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    Talking about, teaching, participating in writing, performing, recording and all things pertaining to music in general, Nashville, Tn. in particular.

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  1. MABBO


    You're sort of in the "grey world" of the modern music business. First of all, yes, technically you, or your publisher issues a "license" so they can use the song, and you can charge a licensing fee for that. The actual fee is around $91. per 1000 copies pressed. Who would own the masters, would probably be who PAYS for the masters. Now, that is where you get into "grey area." This not the "old days" of music. We are now in more of the "free" music era. If you were to approach a lot of artists, who are not on labels, doing independent projects, small budgets, etc. and tell them they owe you nearly $100 for recording it, they would probably drop the song in lieu one of their own songs. Not fair, and not nice, but it is real. Since most artists in this day and age are mainly interested only in recording their own material, finding one more excuse to drop a song is something they do pretty easily. If you are dealing with a reputable label, publisher, artist, etc. (one's with legitimate deals) they will probably already know this and ask you for a license. If they have funding, they have no problem paying the fees. But for the most part, that is not where the majority of artists are now. Most are independent and self funded, so keeping costs to a minimum are essential. Same as owning and controlling the masters. Ownership is usually owned by the person who pays for the recording. But there are often other things that have to be considered. Many studios have multiple pay scales depending on the level of the recording. There is "demo", master demo" and MASTER scales. Each one costs more money. And some charge extra fees for all kinds of stuff. Gets pretty complicated. So it comes down to a conversation you need to have with the artist or their representatives involved. What are they expecting? What is involved? and then you have to decide what it all means to you. For those of us who write a lot of songs, are constantly pitching, and trying to get music "out there", we do our best to make our music as easy to use as possible. Since most people are not going to PRESS UP a 1000 copies, (more like a couple hundred, and then takes nearly a year to sell those, since the majority of people no longer BUY CD'S) we know a lot are not going to go very far. We would hope those artists get picked up by a major or independent with major connections, possibly re-record the song and so all the "owning of masters" is a moot point. And since a lot of us write songs WITH the artists, it is less confusing about who owns what. You are usually SHARING in the ownership. The artist gets their song a little easier to use, and the writer gets mileage on their songs out there a little easier. And there are plenty of instances that someone hears a song from an artist performing it, and a major artist picks it up. Stranger things have happened. The entire music industry now is sort of "make it up as we go along." There are some rules and guidelines, but considering there are A BILLION songs a MONTH released and very, very, few ever go much further than a local CD, web site or download (mostly free) you can cut your nose off to spite your face. My overall suggestion would be to get to know the people you are dealing with, ask them what they are comfortable with doing, and if nessasary, consult an attorney or better yet, a publisher. Most will be willing to talk to you on general information, although not listen to your material. Good luck, MAB (Marc-Alan Barnette)
  2. Hey folks, Over the past couple of weeks, I have been doing a series of videos on FACEBOOK and am developing my own YOU TUBE channel to present things that I personally do in writing, and performing, that might be of assistance to some of you trying to add to your musical arsenal. At this point there are about 12 of the videos that cover, songwriting, guitar playing, networking, Not just in Nashville but also in your home areas. You might want to drop by and see if I have something that might help you out. Feel free to contact me if you need help. https://www.facebook.com/marcalan.barnette
  3. MABBO

    Tapped Out

