sure to read these past columns from Lynne Robin Green.
They're like a gift from heaven:
Connection Profile -Lynne Robin Green
the person behind the articles!
FOUR MOST FAQS That Music Publishers Get
CHANGING FACE OF MUSIC PUBLISHING
Direct Delivery to The Consumer and the DO It Yourself
OF THE MUSIC BUSINESS
Royalty Recovery Work (Finding Out Where The Bodies Are
MAKING IT WORK
(What a Publisher Looks For In A Song)
All the folks that have sent email to "Ask Li'l Hank" with this question
will find the answers right here!
PUBLISHERS HALL OF SHAME
Here's the secret master list of all the things you should NOT do when
submitting your material to publishers. Write it down on your hand.
Something to reflect on throughout the years about maintaining balance
between your career and your loved ones.
An execrpt from Lynne Robin Green's Music Publishing Administration
Workshop Textbook "Everything You Wanted To Know About Music Publishing
- But Were Afraid To Ask". This is mandatory reading if you want some
of those obscure publishing terms demystified.
Inside The Money Wheels
THE LIGHTNESS OF BEING
FOR THE LOVE OF A SONG
Wrriten a Song, So Now What?
This new audio book from Aaron Meza, the West Coast director
of the Songwriters Guild of America may be just the edge you've
been waiting for. . Topics include:
- Intellectual property
- Copyright registration
- Writing with a friend
- Recording a Demo
-Pitching to music publishers
... and more!
here or on the book and purchase it now through Amazon.com
LIGHTNESS OF BEING
(or Working in the Entertainment Business As a Way of
©1996 Lynne Robin Green
(Worldwide rights reserved)
Funny how it seems that
we sometimes need to take the time for self in this business.....Funny
how we sometimes lose sight of what our real reasons are--so caught
up in the thick of the race? A vacation can sure remind you of the error
of your ways. Work burn out versus life ..What's really important? Priorities...?
Focusing is a good thing, always. Introspection is too.That's how we
For most people --what a Music Publisher does in an average day in the
publishing business is pretty much a mystery . But to the song people
(as we're sometimes called)--it's very real...The entertainment business--once
it's in your blood --catches you up and you pretty much eat ,sleep work
and dream it.The same goes for Tv and Film people....Only they see it
visually and hear it aurally...Some people call the drive to succeed
in this business passion or intense tenacity and fortitude
-but no matter what you call it (behind the scenes) ---MANY-- have taken
a great thought and put it into a song, a story, a movie or a book that
carries you to another level of realization or enjoyment.
Isn't that what art is about. To lift,or to elevate? Unfortunately this
business isnt really about art , always ...It IS about entertainment
And in a world of much change ,entertainment provides a great release.
It's kinda like a 9 to 5 job but in a different land .It has different
rules and tools.It has genres and labels,legal terms and fads...One
day its hiphop tommorow its alternative.But what the business predicts
its seeking TODAY in music --at any time is in a state of flux....The
exception is "But if its a HIT""" --(thats different).Define that and
you'll know an intangibility that has moved the music business since
its inception.For every song you said to yourself (how did that become
a hit?)Someone saw it and moved on it.The doers run while the watchers
wait. Or is it "talent will out". Not anymore it seems.But for us--(in
the music,tv and film business) we still believe in talent.The artistic
purity of craft that isnt faked -that flows naturally ---encapsulating
others in an aural experience with its mesmerizing blend of story or
sound and words. The power of good music and great movies or television
can really do that...Speak to the soul without the heaviness of conversation...
