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Songwriting

Only 338 pages left on your journey to becoming a rock star!

I always think that you should be striving to write your best song.
–Alice Cooper

Let’s start this chapter with a warning:

You must have read the previous four chapters before you can start writing your first new songs.

If you got here without having read the first chapters about music, about the industry behind it, about the Masters Of The Past, about starting your own project and about developing your own, unique sound and style, then you may not be ready for the songwriting part yet. In this case you may read this chapter now, but make sure to read the previous ones at a later time then.

Don’t forget that the first three educational chapters are required to re-program your brain in order to make better music, and that this is the foundation all other chapters have been built on.

If you haven’t read the first four chapters yet, then you may not fully understand what has to be done here, and why some things have to be done in a certain way.

That said, let’s get started.

After having worked on your own style and sound, you may now start writing songs, and maybe you’ll even make some first attempts at recording. You’re quite lucky as nowadays both things can be done at the same time, and you won’t need a big budget to produce your own record anymore – we’ll discuss this in chapter 6 by the way.

As mentioned above, I just hope you didn’t skip chapter 4, as designing and developing your own style and sound will be one of the most crucial aspects of this entire endeavour. It will of course also possible to further refine your sound and style while you will be writing your songs, as both things go hand in hand.

Just don’t forget that you’ll need to be UNIQUE in order to make it.

You will become successful by doing THE OPPOSITE of what other artists are doing, and of what so-called experts will be recommending.

Thanks to the first three chapters you should have learned the following by now, which will help you to understand why improving music quality will be a better plan than just following trends:

  • There is good and bad music, which has nothing to do with taste or genre by the way.
  • The quality of popular music has been decreasing since the 1970s, and it is at an all-time low nowadays.
  • People still buy music, mostly as long as it’s good music.
  • People who like good music prefer buying albums.
  • You will need to sell your records to people outside of your local community.
  • This will only work if your music will be both outstanding and desirable.
  • This implies that you will not be following trends, and you will not follow the path that has been pre-defined by the industry.
  • People who like music that’s not mainstream are usually more intelligent, more educated leaders who are open to new experiences, and that’s the kind of people who might actually buy records by some unknown underdog.
  • You will need to reach those people, and in order to get noticed and to be desirable, you will have to be unique, you’ll need to make great music, and you’ll need to write songs that will make those people go crazy.

Of course you should have learned a lot of other things too so far, but these are the basic points you’ll absolutely need to remember before you may start working on your new ideas and songs.

Recap: our strategy

There’s something missing in the music industry today... and it’s music. Songs you hear don’t last, it’s just product fed to you by the industry.
–Jimmy Buffett

Before we get started, it’s time to look at our strategy again. It will be important to understand what we’re up to, and why certain things have to be done in a certain way.

So here it is:

You will become successful by MAKING BETTER MUSIC.

As seen in chapter 1.2, you’ll need five things in order to make this strategy work:

  1. An own, authentic style. This has been discussed in chapter 4.
  2. (At least) one insanely great song. More than one would be even better of course.
  3. A killer album. A record that will be desirable and that will make music lovers go crazy.
  4. A unique video.
  5. Some clever marketing.

Point #1 has been addressed in chapter 4 already, so in this chapter we will start taking care of points #2 and #3.

This chapter will cover the songwriting process, while the production and recording process (which is just as important as songwriting itself) will be covered in chapter 6.

As detailed in the previous chapters already, here’s our major problem:

You cannot simply record a bunch of average class songs and hope that people will buy your record just like that.

This will NOT work, as nobody needs another irrelevant amateur album.

If you want to become successful with your music and if you want people outside of your own community (or even on the entire planet) to like or even to buy your music, then you will need to write really great songs. And it won’t be enough to slightly improve your writing skills, you will have to start writing songs on a completely new level.

Our plan will be to produce an album that music lovers will absolutely HAVE TO BUY.

And the most important piece of information to keep in mind:

Writing great music CAN BE LEARNED.

Music lovers still buy lots of albums nowadays, but usually only good (or even great) albums generate a lot of sales.

Remember that selling albums will be our plan, as singles and streaming alone will never allow you to make enough money as an artist if your plan will be to make good music.

People who really love music seek albums with a large number of good songs – not only traditional up-tempo songs with hit potential, but also challenging and unconventional songs that you usually won’t find on some teen pop record.

So that’s the kind of album you’ll have to write and produce: 

A real piece of art, featuring outstanding songs that are all different and artistic, including at least one song that will make people go crazy, while the entire album will still work as a whole.

If you manage to achieve that, then there will be people who will buy your record. So that’s what we’ll be working on in this chapter.

99% of all artists fail to deliver such a record.

You cannot allow this to happen.

And I’d also like to note that this is not only true for amateur albums, but also for at least 99% of all of today’s records by professional artists. Nobody’s buying records anymore because today’s records are all boring and irrelevant, it just doesn’t make sense to spend money on music anymore.

Recently I’ve even seen amateur bands recording albums and giving them away for free – claiming that people are no longer willing to pay for music, they decided to give their records away as free downloads to reach a bigger audience. 

This is not only pure bullshit of course, but it’s also a really bad plan.

As you’ve learned in the previous chapters, people are still willing to pay for music, as long as the music is good and relevant. If you’re doing an irrelevant album (and most amateur albums definitely are boring and irrelevant), then nobody will want to buy it, and nobody will even want it for free.

Again:

If your album is not a killer record and if your music is not insanely great, then people won’t listen to it, even if you’re giving it away for free.

It’s the same as with apps on smartphones. Nobody will use an app that sucks, just because it’s free. People may try it, but soon after they realized that it’s a bad app, they will delete it and never use it again. On the other hand people don’t seem to have a problem to spend lots of money on apps they really like.

So our strategy will be to create great music that people (music lovers, not the masses) will want to listen to, and that they will be willing to pay for. And your plan should always be to make enough money with sales so that this will at least cover your production costs and allow you to record a next album. Hopefully you’ll make a lot more.

Never lower the price if people don’t buy.

Being cheap alone is never a good sales argument, and by lowering the price you will even admit that your product has no real value and that it’s not worth the money.

If you want people to buy your product, then focus on QUALITY.

Deliver a great premium product, and people will have no problem paying for it.

If people don’t buy, then you either have a QUALITY problem, or a MARKETING problem.

And if that’s the case, then those problems should be addressed. Never blame people if they don’t become fans of yours, and never blame your fans if they don’t buy your records.

If your record doesn’t sell, then YOU did something wrong.

Never blame external factors such as the internet, or your potential fans.

Don’t dare to come up with some bullshit à la “people don’t buy records anymore”, or with any other kinds of cheap excuses. Remember that you’ve learned the truth about record sales in chapters 1 and 2.

Forget about everything so-called “experts” will tell you, especially if we talk about “music industry experts”. Even record company execs and industry bosses don’t have a clue – if you don’t believe this yet, then maybe you should re-read the chapters of this manual as soon as possible. The music industry is trying to cover up quality problems by pushing the marketing and by lowering the prices (music rental), but in the end all of this just doesn't work out for the artist.

If it doesn’t work, then it’s YOUR OWN FAULT.

In other words:

Take responsibility for your own actions.

Detect your own mistakes and fix them as soon as possible, or do a better job when producing your next album.

Don’t repeat the music industry’s mistake to blame the people out there for your own failure.

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Chapter 5   •   Page 1 of 11

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