Tuesday, January 22, 2008
6 Tips For Surviving A Visit To Music Row
Buy A Trampoline
and get used to bouncing around...that's my daughter in the pink bikini.
Take The Opinions With A Grain Of Salt
You'll hear a mountain of differing opinions in Nashville. It's very easy to get led astray. Remember that all of the breakthrough acts, blockbuster hits, and trend changing events in the music industry were totally unpredictable. Anyone who thinks they understand a demographic or thinks they have a formula for success is proved dead wrong in the end. The most successful people ignore opinions most of the time. They stubbornly believe in what they do and pursue their own path with determination. The confrontational nature of Nashville is designed to put off people who lack self-confidence. You have to decide for yourself whether you have the talent and the goods. Go to Music Row with an open mind but don't expect it all to make sense. Learn to laugh at the absurd contradictions and you'll be healthier.
Understand What The Code Words Mean
"Too safe" - means : "I've heard this idea a thousand times and there's no way you'll ever impress me with it".
"Not right for this artist/record" - means : "I don't like your song right now, but I might be having a bad day so you can bring it back next year".
"You're close" - means : "I've criticized you too much already so I'm trying to be nice and this is the best I can do".
"I'll take a copy" - means : "I don't want to make up my mind about this song right now so I'll put your CD on the floor of my car until I do".
"I'd like to put this on hold" - means : "I don't want anyone else to grab this song before I have a chance to get a second, third, and fourth opinion about it".
"I love it" - probably means : "I'll love it until either the second, third, or fourth opinion tells me they don't".
Leave The Personal Songs At Home
All of us write personal songs sometimes. We experiment and probe our psyches and write cathartic tear jerkers that no one else will ever want to sing. Leave those songs at home. You're only asking for a deep wound if you play them for busy industry people. You may dearly love these songs. They might be like children to you. But if they aren't what Music Row is looking for, you won't feel much love.
Don't try to see too many people and attend too many writers nights. You'll be overwhelmed and probably feel like a drop of water in the ocean. One or two appointments and one show per day will give you plenty to ruminate on. It's a mistake to cram two co-writing appointments into one day, also. This may give you a false sense of accomplishment, but I doubt very much that those songs will get recorded unless you've had several brilliant moments in your day. Most of us are lucky if we have a few brilliant moments in a year.
Stay focused On Your Best Work
Don't come to town with a dozen songs and try to get a reading on all of them. Do some of the screening in advance. Choose 3-4 of your very best commercial songs and concentrate on pitching/playing/critiquing them. You'll get 20 minutes in a meeting, that's all. It's barely enough time to say hello and play 4 songs.
copyright 2008 by craig bickhardt