Songwriters! Don’t Hide Your Head in the Sand!

Very interesting article for songwriters on TuneCore blog… by George Howard & Jeff Price.

Not sure if every statistic here is carved in stone, but what I got out of reading this is ‘spot on’ in that most songwriters (and we talk to a lot of you out there in the USA), simply do not take the “business” part of “the music business” seriously. Yes, it’s complicated — like most other businesses.  But yes, you CAN learn enough to protect and defend yourself, if needs be. At the very least, you can get to know some honest, decent, people in this business, who have credibility, experience, skill, knowledge, and time to help YOU.

Of course, the first step I’d take, is to read John Braheny’s book, that has become a textbook in most music departments at most colleges/universities. It’s The Craft and Business of Songwriting. You can find it (3rd edition) on…

In the meanwhile… here’s a piece of the article from TuneCore:

TuneCore artists have sold over 400 million songs over the past two years, generating over $300 million in artist and songwriter revenue.

Based on this, the idea that you can’t create a sustainable career on your own terms, without the backing of a label (major or otherwise) is empirically ludicrous.  No, not everyone will be able to do it, but the point is it is possible without a traditional label.  Anyone that says otherwise is wrong.

So, what’s the hold up?  What’s the excuse?

While one can’t teach talent or motivation (you either got it or you don’t), these are not the things that we’ve seen as lacking from most artists over the twenty years or so of observing/working with musicians.

Rather, the glaring omission that we see from most musicians is a profound gap in knowledge with respect to how the business that they engage in operates.  In other words, they don’t understand how they make money off their songs and recordings.

There are probably a lot of reasons for this.  Some have societal implications, fallacies like “Creative types can’t be good business people,” while others are more political in nature: labels and others enforcing stereotypes that artists are unable to manage their own affairs, and, thus, require these peoples’ services.

For some period of time (roughly from the 1950s to the mid-to-late 1990s) the label system (and its related satellite elements: PROs, managers, agents, etc…) was divided between those who have knowledge and those who don’t.

It was the labels (et al.) who had this knowledge, and the artists who did not.  The artists are not blameless here; I’ve heard from far too many that they don’t want to understand how the business (their business) works, but would rather “just create.”  In taking this position, they lay themselves supine, and abdicate all of their power.  How in the world do you know if you are getting ripped off or cheated if you don’t know the rules!

[Read more: Whole article at]


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