Write Away Magazine - May Issue

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The Lyric writers magazine

5 Essential Elements

for Successful

Songwriting - I Call

it S.P.L.A.Q! (Part 2)

By: Mark (Markus T)

Townley (c) 2016

PURPOSE

The next element to consider is the

Purpose for your song. Why are you

writing the song? Who are you writing

it for? What sort of song

Production will it require? How much

time and money do you have to

spend on the song? How will people

hear it? How/will people buy it?

These questions are very useful to

ask yourself about the time and

effort you are now going to commit

to writing the song. I like to say to

writers to be ambitious and optimistic

but also realistic. I often hear

and read from people who have written

many songs and not getting the

listeners or likes they want. Others

not finding artists willing to record

or perform the songs and of course -

how do I get my song played on the

radio? This all comes back to the

purpose for which the song is being

written.

You see there is a big difference

(and I have experienced this many

times myself) from just writing songs

for yourself in your bedroom or

lounge-room (for whoever wants to

hear them) to writing songs to go on

your bands album or an online collaboration

through to writing songs

for another recording artist. Also

then a difference for songs to be

played on an internet indie website

or Facebook page to your songs that

you would really like played and

used on commercial radio, TV or

movies. If you are seeking to make

some money or a living from songwriting

then there is a whole next

level of consideration and discipline

around that.

I have said many times to many writers

and musicians “music is an art, a

passion of the soul which can be

very enjoyable and all consuming ...

but remember for the most part that

mainstream music today is also a

commercial business!” I have been

both a musician and songwriter and

also business executive through my

life and there are lessons each can

learn from the other. Many businesses

would benefit from the creativity

that music and songwriting brings

and equally many musicians and

songwriters could very much benefit

from disciplines and strategies that

apply to running a business. The

obvious link is that customers / listeners

are buying a product and

hopefully the price paid covers the

time and cost of doing so. I won’t

get into income and profits of the

music industry currently in this article

- that is whole other topic in itself

but the basic principles still apply.

I know some people don’t like to

hear that and the good news is that

music and songs can be both. They

can be very enjoyable and satisfying

personally (written, recorded and

played to a small audience) if that is

what you are happy with. As time

progresses and people become

more ambitious and a bit more experienced

in their songwriting, it is

important to still keep in check with

reality about the Purpose for which

your songs are being written.

How many times do we read the stories

of musicians and song-writers

who were tagged with becoming an

“overnight success” with a hit song -

then when interviewed they start to

tell of the story of the 10 years of

hard work and many songs written

to get to their current success.

Then when the commercial success

really starts to kick in, that’s when

the expert record label teams will

appear and the original writer / artist

will most often have much reduced

input into the songs and songwriting

whilst the individual teams take care

of the intro, verse, chorus, melody,

back-line, production, mastering.

There are of course a number of

independent artists with great commercial

success of their owns songs

and productions but they are the

minority and they have achieved that

because they are also very very

good at what they do.

So the message here is to be clear

and comfortable with yourself on the

purpose of your song and songwriting

for where you are at. If your goal

is to write your first song, or even to

get some help from others and put it

on a free internet site for listeners

and feedback, that is fantastic and

respect all the feedback that comes

back your way - because your listeners

are telling your what they expected

and/or wanted to hear. If you are

a bit more experienced and just finished

what you think is a great song

then you should try and get it out

there on as many (low cost) distribution

channels as possible to get your

listeners and likes up. My strong

advice is don’t get too hung up on

selling your songs initially to build

your fan base, the income will come

as the fan base grows. I’m not saying

to always give your music away

(again another hot topic for another

article) but think about it as a marketing

cost to get your first 1000

plays and listeners. If you are wanting

to get into some more

serious commercial

song-writing and for

professional

recording

artists to perform

then I

would

encourage

you to

have

a listen

to

the

top 10

songs

in

each

country

for

each

genre

you are

writing

for and

have a good

look at how

they are put

together. Also consider

getting in touch

with other professional

songwriters and hanging out

with them for a while to see how and

what they do to be successful.

As I said, its OK to be ambitious and

optimistic, but being clear with yourself

and staying realistic about the

purpose of your next song (and realistic

about your current experience

with songwriting and song production)

will mean that there is always

upside in the song doing better than

you expected and not being disappointed

with unrealistic expectations.

It is important to enjoy the

journey of songwriting as with most

things, improvement comes only

10 www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk

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