The San Diego Songwriter’s Guild has helped hundreds of songwriters improve their ability to craft better songs. In addition it has assisted in creating networking opportunities with music industry professionals. Browse this site and learn how you can take your songwriting skills to the next level.
The Guild’s mission is to assist its members and interested public in the advancement of songwriting skills through educational programs, and to expose original songs to the recording, television and motion picture industries via pitch sessions with entertainment professionals. It is the Guild’s aim to stimulate both the craft and the business of songwriting by serving published and unpublished writers working in all popular musical styles. We sincerely appreciate your support for, and involvement in your premier industry resource, the San Diego Songwriters Guild.
- Does the guild have any live events?
- Around once a month, the guild has a live showcase at a coffeehouse or other establishment. Most of these showcases are for skill building, but some higher profile events showcase the talent and variety of music the guild has to offer and may require auditions.
- How can I contact the guild?
- If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at:
Mail: San Diego Songwriters Guild / 3368 Governor Drive, Suite F-326 / San Diego, CA 92122
Please remember that we are all volunteers and we will try to get back to you as soon as possible.
- How can I volunteer and who are the board members?
- All board members and personnel running the guild are non-paid volunteers. Board members typically serve one-year terms, but anyone can volunteer their time without being a board member.
Board members are not paid, but there are many benefits to donating your time:
(1) you receive one free song submission at each pitch session and annual song contest,
(2) because board members frequently have to perform duties before the event and may not be able to wait in line, they may enter their submissions before the event,
(3) you get to meet all the other board members and talk with other people in the music industry,
(4) you usually can meet the industry guests before the event, and
(5) you gain satisfaction from helping others learn about music and the music industry.
We are always looking for enthusiastic people to volunteer or serve on the board. If you want to volunteer, please contact us (see contact information).
Board meetings are typically held each month. Please email if you are interested in attending. Board meetings are attended by most of the board members and are open to all members of the guild.
- How do I join?
- You can get applications forms
(A) from our web-site and print it out,
(B) contact us and we will mail you a form, or
(C) attend any event and they should have forms at the door. You can then mail in the form or turn it in at any guild event.
- How do I meet people to collaborate with?
- A good way to meet collaborators is to attend a pitch session or any event put on by the SDSG. If you hear a song you like, remember the song title and after the event, look outside the room for the sign-up sheets. Find the name of the person who entered the song, and if they marked YES on the willing to collaborate box, feel free to contact them for more information.
- How much does it cost to join the guild and attend its events?
- Annual Dues $25
Pitch Session Free
Pitch Session (tape submission, max. 2) $10/tape
Industry Speaker Free
Live showcases Free
Song Contest $15/tape
- Is the guild only for songwriters?
- "No. Although the guild primarily benefits songwriters, our members include a wide variety of musicians, managers, music store owners, lyricists, and studio owners to name a few.
- What are the newsletters?
- Newsletters contain information about upcoming events, musicians looking for collaborators, guild members experiences, and other information.Newsletters come out around once every two months and are mailed to the members. They usually are mailed around the first week of the month, but may be delayed due to last-minute schedule changes by our guests. Non-members can request to be put on the mailing list and receive newsletters, but the duration is limited to around 6 months due to mailing costs. Ex-members are usually mailed newsletters for 6 months after their membership expires. Newsletters are downloadable free to members and non-members on the SDSG web site. We are always looking for interesting information to put into the newsletter. Contact the guild if you:
* Won a contest, released a CD, or got airplay. We're always looking for success stories.
* Feel you have had an experience others would find interesting or could learn from. You could possibly write an article.
* Want to collaborate. Members get a free looking for collaborator's listing.
* Want to advertise an event.
- What are the rules for the song contest?
- The guild sponsors an annual songwriters contest every winter. See the annual song contest link on our web site for the most current information.
- What does the guild do with my fees?
