Songmine: When in Doubt…”negotiate” by John Braheny

A John Braheny Songmine column from the archives…

Songmine: When in Doubt... 

Accession Number: C000000137-029-002 Document/Digital File, “Songmine: When in Doubt…”negotiate”by John Braheny”, OCR converted text under same Accession Number

(Digitally converted text. Some errors may occur)

Songmine
BY JOHN BRAHENY

When in doubt… “negotiate”

A recent incident prompted this article; a writer I know happened to get to the manager of a major R&B/pop crossover group. The manager loved her song and felt it was so good that the group may want to record it despite the fact that the group usually wrote their own songs. He asked her if the group could have the publishing if they recorded it. She said, “No.” He said, “Goodbye.” She said she was totally unprepared to deal with the situation and had no idea what to say. She was excited that he liked it, but thought that when he wanted the publishing he was trying to rip her off.

There were three reactions to her story. The first was, “Right on; don’t let them have the publishing. You did right! You did the job of the publisher by getting it to him in the first place. Does anyone seriously believe that that manager or that group is going to exploit that song beyond the group’s recording of it?” The second reaction was, “My God. Do you know there are writers who’d sell their kids for an album cut by that group? The writer’s royalties alone are worth thousands, especially if it’s a single. Who cares about giving them the publishing? You give it to them and get a guaranteed recording. If you give it to a real publisher, it might never get cut because they are not going to give up their piece of the action to that group. Either way, you don’t get to keep any of the publishing! It’s just one song and it’ll help build your career.”

The third point of view was mine. While I conceded that both points of view had merit, I wondered why she didn’t negotiate. She answered, “I don’t know. I didn’t even think of it. What’s to negotiate? Either you give them the publishing or you don’t, right?”

Wrong. There are several items that are negotiable. First of all, you don’t want any deal to go into effect until a song is released. So, you don’t want to assign them the publishing rights (if that’s what the deal is) and then have them decide they don’t want to record the tune after all. Then you’ve given away the publishing and no one is out plugging the tune. You can put yuour deal in writing and add a clause that says, “This contract goes into effect on the day this record is released commercially.”

The two major sources of income (mechanical and perfor-mance) are negotiable without transferring your ownership of any of the copyright. Generally, when someone says they want “the publishing” they want ownership of the copyright (and/or the right to collect all income earned by the tune). In the “standard” writer/publisher contract, you assign the copyright to the publisher in a contract which gives you half the income as writer, with the other half going to the publisher. But the publisher owns the song and can sell it to anyone else if he wants to. A good businessperson will always want to own the copyright. It’s a commodity whose value will increase with the song’s degree and length of popularity. So you can’t blame them for going after it. They’re not trying to rip you off, just taking care of business. You need to do the same.

“Mechanicals” refers to the income from the sales of records and tapes at the current rate of two and three-quarters cents per song per unit sold, payable to the copyright owner. For a million seller, that’s $27,500. As the writer, you’ll take half off the top right away, and from the remainder (referred to as the “publisher’s share of mechanicals”), you can offer percentages as an incentive only for their limited exploitation of the song. If someone else later records the song, you don’t end up giving them parts of the mechanicals for that new recording.

Next time I’ll write about the “performance” income, which is also negotiable without giving up your copyright.

APRIL 3 — APRIL 16

See all previous entries in the Songmine Series

About Songmine and Music Connection Magazine:

John Braheny met Eric Bettelli and Michael Dolan right before they were going to publish Music Connection magazine. Eric and Michael wanted to get their publication out to as many songwriters as they could. They had already heard of the LA Songwriters Showcase, and of John and his partner, Len Chandler. John’s goal was to advertise the schedule of guest speakers and performers at the weekly Showcase… so they made a deal. 

They published John’s Songmine column (he had never before written a magazine article!) in their very first edition, in November 1977. Trading out the column for advertising, this arrangement continued for many years. Plus, Eric and Michael came to the Showcase each week and distributed free copies to the songwriters!

Those articles became so popular that (book agent and editor) Ronny Schiff offered John’s articles to F&W Media, where they became the backbone of John’s textbook, The Craft and Business of Songwriting. As a follow-up, Dan Kimpel (author, songwriter, teacher), who had also worked at LASS, took on the Songwriting column at Music Connection magazine which continues to this day! You can subscribe to get either hard copies or online.


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Songwriters Musepaper – Volume 10 Issue 3 – March 1995 – Interview: Randy Sharp

Songwriters Musepaper – Volume 10 Issue 3 – March 1995 – Interview: Randy Sharp

Songwriters Musepaper - Volume 10 Issue 3 - March 1995 - Interview: Randy Sharp

JB#: C000000062-038-001

Songwriters Musepaper - Volume 10 Issue 3 - March 1995 - Interview: Randy Sharp

JB #: C000000062-038-002


signINTERVIEW –

RANDY SHARP  …………………………………………………………………………. 7

Scotty Dugan gets down to the nuts and bolts of writing country and living coastal with L.A.’s own Randy Sharp.

