These days, most songwriters I know are busier than ever managing lives, families, jobs, social media, writing, performing – the list goes on and on. Our time is precious and valuable! Here’s a list of tools I use to streamline and organize my writing process, so that I have more time to be productive and creative.
Google Docs. This is one of my favorite tools for co-writing. Not only does it save changes as you make them, but also, all of your co-writer’s changes, whether they are in the room or Skype-writing 1,000 miles away. All of the writers can see changes in the document while you type, and you can see their contributions in real-time, too. Everyone works in one document simultaneously! I really love this when I’m writing with a lyric writer. The less my hands are typing on my computer screen, the more my hands can be on my guitar tweaking the melody. Another great benefit is that you can access these docs from any smart device. I can work on my lyrics whether I’m in an airport or late night in a recording studio.
iTunes. I’m often asked how I keep up with all my work tapes, demos, and melody ideas. It’s very simple. I create different playlists in iTunes for organization. I add extra columns, in addition to “Song Title,” to include my cowriters, the demo singer, and the creation date.
Box.com Storing all of your songs (mp3s) in Box is a handy way to give other people access to your music. I’m constantly pitching my songs to artists, producers, etc., and Box allows me to send links from any device to anyone. Very handy! It’s also a great back-up if you keep all of your songs on your computer hard-drive. Box offers a sizable free account.
Gmail. Songwriters must protect their songs. Your song’s copyright goes into effect the moment you write it, however, you need to prove that you wrote it. So, as soon as I finish a song, I make a simple recording with my phone voice recorder. Then, I email the recording and song lyric to myself. That time stamps it and proves when I wrote the song.
iPhone Music Memos App. I use this ALOT! Music Memos record high-quality, uncompressed audio through the built-in mic in your iPhone. Music Memos is optimized for acoustic guitar and piano, and it works with other musical instruments, too. It will analyze the chords you are playing on guitar or piano and notate them for you. (Although I have found it works best on basic chord shapes and not alternate tunings and inversions.) It has a built in guitar tuner. Music memos also let’s you can email songs to yourself which is handy for proving date of creation; or upload to cloud formats. For fun it will also add drums and bass to your memo!
Write On! ~Clay
16- time ASCAP hit Songwriter/Producer/Esspresso Coffee Lover