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Gary E. Andrews
(@gary-e-andrews)
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Despite 1,000's of years of Songwriting humans have not exhausted the possibilities. There will always be another Song to be written. Someone will write it. Why not you? www.garyeandrews.com


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Mabbo
(@mabbo)
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Gary,

Something to keep in the back of your mind, is that one reason the numbers are so close are because most songwriters are members of both here and Just Plain Folks, The Muse" etc. Writers tend to join the same forums, so it would stand to reason, you might be being seen by the same people. I know I have gone through and "liked" posts you have done on all the places your name and writings end up. So it could just be the same people floating around the same forums.
Just a thought.

MAB

Marc-Alan Barnette


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Jenny Stokes
(@jenny-stokes)
Right Honorable Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 539
 

I have never checked out just plain folks or muse. How are they different to the Junction? Worth a look?

https://soundcloud.com/jennystokes-nz
http://evansandstokes.com
https://www.facebook.com/evansandstokes/


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Mabbo
(@mabbo)
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Posts: 325
 

Hey Jenny. How are you doing? How is your partner? Don't get to keep up with everyone, but hope you are doing well.

All these sites are very similar. I mean, what are songwriters on forums for in the first place? To intereact with other people like themselves, find a friendly correspondence and most likely, looking for ways to promote themselves. They all have similar elements of good and less than good. They all offer information, some may be more "writer" or "artist" centered. There are all ages, all genders, all musical preferences, etc. They all have educational elements, although, you find that most people involved are really only interested in the latter, "WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME?" element. And since they are all involved with people who are MAKING MUSIC, and NOT PURCHASING MUSIC, the results are about the same.

Younger people, who feel they KNOW it all, see a bunch of "old people" complaining about how "everything new sucks." Older people, who feel like they are surrounded by a bunch of entitled idiots, DO think everything sucks and mostly couldn't care less. Some people who actually have BEEN INVOLVED with music, trying to offer suggestions, which are most often ignored, sometimes they get frustrated and simply dissapear. There is always the odd person who has opinions or music that no one can really say anything about it, because either they DO SUCK, or are so different they don't fit into any format, genre or description that makes sense. So there's not a lot to say. And of course, that leads to frustration and anger over people NOT saying anything. 

A lot of "how can they not see how great I am?" "My friends and family like me, what's wrong with all of YOU?" The usual "songwriter scams", people trolling for money, a lot of those are "pitch services" and other things that basically overpromise and underdeliver. They all have their own contests, or desires to legitimately promote writers and artists, but a lot of those fall into those questionble catagories. So there is not much to be done other than try them out, or completely ignore.  

A lot of people will ask questions or direct someone to their work, and then get irritated, or angry when they are not embraced, or even people having the temerity to say anything, even when they are ASKED to SAY SOMETHING. The majority are "living room writers" or those who really are only involved on the Internet, who have no exposure or understanding the importance of a music community, or have any connection with others outside the forums, which most often don't go well. Just a lot of overreaching expectations. And again, most everyone involved are themselves MUSIC CREATORS, NOT MUSIC CUSTOMERS. So there is not a lot of selling involved. 

Sometimes, you see a lot of people making the same mistakes you have already made, as well as many have made, and people will try to ward it off, and get frustrated because those people simply walk directly into walls or fall off cliffs. Then, like clockwork, there will be a few angry, dissasatisfied posts, usually starting with "HAS ANYONE EVER HEARD OF...." And then go on to talk about how terrible anyone involved in forums are. 

As I mentioned to Gary, usually you see the same names, addresses over and over on all of them. You some times see the same articles, or general info, "Songwriter scam alert" type things. Good to have and always some information going on. For people interested in technology, there are usually a wealth of information. A LOT of writers have home studios, computer programs, plug ins, etc. that they love to share information. And since technology changes so quickly, almost daily, it's good for people to be able to get insight. Same with those contests, and "pitch opportunities". You just have to wade in and read.

