Category Archives: Know The Row

6 People Who Can Introduce You To Songwriting Pros

Trying to connect with pro songwriters in towns like Nashville can feel like standing knee-deep in a river and dying of thirst.

Pros are all around you- you see them at the coffee shop, walking up and down the sidewalks of Music Row, at lunch in midtown, and out at songwriter nights.  But how do you connect?

Maybe someone can introduce you.

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To BE a pro, you need to THINK like a pro, and this FREE ebook will help transform your thinking, your songwriting, and your success.  Get it today!

Click Here For The Book

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I know.  Easier said than done, right?  But here are some people who have the possibility of connecting you to a pro.  By “connecting,” I don’t necessarily mean booking a cowrite.  I mean anything from “Bill Hitmaker, this is Manny Row,” to “Bill, you and Manny should write sometime!” to “Manny, let me book you with Bill.”

1. Your PRO Rep

If you’re a member of ASCAP, SESAC, or BMI, try to get a meeting with a membership representative.  If you can make a fan out of him (or her), he might connect you with some other up-and-coming songwriters.  Absolutely blow your rep’s mind, and he might connect you to a pro.

2. A Music Publisher

If a publisher really digs what you do, he/she might book you with some pro cowrites.  Of course, connecting with a publisher isn’t easy.  But I’ve written about that before.  CLICK HERE to learn how to get on a music publisher’s radar.

3. Industry Contacts

Pro songwriters know people at organizations like NSAI.  They hang out there sometimes.  As the folks at these places get to know you (and become a fan of your writing and of you as a person), they may just grab you one day and say, “I want you to meet Bill Hitmaker.  Bill, this is Manny Row…”  Those kind of personal introductions are great.

4. Other Songwriters

Who do your current cowriters and songwriting friends know?  Who are their cowriters?  Maybe you can arrange a lunch or (better yet) a cowrite between the three of you.

But don’t expect your cowriters to just do you a favor.  Make it easy on them by presenting an amazing idea or melody that you want to write with a pro.  It could be pretty attractive for your cowriter to hook up your amazing idea/melody with an established pro who has connections.  Your cowriter wins by bringing both sides value and being in the room, too.  And “great idea” + “pro songwriter” increases his chances of a cut, so he should be happy to get all three of you together.

5. Personal Relationships

If you live in Nashville, odds are you know somebody who knows a pro songwriter.  Don’t abuse your friendships, but do be on the lookout for opportunities to meet those pros.  Maybe it’s at a kid’s birthday party.  Maybe it’s at a Christmas party.  You never know.  Just be aware of the situation, and act appropriately.  And be patient.  Nobody wants a CD slammed in their hand at the neighborhood swimming pool.

Please remember that all of these people don’t just exist to solve your problems and make you happy (you don’t even exist for the sole purpose of making yourself happy, but that’s for more of a theological post…).  You have to be patient.  Don’t just walk in these folks’ doors and expect them to pick up the phone and call a pro on your behalf.  It’s a big compliment for someone to make a professional introduction.  Treat it- AND THEM- with respect.  Build a relationship.

Hopefully, these folks will become a fan of both you and your songs.  If it’s not happening, keep working to write better songs.  Also, take a look at how you present yourself.  Are you coming off as too aggressive, too negative, too desperate, too unprofessional, etc.?  Every time a person makes a contact/recommendation on your behalf, it’s a reflection on them.  Do your best to make them look good by introducing people to you!  Now… on to #6!

6. Frettie & Songwriting Pro

That’s right, part of the mission of Frettie.com and Songwriting Pro is to connect YOU to the pros.  I don’t want to just give you ADVICE, I want to give you ACCESS.

 

Every quarter, I host Frettie’s “Know The Row,” with an industry pro.  And our next event is coming up in February with hit songwriter, Byron Hill!

This is your chance to sit down face-to-face (online) with a real-deal professional songwriter. Since moving to Nashville and signing his first publishing deal in 1978, Byron’s songs have generated more than 700 recordings, and have been released on ninety-one industry certified Gold and Platinum albums and singles!  Wow.

You and I BOTH want to learn what Byron has to share.

