Nobody can provide you with an exact roadmap on how to get from being an amateur songwriter to being a professional songwriter. But here are five things you must know – and act upon – if you want to go pro.
1. Nobody turns pro alone.
You have to build a network. Songs move from hand to hand (or inbox to inbox) and into the right hands based on relationships. These relationships can range anywhere from business acquaintances to best friends. You MUST get to know people, and they must get to know your music.
2. “Professional” means your songs earn money.
In order to earn money, your songs have to have value in the market- somebody wants to record them, and a bunch of somebodies want to buy them. To live off your royalties or to get and keep a pub deal, you songs have to earn significant income. Your job is NOT to write songs. Your job is to write songs that make money.
3. Songwriting is NOT your hobby – it’s your business.
If you treat it like a hobby, that’s all songwriting will ever be for you. And that’s fine. But if you want it to be a business, you have to act like a professional. The serious writers make the serious money (sometimes).
4. Good enough isn’t good enough.
To break into the biz, your songs can’t be “just as good as” the worst stuff on records and radio. If an artist wants to cut mediocre, they’ll cut THEIR OWN mediocre song, or their buddy’s or their producer’s. Your song has to compete against everybody else’s BEST songs.
5. You WILL have to sacrifice.
The professional songwriters are the ones who have been willing to sacrifice. They came home from their day jobs and picked up the guitar instead of the tv remote. They spent their Spring Break in Nashville instead of at the beach. They left family to move to Nashville. They waited tables – even though they had a masters degree – just to be there.
Thanks for hanging in there with me- I know this post is more about perspiration than inspiration. Work hard, good luck, and God bless!
What did I miss? Anything you’d like to add or ask? I’d love to hear your thoughts – leave a comment!
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Brent’s Twitter: @Razorbaxter
Brent Baxter Music: http://www.brentbaxtermusic.com