The music biz has often been called a relationship business – and it IS. But how you GET those relationships is often a matter of recommendations.
And I want to help you get more of those recommendations.
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First off, let me tell you about a few referrals and how they have really affected my songwriting career. Why? It’s not about me or my story. I’m not bragging. I’m sharing because I want to prove to you that recommendations MATTER.
Chad Green, my ASCAP representative at the time, picked up the phone and called Major Bob Music. He recommended that they listen to my songs. I ended up signing my first publishing deal with them.
I used to do some gopher / bookkeeping work for a producer in town named Miles. He recommended I write a young, unknown Canadian singer/songwriter named Aaron Goodvin. We eventually did, and years later, Aaron helped me land cuts on Canadian artist Drew Gregory and Sony Canada artist, Tristan Horncastle. Aaron himself is currently an artist on Warner Music Canada.
Separate recommendations by my cowriters, Lisa Shaffer and Brandon Kinney, led to my third publishing deal – a deal with Writer’s Infinity.
A cowriter, Skip Black, brought me in on a cowrite with singer/songwriter, Benton Blount. (Any time a cowriter brings you in with an artist, it’s a recommendation.) Benton Blount went on to land a spot in the Top 10 of America’s Got Talent Season 10. I’ve had several cowrites and cuts on Benton’s indie albums, and I have one in the can for his upcoming Pacific Records debut.
I met radio host and record promoter, Jay Karl, several years ago. He liked my song “Armadillo,” and recommended it to one of his artists, Junior Gordon. Junior recently released it as a single in Texas, and “Armadillo” has reached the top 10 on the Texas Regional Radio Chart.
One of the major values of relationships is the recommendations they generate. And the relationship doesn’t have to be with the artist or producer. Jay Karl was just a total stranger who wanted to do a short interview for a radio show. I didn’t think it would lead to anything other than me feeling important and cool for a few minutes. Sure didn’t think it would lead to a successful Texas single.
Miles was just a guy who needed some part-time help putting his receipts in Quicken, and Aaron Goodvin was just a kid from Canada. Aaron was a good guy, and I could tell he had real hustle, but I didn’t think he’d end up as an artist on Warner Canada (all my Canadian friends need to go buy his album, by the way).
It’s not enough to JUST have a relationship. Your contact has to do more than just know you or be aware of your existence. They have to have a reason to make a recommendation – either TO you for FOR you. And those reasons usually fall into one of two broad categories.
They want to help themselves.
If a cowriter brings you in to write with an artist because they know you’ll kill it… and you DO kill it… who comes out looking cool? Your cowriter who hooked it up! He or she gets to be the one who “made it all happen.” Plus, he benefits from being part of a better song. He also strengthens his ties with the artist.
If a publisher hooks you up to write with a pro, it’s because they hope you either already have “the goods” or they can help you develop “the goods.” Why? So they can publish your hits, that’s why!
Your relationships are definitely NOT gonna hook you up if they think it’ll make them look bad to their friends or bosses. Why should they? Even if you’re friends and he wants to help you, what’s the point? If you don’t have the skills or personality to take advantage of the opportunity, you might feel good in the moment, but all you’ll really accomplish is wasting someone’s time and hurting your reputation.
To help someone else.
Sometimes your contact will hook people up or pass along a song with little or no self-interest. Maybe they think you’ll be a great cowriting team or just good friends. Or he knows Artist X needs a hit, and he believes your song is it. So he passes it along.
Your contact may not have any direct financial stake in that recommendation. But he or she will still benefit from the good will and hero status a successful recommendation can bring. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
I’ll be honest, I would LOVE to hit hero-status as part of YOUR songwriting journey. I want to be part of YOUR success story. And you know what? I also want to be part of the success stories of my publisher friends. I want to help you get your best songs heard, and I want to help my publisher friends find great songs.
Which leads leads me to a cool opportunity…
I’m hosting Songwriting Pro’s Play For A Publisher event in September. Our guest will be Dan Hodges, who publishes hits such as “Good Directions” for Billy Currington and “Dibs” for Kelsea Ballerini. But the deadline to apply for this event is AUGUST 31!
CLICK HERE to learn more and submit your song before it’s too late.
Dan Hodges will be joining us for our next Play For A Publisher event in September! He’s a successful publisher and owner of Dan Hodges Music in Nashville, Tennessee. Tickets are on sale now, and space is limited. And the deadline to enter is AUGUST 31! CLICK HERE to check out all the details and submit YOUR song for Dan!
God Bless and Enjoy the Journey,
Brent 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.