Here’s the deal.  You can join us online from anywhere in the world on Thursday, February 8, 2018 from 7pm-8pm Central time.  And this special event is FREE to members of Frettie.com!  (But don’t worry- you can still purchase a ticket even if you don’t want to take advantage of all of Frettie’s membership benefits.)

CLICK HERE TO GET ALL THE DETAILS & MEET HIT SONGWRITER BYRON HILL.

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, a #1 in Canada & a top 10 in Texas… so far.

5 Things You Must Know To Become A Songwriting Pro

Nobody can provide you with an exact roadmap on how to get from being an amateur songwriter to being a professional songwriter.  But here are five things you must know – and act upon – if you want to go pro.  Read on!

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To BE a pro, you need to THINK like a pro, and this FREE ebook will help transform your thinking, your songwriting, and your success.  Get it today!

Click Here For The Book

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1. Nobody turns pro alone.

You have to build a network.  Songs move from hand to hand (or inbox to inbox) and into the right hands based on relationships.  These relationships can range anywhere from business acquaintances to best friends.  You MUST get to know people, and they must get to know your music.  Knowing the “right people” isn’t cheating.  It’s a vital part of succeeding as a pro songwriter.

2. “Professional” means your songs earn money.

In order to earn money, your songs have to have value in the market.  At the end of the day, some artist wants to record them, and a bunch of fans want to buy them.  To become a full-time songwriter or to get and keep a publishing deal, your songs have to earn income.  Your job is NOT to write songs.  Your job is to write songs that make money.

3. Songwriting is NOT your hobby – it’s your business.

If you treat it like a hobby, that’s all songwriting will ever be for you.  Just a hobby.  And that’s fine, if that’s your goal.  But if you want it to be a business, you have to act like a professional.  You have to treat it like a business.  The serious songwriters are the ones who get the serious cuts.

4. Good enough isn’t good enough.

To break into the biz, your songs can’t be “just as good as” the worst stuff on records and radio.  If an artist wants to cut mediocre songs, they’ll cut THEIR OWN mediocre songs, or their buddy’s or their producer’s.  Your song has to compete against everybody else’s BEST songs.

5. You WILL have to sacrifice.

The professional songwriters are the ones who have been willing to sacrifice.  They came home from their day jobs and picked up the guitar instead of the tv remote.  They spent their Spring Break in Nashville instead of at the beach.  They left family to move to Nashville.  They waited tables – even though they had a masters degree – just to be where the music is.  They don’t just TALK like they want success.  They WORK like the want success!

But you don’t have to just take my word for it.  If you REALLY want to go pro, you need advice from as many pro songwriters as possible.  And I have good news for you.

I’m gonna hook you up with an awesome multi-hit songwriter.

In February, I’m hosting Frettie’s “Know The Row” with hit songwriter, Byron Hill!  This is your chance to sit down face-to-face (online) with a real-deal professional songwriter. Since moving to Nashville and signing his first publishing deal in 1978, Byron’s songs have generated more than 700 recordings, and have been released on ninety-one industry certified Gold and Platinum albums and singles!  Wow.

You and I BOTH want to learn what Byron has to share.

Here’s the deal.  You can join us online from anywhere in the world on Thursday, February 8, 2018 from 7pm-8pm Central time.  And this special event is FREE to members of Frettie.com!  (But don’t worry- you can still purchase a ticket even if you don’t want to take advantage of all of Frettie’s membership benefits.)

CLICK HERE TO GET ALL THE DETAILS & MEET HIT SONGWRITER BYRON HILL.

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, a #1 in Canada & a top 10 in Texas… so far.

The C.L.I.M.B. #99: The Value Of Writer/Producer Relationships

The music business, like every other business, is largely about relationships.  In this episode, Brent shares the value of building good relationships with writer/producers- and how they can help YOU on your C.L.I.M.B.!

If you’re a singer, songwriter or indie artist who wants to grow your career, THIS is the podcast for you!

The C.L.I.M.B. Podcast is live and ready for download!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE C.L.I.M.B. ON ITUNES

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE C.L.I.M.B. ON STITCHER (for Android)

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON THE C.L.I.M.B. WEBSITE

The C.L.I.M.B. stands for “Creating Leverage In The Music Business,” and that’s the goal of this podcast- to help singers, indie artists and songwriters like YOU to create leverage in the music business.  What is leverage?  It’s “strategic advantage; the power to act effectively.”  We want to help YOU make stuff happen in the music biz.

