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Six Steps to Songwriting Success: The Comprehensive Guide to Writing and Marketing Hit Songs [Hardcover]

Jason Blume
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 1, 2004 0823084124 978-0823084128 Rev Exp
Drawing on his experience as a hit-making songwriter and song writing instructor, Jason Blume presents an easy to understand, step-by-step approach to mastering those key elements consistently found in hit songs. Incorporating inspiring anecdotes, effective exercises, and common sense checklists for self-evaluation, 6 Steps to Songwriting Success provides a concise analysis of the six steps essential to song writing success - developing successful song structures, writing effective lyrics, composing memorable melodies, producing successful demos, taking care of business, and developing persistence. Exercises for practicing and honing these skills, advice from more than 50 industry professionals, and checklists to objectively assess one's strengths and weaknesses are included. This updated edition reflects industry changes such as the advent of MP3s, the increase in music sampling, and the fact that CDs have replaced cassettes as the industry standard for presenting material. 6 Steps to Songwriting Success contains everything songwriters need to know about the creative and business aspects of writing successful songs

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jason Blume is a staff writer for Zomba Music. He has written songs for the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, as well as John Berry’s Top 5 country single, “Change my Mind” and Steve Azar’s country hit “I Never Stopped Lovin’ You.” He also developed and teaches the BMI Nashville Songwriters Workshop. He lives in Nashville, TN.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Billboard Books; Rev Exp edition (April 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823084124
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823084128
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,048,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jason Blume's songs are on three Grammy-nominated albums and have sold more than 50,000,000 copies. One of only a few writers to ever have singles on the pop, country, and R&B charts, all at the same time--his songs have been recorded by artists including Britney Spears, the Gipsy Kings, the Backstreet Boys, Jesse McCartney, and country stars including Collin Raye (6 cuts), the Oak Ridge Boys, Steve Azar, and John Berry ("Change My Mind," a top 5 single that earned a BMI "Million-Aire" Award for garnering more than one million airplays). In 2013 had two top-10 singles and a "Gold" record by Dutch star, BYentl.

His songs have been included in films and TV shows including "Scrubs," "Friday Night Lights," Disney's "Kim Possible" "Dangerous Minds," "Kickin' it Old Skool," "The Guiding Light," "The Miss America Pageant," and many more.

Jason authored three of the best selling songwriting books, and is in his nineteenth year of teaching the BMI Nashville Songwriters workshops. He presented a master class at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (founded by Sir Paul McCartney) and teaches songwriting throughout the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Ireland, the U.K., Canada, Bermuda, and Jamaica.

After twelve years as a staff-writer for Zomba Music, Blume now runs Moondream Music Group. For additional information, visit

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delivers what it promises! February 4, 2000
By A Customer
Although writing music is actually too ephemeral to break down scientifically, Jason Blume is generous in sharing what has worked and NOT worked for him - and he sets a good example for aspiring professional songwriters. I especially appreciated that HALF the book is about the BUSINESS of songwriting - what's necessary to get songs recorded and released - the networking and just plain LUCK that go into "the deal"! I remember Jason's early songs from his first years in LA, and he HAS come a long way and is living proof that his methods work!
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A complete A to Z guide! December 6, 1999
By A Customer
This book is THE most comprehensive book for anyone who writes or wants to understand how the music industry works. Blume fills the book with personal insights and strong examples from industry greats. A successful writer himself, this book is full of proven step by step approaches for you to follow concerning any aspect of a writer's career in the music industry.
Highly reccommended!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
I bought this book coming from the point of view of an aspiring musician trying to write my own songs. Some people might complain that the author's best work includes album filler on a Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys record. Well, unfortunately The Neptune's are too busy writing hits songs to find the time to write a book telling us how they do it, so Jason Blume is the best we're going to get.

Jokes aside, this book has really good advice on song structure and writing better lyrics. It contains a lot of information that can help you turn an average song into a really good one. Cynics might suggest that this book is all about writing generic radio play, but Jason Blume's advice is really about writing effective lyrics. The only real reason for buying this book should be the information on lyric writing. It also contains a detailed explanation of how the music industry operates, which is useful but, the rest of the book is fairly poor.

Where this book fails is in it's explanation on writing better music. It contains a whole section on melody that essentially boils down to general tips on varying the melody, and contains almost no musical theory. By his own admission, Jason Blume is not really strong on musical theory, and it shows (he completely ignores chords - kind of a big deal!). If you want a good book on writing better melodies try "Melody: How to Write Great Tunes" by Rick Rooksby (ISBN: 0879308192) as it actually explains the musical theory behind writing melodies in great detail.