And the business of Music Publishing is changing too along with the
markets demand. We are no longer just song pluggers as we grow with
the digital age and new usages for songs and music (that werent created
in the days of The Brill Building songpluggers).So what do we really
do.?Well,--instead of weathersiding we sell songs.But we dont really
SELL THEM --we (license) song USAGES for records,tv film,cd rom,printbooks,live
performances and many other new digital applications too.Its hard to
explain exactly how it works kinda--cause its not like. You got your
mop here-and you got your broom there. It isnt so cut and dried and
easy to say how the publishing business works.Its more complex than
that..First you gotta have the song or music-find or make the right
project that needs the song,or someone wants to USE the song/music and
or you find new songs and the wheels go round as the songs--(on record
or in TV or Film or commercials) start to earn their FIRST dollars.Like
a kid¹s first steps.(Once recorded and sold in mass--the older
songs can already walk on their own.) Artist's and people remember them
and want to record them again,or they find usages in foreign lands or
reissues or reruns in TV shows they might have once started in.
Its funny how the public remembers...It's sure that way with movies
too..But one thing is for sure --Well known songs have a long shelf
life.No I wont discuss the life plus 70 copyright issue (but
yes--IF they have it in Europe why isnt a U.S.law too)?.
So we dont exactly punch a clock--yet we do ..Conscience and love of
the music thing seems to keeps our back burners "lit".The fire that
many artist's and writers have to win. We have it too. The excitement
of seeing and hearing success as it happens.The feelings of rejection
that we share sometimes with the writer's and artist's too.That space
in your heart that loves this business as crazy as she is (or -he is)
or can be...Exasperating and maddening But sometimes even when the day
can get beyond the stressful point--life can still surprize you....And
then you have to smile and say (over the phone - I know how that feels
too). In this business -behind the song and the dreams it's still --also-
"Another day another dollar" , as they say.
The drive to work and to succeed in the entertainment business takes
a special kind of person.It isnt age,or sex that defines a music person.
It's whats INSIDE that drives you endlessly. And the funny thing is
----this is WHAT we know how to do! Abilitywise --isn't what I'm saying,
it's more of an emotional thing maybe ....YES-- perhaps people who work
in this business for a living are birds of an exotic feather maybe....Least
we recognize it in our peers too it seems. Abilitywise would find us
looking at some folks who might have run fortune 500 Companies. But
instead they went into this crazy business. They could have had a regular
life. They had a choice. Or do we? But -then what, if we didnt work
in it--the soul dies? The soul dies at the 9 to 5...It's a magical life--not
--sometimes. Exciting, yes in its great highs and lows, too.. But it's
never dull that's for sure.
It started for me many years ago when I firstly became a songwriter
and started learning about publishing.I soon knew that working in anything
else would never be enough.'...This business of music.This business
of selling and licensing and helping to create new entertainment for
the world ....It's no frosted cake donut at the corner. Either youre
in it for the long haul, or you shouldnt even order.... It's not a hobby
its a way of life..The spark of creativity fuels it---- you light the
match ,you stoke the fire......With a little luck and lots and lots
of hard work.... It plays and it pays
FOR THE LOVE OF A SONG"
(THE IMPORTANCE OF THE POWER OF MUSIC IN TODAY'S
©1996 Lynne Robin Green (Worldwide rights reserved).
In some of my past columns
I have discussed Music Publishing and the business and administrative
part of the business .. In this column I felt that it might be time
to speak a bit more about the power of music and song itself-- and what
it means and may have meant ,and might represent today to our past present
and future generations. This topic was sort of inspired by the fact
that lately we have had quite a bit of heavy discussion on the internet
and in the music chat rooms on AOL -'On what Songs of Today will become
--The Standards of tomorrow' ?... (if any)?
to Top of Page
It seems that the answers and comments we often get to that particular
question -are sometimes very much related to the age and generation
of the particular respondent.. It makes me wonder if we might be heading
towards a new era divided by our musical tastes ,barriers and generational
gaps? Generation X vs the Babyboomers vs our Parents era too ? ....The
funny thing is -the music of our parent's era (that we hated THEN) --we
may remember now from our own childhood and is remembered still today--
being rerecorded or reissued --kept alive always in a corner of the
world .These recordings and songs that we grew up have now become the
Standards of the world.. Whether your standards were "Yesterday" or
"Stardust "..... I think that great music and songs have always had
a power to bring people together regardless of background and age sometimes
- and will always be a bridge and a voice in society's generational
changes in man ....And in the 50's and 60s they'd call it rebel music,as
they burned Elvis Presley and Beatles records and they picketed and
boycotted --buying the records... But they couldn't stop rock.They couldn't
stop the message or the beat...
