Gonna guess this is...

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Active Member
Joined: 8 months ago
Posts: 6
23/07/2019 7:25 am  

I have been songwriting for the past two years and I have become relatively quite good, I have got to the point where I could write one song every two days on average

How do I get to the stage where I could be employed as a contract writer?

I generally don't know, I just need advice on what direction to go

A Night To ReMember
Joined: 12 months ago
Posts: 216
23/07/2019 4:21 pm  

Write two or three hundred songs with viable artists, spend about a dozen years involving yourself into a music community, and expect to make little or no money until you have something that is earning money. Actually the majority of "staff writers" deals" died out about two decades ago. "Professional writers" now are most often artists or people involved with artists. Songs themselves have very little value, with songs with hundreds of millions of streams (which is how most people get their music today) earning less than a counter worker at McDonalds makes. And there are around 30-60 million writers/artists/creators with around a billion songs a month, all trying to do variations of the same thing. So there is a lot of competition. Your job is to find ways to stand out. 

We are in the era of "ARTIST BRANDING" and songwriters interested in doing this, need to be involved on the ground floor of the "next big thing", which means you need to be working on your people skills and start integrating into songwriting communities. You can start in your local communities by making friends and beginning to work. Finding the local writers nights, open mics, hang outs, are a good first step. 
Being able to write multiple songs in a day are a good thing, you need to be fast and deliver something that people can't do themselves, but writing a lot of songs don't always mean they are going to be great or even good songs. Most of that is quite relative and what you may think is good, doesn't always translate through other people. Most songs we write are "Good ideas at the time" and we quickly replace them by other songs very quickly. An above average writer writes about 10 songs that are thrown away for every one that they keep. 

Most of it is about being around and proving yourself a good friend first. The business of music is a relationship business and that has to be perfected long before you even write or being able to pitch songs to anyone. You have to get to know people first. And in this business, it doesn't make any difference who YOU know. It's WHO KNOWS YOU AND HOW THEY KNOW YOU. 85% of a songwriter or artists career is "off the playing field" away from writing, recording, performing. It is behind the scenes networking, building and continuing relationships and waiting your turn in line. In the mean time, you do your songs yourself, put them online, social networking, and building your brand. It's also about being around for a while. The new people who come in, try to be aroujnd and then dissapear are daily. And most people don't last very long when they reality comes in. It can be a very expensive business. Making trips, relocating, demos, going to songwriting events, doing videos, promoting artists and other writers, all can add up very quickly. 

So that's it. You have to dive in and find out the next avenues. There are three main music centers in this country, LA, New York and Nashville, with a few other places like AUSTIN, Minneapolis, Chicago, Seattle, and a few other major cities,  and a few other around the world. Before I attempted those I would work on cementing my abilities and reputation in my home area first. Working with a few artists, bands, duos, etc. can go a long way toward your reputation will help. Being involved in local songwriting organizations for networking, learning rules and etticate can help. A good nationwide organization is NSAI or "NASHVILLE SONGWRITER';S ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONAL" has chapter workshops in all states and some other countries. There are many online groups you can also join. Most are a GOOGLE or FACEBOOK search away. 

Good luck and stay at it. It's a lifetime journey but one that always starts with a single step.

Take care,

Marc-Alan Barnette

Right Honorable Member
Joined: 12 months ago
Posts: 528
23/07/2019 9:10 pm  

Your NSAI chapter might be a good place to start. I joined my local chapter about a year ago. Before that, they were happy for me to sit in on a few meetings and fully participate to see if I wanted to join. You could email the coordinator and say that you'd like to do that. There only seems to be one chapter in England, in Kilburn, North London. Probably about an hour by car from you or an hour and a half by public transport. That's a bit of a hike. I actually drive for about an hour to my monthly meetings, but people are more used to doing that kind of thing over here. Also petrol is cheap 🙂



I have met a lot of very nice and talented people there and it's morale boosting to be around kindred spirits. Also, you can make connections with performers. Many songwriters straddle both worlds and can introduce to others.

This post was modified 7 months ago by Gavin

I may or may not be an enigma

A Night To ReMember
Joined: 12 months ago
Posts: 216
24/07/2019 8:38 am  

I didn't see where you were in England. There is an NSAI chapter, used to be run by a friend of mine but have not heard in decades what it does.

When trying to integrate into a music community, you first have to find where that community is. Obviously, most people are involved in online forums and community's like these. which are a good thing. One of those, from my clients in Australia, turned into a very successful experience, resulting in a relationship with an artist, and that led to them having a number one song. It's in my "Down Undah..." thread that I did a few weeks back. 

In regard to Leon's question about "getting a contract writer situation", that really doesn't happen any more. The primary reason is that the vast majority of music is FREE. People download it for free, are able to stream it, get it everywhere they look for free. Can't get any money out of "free." Publishers, who would be an entity that you would be looking for ""Contract writer situation" no longer give advances to writers (which is what a contract writer would be doing) or in many cases pay for things like demos or any costs. They do that with candidates that have potential for record companies, or having a very large internet presence (someone like Ed Sheeran comes to mind, who had enormous success solo before he signed his record deal) would have a shot.  But the "up front deals?" Those really don't exist any more. People can't afford to pay money that doesn't generate any return.

Another issue here is the "I've been writing for the past two years and I have become relatively good..." That is quite relative. He may think he is quite good but is not really around anyone so has no frame of reference. It has been said that any thing people want to do takes a minimum of around 10,000 hours to be truely proficient. This is very true in Nashville, with an average writer taking about 10 years to gain  any real level of proficiency. Almost everyone who has ever written a song has had friends tell them how good they are and "that is better than anything on the radio" and while it might be true, the bar is pretty low as to what is on the radio. So getting some perspective on his song is a good first step.

And to do that, again, is getting around people with the same interests and particularly those that have been doing it a while, getting feedback, critiques, etc. are all part of the process. I hope this gentleman (or female, I really don't know, he doesn't sign a name) can post some of their songs, and writers here might give feedback. This is a good forum for that. People here tend to be friendly and helpful and come from all types of backgrounds and abilities. So that would help him.

My favorite phrase is from a friend of mine who said "THOSE WHO WANT A ROYALTY CHECK, MUST FIRST GET A REALITY CHECK."

Now, from my perspective, it would be for this person to respond and we see what they say about what we've said. In my experience, you can read more from what a person says, or the questions they ask, as to the level of involvement anyone should have. I hope they do contribute and become a good member around here. It is a good community and requires everyone's involvement. Balls in their court. I hope I've given a little insight into the question they asked.

Marc-Alan Barnette


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