Archive for the 'Songwriter’s Studio' Category

daves-pictureFrom The Beginning

I am 41 years old today and been playing several instruments for 35 years now. I have played over 200 gigs in my life and been in 6 or 7 bands.  I have gotten a lot out of those days and made a lot of mistakes like the one I about to tell you about.   Mistake or not today I always remember to chalk days like this this up to a great learning experience and a new chance to grow from it.   If I only thought that way back then.  Remember to look for the good in all your errors as if you look hard enough there is always a lesson to be learned.

inner-struggle

The Crossroads Vs. The Die Hard Musician

It was about 9 years ago my boss cornered me in the work place cafeteria and stated “You look like shit Dave, you played a gig last night didn’t you?”.   I worked at an Office Equipment seller at the time, had worked there for 4 years, and had just been promoted to the position of Sales manager months earlier.  My boss was right I  had placed a gig at a popular club in Naperville, IL called Keywester the night before, a gig that paid the band $850.00 .   That was a lot of money back then and it is a lot now too.   I have to admit I did look like death warmed over after the 8 drinks the prior night and only 3 hours of sleep.   I told him I was a little tired and he replied  “You need to decide whether you’re a Sales Manager or a Rock and Roll Star”, and he wanted an answer right then too.    With a wife and 2 kids, daughter of 3, and a new born Son, I replied I was a Sales Manager and quite the band the next day.   You see while playing in the band was a a lot of fun and musically rewarding it did not exactly pay the bills solely if you know what I mean.

officeMy Life On Hiatus

Almost a decade passed by while I was growing the family nest egg and building a family plus one more, my loving daughter  born the Summer of 2002.   I had not actively played in a gigging band since the summer of 2003 and to be honest I had not thought about it too much for some reason.   Back in the day, and normal for me, I would write 2-4 songs a week but for the past 5 years I had hardly written a single note.   The thought had occurred many times in the last 5 years that maybe that part of me might be dried up.   Even my wife was surprised by the dry spell and every time I reminisced about the old days and the music she would say  “You should really do something with your music it is too good to just waste”, and I’d say “Yeah your right” and do nothing.

conceptA Brave New World

So I find myself eating lunch with an old friend an ex band mate Jeff Sawalski, during the Winter of 2008, when he asked “Have you written anything lately?”   I actually had written some new songs ironically enough after the long dry spell and I thought they were pretty good too.  That evening I called him and played one over the phone, as I had many times in the past, and he told me he thought it was really cool.   Later that evening I got to thinking about what my wife always asked me, and I asked myself,  what was stopping me from doing something with the tunes anyway?  The answer was nothing and I started thinking about how I would accomplish that new plan as the 3 kids, house that needed fixing, and the wife who wanted to see me once in a while would make it very tough to be in a serious gigging band.   My wife had been doing Internet marketing for almost 3 years at the time and had had some great success, and I always heard that the Internet was a stomping ground where many artists were selling their songs, some of them doing well too.   In that moment the vehicle to become a serious music Blogger, get better known as an original songwriter, and sell my songs had been chosen.

blog-picture1The Undiscovered Country

Now that I had picked the vehicle I needed to find out what the hell that meant as I had absolutely no experience on the web in that regards.   I did not really know where to go for the help, other than my wife, who I already knew would lead me to the water, but would not possess the time to do it for me.  I also knew she would not want to answer the 100 questions the way I needed them answered, like I was a 5 year old learning to read for the first time.   So where did I go for my information?    Where else The Internet!   I was amazed how many articles and videos existed at places like Artists House, and the hundreds of great Blogs dangling shinny little jewels about how I would conquer my monster I had created.   I knew I would need help from someone I trusted on the business side of things, so I enlisted my long time friend, and entrepreneur, Tom Vail.   Tom had many successful businesses, and could tend to the business side of things while I handled the music, and building my new band.

band-tour-bus-picture1We’re Getting The Band Back Together Man!

We had decided to professionally record the songs, as putting an inferior product out just did not make any sense.   We needed a band to do that.    I enlisted my old band mate Jeff Sawalski for the lead vocal spot, even though I had sung very successfully in several bands years earlier.   For this project it was not about egos, or anything like that, it was about putting the best people for the job in place and Jeff was head and heels a better singer than I was.   I called up Stevie Boy my old bass player who loved recording who grabbed the spot in a heartbeat.  Having great friends and resources was a blessing and the only thing that remained was lead guitarist and drummer spots to fill.   I called Tom Allen another old band mate who agreed to take the lead guitar spot.    We got lucky on the drummer ,as my brother Bill Piersall, who worked at Guitar Center, found a drummer he worked with who came out and was great and wanted to join.    With that  the band was formed and we were ready to conquer the world.

battle-of-the-bandsThe Mutiny And The Bounty

We agreed to practice twice a month and it was going pretty well until the day Tom Vail and I gathered the guys up to sign the recording musician contracts.   Tom Vail and I researched the process and found that most studio musicians received between 1 and 5 percent of the total take with exception to publishing and songwriter royalties.   We decided to give the guys 3 percent of everything even publishing and royalties.   That evening everyone agreed the offer was fair except Tom Allen who felt he deserved 20% of the take.  If we agreed to give Tom Allen that everyone would have to get that cut too and 20 percent would be left for Tom Vail and I to split in the end.  That said we did not think that sounded quite fair  so we told Tom the 3 percent was the only offer on the table.   Long story short things did not work out with Tom Allen and I called my long time friend Larry Kucera a great blues guitarist to take Tom’s place.  We thought our troubles where over but we were wrong.  If losing Tom was not enough our miracle drummer went missing in action and after 2 no shows at practice with no return phone calls we needed a new drummer.   Taking the advice of Larry Kucera our new guitarist I put an ad in Craigslist for a drummer.    To my surprise drummers came rolling out in herds and 90% of them were great drummers too.  Now it might be old age or the failing memory of a 41 year old man but back in the day I remember finding a great drumming was harder than finding a stack of hundred dollar bills laying there in the street for the taking.    We auditioned 5 great drummers and settled on a drummer who believe it or not worked at the Guitar Center too , small world huh?.  So with that the band was complete again.

recording-studioOur Day In The Sun

Our day came to hit the studio and we were all more than excited as we had been practicing for 9-10 weeks with all the false starts and line up changes.  We recorded 3 songs and thought we had a pretty good start but Memorex did not lie.   For some reason the drums that sounded so great while recording them did not sound the same when listening back.  They just did not crack the way we needed them to.   In the name of time and money I agreed to let Mario Massi the studio owner take a stab at fixing them with EZ Drummer a drum software.  Now the funny thing is when I was interviewing him he told me I should not use real drums as getting the rhythm section right is tougher than I think.  I remember drum machines from 10 years earlier and was not about to let that happen to my babies but now I needed a solution.  To my surprise the software that uses midi samplings of real drummer Nir Z sounded exactly how I wanted , what a relief.   We had to rerecord the bass lines to get the pocket right and a few other things I really don’t want to go into as that is a sore spot for me after not listening from the beginning to Mario.  Today I simply have Jeff Sawalski who goes by Jeff Anthony these days (Anthony is his middle name) singing, Mario Massi of Mario Massi Studios playing all other instruments, and myself recording the songs and it is a well oiled machine too.  Getting it right for yourself might be something different but I would suggest you explore the possibilities of EZ Drummer too.  Remember the more cooks you have siring the soup the more chance there is your soup could turn out tasting like a pot of swill you dump down the sink painfully one evening.  Every man and woman’s path is different so beat to your own drum as long as you get it right.