The power that music has in it's message-- (in lyrics) -and in the sound
(of music)-- to sooth , and convey emotion,sentiment ,relaxation , and
to recall forgotten memories of joy and pain can also provoke heavy
thought and cerebral growth (through instrumental means)--as we may
hear in --'deep jazz passages' and intricate arrangements and emotionally
charged moments in 'classical music...
One thing has always remained important to me is to be open to the 'suggestive
mind power'-- that music with or without words has -or has had on our
society , whether in today's music (tomorrow) or throughout our past
generation's musical history. It all started with a song......
Music has always played a very significant part in America's history
-from the patriotic standards of the military and politics -to the singer's
vocalization of 'The Star Spangled Banner' (at the baseball game) and
"My Old Kentucky Home" (sung at Churchill Downs at the running of The
Kentucky Derby ) or "Take Me Out To The Ball game" (blaring out at the
ballpark).. Moments in history are marked by our music but the Song
is the vehicle, the Messenger with which we sing.Gospel and church choirs
uniting in voice-in "Amazing Grace"--and somber and sassy burial marches
played in New Orleans with jazz, rhythm and blues, sadness and toil
,rolled into one mournful sound. There is and will always be songs that
people will sing in history. From the military pop standard's of "Over
There" and "Oh How I Hate To Get Up In The Morning" to the navy's "Anchors
Aweigh" and "The Navy Hymn" and the marine's rousing "The Halls Of Montezuma"
and "The airforce's (Off We Go,Into The Wild Blue Yonder" ) --or the
historical wartime significance of "The White Cliff's Of Dover" to the
musical comfort to the people left behind-- found in the popular standard
-"I'll Be Seeing You", and again the raucous hopes of a nation of loved
ones returning from the war in--"When Johnny Comes Marching Home"...And
the respectful playing of "Hail To The Chief" for our president's arrivals..There's
a song for every ceremony.
Yes --songs have always provided the background/foreground sounds for
the human rituals in our lives for every occasion celebration, and remembrance
such as "Here Comes The Bride" as the future betrothed walks down the
aisle to "Happy Birthday" which everyone has had and everyone hears
--to the emotionally sentimental "Auld Lang Syne" on every new year--as
our biological clock ticks its journey on its course of time in the
life cycle.Time can be its own metronome with its own inner rhythm.Yet
music marks these times in our lives.
Stranger still are the songs that somehow become associated with tragedy
such as "Nearer My God To Thee"as it was played at the Titanic's sinking....Or
the power of humor and silliness with a backbeat, songs conveyed in
Top 40 music such as " The Monster Mash" or "Woolly Bully"...Or the
reverent singing of "Peace In The Valley" and "Just A Closer Walk With
Thee" at both -prayer services and funerals.. And the ritualistic nostalgia
in some of the great Christmas Standards such as (The Christmas Song,White
Christmas,Silver Bells,and I'll Be Home For Christmas)or the songs that
children learn and remember each Christmas such as "Jingle Bells" ,"Frosty
The Snowman" and "Santa Claus is Coming To Town".And the songs that
became a major part of childhood games and playtime like "Ring Around
The Rosy","The Farmer in the Dell" '"Twinkle Twinkle,Little Star" and
"Rockabye Baby"....And the songs that became standards sung as a group
around the campfire from "Kumbaya" to "Michael Row The Boat Ashore"
to "On Top Of Old Smoky""... Or how later in top 40 music a public domain
gospel hymn came to commercial rock radio in "Jesus Is Just Alright"
- --or how R&B soul met dance and religious fervor in "Shout" .. And
Popular happy songs of faith and hope such as "Blue Skies"-- to the
more inner message laden songs such as "Stand by Me","Bridge Over Troubled
Water" and "Wind Beneath My Wings"..Or the songs of places remembered
nostalgically in "New York,New York", "I Left My Heart In San Francisco","
'Chicago" and "April in Paris" : or in Country and Bluegrass in "The
Green Grass Of Home" ,"Home On The Range" ,"Old Home Place",and many
The funny thing about some songs is how they can provide a moment of
instant recall sometimes---and almost everybody has a certain song that
they can remember 'where they were or what was happening in their lives'
-when they FIRST heard it.... How is it that a song can trigger these
memories in people after so many years in such a subjective way? The
power of melody and the power of the lyrics can paint many a canvas
of human emotion in history.Yet it seems like such a personal emotion,or
a personal experience that we feel when we re-experience that song and
that moment of recognition of heart and mind. A song can be like an
old friend sometimes reminding you of things..It seems no small wonder
that music therapy has been successful in opening the world of silence
with its own indefinable power of communication. You also feel the beat.
