Tag Archives: Crickets

It Takes A Lot Of Songwriting Swings To Get A Hit

Don’t give up on your song if the first publisher doesn’t love it. And don’t give up on that publisher if they don’t love your first song. You usually have to swing the bat a lot of times to get a hit. Here are a few of my stories that prove that.

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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!

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I hope these stories from my songwriting journey inspire you on YOUR journey.  And there are some lessons in this we’ll get to at the end.

*Back before I had any success as a songwriter, I cold-called Major Bob Music, a publisher. They said I could drop off a comp (a comp is a few songs on a CD). I never heard back from them. Months later, a mutual contact in the industry, Chad Green, recommended me to them. We eventually sign my first publishing deal.

*My first meeting at ASCAP was with Mike Doyle. He saw potential in a couple of songs, but he probably forgot about me the minute I walked out of his office. About five years later, he’s my songplugger at Major Bob.

*Years later, a different publisher didn’t believe in my song, “Crickets” enough to demo it. My cowriters did a guitar/vocal, anyway. I pitched it to Joe Nichols’ label. They passed. More pitches. Eventually, it got put on hold for Easton Corbin. Didn’t get cut. Joe Nichols got a new record label. Pitch. Cut. Title track to his album, “Crickets.”

*I had a song idea and lyric called, “Monday Morning Church.” This was back in Little Rock, Arkansas. I showed it to (at the time) my main cowriter. He never did anything with it. I showed it to another potential cowriter. Nothing happened. Then I met Erin Enderlin. She loved it. We wrote it, and Alan Jackson made “Monday Morning Church” a top five hit.

What does this mean for you?

It means you shouldn’t give up!

What if I had given up on “Monday Morning Church” because the first few potential cowriters passed on it? What if I’d given up on “Crickets” because my publisher didn’t love it? What if I had given up on Major Bob Music because they apparently didn’t love the songs I dropped off or because one of their songpluggers didn’t do backflips over me five years earlier?

Nobody will believe in you or your music… until they finally do.

I’ve heard stories of producers who had to hear a song 3, 4 or 5 times on separate occasions before they finally “got it” and cut it. What if those writers had given up after only one try?

The people who succeed in the music business are the ones who don’t give up. I know the feeling. I know it’s frustrating. You write a song that you really believe in… and the first publisher you play it for skips to the next song halfway through the chorus without any comments. Or you finally get that first publisher meeting- and they say you need to “dig deeper.”

It hurts.

But if you want to be a pro, you have to act like a pro. And pros will take an honest look at themselves and their writing. Then they’ll get out the guitars and write another song. Then demo another song. Then pitch another song. Then call another publisher. Eventually, they’ll call the same publisher back. Or they’ll pitch that same song again. Why? Because…

Pros know that their songs probably won’t be “the right song at the right time” the first time.

We also know WE probably won’t be the right songwriter at the right time the first time, either. I sure wasn’t the right songwriter the first time I met Mike at ASCAP. But I WAS the right songwriter at the right time a few years later at Major Bob.

You’ll never hit home runs if you don’t keep swinging the bat.

So, what about you? Is there a song you believe in that’s been passed over? Maybe it’s time someone hears it again. Maybe you’ve been passed over as a writer. Maybe it’s time to put yourself out there again.

Let me help.

I’m hosting Songwriting Pro’s Play For A Publisher event next month. Now that I’ve done a few of these, I’ve seen some cool stuff happen. I’ve seen a songwriter who didn’t make it to one Play For A Publisher – make it to the next. I’ve seen the same song NOT make it to one Play For A Publisher, then make it to the next.

Maybe THIS time is the right time for you. CLICK HERE to learn more, submit your song, and take another swing.

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

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

Songwriting Is All About Location, Location, Location

cropped-SWP-2.jpg 

It’s true for real estate, and it’s true for songs.

I want to talk about the 3 most important things in real estate (which are also really important in songwriting):

Location, location, location.

In probably any town, certain neighborhoods have certain personalities. One neighborhood is full of SUV-driving soccer moms. Another is mostly middle-class country folk. Another is college kids, another is hipsters, etc.

Musically-speaking, most artists put down roots in one neighborhood.

They spend most of their time there, only venturing out to the adjacent neighborhoods every now and then. This is another way of talking about branding. An artist’s brand says, “I live in THIS neighborhood. I’m like THESE people, and I sing about them and for them.”

