Noteworthy Music News

Product Review: Master Writer

One Man's Opinion

By Kenny Kerner

It's baaack! Napster 2.0 is coming. Taking out full page ads in all of the major trade papers, Napster is announcing its return with their intention of having a "mutually rewarding relationship with the recording industry and their artist community as we work together to build the future of online music." Let's not forget who started this mess in the first place!

The new CD from country superstar Toby Keith will be called Shock 'N Y'all and it drops November 4th. Initial single to radio will be "I Love This Bar." Ain't that the truth!

Manager Irving Azoff has resigned his position as co-chairman of Concerts West to focus completely on his management firm. Azoff currently guides the careers of Eagles, Christina Aguliara, Steely Dan, Seal and Jewel.

Hanson will be returning to the live performance arena this fall but they will only be playing acoustic shows at venues that hold less than 1000 seats. After a three year hiatus to rediscover who they really are, the brothers are planning to release a new CD, Underneath, in February of next year, with all original material. The trio plans to hand out sample acoustic CDs at their concerts. At this point, does anybody really care?
We'll have to wait and see the reviews on this one.

Until next month... see ya.

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By Bobby Borg

Master Writer is a newly developed software program for songwriters. Its marketers claim it to be the "ultimate collection of writing tools for the professional songwriter"-a program so empowering "you'll never have to look at a blank page again." Wow, that sounds like a pretty impressive product!

Taxi decided to review the Master Writer program and check-out the goods for ourselves. We consulted with Nard Berrings, composer, producer, guitarist and owner of Freshbeat studios in Los Angeles who put the program to the test.

We focused on Master Writer's four main functions; its lyric writing aids, hard disc recorder, library of drum loops, and something called Song Guard. Here are the results:

Lyric Writing Aids

Master Writer includes a number of extremely helpful tools for the lyric writer. Of these tools, the "rhyming dictionary" and "sound alike function" are "especially impressive," says Berrings. Compared to any physical dictionary or book, you can rhyme individual words or complete phrases almost immediately. You can also get words that are not exact rhymes but rather sound-alikes. For example, if you type in the word run, you get everything from the words bum, tongue, and done. "You can get dozens of words to choose from just by typing in one word and clicking on your mouse. It's a pretty amazing feature," enthusiastically notes Berrings.

Hard Disc Recorder

Master writer also has includes a function called the hard disc recorder that operates much like an ordinary cassette player. With a microphone plugged directly into your computer, the hard disc recorder allows you to record your musical ideas instantaneously. "The cool thing," says Berrings, "is that you can neatly categorize each idea into individual files. For instance: if you were to hum a song melody or lyric into the microphone and record it, you can save it as "Song Idea Number One. " Just hit save and the title and file show up on the window. You can conveniently refer to the idea whenever needed. Pretty cool stuff."

Drum Loops

Master Writer provides a complete library of drum loops with patterns ranging from pop ballads to hard rock to hip hop to reggae. Berrings felt that these patterns are a good base for which the beginning songwriter can create solid song ideas. Adds Berrings, "The program also includes a tempo control so that you can experiment with the speed of your loops and song ideas. The drum loops are generally a cool writing aid. Definitely helpful!"

Song Guard

The Song Guard function basically works like a "third party verification service." In other words, rather than filling out a PA (Performing Arts) copyright form and sending it in to the copyright office with a registration fee at $30 a pop, you can use the Song Guard option as a temporary form of protection to help prove the date at which your compositions are completed- similar to what most of us know to be the "poor man's copyright where you mail a package containing your music to yourself. Only, Song Guard gives you an online digital time stamp, which is then conveniently stored on the Master Writer database. It's less expensive than the poor man's copyright as well. Song Guard is free with the purchase of the program. After that, it costs $30 a year for 200 submissions.


The over all vote for Master Writer is really good. Berrings sums it up:

"Master writer can be an extremely helpful program for the beginning songwriter-and since it's my understanding that Taxi's membership consists mostly of new artists, this should be really good news. Once the program installed, it has a pretty cool demo function that automatically runs through the entire program and explains all of its functions. The various dictionary and sound-alike and thesaurus options for lyric writing are extremely interesting. The sound guard function is also convenient as a temporary form of protection. Overall, I think Master Writer can be really helpful to the young songwriter. I highly recommend it to the aspiring artist just entering into the music business and the craft of songwriting."

TO PURCHASE MASTER WRITER call toll free 1-866-8484 or visit Master writer's Website at


Bobby Borg, Author
The Musician's Handbook:
A Practical Guide To Understanding the Music Business
Billboard books

Nard Berrings
Freshbeat Studios

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Topic: What’s Next? Why not American Parents???

America held its collective breath to see if Justin would beat Kelly; To see if Ruben could beat Clay. Then they cried tears of joy as a host of prepubescent boys and girls sang their little hearts out and we voted for the awkward five-piece band called the American Juniors. And now, we're about to segue back into American Idol 3.

Not so fast. Been there, done that. I say it's time for something new. Something different. Something really bizarre. It's time for American Parents! Talk about your reality TV! Why not a show that finally grosses everyone out?

Why settle for the parents sitting in the audience mouthing the lyrics while their children are doing all of the work? I say let's get those parents on stage. Let the parents work with a choreographer for weeks on end. Let the parents rehearse hour after hour until every note is pitch perfect. And rather than songs they're familiar with, let them choose from material by Metallica, Alice Cooper, Britney Spears, Eminem. That's right-mix it up and see if they like it!

How about a Rap night then a Metal night and a Boy Band/Diva night for starters? Can you image dad pumping his fist in the air to KISS? Or mom shaking her groove thing to 50 Cent? My stomach is already starting to act up.

But why stop there? Why not follow up with American Grand Parents? That oughta draw some viewers, dontcha think? Am I being sarcastic? I'm not really sure. I think this would make for some damn funny TV viewing, though. And if sponsors bought into it Fox would already be promoting it.

So what's the point of all this? I think American Juniors was a fiasco. A needless foray into moneymaking for money's sake. It had nothing to do with talent but rather with yet another way to extract money from advertisers-this time by exploiting young children who have been exploited by their parents who really want the success.. So I say, let's turn the tables.

Let's make spectacles of the parents who put their children through this needless heartbreak and torture at such early ages. Let's ridicule the advertisers who will do anything to turn a quick buck. I say let the auditions begin for American Parents. But that's just one man's opinion.

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