No More Excuses...Please Help A Wannabe Songwriter

Anything about MUSIC but doesn't fit into the forums above.
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wagtunes
KVRAF
16703 posts since 8 Oct, 2014

Post Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:08 am

I just watched a video by Rick Beato titled "I'm Sick Of Your Excuses" and it finally snapped something inside of me.

Since 1977, I've been trying to make it as a songwriter. Not a singer or performer or producer but a songwriter, like a Diane Warren or a Jim Steinman.

42 years later, still nothing. Honestly, most of it's been my own fault for being so lazy and getting discouraged so easily.

But I'm done doing that. I'm 61 years old and I don't know how much time I have left. And the last thing I want to do is leave this world knowing I didn't do everything I could to make it, even if I don't make it.

I'm not coming here looking for any favors. All I want is a road map to get me started.

Years ago, when I was fairly active, basically you either moved to New York or Nashville or just send demo tapes to publishers. To that end, I would use the Songwriters Market looking for publishers interested in the kind of music I wrote. I did get one songwriting contract in 1990 but the song was never recorded.

What I want to know is how a songwriter goes about making it today when they're not a great singer, instrumentalist or producer? What are the options available to me today? Does the Songwriters Market still work? Does it even still exist?

I'm looking to hear from people actually in the business who have had success in the business. Opinions of those sitting in their basements doing home recordings who have never made 5 cents in this business aren't welcome. I'm sorry but I can't be chasing after a whole lot of "suggestions" that have no basis in actual fact. If you haven't had success in this business then you can't possibly tell me how I can succeed.

So I am requesting that, with your advice, you post examples of your success in the business. All other posts will be ignored.

I realize that I will probably get no useful responses to this thread due to my requirements. And that's fine. But no more excuses and no more wasting of my time. I've already written to one professional in this business and hopefully I will hear back from him, making this thread moot. But if there's somebody here who might actually want to help me and has the street cred to back up their advice, I'll listen and I'll take it. And if it's physically possible for me to do, I'll do it because before I die I want to make sure I've done everything possible to make it as a songwriter.

Thank you for your time reading this.

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Unaspected
KVRian
799 posts since 4 May, 2012

Re: No More Excuses...Please Help A Wannabe Songwriter

Post Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:51 am

I knew a guy signed to Sony as a songwriter. You just have to get some reasonable sounding demos together - find talent good enough to convey your message. There are plenty of good vocalists and other musicians out there willing to work for free - especially if you are driven to promote the music you're working on because it will get their talents heard too.

Power to you, man. Time is just an illusion and age doesn't matter. It's never too late to make a change and cause something to happen.

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wagtunes
KVRAF
16703 posts since 8 Oct, 2014

Re: No More Excuses...Please Help A Wannabe Songwriter

Post Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:57 am

Unaspected wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:51 am
I knew a guy signed to Sony as a songwriter. You just have to get some reasonable sounding demos together - find talent good enough to convey your message. There are plenty of good vocalists and other musicians out there willing to work for free - especially if you are driven to promote the music you're working on because it will get their talents heard too.

Power to you, man. Time is just an illusion and age doesn't matter. It's never too late to make a change and cause something to happen.
And after I get all the great demos put together by all these talented people willing to work for free, then what? What do I do with these demos? Where do I send them? Who do I send them to? Unless the great demo gets heard, it's not of much use.

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Unaspected
KVRian
799 posts since 4 May, 2012

Re: No More Excuses...Please Help A Wannabe Songwriter

Post Thu Jul 18, 2019 9:18 am

wagtunes wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:57 am
Unaspected wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:51 am
I knew a guy signed to Sony as a songwriter. You just have to get some reasonable sounding demos together - find talent good enough to convey your message. There are plenty of good vocalists and other musicians out there willing to work for free - especially if you are driven to promote the music you're working on because it will get their talents heard too.

Power to you, man. Time is just an illusion and age doesn't matter. It's never too late to make a change and cause something to happen.
And after I get all the great demos put together by all these talented people willing to work for free, then what? What do I do with these demos? Where do I send them? Who do I send them to? Unless the great demo gets heard, it's not of much use.
Two methods that I was taught to get music heard: Copyright your music via an industry lawyer - expensive but might get your work listened to longer than the 2 seconds and skip that an A&R guy will give you. Contact editors of radio shows - those who put playlists together - not the producer or the talent.

Building a reputation online is a big part of it though. Identify up and coming talent and write a song for them. You should already have plenty of ideas for self promotion if you've been thinking about it for decades.

