Now shipping....

This is simple.  I see the ads on Facebook quite often.  This one says, "Songwriting Lessons."  So wouldn't I assume that it's being done by someone with lots of experience writing, and lots of street credibility behind them?  In other words, CUTS!  I am always skeptical of anyone who is, in my opinion, preying upon the hopes and dreams of young wannabes.  But this one, in particular, bugged me.  As far as I could find, this young lady offering songwriting lessons, has the following street cred:

1.  No NARAS qualified cuts. (that means not even indie, which count as half a cut with NARAS).


2.  No songs posted on the web, other than 2 at, and they are from her senior recital.  Neither of which could be played.


3.  Even her player has only 2 plays over the past four months (and mine was 1 of them).


So will someone please tell me why she's qualified to teach songwriting and charge $75 an hour for it?  


I think I'm going to go start teaching flute lessons.  

Tags: advantage, business, consultant, copyright, image, music, scam, scams, song, songwriter, More…songwriting, taking, young

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How much should I charge to give songwriting lessons? I'm a BMI writer and I've written a few songs over the years, even had them on TV. Of course, I don't have that one elusive cut with a mid-line artist back in '88 (when I moved here) .... but I've engineered some songs, does that count?

Pete Warren said:
Marc, please re-read what I wrote.  You'll note that I specifically mentioned that I AM NOT laying into you.  You're defending something I've not attacked in you, and specifically said I'm not.  So my question is, why did you go on the defense concerning all that you do, when I was simply only attacking what one girl was doing?  Makes me think you felt like you had to.  Hey, if your work stands for it's self, why bother defending it?   I'm quite sure many criticize my work, and all I can do is shrug my shoulders and say, "hey, at least my mom likes it!"

I'll just, for the moment, step politely, as though through a minefield, all the names dropped upon the floor.  
Buy I must say, how is it that neil diamond, peter frampton and gary busey get lumped into the same group?  I'm a bit confused.  Last I recall, Neil Diamond had a few hits, and Peter Frampton, well...  Come on now!  Legend.  NOW, if HE wants to teach songwriting, I'll be the first to say pay for that one.

MArc-Alan Barnette said:


You can attempt to lay into me any way you want. My reputation pretty much speaks for itself. I guess as far as paying off you can ask Frankie Ballard who signed a publishing deal six months after writing his first real song with me, and two months after that signed a record deal with Warner Brothers and is now on tour with Taylor Swift. Three years from first song to major deal and yes I had a ton to do with that. The songs I helped him write got him his deal so yeah, he would probably say yes. So would Steel Magnolia.


Because what I do is not just songwriting. It is focus, saving time, being safe with your money, not spending anything you don't have to, and meeting people that it would take you years to meet in a way as a friend so you don't spend tireless years and countless money going in the wrong direction.


And as far as the 22 year old girl from Miami or the 15 year old girl AND HER PARENTS this weekend from Atlanta, who in one day wrote two songs and got her first invitation to write from a number one writer,yes, they would probably say it is worth it too.


It is all about what you promise and what you deliver.  My promise is that they will understand more about writing, the business, networking, focus, making the most of their time and the realities that in every thing you do, there may be NO payoff whatsover.


And, in case you don't know because it doesn't sound like you do, money doesn't guarantee anything. You might have missed Richard Scrushy,the chairman of the board of Health South (who is now in jail) that spent around $20 million dollars on trying to buy a career or the multiple artists that record labels spend $2-3 million on that never paid off. Or Jessica Simpson, Neil Diamond, Peter Frampton, Gary Busey, Ronnie Cox,Crystal Bernard, or the multiple Hollywood celebrities, models, actors, who spent millions upon millions of dollars to get and lose record deals.Looks doesn't guarantee it, money doesn't guarantee it. And talent doesn't guarantee it.


I point all of that out, show why it happens or doesn't and lay out methodical career advice.


What happens from there is on them. I do what I am asked to do. Help them understand the game.


And to show that the shoe has been on the other foot, about a year before I moved to town I met a guy in Birmingham Al. who had lived in Nashville for ten years with some success. His name was Ron Muir and I paid him to do the same with me that I do with others. that is what led to a Shelby Lynne cut my first night in town, the one Kris Bergsness mentioned, "That's Where It Hurt." The money I spent with him saved me ten-twelve years and probably a hundred thousand dollars. And yes, the check I got for that one exceeded what I paid him too.



