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The Muse's News

Issue 5.9 - December 2002
ISSN 1480-6975

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This issue sponsored by: - Online music courses, music industry jobs, songwriters' network and more!


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

@-- Editor's Musings
@-- Copyright & Publishing Q&A with Nancy A. Reece from Carpe Diem
    Copyright Management
@-- Music Reviews - by Ben Ohmart, David Lockeretz, Stacey Board, 
Ashley Petkovski & Gian Fiero @-- Songwriting Book Review - by James Linderman @-- Musical Notes - Songwriting Contests & Market Info. @-- Muse's Clues - Songwriting Web sites that inspire - brought to you by singer/songwriter & teacher, Irene Jackson. @-- Featured Article - THERE IS A BETTER WAY by Dan Lawrence @-- Composer In Spotlight - Ron Jones @-- On Site Featured Article - An article already online for your viewing pleasure. @-- Classifieds & Useful Services @-- Contact information ================================================================= ISSN 1480-6975. Copyright 1998 - 2002, Jodi Krangle. For more
contact information, see end of issue. ================================================================= Visit for great Muse's Muse products like mugs, mousepads, shirts, and even wall clocks! Start your own store too - with no up front costs! See ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ S p o n s o r M e s s a g e : (Please support the sponsors that support this newsletter! Thanks!) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ TAKE ONLINE SONGWRITING CLASSES AT BERKLEEMUSIC.COM Learn how to write great lyrics. Learn composition and arranging techniques. Develop the skills you need to succeed in songwriting. Master music engraving with Finale and audio editing with Pro Tools. Berkleemusic offers you online courses led by the faculty instructors from Berklee College of Music. You can take the courses online in the comfort of your home or when you are on the road, in hotels, anywhere and anytime. Get access to Berklee professors and other music professionals like you. Learn online and network anytime and anywhere. Berkleemusic offers courses and certificates in five fields of study: Writing, Performance, Music Education, Production and Business. Online Writing courses include such topics as songwriting, composition, arranging, theory and film scoring. Courses start every 8 weeks, which means there is always something of interest about to start. Registration for January classes is still open! For more information visit: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ E d i t o r ' s M u s i n g s : ----------------------------------------------------------------- Well, we finally hit the 12,000 subscriber mark! I'm quite happy about that. Almost five years and tons of information later, here we are. If you're interested in taking a look through the "early years" of The Muse's News, feel free to do so. They're all there at . And of course, if you feel this newsletter is useful enough to recommend to a songwriter you know, I'd really appreciate that. :) I hate winter. Just wanted to get that out of the way. Phew. :) I'm also finishing off this newsletter from the office in my new place, having just completed the move a few days ago. My husband and I are still working out of boxes, but gradually things are shaping up. We quite like it here. For those of you that know the area, we're now in Newmarket - basically a suburb (of about 80,000 people) of Toronto (north of it). I'd love to hear from you if you're in the area. Meanwhile, the raffle winners for this month are Deborah Smith from West Milford, NJ and Kent Christon from Fort Wayne, IN, who have both won a copy of Pat Pattison's, "Songwriting: Essential Guide to Rhyming" (reviewed below), and Jessica Winn from Grand Rapids, MI, who has won a copy of VSS's helpful songwriting organization product (for a review of Lyricist & information on a discount offered, see ). There are lots of new articles and additions to the website, so have a look around when you get a chance. I've also introduced a new section with some gift ideas for the songwriter in your life (yes, you too! :)) in case you're looking for something special this holiday season. That's at . See you all again at the end of December! Have a fantastic holiday, no matter what you happen to be celebrating. All the best, --Jodi Back to Menu ================================================================= S p o n s o r M e s s a g e : (Please support the sponsors that support this newsletter! Thanks!) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ***THE PERFECT STOCKING STUFFER*** LYRICIST! The Songwriter's Best Friend (VERSION 2.2) introduces a first-of-its-kind word processor designed for musicians, songwriters, and poets. The software includes a rhyming dictionary, thesaurus, album categorization, chord charting, guitar chord wizard (generator), song arrangement, On-Line Copyright Link, and much, much more - in a user-friendly package - all for $39.95 USD. Check out the review at . Muse's Muse visitors can take home the product for $5.00 off the regular selling price just for purchasing through the form provided off of the review! For more information, visit the review url above or call Virtual Studio Systems at 888.732.1176 inside the U.S.A. and Canada or 603.726.4499 everywhere else. ================================================================= C o p y r i g h t & P u b l i s h i n g Q & A : With Licensing executive Nancy A. Reece ----------------------------------------------------------------- COLLABORATION Q: I wrote a complete song including lyrics and tune. I knew exactly how the song should sound but I don't write music. In looking for someone to write the notes down that I sang, I came across a small recording studio that would record my songs and inclusive in the fee was a musician to write music to what I sang. This was done, but now I'm wondering if I have to include the musician in the copyright. He did a little more than simply write down notes, and made a very nice arrangement. I don't mind giving him credit nor if the songs sell, a portion of the profits, but I don't want to hand over any part of ownership of my songs to anyone else. I will make other arrangements in the future if it means I have to share ownership of my songs just to get the music written. A: The fees you paid to the studio included the costs of the arrangement. Unless agreed in writing, arrangements are not part of the underlying work, which is the copyrighted compostion. You paid for what is called a work-for-hire and you need not feel like you should give further compensation by transfering partial rights to the copyright. ----------------- REGISTRATION Q: After a song has been copyrighted with the Library of Congress, you decide that there are a few lyric changes you'd like to make. (At this point, the song has