For example, an artist’s music may be most “at home” with the good ‘ol party boys. Most of his music is for those good ‘ol boys- bonfires and tailgates. The “good ‘ol party boy” artist doesn’t usually venture into the soccer mom neighborhood, where the music is more about family, lifelong love, kids, etc.

Most songs are also “at home” in certain neighborhoods. Some songs are built for the rednecks, some for the high school girls, some for their moms, some for the blue collar dads, etc.

But remember, most ideas can be built to fit in any of several neighborhoods.

It just depends how you frame the idea (pun intended). The choices you make will determine your song’s neighborhood.

For example, Craig Morgan’s “Redneck Yacht Club” and Little Big Town’s “Pontoon” are basically about the same thing- getting out on the water. But the songs (houses) were built in different neighborhoods and attracted a different kind of artist. Even though the basic ideas of the songs are similar, Little Big Town wouldn’t feel at home moving into Craig’s neighborhood, and vice versa.

When you think about where to build your song, it’s wise to think about the property values in the different neighborhoods.

Are the houses in the “good ‘ol party boys” neighborhood in high demand? Are the houses in the blue-collar-working-man in low demand?  What type of song are artists cutting?

I was blessed to have Joe Nichols cut a song of mine on his most recent album. The song became the album’s title, “Crickets.” We built the song in Joe’s neighborhood, and I’m glad he liked it enough to move in!

joe-nichols-crickets

But what about “Crickets” put it in Joe’s neighborhood? Well, first off, it’s country. Pretty dang country. Joe’s done some more modern stuff here and there, but he has a deep love for country songs that are really country. Also, Joe has also recorded several songs that are funny or tongue-in-cheek, such as “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off.” He’s not afraid to poke a little fun at himself, either, so “Crickets” seemed like a really good fit. I’m glad Joe thought so, too!

The concept of “Neighborhoods” is important if you want to write commercial songs. I go into more depth on the topic in my upcoming web-workshop series in August called “Song Ideas: From Blank Page To Finished Lyric.”

 Blank 2 Finished

This course is designed to take you from a blank page to a new song idea to a fully developed concept to a finished lyric. You’ll learn a repeatable process you can use to discover and develop strong song ideas again and again. And you’ll also learn how to frame and focus those ideas for maximum commercial impact and appeal.

This course is INTERACTIVE! You won’t sit back and just stare at me talking for an hour-and-a-half. You won’t be some number on my laptop’s dashboard. No. We’ll be face-to-face. You’ll have exercises to practice outside of our sessions. I’ll ask you questions. You can ask me questions. We’re in this thing together. That’s why I keep the workshops small- I want to get to know YOU!

Tickets for this event are on sale NOW. There are only 11 spots open, and I expect them to go fast- so don’t wait too long and miss your chance to take your songwriting to the next level!

I look forward to seeing you in August- CLICK HERE or on the image below to learn more and reserve your spot now!

Blank 2 Finished

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

The C.L.I.M.B. Episode 15: Cut Study- Joe Nichols & “Crickets”

theclimbFINAL

The C.L.I.M.B. Podcast Episode 14 is live and ready for download!

On today’s episode, Brent leads as we dive into a “Cut Study” of “Crickets” by Joe Nichols.  Want to know how Brent and his cowriters took “Crickets” from a worktape in the writing room to the title cut of Joe’s current album?  Then listen up!  If YOU want CUTS, this is the episode for you!

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

joe-nichols-crickets

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.

Thanks to everyone who has already downloaded our first run of episodes, covering topics like “10 Ways To Get To A Music Publisher” and “6 Simple Ways To Make Your Songs More Commercial.”

It’s been 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

Climb reviews

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

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.

The C.L.I.M.B. Episode 14: 10 Fundamentals For Creating A Viral YouTube Channel (Part 1)

theclimbFINAL

The C.L.I.M.B. Podcast Episode 14 is live and ready for download!

On today’s episode, Johnny leads as we dive into the “10 Fundamentals For Creating A Viral YouTube Channel (Part 1).” Are you an artist or songwriter looking to create a following or a fanbase?  You don’t just slap a video on YouTube and go viral.  It’s not easy, and it’s not just dumb luck.  There are strategies YOU can use to give yourself the best chance to build a good fanbase.  If YOU want an AUDIENCE, this is the episode for you!