I think this forum is great for people to stumble across and to study the differing opinions about what time and knowledge is worth to the person sharing and the person  Marc's knowledge of Nashville did not come free.  My knowledge did not come free even though I say I never paid for a lesson on the front end I did pay for lessons.  When I first got to Nashville I signed with Rick Blackburn and Blake Mevis at Venture Harbor.  I didn't get a draw but I got song critiques and expert advise from both Blake and Rick and the people they hooked me up with.  When I got my Wynonna cut on her Debut CD it had to do with a few things.  Blake told me he like country lyrics with a pop melody so I took my idea to Lynn Langham whe just moved her from LA.  We finished it with the legendary writer, Sharon Rose Higgins who I met through Blake.  All this may sound free but my song was divided between Blake and me.  Figure up a third of the publishing on a 6 million seller and see how much I paid for Knowledge and connections--and then look how much I made with knowledge and connections...  We all pay for it someway.   Some with cash but most of the good ones pay with blood, sweat and tears

"...... Industry of Hope" as my bud calls it-


i love that term as it beautifully describes the blind led by the smarmy predators-  of which there are many in this town and lurking on this site !!    i find them both amusing as they have this wonderful symbiotic relationship-  people need to be told they are wonderful- and many have no problem paying for it-  think of it as a kind of professional prostitution !  :)


keep fighting the good the fight !

Spot On

Joe Pasquale said:

"...... Industry of Hope" as my bud calls it-


i love that term as it beautifully describes the blind led by the smarmy predators-  of which there are many in this town and lurking on this site !!    i find them both amusing as they have this wonderful symbiotic relationship-  people need to be told they are wonderful- and many have no problem paying for it-  think of it as a kind of professional prostitution !  :)


keep fighting the good the fight !

Anyone ever use Taxi or Sonic Bids?

The more I ponder these posts, the more bothered I am by much of not only what I've read, but also what I've written.  I think I've not been very clear on this.  I have no desire to attack any particular person here, but I want to be very clear about how I feel about this, should there be the case that some newcomer to Nashville would be reading this post.


I do not agree with the practice of charging someone for the sake of making introductions for them.  I think this is a bad practice that hurts our industry.  I do not believe it's ethical.  Mark, I can't know what you're doing other than what you've told me you are doing, so this is not an accusation, but rather, if I understand correctly, a disapproval of the business practices you've claimed to be a part of.  


I simply couldn't associate myself, no matter the gain that might come to me, with someone who would charge someone else in order to introduce them to me.  Especially if I were a person of great success in the music industry.  I'd not ever entertain the idea of someone being brought to me as a result of being charged to make an introduction.  I'd view that in this way:  Imagine I'm the head of a record label, and you've become my friend.  Now, as a result of our friendship, you have "access" to my ear, and I'll basically listen to anything you put in front of me, on the spot.  Heck, I might likely take a meeting with anyone you've recommended even if I've not listened to them.  But then later on, I find out that you charged that person a fee in order to gain access to me!  Now, I'm thinking that you're not only an unethical businessman, but also one hell of a horrible friend because you're using our friendship to gain and make profit by no merit of your own abilities or talents, other than those you've used to deceive me into thinking that you're my friend simply for the purpose of being my friend!  Does this make sense to anyone here?  THE BUSINESS OF CHARGING PEOPLE TO MAKE INTRODUCTIONS TO OTHER PEOPLE IS A SCAM!  PERIOD!  It robs the industry of integrity and ethics, and it should be recognized as such and called out actively.


Now, I do believe that if I were in the same position, it'd be fine with a friend making an introduction to me or for me, knowing that they were doing so for the benefit of me or the other person being introduced, without any regard to their own profit.


An exception may be in the case of an artist's manager, who's job it is to secure additional opportunities. Correct me if I'm wrong here, though, but managers don't charge by the hour.  The invest their time and energy into the success of an individual, and then participate financially in that success.  In other words, they take risk.  They risk their time and resources for the sake of a hopeful return of success in the represented individual.  To me, this make sense, and is an ethical business model.  But to simply charge someone for the same service, taking no risk and profiting regardless of the success or failure of the individual?  Nah, I don't like that idea.  I don't believe it's ethical within the music industry to do this.  

Now, I'll clearly say a workman is worth his hire.  Meaning that if someone works for you, feed them.  You can hire people and pay them an hourly wage.  Engineers and musicians should be paid.  Period.  They should not be taking an equity risk, nor should they be participating in an equity return in your efforts, except for potential future labor opportunities, in which they will continue to earn a fare wage for their work.  Producers, well, that's a bit tough to define, right?  But we all know what the standards are.  If they're putting up the money, they should be taking home the recoupment first, and perhaps more points for taking on the risk.   If you put up the money, well, then the tables turned.  You take home the recoupment, and then pay them a standard wage (of course with a recoupable up-front fee, so their investment isn't 100% risk, 'cause their time is still an investment).


Hope that clarifies my position.  I think if one were to find themselves outside what I find is ethical, well, then it's up to them to decide on their own what is ethical and what is not, and continue in business practices they feel are ethical.  Then let it be up to each individual, such as myself, as to if we feel it's right. 

I seem to recall a guy who's name is commonly associated with a major religion in the world, and he did much of what I described above.  He's not well thought of by any who had dealings with him that I have encountered.  So I say think very carefully what you do, for it may come back to bite you in the arse.  Don't  be a fool and pay for that which should ethically be free.  Relationships and introductions being the biggest of these.  


If anyone should profit by knowing me, they will do so because I've treated them with kindness and concern for their needs, not my own.


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