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What moves a publisher?

This might surprise you!

Why do publishers sign a writer? We’re always looking for this answer. Is it the song? The person? The accomplishments? The socials? The answer to this question is a little less complicated than you might think.

Most publishers I know say they are looking for a song that gives them a “visceral response”.

Whether we realize it or not, we songwriters really do know what this means.

Think of the times at a writer's round when you’ve heard a complete stranger sing a song that just makes you “fall out your chair!” You won’t leave the building until you introduce yourself…and you hope they want to write with you, like you want to write with them.

This is what A&R people of all stripes are hoping for. A song that hits their heart and sticks with them long after the initial meeting is over. A song (and a writer) that they can be a warrior for.

After the emotional response is over, left standing are the more practical considerations. As a writer’s “would-be” publisher, we have to ask ourselves…

Does this writer have a song I can place? The best situation would be if the writer had many pitchable songs, but we'll take one great song to start. If the writer is an artist then surely they want someone who is releasing music we feel passionate about!

Is this writer's music ready right now or is it going to take some time to develop this talent? Even though a publisher may truly believe in a writer, everyone has to put on their business hat and think twice before hiring someone. They bear the brunt of making songs pay back the investment made in the writer. The “when” of that happening…is pretty important.

If I hire this writer, can this writer go into any situation and come out with a good song? Is this writer a great fit for our circle of creatives? It’s a total plus if you’re the writer that can walk in the pub deal with great co-writers and artists you already co-collaborate with. The more connections, the better!

For the most part, the A&R types I know are scrolling Spotify, Instagram, Tiktok, looking for something that knocks them out of their chair!

Here are some recent signings. I know it looks like these publishers signed people with tons of accomplishments. But it’s not all about money. I know the people at these organizations and I can tell you, the writers they hired seem to fit the organization perfectly, and the music fits what that company does.

// Big Loud Records has announced the signing of rising country star Jake Worthington. Hailing from Texas, Worthington first impressed fans as a finalist on Season 6 of NBC’s The Voice in 2014. With over 8 MILLION on-demand streams and more than 230,000 social media followers to his credit, the traditionally minded talent is also signed to Big Loud for Publishing and Management and poised to make an immediate impact

// RED Creative Group has announced the signing of singer-songwriter Matt Koziol to an exclusive label and artist development deal. Koziol, who signed a publishing deal with Prescription Songs in 2019, is set to release his upcoming single, “Work All Day” Koziol, who signed a publishing deal with Prescription Songs in 2019, has worked with noteworthy artists, including John Paul White, Joy Oladokun, Jimmie Allen, Charlie Worsham, Steve Moakler and more.

// Nashville-based Indie Pop Duo Sawyer have signed an exclusive pub deal in a creative joint venture between Sheltered Music Publishing and producer Cameron Jaymes. Jaymes is known for producing acts like Rachel Platten, Daya, Spencer Southerland and Nightly. The partnership with Jaymes is focused on the development of artists with an emphasis on production and songwriting

I’d love to know what you think of this article. Please leave a comment!

Nancy Deckant, CEO

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