This book also contains a fairly long section on recording demos that is fairly poor. The book ends with chapter aimed at motivating you to keep trying until you make your big break.
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41 of 51 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars He's part of the problem February 12, 2005
In the world of songwriting, there are artists and craftsmen. The artist will produce for you a work of originality that no one else has ever done quite the same way before, that will touch you in some unique way and that will stay with you. The craftsman will give you a serviceable reproduction of something but it will lack anything special and will have the lifespan of a fruit fly. Jason Blume is a craftsman. He makes his living by studying "the market" and basically rewriting other people's songs. Ideas are difficult things. Not everyone has great ideas, so some take the road Jason Blume has taken. He's apparently feeding his family by being a craftsman, so there's nothing wrong with that. We need bricklayers as much as we need architects. I'm just letting you know what you're getting into here. If you want to learn how to design a beautiful building, you don't study with the bricklayer. This guy ain't no talented songwriter but he is living proof that you apparently don't have to have talent to make money in the music biz these days. I'm sure that gives hope to a lot of untalented people, which is probably why this book has gotten such good reviews. He's strictly a bubblegum pop writer, so if that's the direction you want to go in, maybe you'll get something out of this book. Just remember that bubblegum loses its flavor really fast. If you're really serious about this, if it's something that burns within you and you want a real career as a songwriter, you should shop around for a better book. This one will only make you feel that you're in the wrong business.

This book is littered with quotes from music biz insiders that are far more insightful than anything Jason Blume has to say.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 50% INSPIRATION + 50% NETWORKING = 100 % SUCCESS June 13, 2000
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Having watched Jason's own professional journey since the mid-80s, I'm overjoyed at his success, and the fact that he shares all of the peaks and valleys of his career so honestly in this book! Jason doesn't sugarcoat anything about the music biz - but he keeps the joy and enthusiasm and LOVE for music intact as he tells what worked for him, what DIDN'T work - and why! You won't find a more honest and revealing look at what it takes to be a hit songwriter today.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tough love for wannabe artists. December 10, 2005
By Watujel
It's simple, really. Make your song stand out and be better than all the competition, while still adhering to a long list of unwritten (until now) rules about what constitutes a commercial cut, plus avoiding an even more byzantine array of artistic and business taboos that could send your creation straight to the trash.

Admittedly, it's tempting to dismiss the un-comforting advice Blume gives, especially when you learn that he is the co-author of such how-does-that-go-again? filler as Britney Spears' "Dear Diary" or the Backstreet Boys' "Back to My Heart" (not to be confused with "Shape of My Heart"). But regardless of whether you respect his work or not, the guy knows how the system works and how the game is played. And he doesn't sugarcoat things, which is good, because he knows the nuances and subtleties of what artists, labels, and producers are looking for.

He reminds readers to practice and rewrite incessantly, give themselves time to develop their craft, get unbiased feedback, and start small - with local, no-name artists (hopefully) on the rise.

It's also tempting to recoil at his advice for how to write lyrics and melodies - is he trying to codify a formula? Not really. Blume makes it clear that artistic merit is subjective, but if you don't want to conform at least somewhat, you're better off forming your own alternative band than pitching your ahead-of-their-time creations to platinum recording artists.

However, he leaves out an important point that Donald Passman makes in his "All You Need to Know About the Music Business" - businesspeople have many ways of getting around the federally set royalty rates.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile
There is some good stuff for the beginner as well as for use as a teaching tool.
Published 13 days ago by Jerry
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book!
I own a library of books on songwriting and this book is by far my favorite. Everything I was looking for can be found within the pages. This book is the bomb!
Published on July 23, 2011 by Steve
5.0 out of 5 stars six steps to song writing
it is a good book i was told to get it 7 months ago and i didn,t but now i ha it and it teaches u how to write step by step it will get you on d right road to sucess 4 sure
Published on January 23, 2011 by getting there
5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful and encouraging book
If you are a songwriter or an aspiring songwriter, this book is SO helpful and encouraging.

Jason Blume is a very established and successful songwriter, who has had his... Read more
Published on April 17, 2010 by littlemonkeys
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Great book. Amazing how much it covers while staying so easy to understand. It doesn't get to technical yet is packed with vital information. Read more
Published on February 6, 2010 by Brian C. Kmetz
4.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best guide to songwriting that contains actual practical...
I have disliked most books about songwriting that I have read; they are usually generic or obvious and of little practical value to someone who is trying to improve the quality of... Read more
Published on November 11, 2009 by T. Dokland
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost brand new
The book was almost brand new (it was coming from a library -Queens Library-) and it also had a plastic cover to protect it better..
Published on October 28, 2009 by Us Bank
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Satisfied
I have been a hobby songwriter for many years. I decided to try to take it up a level. Realizing I knew very little about the craft or the business, I knew I needed to buy some... Read more
Published on June 29, 2006 by Rex Bernard
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 Steps to Songwriting Success
I received the book within 7 days. The book was in very good condition and costs about one third what a new one would have cost. Read more
Published on March 19, 2006 by Linda S. Rhoades
5.0 out of 5 stars very helpful
OK. This guy writes for britney spears. But you might not want to make manufactured plastic-pop. That's fine. Read more
Published on August 24, 2005 by Chris M
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