Songwriting

SongTown: We Deal In Real “Truth”

by Marty Dodson
Feb 15, 2020

At SongTown we deal in real…

People often ask Clay and me why two writers who have had multiple #1 songs and are still getting cuts would spend time doing something like SongTown?

SongTown is the community we wish we had in the early stages of our careers.

It’s a true labor of love. We would have saved a lot of money and succeeded sooner if we had access to something like SongTown. So, it’s our way of giving back.

The other reason we are here can best be conveyed through a “we deal in real” story.

I was just starting out as a songwriter and struggling in many ways. I had been without a job for several years and my wife was supporting us until I could get back on my feet. Not bringing in money for my family was a bad feeling. I endured the continual question “Have you sold any songs yet?” from extended family and from friends. It was humiliating and humbling. I had nowhere to go but up.

And then I got THE CALL. A co-writer called to tell me that we had been offered a single song contract.

My first. I was elated. The publisher was a HUGE publisher in the gospel music industry. And they liked one of my songs enough to offer me a contract. I was finally legitimate. The monkey was off my back. This meant I might make some money!!! I told everyone I knew.

Then I got THE OTHER CALL.

Something told me I should take the contract to an entertainment lawyer friend of mine. He was calling to tell me that he could not in good conscience let me sign the deal. The deal included a clause that said that the publisher would demo the song, and if the demo included one note different from my original arrangement (the work tape), they got HALF of my writer’s royalties in addition to ALL of my publishing.

For those of you not hip to contract law, this meant that this was a HORRIBLE deal. The first thing they would do is change the “arrangement” by one note and they would get half of my writer royalties.

So, to say that I was devastated would be an understatement.

It was even more humiliating to tell everyone that I had bragged to that the deal fell through.

That lesson was one of many Clay and I learned the hard way. Therefore, we made it our mission to help you avoid those pitfalls. There are people all over town and all over the internet who have never succeeded as songwriters but are glad to take your money in exchange for telling you how to be one. There are people just lining up to offer deals like that first one I was offered.

We are here to give you an alternative.

We don’t hype you up and promise to “Get your songs to Nashville producers!!!” or set up publisher pitch sessions where the publisher takes 10-12 songs even though they know the songs aren’t going to get cut. If that’s what you are after, then you are in the wrong “Town”.

We like to say we “Deal in real.”

We just want to help you learn to write the best song you can possibly write. So, our mission is to help keep you from getting taken by people who don’t know how to do what they are teaching. And we want to keep you from getting scammed. On top of that, we’d like to get to know you and be your friend.

If that sounds good to you, then welcome to SongTown. We will always deal in real.Write on! MD

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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