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serena ryder

finds her groove ● How to get a Sync ● Beatmaking ● Toplining ● Self-Care

Justin Gray's

'Almost Home ' with Mariah Carey

● Publicity ● Writing Riffs ● Canadian

Songwriters Around The World ● Keys to success

Shad's pursuit

of perfect rhyme

● Social Media ● Making money

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Information Inspiration FOR YOUR CRAFT AND CAREER

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GET EXPERT ADVICE FROM : Jim Vallance, Eric Alper, Jane Harbury, Michael McCarty, Heather Gardner, Arun Chaturvedi, Paul Sanderson and more...

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All photos courtesy of S.A.C. unless otherwise stated. Canadian Publications Mail Agreement No. 40014605 Canada Post Account No. 02600951 ISSN 1481-3661 Š2002 Songwriters Association of Canada Songwriters Magazine is a publication of the Songwriters Association of Canada (S.A.C.) Members of S.A.C. receive Songwriters Magazine as part of their membership. Opinions expressed in Songwriters Magazine do not necessarily represent the opinions of the S.A.C. Address submissions, inquiries and changes of address to: (Before January 1/14) 129 John Street, Toronto, Ontario M5V 2E2 (After January 1/14) 41 Valleybrook Drive,Toronto, Ontario M3B 2S6 Phone: (416) 961-1588 or: 1-866-456-7664 Fax: (416) 961-2040 E-mail: Web: Facebook: Twitter: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the Songwriters Association of Canada.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS PRESIDENT: Eddie Schwartz VICE-PRESIDENT/WEB COMMITTEE CHAIR: Jean-Robert Bisaillon VICE-PRESIDENT: Greg Johnston TREASURER: Safwan Javed SECRETARY/MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE CHAIR: Ron Irving EVENT COMMITTEE CHAIR: Vincent Degiorgio DIRECTORS: Melissa Auf de Maur, Brendan Canning, Jane McGarrigle, Greig Nori, Carole Pope, Jim Vallance and Christopher Ward ADVISORY BOARD Jann Arden, Randy Bachman, Tommy Banks, Liona Boyd, John Capek, Tom Cochrane, Lisa Dalbello, Richard Dodson, Rik Emmett, Micky Erbe, Roy Forbes, David Foster, Alan Frew, Dan Hill, Paul Hoffert, Paul Janz, Ron Hynes, Ron Irving, Arnold Lanni, Geddy Lee, Mike Levine, Colin Linden, Rita MacNeil, Sarah McLachlan, Murray McLauchlan, Dean McTaggart, Frank Mills, Ben Mink, Adam Mitchell, Gary O’Connor, Declan O’Doherty, Blair Packham, Dave Pickell, Raffi, Cyril Rawson, Sam Reid, Tyler J. Smith, Ian Thomas, David Tyson, Sylvia Tyson, Shari Ulrich, Valdy, Jim Vallance, Nancy White The S.A.C. gratefully acknowledges the support of The SOCAN Foundation.



EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Lily Cheng MANAGING EDITOR Jennifer Brown CONSULTING EDITORS Isabel Crack, Vincent Degiorgio ART DIRECTOR Geoff Johnson FEATURE WRITERS Lily Cheng, Nick Krewen CONTRIBUTORS Eric Alper, Adam BEATard, Rod Caines, Arun Chaturvedi, Lily Cheng, Vincent Degiorgio, Matthew de Zoete, Heather Gardner, Daniel Gervais, Justin Gray, Jane Harbury, Heather Hill, Kat Leonard, David Lowery, Michael McCarty, Meghan Morrison, Siobhan Ozege, Arlene Paculan, Pat Pattison, John Pippus, Jeff Price, Angela Saini, Paul Sanderson, Eddie Schwartz, Amy Sky, Jim Vallance, Larry Vannatta STAFF Mary Mendoza, Ania Ziemirska

THE COLLABORATIVE EFFORT that resulted in this edition of Songwriters is proof of the incredible community spirit that exists amidst Canadian songwriters and the f  Canadian music industry.  r, eto People like Heather Gardner who not L ily C only shared how she chooses songs for TV placement, but insisted on reaching out to her contacts so we could learn about pitch companies too. Or songwriters like Justin Gray, who opened up so frankly about the process of working with Mariah Carey and Disney to write a song for the movie Oz the Great and Powerful. Once again, I am amazed at the generosity of every contributor who helped to put this publication together. Thank you for filling these pages with your wisdom and experience. We must also recognize the heroic efforts of our president, Eddie Schwartz, who has worked tirelessly to draw together the songwriting community around the world during these critical times. Please read about the international effort that is “Fair Trade Music� on page 29. It’s no easy feat to write a song that can pierce the human heart or capture the imagination. It’s even harder these days to make a living from the craft. We must unite to face all of these challenges. No matter what stage you are at in your career — whether you’re just starting out, a self-professed hobbyist or a royalty-earning professional — just as music brings people together, so does songwriting. We can help each other write songs that will leave a legacy and we must also stand together against those who minimize what we do. Hats off to you for having the courage it takes to choose this journey. If you haven’t done so already, I hope you will join our community at Warmest regards, LILY C

CONTENTS THE S.A.C. 04 Message from the President

COMMUNITY 05 Calendar/Events 06 Canadian Songwriters Around The World 08 DIY Release

22 How To Succeed as a Songwriter 24 Self-Care for Songwriters 35 Studio Lingo for Songwriters


10 Justin Gray 13 Shad 14 Serena Ryder

12 Career Tips 18 Networking 25 Contract Basics 28 You Need Help 30 How To Get a Sync



15 Riffs 17 Motion Creates Emotion 19 Beatmaking 21 Topliners

29 Fair Trade Music 32 Digital Royalties 34 Paid from YouTube 37 The New FACTOR


ON THE COVER Justin Gray/Marc Blackwell Mariah Carey Album Cover/ Universal Music Canada Serena Ryder/ Autumn de Wilde Shad/Che Kothari

MARKETING & PUBLICITY 27 Social Media 38 Publicity



nt wtz, pre Ede S





VERY YEAR MUSIC generates billions of dollars for Internet service providers, streaming services, online retailers, terrestrial and satellite broadcasters, bars, clubs and arenas, and many others. Given the vast variety of entertainment options folks have today, it’s great to know that music has not only held its own in recent years, but is more popular than ever. And contrary to what you may think, music generates vast amounts of money, perhaps more than ever. Performing rights societies alone collected more than $10 billion dollars globally for the first time in 2012 (up about 40 per cent in Canada alone over the past decade). We at the Songwriters Association of Canada (S.A.C.) see one fundamental problem: only a tiny fraction of that money ends up in the hands of the people who create the music in the first place. Millions of streams on some very popular and growing digital services for example, generate no more than a few hundred dollars for the songwriters and artists, while shareholders, investors and CEOs extract fortunes from these businesses.

As music creators ourselves, we support new and inventive ways for people to enjoy music.

But if new music business models are built on the idea that everyone gets well paid for their involvement except the folks who create the essential element — the element without which the whole enterprise would not exist — the music — then something is terribly wrong. Years ago, Third World farmers faced a very similar problem. While the coffee and other goods they produced generated huge profits for chains such as Starbucks and retailers around the world, the farmers themselves shared in very little of that enormous wealth, even though the product of their labours — the coffee — was the essential element in the entire value chain. And so the “Fair Trade� movement was born. Today tens of millions of people look for a “Fair Trade� logo on

the coffee they buy, to ensure farmers are fairly compensated for their essential role. Inspired by the success of “Fair Trade� agricultural products, the S.A.C. in conjunction with music creator organizations around the world, is now leading the development of a “Fair Trade Music� initiative.

It would work much the way the Fair Trade agricultural system does.

Music-oriented services and businesses would be evaluated by an independent “Fair Trade Music� organization. Companies that fairly compensate music creators, and do business in a transparent and open manner, could display a “Fair Trade Stamp of Approval� on their websites and promotional materials. Those companies that do not fairly compensate music creators would not receive the stamp. Consumers and music creators would finally be informed as to who treats those of us who make the music fairly and who does not, and could make informed choices in the marketplace.

But there are important things to consider as we develop this idea, and move it toward being a reality.

For example, what is fair compensation? How do we determine that, and how do we apply the criteria we develop to many different business models and technologies that deliver music to consumers? These are questions that we are addressing right now by seeking the expertise of economists, attorneys, entrepreneurs, music publishers, collective societies and our fellow music creators as we set out to develop the criteria that will allow us to launch the “Fair Trade Music� regime. In a world where music is more popular than ever, and generating billions of dollars every year, the S.A.C. is committed to a simple idea: If your music is played, you should get paid. And fairly paid at that! EDDIE SCHWARTZ President, Songwriters Association of Canada Co-chair Music Creators North America





2013-2014 Visit for details on the events mentioned October 26 - Bluebird North Halifax November 1 - Chansongs 1 Bilingual Songwriters Showcase (RCM, Toronto) November 4 - International Songwriting Competition deadline November 5 - Bluebird North Vancouver November 30 - Bluebird North Toronto February 28 - Chansongs 2 Bilingual Songwriters Showcase (RCM, Toronto) February 22 - Bluebird North Toronto March 14 - Unsigned Only Music Competition deadline

YOU CAN ALSO SEE UPCOMING DATES FOR THE FOLLOWING ONGOING SONGWRITERS ASSOCIATION OF CANADA EVENTS: ONE-ON-ONE MENTORING ● Skype mentoring with industry professionals. SONGWRITERS WEB SERIES ● Interactive webinars with industry professionals. SONGWORKS OPEN CHAIR ● Submission opportunities for professional songwriting camps across the country. DATE WITH A DEMO ● Get professional feedback on your demo. BLUEBIRD NORTH ● Showcases across the country featuring

May 3 - Bluebird North Toronto

some of Canada’s best songwriters.


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MAKING THEIR MARK ON THE WORLD MAP Canadian Songwriters Without Borders



HE DAY AND age of the Canadian songwriter being a stay-at-home troubadour going from coast-to-coast has changed over the years. Far from the strictly self-contained writer atmosphere that once dominated domestic releases, tunesmiths here in Canada are writing more and more for artists outside our shores. Here are three inspiring examples:

ANDY STOCHANSKY: LOS ANGELES Some have followed the global exodus to Los Angeles or elsewhere to pursue their dreams of becoming fulltime writers. Such is the case with Andy Stochansky. The Toronto-born Stochansky was originally signed to RCA Victor Records in Los Angeles as an artist. “Signing direct with a U.S. label was the furthest thing from my mind,” says Stochansky from his Los Angeles area home. “I’d done so many shows in Canada — so many people were interested. But nobody bit. I wasn’t making any dents where the major labels in Canada were concerned.” So, he signed with RCA Victor Records in Los Angeles as an

“I quickly realized that it would be great if I moved here.” artist. And then landed with Chrysalis Music Publishing as a full time writer. His move to LA was imminent: “I quickly realized that it would be great if I moved here. This way they would think of me and send me artists and other writers to work with. Being in the same place would help cement that relationship.” When the follow up to his critically acclaimed debut Five Star Motel album 100 was set to be released, he suddenly found himself without a label. But his undeniable knack for a great song did not desert him. Two of the songs from 100 ended up connecting with Australian Idol winner Shannon Noll. “Shine,” culled from that ill-fated sophomore effort, ended up striking gold and beyond for Andy — when the song rocketed to No.1 on their airplay chart. It



