How the Meeting with My New Co-Writer Went

The first hour or so of the meeting was spent with my asking questions about the industry and Kevin answering them. Some of the questions were regarding various ways one can make money in the business. (I’m a businessman and investment manager and sometimes I just can’t help myself). Not surprisingly, the answers I received went something like this:

It has become very hard for almost everybody to make money in any aspect of the business. Only a very small percentage (fractions of a percent) of people in the business can make a living at it. A few make a LOT of money, some good ones make some money, and most don’t make anything. Every angle is a long-shot, but if one is good and aims carefully, and takes a LOT of shots over an extended period of time, some money can be made (probably most likely in films and TV). Of course, cumulative expenses can easily be greater than cumulative income even for many people who receive payments for some of their work.

That information is consistent with what I saw at the conference. Nearly all of the ones who I felt were very good songwriters had been writing songs for at least 10 years and had either had songs cut or songs included in films or TV, but none of them were making a full-time living at it. Virtually all were retired from other industries or had day jobs.

From what I can gather, the ad market (writing songs for ads) is very strictly controlled by a few powerful companies or dead. So much for that idea!

My idea regarding writing hooks or portions of songs in 15-30 second clips for possible inclusion in films and TV shows also died an ignoble death. Even when the execs only use 15-30 seconds of a song in films and TV-land, they still want full songs from which to choose.

Oh, well. Now I know.

We then spent about 45 minutes going over a couple of drafts of partial songs I’d written. He liked them both and we talked about how to make them stronger songs and the direction with which to take them.

So, I’m working on two songs based on that meeting:

“The Man Of Few Words” -What started out as a story about a generic wise man and had been somewhat lecturing will hopefully morph into a story about the singer’s father being a man of few words but who could make those words count. Someone who with a mere look could speak volumes, and when he speaks quietly in a crowded room, others stop to listen to what he has to say. Or something along those lines.

And what had been “Shadow Of Our Love” will have a title change because the current one boxes the story in too tightly. The current new direction is about a man in a relationship that had been full of passion but has become passionless. He begins to realize his part in the process and begins to make changes in his behavior. Will it be enough or has the fire burned out? Stay tuned!

And then there is the new song that I began today tentatively titled, “My Old Friend” which is a tribute to my dog Duke and the love between humans and dogs everywhere. I hope to have/make time to write the first near-complete draft of this song and discuss it with my new co-writer Kevin at our next scheduled meeting on Monday afternoon.

I’m also working with Denis Loiseau on a project currently titled “I’ve Already Won”. More about that later.

That’s it for now, dear friends. Thank you for coming along for the ride!


About russtowne

My wife and I have been married since 1979. We have 3 adult children and 5 grandchildren. I manage a wealth management firm that I founded in 2003. My Beloved is a Special Education teacher for Kindergartners and First Graders. I'm a published author of approximately 60 books in a variety of genres for grownups and children. In addition to my family, friends, investing, and writing, my passions include reading, watching classic movies, experiencing waves crashing on rocky shores, hiking in ancient redwood forests, and the beauty of kindness and nature.
This entry was posted in Song Lyrics I've Written or Co-Written, Song Updates, Songs I've Written or Co-Written, Songwriting Adventure and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to How the Meeting with My New Co-Writer Went

  1. billgncs says:

    interesting, how does a song writer get paid? Is it the same as for musicians? Do you need to join a union?

    • russtowne says:

      I’m still learning about such things, but as far as I know, for things like films and TV there are organizations one joins (any one of three will do) –ASCAP, and two others I believe–who then keep track of song placements and send quarterly checks to songwriters.

      • billgncs says:

        interesting — thanks

        • russtowne says:

          Also, of course, there are now things like iTunes where performers and songwriters can sell their music online. There are many millions of songs being written, played, and listed, so the hard part is having one’s song even found among all the rest. Unless, of course, someone is already very well known. Since most music buyers follow performers rather than songwriters, and since I use various co-witers or demo vocalists to sing my songs, I won’t even be developing a name like a band or perfomer can do. I hope to get around that challenge at least somewhat by creating a unique “label” or name such as “Rusty Bear”. That way, people who want to find my songs can lookup Rusty Bear to find them. It will hopefully be more memorable and fun than my name. It is also the avatar I use to post things on and the name of the real rusty-colored carved redwood bear that was a gift frrom my children and welcomes guests to my small redwood grove and fern garden.

  2. artsifrtsy says:

    I think the compensation is pretty similar as in many creative endeavors. One idea that is “lightning in a bottle” is really not how most people make it. Lots of ideas leads to a higher potential to hit the sweet spot. It sounds like you are an idea guy – and the concepts you list sound very interesting. Getting a chance to see first hand how to flesh a concept out is really an amazing opportunity.

  3. While a lot said seemed discouraging all great writers, musicians etc. have been told those same sentiments…Keep on keeping on!…Diane

  4. Dear Russ, thank you so much for sending me your song!!!! Wow. I can’t tell you how great it feels to know a songwriter! I love it. I look forward to hearing more! Sharon

    • russtowne says:

      It was truly my pleasure. I’m glad you liked it, Sharon. As I begin writing more songs from my heart I believe they will resonate more with people with big hearts such as you. I appreciate your compliment, support, and most of all, your friendship!

  5. mindfuldiary says:

    Go, go Russ! 😀 I could tell you are really passionate about writing songs. Btw, where can one read your songs?

  6. thoughtsfromanamericanwoman says:

    Looking forward to hearing your new songs, especially the one about the dog. Will you be selling them outright? It sounds like you had a day of mixed emotions…but glad it ended on a positive note with ideas on three new songs. Follow your hearts desire. Blessings – Patty

    • russtowne says:

      Thank you, Patty. It was a positive meeting. I was seeking info about business aspects of the music industry and got it. You’re correct that I’d have preferred that some of the answers were different but I’m not surprised at the answers.


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