    Hello everyone, sorry I haven't been back, got sidetracked by snowmaggaddon here in Nashville. I don't get notices on this that someone responds so if I don't get back to you, please feel free to contact me at MBarne4908@aol.com, or here privately. I also have several videos on FACEBOOK addressing many of these subjects. Facebook/Marcalanbarnette.com Joan has asked this: "MABBO, do you have some co-writes you think turned out poorer because of compromises you made sort of unwillingly, because the co-write couldn't proceed until one of you gave in to the other's preference? I'm willing to believe that for every time that happened there were maybe ten or 20 times where it was the opposite. But aren't there some song products you just know would've been better if your preference had held sway?" Joan, not really. What the majority of what I do in co-writing is TEACH the process of songwriting by doing. It is a TEACHING LESSON WITH A PRACTICAL APPLICATION RESULT. My job is to show the participant ways to approach the subject matter, character development, building melodies, direction, avoiding "second verse hell", and wrapping up in a format. So I usually hit my target 98% of the time. I'm generally pretty happy with the outcome, even in some of the weaker songs, they are often one of the better songs the other people have and helps impact what they do in ALL their subsequent songs. It's "teaching a person to fish, instead of giving them a fish." What I have had to do is take weak ideas from the beginning because someone "JUST HAS TO WRITE THAT." It may be a style or title they have lived with for a long time and they have to get it out of their system. It might be a personal situation (someone who died, or a relationship they want to talk about. I once did a song called "SECOND MOM" that one guy was talking about, and while I really didn't think that much of the overall idea, the song turned out well. After we finished I found out that it was about the Mother of his best friend, who was literally his second Mom growing up and who, at the time was dying of Cancer. He did a "go fund me" account and recorded the song and did a video to play for her in her hospital room) So that is something I do that might not be "commercial" and more of a personal side. But I try to make every one stand on their own legs and have had the situation where several turned out MUCH better than I envisioned. I have a CD full of those. LOL! When I am brought in with my friends who are professional or even hit writers, I am brought in for a specific reason. I am very country blues stylewise and so I am brought in to bring those Southern Influences. Two of my co-writers, Joie Scott (Not that Different) and Jim Peterik (Eye of the Tiger, Hold On Loosely) got stuck on a song they were trying to write that was a very southern rock feel. They brought me in to inject a little of the "South" in it. (I'm from Alabama and grew up steeped in Southern rock.) I am known to many as "The BIG CHORUS GUY" and have been brought in for the purpose of JUST WRITING A SINGABLE CHORUS. I'm one of those guys who takes everything as it is presented to me, and one at a time. And for the most part, am pretty satisfied with the results. I guess when I am no longer asked for anything, I'll know I'm no longer doing it. But one of the reasons I can do this, particularly in a very tight time frame (almost everything is written in a two hour framework) is from years, years and decades of constant co-writing. It builds up your stamina, speed and focus, just like going to the gym. You learn by doing. With each song you learn something, and even if the song doesn't turn out to be one of your best, you still try to bring that one to be the best it can be. And you learn when to MOVE ON. There is something to be said for GETTING SOMETHING DONE. And if you look at the overall numbers, (an average successful songwriter will get attention on 5-8% of their overall catalog. So you want a VERY HEALTHY 5-8%. The more you do something..... MAB
  4. MABBO

    Tapped Out

    One of the primary reasons professional writers are professional writers, is because of consistency and output. In order to get to that output, a giant component to that is CO-WRITING. In Nashville, it is a 100% co-writing town. That is NOT because writers can't write on their own. Most all can. But aside from the POLITICAL aspect, the other is to keep a fresh flow of ideas going. If you are writing with multiple people, and run dry, usually someone else is going to have ideas, hooks, grooves. And the attitude of "I have to come up with something" is that same old phrase, "Nessessity is the mother of invention. It keeps your mind moving. We also often WRITE all our ideas, so it might push you in directions you didn't see. In addition, if you are working with others, particularly artists, finding something for THEM, and putting your own ego out of the way, can help you get to different places in your writing. Not to mention that if you have multiple songs going on at multiple times, you increase your output. Putting it into the context of a 2-3 hour writing appointment also increases your endorphans and thereby increasing your output. Even if it is just for the excercise and the songs don't turn out that