Be a songwriter! Write today for details.

Friday, September 17th, 2004 @ 5:18 am | Music

Chances are, at one time or another you’ve seen an ad in the back of a magazine requesting “song poems” or lyrics for recording. The ads tempt the reader with a glamorous career in songwriting; an opportunity to have their own songs recorded and (allegedly) marketed. An entire shadowy industry has existed on swindling poor hapless suckers to pay good money to get their lyrics set to canned, fomulaic music. Oftentimes, the aspiring songwriter pays to get their songs recorded, only to end up with a stack of records that no one wants. No one, that is, except for ironic hipsters who hunt down and collect rare “song poem” recordings.

Song poem collecting has become so cool that a considerable amount of effort has gone into documenting this shadowy underbelly of the music industry. The American Song Poem Music Archives (ASPMA) is the go-to resource on the song poem industry. A PBS documentary, Off the Charts, was also produced last year on the song poem phenomenon. Several anthologies have been released in recent years, and mp3s can also be found if you look hard enough (ASPMA’s mp3 section currently appears to be down.)

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