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A Log of our 10th Guest Speaker in the Songwriting Lounge - July 28, 1999
with well known author, Co-founder & previous Director of the Los Angeles Songwriters Showcase, John Braheny.

A Short Bio:
JOHN BRAHENY was Co-founder/Director of the Los Angeles Songwriters Showcase, a national songwriters organization, from 1971 until joining forces with National Academy of Songwriters in 1996, and authored the best-selling Writer's Digest book, The Craft and Business of Songwriting. He and Len Chandler produced 20 Songwriters Expos, and provided education and discovery opportunities for thousands of songwriters. John currently works as a consultant for songwriters and the music industry (clients include Taxi, Disc Marketing's Inflight Services for United Airlines, and Musicians Institute). He teaches at Musicians Institute and co-hosts Samm Brown's For the Record , a music industry interview show, on KPFK (90.7 FM) in Los Angeles.

As per usual, we stuck with the "as is" format. John was GREAT! and this chat is FULL of everything you ever wanted to know about songwriting and how to get yourself heard. Stay tuned for a chat date to be announced shortly with JoAnn Braheny, a very knowledgable woman abou this subject in her own right!


-- Log on johnb.log started at Wed Jul 28 17:53:16 PDT 1999
JB Type HERE Hi everybody!
JodiMuse Oops! :-) Say hi to JoAnn in there too.
Douglas HERE (Snicker)
JB JoAnn reporting for duty as the fastest typing fingers in the West!
Douglas John...I just sent out an email to the Iguana mailing list about this chat
JB Thank you ... you are soooo hip.
JodiMuse We should have a "dueling banjo" themesong going here, JoAnn. You and I can duke it out. ;-)
JB Cool, Jodi. Are you the fastest in the East?
JodiMuse You betcha!
JB Whoaaa. This oughta be fun!
Douglas Jo Ann - if you click on the "Float" button in the upper-right corner of the chat window it puts the chat in a seperate window that you can resize.
JodiMuse Oh, it will be. :-) I have no doubt.
Douglas I find the screen a little easier to read when I do that.
JodiMuse Yea! And just so you guys know, any web page addresses that people type in here, if you want to view them when someone types them in, just press the "surf" button right after befoer another url is typed in and another window will open with that url in it.
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JodiMuse Hmm... Did that make any sense at all? (chuckle) Hi there, Kenna!
Douglas Like www.welchwrite.com ? (snicker)
JodiMuse Sure, Douglas. Try it.
Kenna Hey Jodi and Douglas and JB
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JodiMuse JB is John Braheny - our guest speaker tonight, Kenna. Thanks for dropping by!
JodiMuse Hi DP! Good to see you.
Douglas very cool!
DavidPiano Hi all.
JodiMuse Ain't it just? I love this chat interface. :-)
Kenna Nice to be here.
DavidPiano JB is John, right?
JodiMuse Yup!
Douglas So I was checking out www.musesmuse.com (BIG SMILE)
DavidPiano Very nice to meet you John.
JodiMuse (laugh)
DavidPiano Doug - you new here?
JB Very nice to meet you too!
DavidPiano Haven't seen you round.
JodiMuse His wife JoAnn is typing for him so you can say hi to her too - the fastest typin' fingers in the west!
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DavidPiano Hello, JoAnn.
Kenna hey dan and sara
JodiMuse Hi Dan&Sara! Phew! Another moderator has made it.
danNsara hi everyone
DavidPiano Hey Danny, Sara.
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JB Douglas is a buddy of ours too ... new to the chat.
Douglas Friend of John Braheny (I like the sound of that!)
DavidPiano RALPH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
danNsara sorry - just got out of the studio...mixing ran long
JB Hello David
JodiMuse And there's a third! Just waiting for Jeff now... Hi Ralp!
neonralph Hello everyone! Welcome, JB!
JodiMuse No problem, Danny.
JB Hi neon! Don't I know you?
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JodiMuse How do you like the chat so far, Douglas?
DavidPiano Ralph - how have you been?
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DavidPiano Hello Poet.
Kenna ?
DavidPiano Jeff - hey!
danNsara hi JB! Thanks for chatting with us tonight.
neonralph Yes, you do, John! Ralph Torres. How have you been?
JodiMuse Hi Poet! Welcome back. I think we're going to have quite a crowd here tonight. Hi Jeff!
danNsara hi jeff, ralph
Poet Hey all how you doing tonight?
danNsara hi poet
JodiMuse Pretty good, Poet. You?
