Monday, September 27, 2010


I came across this post through a tweet from Reverb Nation ( ). The link is and it discusses some options that would greatly benefit musicians on their journey to success. Please give it a read and see if it inspires you in a direction that you hadn't thought about before. You may want to click the link now before reading the rest of my blog.

I think it's always important to stay on top of all the different issues and trends within the music industry and to keep educating yourself on an ongoing basis to accomplish this, but what about approaching things from a different angle and looking at other educational options outside of the obvious ones that are within the music realm?

The more you know and the more skills you possess in areas that relate directly or indirectly to what you do, the better prepared you're going to be to make good decisions regarding your career. It's no secret that things are vastly changing and more and more the change is leaning toward the DIY approach which is a good thing, because it puts you in control. But it's only a good thing if you're in a position where you know how to take control and get things done.

For anyone who is still holding out hope that one day a major label A&R rep is going to swing into your life with a cape and save the day, here's a short video to check out for a little dose of reality. Don't let the message in this video discourage you though, allow it to empower you instead because the truth is you can do it yourself if you really want it!

Monday, September 13, 2010


I wanted to talk a little about the importance of putting together some solid plans to achieve your goals bit by bit. A little planning can go a long way. If everyone in your band or on your team is really clear about what has to be done and why, then you're going to accomplish way more over less time. It's simple.

Many times people will look far into the future to the point where they've achieved all their goals and they're at the top of the mountain and that's definitely a great thing to do. You have to know where you're going and visualizing yourself being there is an extremely important part of the whole process. In the initial stages of taking real action though, I think it's equally important to set smaller short term goals. This helps to create momentum and give everyone involved the sense that these steps are very realistic and achievable. Big dreams are all accomplished by taking little steps one day at a time. All we have in this life is right now, so do all that you can in this moment and don't overwhelm yourself with thoughts of what's going to happen next week, next month or a year from now. No matter how much you plan for it, it'll probably play out quite different when it actually happens anyway, so why stress about it?

I'd like you to have a look at this video featuring one of my faves, Bobby Borg. He's the author of "The Musician's Handbook" and a music industry veteran with decades of experience. In this video he talks about some things you need to think about that will help you get clear about your direction in this crazy biz. Really listen to what he's saying and maybe jot down some notes as you watch. I'm guessing it will inspire some new ideas and help get you rolling in the right direction.

I'd also love to hear any feedback from you about goals that you've set for yourself and have since achieved. Even if it's a goal that you haven't fully realized yet, but you're closer to it than you've ever been before. Here's to your success!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Songs are what it's all about. If you don't have good songs, and I mean really great songs, then you've got some work to do. You've got to get focused and get right down to business creating those masterpieces. Most of us have a pretty good idea of which songs we love to listen to--tunes that really light us up when we hear them--but what is it that these songs have in common? Are there some similarities that we can become aware of and apply when we're writing our own material? Absolutely! Here's an excerpt from Bobby Borg's "THE MUSICIAN'S HANDBOOK" (Another fantastic book that is a must have for career-minded musicians) that outlines some of the commonalities among hit songs.


Songwriting is probably the single most important skill for artists to master. But what makes a hit? Ralph Murphy, vice president of ASCAP in Nashville, conducted research in conjunction with Belmont University on eighteen #1 hits and found the following common characteristics:

1. Style/Genre: pop or country
2. Subject: romantic, sad/heartfelt, or humorous
3. Lyric: tells a clear story and/or relates a strong opinion
4. Person/Tense: in first person (I/me/my) or second person (you/your)
5. Melody: linear melody (very few chord changes) in the verse, growing to
a soaring melody (significant chord changes) in the chorus
6. Structure: verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, out
7. Tempo: mid- to up-tempo
8. Time Signature: 4/4 time
9. Introduction: up to 13 seconds long, but no longer
10. Authorship: co-written between the artist and another professional

Visit Bobby Borg at his web site

Notice the last similarity of hit songs in this list. Hit songs are almost always co-writes. Now most bands will usually have more than one contributing songwriter so essentially the songs that they produce would be co-writes, but I believe it's important for a band to consider stepping outside of their boundaries and bringing in an outside writer. This can really help you grow as musicians and songwriters. It can get the creativity flowing in a new and exciting direction and open up a whole new world of opportunities. Even the networking aspect of this alone can prove to be invaluable.


I think this is an exciting time for music and songwriting opportunities. There's so much great indie music being made right now and the playing field has clearly been leveled significantly. When it comes to bringing in an outside writer, don't feel that it has to be someone seemingly untouchable like Diane Warren or David Foster. Just look around you--there are plenty of great writers who are making some serious noise right in your own backyard. Look around at other indie bands who are getting their songs used in film and television or are being played on mainstream radio. Maybe you can contact these people through the social networking platforms that you use everyday like facebook and MySpace.


I think every band that is currently at a stage where they feel they've done all they can on their own and want to really step things up should seriously look into this. Really give it a fair shake too. Don't have one bad experience and say, "well that didn't work." If it doesn't work out with one writer, try another and another until you find the magic. Remember the list of common characteristics among hit songs from above; if you co-write with others you'll increase your chances of having a hit.