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by Janet Fisher, Goodnight Kiss Music

For many years I have been attending Songwriter Expos, conventions and
conferences; early on as a writer/student -- later years as a
screener/mentor/panelist.  There is one thing that I know, from either side
of the dais, that seems to be missing in many of today's conferences --
something re-affirmed by MusicDish's Songwriter Survey last year.

Songwriters and artists want cuts.

Whether it is on a record, in a film, for almost any possible use -- a writer/artist wants their work used, and wants to be able to earn from that
use.  A sorry second is a desire for information about the "how tos".  After
(so many times) years of hard work, a single use is an affirmation that
someone else hears what "you" do, and values it.

I believe the best addition an organizer could make would be presenting
situations where an industry professional is actually looking for specific
material for a project already in motion, or someone who consistently lands
cuts or opportunities -- someone with accessible "ears" and an inclination
to explain what they do or do not need on a regular basis.  Or at least an
Indy who releases product and pays the artist/writers, as opposed to
charging them.

Songwriters and artists want access to the earning end of the music business.

Lately it seems as though many conferences are featuring guests whose main focus seems to be hawking books, CDs, programs, etc..  There is a lot of editorializing -- many times from a point of non-experience.  If the credits were checked, some panelists and teachers have had NO ACTUAL EXPERIENCE EARNING in the music business, yet they are hosted as experts.

Sponsors of these events need to ask, "Are my guests using my attendees as consumers, or are they providing opportunites for my attendees to find success in the industry? Will this guest actually help my attendees get those earning cuts?"

Songwriters and artists want active requests for their material.

One can still be an "Indy" and work within the traditional industry in many,
many cases -- it isn't always "us or them".  Every industry town certainly
has someone locally who is key in these areas of placements and music
uses -- so many professionals are willing to share time and experience, if
one seeks them out.  There is simply no excuse for not having experienced,
active participants when one is representing a conference about the music

Songwriters and artists want to invest their budgets in realistic, potential returns.

I also believe that there are such a plethera of these gatherings any more,
that a writer/artist much be quite selective about how many to attend, and
how much money is prudent to invest in travel, housing, and conference fees
(let alone pitch materials or other required items.)  The greater the
percentage to actually find an earning opportunity, to directly pay for
those expenses invested in attending, the more dedicated the attendee will
be -- as that means there is actually some opportunity to make their money

This is not to say that the educational classes and panels, the how-I-did-it
panels, the critiques, etc., should stop -- no!  Just a request to please
try to find the most qualified and quality professionals available -- and to
recognize the oh-so-obvious need of the writers and artists eeking out their
hard-earned dollars to attend, hoping for a chance to cross over the line
from writer to professional writer, artist to industry-recognized artist.

Songwriters and artists want cuts!

I believe the first conference to employ new technology opportunites, panels
and classes from the actively credible, and traditional opportunities, will
be the most successful and the most well-attended.


2001 - 2008 Janet Fisher, Goodnight Kiss Music, no reprints without written permission, all rights reserved world wide.