Four Quick Fixes for Your Songs

Original Article From http://songwriter101.com

1. Cut your intro in half. One of the most important things to remember if you’re writing songs for the commercial market is how very little time you have to get the listener’s attention. We, as songwriters, necessarily give our songs our full, loving and undivided attention, which is why a long, winding musical intro feels perfectly natural as a way to set the stage for the song to come. The reality, though, is that our listeners rarely give a song they’ve never heard their full attention, which is why you, as the songwriter, have to go and get it. Quickly. A short, to-the-point intro that leads directly into the verse of the song is the first step towards pulling your listener in.

2. Put more concrete details into your verses. The verses in your song are there to, more or less, tell the story. While feelings are an important part of any story, so are the actual details. In other words, give people images to hold on to so they know what your song is about. Since you’re the one writing the song, you already know the story, so it’s easy to forget that your listener doesn’t. While you’re at it, I’m a big believer in the “show ‘em, don’t tell ‘em” approach. This means if you can use an image rather than a long explanation to describe a situation, do it. Whoever wrote “a picture is worth a thousand words” had it right.

3. Your chorus should be what your song is about. In another effort to help you keep the big picture in mind while you’re writing, I’d suggest making sure that your chorus really drives the point of your song home. This is the place where your message becomes clear and memorable. Ideally, the listener should be able to start singing along after they’ve heard your chorus once or twice. Another, less delicate way of putting this is to think of your chorus as the equivalent of tying the theme of your song to a baseball bat and beating the hell out of people with it.

4. Make sure similar sections have similar structures. In general, it’s a good idea to keep similar sections in your song similar in structure. In other words, your first verse should match your second verse in number of lines and rhyme scheme and your choruses should have the same length and lyric. There are always exceptions to this approach but here’s the reasoning behind it: The simpler and clearer your song is, the more memorable it will be. Memorable is a good thing. I’m in no way suggesting not to tackle complex topics or musical themes, I’m simply saying that “complicated” and “different” don’t, in and of themselves, mean success. The real challenge is to tell your story, whatever it may be, in the simplest, most effective way possible.

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Grooveshark: Trolling The Sea Of Artists To Make A Buck?

Article From http://blog.tunecore.com

So what does Grooveshark do? When you click the “about” link on their website, a little pop-up box appears that says: “Grooveshark is the world’s largest on-demand music streaming and discovery service.” What this means is that anyone can go to Grooveshark, and, for FREE, type in the name of an artist and then play any recording by that artist in the Grooveshark system. Users can make playlists, stop, start, skip and basically listen to what they want, when they want, with little-to-no restrictions. And guess what, allowing anyone to listen to anything they want with basically no restrictions got them a whole bunch of users. How many? According to their little pop-up box: “Over 30 million users flock to Grooveshark…” Wow. 30 million users that “flock to Grooveshark,” and, again, I quote from their own site: “…to listen to their favorite music, create playlists, discover new tunes, and share it all with friends via Facebook, Twitter, social news sites, and more.” Well, when you have 30 million people coming to your website, you have a lot of web traffic. This means you can start making money by charging entities to advertise on your site. After all, you reach tens of millions of consumers. Just think of all the money Grooveshark makes by selling ads. There is just one really big, big problem: they don’t get licenses and don’t pay the artists, the labels and/or the songwriters for the use of the music that’s making them tons of money. I can assure you, 99% of the hundreds of thousands of TuneCore Artists whose music is in Grooveshark have not been paid a single penny. Said more simply: ARTISTS SHOULD BE PAID FOR THE USE OF THEIR MUSIC! In order for Grooveshark to pull off their “aren’t-we-so-clever-f**k-the-artist” scheme, they use copyright law in a way it was not intended to be used.

