In today’s music market all successful songwriters co-write and a huge percentage of successful artists also co-write songs with other songwriters.
The advantages on the surface are pretty obvious…you write more songs, you write different songs than what you would by yourself and you have more fun because you’re not writing by yourself.
So why is it that co-writing with 2, 3 even 4 or more songwriters is the standard among professional artists and songwriters but so many amateurs have so much resistance to it?
Let’s Look At The Objections Many Amateurs Have To Co-Writing First
Objection 1: “People want to “steal” my good ideas or songs.”
The reality: Only GREAT songs get recorded by major artists and labels and if you’re an amateur who’s only written a handful of songs you have a whole lot of work to do before you start writing great songs (3-10 years of hard graft).
It should be your goal to write a song good enough for someone to steal!
Stealing of songs is incredibly rare anyway. If you’ve written a great song then publishers and labels are more interested in YOU because you’re a potential source of a whole stream of great songs.
The great song is the foot in the door. After that they want to build a relationship with you and see if you can write a whole lot more.
Finally ideas are a dime a dozen.
It’s not the idea that makes a great song…it’s the execution of that idea.
No one is sneaking around trying to steal your idea. They’re just not that valuable without a whole lot of work, skill and rewriting to turn them into great songs.
And the people who have those kinds of skills and work ethic have a whole pile of ideas of their own and don’t need to steal yours.
Objection 2: “I Only Want To Write With People Who Have Hits”
It’s great to write “up” if you can and get with an artist or a songwriter who already has a proven track record but here’s the reality of that situation.
If you’re an amateur then the pro is going to immediately notice your less developed skills and will have to work much harder to get around them and write a good song.
After the first time they may not want to write with you again simply because they have better options…with their track record they can write with songwriters and artists who have more skill.
If you’re starting out or you’ve only written a handful of songs it’s a great idea to write with other songwriters who are also working on their craft so you have a chance to grow into the co-writing process.
There’s also a much more important reason you should co-write with everyone around you right now…
The People You Know Now Will Become Hit Makers In The Future
In your local area there’ll be a small core of people who are working hard developing themselves as artists or songwriters.
A small percentage of these will go on to write hits. Some will go on as artists to have hits themselves.
Some will end up being producers or radio show hosts.
Some may leave town and end up in the music industry in other roles as an executive, an A&R person, a song plugger, a receptionist at a music publishers…
Some of the people you know will lead you to serious opportunities in the future…if you’ve given them some skin in the game by co-writing with them.
By Co-Writing With Everyone You Can You Dramatically Increase Your Chances Of Building A Key Relationship That Takes You To The Next Level In Your Career
Nashville is the world’s capital for songwriters with an estimated 5,000+ songwriters who’ve had a top 10 hit.
There they call co-writing the “Nashville handshake”.
In Nashville they understand that co-writes at every level can lead to huge opportunities in the future.
If you’re an artist the principle is the same. The ambitious songwriter you co-write with today now has some skin in the game.
He wants to see you become successful because that increases his chances of having a hit song with you.
And when he has a hit with another major artist he might recommend one of your songs, recommend you as a support act for that artist, introduce you to his new publisher or to the artists A&R friend from a major label or lead you to any number of other valuable contacts…
These are all the kinds of things that happen every day…for the artists who do a lot of co-writing and have taken the time to build those relationships.
It’s Gonna Take A LOT Of Songs…
Here’s another reality of the music industry most amateurs aren’t aware of.
Let’s look at the US country music market as an example…
The average country artist on a major label will listen to over 3,000 songs choosing the 15 or so songs they take into the recording studio to make an album.
If you’re an artist you need to write and co-write a whole lot more if you want to compete at that level on the radio (it’s not pretty or artistic but getting radio play is very much a competition with the other songs being pitched to radio at the time).
Put simply you need a much larger pool of songs to choose from so you have more GREAT songs the radio stations will want to play.
If you’re a songwriter and you want your songs cut by artists your chances go up enormously if you’re writing with the artist. They’re far more likely to record a song they’ve co-written.
And again that means writing with a lot of artists who might be in your local area now (or even co-writing on Skype) and letting time, ambition and just plain hard work do its magic for you.
Co-Writing Appointments Force You To Write
Left to our own devices most of us will write a few songs here and there with random levels of commitment based on how we feel at the time.
But when you book co-writing appointments your commitment level to songwriting goes up in a huge way.
With just one co-writing appointment a week you’re potentially increasing your songwriting output by 50 songs a year (all that co-writing adds up).
A good co-writer will also work on songs and demos when you’re not around (as you will for them) and that means you’re getting a whole lot more work done that will help move your career forward.
Finally and most important of all…
Songwriting Is A Low Cost/High Return Investment Of Your Time
If you’re an artist nearly everything you do is expensive…recording, touring, creating merchandise, buying instruments and sound gear.
Songwriting is one activity that costs you almost nothing but the potential return is huge.
The more songs you write the more likely you are to write a great song and the more songwriting you do the more you develop your songwriting skills…which increases your chances of writing a great song too!
And as I’ve already covered in this article…co-writing songs also helps you expand your contacts and the potential future key contacts that can take your career to another level.
This article gave you come insights into why professional songwriters and successful artists go out of their way to do a lot of co-writing.
Now it’s down to you to take some action with this information. Go write a song with someone!