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Top Ten Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is NSAI and what does NSAI do?
Established in 1967, NSAI is a 501(c) 6 not-for-profit trade association that offers a variety of services to professional and aspiring songwriters. First and foremost, NSAI operates as a legislative advocacy group on behalf of songwriters. Our organization fights for songwriter’s rights – the right to be paid, to be taxed fairly, to be recognized and to protect the future of the profession of songwriting. Second, NSAI teaches writers about the craft of writing, providing education and guidance on the songwriting process. We listen to your songs! Third, NSAI teaches writers about the music industry and how it works, providing opportunities to network with and learn from music industry professionals.
2. How much does it cost to be a member and why?

NSAI membership costs $200 per year* (12 months from the date you join). With your membership, you receive 12 song evaluations (a market value of about $50-$75 each), 2 one-on-one mentoring sessions (a market value of about $50-$150 each), workshops (a market value of about $200 per workshop), including our archives that span more than two years worth of classes – plus many other great services! As a not-for-profit organization, NSAI does not refund membership fees.

*A membership is $200 for the first year and then drops to $150 with an on-time renewal

3. What are the benefits if I don’t live in Nashville?
Our expanded online services provide accessibility of all benefits to members living outside of Nashville. You’ll be able to take advantage of our song evaluation service, online education, forums, and more than 100 regional workshops. Remember that this is the music business and to achieve success will require an investment of your time, energy, efforts and funds.
4. I write lyrics only – can you put a melody to it?
NSAI is not an organization that “puts melodies” to words or poems. We encourage you to find a co-writer to help you with the musical portion of your song. However, we do offer lyric only critique through our Song Evaluation service.
5. Can you set me up with co-writers or how do I meet them?
NSAI does not set up co-writer appointments, however, many NSAI members find co-writers through our various local workshops, our forums, and our special events. In your own hometown, seek out co-writers from music stores/teachers, music venues, churches, recording studios and your local NSAI chapter.
6. I write poems – can you turn them into songs?
Though songs are often written from the inspiration of poems, the poem format usually does not make for a great song because of the differences in structure between poems and “commercial” songs. If songwriting is your goal, NSAI teaches you the structural difference between the vital art forms of poetry and songs. Companies that advertise “Send us your poems, and we will make them into a song” are usually companies without a real avenue for getting your song published with a legitimate publisher. Usually, a poem that has been converted into a song is not considered “marketable” for commercial purposes within the music industry.
7. I have several songs I want to sell, can you help me?
NSAI does not operate as a broker for the selling of songs. NSAI assists members in obtaining legitimate publishing opportunities, such as a single-song contract, through networking and various programs and events. Publishing companies are interested in songs that provide an income stream. Your song will not have a substantial income stream unless it has been recorded by a major artist and has received radio airplay. Once your song is earning an income, a publisher may be interested in your song or perhaps your entire catalog of songs, and then this would require a contractual agreement.
8. How do I get my songs published?
Getting your songs published is a process; a series of steps that requires knowledge and preparation. Due to legal issues, publishers cannot take unsolicited material, material from someone they don’t know or that they didn’t request. Publishers do have their own staff writers and the only other sources that they will take songs from are known or legitimate sources like NSAI. The first steps simplified would be to: 1) Join NSAI 2) Join one of the performing rights organizations (ASCAP/BMI/SESAC) 3) Invest in music business books that deal with publishing to get acquainted with how it works (see our website bookstore). Publishers will require a complete song (words and music). Make certain that, when you get an opportunity to play your song for a publisher, your song is complete and well recorded.
9. Can you pitch my material or get my songs to an artist?
NSAI is not a song pitching company and we cannot get songs to artists, however, many of our member’s songs are presented on a quarterly basis to major publishers and A&R label representatives through our NSAI Song Evaluation Department and our “ready to pitch” service. Your NSAI membership legally allows us to listen to your song, play your song and promote your song if your song is ready to go to market.
10. I want to be an artist – how do I get started?
NSAI has many artist-writers as members, many of who get an artist deal because of the exposure we offer to them and their music. Keep in mind, however, that we are song-focused. Writer development and artist development are two different approaches to the music business. If you are looking for an artist deal, it will be important to be performing regularly and find a producer or a manager. Music Row Magazine prints an Artist Roster Magazine that lists record labels, producers, managers, booking agencies, etc. Their phone number is 615-321-3617 or www.musicrow.com.


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