SongLink founder and Editor/Publisher David Stark has worked in the music business for over thirty years, for such companies as DJM (Dick James Music), Decca Records (where he was international press officer), MAM Records (head of international promotions), Billboard / Music & Media, MIRO (Music Industry Research Organization) and various other music industry and pro-audio magazines, before launching SongLink International in 1993. He also acts as an official research consultant to the UK's Ivor Novello Awards; the annual World Music Awards (formerly in Monte Carlo, now in Los Angeles); and is a member of the voting academy of the UK's Brit Awards.
He is still an occasional contributor to Billboard, and in 2001 and 2002 was consultant to the ten-day major songwriter seasons at London's Royal Festival Hall, entitled 'The Song's The Thing', which he also coined the name for. David is also an occasional songwriter himself, and plays guitar and drums. In 2004 he played European dates with the John Lennon Experience tribute band, including one memorable sold-out show at the Olympia Theatre in Paris.
In October 1995 David received a prestigious Gold Badge Award at London's Savoy Hotel for outstanding services to the UK songwriting industry from the British Academy of Composers & Songwriters. He has also served as a jury member at song contests, and/or has attended music industry events as far afield as Australia's Gold Coast, Copenhagen, Cuba, Dublin, Helsinki, Bali and Jakarta (Indonesia), Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Poland, Prague (Czech Republic), Bucharest (Romania), plus Los Angeles, Nashville, Miami, New Orleans, New York and Vancouver. He has built SongLink up from small beginnings to a recognised worldwide brand name, and has made many friends and industry contacts over the years, hence his reputation as the man who knows (almost!) everyone in the music industry.
In 1996 David wrote the programme notes for the 'Masters of Music' Prince's Trust Concert at Hyde Park, starring The Who, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and Alannis Morissette, and has also acted as consultant to various music video & film productions, including 'The Beatles Story' and 'The Rolling Stones Rock'n'Roll Circus', which he also attended as a schoolboy in 1968. Recently released on DVD, David can be heard recounting his first-hand experience of the Circus at the end of the audio commentary section, over the closing credits.
In 1999 David co-wrote the book 'Inspirations - The Stories Behind The Songs' (Sanctuary Publishing) with DJ/broadcaster Mike Read and Michael Randolfi. The book features interviews with many famous songwriters who donated lyrics for auction by Sotheby's in March 1999 under the banner 'Hits Under The Hammer', raising over £250,000 for childrens' charities Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy and Norwood Ravenswood. Recently, David has contributed a chapter on songplugging to the excellent new songwriters' manual 'Heart And Soul: Revealing The Craft of Songwriting' by Chris Bradford, published by Sanctuary in spring 2005.
David is also a founding partner of the Unisong Song Contest which has been running from 1997 to 2008, and as well as giving cash and prizes worth over $100,000, the contest has also made donations to such worthy causes as Amnesty International, the Earth Love Fund and various songwriters' associations worldwide.
A huge music fan since the 60's, David has some amazing stories and items of personal memorabilia from meeting many top artists, including all of The Beatles on various occasions, and attending hundreds of concerts and other music events for the past 40 years. Highlights include seeing Jimi Hendrix six times, including at the Royal Albert Hall and the Isle of Wight 1970 festival; the Rolling Stones many times at Hyde Park, Wembley, the Lyceum, Giants Stadium and elsewhere; seeing over 150 gigs by The Who since 1967, plus memorable gigs by Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Steely Dan, the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Allman Brothers, Steve Miller, David Bowie, Queen, Elton John, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Bob Dylan, Grateful Dead, Santana, Lou Reed, Rod Stewart, The Faces and many others - he was even at one of the Sex Pistols' legendary gigs at The 100 Club in 1976. Other highlights include seeing Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Liza Minnelli at the RFH; meeting Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys; attending the CMA Awards in Nashville and meeting George Jones and Vince Gill among others; dining with Celine Dion at the World Music Awards; hanging with Bonnie Raitt, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Mick Fleetwood and others at "Music Bridges" in Havana, Cuba (1999) and seeing Buena Vista Social Club live with Ry Cooder, also in Havana... the list goes on. And when he's not networking at some mega-gig, you'll find David hanging out at one of London's top songwriter venues like the The Bedford, the Cobden Club, or the Original Songwriters' Showcase supporting new talent - and promoting SongLink, of course!
David's longtime associate ELLIE WEINERT (right) of SONGS WANTED based in Munich, Germany, was originally a native of Connecticut, USA, and started working in the German music business as professional manager for UFA Music Publishing (now BMG/UFA) from 1971 for seven years. She joined Global Music as professional manager/A&R for another seven years before setting up monthly publishers' tipsheet Songs Wanted in 1986, now in its 20th successful year.
Twice a year Ellie publishes a special issue entitled 'Who's Who In A&R in Germany' and also runs the successful 'Songwriter's Live' series of showcases rotating at venues in Germany's major cities. She has also been a regular correspondent for Billboard for many years, and also freelances for the leading German trade magazine Der Musikmarkt.