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Epiphone Guitars: A History

Straight From http://epiphone.com

Epiphone is one of American’s oldest and most revered instrument makers and since 1873, Epiphone has made instruments for every style of popular music. The name evokes both history and the spirit of invention. Epiphone has been an audible (not to mention visible!) presence in every great musical era from the mandolin craze of the early 1900s to jazz age guitars of the 1920s. From swing era archtops through post-war pop, jazz, r&b, and early rock n’ roll. From the “British Invasion” to heavy metal, punk, grunge, and thrash. And now, in the 21st century, new Epiphone technical breakthroughs such as the ProBucker™ pickup, series parallel switching, built-in KillSwitch™ pots, the Shadow NanoFlex™ and NanoMag™ pickup systems, and premier acoustic/electric guitars with the eSonic™ preamp have brought the historic name to a new generation. The story behind Epiphone’s improbable rise from a small family repair shop to a world-wide leader in the manufacture of quality instruments could easily be transformed into the great American novel. But our story is true. The Epiphone tale begins in the mountains of Greece and threads its way to Turkey, across the Atlantic to the immigrant gateway of Ellis Island, and into the nightclubs, recording studios, and coast-to-coast radio broadcasts of Manhattan in the 1920s and 30s. It’s the story of craftsmanship passed from father to son and the ceaseless American drive for innovation. Just a decade after Epiphone published a 46-page catalogue that included acoustic archtops, flattops, basses, electric guitars, banjos, and amplifiers, the company would be bankrupt and sold to a longtime rival, Gibson. Today, Epiphone is once again an innovator in guitar and instrument manufacturing. The variety of musicians that walk through Epiphone’s history is equally remarkable. Jazz greats like George Van Eps, country pioneers like Hank Garland, bluesman John Lee Hooker, and scores of mandolin, archtop and steel guitar players used Epiphone instruments daily over nationwide broadcasts. There are unlikely heroes and tinkerers in the Epiphone story too, like guitar pioneer Les Paul, who worked nights in the Epiphone factory to create “the Log”, his primordial version of what would eventually be called the “Les Paul.” Beatles’ bassist extraordinaire Paul McCartney choose an Epiphone Casino as his first American made guitar and John Lennon and George Harrison quickly followed. The Casino appeared on every Beatles album from Help through Abey Road. And today, Epiphone can be heard on albums by Gary Clark, Jr., My Chemical Romance, Joe Bonamassa, Zakk Wylde, Machine Head, Dwight Yoakam, The Strokes, Slash, Jeff Waters, Paul Simon, Radiohead, The Waco Brothers, Lenny Kravitz, and Paul Weller. If a time machine could transport today’s Epiphone players to Epiphone’s Manhattan showroom of 60 years ago when it was a gathering place for all the Big Apple’s best players, the generations would agree that Epiphone has always been the House of Stathopoulo, and today is still innovating, still delighting musicians, and still frustrating competitors with daring designs and superb quality. “Epiphone always made a good guitar,” Les Paul once said. And that after all, is what all musicians are looking for.

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Peter Hook & New Order Likely Going To Court, Getting Even More Childish

Article From PreFixMag.Com

It appears that the seemingly eternal struggle between Peter Hook and his former bandmates in New Order is going to court. His main concern is over the fact that the other members of New Order are trying to trademark the name without his permission. He said that this is illegal because it’s an oppression of the minority — in this case, Hook — and wants it settled. Peep a quote from his interview from NME.

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The Global Songwriter Shell Game: Why The Major Music Companies Are Getting Your Royalties

Reblogged from Tunecore Blog

In the past five years, hundreds of millions of dollars of songwriter royalties have been generated and never paid to the songwriter, or have been given to Warner Bros, EMI, Universal, Sony and others based on their market share- estimates put this new income at over half a billion dollars.
Once these companies get the money, they keep it and don’t account to anyone.
All the while, the songwriters that earned this money have no clue their pockets are being picked, their royalties are not being paid, and their rights are being violated.
I discovered this infringement and lack of royalty payments while embarking on a journey to discover how much money TuneCore Artists earned as songwriters. In the past three years, TuneCore Artists have sold over 500 million songs and earned over a quarter billion dollars from the sale of the recordings of their songs. With the help of Jamie Purpora, the former SVP Bug Music Publishing Administration and now President TuneCore Songwriter Publishing Administration, we identified another $60 to $70 million earned by these artists in songwriter royalties. The upsetting part, over 70% of this money never made it back to them. And keep in mind, I’m only talking about artists that use TuneCore—there are many more.
This infringement and lack of payment is one of the biggest outrages of the music industry and yet it is rarely talked about and even more rarely understood.
It needs to stop.
Let me explain the nutshell version of how it happens.
The new music industry is global. However, outside of the United States, digital services require additional rights, use different royalty rates and pay the owed royalties differently than the United States music industry. The end result is:
-The digital music service does not get all the rights needed from songwriters and therefore never pay the songwriter the money he/she is owed.
-At the same time, local performing rights and collection agencies outside the U.S. illegally take a % of the songwriter’s money while making it impossible for the songwriter to get what’s left over.

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Turn Your Computer Into a Pro Home Recording Studio

Great sound quality is MUCH MORE about understanding a few key principles of audio, and MUCH LESS about the cost of the equipment than most people think. And here’s better news: The few key principles are easy to learn…IF you have the right teacher. That’s where we come in.
You’ll learn all you need to know with our video tutorials, home recording articles, and tons of other resources on the site. There are a lot of people out there who thought home recording was the realm of tech geeks and audio engineers with lots of school and tons of expensive gear. It turns out….it’s not!
In this day of ubiquitous (cool word huh?) computers and widely-available digital tech and amazingly affordable home recording software, just about anyone who has a computer and an internet connection (or not!) can produce professional quality audio with tools you already have! You may have to shell out $5.00 for a microphone if you don’t already have one, but that is all you need to get started.
Our motto at Home Brew Audio is “Knowledge Trumps Gear.” And we are here to provide that knowledge. We are not about using any specific programs, effects, microphones, etc. Our goal is to teach the basics that will apply to audio regardless of what gear you use! Fun, fun, fun!

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