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The Muse's News

Issue 2.2 - May 1999
ISSN 1480-6975

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I n   T h i s   I s s u e :

@-- Editor's Musings
@-- Q&A with Nancy A. Reece from Carpe Diem Copyright Management
@-- Music Reviews - by Ben Ohmart
by Ellen Silverstein. @-- Musical Notes - Songwriting Contests & Market Info. @-- Songwriter in Profile: Brad Roberts of the Crash Test Dummies. This very talented singer/songwriter talks about his experiences and how they shape the music he creates.
@-- Muse's Clues - Songwriting Web sites that inspire - brought to you by Jeff Mallett of @-- On Site Featured Article - An article already online for your viewing pleasure. @-- Classifieds & Useful Services @-- Contact information ================================================================= ISSN 1480-6975. Copyright 1998 - Jodi Krangle. For more contact information, see end of issue. ================================================================= This ezine featured at - the Ezine Search Engine(tm) - ================================================================= Sponsored in part by Samurai Consulting. To set up a mailing list or for UNIX consulting, please contact Bryan Fullerton (Owner) at, or see their website at . ================================================================= Also sponsored by: -------------------------------------------------- LAST CHANCE TO ENTER INTERNATIONAL SONGWRITING CONTEST Attention Songwriters! The USA Songwriting Competition in association with Billboard Publications, Fender Musical Instruments, Musician's Friend and other sponsors would like to invite all songwriters to participate in this year's vent. Entrants stand to win a grand prize of over US$22,000 value in cash and music merchandise. All entries must be postmarked by May 31, 1999. Time is running out! This is your last chance, Hurry! Contact:
--------------------------------------------------- THE BEATS E-ZINE MUSIC INDUSTRY GUIDE POWERED BY ORION, in partnership with IMG has just added 1,800 entries to its database of 23,800 music industry listings with full featured search capabilities. Probably the most indispensable music industry tool on the Net. ---------------------------------------------------- Please visit The Muse's News sponsors as they help to make this publication possible. Thank you! ================================================================= E d i t o r ' s M u s i n g s : ----------------------------------------------------------------- Hi everyone and welcome to another issue of The Muse's News. This particular one is a bit shorter than the publications have been in the past, mostly due to the fact that I took care of announcing all the many MANY songwriting contests in the *last* issue. (Though you'll still find them all online at So hopefully this won't overload your e-mail box and you'll be able to enjoy it thoroughly without swearing at me. ;) (Though, by the end of this "Musing", you may want to tell me to shut up and let you get to the rest of the newsletter. Sorry about that. There's lots to report! :-)) A few announcements to make while I'm here. First off, unfortunately, the contact information for Billy Dechand in last month's Muse's News was incorrect. The correct information is as follows: Muss My Hair Records: 481 Wythe Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11211 I hope you'll check out his site and his CD. He's a very unique performer and songwriter and well worth a looksee. I also wanted to mention Just Plain Folks. If you haven't heard of this organization, you're *really* missing out. Brian Austin Whitney does a wonderful job of organizing a whole bunch of extremely talented people who are "Just Plain Folks". He's about to take another cross-country tour, so if you're in the area, why not drop by and say hi? The web site is a huge resource ( and the newsletter is also full of information that you'll find very useful. (To subscribe, Send an Email to with "subscribe" in the subject field.) It's always great to know you're part of a community and Brian is certainly helping to develop that. I'm a member myself and proud to be one. Maybe one of these days, Brian will get to Toronto (you're reading this, right, Brian? Hint hint hint. :) ) but for now, I simply enjoy receiving the newsletter and hearing about all the wonderful accomplishments of the other members. It's a treat. And like so many other great things on the web, it's *free*. Why not drop by the site and introduce yourself? There are a few services that The Muse's Muse can offer you if you're a musician or songwriter with a web page, or wanting one. For those who already have a web page but want to make sure people can find them in the search engines, you can drop by and take a look at the submission service