Lyrics Or Melody – Which Is More Important?

Lyrics or Melody

 

In this article, we consider the eternal debate. Lyrics or melody – which is more important? Which one should you be putting more effort into? Find out.

When it comes to songwriting, there are about as many approaches as there are songwriters.

You can express your creativity in a variety of different ways, but having songs that really showcase your talent and personality will give you a boost of confidence as an artist.

Some say rhythm is the most important thing. Others might say lyrics or melodies. Still others might point to chord progressions or harmonies.

In this article, we’re going to consider whether lyrics or melody are more important to a song.

The Melody Over Lyrics Approach

This approach to songwriting is probably best embodied by the late and great Kurt Cobain.

Grunge music carried a rebellious spirit with it, and it was clearly a backlash to the Hair Metal and Power Ballads that dominated the airwaves throughout the 80s and early 90s.

Musically, Grunge was simpler, edgier, and had a little bit of the don’t-care attitude Punk music was known for.

So the lyrics were also more abstract, and that was a stark contrast to the popular music of the 80s, which often contained direct and overt messages.

The melody is the hook of a song, and as such, this type of songwriting forces you to put your energy towards creating memorable melodies instead of witty lyrics.

The Lyrics Over Melody Approach

Bob Dylan is a very accessible example of a lyrics over melody style artist.

Intended or not, Dylan was a brilliant songwriter who didn’t pay quite as much attention to the musicality of a song in relation to the message of the song.

In fact, he eventually adopted a mumble-sing approach, which made it a little harder to understand what he was saying. But most of all, this did not translate into Poppy melodies.

There are plenty of great songwriters out there, but not all of them emphasize lyrics over melody. Some of them have found a meaningful balance that allow them to showcase both their melodic sensibilities and wordsmith techniques.

The Compromise Approach

Maybe a song isn’t so much about the lyrics or the melody as much as it is about the overall experience you create through it. If this thought resonates with you, perhaps your songwriting philosophy requires a bit of compromise.

Artists like Elvis Costello churn out songs that are catchy enough to be memorable, but also turn clichés on their head and make use of extended metaphors to spice things up lyrically

To some extent, this approach would also be represented by the New Wave music movement in the late 70s and 80s. It was clever, a little poppy, but also somewhat abrasive.

A lot of New Wave bands were very intelligent in their songwriting, but the sound that severed as the backdrop to the music was dominated by dry, twangy guitars (similar to Country or Surf music), drum machines, and early synthesizer sounds.

The Balanced Approach

Both Fountains of Wayne and They Might Be Giants are bands that somehow manage to find the perfect balance of memorable melodies with clever, thought-provoking lyrics.

If you have a statement you want to make, and you want to make sure people remember your hooks too, then this approach may be the right one for you.

This can be hard to achieve, quite simply because your lyrics may not follow a specific rhythmic pattern or rhyming scheme. Meanwhile, you still have to think about creating a catchy melody to go along with the words.

However, when it’s done right, this approach can produce some incredible songs.

Final Thoughts

Lyrics or melody: in the end, is there really a right or wrong answer?

A great song is the combination of many elements; melody, harmony, rhythm, lyrics, and so on. When these elements come together as a meaningful whole, it isn’t necessarily the strength of one part or the other that makes it great; it’s a mixture of everything.

Why not experiment and try different approaches? Find a way to say what you want to say through your music!

 

Photo courtesy of Matt Gibson used under Creative Commons.

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Monetizing YouTube: How To Make Money On YouTube

Monetizing YouTube

Any band wants to generate some income, even if it is to cover travel expenses to gigs or to pay for a spare snare skin or set of guitar strings. Of course, the mainstream signed acts, with the power of a major label behind them, will have a significant marketing team who not only promotes their performers, but helps to monetize their merchandising, too. For unsigned acts, and those who are just starting out on their musical journey, generating a level of income may seem far-fetched. However, you should not be put off trying to make money because it certainly can be done. Usually, unheard of acts with no big name draw will only make modest amounts of cash, but it is all about building momentum in the music industry. Remember that all of the big musical stars of today started out from nothing initially. Okay, so some had lucky breaks and others pushed through on sheer talent, but there is no reason to think the same thing cannot happen to you. Today, YouTube is a priceless platform for musicians to make themselves known and you may already be using it for promotional purposes. Nevertheless, bands and singers should never overlook the money-making potential of the site. Here are some steps to help you get started with making money on YouTube.