not been published.) As the songwriter, can you do so without re-copyrighting the song? A: I would suggest that you register the new work as a derivative. By doing so, you preserve the original lyric. Of course you should check with the copyright office to see if they have other suggestions. ----------------- REGISTRATION Q: First I'd just like to say how much I enjoy and appreciate your site! The >question I'd like ask concerns copyrights. I know when a songwriter creates a lyric, they have an automatic copyright even though it is not registered with the U.S.Copyright office. A lot of people, including myself, are just writing lyrics and then posting them to this site and other music sites for help and critiques, obviously without registering them first because the lyric is a work in progress (some aren't even worth registering). I'm just a little concerned that anyone can just come on the web to a site like this, see a lyric they like, then take the lyric and register the copyright for themselves and reap any benefits the lyric might generate. Let's say someone posted a lyric here, then heard it on the radio in a song a year later; since most people are just getting critiques and trying to improve the lyric before a possible registration, they would have no proof that they actually wrote >the lyric if someone else decided to steal it from the site, and registered it first as if they'd written it. Any thoughts on this? A: The only reason to register a copyright is to have proof of ownership should there be a subsequent infringement. Yes, you are correct, anyone can snag a lyric that has full copyright protection and use it for themselves. This is clear infringement. However, to prove this in a court of law, you would want as much evidence as possible that indeed you did create and own the lyric that was posted. I know of a songwriter that prints out the page with the date stamp on it but it could be argued that a date could be changed on a computer to say anything. Posting anything on the web requires great caution and consideration of the risks. EDITOR'S NOTE: Just to expand on this point, most hit songwriters - or any songwriters that have the clout behind them to get any kind of a song on the radio - already *have* their ideas and don't need to go searching on Internet lyric boards to find them. They're as aware of these laws as anyone and believe me - every one of them would rather be as sure as possible that they'll avoid any lawsuits once their song "makes it". Hit songwriters make their *own* hits. They don't need yours. ;) ***** ABOUT NANCY A. REECE: Since 1998, Nancy Reece has been providing a question and answer forum for Muse's Muse readers. Now all of the articles, forums and Q&A's are being compiled into a book. Nancy is wanting to be sure that you have the opportunity to receive a copy of the book as soon as it is ready. If you are interested in getting an E-mail notification to indicate that the book is ready for purchase, please send your request to . How to Ask a Question: If you have a question for Nancy about publishing or copyright administration, you can e-mail her at Please indicate in the subject of your e-mail that your submission is for The Muse's Muse guest forum, Real Answers to Real Questions. Thanks! Back to Menu ================================================================= M u s i c R e v i e w s : by Ben Ohmart, David Lockeretz, Stacey Board, Ashley Petkovski & Gian Fiero ----------------------------------------------------------------- Erika Luckett – "The New Orleans Sessions" (by Stacey Board) I've had the pleasure of hearing Erika Luckett perform live several times. Each time her playing is exquisite, and her charisma very warm and inviting. That is exactly what has been captured with this CD. Make no mistake: Erika is not your average solo artist playing guitar. She knows how to carve a groove and make her instrument become rhythm, counter melody and canvas for her poetic lyrics. In fact, I really enjoyed getting more of a direct connection to her lyrics and her vocal performance without there being other instrumentation on this particular CD. Remind yourself from time to time that this is all LIVE and you will be even more impressed. A lesser player and talent might not stand up for a 15 song performance but Erika's performances are missing nothing. Her guitar playing is flawless. Yet she's never just out to 'hit the notes'. There is a genuineness and passion that comes across in her music, and it is all here in the record. Her playing is rich and complex, her lyrics engaging and each song unique. Erika is a child of many worlds as her liner notes indicate. Her songwriting incorporates influences you could describe as latin, jazz, pop, folk and a unique synthesis of all the above. You can't pin her down to one genre catch phrase... and why would you want to? If you like intelligent lyrics, exceptional guitar playing and technique, and warm inviting vocals, you will love this CD. ------------------ OTHER NEW MUSIC REVIEWS SINCE LAST MONTH INCLUDE: Bruce & Lisa (by Ben Ohmart) Lori Malia Kats (by David Lockeretz) Debe Welch (by Stacey Board) Kim Acuna (by Gian Fiero) Tony Adamo (by Gian Fiero) Ramsey (by Gian Fiero) The McKenzie Burns Project (by Gian Fiero) Marja Harmon (by Gian Fiero) Pie Eyed Pete (by Stacey Board) Hank Harris (by Stacey Board) My Fine Friend Phil (by Stacey Board) Moses Guest (by Ben Ohmart) Alex Leonard (by Ben Ohmart) Robin Brock (by Ashley Petkovski) Project Mercury (by Ashley Petkovski) Jennifer Greer (by Ashley Petkovski) --------------- ****** For bios on each of the reviewers, see . If you're considering sending in your own CD for review, you can also view that page to find out which reviewer reviews your genre. Thanks! Back to Menu ================================================================= S o n g w r i t i n g B o o k R e v i e w : by James Linderman Songwriting: Essential Guide to Rhyming - By Pat Pattison ----------------------------------------------------------------- I happened to mention to a couple of friends of mine that I was reviewing a book on rhyming this month and one of them said, "What a dumb thing to write a book about, dude, I mean, a word either rhymes with another word or it doesn't... so you don't need a whole book for that. Duh!?!" My other friend was shaking his head in affirmation of this noble theory. This confirms that I really need to do whatever it takes to find some smarter friends. Songwriters need to be expert rhymesters and despite what the rest of the world might think about it being the most natural thing in the world, it's an ability that's got to be developed to the extreme for us to be able to write great songs to the extreme. Enter: the book! Songwriting: Essential guide to Rhyming by Pat Pattison. Pat begins this book by describing the number one "rhyme crime" in the business, transitive verbs. It's the rhyme that you find when a