General FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions - General Questions



Top Questions about How SongU.com Works

1. What is SongU.com?

SongU.com provides a unique online opportunity to study songwriting with award-winning professional songwriters from Nashville, New York and Los Angeles, as well as make direct industry and co-writing connections, and showcase and pitch your songs all from the comfort of your own home computer. You do not need special computer skills or a high tech setup. Wherever you are...we'll bring the music industry to you!

2. How much does it cost?

Enjoy saving money on travel and hotel expenses by learning, connecting and pitching from the comfort of your home. Find out more about our convenient membership and payment options.

3. What are SongU Credits?

For your convenience, SongU.com uses a credits system for its additional services. Purchase however many SongU credits you want (1 credit = $1) and then you can use your credits throughout the site whenever you want since your credits never expire. Platinum Members also receive 3 free SongU Credits every quarter as our way of saying thanks for being a member.

4. Can I cancel my membership at any time?

You can cancel at any time in the Billing section of the Account area. There is no obligation or required membership length.

5. What are my payment options?

We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover credit or debit cards. We do not accept personal checks or money orders.

6. How much time will the course take?

SongU.com is not a single "course" -- it is a program for songwriters. With our flexible program, you may spend as much or as little time as you want and focus on your particular areas of interest and goals. There is always something available for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Choose from a variety of Do-It-Yourself courses, Transcripts-On-Demand, “live” Instructor-Led workshops, written Coaching feedback, Private Sessions, and continuous opportunities to pitch your songs.

7. Will the schedule work for me if I’m an international member?

The majority of features and courses are not time sensitive. So this is not a problem. All “live” instructor-led courses and feedback workshops that do meet at a specific time are recorded so you can listen to it later. Keep an eye out for special GMT-friendly meetings (between 1-3pm EST) each month.

8. How can I contact you?

The best way to reach us is by emailing SongU@SongU.com or by submitting a Help/Support request. We do our best to quickly respond to all emails that we receive. You may also call 615-522-1556 Monday-Friday 10am-2pm CST.

9. Looking for more FAQ information?

See specific FAQ pages for courses, coaching, pitching and other topics:

FAQ Courses
FAQ Coaching
FAQ Pitching
FAQ Private Sessions
FAQ Pro Mentor Co-writes
FAQ Song Locker
Contact Support


Top 10 Questions about Songwriting

1. Why should I study songwriting?

We recently had to chuckle when a new member from the U.K. emailed us saying, “Before joining SongU I thought - now what can a bunch of Yankees can teach me about songs? It turns out, a lot!” Even though education isn’t as obviously glamourous as some other aspects of the music industry, it does provide the crucial foundation to give you the best chance of success. Reading through the testimonials and success stories from SongU.com members is the best answer to this question.

2. Where do I start if I’m brand new to songwriting?

It is important that you educate yourself on both the craft and the business so that you have the best chance possible at success as well as ensuring that you spend your money wisely and steer clear of potential sharks, perhaps saving your thousands of dollars in the long run. Of course we recommend SongU.com for this, but there are also a variety of magazines and books devoted to the craft and business of songwriting. A few classic authors to look for are Donald Passman and Jason Blume for business, Pat Pattison and Sheila Davis for lyrics, Jai Josefs for music composition and Robin Frederick for placements.

3. I only write lyrics. Should I hire someone to write music?

Generally speaking, it is not a good practice to have someone write music to your lyric for a fee (also known as a "work-for-hire"). It’s better practice to find a collaborator (aka co-writer) who will have an equal stake and interest in the success of the song by sharing copyright ownership of the song. At SongU.com co-writers meet in feedback classes, through co-write challenges, and using our member website database and co-writer search.

4. How can I sell my songs?

A songwriter does not actually "sell" his or her songs. As a copyright owner, you have the option to keep your copyright and collect your own royalties and license your own works (which is often a challenging task), or transferring your copyright for a limited time, with a reversion clause, to a publisher who will do the work of collecting for you, deciding how the song will be used, and the division of profits shared. You should always have a qualified music attorney review any publishing contract before you sign it.

5. How do I get my songs heard by music industry professionals?

It can be frustrating to feel like you have written a great song, but find closed doors and “no unsolicited material” responses when you try to get an industry professional to listen. Having a well-crafted, professional sounding song is only the first step. The music business is the same as any other industry in that you must be willing to take the time to network and build relationships. A good place to start is by meeting and talking to other songwriters by joining a local songwriting group or an online songwriting community. Familiarize yourself with names and current events through industry magazines and resources. “Pitch Sheets” can provide you with tips about who is looking for material for a particular project. Learn more about open-door” pitching at SongU.com.

