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By Julian Velard | Saturday, October 3, 2015

Whatever Happened To Song Form?

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I wrote my first song when I was 15 years old. It was an ode to Pee Wee Herman called, “Pee Wee, Why Can’t You See Me?”

Sadly there’s no recorded evidence of my nascent masterpiece, but I remember it being in traditional verse/chorus form with an eight-bar bridge.

As a sophomore in high school, I knew nothing about song form, let alone bars or beats. It was just what sounded right to me. I spent the majority of my teenage years immersed in the music of the ’60s and ’70s; while everyone else was wearing plaid and listening to Pearl Jam, my Discman had Elton John’s Tumbleweed Connection and Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life on repeat.

By Richard Stim | Friday, March 13, 2015

Songwriters: Here's Why and How to Copyright a Song

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Last year, streaming music services like Pandora, Spotify, and Google Play increased market share by an astounding 42%. At the same time, digital download sales dropped 13 %.

That was good news and bad news for songwriters.

The good news is that streaming services reduce piracy of songs. A Swedish music-business study showed that over half the people who previously downloaded music illegally no longer did so after being given access to a streaming music service. The bad news is that streaming payments per play are miniscule—as Cracker’s David Lowery demonstrated when he posted a royalty statement showing a $16.89 payment from Pandora for over one million plays of his song “Low.”

With streaming on the ascendance and album sales at their lowest numbers since Soundscan began reporting sales in 1991, the copyright value of a song seems to have diminished substantially.

Was David Bowie right when he proclaimed in 2002, “copyright will no longer exist in 10 years”? With less money to be made, is copyright even relevant for songwriters?

The answer is yes. Even with diminished revenues, song copyrights still have a pulse—and it’s a strong one.

By Cliff Goldmacher | Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Professional Harmony: The 6 Rules of Songwriting Collaboration

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For songwriters, the idea of collaborating may be off-putting. That was certainly how I used to feel. The creative process is so personal; how could you share it? And why would you?

But then I moved to Nashville, Tennessee, the co-writing capital of the world. And as I wrote more and more songs, I ceased to think of them each as precious and untouchable.

The truth is that songwriting collaboration can make your work better: It can increase your creative output, expose you to new forms of songwriting, and let you share the burden of creating and promoting your songs.

But there are some rules …

Whether it’s your first co-write or your hundredth, follow these six tips to make it go as smoothly as possible.

By Cliff Goldmacher | Saturday, February 21, 2015

5 Tips For Songwriters: Getting Through the Slumps

2015_02_21_Song1 Whether you’re brand new to songwriting or have been at it for decades, like I have, there are certain things that are universally true. Like this: At various times, songwriting is going to feel like a struggle. You can get lots of tips on making it in the music business from my new lynda.com course Write, Think, and Act Like a Professional Songwriter. But here are a few tips for songwriters to make the process feel like less of a burden:

By Scott Fegette | Thursday, August 21, 2014

Songwriters: Make Royalties from Your Shows with ASCAP Plus

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It’s hard to make a living as an independent songwriter in today’s music industry—and even more so if you’re not already established in the field.

When budgets are already tight, it’s tempting not to register with a PRO (performance rights organization) if you aren’t anticipating enough (or any!) radio play that could net you a royalty check.

But here’s a reality check for you: If you’re a serious songwriter, you really do need to register with a PRO if you ever expect to see a dime for your work.

By David Franz | Friday, July 18, 2014

St. Vincent Sound Guru Teaches lynda.com Course

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Did you catch St. Vincent on “The Late Show with David Letterman” last night? Get an inside look at how the band’s explosive, exhilarating sound is put together with a new course by its keyboard player and programmer Daniel Mintseris.

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