web-traffic-pictureThe First Day On My New Website

I started this site a little over 2 months ago now and feel blessed I was able to find great help for the Blog posts from Jeff Anthony, Bill Piersall my brother, and Chris Morrow an old band mate drummer as without them I am certain this all would have taken a different fate.   Today I have over 50 visitors come to the site a day and the traffic is growing all the time.  That said  I have to admit looking at traffic statistics on day two, after putting up 4 new Blog posts the prior day I was really excited about was a very sobering moment.    I found out that only 3 visitors had come to the site for the previous day to see those great posts and I realized this was going to be a lot harder than I thought.   I wrote a post called “Build It And They Will Come” a couple weeks ago, a sort of sarcastic title, that outlines what to do to get traffic to a site should you be looking at your traffic stats today having the same panic attack I had 2 months ago.  I also wrote a great post called “How To Build Your First Music Website” should you be an artists thinking of taking on this struggle too.  This Blog and site is dedicated to helping out others like me get to the next step in sustaining their dream to becoming an expert as an Internet Marketing Guru.  I am not there yet but I learn something new everyday that makes me say “Wow that is really cool”   As I learn you can be sure I will share it with you all here at Euphony Productions.

blog-content-pictureA Brave New Future

So Jeff and I are plugging along and last night we went to the Songwriters Showcase at Backthird Studios in Aurora Illinois owned by Benjie Hughes a well know Internet marketer and songwriter.   We were looking for new avenues to experience what was next and this was a great time.  9 artists played including Jeff and I while the other 8 rated each others songs.  The best rated song is to be showcased on June 2nd 2009 and the artists gets to perform with their full band this time not just acoustically.  Whether we win or not really does not matter as we had a great time and met so many great people there.  I suggest you find something like this in your area, and always remember to network, as it is the best thing you can do for your musical career.   I am really happy with the direction the site and Euphony Productions is taking and hope these last 5-6 weeks have been as helpful to you all as they have been rewarding for me.   I never knew there were so many artists out there like myself floundering with choosing the right path, and struggling with the limitations they had set upon themselves.   Choose today to break free and remember if you need a little direction shoot me a note I am glad to help.

Until next time we wish you the best in your musical endeavors or what ever you are working on.

Contact Dave



daves-picture2Lately I have had a lot of people throw out opinions about whether a serious musical artist needs their own website.    They say Myspace.com is just fine but what is the truth?  There is some truth to that statement and some things they all overlooked.    In this post I will take on this subject head to head.

fergie1. Famous Artists Have Their Own Website

So if it is not really all that important why do all the artists you listen to have their own websites?  I will tell you why it is because a marketing executive somewhere tells them they need it to seriously be successful online.   They have Myspace pages too and they are just to support their own site.  Here are some you can check out.  Fergie,   John MayerEric Clapton.   They don’t have these sites for nothing believe me they promote themselves there and you should e doing it too.

website-picture2. Your Own Site Offers More Freedom

A personal website offers so much more freedom than Myspace.com alone like layout ability, domain name control, Ability to have multiple Blog Writers, More advanced music sales pages, Sidebar layout control, and so much more.   A lot of these things cannot be accomplished with Myspace as someone else is holding the keys to your kingdom.  Get creative and make a splash with your own site

online-marketing3. Artist Name And Band Name Marketing

You can choose a domain name that represents your band or artist name that is not www.Myspace.com/artistname.  A site can be used to sell yourself and it is not that you cannot do that with Myspace only the fact that it can be done better on your own site.    Brand name development is key to an artist being a household name.

online-community4. Ability To Create A Musician Community

With your own site you can create a musician community to get opinions on your music, get a feel for what those buying music are interested in, and creating an artist community that is all surrounded around your site and artist name.   Facebook has done a pretty successful job of creating a community like this.

affiliate-program5. Affiliate Programs

Think this is not important or don’t believe in these programs?  You should as there are Bloggers out there making $10,000 a month through affiliate programs.   There are many music related companies like Taylor Guitars, Gibson, Guitar Center, iTunes, and so many more that you can access to make money.   Think doing this is selling out?  If you can get some traffic coming to your site and make some money off affiliate program ads that your readers actually want to buy  from anyway what about that could e selling out?  Lets face it you can use those earnings to finance recording, tour expenses, and so much more.   Can you do that on Myspace?  No!    Guess what,  Myspace puts ads up on your page and makes money off you anyway so that sort of ruins the selling out thery.

fans-in-crowd-picture36. You Can Give Back To Your Fans With Your Own Site

What do I mean by this?  You can write Blog posts about topics, your tour, or anything they might find interesting.  How about filling some other artists in on what is working for you?   Building a fan base is about showing them how much you care about them and showing them what your all about too.  You can do that pretty easlily through writing a Blog on your site.

myspace7.  Myspace Has More Music Artists Than Potential Fans

Lets face it you are after fans and whether you want to believe it or not other bands are not going to follow your band for the most part and will not be buying your music.  They are doing the same thing you are requesting friends that they really don’t care about at least a lot of them and they ignore most of what you send them just like you do.  How is any of this going to help you?   If you can get 10 real people coming to your site seeing content they have interest in and reading your Blogs that is better than 50 other bands accepting your friend requests on Myspace.

band-tour-bus-picture38. You’re Taken More Seriously By Record Executives

What I mean is if you can show an A & R Rep or Music Executive you have 300 poeple that come to your site a day and have sold 10,000 downloads of a song and have comments from fans do you think they will take notice?  Of course they will.  Can you track these things at Myspace?  No.    You can choose whether to get out of your own way or to be the brick wall between you and your success it is your choice.

Until next time as always I wish you luck on all your musical endeavors

Contact Dave

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05 17th, 2009 Dave Piersall

10 Tips to Help The Music Artist Make it

daves-picture1

What Does it Take To Get Discovered in Chicago?