- The San Diego Songwriters Guild is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation with no paid employees. It is operated on a break-even budget by a volunteer board of directors. Revenues are used to conduct seminars, rent meeting facilities
cover travel expenses for industry guests, maintain the web-site, and publish and distribute the SDSG newsletter.
- What does the guild have on their web-site?
- It has the following features:
Newsletter - view the latest and previous issues of the newsletter.
E-mail address email@example.com
Links and Resources to other music and songwriting sites.
- What is a lyric sheet?
- When a music industry professional listens to a song, they typically like to look at a lyric sheet at the same time. Make sure the lyric sheet is neatly typed, because having a messy or untyped lyric sheet will set you off as an amateur in many industry people’s eyes. The following is an example of a lyric sheet (if you write lyrics like this, please go to an in-house critique session):
BUBBA SHOT THE JUKEBOX
(c) 1999 By John Doe
Phone: (619) 555-1212
Bubba drove his pickup to the diner.
After being at his trailer park.
We all know he ain't no whiner.
He just gets mad after dark.
Oh, Bubba got drunk and shot the jukebox.
Oh, Bubba got drunk and shot the jukebox.
VERSE 2 ... (More lyrics)
- What is a song pitch?
- A song pitch is when a publisher, artist, or A&R person listens to CD's as a guest of SDSG. Pitch sessions take place in front of an audience and guests listen to only part of the songs. Our guests typically listen to the introduction, first verse, and chorus, but how much they listen to is completely at their discretion (at some Los Angeles pitch sessions they turn the music off after 5 seconds if they don't like it, so be prepared). They then usually give an average of 10-60 seconds of critique, but that again is at their discretion. If they pick the song up , that means they hear something they like, and want to take the song with them for further evaluation. Only an average of 5-20% of songs are picked up . Pitch sessions are a great chance to learn, not just through critiques of your own songs, but also through the comments offered about the tunes of others. Even if you don't pitch a song yourself, you can pick up a lot of valuable information at a SDSG song pitch.
IMPORTANT NOTE: For members who have not pitched before, we recommend going to a in-house critique session first or have someone who has pitched before listen to your songs. The guests listening to songs are professionals who are used to high quality recordings. Any out of tune instruments or vocalists, noise, etc., are an immediate turn-off, and many guests will stop the tape (or at least turn off their minds) after several seconds. The in-house critique sessions are inexpensive to attend and allow peers to point out problem areas in a less critical environment
How it works:
* Admission is reserved for members only.
* Song submission fees are $10 per song (limit 2 songs per writer).
* No live performances.
* Recordings should be high quality (see important note above).
* CD's should be clearly marked as to which track to play.
If you have more than one CD, mark them #1 being your first choice, and #2 being your second, so that we may play them according to your priorities.
On exceptionally busy nights we reserve the option to limit the number of songs submitted by an individual to any event. Due to time limits we cannot guarantee that your song will be heard in the pitch session. If your song isn't listened to during the pitch session and the guest doesn't agree to listen to the tape at a later time, your fee for that song will be refunded.
CD's are separated into two groups (members and non-members) and sorted in the order they are received. One tape from every member is played, then one tape from every non-member, followed by the second tape from every member, and then the second tape from every non-member.
Bring a lyric sheet for each song, because songs will NOT be accepted without a lyric sheet (see What is a lyric sheet? ).
Submissions will not be accepted for the pitch session after the event starts.
Include your name and phone number on both your lyric sheet and your tape because they may get separated.
The pitch session is limited to 70 tapes. Once the limit is reached, sign up is closed, even if the event has not started yet.
When you check in your tape, sign in all the names of the writers, the song title, and your phone number.
CD's will be referred to by song title.
Writers may or may not remain anonymous during the pitch session depending on our guest for that event.
Mail in entries will be accepted if they are received with appropriate entry fees the day before the scheduled event. Mail them to the address listed on this form.