JB OK Ralph, good to hear from you!
JeffM Hi everybody
JB Hi to all...
JodiMuse Oh! Did you get my e-mail John & JoAnn? Thank you!
neonralph I'm doing great, DP. Thanks!
Poet I am doing fantastic
Poet Busy place this evening
JB Yes, Jodi, and yes, JoAnn is ready to do a chat whenever (except 8/17)...just lemme know.
JodiMuse John's a popular guy. (chuckle)
JB Glad you liked the mag too.
Kenna JB what is your advice to a songwriter getting started in the business? where to start?
JodiMuse They were very cool, JB, yes. Thanks.
JB Where to start? Yeow!
JodiMuse Kenna - we're not quite ready to start yet, ok? Soon.
JB Write LOTS of songs!
JB Too many people want to jump into the biz right away
Poet LOLOL Loved it JB
JodiMuse Just want to have John introduce himself a little first? Sound ok?
Kenna k
JeffM I have 3 minutes till
JB without having their craft together. done.
Kenna surely
JB Hey Jeff, how ya doin?
JeffM Oh, I've got my health
JB Should I go ahead?
JB LOL !!
JeffM Let's wait 2 more minutes, okay?
DavidPiano John - is this getting you a tuna fish sandwich?
DavidPiano :-)
DavidPiano (joke from the book)
JodiMuse John, why don't we start by asking you to tell us a little about how you first got into songwriting and what you did about it?
JB Chuckles... this is one of my tuna fish sandwiches (you have to read the book to "get" this one).
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DavidPiano Hello Lisa.
JeffM Hi Lisa
Lisa Hi everyone!
danNsara hi lisa
Poet hey lisa
Kenna hi lisa
JB I wrote my first song when I was working on a railroad gang, laying steel. Honest, no kidding.
JodiMuse Oooo. I wonder what it was about. ;-)
JB I wrote it about my boss who was a real driver. And no he wasn't John Henry.
JB Boy, Jodi, you ARE fast!
DavidPiano :-)
JodiMuse Psychic too. (giggle)
JB I never did anything with the song except copyright it.
JodiMuse So what made you want to try and make a living from it, John?
JB It wasn't till years later, after being a folk singer for about 6 years, doing
JB mostly traditional styles, including blues and Olde English ballads, that I
DavidPiano Ye Olde Struggling Minstrel.
JB started writing again. First song I got cut was "December Dream" for The Stone Poneys...(Linda
JB Ronstadt's first group).
JodiMuse Very cool!
JB It was a total accident ... but a fortunate one. done.
Poet How did you meet her?
DavidPiano ?
JB I didn't till long after she recorded the song. A mutual friend who played on her sessions had learned the
JB song from me and taught it to her during the sessions.
Poet good songs will out I love it
JeffM Okay, JB -- do you want to give us more of a background about yourself first? Or start right in answering questions?
JB A little background ...
JB Jeff, you have my bio somewhere on your page don't you?
JeffM Sure do, on http://www.lyricist.com/Chat/
JeffM That's the one you sent me
JB Thanks ... and it's also here on Muse's Muse ... so people, take a look at that if you want PLUS
JB tonight I'd be happy to update you with what I've been doing lately, if you'd like.
JodiMuse Oh please do, John!
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JeffM Go for it
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DavidPiano Re hi Neon.
JB I just got a new column in a new magazine called MUSIC BIZ.
JodiMuse Which magazine, John? So we can look for it?
JB Their website is musebiz.com
DavidPiano (Have to add that one to my shopping list now)
JodiMuse I'll have to check it out!
JeffM I like sites with "muse" in their names. The more the merrier. :-)
JB It's a great magazine (pretty to look at too) chock full of practical info for performers and
JodiMuse (laugh)
DavidPiano :-)
JB writers too. Including some great info about contracts.
JB Comes out every 2 months, costs $20
JB per year.
JB I'm writing a series of articles on
DavidPiano Good. . .I've always been curious with the legalese of the music biz. . .
JB casting your songs for the right artists.
JB Just finished interviews for United Airlines (inflight songwriter channel) with
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DavidPiano WB Kenna.
JB Los Lobos, Will Jennings, Billy Steinberg,
JB and lots others.
Kenna thanks
JodiMuse What's your feature called, John? That's one of the magazines you sent me, right? Looks great!
JB Working on the new alliance betweeen NAS and Songwriters Guild of America and will answer any questions
JB about that tonight if you want.
JB Feature is called "Song Sense" and will start in issue #4 (August some time).