offered there. For those who don't have a web page but would *like* one, take a look at for a service that might be of use to you. Examples of projects already completed can be viewed from that page. I'll be happy to answer any questions you might have about either service so feel free to ask, ok? I'd like to build up a community of songwriters with their own pages on The Muse's Muse and hopefully, by putting a link to the index of these pages on the sidebar menu of the site, some more traffic will be directed to them as well. This is only in its beginning stages. We'll see how it goes. :-) Pat Pattison's WRITING BETTER LYRICS was our book give-away for this month. A review of the book can be read at in case you missed it when it was first published in The Muse's News. The lucky winner of Pat's book this month is Michael F. Tague who says that, "The songs keep coming to me so I keep playing them and folks keep telling me to keep going with it so I am." Congratulations, Michael! And thanks for subscribing to The Muse's News. Next month's book give-away will be Jerry Cupit's NASHVILLE SONGWRITING. Reviews and further information on the book can be found at This is a wonderful piece of work and if you're a country music songwriter - or just a songwriter in general, the hints you'll find in this book will be invaluable to you. Lastly, a few requests. If you enjoy this publication, feel free to spread it around. If you re-publish it in any form, I'd appreciate your leaving the credit information at the bottom intact, but otherwise, you're welcome to it. Also, if you find a mention of The Muse's Muse or this newsletter anywhere in the media, I'd love to hear about it. And lastly, I'm always seeking contributions for this newsletter and the site itself. If you'd like to write an article, take care of a regular column, suggest a songwriter for the spotlight, or any number of things, please feel free to do so. Your generous support is appreciated. And now, on to the show (uh... issue. Yeah.) Take care everyone! All the best in your musical endeavours and beyond. Back to Menu ================================================================= C O P Y R I G H T & P U B L I S H I N G Q & A : with Nancy A. Reece of Carpe Diem Copyright Management ----------------------------------------------------------------- Question: I was inspired to write lyrics for a new theme song for the Oprah Show. The music was done in collaboration. In reading the fine print for mail/e-mail to Oprah, it states that ANY submissions become property of ABC and can be used without remuneration. So, instead of sending the lyrics for review, I have queried for permission to submit the song (with music) for consideration. What do I need to know about to protect the rights to the song? Is there something, other than copyrighting, that I should do before actually submitting it? Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you. --Debra Flanders Answer: Hello there Debra- what an interesting question. My advice would be to be sure that you have properly registered the composition with the US Copyright office in both a PA Form - for the composition and SR Form - for the sound recording. I would then be sure that it is properly secured under a publishing company (even if it is your own) and registered properly with your Performing Rights Organization. At that point, and only then, would I feel confident about pitching the material, not as the writer, but as the publisher. It should indicate on the cover letter and lyric sheet that the song has already been published and that you are submitting it for consideration of use. You do not want any indication that you are offering a work for hire composition. To do so, would limit your earning potential. I don't know what kind of lyric approach you took, trademarks and rights of publicity may be an issue, but probably not. --------------- OTHER NEW Q&As SINCE LAST MONTH INCLUDE: * Reprint permission for lyrics? An unusual case... * Issues with including songs on a web site? * What are the legalities of "work for hire"? * How do I go about copyrighting my lyrics (in the US)? --------------- ***** Carpe Diem's owner and president, Nancy A. Reece has been involved in the music business since 1983. She was the president of an independent advertising agency for eight years as well as a successful personal artist manager for nine years. She represented the careers of several recording artists and songwriters including those with EMI, Zomba and Liberty Records as well as Benson, Starsong, WoodBridge, Temple Hall and N'Soul Records. She also represented, for a number of years, a Grammy and Dove nominated record producer. Reece has won awards of excellence in print magazine advertising and has been named as one of 2,000 Notable American Women (1995) as well as being listed in the International Who's Who of Professional and Business Women (1993). She was also named Cashbox Magazine's Promoter of the Year (1989). **If you would like to ask Nancy a copyright or publishing question for our continuing Q&A section, please send your e-mail to She can't guarantee she'll get to all of the questions, but she'll certainly try.