Fees reduced for Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle CD Project 2021 Collection

Fees reduced on CD project

Some of the best art is created during tough economic times. To make it easier for Songwriters Circle members to participate in the group’s 16th annual CD project, a panel of members including treasurer Tom Beckman ( has revised the project’s fees and deadlines to make it easier to contribute.

– Please send an email message to me ( if you’re interested in putting a song on the CD. The message isn’t binding, but it gives us an idea of participation.

Duping-participation fee is reduced to $75 (was $100). By July 1 the fee, or first payment on the fee, should be sent to me (John Hayes, 101 Daggette Dr., Buena Vista, PA 15018) or paid to producer Mike Hickman ( at the studio. Accepted in increments if necessary, but the reduced fee must be paid in full before the CD is mastered or the song will not appear on the CD. Full reimbursement if requested before the participant’s first recording session. Anyone who has already paid the original $100 fee will be credited $25.

– The group recording fee is reduced to $25 for each of the first 3 hours, $35 for each additional hour (was $30-$40). Payable to Mike, and payment arrangements will be accepted.

– The group will pay for the first hour of each participant’s recording time, valued at $25.

New schedule:

June 30 Duping Fee or first payment on duping fee.

July 31 First Session Deadline.

Sept. 25 Recording Deadline.

– As always participants can record their

Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle: 2021 Collection

After collecting original songs written by regional songwriters for a decade and a half, Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle has launched its 16th annual compilation CD project. 

The project includes two fees: A duping-participation fee ($100) is paid to the project manager, and an hourly group rate recording fee ($30 per hour for the first three hours, $40 per hour for additional time) is paid to the project producer. There are no additional fees. Full participation requirements are listed below.   

Recording project partners

Mike Hickman of Electric Eye Recorders (512-785-2132,, located on Polish Hill, returns to produce and master the album.

Group member Debbi Pace ( will return as graphic designer.

Kansas multi-media company Nuvidia returns having pressed and printed CDs for the group since 2006.

John Hayes (412-335-1446, returns for the 16th year as project manager.

Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle is affiliated with Calliope: The Pittsburgh Folk Music Society, which provides promotion.

Find information about Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle and all of its associates at the following websites: Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle,; Electric Eye Recorders,; Calliope: The Pittsburgh Folk Music Society,; Nuvidia,; CDBaby,; Colo IP Networks,; Hambone’s,; Mr.

Small’s Funhouse,

Project overview

The annual album project is a feature of Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle, an artist support group that holds monthly meetings to exchange ideas, critique songs, discuss the songwriting process and promote camaraderie among its members. The Songwriters Circle provides members with opportunities including free and paid gigs.

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 participating songwriters.

4) Relieves stress associated with the recording process by eliminating 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.

Publishing rights, project fees

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

manager John Hayes. Only John may receive this payment, which serves as confirmation of intent to

participate. The duping fee must be paid before access is provided to the group recording rate. Duping fees are held in dedicated accounts until used for duping, printing, shipping and various group expenses.

Preferred payment is through personal check or money order for $100 made out to John Hayes, 101

Daggette Dr., Buena Vista, PA 15018. 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 group rate of $30 for each of the first three hours, $40 per hour for additional time. The project minimum is two studio hours. Recording fees are paid directly to producer Mike Hickman. Only Mike may receive this payment. 

The fee for a participant’s first recording session must be paid at the start of the session, and payment per session is preferred unless other arrangements have been made. Payment can be made through PayPal, Google Pay or cash as well as by check or money order made out to Mike Hickman. Recording fees must be paid before the Shipping-Uploading deadline (Sept. 28), unless an alternate payment arrangement has been made with Mike. This protects Mike and Electric Eye from late payment, nonpayment and potential misuse of the special rate.

As is the custom at Electric Eye, clients pay only for studio time used. There is no additional fee for performance services provided by the producer. Setup time for drum sets, etc., is considered billable session time. Mastering is done after the client approves the final mix, and billing is at the special group rate.

Studio accompanists other than Mike may be used at the participant’s request. Their payment, if any, is a private matter between the participant and the session player.

WHERE THE MONEY GOES: Mike Hickman of Electric Eye Recorders is paid an hourly studio session fee for time used in producing and mastering. Nuvidia is paid for replication, printing, assembly and shipping. is paid for Internet promotion. Colo IP Networks is paid for website servicing. No fees are paid to Hambone’s for the group’s monthly meetings.

The duping-participation fee paid to project manager John Hayes is deposited in a dedicated credit union account, then transferred to a dedicated bank account managed by Tom Beckman (, group treasurer. There is no commingling of group money and outside money. 

Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle is a volunteer organization. No member is paid for services rendered to the group or group activities. No member is paid a booking fee for arranging paid or unpaid gigs for the group or its members. Album project management and graphic design, event booking, merchandise and food vending, raffle coordination and other work is done by group members on a volunteer basis. No one from the Songwriters Circle or Calliope profits financially from this album project.

Group members may be paid for special services including sound equipment rental, etc., with the approval of the group manager and treasurer. Group funds may be used to pay for expenses incurred by the group with the approval of the group manager and treasurer.

Records of all money receipts, transfers and expenditures are available to any member on

request to the group treasurer.

Project schedule and deadlines

It is important for participants to observe deadlines, set to insure advancement of the project.

– March 4 LAUNCH: The project is discussed at the March Songwriters Circle meeting. Project

rules, fees, schedule and other details are available to group members via hard copy, email links

and a posting on the Songwriters Circle website (

– May 15 DUPING-PARTICIPATION FEE DEADLINE: Payment of the $100 fee serves as confirmation of participation and provides access to the producer’s group recording rate. The fee is used for the manufacture of the CDs, shipping and misc. group expenses.