JodiMuse Ah. Ok. I have Issue 3 here. Was wondering if it was there.
Poet Is anybody there?
JB We're also planning a series of songwriting seminars on the East Coast in October... and
JB that's about it for the moment! So, questions?
DavidPiano Yes, we
JodiMuse Congratulations on the column! And on the alliance too. When are you coming by Toronto? (laugh)
Kenna ?
DavidPiano are letting John speak. . hanging on every word (clutching on text bubbles above John's head)
JeffM Go ahead Kenna, then DP
JodiMuse (Just kidding) That wasn't really a question. ;-)
JeffM To raise your hand to ask a question, please type a "?" and I'll call on you. Thanks.
Kenna why do you think being affiliated with a songwriters guild is so important?
DavidPiano LOL Jodi. . .you read my mind. . .
JodiMuse I'm Psychic, remember? ;-)
Lisa ?
DavidPiano Right. . .
JB Do you mean a songwriters organization in general or The Songwriters Guild?
Kenna besides the obvious - i mean a songwriters organization
JB OK
JB A good local songwriters organization will put you in touch with potential
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JB collaborators in your area.
Poet ?
JB You'll get to hear guest speakers.
JB You'll hear about what's going on in the clubs.
JB And in the industry.
JB Plus it's downright fun.
Kenna guess it would be a way to find out who to pitch to
JB Now you're talking. Yes, if there are other people in the organiz. who have made
JB contact with publishers, producers, etc., hopefully they'll share their war stories.
JB Or good experiences.
JB I see it being increasingly valuable, however,
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JB to stay in contact with ON LINE websites like Muses Muse and Lyricist.com
Kenna i love this forum
JB to have that information available to you regardless of where you live and
JB whether there's a local organization to belong to.
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JB For exactly the same reasons.
JB Done.
DavidPiano Websites can be updated faster than meetings can be scheduled, I guess, as well.
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DavidPiano WB Ralph.
JeffM DP, you're up.
DavidPiano OK.
JB You're absolutely right, David.
JeffM Then Lisa, then Poet
DavidPiano John - First off, I'd like to say I adore the book. It's very informative and put in a digestable manner.
JB Thank you!! So I guess I succeeded!
Douglas Ifigured that was what was happening. Thanks for the info! I keep walking away to prepare dinner and it drops me (LAUGH)
JodiMuse You certainly did, John. :-)
JodiMuse No problem, Douglas. :-)
DavidPiano Anyway, on with the third degree. Would you suggest a writer/artist get in good with a publisher/label as a writer and then say I can record this stuff myself, or get a record deal and say Hey I write too!
DavidPiano And why do you suggest that?
JB Whichever you're the most ready to do.
JB If you're ready to be an artist
JB then, approach the industry as a writer/artist.
JB But, if you're not
JB then proceed as a writer... done.
DavidPiano What if you're ready for neither. . .
JB LOLOLOL.
DavidPiano Which one should you build up to market first?
JB Then GET ready!
DavidPiano LOL
JeffM Okay, go ahead Lisa please
Lisa Where will the SGA/NAS be located (main office) and who will be the president - didn't George David Weiss used to be pres. of NAS? Will he still be part of it? The reason I ask: I'd love to take a seminar with Weiss (big fan of his songs!)
JB Ok ... that's a little like the chicken and the egg ... which of the crafts do you feel happier with?
JB done.
DavidPiano (Putting on Kevlar as we speak)
JB Lisa ..
DavidPiano George David Weiss?!?!?!
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JB I'm a big fan of George's too.
DavidPiano Didn't he write What A Wonderful World?
JB He was always president of SGA (NOT NAS)... Randy Sharp is pres. of NAS ...
JB Weiss is in NYC office and Randy is in LA.
JB SGA has offices in NY, Nash and LA...
DavidPiano Hey Shewfly.
JB He did write What a Wonderful World ... or What a Lucrative Copyright.
DavidPiano LOL
Kenna hehehe
JodiMuse (laugh)
shewfly Good evening
neonralph Lisa, you can view the full details of the alliance at www.nassong.org. From there you can go the SGA site.
Lisa Thanks neon and JB.
JB Yep. Thanks Ralph. by the way, Ralph hosts the NAS website.
Poet You mentioned collaborating, and I was wondering how rare a bird, the composer/lyrisist is today? I also wondered if you are more a composer or a lyric writer?
JeffM Poet?
JodiMuse And it's a beautiful site too!
