The Industry

Song-Poem Contest

The Industry

From Poem To Song in Seven Easy Steps

microphone You write a poem - they'll make a song out of it. For a fee, make-your-own record companies transform amateurs' heartfelt words into professionally produced recordings.

Here's how the business works:

1 Let's say you're an aspiring songwriter. You find a company's ad in the back of a movie or music magazine, comic book or supermarket tabloid. The ad suggests that fame, fortune and artistic immortality may be in your reach, for the creative genius lurks within us all.

2 You send the company your lyrics (usually in the form of a poem) for a professional totally absolutely free evaluation. Soon after, you get the good news that your lyrics reflect real talent, have earned a top rating and are poised to be rushed into production.

3 You decide to set your future hit to music. That means first selecting a genre (rock, country, rhythm and blues, folk, etc.) and then sending $200-$400 for the "production charges" of composing a tune, recording the song, creating sheet music and providing copyright information.

4 The money arrives. A staff composer processes the poem, slapping the words to a tune from the selected genre, organizing the poem into stanzas and chorus, and sometimes making instant edits in the name of grammar or rhyming.

5 A crack team of brutally efficient studio musicians, vocalists and an engineer record your song - usually in one take and often as part of a multiple back-to-back song-poem recording marathon.

6 The finished recording is shipped off to a manufacturing plant to make a record, cassette or CD. The final product may be either a single or a 15-20 track multi-artist compilation album of song-poems.

7 You receive a handful of cassettes, records or CDs, depending on the agreement. Some companies promise to mail out recordings to the big labels; others send info on marketing your song. All congratulate you heartily and invite you to rush the company new material, anytime.

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