Great music alone can move mountains with its strength or bring tears
with its sensitivity and poignance.
To define the power of a great lyric ---that will move people to thoughts
and feelings, it is important to look at what has come before.... The
greatest popular songs of our history share a tale of great love,love
lost, places remembered -and the trials and wonders of life,and they
do often speak with hope in their message.It's always hard to answer
--when a new songwriter ask's me what makes a great lyric,--or why doesn't
'MY song' say what I'm trying to get across? My answer is only that
I think its very important to 'be sure' that you have a story to tell
to begin with .What is the point of the song-the real point of the story
that's being told (the 'reason' for the song ).... .I believe that every
song should have a reason for being... If the point or the reason --is
hidden or hard to understand (the whole point may not be clear)..A writer
sometimes should question the motivation 'of the song' (but-after its
been written edited and polished).. If they can answer the question:
Who,What,When,where and what is THE POINT OF The STORY-- it will bring
them closer to their finding their voice in the song...
A song may sometimes be too personal for the masses to understand, or
may not be commercially accessible, or may be a (specialized topic song).
This rule of non-thumb can and cant be loosely defined whether in Rock
lyrics or in Urban Rap lyrics....It's not whether the listener finds
the message 'agreeable'- but the important thing about the art of the
writing is the message or the feeling conveyed in the song. How it makes
you feel--is whats important.In the popular songwriting market -The
Beatles became adept at writing stories in songs that were simple to
understand and easy to relate to and feel. (Quite earlier, Irving Berlin
and Johnny Mercer had the same gift of simplicity in expressing emotion
with words...) In the fifties and sixties 'The Brill Building in New
York' became both a songpluggers paradise and Music Publishers haven
and a landmark whose halls spawned many a great team of writers turned
crafters who wrote the songs that became the hits of the time --whatever
the time was -whatever the market was buying and the songs were likely
to be born by such writers in many offices before they ever became a
record..... The issue and process of Great Songwriting itself as a whole
--(is actually very complex emotionally- in its simplicity of delivery)
some great songs are magical in their elocution----- but making it all
sound simple is always been the key...
Popular Standard's like "Unforgettable" or "My Funny Valentine" say
much more emotionally with a writer's intricate weaving of the right
words and feeling combined with a timeless and memorable melody.Which
is not to say (that "Little Wing" by Jimi Hendrix -or "Europa" written
by Carlos Santana" ) are not also a marriage of great melody,and sometimes
words-for the time IT WAS THEN and/or for our next generation's listening
pleasure .. Every thing born of its time-- is and can be viable and
alive --if born of original thought .Yet , alot of the songwriting process
can be very organic too and it comes from the soul of the artist/writer---
and is often born of a gift given. Great music at its best can have
that indefinable inspirational intangible 'magical quality', that thing
that can only be felt and not explained sometimes...Yet we know its
an emotional response.Great Film Themes will often be remembered upon
recalling the title of the Movie such as "Theme From Exodus","Lara's
Theme",and "Evergreen",as well as the great Broadway Musical Songs that
were spawned from "Sophisticated Ladies","Showboat" "Gypsy" to "Stop
The World,I Wanna Get Off" to "Cats" to thousands more ... Some forms
of music have and do test the boundaries of the genres and styles and
even cross pollinate styles and combine different cultural idioms as
in hip hop, avant garde and acid jazz, ska,dancehall ,and the recent
strong interest in early roots and blues ,and or world beat reggae and
celtic music --- to spoken word music,atonal jazz and fusion.The breaking
away of the past boundaries of parts of society in Rock's early era---
gave birth to some of the forerunner songs of freedom of expression
and social cause... During that era music became a voice for protest
and freedom through (Woody Guthrie)(Bob Dylan),(Phil Ochs)--almost as
a great collective voice of human freedom ..Sometimes it was just about
the freedom to BE an individual--as in ("My Generation") or ("I Can't
Get No Satisfaction")...
