Well, I finally did it. I’ve bundled together all the songs I wrote for the 50/90 Songwriting Challenge and released them in a five volume set online through BandCamp. Each volume has ten songs on it and they appear in the order that they were written, warts and all.

I’ve done this for the same reason as putting out the FAWM2017 online release earlier this year… To showcase my latest songs online and to get feedback from others.

At the moment all five volumes (and in fact, all of my online releases on BandCamp) are available for download using the “pay what you want” (PWYW) function meaning you can either download the albums for free (but you need to put in your email address) or pay as much as you want for them, there’s no upper limit.

I’ve had people ask me why I have chosen to go down the PWYW path with my music releases and I think the main reason is that I don’t necessarily feel comfortable with setting some sort of arbitrary value on my music.

Of course, I value greatly the creative and artistic side of the songs I write and the music I compose but I think monetary values and creative/artistic values are two separate things. I would much rather have the public set the value based on the quality of relationship they have with me as an artist/songwriter/musician.

Way back when, I was in awe of Radiohead when they did the same PWYW business model on the release of their 2007 album “In Rainbows.”

The PWYW experiment they undertook was later deemed a success with “… three million in sales, 100,000 disc-boxes shipped and 1.75 million physical CDs sold” according to the Pitchfork article Radiohead’s In Rainbows Successes Revealed.

Plus, according to a LinkedIn article Radiohead Rocks Pay What You Want (A Case Study), the main reason the experiment was a success was that “… it cut out the middleman and increased its profit margin. With traditional sales tactics, Radiohead would have only earned 15% of total sales (or around $2.24/album). By cutting out the middleman, it’s profit margin has dramatically increased as the average album sold.”

Granted, Radiohead are a well established band with a loyal fanbase, global profile and an extensive mailing list, but the handing over the responsibility of setting the monetary value of their output to their fans rather than with themselves really gravitated with me.

I thought, if Radiohead can do it, then I can too.

Now, my sales are nowhere near what Radiohead can muster but my take on my PWYW experiment is that the harder I work at my relationship with YOU, the more you’d be willing to pay for any product I release as a way of supporting what I do.

Which gets me back to the “50/90 2017 (Volumes 1 – 5)” BandCamp release… It’s all up on BandCamp for you to check out now and very soon I’ll have it all up on the Music page on this site (plus on SoundCloud as well).

All I ask is that you have a listen, let me know what you think and if you’re so inclined, pay what you want for the music and enjoy it for what it is… Me giving a piece of myself to you.

Enjoy…

Peace,

Corey 🙂

This year I have completed both the FAWM (14 songs in 28 days) and 50/90 (50 songs in 90 days) Songwriting Challenges and besides feeling pretty chuffed about completing them, these challenges have positively changed me as a songwriter forever.

I’ve had the last week to reflect on my time doing both song challenges and how it has affected me and these are the five points that I’ve come up with.


1. My songwriting process (and recording workflow) has greatly improved

I don’t think I can write and record 64 (14 + 50) songs between February 1st and October 1st and not improve as a songwriter in all aspects of the craft.

Just the sheer practise value of doing both songwriting challenges have certainly sharpened up my…

  • Overall creative attitude
  • Time management
  • Songwriting process
  • Silencing of my inner critic
  • Logic Pro X operating skills
  • Recording workflow
  • Instrumental/vocal skills
  • Ear training
  • Lyric writing
  • Powers of observation and research

I am now considering the idea of setting up my own songwriting/music composition challenges (and documenting/showcasing my progress) to carry on the momentum that participating in FAWM and 50/90 has started for me.

2. My confidence as a songwriter/producer has risen sharply

In previous years my participation and subsequent musical output in FAWM and 50/90 have been pretty sketchy at best and nonexistent at worse.

This past track record was not because I didn’t have song ideas to develop and record, it was because of my severe lack of confidence as a songwriter which allowed my fears and doubts defeat my creative intentions even before I had taken my first steps.

Now, initially completing FAWM this year was an amazing achievement in itself which I’m very proud of however, adding 50/90 to my list of songwriting conquests has, beyond a shadow of a doubt, proven to me that as a songwriter and producer/engineer, I can create the music that I want and additionally, achieve any goal that I set for myself.

Which leads onto my next point…

3. I can now finish what I’ve started

In the past I’ve been really, really good at starting things (like new projects, song ideas and setting goals) but rubbish at finishing them. This has lead me to having a massive backlog of half finished songs and other projects that need to be finished but the sheer weight on my conscience paralyses me into doing nothing about it

Completing FAWM and 50/90 this year has also proven to me that if I set my mind to something I can carry it through to the end. When I think about it, I’ve had 64 songs to practise my finishing skills on and my songwriting ideas archive looks a bit more manageable now.