Andy Stochansky

stayed there for 11 weeks. How it got there was a classic case of “they had finished the record and they were looking for THE single.” Andy recalls: “Ross Fraser from Sony Music Australia was in town looking for songs. Matthew Gerrard, my Canadian co-writer on “Shine,” pitched the song to Ross. And that’s how it happened! It overlapped into a cut with Aussie belter, Vanessa Amarosi. With his artist career now part of his creative tenure and not the dominating force, Andy parlayed his writing efforts into songs for feature films such as The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, TV shows such as Hawaii 5-0, and cuts with America’s Lee Dewyze, boy band icon Ronan Keating of Boyzone and an ongoing collaboration with the Goo Goo Dolls.

of opening them up for us, they told us we didn’t fit into a box they knew how to market.” So international markets beckoned instead. And so did Townsend’s solo career. “The band moved to different places around the world after two albums. We didn’t split up — everybody just moved. So I did too,” she says laughing. Her next move was to bolt from her native Vancouver for an equally hockey mad locale: Stockholm. And she connected with DJ/ house producer, Opolopo, working with him on his second album, blitzing through a South East Asian tour and staying in the Swedish capital for five years. Described as the love child of Parliament Funkadelic’s Bernie Worrell and legendary superstar Chaka Khan, her artistic, fusion-dripping videos are not just songs, but four-minute

“It’s been mind blowing that I finally have come home to a different Canada.” events. Munich based Tokyo Dawn Records has released two albums for her. And then Canada called her home. “When I came back, I felt like I had to start from scratch again. I almost turned my back

AMALIA TOWNSEND: SWEDEN While many artists eventually transition into writing, the electric Amalia Townsend combined and chased her writing and performing dreams instead. Her first domestic steps were with the jazzy fusionistas, Sekoya. “We just networked ourselves,” recalled Amalia on her B.C. beginnings. “Our debut album scored a Juno nomination in the contemporary jazz category in 2004. We didn’t win, but it got us a lot of attention.” Unfortunately fate wouldn’t twist her and her bandmates in the right direction. “We had everyone knocking on our doors but instead

Amalia Townsend

on music. But I reconnected with so many organizations and foundations that supported me from the beginning. It’s been mind blowing that I finally have come home to a different Canada. It’s far more of a global industry because the Internet has made the music world truly, a world.”

JAMES BRYAN: LONDON Cementing his love for British music, James Bryan ended up in London. “It was one of those random things that I ended up here. It was always in my mind that I had to get to London and make some music,” says James. “When retro soul came up with Amy Winehouse and Duffy it seemed the right thing to do.” He met with music impresario Michael Dixon at a party at the Feldman Agency. And then he got on a plane for an initial visit to London. “Within an hour, it felt like home. Mike had signed Rita Ora to a production deal at the time. We wrote a song with her. It worked out great, and because of that, Michael kept inviting me back.” After a number of visits, the inevitable

James Bryan

“Hold on to that accent! It’s exotic here, and it works!” happened. He also retained the support of Sony ATV Music Publishing Canada who have supported and published him, in his words “for half of my life.” Known first and foremost as a member of the Philosopher Kings and Prozzak, as well as a collaborator with Nelly Furtado, Bryan landed in London and had to be ready to work. “I was definitely starting from scratch. I was a newbie. But the fact that I walked into the community at Kensal Town Studios helped me make that giant leap. There are

10 studios here. I’m now based in Paul Epworth’s old room. And if you recognize the name, it’s because he’s the collaborator of Adele’s blockbuster hits.” Bryan’s most recent cuts with Lisa-Marie Presley, Japanese superstar Bonnie Pink and Yuna have added even more visibility to his career as one of Canada’s key writing exports. James has also written for Syco’s global pop darling Olly Murs, co-penning “Sophie” for him and also landing two cuts on the latest album by the come-backing Backstreet Boys, with fellow Canadians Justin Nozuka and Kyle Riabko collaborating on the songs “Try” and “Trust Me”, respectively. Like L.A., many Canadians see London as a possible destination. A little free advice from Bryan, “do your homework first,” he says with a laugh. “I came here five or six times before I moved here and it’s easy enough to do that these days — you can meet people online.” One other rule for Canadians? “Hold on to that accent! It’s exotic here, and it works!” VINCENT DEGIORGIO is a hit songwriter and President & CEO of Chapter 2 Music Productions Inc., and Cymba Music Publishing.


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. . . D A H I H S I IW

Larry Vannatta I WISH I had researched where my strengths lie with the type of genre I write, record and perform before I released to radio land. For example, if your strengths are in folk and not mainstream radio make sure you hire a radio tracker promoter that fits that type of music.

Meghan Morrison

I WISH I would have given myself more time to experiment and play during production, instead of pulling way too many dissatisfied all-nighters just for

the sake of getting an album out on time. Not only does it make the recording process less enjoyable, it’s difficult to sell someone else on a product you’re not totally in love with yourself.

Angela Saini

I WISH I had booked my CD release party in advance. Or, waited until I had hard copies to confirm a date. I have received my physical copies literally the day of my CD release party, and trust me, that is cutting it too close! Plan the day you want and work backwards, giving yourself lots of time for mess-ups, artwork, spelling, holidays, and everything else that might be out of your control.

it’s a big industry. you might need a little help. | @alberta_music



Pointers from fellow indie artists on their DIY releases

Matthew de Zoete I WISH I had released my latest album Colour Film later than one month after returning from a three month European tour. I think the album would have benefited from more time for the public relations campaign here in Canada to build some steam before the release.

Kat Leonard

I WISH I had paid more attention to the details of design and packaging. I feel the artwork on this CD could have been more sleek and dynamic. I also would have chosen a CD package with a spine instead of a sleeve, so my CD title had a chance of peeking out from a crowded shelf.

John Pippus

I WISH I had not printed 1,000 copies of my first album. I still have boxes of them. I know the price difference between getting 500 or 1,000 is not huge, but I’m glad with my latest album I only had 500 made. It’s just about time to re-order!

Arlene Paculan

I WISH I had read through my production credits clearly once the printer sent it to me for my approval. I had the text edited a few times prior and was certain everything was perfect. Somewhere along the line something was omitted. So make

sure everything is to your liking, even though you may have already triple checked it.

Heather Hill:

I WISH I had put out a video of the title track song and pre-launched it. Even though it was an arty, low budget video, it would have been better than my live performance video. I have had the realization I will continue to write lots of songs and perform live. I will only release the favourite singles with a video and forget about the album idea for now. My FACTOR-funded single “Stupid Happy” will launch in the fall with a video.

Rod Caines

I WISH I had concentrated on accessing funding resources from organizations such as FACTOR. I paid for all of the recording and production costs of the CD with the intention of applying for funding to assist with marketing and promotion afterwards. I later discovered marketing and promotion programs are often linked to an initial investment in sound recording. For instance, FACTOR has a marketing and promotion program for “FACTOR-funded” sound recordings where there is no prerequisite to have sold a specified number of units to qualify. The marketing and promotion program for “non-FACTOR funded” sound recordings has a qualifying sales threshold, which is difficult for a new artist to attain.

Marc Blackwell


Justin Gray

By lily cheng

any songwriters go their entire careers without discovering their personal “Yellow Brick Road,” but it looks like Toronto-born songwriter and producer Justin Gray has found his own Emerald City in Los Angeles. Since Gray relocated to the City of Angels almost six years ago, he’s worked with A-listers 98 Degrees, John Legend, Nicki Minaj and Jennifer Hudson, but his most impressive breakthrough has been working with pop superstar Mariah Carey to provide “Almost Home,” the theme song for the Disney film Oz The Great And Powerful. Gray, who previously landed cuts with Joss Stone, Esthero and the Hannah Montana 3 soundtrack in a career that has seen sales of 25 million records, gives Songwriters’ Lily Cheng the play-by-play about life in L.A. and life in Oz. When you first arrived in L.A., how long did it take you to establish a network? JUSTIN GRAY: Since I started having success in Canada, I’d come to L.A. four times a year. I had a manager based here so I built up relationships over many years before I made the move.When I arrived, I realized very quickly that little of that setup mattered: L.A. is very friendly, and very competitive. If you do incredible work, people will spread the word. What is the main difference between the Los Angeles and Toronto music industries? JG: In L.A., anything can happen on a given day. I’ve always felt metaphorically that L.A. stands for “Land of Accidents.” It’s much easier to connect the dots for your career here than it is in Canada. In Canada, you have to be willing to travel. Ultimately, that was the deciding factor for our family: I couldn’t be away as much as I needed to be in order to achieve the career I envisioned. Should songwriters consider the move? JG: Know what you’re getting into. There are fewer songwriters than you think who are actually paying their bills with their craft. You need to become incredibly self-critical and work 10 times harder here than elsewhere. No one here sleeps on their success nor rests on their laurels. Is L.A. a difficult place to balance family and career? JG: My studio is in my house, a deal that I

follows the Yellow Brick R


Songwriters Magazine



made with my wife when we moved here. I couldn’t do 18-hour days and abandon my real life for work like I did in Toronto. I still do 18-hour days; they’re just more spread out. I usually have dinner with my family, and then once the kids are in bed, I head back to the studio. I’ve partitioned my days into three blocks: Mornings consist of meetings, emails, listening to yesterday’s work, tweaking mixes with fresh ears or catching up on little music tasks. Writing/production sessions typically go from noon until 6 p.m., and then after dinner I’m back in the studio comping vocals, or adding production to the songs, and sending out MP3s. How did you hook up with “Almost Home” co-writers Simone Porter and Lindsey Ray? JG: Lindsey was one of the first songwriter/ artists I worked with when I arrived in L.A. We wrote four songs on her Goodbye From California album and we’ve been kindred spirits since: she’s like a sister. But this is the only song I’ve written with Simone Porter, ever ! She’s not only an incredible songwriter, but her tenacity to make stuff happen is inspiring. She was interfacing with Mitchell Leib (Oz The Great And Powerful music supervisor) throughout the entire process, and I can say with certainty if Simone wasn’t as hungry and as motivated as she was, this wouldn’t have happened. How did you land the gig writing for Oz The Great And Powerful? JG: I was approached by Simone, who had heard about me through a mutual collaborator. I was one of about 100 songwriters who were approached. Normally it’d be something I’d avoid, but my instinct compelled me to go for it. The session almost didn’t happen. Twenty minutes before the session start time, I still wasn’t sure there was going to be one, because the original third writer on the session with Simone and Lindsey had to bail due to sickness. I also had a cancellation, and voila…happy accidents. Did Disney provide you with a rough cut of Oz for reference? JG: We had a watermarked script. The film was in the final stages of production, but since we’d started writing the song back in July 2012, there was nothing to see. Our instructions: ‘We want something that stands on its

“We never considered Mariah Carey, only because she seemed unreachable. When we got the news she was in, we were flabbergasted.” own as a pop song, but takes inspiration from the story without sounding like it was written specifically for the film.’ Huh? In any event, we wanted to create something that had some movement and momentum lyrically, melodically, musically and in tempo. We stayed away from using words like ‘can’t’ and ‘don’t.’ It was crucial to keep it positive although the song was lyrically dark at times. After “Almost Home” was selected for the film, you had to work with Oz director Sam Raimi; Mariah and songwriting production team Stargate; Disney brand managers and marketers. What was that like? JG: It was a great experience and not for the faint of heart. We worked directly with Mitchell Leib, the film’s music supervisor. We had done six production revisions and nine lyric and melody revisions on the demo before he even presented it to director Sam Raimi. Once Raimi green-lit us, our job transitioned into fine-tuning the lyric to ensure the song’s message echoed the film’s sentiment. Sam was insistent we convey the message that, “Oz didn’t want to be a good man; he wanted to be a great man.” It’s the underlying theme of the film, so we paraphrased his notes and came up with “underneath the good, there’s something greater than you know” for the pre-chorus. It was important to have the last word of the pre-chorus line up as a rhyme with the first line of the chorus. It punctuated the word “home” better. The concept started with “when you’re

halfway there, you’re halfway home,” as a homage to the original film. In fact, the song’s original title was “Halfway Home.” While this was happening, Mitchell was on the hunt for the perfect artist collaborator. We never considered Mariah Carey, only because she seemed unreachable. When we got the news she was in, we were flabbergasted. Then we waited for months as the deals were being finalized. It was so stressful. Once everything was green-lit, I sent my files to New York where Mariah was based. I was in the studio with John Legend and 98 Degrees separately, and Mariah wanted Stargate to produce the final version, which I was totally okay with as they have an insane track record of creating massive global hits. It all came down to a tight window to deliver the song. Mariah worked insane hours to bring this to life. How radically did the song change from pitch to release? JG: The original version was slower and very Coldplay. Lindsey, Simone and I felt that taking it in this direction initially would exploit the song’s emotional intention. Mariah changed “Halfway Home” to “Almost Home” and definitely brought it up a notch. Once she went ‘Mariah’ on the record, it was incredible! The track changed once Stargate dug in, but it kept the same arc, structure, chords and melody, including the end chorus modulation. Is placing a song with Mariah Carey the pinnacle of your career? JG: We are only as good as what’s next. One day when I’m 80 years old, my grandchildren will tell their friends that I worked with Mariah Carey. It will always be a career highlight, but careers are built on the future, not the past.