The power that music has -- can also have a negative effect and sometimes
music can be used in negativity, racism, sexism and more...Fortunately
the artists and songs that influence our society today -may not be the
messages of tomorrow (maybe) but it also represents a part of the history
-- of our musical phases and free expression..... The beat has always
played a very major part in alot of the messages and rhythym of music---
it has provoked a whole dance movement from past generations (Waltzes)
to (Charleston) to (Jitterbugging) to (Dance Marathons) to the (Cha
Cha,and Meringue)and later in the fifties and sixties "The Twist" gave
way to many 'Latin', 'Soul', and 'Surf" (Stomp) dances and new dance
fads ... Later still, the dances that became popular during the Disco
era including (The Hustle)later joined ("The Frug ", "The Monkey" and
"The Jerk" with "The Funky Chicken","The Locomotion" --and The Lambada")
in history ....
Or the Country Line Dancing re-popularized in the 80's and 90's.. This
style of participatory dance brings cowboy and girl together in a traditional
old country based style of dancing that combines exercise,camaraderie
,fashion, and the beat of the two step.. Or the art of Appalachian clogging
(which comes from a longtime mountain tradition) or ritual and holiday
dances kept alive in Jewish celebrations.Or the polkas and spanish dances
indigenous to special occasion parties now americanized in our country..
Many of our cultural histories involve dances that include a group of
participants... Is the Macarena -- 'just' -the (Hokie Pokie") or (The
Limbo) of the 90''s?
It seems that "Less has become more" in the 90's" --and styles and fads
and images flash by very fast -- yet GREAT songs and music seem to remain.Alot
of the sounds have become cyclical in nature and sometimes come full
circle in what we come to to know as a retro sound.... But no matter
what style of music you speak of today it still comes down to the SONGS
, the story of the band, their vision,and their musical sound.... When
the consumer is touched by a chord ,a message,or a sound they enjoy
or relate to --that's what helps develops a fan ---- who participates
in buying the Artist's product and/or attending their concerts.Its a
give and take thing (every time you break a new Artist and song) --but
its driven by the promotional wheel and unfortunately many great albums
don't get enough radio exposure or promotional 'push' so that the listener
can hear them and decide.
I think that the freedom of expression in music has always been and
is a precious gift and has a special power that is also a human right.
And some human rights have to be earned sometimes so that we can be
free..... Being responsible for the message is the important point to
make -- that an artist understands the responsibility of the power of
music's influence --that they have been given .... .Yet ,to judge another's
creative expression and vision is-- to be closed to the thought of the
message -- or the right to speak it....
GREAT Music has the supreme power to promote recall, to teach,to celebrate,to
entice and seduce,to shock,to romanticize,to effect change,to soothe,to
heal and to embrace and embellish our lives and all of the moments that
we all share in life. It doesnt matter really -if your favorite music
is alternative,triple A,AOR,classic rock,punk ,R&B,new age,mainstream
jazz ,oldies,trip-hop or retro - its STILL the same emotion's we seem
to get from the music we relate to --and for the same reasons inside.What
will the 'Standard's' of tomorrow's music be --only time can really
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