Start Using YouTube

Although there are other video and music sharing platforms out there, YouTube is by far the most widely known, so switch to it. All you need is a few minutes to create a user account. Begin by creating your own channel where all of your video content can be found in one place. Even if you only have one video, create a channel which other YouTube users can subscribe to so that they are notified of any future uploads.

Set the Monetize Option

When you run a YouTube account or channel, you are given the option to monetize content. This effectively means that YouTube will credit you for the number of plays you receive. The more buzz you get, the more money you will earn in essence. This means that your content must be as watchable and listenable as possible. Basically, advertisers pay to have banners under your video or short ads run prior to your video being shown. YouTube give their content providers a small cut of this revenue, but you need to have your videos watched in large numbers before you will see a penny.

Spread the Word

If you have uploaded a video, don’t expect people to be able to find it simply by searching for your band’s name and the name of the track. In many cases, this simply won’t be known. Add tags to your video such as acoustic, original, keyboard, jazz, rock or vocals so that your video is more likely to be returned in a search made using Google or YouTube. When uploading a video, it is easy to add these tags as the content is being received by the website. When you upload a video, your channel subscribers will be notified by email but this does not necessarily mean they will watch it. Remember to announce new video releases at every given opportunity, through your own mailing list, on stage at gigs and from your band blog or website. A good idea is to embed your new video into your band’s website and YouTube will provide you with the html code necessary to do this, so it is not technically hard.

Keep Your Formatting Similar

Along with improving your chances of being found by the use of tags, remember to name your videos in the best way for search results, usually by using exactly the same format every time. This means that anyone who likes one of your videos is likely to be able to find another to watch much more easily. The most usual format to use is the band or act name, with capital letters at the start of words, followed by a hyphen and then the song name. If you are looking to monetize successfully, then this is the best format to use.

Use ID Fingerprinting

It is a good idea to ensure that your musical content is registered into a database that means YouTube can match it on any occasions that it might be used in another video. Essentially, this means that if another YouTube content provider uses your music in the background for a fashion video or a sports montage, for example, that your channel will receive a proportion of the revenue which is subsequently generated.

Provide Original Content

If you want to monetize from videos, then the way to do it is with material that you own the rights to. This means writing songs and performing them well. It is possible to earn money from cover versions, but the possible copyright infringements that can occur in multiple territories means that it is much harder to make money this way. Stick to self-penned works unless you are a whizz with music publishing already. As well as providing original audio, shoot your music videos yourself. Many music videos are quite bland, visually speaking, so get creative on this side, too.

Improve Your Earning Potential

When you have started to generate interest in your channel and some money is starting to flow in, you will get an idea of what your audience is liking – and what it is not. Use the excellent YouTube metrics to analyse at which points people turn off and what piques their interest. If you can repeat what is good and do away with what is not, then your channel will becoming increasingly popular, affording you more exposure and earning potential, as a result. Once you have built up your audience to an extent, some established networks might start taking an interest in what you are doing. It can even get record labels interested, as well. If you want to take it to then next level, then you might be able to join a YouTube network, like Maker Studios or Fullscreen. Both these networks can be good for leveraging your videos and help you to achieve higher rates that advertisers are willing to pay.

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5 Reasons You Haven’t Been Discovered

Band Looking To Get Discovered

Let’s be honest; getting discovered as an artist isn’t easy work.

You could have a polished image, a great album, an extensive touring schedule, a growing and admiring audience, and still not find the recognition you’ve long been seeking after.

But there are a lot of things that can hold an artist back.

Here are five reasons many artists haven’t been discovered yet.

1. Fear

The biggest source of paralysis for practically every artist or band is fear.

There are many forms of fear; fear of success, of failure, of being treated unfairly, fear of losing money, and so on.

The truth of the matter is that if you never do anything out of the ordinary or take any risks, you can’t expect to get different results than you’ve already gotten.

The single biggest antidote to fear is action. When you’re busy doing the work, you can learn from the feedback you’re getting. If you remain in your comfort zone, you stifle your ability to learn something new.

Another way to cope with fear is reframing. For example, if you’re worried about being rejected, instead think about the innumerable ways in which you will be accepted!

