Last month we brought you the first in what will be a series of industry interviews with PR professionals, label staff, tour managers, festival promoters, and many more with advice for bands, aspiring industry professionals, and those who just want to learn more about the field.
This week we chat with Downwrite co-founder Mark Rose. Together with Bob Nanna, these two have created a new songwriting platform which allows anyone to hire an artist to write custom songs for gifts, personal playlists, events, etc. All genres are covered, and the website already has 30 artists, including Matt Pryor (The Get Up Kids), William Beckett (The Academy Is…), Carly Comando (Slingshot Dakota). Check out our interview below.
Infectious Magazine: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. How are you?
Downwrite: Thanks for having me! I’m fantastic.
IM: Tell us a little bit about your new songwriting platform, Downwrite. It’s really an interesting company!
Downwrite: Downwrite is essentially a way to connect songwriters with their fans, and anyone else who has a want or need for custom music. The artists collaborate with the consumer, and put together a one-of-a-kind song for them. So far, many of our artists have written songs for gifts, personal playlists, & even custom cover songs. The idea is that artists can find work, taking on creative projects in their “down” time. When they’re not on the road, or not in the studio with their own material.
IM: You have some very noteworthy artists on the site, Matt Pryor (The Get Up Kids), William Beckett (The Academy Is…), Carly Comando (Slingshot Dakota), etc. How did you first enlist the help of these artists?
Downwrite: Since we’re a new company, we’ve started with friends & friend-of-friends to get things rolling. Bob Nanna, the co-founder, and I are both songwriters– and we want to make sure the site is as artist friendly as possible. So, we’re slowly adding profiles, trying some new things out, and getting as much feedback as we can– from both our artists and customers who have gotten songs written. Down the road, we’re planning to open up to all songwriters, everywhere.
IM: How do you hope that Downwrite can reinvent the industry and give more hope to budding artists?
Downwrite: We want the site to help bring back some value to songs & the songwriters themselves. The music industry is in a digital era, and fans, more than ever, can stream and download music for free. Album sales and artists’ royalties are declining– we’re trying to help be part of a solution for that problem.
IM: Along those same lines, what advice do you have for up and coming artists?
Downwrite: Keep creating, and keep pushing yourself to be better. Learn as much as you can about the industry– and don’t be afraid to ask for help, or get people who know more about particular things to assist. With modern technology, it’s easier than ever to be independent. That said, because of this being the case, the market is more flooded than ever with new music and artists, so it’s an even greater challenge to find success.
IM: Your platform is really based on the idea of giving the artist their control back in many ways, something that seems to be largely missing in other areas of the industry. How do you feel the industry in any area, could adapt a bit more to these massive changes?
Downwrite: I really think there needs to be a better balance and representation of artists being pushed at the higher levels of the industry. There is more great music than ever out there, for those who are willing to look for it. The issue is, “what sells” is what is dominating the commercial waves. To some extent, this has always been true– but I think that as record sales have declined (based on the digital era coming into full effect), there is much less risk taking on new ideas & great albums, and more focus on singles and viral marketing. Downwrite wants to help great artists & writers get compensated for their time and efforts– to allow them to keep doing what they love to do.
IM: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Downwrite: We’d love to hear from everyone with their thoughts and ideas, or if there is a particular artist they might like to see on board. We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks so much for your interest!
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