SongShop – An Online Platform Built for Songwriters
INTRODUCTION TO SONGSHOP
Hi! My name is Steven Gerein. I am the creator of SongShop! I wanted to take a few minutes to introduce myself, and give you a bit of background as to how SongShop came to be.
It was just another set up day – Spend the afternoon loading in gear. Set the stage and lighting. Line check, sound check, and then break until show time. Me and a couple band members did what most others would do – walked down to the bar and grabbed a beer. We sat and chatted for a while, just the usual small talk about the show, set up, and how we thought the night would go. But then we started talking about something else; something that sparked the idea for SongShop. One of the guitar players who plays with us also has his own project, and he had been prepping songs for his next album. I was also starting to prep for another recording, and we got on the topic of finding songs from other writers.
Now, being that we lived in a smaller city not close to any musical “hub”, making connections with writers wasn’t something very common. We had both been looking online for some type of online pitching service or song catalogue we could browse through, but it seemed like there was nothing out there. I really couldn’t believe it, so I started asking around my music community to see if anyone knew of any – my search came up empty.
I couldn’t believe that in today’s day and age, there was not a single place on the internet that an independent writer could host their song catalogue and advertise it to artists all over the place! I mean there are dogs and cats that have millions of Instagram followers… How can this not exist?
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to go to a website and browse through hundreds of original songs to record for your next album, or find that perfect single?? And if there was an online community, there would be the possibility to connect an artist from Canada with a writer in Europe – who would have never had the chance to meet before! This idea was the catalyst to create what is now songshop.ca.
THE START OF SOMETHING GOOD
I decided that if I couldn’t find it, I would build it. I came up with the idea of SongShop – a place to shop for songs, and a place to shop your songs.
My goal was simple:
- Give independent songwriters a chance to have their songs heard
- Give independent artists a catalogue of songs to choose from
- Let both parties keep 100% of their royalties
- Give the independent music industry another tool to work with
- Provide free resources and build a community!
This last year has been full of building, designing, tweaking, and TONS of learning – But I am excited to say that SongShop is finally here! I truly hope that this becomes a valuable tool you can use, and platforms like this become more popular in the music industry.
GETTING THINGS ROLLING
I was actually excited that I had the chance to create something like this! It seemed fitting, because I am one of the songwriters and artists who would be using the platform, so I could design it to work how I thought it should.
The concept was simple – Songwriters have a profile that they host their catalogue of songs on. Artists have a profile with their bio and links to their music so writers can get an idea of their sound before pitching them anything. I also needed a way for artists to let writers know they are actually looking for songs, rather than get unsolicited pitches. To overcome this we created the “Pitch Platform”. It’s sort of like a job board where artists can post any information they choose about what type of songs they are looking for, and writers can pitch songs directly to them!
For an artist to record a song as their own, that they don’t actually own the copyright to, there needs to be some licensing in place. I wanted this portion to be as simple as possible, without the need for the artist and writer to converse back and forth and get contracts and licensing in place on their own. I also realized that many of the artists and writers who would be using this platform might not have a good understanding of licensing or the legalities of recording someone else’s song as their own. This needed to be a built in feature.
ADD TO CART
To make this as simple as possible, SongShop is set up sort of like an online store. You purchase a license on a song, just like you would order a T shirt from your favourite brand. Choose the license type you want, add it to your cart, and check out! This is where the convenient part comes in, and also why it’s very important to have your legal name as your name in your profile (don’t sweat, there’s a spot for your artist name if you have one.) The site automatically generates a mechanical license between the artist who purchased the song, and the writer who wrote the song. Now let’s get into some legal stuff!
SOME LEGAL MUMBO JUMBO
What is a mechanical license? A mechanical license is a contract that lets the artist record their own version of the song, in an audio only format. Artists do not get to use any portion of the demo recording aside from using it for reference in the studio. The mechanical license also states the rate that royalties will be paid to the writer. We decided to focus on two main royalties with SongShop; Physical and digital sales.
The site has two types of mechanical licenses you can purchase on each song; Standard, and Exclusive. There can be as multiple standard licenses granted on a song at any time, but once an Exclusive license is granted, that song is exclusive to that artist for the next 6 months. Any other licenses that were granted previously are still in good standing, but no new ones will be granted until the end of the 6 month period. At the end, the artist can either renew their exclusive license, or it gets automatically transferred to a standard license.
So what happens when an artist finds a song they like and wants to record it? Well first, they would purchase a license to record the song – just like they would purchase anything else from an online store. The site then delivers the goods – The song demo file, the lyric sheet, chord chart, and the mechanical license.
SOO HOW DO YOU MAKE MONEY??
The next thing I wanted the site to do, was actually make songwriters a bit of money! Crazy right?! The writers get a percentage of the mechanical license fee, and also get to keep 100% of any royalties they are entitled to. SongShop will NEVER take any of that. That was one of the core reasons I wanted to build this thing. To give artists and writers a platform to use without taking 50% of what they make from their songs and recordings. In today’s world it can be tough for us independents to make money from their music, so let’s let everyone keep what they are entitled to!
SongShop started as something I was searching for, and I hope it’s something you can start using and benefiting from. With the help of the right team the idea came to life, and I think it can truly change the way artists and writers connect online!
Thanks SO MUCH for reading! Because you made it all the way to the end, I want to thank you by giving you access to all the pro features of the site, for free!
Sign up for a free 14 Day trial right here → https://songshop.ca/pricing/
If you are an artist and want to find songs to record, check out our library here → https://songshop.ca/song-shop/songs/