Archive for the ‘The Stone Zone Blog’ Category

Tenacious With A Capital “T”

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

I’m often asked about what it takes to be a successful songwriter or more often, “How do I get my songs heard?” There is no one answer to this question as everyone must find there own path and decide what success means to you. But there is one attribute that is an absolute necessity to be successful as a songwriter in this business: Tenacity. It’s different from consistent or pushy. It’s more like a dog with a bone who refuses to give  up. Here is how Webster’s defines it: maintaining, adhering to, or seeking something valued or desired.

At some point you will decide whether or not songwriting is a hobby or a career. A hobby is something you do without expecting financial reward. If you achieve some success as a by-product that’s great, but I can almost guarantee that a “hobby” songwriter never makes a substantial living doing so. Everybody who is truly successful these days is tenacious as all get out whether it is developing social networks to promote their music or trying to get songs placed in film and television projects. Even on the professional writer level I would say 1 or 2 out of 20 songs ever generate substantial income and if they write 2 or 3 hits a year they have been a tremendous success. In fact they would probably win BMI or ASCAP “Songwriter Of The Year” awards. That’s true for country, pop, urban and all contemporary genres.

It just won’t magically happen unless you’re Rebecca Black and you’re so bad you’re good. I consider that to be a novelty record. It won’t happen like that again for a while. The last one was William Hung or maybe even the “Pants On the Ground” dude. But those are rare events. I certainly wouldn’t recommend that as a career path. YOU will have to be like a dog with a bone.


Songs For Film And TV

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

It’s all the rage.

It used to be – back in the day – everybody ran around trying to get songs cut by an artist. Now, for lots of reasons, it’s all about getting songs in Film and TV. Makes sense given the many changes in the industry in recent years, not the least of which is the ability for just about anyone to produce master quality tracks on their laptop and the proliferation of outlets. Basically, we’ve gradually gone from 13 TV channels to 1000 in the course of the last 20 years and all those channels – thankfully – need music. It’s virtually impossible to channel-hop and not hear music in the background or featured on almost every station. This demand has created a boom for songwriters and music creators and it’s not going away. If one throws in all the opportunities in the commercial/advertising area … well, you get my point. We are never going back to 13 channels, and it’s a good thing. The market to get outside songs recorded by artists has gone in the other direction, making it more difficult to get the traditional cut (unless you are writing with the artist or producer). This has become the best way to get your songs recorded in the traditional sense. Don’t get me wrong a great “outside” song can still get cut and make tons of money, but it’s just more difficult. But none of this is or has ever been easy.

So a great way to monetize your catalogue or get cuts/usages is to spend some time focusing on songs for Film and TV. Think in terms lyrically of ideas that can apply cinematically. A great example of this is George Thorogood’s “Bad to the Bone.” This song applies to any scene where a bad guy shows up onscreen, which seemingly happens in almost every movie ever made. Another great example is Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight.” This song can anticipate a confrontation or romantic moment. There are a few of those scenes around as well, right? Do you have either one of those in your catalogue? If you don’t, write one today.

Good luck!


Enjoy The Process

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

One of my writers came in to my office the other day and screamed “this business is so frustrating!”  No kidding. Would you like to go drive a truck instead? (Nothing against truck drivers) I replied. The thing you have to remember about the music business is we all made a conscience decision to do this. Executives and writers alike.  Nobody forced us.  We all however do get frustrated and that is normal.  A little bit of frustration is good because it shows you care about doing well and that helps to keep your motor going but too much frustration and the motor can overheat.  And that’s NOT good. To avoid this most common writer ailment set a realistic goal given the stage of your career.  If your just starting out it could be to find local collaborators or maybe to get that first live gig at the local pub.  Whatever it is be realistic.  As you progress of course later goals include getting your first song cut or actually getting paid to write songs.  Most importantly I tell all my writers to “enjoy the process”.   It’s a great business and its fun to be creative and share that talent with others.  SO.. Achieve your goals one at a time, enjoy the process, be tenacious (another topic for TSZ) and some measure of success will surely come your way.


Hey all, this is Jonathan Stone coming at you from The Stone Zone.

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

The Stone Zone is a music business blog focused on song writing and the art of making music. So if you have a question or comment about the wonderful craft of writing tunes or how to go about getting your proverbial “foot in the door”, give me a shout at I will answer as many questions as I can right here in the blog. Leave your comments and questions below.