#KeepItReal: Why your music got rejected?

As a composer it’s easy to think our work is great. Our latest is probably the best work we have done so far, so it makes sense. But no matter how good it is, when it comes to synchronizing it to media, it’s about whether or not it will work with picture.

It can be very frustrating to hear that our latest “masterpiece” was rejected by a gate keeper. Because it doesn’t work for the opportunity or perhaps for any opportunity. After all: “it’s my best work! :/

On the flip side, what if a publisher says Yes to it, and then it sits on the shelf because it’s not usable. What would the reaction be? Ecstatic at first because it was accepted. But then annoyed later on because it’s not getting any placements? Or because of the submit forget repeat mantra, do we just move on, and are happy to keep getting that initial high from the music being taken in?

I like dopamine as much as the next person, but one thing I do know: If we are not getting honest feedback on our work we will not grow. And I see this pattern not just in our industry but in life in general. When people can’t get what they want to hear, they will look until they find someone that will give them what they want, even if untrue.

Now that I run my own publishing company, it is a daily struggle. I can read the frustration of composers at times. But I have to keep it real for everybody’s sake. Taking something that doesn’t work will hinder everyone involved.

One thing that Taxi.com provides is a great first buffered experience in dealing with rejection. The yes/no and feedback is specific to the listing they are running which can really help you dial things in. And yes sometimes the screeners don’t get it right. But if something was not a slam dunk with the screeners you can bet it won’t make the client’s shortlist anyway.

Ultimately it boils down to doing the work. That dialing in of things, requires real effort, research, time, etc. And one must be willing to do it. It’s a matter of choice. So we should be as clear as possible on what our goals are. Then focus on them 100%. But whatever that focus is, be open to feedback from people that want to help you in that path. It may frustrating in the short term. But you’ll prefer it to being frustrated long term.

Just keeping it real,

#music #composition #publishing

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Legal advice for Canadian composers

I came across this information today and thought it was worth sharing. From the SOCAN website:

Choosing the Right Lawyer
As a songwriter, you want a lawyer who is familiar with copyright matters, as well as all aspects of the music industry. In Ontario, there is an organization called Artists Legal Advice Services [(416) 367-2527] which provides legal advice and educational services at no cost to Ontario artists of all disciplines. In Quebec and other provinces, your provincial Bar Association can provide names of lawyers working in your area.

Here’s the full link https://www.socan.ca/creators/member-resources/music-business-articles/how-find-right-legal-representation

What a fantastic resource. Thank you SOCAN!

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Song featured on Young and The Restless


Very excited to find out one of my songs will appear on the June 8th, 2016 episode of Young and The Restless on CBS. The song is called Here For You. Performed by super talented Steve Collom. The song was co-written and signed to a great LA publisher. Big thank you to Beth Wernick at Imaginary Friends Music Partners and to the music supervisors on the show. We are thrilled! The song will be a featured vocal placement during the episode.

Our song is now available on iTunes

Here For You

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Composing: Where does your inspiration come from?

Image by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alfinaldeesteviaje/Image by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alfinaldeesteviaje/

I recently began using a new service called Wiselike to manage the various questions I often receive about composing, music production, and the music business. One question that often comes up is: Where do you draw your inspiration/creativity from? So I thought I’d write a blog post on this topic.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

For many years I believed in the concept of the muse being responsible for all creativity and inspiration. The muse that came only when it wanted, and in the most inopportune times. Some people carry voice recorders, or use their smartphone, and record ideas as they pop in their head. Lyricists keep notebooks at their bedside, and will wake from a dream with a lyric in their mind. Put it down before it disappears! I still believe in this to a certain extent. But as a professional waiting for inspiration is not enough. If you have a deadline, you don’t have the luxury of waiting for the muse. You must force the muse to show up by getting to work!

Write, Submit, Forget, Repeat!

Write, Submit, Forget, Repeat! This is a mantra that has come out of the composer community of LA based Taxi.com (An independent A&R company). It really sums up the actions required for success as an artist and composer. The hardest part is usually “Forget”. And could be applied to just about any other artistic/creative discipline. Rather than waiting for the muse, just start writing. Is all of it going to be great? Of course not. But the sheer perseverance of doing this regularly will, with time, bring more and more consistent results. So I believe we have the power to drive creativity by doing the work. Do the work daily with full intent and focuss.

Surely there must be sexier tips that can help?

Yes there are some things that I can say drive instant inspiration. Playing new instruments, whether physical or virtual, can inspire new creative ideas. Along with instruments, you can also get inspired by certain effects or production techniques. These things can sometimes inspire cool hooks. Think of The Edge from U2 and all his great guitar effects. Some U2 songs would not be the same if not for that unique sonic signature. As a guitar player, putting on new strings can be very inspirational as well. A time when this type pf inspiration happened comes to mind: One afternoon last year I pulled out my cavaquinho (Portuguese ukulele), which I don’t use often, and started playing on it. All of a sudden a middle eastern vibe emerged. I immediately recorded the idea, added some percussion, and Al Arabiya was created! I had never written anything like this, nor did I know I had it in me.

Turning Pro!

A series of books that have helped me push through some of the struggles as a composer are, “Do The Work”, “War of Art”, and “Turning Pro”. The author is Steven Pressfield. Turning Pro talks about the differences between the amateur and the professional. In my personal experience I’ve seen the difference. After turning pro I no longer wait for the muse to bring me inspiration. I simply do the work! This leads me to my main source of inspiration nowadays: The requests from clients! I know it might sound boring but it’s far from it. The request can often be for music outside of my comfort zone. And on a deadline! This seems to work well for me and for other colleagues I’ve talked to. Often when working on a deadline and trying something new, cool things happen. Happy accidents! When you have all the time in the world, you over analyse, and over censor. When on a deadline you allow the creativity to flow more freely. Since making this switch I’ve become much more productive and creative.

Have your say!

In the comments section share what things help you get your creative juices flowing. If you like the article and would like to read future one by me, please follow on Twitter, join the discussion on this topic on my Facebook group, sign up for my Mailing list, my RSS feeds, or my Medium page.

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Songs Of Love – for Emily

I recently had the honour to be involved in a project for an organization called Songs Of Love. This charity coordinates delivering original songs to terminally ill children. Other artists that have worked with them include Jason Mraz, David Lee Roth, and Billy Joel. My collaborators were Adriana Lycette and Steven Guiles. Here’s our song for precious little Emily! <3


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Crystal Method – Come back clean

Hi All,

Had lots of fun doing this. I entered a remix contest for the group The Crystal Method.
They asked people to remix “Come back clean” a track off their latest album.
I ended up using only some of the vocal parts for my creation. It’s definitely a Pedro Costa Alternative Rock track 😉
It features the voice of Emily Haines from Metric.
The contest submission end on Sept 16th. We’ll see what happens.
The best submissions receive a few nice prizes.

I hope you enjoy it.

Pedro 🙂

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