Poet teach me to spell Please!
JeffM P-L-E-A-S-E
JB Rare bird: No, they are more prevalent than ever.
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JB As for myself, I do both but have been writing books and articles instead, for the
JB past few years.
DavidPiano Hello Grandman.
JB done.
DavidPiano ?
Poet Thanks JB
JeffM Go DP
grandman Hello All
JeffM Hi grandman. We have a special guest tonight, so type a "?" to raise your hand to ask a question
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DavidPiano John - the business section of your book covers mainly the process taken for popular music. Does it differ for instrumental music (if you know) and how so?
DavidPiano Hello Lolee.
JB Welcome to all ... cool to have you all here.
grandman Ok thanks
JB David, the targets are different for instrumental music. Mostly
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DavidPiano More along the pitching part of it.
JB TV and Film via production music libraries ...
JB and music supervisors. Does this answer your questions?
DavidPiano Kinda. I mainly write jazz. . .how would I go about pitching that?
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Kenna ?
JB Do you all know about TAXI?
DavidPiano Or would I be better off (referring to my earlier question) going to a label as an artist and then saying I can write and get publishing and all that sorted out then?
JB TAXI (taxi.com) can help with jazz.
JB Jazz is tougher because jazz artists usually do material from other jazz artists or
JB write it themselves.
DavidPiano Yep. . .
DavidPiano Or rip off the basis of a tune from somebody else!
DavidPiano :-)
grandman ?
JeffM Go Kenna
Kenna how do I know if what I write is good? do i take the advice of friends who love me or songwriters who dont know me when I play?
JeffM Then grandman
JB You would have a hard time getting a label deal unless you do write.
JB Kenna,
DavidPiano Really?
JB Yes, really.
DavidPiano I didn't think that would be the case. . .
DavidPiano Hmmm. . .
JB Take the advice of audience members who DON't know you when you play... ask them
JB if they understood what the song was about and
JB whether they can remember the melody or the title or the hook?
JB That's a pretty objective test to give them.
JB done.
Kenna thanks
JeffM go grandman
grandman What are the ways for getting into the music business for non-performing songwriters?
neonralph ?
JB Grandman, it's getting tight out there ... but
JB there are still ways.
JB Find someone to sing your songs ... someone REALLY good ... and try
JB to shop a deal for them as a singer. Collaborating with popular bands and other
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JB artists in your area is another good way to go ... also finding co-writers who
JB perform... are we redundant enough?
JB done
JeffM go neon
grandman Yes, Thanks
neonralph John, I've been helping to organize an association out here in Riverside....
neonralph ...and the big question everyone has is when will there be Pitch-A-Thons and Cassette Roulettes again?
neonralph WE MISS THEM!
JB I'd love to be able to answer that question , Ralph. We're working with SGA right now
JB on which of the many services of NAS we will be able to continue ...
JB Beyond that, it's an extremely difficult job to
JB get industry people involved like it used to be ...
JB It takes a lot of hours to book those evenings, as you can imagine.
neonralph Oh yes...
JB We'll do the best version of those we can ...
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JB at SGA/NAS. We're missing those as much as you are.
JB done.
neonralph Thanks, I have something to relay to the members. We have a lot of people ready to network!
JeffM ?
JeffM go Jeff
DavidPiano LOL
JeffM What is the topic of your October seminars?
Kenna thats the perks of mediators..
JB Hehehe
JB Topics will be ... JoAnn's "Goosing Your Muse" which involves discussions about your
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JB creative process ... then, John covers various aspects of the
JB Craft and Business of Songwriting ... focusing primarily on
JB Song Dynamics, and Getting Thru The Doors to the Industry ... including opportunities
JB offered by the Internet.
JB done
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Kenna ?
Lisa ?
JeffM Thanks. Are you going to write another article about songwriting on the Internet for Keyboard (I think it was)?
JodiMuseYou know, that was how John and I first met?
JB Not in the near future, however, since they paid me well, I'd love to do another one.
JeffM Go Kenna
Kenna planning any seminars near Memphis in the future?
JodiMuse Lo these many years ago... ;-)
JB Yeah, Jodi. An extra benefit for me.
JodiMuse :-) I probably wasn't the ONLY one you met that way.
JeffM Lo
JB Memphis...not that we know of. Is there a songwriters organization there? John spoke there several
JB years ago ...
Kenna yep
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JB Kenna, contact us later with the info about Memphis and let's set something up!
