The Changing Business and Craft of Nashville Songwriting, Part 1

[caption id="attachment_213421" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Photo by Caine O'Rear[/caption] Part One The past 10-plus years in Nashville have seen a seismic shift in how business is conducted and how songs are created. To be clear, the business we’re talking about concerns songs written for major label artists’ performance on country radio formats. Thankfully, there are a number of other avenues open for monetizing the work that songwriters do, but for the purpose of this discussion, we’ll be limiting our scope to the traditional lifeblood of country music -- the singer, the song, and the radio.    First, let’s talk about songcraft and the changes we’ve seen before adding business to the “music business” equation, assuming for the moment they can actually be considered one without the other. Technology has always affected the way we write songs. In my 25-year tenure as a professional songwriter in Nashville, I have seen the culture go from pencils, legal pads and cassette recorders, word processors, and handheld digital recorders, to computers and iPhone recording apps. I’m talking less about the production side of songwriting here, and more about the actual capturing of an impulse. This progression shows a gradual departure from the tactile connection between…

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