THEORETICALLY SPEAKING –

THE SOLID CONCRETE REFERENCE…………………………………………. 9

Bill Pere gives us another insightful chapter from his Songwriters Coloring Book to explain the power of using concrete, rather than abstract references.

UPBEAT

TULARE DUST: A SONGWRITERS TRIBUTE

TO MERLE HAGGARD……………………………………………………………… 11

Roots songwriters pay tribute to a California country legend. Dan Kimpel reviews this HighTone Records release.

PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE –

WRITING EIGHT DAYS A WEEK………………………………………………… 13

Lyric teacher K.A. Parker gives us some insight about luck , persistence and hard work.

MUSICAL NOTES –

ART AND ROMANCE: AN ANALOGY………………………………………… 14

Inspired by her trip to Midem, Harriet Schock discusses putting that feeling of “first love” into your songwriting.

LASS NEWS
MEMBER NEWS – NOTEWORTHY – MUSICAL CHAIRS………………… 4

News about classes, biz events, where your favorite publishers and A&R reps are this month, good stuff about our Members and Pickups.

WEEKLY SHOWCASE SCHEDULE………………………………………………. 6

Cassette RouletteTM (publisher song critiques) and Pitch-A-ThonTm (producers and record company reps looking for songs and acts.)

See all Previous Songwriter Musepaper Posts

From the Acting Archivist…

Much like the Songmine columns posted earlier, the archives contain a large collection of Songwriter Musepaper publications. With this posting, I am beginning a project to scan the cover and table of contents of each issue and then OCR (convert the scanned picture to text) the table of contents in order to make it searchable. I don’t yet have the staff necessary to create complete scanned issues of the Museupaper, but if there is interest in a particular article or interview, I can scan that and make it available here.

Douglas E. Welch, douglas@welchwrite.com

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Songmine: Collaboration Part IV: Can This Marriage Work? by John Braheny

A John Braheny Songmine column from the archives…

COLLABORATION PART IV:  Can this marriage work? 

Accession Number: C000000137-029-001 Document/Digital File, “Songmine: Collaboration Part IV:  Can This Marriage Work? by John Braheny”, OCR converted text under same Accession Number

(Digitally converted text. Some errors may occur)

Songmine BY JOHN BRAHENY
COLLABORATION PART IV: Can this marriage work?

“My ego is my biggest problem when I collaborate,” says a successful L.A. songwriter. “I have to keep reminding myself that I’m collaborating with this lyricist because I really respect his work and when he offers a suggestion or asks me to change part of my melody to accomodate a lyric, I should give it a shot.” This problem, at least in part, was caused by the fact that he’d written the words and music himself for years and found it difficult to readjust his habits. It typifies a problem faced by all collaborators and unless it can be controlled, it becomes one of the most frequent causes of breakups. A negative and quarrelsome attitude can destroy any type of partnership, especially with people who are sensitive and involved with emotional issues. It’s not always easy to deal with someone who tells you your baby is ugly. Remember that you’re both trying to make it pretty. We all want to believe that, because the baby comes from us, it’s already perfect. Even when you’re writing alone, the ability to step back from your song and look at it objectively is what makes you a professional rather than an amateur songwriter. When you’re working with someone else, that professional attitude becomes doubly important because criticism is a necessary part of the process–a good partner won’t let you get away with ignoring a flaw. It is, in fact, one of the primary benefits of collaborating. The one thing to keep foremost in your mind is that you’re both trying to create the best song possible. All criticism and response to it should be directed toward that goal rather than to protecting your ego by defending something just because you wrote it.

You’ll need to learn not only to accept criticism graciously but to give it. Giving criticism is an art in itself. When you’re beginning a relationship it’s crucial that it be done as gently and positively as possible. As your routine develops and you get more comfortable and trusting with each other you’ll probably work out some shorthand that will speed up the process of criticism. You’ll also get to know which buttons not to push. For instance, there’s a lot of difference between saying That line sucks!” and “Let’s make that line stronger.” The former is an unqualified putdown. The latter acknowledges it could be better, offers a challenge, and implies faith that you and your partner can do it. It’s important that you continuously acknowledge your partner’s talent and compli-ment his/her good ideas. In an atmosphere where your partner knows he/she is respected, criticism becomes much easier. If you find few causes for compliments, you should be writing with someone else.