good rhyme doesn't show up so you flip the sentence upside down and jam it into your song like, "My love for you is not a fake, your heart I will now pledge to take". By the time the listener gets to the verb "take", they have to try to remember that the "heart" was the object. It forces the listener to think backwards as they listen forward and this confusion will not attract your listener to your work. Yoda, from Star Wars speaks almost exclusively, using transitive verbs like, "Much to learn, you still have". This may work for Yoda but it has no place in a song, so unless Yoda suddenly gets a major label deal... Back to the book. Pat offers some great solutions for transitive verbs and also solves the other problem that goes along with them which is how to express universal themes without cliché rhymes. This will be amazing stuff to check out. Pat also deals with a problem that I have whereby, I don't really like to write with a dictionary and a thesaurus and a stack of grammar books on my piano but he writes convincingly that a good rhyming dictionary is good to keep at arms reach since rhyming is a purely mechanical thing and may help find you the word you need fast enough to keep your muse on track. This now makes a lot of sense to me. Through the remaining chapters, Pat shows you all the types of rhyming available to you and if you're anything like me and don't know all that much about; masculine and feminine rhymes, identity, mosaic rhymes, perfect and imperfect rhymes, additive and subtractive rhymes, assonance and alliteration then you need to get your hands on this book. The real point of the book, really, is to lay out the rhyme types and let them expand you opportunities to BOTH say what you mean AND rhyme. The book presents the rhyme types in descending order, from the closest to perfect rhyme to the most remote rhyme types. And better, the book shows you how and when to use the different rhyme types. This is the last of the three books by Pat Pattison that I have had the pleasure of reviewing in these last three issues of The Muse's News. They were, "Songwriting: Essential Guide to Lyric Form and Structure", "Writing Better Lyrics", and "Songwriting: Essential Guide to Rhyming". I have almost run out of superlatives to express the value of the material in Pat Pattisons books but I would have to say that his books actually define lyric writing for me and have impacted my work like no other outside influence. If this is what you want to bring to the table for your next songwriting project, hit a good bookstore or go to Pats website, and
pick up all three books. ****** ABOUT THE REVIEWER: James Linderman lives and works at theharmonyhouse, a music lesson, songwriting and music pre-production facility in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada. He is the Songwriters Association of Canada regional coordinator for Newmarket and leads a music workshop program for Life 100.3 Christian radio. James writes songwriting articles for The Muse's News web magazine, Canadian Musician Magazine and Professional Musician Magazine. Contact James at: Back to Menu ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ S p o n s o r M e s s a g e : (Please support the sponsors that support this newsletter! Thanks!) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ UNLEASH THE FULL POTENTIAL OF THE INTERNET WITH SONGSCOPE.COM! SongScope is a valuable tool enabling you to build an on-line song catalog, accessible only by proven industry professionals. Receive FREE email informing you every time record producers and industry professionals make requests. Song listings are only $29.95 per year. An ecommerce enabled marketing/promotion page and tour calendar are also available for performing songwriters to get further artist exposure. And more services are coming soon! See for details or contact: ~ Tel: 770.754.4543 ================================================================= 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! ----------------------------------------------------------------- THE 4th EDITION OF THE INDIE BIBLE IS NOW AVAILABLE! The Indie Bible shows you where to get your music reviewed, your songs played, and your CDs sold. Now in its fourth edition, The Indie Bible has 310 pages of valuable contacts and music-related articles. The 4th Edition of the Indie Bible contains: 3500 publications from around the world that will REVIEW your CD! 2900 radio stations from around the world will PLAY your songs! 350 vendors and services that will help you to SELL your music! 400 helpful resources and sites where you can PROMOTE your band! 500 sites where you can UPLOAD your band's MP3 files! 39 articles that will help your career to MOVE forward rapidly! Authors include Tim Sweeney, Daylle Deanna Schwartz, Jeri Goldstein, Brian Austin Whitney, Derek Sivers, Diane Rapaport, Janet Fisher, Jodi Krangle, Lord Litter and many more! For details and to order online visit: You can also find the Indie Bible in these stores: BORDERS, BARNES & NOBLE, SAM ASH, VIRGIN RECORDS, TOWERS and MARS MUSIC (In Canada at CHAPTERS and STEVE'S MUSIC) ----------------------------------------------------------------- MAJOR LABEL LOOKING FOR YOUNG SINGER-SONGWRITERS! Tonos hosts many songwriting contests and Industry Opportunities specifically for songwriters every month. The newest contests include: - Major Label Looking for Young Singer-Songwriters - A major label has come to Tonos looking for new up-and-coming artists. The A&R executive is looking for young, energetic singer-songwriters whose music reflects the pop, rock/Triple A style of artists like John Mayer and Vanessa Carlton. - Rock Group Signed to RCA Seeks Lead Vocalist - A rock band already signed to RCA Records has recently lost their lead singer due to an untimely and tragic car accident. The label has come to Tonos in search of a replacement. The singer has to be a seasoned live performer as well as a talented vocalist. The band is a modern rock band with a Linkin Park or Radiohead vibe, with a little U2 mixed in. Songwriting ability is a plus, but in no way a requirement. - Major Label Looking for Songs for R&B Artist - A Major label has come to Tonos looking for songs for three of their new R&B artists. For this special Industry Opportunity, this label's A&R executives are looking for upbeat songs with an R&B/Pop crossover hit potential. TONOS MAKES HISTORIC AGREEMENT WITH 5 MAJOR MUSIC PUBLISHERS In order to help all the various talent in the global Tonos Community, we are thrilled to announce that we have made historic agreements with 5 major music publishing companies (Warner/Chappell Music, EMI Music, DreamWorks Publishing, Chrysalis Music and Famous Music). These top publishing firms have "guaranteed" that they will EACH sign two tonosPRO songwriters and/or singer-songwriters to publishing deals over the next 12 months. To be considered for all these deals, we'll be looking for the