From vinyl records, to cassette tapes, to CD's, to digital downloads and now .... to the cloud.
An evolution? Yes. But the digital nature of the outcome also has simultaneously forced Music Row to refocus on the importance of relationships.
Want a loan? Want to write with an artist? Want to build your credibility as a new songwriter?
It's all about who you know.
Even in an age where Facebook and Twitter are supreme, bankers, publishers and successful songwriters say they still make decisions based on reality.
Andrew Kintz, managing director of Suntrust's music division, said that while he does make lending decisions based on the potential future royalties for a songwriter, he also makes sure his bankers are out in the community and listening to what the Row says about potential clients.
"We're trying to asses the risk of a song," Kintz said during a songwriting panel at the 2011 Billboard Country Music Summit. "But we're also assessing the risk of a song writer."
One good way to build that credibility, and to get hit songs cut on big albums, is to write with artists. But a major sticking point in that partnership, said Ben Vaughn executive vice president of EMI Publishing in Nashville, is being prepared.
Walking into a room to write without knowing what you want to say can spell disaster and likely also mean a writer won't get another chance to sit alongside an artist again. In that way, community trumps other factors.
"In the writing publishing community, we all know each other," Vaughn said.
Also key to making it in Nashville as a songwriter: leaving a good impression and keeping it old fashioned.
Singer songwriters Dallas Davidson and Rhett Atkins met at a bar.
"I knew we were going to be friends," Atkins said.
"You must network, you can sit at your house and write by yourself but nobody is going to come looking for you," Davidson added. "I was very very fortunate to fall in with guys like Rhett, those guys were my groomsman at my wedding."
Nashville Business Journal - by Annie Johnson