Music Business

Is The Music Biz Trying To Keep You Out?

by Marty Dodson
Jul 1, 2017

I can’t count the number of times songwriters have complained to me that the music business was trying to keep them out.

These writers believe that the people already in the music business spend their time devising ways to prevent newcomers from breaking into the business.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, the complete opposite is closer to reality.

People in the music business SURVIVE by finding new talent.

Their livelihood and longevity depend on it. And the competitive nature of the business creates a system in which people LOVE to be the ones who discover the best new thing. Powerful people in the music business are actively looking for great songs, writers and artists.

So, why do so many people get the impression that they are being kept out of the business?

Most of the time, it’s because they don’t have an accurate perception of the quality of their songs or their performance.  They have been told by family and friends that they are amazing.  They get good responses from the hometown crowd.  But, they don’t realize that they’ve been playing in the minor leagues and the major league is a whole different ballgame.

IF you give them something better than what they already have, you are almost guaranteed to make the team.

Basketball is a good reference.  It’s one thing to be the best player at your high school.  But that doesn’t mean that you are ready for the NBA.  The NBA isn’t TRYING to keep you out – they continually NEED great players.  But, if you try out for a team and you are not competitive with the players already in the league, you won’t get drafted.   It doesn’t matter how good your family and friends think you are.  It doesn’t matter if you won the state championship in high school or if you were a standout player in college.  All that matters is that you are competitive with people already in the league.   You have to be perceived as being as good or BETTER than those players if you want a shot.  If they think you are as good as the other players, you might get a shot.  But, they’ve already got players at your level.  To really get the best shot, you’ve got to give them something they don’t have or be better than what they already have.  IF you give them something better than what they already have, you are almost guaranteed to make the team.

That’s the way the music business works as well.  If you bring in songs that are not quite up to the level that someone already has, they won’t be interested.  Would you be?  If you bring them songs (or an artist) that are as good as the ones they already have, they might be interested – but they already have what you’ve got.  The only way to guarantee interest is to bring them something better than what they already have.

The answer is ALWAYS to write better songs.

If you aren’t getting interest in your music from music business pros, the answer is ALWAYS to write better songs.  Always.  It’s the only thing you can control.  And, if you learn to write songs consistently as good or better as the pros already in the league, you WILL get noticed.  That’s the nature of the game.

Write on! Marty

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson is a multi-hit 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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