artists and songwriters who have at least 3 very strong songs posted in their Tonos Profiles. Sign up today to be considered! See for more details. ----------------------------------------------------------------- BERKLEEMUSIC.COM WEBSITE LAUNCHED After nearly two years in development, Berklee College of Music has launched its web site. This ambitious new offering provides songwriters opportunities to take online music writing courses and explore new music career directions. Users can create a personal or band web page containing bios, MP3s, images, reviews, news, and links that are useful resources to potential employers, collaborators, and students. For more information visit: ----------------------------------------------------------------- RADIO TALK SHOW - I WRITE THE SONGS - CELEBRATES NEW WEBSITE WITH COUNTRY SONG CONTEST To celebrate the launching of their new website,, radio talk show, I Write the Songs is hosting a Country Music Songwriting Contest with a songwriter's prize package worth over $1000 including: * Sibelius Notation Software Program ($600 value) * Demo production by Nashville producer, Steve Cooper * Library of Books on Songwriting from Writers Digest Books * Lyricist Software Package - Lyricist is the "Songwriter's Best Friend" * Consultations and Critiques by Mary Dawson * Guest Appearance on the I Write the Songs Radio Show Entries are only $10 per song and may be submitted until March 15, 2003. For details and a downloadable entry form, please visit I Write the Songs at ----------------------------------------------------------------- GREAT, CANADIAN WINTER SONG CONTEST! Canadian writers are invited to submit songs, in any genre, on the themes of light, love, winter celebration, and community. The winner(s) will receive a trip to Ottawa to perform their original, Canadian winter song at the national Winterlights awards ceremony. Prizes of $ 1 500, $ 1 000, $ 500, and gift certificates from music stores will also be awarded. Contest closes January 15, 2003. For details on how to enter, log on to . ----------------------------------------------------------------- USA SONGWRITING COMPETITION'S "NEW YORK UNPLUGGED" SHOWCASE SEEKING MUSIC ACTS In order to help promote various talent in the music community, USA Songwriting Competition is proud to announce that they will present: "New York Unplugged", a Monthly Showcase & Networking Event held every third Thursday of the month, first showcase starting February 20 2003 at Red Lion on Bleecker Street. USA Songwriting Competition also sponsors showcases in Los Angeles (Dorscia), Nashville (The End), Atlanta (Eddie’s Attic), South Florida (Bamboo Room) and other cities across the country. It offers new talent an exciting opportunity to perform in a professional environment. They also provide music acts and established songwriters a chance to monitor new musical trends and see what's happening at the grass-roots level. We are currently selecting artists for the monthly showcase. If you're interested in applying and being considered for future showcases, please e-mail: Details: Time: Every 3rd Thursday of the month, next show - 8.00 to 10pm, Thursday, Feb 20, 2003 Location: Red Lion 151 Bleecker Street (corner of Thompson), New York City Admission: Free Info: ----------------------------------------------------------------- GREAT ARTICLES TO CHECK OUT COURTESY OF GALARIS INDEPENDENT MUSIC: * Your Growth as a guitarist: vertical or horizontal? * Performance Clauses In Entertainment Contracts * How to practice chord changes * Radio Airplay - An Introduction Sign up for the Galaris Independent Musicians Newsletter. Simply send a blank email to and Twice monthly you will receive FREE, direct to your email box, articles containing: Promotion tips, Career advice, Recording tips, Practicing tips, Legal advice, Musician's health, Radio promotion, Songwriters tips and much more. ----------------------------------------------------------------- 2003 UNISONG INTERNATIONAL SONG CONTEST OPEN FOR ENTRIES! Unisong is THE opportunity for songwriters and writer/artists around the world to have their songs heard and their careers enhanced. Over $50,000 in Cash and Prizes! Grand Prize will win a trip to NY, London, Nashville or Los Angeles to write with a professional songwriter! Enter by Cassette, CD or MP3! Entry deadline is April 30, 2003. Enter by January 31, 2003 to take advantage of our earlybird rates! Visit for more details. ----------------------------------------------------------------- SONG CONTEST: Amateurs and professionals alike are welcome to submit their songs to our quarterly contest. There is no entry fee, and all genres of music are accepted. We take submissions via e-mail in either MP3, Flash, or MIDI format. We allow visitors to hear and rate all entries, so contestants can get an idea of the popularity of their song. Award: The top prize, over $100 in music software including Edirol Virtual Sound Canvas (or high quality headphones if you don't own a PC), is awarded by our panel of judges. For more details, see ----------------------------------------------------------------- ENTER THE TIPPERARY INTERNATIONAL SONG OF PEACE CONTEST The Tipperary International Song of Peace Contest will be staged in Tipperary, Ireland in April 2003. The organising committee are presently inviting entries for the Contest. Tipperary Peace Convention is looking for songs of Peace, Love & Harmony, about people, places and things, in fact anything that one feels constitutes a 'Sense of Peace'. The closing date for entries is March 1st, 2003. The winning song will receive a cheque for €1,500 and the Waterford Crystal Song of Peace Trophy. Entry forms and further information are available from Martin Quinn at the following e-mail address: ----------------------------------------------------------------- NOW ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS FROM COUNTRY MUSIC SONGWRITERS. Zedneck Records, an independent country label based in Vancouver, BC, has an open submission policy for talented country music songwriters. We are currently seeking songs for one female vocalist, one male vocalist, and one all male group to be released in 2003. For more information, please visit ----------------------------------------------------------------- THE BERKLEE COLLEGE OF MUSIC ONLINE LYRIC WRITING COURSE is going into full swing on January 6th, running as many sections as we need. Each section will work like a class, with lots of interaction between members of the class and the instructor. There'll be a little something to do each weekday for twelve weeks (with a short break after six weeks), assignments, things to post and discuss, chat room, and real-time office hours. But there'll never too much work, so if you miss something it will still be possible to catch up. To get more information, please go to
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M u s e ' s    C l u e s :  by Irene Jackson

