A Reference Guide For Professional Songwriters
Compiled by Jodi Krangle
So you know how to write a great song and you want to make a living at it. Now what? Here are some suggestions on resources within this site that might help you take your songs to that "next level".
If you're looking for more basic help on the craft of songwriting, have a look at my reference guide for beginning songwriters.
Articles | Columnists | Survey Answers | Resources | Tools
These articles will be useful to you as you learn the craft of songwriting.
- Six Easy Steps to Writing Hit Lyrics - Molly-Ann Leikin, Creativity Consultant, has contributed this useful article to the Muse's News newsletter and I've linked to it here for your convenience.
- "Don't bore us, get to the chorus/ Don't be a shnook, get to the hook!" - by Larry Robkoff. Some great advice from a guy who knows what he's talking about - and a fun read besides.
- It's a Jungle Out There - Robert Angello, owner and operator of Angello Sound Studio, a recording studio in Nashville, gives advice on how to choose the right studio for your demo project.
- The Hit Song Puzzle - James Linderman gives some hints on how to look at your songwriting from the publisher's point of view.
- Using New Technologies For Promotion - Caesar Pink of the band The Imperial Orgy takes us through the various steps he and his band have gone through to get themselves promoted on a shoestring budget.
- How To Present Your Demo Tape - by John Braheny. Lots of useful advice about how to get your demo tape actually viewed!
- How To Get A Running Start in Nashville - Mitch Ballard has contributed this "tips of the trade" type article for those of you hoping to make it in the Country Capital.
- Troubadours, Pirates and the Digital Police - Songwriting, publishing, production and distribution in Y2K - a comprehensive 5-parter with tons of links & informative information, by Jerry Flattum. While it's past Y2K, obviously, many of these concepts still apply.
Other articles can be found in the Songwriting Articles and Newer Articles sections.
There are a lot of them and I highly recommend that you check them out!
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There are many incredibly knowledgeable regular contributors here on The Muse's Muse - but these are the ones that will help you most as a pro. Reading through these columns will answer questions you might have about how to get your songs noticed, what you need to know about the business of songwriting, the major companies involved in that business and copyright information to protect yourself when you get there. If you don't find the answer to your particular question, feel free to ask the columnists!
- Home Recording For Songwriters
Brian Marine's column will offer tips and information to songwriters who want to record demos (or final product that they intend to sell on CD or online) in their home or project studio using the many inexpensive, yet high quality, digital audio hardware & software recording products now available. He will also offer suggestions on how to better use the gear you already have, and answer questions to those who are perplexed at the sometimes complex array of product choices and the inevitable technical issues that arise.
- Why Not Me?
Paula Carpenter's column will talk about how to get noticed in the songwriting industry without moving to a major city center. You can do it! Let Paula tell you how SHE did it in what promises to be a very educational journey.
- The Musician's Desktop
Music editor/reviewer Michael Allison focuses on the more important aspects of the gaining exposure on the web and in the real world. Often these aspects are overlooked by independent artists, and could be what is holding them back. Topics include areas such as press kits, professionalism, review submissions, website fix ups, and much more.
- Bridge On Fire
Join Jerry Flattum, creator of the Entertainment Cyberscope as he discusses todays songwriting issues and supports the huge resource he's created. There are also links to all the many articles he's already contributed to The Muse's Muse throughout the years. Feel free to ask him questions!
- The Shallow End
JJ Biener provides a hitch-hiker's guide through the vast ocean of Internet resources available to the independent musician/songwriter. The aim is to help you produce professional quality sound without getting in over your head.
- The Legal Score
Guy Betar's column will draw on his unique background as a specialist IP and business lawyer, and a composer and musician, to provide practical and useful legal and commercial advice to composers and musicians. His focus in exploring a range of topics of his choosing, and those raised by readers, will help the professionals and amateurs better understand their rights and how to protect and exploit them.
There are also a bunch of fantastic articles listed in the Previous Columnists section - the place where I put all the columns by folks that are no longer writing for the site (and there have been a lot over the years!). Many of them would be very useful to you as a pro songwriter and deal with a whole host of different topics from where to find your inspiration to how to get along in the music business and what to watch out for.
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Over the years, many questions have been asked of this songwriting community. The answers to those questions are very insightful and should give you a glimpse into various aspects of the business and craft of songwriting that you might be curious about.
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Here are some locations around The Muse's Muse that might be particularly helpful to you.
- Classifieds - This really doesn't need any explanation but since The Muse's Muse has been around for over six years and this classified section was one of the first things to be included, you should know that it's become a standard place to check for songwriters everywhere. If you want to advertise for free or find a collaborator, this is the place to be!