Approaches to collaboration are as varied as the combinations of individuals involved. It’s very important that you find out right away how your prospective partner likes to work. Here are some of the variables: 1. Writing lyric and music alone and getting together later. Some people get very uptight when their partner is in the same room. It disturbs their creative flow. They may be open to criticism and change later but they need to get something to work from first. Some lyricists would rather write to a finished melody and vice versa. This method makes it easier to write by correspondence. Some who write this way will take their melody or lyric to several writers in succession and say “Take this lyric (or tune) for a week. I’ll hear what you’ve come up with then and if I like it, great, and if not I’ll take it to someone else.” For those writers, it saves the hassle of waiting endlessly for a collaborator to finish a song. A very common problem. 2. Writing together in the same room. Writers who work this way love the give and take and instant feedback. They’re into the excitement and high energy level that can happen when they really start to “cook.” It’s particularly good for those who write both lyrics and music so ideas can be stimulated and shared in both areas. With this type of collaboration your compatability becomes more important. What time of day is your best creative time? Can you work every day or once a week? Do you like each other and not feel intimidated? Regardless of the approach, you’ll also need stylistic compatability and you’ll need to decide whether you or your partner also want to collaborate with others. As in all other partnership efforts (including marriage) give and take and understanding are the keys.

MARCH 20 — APRIL 2

See all previous entries in the Songmine Series

About Songmine and Music Connection Magazine:

John Braheny met Eric Bettelli and Michael Dolan right before they were going to publish Music Connection magazine. Eric and Michael wanted to get their publication out to as many songwriters as they could. They had already heard of the LA Songwriters Showcase, and of John and his partner, Len Chandler. John’s goal was to advertise the schedule of guest speakers and performers at the weekly Showcase… so they made a deal. 

They published John’s Songmine column (he had never before written a magazine article!) in their very first edition, in November 1977. Trading out the column for advertising, this arrangement continued for many years. Plus, Eric and Michael came to the Showcase each week and distributed free copies to the songwriters!

Those articles became so popular that (book agent and editor) Ronny Schiff offered John’s articles to F&W Media, where they became the backbone of John’s textbook, The Craft and Business of Songwriting. As a follow-up, Dan Kimpel (author, songwriter, teacher), who had also worked at LASS, took on the Songwriting column at Music Connection magazine which continues to this day! You can subscribe to get either hard copies or online.


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Songwriters Musepaper – Volume 10 Issue 2 – October 1995 – Interview: Barry Mann

Songwriters Musepaper – Volume 10 Issue 2 – October 1995 – Interview: Barry Mann

Songwriters Musepaper - Volume 10 Issue 2 - October 1995 - Interview: Barry Mann

JB#: C000000062-037-001

Songwriters Musepaper - Volume 10 Issue 2 - October 1995 - Interview: Barry Mann

JB #: C000000062-037-002


Table of Contents

(Digitally converted text. Some errors may occur)

INTERVIEW –

BARRY MANN  ………………………………………………………………………….. 7

After three decades of hits, this Brill Building survivor ruminates on his career and his craft. Robert L. Doerschuk reports.

THEORETICALLY SPEAKING –

SONGCRAFTERS COLORING BOOK:

WRITING IN THE KEY OF “W”  …………………………………………………… 9

If achieving clarity in your lyrics is a problem, Bill Pere suggests asking “Who, what, when, where, why and how?”.

UPBEAT-

COME ALIVE IN ’95 ………………………………………………………………….. 11

The Japanese believe that whatever you do at the beginning

of the year you will continue to do until the end. With that thought in mind, Dan Kimpel examines career moves and attitudes.

PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE –

FINDING THE TIME TO WRITE………………………………………………….. 13

Writing songs and having a life don’t always go hand in hand. K.A. Parker explains how to “have it all.”

MUSICAL NOTES –

TRUTH VS. FACTS IN SONGWRITING………………………………………. 14

Confusing the facts with the truth in songwriting is like mistaking clay for sculpture. It’s what you do with the facts that’s everything, as Harriet Schock discusses.

LASS NEWS
MEMBER NEWS – NOTEWORTHY – MUSICAL CHAIRS………………… 4

News about classes, biz events, where your favorite publishers and A&R reps are this month, good stuff about our Members and Pickups.

WEEKLY SHOWCASE SCHEDULE………………………………………………. 6

Cassette RouletteTM (publisher song critiques) and Pitch-A-ThonTM (producers and record company reps looking for songs and acts.)

FEBRUARY 1995 • SONGWRITERS MUSEPAPER 3


See all Previous Songwriter Musepaper Posts

From the Acting Archivist…

Much like the Songmine columns posted earlier, the archives contain a large collection of Songwriter Musepaper publications. With this posting, I am beginning a project to scan the cover and table of contents of each issue and then OCR (convert the scanned picture to text) the table of contents in order to make it searchable. I don’t yet have the staff necessary to create complete scanned issues of the Museupaper, but if there is interest in a particular article or interview, I can scan that and make it available here.