©1998-2002 Moonstone Productions All Rights Reserved. Used By

Sometimes when you hang around websites from performing rights
organizations like BMI ( or ASCAP
(, you find some interesting little bits of
information or, better yet, some personal perspectives from other
established songwriters. 

This month's Muse's Clues column focuses on a page from the ASCAP
site, called "Murphy's Laws Of Songwriting"
( and it clearly focuses
on the writer who is interested in making this a career.  It
includes columns like "What Publishers Really Want", which has an
interesting breakdown of the most important features of a
songwriter that a publisher looks for (is marital status important?
gender? appearance? check it out :-)

This interesting collection of articles also includes information
and perspectives on writing with established co-writers, singing on
your own demos, songwriting seminars, and something he calls "The
7:00AM Rule". 

Ralph Murphy has been there and done that, including writing for
artists such as Ronnie Milsap and Kathy Mattea, and he is also the
Asst. Vice President for ASCAP in Nashville.  I always appreciate
when people with a real track record offer free and accessible
information on the internet about the realities of songwriting for
a living, and I'm sure you'll find it a fascinating read too.

Irene Jackson is a performing songwriter from Victoria, BC in
Canada. Aside from writing, recording and performing, she also
maintains a website for songwriters that includes tips, articles
and more links of interest.  Her eagerly anticipated CD "Catnip" is
finally here, and her earlier recordings have had attention
everywhere from Japan to South America.

