I love your confidence though, but it is not going to get you anywhere in this industry. You may be a very talented songwriter. I am not here to judge that at this moment, but you have to understand where you fit into the big picture before you will ever be welcomed into the fold.
Another young songwriter once came to me and told me that he had written a song that was being performed in lots of churches and youth groups. He wanted to register it with COMPASS so that he could get paid for some of those performances. I gave him a name to call. After he tried 2-3 times and didn’t receive a call back over a month’s time, he called me very upset. Among other things, he said “They must think I’m a nobody”. I inquired about his messages. The first one he left had been nice. The second one expressed a little frustration. And the third one pretty much blasted the person for not calling him back.
I responded – “A) You ARE a nobody and B) You’re being a jerk. Nobody wants to help a jerk.” I went on to explain to him that the reps at the PROs are dealing with thousands of writers, most of whom think they have an urgent request. This is a very normal thing that any time, anyone contacts a PRO office, they think their own work is more urgent that anyone else. How do you expect the PRO to respond to all these “urgent” works at the same time? He, as a writer of one song that is getting performed is not a priority. Plus, he could have and should have registered the song himself online. Then, he wouldn’t have a problem.
The vast majority of people I see succeeding are people who are businesslike, show respect to everyone they meet and who accept their place in the pecking order of the music business. I have had literally over 2,000 songs recorded and 16 #1 songs at the time of writing this, but I realize that there are tons of writers at any given PRO who are more successful than I am. They are going to get priority over me when I call because they are making lots of money for the company. Way more than I am. That’s how life works. So, I’m patient and polite. If they don’t call me back, I wait a reasonable amount of time before I politely call them again. I remind myself from time to time that I don’t own this town, nobody owes me a call back and I’ve got to earn any respect you get. Those three little reminders help me keep things – and myself – in perspective.
Another example of an overconfident songwriter I know is a local armature songwriter in Singapore who approached me via Facebook and asked me to meet him. We arranged a meeting and he seemed to be a nice guy. He played his music for me, and it was pretty decent. The only problem was that his music was extremely similar to Pharrell Williams. It was not really original, but I have to admit, his copy was a great kind of copying. So, I thought to myself, “He seems to be pretty talented that he could copy Pharrell Williams this well and if I mentor him for a while and show him how to be original, he can write very interesting songs”. So, I called him back and asked him to come to our office and I offered him a staff writer contract. He came happily and we were talking about my plan for him and in his face I could see that he looks unhappy about my suggestion. When I asked him about the reason of his unhappiness he replied, “I know I am writing like Pharrell, but you have to understand that I write like him because he is my idol and I write like him on purpose”. That already was a red flag for me because he was copying knowingly, and he seemed to be very proud of it. I wanted to make sure if I am reading him wrong – or better to say I wanted to give him another chance – I asked him if he still wants to sign the contract. He said he is more than happy to sign the contract, but he will need $750,000 advance salary! I didn’t even know how to react! I asked him how he came up with that number and he said because Pharrell Williams’ latest contract (at the time) was $1.5 million, so this writer believes that he worth at least half of Pharrell Williams. So, he was escorted out of our office.
By the time I am writing this, 7 years had past and now he had given up on songwriting and he is in sales. Not really surprising at all.
Hangi Tavakoli is our in-house established and professional music producer with 20 years of experience in songwriting, music production, mix and mastering. He has written and produced more than 5,000 published songs to-date, including some major hits in international scale.