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karmagarda

Songs advice

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Hi All!

 

Newbie here. I have a question around a couple of songs I recorded some time ago if you wouldn't mind sparing a minute or 2 for me!

 

I have a lot of songs gathering dust for a long while, 2 in particular I managed to get recorded... but the usual story - family / work / ... life happened! These songs and a load of ideas are now something I'm looking to start developing. The 2 songs that were recorded were done so with a slight country edge to them, although I'm not sure on the rules in general conversation on how many songs you can post a day so I'll link the main song I'd be interested in people's opinion on initially (although there are only 2 on my soundclick page if it's ok to discuss both?). Anyway, if I am limited to 1 song on my soundclick can you listen to "Time":

 

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=470473

 

My original versions were very acoustic so were more of a "romantic" rock, but when in the recording studio this happened to be the direction they took. So this is throwing my idea on what genre I'd put them in. So, my questions are as follows:

 

  • What genre would you put them in in their current format? I'm not averse to any genre really, I'l accept whatever they might be suitable to.
  • Are there any publishers or companies you'd recommend that are currently accepting submissions that are worthwhile (considering the song I shared)? I'm a complete newbie on publishing so have no idea. But I hear the bigger companies just bin most stuff unless they've taken a DNA sample from you, but maybe there are smaller publishers that you have a better shot at getting stuff pitched with? Should I just spam Nashville with 10 million CDs?  (just kidding!)

 

Thanks in advance!

Conor.

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Thanks David. Irish Pop/Folk might not be a bad punt... seeing as I'm Irish and there's a country/folk twist on the recording! 

 

I've been tempted to get them re-recorded, but if they were worth sending someplace in their current format I'd nearly do so (with another song or 2 depending on what the requirements are these days)

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I have no publisher advice either (sorry!) - but I do have a question. What is it that you want a publisher to do for you? https://www.soundonsound.com/music-business/music-publishing

 

There is a lot that you can do for yourself these days and much may depend on your hopes and expectations. Do you play live regularly and have a following?

 

It may also be worth looking at the Performing Rights Society (PRS) and maybe ASCAP too (even though they are NOT publishers). 

 

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8 hours ago, Alistair S said:

I have no publisher advice either (sorry!) - but I do have a question. What is it that you want a publisher to do for you? https://www.soundonsound.com/music-business/music-publishing

 

There is a lot that you can do for yourself these days and much may depend on your hopes and expectations. Do you play live regularly and have a following?

 

It may also be worth looking at the Performing Rights Society (PRS) and maybe ASCAP too (even though they are NOT publishers). 

 

That's an excellent question. I guess their contacts / network! Outside of actually pitching and getting your song on an album / dvd /etc, I had no idea what exactly a publisher did until I read the above. And from reading it, it seems to be quite a lot of admin! In short I guess I'm looking to offload all that admin side and I just do the creative stuff and try get a bit of a catalog of songs going (even if it's small enough). I also have a day job that I'm pretty certain will always generate more income than this, so it's not about the money. I just think it would be a shame to at least not try do something with some of the stuff.

 

To answer your questions, I don't play live at all anymore, only played live a couple of times many moons ago, so unfortunately no following either. I guess that's a reason why I was thinking publisher. My brother is a songwriter too, and we've discussed creating stuff together and seeing if we can come up with some good stuff. I guess I'm not quite sure what direction to take to be honest, so open to suggestion.

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Caveat: I'm not a pro - strictly amateur - and have made less money than I have spent on music. Hopefully someone with more expertise will step in! 

 

That said, here's what I see and think about how things are right now. 

 

I know a few people who make a living from music. They generally have a lot of ways of making some cash - playing gigs a lot, sometimes in multiple bands as well as solo, recording others, teaching, doing whatever (and they don't make much). What they all do a LOT of is network. A good network of contacts is their lifeblood. It's hard work.

 

Personally, I can make more from my day job and so I treat this as a hobby. I know you have a day job too so this is likely the same for you (especially if you have financial responsibilities). It probably applies to most people on this forum, with some making more or less cash on the side than others, mostly by playing venues regularly.

 

The things is, there isn't a lot of money to be made by the writer from recorded music. There may be a few who can do it if they have the network and work in the right genre, but there are a lot of people chasing those few spots (and most of us don't work in those genres anyway!)

 

You can certainly self-publish. With CDBaby and others around, it's doable. You can even get onto Spotify, etc. The money to be made is small. Some get sales via TAXI and, if you can tap into that, I believe there is some money to be made (though I don't have any experience myself). However, most end up as vanity projects and there isn't much money there :(

 

Or you could get a publisher. I don't have experience of that, so maybe others can comment. The only thing I would say is to take advice from someone with legal experience in the market before signing anything! There are plenty of people out there looking to make money from aspiring songwriters.

