MusicDish e-Journal - March 21, 2018
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Barbara Cloyd's Contribution to 'Changing Expectations & Realities'
Excerpt from Tag It's Songwriters in the New Millennium
By MusicDish
(more articles from this author)
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Barbara Cloyd
Pro Songwriter, Founder, Ready for the Row

Long time host of the prestigious Bluebird Café open mic and hit songwriter, Barbara Cloyd, reviews the survey with the intent of offering suggestions to songwriters based on their responses. She compares some of the songwriters’ expectations of the music business with the realities of that business, and encourages songwriters to invest in learning the craft and learning technology, both of which can help create and foster opportunities.

Making Money

In further examining the satisfaction levels reported, I have chosen to focus on the questions that most directly deal with a songwriter's efforts to make money at his or her craft. For this purpose, I focused on questions 13, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 35 and 36. These concern the songwriter’s level of satisfaction with major publishers, independent publishers, major labels, independent labels, performance rights organizations, for-profit pitching services, song pluggers, print tip-sheets, and Internet tip sheets.

To analyze the data I created the table below. For each question it separates the data by aspiring, semi-professional, and professional categories. The first number listed is the percentage of respondents in that category who have had experience with the type of business or service. The next number is the percentage of those who have had experience and who reported being happy (satisfied), i.e. who checked number 1 or 2. The next number is the percentage of those who have had experience and who reported being disappointed (dissatisfied), i.e. who checked number 3 or 4.

One fact that jumps out at me is that generally the satisfaction level rises as the income level rises. This suggests to me that what frustrates a writer most is failing to make money for his or her efforts. Blaming the industry for this and having a negative attitude towards it are counter-productive.

A nice surprise for me was how high the level of satisfaction was with independent labels and publishers. Almost half of professional writers rated independent publishers 1 or 2, and 43 percent of semi-professionals rated independent labels 1 or 2. This would suggest to aspiring writers that the doors of smaller companies swing open more easily than those of the majors.

For the complete contribution by Barbara Cloyd, download
"Songwriters in the New Millennium: Changing Expectations & Realities"

The authors of the report discuss songwriters' engagement with, perceptions and expectations of the music industry and the implications for organizations serving songwriters and the community.

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