Seeking Songwriting Success: Three Ways Follow-Through Pays Off
Talent is a wonderful thing. On some level, we’ve all got it. However, what separates the success stories from the tragically unrecognized geniuses is what you do after the inspiration is over.
By Cliff Goldmacher
Songwriting is art. Like all art, songs require a healthy dose of inspiration, which is nearly impossible to predict or control. In that way, the spark that results in the creation of a song is a gift but the rest of the process is nothing more (or less) than good, old-fashioned work. By following through in a variety of different ways, you stand a much better chance of achieving the goal of getting your songs out in the world and hopefully generating some income for you.
1. The Song Gets Finished. We all have them: bits and pieces of what seemed like a good start to a song that have languished in notebooks or lost folders on our laptops. This is an unavoidable and necessary part of the creative process, but there comes a time when some of these ideas should be finished. Not all songs come easily and, on occasion, some of the best ones are ideas that just needed a little elbow grease to finish up. By reviewing some of these orphaned ideas from time to time, you’ll often find that there’s something well worth finishing. By following through in this way, you’ll end up with songs that might not otherwise have happened.
2. The Song Gets Demoed. Having a finished song is a victory in and of itself. That being said, the reality of our business is that these finished songs need professional demos in order to give them (and you) a fighting chance of being acknowledged by the decision-makers in the music industry Having a bunch of great songs that aren’t presentable isn’t a viable way of pursing a professional songwriting career. By the way, not every song you write will be demo worthy but for those that are, following through with a plan on how and when to make high quality recordings of them is a big step towards having your songs generate income for you. Like any business, you need to invest money in order to eventually make it.
3. The Song Gets Cut/Placed. Okay, so you’ve got a great song and a beautiful sounding recording of it. Congratulations. However, if only a small group of family and friends ever hear it, then it might as well not exist in the eyes (and ears) of the industry. I’ve talked about this in previous articles, but there is nothing romantic about pitching your songs. It’s work. Still, it is an absolute necessity if you’re hoping to sell your music. Follow-through can take a variety of forms here, including reading industry pitch sheets to find artists looking for new material, seeing which music supervisors are looking for songs for a film or television show and even making sure that an up-and-coming artist in your community (without a record deal) has a chance to put their vocal over the instrumental mix of your existing demo. In other words, get your songs out there. By the way, just in case you think sending your song to someone means your work is done here, it’s the follow-up (and follow-up and follow-up) that separates the pros from the novices. Never assume that just because you’ve sent in your song you can sit back and wait for your phone to ring. I highly recommend placing a note on your calendar to follow up with an email or phone call two weeks later and two weeks after that if you still haven’t heard anything. By following through on your pitches and following through on your follow-through (getting my point?), you’ll give yourself a fighting chance of getting your songs heard — after that, the sky’s the limit.
Talent is a wonderful thing. On some level, we’ve all got it. However, what separates the success stories from the tragically unrecognized geniuses is what you do after the inspiration is over. By digging in, doing the work and following through you’ve got a much better shot at the kind of songwriting success we all dream about.
Cliff Goldmacher is a songwriter, producer, session musician, engineer, author and owner of recording studios in Nashville, TN and Sonoma, CA. Cliff’s site, Educated Songwriter, is full of resources for the aspiring songwriter, including a brand new HD video series.
Cliff’s company, Nashville Studio Live, provides songwriters outside of Nashville with virtual access to Nashville’s best session musicians and singers for their songwriting demos.
You can download a free sample of Cliff’s eBook, “The Songwriter’s Guide To Recording Professional Demos”.
Posted Apr 27, 2012
This has been one of the most read topics by me. It has also been one of the most frustrating ones. Everytime I try to be successful I realize that I might have good material but have no time to pour into the business side of things.
A few songs that I have artist and repertoired with for some time now has now aligned with the copyright termination rights.What are some minimum fees for drafting copyright termination songs?
From the previous.For drafting copyright termination rights notice for publishers.What are some miminum and nominal fees for upgrading the song’s continiuum.
A few songs that I have artist and repertoires for some time now
has aligned with the termination copyright act.
35 year copyright reversion clause ,work for hire ,and the future of music business was expressed very well on the artist house music website.Jay Cooper is chair of the Los Angeles Entertainment Practice of Greenburg Traurig.
Aimp (association of independent music publishers) explained the copyright termination rights clearly,noting that you can do this up to ten years in advance,but must be no less that two years in advance of it’s termination.The available date for the 1978 copyrights is at the end of 2013.
The songs are nice and now I am now revising orchestrating instrumentally for brass,woodwind and percussion recording.
I like this article seeking songwriting sucess:three ways follow-through pays off.Thanks you Cliff Goldmacher. Not long ago I a submitted song to hilltop records.Though maintaining confidence in correspondence getting better,now hilltop is on facebook and with it’s smooth jazz and gospel radio they have going on, is a compliment with your love is good song in perspective speaking.
Thank you james cavin for the sugestion of getting real drums recorded professionally on the tracks.
Hilltop sends a letter to anyone who registers anything with the copyright office. They probably have not read or heard your work so they can’t make any judgment as to whether it has market potential. But they will take your money and do exactly what they say, whatever that is. They’ve been around a long time.
By logging in and clicking on Cavin’s name you can open his ‘Profile’ and “View other posts by this member”. He doesn’t have any (as of 7-14-12). Cavin is selling cabinets.
Hilltop Records,SONGWRITERS OF AMERICA has a Greeting From HillTop Records written on Wednesday,October 13,2010. Introducing the record company with the expressed acknowledgement of having negativity expressed about the independent music production company that helps new and up and comming artist get their music published and most importantly heard.The artist ancillary rights compliments the opportunity for artist and repertoire as with the motto with nashville songwriters association international “It All Begins With A Song”.It’s nice to have worked with one of their workshops.Hilltop at the time was a chosen label that I wanted to a&r a song that they recorded.I presently work the song instrumentally and have a new song that has burgeoned for synchronicity.Hilltop cool radio and hilltop gospel along with the facebook page again do affirm that hilltop is alright.To have a record company that you can learn and grow with does have incentives.The mf247 is interesting to note with HillTop Records.Thanks Gary,for the observation.You did with appreciation brought my attention to Hilltop is now on facebook.It’s nice to see them speaking for up themselves like in their article HILLTOP RECORDS SONGWRITERS OF AMERICA ON Wednesday,October13,2010 with the Greetings from HillTop Records.Encouraging and having a track on the Best of HillTOP#14 released in 2000 “Your Love Is Good” song sung by Ross Winters,the marketing the record company is doing may have roi.I’m encouraged.