2. You Haven’t Defined/Found Your Target Audience Yet

There is an audience out there for everything; you have but to get out there and find yours!

Music gives you a means to express yourself, and there are those who are going to resonate with what you have to say through your art.

It’s a good idea to get a lock on who your fans are so that you know where to go to reach more of them. You might even consider surveying your growing fan base from time to time.

Where do they hang out online? What magazines do they read? What do they like to watch on YouTube?

Figure out what your fans are interested in, and you’re sure to find more people just like them!

3. You Haven’t Set Any Goals

The danger of not setting any goals is such that you more or less get what you ask for.

Randomly recording, playing shows and writing songs is only going to get you so far. Those who have goals are driven to reach them and are daily taking steps to move towards them!

You need a plan for your music career, and that plan begins with clearly defined goals. If you don’t have that, it’s no wonder you haven’t progressed.

Make sure to write your goals down on paper and put them where you can see them every single day.

4. You Aren’t Building Any Relationships

This also goes back to what was said earlier about fear, because if you’re afraid of meeting people, you may not be building new relationships to move your career forward.

In today’s world, it doesn’t matter what you know so much as who you know. So who do you know?

You can’t get into the bars or the clubs if you don’t know the right people. It can be really challenging to open up new opportunities without a solid network.

There are very few people who genuinely love networking, but don’t forget; even introverts can work their email inbox!

LoudUp is a new social network for musicians and music fans. If you are a music fan, it will help you to find new music, and if you are an independent artist, it will help you to get your music heard and make the right connections so explore the artists, producers and other industry people on the site. As you find people that you like, connect with them and you will start to expand your network which will open up opportunities such as being able to gig together, collaborating, and learning from each other’s experiences.

5. You Aren’t Open To Feedback

If you aren’t open to it, you’ll never ask for it.

If you ask for someone’s opinion, you may risk getting hurt. If you never ask, however, you may not have the opportunity to learn what you’re doing wrong.

For example, if you send in your latest single to a radio station and they choose not to play it, you can still ask why. It may be that your song doesn’t fit the format of the station (this is pretty common), but it could also be that the guitars aren’t in tune, or maybe the production just isn’t up to their standards.

Yes, addressing issues like that can be challenging. However, you are better off knowing them now than finding out 10 years down the line when your career is still in the same place.

Final Thoughts

Building the music career of your dreams will almost certainly take a lot of work and determination.

You will have to persevere and exercise tenacity in the face of rejection and challenge.

But if you never look at your biggest obstacles, you’ll also never come up with a plan to reduce and overcome them.

Start looking at your weaknesses and become familiar with them. That way, you can start looking for solutions to the problems you’ve identified.

 

This article covered reasons why you haven’t been discovered, read the follow-up to this article, covering ways that you can get discovered, at How To Get Discovered In Today’s Music World

Photo courtesy of Christian Weidinger used under Creative Commons.

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How To Copyright A Song: A Guide To Protecting Your Music

how to copyright a song

Have you read about those big name bands who end up in courtrooms long after they have split up arguing about who wrote what part of their songs and what split of the earnings of their music, or royalties, should have been divided up? Equally, you might have read about some humble songwriter who claims that their melody has been pinched by an established star who claims that they wrote it. Either way, these problems usually only get sorted out months or years down the line in a court after a number of legal arguments have been made and countered.

In the end, it is the legal professionals who win in this process and artists rarely come out of it with their dignity intact, nor their bank balances looking as healthy as they once did. In order to be able to prove that you own your music, it is important to understand the concept of copyright. Copyrighting is not the sole domain of music and includes all so-called intellectual property. Therefore, independent music makers and songwriters – just as much as photographers, writers and designers – will get something out of this article. In it, we’ll look at the basic copyright function, the degree to which you can protect yourself and the length of time you can expect to ‘own’ all of the earning rights derived from your musical creations, and exactly how to copyright a song.

What Is Copyright?