I've always found a lot of friends on these sites, many that have ended up getting me business, although I never really pitch myself. I have a web site, people can go to and if they find something that works for them they can contact me privately. If not, that is fine. I offer observations based upon personal experiences I and others have had. Some work for people, some don't. A lot of questions people ask I have no experience in and won't comment on on those, but things that I do know about I will. But they are my experiences and opinions. Worth exactly what anyone pays for them.

I'd always suggest you look around and see if you find things that work for you. Check other places out. Stay around here. Like everything, the more involved you are, the more information you find out, or you might find many things you DON'T want to be involved in. 

As always, good luck to you and hope you are doing well. 
MAB

Marc-Alan Barnette


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Gavin
(@gavin)
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Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 999
 

@jenny-stokes

Hey Jenny, I don't know about Muse, but I can tell you a bit about JPF. It has been going in one form or another for decades and some members have been there a long time while others come and go, just like any forum. As you would expect with far more members, it is more active than here, although I have definitely noticed a fall off in activity there recently. It is also more opinionated and rough and tumble than here with political squabbles erupting sometimes, although it is perfectly possible to stay away from those with a little self-discipline LOL. I have met some really nice and talented people over there, as well as some real arses. I would say most are an older crowd and the focus is country, although you will find other stuff too. You can check it out just by visiting without joining and see what I'm talking about.

When SW101 closed down, I suggested that people moved over there. A lot of people didn't want to, which is why I started this place.

I may or may not be an enigma
http://mysteriousbeings.com


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Mabbo
(@mabbo)
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Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 325
 

Gavin, the political nature of all forums is one of the main reason I avoid almost all those topics. No one changes anyone's mind and it just devolves so far off subject, so quickly, it rarely is worth the wasted time. Nice to have you on all of them. 

Marc-Alan Barnette


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Gavin
(@gavin)
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Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 999
 

@mabbo

Totally agree, MAB. Someone just posted a very lengthy and completely loony political screed over there a propos of nothing at all. Must have taken hours to write. Whenever I see that, I hope that nobody joins in and starts a food fight LOL.

I may or may not be an enigma
http://mysteriousbeings.com


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Mabbo
(@mabbo)
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Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 325
 

A combination of Pandemic, snowed in, and too much time on our hands. The entire Internet has just unlocked the floodgates of people talking. When you toss in songwriters, who need no coaxing to add three or four verses when it could be done in two, and you have a recipie for "O.A." "OVERWRITERS ANNONOMYS!" And usually it really has nothing to do with the original post or subject.

Good to hear from you and thanks for providing a site that benefits many. 
MAB

Marc-Alan Barnette


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Mabbo
(@mabbo)
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Posts: 325
 

Hi,

I have a little saying:

"Amateur writers, write what they want to say."

"Professional writers write what audiences want to hear."

"Great writers do both."

That is essentially what it is. And I don't ever mean to be 'dismissive about amateur writers. What I mean is more or less less experienced or seasoned writers. They might be new or simply uninterested in anything outside what they themselves are involved in. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Songwriting is a mostly solitary endeavor and the vast majority have little interest in anything other than just putting a part of themselves "out there." Like people who paint by numbers or make pottery for themselves and an expression of their creativity. It is a useful outlet for people who want to say things they want to say.

However, I've never met anyone who wanted to be "the best writer in their living room." And that's where it gets a little more dicey. Once you start putting what you do "out there" for the acceptance of others, you have to start thinking as others see or hear you. Or don't and just say to HELL WITH IT ALL. 
No part of it is wrong or right. Just is what it is.

The biggest difference I see between "amateur and professional writers" are that amateurs have very little understanding of anything "beyond the song." They will write something they feel is "as good as anything on the radio" and it may be. But they give no thought to the "community", the relationships that it takes to get anything from point "A" to point "B". 
They might have something "as good as anything on the radio" without realizing there is ALREADY SOMETHING LIKE THAT ON THE RADIO." 