Douglas E. Welch, douglas@welchwrite.com


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Songwriters Musepaper – Volume 8 Issue 7 – July 1993 – Interview: John Keller

Songwriters Musepaper – Volume 8 Issue 7 – July 1993 – Interview: John Keller

Songwriters Musepaper - Volume 8 Issue 7 - July 1993 - Interview: John Keller

JB#: C000000062-036-001

Songwriters Musepaper - Volume 8 Issue 7 - July 1993 - Interview: John Keller

JB #: C000000062-036-002


Table of Contents

(Digitally converted text. Some errors may occur)

FEATURES

INTERVIEW –

JOHN KELLER……………………………………………………………………………… 7

Dan Kimpel guides us through a 20-year overnight success story

with the writer of the Vanessa Williams/Brian McKnight hit, “Love Is.”

THEORETICALLY SPEAKING –

TO SWING OR NOT TO SWING? (RAGTIME TO HIP-HOP)……………….. 11

Ever wonder how to build a jack swing groove? David Cat Cohen

gives you a little analysis and history lesson on swing, then and now.

TOOLS OF THE TRADE –

CHOOSING AND USING STUDIO MONITORS………………………………….. 12

Just when you thought studio monitors weren’t particularly important,

Hank Linderman tries to prove you wrong.

MUSICAL NOTES –

WRITING “SINGABLE” LYRICS: THE SUBLIME TO THE RIDICULOUS

FROM THE SINGER’S POINT OF VIEW-PART 3………………………………. 14

It takes an exceptional teacher who works with singers to describe

this critical aspect of songwriting craft and nobody does it better

than Marta Woodhull. This is the third of a three-part series.

ASCAP AND BMI HONOR SONGWRITERS/PUBLISHERS…………………. 17

We list this year’s movers and shakers in the writing and publishing

areas.

TROUBADOURS OF FOLK FESTIVAL A MAJOR REUNION……………….. 18

Len Chandler takes the stage with fellow folk legends during a

weekend filled with memories of days gone by.

LASS NEWS

MEMBER NEWS – NOTEWORTHY – MUSICAL CHAIRS……………………….. 4

News about classes, biz events, where your favorite publishers

and A&R reps are this month, good stuff about our Members

and Pickups.

WEEKLY SHOWCASE SCHEDULE………………………………………………….. 6

Cassette Roulette,” (publisher song critiques) and Pitch-A-ThonTm

(producers and record company reps looking for songs and acts).


From the Acting Archivist…

Much like the Songmine columns posted earlier, the archives contain a large collection of Songwriter Musepaper publications. With this posting, I am beginning a project to scan the cover and table of contents of each issue and then OCR (convert the scanned picture to text) the table of contents in order to make it searchable. I don’t yet have the staff necessary to create complete scanned issues of the Museupaper, but if there is interest in a particular article or interview, I can scan that and make it available here.

Douglas E. Welch, douglas@welchwrite.com

Previously in Songwriters Musepaper:

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Songmine: Collaboration Part 3: Getting Down to Business by John Braheny

A John Braheny Songmine column from the archives…

 Songmine: Collaboration Part 3: Getting Down to Business by John Braheny

Accession Number: C000000137-028-002 Document/Digital File, “Songmine: Collaboration Part II: Meeting Your Match”, OCR converted text under same Accession Number

(Digitally converted text. Some errors may occur)

COLLABORATION PART III: Getting Down To Business by John Braheny

Let’s assume that you’ve found a lyricist and/or composer whose words or music feels like the magic ingredient you need to write great songs. The tendency is to want to get to it right away and see if you’re really compatible. First thing you know you’ve got a fantastic song. Then you say “Great, let’s find a publisher!” Your partner says “Oh, I guess I forgot to tell you— I’ve got my own publishing company so I’d like to publish the song.” At that point the song may be in trouble. You may rightfully ask whether your partner’s company is capable of properly exploiting the song. Does he have the connections to get the song recorded? If not, you’re better off not having a publisher at all than to have the song tied up so that no one else may have the financial incentive to try to place the tune. You might ask that if he doesn’t get it recorded in six months or a year, that he give up his publishing interest and you look for a publisher together. You might also set up your own company and split the publishing, but jointly agree to the above reversion clause or agree to bring in a third publisher and you both give an equal share (or all of it) to the new party.

