GHERMING, THE UNPARDONABLE SIN!!!!

GHERMING, THE UNPARDONABLE SIN!!!!

Marc Alan Barnette

"Hey man, can I give you a CD?" is the cry from every new person (and quite a few old hands) coming to this and any other town where there are "outsiders" trying to approach "Insiders" (I use that term laughingly, but it is the perception), at any show, festival, interview, conversation, etc.. Everyone wants to give a CD, business card, phone number, web site, to SOMEONE ELSE.
And the answer is....MAYBE!!!!!!

We are in a weird era. Anyone that has the insurmountable luck of getting a hit song, artist, being involved with anything that is successful, is going to get endless people coming out trying to get "their own foot in the door." But nowadays, EVERYBODY is claiming SOMEONE STOLE SOMETHING FROM THEM!!!!!
And if you write songs, YOU HAVE HEARD YOUR IDEAS, MELODIES, LYRICS, SOMEWHERE!!!! And in many cases, people are wanting to head down the attorney's office, and start filing lawsuits.

"YOU STOLED MY SONG!!!! I KNOW YOU DID YOU HEARD IT ON THE INTERNET WITH THE ONE BILLION SONGS RELEASED THAT DAY AND YOU STOLED IT!!!!"
Now my own take on it. And this usually runs into some controversy. I DON'T FEEL ANYONE CONCIOUSLY STEALS SONGS, AT LEAST NOT FROM UNKNOWNS!" It's insane to think that professional writers, particularly those that have hits, have made money, do it almost on a daily basis, have to scour YOU TUBE, FACEBOOK, REVERBNATION to find ideas, lines, melodies.

WE ALL WRITE THE SAME STUFF!
And before the deluge of people saying "wait, a minute, I can PROVE so and so stole...." I will say that someone first has to HEAR IT WITH INTENT TO DEFRAUD. That us why for the most part, the only time you hear of actual copyright lawsuits go forth, it is one major artist suing another.
RAY PARKER JR. AND HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS
"GHOSTBUSTERS/WANT A NEW DRUG"
GEORGE HARRISON/BRITE TUNES
"MY SWEET LORD/HE'S SO FINE"

There are some famous ones. But the fact that someone comes up with something similar, is just part of it. I've found myself on both sides. Once, in a couple of years, I had thirteen titles, lyric ideas, melodic ideas, end up as hit songs on the radio. And sure. I could have said "HEY THEY STOLE MY SONGS!!!" The only problem is that all but a couple of those, I NEVER PLAYED FOR ANYONE and there was NO WAY THEY COULD HAVE HEARD IT TO STEAL IT.

And I've found myself on more than one occassion, in the middle of something and realize I am subconsciously getting it from something else I heard. I was once playing IN THE ROUND at the BLUEBIRD about to play my newest song that I was so proud of, when i realized the general idea, mood, groove and chord progression was ONE OF THE GUYS IN THE ROUND! I just picked it up accidentally. It happens.

There are about 12 notes, 4-5 emotions, and 6 senses. So we're gonna find the same things to write about. I've found myself working on something and realize it is EXACTLY LIKE SOMETHING I HEARD WHEN I WAS THREE YEARS OLD.

So except for a few occassions which I am sure has happened over the years on purpose, most is TOTALLY RANDOM.
Now I said all that to say all this. One of the main reasons you can't just give out CD's to someone in the industry who you don't really know is a thing known as "GHERMING!'

PRONOUNCED "GURMING", it is the unpardonable sin of Nashville and is a NO NO, until you get to know people. You can't just come up and start handing out CD's. IF someone was to take your CD and EVEN IF THEY DIDN'T LISTEN TO IT, THEY HAVE "ACCESS" and they ended up writing something like yours' they could be sue. "YOU STOLDED MY SONG!!!!"

So for years now, artists, publishers, producers, other writers, who have deals, hits ,are in the circles in Nashville, New York and LA, WON'T TAKE SONGS FROM PEOPLE THEY DON'T KNOW.

Most have seen it at publishers, "NO UNSOLICITED MATERIAL." It stops most of that in it's tracks.
But in this town, you are around hit writers, established writers, producers, publishers, new and established artists all the time. They are on writer's nights, open mics, festivals, meetings, etc. They are all over the place.

So just keep in mind, they CAN'T TAKE UNSOLICITED CD'S.
All of this can lead to lawsuits, lawyers, and years tied up in court. It gets completely nonsensical and has ruined more than one career.

NOW IMPORTANT NOTE.
This does NOT APPLY to OTHER NEWCOMERS, artists, people who are playing writers nights, those who DON'T have deals, or their own inside track. That is the NASHVILLE HANDSHAKE.

You are expected to trade information, and many times CD's.
You want to get to know people, and they get to know you and that is one of the way.
BUT I WOULD ALWAYS ASK PERMISSION, and if they say "No, don't take it personally." Just business. If they can take business card or web site information, do that or GET THEIR'S and follow up away from the event.

Now again, it is NOT THAT HARD to develop relationships to a place that people will ASK for your product. And to be honest, if you are REALLY GOOD at this, people WILL BE ASKING WHERE THEY CAN GET YOUR MUSIC. if they are NOT ASKING, maybe you are not there yet.
I only say this as a form of Etticate and manners, and to not put established people in a bad position to have to say "I can't take anything, cause my publisher won't let me..."

Nobody wants to be a jerk.
So don't make them be.
GERMING. Don't do it. We'll all be happier.

by Marc Alan Barnette
www.marcalanbarnette.com

Marc Alan Barnette