Tag Archives: BMG Nashville

Smart Songwriters Are Nice To The Nobodies

Smart songwriters- the ones who are both good at life and good at the long game of the music business, are nice to the “nobodies” they meet.

Because nobody is a nobody.  And someday that nobody just might be somebody you wish you knew.  Let me give you some examples.

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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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A lot of songwriters are really focused on “writing up” – cowriting with a big name (or at least bigger name than them) songwriter.  They also focus on getting in contact with a current popular artist.

And there’s nothing wrong with that… as long you don’t ignore the “nobodies” around you in the process.  These might be the interns at the publishing company, record label, PRO or NSAI.  It might be the tape copy guy at the publishing company where you’re starting to get meetings.  It might be a songwriter who has some good chops but doesn’t have anything going yet.

Some of these “nobodies” will climb the music biz ladder and come into positions of power and influence.  But by then you might’ve missed your chance to forge a connection with them.  Or worse, they might remember you as the songwriter who treated them like dirt because you had no use for them.  Don’t be that songwriter, because…

Nobody is a nobody.

Did you know that country music star, Faith Hill, was once a secretary for a music publisher?  I bet there were some songwriters around town kicking themselves in the 1990’s for not being a little more chatty with that blonde nobody behind the desk.

There are a lot of hit songwriters and major publishers who started off in the tape copy room of a publishing company.  How many songwriters who are now looking for a deal wish they’d been nicer to the nobody in the tape copy room?

The people you meet on the way up are the same people you’ll meet on the way down.  So be nice.

Back when I was writing for Major Bob Music (2005-2007), there was a young sungplugger there named Jesse Frasure.  You know what Jesse’s doing now?  He’s producing and writing hits for Florida Georgia Line, Rascal Flatts, Jon Pardi, Meghan Trainor, TobyMac, Billy Currington, Lauren Alaina and more.  Thankfully, I wasn’t a jerk to Jesse.

Be nice to that young sungplugger.

A few years ago, I was doing some work for NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International), and I met an awesome young lady named Tali Giles (now Tali Canterbury).  I was already a pro songwriter, so I didn’t really “need” Tali for much in her role as Membership Director at NSAI.  Guess where she is now.  She’s currently at Big Machine Label Group as the Director of A&R Project Management.

Tali’s gonna run this town, and I’m glad I was nice to her.

Here’s another one.  I first met Courtney Allen at NSAI.  Heck, I can’t even remember what her job was there.  Again, I was just hanging out before I’d teach a workshop or special event.  She was super-nice, and we’d usually chat for a few minutes.

Courtney is now a creative director at BMG Music, one of the top music publishers in Nashville.

The lesson here is just to be nice.  Don’t be so busy looking up the ladder that you forget the CLIMBers next to or below you.  This is a people business as much as it is a music business. Did I know those people would ascend to these positions?  Is that why I was nice to them?  No.  I’m not that strategic.  I can’t see the future and know who’s going to be in a position of influence 5 or 6 years down the line.

You probably can’t either.  So it’s good to get in the habit of just being kind and friendly to everyone.  Not only is does it make good sense for your future in the music business, it makes good sense for your life in general.  Remember: nobody is a nobody.

So what about YOU? Do you need to be more aware of the “nobodies” around you?  What if you don’t even know any “nobodies” yet?  Did someone treat YOU like a nobody, only to come knocking on your door after you had some success?

Let me help you meet a somebody who’s already a somebody!

Songwriting Pro’s next Play For A Publisher event is coming up, and our next guest is none other than my former “nobody” contact, Courtney Allen of BMG Nashville.  Courtney works closely with hit songwriters Travis Meadows, Wynn Varble, Lucie Silvas, and more.  If YOU have the country or pop song, SHE knows what to do with it!

CLICK HERE TO GET ALL THE DETAILS AND SEND IN YOUR SONG!

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, a #1 Single Of The Year in Canada, and a top 10 in Texas.  His songs appear on 5 industry-certified gold & platinum albums & singles… so far.  He also hosts a top-rated songwriting and music business podcast called, “The C.L.I.M.B.” which can be found on iTunes or your favorite podcast app.
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Working IN Your Songwriting Business Is NOT Enough

Sometimes, I get so busy working IN my songwriting business that I forget to work ON my songwriting business.  And it hurts my songwriting career.

Let me give you an example.

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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 signed my publishing deal with Major Bob Music in early 2005 (my first publishing deal), I was an unknown songwriter who had an Alan Jackson single climbing the charts. “Monday Morning Church” would eventually land in the Top 5, I would be nominated for the Music Row Breakthrough Writer of the Year, the song would be one of only 12 voted that year by NSAI’s pro writer members as a “Song I Wish I’d Written,” and it would also win an ASCAP Award. 2005 was an incredible year.

How did I respond to this blessing? I wrote my backside off!

I dove headlong into writing full-time. That year, I finished 102 songs. I wrote like crazy. That’s pretty much all I did. Write, write, write, rewrite, and occasionally demo.

And it was a mistake.