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

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.

Thanks to everyone who has already downloaded our first run of episodes, covering topics like “10 Ways To Get To A Music Publisher” and “6 Simple Ways To Make Your Songs More Commercial.”

It’s been 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

Climb reviews

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

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.

The C.L.I.M.B. Episode 13: Songwriting Decisions

theclimbFINAL

The C.L.I.M.B. Podcast Episode 13 is live and ready for download!

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.

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

On today’s episode, Johnny and I dive into the “Songwriting Decisions” that went into the writing of “Crickets” recorded by Joe Nichols on Red Bow Records.  We take you into the writing room as we decide how to approach the idea, giving it the best chance to get recorded.  (And it worked!)  You want to know how pro songwriters think?  This is your chance to get in my head!

Thanks to everyone who has already downloaded our first run of episodes, covering topics like “10 Ways To Get To A Music Publisher” and “6 Simple Ways To Make Your Songs More Commercial.”

It’s been 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

Climb reviews

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

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.

Songwriting Is Like Real Estate… For Real.

Man vs Row 

It’s true for real estate, and it’s true for songs.

My last couple of posts talked about how your songwriting can “Fill The G.A.P.S.” or get you “P.U.L.’D. To Success.”  Today, I want to talk about the most important thing in real estate (and important in songwriting): location, location, location…

In probably any town, certain neighborhoods have certain personalities. One neighborhood is full of SUV-driving soccer moms. Another is mostly middle-class country folk. Another is college kids, another is hipsters, etc.

Musically-speaking, most artists put down roots in one neighborhood.

They spend most of their time there, only venturing out to the adjacent neighborhoods every now and then. This is another way of talking about branding. An artist’s brand says, “I live in THIS neighborhood. I’m like THESE people, and I sing about them and for them.”

For example, an artist’s music may be most “at home” with the good ‘ol party boys. Most of his music is for those good ‘ol boys- bonfires and tailgates. The “good ‘ol party boy” artist doesn’t usually venture into the soccer mom neighborhood, where the music is more about family, lifelong love, kids, etc.

Most songs are also “at home” in certain neighborhoods. Some songs are built for the rednecks, some for the high school girls, some for their moms, some for the blue collar dads, etc.

But remember, most ideas can be built to fit in any of several neighborhoods.

It just depends how you frame the idea (pun intended). The choices you make will determine your song’s neighborhood.

For example, Craig Morgan’s “Redneck Yacht Club” and Little Big Town’s “Pontoon” are basically about the same thing- getting out on the water. But the songs (houses) were built in different neighborhoods and attracted a different kind of artist. Even though the basic ideas of the songs are similar, Little Big Town wouldn’t feel at home moving into Craig’s neighborhood, and vice versa.

When you think about where to build your song, it’s wise to think about the property values in the different neighborhoods.

Are the houses in the “good ‘ol party boys” neighborhood in high demand? Are the houses in the blue-collar-working-man in low demand?  What type of song are artists cutting?

I was blessed to have Joe Nichols cut a song of mine on his most recent album. The song became the album’s title, “Crickets.” We built the song in Joe’s neighborhood, and I’m glad he liked it enough to move in!

joe-nichols-crickets

But what about “Crickets” put it in Joe’s neighborhood? Well, first off, it’s country. Pretty dang country. Joe’s done some more modern stuff here and there, but he has a deep love for country songs that are really country. Also, Joe has also recorded several songs that are funny or tongue-in-cheek, such as “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off.” He’s not afraid to poke a little fun at himself, either, so “Crickets” seemed like a really good fit. I’m glad Joe thought so, too!

The concept of “Neighborhoods” is important if you want to write commercial songs. I go into more depth on the topic in “Cut/able,” and it’s one of the lessons we’ll be discussing in our C4 Experience.

c4x

In my last post, I promised to tell you what “C4” means, so here it is.

C4:

Creative
Commercial
Coaching
Community

The C4 Experience is about celebrating your creative spirit and sharpening your commercial songwriting, guided by expert coaching and encouraged by a supportive community.

Let’s look at each part of this:

Creative:
I want to celebrate you because I’m a fan of you! I love dreamers and doers. And while I take the craft of songwriting very seriously, I believe it should be fun. If you’ve ever been to one of my workshops or live events, you know I like to have fun while I’m teaching- so you can have fun while you’re learning. And I also believe you can be creative while being commercial, which brings me to the next “C.”

