Barbara Cloyd's Contribution to 'Changing Expectations & Realities'
Excerpt from Tag It's Songwriters in the New Millennium
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
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.