well, you are still WORKING THE MIND MUSCLE that is going to have to serve you all the time. Then if you look at the overall picture, you see how it takes shape. ACTIVITY=PROXIMITY=OPPORTUNITY If you write a LOT OF SONGS (Activity) each one gets better because you are constantly excercising that muscle. IF you write a lot of songs with other people, it gets you out of yourself and places you and your songs in PROXIMITY of being heard. That leads to more and more OPPORTUNITIES, with other writers, publishers, industry people, AUDIENCES, and therefore increases chances of success. SPEED, FOCUS, ACCURACY. That is what you have to build if you are trying to do this. Co-writing is an essential way to build that. If you want to be a pro, you have to do what pros do. MAB
  5. The general rule of thumb is that "unless you have a song that breaks the top 20 on a SIGNIFICANT CHART (usually BILLBOARD, the rest are fairly shaky in their effectiveness, having a number five on an internet chart with 7 listeners is not really that big of a feat) you will not make enough money to pay for the original demo. Visability is VIABILITY. If you have a song that is heard EVERYWHERE, on radio, every hour, on television, social media, movies, if it is in the "public conciousness" you are going to do well. If not, you are not. That is why you should never base your career or success on financial pay offs. They often don't pay off. The people who do well at this are people who generally are artists, that are performing the songs everywhere, are getting television appearances, are on award shows, have the "offshoot products" related to the song. Having an "all about the BASS" song that ends up in a talking fish is a pretty good indicator that they are doing okay with that one. Or licensing the song to a major commercial or production is a HUGE deal. One of my co-writers and friends is Jim Peterik. I almost can't turn on the Television, or see a commercial, without the very familiar sounds of "EYE OF THE TIGER" in some commercial or scene in a TV show. At one time last year, I counted FIVE COMMERCIALS and three television shows it was featured in on at the same time. So if you can get one of those, you are going to do well. But remember this, the song needs to be a hit FIRST, before companies want to start licensing. MAB
  6. Sometimes people are only wanting "sounding boards." And sometimes the suggestion just might not work. Songwriters are pretty individualistic people. Also people on the "outside looking in" might not be on the same wave length emotionally, and it just doesn't hit the right. But if you ask for advice, you should at least listen. Some people want to get critiques as a "pat on the back." They think that the person doing the critique is going to say "OH MY GOD!!! YOU ARE THE ONE WE HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR!!!!" and take them on to success. Rarely happens, although I have found a couple of people who turned out to be good friends and co-writers through doing critiques for them. People who put things on social networks are genuinely trying to get feedback, but most of the time, don't really find things that help them in their minds. A lot of reasons for it. MAB
  7. Hello everybody and happy New Year. I have not been here in quite a while. Changed out computers and actually forgot about this place, passwords, etc. Until I got some notices on my email about discussions going on. So glad to see all of you. My name is MARC-ALAN BARNETTE and I teach the craft of songwriting and performance, networking and the business of music based in Nashville, Tn. This is one of those questions that come up a lot in songwriting discussions and a lot of things have to be looked at. First of all, sharing songwriting credit is a pretty standard thing in our world and the "real world" of commercial songwriting. If you look at most charting songs, you will find three, four or five names on them. Look in rock and pop, you will find up to thirteen or fourteen names. The reason is that now, everyone involved along the way seem to want credit, because in many cases, they are all responsible in a little way for a song's pathway. You find people now that write "beats", so they are included. Production people that just add sounds, they are included. Managers. attorney's, etc. are all included, and of course, the artists themselves. And often, not many of those actually participated in them. The irony, of course, is that there is NOT more money involved. The cold hard reality is that in STREAMING and other avenues of music, songs with HUNDREDS Of MILLIONS of streams are making in the thousands of dollars, not they hundreds of thousands. But people are being involved in an artist's "branding", so that is becoming part of a team. Just like you see those endless movie credits