A songwriter needs to be a lot of things to become well known as an artist and some of those will mean breaking out of your comfort zone.   Liz O’s post today, one of the newest members to the Euphony team, started me thinking about whether an artist can make it in solely in Chicago and if so what would steps would they need to take.   I think Liz had some great points and I do think to really be successful an artist needs to do these things to get discovered.

marketing-plan-picture1.  Research Your Chosen Field

Researching your chosen career field is a must if you want to know what to do, when to do it, how to know if it is working, and what to change if it’s not.   A good place to start is talking to fellow musicians who are where you want to be.  Now you may not know any stars but I am certain you must know a semi successful artist.   This is called modeling and it is a lot better to learn from their mistakes than to make them from scratch yourself.  Working smarter rather than harder is a time tested method to success in any field.  Another place to go for information is Artists House which is a site with all sorts of videos from panels of successful music marketers, musicians, and music executives.  Music Think Tank is another you might try with success.  Really anywhere you can get information that will help you is a good place to be.

business-plan-photo2. Write a Business Plan

This is arguably the very most important step in any career path as without it you have no idea where you are going, how to get there, or why the hell your doing it all in the first place.   I wrote a post a while ago that covers a lot of this you should take a look at call “Marketing Your Music Online”.  What I would suggest is when you get this done let a friend who is known for good business results look it over and tell him or her you want them to follow up on where you are and if you are doing what you set out to.  No better medicine to keep you focused than peer pressure from a close friend who won’t accept your bullshit excuses.  If you never ever waiver from you r plans then you might not need this part but I have not met many than can say that honestly as things happen in life and business that makes us all discouraged at times.

street-team-photo3.  Enlist Some Help

If you have Business associates, fans, good friend, and family that believe in your music be the squeaky wheel and ask them for help.    If you have enough real fans then build a “Street team” to promote your music and artist name.  I wrote a post on this that you will want to read and commit to memory call “How To Get Discovered”.  You will build these people as you go along in your path to success so always be adding people to this lists as that will make you all the better known in the industry.

inner-struggle14. Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Knowing where you have strengths and weakness is a very important part of the process but finding people to fill your voids or learning from classes, websites, and books,is even more important as an unattended weakness will kill your shot 9 times out of 10.   One are I had to put my ego aside was admitting that while I am an OK singer me singing my songs was not going to be the best plan to really making it so I enlisted jeff Anthony who is a much better singer than myself.  the same applies to guitar skills, or any area of music as you need the very best people you have access to to sound right.   If you struggle with giving up the riegns ask yourself this question.  “Would I rather play or sing parts myself and not make it or let someone who has the needed skills do it and become  famous”?  That is really what it comes down to as people right or wrong judge a book by it’s cover so make it sound and look great.

artist-starting-out-picture5. Fine Tune Your Songwriting Skills

Fine tuning your songwriting skills is one of the most important things to do as this is your product and the better it is the better your chances of success will be.  Keeping an open mind and letting go of egos is a must when getting better at songwriting.   Getting involved with songwriting groups is a great tool to discovering your weaknesses, and learning methods you can use to adapt your style to be more marketable.  Some things I personally do to fine tune myself  are signing up for Songwriters showcases, and Songwriters guilds like Benjie Hughes has at Backthird Studios. There are many places you can go to get great resources to be your best it is up to you to search them out in your town and state.

dave-neupert-picture6. Networking

A songwriter needs to network in as many areas as they can and organizations like  Chat a Chicago group or musicians who discuss the industry, NARIP , LANM A Los Angeles network group.  Dave Neupert has a great video on this subject at Artists House you should listen to right away

diversity7. Be Diversified

Playing many styles and many different musicians will not only help you get better known but will help you get better acquainted with music styles you may not be comfortable with.  These may be useful in your later songwrinting ventures and help you stay well rounded.  This will also tie into your networking need and allow you to have dual benefits.  Be a sponge and soak in all you can from the artists you play with and use it to your advantage.  Chris Morrow another Euphony Productions writer wrote a great post on this subject a few posts back you should look at again.

promote8. Promote Your Music

Promoting yourself is obvious to all but the correct methods are not always so obvious.   You need a three teir promotion program one that covers these three areas. 1.  The Internet, 2. The Music Venues, 3. The Music Agents and professionals.    If you get well versed at all three and watch out you will be dangerous as they are all really important so important that I have made time that was not there to get back out on a limited basis and start gigging again even though I said I did not have time.  The wife is none too happy as she enjoys seeing me and taking on this last part will surely limit that for us.  In the end it is what is needed to really be successful.  Here are some past posts you can read again that will help you in all three of these areas.  How to build your first music website, Build it and they will come, and How do I get discovered?

empty-bar19.  Pick The Right Venues

Now of course there will always be a place where all artists have to start and that may mean playing some places you don’t want to while paying your dues but after you get past that remember that playing in front of 4 people will not be real effective in promoting your music unless all 4 are record executives which is unlikely.  A lot of whether you have a turn out will depend solely on how well you promote the event too so make the flyers, get on radio talk shows if you can, talk to friends ask them to call their friends, Get your other band mates involved, Put ads in newspapers, what ever it takes to pack the house as a packed house will mean more pay you can demand next time you play at that venue and it will mean more chances to get people into your music so don’t be lazy.

determinination-picture10. Dedication

Ultimately all 9 steps before this one all tie into how dedicated you are to making it and will directly result in what your do and how often you do it.   One way to tie this all in is find a big reason why for you to succeed one that without it you feel like dying.  IE, if you had to sell all your musical gear and quite if you failed at making your career successful I bet you would do all it took.   Make a commitment like this and tell people about it so you can’t wuss out too.   Make your success a MUST!

Until next time I wish you luck in all your musical endeavors my fellow Euphonites,

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Contact Dave



05 2nd, 2009 Dave Piersall

How to Build Your First Music Website

daves-picture-for-websiteSo You Want to Build a Website to Sell Your Music?

There is a lot that goes into that and content, and traffic are key components to making it all work.  Today we will cover the mechanics to building a site.  If you want to learn more about driving traffic see this post.  “Build it And They Will Come”, and read this post and decide right now if you have the time and the drive to make this all happen,  “Marketing Your Music Online”

artist-starting-out-picture3

So How Do You Get Started?

When I started my site it was trial and error, learning the hard way and it turned out OK too.  If I had it to do over the first thing I would do is write an outline of what I wanted to accomplish with the site and how I felt I could do that.  There is a wealth of music related internet sites to help you research and weigh your options before you leap like Artists House.    You can also talk to your fellow musicians and find out what they think you should do too.  Not all will have great ideas but a little feedback never hurts .

conceptPick Your Domain Name

Next you’ll need to pick your domain name and be original in your choice.    Think about names that are not what everyone would call a site like “Music Production” as remember you are building a brand name.  The more unique the name the better you will rank in page searches.   If you search for “Music Productions” 10.000 pages come up.  If you search for a less traveled name like “Euphony Productions” only a few results will be there because you were unique with your choice.   That is what you want to go after not the same old boring get lost in the internet sea of site names.   Domain names will cost you $9.99 per year and you will want to buy it for at least 2 years.  If you have a band buy that domain name as well as your own name while you are at it too.   They should be .com no .net or .org options as they will not be found as easily as a . com site as that is what everyone will search for by default.

wordpressPick Your Website Theme

Then you will need to go pick a theme for your site if you don’t have the resources and money to have a custom site built.  You can buy a theme on WordPress for between $50.00 and $100.00 then you will need get hosting for it.  Godaddy can help you get that all in one place but keep in mind that eventually you will have to get a more robust hosting solution as if your traffic really starts blazing you will crash the GoDaddy server and your site will be dead.  This will not be something you will need to worry about right away because it will take time to get that kind of traffic.   If you are not real HTML code savvy and you need help with Widgets, plugins, music players, or anything you can hire Steve Johnson at Sawtooth, He is reasonable and is easy to work with.