4. I can pursue songwriting/recording as a career with confidence

You know, if I was told five years ago that I would be writing and recording my own music in my own home studio setup I wouldn’t have believed it. Just the very thought of being in the driving seat of a DAW like Logic Pro X or Pro Tools sent shivers up my spine but now after completing FAWM and 50/90, I have definitely got the songwriting and production bug and nothing is going to stop me from writing and recording more music.

I’ve been toying for many years the notion of again pursuing a full time career as a songwriter, musician and producer without relying on just being a covers musician to make ends meet, but I felt that I hadn’t had the necessary skills and attributes in…

  • Recording and producing music
  • Instrumental and vocal proficiency
  • Lyric writing
  • Self sufficiency and belief as a songwriter, musician and artist
  • Finishing what I start
  • Being prolific in my songwriting

FAWM and 50/90 has given me opportunity to practise my skills, attributes and proficiencies from the above list to the point where I feel that I can now pursue my full time musical ambitions and songwriting/producing goals with confidence.

5. I’ve discovered a new love of working solo again

Over the past few years I’ve been trying to collaborate with as many songwriters/lyricists as I can and for the most part, it’s worked out very well. This time however, with FAWM and 50/90 I have been working as a solo songwriter again and I’ve been loving it.

Before I underwent my collaboration phase a few years ago, I was really getting bored with writing songs on my own. Everything was starting to sound the same and I felt I needed to branch out a bit and put my hat in the ring with other songwriters, lyricists and musicians to create. This approach gave me a flood of fresh new ideas, perspectives and processes to consider, integrate and implement into my own creative process.

Now, being able to create a song from initial idea to completed recording without having to rely on anyone else and in my own time and recording space has given me a sense of freedom I’ve not experienced before.

I’ll still collaborate for sure but I now also love my own songwriting company as well.


With the end of the 50/90 Songwriting Challenge a few days away (October 1st), I’m now taking a break from songwriting and I’m currently mapping out what I want to do next with my new found confidence in all things songwriting and recording.

Even though I know that me, my music and my overall career in my chosen profession is a constant and never-ending work in progress, I feel that I’ve now entered the next stage on my songwriting/recording/producing journey.

Right now, I’m just enjoying the scenery around me with the knowledge that I’m in a really good place and the best part is that it’s only going to get better.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

Yay! Last night I completed the 50/90 Songwriting Challenge with 13 days to spare. I certainly doubled up my efforts over the last three weeks to catch up on the time l lost earlier on.

Honestly, I’m glad it’s over though as the pace was starting to do my head in but I’m also glad I participated (and completed) both the FAWM and 50/90 challenges because it taught me how to finish something that I’ve started.

You see, I have an annoying habit of not finishing things. I love the excitement of starting a project but I generally lose interest quickly once the initial excitement transforms into the mundane, boring phase of project management.

Because of this, I lose focus and my attention looks for the next exciting thing to start which means that after a while, I have a number of projects on the go and not the time nor the inclination to finish them.

Completing both FAWM and 50/90 has given me the confidence to further work on my issues with finishing things.

So now the question I ask myself is… “What do I do now 50/90 is over?”

Well, I’m going to put together an online collection of the songs similar to what I did with FAWM 2017 but because there’s 50 songs I’ll be releasing a five volume set (with ten songs in each volume) on BandCamp plus, I’ll be uploading the songs on SoundCloud as well.

When it’s all up online I’ll let you know… Watch this space.

I also want to thank everyone who gave me the encouragement to keep on going with the challenge and especially to those of you who had a listen to the songs and gave some feedback about them.

If you want to listen to the final list of songs, head on over to my 50/90 Songwriting Challenge page and check them out.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

Well, as I approach the home stretch of this marathon called the 50/90 Songwriting Challenge I can proudly say that I’ve been very busy writing and uploading eight more songs taking my total to 42.

In the last two weeks alone I was able to upload 15 songs alone and I did that by making sure that I was able to fine-tune my songwriting process enough to allow me to work on more than one song at a time.

I would get the basic structure down and map out the song format in Logic Pro X, sort out tempos and the drums loops/samples then start recording the other instruments until I’m happy with the songs overall arrangement.

At any one time I would have about 3 to 4 songs going at once and it’s then that I like to record all the vocals last.

I’m finding that this workflow is driving me a little crazy but I know that the frenetic writing/recording pace I’ve been building and maintaining is going to finish very soon. I now have eight more songs to go and 19 days to complete it.

It’s looking very achievable and I can almost see the end in sight.