- The Muse's Muse Musician's Junction- Find and be found by like-minded musicians in this easily searchable international database! Brought to you by The Muse's Muse and TAXI.
- Muse's Muse Message Boards - A place for you to talk with fellow songwriters about topics that are of interest to you. Why not drop by and join in the conversation? There is also a very popular song critique section that you might find helpful.
- The Muse's News - The website's monthly e-zine and newsletter had its first issue released in March 1998. 13,000+ subscribers later, the newsletter is one of the most popular features of The Muse's Muse. Why not check it out for yourself?
- Songwriting Organizations - A huge listing of various songwriting organizations around the world. If you're looking for a way to hook up with songwriters in your neck of the woods, this is the place to check.
- Songwriting Contests & Market Information - Just what they say and handy indeed. If you're looking for a songwriting contest to enter or information on how you can improve your craft, record your demo or attend a seminar, this is definitely the place to look. If you are representing any of the above, contact me and I'll be happy to list you too!
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These links will provide you with the tools to keep yourself organized, find that perfect rhyme, help you get your music to the people that can further your career, show you some great reading resources to supplement your knowledge on the craft and the business, and lots more.
If you don't find what you're looking for here, you could also check the Songwriting Store for other available tools - usually with a special Muse's Muse discount attached.
- Real Answers To Real Questions: a songwriter-publisher forum - Since 1998, Nancy Reece has been providing a question and answer forum for Muse's Muse readers. All of the articles, forums and Q&A's have been compiled into a DigitalWebBook that is currently exclusively offered through MusesMuse.com. If you're confused about copyright, this is definitely a book to read.
- SongU.com Online Songwriting Courses - At SongU.com, you can take over 30 instructor-led and self-paced songwriting courses 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for one affordable yearly tuition. Learn from a faculty of successful award-winning industry professionals and active hit songwriters. In addition to personal feedback from the instructors, online guidance counselors and coaches will provide you with a customized learning path tailored specifically to your goals. Special for Muse's Muse visitors: Take a free songwriting course to familiarize yourself with SongU - before you buy a membership! Click here to learn more!
- BerkleeMusic.com -Whether you're a relative beginner or an experienced writer, our online courses will help you generate more and better ideas, master the elements of style and structure, and express yourself more effectively in words and music. Registration includes the online music school, a music career center, and listings of music jobs from Berklee College of Music. Register with BerkleeMusic and Enroll Today!
- Lyricist V3 (newly updated!) - Organization for songwriters - receive a $5.00 discount just for purchasing it here! Read a review to learn more.
- Learn how to use your voice to its fullest- Protect it in the long term and improve its quality and power. For a taste of some of the information included in this program, here's an interesting article about how your voice works, kindly contributed by its author.
- MasterWriter Songwriting Software - "This remarkable piece of software turns your Mac or PC into a valuable songwriting partner" -- Richard Leiter, Keyboard Magazine - Find out more about this program (and receive a $70 discount for purchasing it here!) - by visiting this page. You can even try it for 30 days before deciding if you want to keep it!
- ItsAboutMusic.com - accepts only the best artists to participate in our ELabel which offers personal attention to all artists, worldwide digital distribution to more than 50 sites (including ITunes, Rhapsody and our own download store), CD-on-Demand manufacturing, Peer-to-Peer Network distribution, CD sales fulfillment, music and video deep linking of all files and, most importantly, real promotion and marketing so that the independent artist can finally be truly independent.
- Onlinegigs - is an incredibly powerful tool for musicians, agents, record companies, managers etc. This subscription service will virtually automate the administration of booking and promoting your band or bands. With features such as: A huge directory of industry contacts, track correspondences with each contact, print labels, issue contracts, automatically update any website with gig info, automatically have a tour itinerary with driving directions created and the ability to issue press releases to the local media in any market in the country. Onlinegigs also offers free accounts for music schools and non-profits! Onlinegigs - BOOK~PROMOTE~MANAGE~TOUR: Click for a free 30 day trial
- TAXI- Another group of dedicated folks who will screen your music and possibly send it on to be considered for film, tv or album projects.
- Online Thesaurus & Rhyming Dictionary
- Suggested Reading - A list of songwriting books that are a worthy addition to any songwriter's library and including the books that I review in the newsletter. These books are a great source of inspiration and instruction and definitely recommended.
Here are some specific books to check out:
The SongWriter's Market, The Craft and Business of Songwriting (John Braheny), The Indie Contact Bible (David Wimble), How To Make it in The Music Business (Jim Halsey), 6 Steps to Songwriting Success (Jason Blume), Confessions of a Record Producer (Moses Avalon), How To Be Your Own Booking Agent And Save Thousands Of Dollars (Jeri Goldstein).
The links above go to reviews of the books (where possible) so that you can learn more about them before picking them up.
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