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6 Steps to Songwriting Success

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6 Steps to Songwriting Success

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6 Steps to Songwriting Success
The Comprehensive Guide to Writing and Marketing Hit Songs
Revised and Expanded Edition
By Jason Blume
Billboard Books, New York: 2004
ISBN: 0-8230-8412-4

Reviewed by Herbert White - Posted February 21, 2012

Becoming a successful songwriter requires more than just talent and creativity. It also requires business acumen, perseverance, and the ability to have your song properly vocalized. In Jason Blume's book, 6 Steps to Songwriting Success you will not only learn the basics of songwriting, but also how to market and promote your songs. It is important to note that this book was written primarily for songwriters interested in writing songs that will be performed by other artists. In this persuasive book, Blume has distilled the fundamentals of becoming a successful songwriter into six concise steps:
  1. Developing Successful Song Structures
  2. Writing Effective Lyrics
  3. Composing Memorable Melodies
  4. Producing Successful Demos
  5. Taking Care of Business
  6. Developing Persistence and Realistic Expectations
In the process of describing these fundamental steps, Blume also covers such important topics as plagiarism, copyright, writing for specialty markets, working with a collaborator, and the benefits of working as a staff songwriter, to name a few.

Written in a friendly and instructive style, this book is filled with anecdotes and advice from Blume and others in the songwriting and recording industry. The section of the book that deals with the techniques of songwriting is filled with examples that show you the right, and wrong ways, of writing a song. In 6 Steps to Songwriting Success you'll also find a plethora of writing exercises that will help you internalize the information provided, and which will help get your creative juices flowing. Throughout the book you'll also find a series of checklists that will help you judge just how well you have mastered the material in this book.

Blume is a professional songwriter whose songs have been performed by a variety of artists including Britney Spears, the Oak Ridge Boys, and Collin Raye. He has also taught songwriting courses at the university level as well as having conducted songwriting workshops for the Nashville Songwriters Association and other organizations. He ably brings his years of experience to this book, and he offers sage advice that will help save you from making simple mistakes that might hamper or even derail your career.

6 Steps to Songwriting Success is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in becoming a professional songwriter (and by professional I mean paid!). His advice on how to create memorable lyrics and melodies is invaluable. However, perhaps the best, and most important lesson that Blume offers in this book is that to become a successful and professional songwriter you must learn to write for the market. If you only write songs that 'come from the heart' you may indeed become a proficient and skilled songwriter, but your odds of breaking into the commercial market and successfully marketing your songs are dismal. This is not to say that heartfelt songs can't become hits. It is just that songs written for a specific market have a better chance of becoming a hit than those written without a specific market in mind. This may be sobering advice, but it is extremely valuable and can save you years of wasted effort.

In short, 6 Steps to Songwriting Success is a valuable reference guide that should be read by anyone interested in breaking into the commercial song market, as well as by novice songwriters looking for advice on how to improve their songwriting skills. Highly recommended!

Blume is also the author of Inside Songwriting, a book that provides an insider's look at the business of songwriting.

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