paypalSign Up For a Payment and Song Download Service

Next you’ll need a shopping cart to sell your songs and accept credit card payments.  I recommend using e-Junkie as your song download service as you can upload your songs on their server and the MP3’s automatically get emailed to the buyer when your song is sold.  It also takes the payment for you without your intervention and can be set to send the money right to your bank account.  To use e-Junkie you will need to be signed up for a credit card payment service like Paypal.  Paypal is a great start up music site option as there are no monthly fees just a minimum .30 transaction fee.  Once you start selling enough songs you can switch to a service with a low monthly fee and much lower transaction fees.   Providing your music is recorded professionally or at least sounds that way if you are using a home studio solution like Pro Tools by Digidesign you should be in good shape with this part of the process.    Remember to ALWAYS put your best foot forward and NEVER put up low quality recordings as you will kill your chances before they start.

whats-in-a-namePicking your Blog Names

If your going to have a Blog and you need to have one to successfully drive traffic you will need to pick out what your Blog categories will be called.  Mine are “Songwriters Studio”, “The Rock Singer”, “In the Mix”, and “The Chicago Beat”.   You decide what makes sense for your site but pick broad scope options as you don’t want to pin yourself in too narrow a scope and run out of material.  Also if you cannot find writers then you may want to pick just one category as writing once a week will be harder than you think it will.   For ideas on how to find good writers read this post.  “Build it And They Will Come”

computerWriting Your First Blog

Now you are ready to write your first Blog.  Write it by hand and really give it some thought as your return traffic depends on it.   I always go for an outline of what I am going to write about and then do any research that is needed.  A good research depot is Artists House as you will find great videos and direction when you are lost for ideas here.  Google is another place to go for research and Flicr is a great resource for photos to put that professional touch to your posts.   You will need to write once a week and post to the Blog the same day every week as your readers will get used to seeing them so plan a schedule for writing ahead of time and stick to it like gospel.

songs-pageBuilding Your Songs Page

You will need to make this really pop and you will want to ask yourself these questions.  1. How will I make it clear I am selling music to anyone who comes to my site?   2. Why will they buy my songs?  3. Are the song files of professional quality? (If not STOP time to fix this)   On my site the songs page is Euphony Productions Presents Wiesbrook Road and there will be more bands to come very soon.  I am currently working with two artists right now but you need to focus on what your objective are.  You will want to find a music player that will play in the Sidebar. (The side bar is the section to the right of all your pages)   This is needed as without it believe me people will not know you are selling songs most of the time.   I use flash MP3 player, and this was one heck of a search for one that would work correctly in the sidebar.  I have my HTML code guru write me a widget that would allow me to enter new songs in easily on the side bar player.  If you want his help you can hire him too, his name is Steve Johnson at Sawtooth. I also use PodPress for the songs page which has a nice player that will play in the parent window and is easy to use.  This player will not play in the sidebar however.

about-usWriting your Bio for Your “About Us” Page

You will need an “about us” page next.   When writing your bio for your “About us” page the more you share into who you are the more your readers will connect with you.  Tell what your organization is about, what your mission is, and anything else you feel will pertain to the story.  If you have other writers involved tell their story too and have pictures of everyone to give that polished look.

money1Affiliate Programs

Affiliate programs will be how you will make the bulk of your money, your song sales will be secondary to these type of programs .   Linkshare, and Commission Junction are two programs you can join that can connect you with companies that have affiliate programs.   You won’t need ads right away as unfortunately traffic will be scarce at first and Commission Junction and Linkshare vendors will normally not approve brand new untested sites without a following.   You concentrate on one goal and that is getting more traffic for now.

web-traffic-picture1How Do I Drive Traffic To My Site?

Traffic is what makes the wheels turn and the way to get it is to have great content and give value to your readers.  Value will be offered through your Blogs and how much you put into them will directly feed to your return traffic.  Networking and Link Campaigns will also be a big part of getting traffic.  If you want the ins and outs to getting traffic and every other part of this marketing program  read these posts. “Build it and They Will Come”,   “Marketing Your Music Online”,  And  “How Do I Get Discovered?”

Launch Your Site

Now that you have all this done you are ready to launch your site.   There will be plenty of tweaks along the way and some things will not work the way you want at first.  Don’t worry too much about it as more than likely until you get some successes not many people will see the site any way.   Once you get it just the way you want you need to be the squeakiest wheel in town.   Never lose site that what you should be squeaking about is all the great value your site brings to readers not trying to force feed them your songs downloads and products.  If you come off shallow and don’t care about your readers you will sink this ship in weeks and once under water it is very hard to change the first impressions you gave.

Until next time keep your head up and feel free to leave me a comment if you need help with any of this.

Contact Dave



04 25th, 2009 Dave Piersall

Build It And They Will Come

daves-pictureAnswering the Age Old Myth

So what does it take to make a successful website to sell original music on the Internet?  Many songwriters and bands come to the Internet, see sites like MySpace and iTunes and say  “I need to get a site too so I can sell my songs” and some actually move forward with the plan but not all are successful in the quest.  In this post we will answer the questions to why that happens and how to keep it from happening to you.

excuses-pictureYou’ve Got a lot of Excuses Don’t You?

This is an issue that stops a lot of artists in their tracks and gives them all the reasons in the world to do nothing and justify their actions to themselves and others.   I should know I did it for a lot of my life too because it is easier to sell yourself short than it is to get online, Get on stage, and put yourself and your music out there.   There is a real fear surrounding putting it all on the line because to do that means you may find out the hard way either you, or your music does not have what it takes.   That can be a painful reality and the thought goes through all artists minds at one time or another too.    You can choose to make it mean something totally different if you want to though.   You can see a failure as a great opportunity to discover what did not work, research why, change your approach, and give it another go.  If you believe your music has what it takes then you need to be ready to take some punches and keep coming at them.

fans-in-crowd-pictureSo What Does it Take to Make YOUR Music Website Popular Online?

Never in their wildest dreams can most songwriters concept what it will take to actually make this plan work.    Go read this post first to see if you have the time and personal drive to succeed.   The mountain of time involved in building traffic that results in song sales is insurmountable to some beginners.  Buying your domain name, and getting the site made is the easy part, the hard part is getting anyone to actually see your site and if they do to pull out their credit card and buy your song.   Viewing Google Analytics traffic reports and seeing 3 people came to your site today when you were 2 of them is a sobering experience.  In this post we will discuss how to build those visits and turn them into sales.

blog-pictureThe Importance of Starting A Music Blog On Your Site

No one is going to repeatedly come back to your site for just your songs even though you would like to think they would.  You need to give them something they MUST come back for and one thing is a music Blog with great content.  Writing a successful Blog means making the content mean something and making sure it has value to your readers.   Giving value means research to get the facts right and linking to sites that support your views to build credibility.  Also it is VERY important to set a writing schedule and to always stick to it.   Here is why, if you start writing a Blog post once a week and your readers come back to see what you wrote week after week and suddenly you stop for a week or two guess what is likely to happen?  They will also stop returning because you got lazy or let something else become more important than sticking to your plan.   Don’t let that happen especially after you have built a following.    When you write a great post your proud of go to these sites and tell people it is there.  Blip.Fm, Last.Fm, Facebook Music, MySpace, and start building a email list to send out the word too.  Here is a great video on marketing your site from Artists house.

song-downloadWhy Do People Buy Original Music and How Do You Get Them To Buy Yours?