Another scenario is that you have this super song that a publisher gets interested in but you wrote the song with someone last year and since you had no agreement, you can’t assign his share of the ownership of the copyright to the publisher. You haven’t seen your collaborator since you wrote the song and can’t find him. The publisher, fearful of future legal problems, decides not to publish it. If you had, on paper, granted the power of attorney to each other, you could have put that publisher at ease. A real basic consideration is what kind of a split you do on the song. Your collaborator may have supplied a title for a song but you wrote the rest of it. You might feel you did most of the work and should get 90 percent of the money. Your partner may feel that without the title, which supplied the premise, there wouldn’t be a song. You may both be right but that kind of bickering could destroy a very promising collaborative effort. It’s generally agreed that if you get together with the intention of writing a song or to establish an on-going writing relationship, you do a 50/50 split. It’s a pretty straightforward arrangement in any case if one of you is a lyricist and the other writes music. It tends to get a little touchy if each of you write music and lyrics. There’s more room for argument about who contributed the most. That’s why it’s best to agree on 50/50 ahead of time. I’m sure that on some of the Lennon/McCartney tunes, one contributed more than the other on individual songs but they just didn’t want to fight over it every time.

Here are some more situations that sometimes come up: 1. You’ve written the song and you take it to someone else to “tighten it up” and that person contributes a new hook or changes the direction of the song. 2. You take your song to an artist who wants to “personalize” it and changes something. For this he wants writer’s credit. 3. A publisher suggests changes and wants a writer’s credit. Generally speaking we feel that this is the publisher’s job and he shouldn’t get writer’s credit for it. This, of course, would depend on how substantial the contribution is–and it can get a little touchy.

Aside from the considerations of who gets what, there are other problems that cause difficulties. Maybe you decide later that for some reason you want a new lyric or melody to a song you’ve already written with someone. Is it okay to change? Not without his/her permission. What if your melody writer wants a new foreign language lyric. Do you still get paid?

All these potential problems point up the need for collaborators to get all the business straight before they get into the music. There are few things more frustrating than knowing you’ve written a winner but can’t do anything with it. Next time — The Musical Relationship.

MARCH 6 — MARCH 19

See all previous entries in the Songmine Series

About Songmine and Music Connection Magazine:

John Braheny met Eric Bettelli and Michael Dolan right before they were going to publish Music Connection magazine. Eric and Michael wanted to get their publication out to as many songwriters as they could. They had already heard of the LA Songwriters Showcase, and of John and his partner, Len Chandler. John’s goal was to advertise the schedule of guest speakers and performers at the weekly Showcase… so they made a deal. 

They published John’s Songmine column (he had never before written a magazine article!) in their very first edition, in November 1977. Trading out the column for advertising, this arrangement continued for many years. Plus, Eric and Michael came to the Showcase each week and distributed free copies to the songwriters!

Those articles became so popular that (book agent and editor) Ronny Schiff offered John’s articles to F&W Media, where they became the backbone of John’s textbook, The Craft and Business of Songwriting. As a follow-up, Dan Kimpel (author, songwriter, teacher), who had also worked at LASS, took on the Songwriting column at Music Connection magazine which continues to this day! You can subscribe to get either hard copies or online.


0

Songwriters Musepaper – Volume 8 Issue 1 – January 1993 – Interview: Jon Ims

Songwriters Musepaper – Volume 9 Issue 4 – April 1994 – Interview: Ben Margulies

Songwriters Musepaper - Volume 8 Issue 1 - January 1993 - Interview: Jon Ims

JB#: C000000062-035-001

Songwriters Musepaper - Volume 8 Issue 1 - January 1993 - Interview: Jon Ims

JB #: C000000062-035-002


Table of Contents

(Digitally converted text. Some errors may occur)

VOLUME 8, ISSUE 1, JANUARY 1993

CONTENTS

FEATURES

INTERVIEW – JON IMS…………………………………………………………………. 7

Our man in Nashville, Larry McClain, interviews one of the hottest

writers in country with Trisha’s “She’s In Love With The Boy”

and Reba’s “Falling Out Of Love” topping last year’s hit list.

TOOLS OF THE TRADE –

SAMPLE PEEVES TRANSFORMED

TO CREATIVE EASE BY ROLAND’S NEW JV-880………………………….. 10

Hank Linderman sets out to solve a common problem and erase a

few pet peeves and finds an inspiring solution from the folks at Roland.

THEORETICALLY SPEAKING –

A SONGWRITER’S NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS…………………………… 11

David Cat Cohen gives us all an affirmation and list of resolutions

that double as a checklist of how to successfully write and pitch songs.

SALUTE TO SONGWRITERS IS A SOLID HIT………………………………… 12

Len Chandler reviews a night of stellar songs as NAS pays tribute

to Stevie Wonder.

UPBEAT – THE MOTIVATING FORCE……………………………………………. 14

Dan Kimpel offers some practical motivational tools to help you

actually do something with that resolution to be a more productive

writer this year.

THE NEW $50,000 RULE:

MORE MONEY FOR LESS OPPORTUNITY    15 Industry consultant Thomas A. White discusses new legislation

which could present major problems for the industry.