that go on at the end of a movie that last almost as long as the movie itself, there are a LOT of people involved in everything, and less overall money involved. It comes down to more "street cred" than anything. Your reputation on a major product, might lead to other products, padding a resume, and further jobs down the road. And in a converse, sort of strange way, now you WANT someone to be involved in a song because that could add to the ability of the song to make it's way up the ladder. Having an artist make a simple suggestion on the song's direction, contribute a word or a line, might increase that artist's desire to be involved and record the song. And you can understand this if you look at it logically. All artists are now writers. And some are pretty good writers. When you look at Taylor Swift, Kacee Musgraves, Christ Stapelton, all top earners in the country field, they all had cuts and success as writers BEFORE they were signed as artists. And looking for ARTIST/WRITERS, as opposed to WRITER/ARTISTS, has been the norm for about 20 years now. So having an artist be actively INVOLVED in the writing process or the life of the song is actually the incentive you use to get and keep their interest. It used to be PUBLISHING that would be shared. That is until PUBLISHING no longer meant much. Getting half of a song earning almost nothing due to being downloaded or streamed out of existence, is not really a whole lot of incentive. So like everything in the music business, that has shifted. Now in the subject of getting a critique, or someone making a suggestion and being added as a co-writer, that is going to be a case by case situation and would be talked out among participants long before anything happened on a song. Again, you have to remember the "time frame" from where a song is begun, developed, recorded, produced, advertised, released, etc. can be months or sometimes years. The music industry is like a big, lumbering battleship and nothing happens in any quick manner. So that would be discussed long before. From the point of view of someone who does critiques as part of his living, it would be VERY seldom that they would ask for any credit. In 25 years of doing this, I don't think I've ever heard ONE song I would want to be involved with. Not that they were bad songs (although most are simply mediocre), but that is not the reason for doing critiques. It is simply a different process, more of one of a mentor or teacher. Most songs from the outside world are very very average. They are very very similar to other songs. Writers write what is around them, so they come up with the same subject matter, done the same way, same rhymes, titles, chord structures, etc. Or they just don't really do much to motivate any. The reason is that people who don't do this all the time, or are not in a music center, simply don't hear enough music to realize how average most ideas and songs are. Just not enough input. This is one of the interesting aspects of coming to a town like Nashville with thousands upon thousands of writers and hundreds of thousands or millions of songs. Or going to YOU TUBE or FACEBOOK and seeing the thousands of camera phone videos uploaded a day, of new writers, artists, kids,older people, that are trying to show off their latest creations. When people come here and they hear those songs that they thought they had written and NEVER PLAYED for anyone suddenly being done by ten, fifteen or twenty people in the course of a night, it is quite the eye opener. hearing the same lines, the same attitude and perspective, is a pretty amazing thing. Gives a reality check very quickly. Anyone can write a song. Writing a song that has commercial value, says the ":same thing, yet in a different way" finding the different angle on it, is very different. And as anyone who has listened to the radio lately knows, MOST ALL OF IT SOUNDS THE SAME. So if you are a newbie, trying to get yourself out there, you better be BETTER than what is already out there. Harder to do than most people realize. Usually, as a critiquer, if you find that SPECIAL person, you are going to contact them, ask to hear other songs, get to know them. And this is the key. This is a PEOPLE business, and songs are a by product of that. Like dating and marraige, you are not going to just jump into business with anyone. Dealing with egos, out of control bad habits, complete idiots, or just plain difficult to get along with people, is something nobody has time for. So there is going to be an involved process of getting to know someone before you start getting involved with their music. The co-writing credit issue is something that should be discussed with the participants. Most credible people in the industry will not ask for anything they didn't earn. If they are, then they generally are not credible, or they might think it is so important they want to be involved in it. And having a well known entity put their "stamp of approval" on something might make the difference in a song rising through the pile of contenders to the top of the heap. Not always, but sometimes. Again, has to be taken on a case by case basis. And of course, their are sharks out there, but most of those really just want to get the most money for the least effort. So actually being involved with something to them, might be a liability. Being a part owner of a really mediocre song does no one any good. I hope this helps shine some light on the situation. Good luck to all of you and I'm around if you need. MAB
