The Artist Camp


Brent is a hit songwriter with cuts by Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Lady Antebellum, Joe Nichols, Gord Bamford, Ray Stevens, and more.  He’s written a top 5 hit in the US and a #1 in Canada… so far.


Hey, ya’ll! At the bottom of today’s post, I’m going to let you know about some free stuff I’m giving away to all of you great Man vs. Row subscribers. Now, on to today’s post…

You may hear about songwriters trying to get into an artist’s “camp.” What does that mean? Well, it’s not a place to unroll a sleeping bag and sing your songs around a campfire, that’s for sure.

An artist’s camp is made up of the people in the artist’s inner circle- those who have access and influence. For each artist, the mix may be a little different, but an artist’s camp usually includes the artist, producer, A&R point-person, and favorite cowriters. The camp may also include the artist’s publisher or other friends in the music biz.

Each artist has his or her own camp, and it’s often hard to know who really has the artist’s ear. For example, the A&R person for Artist A may be a big influence on what gets cut, but Artist B may not care at all what his A&R person thinks.

Think of it like a dart board. The artist is the bullseye (usually- though sometimes the producer or label head REALLY makes the final decision on what gets cut). The members of the artist’s camp occupy the various concentric circles around the bullseye. The closer to the bullseye, the more influence that person has over the project.

If you’re looking to get into an artist’s camp, it’s good to figure out the layout of his dartboard if possible. And remember, nothing gets you in a camp like GENUINE friendship. If you’re just using the artist, it’ll be really hard to get past the outer edges of the dartboard. Good luck!

God Bless,



I’m excited to be speaking on song idea discovery and development at the 2014 Songwriting And Music Business Conference in Nashville, TN! Click the image below to find out more. I’d love to see you there!

2014 Conference Conference and Song School and City image Logo Image


As a way to say “thank you” to all of you who subscribe to Man vs. Row by email, I’m going to give away some cool stuff in July (2014). If you subscribe to MvR, I’ll send you a free report, “10 Things The Pro Knows.” I’ll also send you the guitar/vocal of “Crickets,” which is the title track of Joe Nichols’ current album. You’ll get to hear the song as Joe heard it when he decided to record it. You’ll also receive the lyric file of the song- and this lyric file includes “Baxter’s Boneyard” – all the lines that DIDN’T make it into the song (see if you agree with our choices). It’s something nobody else has seen, and I think it’s pretty cool. But, again, this gift is only for those who subscribe to Man vs. Row by E-MAIL. These gifts will be sent by email, so if I don’t have your email address, I can’t send it to you. God Bless!


Anything you’d like to add or ask?  Leave a comment!  Are there any topics  you’d like to see addressed in a future MvR post?  Thanks!


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7 thoughts on “The Artist Camp”

  1. hi brent may i send u some lyrics that herb gart, don mclean’s former manager called “beautiful” ?

    a bright on magical music day to you & yours, ian bruce

    1. Ian,
      Thanks for the offer, but I’m not sure what I’d do with your lyrics, even if I loved them. I’m a lyricist myself. And I don’t do much mentoring these days due to time constraints. Thank you, though. God bless.

  2. Brent,

    I was looking through your blog, but couldn’t find anything specific to these subjects.
    1. Co-writing contract.
    2. Assignment of % of mechanical royalties to anyone with the artists ear that results in a cut.

    Can you elaborate and /or give examples please?

    Thank you!

    1. Brandon,
      I’ve never signed a cowriting contract. I guess you mean something that defines each writer’s % of ownership? In Nashville, it’s assumed that everything is split evenly between the writers.

      You mean assigning over some pub for an independent plugger or publisher? Or just to some buddy of the artist? I don’t like the “buddy” angle. The other, I’d made it pitch-to-earn, meaning they get nothing if it isn’t cut (and released). But all that is dependent upon the details of each particular situation. Good luck!

      1. Brent,
        Thank you!
        Yes, I was referring to the buddy thing.
        I was curious if this was a common and respected method in the industry. (I saw it here)

        Can you possibly put out an article on what happens prior/during/after the cut. It seems that the story always ends when the songwriter gets a cut. But what kind of conversations take place? The artist camp likes the song but do they any other concerns before they lock in with a song or its writer(s)? Do you as a songwriter have any involvement during our afterwards with the artist camp?

        Thank you!

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