Songwriting Tips:
Songs on MP3:
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And speaking of "how stuff works".... :)

F e a t u r e d   A r t i c l e : 

THERE IS A BETTER WAY - by Dan Lawrence
© Dan Lawrence, 2002 All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission

From the perspective of this writer, things in the music industry
haven't changed much in the past twenty-five years. The breaks I've
gotten were due to a few contacts and not by submissions to any
companies. The majors still receive hundreds of unsolicited
submissions per week. Getting the doors opened requires a serious
contact. Some things have changed like the growing number of Indies
but the costs of promoting and distributing nationwide makes it
nearly impossible to compete with the few remaining major
companies. I've toyed with a concept of how to change this, and now
I'm asking for the opinion of other writers to see if they agree.

I guess I'm a little more informed then most having close friends
that are producers and established writers. We all agree there is a
huge difference between the art and the industry. Many of us write
for the sake of the art but as Tom Petty said recently on "E", "the
companies only care about the money and could care less about the
music". From the writers stand point I think we would just like to
be heard and start making a living without all the politics. 

Besides writing music I've been studying the structures of various
businesses. One structure fits extremely well into the concept of
distributing new music. I've improved it by adding a new element,
and restructured the way it works to utilize the Internet. It's a
new way for people to find very talented new artists. Why would
they do that? For the same reason that motivates everyone, it will
them make money.

What I'm talking about is something called Network Marketing. (Many
large companies like MCI, Toyota and Coca Cola have used Network
Marketing)  But what I have created is much more then that. It's a
bridge between network and retail marketing. It's a proving ground
for gifted new artists and a way to sell directly to a fan base.
It's a reinvention, a new method in the music industry. The current
market is so competitive and crowded that a new one would easily
flourish. The majors are overly concerned with money and not
focusing on the music. In a way I'm creating a Sam Adams beer for
the music industry, great tasting songs that will satisfy the most
discriminating listener. The way I can do this is by having
entrepreneurs, who want to start a home-based business, share in
the creation of a new market and allow artists to share in the
distribution. The company will profit too.  A win-win-win

How would this be done? Creating a membership and a new method of
distribution will do the trick.  One central website would be our
record company with several artists from all the various genres.
Traffic is driven to the website by "associates" who place ads
throughout the net. When someone makes a purchase, the associate
receives a commission. Whenever that person buys again the
associate receives a commission for life! They can also recruit new
associates and make a percentage of their sales. 

For the associates this is great because the music is selling
itself, all they have to do is direct traffic to the site. Repeat
customers automatically generate commissions.  From the writers and
artist point of view this is great because they can sell their art
independently and establish a sales record. From the company's view
this is great because it allows creating a steady income for
eventually competing in the retail market. When we discover great
new artists we can release them into the retail mainstream. We
would establish our own record company.  

Our roster would have to be impressive. We need to choose artists
that have gained industry interest by having been under
consideration for a record contract or a publishing deal. A few may
come from a general song contest. The answer for the rest would be
to join the membership, keep writing, and help choose what artists
would be commercially viable. The more members giving their
opinion, the better picture we get. Promoting the new web label
would start a home-based business. A couple of MP3 downloads would
pay for the membership. You want to make money anyway right? Why
not make it in the industry you love? The more members the stronger
we get! Artists helping other artists and making money! What an
awesome idea! 

What keeps most gifted talents out of the mainstream music business
is politics. The decision as to what tunes go on what records will
be made by others and out of your control. As a first time
songwriter you'll probably be offered a "One Song" contract and
your career will depend on its success. Without a track record, it
all depends on who you know and if they like your stuff.

One thing guarantees to impress a major distributor, record sales.
My second producer managed to sell 50.000 copies independently,
which resulted in a major deal that went on to sell 450,000! When
he first approached the majors, before he sold independently, they
laughed at him and had no interest at all. Money talks.

My sister and I have been writing for decades. Then she met Tim. He
had been in a successful group then later got a publishing deal and
makes his living as a songwriter. (He was recently offered a solo
record deal) My sister teaches voice and was introduced to him by
one of her students. She asked him how we could get publishers to
listen? He said, "First you'd need a CD with 7 cuts". She handed
him the CD. (I had made one for her to sell at karaoke) He was an
unusual guy to meet, and even more surprising, he loved the songs
and wanted to work with my sister because of her lyrical talent.
They started Co-writing. One of the cuts he flipped out over after
hearing my sister's lyrics and my musical idea.  He wanted me to
rearrange parts of it but I asked him to do it. I'm in Florida and
he's in California and I can't read his mind. What came out was
incredible. I'm waiting now to hear if it will be taken off hold
and recorded by a new artist with a major label. The point I'm
making here is that without having someone in a position of power
behind you there won't be any significant opportunities. 

This is the problem as I see it. There are only a few major
distributors and they are focusing on just a few artists. The
larger radio stations have condensed into a few major groups and
the only other alternatives are minor radio markets, (for local
performances) places like where you basically give away the
music or getting very lucky like I did and finding someone in the
business that believes in you.

