Friday, May 29, 2009
Two Sides Of The Songwriting Coin - The Creative You & The Business You
So, you’re a songwriter. No doubt you understand very personally the magic of creativity, the thrill of tapping inspiration and saying something in lyric and melody that just can’t quite be said any other way. What you may not understand quite as well is the commercial aspect of songwriting. You may be confused about how best to navigate the world of music publishing with all its complexity – and you would not be alone!
The comforting thing is that becoming knowledgeable about the business side of songwriting is not something you either ‘have or you don’t’. A creative temperament is generally innate; on the flip side, becoming songwriting business savvy involves acquiring knowledge and skills. No natural aptitudes are required other than a willingness to learn and to take advantage of the myriad of materials available to help you achieve personal songwriting goals.
If you are serious about your songwriting and want to get your songs out into the world beyond your bedroom, it is best to think of yourself as having two distinct roles in your quest. Just as there are two sides to every coin, which make up part of the whole, so creativity and business knowledge are the dual aspects of serious songwriting endeavours.
The first role belongs to ‘The Creative You’. In this role your job is to continually be developing and refining the quality of your songwriting. The first and best way is simply to write, write and write some more! Your own ear is your most accessible teacher, and the ability to critically evaluate your own work is a great way to improve your songwriting skills. There are also a myriad of resources available, which can help you to tap inspiration and develop your songwriting craft. In future blog posts, I will point you to a variety of books, podcasts and web sites which I have personally found very valuable in helping me develop as a songwriter.
The second role belongs to ‘The Business You’. This role is concerned with learning the fundamentals of the music publishing world, song rights management, copyright, relevant industry bodies, licensing and contract fundamentals. This understanding of the fundamentals empowers you to explore opportunities for your songs without feeling on the back foot. The business role is also concerned with finding ways to proactively promote your songs and explore opportunities to generate income from your songs. We will explore the basics of music publishing concepts in future posts and also look at a variety of helpful resources available to help you.
I look forward to joining together with you on your songwriting quest!