JB done'
Kenna i will do that...thanks
JeffM Your turn, Lisa
Lisa Is it a bad idea to send demos to artist's personal managers if you have a "letter of introduction" or an "in" from someone on the inside of the Industry who is willing to put in a good word for you - like a performance rights rep. for example? Or will the personal manager just toss the demo in the garbage anyway?
JB Managers are definitely a great way in to the artists. Use every
JB contact you have (climb every mountain) ...
JB Managers, more than anyone else, know the direction of the artist, musically ...
JB and often people don't think to pitch to them. Pity.
JB done
JeffM Next?
Kenna ?
JeffM go ahead, Kenna
Kenna so how do you open the door???
JB One more thing, Kenna... we've known writers who pitched to artist's hairdressers, limo drivers...
JeffM kick it down
JodiMuse lol
DavidPiano Exactly. . .
grandman ?
Lisa ?
Kenna ok, i'm gonna stomp my way into Sam Phillips office and make him listen to my songs!!!
JB Chuckles...I've got an article called "Getting Heard in a No-Unsolicited Material World"
JodiMuse You GO grrl! :-)
DavidPiano :-) That's the spirit!
JeffM and get your tape to his pizza delivery person!
JB It was on the NASSONG.com website ... is it still there, Ralph? done
DavidPiano ?
JB Tell Sam Phillips I love his blue suede shoes.
Kenna thanks again JB
Kenna me too!!!
JodiMuse It's on Hal's site from Li'l Hanks - it's also off of my own in the articles section - http://www.musesmuse.com/articles.html
JB Thank, Jodi. Knew I could count on you.
JeffM Go ahead Grand
grandman Another question for the non-performing songwriter... Any comments on using demo services to make demo tapes?
JodiMuse (Jodi takes a bow. :-))
JB Grandman, yes, demo services can do some great work ... just
JB get a demo of their work before you work with them.
JeffM (and then she takes the violin. and the she makes a dreadful noise with the two of them.)
JB Most of them will also
JB give you tapes of singers that they use for you to
JB choose from too. done
grandman Thanks
JodiMuse<--tickles Jeff- who obviously has too much time on his hands. ;-)
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JeffM Go ahead, lisa
Lisa Is there a comprehensive book that lists artists' producers, A&R reps at their companies, perfomance rights companies and publishers? There are so many books out there but none seem comprehensive enough in terms of cross-references....
danNsara oh my!
JB You're welcome, grandman.
JB Lisa, the best is "A&R Registry" which comes out every 2 months .... (He's looking it up
JB for you ... hang on a second)
JB Phone is (800) 377-7411.
JB They'll send you all the info about it . It's fantastic.
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Lisa Thank you so much!
DavidPiano Sounds like a great source.
JeffM Go ahead DP
Kenna night all...thanks for the great advice JB...i will look for your article and contact you re:seminars later
JB Glad to pass it on... use it in good health.
JeffM bye Kenna
JodiMuse Bye Kenna!
JB Thanks, Kenna.
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danNsara bye Kenna
DavidPiano Is it in a writer's benefit to be able to write many different styles well, or does that tick the industry off in not being able to pigeonhole them?
JB Contact us at nutunes@aol.com
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JB David, it's to a WRITER'S benefit to
JB be versatile, but it's a
JB problem for record labels for ARTISTS to have more than one style. Too much of a
JB marketing problem. done.
DavidPiano Thought so. . .
montana Type HERE?
JeffM Go ahead, montana
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montana John should a songwriter be looking to write for today's market or just write what is natural for them to write
JB Always write what's natural for you to write...
JB Often gearing a song for a specific artist is more of a
JB process that takes place at the demo stage ... you will naturally
JB write in a style that's not far
JB from that of your favorite artist. Those are the artists you should
JB approach first. done.
LDP ?
JeffM Go ahead LDP
LDP Thanks. How can you find out which artists write their own music and which solicit other music?
montana ?
JB That's the topic of my new series of articles in the new magazine "Music Biz." However...
JB the short version is ... get "Billboard" magazine and look at the charts of the style you
JB write in (Country, Hot 100, Hot R&B, etc.) and
JB you will be able to see whether the names of the writers are the same as the names of
JB the artists. done.
LDP thank you
JB You're welcome.
JeffM also, look on the CD packaging for the writers
JeffM Go ahead, montana
montana Is it helpful to pick and artist and focus on their style in order to narrow who it might be pitched to
JB Right, Jeff. That's the other part of the article!
JB Montana, "Focus on their style" -- if you're determined to write for
JB a specific artist,
JB you need to analyze their vocal range,
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neonralph ?
