Your Best Friend in the Music Business

by Marty Dodson
Jan 26, 2022

I had a conversation this week with one of my song pluggers. I have worked with this guy for more than 20 years. I consider him my best friend in the music business. Why?

He tells me the truth. Always.

At one time, I turned in a song I wrote with a young artist. His only comment was “I don’t dig this at all. Not my thing.” That song went on to be a single and its video went viral to some extent. It got a lot of attention for the artist and for me as a writer.

Recently, I sent him a link to the video just to tease him and remind him of it. His response?

“I still hate it!”

He went on to say “I’m happy for you and for the company that it did well, but I still don’t like the song. Telling you otherwise would be a lie.”

I need more people like this in my life! Straight shooters. Clay and I often joke that SongTown’s business model is the worst idea in the history of business. Conventional wisdom is that you tell the customer what they want to hear.

In SongTown, we tell the truth, even when it’s the LAST thing people want to hear. We lose people that way, but we are committed to it.

We have members tell us all the time that they went to a pitch event and a publisher “flipped out” over every song they played and wanted a copy of each. All I can say is that this has never happened to me or Clay in a pitch meeting. And, if all 5 or 8 or 10 of your songs are so amazing, then why haven’t they been cut?

I would rather have someone say “This one song has potential, but those other 4 don’t do anything for me.” That’s how things work in the REAL music business. A publisher who can tell you that is your best friend in the music business.

The bar is REALLY high if you want to get songs recorded by major artists. The same goes for landing a publishing deal. You need people around you telling you the truth if you want to improve. So, if we tell you, “Maybe these songs are not quite ready yet.”, consider that a compliment. We care about you and we want to help you get better. We might make more money if we told you that every song was awesome, but you would come back to us one day and say “You told me these songs were amazing, but nothing ever came of them.”

We sleep better at night just telling you the truth every time.

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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