I was invited to come speak to the Songwriter Clubs of Denmark by Koda (the Ascap, BMI, Apra there), preceding the famous national Spot Festival that happened also on the weekend. The Songwriter Clubs, or Danske Sangskriverklubber, are a series of small but focused songwriter organizations around Denmark that support songwriters in their quest for exposure and learning. They are all independent, but the leaders all come together and meet, network and vote on various needs that Danish songwriters may need. I couldn’t understand their actual meeting component… it was all in Danish! But I spoke to the leaders (about 35) about an interesting topic to all of us artists really… how to network and tour… and specifically, how to network and tour overseas. My perspective was unique, yet very worthwhile for the Danish songwriters, as being Australian and going to the US to chase the bright lights of stardom, I knew I had kindred spirits in the room who see crossing shores as the way to “make it”.
Naturally, I break the illusion on all that fame and fortune stuff, and define success on my own terms, which creates a whole different slant to speaking to artists that I think is way more grounded and real. If you want to know more about my fascination with music biz realism, check out my book I Am A Professional Artist and this blog DIT: Defining the Music Industry In This New Era.
Needless to say, I had a wonderful time not only speaking to the Danish songwriters and answering questions, but also interacting and hanging out the whole weekend, during the Spot Festival. It was a memorable time and I’ll never forget the experience.
But it does lead me to a cool topic that I covered in Denmark and also in some Songsalive! Workshops recently: Tips and Tools on how Songwriters can Network.
It’s all pretty point form, but it might get your juices flowing.
Tips and Tools on how Songwriters can Network
By gilli moon
The importance of education, training and feedback
· Improve your songwriting craft. Listen to what’s out there, learn from the best, gain feedback, and don’t put songs out until they are ready.
· Come to songwriting workshops, such as Songsalive!; listen to panels with top songwriters and music conferences; buy great books on the craft of songwriting (John Braheny’s Craft And Business of Songwriting at www.songsalive.org/store)
· Work and re-work your songs until you really feel that they are ready. Don’t put them out till they are ready. A great script writer edits their script up to 20 times.
· It’s important to define what you are good at, your strengths as a songwriter, composer, lyricist or a combination of all. Know what you are good at and hone in on those talents.
What do we need to get over?
o Hurdles to climb – yep there are. But don’t be a victim of them
o The music industry is tough. It’s the hardest business there is.
o You need money, lots of it. You’ll spend a lot!
o People can zap your energy. There are some real vampire energy zappers out there. Pick your friends carefully.
o Friends and family can be your worst critics
o Some say there’s limited opportunity. You could see it that way. I see it differently though.
o Our worst negative thoughts: our own Torments of the Mind
o Commence-aphobia, my favorite term. Why this is a problem? Because our biggest fear is starting something. We procastinate as artists. We wait for others to tell us when it’s ready. We wait, we wait. We fear.
How to overcome all that: become a self-empowered artist
· Do it because you love it.
· It’s a choice. You chose to be a professional artist, so… don’t play the victim (“oh I’m so broke, but that’s cos I’m a musician”). Nah! That’s just cos you lean on your artistry like a crutch.
· know the difference between art and “craft”. Art comes from the divine. When it comes, it’s bliss. Craft is what’s going to get you through the tough days… the ability to fall back on your talent,but the skilled and rehearsed talent.
· It takes passion. A LOT of passion. Without it you won’t be in it for the long run.
· It’s a LIFE LONG journey being an artist. So, enjoy the journey along the way.
· You need balance and time. Make sure you find time for everything that makes up who you are. And learn to time manage your day, because….
· You have to be a business person as well as an artist. Gone are the days when you could just let someone else manage your career. Take hold of the ship and be the captain. Learn the ropes of business and marketing. Left and right brain thinking combining. That’s what the indie movement is all about!
· Learn to diversify your talenst, “spin the plates” so to speak. That brings more opportunity.
· I have a term: the 3 Os. Optimism + Organized = Opportunity. Think about it: a positive attitude and an organized mind goes a LONG way.
· Have a ‘go for it’ mentality. Be self-empowered. It’s all about you and your attitude.
· Endowing success. Walk into the room looking a million bucks.
· Knowing everything is in “abundance”. Even at the 11th hour, something always comes through doesn’t it? Believe that everything you want will happen.
· Take on the I AM THEORY. I am a successful, international recording and touring artist, songwriter and entrepreneur. Yes, I am.
Career building - how to get the most out of your career as a songwriter
· Seek out websites for songwriters
· Read Articles and Resources (see our Resource center at www.songsalive.org/resources)
· Get involved in Local and global organizations and services (like Songsalive!). We are a non profit organization run by volunteers so giving of yourself, and getting involved in your local community is the best way to receive and give back. That’s the universal flow.
· Attend Music conferences. They are always cutting edge in this ever changing music industry.
· Subscribe or access Pitch sheets (Songsalive! Songshop, Bandit A&R, Songlink, Music Business Registry, Film Music Network) and actively pursue pitching your songs to projects, film and television. It’s the new market to get exposure AND make money. REAL money.
· Finding your niche and capitalizing on that – is it
- As a songwriter and artist? Will you be singing your own songs?
- As a songwriter for other artists
- As a film or television music composer? (often hired to write)
- Or a songwriter placing songs in films and tv? (often pitching your already recorded catalog)
- What style/genre of music?
· Who is in your network? Other co-writers, artists, producers, music industry people, tv people etc. Capitalize on current contacts
Seeing you the songwriter as a brand and commodity like Artists do. (building fans, promoting yourself and developing your unique image)
· Songwriters often don’t think of themselves like artists, with the whole marketing / promotiong thing
· uniqueness+ talent=competitive edge - Develop your unique image
· Even songwriters need a professional name: not just artists.
· Brand yourself like a product - “When someone hears the name “gilli moon” they know who she is.” Think of yourself like a fabulous 3 dimensional living, breathing product.
· Website, business cards, flyers, promotion general – great ideas to get yourself out there
· Create a Marketing/business plan – Keep your goals, and strategies how to reach them, in focus.
Tools on how to use Songsalive! to your advantage as a songwriter
· Come to our Critique workshops (meeting people, getting feedback)
· Explore Songshop and Cd sampler (pitching your songs)
· Check out the Get promoted program (to music conferences and industry)
· Join as an Elite membership and get involved in the Connect Network, bridging the gap between songwriters and the music industry.
· Collaborate with our members worldwide: be part of our world nation.
· Get opportunities in our Songnotes monthly newsletter and the daily blog.
· Find resources, read articles and just plain get connected
Songsalive! supporting and promoting songwriters and composers worldwide www.songsalive.org
About gilli moon’s role in Songsalive! www.songsalive.org/team
Video blog Tips and Tools on how Songwriters can Network - by gilli moon
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