DavidPiano I'm gonna sign off now. John - it was great meeting you, talking to you, you've definitely helped and made me more aware. . .
JB their lyrics (what they like to sing about and don't like to sing about) ..etc.
JB done
JeffM Bye DP, go ahead Ralph
JB Thanks, David. Good luck to you.
DavidPiano Bye all, thanks John,
Lisa ?
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neonralph What's your honest take on the AGE factor when considering the writer vs. artist question? Do "new" artists 35+ have a chance I'm not ready, Jeff! :-/at making a living
neonralph oops...two messages at once...
neonralph tried that cut and paste thing and it didn't work...
neonralph What's your honest take on the AGE factor when considering the writer vs. artist question? Do "new" artists 35+ have a chance at making a living?
JB Ralph, I believe there is still a viable audience for
JeffM That kind of mistake happens at your age, Ralph, don't worry about it
JB 35+ artists. The problem is convincing record labels that those
JB people are buying records. Your best shot may be on the Internet ... and playing live.
JB Jeff, you're funny!
neonralph He's a riot. ;-)
JodiMuse Yeah... for his age. ;-)
JeffM I guess we're ready for you now, Lisa
Lisa Recently a record exec. told me that my songs are not "good for the NY market". But I forgot to ask them - what is the NY market? What kind of songs are needed for the market area I live in? Could you name artists specifically for me as an example of what is meant by NY Market?
JeffM How does she type so fast?
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neonralph Must be youth.
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JeffM Must be
Lisa LOL jeff!
JB Sounds like typical record company B.S., Lisa.
Lisa How do I get around that - or don't I?
JB Unless they're talking about Broadway or cabaret songs ... but
JB don't forget that Garth Brooks did quite well in Central Park!
JB done
JB Show your songs to someone else ... what do YOU think they meant?
JeffM Typical record company B.S.... is it typical for a record company to B.S. a (young) songwriter?
Lisa It was a publisher actually, and she was nice, but I don't know what she meant about NY Market...
JB You betcha.
LDP ?
JB I wouldn't know what a NY Market is either. Oh, well.
JB done.
JeffM Go ahead, LDP
grandman ?
LDP JB, where would you begin if you just wrote lyrics and no music to accompany?
JB LDP, I'd find a collaborator as soon as possible. Look in local
JB college music depts, your local songwriter organization, local clubs ... find already
JB working musicians in your town, check out the demo studios... and music stores... done.
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LDP Thanks, JB
JB Welcome.
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JeffM Go ahead grand
grandman I'm looking at creating a web site for presenting demos of my music, do people in the music industry surf around and where can I list my link that people actually will come across to click to my site?
JB Grandman, you've put your finger on the biggest challenge of the Net. There are
JB established sites like
JB Kaleidospace (kspace.com) ... and
JB IUMA.com where a lot of other artists show their work
JB That's better, I believe, than going strictly on your own ...
JodiMuse I'm actually starting to build a small community for that off of The Muse's Muse, grandman. It's still in its planning stages though. http://www.musesmuse.com/webpages.html if you're interested.
JB Also
grandman Great Jodi!
JB Think of a way to describe your music in a single short phrase
JB that sets it apart and narrows the field somewhat for someone looking for your style.
JodiMuse I create what I call "resume" pages. Online musical resumes. I find them very effective.
JB Great Jodi. Wish you well with that. More...
JB one of the best advantages of having a page is that
JB you can just call someone, or give them a card or send them a note and say "
JB"Check out my site." Easier than sending a demo tape.
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JB done
montana The internet sure seems like it is going to change the way we can get our music out there
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JodiMuse Certainly!
Lisa ?
JB Montana, you said it.
grandman That's what I was thinking. Thanks..
JeffM go ahead Lisa
Lisa Do you suggest just sending demos to Songwriter's Market publishers (listings in your style, that is) or is that not a good idea?
JB Songwriters Market ... is a good resource, particularly for
JB audio/visual music.
...........................Squatty joined............. :)
JB Most major publishers don't list there
JB but all the people who DO list there really do want to hear from you.
JB I've heard from many
JeffM that's good to know!
JB writers who have made contact via Songwriters Market. There are however
JB a lot of small, inexperienced publishers
JB who also list there ... so watch it. It's a good idea to have
...........................Jann joined............. :)
JB someone (lawyer) look at a contract if you're presented with one
JB Also question them
JB about
JB what THEY'VE GOTTEN CUT RECENTLY.
