COUNTRY NOTES

The NSAI update for the Los Angeles area Workshop

March-April, 1998


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by Seth Jackson

 I recently returned from my latest visit to Nashville, and I thought  I’d pass along some observations. Some good news is that the feedback on my songs has become increasingly positive over time. I attribute this largely to my involvement with NSAI and other songwriter organizations. Study of the craft does seem to result in better songs.

I’ve also observed that publishers and other people in the industry really are interested in new writers. We all know how hard it can be to get in the door, but the songwriter organizations, PRO’s and plain old networking do provide opportunities if you have high quality songs.

The other side of the coin is the intense level of competition we all face. A phrase heard often in Nashville is, “This is a good song, but not a great song.”  What exactly does this mean?

While it can mean any number of things, it often can be translated as, “This song is competitive with the ones being written by our staff writers, but we’ve got thousands and thousands of songs in our catalog, and unless yours is significantly better and/or different from what we already have, we can’t use it.” If these publishers were to pitch an outside song, they’d have to explain to their staff writers why that song is being pitched instead of theirs.

It’s interesting to notice that what a large publisher might consider to be a good song is often seen by smaller publishers as being great.  This reflects fact that smaller publishers have more of a need to build catalog than the bigger, more established companies.

Those of us trying to break in have several options: work with a small publisher we believe in; look for a staff writing deal with an established publisher; hire a songplugger; or try and pitch our own songs directly to labels. Each of these choices requires spending time in Nashville and bringing the best songs we can possibly write. Nashville really is the major leagues!


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March-April '98 Workshop Schedule

Workshop Location
Unless otherwise noted, workshops are held from 4-7p.m. at Musician's Institute, 1655 McCadden Place, just off Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood. Admission is free for NSAI members and NAS members, $10 for non-members. For more information, call Bev Nelson at (714) 733-2717 or email Seth Jackson at webmaster.hitmeister@mindspring.com. 
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NSAI LOS ANGELES WORKSHOP VOLUNTEERS

EDITOR:
Seth Jackson
WORKSHOP COORDINATORS:
Bev Nelson
Seth Jackson
Craig Lackey
TREASURER:
Vickie Vining
EVENT COORDINATOR:
Cathy Carlson
COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
Lisa Blue Fasman
Cliff Nelson

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