Mastering the craft of songwriting has always required – and will always require – good, old-fashioned effort and time but as technology progresses, there are quite a few improvements to the ways songwriters can effectively manage their careers. Not only has technology enabled us to be more efficient but it’s also allowed us to bridge physical distances in ways that were previously impossible. For songwriters serious about making a living, these improvements are worth noting as they allow us to maximize our efforts while minimizing the inconveniences of the past. Below are three such areas that merit our attention.

1. Songwriting Collaboration

For decades and decades, the only way to truly collaborate in real time was to be in the same physical space with your co-writer. Then, slowly, the internet began to provide ways to semi-effectively bridge the distance such as emailing lyrics and snippets of melody – via mp3 – back and forth. Now with free and often high-quality video chat options like FaceTime and Skype, songwriting collaboration at a distance is a truly viable option. Skype can even allow up to twenty-five people to be on the same video call at the same time – although I’m not sure that would be my recommended number of co-writers. Another great boon for lyricists is the opportunity that Google Docs provides for multiple participants to look at – and edit – the same lyric sheet at the same time which can be a huge help when it comes to keeping tabs on the evolution of your song’s lyric during a long-distance co-writing session. 

2. Song Demos

Getting your song demos recorded by the world class session musicians and studio vocalists that the big music cities have to offer used to require either a trip to Nashville, NYC or Los Angeles or mailing in the cassette or CD of your rough recording to a studio in one of those cities and hoping they shared your precise vision for how your finished demo should sound. Now, studios have the ability to send a high quality audio – and video – streams through services like to their studio clients wherever they are in the world. As a producer with a studio in Nashvile, I’ve had clients listen in to their studio sessions from their homes in Taiwan, Australia and even an oil rig off the coast of Scotland! 

3. Song Pitching

Another area where technology has greatly changed the lives of songwriters for the better is in how we pitch our songs. Submitting songs for pitch opportunities used to require the time and hassle of physically mailing or dropping off either a cassette or CD to the potentially interested parties. The interim step of emailing an mp3 was a double-edged sword given that the sheer numbers of songwriters sending audio files to industry professionals could overwhelm their computer inboxes. These days, using free online storage services like DropBox, it’s dead simple to simply send a link to your songs in your email. This works well not only because it’s as simple as the recipient clicking a link to hear your song but also because links take up zero “space” since your songs are not actual attachments in your email. 

Another related area when it comes to technology and pitching is how much easier it’s become via social media to market your songs. A classic example is that by placing a simple lyric video of one of your songs on YouTube you can reach an almost infinite audience of listeners with your work.


These days, being a great songwriter is a strong start but it’s really not enough if the goal is royalty income. Taking the time to explore and get familiar with the technological advances above will yield great results in a very short time. 

Good Luck!

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8 responses to “Three Reasons Songwriters Should Embrace Technology”

  1. as i deal with artists on a daily basis,
    i am shocked that so many of them
    (like half of America) are pre-luddites,
    still cowering the caves of the last
    millennium. because, in order to
    craft and create visionary new forms, one must
    get out on the living edge, and embrace
    this eternal moment.
    as there are no rules for creativity, anything
    goes. even when concocting rootsy
    traditional narratives, the modern tools
    rock. besides using a five piece horn section,
    i utilize the 40,000 loops and samples
    that i have accumulated.
    so i highly recommend that you expand
    your skill sets, and explore the modern possibilities.
    good luck…

  2. sorry to blather on…but, Cliff’s post here is so important…
    as this is now a digital world, so if you don’t have a website,
    then you simply do not exist…
    building a website is fun and easy, and will cost you $15-$20 a month to have hosted….i love SQUARESPACE, which is very intuitive with great tech support…
    (no i don’t work for them, but currently have eight sites on their platform that i have built)…
    so, get a website, so you can properly display and share your work….
    good luck….

  3. James Fields says:

    The subject that appeals the most to me is establishing some collaborative relationships. Why? I have no formal music training … I can’t read music (other than simple vocal stuff for singing in a choir, playing guitar chords that are posted, and learning finger-picking patterns by ear), and I don’t know any music theory, although I seem to be intuitively doing the right things in my compositions. My lyrics are very strong … often allegorical and narrative … conjuring up personal emotions and memories while remaining universal in their messages and appeal. When I write songs I hear all of the instruments and vocals in my head … and I can convey them to others, while welcoming their nuances. The problem is capturing them on more than printed lyrics with guitar chords superimposed and footnotes on what I’m hearing in my head. I used to have a very gifted professional musician as a close friend (keyboard, guitar, bass, drums, vocals) who really connected with me and had a home studio to capture our collaborations, but he left my home state back in the late ’90s and we lost contact. How can I find someone like him who is looking for someone like me?

    • Hi James,

      If you’re able to write not only lyrics but hear/sing the melody then you don’t need a co-writer, you need a producer. A melody and lyric without any arrangement is all you need for a song to be “complete” in the eyes of copyright law. Word of mouth at any/all studios and other songwriters will provide names of producers who will work – and this is important – FOR HIRE to arrange and produce recordings of your songs. You don’t need to give them part of your copyright for this.

      Hope that helps,

  4. Karl Crosby says:

    All your songwriting tips are so
    valuabie to read and learn from.
    There is always something new to
    learn that you don’t know of.

  5. Shall says:

    I bought two Zoom R24 recorders to be able to colaborate with a young singer, so I didn’t have to spend time withe her and travel to her location. It didn’t work out, but I had the recorders until thieves took them and my small music rig from my storage. The recorder serial numbers are 027753 and 013550. So they’re out there in the world, no doubt for sale. If you run across them, I’ll tithe them to you, in exchange for the person who sold them to you.

  6. Tyler Morger says:

    Nice article Cliff!
    I don’t know about you, but when it comes to writing I prefer good ole’ pen and paper.
    What is your preferred method of writing?

  7. Hi Tyler,

    I write with a fountain pen in a leather-bound journal every morning BUT I write lyrics on my computer!

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