If you want to check out what I’ve done so far just head on over to my 50/90 Songwriting Challenge page and if there’s a song idea you’d like me to tackle for the challenge just let me know and I’ll see what I can do for you.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

As of today (Tuesday, September 5th) there are 26 days left before the 50/90 Songwriting Challenge finishes for another year and to date, I have 34 songs completed and uploaded onto the 50/90 site which is 7 songs more than this time last week.

Talk about a flurry of creative activity. This means I have 16 songs to go before I hit the goal of 50 songs by October 1st.

16 songs in 26 days… Yeah, I can do that.

One of the best things about participating in the challenge is that you get to chat to and network with other participating songwriters and lyricists from around the world. It’s a great way to keep yourself motivated through the giving and receiving general encouragement and constructive feedback on each others songs.

On one of my songs I was asked the question… “How do you get a song this produced under this kind of time pressure?”

I suppose the simple answer to this question is something called “workflow.”

You see, before I started the 50/90 Songwriting Challenge, I made sure that SongMachine (my home studio) was set up in such a way that at anytime, I could walk in, flick a switch and be ready to record within five minutes of booting up the computer.

My recording process is also pretty streamlined too, with all of the instruments and microphones I need in easy reach and because I play all of the tracks, I can work quickly and efficiently but this is the major benefit of doing these songwriting challenges. For me, I get an opportunity to practise my songwriting and recording/production processes.

Yesterday I was having a listen to all of my 5090 recordings and I was really noticing the quality of my production values increasing. It’s still not where I would ideally like my recording skills to be at but I’m getting close and I’m happy about that.

I suppose that is what I’ve learnt from the last week… That I can really do this recording thing and safely say that recording/producing music is another string that I can proudly add to my bow.

If you want to check out what I’ve done so far just head on over to my 50/90 Songwriting Challenge page and if there’s a song idea you’d like me to tackle for the challenge just let me know and I’ll see what I can do for you.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

This has been a week of getting back into the swing of things again when it comes to writing songs. I’ve now uploaded three more taking my total to 27 songs so far.

When doing a songwriting challenge such as this I find it’s really important to address the balance between the challenge and my life outside of it. This is what I’m learning this past week… It’s all about BALANCE.

Normally, I get really hard on myself if I feel that I’m not achieving what I set out to do but this time around I’m trying to go with the flow. This continues on from what I said in last weeks post about me needing to be patient when life gets in the way.

As of today, there are 33 days to go before the 50/90 songwriting challenge ends. This means that for me to reach my target of 50 songs I need to complete one song per day between now and October 1st.

I guess this is where the testing of my songwriting process really starts. This is where the marathon really begins.

It would be really tempting for me to upload some filler material to pump up the numbers but at the end of the day, I want to be really proud of the songs I have written no matter how many songs I end up writing.

Oh well, wish me luck!

If you want to check out what I’ve done so far just head on over to my 50/90 Song Challenge page and if there’s a song idea you’d like me to tackle for the challenge just let me know and I’ll see what I can do for you.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

I’ve now passed the halfway point (45 days) of the 50/90 Songwriting Challenge and at this time I was hoping to have completed 25 songs by this time. Today (Tuesday August 22nd) marks day 50 and I’ve managed to upload two more songs since last week to take my total to 24 songs, just missing out on my halfway goal.

In my last post I mentioned that I had to take some time off due to me dealing with a personal issue. Well, I had to take some more time off but as of today I’m able to get back into the swing of things and even though I only managed to record and upload two more songs I did work on some other song ideas at the same time.

Hopefully I’ll be able to finish these half written songs and get myself back on track however, the time away from songwriting has not been wasted. I’ve learnt a couple of important lessons during this past week.

The first lesson is to be patient when life gets in the way of what you want to do. It’s in these moments that I try to remind myself that whatever is getting in my way won’t last forever. It will soon pass and the opportunity to pick up where I left off will present itself to me once more.

The second lesson I’ve learnt is to always be on the lookout for an opportunity to write, no matter how small the opportunity is. It always amazes me how lots of little songwriting moments can add up and the end result is a completed song.

The challenge is making me realise that I shouldn’t let ten minutes of songwriting time pass me by in the hope that I’ll get more time later on.

I need to take whatever time to write I can get because this challenge is all about keeping the momentum going. 50/90 is a marathon and not a sprint. I’m also realising that doing the challenge is great practise for me living more in the present rather than in the past or the future.

How’s that for deep?

If you want to check out what I’ve done so far just head on over to my 50/90 Song Challenge page and if there’s a song idea you’d like me to tackle for the challenge just let me know and I’ll see what I can do for you.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

Due to a personal issue that I’m having to deal with, the amount of musical activity has dropped dramatically to the point where I was only able to upload one song for the challenge taking my total so far to 22 songs.

