Songwriting 101: Great Songs Are The Key To Your Success


Clay and I are continually preaching the craft of songwriting—that learning to write great songs is THE key to success for all songwriting goals. Whether your goal is to write better for your own enjoyment or succeed in the music business, this is the essence of everything we do here at SongTown.

Last year, I was at a writing retreat with 5 other pro writers and a Sony Recording Artist. On the way back home from Florida, people were playing demos from some of the writers in the van. As the songs played, the names of the writers popped up on the GPS screen in front. As one particularly good song played, I noticed that the song was co-written with “M. Haller”. The only M. Haller I know is Songtown’s own Mary Haller. I asked if she was the co-writer and that answer was YES! The pro writer went on to say how great Mary is and that he loves writing with her. He said “She brings everything to the table to compliment what I do”.

Mary has taken many of our classes and has attended our writing retreats. I’ve seen Mary improve rapidly in her writing. She has taken all of the things she has learned to heart and is writing awesome, contemporary, competitive songs. But, the real reason Mary is doing so well is that she has tried to learn everything she can about songwriting and THEN she has worked tirelessly to make things happen for her music. Mary has done the heavy lifting and made things happen for herself. Those two things in combination (Great songs and hard work) are the best way to succeed in the music business.

We are so proud of Mary and all she has accomplished! If you are trying to succeed commercially with your songwriting, we would encourage you to spend the bulk of your time and effort learning to write better songs FIRST. Then, go start to build your network of publishers and other industry professionals.

If you don’t know where to start, you can find lots of valuable resources on the SongTown website. You could also take the 3-week Co-Writing CrashCourse that’s going to be starting in a few weeks. We will be teaching the fine art of co-writing which has been the biggest single thing I’ve learned in my songwriting career. You’ll learn how to find the perfect co-writer that compliments what YOU do and you’ll explore several different ways to elevate your songwriting game through co-writing.

Write On! ~MD

Marty Dodson Co-Founder Songtown Songwriter/Publisher/Believer In The Basics

Click here for details on The Ultimate Co-writing CrashCourse



5 thoughts on “Songwriting 101: Great Songs Are The Key To Your Success

  1. It’s all about product. If you don’t have anything to sell then what are you selling? You’re not ready for that phase of your transition to being a company engaging in commerce. You may be engaging in commerce as a performer of cover songs, and may even throw in a couple of your own. But until you have a ‘catalog’ of songs you think could be hits, not ‘album filler’, then you’re not ready to go to market.

    If you CAN get one, just one of those songs to market, that success can up your value as a co-writer, and advance your commercial viability.

    So it really is back to the woodshed, with the comprehension that you have some however nebulous ‘handle’ on the ‘inspiration’ part of songwriting. You recognize that ‘hook factor’ in a phrase when you hear it come out of someone else’s mouth, or your own ad lib, or thought, or read it somewhere, wherever you find it. But the woodshed is where the ‘craft’ part of the equation is applied. That’s where you deliberately develop the storyline, comprehend and create the Singer-Character, and the Love-Interest Character, and the story they want to tell. Bring them to life, like an actor creating the role, and structuring delivery of the story to get it told in the three-minute movie.

    Having a ‘handle’ on both the art and the craft can enable you to write a song that hooks you, and should hook others the same way. Part inspiration, part application of know-how, a quality song is created. That’s the product.

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