PERSONAL PERSPECTIVES –

DO WE KNOW WHERE WE’RE COMING FROM?…………………………….. 16

Harriet Schock gets downright ornery when she deals with songwriters

who have no musical roots or respect for the genius of their predecessors.

MUSICAL NOTES –

THERE ARE NO WRONG NOTES,

JUST A WRONG PLACE TO PUT THEM………………………………………… 17

More time tested and practical music theory from Terry Janow,

COPYRIGHT UPDATE………………………………………………………………… 18

John Braheny informs us about some of the latest changes in

copyright laws that effect all writers.

KNOW YOUR ROOTS…………………………………………………………………. 20

Ronny Schiff gives us a little history lesson from the early days of

pop music with an inside look at the creation of Ian Whitcomb’s

1965 hit, You Turn Me On.”

LASS NEWS

MEMBER NEWS – NOTEWORTHY – MUSICAL CHAIRS………………………. 4

News about classes, biz events, where your favorite publishers

and A&R reps are this month, good stuff about our Members

and Pickups.

WEEKLY SHOWCASE SCHEDULE…………………………………………………. 6

Cassette RouletteTM (publisher song critiques) and Pitch-A-ThonTm

(producers and record company reps looking for songs and acts).


From the Acting Archivist…

Much like the Songmine columns posted earlier, the archives contain a large collection of Songwriter Musepaper publications. With this posting, I am beginning a project to scan the cover and table of contents of each issue and then OCR (convert the scanned picture to text) the table of contents in order to make it searchable. I don’t yet have the staff necessary to create complete scanned issues of the Museupaper, but if there is interest in a particular article or interview, I can scan that and make it available here.

Douglas E. Welch, douglas@welchwrite.com

Previously in Songwriters Musepaper:

0

Songmine: Collaboration Part II: Meeting Your Match by John Braheny

A John Braheny Songmine column from the archives…

Jb C000000137 028 001

Accession Number: C000000137-028-001 Document/Digital File, “Songmine: Collaboration Part II: Meeting Your Match”, OCR converted text under same Accession Number

(Digitally converted text. Some errors may occur)

Songmine BY JOHN BRAHENY

COLLABORATION PART II: MEETING YOUR MATCH

Last time I talked about some of the reasons that people look for co-writers. This time it’s how and where to look.

At best, no matter how you go about it, you’ll have the same odds on finding the perfect collaborator right away as you’d have walking into a singles’ bar and finding someone you’d end up marrying. The two situations have a lot in common. You’re dealing with a whole range of personalities, personal habits, expectations, previous experiences, egos and lifestyles. With collaborators you can add musical and literary influences, business know-how and aggressiveness. There are a few ways to get started and narrow the odds. Like a singles’ bar, you go to where other people are looking too. You put an ad in a music-oriented periodical like Music Connection, Songwriter Magazine or The Overture (Musicians’ Union.) Putting an ad in a city paper or the Recycler or similar papers is getting one step further away. Another good bet is to make little signs that you can put up on bulletin boards in music stores, record stores, the Musicians’ Union or clubs that feature your kind of music. It’s also not a bad idea to put your signs on college music department bulletin boards, particularly if you’re a lyricist.

The ad or sign should include the styles you’re most at home with, the instrument(s) you play, your favorite lyricists/composers and your credits, if any. If you’re looking for a lyricist and you’re in a working band, have a production deal, your own publishing, or have an exclusive publishing deal, mention that too. This tells the pro lyricists that the lyrics aren’t going to lie in limbo indefinitely.

Another approach is through professional organizations. SRS (Songwriters Resources and Services-213 463-7178) has a collaboration service for members. ACSS (Alternative Chorus Songwriters Showcase-213 655-7780) has a “lyric shelf” where lyricists can leave copies of their work and composers can look through them. They’re not allowed to take them but may write down names and numbers of lyricists they’d like to contact. This gives the composer an opportunity to see the lyrics first and avoid the face-to-face rejection process which is always one of the discomforts involved in trying to find both a mate and a collaborator. MCS (Musicians Contact Service-213 467-2191, 714 776-8240) now has composer/lyricist listings in addition to putting musicians and groups together. There’s a fee involved. AGAC (American Guild of Authors & Composers-213 462-1108) also has lyricist/composer listings for different regions of the country. They; re for members only.

Workshops, showcases and clubs are also good ways to meet collaborators. You have an opportunity to hear someone’s lyrics and music without any kind of commitment. You may hear a singer/songw.riter whose music is excellent but the lyrics are weak or vice versa. You might, without being critical, ask them if they would consider collaboration. There’s definitely an advantage in writing with someone who’s out there exposing those songs to the public and the industry.

Try to meet as many people in all areas of the industry as possible. Publishers, though they seldom sign staff lyricists, often like to know of good lyricists that they can hook up with good composers they know of or with other writers on their staffs. Producers may be working with groups that are lyrically weak and would like to know how to find an appropriate lyricist. Recording engineers are also good contacts. Try to meet people personally. Lyrics or music alone sent in the mail are almost never listened to.

