The Art of “Reaching Out”

Brooke Paul, a serial entrepreneur and investor from Columbus, keynoted the How To Build A Music City discussion. His talk was about songwriters “thinking like entrepreneurs” , and his advice was to “do music like you mean business”.

Entrepreneurs do a lot of reaching out and connecting. Songwriters should too. But that can be an unknown territory for us. For example, when you met someone interested in your music and you feel like they could help you progress, or when you’re trying to book a show through a new city, you need to know how to present well.

A few things I’ve learned:

1. Address the person by their first name. The world of advertising has led us to feel distant from those who call us “Mr.” or use our full names. Or worse, try calling someone “Mister” who is older than you, and notice that they actually feel old. That’s unpleasant. Be a friend, not a hotel clerk.

2. If you have multiple questions, choose only one during your first email. There’s nothing worse than receiving a tirade of questions from someone you don’t know. It can suck the life out of you. Even reporters and interviewers plan ahead, and ask at the appropriate times.

3. Be clear. Make a good first impression by not wasting the other person’s time. Don’t hurt their eyes with small, or unknown font. The longer you talk, the less likely they will care.

4. Be yourself. We grow up watching movies that make us think that professional people speak a certain way that involves fancy adjectives and intelligent verbiage. That’s just movies. Don’t try to sound like someone you’re not.

5. Credentials. You may include an outside link within your signature, so that people can look into who you are. But consider what’s important. Hint: It’s not always your music. Your Facebook may demonstrate your connectivity better. Your LinkedIn may reiterate your role. Align your credentials to who you’re talking to and you’ll be better received.

Spaceship Model

Spaceship Model

Behold, the spaceship model. We unveiled this baby during our first launch party, almost two years ago, as of October 21st.

We determined that part-time songwriters could do all of the core activities to get their music out there. Full-time songwriters could probably accomplish the outer ring of things, if they got creative. and focused on each value-add task. But through community, a whole new slew of opportunities emerge for songwriters.

Have you been taking advantage of the benefits of community? We’ve been hard at work on developments in publishing and promotion. If all goes accordingly, we’ll have some neat opportunities to share soon!

CSA on


Music Dealers is one of the top music licensing firms in the United States. They curate independent music from all around the world and place songs into commercial advertisements and campaigns, for companies like Coca Cola, Air BnB, BWM, The Olympics, and many others.

They featured an article about How To Build A Music City on their website! Check it out here

Special thanks to Tim Lincoln, Creative Director of Music Dealers, for speaking on our panel. We learned a ton from him!

Chris Jamison on The Voice!

Chris Jamison, a singer-songwriter from Columbus, and member of Columbus Songwriters Association, made it through the “Blind Auditions” Round on The Voice!

All 4 judges, including Blake Shelton, Pharrell Williams, Gwen Stefani, and Adam Levine “turned their chairs” before his cover on John Mayer’s “Gravity” ended. Chris got to select which judge to go with, and, after Pharell called his voice “crazy good”, Gwen Stefani hit on him a bit, and Blake Shelton tried to coax him in, he selected Adam Levine as his coach for the season. He said his reason why was because Adam promised to “help him improve”. With that humility, Chris will go far.

This is just another example of the talent that performs in our city’s venues and pubs every week!

Songwriter Showdown!

Friday 9/26, at 9PM, CSA will host the first Songwriter Showdown at Columbus Oktoberfest. This is a tournament style event for any songwriters in Columbus, judged by representatives of the Columbus arts community. Find us tomorrow on the Cabaret Stage, pictured below as “CSA”.

Oktoberfest Map

John Schwab Recording Studios has donated 5 free recording hours to our grand prize winner this year. Other prizes will be announced tomorrow night.

For last minute sign ups, email us at or visit   for more information.

Justin Vernon: Best Song and Throw Away

I just watched this weathered musician, Justin Vernon, sing a rendition of “I Can’t Make You Love Me”. It’s the most incredible cover I’ve ever heard.

65,000 people “like” this video on YouTube, 1,000 people “dislike” it. Personally, I couldn’t believe 1,000 people disliked it. So I started reading the comments below the video. They span from “Perfection. Makes me weep every time I hear it. Beautiful.” to “He looks like a terrorist and sings like a woman. He sounds like Julia Childs and I can’t stop laughing.”

Even great songwriters and popular artists shoulder criticism! No matter what, keep going!

Paying Attention to PROs


I haven’t had the opportunity to talk with many of you about my perspectives on Performing Rights Organizations, the powers at be who facilitate performance royalties.

For those of you who have never received a royalty on your work, I’ll break the concept down into simple terms: When you perform, you have put your original work out in public. If it’s copyrighted and registered with a performing rights organization, the government says you deserve a royalty for your performance. Money. This works the same way for radio, which is also considered a “public performance”.

Performing rights organizations ask businesses to pay a fee to play music to the public. This is a “blanket license” fee. Basically, in order for musicians to get paid a royalty, the PROs have to charge someone, so they can payout what the government says is due to copyright holders (songwriters). Companies like Muzika provide some ways around this fee, making it easier for business without a stage to get legal.

Now, for the sake of learning, I’m going to leave this post right here. If you’re a songwriter who is trying to get paid for your music, the questions below will be a good exercise in “getting current” on changes happening in the music industry. If you’d like, email your responses to and we can talk more. If not, hopefully you’ve learned something new, already. Keep writing!

1. What are two ways performing rights organizations can find out which businesses have not paid their performance licensing fees?

2. How do performing rights organizations determine which songwriters get paid, and how much?

3. What would be the advantage of BMI, ASCAP, or SESAC enticing a popular artist to register with them, as opposed to another PRO?

4. What’s the process for “leaving” a PRO after registering?

5. Who is Global Music Rights, and why am I asking?