Copyright is a law that gives you exclusive use of a work you have created, protecting you against the work being copied. Without the benefit of a legal team who can help to copyright your music for you, independent musicians need to go it alone. When it comes to music, there are three basic things to consider, in terms of protecting yourself. The first is the copyright you hold to your songs and the second is to any recordings that you might have made of them. Thirdly, and of increasing importance in the music industry, is your image rights, which might cover things like your band logo and so on. Although the copyright laws vary from country to country, they all basically have the same function. That is to legally grant the creator of a work exclusive rights to its use and distribution so long as it is original. Therefore, you already own the copyright to your own works, but you don’t to cover versions. Remember that your music needs to be original, so your copyright could be challenged in law if somebody claims that your work is not new in some way, for example that you ‘borrowed’ a riff from another song or that your lyrics ‘quote’ too extensively from a poem or other literary source. There are some exceptions to the exclusive rights granted however, fair usage of your work is allowed and for which copyright law will offer you no protection. This might include clips or excerpts of your songs for the purposes of criticism or reviews, for example.

What Can I Protect?

Essentially, songs are made up of three components and each of these, or rather the three taken together, can come under the protection of copyright law. Harmony structure, or the chords of your song, its lyrical content and the melody of your track, sometimes including riffs and licks, are all protected under copyright. However, this protection is only good so long as nobody challenges it in law. Nonetheless, if somebody later comes up with an identical song to yours, so long as you can prove yours was written first, copyrighting it should protect you and allow you to successfully challenge their claim of ownership. Just like any intellectual property, copyrighting should allow you exclusive earning rights to your song, unless you sign them away under a management or publishing deal, that is.

Remember that for the most part, popular songs are made up from a standard array of chords – major, minor, sevenths and so on – so you should not be too keen to exert your legal rights over a song that has a repetitive pattern of chords, such as C, Am, F, C. It is highly likely that some other songwriter got there before you, after all. However, taken with a distinctive melody and an original lyric, you might be more secure in your rights. If you write lyrics but not the melody, then basically you will own half of the intellectual property covered by copyright law and vice versa.

How Much Does It Cost?

So how exactly can you go about copyrighting your music, and how much does it cost? Well, given that the law affords you intellectual property rights automatically, the cost is zero. Your music is automatically protected as soon as it is created. However, this seldom works in reality because you need to be able to prove that you own a song and wrote it first in order to assert your rights. One of the cheapest ways of doing this is to make a simple recording of your song and to burn it onto a CD. Then simply post the CD to yourself. If unopened, the date mark will reasonably prove when the work was first made. Alternatively, you could use notation software or a manuscript to post the melody, harmony structure and lyrics to yourself in a paper format. All that this will cost you is a few pence. This method is frequently referred to as “poor man’s copyright.” Nonetheless, this method has been overturned in some court rulings in the USA, so you may want to go to greater lengths.

Sending your work to a bank or a solicitor for them to hold for you for future use is much better than sending it to yourself. Banks and legal professionals offer this sort of service for all sorts of important documents, such as property deeds, but they will charge you for doing so. Make sure you obtain a written receipt. Registering your song with a publishing organisation is often free, but this on its own does not create any copyright in law or offer you additional legal rights. It should mean that you obtain royalties, if your song is played on the radio or in a public place, however.

You can also use the services of the United States Copyright Office who offer a copyright registration service. The progress of registering a song is as simple as completing an application form, sending a copy of the work to be protected, and paying a fee, and you will be provided with a certificate of registration. The fee charged for an online application is $35 for one work by a single author, otherwise the fee increases to $55. For a paper registration however, the fee is $85. Please note that even if the application is submitted online, the work being protected will still need to be physically sent to the copyright office. It can take up to 8 months to receive the certification of registration for online applications, and up to 13 months for paper applications.

For outside the US, there is a similar service offered by Copyright House. The fee structure is quite flexible. You can either pay based on the number of registrations, for example £79 for 5 registrations, £99 for 10, or they have an option for unlimited registrations which is charged either on a yearly basis at a charge of £19 a year, or for a 10-year period or lifetime.

How Long Does The Copyright Last?

The Copyright, Design and Patents Act of 1988 gives independent musicians a more extensive period of copyright protection than they had previously enjoyed under earlier legislation, so the good news is that artists are in a better position than ever before. However, copyrighting your music does not mean that it will last forever in the eyes of the law. The length of time copyright is held varies depending on the nature of the intellectual property, so your image rights, for example, may be different to the ownership of any self-penned songs. The length of copyright also varies between different jurisdictions, although there is international agreement, certainly among western countries, for song writing.

