JOHN BRAHENY (1938-2013) was a top consultant for songwriters, performers and industry entrepreneurs. He was one of 5 national nominees in the Best Music/Performer/Artist Development Executive category of NARIP‘s (Natnl. Assn, of Record Industry Professionals) 2011 Best In The Biz. He was a consultant and screener for Taxi.com, the worlds leading independant A&R company and offers valuable feedback on songwriting craft and business and career strategies for performers.
He was one of the most respected people in the music industry, and, more specifically, in the songwriting community. He has been lovingly dubbed “the songwriter’s best friend” for his tireless efforts to create education and discovery opportunities for songwriters, to help bring public attention to songwriting as an art form and to champion songwriters’ rights. His activities in these areas include:
Co-founded and directed (with Len Chandler) the legendary Los Angeles Songwriters Showcase (LASS).
This national non-profit service organization for songwriters (1971-’96), which BMI sponsored for 18 years, was the first on-going, organized weekly showcase exclusively for contemporary songwriter/performers in the Los Angeles area. During the early years of the organization they provided exposure and encouragement to an impressive list of later-to-be-successful new writers and writer/artists in all genres including Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham, Janis Ian, Warren Zevon, Karla Bonoff, Stephen Bishop, Jules Shear, Wendy Waldman, Steve Seskin and the world’s most successful contemporary songwriter, Diane Warren, for whom Braheny and Chandler critiqued over 150 songs when she was only 15. The live showcases evolved into an international membership organization whose members could submit songs on tape to industry professionals by mailing them in from anywhere in the world for the weekly Cassette Roulette and Pitch-A-Thon sessions.
Braheny and Chandler were responsible for innovating songwriter events and activities that serve as models for organizations all over the world. Among them:
- The Songwriters Expo, which for 20 years, starting in 1977, was the largest and most comprehensive annual education and discovery event for songwriters in the world.
- The first weekly series of live interview sessions with more than 600 industry professionals and hit songwriters.
- Created Cassette Roulette and Pitch-A-Thon, the first weekly, open-to-anyone opportunities to get songs critiqued by publishers and heard by producers and record company reps.
- The first Professional Membership category to provide private, in-house opportunities and personal referrals for exceptional songwriters. Among the successes of this program were hits by Tiffany and Starship.
Author and Journalist
Braheny wrote the best-selling and highly acclaimed Writer’s Digest book, The Craft and Business of Songwriting (Writer’s Digest Books 1988, 1995, 2002. 2007), now in its 3rd Edition. The National Academy of Songwriters called the book “A veritable songwriters bible. This is the definitive work on the subject of songwriting.”
He had previously written the Songwriters Handbook for the American Song Festival, a bi-weekly “Songmine” column for Music Connection Magazine, and has contributed to Songwriters Market, Songwriter Magazine, Keyboard Magazine, Musician Magazine, The Musician’s Business and Legal Guide, American Songwriter, and Music Biz Magazine among others.
Along with more than 600 interviews with music industry professionals and hit songwriters at the weekly Songwriters Showcase sessions and Songwriters Expo panels, Braheny conducted and edited more than 150 interviews for the Songwriters Musepaper, the monthly magazine of the Los Angeles Songwriters Showcase.
For several years he co-hosted Samm Brown’s For The Record, a weekly entertainment industry interview and call-in show on KPFK (90.7 FM) in Los Angeles.
John’s expertise in interviewing songwriters was so well known and respected that in 1997 he was commissioned by Disc Marketing Inc.’s In-flight division to conduct an ongoing series of 55 interviews with both legendary and contemporary hit songwriters for United Airlines’ in-flight audio Salute to Songwriters Channel. The channel was a favorite on Air Force One. In November 2000, John was presented with an award by United Airlines in recognition of his contribution to their winning the international WAEA Avion Award in 2000 for “Best Overall Inflight Entertainment.”
Braheny continues to be in demand to conduct songwriting/music business seminars for colleges, universities and organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada.
He has taught songwriting and music industry classes at UCLA, Grove School of Music and the Trebas Institute. He created the “Anatomy of a Hit” class at Musicians Institute in Los Angeles to teach new songwriters the elements of hit songs and records as well as marketing and sociological factors that influence the success or failure of records. He used contemporary hits in all styles as well as classic examples through the past 70 years. He also taught a Music Business Overview class at the Los Angeles Recording School for three years and currently teaches at The Songwriting School of Los Angeles.
Braheny maintains a high profile in music industry. He has served three terms on the board of Governors of the L.A. Chapter of the Recording Academy (who present the Grammys) and edited their newsletter, The L.A. Record. He served as president of California Copyright Conference, an organization of entertainment attorneys, music publishers and record company executives. He has served on the board of directors of the National Academy of Songwriters (NAS), the Songwriters Guild of America, and on the boards of advisors for many songwriters organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada including JPFolks.com, the largest network of independent artists.
Honors John was one of 5 national nominees in the Best Music/Performer/Artist Development Executive in the National Assn. Of Record Industry Professionals (NARIP) Best in the Biz (2011) survey.
Braheny passed away in January 2013 after a long bout with cancer. He is survived by his wife JoAnn.