Songwriting – Collaboration Or Aberration – Part 1
Suddenly, you’ve just invented a device that will change the world as we know it! That’s right. You’ve gone and done it now. Further, only you know what it is to be called, what it looks like, and what it feels like. You are absolutely sure that your invention is worth millions and millions of dollars. In reality, it might actually be worth millions.
Think for a moment. If you really did invent something like this, would you immediately call your friends and worse yet, other inventors, and invite them over to show off your world changing invention? Of course you wouldn’t. However, it is surprising that many songwriters break this golden rule due to their raw excitement, the need for immediate gratification, and peer recognition.
Confidentiality (The Golden Rule) is one of the most important elements one needs to understand and employ when engaged in the songwriting process (from beginning to end). The eventual delivery of your song to the public must present a powerful impact to the listener. Impact is everything! It’s difficult to maintain strict confidentiality because eventually, assuming that you really did invent the wheel, there will be professional producers, engineers, musicians, copyists, manufacturers and many other types of personnel surrounding you and listening to your song(s). Sooner or later we must rely on the ethics of others. This is the business of music.
Does Perfect exist? No! We all know that. However, one can certainly associate with the most ethical professionals available. Surround yourself with honest people. After all, songwriting is a very serious business. Accept nothing less than ethical and professional conduct from every individual involved with your songwriting projects. Hold everyone to the highest degree and standard of care when it comes to songwriting and collaboration. As you will discover in future articles, collaborating with an inexperienced songwriter is not recommended.
A lack of knowledge, regarding this aspect of the music business, could have tragic financial and creative ownership results. Confidentiality must be maintained when delivering a product to the public. Case-in-point; the recent IPHONE.
Most of us didn’t know the IPHONE existed until the inventors held a news conference. Everyone, from the board room to engineering and development maintained the highest degree of confidentiality. Why? Because everyone involved with the product knew that they had, per se, invented the wheel. The top professionals were at the controls here. From invention all the way to advertising and ultimately, release, these individuals employed the highest degree of personal ethics. This is just an educated guess for all to ponder. I’m betting that even most family members of the inventors didn’t know about this revolutionary device until release. Now, that’s professionalism.
Songwriting demands the same high degree of professionalism, ethics, and confidentiality. When involved in issues such as intellectual property, the stakes become very, very high. Especially if one collaborates with another, or others, throughout the songwriting process.
Some might actually think that they don’t need to know much about the music business, or the laws surrounding songwriting, because their song is so good that a big major record company will take care of them. Good luck to all who truly believe in that philosophy. For some, experience will always be the best teacher.
Confidentiality is the Golden Rule pertaining to the business of songwriting. Protect your product. Treat every composition as a potential hit song. Learn the business and legal aspects of songwriting. The truth be known, just one hit song can retire everyone involved. The revenue earned from royalties, sales, and distribution alone is astronomical. What a great incentive for all to learn the business of songwriting.
Throughout the next few articles of this series, many issues regarding songwriting and the business of songwriting will be examined and discussed. Until then, as always, practice, practice, practice.
©2008 Michael E. Fletcher. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
Michael E. Fletcher
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