After years of seeing people come in from out of town with not much time to spend, get to the NSAI, ASCAP, SGA, or BMI buildings and ask "what do I do with my songs?" and seeing those people get frustrated, I decided to act. That is what led to the birth of the Marc-Alan Barnette Songwriter Tours. "Why is it that?" you ask. Basically, the industry is so business-like and in such a flux due to shrinking markets, downloading, competition, and consolidations, they just do not have the time give out the personalized kind of information people need to get in doors or just write better songs.

While there are various services, seminars and workshops, there is no one to take you by the hand and show you some things you can use. That is what I do.


Sign Up! MAB_Songwriter-Tour-Form.doc

Why is it called a tour?

While it does include some driving around Nashville’s music business locations, offices, publishers, song pluggers, clubs, PRO’s, and recording studios, the actual “Tour” aspect is through the participant’s, past present and future. This is done through reviewing their experiences in conversations, their past and current material, and lay out a game plan for their future exploits and direction.

Who does it work best for?
It can conceivably help anyone, from the partial bystander who has never written a song, to people who have wanted to see their poems turned into songs, to the seasoned professional who might be wanting to experiment with different styles or approaches and not want to waste years and thousands of dollars to only find it doesn’t work for them.

What is so unique about it?
Because of the number of people it would take to generate enough money for most of the major seminars and workshops, getting individual attention is very difficult. And at best, it is hard to focus on much more than a superficial view of a very few songs. That does not a career make. By keeping it catered to the individual, or small groups, MAB is able to look at a variety of songs, styles, demo quality, performance abilities, networking skills, and business knowledge, to give a more complete picture of the Nashville music industry. In one or multiple days, we are able to look at a great deal of the writer’s abilities. That is what a career is about.

How does it work?
The Nashville music community is a very social town and is very sensitive to newcomers. So you have to first master the “art of the hang.” This is demonstrated in resturants and bars, where everyone hangs out and discusses music and the rest of the world. Our day usually starts in one of the Nashville breakfast places where not only do you discuss your past and present but also can meet writers, producers, artists, publishers and often share in their stories. MAB has a great working knowledge and knows many people in the town. Often including them in the conversations. You should be prepared to ask questions. You are sitting with a veritable encyclopedia of the how’s, whys and who’s of twenty years in the music industry.

From there, a trip to MAB’s home office or a corresponding office for a two hour listening session.

This is where you play everything you have. We go note by note and line by line, trying to encourage but be very realistic. Sometimes this can be frustrating, as most people are not at the level they need to be, but ways to up that level are always emphasized.

Where do we start?
Start by completing the Songwriter Tour form so I know about you and can get you on the calendar. Go to: MAB_Songwriter-Tour-Form.doc. The instructions are on this document. You might also want to e-mail MAB at  so he can pencil you into his calendar. Then e-mailing or calling MAB three - four days before your tour is always a good idea as well.

When are these tours held?
Year round, except major holidays and around MAB’s out of town performance, workshops and travel schedules. I am usually booked three weeks in advance....but always check with me. Week days are preferred because that is when business is done, but certain weekends can be applied.


Sign Up!

Your day will start 10:00 am at one of the local Nashville restaurants where songwriters typically hang out. Starting your day this way provides the groundwork for the rest of the tour and allows you to experience Nashville from several perspectives. This time is important to ensure your needs are met and allows me to tailor your tour. We will solidify expectations, get to know each other and, more than likely, meet a few hit songwriters to learn about their experiences.

If they have time I invite them over to meet you and ask them to share their experiences and perspective of the town and business. We’ve been privileged to have such talented people as Butch Baker (top song plugger) Frank Myers (I Swear) Rory Lee (Don't Let the Chain Of Love End With You) and other professional members of the writing community stop by. Learning the “business” of songwriting is very important and lays the foundation for the rest of your tour. It is critical to fully understand that it is much more complicated than  just writing songs and wanting to be famous. This is a business and the more educated you are and the more people you know, the better your chances are in this industry.

After “breakfast,” you will have a 2-hour one-on-one session with me to review as many of your songs as we can. We will dissect each song line-by-line, note-by-note, and assess the strengths and weaknesses of each. We will also organize your songs. What are your best 5…your best 3? What would you play for a plugger, CO-writer, publisher, audience? Which ones deserve a demo? Are any of your songs un-pitchable? What songs should you just put on the shelf for now? Basically, we prepare you for a variety of professional situations so you can be your best. Everything we review is from the perspective of what the industry feels, not me or you.

For Performers…I provide live performance evaluations and provide specific advice on “getting the biggest bang for your buck” during your live performances. We’ll focus on dynamics, pacing, technique, phrasing and song selection. If you want to blow them away live, this is how! We can conduct your performance evaluation during a one-on-one session with me, or I will arrange for you to perform at a local writer’s night. And, since I’ll be doing your booking, you won’t be the “end of the night” act!

With respect to the industry, there are certain things that CO-writers, pluggers, publishers, record companies, etc. tune out that many people simply don't know. Such things as a title that has just been written to death, rhymes that say nothing, stories that are unclear, lyrics that are too esoteric or poetic. Basically, you’ll learn about the things that are career killers that you wouldn't have known if you didn't have the experience or someone to mentor you.

Once we finish your one-on-one session, we head out to lunch at another restaurant to meet more writers. This gives you more opportunity to absorb the inner-workings of the town and get your energy back. We then drive around the town to get your bearings, visit Music Row, and stop at a couple of recording studios. This is where you’ll begin developing your relationships and understand the demo process.

By this time, you’ll need a chance to catch your breath, make some notes, and rest up before we hit the road again. The evening / night will revolve around visiting writers clubs and meeting potential CO-writers. My role is to introduce you to as many industry people and contacts as possible. Once I pass the ball to you, it is your responsibility to run with it. Of course, I will guide you so you don’t unintentionally fall into any traps (e.g. gherming).

At the end of your tour, you will be beaten up beyond belief and…overwhelmed. But, you will be educated and armed with specific goals and tactics to move ahead in your professional songwriting journey. It truly is a fun AND educational experience!


Sample Tour - Kalamazoo, MI