Songwriters, Give The Listener Great Advice!


It’s not about you.  It’s about the listener.  What’s in it for the listener?

As we began discussing a few weeks ago (READ IT HERE), successful songwriters know it’s not about us- it’s about the listener.  When it comes to your song, what’s in it for the listener?  What’s going to make them stick around till the end and hit “repeat?”

If your song doesn’t have something in it for the listener, there’s no money in it for you.

Yep.  I just said that over the past few weeks, and I’m gonna keep saying it.

So I’ve been pointing out some things you can build into your song that can connect with your listeners.  So far, we’ve discussed “It’s What I Want To Hear” and “It’s What I Want To Say.” and “That’s Who I Am.”    This week, let’s talk about…

all about the listener

“Thanks for the advice!”

Personally, I love those songs that leave me a better person than I was before I heard them.  Songs have expanded my thinking on topics such as loneliness (“That’s What The Lonely Is For” by David Wilcox), life (“The Dance” by Garth Brooks), God (“Jesus Loves Me” by my parents and so many others as I was growing up), and so many other things.

Notice that these songs aren’t preaching at me.  I don’t like getting talked down to, and I don’t imagine you do, either.  But I appreciate it when the sing (songwriter) is being “Humble And Kind” enough to share some wisdom that’s helping them through life and just might help me, too.

“The Good Stuff” and “Don’t Blink” by Kenny Chesney, “You’re Gonna Miss This” by Trace Adkins, and “Live Like You Were Dying” by Tim McGraw remind me to stop, smell the roses, and live life more fully.  These songs have a clever way of avoiding the “preaching  at” trap.  They tell the story of how the singer heard the advice from someone else.  The singer’s not preaching at me.  The singer puts himself in the position of not knowing it all or being better than the listener.  He’s just sharing some great advice he heard from a wise person.

So what’s in songs like these for the listener?  We get friendly advice that helps us live life better!  Pretty good deal.

One way to make your song more “cut/able” is to have your lyric share some advice that the listener will value.

So here’s your homework.  Turn on the radio or your favorite playlist.  Find a song or two that answers the question, “What’s in it for the listener?” with “Thanks for the advice!”  Please leave a comment and let me know what you discovered!

If you want your songs to be more “cut/able” – able to be cut – then you should definitely check out my new, expanded and upgraded version of “Cut/able: Lessons In Market Smart Songwriting.” It’s five powerful lessons will help you write songs that artists want to sing, radio wants to play, and listeners want to hear! CLICK HERE TO WRITE CUT/ABLE SONGS.


God Bless and Enjoy the Journey,


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


5 thoughts on “Songwriters, Give The Listener Great Advice!”

  1. You need a well written song with a great hook and melody that draws the listener in A.S.A.P. and keeps them listening. The melody needs to be infectious. The hook needs to be something a listener can’t forget. And you can’t insult anyone. That’s the end game plain and simple. There are more hits that don’t teach a life lesson then there are those that do. So, while I agree that the type of songs you’re referring to can be memorable and hits, they’re not the end all be all in writing songs. I’ll add one other thing. A strong mid to uptempo fun song beats a ballad most of the time. That’s where the money is as a songwriter.

  2. It’s not about you. It’s about the listener. What’s in it for the listener? No truer words spoken Brent when it comes to songwriting! If someone is writing for the commercial market & they point by point have to explain to me what their song is all about…I say…it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

  3. Good advice, I’m working on a song right now that does that. I’m going through about 100 pages of research to find a simple, colorful way of expressing one human emotion, fun stuff:)

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