Goodnight Kiss Music (BMI) & Scene Stealer Music (ASCAP)

March 21 - April 12, 2000
TODAY'S TOPIC ~
Find a "Music Goldmine" in Your Own Back Yard

Excuses, excuses, we all make them. But some are easily seen through. Let's take one that's very common to many of our readers.

I CAN'T JUST TAKE OFF FOR NASHVILLE, L.A., OR NEW YORK!
I WANT A MUSIC LIFE, BUT I HAVE A JOB AND FAMILY AND COMMITMENTS.

Ever think about looking in your own back yard? Let's just use this example from a Songwriter's p.o.v., ok?
Although the same philosophy can be applied to any other player, singer, manager, etc. And we'll take a couple of examples of conditions, too.

THE BEGINNER
Scenario 1:
You have this great song "in your head" that would be PERFECT for XXX. However, you don't have any money and you don't know how to get it from your head into a product.
Answer:
First of all, stop kidding yourself that you can compete in this business without funds. You will need money for business cards, tapes, phone calls, stationary, even schmoozing... c'mon, you know this. However, since we are creating the best shot for the scenario, here it is. You are going to have to find someone who can relate to your description of what's in your head. This isn't always easy, but it can be done (usually a sympathetic producer whom you have paid to try to translate for you to tape). But once in awhile you can find a musician friend who is capable of sketching out what you hear to paper or tape to take it up at least one level.

Scenario 2:
You have this great song on paper or tape "sketch", but you don't know what to do next. (You still don't have any money.)
Answer:
Get some money. But, while you are getting some, try taking your "sketch" to a good local band who you feel it would be right for; a singer-songwriter who co-writes, if your song needs any sort of polish (and hopefully one who performs and records); perhaps a church choir director, if it is a gospel or Christian song; a friend who is a music teacher who puts on local shows; start thinking of just who your song might be good for LOCALLY.

Everyone wants Whitney, Celine, Garth, Wynonna, The Backstreet Boys, Ozzy... any household word.... to record their song. The only ones who will get these types of cuts are professionals, probably with some kind of track record or personal inside contact... and BELIEVE ME, it's not going to be someone who has a "perfect tune" in their "head".

Scenario 3:
You have an actual little demo of your song that your friend made for you, but it sounds homespun and you want a demo that sounds like a record. You have $50.00 you can invest, but that's it.
Answer:
Get some money. You really need to evaluate exactly Who/What/Where your song fits in the Commercial Music Business world, if you ever plan to actually see money from it. (If you don't want to make money from it, just skip all the rest of this, and go party. You are already there!)

Money is created from airplay and record sales. Unless you are a Major Act with Major Label support, you won't be getting either of any huge consequence (barring Film and TV, but more about that later). If you can decide on a direction, and what the PERFECT target is for your song, you will better know how to direct the demo/master.

You might be able to find a demo studio that could cut a decent guitar/vocal for $50.00. But that's not probably what you have in mind, so re-write, run the "demo" you have by a few people you respect (who respect you enough to tell you the truth), and get some more money. Start asking around your local songwriting organizations or look in music magazines with local listings to find demo services that will send you a sample tape, so you get a feel for what they might be able to do for your song.

If you want to be the singer of the song, offer to type, sweep, answer phones, pick up drycleaning... whatever might be needed to trade hours with a studio producer/engineer to get your song done right. (Make sure you are really a GREAT vocalist, ok?) This isn't supposed to be an ego stroke... this is supposed to get you something that can compete with the sound quality of a Tricia Yearwood or Mariah Carey master...(ok, ok, realistically, as close as you can get).

THE INTERMEDIATE and ADVANCED WRITER
Scenario 4:
You have a great demo/master, but you have been mailing into the "abyss" for years with no result. You want action.
Answer:
If you keep getting the same "no" over and over, you have two choices. Keep showing it, or write something else. Did you REALLY target that song? Some artists don't sing about "social issues", period..... maybe the ONLY thing they sing is a one-to-one love song. Just because your demo singer and producer made your demo sound exactly like Alabama doesn't mean your song reflects who they are or what they choose to sing about. Does the PRODUCTION reflect today's market? Is the topic TRUELY universal?

What is it about YOUR song that makes it IMPOSSIBLE to say "no" to? (There must be SOMETHING, or
"they'd" be saying "yes", right?)

If there honestly IS no fault, and the song is fresh in music and lyric approach, and it is great by all
criteria, then, honestly, it is just a matter of time, and making sure that you have exposed that song enough
so that it is in "the right place at the right time." That means sending it out over and over again to every
person or opportunity that makes any sense (and maybe a few that don't). Of course (sigh), you will need
quite a bit of money to do this. (That's why writers pitch publishers, so they can do that, but you still need to
find a publisher to pitch!)

If you are not in an Industry town, go to the closest places you have for Industry access, i.e., the local
cable company who does advertisements for their clients (think theme song)... you can prepare for this
by watching some t.v., and seeing what music they are using for what ads. When a concert comes in with an
artist your song is PERFECT for, go early, look for the tour bus, ask for the manager....whomever you can
pass a tape along to (the more, the merrier). At a local venue, they probably do the sound check in the late
afternoon or early evening a couple hours before the show. Check it out. State and County fairs are also
"goldmines" for finding Major Act access. Just THINK about ANYwhere locally you can place your songs.

Get on the phone. You have picked up producer names from the cable and local interview shows where you
might perform, you KNOW your song is perfect for Jenifer Lopez, or you know you are the greatest writer
since Diane Warren. PICK UP THE PHONE. They won't call you back if they don't know you want them to!
Just imagine yourself calling about any other business...as long as you can specifically refer to THEIR
current product, latest release, etc., and your song is HONESTLY targeted for them, chances are good of
them taking it. Sometimes you need to do a little extra homework...i.e., ARISTA records is much more inclined to review your package if you can send it DIRECTLY to an A&R name, as opposed to "Arista Records".

Play your songs for EVERYONE. Who knows what route your mailman services. Who knows who your
trainer at the gym knows. Are you SURE your brother's friend isn't friends with that A&R guy who was
his roomate in highschool?

Scenerio 5: You have just won a grammy, emmy, CMA, tony, whatever, and you are worried about having strong enough material to win next year.

Answer: Call Goodnight Kiss Music for some tunes (we'll still have some, and that will ensure we
vote for YOU for the grammies NEXT year).

Don't quit. It's a process and a path. Just be sure to ENJOY it along the way, so it ALL pays off.

Write and tell me how you found your local goldmine... I AM INTERESTED!

Just my opinion, by the way...
Janet

 

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(C) 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 Janet Fisher Goodnight Kiss Music (BMI) Scene Stealer Music (ASCAP)