Have you ever wondered what it would be like to write a hit
Perhaps you have asked yourself why do some songs become
commercial successes while others end up in the dustbin?
Journalist, talk show host, teacher and consultant, John
provides us with the answers to these queries as well as many other topics in his blue-ribbon manual The Craft and Business of Songwriting-Second Edition.
Braheny was one of the founders, along with Len Chandler, of
the Los Angles Songwriters Showcase.
For 15 years he was
intimately involved with this national non-profit
organization that was dedicated to creating opportunities
for discovering aspiring songwriters.
As a result of this relationship, he accumulated an
exceptional amount of knowledge pertaining to the business
and craft of song writing.
The reader is fortunate to have all of this information
neatly wrapped up in a compact manual that is split into two
main sections, the craft of writing songs and the business
of selling and marketing songs.
Within the section dealing with the craft the author delves into such topics as creativity, inspiration, subject matter,media, listeners, lyric writing, song construction and possible collaboration with other writers.
Naturally we would probably be sceptical of a book that
purports to teach us how to write a song.
Some would say you are born to write a song, others would
disagree and say it is possible to be taught the craft.
Braheny believes that you can’t be taught inspiration or
imagination. However, you can be taught ways to get in touch
with what you have to say and how to communicate it
Using this premise as a base, the book provides us with the
tools that will perhaps uncover our hidden talents.
The second half of the book deals with the business features of song writing and as the author states, “writing a great song is only part of being a successful songwriter. Unsung thousands possess the talent and craft to write great songs,but without understanding the business and knowing how to protect your creations and get them heard by those who can make them successful, those songs are like orphans.”
Perhaps we should refer to the second half as the
entrepreneurial skills needed to sell, promote and market
Within this section we are introduced to such topics as
protecting your songs, securing money, publishing,
self-publishing, demos, marketing, Internet and record
The appendix of the book provides the reader with a very
comprehensive listing of songwriters’ resources containing
names, addresses, phone numbers, web sites and general
descriptions of the various references. No doubt this
inclusion will save anyone who aspires to be a songwriter a
great deal of time and effort.
After reading the book are you guaranteed that you will be successful songwriter, probably not? Unfortunately, we don’t have a crystal ball indicating who will succeed and who will fail.
However, at least after reading and being exposed to the
elements of song writing, you will have a better
understanding as to how the music industry works in relation
to the songwriter, or writer/performer.
As the author asserts in his introduction, “it will
demystify and humanize what can often feel to a newcomer
like a cold, monolithic, and impersonal industry.”