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Songwriter’s Survival Guide

Andrea Stolpe By Andrea Stolpe

© 2007, Andrea Stolpe. All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission (Please do not reprint without asking permission!)

Anyone who has considered becoming a career songwriter soon learns that writing good songs is only the first step of a long journey into the music industry jungle. As a commercially recorded songwriter and author of “Commercial Songwriting Techniques,” part of Berklee College of Music’s online songwriting program, I am a strong believer in honing our craft. However, a few practical lessons learned early on in my career could have saved years of self-doubt, misdirected energy, and flat-out banging my head against the wall.

The Songwriter’s Survival Guide is my effort to illuminate some of the issues affecting songwriters who have the desire to sustain a career in the commercial market. From finding inspiration, receiving criticism, and acquiring tools for the craft, to connecting and fostering relationships with publishers and music industry professionals, I hope that this column sparks ideas you can apply to your own goals. Approaching songwriting as a business as well as an art is a difficult task, but not an impossible one. With much adversity comes much potential for influence, and so by sharing my experiences, I hope you find greater potential for fulfillment and purpose through your art.


Andrea Stolpe

A short bio


  • Taking The Next Step: Moving your songs from the livingroom to the world - Marketing your songs can take many approaches.  How do you get your songs out there once you're ready to play them for the world?  Here are some creative suggestions.
  • Songwriting Courses Online at - More information about Andrea's Songwriting Techniques classes online at
  • Becoming A Fearless Lyric Writer - Tips and strategies for taking your lyric writing to new levels.
  • The Most Valuable Music Conference I've Ever Attended - About Tim Sweeney's "Music Strategies" conference - and how to get the real-world information you need to further your career.
  • Daily Activities of a Career Songwriter - It’s true that no two songwriters' careers are alike.  Most of us start with no contacts, little experience, and a lot of inspiration.  Gradually we expand our network of contacts that will play key roles in opening doors to that publishing deal, artist deal, recording facility, producer, co-writer, event booker, agent, manager, or that one fan that becomes an unexpected loudspeaker to the world.
  • HOW DID THAT SONG GET RECORDED?!?!?!?! - Sometimes it's difficult to imagine how certain songs make it onto records and the radio.  As musicians and artists, we can spend quite a bit of time comparing our work with that of what's popular.  In many cases, craft has less to do with success than we think.  Choosing a viewpoint that enables us to stay inspired while working the business end is a must for anyone wanting to sustain a career in the industry.

A short bio:
Andrea Stolpe is a multi-platinum recorded songwriter, performing artist, and educator. She has worked as a staff writer for EMI, Almo-Irving, and Universal Music Publishing, with songs recorded by Faith Hill, Josh Gracin, Daniel Lee Martin and many others. She is the author of “Commercial Songwriting Techniques,” part of Berkleemusic’s online songwriting program. Just released in August 2007, Stolpe’s book Popular Lyric Writing: 10 Steps to Effective Storytelling describes how to apply her process for uniting our artistic voice with the commercial market. She continues to tour as a solo artist and leads songwriting instruction from her own website.

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