SongTown USA: Getting in the Game

Most of our Songtown citizens are actively trying to "get in the game."

They (you) want to get songs recorded, hear them on the radio, see your name in the writer’s credits on a CD, etc.

The trick is figuring out HOW to get in the game.

Many come to the conclusion that it's a "closed game" that is almost impossible to get into.

That's what I was starting to believe in the early years of my career. I thought people were actively trying to keep me out, and that, because I wasn't a "known" writer, I couldn't possibly write great songs.

As my career has evolved, I have realized why things work the way they work. And I realized that the system was only closed to me in the beginning because I didn't have great songs. I wasn't writing at the level of other pro writers in town. I thought I was, but I wasn't. So, I didn't get cuts. And I didn't get meetings. I got nowhere. And I burned some bridges.

I also realized that the people in power at any given moment are bombarded with songs from people they don't know, who are not yet writing great songs, but believe that they are. I realized that those people sometimes forget tact and reason as they pursue people who they believe can help them get a cut. Those people are gun-shy for a reason. They have been stalked, harassed, followed, imposed upon, you name it.

So, here is the moral of the story. If you are not making headway with your music, the answer is most likely that your songs are not good enough yet. That doesn’t mean you won’t ever be good enough or that you aren’t a good writer. It just means that you are not yet writing at a pro level.

It means that your “job #1” is working at your craft. Writing stronger ideas. Writing better songs.

I can almost guarantee you that, when you ARE writing at a pro level, doors will open. Nobody in Nashville turns their back on a hit song because they don’t know who wrote it. Nobody. When someone hears a song that they think will be a hit for their artist, they are all over it.

So, don’t get discouraged if you aren’t getting the results you want. Put on your big boy (or girl) pants and work at writing better songs. That’s the surest way to start getting results with your music.

Write on.

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson is a songwriter, corporate trainer and entrepreneur. His songs have been recorded by artists such as Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, Joe Cocker, Leon Russell and The Plain White T’s. He once bumped Psy out of the #1 spot on the K-Pop charts but that’s another story for another day. Marty plays Taylor and Batson guitars. Follow him here:, at and at Twitter @SongTownUSA or visit

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