Of course we all love what we do but we won't make a living at it
by giving it away. The other side of the coin is a hit or miss
proposition. You can enter song contests, submit to Indies, network
to find valuable contacts, or beat down some doors pitching songs
to small companies. The problem for writers is so little major
radio time is available and so many artists are fighting to get on.
As a way to combat the problem of so many growing Indies, the
majors joined forces to create what turns out to be a few regional
radio stations and a few major music-distributing companies. It's
always been tough but now it's dismal. 

So some things haven't changed much, it's still hard to get
somewhere in this business and it's getting tougher. I was
fortunate to find someone who's in the mainstream of the publishing
world yet it makes me wonder how many great songs will never be
heard? How many great artists will remain undiscovered? 

Do we have to accept this? No, like the title of this article,
there is a better way. We can create a market within a market.
Who's in control of what's sold right now? It's very large
corporations. On the other side is music that is given away, sold
at concerts or stolen off the net. Take your pick of thousands of
unknowns with no budget or those with millions of promotional
dollars behind them.(Which must be paid back)  Isn't there room for
something in the middle?

Imagine a website that has great new artists. There's a marketing
strategy bringing listeners to the site. They purchase MP3
downloads or CD's. The artists get paid when their songs are sold.
The associates get paid when a customer buys and the company makes
a profit. This is a concept directly in the middle of what now

The artists we choose must have the same potential as any candidate
considered by the major labels. So who decides which artists are
good enough? The members. It's done by featuring new candidates and
asking for their opinion. How does someone become a candidate? By
getting some interest in the industry but no cigars. Writers may
have songs that were put on hold but were later passed on. Artists
may have been under consideration but not signed to any label.
Bands may have a good local following but no regional distribution,
and a general song contest. It comes down to a "what if" situation.
What if that particular artist had an opportunity to get heard by a
lot of people? Would they be successful?

I'm not suggesting that we can replace the retail market. In fact
the goal is to compete in the retail market with great artists
discovered through the membership. Even if one of our artist sold
100,000 copies, through our network, that still wouldn't come close
to the millions of CD's that are sold worldwide. Our ultimate goal
is to enter the retail mainstream and give back a percentage of the
profits to our members. People are going to buy music anyway so why
not utilize what's available so they buy some of it from us? 

If your heart is in writing then you'll be writing the rest of your
life. So why not join others that feel the same way and want to
take the matter of having a career into their own hands.
Unemployment in the arts is the highest in any industry (95%) Lets
change it.

In forming this concept I have a few questions I'd like to ask you. 

1) Are you apposed to paying current industry professionals to
critique your work?
2) How much would you say is fair to pay for entering a song
contest? (I'd have to hire a professional staff)  
3) Do you need help in these areas: having demos professional
recorded, inside tips on how to present material to publishers and
recording artists, vocalists for your projects? 
3) When the website and artists are ready to go would you like to
learn how to market the site and make some money? 
4) Would a membership fee of $14 dollars per month be too much? (No
selling of outside advertising)
5) Do you agree it's time for writers to come together and start
developing a career without relying on the current industry? 
6) Do you like the idea that members choose artists and songs?

The website will contain downloads and the background on current
candidates as well as many article written for the benefit of
joining. Articles of business and personal interests will be
written for membership enhancement. I would welcome your feedback
and any ideas you may have after reading this article.

The most successful companies are those that introduced something
new. Look at the history of Microsoft and FedEx. Both started from
an idea. Like them I'm testing the waters to see if this idea is
strong enough. If it is then we all have so much to gain.

My email address is  Thanks for reading.

Yours truly,
Dan Lawrence 

Dan Lawrence started playing the drums at eight. After several
years playing with bands he switched to guitar then later to the
keyboards. At 23 he started writing and performing in cafes with
his sister Gin. They recorded in a small studio and were then
offered their first production contract. Later, with another group,
they were offered a record deal with Columbia.  Currently he has a
song on hold with a new artist and his sister has two. After 30
years and hundreds of songs it seems he finally did it. 			 	

