Songwriting

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slides used in my music business class based on Baskerville's book

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Songwriting

  1. 1. Professional Songwriting  Serious?  Study Great Songs of All Styles  General Characteristics: • Memorable? A Hook? • Immediate Appeal • Vivid Phrases/Imagery • Beginning, Middle, & End
  2. 2. Song Success  IF!  A Good Performance  Label Promotes Strongly  Suits Current Tastes  Effective Distribution
  3. 3. Collaboration  Know Your Strengths  Agreement in Writing • What is the Split? • Who Can Make Changes or Mutually Agreed Upon? • Can Contribution be Withdrawn? • How Does Relationship Terminate?
  4. 4. Work Ethic  Tin Pan Alley -was a job  Brill Building Pop - a bit more freedom  Home Studio - discipline, writing schedule, network, promote songs
  5. 5. Revenue Streams  Mechanicals Royalties- $.091 x 1,000,000 = $91,000 (per song) 50/50 split w/publisher= $45,500 each Controlled Composition Clause 75% 75% x .091 x 1,000,000 = $62550 50/50 split = $34,125 ($11,375 difference)
  6. 6. Revenue Streams  Performance Royalties collected by ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, not the publisher  General Split is 50/50 between publisher and writer(s)
  7. 7. Revenue Streams  Film/TV/Cable – Synchronization License  Commercials – Special Use License  Sheet Music – % per copy
  8. 8. Types of Publishing Deals  Sign with Established Publisher - single song or exclusive services  Negotiate with Publisher “co-publishing or split the publishing”  Self-Owned Publishing Co  Manager operated Publishing  Set Up Corporation W/Others  Staff Writer
  9. 9. Staff Writer  Writer receives recoupable monthly income (draw) as an advance against future royalties  Usually pay ½ of Demo costs  1-3 yrs initial term, with options  Work Made For Hire deals more common in film industry, keep the performance royalties
  10. 10. Label Deals  Singer/Songwriter with Label deal is good for Publishers  Pressure to Assign some Rights to Label Publishing Co  “Controlled Composition” Clause (75%)  Avoid Cross-Collateralization
  11. 11. Evaluating Publisher  Reputation for Integrity  Stable Leadership  Who Cares About You (Key Man Clause)  Long Term Track Record  Making Money?  Song Promoter Contacts  Understands Print Business  Foreign License Experience
  12. 12. taxi.com an A&R Service  www.taxi.com  Song Writer Resource/Service
  13. 13. Song Writers Guild  www.songwritersguild.com  Standard Contract  Collect Royalties (5.75% w/$1750 cap)  Reviews Publishing Contracts  Audits Publishers  Administers Catalogs
  14. 14. SGA  Collaboration Services  Estate Administration  Evaluation of Catalogs  Workshops for Writers  Lobbies Congress
  15. 15. Demos  Home Studios, Learn to Use Them  Not More Than 3-5 Best Songs  Vocals Clearly Heard in Mix  Hire a Singer If Your Skill Lacks  Min. Guitar/Piano; Max. Rhythm Section 1-2 others.
  16. 16. Demos  Some Can Hear Potential, Others Need Song Arranged In Target Style  Demo Recording: name, address, phone, email on EVERY piece;copyright notice; lyric sheet; cover letter
  17. 17. Promotion by Mail  No one opens unsolicited recordings  Names of Publishers in your style from Billboard International Buyers Guide  Get Phone & Address  Call for name of professional manager, be polite to secretary  Write letter for permission to submit (p45), include self-addressed, postage paid answer card
  18. 18. Direct Contact  Visit New York, LA, or Nashville.  Write letter to publishers requesting an appointment. Drop name of any referral  Call to schedule appointment  Write thank you note after appointment
  19. 19. Writers Workshops  Songwriters Guild  ASCAP, BM,I SESAC provide events.

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