Lets think about the concept for a moment….. OK if you went into a record store when you were a young adult and there were two album racks.    The first rack had all the popular albums from artists like “The Who”, “Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers” and other well known bands.    On the second rack were a bunch of albums you never heard of,  had no idea what style they are, and did not know if the songs were any good.    What do you think you or anyone else would be likely to do in this situation?   You and they would buy the popular ones and maybe think  “I wonder what those other ones are all about”.    Now would you or them ever go back to buy one to find out?    Probably not.     You know why?  The buzz created from the promotion done for the popular albums guided your choice .   So what does it take to get your music that popular?  The same thing it took to make all the albums on that music store rack popular.   It takes people talking about your songs, friends telling other friends they need to check your stuff out, and professionals in the music industry and online world talking about your music.

web-traffic-pictureWhat Else Can You Do to Drive Traffic?

Another resource would be to find music processionals like Entertainment attorneys,  Music producers, and Studio owners that will write weekly Blogs for you on their business giving tips to jump start a young songwriters career.  Lastly you need links to your site from successful music Blogs and sites that have great traffic because that will bring people to your site too.  This last one is key as someone who has respect in the industry and more importantly partners with you through a link will drive more traffic to your site and give you best shot at selling your songs.  It is all about credibility and creating a buzz.

dave-neupert-pictureStarting A Link Campaign

OK here is the plan to start a link campaign as you need this more than anything.    You need to bring traffic to your site and just like you need fans talking about your music, you need to talk about your website and network with other Blog writers and industry professionals.   Go to Technorati.com a ranking site for websites and search for music Blogs and see who has the highest ranks in related blogs to your own.  In an Excel spreadsheet input 20 of the top ranking websites with columns for the date your campaign started, the site contact,  and what the result was.  Contact these individuals by writing a comment about a post on their Blog and that means actually reading the post and meaning what you say.   Go to the sites every other day and comment and start building a friendship with the site owners as good things come to those who network.   After 4-5 comments ask them to read one of your best posts and share it with their readers through a link to your site.    You may be ale to peak their interest by offering an ad on your site in return.  If you save the site addresses in your browser under a favorites folder called “Link campaign sites” it will make it very easy to continue your campaign.   If  you have other band members or Blog writers have them do the same thing with 20 different sites as traffic will help you all.   Here is a great video from Dave Neupert about the importance of networking Here are some groups you could join to network and grow your career.  Narip.comLAMN.comChat.comArtistshouse.org

band-photo1Are You in a Gigging Band?

If you are in an actively gigging band then fans are hearing your music, that is if you have a fan base which is a whole other topic in itself.   You can talk about your website on stage, put the URL on flyers, and get your fans talking to others about your website.   Now your songs need to be up to par to sell any real numbers of course.  If you need help understanding how to get that done of what that means check out these posts on “10 Steps to writing a hit song”, and “How to be a better songwriter”.

artist-starting-out-picture2So Can You Promote Original Music Successfully Online Without a Band?

Yes you can though you need to know it will require you to work a lot harder at it because you are missing a part of the process the gigging band.    Just do everything else I talked about in this post and remember no one will care about you or what you are selling or saying until you show them how much you care about them.  That means giving something back to your readers they can use.

Next week I will cover the specific details and steps to building your first music site from start to finish.  Look for it Saturday May 2nd 2009

Contact Dave



04 18th, 2009 Dave Piersall

Marketing Your Music Online

daves-picture-for-website-copyThis week we are dealing with how to market yourself just like a company markets a new product.  After all you are a product too so you need to use some of the same marketing techniques to get better known like a “Household name”.    The questions is how do YOU do that?    Here are some steps I have learned and I am always in the process of learning more about and achieving because YOU NEVER STOP MARKETING YOURSELF!!!     Much of my back up data came from an Internet Promotion Panel that hosted greats from the industry like Bob Baker, Jenniffer McCord, Tim O’Neill, and Benjie Hughes.   Benjie has a great event going on May 8th at 7 PM called Songwriters Showcase.    The Showcase is a live concert, a demo recording session and a songwriting workshop – combined.    You perform your music in his recording studio, in front of an audience of other songwriters and music lovers.  He records your performance and compiles feedback from the other participants.    You Then leave with your songs on CD and a written evaluation to help you improve your writing.  Check it out.

startup-business-photo1. Why Are You Starting Your Business?

First and foremost you will need to decide right now why you want to get into business for yourself and if that entrepreneurial spirit is in your blood or not.   People succeed in business and life because they have a great plan and have great reasons why they MUST succeed.  Pick a reason why you’ll  be going into business this that is close to your heart, that ties into your very soul, and you’re certain you would rather die before you failed doing it.

business-plan-photo2. Building Your Business Plan

Sit down, read some books on writinging a business plan, commitment them to memory, and then write your business plan out start to finish.   Make it achievable, realistic, time bound, complete, and give a copy of it to your best friends and family members and tell them to ask you if you’ve reached the goals outlined in it yet and on time.  If no one knows what you are doing except you, you will make it too easy to give up.  We all need a little pressure once in a while to stay on track.

kleenex-picture3.  Building Your Brand

This is all about Who are you?, What you do? and the Unique way you do it.    In this case I am talking about your music, your name, and or your band name.   First go out and buy your domain name at www.GoDaddy.com You may think your product is more important but I disagree.  If you take the time to create the product and someone beats you to the punch and buys your domain name then how are you going to sell the product successfully?   You can but it becomes much harder after you lose your domain name.    If your name is Tom Berry then see if www.TomBerry.com is available.    Don’t stop there you will want a site to act as your management company too.   Think of something that is not your typical name too don’t buy www.musicbusiness.com as that is going to get lost in the sea of other sites named nearly the same thing and you will be page # 30,000 at best in search engine rankings.  If you don’t understand search engine rankings don’t panic I will cover that later on in this post.  Consider this,  when you want a tissue to blow your nose what do you ask or?  A Kleenex?.  That is because the Kleenex company rocked at building their brand and chose the right name and no one else is called that.    Search for Kleenex online and see what you find.   Now go search for music business and see what happens….  A lot of sites named very close to that aren’t there?

product-picture4. The Product

This is the part where you Prepare your product for marketplace and involves what you need to know when creating your product and there is more to it than just your songs.  There is your website and how well it flows, Your content (We will talk further about this one), Your Logo,  Your company name, and also these very important items.