It’s exciting to see how folks are digging the show- and being helped on their CLIMB.  If YOU like it, we’d really appreciate it if you’d subscribe and leave a rating or review on iTunes.  Positive ratings and reviews help us to climb the iTunes rankings so more people become aware of the show and we can help more singers, songwriters, and indie artists like you make The CLIMB!The CLIMB iTunes review 3

CLICK HERE TO LEAVE AN iTUNES REVIEW

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE C.L.I.M.B. ON ITUNES

If you aren’t on iTunes, you can listen to the show at our website:

TheCLIMBshow.com

If you have an Android phone, you can subscribe to the show on:

Stitcher

Thanks for your time. It means a lot to me, and hopefully it’ll be a lot of help for you!

God Bless and keep C.L.I.M.B.ing,

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.

7 Ways Songwriters Can Stay Motivated

Whether you’re an amateur songwriter hoping to “go pro” or you’re a young pro trying to break through to the next level, a key element of success is simply to keep going.  But that isn’t always easy.

For every person pulling a U-Haul into Nashville, there’s someone moving back home because they just don’t have the heart anymore.  So, how do you give yourself the best chance to keep going?  Here are a few ways.

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To BE a pro, you need to THINK like a pro, and this FREE ebook will help transform your thinking, your songwriting, and your success.  Get it today!

Click Here For The Book

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1. Connect with your “why.”

If you don’t have a clear understanding of WHY you write, it’s really hard to answer the dark-valley question, “Why should I keep trying?”  When the music biz knocks you down (and it will), you need to know why getting up matters.  Maybe not why it matters to the world, but at least why it matters to YOU.

Maybe you write because you know that’s how you’re wired, and you’ll go crazy if you abandon it.  Maybe you write to leave a legacy of song for your children’s children.  Maybe you write to share life lessons- to remind yourself as well as others of hard-earned truth.  Maybe it’s to prove to yourself that you can do it.  Or maybe you write to make people smile for three minutes in an often heartbreaking world.

Whatever drives you to write, you should have a clear picture of it.  The “why” is what will give you a reason to dust yourself off and get back in the arena.

2. Celebrate the small victories.

Don’t ignore or downplay the small victories- especially early in your journey.  Be grateful.  Let the little victories give you confidence and fuel for the journey.

These are YOUR victories.  They don’t have to meet anyone else’s standards of what’s worth celebrating.

For a few years, some buddies and I passed around a football- a “game ball” – when we’d have a music victory.  It got passed around for everything from indie cuts, publishing deals, big cowrites, 1st demo sessions, and more.  Those weren’t the victories that the biggest writers in town were probably celebrating, but they were new, positive steps for us.  It gave us a reason to celebrate together.  We also had a friendly rivalry going, because each of us wanted to “get the game ball” back on our own mantles!

3. Connect with a supportive community.

We all need people who encourage, support, and believe in us.  They can be online or face-to-face, family or friends, cowriters or non-songwriting creatives.  It doesn’t matter who they are, just that they will support you.  And be sure and support them, too!

If you’re looking for a supportive community, I suggest the Songwriting Pro Facebook Group and Frettie.com.  I host both groups, and I love watching songwriters like you making progress and earning new victories on your songwriting journeys.

4. Display visual reminders.

Remind yourself that you’re a songwriter.  Remind yourself of your dreams and goals.  Remind yourself of your victories.  Create a vision board with pictures of your songwriting-dream-come-true.

Get a good song review from a community like Frettie.com?  Print it out and hang in your writing space!  Score an indie cut?  Congrats!  It doesn’t matter if it goes gold, platinum or plywood- get a CD frame and hang it up to remind yourself that someone likes one of your songs enough to record it.

Also, keep your guitar and/or writing notebook out where they’re visible – and available.  Don’t keep them hidden in a closet or a drawer somewhere.  You’re a writer.  Don’t let yourself forget that.

