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How To Make A Music Publisher Fall In Love With You (Musically)

Tips & Resources by Brent Baxter, Pro Songwriter on February 14, 2018

Getting a publisher to offer you a publishing deal is kinda like getting one to marry you.  It's a big commitment, and it's one that isn't taken lightly by a publisher.  It's a tough, tough business, and they need enough of their investments to pay off to keep the lights on.  Just because you show up in their office one day with a cool guitar and one awesome song doesn't mean they'll drop a staff songwriting contract on your lap.

The publisher has to (musically) fall in love with you.  Here are a few ways to help that along.

1. Have sexy songs.
No, I don't mean make-out songs.  I mean there needs to be something sexy about your songwriting- something that captivates the publisher or something that pulls their attention back to your songs.

Maybe the whole song is great.  Maybe it moves them to tears or laughter.  Maybe there's that one line in the second verse that is so honest and real that it takes their breath away.  Maybe it's a hook (melodic or lyrical) they can't get out of their head.  A sexy song has something about it that sticks with the publisher after you leave the room.

2. Be yourself.
Publishers want to see the real you in your songs.  They want some real heart, some real truth, some of what YOU have to say (happy or sad, funny or mad).  You might get a publisher's attention by dressing your songs up like Craig Wiseman or Luke Laird, but it's YOUR true creative voice that, if it resonates with them, could make them fall for you.

3. Be a good hang.
Ever date someone who is good looking but just leaves you exhausted (in a bad way)?  Someone who is overly needy, pessimistic, a lush, or is addicted to drama?  Eventually, their good looks (or good songs) aren't worth the trouble.  You don't have to be the publisher's best friend (although that sure doesn't hurt).  But being a good hang is only going to improve your chances of getting to second base. After all, if you get "married," you'll be spending a lot of time together - both one-on-one in the office and out at industry events. You want those times to be enjoyable for BOTH of you!

4. Be committed.
I don't mean you have to prove you're committed to that particular publisher, like you'd never look for a deal anywhere else or play songs for another publisher.  Show you're committed to songwriting and the music business.  Show you're committed to getting better.  Show you're in it for the long haul- you're not just testing the waters and will bail if the "music thing" doesn't work out.  Publishers invest a lot into their writers.  They're serious, and they want to know you are, too.

5. Have "good prospects."
Of course, it helps to woo a publisher by having three songs on the charts.  But almost nobody is in that position.  But the more things you have going on, the more attractive you are as a potential staff writer.  Publishing is a business, and the publisher stays in business by making money.  So even if you aren't coming into the deal just crushing it, you want to show (honestly) that you have "good prospects."  It's like a girl thinking, "yeah, he's broke now... but he's in medical school..." But be real.  Don't hype.  Hype is NOT attractive, and a pro can see right through it.

6. Go on a few dates.
A publisher who is interested in you will probably bring you back for several meetings. This gives them a chance to see if you're consistently writing new songs- and writing them at a high level. They may also set you up to write with their writers as another way of checking you out.  They'll want to hear the songs you write with their writers.  They know what their writers bring to the room, so it's their chance to see how you play in the sandbox with someone on the team whom they respect.  And they'll usually ask their writer, "So, how was he/she?"

There ya go.  Six ways to romance a music publisher.  I hope you go out, find that special someone who will change your life, and you make hundreds of beautiful song babies.

And maybe I can play matchmaker.

If YOU would like to play your song for a legit music publisher, Songwriting Pro's next Play For A Publisher event is coming right up! Our guest is Courtney Allen of BMG Nashville. Courtney works closely with hit songwriters Travis Meadows, Wynn Varble, Lucie Silvas, and more. If YOU have the song, SHE knows what to do with it!

P4P Courtney Allen


God bless,


PS- Thanks for stopping by Frettie! I appreciate it. As a matter of fact, I want to give you a special little something just for your visit. It's my FREE ebook "Think Like A Pro Songwriter," and it reveals valuable I-learned-it-the-hard-way-so-you-don't-have-to tips to help you succeed at the art, craft and business of songwriting. You can download it at

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