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Antonio Guitonelli,
International Industrial Review,
Investigative Reporter,
Roma, Italy

Every poet/songwriter worth their salt wants to have their creation be the work of the age in addition to providing sufficient income for a nice comfortable retirement as soon as possible. It's the closest to a something for nothing as most people are ever going to get. That very too-good-to-be-true content is an open invitation for every ScamArtist and con-game to avail themselves of the opportunity to play the ignorance of the victim to the limit.

Enter the song shark!

Since all fools, and most 'experts', refuse to even consider anything other than age-old lies whose only claim to credibility is 'they've been around a long time', the "send it in" stupidity is as rampant as ever. Every so-called "songwriter association" and public performance licensing agency advises against the "send it in" and get "professional lead sheets" or "your song in a (non-distributed!) album" song shark scams. Not because they have any real concern for YOU losing YOUR money, but because they want YOU to spend YOUR money with them!

It is true that all "send it in" operations are song shark scams. They do perform what they say they will do: and it's the Kiss of Death the minute they do it! Not one General Licenser, their Labels, Publishers or Executive Producers will knowingly touch a song once it's been through the song shark mill. They can't afford to! Regardless of what the songwriter thinks, or their so-called 'contract' says, the risk of litigation and related costs are easier and more cost-effective to avoid than to endure.

However, the many songwriter associations hawking their memberships aren't any improvement when it comes to con-games and deliberate mis-information scams. The prime come-on is the 'seminar' with 'known' singers, songwriters offering advice and publishing or record company executives who are reputedly 'looking for material'. Their 'guest list' often reads like a "Who's Who" but their Membership ALWAYS reads like a "What's That"! Ask any of them to give you a list of dues paying members (not gratis or lifetime members who were inducted to exploit the credibility of their names) who are making a living at writing songs by following the association's instructions.

THERE AREN'T ANY! The list is zero and always has been and always will be!

The reason is simple. If any record company or publisher wants material: all they have to do is open the mail! A listing in any of the credible Tip Sheets will get anywhere from 50 to 5,000 songs: in the exact requested format, free, clear, and ready to go!

Then why waste the time and money 'giving advice' at the Never Wases' Poetic and Sour Chord Every Other Six Months Ape de-Ticking & Sewer Tasting Poets, Songwriters, Authors, Composers and Ain't-Never-Been-Recorded Music Arrangers Society? To get a VERY LOW COST and totally unsuspected look at who is and who is not POTENTIAL COMPETITION in the Big Money realms of Executive Producer, Record Label, Music Publisher and General Licenser investments!

Such 'seminars' when a part of the equally scam 'music festivals', 'fan fairs', etcetera, give the 'guest' an unparalleled look at both songwriters and Artists who should be shelved due to their ability to be viable competition, and those who aren't worth the paper of a contract. And that's all those pay-all-your-own-costs but get here and PLAY FOR FREE in hopes of 'being discovered' music festivals are about!

Anyone who 'gets signed' at such scam gatherings are seldom ever heard of again once the initial 'publicity' runs its soon to be forgotten course. The content of those 'contracts' prevents the artist from writing or performing for anybody else until the record company is fully reimbursed for their investment. There's a huge disparity between what that 'investment' actually costs and what is charged back against the artist/victim.

As for songwriters ignorant enough to sign a 'staff writer' contract: they are then and there for hire which means any money they receive, 'salary' or other pittance, pays them in full regardless of how much they make for the publisher! And as often as not that will include the songwriter's entire catalog! Understand that! Under the terms of such 'staff writer' contracts each and every song the songwriter/victim has ever written or ever will write is instantly and forever the sole and exclusive property of the 'publisher'!

Most of the Industry's long-standing songwriter/publisher contracts and Contract Organizations, such as Songwriter's Guild of America, are so outdated from the current Industry that neither their contracts or advice is worth the effort to throw it in the trash. For instance: page after page of 'percentages with respect to printed music score for public sale': when in the real world Publishers license the music for flat fees to Music Book & Folio Publishers when and if they get a song with sufficient demand to justify it's inclusion. And that demand is always the result of a HIT record on a distributed release by one of the Super Six General Licensers! And all other scenarios are phony!

Who to Trust? Anyone who will share the costs of a release using sound business principals. The General Licenser will get you a Label and Publisher who will pay their share and pay their own share for the privilege. All you have to do is be your own Executive Producer which includes paying all the recording costs and one quarter to one third of promotion.

Who NOT to Trust? Everyone who isn't contracted with one of the Super Six General Licensers and legally displays the Licenser's logo on their Labels and Mastheads! And none of the so-called Songwriter Associations. And nobody who offers a 'publishing contract' but doesn't have a documentable record deal for the song already in the works. Nor anybody with the endorsement of ASCAP, BMI or SESAC emblazoned upon their Elite Clique souls. Affiliation is one thing - but endorsement is another!

The Recorded Music Industry is wide open for those who aren't afraid to put their money where their 'talent' is. But the investment and venture must be managed like a business! Just like any other business. And as in all other areas of life - you're known by the company you keep - good company is expensive!

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