** Back to Menu ================================================================= M U S I C R E V I E W S : by Ben Ohmart ================================================================= LISA BRIGANTINO - Demo I usually don't review demos, but I thought this might be an interesting change. 4 songs on the tape, 1st up is 'O Sister' which is good female folk. And it seems that the backing voice is Lisa's sister. Interesting - meaning Good - sounds they make. It's like listening to a band in the middle of a park in a small town. 'Blue Jeans' proves the lady can Really strum a guitar. She's an original, with quite a good vocal range. This is a sort of blues song. I have trouble understanding some of the lyrics. But this is a good demo for someone hoping to get signed. She can also rock. 'I Choose Life a Different Way' is a good piece of band business which Should end up on alternative radio if life were just. Perhaps it shall be! My favorite song is the last, 'Holding On For Something'. Reminds me of the songs my mother used to play around the house. That's right, that's why I'm still a Helen Reddy fan today. This song is just beautiful, beautiful music..... Good control over her voice, her ability. That plus all the media attention she's been getting in the mags, I can see her as a Lisa to contend with. She won't sing the theme to 'Titanic II', but her hands are better than Jewel's. Check out her site. A cd's coming. Get it. CONTACT INFO: Hidden Pond Productions, 751 President St. #3, Brooklyn, NY 11215 718-783-5358 ~ ~ --------------- OTHER NEW MUSIC REVIEWS SINCE LAST MONTH INCLUDE: Amanda's Waiting: Wooster Sang: Friendly Fire: Robin Kelly: Christopher Cortez: Adrienne Jones: --------------- ****** Ben Ohmart has had 100s of stories and poems in zines and journals, and had 4 plays produced last year. His lyrics will be on 2 CDs this year, 1 a gothic album, the other a rock album. He's currently writing films, with hopes of having one done in Malaysia soon, and is also trying to break into the prison of television. He's white, 26, single and loves British comedy. He lives in Boalsburg, PA, and enjoys watching rabbits eat his garbage. Contact him at: . **Ben has kindly consented to do music reviews for this publication and also for The Muse's Muse itself. If you have an independently released CD or tape that you'd like to get reviewed, send it off to: Ben Ohmart, P O Box 750, Boalsburg, PA 16827 or drop by his Music Reviews web section at for more details.** Back to Menu ================================================================= F e a t u r e d A r t i c l e : STRONG TITLES, STRONGER SONGS by Ellen Silverstein ================================================================= I have heard many clients say that they don't know how to finish a song. When I ask them what they are trying to say, they generally don't know because they didn't start with a concept. Instead, they just started writing until they got stuck (which usually doesn't take very long). A good way to avoid this is to start with a strong title which will help focus your attention. Once you have the title, a song can often write itself - or at least suggest the direction that it should take. Some titles tell you instantly what they are about such as "Because You Loved Me". When you hear that title, you know that this song is about how wonderful the singer feels because this person loved her and how she felt she could do anything with him in her life. I can't imagine it saying anything else. On the other hand, some titles can clearly be written more than one way. In one of my seminars a client was struggling with a title called "My Best Kept Secret". It was suggested that "My Best Kept Secret" could be about an old woman giving a young woman advice about how the old woman managed to keep her love alive in her marriage for fifty years. Or, it could be about a woman who had a child with a man, and had never told him about it. It could also be about a woman who was in an abusive relationship and she knew she had to get out. But she still loved this man and that's what was keeping her from leaving him. Maybe you can come up with another angle for this title. But the point is, that even if you come up with five ways to write it, at least you've narrowed it down to those five. And you can begin to write a story that is interesting and focused. Unfortunately it is not always possible to start with a title. Sometimes the creative muse strikes, and lines just start to flow