f e at u r e s

5 Career Tips 1 from Justin Gray


HILe SOme HaVe attributed Justin Gray’s success to luck, he has 900 uncut songs to show for 14 years of dedication to the craft. He starts 250 songs a year and realizes 80-90 of them in a presentable demo form that sounds like a finished product. What’s more, Justin also has a passion for empowering other songwriters. He recently helped launch, an online tool to connect and empower songwriters. He offered these five career tips:

don’t meet somebody and immediately try to determine what they can do for you or your career. Real relationships develop organically and grow. It may be years down the road when the reason you met comes to light. The truth is they may end up needing something from you. In that case...even better.


If you’re not moving forward in your career in the way that you want, it’s nobody’s fault but your own. are your songs good enough? Is the production good enough? How are your relationships? are you surrounded by like-minded people that want to help you win, see you win, and take pride in your success? be your harshest critic.


don’t post “unfinished” or “work in progress” demos and then promote them as your upcoming single. you will most certainly turn people away.

Only present your material when it’s ready. The world isn’t waiting to hear another sh--ty song, and in this business, the song is all you’ve got.


don’t bombard people with a thousand emails. I guarantee that it will have the exact opposite effect that you’re going for. do great work and people will find you. do anything less and people will forget you.


I would say 99 per cent of artists, songwriters and producers have benefitted from some form of collaboration. It’s not personal, but what makes you think you’re the one per cent that doesn’t need that collaborative experience? Whether it’s letting a trusted ear critique you, or another collaborator inside your thought process when writing, be open to outside opinions. you will hear the results...that’s a guarantee.

There is Money in Music, Let MROC Show You Where The Musicians’ Rights Organization Canada (MROC) is a Canadian federally-incorporated not-for-profit entity whose primary objective is to collect and distribute to musicians, the performer’s share of neighbouring rights royalties. These royalties flow from the commercial use of sound recordings and are based on various tariffs approved by the Copyright Board of Canada. For more information on MROC please visit:


SoNgwriterS MagaziNe

f e at u r e s

Shad releases new album with 'Flying Colours'

H e's the MC who can turn a smart phrase on a dime

By Nick Krewen


anada may be gifted these days with an abundance of talented hip-hop maestros whose brand is marked by intellectual prowess — Drake, k-os, K’naan, D-Sisive, come on down — but no one has quite the approach or injects as much humour and insight as Juno-award winner Shad. With his fourth album, Flying Colours, about to set the domestic rap landscape afire — and in the midst of a national tour preceded by appearances opening for Mackelmore & Ryan Lewis, the Kenyan-born, London, Ont.-raised and Vancouver-based Shadrach Kabango is, to adapt a lyric from one of his newer songs “Stylin,”: “I’m runnin’ like a Kenyan, because I’m Kenyan, ask my Mama, yeah, I’m runnin’ like a Kenyan, I’m runnin’ like Obama on that ticket, this is wicked as that Broadway play with the witches in it, tell me who’s the sickest because I’m putting on a clinic.” “My biggest goal was to push myself, and as far as themes go, I wanted to explore success and failure — what they mean to me personally; what they mean in our culture and ultimately, how you carry them forward with you in your story in an honest and healthy way,” says Shad of Flying Colours, produced in part by Skratch Bastid and the Torontobased production team of Tone Mason (Aloysius Brown, Don D. and Mellenius) and featuring guests Saukrates and Eternia. “I figured they were topics where I could go in a lot of directions and

end up somewhere positive.” Shad, 31, who financed his first album, 2005’s When This Is Over, with his $17,500 winnings from a radio station contest at 23, and later won a Juno Award for Rap Recording of the Year for 2011’s TSOL, says he fell into the genre naturally. “Because you don’t need equipment, at some point you might rap and try to write your own,” he says, citing Common, OutKast, Eminem and Ras Kass as influences. But rather than just jump into the public eye, Shad juggled his career with education, obtaining degrees from Wilfrid Laurier and Simon Fraser universities in business and a master’s in liberal studies, respectively. “The big transferrable skill from business is that with four years in school, you get trained in problem solving,” he says. “That helps you develop a confidence in music business situations.” “I took liberal studies because I wasn’t sure if I could turn music into a career. I don’t know if it helped me as a songwriter, but I encountered some texts and

ideas that inspired me.” Creatively, Shad can write anywhere, anytime. “I don’t have to be in any particular mindset,” he notes. “Different mindsets produce different kinds of lyrics: If I’m tired or in a sh---y mood, that’s going to produce certain lyrics. If I’m more contemplative, that produces a different lyric. So I try to write in all of these zones, the end result of which is something that encapsulates a bigger picture of who I am.” Much of it is from memory. “If something strikes me or comes to me in the shower, I can usually remember, “ Shad says. “I find that if I forget, then maybe it wasn’t so good anyway.” As for inspiration, Shad

searches for “what surprises me.” “That’s usually a good indication it’s worth putting out. Also, if it speaks to something I feel is uniquely my experience or sensibilities — a thing that I do that maybe others don’t — that makes it feel worthwhile. Stuff that would make my friends laugh.” Although there are plenty of hot joints on Flying Colours — from the celebratory West African feel of “Fam Jam (Fe Sum Immigrans)” to the abstract, adapted “American Pie” lyricism of “Progress” — Shad points to an earlier work that he feels was his toughest challenge. “On my first album, I did “I’ll Never Understand” with my mom about the Rwanda genocide, which was hard to put some light into,” Shad admits. “I don’t know if I would try taking that on now. I’d be too intimidated.” An admitted perfectionist, Shad says any musical vernacular that escapes from his lips is a product of studio elbow grease. “I work pretty hard on the rhymes, especially on a full-length or something where I’m asking for people’s attention. I try to get it right every time.”

Songwriters Magazine





“I trust my gut a lot more these days and write from a very primal place”

UNO-AWARD WINNING Serena Ryder has been a household name among singer/songwriter circles for years. It’s been a steady ramp-up for the explosion her career has seen with her hit song, “Stompa.” She’s achieved her first Top 10 on the Canadian Hot 100, spent eight weeks at No. 1 on the U.S. Triple A chart and rocked The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Ryder is newly signed to U.S. label Capitol Records with plans to push “Stompa” to the mainstream pop market. The song has already been used on Grey’s Anatomy and a Cadillac commercial. It’s also being considered by sports teams, which may lead to some

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stadium performances. Her success is especially sweet after recovering from severe clinical depression following her 2008 release Is it O.K. She finally discovered her raison d’être was writing and performing music for the sake of enjoying it. “Stompa” started with a guitar riff Ryder brought to co-writer and album co-producer Jerrod Bettis. Together, they finished the song in just three hours. We asked Ryder to tell us more about her approach to songwriting. What’s the first song you ever wrote and the story behind it? It was a song called “I wanna be like you.” I was 13 years old and I was obsessed with vampires — I wanted to be one — in the style of The Lost Boys or Interview with the Vampire. Do you have rituals or tools that are important to you in the songwriting process? It’s important to me to write on paper, preferably with a black fine-tipped marker. I find ink and paper very important in my writing process. My favourite place to write is in my studio — I love to be surrounded by antiques and picture frames, pictures of musicians —things that have stories inside them bring stories to me — and smells. Smells can change my mood instantly: sage, paolo santo, nag champa, yum. What’s your favourite way to start a song? This is always changing. Right now I’m really into writing from

BY LILY CHENG beats — rhythmic pulses and sounds are inspiring me to write melodies these days. It’s about music that makes me want to MOVE — I want to move people! What do you usually bring to co-writing sessions? I usually bring a guitar riff, MAYBE some lyrics — sometimes even a full verse. It’s different every time. How has your approach to songwriting evolved from your first recordings done in Peterborough, to now having a team of award-winning songwriters and producers working with you? My approach has become a lot less complex. I trust my gut a lot more these days and write from a very primal place. I allow sounds to dictate the words more than my brain or my “idea” or initial vision. I have a lot more fun writing now than ever. Your new album is a departure from your previous folk/singer/songwriter style. Do you feel this resulted from changes in your songwriting approach or more from changes in the production style and team? I feel like it was both for me. I decided to allow the songs to come and to just have fun. This record came from a place of total allowance. And when it came to collaborating, my producers Jon Levine and Jerrod Bettis were key — it was amazing to find people to balance what I do best — I wrote vocal melody and lyrics, and did guitar riffs — they created beats and instrumentation — it’s a perfect marriage.





OR AS LONG as I’ve been listening to music I’ve been fascinated by “riffs” — those signature instrumental passages that define some of the songs we know. It might be an arpeggio, a melodic phrase, or a series of chords. It can be simple, it can be complex, but when a riff is good it’s spell-binding and unforgettable. One of the first riffs I recall hearing was from “Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones. Nearly 50 years later those three notes still put a smile on my face. When I became a songwriter my respect for riffs increased ten-fold.  A strong riff can send your song to the top of the charts. But try writing one! Keith Richards says “Satisfaction” came to him in a dream. It was supposed to be a horn line ... the fuzz guitar was just a temporary “place-holder.” But producer Andrew Loog Oldham decided to keep the fuzz guitar, and the rest is history. In 1964 Roy Orbison released “Pretty Woman.” I’m convinced the Beatles were channeling Roy’s song when they wrote the riff for “Day Tripper.” Have a listen and see if you agree. The Beatles contributed a number of

classic riffs to the lexicon. Check out “I Feel Fine,” “Birthday,” “Ticket To Ride” and the lesserknown George Harrison composition, “I Want To Tell You.”  Bassist Jack Bruce was inspired to write a riff after seeing Jimi Hendrix play at the Saville Theatre in London. The result, with Eric Clapton on guitar and Ginger Baker on drums, was “Sunshine Of Your Love.”  Listen to “Foxy Lady” or “Manic Depression” and it’s easy to picture Hendrix’s influence. No discussion of riffs would be complete without mentioning Jimmy Page. Songs like “Whole Lotta Love”, “Black Dog” and “Kashmir” influenced a generation of songwriters, including my friend Joe Perry (many of Aerosmith’s songs, like “Walk This Way” and “Sweet Emotion”, are riff-based). If the 1960s was a fertile decade for riffs, the 70s and 80s didn’t disappoint either.   Listen to “Alright Now” (Free), “Smoke On The Water” (Deep Purple), “Iron Man” (Black Sabbath), and the deceptively simple “Every Breath You Take” (The Police) — brilliant riffs, all of them. In 1983 Bryan Adams and I were asked to

write a song for Blue Oyster Cult. Logically, we used “Don’t Fear The Reaper” as a template for our new song. It took several hours of concentrated effort to create a riff of our own — something that was “similar but different” — and it took another day or two to finish the lyrics and music. We recorded a demo and sent it to Blue Oyster Cult. A few days later we got an answer: they didn’t like our song! Ouch!  So Bryan decided to record it himself.  “Run To You” became one of Bryan’s biggest-selling records. The verses for Gerry Rafferty’s song “Baker Street” are long and meandering. You start to wonder, where’s this going, where’s he taking us? But it’s worth the wait just to hear that saxophone! In fact, the sax riff IS the chorus!  


