Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle CD, 2016 – Rules and info

 The Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle album project will undergo its first substantive change since 2005 with the introduction of a new studio and producer. Other longtime partners and sponsors will remain the same as the Songwriters Circle launches its 11th annual compilation album project.
– Mike Hickman of Electric Eye Recorders of the Polish Hill section of Pittsburgh will produce and master the album The special recording rate structure will decrease slightly from previous years.
– Kansas multi-media company Nuvidia will give the group with the same rates offered to us since 2005.
– Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle is sponsored by Calliope: The Pittsburgh Folk Music Society, which will host the group’s CD release event at the Roots Cellar stage, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Shadyside.
Find additional information about the project and its partners at and


Project overview 
The annual album project is a feature of Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle, an artist support group which provides a monthly meeting, weekly songwriter’s open stage, camaraderie, song critiquing, stage time, paid gigs and more. The album series:
1) Provides songwriters with a safe, inexpensive, nurturing and educational recording experience with a veteran producer in a professional recording studio.
2) Provides incentive to write songs by creating an outlet for them.
3) Helps to foster community among songwriters.
4) Makes entry into the recording process less daunting by eliminating for the group member such heavy decisions as selection of a producer and studio, mastering, selection of a manufacturing company, replication or duplication options, graphic design and text, shipping, booking a venue, staging a CD release event, media relations and promotion. Freed of those responsibilities, participating songwriters need only to make artistic decisions about their songs, pay the project’s fees and meet its deadlines.
5) Builds participants’ studio skills and confidence, and encourages further recording, When members are ready to pursue their own album projects, assistance is available on recording process details, contact numbers, collective advice, etc.
6) Provides a promotional tool for Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle and project participants.


Project fees, publishing rights
– Participating songwriters retain all rights to their songs. The Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle CD is a work for hire. No mechanical or publishing royalties are due or paid. One thousand units are manufactured and divided equally among participants minus cutouts for promotional use and the sale of “group albums” (see below *). Participating artists can do whatever they want with the CDs they receive.
– DUPING/PARTICIPATION FEE: A one-time duping/participation fee of $100 is paid to project coordinator John Hayes. Payment serves as confirmation of intent to participate, and is held in an account until fees are used for duping, printing, shipping and misc. group expenses. The duping/participation fee is fully refundable until the participant’s first recording session.
– RECORDING FEE: Electric Eye Recorders offers a special Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle album project group rate of $25 for each of the first three hours, $40 per hour for additional time (a reduction of $10 from previous years’ additional time fees). The fee for the first three hours of recording time, $75, is due at the start of the first session. If less time is used, Electric Eye will return the overage. As is the custom at Electric Eye, clients pay only for studio time – there is no additional fee for performance services provided by the producer. Recording fees are paid to Electric Eye Recorders.
– Mike Hickman of Electric Eye is paid for producing and mastering. Nuvidia is paid for replication, printing, assembly and shipping. is paid for Internet promotion. No one from the Songwriters Circle or Calliope profits financially or through services rendered from this album project.
– All participants are invited to perform at a CD release event hosted by Calliope. Calliope pays Pittsburgh Center for the Arts for rental of the Roots Cellar stage. Pittsburgh Center for the Arts gets beverage revenues. A food vendor, if available, gets food revenues. Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle gets revenues from the sale of raffle tickets and album sales.


– March 3, LAUNCH: The project is discussed at the Songwriters Circle meeting. Project rules, fees, schedule and other details are sent to group members via email and posted on the Songwriters Circle website.
– May 8, DUPING/PARTICIPATION FEE: Payment of this fee serves as confirmation of participation as well as part of the group’s fee for the manufacture of the CDs and shipping. Preferred payment is through personal check or money order for $100 mailed to John Hayes, 101 Daggette Dr., Buena Vista, PA 15018. Participants can also present checks in person during Calliope Songwriters Open Stage 9 p.m. Tuesdays at Bloomfield Bridge Tavern, or make other arrangements at 412-263-1991. To ease communications, please provide phone number and email address with payment.
– June 5, FIRST-SESSION DEADLINE: By this date, participants must have a recording session scheduled with Electric Eye. The session can occur later, but it has to be on Mike’s books by this date. To schedule sessions call Mike at 512-785-2132. The first-session deadline is intended to advance the project and prevent a log jam of new sessions near the recording deadline.
– Aug. 21, CREDITS TEXT DEADLINE Performer credits including song title, songwriter name(s), performers/instruments and professional affiliation (if any) have to be emailed to John at The credits text deadline accommodates the graphic design deadline.
– Aug. 31, RECORDING DEADLINE: All recording must be finished. The recording deadline advances the project and accommodates the mastering deadline.
– Sept. 18, MASTERING/GRAPHIC DESIGN DEADLINE: CD master is due from Mike. Graphic design is due.
– Sept, 25, SHIPPING/UPLOADING: CD master is shipped, graphics are uploaded and duping fee is sent to Nuvidia.
– October, DELIVERY: CDs are delivered, distribution to participants begins.
– November or December, CD RELEASE: Performance at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (date to be announced).
– Dec. 31: CD PICKUP DEADLINE: Project participants must accept their CDs by the end of the year, or make special arrangements with John to receive them later. Failure to take CDs by the end of the year could result in forfeit of the CDs with no duping fee or recording fee refunds.


