Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

writing music

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Ben Jammin', Jul 14, 2003.


  1. Ben Jammin'

    Ben Jammin' Guest

    Jul 13, 2003
    Falmouth, Cornwall, UK
    I was just wondering whether most bands (of any sort) write their music as a joint effort, or if one person from the band does the lot. I'm a bassist, and the least experienced player in the band, but I write all our songs, lyrics included.
     
  2. cthesick

    cthesick

    Sep 12, 2002
    lawton OK
    ive noticed lately talking with alot of bands and reading cd covers that you usually have 2-3 key people in the band that write all of the music... of course this isnt always true ... or a majority .. but it does surprise me that alot of bands have dummy heads in which there job is to play the music writen for them... i myself have no problem with somebody coming up with a cool bass line as long as its a member in my own band... its a band effort and i think everymember should have their input...
     
  3. Ben Jammin'

    Ben Jammin' Guest

    Jul 13, 2003
    Falmouth, Cornwall, UK
    Yea, I agree to some extent, but sometimes one person will come up with a cool tune all by themselves. Normally the rest of the band change their parts quite a bit anyway, so the finished product is a joint effort
     
  4. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I suspect the issue of songwriting credits has been the death of many a band. The group will get a small amount of money for each album sold... but the author(s) will get a further cut for each song they have on the album. So, you write a song and you get money when it is used.

    Now imagine that your album is a short run of 500, sold at your gigs but a copy gets picked up by someone connected with a famous band. Negotiations ensue and your track goes on the big group's album and gets released as a single and spends several weeks at #1.

    That may sound like a farfetched scenario but see where it leads. You, as author, get what could turn out to be a substantial amount of money because your song has been picked up by the big leagues. You start turning up at practises in a Ferrari and, legally, don't owe your bandmates a thing. Now you can see why song credits can be such an explosive issue.

    On the other hand, imagine that you go away, write the chords, melody, lyrics and structure. Each member of the band works out how to play it together and so you all claim song writing credits... which is all well and good until:

    a) the song hits the big time... and you only get a fraction of what you would have received - an equal share with the drummer who just played the same beat he uses for everything else and the keyboard player who's parts were completely ignored by the rock trio that covered your song

    or

    b) your band makes it big after a few personnel changes... but a portion of the proceeds from what becomes your #1 smash hit goes towards the same drummer and keyboard player who left under a cloud years ago.

    I think that's why you'll often find that a band is focused around one main personality, who has a hand in writing most of the songs, or sometimes uses songs written by people who aren't part of the band at all!

    So, learning to write songs is good, but success will bring pitfalls however you share the credits!

    Wulf
     
  5. Ben Jammin'

    Ben Jammin' Guest

    Jul 13, 2003
    Falmouth, Cornwall, UK
    Some good points there Wulf, especially the one about major bands covering your songs. It seems the world of music aint as fair as people would like it to be!
     
  6. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    That's the 'business' for you - for good and ill, it's about much more than the joy of creating music for appreciative audiences...

    Wulf
     
  7. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    IMO if one person writes all of the material all of the time, there's several other people in the band whose talents aren't being used to their fullest.
     
  8. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    It depends what their talents are... it also depends how much work they're willing to put in.

    Wulf