Commercial:
This workshop series is for songwriters that want to write commercially successful songs- either for yourself or for others to sing. By the end of this workshop, my goal is for your songwriting to be a lot more commercial.

Coaching:
Each two-hour session will begin with 30 minutes of teaching and a lesson review. Each lesson will be based on one of the four sections of “Cut/able.” You’ll do the reading and exercises before each workshop, and we’ll meet online to discuss the lesson and answer any questions. Each student will also receive 45 minutes of “spotlight coaching.” This is a time for us to focus on YOU- your situation, your challenges, and your songs. I’ll lead, but the other students can also give their advice.

Community:
The C4 Experience is limited to just 8 students, so there will be time to get to know everyone else in the group over our 8 hours together over 4 nights. You’ll encourage each other and probably find out that your challenges aren’t that different from anyone else’s. Successful commercial songwriting is a team sport, and this just may help you build that team.

HOW DOES C4 WORK?

The C4 Experience is an online event, so you can join in from anywhere there’s an internet connection. You do NOT have to be in Nashville. You can join us from anywhere in the world. We’ll meet via Fuze, an online videoconferencing platform. Basically, I’ll send you a link before each session, and you just click to join in. If you have questions, you can find out more about Fuze, here:
System requirements
Join Fuze meeting through an internet browser

We’ll meet 4 times (that’s where the “4” in “C4” comes from):

     Tuesday, January 12, 7:30pm to 9:30pm (Central time)
     Tuesday, January 25, 7:30pm to 9:30pm (Central time)
     Tuesday, February 9, 7:30pm to 9:30pm (Central time)
     Tuesday, February 23, 7:30pm to 9:30pm (Central time)

Each night will begin with a 30-minute lesson from “Cut/able.” We’ll work through the workbook in order:

*Session 1- W.I.L.L.power: Proving Personality & Emotions Through Your Lyrics (Connect on a deeper level with the artist and listener through effective use of imagery.)

*Session 2- PUL’D To Success: The Value of Positive, Uptempo, Love/Depth Songs (Give the artists what they need, give radio what it wants, and give the fans what they like by learning the importance of writing positive, uptempo, love/depth songs.)

*Session 3- Neighborhoods: Where Will You Build A Home For Your Songs? (Develop skills to identify an artist’s “brand” so you can write songs that fit that brand and speak to the artist’s core audience.)

*Session 4- Fill The G.A.P.S.: Growth, Achievement, Preaching/Positioning, Songwriting (Pinpoint areas of opportunity within an artist’s catalog- slots you can fill with your songs, songs that fit the artist’s brand without being just like what they’ve already done.)

After the lesson/Q&A, we’ll do two 45-minute spotlight coaching sessions. We’ll focus on one of the group members each session (two per night). Each of the eight community members will get his or her own spotlight over the course of the event.

The cost of the entire C4 Experience is $250, which is a great deal. It works out to $31.25 an hour. I usually charge $150 for just one hour of coaching. But with C4, you get 4 30-minute lessons with Q&A and a personalized 45-minute spotlight coaching session. PLUS, you get to participate in the spotlight sessions of the 7 other songwriters. Believe me, there will be plenty you can learn from their sessions, too!

An average demo in Nashville currently costs anywhere from $500 to $1000. That’s just for ONE SONG. That’s a fine investment if your song is commercially strong. If it isn’t… you just wasted a lot of your money. Wouldn’t it be better to spend $250 to keep from wasting $1000 or more (again and again)? For less than the price of demoing one song, you can learn how to write song after song after song that’s worth demoing!

BONUS!

Since we’ll be learning from my workbook, “Cut/able,” it only makes sense to give you a copy when you join C4. It sells for $25, but I’ll throw it in for free. (If you already own “Cut/able,” there’s a discount code in the back of the workbook. Use it at checkout, and it’ll knock $25 off the price, so it’s like you get it for free!)  Click here to find out more about “Cut/able.”

Tickets for this event are on sale NOW. There are only 8 spots open, and I expect them to go fast- so don’t wait too long and miss your chance to take your songwriting to the next level!

I look forward to seeing you in January- CLICK HERE or on the image below to reserve your spot now!

c4x

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.