– June 5 SESSION SCHEDULING DEADLINE: By this date participants must have contacted Mike and scheduled an initial recording session. The session can occur earlier or later, but must be on Mike’s books by this date. To schedule sessions call Electric Eye at 512-785-2132. The session scheduling deadline advances the project and prevents a log jam of new sessions near the recording deadline.

– Jul. 10 FIRST SESSION DEADLINE: The participant’s initial recording session must be completed by this date. The deadline advances the project and prevents a log jam of new sessions near the recording deadline.

– Aug. 21 CREDITS TEXT DEADLINE: In order to insure the accuracy and timeliness of credits printed on the CD cover, the information is documented in two ways. Mike keeps a running log of all project performances, and songwriters are asked to submit their credits to John at by this date. The text format is: 

Song Title by Songwriter Name(s), (professional affiliation if any)

Lead singer name: vocal, instruments played. Musician name: instruments played. Musician name: instruments played. 

Please confirm name spellings before submitting. The credits text deadline accommodates the graphic design deadline.

– Aug. 28 RECORDING DEADLINE: All recording must be finished. The recording deadline advances the project and accommodates the mastering deadline.

– Sept. 25 MASTERING-GRAPHIC DESIGN DEADLINE: CD mastering and graphic design are


– Sept. 28 SHIPPING-UPLOADING: CD master and graphics are uploaded. Duping fee is sent

to Nuvidia.

– Oct. 30 DELIVERY: By this date, CDs are to be shipped to John. Distribution to participants


– CD RELEASE EVENT: Date and location pending.

– Dec. 31 CD PICKUP DEADLINE: Project participants must take receipt of their CDs by the

end of 2020, or make special arrangements with John to receive their CDs later. Failure to

accept CDs by the end of the year could result in forfeit of the CDs with no refund of duping fee

or recording fees. In such case, the participant’s CDs would become the property of Pittsburgh

Songwriters Circle and considered a group album*. This protects John from being used to

warehouse CDs for an extended period of time.

Project rules

Looks like a lot and some sound trivial, but don’t laugh. Each of these rules was added the year after someone did or tried to do what the rule is intended to prevent.

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 free, 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 meet a deadline or payment deadline without special arrangements could result in expulsion from the album project without refund, and group rate privileges may be rescinded. Electric Eye’s regular rates would then apply.

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 song recorded at the special group recording rate is withdrawn by the

participant or excluded from the project for any reason, the special rate will no longer apply,

Electric Eye will be due the studio’s full recording rate for those sessions and the duping fee will not be


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 and editing, arrangement, instrumentation,

studio craft, performance, mix, etc., and in that capacity is not given a songwriting credit. He is a

songwriter, however, and at the member’s request he can participate in the writing of the song,

which would entitle Mike to a co-writing credit. 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 prerecorded music are not permitted. All mixing and mastering is done at Electric Eye. No recording of any kind is done outside of Electric Eye. This helps to maintain the character of the project as a songwriter-driven and studio-recorded album. It insures artistic continuity, enhances the project’s educational mission and provides financial incentive for Electric Eye’s continuing participation. It is routine for Mike and/or session musicians to perform on some tracks with the participant’s consent. Mike may recruit and schedule session players at the participant’s request, but the financial arrangement is strictly between the participant and the session player. 

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

Mike Hickman.

In the weeks prior to the recording deadline, Electric Eye may not have time to accommodate

sessions for unfinished projects. Songs that are not finished by the recording deadline will not

be included on the album, the special group recording rate will no longer apply and the duping-participation fee will not be refunded.

Many participants present the annual CD as a gift to friends and families. Content is determined by the artist, but please keep the lyrics generally family friendly. A fair guideline is Federal Communications Commission broadcast standards.

Replication and packaging

A compact disc can hold about 70 minutes of signal. If the master exceeds the signal capacity of

one disc, Songwriters Circle may purchase a suitable configuration and packaging. In March, 2020, Nuvidia quoted Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle the following rates (noting at the time that the global market for CD and video parts and accessories was unusually volatile). 

1,000 Replicated CDs (1-disc) – Media, Offset/Screen Disc Printing, 4-panel 4/4 Insert, 4/0 Tray Card, Standard Jewel Case with Black Tray, Assembly, Over Wrap at $1.29 each (plus $20 for UPC Barcode) $1,290.

Additional cost for FedEx Ground Shipping (about $150-$160). 

1,000 Replicated CDs (2-disc set) – Media, Offset/Screen Disc Printing, 4-panel 4/4 Insert, 4/4 Tray Card, Double Jewel Case with Black swing arm tray, Assembly, Over Wrap @ $1.75 each (plus $20 for UPC Barcode) $1,750.

Additional cost for FedEx Ground Shipping (about $160-$170).

1,000 Replicated CDs (2-disc set) – Media, Offset/Screen Disc Printing, 6-panel 4/4 Insert, 4/4 Tray Card, Double Jewel Case with Black swing arm tray, Assembly, Over Wrap @ $1.89 each (plus $20 for UPC Barcode) $1,890

Additional cost for FedEx Ground Shipping (about $170).

* Group albums

One thousand CDs are purchased. Those designated “group albums” — owned by the group and not by

individual participants — are cutout from the total to be used by the group for promotional

purposes, or sold or raffled to benefit Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle. Full physical compact discs — not

individual digital downloads – are sold through CDBaby. Revenues from the sale or raffle of

group albums are used for group-related expenses or applied to the following year’s

Songwriters Circle album project.


John Hayes Project coordinator, group manager: (cell) 412-335-1446, 101 Daggette Dr., Buena Vista, PA 15018.

Mike Hickman Project producer, Electric Eye Recorders: 512-785-2132, 3347 Melwood Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15219 (Polish Hill).Tom Beckman Group treasurer: