Thursday, 20 February 2014

Competitive Energy

Wednesday is here and we have our second Context and Methodology meeting featuring our research proposals. It was a lengthy class lasting the maximum time and we didn't finish everyone's research proposals.

So here is my gripe, one time only, hear me out: if you are going to take up class time on questions or insist on having special class times, DO THE DAMN WORK. This isn't high school anymore. Okay, I'm done. And we're happy! And we're all friends! And I am ready to PARTYYY (Kristin Wiig voice from Bridesmaids).

February 19th, 2014

My research question is A Transformation: Introducing the Performing Producer/Songwriter

I have chosen this topic because it really pertains to my personal aspirations and will give me an incentive to dive into the grueling, tedious, heavy topic of the music business. If you ever can't sleep, just start reading about the controlled composition clause. Anyway, it is interesting, just heavy and scary at times. Every chapter is a reminded that you are going to have to work a lot harder. Richard thinks I have anxiety every now and then (he's probably right) and so I know I am a bit crazy about the subject...

Here is my abstract and a few sources and quotes that I have found in my research.


The music business is a myriad of roles including songwriters, publishers, musicians, producers, managers, engineers, and armies of record label affiliates to name a few. The two aspects about the music industry that has continued to be true are that it all starts with the songwriter, and that the industry is always changing. The music business evolves almost as quickly as technology. It was only a matter of time before the two fields became inseparable for the songwriter. There are thousands of songwriters, musicians, and artists all working towards the same goal—to find a place in the brutal world of the music business. Where there is competition, there will be evolution and selection. The standard has shifted from lyricist/musician forming the songwriter to the singer/songwriter forming the performer, and finally the performer/engineer forming the ultimate music industry cocktail standard of an artist. The self-sufficient songwriter is the newest model to follow when attempting to make the music industry home.

I will explore the brave new world of the producer/singer/songwriter and the steps they took to launch their careers in the impenetrable music business. Focusing on the contemporary pop producer/singer/songwriter, I will discuss the importance of networking, self-promotion, and publishing and why these are the foundations in which the new age songwriter must adhere to. 

In conjunction with my research through printed scholarly materials, I will also include primary interviews with industry figures, successful artists, and professional publicists. These are the people who have seen this ever-changing music business as well as the songwriters who thrive or fail in the process of adapting to the evolutionary universe of professional music.  
1. Beall, E. (2004) Making Music Make Money: An Insider’s Guide to Becoming Your Own Music Publisher. Boston, MA: Berklee Press. 
2. Little, J. and Chatburn, K. ed. (2006) Musicians’ and Songwriters’ Yearbook 2007: The Essential Resource for Anyone Working in the Music Industry. London: A & C Black Publishers Limited.
3. Poe, R. (2006) The New Songwriter’s Guide to Music Publishing. 3rd Ed. Cincinnati, OH: Writer’s Digest Books.
4. Avalon, M. (2005) Million Dollar Mistakes: Clearing Your Music Career Clear of Lies, Cons, Catastrophes, and Landmines. San Francisco, CA: Backbeat Publishers. 
5. Baskerville, D. and Baskerville, T. (2010) Music Business Handbook and Career Guide. 9th Ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sherwood Publishing Partners. 
6. Passman, D. (2008) All You Need To Know About the Music Business. 6th Ed. London: Penguin Books. 
7. Wakefield, M. (2009) ‘You Oughta Be in Pictures’. The Performing Songwriter, May 2009, (117): 18-22. 
8. Danton, E. (2009) ‘Ryan Tedder’. The Performing Songwriter, May 2009, (117): 70.
9. Greenburg, Z. (2014) ‘Golden Oldies: How to Become a Music Publishing Mogul’, Forbes, [Online] Available from: [Accessed 18 February 2014].
10. Rubin, S. (2005) ‘Music Publishing: Everything You Wanted to Know (But Were Afraid to Ask)’, Sound On Sound, [Online] Available from: [Accessed 18 February 2014].
11. Vecserdy, S. (2013) ‘A Diary from the LA Music Business – Szilva’s Story’, The Music Producers Forum, [Online] Available from: [Accessed 18 February 2014].
12. Gryner, F. (2014) ‘The Multiple Personality Recordist’, Recording: The Magazine for the Recording Musician, [Online] Available from: [Accessed 18 February 2014]. 
(Note: Dear Talen, this is my bibliography so far. I keep it updated so that I don't have to track down each source webpage and book I use even if no quotes were used from that particular source. If I read it and it helped me understand my topic more, I cite it. I haven't started my paper at all and I already have my sources referenced. This is how it's done. Good luck referencing little brother!) 

The class' suggestions were to hone in on a specific artist who fits this criteria. I changed the title already from Producer/Singer/Songwriter to the Performing Producer/Songwriter as to clarify my intent and focus on the specific type of artist I'm looking for. For example, Ryan Tedder is one of the most well know producer/singer/songwriters in pop music right now. I know I write about him a lot, but that's because he's kind of the shit... 

Other suggestions for artists were Jamiroqaui, john Newman, and James Blake. Not to get off topic, but does something seem a little off here? Oh right, no women. Where the hell are all the women. They are out there and I'm going to find them. I did find one article on a female singer/songwriter who went into production and began her own publishing business, but I wasn't too impressed with her output unfortunately. It was a real let down actually. 

Another suggestion is to compare and contrast this so-called (and apparently not politically correct) evolution of the music business and how that relates to the rising standards the industry has for aspiring songwriters. I like this idea and will most likely do that.

Here are the other topics flying around in class! 
  • The Presence of Nature Imagery in the Lyrics of Award Winning Indie Bands
Finding a theoretical framework that you can adhere to might be a good way of focusing on a theory through the eyes of another's research rather than coming up with your own theory, which is more of a PhD. This helps avoid any subject that might be too subjective and cannot be proved really. 
  • An Analysis, Comparison, and Reflection of the Varying Attitudes in Punk Music
  • Lyin' Eyes: A Notion of Authenticity and Mass Appeal in Songs of the Eagles'
David Geffen believes this authenticity in the Eagles' music was paramount in Laurel Canyon. A readig reference from our guest speaker, Barney Hoskyns:

  • Bruce Springsteen: Religious and Cultural Archetypes 
Myth is the oldest form of storytelling in human history and archetypes are key in the process. Archetypes are not people, but the grand references that are understood among our culture. Biblical and mythological reference are examples. 
  • Identifying the Legacy of Heartland Rock in "Sam's Town" by the Killers
  • A Lyricist in the 21st Century: A Professional Path in the Collaborative Songwriting Industry
And a few more. We all got tips and feedback on our topics and will be turning in key definitions next week. We will discover 3-4 key concepts for example the transformation, performing producer/songwriter, and publishing for me maybe. It is also advised that we focus on a select few text materials otherwise we can become overwhelmed with our topics. The paper can only be 8,000 words and too much material will cause a word count disaster. I dealt with that last trimester....


I am very excited about my topic and look forward to researching further! I need to hit up some of Bath Spa's Rock Back Pages databases and get a few more sources. I have sent out some emails to various people and hope to get some primary research from them as well. Otherwise, I wont have any extra interviews and such like my abstract says :( 

I am now a member of BASCA as well!

Tonight is a girls night dinner in Bath for Bethany's birthday too! 


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