Monday, January 24, 2011

The Journey of a Song (Part 1 of 6)

Recently I introduced the business steps that a song must take once it leaves the songwriter's desk. Today I want to focus on the first of those six steps: turning in a song to the publisher.

1. Song is turned into publisher
2. Song is demoed (three months later)
3. Publisher pitches song to artists/labels/managers around town (six months)
4. Artist decides to record song (three months)
5. Album gets mixed and label promotes upcoming release (six months)
6. Album is release, and publisher and songwriter look forward to royalties (six-nine months)

After I write a song, my publisher usually gives me feedback on which lines could be improved. A lot of times songs are turned in without really garnering much attention at all. But that's not a bad thing, because not every song is created equal.

The benefit of writing 3-5 times each week is that you learn that it's OK to write a song and move on to the next song the next day. That's not always easy to do, especially when you pour yourself into each tune.

I won't lie. Sitting in the same room as a publisher while they listen through your song is one of the most nerve-wracking experiences I've ever had (I remember a couple years ago leaving a meeting with bite marks on the inside of my cheek where I had nervously been clinching my teeth). The weak points in a song tend to rise to the surface and sound obvious when you're hearing the song through the publisher's ears. As rough as these meetings can sometimes feel, I've found that they've been helpful in learning how to catch and fix some of the song's weak points before letting the publisher hear my work.

As more songs are written, certain ones rise to the surface. When the time comes book a demo session, a list of potential songs is poured over until the cream of the crop is set in stone. Then the fun part begins, but more on that later.

The publisher also takes care of all the copyright paperwork, allowing the songwriter to focus on their creativity. (Read more about what a publisher does here.) 

Keep writing,


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