Sure Fire Cut: Writing with the Artist

There was an article in the Business section of the Tennessean this Sunday called “Hitched to a Star”. A great read for anyone wanting to gauge the temperature of the publishing world. Writing with the artist is not a new concept, just that it took a lot longer for it to catch up to Nashville. Pop music has been this way for as long as I can remember. It was always an advantage to write with the artist for their upcoming record, one route to a hit.

It’s starting to sound more and more like the only route.

What’s changed? The “shrinking pie.”

People aren’t buying music like they used to, so artists, publishers and labels have to get creative. More artists are writers, more producers are publishers. Publishers want the writer to bring his connections to the deal. When I broke into writing for a living publishers typically gave the songwriter an advance against future royalties and were allowed to develop, hopefully with the aid of the publishers connections. Different time, bigger pie. Jody Williams was quoted in the Tennessean article and he was certainly one of those publishers who would not only mentor a writer but champion them in Nashville and beyond.

The talent is still there and there are still publishing stars like Jody Williams, Chris Ogelsby and Leslie DePiero in the  business. It’s just harder to “hitch yourself to ‘em”.

Photo by kevindooley