Here’s What Music Publishers Want MORE Than A Hit Song

Yes, music publishers want a hit song.  But that’s not all they want.  And it’s not even what they want the most.  What is it they REALLY want?  Well, let’s just say they’re on a goose chase…

Of course publishers want to find hit songs.  Albums aren’t selling, so album cuts aren’t bringing in enough money to keep a publisher afloat.  They need songs on the radio.  So hit songs ARE important.  Without them, the publisher will die a slow death.

Hit songs are golden eggs, and publishers are excited to find one.

However, I don’t know of any hit songs that have been found by a publisher, signed to a single-song contract, pitched, cut and then run up the charts.  Yeah, that’s probably happened… but I can’t name any.  So what publishers love even more than finding hit songs are finding hit SONGWRITERS.

Hit songs may be golden eggs, but hit songwriters are the geese that lay golden eggs.

Publishers’ long-term success will come by finding and signing hit songwriters.  They want songwriters who consistently write commercial, cutable songs and have a hit songwriter’s work ethic and mindset (or they look for writers who have the work ethic and mindset, and are on the verge of having the songs- and might have the songs with some polishing and development by the publisher).

You wanna be the goose.  You want the publisher to see you as someone who can lay that golden egg again and again- not just as someone lucky enough to stumble upon a golden egg.  (Or you want the publisher to see you as a baby goose- one who hasn’t started laying eggs yet, but can start popping them out with some time and maturity).  The goose has a career.  The guy with one golden egg has a cool story to tell his buddies at work on Monday.

The goose doesn’t lay one golden egg and stop.  It gets to work on the next egg, then the next.  The goose is a pro who keeps on keeping on- no matter what.

So when you meet with a publisher, don’t be afraid to show them your eggs.  (Okay, that sounded weird.)  But always keep the long game in mind.  Conduct yourself professionally.  Be ready with an answer to, “what else ya got?”  Don’t be a one-egg wonder.

Be the mother-freaking goose.

Maybe you have a golden egg or two.  Maybe you’re a goose.  Maybe you’re ready for a “Yes, I love it!”  Or maybe it’s just time to see how you stack up.  Whatever your situation, I have an opportunity for you!

Tim Hunze is coming back to do another Play For A Publisher event in June!  He’s a successful publisher with Parallel Music in Nashville, Tennessee.  Tickets are on sale now, and space is limited.  CLICK HERE to check out all the details and submit YOUR song for Tim!

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.


6 thoughts on “Here’s What Music Publishers Want MORE Than A Hit Song”

  1. Hi Tim
    I certainly don’t fancy coming over to Nashville but if you’re looking for potential “hit songs”, I would be very happy to work with you.
    That was an interesting article you wrote about songwriting and looking for “golden eggs”, but although I agree with you generally, I believe the other criteria for finding hit songs is the genre/message in the song eg “protest songs of the late 60s”; “punk rock of the late 70s”; “acoustic songs of the recent era” etc.
    Given what’s happening in the world at the moment, I believe the time is right for a “revolution genre” e.g. Peace and Love!

    I have a brand new song called “Bring on the Revolution” if you’re interested but it’s not on my website yet. I hope you take a look at my website (see below) and maybe listen to some of my own compositions e.g. “Asking Questions of the Moon” or “Touch Me”. The revolution has already begun.

  2. Brent,
    Thank you for this article and congratulations on your success. One day, I will submit a song for your review. Right now I’m toting around this basket of eggs in my life…golden eggs, silver eggs, copper eggs and some pickled ones too. I have a wonderful fantasy in my mind that someday I will find my ” other half”, and when I do, he will come dancing into my life with his golden harp and angelic voice so I can get my eggs onto a demo for submission. If I try to sing and play my own demo…I will scramble the whole thing. Occasionally I grow weary of waiting on this magic musician so I pull a lyric egg out and toss it onto the internet for FREE just to see if anyone is interested in catching it. I can afford $10 but I can not afford the 100+$ it would cost to have my lyrics transformed into a listenable demo. If listening to 200 songs takes time and patience, who wants to read 200 lyric pages? Thank you for a great article.

    1. Yes. I’d say each of the play for publisher events has featured at least one or two non-country songs. Give it a shot!

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