Songwriting In A Lousy Economy

It’s hard enough for songwriters when the economy is humming along nicely, but what do you do when it takes a downturn as it has in the last few months?

Most of us don’t have any delusions of grandeur when it comes to writing hit songs;  in fact, many of us are only writing for our own pleasure.  But those of you who are still seeking that holy grail hit song, or just a one song publishing deal, might have to re-think your strategy these days.

Publishers stopped hiring new writers a few years back when the songwriting biz started to sour (blame downloading and mp3 players for that one), and now it seems that it’s almost entirely fruitless to even pitch to publishers.  The independent route appears to be the only way to go, which means a lot more leg work and an even longer waiting period for anything to happen.

Here are some ideas:

  • If you are a songwriter who doesn’t perform, these days there are so many ways to approach lesser-known artists and bands online through their MySpace pages or homepages.  The first question always is, do they write their own material?  If they don’t, or if they do a mix of covers and originals, listen carefully to the songs they perform.  Is it what you write?  No point in approaching a band or artist in a completely different genre, and that seems perfectly logical, but I have heard of songwriters blindly offering songs with little or not thought to that!
  • If you would rather meet them in person, consider going out to local venues in your area and getting an idea of what bands and artists are playing.  Once you’ve educated yourself a little, then approach them and ask if they would consider listening to your stuff.  And be prepared with a CD in hand!
  • It seems that synchs (or synchronization contracts) are becoming more and more popular.  For instance, getting your song on a television commercial or series can mean a lot of money and ultimately a lot of fame…look at what 1,2,3,4 did for Fiest on the iPod TV spots!  A lot of TV series use artists and bands songs in their shows.  If you’re smart enough, you can find the person on a series who picks the music (usually called the Music Supervisor), and send them some of your music.  But…REMEMBER to do your research;  does your music match the kind of music they have already used?
  • Make use of MySpace and any other music-related pages out there to show off your work.  You never know who you might “meet”

Okay, there are just a few ideas for you to ponder.  It’s hard to stand out these days, and even harder with economic times being so difficult and cut-backs happening everywhere.  But remember, in difficult times the general public turns to entertainment to make themselves feel better.  So all is not lost…hang in there!


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