Back to Menu

   C o m p o s e r   I n   S p o t l i g h t :   Ron Jones

Ron Jones has worked on some great projects in the TV & interactive
game industry (two best selling Star Trek PC CD-ROM games, an
episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Family Guy (FOX), The
Fairly Oddparents (Nickelodeon), The A-Team, Magnum P.I., Disney's
Duck Tales, and many more).  I recently got the chance to ask him
some questions about what makes him do it, why he enjoys it and
what others can do to get involved in the industry he loves.
QUESTION: What first got you interested in music and composing? Who
were your inspirations?
I thought I was going to be an architect as a kid. I was always out
in the woods behind our house building forts. I still like building
things, so I am a builder or architect with sound instead of
lumber. I was first attracted to sound as I recall, when I was
about 10 years old. I would hit things; take radios apart and
electronic organs to see what made them sound that way. When I was
11, my Mother drove my brother and I over to a Drum and Bugle corps
and signed us up. I chose to play brass. When you play in a group
like a corps you are immersed into a world of really huge ensemble
of brass and percussion. The sound is huge. I got that big sound
under my skin and had to learn how to make that myself. I took
college classes in music theory while still in high school and
wrote for every big band, jazz band, choir and rock band I could
find. This was great for helping me to try writing for different
combinations. In college, I was so far ahead of the regular music
majors they did not require me to attend the classes, I just took
the finals. I used the time to compose for the college ensembles. I
won a bunch of awards for my writing. I had a wonderful time doing
my thing there. After college I went straight to Dick Grove's
school for professional arranging and composing in Los Angeles.
Star Wars had just been released about this time and I was blown
away by John Williams' score. So I sort of concentrated more on the
film scoring than the arranging aspects while at Grove's and before
I finished the program I was scoring network shows for all the
major networks. Kids don't try this at home.
QUESTION: How did you end up getting paid for what you do? What was
your first composing job like? Can you give us some insights into
the industry in that regard (ie: how composers usually start out)? 
The term "breaking into the business" is a good one. No one invites
you in; you have to dive in headfirst. It is like learning to swim,
only in this case no one cares if you drown. In my case, I worked
as a copyist while attending Dick Grove's. I would ask to take the
finished scores and parts to the sessions so I could see what was
really happening. While there, I noticed that I could do this. So I
bugged Hoyt Curtin who was the Music Director for all of
Hanna-Barbera's shows, to give me a chance. He did. I nailed it,
and I became very busy. When you have to crank out tons of music
every week, you learn how to solve problems that schools never
teach you. It was a great start for my career and a wonderful way
to cut my chops while getting paid. There is no place like that
QUESTION: There's a big transition between doing something for your
own pleasure and doing something for *other* people's pleasure (and
getting paid for it!). Do you work on a lot of projects that
satisfy both? Is it a challenge to find those projects? How do you
pick new ones? 

The answer to this question and others can be found by reading the
rest of the interview here:
Back to Menu


    " O N   S I T E "   F E A T U R E D   A R T I C L E :

          Creating Hit Melodies - by Mary Dawson

Writing hit melodies is not as daunting a challenge as it may seem!
Some of the greatest melody writers of all time have not been able
to either read or write music. Join us for this glimpse into the
art form that can turn you lyric into a blockbuster HIT!

================================================================= 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 : ----------------------------------------------------------------- HEY SONGWRITERS! POP QUIZ. GIVE ME THREE RHYMES FOR "HEARTBREAK"... Locate every song's lead sheet you ever wrote, their genre, and album. What's the fingering for a G#sus4 chord at the ninth fret? Now copyright a song from where you're sitting without removing your hands from your mouse or keyboard. Your time is up! You know what you need? LYRICIST! It's the songwriter's best friend. Includes Rhyming Dictionary, Album Categorization, Chord Charting, On-Line Copyright, and more. Check out the review at . For more information, visit the review url above or call Virtual Studio Systems at 888.732.1176 inside the U.S.A. and Canada or 603.726.4499 everywhere else. ----------------------------------------------------------------- MUSIC BOOKS PLUS The Songwriter's One Stop Resource for Books, Instructional Videos, CD-ROMs and DVDs. We feature over 5,000+ titles at - areas covered include: International
Music Directories, Music Business, Song & Lyric Writing, Music Publishing, Rhyming Dictionaries, Theory & Arranging , Instrument & Vocal Technique, Recording, Internet ... and so much more. Free electronic newsletter, monthly & customer specials, new titles added weekly. Come check us out! ----------------------------------------------------------------- SPECIAL CHRISTMAS MUSIC FOR KIDS Surf on down to us to hear the KING STREET KIDS singing new festive songs, especially "As Christmas Day Draws Near", an orphan boy writing a letter to Santa: - music for kids of all ages - - CD's, MC's, and Sheet music - - - ----------------------------------------------------------------- GO GLOBAL WITH CDSTREET.COM is your secure source for credit card music ordering in your own website. As a member of the CDstreet network, you will have access to the most cost-effective, secure transaction processing for global music merchandise distribution. Plus, low setup fee and no sales equals no cost! Check it out - ----------------------------------------------------------------- INDIE-MUSIC.COM ~ SAVE TIME & PROMOTE YOUR MUSIC FREE! 1000's of contacts for musicians, no cost, no hassles. Download a free College Radio E-Guide or subscribe to our free Indie News newsletter to receive free tips to advance your music career. - The Best Place For Musicians Online ================================================================= ADVERTISING RATES: For Classifieds: US$50 Max. 8 lines, where a line = 65 characters including spaces and punctuation. All contracts must be prepaid. Write to: For Newsletter Sponsorship rates and other advertising opportunities, please see . 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 ...........................GRACIOUS PROOFREADER ----------------------------------------------------------------- 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 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Back issues of the newsletter can be read at the National
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