Project rules 
– This project is a showcase of songs written by members of Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle. Participating songwriters (or one member of a co-writing team) must be a member of the group. Membership is defined as having attended a meeting of Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle and inclusion on the group’s mailing list. All members are eligible to participate in the project and receive the special recording session rate. All members who pay the project’s fees and meet its deadlines will be included on the album. Failure to pay a fee or meet a deadline without special arrangements may result in expulsion from the album.
– Each participant may place one song on the album. One song may be recorded at the special rate. The special recording rate is available only for songs that are placed on the Songwriters Circle album. If a recorded song is withdrawn or excluded from the project, the special recording rate will no longer apply, Electric Eye will be due the full recording rate for those sessions, and the duping fee will not be returned. The special recording rate payment is due at the start of the first recording session; subsequent payments are to be arranged with Mike. This protects Mike and Electric Eye from nonpayment and potential misuse of his special rate offer.
– Songs must arrive at the studio in a state of full or near completion. As producer, Mike is available to help with song structure, melody, lyrics, arrangement, instrumentation, studio craft, performance, mix, etc., and in that capacity will not get a songwriting credit. He is a songwriter, however, and at the member’s request can participate in the writing of the song. Such co-writing would occur outside of the album project, would not be subject to Electric Eye recording costs, and would entitle Mike to a co-writing credit on the song. Members are encouraged to workshop songs intended for the album project at a Songwriters Circle meeting.
– All vocal and instrumental tracks must be recorded at Electric Eye. Pre-programmed beats and pre-recorded music are not permitted. All mixing and mastering is done at Electric Eye. This helps to maintain the character of the project as a songwriter-driven, studio-recorded album. It insures artistic continuity, encourages participants to learn the recording process in a nurturing
environment and provides financial incentive for Electric Eye’s continuing participation. It is routine for Mike or session performers to perform some tracks. Session players may charge for their services.
– One cancellation of a scheduled recording session is acceptable. Seventy-two hour notice must be given for additional cancellations or the participant will be charged a $40 fee payable to Electric Eye Recorders.
– In the days or weeks prior to the recording deadline, Electric Eye may not have time to accommodate new or unfinished projects. Unfinished recordings will not be included on the album, special group recording rates will no longer apply and the duping/participation fee will not be refunded.
– Many participants present the CD as a gift to friends and families. Content is determined by the artist, but please insure lyric are generally family friendly. A fair guideline is Federal Communications Commission broadcast standards.
– A participant’s failure to accept CDs by Dec. 31, without special arrangements, may result in loss of the CDs with no rebate of the duping/participation fee. In such case, fees due to Electric Eye would still apply and the participant’s CDs would become property of Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle. This protects John from being used to warehouse CDs for an extended period of time.
Replication/Packaging CDs can hold about 70 minutes of signal per disc. In the case that signal exceeds the capacity of one disc, rather than restrict participation or limit song length the Songwriters Circle will purchase a suitable configuration and packaging.


Nuvidia rates, unchanged since 2005.
CD Replication 12 cm 1-Disc 1,000 Single CD w/overwrap Offset or Screen Disc Printing-CMYK over White Jewel Insert 4 panels 4/4 w/ Tray Card 4/0 Digitally Printed Jewel Case 10 mm, Assembled w/ Black Tray Barcode Clear coated Jewel Case Overwrap Includes Assembly and All Finishing Combined Total for This Section 1,000 pcs at $1.28, $1,280. Plus UPS Ground shipping.
CD Replication 12 cm 2-Discs Swing Arm 1,000 Double CD w/overwrap Offset or Screen Disc Printing-CMYK over White Jewel Insert 4 panels 4/4 w/ Tray Card 4/0 Digitally Printed Jewel Case 10 mm, Assembled w/ Black Center Tray Barcode Clear Coated
Jewel Case Overwrap Includes Assembly and All Finishing Combined Total for This Section 1,000 pcs at $1.80, $1,800. Plus UPS Ground shipping.
CD Replication 12 cm 2-Discs Swing Arm 1,000 Double CD w/overwrap Offset or Screen Disc Printing-CMYK over White Jewel Insert 6 panels 4/4 w/ Tray Card 4/4 Digitally Printed Jewel Case 10 mm, 2-Discs Assembled w/ Black Center Tray Barcode Clear Coated Jewel Case Overwrap Includes Assembly and All Finishing Combined Total for This Section 1,000 pcs at $1.95, $1,950. Plus UPS Ground shipping.


Group albums * One thousand CDs are purchased. “Group albums” (owned by the group, not the property of individual participants) are those cutout from the total to be used for promotional purposes, or sold or raffled to benefit Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle. Generally, five units are delivered to CDBaby (to avoid royalty issues, full physical albums — not digital downloads – are sold through CDBaby, which also makes the albums available at other websites). Revenues from the sale or raffle of group albums are applied to the following year’s Songwriters Circle album or used for group-related expenses.


Contacts   Project coordinator: John Hayes work 412-263-1991, cell 412-335-1446, home 412-751-7744,

 Electric Eye Recorders:  Mike Hickman 512-785-2132,

3347 Melwood Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 (Polish Hill)