Monday, August 22, 2011

The Right Way to Break into the Music Business


Maybe you are a great singer, musician, or simply a writer of songs, and you feel you are ready for the big time. Most people in your position will do one of two things;  They will either load up their belongings and move to Nashville or LA to "wow" everyone with their talent, hoping to become an overnight sensation, or they will stay where they are, and wait for the day someone discovers their immense talent.

Every year thousands of people head to Nashville and LA looking to do just that, and even more simply stay where they are in life, and wait to be discovered.  The one thing most of these people fail to realize is the music business is exactly that, a business, and most overnight successes took many years of hard work, and had to take a lot of rejection

Around fifteen years ago I heard the beautiful voice of sixteen year old Shawna McIlwain; she was a well put together package of singing talent, beauty, stage presence, and a writer of songs. Many years passed before I would find her again.

 When I joined facebook, I decided to look her up and see what happened to her.  To my surprise, she was married, and her and her new husband, formed the hot new Overnight Sensation "Thompson Station" and have the current hit, "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDUOcHg5ijg

I've seen many others come and go, some on to success and others are still working at it, but all of them had to do one thing:  Learn about the business.  Some learned through hard knocks, and others are still in the process.

Songwriting especially, is a very personal thing, and most successful songwriters are also successful co-writers. You can compare co-writing to a marriage except you can't get a divorce. At the same time, co-writing and networking are very important parts of the business, and you can avoid many of the pitfalls, that those new to the business run into, by simply reading about the business you are getting into.

Co-writing, copyright, song contracts, Song plugging, and the agencies in charge of collecting your money for you (BMI, http://www.bmi.com/ASCAP, http://www.ascap.com/ and SESAC, http://www.sesac.com/), are all important aspects, but you also need to know there are sharks circling the waters looking for easy prey, and they would love nothing better than to separate you from your money, and dash a few of your dreams.  Learn what to look for, and avoid being one of their victims.

On this page you will find useful reading material and organizations that will help you as you pursue your dreams, from:  The beautiful meditation and motivational CD for songwriters by Penny Dionne and Troy McConnel, and their book, "Songplugger: The cuts and the Bruises" to "Nashville Songwriters Association International".  These are all great places to start.

Penny is a very successful songplugger (the one that gets your material to the artist) a beautiful spirit, and encourager.  Sometimes the business can be brutal, and depressing and her audio CD will help you through those hard times and put you back on the path of hope.  Rejection is part of the business, and everyone, from Toby Keith to Garth Brooks, have had to face it.

The single most important organization any new songwriter can join is "Nashville Songwriters Association International".  There is probably a local chapter in your state, and if not, you may want to form one.  I joined many years ago, and it was one of the best decision's I ever made, if for no other reason, than for the connections I made in the music industry, and more importantly the wonderful, lifetime friends I made.

Here is a toast to your dreams, follow them with a vengeance ; > )  You can find more useful information at the following links:

http://www.pennydionne.com/index.php

http://www.nashvillesongwriters.com/

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