Check the website before the pitch session to make sure the event is still scheduled. Guests sometimes have to reschedule due to unforeseen events.
Song pitches are a good chance to meet potential collaborators. If you hear a song you like, look up the song's name on the event's registration sheet, which should be available on a table outside the room. Feel free to contact the writer(s) regarding potential collaboration if they have marked the yes box in the Interested in Collaborating? section.
- What is the Guild's background?
- The San Diego Songwriters Guild's (SDSG) goal is to stimulate both the craft and business of writing songs. SDSG is a non-profit, volunteer-run organization. The guild was formed in 1982 by Palomar Community College songwriting instructor Dottie Beck and seventeen of her students. Dottie's goal was to provide education and support for those interested in pursuing the craft of songwriting.
The Guild has developed into an important asset for local writers and artists. It is the only organization in the World's Finest City to regularly schedule pitch sessions and educational seminars with industry professionals. SDSG serves our artist-writer community by sponsoring performances at local venues, seminars at professional recording studios, and our annual song contest.
It is the number one resource for San Diegan's interested in achieving commercial success as songwriters. SDSG serves its community by sponsoring charity concerts and by offering services at reduced rates to interested students. The Guild offers members the opportunity to meet and share ideas with fellow writers and performers. Our membership includes over 200 men and women of all ages and backgrounds. Supported jointly by members and local business, the Guild is proud to list San Diego’s leading music industry merchants and service providers as corporate sponsors.
The Guild's mission is to assist its members and interested public in the advancement of songwriting skills through educational programs, and to expose original songs to the recording, television and motion picture industries via pitch sessions with entertainment professionals. It is the Guild's aim to stimulate both the craft and the business of songwriting by serving published and unpublished writers working in all popular musical styles. We sincerely appreciate your support for, and involvement in your premier industry resource, the San Diego Songwriters Guild.
- What is the San Diego Songwriter's Guild (SDSG)?
- SDSG is a volunteer-run, non-profit organization that offers:
Networking - meet publishers, guild members, and other people in the music industry. Share information on what works and what doesn't. Trade skills with other musicians.
Pitch sessions - publishers, artists, or Artists and Repertoire (A&R) reps listen to your songs for possible inclusion in their projects.
Songwriting improvement - pitch and critique sessions provide invaluable feedback on improving your songwriting.
Industry speakers - industry personnel provide information and answer questions.
Live showcases - for those that perform, shows at coffeehouses and other events help hone your performing skills.
Newsletters - available at our web-site or mailed to your house to keep you informed of guild events.
Collaborators - Meet other songwriters and create new songs together.
Contest - yearly songwriting contest with thousands of dollars in prizes.
Tax deduction - we're non-profit, so you can deduct any fees paid to the guild at tax time. Save those receipts!
- Who are Industry Speakers ?
- People from the music industry occasionally come and provide insight into the music business. We also occasionally have ask-an-expert nights, covering such topics as recording techniques, music on the web, computer techniques, etc.
- Why does everyone critique each other's songs so harshly?
- If someone told you a sentence in your letter sounded funny, you'd probably be thankful for the comment and reevaluate the sentence. But if someone told you a stanza in your song sounded funny, most people would feel defensive. This is very understandable, because songs can be personal, but try to keep the defensiveness to a minimum. Keep in mind that the vast majority of criticism offered by people is meant to be constructive. Try to feel the same way if someone mentions your lyric is confusing as if they said your car needs waxing or your tree needs pruning. Your song is an object it's not your baby or your spouse's honor that needs to be defended. Treat your song as if it were a piece of clay and as a work in progress.
- Why is networking such an important part of joining the guild?
- The music industry is built on networking and making contacts. The guild provides an excellent opportunity to meet others interested in music and to find out what works and what doesn't. To make the most of your participation in guild activities, talk to guests and fellow members during breaks and after sessions. Learn what other members are doing and how they are doing it. Consider volunteering as a SDSG board member.