5. Pace yourself.

This is a marathon, not a sprint.  Be persistent, but be patient.  You have to find a family/money/music balance that is sustainable over the course of years, not just months.

It might mean you can’t quit your day job just yet.  Maybe you can only write one night a week for now.  Sure, we all want instant gratification, but patience pays off.

Be patient.

6. Protect a positive attitude.

To stay in it for the long haul, you have to believe success is possible, and a lot of belief simply comes from your mind-set.

Seeing the glass as half-empty will cause your dreams to die of thirst.

Watch what comes out of your mouth.  Not only does what you say reflect what’s in your heart, it reinforces it.  Practice speaking positively- strengthen that part of yourself.

Had a bad publisher meeting?  Don’t focus on the disappointment.  Focus on what you were able to learn from that meeting (even if all you learned is that you have more to learn).  Get a song to an artist, but they didn’t record it?  Focus on the fact that you were able to actually get a song heard!  I bet that wasn’t always the case.  So you’ve made progress!

7. Make a new connection.

Yes, we’d all love to suddenly become best buddies with <insert your favorite artist or songwriter>.  But that’s probably not going to happen today or tomorrow.  But who CAN you reach out to?  Where can you become a blip on someone’s radar and begin to build a relationship?

The music business is based on both music AND relationships.  Sometimes when then music isn’t working like we’d hope, we can keep some forward progress by focusing on relationship-building.  “Well, Publisher X didn’t love my song, but I got to meet Hit Writer Z this week!”

And you know I don’t like to throw out suggestions without providing an opportunity to put them into practice.  So I have a really great opportunity coming up for you!

In February, I’m hosting Frettie’s “Know The Row” with hit songwriter, Byron Hill!  This is your chance to sit down face-to-face (online) with a real-deal professional songwriter. Since moving to Nashville and signing his first publishing deal in 1978, Byron’s songs have generated more than 700 recordings, and have been released on ninety-one industry certified Gold and Platinum albums and singles!  Wow.

You and I BOTH want to learn what Byron has to share.

Here’s the deal.  You can join us online from anywhere in the world on Thursday, February 8, 2018 from 7pm-8pm Central time.  And this special event is FREE to members of Frettie.com!  (But don’t worry- you can still purchase a ticket even if you don’t want to take advantage of all of Frettie’s membership benefits.)

CLICK HERE TO GET ALL THE DETAILS & MEET HIT SONGWRITER BYRON HILL.

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, a #1 in Canada & a top 10 in Texas… so far.

Which PRO should I join – ASCAP, BMI or SESAC?

QUESTION:  I want to be a pro songwriter.  So should I join a Performing Rights Organization (PRO) right now?  Which one should I join- ASCAP, BMI or SESAC?

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To BE a pro, you need to THINK like a pro, and this FREE ebook will help transform your thinking, your songwriting, and your success.  Get it today!

Click Here For The Book

_________________________________

ANSWER:

First, let me explain (briefly) what PROs do.  Performing Rights Organizations are basically collection agencies.  They collect performance royalties for their songwriter and publisher members.  Performance royalties come from sources including radio airplay, TV/film synch performances, live music venues, and digital sources.

If you get a hit single, it’s the PRO check you love seeing in your mailbox.

In the rest of the world, you only have the choice of one PRO in each country or territory.  However, in the USA, we have 3 PROs: ASCAP, BMI and SESAC.

A songwriter can only be a member of one PRO at a time.

So, should you join one now?  The short answer is “YES” – if you have cuts out there being played on the radio, in bars, in film/TV, etc.  If you’re getting a decent amount of plays (or if you’re a touring act playing originals), you’re earning money – BUT NO ONE IS COLLECTING IT FOR YOU UNLESS YOU’RE A MEMBER OF A PRO.  If that’s not your situation, you’re not in a hurry and I suggest you “shop” PROs patiently.

So, which PRO should you join?

Well, there will be arguments over which PRO pays the most money, which one is best for certain genres, etc.  I suggest you don’t worry about that right now.  After all, if you’re not making money off your music, it doesn’t really matter if one PRO pays slightly better than another.

Join the PRO where you find your champion.