If you’re going to be leaving tapes, lead sheets or lyric sheets with anyone, make sure they’ve been protected by registration (try SRS) or copyright, and include the SRS label or copyright notice with the date on each page ( ©or copyright 1980, John Doe.) If you later have the song published, the date should be changed to the publication date. Don’t ever let a tape, lead sheet or lyric out of your hands without your name, address and phone number on every page. You should also keep a list of everyone who has copies of your work.

Next time we’ll discuss how to make a collaboration work and some possible legal problems.

FEBRUARY 21 – MARCH 5

Previously in the Songmine Collection:

About Songmine and Music Connection Magazine:

John Braheny met Eric Bettelli and Michael Dolan right before they were going to publish Music Connection magazine. Eric and Michael wanted to get their publication out to as many songwriters as they could. They had already heard of the LA Songwriters Showcase, and of John and his partner, Len Chandler. John’s goal was to advertise the schedule of guest speakers and performers at the weekly Showcase… so they made a deal. 

They published John’s Songmine column (he had never before written a magazine article!) in their very first edition, in November 1977. Trading out the column for advertising, this arrangement continued for many years. Plus, Eric and Michael came to the Showcase each week and distributed free copies to the songwriters!

Those articles became so popular that (book agent and editor) Ronny Schiff offered John’s articles to F&W Media, where they became the backbone of John’s textbook, The Craft and Business of Songwriting. As a follow-up, Dan Kimpel (author, songwriter, teacher), who had also worked at LASS, took on the Songwriting column at Music Connection magazine which continues to this day! You can subscribe to get either hard copies or online.


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Songwriters Musepaper – Volume 9 Issue 4 – April 1994 – Interview: Ben Margulies

Songwriters Musepaper – Volume 9 Issue 4 – April 1994 – Interview: Ben Margulies

Songwriters Musepaper - Volume 9 Issue 4 - April 1994 - Interview: Ben Margulies

JB#: C000000062-034-001

Songwriters Musepaper - Volume 9 Issue 4 - April 1994 - Interview: Ben Margulies

JB #: C000000062-034-002


Table of Contents

(Digitally converted text. Some errors may occur)

FEATURES

INTERVIEW-

BEN MARGULIES………………………………………………………………………… 7

Laura Fissinger and BMI provide us with an insightful piece on Ben Margulies, whose collaborations with Mariah Carey provided them both with several hits and a BMI (most played) Song Of The Year in “Love Takes Time.”

THEORETICALLY SPEAKING-

THE FUNCTION OF VERSE AND CHORUS…………………………………….. 10

David Cat Cohen is back with some more user friendly information

on songwriting craft.

MUSICAL NOTES-

MELODY-THE UNSUNG HERO……………………………………………………… 12

Harriet Schock lobbies for some sense of uniqueness in your melody

writing and trying to achieve it through its adventurous coupling with

rhythm and harmony.

SPOTLIGHT-

JOHN PHILIP SHENALE-PAINTING THE SONIC LANDSCAPE…………… 15

Ivy White chronicles Shenale’s experimental approach to

arrangements on Tori Amos’ new Under The Pink album.

TOOLS OF THE TRADE-

INTERACTIVE ELECTRONIC PRESS KITS-PART 2…………………………. 16

Our cyberguru Simon Higgs takes us through a software jungle,

this time to show you the tools available for multimedia production.

THE COLLABORATOR’S SURVIVAL GUIDE-

PROTECTING YOUR CREATIVE PROPERTY…………………………………. 18

Jeff Saxon gives you some basics on collaboration agreements.

CREATIVITY QUICK QUOTES………………………………………………………. 19

In the first of several periodic features, we recap some salient

comments on the creative processes of successful writers and

writer/artists from previous interviews. This time it’s Desmond Child,

Mary-Chapin Carpenter and Martin Page.

LASS NEWS

MEMBER NEWS – NOTEWORTHY – MUSICAL CHAIRS………………………. 4

News about classes, biz events, where your favorite publishers

and A&R reps are this month, good stuff about our Members

and Pickups.

WEEKLY SHOWCASE SCHEDULE………………………………………………….. 6

Cassette RouletteTM (publisher song critiques) and Pitch-A-Thon”

(producers and record company reps looking for songs and acts).

From the Acting Archivist…

Much like the Songmine columns posted earlier, the archives contain a large collection of Songwriter Musepaper publications. With this posting, I am beginning a project to scan the cover and table of contents of each issue and then OCR (convert the scanned picture to text) the table of contents in order to make it searchable. I don’t yet have the staff necessary to create complete scanned issues of the Museupaper, but if there is interest in a particular article or interview, I can scan that and make it available here.

