March 6, 2014

Why Publisher Weekends Matter

If you are a songwriter, which if you are reading this you probably are, there are some important considerations to evaluate when building a relationship with a music publisher. 

blogIt has been said often and quite rightly that the music industry is a game of relationships. It’s true! The business side of music is quite interdependent when it comes to turning your original music into income opportunities. Ultimately, relationships have nothing to do with your own unique creative process, unless of course you are co-writing, but they have everything to do with getting your music out there, heard by the public and hopefully turned into money rewards. This is true whether you are a performing songwriter, or a songwriter at large hoping to have others record your songs.

With respect to the music publishing side of the business, relationships are vital. Take a moment and consider your personal network of music industry contacts. Do you have a personal relationship with a viable, active music publisher? If so, will they take your call? Or, do you have to travel at considerable time and expense to their city of business in the hopes you can get a few minutes of their time while you are in town?

In the industry towns, say Los Angeles, New York or Nashville, there are thousands of songwriters with boots on the ground, so to speak, competing for the attention of the limited number of music publishers that you are traveling long distances to see. The “locals” have the luxury of building their relationships on an ongoing basis, but you are only in town for a few days, once maybe twice a year, if you can afford the expense. If you are fortunate enough to get someone to see you while in town, the appointments are usually brief, especially if you are trying to “break in” to the business. No matter which path you take towards building a music publisher relationship, all the economic risk is yours to assume. Therefore, it is in your best interest to be able to control those costs where you can.

If you are a songwriter looking for a viable music publisher relationship, and you live in Austin, you need to consider a sobering truth. For all of Austin’s well-earned international reputation as a vital music mecca, the shocking fact is there are NO viable music publishers living and working in Austin. Any search for “music publishers” actually located in Austin will surely lead to the conclusion that they are all “self publishing” companies. In effect, they are just like you. While they may have formed their own companies to place their songs in for business purposes, they still need a relationship with a viable music publisher to get their music out there. Once again, they find themselves faced with the economics of what it takes to follow that pursuit.

For many years now, ASG has been addressing the economics of this issue by hosting Music Publisher Weekends several times a year. To accomplish this, we have flown music publishers to Austin for our annual Symposium and for music publisher weekends. We also put them up at our own expense while they are in town. The publishers give of their time and do not charge for their services. For ASG, if the weekends break even and serve the membership then it is a success. If there is money remaining after expenses are covered, they are applied to rent and ongoing expenses. I explain this here for one principal reason. ASG does not really “make” any money from the weekends after expenses. These weekends do cost money to hold and the total costs the rough equivalent of what it would one, maybe two songwriters incurring their own expense of making their own similar trip to a particular music industry city to chase their own appointments.

However, while ASG as a group is assuming the risk of expenses, it is in our shared use of this opportunity that we effectively pay for it together, slashing our own personal expenses, while simultaneously insuring that we actually get a meaningful opportunity to have our songs heard by a publisher and to build our own relationship at a fraction of the cost it would take us to travel to see them on their own turf.

You have to make the decision for yourself about your readiness to take the business side of your music to the next level or not. We love you just the same. However, what you need to carefully consider is that come Sunday, the publisher is gone. Come Monday, don’t find yourself in the unenviable position of wishing you had taken advantage of the opportunity while it was available.

It has been said, there is no such thing as luck. What we call “luck” is really being prepared to take advantage of opportunity when it presents itself. If you can’t make it for the upcoming Music Publisher Weekend with Bobby Rymer (March 27-29), ASG will continue to work to create future opportunities. However, there is no good reason to wait to begin building or to further grow your music publisher relationships, when the opportunity presents itself. Your next opportunity will be here at the end of March. So, set your intention now to be present to take advantage of the opportunity.

The cost is negligible considering the personal cost of one round trip to Nashville to knock on doors. For only $50, you will have your own personal private appointment with Bobby for 30-minutes to pitch your songs, ask your questions, get valuable feedback and build your relationship. If you attend Bobby’s workshop on Saturday, the cost is another $25. If you want to do both and your current ASG annual dues of $50 are not current, you can renew or start your membership benefits and your total cost would still only be $125, less if your dues are current. No matter how you travel, the cost of traveling to Nashville to get a few minutes with Bobby on his home court is certainly much more.

The workshop on Saturday, August 10 from 11:30 – 1:30 is only $25 and is open to everyone whether a current member or not. The private appointments are on Thursday afternoon, all day Friday and Saturday afternoon following the workshop. Obviously, there are a limited number of appointments that can be booked. So, do not delay registering as all spots will certainly be booked.

Members can register for one additional 30-minute appointment if you so desire for an additional $50, but there is a limit of two (2) appointments per member. Even if you had to renew your membership in the equation AND you attended the workshop AND you booked one-hour of private appointments, your total cost would be only $175, which is the very top of the spectrum. Most members will actually pay less depending on their participation and having current member dues. Even so, the highest possible cost of $175, includes one-hour of Bobby’s time, the workshop and the renewal of your annual dues. Once again, you can’t make a round trip to Nashville with accommodations and expenses for anywhere near that cost. In short, the Music Publisher Weekends are a bargain for members and one of the many benefits ASG membership brings year-round to you.

The choice is yours about how you wish to participate, or even if you do, but whether you do or not, just know that it doesn’t get more affordable, no matter how you slice it. For more details on Bobby Rymer or to register, go here right now.

Posted By

Rick Busby

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