I suggest trying to get meetings at each of the PROs – with different member representatives at each one.  If your songs aren’t good enough, you probably won’t find a champion.  Keep writing.  Keep learning.  Keep getting better.  And keep being professional when you DO have meetings.

Eventually, if you’re friendly and professional and your songs keep getting better, you’ll find a rep who will give you more time, more feedback and may even hook you up with cowriters and/or publishers.

Join the PRO that will help you make money, not one that will ONLY collect your money.

I’ve benefitted from having a champion at my PRO.  Chad Green was my ASCAP rep, and he helped me land my first publishing deal.  (He’s also opened other doors for me, which you can read about with a CLICK HERE.)

Do you have more questions about PROs – what they do, how to get a meeting, or how to get a 2nd meeting?  If so, I have a great opportunity for you.

On Tuesday, July11, 2017, I’m hosting an online “Know The Row” event with Senior Creative Director of Daywind Music and former ASCAP rep, Chad Green.  This is YOUR chance to connect with a music industry professional and to ask him YOUR questions.  With it being online, you can join us from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.  If you want details, just CLICK HERE.  Tickets are on sale now, and space is limited!

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.

SWP 4

You’re Invisible To Publishers Without THIS (and it’s not a good song)

Most songwriters can’t seem to get a music publisher’s attention.  They’re simply invisible, or at least it feels that way.  And maybe your songs are good.  Maybe they’re really good.  But that doesn’t matter much if you’re missing the other key things you need to get on a publisher’s radar.

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To BE a pro, you need to THINK like a pro, and this FREE ebook will help transform your thinking, your songwriting, and your success.  Get it today!

Click Here For The Book

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You see, publishers are surrounded by songs and songwriters.  They find them at writers nights, they meet them at workshops, they often meet with new writers sent to them from PROs, other publishers, and friends.  Basically, they listen to songs and meet with songwriters. All. Freaking. Day.

Publishers are drowning in songs and songwriters.  And you’re offering them a cup of water.

So, how do you get publishers to notice YOU and YOUR SONGS?

REACH & FREQUENCY.

Before a publisher can even form an opinion of you as a songwriter, he or she must know you exist.  And they’ll never know you exist if you don’t reach them.

There are several ways to reach a publisher.  You can ping them on social media with something kind or helpful.  (Don’t be a taker.)  You might meet them at a workshop or event such as Songwriting Pro’s Play For A Publisher event.  Maybe they hear your name from another songwriter or see it on a lyric sheet as they listen to one of your songs.  Maybe they’ll see you at a writers night or shake your hand at an industry function.

You’ve reached the publisher and you’ve gotten their attention for a second, a minute, or even an hour.  But it’s not enough.

Even if they like you.  Even if they like your songs.  You walk out of that room, and “poof” – you’re invisible again.  They’ll have another meeting, go to another writers round or hear another batch of good songs.

You need frequency.  So get your frequency on.

You need your name, face and/or songs to reach that publisher again.  And again.  And again.  You need to reach that publisher with enough frequency that they go from “I’m sorry… have we met?” to “What’s your name again?” to “Yeah, you wrote that song about blah blah blah” to “Hey, Joe!  Great to see you again!  How ya been?”

You have to be patient.  But don’t be so patient that you only reach out to them every other year.

You have to be persistent.  But don’t be so persistent that you call them every other day.

So, what’s the right frequency?  I can’t tell you that.  It’s going to be different for each songwriter and each publisher.  But I do know this:  If your songs are really great or really horrible, it won’t take nearly as long for the publisher to remember and form an opinion of you.  So if you’re really, really bad, you should probably focus on your craft before worrying about finding a publisher.

But if you ARE ready to reach a publisher in a friendly setting- on a personal level- without your songs being judged- I have a great opportunity for you.

On Tuesday, July11, 2017, I’m hosting an online “Know The Row” event with Senior Creative Director of Daywind Music, Chad Green.  This is YOUR chance to connect with a music publisher and to ask him YOUR questions.  With it being online, you can join us from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.  If you want details, just CLICK HERE.  Tickets are on sale now, and space is limited!

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.

