Question About Song Critiquing Services
Excerpt from 'A Meeting of the Minds'

By MusicDish [05-24-2002]

"Thank you, panel, for your great input about songwriting contests. We now have a question about song critiquing services, which you all provide. The question is, ‘When utilizing song critiquing services, do you need to look for critiquers who know your genre of music, or can you just use a general critiquing service for any kind of submission?' Who would like to answer that one?' "

Kim Copeland: "That's a good question. It's always better to have somebody who has some experience in that genre, or some connections in that genre. But, there are basic song crafting tools that I think any of us would be qualified to tell you what works and what doesn't work. Most of us have written and listened to several different genres. We're in Nashville, but I've had a Christian cut and cuts in different styles. NSAI actually has on their panel of song critiquers people who do gospel, people who do country, people who do pop or R&B. I don't know if they have anybody who does rap right now, but they're working on the Hip Hop market at this moment. There is a variety, so if you go through NSAI's free service, they'll direct your song to the right person if you put what style it is on your submission. I actually have critiqued some of Hip Hop, but that's not my forte. All of the other genres I've worked with, and I think Barbara and Jason have, too, so it's not specifically country that we do, just because we're in Nashville."

Barbara Cloyd: "I call my critiquing service, "Ready For The Row," and I feel that my expertise is the Nashville market. In pop music, the rules are so different. I hear songs making millions of dollars in the pop radio market that were outside songs, which means that they were cut by the artist who didn't write the songs. Some of them, to me, were so cliché, I don't think that they would have made it past the intern's assistant in a publishing company in Nashville. But, communicating is communicating.

"I find that the hardest people that I've had to work with are performing singer/songwriters and especially the performing singer/songwriters in the Folk market. There seems to be sort of a tendency in the Folk genre to think that if it's easily understood, then it must not be very deep. I'm very committed to songs that, after I listen to your song, I get what you're talking about. I've worked with folk artists where I'd say, ‘I really don't understand this. Who are those characters? What's going on with them?' and they are proud of their vagueness. I had one writer say, ‘Well, in the Folk world, people like to dig a little deeper.' I just said, ‘Well, make sure that if they're digging, what they're digging for is actually there.' " (Laughter!)

Download the 4th Installment in "Songwriters in the New Millennium" Series

"A Meeting Of The Minds" is a free downloadable report gathering songwriting veterans Anne Freeman, Jason Blume, Barbara Cloyd, Kim Copeland, Gary Talley, David Wimble and Susan Tucker. Through their own real world experience, they proceed to dissect what songwriters need to succeed in the industry as well as addressing subjects ranging from song contests, song critiquing services, artistic integrity, rewriting process.


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