  8. MABBO

    If you could give just one

    "Try very hard not to suck."-Billy Joel
  9. A thing to remember here. You have one chance to make a BAD first impression. Since you are doing basically a "vanity project" it probably is a good idea to do an "acoustic only" version of your music. Millions do it every month. If your only interest is to hear yourself in a recorded version, give it to friends, and family, that is really the only thing that makes sense. But, if you are wanting to be HEARD by other people, perhaps a publisher, potential co-writers, people that might be interested in recording your songs, the guitar/vocal in this day and age of modern recordings, is the fastest to be turned off by the listening public. That is because of the AMOUNT of product, most of it produced, well polished product, that is out there. It is endless. There are tens of thousands a day released online, billions in a month. So the effect has been one of numbing our senses. If we are not challenged by sound, we are on to something else. Now radically "Stripped down" versions of songs, a couple of guitars, light prescussion, harmonies, etc. are fairly common, even some hit records have been made with light production. But they have very good quality and are well approached and envisioned. The final thing I would say is how strongly do you FEEL about your own songs? If they were your children (and they are) would you send them out in the world with little clothing, food, or things to make them able to survive on their own? You never know where they will end up. In the day where links, forwarding, streaming, and other elements are involved, it only makes sense that if you spend the time conceiving them, writing, them, performing them, etc. then it only seems to make sense that you would want to spend some time, effort AND some money, to make them SOUND the best they could be. You just never know. But without any live approach, it is hard to justify spending a whole lot. Finding a like minded person who can give you a little outside opinions and help where it is needed, is always a good idea. Finding someone with a decent home studio and knowledge, might be far worth spending a few hundred dollars to achieve the proper balance. Only two cents worth: MAB
  10. Dave, Are you old enough to remember DISCO? Do you know why that happened? Because DJ's could play the EXACT SAME TRACK over and over in every song. If you go back to the 50's in doo wop groups, they all sounded the same. If you went to the 60's British invasion, they all had the same sounds. Yes, there was a lot of amazing stuff, but most music are copies of other music. We get nostalgic and wish for it to be like "back in our day" but if we really study this, you find a LOT MORE COPIES of songs than originators. All cycles. MAB
  11. It doesn't "fire me up" as much as make me laugh. Trying to protect anything in this era of music, particularly with things like rampant identity theft, and then wanting to have some sort of protections on songs are just kind of academic excercises. I was once told by a major writer, publisher and record company president, "I used to spend the first half of my career worrying about people stealing my songs. I spent the second half of my career worrying that I had something worth stealing." It gets quite silly really when you start hearing hundreds and thousands of songs that are all pretty much the same song, same titles, same rhymes, same melodies, and you begin to wonder what anybody is even worrying about. On the "pro side" I am sure we have all heard the recent "Mash up" where six of the top country songs laid on top of each other being virtually the same song. And many having the same lyrics. You can do that with pretty much every genre of music, Rap, hip hop, rock, pop, blues, etc, it is all pretty much the same. And a WHOLE LOT OF IT OUT THERE. There are countries, particularly Sweden, that are pushing legislation in their legislative bodies to do away with ALL COPYRIGHTS, ALL PATENTS, ALL MATERIAL. It would simply become the property "of the world" once it was put out in the universe. I sat in a panel