Burning Bridges: Songwriter Survival Tips #1-7

by Marty Dodson
May 10, 2017

Mistake #1 that many songwriters make when they come to Nashville is that they leave bridges burning behind them when they head back home. Here are tips to help you leave the bridges intact so you can cross them again when you come back to town:

Make appointments, don’t “drop in.”

This shows respect for people and their time. A big way to announce to the music community that your are not professional.

Don’t ask for too much time.

If someone lets you play them songs, play 2-3, not 10. You want them to ask you for more, not to wish you had stopped 30 minutes ago.

Don’t ask something inappropriate.

Asking someone from BMI to pitch songs for you shows that you don’t know how things work. That’s not their job. Be sure you are asking something the person can actually do for you.

Don’t become the “new best friend”…

When someone who agrees to meet with you, they’ve probably met with 20 people this week and they don’t want daily e-mails from all of you. Keep your follow up correspondence brief and onlåÊy contact them if it’s for something important.

Don’t send everything you write!

If they give you an open door to bring more songs, just send them one of your best ones every month. Don’t send everything you write and don’t forget to send them anything again.

Don’t e-mail them and say “Anything going on with our song?”

If someone agrees to pitch your song, don’t expect regular updates on your song. It’s a big deal to get a song cut. If something happens with your song, you will be the first to know. They won’t keep that news from you.

If you write with someone, discuss how to demo the song up front.

If you can’t afford to pay for your share of a full demo, let them know up front. Publishers get irritated if they want their writers to demo a great song and the co-writer can’t pay their share. If you work it out in advance, at least your co-writer can plan for a more inexpensive way to demo.

Be nice, polite and businesslike. That makes people happy to see you coming in the door. Hope those tips help you keep the bridges intact.
Marty Dodson

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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