The Woodshed

Original music. What’s a guy to do?

26

I know a guy who joined ASCAP. I should call him and see how much help they've been. Any ASCAP/BMI members here?

27

Okay. I had lunch with my friend and producer and we discussed some of this. He says ASCAP is usually used by bands and BMI is usually used by songwriters, from his observations. ASCAP is a yearly fee and BMI is a one time fee. He says that he is a BMI member and that came with his CDBaby package when they processed his last album. I guess I should see if that came with ours when we published. One of our other members did all of the work with them so I'm not sure. It's all going to be on me this time which scares the heck out of me since I'm a bit computer illiterate. If we aren't members yet I still may go the BMI direction regardless of billing as a band. He says that they do scan for original music for use on TV or movies as background noise or transitional music and knows some folks who have had some success with that. He mentioned a guy he knows that does music for a kids Network that does what he described as Greenday sounding instrumentals and that's all he does for a living. Heck, I'd just like to sell what I think is a pretty decent song to an artist to record so I can hear my song on the radio but the more I think about what radio is all about, I'm not so darned sure. I don't know.... I'm not trying to be fickle. I just know what good music sounds like too me.

Oh well, I'm rambling now so, sorry.

28

If you want your songs to get recorded, or more realistically, listened to, you need representation. (a publisher, ...) And even then, realize that the only real money left in music is in songwriting, so it's a very crowded market with a lot of desperate contenders.

And the very last thing you want to do is sell your songs. If you sell a song outright, you get a fixed amount for it, done. And if the one-in-ten billion thing does happen, and your song ends up on the soundtrack of a blockbuster movie, you'll get very depressed indeed, or want to kill whoever you sold your song to and is raking in the money.

Honestly though, if you don't know anyone in the publishing business now, and have no idea how to get into that world, your chances of hitting the jackpot might be bigger with a lottery ticket.

29

If you want your songs to get recorded, or more realistically, listened to, you need representation. (a publisher, ...) And even then, realize that the only real money left in music is in songwriting, so it's a very crowded market with a lot of desperate contenders.

And the very last thing you want to do is sell your songs. If you sell a song outright, you get a fixed amount for it, done. And if the one-in-ten billion thing does happen, and your song ends up on the soundtrack of a blockbuster movie, you'll get very depressed indeed, or want to kill whoever you sold your song to and is raking in the money.

Honestly though, if you don't know anyone in the publishing business now, and have no idea how to get into that world, your chances of hitting the jackpot might be bigger with a lottery ticket.

– WB

Good points, Walter.

My goal is to reach as many people as I can with my tunes.

YouTube seems to be the best way now, followed by all the streaming sites. Nobody wants to pay for music anymore, so cds are left for the old school folks that like a physical representation of the medua, and for people at shows that want something autographed.

This gets you exposure, which we all know, you can die from!

Some artists have taken this to heart, and don't spend a fortune making product, but rather give the music away and sell the tour, through shows and merch(including cds and vinyl).

It's a tough life for anyone doing it...just ask some of the pros here.

30

Dave, ASCAP and BMI and SESAC represent songwriters. They collect the writer's money for the performances of the song, be it from radio or film or tv, and streaming. You get a quarterly statement that details these performances, and hopefully there’s a check in that envelope! It does not cost anything to join BMI and ASCAP has a one time $50 fee, and you do not get an automatic membership with BMI from CDBaby.

Walter is correct, you don’t “sell” your song to an artist. You have definite rights as a songwriter, that is what copyright is all about, and this is where music publishing enters the picture.

An artist hears your song, likes it and wants to record it. Fantastic. They do not give you any money. Not fantastic.

The artist records your song, their label loves it, gets behind it and promotes it like crazy. If, and that is a very big if, your song finds its way to radio and is a hit or gets put in a film or tv ad, you can look forward to opening that mailbox in about six months to a year for your royalties to start rolling in.

31

The artist records your song, their label loves it, gets behind it and promotes it like crazy. If, and that is a very big if, your song finds its way to radio and is a hit or gets put in a film or tv ad, you can look forward to opening that mailbox in about six months to a year for your royalties to start rolling in. - Deed Eddy

Just ask Nick Lowe about his million dollar check for "What's So Funny ('Bout Peace, Love and Understanding?)"

33

I had a look at CDBaby Pro Publishing, and they will help a writer to align with one of the PROs (Performing Rights Organizations) ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC.

There is a lot to this business of music, I know. The learning curve changes every day, it seems. I am constantly reading and trying to keep up myself. Songwriters and artists alike have to fight to be paid in a fair manner and that just doesn’t seem right, does it? (See Music Modernization Act, for example).

There’s tons of good information out there, and it’s important to question any deals that come your way.

Here’s a link that helps explain further...ASCAP, BMI, SESAC? What's that about?

34

Thank you WB and CB. Great insights.

Miss. Deed your wealth of knowledge is greatly appreciated. Thanks for chiming in. That article was very helpful .

Here's a run-down of how much 10 songwriters have made off recent blockbuster hits. The figures refer to mechanical royalties based on U.S. track and album sales as of January 2012, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Each movie and TV deal is different, so we have no idea how much extra money these songs made from licensing. Also, we can't say how the money is divided up among each songwriter and his or her publishing company – in a typical deal, a major publisher will take half of an inexperienced writer's total royalties, sources say. From the article.

What I get from this is that you need to strike up a deal with a publisher before making any deals. You folks rock!!

35

You're right; the world is missing out on some great music. And I'm in the same boat with you; aging, bad skin, gray hair etc. etc...You can see it in my avatar.

Here's a thought: Try shopping your songs to local bands. I was very flattered when one of my songs was passed to another group by a former band mate. Another one of my songs got picked up by Kansas City singer/song writer David Hakan and recorded on his CD "Stone and Steel." To date, I haven't collected so much as a penny in royalties, but on the other hand I'm flattered and pleased these folks thought enough of my two songs that they wanted to learn them, and present them to their audiences.

36

I have considered that too, Jim. In fact, there was a guy here in town that used to do an acoustic show that did ask me if he could do one or two of my songs and did them. He did a great job and I was excited and flattered.


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