The NSAI update for the Los Angeles
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
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
March-April '98 Workshop Schedule
Sunday, March 8, 4-7pm at Musician’s Institute - Mini-Song Camp.
This workshop will focus on improving our skill in the two key areas of
using imagery in lyrics and creating great hook melodies. We will use techniques
developed by hit songwriter Jason Blume (“Change My Mind”) to guide us
in the process.
Sunday, March 22, 4-7pm at Musician’s Institute - Group Song Critiques.
The process of giving and receiving critiques helps you to improve your
latest song and to write better songs in the future. Bring one song
(on cassette or play it live) and 20 copies of your lyric sheet.
We also critique lyrics only or music only.
Sunday, April 5, 4-7pm at Musician’s Institute - Mini-Song Camp/Guitar
Pull. We will review and explore the Fifteen Elements of
a Hit Song developed by hit writer Jon Ims (“She’s In Love With the Boy”).
We’ll spend the remaining time sharing our songs or lyrics with each other
in an old-fashioned Nashville-style guitar pull. Bring a guitar,
cassette, and/or lyric sheets and join the fun! A piano will be available.
April 14-18, in Nashville - Tin Pan South/NSAI Annual Symposium.
Tin Pan South is the week in which the best songwriters in the world converge
on Nashville for festivities that include numerous concerts every night.
April 17-18 is the annual NSAI Symposium. This is a
great opportunity to have your songs critiqued by publishers and hit writers,
have questions answered by major label A&R reps, and to learn first-hand
about today’s music business in Nashville. Vince Gill and Mark D. Sanders
are among the writers and performers who will appear at the Symposium.
There will be a limit on the number of attendees at this event, so
be sure to sign up quickly! If you have not yet received information
in the mail, call the NSAI Office in Nashville for details or visit the
NSAI Website at www.songs.org/nsai/.
Sunday, April 26, 4-7pm at Musician’s Institute - Group Song Critiques.
Bring one song 20 copies of your lyric sheet.
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 email@example.com.
Ron Troutman and Eric Andrews signed their song "True Love"
with Rex Benson Music.
Saturday, April 25 - SACEM International
Music Rights Conference. The American Alliance
of Composer Organizations (AACO) invites you this landmark educational
event featuring SACEM of France, the world’s third largest Performing Rights
Society. American composers can belong to foreign performing rights societies
in addition to ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC, so you should be aware of what SACEM
can offer you. For reservations and further Information, call (818) 998-4948
or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Admission is $10 in advance, $15 at the door,
Saturday, May 2, 10:00am-4:30pm - Steve
Seskin NSAI Seminar in Del Mar. Presented by the San
Diego Regional Workshop. Contact Liz, (619)481-5650.
Los Angeles Area NSAI
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