A.  What drives your product?

B.  What within your product produces that got to have it feeling inside your clients?

C. What is going to make you a household name?

D. What are you giving back to your clients?

blog-content-picture5. Content Is King

What I mean by content is king is that if your going to have a Blog, and you need to have a Blog, what you say and offer in it will directly impact your marketing results.   If you take a lackadaisical approach to writing the Blogs, don’t care what readers think, and most of all don’t care about what your reader get out o it then your ship will sink and sink quickly.   What makes your Blog special will make all the difference in whether they click on your ads, buy your songs, or care about you at all and COME BACK TO READ MORE.   Really the same concept applies to life in general so do all you can to show them you care and really mean it.

legal-picture6. Legal Considerations

There are different schools of thought on this one but it is a part you will need to do eventually and planning ahead is never a bad idea.   Some of the Legal considerations you’ll need to cover will be copyrighting your songs, Talking to and hiring an attorney to set up your corporation, Setting up business bank accounts, and engaging an accountant to make sure your books are kept straight as you don’t want to be in disarray should the IRS comes knocking on your door.  Once again domain names are very important to buy right away, and eventually you want to look into business insurance if you plan on having employees on site at some point but this part can wait until you are to that stage.

target-market-picture7. Identifying Your Target Market

Identifying your target market involves Who the vision is about?, Who resonates with what you do? Who responds to your product and why? Who longs for the same things you do? and what do you have that others want and need? These are all very important in building your marketing machine so it runs fast and lean.

marketing-plan-picture8. Your Marketing Plan

Direct marketing is one  successul technique and involves going to the clients and telling them about your product or service.  You will want to start with identifying who similar artists are that have big client bases you can borrow fans from.  Much of this is a little to no cost marketing plan so look at building an email marketing list to send out tips on promotion and tell about yourself, Write a weekly Blog, Do Podcasts about your products, Get on Itunes, Join Yahoo groups, MySpaceTwitter, Facebook Music, Compete in OurStage song contests, and Post your videos on YouTube.  You can also try free product give aways to get them hooked on your product and hire other authors to write Blogs for you but these will have a cost.

budget-picture

9. Setting Your Marketing Budget

Setting a budget is a big part of the your marketing plan.  Decide after building your plan what it will cost you and whether you can afford it.   Once you have that number you’ll know how to stay on track and be certain your budget will not run dry as running out of funds will be a killer to your forward progress.

mentor-picture10. Using Mentors

Modeling those already successful in the field you are just getting started in is a great way to gain an edge right off the starting line.  It involves finding out what they did that worked rather than blazing your own trail and making all the same mistakes they did when starting out.   You can use Mentors to gain great advice, bounce ideas off of.   They can serve as the the person you tell about your plan that will ask you if your on track we talked about earlier in this post.   You can find mentors through friends, business partners, and through word of mouth by asking friends who they know that could help you in your quest.

website-picture11. Get Successful Related Blog Sites to Link to Your Site

Getting links is very important but you cannot be a bull in a China shop about it.   getting links will take building relationships and some finesse.   Go join Technorati and locate other related Blogs with lots of traffic by rank and get to know them, comment on what you like about their Blogs, tell them what you’ve learned from them, and after you have earned it ask them or a link.  You will make relationships along the way and if you are honest, have good intentions, and are willing to help others to achieve their goals too your will get so much in return.   Bob Baker is a well respected in the industry and has been on many panels and wrote a book called The Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook and many others too.  Go to his site to buy them.  Here is a partial version of his book

image00112. Keyword Tagging

This is part of your website software and is how you are found in search engines like Google.   You can go to Google Keyword search site to find out what people search for the most.   When picking Blog titles tag your posts with the most searched for keywords so you are higher in search results.  A tag is when you enter the keyword into the tag field on your site such as your WordPress theme when you write your Blog posts.

Until next time here is to seeing you succeed in marketing your site.  Please comment on what you would like to read about next and could use help with.

Contact Dave



04 11th, 2009 Dave Piersall

How Do I Get Discovered?

daves-picture-for-website-copy1The Lessons I’ve Learned

I have been a musician for about 35 years now, seen a lot of stuff, played one hell of a lot of shows, and have wasted lots of chances.   The one thing I have learned in my quest is don’t waste valuable time screwing around with booze and parties when you could be building your vessel to rock and roll stardom.   If I had known that lesson 25 years ago I would have been farther today believe it.  This is a young mans game as the record companies and agents are looking for the next boy band, the next new sound and it does not come with an old man way past his prime like me.  For all you young kids out there just starting to build the dream of being a rock star listen to the words of an elder who has learned the hard way and don’t make the same mistakes I have

From the Words Of Paul Rogers “In the Beginning”

artist-starting-out-pictureIn the beginning of the quest for making it big some poor misguided fools will mistaken what being a rock star is all about.   It is not about dangerous women, parties, and living on the edge.   Being a successful musician takes more than natural raw talent it takes determination and a solid work ethic to succeed just like a real job.  You need to decide right now before you waste valuable years infecting your mind with the fairy tales you have conjured up in your dreams.

Are You Really Ready to Take on the Commitment?

determinination-pictureIf you really want to be famous then forget about the fame part and concentrate on why you want it in the first place.   You need a really BIG reason why in life to sustain any dream.  So what is it?  What is your reason?  Could be your reason is you want to have lots and lots of money but that reason will not take you there in my opinion.   A good reason could be because you want to share your God Given dream for writing songs with great messages with the world and you won’t let anything stand in your way.  That would be a great start.  What ever your reason is make it one that will sustain you through the tough times and the distractions that come with the  musicians that you will need to get there.

So What Do You Do Next?

battle-of-the-bands1First thing is make sure your material is written well and most importantly recorded well as product is everything.  If your product is weak all the promotion in the land will not take you where you want to be.  So how do you know if your product is good?  Take it to friends to get their opinions, and enter it into song contests to see how the public takes to it like Our Stage.   Every good product goes through a testing stage as you may need to make slight or even major adjustments to your songs before you set out to conquer the world.

What Makes a Good Song Great?

great-song-pictureA great song has all the characteristics you’ll find in the songs that influenced you as a kid.  A hit song must have  cohesive lyrics, great music, great melody, and it cannot go on and on without end.  Proper formulas of a hit song can be found in our past posts  “How to be a Better Songwriter” , “10 Steps to Being a  Hit Songwriter”, and ” Song Stucture 101″ Use the formulas like gospel and separate yourself from the song you love so dearly because it’s your latest baby.   Take a look from the outsiders view and ask yourself “Have I followed all the formulas?”, if not figure out where you  lost track and fix it before you let anyone hear it as first impressions are hard to change.

Building a Band

band-photoA good product “Your song” needs a great company “Your band” behind it.   If you settle for mediocre musicians you will have mediocre performances of your pride and joys which are the songs you took such care to create.   Look for the best musicians you can find because a great song needs the right musicians to play it to capture the audience,  and to make sales happen.  A good place to find musicians no matter where you live are websites like “Craiglist” You will find placing an ad here will yield you many results and just remember to be picky as you are building your dream team.    Run the auditions like a company would hold interviews and make sure you get samples of their work before you have them out so you don’t waste your time or the musicians time.   Rhythm section is everything too so find the right drummer and bass player that have chemistry together or you will go nowhere believe me.