out onto the paper. When that happens, look at what you've written and try to summarize it. Then find a strong title that says what your song is about in a nutshell, before going any farther. Again, that will strengthen your song and help keep you from losing your creative focus. Another reason to come up with good titles is that publishers receive hundreds of songs each week with titles like "I Want You" and "I Need You". You'll never get their attention with these kinds of titles; they're generic and boring. You want your song to stand out - to pique the publisher's interest so that he or she will listen to your song. Interesting titles make for interesting songs. And songwriting inherently is about finding a new way to say the same old thing. The best place to start is with a fresh title. It's worth the effort. ****** Ellen Silverstein is a Grammy-nominated songwriter and the CEO of Never Off Key Music. Never Off Key Music is an artist and songwriter development company that offers coaching and consultations, song and CD evaluations, CD Shopping, and workshops and seminars. You can reach her at Back to Menu ----------------------------------------------------------------- M u s i c a l N o t e s : Songwriting Contests & Market Info. In the interest of conserving space, I will only be including changes to this listing in this newsletter. All other contests and market information that have already been listed here, are displayed at & . Please check there regularly for updates! ----------------------------------------------------------------- SONGWRITERS OF WISCONSIN IS HOLDING ITS 12th ANNUAL CONTEST. The contest is judged by 40 music industry professionals such as: Greg Dorschel from SONY-tree music Nashville, Bonnie Lou Bishop a performer from Nashville, Scott Turner from Aberdeen Productions, Nashville, Ted Clark a record producer from Swalmen, Holland and the list goes on. All the details can be found at our web site: . You must be a member to enter the contest, the first song entry is $28.00 which includes a one year membership to Songwriters of Wisconsin. After that the entry fee is $8.00 per song. Entry deadline is May 15, 1999. Send Songs on cassette tape with lyric sheet and entry fee to: S.O.W.I. P.O. Box 1027 Neenah, Wi 54957-1027 For any questions send E-mail to or call (920) 967-0035 ----------------------------------------------------------------- THE SIERRA SONGWRITERS 1999 COMPETITION IS NOW OPEN Finalists will compete live at the festival for cash prizes, commemoratives, and stage appearances at other fine California music festivals. The deadline for entry is June 20th. Please call 209-588-1023, email or refer to our web site at for complete guidelines. The SSF is a songwriters event designed for the audience and songwriters alike to share the experience of original music being performed by the writer, in a full festival atmosphere. Scheduled are both concerts and workshops throughout the 3 days, and unscheduled song circles will no doubt last well into the night. Surrounding the music and rounding out the festival will be artists and craftsfolk, a wonderful children's program, community groups, and fine food and beverages. Family camping in our new high Sierra location is included with a multi-day festival pass. Performers include Alice Stuart & Prune Rooney, The Westerleys, Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer, and many more. Perry Puccinelli Sierra Songwriters Festival 12940 Mtn View Rd Sonora, CA 95370 209-588-1023 Back to Menu ================================================================= S o n g w r i t e r  I n   P r o f i l e : Brad Roberts of the Crash Test Dummies ~ ----------------------------------------------------------------- When you hear the Crash Test Dummies, it's very likely you'll recognize Brad Roberts' distinctive deep voice almost immediately. But the group has also relied heavily upon his song writing and can attribute much of their success not only to their unique sound, but to their unique songs. Here is an interview with this very talented songwriter, singer and performer, conducted via e-mail when Brad and the band were in the Toronto area to help promote the Crash Test Dummies' newest CD, GIVE YOURSELF A HAND I think you'll find that he has quite a unique sense of humour too. ;-) ----------------------------------------------------------------- * Q *: What was your first musical experience as a kid and how do you think it contributed to the music you're making today?  Is there a particular incident that sticks out in your mind as a "defining moment"? ----------------------------------------------------------------- my first musical experiences were probably that of listening to my dad play the piano and my mom singing along. then i began taking piano lessons myself.  