Advice For Songwriters From Hit Music Publisher, Dan Hodges

Hit music publisher, Dan Hodges of Dan Hodges Music, was our most recent Play For A Publisher guest.  And, boy, did he have some great advice for our songwriters!

Wanna know what he said? Read on!


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If you couldn’t make it to the event or watch the replay, here’s some of the great advice Dan had for us.

Put yourself in the artist’s shoes.  With every song, ask yourself, “If I were an artist on a label, would I want to sing this song every night, saying ‘This is me.  This is who I am.’?”

Go with what you know.  Trends change, but a great story and a melody are always relevant.  Sam Hunt’s “Breakup In A Small Town” may have progressive production, but it still has some brilliant lines (especially the one about the grass growing back where she used to park her car).  That’s great writing.

Show me a “moment” in your song.  Create a moment or paint a picture that draws the listener in.  Avoid having too many generic lines.  Get something tangible in there.

Don’t make the listener connect too many dots.  Country music is a very spelled-out market.  Don’t make the listener work too hard to understand what you’re talking about.

Regarding how progressive a country demo can get:  Anything goes.  Just keep the lyric a country lyric.  But the demo can get “out there.”

Is there an advantage to working with a publisher?  Yes, Dan says.  A publisher will hook up cowrites and help you with networking.  You must have artist/producer relationships, and a good publisher will have those.

Stay away from curse words in a country lyric.  It makes it harder for the song to get cut.

Don’t put the singer in a negative light.  They have to sing the song every night and “become” the character in the song.  Make the main character in the song someone the artist WANTS to be.

I want YOU to join me at the next Play For A Publisher event- and get feedback on YOUR song in person! (No matter where you live.)

If you’re ready to connect with a publisher, I have a path for YOU and YOUR great song to get to a real, legit, successful music publisher, no matter where in the world you live.

On Thursday, December 14, I’m having the next round of Songwriting Pro’s “Play For A Publisher.” Our guest is John Ozier of ole Music.  John has had his hand in a bunch of hits, but the deadline to submit your song is coming up quickly!  CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS GREAT OPPORTUNITY.

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.

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