Touring

band-tour-bus-pictureTouring will be a necessity and the better the shows the better your results will be.   You may have to take some lumps in the beginning to build a reputation and audience along the way.  Once you have this you can start demanding better shows and more money from promoters and booking agents.   You can go the stubborn way and blaze your own path or talk to fellow musicians who are on their way to success already to find out who they use and what has brought them success.   This is called “modeling” and it is a great tool to use when finding your way at first in any career.

The Street Team

street-team-photo1Touring and sales will need to happen first before you approach a record company as they will want to see you have sold albums and have lots of fans first before they take the leap with you.   Today many artists and bands are building this fan base by assembling a “Street Team” which is a group of fans who will go out and talk about your band, put up flyers, and basically pound the streets for you.   So how do you build your street team?  Here is a great free PDF from Kevin Morrison of eJams I found online.  “Street Team Marketing”

Publishers and Record Companies

record-company-pictureBelieve it or not today record companies are playing a smaller role in bands making it with all the worldwide web has to offer in marketing.  Online websites like www.MySpace.com, www.Facebook.com, www.Broadjam.com, www.taxi.com, www.Blip.fm, www.Twitter.com, www.Ourstage.com,  and many others are leading the fight to getting musicians discovered and known today.   Got a Blog on music you love?  Go to www.Dig.com sign up and and dig it so the writer gets the well deserved credit for writing something that moved you.  If you want to approach the record companies and agents www.Broadjam.com and www.Taxi.com are a good start and you can also try the conventional ways but remember you are one of millions of bands trying the same thing so this method might take some time to get noticed.

Whether you agree with me or not is up to you but protect your work, do what ever it takes to make it and keep up the good fight my friends.  I will see you on the flip side

Contact Dave


04 5th, 2009 Tom Vail

How to be a Better Songwriter

daves-picture-for-website-copy2In this post we are going to hopefully answer most of those questions beginner song writers spend hours of time fretting over.   Questions like:   1. What makes a good song idea?   2. What makes a good song title?     3. What makes a good lyric?   4. What makes a good tune?    5. What makes a good rhyme?   6. What rules do the professionals follow when they write a song?   7. Which comes first the lyric or the tune, the chicken or the egg?

So Where Do I Begin?

picture-of-music-notebookUsually a person gets interested in song writing because he or she feels they have a talent, a gift for either writing words or music or both.  Maybe you’ve been writing poetry, or just find yourself humming song melodies.  Whether you feel you possess that ability for putting words together or notes that make a sound enjoyable to the ear, you are going to learn that with either case good songwriting requires following rules.  What you’re going to learn here when applied correctly is going to give the efforts you put into songwriting your best chance of success.  You may want to think about taking up guitar as it is fairly easy to learn the basics and will give you something to bring your ideas to light.

So What Will We Cover?

masterwriter-graphic2In these articles we’ll be looking at the foundations of what a well crafted song is.  Notice I’ve used the word – crafted – because a well written song is just that. It is more than just a collection of words and notes put down on paper in ink in a moment of passion.  It is, more times than not, meticulously crafted.  It is usually and typically often hard work coupled with that initial inspiration and followed by a nagging persistence to get it done right.  An inner dedication to produce the best song possible from the current song idea you might be working on.   No matter how you get started it all  begins with the foundations of the song.     Here is a software I came across while searching online that looked like a helpful tool for your beginner songwriter.    Masterwriter 2.0

There are 4 aspects of what goes into creating the foundations of a good song.

They are:

1. The song idea

2. The song format

3. The internal song rhyming structure

4. The music must have prosody.    Without prosody the listener will lose interest in your song very quickly

What You Should be Asking Yourself

piture-of-staff-paperWhether what you write becomes a popular hit or not is really irrelevant.  The questions you should always be asking yourself are;  1. Have I given this piece my best effort.  2. Have I made this song into the best vehicle I could possibly make for this particular song idea.  3. Have I followed the time tested rules for crafting a professional song.  These are the thoughts and questions that should be going through your mind as you start, write, and finish any song you re working on.  So for understanding better what makes up this foundation of better song writing.  Let’s start at the beginning, the idea itself.

So How Do I Find Topics to Write About?

picture-for-topicA good song idea can come from just about anywhere.  It could be a phrase that you read in an article from a newspaper or magazine.  It could come from the topic of the article itself.  It could come from a movie you’ve just seen or a book you’ve read.  It could come from a conversation you listened in on in an elevator. It can come from your own life’s experiences.  So let’s explore some of these avenues and see how we can better utilize them.   Take a trip to the book store when you’re out of ideas and just go down the isles reading book titles, or go to the magazine section and read a few of the magazine covers for article headings.  See what’s currently thought provoking with the readers of America.  All these ideas are free to use, you wont be dragged into court for your inspiration coming from a title you caught on some book or the heading of a magazine article.  Titles from books, songs, articles etc. cannot be copy written.  So boys and girls, remember to bring with you your pen and note pad and write down as many ideas of inspiration you come across.  Later when you’re alone you can review all you’ve harvested and one or two or maybe more will strike a chord in you that will send you off in a whirlwind of inspiration to write the next big hit for the American charts.

Get Ideas From Talking to Friends

picture-of-friends-talking1Another fertile area for song ideas will be found in the lives and conversations of others, so again keep your note pad handy.  Your could just stumble onto the next idea that will send the song world abuzz with something you turned into gold or platinum.  You could be listening to someone describing the start of a new romance, how they met, how well they matched up, what activities they did on their first date together.  It could come from someone showing you photos of their first baby, their first car, the first real love of their life.  Or it could be the breakup and ultimate ending of what was once believed to be that special love that was going to last a lifetime.    When you are in conversations with someone who is speaking emotionally about this or that be sure to have your antenna up and radar turned on.  What you need is to keep your mind alert to is a phrase or word or two from this individual that can become the summation of what a song can be about.  Which translates into the song title itself.  An example of this would the phrase like  – she’s so hot – or – that girl does things to me – or – I am sooo in love.  Think of colorful comments you pick up on in conversations and today’ catch phrases as being possible hit song titles of tomorrow.  What’s new is very often what’s hot and whatever is hot, most people just cant get enough of.

Look to Your Own Experiences For Song Ideas

picture-of-holding-handsAnother vast area of song writing ideas would be you yourself.  What makes up your world and how you see it.  What life experiences have you had.  What roller coasters are you now riding in your life that could be turned into a chart busting hit.  What happened to you yesterday, last week, last year. What will you be doing today, tomorrow, five years from now.  What are your own personal hopes and dreams.  You simply have to look inside yourself and listen to the thoughts and feelings that pass through you to find a reservoir of song ideas.  Work on these avenues for song writing opportunities.  Make them a daily practice for you .  Let the practice become a habit.  And remember, making better habits will make you a better song writer.  So if you want to come across as a professional here, learn to do what the professionals do.

Good luck to you , and remember to look for the next installment from the Songwriter’s Studio.

Contact Tom


03 29th, 2009 Dave Piersall

Song Structure 101

euphony-productions-dave-piersall-photo-for-blog1

There are several schools of thought on this subject and some will say you can use any format you like and that is true to a point. However if you intend to shop and attempt to sell your material, artists, agents as well as publishers will be paying close attention to whether your song meets the formula that has been selling when picking songs they will support. In my opinion following what has sold in the past and most importantly what is selling now is the best method to follow.