but my teacher was a horrid old bitch, so i quit. (years later, as a bratty teen, i egged her house.) at age 8 i began buying those K-tel 22 greatest hits packages. listened to them hundreds of times. at age 10, i bought an archie comic with a story in it about the "cave archies". the last frame showed jughead and reggie sitting around a campfire playing prehistoric guitars, called "plinka plunks". the idea of playing guitar around a campfire was very appealing to me, and made me want to take guitar lessons. at age 12, i bought my first "kiss" record, their third album, called "dressed to kill". i listened to it hundreds of times, and decided i wanted to be able to play guitar just like ace did. so i found a guitar teacher who i liked, and took lessons for about 4 years after that. all of the above are factors which contributed to my growing fascination with music throughout my early years. but the most "defining moment" of my musical life was the realization that i was a loser at school, that i couldn't play hockey, that girls didn't like me, and that the only way i could dig my way out of the land of nerds was by becoming a rock star. which i did. ----------------------------------------------------------------- * Q * I hear that you studied English and Philosophy in University.  What did those studies do for your songwriting?  And how have your philosophies changed since you first started out?  Do you see things differently now then you used to?  Do different things inspire you? ----------------------------------------------------------------- (For the rest of this interview, see Back to Menu ================================================================= M u s e ' s C l u e s : Web Site Reviews by Jeff Mallett ----------------------------------------------------------------- GETTING CONNECTED TO My topic today is the songwriting newsgroup and how to start using it armed with nothing more than your trusty web browser. I'm sure many of you are capable at surfing the web, but aren't familiar with newsgroups at all. Here is the scoop: Years before I'd ever heard of a web, I used to read Usenet newsgroups. Usenet had its grassroots beginnings in 1979 with the linking of a few Unix machines at Duke. Now there are probably millions of machines on Usenet and its simple system for reading and posting news is ubiquitous. The news server I use carries over 30,000 different newsgroups on its news-feed! Newsgroups are like virtual bulletin boards, much like the message boards on some web pages. You can read messages and, if your news server permits it, post new messages or replies to existing messages. Newsgroups are organized in a hierarchy and are named according to their place in the hierarchy. For example,, a newsgroup for discussing song lyrics and where to find them, is inside the music group, which is inside the alt group: alt / | \ music / | \ lyrics Messages posted to a newsgroup are organized in threads. Good "newsreader" software should allow you to explore threads, browsing messages rather than pouring through every single one. Unlike email discussion lists, news messages aren't sent to your email address; in fact, they remain on a server machine until you decide you actually want to read a given message. This is a very efficient system, if you value your downloading time. Now that you know what newsgroups are, why would you care? One very good reason is The newsgroup FAQ tells us this newsgroup "...exists for the purpose of discussing all aspects of songwriting. Anyone who has an interest in songwriting or songwriters is encouraged to participate." Isn't that you? It used to be that unless you were on a Unix machine, you had to search for and download good newsreader software. Now all you really need is a browser: newsreader software is a component of both Netscape Communicator and Microsoft Internet Explorer. You can try typing "" in the address field of your favorite browser to see what happens. Be forewarned though -- to get it all to work you may need to enter some more information from your Internet service provider, such as the address of a news (NNTP) server you have access to. But rather than go further down that path, I'm going to tell you about a website -- yes, this article is still supposed to be about a website -- where you can read and even search archives of That website is: You can surf over there right now and set up a free profile. Here's a recipe for how you can add the songwriting newsgroup to your list of "forums": 1) Click on "my deja news" from the dejanews menu bar at the top of the main page 2) If the topic isn't "My Forums" already, click on "forums" from "My Private Stuff" on the menu of links on the left 3) Select the "Select a group" radio button and click "Add/Remove forum subscriptions" 4) Type in "" in the field and click the "Find Forums" button 5) Check the box for and