As songwriters I believe it’s our job to “communicate,” to draw the listener in, give them something memorable and make them want to hear your song again and again. Clearly, a strong chorus is a key element, but choruses are typically buried a minute or two into the song. Why not engage the listener from the very first note…with a riff! Easier said than done, I know. But I encourage you to study the riff-based songs mentioned above, and others like them (“American Woman,” “Seven Nation Army,” “Layla,” etc).   As we’ve seen, old ideas can inspire new ones. You never know, there might be a “killer riff ” in your head waiting to be set free! JIM VALLANCE has worked with recording artists as diverse as Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart, Tina Turner, KISS, Aerosmith, Heart, Paul Anka, Alice Cooper, Michael Buble, and Ozzy Osbourne. He’s a director for SOCAN and the S.A.C. He has four Junos and is a recipient of the Order of Canada.

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Different rhyme schemes create different feelings



ERE’S SOMETHING FOR your spare time: arrange the items in SEQUENCE A, below, in different order and feel the effects of each one. How do they move? (Just tap your foot in 4/4 time and consider each syllable in the first four lines as a quarter note in a 4/4 rock beat, so each sequence lasts two bars. Dee = ¼ note; da = 1/8 note): SEQUENCE A:

Sports star Porn star Rock star Pop star Dee da da dee da da dee dee dee

This moves in three segments. First 2, next 2, — rhyme pairs them off. Plus the Dee da tag. Punchy and crisp. SEQUENCE A2: Sports star Rock star Porn star Pop star Dee da da dee da da da dee dee dee

Rhyme motion creates a group of four rather than two segments in the first four lines. Flows freely through until the tag, where the tag feels like a separate piece. SEQUENCE A3: Sports star Rock star Pop star Porn star


Dee da da dee da da da dee dee dee

The abba rhyme pattern doesn’t feel finished — no click there, so the four lines slip easily into the Dee da section without interruption. Pretty much you keep going until the last dee. Feels like one whole thing. Here’s an application of the exercise from a weekend seminar in Perth, Australia. Here is Rachel Dillon’s original opening structure of verse, verse, chorus,

from her lovely song Hell for Leather: We grew up together in the same small town (a) Standing watching summer storms coming down (a) You with hair of gold and a will so strong (b) I hardly said boo but my heart was full of song (b) You chased the ducks I ran from the drake (c) We skipped rocks on the dam and swam in the lake (c) Pretended to drive ‘cross the state in an abandoned old van (d) And we ran, and we ran (d) Chorus: Hell for leather, hell for leather Hell for leather, down Bellbird Hill

Nice work! Interesting images that show rather than tell – that give us a lovely picture of the relationship. Before we start dealing with rhymes, let’s start by switching the first two lines (because the second line is an image) to strengthen the whole journey: Standing watching summer storms coming down Growing up together in the same small town

Read through the rest of the song with the first two lines switched and compare the two versions. See how putting the image first drips its colours onto the ‘Growing up...” line? Almost always works better. And, because it’s the first thing we see (therefore, in a big spotlight), it colours the whole thing more deeply. Now, let’s try turning both verses from aabb rhyme schemes to abab to create a smoother journey. That way, we don’t stop every two lines, creating two units of four lines rather than four units of two: Standing watching summer storms coming down (a) You with hair of gold and a will so strong (b) Growing up together in the same small town (a) I hardly said boo but my heart was full of song (b) You chased the ducks I ran from the drake (c) Pretended to drive ‘cross the state in an abandoned old van (d) We skipped rocks on the dam and swam in the lake (c) And we ran, and we ran (d) Chorus

Or, we could try unrhyming the first couplet to create a less stable journey, xxaa.

We don’t hear any rhyme until a surprise rhyme at the fourth line of each verse. I especially like the feel of the second verse: Standing watching summer storms rolling by (x) Growing up together in the same small town (x) You with hair of gold and a will so strong (a) I hardly said boo but my heart was full of song (a) You chased the ducks I ran from the goose (x) We skipped rocks on the dam and swam in the lake (x) Pretended to drive ‘cross the state in an abandoned old van (b) And we ran, and we ran (b) Chorus

Finally, let’s look for an unstable structure to create a more wistful feeling, using an abba rhyme scheme, which opens the structure. This rhyme scheme throws things off balance. The internal rhymes van/dam/ swam blur the motion, helping to create a floating, nostalgic feel: Standing watching summer storms coming down (a) You with hair of gold and a will so strong (b) I hardly said boo but my heart was full of song (b) Growing up together in the same small town (a) Pretended to ‘cross the state in an abandoned old van (c) We skipped rocks on the dam and swam in the lake (d) You chased the ducks I chased the drake (d) And we ran, and we ran (c) Chorus

Pretty neat. A different arrangement of rhyme scheme (motion) creates different emotions. Same words, different journey. Lay out your choices — to know what options you have and how each one makes you feel. Then you can choose the one that feels best to you. But always try your options. You never know... Have fun. Write fearlessly. PAT PATTISON is a professor at Berklee College of Music whose former students include Grammy winners John Mayer and Gillian Welch. He is also author of Writing Better Lyrics and his newest release Songwriting Without Boundaries: Lyric Writing. Exercises for Finding Your Voice.





How to get yourself your songs out there By Vincent Degiorgio


any industry professionals feel that the initial meet-up is the be-all, end-all of what it takes to network. Truthfully, you couldn’t be more wrong. As a veteran of over 20 MIDEM’s and a ton of other conferences, I’ve learned over the years it’s not the initial play, but the follow up that leads you to be a master networker.

Here are a few tips l Do you have a business card?

Giving someone a card shows you wish to be remembered. I can’t tell you how many conferences I’ve been to where someone did not have a card to give and expected me to remember everything about the 60-second conversation we shared. l Never overlook the first hello

Being at a conference like Canadian Music Week (CMW) or an event like the S.A.C.’s Date With A Demo (DWD) is like being in the middle of Times Square for the first time. It can be a dizzying, connecting pace. Your head is snapping back, left and right. Stay focused on who you are talking to and establish that connection. Don’t act like you’re on a boring date and proceed to scan the room. Be respectful, focused, and close the conversation before moving on. Let the conversation be the reason you are remembered and not because you never let the other person get a word in edgewise. l If you’re reaching out to a new

writer, introduce yourself first. Tell your new contact who you


Songwriters Magazine

are, what you do, and a short summary of what you’ve done. Lead them to a website or a SoundCloud page and include your full contact information. Just because you’ve been given a business card, does not mean you will be invited to the person’s house the next day. What it does is give you the opportunity to get to know the person. That is a gift that should not be underestimated. Relationships, truly, are our business. l Find out what the delivery

policy is and live by it There’s no reason for you to get so excited that you make the mistake of flooding the in-box of the person you’ve just met. One music supervisor recently told me he connected with a writer who was immediately immortalized by crashing their server for three hours with 150MB of music. Set up an account with writer friendly places like Dropbox, or zip up a file and send them by WeTransfer when you’ve been given the green light.

l Follow up

This is the anchor to the entire networking premise. Not following up after attending any industry event is the reason your network is small, miniscule or invisible. One of the best A&R men in Canada has a fantastic send off on his voicemail when you call him. He simply states “If you do not leave a message, you did not call!”

Vincent Degiorgio is a hit songwriter, and President & CEO of Chapter 2 Productions Inc., and Cymba Music Publishing.

By LiLY cHeng


The art

He iMportanCe of beatmakers has grown over the years for the role they play in songwriting. previously seen as a technical component, songwriters that work with beatmakers recognize the value of a good beat towards the crafting of a great song.   for example, Benny Blanco is a beatmaker recruited into dr. luke’s team of songwriters who went on to co-write 14 number-one singles. the art of beatmaking was recently spotlighted in Canada when a beat created by ebony oshunrinde, aka Wondagurl, a 16-year-old beatmaker from Brampton, ont., was used on “Crown,” a track on Jay-Z’s newest release, Magna Carta Holy Grail. We asked toronto-based songwriter, producer, engineer and beatmaker adam Beatard to be our guide into the world of beatmaking.


what’s the difference between a producer and a beatmaker?

a beatmaker makes a beat — sometimes just a 4-8 bar loop, sometimes a sequence of different variations to illustrate different sections (verse, pre chorus, chorus etc.) either way, they’re committing an idea to tape (a hard drive these days) and moving on to the next one. the goal is to take those beats and work with a producer, or topliner to form those beats into a song. a producer oversees the entire creative process of crafting a song. everything from actually programming the beat, to collaborating with the artist/topliner in writing the lyric and melody, to cutting and editing the vocal, to overseeing the mix, and sometimes even mixing the record. let’s say you make an entire track, complete with arranged sections and someone else toplines and adds a kick or a snare, are they the producer now? should you get a co-production credit?


of beAtMAKing ebony oshunrinde, aka wondagurl is on Jay-z’s newest release, Magna Carta Holy Grail

as far as payment goes — if you are collaborating with other songwriters and producing a song to pitch, then you’re probably not going to get money upfront. if you’re working on a project to be released with the artist then you are entitled to compensation out of the production budget.


it’s not black and white, it depends on the situation.


what type of credit do beatmakers get? what rights do they retain?

in a perfect world, if you are contributing to the harmonic structure of a song, whether it be with a melody, or chord progression, you are entitled to a percentage of the back end income that the song generates. sometimes when you sell a track, the purchaser is also buying out your publishing. Hopefully this is established in writing. typically the end user of the beat will own the master.


Do you need expensive equipment to make broadcast quality beats?

no. all you need is a decent computer and some good software. When choosing software, make an informed purchase from a specialized music retailer, but you don’t need to spend 10’s of 1,000’s of dollars to get a great track making rig together.


what’s the difference between making a beat and a track? what’s the difference in payment?

it can be subjective. to me, a beat is an 8-32 bar sequence, and a track consists of that sequence arranged to form a complete song.

what are common mistakes made by would-be beatmakers?

Knowing when the track is done, and not obsessing over minute details. or being open to collaboration and letting other people into the creative process. it’s about putting your ego aside and doing what is right for the song.


any advice for people looking to find beats or tracks?


How can i start a career in beatmaking?

find someone who will work with you to get the sound you are after. instead of rummaging through a catalogue of tracks, find someone that will craft something for you, with your identity as an artist in mind.