When I sit down to write a song with someone, say an artist, I am writing something THEY HAVE ACTUALLY LIVED THROUGH. Most songs you hear on the radio, or hear artists perform, are usually something they have an intimate experience with. It is about THEIR LIVES, THEIR LOVES, THEIR JOYS, THEIR LOSSES. Other people can write songs that are SIMILAR experiences, but they are still just SIMILAR. Not THEIR'S. 
Amateurs, particuluarly in the era of the Internet, never see that. They never find themselves in the situation of being a part of a group of people, who share triumphs and tragedies, who live on each other's couches in the bad times, share groceries, help out with medical emergencies, etc. Those relationships last lifetimes. And most often those relationships mature, some songwriters peel off and become producers, publishers or label heads. And those relationships benefit each other years down the road.

Amateur writers don't see that. Many are not performers. Have no relationship to audiences, don't know about trendlines, don't understand the behind the scene politics that go into making a career. They might get some "likes" and smiley faces on some Internet site" but that is a great difference than getting people who come to support your shows, or purchase your product. 

It's unfortunate that "amateur writers" miss so much of that.  I really don't even like that term, just don't have another one. It wasn't even mine. It's used by publishers and industry people to term up fairly inexperienced, and often quite arrogant people who are very needy. Which is what you are saying about your experiences with them. Professional writers KNOW how much they DON'T KNOW. Amateurs don't have enough experience to know what they don't know.   

I've had a very blessed career, that has taken me to write with over 50 number one, top ten, Grammy Award winner's, people with more gold and platinum that most of us could ever imagine. And almost without exception, they were some of the most humble, kind, warm, people that you would ever meet. They KNOW how lucky they were to have things happen. They were generally surprised when things DID work out and were always very even about things that DIDN'T WORK OUT. 

It's because so much that go into a career, and any success at all are TOTALLY OUT OF THE WRITER/ARTIST or whatever's HANDS.

The amatuer writers just never see that. I wish they would. I often try to get writers to learn to co-write, simply for the experience of working with someone outside of themselves. Having someone to bounce ideas off of. Regardless if it turns into a successful song, it is just a great thing to not feel so alone. Sitting across from someone trying to plead your ideas and show why they work is an essential part of making that plea to audiences. It gives you some perspective outside of yourself. And a lot of time it is a LOT of FUN. 
In today's world, if you want someone to record your songs or need someone to help you get your songs from you to OUT THERE, you need other people. If they are not a physical part of that, in the way of sharing in that, they are simply not going to do anything.

But people have their own ways, nothing is right or wrong. They have to decide what works for them. People can ALWAYS write solo. They do that anyway. Working with someone else is just an added dimension. 

When it comes to the forums, usually it is easier to work with people who have co-written, who have worked with others. The Internet lends itself to some very odd people. Getting to know that person personally, helps in your understanding of all this. More inexperienced writers get the impression, (often correct) that people are just wanting to rip them off or talk down to them. Working with other people let you know that there are people JUST LIKE YOU, and helps deal with all of this strangeness a little easier. 

A little belabored explanation, but that would be my experiences.
MAB

Marc-Alan Barnette


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Gavin
(@gavin)
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Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 999
 

@mabbo

In some ways amateurs have it better than some professionals, not just in songwriting but in other spheres too. If you are not dependent on songs for your living you can write what gives you pleasure or for a smaller audience who appreciate that kind of thing. I have met people who were very pleased with themselves for being a "professional writer," but when I thought a bit more about what that actually meant, I realized that many were writing whatever they could just to put bread on the table - vacuous magazine articles, corporate puff pieces or whatever. Nothing wrong with that, but it had to be a lot less satisfying than being an "amateur," writing what you liked to write and thought was important or at least worthwhile. I can't help feeling it might be similar for some songwriters, churning out instantly forgettable songs according to a formula. I think you hit the nail on the head with "great writers do both." Those are the guys who write memorable songs to be proud of.

