How To Enjoy Sustained Success In The Music Business

by Marty Dodson
Mar 8, 2023

I’ve enjoyed a 25+ year music business career that has exceeded my imagination by far. I wanted to pass on some of the things I’ve learned in that time period about keeping cuts coming over time. Here are the ways I have turned a couple of cuts into a bunch of cuts:

Don’t develop a “thing” that you do.

I always cringe when someone says, “This is what I do.” If your “thing” goes out of style, you are in trouble. Try to write all over the spectrum in your genre.

Don’t try to be something you aren’t.

I didn’t chase the “bro country” trend, because that is not authentic to me. I didn’t grow up in the sticks sitting on a tailgate, so I don’t write that kind of song very often. I’ve still managed to get over 100 songs recorded. Write what you know and from your experience. That’s what makes your songs unique.

Don’t invest too heavily in one thing.

A wise (and very wealthy) songwriter I know once told me that his goal is to have one song on every album. I asked him why he felt that way and he said “Then, I never have to look at the charts, I’m always on the #1 record.” He went on to say that he didn’t care to have 2 songs on any given album. Just one. His point was a good one. If you put all of your eggs in one basket, you either win big or you lose big. The odds are that you’ll lose big. Try to diversify and get one song on every album you can. Don’t invest too heavily in any one project.

Just keep going.

Even when you go through times when it seems like nothing is working, just keep doing the right things. Doing the right things long enough will produce results. Don’t give up.

How To Enjoy Sustained Success In The Music Business - SongTown

Be nice to everyone.

The people that seem like nobodies today may be running the labels tomorrow. I heard a story once about a songwriter who went to one of his pluggers, threw a CD on his desk and said “If you can’t get these songs cut, you need to find another job. The following week, that plugger was promoted to Head Of Creative at the publishing company. He called that writer in, threw the same CD back at him and said “If you can’t write better songs than this, you need to find another job”. And he dropped that writer. It pays to be nice to everyone. Always.

Those are the principles I’ve followed and it has paid off. Give them a try!

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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