Getting a manager might help but will also involve costs - and you'd need to prove your worth to get a management contract.

Karbon L. Forms
KVRian
1224 posts since 10 Jun, 2004 from Inverness, Scotland

Re: No More Excuses...Please Help A Wannabe Songwriter

Post Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:15 am

Does anyone "make it" as a songwriter these days?
.................................
"Hell is other People" J.P.Sartre
.................................

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Forgotten
KVRAF
2179 posts since 15 Apr, 2019 from Nowhere

Re: No More Excuses...Please Help A Wannabe Songwriter

Post Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:41 am

How much networking do you do in the music business? Seriously, if you want to make it that's a must. No one makes it by sending demos to A&R people anymore. I have a friend who is a songwriter for Sony, and he tried for a few years before he made progress, and that was only through making contact with people with clout in the business or in a similar business (in his case movies). Sony now buys songs from him (they buy the publishing rights with a one off payment) to offer to artists to complete albums when their own songs are not up to snuff, so he's had a track appear here and there on albums that sold in pretty serious numbers.

And this is just my opinion, but I would suggest you find a vocalist and lyricist to work with. I think you write good tunes, but I think the vocaloids and the lyrics detract from the good tunes.

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Unaspected
KVRian
799 posts since 4 May, 2012

Re: No More Excuses...Please Help A Wannabe Songwriter

Post Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:57 am

Forgotten wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:41 am
How much networking do you do in the music business? Seriously, if you want to make it that's a must. No one makes it by sending demos to A&R people anymore. I have a friend who is a songwriter for Sony, and he tried for a few years before he made progress, and that was only through making contact with people with clout in the business or in a similar business (in his case movies). Sony now buys songs from him (they buy the publishing rights with a one off payment) to offer to artists to complete albums when their own songs are not up to snuff, so he's had a track appear here and there on albums that sold in pretty serious numbers.

And this is just my opinion, but I would suggest you find a vocalist and lyricist to work with. I think you write good tunes, but I think the vocaloids and the lyrics detract from the good tunes.
Absolutely. Radio-friendly demos are expected these days.

Though. Does everyone know someone who writes/wrote songs for Sony? Hehe. It might be easier than you think, Wags.

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wagtunes
KVRAF
16703 posts since 8 Oct, 2014

Re: No More Excuses...Please Help A Wannabe Songwriter

Post Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:06 am

Forgotten wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:41 am
How much networking do you do in the music business? Seriously, if you want to make it that's a must. No one makes it by sending demos to A&R people anymore. I have a friend who is a songwriter for Sony, and he tried for a few years before he made progress, and that was only through making contact with people with clout in the business or in a similar business (in his case movies). Sony now buys songs from him (they buy the publishing rights with a one off payment) to offer to artists to complete albums when their own songs are not up to snuff, so he's had a track appear here and there on albums that sold in pretty serious numbers.

And this is just my opinion, but I would suggest you find a vocalist and lyricist to work with. I think you write good tunes, but I think the vocaloids and the lyrics detract from the good tunes.
First off, I've stopped using Vocaloid for my lead vocals. Still, I'm no singer.

But anyway, so in order to make it I have to somehow contact people in the business with clout who will be willing to even bother listening to one of my songs let alone cut me a break.

Well if that's what this business has truly come to then maybe I'm better off just doing this for the pure enjoyment since talent alone doesn't cut it anymore.

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wagtunes
KVRAF
16703 posts since 8 Oct, 2014

Re: No More Excuses...Please Help A Wannabe Songwriter

Post Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:06 am

Unaspected wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:57 am
Forgotten wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:41 am
How much networking do you do in the music business? Seriously, if you want to make it that's a must. No one makes it by sending demos to A&R people anymore. I have a friend who is a songwriter for Sony, and he tried for a few years before he made progress, and that was only through making contact with people with clout in the business or in a similar business (in his case movies). Sony now buys songs from him (they buy the publishing rights with a one off payment) to offer to artists to complete albums when their own songs are not up to snuff, so he's had a track appear here and there on albums that sold in pretty serious numbers.

And this is just my opinion, but I would suggest you find a vocalist and lyricist to work with. I think you write good tunes, but I think the vocaloids and the lyrics detract from the good tunes.
Absolutely. Radio-friendly demos are expected these days.

Though. Does everyone know someone who writes/wrote songs for Sony? Hehe. It might be easier than you think, Wags.
Well I don't know anybody who writes songs for Sony.