In the US and UK, your songwriter’s copyright will expires 70 years after your death. This applies to the creators of all musical, written, artistic and film work. However, when it comes to broadcasting rights it is 50 years from when the broadcast is made that counts. Musicians’ rights to their sound recordings has been extended to 70 years from the date of publication, to bring it more into line with other performers’ rights. In cases where you might want to use something old without infringing on someone else’s potential intellectual property, then remember that the copyright expires 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work was first made available to the public, so long as the creator of that work is unknown.

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Band Merchandise: 7 Amazingly Innovative Ideas To Help You To Stand Out

Band Merchandise

Bands without record deals and independent artists alike need to make the most of their gigs to maximise their earnings. Even big touring acts will try to make their additional cash flow at live performances as high as possible. This is because income generated from live music venues and promoters can be only enough to cover your costs as an independent band, in many cases. Therefore merchandising opportunities should always be exploited when performing. Let your crowd know that you have merchandising available. Of course, many bands have CDs and T-shirts for sale at their gigs, but you can generate a lot more interest in your merchandising stall by being a bit offbeat with what you might sell. Not only does innovative merchandise help you to stand out from the run-of-the-mill band and – potentially at least – generate more sales, but it will also help to get your band’s name out there and noticed that bit more. Here are some innovative band merchandise ideas that will help you to stand out:

Memory Sticks

Who listens to CDs these days? Although many bands still have CDs as a part of their offering at concerts, not many of us actually consume our music in this format any more. Of course, someone who purchases a CD of your recordings at a gig is likely to rip it to a computer or an audio player when they get home, but why put them to the trouble? Instead of selling CDs why not opt for USB memory sticks which have all of your band’s audio files loaded onto them? Not only will you be able to have your audio stored in an MP3 format and ready to go, but you can also have other promotional material loaded on to them, such as your press photos and band contact details.

Bandanas

Offering something that can be worn by your growing fan base is always a good idea, but why not offer something different from the plain old T-shirt which nearly every artist has. Produce a short run of bandanas featuring your band or act’s name. Because they can be worn in a variety of ways, they are a very good and gender neutral item of clothing. Whether they are tied around the wrist, neck or worn over the head like a scarf, a band bandana will help to make your band’s brand to stand out from the crowd and they are often cheaper than T-shirts, too.

Business Cards

The business part of the music scene can put many musicians off, so the idea of getting some business cards printed is one that may seem counter-intuitive at first. Nevertheless, having something to hand after a gig which has your band’s website, contact details and logo on can really help you build awareness. Have you ever been greeted with a friendly, “Great gig, man” when you come off-stage? Having a business card at the ready helps to connect with fans and potential new promoters alike. It is so much better than scratching around for a pen and writing your band’s name down on the back of a beer mat!

Branded Plectrums

These giveaways are not so great if you are in an electro pop duo or a vocal harmony group, but indie rockers and heavy metal bands can really benefit from plectrums which feature the band logo and perhaps the website address. Branded plectrums are, it should be said, only little pieces of plastic, but what could say more about your ability to rock than a guitar-related freebie?

Vinyl

These days, vinyl is making something of a comeback. The one problem with records is that you still need to physically transport them around to be able to sell them. Twenty years ago, this might have meant dropping off copies in your nearby record stores, but there are very few of them left nowadays, in any case. As a result, selling vinyl to the music fans who really want it is only possible when you are there in person. In short, this means at record fairs or at gigs. If your fans are asking when you will produce a record, perhaps it is time to think about actually doing so.

Tour Posters

Having tour posters, even when you are not really on a tour but stringing a series of gigs together, is a good idea to help promoters advertise your events. However, when you produce these, with your artwork and photography set out to make your band look cool, print a few more off than you might actually need. Then you will be able to sell them at your merch stall at gigs as ‘tour exclusives’. If the band sign them, then they will already stand out from the ones used by promoters and you can even personalise them by addressing them to whoever happens to be buying one.

Write a Song

Not got anything physical that you can give away or sell at a gig? If you have nothing else, then you should have your instruments and your creativity. If you are good at writing songs, then you ought to be able to string a few chords and a simple melody together for a fan and improvise a simple song for them, perhaps something that has rhymes based on the customer’s name. Okay, it may never be a hit, but a personalised song – even if it is done for a bit of fun – can make for a highly memorable and innovative means of generating band income.

 

When selling your merchandise, always try to use a highly-lit area where fans can see what is on offer. Remember to have some change available and – above all – keep an eye on your cash.