JB done
montana ?
JeffM go montana
Lisa Thanks so much JB..
JB Sure.
montana What is the typical reversion clause nowdays? I had my first contract offered for two songs but with five years and I thought that too long and th epublisher was too new
JB You're right.
JB Two years is about right.
JB It gives
JB the publisher plenty of time
JB to pitch the song
...........................n joined............. :)
JB and it gives the writer time to assess the activity
JB of the publisher. done
............................LDP left ............. :(
n ?
JeffM Go ahead, n
...........................LDP joined............. :)
n thanks. in my experience, it seems that music is divided as an art into an expeirence for the creator and an experience for the audience, and
............................Squatty left ............. :(
LDP ?
n what it seems to me is that when i write more for the audence, say more of an accessible pop song, its an exercise in restraint, while
n when i write more for myself, its an exercise more in extension, trying new things and sort of showing off more. and i was wondering how you have had experiences handling that dichotomy,
n balancing it, if you have had to deal w that in the business.
JB Very common concern, N. I look at it this way:
JB First, there's Self Expression. But the next level is
JB Communication.
JB Self Expression is not a craft, but Communication is.
JB So, what you need to do is put your
JB understanding of communication craft at the service of your inspiration and self expression.
JB done
JeffM nicely put
JeffM Go ahead LDP
LDP JB, what do you think about entering songwriting contests. Are they an effective way to get your material seen?
grandman ?
JB Don't squelch that natural curiosity and adventurousness WHILE you're writing.
JB done
............................neonralph left ............. :(
...........................neonralph joined............. :)
JB LDP, it does depend on the contest. It's important to know who's
n ?
JB judging it, are they active industry professionals, for example. But if
JB But generally speaking, it's not a bad idea to enter contests. You have to balance
JB the cost of entering with
JB the potential outcome. Also, some people really enjoy working to a deadline like that.
JB done
...........................Squatty joined............. :)
LDP Thank you
JeffM Okay, grand...
grandman How does one go about finding a good music lawyer?
JB Do we all start with lawyer jokes now or not?
grandman LOL
JB It kind of depends on where you live...
JB but check your local
JB"bar association" -- not the kind that serves drinks, ok ...
............................Jann left ............. :(
JB and they should provide you with a list of
JB entertainment attorneys. Also SGA/NAS has a list of music attorneys in the
JB LA area. There really are some nice and good ones, honest. No kidding. Really.
............................montana left ............. :(
JB Most songwriter organizations also know who the best local music attorneys are. Done.
grandman How about NY area?
n ?
JeffM We've been at this for quite a while... maybe we should limit this to 3 more questions so we don't completely wear out John?
JeffM Go ahead n...
n its another balance quesion:
JodiMuse Sounds like a good idea, Jeff. :-)
JB Local Bar Association is probably the best bet. It's always the best
grandman Thanks JB
JB to get attorney info from other writers, artists, musicians... done
n how do people who are listening for new talen react to a) a diversity of styles (cause i find my music seems to someimtes be rock, sometimes dance, sometimes guitar pop, etc. ) and b) challenging aspects like strange time signatures in pop songs? cause i want to push those envelopes but im
n afraid to be too complicated and turn off the people im trying to get on my side.
n done.,
JB Jeff, you can't wear us out ... after all these years.
JB N, best way to check this out is
JB with a live audience. If you have a distinctive vocal sound,
JB you can get away with
JB a greater diversity, stylistically, because the major factor is for an audience to be
JB able to IDENTIFY you immediately. Think of all the artists you know who you can
JB identify after hearing only 2 notes! done
JeffM too many
n thanks, JB :)
JeffM any more hands raised in the audience?
JB Also, strange time signatures are a bit risky for dancing... though it can be done ;-)
Squatty ?
JeffM Okay, Squatty
JeffM go ahead
grandman I'm signing off. JB Thanks for your time and advice and to everybody else making these type of things happen on the Internet.... Maybe in the future you'll be able to service refreshments....
............................neonralph left ............. :(
Squatty What is your experience with te A&R services we're seeing lately?
danNsara bye grandman
JB See ya grandman, thanks for coming.
JeffM I DID get thirsty when we were talking about the lawyers above...
...........................neonralph joined............. :)
JodiMuse Where's the bar... ;-)
grandman LOL ;-)
JodiMuse Bye grandman!
JeffM It's every measure, Jodi
............................LDP left ............. :(
............................grandman left ............. :(
n lol
JeffM JB: did you see Squatty's question in all that above?
