Tuesday, April 3, 2012

time to try selling

Well, I got the 2012 edition of the Songwriter's Market. This makes three years in a row that I bought it. Maybe this year I'll get around to putting together disks of demos and sending them to music publishers or record companies.

Part of the reason I haven't done so in the past is that I haven't had a whole lot of material to send. Generally, the places listed in there indicate how many demos that want you to send. And it's usually more than one. Right now, I have three demos that I can send -- which is more than I had last year at this time. But of those, only one is really fully produced.

"Jackpot" is a fully produced demo, recorded by County Q, a studio in Nashville. It's the kind of thing that, if you heard it playing on a C&W radio station it wouldn't seem out of place. "Music No One Else Can Hear" is a much less elaborate recording. My friend, Scott Milner, recorded it for an album he did with his brothers, collectively called The Milner Brothers. They included it on their album, Haven't Lost a Thing. So the production value is good, but very simple. "Do You Think of Me (Now and Again)" is a rough demo. There's no way around that fact. Scott recorded it in 2010. I think I can justify the simple mix in that it's a slow song that doesn't require a full arrangement, and this lets the song stand on its own, without using fancy studio wizardry.

A year ago, at this time, I only had two demos to send off. I had all three recordings, but I hadn't registered the copyright on "Do You Think of Me (Now and Again)," and I'm not about to try to sell a song without first registering it with Washington. Now, I'd rather work with more than three demos, but I gotta start sending things off sometime. Then again, maybe with one or two more demos...

There is one label, Nervous Records, that I find appealing. And they are open to new (i.e., unknown) songwriters. But they specialize in psychobilly, and none of my material really fits that genre. Now, there's a song idea I've been working on and off with, that would lend itself to a psychobilly arrangement. Without going into great detail, the title is "Bleed Me a River." It arose out of an attempt to write a Louis Lamour novel in song form. And it was partially inspired by "Run the Ridges," a Kingston Trio song. Here's a video of attendees at a Kingston Trio fantasy camp performing that song (just to give you an idea:

I have almost all of "Bleed..." done, but I kind of put it aside a bit more than a year ago. I was discussing it with Scott, and he had some harsh (though not undeserved criticism of it. First, he noted that the narrator was without redeeming quality. Unlike "Run the Ridges" or "Poor Ellen Smith" (another song that inspired me to want to write a Lamour Novel-song), there is little ambiguity. He said that, as a singer, he would have a hard time getting himself to sing something so negative. Also, he noted some incorrect use of old Western jargon. Being that I grew up in New York City, and my kowledge of the old west is very limited, that makes sense. But, if we're talking about a psychobilly song, those two flaws in the song may not be fatal.

Now, of course, if I decide to go with "Bleed," I have to finish it up, polish it up, record a rough demo, register the copyright (the fact that I haven't done that explains why the title is all I'm putting in this blogpost),  and get a good demo made (which is expensive). So I have to decide if it's worth it.

But meanwhile, I really have to put together some mailing packages, and try plugging my songs. I may not get anywhere, but at least I'll know I tried

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