It seems timely to build on my earlier article about uses for technology as a songwriter, as our connections have become increasingly virtual since the outbreak of the pandemic. However, even once the pandemic recedes, there are still significant advantages to availing yourself of current technology to further your songwriting and music career. In this article, I’ve included several more ways technology can help.
Virtual music conferences
Continuing the theme of virtual ways to connect, a number of popular music conferences hosted by industry stalwarts like the Nashville Songwriters Association (NSAI) and Taxi have brought their conferences online. While I’d be the first to admit that there’s no substitute for the in-person get together when it comes to networking and connection with the industry and your peers, the idea that songwriters can connect with and learn from publishers, music supervisors, record label execs and more without having to travel is certainly appealing. Even when in-person conferences come back, I think there will still be a place for virtual instruction and events especially for those songwriters who don’t have the time or income to travel to as many music conferences as they’d like. I’d definitely recommend that, as a songwriter, you up your Zoom game with a good mic and web cam for these kinds of opportunities.
Songwriting collaboration websites
Given that songwriters often lean towards the introverted side, meeting and finding new co-writers can be a challenge even in the best of times. But, these days, with travel and gathering restricted, it’s even tougher. I wanted to recommend two exceptional websites I’ve come across that can make the process of meeting new collaborators much easier even these days. One is songwriterlink.com and the other is weshouldwritesometime.com and both offer ingenious ways of connecting with new collaborators who will be best suited for your particular strengths and weaknesses as a songwriter.
Tools for songwriters who don’t play an instrument
I’m often asked by songwriters who don’t play an instrument how they can put together rough recordings of their a cappella versions of their songs. It used to be that I’d recommend hiring an instrumentalist (either piano or guitar) to sit with them and search for the appropriate chords to go with their existing melodies. This is, of course, still an option, but I’ve been blown away by the roughs that some of my non-instrument playing studio clients have sent me using software packages that help them communicate not only the chords but also the groove and genre of their songs. While I’m sure that there are multiple software options out there, the one I’ve had several clients recommend is Band-in-a-Box. This is a boon for songwriters who don’t play an instrument but who will know the chords and feel of their songs when they hear them.
I have to admit, in some ways I’m decidedly old-school when it comes to songwriting. For example, I write in a leather-bound journal using a fountain pen every morning. That said, in other ways, I’m a huge fan of what technology has to offer both in terms of efficiency as well as increased opportunity. My recommendation would be not to fear technology but to slowly but surely familiarize yourself with what’s available and incorporate it into your routine as you see fit.
Cliff Goldmacher is a GRAMMY-recognized songwriter, music producer and author with recording studios in Nashville, TN and Sonoma, CA. Through his studios, Cliff provides songwriters outside of Nashville with virtual, live access to Nashville’s best session musicians and demo singers for their songwriting demos. Find out more. You can also download Cliff’s FREE tip sheet “A Dozen Quick Fixes To Instantly Improve Your Songs.”