SWP 4

Music Publishing Isn’t About Just Pitching Songs

Music publishing isn’t just about slinging songs all over town.  It isn’t just about finding great songs and pitching those songs until they get cut.  If publishing was ever about that, it certainly isn’t anymore.

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To BE a pro, you need to THINK like a pro, and this FREE ebook will help transform your thinking, your songwriting, and your success.  Get it today!

Click Here For The Book

_________________________________

When I first moved to Nashville from Arkansas in 2002, my understanding of music publishing was that they sign songs and songwriters, pitch those songs, get cuts, and collect and pass along royalties.  I was excited about the possibility that a publisher might hook me up with some other songwriters, pay for my demos and provide a place where I could write.  And I felt blessed when all that finally started to happen.

But it wasn’t enough.  The business model was changing.

That first publishing deal WAS a blessing.  The guys at Major Bob took a chance on signing a young songwriter.  I’m really thankful for them.  I was learning to write better and better songs.  And the guys at Major Bob hooked me up with some good cowriters.  And they would give me some feedback.  But at the end of the day…

I spent a lot of time trying to create great songs, but not enough time trying to create great opportunities.

Heck, I was a newbie.  I had moved to Nashville to write songs, and that’s what I was finally getting to do.  And I was LOVING it.  But while I basically understood how the music business works (royalties, publishing, licensing, etc.), I didn’t understand how the RELATIONSHIP business worked.  Not really.  And it cost me.

It’s great that I was working to create great songs.  But I should’ve been wiser about creating great relationships at labels, with other publishers, producers, and artists.

(Maybe Major Bob was working hard on that for me – but my songs just weren’t good enough to open those doors.  But in either case, I myself wasn’t focused on it enough.)

The smart publishers these days are focused on creating great opportunities for their writers.  That’s why so many publishers sign writer/artists and writer/producers these days.  Those MIGHT become in-house opportunities for cuts and cowriters.  Publishers are partnering with labels (and labels are starting publishing companies).  Publishers are also actively working to get their writers in the room with producers and artists.

Heck, Ole’ Music even has a tour bus that will take their writers on the road to write with artists.  They’re serious about creating opportunities for their writers.

All this is in an effort to put their staffwriters in a position to win with a great song.  (Yes, publishers still do the traditional “find a great songwriter and pitch their best songs” thing.  That model just isn’t having as much success anymore, so they’re having to be more aggressive in creating opportunities.)

But what if you don’t have a publisher?

Well, you’re not off the hook.  If you want cuts and hits, you need to focus on creating BOTH great music AND great opportunities.  Don’t expect a publisher to come riding in on a white horse and save the day.  Get started now.  Start identifying potential opportunities- now.  Start forging relationships- now.

After all, if you don’t HAVE a publisher, you ARE your publisher!

If you’re ready to learn more about how publishing works – or if you’re ready to start making your own relationships with music publishers, I have a great first step for you.

I’m hosting an online “Know The Row” event in July with Senior Creative Director of Daywind Music, Chad Green.  This is YOUR chance to connect with a music publisher and to ask him YOUR questions.  With it being online, you can join us from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.  If you want details, just CLICK HERE.  Tickets are on sale now, and space is limited!

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.

SWP 4

How One Relationship Can Open Doors All Over The Music Biz

The music business is a relationship business. Yes, it takes great music. But it also takes great relationships. And it’s amazing how just ONE relationship can open up MANY doors of opportunity.

One believer- one champion- can change your career.

____________________

To BE a pro, you need to THINK like a pro, and this FREE ebook will help transform your thinking, your songwriting, and your success.  Get it today!

Click Here For The Book

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I’m friends with Chad Green. I’ve been thinking a lot about Chad lately because I have a “Know The Row” event coming up with him next month. He’s currently the Senior Creative Director at Daywind Music Publishing.

But back in 2004, Chad was a membership representative with ASCAP, my Performing Rights Organization, or PRO.

In our first meeting, he picked up the phone and called Major Bob Music for me. I’d dropped off a comp for them and never heard anything back. This time, after Chad’s call, they listened. That call led to a meeting and eventually led to my first publishing deal.  Thanks, Chad.

