Building a Career as a Songwriter

Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal.
From The Wall Street Journal Online

Question: How do I start a career as a songwriter without also being a performer?
— Arkady Synhavsky, St. Paul, Minn.

Answer: Building a career as a songwriter is a test of perseverance. Many professional songwriters write hundreds of songs with few ever getting real acclaim.
The first thing is to make sure your songs are in polished form and have been critiqued by other songwriters, says Danny Arena, a Tony Award-nominated songwriter and co-founder of, a Web site that offers online courses and consulting for aspiring songwriters.

“The number one reason a songwriter doesn’t succeed is the songs aren’t ready — they aren’t competitive,” he says.

Joining a local songwriting club and a national organization, such as the Songwriters Guild of America or the Nashville Songwriters Association International, is a good way to get feedback, network and learn about the trade. Some accomplished songwriters and songwriting organizations offer personalized song critiques for $20 to $30 a song.

The next step is producing a demo of a few of your songs at a recording studio, which usually can be done for less than $600. But steer clear of so-called song sharks, who will promise to get your music in the right hands in exchange for a hefty fee, Mr. Arena warns.

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Author: Robin

Jack of all trades living in SF Bay Area, California. Asian.

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