Songwriters: Why You’re Not Getting Songs Cut

by Marty Dodson
Apr 27, 2024

The biggest question most aspiring songwriters have is “Why am I not getting songs recorded by artists?”  In my experience, there are several primary reasons people don’t experience the success they want with their songs.  Here they are:

Your songs aren’t good enough yet.

In more than 90% of the cases I’ve encountered, this is the problem.  The quality of the song is not world class.  Artists are looking for world class songs for their records, and there is a need for them in the market.  Unless you are writing world class songs, you aren’t likely to get them to record your music.  So, if you are playing your songs for reputable industry people and NOT getting any action, you need to work on writing better songs.

You’re ignoring the market.

Many people insist on writing what THEY like, regardless of what is going on in their genre at the moment.  If what you like isn’t the flavor of the month, you won’t get those songs cut, even if they are great songs.  If you are writing the wrong KIND of songs, you drive yourself out of the market.

You are writing things that artists don’t want to say.

If you write an amazing song that no one wants to sing, it will never get recorded.  One of my early “great” songs was about a boy catching his father cheating on his mom.  Great song.  Interesting story.  Well written.  Compelling melody.  But who wants to get on a stage in front of 60,000 people and sing about their dad cheating on their mom?  No one.  Trust me.  I pitched it all over town.  Make sure you are writing ideas and songs that are universal, that make the artist look good and that are things an artist would WANT to sing.

You aren’t targeting well with your pitches.

Pitching a great song to an artist who doesn’t cut that kind of song is a waste of time.  You have to know what an artist is looking for and hit the bullseye with your pitch.  If you have no idea what an artist does, or what they are looking for on their current record, you won’t get a cut.  How do you find all of that out?  Ask questions.  Today, I had someone email me and say “Do you know what Artist X is looking for?”  Turns out I had written with Artist X two weeks prior, so I knew exactly what he said he wanted.  It pays to ask questions.  Read interviews with the artist.  Get in their head.  Gather all the intel you can.  THEN, pitch.  Pitching without all of that info can burn a bridge and waste a lot of people’s time.

There you have it.  The top 4 reasons people DON’T get songs recorded.  Paying attention to these areas will increase your chances dramatically.


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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