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Five Pre-Songwriting Demo Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

The professional songwriting demo process is a necessary part of the equation for songwriters aspiring to get their material heard by music industry decision-makers and, hopefully, cut by successful recording artists. Despite the fact that hundreds of demos are recorded every week in places like Nashville, New York and Los Angeles, new songwriters often find themselves overwhelmed and...

Business Etiquette Hits the Circular File

Over the last several years, I’ve noticed companies and individuals in the business world adopting an old saying as their business practice: Ignorance is bliss. If we pretend you didn’t call or email us, then we don’t have to respond. But, what does that say about your business acumen? A friend of mine, who is a tour manager with a major recording...

The Benefits of Stripping Down Your Song Demos

Let’s begin at the beginning. You’ve written a song and, hopefully, you’re thrilled with it. So thrilled, in fact, that you want to record it right away and use every instrument in both the Western and Eastern musical traditions on the song demo. I don’t blame you one bit. There’s nothing more fun than dressing up your songs to go to town. But it might make sense to stop and...

Four Practical Dos and Don'ts for Different Songwriting Methods

“Which do you write first, the music or the words?” This is the classic question that all songwriters get asked. In my experience, there’s no easy - or correct - answer to this one. Sometimes it’s the music, sometimes it’s the lyrics and, often, it’s some mystical, organic combination of the two. More importantly, there is no one way to write a song. Some of the best and...

What Do Music Producers Do?

Working as a producer for the last twenty years, I’ve recorded all kinds of artists from “fresh off the boat” newbies to artists whose experience in the world of music doubles my own. In every case, my role as a producer stays essentially the same. It’s that role that I’m going to describe in this article. What Is A Music Producer & What Do Music Producers Do? The best way I know to...

URGENT WARNING: Beware of NBC/Universal's "Songland" Submission Form

Several clients of mine have brought this to my attention, so I thought I would address it here. The NBC/Universal submission agreement for the "Songland" TV show states that NBC will own all rights to use and exploit all of your songs involved in the show including the songs you submit in the initial application. You would also purportedly be giving up your song even if you do not get...

KISS Singer Paul Stanley Proves He Has Plenty of Soul at the Coach House

It's no surprise there were plenty of KISS fans on hand at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, CA on Feb. 26, 2016 to catch the Orange County debut of singer-guitarist Paul Stanley's new group dubbed Soul Station. But what may have been a bit surprising to some unschooled members of the capacity crowd was not only the complete lack of any KISS classics in the set list, but...

Effective Practicing: Chord Transitions

Do you know how to practice? We all want to improve our skills, but it can be hard to know where to start or how to go about it. A good percentage of people who come to my studio have played for years but feel like they stopped improving a long time ago, and need guidance on what to do. So a lot of my work is focused exactly in this area: how to figure out what exactly to...

The Griswolds’ 6 Step Guide to Secret Garden Success

Everybody’s favourite adult playground, Secret Garden, will soon be blowing minds at the end of the month. A simple farm in Sydney’s south west will be transformed into a wonderland that even C.S Lewis will have a hard time fathoming. It may be your first time as a gardener, and with the lineup still remaining a mystery you may be at a loss of how to make the most of your time there. After...

Songwriter Collaboration and Co-Writer Agreements - What They Mean and How They Work

Under the US copyright law, an author or creator owns a copyright in his or her work the moment it is “fixed in a tangible medium” (i.e., the moment the expression of an idea is written down or recorded in some manner). When it comes to the recorded music business there are two primary copyrights of interest: one in the musical composition or song; another in the sound recording of that song.

Songwriter Offers $10,000 Reward to Find Christian Artist Willing to Adopt His Song

An amateur songwriter is offering a $10,000 reward to the most qualified, enthusiastic Christian artist who is willing to adopt his song "God Is Friends with Me." Larry Schwarz recognizes that it will be extremely challenging and time-consuming to publish and promote his own song. To this end, he is actively seeking talented Christian musicians who share his passion for ...

Four Simple Tricks For Rewriting A Song

As songwriters, we so often get bogged down in the micro-details of our songs (whether to use “and” or “but,” should the last note of the chorus melody go up or down, etc.) that we tend to overlook the big issues that can help us tighten, streamline and otherwise improve our songs in major ways. I’m going to bring up a few of the commonly overlooked issues that I see time...
The grand finale brings everyone onstage during A Celebration for Ray Manzarek at the Fonda Theatre.

Celebration for Ray Manzarek Brings Together Surviving Members of the Doors and More

One of the most tragic things in the years leading up to the death of Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek in May 2013 was that original drummer John Densmore didn't join forces with Manzarek and guitarist Robby Krieger in their Doors of the 21st Century or Riders on the Storm projects. However, on Friday night, Densmore and Krieger performed together live for the first time in...

Five Female Guitarists Everyone Should Follow on Instagram

It’s no revelation that electrifying, badass women have existed in the music worldfor, well, as long as music and women have co-existed. It’s also no secret that famous female guitarists are few and far between when compared to male counterparts, andsince Instagram’s debut and the #RiffWars uprise, the significant herd of men overcrowding the hashtag, and many others, has given this...

First Trip to LA? You’re in Luck! Ali Barter Has the Ultimate Guide for You

Following up her brilliant AB-EP, Ali Barter jetted off to LA to continue writing and recording with producer Harlan Silverman. The first of those new songs is Far Away. If you’ve ever felt like heading to LA for a holiday but aren’t sure where to go, Ali has a few recommendations based on her time there. After bunkering down in LA to record Far Away, Ali Barter is now your helpful...
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