 

I don't want to be the bringer of bad news (and I do think you have the talent!) but I do want to temper expectations.

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Be careful regarding 'publishers' - if anyone asks you for money up front, run away.  One of the problems in the music industry today for songwriters is that there are many 'songwriting factories' out there cranking out songs to formulas that have been established to be hits in whatever genre they target.  And these 'factories' have the connections to get their songs in front of the right people to get recorded by professionals.  How much money do these factories make?  I have no idea.

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On 4/3/2018 at 16:22, Alistair S said:

and have made less money than I have spent on music.

 

This has to be true of almost all music lovers even some of the pro's. Music is my fix and I spend money on it like an addict. If I could convince my wife to let me, I would spend far, far more.

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I handed a couple songs over to a publisher as a test some years ago. Those two songs generate about a diner cup of coffee a month. Or did - I haven't checked in so long I don't even remember the name of the publisher. One of the two did get picked up for a compilation, but, meh. 

 

Aside from putting most attention on writing/developing good songs, I would think that it might be more worthwhile for you to develop an online presence. Build a website. (But, of course this is really most useful if you play shows. Without that element, it'll really be a struggle.) Get to know the people who like your music. People will be much more willing to pay for your work if they "know" you, have some rapport with you, some connection, even if it's just virtual. I got to know one Canadian act that literally started by the band going door to door in their town, selling their CDs. Eventually, they pulled other artists into the project, making videos, artwork. Eventually they had their own online mini music show. When I met them, they were in Japan videotaping (mostly fans and Japan itself, which is noteworthy) for a future project and meeting fans there. (Japan and the US make up darn near half of global music sales. Or they did some years ago.) Last I checked in with those guys, they had made enough money to buy a church and repurpose it for their own studio. 

 

So... yeah, I know that's way more than what you're talking about doing. But the point is these guys tried to make it all about getting to know people. I would think that a publisher is just a little something extra you could do on top of everything else, but I don't really know how useful that would be. If you're counting on the publisher finding you deals and places to sell your music, well, that's tough. I would bet that you could do most of it yourself without too much effort. The trick is finding out what you need to do. You could try an experiment like mine, where you offer a couple songs to a publisher, and then take a couple songs and try to do it all yourself. At the least, it would be educational. 

 

But then, maybe you just want to write music, and have it "find" its way into beloved appreciator's hands. Yeah, don't we all! :) 

 

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1 hour ago, The Nameless Untold said:

This has to be true of almost all music lovers even some of the pro's. Music is my fix and I spend money on it like an addict. If I could convince my wife to let me, I would spend far, far more.

Haha, yeah, buying gear absolutely can harbor an addictive drive. Right now, I'm talking myself out of buying the SoundToys 5 collection. They're on sale, and with the student discount, all told I can get it for $200 when the regular price is $500. But... classes are starting soon so I won't have time to do much with music, and I'll need the money for tuition and books, and I have plenty of other software I need to get to know better.... yeah, it's a no-buy, guy, no-buy.... lol 

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A lot of excellent advice guys, thanks for the feedback. You've hit the nail on the head in terms of not doing this as a money making project. It's more about putting some songs out there, even if it costs me more than I make. Better again, I might just break even!

 

I'll take it away and have a think about it, see where it takes me. I like the idea of experimenting with a publisher, and then trying to do it myself!

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Conor, you might want to take a look at the MusicLibraryReport.

https://musiclibraryreport.com

 

It's more about licensing (e.g. which agencies are reliable/trustworthy) rather than publishing, but the question & answer threads there cover a lot of territory, and are chock-a-block full of interesting and useful incidental information. Over the years, the site has become a good knowledge base.

 

If you have songs that you feel are good enough to pitch, you might consider a music licensing agency like, for instance, HitLicense.

http://www.hitlicense.com

 

Joining is free, and every day/week they feature pitch opportunities. It costs $5.00 to submit a song to a pitch. What's good is that they always provide examples of the type of song they're looking for, and you also get to hear which song was selected for a particular pitch. Helps to give an idea of the sort of song music supervisors choose for an advertisement or for film/tv purposes.

 

Donna

 

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You may find this helpful - https://www.bmi.com/news/entry/how_much_would_you_pay_to_advance_your_songwriting_career

It's an article from BMI's website & from what I could tell, gives a pretty honest assessment of the whole "pay-to-pitch" concept.

It deals with publishers & professional song-pluggers, including the big online entities.

It also talks about the dominance of the Nashville market.

A good read ! ;)

 

Tom

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