Man vs Row

The Do’s And Don’ts Of Songwriter Emails

Man vs Row

My last couple of posts have been about email. Why biz pros aren’t emailing you back and the email that helped me get a Joe Nichols cut. Today, I want to break it down even more simply into some “do” and “don’t” guidelines.  

This is mainly for when a songwriter wants to get a meeting with a publisher, a PRO, or some other pro in the business.  These are only guidelines, so certain situations may call for different tactics.

DON’T: Whine about the music biz. We all know it’s hard.

DON’T: Tell your life story in the first email. Or probably ever. We just want great music. If it’s not great, the story behind it doesn’t matter. If it IS great, the story behind it doesn’t matter.

DON’T: Beg. It just makes you look unprofessional.

DON’T: Flood them. Don’t send an email every day or two. Relax. Be patient.

DON’T: Talk trash about others in the biz- or their songs. They might be our friends.

DON’T: Ask for a cowrite or pub deal right off the bat. You’re not trying to get to third base here- you’re just asking for a dance.

DON’T: Ask for too much. Not “come to my show” “listen to my album and tell me your favorite.” Don’t make yourself look like needy work. Just attach ONE song. Or ask if you can send them a song.

DO: Warm up the email if possible. Meet us out somewhere at a show or industry event. Have a mutual contact introduce us, etc. It’s not always possible, but it helps.

DO: Keep it short and to the point. Make it easy to read your email quickly. We don’t have all day.

DO: Provide contact information. Make yourself easy to find.

DO: Provide brief credentials (if you have some). Briefly list any pro cowrites, cuts, major contest wins, etc. Did a pro recommend you?

DO: Ask for a meeting or a listen. Be clear about what you want from this email.

DO: Follow up in about a week. Not the same afternoon. We’re busy. Don’t become a problem.

DO: Respect the professional’s time. If you ask for a meeting, only ask for 15 minutes. And mean it!

Here’s a sample of a solid email:

SUBJECT:

We met at Lance’s show

BODY:

Hi, Bill! We met at Lance Carpenter’s show at The Listening Room last night. I’m Emily’s friend (with the glasses).

I’m a songwriter, and I’ve had two songs featured at NSAI’s Pitch-To-Publisher Luncheon. I’ve also been writing with Sally Makeahit at Sony ATV.

I’ll be in Nashville the week of July 12, and I’d appreciate 15 minutes of your time. I’d just like to say “hi” and maybe play one song for you. I know you’re busy, and I promise to respect your time. Thanks.

Sincerely,

Johnny Songwriter

555-555-5555

johnnysongwriter@email.com

www.johnnysongwriter.com

What about you?  Any additions to this list of do’s and don’ts?

Pro songwriters know how to act professionally.  And if YOU want to become a pro, you need to think like a pro, too.  In my FREE e-book, “THINK LIKE A PRO SONGWRITER,” I not only reveal several of the mindsets which separate the pro songwriter from the amateur, but also…

  1. How to get on a music publisher’s radar
  2. How the pros know who is looking for songs
  3. Six simple ways to make your songs more commercial
  4. And more!

To get your FREE, INSTANT download of “THINK LIKE A PRO SONGWRITER,” just click on the image below, or CLICK HERE!

think like a pro songwriter 3D

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.

Man vs Row

The Email That Helped Me Get A Joe Nichols Cut

Man vs Row

Recently, I posted a lesson called, “Here’s Why Music Biz Professionals Aren’t Emailing You Back” (read it here).  Today, I want to look at an email that resulted in a phone call, a hold, and eventually a Joe Nichols cut.

A few years back, I wanted to get my song, “Crickets,” to Joe Nichols.  I just thought it’d be perfect for him. But how do I get it to him?  I didn’t have a personal connection with anyone in his camp.  However, I did happen to get the email address of the owner of Joe’s label (thanks to a sungplugger friend of mine).  I decided it was worth a cold email.

(Note: Normally, I wouldn’t send a song to a label owner.  But I know this particular owner actively listens to songs through email and has a say in what end up on his artists’ albums.  See my post “The Big Yes.”)

Not knowing the owner, this is how I worded my email:

Subject:

Song for Joe Nichols: “Crickets” (Baxter, Shaffer, Whyte)

Message:

Mr. Brown,

I’m a songwriter with cuts by Alan Jackson (“Monday Morning Church”), Randy Travis, Lady Antebellum, and others.  Here’s a song for Joe.  Thanks for listening!