discussion in 1998 where several major label and publishing presidents and executives were talking about this "new thing coming called the INTERNET, which was going to enable us to be all over the world." On the other side of the Dias, were two representatives of the "tech industry" who just kind of viewed the whole process of copyrights, trademarks, watermarks, and other things with a certain amount of boredom. Finally one spoke out and said "In the future, songwriters are going to have to get used to doing without royalties. Because they won't be there." A very successful songwriter sitting next to me, raised his hand and said "How will songwriters make a living?" The tech guy said VERY matter of factly... "YOU WON'T." That has been coming on and on and now we are in it. So I don't know what the future is even going to be for copyrights. They may simply be gone like the horse and buggy. But I can tell you this for a fact. When you run into the "No unsolicited material" "not accepting outside songs", or being unable to get ANYONE to listen to anything you do, be it publishers, artists, other writers, etc. You can thank things like the rampant lawsuits, such as the one quoted above this post. Everyone has been trying to SUE somebody for STEALING THEIR SONGS. And since ALL legal issues have to be settled BEFORE any royalties can be issued, and these things getting tied up for years in courts, costing millions in legal fees, NOBODY is taking chances on listening to ANYTHING. They are not going to take a chance on a lawsuit. "Ambulance chaser attorney's don't just chase ambulances. People such as myself, who do workshops, critiques and other business with songwriters, have to buy LAWSUIT insurance to indemnify us in case a future lawsuit arises. I, like the majority of the music industry now ,simply don't listen to anything from anyone we don't know. The unending cases, which are almost ALWAYS totally without merit, are thrown out in court. But it takes money to hire lawyers to file briefs to protect ourselves. And that is just not a cost of doing business we are willing to accept any longer. But the Library of Congress collects MILLIONS and probably BILLIONS of dollars on copyright registrations, trademark registrations, patent applications, etc. on songs, books, magazine articles, pamphlets, inventions, trademarks, etc. on things that NEVER get off the drawing board. They love guys that want to fork over $35 per song for registrations. Easy money. So if you feel so inclined, copyright away. But it is going to cost you ever time you do it. it is the reason professionals write 125-250 songs a year but only go through registering a handful of songs,usually under 20, a year. Gets very expensive. And when you have the situation where even a major cut might not pay for the cost of the demo, you tend to get very picky about what you copyright and at what STAGE you copyright it. What if you have to add more writers in order to get a cut? What if you have to include their publishers, or multiple publishers? Then they are going to want part of everything, and you may end up doing it all over again. Just really depends on how much aggravation you enjoy going through. MAB
  12. Hi, Welcome to the BIGGEST WASTE OF TIME SONGWRITERS GO THROUGH. At least the newer or more inexperienced songwriters, because the more you are around this and the more you deal with proffessionals, you realize that #1. We are ALL WRITING THE SAME STUFF, and #2, THE MAJORITY OF SONGS PAY NOTHING AT ALL, and #3. PROFESSIONAL SONGWRITERS GO OUT OF THEIR WAY TO AVOID SOUNDING LIKE OTHER SONGS. You cannot copyright and idea or title. And EVERYTHING HAS BEEN WRITTEN HUNDREDS OF TIMES IF NOT THOUSANDS. Most of the time people are so afraid of someone "stealing their songs" they find out exactly the same thing they are so worried about was written two hundred times BEFORE THEY WERE BORN and probably been a hit in previous decades. Professionals and publishers, rarely even worry about it until something is about to be recorded. One of the reasons is that songs change, lyrically, musically,grooves and different things, EVEN IN THE STUDIO.And you have to attach a form of the song for the library of Congress. So if it changes since you copywrote it, you have to go back and amend the copyright. Exactly HOW MUCH DO YOU LIKE DEALING WITH GOVERNMENT BEUACRACY? The copyright office is backed up about 3 years so maybe you can get your copyright three years from now. But here is the "really big deal." Yuo have to PROVE SOMEONE HAD ACCESS, SOMEONE FINANCIALLY AFFECTED YOU. How are you going to do that? If the song by definition has earned NOTHING then it is not going to affect you. And people in this day and age will just TAKE what they want, and all the copyright forms in the world don't make a difference. That is why