Today’s blog is a follow-up to a feature written back in 2014, just one month after the launch of Tsū [pronounced "Sue"], a platform that turned the social networking paradigm on it’s head. Highlighted in ‘Tsū, A New Social Network Pays Indie Authors To Promote Their Work,' I covered the benefits this network offered self-publishing writers. Today we explore how that same network can also benefit indie songwriters.
Poetry Set to Music
Songwriters who resonate with their fans require a lot of technical skill, as well as a vivid imagination, artistic intuition, and at times literary genius. There’s nothing more emotive and gratifying for a listener than a poignant and moving lyric that also rings true with philosophical and/or literary allusions. Like the Jefferson Airplane’s psychedelic descent of their ‘White Rabbit’ down Lewis Carroll’s rabbit hole, or Sting’s nod to Nabokov’s Lolita in ‘Don’t Stand So Close To Me,’ songwriters are poets who know how to enhance their poetry with music.
Leonard Cohen’s career started as a poet where he garnered just as much respect within literary circles as he did in the music industry. His most popular and widely covered song, 'Hallelujah', is a melodic gospel-accompanied dirge with pointed biblical references. While he’s just one example of adding music to poetry, Cohen’s songwriting abilities made him one of the most poetic, literate and well-read wordsmiths of our day.
Tsū, the Social Network for Creators of Original Content
The New York-based firm Tsū, which is somewhat similar to Facebook at first blush, “only takes 10 percent of the advertising revenue it generates, passing the other 90 percent onto its users, in the form of a royalty-based annuity,” according to founder Sebastian Sobczak. This innovative ‘shared economy’ business model distributes equitably and algorithmically, based on how many organic views, likes, comments and shares members’ uploaded posts acquire throughout a 24-hour period. On Tsū, engagement equates to more daily earnings added to one’s daily bank.
Out of the network’s short 18-month lifespan, its growing appeal has attracted 5 million users—and in that mix a good number of songwriters.
Andrew Fromm is a prominent Tsūvian [an affectionate term used to designate Tsū users) who resides in Nashville and has written music for some of the music industry’s heavyweights, including the Backstreet Boys, Selena Gomez, Marc Antony and NSync.
While Tsū doesn’t bring in the big bucks for Fromm, it appears to have become his go-to network for communicating with his audience and attracting new artists to the fold. Since one of the central tenets of Tsū’s network-building is based on inviting others into their tent, Fromm has recruited young inspiring artists like Kimberly Henderson, who according to one report has earned as much as $157 in one days’ time on the platform.
In addition to those starting out and trying to make a name in the industry, Tsū has also attracted established songwriters into their ranks. Curtis Jackson [aka 50 Cent], the well-known rapper joined the network at its launch back in October 2014. Today, he continues to remain active, where his posts often feature and promote his new releases, such as 'The Kanan Tape’ which debuted in December, 2015. That album was accompanied by other songwriting artists that included Young Buck, Sonny Digital and The Alchemist, among others.
Video Feature Coming Tsū-oon to Desktops & Smartphones
On March 20, 2016, Tsū will unveil it’s new video feature which in addition being open to the entire network will become the vehicle for submitting videos to the network’s first-time songwriting and performance contest.
Hashtagged #originalOne, the competition will focus on Tsū’s core belief that original content shared on the Internet should be rewarded. In this case, in addition to users earning daily royalties from their posts, this new feature will provide songwriters the additional opportunity of winning cash prizes, totaling $22,000 dollars.
In interviewing Sobczak today, he reemphasized how important creators were for his social network and how that distinguishes Tsū from other social ecosystems: “Tsū is about giving value to creators. In the past 16 years, platforms have sprouted that have done really one thing - they have captured the value created by others. Tsū is one of the only platforms today that repairs that value dislocation - where content owners and creators earn the value for their work.”
When asked why he chose the singer/songwriters demographic to be the first group of users to test the site’s new video feature, he noted, “by focusing on singer/songwriters and writers/performers we are assisting the most damaged content creation industry and perhaps the most beloved—music.”
“The contest allows us to grant numerous artists funds towards their art, it allows them to engage with their audiences via a social platform, it allows for the discovery of amazing talent that not only writes music but performs it, it allows artists to monetize their image, likeness, face, brand and music, finally, and it creates something that hopefully people will understand does not exist almost anywhere else on the Internet."
Eligibility & Submission Guidelines
All songwriters, 18+ years (or of legal ag in their country) who have a registered and email-confirmed Tsū user account with a profile picture can enter. Registering is an easy process for anyone who’s signed up for other social networks. This invitation can kickstart the process for you.
The following steps are necessary to prepare your submission for the contest:
- AUDIO version is the first step. Original songs [3.30 minutes max] need to be written by the entrant and submitted via .mp3, YouTube link or Soundcloud to email@example.com ASAP. Entries need to be identified with one of these six genres: HipHop/R&B, Electronic Dance, Jazz/Blues, Country/BlueGrass or Rock/Alt/Indie. After a review by management, you will receive a confirmation within 3 business days if you qualified to move on.
- VIDEO version follows. If your submission is approved, you will be sent a link to the Official Entry Form and you will now need to create a 3:30-minute video of yourself performing your song. When complete, you will submit to Tsū, before midnight ET on May 20, 2016.
- Following the May 20th date, all eligible videos will be uploaded over a period of several weeks for head-to-head battles beginning May 23rd. Videos will be randomly selected to compete against each other, one-on-one, within the same genre for 7 days at a time.
The winner of each head-to-head battle will be chosen based on the following criteria during this 7-day span: judges scoring (60% of the weight). Judges will evaluate each video for a) songwriting and music composition, b) performance, c) production, d) uniqueness/creativity.
Popularity (40% of the weight): Each entry will receive 1 point for each “Like” and 10 points for each fan video endorsement received over the 7 day battle. Fan video endorsements must be hashtagged with #originalOne and include the Tsū user name of the artist you are voting for with a tagged mention of their Tsū handle (e.g. @artistname). These endorsements will be limited to one video per IP/user for each individual artist/entrant during any particular battle round.
The top songwriter/performers winners from the 6 music genres and their active Tsū parents (must have posted at least once during the contest period) will each win $1,000. A second place winner and Grand Prize winner will be chosen from the top 6. The second place winner will receive an additional $2,000 and the Grand Prize winner will receive an additional $8,000 [which in total adds up to that $22,000 cash awards.)
Songwriter/performer bwaySteve Baker joined Tsū specifically to enter the contest. “The Tsū Social Network ‘originalOne contest is what drew me to this interesting community which I am in the process of becoming familiar with and which I will be using to share and promote my work and points of view with its growing number of participants.” noted Baker.
David Cassel, who goes by the moniker @TheUkuleleBandito has already written and downloaded the audio version of his original song, “A Summer Song” for the competition and submitted it last week.
“Now, all I have to do is to figure out how to pretty up my studio, so it comes across looking professional in my video,” stated Cassel.
Casting Call is Now Open
So the invitation for this casting call is now extended to all of my BookWorks.com readers to submit your original songs. Whether you’re a poet who knows music, a newbie to the music industry or a veteran still seeking that auspicious opportunity of being discovered—joining Tsū and this contest is a win-win situation. Even if your submission doesn’t result in you taking home some of the cash prizes—you will still get paid on a daily basis for all of the other original content you lay down on that network—something you’re never going to be compensated for when you post on Facebook or tweet on Twitter.
Readers & Writers: I look forward to your feedback, comments and critiques, and please use BookWorks.com as your resource to learn more about preparing, publishing and promoting self-published books. My blogs appear bi-weekly on the 1st and 3rd Fridays of each month.
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