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wagtunes
KVRAF
16703 posts since 8 Oct, 2014

Re: No More Excuses...Please Help A Wannabe Songwriter

Post Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:07 am

Karbon L. Forms wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:15 am
Does anyone "make it" as a songwriter these days?
Good question. I don't know. That's what I'm trying to find out.

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vurt
addled muppet weed
48652 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: No More Excuses...Please Help A Wannabe Songwriter

Post Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:15 am

what constitutes success in your eyes?
becoming an inhouse writer for a major clearing house?
or finding some perhaps almost unknown indie guy/girl/band who want to record one of your tracks?

does there have to be financial gain or is it the internal knowledge that you did something good?

User avatar
wagtunes
KVRAF
16703 posts since 8 Oct, 2014

Re: No More Excuses...Please Help A Wannabe Songwriter

Post Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:19 am

vurt wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:15 am
what constitutes success in your eyes?
becoming an inhouse writer for a major clearing house?
or finding some perhaps almost unknown indie guy/girl/band who want to record one of your tracks?

does there have to be financial gain or is it the internal knowledge that you did something good?
Well, my goal is the same "modest" one that I had 42 years ago. Have one of my songs recorded by a label (major or indie, doesn't matter) and have it chart. Doesn't have to be a huge hit. Just make it to the Billboard 100.

With that, I'd be more than satisfied.

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el-bo (formerly ebow)
KVRAF
13120 posts since 24 May, 2009 from A galaxy, far far away

Re: No More Excuses...Please Help A Wannabe Songwriter

Post Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:27 am

wagtunes wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:06 am
Well if that's what this business has truly come to then maybe I'm better off just doing this for the pure enjoyment since talent alone doesn't cut it anymore.
"talent alone" hardly ever "cut it"! Most people who made it will tell you that the talent was the least significant part of the equation. The rest comes down to dedication, perspiration (y'know, in deference to inspiration), knocking on every f**king door, and just never giving up.

Still, at least you now have that excuse you weren't looking for. Not even past the first page.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-gJV_kM33M

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Unaspected
KVRian
799 posts since 4 May, 2012

Re: No More Excuses...Please Help A Wannabe Songwriter

Post Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:29 am

wagtunes wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:06 am
Forgotten wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:41 am
How much networking do you do in the music business? Seriously, if you want to make it that's a must. No one makes it by sending demos to A&R people anymore. I have a friend who is a songwriter for Sony, and he tried for a few years before he made progress, and that was only through making contact with people with clout in the business or in a similar business (in his case movies). Sony now buys songs from him (they buy the publishing rights with a one off payment) to offer to artists to complete albums when their own songs are not up to snuff, so he's had a track appear here and there on albums that sold in pretty serious numbers.

And this is just my opinion, but I would suggest you find a vocalist and lyricist to work with. I think you write good tunes, but I think the vocaloids and the lyrics detract from the good tunes.
First off, I've stopped using Vocaloid for my lead vocals. Still, I'm no singer.

But anyway, so in order to make it I have to somehow contact people in the business with clout who will be willing to even bother listening to one of my songs let alone cut me a break.

Well if that's what this business has truly come to then maybe I'm better off just doing this for the pure enjoyment since talent alone doesn't cut it anymore.
It's not so much about anyone seeing potential as knowing you have something that is already marketable. Which is why demos need to be to a professional standard. Finding talent to perform your songs and engineers to create a product will be important. After all, you're talking about business, not a fun hobby but hard work.

Forgotten is right in that communication is of the greatest importance. I would start with compiling a database or bookmark list of people to contact online - contact them and find out if they will work with you. Those that do can be moved into another list of available talent.

Once you've got something together, contact engineers to realise your product.

It's not far removed from becoming a producer - only you won't have to find a songwriter. ;)

Back in the day though, the guy I knew just used a mic, an acoustic guitar, some tapes and a lot of writing. Things have changed.

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vurt
addled muppet weed
48652 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: No More Excuses...Please Help A Wannabe Songwriter

Post Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:31 am

el-bo (formerly ebow) wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:27 am
"talent alone" hardly ever "cut it"! Most people who made it will tell you that the talent was the least significant part of the equation. The rest comes down to dedication, perspiration (y'know, in deference to inspiration), knocking on every f**king door, and just never giving up.
wasn't it marilyn monroe who said "i did most of my auditions on my knees" or words to that effect?

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