Douglas E. Welch, douglas@welchwrite.com

Previously in Songwriters Musepaper:

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Songmine: Collaboration: Why two heads are better than one by John Braheny

A John Braheny Songmine column from the archives…

Songmine: Collaboration: Why two heads are better than one by John Braheny

Accession Number: C000000137-027-002 Document/Digital File, “Songmine: Collaboration: Why two heads are better than one by John Braheny”, OCR converted text under same Accession Number

(Digitally converted text. Some errors may occur)

Songmine by John Braheny

Collaboration: Why two heads are better then one

A substantial number of the world’s greatest songs are the reult of writing as a team. There are some very good reasons why writers choose to collaborate.

1. A writer may have more talent as a lyricist than a composer vice versa. The big question is, “How do I know?” Obviously, if you’re a good lyricist but only marginally musical you should look a composer. Less obvious are situations in which you know you have a good lyric but have fooled yourself into believing that you can write a good melody. Your ego may need to see that “words and music by…” line at the top of the page, or maybe you’re just greedy. You need to look for feedback and pay attention to it. Many talented musician/arrangers can put together the music but don’t feel the lyrics are important enough to warrant a collaborator. This may work in a situation where the writer leads a group with a record deal and a unique sound. This was, in fact, the norm with disco, however we also saw that disco tunes like “I Will Survive” ade a lot more money as a song in which the lyric had a universal peal. Even Earth, Wind & Fire’s Maurice White, to his credit, decided to collaborate with lyricist Allee Willis to increase the aleady fantastic appeal of his records.

2. Writers often tend to get trapped in their own musical and lyrical cliches and a collaborator can supply fresh ideas. You pick your guitar and your fingers automatically go through a familiar, comfortable set of changes, type of chord, picking style or rhythm pattern. Out of these established patterns come melodies much like those you’ve written before and at times you realize they’re exactly the same. You’re now in a rut. You either decide to get a chord book and work out some new chords and progressions, listen to the radio and cop some new rhythm feels or find a collaborator whose style you like.

3. It disciplines your writing habits to plan to write with someone else. Lots of people seem to function best on deadlines and always wait until the last minute, meanwhile thinking up all kinds of other projects like cleaning the house (“I can’t possibly create in a dirty house,”) restringing your guitar or tuning your piano. Len Chandler refers to these diversions as “sharpening pencils.” I think that in some mysterious way, this common avoidance syndrome is a way of signalling and priming the subconscious to start getting to work on the project at hand. At the eleventh hour when you have to do it, there’s a signal to the subconscious from the brain that says “now give it to me!” and you start doing it. The problem is that many writers will avoid it together if there are no deadlines. Those who function best on that kind of ‘crisis’ basis but want to be productive, make sure to create real deadlines. They promise a producer they’ll write him/her a song by next week and set up an appointment to play the song. Or they find a collaborator and plan on a regular day to get together and write. They know that they’ll have to come up with some ideas to work on before that deadline and, that subconscious preparation process will even have a longer time to operate if it knows that every week (or every day) that deadline will arrive.

4. A partner will furnish constant feedback and critique. You’re stuck for a rhyme and you’re anxious to finish the song. You put together the first thing to come into your head so you can start playing the song. You say What the hell, it’s okay, I’ve hear stuff on the radio that rhymes ‘rain’ with ‘again.’ Maybe some British guy will cut it.” A conscientious collaborator is there to say “WRONG! Let’s see if we can find something else.” Maybe you’re a lyricist and your collaborator is a singer and can say, “I’ll want to hold this note in the melody so could use another word instead of ‘garbage?'” Obviously it can keep your quality high and help you both grow commercially and artistically.

Next issue: Finding a collaborator


Previously in the Songmine Collection:

About Songmine and Music Connection Magazine:

John Braheny met Eric Bettelli and Michael Dolan right before they were going to publish Music Connection magazine. Eric and Michael wanted to get their publication out to as many songwriters as they could. They had already heard of the LA Songwriters Showcase, and of John and his partner, Len Chandler. John’s goal was to advertise the schedule of guest speakers and performers at the weekly Showcase… so they made a deal. 

They published John’s Songmine column (he had never before written a magazine article!) in their very first edition, in November 1977. Trading out the column for advertising, this arrangement continued for many years. Plus, Eric and Michael came to the Showcase each week and distributed free copies to the songwriters!

Those articles became so popular that (book agent and editor) Ronny Schiff offered John’s articles to F&W Media, where they became the backbone of John’s textbook, The Craft and Business of Songwriting. As a follow-up, Dan Kimpel (author, songwriter, teacher), who had also worked at LASS, took on the Songwriting column at Music Connection magazine which continues to this day! You can subscribe to get either hard copies or online.


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