It's all about the song
What about the Next? - (Part 2) - Things You Can Do
Okay, we’ve analyzed the problems, now what can you do? If you are a non-performer, a musician looking to get off the road, an interested bystander, a “living room writer” writing your inner emotions, and you are trying to find how to “plug in” or interact with the music business, there are things you can do to up the level of your odds. They might not make you a star or make you rich. I really love the people that say “I don’t want to be rich or famous…” I always say, “well you picked the right business for that!” LOL!
But there are always things you can do, to help you along the way. You are not going to start out in the middle or the top. You are going to have to work your way up, even if you have been doing this for years or decades. And for people who are older and claim, “ I don’t have that long…” I’m sorry, but the music business doesn’t operate on your time schedule.
For a lot of people, there might not be a “NEXT.” If songs are not at a certain level to begin with, it’s not going to happen. If your political skills aren’t as good as the politicians you see on television, you better get better. If you are not presenting what you do well, you have got to up your game. And if you don’t do all that, you might as well stay home.
But there are FOUR THINGS you will always deal with.
#1. CREATION OF THE SONG.
#2. PRESENTATION OF THE SONG.
So here are some things to help you work on your game:
#1. FIND AND JOIN YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY.
There are writers nights, talent nights, contests, open mics, open stages, etc. everywhere. Every town, hamlet and city have them.
You have to go WHERE THE WRITERS CONGREGATE. Do a “GOOGLE” search for local shows, consult local entertainment web sites or papers. Keep an eye to songwriter concerts, coffee houses, bars, pubs, clubs, that feature live music. Usually one will lead to people who know where more are. All starts with a first step.
#2. FIND OR START A SONGWRITER’S GROUP.
Organizations like NSAI, (NASHVILLE SONGWRITERS ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONAL) are in almost every town and city in the States, many areas in Canada, the UK, all over. There are usually local “official and non-official” groups. Start your own. Find one, two or three like-minded individuals and get together once a month for coffee and a song swap. Having living room guitar pulls.
Have a “pot luck” dinner, where writers and their families get together.
#3. FIND ARTISTS.
The key to anything now is finding artists. Unsigned, hungry, people out of high school or college, people who are playing the scene. Find what they do and what they NEED. What can you help them with? What can they help you with? Find ways to co-write with as many people as you can. Want your songs to sit on a computer forever or actually be doing something?
If you build relationships hopefully they will listen to your OTHER material. It has to be a “win win” situation.
“B” ARTISTS, SEEK OUT MORE EXPERIENCED WRITERS.
I know it’s hard to believe, but you probably DON’T KNOW IT ALL. There is something to be said to get experience, different viewpoints, ideas from people who have been there. Get out of your own way and open up what you do to others. Maybe they can help you pay for a recording you can’t afford to do. Maybe you can help them with a song they have nowhere to go with.
#4. JOIN ONLINE ORGANIZATIONS.
Everything is online now and places like MUSIC STARTS HERE, JUST PLAIN FOLKS, SONGWRITER 101, SONG TOWN, SONG U, NSAI, SONGWRITER’S GUILD, COLLEGE WEB SITES, as well as many writers, teachers, professors, artists, etc. Everyone has web sites, everyone has product. Get involved with as many as you can.
#5. HELP OTHER PEOPLE.
Can you help promote a singer that you like? Bring people into their shows? Help them sell product, merchandise? Provide a meeting place for a songwriter’s group. Bring some people into a club when they are having a writer’s night. A lot of things can be done and if you want to be a friend, first you BE A FRIEND.
#6. MAKE A TRIP.
At some point, you probably will have to visit a music center. In America, there are three, Nashville, New York and Los Angeles. I always favor Nashville because it is built around songwriting, but there are many more in the other cities and other points across the landscape.
Visit the writer’s nights, open mics. Perform if you are performer and watch if you’re not. Make friends. Build relationships. Nothing happens without it.
#7. GET OUTSIDE OF YOURSELF.
See yourself as other people do. Get reality checks. Without that you’ll never get a royalty check.
8. ENJOY THE JOURNEY.
Why are you doing this if you don’t want to have fun. Don’t take it so seriously. It’s not life or death.
9. TAKE PRIVATE LESSONS.
There are many, your’s truly being one of them, who offer specific services for writing, performing, networking and business. Check into them. For me, my “SONGWRITER TOURS” of Nashville are personal workshops catered around what YOU need. Information is available on my web site, but there are many people who do great things. Check them all out and see what works for you.
How does it happen?
WRITER “A” meets ARTIST “A” at a local pub that has an open mic night. They talk, have coffee, and decide they will meet again to write a song. They start regularly meeting and writing several songs. Artist A, introduces Writer A to some of their friends. They go to shows together. Wait in line. Artist A performs they wrote with Writer A and a one or two of Writer A’s existing songs.
Artist A does some recording in the local area, being helped by Writer A, who has a better job and more disposable income.
Artist A does a local six song CD featuring two of Writer A’s songs. Writer A helps promote Artist A.
Writer A also helps out Writer B and C, who he met through Writer A.
Artist A makes a trip to Nashville after building quite the reputation at home. He/She performs several times. On subsequent trips. Writer A tags along and meets a half dozen inside Nashville artists and writers. They both go to writer’s nights and develop in town connections.
Writer A and Artists A’s reputations rise. A friend of a friend they meet and write with ends up with a publishing arrangement and some of the original songs get folded into an agreement. Writer A has songs pitched to higher level artists, and ends up writing with a few.
Each of the career’s expand and contract, go up and down, but looking back they see where they have advanced because each other’s involvement in each other’s lives. And they have touch countless other lives.
That, my friends, is a CAREER. Any questions?
YOU DON’T CHOOSE MUSIC, MUSIC CHOOSES YOU.
by Marc Alan Barnette