nicer, kinder way that doesn't tick them off.