then click the "Add" button Now whenever you're in the "My Forums" page you can select the radio button and click "Read". Have fun with your new online song pals and tell them I sent you. :-) Peace! Jeff ****** Jeff Mallett is the man behind LYRICIST.COM, an extensive, "no ads" website devoted to helping songwriters find and learn what they need to know about songwriting. Jeff writes, plays, and sings his songs from the bay area of California. Back to Menu =============================================================== " O N S I T E " F E A T U R E D A R T I C L E : CAREER TIPS brought to you by a cooperation between The Muse's Muse and Tag-It ( This is a great place to find up-to-the-minute information on how you can further your music career. Drop by often as the articles and information are constantly changing. (Note: while the article is technically off-site, it's a seamlessly integrated part of The Muse's Muse that's being hosted by Tag-It. They're offering a very generous and useful service.) Back to Menu ================================================================= C l a s s i f i e d s & U s e f u l S e r v i c e s : ----------------------------------------------------------------- AIR MUSIC...THE GREATEST IN INDEPENDENT RELEASES Air Music is dedicated to helping the Independent Artist present their music via the Internet and song placement service. Find your favorite Artist, or submit a CD yourself. Don't miss this opportunity. ----------------------------------------------------------------- RESONATE MUSIC PUBLISHING (ASCAP)IS SEEKING QUALITY contemporary country songs. We need all styles (ballads, mid and up-tempo) for artists such as Brooks and Dunn, Lorrie Morgan, Faith Hill and John M. Montgomery. Send a maximum of three songs on cassette, DAT or CD to: Resonate Music Publishing 7510 W. Sunset Blvd., #1080, Hollywood, CA 90046. If you would like your materials returned, please include a SASE! ----------------------------------------------------------------- SONGWRITERS NEEDED!! DEMOS MADE!! Hey,songwriters!! This message is just for you. Do you need demos for all of your beautiful songs and don't know where to get them or have the time? Then look us up at our website. We are a new music production company with cheap prices catered to your needs. We can work with your budget!! Jeffery Brown: ----------------------------------------------------------------- COUNTRY CONTACTS MAILING LISTS: ATTENTION SONGWRITERS! Writing a great song is hard enough . . .now you have to get it to someone who will CUT IT. We've compiled mailing lists to help you REACH THE UNREACHABLES. Country Record Companies (275)...........$25.00 Nashville Music Publishers (150).........$15.00 Country Recording Artists (300)..........$25.00 Country Artist Producers (60)............$10.00 All of the Above Lists...................$50.00 Please indicate if you desire LISTS or LABELS. Send Check or Money Order to: COUNTRY CONTACTS, PO BOX 22511, NASHVILLE, TN 37202-2511 Louis Daniels: ================================================================= CLASSIFIED RATES: US$2/line/issue. Min. 2 lines, max. 10 lines, where a line = 65 characters including spaces and punctuation. All contracts must be prepaid. Write to: Back to Menu ================================================================= C o n t a c t I n f o & C r e d i t s : ----------------------------------------------------------------- Jodi Krangle EDITOR Kathryn Obenshain PROOFREADER Bryan Fullerton ADMINISTRATOR ----------------------------------------------------------------- The Muse's News is a free monthly newsletter for and about songwriters. Subscribers are welcome to recirculate or reprint The Muse's News for nonprofit use as long as the appropriate credit is given and the ENTIRE text of the newsletter is included (including credits and information at the end of each issue). Others should contact me at All articles copyrighted by their authors. Back issues and other information will be available at: The Muse's News is part of The Muse's Muse, a web resource for songwriters: For further information, send your e-mail to: ----------------------------------------------------------------- - How to place a classified ad, pass on market information or sponsor The Muse's News. - How to subscribe, unsubscribe, etc. - To submit articles,reviews,ideas,etc. SNAILMAIL: Please contact me first at ================================================================= To unsubscribe from The Muse's News, email with "unsubscribe musesnews 'your email address'" in the message body. ================================================================= Thanks to Samurai Consulting for hosting The Muse's News mailing list. More info: or =================================================================
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