I may or may not be an enigma
http://mysteriousbeings.com


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Gavin
(@gavin)
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Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 999
 

@gary-e-andrews

Interesting post, Gary. We should be clear about what we want when we post something. I tend to post looking for feedback and suggestions. Because I do it all myself, I can make changes based on those suggestions. If you post a demo that you paid big bucks for it's a bit late for that and presumably you are just hoping people like it. The best lyricists here are always willing to react to suggestions, although not necessarily following all of them, of course. It is good practice to begin your post by stating what you want to gain by posting it.

I may or may not be an enigma
http://mysteriousbeings.com


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Mabbo
(@mabbo)
Honorable Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 325
 

Gavin,

In some ways you are correct, that amateurs don't have the responsibilities of not being dependent on songs to put food on the table (actually most professional writers are like that too, and even some of the most successful writers in the world, don't depend on songs to do that either. Most have other sources of income at the same time they are writing).

In many ways it is akin to poetry. Much of poetry does not have to conform to any rules whatsoever. No time constraints, no rhyme nore meter, doesn't really even  have to make sense, except to the writer. Amateur songwriters are like that in that they really don't have to conform to anything. 

Much of my terms of "professional" don't always apply only to monetary terms. I know "professional carpenters", "professional accountants" "professional many things" that don't derive their principal income from just that. Songwriters, and musicians as a whole, usually have multiple income streams. Was one of the biggest eye openers when I moved to Nashville. The amount of Grammy and huge hit writers that also owned plumbing contracting businesses, electritions, contractors, etc. or the big one REAL ESTATE PEOPLE, to suppliment their income. There was almost no one that derives it just for their income. As a matter of fact, in the 90's, it was hard to find any hit writer that also did not have their real estate information on their business card. Still goes on today. 

I refer to that for people that approach it as a profession, write many songs, (again the more you do something, the better you are at it) and are accepted "as professional" by their peers. Yes, we write many more songs, some are forgettable, but our averages of songs that are keepers tend to be more. Again it is all down to how the writer approaches it. When it gets dicey is when they step into the hearts, minds and ears of listeners and audiences. The same as a painter who has to face the market place to get his work into museums and art shows. Van Gogh only sold two paintings while alive. And those were purchased by his brother, Theo. I don't think anyone would refer to him as an amateur, even though he did not derive his income from it while he was alive. 

MAB

This post was modified 3 years ago by Mabbo

Marc-Alan Barnette


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Gary E. Andrews
(@gary-e-andrews)
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Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 340
Topic starter  

