4 Things Aspiring Songwriters Struggle To Hear (Yet Pros HAVE To Hear)

by Marty Dodson
Jun 15, 2015

There are a number of statements that aspiring writers really resist that could help them cross over into pro land IF they would listen and take them to heart. The 4 things songwriters need to hear are:

1) “Your songs are not good enough.”

This one hurts to hear, but a professional in the music business giving you this feedback should be listened to. They are not always right, but, if they have a track record of success in the business, they know something that you don’t. Listen. Consider their feedback. Make changes where needed. If you get the same feedback from multiple people, then you REALLY need to listen. Even now, everything I write is not a hit. I have to own that. Some of my songs are not good enough. So, I work to write better ones.

2) “You have to behave professionally.”

I don’t know how many times, I have explained professional etiquette to people who have then turned around and said “But, can’t you just listen to my CD?” Pros get hundreds of requests to “Listen to my CD”. They don’t have time to do that. They could get sued if they do that. That’s not their job. Go through appropriate channels and behave professionally. Anything else will get you put on the “Crackpot” list and you won’t be invited back. You are not the exception to the rule. Behave.

3) “Your music sounds dated.”

Especially for those of us over 35 or so, we really have to make sure we are being contemporary with our writing. If you find yourself saying things like “These kids today aren’t writing great music like writers used to”, then you might be slipping into “Old Fart” land. Remember the people who said “That Elvis is horrible – he shakes his hips!”? You can’t become them if you want to get cuts on the radio today.

4) The big one songwriters need to hear is … “No.”

I’m told “No” every single day of my life. People pass on my songs. They don’t like them for the project that I think they are PERFECT for. That’s just the way it is. I move on. I try to prove them wrong, but I move on. When you hear a “No”, be gracious and grateful for their time. And move on down the road. You might need to cross that bridge later. People who are honest enough to give you those 4 kinds of feedback are your best friends. Listen to them. And work to make your songs better. Like we always say, a better song solves almost every problem in the music business. So, start listening for what songwriters need to hear and you’ll be closer to your songwriting goals.

Write on! MD

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson is a multi #1 songwriter, co-founder of SongTown, and co-author of  The Songwriter’s Guide To Mastering Cowriting and Song Building: Mastering Lyric Writing


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