“Crickets”

(Brent Baxter, Lisa Shaffer, Bill Whyte)

Lyric and mp3 attached.

God Bless,

Brent Baxter

615-000-0000

—-@email.com

Sometime later (maybe a day or two, maybe weeks), I got a call from the owner.  He said he loved the song and wanted to hold it for Joe.  Eventually, they cut it and it became the title track to Joe’s debut album on Red Bow Records.

joe-nichols-crickets

Okay, let’s break down the email and see what we can learn.

I was proactive and pitched my own song.

I didn’t wait for someone else to make my dreams come true.  See my post, “10 Reasons Songwriters Should Pitch Their Own Songs.”

I used an appropriate communication channel.

This was an email address that the owner regularly uses to listen to songs.  It wasn’t his wife’s personal email or some other inappropriate email.  I was conducting business through a business email address.

The subject line is very clear and professional.

No hype.  No bull.

I kept the message very brief and to the point.

One quick glance at the message isn’t a turn-off.  He could read it very quickly, so he was more likely to actually read it.  Long emails are intimidating and look like too much work.

I presented pro credentials briefly and in the beginning.

I opened with a few choice cuts to set myself as a pro in his mind.  It increased the chance that he’d take my email seriously and expect a good song.  If you don’t have these, just get to who the song is for.  It’s better to skip this completely than say how you won a local talent show.  Your song may be killer, but if you’ve only has small success (so far), they might think you only have small talent.

I provided contact info both in the email and on the lyric sheet.

He called be back partly because I made it easy for him to find me.

I provided both the mp3 and the lyrics.

Some folks don’t look at the lyric when they listen.  Some do.  I don’t take chances.  I want them to have everything they might need.

The song was well-written and a good fit for the artist.

The email was written to get the song heard.  But getting the song heard doesn’t help if the song itself isn’t good or isn’t a good fit for the artist.

What about you?  Have you had any success with cold emails?  How did you word them?

Pro songwriters know how to act professionally.  And if YOU want to become a pro, you need to think like a pro, too.  In my FREE e-book, “THINK LIKE A PRO SONGWRITER,” I not only reveal several of the mindsets which separate the pro songwriter from the amateur, but also…

  1. How to get on a music publisher’s radar
  2. How the pros know who is looking for songs
  3. Six simple ways to make your songs more commercial
  4. And more!

To get your FREE, INSTANT download of “THINK LIKE A PRO SONGWRITER,” just click on the image below, or CLICK HERE!

think like a pro songwriter 3D

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.

Man vs Row

Never Take “No” From Someone Who Can’t Say “Yes”

Man vs Row

If an A&R rep, manager, or whoever doesn’t have the authority to tell you, “Yes, my artist WILL cut your song,” then that person doesn’t have to power to tell you, “No, my artist WON’T cut your song.”

If someone who can’t really say “yes” says “no,” it just means you need to find a different person to pitch that song to. Knock on a different door. Or maybe you need to knock on that same person’s door again after some time passes (you never know how the direction of an album- or how someone’s mood- might change).

The point is, don’t quit on a song you believe is right for that artist. Keep going until you’ve exhausted every avenue to that artist.

Actually, you don’t quit even then. You wait for a new avenue to open up.

That’s what happened with “Crickets,” which I wrote with Lisa Shaffer and Bill Whyte. We thought it was a good Joe Nichols song, but we couldn’t get it through his label, Universal South. After a while, he left them and signed with Red Bow.

We pitched it to the new label, and they loved it. Joe finally heard it, and he cut it as the title track to his current album.

If you believe in a song, keep pitching it. And never take “no” from someone who can’t say “yes.”

Have you had that experience where you’ve had success after refusing to take “no” from someone who can’t say “yes?” It doesn’t have to just be music: “She’ll never go out with you.” “You’ll never make the team.” Etc. I’d love to hear from you!

Not taking “no” from someone who can’t say “yes” is how pro songwriters think.  And if you want to become a pro, you need to think like a pro.  In my FREE e-book, “THINK LIKE A PRO SONGWRITER,” I not only reveal several of the mindsets which separate the pro songwriter from the amateur, but also…

  1. How to get on a music publisher’s radar
  2. How the pros know who is looking for songs
  3. Six simple ways to make your songs more commercial
  4. And more!