Chad also invited me to join ASCAP’s Country Workshop, where I met hit songwriter Byron Hill. Byron’s written “Fool Hearted Memory” for George Strait, “Politics Religion And More” for Sammy Kershaw, “Born Country” for Alabama and more. Byron and I eventually started writing together, and that has led to a few cuts, including “When Your Lips Are So Close,” a #1 Canadian country single and 2014 CCMA Single Of The Year for Gord Bamford. Thanks, Chad.

After Chad left ASCAP, he was Creative Director for Word Music Publishing. He called me up about some cowrites. That’s when I met Brian Hitt and Jay Speight. Together, we’ve had a song called “God Amazing” cut by Charles Billingsley in the Christian market. We also landed a few songs on a Christian children’s album called “K-Tunez Praise.” Side note- it’s fun when I hear my kids spinning that album in their room. Thanks, Chad.

Now Chad is Senior Creative Director at Daywind Music Publishing. So far, he’s introduced me to one of my favorite cowriters, a guy named Jason Wilkes. And Chad is currently working on getting me in the room with a successful country artist for an upcoming project on Daywind. I can’t say who the artist is, but I have a few of his country records, and I’m super pumped for the opportunity.

One industry contact has turned into a friendship and – over time – has led to a lot of good things.  And that’s the lesson for YOU SongPros out there.

Relationships matter. Relationships open doors.

And it’s a two-way street. Chad calls me 1) because we’re friends and 2) he believes in my songwriting chops. He’s not going to bring me in with one of his writers or one of his artists if he thinks I’m going to blow it. After all, he has his own family to feed. He has his own professional reputation to consider.

I’ve made it easy for him to open those doors for me by 1) being a writer he respects and 2) being a friend.

Another lesson: people don’t stay in the same jobs forever. Chad was an ASCAP rep. At that job, he was able to hook me up with a publisher. Later, at a publishing company, he was able to hook me up with cowrites. Now, he also has contacts with a label, and he’s working on hooking me up with an artist.

Think long-term.

They say to make friends BEFORE you need them. I hope you’ll be mindful of making long-term contacts in the music business. And it all starts with a first step.

I have a great first step for you. If you’d like a chance to hang out with Chad Green yourself, we’re doing an online Know The Row event in July.  With it being online, you can join us from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.  If you want details, just CLICK HERE.  Tickets are on sale now!

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.

SWP 4

If you don’t communicate well in these areas, you’re wasting your songwriting money!

As songwriters, we know the value of communication.  We write our songs to communicate some specific truth or emotion.  If our songs don’t communicate, our songs don’t resonate.

But did you know that songwriters have to communicate well in some other areas if we hope to get cuts and make it in the music biz?____________________

To BE a pro, you need to THINK like a pro, and this FREE ebook will help transform your thinking, your songwriting, and your success.  Get it today!

Click Here For The Book

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You must communicate well with your cowriters.

If you sit down to cowrite with another songwriter, communication is key.  If you bring in an idea, you want to share your vision of the song with your cowriter in a way that is clear and compelling.  Otherwise, you may end up kinda writing two songs at once – you’re trying to write the song in your head, and your cowriter is trying to write the song he thinks is in your head.  That’s frustrating and unproductive.  You’ll either have to “reset” to get on the same page and start over (wasted time), or your song will be a muddy mess (wasted idea).

You must communicate well with your musicians.

If you want to go into the studio with any hope of coming out with a killer demo or record, you have to be able to communicate well with the musicians.  What’s the vibe of the song?  Are there changes from the work tape you want them to make?  What if you hear a cool guitar rhythm thing in your head in the middle of the session – can you explain it to the guitar player?  At the very least, can you sit down with the band leader and explain things to him so he can “translate” it for his guys?

I’ll be honest.  I’m not good at speaking musician.  So I make sure my cowriter can, and I make sure he or she is in the studio with me.  So that’s one way to get around this hurdle- finding a cowriter who can communicate with musicians.

You must communicate well with your demo singer.

If you or your cowriter don’t sing your demo (and it might be a big mistake to sing your own demo- read more about that HERE), you’ll need a demo singer.  Demo singers won’t turn bad songs into great songs, but they can sure help great songs sound great.