...........................LDP joined............. :)
LDP test
JB Oops, no we just got it, thanks. Squatty, TAXI is the best. Without question. What are
JB the others you've heard of?
JB done
Squatty Just a few private ones
JodiMuse John? Just quickly - what is it about TAXI that you like?
Squatty a friend of mine in the picture business put me onto someone
JB Private ones are tougher to check out.
Squatty she appears to work mostly with motion picture studios
JB TAXI is conscientious ... honest ... extremely well organized ... and has great screeners from
JB the music industry who they pay well for what is a difficult job. They also
JB have the respect of the music industry who continue to request listings for material. They
JB include producers, publishers, major & indie record labels ... and music supervisors. It's a
JB class act. I've known them since they started.
JB done.
Squatty Thank you!
JodiMuse That's quite a recommendation. :-) Thanks for explaining John.
JB Squatty, people in the film biz may have good contacts among
JB music supervisors for film and television, but still check them out before you give them money.
JB done
JodiMuse There's a new magazine out now too for that sort of thing - called Film Music - www.filmmusicmag.com
Squatty nobody is asking for any up front, and i have a great lawyer for that
JB Oh, yes, thanks Jodi. It's a great magazine and so far, the only one we know of
JB that deals specifically with music for film and tV.
JeffM Why are they called TAXI?
JodiMuse (laugh) Good question!
JB Squatty, in that case, it sounds like you're covered.
neonralph FM's editor just got an iMac...so we'll have to get him to the chat soon!
Squatty Thanks again!
JodiMuse That would be very cool, Ralph!
JB TAXI is your "vehicle" for getting to the music industry!
JB Also makes a neat logo.
JB done
JodiMuse OH!
JodiMuse Wonder why they didn't call themselves "Limo". ;)
JeffM and it was the only god domain left :-)
JeffM good
............................n left ............. :(
danNsara It would be a more expensive service then?
JB Watch, some competitor will start a new A&R service called "Limo." Good idea!
JodiMuse (laugh)
JB LOL
JodiMuse Hmm.. I should go buy the domain of limo.com. :-)
JeffM How about elevator?
JodiMuse (giggle)
Squatty HunkaHunkaBurninlove.com isn't taken yet!
JodiMuse Ooo... What about forklift? ;-)
JeffM No, it sounds like they'd shaft you
JB To take you to the top
JB Ha HA HA
JeffM Okay, who has got one last question for our fine guest(s)?
JodiMuse www.forklift.com I love it. :-)
neonralph ouch
JodiMuse Woah. No takers for the last question? WHy not let Jeff ask the last question since he's been such a fine moderator this evening?
JB Winding up for the pitch...
danNsara here here - go for it Jeff
JodiMuse What do you think, guys?
JeffM I think I did ask the last question :-)
neonralph hey batter batter....
JodiMuse lol So ask another one! Make it official! :-)
............................LDP left ............. :(
JeffM Okay...
JeffM Is there any hope to make it as a non-performing songwriter other than in country music?
...........................LDP joined............. :)
JB Big question. I wish we could answer than on an "up" note.
JB The other opportunities that have actually increased are primarily
danNsara yes, please tell all those LA people to stop moving here!
JB in film and television and I believe those opportunities will continue to
JodiMuse lol
JeffM lol
JB increase and Nashville writers aren't nearly as close to that action as LA writers are so
neonralph Too humid. :-)
JB you really DON't have to move to Nashville after all. done
JodiMuse And on that note...
neonralph Thank you John (and JoAnn) for spending the time here with us tonight!
LDP Whew. Glad to hear that....I'd miss my husband !!
JB We want to thank you guys (and gals) for the best chat we've ever had ... and we've done many. We've
LDP LOL
JeffM thanks, John!
neonralph Rebecca sends her best...
JB had a LOTTA laughs and we're ready to come back to you any time. Good luck to you all.
danNsara thanks for a great chat JB
JodiMuse Thanks very much for coming! It's been a blast - and we do hope to do it again! JoAnn is next, right? ;-) We'll narrow down a date for her soon. :-)
JB Hi to Rebecca too... keep in touch, Ralph!
JeffM Thank you very much for being here tonight. We look forward to having JoAnn on in the future
LDP Thank you JB
Lisa Thanks John. Great chat!
JB Yes, JoAnn's ready! Thank you Jodi ... and Jeff ... for everything.
JB"done"

-- Log stopped at Wed Jul 28 20:05:44 PDT 1999

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