I spent too much time working IN my business and not enough time working ON my business. Working IN my business included scheduling cowrites, songwriting, rewriting, and demoing. And I did plenty of all of that. And those aren’t bad things. After all, nobody else can write my songs for me. And without songs, I have no business.  Still, though…

I wish I had worked ON my business more.

I work ON my business when I’m doing the higher-level strategic thinking and planning that make sure that my activities are the right activities.  Working ON my business is doing those activities which will give my songs a better chance to succeed. And I had every chance to succeed.

Like I said, 2005 was an awesome year, and it opened a lot of doors for me. Additionally, the guys at Major Bob asked who I’d like to write with, and they helped book some cowrites for me. They also pitched my songs and set up some demo sessions. All good things. But if I had it to do over, I would’ve spent more time:

1. …having Major Bob introduce me to A&R reps and producers around the Row so I could start building relationships with them, and pitching my own songs.

2. …investing in my craft and business knowledge. Sure, I learned by writing a lot and writing with a lot of better writers, but I should have sought out some great, high-level mentors to accelerate my learning curve on both the craft and biz sides of songwriting. I should have asked a lot more questions over a lot more lunches.

3. …seeking out strategic cowriting relationships. I mostly jumped at every cowrite that came my way without much consideration. That kept me so busy that I didn’t spend as much time SEEKING OUT my best cowriters.

4. …building the “Baxter Brand.” While the Major Bob crew flew my flag around the Row, I should’ve done a lot more flag waving myself.

Working ON my business more would’ve helped me write songs that were more well-written, more marketable, and heard by more decision-makers, sooner.

Yes, my songs got better because I wrote a ton (and, yes, they needed to get better, so writing a lot was a good thing). My network slowly expanded organically. And I eventually started pitching my songs. And these are things that have brought my best results.

Working ON my business would’ve gotten me there faster.

So what about YOU? Do you need to spend more time working ON your music business? What activities are the ones which will accelerate your success? And what are the activities that are fun, but are working IN your business? I’d love to hear your comments!

Also, if YOU are ready to work ON your business by playing your best songs for a legit music publisher, our next Play For A Publisher event is coming right up!

Our next guest is Courtney Allen of BMG Nashville.  Courtney works closely with hit songwriters Travis Meadows, Wynn Varble, Lucie Silvas, and more.  If YOU have the country or pop song, SHE knows what to do with it!

CLICK HERE TO GET ALL THE DETAILS AND SEND IN YOUR SONG!

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

Great Advice From Our December “Play For Publisher” Event!

Here are some great lessons from our December Play For A Publisher Event!

We recently had another great “Play For A Publisher” event. Our guest publisher was John Ozier of Ole’ Music in Nashville, Tennessee.  Today, I’d like to share some of the best takeaways from the evening.

Artists and producers are ALWAYS looking for uptempo.

Your song’s first line MUST hook the listener, or they’ll never get to the chorus.

Publishing companies live and die at Top 40 radio.

Find out who’s getting cuts- and work your way into that circle.

Write your truth.  It resonates with people.  For example, Lori McKenna songs are so real and honest that they jump through the speakers.

Publishers love when you can write a great song by yourself.

Not every song has to change the world.  There is space for fun live songs.

He is strategic when looking to add new writers to his company.  No writers at Ole are redundant.  Each is unique and fills a different niche.

Interesting phrasing and musical hooks are very important.

You HAVE to stay relevant to the times.  As much as you can write yourself into this business, you can write yourself out of it.

Radio won’t switch abruptly from one sonic quality to something totally different.  There’s a certain sonic common thread that runs through those radio songs.

Find your lane and do it better than anyone else.  You’re trying to stand out from among thousands of songwriters.

If you were there or watched the replay, what takeaways did YOU get from the session?  Please leave it in the comments!

I want to give another shout-out to all of the writers who joined us for the event. Ya’ll really represented the Songwriting Pro community well!

“Dirty Oar” by Jennifer Stricker, Mark Maxwell
“The Wrong Spirit” by David Micheal, Lauren McLamb
“Mom Life” by Heather Morgan
“Nice Tall Glass” by Marla Rubenstein, Tucker Bouler, Betsy Walter, John Cirillo, Dan Reifsnyder
“Indiana” by Daniel Leathersich, David Micheal
“Vintage” by Dave Quirk, Troy Castellano, Victoria Banks
“Sand” by Todd Dickinson, Jonathan Helfand
“Your Key Still Works” by Jayne Sachs, Joey Ebach
“Be Beautiful” by Donna King
“Beautiful Ever After” by Joe Slyzelia, Donna King, Emily Kroll

If YOU would like to play your song for a legit music publisher, our next Play For A Publisher event is coming right up!  Our next guest is Courtney Allen of BMG Nashville.  Courtney works closely with hit songwriters Travis Meadows, Wynn Varble, Lucie Silvas, and more.  If YOU have the songs, SHE knows what to do with them!

CLICK HERE TO GET ALL THE DETAILS AND SEND IN YOUR SONG!

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.

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