But if the vocal doesn’t turn out well, it can make a great song sound “blah.”  Do you micromanage your singer from the very first pass so he or she locks up and never just “feels it?”  Or do you give them zero feedback because you don’t really know what you want- or you’re scared of sounding stupid? (I feel your pain, brother.)

Not knowing how to communicate with your demo singer is costly – in a few ways.  First of all, it’ll take longer to get the vocal the way you want it.  That means you’ll pay more for studio time.  But sometimes the vocal never quite gets right, and it’ll hurt the quality of your demo.  A “blah” demo can waste $700 to $900.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t have that kind of money to flush down the toilet.

So, what’s the solution?

Knowledge, really.  If you know how to communicate with your demo singer, you and the singer can both be more comfortable, confident, and productive in the studio.  And your demo will sound a lot better.  I want you to have that knowledge, so I’m hooking you up with one of the top demo singers on Music Row for an exclusive private online event.

On Tuesday, February 28, I’m hosting a live, online videoconference with top Nashville demo singer, Matt Dame.  If you want to ask your questions and learn from one of the top singers in the game… if you want to learn how to get the best performance possible from a demo singer (or how not to screw up a demo vocal) this is your chance! CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THIS GREAT OPPORTUNITY.  Oh, and there are only a few spots available (so we can keep things personal and “face to face,”) so don’t wait- check it out now!

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.

Do Labels And Producers ONLY Want To Hear Fully-Produced Demos?

So, you finally did it!  You have an opportunity to pitch a song to a label or producer for one of their artists.  Awesome!

You’re excited, pumping your fists in the air and wondering how many bottles of champagne you can fit on a yacht, when all of a sudden, it hits you…

“Should I play a full demo, a guitar/vocal, or a work tape?”

____________________

To BE a pro, you need to THINK like a pro, and this FREE ebook will help transform your thinking, your songwriting, and your success.  Get it today!

Click Here For The Book

_________________________________

Like so many questions in the music biz, there’s no one right answer.  Personally, I’ve gotten cuts in a few different ways.  “Monday Morning Church” (Alan Jackson) and “Every Head Bowed” (Randy Travis) were pitched with full demos.  “Last Night Last” was written with Lady Antebellum, and they demoed it themselves before they cut it.  “Crickets” was pitched as a guitar/vocal for Joe Nichols.  And “When Your Lips Are So Close” was a cowrite with the artist, Gord Bamford, and cut from the work tape.

So, apparently, your songs don’t HAVE to be demoed to get cut.  But, honestly…

A great demo gives your song a better chance to get cut.

“Well, any producer or A&R rep worth anything should be able to hear a great song even if it’s not demoed!”  I agree.  But it isn’t that simple.

First of all, your song may not even get to the A&R or producer.

What if an intern or low-level A&R person listens to the “other” songs (the ones that don’t come in from already-established writers or publishers), and your song ends up on their desk?  Can THAT person hear your hit song through a work tape or simple guitar/vocal?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

Don’t forget to consider the competition.

You’re not the only songwriter trying to land on an album, ya know.  The producer or A&R rep will be listening to hundreds if not thousands of other songs by a bunch of other songwriters – and many of those demos will sound amazing.  That’s your competition.

Pros don’t pitch from hissy cassette tapes these days.

If your song doesn’t sound, at the very least, clean and easy to listen to, the producer / A&R will probably immediately assume you’re a newbie.  Then your song has to be even better to get out of the hole that your recording put it in.

A poor recording puts your pitch at a disadvantage.

At the end of the day, you want your songs to sound professional and competitive.  That may mean full production with a killer demo singer.  Or it may mean guitar, some loops, and a good cowriter vocal.

Maybe you want to start demoing a few songs, or maybe you want to take your demos to the next level.  If so, I have a cool event coming up.

On Tuesday, February 28, I’m hosting a live, online videoconference with top Nashville demo singer, Matt Dame.  If you want to ask your questions and learn from one of the top singers in the game… if you want to learn how to get the best performance possible from a demo singer (or how not to screw up a demo vocal) this is your chance! CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THIS GREAT OPPORTUNITY.  Oh, and there are only a few spots available (so we can keep things personal and “face to face,”) so don’t wait- check it out now!

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.