If you want to maximize your chances then follow one of these formulas below.

1. The AABA Song Structure

Songs in an AABA structure are built on two different sections.  Section “A” is basically just like your common verse in a song and can be 4 or 8 lines long.   There are two section “A’ parts back to back, each time with different lyrics.   Section “” songs usually carry the title of the song in the first or last line of the section.

Section B is musically different and like a chorus  bringing a sense of release from the musical themes.  It often provides lyrical contrast too, developing a additional path to the storyline, or giving insight into a different part of the picture.

The Section “B”  and its eventual return to another section “A”  should sound inevitable and create a cohesive and satisfying musical package.

2. The Verse Chorus Song Structure

beatles-picture-2Songs in a Verse/Chorus structure also have a lot of contrast between the two sections, but there are several differences.   Where an AABA song will tend to stand on it’s own pretty welll, a Verse/Chorus song will almost always feel incomplete without its Chorus.   In the chorus the title of the song can be stated in the first and last line which tents to create a nice hook.  Unlike an AABA song the chorus does not need to take a totally new musical direction.  To hear some great examples or verse chorus songs with and without a bridge section listen to almost any Beatles song.   The good chorus should create an urge in the listener to sing along, and is usually repeated several times at the end of the song with the title of the song being the last thing the listener hears.

3. 12 Bar Blues Song Structure

stevie-ray-vaughan-pictureThis is a very common song structure on your can hear in the music of all the blues greats like Buddy Guy, Lonnie Brooks, and Stevie Ray vaughn.   It is based on a 12 bar musical progression and the lyris are usually very simple and repetitive.   The bass guitar hass your typical walking blues bass line like in Steve Ray Vaughn’s song “The Sky is Crying”

4. The Middle 8 Song Section

aerosmith-pictureIn music theory a middle 8 refers to the section of a song which has a significantly differentin melody than the rest of the song.   Such sections often consist of a new chord structure but also frequently just alternates between two chords.  Aa middle 8  occurs in the middle of the song and the length is generally 8 bars long.  Aerosmith’s “I don’t want to miss a thing” is a great example of a middle 8 song section

5. The Bridge Song Section

A Bridge section is not a song structure alone but is an added section like a middle 8 and is commonly seen in a Verse /Chorus song.  Once again the Beatles used the ridge in many of their songs.

6. The Solo Song Section

A Solo is usually a repeat of a Section A, Section B, Verse or Chorus and is played nstrumentally instead of sung.  It is very effective in ring a climax to a song and provides clear constrast even when it is musically similar to the other sections.

Until my next post here is to wishing you luck in all your songwriting ventures.

Contact Dave


03 8th, 2009 Dave Piersall

10 Steps to Being a Hit Songwriter

euphony-productions-dave-piersall-photo-for-blog2

A hit song has a magic formula that when you get it right people perk up and have to listen.

Here are the steps I have always used to write my songs.

1. The Inspiration

This has been the part that always happens, that part I can’t explain. It comes unannounced and whenever it feels like it. I am talking about inspiration and it can choose to come on at 3 AM on a Monday when I am dead asleep. When it comes I have an uncontrollable urge to see where it is going to go no matter when it chooses to come up. What ever your process to finding your inspiration for your songs is make sure you just let it happen. If your having writers block then let it breath for a while don’t force it. Nothing great comes from forcing it in life. Looking to find your inspiration? Watch a emotional movie, read a book, talk to an old girlfriend whatever. You’re really looking for two things,

  • 1. The idea or subject that stirs something up inside you that others might find cool too.
  • 2. A way to write about it in a unique way. Describe it in an original way, no cliches.

2. The Music

Get the music down whether on your guitar or piano. Unless you have a good foundation that has that something special it wont matter what your lyrics are.

3. Melody is Everything

Get your song melody down before you start writing words. This will lead you to the right lyrics and help you settle on your word phrasing and save you valuable rewriting time.

4. The Hook

Your song needs a hook in the chorus and or verse to leave them humming the melody and singing the chorus all day whether they want to or not. How many times have you had a song that you don’t really like in your head such as a jingle even though you didn’t want it there? That is because it had a strong hook. Make sure your songs have it too!

5. The Story Line

Next your need to decide what your going to write about. You wouldn’t jump in your car and start driving unless you had a good idea of where you were going would you? No. Well song lyrics are the same way. I usually decide on the chorus first as that will tells me where I need to build up to. The lyric should have a logical starting point, a middle, and an end. A good book starts at where it all began and slowly travels chapter to chapter making you want to keep reading. Make sure your lyrics follow those same steps.

6. Don’t Forget the Song Structure and Length!

There are several song structures the most popular is the verse chorus song and verse chorus with Bridge as you hear in many of The Beatles songs. Also you may want to keep an eye on how long your song is as usually that sweet spot is under 4 minutes long.  Songwriters who love all their songs don’t want the story to end and make their songs much longer than they should be.  One way to tell is to ask your friends what they think and i it keeps their interest. A great song becomes an OK song after you babble too long. Here is one link I found that may help you at least get the structure right. http://www.howmusicworks.org/hmw910.asp

7. The Rewrite

You will need to sit down once you think you have the lyrics right and read them to yourself and show them to other people for their opinions. Undoubtedly a rewrite or two will be in order. I am a perfectionist when it comes to this and usually rewrite my lyrics 3-4 times. After you have the listener liking how your song sounds they will focus next on your lyrics. If your storyline is a mess they will lose interest and that will mean less sales. $$$$$

8. Protect Your Material

You need to protect your work. I you do not the moment someone takes notice may be you when you hear your song recorded by someone else making a lot of money and you are S.O.L The best way is to go online to the United States Copywrite office. You can download PA forms at the the site. It will cost you $35.00 to copyright one song or a song group. There are no limitations to how many songs are in the group so In my opinion save some money and copyright them in a group. If and when you sell one you simply copyright that one song again by itself. Otherwise $35.00 a song can get expensive especially when you really don’t know which song will be a hit and how many you will write before that happens.

9. Record it

A professional studio recording with a great producer is a must. Home recording with software like Pro Tools is becoming more and more popular these days as long as you know what your doing. A good rhythm section is everything (Drums and bass) If you don’t have that start over. If you have Pro caliber vocals that will help too. The more you can do to sell the sizzle the better off you will be. If you can’t sing don’t do it yourself have the wisdom to know when you need a little help. We at euphony Productions can help you with that as we will be offering song writing workshops at a reasonable cost.

10. Promote the Hell Out of it!

You must promote your song. Online is a good way, if you know how to drive the traffic and if you don’t then do what ever it takes to figure it out. Another way is calling A & R reps, Agents, and Publishers though unless you are well known this may be a tough road. There are services like Taxi.com and Broadjam.com too that promote your songs for a annual fee and a per song submission fee. Links are on the EuphonyProductions.com Home Page if you need a little help.

Contact Dave


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