However, this doesn’t bother me for two main reasons…

Firstly, the personal issue I’m dealing with is far more demanding for my attention than the challenge (it’s all a matter of priorities).

Secondly, I’m due for a bit of a break anyway and I’ve worked out that I’m far enough ahead that I can afford to take some time off (I still have songs in the pipeline to finish off and upload so catching up on lost time won’t be that difficult to do).

So, with that said, let’s look at the concept of taking time-out from writing songs for a bit here.

I used to feel really guilty if I took time-out from anything that I was doing whether it be my job, my music work or in fact, anything at all. The guilt would come from the false notion that being busy equals being productive which I now know is not necessarily the case.

Sometimes doing nothing can be the most productive thing you can do for that moment in time and giving myself the permission to temporarily pause my involvement with the 50/90 challenge has enabled me to take some extra and unnecessary stress out of my life as I deal with what I need to deal with.

I hope to get back onto the 50/90 wagon by the end of this week but what I’ve noticed since taking the break is that my desire to be part of the challenge is becoming stronger because I’m missing the marathon like pace of my songwriting at this time.

This is a good thing.

If you want to check out what I’ve done so far just head on over to my 50/90 Song Challenge page and if there’s a song idea you’d like me to tackle for the challenge just let me know and I’ll see what I can do for you.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

Today (Tuesday, August 8th, 2017) marks the 36th day of the 50/90 Songwriting Challenge and after a bit of a flurry of songwriting activity during the latter half of last week I’ve now taken my total output so far to 21 songs.

I’ve noticed that over the last couple of weeks I’ve been using the drum loops in Logic Pro X and the default Electric Piano sound as my default songwriting tools.

Now, this is not something that I normally do as I normally write on acoustic guitar but this shows me that I’m creating new songwriting habits without even knowing it.

And that is a good thing… However, I think for this week I’ll change things up a bit and go back to acoustic guitar and see how that goes.

I had mentioned before that the challenge has been described as the songwriting equivalent to a marathon and I would totally agree with that description as I’m feeling like it’s taken me until now to really find my creative pace.

With that in mind, all I need to do at the moment is hold on for dear life and hope that this pace can keep up with the 57 days left in the challenge and based on my calculations I’m just ahead of schedule.

If you want to check out what I’ve done so far just head on over to my 50/90 Song Challenge page and if there’s a song idea you’d like me to tackle for the challenge just let me know and I’ll see what I can do for you.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

All I can say is thank goodness for free weekends.

In my last 50/90 Song Challenge update I wrote that I was a bit concerned that I was falling behind the pace however, on the weekend I made up for some of the loss by uploading five more songs which takes my total now to 16 songs.

Five songs in a weekend… I was a SongMachine. My goal is that by next Tuesdays update I’ll have passed the 20 song mark.

As today is August 1st, the 50/90 Song Challenge has now moved into its second month and this is a good opportunity for me to reflect on my progress in the first month and see if I can gain any insights from this.

So… After some reflection, here are ten things that I’ve learnt about myself and my songwriting process so far from doing the challenge.

  • Inspiration can come from the strangest places
  • My inner critic is harder to silence than I anticipated
  • There are many ways to record songwriting ideas on the road
  • WiFi in coffee shops are your best friend
  • Once you’re in “The Zone” stay there as long as you can BUT…
  • Keep maintaining a balance between songwriting and the real world
  • Don’t get obsessed by the comments you receive (or don’t receive)
  • So called mistakes can become happy accidents you can use later
  • Be prepared to write shit… Embrace it
  • Being organised and comfortable in your songwriting space is the key

I must say, the weekend had been an intense period of creativity but it has given me a tiny glimpse of the kind of life I want to be living. I would love nothing more than to be sitting in my studio writing music/songs. All I’ve got to do is work out the ways in which this can be done.

Some food for thought for future blog posts.

The great thing about doing these types of song challenges is that even though the challenge is only a third of the way through, I can already feel how I’m changing as a songwriter and these changes are giving me fresh new perceptions into my chosen vocation.

More food for thought for future blog posts

I suppose my most import lesson that I’ve learnt so far is that I can read all of the books and collect all the articles and take all of the courses regarding the craft of writing songs but there’s no substitute to just doing it and learning as you go and that’s what the 50/90 Song Challenge give me… An opportunity to just write songs and I’m loving it.

If you want to check out what I’ve done so far just head on over to my 50/90 Song Challenge page and if there’s a song idea you’d like me to tackle for the challenge just let me know and I’ll see what I can do for you.

Peace,

Corey 🙂