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TuneCore Review: The Essential Facts

Tunecore Review

Distributing your music in the digital world ought to be easy, right? After all, in the old days, independent bands who managed to scrape enough funds together to turn their demo into a record and pay for a small run of pressings, also usually had to deliver them themselves to local record stores. With the rise of the almighty mp3 format, such things are a thing of the past. But how do you get your recordings discovered on the internet?

Well, the likes of CD Baby and TuneCore offer services which help bands to get their sounds out there. Not only do they help your band by effectively creating an e-store for downloads, but they also get your music into the world of streaming. TuneCore, for example, will allow users of iTunes, Amazon Music, Spotify and Google Play to stream your songs. It will also allow them to be downloaded, if you want. Given that TuneCore alone generated some £23 million of revenue for artists signed up to its services in the first quarter of 2015, you might be thinking that you are ready to sign up already. However, it is worth looking a little more closely at some of the fine print before signing on the dotted line.

Where Did TuneCore Spring From?

You may have only just heard of it, but TuneCore has been around since 2006. Like its major competitor, CD Baby, the company is designed for the internet. Founded by Jeff Price, Peter Wells, and Gary Burke, TuneCore was originally designed to allow all artists to be able to “get their music sold around the globe and out to the public without having to have a label deal.” Another part of the vision was to provide musicians with a digital platform for their music which would mean that they would not have to sign away their intellectual property rights or be required to hand over a large proportion of the sales revenue their songs generate. According to TuneCore, artists using their platform have earned a collective £347 million since it began. This is both from direct download sales and streams which between them number 15.2 billion.

Who is TuneCore for?

In short, TuneCore’s essential offering is for anyone who makes and records professional level recordings but who wants an alternative to a record label. This might be an established artist who wants to keep more of the revenue they generate for themselves or it could be a start up band who simply wants to make the cost of their studio sessions back. TuneCore has worked successfully with household names, such as Beck, Jay-Z, Aretha Franklin, Keith Richards and Fleetwood Mac, for example. Nevertheless, some of the company’s more outstanding results have been seen with artists who are lesser-known.

According to TuneCore’s CEO, Scott Ackerman, Ron Pope has been distributing his music through the platform since 2008 following his departure from a conventional record label. Pope makes use of all of the TuneCore offerings, including their unique sales trend reporting which allows artists to locate where their music is most popular and plan other marketing promotions and tours accordingly. According to TuneCore, Pope has generated revenue of over £190,000 through the platform from Spotify streaming alone.

TuneCore Versus CD Baby

TuneCore’s offering is different to that of CD Baby, although at first glance it can be difficult to see where the contrasts are. One of the major points of departure is with physical sales. CD Baby, as the name implies, is a service that caters for CD sales and also offers artists with a digital market presence. TuneCore is for publishing, downloading and internet streaming only. Most of TuneCore’s pricing is based upon annual subscriptions and these can rise after the first year. CD Baby is more expensive at start up, but there are no onward annual fees to consider. Nonetheless, an important monetary consideration between the two rivals is that CD Baby, like a conventional record company, take a commission on digital sales. With TuneCore, there is none. In other words, after the annual subscription, artists keep the lot.

International Growth

TuneCore offers artists access to no less than 150 digital music partners. Some you will have heard of, such as as Spotify and Google Play, because these are global brands. However, in some parts of the world, local streaming radio and other download sites are popular, so TuneCore keeps adding them to its service, improving the access to the international market that artists and bands can enjoy. For example in the first three months of 2015, TuneCore added Play.me, in Italy, and Zvooq, a Russian-based service which is also available in many nearby countries, to its roster.

It is noteworthy that growth in music consumption in international markets is helping to drive much of the income that independent musicians can expect. Without touring overseas, accessing international markets through the internet may be one of the few ways of making money from a global audience keen to listen to your music. Emerging markets around the world include Chile, Guatemala, Hong Kong and Turkey. These countries alone have seen digital music revenue grow by 134 per cent, 70 per cent, 68 per cent and 180 per cent respectively.

Sign Up

Signing up for TuneCore is simple and it only takes a few minutes to register an entire album. For artists who are looking for a digital sales and a streaming platform, it can be very tempting. However, as soon as you consider its publishing services, which again come with an annual fee but have no limit on compositions, the whole package looks very attractive indeed.