The day job. The side hustle. Paying the bills while you aspire to make Song-Writing or performing your 'profession'.
A lady of my acquaintance told the story of a large musical entity, which had a 'stable' of 'persons' on contract, whose management contacted her to see if she could teach their 'stable of persons' how to make a living while they were becoming 'artists' for the...'large musical entity'.
Not every Song is going to be a hit, even for the 'large musical entities', and their 'artists'.
Even when you get a hit, the industry is full of stories of how the moneymaker made a bunch, spent a bunch, and ended up back with a day job, side hustle, while trying to make Song-Writing their profession again.
That ability to write a string of hits is rare. The Beatles did it. Carole King did it. John Fogerty did it. Back in the day of the 45 rpm vinyl record those three often had both 'sides' of the record become hits. Disc Jockeys had the option of playing both sides, and did. Now a lot of DJ's are 'canned', pre-recorded, with a playlist someone else made the decisions on.
Back when I had television and, long ago, CMT, Country Music Television, I was studying that market because, as an amateur, I write in whatever genre comes to me.
To my delight, Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), I'm told, had gotten CMT to put up the captions of who wrote the Songs in the videos. NSAI's slogan is, "It all begins with a Song." Imagine my...imagination...when I saw Diane Warren had five artists all doing one of her Songs. They all had one 'hit' working, or at least out there in the marketplace. She had five. I saw an article where she had bought David Geffen's old house for $$$$ millions and was doing a $25 million remodel. I wanted to get rich and buy someone's 'old' house.
But I had no idea how to get product to market. So it never became a 'profession' or even anything I made a concerted effort to accomplish. By the time I finished reading, studying that part of the 'profession', it wasn't what I aspired to do any more. I love the art, the creation, the imagination of Songs, the Lyric, the Melody, the prosody, but I wasn't up for the commercial tactical actions, the strategy of meeting people, making deals, traveling. Time had passed me by.
And see? That last Line makes me want to write a Song about it. "Time Has Passed Me By", even though it may never, will never get recorded, and I may never play it for anyone, I still want to write it. The 'amateur' is a 'creative', a person whose motives are in the act of creation, not necessarily aspiring to make it their vocation, their profession, to earn their living at it. But that money; boy does that make a guy dream. To imagine that something you created out of thin air could generate that kind of financial, benefit, if not security; that's a driver.
J. K. Rowling created Harry Potter, a billion dollar enterprise, right out of imagination.
Imagine what some people could do with imagination coupled with guidance, management, teaching, learning, rightness of attitude, comprehension. Imagine.

Despite 1,000's of years of Songwriting humans have not exhausted the possibilities. There will always be another Song to be written. Someone will write it. Why not you? www.garyeandrews.com


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Mabbo
(@mabbo)
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Posts: 325
 

Gary, that's very true. In Nashville, there have always been a limited amount of "retirement" songs. Those big monsters that pay for ever. A few here and there. One of my friends, Larry Henley, had one, "WIND BENEATH MY WINGS". Those that seem to be everywhere all the time. But they are really few and far between. And even with those, they are more likely to bring in money in spurts. 
A lot of times, it took years and years of writing, being in and out of deals, etc. to be in a position to write those songs, to get them in the hands and ears of the right people, and most of the time those writers had "borrowed" money through "draws" (salaries) so a lot of the money they made went to pay back those loans acrewed over the years.

A  lot of times I had been in situations with hit writers, staring at their gold and platinum, awards, celebrity pictures, etc. to get in the middle of a writing appointment, to go show an apartment or house for their reality company, deliver some electrical supplies for their electrical contracting business, or construction business. 

Another analogy can be made with actors in LA and New York. They have agents. go to auditions, take classes, constantly are improving, all the while working bartending or waiting tables. Kind of the normal pathway of all of this. But they approach their craft professionally. 

I was there when NSAI got CMT to put the writers names back on after dropping them for a while. Also went with NSAI members to Congress in 2006. Trying to plead the case to political entities was always a primary interest to that organization. Just all part of trying to do any of this.

MAB

 

This post was modified 3 years ago 2 times by Mabbo

Marc-Alan Barnette


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Jenny Stokes
(@jenny-stokes)
Right Honorable Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 539
 

That comment about payments coming in spurts is spot on, MAB. We had a song charting on Christian Radio for weeks but didn't see a penny for over a year until finally the PRO-net caught a Jenny fish and we saw some pennies from the thing. Right now we've got a song that's been charting within the top 5 songs for 6 weeks, but we won't see anything for that until next year. It's all very slow. I imagine it's the same for mainstream artists.

Thanks for your comments about the other songwriting forums. As soon as you guys started talking about the political rumblings I went sour on checking them out. I really have no time for pontificators. They either bore me or annoy me.   ??

Update on John: He's well. Got through covid and pneumonia. His wife has been in icu (from covid complications) on a ventilator for nearly a month. It was touch and go for a while there, but she seems to be coming out the other end. All going well, she might get her first sip of water in a month tomorrow. Oh the excitement.

J

https://soundcloud.com/jennystokes-nz
http://evansandstokes.com
https://www.facebook.com/evansandstokes/


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