9 Songwriting Tools To Help Maximize Your Time And Creativity

I want to bust a myth about songwriting.

The length of the writing session doesn’t matter.

It’s more about applying yourself and having the right songwriting tools.

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Musicateur’s Pilot Episode: Her Phantom Music

The first episode of my podcast, Musicateur, just went live yesterday. If you have seven minutes and a tinge of curiosity, take a listen below.

In this episode, you’ll hear from a woman who hears “phantom music” — music in her ears that’s not actually there.

“I felt like I was hearing things, but I knew I was missing things,” she said.

In the streaming age of music, songwriters need loyal fans

I read an article in The New Yorker about streaming music and how it may be killing songwriters. As a tune-maker myself, this caught my eye.


The conclusion the article drew (and I agree with) about streaming music changing things for songwriters is that “songwriters will have only dear friends and gentle hearts to support them.” The article made that a negative, but I think it’s not the last nail in the coffin for DIY songwriters. There are a lot of dear friends and gentle hearts out there.

The article directed its polemics mainly at Spotify. But as I’ve mentioned before, Spotify is great if you already stream your music on sites like Bandcamp and Soundcloud because at least Spotify pays you something. But still, they pay pennies, literally.

But Michelle Lewis, singer-songwriter, had some different thoughts about the streaming service:

“I realized, ‘I have this hit. This is going to be good! ‘Nearly three million streams on Spotify!’ And then my check came, and it was for seventeen dollars and seventy-two cents. That’s when I was, like, ‘What the f***?’”

Why is it now — in the streaming age of music — so difficult to make money as a songwriter? According to The New Yorker, the problem is the monopoly-grabbing record labels:

Having lost out, historically, on income derived from performance royalties and sound recording for terrestrial radio, [the record labels] were careful, in the digital era, to guarantee themselves income, and in some cases equity interest, from streaming.

So wherever you are out there, dear friends and gentle hearts, we songwriters will need you more and more.





Spotify: $0.80 Is Better Than $0.00

I love Spotify. I use it everyday.

But I also witnessed the ubiquitous outcry of anger from the people, and I joined in. I cried out, Spotify isn’t fair to the musicians. Half a penny per stream is not enough. 

But now I realize I have no problem with it, as a listener and musician.

I have no problem with Spotify as a music listener because if a musician’s music is on there, that’s his (or his record label’s) choice. That tells me he’s okay with it (and okay with his record label), he’s okay with getting paid close to nothing per stream.

RELATED: submit your music to the Simply Good Music Spotify playlist

I have no problem with Spotify as a musician because all of my music is already on Soundcloud and Bandcamp — streaming websites. I don’t get paid anything by these websites. I don’t get a paid even half a penny per stream.

The idea of these sites is that letting fans listen to all your music completely will help win them over. (A theory that I plan to challenge — why buy my music if it’s online? i.e. available on laptops and smartphones, and therefore on couches, in cars, and on treadmills).

Spotify is a third medium for me to do this, to allow fans to stream my music in its entirety in hopes of winning them over. Except Spotify pays me — very little, but it’s still cyber change in my cyber pocket.

RELATED: Gain 1,000 True Fans, Make A Living From Your Art

I’ve received only $0.80 after a few hundred streams, but I’m okay with that for two reasons: (1) that’s better than $0.00, which is what I earn through Bandcamp and Soundcloud streams, and (2) I’m making it more convenient for fans that already use Spotify.

I’m bringing my music directly to them. Why whine about low pay when before I wasn’t getting paid at all? It’s a financial upgrade for me. Small upgrade, but still an upgrade.

That’s why it would make no sense for an artist who has all his music on Soundcloud and Bandcamp to complain about Spotify not paying enough. Spotify is offering, I think, a bigger reach than Bandcamp or Soundcloud. And if a musician doesn’t want people to listen to complete songs without buying his album, he shouldn’t put his music on Spotify.

All these reasons are why I have no problem with Spotify. I love Spotify.