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5 Tips for Songwriting Success in Today’s Music Industry

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From MusicWorld, posted 4.18.19. I taught my first songwriting class at Los Angeles’ Pierce College in 1991. Back then, if my car radio were tuned to a pop station, it was likely I would hear chart-topping artists such as Michael Jackson, Wilson Phillips, Janet Jackson, Michael Bolton, Poison, and Roxette. During that same era, if… Read more...


What’s the most important part of a demo – the vocal or the production?

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From The Weekly, posted 4.16.19. Just as genres are different, so are the musical elements that best support them on a demo. BMI’s Creative team listens to music all day every day. Here’s what they had to say about what makes them turn up the volume on a demo. MaryAnn Keen, Creative, Nashville (Country) Let’s… Read more...


The Perils of Overproduction

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From The Weekly, posted 4.02.19. As we’ve often noted, giving everyone on the planet unbridled recording capability has had at least one significant downside—that is, never having to say never when it comes to piling on the takes. As a home recordist with a penchant for nitpicking when given the opportunity, for years I steered clear… Read more...


Hands On Your Songs: Mix Surfaces Reconsidered

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From MusicWorld, posted 3.20.19. While most folks have no problem pointing and clicking their way through a computer-based recording project, there are still those who prefer a fistful of real faders to a wrist-twisting mouse. Here, we look at some newer solutions for those tactile types, including “hybrid” mix consoles that capture the aesthetic and… Read more...


The Dos and Don’ts of Working With Demo Singers

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From The Weekly, posted 3.19.19. In my experience, the single most important part of any songwriting demo is the vocal. The vocal carries your melody and lyric which, for all intents and purposes, is your song. And for my money, a great demo singer is the best way to guarantee that your demo will be well… Read more...


What’s Your Top Tip for Aspiring Songwriters to Become Successful?

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From The Weekly, posted 3.05.19. Mary Nelly Russe, NY Creative (Latin) I think it really comes down to: don’t copy others, don’t imitate. Look for your own voice, your own words, your own story, your own sound. It’s o.k. to have influences from admiring other songs, but so many songwriters want to be like one artist… Read more...


Breakthrough Hits and Signature Songs: What Can They Teach Us?

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From MusicWorld, posted 2.21.19. Although it was more than sixteen years ago, I still recall chatting with a twenty-something guy who stood in front of me in line as we waited to attend the taping of the David Letterman Show. The guy was excited because his brother Adam would be performing on the show, along… Read more...


How to Use the “List Technique” in Your Song

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From The Weekly, posted 2.19.19. What do the songs in the list below have in common? “The Twelve Days of Christmas” (traditional) “Achy Breaky Heart” (recorded by Billy Ray Cyrus, written by Don Von Tress) Sting’s “If I Ever Lose My Faith” (written by Sting) Carrie Underwood’s “Cry… Read more...


What a Difference a Mix Makes

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From The Weekly, posted 2.12.19. Theoretically a great song should speak for itself, no matter how it’s been recorded. But why rely on theory? Here, we once again review more methods of mixdown, such as knowing where and when to place tracks, how even the subtlest panning or tone trimming can allow otherwise “buried” parts to… Read more...


What Do You Listen For When You Hear a Songwriter’s Music For The First Time?

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From The Weekly, posted 1.29.19. Ever wonder what people in the industry are listening for when they hear your music? BMI’s Creative team weighs in on the answer to that question from their own experience of working with songwriters and composers every day. Here are their thoughts: Catherine Brewton, VP, BMI Creative, Atlanta: When I… Read more...


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