Get out there and find people to make beats for. Go to shows, look for up-and-coming artists online — do whatever you need to do to get tracks done with like-minded, motivated artists.


what do you think of ebony oshunrinde’s (wondagurl) placement with Jay z?

if i had to sum it up, one word would do: HuGe! it’s proof you can make amazing music without super expensive equipment. she’s got a bright future ahead of her. aDaM BeatarD’s credits include Jacksoul and Japanese hits by Koda Kumi and Tohoshinki. He can be reached at

CMC SongwriterS Magazine


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Songwriters Magazine


The ins and outs

of being a Topliner

One of the most popular new ways for songwriters to collaborate is top-lining — best described as songwriting over an instrumental musical bed track in MP3 form, with or without a melody affixed to it. Here are the essentials of becoming a top-liner. By Vincent Degiorgio n Getting a track

Find someone you want to work with online and reach out to them. You might want to send them an example of your work. People may reach out to you because they have heard your voice, or know that you do something they don’t. A SoundCloud or Facebook page can help people “discover” you. If you are at the “pro” level already, past collaborators or current colleagues can connect you. Once you get a track, study it and find out how to make it work Listen to the song a few times from top to bottom. Some tracks, especially in the dance realm, may be created by DJs who are not musically trained. You may need to edit or rearrange the song. If you make any changes, let your writing partners know the what, and the why.

n Get to know who you’re working with

Mike James, once half of the dominant Hipjoint team and now president of his own Milk Music Co. production and publishing company, suggests reviewing the music from your prospective partners. “I like to get as much information from my co-writers as I possibly can, even to the point of reviewing their past work,” James noted. The more understanding you have about those you are “working” with, the better.


n Agreeing on the Split

Because of the anonymity of collaborators in certain circles, asking your co-writers how many writers worked on the music you’ve received is key. They will also ask

you if there is more than one topliner, as many work in teams. By asking at the beginning of your co-write, both parties know exactly where you stand. This is a safeguard against conflicts arising in the future about how many writers are actually involved. Some aspiring producers may try to have you assign your publisher’s share and even your writer’s share to them, claiming it is “promotional” if you are a vocalist. Our advice? Do not do it under any circumstances. Protect your copyrights at all times.

n Getting down to the writing:

Craig Smart, the velvet voiced crossover vocalist and writer responsible for the hits “1, 2, 3” and “One Life Stand,” has his own way of getting things started. “I like to vibe over the chords and get a melody going if I’m working on my own,” says Smart. “Once I have it, I go after the lyric.” The next step is to record a simple vocal guide to prep your creation for someone “real” to sing it.

you deliver a “finished” song.

n The song is finished — now what do you do?

As a co-writer, it is your duty to work your network immediately to reach whatever interested parties you can to make your collaboration take the next step. My own experience led me to gold records in Norway and Sweden and cuts in places as far reaching as South Africa and Taiwan. The finish line can come in a number of different ways and places.

n Your song is finished — and it’s been rejected. Is there a Plan B? Smart’s most recent international

release, “Time Of Our Lives,” that he co-wrote with Aileen de la Cruz was “passed on” by their original target in Belgium. “So I sent it to DJ Frank Caro in Spain, and it found a home,” he says. As long as there is an agreement in place between the original co-writers, a rejected “top-line” collaboration can absolutely find Plan B success. Vincent Degiorgio is a hit songwriter and President & CEO of Chapter 2 Productions Inc., and Cymba Music Publishing. His company has provided music for over 150 television shows including America’s Next Top Model, Degrassi and Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

n Cutting the Vocal

Make sure you’ve made a collective decision as to who will record the vocals. Some collaborators may already have a favourite vocalist in mind. You may also need to discuss if the song is better suited to a male or female voice. One of the worst mistakes a top-liner can make is sending a finished project over with a halfbaked vocal performance. This is exactly why James mentioned that he “doesn’t play anything for anyone until it is completely finished.” Your reputation and all that goes with it are on the line whenever

Vincent Degiorgio is a hit songwriter, president & CEO of Chapter 2 Productions and Cymba Music Publishing. His company has provided music for over 150 television shows including “America’s Next Top Model,” “Degrassi” and “Keeping Up With The Kardashians.”

Songwriters Magazine




RITING A HIT song is one of the hardest things to do in the world. It is an extraordinary human accomplishment that looks easy, like watching a world-class athlete. I would equate it to the difficulty of reaching the top of Mount Everest, but every year more people conquer Everest than have multinational hit songs. Just like the route to the top of Everest is littered with the bodies of those who made mistakes; the route to the top of music mountain is littered with the bodies of those whose songs were not strong enough. I’ve been in the room with a great number of famous recording artists, and one of their common traits is an awareness of the importance of having great songs, a commitment to making sure their songs are great, and an ability to be objective about whether or not what they are


it's all about


songwriter, had never released a record he wrote by himself. The Eagles co-wrote extensively among themselves, collaborated with non-band members, and even released singles written by other people. When he went solo, Henley continued this practice, including releasing singles not written by him. When we met


Writing a great song is a magical process, and great songs have a magic effect on listeners. writing is up to the task. They seem to instinctively know their success as a performer is highly dependent on, and ultimately limited by, the quality of the songs they sing. Several years ago I arranged a meeting with Don Henley of the Eagles. I had been discussing the power of collaboration with most of my EMI roster, and this was a chance for us to meet an artist who, despite his pedigree as a

up I asked him why. His response went something like this: “I know I have a healthy ego, but I can separate my artist ego and my songwriting ego. When Don Henley the artist is making a record, his only job is to make the best record humanly possible. If Don Henley the songwriter can write songs good enough to get on the record, great. If not, f--k him!” With rare exceptions, no one

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wakes up one day spitting out a great song. As with the elite athlete, few people imagine the thousands of hours of sacrifice that go into perfecting the songwriter’s craft, preparing them to properly channel “lightning bolt” inspiration into a fully crafted three-minute miracle. Writing a great song is a magical process, and great songs have a magic effect on listeners. As a teenager, I became obsessed with finding the key to making a magic record. Eventually I decided it had to have something to do with recording engineering. So I became one. It took me a long time to figure out it is not the effects, EQ, compression or mic techniques that make a magic record. It is not how the performer is singing, but what they are singing that is the key to a magic record. It is the song —

the melody and lyric (or the hook and the rap!). Unless the melody and lyric are magic, nothing else matters. Once they are, then everything else matters. It’s similar to a movie with great photography, stunts, effects, car chases and explosions. None of that matters unless the story is great. Great songwriters develop an objectivity about their own work, either internally or by trusting the objectivity of a co-writer, band mate, producer, manager, publisher, A&R person or friend. Those that get to “the top of the mountain” do so because they never compromise their standards, and don’t stop polishing until their work meets the test. And there is a test. I call it the “campfire test.” Most great songs can be performed stripped down to just vocal and guitar or keyboard, or even better — a cappella, and still sound great. More talented performers are held back by bad songs than there are talented writers held back by bad performing. Human nature tends to bias us in favour of our own ideas. Objectivity is a rare trait. If only sincerity dictated the strength of a song, there would be a lot more great songs around. MICHAEL MCCARTY is Chief Membership and Business Development Officer at SOCAN. He was previously president of both EMI Music Publishing and ole.


Taking care of A guide to self-care for songwriters For years, before I publicly 'outed' myself as someone who had lived with mood disorders, I had covertly shared my secret in these lines from my song, “I will take care of you.” mood disorder. Creative people are more susceptible to depression, anxiety, bipolar, obsessive compulsive disorder and addiction. As with any challenge there is an opportunity. I used my own vulnerability to educate myself on a range of modalities that I could incorporate in small ways to my daily life in order to create greater resilience. These daily behaviours are called ”self-care.” One of the current research trends in both physical and mental wellness is to regard the

“The mother says to the new born child Darling - I’m just as scared as you But I promise you somehow I will take care of you.”

Linda Stella Photography


hat was my veiled reference to the truth that becoming a mother was a difficult transition for me. I had my first brush with a mood disorder with post-partum depression. I didn’t receive treatment until I had a third episode of depression unrelated to childbirth. One in five people will at some point in their life experience a


Songwriters Magazine

body and mind as being on a continuum. Mental and physical health exists in four interconnected quadrants that all require equal attention: body, mind, heart and spirit. This is referred to as “the terrain.” How we take care of the terrain will predispose us to illness or wellness. With the body, proper nutrition, supplements and daily exercise are vital. It is important to consume adequate protein, as serotonin — the neurotransmitter that creates a feeling of wellbeing — is synthesized from the tryptophan in protein. It is important to consult with a naturopath to determine which supplements you particularly need. Exercise can boost levels of serotonin and beta-endorphin. Medication can be life changing and life saving. I know it was for me, as it showed me for the first time what it was like to live without anxiety. But this is a decision you have to make with your own doctor. Either a psychiatrist or a physician can dispense antidepressants, but I believe one should not just take pills without getting the “skills,” including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). That is where the “mind”

you By Amy Sky

self-care comes in — understanding how your thoughts create your moods is essential to learning CBT. A book called Mind over Mood by Dennis Greenberger is often used to teach the method. In terms of one’s “heart” it is important to understand the impact of significant relationships on your mental health. A therapist or life coach can help you examine family, romantic and professional relationships. Gaining emotional intelligence is critical. Finally, with the spirit I think of a healthy spirit as someone who is living in alignment with his or her core values. A person whose life path is at odds with their authentic self, will not function at their peak potential. If you suspect you have symptoms of a mood disorder,

“A person whose life path is at odds with their authentic self, will not function at their peak potential” you can take an online test at If you are at risk, please get the help you need. As songwriters we understand that deep pain and strife can become something of great beauty, through the alchemy of the creative process. So too can the proper treatment of mood disorders be a portal for us to step into the best version of ourselves. Amy Sky is a Canadian singer-songwriter, record producer, theatre actress, and television host. She recently released Alive and Awake, a CD of songs with themes of recovery, discovery, healing and joy. Her project also includes a monthly newsletter featuring holistic health tips.



What you don't know could hurt you By PaUL SanDerSon

wHat iS a ContraCt? A contract is an agreement between two or more parties to either perform or refrain from performing a lawful act.


wHat are tHe CoMPonentS MUSt ContraCtS Be in oF a ContraCt? writing to Be BinDing?

A legally binding agreement must Generally speaking, no. For have these three components: example, many artist management agreements are simply agreed on a “handshake.” such 1 An offer; ● an agreement is not legally 2 Acceptance; ● invalid and unenforceable 3 Consideration. ● because it is an oral agreement. agreements can be partly oral an offer must be clear and comand partly written. For example municated to the other party to the contract and that specific offer an exchange of emails can meet the definition of a contract, if must be accepted. they include an offer, acceptance In the course of negotiations and consideration. many counter offers may be however, certain contracts exchanged before an actual offer such as the transfer of copyright is accepted. therefore it can be unclear whether or not a specific interests, must be in writing to offer has actually been accepted. be valid. Be clear when responding to contract offers because even in wHy SHoULD ContraCtS the absence of an agreement, Be in writing? liabilities can result. A written agreement is clearer, Consideration is what makes more concise and far more a contract legally binding. In capable of enforcement in a most cases, it is the monetary court of law. It can be difficult payment to be made under the to prove the existence of an oral agreement, but can also include agreement. also, oral agreements credit for services rendered, that are unclear can result in bartered services, or refraining poor relationships. from doing an act. a written contract can allow

you to “contract to the contrary,” that is, outside of the statutory framework that would otherwise apply. For example, under the Copyright act, where a copyright protected work is done in the

course of employment by an artist who is an employee, the employer owns the copyright. however if the parties agree to “contract to the contrary,” the artist could retain the copyright.

wHat SHoULD Be inCLUDeD in an agr eeM

Here are some key issues that common

ly arise:


ts should clearly specify what services are 1 to begranprovt ofidedrighand/ or what products are to be supplied. the

typically entertainment contracts are contracts for services. the term of the agreement. what is the duration of the agreement? It should be clearly spelled out, as well as the rights that either party might have to term inate the term. typically an agreement can be terminate d based on certain events. For example, failure to pay a depo sit or termination on notice, which can typically be 30 days written notice. the notice clause defines how notice is to be given, either by personal delivery, registered mail, e-ma il, or any of these three methods. the notice clause is so important it is classed as one of the “boilerplate” prov isions. are rights granted on an exclusive or none xclusive basis?