To get your FREE, INSTANT download of “THINK LIKE A PRO SONGWRITER,” just click on the image below, or CLICK HERE!

think like a pro songwriter 3D

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.

Inside vs. Outside Songs- And Why It Matters

cropped-music_row_signs322.jpg

Brent is a hit songwriter with cuts by Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Lady Antebellum, Joe Nichols, Gord Bamford, Ray Stevens, and more.  He’s written a top 5 hit in the US and a #1 in Canada… so far.

FREE GIFT

Hey, ya’ll! At the bottom of today’s post, I’m going to let you know about some free stuff I’m giving away to all of you great Man vs. Row subscribers.  Now, on to today’s post…

When an artist is working on an album, there are two types of songs which will (or will not) be considered: inside songs and outside songs. So what are these?

Inside songs are songs which are written by or with the artist, the producer, or a close associate. These are songs written or controlled/owned by someone with a close connection to the project.

Outside songs are basically all other songs- those written or controlled by people who do NOT have a close connection to the artist’s project.

Okay, so that’s pretty simple- some songs come from inside the circle of influence and some songs come from outside the circle of influence. Buy why is this important? It’s very important because, in most cases, inside songs have a much better chance of being recorded. Some artists, like Taylor Swift, write or cowrite all their own songs. If you’re not writing with Taylor, forget about getting a cut. Other artists may be very low key about the fact that they’re even working on a project. If you’re not in the loop, you might not even know the artist is cutting at all, much less what kind of song they want.

That’s why it matters if your songs are inside or outside- it affects their odds of being cut. Examples:

I had two songs cut on Ray Stevens’ “We The People” album. One song was a true inside song. “Caribou Barbie” was written at Ray’s request with two of his staff writers. The other song, “Fly Over Country” was an outside pitch. However, since Ray didn’t advertise that he was doing a record, I never would’ve known to pitch a song (much less that song in particular) without some inside information. I’ve also had two Lady Antebellum cuts (bonus tracks, sadly). “A Woman Scorned” was written with Hillary Scott, and “Last Night Last” was written with all three members of Lady A. Almost every song on that first album was written or cowritten by the band, so it definitely put those songs in a better competitive position.

This is not to say that ONLY inside songs get cut. I’ve had some outside songs get cut, too. “Monday Morning Church” was written before either my cowriter, Erin Enderlin, or I had ever had a cut, and only Erin was working with a publisher at the time. Erin’s publisher played the song for Alan Jackson’s producer, who played it for Alan. Same thing for my Joe Nichols cut- I sent “Crickets” to the head of Joe’s record label (even though we’ve never met). He loved it and sent it to Joe. The song became an outside cut- and the title track to his current album.

So, yes, both inside and outside songs still get cut. But inside songs have a definite advantage- and the inside track (pun intended).  How does this affect how I do business?  I try to get songs on the inside, of course.  It’s worth thinking about how you can do the same.  Yes, I know you might think you’re years away from being able to get any songs on the inside.  But simply knowing that there’s a difference between inside and outside songs will help you make more effective choices, and you’ll get there faster.

God Bless,

Brent

FREE GIFT

As a way to say “thank you” to all of you who subscribe to Man vs. Row by email, I’m going to give away some cool stuff in July (2014).  If you subscribe to MvR, I’ll send you a free report, “10 Things The Pro Knows.”  I’ll also send you the guitar/vocal of “Crickets,” which is the title track of Joe Nichols’ current album.  You’ll get to hear the song as Joe heard it when he decided to record it.  You’ll also receive the lyric file of the song- and this lyric file includes “Baxter’s Boneyard” – all the lines that DIDN’T make it into the song (see if you agree with our choices).  It’s something nobody else has seen, and I think it’s pretty cool.  But, again, this gift is only for those who subscribe to Man vs. Row by E-MAIL.  These gifts will be sent by email, so if I don’t have your email address, I can’t send it to you.  God Bless!

YOU VS…

Anything you’d like to add or ask?  Leave a comment!  Are there any topics  you’d like to see addressed in a future MvR post?  Thanks!

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Brent’s Twitter: @Razorbaxter

Brent Baxter Music:  http://www.brentbaxtermusic.com