you only hear of copyright lawsuits when one major star sues another major star. the Blurred Lines lawsuit would be the most recent. Which never would have even been an issue if the writers, Sam Hunt and Pharrell Williams had not PUBLICLY said that they were PAYING TRIBUTE TO MARVIN GAYE. the songs don't even sound alike.But Marvin Gaye's family thought so,sued, and won. Go to YOU TUBE and find out how many home movies, slide shows, commercials by private people use major hit songs. And find out how much they pay in licensing fees for those. NONE. Google and title and see how many times it comes up. Thousands. And how many people are tuning into your music with the intent on "stealing" your songs? How many million views are you getting? Because that is what it takes to earn enough money to buy a cup of coffee. Would cost you twenty times in legal fees what you would ever make off the song. Or, you could do something like have a rapper, like Frank Ocean, take your existing MUSIC TRACKS that YOU PAID FOR, create a LOOP,and then just put their own lyrics to it, and drop you off YOUR OWN SONG ALTOGETHER. That';s what he did to HOTEL CALIFORNIA and the Eagles had to go through hell and high water to get him to stop it, finally having to get "cease and desist" orders to stop him. And even then, Ocean's response to Frey and Henly were "Screw YOU!!" The only real people that have protection are those that have large legal collection agencies that can monitor and issue cease and desist or collection orders on transgressers. Happens every once in a while, you will see some web site of video with the "removed due to copyright issues" but usually that has already been downloaded thousands or hundreds of thousands of times. The bottom line? Write what you want to write, record what you want to record and DON'T WORRY about someone "stealing your songs." You put it up on web sites, they are pretty much going to do whatever they want to. Not a lot you are going to be able to do about it without spending a LOT of money, and most of that is not going to be recouped.You have to decide how much it means to you. Presonally, as one that has had dozens of titles, ideas, and songs "borrowing" end up on other people's records, and some becoming hits on the radio (WRITTEN BY FRIENDS OF MINE) you know how random all this is. No one conciously steals, as the most famous lawsuit, the GEORGE HARRISON/ MY SWEET LORD/HE'S SO FINE suit proved. Was all accidental. Register songs with the LOC if it makes you feel better. You are technically protected "by the time the pen leaves the paper" according to copyright law. But in the Digital Internet age, trying to monitor over a billion pieces of commuinication a day and police it is physically impossible. Worry about it if you want to, pretty much a lesson in futility. But if you think you have done something no one has done before, good luck. The rest of us would just write more songs. MAB
  13. MABBO

    Song contract

    Dave, You are probably going to find that there is not much in the way of contracts, independent, unsigned artists are going to be interested in. nowadays with CD's, downloads, streams accounting for almost nothing in money, (welcome to the real world of FREE MUSIC) there is not a lot of money or contracts to be dealt with, and having licencing fees, or much in the way of physical agreements are another impediment to getting songs recorded at all. When adding $1000 or more to a small project, artists simply record their own songs. Even with major labels, some of the big streams are paying next to nothing.Pharrel's "HAPPY" was streamed 43 MILLION times on SPOTIFY and made a little over $1200. Most songs or CD projects themselves are paying nothing or you get those magic .0000022 cent checks from SPOTIFY, PANDORA,GOOGLE etc. Get a few hundred million streams and you might be able to buy coffee at STARBUCKS. I would suggest you work on the relationship with the artists, and see what they need. This is not the "writers demand" era anymore. Everyone is a writer, everyone has their own songs and even getting songs considered to be recorded are a pretty tall order. It has been that way for many times where artists are involved more in their songs. You are, however, going about it exactly correctly. Look for up and coming artists, a bunch of them. Andtry to get them involved with WRITING THE SONGS. Giving them a little more proprietary interest is a little more incentive than just trying to shove words in their mouths. The dynamic of the industry has changed radically, and many of the "contracts, rules and regulations, while still being "on the books", in reality no longer apply. it is very much a "do it yourself world" and you have to find your own way to your own niche. Take care and good luck. MAB
  14. MABBO

    My First Open Mic!