2 3 4

5 Is the 6 see poinagret 3emeabovnte.revocable or irrevocable? Is the contract defined by or restricted to a specific 7 geograph ical territory? wha consideration to be paid? this could be a 8 fee and/t isortheothe r consideration including such things

continued over the page

SongwriterS Magazine


BUSINESS eeMent? continued wHat SHoULD Be inCLUDeD in an agr

supplied, travel as accommodation, per diems, meals t be negotiated. expenses and other benefits that migh on certain events, or In situations where a fee is contingent , it is highly advisable paid be to there is a continuing royalty so you can verify the se clau t audi to include an accounting and such a clause, one of nce abse amount that is to be paid. In the such right. lish estab to r would have to obtain a court orde ract is on the actual make sure the proper party to the cont be an individual, agreement as a signator, whether that is clearly contracting partnership or corporation, so that one d under the agreement. with the proper party who is to be boun Corporation Inc., For example, if you’re dealing with aBC Corporation Ltd., and the contract is under the name aBC contract. you do not have the proper party to the



BreaCH oF ContraCt

Legal advice should be obtained if a contract is breached, depending on what is at stake financially and whether or not the cost of legal counsel is warranted. If you are not incorporated, keep in mind that personal liability can result in situations where you


SongwriterS Magazine

Find DIY resources, tips, and advice for songwriters at

personally signed an agreement. The above does not constitute legal advice and in any given situation skilled legal advice should be sought. PaUL SanDerSon is a lawyer in private practice with Sanderson entertainment Law, ( He is the author of Musicians and the Law in Canada (Carswell).



Getting social

Creating status updates for Facebook and Twitter that aren't about you



elcome to the world of social media, bands and artists. Or should I call you b(r)ands? If you are not thinking of yourself as a brand, you’re missing out. Your audience and fans, present and future, live online. They discover new music through YouTube, Facebook and Twitter as often as (or I might argue more than) through radio. The rise of social media has turned you into a brand in our own right — your image, your story, your life can all be part of building that. When you’re releasing or promoting a song, it can be about more than just the words and music — you’re selling you — the entire package. Whether you’re engaged in social media or not, conversations about you are happening. Through social media your fans find each other and you. Be part of the conversation. I would encourage you to be more than part of it — guide it and own it. It’s not just tweeting photos of your breakfast or teasing about your new release. So what do you share? Here are some suggestions:

Life lessons: Share your biggest or most recent ah-ha moments. Help your audience, followers and friends get to know a little bit about you. Let them see what inspires you, what moves you, what fills you up — anything that shows you are more than a voice with a mic or photo on an album cover. Be the expert: That you are an artist makes you an expert on being one in an industry that remains elusive and fascinating to your fans. Where do you go to listen to music? Create and share an Rdio playlist or Pinterest board of bands, lyrics, and photos you love. Strike a chord: Share content that will strike an emotional chord — make them laugh, cry, think and feel. Make them feel something, anything — even if it’s that silly

By Eric Alper animal video currently going viral. Inspiration: We all have our favourite inspirational quotes. Share the ones from famous authors, artists or business leaders who inspire you. FACT: Quotes are the most retweeted content on Twitter while photos paired with quotes get shared most often on Facebook. I mix them up between the thoughtful ones and downright absurd.

Social Justice or Call To Action: A positive outcome of having a fanbase or audience is your potential to use your reach for good. Good with a capital G. You can use your voice to inspire, encourage, educate, and spread compassion and understanding. Post information about your favourite charity that needs help fundraising or building awareness. Share your journey on reaching a goal such as weight loss, shedding a bad habit like quitting smoking, or being eco-friendly. By doing this, you may inspire others as well as connect with people with the same interests. Your b(r)and is strengthened when your core values align

with those of your fans. Start a conversation: Think of social media as dropping in at a party. Ask people to post photos of their fave album cover, or fave artist and why. But don’t stop at music — ask for opinions on books and movies. Share predictions for the Oscars, Emmys, or Grammys. Ask people to post the one item of food they can make really, really well. You might learn something new in the process. One really great question I had a lot of responses for was: “My hidden talent is/ Bet you didn’t know I ______.” Share what you’re doing: Talk about the adventures you experience while not working. This could include concerts, other bands you’re seeing, giving props to other acts. Post a few shots of your visit to the zoo, the park, or even the family. Share a new recipe if you cook. Celebrate: There is a wealth of bizarre, unique, special and otherwise different holidays. Looking for a wacky day to celebrate and post? How about International Drum Month, Moldy Cheese Day, Moment of Frustration Day, Wear Something Gaudy Day, National Bologna Day and that’s just in October. Have fun — ask your audience for photos back too. Don’t forget Father’s Day, Mother’s Day and the other ‘real’ holidays to share a story — tell your fans something about your parents. Engage: Do a Twitter or Facebook interview. Offer yourself up for a live Q&A, even if you only have a few minutes or an hour or two while on a bus. Get your fans to ask away. At the end of it all, always, always, thank your community for following you. And never forget to tell them you’re freaking lucky for getting to do what you do everyday. As Director of Media Relations for eOne Music Canada, Eric Alper has handled PR for Bob Geldof, Ringo Starr, Deborah Cox and thousands of others over 20 years. @ThatEricAlper has more than 150,000 followers on Twitter (

Songwriters Magazine



yOu nEEd HELP Building a team to succeed By LiLy Cheng

“Your focus as an artist should always be on the creative and the execution of your creation — writing, recording and performing.” James Campbell


heSe DAYS iT’S cool to be “indie,” but that doesn’t mean you should do everything by yourself. in fact, most famous “indie” artists work with labels to get their music out there. Getting signed is still an important career milestone providing you with access to a team of service providers and consultants.   we talked with industry veterans James campbell, currently a consultant with Slaight music, and kim cooke, owner of Pheromone recordings, about what kind of help artists should look for, either independently or through a label. here are some of the services you will need:


■ Manager

with or without a label, one important player who can make a big difference is a manager. managers are usually paid 15-20 per cent of your revenue, providing you with experience, tools, connections, and advice. Alternatively, project managers who can be hired as consultants, can play a similar role. A manager or label can oversee both marketing and artist development. Artists are guided towards finding their sound, the right co-writers and producers, as well as planning the key marketing tools that will help a release cut through the noise. Managers can help you do the following: get connected: labels and managers connect you with a network of professionals to help you develop the best product and launch. This can include professional

songwriters, producers, image consultants, photographers, etc. Launch beyond borders: Their relationships in other countries will help you find champions in other territories. in helping launch cowboy Junkies to the international market, campbell knew who to contact and what was needed to spread the word. boost your songwriting: Your mom may love your song, but she can’t tell you how to tweak it to make it sell. with 25 years of industry experience, campbell often helps his artists perform song surgery after he has helped choose strong contenders for release. Secure funding: A manager or label can either apply to FAcTor on your behalf or guide you through the process. having their support can boost the credibility of your application. Some artists hire grant-writing specialists to help them with this task.

■ booKing agent

Someone who secures performance opportunities for the artist such as club and festival dates.

■ pubLiCiSt

Someone with longstanding connections to the media who can help get your story and music into mainstream media, online media and blogs.

■ radio proMoter/traCKer

if you’re a commercial radio artist you will need someone to promote your songs to radio stations to secure airplay.

ANDY GRIFFITHS new album now available on iTunes visit for live show listings and more info


SongwriterS Magazine

■ digitaL branding teaM or SoCiaL Media SpeCiaLiSt

This person or team helps you develop online content and imaging, maximizing your effectiveness on social media where it’s no longer enough just to be present. Tools they may use include webisodes, videos, podcasts, photoshoots, live performance capture and online media purchasing in addition to guiding social media postings for content and timing to maximize reach.

■ buSineSS adMiniStration/ buSineSS Manager

once your music brings in revenue, having these services at your disposal can help you keep track of income and ensure you get paid.

■ CaShFLow

many of the above-mentioned services cost money that must be spent before it is made. if you don’t have label support, it will come out of your pocket. can an artist successfully wear all of these hats? cooke had one artist who wanted to self-manage, but realized he couldn’t by the end of the project. ultimately, DiY artists need to juggle being an artist, recording, and touring while supervising the business aspects — requiring extreme organizational skills and dedication. LiLy Cheng is a singer/songwriter, social media and communications strategist and passionate about building community.

i n d u s t ry

Fair Trade music A global initiative working for you


hile much work still needs to be done towards making Fair Trade Music a tangible option for music creators and consumers, considerable groundwork has already been laid. In particular, there has been a coming together of several key organizations that combined represent more than 25,000 music creators around the world. Building relationships takes time — especially when it involves different languages, cultures, time zones and contexts. Despite these challenges, S.A.C.’s president, Eddie Schwartz, has been tireless in his dedication to the cause that songwriters should be fairly compensated for their work. Members of the Songwriters Association of Canada have much to be proud of for the role our organization has played in spearheading the international conversation that led to the Fair Trade Music initiative. It is no small feat to gather the consensus of so many organizations.



Why are these relationships so important?

Songwriters need a united voice. While many parties claim to speak on behalf of music creators, no one can speak for songwriters and composers better than they can for themselves. This is a global issue. The ability of creators to make a living has been threatened around the world. We are dealing with international companies.

2 3

Most of the large companies that are conduits to music consumers are multinationals. As a result, creators need to organize globally in order to have a unified voice. Advocating only locally, or even nationally, is no longer an option.


Here are the principles the Fair Trade Music initiative is based on:

1 Fair compensation l 2 Transparency l 3 l Recapture of our rights 4 Independent Music l Creator Organizations 5 Freedom of speech l For a full description of the five principles please visit:

By Lily Cheng

Who is on board? l

European Composer and Songwriter Alliance (ECSA) - represents more than 40 member organizations across Europe


Music Creators North America (MCNA)


International Council of Creators of Music (CIAM), 


Pan African Composers and Songwriters Alliance (PACSA)


Alliance of Latin American Creators of Music (ALCAM)


Songwriters Association of Canada (S.A.C.)


Screen Composers Guild of Canada (SCGC)

In North America:


La Société professionnelle des auteurs et des compositeurs du Québec (SPACQ)


The Society of Composers and Lyricists (SCL)


Songwriters Guild of America (SGA)


Songwriters Guild of America Foundation (SGAF) 130604fairtrademusic.aspx

What can you do? Support the abovementioned organizations by becoming a member and/or donating money towards their efforts.


Stay informed and educated as a music consumer about how creators are compensated by the services you access l

SaskMusic represents, promotes and develops the commercial music industry of Sask with programming including career consults, workshops, marketing, networking opportunities and much more. Our artists and music professionals hail from across the province, and work in pretty much every genre you can imagine. If you have questions about the Saskatchewan music industry, we can help. Call us at 1-306-347-0676.

We are the voice of Saskatchewan music !

l When a Fair Trade Music option is available, choose platforms that have the seal of approval to buy or sell your music. l Encourage songwriters to do business with Fair Trade Music certified organizations.

Songwriters Magazine



HOW TO GET A SYNC Advice from a music supervisor



download an entire album in one zipped file. Other services include WeTransfer and Hightail.

HE SONGWRITERS ASSOCIATION of Canada is pleased to add Heather Gardner, head of music supervision & licensing at Vapor Music to the roster of people we’ve interviewed for our Songwriters’ Webinar Series. You can watch this and other videos in our library of interviews with music industry professionals on Channel S.A.C. found in the “members-only” area at Here is some of the advice Gardner shared:


Music supervisors appreciate when people have done their research. Please do not email them and ask, “What projects are you working on?” as this information is usually easily attainable through IMDB, and in Gardner’s case, via Twitter @HeatherAdamo. Watch the credits of shows you think your music would suit and find the listed music supervisor. You could also research brands their company regularly work with and pitch your music that goes with those brands. For example, you wouldn’t pitch heavy metal to a brand like Walmart — though there are always exceptions! Also note that while most Canadian music supervisors have an open door policy when it comes to receiving unsolicited material, the opposite is generally true for bigger U.S. networks, so find out each music supervisor’s submission policy.

descriptions such as, “Sounds like…” helps music supervisors categorize your music. Nearly all projects provide musical references, so a music supervisor is often working to replace a temp track or matching a genre or style the creative team has chosen. It is a matter of luck if you submit exactly the same reference they are seeking.


