Sunday, May 31, 2009

Songs – The Creative Assets Of Your Business

The fundamentals of any business venture include the notion of business assets. A business undertaking becomes commercially viable because you have something of value that other people want and are willing pay for. In the business of songwriting, that ‘something of value’ is your songs. In this context I like to think of songs as creative assets. Something of value, which you have created, and which other people are willing to pay to engage with.

However, before we further explore the idea of creative assets, let me just say that it can be difficult to approach songwriting with such reductionist notions of commercial value. Songwriting is an art-form, a transcendent mode of expressing heart and soul realities, so trying to quantify the value of art is about as easy as trying to ‘pin a wave upon the sand’, to borrow a phrase from the Sound Of Music. It is important to keep in mind that songwriting needs no commercial outlet to justify it’s own existence. Positive feedback from listeners who have been impacted by your songs can be the most meaningful form of payment you ever receive for your efforts.

Nevertheless, putting aside thoughts about the inherent value of art for now, let us look further into the nature of our creative assets, our songs. In a business sense, songs belong to the world of intellectual property, which is concerned with the protection and management of intangible assets. Such things as inventions, artistic expression & design concepts are preserved as tradable commodities. Just because a song is not a solid thing that can be handled and touched in the same way that say a house or a car can be, does not make it a lesser asset, just a different kind of asset.

In fact, I think that the intangibility of creative assets is an exciting thing and is part of what makes the songwriting business unique and limitless in it’s potential. Let me show you what I mean. Imagine for a moment that you buy an investment property freehold. This property is an asset from which you can generate rental income. Now, the amount of rental income you can generate from your property is limited by the practical constraints of your asset. One house generally will hold one family. However, by comparison, one song can be used in a never-ending procession of commercial outlets and will be limited only by your ability to find opportunities for song placement. To follow the metaphor, your song becomes like a property, which can house as many renters as you can find for it, and there can be an extraordinary amount of ‘rental income’ generated from this one property.

Of course, the catch is, that the song has to be of such a quality that people actually want to ‘live in it’ – but that is the domain of ‘The Creative You’

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