Other options

Another option definitely worth considering is Spinnup. As well as helping you to distribute your music, they offer an extra incentive which is a team of scouts who will listen to the music published and give you feedback. They have links to A&R teams, and did we mention that they’re owned by Universal Music? Check them out at https://spinnup.com.

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How To Write A Song: 5 Songwriting Tips For Beginners

How to Write A Song

Writing a song can seem like an ambitious project for a beginner to take on. If you are new to learning an instrument, then you may not be able to even play a song through fully yet. Nonetheless, writing a song does not necessarily mean that you have to be a skilled musician. Nor do you need the ability to write the music down. Simply recording it is enough to have written a song in a way that other musicians can pick up on. Remember that song writing is not arranging where all of the musical parts and groove are laid out in a fully organised way. At it’s heart, a song consists of lyrics and a melody, or tune. Along with this, most people would consider a simple harmony to be part of the song’s unique flavour and this is usually given as a straightforward chord structure. Here are 5 songwriting tips to get you started with how to write a song:

  1. Get Inspired

    Sitting down with a blank piece of paper in front of your keyboard or with a guitar over your knee and waiting for an idea to come along really does work for some people, but for most of us, we need a germ of an idea to get going in the first place. Listen to some songs that inspire you and take an idea – perhaps a riff that you can alter, or a lyrical hook that makes you think of something new. Most popular songs are not truly original and are based on the ideas of others who have come before. So, take inspiration from your musical heroes and don’t be overawed by how good they are. Who knows where your inspiration may take you?

  2. Improvise

    Sometimes the best ideas in song writing are not planned but just ‘come about’. If you think that sitting at a piano and bashing out a few related chords whilst humming a tune that you happen to make up on the spot is naïve, then you’d be wrong. Plenty of successful song writers, like Paul McCartney for example, have gone on the record as saying this is the way that they have come up with some of their best-known tunes. Vocalise your ideas, even if you are not a great singer. You might be able to ‘hear’ notes in your head that you cannot reach with your voice and can work on the melody later to make it more expansive. The improvisational technique is just a starting point to help you get going with melody making and phrasing.

  3. Think About Rhymes

    Writing lyrics takes time and effort, especially when you restrict yourself to rhyming words at the end of lines. Not all songs need to rhyme, but many do, so get a good rhyming dictionary. When starting, don’t commit yourself to a constant rhyming pattern with all the words in a verse ending with the same sound – one, gun, fun, tonne, bun, done etc. Instead, opt for an ABAB pattern, or ABCABC. This gives you a bit more freedom to operate with. Remember that rhyming need not be exact and that close rhymes usually work very well in the context of songs. For example, Friday and tidy may not truly rhyme, but they will sound just fine with a good singer belting them out with confidence.

  4. Song Structure

    Most songs have standard structures. Stick to one of these as a beginner, but there is nothing to stop you from pushing the boundaries once you feel a little more accomplished. Songs usually start with an intro which could be a few bars long or just the verse structure played through once before the words come in. Either way, an intro should set the tone for what is to come. Some songs will work with a verse, chorus, verse, chorus structure, but there is often a pre-chorus or bridge, a bar or two long, which helps to lift the chorus or to link it with the verse harmonically. Some songs will also go for a different feel toward the end and have a so-called middle eight before the final choruses. This changes the mood of the song, is often more reflective and can sometimes set the chorus in a new light, adding to the overall meaning of the song. Confusingly, middle eights are often not eight bars long – although they certainly can be – and sometimes musicians call them bridges. Nevertheless, you can usually spot one in a song because it will only come once and is frequently a bit weirder, or more ‘out there’, than the rest of the song.

  5. Learn Some Harmony Theory

    If you know that in the key of C major, the chords of D minor, E minor7, F major and A minor will all sound harmonically correct then you are on the right track. However, without this knowledge it is still possible to write a song’s chord structure by simply experimenting with your melody set against different chord choices. Remember not to always stick to the rules, however. In a major key, like G major for instance, sometimes play an E7 chord behind the melody, rather than the harmonically correct E minor. The accidental A flat note in this chord can make all the difference to your melody, often taking it in a new direction that you had previously not thought of.

Final Note

The only thing from stopping you from song writing is yourself. Learning more helps, but it is not essential, so get going and express your ideas in one of the most rewarding ways that you can!

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