Make sure your metadata is complete including the right contact information. Your songs will be uploaded into a vast library, and physical CDs, if submitted, are generally tossed after upload. Therefore, you want your information embedded in the tracks themselves so a music supervisor can quickly know who to contact if your track is chosen (there’s nothing worse than music that imports as “Track 1”, “Track 2”, etc. with no way to contact the artist).

PROVIDE MUSICAL REFERENCES Ultimately, your music will speak for itself, however, providing

CHANNEL S.A.C. VIDEOS INCLUDE: ● Songwriting & Publishing ● Advanced Music Publishing ● Grant Tips for Songwriters ● Career Strategies ● Vocal Warm-Ups ● Going Indie in Urban Music ● Tax Tips ● Getting Your Music into Film & TV ● Work/Life Balance for Songwriters




Your priority track may not be the same as what the music supervisor is looking for, so Gardner prefers full albums. That being said, all music supervisors’ submission preferences vary — some only want a few songs, some want many, some want streaming links, others want downloads, some want CDs, and on and on — so be sure to tailor your pitches to each supervisor’s needs.


Heather Gar



While SoundCloud is great for listening, it can be tedious for music supervisors to download an album track by track (if downloading is even enabled). Gardner prefers receiving a zipped file of all tracks which would then be uploaded into her song library. She especially likes Dropbox because it allows her to preview the songs online while providing the option to

Make sure you know: ● Who owns the masters? ● Who are all the co-writers? ● Who owns the publishing? ● Do the co-writers have publishers? ● Have all the samples on your track been cleared? (Know that even if you have cleared your samples, the music supervisor still needs to clear them separately for licensing purposes) The worse case scenario is if a music supervisor successfully pitches your song to a project, only to have the contract process stalled because you don’t know this information or there is an additional party involved who complicates things. Telling music

Finding a pitch company


HERE ARE MANY companies whose entire job is to represent your music for licensing. They come with a built-in network of music supervisors, film and television producers, advertising execs, trailer houses, gaming companies and everybody else who uses music commercially, saving you the work of building all those relationships yourself and becoming a trusted music source. They also handle all licensing administration for you — negotiations, contracts, invoicing, and making sure you get paid. There is never a guarantee that having a pitch company represent your music will result in placements, but their expertise, network and knowledge of the music licensing world makes one of these individuals a fantastic asset to your team. Although these companies have the same mission, they are often structured

differently, so it’s important to understand the deal you’re getting into. Most music licensing companies get paid a previously agreed upon percentage of your upfront licensing fees, letting you retain any backend performance royalties. That being said, there are some companies that require a fee upfront, charge various admin fees, or want a percentage of your performance royalties. Make sure you know which category the company you’re speaking to falls under so there are no surprises and you understand your options. Deals with pitch companies can also be exclusive or non-exclusive. Many companies (and music supervisors!) stress the benefits of exclusivity — with one person pitching your music there is no confusion on the music supervisor’s part as to who to go to for clearance. If a


A good pitch company only makes money when you make money. They usually get a percentage of your sync. See article below for more information.

greatly dependent upon your level of fame and the type of usage. Every project is different and every budget is different, but all are looking for the best music. Landing any sync can expand your audience, especially if you take the opportunity to promote your music to the project’s built-in fan base (social media is great for this).



supervisors you have these details secured in advance gives them confidence to consider your music.


Nobody likes getting mass email. Getting a personal email still brightens Gardner’s day, even if it’s an email that’s been personalized with a mail merge.  


Unless you own a Beatles song being used in a major ad campaign, chances are you won’t strike gold with a sync. Cues on a Canadian show can range from around $500 for background music to more for a more featured use, depending on your level of fame and on a thousand other factors. Rates for advertising cues can range

At the end of the day, luck and timing are huge factors to a song’s successful pitch. If you don’t hear back from a music supervisor, do not hesitate to check in from time to time. But don’t stalk them. Sometimes a song may be in a music supervisor’s library for months or years before it gets submitted for an opportunity, so the more supervisors who have your music the more chances you have of being placed. HEATHER GARDNER’S projects include: Seed, Rookie Blue, Less Than Kind, Todd and the Book of Pure Evil, The Whistleblower, The Bang Bang Club and Textuality.

BY HEATHER GARDNER supervisor receives the same song from four different people it complicates licensing, and may cause a song to not be chosen even though it may be the perfect fit. On the other hand, many companies offer non-exclusive agreements allowing you to continue to pitch your own music or work with other pitch companies. If this is the case, make sure all parties are aware of each other so that your music is not being double pitched for the same projects and the process stays simple. If you’re looking for a pitch company, there are lots of fantastic options, both within Canada and internationally. Approach them like you would any music supervisor — send an email with a link to stream (ideally with the option to download) your music rather than sending attachments or MP3s. Make sure you’re clear on who owns

your music, both the masters and publishing. Include a short bio with information about yourself — whether you’ve been synched before, press quotes, who you’ve been compared to, but keep it short and let the music be the star. Remember these people are incredibly busy and will try to get to your music, but it may take them some time to do so, so give them that time to listen and respond. Many pitch companies work with smaller rosters to ensure they’re able to devote their full attention to each of their clients (you), so don’t give up if you get a “no”! Many thanks to JANESTA BOUDREAU (Rocking Horse Road Productions), MIKE JANSEN (The Greater Goods Co.), JESSICA GAREY (FireFly Music, LLC) and ADRIAN GAGNON (Brightmind Music) for sharing their insights.

POEM PARADIS Many rhyming poems to offer for songwriting, cartoons, commercials, jingles, movies, themes, TV, etc. For Alternative, Contemporary Christian, Country, Dance, Easy Listening, Folk, Pop, Rock, Reggae music, etc. Lyricist, co-songwriter, voice-overs, author, percussionist.





How Thom Yorke And Nigel Godrich Pulled Their Solo Recordings From Spotify Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich, best known for their work with Radiohead, blew up the Internet when they abruptly pulled some of their catalogue from Spotify. How did they manage to do what other artists and songwriters can’t seem to do? Short answer: because they controlled all or most of the rights to their recordings. They actually pulled their recordings but not BY DAVID LOWERY their songs. Confused? Let’s dive in.


The copyrights for songs and recordings are two separate copyrights. Sometimes they are owned by the same individuals or companies. But most of the time they are not. Any service using a recording needs two licences. One from the songwriter and another from the owner of the recording. This is why there are songwriter royalties and performer royalties. Copyrights for songs and copyrights for recordings are


treated differently under the law. Different rules, rates and uses are mandated (or not mandated) by the government for songs and recordings. Different rules and rates are mandated (or not mandated) for different kinds of digital services. Webcasting has different rules and rates than streaming. Webcasting and streaming are two totally different kinds of digital services.



Spotify is like virtually owning a song and is pure “consumption,” not promotion. Pandora allows you to play a particular artist on demand but not the exact song. Pandora is a combination of promotion and consumption. A compulsory license is a use that is essentially mandated by the government. It is a use for which a songwriter or performer cannot “opt out.” It also generally mandates a price the songwriter and performer must sell the right to use that song or recording. However, companies and individuals may privately negotiate that rate lower. A consent decree is similar to a compulsory license but it’s even weirder. It essentially allows a service to use a song while negotiating prices and use of song. Again, it’s virtually impossible for an individual songwriter to “opt out.” The consent decree only covers songs, not recordings.



Still with me? Here comes the interesting part.

7 Spotify use a compulsory Streaming services like

license and the consent decree to allow it access to songs. But there is no compulsory license for the recordings. Therefore Spotify had to go around and cut private deals with all the major record labels and a large alliance of independent labels. Independent artists often get their recordings on Spotify through services called aggregators. These aggregators also cut deals with Spotify. So for recordings these are all private agreements. No one is compelled by the government to let Spotify play their recordings.



8 control all or most of their

Since Yorke and Godrich likely

rights to their solo recordings they could pull their recordings from Spotify. Remember there is no compulsory license for recordings when it comes to Streaming services. Yorke and Godrich are not mandated to let Spotify use their recordings. But Radiohead is still on Spotify? Yes. Yorke and Godrich are unlikely to control these recordings. These recordings are likely controlled by their record label or perhaps Yorke simply decided to leave his “back catalogue” on Spotify. On the other hand, Spotify has a government mandated compulsory license to use any songs. No songwriter can prevent the use of their songs on a commercial service like Spotify as long as they pay the government-mandated royalty. This is true for any streaming service. So, strangely, someone could record covers of Yorke and Godrich’s songs and put them back on Spotify. Pandora and webcasters are in an even stronger position. They enjoy government-mandated access and rates for both the song copyrights and the recording copyrights. Technically there is a consent decree for the songs and then a compulsory license for the recordings. Neither songwriters nor performers can “opt out” of webcasting no matter how terrible the rates. Hence Yorke and Goodrich are still on Pandora. I sort of lied about No.11. You can opt out but it’s a sort of “nuclear option.” I don’t quite understand how this works yet but it goes something like this: If you as a songwriter also happen to be what is known as a







publisher AND you are represented by the non-profitmember-owned American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers, apparently you can withdraw your digital rights from ASCAP and cut, or rather choose NOT to cut, a direct deal with Pandora and other webcasters. The downside is, if you want to be on some digital services but not others, you have to go around and individually negotiate deals and collect monies, throwing away your right to be part of any collectivelike bargaining. Good luck getting paid, too. DAVID LOWERY is a singer/songwriter and guitarist for the bands Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker. He is also an avid blogger on creator’s rights.

Thoughts from a Canadian perspective WE ASKED DANIEL GERVAIS, PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL COPYRIGHT LAWS AND TREATIES AT VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY, AND A WORLD RENOWNED CANADIAN EXPERT, TO COMMENT ON DAVID LOWERY’S BLOG. In Canada, there are three distinct rights: ● One in the musical work (first owner of this right is the songwriter/ composer but for most forms of music it is generally shared between the songwriter and the publisher); ● One in the performance (initial owner if the performer/artist); and ● One in the recording (initially owner by the producer (“maker”) of the recording, generally the label). Each right can be divided into parts. There can be multiple writers for a song, but beyond that each owner of all or part of a song, performance or recording can license or transfer rights by form of exploitation (use), territory etc. The songwriter’s rights in the musical work can thus be split: the public performance and

communication right can be transferred to SOCAN, while the publisher may own the reproduction (“mechanicals”) right. Some mechanical rights are exercised via collectives such as the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency/CSI (CMRRA-SODRAC Inc.) Performers and sound recording producers work via Re:Sound for some forms of exploitation and keep others. In Canada, the Copyright Board oversees collectives. While not all collectives are under the exact same legal regime (mechanicals and public performance are treated differently), the Copyright Board of Canada has unified hearings on certain uses, basically determining the total value of the use and then splitting the payment between the various collectives involved. The debate is different in

Canada. If a collective has the right to license a use, the Copyright Board can license the entire use and split the funds among collectives. Labels may try to retain the right to license certain on-demand services and retain ”veto” power. However even then the Board may set the value of the writer’s (SOCAN) share taking account of the price paid (after a negotiation with the user). Arguably, songwriters might be better protected if new services could experiment and pay a set rate, with a clear obligation to split revenue among writers, publishers, artists and labels. This is more achievable in Canada (via the Board) then in the U.S., because the PROs are likely to remain under the yoke of antitrust (consent decree) control no matter what happens to the licensing of recordings.