6. How much money does a songwriter earn from a hit song?

Songwriter’s earnings from a hit song have always varied from very little to quite a lot. However, with the advent of new technologies, the Internet and the legal (and illegal) downloading of music, the reason behind this disparity becomes less clear. Some factors include distribution of Performance Royalties which are the monies collected and distributed by performing rights organizations (ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC in the U.S or SUISA, PRS, etc. for International) for radio airplay and concert performances. These are affected by a song’s genre, chart position and time it takes to climb the charts. Another factor, Mechanical Royalties, which are the monies collected and distributed for every "hard copy" sold (e.g., CD's, sheet music and such), can also vary tremendously based on how many albums are sold based on the current statutory rate for mechanical royalties. Other factors in the equation include the split and distribution of royalties between publishers and co-writers in addition to the songwriter’s recoupable earnings are all factors involved in a songwriter's earnings or lack thereof. Songs can also generate income in the form synchronization licenses for use in film, TV, and alternative media outlets. The changing climate of copyright protection laws and technologies to record and distribute music makes exact earning calculations a rock in the shifting sands of the music industry.

7. Do I need to copyright my songs?

Copyright protects "original works of authorship" that are fixed in a tangible form of expression. This includes music and lyrics. In effect, your song is “copyrighted” as soon as you create it. You cannot, however, copyright a title or an idea. This is why there are so many songs written with the same title. Registering your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office is voluntary. Many choose to register their songs just to have them on file. More importantly, if there is ever a question as to infringement, your song must be registered to stand up in court. To register a work, you simply need to submit a completed application form, a non-refundable filing fee and a non-returnable copy of the work to be registered. You can download the application form and get all the necessary information from the U.S. Copyright Office website at http://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright/.

8. How much does a demo cost?

A demo (or demonstration recording) is a recording of your song that can be played for industry professionals such as publishers, A&R people and recording artists. In essence, a demo is a sample recording of your song. Demo prices vary considerably depending upon where and how they are produced. A simple piano/vocal or guitar/vocal demo is relatively inexpensive costing approximately $150-$250. Full-band demos obviously cost more. In Nashville for example, you can get a professional full-band demo for anywhere from $300-$1500. With the rising popularity of computerized home studios, sequencing and sampling, it is possible to find someone who can "do it all" and therefore, the fees may be less. You can find the names of recording studios in your area by simply looking in the Yellow Pages under "recording studios." Music centers such as NY, Los Angeles and Nashville also have studios that can provide mail-in demo services for out-of-town clients. Before investing money in a demo, you should always make sure your song is ready to be demoed by having one or more industry professionals evaluate your song. At SongU.com we offer regular small group feedback and mentoring sessions where members can play their songs for our faculty and get advice prior to spending money on a demo and pitching the song. We also offer our members an optional one-on-one coaching service where our members can select the coach of their choice to provide them with feedback. Learn more about our feedback and mentoring sessions or our one-on-one coaching service at SongU.com.

9. Do I need to join ASCAP, BMI or SESAC?

ASCAP, BMI and SESAC are all performing rights organizations (PRO’s) whose main function is to collect and distribute performance royalties to composers and publishers. The reps at these companies can also sometimes assist you in networking within the industry. Many countries around the world have equivalent organizations, such as SOCAN in Canada, PRS in the United Kingdom and SUISA for Switzerland. If you are a songwriter or publisher who is being paid Performance Royalties, you must be affiliated with one of these organizations. Since each PRO has a different method of tracking performances, as well as different philosophies and guidelines, it would be wise to do research before making a decision about where or when to affiliate. You can learn more by visiting their websites or by contacting each organization directly and asking to speak to a writer representative.

10. How do I get a record deal?

The record industry is a competitive one. There is no such thing as an overnight success. If you are an independent artist looking for a major label record deal, you need talent, time, perseverance and contacts (not to mention luck). A good place to start is by creating a local “buzz.” Don't underestimate the experience and exposure you can get in your own hometown. Take the time to hone your skills and find your own style. Network with other songwriters, musicians and artists on the web or by attending seminars, music and songwriter festivals and visiting larger music industry cities like NY, Los Angeles, Nashville, Austin, Atlanta or Miami. Finally, educate yourself about the business through courses, books and articles, so you can steer clear of false promises and instead recognize legitimate opportunities when they present themselves.


More FAQ's...
You can see our other FAQ pages for answers to questions about courses, coaching, pitching and other topics:

FAQ Courses
FAQ Coaching
FAQ Pitching
FAQ Private Sessions
FAQ Song Locker
Contact Support


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