Tag Archive: Singer Song Writers

  1. 4 Tips to Get Out of Your Songwriting Rut

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    Songwriting is truly an art form. Capturing a story using words and music and portraying that to an audience can be difficult, especially those beginning moments when you are faced with that blank page staring back at you! But there are a few things to think of that may make it a little easier…

    4 Tips to Get Out of Your Songwriting Rut

     

    Think about it a little less literally

    For example, a song is like a conversation. There are certain elements that dictate how this conversation is played out and perceived. You know the words you want to say but the way you say it can change how it is perceived:

    • You may have lyrics written down and can’t decide what melody to go for: If you’re in a conversation and saying something upsetting, you wouldn’t laugh about it… If you’ve written sad lyrics it may not make sense to sing in a minor key if you want to get that feeling across!
    • You may have a melody but can’t think of lyrics: if you’re in a happy environment such as a celebration for a friend, you wouldn’t want to bring that down by starting an argument with someone. The melody is like the environment… how does the melody make you feel? Channel that into words to figure out what topic suits the melody.

    Songwriting is a form of storytelling

    If you are telling a family member about something that happened to you at work, for example, that story might become more refined the next time to you tell it to someone. And over time, the more you talk about it, you find the parts of the story you don’t particularly need to be able to get to the point so you cut those out. Or you find that certain parts aren’t making sense so you add more detail. You can do this when songwriting by performing your song again and again. You’ll find parts of it that don’t quite sound or feel right and then you can change this. You won’t fully understand what direction the song is taking or needs to take until you sit and just belt it out! Nothing is final until it is recorded, so use the time to your advantage.

    To get your ideas flowing you need to get out of your head

    Try not to worry about what you think others want from you or what you think is right to do… what do you want to write about?! What is important to you? What is going on in your life that you can draw on? Also, don’t get bogged down in writing for particular genres, it’s okay to be diverse in your songwriting if that’s how you feel at the time. If you write for other people’s pleasure, not your own, then you may never be happy with what you’re doing. It’s important to be genuine in this industry… again, like a conversation, people value honesty and can spot when you’re not being genuine with them. So don’t take that negative energy into your songs.

    Always be songwriting

    Don’t restrict your songwriting time for when you decide one day that you’re going to sit down and write a song. Carry a small notepad with you everywhere you go! Some of your best ideas will probably come when you’re not actively thinking of song ideas e.g. in your sleep, when you’re inspired by other music, when you see something while walking in the street or driving around. Anywhere! If you have nowhere to note these ideas down then you could forget them as quickly as you’ve thought of them. It doesn’t have to be a full verse or chorus or full topic for a song, it could be a word or sentence or even an image. Just something that later you will look at and think “thank god I wrote that down! I know what to write about now…”

    There is no one way to write a song. Some people prefer to write melody first, some people prefer to write lyrics first. Some people do both at the same time! Find what works for you but remember that it’s okay to take your time and be selfish! Do what is right for you, not everyone else. Obviously there is the small exception of when you are writing a song to a brief, but songwriters that do this still have their own personality that they bring to the song. So it still stands… find your own voice or interpretation of a brief and bring that to any work you are doing!

     


    Written by Help For Bands, who provide free impartial advice and monthly music industry opportunities through their newsletter.

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  2. Music Rights Explained

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    Music rights can be a very tricky area to understand, with a crazy number of acronyms and collecting societies to remember. In this blog, we will explain a bit about what the PRS (Performing Rights Society) and MCPS (Mechanical Copyright Protection Society) do for songwriters with publishing royalties, and what PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) do for performers and recording licenses.

    Music Rights Explained

     

    PRS and MCPS

    The PRS are a UK collecting society for songwriters and composers. When using a song for publishing there are 2 different components to the song that collecting societies have to consider.

    These are the songwriters royalties and the recording artists royalties.

    PRS represent the writers, composers and publishers of a piece of music whenever it is played in public. Songwriters can sign up with the PRS who then add your content to their database, and collect any performance royalties on your behalf. This includes whenever a track you wrote is publicly performed, such as in radio, TV, film and video games. This is done by adding a special code called an ISWC to the song that allows PRS to keep track of where the music is played. If you are a writer credited on a track then you will be entitled to publishing royalties through PRS.

    PRS for Music has blanket licenses in place with UK terrestrial TV networks for the use of music on their channels. Any track that is registered with PRS for Music can be used by the TV networks without the need to seek individual clearance. There are no blanket licenses in place in the US, or elsewhere.

    MCPS are another collection society that work to collect royalties on behalf of writers, composers and publishers of a piece of music whenever it is reproduced. Whereas the royalties from PRS are called performance royalties, MCPS collect what is known as a mechanical royalty. These kinds of royalty are made from downloads, streaming and physical sales of music. In order to collect mechanical royalties, you must have a membership with MCPS, who can then send information about your mechanical royalties to PRS. PRS for Music can pay both the mechanical and performance royalties to writers, composers and publishers if you are signed up to both organisations, which means you can collect all your royalties from one place.

    PPL

    PPL are a performance rights organisation that deal with collecting royalties for the performing artists on a track. Rather than PRS who represent songwriters and composers, PPL represent the recording artists and the record label, collecting royalties for the use of their recorded music publicly. If a retail shop wishes to play music in their store, they must buy a license from both the PRS and PPL as they are using the songwriters work as well as the performers work. Any situation in which the recorded music is used would mean paying for a PPL license.

    Income Streams

    It is important to know your right and where you can earn additional royalties from.

    Performing Rights - when music is played in public. Collected by PRS.

    Mechanical Rights - when music is reproduced. You must be a member of MCPS, but the royalty can be paid through PRS.

    Synchronisation - when music is placed with visual images. Can be a deal with a publisher or specific sync companies.

    Print Rights - when sheet music is sold or lyrics are printed. These can be both in physical and digital formats.

  3. All you Need to Know About Releasing a Cover Song

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    If you are planning on releasing a release of cover songs there are a few things you need to consider before submitting to us.

    All you Need to Know About Releasing a Cover Song

    Do I need a license to release globally?

    To distribute your release to the United States you will need to obtain a Harry Fox license. If you do not have this license you cannot release in the US. For the rest of the world you do not need a license. If you would like to omit the United States from you release but would like to release everywhere else please enter in the ISO code: “US” in the ‘Licensed territories to exclude’ field.

    Your release will then be distributed everywhere except the United states. All other territories are dealt with by the stores at the point of sale (stores pay the collection societies from cut of sales).

    You should make every effort to ensure that your cover of the chosen song is not too similar to the original as these will not be accepted by certain stores; try to make the song your own.

    licensed territories

     

     

     

     

    Who do I need to credit?

    When releasing covers you must credit the original songwriters and the publishers. You can do this by entering them in the ‘Composers’ and ‘Publisher’ fields on your release.

    You should always try to get permission from the original publisher.

    You must not mention the original artist in the track or release title. Phrases such as “originally performed by” or “in the style of” should also not be used.

    What happens about my royalties?

    Royalties for cover songs are processed in the same way as usual. The amount you have earned will appear on the Client Zone in the normal way, however the PRS cut will have already been taken at the point of sale.