    Very good thread. Since it is something I do myself and work with others on a pretty much daily basis, I think I can speak to this one. A three song "showcase" set, is the next step up on the ladder. It is telling you that you have demonstrated enough ability that those who are putting these shows on have enough faith in your to take you to the next step. One main thing you need to do is to NOT MAKE THEM REGRET THEIR DECISIONS. Some things most people forget and hit the walls doing: #1. Not being in tune. Make sure you have an inline tuner or will be in tune before. Be aware that temperature can effect tuning. #2. Talking too much and being BORING. You are brand new. Telling them your name, where you are from and a little bit about your music is fine, but you should let your music do the TALKING FOR YOU. #3. Skipping turn-arounds, guitar solos, etc. of things that are NOT THERE. DON'T BORE US, GET TO THE CHORUS. #4. Keeping your songs relative to your audience. If you are in a coffee house, fighting the huge noise of the latte machines will kill a ballad very quickly. #5. Avoiding too many DEPRESSING subject matter. Don't PREACH, VENT OR WHINE. People still don't know you. Don't be on a soap box. #6. Avoid too many BALLADS. Most singer/songwriter nights are BALLAD HEAVY. They will be about loss, anger, bitterness, depression, and everything under the sun. The political "what is wrong with the world" will be flying. Don't buy into it. Will alienate half the audience. #7. If you have humor or lightness, USE IT. Most people take themselves WAY too seriously. #8. Vary your keys and tempo. Subject matter, tone. Be aware of what the people in front of you are doing, avoid doing the same. #9. STAY in the microphone and ENUNCIATE!!! The biggest failure of most singers is that NO ONE CAN UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY ARE SAYING. IF PEOPLE CAN'T UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE SAYING, THEY CANNOT UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE SAYING. #10. "Try very hard NOT TO SUCK." -Billy Joel. #11. Don't let your highs be too high, or lows be too low. This is just a step. You will goof words, miss chords, just keep going. #12. Have fun with it. Be rehearsed but don't over think everything. On being paid. That is not going to happen until you BUILD a FAN BASE. With millions and millions of people all trying to be performers now, the amount of money any of us are paid as almost dissipated. Being paid happens when you can bring people in, make money for the venue, make the hosts look good, bring in BUSINESS for others. This is HOW you build that. This is a chance to be in front of potential friends and fans. Make sure you meet people and say hello OFF THE STAGE AS WELL. Collect business cards. Send thank you emails. Good luck, MAB
  15. MABBO

    Finding a Top Music Mentor

    John, Yes, this is something very doable. And while I don't want to get into a self promotion here, that is exactly what I do for a living. Music mentors come in all fashions and forms. Often it is people we meet that take us under our wings. Writing or performing with people who are more experienced, will teach a lot by osmosis. But sometimes it is good to sit down with someone to go over specific things you need, just like a sports coach. There are millions who employ golf coaches, baseball, football, soccer coaches to increase their abilities and understanding of the game. My own came before I moved to Nashville,where I met a man who had lived here for ten years before moving to my home town of Birmingham Alabama. Sitting with him for a few weeks, and each day we worked on songwriting. He was teaching me the PROCESS of how to analyze subjects and up my writing level. I had come from the rock world and writing for the country market was very different in the types of songs, story lines and focus. After a few months, he took me to Nashville, showed me around, and produced my first recording session. That led directly to my getting a Shelby Lynne cut my first night in town, so the preparation was definately worth it. It is now what I do for others and has likewise led to people getting publishing and record deals and understanding the nature of the town and business. A lot is about editing, advising, critiques, on all things beyond the song, networking, presentation, and being aware of the political and business nature of all of this. You should look at it from the perspective of getting a guitar, piano or voice lesson. It focuses on what you need to focus on, helps you with what you personally need. But anyone that you work with, should be able to give you some free points first. You should visit web sites, ask for references, see what their own music and efforts have led to. I would do the following: #1. Make a list of some things you personally are having trouble with. #2. Ask questions in an interview form. #3. Contact and get anything you need to know, prices, process, etc. Up front. Whatever you do in music, it is about building relationships. What usually happens is after a little coaching, the mentor, teacher, usually can introduce you to other people, who can take you the next steps and allow you to build your own songwriting universe. Only pay for things if they make sense to you and you get what YOU need. Even if it helps you learn a few things NOT to do, it is usually worth a little expense to find out. If you would like to know more about myself and what I do, or find out other similar services, contact me privately here or MBarne4908@aol.com. Happy to talk to you. Maarc-Alan Barnette