Getting Paid From


By Jeff Price

to grant a licence, then YouTube isn’t click the monetize button, YouTube then ccording to their site, sells ads onto your video. When YouTube gets allowed to make any ad money from the YouTube gets over one billion unique views. But if all three agree to allow YouTube paid by the advertiser they keep about 45 per views a month, with more than 100 to use their copyright, then ads can appear hours of video uploaded every minute. cent of the money and pay you 55 per cent. around the video and all three get to share in Things gets more complicated if you add So how does YouTube make money? Adverthe ad money. In order for the owner of the music to your video. For example, if you take tising. In 2012 alone, YouTube made more than $3 billion U.S. in gross revenue from ads. a video of your fingers wiggling, the video has master and the owner of the composition to grant the right to YouTube, they must have a one copyright, for the video itself. If you add Does YouTube share any of this ad money “direct licensing” deal with YouTube. Direct music, it now has three copyrights: one for with the people who created the videos? licensing deals are usually made between the video, one for the owner of the recording Yes, and this is where copyright comes in. large music companies and YouTube, not of the song and one for the songwriter of the The moment we create those videos, by individual artists and YouTube. they’re copyright-protected. This means “Does YouTube share any of this ad money If you wrote a song, recorded it, and we, and only we, get to say how our then put it into a video you shot, then videos can or cannot be used, and by with the people who created the videos? you control all the copyrights in the video whom. If anyone else wants to use our Yes, and this is where copyright comes in.” and can click the “monetize” button video, they’re legally required to get a allowing you to share in the ad money. lyrics and melody of the song. It’s possible for licence from us. That includes YouTube. You can also use a service like Audiam to a songwriter to make a deal assigning control When we agree to YouTube’s terms and find other people’s videos on YouTube using of their copyright to a music publisher; if you conditions and upload a video, we grant your music. Audiam will find the videos, tell haven’t made a deal with a publisher you are them the licence to show our video. But this YouTube to place ads on them, and get you your own publisher. doesn’t allow YouTube to make ad money your percentage of the advertising money. For YouTube to make advertising money from our videos. To get us to grant it the right from a video with music in it, it needs a to monetize our videos, YouTube recently SOCAN Consultant Jeff Price is founder licence from the creator of the video; the created a way for anyone to upload a video of TuneCore and founder/CEO of and share in the ad money by placing a button owner of the master, and the owner of the Twitter: @TuneCoreJeff next to each video that says “monetize.” If you composition. If any one of the three refuses


Songwriters Magazine



sPeAK tHe


studio lingo for songwriters

arrangeMent: refers to the instrumentation and harmonic information of a song. BalanCe: the relative volume level of various instruments. BleeD: describes wanted or unwanted sound picked up by microphones, from other instruments or headphones. BounCe: committing a track, or mix to file in a dAW. CanS: Another word for headphones. CHart: Music notation containing harmonic and rhythmic information. CliCK traCK: A track with a metronome beat used by musicians to play along with or to synchronize performances. CoMP: Short for “composite,” combining the best parts of multiple performances into one “take.” CoMPreSSor: A device that reduces an audio signal by a predefined ratio when it passes a certain threshold. ConDenSer MiC: commonly used for recording vocals due to greater sensitivity and wide frequency range. it uses a capacitor to capture sound pressure information. CroSS faDe: Lowering the volume in one track, as the volume is raised in another for a seamless performance. often used to smooth and repair edits between

non-contiguous performances. Daw: digital Audio Workstation, a computer system designed to record, edit and playback digital audio. eg. Pro tools, Logic, cubase, etc. De-eSSer: A device, circuit, or plug-in designed to reduce excessive sibilant ‘S’ or ‘Sh’ sounds. DelaY: An effect used to create an echo or repeat of a sound. DouBle traCK: recording an almost identical track overtop of an existing track to enhance or thicken the sound. DYnaMiCS: refers to the volume range in an audio signal. eQ: Short for equalizer. A hardware device or plugin used to boost or cut a frequency or group of frequencies. latenCY: the delay between the input and output of an audio signal caused by computing time spent processing the signal. MaSter reCorDing: the final original recording from which copies can be made or that can be used for digital distribution. MaStering: the final stage in the recording process, involving the overall compressing, eQ’ing and limiting of the stereo twochannel mix. MiDi: Musical instrument digital interface. A computer control language containing information about a performance independent of any particular sound,

By ar un CHaturVeDi

which can be sent to ‘trigger’ virtual instruments. MiXing: the process of combining and balancing audio signals in a multi-track recording. Monitor SPeaKerS: Speakers designed for a studio environment. Multi-traCKing: recording separate audio tracks to be combined during the mixing stage. oVerDuB: recording an additional part while listening to an existing recording. PaD: 1. An attenuator used to reduce the level of a signal. 2. A sustained chord or sound used to create an atmospheric effect. Plug in: Software designed to run within a dAW, which can be applied to a track, or multiple tracks. PoP filter: A shield or screen placed between vocalist and mic to reduce plosive sounds such as “P” and “F”. Pre aMP: A device that boosts low-level signals (eg. microphone) into line level signals. Pre-ProDuCtion: the stage before recording, when a song is refined and decisions about key, tempo, and arrangement are made. Pre roll: Playback that runs before recording begins allowing musicians to get a feel for the tempo and groove.

ProXiMitY effeCt: in recording, the closer a mic is placed to a sound source, the more pronounced the bass frequencies become. PunCH in: inserting a newly recorded part, often a correction, into an existing track. digitally ‘correcting’ the rhythm of a recording to lock to a grid of bars and beats. reVerB: An effect that gives a sense of depth, or the illusion of a particular space, (i.e. hall, church, etc.). riff: A short instrumental musical phrase or signature part in a song. SCratCH traCK: temporary guide recording to be used for overdubbing final tracks. SiBilanCe: high pitched, ‘hissy’ frequencies produced with certain sounds like ‘S’ or ‘Sh’. SteMS: the individual elements of a production mixed down separately. For example, drum, vocal, bass and guitar stems are often printed when finalizing mixes. talK BaCK MiC: Mic system allowing engineers and producers to communicate with performers in another room. teMPo: the rate of speed of a song, usually represented in beats per minute. traCKing: A synonym for recording. i.e.: tracking a guitar = recording a guitar. tV traCK: A recording with muted vocals used in film and television. arun CHaturVeDi is a Toronto based Songwriter, Record Producer, and Composer for Film & TV. He won “Producer of the year” at the 2011 Western Canadian Music Awards and has written & produced for artists including James Struthers, Flo, Luke McMaster, Juno nominated Little Hawk and more. His Film and TV credits include Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Pretty Little Liars, Degrassi and many others. He can be reached at

SongwriterS Magazine


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There have been a lot of things happening at the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent On Recordings (FACTOR) in the last year, and we are really excited to share them. BY SioBHan ozege



N APRIL WE LAUNCHED a new approach and restructuring of our programs. Working in consultation with the Canadian Independent Music Association, the Music Managers’ Forum, the Canadian Music Publishers Association, the National Advisory Board and other stakeholders, we spent much of the 2012-2013 year engaged in a fundamental redesign of our program structure and eligibility criteria. This work was done in conjunction with the design and build of a new online application system, public website, back-end application processing database, and a

significant staff restructuring. As the music industry continues to adapt to changing times, so do the programs we administer. Receiving funding doesn’t come in one single form, and it doesn’t subscribe to any specific genre of music or region of Canada. In fact, we’ve been making a lot of changes to our programs to help make the organization more readily adaptable to the changing needs of the industry and to help support grassroots artists and events. We’ve been working on ways to make the application process easier for applicants, and to assign everyone a project coordinator

who is available to help them through the steps of applying for FACTOR funding. We call it FACTOR 2.0. A major change that we’ve introduced is a ratings system to help streamline our process. Previously, a lot of weight was placed on the number of records sold within a certain time frame. Using this as the only metric is no longer the most accurate way to determine eligibility. Presently, there are 13 qualifying criteria set out in the artist profile that helps us determine eligibility and funding. All of these criteria make up a score. Each artist profile score is assessed against the scores of all the other artist profiles in our system. Your artist rating reflects how you scored compared to all other artists. Some of these criteria include: sales and number of albums released in the last five years, social media following, radio charting history, press history, and notable awards. It’s just one of the many changes to FACTOR 2.0. We’ve got some exciting projects coming down the pipeline that we can’t wait to share. If you’re thinking about applying for FACTOR funding, we encourage you to apply. We’re pretty friendly, and are happy to help. SioBHan ozege is Communications and Stakeholder Relations Officer with FACTOR. (


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When to turn to the pros when promoting yourself Q&A WITH JANE HARBURY When should an artist hire a publicist? HARBURY: I strongly advise against rushing into a relationship with a publicist until the artist has key elements in place such as a plan for recording and then promoting this with public dates. Personally, I am unwilling to enter into any working relationship with an artist until I’ve heard, and liked the music. It’s hard to enlist media support and anyone involved with an artist must believe in them and their music. What kind of tools should artists have ready before approaching a

publicist and what elements do you assist artists with? HARBURY: I like to be involved in the bio preparation. It’s not a deal breaker if the artist comes with a perfect bio, however if an artist has been a “do-it-yourselfer” their bio may not truly fit the bill without some “interference” from an outside source. It is essential to have good digital photos — horizontal and vertical options. Good album art is another essential. We like to work closely with artists in the creation of Electronic Press Kits (EPKs), photos and bios. Regarding tour schedules it’s always a good plan to get out of an artist’s hometown from a

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publicist’s perspective. It’s hard to get attention on a national level if the artist is only planning hometown appearances. Are hard copy press kits still used in the industry? HARBURY: Rarely. We don’t send out physical media kits. We believe “less is more.” In today’s world the important factor is an easy path to everything on the artist’s website. What qualifications should artists look for in a publicist? HARBURY: Someone who “gets” the music/the artist/their vision. Someone other folks [perhaps with similar musical talent] recommends. Hiring a publicist is a personal thing. We like to have a relationship with our clients and it’s a two-way street. We are charged with not using any personal information they do not want shared. We definitely become a confidante. Is finding a genre-specific publicist important? HARBURY: Not necessarily, but an artist and publicist must feel good about their relationship. We don’t guarantee coverage/play. I always tell artists they should run for the hills if a publicist guarantees them coverage — it’s not ours to guarantee. We can promise that everyone who should know, will know. How can artists build their own publicity before attaining the necessary buzz to partner with a publicist? HARBURY: Making the right

moves is essential — play your music where you can. I am not a huge advocate of running from open stage to open stage. My experience is those who do are not interested in supporting others. They sign up, get their time slot, leave, chat and come back for that time only. I always wonder why anyone does this, other than perhaps

In today’s world the important factor is an easy path to everything on the artist’s website. honing their skill with few people hearing them. The occasional open stage might mean an artist can get family and friends to come and support them — then, if the club owner/booker hears that they brought in X number of people, he/she might offer an artist a full set/opening act etc. Also consider joining the S.A.C. What are common mistakes made by new artists? HARBURY: One of the biggest things to overcome is a refusal to compromise. It’s great to have strong beliefs and principles — but very few, if any artists can do it and have it all their own way — a little give and take is a wonderful thing. If you do take the leap and hire a publicist be open to their ideas — that’s presumably why you hired them. JANE HARBURY is an award-winning publicist. She founded Jane Harbury Publicity (JHP) in 1988. Her clients have included the Juno Awards, NXNE, Gemini Awards, BMG Music, The Chieftains, Borealis Records and The Toronto Independent Music Awards.



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Songwriters magazine 13/14  

Your source for peer-to-peer songwriter career advice